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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 20, 2015 11:00pm-1:01am EDT

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my operation to go to the undersecretary on this whole issue. frankly, we found situations in puerto rico that was just object seen. if they don't resolve these, some of these heads have to roll. mr. blue men tall: i thank you for that. >> still a problem. we have to put this in context. yes the v.a. has dropped the backlog. they drove the car into the pitch. mr. reickhoff: they drove it into the pitch and want to be congratulated for partially pulling it out. we still see hundreds of thousands of folks facing an adversarial system. john appropriately addressed that. i would encourage everyone watching and listening to go to the way we carry dot org is a site that allowed veterans to show how long they have been waiting. by state, region, individual stories and see how long they have been waited so we can look ahead and help predict the next phoenix and prevent the next phoenix. but the key issue i encourage this committee to address, we know they are working on it. what do veterans do in the
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meantime? that is the problem that continues to plague our community. when you have financial stress emotional stress, where do you go for help in the meantime while v.a. sorts this out? they come to us. we are overwhelmed with demand and other nonprofits feel the same way. i encourage you to think creatively to provide support, especially financial and emotional, to those folks stuck waiting sometimes years. mr. blumenthal: i have one more thanks to -- mr. blumenthal: i have one more thanks to mr. kovach and others on the issue of expanding access to choice to make veterans eligible when a local v.a. facility cannot provide the service that is needed. when we measure service, it ought to be for the medical care that the veteran needs not simply whether there is a facility there to provide it. i'm assuming that other members of this panel are in agreement as well with that view. thank you. mr. roe: i recognize dr. abraham for five minutes. mr. abraham: i too have a foster
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opportunity with me today. she's from louisiana, going to go into a premed curriculum. and hopefully they'll do well. mariah, will you stand up, please. just a quick remembrance everybody here in the room with memorial day coming up, the surviving family members of our fallen heroes. we know they still continue to carry the water and extreme burden. just a heartfelt thanks for that. representative o'rourke and i were in a meeting this morning with secretary mcdonald and undersecretary sloan and a whole
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cadre of his people that help him make these decisions that we and you have talked about today. i think it was you, mr. reickhoff, that say they do, i think, also have their heart in the right place. we have to be in the position i'll use a poor term, we have to lance it before the healing starts. hopefully we are in that process now of exposing the bad things. the reason we all know, you guys know better than anybody else because you lived the life. these things have been under the radar for years and years. they are just coming to surface. that's a good thing. that we are getting them out in the open and hopefully we can fix it. mr. kovach, going back to you. i was a co-sponsor of a bill that was just dropped, apprenticeship on the g.i. bill that will allow some of these funds to be used in a noncollegiate funding area. i think it's a great idea. certainly it will help.
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the question i have, anybody on the panel, the thing that senator blumenthal just alluded to, give me one or two specific things we need to do, i understand how bad it is. i'm on the chair subcommittee of disability assistance, we see those figures. we want to fix this. we want to fix it efficiently and quickly as we can. but help us out here. mr. rowan, i know you were saying as far as the officers that no longer address these claims, give us some specifics that we can take back to our committees and start -- yes, sir. mr. rowan: i would add one simple change that can be done right now in the board of veterans appeals is allow the veterans appeals attorneys when they make a ruling, make it presidential. so that when somebody decides
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something, it's now become law so that any other case that's similar to that should be adjudicated along those lines. this is the only kind of legal structure where that does not occur. so we can be attorneys sitting next to each other making totally different rulings on the same type of case. that's number one. the other thing is figuring out how to really redo that whole system. it just doesn't make sense. the other thing i think is get us back access at the regional offices. stop having our claims sent everywhere except where we are. i have a regional -- one of my people is working in the buffalo regional office in new york. she services about a dozen counties in western new york. she can't talk to anybody now. it's like they have set up this wall between her and all the people in the regional office on their claims. it's crazy. it would just resolve so many
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issues if we actually had the decision review officer who could make a decision. and we don't. >> thank you. just two things to add briefly. one is we believe the new bill recently introduced by senators heller and casey has some practical low cost process improvement measures on the claims systems so we commend that to your attention. colonel norton: the second item is that we have been and many of the groups at this table have been working with the d.a.v. on basically re-engineering the appealed claims process, to make it more efficient, to speed it up. basically allow the veteran the option of bypassing certain steps in order for the claim to move more quickly through the system on appeal. but retain with the veteran the option of going back into the legacy system. and there have been, as you know, at least one or more
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hearings on this. and we believe that the basic concept that put forward for a stead up appeal process is a good one. we commend it to your attention. mr. roe: mr. rourke, you are recognized. mr. rourke: i will follow your lead and acknowledge ernesto. thank you for joining us. grateful he's spending a day with us here in congress and also wonderful that he gets to hear from each of you. he's been here throughout the entire testimony. i think that can only be good. i wanted to reflect on some of what dr. abraham and i heard this morning with the secretary. one figure that just astounds me is that there are 50,000
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positions opened within the v.a. that they are seeking to hire for today. another statistic that floors me is that the a.p. reported last month despite this year of intensive focus on wait times, wait times have improved approximately 0% across the country. and undersecretary gibson admitted today that while access has improved, more veterans are getting seen, wait times are actually going up because more veterans are being seen. there are more providers in the system, there is, even though that's problematic, there is more choice. so i think one of the difficult questions we need to address and i want to get your thoughts on this, is whether we should not be a little bit more strategic on what we are hiring for and
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then what we are referring out. mr. reickhoff, i'm struck by your top priority, preventing suicides and caring for those who come back with the signature wounds of these most recent wars, post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury. tell me your thoughts on focus on that hiring that has to take place on the v.a. primarily on capacity to serve those transitioning service members, the mental health providers that we need to have, and focus on taking care of those unique conditions, rounds disabilities, injuries sustained in combat or service and the tradeoff is you then refer out those things that are not uniquely service connected. and there is going to be a tradeoff involved if we solve this. we can pretend we are going to hire all 50,000, build hospitals in every community like the one
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i serve in el paso, or acknowledge we have to set priorities of the love to get your take on this. sir, we created the clay hunt bill after we lost clay. i left clay's funeral and on the way to the plane and found out of another suicide on the way there. this is real and growing. the clay hunt save act was a good step forward. but no one should be thinking that this problem is anywhere near close to solved. that's why we are keeping it our number one priority this year. framing it in a bigger sense. the thing that's lacking is a national call to acting. americans thought great, washington took care of this. we have a critical shortage of mental health care workers and badly damaged v.a. brand that bob mcdonald is trying to fix. folks don't want to work there. we have to incentivize them and find ways they can work not just the v.a. but serve veterans. that has to be a call to action that the president should make the entire country, and say we have a suicide problem, mental health crush, we need every
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american to step up. you can step up and work at the v.a., work at the d.o.d., work for a private nonprofit, go back to school. amazingly in all these areas, i think the undervalued resource is us. the post-9/11 veterans are standing by to help each other. mr. rourke: i really want to make sure i ask this in as blunt terms as possible. what if the v.a. was a center of excellence for p.t.s., p.b.i. unique and connected service issues. there's 100% chance when you need to see that mental health provider you will get in right away and world class care. tradeoff is if you have the flu, diabetes, or something that may not be uniquely connected to service or is comparable to what the general population sees, are you going to get referred out. maybe not 100% of the time, but more likely, what do you think about that? mr. reickhoff: this is the age old false choice. we should figure out who goes to the front of line.
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nobody shut wait. that's the bottom line. mr. rourke: i don't think that's going to fix it. mr. reickhoff: i don't think loot of these ideas are necessarily going to work. that we have heard from congress in the last couple years. the bottom line is, supply is growing and demand is flat or even falling. we don't have enough qualified people to deal with suicide. we don't have enough qualified people to deal with ptsd. we have to address with the supply problem and v.a. can't do it alone. members are torn. a lot will never go to v.a. especially after the scandal. we encourage them to do that. we have to recognize that hospital networks, private nonprofits, church groups, everyone else is picking up the slack. we have to look at this as more of a v.a. problem we have to look at a national health care priority. that's where we need to start. otherwise we'll be middling around the edges with only the people currently using v.a. services. mr. rourke: i'm going to yield back. i think we agree on almost everything. it's incredibly urgent. it's going to require everyone
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not just the v.a. but the community which we live and work. the population outside the v.a. if something truly is going to be a priority and urgent, it needs to be treated that way with resources. i think there will have to be tradeoffs. i appreciate your response. yield back to dr. roe. mr. roe: i take this opportunity to recognize my good friend -- mr. rowan: dr. roe, can i say one thing. the gentleman minority of suicides, not the young folks coming up they are us. there is enough of them, unfortunately, that's terrible needs to be dealt with immediately. unfortunately it's the older veterans who are committing suicide at incredible rate. have been for years. still are. and many of them because they are retiring now, getting into all kinds of hot water. the other thing is this. the v.a. needs to take people right out of school which they won't do. i had a friend of mine, she wanted to go work for the v.a. she got her master's degree. she was qualified. they said no, you have to have at least a couple years of work service. i would rather take a kid out of
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school i can train the way i want to train them than have to rely on somebody who is going to quit a job after working somewhere else for two or three years. they need to do more of that right out of school. getting people right out of school. the other thing is, this is where -- the v.a. needs to document their recruitment efforts by specialty and report to congress who it is they are hiring and where they are going to look for them. mr. roe: just to emphasize, i'm glad somebody took this kid right out of school and hired him as a doctor. i much appreciated them doing that. you are absolutely correct. ms. brown and i were talking about this. not that people don't want to work for the v.a. it's just getting hired takes forever. that's the problem. ms. brown: that's the problem. mr. roe: i'll take -- ms. brown: it is a misnomer to sit here and say people don't want to work for the v.a. they do want to work for the v.a. what happens is it takes too long, the process.
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by the time they go through the system, someone else has already hired them. let's don't sit here and say people do not want to go to the v.a. they do. and they want to work at the v.a. let's be clear. we have doctors and nurses and professionals, there are veterans coming out that want to work at the v.a. but our process is too long. i yield. mr. roe: i now take this opportunity to recognize my good friend, senator boozman, who when he served in the superior house, the house of representatives, was on the veterans' affairs committee. i now yield to senator boozman. senator boozman: thank you very much. thank you very much for being here and thank you so much for your advocacy. you do a tremendous job in push things forward. i agree with you, mr. reickhoff, the danger it is in the signing ceremony, everybody's patting themselves on the back. the nation is patting themselves on the back. of congress.
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you forget about these things. we do have to keep it at the top of the list. mr. rowan, you made an excellent point, the majority of people that are committing suicide are actually in their 50's and things. it's just something we have to go forward. mr. minney, you mentioned the travel for nonservice connected individuals with vision problems. what is the major disease that they have that is affecting them? do you know what the primary nonservice connected disease that is causing blindness? mr. minney: diabetic retinopathy, being associated with diabetes, the vietnam community. they are coming down with diabetes due to agent orange. now that diabetes is causing diabetic retinopathy. senator boozman: the resulting
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vision impairment, that's not service connected? mr. minney: it's a fight to get the second and third disease associated. senator boozman: we need to fix that. that's an excellent point. one of the problems that we are having in arkansas, i note throughout the country, there's been a problem with v.a. reimbursing local hospitals for the emergency medical care for veterans. when this happens, the hospital or collection agency hired by the hospital may go after the veteran for the payment if they don't receive it from the v.a. i guess my question to the panel, is that something that you're hearing about? i have a lot of concern about that because not only is it a problem now, again, with the veteran, but also with the hospitals. in you don't pay them, they are not going to participate. the other problem is if we can't do it right now, under this limited program that we have had in the past, what's going to
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happen is the 40 mile rule develops and hopefully we'll see more and more people utilizing that as they get comfortable with that. if we can't do this program, then we are going to have huge problems with that program. and again the danger is is that if you don't pay the providers, they simply won't participate. then potentially could spill over into tricare and some of the other things we work so hard to make sure that it is accessible to veterans. is anybody hearing any of those things out there? not so much. good. >> senator, i would just comment not so much hearing on that but we are hearing a related challenge and problem is that some veterans who are referred outside for care often that results in a prescription of some kind by the civilian provider, and that becomes enormously challenging because
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the veteran goes to the local c.v.s. or other retail drug provider, has to pay out of pocket, then when they go back to the v.a., the v.a. won't recognize the script or they have to say you have to come to the v.a. and be seen by us so we can write a script on our formulary. colonel norton: this is a huge issue that really wasn't addressed in the choice act. the whole prescription medication aspect of outside referred care is still an enormous gap that needs to be taken up and looked at. senator boozman: i think you make a great point. pharmacy is something we have to address not only in that area but also the problem with d.o.d., them. we talked about suicide things. getting people stable while they are still in the service. all of a sudden they come out and then the pharmacy in the v.a., those drugs not being on their formulary.
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all of a sudden changing people where you have had a loft work and a lot of -- a lot of work and a lot of attention paid to get people on the right track. that's something that we need as a group, as a congress. you-all also, that's something we need to work on. thank you-all very much, again for your service in so many different ways. we appreciate you. mr. roe: sergeant major, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. thank you-all for being here. mr. walz: to folks at the table and folks behind, we are always here on challenging issues, but i believe always more optimistic than i have ever been because there is no one else i would want to be fighting these fights than you. i think that national character issue when president kennedy got asked about going to the moon, we don't do it because it's easy, we do it because it's hard. i don't think he envisioned that with the v.a. it's up to us to get this right. senator boozman is right.
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we harmonize the formularies between d.o.d. and the v.a., it was stripped out at the end. again that's why you do 2.0 and 3.0 and keep at it. i know for all of you this has to feel like groundhog's day, we are back here year after year. that's the point of it. i think, though, i get the feeling on this, it's different now. it's different because the prices. anyone who throws up their hands and says who could have predicted that? some of you sitting at the table know before phoenix happened, we were talking about it with the administration and got nowhere. it's not a surprise to anyone. nor will it be a surprise on the injuries coming. john and others pointed this out. this bubble is coming. it peaks 40 years after the conflicts. turn around and look at the o.i.f. vets. their bubble is not coming until 2050. so for us to shea, there will be some congressman sitting up here at that time saying, dang, we couldn't have predicted it.
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this would happen. yes you could have. it's not a false choice. we hold people accountable. we make people accountable. we swear them in. if they are a criminal, we send them where they need to do. we need to plan for the few tear and fix it. let's do both together. this is a chance to make a generational change. it has to be there. here's the alternative, no one else is going to do it. there is going to be resistance because it's the nature of bureaucracies, both public and private, to resist change. here's the good news. we can make changes. we started to and paul was right, clay hunt was a step in the right direction. as everyone said, this is about mental health parity and the view of the public sector to see that. we can change behaviors. we can change how people think about it. i want to come to a granular issue on this.
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we can't lose sight of this. there are things we start fixing today and make differences in people's lives on that. mr. rowan, i wonder, if you could tell me could you explain quickly what's the retionship with i.o.m. and the v.a.? what do they do together and what's going on here? mr. rowan: the institute of medicine was brought into play back in the 91 act of the agent orange act in 1991 where basically the institute of medicine was asked on a biannual basis to report on research they would look at of agent orange related research and any diseases that they felt were identified as a result of that. that would then eventually end up on the presumptive list which unfortunately, is rather substantial through vietnam veterans. that's been the thing. the problem is one of the reasons we talk about doing research is, in fact, there is no research. the v.a. has never done research on agent orange. i.o.m. was scratching around wherever they could find stuff instead of having original research to review. it was a shame. the i.o.m. in the toxic research acts we are talking about, we are also talking about -- which
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would basically extend the 1991 act to include persian gulf and more recent veterans where the institute of medicine would study them now. the one thing about the i.o.m. they were considered off to the side. it's interesting once again we see the v.a. just recently put up barriers. when the i.o.m. basically told the v.a. you guys really screwed up when it came to the c-123 crew members and pilots and crew, they agreed those planes were toxic despite the v.a. basically disavowing all knowledge. mr. walz: this is the point i want to bring up. this is what i say to my colleagues. while it may be granular issue it is a broader one because this is about research, best practice, and this is about cutting out problems before they become as big as they are. we know we are going to see these things from burn pits to depleted uranium.
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they are coming. the research needs to be done now. the treatment plans need to be done now and acknowledge this. i bring this up because i think it shows, secretary assures us and i hope he continues to push on this, this insular nature of the v.a. cannot take outside experts on this in partnerships. it's a waste of resources. it ended up setting us up for another situation with agent orange claims that will come later. this is what i am talking about. we can prevent those things now if we choose to do so. thank you. keep pushing. mr. rowan: if i might continue that. the other thing was the d.o.d. very clearly had research that showed that these flames were toxic. the v.a. wouldn't talk about it and basically hid it. there is just a mindset somewhere in there that people don't think these kinds of illnesses count. mr. walz: we are going come back at it. we'll try to push that soon. thank you. mr. roe: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. lamborn. mr. lamborn: it's great to be
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here and see all of you who served like senator boozman said in so many ways. i appreciate that. i know the issue of the denver hospital has come up. i'm from southern colorado and although it's not in my district, lots of my 100,000 veterans do need that hospital to be finished. the existing facility is just not up to par. i know it's a mess financially. and i don't know the final solution. we have to find a way to bring all or part of the hospital to completion so it can be used. for any one of you, i'd like to ask this question. i also ask this of secretary mcdonald when he was here earlier this year. that is how can we find a better way to have a seamless transition for our active duty men and women leaving the department of defense, going into the v.a.? i know just moments ago we talked about matching
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formularies. that's probably one step in the right direction. what are some other ways that you would like to propose that we could work on for a better and more seamless transition? >> congressman, if i may. the one issue i can see is at this time the department of veterans affairs is only employed by 33% veterans. it's supposed to be veterans taking care of veterans. if you take the 66% that are not veterans, once they tried to transition, those folks do not understand the military health care system or even the military way of life. one of the best ways to do it is to actually higher more veterans within the v.a. health care system or even gba as well. that is one approach.
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>> thank you. >> we have five specific recommendations, provide oversight by monitoring development, remember that? we all stood with the president five years ago and talked about the initiation of a plan. the plan is still somewhere ongoing. automatically enroll all troops in v.a. health care with an option to opt out. get them in when they are still in and have that the more seamless. fully implement the dod plan to develop an ottoman to system to transfer the service treatment records to the v.a. and electronically, fully implement the comprehensive exit physical before service number leaves the military and improve the transition of national guard medical and service records from state units to the v.a.. those are five suggestions that we are happy to follow up in more detail. >> please do. we have had that for the last five years.
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we have not executed the plan. i'd love at the plan will be executed until you sit down with people from the leadership, from dod in v.a., and say, what is the malfunction? this is where we are going, how are you going to clement and? until somebody has oversight on that and direction, it is not going to happen. >> would anybody else like to help answer? >> congressman, we suggest that more needs to be done in terms of recruitment of physicians, nurses, and other professionals from dod when the eater they complete their service or when they retire. things like fellowships, postdoctoral opportunities research, even recruitment stipends to attract them into v.a. service, back especially ranking member brown's point about the long delays in the v.a. process. if somebody is certified as a physician in the department of defense, it ought to be quick easy and seamless to move them into the v.a. and provide
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opportunities for them including reasonable incentives and for them to want to affiliate as a v.a. medical professional. >> ones again, at this time, there are between 40,000-50,000 navy core men, army medics can we had the department of veterans affairs will not hire them based on their military dod education. an individual could be in the army for 10 years, and the v.a. will not hire you because you are not credentialed. there is part of the problem. they need to credential enlisted military personnel so they can have the opportunity to go to work for the v.a.. there is a disconnect right there. if you can take care of an individual in uniform, why can't
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you while they are a veteran? >> i would love to jump in on this issue. his son is a major in the air force. neurologist. the bottom line is this. he is looking around to get out. the headhunters are telling them they are just not looking. despite the secretary saying he was going to go after his son he never did. >> thank you for your answers and the service you provide. >> again, i want to thank all of you for being here. your organizations for what you do for our families. i will take this opportunity to yield to ranking member brown. >> i want to thank you for your service comments. clearly, we have a lot of work
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to do. as we go into memorial day thinking all of the veterans for their service. the first president, george washington said whether or not young people want to join the military will depend on how we treat the veterans. i am committed that we will continue to work to give them the service and quality care they need. i mentioned about denver. on the 24th, as of the in congress have not come up with a plan to authorize additional so they can spend money, that is going to close. that will cost $20 million. it will cost $2 million a month. that is a waste of taxpayer money. we can blame va. i would say we could blame the
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congress because we have not authorized bills in 15 years. blame whoever you want to. the veterans will not get the service they need. what happens when failure is not an option? we've got to get it done. >> thank you for yielding. i want to take this opportunity to thank the people that are here for read the organizations. one thing we are seeing with this committee, i have been here 6.5 years. ms. brown has been here for 23. one of the things i noticed is the attendance of the members. there is much more interest of the members in the last year. they are meaningful. i have learned a lot of things. things are not going to be hard to fix. it is a bipartisan effort, i might add.
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i think we are getting input from both sides. we will have to do oversight. i can also tell you, being a vietnam era veteran, i served in korea and 9223 and 1974, i see a lot more emphasis towards helping veterans than when i got out of the army in 1974, i can tell you that. basically, the gate didn't hit me on the back and going out and that was about it. there was no cap program, not anything. the post-9/11 g.i. bill is a phenomenal benefit. if one million people have access to that, our country is better off. no question. we will benefit mightily from that. on the veterans hospital in denver, i mention this in a hearing. they built the coliseum in rome
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in eight years. it looks like we are going to exceed that. they did not have the epa. it looks like you could build a hospital for less than $1700 a square foot. i think about how much care he mentioned we could be giving our veterans. it takes away from other construction projects that could be done. i did not sign on to be the project manager. they can do better and they will do better. the oversight from our committee will do that. it is a privilege to start my comments to serve those now who served us. this is just my view. i have been to afghanistan twice and i hope to go again. we have the most courageous volunteer and highly trained military in the history of this country. it is amazing, the
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professionalism of these young people. i am a physical -- fiscal conservative, but there are three things i will never ever apologize for spending money on. one, if you are a soldier in the field, i want you to have whatever you need to protect yourself and your comrades. number two, when you come home i want this country to serve you again as you served it. number three i'm going to support my agricultural community because i want to eat. i want to make sure armors are taking care of. i appreciate you being here. closing, i ask -- without objection, so ordered. the hearing is adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national
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cable satellite corp. 2015]
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>> wednesday in the u.s. house members held a moment of silence to honor the victims of the amtrak crash. more than 200 were injured when the train derailed while taking
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a 50 mile per hour turn at over 100 miles per hour. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to speak out of order to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: thank you mr. speaker. on tuesday, may 12, we had a horrific train derailment-crash in the city of philadelphia. first off, our thoughts and prayers are with the eight men and women that lost their lives and the over 200 that were injured. i've never been more proud of the men and women that live and work in the city of philadelphia, the sister of brother-in-law love and sister-in-law affection -- brotherly love and sister of affection. we had this major catastrophe at 9:15 at night. within four minutes, our first responders, our police, our fire, police commissioner ramsey fire commissioner sawyer were on the scene.
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the scene was total darkness, and we had volunteers from the neighborhood that even joined in. imagine, total darning dark, the only light were flashlights back and forth. i can never be more prouder of the mayor of philadelphia since tuesday to sunday was on that scene constantly. orchestrating -- orchestrating the administration people, moving them around, consoling families, making sure that all were accountable and even making sure that their belongings were given back to them. i can't be more proud of our hospitals and our universities. universities who opened the doors for loved ones to come and our hospitals doctors, nurses all the men and women that work there doctors that worked 30 hours and went back home and couldn't sleep and came back and worked another 12 hours. but most important, two things really struck me. temple hospital in the city of philadelphia had a lot of the
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injured people admitted to their hospital, and the students that go to temple university heard about it jumped on their bicycles and rode down to assist all those in the hospital, whether it be pushing a gurney or whether it would be consoling a family member or putting a family member with a loved one. and the neighbors, the neighbors ran out again, total darkness. 200 people-plus injured, run through, helping throughout all the soot, picking them up, pulling them out of the trains bringing water, bringing towels wiping them down. one lady said i'm sorry in your home, i'm full of soot and dirtying your couch. the lady said, it's ok. we can buy more couches and by more, you know, more things, whatever we need to buy. you can't buy your health back. so we want to be here to be able to help you as best as you can. i'm honored to be standing here
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with my colleagues from pennsylvania and some, gregory lost a loved one. some others throughout the -- you know, throughout the country. i'm extremely proud to recognize jeff, the chairman, and ranking member, mike capuano, who assisted me and toured this site with me. i appreciate their concern and appreciate their being here. so mr. speaker, the best way we can honor these men and women is to make sure this accident never again happens in the united states of america. and with that i would like to ask for a moment of silence.
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>> coming up on c-span, president obama speaks at the coast guard academy. and then senators lindsey graham and john mccain on the fall of the iraqi city. later, cyber security. on the next washington journal congressman adam smith, a democrat from washington will discuss the fight against isis and the select committee investigating the benghazi attack. and then more about the fight against isis with a democrat from south dakota. washington journal live, every morning at 7:00 eastern on c-span. you can join the conversation with your calls and comments on twitter.
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coming up thursday a confirmation hearing for the assistant secretary of homeland security for the tsa. vice admiral peter neff enger has been nominated. you can see him on c-span3. >> for he today that sheds his lead with me will be my brother. this day will gentle his condition. gentleman in england shall think themselves accursed that they were not here. >> one drop of blood drawn from my country's bosom should feed the more than streams of foreign
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gore. >> the director of the foreign shakespeare library talks about shakespeare and how politicians use quotes. >> sometimes, you have to go with the music of the word. the poetic images, the sound of the rhymes. and also, as senator byrd did you are able to pause and linger over a long phrase. i think he is using the rhythms of the language, which is something shakespeare did so brilliantly. he can put english into high gear. that is something shakespeare let you do if you are politician. >> on c-span paths q&a -- c-span's q&a. >> parting is such sweet sorrow. >> president obama addressed the
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impact of climate change on national security. his remarks are 30 minutes. [applause] president obama: thank you. thank you so much. thank you. everybody, please have a seat. class of 2015, ahoy. >> ahoy. president obama: there are now zero days until the class of 2015 graduates. [applause] president obama: thank you,
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admiral zukunft, for your kind introduction and for your leadership of our coast guardsmen on all seven continents. governor malloy, secretary johnson, ambassador, distinguished guests, faculty and staff, families and friends. and admiral stosz, as you prepare to conclude your time as superintendent, thank you for your outstanding stewardship of this academy. you made history as the first woman ever to lead one of our nation's service academies. [applause] president obama: and i know you'll keep making history because i was proud to nominate you for your third star and as the coast guard's next deputy commandant for mission support. [applause]
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president obama: it is wonderful to be with all of you here today on this beautiful day. michelle sends her greetings as well. she is the proud sponsor of the coast guard cutter stratton -- which is tough to beat. but as admiral zukunft pointed out, both the coast guard and i were born on the same day. so i want you all to know, every birthday from now on i will be thinking about the coast guard. [applause] president obama: now, the coast guard may be the smallest of our services, but i have to say you may also be the loudest. whenever i visit our military bases, there are always lots of soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines. they make a lot of noise.
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but wherever i am across the country or around the world, including afghanistan, nowhere near an ocean -- the most determined cheer from the crowd comes from our proud coast guardsmen, because usually there might only be one or two of them. [laughter] as paul mentioned, in my state of the union address this year i mentioned how i've seen america at its best when commissioning our new officers including here in new london. and it's true, some folks across the country didn't quite get the reference. one person tweeted that they were pretty sure i just made this up. then there was one person in town who asked, “did obama name drop new london?" so let me do it again. it is a great honor to be back in new london, at the united states coast guard academy -- to salute the newest ensigns of america's oldest, continuous maritime service. [applause] cadets, this is a day to celebrate all that you've achieved over these past four years.
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you have excelled at one of the most selective and rigorous academic institutions in america. you've held yourselves to a high code of conduct, proven yourself worthy to be called commissioned officers in the united states coast guard. you pushed yourselves physically , from swab summer to beating your officers at basketball and softball and football. you braced up, squared your meals, spent friday nights waxing the floors, maybe a little “rodeo buffing.” i saw the video. that looks dangerous, by the way. you made your mark, and you will be remembered. in chase hall. in this stadium. and at hanafin's and bulkeley house. which reminds me, in keeping
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with longstanding tradition, i hereby absolve all cadets serving restrictions for minor offenses. minor offenses. you came together as one team. we are joined today by commander merle smith, the first african american graduate of this academy, class of 1966, a decorated vietnam veteran. [applause] president obama: his legacy endures in all of you because the graduating class of 2015 is the most diverse in academy history. and you took care of each other, like family. today, we honor the memory of your classmate from the republic of georgia, soso, along with beso. their spirits will live on in the partnerships you forge with coast guards all over the world.
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today, you take your rightful place in the long blue line. for marina stevens and her family, it is a very long line. where is marina? just wave at me real quick. there she is right there. marina's dad is coast guard civilian. her mom, janet, an academy graduate, was a coast guard captain and will pin on marina's shoulder boards today. marina's grandfather was a coast guardsman. her great-grandfather joined the u.s. lighthouse service in 1918. that's four generations, spanning nearly the entire life of the modern coast guard. no wonder she's named marina. it's in her blood.
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and, cadets, i know that none of you reached this day alone. so join me in giving a huge round of applause to your mentors and your incredible parents and your family members , so many of them, themselves, veterans as well. please give them a big round of applause. [applause] president obama: class of 2015 i'm here as your commander-in-chief, on behalf of the american people, to say thanks to each of you. thanks for choosing to serve. for stepping up, for giving up the comforts of civilian life, for putting on that uniform. thank you for the service you
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are about to render. the life of purpose that you've embraced, the risks that you've accepted and the sacrifices that you will make. but i'm not here to just sing your praises. i want to speak to you about what comes next. soon, you'll fan out across the coast guard and some of you will go to sectors and shore command. some of you will start your duty aboard cutters. some of you will start flight training. america needs you. and we need the coast guard more than ever. we need you to safeguard our ports against all threats, including terrorism. we need you to respond in times of disaster or distress and lead your rescue teams as they jump out of perfectly good helicopters. we need you in the caribbean and central america, interdicting
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drugs before they reach our streets and damage our kids. we need you in the middle east; in the gulf; alongside our navy; in places like west africa where you helped keep the ports open so that the world could fight a deadly disease. we need you in the asia pacific, to help our partners train their own coast guards to uphold maritime security and freedom of navigation in waters vital to our global economy. these are all demanding missions. the pace of operations is intense. and these are tight fiscal times for all our services, including the coast guard. but we are going to keep working to give you the boats and the cutters and the aircraft that you need to complete the missions we ask of you. we're moving ahead with new fast response cutters, new offshore patrol cutters. we're on track to have a full fleet of new national security cutters -- the most advanced in
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history. and i've made it clear that i will not accept a budget that continues these draconian budget cuts called sequestration, because our nation and our military and our coast guard deserve better. [applause] and this brings me to the challenge i want to focus on today -- one where our coast guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers -- and that's the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change. as a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism. and as americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country. yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations.
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now, i know there are still some folks back in washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real. and on a day like today, it's hard to get too worried about it. there are folks who will equivocate. they'll say, “you know, i'm not a scientist.” well, i'm not either. but the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening. our analysts in the intelligence community know climate change is happening. our military leaders, generals and admirals, active duty and retired, know it's happening. our homeland security professionals know it is happening. and our coast guard knows it's happening. the science is indisputable.
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the fossil fuels we burn release carbon dioxide, which traps heat. and the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been in 800,000 years. the planet is getting warmer. fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have been in the past 15 years. last year was the planet's warmest year ever recorded. our scientists at nasa just reported that some of the sea ice around antarctica is breaking up even faster than expected. the world's glaciers are melting, pouring new water into the ocean. over the past century, the world sea level rose by about eight inches. that was in the last century; by the end of this century, it's projected to rise another one to four feet.
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cadets, the threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service. you've been drawn to water -- like the poet who wrote, “the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” you know the beauty of the sea but you also know its unforgiving power. here at the academy, climate change, understanding the science and the consequences, is part of the curriculum, and rightly so, because it will affect everything that you do in your careers. some of you have already served in alaska and aboard icebreakers, and you know the effects. as america's maritime guardian you've pledged to remain always ready -- semper paratus -- ready for all threats.
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and climate change is one of those most severe threats. and this is not just a problem for countries on the coasts, or for certain regions of the world. climate change will impact every country on the planet. no nation is immune. so i'm here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. so we need to act and we need to act now. after all, isn't that the true hallmark of leadership? when you're on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. you plan for every contingency. and if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don't sit back and do
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nothing. you take action -- to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. anything less is negligence. it is a dereliction of duty. and so, too, with climate change. denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. it undermines the readiness of our forces. it's been said of life on the sea, “the pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.” cadets, like you, i reject pessimism. we know what we as americans can achieve when we set ourselves to great endeavors. we are, by nature, optimists but we're not blind optimists.
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we know that wishful thinking in the face of all evidence to the contrary would set us on a course for disaster. if we are to meet this threat of climate change, we must be realists. we have to readjust the sails. that's why confronting climate change is now a key pillar of american global leadership. when i meet with leaders around the world, it's often at the top of our agenda -- a core element of our diplomacy. and you are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us. it will shape how every one of our services plan, operate train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, their capabilities, today and for the long term. so let me be specific on how your generation will have to lead the way to both prepare ourselves and how to prevent the worst effects in the future.
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around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from bangladesh to pacific islands, forcing people from their homes. caribbean islands and central american coasts are vulnerable as well. globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees. and i guarantee you the coast guard will have to respond. elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources, and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions. all of which is why the pentagon calls climate change a threat multiplier. understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group boko haram.
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it's now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the middle east. so, increasingly, our military and our combatant commands, our services -- including the coast guard -- will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready. around the world, climate change will mean more extreme storms. no single weather event can be blamed solely on climate change. but typhoon haiyan in the philippines gave us a possible glimpse of things to come -- one of the worst cyclones ever recorded. thousands killed, many more displaced, billions of dollars in damage, and a massive international relief effort that included the united states military and its coast guard. so more extreme storms will mean more humanitarian missions to deliver lifesaving help.
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our forces will have to be ready. as admiral zukunft already mentioned, climate change means arctic sea ice is vanishing faster than ever. by the middle of this century, arctic summers could be essentially ice free. we're witnessing the birth of a new ocean -- new sea lanes, more shipping, more exploration, more competition for the vast natural resources below. in alaska, we have more than 1,000 miles of arctic coastline. the united states is an arctic nation, and we have a great interest in making sure that the region is peaceful, that its indigenous people and environment are protected, and that its resources are managed responsibly in partnership with other nations. and that means all of you are
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going to have to step up because few know the arctic better than the u.s. coast guard. you've operated there across nearly 150 years. and as the arctic opens, the role that the coast guard plays will only grow. i believe that our interests in the arctic demand that we continue to invest in an enduring coast guard icebreaking capacity. i was proud to nominate your last commandant, admiral papp, as our special representative for the arctic. and as the u.s. chairs the arctic council this year, i'm committed to advancing our interests in this critical region because we have to be ready in the arctic, as well. climate change, and especially rising seas, is a threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the american people. already, today, in miami and charleston, streets now flood at high tide. along our coasts, thousands of
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miles of highways and roads, railways, energy facilities are all vulnerable. it's estimated that a further increase in sea level of just one foot by the end of this century could cost our nation $200 billion. in new york harbor, the sea level is already a foot higher than a century ago -- which was one of the reasons superstorm sandy put so much of lower manhattan underwater. during sandy, the coast guard mounted a heroic response, along with our national guard and reserve. but rising seas and stronger storms will mean more disaster response missions. and we need the coast guard to be ready, because you are america's maritime first responder. climate change poses a threat to the readiness of our forces. many of our military installations are on the coast including, of course, our coast guard stations.
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around norfolk, high tides and storms increasingly flood parts of our navy base and an airbase. in alaska, thawing permafrost is damaging military facilities. out west, deeper droughts and longer wildfires could threaten training areas our troops depend on. so politicians who say they care about military readiness ought to care about this, as well. just as we're helping american communities prepare to deal with the impacts of climate change, we have to help our bases and ports as well. not just with stronger seawalls and natural barriers, but with smarter, more resilient infrastructure -- because when the seas rise and storms come, we all have to be ready. now, everything i've discussed with you so far is about preparing for the impacts of climate change. but we need to be honest -- such
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preparation and adaptation alone will not be enough. as men and women in uniform, you know that it can be just as important, if not more important, to prevent threats before they can cause catastrophic harm. and only way, the only way the world is going to prevent the worst effects of climate change is to slow down the warming of the planet. some warming is now inevitable. but there comes a point when the worst effects will be irreversible. and time is running out. and we all know what needs to happen. it's no secret. the world has to finally start reducing its carbon emissions -- now. and that's why i've committed the united states to leading the world on this challenge.
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over the past six years, we've done more than ever to reduce harmful emissions, unprecedented investments to cut energy waste in our homes and building, standards to double the fuel efficiency of our vehicles. we're using more clean energy than ever before -- more solar more wind. it's all helped us reduce our carbon emissions more than any other advanced nation. and today, we can be proud that our carbon pollution is near its lowest levels in almost two decades. but we've got to do more. so, going forward, i've committed to doubling the pace at which we cut carbon pollution. and that means we all have to step up. and it will not be easy. it will require sacrifice, and the politics will be tough. but there is no other way. we have to make our homes and buildings more efficient. we have to invest in more energy research and renewable technologies. we have to move ahead with standards to cut the amount of carbon pollution in our power plants. and working with other nations we have to achieve a strong
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global agreement this year to start reducing the total global emission -- because every nation must do its part. every nation. so this will be tough. but as so often is the case, our men and women in uniform show us the way. they're used to sacrifice and they are used to doing hard stuff. class of 2015, you've built new equipment that uses less energy. you've designed new vessels with fewer harmful emissions. stephen horvath, selected as a fulbright scholar, will research new technologies for renewable energies. the coast guard is building more fuel-efficient cutters. so you're already leading. and, cadets, as you go forward i challenge you to keep imagining and building the new future we need -- and make your
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class motto your life's work: “to go where few dare.” this is a place where we need you. across our military, our bases and ports are using more solar and wind, which helps save money that we can use to improve readiness. the army is pursuing new lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. the air force f-22 broke the sound barrier using biofuels. and the navy runs an entire carrier strike group -- the green fleet -- with biofuels. our marines have deployed to afghanistan with portable solar panels, lightening their load and reducing dangerous resupply missions. so fighting climate change and using energy wisely also makes our forces more nimble and more ready. and that's something that should unite us as americans. this cannot be subject to the usual politics and the usual rhetoric. when storms gather, we get
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ready. and i want to leave you with a story that captures the persistence and the patriotism that this work requires, because this is a nation made up of folks who know how to do hard things. down in the front row is dr. olivia hooker. in 1921, in tulsa, oklahoma, when she was just six years old, her african american community was attacked by white mobs -- it was a horrific racial incident. and hundreds of innocent african americans were killed. the mobs destroyed her father's clothing store. they looted her house. they even burned the little clothes for her doll. and olivia could have given in to bitterness.
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she could have been pessimistic about her country. instead, she made it better. so in world war ii, she enlisted as a spar, becoming the first african american woman in the coast guard. [applause] president obama: as a yeoman in boston, she served with distinction. by the time the war was won, she was discharged, she was a petty officer second class. with the gi bill, olivia earned her master's, then her doctorate. she has been a professor and mentor to her students, a passionate advocate for americans with disabilities, a psychologist counseling young children, a caregiver at the height of the aids epidemic, a tireless voice for justice and equality. a few months ago, olivia turned 100 years old.
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so, olivia, you're going to have to tell us your secret. she's still as sharp as they come, and as fearless. in yonkers, new york, she even still volunteers as a member of the coast guard auxiliary, and was determined to be here with us today. so, dr. hooker, thank you. you're an inspiration. [applause] [applause] president obama: one hundred years old. so dr. hooker has led a remarkable life. but this is what she says --
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"it's not about you, or me. it's about what we can give to this world.” cadets, you're at the start of your careers. and we cannot know, each of us how many days we will walk this earth. we can't guarantee we're all going to live to 100. but what we can do is live each day to its fullest. what we can do is look squarely at what will make the biggest difference for future generations and be willing to tackle those challenges. and as you embark on your life of service, as you man your stations, and head to the seas and take to the skies, should the sea begin to surge and the waves swell and the wind blows hard against your face, i want
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you to think back to this moment -- to feel what you feel in your hearts today. and if you remember all that you've learned here on the thames -- how you came here and came together, out of many one to achieve as a team what you could never do alone -- if you resolve to stay worthy of traditions that endure -- honor, respect, devotion to duty -- if you heed the wisdom and humility of a petty officer second class from oklahoma, to think not of yourself, but what you can give to this world -- then i'm confident that you will truly go where few dare. and you will rise to meet the challenges that not only face our country, but face our planet. and your legacy will be a nation that is stronger and safer for generations to come. so, class of 2015 -- thank you for your service. congratulations. god bless you.
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god bless all our coast guardsmen. god bless our united states of america. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> on tuesday, a pentagon spokesman called the fall of an iraqi city of failure of tactics by iraqi forces. senators lindsey graham and john mccain put the blame on president obama. they spoke on the senate floor for 25 minutes. senator mccain: since the black
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flags of iso-fly over -- isil fly over a city and iraq. today appears to be a sad reminder of the indecisive air campaign in iraq and syria and a broader lack of strategy to achieve its stated objective of degrading and destroying isil. equally disturbing, reports prepare there is a counter offensive in a largely sunni province. whatever success would be exceeded by the strategic damage by the sectarianism and the suspicion among sunnis. prominent role of these militias continue to feed the perception of a baghdad government unable or unwilling
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to protect sunnis. this is devastating to the political reconciliation efforts that must be central to ensuring a united iraq can rid itself of isil. shiite militias and iranian meddling will only foster the conditions that gave birth to isil in the first place. liberating ram mahdi and defeating isil require empowering sunnis want to rise up and fight isil themselves including integrating them into iraq security forces providing more robust american military assistance. indeed the obama administration and its spokes persons must try to save face for its failed policies by diminishing the importance of ramadi to the campaign against isil and the future of iraq. as isil forces captured in ramadi the pentagon's news page ran a story with a headline
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strategy to defeat isil is working. secretary john kerry, secretary of state said ramadi was a mere, quote, target of opportunity. white house press secretary josh errant said yesterday -- josh ernest said yesterday that we should not -- quote -- "light our hair on fire every time there is a setback in the campaign against isil." meanwhile ramadi, iraq and the region are on fire. how could anyone -- how could anyone say that we shouldn't light our hair on fire when news reports clearly indicate that the there are burning bodies in the streets of ramadi that isil are going from house to house seeking out people and executing them. tens of thousands of people are refugees. and what does the president's spokesman say?
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that we shouldn't light our hair on fire every time there is a setback. the secretary of state of the united states of america said ramadi was a mere -- quote -- "target of opportunity." have we completely lost? have we completely lost our sense of any moral caring and concern about thousands and thousands of people who are murdered, who are made refugees, who are dying as we speak? and the secretary of state says that we should not light our hair on fire. and what does the president have to say today? the president of the united states today says, well, its climate change that we have to worry about. i'm worried about climate change. do we give a damn about what's happening in the streets of
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ramadi and the thousands of refugees and the people and innocent men, women and children that are dying and being executed and their bodies burned in the streets? a few weeks ago as isil closed in on ramadi, the chairman of the joint chief of staffs said the city is not symbolic in any way and is -- quote -- "not central to the future of iraq," the capital of the anbar province, the place where we lost the lives of some 400 brave americans and some 1,000 wounded in the first battle of ramadi during the surge. bodies -- quote --. from the media reports bodies burned as mass killings of iraq security forces and civilians.
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islamic state militants searched door to door for policemen and pro-government fighters and threw bodies in the euphrates river in a bloody purge monday after capturing the strategic city of ramadi, some 500 civilians and soldiers died in the extremists killing spree. they said isis militants were going door to door with lists of government sympathizers and were breaking into the homes of policemen and pro-government tribesmen. the chairman of the joint chief of staffs said its not symbolic in any way not central to the future of iraq. it was in response to those comments that debbie lee sent a letter to general dempsey. debbie's son mark allen lee was the first navy seal killed in the iraq war. for his bravery, he was awarded the silver star and his comrades
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renamed their base in ramadi camp mark allen lee. -- quote -- "i am shaking and tears running down my throat as i watch the news and listen to the pain-inflicting comments by you in regards to the fall of ramadi" debbie wrote general dempsey. "my son and many others gave their future in ramadi. many say as goes ramadi, so goes iraq. debbie lee is right. ramadi does matter. it matters to the families of 1 187,000 brave americans and another 1,150 who were wounded. some of them still residing at walter reed hospital. they were wounded fighting to rid ramadi of al qaeda from august 2005 to march 2007.
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and it matters to the hundreds of thousands of iraqis, mostly sunnis who call ramadi home, who were forced to flee their homes and feel their government cannot protect them against isil's terror. a mi didramadi's fall is a significant defeat and one that should lead our nation's leaders to reconsider an indecisive and a total lack of strategy that has done little to roll back isil and has strengthened the maligned sectarian influence of iran. you'd like toi'd like to go back -- by the way, yesterday as i meptioned press secretary josh irnan said, are we going to light our hair on fire every time there is a setback? one of the more absurd comments i've heard a press secretary
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make. "the new york times" headline was, "iraq sunni strategy collapses." "the washington post," "fall of ramadi reflects failure of strategy." "u.s. rethinks strategy after setback in ramadi." "route in ramadi calls strategy into question. "islamic state victory threatens to unravel iraq strategy." there is no strategy to unravel. "isis counterpunch stuns u.s. in iraq." the united nations says it's rushing tied nearly 25,000 people fleeing ramadi for the second in the meantime a month. the u.n. reported 115,000 people fled a ramadi in april. the u.n. says it has helped more than 130,000 people over the past.
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bodies some burned, literatered the streets as local officials reported mass killings of iraqi security forces and civilians. it goes on and on. i just want to, before i turn to my friend from south carolina, i just want to point out my friends, this did not have to happen. this is a result of a failed, feckless policy that called for against all reason the total and complete withdrawal from iraq after we had won with an enormous expenditure of american blood and treasure, including 187 of them in the battle of ramadi. in 2011, senator lieberman and graham and i argued that the completely pullout from iraq would, -- quote -- "needlessly put at risk all of the hard-won gains that the united states has achieved there at enormous cost in blood and treasure and potentially be a very serious forch policy and national
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security mistake for our country." we vote a lopping article in "the washington post." in october 2011en the day president obama announced the total withdrawal of troops from iraq senator mccain called the decision -- quote -- "a strategic victory for ouren miss in the middle east, especially the iranian regime and warned, i fear that all of the gains made possible by these brave americans in iraq, at such brave cost are now at risk." that was in 2011. in december 2011, senator mccain and graham pre-deducted that in iraq slid back into sectarian violence due to the u.s. pullout "the consequences will be catastrophic for the iraqi people and u.s. interests in the middle east and a clear victory for al qaeda and iran." it goes on and on. time after time, senator graham and i warned exactly what was going to happen in iraq. it was not necessary to happen. it's because of this president's refusal to leave a force behind.
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and now my friends i just, before i turn to my friend from south carolina, what w's said at the same time that senator graham and senator lieberman and i were warning of this catastrophe? february 2010, vice president biden, "i'm very optimistic about iraq. i think it's going to be one of the great achievement of this administration. you're going to see a stable government in iraq that is actually moving toured a representative government." december 230111 at a fort bragg events be, marking the end of iraq war, president obama said, "we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant iraq. this is an extraordinary achievement nearly nine years in the making." march 2012, this is perhaps my favorite "tony blinken then national security advisor to the vice president biden stated,
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"iraq today -- this is march 2012. -- "iraq today is less violent and more prosperous than at any time in recent history." november 2012, president obama on the presidential campaign trail, "the war in iraq is over. the war in afghanistan is winding down. al qaeda has been decimated. osama bin laden is dead, so we've made real progress these last four years." january 2014, president obama -- i guess this is my favorite. january 2014, president obama on isis -- this is january 2014 -- "the analogy we use around here sometimes, and i think it is accurate is if a j.v. team puts on lakers' uniform that doesn't make them qobe bryon."
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he was talking about isis, the analogy we use around here stiernlings and i think it is accurate is if a j.v. team puts on lakers' uniform that doesn't make them kobe bryon." we are seeing a dark chapter in american history. and it's getting darker, because in response to a slaughter in rama -- the answer seems to be, "let's not set our hair on fire by the president's statesman that ramadi isn't important at all for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. this is a -- quote -- "temporary setback." this is a, cog according to the secretary of state a target of opportunity. where is our morality? where is our decency? where is our concern? -- where is our concern about these thousands of people that are being slaughterrered and displaced and their lives destroyed, and we shouldn't set our hair on fire? outrageous.
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i ask my friend, senator graham, what we should do next. mr. graham: wlg, we should understand that the direct threat to the homeland is growing by the day. if you want to be indifferent to what's going on to iraq and say people are dying all over the world, that's no reason for us to care and get involved because we can't be everywhere all the time doing everything for everybody, i would suggest to you that isil in syria and iraq represents a growing threat to our homeland, but you don't have to believe me. ask our intelligence community. over 10,000 foreign fighters have gone into syria in support of isil over the last few months. their goal is to hit the american homeland. so this jayvee team is becoming an extensiona real threat to the american
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homeland. ramaramadi is a big victory for them. they've been able to stawnldz to constant air assault by the american forces and and they're surviving and thriving. if you want to stop the flow of foreign fighters into the arms of isil, you have to deliver a stinging defeat on the battlefield. not only are they stronger today in syria and iraq than they have been in quite a while, they are expanding their influence to libya, afghanistan and throughout the region. all i can tell you is their agenda includes three things. the purification of their religion which means 3-year-old little girls are executed. just hear what i said. they executed a 3-year-old little girl. they're enslaving women by the thousands as sex slaves under some twisted version of islam. what they're doing to people, we
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can't really talk about on the floor because i think it would just be beyond our ability to comprehend. the second thing they want to do is drive out all western influence and create a caliphate where our allies have no place. the king of jordan would be deposed. all of the friends of the united states and people who could live in peace with israel, they fall. and in their place becomes the most radical islamic regime known in the history of the world who will destroy israel if they can. purify their religion, destroy israel and come after us. president obama -- president bush made mistakes. he adjusted. you're not. president bush had a defining moment in his presidency in 2006. the iraq war was going very poorly. we had just gotten beaten on the republican side and the iraq war was one of the reasons we lost at the ballot box.
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mr. mccain: could i interrupt my friend and point out that both of us, because of our perception that we were losing in iraq, under our republican president called for the resignation of the secretary of defense and a new strategy because we saw with our own party in the white house that we were failing in iraq and we could not succeed. mr. graham: i remember very vividly going to the white house after ultimate many visits to iraq and telling president bush, when wu'er people tell you this is just a few dead enders and it is the result of bad reporting by the media, they are a wrong. it wasn't stuff happens, it was that we had it wrong. the strategy we had in place up to 2006 was failing and the wait you know it was failing is that you go there often enough. i remember the first trip we took in iraq after baghdad fell. we were in three s.u.v.'s,ence
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with downtown shopping, met with some leaders and every time we went thereafter, it was always a bit worse to the point that we were inside of a tank virtually to go outside the wire. and it was clear to anybody who was paying any attention at all in iraq that it was not working and i remember talking to a sergeant at one of the mess halls and asked him sergeant, how is it going over here? and he says, well, not very well. we just drive around getting our ass shot o about a year later maybe two years later we went back to the same unit, different sergeant after the surge and i asked another sergeant, how is it going? sir, we're kicking their ass. so at the bottom line here, i think senator mccain an i have been more right than wrong but we're willing to tell our own president it wasn't working. he did make mistakes. we all have. it's not about the mistakes you make.
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it's about how you correct your own mistakes. this president, president obama you're at a defining moment in your presidency. if you don't change your strategy regarding isil in iraq and syria -- because it's one in the same -- then this country is very likely to get attacked in another 9/11 fashion. you need to listen to the people in the intelligence community and those in the military who've been in iraq for a very long time. you're about to make a huge mistake if you don't change your strategy. i know americans are war-weary but let me just say this to the american people: the current strategy is going to fail and one of the consequences of failure is the likelihood of our country or a lice getting hit and hit hard. we don't have enough american forces in iraq to change the tide of battle. we need more american trainers, advisors special forces forces units afford air controllers to make sure the iraqi army can wing any engagement against isil.
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if we keep the configuration we have today, it is just going to result in more losses over time. why do we need thousands of soldiers over there? to protect millions of us here. and the only reason i would ever ask any soldier to go back overseas for any purpose is if i believed it was important to protect our homeland, and i do. so this strategy that we have in place is a complete failure inside of syria particularly, and it is not working inside of iraq and we're on borrowed time senator mccain. president obama you need to listen to sound military advice. you need to build up the iraqi military by having more of us on the ground to help them and turn the tide of battle before isil gets even stronger and when they hit us here. if you don't adjust, the price that we're going to pay as a nation is, i believe another attack on the homeland. so, at the end of the day, you can blame bush, you can blame
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obama, you can blame me, you can blame senator mccannes. we are where we are. and i am convincinged, if we left a residual force in iraq, we would not be here today. president bush, like every other leader in the world had certain information, some of which proved to be faulty. he maudehe made his fair share of mistakes but adjusted. president obama had good, sound advice in front of him to leave a residual force behind. decided to go in a different direction. when they tell you at the white house, well, the iraqis didn't want us to stay, that is complete absolutely fabrication and rewriting of history. president obama, vice president biden got the answer they wanted. they made a campaign promise to end the war in iraq. they fulfilled that promise. but what they actually have done is lost the war in iraq. and the war in iraq and what happens in syria is directly tied to our own national security. so i hope the president will seize this opportunity to come
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up with a new strategy that will protect the homeland and reset order. radical islam is running wild in the mideast. and as it runs wild over there as they rape and murder, plunder and kill and crucify, to think that those people will not eventually harm us, i think is naive. the only way we're going to stop isil and people like isil to come up with a strategy that will allow us to win. the strategy we have in place today will ensure the existence of isil as far as the eye can see. the fracturing of ironing -- fracturing of iraq and syria all of this is preventable with a new strategy. the presiding strategy. -- mr. mccain: senator graham and
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i and many others have a message for the mother of the first navy seal killed in the iraq war who for bravery was awarded the silver star. and 186 other mothers who lost their sons in the battle for ramadi. i will never stop. i will never stop until we have avenged their deaths, and we will bring freedom and democracy to iraq. but more importantly than that is the threat that this radical islam and the iranians holds to our nation and the young men and women who are serving in the military. as a result of this president's feckless policies, we have put the lives of the men and women who are serving in the military in much greater danger. and my highest obligation is to do everything in my power to see
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that this situation is reversed and they get the support and they get the equipment and most of all they get a policy and a strategy that will succeed and defeat isis and iran in their hegemonic ambitions. >> coming up the fbi director c: meomey six about security threats. -- director comey speaks about security threats. congressman adam smith a ranking member of the armed services committee, will discuss the committee investigating the benghazi attack.
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then the republican senator will talk about his legislative agenda as a freshman senator. live every morning at seven eastern. you can join the conversation with your calls or comments on facebook or twitter. the event took place just three months after the terrorist attack. >> this sunday night, we will look into the personal lives of three first ladies. anna harrison never stepped into the white house because her husband dies.
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letitia tyler steps in but she passes away. the president remarries julia tyler, who is the first photographed first lady. this sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern. examining the public lives and private lives of the women who filled the position and their influence. as a couple meant to the series, c-span's new book, first ladies, presidential historians on the lives of the first women. it is available through your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. >> fbi director james comey says one of the most urgent threat facing the u.s. is isil
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recruitment from social media. this is 45 minutes. >> welcome. you are now coming on two years. i wonder if you can talk about the biggest threats facing the fbi today. director comey: i think the biggest threat is the one isil presents especially coming through social media. this is actually a place where cyber and counterterrorism merge because they are preaching pushing this poison through twitter and other vehicles, trying to motivate people, and
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moving them to encrypted platforms to try to give them instructions. the threat we face has warped. it's a chaotic spiderweb increasingly visible to us because operational communications are happening through an encrypted channel. that consumes most of our days. i don't think it's an impossible task. it's very hard, so we spent time on it. >> the criminals and other actors are threats that face the country. can you talk about it? director comey: i have been mocked by this, but i call it an people layer cake. i am staying with it. at the top layer our nation state actors. the next level down organized
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criminal syndicates, the big online marketplaces for criminal cyber tools. the rest is all manner of fraudsters and pedophiles. what the bureau is trying to do is give and how big the cake is to focus our resources, what we think our footprints and ability to make the biggest impact. we are trying to focus our resources on nation state actors the large criminal syndicates and the terrorist use of the internet. we are trying to deploy differently as part of that focus. normally the bureau asks this question. where did it happen? that makes sense when you are talking about a bank robbery or explosion of a bomb.
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when you are talking about the manifestation may not be that meaningful. what we are trying to do is instead of assigning the work based on a notion that it happens in ohio or florida to figure out where is the talent in our organization. we have divided up the terrorist threat and the major criminal threat and we are signing it. we are assigning a threat where the talent is. we allowed them to help, and we do air traffic control from headquarters. that is a big change to us. we stand in the middle of the greatest change in human relations ever.
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we are trying to understand we may not have it right. the second key part of our strategy is we are to impose costs. criminals and anyone coming through the internet think of it as a freebie. we have to try to impose costs on those at the keyboards. we are working very hard to deploy resources so we can lock people up and send a message. this is not a freebie. where we cannot lock people up we are trying to name and shame. and then do things like impose economic sanctions to make clear to nationstates and criminal actors that there are costs associated with this behavior. we have got to get better with the private sector.
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they are crying out for assistance. the idiots would have written that shorty gets this one and joe gets this much. in the detective finds pdas digital literacy is required to do all of the work, and we don't have time to get to a lot of this. we have to get the training they need to be able to respond. all of our lives are now online. all of the threats, whether to our children or money or infrastructure is now online. all of us have to work together to raise the digital literacy. >> you mentioned the private
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sector. some of the questions you will here at panels -- harear at panels are concerns, if i report it i am going to lose control. i am going to face regulatory action if i report this to the fbi. i don't know what is going to happen if i report this. will you talk about how the fbi approaches the private sector? director comey: those are good questions. those are questions i ask myself. the answer is you will to a certain extent lose control of the information but we treated as what it is, which is evidence gathered in the investigation. it is treated in all matter of
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control. there is no doubt there is an incremental risk with sharing information with the government if you have been a vic them. i happen to think the benefits dramatically -- lena victim. i happen to think the benefits outweigh the risk. i think sony cooperating with us early was in the company's interest and we treat the information carefully. we don't want to create disincentives. if someone invades your home and harms your children, you are going to call the police. they are going to investigate.
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there may be situations where they run a meth lab. those are corner cases, but most are not running meth labs in their companies or houses, so it goes very smoothly. the other thing people need to realize is we rarely need content. we almost never need memos with the content of e-mails. we need indicators. we need ones and zeros to show us who was this. how can we contribute it? >> we talk a lot about the private sector. they are concerned with sharing with law enforcement. somebody doesn't know they had an incident.
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any thoughts on how the private sector can better prepare us so if the fbi does not on the door they can be prepared to respond? >> we have gotten a lot better. in 2012 when so many financial institutions were getting hit by denial of service attacks. in my view we are not good enough. we have gotten a lot better at pushing out flash reports. there is a great move to knockdown classifications to get things to a place where we can share it quickly.
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companies don't need to know sources and methods. it is the flipside of what we were talking about earlier. we are getting much better. we have to find a way. you have got to invest in it. you have to eat quick him or her to buy the right stuff. whether that is software or hardware, you have got to invest in it. you have neglected the basic hygiene of information security.
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if someone comes in one corner they can wander through the entire place. the basic hygiene is well-known. it's easy to find people. those people are making tons of donau. once we knock on a door and tell people we have seen this thing, we think there is an intrusion going on i don't have any constructive suggestions for cooperation. the cooperation we get is outstanding because people are grateful and they want to find out what is going on in their enterprise. >> you have a unique perspective. the director of the fbi and the u.s. attorney. you have worked on a lot of new
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ones. >> they are mostly obstructionist weenies. it's one of the reasons we as a country have to offer clarity to those. the chief information security officers think about the world the way we do. the general counsel's are likely worrying about it. will this be used against us in a competition? what happens to that?
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is there an incentive not to reveal things because my competitors are not revealing them. antitrust question. they are good questions. i think congress has to give comfort to remove those concerns from the information sharing pipeline. i think they are well on their way. that is easier to fix. harder to develop will be machine speed sharing. hardest of all is the cultural impact of the -- impediments. there are a lot of people who don't want to be seen with us. i don't want to be seen as cooperating with the government. it's hard to get that back. it requires time and lots of conversations.
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there is a wind still blowing that is a cultural impediment that is part of one of the impediments. >> what is referred to is going dark. we refer to what can be done to address the issue. director comey: the device is encrypted, and therefore unavailable to us, even with a court order. the content of a particular device or communication stream should be collected


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