tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 4, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EDT
state of kentucky to become our senator, this is what differentiated him from other candidate that was the establishment pick. senator paul said, you have got to respect all of the bill of rights, not just the second amendment. the first amendment, the fourth amendment. when i ran for congress in 2012, i had fixed the economy, lower taxes, standard things. i had this thing that said repeal the patriot act. most people did not know what the patriot act was and they looked at my push cards and said, what is he talking about. for folks like senator paul and myself, this has always been an issue for us. it is not something we are doing for attention or to raise money. host: he did though, raise money off of filibustering the patriot act. was that appropriate? guest: clearly, grassroots people are passionate about this
issue are going to donate to him when they see him doing his job. i think it is unfair for the other senators to say him he is doing this to raise money. they are raising money from the moneyed interest. senator paul does not get that much money in washington d.c. his money does come from all 50 states. the senators that were castigating him because people were donating to him for doing his job, i think they better look in the mirror. host: the president signed into law the usa freedom act which passed in the house. it ends section 215, bulk data collection by the national security agency. guest: it is the tip of the iceberg. we need to go much further. i took the same position senator paul did that we needed to do more than the freedom act. the freedom act, they stole the
name from a bill that just in a mosh and i and 150 other congressmen introduced that had strong reforms in it. we had 150 members of congress sign up. they took our bill and kept the name and took it to the intelligence committee and said, how can we make this work for you. they changed it substantially brought a congress and said you're not allowed to amend it. we were never offered amendments in the house, whether in the committee of jurisdiction or on the floor. if you go back and look at what senator paul was asking for before the program ran out, he was asking for votes on amendments. that is all he wanted. he was denied any amendments just like we were in the house. host: let's get the calls. chris has been waiting. go ahead with your question or
comment for congressman thomas massie. caller: good morning. i am thrilled to see you on c-span this morning. i have been watching you for a while. i applaud your efforts. you and representative amash trying to get people to focus in on what has been happening in this country. we are losing our individual liberty, our freedom. the fourth amendment has been under constant attack since 9/11 . i wanted to bring up, i am behind senator paul as well. i wanted you to discuss your own efforts, the surveillance state repeal act. i wonder if you would share that with the viewers this morning and go into what you were trying to accomplish because i think what you were trying to accomplish with this is the best way to go. thank you, again.
guest: thank you for that call. this is not over. i have an amendment on the floor today of the house -- on the floor because today. there are opportunities to restore our civil liberties every time a program expires or its funding is about to expire. today, we are debating the cjs bill which covers the congress -- commerce -- it gives me an opportunity to offer an amendment. i'm going to offer a small piece of the surveillance state repeal act. it would repeal the entire patriot act. it would repeal the fisa court amendment of 2008. it would put in more whistleblower provisions. the information edward snowdon gave us was useful. we would like for the next edward snowden to just come to
congress and tell us. whistleblower protections do not cover and edward snowden situation. the amendment i'm going to offer today is to prevent the government from putting backdoors in your software that allows them to spy on you without a warrant. putting these backdoors in products is bad for three reasons. is that for business. apple is at odds with the administration because they want to put the strongest encryption technology available in their phones and the government says we do not know who want that. what happens is, the government forces a company to weakening christian software, products -- we can decryption -- in kitchen software, prosser not --
business, privacy, and security. shouldn't your government want you to have the most secure introduction -- secure encryption software protecting your records? i am offering amendment that prevents the government from paying companies to put backdoors in their products. host: would you republican leadership role it in order? guest: they were going to rule it out of order. we will find out if they rule it in order or out of order. host: we are talking with congressman thomas massie. he represents the fourth district of kentucky. tom in harrisburg, your next. caller: where the disconnect is
between what the american public thinks and -- look at rand paul. now number one in the polls amongst republicans. it is not that the american public does not want to be safe. they don't trust the government. before i go, i want to ask the congressman, the next most important thing is, how come we have not expired the war authorization act with the president? how can the president is having this authority to drop missiles and this congress has abdicated duty over that? guest: let me go back to that question. there was a pew research poll that came out a few days ago that showed that 54% of americans think that there are not enough checks and balances on the government surveillance program.
senator rand paul was alone out of 100 senators. there is a lot of disconnect in washington d.c. the disconnect seems to be larger in the senate than the house. you'll find a lot of -- at least 40 republicans in the house took the same position that only one senator in the senate took. there is more connection with the public in the house. i think you saw this in this debate. we are fairly well disconnected too and that is a concern. the caller brings up a good point. we have our toes in a lot of military actions. congress is abdicating its responsibility to debate this issue and to declare war are not to declare war. it is really dangerous. i do not carefully have a democrat or republican in the white house -- i do not care if
we had a democrat or republican in the white house. at its own peril, congress is avoiding this issue. walter jones from north carolina has resolutions to debate these actions. in syria -- it seems like the president, it seems like an 2013 he had this idea to get involved in syria. i received 100 phone calls a day . i usually only receive five or 10 in my office. 100 phone calls a day saying do not get involved in syria. i appreciate that the caller is a democrat. i'm not picking on this president. when the president could not get authorization, he dropped it. and he sort of did it on the sly anyway. we need to be debating the war issue.
host: john is watching in brooklyn. an independent. caller: good morning. i feel that this is a phony issue. it does not affect any americans in a negative way that i know of. i would be more concerned with people -- the republican party going against unions. that has more of an effect on the american, everyday people than what is going on in the nsa. host: let me add to that, don or on twitter is asking, what civil liberties have we lost to date? guest: i have people tell me i'm not doing anything wrong. i don't care if somebody knows what i'm doing on the internet because i am not doing anything illegal. i tell people, i'm sure you're
not doing anything illegal, but have you done something embarrassing? would you like that to be public record? would you like for a government to be able to use that against you to get to the next stage of incrimination? this is an issue -- it is not a phony issue. this is a fourth amendment issue with all due respect to the caller. i call these weapons of mass distraction. occasionally an issue gets so hot that everything else is forgotten. when my kids were in t-ball when the ball went to the outfield come all the kids went to the outfield. nobody stayed on first base or the pitcher's mound. the same thing with congress. when something gets white-hot we forget about the economy, the fact that we have an $18 trillion debt. we forget about these issues that really matter to americans back home. i wish we would stay focused on
those. i have a debt clock in my office and i got this idea from senator coburn, it reminds me to keep my focus on the main thing balancing the budget and making sure we are doing things that help the economy and help people like john. host: lydia is next. woodstock, illinois. you are on the air. caller: thank you for taking my call. i'm calling with my legal name because this is also my wheelhouse. the word oversight is a trick word. on one side of the page, congress can supervise. on the other side, lack of supervision. both sides of the pages, that is why congress loves that word. here's why i'm calling. president obama needs to go on c-span to tell the american
people he will -- this is the 11th hour. censor the process he agreed upon and revealed at the first correspondents dinner when he utilized the bush strategy of telling the truth as a joke and a joke as a truth. i called in on that day. i was furious. i knew what he was doing. he said, i needed to be there because george bush -- he needs to come on and tell the american people that is chief legal officer will sunset that provision because that provision was never put in writing. unless it is in writing, it cannot be done as something congress can do oversight over. host: can you explain for those that do not know? guest: i serve on the oversight committee.
i am a little bit cynical. we have had the irs hearings, ben ghazi hearings. really nothing comes out of that. i studied engineering in college. if i knew i would be on the oversight committee, i would've studied theater. that seems to be what the oversight congress best congress considered -- congress considers oversight. if you do not do anything about what he found out, it is not oversight. we have multiple lovers -- multiple levels of oversight that failed. james clapper live to us in the senate hearing -- lied to us in the senate hearing. when he was caught in his lie after the snowden documents came out, he said, i said the least untruthful thing i could say at the time. a lot of people do not realize when the president said, congress knew about this
program, he was kind of right. they told the intel committee which is pretty to more secrets than the rest of us. i understand if you told the secret to 435 people it would not be a secret for long. we entrust the intel committee to watch over the intelligence community. they are responsible for oversight. they did know these programs were going on and they failed us. the circuit court of appeals said that the nsa was breaking the law, exceeding legal authority with the metadata collection program. the intel committee failed to provide oversight. we cannot know all the secrets. the oversight we have, there is reform to this and the freedom act, the fisa court.
the courts balance the executive branch when they do law enforcement duty. the fourth amendment, you have to get a warrant and have probable cause. you cannot issue a warrant that is so broad it does not name a specific person or things to be seized. the fisa court issued a general warrant that would have made king george blush. it says basically all of verizon's records, maybe you are not a verizon customer, you probably called someone that is. they have collective records for every american under one warrant. the fisa court -- one good thing about the freedom act as the data collection and storage stays at phone companies now instead of going to the government. that makes me feel better but the gatekeeper to that data is the same gatekeeper, the fisa
court. i would like to see more reform there. we had a civil liberties advocate. you have to have an adversarial -- yet that two to present the truth, and the judges can decide. there is not an adversarial relationship. there was no one representing civil liberties in the fisa court. it is now called an amicus curae, who serves at the pleasure of the court as a technical advisor. i would like to see that oversight strengthened. i am very synthetic. -- a sympathetic. i am a little more cynical now than before i came to congress. host: bob in michigan, a democrat. caller: congressman i am very happy to see that you have taken the stand for civil rights and civil liberties. i am not too hot on your social programs and economic programs. i have a couple comments here
regarding this metadata and its massive failure. i live in a rural area. you know, it doesn't take a farmer and it doesn't take a math genius to figure out that if you are looking for a needle in a haystack, you don't increase the size of the haystack times 10. that is probably the major failure of this, besides its illegality. also, you know, when we are talking about bill of rights amendments being violated, we have to look in the 21st century instead of the 18th century for what this violation is. this is the 21st century equivalent of quartering soldiers. it is basically the same thing as quartering soldiers in the 21st century. guest: you know, there is the question of what is analogous to
what was the case in the 18th century. the supreme court recently ruled on cell phone searches. let's say somebody is arrested and the police search their cell phone without a warrant. this went all the way to the supreme court. the supreme court said, you know what, it is just as much a violation of your privacy, in fact more so. more can be revealed about you by searching your cell phone than by searching your house. the analogies are all there. we don't have to change the constitution. we just have to realize how the founding fathers would apply it today. speaking of haystacks, you say you don't need to be a farmer or a technologist. i'm actually both, and i'm with you. we don't need a bigger haystack. senator paul made that point in his filibuster. he said, look, i am for doing more surveillance of terrorists,
not less. but let's not surveilled all of america. because when you increase the size of the haystack, you are more likely to lose the neil. host: bonnie, a republican. welcome to the conversation. caller: it is really refreshing to hear this conversation this morning. i appreciate hearing from somebody who has the whole thing going on and understands what the american people feel like. i don't speak for all of them, but i think that the republicans are completely out of touch. i am a republican, and i think they should have done a lot more to change things when getting into office. they won, and i do not know what their strategy is. in 2014, the people sent a clear message about what they wanted the republican party to do, and i don't feel they are doing any of it. i think that rand paul has the right idea, and so do some others out there, including joe manchin. i'm not taking one party over another. i have to say, i don't trust the
republicans any more than i trust the dark rats anymore. i think they are all in the same boat together. guest: let me speak to that. i am one of 24 congressmen that did not vote for speaker boehner last winter. the first time i came to congress, i was one of nine who did not vote for the speaker we have now. i think the process is broken. it is not about ideology. i'm not saying the speaker is not conservative enough, or he is too conservative or whatnot. the process is broken here. the way it is supposed to work bills are supposed to go to committees. they have hearings, they get marked up, and they get amended in committee and it comes to the floor of the house. at that point, everybody should have an opportunity, republican and democrat, to amend the bill. that's the way it is supposed to work. what often happens in congress
is that a bill just gets written behind closed doors. it doesn't go through committee. it comes straight to the floor. they write the rules in the rules committee which is controlled by the speaker, to say that nobody can offer amendments to this.that's what happened to the freedom act. i petition to the rules committee to allow an amendment. they would not allow my amendment. so we didn't have any amendments on the freedom act. more from -- more often than not that's the case. i don't want to pick on my own party too much. speaker pelosi set the record for the most number of bills that came to the floor without allowing for amendments. our speaker broker record by bringing even more bills to the floor under a closed bill. i think the process is broken. host: when the house recessed for memorial day, you stayed in town. because you were worried about this, an extension of the patriot act, a short-term one
coming to the floor quickly and trying to be passed by unanimous consent. did you stay in town because you don't trust speaker boehner? guest: let me not phrase it that way, but i stayed in town because i had been in congress for two years and i had seen bills passed when virtually nobody is in the chamber. here's what a lot of people don't realize that all. i hope i don't upset too many people with this truth. if you turn on c-span, you can occasionally find them passing bills with virtually nobody in the chamber. i understand that it is an expeditious way to rename post offices. if you let me know you are going to rename it, i don't have to be there to vote on that post office, though i will say that i have the 13th-longest voting record in congress even though i have only been here for two years. i don't miss any votes. they will pass things without a quorum. if nobody is there to object or
make a point of order that a quorum is not present, this is just the tradition of the house. this is not new with our speaker. the tradition is to assume a quorum is present unless somebody makes a point of order. as you pointed out, i for went much of our recess. i select back a couple times to meet with constituents. i didn't want to cancel meetings, but we have the floor covered 24/7 so that if they pass something in the senate which was their goal, we say wait, if they pass something in the senate, the house is not in session until after the act expires. the only way that could be relevant is if they sneak something in while we are on recess and pass it with nobody in the chamber. i asked my leadership, do i need to be here all week? or can you give me a guarantee you won't do anything on a voice vote was nobody in the chamber? i could not get the guarantee, so i stayed here.
we prevented -- what we did, we prevented that option of the senate to send some thing back to the house and pass it was nobody in the chamber. that's part of what drove us to this outcome. senator paul was in the senate using procedural tools and asking for amendments, shutting things down when they wouldn't allow amendment votes. just in a mosh and i -- justin amash and i were in the house making sure that if they breach senator paul's objections that they could not do something in the house. we would stand up and ask for a recorded vote, and if they denied a recording but we would make a point of order that a quorum was not present, which required a rollcall at that point. obviously nobody wants to come back to washington willing they are on recess, so they would have postponed it until we were scheduled to be back. host: westport point massachusetts, steve independent. you are next. caller: morning.
a couple quick points. i agree with a lot of things you say. some things i don't agree with. i will just make some quick points. i am glad you opposed john boehner. he has a veteran' is jobs bill that has been sitting on his desk for a long time. he will not bring it to a vote. that's not very good. you mentioned rand paul, that he swayed a lot of minds with his big speech. you know, i admire the man for doing that but other people have those opinions before he did what he did. as far as raising the money from that speech, he put it on his website saying, see what i do that's what you should send me some of your money. some quick points. but you know, i tell you this -- i agree with a lot of things you said. i'm an independent, and i think that says a lot right there. thank you. guest: thank you for being an independent, by the way.
i vote independently. , there's a list, a statistical list of members of congress who vote with their party most often or least often. i am third from the bottom in terms of voting with my party the least often. there are other independents like me. we are not partisan. we have been accused of being ideologues. that may be true, right? we stand on principle, so we caught ideologues.but don't confuse that with partisanship . i tell people that a partisan reads the recommendation when deciding whether to vote and an ideologue reads the bill to decide if it fits with their principles. if you look at the house of representatives, there is an aisle in the middle, and you are either right-wing or left-wing. sometimes i'm accused of being right-wing. but i sit on the aisle.
there is no assigned seating. it looks like a first grade class without the teacher present. when we do sit down, we sit wherever we want. i am cosponsoring, sponsoring for amendments today with democrat cosponsors. two of them have democrat cosponsors and two of them will be democrat votes. it is important that you speak to your principles. but a lot of the time, you can find democrats that agree with you. i always say, could there ever be a third-party, could you be here as an independent? there's two of everything in congress. two back rooms two. where would that third-party be? you see it designed in the architecture to have a two-party system. it would be very hard to change that. it has converged on a two-party system. in britain they have coalitions.
it is hard to follow their politics, but if you want to understand american politics you have to realize that there are coalitions within the republican party and the democrat party, and sometimes you can form coalitions by taking subsets of those. that's how i worked with your previous guest, earl blumenauer. we got industrial hemp on the farm bill two years ago, and now they are growing it in kentucky on pilot programs because we worked together. host: christy in charlotte, north carolina. caller: my question -- the patriot act was not intended to collect metadata from all the americans. but it was executive order 12333 which allowed nsa to do that. will the same executive order allow the american freedom act to collect the same data, so we are really not getting anywhere?
guest: that's a great question. the president said he was disturbed by these programs when he came about, that there needed to be reform. the reality is, he could have stopped them that day. he's the executive. so he waited for the congress to do something. when we got to sunday night at midnight and the programs a sensibly were shut down, i had the same questions. are they really turning any switches, or not? she talked about executive order 12333. you can see what that executive order is, but it is classified how it is interpreted and what programs emanate from 12333. it is tough. i can't tell you whether the freedom act is going to stop the ball metadata -- stop bulk metadata collection. but i kentucky that this discussion is bigger than bulk -- i can to you this discussion is bigger than bulk
collections. there are sections like section 702 of the fisa law that allow collection of content. those are still going on. it is incidental collection extensively in the name of collecting information on terror, but they accidentally scoop up information on americans and keep it, and look into the haystack for things that are not related to terrorism. we will try to reform the 702 program as well. but you are right. the executive has a lot of authority here. the nsa is actually a branch of the military, and he is the commander-in-chief. it's important to remind folks that. host: ruthie in waarrne pennsylvania -- warren pennsylvania. caller: i think they shouldn't be allowed to collect information on people who haven't done anything. if they wanted to spy on people
who had a felony, or their families, that would be one thing. but they should have to destroy all that information. because if we can get in there and get that information, so can all our enemies. they can get better at this stuff than we are, if you take a look at the health care thing. host: i think we got your point. i apologize, a little break up there. what was she saying about destroying the information? can you talk about that? guest: first of all, she said that it snowden can get in there, who lost that was my first thought. if this guy who is not really being paid to spy, just on his own volition did this, what about the professional spies like the russians and the chinese? surely they knew a lot about these programs, because surely
they have ways of finding that out. what wasies ruthie's other point? host: that, why should the government collect it and store it? under the usa freedom act, the telephone companies will be storing it. guest: telephone companies will be storing metadata, but the content collected in 702, that will still be stored. their hard drives will still be full after the freedom act passes. i think they are going to use all those terabytes to store other things. i agree with ruthie, that it doesn't go far enough. what i have come to realize, if you can get something small, that is a big win. changing an existing program in congress is almost impossible. host: then why not support the usa freedom act? guest: when you have a debate
you need people pulling on one side and people pulling on the other. if we were not driving a hard bargain on this site, the debate would have gone more toward the senate side, which was to water down the freedom act even more. so you needed people pulling for a stronger freedom act, and people pulling for a weaker or freedom act. ultimately, what happened was the freedom act, and we considered that a success. in a town where very little happens and the process is so broken, when we get something like this to change, you can get republicans and democrats for it and the president will sign it that's kind of a big deal, even though it doesn't go far enough. host: does senator paul feel the usa freedom act as a victory for him? guest: i think he does. like i said before 20 senders changed -- senators changed their position as a result of his strategic and tactical maneuvers in the senate. and that was hard for the senators to do. when you voted for change, and
that's with the freedom act is coming even though it is not enough change, what you are doing is saying, edward snowden had a point. that really was tough for a lot of those 77 senators because i'm sure some of them went out there and called him a traitor saying he should be imprisoned. but for them to turn around and change of program because of something edward snowden did really kind of validates maybe not the process he took to expose the information, but the fact that he did expose things that were unconstitutional and/or legal. host: a couple more phone calls for you. first, i want to tell our viewers a little about you. they know you from watching you on the house floor on c-span but this is your first time talking to them on this program. here's a tweets that was sent out sunday night after senator rand paul spoke from frank sort of nbc --
guest: my background is in technology. i grew up in kentucky, in a town of 1500 people. my life dream was to go to a mighty -- to miy. i got accepted. i had never visited. i had never even been to massachusetts until the first week of class. when i got there from the small town in ohio, the first car that honked i waved at it. where i grew up, for 18 years i have been waving at cars that honked, because that is the only reason you wave -- u-haul. they were honking because i was standing in the crosswalk for too long. i started a technology company while i was a student at m.i.t.. i got some patents, invented some things, created some jobs. i moved to new hampshire, and my
company was still in massachusetts. that made an impression on me. the license plate said "live free or die," and that wasn't even the custom license plate. that was everybody's license plate. new hampshire is a lot like kentucky, the same spirit. i will do my thing, you do your thing, and let's not bother each other too much. i married my high school sweetheart, who also went to m.i.t.. she is the brains behind this. our dream was to raise her family on the farm she grew up on in kentucky. we spent 10 years on the farm, built a house that is off the grid. we are both engineers, so we knew how to do that. it is run by solar panels. i tell republicans that you can dislike the subsidies for clean energy, i don't vote for subsidies for clean energy, but you shouldn't hate solar panels. these are rocks that make electricity. you can't hate rocks. a rock that lasts forever and makes electricity is a pretty nice rock.
i just wanted to be left alone, really, in kentucky. on our farm. we have four children. the government kept growing, and is starting painting even on this little town -- it started impinging on this little town that we grew up in. iran for county judge executive, which is like being mayor. the county only has 14,000 people. it has the same number of cattle as people. i have 50 cattle and four kids, so i am breaking the average. that position in county government, i found waste, fraud, and abuse everywhere in government. my mission was to eliminate it at the local level, and that caught the attention of other counties. so when our congressman jeff davis was retiring, i thought maybe i could go to washington and find waste fraud and
abuse. this is a target-rich environment. [laughter] host: joe, you are on the air. caller: good morning. how are you doing, sir? i wanted to comment on the nsa's new mandate. this has been part of our government for the last 10-15 years. it was installed for the purpose of trying to curtail and to tear any type of -- and deter any type of foreign interference in our safety. but lately, we have taken it out of context, i think. we complain and block and fight anything towards it. but my point is, my question is it seems like a person like edward snowden is being elevated to a hero by a lot of people in our nation. looking at the condition he has
left this nation, now exposed to the general public, he has done more damage with his revealing of this information than spies have done to us over the last 50 years. you as a congressman, how can you say you are in the middle when you support the patriot act and certain aspects, when you support the american aspect -- american act in some aspects? you tell the american people -- i would like to get your point on that as a congressman. you are talking about how you support rand paul, but there has to be a medium somewhere. either we are hypocrites, or we all on the same page working for the same common purpose. guest: back to edward snowden. he keeps popping up. i never said he's a hero. i do appreciate, i think he did
a service when he at least informed congress that this was going on. because we write the laws. how can we change the laws if we don't know how they are being interpreted? i wish he could have done it in a way that did not compromise all of the other aspects of national security. and by the way i want to thank anybody that serves in the fbi or the cia or the nsa that keeps us safe. they stay up at night so we can go to sleep, so we can rest. so i do appreciate them. i think that's part of what is left out of it. i'm not saying he's a hero or not a hero. the act of leaving the country was an active self-preservation obviously. i don't admire that, but i will not judge him. i don't know what i would do in that situation. i would like to see him get a fair trial. i think that we will agree on some things and disagree, but as
long as i am transparent and i vote the way i speak back home or i speak on tv consistent and transparent, then people can say that he represents me or he doesn't represent me. i don't even agree with my wife more than 80% or 90% of the time. host: she's always right though. guest: that's because she's always right. [laughter] host: congressman, we have to leave it there. thank you for coming on and talking to
near the end of june, watch for the annual roosevelt reading festival from the residential library. in the middle of july we are live at the harlem book fair with author interviews and panel discussions. at the beginning of september we're live from the nation's capital from the national book festival. that is a few of the events this summer. >> the new congressional directory is a handy guide to the 114th congress with color
photos of every senator and house member plus bio and contact information and twitter handles. also, district maps and a look at congressional committees, the president's cabinet, federal agencies and state governors. order your copy today. it is $13.95 plus shipping and handling from the c-span store on c-span.org. >> on wednesday, former governor lincoln chafee enter the presidential race. he is the fourth candidate to announce he is seeking the democratic party nomination. his announcement includes questions from the audience. [applause]
>> good evening and thank you for coming. i am the dean of the school of policy government. this is the beginning of a speaker series that we have. tomorrow morning, former senator jim webb will be here. i don't know if he will be making significant announcements but he will be talking about important policy issues. i would like to turn this over to the director of our center for politics and foreign relations and he will introduce our distinguished speaker for this evening. >> i want to thank everybody for coming. we have a new center on politics and foreign relations and we have invited all the presidential possibilities, not candidates, possibilities. and we'll be having a series of events through the next year.
anybody interested contact us. tonight, we're going to start, launch our series. i've invited former governor of rhode island, former senator from rhode island to be our inaugural speaker. we have invited him to speak on foreign policy issues. by the number of people here, he might say something else. not quite sure. might be some kind of announcement other than foreign policy, so i'm going to get out of the way. of all the times i've covered american politics, this is a first person who's a ferier running for president, possiblily running for president
of the united states and if you don't know what a ferier is is governor chafee will tell you. welcome, governor. >> thank you, bob. puts shoes on horses. after college, i worked on the horse racetrack for seven years. great experience of my life. very valuable experience and it is a great pleasure to be here and thank you for inviting me. mixing foreign foreign policy and politics is an invitation i could not pass up. it's a pleasure to be here for the george mason university, which is named for one of the many great contributors to the best form of government on earth. as prescribed by our constitution, which george mason helped write, we will be electing a new president in 2016. i enjoy challenges and certainly, we have many facing america. today, i'm formally entering the race for democratic nomination for president. [applause]
if we as leaders show good judgment and make good decisions, we can fix much of what is ailing us. we must deliberately and carefully extra kate ourselves -- extricate ourselves from expensive wars. just think of how bert better this money could be spent. for instance, our transportation network is deteriorating and becoming dangerous. we should be increasing our investment and priority in public schools and colleges. this is is is especially important in some of our cities. where there's a gnawing sense of hopelessness, racial injustice and economic despairty. we can and choose to be better for native americans. new americans. and disadvantaged americans. let's keep pushing, get health care coverage to more of the uninsured. we can address climate change and extreme weather. while protecting american jobs.
i believe that these priorities, education, infrastructure health care, environmental stewardship and a strong middle class are american's priority. now, most are running for president because we need to be very smart in these volatile times overseas. i'd like to talk about how we found ourselves in the destructive and expensive chaos in the middle east and north africa. and then offer my views on seeking a peaceful resolution. there were 23 senators who voted against the iraq war in october of 2002. 18 of us are still alive and i'm sure every one of us has our own reasons for voting no. i'd like to share my primary three. the first reason is that the long, painful chapter of the vietnam era was finally ending. this is my generation.
and the very last thing i wanted was any return to the horrific bungling of events into which we put our brave fighting men and women. in fact, we had a precious moment in time where a lasting peace was within our grasp. too many senators forgot too quickly about the tragedy of vietnam. the second reason that i learned, the second reason i voted against iraq resolution is that i learned in the first nine months of the bush cheney administration prior to september 11th, not to trust them. as a candidate, governor bush said several things that were for the campaign only. governor governing would be a lot different.
his staple was i'm a uniter, not a divider. he said clearly that foreign policy would be humble, not arrogant and he promised to regulate carbon dioxide, a climate change pollutant. these promises were all broken early days of his administration. and sadly, the lies never stopped. this was an administration not to be trusted. my third reason was based on a similar revulsion to mendacity. many of the cheerleaders of the bush administration had been writing about change for years. they brought about it by the fining guide. -- they wrote about it by the 1992 defense planning guide. in the 1996 report to netanyahu, in the 1997 project for new american century in the 1998 letter to president clinton. a little over a month, i read an article in the guardian.
listen to this. quote, in a televised speech last week, president mubarak of egypt predicted devastating consequences consequences for the middle east if iraq is attacked. we fear a state of disorder and chaos may prevail in the region. mr. mubarak is an old fashioned kind of arab leader in a brave new post september 11th world, we doesn't quite get it. what on earth did he expect the pentagon hawgs to do? -- hawks to do? throw up their hands in display. -- dismay. gee, thanks, we never thought of that. better call the whole thing off. they're probably still splitting sides with laughter in the pentagon. but mr. mubarak and the hawks do agree on one thing. war with iraq could spell disaster for several regimes in the middle east. mr. mubarak believes that would be bad. the hawks though believe that would be good.
for the hawks, disorder and chaos sweeping through the region, would not be an unfortunate side effect of the war with iraq, but a sign that everything is going according to plan. end quote. it's bad enough that the so-called nneo cons, most of whom have never experienced the horror of war were so gung ho, but worse yet was they didn't have the guts to argue their points straight up to the american people. they wanted their war badly enough to purposely deceive us.
i said i have to vote on this war resolution in a couple of weeks. show me everything you have on weapons of mass destruction. went down to the cia in langley and after a presentation, the answer was not much. intelligence is completely inaccurate. it was no intelligent. believe me. i saw everything they had. so, it's heartbreaking that more of my colleagues failed to do their homework. and incredibly, the proponents of the war who sold us on the premise of weapons of mass destruction, are still key advisers to presidential campaigns today. without a doubt, we have work to prepare for. we have to change our thinking. we have to find a way to wage peace. let's have a rewrite of the project for new many american century. it is essentially a pop sit of
-- the opposite of everything proposed in the original. we will be honest and tell the truth. we will be a good international partner and respect international agreement. the 70th anniversary of the united nation is june 26th in a few weeks. the preamble says to unite our strength. to maintain peace and security. we can do that. unite our strength to maintain peace and security. let's reinvigorate the united nations and make the next 70 years even better. as part of our efforts to wage peace, let's be bold. some of our bravest and most patriotic americans are our professional diplomats
stationed all over the world. it isn't an easy career and they deserve the best in sport and respect. as president, i would institute a ban on ambassadorships for sale. that means no more of these posts going to big political donor donors. i want the best trained people doing this important work. and it's critical that the integrity of the office of secretary of state never be questioned. i want america to be a leader and an inspiration for civilized behavior in this new century. we will abide by the geneva conventions, which means we will not torture prisoners. our sacred constitution requires a warrant before unreasonable searches, which includes a phone record. let's enforce that and while we're at it, allow edward snowden to come home. extrajudicial assassination by drone strike are not working.
many blame them for the upheaval in yemen. for us to antagonize with these nefarious activities, they are not worth the collateral damage and toxic hatred they spread. let's stop them. for me, waging peace includes negotiating fair trade agreements. that sets standards for labor practices, environmental protections, preventing currency manipulation and protection of the trans pacific partnership has the potential to set fair guidelines for the robust commerce taking place in the pacific realm. since the break up of the soviet union, many of the former soviet republics, especially ukraine, have been caught in a tug of war. between europe and russia.
i believe stronger efforts should be made to encourage russian integration, into the family of advanced industrial nations. with the objective of reducing tensions with between russia an its neighbored. to wage peace, i would repair relations with venezuela bolivia and ecuador. let's unite with all our experience to rethink the war on drugs. obviously, eradication substitution and intervention aren't working. let's have an active, open minded approach to drug trafficking that can corrupt everything from the courts to the banks to law enforcement in our hemisphere and appropriately. the united nations is planning a special general assembly meeting next year on the subject. in this new american century let's join the many countries who have banned capitol punishment. congratulations, nebraska, for your leadership. earlier, i said let's be
bold. here's a bold and brave internationalism. let's join the rest of the world and go metric. i happen to live in canada. and they've completed the process. believe me, it's easy. it doesn't take long before 34 degrees is hot. only myanmar, liberia and the united states aren't metric and it will help our economy. in this new american century it's very important to have a ready to strong military. the eagle on our great seal holds both arrows and an olive branch. let's lead responsibly with a commitment to our unwaivering defense and our peaceful purposes. nobel peace prize martin luther king jr.
said it best. i refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermo nuclear destruction. he asked where do we go from here. chaos or community? our challenges are many and formidable. let's wage peace in this new american century. thank you for inviting me. >> i have a question, so, you said -- >> one second. we have microphones.
>> hello. so, you said earlier that you want to establish more -- we have established trade agreements and protect intellectual property rights so, my question is obviously we can work out those disagreements among other countries, but how does it affect the u.s. with products like agriculture because the u.s. heavily subsidized agricultural products and in turn, dumps it on other economies where they're trying to compete really, really hard to sell their products, one so other people in their they're so much cheaper. would this involve the u.s. not dumping its products or any other subsidized products on the countries that we have the agreements with? >> olivia i think that's the whole point is to create a -- i think that's the whole point
to create a level playing field and negotiating these free trade agreements, that's exactly the point. many of these subsidies will take congressional action -- when i was in the united states senate, something we dealt with many, many times. very controversial, some of these subsidies. for agricultural products in particular, it's a good question. >> hello. if you do become president what will your first priority be during your term? >> as i said in my statement here, of course, domestic issues are critical, it's happening in our innercities and with our middle class and the disparity of wealth. what's happening with climate change is all very, very important, of course right there at the top is what's happening overseas also, in some of these wars which are expensive and destructive.
i think we entered into unnecessarily, under false premises. we have to fix that, which then provides some opportunity and revenue to put into more beneficial ways in my view. >> thank you. >> u.s. senator. i think that -- as far as you know would you end -- >> yes, i've had a great record of supporting key issues, and to me it wasn't only a civil rights issue, but also an economic issue. and you certainly want a
tolerant society if you are going to attract the best people to stimulate your economy. my state took a while we finally got it through, i always argued not only was it fair in civil rights issue, it was going to help our economy. and the same is relevant to your question about the military, we want the best. your question about transgender, we want the best fighting men and women in our military. >> i'm sure you thought a lot about the progressive wing of the democratic inequality. what do you think it means to be progressive, do you consider yourself a progressive? and what would you do to solve the growing problem in the united states? >> that's one of the key questions of our time now,
what's happening with the struggling americans trying to get by, and the college tuitions, the income inequality. many, many americans are doing just fabulously. i think the key was, when i came into the senate, we had previous administrations going back to george h.w. bush. ought to get to surpluses. and president bush came in, all of a sudden they had these monstrous tax cuts, which favored the wealthy. it made no sense to me, i voted against every one of those bush/cheney tax cuts when they came in, we finally got the surpluses. the wealthy were doing just fine. get back into deficits and widen the disparity of wealth 37 a lot of it is in tax policy, a lot of other ways, raising the minimum wage, which i voted for time and time again, every time i was in the
senate, and governor, we raised it three times in my administration. there are different ways, certainly tax policy is one that's very important to address our disparity of wealth. making sure we keep our tuitions down, so people can afford to go to not only the local george masons of the world, but community colleges and all the public institutions. low tuitions, that's what made america great. being able to go to your local public institution of higher education, and not come out with enormous debt. >> thank you. >> let me go to a different part of the room if i could. >> i found intervention quite interesting. what are your thoughts of using military to prevent again side and crimes against humanity. >> every place is different how
you intervene is going to depend on the location. when i was in the senate we had many librarians in rhode island. we had the largest liberian population in the area. and to a little bit of information, they're able to stop that long brutal horrendous civil war in the area. it depends on the location, and how we're going to intervene. right now after a loss of credibility, no weapons of mass destruction in airaq. i think it's difficult for the united states to intervene because of that tremendous loss of credibility that we have in the region. sir?
>> over the past couple months american allies in the middle east such as saudi arabia and israel have expressed hesitation, apprehension, even hostility toward american policies in the region, with this idea of waging peace. what role do you see american allies. what role do you see them playing. >> another key question that we face right now. how do we fix this. they gave us their chaos everything's going to according to plan about and my fear, as i said, that these same people that advocated for this, are now advising other presidential campaigns, including the main democratic candidate. and so to your question, it's going to take international cooperation, whether as you
mentioned saudi arabia israel, iran, russia, everybody in the region, pakistan, the united states, europeans and -- that's my proposal. reinvigorate the united nations and see what we can come out of those discussions. >> certainly have chaos in the nation right now. and across north africa. libya, it's happening in libya. >> the way the nation is approaching the war on drugs isn't working. what do you believe is the best course of action to approaching? >> i don't to be honest, i want to listen to those people in the neighborhood. and as i said, the united nations is going to have next year a special general assembly on the issue, that's what should be happening. let's combine our collective thoughts. what has worked and what
hasn't. many of the countries are banning that in the spring they don't want it any more. it's a substitution, the common sense of, you can make more money doing one thing, it's going to be hard to substitute for something you're not. those have been the key of our approach to the drug trafficking. so i think get us all together. uruguay is doing some revolutionary things with their laws regarding this trafficking. but without a doubt, what i said, the corruption gets into the court undermines everything that we want to happen anything good we want to happen in the region.
>> how would you help the working poor, those who are truly suffering, persons with mental illness, how would you decrease the huge amount of people who are in prison and being every year more and more and more imprisoned in the united states. >> helping disadvantaged americans the population you're talking about, i would like to find a way to pay for those beneficial social programs. how are we going to pay for good educational programs? how are we going to pay for that safety net. what i'm proposing here is how to pay for it. let's get out of these wars and redirect those funds and revenues back to growing the middle class, and giving the disadvantaged americans new
americans, native americans on the reservations, a better life. >> i'm glad you brought this up. you mentioned you went through a relationship for native americans and others. what is your approach? >> for new americans a path to citizenship is the first thing we want to accomplish. for the 11 million or so that are living in the shadows. get a path to citizenship. i was one of the original co sponsors in the bill including john mccain and ted kennedy. there were only nine of us that originally sponsored it. a bipartisan group, by the way. that's the first thing, native americans, deep, deep social
issues that we have to address and it always takes resources. and a caring and commitment. i believe we as americans should do that. >> hello, governor. many nations and experts across the globe have set the standard to be below two degrees sendy grade. what would you do to propose they get their fair share. >> the first way to address changes is in power plants. it's the biggest way we can address climate change. coming out of our electricity generating power plants. when i was in the senate. we had a bill to do that, and as i mentioned, president bush had promised to designate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. he promised in campaign speech. i'll tell a quick story.
he made the former governor of new jersey his epa administrator and governor whitman, would then start to go around the country on sunday talk shows and the like, talk about how we're going to regulate carbon dioxide, and i was at a republican -- back when i was a republican breakfast, and vice president cheney attended. about a month into the administration, governor whitman had been going around, and the senators were all over the republican senators were all over the vice president. >> what is christie talking about carbon dioxide? he finally stood up and said look, i'm going to come out with my new energy policy, and we're not going to regulate carbon dioxide. i just about fell off my chair. all the other senators started shouting, cheering.
wait a second, didn't you promise? in the campaign, governor whitman taking you on your word? that is a big reason why it changes. to answer your question, how we address climate change. major laws right now. >> you work toward moving from chaos to community. do you have any plans for more racial integration in america, and in particular, to tackle the problems that have been going on for 100 years? >> yes, to think i quoted dr. martin luther king in 1964. all the work the nonviolent marches did. all the benefits that came out of that and we're still struggling with this issue.
we have to refocus what's happened in baltimore, ferguson, north charleston helps us to refocus on this issue. my view, the short term fixes don't work. the zero tolerance things don't work. we see that, it's going to be long term approach, my view is education. investment and education in these innercities. a lot of it has to do with different opportunities. let's mix in the opportunity sies. big effort in getting our youngsters to stay through. career in technical schools can do that. good new initiative that's occurring. the hopelessness and disenfranchisement. the brutality, the police that occurs, a few of them as they struggle with these issues.
>> recently there was a controversy over hillary clinton's e-mail scandal or server, how do you feel about this, and what are your thoughts and transparency? >> i think our diplomatic core right now, because of what happened with the lies on weapons of mass destruction and how other countries naturally, why should they trust us? we weren't honest with them. got into this war under false pretense pretenses. and so our state department has to be above all controversy, and it's regrettable to me what's happening now. with e-mails, with the foundation that affects decision making, coming out of state, we just can't have that we have to repair credibility, it starts with the democratic core. >> hello.
>> we need to just get back the respect and admiration of the international community. we still have a lot of it. >> we squandered a lot also. >> what specifically would some of those examples be. things that could be done, would that be reconsidering russia's international banking system? >> give me specifics. well, after i left the senate, and i worked at the brown watson institute for international studies, while i was there, also served on a board that advised ukraine on good government issues. i've been there maybe a dozen times to kiev and every time i went there, i had this feeling about this tug of war, to me
it doesn't make sense. the berlin wall has come down. >> these other countries aren't in this tug of war going on. how do we do that? don't make mistakes. i think we made some mistakes with russia. one time, we had the possibility of a very peaceful world. maybe i could just take a second if i could, it helps answer this question. when i was in the senate, the prime minister of italy came to address us. this is what the prime minister said. in 2001 so this is before september 11th, in the early days of the senate government. the final dinner became a
dinner among friends. >> at one point that evening he said, at one point that evening, i sat back slightly from the table almost an external observer in order to enjoy the cordial discussion among the leaders of the largest industrial countries in the world. pearl harbor and hiroshima were but a distant memory. prime minister blair was joking with chancellor schroeder and the president of the russian federation, vladimir putin was also talking with president bush. the tragedy of the second world war and cold war which lasted for so many years was forgotten. i felt great pleasure inside, i thought the world had in fact changed and how different and
peaceful was the world we were handing to our children. an age of lasting peace beckoned. i'm sitting in my chair listening to him say that. that's exactly how i felt. >> you get bush and schroeder and blair. he includes putin. >> we had a chance. the wrong label on the restart button. just have more repair work to do go back and try to get back to what the prime minister of italy talked about there, we can do it, we had it in our hand one time. an age of lasting peace for our children, what could be better than that. >> earlier you mentioned that switching to the metric system was beneficial.
does that switch require changes -- education, how would you explain that? >> i think just a couple things here, a symbolic -- to the mistakes we made over the years. we're going to do something different here in the united states. and then, of course, for the economy. and scientists are all working in metric, because they have to deal internationally. it's just very hard. for many exporters and businesses have to deal with ways of measuring. and so economically, we'll help
pay for signs. how can you talk about changing signs and the costs that come with it. the economic benefit will pay. how will canada do it? if there wasn't an economic benefit? >> just to kind of elaborate on that switching to the metric system, that's billions of dollars the expense of the american economy. and our current scientists are already using the metric system because they're scientists and they have to use that just for asimulation in terms of the scientific community. is it necessarily worth it to put a strenuous economic burden
on the economy, to switch over to the metric system and, you know, would that be worth it? >> similar question. and i'm not saying we have to do it tomorrow, but i think it should be something we should aspire to in this new american century we're talking about, would we -- we reach out to the rest of the world, we're not arrogant and unilateral as some would propose we be, and it's always america's way or the highway. it's symbolic, i don't think canada would have done it if the cost was that high. it's not that hard. i hear you, though. it's a cost involved. i would argue the economic benefits would outweigh it. and the symbolic benefits. >> should we holster the diplomatic core? how would you suggest -- the blaring of the foreign and
civil services. and also the obstinency in the human rights federation? >> you got into some good specifics there. former secretary gates said our policy is too militarized that's what i'm saying also. we need to rethink the department of state and how we act around the world and become good listeners. these people are so skill eded these people in these embassies. they're so knowledgeable what's happening on the ground in these countries and they're
extremely general. if you work your whole career, someone who has to give a bunch of millions of dollars comes in -- the ambassador of the country you're waiting. >> you spoke a lot on foreign policy, and right now, china is one of the key players in the global economy. and u.s./china relations are more important than ever. what's your view on china and its economic growth, it's human rights record, and what do you envision for the future of the u.s./china relations? >> kind of like the america that -- the industrial revolution, it just -- growing so fast, and so we just have to understand that, the speed, what's happening in that country. and i just think understanding what's happening in their
country and -- i think we're doing a lot of the right things, of course, what's happening in the south china sea and some of the islands there. we keep working, some of the currency manipulation issues we have. and how we can have mutually beneficial programs is the key. to help deadlocking nations, we had a devastating earthquake. how the economy grow, and if so, how would you, if you were elected, how would you show that in order to help the nations. an enormous economy we have here in our great technology that we have in this country so we have that
responsibility. ultimately, i'm a big advocate of internationalism. helping with earthquakes and tsunami, and disasters around the world, we certainly by virtue of our strength economically, have a major role to play and we have, and we have over the years. >> mr. governor, we have over 11 million undocumented immigrants here in america who struggle every day to find work who face social discrimination and they're path. what will you try to pass so the immigrants can find proper
life here in america. >> i was just looking at it the other day. still relevant. it had all the pa rammers that help it get past. i don't know why we didn't get it past back then, it's not only a path to citizenship border security, if it was -- some funding to help learn english, all the pieces that are good, and to thwart some of
the criticisms of helping our citizens to get back into paying taxes and our way of living here. >> it's your record, which i have a 30 year record at the state level i was the governor at the federal level i was the senator, so it's your record, i opened my record to scrutiny and then it's your character. i open my trustworthiness over that 30 years, into fulfilling what i say on the campaign trail to what i do when i'm elected. and your vision. hopefully i've outlined a little bit of my vision, where america fits in the world, and how we can then use that better to help us here domestically. your record, that's what it should be judged on. how have you performed and your character have you been ethical, and what's your
vision? >> elections are about choices and that's the way it should be. i'm happy to join the choices out there . >> here you go. >> no broken legs, we can't have that. >> act of bravery. i do this at a university a policy school. i get all these detailed questions. >> thank you, appreciate it. >> great speech. >> good luck on the trail. >> what's your name? >> bailey. >> the center button. >> i'm actually from nepal. can still do more.
>> are you saying it's not unethical? >> the main point i do my homework. based on their record, the nine months before september 11th. and then i just believe that the state department diplomatic core at this time in history, has to be above criticism. >> you talk about the ethics, you mean she's unethical or she caused the question to be raised? >> i said what i meant, you judge people by their actions these are actions people should be judged by. >> when you say there were people coming over with no pros prosecution -- >> yes, i want to make sure i say hi to the students that came out. >> thank you. >> if you have any other questions, after we're done with the live shots and things we'll get back to you. >> students?
thank you for answering my question, by the way. >> we went to a rally. >> thank you. >> i just graduated. >> congress grat u laces. >> if young people like it, that's a good thing. >> thank you very much. >> what is your path -- >> before you jump away. you ever want to help -- what is your path to victory, and do
he have, all those natural questions. and that's the answer. it's very early in the process. >> what's the first benchmark you're looking at. what's the first big hurdle you need to get over. >> iowa in february. >> when does your campaign start? >> iowa is late january. >> when do you start though? >> now. >> i've been to new hampshire six, seven times already. >> how is the rollout compared to what you listed?
>> very good questions. i'm passionate about foreign policy issues. it was too good to pass up. >> it was interesting the focus? >> you'll notice it's one of ten, that's all. >> and the main thing, the way we conduct ourselves and that belligerent unilateral approach for yesteryear, we should have a new approach. >> you didn't name hillary clinton, you referred to her as the main democratic candidate, why is that? >> the time will come. the time will come, i'm sure. >> nice to meet you. >> this is a live shot. that somebody else has to go first first.
can you do it here? >> you want to get them out of the way? >> what are your -- you have a quick question? >> do you think you'll have the resources? as far as you know, you haven't done a lot of fund-raising. it's not credible. >> my answer to all those questions, it's early. and all the natural progression. >> do you intend to fundraise? >> have a good candidate. >> do you plan on fund-raising? >> of course. >> did you think about organization fund-raising before you decided to run? >> of course. >> councilman for governor. united states senator.
>> the time will come. >> when will the time come? >> iowa and new hampshire are both retail states. that's when i enjoy. i've been up to new hampshire already. that's what i enjoy and they expect and want. not about how much money you raise, two states. >> it is important, i understand that. in those two states, you start off by being people and having good issues. what are the things you mention in your remarks. one of the interesting things about this, you've changed your party over time. how do you explain it. >> how do you explain it to people that are trying to unscramble -- >> you can look at my 30 year record, i haven't changed on my convictions. environment, my high standards of clean air and clean
water. civil liberties i talked about here. fiscal responsibility for all those bush tax cuts, i didn't think they were fiscally responsible. property taxes no one likes to pay, fear of foreign payments, these convictions i've had never changed. >> even when you were a republican, you were progressive? >> absolutely. call myself a liberal republican back then. my record stands up to scrutiny on that. >> how do you think that's going to sell in the early primary states? >> i have to make that argument. look at my record. >> you talked about russia china. what would be your plan for isis or the affiliated groups. al qaeda? is it possible with them. you have to think it's always possible to start from that premise and i consider myself a
student of real politics. you deal with the cards you're dealt. you play the cards you're dealt. sometimes you don't have who you want, where you want them. but you just have to deal with that. and in this age of nuclear weapons, and the fact that pakistan has nuclear weapons of 260 million people it's very very important. we look at our future generations. >> what are my confessions to isis. what might that look like? >> isis is emerging. it's a phenomenon that's ever changing. i think everyone's surprised what's happening in palmeiro right now. i think we're coming to grips with understanding exactly what these people are and what they
want. that was significant, i would say. >> one more question? >> i'm sorry. are we expecting a different kind of campaign? are you going to be doing bbq vans, barnstorming. >> it has to be different. by necessity. >> have a good candidate. energy, the issues, and i trust in viola and new hampshire. to sift through the money. it's getting -- becoming almost a negative. >> do you think the bush administration lied -- >> i think when he wrote his book, talked about humility. >> good question.
do you think the bush administration -- >> do you think there's any possibility -- would you be open to negotiating with them? >> i'm just learning -- >> it's early. >> i have to go to a live shot ok? >> debbie wouldn't tell me -- >> where do you live currently? >> rhode island. >> where? >> newark, rhode island. i thought you said you lived in canada? >> i lived in canada in the '70s. >> are you ok to wait? >> thanks, bob. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] captioning performed by the
order. we are not here today to focus on the specific parameters, just for edif iication last night we met in a classified setting with three of our leaders of our labs from around the country and the secretary of energy. it was a very technically focused briefing. as a matter of fact, we had tremendous attendance and people were most interested in many of the technical details. the rest of the month will have similar hearings so people are prepared as of june 30 if an agreement is reached to really be able to assess that and not be starting from a cold start. we appreciate you being here to help us understand some of the implications of a deal. this is intended to highlight some of the concerns that the administration is so concerned about reaching an agreement
with iran some of the regional alliances that we have are not being really looked at. some of our u.s. interests. so against the backdrop of turmoil the administration is negotiating a nuclear agreement with the arch rifle of many of our closest allies. instead of reassuring that the united states remain a friend some would say that the administration has implemented a string of incoherent and self-defeating policies. i know you all will discuss those back and forth. the administration has threatened to revoke support for israel at the u.n. while accommodating a nation that is dedicated to the destruction of israel. they have rebuked the emirates for striking isis and libya while asking them to strike isis and syria. they have withheld e military equipment from egypt, bahrain, and qatar, while asking them to join in the fight against isis.
they have criticized saub for acting in yemen while providing the saudis military assistance for the same operations. there is a lot of cross currents here that are difficult for some of us to string together. in iraq, iraqi leaders are increasingly turning to iranian backed militias in the fight against isis. and perhaps most tragically in syria thousands continue to die at the hands of assad and his iranian backers while the administration implements a strategy consisting of the ineffective use of military force to be used only against isis itself. and i think you may have seen a communique that came from one of the leaders of the syrian opposition where they were asked to sign a statement saying they would only -- they're being trained and equipped by the united states but they can only use that potential against isis and not against assad. i know they sent out a communication saying that they
were going to stop the training and not participate. i understand sometimes that's a negotiating point but certainly somewhat alarming. as iran deepens its influence, the perspective is that the united states is assad's air force in syria and iran's air force in iraq. i will say i was in iraq recently and it really did feel like while i support what we are doing with the personnel we have there it really felt like what we were doing is helping create a better country for iran and iraq. even though, again i support what is happening there it feels very much that way with their infilttration into the parliament and their tremendous efforts on the ground. as we begin to look at how to evaluate a prospective nuclear agreement we cannot ignore the
leadership has left a vacuum that will continue to be filled by violence. without engagement to counter iranian aggression and to support our partners the need for american involvement will continue to grow as conditions deteriorate. in your testimony today i hope you will touch on what i see are some of the puzzling claims by the administration. one of those claims is the apparent view of the administration that iran will become a stabilizing force in the region. president obama said in a recent interview that opening up iran's economy through sanctions relief in many ways makes it harder for them to engage in behaviors that are contrary to international norms. i know that again many of our allies are concerned that in accessing $150 billion potentially over time and having a growing economy will have just the opposite effect and cause them to be even more strident in the region. do you accept the view that the
world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, a nation that has directly contributed to the deaths of thousands of americans would somehow reform their behavior after being enriched and empowered for pursuing an illegal nuclear program? and finally i hope you will touch on what the administration portrays as a choice between war and a deal. i think that's a false choice. and again i look forward to your testimony today. i want to turn it over now to our distinguished ranking member and appreciate his cooperation and every effort. and i look forward to your comments. >> thank you so much for convening this hearing. this is an important month and i think we have already started with the briefing last night and today's hearing in the right way to keep not only our committee but the united states congress vur much informed and involved in what's happening in the middle east. as i explained last night after
i left the committee briefing i went to the french embassy. mr. indic was there along with about 50 other people very much engaged in middle east policies. the theme of the evening was a discussion about the middle east. there were many people expressed grave concerns about what is happening in the middle east for good reason. just about every country in the middle east is at war and there is a lack of stability in that region that affects u.s. interests. there is no question about it. but what i found last night is they were very short on recommendations. on how we should proceed. and let me just point out, the united states is deeply involved in the middle east. there is no question about that. we are deeply involved with our military, we're deeply involved with our diplomacy, and we are deeply involved in building coalitions to advance goals in the middle east which i think are universal.
and that is respect for human rights and all ethnic communities, territorial integrity. these are important goals that we are trying to achieve in the middle east. they are not easy to achieve but they cannot be attained without the u.s. involvement. and the united states is clearly involved. throughout that discussion last night iran was mentioned. probably the most -- the country mentioned the most was iran. and we know there are many, many problems in regards to iranian behavior. we know that iran is one of the major violators of the basic rights of its own citizens. we know that it is a sponsor of terrorism. we know they have influence in so many countries in a negative way -- in yemen and the saudis of course have expressed their grave concerns about the iranian influence in yemen. what they are doing in syria and iraq and compromising our ability to go after isil. there's so many areas that we
are concerned about iran. but what we have concentrated on at this particular month is whether we can achieve a diplomatic solution to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. and i just really want to underscore your leadership and how incredibly important that was in order to get the iranian nuclear review act of 2015 signed by the president and enacted into law. it is now the law. and this committee played a critical role in achieving that accomplishment. and it did several things. but i want to underscore one. it showed unity. unity here in our government that we are focused on iran not on the fights in congress. and if set up the right way to review potential agreement reached between the p 5 plus 1 in iran and then that's exactly what we should have done and i really applaud your leadership and the work of every member of
the senate foreign relations committee. which brings us to what do we do this month? and as the chairman pointed out last night we had i think a very helpful discussion in a closed setting in regards to the technical aspects of what an agreement needs to include. and today we have two experts who can help us understand the consequences of an agreement with iran as to u.s. involvement in the middle east. which is not in isolation. there are many other areas that are involved and what will an agreement mean for the u.s. in the middle east? i understand we are not going to talk about the specifics of an agreement today but i think we all agree that the diplomatic course would be the best with iran complying with an agreement that would provide ample time before any potential breakout that we could discover if they are violating the terms of the agreement and take appropriate action because any agreement not based upon trust
it's based upon terms of an agreement to make sure that we can keep iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. one last point if i might. if we're successful in reaching a diplomatic agreement we have removed one threat that is a nuclear iran. that is an important goal for us to achieve. but then what does iran do next? do they take a course of joining the community of nations in peaceful activities and nonproliferation? we certainly hope that would be the case but we don't have any illusions that that would automatically occur. or do they act with the increased economic empowerment to have more negative impact in yemen and syria and iraq and spreading terrorism? we need to be prepared in how the united states can best act to make sure that the iranian activities are channeled toward