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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 7, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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sarah sewall: the secretary signed off on the tier ranking relative to malaysia, because of his belief malaysia has taken the rights that to change. those include a variety of factors, many of which i have enumerated. other elements are deeply concerning. which i have enumerated. the secretary says the rankings indicate there is still enormous improvement. it is not a golden seal of approval. sen. menendez: i appreciate all of that but malaysia got what they wanted, to tier two, which happens to allow them to continue negotiations and have preferential access into the united states market, assuming they actually conclude successfully being a part of the tpp, which, under my amendment, they would not have qualified,
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they could have been negotiated with. here is what the groups on the ground tell us is actually happening in malaysia. in a press release, "any upgrade of this juncture would be a hollow victory. the lives of untold individuals bear testimony that malaysia has yet to earn any upgrade. the un's special repertoire in trafficking in june of this year in referring to the same time covered by the 2015 tip report said the rate of prosecution of trafficking cases also remains very low, which perpetuates the impunity of traffickers and obstructs access to justice. david abramowitz of the alliance against slavery and trafficking said recent press reports recommend kerry take a principled stand -- by concluding the government of malaysia is making significant efforts, it is simply not
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sustainable. i could go on of the universe that has a different view. i have questions about cuba and i hope there will be a second round. sen. corker: i have no objection to you continuing. i want to move to india. think everyone in the audience pretty well understands why malaysia was upgraded. i am not sure i understand what competing equities were on india. i think we have established what happened with malaysia. i think there will be further investigations that will occur, but i do hope we get to india. it is hard to understand how
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india could possibly be a tier two entity, i hope the secretary will explain to us what competing equities were there. if you want to go on with cuba for a moment. >> secretary kerry announced you have a primary supervisor responsibility for it. according to an article published monday, the tip office disagreed with the diplomatic bureau on 17 rankings. representing the worst ratio in the tipping report. is that accurate? sarah sewall: we do not comment on internal regulations. -- deliberations. the reporting done the state department was thorough and fact-based.
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sen. menendez: it seems to me that it at least confidentially should be transmitted so that if in fact the article is true, that out of 17 disputes that the tip office supposedly said his countries should not be elevated, that they lost 14 times, the worst ratio if it is true, that is something congress should know. sarah sewall: the department does not comment on internal deliberations. sen. menendez: when did you begin to engage with cuba since we did not formally establish relationships until after march 31, 2015, the end of the reporting period? sarah sewall: let me get that information.
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cuba sent two to participate in a leadership program in june of 2015. this is the first time any government of cuban officials participated in the program and participants learned about the u.s. perspectives on the problem and observed how we site trafficking in person. sen. menendez: so that was an informative process. sarah sewall: over the course of the last two years, the department has begun sharing information with cuba, asking cuba for information regarding its anti-tip measures. the significance of the engagement cannot be overstated, which is to say we previously had no information from cuba at all on the trafficking situation in cuba and now we receive information from the government. that has enabled us to provide more concrete -- sen. menendez: the providing of information is sufficient -- sarah sewall: no. sen. menendez: let me ask you
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this, did the ustr of the white house communicate to urge a specific outcome in any of these rankings? sarah sewall: not to my knowledge. sen. menendez: let me ask you this. serious concerns about politics having influenced the decision to upgrade cuba. there has been no progress on issues of force labor. we all know the castro regime is complicit in nearly all cases. the cuban government prescription thousands of doctors, including combating ebola in africa. in addition to the fact the regime grabs 70% of the wages paid by the world health organization to ebola medical mission participants, there are
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more troubling considerations that did not make the tip report. for example, the madrid-based news platform reported cuban doctors were forced to list the cuban government and not their families on provided life insurance policies. the two of the 2015 tip report states that cuba is a sourced country for adults and children. many children in cuba are second or third generation and in some cases as young as four years old. in a country with virtually no reporting data on human trafficking, the willingness to allow international human rights organizations or ngo's to conduct investigations, how does the state department measure progress? how can you help us understand how the administration quantifies any advantages, given
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the restrictions provided by cuba today? sarah sewall: you are right. we remain concerned about labor trafficking in cuba. where we have seen change in cuba is on the question of sex trafficking. the condition of sex traffickers sexe conviction traffickers have been significant in the context of cuba's history and the region. the provision of services to sex trafficking victims is something positive that we have seen on behalf of the cuban government. they have provided training to recognize it. sen. menendez: given the fact the castro regime takes 70% of wages to doctors, life insurance policies over to the government and in many cases, passports are
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taken away so they cannot flee, did the state department consult with the world health organization about those incidents? would you get that back formally for the committee? mr. chairman, i will not go on. i will close by saying, i took to heart what secretary kerry said when he released the report. he said, we have to be true to the principle that although money may be used for many things, we must never ever allow a price tag to be attached to the heart and soul and freedom of a fellow human being. i do not know if we did not pervert the lofty goal by a report that clearly seems to me has been politicized in a way that is not justifiable and cannot be justified. i look forward to continuing to be engaged with the chairman in this matter. >> thank you.
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i deeply appreciate your sincerity on the issue here as a champion for human rights. i just want to say to the secretary, i'm putting you on notice. any destruction of e-mails or letters from 11:19 a.m. on could have significant consequences. i know we will discuss how we go forward and trying to understand what has really occurred here -- i think it is an understatement to say the testimony does not cause us to have a lot of faith in what is occurring. i would say again, the administration is not serious
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about carrying out issues of this type. i think certainly with other issues before us, certainly, it creates concerns. think we understand what happened with malaysia. talk to me a little bit, if you can, in india, it is an amazing thing. as i understand it, the government of india seized passports of trafficking victims and families who were issued t visas, reserved for trafficking victims by the u.s.. in other words, we're trying to get trafficking victims here to safety.
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we understand the government of india seized their passports. tonight international travel to others. can you tell me what the internal rubs would have been in the department? in other words, i think if we fully understand with all asia, that would have caused the department to not need any death be anymore pursuant on india? >> thank you, mr. chairman. india's tier two ranking indicates it does not fully comply with minimum standards but is making efforts to do so. the significance of those efforts, relative to training of prosecutors and judges, and launching upon the order of the
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supreme court, to trace the whereabouts of lost and abandoned children, including potential trafficking victims, we remain concerned about the t visa issue. it was in february, july of 2014 the government of india began confiscating the passports of nationals that had received, as you noted rightly, these were provided by the u.s. government to trafficking victim family members. these were the key derivative visas. i court has ruled in favor of petitioner's that had had passports confiscated. they cited a violation of the rights guaranteed under the constitution. the government has not appealed the case. the actual disposition of the case is affected by the policy and remains pending at the close of the reporting time. this is a concern and one we repeatedly raised with the indian government.
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i will not ask any more questions. it is clear that until we get into internal documents, we will never know what truly is at hand here. i gave a speech on the floor, which i rarely do. nothing happens on the floor that matters most of the time. speech-wise. i went down, i know there is a lot of discussion right now about the presidential races and anger the american people have at the u.s. government. some of the anomalies taking place, people were making comments about certain candidates and why they're getting traction on both sides of the aisle. it was a time when we passed the highway bill, when, in essence, we engaged in generational theft, where we basically took 10 years of spending and three
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years of payout and created all of these gimmicks because let's face it, congress does not have the courage to deal with the issue head-on, i said, this was exhibit a as to why americans are so upset with the government. to anyone watching this, they would have to say this is like exhibit a plus. that is why americans should be upset with government. it is a reflection on us. what we're hearing today is a reflection on us. i am very disappointed in the testimony. i do not want to take it out on the person who has been thrust in to having to read these comments. i hope we will take action here. this is obviously not something that reflects the great nation
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that we are. i do not think anyone listening to this could think america is really serious, at least at the state department level, regarding trafficking and persons. i know we have a new person that has been nominated that i do think cares deeply about the issue and potentially could bring about some balance here, i think we could see that the political side, and otherwise, the expedient things for our country, especially involving money, money, those things sort of won out in this process over the human side. but i am disappointed and i do hope, i will not say anymore for regretting going over the top. i will not do that. but i do think we could all see we have created something here that is not working properly. this process to me has been extremely inappropriate, especially this year. i look forward to working with
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you and others on this committee to try to figure out a way to rectify something that has gone amok. and pulling back some balance here, so we ensure human beings lives at least come into some kind of balance relative to other equities, if you will, that our government has. i want to thank the witness for the willingness to come here. i will not ask any more questions. i realize i will get bureaucratic answers that do not really get to the essence of what the problem is. >> if i might, the tip report is a valuable report. the rankings have incredible significance, not just in the spotlights of shaming nations to do better, and that is an important factor, because it is
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not what you want to be on a watchlist or tier three. it also has financial implications, implications on our federal partnerships. and it has ramifications on private companies and their participation economically. it is a very important tool. countries hire lobbyists to try to influence this country. and things such as tip reports. it is one of the reasons why i am particularly concerned about the 2015 report. let me sort of underscore the point. whether politics played a role or not in the determinations, the perception is that it did. it will be a much more open
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season to try to influence tier rankings through the political process. that is not good. if the report is accurate, and i do not know if it is not and i will not inquire further of our witness on this, but if the objective keepers were overruled a record number of times by those more politically engaged in other issues with countries, that also undermines the confidence this report will be done in the future based upon the objective standards in the statute, which has been why the which has been why this report has been so valuable. point that io the believe we need to revisit the statute. some ofid to take away the discretion at the higher
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levels of the state department. making sure there is a more objective analysis on how the reports are done. transparency on the interaction so we have a more accountable system for how those decisions are made. i regret that. not repaired to reach a conclusion other than to say there is a perception out there that the standards and statute played a role. that is not healthy for the future of the report. my interest is to protect the integrity of the report. it is one of the great horrors of current times. anything we can do to combat trafficking, we need to be aggressive in that area.
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menendez, you want to say anything in closing? menendez: i want to thank you for letting us have this venue. the e-mails and phone conversations, we may reach a conclusion that the process was full of integrity. today, not my thinking but i will await all that information coming to us. i want to agree with the ranking member. i don't know exactly what actions we need to take a read i know what ever we take, we will do so in a way that is bipartisan and seeks to have integrity in this program. certainly this meeting raises major concerns about whether this is something that has run
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amok. sometimes around here, let's face it. one companies and countries realize they can affect the process to benefit them financially, let's face it. loving occurs. butjust in congress departments. we need to make sure we understand this fully. i hope voluntarily all the information relative to this will be forthcoming. i look forward to following up with the secretary in one form or another. the record will remain open until monday afternoon for people to ask questions. that, would you like to say anything else in closing? >> i think americans can be proud of the report. it has made a difference for
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millions of people around the world and will continue to. i is an american and pleased to be part of it. i'm glad we have made a difference in so many lives. senator corker the meeting is adjourned.
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this weekend on the c-span networks, politics, books, and american history.
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next, politico's playbook
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breakfast. he spoke with mike allen, politico's chief white house correspondent on current policy, politics and news. this is 45 minutes. [applause] >> thank you very much for coming in. secretary mcdonald: it is a pleasure to be here. mike: we have va employees across country. maybe you should say hi. secretary mcdonald: they do a great job taking care of our veterans and there is no higher calling. a number of them are veterans caring for veterans, or as i like to say, heroes caring for heroes.
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mike: you were at the top of the corporate world and people at the v.a. hq knew things would be different from the first day. a little disruptive. talk about the conversation in the elevator. right when you got the job. secretary mcdonald: at the time i was nominated, i was going back and forth to capitol hill with senators, making sure they knew what i wanted to accomplish. i was in the elevator on the which my opposite. i saw a gentleman there and i said, how's it going? i like to talk to people in the elevator. you learn what is going on. he said, i'm breathing. i said, well, i am kicking ass, and you better be, too.
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i just felt that we were not providing good service to veterans and all of us need to be kicking ass to provide better service. mike: you were in the job for a year and we appreciate you marking it with us. one of your innovations has been my va, bringing the customer experience mindset to serving veterans. how is it going? secretary mcdonald: we are in the beginning. as we speak, our leadership team is off-site working with noel. he is a dear friend at the university of michigan. he was jack welch's mentor. we are working with him. it is the long-term transformation we need at the a. strategies. number one, put the veterans first. we are learning about customer service, the very best customer service organizations in the country. people like disney, starbucks, others.
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number two, we have to do a better job taking care of the employee. there is not a good customer service organization in the world that does not care for its employees. you have no hope of caring for the veteran if you do not care for the employee. we have not done a good job at that. number three, our internal support services. our language is in cobol, a language that i wrote back in 1973. it looks like green screen ms dos. we need a culture of continuous improvement. we are training so they can lead the change in the systems that they work on and last but not least, number five, we are creating strategic partnerships. there is tremendous goodwill out there to care for veterans and
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we're trying to embrace that. we are in the midst of our summer of service. we started with 75,000 volunteers. we want to get up to 100,000 volunteers. there's another ethical reason for this as well, which is by law, we are not allowed to care for 15% of veterans who got less than honorable discharges. chuck hagel, ash carter are looking at all of those discharges to see if they should be reevaluated. in the meantime, we need those external partners because we want those veterans cared for. mike: if you are watching us and live stream land, tweet us your questions. we will ask your questions. what was the very best tip that starbucks gave you about customer experience? secretary mcdonald: howard schultz is a dear friend. mike: is he going to run for president?
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secretary mcdonald: i don't know. i'm not a political person. my political party is veterans. all i do is think about caring for veterans. howard, in his book "onward," he writes about his experience of when he came back to be ceo any when he walked into one of his stores and the smell of the place was burned cheese rather than coffee. appetite has a lot to do with scent. they introduced a breakfast sandwich. the cheese would melt in the oven and the smell would pervade the store. rather than try to convince him to buy febreeze, i think what that instance demonstrates is the importance of the ubiquity
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of experience. what we have got to do is make sure every veteran we touch feels the warm embrace and the ubiquity of it. whether it is the music we play, the way we meet, greet them at the door, whether it is the starbucks we have in our facilities where they like to meet with their buddies, men or women. it's that 360 degree ubiquity. mike: what did you learn from disney? secretary mcdonald: i think with disney, the importance of the cast member. they do a great job taking care of their employees. they call them cast members. and the importance of the knowledge as you leave the disney area, you are on stage. this is actually replicated in our new orlando medical center. we have all of our exam rooms on the periphery and our patient care teams meet in the middle.
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we have a unique system we used to care for veterans, patient care teams, so it's not just the primary care doctor, but the other people who work with the primary care doctor and they are all inside this area, meeting before they go out on stage to be with the patient. mike: the v.a. leader re-embracing the customer. you have met internal resistance. secretary mcdonald: it is natural, mike, when an organization is in crisis, the natural response is to turn inward. you stop caring for your employees. you forget about the customer. the leader's job is to go into a situation like that and be
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disruptive, but be disruptive by going external. i have been to 190 v.a. sites. i meet with the leadership, the union leadership, the stakeholders. because i'm going to know what is going on and use that input in the transformation plans. mike: you have a problem. in the best case scenario, obama will be gone in a year and a half. how that affect this organization? secretary mcdonald: people say that. i do not know i will be gone. i not acting like i am going to be gone. when i came in and we put together strategies. one was rebuild trust, improved
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metrics, but the third one was to do the right thing for the long-term. my v.a. is all about that. i bring private sector expertise in. i always marry them with someone in the v.a., so if we go, there will be someone who understood -- understands. mike: i asked one of my colleagues who is a veteran what should i ask the secretary -- secretary mcdonald: any name? [laughter] i like names. that's why i give out my cell phone number. i like to talk to veterans.
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mike: he pulled a reverse lindsey graham and gives his real cell phone number on c-span. secretary mcdonald: yeah, sure. 513-809-8454. mike: innovative young reporters are dialing that -- secretary mcdonald: i look forward to talking to them. i did that for a couple reasons. i did that deliberately say to the organization to let them know that i was available. originally they were about i need help. now they are "you changed my life." we were led by a very capable lady named debbie. this is not the sustainable way we want to care for people.
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we have hired an officer, tom allen, who has over two decades of experience at mcdonald's. and he is helping us. we have set up an external advisory board. one of them is fred wayne who wrote a book called "if disney ran your hospital." he is helping us as well. mike: going back to your days at west point, always let your soldiers eat before you do. what is the government analog to that? secretary mcdonald: i think the government analog is to put the needs of your organization above yourself. i will not ask anyone in v.a. to do anything i would not do
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myself and i will work as hard as they do, if not harder, to demonstrate to them they are more important than me. similarly, i am going to fight for them. if someone does something wrong, we will take disciplinary action. on the other hand, we're not going to get involved in the politics of the situation. we will keep focused on veterans and we will fight for our employees. mike: what about congress? secretary mcdonald: what about congress? [laughter] congress has a role to play as well. we work together to identify what the needs of the veterans are. i do not have much tolerance for using veterans as political pawns. mike: do some members of congress do that? secretary mcdonald: that is for you to judge. i'm about caring for veterans. mike: my colleague said to ask you about the immensity of it all.
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the v.a. is the biggest health care system that cannot get its head around obamacare insurance. secretary mcdonald: the v.a. would be a fortune 10 company. the procter & gamble company when i was the ceo had 120,000 employees and sales of about 85 billion dollars. it is a large organization. as i studied it, this country -- first of all, veterans cannot do without the v.a.. american medicine cannot do without the v.a. and i would argue the american public cannot do without the v.a. members of congress have said to me, why don't you blow up the v.a. and give out vouchers? it is a strong three legged stool.
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leg one is research. three nobel prizes. who did the first liver transplant? the v.a.. who invented the first implantable pacemaker? the v.a.. who invented the nicotine patch? v.a.. who knows about post-traumatic stress? i could go on. i won't. we train 70% of the doctors in this country. who will train them? we provide the internships. we are the largest employer of nurses in the country. this work and training is very important to the american medical system. the third leg is, of course, the clinical work we do for our veterans and omar bradley set this system up in 1946, 1947 and aligned the v.a. with the best medical schools in the country. our veterans love the care that they get at the v.a. we are making it more accessible. mike: let's talk about the patient's.
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what is the average age and income? secretary mcdonald: you raise an excellent point. in 2014, if i asked you, what do you think caused the crisis at v.a. in 2014, most americans would say was probably the fact we have been fighting wars in afghanistan and iraq from within -- for more than a decade. my business analysis says that is not the case, but it's instructive. the year i graduated from west point in 1975, we had 2 million veterans over the age of 65. 2017, we will have 10 million veterans over the age of 65. that's a five times increase from 1975. so, what actually occurred is the aging of the veteran population, which put tremendous stress on the system. this is happening in u.s. medicine. but it's happening slowly and is less visible.
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my point -- excuse me -- let's meet finish with this thought. we have to build the capability today we will need 20, 30 years from now with the afghanistan and iraq veterans who age. if we do not build that capability today, we will not have it. mike: what is one stat about your current demographics? secretary mcdonald: believe it or not, we are still serving about 100 descendants of the spanish-american war. my point is, it does not go away. the war does not end. v.a. does not become inessential. the way you look at v.a., you have got to think about 20 or 30 years hence. we have a sacred obligation to be veterans who fought the wars in this country. that sacred obligation is for their life. the army likes to say, a soldier for life. that is the way we think about it. mike: your staff gave me some stats and facts about how the
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v.a. has improved in the last year. and everyone in this room knows this is one of the most troubled departments in government. there were a lot of problems. which peaked before your time -- secretary mcdonald: march 2013. mike: the day that you walk in there was 269,000. have you get to zero? secretary mcdonald: we continue to follow the same strategies. we need to build on top. digitize the process. we got rid of five tons of paper. everything is digitized. we are doing great work with our veteran service organizations. when we get the claim, it is ready to be processed. the other things we have done in terms of digitizing the process is creating the computer system that allows us to do it in an automated way. that allows us to move those
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claims around the country depending on which of our centers have capability. the other thing we have done, we have asked our people to work mandatory overtime and this is the part i don't like. we have had employees working mandatory overtime to process these claims. the average time weight now is less than the 125 day standard. we are trying to get out of that. the problem is, we have more people in the budget. most recently in the choice act, we had more people in the budget for accelerating these claims and when congressman to pass the choice act, they stripped these people out. we're back with the 2016 budget asking or more people for the claim portion. they are having people work from so the two hours they used to commute, they can do claims instead.
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mike: questions from twitter. #playbookbreakfast. is the secretary aware that 35,000 combat veterans are incorrectly listed because of a means test? secretary mcdonald: if the individual would give me their name, i would be happy to figure it out. usually you get those claims and accusations when someone has an issue. customer service is about one-on-one care. mike: so, e-mail or tweet -- secretary mcdonald: or you have my phone number. [laughter] mike: what role does telehealth play in increasing access for vets. secretary mcdonald: yeah, telehealth is huge. we are the leader in telehealth in the country, perhaps in the world.
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telehealth is basically using broadband and digital technology to deliver health care as much as possible. for example, i was in one of our facilities and the nurse i was with, nurse practitioner, had a stethoscope that was connected with the wi-fi and the internet. she was taking my pulse, listening to my heart, and that was being read across the country. that kind of thing is possible. it is something we are doing already. another aspect of that is mental health, doing mental health appointments in telehealth, providing the confidentiality and security a lot of veterans like. so, we like to use it for mental health as well. mike: just a minute, we will bring you into the conversation if you have questions.
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this is a question from my colleague. secretary mcdonald, you expressed confusion about the blue button initiative. do think the v.a. needs to change the name or get other steps to get patient engagement and improve their care? secretary mcdonald: i was not confused. i was talking to a group of people working on her electronic andcle records, open-source open system. we want crowd sourced innovation. on blue button is a device our website where you can click there and get your entire medical record. was, sometimes we pick names that are confusing to consumers. if i went to a veteran and said, what is blue button, they would have no idea.
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i websites have unusual names. ebenifits.-- look at everything from the lens of the customer. let's make our decisions that way. make things easier. >> heather has a question for you. let's try to get a microphone. while we are doing that, you went on 60 minutes and they asked you, is the worst behind you? you, what is the worst problem that remains at the v.a.? youetary mcdonald: as approach these targets we set, and homelessness, the claims , itlog, gain access to care
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is such a large system, you always have one left. how do you get every single person. it is the starfish story. the old man throwing the starfish into the sea. he may not be able to clean up it matterseach, but to each throw fish he throws in the water. i need to clean up the beach. if there is one homeless veteran, that is one too many. >> that will be on your watch? >> yes. mike: hello, heather. >> thank you for your extraordinary leadership. [indiscernible]
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scheduling was a pillar we talked about. curious as to -- secretary mcdonald: scheduling is a really big issue. we have taken a two track approach. one track is to put in fixes to our current system knowing that is not the solution. my first trip to phoenix, i sat down at the computer screen and worked the scheduling system
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myself. it really is a green screen. like we have to make things simpler for veterans, we have to make things simpler for our employees. putting fixes into the system is the fastest approach. we are going for an off the shelf system you are going to implement as quickly as possible. we are going to start putting this in place. it will take some time to do it. the third thing we have to do is make sure our people are trained. this is why i am eager to have a simplified system. while there have been things that have gone wrong and we are holding people accountable for those things, for example, there was a person who manipulated data in georgia who was indicted two weeks ago. as times goes on, these measures of accountability will come out. i believe we have to make things simpler. there are veterans today complaining about our execution of the choice act. there are seven different ways of getting it outside.
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these laws get layered on top of each other. that is incredibly complex for the employee to understand. we need to simplify that and congress has asked me and we are suggesting we simplify that one system. what i'm looking for is we have to make that scheduling system simpler. we have a nap now -- an app now and we just have to make it easier. mike: when you went on meet the press in february, chuck todd asked you about how many people have been held accountable of the problems and he said none hundred people had been fired since i became secretary and two weeks later, few people lost jobs with va in scandal. has there been enough accountability? secretary mcdonald: the number
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now is over 1400. peoples that have been terminated. part of this is a layered approach. there is disciplinary action the fbi takes, well over 100 people be investigated now for scheduling issues. as those investigations come out , the fbi investigation takes priority. then you will hear about the things happening but for all of our critics, accountability and organization is more than firing people. what we have to do is make sure there is a sustainable system in place so people are rewarded when they do well, held accountable when they don't do well. we are providing feedback. i sat down with the chairman of our house committee and took them through the relative
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performance readings over 2014 of the the a -- va top employees. what i showed him was number one, nobody in veterans health administration is getting a performance bonus for 2014. nobody is rated outstanding. how can you be rated outstanding if your secretary has to resign? we have the best distribution and government of those ratings from top to bottom and i would argue the best distribution compared to private actor. -- private sector. accountability is a lot more than just firing people and accountability is also the fact that when i came in, i found the doctors salaries were 20% below the market so we raised the salaries. accountability has to be more holistic than firing people.
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mike: my colleague has a question. a lot of people still dissatisfied. i got a 10 page document. what facility are you still most concerned about? secretary mcdonald: you have to understand the political nature of the concerned veterans of america. i met with pete many times. i know people that fund his organization. we are not in favor of advertising the va. one of my biggest concerns, i met with sylvia burwell on this recently, is how do we inform the doctors we send veterans to in the private sector to always ask the question "have you served in the military?" if i'm sending a veteran to the private sector and that dr. does not know the military culture, that could be dangerous for the veteran.
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i have to make sure those people are informed. the idea of advertising the va -- privatizing the va. it we didn't train 70% of the doctors in the country, who would? that is not in their proposal. you have to look at this rationally from the standpoint of the veteran and those veterans who have rest of their lives for our country and what we owed them. mike: let me ask you, what is the most legitimate for many criticism of the va? secretary mcdonald: i think the criticism is of me, not the va. i take responsibility. i think the criticism is i'm not
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moving fast enough. but there is one veteran without a roof over their head tonight, it is my fault. if there is one better without the disability claim handled today, it is my fault. the first day, you have four answers to any situations. yes sir, no sir, i don't understand. i tried that answer a lot. but i was a slow learner. the fourth is no excuse, sir. anytime a veteran is not getting the care they need, it is my problem. mike: my colleague has a question. >> i wanted to ask you -- [inaudible]
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secretary mcdonald: one of the things i noticed when i joined the va is i did not think we were embracing the goodwill of the american people enough, including contractors. i found that one of my first trips was to boston. i went to harvard medical school . i also went to boston to market our facilities. there, i visited an organization called home base. home base is a wonderful organization. i was told by those who run it and buy a dear friend who owns the new york mets that we were seeing major league baseball's contribution to veterans as
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competition. rather than as complementary. i wanted to make sure we saw it as complementary. we have established a strategy. it is all about strategic partnerships. we hired a guy from the private sector. he was the mayor of flint, michigan at the age of 28. he has run several companies. he has come in to help us set up these partnerships. his name is matthew collier. anybody who wants to work with the va, we want you to. we know we can speed up the process if we have all of the help everyone can give. there is also the ethical issue i mentioned. home base can treat the 15% of veterans with this honorable discharges. we cannot.
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we believe in strategic partnerships. mike: we have a question here. thank you. please just say who you are. >> i work for the congresswoman. i will -- what are the conversation is focused on health care, which is understandable given the immediate crisis. homelessness i know is it can turn of yours. you were in los angeles at the opening of the blue butterfly village. what other steps are you taking to alleviate that concern, that crisis? secretary mcdonald: we have been working very hard on the woman aiding veteran homelessness. eliminating -- eliminating veteran homelessness.
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one of the things i discovered when i came in the job as there were a lot of unfinished business. we have a lawsuit going on in los angeles for overclocked or years that paralyzed us. -- four four years. i had to solve that lawsuit. working with partners, people i knew, we created an agreement. we are all working together as a community. we in the federal government cannot do it by ourselves. partnership is important and we need to get all levels of government working together. we need to the local mayors, governors to help us. every time i go to the city, i meet with the mayors, the governors, and we make sure we have a plan.
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one of the biggest issues we face is getting the landlords to rent for the voucher amount. what we do is the mayor and i, we have a mayors challenge. we get all of the landlords and a room and talk to them about how this is good business to rent to that event -- to veterans. we surround the veteran with care, whether it is mental health care, medical care, addiction. we surround them with peace workers so the veteran becomes a good reintegration in the community. hello, leo. >> beside you are not a political person and you mentioned your outreach efforts to congress.
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do you feel you underestimated the political aspects of this job? we still see plenty of anger and conflict between va and congress in recent months. do you feel you need to recalibrate that relationship? do you feel there is warroad to grow? -- more room to grow? secretary mcdonald: there is unanimity around veterans issues. arguably, we work congress did recently to give me the financial bucks ability to -- flexibility to use, money set aside for committee care was a good thing. i have said many times that we would government runs is not like a business. i have over 17 line items of object -- budget. in this case, we needed $3 billion to pay for care in the
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community that was a budget up to a video dollars -- that was a budget up to $10 billion. we have given the veterans choice. they all have choice. i don't have choice in moving the money so i have to keep going back to congress every time, asking permission. it gives them another opportunity to talk about mismanagement. >> that aspect, that transfer was a four-month fight with some nasty accusations against you. secretary mcdonald: i will take the accusations as long as we get the job done. i am not a politician, i am not
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running for anything most of the purpose is to care for veterans. i think what you will see as over time, congress will work with me to run this more like a business. this was what they asked for. they said run like a business and i'm trying to do that but i need laws passed. mike: the resistance to the destruction and the business oriented approach has also come from the hill. secretary mcdonald: i probably get five letters a day from members of congress about you should do this, that. they are all about giving additional benefits. no member has written me about taking away a benefit. they pass the loss to give benefits, the appropriate the money to pay for those. when you have a mismatch there, guess it gets caught in the middle and blamed?
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i have to work with members of congress and there is tremendous unanimity. we have to work together against the common objective. mike: when you explain that, they say what? secretary mcdonald: most of them agree. if you watch my hearing, there are pretty good goes as explanations of what is going on. the financial flexibility, generally in the appropriations committee, members have agreed. we will see. mike: when you are at procter & gamble, you emphasized value-based leadership. i favorite is you say companies must do well to do good and must do good to do well. explain.
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secretary mcdonald: playing on the private sector in particular, the purpose of the proctor and gamble company is to improve lies. the employees are inspired by that purpose. -- improve lives. you cannot create products that improve lives and trash the environment at the same time. one of the things i was most proud of is the clinton global initiative a few years ago, i made the commitment for procter & gamble but by 2020, we would save one life an hour by providing clean drinking water. we invented a chemistry that allows us to clinton leaders of water in developing countries in -- clean 10 liters of water in developing countries in 20 minutes. they walk 10 kilometers a day to get water and firewood. it is a huge issue. over 2000 children die a day from drinking unclean water.
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if you have a purpose for the company of improving lives, you have to make that purpose pervasive in the country. it has to be a part of your philanthropy and what you do commercially. mike: it is clear your christian faith is important to you. secretary mcdonald: it is. i am a devout christian. their geology is -- spirituality is part of my life. i was leading a large, global company. it is an important part of what we do in the va. we have chaplains. the spiritual nurturing of our patients is as important as the physical. they go hand in hand.
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i don't think it is a surprise when you serve in the military, you have a chaplain that goes into battle with you. in my case, the chaplains we had were dear friends and once who helped care for me spiritually and helped make your spiritually for the men with me. mike: you are from cincinnati. when you're lost meal be ice cream, chile? secretary mcdonald: can i have all of the above? mike: what is your favorite food? secretary mcdonald: graters ice cream is incredibly delicious. it is chocolate raspberry. the chocolate chips are the size of candy bars.
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it is a great country. i like the philanthropy of la rosa's family. i think that our 11 strikeouts in the game by the reds pitcher, everyone gets free pizza. you cannot imagine what happens in the stadium. i worry a fan will go out and greece the bat -- grease the bat. mike: you want to a real deal fantasy camp. secretary mcdonald: i turned 60 years old and former birthday dinner, my family played a joke and they gave me a letter from the reds saying they had drafted for fantasy camp. my son turned 30 years old. i never got to play with him so we went together. we played two games a day with professional uniforms, umpires,
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on special fields. by coaches were two great guys. the only problem was my son is very active on social media and while i love playing with him, i really didn't appreciate him putting on his facebook page that he hated that our hotel room smelled like bengay every night. mike: thank you for watching. to my for serving -- thank you for serving, veterans. we think the bank of america for making this conversation possible. and mr. secretary, thank you.
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>> later today a briefing on medicaid and housing policy. following new york city mayor bill deblazz yo's recent initiative on mental health and homelessness.
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next, remarks prom president obama on the 509sdz anniversary of the voting rights act signed into law on august 6, 1965. the president talked about the declipe of voting trends in the united states and why certain people may still be discouraged
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from taking part in the process. this is 20 minutes. broke down legal barriers at the state level and the local level, keeping african americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote. all of us have a great debt to not just john lewis but the thousands, many of them unnamed, who were courageous enough to walk up and try to register time and time again. that were threatened because of their efforts to register. share croppers. and maids. and ordinary folks.
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had it not been for them, awakening the conscience of the nation, the president could not have must dangered the political support that was required to ultimately get this law passed. we have the opportunity to honor some of the sacrifices made earlier this year. along with 100 members of congress, democratic, republican members it was heartening to see the bipartisan attendance. it signature fid that in the abstract at least everybody today believes in the right to vote. conceptually. everybody is in favor of the right to vote. you will not hear anybody
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the law notion that can discriminate against persons because of their color or their faith or their ethnicity when it comes to going to cast a ballot. that is huge progress. a shift in how we think about our democracy. everybody in theory is supposed to be included. but part of the reason we are here today, part of the reason it is so important for us to focus attention on this right is because in practice we have till got problems. on the ground there are still too many ways in which people
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are discouraged from voting. some of the protections that had been enshrined in the voting rights act itself have been weakened. as the consequence of court decisions and interpretations of the law. state legislatures have instituted procedures and practices that although on the surface may appear neutral have the effect of discouraging people from voting. may have a disproportional effect on certain kinds of olks voting. those practices,
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those trends, those tendencies are allowed to continue the ered, then over time hard won battles of 50 years ago erode. and our democracy erhodes. that means that the decisions that are made in the corridors of power all across this country begin to reflect the interests of the few instead of the interests of the many. serious business to attend to here. one order of business is for an updated to pass
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version of the voting rights act that would correct some of the problems that have arisen. in selma when i was that we're glad you're here, members of congress. , we'll be even more glad we'll be in an even more sell bra tri mood if you go back to washington and reaffirm america's commitment to what was fought for here at this bridge. now, so far that hasn't happened. john lewis is ready to do it. there is legislation pending. there are people of good will
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on both sides of the ilse who are prepared to move it. but it keeps on slipping as a priority. part of the reason we are here is to reaffirm to members of congress it has to be a priority. if this isn't working, then nothing is working. e've got to get it done. at the state levels we've got some outstanding members of state legislatures, california, florida, who have been championing mechanisms to get more people voting. early voting. on line registration. but sadly too many states are making it harder for folks to vote. instituting photo id laws that on the surface sound good if you poll the average american
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they'll say yeah. you should have to show your photo id. but in practice it turns out that for seniors or for poorer folks that's not always easy to do. and by the way it doesn't actually address a real problem, because there are almost no instances of people going to vote in somebody else's name. it turns out it's just not a common drime. -- crime. lks might think about shop lifting. attorney general you know more about the crime statistics than i do. but i am certain because we've actually looked at the data on this that almost nobody wakes up saying i'm going to go vote in somebody else's name.
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it doesn't happen. so the only reason to pass this law, despite the reasonableness of how it sounds, is to make it harder for thokes to vote. you've got state legislatures hat are rolling back early voting. i don't understand why anybody would be opposed to spreading out voting so that people can arrange to vote depending on their schedule. because it's hard. if you are working mid night shift and have to get your kid to school, have to travel by bus, you're a single mom it may be difficult for you to be able to vote precisely in that window that's provided. and there's no evidence that as
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a consequence of early voting that has increased fraud. that people somehow have become less committed to democracy. they don't feel that same sense of civic pride as they do if there is just one day of voting. there is no evidence of that. the reason to roll back early voting is because you want to make it harder for folks to vote. so in theory everybody is in favor of the right to vote. in practice, we have state legislatures that are deliberately trying to make it harder for people to vote. and some of them, frankly, are ot that shy about saying so. think about that.
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hink about that. w can you rationalize making it harder for people to vote? how can you rationalize penalizing people because they don't have a lot of money not being able to vote? that is contrary to what we are. that is not what we believe. that is no what john lewis ought for. in the united states of america we should have no patience and no tolerance for laws that aim at disenfranchising our fellow citizens. so we've got to keep pushing. at the federal level, we need a new voting rights act passed. t the state and local level,
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we've got to fight back against efforts to make it harder to vote and we've got to embrace those legislature that is are prepared to make it easier to vote. but there's one last aspect of job as that is the citizens in actually exercising the franchise. this isn't always a popular thing to say in front of progressive groups. everybody's fired up. nd rightly so. but the reason that the voting rights in the last midterm election was 30-something percent is not attributable to photo i.d. law. the fact of the matter is that
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far more people disenfranchise themselves than any law does by not participating. by not getting involved. so, yes, we have to be vigilant in pushing back against laws that seek to disenfranchise people. yes, we should be fighting back against laws, for example, that say ex felons no matter how long they've been loifing a correct life, no matter how well they've paid their deuce that they can never vote again in that state. there are all kinds of battles we have to fight. but we miss the forest for the trees if we don't also recognize that huge chunks of us, citizens, just give away our power. we would rather complain than do something about it.
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we won't vote and then we will talk about the terrible political process that isn't doing anything. and i like barber shop talk. like grumbling and -- complaining. can't always do it in public. but what i know is it doesn't get anything accomplished. so the groups that are here today one of the things that we're looking forward to is how do we mobilize how do we get people focused not only on laws but also on our habits? our habits of citizenship. how do we instill in people a sense of why this is so critically important? that is why we are proclaiming september 22nd national voter
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registration date. eptember 22nd. and we're going to have groups spanning out all across the country and on september 22nd we're going to try to get everybody to redgeter to vote. we probably won't get everybody. but we're going to try. i want to thank so many of you who are involved in this including the naacp which started their journey to justice march from selma to washington earlier this week. because you are shining a light on this issue and i want to make sure that we are fully mobilized across the country on september 22nd. the bottom line is everybody here has a part to play. members of congress need to do the right thing. state legislatures and governors, they need to do the
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right thing. businesses make it easier for your employees to vote. o the right thing. universities, other civic register ns, help people to vote. seize all, citizens, the power that you have. make this democracy work. do not succomb to cynicism. heroic things happen when people get involved. heroic things happen when a any official ut title joins up with a bunch of
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other young and not so young people of every color and every persuasion and are willing to march across a bridge. that is the power that is in all of us. we've got to take advantage of it. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. thank you.
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>> if detroit had taken the money it borrowed in 2005 and 2006 when the stock market went down and if it had just invested in an index fund, the
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stock market is now trading at 18,000 almost three times what it was. they not only would have tripled their money. they could have paid the pensions in full and then get back in the business of 13th check giving practice a 13th check a t the end of the year in addition to the 12 they are due. so it could have fixed itself if there had been some sort of sober management just like any organization the united states as well if you had some strong leadership and some focused leadership you can resolve these problems but it takes a lot of effort. this is an hour.
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>> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. it is my pleasure this afternoon to introduce you to the next panel. iraq, syria, worse now than ever before. now, according to your programs you will read that this panel military e isil's successes in iraq and syria and even more complicated mess in the other parts of syria leading to the overall question, which is, whether the admittedly brutal stability of the shaum regime in iraq and the prerevolutionary assad regime in syria, were more in
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line with american interests. is this the best outcome now? that is, a status quo, ant bell um? i would add to that my personal comment, even if we thought so, so what? but i will leave that to the panel. erik covers they'rism and national security matters for the "new york times." he is the coauthor of a terrific book i bought an extra copy so i can show you counter strike, the untold story of america's secret campaign against al qaeda. eric has spent two decades now covering military and national security affairs for the times and in that capacity has made dozens of trips to iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, and africa. eric, it's all yours. >> thank you very much, brian. n want to thank the aspe
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security forum for allowing me to host and moderate a panel. we saved the most uplifting news for this mow afternoon, iraq and syria. anyway, the panelists up here, you have the full bios in your program but just briefly. john allen retired marine general who since last september the president's special envoy on global coalition to counter isil. he is also the former allied commander in afghanistan. also served in with distinction in iraq. on his left is perhaps one of the u.s. government's top sanctions buster cops. this is how he was once described. probably knows more about countering terrorist finance than many assistant secretary of treasury daniel glazer. n the far left is ambassador ali who is the current ambassador iraq's ambassador to
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washington. he has formally served as iraq's ambassador to japan. and he is a marathon runner. ran last year's boston and new york marathon. so i guess look at this kind of topic you need to have that kind of duration doing this. i'm going to start. there are a lot of breaking news on this topic thai in a hearing in washington senator john mccain declared that isis is winning. secretary of defense secretary ash carter was in iraq today and one of his spokesmen said it will be at least one to eight weeks before the iraqi forces outside of ramadi who are currently doing shaping operations will be able to conduct a full offensive. in many ways i think it's a very difficult situation clearly on the iraq side and in syria there's breaking news at this moment, however, that the turkish government after months of negotiations have -- including with one of the
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panelists here, has agreed to allow u.s. war planes and drones to fly from at least one of their air bases for targets, seeming to be a major shift on the part of turkey in the fight against isis. so i wanted to turn to you since you've recently returned from a trip to turkey and have visited more than 30 capitals trying to enlist support in this coalition. where are we on this fight? are things as gloomy as senator mccain said today in washington or are there a few bright spots showing up? thanks first, clark, again for your patience and inviting me to a third year in a row. it's great to be back here. eric, it's great to be with you here today. we just got back from turkey. it was our tenth contact with them in a whole series of conversations that have been
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increasingly productive and increasingly fruitful. we are old friends with turkey. we've been allies for a very long time. we're both faced with real crises here with regard to i dass.o use the word we are both faced with a real crice. and turkey has for a very long time dealt with about a 1.5 to 2 million person refugee problem. they deserve a lot of credit for that. so we have seen the evolution of the conversation with turkey take a very important turn of late and i'll leave to washington specific commentary on what the pieces of that are. but it is encouraging and it is important. >> how soon could american war planes begin flying much shorter missions? >> great question. i will leave that to washington to comment on. but if it all works out, i
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think we will all be pleased. to your specific point. a year ago today we were facing the real possibility that iraq was going to come apart. we were seeing that public execution of thousands literally about 1700 or so uezeeties hristians, going under the knife. it was a grim moment. about the 7th or 8th of september the new prime minister was dedicated who was dramatically different than maliki. and shortly after that the president with secretary kerry and a number of other of our close traditional partners called for the establishment of a coalition. that coalition we want to work. was formed relatively quickly. at 62 partners today. it went to work quickly. we operate along five efforts of effort. military, countering finance,
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countering the flow of foreign fighters, countering messaging and ultimately humanitarian assistance and stabilization support. and the coalition is deeply engaged in all of those lines. and the effort of course is intended to achieve our strategic outcome. since the coalition was formed since the effort with respect to das has come into greater focus, we have seen i think some significant progress. the push against dash in a number of areas in iraq has in fact produced outcomes that we were hoping for. tick reet has now been cleared. it's not an insignificant city. about 12,000 iraqi internally displaced persons have gone home in a government administered program that the coalition is definitely supporting in that regard. beji will be cleared soon. we're pressing in ramadi.
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fallujaha is encircled. we have a number of training bases to bring the iraq security forces back on line. and the air campaign has been very effective to this point as well. as well, the kurds in both iraq and the kurds in syria have been successful. if you were to look at a map at where dash was this time let's say september of last year and where they are today, the surface area and the amount of the population that is under their direct control has shrunk significantly. and it is going to continue to shrink. most of the turkish border is back in the hands of what i would call friendlies. there is a portion that remains to be taken but it will be taken. and as we continue to close those aspects of the turkish border then we can have effect. so i am always reluctant to take issue with senator mccain in public. and i can understand how there would be some who feel that
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dash's momentum remains unchecked. i do believe that dash's momentum has been checked strategically operationly and by and large tactically. but it isn't just a military campaign. there is a counter finance campaign, a counter messaging campaign, foreign fighters. and humanitarian piece. and they all have confluence. and it's important you have that larger strategic perspective. >> talk a little bit about the islamic state and its finances. this is a group when it's swept in to northern iraq reports that it took over banks tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. it continues to sell oil on the black market. it seems to be even with the constraints that have been put on over the last ten months or so thriving as an economic entity. >> thanks for the question. i should also start as general allen did by thanking the aspeb institute for inviting me to this and also to underscore
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what an honor it is to be here on this panel with these colleagues, in particular general allen. it's been an honor to serve under his leadership in this fight. what i thought i would do is just run down really quickly what isil's sources of revenue are, what we think their financial strength is and then talk very, very briefly about our strategy, counter that. as i've been listening to the panelists and previously over the course of the day a lot of people have been coming back to stress that isil really has presented us with a new set of challenges, a unique and new set of challenges. that certainly is the case with the financial aspects of fighting against isil. and i don't think we've ever seen a terrorist organization that had the ability to command to draw from its own internal territory of these kind of resources. there have been terrorist organizations in the past currently that do control
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territory, hamas, gaza, al-shabab and somalia but it's truly unprecedented the resources that isil can derive just from the territory that they control. i think the most important source of revenue for isil right now is the money that was in the bank vaults that was there when isil took control of the territory. in particular, the bank vaults of the central bank of iraq and mosul. and the two big state owned banks of mosul. but there are 90 some odd private banks that had branches in isil controlled territory. when you add that up the numbers come somewhere between 500 million and maybe up to close to $1 billion. that's just in the bank vaults to start with. now, the good news is that is not renewable. so once they burn through that money that is not money that will be available to them any more but it is money that they have at their dispostal.
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moving on from there. there are renewable sources of wealth they have. the most important one would be extorsion or taxation. the normal way a government extracts wealth from a territory. and isil certainly does that to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. and they will continue to have access to those resources. the territory that isil controls is highly liquid. it -- cash continues to be infused into that territory both in terms of payment of salaries of government employees and just general commerce that continues to go on with respect to those territories. and isil stands to profit from taxing all the sources of revenue to the tunes of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. and then the third most important source of revenue is the sale of oil. and again, there's been a lot of number thrown out. i think all the numbers are soft. but i can say that we believe in a one-month period earlier this year isil made about $40
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million in one month off of the sale of oil. so if you want to extrapolate that out you get to about $500 million in the course of a year. this is all internally generated. once you start looking at the other sources of wealth it's much less significant. the more classical. kidnapping for ransom. foreign donations from the gulf. these are sources but they are tiny. a drop in the bucket comparesed to what they could general rate intnamly. that's had to form our strategy to combat this because the traditional tools that we have to target a group like al qaeda aren't as relevant in this case. so we have a four-part strategy. i could run through it extremely quickly. first, it's to try to cut them off from the sources of income that we can. of course to the extent that they're deriving wealth from foreign donors we're going to go after that. we've applied sanctions in a certain number of instances in
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that case. and of course we work very closely with the turks with the kurdish authorities on border security and on customs issues to make sure that smuggling is reduced as much as it can. and i do think both the kurds and turks have made progress. but the most important moment of our strategy is the second element and that is isolating isil territory from the financial systems. these are what we want to use when we apply pressure. we're working extremely closely with the iraqi government. i just got back from iraq a couple of weeks ago i'm going back next week to work with the iraqi authorities to make sure banks in iraq can't be used by isil. the banks that have branches, make sure those are cut off. to work with them to make sure that exchange houses and money emitters are not available to isil. because if they're going to
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have this money we could make that money much less valuable to them if they can't use it, if they can't spend it. if it can only circulate in their own territory. that's the most important of our strategy right now. and that then of course also includes working with other countries in the region. uae, jordan, lebanon, turkey. to work with all them and then bring it out to the coalition that general allen leads. and we work with countries from around the world on these issues. the third part of the strategy s understanding their internal financial architecture. identifying who the key finance yirs are within the isil structure and targeting them. both the military targeting and also targeting them with the treasury tools and we're actively engaged in that as well. finally the fourth is to try to identify their external networks. as the campaign wages on, they're going to need to access
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to spare parts. they're going to need access to procurement. they're going to need access to a variety of international networks that are going to allow them to bring in the materials that they need. and that's where we really -- that gets back to a more classical authorities. and we will have the ability to try to disrupt that. so that's the strategy. we're still in early days. isil has plenty of money. maybe i should have just said one quick word about their expenses. if you look at the high end of what the estimates on foreign fighters are within isil controlled territory 30,000 is the high end. you look at the high end of how much money it's been reported they make. so let's say $1,000 per month per fighter. that gets you 306 million a year in salaries. that presumably be their major expense. so i rattled down to the amount of money they're bringing in.
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they can cover that now. the challenge that we face is to try to bring -- it would be great to bankrupt isil but i think the challenge that we have in our goal is to disrupt their financing and to bring their -- to bring their revenue down to make it harder for them to meet their costs. and i think that's something we can do. that's an achieveable goal. >> what are the other challenges obviously is something that general allen alluded to the political line of effort. within iraq there's been concerns about whether the iraqi army can muster enough troops to mount the kind of counter offensive in places like ramadi and fallujaha. then there's the fundamental question will the sunni tribes in the west work with a government they don't trust in bagged dad? how do you see this reconciling itself where the point the president says there's going to be very limited american involvement here. they're not sending in tens of thousands of troops again. this is an iraqi fight. yet the iraqis don't seem to be
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able to get along together on this one. >> thank you for the time and thanks for allowing me to participate here. also like to thank general allen and his deputy who has done a tremendous job. i think he has done a lot more air miles than anybody else. i have asked him to be general but passed on to me but hasn't taken place. i think the challenges we face in relation to isis is not just the security aspect of it, as eneral allen alluded to. he has done an outreach to all, whether political entities in iraq and so on. i don't think anybody's putting enough on the outreach. he has done a tremendous job there. he has more what we call legacy challenges in relation to cohesion and social contracts
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between the communities. that will take some time. but the focus which we're all focused on is the defeat of isis. isis can be a good common project for us to enhance our social cohesion plus focus on the commonalities of that threat. t's a threat to our ethnicity, isis' strategy is one ot attrition. here we significantly need the natural cooperation in what we might call dry wall of their attrition, for example, in relation to finance, the oil, international commodity. somebody is purchasing that oil. we need to support that. jihaddist. re we have [inaudible]
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here, our neighbors haven't really played their part and we put them at fault at that. we need to play a better role and to vuss, have a sense of urgency in stopping the flow of jihaddists. in relation to twitter and others. here we need the u.s. to play a significant role to help us with social media control. so my point is this is an international dimension. we need what i must call a sense of urgency internationally and here the challenge general allen faces is not small. and he needs tremendous support from all. the ideology aspect of it, that syria coming in and some of our gulf neighbors. so it's not -- so i think we have what we might call a bracket of fault line in that sense. we need to get our politics act together and we're working hard on that. i don't think the issue of the wealth. we have had a tremendous price
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against isis. we continue. -- ve not asked [inaudible]
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to push our neighbors to act and be responsible to the challenge. they mentally do get the challenge but physically change their procedures, controlling their borders, putting a stop to the season and so on hasn't taken place. here we have a question mark against the sense of urgency of others. >> you commanded in anbar. you know the dynamics on the ground with sunni tribes and all. is it possible for the iraqis to pull this off in terms of pulling together an iraqi army that can go into these sunni cities not relying on these shia militias that are reporting those will stay outside? secondly, going back to the turkey issue, obviously isis has been supported greatly by these foreign fighters that continue to go through the border of turkey. what will this new announcement today mean in helping cut off that source of support on the ground? >> i spent a lot of time, as you know, with the tribes in
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2007 and 2008. it was the ability to organize the tribes and motivate them that ultimately was i think the principle and deciding factor in the defeat of al qaeda in that part of the war. i still have maintained close contact with many of the shiites and they are very committed to the defeat of al qaeda, to the defeat of dash, and i think very importantly hile they in 2007 and 2008 were skeptical of the maliki regime, from the governors that i have spoken to, they have seen a big difference between the sense of attitude from baghdad and the attitude today. they do feel that andie is willing to support them. he has taken steps to support them. he's made it very clear that the training of the tribes to include the opening of the new
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facility is something that he supports. in fact, he issued a five-point plan with the unanimous consent of the council of ministers ultimately to take back al anbar as the precursor to the efforts against mosul. >> why is it taking so long to muster a credible sunni force? >> we have to understand that e iraqi security forces just -- took a heck of a beating a year ago. so reconstituting that force and building capacity back through training, especially with focus on leadership, is going to take some time. now, that said, they have been in battle. they have fought. they did clear tick rit and the hardest part of the clearing of tick reet was done by iraqi regular forces where the shia volunteers, the ones who answered to the fat with a from he grand ayatollah they were
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cordoned forces. they prevented dash from reinforcing or dash from escaping. so they played a role as well. so it's going to have to be a combination of our training the regular forces, empowering the tribes, and managing the role of the popular mobilization force, the shia elements in combination to achieve our military objectives. and many of those elements are scheduled with the intent of the prime minister to be the base elements for the national guard brigades that will be formed over time. so these tribal elements that are being trained, about 1800 or so in al-anbar more every other week, those will be the base elements there and in other provinces of the national guard brigades as they come along. so there will be a purpose for them over the long term. >> in the meantime, isis continues to draw a thousand foreign fighters a month. many have come through turkey. what will this new deal that apparently is emerging today,
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how will that change this? or will they come in another way in other forms? >> i think they're always going to try to get in. and it is no secret that the principle avenue of approach into the region, not just to syria but into iraq as well, has been through the turkish border. the turks in the last year have really done a substantial -- taken a substantial effort to multiply the capacity of their no entry list. it is well up over 10,000 now. they have worked and reached out to our european partners. many of whom are working the issue of their own foreign fighters but we didn't perfect the process of sharing information and sharing intelligence until this emergency really exploded in our faces. so what we have seen is much greater cooperation between our european partners and turkey over the last year. and it has given turkey the
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capacity to take greater action both inside turkey and outside. the point that needs to be made is that the first line of defense against foreign fighters entering syria isn't


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