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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 14, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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needs and scientific priorities. i would say there are scientific priorities emerging in hiv i would not want to see neglected particularly the opportunity to end this epidemic and the investment in the vaccine which is likely to be quite expensive. taking your point, i don't think in the process of rethinking this portfolio, which we do actively now, we should not neglect the potential of investing in different ways in hiv-aids that will bring an end to this epidemic. sen. cassidy: there is something else i read -- i have read so much about this. if you decide to focus exclusively on the cure of one disease, and inevitably, you ignore other more pressing needs . we are spending $600 million right now on aids vaccines domestically. i think $24 million on the international aids vaccine initiative. not that we cannot spend more but to justify 10% of the budget on the basis on that looks like it will neglect other diseases. i yield back. sen. blunt: thank you, senator.
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just for the record, dr. collins, you may have mentioned it but i don't know if i heard it -- the 4 target areas in hiv-aids, when did you announce that? that was a recent announcement? -- recent evaluation of where you are headed and recent announcement? dr. collins: it was in august. i can quickly say those 4 priorities -- reducing the incidents of hiv-aids and research toward a cure who are under lifelong treatment. next generation of therapies with fewer side effects and these hiv-associated co-morbidities with thousands of people infected who are having some of those co-morbidities and we need to understand them better. sen. blunt: thank you. senator capito. sen. capito: i thank all of you
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on the panel. i would like to thank dr. lorsch for spending time in west virginia at west virginia university, talking about a program i learned so much about, the idea program just -- which is a smart and successful program. i thank you for that. there is research with stroke and brain and a collaborative effort with other universities -- marshall university, west liberty, and wheeling jesuit. i thank you for that. if you had any takeaways in the visit there, you might be able to address that. mr. lorsch: thank you again, it was a fantastic visit that energized my staff and myself. one thing we notice about the idea program is the best practices. we saw 2 there. the first was sharing of resources to create economies of scale, particularly in access to technologies which we so was very critical especially to the
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young researchers. i think that model of creating economies of scale through sharing technology resources is something we should move on nationally because it can get the taxpayers more for their money. the other is training young investigators. the centers of biomedical research trains people and there was a paper published that investigators who participated in the centers were three times more likely to succeed than investigators who did not participate in the centers. in terms of getting our one grant and publishing papers. given the importance of young investigators, taking that model from the idea program and thinking about how we can use that nationally is really important. i give senator cochran a lot of credit for developing the idea program in the first place so thank you again. sen. capito: no, i think the enthusiasm we saw with the young investigators and young researchers is something that was very inspiring for me. i have heard a lot about the problems of them moving to the next step so hopefully we can determine that.
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dr. koroshetz -- i hope i said the name correctly -- the national institutes of aging is partnered with the civic centers for disease control and prevention and community living an initiative to create more older americans into research programs and the program has a focus in alzheimer's patients. both my parents recently passed away from alzheimer's. can you talk to someone like me who is 60 years old how you get into these programs and how expansive they are and what are your expectations? i went to an alzheimer's meeting just the other day and they were talking about the push for diversity in your research where you are researching minorities and other ethnic groups, women, men, because it manifests itself differently in different types of groups. so that is a big question for a little bit of time>
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the national: institute of aging, which is the point institute at nih, is working very hard on the alzheimer project. as you mentioned, one of the stumbling blocks is the culture of research in this country. as we develop new therapies, our barrier is really the number of people we can enroll into the studies. the national action plan for alzheimer's has a number of milestones which are trying to expand how that happens. in cancer, a large percentage of people with cancer will enroll into trial but the incidence of alzheimer's is lower. we have some good plans for that. sen. capito: i would like to help you with that because it goes undiagnosed while they are getting old and that's just the way it is. i am excited to hear about you talked about, the possibility of a vaccination.
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quickly, dr. volkov, i'm from appalachia, west virginia. we have a high incidence of prescription drug abuse and now heroin on an astronomical rise, overdoses and deaths resulting from the use of heroin i'm glad to see you wrote in the huffington post, which i don't normally read, i'll admit, to embrace the concept of addiction is a -- as a chronic disease. i would like to ask what you are doing in terms of rural america which is suffering from this. some of the smaller states and lower socioeconomics are going toward heroin. where do you see your role here? dr. volkow: the urgency of
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what's going on in the appalachian region is made this one of our priorities. it's also one of the priorities for hhs. we have been working with the sister and brother agencies to integrate the projects to increase success. hhs has better prescription practices for the proper management of pain. they are very invested in developing alternative treatments for the management of pain. we are restricted by what we currently have with results on the reliance of certain drugs. item number two, access to a medication that -- sen. capito: that was just legalized in our state. dr. volkow: which is wonderful. we are partnering with pharmaceutical companies for different ways of administering these. anyone can administer them. the third one is to play
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-- deploying medication that have been shown to prevent overdoses and hiv infections. we are developing medications that can increase compliance. we are already doing that. what we want to do is to partner with cdc in order to develop a project that can target the appalachian region. i visited the place and i was struck by how minimal infrastructure was in those towns. we have tools and we have to deploy them. sen. capito: thank you very much. sen. blunt: senator moran. sen. moran: mr. chairman, thank you very much. thank you very much, dr. collins and crew, welcome and thank you for the opportunity to have a conversation today. dr. collins, nih recently released its professional judgment for alzheimer's. am i correct in assuming the president's budget request was the starting point that you were going to build upon that request?
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that is true? dr. collins: that is true, we were building for fy17, what the budget would look like assuming the president's budget was the fy16 number. sen. moran: i want to give you the chance to respond to the president's request. would it give us a greater opportunity to advance the research necessary to address the issues of alzheimer's? dr. collins: it would because some of the things we imagined we would fund in fy17 could be started earlier in 16 so we would want to revise the number for the fy17 professional judgment that it on that basis. sen. moran: the subcommittee and the inclusion of a $2 billion increase at nih plus specific issues related to brain in -- brain and alzheimer's would have a significant consequence to advance the cause of treatment and cure?
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dr. collins: i think we are not limited at the present time by ideas or talent. we are limited by resources. if it were possible to have more resources in 16, we can start projects that otherwise would have to wait longer. yes, we could go faster. sen. moran: of course, i think you are a bright and intelligent person but i have discovered that you also have the ability to say the same thing more than once. [laughter] perhaps you should be a senator. [laughter] dr. koroshetz: i would say, to go with what francis said, we have for the alzheimer's plan and for the brain as well, we have serial projects and one depends on the other. we don't know what fy16 will do but we are ready to go. we have announcements ready but we will not be able to fund them unless additional money comes or puts things off.
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sen. moran: you are prepared to extend the dollars included in the senate appropriations committee recommendations, our appropriation bill? dr. koroshetz: we are shovel ready. sen. moran: good to hear. the alzheimer's disease research summit occurred last february. nih is poised to revive the revise the research milestones it created in that national plan. when can we expect that? dr. koroshetz: the national plan is actually a community plan that was developed with consultation from the scientific community and the advocate community and the caregiver community. we are holding annual revisits to the plan. it is revised on an annual timeline. we alternate between nids which
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covers alzheimer's-related dementia, parkinson's disease which causes dementia with the aging institute which runs the pure alzheimer's plan. every year, we're alternating between those 2 items and redoing the plan. sen. moran: thank you very much. in the budget hearing back in april, you and i had a conversation in which you testified that to achieve our mission, we must serve as effective and efficient stewards with the resources we have been given by the american public. to support this focus on priority, we are developing an overarching nih strategic plan and will link this with individual institute centers' strategic plans that reflect the rapid, current progress in bioscience. my question is -- what are the details? fill in the spaces about what has transpired since that conversation. what are you doing that is new
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and will mean that we are going forward and we have the latest opportunities because of that efficiency to achieve more? dr. collins: we are working very hard on developing the strategic plan you mentioned. we are scheduled to the congress in mid-december. it tries to lay out in a more clear fashion across all of nih how it is we set priorities and make decisions about where the dollars are most efficiently spent and how we are being good stewards in terms of how the process of peer review and counsel review and director actions on what we fund is carried out as well as the number of other efficiencies we are concerned about including with senator alexander discussed earlier in terms of the burden that is applied to investigators trying to get the research done as well as human subject oversight. there will be a lot in this document and it will lay out in greater detail that has been possible before how we intend to use all the dollars we have to
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the best benefit. sen. moran: mr. chairman and dr. collins, let me repeat myself -- i have offered this admonition if that's a safe thing to say -- that we are often told as members of congress that we don't want you meddling in the "politics of deciding where research dollars should be spent." i have shared that view but it means it's incumbent upon nih to make the decisions that are necessary as to where the dollars spent are the most likely to achieve the quickest, fastest, the best, the necessary results. dr. collins: i welcome that responsibility as do all my colleagues. sen. moran: i apologize for offending you by suggesting you can serve in the united states senate. [laughter] sen. blunt: there was a time when that might be considered a compliment but not now. we have time for a second round of questions and we will start with senator murray. sen. murray: i want to go back
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to the 29 million americans who have diabetes and 86 million who are prediabetic. that sounds like we have a crisis on our hands. the number of americans with that disease continues to grow. you mentioned the work the institute has done on prevention programs that incorporate regular exercise and reduce fat intake and a huge difference it makes. the cdc's chronic disease program, which our bill has cut, helped fund programs like the one in my home state that supported community health efforts through the ymca and many other organizations that promote healthier living. what might taking that preventive program to scale mean for this country's diabetic epidemic? dr. rodgers: thank you, senator, for that question. the ymca you are referring to and their ability to develop what we did in the clinical trial which is a lifestyle intervention on an individual basis, they took it to scale by
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doing the same lifestyle intervention but providing it in a group setting. their results after the first year or two are quite similar to what we achieved in the individual program in terms of weight loss, etc. more interestingly, the cost per patient involved in the clinical trial with the initial instructions and the follow-up was about $6,000 per patient. in the group setting at the ymca, that cost was cut down to about $400. in terms of scaling this, we could expand this. we have not done economic analysis on this but there is a private group called the urban institute that has recently looked at what happens if you scale this. they estimate that given those numbers, about $191 billion over 10 years if this -- with
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some very conservative assessments or assumptions if this could go to scale. sen. murray: that's impressive. dr. lowy, let me ask you as dr. , collins mentioned, we have seen significant progress in recent years in the use of immunotherapy to treat certain forms of melanoma and lymphoma and lung cancer. i believe there is universal support on the subcommittee for efforts to find similar breakthroughs for other cancers. i wanted to ask you, what is nci doing to make these happen? and where is the potential for new cures the greatest? dr. lowy: we are investing in a number of different areas throughout the cancer spectrum. i think there are opportunities in many different areas. for example, we are investing heavily in pancreatic cancer because this is a cancer where we have not had significant progress despite long-term
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recognition of how serious this cancer is. we also are investing research in pediatric interventions. recently, nci supported research developing 2 interventions against pediatric leukemia and lymphoma. this was initially developed in the academic sector and has been picked up by venture capital and is rapidly going forward for clinical trials. we also are interacting with the pharmaceutical industry to try to identify new and important uses for drugs that are off-the-shelf because they have been approved for one intervention but not for another. for example, inhibitors and melanoma, trying them and other diseases.
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this is potentially a very important innovation because we recognize that a percentage of patients who have different kinds of cancers may have the same molecular abnormality and therefore may benefit from targeted treatments initially developed in other areas. i could go on but i think given the time -- sen. murray: can you tell me why immunotherapy is effective in some patients but not in others who have the same cancer? dr. lowy: yes, i think this is a critically important issue. what we are doing to support research to understand mechanisms are critically important because if we could understand why some patients are benefiting whereas others are not, it should enable us to
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increase understanding, which should lead to better interventions for the people who currently are not responding or, at the very least, we would not be giving them treatment for which they are not going to benefit. sen. murray: it's a question we need to answer with more research? dr. lowy: yes. sen. murray: thank you very much. sen. blunt: i will go last in this second round. senator shelby? sen. shelby: i will be as fast as i can. dr. collins, there has been several articles regarding where biomedical study results including those funded by nih that appear in top peer-reviewed journals cannot be replicated or reproduced. one article cited a study describing how it halted 64% of its early drug target projects because in house experiments failed.
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-- failed to match claims made in the publication. you have done a study on this. what is the problem here? why can't they replicate? is it rushing to print too fast? dr. collins: senator, it was you who brought this issue to attention in a hearing like this about three years ago. it was just beginning to appear and i appreciate very much your having shined a light on the situation we are taking with great seriousness. this is a complicated multifactor situation. i am showing up on the screen what nih has now posted as for is a summary of all the things we are engaged in to try to address this and to do things to improve the training of the next generation of scientists about these issues in terms of rigor and reproducibility. of the factors involved, certainly, the hyper competitive atmosphere that currently exists, much of it on the basis of the fact that funding is so tight, causes people to try to
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get publications out as quickly as possible. that may, in fact, result in circumstances where the replication study did not quite get done and therefore some body else finds out later that it would not have worked. we have an issue in terms of journals. in many instances, not being thorough in evaluating manuscripts. throughy to say that the leadership of dr. taybac, he convened the journals to get together on this and they want to make sure the statistical methods are described and so on. it clearly is something that touches many areas of science. dr. lorsch is leading an effort where we are looking at projects on cell lines because sometimes people publish papers about work on a cell line and it turns out it's not what they thought it was. these things get passed around and training is critical.
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we have training videos on this site if you want to see what we are asking mentors to use in lab meetings and other group meetings to try to bring to the attention of trainees these critical issues about studies and how you set up an experiment where you know you have done it rigorously. we're all over this and we are pushing pretty hard to see this problem addressed. it will always be the case that science gives you results that later on you cannot make sense out of. if that happens, one it to -- we want it to happen in a way that was unavoidable, not because people were cutting corners. i think we've got the attention of the community now to this and you will see the problem get less than it had been, i hope much less. sen. shelby: this is very important because it goes right to the essence of investigation and replicating what you have discovered and what we benefit from, is that correct? you want to comment on this?
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dr. koroshetz: we have looked at this at our institute and there is another side to this. it's not that you cannot reproduce them. given the effort you put in, you didn't reproduce them. we have interesting technologies and when you try to reproduce them you cannot do it but the people who develop the technologies open up their labs so people can go in and learn how to do it and then it works. sen. shelby: so some of them were on the right road but did not have the means to finish it? dr. koroshetz: that's right. sen. shelby: thank you, mr. chairman. sen. blunt: let's go to senator cassidy and then senator moran. i misspoke last time, $66 million is not 21% of the national heart, lung, and blood institute. about 1800 people died of hiv and cardiovascular disease. dr. vokow, i have heard people
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say that the basic science of addiction and mental health is a barren field. i'm not a mental health professional. do you feel -- if you had significant more resources, would you be able to the clinical science to make significant advances? dr. volkow: definitely we could accelerate a lot ofthe discoveries. i apologize but i'm going to disagree. i would not say that the research on mental health has been barren. as it relates to over the past 10 years or 15 years, i expanded understanding about what are the abnormalities in the brain of people who suffer from mental illness. sen. cassidy: i accept that. i did not know enough to disagree, but you would say there is great academic progress? dr. volkow: there has been great progress and that has enabled us to identify potential targets
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for treatment. again the issue on , alzheimer's/dementia and als and parkinson's, people say that the promise is not there as it may be in other fields. i have parents with dementia and alzheimer's and i want to give you a lot of money. i hope to convince my colleagues who have more swag to do so as well. would that be a worthy investment? could you do the basic clinical research? dr. koroshetz: the neurodegeneration field in general is bringing in lots of really smart people to solve these problems. we have the workforce. with the resources, we can really make hay. as i said before, there are a couple of things that are tantalizing. all of these degenerative diseases -- parkinson's, alzheimer's, als -- have one common feature.
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the cells that die have proteins that aggregate and get stuck in those cells. people are really on the idea that maybe there is a unified theory and if we can stop this process for one disease, we can stop it for all of them. it is a leap of faith right now but there is evidence that this is not impossible and we can make a big breakthrough. sen. cassidy: dr. collins? dr. collins: just like to add to that -- sen. cassidy: question for you, dr. collins. dr. collins: this will be quick. basically, you're never quite sure where the breakthroughs will come from and we have to be careful not to overly target research plans in a specific direction of a specific disease because the answer might come out of a different investigation or from basic science. as we were celebrating today with the nobel prizes. a quick example -- the biggest breakthrough i have heard about in the last month for als -- 1:45, can i: i got stop you for a second? you have a bunch of bright,
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aggressive people. they would not be who they are were it not for you being at the pinnacle. believe me, i am a doc. i know you are a pinnacle of the docs. you mentioned earlier the academic promise, the research promise of hiv-aids as a rationale to continue there. is it lacking elsewhere? one of the reasons to continue the funding in one area as opposed to others is the apparent academic promise in the one as opposed to the other. how do you balance these folks who have such promise in their fields as you make that decision? dr. collins: that is a great question and one we talk about at the table, and in these institutes there are areas up and coming in others that are perhaps not moving his rapidly and we adjust the decision-making but also not be overly top-down making decisions. a lot of the great ideas come from our wonderful scientific
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community out there and we cannot anticipate where they are going. it's a constant revision date by day, week by week, where we want to put the emphasis. sen. cassidy: and if my wish were fulfilled and dollars were redirected from hiv-aids into some of these other areas, it sounds like there is fertile field that the money would indeed fertilize and so with -- sow great benefits. dr. collins: there are fertile fields all across our landscape. sen. cassidy: i yield back. sen. blunt: senator moran. sen. moran: the most significant development in the last 30 days is --? on als? dr. collins: ok, thank you. [laughter] it fits with the conversation we're having. it was an investigator who is studying hiv-aids and trying to understand one of the co-morbidities, which resembles als in a modest way. it's an intramural investigator
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and he discovered there's an activation of a retrovirus that we all carry. herv. dr. collins: i don't know where that is going to go. examplen interesting when studying this disease over here and learn something about that one over there. >> welcome to this panel. i look forward to getting that are acquainted with you. i wanted to give you the yourtunity to express vision for that national cancer institute and highlight a
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, pediatric match trial, and have you tell me about that. is a trial that is currently under development. is due fors pediatric research what the adult trial is doing for adults who have advanced cancer for which there is no treatment. front and patient center. drugs that are off the shelf, experimental or approved themther uses, and tests in other ways for answers, where
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they are not yet approved. the goal is to improve the outlook for these patients, and this is a trial that is under development. one of the uses for the precision medicine initiative, the oncology portion that people -- theen talking about is to support basic research as we have done historically to invest in , not just inicine cancer treatment, as is occurring, but also to emphasize precision medicine in the area of cancer prevention and cancer screening. understanding better the causes
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of cancer, how cancer comes about. onaddition, to put a focus health disparities in cancer. unfortunately, there are many different kinds of cancer where certain underrepresented minorities have a much higher incidence of mortality, and we need to treat these populations as we would any high-risk population to understand the biology, lifestyle factors, and the utilization of medical utility. in addition, to try to mitigate these factors for any high risk population. these are some of the important areas that we are looking for to making progress in. >> thank you very much. i wish you well. mr. chairman, thank you for this hearing. >> thank you.
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moran was the ranking member of this committee , they started an effort with the defense advanced research , fy 2014 -- i'm not sure if we developed the same kind of category. you mentioned high risk, high reward a couple of times. give us a couple of examples of things that didn't work out or things that we should be thinking about when we think about going to a high risk area as opposed to something that is more likely to produce results, but maybe not as big of a result. >> a recent example is gene saleng, editing genes in a
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in order to repair it. that is something that has necently worked and take off. it has the possibility to revolutionize medicine in a variety of ways. i think that is a great example. >> it is a place that aims to support high risk, high reward projects that no single institute would be able to invest in. one example is the effort to understand how the microbes that live on us and in us way a role in our health, the cause of this has been a revolutionary set of insights coming about because of new technology that allows us to find what is there. that is one of those programs
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that has now changed the whole landscape of how all the institutes are doing research. you don't want to think about a tumor as an organism. you want to think of it as a super organism. that is an example. another one closer to clinical medicine is to try to come up with a standardized, reliable way of patients reporting outcomes from their perspectives. much of clinical research is dr. sang here is what we think happened to this patient. you want to hear what the patient thought as well. sometimes it is not the same thing. we have a program called "promise", which people thought was going to be hard, and it has transformed that process. it makes it possible to run more clinical trials where patients are partners, full participants, their input is guiding our decision making about what works and what does not. universitywashington
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is doing the microbial work. >> they are. jeff gordon is one of the main leaders in the world. >> unlike the genetic structure, the microbial structure is changing all the time, and how do you impact that is a question, is that right? >> that's right. follows an initiative to a million americans over time, that would be enormous in terms of consequences. at auld find this out scale not previously imagined once we get this up and going. >> we had cut -- i'm going to we cut a block as a matter fact we cut a lot of other projects to reorient to other priorities. in fact, we eliminated funding for 43 programs and this year we
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are spending $1.25 billion, all of which had very good titles. there was not a title that was not meritorious, the process of prioritizing is exactly that. youdon't prioritize if all do is get more money and spend it on something more important than you thought you were spending it on last year. that is not prioritizing good that is adding more money on top for good things. what brought me to that when i thought about that we caught the bloc grants at 3%, the majority of the money went into combating the money to opioid of these. of years ago, i had not heard of at all. this year,e hearings we heard about it all the time. we want to talk a little bit about both opioid abuse and what research may be going on to come up with pain medicines that are
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less easily, less easily converted to other drugs to be used in other ways would be helpful. are hearing about opioids because of the devastating consequences. , 16,000 people dying from prescription opioid overdoses. , a the past five years fourfold increase in people dying. years, inble for many the past five years it has taken off. increase from the perception opioids, and now heroin. . we have many patients suffering from chronic pain, so in partnership with that same
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, they are trying to develop alternative medications for severe pain that are not addictive. which rang partner with pharmaceutical industry to develop opioid medications that would not be -- we had partnering with funding agencies , and the fda simply created a new indication that an opioid medication cannot be diverted. encouraging health care providers and how to screen pain properly and manage opioids and screen for disorders. approacha multipronged from the perspective of nih with institutes working together, and at the same time with our sister agencies. i would think that one of those groups, certainly service
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people and veterans have a high propensity to find themselves in that trap of becoming addicted to the pain medicines that they are given often because of their service-related injuries, and that can't be a good thing. dr. volkow: you are pointing to something that not many people are aware of. the prevalence of rain in military people returning is much higher. as a result, much more likely to be given perception opioids, much higher than the rest of the public. therefore, the number of people that are dying from prescription opioids among the military is higher, just by the fact of what you're saying. they are suffering from pain, -- so they received opioid medications. >> thank you for your help on this. sender shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. theuld like to follow up on
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concerns that you are raising about opioid abuse and also heroin. to aact that it has led heroin epidemic. that is a huge johnston we are facing in the north east and across this country. i can take the that in my little town of dover, with a population had0,000 people, that they to recent deaths in one day from drug overdoses. i think it should rise to the level of the kind of cross-agency -- it is a crisis, and i appreciate that you have a different mission in terms of research. this is something the medical community, law-enforcement community, treatment community all need to be working on together.
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until that happens, we will see this crisis escalate. it is already out of control. it is only going to get worse. buy a bag of heroin and a small town in new hampshire for less than you can get your prescription filled for seven dollars a bag, then you have a real problem. to make that point, because i am not sure if there are other ways in which you are looking at addressing this issue beyond just the challenge of whichs and the extent to that gets people addicted. are there other things you are looking at with respect to this? this opioid and heroin epidemic that is going on right now. i'm happy to direct that to who ever would like to take it. again, it is a devastating situation.
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thingsthe reinforcing have been how the agencies have worked together to come up with solutions, and have these solutions are coming into specific action items, like fda having a new determination. these a resulting in effective interventions, so there is a strong concerted effort. there areews is that medications that we have that are effective for people who become addicted to opioid prescriptions. the challenge is that they are not being implemented. we are working with agencies to develop implementation, to provide medication for the patients at would be easier to take so they are compliant. >> sorry to interrupt. few on whether narcan should be available over-the-counter to families,
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not just to law enforcement or other people who actually do interventions, but to families who are concerned about drug overdoses and their families? is that some to you think should e? readily available questio dr. volkow: we are extreme he to have narcan and we should make it as widely available as possible. >> i encourage nih to think about all the ways you can engage on this issue, because it is out of control and getting worse, not better. despite coordinated efforts in new hampshire and other states that are dealing with this issue, but we still have not made it a all-hands-on-deck priority that it should be. there is a lot of inter-agency work on this, pain research coordinating committee
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that meets with all the federal agencies. i think they are doing good work. we have education programs -- >> can i just interrupt? how are they coordinating the work they're doing at the state level with states that are dealing with this issue. i would have to get back on the state level, because that's something that we have not approached. there is a strategy that were working on that does address some of these problems. there are education programs , so we haveds centers of excellent for how to manage pain. tremendous video for education on the use of narcotics and how to manage pain trying to reverse his problem. i don't know how we make sure
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that states are aware of the work that is going on, but certainly that seems to me one thate coordinating points has to happen in order to better address the crisis, so i would urge that you all think about it , and that we can be helpful in making sure that that kind of information and effort is available. >> congressman hal rogers runs a summit every april. volkow and i have attended. it's probably not enough. in the thick of a very serious epidemic. those connections are trying to be made. i have to give congressman rogers a lot of credit. >> thank you. dr. collins, thank you and
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for the final position of your team. we might ask you to call others in in the future. the record will stay open for questions over the next week. i know that senator alexander and others have put questions out there, and i am sure that you will get some. thank you for being here. the subcommittee stance in recess.
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>> donald trump is in virginia today for a campaign rally at the richmond international raceway, expected to get under way at 7:00 p.m. eastern. jeb bush holdse, a town hall meeting in concord, new hampshire. you can see that life here on c-span. there is more road to the white house coverage this evening with hillary clinton the campaign rally onelas vegas, a day after appearing on stage for the first democratic presidential debate. that is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. eastern with live coverage here on c-span. , ihe said from the beginning looked in the mirror and i don't see a president.
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my response was, quit looking in the mirror. from the very beginning, he said this is nothing i've ever thought about. q&a, onsunday night on his decision to not run for president in 2012. >> i became convinced that he is very competitive and i think if he had made a decision to do it that he would have had his heart and soul into it. from the very beginning, it's not something he thirsted after. 8:00 p.m.night at eastern and pacific on c-span's q and a. the state department released its international religious freedom report that highlights religious freedom and tolerance around the world. secretary of state kerry spoke
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with some of the countries in that report and notable trends. by an basinger at large for religious freedom, talking and more detail about the findings. this is 45 minutes. >> good morning everybody. today, we present the departments international religious freedom report for thank davidwant to and his entire team for producing the report that reflects a vast amount of research and will provide uniquely viable resource for
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anybody who cares about religious freedom in all of its aspects. i'm very grateful for david's willingness to come on board and provide important new energy and focus on this, building a think youeam, and i will hear more and more from the department with respect to our fight to protect people's right to exercise religious freedom. the message at the heart of this report is that countries benefit when the citizens enjoy the rights to which they are entitled. this is not a hopeful theory. reality. no nation can reach its arential if it's people prevented from professing their innermost beliefs.
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the concept extends way beyond mere tolerance. it is a concept grounded in respect for the rights and beliefs of others. to oureeply connected dna as americans, everything we are and everything we came from. it is a concept that is based on topect, and respect in turn man's legal equality. they have no rights to coerce others or to take their lives because of their beliefs. this annualof report is to highlight the importance of religious freedom, not by lecturing, but through advocacy and persuasion. primary goal is to help governments everywhere recognize
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that their societies will do better with religious liberty than without it. the world has learned their very hard experience that religious encourages and enables contributions from all, while dissemination is often the source of conflicts that in danger all. by issuing this report, we hope to give governments and added incentive to honor the rights and dignity of their citizens. the report also has the benefit of equipping interested observers with an arsenal of facts, and one of the more consequential fax of our era has been the convergence, really the phenomenon, of new nonstate actors who, unlike the last century and the violence we saw and persecution that emanated from states, are now
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the principal persecutors. ofy are the preventers religious tolerance and practice. most prominent and most harmful has been the rise of international terrorist groups such as isis, al qaeda, bo boko boko haram. under control, captain said been given -- captives have been given a choice of conversion or death. children have been among the victims, and among those forced to witness or participate in executions, sometimes of their own family members. entire populations of religious minority groups have been targeted for killing. terrified young girls have been separated out by religion and sold into slavery. of these acts is
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only multiplied when the perpetrator seek to justify themselves by pointing a finger at god and claiming somehow that god licensed these acts. we are and we continue to oppose these groups with far more than words of condemnation contained in this report. we will also continue to help the survivors in the middle east and africa, where we are assisting local partners in responding to the needs, both physical and psychological, of women and girls who have escaped or been released after having been held captive by terrorist groups. nightmare,, each each wound, is another reason to urgently address the root causes of violent extremism. before closing, i just want to make three general points. first, as much as we oppose the actions of terrorists, we do not
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agree with governments that use those crimes as a pretext for prohibiting religious activities that are in fact nonviolent and legitimate. those who misuse the terms terrorists and extremists are not fooling anybody. trying to dictate an artificial conformity of religious expression is not a perception for harmony. it is a prescription for frustration, anger, and rebellion. we have learned time and again that when citizens are denied the rights to practice and express their beliefs peacefully , they are for more likely to explore other and more often than not dangerous alternatives. right to religious freedom is not contingent on having a large number of followers. religious minorities, including those who profess no faith, should have the same rights as
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religious majorities. that is a fundamental belief. sadly, the pages of this report that is being released today is filled with minorities being denied rights in countries like burma, iran, pakistan, russia, saudi arabia, and many others. finally, i want to in for size the importance and urgency of the work that is being carried including the addition of a new special advisor on religious minorities. among their initiatives is a groundbreaking effort to build a coalition of like-minded nations to uphold the international standard of religious freedom for all. thehat connection, i urge release of men and women detained anywhere in the world for the peaceful expression and practice of the religious beliefs. this includes a chinese
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christian human rights lawyer detained in late august just prior to his scheduled meeting with the ambassador, and whose present whereabouts are unknown. in closing, i note that religious bigotry is present to a degree in every consonant -- consonant and every country, and sadly, including our own. it may be expressed to , prejudicedm against moslems, persecution of andstians, buddhists, others. it may come in the guise of attacks against religion itself, as we saw so tragically in organ this month. toall have a responsibility affirm our faith in the principles of religious freedom that the world community has helpeed so many times and
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d to uplift american defined our country since the 17th century when roger williams issued his call. , chief redears later -- "brother we do not wish to destroy your religion. we only want to enjoy our own." that is the fundamental principle of tolerance that guides us and the value worth fighting for. toh that, i yield the floor ambassador saperstein. thank you all.
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amb. saperstein: i want to thank the secretary not only for his remarks. hisas supported commitments. the international freedom of religion report highlights an issue that continues to be a foreign-policy priority of the administration, documenting how, where, and when the universal right of freedom of religion or beliefs was violated or protected in every corner of the world. through the immense effort of countless state department officials, particularly the to religious freedom and human rights, as well as staff in each one of our embassies across the globe. the 2014 report maintains the high standards of objectivity and accuracy for which we
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strive. a little over a year ago, i stood at a podium next to secretary kerry in this room when he announced my nomination for position of ambassador at large. ure, i my 10 month ten have been gratified by the support of the secretary for the parties i identified in my confirmation hearing. we had increased the number of staff in my office, allowing us to expand our country monitoring work and better address a variety of issues from the importance of religious freedom in countering violent extremism to the terrible global impact of blasphemy laws. simultaneously, we have expanded foreign assistance for that strengthen religious freedom. i am deeply appreciative of president obama's and secretary kerry's support for the as special advisor
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for religious minorities in the near east and south central asia. i'm delighted that he is with us today. he will build upon our intense efforts on behalf of of these minorities, including our work of protecting them in the early days and weeks in iraq. guide the u.s. government wide efforts to promote conditions in these countries that will allow members of displaced minority communities to be able to return home. since january, i've also worked to build partnerships with foreign governments to advance religious freedom, as these global challenges require a global response. thanks to the leadership of my canadian counterpart, ambassador bennett, we have forged intergovernmental contact groups bringing together like-minded nations to devise strategies to
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promote and protect religious freedom. i have noticed certain enduring truths in many countries. ,eligious freedom flourishes people are free to choose their faith, change their faith, speak to others, teach their faith to their children, build play places of worship. they organize as leaders and members see fit. cooperation flourishes, communities and significantly to the social welfare and serve as a moral compass to their nation. there are far too many countries where people face growing challenges on account of their beliefs. in countries where traditions of multi-faith coexistence was the norm, we have growing numbers being driven out other store, lands. countries, prisoners
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of countries suffer cruel punishment for the religious belief and practices. all report gives a voice to those around the world seeking to peacefully live their lives in accordance with their conscious or religious beliefs. the pages of this report put a human face on this incredibly important human right that touches so many people across the globe and central to the identity of the american people. a number of trendlines instead out. the first one, the secretary has mentioned, the single greatest challenge to religious freedom worldwide and certainly an emerging challenge. terror by those who falsely claim the mantle of religion to justify their acts. isis has sought to stop anyone who deviates from its own line, non-muslims, she
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is, sunnis, displacing individuals based on their religions or ethnicity. boko haram has killed thousands through indiscriminate violence and attacks on christians and most rooms who oppose its -- moslems who oppose its ideology. secondly, the impact of in countriess including pakistan, saudi arabia, egypt, sudan, and others. s the purportw to protect from religious sentiments. these laws are used to oppress those whose religious police offend the minority -- majority. humanre inconsistent with rights and fundamental freedoms,
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and we will call for their universal repeal. the existence of such laws has been used in some countries as a pretext to justify violence in the name of religion, to create an atmosphere of in punitive for those resorting to violence, leading to false claims of blasphemy. third, repressive governments routinely subject their citizens to violence, detention, dissemination, surveillance, for something exercising their faith or identifying with a religious community. we see this dramatized by the plight of countless numbers of prisoners of conscience. we remain deeply committed to seeing such individuals free everywhere in the world. in vietnam, i saw first at hand and arbitrary registration process to legally operate as vietnam considers amending religious laws. religiousith the
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communities on calling for easing of such restrictions. ambassador bennett and i spoke out against a series of discrete tory laws banning interfaith marriage and her stripping conversion. many governments has used the guise of confronting extremism to broadly oppress religious groups for nonviolent religious activities, and broad restrictions on religious life. they can he formulated ism is used as justification. banning people under 18 from participating in any public religious activity, supposedly on the ground that exposure to religion will lead to violence. chinese officials have increased controls on religious expression and practice, banning beards and headscarves.
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a word about china, i found that despite widespread continuing government abuses and restrictions, many places of worship were nonetheless full and flourishing, areas of the country where the government and was lighter, social service and welfare agencies operating kitchensshelters, soup made contributions to the well-being of their society. we have urged the chinese government to use that as a model nationwide. far more often, restrictive policies still stifle religious life am a preventing chinese people from expensing such benefits. beenreality has only exacerbated by the growing crackdown on human rights lawyers in china, including those seeking to work within system to enhance religious freedom. this does include a peaceful, respected christian human rights
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lawyer detained just prior to a meeting with me, and his whereabouts remain unknown. a fourth trend is the role of societal violence and dissemination, emanating not from the government itself, but from other societal groups. the question is, what does the government do to try to ameliorate the conditions that lead to such violence and what does it do to protect harassed minority communities? governments are struggling to cope with the aftermath of terrorist attacks, along with increased anti-semitism and anti-muslim-croat actions and sentiments. ofhundreds of thousands syrians, iraqi and others have fled to europe, we urge governments to uphold their obligations for humane treatment of refugees and ensure that individuals do not face harassment or dissemination on account of their moslem faith. ,espite these many challenges
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we also see governments and individuals working to improve their communities and societies following the terrorist attacks in copenhagen, thousands of formed a human ring in denmark outside the synagogue where the murder occurred. september 2014, kurdish constitutional court, problematic religion law, decision we hope will ease registration requirements for minority religious groups and enable members to engage in peaceful religious activity is more freely. the years of growing religious tension and sri lanka generated groups, the government has often staked out a much more tolerant view and tensions had eased. in closing, what challenges are daunting, we are inspired by the communities,ious
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civil society organizations, and individuals around the world working along side us to ensure their governments live up to their international commitments to protect freedom of religion and belief. we dedicate our work to their struggle and continue to fight for a world in which every individual is free to live out the core of his or her conscience. i am now happy to answer any questions. you have sketched out a number of things that have gone badly and have gone well, is it possible to look at a global trend. it are things better or worse? -- are things better or worse globally? amb. saperstein: if you look at the reports that are one year behind our reports, over the last several years there has been a steady increase in the percentage of people who live in have serioust
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restrictions on religious freedom. of course, as both the secretary and i have pointed out, the escalation of the violence perpetrated by nonstate actors, often in the name of their interpretation of religion, is a new phenomenon that has really escalated in the last 18 months. trends level, there are that are deeply troubling. at the same time, if you're europe -- one example in , and you look at anti-semitism and anti-muscle activity that took place across europe, leaders of the different countries and civil society leaders and religious leaders who have all spoken out, condemning these acts and standing in protection of minority communities with many governments deploying police or militia to protect endangered
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minority communities. we've seen interfaith efforts expanding to try to address the challenges. so, it is hard to give you the sum between the dangers and the encouraging parts of it. this report does not make those judgments. faqs what iss in happening in each and every country. facts what is happening in each and every country. >> has the chinese government responded to the detention of this man? what about other people detained around the same time? how do that balance or mixed religiouse between freedom or expression, but on the other hand increasing restriction, especially when you are actually there? amb. saperstein: let me clarify what the situation was.
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at the end of our time in mainland china, these detentions took place. someone with a human rights legal background who had met with us to give the analysis that that person brought to bear on the subject who was detained the next day. 10 of the people from the community -- i am sure many of you have read about it -- a community where there has been an escalation of efforts to take down crosses from a few hundred churches, to dismantle some churches, and we wanted to meet with people there. we were denied permission to travel there, but we were allowed to go to the capital of that province, and that group of
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people, including three human froms lawyers, for pastors the area, three or four other activists, they were all detained. several of them have been released. several of them still face the possibility of charges. one of them was one of the most respected human rights lawyers in china, arguing that they have to work within the legal system of china in order to win these battles. he has proved skilled at representing a range of religious groups. he and one or two of the others are still in locations where we are not sure where they are. this is not an uncommon .ccurrence our human rights bureau has reached out and we are trying to talk about this problems at a structural level. we will continue to ask
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questions on this, and we hope that we will get answers. front, again, the report does not make a judgment about why these disparity of experiences, encouraging signs, and deeply discouraging signs, live side-by-side in the same country. it lays out the facts and allows you folks to provide interpretation. >> thanks for doing this, ambassador. ves of talks about wa --i-immigrant settlement sentiment that crossed the line into anti-semitism. what constitutes that anti-immigrant sentiment and anti-semitism? we have a paper on that, if i can provide that to you. criticism of public policy of
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any nation, israel, the united states, china, european nations, african nations, asian nation, no matter what, that is appropriate. that is part of the free marketplace of ideas and discourse. often crossed the line is when groups try to argue that inherently illegal state and does not have a right to exist and takes actions to delegitimize those fundamental rights. it's right on the cusp of that line when it holds one country to different standards than it would hold any other country. that as, we think of the denial of rights to a person or people or the imposition of obligations on a person not applied to other people.
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we normally think of that is racism. many, when itf steps over that line, that it constitutes anti-semitic activity and not just a legitimate discourse about policies. how are you? when you look at what isis is doing in the middle east, which you describe that as a war on christians? what more could the united states due to protect communities like that or resettle people here? finally, what would you tell russia about bashar al-assad's record of protecting minorities in that country? >> that is a broad range of issues. let me try to do this quickly working backwards.
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bashar al-assad's record is absolutely clear. we have made that clear to the world. i think are his overwhelming consensus in the global community about the horrific rights that the bashar al-assad regime has been engaged in. russia's intervention does not change what our message on that has been. here,ms of putting people the president has announced an expansion in the number of refugees we will be taking in. it is presumed that a number of from will include people that region. we have worked vigorously on the issue of protecting the minority communities. is targeting the christian community, but it is also other groups that it says it explicitly wants to wipe out. ands trying to decimate
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even straight the presence of those very communities. the presence of this are those communities. i have spoken to a number of major christian groups concerned about this, but also in meetings with the shia muslims groups from the area affected by this as well. we need to sustain them where .hey are in place that is mostly in kurdistan, ,ntil isis presence is removed and we clearly need to bring the -- to remove their presses to bring them home. there has to be health care, job opportunities for their kids who
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are graduating school, etc. lead factors is the in providing that kind of humanitarian aid. secondly, there needs to be a security system when they return home in which they can trust, because a lot of that trust has been breached when isis came in. they have the right to have defensen effective forces integrated with the iraqi and peshmerga defense forces. third, a transitional justice system, people go back to their communities, some neighbors have taken over their businesses. the has to be a system that will adjudicate and hold people .esponsible
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prime minister a body has made it clear that that is his intent. the united states is working with the iraqi government on there has to be an engaged plan on the economic rebuilding so people have a sense of hope for the future. the united states together with united nations or other nations are working on planning this, and that is very important, because if we waited until isis would be pushed out, it would leave a vacuum and chaos that would intentionally the sand. we do know what needs to be done. -- that would potentially dissent. -- descend. today, turkey bells are silent
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-- church bells are silent. questions. of more >> on religious freedom and human rights in north korea, are still ind presence. -- in prisons. would you tell us how many are still in north korean prisons? can you tell us how many? dr. volkow amb. saperstein: first, korea remains a country of particular concern. the worst violators of human rights in the entire world. we will talk about that over and over again.
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the countries of particular concern who this past year continued this year, i think , china, iran, north korea, saudi arabia, sudan, turkmenistan. secondly, we don't have direct relations, so we continued through international partners and mobilizing international coalitions to put continuing pressure for north korea to ease its restrictions on religious freedom and let every one of those prisoners of conscience, and there are far too many, and they often taste brutal conditions in the presence -- prisons. the united states government is always working day in and day out to ensure that it citizens who are imprisoned unjustly have due process and for the exercise of fundamental internationally
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protected lights are a route that are allowed to go -- protected rights are allowed to go free. we do that as best we can through the international contacts with north korea going on every day. the question of how many, i actually don't know the answer to the specific cases. we can't comment on them, american privacy laws protect them from allowing us to talk about their situation. they are not in a situation to give us authority, permission, to do that. so we can't comment on the individual cases. do you ever get pushed back from death pushed back from -- pushbackwho say
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from governments to say the idea of religious freedom is from western governments? amb. saperstein: we do. we make it clear that we are not trying to impose the standards of western countries or american, european standards on any of these countries. almost all of these countries we are dealing with our signatories to the covenants of political rights, it is clear about a robust application of religious freedom. we regard these as internationally protected rights. traditions people up to the point it violates those international norms and engage on their terms to find ways to address what concerns
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they may have about defamation of religion, attacks on religion, questions on watch religiously would constitute blasphemy. the passage of you and resolution 1618 was a prime example of that. it enjoyed the support of the oic in passing it. it has looked at non-penal ways to address these questions. we have set up effective training programs drawing on the justice department, homeland security department and the state department working with other experts, out in other countries doing training programs about this. it has been a handful of countries. we are now going to be expanding this in a much more global reach. it is one of the things i am focused on doing. that is where we engage people where they are and try to bring them in ways to address the
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concerns within international label norms. >> the last few questions in the back. >> thank you for your time. he said christians in the middle east feel like the west has abandoned them. how do you respond? how can this report help in the crisis now? mr. saperstein: sometimes there are competing truths. two things that are absolutely true. there is a robust effort of the developed world, of the democratic world to help protect the christian communities. they are, all of the efforts in terms of some wording humanitarian needs of refugees, of iraqi refugees, working with the government of iraq, along about,es of us talking
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manifest that. day in and day out there isn't a single day that we are not doing more and more, bringing, not being such an advocate, he had been the director of policy and research at the u.s. commission on international religious freedom, widely respected in the field to hit the ground running within the last couple of weeks. he will be working side-by-side with me and with our international counterparts and with every arm of our government doing programs, working on defense training and work with and thes in the area, intelligence communities, all of the human rights work we are doing here to help strengthen the work on behalf of these minorities, that is one reality. i can talk for hours about what is being done. the programmatic work being done on the relief and humanitarian work, etc. in the middle of a writ at large
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situation, every day their lives could be imperiled. there is no magic button that can fix this. it is as the president said, it is going to be long, steady progress until we can reach the goals that we want. if you live there you fear for everyll-being of them day. it is a paradox. we recognize the reality. we do everything we can to the mill eure that -- in mill eure that. we will not see them doing so until they are able to live in in accordance with their conscience. >> does the state department consider efforts to ban the muslim headdress or covering for women as a repression of religious freedom?
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iran, saudi arabia, which one is more respectful of religious freedom? mr. saperstein: both of them are on the list of countries of particular concern. they will continue to be on that list. we don't make judgments about which are better and worse. both countries have structural, systematic, egregious violations on minority and saudi arabia, no worship openly, even when they do it privately often they are harassed. seriouse very challenges and problems. in iran we have very serious problems as well. , the muslimear community interpretation of
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islam dominates the legal structure of the country. other muslims find themselves in , systematically oppressed, almost every minority group faces restrictions and are discriminated against in one form or another. they both have serious problems. you would have to make the judgment yourself which is the worst here. >> the headdress issue? mr. saperstein: we have taken the position in our approach to of freedom ofcise religion and belief allows people to make determinations about what their appropriate religious garb would be. if women feel they have to have their heads covered, if seeks --
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wear believe they have to -- this if you should be a determined nation each person makes. maybe the need to identify someone, or safety reasons. you can't wear a turban working around equipment. hadu have to wear a accommodation should be made as far as possible. those exceptions are few and far between. we believe people's right to live in accordance with their conscience includes the right to .se religious garb we have been critical of other democratic countries that have put such restrictions on illegal in the future things will ease up and they will be seen in a
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different respect that this restriction of religious freedom will be allowed to fade away. >> thank you all. appreciate it. >> more road to the white house coverage coming up. we will be live from concord, new hampshire where jeb bush is holding a town hall meeting scheduled to begin a little less than an hour and a half from now. several other candidates are on the campaign trail including hillary clinton holding a rally in las vegas one day after appearing on stage for the first in the credit presidential debate. we expect that event to get underway at 8:00 eastern live on c-span. has your coverage of the white house 2016 or you will find candidates, speeches, debates and your questions.
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your we're taking our coverage into classrooms across the country with our students cam contest giving students the opportunity to discuss what is for issues they want to hear the most from the candidates. contest onan student tv, on the radio, and online at >> earlier today, john carlin announced the creation of a new office within the justice department that would help combat homegrown terrorism. he spoke more about that for an other concerns at a forum hosted by george washington university's program on extremism. this is about an hour and a half. dr. vidino: good morning everybody. welcome. i am the director of the program.
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it is a pleasure to hold such an important event today and see how many people showed up. we are glad for the attendance. the program is a new outfit we launched a few months ago in june 2015. we seek to spearhead an empirically based nonpartisan debate of extremism. we provide solutions based on research and analysis and try to be a constructive force in the debate. we are honored to host assistant attorney general of national security, john carlin. he has been very kind to accept our invitation to be here today. issues that are very important to security. let me also give thanks to the people who made the event possible.
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we are pleased to be partnered with the southern poverty law center. sdlc has been an important voice for a long time on domestic extremism a rich history in spearheading the debate on domestic extremism. i would like to knowledge the team that has made the event possible at gw. all of us have worked hard but i would like to acknowledge shamus hughes, one of the main driving forces behind the center. it is my pleasure to introduce mr. carlin, the department of justice top attorney who is responsible for protecting the country against international and domestic terrorism and other security threats. mr. carlin served as chief of staff to fbi director robert mueller.
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esther carlin previously served as the official coordinator of the doj's intellectual property program and is an assistant to the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. mr. carlin will speak for about half an hour and heidi will provide commentary and answer questions and we will open it to the floor for questions to mr. carlin. i would urge everybody to ask short questions. will moderate the questions and to ask questions that are not commentaries provide dish disguised as questions. we like to have everybody speak to the microphone. i would like to acknowledge media presence. someone will go around with the microphone. without further do, i would like
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to thank you again for coming. the floor is yours. mr. carlin: thank you for having me today. this is a subject of great importance that does not get discussed as much as it should. i want to start by going back to a period in time when i was at the fbi. it was january 17, 2011. relatively cold day in d.c., but in seattle it was relatively warm and dry and it was a march to celebrate unity and bringing people together on behalf of martin luther king jr.. over 2000 people were prepared to march together in that spirit of peace and unity across cultures. there is an individual that day who had a different view and goal and was motivated not by bringing people together by hate. what that individual did is he worked to construct an explosive
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device and he took care. it was a pipe bomb. he put gunpowder inside the pipe am. he bought fishing weights designed to use as shrapnel to cause as much pain as he could to those marching in the spirit of unity. he put rat poison onto the shrapnel as an anticoagulant so people would bleed more. that improvised explosive device did not go off because a worker at the parade spot the backpack in which it was enclosed. after the spotted that backpack, alert members of the police and joint terrorism task force worked to disable it. investigation ensued. i was at the fbi the time and when that type of investigation takes place in a full attention of the director and the men and women of the fbi and those on states and locals.
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hundreds of agents were able to figure out who did it in part by getting dna of the backpack but also by doing brick and mortar pounding the pavement going to store after store to find the receipts of the individual who bought those fishing weight shrapnel. they were able to bring kevin hartham to justice. i was the fbi where we were not meeting the national security council with our partners in the cia and nsa and it was not a case that involved a foreign terrorist group. it was someone who was motivated by white supremacism and developed those beliefs. we do not have the tools and structure in place to hold accountable that individual as we do for international terrorism. i was reminded of the real stakes.
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that was a bomb that did not go off but this year marked 20th anniversary of the oklahoma city bombings. i went to attend that memorial along with many u.s. attorneys across the country who are dedicated and have an expertise in preventing terrorism. when i was at that event, it was in originally beautiful day and there was a slight rain cloud that came over us as we watched the memorial. if you have not been there it is a moving site. one thing they have is instead of a normal tombstone they have little chairs to represent the children. little kids who lost their lives when a day care center was bombed as part of those attacks. i remember president clinton speaking at the memorial. one thing you saw was how raw the pain was for the parents who lost children that day.
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it does not go away 20 years later. they don't forget. it is still raw when you bring back those remembrances. i heard president clinton say as only he can do, how he went to check on his grandchild that night before delivering those remarks with hillary and he looked at her in her crib and he did it to remind himself and tried to feel what those parents must be feeling when their kids up and taken from them 20 years ago. that is why the work you're doing is so important. two months after that event where the shootings in charleston. if it was not in our minds and then, and it was, that this is a real threat. that is cost more lives than international terrorism is cost post-9/11, that should have been a vivid reminder of why we do a we do and why it's important to do it. goal research as gw is standing
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up and why it is important to have groups at the southern poverty law center keeping track of what is going on inside the united states. the privilege of leading the national security division. the reason for our creation was taking a look at what had happened on 9/11 and deciding there were things we can do better. we had a wall that prevented proper sharing of information between the intelligence side of the house and law enforcement side of the house. we needed to tear down that wall. our division was created to take a look at terrorism threats across the spectrum and have our lawyers, prosecutors, sit in one place dedicated to one goal, protecting national security of the united states. it is a busy time on terrorism. there is a lot of focus on the international terrorist threat right now.
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the group islamic state in the lavon and the deteriorating situation in syria and iraq has caused individuals not just in the united states but across the world to travel to that region to join a foreign terrorist organization and commit atrocities that range from using rape and slavery as social tools to the indiscriminate killing of civilians. that needs to be a top priority for the division and because of that new threat, the use of social media, we have seen it hit our shores. to date we have brought around 60 criminal cases across the country. the fbi will say there are 50. they have investigations related to that thread in all 50 states. we brought cases to date in over 25 different districts across the country. we are not seeing it can find by
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geography or particular ethnic groups. we have seen at least 10 instances or brought criminal cases for those inspired by ideology to commit attacks in the united states. because of that, there is less time spent focusing on those groups who are not motivated by an ideology that emanates overseas but one that is overhere. we cannot lose sight of the domestic terrorism threat posed by other extremists. terror and extremism do not always originate elsewhere or take place outside our borders. homegrown extremists can be motivated by any viewpoint. antigovernment views, racism, anarchy and other beliefs. when a comes to hate and intolerance there is no single ideology that governs. in america, harboring extremist views is not itself a crime. it is not the expression of a
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hateful ideology or association with a particular hateful group. what we do focus on is that line between speech and violence in it is crossed often results in tragedy. the list includes attacks on government buildings, businesses and the synagogues, mosques, and other of which cultures. planned assassinations of police officer's, judges, doctors, and others. it includes the stockpiling of illegal weapons and killing sprees that have terrorized local communities. looking back over the past few
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years it is clear that domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists remain a clear and present danger. we recognize that according to at least one study more people died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than attacks associated with international terrorist groups in the last five to six years. racial hatred motivates many of these violent extremist attacks and the attorney general noted this summer that these kinds of hate crimes are the original domestic terrorism. among domestic extremists movements in the united states, the white supremacists are among the most violent. the charleston shooter who had a manifesto is one example. the case of kevin hartham was successfully disrupted. we are not always so fortunate.
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wade michael page fatally shot six people and wounded four others including a responding police officer at a sikh temple in wisconsin. he acted alone and died in the course of the attack of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. we see antigovernment views triggering violence throughout america. three militia members were recently sentenced in georgia for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government buildings. they attempted to acquire explosives in early 2014 with the goal of destroying u.s. government infrastructure. more broadly, law enforcement agencies across the nation are concerned about the growth of sovereign citizen movement. according to one 2014 study, state, local, and tribal local law enforcement officials
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consider sovereign citizens to be their top concern and it right above isil or al qaeda inspired extremism. these adherents to the sovereign citizen ideology believed the do not have to answer to government authority including law enforcement. although most sovereign citizens a spouse these views lawfully as they are entitled, some resort to violence. terry nichols, the convicted accomplice in the oklahoma city bombing, is believed by many to have viewed himself as a member of the sovereign citizen movement. joseph and jerry kane killed two police officers and themselves were killed in an ensuing shootout. in june 2014, judd and amanda miller likely motivated by the
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sovereign antigovernment ideology killed two las vegas metropolitan police officers. they killed another innocent person and during their attacks they declare the beginning of the so-called revolution. these attacks and others are reasons why we at the department of justice and elsewhere including groups like southern poverty law center and gw but all the government agencies that confront these groups and those of you in the community, it tells us why we need to rededicate ourselves to prevent events like witnessing the pain at the memorial the oklahoma city bombing. one might think there are no commonalities but we do see commonalities among those in wish to do us harm.
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this gives us important information as we try to come up with disruption strategies. across the spectrum of the extremist ideology, related traits emerge. the prevalence of so-called lone offender attacks. the second phenomenon is the increasing number of disaffected people inspired to violent to communicate their hate filled views over the internet through social media. both of these traits are present in the threat proposed by isil. as we make it harder to travel to join the foreign terrorist group, we are seeing isil is explicitly calling on people to commit attacks inspired by their ideology but here inside the united states. no passport or travel required.
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as a result, we have seen a surge in the number of criminal cases entering our justice system. unlike al qaeda. a tightly controlled membership and carefully planned over years large-scale attacks as part of its strategy. isil actively encourages loan offenders and takes credit even for failed attacks. this may be a relatively new approach or tactic when it comes to international terrorism but unfortunately it is too familiar for those of us who have been confronting violent extremism where the label it domestic terrorism, hate crimes, or murder. lone offenders or small groups often played in carry out attacks with limited assistance. few others know of their plans making their plotting more difficult to disrupt. across the spectrum of extremist ideologies we see a new trend, the number of people -- disaffected people linked together because of their
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adherence to violence through the internet and social media. as the isil threat reveals these new communication technologies including social media and the use of encryption, post challenges to national security and public safety and there are challenges in which everyone who has a stake in the matter must work to address. we see sovereign citizens continue to use and recruit and communicate through youtube and twitter. white supremacists post to social media. violence begets violence. through the power of the internet a meeting hall is no longer needed. former organizational structures are necessary. messages spread all through the pressing of a button. fortunately by recognizing these common patterns we can craft a common response. the matter who is behind the violence and intimidation, we
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will use every lawful tool to deter and disrupt this threat. we will do all we can to diffuse those who would engage in large-scale acts of violence. to achieve these objectives, we are working on improving coordination between investigations and prosecutions, utilizing the same all legal tool approach we also use against all other national security threats and exploring options to address the sources of violent extremism. we will talk about some of the things we are doing in the department but there are areas where it is important to have the involvement of academia studying these threats of having nonprofit groups who are willing to continue to examine and discuss what these groups are saying and doing even of a received death threats as a response to their efforts. success in disrupting domestic
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terrorism requires closed coordination. conduct does not know jurisdictional bounds. at the department of justice our goal is to ensure that coordination is as efficient as possible on something that cuts across so many different statutes and expertise. our counterterrorism section within our division maintains contact with the u.s. attorney's offices across the country for the purpose of terrorism matters and to maintain an expertise on statute used in prosecutions. the national security division along with the fbi in a representative from the u.s. attorneys community, we cochair the domestic terrorism executive committee. this was a committee that was originally formed by attorney general janet reno in response to the oklahoma city bombings with the goal of ensuring that


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