tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 5, 2015 7:01pm-8:00pm EST
>> what about the concerns he expressed? josh: we believe congress should remove obstacles that have been imposed that prevented us closing the prison at guantanamo bay, to keep the prison at guantanamo bay open, only continues to exacerbate the government spending that could be more effectively used to keep the country safe. speaker ryan has spent a lot of time talking about the need to shrink the government budget, closing the prison at gauntaun moe bay makes a lot of fiscal sense. the amount of money spent per detainee in guantanamo bay is far higher than the amendment of money spent to detain and incarcerate convicted terrorists on u.s. soil right now.
there are a number of convicted terrorists that are currently serving time on u.s. soil. let me give you some examples. there are people like zacarias moussaoui, a mastermind, one of the master mindse of the 9/11 attacks. he was tried and convicted in the u.s. court and he's somebody that's currently incarcerated right now as we speak on american soil, in an american rison. this is also true of people like tsarnaev and the shoe bomber. another pertinent example that warrants mentioning here, the name of ahmed galani, quicked of his involvement in the plot to carry out bombings at the u.s. embassies in kenya and tanzania. many of you may recall that galani was for a period of time
in the prison at guantanamo bay, transferred to the united states, tried in american court, convicted of his crimes, and sentenced to live in prison in an american prison on american soil where he serves right now. so the suggestion that this cannot be done safely flies in the face of every piece of available evidence that exists. so it doesn't make sense for our national security interests to keep the prison open. this is something that many republicans have acknowledged. it doesn't make fiscal sense to keep spending large sums of oney at fwauntaun moe. it doesn't make sense that this . ses undue risk
they do so in a way that doesn't risk the safety and security, according to republicans who have had national security pro responseabilities if they continue to operate the prison at guantanamo bay. >> could you explain briefly what the president plans to do in the coming months to see that it is approved and to fast track it in any way possible. josh: the thing i think that makes the -- this trade issue so interesting both to work on from our standpoint but for all of you to cover, it's one of those issues that requires genuine bipartisan support to both advance through the congress and to become law. and the president spent a great deal of time and made this legislation
passed over the summer, this legislation allowed u.s. negotiators to complete the tpp negotiation. it is consistent with the guidance that had been given to them by the united states congress. we will being gauged in an effort -- engaged in an effort to rebuild the coalition and consider and approve the partnership that has been reached. there has been a spur of the moment's decision to attend the congressional baseball game. ofhink that is indicative the president's willingness to spend his own time to lobby members of congress in both this tradesupport agreement. we're confident in the best interest of the u.s. economy and middle-class families. there will be opportunity to
make this case to members of congress over the next year so -- your or so. additional data on the timing at this point. it should be soon. >> what do you say to senator roberts and the others who have placed a hold on the army's because ofomination not ruling out executive action in congress, if congress is back in the consideration? -- does not give you consideration? senator roberts has doubled down on his position, putting politics ahead of the national security of the united states. it is a troubling position for a chairman of the senate intel committee to take. he is preventing the secretary of the army from fulfilling his responsibilities
is disappointing. the latest piece of evidence that we have the republicans are willing to put their own political priorities ahead of national security of the united states. it is disappointing. >> does the president trust russia and egypt to give us the real deal on what happens? thism, it is clear at point that the national interest of both egypt and russia is to get to the bottom of what exactly has occurred. conductopeful they will an investigation consistent with that priority. the fact is that this is an investigation that has only been going on for four or five days. the united states, u.s. officials have been in touch with both russian and egyptian officials about the investigation.
we have offered assistance. we continue to be prepared to support the investigation as it moves forward. doubtedwhite house has russia's word before. when you look at what happened with the malaysian airliner that was shot down over the ukraine. is not particularly good. claims that het will talk to president putin? getting back to the guantanamo plan. your proposal sounds dead on arrival. thatew speaker is saying detainees at guantanamo. erationd coop traversed the law passed in
2010. it does not sound like a plan will go far on capitol hill. >> we will see. the administration has put a lot puttingand effort into together this plan thoughtfully for congressional consideration. hopefully, congress will receive that plan in the spirit with which it was drawn up. it is a commitment to focusing on the national security of the united states, not the politics of the congress. we stand with democrats and republicans to advance the national security priority identified not just by george w. bush but by the secretary of who has served every recent u.s. president. you look at a strong argument. it is a strong, bipartisan agreement. there's not a lot of bipartisanship in congress.
see morenly like to democrats and republicans worked together with the administration. shared withiority congress, senator mccain, am, senatorh collins. there are some republicans who may be willing to work with us to accomplish this objective. we will have to see if others will as well. >> i wanted to follow-up on prime minister netanyahu's diplomacy. >> it's a spokesman, not his chief of diplomacy. let's not confuse them. [laughter] with the prime minister
visiting the white house, that doesn't hit the table well for the meeting. with all due respect to this individual, i would not 'sticipate that this person appearance in the spotlight will have much of an impact on the ability of netanyahu and president obama to work effectively to advance the interests of congress. >> the defense secretary ash carter told me in an interview-- >> the big stick, as it is known. >> bob woodrow had excellent questions. that the theory explosive device but on the plane is inconsistent with what we know. is that what the president
thinks? does the president think the prime minister went too far? >> we have not made our own determination about what exactly led to the tragic incident. at the same time, we cannot rule anything out. there's the possibility of terrorist involvement. it sounds like secretary carter said some things similar to that. >> it is a little strong. is it consistent with what we know? u.s. no a bomb brought down the plane -- know a bomb brought on the plane? occurs, we have a responsibility to use all our resources to learn what we can about these incidents to protect the market public. what he was referring to specifically was not a
determination, but information , that thisen learned is obviously consistent with what the prime minister david cameron said. i do not think secretary carter is saying much to tell the difference than i am. >> has the ministration shared what its intelligence is that led the prime minister to its conclusion? have a share that with us? i can't get that specific. i can tell you that the united states in a british counterparts -- and our british counterparts have a lot of intelligence sharing.
our closest allies will be infrequent and regular communication with us about what we have learned. the one difference here is that different security situations that prime minister cameron encountering. the number of direct flights the peninsula and the u.k. the number of planes on the tarmac right now. a substantial number of british in this area of the world. none of the situations, not those factors are pertinent to the united states. >> that was clear yesterday. the reason why we are not taking further action.
it doesn't explain the difference between what our closest ally, britain, has shared, why he would say something so strong, that it appears to be a bomb. your kind of backing away from this -- your kind of backing away from that statement. what is the difference between what we know and they know? at the beginning of your question,-- this is important. we are reviewing what steps should be taken. thatrrants mentioning there are some advisories that have been issued but the u.s. government over the course of the last year.
next so you have not taken any new steps -- so you have not taken any new steps? >> the faa established earlier -- the u.s. state a warning issued about traveling to this part of the world due to jihadist risks. was a warning from the embassy of cairo about traveling to that part of the world. embassy issued kind of a notice, essentially, that they had instructed their employees not to travel, either by land or by aircraft, to sharm el-sheikh. when we give that kind of employees, embassy
u.s. citizens need to be look after that situation. have said today, i am not sure there is a significant difference in what prime minister camera has said -- cameron has said and what i have said and what secretary carter has said. why he chose to use the words he did, you'd have to ask him. the words i've used and the words you've heard from secretary carter reflect information that has come to the attention of the u.s. government, both publicly based on what you have reported and our abilitylity -- to learn from these incidents. >> it does seem like there is a big disconnect between what prime minister cameron said.
he used the word bomb. you are being careful not to use that word, even though we have the same information. why are you characterizing it differently? the guidancesed on i have received from my national security professionals, including our intelligence professionals. at this point, we do not have enough information. we do have enough information to not rule out the possibility of terrorist involvement. >> i'm trying to get a sense of the urgency. has he reached out to any leaders in the area about this particular incident? >> i don't think this is the
best way to assess this. >> what would be the best way to assess this? i think it is important for homeland security theyview potential steps can take for u.s. commercial flights bound to the united states from certain foreign airports. considering those kinds of steps is their responsibility. that is something they are working on it have been for some time. they will make those decisions and announce them in conjunction with our industry partners. the other thing you can glean from what i have shared here is there has been a robust effort underway using the variety of resources available to the united states government to learn as much can about what happened.
as we learn pertinent information, we do our best to communicate with the public in a transparent way about what that is. there are limitations to the ability we have to do that given our need to protect those resources. but, we are going to great links to help people understand exactly what the situation is. i think the reason you are seeing a different reaction from the british government and the u.s. government is the different situation we are facing. it is the british were in a situation where they have a number of direct flights between sharm el-sheikh and the u.k. there are nine between sharm el-sheikh -- there are none between sharm el-sheikh and the united states. there are flights on the ground in sharm el-sheikh from britain right now. that's not the case for u.s. aircraft. we don't have any commercial
aircraft on the tarmac in sharm el-sheikh right now. there are british citizens in that part of the world right now. there are possibly american citizens, but not as many british as there are. that's how you can account for the kind of steps you have seen from our prime minister -- from prime minister kicameron. we will certainly share information with him. >> you said on monday there was a warning issued by the embassy of cairo about sharm el-sheikh specifically. what is that specifically? sec. earnest: this was a day after we learned about the crash. the embassy of cairo instructed its employees not to travel anywhere in the sinai peninsula pending the investigation of the crash. when that kind of private
instruction is given to embassy employees, the information is released publicly so u.s. citizens can consider travel to this region and make their own decisions. calendar -- prior to all of this, had there been any --what has isis been doing in that part of the world that has the united states concerned? so much of what we have talked about is focused on iraq and syria. clearly there is some presence there. beenas the united states attacking or trying to degrade and destroy isis in that area? sec. earnest: one thing that is important for people to understand about the sinai peninsula is this is an area of the world where extremists have been operating for some time now. these are extremist organizations that frequently
change their affiliations based on their assessment of the best way to raise their profile. it is only recently we have seen some of the extremists known to operating in the sinai peninsula announce their affiliation with isil. july, thee that in missive that was sent out by the u.s. state department, warning americans have to travel, pacing about an ejection terrorist --nization called "ansar the pledge their allegiance to isil. includesgiance targeting western civilians and the country of egypt's forced industry. we have been candid with the public about our assessment of
the risks that the u.s. would face from extremists in the sinai, whether affiliated with isil or not. >> has there been any indication that isis wanted to strike american targets beyond where they are? sec. earnest: there has been-- the answer to that is "yes" based on publications you know. there's one that comes to mind. there was evidence reported publicly over the summer that there is this individual in arizona who went to texas intending to carry out a shooting against some people he perceived as offending muslims. thanks to the heroic work of local law enforcement, the individual was prevented from killing anybody.
some of the evidence indicated that he had been inspired to take these actions based on communication with extremists on social media. what are the practical, pragmatic, thoughts on the ground that indicate this? have beenst: we concerned for a long time about the possibility of extremists, isil affiliated or anybody, that they would capitalize on the chaos in syria, to establish a safe haven to plot and execute attacks against the united states and other interest. the united states has been pretty forward leaning about taking strikes against issa leaders. -- isil leaders. we have been forthright about other attacks that take on the west. the u.s. military airstrike took out an extremist, a french
national, who was in syria plotting against the united states. beginning, when we first started talking about the risk posed by isil, the concern they would use the chaos in syria to establish a safe haven and pose a direct risk to our interests. >> obviously, your first the united states concerns about russia. what about egypt? how much faith do we have in the egyptians? so on and socated forth, which you expect to see american investigators on the ground there? sec. earnest: that's not something the egyptians have requested. the united states does have important national security relationship with egypt.
our ability to coordinate on those issues. that is a security relationship we value. at this point, i think it is too aboutto draw conclusions the effectiveness of the investigation, considering the difficult environment in which it is taking place. obviously, the details of this incident are difficult to assess, given the far-flung and thef the wreckage other questions raised. it is too early to assess at this point, the effect of this investigation. i would observe, as i did before, that is in the interest of the egyptian government to get to the bottom of this incident, friendly to be sure it does not happen again. our aviation officials are
try to figure out what to do next. this is a part of the world where we know there have been problems for a long time? it sounds behind the curve to be in this position now to be trying to figure out what to do next. isn't there a-- sec. earnest: i think that's a fair assessment. there was an faa notice to airmen issued this year, march 2015, that race the floor on --. aircraft operating over of u.s.he floor aircraft operating over the sinai peninsula. that floor was raised in march. have unclear if it would been relevant to this incident, but it is clear that u.s. officials have been keenly aware of the risk and have been taking steps all along to address it.
the other thing relevant is that you will recall back to the summer of 2014 the department of homeland security announced a range of new security measures that would be imposed on a handful, a certain number of foreign airports, the last point of departure for flights heading to the united states. was based on specific information received by the intel community. certain organizations decided to target u.s. aircraft around the world. i think the fact that this kind increasing our security posture dating back to the sum of 2014 isn't -- summer of 2014 is an indication of how serious the obama administration is about taking the intelligence from around the globe and making sure the security measures we have in place are properly aligned with the threats we
assess exist. >> >> you wanted to give the public 60 days. is that still your working time frame? mr. earnest: our expectation is that the president would give the american public 60 days to read the agreement before he signs it. the signature only initiates the transfer of these materials to the congress for their consideration. congress can read the documents online in the same way anybody else can, frankly. yes, there is that 60-day window. the president doesn't tend to wait 60 days. -- does intend to wait 60 days. that will initiate a longer phase of congressional consideration.
documents will remain online after the president signs it. there is ample time in the midst of the congressional process to take a look at the agreement and understand exactly the case we are making when it comes to the benefits associated with the economy and the benefits associated with u.s. middle-class families. past ahouse today long-term highway bill -- passed a long-term highway bill, but it is different than the senate. are you confident they will get an agreement on that? mr. earnest: i did make note of that legislation in the house. it passed with site -- with bipartisan support. we are gratified to see republicans and democrats working together on an issue that should not be partisan.
hopefully, this is an indication that as the process moves forward, they will work together constructively to advance it. as it relates to the bill itself, there continues to be significant room for improvement and we are hopeful that the impending conference between the senate and house to reconcile the differences in that bill will provide an important opportunity for strengthening this critical piece of legislation. >> a clarification -- [inaudible] slightlyst: overstating it. he is somebody based on the conclusion of the united states criminal justice system, he is somebody involved in the plot and he was brought to justice for his involvement and he is serving time in a u.s. prison
facility for his involvement in that plot. that demonstrates the capacity of our criminal justice system and our prison system to deal with these individuals in a way that is consistent with our national security. thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify. >> [inaudible] the -- as you know, doctors without borders has released their own report into that tragic incident. and the president has been briefed on that report. i understand general campbell met with staff in kabul to discuss their findings. expect u.s. officials will continue to remain in touch
with staff. president obama called for a transparent and objective accounting of the facts and the circumstances that led to this tragic incident. general campbell has appointed several officers from outside his command to conduct this investigation. i do not have an update on the timing. the commander-in-chief indicated he expects a full accounting of what occurred and you have -- and he has a high degree of confidence that is what he will receive. it will consider a series of potential human errors, failures of process, and technical malfunctions that may have contributed to the mistaken strike. that is an indication they take very seriously the responsibility of to conduct this thorough investigation. while we are eager to understand all of the facts, i do not want
to be in a position of rushing the investigators who are taking their jobs very seriously. we are going to stand by for the full accounting of the facts. it is appropriate at this point for me to restate once again are profound sorrow and condolences to the afghan medical professionals and other civilians who were killed or injured during this terrible accident. >> you'll talked about the the special operators being based in syria face -- you talked about the dangers the special operators being based in syria face. [inaudible] mr. earnest: what we have said is that based on available information, we know russian airstrikes and military activity are targeting those forces
threatening the assad regime. u.s. forces will be partnered with opposition fighters on the ground that are targeting isis. that is the difference in the two missions and why it is unlikely that russian military pose ay would u.s.ficant risk to operation forces on the ground in syria. that is in no way to downplay the substantial risks they are taking. this is a very dangerous part of the world and there are a variety of risks they face and we are certainly grateful for their service and their willingness to take on this important mission. margaret? margaret: iran's president commented, talking and
criticizing some of the -- isowns by hard-liners this something president obama likes to hear? mr. earnest: i did not see his specific comments. i think we have raised our concerns about the human rights record of the iranian regime. it is less than stellar. those are concerns we have raised a number of occasions and you can get the details in this from treasury, but there are some elements that are sanctioned because of their human rights record. margaret: [inaudible] mr. earnest: comments i have not seen. it sounds encouraging, but what we have said routinely is we are going to judge the iranians
based on their actions. that was true in the context of negotiationsclear and in their efforts to facilitate a political transition that is long overdue inside of syria. margaret: [inaudible] trying to hack into the white house, the state department. have you seen that happen? mr. earnest: i have seen those reports. have a comment on those specific reports, we are keenly aware that malicious actors in iran and elsewhere often use cyber activity to gain information about targets of interest. someow the iranians have
capabilities in this regard and it is why we take seriously all malicious activity in cyberspace. we will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal to deter, detect, counter, and mitigate subjectivity. the wake these came in of an iranian-american businessman. received these mall where -- malware attacks. people in the administration were on the receiving end of some of these e-mails. lse?hat reporting fa mr. earnest: mr. susman: i don't -- mr. earnest: i don't have a on those reports.
i do not have a comment on the specific report. as a general matter, efforts to target white house officials or government officials in cyberspace is something malicious actors in cyberspace have been attempting for years. you laid out very -- kly why you see the u.k. [inaudible] you have explained the russians do not have a great track record. also a lot of political factors in terms of not wanting to be public, what might have happened. do you see there being a u.s. national interest in having this be publicly disclosed or classified if it is terrorism?
mr. earnest: we do believe in his the interest of -- we do believe it is in the interest of the united states to learn what exactly happened in this incident. that is why we have offered our support to the egyptians into the russians who are part of the investigation. the egyptians are leading it. we are prepared to offer support that they think would be helpful to that endeavor. we are also going to use the resources and capabilities that we have to learn information that could be relevant to our efforts to keep the american people safe. we are going to do our best to communicate with the american public as appropriate and to take commonsense steps as appropriate to ensure our aviation system and other modes of transportation are adequately protected. >pril: april:
? april: [inaudible] has the message been delivered properly? mr. earnest: we have tried to be as straightforward as possible in explaining the benefits of this law for basically every american. there are significant benefits associated with this law. for those americans who already these areh insurance, things that allow you to keep your child on your own insurance up until the age of 26, revisions that prevent any insurance company from discriminating against somebody because they have a pre-existing condition. there are a variety of benefits. there is a particular benefit for those americans that do not have health insurance and do not have health insurance through
their employer. previously, these citizens were in a situation where they had to go in fend for themselves in the private market. we saw insurance companies charging exorbitant prices for low-quality health care coverage. because of the affordable care act, we have created marketplaces or individuals can go online or they can call cms and find out about the health care options that are available to them. what the affordable care act did was set some basic standards for those offers. basically ensured that insurance companies had to raise their standards and offer a minimum level of coverage to potential customers. the other thing insurance companies would have to do is compete for business and that would hold down prices.
insurance companies got millions of new customers. describe as i would a reform of the private insurance market. that is why the heritage foundation conceived of this plan, the way in which it was implemented by the republican governor of massachusetts, and it is the kind of system we have implemented all across the country. there are important benefits for people out there and we encourage those who do not have health insurance to go online and take advantage of the open enrollment period and sign up for health insurance. >> she said a large portion [inaudible]
they did not know there was some kind of financial assistance for them. is there a way you would be able to communicate more? [inaudible] communication is not getting to them. mr. earnest: i am not aware of any plans that would be levied. what is important, we are entering a phase where some of the people who would be subject to a penalty if they do not sign up in this upcoming open enrollment. period, higher than the premiums they would have to pay in order to get health care coverage. you have the benefits of getting
and at a lower cost. it is a pretty straightforward decision people have to make now. it will be part of the presentation president obama will make to the radio reporters visiting the white house today. >> [inaudible] i am sorry? >> how creative is creative? mr. earnest: exactly. will -- we are going to be aggressive.
the benefits available to individuals at healthcare.gov. even for those people who last ,ear purchased health coverage many of those people will actually find they meeting -- they may be able to find a plan that better suits their needs potentially at a lower cost. is to go back to the website, shop around, there may be an even better deal out there. laura? laura: [inaudible] i am not aware of any plans for the president to do that. laura: [inaudible]
do you plan to have them back? what will happen to the military commission? laura, as you well know, there is a well-known strategy that we have discussed for reducing the prison population at guantanamo bay 20. consistent with the -- at guantanamo bay to zero. -- strategy is simply this there is a process that the obama administration initiated on the president's full day in office to review the files of everyone who was being detained at the prison at what time of day -- at guantanamo bay. into three were put
categories. the first is approved for transfer. currently, the prison population is 112 and right now, there are 53 of those detainees that have been approved for transfer. there is a complicated process for working with other countries to create arrangements where these individuals can be taken to other countries and their risk to u.s. national security can be mitigated. that is work that is ongoing. category, individuals who have been referred for prosecution. whether it is through a criminal court proceeding in the united states or a military court, these are individuals who are
national security professionals assessed could be processed in the criminal justice system. there is another category of individuals who are individuals who cannot be safely transferred and could also not be effectively prosecuted. these are individuals who fall into the category of the irreducible minimum and these are individuals we believe can detained and securely at facilities in united states. the categories each of the individual inmate is located, i would refer you to the department of defense. the thing i will point out is this review process did not exist until president obama came into office and this is part of the strategies we have laid out
for closing the prison. the case files of these individuals are reviewed. it is not uncommon for individuals, based on assessments, to move from one category to another. this is something we can continue to work on and for an update on where that process stands or in which category specific and inmate is located, i would refer you to dod. >> what will happen to the military commission? close guantanamo bay, what will happen to the military commission? of earnest: i am not aware any specific details we have in terms of how those proceedings would continue. we certainly are confident those proceedings could continue and good take place somewhere other than the prison at guantanamo
bay. ok question mark kevin? -- ok? kevin? kevin: could you tell me what is happening with tpp. walk me through that. more details that go along with that and we can get you some more specific details. the president well later today make public his intent to sign the document and that will initiate the 60 day clock for the american public to consider text of the agreement. the president does intent to sign it after the 60 days are up. there would be a longer process for congressional review, 90 day or so opportunity for the public to consider it as well. it is rather complicated. kevin: you said earlier that it
did not seem like such a good idea for congress to take a whole year to look this over. give me a timeline you think it would be -- you think would be appropriate. mr. earnest: it is up to congress. it does not fit my definition of fast, but it lays out a clear path for consideration and our expectation is congress will follow that path, as they should, careful consideration is necessary. we want people to take a look carefully at the details. there is no reason it should take a year to get that done. kevin: give me an assessment of the president's confidence level that this will ultimately happen. mr. earnest: we succeeded in building a bipartisan coalition
over the summer to pass legislation that would allow us to complete the negotiations around the agreement. in some cases, you could say we -- our hand is strengthened this time around. casee, we were making the to members of congress that, please give us this authority and set up this process because if you do, we will negotiate an agreement that is good for the economy and your state. now that we have completed the negotiations and now that we have the text of the agreement for people to review, we do not have to say, give us the opportunity to negotiate an agreement that is good for your state. we can point to the text and say, take a look at the details. this will create jobs, good for the middle class. if you support the agreement, and vote yes, these kinds of
benefits will flow to your state. and if you don't, they won't. in some cases, we have a stronger argument to make now. we are quite eager to have the opportunity to make the argument. kevin: some of your party members, very much opposed to this. very strong opposition from the progressive wing of the democratic party. why is that? how concerned is the president about that rift between a group that is usually very much on his side? mr. earnest: you can expect the case we will make about the agreement is the case we will make to both immigrants and republicans, -- to both democrats and republicans. maybe those progressive democrats are concerned about labor standards in other countries. concerns that are shared by the president.
in vietnam, for example. a legitimate human rights concern based on the working conditions that some people have to suffer in. also a concern that u.s. workers are put at a grotesque disadvantage in trying to compete with products made in that country. given these legitimate concerns, what are you going to do about it? are you just going to wring your hands and despair at the terrible state of the condition of workers in vietnam and be concerned about the impact it will have on middle-class families? or are you going to do something about it? are you going to create an agreement that compels vietnam to raise their labor standards? there is a growing middle-class
market in vietnam that u.s. workers can take advantage of. are we going to do something about it question mark that is a strong case we can make to progressives. it is consistent with the kind of principles this president has been advocating for before he ran for this job. we have a strong case to make. kevin: i know you don't like to talk about the 2016 campaign. the two leading candidates, secretary clinton, and donald trump, very much opposed to tpp. what does that tell you about the agreement? mr. earnest: i would just note that both those individuals articulated their opposition. despite their opposition, we built a bipartisan majority in the house and senate. we anticipate our argument is even stronger now and that is
why we are not focused on the opposition outside of congress. we are concerned about winning the support of people who actually have votes. >> i want to ask you about guantanamo. [inaudible] said, you are not a lawyer and you're not quite sure. folks whoring if the are lawyers are going through a scrap? -- a scrub? mr. earnest: trying to convince congress to remove the obstacles they have erected to prevent us from moving forward with closing the prison at guantanamo been. that is where our attention is focused and the national security professionals, including some lawyers, are focused on presenting a thoughtful, persuasive plan to
members of congress. like i said, we are hopeful that members of congress will receive the same -- receive the plan in the same spirit it was written. >> the administration is going through a scrub. i am wonder if you are willing to say it is not [inaudible] mr. earnest: i want to give you a sense of where we are in that process. i was asked yesterday about president has the executive authority. that is a question for lawyers to answer. as the president spokesman, i am not going to take anything off the table in terms of him doing everything he can to make securityon a national priority that he has identified and this is a naal