tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 16, 2015 10:30pm-12:01am EST
and to live, to enjoy life. that is why it will be at moment of hope and solidarity because we will be talking about the future of our planet and solidarity because heads of government will be here in paris to negotiate a sustainable, binding agreement to allow us to live the aunt to allow our children and grandchildren to enjoy the planet they have inherited, but they will also come and tell friends, a country of freedom, how much the world
is feeling solidarity for france and is prepared to mobilize against terrorism into in the our democracy-- will not to give in to blackmail. the original elections will take place as planned next month and our political life will continue. it is our duty to do so. the congress, mr. president of the senate, ladies and gentlemen who represent the whole of the nation, you all ofnt the nation in in all ofity and also its unity. you represent a free people who are invincible when they are united. it is our most precious assets and we must avoid drifting away from these values and that is also our duty by renouncing it
the fight for republican values that in certain circumstances in the past we have drifted away from our values. let us make sure we do not do the same thing today. to giveblic, we want the republic all of those resources that this new context requires. inenable it to eradicate line with our values, while in line with our values. to eradicate terrorism without losing the roles of law. we will eradicate terrorism because the french want to live together without here. without living in fear. we will eradicate terrorism because we are attached to liberty he and the international reputation of friends across the world. we will eradicate terrorism in ofer to allow free movement
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qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons! ♪ [applause] french]g >> president obama spoke about at recent terrorist attack the conclusion of the talks in turkey. he rolled out adding troops on the ground. this is 50 minutes. -- he ruled out adding chips on the ground. president obama: thank you for the outstanding work in hosting this summit.
>> our focus was on how to create more jobs. growth has to be more inclusive. given the growing cyber threats, we committed to a set of norms on how our governments should conduct themselves in cyberspace, including an agreement not to engage in cyber theft for commercial gain. as we head into global climate talks, all countries have submitted targets and we plan to work together for a successful outcome in paris. of course, much of our attention has focused on the heinous
attacks that took place in paris. , in the unitedd states, american flags are at half staff in solidarity with our french allies. closely with our french partners as they pursue investigations and track down suspects. france is already a strong partner and today we are streamlining the process through which we share intelligence and operational military information with france. this will allow our personnel to pass threat information, including on isil, between each other. we need to do everything we can to protect against more attacks and protect our citizens. tragically, paris is not alone. byhave seen outrages attacks isil in beirut.
last month in ankara. and routinely in iraq. our nation is20, sending an unmistakable message that we are united against this threat. evil.e the face of our goal, as we said many times, is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization. this fall at the united nations, we had a comprehensive strategy using all elements of our power. intelligence, economic, development, and the strength of our communities. we have always understood this would be a long-term campaign. therewill be setbacks and will be successes. the terrible events in paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback.
even as we agreed with our french friends, we cannot lose sight that there has been progress being made. ourhe military front, coalition is intensified by airstrikes, more than 8000 to date. we're taking out isil leaders, commanders, and killers. we have seen what we have effective partners on the ground, isil can and is pushed back. recentlyces in iraq liberated send jar. iraqi forces are taking back a money. in, i saw has been pushed back through much of the border region with turkey. we have stepped up opposition while working to cut off supply lines to isil strongholds. short, both in iraq and syria, isil controls less territory the and it did before. i made the point to my fellow
leaders that if we want this progress to be sustained, more nations need to step up with the resources despite demands. of course, the attacks in paris remind us that will not enough to defeat isolate in syria and iraq alone. committed to sharing border controls, sharing more information, and helping to control the in and out in syria and iraq. isil leaders will have no safe haven anywhere. we will continue to stand with leaders in muslim communities for the best voices to discredit isil's warped ideology. on the humanitarian front, our nations agreed we have to do even more individually and collectively to address the agony of the syrian people. the united states is already the largest donor of humanitarian a to the syrian people.
some $4.5 billion in aid so far. as winter approaches, we are donating additional supplies, including clothing and generators to the united nations. but it still has less than one needed.the fund we are calling on more nations thisntribute the resources crisis demands. in terms of refugees, it is clear that countries like turkey, lebanon, and jordan, which already have an extraordinary burden cannot expected to do so alone. of oursame time, all countries have to secure our security. as president, my first priority is the security of the american people. even as we accept more refugees, including syrians, we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous security checks. refugees are the victims of terrorism. that is what they are fleeing. slamming the door in their faces
would be a betrayal of our values. our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety. can and sure our own security. we can and must do both. we've begun to see some modest progress on the diplomatic front. which is critical because a political solution is feeling way to end the war in syria and tonight the syrian people and the world against issa. the vienna talks are the first time the key countries have come together. as a result, i would add of american leadership and reached a common understanding. with this weekend's talks, there is a path forward. under the auspices of the united nations have transition toward a more inclusive and representative government, a new constitution, followed by pre--elections in alongside this process, a cease-fire in the civil war even
as we continue to fight against issa. these are ambitious goals. .hese have been dashed before there are any number of ways this latest diplomatic portion could falter. there are still disagreements between the parties including, most critically, the rate of bishara al-assad who we do not believe has a role in serious future because of his brutal rule and his war against the syrian people. the primary root cause of this crisis. what is different this time and what gives us some degree of hope that, as i said, for the first time all countries agree on a process that is needed to end this war. clear-eyede very about the difficult growth ahead, the united states, in partnership with our coalition, is going to remain relentless on all fronts. humanitarian,
diplomatic. we have the right strategy and we are going to see it through. with that, i will take some questions. i will begin with jerome. >> thank you mr. president. 129 people were killed in paris on friday night. isil claimed responsibility, sending the message that they could now target civilians all over the world. is it time for your strategy to change? pres. obama: keep in mind what we have been doing. we have a military strategy that involves putting enormous pressure on isil through airstrikes that has put
assistance and training on the ground with iraqi forces who are now working with syrian forces to squeeze isil and cut off their supply lines. we have been working internationally to reduce their financing capabilities, the oil they are trying to ship outside. we are taking strikes against high-value targets, including most recently against the individual who was on the video executing civilians who had already been captured as well as the head of isil in libya so it's not just iraq and syria. and so on the military front, we are continuing to accelerate what we do as we find additional partners on the ground that are effective, we work with them more closely. i have authorized additional special forces on the ground who will be able to improve that
coordination. on the counterterrorism front, keep in mind that since i came into office we have been worried about these kinds of attacks. the vigilance the united states government maintains and the cooperation we are consistently expanding with our european and other partners in going after every single terrorist network is robust and constant. every few weeks i've meet with my entire national security team and we go over every threat stream presented. where we have relevant information we share with our counterparts in and around the world. in aviation security we have been working so that at various airport sites, not just the
united states but overseas, we are strengthening our mechanisms to screen and discover passengers who should not be boarding flights, and improving the matters in which we are screening luggage that is going on board. on the diplomatic front, we have been consistently working to try to get all parties together to recognize that there is a moderate opposition inside of syria that can form the basis for a transition government and to reach out not only to our friends but also to the russians and iranians who are on the other side of this to explain to them that ultimately an
organization like isil is the greatest danger to them as well as to us. there will be an intensification of the strategy that we put forward, but the strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately will work. as i said from the start, it will take time. what has been interesting is in the aftermath of paris as i listen to those who suggest something else needs to be done, typically the things they suggest need to be done are things we are already doing. the one exception is that there have been a few who suggested we should put large numbers of u.s. troops on the ground. keep in mind we have the finest military in the world and the finest military minds in the world. i have been meeting with them intensively for years now, discussing these various options.
it is not just my view, that the view of my closest military and civilian advisers that that would be a mistake. not just because our military could not march into mosul or ramadi and temporarily clear out isil, but because we would see a repetition of what we've seen before which is if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface. unless we are prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries. let's assume we were to send 50,000 troops into syria. what happens when there is a terrorist attack generated from yemen? do we then send the troops
there, or libya? or if there is a terrorist network operating anywhere else in north africa? or in southeast asia? a strategy has to be one that can be sustained. the strategy we are pursuing, which focuses on going after targets, limiting wherever possible the capabilities of isil on the ground systematically going after their leadership and infrastructure, strengthening syrian and iraqi forces and kurdish forces prepared to fight them, cutting off their borders, and squeezing the space in which they can operate until we are ultimately able to defeat them, that is the strategy we will have to pursue and we will continue to generate more partners and for that strategy and there will be things that don't work and some strategies we try to do work.
when we find what does we will double down. margaret, cbs. >> thank you mr. president. a more than year-long bombing campaign in iraq and syria has failed to contain the ambition and ability of isis to launch attacks in the west. have you underestimated their abilities and will you widen the rules of engagement for u.s. forces to take more aggressive action? pres. obama: we haven't underestimated our abilities, this is precisely why we are in iraq as we speak and operating in syria as we speak. it is precisely why we have mobilized 65 countries to go
after isil. and why i hosted, at the united nations, an entire discussion of counterterrorism strategies and curbing the flow of foreign fighters. and why we have been putting pressure on those countries that have not been as robust as they need to be in tracking the flow of foreign fighters in and out of syria and iraq. so there has been an acute awareness on the part of my administration from the start that it is possible for an organization like isil that has such a twisted ideology and has shown such extraordinary
brutality and disregard for innocent lives that they would have the capabilities to potentially strike in the west and because thousands of fighters have flowed from the west and our european citizens. -- and are european citizens, a few hundred from the united states but far more from europe that, when those fighters return, it poses a significant danger. we have consistently worked with our european partners, this -- disrupting groups in some cases, sadly this one was not disrupted in time. understand that one of the challenges we have is if you have a handful of people who don't mind dying, they can kill a lot of people. that's one of the challenges of terrorism. it's not their sophistication or the weapons they possess, but it is the ideology they carry with them and their willingness to die.
in most circumstances, tracking each individual, making sure that we are disrupting and preventing these attacks is a constant effort in vigilance. it requires extraordinary coordination. part of the reason that is important in what we do in iraq and syria is that the narrative that isil developed of creating this caliphate makes it more attractive to potential recruits. when i said that we are containing their spread in iraq
and syria, in fact they control less territory than they did last year. the more we shrink that territory, the less they can pretend that they are somehow a functioning state, and the more it becomes apparent that they are simply a network of killers who are brutalizing local populations. that allows us to reduce the flow of foreign fighters which then, over time, will lessen the number of terrorists that can potentially carry out terrible acts like in paris. that's what we did with al qaeda. that doesn't mean that al qaeda no longer possesses the capabilities of potentially striking the west, al qaeda and the peninsula that operates primarily in yemen has consistently tried to target the west. we are consistently working to disrupt those acts. despite the fact that they have not gotten as much attention as isil, they still pose a danger. our goals here consistently have
to be to be aggressive and to leave no stone unturned, but also recognize this is not conventional warfare. we play into the isil narrative when we act as if they are a state. and we use routine military tactics that are designed to fight a state that is attacking another state. that's not what's going on here. these are killers. they have fantasies of glory. they are very savvy when it comes to social media.
and they are able to infiltrate the minds of not just iraqis or syrians but disaffected individuals around the world. when they activate those individuals, those individuals can do a lot of damage. we have to take the approach of being rigorous on counterterrorism efforts and consistently improve and figure out how we can get more information and infiltrate these networks and reduce their operational space even as we also try to shrink the amount of territory they control to defeat their narrative. ultimately, to reclaim territory from them, it will require the ending of the syrian civil war which is by diplomatic efforts are so important. and it will require an effective iraqi effort that bridges shia and sunni differences.
diplomaticy our soorts inside of iraq are important as well. >> thank you mr. president. in the days and weeks before the terrorist attacks, did you receive warning in your daily intelligence briefing that an attack was imminent? if not, did that not call in to question the current assessment that there is no immediate specific credible threat to the united states today? secondly, if i could ask you to address your critics who say you are reluctant to enter another middle eastern war and your preference of diplomacy over using the military makes the united states weaker and emboldens our enemies? pres. obama: jim, every day we have threat streams coming
through the intelligence transit. every several weeks, we sit down with all of my national security intelligence and military teams to discuss various threat streams that may be generated. the concerns about potential isil attacks in the west have been there for over a year now. they come through periodically. there were no specific mentions of this particular attack that would give us a sense of something that we need, that we could provide french authorities, for example. or act on ourselves. but typically, the way the intelligence works is there will be a threat stream that is from one source.
how reliable is that source, perhaps some signal in intelligence gets picked up. it is evaluated. some of it is extraordinarily vague and unspecific and there's no clear timetable. some of it may be more specific and folks chased on that thread to see what happens. i am not aware of anything specific in the sense of giving a premonition about an action in paris that would allow for law enforcement or military actions to disrupt it. with respect to the broader issue of my critics, to some degree i answered earlier. i think that when you listen to what they actually have to say, what they are proposing, most of the time when pressed, they describe things we are already doing. maybe they are not aware we are doing them.
some of them seem to think that if i were just more bellicose in expressing what we were doing, that would make a difference. that seems to be the only thing they are doing. talking as if they are tough. i have not seen particular strategies that they would suggest that would make a real difference. there are a few exceptions. the primary exception is those who would deploy u.s. troops on a large scale to retake territory either in iraq or in syria. at least they have the honesty to go ahead and say that's what they would do. i just addressed why i think they are wrong. there have been some who are well-meaning.
i don't doubt their sincerity when it comes to the issue of dire humanitarian situations in syria. who, for example called for a no-fly zone or a safe zone of some sort. this is an issue where i will sit down with our top military and intelligence advisers and we will painstakingly go through what something like that looks like. typically after we have gone through a lot of planning and discussion and working it through, it is deterd take bothe isil does not have planes. the attacks are on the ground.
how many personnel would be required? there are a whole set of questions that have to be answered there. my only interest is to end suffering and keep the american people safe. if there is a good idea out there, we will do it. i don't think i've shown hesitation to act, whether it's respect to bin laden or respect to sending additional troops in afghanistan or keeping them there. it is determined that it would actually work. but what we do not do, what i do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow, in the abstract, make america look tough. or make me look tough. maybe part of the reason is because every few months i go to walter reed. i see a 25-year-old kid paralyzed or has lost his limbs.
some of those are are soldiers i've ordered into battle. i cannot afford to play some of the political games others may. we will do what's required to keep the american people safe. i think it's entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do.
present a specific plan. if they think that somehow their advisors are better than the chairman of my joint chiefs of staff, and the folks on the ground? i want to meet them. we can have that debate. what i'm not interested in is posing or pursuing some notion of american leadership or america winning or whatever other slogans they come up with. that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the american people and to protect people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like france. i'm too busy for that. >> thank you very much mr. president. i wanted to go back to something you said to margaret earlier when you said you had not underestimated isis'abilities. this is an organization you described as a jv team that is
evolved and now able to use a safe haven to it launch attacks in other parts of the world. how is that not underestimating their capabilities and how is that contained? i think a lot of americans have this frustration that they see the united states has the greatest military in the world, the backing of nearly every other country when it comes to taking on isis. i guess the question is if you will forgive the language, why can't we take out these bastards? pres. obama: i just spent the last three questions answering that. i don't know what more you want me to add. i have described specifically what our strategy is, and very specifically why we do not pursue some of the other strategies that have been suggested. this is not, as i've said, a traditional milita opponent. we can retake territory.
as long as we leave our troops there, we can hold it. that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these kinds of violent extremist groups. we are going to continue to pursue the strategy that has the best chance of working, even though it does not offer the satisfaction of a neat headline or an immediate resolution. part of the reason, as i've said, is because there are costs to the other side. i just want to remind people. this is not an extraction -- abstraction. when we send troops in, they get injured.
they get killed. they are away from their families. our country spends hundreds of billions of dollars and given the fact that there are a enormous sacrifices involved in any military action, it is best that we don't shoot first and aim later. it's important for us to get the strategy right and the strategy we are pursuing is the right one. ron allen. >> thank you mr. president. i think a lot of people around the world in america are concerned because the strategy you are pursuing, it has been more than a year now, the capabilities of isis seem to be
expanding. were you aware they have the capability of pulling off the kind of attack they did in paris? are you concerned and do you think they have that same capability to strike in the united states? do you think that, given all you've learned about isis over the past year or so, and given the criticism about your underestimating them, the you think you really understand this enemy well enough to defeat them and protect the homeland? pres. obama: this is another variation on the same question. let me try it one last time. we have been fully aware of the potential capabilities of them carrying out a terrorist attack. that is precisely why we have
been mounting a very aggressive strategy to go after them. as i've said before. when you are talking about the ability of a handful of people with wildly sophisticated military equipment, weapons, who are willing to die, they can kill a lot of people and preventing them from doing so is challenging for every country. if there was a swift and quick solution to this, i assure you that not just the united states but france and turkey and others who have been subject to these terrorist attacks would have implemented their strategies. there are certain advantages the united states has in preventing these kinds of attacks. after 9/11 we hardened the homeland, set up a whole series of additional steps to protect aviation, to apply lessons learned. we have seen better cooperation between the fbi, state governments, local governments.
there are some advantages to geography with respect to the united states. having said that, we have seen the possibility of terrorist attacks on our soil. there was the boston marathon bombers. obviously it did not result in the scale of death we saw in paris, but that was a serious attempt at killing a lot of people by two brothers and a crockpot. it gives you some sense of the kinds of challenges that are going to be involved in this going forward. again, isil has serious capabilities. they're not unique, capabilities other terrorist organizations that we track are paying attention to possess as well. we are going after all of them. what is unique about isil is the degree to which it has been able to control territory that then
allows them to attract additional recruits and the effects they have on social media and the ability to use that to not only attract recruits to fight in syria but carry out attacks in the homeland and europe and other parts of the world. our ability to shrink the space in which they can operate, combined with a resolution of a serious situation which will reduce the freedom with which they feel they can operate, and getting local forces who are able to hold and keep them out over the long-term. that ultimately will be what
isil does not represent islam. it is not representative in any way of the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of muslims. this is something that has been emphasized that muslim leaders, whether it is president erdogan or the president of tunisia or malaysia, or other countries that are majority muslim but have shown themselves to be tolerant and work to be inclusive in their political process. to the degree that anyone would equate the terrible actions that took place in paris with the views of islam, those kinds of stereotypes are counterproductive, they are wrong, they will lead, i think, to greater recruitment in the terrorist organizations over time if this becomes somehow defined as a muslim problem as opposed to a terrorist problem. what is also true is that the most vicious terrorist
organizations at the moment are ones that claim to be speaking on behalf of true muslims. i do think that muslims around the world, religious leaders, political leaders, ordinary people, have to ask very serious questions about how did these extremist ideologies take root. even if it's only affecting a very small fraction of the population, it is real. and it is dangerous. it has built up over time and with social media it is now accelerating. i think, on the one hand, non-muslims cannot stereotype, but i think the muslim community
has to think about how we make sure that children are not being affected with this twisted notion that somehow they can kill innocent people. and that that is justified by religion. to some degree, that is something that has to come from within the muslim community itself. i think there have been times where there has not been enough pushback against extremism. there are some who say we don't believe in violence, but are not as willing to challenge some of the extremist thoughts or rationales for why muslims feel oppressed. i think those ideas have to be challenged.
let me make one last point about this. then i have to take a flight to manila but i am looking forward to seeing that but i hope i can come back to turkey when i'm not so busy. one of the places you're seeing this play itself out is on the refugee issue. both in europe and, i gather, it started popping up while i was back in the united states. the people who are fleeing syria are the most harmed by terrorism. they're the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war. and strife. they are parents, they are children, they are orphans. it is very important, and i was glad to see this was affirmed
again and again by the g 20. we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence. somehow, start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism. in europe, i think people like chancellor merkel are taking a very courageous stance and saying it is our moral obligation as fellow human beings to help people who are in such vulnerable situations. i know that it is putting enormous strains on the resources of the people of europe. nobody has been carrying a bigger burden than the people here in turkey.
with 2.5 million refugees. and people of jordan and lebanon who are also admitting refugees. the fact that they have kept their borders open is a signal of their belief in a common humanity. we have to, each of us, do our part. the united states has to step up and do its part. when i hear folks say maybe we should just admit the questions -- admit the christians but not muslims, when i hear political leaders say there should be a religious test for which a
person fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution. that's shameful. that's not american. that's not who we are. we don't have religious test to our compassion. when pope francis came to visit, the united states, and he gave a speech to congress, he didn't just speak about christians being persecuted, he didn't call on the catholic church to admit the same people of the religious faith, he said protect those who were vulnerable. i think it is very important for us, right now, particularly those in leadership. particularly those who have a platform and can be heard. not to fall into that trap and
feed that dark impulse. i've had a lot of disagreements with george w. bush on policy. i was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on islam. the notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in this party would ignore all of that. that's not who we are. on this, they should follow his example. it was the right one. impulse.e right
it's our better impulse. whether you are european or american, the values that we are defending, the values we are fighting against isil are precisely that we don't discriminate against people because of their faith. we don't kill people because they are different from us. that's what separates us from them. we don't feed that kind of notion. that somehow christians and muslims are at war. we should not promote that kind of ideology and attitude. in the same way the muslim community has an obligation not to, in any way excuse anti-western or anti-christian sentiment, we have the same obligation.
as christians. and, it is good to remember that the united states does not have a religious test and we are a nation of many peoples of different faiths. this means we show compassion to everybody, those are the universal values we stand for. that's what my administration intends to stand for. thank you very much everybody. >> today, house republicans spoke about the terrorist attack, the threat against the united states, and whether to allow syrian refugees into the united states. a congressman from pennsylvania.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate the opportunity to host. less than 100 hours ago we were provided a tragic reminder of the world we live in. terroristsre radical are engaged in a war against the united states and our allies. our condolences go to france. friday night's events in paris, tonight's special order was going to focus on recent incidents of terrorist-led violence across israel. yet, friday's incidents are not dissimilar to the violence we have seen in recent months. the attacks have been indiscriminate's and their targets. they are meant to instill fear. they are an affront to the way of life of innocent, peaceful civilians.
i want to share with you the words of prime minister netanyahu this weekend. france,l as in terrorism is terrorism in standing behind it is radical desire to destroy its victim. the time has come for the world to wake up in june i in order to defeat terrorism. the time has come for countries to defeat terrorism and condemn terrorism the way they condemn an everywhere else in the world. not to blame for the terrorism directed against us just as the from -- french or not to blame for the terrorism directed against them. the terrorist who threaten us have the same murderous intent as do those in france. mr. president, we know isis has claimed responsibility for the paris attacks. while we can condemn those this evening, it seems evident to me, and i think to americans across the country, as we ask the same
question, are we safe? are the policies of this administration and its and the refugee admissions policy making us safer or are they cause for concern and to require more discernment and a more scrutinizing eye by this congress and the american people? beenyear alone, there have at least 49 alleged supporters of isis in america charged with related crimes and it is reported there's an estimated 20,000 foreign fighters in iraq and syria likely holding western passports. in may, fbi to her said thousands in the united states may be consuming isis propaganda on the internet. tonight, in light of the horrific terrorist attack in france and escalating violence in israel, as we stand to
express our solidarity with our friends and allies affected eye these acts of terror, we must be thinking about what we as americans can do to defeat, not eliminate radical jihadists and terrorists who are hell-bent on undermining the united states, our allies, and our way of life will stop a little bit later, i will speak more
i yield back the remainder of my time. would like to thank the gentlelady for her participation. and i will yield to mr. kelly. you, mr. speaker. and i think mr. costello. we will stand with our allies across the world who have repeatedly and recently experienced violent acts of terrorism in israel and france. the victims and their families and we stand united in our effort to bring them to justice. war how do we are at you expect to take over if you have not -- if you do not even know their names. the infidels.
we must identify and attack our enemies. the world is safer when america chooses to lead. we must put forward a comprehensive strategy, not a policy of containment. theannot underestimate ability for them to attack us in our homes. they will destroy the enemy wherever the they are if we give them clear guidance. these acts of terrorism seem to make us less free. they are instilling fear, uncertainty and hate. americans and those other will continue to live our lives. samedvocate for those freedoms around the world.
it is time to have faith in god, to hug your loved ones tighter, to continue commitment to eliminate the threat of isis and radical islam and other terrorist organizations. god bless america. mr. speaker. mr. costello: i want to thank the gentleman from mississippi for his participation and i'd like to yield three minutes to the gentleman from nevada, mr. hardy. four minutes, excuse me. mr. hardy: thank you. i'd like to thank my colleague from pennsylvania for his efforts to host this here this evening. and the opportunity to speak. as the events of paris unfolded over the weekend, i watched in horror as the rest of the world, as violent terror once again touched the soil of america's oldest allies. i echo the cares and the concerns of the world, that terror is growing. and we must stand united against it. terror does not respect borders
or nationalities. -- is felt at the smallest villages and the world's most recognizable cities. nearly 500 people were killed or injured in paris, only 10 months after the extremist attack of offices murdering 17. last week 43 people were killed and 239 were injured by a suicide bomber in beirut. mounting evidence shows that terrorists were likely involved in the deaths of 224 people abroad -- aboard a russian jet. that went down in egypt last month. in israel our friends have been battling this increased violence for weeks. now with no predictable end in sight. each of these events happened in the last two months. and there are countless other victims of hate around the -- d who lose too often
losses go too often unnoticed. those losses have continually happened over the past six to seven years. and some of them seem to fall on deaf ears and deaf eyes. no matter the location, the fact is that too many parents in these nations worry if their children will come home safe at night. it is times like these that defenders of freedom need to remember the common threads that bind us together against the power of evil. france was not the beginning, nor will it be the end. on e heels of this tragedy, isis has taken credit and released a video promising that something worse is coming, something worse is coming. we should not neglect that threat. our own c.i.a. director said earlier today that he anticipates this is not the
only operation that isil has in the pipeline. and paris -- and the paris attack is not something that was planned in a matter of days. the president has stated, he shared that goal, that we want to degrade and destroy isis. while that is all our goal, in the meantime, we are obligated to the american people to contain and control these crazed attacks. isis has expandeto egypt, yemen, afghanistan, a to pakistan. teenagers from england and europe have attempted to or successfully haveupported isis on the ground, as sickening as these actions are, it is more terrifying to think that thos recruits might bring their new training back home, how long until we see terrorism ouching our u.s. soil?
we cannot fail to act. when america fails to lead, there's too often a vacuum that we have seen filled with the nightmares of hateful leaders whose disregard for innocent lives and their quest for power and control. we must be vigilant for the sake and the life in america and across the world. we must continue to fight those extremists and stand as a united front against a tide of evil. thank you and i yield back. mr. costello: i want to thank the gentleman from nevada for participating in tonight's special order. i want to recognize the gentleman from indiana, mr. young, for five minutes. mr. young: well, i want to thank my colleague from pennsylvania for his hard work and leadership on this issue. mr. speaker, tonight this hoosier rises in solidarity with our french brethren.
14 years ago, on september 11, when radical terrorists struck at the heart of the united states, france stood by us. in one of america's darkest hours, when no words seemed to and the sadness we felt, it was our french lies, our french allies who famously eadvocated the phrase, we are all americans. sadly, last friday evening on november 13, 2015, france was similarly subjected to multiple acts of terror in paris. now it's our turn to offer our support to the fallen, to their families, and to all of france. today, mr. speaker, we americans stand with the people of france our french allies, our french allies who famously eadvocated the phrase, we are all americans. sadly, last friday evening on november 13, 2015, france was similarly subjected to multiple acts of terror in paris. now it's our turn to offer our support to the fallen, to their families, and to all of france. today, mr. speaker, we americans stand with the people of france. our ties with france date back hundreds of years, to the days of the american revolutionary war. our shared values, our respect for liberty, equality and democracy, have bounts our two
great nations through centuries of conflict and peace. so tonight, on behalf of the citizens of indiana, i send my sincere thoughts and prayers to the parisians so devastated by this atrocity. together we will restore france . together we will defend civilization against mr. barrow:ism. and together we can endeavor to eliminate eye sills. in the wake of this sorrow, we must reflect on what led to this attack on innocent civilians. and then we must, as we say in the marines, adapt, improvise and overcome. we must find ways to prevent future attacks from occurring on our soil and the soil of our allies across the atlantic. this won't be without risk. leadership never is. but at this critical juncture, i hope congress stands ready to support the administration, to
encourage its development of a winning strategy that doesn't purport to merely contain isis, but instead turns the tide of radicalism in the region and eradicates this radical brand of terror. this is no time for half measures, mr. speaker. it will be imperative for the united states to coordinate with france and our other nato allies on a joint strategy to defeat isis, to eliminate this evil. this is, of course, no time for political posturing, empty rhetoric, or gamesmanship. it's a time for unity. and i look forward to working with my colleagues and working with our commander in chief on a war strategy that will annihilate the radical islamic state, keep the american people safe and return syria to its people. . i yield back my time.
mr. costello: i thank the gentleman from indiana. i'd like to recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. babin, for three minutes. mr. babin: thank you, mr. speaker. tonight, we stand with our brothers and sisters in israel and france to express our support and our commitment to these, our allies overseas. we witness the violence in israel in recent weeks, whipped up by the leadership of the palestinian authority. knowing now that radical islamic militants are determined to continue their assault on the democracies of the western world and western civilization. on friday the 13th, the world witnessed an unspeakable tragedy brought about by isis. this is a terrorist organization that has repeat think plagued the middle east with gruesome beheadings, violent killings,
and the rape of women and the enslavement of children. and now they have unleashed a terror rampage on our ally, france. and they promised to bring it to america as well. our president has called this slaughter a setback, quote-unquote. so now congress must recognize both the gravity and the tragedy of what has recrenly occurred and respond accordingly. what will it take, i ask, for this administration to admit that we are in a life and death struggle with radical islam? a chinese philosopher, sun-tzu once gave that admonition, know thy enemy. the enemy must be identified to defeat him. my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the recent terror attacks and i hope the united states will stand by them and the people of israel as well as france during these time and to e people of france, i say,
[speaking breverage]. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. mr. costello: i thank the gentleman from texas and recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. collins. mr. collins: i rise in sol carity with the people of france -- mr. zeldin: i rise in solidarity with the people of france and i commend the france in decisively and powerfully taking immediate action. they were delivering justice to those responsible for the cowardly attack on their innocent people. this latest attack wasn't just on france. no, this was an attack on all free nations targeted and threatened by the brutal and
stavepblg tactics of islamic terrorists who oppose the basic freedoms and liberty of the free world. this is not an isolated incident or a final stand. far from it. it could be france today and the united states tomorrow. i should point out that there is but one mandatory function tugally of the federal government. that is to provide for our national defense. this is a constitutional duty and a moral imperative that trumps any day of the week the charity of opening our doors to a syrian who will blow himself or herself up on our streets in the name of allah. i say that if an isis member wants to meet allah, we give them every opportunity to do so, ith a bomb from the air or
firing from a navy seal rifle. the good news is this. it doesn't require an occupation. or an enduring ground operation. i don't want that. no one wants that. but it does mean that our entire strategy must evolve quickly and effectively. we may have help from very motivated and twers capability of french, british, german and now even russians. we must understand that losing is not an option. what we can do is put 50 special operations forces on the ground in syria in the middle of a war zone and tell them they're not there on a combat operation. you can't tell that to them. their family, the entire free world. it's just divorced from the retail of what they'll face every day on the ground. if you aren't going to send our service members to win, do not
send them at all. i'd be happy to support a strategy to win if i actually believed the president had one. first and foremost, i.d. the threat. you cannot defeat a threat that you cannot or will not identify. next, execute a strategy to win. not just tread water. it's not about getting them jobs. it's about wiping them off the face of the earth. you annihilate the enemy. you don't contain it. especially not this enemy. you eliminate the threat. you don't literally, as a matter of policy, escort that threat across our borders. here at home, we must not move forward with the president's plan to bring in several tens of thousands of refugees, especially, and so importantly, because we cannot identify who the bad ones are. not one syrian refugee should be brought into america without
knowing with confidence that they do not pose a threat. we must not bury our heads in the sand or try to click our heels together to an alternate reality. last week was veterans day. we were again reminded of the sacrifices that have been made through generations to protect our way of life. let's honor their memory. treasure american greatness. stand up for freedom. and make sure what happened in paris on friday does not happen on our own home turf tomorrow. thank you and i yield back. mr. costello: thank you, mr. zeldin. at this time i'm pleased to recognize the gentlelady from ohio, ms. kaptur, for four minutes. ms. kaptur: i thank the gentleman from pennsylvania for yielding and mr. speaker, i rise tonight to offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to the sit len -- from the citizens
of ohio's ninth congressional district to the people of france. our long standing brothers and sisters in liberty. to all whose loved ones were killed or hurt in the barbaric attacks in pars relast weekend, we offer our prayers of comfort and consolation and our sincerest thanks are extended to law enforcement officials who bravely brought order and to top officials who ministered those who lost their lives. around the world, freedom loving people are repeating the words of the national anthem of france. this powerful song of inler -- liberty against tyranny roused that nation when it was written at the start of the french revolution, just a few years after america's own fight for liberty. one verse seems especially appropriate to recite tonight. translated into english, it says sacred love of the fatherland, liberty, cherished liberty,
fight with thy defenders, fight with thy defenders. this is a message for the world today. america is fighting along those -- alongside those who defend liberty. surely, france. [speaking french] we stand with those who fight for liberty. the american people have long cherished and defended the spirit of liberty alongside the people of france and there's no fwretter -- greater symbol of that in our harbor new york new york harbor, than the statue of liberty, which reminds us always of the fry um of of freedom over sub jew gated people. in modern times, france has been a founding member of nato and permanent member of the united nations security council. and we will work together to defeat this enemy as we have together defeated nazism, communism, and now as well, new threat, and we will have the
finest intelligent asset that our nations have placed on the ground in countries around the world, we have used our intelligence assets here at home to keep out and prevent those who would harm our people from coming inside our borders. we always worry and keep trying to make the security even better but we have come a long way since 9/11. each american can play an important role by reporting suspect behavior they observe and you can help our law enforcement officials ferret out dangerous elements that could prey upon our own people. on the home front, every citizen can help by paying attention to what you see and if suspicious, report it to your local law enforcement officials and in an emergency, to 99 -- to 911. also important, strengthening the bonds of community at home, at work, and at school. build bridges in your own community, including religious confessions. let's build bridges across religious confessions in this country, let no denomination
feel isolated or abandoned at this tense time. we stand with the people of france, we feel their loss. we stand with you as partners in liberty and forever keep in our earts the enduring call, liberte, egalite, fraternite. i yield back. mr. costello: the gentleman from new york mentioned our constitutional obligation and the moral imperative we have to -- to defend our homeland and national defense. i couldn't agree with him more. in that spirit, i want to start to conclude my comments by saying something i think most agree with, and that is we need to enhance our intelligence and vetting process of those who come to our country, including potential syrian refugee, reflect the seriousness of threats posed by isis. i want to go into a little bit
of information that is easy to come by if you paid attention to this issue, as i have, and the reality of the situation on the ground in syria. as a result of over four years of syrian civil war, we are seing the worst humanitarian crisis since world war ii. we can and we will as america continue to be a leader in the provision of aid and relief. but we can't afford to put the cart before the horse when it comes to admission policies here. this year alone over half a million syrian people are seeking refuge in europe and our european allies are looking to us for assistance. however, it's gravely concerning, i think, when your f.b.i. director, in this case james comby, who said earlier this year -- comey, who said earlier this year our government
is unable to conduct thorough background checks on the thousands of syrian refugees the administration will allow in the united states. his quote, we have no record of them and you can only query what you have collected. mr. speaker, the concerns and objections that i'm raising aren't just mine. they are the multitude of phone calls and emails that my office has received today and i suspect all members have received today. it's not isolationist, it's not anti-humanitarian. it's commonsense. and it's in the name of making sure that we are protecting our people and securing our homeland from threats. it's not unreasonable to conduct due diligence on who is coming into our country and we can't move forward with a policy of admit first, and ask later.
we have to close the gaps in our screening process of refugees entering into our country. the homeland security chairman, mr. mccaul, recently introduced legislation, the refugee resettlement oversight and security act. it would make substantial improvements to our refugee program and enhance congressional oversight of the administration's refugee proposals. many don't know that congress right now does not have much, if any, say over our refugee admission policy. this bill is intended to change that. it would require, amongst other thing, g.a.o. to review the security gaps in the screening process. the president as i mentioned has proposed resettling at least 10,000 syrian rev gees residing outside the syria conflict zone and refugee camps to the u.s. this fiscal year and i quote,
from correspondence i had the opportunity to review today that chairman mccaul wrote to the president, quote, we remain concerned that these resettlements are taking place without appropriate regard for the safety of the american people. nothing is more fundamental, nothing gets at the core of what our constitution is intended to protect, as that statement. and in his correspondence, he cites to a couple pieces of testimony that he received this past summer from various officials. leaders from the f.b.i., the national counterterrorism center, the department of homeland security, have all said to our homeland security ommittee that they lack the on the ground intelligence necessary to thoroughly vet
syrian refugees who seek re-- who seek to resettle here. national counterterrorism center director nicholas rasmussen testified on october 21 that you have to rely on -- when you vet -- in vetting an applicant's information, his opinion is this. quote, it isn't what we would like it to be. f.b.i. director comey explained during that same hearing, quote if someone has not made a ripple in the pond in syria, in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person, you can only query what you have collected. . it gets to the point that, as
we're concerned about our security and we're trusting the administration to properly vet those who seek to come here, we have to rely on our intelligence. and our intelligence leaders are offering something less than full confidence that their intelligence on those syrian refugees is something that we need to look a lot further at. and that's what i think we need to do. finally, department of homeland security secretary johnson said, quote, it is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the syrians that come forth in this process. now, i know tomorrow at 5:30, i believe, we will have a confidential briefing from the f.b.i. director in our direct -- and our director on homeland security. my point here this evening was just to raise some issues that frankly were on the front of my
mind and many others in my district and many other members of congress even before the tragedy that happened in paris on friday. but what happened on friday only reinforces in me and many others that isis isn't contained and in fact a strategy of containment is actually a dangerous one. and that further, as we're looking at the syrian readmission policy, it cannot be allowed to remain as it presently is. and be it through legislation, be it through this administration providing us more detail and allowing congress and the american people to get a better understanding of what is and isn't happening, i think would go a long way toward making us feel a lot safer and in fact if reforms need to be made, if the program needs to be halted, at
the present tim >> on the next "washington journal," rob bishop and chair of the resource committee talks about the paris attacks, recent threats from isis and the recrept threats on the land and water conservation fund. and represent bonnie watson cole map of new jersey. later a look at ways making the internet more secure with patrick traynor. "washington journal "is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern. and you can join the conversation with your calls and commeps op facebook -- comments on facebook and twitter. >> coming up on c-span, our world mark cases program on the 1952 supreme court case of youngstown sheet