tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 18, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
as hisational congress "principle point of contact" in the vice president's office. were provided reams of false information about weapons of mass destruction. heworked with scooter libb who was convicted after the bush administration leaked the identity of a covert cia agent valerie plame. her husband, ambassador joe wilson had publicly debunked the administration's false claims about the iraqi nuclear program. libbyas the same scooter who told the fbi that it was
askedble" that cheney had him to leak information about valerie plame's status. i do not know mr. hanna and i do -- i have note met him before today. if our goal was to hear from an expert who actually promoted false white house narratives and i think you picked the right person. but if our goal was to hear from someone who is not involved in one of the biggest misrepresentations in our nations history, then you picked the wrong person. listening to john hannah criticize anyone else for pushing of false white house
narrative is beyond ironic. he ended cheney and their colleagues in the white house wrote the how-to manual on this. tragedy here is that thousands of u.s. service members from our district were killed in iraq and thousands more sustained terrible injuries . the american taxpayers have now spent hundreds of billions, billions of dollars, even by the most conservative estimates. the chairman, rushed to invite mr. hanna without consulting anyone. this panel has been stacked with hand-picked witnesses that oppose the agreement and they did not invite comment republicans like richard lugar.
they did not invite any eight of the dozens of generals or admirals or other military experts who support this agreement. other committees have held dozens of substantive hearings on the iran agreement. do you know how many this committee has held? zero. the subcommittee on national security last november but that was it. nothing at the committee level. now ourof a sudden committee is rushing to hold today's hearing without even a one-week notice required are the house rules. same are all repeating the talking points and the same republican political narrative. he has basically created his own republican echo chamber. with respect to ben rhodes i am
struggling to understand the allegations against him. if i understand it correctly republicans accuse him of misleading the american people by claiming that nothing 2013ned with iran before when they elected the so-called moderate president. republicans claim that if the theicans just knew president was working towards an agreement before 2013, they would have rejected the deal. of course, this is absurd create there are dozens of public press reports from every single year of the obama administration documenting how they were working to reach out to iran with burying degrees of success. by theto do is google it time resident barack obama was a candidate for president until today press accounts are full of accounts of how letters were
being exchanged, meetings are being held, and negotiations were being lodged. republicans rushed to hold this hearing not as a way of getting substantive information about the hurts of the iran agreement or even to investigate the allegations. this hearing is exact the what it purports to condemn. person narrative designed to mislead the american people. that is not just ironic, that is hypocritical. with that i yield back. i think the witnesses against being here. witness we had invited from the white house had declined to come before the committee. we are disappointed in his failure to appear. invitation to appear was invite -- extended to tom cotton done at the request of the white house.
mr. rhodes refused to appear before the committee today the distinguished senator of arkansas is also excused. >> i have an inquiry. is mr. hanna here? >> yes. >> then why didn't mr. cummings s?ked him the question >> i can say whatever i wanted to say in my opening statement. >> just be fair about it. you can say what you want. >> i wanted to know if he was here. >> mr. rhodes is not here. i would also note that the democrats were free and usually almost always invited democratic
witness but there is no democratic witness because you did not invite one. >> you know for fact that we got less than the notice is required in the rules and did not object and went on with the hearing. you know that. >> i disagree with the timing issue. >> you gave us the required time. >> yes. >> i disagree. >> we will sort that out. we have a good working relationship. >> parliamentary inquiry. does the executive privilege applied to media interviews or appearances before congress? >> i do not know the full answer but i believe they are free to talk to whoever they want to in the media but they did claim executive privilege. >> is that a yes or no, does that apply when you are being
interviewed by "the new york when" or abc or cbs or numbers of congress ask questions? >> i think when members of congress. we're going to continue with the hearing. we do have mr. michael rubin. , a seniorl warren fellow at the heads and -- hudson institute. we welcome you and thank you for being here. all witnesses are to be sworn before they testified. --you will please raise and rise and raise your right hand. that thelemnly swear testimony you are about to give be the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? allthe record reflect that witnesses answered in the affirmative. we would appreciate limiting your comments to five minutes. your written statement will be
entered into the record. now recognize mr. rubin. thank you for the opportunity to testify. the major iran related issue [indiscernible] embraced the voluntary compliance with the additional protocol when previously ronnie had bragged that voluntary compliance allowed iran to reverse course. have iranians transferred work to labs in north korea? we will never know. another where it misled was rouhani as a moderate. withuffed his cabinet veterans of the intelligence kgbstry constructing a cabinet. in 2005 he laid out a doctrine of surprise.
love the americans into complacency and deliver a knockout blow. it also misled about who benefits. the real tragedy is it pumps money into the coffers of the revolutionary guard. between 1998 and 2005 the european union almost tripled its trade with iran and the price of oil quintupled. a spokesman bragged about how he had defeated the west and we had an overt policy which was one of negotiation and can't does confidence building and a covert policy which was continuation of the activity. the problem goes beyond the supreme leader's investment bond.
the economic wing controls 40% of the economy including every sector now open for business. many of those who supported the jcp away acknowledged it is a flawed and faulty agreement that argued the alternative was war. this may have been crafty politics but it undermined the u.s. position. by creating a binary choice he added ability that the obama administration [indiscernible] this played into iranian hands because they knew no matter what wouldushed for kerry concede. i my written testimony detailed a long history of diplomats and politicians lying to keep diplomacy alive for you too often they blame political opponents more than foreign adversaries for the failure of diplomacy. as do formats
proceed with high-level engagements they too often calibrated to the fantasy they have constructed rather than reality. this often leads officials to avoid congressional oversight and on occasion to lie to congress. during the 1990's senior state department officials testify they could draw note to let -- direct links between arafat and terrorism to avoid triggering an aide cut off. likewise in 2007 during the bush administration the state department point man on north korean issues presented to congress and artificially rosy picture of the diplomatic process with north korea in order to keep support for engagement alive. diplomats advocating the new start treaty lied directly and by omission to congress in order to avoid reporting that russia had been cheating on arms control. so what to do? certainly any dissemination of false it's too congress and the
american evil merit a broader investigation. the u.s.st six decades state department has failed to conduct lessons learned exercises as to why it's hype profile diplomacy with rogue regimes have seldom if ever exceeded. refusestate department due diligence it would be beneficial if congress would examine diplomacy leading up only to ensure that the same mistakes are now made for a seventh time. there should be bipartisan consensus. even supporters acknowledge serious concerns about its flaws. so to do most experts outside of the echo chamber about [indiscernible] i am concerned that perhaps by creating an cochair and talking to people within it in effect what rhodes did was create propaganda operation in which he entrapped none other than
secretary of state john kerry. did he talk to people outside the echo chamber? if not he is a victim of inroads as well. thank you. doran: members of the committee. thank you for inviting me to address some of the problems raised by the recent profile on ben rhodes. the "news admitted in york times" that he created a detailm of two dozen he's from around the executive branch who came to the white house and monitored all communications, all public medications about the iran deal. communication's coming out of capitol hill, the think tank world, and social media and the traditional media. he also created what he called
an echo chamber, that was a network of center -- sympathetic ngo's, think tanks, and compliant members of the press seeded false narratives about the iran deal and then directed the reporters to these ngos and think thanks to give seemingly independent verification to the narratives he put out. in my view the creation of the echo chamber and war room does constitute a deception of the american people and of their representatives but the question is what exactly was the nature of the deception question mark to understand that we have to understand the larger policy context. that is the strategic goal of ae president was to carry out detente with iran. it was to end the conflict with a necessary precondition to pulling the united states back from the middle east because ending the military engagement in the middle east is
the president overall goal. the president had been upfront and said he wanted to pull the u.s. out of the middle east and he would have uncovered immediately is of political backlash which would have undermined his whole project. ,he former defense secretary said as much to the "new york times" magazine. now, that is the need for a propaganda operation that to deceive the american people. it is not just to misrepresent what is in the iran deal but this represent everything around it which is the strategic goal of the president and the middle east. i would like to say a few words if i may about what is the anatomy of the deception.
bothis, the main lines of -- of paul's narrative that the war room and echo chamber put out. in my prepared statement i go into more detail. i would just summarize. number one, conjuring moderates. the echo chamber created the impression that the president of iran was a moderate coming to power, representing a wave of moderation and iran. it is i to fundamentally change relations between iran and the west. this is been the gift that keeps on giving to president obama's diplomacy. story ofs a pleasing breaking down the barriers. it creates a moral equivalence
and political terms between those who are critical of the deal in the united states and hardliners, the suppose it enemies -- suppose it enemies in iraq. it blows us into a false sense of security about all the concessions made to iran. the sunset component of the nuclear deal which is iran a completely legitimate program and the ability to move quickly towards a weapon. we are supporting a process of moderation in iran, then allowing it to have these capabilities is really no danger. second deception is falsifying the chronology of the negotiations, which began much earlier than the election. iranck to july 2012, initiated by the united states.
the third reception is a racing concessions from the united states along the lines of what mr. rubin just discussed. before that is hiding the regional cost. the president has, in effect, recognized syria as an iranian spear of influence. one of the goals of the deception of mr. rhodes is to prevent people from connecting the dots between the syria policy and the iranian nuclear policy. the fifth part of the deception is blaming allies. the white house on background is on public -- in public very willing to criticize our sunni allies as creating secretary and extremism. it is willing to criticize and very derogatory terms prime minister yahoo! of israel. minister-- prime
netanyahu of israel. now what we need to do about this. two points. number one, i agree with you chairman that we do not actually know what is in the iran deal. we still did is they do not know. i completely agree with your assessment about the activities of secretary of state kerry in europe last week. drumming up business with the iranians and they are saying this is part of the deal. is it part of the deal or is it not? we do not know. i would support further investigation. how anyone who looks at this and a season war detail ease from around the executive branch and the white house with the job of
monitoring communications and creating a false narrative in the media, is a legitimate part of the nce's mission. it should be a coordinating body, it should not be a muscular body running roughshod over the executive branch. i would add my voice to those who are saying the nce should be cut back severely from the 400 members a currently has to something more like 100. thank you. recognized mr. hannah for five minutes. on behalf of the foundation for defense and democracies, thank you for the invitation to testify on the iran nuclear deal. for me as a foreign-policy analyst, perhaps the most important revelation made in the recent "new york times" profile
of an rose with the -- profile of ben rhodes -- a purpose which until now has been largely concealed from the american people. according to the article, quote him up by eliminating the fuss nuclear program the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create a space for america to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like saudi arabia, egypt and israel, and turkey. with one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from ,, close quote. ? doesgested elsewhere, it represent nothing less than a
radical shift in american foreign-policy. according to the article, mr. rhodes's -- did not arrive from any investment in the technical details of sanctions or the future of iranian policy but rather, quote, "from his own sense of urgency, radically reorienting american policy in the middle east in order to make the prospect of any american prospect a lot less likely." whether you agree or disagree with this inclination to step back from the leadership role which the united states has played in the middle east since world war ii, the troubling fact remains that this fundamental shift in american strategy has never been openly communicated to the american people. it has never been debated by the u.s. congress, and it has never been revealed to america's longtime allies in the middle east. determining whether or not this very substantive claim is true, that is, whether the white house
is now in reality seeking to engineer a large-scale american disengagement from the middle question of vital importance to u.s. national interests. whether you agree with it or disagree, and it is one i think the congress should seek clarification on. if in fact the nuclear deal with iran is the center of the art for president obama's effort to radically transform u.s. policy come and raises a host of concerns. it casts doubt on the administration's repeated claim that no deal was better than a bad deal. to the extent that the preeminent objective instead in mr. rhodes's view was to eliminate the fuss about iran's nuclear program rather than to actually eliminate the program itself. one wonders whether the administration did demand or at a tough enough posturing in negotiations that it might otherwise have been.
concern exists now that the deal is in place and being implemented. when congress was reviewing it last summer, the illustration made repeated assurances to congress that it would they were asleep enforce the agreement while using every tool at its disposal to counter iranian terrorism, star rising -- stabilizing the region, and human rights abuses. since then, iran's bad behavior as -- dramatically isolated. it has significantly increased its combat role in syria. it has arrested additional u.s. citizens, conducted multiple ballistic missile tests. file -- fired rockets very close to u.s. just in the persian gulf. threaten to's -- the u.s. response to these repeated provocations, despite the ministrations early assurances, as so far ranged from quite different to nonexistent. even more worrisome perhaps has
been the reported u.s. willingness to at least contemplate granting iran additional sanctions relief that it failed to negotiate. specifically, iran is the many access to dollarized financial transactions. as a be a huge unilateral concession that would greatly expand iran's ability to do business internationally while legitimizing an iranian banking sector. it remains mired in illicit financing activities. let me close by stressing that in light of the questions raised by the "new york times" file about what america's true underlying purposes and pursuant to the iran deal, it is extremely important that congress now hold the administration's b2b buyer when it comes to the commitment to combat iran's continued aggression. they should do everything in their power to make sure iran receives no new relief.
far more aggressive, you should aggressive use to be made of the current sanctions to deter the iranian guard corps from their destabilizing activities. the bottom line is the united states should not be sending iran the message that we now place such a high premium on its continued adherence to the nuclear deal that it will have carte blanche to pursue its increasingly threatening policies and other areas that endanger our interests and those of our eyes. thank you again mr. chairman for the opportunity to testify. i know this is the place where i would say i look forward to your questions, the more appropriately i'm ready to stand by answer questions. -- to stand by and answer your questions. >> thank you. mr. rhodes i wish were here.
andaid some truly amazing over the top things which were quoted in "the new york times." i haven't heard any review of that. one thing that would concern all ,f us is the quote he said quote, i do not know anymore where i begin and obama ends. if you let it settle in, that is a truly stunning statement. he also said some of the things i think are concerning. all these newspapers used to have a foreign bureaus. but he says, quote, now they do not. they call us to explain to them what is happening in moscow and cairo you most of the -- and cairo. nothing.rally know end quote. he went on to say, quote, then
there are the sorts of force multipliers. i will reach up to a couple people. i would not want to name them. then he goes on, and, anyway. it is really interesting in his approach. that is one component. but you compile that on top of --this isalso hear what secretary panetta said. and this is a quote. you know my view, talking with the president was, if i wanted to the point where we had evidence that they are developing an atomic weapon can i think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen. but then panetta stops according to the article, and the author says, but would you make that same assessment now? panetta'scretary quote is i would make the same assessment now?
probably not. probably not. he said it once, i repeated it twice. this is the concern. think it would be naive to glosses over and say we have this deal, it is in the best interest of the united states. i would hope that we would walk out with an understanding from the three of you of what those big outstanding questions are. but maybe somebody could shed some light on these so-called side deals, these things where i ran as maybe -- do you have any insight, any of you, what these so-called side deals might be? mr. doran: no. there is what we have uncovered, but as time goes on we keep putting out more and more. course, the obama
demonstration says there's nothing else but the iranians are saying that there is a larger deal, in particular in regard to access to dollars and expanding their economy. and the behavior of our officials suggest they are right. hereare not correct, but we have secretary kerry in europe less meeting with banks, trying to get them to overlook concerns about iran's illicit activities and drum up business for iran. there is a mismatch here between what we are saying and what we are doing. what we are doing actually does match quite closely with what the iranians are saying. that has been a characteristic of the deal from day one. the deal has been shaped by the red lines of the supreme leader and not by the red lines of the
president of the united states. our lives have dropped all along the way and the iranians have stayed consistent with theirs. quickly, is also -- almost like a timeshare agreement. you sign the deal and then you only find out that what the true cost is. one would be in regard to changing the language of iran's most of -- ballistic missile. was it a confession or a result of a competence? -- incompetence? thatans will now complain we are not enabling enough openings for their economy, and yet what did not hit the western press was last week the iranians on the order of the supreme leader canceled a 20 million -- $2 million order for chevrolet. the answer was we should not be doing business with the americans. who is knee capping the iranian economy, us or the iranians?
it is time they take account ability for themselves. i will now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you mr. chairman. , your dick cheney's national security advisor? from 2005 2 2000 and nine. 2009.m 2005 to think it is. we played an important role in making the first draft of the speech to the united nations, that was true. did, you were involved in making the first draft? mr. hannah: that is correct. >> is this the draft he presented to the united nations? i know you go through many more dress. mr. hannah: sure.
-- drafts. mr. hannah: if you hear them tell the story now, they say my draft was filled with inaccurate reports, reports that could be supported by the intelligence community. at the end of the day they throughout my draft. --retary powell that's not then spent four days with the intelligence community at langley doing a new draft saying he was -- which was primarily based on that. didr claim is that my draft not actually form the foundation of what he presented to the united nations. that, i aming heard sure that you probably said, let me at least listen to what he did say, is that right? mr. hannah: sure, yes i did, absolutely. ofwas there any mention weapons of mass destruction in your draft as compared to the
final draft of secretary powell? mr. hannah: both of our dress were entirely focused on weapons of mass destruction. >> what would you say was the difference. a very disappointed with the information that you had provided him. he said it was a blot on his reputation and pre-much until the day he dies is going to regret it. i'm just curious. mr. hannah: when he said was a blot, i think that was what he presented. i do not think he was talking about the draft i presented. it was what he did that he ended up presenting that was obviously filled with errors, most of it was wrong. draft, the instruction to meet when i started the draft was that you need to go look at all of the intelligence there is, including raw intelligence,
which we regularly got at the white house which were individual reports by individual intelligence forces -- i did that and put it into a draft. and then had the intelligence andunity look at that draft decide what pieces of intelligence could be support, which ones could not support, that source was not reliable, didn't have enough of a reliable record of reporting, and they would throw it out. i wrote the draft knowing it largest segments will be thrown up because the intelligence community did not have the necessary confidence level in that reporting. let me read what secretary powell's chief of staff said about your document. hannah was constantly flipping through his club or try to source and verify the statements. it was clearly think was put together by chick -- cherry picking everything. it was discovered you do not use the dia report properly, you do
not cite a cia report properly. and you quoted an intelligence report out of context. so this draft, as you said, your entire document, it was described as this way. i quote, finally put the paper down on the table and said, this is not going to cut it. this was the chief of staff, right, for secretary powell? how can you have given him such a document that appears, in his opinion, to have been baseless and misleading? mr. hannah: well, there is a long history of this. he has a long record that anyone can read about his views of the iraq war and his regrets. i think we just have a different view of the draft i presented. i do a note included a lot of stuff i knew that came from the intelligence community that they
would not be able to support if they thought it was not used properly to my could use it properly they thought it was useful. so, we just have a basic difference of view about what i actually provided and what the purpose of my draft was. it was not meant to be a final draft, the final word that would go to the united nations. it was meant to be a rough draft intelligence committee would go through and pick out those parts that they thought -- made -- thought were the strongest case that saddam had weapons of mass destruction. also george tenant who reportedly turned directly to you and said, you have wasted a lot of our time. is that true and did he say that? mr. hannah: he certainly didn't say to me and i can easily see him saying that kind of thing but he did not say to me. >> thank you very much. >> will now recognize the
gentleman from michigan. >> we wish there other members of course. in your testimony you discuss the need to restore checks and balances and note tha t while mr. rhodes'behavior is scandalous, it was not a rogue operation, but that he was carrying out the will of the president. questions that i'm sure my constituents representing them in the people's house would want me to ask in reference to this is not number one, how can congress take steps to prevent this president and future presidents from circumventing congress? mr. doran: i think this is part of the inherent tension in our government.id -- is doing thehodes
bidding of the president, it is important to remember that. we have numerous accounts, mainly from former defense secretary's panetta and gates especially, showing how there is an inner court in the white house of five or six people who consult closely with the president about his views. anybody else is pretty much left out of the conversation. on theng principles national security council. mr. rhodes is part of that inner circle. the only answer i have for this, i spent a lot of time taking about it. the only answer i have only two that i gave you. one is exercising the oversight responsibilities that congress ,as, asking the hard questions and continuing to put pressure on the executive branch to come clean. the second is cutting back the size of the nce.
it is simply wrong. i think anyone on both sides of the aisle would see the national security council was created to be a coordinating body, not an operational arm of the government. under president obama it has slipped into becoming an operational arm. when you look at the war room as described not by the, but by mr. rhodes, this is an operational white house. one last thing. there is an issue here that we need to be aware of but there is .ot we can do about it that is the collapse of the press. one of the reasons why this is a threat to our checks and balances is because of the collapse of come i would say, certain informal checks on governmental power that have disappeared over the last decade quickly because of the rise of the internet.
rhodes said in that thecle about foreign events reported from washington and from the white house by young reporters who do not know anything and not have any other source of information is completely correct and it is a danger. there's not much we can do about that but we need to be aware of it. it is a double danger because not only do those reporters not have alternative sources of because all the information is coming out of the white house they have a special interest in maintaining good relations with the white house and reporting the news stories as the white house wants. >> let it go on from that as well. ben rhodes'assistant in the article, his comments in the "new york times" article indicated there were compiled raise involved with this. somewhere in the think tank
community. -- some were in the think tank community. who would he be referring to? what? the plowshares fund. ,upposedly neutral assessors for example in various arms control the thanks thanks, and the atlantic council as well. and elsewhere, were receiving grants. one could say just because one has received a grant from this high-level funder -- by the way this funder has also provided grants to senior iranian working in the united states as well as universities and so forth. just because they have funded doesn't necessarily mean that there is a quid pro quo. but what you will find is anyone who has received funding, especially for the bulk of their grant or their salary, never,
not once, contradicted the assessment which ben rhodes thought to put forward. >> thank you. from newrecognize york. >> thank you. ofer a good deal deliberation and research, i voted against the iran nuclear deal. at the time i was hoping very much that i was wrong. but everything that has happened since and the additional information that has come forth, it literally has convinced me that i rate -- made the right decision. but i have to say as a member who took the time to carefully study the plan before making the decision, as i believe all my colleagues did, i had absolute complete access to all documents. i read every document, even
classified documents, every meeting was addressed in various areas. the administration and over backwards to provide accurate information to us. and i must say that this was one of the most hotly debated issues that i have experienced since i have been in congress. both sides were deeply involved in putting for their cases. therewere demonstrations, were petitions, there were meetings, there were conferences. there were debates -- it was completely and totally open to everyone to learn and to make their own decision. so, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are now taking another opportunity to attack the administration with a futile fishing opposition based on a widely questioned profile of an advisor to president obama.
i believe it is quite a stretch to suggest that the white house building a copperheads of information campaign -- a comprehensive information campaign amounts to anyway and misleading the american people. and i find it incredibly hypocritical to invite mr. hannah, who worked for dick cheney and helped market the iraq war based on false ustenses, to come now before as an expert witness on and he false white house narrative. i find the hypocrisy really beyond belief. i would like to ask mr. hannah, do you know who scott mclennan is? other people might not know, he was the white house press secretary and he wrote a book about his experience. he explained how a small group
helpedgroup of advisers sell the iraq war by misleading the american people. and i am quoting from president bush's press secretary. he said the white house iraq group has been set up in the summer of 2002 to coordinate the marketing of the war to the public. , was in scooter libb your boss -- libby your boss? mr. hannah: i'm not 100% sure but i think you are right. mcclellan for the road, he explained exactly how you and others misled the american people. and i quote, as the campaign accelerated, qualifications were downplayed or dropped altogether. contradictory intelligence was largely ignored or simply
disregarded. , why did youh ignore and disregard evidence that contradicted your political narrative for the war? congresswoman, i would just say that to the extent that i got it wrong in believing that saddam had weapons of mass destruction, an awful lot of people got it wrong. it was not a figment of the imagination. he wasyou saying that wrong in the book when he said this group misled the american people? say isnah: all i can their work bipartisan commissions that looked at the of massence of weapons destruction and came to the conclusion that the president of the united states did not lie. >> i'm not talking about the president, i am talking about mcclellan. was he lying? wrote we are misleading the american people.
we downplayed any contradictory administration -- information. mr. hannah: i have not read his book. --an tell you is that basically if he was wrong in his judgment -- >> are you saying you did include contradictory intelligence showing that your case was weak or nonexistent? mr. hannah: no. i think we were instructed to write what we thought was the best case for why saddam had weapons of mass destruction. >> time has expired. >> no, i have 21 seconds left according to this. >> you are over. >> i would like to put my closing statement in the record. it is a zinger. it is very hypocritical mr. chairman. mr. hannah is your to answer
questions, mr. rhodes is not here to answer questions. >> thank you for your testimony and for providing valuable information to this community. lights -- even when presented with the facts like each of you have laid up in your testimony, the ministration doubles down and try to discredit anyone who disagrees with the false narrative, including me. s'en asked about ben rhode revelatory interview, he decided to lambaste several members of congress. truly eliciting the principles to their core. dealnder this illegal iran that iran will be able to access $100 million that was previously frozen?
it will be worth about $100 bi llion. the president of iran said his country would get about $100 bi llion. the white house is now trying to brand me as a liar. the point is not whether it is $100 billion or $50 billion. the real problem is president obama is funding the world largest state sponsor of terrorism. iran is no friend to the united states, christians, jews, or ev en muslims. president who loves his country and support our allies would never lift sanctions and give this murderous regime money, much less billions. this strained our national character. our next president we can only hope will terminate this nonsense.
women,egime that stones maine's homosexuals and kills others. dram. -- here i am. where is ben rhodes? i guess you can run and hide. we know that no one operates in a vacuum. represent ades rogue employee of the spin campaign purposes something more deeply about how the white house handled the iran deal? i believe it represents the president's strategic vision and the president's will. the president is on record as early as 2006 think he wanted to improve relations with iran and syria and he saw iran and syria as a sharing core interests in stabilizing iraq and we should work with them to do that. i do not think he ever lost --
you would say he is ultimately responsible for developing this capitulation? mr. doran: absolutely. we're not actually trying to stop them from getting a nuclear weapon can we are trying to develop a partnership . >> the lies and misrepresentation are just the latest example of a culture of deception and this administration's mo since its inception. this is the same administration that sold the people out to health care reform. his congressional minions drove a garbage truck through congress and over american's pocketbooks by knowingly and willingly the me like a you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. this is the same administration that lately violated federal law by engaging in unlawful lobbying
in order to provoke -- promote -- they confirmed the executive branch unleashed an illegal propaganda campaign in order to foce down the throat of the american people. it is clear they had a covert agenda that was driven more by the optics of diplomacy and legacy than the real lies on the ground. what are the dangers of such a narrative driven approach to policymaking? when one constitutes --the cost is often paid with blood. iran has not become less of a terrorist sponsor. if we just take the $50 billion figure, that is 10 times the budget of the iranian core.
take the ability to designate state sponsors of terrorists out of the hands of the state department and put it in independent commission so it does not become a political football. this behavior has become the status quo for an obama administration which is lately disregarded the law and the american people. dangerous president and needs to be stopped by congress. thank you. we will now recognize the gentle one from the district of columbia. we can discuss the central allegation that brought us to this hearing. that is what i would like to pursue. republicans, my colleagues, accuse ben rhodes of misleading the american people by claiming that the obama administration began negotiating
the deal and the operative area elected a after iran so-called moderate president. the claim is if the american people knew that the president was working towards the agreement before 2013 they would have rejected the deal. dede's how the claim is wor in the "new york times" magazine, that rhodes spade -- shaped the story -- the iran deal began in 2013 when a moderate faction within the liranian regime be the hardliners leading to an election where there was more openness. so the author says that mr. rhodes claimed of story began in
2013. but the problem is that is not true. efforts with's respect to iran were widely reported from the time he became president. so i will ask from a clip from "the washington post" 2008 when the president became president, be posted. it describes how the iranian president wrote to president obama after he was elected in 2008. you are all a panel of so-called experts. i assume you read "the washington post" on occasion. were you not aware of this 2008 report? any of you unaware of that 2008 report? rememberh: i do not
the report exactly but i think you are right and everyone knew going into the election that president obama had a clear that he thought he would be the one to end our three decade old war. negotiatingis about the agreement itself and being in touch with the iranian regime before they was a regime change. let's go to "the washington times" in 2009. i assume you read that. it describes how president obama tont -- sent two letters iran's supreme leader. - that is 2009, this iw well before 2013. from are many reports every year of the administration. this is why this hearing befuddles me. 2010 from "the economist."
mr. obama says the various components of as policy should not be seen in isolation. first he tried to engage iran noty and it directly, because he was naive about the regime but in order to make clear to the world that america was not the aggressor and he was willing to work with iran if it reasonably. 2011 from "the atlantic." this is 2011. fixed -- six-party body negotiating issue.
2012. all of this is before 2013. you are supposed to be experts. some of experts not invited here has said that it is nonsense tha after regime change did the president begin to negotiate . the president of plowshares fund called the other nonsense -- nonsense.utter claim oflaim -- official deception were never substantiated. , so we these experts could have a bounced picture, or call your. unfortunately by not invite these experts we are getting a
very one-sided authority. i yield to the chairman. democrats always have an opportunity to invite a witness to the hearing. democrats chose not to invite a witness. and the person we call the white house, mr. rhodes, also refused to show up. >> i understand mr. chairman. the ranking members already heather beent time, there would have been a democratic witness. thank you, i yield back. >> we now recognize the gentleman from ohio. youentlemen, are any of familiar with the name jonathan gruber? do know that name? anyone? mr. rubin: i know the name. >> do know what his occupation as? mr. rubin: i think he is an
economist with was enlisted to help with health care reform. do you know what title he was given when he was helping with obamacare and health care reform? anyone remember? architect of obamacare. he got a little notoriety in the press index we had to come sit where you guys are sitting if you use ago. he wasyou guys know why brought in front of the committee and had to sit here? want to take a guess? yes, he was deceptive. he talked about the stupidity of the american voter. this is a direct quote. lack of transparency is a political advantage. --way of nice way thing if you do see people you might get your case.
so here the architect of obamacare talking about deception. if you like your plan you can keep it, if you like or dr. you can keep it, premiums are going to go down. everything turned out to be false. now we hear about another person in the obama administration, mr. rhodes. he comes along and is given the title, the single most influential voice in shaping american foreign-policy. things are starting to sound familiar. he creates a false narrative as well. chamberout this echo and deceiving the press, and his derision for the press is kind gruber's derision of the american voter. they literally know nothing was one of the lines i believe mr. rhodes used in his piece. , you talk about this false choice in your opening set upnt that mr. rhodes
and used this echo chamber of folks who literally know nothing to further this message to the american people, this binary choice either it is the deal or it is war. the thing that strikes me mr. chairman and i will not take my full-time, i just want to make this point. the first time this administration on some big policy decision has deceived the american people. but maybe more importantly, it is not my judgment the first time mr. rhodes on a big policy issue has tried to deceive them. mr. rubin, you are getting ready to say something, go ahead. the deception oftentimes comes in the form of cherry picking. if you want to look at previous acknowledgment of letters, what is interesting is when the
supreme leader come on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of , he mockedn embassy president obama for the letters he was sending and said we are not going to talk to the americans until they fundamentally change their position your so one of the reasons we need the transparency about what you're saying is sometime around 2012 the american's fundamentally change their position but then didn't come clean to the american people. >> i thank you for that. let me finish up with this. just to make this point. deceived the american people on obamacare. along comes mr. rhodes on the iranian deal. uses deception to create this false choice and help get this agreement passed. as a said, this is not the first time mr. rhodes has that.
i think he did on the benghazi issue. i think he did it there as well when he said any now famous thought it would which became the catalyst for the reason the house of representatives and the speaker formed the committee, when he crated this false choice. failure policy, it is rooted in a video. again, a pattern with the administration, what appears to be a pattern with mr. rhodes himself, then when he is getting the task toen testify, is not have the courtesy to show up. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i will now recognize the german from massachusetts. frome gentleman massachusetts. if only the president have been upfront about withdrawn by middle east. i have to say, the president was clearly during his campaign
going back to 2007, 2008, at not nauseam. ad on of the fact that he was one to get those people out of there. he was going to withdraw plain middle east. i think he got elected based on a claim. but like trump does with we are going to build a wall and we are going to make america great again -- president obama went on a non-. he hammered away at that and said if i get elected and i am going to withdraw those troops. he is first 16 months going to get all the combat brigades out of iraq. he was very much upfront about that. he was perfectly clear on that. the other fiction here is that the american people were tricked by ben rhodes. we were the audience, us here.
they were trying to get the bill , the iran agreement through congress. we are the ones getting all the information. i have to say i was never tricked by ben rhodes. to ben rhodes,ct in terms of the merits of that agreement, he was probably not as qualified as a mother people who are coming to congress and testifying before both republican and democratic caucuses. we had a list of experts. 78 nuclear experts, five former investors to israel, 29 nobel prize winning scientist, 36 retired generals come over 100 former u.s. ambassador's command over 500 iranian americans with experience in the u.s. and iran. 340 rabbis, 53 christian scientistshese test -- who createdsit this
the first hydrogen bomb. we had stone cold experts on this. those are the people --actress sat with one of the experts from the i.a.e.a about what he iraq.t happened at and what they actually thought of the ability of this agreement to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. those are the people we also listened to. it was not been rhodes in some -- ben rhodes in some political spin. but if we are trying to measure this agreement, we are all rehashing this agreement. i think the best way would be to .a.e.a. because they are the ones we put on the ground and ask them to do these inspections. i would just like to come up for the record, i'm going to ask to two admitted the first .e.a., the the i.a
verification for the islamic republic and iran in light of the united nations security council resolution 2231. this is an expression -- inspection done because of the agreement. i will tell you what they report. i will give you the greatest hits. iraq,determined that heavy water research reactor. they determined iran was not pursuing the construction of the reactor. they had removed the existing calandra you from that reactor and filled it with concrete. they had stored under conditions , continuous agency monitoring all existing iranian pellets and if you'll. they modified the-- and fuel.
they modified the plant so that it cannot be used for the fabrication of furl. -- fuel. iran was not procuring rich uranium. it goes on here. a lot of that stuff -- a lot of good stuff here. were not conducting any iranian enrichment, had removed all of its nuclear material. so, i'm getting to eight seconds. had completed facility inspections to allow the agency to examine transparency measures. . ishat is what the i.a.e.a exactly doing and that's part of the agreement. advantage to us no
matter what happens in the future is that up to the time a disagreement was signed, we never had people in the ground on those facilities. we were always guessing about the level of progress they had made on their nuclear weapons program. now we have people on the ground. even if the breach, we will have the benefit of having people on the ground looking at those facilities. that is a good thing. i yield back. we will enter those into the record unless those -- there is an objection. we now recognize the gentleman from south carolina. onlywant to thank you not for the penalty for us but the panel he tried for us. odes not did ben rh appear and cost us an opportunity to question mr. rhodes, the cost us the opportunity to question tommy cotton.
before a senator congress would have really created a constitutional congress. good thing or us, tommy was willing to come on his own. the contrast would have been interesting. the white house is very critical of senator cotton. of course, when he was serving in the united states army in afghanistan and was neverrhodes getting the mean streets of a creative writing curriculum. i mean that literally, that is not figurative. he has a masters in creative writing. if you are interested in writing haiku's and novellas, he is probably the right guy. when you are advising the leader of the free world i do not know how a haiku helps. but i would have enjoyed the opportunity to ask mr. rhodes
how his background prepared him to sell the iranian deal and yet tommy kinds not -- tommy cotton's did not. that would have been an interesting dichotomy for me. but i want to ask mr. rhodes what he meant by certain things. he said we created a negative chamber. does the chairman know who "we" is? ? >>i do not. >> he then invoke executive privilege and he cannot be talking about what other presidential advisers said. so, i could be that, could it? >> i do not know. >> then he said reporters call us to ask when to them what is happening in moscow and cairo. i'm curious which reporters that would be. which ones call him to find out what is going on in cairo? but we cannot ask him because he
is not here. he has plentyd, of time to sit down for what he had hoped to be a fluff piece in times." york this is what really concerns me, mr. chairman. in talking about those reporters, he said they literally no nothing. how does someone literally no nothing? he said there were 27 years old which suggests they at least have a drivers license. if they are 27, they would be eligible to vote in the democratic primary. you have to know something. when i say they literally know nothing, that struck me. i wanted to ask him about that. also, i think that his appearance today, had he
bothered to come, would create an opportunity for bipartisanship, which i know our friends on the other side of the aisle like from time to time. he expressed contempt for editors and reporters at the new york times and washington post and the new yorker. that may have provided an opportunity for bipartisanship. we would have shared our own frustrations. but he didn't come. mr. chairman, you do a great job leading this committee. it is up to you whether or not you assert the people's right to question ben rhodes. but this selected use of executive privilege on one day, but it is not executive privilege of the next, congress will have to stick up for ourselves and decide whether we have a right to question people. and if you have time to make these comments to a reporter, you ought to be able to explain it yourself. if you have time at the white house to send a bunch of mean tweets about a guy who served two tours, tommy cotten, and he
is willing to come, but the creative writing expert isn't to come -- willing to come, at some point, this body will have to stick up for itself. >> we recognize mr. conley, the gentleman from virginia, for five minutes. lordy. the outrage of my friend from south carolina does the heart good. does the heart good. from my point of view, this hearing is nothing but a smokescreen, yet another in a long chain of attempts by my friends on the other side of the aisle to deny what is manifestly true, that the iran nuclear agreement is working. panacea for all iranian behavior. they would like you to believe that. just as disarmament agreements with the soviet union during the
cold war, not designed to address every aspect of soviet behavior. they are not designed to be the be-all and end-all to circumscribe an entire relationship. they were designed, and this was designed, for specific set of goals. almighty, we have a hearing, the foreign affairs onmittee, again, my friends the other side of the aisle desperately wanted not to talk about compliance, but being the skunk at the picnic, i did. and let me see. compliance, we found agreement has reduced the number of centrifuges, as planned come from 19,002 6104.
the fuel enrichment plants, the centrifuges reduced. iran is no longer enriching uranium above 3.67%. verified by the iaea, as my friend mr. lynch indicated. it has reduced its stockpile of --r rich -- and rich enriched uranium to more than three kilograms shipped out of the country. centrifuge production in mines and mills under constant verified.ce, the plutonium production capability, eliminated. i asked point-blank, is there any evidence, because this is all we heard, they were going to be -- they were going to cheat, and this was in a -- enabling behavior to allow iran to becoming nuclear threshold state. the answer, no. so far, no cheating. ,y friend from south carolina
we are friends. we are sometimes sparring partners. he is exercised about the fact that somebody who knows why does not accept a friendly invitation to calm before the committee. we are a hospitable environment to witnesses. once in a while, we deny them their fifth amendment rights while we badgered them, we call wem names, once in a while censor them. a lot of times, we interrupt them when we don't like their testimony. you are lucky, mr. rubin. you are really lucky to be here today. mr. hannah, when you received an invitation in 2006, did you accept it? getting anremember invitation. >> it is in the committee report . did you see the report? they published a art. >> i must not have.
>> let me refresh your memory. they issued a final report, and they said that every request made to you for an interview was denied. and it concludes, these decisions inhibited the committee's ability to pursue legitimate lines of inquiry. any reason why you would say no to the senate intelligence committee when it was under democratic, actually it wasn't under democratic control in 2006. but you still said no. that doesn't refresh your memory? >> i can tell you that there was obviously a special -- especially in the vice president's office, the council there was a regressive opponent --executive >> go ahead, say it. >> you say it for me. >> executive privilege. there you go. so, for a republican white house, it is ok. you had an aggressive counsel,
saying you are not going. but here, with somebody who gives up -- a profile for a magazine where he boasts about himself, we should haul him in chains before the committee because we are being denied access. you agreed to testify about it. you think, mr. rhodes should be here? in the way that you were not 10 years ago? >> in our administration, what i remember is that dr. rice, when she was nsc advisor, actually did testify. i think -- >> i am talking about you. you were named by the senate intelligence committee, and singled out for your refusal to make yourself available to that committee when it was doing its work. gravity to the issue at hand 10 years ago, involving you? than the risk today, involving mr. rhodes?
grave in were very both cases, i think. mr. rhodes actually is more influential than i am, and he has been willing to talk about all of these issues. and with such contempt, for so many people. >> we are glad to have you here. the sure my colleagues -- deservesse counsel another. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would think ben rhodes would be falling all over himself to come here. he seems to think he is smarter than everybody. well, educate everybody. tell us why those of us who oppose the were wrong. educate the american people. it would've been a great opportunity for him, if in fact he is as smart and worldly as he says. i think part of this, yes, there is deception involved, and
anytime a major policy is sold to the congress or the public, that is a major, major thing. mr. rhodes himself said the iran deal would be the obamacare of the second term. of course, with obamacare in the first term, the president fame like famously said, if you your plan, you can keep it. not only was that not true, the administration knew at the time it would not be true, yet they did it in order to engineer passage of obamacare. and then, with this deal, the president was in the presidential debate in 2012, he said the deal was simple. program.their nuclear it is straightforward, he said. what we see now is iran retain, really, a major, major nuclear program. i believe they are on a path to a bomb. once that eight-15 years goes up. there's a lot that is important about that, and it is important to talk about it. i also think that some of what
we are talking about with mr. rhodes, the idea that rouhani's election changes everything. he is a moderate. nevermind he never would've been allowed to run by the ayatollah if he wanted to change the nature of the regime. you have a regime that is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. people fail to mention, the regime was responsible for his many as 1500 american deaths in iraq. a were leading -- they were funding these massive efp bombs, which took out at least hundreds of our soldiers, maybe as many as 1500. that is the nature of the regime. the notion that was propagated, mr. rhodes said, this is an opening. we have to take this opportunity. it's a once in a generation opportunity. turns out, they never believed that. they knew the regime, they were negotiating with the regime before rouhani had been elected. all of that was a ruse to camouflage the basic policy, and
hit on it. doran this policy understands the radical major of the iranian regime, understands a hostile nature of the regime, and is doing a deal with those hardliners, effectively solidifying those hardliners, and they think that is the way to have a more peaceful world. and so, the deception is important for itself. what it really masks is, when we were going through all this, this is the biggest thing we have done this congress. i thought john kerry and the president were very naive about how they conceived of the iranian regime. turns out, they weren't that naive. they know what we knew, and they still wanted to go ahead with it. that is why it is very troubling. we are seeing that now play out with gratuitous concessions, such as giving iran indirect access to the american dollar. that wasn't called for by the iran deal. yet, that is something the administration is doing. i think this is important.
i don't think we have done an issue that is important in the congress and years and years. so the idea that you are not upfront with the american people is important, but what this should allow us to do, i would like to tease out the implications now of this policy with somebody like mr. rhodes. is your view?t they admit it is a rose, they knew the nature of the regime and they think that us unilaterally stepping back from having a confrontational posture with iran will be better or the world's security. >> i think that is right. i think the president has a vision of the middle east as a the of roundtable now, security architecture is a roundtable and we have all the stake holes around -- stakeholders around the table, and the assumption is if we treat them with respect and respecting their interests, they will come towards us and that
they, the key assumption i think, the false assumption is, they share the same interest we do, the same core interest, defeating isis, stabilizing iraq, and so on. theicularly relevant are views of fred haas at the atlantic council, president obama's point man on syria from 2009-2012. he is somebody who understands, closer toobody who is the obama administration's policies on syria than fred hoch . he has come around to the view that president obama has, in effect, recognized syria as in iranian sphere of interest, and did so to reach the agreement with them. >> i appreciate it. the upside of all of this, the nuclear is very significant. beyond that, iran it -- is emerging as the dominant power in the region. how you can see that is good for our security is beyond me.
i yield back. >> we recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> at this time, i would like to associate myself with the words of representative lynch of massachusetts, and also, representative maloney of new york. possible tok it's overstate the amount of studied it went into the iran deal on both sides of the aisle. it is with great regret that i see that it has turned into a political football the way it has. let me get this straight. you grew up the false talking points for colin powell when he spoke in front of the u.n., and you wrote in the talking point that there were weapons of mass distraction in iraq, and that was ended up in his speech. you are here today to question someone else's credibility, and somebody else's professionalism. am i getting that straight? >> not exactly.
i am not sure i am chris turning his friend -- questioning his professionalism. we based our intelligence on the intelligence that was there. it was wrong, that was a mistake, it wasn't a purposeful, desire to deceive are not give the american people luttwak you told us earlier in your testimony that you drew up that wasch not knowing if it true. knowing that it would be vetted by the intelligence community. drawing it up as a piece of salesmanship to see if anything was true, and if it was, it would stick. your words were clear on that. one of the parts of the ,alesmanship was this idea that the bush administration cooked up this idea that there was yellowcake uranium coming from the african nation of niger going to saddam hussein. ambassador joe wilson who gave the lie to that fiction.
he said it was a bunch of nonsense. he wrote an op-ed in the new julytimes in 2003 in debunking the claim that yellowcake uranium was going to saddam hussein from niger. but mr. hannah, you are one of dick cheney's national security advisers. you worked with him and scooter libb he before he was convicted. surely, you discussed ambassador wilson's op-ed with him, with vice president cheney, especially since it was contradicting one of your key talking points in selling the war in iraq. did you talk about ambassador wilson's op-ed with vice president cheney? >> i did not talk to the vice president but we did talk about it within the office -- >> did you talk to scooter libb he about it? said, it was highly
doubtful that any such takenction had at -- had place. he contradicted information you put out publicly in response the bush administration retaliated against him by publicly outing his wife, valerie plame, who was a cia operative at the time, and mr. hannah, my question is, what was your role in outing valerie plame as a cia operative? outing no role in valerie plame. ita special counsel was -- was patrick fitzgerald, special counsel, who concluded that there was, and i am quoting, concerted action by multiple people in the white house to discredit, punish, or seek revenge against ambassador wilson. you dispute those findings? >> i haven't looked at them. yes, i dispute the way that the name of valerie plame reached the press. it was by a person who seemed to
have no desire, and the state deputy secretary armitage, happen to mention her in a conversation with a reporter. >> mr. hannah, the bush administration smeared ambassador wilson and his wife, ruin her career, sacrificed the national security asset in the cia, all because ambassador wilson had the temerity to debunk your false claims, and he told the truth. your boss and dick cheney's chief of staff, scooter libby, was convicted. president bush commuted his prison time. that is correct? >> i don't think those were the exact, he would never charge -- was never charged with releasing the name of a cia operative. >> the second voice you talked about outing valerie plame, that was karl rove, wasn't it? >> i have no idea. i have no dealings with carl.
>> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> we recognize mr. meadows from north carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. rubin, let me come to you. as these decisions continue to get made with regards to the validity of the iran deal, as we would call it, decisions by member of congress in john berry small, sometimes minute pieces , where they can justify going one way or another. do you believe that some of the statements by mr. rhodes was a factor at all in some of the members of congress casting their vote one way or another? >> yes. i can give you examples, if you would like. >> please. >> when it comes to verification, according to u.s. law, incumbent with the corker cardin compromise, all agreements are supposed to be presented to congress. now, it emerges that there were
secret side agreements with the iaea. one of these agreements that comes into play with regard to verification is that the state department says the iaea would not need to report to the level it has reported under sanctions, especially with regard to the possible military dimensions. so to say that the iaea said verifications was complying with like someonet is who was the valedictorian at summer school. it becomes a problem. it lets them off the hook. we only found out about that afterwards, because the white house kept it secret. testimony,had sworn in a number of house committees and senate committees, where the sworn testimony by administration officials were that there are no, and were no, secret side agreements. would you say that is a credible ?rgument under sworn testimony
>> they are lying to congress. >> that is a bold statement, that they are lying to congress. if we go back and look at the tapes where they say that there was no side agreement in sworn testimony, do you think it is incumbent upon this committee to hold those particular individuals, who gave sworn oftimony in contempt congress? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. rubin. let me go further. the troubling aspect of this is, somehow, members on the other thatof the aisle suggest there is run doing in previous administrations that would justify wrongdoing in a current administration. is it your opinion, mr. rubin, that regardless of who the be, whetheron might it be republican or democrat, that it is incumbent upon them
to be honest and straightforward with congress when they are negotiating something of this type of magnitude? >> yes. national security should not be a political football. >> is it your sworn testimony here today that, because of the talking point of mr. rhodes, and the inaccuracy, or as you would characterize them, lying that took place, that the whole debate that transpired within congress was based on faulty assumptions that had no relevance, will relationship to truth? if, insteadmost as of looking at the whole chessboard, the white house was directing congress to look at four pieces. --we were only look at looking at four pieces in something that is critical to national security, and to the
security of our allies, israel, to you think that it was disingenuous to suggest that some of the talking points that were coming out of the israeli government were indeed characterized as being dishonest truthful? do you think an apology is owed by this administration to that government? administrationis has a sorry record at this point of coddling adversaries and throwing allies under the bus. perhaps apologies are due when domestic washington politics got in the way of serious foreign-policy discourse. >> i thank you, mr. rubin. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. we recognize the gentleman from vermont. >> thank you. mr. chairman, at the heart of this is a question whether this was the one faced by the president, and iran without nuclear weapons is better for
the world than an iran with nuclear weapons? that was the question. wasengagement of mr. rhodes one significant person among hundreds, and along with our best allies, france, germany, england, and also our sometimes frenemies, china and russia. the collective decision of those countries, and us, was that the iran nuclear deal was in our collective interest. now, there was fierce disagreement about that among the witnesses, and among many of my colleagues in congress. but this was a long and complex negotiation. it was ultimately ratified by our strongest allies, and there was the judgment of the commander-in-chief had to make as to whether or not
disagreement -- this agreement was in the it national security interest of this country. i agree with him. i work closely with mr. rhodes and found him to be an exceptional public servant, knowledgeable, and despite what you say, candid and direct. let me ask a couple questions here. the decision the president made was in contrast to decisions that a previous president made. that thef you believe american people got the right information, that there were weapons of mass destruction in iran? each of you. iraq. thank you. >> no, it was shown that it was false. >> no. >> no, the american people got what the intelligence community believe. >> thank you. -- has supervisory of
authority over the intelligence community? >> congress. >> the president has no role? >> the buck stops with the president, but talking about oversight, separation of powers is about that. >> by the way, i will go along with this. congress blew it. on the iraq resolution. but are you suggesting to me that there is not ultimate responsibility for making the decision and evaluating the recommendations of the intelligence community, on the matter of sending troops to war, spending trillions of dollars, throwing the mideast into and he is not the one who ultimately bears the responsibility for that decision? made theesident decision to go to war. i am not willing to put the broad instability in the middle east on his shoulders. be middle east needs to accountable for the middle east. >> the second thing.
,e went into this war in iraq we toppled saddam hussein, we were promised we would make money on the war. that was testimony from some of the president's advisers. they said it would be over in 60 days and the troops would be greeted with flowers in the streets. didn't work out that way. war instan, the longest the history of this country. we still have troops there. the place is a mess. nation building. an arrogant policy embraced by a prior administration. didn't work out so great. is of you think afghanistan on a solid footing for democracy at the moment? just a yes or no. >> no. >> sir? >> no. >> no. says,have a president to you know what? this war approach is not so great. he had to make a decision, and
he said, look. let's try negotiations. i supported sanctions. every tough sanction that we were able to impose on iran, i supported, as did virtually all of the democrats and republicans. you know what? the sanctions worked. it brought a run to the table. this decision you are focusing on, this fine public servant, ben rhodes, because of a newspaper article, is something that then disregards the fact that we blew it in iraq, we are blowing it in afghanistan, and the president decided to pursue negotiations, got an agreement, and has the full support of our, of those allies, the p5 plus one. if there are implementation issues, let's get on it. i am all for that. but to sit here and suggest that the history of failure, when war is the option, we should have done that, that is essentially what the alternative was.
what thessentially alternative was. i don't buy it. i don't believe the american people by it. we are picking and choosing, trying to come up with some little detail that somebody somewhere said to suggest that we ought to unravel the whole thing. i disagree. back.d >> we recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on september 11, 2015, cnn stated, the effort was one of the most aggressive drives ever to take shape between congressional democrat leaders and the obama white house on this bill, hr 34-61. now, among the people who voted no were 25 democrats. we heard today, mr. maloney acknowledged that. on the't the only person committee. there were others. my question is, what did those 25 members now that -- know that
the other members didn't know, or chose to ignore, or even lied? in regards to mr. schapiro, we heard a lot of talk today. i am sure you maybe dads. it is interesting when you confront your child and ask if they did something wrong. the telltale sign is when the immediately acknowledge that another brother or sister did something wrong. that is what the smokescreen is here today. so much of the smokescreen has been about mr. hanna. nobody wants to talk about mr. schapiro. let me talk about the difference , if i could for a second. a big difference between mr. hanna and mr. schapiro. mr. schapiro enjoyed running to the press, sharing also information. mr. schapiro became the poster boy, almost the spokesperson, of a flawed and horrific iranian deal.
mr. shapiro became the poster boy. did mr. shapiro, in your opinion, mislead the american public? grexit mr. rhodes it certainly did. the key here was that i lying about whether mr. romney was a moderate, he covered for the fact that iran was left with centrifuges and wants the agreement expired, there was no iran would beting any different. that is the number of centrifuges with which pakistan build not a bomb, but in arsenal. hannah? mr. hannah: if the article is accurate, you yes.
i think he engaged in certain deceptions about what the administration was really up to in what we were facing in iran. lists exceptions and after eight years lifts the ends on building ballistics potentially capable of reaching the united states. can you elaborate on the threat the ballistic missiles poses to the united states? to cutle tended themselves on the back every time there is a failed missile test. you learn a lot every time there is a field missile test and i rain has made it clear it intends to continue with ballistic missiles until it can strike anywhere, anytime. a major flaw in the agreement is for fivethe arms sales years for offensive weapons but never defines what offensive is.
that is why iran is on a spending spree with russia and china right now. mr. rubin: one of the things it did was remove ballistic -- effectively remove ballistic missiles from the kind of sanctions -- the things itn did was effectively remove ballistic missiles from the kind of sanctions they were under. if congress had been told the in awas going to result end iranian-russian military alliance which was going to intervene in syria and result in the rise of iranian power around the region, we would've had a very different debate. >> i would say on the ballistic missile, everything my colleagues have said is right, thisis determined to do and it is important to note that the only really rational
military use of these missiles if you can put a warhead on them. a nuclear warhead makes them militarily useful and the fact that iran is so dedicated to and program, essentially icbm. not only being able to hit all neighbors,val -- including iran, but eventually the united states and having such a close relationship with north korea which already has an icbm. this is kicking the can down the road and they pull he believed that at a point down the road, what they are more able to stand up to sanction and an american power to go ahead, once the vans are lifted, to go ahead for a nuclear weapon. the gentlemannize from missouri for five minutes. think theou and
witnesses for being here. mr. hannah, you worked for did cheney. you -- you worked for digg cheney. dick cheney. thatd it incredibly ironic the chairman and by did you hear to testify about falls white given yourtives involvement in that debacle. one of the primary claims for war was that subtle hussein had so-called mobile labs of roaming around inside iraq manufacturing biological weapons. secretary powell showed a cartoon drawing of one of these mobile labs during his speech to the united nations. a slide of it. could someone please put it up? there it is. labs.are the mobile
mr. hannah, who drew this picture? mr. hannah: i do not know. i assume whoever was in that committee was responsible for the graphic presentation. >> did you use this as part of your preparation of mr. powell for that speech? >> my guess is yes. the biological labs would've been in whatever i provided for the labs. >> let me read what mr. powell -- in his speech. one of the most worrisome things which arises from the thick intelligence file we have on weapons is the production of mobile facilities used to make biological agents. thatwas the source of claim, mr. hannah? mr. hannah: i believe the primary source was a defector with human intelligence.
i think it was a defector. >> wasn't it to a source known as "curveball." mr. hannah: yes, i think so. hade warned that barak enough biological weapons and i quote "in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people." isn't that right? is what he that said, if you are reading it accurately, yes. wase now know that claim false. in fact, secretary powell said his claim had "totally blown up in our basis." do you believe with secretary powell? yes. >> isn't it true that no one interviewed curveball before they use that information?
>> i do not know that firsthand but i think the cia said this was controlled by german intelligence services. >> yes. they said they could not believe you are using this publicly because he was someone unreliable. isn't that true? asked that is the kind. it was never relayed to me by the cia. a they said that, it was not claim they relayed to me. >> i have a quote from the l.a. times from 2005 that says this, and i quote. the senior officer who supervised curveballs chafe said he was aghast as he watched them misstate curveballs claims as a justification for war. we were shocked, the official said. my god, we had always told them it was not proven. mr. hannah, is that true?
mr. hannah: i don't have any -- >> that the germans warned from informationg this was not verified? mr. hannah: that is historically what was reported between their intelligence and the cia. that is what the germans claimed. transmit it got into secretary powell's speech. it was at best misleading and at worst, blatantly false and as a result thousands of people were killed and injured when this nation went to war based on this false claims. have any remorse about that? deepannah: i have great remorse about any american soldier lost especially if it is based on information we put out in good faith and our intelligence communities and communitiesigence around the world. we thought it was true and we acted in the best interest of the united states.
just threw the information out. mr. hannah: that is not true at all, that is not accurate. >> gentleman -- >> the gentleman yields back. also -- it was revealed that mr. hannah worked for mr. powell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it seems there's a great deal of confusion about the purpose of the hearing which is supposed to be about the current administration, the white house narrative on the nuclear deal. and mr. samuel's article, it was stated that as director of the he neverg the tenure sought the letters that obama covertly sent to iran's supreme leader in 2009 and 2012.
he goes on to say he would like to believe that tom donelan, then national security adviser hillary clinton, then secretary of state, had a chance to work on the upper they presented. mr. -- on the offer they presented. is there any proof that sec. clinton worked on those letters? >> know there is not. tracks ok. relevant withng major office headset in policy typicals -- is that behavior for members of the national security council and other white house staffers? gone is a problem that has on with time, dating back to administrations. practice?s a common
>> yes, it has become common. mr. hannah: i think it has become common. we have someone whose job is policy andp develop pose foreign policy to the president and the guy who is selling it. administration, the fact is people like karl rove who was in charge of our communications never sat in national security council meetings. there was a strict divide. >> how much undue influence do you believe these staffers have over national security policy? said, i believe this administration has blurred a line that has existed over previous administrations both democratic and republican. tracks mr. hannah, you mentioned in your testimony earlier that with one bold move the administration effectively made
a radical shift in american foreign policy. is that a correct assessment in your opinion? yes.annah: >> ok, the question comes down responsible.o is would you say it is ben rhodes, other staffers, or the president? retrenchment from the middle east seems clearly to be president obama's. he is in charge of that. ask there are some influencers in his life, ben rhodes is referred to as recognized as the single most influential voice on foreign policy to the resident. so what kind of role did he have in shaping this radical shift? him and i wantw to have the caveat that this is the shift presented by the policy although i think it is consistent with the general thrust of the administration's
policy towards iran and the middle east since 2008. i just do not think it has been presented this way. they want to distance themselves from our closest allies including israel let what they tell our allies and the american people is that their relationship is stronger than ever and they were forever -- and they will forever have israel's back and that is what is presented in the article and it is that contradiction that worries me about what is going on. are we having a full and open debate? you have to hand it to mr. trump. at least he says, i want to get out of this place. it is too expensive, it is too much trouble, i want to distance ourselves. >> it is extremely troubling that the american people in congress, our allies, when there is such a radical shift of the magnitude of this type of foreign policy, that the american people, congress, and our allies are not aware of it.
do you believe the american people and congress would support a shift that major had they known about it? >> no. jeanette is quoted in this piece is saying, they had -- if they had done that they would have gotten the blank kicked out of them. >> so they are spinning the truth and making people get on oard something that is not -- >> it is an extremely strong suggestion of the article you had to spin it. >> down the line, would you agree with it? >> yes. >> mr. hannah? strano: yes. >> i yield. assume youn, first i are vigorously opposed to the iran agreement. mr. rubin: yes. i thought there could be a much st