Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 20, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

4:00 pm
want to compromise are ones where conservatives have also had their doubts and wanted to go along with what the lords have said. >> 61 defeats. >> around 60. >> 61 defeats in the house of lords. >> i couldn't possibly compete. >> and two defeats in the house of commons. >> even three actually. >> well, there you are. >> competition. >> that is unusual for a majority government. >> it is. and there were other defeats that were staged off for example on the academies issue, on the child migrants issue. and that's because a little tiny majority you are limited in what you can do and -- >> now the crown just back into the carriage, placed there by the crown jeweler, the final acts of this pageant.
4:01 pm
the crown will make its way back to buckingham palace. now in the queen alexandra state coach. the coachmen are onboard. tap of the reins. and they will be on their way. with the important memory of course that carriages do not pay the congestion charge in central london because they are in that sense very fuel efficient. >> nonpolluting. >> i think -- >> i got to put it to you because it's not my opinion. we were just skating over this little internal battle in the conservative party. >> you wouldn't expect me to make it worse than it is. >> look. we have never had a vote which is as meaningful as this
4:02 pm
referendum. so people take it seriously. i happened to say i think it's gone too far and yes it is doing damage to the conservative party and there will be a difficult but huge part of reconciliation to put the party back together again. one of the advantages of it being in june is that it does actually give up time before the next election. that is important. >> lovely passing shot of the commons. and, lawrence, you are absolutely about party as i understand but you saw some of these battles in the first year of the conservative government. didn't you see which way the wind was going. what's it like in the commons at times? >> very difficult. passions run high. and people have very, very deep-seated opinions about certain things and believe they are right. but i think it's really important for officials and
4:03 pm
people at the sergeant at arms and the speaker to try to rise above that and be impartial and to have friends and colleagues on all sides of the chamber. and most importantly, to be seen to be impartial. so that was one of the things i tried to do, and it can be a tight rope because people will always point the finger and say you're giving a certain privilege to one side or the other but, i think you judge to the end of the day on your actions rather than what you say and i think it's really important that you try to keep within the framework of the rules but to -- you know, also allow the house to -- and to express itself. >> lovely note of unity. another state opening will we see them still 50 years, 100 years? >> i think we will continue to see them. i think we may see some of the pomp and circumstance reduced in perhaps 50 or 100 years. >> they brought them back. >> we've blinged this up.
4:04 pm
but i think -- it goes in swings. it will be reduced but then -- >> we are making for the michael dobbs lecture on that. thank you very much. i think we've successfully covered and enjoyed the pomp and the politics. so my grateful thanks. and thank you, too, for watching as the queen and other members of the royal family are heading back to the palace. the commons have returned to their place as far as i can see on my little monitor here the lords are scurrying away as fast as they can, probably as people alluded to here to go to small refreshment and they've been trapped there since 10:30. at 2:30 this afternoon bbc parliament will have live
4:05 pm
coverage of the queen's speech debate. where this queen's speech will actually be debated where the prime minister will be pushing the case for the bills outlined in this queen's speech and the leader of the opposition will have his say immediately after. then it will be jeremy's corbin's first outing in this role as leader of the opposition. so join us on bbc parliament at 2:30 for that live debate. thank you for watching us this morning. and i hope you have all enjoyed it. and a very good afternoon to you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
4:06 pm
comes to a close, you can watch the opening of parliament again on sunday night starting at 9:00 eastern. >> congratulations to the class of 2015. today is your day of
4:07 pm
celebration, and you have earned it. >> be voices were crying for peace and light, because your choices will make all the difference to you and to all of us. >> do not be afraid to take on cases for a new job or a new issue that really stretches your boundaries. >> you spend your summer are brought on real ships rather and theernships, specter of living in your parents' basement after this graduation day is not likely to be your greatest concern. >> watch commencement speeches of 2016 from colleges and universities around the country's, by business leaders, politicians, and official, on c-span. there is news of a shooting in washington this afternoon reported by cnn. the report says secret service officers shot a male suspect
4:08 pm
your security checkpoint near the white house after he apparently brandished a weapon. a law enforcement source said the suspect was shot and taken into custody. the president was not at the white house, and vice president biden was secured in the white house complex. on thepect opened fire complex, but it was not clear what happened. night, michael kinsley talked about his new book, on living with parkinson's disease. >> parkinson's is a brain disease, so that was a nonsensical question. but what i really meant, thinking -- is it going to affect my thinking, and thinking is how i earn a living, so that became pretty important. neurologistthis
4:09 pm
what is going to happen, and he says -- he was trying to tell me it was not such a big deal. he said you may lose your edge, as if that was just nothing, and i thought, my edge is how i earn a living. friends, 80have my why i have my wife. 8:00 ony night at c-span. >> long time correspondent morley safer passed away yesterday at age of 84. in 1970. " 60 minutes" he joined us in 2012 for our "q &a" program. brian: morley safer, how do you
4:10 pm
change your approach over the last 42 years on "60 minutes"? mr. safer: no dramatic difference in terms of reporting the news or doing interviews for the news or, really, even between doing what is construed as hard news versus more featury stuff. the same rules apply. you try to get to the core of the story, to the core of the individual. and i think really that is why we have an audience out there for the last 45 years on "60 minutes." it is, i think, precisely why people watch the broadcast. there is trust. we have few axes to grind. we are fair.
4:11 pm
and i think it is the fairness that is the attraction, unlike so much of what you see on cable, where fairness is the last thing people are being offered. and i guess to a certain audience, the last thing they want. brian: we have a video from your office. took a camera there. i want you to talk us through what the environment is, how long you have been there. you can see it on the screen. mr. safer: i have to put these on. brian: spectacles. mr. safer: that is the lobby. and we have a huge clock, which no one really likes. that is the corridor of where the correspondents all live with their helpers. brian: the mayor. is that a normal desk for morley
4:12 pm
safer right there? mr. safer: i confess it is probably neater than normal. brian: why the big poster? mr. safer: the big poster is, reflects a story i did 30 years ago. on the question of whether a major painting at the metropolitan museum was in fact a fake, and it caused quite a controversy, and i had friends at the met who refused to speak to me for 20 years, have since come around. the painting is called "the pickpocket," or "the thief." i can't remember. brian: there is a picture right there of you with some of your old colleagues. mr. safer: i really miss ed bradley.
4:13 pm
he was my next-door neighbor in the office. we both were early risers. we went there before anybody else in the morning. we had sort of a morning bitching session over coffee. that was an award i got out in california. brian: how much time did you spend there? mr. safer: in the office? a lot more now. three or four years ago, i decided it was not going to half time. i did not succeed. i spent much more time than i really need to, but it is the habit. i mean, when you get up -- i don't need to tell you this. when you have been getting up in the morning for 60 years, putting on a clean shirt and tie and going into an office, it is a very hard habit to break.
4:14 pm
brian: we saw you a minute ago puff on a cigarette. i understand that is not a real cigarette. mr. safer: it is not. brian: but you had it, how many years, a cigarette habit -- mr. safer: i still have the electronic cigarette that, for all intents, looks like a real one and, to some extent, tastes like a real one. it is just pure nicotine, none of the junk or the tar that is in the regular cigarettes. and the smoke that you see is vapor. brian: does it work? mr. safer: it certainly works in giving you a nicotine fix, absolutely does work, but there is still something about the other -- that is why it is called an addiction. brian: this question i'm sure is not a lot of fun to answer, but you'd sat there and watched a whole bunch of your friends die.
4:15 pm
mr. safer: certainly have. just in the last year, we lost andy rooney. a few years ago we lost ed, lost mike, lost joe, who was a wonderful producer i worked with. john tiffin, another long-standing -- these were the originals of "60 minutes." it has been a very, very rough year, couple of years. but i must say, having lost some of these stalwarts of the broadcast, the broadcast itself has not been affected. jeff sager took over from don hewitt, certainly the master of "60 minutes", who died. and jeff has maintained all the values and pretty much all of the unwritten rules of putting
4:16 pm
this broadcast on the air. brian: when i started watching you 42 years ago, you were getting 30 million people watching "60 minutes." and you are often the top show of the week. you are now getting 10 million, 11 million, or 12 million, and you are still in the top. what does that say? mr. safer: there has been an extraordinary revolution. the internet plus the whole cable community has obviously fractured the audience. i think -- i hear the figure of 60% being bandied about, over 60% of over-the-air television, network television, has been lost. it is probably more than that. so, you know, the competition is
4:17 pm
extraordinary, but on big days, important pieces -- there is a piece on, recently, as you know, about the operation to get osama bin laden. we got a huge audience for that. and i think people do turn to us in great numbers when -- in the history-making moments, certainly. brian: may ask you a journalism question? those who watched it saw a reference to the man who wrote the book, mark owen, but everybody else in the country knew his name was bissonnette? mr. safer: i think that probably we consciously stayed with the original rules.
4:18 pm
rules of engagement in terms of putting this piece on the air. i don't know the precise details. i think it is actually not -- that is a very seemly thing to do. brian: one thing i noticed the last four years -- i have never seen you do this in the history of "60 minutes" -- my last count, you had 12 interviews with the president, mr. obama, since he got involved. i cannot remember you ever doing that many with a president. why so many with this one? mr. safer: well, i will tell you, quite honestly, because he says yes. there was no shortage of requests for george w. bush. as i recall, i don't think we ever interviewed with him. i'm wrong, he may have been interviewed once. but there is always these kind of the rules of the game to have a request in for an interview with the president, whoever the
4:19 pm
president may be. and the obama people and obama himself just like to get on the air. brian: that is the biggest audience in information. it has got a bigger audience than any other -- mr. safer: pretty much. you certainly get access to an engaged part of the population. brian: do you ever worry about being used? mr. safer: of course. of course, you always worry about being used, but the presumption always is that at the same time, we are using them. and we're not going to be patsies for any administration, and i do not think we ever have been. brian: let me ask you about you people. i want to run video of don hewitt. how many years did you know him? mr. safer: i knew don from the very beginning of my life at cbs which was in 1964.
4:20 pm
don was the executive producer of the cbs evening news, the cronkite news, when i joined. shortly after, he was fired and was in a kind of limbo or new siberia for a couple of years. and i had done -- i did a documentary on communist china, as it was called, in 1968. and don was the nominal executive producer of that broadcast. so i have known don for a long, long time. and when he came up for this idea of her "60 minutes", he became a kind of willy loman. he put together of reel of old
4:21 pm
cbs reports using 10- or 15- minute segments, taking the best of each of them and putting together a reel. he went shopping that around to every executive at cbs. i was the london bureau chief, to show it to me, to show the guys in paris, trying to sell and get a support for his idea of this thing he called "60 minutes." he had harry reasoner, the original host, in this, call it a pilot, if you like. and then he added mike, mike wallace, into the pilot. and it was don's relentless pursuit. they said, ok, ok, ok, we will
4:22 pm
do it. we will try it. we will put you on at 6:00 on a sunday. and so harry and mike went on. 18 months later, harry left to go to abc, and they brought me in to take the other guy on "60 minutes." and we were not a huge success at all. partly because 6:00 on sunday, football season, completely wiped us out. sometimes they would wipe us out to do a kind of 10-minute broadcast, and then they is thought, have little news bulletin at the beginning, all kinds of experiments. and then they tried us on a different night. we went against something called "marcus welby," which was the most popular program on television.
4:23 pm
and finally, we settled, because there is nothing else you could put on, at 7:00 on sunday. and it took off like a skyrocket. i can't remember what year that was, probably 1972 or 1973. i can't remember. brian: what have you found that does not work? mr. safer: what does not work? don hewitt's first rule, and i think he was absolutely right, is we do not cover issues. we tell stories. a major difference. brian: did you feel that way yourself, or did you have to you -- to learn that? mr. safer: well, without making myself self-important, i had
4:24 pm
executive-produced a half-hour a weekly magazine that went out on sunday night at the cbc, the canadian broadcasting corporation, called "cbc newsmagazine." it is not on the air anymore, but it was for a good, long time. so i had produced, but was not on the air myself, i produced this is broadcast and wrote most of it. so i actually believed in don's theory before he articulated it. and for the simple reason -- if you take fred friendly's -- he would show somebody the script for an hour broadcast. that script for an hour broadcast is about two pages worth of information in "the new york times," which you cannot do a lot on television. you have to know your limitations. and they are enormous limitations.
4:25 pm
and if you are going to cover issues, there is no way you can do an honest job of that. even in an hour, never mind 12 1/2 minutes, which is roughly what each of these would run. brian: what is the longest interview you have ever done? i know you only use minutes of it in each piece, then all the stuff ended up on the cutting room floor. do you remember? where you talked and talked and talked to get what you needed? mr. safer: probably a story that never got on the air. brian: how often does that happen? mr. safer: not very often at all. if the interview goes on and on and on, generally is because the subject is either totally inarticulate, and so you just keep going and going and going in order to get going some sense, or the answers are so
4:26 pm
clearly just misinformation, and an interview can just become a fighting match, it ends up creating more heat than light. brian: you were born or in canada. where? mr. safer: toronto. brian: what was the family like? mr. safer: we were lower working class. my father was an upholsterer, an immigrant. i am first generation. immigrant from austria. my mother came from a family from the east end of london, a cockney girl. my father emigrated, he had a
4:27 pm
been in the austrian army and emigrated, i think, 1912. mother's family emigrated about 1910, and she was a seamstress. came from a big family. they came over what is called the assisted passage, where the entire family, they were is trying to encourage immigration. anyone could immigrate to canada. and a brother and sister, i was the youngest. my brother and sister are still alive. brian: how old are they? mr. safer: my sister is 86. my brother is 84, about to be 85. brian: you were born in 1920? mr. safer: no, 1931. [laughter]
4:28 pm
brian: making you older than you are. let me ask you about age. i have a list of when people died, and they all worked to the end. don hewitt was 86, andy rooney was 92. ed bradley was another situation, 65. walter cronkite went after the air when he was 85 and lived to be 92. it seems to me in the early days of broadcasting that never happened -- people were allowed to stay beyond 65. mr. safer: no, indeed. i can't remember -- i don't member of precisely what the rules were. but i think if you were a contract employee, staff people, executives, whatever, i think had to retire at 55. or there was an internal memorandum about that. contract people had no such limit. and look, all the guys will that
4:29 pm
you mentioned pretty much had their marbles to virtually the end. i mean ed. don effectively left the broadcast probably when he was 84, something like that. 83 or 84. mike when he was 89 or 90. and rooney right to the end. brian: two weeks later. mr. safer: exactly. brian: i want to run that video of don hewitt. this is only 40 seconds, so people that may not remember him see what he looks like. [video clip] >> who invented the tick, tick, tick at the beginning of "60 minutes"? >> i did, but it was not at the beginning. it was a closing thing, over the credits. the first show -- i said to myself, wait a minute, you have to be crazy to put that at the end. that is in lieu of a theme song.
4:30 pm
and marvin hamlisch always accuses me of devising the tick, tick to screw some poor songwriter out of a royalty. but it just worked. it was at the end, and i moved it up, and it worked. brian: what was his genius? mr. safer: the kind of gut instinct that made him a great editor. brian: did you two ever quarrel? mr. safer: i do not think we had a screening -- i am overstating this, but pretty most of the screenings, there was a lot of blood on the floor. and don believed in conflict. he had a real passionate belief in conflict. the more you were challenged, the more he challenged you, the more you responded to his or
4:31 pm
challenges, the better the piece was. brian: what impact did it have it have on you, that in-your-face personality? mr. safer: i could deal with it. i do not mind a conflict myself. brian: really? mr. safer: yeah. don and mike, it was the same with don and ed as well. don was a tough editor, very, very tough, and some of his ideas were completely mad, i mean just bananas, crazy, wrong. but you could talk him down. and that was the great -- don, for all his sometimes crazy and garish behavior, you could talk talk him out of a really lousy idea. and he had a lot of lousy ideas. but he had some brilliant ones as well. brian: let me go back to your upbringing. how much schooling did you get in canada? mr. safer: i was not a great student.
4:32 pm
i got through high school. there were five years. the fifth year, fifth form, was kind of like a first year of college. it was like a baccalaureate that you had to pass. and i scraped through. i was a pretty good athlete. and i got sort of recruited by the university of western ontario. brian: what sport? and what position? mr. safer: football at halfback. it was not an athletic scholarship. i was encouraged and what was
4:33 pm
encouraging was that during the football season you got full board. that was one way -- brian: how long did you stay? how did you get into the information business? mr. safer: i know exactly what i wanted to do. i knew i wanted to be a journalist. like a lot of people of my era, the hemingway bit. i was always a great reader. the whole family was a family of readers. i read everything of hemingway's up until that point. and he had been a foreign correspondent. also, "the toronto star." he covered the spanish civil war. i knew that was exactly what i wanted to do. tried to get a job here -- all
4:34 pm
the big metropolitan papers just laughed me out of their offices. ended up in a place called woodstock, ontario. and my editor there, a wonderful man named ralph berman, he said to me on my first day, safer, you have no experience at all at this, do you? and i said, yes, sir, i have no experience. you cannot even type, can you? he said, you will learn to type. once you type in any kind of proficient way, you know what the first you will be typing is? i said, i do not know. he said, a letter of application to a bigger newspaper.
4:35 pm
and he was almost right. i went from the woodstock paper to the "london free press" of london, ontario. that was in major metropolitan, morning and evening. i think we have five or six editions in the paper, in the day day when papers put out five or six editions. they did everything. they would feature stories, breaking news, crime, overnight shifts. i got a lot of really good experience there. after a couple years, i applied for something called the commonwealth press fellowship, which was a -- you get to spend a year in britain working at one of the national newspapers, "the times," "the telegraph,"
4:36 pm
and "the guardian." and i applied for that. they were taking people with 10 or 15 years of experience. i had four years. but they liked my application and the stories that i sent them. they said, if you can get yourself to england, we will get you a job at a good paper. so i took my chances and went over and work for "the oxford mail." that was just a joy, to be working in oxford at that time. i mean -- because, even though there is very, very serious separation between town and gown
4:37 pm
at oxford, between the university and an otherwise industrial city, one of the big car manufacturing cities at that time, there was a certain amount of drift between the two. it was great fun. i hung out with a lot of the -- all of the reporters there except for me were oxford graduates. so i learned a lot. i learned a lot from them. a very tough editor. i came in on my day off. the editor was a man named to w. harford thomas. i came there to pick up my mail because it was my fixed address, i was moving from one rooming house to another. sometimes only half a day, but i had one day off a week. i came in, i guess, on a saturday. i went to pick up my mail, and i
4:38 pm
was wearing a t-shirt. it was in the summer. and when i picked up my mail, when i came into the office the next day there was a note in my pigeon hole from w. harford thomas that said, "mr. safer, we at 'the mail' generally prefer dark clothing." >> if it had been a dark t-shirt, you would have been alright. >> he meant -- and certainly not with a pink tie. brian: there are always those moments in life that make a difference and change everything. what was the first one for you? mr. safer: certainly the day -- i was back in canada. it was the end of the year of
4:39 pm
1963, 1964. they brought back all the foreign correspondents. i had been the bureau chief in london for cbc. they brought us back for the year-end review broadcasts which all the networks did. i was on with four or five other correspondents, from paris, bonn, moscow. these roundtables. and we did the broadcast. they stayed on after the broadcast for maybe a week or so, and just before i went back to london i got a call from the cbc representative in new york who said, i should not be telling you this, but i just got
4:40 pm
a call from cbs and they would like to talk to you. i said, what about? she said, that is all. can you go back to london via new york? so i did. i walked in to see the news editor. he took me into meet fred friendly, and they said, we -- would you like to come to cbs? you must remember, this was a network that created broadcast news, radio first, then television. it was being asked to join the pantheon.
4:41 pm
it was remarkable. i can't tell you how i was knocked out by this -- do they really mean it? am i good enough? i said, how did you even know about me? they said, one of your correspondents on the year-end show sent us the kinescope of the broadcast. brian: what was that? mr. safer: kinescope was something that preceded the videotape and was essentially a camera shooting off of the screen. it was pretty grainy and unwatchable stuff, but it looked good at the time, i guess. a guy who was our u.n. correspondent had applied for a job that cbs. they looked at the broadcast and called me. they looked at the broadcast and called me. and i called a couple of people i knew at cbs.
4:42 pm
winston burdett, who i met covering the middle east -- i asked him, should i do it? he said, you don't have any choice. do it. i called jack chancellor at nbc. i said, jack, should i do it? he said, yeah. it is a hell of a lot better than nbc. jack was a great guy. if you ask what changed my life, that moment, it certainly was that. brian: i have a review of douglas brinkley's book on walter cronkite in sunday's "washington post," september 9, 2012, written by robert macneil. canadian? mr. safer: canadian. brian: you are still a canadian? mr. safer: i am dual
4:43 pm
citizenship. brian: here's the first paragraph -- "for anyone interested in the evolution of broadcasting, this is a tremendous read. documenting tv journalism's most tremendous phenomenon, walter cronkite." do you agree? mr. safer: absolutely. walter got very tired of being described as the most trusted man in america. he knew he should not be. i say that with affection. but walter exuded accuracy, decency, fairness, and i think
4:44 pm
that it was just resonated out there that here is a guy who really was leveling with you. he was not holding anything back. at the same time, he was not engaged in hyperbolic reporting or conversation or interviews. patriot in the best sense of the word, someone who loves his country so much he wants to expose its weaknesses and it shortcomings. and i think that just resonated. we always joked about it to his face, about being the most trusted man in america, at the time i guess he really was. brian: a lot of people say, what is patriotic about showing shortcomings? you know there are a lot of
4:45 pm
people out there -- they have emailed you. they do not like that. mr. safer: i know. i do not think they understand the meaning of the word. who said patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel? dr. johnson or something like that. that kind of an excessive patriotism, flag-waiving by instinct, is a false kind of patriotism. it is not wanting to hear the truth is a total phony patriotism. i think that there has been so much of that flying around in these last few years in particular, particularly since 9/11, and it quite honestly, it makes my skin crawl. brian: how much of it to you listen to?
4:46 pm
mr. safer: that is interesting. i am not giving away anything politically about my family or my wife -- we were watching the conventions. we were watching the conventions. my wife, at one of the conventions, said, i do not want to hear this, i do not want to hear this. i said, no, you got to hear this. dpmcannot sit in front of a -- you do not want to sit in front of a television set in the political season and not want to hear what the other side has to say. then you become like them. i am not giving away anything politically. brian: i know you are not -- i want to back to your interview style. we have not talked for 22 years, when you had a book about vietnam and your experience there. and we talked about the whole
4:47 pm
situation you had where you were accused of being a communist. i wrote down, when i looked back at it, the quote from you -- "i am a conservative on most issues." mr. safer: i am a conservative on most issues. brian: over the years have people thought you were just the opposite? what do you say to them? mr. safer: most people who get their dander up over this, there is not much point in saying anything because they do not want to hear it. but i try to explain that i am a conservative in most things, or, a very old-fashioned liberal in the old british -- i will not suggest the imperial britain, the white man's burden and all
4:48 pm
are of that business -- but an old-fashioned liberal who has very conservative views in terms of fiscal policy. i think the word "conservative" has been given a really bad name by some of the crazier elements of the right in this country. whatever happened to conservatives like nelson rockefeller and those guys, who were among the most patriotic americans you could think of? they essentially they were working as politicians to make this a better country. and the other thing -- you got me going here -- the other thing that drives me completely nuts
4:49 pm
is all of these candidates who are running as -- not as politicians, they are will point to their opposition and say, here is a politician, i am a --whatever. politicians are what make countries work. the best moments in this country will were moments designed and created by politicians. it is a good, positive word. how did come into such a disrepute? that is what really drives me nuts -- it's the destruction of language, making really useful words become inappropriate. brian: let me show you some videotape of a young lady by the name of michelle fields who was a guest on this program. she is a lot younger than both of us. she is about 23 years old.
4:50 pm
she was educated at pepperdine university. she is working for "the daily caller." i want you to hear what she says from her perspective on journalism and get your reaction to it. >> i feel as though twitter and facebook have enabled people who maybe are not in the media and not have a loud voice to become one of the loudest voices in the media. we see people like matt drudge who has no connection to the media, he is a political outsider, and look how far he has come. he took advantage and saw the potential of the new medium, the internet, internet journalism, and his voice is just as loud as the media establishment. brian: reaction? mr. safer: appalled. i am appalled. i do not know quite what she
4:51 pm
thinks -- this is a good idea? brian: she does. mr. safer: i think it is a dreadful idea. i think journalism, good journalism, good reporting must work in the constraints of great editing. it has to. i ran into trouble a few years ago, giving a speech at some award in canada. i was talking about the so-called citizen journalism. i said i would trust it as much as i would trust the citizen surgeon. you need to work within certain disciplines. and the matt drudges and many of these others give the real thing a very bad name.
4:52 pm
because now everybody is on the internet, and one of the problems i have with the internet, in terms of reading -- everything looks as valid as "the new york times," the typeface, the way things are set up, so when you are reading somebody who believes aliens are out to get him, or reading somebody from the op-ed page of "the new york times," it all has the same look, makes the same visual sense. and i know i am sounding like a neanderthal when i say this, but i am just appalled by half of the stuff that i see on the internet. brian: one of the things i want to ask you about -- in the
4:53 pm
brinkley book on cronkite, we learned a lot about his personal politics and his involvement, even asking robert kennedy to run for president during the war. and there was a lot of resentment on the part of conservatives, whatever you want to call them, the right wing, that there is an agenda. mr. safer: i do not think walter's so-called agenda ever got expressed in his reporting. i really believe that. and i know that. brian: what about the vietnam statement? mr. safer: the vietnam statement -- he openly stepped aside from his traditional role and made a personal statement. there is not -- that was,
4:54 pm
believe me, walter really sweated that. he really did a sweat that. brian: in what way? mr. safer: at the way, and i doing the right thing here? brian: did you talk to him before he did it? mr. safer: i did not. i talked to him a lot about it afterwards. brian: you had a similar -- the cam ne incident, the burning of the village by the marines in 1965. i think i read -- people think that might have started a trend against the vietnam war. mr. safer: i certainly never said that. people have blamed me or credited me for it. i do not believe -- when the country started turning against it, when the country turned against the vietnam war, was when casualties were reaching 100 a week in terms of killed.
4:55 pm
and the people being killed were the sons of middle-class americans because of the draft. that is when the country turned against vietnam. brian: what about today and afghanistan and iraq, with a volunteer army. you rarely see a new york city manhattan person killed. mr. safer: because -- think of all those commercials that went out on every broadcast, in particular on the sports broadcasts, join the army, join the marines, join the navy, get an education. they didn't say go to war. they said get a degree. how appealing is that to a young guy with ambition but who can in no way afford college? do a few years in the service, get under way, get a life.
4:56 pm
and that is the way the military service was offered up. and with a huge dose of patriotism as well, of course. but -- so i do not think my story had any particular effect. i do not think walter's story had that much of an effect, quite honestly. i think it was when the casualties start to get over 100 a week, the sons of middle-class families were being lost, that is when -- never mind the students protesting, when their parents started to protest -- and when vietnam in effect was a lost cause. brian: what is your take on the iraq and afghanistan coverage? mr. safer: well, i mean, there
4:57 pm
virtually is no coverage. i mean, except when something really horrible happens. to most americans, quite honestly, it is, what war? most americans are not effected affected by this. it is the sons and daughters of working-class americans, pretty much, and people whose families live below the poverty line. brian: why no coverage? mr. safer: why no coverage? because the sons and daughters of middle-class -- plus, also, not that vietnam was an easy war to cover, but it was a piece of cake compared to covering the kind of war that is going on in afghanistan and was going on in
4:58 pm
the -- and to some extent is still going on in iraq. i mean, we took lots of risks in vietnam, but not the kinds of risks that guys have run in afghanistan an iraq. no way. brian: let me ask you -- mr. safer: let me -- vietnam was a civilized war compared to this kind of thing. brian: what you mean by that? mr. safer: there were no suicide bombers, no cars being blown up. i think there were two car bombs in saigon, the years i covered the war, too civilized. brian: civilized for who?
4:59 pm
mr. safer: for both sides, compared to what is going on. brian: i started to ask you about your interviewing style -- most of your stuff is not war related. is that your choice? mr. safer: yeah. largely my choice. i like doing stories that no one else is doing. so i like doing -- in terms of prime-time television, so i do a lot of stories that would come under a rather broad umbrella of the arts. brian: i want to show a segment of you -- i know that as a big thing. mr. safer: almost 20 years ago we broadcast one of the most controversial stories in our 44
5:00 pm
years on the air. it was called "yes, but is it art?" i was accused of being a philistine, somebody lacking the ability to appreciate the challenging nature of contemporary art like these floating basketballs or another artist dripping plastic. -- dripping faucet. these works are now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. in fact, contemporary art has become a global commodity, just like oil or soy beans or pork bellies. there seems to be no shortage of people wanting to speculate in it and no shortage of billionaires wanting to invest in it as a haven for their cash or a status symbol. there are now art fairs virtually every weekend around the globe. in contemporary art, none are
5:01 pm
more important than when we went to in december. brian: what made everybody so mad? mr. safer: i discovered something i could barely believe. when you question someone's taste in art, it is more personal than the politics, religion, sexual preference, something that goes to the very soul. you bought that? it is remarkable. brian: do you still paint? mr. safer: not enough. it is one of the things i keep -- i have space to do it at home. i have all the materials to do it, but i am lacking the focus
5:02 pm
of being able to separate my work from my other life. that is one area in which i am weakest. brian: if we saw you in your personal life, doing things that you enjoy more than anything else, what would we see? mr. safer: well, there are two kinds of enjoyment. there is the tortured kind, writing, but there is no greater kick, i find, than writing something, and no greater torture at the same time. it would be writing something or drawing and painting. brian: what can you tell us about your wife? where did you meet her? mr. safer: i met her when i was london bureau chief. i remember the day, july 4,
5:03 pm
1968. cronkite and betsy -- walter and betsy cronkite were coming to london. i cannot remember why. i had been invited to a july 4 evening. a friend of mine, the husband was american, the wife was british. the fellow -- walter had called and said, i met walter at his hotel. i said, i have to go to this party in north london. i'll meet you at the restaurant. i went to this party and there was a young woman who was a graduate student studying at
5:04 pm
oxford, an american, who was a cousin of the family giving the party. she seemed pretty bright and was very beautiful. i said hey, do you want to have dinner? would you like to have dinner with walter cronkite? she said, who is walter cronkite? my wife is an anthropologist. she spent a few years living with a tribe of indians in colombia. she was not clued into what was on television. and that was it. i had a bentley, an old bentley, a convertible with a rumble seat. which in british automobile
5:05 pm
parlance is called a dickey, the rumble seat. so we picked up cronkite, who got in the rumble seat in the open car. we had a lot to drink that night. they were great fun to be with. when we finally ended the evening, which was at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, driving walter to his hotel, we went past buckingham palace. then, there was no security around. now all the roads are blocked. no security -- the guardsmen out front. walter insisted that i do a few circles around buckingham palace. he got up and did his impersonation of the queen.
5:06 pm
the only witnesses were the two guardsmen outside of buckingham palace. brian: how long did you date before he married? mr. safer: that was july 4 and we were married on october 28. brian: who is sarah alice ann safer? mr. safer: she is our daughter, who had a very brief career in journalism and had another career. at the moment she is busy raising twin 6-year-old girls and a 10-year-old boy. brian: what marks do you give yourself as a grandfather? mr. safer: very low. i was not a great father. i was away for some many of those years when she was growing up. that is something i regret. i feel deep regret about it. that i chose not to spend more
5:07 pm
time with her. brian: what do you think about your legacy and your papers and all that? does it matter to you? mr. safer: i think about it a little bit. i am not obsessed by it. i think -- i think i have made a contribution, more than some, less than many others. i think to the extent that -- i tried to make interesting use of this medium of television, which is a difficult medium to work and because of the time constraints, simple as that.
5:08 pm
as i said before, look at an hour-long television broadcast, you'll find a script that will not even cover two pages of "the new york times." brian: to have papers and videos -- mr. safer: i have papers and some videos, and i am giving them to the university of texas, which has a wonderful archive of american journalism and american history. walter cronkite is giving his papers. andy rooney has. many of the giants of journalism have given their papers there. brian: a quote from our interview 22 years ago -- you said, writing the book you had written in 1989 was very satisfying. then you said, i would like to do it again, perhaps in a year or two.
5:09 pm
what happened? mr. safer: you know what happens. come on. that is something i have been thinking about a lot, and what keeps me from doing at, i have been asked i cannot tell you how many times to write a memoir, which i have no interest in doing. there are one or two subjects i would like to expand on, but i think what people don't quite understand is the physical strain of writing a book. it's hard work. it's hard physical work and it's very draining. and there's something about a book and the permanence of a book and the hard covers of a book that you really want to make it, at every step of the
5:10 pm
way, the best it can possibly be, not that i phone in anything i do for television. but there's extra pressure. you know there's something about the permanence of a book. i don't have to tell you this. there's something about the permanence of that book, looking at your bookshelf, your name on the spine and you want to be proud of it at all times. brian: we're past time. we're out of time. thank you so much for spending the hour with us. mr. safer: well thank you. it's always such a pleasure to talk to you. brian: morley safer, thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] last sunday, he tweeted "it
5:11 pm
has been a wonderful run and i want to thank the millions of people who have been loyal. thank you." that was his last post on twitter. ♪ >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning, montgomery county police chief to major will jiooin us discuss the report on the rise in homicides and dozens of u.s. cities, followed by the national urban league president on their 2016 state of black america report. then washington examiner economics writer on the debt relief bill introduced in the house late this week and what it means for the 50 states who face $1.3 trillion and pension liabilities. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" beginning
5:12 pm
live at 7:00 a.m. saturday. join the discussion. >> earlier today, president obama met with top health officials at the white house to talk about the zika virus. the centers for disease control and prevention released a new report confirming that 157 pregnant women in the u.s. have tested positive for the virus which can cause serious birth defects and miscarriages. president obama called on congress to approve funding for houseent with both the and senate only approving a portion of what the administration has requested. president obama: i just had an opportunity to get a full briefing from the secretary burwell, the cdc director as well as nih about the zika situation. and i wanted to give the american people a quick update on where we are.
5:13 pm
as has been explained repeatedly, but i want to reemphasize, zika is not like ebola. it is not a human to human transmission, with one exception. it is primarily transmitted through mosquitoes, a particular type of mosquito. what we do know is that if you contract zika, even if you do not appear to have significant symptoms, it is possible for zika to cause significant birth defects, including microcephaly where the skull casing -- the head of the infant -- is significantly smaller. we think there may be other neurological disorders caused as a consequence of zika. we do not know all of the potential effects. we do know that they are serious. what we have seen is a little over 500 cases of zika in the continental united states. they all appear to be
5:14 pm
travel-related. not mosquito transmitted. meaning someone from the u.s. went to an area that has zika, got a bite, and came back. we have seen 10 cases in which an individual went to one of the various areas, got infected, and sexually transmitted the good to zika to their partne a more significant and immediate concern is puerto rico, where we know there are over 800 cases that have been diagnosed. however, we suspect that it could be significantly higher. the reason is that for most people you might not have a lot of symptoms when you get zika. if you are not pregnant, or the partner of someone who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you may not even know that you end up having zika.
5:15 pm
that means people are not affirmatively going to the doctor and getting tested on these issues. here is the good news, that because of the good work that has been done by the department of health and human services by the cdc and in -- and nih, we have a plan over the next several months to begin developing a vaccine and continually improve our diagnostic tests. we are also working with all of the states so they are properly prepared if we start seeing an outbreak in the continental united states during the summer when obviously mosquitoes are more active. what we are also trying to do is develop new tools for vector control. meaning, how do we kill mosquitoes and reduce their populations, particularly this kind of mosquito. that is a tricky business.
5:16 pm
we have been using insecticides for a long time that have become less and less effective. this strain of mosquitoes has become resistant to the insecticide that we have. the methods we use are not as effective as they used to be. we are investing time, research, and logistical support to local communities to start improving our ability to control mosquitoes. puerto rico and to some of the territories, and spending time working with the states that they can be better prepared. all of this work costs money. we have put forward a package of that costs $1.9 billion in emergency funding for us to make sure we are doing effective mosquito control.
5:17 pm
to make sure we are developing effective diagnostic tools, distributing them, and developing vaccines that will prevent some of the tragedies that we have seen for those who have contracted zika and end up having children with significant birth defects. we did not just choose $1.9 billion from the top of our heads. this was based on public health assessment of all of the work that needs to be done. to the extent that we want to be able to feel safe, secure, and families who are of childbearing years want to feel as though they can have confidence that when they travel, when they want
5:18 pm
to start a family, that this is not an issue. to the extent that we think that is important, this is a modest investment for us to get those insurances. unfortunately, we have the senate approving a package that would fund a little over half of what has been requested. the house, so far, has approved about one third of the money requested, except that money is taken from the fund we are currently using to continue to monitor and fight against ebola. effectively, there's no new money. all the house has done is say you can rob peter to pay paul. given that i have vivid memories of how concerned people were about ebola, the notion that we would stop monitoring as effectively in dealing with the bolo to deal with zika does not
5:19 pm
make a lot of sense. i do not think it will make a lot of sense to the american people. this is something that is solvable. it is not something we have to panic about. it is something we have to take seriously. if we make a modest investment on the front end, this will be a problem we don't have to deal with on the back end. every child that has something with microcephaly, that may cost $10 million over the lifetime of that child in terms of that family providing that child with support they need. besides the pain and sorrow and challenges that they will go through.
5:20 pm
add that up. it doesn't take a lot of cases for you to get to $1.9 billion. why wouldn't we want to make that investment now? my hope is that we would have a bill i could sign now. part of what we are trying to do is to accelerate and get the process going for vaccines. you do not get a vaccine overnight. you have to test it to make sure any potential vaccine is safe. you have to test to make sure it is effective. you have to conduct trials where you are testing it on a large enough bunch of people that you can make scientific determinations that it is effective. we have to get moving. what essentially the cdc and nih have been doing is taking money from other things just to get the thing rolling. we have to reimburse the money that has already been depleted, and we have to sustain the work that is going to be done to
5:21 pm
finish the job. congress needs to get me a bill. it is to get me a bill with significant funds to do the job. they should not be going off on recess before this is done. certainly, this has to get done over the course of the next several weeks in order for us to be able to provide confidence to the american people that we are handling the zika business. if i am a young family or someone they came up starting a family, this is a piece of insurance i want to purchase.
5:22 pm
i think that is true for most americans. understand that this is not something where we can build a wall to prevent mosquitoes to not go through customs. to the extent where we are not handling this on the front end, we will have bigger problems on the back end. for those of you that are listening, tell your members of congress to get on the job on this. that this is something we could handle. many do confidence on our ability to handle it. we have outstanding scientists and researchers who are in the process of getting this done. they have to have the support from the public in order for us to accomplish our goal. thank you very much. >> if>> you missed any of this comments, we will show them again at 8:00 p.m.. wife of a 2, the vietnamese political prisoner testifies. a senatespan3, committee hold a hearing to consider the telephone consumer protection act of 1991. and it's rules for debt collection and telemarketing. tomorrow, president obama
5:23 pm
leaves for a chip to a show where he will make stops in vietnam and japan. on tuesday, he will deliver a speech in hanoi before traveling to japan wednesday. the following day, the president participates in the g7 meeting hima, before visiting a wreath laying ceremony in hiroshima on friday. he returns to washington 70. check c-span.org for coverage plans. history tv, this september marks the opening of the smithsonian national museum of african american history and culture. on saturday morning, at 8:30, american history tv is live for a conference with scholars discussing african-american religion, politics, preservation and interpretation. at 10:00 p.m. eastern on "real church," the 1975
5:24 pm
committee hearings, convened to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and the nsa. testimonysion hears from mary jo cook and how she penetrated an anti-vietnam war organization and gary thomas roe infiltrated the ku klux klan and participated in violence against civil rights activist. >> you mean the birmingham policeman set up the meeting of the freedom writers. you told the fbi that? >> they were being very badly, yes. >> did the birmingham police give you the time -- >> yes, sir. we were promised 15 minutes with no intervention from any police officer whatsoever. >> at 8:00 -- >> what that opportunity gave them is an opportunity to go to college. they saved some of that money. they sent themselves through college. they sent siblings through
5:25 pm
college. they became doctors and lawyers. one became the first female manager of any department at northrup airlines. they became principals, surgeons, politicians, pilots. and they able to do that because they had access to professional baseball. >> marshall university professor cat williams on how women aided the war efforts in factories. and the rise of women's baseball leagues, including the all-american girls professional baseball league that was featured in "a league of their own." sunday night at 10:00 -- >> ladies and gentlemen of the convention, my name is geraldine ferraro. [cheering] stand before you to proclaim
5:26 pm
tonight america is the land where dreams can come true for all of us. 4 vice presidential acceptance speech of congresswoman geraldine ferraro at the democratic national convention in san francisco. she was the first woman to be nominated for vice president by a major party. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to c-span.org. earlier this week, the house oversight committee held a hearing on employee misconduct at the environmental protection agency. members heard testimony from epa officials in cases involving sexual misconduct and theft and other allegations. this is an hour and 45 minutes.
5:27 pm
opinion, the epa as one of the most toxic places in the federal government to work. if you do not get rid of the toxicity and the employees, their the epa, we are doing a great disservice to this country. most of them are good, hard-working, patriotic people. they work hard. but you have some bad apples at the epa and they are not being -- being dealt with. so we are going to look forward to talking about this. the inspector general has done some good quality work. weand his team and, again, will continue to do this into a we are convinced that the epa is taking care of its problem. is exploringmittee
5:28 pm
numerous cases of employee misconduct at the epa. as the committee on oversight and government reform in addition to the broad responsibility for connecting oversight of the executive branch, we are the committee of jurisdiction for federal employees. and it is our duty to explore the problems in the federal workforce. we have explored misconduct with the epa before. toe i said, we will continue do so until we are convinced that there has been a change. most notably this committee examined the extraordinary case of john peel. the senior epa employee reporting to then epa chief gina mccarthy who falsely claimed to be a cia spy. for a long time. this person ended up going to jail and having to pay one of the few people who was held toountable, having to go jail, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution. her supervisor got a promotion.
5:29 pm
she is not the epa administrator. i have serious russians about her ability to actually administrate when she had a small office -- i have serious questions about her ability to administrate. the problems continue to persist. unfortunately, mr. beal's fraud is not isolated. ahead of the office of homeland security, the head of the epa's office of homeland security, had a lengthy record of sexual harassment that was not investigated. region five was mired in harassment of sexual against those who try to do something about it. the whistleblowers place blame squarely on the former region five administrator who resigned in the wake of the flint water crisis. remarking on the situation, and epa union representative testified "there is a serious lack of accountability or transparency at epa when a
5:30 pm
manager is the problem. thee incidents represent systemic cultural problem and failure at the epa. recently, the epa inspector general's office released details on investigations of more than 60, 60 cases of misconduct in the last several months. many of these cases contained details. i recognize this as c-span, and it is an early hour but parents before want, this is not a subject for young kids at any hour. but nevertheless, we need to expose it in order to solve it. molester,d child convicted child the last year was on epa's payroll for years. even after the epa learned of this offense. is so terrible about the situation is you cannot explain or justify is the epa knows that a convicted child molester, and yet the epa put him in a position to interact with the public. he was out there literally interacting with the public.
5:31 pm
this person was found to have police sirens placed on their personal vehicle, on their personal car. lights and sirens, handcuffs, counterfeit badge. it was not until a probation violation that it actually got highlighted and dealt with. in another case, and epa employee was found to have stolen thousands of dollars of office equipment, yet was not fired. she admitted taking seven times equipment in the office and taking it to a pawn shop, putting it in her pocket and she is not fired. mr. meiburg actually oversaw this person. not directly but was in his team. it is just unbelievable this person was not fired. after her felony theft conviction, she is still employed at the epa to this day. have got a lot of good, hard-working people who
5:32 pm
want and need jobs, who will serve this country honorably. why in the world should somebody convicted of stealing from work, conviction, still enjoy the employment and being paid by the united states taxpayers? we have pages and pages of similar cases. one has to wonder if the epa's culture and lack of accountability is a conservative factor two tragedies like the -- mine spill or flint. the committee will continue to investigate the epa till cultural changes and managers and employees are held accountable. people are going to make mistakes. we understand that. these are not mistakes. these are patterns of misbehavior that are on acceptable. i introduced a piece of 60 which pass.r. 43 this committee and passed the house, the official personnel file enhancement act that requires the federal agency to record adverse findings and
5:33 pm
resolved investigations into a separated employee's personnel file. i hope this helps so these employees cannot just toggle from one agency to the other without having their information shared with others. the bill prevents an employee facing disciplinary action from simply jumping ship to another agency that would not be aware of their negative disciplinary record. wheree another case here somebody was, there were devices and air cards used excessively. in one case, a person in one trip spent $18,000. on one air card. traveling. and no restitution. no paying back the government. we have these devices, this $4 500 in personal international calls on leave. what was the punishment for that? taxpayers pay that. what was the punishment? counseling. counseling with the punishment.
5:34 pm
so, we got a lot to talk about. the inspector general has done a good job, and i look forward to a good fruitful hearing to with that, we will not recognize the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, i do thank you for holding today's hearing and examining employee misconduct at the environmental protection agency. this is the third year our thatttee -- third hearing our committee has held on this topic. i'm encouraged that the epa's response to allegations of employee misconduct has definitely improved. i, like you, want to be effective and efficient. i do not want to constantly hold hearings and hear about these problems and at some point we should be able to get them resolved. employee misconduct is indeed rare. but as this committee has seen
5:35 pm
the agency and the inspector general responses to misconduct cases have taken far too long. inthe committee's hearing april 2015, a little over a year ago, i asked the epa and the i.g. to work together to improve their coordination in employee misconduct matters. and i did that again so that we could be effective and efficient to get things done as opposed to going around in a circle. i also directed my staff to work directly with the epa and the i.g. to help develop new protocols to improve their disciplinary processes. as a result, the epa and the i.g. are coordinating their efforts as they never did before. but, as i often say, we can always do better. they're holding biweekly meetings to share information
5:36 pm
about investigations. we can do even better. they are communicating more frequently about administering of actions. they are sure and reports of investigations -- they are sharing reports of investigations of managers and senior officials at epa headquarters, but we can always do better. i.g. have the developed expedited procedures for certain cases. the toucomes -- the outcomes are indeed promising. both have stated that the new procedures have decreased the time it takes on reports of an ploy is conduct. employee misconduct. mr. meiburg credits the new information sharing process to contribute to epa taking action more quickly after the i.g. completes an investigation. similarly, mr. sullivan agrees, and i want to thank you, mr.
5:37 pm
sullivan, for doing such a great job. and he concluded that mr. sull ivan said, " misconduct cases are now being addressed faster and more consistently by the epa management." but ladies and gentlemen, we can always do better. as i said, serious misconduct is rare, but we have to take it seriously. epa reports it has only 14 open employee misconduct reports of investigations from the i.g. epa an -- for an workforce of 15,000, that is we canan 1/10 of 1%, but do better. this committee also has expressed concerns about excessive use of administrative leave. that has been a major concern of the committee. etc., the agency issued a new policy on administrative leave -- in february. under the new policy, and epa employee may not be placed on
5:38 pm
administrative leave for more than 10 days without approval from the assistant administrator of the office of administration and resources management. this policy introduces -- it addresses our concern about overuse of administrative leave and the need for stronger oversight of this type of leave. the chairman indicated the hearing today will focus will practice -- on approximately 20 old cases that have been closed by the i.g. some years ago. mr. sullivan states "it is important to note that most of the misconduct occurred at least two years ago." in some of these cases, the misconduct is in fact agree just. -- egregious. a swiftavior requires and appropriate response. that none of these cases is currently pending. they are all close. i want to be clear.
5:39 pm
i do not see anything wrong with looking back, because i think sometimes you have to look back so you can look forward. we can learn from things that have happened. so, i don't have a problem with that. according to the epa, all of preceded the- improved coordination process between the epa and the i.g. i hope that you, mr. sullivan, will address the difference you are seeing and the impact -- and of course, i'm sure you have your recommendations. mr. sullivan states the new process between epa and the i.g. should serve as "the best practices model for the federal government." so, i'm extremely pleased to hear that. weshows what we can do if were car with the agencies and investigators to improve their procedures -- if we work hard. this type of work does not always get the big headlines but it makes a real difference. it also shows this committee can, what we can do through nuts
5:40 pm
and bolts oversight. while i'm encouraged by the progress that has been made, i believe that there are still challenges we must and can and shall address. for instance, london-based investigation times may suggest a need for more resources. i just don't know. you will have to address that, mr. sullivan. there are other questions that raise questions about when employees are required to report criminal convictions. i. chairman, as we proceed, hope we can address these challenges together in a truly bipartisan way, like we have done over the past year. with in put from the agency and stakeholders.ther because of the fact if we concentrate and try to get the workand the agencies to more closely together, i think we can get the kind of results that we are after, and again, we can be more effective and
5:41 pm
efficient with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the chairman. we will hold the record open for five days for any member that would like to submit a written statement. please welcome mr. meiburg, the deputy administrators for the epa. we also have patrick sullivan, assistant inspector general. at the united states environmental protection agency. he is accompanied by mr. allen assistantdeputy inspector general for investigation whose expertise may be needed for specificity on certain topics during questioning. we want to thank you all for being here. we are going to swear in mr. williams as well, pursuant to committee roles, all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. we will also swear in mr. williams. if the three of you would please rise and raise your right hand.
5:42 pm
do you solemnly swear that the testimony you give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. you have testified here before. i think you know the drill. we try to keep your verbal comments to five minutes but we give you great latitude. today, and then we will -- after that we will go to questions. mr. meiburg, you are recognized for five minutes. mr. meiburg: members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today before you about the environmental protection agency's efforts to address employee misconduct. as theyears, i served
5:43 pm
deputy regional administrator before retiring in 2014. returning to the agency in october of 2014, i have been honored to serve as acting deputy administrator discharging the duties of chief operating officer for the agency. each day, i reminded of the excellent work epa employees do on behalf of the american people. for my engineers and scientist in the field, to our technical experts and our lawyers here at headquarters. i am proud to be a part of the agency and its mission to protect human health and the environment. all workplaces there are employees who engage in misconduct, and epa is no exception. unfortunate instances occur, we are committing to hold our employees and countable. we will continue to work with pound is granted to us by congress and the tools at our disposal to ensure improper conduct is met with appropriate
5:44 pm
penalties and that, conversely, excellence is recognized accordingly. but i must stress that the isolated misconduct of a few does not reflect and must not overshadow the dedication and hard work of 15,000 epa employees who commit themselves every day to the important work of the agency. since my appearance before the committee last spring, we have made multiple positive changes in the epa's management policies and procedures. epa has taken measures to support our first line supervisors, who carry substantial responsibility in ensuring misconduct is addressed promptly and appropriately. we have updated the first line supervisors toolkit. and organize focus groups to ensure that we understand their needs. in an overall effort to ensure that supervisors are able to effective legal, and disciplinary actions to the betterment of the agency as a whole. in addition, early this year, as we noted in the ranking member's
5:45 pm
comments, the agency revised its policy on administrative leave, addressing a concern this committee has raised in the past. the agency demands additional justification and review for administrative leave request and limits the time of leave to 10 days with limited exceptions such as when an employee poses a danger to the agency. finally, earlier this year, epa administrator gina mccarthy issued an agencywide elevation memo encouraging staff to raise issues of concern to managers and instructing managers to be receptive to these concerns. it is our hope that this withtive am in conjunction providing training and tools to our employees, will help our first line supervisors to address misconduct quickly and effectively when issues arise. in addition to our own work, the epa's office of inspector general plays a critical role in helping the agency operate at our best.
5:46 pm
as a result of the work of this committee and a specially ranking member cummings, we have improved our working relationship with the office of inspector general, which has enabled us to take more decisions -- efficient administrative action. we now meet biweekly to discuss the status of investigations into misconduct and have agreed-upon procedures and timelines for effective information sharing. and the improved bilateral communication, contribute to the epa taking i.g.'s more quickly upon completion of investigations and reduce the need for additional fact-finding in preparing action. in closing, epa and its employees have spent nearly five decades working to safeguard public health and the environment for the people of this country. i am proud of what we accomplish every day. occasions when misconduct occurs, we must address it appropriately. forward to discussing the
5:47 pm
progress that epa has made in this regard with you today. thank you for the opportunity and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you. appreciate that. mr. sullivan, you are now recognized. mr. sullivan: good morning, members of the committee. i'm happy to report that since i last testified before this committee in april, 20 15, the agency's internal adjudication process has improved. at the suggestion of the chairman and ranking member cummings, we now meet biweekly about pending misconduct complications and their adjudication. these cases are being addressed faster and more consistently by management. i believe this process will serve as a best practice model for the federal government. many allegations are investigated by the oig. and some are determined to be unsupported. investigations often clear an individual. our job is collect and present
5:48 pm
the fact in a fair manner. we are just as proud of our work in the cases that clear an employee as we are when i work leads to a criminal conviction. now i would like to briefly discuss a few significant cases. in 2014, the oig seattle field office introduce -- interviewed a contractor who had worked for epa for 20 years. stating he was addicted to pornography, he admitted to dealing pornography on his every issued computer for 18 years. in the past year, he watched sonography 1-2 hours a day. he avoided detection because he used commercial software to scrub his computer. he also accessed autograph excites using search engine's hosted in a foreign nation for the contractor was fired, the oig was successful and recovering 22,000 dollars in repayments for the amount of time the contractor viewed pornography and the o ig made api aware of the network of vulnerabilities-- made the epa aware. in connecticut, a
5:49 pm
special agent assigned to the criminal investigation division in new haven may have been engaged in a ponzi scheme, the special agents name had surfaced on a pyramid scheme involving gifting tables. new participants would pay a $5,000 gift to the person occupying the top level. the investigation determined that he had made a false statement on -- she conceal the fact she had received 25 in cash. in 2015, the special agent retired from the epa. she subsequently pleaded guilty to one felony count of making false statements and she was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to pay $8,000 in fines and restitution. in 2013, a special agent in atlanta proactively checked the list of property reportedly lost or stolen for a law-enforcement database.
5:50 pm
this resulted in a hit on a digital camera pond in georgia. the subsequent investigation employee pondan cameras at the punch up resulting in a loss to the government of $3100. were successful in presenting the case to local prosecutors and the employee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years of restitution -- was proposed for 120 days, following an appeal, the reason for the tempe administrator downgraded the suspension. field officedallas was informed that an employee was cited by dallas for police for using emergency lights on his personal vehicle while also being a registered sex offender. he had previously been convicted in 1997 for indecent acts with a minor. an epa employee also possessed an imitation badge, which were
5:51 pm
displayed by the employee to the police officer. u.s. attorney declined to prosecute the employee for false impersonation of a federal officer. epa then impose discipline in the form of a 60 day suspension. sex013, the dallas police offender unit requested assistance and arresting the same employee for violation of probation. he was arrested on a probation violation charge. informationloped that employee may have viewed and possessed child photography on his epa computer. an examination of the computer revealed no evidence of this. the employee was terminated from his employment with the epa. merit systems protection board overturned the termination in order that he would be hired by the epa. agreed to resign in exchange for considerations. in closing, i would like to say that we in the oig pledge that we will continue to work closely
5:52 pm
with the agency, the department of justice and congress to ensure that allegations of misconduct are addressed. we appreciate your continued interest. mr. chairman, that concludes my prepared statements. i would be happy to answer any questions. recognize myself for five minutes. let's go back to that most recent case with the child molester. about thehat part merit systems protection board. i mean, based on the brief evidence you shared with us, the scenario of the case, what were the other considerations that he got in order to resign from the epa? received a cash settlement of $55,000. >> we paid, the american people and $55,000 to walk away? mr. sullivan: yes. but the i.g. is not part of the negotiations. >> i am not blaming you. you highlighted this. hard to holdit is
5:53 pm
you responsible for that but how did -- we had to pay $55,000 to this person? this. chairman, in particular case which i am aware of, the case as mr. sullivan noted was one where we had proposed removal and took removal action and were reversed by the merit protection board. >> how do you lose that case? mr. meiburg: it is a complicated case. but th protection board founde the basis for removal was not sustained. so they reversed it. >> is it? i mean, it is just pretty stunning. what needs to change? theboth are close to situation. how do we need to change the merit systems protection board? we are not protecting american people and the tax payers and we are not protecting the employees who have to set by this reak of a -- freak of a pervert.
5:54 pm
we are not protecting them. how do we protect the employees of the epa. what do we need to do with the merit systems protection board? i would note a couple things. we share your desire to protect our employees from any adverse actions by other employees. that is a clear area where there is agreement. >> how is this this goes undetected for so long? it did not go undetected. it was not reported. 1990 nine, our investigation revealed that the management in region six found out about his -- he was stopped by using lights and sirens.
5:55 pm
that was brought. to the attention of epa management he was counseled and told not to do that again. it was brought to the attention of the i.g. in 1999. >> what was his position, what was he doing? an sullivan: he was enforcement officer doing civil inspections for the epa. >> his job would be to do what? a site toan: to go to determine if there were any environmental violations. >> he's interacting with the public. mr. meiburg, how does this happen? if you know that this person has offender,r as a sex why do you put them in a position to have to interact with the public? mr. chairman, i do not believe there is any particular role that if an employee is convicted of a crime, they have to report to the agency. >> should that be the case? should they have to report ongoing? mr. meiburg: that is an
5:56 pm
important issue. we are happy to work with you and the office of personnel. >> i am asking your personal opinion. do you believe if you are convicted of a felony -- ? mr. meiburg: i am here in my official capacity. >> as somebody who is convicted as a sex offender, is there an internal policy that prohibits those type of harvard from interacting with the public in persons -- those types of perverts? mr. meiburg: we do not believe we have the authority to institute a policy of that effect. we are not different from other agencies. but it is an important issue and we agree with you on that. >> somebody here on this panel better sponsor a bill to get rid of perverts interacting with the public, because this is not acceptable. i cannot imagine -- somebody come to the authority of the epa badge. and then they have got sirens or lights on their car? and they're a registered sex
5:57 pm
offender. can you see the disconnect? why people would be outraged? some mom with her young child and suddenly you encounter this person? how do you stand for that? enforcement -- law officials have special responsibilities. you lost thatieve case. but part of me thinks we will have to work -- let's get the merit systems protection board up here and start explaining how when the world they think this is the best interests of the united states of america. my time has expired. we now recognize miss watson coleman for five minutes. >> most of these cases were resolved in 2014. these are old cases? since then, we have had changes in our policies and practices at
5:58 pm
the epa that would at least address allegations of misconduct that come before them in terms of resolving them and as well as administrative leave policies. is that not correct? mr. meiburg: that is correct. we feel like in the last year we have made considerable progress moving four. i would agree with the ranking member that we can do better. could you explain briefly -- what has changed that have informed the rank-and-file and the supervisors. mr. meiburg: the interaction, well, in so many ways, all of a piece. we discussed with all our
5:59 pm
employs important first-line supervisors. again, as i, mentioned on the administrative leave, made sure that this cannot be used and the use of administrative leave has been curtailed. but the interaction involving the inspector general has been tremendously important because we refer cases to the inspector with whom we have evidence of misconduct and asking the inspector general to investigate them. it is helpful in that investigation to have the interaction we now do so that we can be clear that when we get information as quickly as possible we can move upon it. >> are you feeling that this interaction is helping to create a better environment? >> yes. >> once you do an investigation, do you do an investigation in addition to your findings, do you make any recommendations back to the epa about the employee that is been investigated? >> as the head of investigations for the epa, we do not make recommendations and our
6:00 pm
investigative reports. our evaluators make recommendations as a part of their job. that is a different part of the ig. we would report the facts and just the facts. we would not make a remake -- a recommendation. >> you report the facts to the epa, plus the auditing? >> it depends. if we saw a systematic problem

4 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on