Skip to main content

tv   House Oversight Committee Examines Iran Nuclear Deal Messaging  CSPAN  May 22, 2016 2:20pm-5:11pm EDT

2:20 pm
i have people who did work for facebook and twitter and said that you need to be specifically vague. you need to give yourself some wiggle room. an example is those lessons that could have been taught. i had to learn the hard way. i am forever thankful for this. >> the thing i noticed at twitch was we had to deal with a poor an issue -- porn issue. we did that mistake. we tried to define it. you just try writing down a
2:21 pm
formal definition for what is and what is not allowed. either you are banning things that are perfectly ok or you are allowing pornography on your website. i do not think i would wind up dealing with questions like what is creative expression, but that's a huge part of my job, it turns out. >> i could talk about moderation all day, but i want to ensure you have a chance to talk about your future plans. both of your site are rapidly expanding. i think he recently had a julia child's caps on. that was delightful. >> we added a creative category to twitch basically due to user demand. we had a lot of broadcasters who
2:22 pm
wanted to broadcast themselves doing creative work and we thought that was basically in line with our mission. we opened up the platform for creative broadcasting. we got the bob ross estate to let us do a marathon of all the bob rice channels which was amazing. we had 5.6 million viewers over the days it was running. done juliatly child's and the food channel. , a lot of people sharing themselves painting more blacksmithing or making costumes community is really awesome and really vibrant and growing really fast and is in line with the greater mission, which is how do we empower creators to share their passions and make a living doing so? proud of isam most the hundreds of people who
2:23 pm
managed to put their jobs carpet cleaning, doing telemarketing getort as lawyers and now to broadcast themselves streaming video games or art as a living. i don't think there's a cooler thing than letting someone be able to do that. i'm excited to do a lot more in the future. your plan for internet domination? actually -- we are in an interesting position where we have two classes of users on reddit. we have users who love reddit and are loyal to the and and have our logo tattooed on them. i'm sure there are more reddit aliens tattooed on people than facebook or whatever. supremely loyal users. then we have many, hundreds of millions of users who do not
2:24 pm
have that loyalty is. if you go to the front page, after hearing this talk you will be like are you talking about the same thing? it is not at all representative of what reddit is. the big challenge we have in the thing i'm spending a lot of time thinking about is how do we make the fact that reddit is incredibly brought in the obvious to our transient users? we have a lot of users who think reddit is the center of the universe for nfl, which it is. but they don't know we have all the other stuff that we do. that it is aat place where you can get relationship advice or look at the world greatest collections or you can find a kidney match if you are in need of one of those. i want the message
2:25 pm
average monitored to understand. that's the most fun work that we can do. that is the block and tackle work we are excited about. if that is all the time we have today, but thank you so much for joining me. >> we are finally freeing you for lunch. i hope you all enjoyed the morning. it was really great and great fun. please be back in one hour. please take everything you brought into the room with you out of the room. thank you and we will see you back in one hour for -- one hour. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
2:26 pm
>> the center for the study of responsive law begins a four-day conference on to the mobilization that includes a variety of speakers including consumer advocate, ralph nader. that's life at 9:00 eastern on c-span two. later, a look at the connection between health care and housing for the elderly with henry cisneros and mel martinez. you can watch it live at 2:00 eastern on c-span two. house a look at the white messaging strategy for the iran nuclear agreement. a national security advisor from the obama administration was asked to appear at the hearing but did not attend. lawmakers heard from a former adviser to the george w. bush administration and representatives from two washington-based think tanks.
2:27 pm
>> i think it is important we take this up and deal with this situation as we keep going. there are three items i would ask for unanimous consent -- first is the aspiring novelist to became the obama administration policy guru, the second is a letter from may 16 addressed to me and copied to the ranking member from neil eggleston talking about how they'll white house would not to then rhodes available committee today. i would also like to enter a letter from senator cornyn, senator mark kirk and senator john barrasso and come without objection, i would like to enter these into the record.
2:28 pm
>> without objection, so ordered. one of the states still on the list of state sponsors of terrorism and i think it is important we have some clarity. it's one of the most important foreign-policy initiatives that the president has taken forward but i still think it demands a lot of clarity. we were hoping this would be provided by benjamin rhodes, the assistant to national security advisor for strategic communication and speech writing, obviously a talented entrusted person in the white house. doubt his talents and knowledge, but the deal that had been spun up and sold to the american people, i'm not sure it is clear as it should have an and i have questions about the transparency, truthfulness, and when it ultimately started. i think those are legitimate questions as we move forward because here, you have a state
2:29 pm
sponsor of terrorism in iran and we do not fully know the answer to a lot of these questions. some may think they know the still a but there is shroud of secrecy and i think this is a viable thing to look at. he was in a unique position given his work on this. what is mystifying is how readily available he made onlylf to the media, but select media -- those in his echoes chamber for up he showed disdain for those with foreign-policy credentials and great disdain for the media itself. he has been elected to share those with the "new york times" and has been very negative about congress, going so far as they they could not have a rational discussion with congress, so we provided that. josh earnest from the podium at
2:30 pm
the white house openly mocked congress and said he should be calling other members of like senator tom cotton. i took that we accommodated that. sen. cotton: has agreed to be here to answer questions. he does have a public speaking engagement today. he's out giving a public speech today but refuses to come and speak with congress. i'm going to play a clip. i've got two clips in my opening statement and i think you can see where maybe some on the other aisle will say, oh, we
2:31 pm
know everything about this. it's been thoroughly debate. but i want you to watch this clip. we're going to go to clip -- what we call clip b, if we could. and let's watch this. >> members of the obama --inistration have conducted demo we have made clear that in the context of the larger framework we would be prepared bilaterally.an with regard to the kind of thing you are talking about, no. >> is at the policy of the state department or the secrecy of where negotiations are concerned?
2:32 pm
>> there are times when diplomacy meets privacy in order to progress. jason chaffetz: so as you can see there, victoria nuland offered what turned out to be absolutely and totally -- totally not true. ms. psaki did, i think was more candid in that assessment. and then you have this article comes out and basically the administration thought it was in their best interest to spin up this story that negotiations started with a more moderate regime in 2013. but that's not what had happened. that was fiction as well. i also want to talk about 24/7 access. i think the american people were led to believe that americans with the best interest would have access and be able to see and get in there and go into these nuclear facilities 24/7. so i'm going to play another clip. this is clip number e -- or letter e.
2:33 pm
>> so the israelis have put out this list of things they think should he and the final deal with iran, including inspectors going anywhere at any time. personal -- that seems reasonable? >> under this deal we will have 24/7 anywhere anytime access. >> what about the military facilities? >> the strongest regime of any basis in the world, if we see a we can get access to that site and inspect the. we can get access and inspect that site. >> on april 6, under this deal
2:34 pm
you will have anywhere anytime access as a relates to the nuclear facilities. >> there is 24/7 access to iran to verify their complexity. >> 24/7 access anytime anywhere? >> over the past week i have spoken at length about what exactly this deal is. clear what to make it was never intended to be. you i have never uttered the words anywhere any time, nor was it ever part of the discussion we had with the iranians.
2:35 pm
>> first of all some but he pointed out in our committee, i don't think he was the chief negotiator. the second part, is there a 24 by seven access? we also have heard a lot of numbers related to sanctions relief. president obama was quoted in an atlanta article. the iranians say they have access to an hundred billion dollars. the treasury department says it is $50 billion. talking about a lot of money going to a state sponsor of terrorism. there was a violation of the native resolution 2231.
2:36 pm
of 2016 the united states ambassador of power to the united nations toned it down a little bit. now they are calling it inconsistent as opposed to a violation. you also have issues of boosting suggesting they were obligated. the united states of america is obligated to boost the iranian economy. we don't understand the side deals, they are still sanctioned. then there are questions about everything that has been agreed to. i will also note to our colleagues the chairman of armed services is a very important
2:37 pm
amendment. this will be part of the issue moving forward. we wanted to get the person right in the thick of things to come here and testify. the white house claimed this wasn't in executive privilege. reserve's -- they reversed .ourse and said it was who was being inconsistent? plenty of time to talk to the media friends and the echo chamber, but when it comes time to answer questions under both a decided not to do it. -- answer our questions under oath, you decide not to do it. my time has far exceed what we had allocated. we'll now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings elijah cummings: thank you very much mr. chairman. and i thank all our witnesses for being here today. mr. chairman, sitting here
2:38 pm
today, i'm surprised and -- i mean very surprised and shocked, that you would invite john hannah to testify before our committee as an expert witness. particularly, on the subject of false white house narratives. mr. hannah was vice president dick cheney's top national security advisor in the white house. he personally, personally helped prepare secretary of state colin powell's infamous speech to the united nations in the run up to the iraq war. a speech that secretary powell has called a permanent blot on his record. mr. hannah was identified by the iraqi national congress as is quote, "principle point of
2:39 pm
contact" end of quote in the vice president's office. the inc was an organization that supplied our nation's marines -- marines with false information about weapons of mass destruction. mr. hannah worked directly for scooter libby, 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 administrations false claims about the iraqi nuclear program. elijah cummings: this was the same scooter libby who told the fbi that it was a quote "possible" end of quote that vice president cheney actually
2:40 pm
directed him to leak information about ms. plame's covert status. that's mr. hannah. now, i don't know mr. hannah and i don't know -- i don't believe i've ever met him before today. but based on the public record alone, let me say this. if our goal is to hear from an expert, who actually promoted false -- false white house narratives then i think you picked the right person. but if our goal is to hear from someone who was not involved in one of the biggest misrepresentations in our nation's history, then you picked the wrong person. listening to john hannah criticize anyone else for pushing a false white house narrative is beyond ironic. he and dick cheney and their
2:41 pm
colleagues in the white house, wrote the how-to manual on this. the profound tragedy here is that thousands, thousands of u.s. service members from our districts 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. unfortunately, some of you rushed to invite mr. hannah without consulting anyone. in fact, this entire panel has been stacked with handpicked witnesses who all oppose the iran agreement. you did not invite prominent republicans, like brent scowcroft, or richard lugar. you did not invite any of the dozens of generals or admirals or other military experts, who support this agreement.
2:42 pm
other committees have held dozens of substantive hearings on the iran agreement. but do you know how many this committee has held? zero. the subcommittee on national security held one last november, but that was it. nothing at the committee level. yet all of a sudden, now our committee is rushing to hold today's hearing without even the one week notice required by the house rules according to the powers of manchurian. these answers here are all repeating the same talking points for the same republican political narrative, mr. b (ph) has basically created his own republican echo chamber. with respect to ben rhodes, i'm struggling to understand the allegations against him.
2:43 pm
if i understand it correctly republicans accuse him of misleading the american people by claiming that nothing happened with iran before 2013, when they elected a so-called moderate president. republicans claimed that if the americans just knew the president was working towards an agreement before 2013, they would have rejected the deal. of course this is absurd. 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 varying degrees of success. all you have to do is google it. from the time president barack obama was a candidate for president until today, press reports are full of accounts of how letters were being exchanged, meetings were being held, and negotiations were being launched.
2:44 pm
the republicans rushed to hold this hearing not as a way to obtain substantive information about the merits of the iran agreement, or even to investigate a legitimate allegations. instead, this hearing is exactly what it purports to condemn, partisan narrative designed to mislead the american people. that is not just ironic, that is hypocritical. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. and i thank the witnesses again for being here. jason chaffetz: thank the gentleman. a prime witness that he had invited, mr. rhodes has -- from the white house, had declined -- has declined to come before the committee. we're disappointed in his failure appear. the chair also notes that contingent upon mr. rhodes appearing, an invitation to appear was extended to the honorable tom cotton, united states senator from the state of arkansas. this was done at the request of the white house. given that mr. rhodes had
2:45 pm
refused to appear before the committee today, the distinguished senator from arkansas is also excused. trey gowdy: mr. chairman, we -- jason chaffetz: yes, the gentleman from south carolina. trey gowdy: i have an inquiry. jason chaffetz: yes. trey gowdy: is mr. hannah here? jason chaffetz: yes. trey gowdy: well then why didn't mr. cummings ask him the questions? he'll have a chance to ask mr. hannah whatever questions he wants to ask him. we don't have a chance to ask mr. rhodes the questions we want ask because he didn't bother to show up. elijah cummings: would the chairman yield? trey gowdy: mr. hannah did. elijah cummings: will the chairman yield? jason chaffetz: yes, go ahead. elijah cummings: i can say whatever i want to say in my opening statement. trey gowdy: yes, you can, it just needs to be fair. elijah cummings: and i -- trey gowdy: that's my point. elijah cummings: well trey gowdy: just be fair about it. jason chaffetz: gent -- trey gowdy: you can say what you want. jason chaffetz: gentleman, gentleman, will state his inquiry. trey gowdy: i just want to know if he was here. elijah cummings: he's here. trey gowdy: well, tell me he is. jason chaffetz: thank the gentleman. trey gowdy: ok. jason chaffetz: and mr. rhodes is not here. i would also note that the democrats were free and usually, almost always in my experience,
2:46 pm
invite a democratic witness. but there is no democratic witness today because you didn't invite one. elijah cummings: chairman yield? jason chaffetz: sure. elijah cummings: chairman, you know for a fact that we got less than the notice that's required in the rules. and we did not object and went on with the hearing. you know that. all right. jason chaffetz: i disagree with the timing issue that you suggest. elijah cummings: you gave us a required time? jason chaffetz: yes. elijah cummings: i disagree with you. jason chaffetz: ok. we'll -- we'll sort that out. we have a good working relationship, mr. cummings and i, but... trey gowdy: elementary inquiry. jason chaffetz: the gentleman from south carolina. trey gowdy: does the executive privilege apply to media interviews or only to appearances before congress? jason chaffetz: i don't know the full answer to that. but i believe they're free to talk to whoever they want to in the media. but they did claim in mr. eggleston's letter to claim executive privilege. trey gowdy: so is that a yes or a no? does it apply when you're being interviewed by the new york times or abc or cbs or just when members of congress want to ask questions? jason chaffetz: evidently when
2:47 pm
just when members of congress. trey gowdy: i thank the chairman for that clarification. jason chaffetz: we are here to -- we are going to continue with the hearing. we do have mr. michael rubin:. he's the resident scholar at the american enterprise institute. mr. michael doran is a senior fellow at the hudson institute, and mr. john hannah, senior counselor at the foundation for defense of democracies. we welcome you all and thank you for being here. pursuant to committee rules, all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. if you will, please and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to 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. we would appreciate you limiting your verbal comments to five minutes to give us time to answer, ask you questions. but your entire written statement will be entered into the record. now recognize mr. rubin for his opening statement. michael rubin: chairman
2:48 pm
chaffetz, ranking member cummings, honorable members, thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. the major iran-related issues about which the white house misled when selling the iran deal were verification. the jcpoa loosened the standards set in south africa and libya. it embraced iran's voluntary compliance with the additional protocol when previously rouhani had bragged that the voluntary compliance allows iran to reverse course at any time. it also ignores the problem of offsite research. have iranians transferred some nuclear work to labs in north korea? under the jcpoa, we'll never know. another issue in which it misled was rouhani as a moderate. rouhani is no moderate. loyalty to khomeini's vision was a major theme of his campaign commercials. he stuffed his cabinet with veterans of the intelligence ministry, in effect constructing not a reformist cabinet but a kgb cabinet. in 2005, he laid out a doctrine of surprise -- lull the americans into complacency with dialogue and then deliver a knockout blow.
2:49 pm
just last week, he offered full-throated endorsement to the legacy of quds force chief qasem soleimani, iran's master terrorist. it also misled about who benefits inside iran. the real tragedy of the deal is it pumps money into the coffers of the revolutionary guard. history belies the idea that showering iran with trade moderates the country or trickles down to ordinary people. between 1998 and 2005, the european union almost tripled its trade with iran, and the price of oil quintupled. iran took its hard currency windfall and invested it in its ballistic missile program and its covert nuclear enrichment facilities. reformist president (inaudible) spokesman bragged about he had defeated the west. we had an overt policy, which was one of negotiation and confidence building, he said, and a covert policy, which was continuation of the activities. the person in charge of directing the money into the military? rouhani in his capacity as chairman of the national security council. the problem goes beyond the supreme leader's investment arm. the economic wing of the irgc controls perhaps 40 percent of the economy, including every sector now open for business.
2:50 pm
many of those who supported the jcpoa acknowledged it to be a flawed and faulty agreement but argued the alternative was war. this may have been crafty politics, but it undermined the u.s. position. by creating a binary choice between the jcpoa and war, rhodes removed credibility to the notion that the obama administration envisioned the best alternative to negotiated agreement. this played into iranian hands, because they knew no matter what they pushed for, (curry) would concede. the problem now is that what rhodes did has become the rule rather than the exception. in my written testimony, i detail the long history of diplomats and politicians lying to keep diplomacy alive. too often they blame political opponents in the united states more than foreign adversaries for the failure of that diplomacy. as i document in "dancing with the devil," a history of the last half century of u.s. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups, as diplomats proceed with high-level engagement, they chew off and calibrate it to the fantasy they have constructed rather than reality.
2:51 pm
this often leads officials to avoid congressional oversight and on occasion to lie to congress. during the 1990s, senior state department officials testified that they could draw no direct links between yasser arafat and terrorism to avoid triggering an aid cutoff. declassified documents show clinton's peace team knew their testimony was false. likewise in 2007 during the bush administration, christopher hill, the state department's point man on north korean issues presented to congress an artificially rosy picture of the diplomatic process with north korea in order to keep support for engagement alive, no matter the truth of pyongyang's behavior. more recently, diplomats advocating the new star treaty lied, both directly and by omission, to congress in order to avoid reporting that russia had been cheating on arms control accords. so what to do? rhodes has placed a security of the united states and its allies at risk. certainly, any dissemination of falsehoods to congress and the american people merit a broader investigation. national security and congress' credibility are at risk. that's not enough.
2:52 pm
in the past six decades, this u.s. state department has failed to conduct lessons-learned exercises as to why its high-profile diplomacy with rogue regimes has seldom, if ever, succeeded. conducting a broader review is not the criminalized policy debate. that would be poisonous and counterproductive. but if the state department refuses due diligence, it would be beneficial if congress would examine diplomacy leading up to the jcpoa, if only to ensure that the same mistakes are not made for a seventh time. there should be bipartisan consensus. even supporters of the deal acknowledge serious concerns about its flaws. so too do most serious arms control and counter proliferation experts outside of the echo chamber about who's crafting rhodes' brags. one final point if i may. i'm concerned that perhaps by creating an echo chamber and solely talking to people within it, in effect what rhodes did was create a propaganda operation in which he entrapped none other than secretary of state john kerry. did secretary of state kerry talk to people outside the echo chamber?
2:53 pm
if not, he's a victim of ben rhodes as well. thank you. jason chaffetz: thank the gentleman. now go to mr. doran of the hudson institute. you're now recognized for five minutes. doran: chairman chaffetz. jason chaffetz: sorry, microphone there, please. doran: thanks. chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings, members of the committee... jason chaffetz: sorry, if you can move that microphone right up close and comfortable. there you go. thanks. michael s. doran: thank you for inviting me to address some of the problems raised by the recent profile in the new york times magazine of ben rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. mr. rhodes admitted to the new york times that he created a war room of some two dozen detailees from around the executive branch who came to the white house and monitored all communications -- all public communications, about the iran deal, communications coming out of the capitol hill, the think tank world, on social media and in the traditional media. he also created what he called an echo chamber. that was a network of sympathetic ngos, think tanks
2:54 pm
and pliant members of the press to whom he ceded narratives, false narratives, i would say, about the iran deal. and then he directed the reporters to these ngos and think tanks to give seemingly independent verification to the narratives that he put out. in my view, the creation of the echo chamber and the 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? and i think to understand that we have to understand a larger policy context. and that is that the strategic goal of the president was to carry out a detente with iran. it was to end the conflict with iran as a -- as a -- as a necessary precondition to pulling the united states back from the middle east, because ending the military engagement in the middle east, i think is the president's overall -- overall goal.
2:55 pm
now if the president had been upfront about this with the american people and said that he wanted to a, pull the united states out of the middle east and b, make iran part of the security architecture of the region, he would have encountered immediately a severe political backlash that would have undermined his whole project. and former defense secretary panetta, former chief of the cia panetta said as much to the -- to the new york times magazine. now that's the -- that's the -- that's the need for a propaganda operation that to deceive the american people. it's not just to misrepresent what's in the iran deal but to misrepresent everything else that's around it that is the strategic goal of the president in the middle east. i'd like say a few words, if i may, about what i think were the -- what is the anatomy of the --
2:56 pm
of the deception. that is the main lines of false narrative that the -- that the war room and echo chamber put out. and in my prepared -- in my prepared statement, i go into more detail about this. i'll just summarize here five major points. number one, conjuring moderates. the -- the echo chamber created the impression that hassan rouhani, the president of iran, was a moderate coming to power in -- representing a wave of moderation in iran, a desire to fundamentally change relations between iran and the west this -- this narrative of the moderates coming to power and the need to support the moderates has been the gift that keeps on giving to president obama's diplomacy. it creates -- it creates a pleasing story of -- of breaking down of barriers. it creates a moral equivalence in political terms between those who are critical of the deal in the united states and hardliners, the supposed enemies of rouhani in -- in iraq. and importantly, it makes -- it
2:57 pm
lulls us into a false sense of security about all of the concessions that we have made to iran. and in particular the sunset component of the nuclear deal, which gives iran effectively in 10 years a completely legitimate program and the ability to move -- nuclear program and the ability to move quickly toward a -- toward a weapon. if iran is moderating, if we have a -- if we are supporting a process of moderation in iran, then allowing it to have these capabilities is really no -- is really no dangerous -- danger. the second -- the second deception is falsifying the chronology of the negotiations, which began much earlier than the election or rouhani. they go back to july -- to july 2012, and they were initiated by the united states. the third deception is erasing concessions from the united states along the lines of what dr. rubin just discussed.
2:58 pm
the fourth is hiding the regional -- the regional cost. the president has in effect -- has in effect recognized syria as an iranian sphere of influence. and one of the goal of the deception mr. rhodes is to -- is to prevent people from connecting the dots from the syria policy and the iranian nuclear policy. and the fifth part of the deception is blaming allies. the white house on background and in public is -- is very -- is very willing to criticize our sunni allies as creating sectarian extremism in the region. it's willing to criticize in very -- in very derogatory terms prime minister netanyahu of israel. it never criticizes the iranians. you never hear a word from the white house about what the iranians are doing in syria in pursuit of the -- in pursuit of
2:59 pm
the -- in support of -- in support of assad's murder machine. i'll just sum now by what i think we need to do about this. and i would say two points. number one, i agree with you, chairman chaffetz, that we do not actually know what is in the iran deal. we still to this day don't know. and i completely agree with your assessment about the activities of secretary of state kerry in europe last week. he was in europe drumming up business for the iranians. and the iranians were saying that this was part of the deal. is it part of the deal, or is it not? we don't -- we don't know. so i would support further investigation. and then secondly, i think we have to trim the size of the nsc. it just -- i don't know see how anyone who looks at this and sees a war room of 22 -- of 22 detailees from around the -- from the executive branch in the -- in the white house with the job of monitoring communications and -- and creating a false narrative in the media is a
3:00 pm
legitimate -- is a legitimate part of the nsc's mission. the nsc should be a coordinating body. it should not be a muscular, imperial body running roughshod over all of the -- over all of the executive branch. so i would add my voice to those who are saying that the nsc should be cut back severely from the 400 members it currently has to something more like 100. thank you. jason chaffetz: thank the gentleman. now we'll recognize mr. hannah for five minutes. john hannah: chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings, members of the committee, on behalf of the foundation for defense of 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 ben rhodes was its allegation concerning president obama's
3:01 pm
overriding strategic purpose in seeking a nuclear deal with iran, a purpose which until now has been largely concealed from the american people. according to the article quote, "by eliminating the fuss about iran's nuclear program, the administration hope to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for america to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like saudi arabia, egypt, israel and turkey. with one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large scale disengagement from the middle east," close quote. now if accurate, this is truly a stunning admission with very big implications.
3:02 pm
as suggested elsewhere in the article, it does represent nothing less than a radical shift in american foreign policy. according to the article, mr. rhodes' passion for the iranian nuclear deal did not derive from any investment in the technical details of sanctions or centrifuges or the future of iranian politics. but rather, "from his own sense of urgency, of radically reorienting american policy in the middle east in order to make the prospects of any american involvement in the region's future wars a lot less likely." now whether you agree or disagree with this inclination to step back from the leadership role that 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 long-time 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
3:03 pm
engineer a large scale american disengagement from the middle east, is a question of vital importance to u.s. national interest. again, whether you agree with it or disagree, and it's one that i think the congress should seek clarification on. if in fact, the nuclear deal with iran is as mr. rhodes suggests, the center of the ark for president obama's efforts to radically transform u.s policy, it raises a host of concerns. certainly, it casts doubt on the administration's reputed claim that no deal was better than a bad deal. to the extent that the preeminent objective instead, in mr. rhodes' view was to, quote, eliminate the fuss about iran's nuclear program rather than to actually eliminate the program itself. one wonders whether the administration did demand or had a tough enough posture in the negotiations as it might otherwise have been. similar concerns, i think, exist now that the deal is in place and being implemented.
3:04 pm
when congress was reviewing the jcpoa last summer, the administration made repeated assurances to the congress that it would vigorously enforce the agreement while using every tool at its disposal to counter iranian terrorism. it's destabilizing regional activities, ballistic missile programs, and human rights abuses. since then, however, iran's bad behavior has dramatically escalated. it has significantly increased its combat role in syria. it's arrested additional u.s. citizens, conducted multiple ballistic missiltests. it's fired rockets in very close proximity to u.s. ships in the persian gulf. held 10 american sailors captive and threatened to close the straits of hormuz. the u.s response to these repeated provocations, despite the administration's earlier assurances, has so far ranged from quite tepid to nonexistent. even more worrisome, perhaps, has been the reported u.s. willingness to at least contemplate granting iran additional sanctions relief that
3:05 pm
it failed to negotiate in the jcpoa. specifically, iran is demanding access to dollarized financial transactions. this would be a huge unilateral concession that would greatly expand iran's ability to do business internationally while legitimizing an iranian banking sector that remains mired in illicit financing activities. let me close by stressing that, especially in light of the questions raised by the new york times profile about what america's true underlying purpose is in pursuing the iran deal, it's extremely important that congress now hold the administration's feet to the fire when it comes to the commitment to combat iran's continued aggression. at a minimum, congress should do everything in its power to ensure that iran receives no new sanctions relief in the absence
3:06 pm
of significant new iranian concessions. and far more aggressive use should be made of non-nuclear sanctions to constrain iran's expanding ballistic missile program and deter the iranian revolutionary guard corps from their destabilizing activities in syria, iraq, and yemen. the bottom line is that 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 in other areas that endanger our interests and those of our allies. thank you again, mr. chairman, for the opportunity to testify. i know this is the place where i would normally say i look forward to your questions. but maybe more appropriately, i stand by and am ready to try and answer your questions. jason chaffetz: fair enough. i think that's a fair summary of where we're at. i'll now recognize myself for five minutes. mr. rhodes, i wish he were here. he had as a unique perspective -- he said some truly amazing
3:07 pm
and over the top things that were quoted in the new york times. i haven't heard anything refute that. one of the ones that i think would concern all of us is this quote that he said on the fourth page of this article, at least as it's printed out, "i don't know anymore where i begin and obama ends." that's a true -- if you really think and let that settle in, that's a truly stunning statement. he also said some other things that i think are very concerning, "all these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus," -- which i think he makes a good point on that. and then he says, "now they don't. they call us to explain to them what's happening in moscow and cairo. most of the outlets are reporting our world events from washington." "the average reporter we talk to is 27 years old and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. that's a sea change. they literally know nothing." he went on to say, mr. rhodes said, "but then there are these sorts of forced multipliers. we have our compadres.
3:08 pm
"i will reach out to a couple people and, you know, i wouldn't want to name them." and then he goes on and -- anyway, it's just -- it's really interesting in his approach. but here's what -- that's one component. but you compile that on top of what you also hear -- former secretary panetta said, this is what secretary panetta said. and this is a quote from panetta, "and you know my view talking with the president was, if i brought it to the point where we had evidence that they're developing an atomic weapon, 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?" and secretary panetta's quote is, "i would make the same
3:09 pm
assessment now? probably not." probably not. so -- he said it once, i repeated it twice. but this is of what's deep concern. i think it'd be naive to just gloss this over and say, hey, we got this deal. it's in the best interests of the united states. it's not something that was fully brought before the congress. 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 iran has maybe made other deals. do you have any insight, mr. doran, any of you, what these so-called side deals might be? are michael s. doran: no. and there's what we have uncovered. but as time goes on, we keep finding out more and more that wasn't in the text. and, of course, the obama administration says there is
3:10 pm
nothing else. but the iranians are saying that there is a larger deal. in particular, with regard to access to dollars and expanding their economy. and the behavior of our officials suggests that they are right. our officials say that the iranians are not correct. but here we have secretary kerry in europe last week meeting with banks, trying to get them to overlook concerns about iran's illicit activities. and to drum up business for iran. so there's a mismatch here between what we're saying and what we're doing. but what we're doing actually does match quite closely with what the iranians are saying. and that's 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.
3:11 pm
our red lines have dropped all along the way and the iranians have stayed consistent with theirs. jason chaffetz: mr. rubin. michael rubin: very quickly, the jcpoa is almost like a timeshare agreement. where you sign the deal and then you only find out then what the true costs are. one of the subjects for oversight would be with regard to changing the language restricting iran's ballistic missile work. was it a deliberate concession or was it the result of incompetence? michael rubin: what troubles me mostly is how we seem to be having become iran's lawyer. for example, the iranians will now complain that we are not enabling enough openings for their economy. and yet what didn't hit the western press was last week, the iranians, on the order of the supreme leader, cancelled an order, $20 million -- i'm sorry, $2 million for chevrolets. and the answer was, we shouldn't be doing business with the americans. who's kneecapping the iranian economy? us or the iranians? it's time to have the iranians stop blaming other people and take accountability to themselves. jason chaffetz: thank you.
3:12 pm
my time is expired. now i'll recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. elijah cummings: thank you very much, chairman. mr. hannah, you were dick cheney's top national security advisor, is that right? john hannah: yes, sir, from 2005 to 2009. elijah cummings: and your office was ground zero in the bush administration's marketing campaign to sell the iraq war to the american people, is that a fair statement? john hannah: no, i don't think it is. as you said, we played an important role in making the first draft of secretary powell's speech to the united nations. that was certainly true, but we... elijah cummings: ok, so you were -- you did -- you were involved in making the first draft, is that right? john hannah: yes, that's correct. elijah cummings: is this pretty much the draft that he presented to the united nations?
3:13 pm
i mean, i knowhe first draft usually goes through many more drafts, but... john hannah: sure, sure. it -- i thought there were some similarities in it. if you actually hear some of secretary powell's pele tell the story now, they say my draft was filled with inaccurate intelligence reports. reports that couldn't be suorted by the intelligence community. so at the end of the day, they threw out my draft. secretary powell then spent four days with the highest levels of our intelligence community, at langley, doing a new draft that he said was primarily based on the intelligence community's nie. so their claim is that there were no -- that my draft did not actually form the foundation of what he presented to the united nations. elijah cummings: now you -- i'm sure, having heard that, i'm sure you probably said, let me at least listen to what he did say. is that right? did you read his -- john hannah: oh, sure. no i -- yes, i did. absolutely. elijah cummings: and was there any mention of weapons of mass destruction in your draft as compared to the final draft of secretary powell? john hannah: yes. i think both of our drafts were
3:14 pm
entirely focused on weapons of mass destruction. elijah cummings: and what would you say was the difference? because he seemed like he was very disappointed with the information that you had provided him and said that it was a blot on his reputation and pretty much that he, you know, until the day he dies, he's going to regret it. but i'm just curious. john hannah: yes, correction, first of all, when he said it was a blot, i think he was talking about what he presented to the united nations. i don't think he was talking about the draft that i presented him. it's what he did with george tenet and the rest of the intelligence community that he ended up presenting that was obviously filled with errors. most of it was wrong. my draft -- the instruction to me when i started that draft was that you need to go look at all of the intelligence there is,
3:15 pm
including raw intelligence, which we regularly got at the white house. look for individual reports by individual intelligence sources. i did that and put it into a draft and then have the intelligence community look at that draft and decide what pieces of intelligence could they support. which ones weren't they able to support? that source was not reliable. didn't have enough of a reliable record of reporting. and they would throw it out. so i wrote the draft knowing that large segments of it would be thrown out because the intelligence community just didn't have the necessary confidence level in that reporting. elijah cummings: now let me read what secretary powell's chief of staff said about your document. i take it that's the first draft. he said, "hannah was constantly flipping through his clipboard trying to source and verify all the statements. it was clear the thing was put together by cherry picking everything."
3:16 pm
in fact, they discovered that you did not use a cia report properly. you did not cite a cia report fairly. and you referenced a new york times article that quoted an intelligence report out of context. so they scrapped, as you said, your entire document. and the secretary's chief of staff described it in this way, and i quote. he said, "finally, i threw the paper down on the table and said, this isn't going to cut it." now, this was the chief of staff, right? for secretary powell. how could you have given him such a document that appears, in his opinion, to have been baseless and misleading? john hannah: well, i mean, there's a long history of this. it was mr. wilkerson, colonel wilkerson, who was his chief of staff. elijah cummings: that's correct. john hannah: he has a long record of -- that anybody can go read, about his views of the iraq war and his regrets and deep regrets. i think we just have a different view of the draft i presented. i do acknowledge that it included an awful lot of stuff that i knew, that came from the intelligence community, that they would not be able to support.
3:17 pm
if they thought it wasn't used properly, they could use it properly, if they thought it was useful. so we just have a basic, i think, difference of view about what i actually provided and what the purpose of my draft was. it wasn't meant to be a final draft, the final word that would go to the united nations. it was meant to be a rough draft that the intelligence community would go through with a fine tooth comb and pick out those parts that they thought were the -- made the strongest case that, in fact, saddam did have weapons of mass destruction. elijah cummings: but it wasn't just mr. wilkerson. it was also george tenet who reportedly turned directly to you. and i'm sure you'll remember this, and said, "you've wasted a lot of our time." is that true and did he say that? george tenet. john hannah: he certainly didn't say it to me. he may have certainly -- i could easily see him saying that kind of thing. but he didn't say it to me. elijah cummings: i thank you very much.
3:18 pm
jason chaffetz: noi recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. walberg for five minutes. tim walberg: thank you mr. chair and thanks to the panel for being here. we wish that there were other members of course. mr. doran, in your testimony, you discuss the need to restore checks and balances and note that while mr. rhodes behavior is scandalous. and i think propaganda is the word that you used, it wasn't a rogue operation, but that he was carrying out the will of the president. questions that i'm sure my constituents representing them here in the people's house would want me to ask in reference to this, is number one, how can congress take steps to prevent this president and future presidents from circumventing congress? michael s. doran: i think this is part of the inherent tension in our government. i did -- i did say that i think that the -- mr. rhodes is doing the bidding of the president. i think it is important to remember that. we have now numerous accounts from -- mainly from former
3:19 pm
defense secretaries panetta and gates especially showing how there's an inner core in the white house, of five or six people who consult closely with the president about his views. and everybody else was pretty much left out of the conversation, including principals of the -- on the national -- on the national security council. and mr. rhodes is part of that -- part of that inner circle. the only answer i have to this -- i've spent a lot of time thinking about it. the only answer i have are the two that i -- that i gave you. one is over -- just exercising the oversight responsibilities that -- that congress has, asking the hard questions and continuing putting pressure on the executive branch to -- to come clean. the second is i think cutting back the size of the -- of the nsc. it's -- it's -- it's simply wrong.
3:20 pm
i think -- i think anyone on -- on -- on both sides of the aisle would -- would see that the national security council created by statute in 1947 was created to be a coordinating body not -- not an operational arm of the -- of the government. and under president obama, it has slipped into becoming an operational arm and i think when you look at the -- at the -- at the war room, as described, not by me, but by -- but by mr. rhodes, this is a -- this is an operational -- operational white house. just one -- one last point here. there's an issue here that i think we all just need to be aware of, but there's not much we can do about it and that is the collapse of the press. so one of the reasons why this is a threat to our checks and balances is because of the collapse of, i would say certain informal checks on government -- on governmental power that have disappeared over the last decade. you know, very, very quickly because of the rise of the -- the rise of the internet. what -- what ben rhodes said in
3:21 pm
that article about -- about foreign events reported from washington and from the white house by young reporters who don't know anything, and don't have any other sources of information except what the white house is telling them, is completely correct. and it's a danger. there's not much -- there's nothing much in terms of legislation that we can do about that, but we need to be -- we need to be aware of it. it's sort of a double danger because not only do those reporters not have alternative sources of information. but because all the information is coming out of the white house they have -- they have a special interest in maintaining good relations to the white house and reporting the news stories as the white house wants it reported. tim walberg: well, let -- let me go on from that, as well. and mr. rubin, you may want to jump in here as well. ben rhodes' assistant, in the article and his report -- his comments in the new york times magazine article indicated that there were compadres involved in this, and some of those were in the think tank -- think tank community as well. who would he be referring to in
3:22 pm
a think tank and policy world? michael rubin: the ploughshares fund. tim walberg: the -- the what? michael rubin: the ploughshares fund -- tim walberg: ok. michael rubin: -- has funded many of elements of the so called "echo chamber," to use ben rhodes words. supposedly neutral assessors for example in various arms control think tanks, perhaps in the atlantic council as well, and elsewhere were receiving grants. now one can say just because one has received a grant from this high level funder, and by the way, this funder also had provided grants to senior iranian officials working in the united states as well, at universities and so forth, just because they have funded doesn't necessarily mean that there's a quid pro quo. but what you will find is that anyone who has received ploughshares funding, especially for the bulk of their grant or
3:23 pm
the bulk of their salary never, not once contradicted the assessment which ben rhodes sought to put forward. tim walberg: thank you. i yield back. jason chaffetz: thank the gentleman. now recognize the gentlewoman from new york, ms. maloney for five minutes. carolyn maloney: thank you. after a good deal of deliberation and -- and research, i voted against the iran nuclear deal. and 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 forward, it literally has convinced me that i made the right decision. but i have to say as a member who took the time to carefully study the plan before making a decision, as i believe all of 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 of the
3:24 pm
administration bent over backwards to provide accurate information to us. and i must say that this was one of the most hotly debated issues that i've experienced since i've been in congress. but both sides were deeply involved in putting forward their cases. there were demonstrations. there were petitions. there were meetings. there were conferences. there were debates. there were -- it was completely and totally open to everyone to -- 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 expedition based on a widely questioned new york times profile of an advisor to president obama. i believe it's quite a stretch to suggest that the white house, building a comprehensive information campaign to support
3:25 pm
a major policy, a foreign policy initiative amounts to any way in 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 pretenses to come now before us as an expert witness on an alleged false white house narrative. i find the hypocrisy really beyond belief. and i'd like to ask mr. hannah, do you know who scott mcclellan is? yes or no? oh yeah. well scott -- john hannah: yes. carolyn maloney: other people may not know, he was the white house press secretary and he wrote a book about his experience. he explained how a small group of advisors, called the white house iraq work -- working group
3:26 pm
helped sell the iraq war by misleading the american people. and i'm quoting from president bush's press secretary. he said, "the white house iraq group had been set up in the summer of 2002 to coordinate the marketing of the war to the public." and mr. -- mr. hannah, wasn't scooter libby, your boss and dick cheney's chief of staff, weren't theyart of the iraq group? john hannah: the vice president was and i think scooter libby was. i'm not 100 percent sure but i think you're right. carolyn maloney: yeah, yeah. well, scott mcclellan further wrote. he explained exactly how you and others mislead the american people. and he said this, and i quote, "as the campaign accelerated, qualifications were downplayed or dropped altogether, contradictory intelligence was largely ignored or simply disregarded." so mr. hannah, why did you
3:27 pm
ignore and disregard evidence that contradicted your political narrative for the war? john hannah: congresswoman, i would just say that, you know, to the extent that i got it wrong in believing that saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and awful lot of people got it wrong. it was not a figment of the imagination -- carolyn maloney: are you saying mr. hannah -- john hannah: -- of the vice president thought this. carolyn maloney: -- are you saying that mr. mcclellan was wrong in the book when he said he mislead and lied to the american people, this group? john hannah: all i can tell you is that there have been bipartisan commissions that have looked at how the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction... carolyn maloney: yeah, do you -- do you think -- john hannah: -- came to the conclusion that the president of the united states did not lie about this -- carolyn maloney: i'm not talking about him. i'm talking about mcclellan. was mcclellan wrong? was he misinformed? was he lying? john hannah: i made that one -- carolyn maloney: when he said that they -- he wrote, "we were misleading the american people. we downplayed any contradictory information." john hannah: i -- i -- i -- congresswoman, i haven't read his -- his book. all i can tell you, is that a lot of people who know scott
3:28 pm
very well -- i don't know scott, at all, really... carolyn maloney: ok. are you saying -- john hannah: -- have contradicted his -- his presentation. carolyn maloney: ok. john hannah: they believe he was wrong in his judgments and he -- carolyn maloney: are you saying that you did include contradictory intelligence showing that your case was weak or nonexistent? john hannah: no, i think we were instructed to write what we thought was the base case for why saddam had weapons of mass destruction. jason chaffetz: the gentlewoman's time has expired. carolyn maloney: no, i have 21 seconds left, according to this. now i would just like to clarify -- jason chaffetz: no, that's -- no, no, no, you were talking 7 seconds over time. carolyn maloney: oh, ok. jason chaffetz: thank you. carolyn maloney: all right. jason chaffetz: now recognize the gentleman... carolyn maloney: but i'd like to put my closing statement in -- in the record. it's a zinger. and it's very hypocritical, mr. chairman. jason chaffetz: no, no -- you know, what's -- what's -- mr. hannah's here to answer questions. mr. rhodes is not here to answer questions. that's what's difficult about this hearing. we'll go to mr. gosar now of
3:29 pm
arizona. i recognize him for five minutes. paul gosar: thank you mr. chairman. mr. rubin, mr. doran, mr. hannah, thank you for your testimony and for providing valuable information to this committee, which sheds lights on the deceptive manner in which the obama administration sold out the american people and our allies across the globe with the iran capitulation agreement. even when presented with the facts, like the facts each of you have laid in your testimony, the administration balks, doubles down and tries to discredit anyone who disagrees with their false narrative, including me. when asked about ben rhodes revelatory interview with the new york times magazine, press secretary josh earnest dodged and decided to lambast several members of congress, including me as liars, truly eliciting alinsky's principles to their core. why? because i said that under this illegal iran deal and lifting sanctions that iran would be able to assess up to $100 billion that was previously frozen? his treasury secretary, jack lew stated yet the sanction really could be worth about $100 billion.
3:30 pm
the president of iran said his country would get $100 billion. despite the fact that i said something similar in september 2015, the white house is now trying to brand me as a liar in attempting to deflect ben rhodes recent statements. the point is not whether it's $100 billion or $50 billion, or whether it's all at once or over a period of time. the real problem is that president obama is funding the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. iran is no friend to the united states, to christians, to jews or even sunni muslims. iran is a rogue nation hell bent on nuclear war in the middle east. a responsible president who loves this country and supports our allies would never lift sanctions and give this murderous regime money, much less billions. this deal is a strain on our national character. our next president, we can only hope will terminate this nonsense and promote freedom, accountability and opportunity overseas, not a regime thatour l terminate this and promote accountability overseas.
3:31 pm
white house press secretary suggested i show up to the oversight committee. here am. >> i believe that it represents the president's strategic vision and the presidents will. the president is on record as early as 2006 saying that he wanted to improve relations with iran and syria and that he saw them as sharing core interest in stabilizing iraq and that we should work with them to do that.
3:32 pm
>> you would say that he is ultimately responsible for this frame of capitulation? the key factor in understanding my we made these concessions. we are trying to develop a partnership with him. these lies andy misrepresentations are deeply within the latest examples of this administration's mo within its it's -- it's inception. this is the same administration that sold the american people out under the guise of health care reform. legislative garbage truck within by knowingly and willfully repeating the lie. if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. engaging in unlawful lobbying to of unitede waters
3:33 pm
states regulation. the government of accountability office under administrator mccarthy unleashed an illegal propaganda campaign in order to force standing down for the american people. clear that there was a covert agenda to reach a deal at any cost that was driven more by the optics of diplomacy and legacy. what are the dangers of such a narrative driven approach to policymaking? mr. rubin: 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.
3:34 pm
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. it is a 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. essentially, republicans, my colleagues, accuse ben rhodes of misleading the american people by claiming that the obama
3:35 pm
administration began negotiating the deal and the operative area is 2013 -- after iran elected a 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. here's how the claim is worded in the "new york times magazine, that rhodes shaped the story -- the iran deal began in 2013 when a moderate faction within the iranian 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.
3:36 pm
that is what brought us here, gentlemen. the president's efforts with 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? were any of you unaware of that 2008 report? mr. hannah: i do not remember the report exactly but i think
3:37 pm
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. >> but this is about negotiating 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 sent two letters to iran's supreme leader. now, i know -- that is 2009, this is well before 2013. there are many reports from 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
3:38 pm
not be seen in isolation. first he tried to engage iran early and it directly, not 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 behaved reasonably. 2011 from "the atlantic." this is 2011. as part of a six-party body negotiating issue. 2012. all of this is before 2013.
3:39 pm
you are supposed to be experts. some of experts not invited here has said that it is nonsense that only after regime change did the president begin to negotiate. the president of plowshares fund called it utter nonsense. the core claim of official deception were never substantiated. none of these experts, so we 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
3:40 pm
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 indicated that heather been time, there would have been a democratic witness. thank you, i yield back. >> we now recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> gentlemen, are any of you familiar with the name jonathan gruber? do know that name? anyone? mr. rubin: i know the name. >> do know what his occupation as?
3:41 pm
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. any of you guys know why he was 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. that is a nice way of thinking, if you deceive people you might get your case. so here the architect of obamacare talking about deception. if you like your plan you can
3:42 pm
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. talks about this echo chamber and deceiving the press, and his derision for the press is kind of like mr. gruber's derision of the american voter. they literally know nothing was one of the lines i believe mr. rhodes used in his piece. mr. rubin, you talk about this false choice in your opening statement that mr. rhodes set up
3:43 pm
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. this is not 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. mr. rubin: 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
3:44 pm
anniversary of the seizure of the american embassy, he mocked 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. mr. gruber 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
3:45 pm
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 best given the task to testify, is not have the courtesy to show up. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i will now recognize the gentleman from 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, ad
3:46 pm
nauseam. he went on and 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 non-stop. he hammered away at that and said if i get elected and i am going to withdraw those troops. in the first 16 months he is 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
3:47 pm
information. i have to say i was never tricked by ben rhodes. with auto respect to ben rhodes, 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. we had 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 leaders, scientists including visit this who created the first hydrogen bomb. we had stone cold experts on this. those are the people -- actually sat with one of the experts from the i.a.e.a. about what he thought happened at iraq.
3:48 pm
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 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 go to the i.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 have admitted the first two reports by the i.a.e.a., the verification for the islamic
3:49 pm
republic and iran in light of the united nations security council resolution 2231. this is an inspection done because of the agreement. i will tell you what they report. i will give you the greatest hits. they determined that iraq, heavy water research reactor. they determined iran was not pursuing the construction of the reactor. they had removed the existing from that reactor and filled it with concrete. they had stored under conditions, continuous agency monitoring all existing iranian pellets and fuel. they modified the plant so that
3:50 pm
it cannot be used for the fabrication of fuel. iran was not procuring rich uranium. it goes on here. a lot of good stuff here. they 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. so that is what the i.a.e.a. is exactly doing and that's part of the agreement. but the great advantage to us no
3:51 pm
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 there is an objection. we now recognize the gentleman from south carolina. >> i want to thank you not only for the penalty for us but the panel he tried for us. not only did ben rhodes not appear and cost us an opportunity to question mr. rhodes, the cost us the opportunity to question tommy cotton. hauling a senator before
3:52 pm
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 tours of duty in the united states army in afghanistan and iraq, ben rhodes was navigating 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 sonnets and novellas, he is probably the right guy. on the other hand, when you are advising the leader of the free world i do not know how a haiku
3:53 pm
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 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 invoked 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.
3:54 pm
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. and i would add, he has plenty of time to sit down for what he had hoped to be a fluff piece in "the new york times." 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. you have to know something to get a drivers license. if they are 27, they would be eligible to vote the democratic primary. ask them about that. his appearance today would have created an opportunity for a
3:55 pm
little bit bipartisanship, which i know that our friends only other side of the aisle like from time to time. it is -- said that he expressed contempt for those reporters area that might have provided an opportunity for bipartisanship. it would have given us an opportunity to share our own frustrations. but he didn't come. mr. chairman, you do a great job leading this committee. it's up to you whether or not you assert the people's right to question ben rhodes. of this selective use executive privilege on one day and it's not on the next, at some point congress will have to stick up for itself and we will have to decide whether or not 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 come explain yourself. if you have time to send a bunch of mean tweets about a guy who served to combat tours and he is willing to come, but the
3:56 pm
creative writing expert isn't willing to come? this body is going to have to stick up for itself. >> we now recognize the gentleman from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. lordy, lord he. the outrage at my friend from south carolina does the heart good. it 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 iranian nuclear agreement is working. it's not a panacea for all of their behavior, though they would like you to believe that. just as our disarmament union,nt with the soviet our implacable foe during the
3:57 pm
cold war, were also not designed to address every aspect of soviet behavior. would that they could, but they are not designed to be the be-all and end-all to circumscribe the entire relationship. but this was designed for a specific set of goals. lord almighty, we had a hearing at the house foreign affairs committee where again my friends from the other side of the aisle desperately wanted not to talk about compliance, but being the skunk at the picnic, i did. let me see. compliance, we found agreement has reduced the number of centrifuges as andned from 19,000 to 6100 four. plantse fuel enrichment
3:58 pm
saw those centrifuges reduced. iran is no longer enriching .ranium above 3.67% verified by the iaea. they have reduced their stockpile of enriched uranium, as required, tim -- to no more than 300 kilograms. verified. under constant surveillance. verified. and of course the plutonium production capability, eliminated. i asked point blank if there was evident -- any evidence. weree heard was that they cheating and couldn't be trusted and that this was enabling behavior to allow them to become a nuclear threshold state. the answer was so far there was no cheating. now my friend from south carolina -- we are friends.
3:59 pm
we are sometimes sparring partners. he's all exercised about the fact that somebody that knows a friendly accept invitation to come before this committee. we are a very hospitable environment to witnesses. first -- once in a while we deny them fifth amendment rights, .adger them, censor them a lot of times we interrupt them and we don't like their testimony. but they come here nonetheless. you are lucky, mr. rubin. you are really lucky. to be here today. when you received an invitation from the senate intelligence committee in 2006, did you accept it? >> and don't getting one. >> it's in the committee report. did you not see it? >> i must not have. >> let me help refresh your
4:00 pm
memory. they issued the final report and made tot every request you for an interview was denied. it concludes that these decisions inhibited their ability to pursue legitimate lines of inquiry. no reason why you would say to the senate intelligence committee when it was under democratic -- actually, it wasn't in 2006. but you still said no. that doesn't refresh your memory? >> it doesn't, but i can tell office of thee vice president the council was a of -- gressive proponent >> go ahead, say it. >> you say it for me. >> what's that word coming out? privilege. there you go. for a republican white house it's perfectly ok. you had an aggressive counsel saying you weren't going.
4:01 pm
but here with someone who gives a profile for a magazine where he boasts about himself? we had to haul him in in chains before the committee because we were being denied access and that's wrong and you have agreed to testify about it knowing that. do you think that mr. rhodes should be here in a way that you are not? 10 years ago? >> what i remember in the administration is that dr. rice, in her capacity as advisor did testify. >> on talking about you. you were named by the senate intelligence committee by name and singled out for your refusal to make yourself available to that committee when it was doing its work. was there less gravity to the issue at hand 10 years ago involving you then there is today involving mr. rhodes? >> issues were grave in both
4:02 pm
cases, i think. mr. rhodes has been willing to talk about all of these issues so openly and with such contempt for so many people. >> well, we are glad to have you here as well. colleagues -- y >> expired -- >> aggressive white house counsels deserve each other, chairman. the gentleman's time has expired. >> we recognize which gentleman from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would think that ben rhodes would be falling all over himself to come here. he seems to think he so much smarter than everybody, educate everybody. tell us how we were wrong. show us what we were missing. educate the american people. it would have been a great opportunity for him if he was a smart and worldly as he says. part of this, yes there is deception involved. any time a major policy is sold
4:03 pm
to the congress or the public, that's a major thing. he himself said that the deal of thee the obamacare second term. of course, with obamacare in the first term of president famously said over and over again, if you like your plan, you can keep it. not only was that not true, the administration knew that it would not be true but they did it to engineer the passage of obamacare. with this deal the president was in the debate in 2012 and said the deal -- the deal was simple and he accepted the end of their nuclear program. that it was straightforward. what we see now is that they have retained really a major nuclear program and i believe they are on a path to a bomb. at worst. 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 rhodes
4:04 pm
-- like the idea that the election of room honey changes --rouhani oney changes everything. a regime that is the world treating state sponsor of terrorism. a regime that people fail to mention was responsible for as many as 1500 american deaths in iraq. they were funding these massive bombs that took out at least hundreds of our soldiers and probably as many as 1500. that is the nature of the regime. the notion it was propagated was that this was an opening. that we had to take this opportunity. that it was a once in a generation opportunity. they never believed that. they were in fact negotiating with the regime before he was elected. ruse to all a kind of camouflage the basic policy and
4:05 pm
i think that mr. doran hit on it . it was a policy that understood the radical nature of the regime and was doing a deal with those hardliners to effectively solidify it. they think that that is the way to have a more peaceful world. the important deception is for itself, but what it really masks is that when we were going through all of this, i thought that john kerry and the president were very naive about how they conceived of the regime . turns out that they were not. they believed it and still wanted to go ahead with it. that's why i think it's a troubling. we are seeing that now play out with gratuitous concessions, like giving iran in direct access to the american dollar. that wasn't even called for by the deal, but it is something that the administration is doing. i think that this is important.
4:06 pm
i don't think we have done an issue that is so important to the congress in years and years. the idea that you are not up front with the american people is important but i think what do is weld allow us to should be able to tease out the implications of the policy. seems like they are a moderate. they admitted to the ruse. they knew well the nature of the regime. effectively unilaterally stepping back to college would be better for world security? >> i think that's right. i think that the president has a vision of the middle east in which it is a roundtable. the iranians are stakeholders now. the assumption is that if we andt treating them respecting their interests is
4:07 pm
that they will come towards us. i think the key core false assumption is that they share the same interests. particularly relevant are the views of fred half, president obama's point man on syria from 2009 22012. understands that it's closer to the administration's policy and syria. is the view that president obama has recognized the sphere of interest of syria and did so in order to reach the agreement with them. >> i think that the upside of all of this is significant. emergingd that iran is as the dominant power in the region. it is beyond me and i yield back.
4:08 pm
>> at this time i would like to associate myself with the words of representative lynch of massachusetts. i don't think it's possible to overstate the amount of study that went into the deal on both sides. it has turned into a political football. let me get this straight. you drew up false talking points for: powertel when he spoke in front of the u.n. you wrote in the talking points that there were weapons of mass instruction in iraq? you are here to discuss some of else's credibility and professionalism. am i getting that straight? >> not sure i'm questioning his
4:09 pm
professionalism. i am lessening the tactics. we based the information on the intelligence that was there. mistake, not a part of a purposeful desire. >> earlier in your testimony today you told us you drew up the beach not knowing if it was true. drawing it up as a piece of salesmanship. your words work quite clear on that. one part of the salesmanship was that the bush administration cooked up this idea that there was yellowcake africancoming from the nation of niger. it was joe wilson who gave the lie to that fiction.
4:10 pm
op-ed in the new york times in july into thousand three did monkeying the claim that yellowcake uranium was going to saddam hussein from niger. the top advisers. , surelye was convicted you discussed ambassador wilson's op-ed with him. especially as it contradicted 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. wilson wrote that it would not take long to quote that it was highly doubtful that
4:11 pm
it took place and he directly contradicted information you put thepublicly and in response bush administration retaliated against him by publicly outing his wife, valerie flame, was a cia operative at the time. i question to you is, what was your role in outing valerie plane as an operative? >> i had no role in that outing. >> special counsel was appointed to investigate the criminal leak of information. he concluded that there was a concerted action by multiple people in the white house to discredit, punish, or seek revenge against ambassador wilson. do you dispute those fighting? >> yes, i dispute the way the name reached the press. it was from a person who seem to
4:12 pm
have no desire within the state department. secretary armitage seemed to mention her in a conversation with a reporter. >> he ruined her career and sacrificed a national security asset all because ambassador wilson had the temerity to debunk your false claims and he told the truth. your boss, dick cheney's chief of staff, scooter libby was convicted. president bush commuted his prison time. that's correct, isn't it? was never charged with releasing the name of a covert cia operative? >> that was karl rove, wasn't it? his name was in there. i had no dealings with him. >> i yield back, mr. chairman.
4:13 pm
>> we recognize mr. meadows for five minutes. >> let me come to you. home as these decisions get made regarding the validity of the deal as we call it, decisions by members of congress hinge on sometimes minute pieces of information. where they can justify going one way or another. do you believe that some of the statements were a factor in these members of congress casting their vote one way or another? >> yes, and i can give you examples. when it comes to verification, allrding to u.s. law agreements are supposed to be presented to the congress. now it emerges that there were
4:14 pm
secret agreements with the iaea. one of these secret side agreements that comes into play regarding verification is that thattate department agreed the iaea would not need to report to the level it had withted under sanctions regard to the possible military dimensions. in saying that they needed verification for complying with the deal, it's like someone was the valedictorian at the summer school class. it becomes a major problem, letting them off the hook and we only found out about them afterwards. testimony had sworn both 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 that is a credible argument to make under sworn testimony?
4:15 pm
>> they are lying to congress. >> that is a pretty bold statement. look ate go back and the tapes where they say that there was no side agreements in sworn testimony, is it incumbent on this committee to hold those particular individuals who gave sworn testimony in contempt of congress? >> yes. >> thank you. let me go further. isroubling aspect of this that somehow for members on the other side of the aisle to that there is wrongdoing in previous administrations that would justify wrongdoing in a current administration, is it your opinion that regardless of ,ho the administration might be republican or democrat, it is incumbent upon them to be honest
4:16 pm
and straightforward with congress when they are negotiating something of this type of magnitude? >> national security should not be a political football. >> is he your sworn testimony here today that because of the talking points of mr. rhodes and the inaccuracy or as you would characterize them, lies that took place, that the whole debate the transpired within congress was based on salt -- faulty assumptions that had no relevance or relationship to truth? >> it was as if instead of looking at the whole chessboard white house was just directing congress to look at four pieces. >> if we were only looking at four pieces in something critical to national security and the security of our allies,
4:17 pm
israel, do 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 and not truthful? think an apology is owed by this administration to that government? has as administration sorry record at this point of coddling adversaries and throwing allies under the bus. perhaps apologies or do when domestic washington politics got in the way of serious form policy discourse. >> mr. chairman, i yield bullet back. >> thank you. mr. chairman, if the heart of this is a question, whether this was the one faced by the president, and iran without nuclear weapons being battle for national security in the middle
4:18 pm
east in the world. that was the question. rhodes wasent of mr. one significant person among hundreds, along with our best england,nce, germany, and are sometimes friend ami's, china and russia. the collective decision of those thetries and us was that iran nuclear deal was in our collective interest. there was serious disagreement among the witnesses and my colleagues in congress. but this is a long and complex negotiation it was ultimately ratified by our strongest allies. thee was a judgment commander-in-chief had to make
4:19 pm
about whether it was in the national security interest in this country. i agree with him. rhodes.losely with mr. i found him to be an exceptional public servant. knowledgeable. by what you are saying, candid and direct. let me just ask a couple of questions here. the decision the president made was in contrast to decisions made by a previous president. believe that the american people got the right information? that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq? each of you. barak. iraq. >> no. >> know, the american people got with the intelligence community believed. >> mr. rubin?
4:20 pm
>> congress. >> the president has no role? >> the buck stops with the president, but if you are talking about oversight, that's a separation of powers is about. >> by the way, i will go along with this. congress blew it on that resolution. what are you suggesting to me that there is not ultimate responsibility for making the decision invalidating the recommendations of the intelligence community on the matter of sending our troops to war by sending troops into the middle east for upheaval and he is not the one who ultimately bears the responsibility for that decision? >> the president made the decision to go to war. the not willing to put broad instability in the middle east on his shoulders. the middle east needs to be accountable for the middle east. >> we went into this war in iraq.
4:21 pm
we toppled saddam hussein. we were promised we would make money on the war. that was testimony from some of the president's advisers. that it would be over in 60 days and the troops would be greeted with flowers in the streets. didn't work out that way. afghanistan, the longest war in 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. any of you think that afghanistan is on a solid footing for democracy on -- at a moment that at the moment? yes or no, i can get that from each of you. >> no. >> no. >> no. >> so, we have a president who says -- you know what? approach isn't so great. he had to make a decision and he
4:22 pm
said, let's try negotiation. i supported sanctions. every tough sanction we were able to impose i supported, as did all -- virtually all the democrats and republicans. you know what? sanctions worked, they brought iran to the table. you are talking about the public servants because of a newspaper article is something that disregarded the fact that we do it in a rack, are blowing it in afghanistan. the president decided to get an agreement and had in full p5port of those allies the plus one. let's get on it, i'm all for that. that is essentially what the alternative was.
4:23 pm
that's essentially what the alternative was? i don't buy it. i don't think the american people by a. we are picking and choosing some little detail that somebody somewhere said suggesting we have to unravel the whole thing. i disagree. >> we now recognize the gentleman from north carolina. >> it was one of the most aggressive to take shape. there were 25 democrats. there were others. what did those members know that
4:24 pm
the other members did not know? guys may bet you dads. it's always interesting when you confront a child and ask your giveaway is that when they knowledge of another brother and sister did something wrong. that's the smokescreen here today. so much has been on mr. hannah and mr. him shapiro. mr. shapiro became the poster boy.
4:25 pm
whether intentional or not, did mr. shapiro in your opinionth mislead the american public with this anytime anywhere multiple times? here is that by lying whether he was a moderate, he provided cover for the fact that administration left iran with 5000 q1 centrifuges and that the administration never had any hope, once this expired, that the resulting was an industrial scale that would be different. they built not a bomb, but an arsenal. >> mr. rant? >> i concede to the american people. ,> if the article is accurate yes, i think that he engaged in certain deceptions about what
4:26 pm
the administration was really up to and what we were facing. >> the agreement lifts afterctions on arms sales five years. after eight years it removes the ban on developing ballistic missiles capable of reaching the united dates. can you elaborate on the threat that the ballistic missile capability poses to the united states? >> one of the problems i have is that people tend to pat themselves on the back every time there is a failed missile test. the fact is that you learn a lot from a failed missile test and they have made clear that they intend to continue with their ballistic missiles until such a time that they can strike anywhere, anytime. a major flaw in the agreement is that it bands arms sales for offensive weapons for five years but never defines what offensive is, which is why iran is on a shopping's the in russia and
4:27 pm
china right now. >> one of the things the agreement basically did was remove the missiles and effectively remove ballistic missiles from the kinds of sanctions that they were under through the change in language that the chairman mentioned. if the administration had told congress before the deal that the deal would result in an iranian russian military alliance that was going to intervene in syria and result in the rise of iranian power around the region, we would have had a different debate. thehe only thing on ballistic missile -- everything my colleagues have said is right . essentially iran is determined to do this and it is important to note that the only really rational military use of these missiles is if you can put a
4:28 pm
nuclear warhead on them. that makes them really militarily useful. the fact that iran is so dedicated to expanding and building out this program, including eventually an icbm being able to hit not only all , to hit theghbors united states with its deep crop -- deep cooperation with north korea over the years, who is already capable of hitting the united states, makes me believe that this deal is only kicking the can down the road and they fully intend at a point in time and they are stronger and less able to stand up to sanctions and american power to go ahead, once restraints are lifted, going for a nuclear weapon. i now recognize the gentleman from missouri for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank the witnesses for being here today. mr. hammer, you worked for dick
4:29 pm
cheney and actively participated in the preparation of secretary 's in tennis speech to the united nations about iraq's weapons of mass distraction. menu testify about false white house narratives. given your involvement in that debacle, one of the primary claims for war was that saddam hussein had so-called mobile labs roaming around inside of a rack secretary powell showed a cartoon drawing of one of these mobile labs during his speech to the united nations. we have a slide of it. could someone please put it up on the screen? oh, there it is. those are the mobile labs. mr. hannah, who drew this picture? john hannah: i do not know.
4:30 pm
i assume whoever in the intelligence community was responsible for the graphics for his presentation. william lacy clay jr.: and you used this as part of your preparation -- as part of you preparing, mr. powell, for that speech? john hannah: my guess is that, that -- yes, the issue of the biological labs would have been in whatever i provided in the draft. william lacy clay jr.: yeah. let me read secretary powell's stated -- who stated during his speech to the united nations and i quote, "one of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on iraq's biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agent." what was source of that claim, mr. hannah? john hannah: i believe the primary source was -- it was a defector. it was human intelligence. i think it was a defector. william lacy clay jr.: wasn't it a source known as "curve ball?" john hannah: i believe so, yes. william lacy clay jr.: ok.
4:31 pm
secretary powell highlighted this so-called eye witness account in his united nations speech. he warned that iraq could use these mobile labs to produce enough biological weapons, and i quote, "in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people." isn't that right? john hannah: is that what he said? yes. if you are reading it accurately, yes. william lacy clay jr.: but we know -- but we now know that, that claim was false. in fact, secretary powell said, his claim has, and i quote, "totally blown up in our faces." do you agree with secretary powell? john hannah: i agree that the claim was false, yes. william lacy clay jr.: is it true that no u.s. officials every personally interviewed "curve ball" before we used -- they used that information? john hannah: i don't know that firsthand, but i think the cia has said that this was controlled by a german intelligence service.
4:32 pm
william lacy clay jr.: yeah, and it's true that the germans who were speaking with "curve ball" could not believe you were using this information publicly because he was so unreliable. isn't that true? john hannah: that's the claim. that was never relayed to me by the cia. they were talking to the cia, i think, at that time. if they said that, it wasn't a claim, it was relayed to me. william lacy clay jr.: ok. well, i have an article from november 20, 2005 from the l.a. times, and it says this, and quote, "the senior vnd officer who supervised curve ball's case said he was aghast when he watched powell misstate curve ball's claims as a justification for war." quote, "we were shocked," the official said. "mein gott, we had always told them it was not proven." mr. hannah, is that true? john hannah: is -- well i don't have any -- william lacy clay jr.: did the -- the germans -- john hannah: i don't have an
4:33 pm
knowledge of it. william lacy clay jr.: -- warn from the beginning that this information -- information was not verified? john hannah: that's what historically is reported between their communications -- between their intelligence and the cia. that's what the germans have claimed. william lacy clay jr.: but it got into the secretary's speech -- to secretary's powell's speech. you know, your narrative was at best misleading, and at worst, blatantly false. as a result, thousands of people were killed and injured when this nation went to war based on those false claims. you know, do you have any remorse about that? john hannah: i have great, deep remorse about any american soldier that's lost, especially if it's based on information that we put out in good faith, that our intelligence communities and other intelligence communities around the world thought was true and thought we were acting in the best interest of the united states. so i do have great remorse about what you -- william lacy clay jr.: ok. but it was vetted. the information, you just threw it at the secretary -- john hannah: no, that's -- that's not -- william lacy clay jr.: -- and
4:34 pm
have him go after it. john hannah: -- that's not true at all, congressman. it's not accurate. jason chaffetz: gentleman's time has expired. william lacy clay jr.: and it is true. it is absolutely a grave mistake. jason chaffetz: gentleman's time's -- william lacy clay jr.: i guess i yield back. jason chaffetz: gentleman yields back. and would also duly note that mr. hannah worked for president clinton. served as a senior policy advisory to secretary of state warren christopher, as well. so, we'll now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice for five minutes. jody b. hice: thank you, mr. chairman. seems to be a great deal of confusion as to the purpose of this hearing, which is supposed to be about this current administration in the white house narrative on the iran nuclear deal. in mr. samuel's article, leon panetta stated that he, during his tenure as director of the cia and secretary of defense, never saw the letters that obama covertly sent to iran's supreme leader in 2009 and 2012. he goes on to say that he would like to believe that tom donilon, then national security
4:35 pm
advisor, and hillary clinton, then secretary of state, had a chance to work on the offer they presented. mr. doran, let me begin with you. is there any information confirming that mr. donilon or secretary clinton worked on those letters? michael s. doran: none that i know of. jody b. hice: ok. mr. rubin, is the circumventing -- let's use that word -- of relevant department and agency heads in major foreign policy decision typical behavior for members of the national security council and other white house staffers? michael rubin: it has become a problem that has grown with time dating back administrations. jody b. hice: so this is common practice, these days? michael rubin: this has become all too common.
4:36 pm
yes. jody b. hice: mr. hannah? john hannah: i do think something has changed in that regard, just the fact that we have a deputy national security advisor for strategic communications whose job is both to help develop policy, it seems as close as a foreign policy aid to the president, and the guy who is selling it, i think is worrisome. john hannah: i've got to say, that in our administration you can make -- maybe fault us for a lot, but the fact is that people like carl rove, who was in charge of our communications never sat in national security council meetings. there was a pretty strict divide between those two. jody b. hice: mr. rubin, back to you, how much undue influence do you believe that these staffers have over national security policy? michael rubin: as mr. hannah said, i believe that this administration has blurred a line that has existed over previous administrations both democratic and republican. jody b. hice: ok, mr. hannah, you mentioned in your testimony earlier that with one bold move , the administration effectively made a radical shift in american foreign policy.
4:37 pm
is that a correct assessment of your opinion? mr. hannah yes, it certainly is. : yeah. jody b. hice: ok. the question then comes down to who ultimately is responsible for that shift in foreign policy? would you say it's ben rhodes -- ben rhodes, other staffers or the president, himself? john hannah: no, the policy toward iran and toward the general retrenchment from the middle east seems clearly to be president obama's. he's in charge of that policy. jody b. hice: ok, and yet there is some influencers, appears to be in his life, ben rhodes is referred to earlier as recognized as the single most influential voice on foreign policy to the president. so what kind of role did he have in shaping this radical shift? john hannah: i don't know. and i do want to have the caveat that this is the shift presented by the policy, although i think it is consistent, as mr. doran has said, with the general thrust of the administration's policy toward iran and toward the middle east since 2008. i just don't think it's been presented that way. they want to remove and distance
4:38 pm
themselves from our closest allies in the middle east, including israel. and what they tell our allies and they tell the american , people, is that their relationship is stronger than ever, and they will forever have israel's back. and that's justified by what's presented in the article and it's that contradiction that worries me so much about what is really going on. are we having a full and open debate about what we want to do? you've got to hand it to mr. trump. at least he says, i want to get out of this place. it's too expensive. it's too costly. our allies are too much trouble. i want to distance ourselves from it. jody b. hice: so let me clarify what you're saying, because it's troubling to me as well, extremely troubling that the american people, that congress, that 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. so the only way -- do you believe the american people and congress would support a shift
4:39 pm
that major had they known about it? john hannah: no, i think as mr. doran said, and secretary panetta is in fact quoted in the piece as saying, if they'd done that, they'd of gotten the blank kicked out of them. jody b. hice: absolutely. so the only way to pull this over the american people's eyes and congress and our allies is by spinning the truth, and make people get onboard something that is not indeed reality or [indiscernible] john hannah: it's extremely suggestion of the article that you had to spin it -- jody b. hice: but yes, no then right down the line, would you agree with that assessment? and i'll yield. michael s. doran: yes. michael rubin: yes. jody b. hice: and mr. hannah? john hannah: yes, sir. jody b. hice: all right. thank you mr. chairman. i yield. jason chaffetz: gentleman yields back. now recognizing the gentleman from california, mr. desaulnier for five minutes. mark desaulnier: thank you mr. chairman. mr. rubin first. i assume you are vigorously opposed to the iran agreement? michael rubin: i'm opposed to it yes. mark desaulnier: and you have been all along? michael rubin: i thought that there could be a much stronger agreement and we could have made much better use of leverage to get a much more favorable agreement. mark desaulnier: but you're
4:40 pm
opposed mr. doran? , michael s. doran: yes. yes, i'd associate myself with michael's. mark desaulnier: so just to be clear, for instance, former secretary of state colin powell, he's called the verification regime vigorous in the agreement. "these are remarkable changes" -- in quotes -- "and so we've have stopped this highway race that they were going down, and i think that's very, very important." would any of you agree with secretary powell's quote in his view of this agreement? michael rubin: it reminds me of the statements in support of the agreed framework with north korea, which we now know did not merit those endorsements. mark desaulnier: so you wouldn't agree with it? michael rubin: no, i would not. mark desaulnier: brent scowcroft and i quote, former advisor to , presidents ford and george h.w. bush, "to turn our back on this accomplishment would be an abdication of the united state'' unique role in responsibility incurring justified dismay among our allies and friends." you would disagree with that quote as well? mr. doran, do you have any comment? michael s. doran: yes, i disagree with it. mark desaulnier: mr. hannah, it strikes me that in your response
4:41 pm
to some of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, comments about your role with vice president cheney in the agreement -- or the decision to invade iraq is that it was a mistake, and you apologize for that in your own way, but we should just move on from that. is that a misrepresentation of how you view your actions? john hannah: it's somewhat more complicated than that, but too long to explain. mark desaulnier: of course. john hannah: but -- but yes, that -- if -- if the case depending on weapons of mass destruction in iraq, that was false, and the american people didn't understand the grounds on which we were going to war to take out a guy who was a horrible dictator and a major strategic threat to american interest. that the american congress in 1998 passed a law almost unanimously saying -- the iraq liberation act -- saying we've got to do something to get rid of this guy. didn't say war, necessarily. but it says, we've got a big problem with iraq. we need to do something about it. mark desaulnier: but it was -- but it was based, wouldn't you say, on -- on the assumption
4:42 pm
that there were weapons of mass destruction and these mobile biological labs? john hannah: no, in 1998, it was the clinton administration. you had secretary of defense cohen standing up and holding up bag of sugar and saying, if saddam had this much biological weapons, he would kill thousands upon thousands of people. that he represents a major threat to the united states. mark desaulnier: right. but that wasn't -- john hannah: that was the basis -- mark desaulnier: but that wasn't the part of the discussion we were having a nation in order to commit ourselves to send young americans to war in iraq. it was the weapons of mass destruction, which you admit now was a mistake? john hannah: yes, that intelligence clearly was false. bipartisan commissions have -- mark desaulnier: right. john hannah: -- looked at it and said, most of that was wrong. mark desaulnier: so on balance, comparing these two processes whether you think it's spin or not, the consequences strike me as being much more significant obviously to the decision to tell people it was based -- we were going to invade iraq, not because we didn't like saddam hussein, although that was the case as well. but that there were biological weapons and weapons of mass destruction versus what we see with the iran nuclear deal. now you can assume as experts
4:43 pm
that this not going to turn our t well, but to this point, they're not equal in terms of negative consequences to this country and the stability of the peace in the middle east. would you say? i mean, how could you possibly say at this point -- john hannah: listen, i would say that -- that you're right. that war and the death of and injury of american soldiers is a terrible, terrible price to pay. we have been seeing a lot of american's dying, but just take a look at the middle east right now, after eight years of this administration. it's hard to say it's better because americans aren't dying. but half a million syrians have died. chemical weapons are being used. russian and iranian influence [inaudible]. mark desaulnier: but that all was because of the decision that you were very much a part of to get the country to go to war in iraq. john hannah: well you know it's a much more complicated than that because -- mark desaulnier: no it isn't. john hannah: it is -- it is. mark desaulnier: not in my perspective. i'm not expert. but i've gone to funerals of constituents who are dead in their 20s and their teens because you and vice president cheney encouraged the invasion of iraq. john hannah: it was because
4:44 pm
iranian ieds, iranian efps that killed americans. not a narrative, and that is why it's so not -- mark desaulnier: had not -- john hannah: -- understandable -- mark desaulnier: -- how did the iraqi's stop -- john hannah: -- how letting iran off the hook. mark desaulnier: how did our invading iraq stop those other actions? you sat here and testified they continued to support to terrorists in the region? john hannah: we didn't invade the gaza strip. we didn't invade yemen. we didn't invade syria. and yet, we see iran on the warpath all over, and what this agreement did was take -- was take the budget of the islamic revolutionary guard core, the hard currency available to it and increase it by an order of , magnitude. mark desaulnier: and they were doing that before. that's why we went into iraq, is what you're saying. yes, no? john hannah: no, i'm say -- mark desaulnier: seems like tradition is whispering -- john hannah: -- you're trying to blame a narrative on the fact that iran has been the leading state sponsor of terrorism according to the u.s. department of state since 1984. and to try to somehow distract from that and distract from a a narrative of false moderation
4:45 pm
, is counterproductive i would argue. mark desaulnier: i just have to tell in all honestly, i feel like i'm a replay or sequel of dr. strangelove here, and it would nice to have a balanced discussion about this. thank you, mr. chairman. jason chaffetz: i would agree with the gentleman. it would nice to have a balanced discussion. that's why we invited mr. rhodes and we invited the participation , of senator cotton who's on the other end of the spectrum, but when the white house refuses to make them available and democrats call no witnesses, we can't have that discussion. that's what's a shame about today's hearing. now i recognize the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell, for five minutes. steve russell: thank you, mr. chairman. in dealing with the iran nuclear issue, i'm saddened that rather than look forward to how best to secure the united states from a real nuclear threat, we see a progressive attack on our entry into iraq to cloud the issue. it is almost like the classic page from the communist playbook that advises admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusation. i take exception to the twisted narrative that our entry into iraq was based upon bad faith and false pretense.
4:46 pm
if an abusive neighbor attacks everyone in his neighborhood and then threatens them with total destruction, are we to believe as progressives seem to that we should sit idly by and not take action to secure ourselves from such threat? the truth of the matter is that saddam had technical capacity to develop a bomb. in the summer of 2003, i have firsthand knowledge that the first battalion 36th infantry along with special operation , forces they secured a zippe , centrifuge which is of the highest order for refinement of nuclear material, and it was smuggled out of europe. they obtained technical drawings and hardware from the garden of saddam's nuclear physicist, dr. mahdi obeidi. dr. obeidi's account of saddam's threat is well-documented in his book, "the bomb in my garden," an attack -- or an account the cia describes as largely accurate and balanced. i remember as i served in iraq
4:47 pm
during that time, as we were hunting for saddam, that this would be major news as the zippe centrifuge and technical drawings would come to light. instead, it is largely hidden to this day. it is also interesting to note that senior leaders, and one in particular who relayed to me that during a major syrian flood, he was directed by saddam to move material to an eastern syrian site. this was material of both a nuclear and a chemical nature. it is interesting that that very site was attacked during operation orchard by the israel air force, and that site was complete destroyed because they were making a nuclear reactor. again, the silence on these issues is deafening. as one of the commanders that helped track down and capture saddam hussein, it is very emotional for me to hear members of this congress condemn our efforts, but it is not surprising.
4:48 pm
from day one, as we sacrificed in the field, progressives in this congress condemned our efforts with progressive leaders even going so far as to declare that the war was lost while we buried our friends in the field. that steady drum beat forced us to bury friends not only there, but ship them home and put them in section 60 of arlington, and then we come home to watch politicians, many still in office, destroy what we fought for. they persist even today, mr. chairman. i will never regret bringing a dictator to justice. and i am proud to have played a part in it. history, should we even allow it, will judge us and our efforts in iraq kindly. i'm not sure the same can be said of congress. now, we turn yet another nuclear threat with iran. dr. obeidi in reflecting on our
4:49 pm
security, stated that to succeed quote, "elicit nuclear programs share a common weak spot, they need international complicity." and mr. rhodes and this administration, it appears he provided and they provided all of it to iran. mr. rubin, how and how early did the administration start talking about minimizing congressional oversight of the iran deal? michael rubin: i'm not privy to the internal discussions within the administration, but it appears from secondhand sources almost from the beginning. steve russell: i have passed the iran terror financier act, the only real effort to oppose the nuclear deal, which now sits in the senate, and with mr. rhode'' exposure, the need for congressional oversight -- there are key provisions in my measure and it sits in the senate. , that language even today could be acted upon by the senate that would provide us key oversight on any decisions.
4:50 pm
the president acted unconstitutionally. while he is free to make agreements and have negotiation, he is not free to bind us with treaty-like obligation. do you think that if passed the key provisions out of the measure that currently sits in the senate that would increase that oversight as was noted last week by politico, do you think that it would be helpful in deterring and at least making what we do have better? michael rubin: yes, and very briefly, the strongest, most effective actions that have been taken by iran, both under the clinton administration with executive orders, and under the bush and obama administrations have been the unilateral american sanctions, rather than the watered-down united nations security council resolutions, even though the bush administration achieved a number of those, as well. steve russell: thank you, sir, and thank you gentlemen for your service, and thank you for being here today. mr. chairman, i yield back. jason chaffetz: and mr. russell, we thank you for your service and your sacrifice and your time
4:51 pm
serving this country, and we're better for it, and thank you. now recognize the gentlewoman from new mexico, ms. lujan grisham for five minutes. michelle lujan grisham: thank you, mr. chairman, and thanks for the opportunity to talk about what i think's really important in this agreement and issue, which is making sure that we're holding iran accountable, that we're clear about what those accountability issues and measures are, and not just how that's being communicated, but how that's being verified. and my only disappointment in the hearing today, mr. chairman is that we are having , conversations about what ifs, but we're not talking to the folks -- with no disrespect to the panel members -- about really who's -- who's enforcing, who's accountable, and certainly from my constituents and a number of individuals that i spoke to with expertise in this area, either as concerned citizens or organizations and
4:52 pm
the administration and people outside of the administration, that's my core focus. and in fact as part of the hearing of this nature, i was more concerned and more -- i would like information about the reductions in the uranium stockpile, the status of the centrifuges in iran, the monitoring and detection measures that the u.s. has and then our allies that have also been doing. does anyone on the panel have any specific authority or expertise on any of those issues because you're directly involved in that accountability? michael rubin: are we serving government right now, or in the iaea, the answer to that is no. however, we've dedicated years to the study of these issues, and so could give suggestions if you would like. michelle lujan grisham: well, and i appreciate that. for example, i've spent 30 years in the health care industry, and i have a variety, i think, of very credible opinions, but at
4:53 pm
the end of the day, i'm not your physician. so i can't talk to you about your specific health, and what i really think is important with again, no disrespect gentlemen. and i -- one of the things i appreciate about this hearing is that we tackle tough subjects. i -- i expect that of this committee. i expect that of the chairman, particularly in this issue, keeping america safe, being clear that we will -- that we will make sure that everyone is accountable. that we're clear about what the risks are. i think that -- those are all incredibly valuable things for us to be paying attention to, and i can tell you that my constituents back home, in addition to the country, expect that from me. but to know exactly where we are more than a pining based on -- and again, no disrespect to your credentials. far better than mine on these specific issues, directly. but again, i think, mr. chairman, we ought to be talking to the individuals who are absolutely responsible for assuring, verifying these issues
4:54 pm
so that we know exactly what we're dealing, because they're actually doing it. what could we be doing better to make sure that we're getting that information and that our accountability enforcement efforts are what they ought to be, and that we have a way, bipartisan, to weigh in, to reshape some productively if need be. anyone? michael s. doran: i totally agree with you. i agree with everything you've said, and i think that i would like to have a discussion with those people, but the administration has worked to obfuscate this entire -- the agreement and all of the processes around it. and i think that's one of my main messages here, is not that i'm the expert on centrifuges or that i'm the expert on sanctions and so on. it's that those of us who would like to understand what is happening are not being given the information we need. we can't have an open and honest debate about this because we really don't have the key facts. and i think if you'll read my prepared statement, you'll see
4:55 pm
that i've made a, i think a pretty cogent argument to that -- to that fact. michelle lujan grisham: anyone else? michael rubin: well, what i would say is when surgery goes awry, often times the doctors will conduct and after action study about what went wrong. likewise in the private sector, businessmen will practice negotiations and look at what they might have done better. in the u.s. military, sergeants, majors, and chiefs will berate soldiers for making mistakes, not for a political axe to grind but to make them better soldiers , and sailors. what the state department has not done in the last 60 years is conduct an after-action report about high profile diplomacy. this goes across administrations. so yes, we can say that this is what the iaea needs to be looking for. that they need not only to be looking at declared nuclear facilities, but also undeclared nuclear facilities. that there has to be independent testing of iranian -- of work being conducted on iranian nuclear military sites.
4:56 pm
and that there has to be extraterritoriality in the inspection, in case iran takes some of its lab work to north korea. those are all specific things which could be done, but we have to go broader and look at why diplomacy hasn't worked. let's have the state department be introspective. if they're not going to do the due diligence, the congress should. michelle lujan grisham: and i appreciate those points, and my time is up, but in response, again without having that expertise in this hearing, we don't have a debate based on facts, and i might disagree with you about our efforts in -- well, i'm going to call complex and high level diplomacy, and maybe on some points i'm not. but without having those individuals before this committee, we're -- we're ill-equipped to do that. mr. chairman, i yield back. jason chaffetz: i -- i concur with the gentlewoman. that's why it's so frustrating when mr. rhodes, who's at the center of this, was, as of monday, going to appear and then suddenly executive privilege is claimed, and they decide not to have him.
4:57 pm
so you're right, the congress is kept in the dark because the administration won't share the information with us. michelle lujan grisham: and mr. chairman -- and the chairman's very patient with me, and this is not a place to debate that, and i appreciate the chairman more than he knows, and i mean that earnestly, but again, i'm sure that mr. rhodes is the right person. but we do, we need to continue to have an effort to get facts so that we're not speculating about where we are in enforcing this agreement, and that's all of our responsibility. so thank you, mr. chairman for again giving me, maybe the last word. and thank you for being patient with me today, sir. jason chaffetz: thank you. thanks to the gentlewoman. now recognize the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. grothman, for five minutes. microphone, please. microphone. glenn grothman: could we have slide 3? ok, better read it over here. the easiest way for the -- ok, this is a quote from the new york times article, "the easiest way for the white house to shape
4:58 pm
the news, explained is from the briefing podiums, each of which as its own dedicate press corp. but then, there are sort of these force multipliers, he said, adding that we have our compadres. i will reach out to a couple of people, and you know, i wouldn't want to name them. i'll say, hey, look some people are spinning this narrative that this is a sign of american weakness." well, since he won't name them, mr. doran, do you want to take a shot at who's he speaking of when they talk about the administration's compadres in the press who helped them spin the white house narrative. and who in the press do you think he's kind of referring to there? michael s. doran: i wouldn't want to speculate on -- on individuals. i would just note that in general, the major -- the major newspapers and the major -- and the major networks have -- have supported the line coming out of the white house. and one of the -- one of the things that mr. rhodes drew our attention to, and i think it's
4:59 pm
important to focus on, is the blurring -- as a result of the fact that newspapers and -- and networks are reporting for a newsur in news -- foreign from washington, we have this blurring now of opinion and news so that the -- the line that mr. rhodes is putting out, finds its way into news articles. and then it also finds its way into -- into opinion columns at the same time, which then they have a kind of mutually reinforcing effect. but we also find at the same time that only about 13% of americans actually believe what they're hearing anymore, and i think we can -- we can draw our own conclusions about that. glenn grothman: well, having been here for 14 months, i don't believe anything i read in the paper around here. but major papers, do you believe like the new york times, the washington post -- would you consider those the major papers you're talking about? michael s. doran: yes, you can see it like -- i'll give an example. you know, the -- recently the saudi's put to death this cleric, nimura -- nimura, a
5:00 pm
shiite. the line that you got universally in the newspapers -- in the newspapers, in the news articles, and in the opinion pieces, and then on the networks, was that there's a huge saudi sectarian escalation which is destroying relations with iran. all of the things that iran is doing around the region, flexing of its muscles, and like dr. rubin described, we're not hearing about. and i -- i believe that, that -- that was news reported out of the -- reported out of the white house. i'll just say one more thing about this, too, because of the rise of the internet, we have all these -- we have all these non-traditional news sources now that -- that people go to, and it puts enormous pressure on the serious reporters that are out there. i mean, i'm thinking of people like david sanger and michael gordon of the new york times. these are very serious reporters. right? but they know, and if they don't know it and if they're not , thinking about it directly in their own minds, they're editors know that if they don't -- that if they take a line that is hostile to what the -- what the white house is saying, the white house can go to -- to vox, or to
5:01 pm
buzzfeed or somewhere else and give the -- and give the story. so even -- i -- i -- reporters that i think we would all agree are -- are extremely serious reporters are under pressure, i -- i -- i think not to report a story that's gonna -- that's going to harm their access to the white house. glenn grothman: ok, and just so we understand, we mentioned the new york times and washington post by name, but because they feed the associated press, just because i don't get the new york times and washington post doesn't mean that that's not the article that i'm getting say in -- in almost any other major newspaper around the country, correct? michael s. doran: yeah, it replicates itself -- it replicates itself immediately. glenn grothman: ok. now when he talks about his compadres, do you have any of opinion if he's talking about him being the think tank or the policy world? michael s. doran: well the two that were mentioned in the article were the ploughshares fund and -- and -- and niac. but -- but it's not hard, you know, if you followed what happened on twitter when this article came out, the -- the --
5:02 pm
the friends of the white house and the friends of the -- of the -- of the echo chamber -- you could identify the echo chamber by seeing how they -- they pounced immediately on the article, picked out one or two little facts that they could criticize and built a whole, i think, specious argument that the -- that the -- that the author had a political agenda in this. and then that -- that -- that narrative then was spun out of social media and in to the -- in to the main stream media. michael rubin: if i may say very quickly, sir, i don't know david samuels, the author of the article, but to criticize him for not being supportive the iran deal illustrates the problem of an echo chamber , because journalists saying that only sympatric journalists can cover the administration, that itself is a sign of a much -- greater problem. glenn grothman: huge problem. michael rubin: thank you. glenn grothman: can i play a video here? or are we done with our time. ? jason chaffetz: let me go to mr.
5:03 pm
palmer, and then -- glenn grothman: ok, i want to come back. yeah. jason chaffetz: -- if you want to come back, we'll come back. now we're going to recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer. gary palmer: thank you, mr. chairman. i think we've about worn this out. we've covered everything from iraq to the fact that i think that mr. meadows established very clearly that we were lied to by this administration, perhaps even with contempt. but i want to go to something else that i think is really at the core of what we ought to be talking about, and that is that a key promise from the administration is that the iran nuclear deal would provide the public and lawmakers with assurance that iran was meeting its obligation and iran's ability to engage in proliferation would -- would be substantially mitigated. i mean, we can go back to the rhodes statement about, it would be the strongest inspection regime that any country faces in the world. we could go to what the state department posted on the website that the international atomic energy agency would have regular access to all of iran's nuclear facilities that -- they'd be providing the iaea with much greater access.
5:04 pm
that it would require grant -- that they'd be granted access to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of covert enrichment. but that's not what -- what's actually happened. i want to share with you that after the deal was implemented, the international atomic energy agency published its regular report on iran. i think it came out in february. and the report contains less information that the iaea had regularly provided about iran before the deal was in place. in fact, when asked about these gaps, iaea director general amano said that, in fact, the deal restricted the iaea's ability to report publicly about iran's nuclear program. mr. rubin, given that, how much confidence did it -- do you have in this deal? michael rubin: i have very little confidence in this deal for reasons that i've outlined in -- in my written testimony. it falls far short of the most rigorous inspection regime ever. and the danger isn't just in
5:05 pm
iran, very briefly. the danger is that it permanently dilutes the standard by which other potential proliferators are held. gary palmer: would you agree that general amano's statement validates the concerns that you expressed about the deal from the very beginning who are g? michael rubin: yes, i would. gary palmer: would you also say that given this statement from general amano that -- that -- that the exaggerate concessions that this administration claims that they obtained might be called into question as well? michael rubin: yes, i would. gary palmer: you know, we've been talking about echo chambers. we've talked about misrepresentations. i go back to the statement that secretary of state kerry made that he was the chief negotiator. we know that the framework of the deal was already in place before he -- he really got involved. these -- these statements that have been brought out in the new
5:06 pm
york times magazine article. but what we really haven't talked about is the fact that the deal is a fraud. and iran could be on a path to a nuclear weapon. and here's something else that we really haven't discussed that -- that i -- i -- i think we need to be talking about too, is that according to ben rhodes, that this deal also is part of a plan to abandon our friends and allies in the middle east. does that give you some concern, mr. rubin? michael rubin: yes, it does. gary palmer: how about you, mr. doran? michael s. doran: absolutely. gary palmer: how about you, mr. hannah? john hannah: yes, very much so. gary palmer: do you believe that the obama administration withheld information from congress about the deal intentionally? michael rubin: yes, i do. gary palmer: do you believe that was in violation of the corker-cardin agreement, the law that signed into law himself? michael rubin: it absolutely was and on top of which, the
5:07 pm
, corker-cardin amendment was written in such of way to prevent this from happening. and unfortunately, the administration simply broke the law. gary palmer: that -- i -- i -- i couldn't agree more. peter roskam, a gentleman from illinois, introduced a house resolution and argued that very point. the house passed that resolution that this deal was illegal from the get go because the corker-cardin required that all information be provided to congress, including the site agreements. and it clearly wasn't. i think there's one issue, really -- really one question that we need to ask, and -- and i'll ask each one of you to answer this. do you believe this deal has actually assured iran a path to developing a nuclear weapon? michael rubin: yes, at the very least, it leaves iran with an industrial scale nuclear program upon the expiration of the controls, and the administration went into this knowing that the iranian regime was not moderate. gary palmer: mr. doran? michael s. doran: i agree with
5:08 pm
all that. gary palmer: mr. hannah? john hannah: yes, i -- i -- i agree with michael's conclusion. gary palmer: mr. chairman, i'm not sure it's the jurisdiction of this committee to look into the ramifications of that possibility, but i do think that's essentially what we should have been talking about this entire time, and the fact that this administration misled congress is one issue that i think we need to pursue. but i think at some point congress needs to look at -- at , what our positions ought to be going forward in regard to iran. i yield back. jason chaffetz: i totally agree with the gentleman. i appreciate his perspective. and he's right, that is the , the ultimate fear that we have is that iran, not a friend of the united states, not a friendly partners within the world community, that they are even more so on a pathway to develop a nuclear weapon, and that is what's scary. we'll go one more time to mr. grothman of wisconsin. glenn grothman: sure, and we'll go one more time to ben rhodes. i mean, not to ben rhodes, to michael doran. ben rhodes commented that the white house -- commented on the
5:09 pm
white house's desire to avoid scrutiny. i'd like to look at video clip d and ask you a question about it. [video presentation] >> we are already looking at how to restructure this. glenn grothman: ok. how do you feel the process circumvented the transparency with congress? michael s. doran: the -- they structured the deal so that they could take it to the security council and effectively move out on it before the -- before congress ever really got to -- really got to look at it. there's a second dimension to what we just heard that's disturbing. that was -- that was ben rhodes talking to -- to a group of progressive activists and telling what was coming down the line and giving them the talking points about -- about a -- about a -- about how to -- about how to support it. i mean that -- what -- what you just heard was -- was ben rhodes
5:10 pm
talking to the -- the foot soldiers that are going to create his -- that are -- in his -- in his echo chamber. glenn grothman: tell us let me begin who those foot soldiers are? michael s. doran: i'm sorry? glenn grothman: tell us again what you described those foot soldiers -- michael s. doran: oh those. in this case, these are progresses, these are progressive groups. i don't know the exact -- but we're talking -- they regularly briefed dozens of progressive groups. i'm not talking about -- i'm not talking about pseudo-experts on -- on nuclear proliferation and things like that. i'm talking about just grass roots progressive organizations to get -- to help them carry the water politically. but it -- it's one of these blurring of the lines between roles that i don't think we saw in previous administrations where you have somebody who's in charge of communications, but yet sitting at the table with the secretary of defense and sometimes telling the secretary of defense that he's wrong.

14 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on