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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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>> my point is that it should come as no surprise to anybody observing a relationship between the united states and iran that for the first time in a very long time, the ability to have bilateral discussion suddenly occurred outside the context of tribunal action. this was bilateral discussion that was able to take place as a negotiation. jcpoa that opened the door for discussion regarding the disposition of the americans. i know that it opened the door for discussion regarding the resolution of these long-standing disputes. the fact that these all took place in a period of time which was coincidental is, as a result, not just a sudden cool incidents, but a change in the nature of the relationship between the two governments. i know i have exceeded my time. thank you very much. >> the gentleman from maine is recognized. >> i appreciated.
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-- i appreciate it. in yourh, you stated opening statement that you have been dealing with these claims for about 30 years. >> yes. ok, about 30 years. thank you. you have been involved in a number of different transactions. cash?ny of them in >> i am not involved in the exact financial transactions. >> is it common for these settlements to be disposed of in cash? >> there have been various larger settlements over time. each one has been so generous. there has been a difference in the way many of those -- >> you could have just answered my question and moved on. i am very concerned about this and i think all kinds of americans across our great land are concerned about this.
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i know the people that i represent in maine are very concerned about this. let's step back for a minute. we have a government that has vowed to wipe our major ally in the middle east, the only one that we trust, off the face of the year. they have vowed to kill as many americans as they can and they have blood on their hands right now. you have been working on a claim settlement that dates back 37 years. you testified earlier today that because the sanctions were in place in january, there was an inability to transfer $1.7 billion from america to iran because of the sanctions, which we now know is not true. all of a sudden, we have a wire transfer going from this country to a bank account in europe somewhere. switzerland, i presume.
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which is then converted into cash. $400 million in principal payment speed $1.3 billion in cash. then it is transferred to a pallet are a series of pallets and put on a cargo plane in europe before it is flown there. since we do not want any of this cash to land in the hands of terrorists, we are trying to keep americans in the middle east. transactionn this for a long time. who in europe was put on wooden tehran?and set over to what top-raking american official was there to oversee that cash? >> i am not in position to answer that because i was involved in the settlement. i believe my colleagues today -- >> do you know who was the top ranking official who was on the ground in europe when that cash was put on a pallet? who was it?
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>> i am also not -- >> you don't know. do you know? do you know somebody? do you have a name for me? >> let me address your concern. >> do you have a name for me? who was the top-raking u.s. official on the ground when the cash was put on a pallet? >> i would be happy to brief you in a closed setting. >> do we know when the cash was transported from europe to tehran? who is the top-raking iranian official overseeing that cash? >> i was not there. ?> does anybody know >> as i mentioned, the cash was dispersed to our representatives at the central bank in iran. >> was this someone who represent the military or an economic development?
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who was it? do you have a name? >> i don't recall. >> you do have a name you just don't recall it, correct? you have that name. you just told me. you don't recall who it is. that means there is someone. >> a variety of officials were involved in this transaction. you could tell us who that individual was. >> we will take that inquiry back, sir. >> say that again. backwill take your inquiry to it >> i do not want your inquiry back. i want the answer. here is the problem. idea whereve any this cash went. we do not know who received it. we do not know what it was used for and it is untraceable. is it is with a country that
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a state sponsor of terrorists. don't you think that is a problem? we don't even know who received the cash. couple of points. i would commend to you the testimony that i made about the jcpoa andd up at the the deep economical iran was in. >> cash is the currency of terrorism. this is a state sponsor of terrorism that received $1.7 billion of cash on a pallet in tehran. our office will be in touch with yours so we can find out who the iranian officials are. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota. >> thank you. we always have to understand that all the things we talked about in this committee take place within a certain context. ofould like her remind folks
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january 15, 2013. that is the date that this document i am reading from was cited. it was the night of barack obama's inauguration. togetheraries gathered in a washington state house and pledged to each other that they would make president obama a one-term president. since that time, we have seen committee after committee, issue after issue, relentlessly trying to make anything into a scandal or something like that. i only want to say to my friends who are part of this, you literally are shaking the american people's faith in the institutions of this nation by pursuing that strategy. you said obama was going to be a one and done president. well, you lost. you know what? i wish people would come to their senses and do what is right for the american people.
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i'm going to keep hoping that we do that. i will say this also. that the treasury department worked with foreign partners to effectuate the transfer of funds. it is part of the hate tribunal settlement. first of all, this money we have been talking about, were these funds that were always iranian funds that we froze? that is a question to anybody on the panel. >> the $400 million that was paid immediately, those were iranian funds held in the treasury. >> why were they iranian funds? >> these were funds aid into the trust fund during the course of the uranium military sales program. year?t >> throughout the 1970's after 1979, when we had the memorandum of understanding >> so they gave
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some money for some items and we froze that money. blockingwas a following the taking of the embassy. the 1981 algiers accords addressed issues that had been taken in response to the hostage-taking. the trust fund had always been there. there was a member and of of understanding in iran pointing to that as a basis for its claim that those funds were to be returned to iran. >> you worked with the dutch and swiss central bank. can you confirm that? >> we did work with a variety of workers. >> fair enough. it was reported in the press that at least one member of congress said that the u.s. flu pallets of u.s. dollars to tehran. would you say that statement would be accurate?
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u.s. dollars. >> that is inaccurate to test inaccurate. >> you said inaccurate. >> that is correct. they were converted to a foreign currency and withdrawn as during currency bank notes. watchingole country is this. this is like a theatrical performance. i do not want to be inarticulate about this. the claim that there was some pallet of u.s. dollars thrown -- flown from america to tehran is a false statement. you used the term inaccurate, right? >> that is correct. >> can you mention which financial foreign institutions were involved? there is some implication that there is some shady stuff going on. >> what i can say is that our partners in both transactions
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were different. in the first transaction, it was the swiss national bank. in the second, the national bank of the netherlands. >> with my 38 seconds remaining, i just want to pursue this. i see some of my colleagues demanding names of individuals who are somehow playing some role in facilitating the whole transaction. has member of congress who rules around classified information and who has a general commitment to protect and safeguard the lives and interests and the means and methods of u.s. engagement, particularly with foreign power, how would you regard that? is that appropriate to disclose the names of individuals? would it jeopardize national u.s. interest to do so in a public, open hearing like this? >> our preference is to discuss those details outside.
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>> for the interest of the united states government and people. >> exactly. >> i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the derailment from arkansas for five minutes. beinghink the panel for here. we are not here to talk about obamacare or donald trump. we are here to give some clarity to give depth to this transaction, which i think has been inadequately disclosed by the administration. thisact that we're doing is for the benefit of the american people so they have more clarity about this transaction and the details around it. i am confused because my friend from south carolina began talking about president clinton's signing the victims act in 2000. that is related to my friend's comments from minnesota. accounting it gaap
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and not government doublespeak accounting. if, as you said, the $400 million was in that 2000 act appropriated by congress, did we their 400an from million dollar obligations? we keep talking about it as if we have frozen this account in 1979. and pursuant to the algiers accord, money was still sitting there and we paid interest on it. in fact, we paid out $400 million of appropriated money. remaining.llion then in other words, was iran released from that obligation? >> if i could try to clarify that, under the victims of trafficking act, congress appropriated $400 million to be in subsection b of that act. the funds were not otherwise
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made available in an amount not to exceed the total amount of the foreign military sales account, which was $400 million. ofthe subsequent provision that act, the united states government, because those were appropriated funds, they were subrogated to those claims, meaning that became the claims of the u.s. government. the u.s. government was in position to pursue those claims against iran. in the oral settlement, we factored in those claims and reaching the settlement that we did in january. >> you both used that term, factored in to the overall settlement. it seems in conflict with that law, which says no funds should iran until to subrogated claims of and a width to the satisfaction of the united states. in my view, the satisfaction of the united states includes the
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people of the united states and the people's representatives here in congress. so who's signature authorized this settlement? did secretary lu approve the settlement and make the recommendation to president obama? >> i am not a position to know at what level -- >> i know the state department led the negotiations, but who approved this transaction? settlement was the subject of interagency discussions. secretary lu acting undersecretary zubin reported those discussions. i do not know your answer -- the answer to your question beyond that. >> i assume he knows the details of this public law since he was the director of the office of and budget.
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i want to give you a shot as to how it factored in. , the taxpayers, on to get $400 million. we have faded out as part of the overall settlement. that is double counting to me. i am not clear on your point. >> maybe i could give you an example. at the top of my remarks, i mentioned that in 1990, week entered into a settlement with iran and settled u.s. government claims and u.s. national claims. in my experience in claims practice, it is not unusual to settle multiple claims together at the same time. and if those other claims of the u.s. government, we take those into account. in the negotiation of this claim settlement with iran, we had discussions about those claims and they were settled along with the trust fund issues. >> i thank you for that answer, but i remain confused.
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this is some double counting. i encourage our committee staff to get to the bottom of that. last question i have for treasury officials. were there any irgc members on the flight that acted up and took it back to tehran? >> the money was dispersed to representatives of the central bank of iran. as i understand it, there were no specially-designated nationals involved. >> the chair recognizes the ranking member of this subcommittee, mr. greene, for five minutes. you, mr. chairman. witnesses, i thank you and compliment you for a truthful desk for being truthful and for right -- fourth right. this theory has taken a spec 35 years, maybe a little bit more, to the algiers accords. i think it was appropriate that we do this. i also think it is appropriate
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for us to go back to the inauguration of president obama. it was around that time that met and concluded -- in fact, pledged they would do everything they could to stop the president. that is what politico reported. stop the president. what i have in my hands and i would like to place in the record, an article styled "republican plan for new president." this article addresses the theon that on the night of election, a number of luminaries gathered in the washington state house. they were there to lick their wounds. ultimately, they created this plan on how to deal with the
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incoming administration. this is the furtherance of the plan. for those who are curious as to persons in attendance, without going through all of the luminaries, i think it appropriate to say that the current speaker of the house was in the house. i think it is fair to say, as -- andd in this article by the way, there are other reports. cnn has reported on this. it has been reported widely. it is fair to say that the current majority leader had a leadership role. he was there, too. pledge made toof each other, it just seems appropriate that the style of this hearing would be we kept our word.
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and we are keeping our word. anything that this president .rings up, we will oppose it that has been the record. the record is replete with specific examples of how they have proposed everything -- proposed everything this president has brought forth. i will be very candid with you. i did not believe that it would get to this point. twoe are families -- i have -- who have relatives being held hostage. can you imagine what these families have to conclude when they hear people say that somehow, returning money to people that belong to them and seeing our people come home, that there is something inappropriate about this? these families are suffering.
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i meet with them regularly. i know their pain. they want their loved ones to come home. we ought to be proud of the fact that we did not give a ransom and we did bring them home. this was the money that belongs to the iranians. it was a prisoner swap. we have americans who were brought home. can we not credit the president with something? he has made a difference in the lives of these people. apus -- as not about specific transaction. it is about a deal that was cut on the night of the inauguration thereabout, to do everything to disenfranchise this president. who would have thought that members of congress would say of the uniteddent
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,tates of america was not born not an american. it has continued. it has been consistent and they have been persistent. we have to stand by truth. remember william cullen bryant. remember carlyle. king.er martin kind towill not be these who do what they are doing pursuant to aent deal that was made. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. >> thank you for calling this a very important meeting.
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are you old enough to know the tv show "dragnet?" >> i am, sir. >> sergeant friday. >> one of my favorite characters. >> you recall just the facts. he was renowned for that line. that is all i request today. i will ask a series of questions and i would like your response, just the facts, if i could. who exactly was in charge in gathering the $400 million in currency? what level of staff placed it on a plane and sent it to the foreign government? how were these dollars packaged? was the military used to fly the money to iran? how did iran receive the cash. please articulate the exact process of the money exchanged from the moment the state went to the bank and withdrew the
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cash and the moment iran received the money. >> there were two payments. they were done in generally the same manner. i will break them down and walked through the flow of how they each work. $400 million principal was held in the account. those funds were transferred to the swiss national bank. >> who was in charge of gathering that money? who was in charge of gathering the $400 million? >> it was a wire transfer to that account. once in the account, the foreign national bank converted those funds. >> as i said in my opening statement -- >> sorry, i missed that. >> it was a department of defense-controlled account. the accounting servers was the one to initiate that wire payment.
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we helped them do that. the funds were transferred to the foreign central bank, which converted them into swiss francs . they were then withdrawn as banknotes. they were transported from one location in switzerland to geneva. they were dispersed to a representative of the central bank of iran and with respect to billionnd payment, $1.3 representative compromise of interest, that money was transferred again from the judgment fund, which is the fund that congress authorized from the paying of judgments and settlements when there is no other appropriated fund. it was spurred to the account of another central-bank, the central bank of the netherlands. it was converted into euros at that stage. it was withdrawn as banknotes. arrangementan between the united states's own ,overnment, that central-bank
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and iran. the bank then dispersed those funds. >> was there a receipt for all of these fund transfers. was there a receipt given? >> for which leg? >> when the funds were received, the money is transferred, there is acknowledgment there is a receipt. was a receipt given? do we have access to those? >> i am not familiar with the answer to that question. >> i would like to know what type of receipt was received from iran to the united states. considering the funds that were received, what confidence do you have set this money was not diverted toward terrorist interests and organizations?
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>> to carry on some of the comments that my colleagues have couple of what to direct you to the testimony of secretary given, with funds released pursuant to the jcp away -- jcpoa. --testified that the hole the deep hole the iranian economy was in. while we cannot track any bank note, we know iran has a significant domestic need for funds. i can also say that the treasury department is committed to identifying terrorist financing. thatve an entire office combines all the national security fortunes of the department under one roof to -- one roof. the reason it was established was the counterterrorist financing.
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we continue to be focused on capturing terrorist financing. effort to make sure there are no mistakes intentionally, how could this be recognizing that $400 million would be transferred simultaneously? was there not full recognition that that would be taking place? at least a perception of that reality? >> to answer your question, as i have mentioned, we tried to resolve multiple lines of is the same time. that included the iranian verifyingal, the iaea that iran had met its commitments under that deal. trying to resolve the release and return of american citizens back to the united dates. as i mentioned previously, there
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was a humanitarian gesture with respect to iranian national in the united states. and we were trying to result this issue with respect to the settlement of the claims in we thought the judgment was in the interest of the united states. there was a memento that did not exist in the past three decades. we were fearful that if we let one of these dragged out and we did not conclude them at the same time, we would jeopardize -- >> my time has ended. -- i was there in germany. he heard the conversation with one of the guards waiting for a plane to come in with the cash. he has made a public statement on that. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we are going to move to a second round of questioning. i am going to yield to the ranking member for a brief moment to voice an objection. >> i do object. i will be more -- explicit with my objection with five minutes
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from the second round. but i do object and asked that we do not have another round of this. the choice of the chair to go to the second round. i want to go to a few points of verification. who authorized the payment? that question has been asked numerous times. i think you indicated that mr.l lu was involved. is that correct? apprised of this? quick secretary kerry has been involved in all our discussions with iran. quickm going through some cleanup. >> ok. when these deals in the tribunal
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a result, there is a settlement agreement that is put out in regard to this deal has not been released. >> a settlement agreement forthcoming. thatbelieve i can answer question. typically, what happens at the tribunal if there is a astlement, they are affirmed an award on great terms. >> is a settlement agreement forthcoming? >> the parties in this situation, because there are pending claims at the tribunal, the parties ask the tribunal not to record it. >> there have been pending claims at the tribunal for 37 years. a settlement agreement has been released. i would expect that the settlement agreement would be so the american people could see what the deal truly was and should be forthcoming. there is some concern to this committee that it has not been released.
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>> there are claims continuing. today, my office is filing a submission with the iran u.s. claims tribunal. a lot of concern about the fact that those claims are on going. >> and iran knows of this deal. we, the american people, want to know about it as well. if you share it with us, you do not undermine your negotiating session with iran. in regard to the $400 million you indicated there was being claimed by victims of iranian care, how would we do that? has the lien been released? >> the statute does not provide for a lien. i am not sure what you are talking about. >> there is a claim to the money . you agreed there was a claim or a lien for a statute. >> subrogated to the united states government. that is correct.
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>> now that it has been released, who is going to pay the claims to the victims of iranian terror? >> the victims were already paid in 2000. >> so there are no outstanding claims? >> there are outstanding claims. those individuals have pursued litigation in u.s. courts. they have received judgment. they are pursuing attachments. >> is the u.s. government going to be responsible for those claims? >> they are the claims of the u.s. nationals and do not become claims of the u.s. government unless they are subrogated or unless the u.s. government exercises diplomatic protection. >> i want to go quickly here. as part of the iran nuke your deal, assets were unfrozen. as part of the deal, or any of those assets transferred or converted into cash and also transferred back to iran?
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>> the sanctions relief in the joint comprehensive plan of action was different. you are correct that the sanctions were lifted. act -- it was up to iran to -- access those funds. >> were they able to access those funds in cash? it was betweent, them and whatever bank they had their funds in. large transfers of hard currency back to iran that you are aware of? >> i am not aware of how funds were dispersed. >> were any dispersed to iran? $1.7 billion in cash. did they get any other cash payments? yes or no? >> these were iranian funds.
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>> is it fair to say they got more cash with hard currency? >> that is right. >> i am not sure that it is. i do not know how they would have sought the position of their assets overseas. this deal that you say is so great was a determination of the tribunal eminent. before the jury comes back, the jury is about to come in and the parties settle. was a judge about to rule? was there an imminent settlement of this deal? mentioned, iran was pressing very hard. >> i did not ask if they were pressing you. i asked if a determination of the tribunal was imminent. not whether they are pressing you. they have been pressing for 37 years.
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that therer judgment was a possibility of a judgment coming very soon. >> so the hearings had been had. the evidence was with the tribunal and they were about to make a decision. is that your testimony? is that iran was pressing for a culinary determination about this issue regarding the disposition of the trust fund and interest. it was our determination that it was better to have a decision resolve this for a much smaller amount than what we thought the tribunal would have rendered. >> there was no imminent determination on the horizon. the time has expired. i will now recognize the ranking member, mr. green, for five minutes. >> thank you. i am a former judge. experienceo you from that when the litigants sense what the ruling of the court will be, it becomes imminent at
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that point. you don't have to say it for it to become imminent. but when they sense there is a ruling that may be adverse to their best interest, it is not unusual for those litigating to act. mr. chairman, i want you to know displeased with the thank alld i want to of my colleagues who have appeared and are prepared to return. this has become about more than oversight. it is about micromanaging the presidency. more specifically, micromanaging president barack obama. the president should have the latitude to negotiate international affairs. it is inherent in the power of the executive branch.
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we want to micromanage this president. a deal was made and to the extent that the deal can be consummated, we will go this far. i think it would be a disservice -- on thisthe side side to legitimize a continuation of this fiasco. there are some things that you just don't do. you don't participate in your own demise. people -- there are some things you just don't do. to continue with this is a disservice to the committee itself because this has become about nothing more than an attempt to honor the commitment that was made when the president was inaugurated. i thank you for allowing me to,
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pursuant to the rules, making this comment. i am going to ask that all the members on our side make better use of your time. this has gone too far already and we are not going to take it any further. will i yieldt only back my time, but i will make my departure. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from arkansas for a minute. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on the issue of the ransom topic, i know the department of state and u.s. government has expressed displeasure in the past when germany paid 5 million euros and when france paid 25 to aln euros in mali qaeda.
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it is something we have tried to enforce through our diplomatic channels and leadership channels of the united states. qaeda reports say that al got about 125 million euros and paid ransom for tourists or captives that have been returned to their countries. my concern is that no matter what it is called, you have an appearance problem. i think that is something that was poor judgment in the process of the negotiating effort. secondly, to chairman royce's point, this issue of cash is disturbing to me. i think it is to anyone who has been a former treasury official. you just don't provide cash to the number one state sponsor of terrorism. as chairman royce pointed out, regulations permit it.
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clearly, this was an iranian request. and we had seen it. it was, in my view, not the right decision in the best interest of the american people. we know what is done with cash in the hands of the number one state sponsor of terrorism. that it testified today is -- i think you commented on the state of the rainy and economy and whether you are a desk officer, people write estimates of the state of our friends and foes around the an $800 million gdp, taking the midpoint of the public number of what was freed gdp.hat is 20% of if they want to help the iranian
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people, maybe they can cut down more than a $20 billion defense argent and not be looking to that as a reason in negotiations to be kindhearted in settling for a higher interest payment that you think they should have received. i really think if we want the iranians to have a better economy and take care of their domestic infrastructure needs, they ought to rearrange how they spend their money and not spend so much money threatening their neighbors, threatening the united states, and the people of israel. with that, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. like to wrap up this portion of the hearing. i thank the panel for their service to our country. i know how hard all of the work. i know you got tough questions today. do know that the congress and this committee respects your work, though we may have some
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disagreement with what has taken place in regards to this deal. you may get that follow-up questions from committee members that i would ask you to answer. i would also note specifically to state and treasury, we have sent over written request for documentation. it has been over a month. there has been zero productions from either state or treasury documents that we are entitled to. please take them back to your superiors and provide those documents that are duly owed to the congress. with that, again, thank you. the committee will stay in recess for five minutes as we switch out panels. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the
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national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> i want to welcome our second panel and apologized to the first panel -- to them that the first panel took so long. it was a lengthy discussion. i hope you all do as well. let me introduce our panel.
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ubowitz is the- d executive director of the foundation for dement -- defense democracies. that seniors associate at the financial integrity network. and each of the for the will be recognized for five minutes to give a presentation of your testimony. without objection, the witnesses written testimony will be made a part of our record. once the witnesses have finished , a subcommittee will have the opportunity to ask each of you questions for a. of five minutes. you probably all know this. each of the for the will be recognized for five minutes to green is go. you have a minute left. red is your time is up. put your microphone on when you
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speak. that the democrats know we are doing a second penalty we may get them back in the room as we proceed. they know we are going to proceed without them here. with that, mr. woods, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. behalf of the center on sanctions, i am honored to testify today. we talk about activities that civic -- pose a severe threat to u.s. security. support for terror groups, shia groups, rogue states. as has been discussed today, the regime needs cash because it is liquid, untraceable, convertible, and easy to transfer. according to the financial cross-borderorce, transfers are used to launder
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money. instead of focusing on my question as to whether the 1.7 billion dollars was ransom, i want to broaden the inquiry. the key question was in the handout brought before you and on the screen. of dollars ofns cash, maybe up to $33.6 billion. let's start with this. president obama has said, "the reason we had to give them cash is because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions. we could not wire the money." legally, the president is wrong. existing regulations permit transactions. the president used his special authority to authorize banks to facilitate these transactions. the tribunal has settled about 4000 claims it i find it hard to believe they were all done in cash. it is possible that banks were willing to not wire the funds no matter what guarantees they got because they have a healthy fear of sanctions. if so, it raises a troubling question.
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how did iran receive billions of dollars in sanctions with the? -- relief? during the negotiations, iran was granted $700 million a month from its overseas oil escrow accounts. if no mechanism exists to transfer the tribunal funds, what mechanism was used to transfer $11.9 billion? official has admitted to the wall street journal that some of that money was sent in cash and that, "we had to find all these strange ways of delivering the monthly allotment." what were these strange ways? did they include cash or gold? was there a more financial challenge? in july, u.s. officials estimated that iran had repatriated less than $20 million from previous overseas assets. for those funds also repatriated in cash and gold? was this in addition to the
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$11.9 billion or inclusive? if the white house always sent cash to iran, that could amount to a grand total of $33.6 billion. did any of this money go through the formal financial system? if so, the administration is not being truthful. arrivedlions of dollars , this would be a pretty astounding revelation. now to the question of ransom. if iran was able to receive some thetions relief, why was $1.7 billion paid in cash? for example, in february of 2014, the bank of japan wired or hundred $50 million to an iranian central bank account in switzerland as part of the interim agreement. there is no reason the administration could not have found the 1.7 billion dollars immediately to the same account rather than sending cash. perhaps iran just wanted cash. one senior official said, "sometimes the iranians want
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cash." is this an admission that cash was in demand? in million cash delivery january. if washington needed iran to receive the funds immediately, was cashed the only way or could they have wire transferred that money immediately to the same central-bank of iran accounts. the administration calls it leverage. iranian officials call it a ransom. it is that opinion that i think matters. this might explain the reasons why they have arrested more americans. let me conclude by summarizing my concerns with these two key questions. number one, did the administration authorized the cross-border transfer of as much as $36 billion in cash and perhaps gold? if so, the white house provided iran with untraceable funds to
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fuel terror and other nefarious activities. it thestion 2 -- administration never authorized $1.7ransfer, did they send billion as a unique cash delivery? did they do this because it was the only way to get our hostages back? this suggests ransom. seems to me that the administration cannot have it both ways. inc. you for the opportunity to testify. i look over to your questions. >> thank you. >> chairman duffy, chairman green, honorable members, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the obama administration's willingness to provide iran with or hundred million dollars of cash on the same day iran released all of the hostages. the states delivered an additional 1.3 billion dollars. at issue is whether the payment was proper, ransom, how iran used the money, and whether the
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fact that the payment was made in cash might fuel greater terrorism. i have gone into detail utilizing iranian sources with regard to how iranians receive the payment, how they might launder it, what their strategy is, and how the islamic revolutionary guard corrupts the economy. let's summarize. when secretary of state john kerry says the 1.7 billion dollars was iranian money, there is no reason it needed to be paid now. the administrations, both democratic and republican, have delayed payments to avoid funding iranian terrorism. if the united states freezes accounts linked to al qaeda or hamas, releasing it and saying it is their money anyway would not be a tenable explanation. payments are highly irregular. the closest precedent was the 1848 treaty ending the mexican-american war. there is no critical economic need in iran for which they have used the cash.
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the white house and state department might perform intellectual somersaults to avoid calling the payment a ransom. despite initial denials, the state department has acknowledged the linkage between the tax paid and the release of the hostages. diplomatic repeated dialogue over the years. to say this is just a confluence of events is absolute nonsense. william burns met directly with the iranians in 2006, i believe it was. the hostages came during the reagan administration. that was about diplomatic dialogue. spin isss, washington's irrelevant. the iranians received the money and said so. in return, the release of american spies. not only has delivery of the millions of dollars provided an
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incentive to seize more hostages , but because the money had been delivered in cash, it altered the strength of the islamic resin -- revolutionary guard to finance and conduct terrorism. i should say that reliance on , itiranian defense budget should not be done. they are fictional. iran's budget is opaque. 1989 and verdict in 2000, where judges found damages based on the line items for resistance, they disappeared in subsequent budgets. that did not mean that the iranians stopped conducting terrorism. any times the u.s. government has offered in the face of terrorism, the result has been more terrorism and hostage-taking. that was the case for the reagan era. it should be no surprise that the iranians have seized more than half a dozen hostages in the months since. the problem is not incentivizing
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bad behavior. the problem is that they iranian to dominate the economy. allowing them to have custody is to allow them to launder for its own purposes. even the iranian justice minister said that 50 million bank accounts in iran are opaque or their ownership is unclear. that is a country of 80 million people. 50 million bank accounts. the justice minister in iran says to basically focus. in my written testimony, i highlight how they used the tehran stock exchange to launder to evade proliferation and terrorism sanctions. making another danger of payments in cash. it is especially problematic as it hampers the ability of the intelligence community and treasury department to trace it. remember, the iranian plot to murder the saudi ambassador in washington, d.c., was exposed
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because the united states was monitoring specific bank accounts. also remember that a suicide bomb belt can cost as little as $1500. this hearing may be about iran, but the issue is broader. exposing u.s. rhetoric about refusal to pay ransom as empty has put a target on every and convincedk terrorist leaders that kidnapping and ransoming pays. >> thank you. >> thank you. chairman duffy, distinguished members of the committee, i am honored to appear before you to discuss the danger of ransom payments to iran. in particular, i would like to focus my testimony on the legality of the $400 million cash payment as well as the subsequent $1.3 billion cash payment. there are risks that such payments pose and how we can structure these payments to limit iran's ability to use these funds to support terrorism
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. with the recent one-year it isrsary of the jcpoa, as important as ever to ensure iran is limited in its ability to support terrorist forces and corrupt the financial system. make no mistake. though iran has signed and implemented the jcpoa, it has not changed the underlying criminal activity that has led financial institutions to not do business there. it is one of the reasons the payment of the $1.7 billion to the islamic republic raises serious concerns that this money will be or has been used to the iranianirgc, military, and iran's proxy forces throughout the region. to be clear, this payment does appear permitted under u.s. law. pursuant to part of the itsr, u.s. persons are authorized to
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conduct all transactions necessary to payments, related to settlement agreements, in a legal proceeding. u.s.rovision permits government officials and foreign financial institutions to transfer these funds to iran ater a settlement agreement the claims tribunal. even if such transfers are done in cash, as representative voice noted, that means they would use the financial system to transfer these payments. likely illegality of the transfer, the payment of this money to iran without preconditions to ensure it was not used to support terrorist activities is both troubling and a missed opportunity. it is troubling because, in providing funds to iran without control on how it would use that money, we allow the country to disperse these funds to the iranian military and other nefarious actors. in addition, the nature of the payment reportedly led officials
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to include that amount into a ransom. while the payment may not have been a prohibited ransom payment , iran's perception of that payment matters. the principal purpose of the united states no ransom policy is to deter hostage takers from compromising the safety of american citizens abroad. if terrorist groups in rogue countries do not think the u.s. groups would take hostages, the bad actor groups would be less likely to take them. because of the nature of these payments, they may be more inclined in the future. opportunityed because the united states could have sent a payment stemming from the settlement agreement providing the funds and ensuring they would not be able to support terrorism or be given to the iranian military. by releasing these funds in such anay rather than unrestricted cash, the administration could have outmaneuvered them. moving forward, congress should
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take steps to ensure that any funds given to iran are subject to certain conditions. first, congress would pass legislation that would modify it and claims that any funds sent to iran pursuant to a settlement agreement be placed in an escrow account and are released upon and must be released, the prior release amount has not gone to designated parties or two entities engaged in a number of proscribed activities. second, congress could take steps including passing legislation to ensure that any payments made to iran was to a so-called white list, where western banks could profit from that it iranian banks with no connection to the government of iran.
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including settlement agreements like this one in a way that would limit iran's, ability to channel the funds to designate parties. as they continue to support and stability, the united states should ensure that we play no role in inadvertently funding such activities or putting u.s. citizens at risk. i look forward to discussing the remainder of the hearing. thank you for your time. >> you are now recognized for five minutes. green and member distinguished subcommittee members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. when five americans returned home after months and even years of unjust imprisonment in iran we all rightly separated married . a washington post reporter, a christian pastor, as well as many other innocents underscores the threats to basic freedoms in the islamic republic.
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this release was timed to coincide with a settlement of the nearly 40-year-old financial dispute between the u.s. and iran, and the payments included foreign bank notes in the ransoms that brought us here today. i want to speak first to the question of ransom. i do not believe the facts of the case support the use of the word, as the chairman noted at the outset of the hearing, a ransom is a payment made specifically to secure the reese of a detailed person. -- detained person. [no audio] let me move beyond the specifics of the payments to emphasize the point that has been lost in the controversy.
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the coordination of the separate tracts of negotiation to expedite american priorities and advance the iranian behavior is neither unusual nor surprising. embassyure of the u.s. in iran in 1979 has sought to use economic leverage, both penalties and incentives as a central component designed to address the challenges. this is the point of the sanctions after all. it is the logic of the deal that was made to release the hostages in 1981. and it was the toolbox that was used by each of president obama's predecessors, reagan, bush william clinton,, george w. bush each utilized sanctions as well as economic incentives in order to try to gain cooperation from iran on various priorities, using economic leverage has never precluded the intensification of sanctions or the use of military force for other coercive measures against
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iranian actors or the region. these are not mutually exclusive policies. let me close by speaking to the issue of the unjust detention of other dual nationals and iran. a number of critics have warned the linkage that appears to be present in the settlement might induce iran to seize more americans and increase the risk to americans in iran. the rationale of impeding that calculus to impeding. my viewstunately, reflect a naive understanding of the drivers of iranian politics. i simply see no evidence that iran's long-standing patterns of human exploitation of individuals should advance and ideological narrative, subject to financial incentive. there is no attempted extortion here. in these arrests, i think there is no method to the madness other than the of noxious realities of authoritarian
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power. there is one factor that drives the detention and seizure of americans and other dual nationals, and that is the dna of the iranian state, including and emphasizes the paranoia that is deep-seated towards external actors and states. the dealings of americans is motivated by a sense of conspiracy a regime change that is facilitated by these individuals. in that respect, let me conclude with an appeal to congress to devote at least as much time and energy to seeking ways to facilitate the release of those remain behind bars, missing or detained today. first and foremost, bob levinson, who was sent to iran by his own government. also, two others who have been imprisoned. and the u.s. from a resident. there are a number of other dual nationals in iran today. and this is the center point of legitimacy of the iranian
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regime. thank you. >> thank you. the chair now recognizes himself for five minutes. >> ms. maloney, you talk about prior presidents using incentives i will not dispute that. and you give me an example of one prior president that has in essence given $400 million of iranian cash back to them. $1.3 billion of taxpayer money back to them, in the form of interest. and the fact that we have unfrozen thousands of assets. what other president has given that much to iran? >> president ronald reagan sold arms to iran while it was in as essential war with iraq. george h.w. bush provided iran with settlements at a time with very similar conditions -- >> how many billions?
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>> hundreds of millions of dollars intended to help facilitate -- >> hundreds of millions or billions. >> do not talk over me. >> hundreds of millions. fair to say now to the tune of $33.6 billion. >> i don't believe that figure is part of the transaction that is under the hearing today. >> i yielded to you for five minutes for your opening statement. >> this is my five minutes. i will reclaim my time, but please do not talk over me. i would just ask the panel is there any significance to the fact that this money was not wired or sent by way of a check? but instead of, it was wired and toverted to cash, sent int iran. is there any component? > very briefly>, and makes it much easier to launder and use
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for nefarious purposes. > why is it easier to use cash>? it is -- we often monitor bank accounts and banks also have various structures and in theory transparency requirementss which make it terrorism ort drug dealing or any other nefarious activity through the banks. that is why organized crime uses cash. >> the you have an answer? >> i absolutely agree. in the example i quoted in my testimony was the facilitated or greenlighted the transfer of $550 million by wire transfer as part of sanction really. it instantaneously hit the central bank of iran's account in switzerland. the central bank of switzerland. chairman, whymr.
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send $400 million in cash, as they were seeking immediacy. they had to provide immediate payment. that is what he said in his testimony. but we could have provided that trnif wire sfer. you see this in the movies. he is on the phone and switzerland. the money is in the account. great. they release the hostages. there always to do this. i think the $33.6 billion is at issue because how to that money get repatriated through iran, how much repatriated to iran, and if they sent billions of dollars of cash -- not talking about $1.7 billion, we could be talking about more. >> my concern with this is that this is the lead sponsor of terrorism in the world. and frankly, if you look at successful terrorist attacks weather in our country or other places, it does not cost a lot of money.
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and you look at the amount of the money here that can be financed, just using the $1.7 billion it is a lot of that activity that can be financed. with that taxpayer money. one other question i want to ask the panel, there is a dispute and you have all heard it, was this ransom? >> i will tell you it walks like duck, is not a rooster. let us leave that aside. we could debate this all day. what do you perceive the rest of the world, iran and other rogue regimes and actors, how did you thing they perceive what happened with this $400 million for five president prisoners? > it was perceived as a ransom>, and we should expect other groups will say look at me to do
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better once they are in need of cash as well. >> to anybody tell me on the panel, even you miss maloney, the money that has been paid, this will not be used for terrorism or funding terrorist purposes, as by the iranian regime? assurances, but i can tell you the long history noterrorism demonstrates correlation between the amount of revenue available and the nefarious activity abroad. >> my time has expired. i will now yield to the vice chair of this committee, the gentleman from mr. pennsylvania. mr. fitzpatrick. >> for the past almost two years, a task force of this committee, bipartisan task force, had a series of hearings where we investigated, reviewed, debated, and ultimately put together some bipartisan
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legislation that passed the house of representatives recently, now going over to the senate. we investigated how to deny resources, specifically cash, to international terrorist organizations who want to kill americans and kill citizens of our allies. and as we have heard many times during the course of this hearing and even today, cash is the preferred currency of terrorism. to imagine our surprise in the middle of that two-year investigation that we find out the u.s. government negotiating with the islamic republic of settlement that provides $400 million to be delivered in the middle of the night to iran, in cash. the first payment. i have not heard a lot about the second payment, i guess the second payment was the interest, that taxpayers paid. maybe $1.3 billion.
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is there any indication how the second payments were made? also in cash, any of the panelist who wish to comment? >> it was made in cash and administration officials have confirmed that. it sounds like the same kind of financial scheme where it was wired transferred to a central bank in europe and provided to their radiance and then again to iran orsumably damascus or beirut to give too much are al-assad. >> do you know the initial cash delivered to tehran? >> the wall street journal reported it was picked up by an iran airplane, controlling the revolutionary guard in 2011. and regularly flies roots. utes. we supplied it to damascus on to beirut.
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good airplane to use if you want to send that cash to hezbollah. >> one of more frustrating thing for the previous panel, with all the government witnesses from the department of treasury, department of justice, nobody could tell us who specifically requested that the delivery be made in cash. was in a condition of iran, a suggestion of the u.s. government, is there any open source information out there to how this decision was made, that you can provide to us that we can do that information back? >> the reason why they used cash they needed an immediate payment, presumably they demanded immediate payment and release the hostages. to suggest the only immediate payment they can actually think of was cash. and what i tried to suggest my testimony is that there are other ways to transfer money immediately. it is an electronic transfer that takes a millisecond and can hit the central bank of iran's account in switzerland. as mr. rubin said, you want to
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use a financial system because the swiss central bank is not going to give them hundreds of millions of dollars without knowing who the beneficiary of that transaction is. and so it is good to keep things in the financial system to provide transparency and checks and balances against money laundering and terrorism, precisely why they don't want that in the financial system, they want it in cash that they can ship to hezbollah. r, accordingsi to the wall street journal and elsewhere, the negotiations to release the hostages: aided around christmastime in 2015. with this idea of a swap between the hostages that iran held in many iranian american prisoners who had been found guilty of trying to smuggle privity components and nuclear parts. at that point in time, the iranians demanded an additional $400 million and you put it
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simply very utilizing it as leverage, the overwhelming desire of the administration to come back with an agreement. i mean, simply put we don't want to call it a ransom, we can call it a bribe in order to maintain figuratively -- in order to maintain the notion that this agreement was working. you suggested there were other ways you could a structure the payments to essentially outmaneuver iran. >> exactly. going to the question of immediacy we actually had a mechanism set up to provide iran with the funds, under the precursor. there was a huge humanitarian finance channel that had been specifically set up to allow foreign financial institutions to give funds, wire transfer funds directly into iran for that purpose. and the argument that he needs to be in cash for me to see purposes i don't think all that much water. >> thank you. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from arkansas, mr.
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hill, for five minutes. >> thanks, mr. chairman. can anyone report to me on a transaction under a tribunal type settlement, legal settlement, or any other case where the u.s. government has made a payment in cash? >> there is no evidence of that. 2015ct, when we found a tribunal settlement that was owed to iran, and it seems to have been wired. we see no evidence that any of those tribunals elements were paid in cash. >> in your testimony, since the jcpoa since the sanctions have been lifted, you sanctioned the government of iran wiring money, i presume a part of the freed accounts. there has been evidence of swift wire transfers since the completion of the jcpoa.
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is that your understanding? >> not only since the completion but since the interim agreement, and does it just was a financial embargo on iran, that that was the reason we cannot then electronic funds, but the reality is that iranian banks wer remain on switch. mr. lorber said there was a humanitarian channel, over 3000 transactions every year. we gave them access to $11.9 million. and it was sent from the bank of japan and other banks to these accounts that iran could use, and that is really the heart of my testimony. the administration is trying to have it both ways. either there was a financial embargo, which is why they had to send $1.7 million in cash. if that is the case, they send many billions of dollars in cash including $11.9 million payment to be repatriating or there is no financial embargo.
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but there aret, other ways to actually send the money besides cash, and they used cash in this case because of demand. the industry cannot have it both ways. >> it seems to me there is no legal basis for cash, other than the request of negotiating party that they sought cash. so, i think that is something we heard from the government witnesses today and from our private sector panel. mr. lorber, you talk about this fundof iran certifying the argued for terrorism.you use couple of examples. to me , that was one of the biggest weaknesses of sanction relief under that. because it was a cliff vesting, they got all the money frozen abroad back immediately, with no ability to let it out over time that they maintain compliance with this agreement. i am not sure your white list idea what hold a lot of clout
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with me because i'm sure what we know goes on inside iran. but this idea that we let money out over time and we have iran certified a pledge to the payment, that we certified not used for terrorism, might be useful. have we use that in any settlement before, that kind of settlement over time basis with certification from the recipient? >> i'm not familiar with circumstances in their raining case where we used a sort of traunch approach. but i agree it would be a way to released in sure it would be some limitations. and indeed, we propose this and other context before the committee. we both suggested summing along these lines when structuring the boeing and airbus deal to iran as a way to structure the contract. requires thattion there be regular certification i none ofi annual, that the money given to the
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palestinian authority or the liberation organization are used for terrorism. so there is precedent, which can occur. >> that is helpful. can you think of any judgment justification why in january 17 announcement by the administration about the release of the hostages, american citizens which we are all thrilled to have back, we want robert levinson back as well. we need to keep the pressure up as well. thethe decision about claims settlement matter, can you think of any legitimate justification why the administration cap the fact that they paid all his money in cash secret from the american people? >> two reasons. one, the concerns and everyone is raising about how cash used by money launderers and financiers. i think the second reason is the administration is low to admit they may have transferred many billions of dollars to iran, not just 1.7 billion, talking all the money that is on the screen
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there. cash,y admitted it was congress within be rightly asking questions about all the other money that iran has repatriated. and you would be very concerned about perhaps billions if not tens of billions that they having cash, financing not only terrorism but supporting the military, bashar al-assad, all of the other activities. >> i want to conclude by reading from the distinguished four-minute of the senate, joseph lieberman and the wall street journal. on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the u.s. should not be rewarding iran for its deadly actions with gifts of sanctions relief and the easing of arms embargo and ballistic missile restrictions. it is time to hold the regime accountable for the reckless aggression and support of terrorism. i yield back. >> the determine years back. chair yields back.
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>> thank you for being here. ms. pallone, i want to start with you. andstened to your comments i have read earlier testimony. am i correct in making the statement that you do not believe this was either a ransom or an exchange for visitors, the $400 million? >> what i believe is the timing of the release of the prisoners was coordinated with the timing of the resolution of this disputed financial between the countries. i do not believe it was a coincidence. >> you do not believe it was a coincidence. i do not. i believe it is consistent with exactly what the george h.w. bush and ministration did in seeking the release of americans who were held hostage and other westerners held hostage in lebanon in the late 1980's and early 1990's. this is the sort of diplomacy that the u.s. has engaged in time and again with iran. it is not always pay off.
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it did not pay off as we hoped with release of hostages from lebanon. a it did in this case, clearly paid off. with the release of the four americans and a fifth held at the same time. >> at a cost of $400 billion? >> at a cost of resolving a debt we would have to resolve irrespective of the release of the americans.i would rather clear the underbrush as president bush said when he talked about similar actions back in the late 1980's, and see the return of americans held unjustly. than to resolve the debt and not see the return. >> do you believe there was any discussion of the a prisoner exchange? ini believe what i have read the media consistently, which is the secretary kerry and those officials engaged in the committee raised the case of these americans time and again on every occasion they met with the iranian tenor parts. deal,ely part of the iran
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there is discussion about the return of prisoners, also going the payment.he >> secretary kerry brought up at every single -- >> nuclear negotiations, yes. the status of prisoners in iran. >> that is my question. secretary kerry under the direction of president obama is negotiating with iran on the gcpoa. they brought up at every moment, every possible option and chance as you said, to release prisoners. it sounds like as a result of 1.7 agreement, there was a billion dollar payment made. now, i understand you're saying there is a tribunal that has to be addressed. that is their justification. but the ransom payment -- >> the deliberations the
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tribunal has been going on for 35 years. they occur two very separate channels, very separate personnel and those involved in the negotiations over the nuclear deal or those involved -- and5 years of negotiations this is the moment that secretary kerry and president a $1.7ecide to make billion transfer? >> we have paid out judgments as part of the u.s. iran claims tribunal for 35 years, as the iranians have paid to us. >> do you think there was a judgment going to be imminent? > the previous> panel debate of the use of the word i don't have any way to gauge that. . what i do believe is what the state department testified, that they believe the copper revised agreement was in the interest of the american people, that was representing a lower figure them on the iranians have been demand in and it was worthwhile to -- >> i appreciate that.
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but i have heard that excuse. i've heard their rationale. i just don't believe it. nor do the american people. do you know what president obama's position is on private citizens paying ransom internationally? >> i am very familiar with the long-standing policy against the payment of hostage. i do not believe it was pay. i believe economic leverage was used -- >> when you look at this screen, $33.6 billion in cash, what economic leverage? >> i don't believe we have evidence that 33.6 going dollars was paid in cash to iran. >> one dollar amount that we have evidence of that was paid to iran in your opinion, if not 33.6? > we> have evidence and we know from the wall street journal that a payment was made in foreign currency cash to tehran in the case of the resolution of
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the financial dispute in january and early february of this year, and if that was a total of $1.7 billion. >> thank you very much. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from colorado, mr. tipton, for five minutes. >> chairman, if you can figure this, just listening to ms. maloney's comments with regard to policy of the u.s. not to be paying ransom for hostages. in fact, ms. gross from the department of state said that in the was not the policy of the u.s. would you speak -- is there a distinction between $400 million on a pallet in the dead of night to iran? is that a ransom? an adjunct fellow executed by isis was a fellow at my work.
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the obama administration threatened the family with from a prosecution if they move forward. there has been some modification of the policy now under president obama, but what is there to be is that the administration saw an asortunity to use leverage, state department spokesperson john kirby has admitted, to use leverage, the money was leverage to get hostages back. lots of presidents have used leverage to get hostages back. i think other administrations have also paid ransom. we may not be the first time. what we do is try to create a cover story, that we do not violate our prohibition against ransom payments in order to pay ransom, so we can get hostages back, and that is exactly what happened. the administration does not want to admit it because they don't want to admit ransom after they threatened prosecution, they don't want to admit how much cash has actually gone to iran.
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i don't think it is $33.6 billion, but probably in the neighborhood of $10 million based on conversations i've had with other officials. i think we are talking about at least $8 million gone to iran period, and the and ministers and does not want to admit that. the $8 billion is going to be used to fund terrorism, fund missile procurement, elicit nuclear procurement in germany. and there is no way our intelligence community can configure out and determine if it is being used for economic development in that format activity. >> can you expand the slope it, because we listened to the desire to be able to include all of our lines of effort falling of what you just described, what is going to be the outcome with other rogue nations who are now looking at the u.s. given what we know now and they like being shown on this administration's
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policy, actions delivering cash to iran? what can we expect from other row players? >> iranians have been taking american hostages for decades. fictions has been created in order to get them back. we have seen another situation with this or a fiction has been created, to try and pay a ransom. if i were the iranians i would do exactly what they're doing now. take more hostages. other rogue actors, my inference would be from all this that the obama administration pays ransoms, so i will take more hostages. they will create some elaborate fiction, but i will take more hostages to get 100s of millions of dollars back from the u.s.. i mean, that would be my interpretation if i were a rogue actor. >> i know you were listening to the testimony, that the comment that the vast majority of the $400 million in cash had gone to
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infrastructure programs in iran. is there any way, given your comments now on cash -- >> i think it is ridiculous. i think there is no way they can confirm whether $400 million in cash in a marked bills delivered to their radiance inns up and infrastructure rather than the defense budget, which is then sent along to the revolutionary guard, or does not get the defense budget, ends in a line item directly to customs, so that he can continue to fund syria. i do not know how our intelligence community to make claims they know for sure that the money received will go to infrastructure. > if i may, there is no way of knowing, and it would be worth pressing the administration. remember that the economic wing of the islamic revolutionary guard corps, dominates up to 40%
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of the iranian economy, including major infrastructure projects. now, the official budget of the islamic revolutionary guard corps is about $5 million a year. if you factor in the persian gulf smuggling you add another $12 billion a year. according to open services, the iranian oil field in the persian gulf, infrastructure programs have gotten up to $50 million in open contracts, which means if you were to zero out the official budget of the corps,ionary guard proportionally facing less of a budget cut back the u.s. military is through sequestration. >> i go back, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman's time has expired. thank goodness that through these payments from our government to iran, they have not brought peace to the islamic state.
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you for yournk insight. with that objection, all numbers will have five legislative days to submit additional questions which will be forwarded to the witnesses.i ask you to please consider those and respond to our request as probably as possible, and with that, this adjourns our hearing.
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announcer: coming up on c-span, hillary clinton holds a news conference, governor mike pence speak to the reagan library in california, and a hearing on a cash payment to iran from the u.s. government shortly before the release of u.s. prisoners. friday, a hearing on the federal response to the flood in louisiana. the louisiana governor john bel edwards, along with your than it is from fema another local officials, on c-span2.
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app makes it radio easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it is free to download from the apple store or google play. get audio coverage and up-to-the-minute schedule information for c-span radio and television, plus podcast times for popular public affairs, books, and history programs. they are today. c-span's radio app means you always have c-span on the go. >> hillary clinton held a news conference for the first time in over 270 days. she spoke to reporters from the westchester county airport in white plains, new york. as she headed off to a campaign stop. this is 15 minutes. ms. clinton: we will discuss how to identify our efforts to keep our country safe. to that end, i want to
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underscore something that i mentioned last night. we should make it a top priority to hunt down the leaders of isis. bring them to justice, just as we did with osama bin laden. gettingthat operation, him will require a focused effort, driven at the highest levels. but i believe it will send a resounding message that nobody, attacks andspires gets away with it. let me be clear. last night was yet another test. and donald trump failed yet again. we saw more evidence that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be commander-in-chief. he trashed talked american general. saying they have been reduced to rubble. he suggested he would fire them and replace them with his
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hand-picked generals. he attacked dozens of former flag officers, by saying we have been losing for a long time. that is how he talks about distinguished men and women, who have spent their lives serving our country, sacrificing for us. that is how he would act as commander-in-chief. meanwhile, bizarrely, once again , he praised russia's strong man , vladimir putin. even taking the astonishing steps to suggesting that he prefers the russian president to our american president. now, that is not just unpatriotic, and insulting to the people of our country and our commander-in-chief, it is scary. because it suggests he will let putin do whatever he wants to
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do. and then, make excuses for him. i was just thinking about all of the presidents that would be just looking at one another and total astonishment. what would ronald reagan say? about a republican nominee who attacks america's generals and heeps praise russia's president. i think we know the answer. and when asked how he would stop the spread of global terrorism, trump's answer was simply take the oil. the united states of america does not invade other countries to plunder and pillage. we don't send our brave men and women around the world to steal oil. and that is not even getting into the absurdity of what it would involve. massive infrastructure, large numbers of troops, many years on the ground. of course, donald trump has not
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thought through any of that. every republican holding or seeking office in this country should be asked if they agree with donald trump about these statements. now, one thing you did not hear from trump last night's any plan to take on isis. one of the biggest threats race in this country. he said his plan is still a secret, but the truth is that he does not have one. and that is not only dangerous, it should be disqualifying. i have a very different vision for how we keep our country safe and strong. i respect the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve america. i will work with our allies to defeat isis, and i will hold true to our country's most cherished values. you know, even with all of the attention being paid to the campaign, we cannot forget how important this decision is. this weekend is the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
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i will never forget the horror of that day. but i will never forget the victims and survivors and the great first responders that i met with and served and work for as senator from new york. that is what has kept me working so hard in the senate on behalf of 9/11 families. that is who i was thinking of 10 years later in the white house situation room, with president obama, when the decision was made to bring osama bin laden to justice. that is the kind of commander-in-chief i will be. someone who will bring us together with common purpose to keep our people safe and our country strong. >> madam secretary, the latest real clear politics average has you up by an average of 2.8 percentage points over donald trump. given what you say are his historic inadequacies and
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disqualification on the commander-in-chief point that you just made, shouldn't you just basically be running away with it at this point? ms. clinton: well, as i have said many times, i have always thought this would be a close election. that is why we have been putting organizations in place, gearing up for these final weeks to mobilize and turn out voters. that is exactly what we are going to do. and i feel we are in a strong position, but we are not taking any one or anything or any place for granted. we will keep working as hard as we can. and hopefully, we will pull out as many posters to agree with me as we possibly can muster. hi, jeff. jeff: you said unequivocally last night that you would not put troops into iraq ever again. isn't that a, ignoring some ground forces there and boxing
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yourself in should your military commanders advise that you need to do that? well, jeff, i have said that before. i said it on numerous occasions. i think putting a big contingent of american ground troops on the ground in iraq and syria would not be in the best interest in the fight against isis and other terrorist groups. in fact, i think it would fulfill one of their dearest wishes, which is to drag the united states back into a ground war in that region. however, i have been very clear and i said this again last night, i support the air campaign. i support special forces. i support enablers. i support surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance. i will absolutely be prepared to do whatever is necessary to support the arab and kurdish fighters on the ground, to take out as much of the infrastructure of isis in the air and go after the isis leader , as i said today, with a very
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focused commitment to taking him off the battlefield. i think the approach i've outlined intensifies what we are doing. but also recognizes that there is no, in my opinion, cap path forward to ground troops that would be in our interest. hi, good morning. secretary clinton, you have been criticized by the rnc for your demeanor last night, to that you were too serious. that you did not smile enough. can you react to that? and also, you suggested there is a double standard. do you think you are treated differently because you are a woman? ms. clinton: well, i will let all of you ponder that last question. i think there will be a lot of phd theses and popular journalism writing on that subject, for years to come. i don't take my advice and i do not take anything seriously that comes from the rnc. we were talking about serious issues last night.
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i know the difference between what we have to do to fix the v.a., what we have to do to take the fight to isis, than just making political happy talk. and i had a very short window of time in that event last night to convey the seriousness with which i would approach the issues that concern our country. donald trump chose to talk about his deep admiration and support for vladimir putin. maybe he did it with a smile, and i guess the rnc would have liked that. >> thank you, madam secretary. clinton: i like that hat! >> it's a new look. i'm bringing it back. last night, mr. trump suggested in some of his security briefings that the briefers made a suggestion or insinuation that they were not pleased the cia
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was not pleased with the decisions that the obama administration had made so far. did you get the same impression with the briefings you got? and can you comment otherwise on that suggestion from mr. trump? mrs. clinton: i think what he said was totally inappropriate and undisciplined. i would never comment on any aspect of an intelligence briefing that i received. >> do you think donald trump is being held to a different standard? and what does that mean going into the debate? ms. clinton: that is a fair question. i have been somewhat heartened by the number of articles recently pointing out the quite disparate treatment of trump and his campaign, compared to ours. i don't understand the reason for it. i find it frustrating.
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but it is just part of the landscape that we live in, and we keep forging ahead. look, i think this is a really important moment for everybody in our country. as you have seen, by the numbers of republicans concerned about trump coming forward and saying this is not acceptable. they are willing to put names out there. people who have never endorsed a democrat, people who have never endorsed before, because they are so concerned about this man and how totally unqualified he is to be president and how totally temperamentally unfit he is to be commander-in-chief. so, i know he says outrageous things on a, you know, pretty regular basis. i know that is part of the coverage and i know it may be difficult to feel that you know
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how to respond to some of his behavior, but we are on the brink of making a very critical decision for our country. and if i were not the candidate, if i were not the nominee, if i were just a concerned citizen, i would be out here doing everything i could to sound the alarm about somebody like donald trump getting anywhere near the white house. and i will continue to do that. >> aleppo. >> thanks, guys. see you on the plane. ms. clinton: well, you can find aleppo on the map. [laughter] >> madam secretary? ms. clinton: i love you, andrea. you are my kind of a woman. i tell you what. look at this. go ahead. i mean, the sympathy vote, the whole thing. i love it.
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matt olson. right. right. >> [indiscernible] clinton: right. right. now, that is not true. you know, look, the republicans are just in a terrible dilemma trying to support a totally unqualified nominee. i have no sympathy for them. it is their nominee. but i'm not go to tolerate them continuing to make misleading and inaccurate accusations and putting out misinformation about me. and here's the latest example. matt olson, a very distinguished and effective former director of the national counterterrorism center was so disturbed by what he had seen coming from the
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trump campaign, that he wrote an article that i guess came online in the last 48 hours pulling from public sources very clear statements, by isis leaders, essentially, throwing whatever support they have to donald trump. they have, as matt olson pointed out, that they hope allah delivers america to come. he issaid they hope president because it would give more motivation to every jihadi. someone who has insulted muslims. has insulted a gold star family, the incredibly heroic captain khan. someone who has said he does not want to let muslims around the
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world even come to our country. that is a gift for isis. and that is what matt olson, who knows more about this than republicans trying to muddy the waters, clearly stated. that is what i mean. and look, i'm not asking for any special treatment. i know the road i'm on. i've been on it for 25 years. just get up every day and keep moving forward. i love this country. i will serve it with my entire heart, mind, and soul. i will do everything i can to protect america, and i will do everything i can to make sure donald trump is not president. form a reasons, but this latest information coming from a distinguished counterterrorism expert should but every american mind in motion, to try to figure out what everyone can do to prevent donald trump from being president. thank you. >> see you guys on the plane. appreciate it.
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announcer: >> hillary clinton tries to salt donald trump's wounds. that is a headline from politico.com. and the reporting from louis nelson. thank you for being with us, louis nelson. >> thank you. >> let me begin with the press avail itself. in white plains, new york, why
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after nearly nine months did she agreed to take reporter questions? >> well, it seems like the pressure has been building towards this for at least the last few weeks and probably longer than that. donald trump's campaign has begun sending out e-mails every day, about hiding hillary and the number of days that she had done her last press conference. then, she warmed to the press over the last couple of days. she started traveling with the press on a bigger airplane, allowing the press to travel with her around the campaign trail. she has been taking impromptu questions from the press on board the plane. taking questions. and so, this seemed like a natural extension of that. so, that is one aspect of it. and then, two, i think she was eager to get back out and get the word in on last night's meeting. there was a coin flip.
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she had to go first. donald trump finished. she wanted to come out and say a couple of things and get a couple things out there. get your own message out after donald trump kind of left the closeout. host: was this an effort by the clinton campaign to make sure that her message and her words were driving the discussion today and tonight? louis: sure. and i think it was an attempt to sort of get back may be on the offensive, get back on the positive note. neither candidate looked especially pretty last night. donald trump sort of appeared to have a fairly loose mastery of the facts and subject matter. but hillary clinton, although seemed very much on top of her facts and figures, she sort of type of defensive
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and not terribly confident on the stage. it seemed like this morning her decision to hold this conference was an effort to have last night's shaky performance not be the most recent tape of her that is shown all over the news. all day and tonight. host: louis, let me follow up on your earlier point. as you write in politico, this is a sort of dry run. both candidates on the same stage but not at the same time. the commander-in-chief forum. hillary clinton getting a lot of questions on her e-mails, her server, confidential and classified and top-secret information. did she stop the bleeding or did she raise more questions? loui: that is a good question. and i'm not sure she did either one. she certainly has not stopped the bleeding. and that is something that donald trump seems intent on, making sure she cannot stop the bleeding. that is one of their strongest
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talking points they can hit clinton with. point,ks to the larger the larger theme of the campaign that she is dishonest, cannot be trusted. that kind of stuff. hillary clinton has tried to put this behind her. as tried to sort of wrap this up with a bow and put it behind her on the campaign trail. the fbi released all of these investigative notes from the investigation into her, something that hillary clinton said she wanted the fbi to do. there were fresh details and new questions that came out that reignite all of the discussion about hillary clinton's use of the e-mail server. things like an aide to her husband using a hammer to destroy some of her blackberries. using a computer program called
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bleach bit to wipe away things on the server. it's like that that reignite all the concerns. host: and some of her concerns on some of the comments donald trump made last night including his reference to the american generals that have been reduced to rubble. something that hillary clinton jumped on today. have we heard more from the trump campaign on that statement? louis: sure. there was a retired general michael flynn, one of donald trump closest military advisers, a guy who is considered a dark horse candidate to be running mate. he is sort of that close to donald trump. he came out this morning and said donald trump was absolutely right that hillary clinton -- excuse me, that the generals had been reduced to rubble underneath president obama. he sort of links president obama and hillary clinton pretty seamless, we talked about one talks about the other. flynn said that basically there
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is a disconnect between the white house and president obama and the military. that the military is unable to do the things that it could be doing to attack the islamic state. so, that is what the trump campaign said. and that is what one of their surrogates said in defending the remark. of course, hillary clinton and her campaign manager came out this morning and said this was insulting to the military and that it is not language becoming of someone who wants to be commander-in-chief. host: louis nelson, who is following the clinton and trump campaigns and his reaction to the forum that took place last night, thank you very much for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. it was a pleasure. >> friday, the values voter
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summit in washington, d.c. andrks by senator tim scott senator james lankford. later, we will have more from the summit, including remarks by donald trump. that begins on our companion network, c-span2. >> c-span's "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. friday morning, new york republican congressman tom reed will join us to talk about his endorsement of donald trump and the statements that congress has made on the record saying mr. trump needs to be reined in if he wants to win the election. then new york democratic congressman jeffrey meets will be on to talk about the latest campaign developments, including hillary clinton and donald trump outreach efforts as well as immigration and the co

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