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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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been discussing -- >> i'm not questioning your judgment on the settlement. >> yes. >> i think -- questioning the judgment on any settlement is a fair question. questioning questioning the iran nuclear deal is a fair question. the question i have, once you made the decision to have a settlement, would we have paid this money whether there were hostages are not? would we have paid this money to iran at some point? >> it's clear to me that we reached a time when we were able to achieve a settlement -- >> look, i'm trying to help. you don't want me to help, don't go ahead, keep speaking -- very let me. go ahead, keep speaking -- very clear question. forget the hostages. you made a deal. at the hague, which is in the netherlands, not in iran. i'm not questioning the deal. i'm saying, okay, you made a deal. once the deal was made, would you have had to pay iran the amount that you agreed to pay? yes or no, kind of simple. >> yes.
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the payment would have been made with or without hostages. it sounds to me like my friends on the other side are upset about this would rather we paid iran the money and not gotten our people back. they would have been happy. yippie. -- i would not have been. you would still be here been criticized for not getting americans home. you can't win this. i hope you understand this is a political game to try once again to number one trash the obama administration. number two, trash the iran nuclear deal. and number three, somehow make them look like criminals, dropping bags of cash in the middle of the night like a drug deal. this is ridiculous. now, i understand, and again, i think there are fair and reasonable and thoughtful and tough questions asked about the
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iran nuclear deal. i voted for it, but i think questions are reasonable. any legal settlement with the risk of litigation, i was a lawyer back in my previous life when i actually had some useful function to have. any legal settlement is question to negotiations, question to judgment. it's a judgment call. you save money, make money, lose money. fair question. those are fair questions to say whether your judgment was right or wrong on this it's not fair one. to say we should have left four americans in iran. and if you had done that, let's assume you paid the money. do you trust iran to have lived up to their separate deal to let four americans go? >> no congressman. in fact, as i mentioned, our biggest concern was this particular piece, that they would not -- >> i don't trust them either.
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actually, it sounds like my friends on the other side trust them more than i do. it's awfully nice that you trust the iranians. the job. great leadership. of course we don't trust them. that's why the nuclear deal had the most invasive, aggressive inspection regime of any deal ever made in the history of this world. again, i don't trust them. i'm glad the americans are home. if this was a separate deal, cash for americans, i would be agreeing with my colleagues on the other side. ransom is acceptable. but payment by the way, whose , money was this? am i wrong to think that this was the money that we grabbed from iran in 1980? to say everything is on hold, this is money you paid for a contract, we're not giving it back until we negotiate and we'll see you in the hague? is is that right. it was their money? >> that's exactly right. >> we gave them back their money in a form of legal tender that is now very public and yet people are criticizing it
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because we got four americans. mother of god, thank you. good job. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the chair of the full committee. the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is clear that perhaps the administration and certain democratic members of the house are the only people in america who believe that ransom was not paid. it is also clear that many believe this is a good u.s. policy. i believe it not to be a good u.s. policy. otherwise, four hostages may lead to 40 hostages that may lead to 400 hostages. and that is why i believe in the history of our republic, it has not been the policy of the united states of america to pay rent some for hostages.
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the question i have, though, is, again, it is most curious that this payment was made in cash. now, some believe this is not a particularly relevant issue. according to the financial action task force, quote, the physical cross border transportation of currency is one of the main methods used to move illicit funds, launder money, and finance terrorism, and quote. cash is the currency of terrorism. we paid cash to the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism. and the question is, again, why was that done? was there a legal obligation? we we heard some of these payments have been made in other methods that could be more transparent through the normal financial
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channels. and the tribunal itself states it has finalized more than 3,900 cases, so i think one of our witnesses, ms. grosh, did you not say that at least some of these were not made in cash? is that correct? >> congressman, yes, there have been more than 39 cases resolved at the tribunal. the bulk of those payments came from a security account that iran is obligated to insure all awards in favor of u.s. nationals and u.s. companies and that is what resulted in >> let $2.5 billion. me ask you this question. again, i'm having a little trouble figuring out why this was a cash payment. isn't it true that under the iranian transactions in sanctions regulations, there are exceptions to financial dealings that license payments between
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the american and iranian financial system in order to receive, pay, or settle claims pursuant to the united states claims tribunal, specifically 31-cfr, section 560510. >> as i mentioned in my opening statement. >> okay, so you didn't have to pay it in cash, but you did pay it in cash. it is again, still unclear, the question has been asked, but it hasn't been answered, specifically, did someone in the iranian government ask for the cash payment? can anybody on the panel answer the question besides a macro view that iranians wanted money? >> the term of the deal was that they got immediate payment.
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>> are you aware of anybody specifically in the iranian government asking for a cash payment? >> i'm not aware, nor am i aware of all the conversations that took place. >> who would be aware? who could this panel go to to get an answer to that simple question? >> we would be happy to follow up with you on further details in a closed session, and we would be happy to discuss that with you in that setting. >> are you aware that according to press reports, these funds have ended up in the hands of the iranian military, the iranian revolutionary guard? >> congressman, i have seen those press reports. as i as i mentioned, it is our assessment that the vast majority of funds that iran has had access to continue to be used for its economic needs. we have seen some press reports of an iranian budget line item. our translators and those in the intelligence community have -- >> line item is roughly 10% of the entire annual defense
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budget, the military budget, of iran. does this administration not believe that giving the leading state sponsor of terrorism $400 million and cast $1.3 billion, does that not present any serious terrorist financing concerns to you at all? >> congressman, we have made clear from the very beginning that the deals we struck on this day do not resolve all of our concerns with iran, and those concerned remain significant. what we resolved was the most imminent and critical, which was the nuclear program. you are able to resolve two additional pieces of business at the same time. we still oppose and object to i -- iran's destabilize -- >> my time has expired. thank you. >> we continue that with vigorous cooltools. -- various tools that we have. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from missouri, mr.
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i do think words matter. which is why i would tell me -- i don't tell me three year old granddaughter to watch the news. i cannot tell you how to start i am. i'm often disturbed. i'm going to start saying things when this happens on both sides. my i think one of colleague, who is a good guy. who is a good guy. i went to his home and met his
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family. when you drop a word, words like a drug drop. some discomfort. and i know the gentleman didn't interpreteduld be to be really awful. my hope that,be au know, that it was misstatement, sometimes we all say things we would rather pull back. i'm assuming he would rather pull that back. because there are a lot of people and this could mushroom into something that i think would be an embarrassment for the entire committee. this threeng about
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hour strategizing meeting. fast forward to this hearing, and we are saying it was like a drug drop. that's not good. that's -- that's a little scary. , or myisanship doesn't ideological leanings have to st i would notoint, say that george bush had a drug drop. or hopefully, anybody. this is maybe a political gathering and we are supposed to do some of this stuff. i can't do it because, i think the whole country is looking at
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this political process and saying, you know, washington stinks. and we're creating a higher ink-ivity."t it is a word. i made it up. we are stinking up the political process. i have some questions. just decided, i have got good questions. say, these are very good questions, big questions. after that, i don't want to engage nin this. so, i would like to just yelled back -- -- yield back. >> would you lead to me? thank you, mr. cleaver. thank you for your thoughtfulness.
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a couple of points to be made. we have people bemoaning the money that was accorded the i ranians. but there have been settlements that have in your it to the benefit of americans totaling $2.5 billion. the $2.5give back billion that have been accorded americans and settlements? -- in settlements? of emphasis is being placed on the fact that people came home. thank you. people came home. americans were freed, would you send them back? would you put them back into harm's way, incarcerated in iran? is that what you are pushing today? this hearing is about headlines, not headway. headway could be made by doing at the honorable maxine waters indicated, classified briefings are available to all of us, and we could make headway. today
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today it's about headlines. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. mulvaney. >> a couple random questions. i don't know if he asked it this way. the cash payment is in violation of law? cash payment violated 31-cfr is that true? 208 point >> the payment was done consistent with all of the appropriate treasury regulations. >> i'm reading payment by electronic fund transfer, a waiver, which i don't think is relevant here because it deals with checks, and not withstanding any other provision of law, effective january 2, 1999, all federal payments made by any agency shall be made by electronic funds transfer. didn't this transfer of cash, at least the $400 million in cash, the hard currency, doesn't that violate 208. 3. -- 208.3?
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>> if i could walk through the flow of the transactions. we'll take the $400 million principle payment. >> do it quickly, please. i only have five minutes. >> generally speaking, that payment was transferred via wire transfer to the account of a foreign central bank. that foreign central bank converted it into foreign currency and disbursed it to the iran. that payment to the payee of the claim not necessarily to the ultimate payment of the claimant. >> shorter answer is since the wire transfer went to an escrow agent, they paid out the cash. you didn't violate two point -- 208.3. why do we pay interest? my understanding is that the trust fund does not bear interest. >> yes, that's correct. in a in a typical situation, customers pay their funds into the trust fund, and by law, that does not accrue interest. as
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as i mentioned in the top of my remarks. the united states and iran entered into a memorandum of understanding that had express provisions for unexpended funds to be placed in an interest-bearing account. it's based on that language that iran has brought its claim for interest. >> did we put it in an interest-bearing account? >> the funds were not based on an interest-bearing account. >> so we had an agreement but we didn't do that? >> as a factual matter, that is correct. i could have a lot more to say about that, but some of these matters are still -- other issues related to that memorandum of understanding are currently being litigated between the parties. >> so i -- >> i would be happy to discuss that further in a closed setting setting. >> the carter administration or the reagan administration had followed the mou, the interest would have been paid by the bank into which we put the escrow account, the escrow moneys? >> all of the administrations since the memorandum in 1979 acted consistently with respect to these funds.
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>> no, you just told me they didn't. the mou required us to put it in an interest-bearing account and in the next sentence you said we didn't do that. >> that's correct, but each of the administrations treated those funds consistently, not withstanding the language of the mou, there are legal arguments at stake that continue to be before the tribunal, and again, i would be happy to discuss that further in a closed setting. >> we may get that opportunity. last question. my understanding of the flow of the funds is the original $400 million was indeed a payment by the government of iran under the fms program. i get that. their money. there was a legal lien against that money, wasn't there? that the 2000 victims of trafficking violation protection act of 2000 specifically placed a lean against that exact amount of money.
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isn't that true? >> well, if you're talking about a judicial lien, that is not true. >> i'm talking about a public law, i don't have the code they. i have 106, 386, and it says that judgments against iran for purposes of funding payments under section a, we're trying to make sure that victims of terrorism got paid, in case of judgments against iran, they should make such payments from liquidated from an amount not to total bmf. in the iran foreign military sales account. this money was liened by law in 2000. >> yes, i'm familiar with that, congressman. >> did we repeal this law or how did we get around this? >> what happened was the judgments were paid from appropriated funds to the extent of $400 million, which was the balance of the fms trust fund at that time. >> whoa, whoa, so the taxpayers paid $400 million in claims and we could have taken it out of this fund the? >> that's correct. they appropriated funds to be paid to those victims to the level of
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what was in the balance of the trust fund. >> when did we do that? >> through the very act you're discussing. >> the very act ynl discussing -- we are discussing does not say that. the very act says for purposes of funding payments, woo ego to the fms trust fund. in subsection 2b. >> if you look at that act, it also provides that the united states should be fully subrogated to the extent of the payments. that means the united states made -- >> i'm aware of what subrogation means. >> they were subrogated to the claims. that means those claims become the u.s. government claims. >> so they are not come at the end of that, they're are not iran's funds anymore. they are the united states government's funds, aren't they? >> no, the funds have remained in the trust fund as iranian moneys in the trust fund. the united states congress appropriated $400 million to be paid to these individuals -- >> instead of taking the money
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out of the fms trust fund, but by doing so, we thus own the $400 million? >> that is incorrect. i'm sorry. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. delaney for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. did the $400 million actually sit in an account, subrogated at a separate financial institution or just held by the united states government? >> the $400 million is in what is called the fms trust fund that sits in the treasury. all fms customers pay funds into there and they're separated into accounts for each customer. >> is it fungible cash or is it -- segregated into a separate account? when you say it's held in the treasury, is it fungible with all of the cash in the kroounls
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and crust tracked as a separate account or is there anywhere the equivalent of a bank account that a large financial institution where there's a statement that says there's $400 million in cash sitting there. >> i believe my colleague at the treasury could speak to this more, but my understanding is it is an account within the u. s. treasury. >> ok. so it seems like what effectively happened in the middle of 2015 is three things can together simultaneously. the iran nucleargreement -- iran nuclear agreement the , prisoner exchange swap and the settlement of this claim. is that the right way of thinking about it the three separate transactions or agreements were reach by three separate teams? >> congressman, that's correct. we sought to finalize all of those issues on or around the same time to take advantage of the diplomatic momentum we had. >> as it relates to the claim, is it fair to say that a legal obligation of the united states was created in mid-2015 to pay $1.7 billion?
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>> i would these are matters not put it that way. these are matters that were under litigation for many years, and members of the legal advisers office at the state department had been litigating these fms claims for long time. >> forget about all the history. in the middle of 2015, you said this was settled. >> it wasn't settled. what what we were facing was a hearing date. iran wantedmove -- to have this decision go to hearing and have a decided in a culinary matter. >> what interest rate were they claiming was owed? >> iran was claiming very high interest rate. >> what rate? >> this is an area that i would prefer not to get into in this -- >> it looks like we settled at higher than a 4% interest rate? is that right? >> i don't know exactly what that translates into. there was certainly a methodology behind it and i woulded be happy to go into that in a closed set in. >> do you know what the interest rate across the period of time was? >> in the 1970s and the 1980s,
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the interest rates were 18%, 19%, 20%. >> they were high. i've not done the exact map. looking at the chart, it looks like the average rate is about 8% and you settled for about 4%. and the power of compounding is such that at 8%, it would have been $8 billion or $9 billion, and at 4% it was 1.3 billion. so that's the bargain you thought you negotiated, is that correct? >> we agreed to the disposition and a compromise on interest. >> that's right. was it actually a legal obligation, would you say? whether any kind of formal agreement that was reached where somewhere in the books of the united states of america, we entered a $1.7 billion liability? >> i'm not sure i understand the question, but we certainly -- >> so if someone would have asked the government in the fall of 2015, how much do we owe iran? orh a headset 1.7 billion
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400 billion -- 400 million? >> this was referred to by one of your colleagues. this is a matter of litigation risk and issues we look at like any litigating parties when you're actively litigating claims. we could discuss some of that in a closed session. >> i guess the question, was this settled in mid-2015 or still open ended? >> in mid-2015, we were discussing this with iran and we -- there was some urgency because we felt this was going to go to hearing and then a decision by the tribunal. >> were you still discussing it in september of 2015? >> yes. ? >> yes. iran filed its hearing proposal in november of 2015. >> what day do we think we actually agree to the $1.7 billion? like that number? >> are you speaking to the united states or to iran? >> when do we feel like we had an agreement with them as to $1. 7 billion >> again, i think it
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would be better to discuss those setting. >> that date is relevant. i assume what you are saying here today is that that agreement for 1.7 point dollars was reached before the payment was made. >> that is correct. >> how much in advance of the payment would you say? on issues of timing we had agreed with iran on sometime before the payment was made. i wasn't involved in all the details. >> though some time in more than 30 days or 60 days or 90 days? >> less than 30 days. >> ok. thank you. >> >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from missouri. >> thank you to our panel for appearing to answer questions from us, but more importantly, to answer questions for the american people. and shed some light, some transparency on what actually happened with this money
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transfer to iran. unmarked cash in foreign currencies strapped on wooden pallets and loaded onto a cargo airplane to be sent to a recognized state sponsor of terror. this seems like a scene out of a made-for-tv movie than actual real-life u.s. policy. and as an army mom whose son is an active duty infantry officer and is a former united states ambassador, i just have to say i am very concerned with the appearance of our government paying ransoms for captured prisoners, and further and future endangering our other soldiers and diplomats abroad. i would like to reference a quote from white house press secretary josh earnest, from earlier august. as to why the u.s. made the settlement payment so quickly to
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which he said, the iranians, and i quote, were eager to try to address the legitimate concerns of the iranian people about the state of the iranian economy. is it the opinion of the state department or the treasury department that this money transfer would be used for the iranian economy? mr. backemeyer? >> congresswoman, first let me say thank you for the service of your son and your service. we spend our days at the state department, i know as well as the treasury and justice department, doing our best to advance the u.s. interests and doing our best to protect our men and women overseas, and we're grateful for their service. with respect to your question, this was a situation, as i said, where the timing was related to the various pieces of business we were trying to get done -- >> did you believe it was going to help the iranian economy? either state or treasury?
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>> as i said, it is our assessment that the vast majority of the funds they -- >> what assurances were you given, sir? >> even if i had gotten assurances from the iranians you would not believe those, nor would i. >> precisely. let me move on. i have a lot of questions and a short amount of time. we have since seen that iran's latest year budget provides for an additional, guess what, $1. 7 billion the same amount , transferred by this administration to the military establishment to spend as it wishes in iran. why did the white house think this money would be used for the economy when iran ended up using it for their military? >> congresswoman, i'm sorry. that's way out of my league, and i'm not in a position to side that. -- decide that. my expertise involved litigation of these claims at the tribunal and determining -- >> let me ask a relevant
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question. how do we know that this $1.7 billion increase did not come as a direct result of the cash cancer from the u.s.. >> the press report you're referring to is one we reviewed and had our translators review and we believe it is inaccurate. >> national security adviser susan rice admitted some of the $150 billion iran will receive in sanctions relief from the iran nuclear agreement would, quote, support international terrorism. what assurances do we have that the settlement money will not end up funding terror proxoes, -- proxies units like hezbollah, , considering they receive support from the revolutionary guard corps. >> we have serious concerned -- concerns with iran's behavior, their support for terrorism, their support for proxy groups. we have a variety of tools to counter those activities. >> let's talk about those. paying iran in all cash make it more riskier the money could end up in supporting terrorism? >> i can't speak to the risk on
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that, but what i can say is this settlement was made based on its own merits. >> if this settlement funding does in fact end up sponsoring terrorism, what action could we take to punish iran for their behavior? >> we have a variety of tools to enforce our sanctions against iran. these include authority that go entitiesndividuals and like the quds force and those that are involved in terrorism, that involves activities that are operational -- >> i'm running out of time. what incentive to the u.s. receive in return for structuring the payment so favorably in cash to iran? >> not aware. i know this settlement was in the interest of the united states. >> did iran insist that the settlement be paid in cash? >> i was not part of the negotiations. i can't speak to that. my understanding was settling this -- >> when was it agreed upon that it would be in cash -- >> it saves the united states
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government from paying billions more to iran. >> my time is expired. i've been more questions. i will submit them for the record. the chair now recognizes the gentle lady from ohio, ms. beatty for five minutes. >> a big thank you to our witnesses who are here today. mr. chairman i just have a few , brief statements, and more so for clarification for me and for all of those who are watching this. let me start by thanking you for advising us that to get the real answers that we need, if we wanted to move forward, then our leadership and others including myself, had i known about it, would be doing this in a classified briefing. that's number we are often one. chastised on this side of the aisle if we're a little late for complying with some rules, so i'm going to assume since it's
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my understanding that the title of today's hearing is picked by the majority and the title is "fueling terror, the dangers of ransom payments to iran. " so if they really thought that this was a problem, seemed like you would want to be more armed by being in a classified setting where you could get real information. if you don't want real information and you just want to showboat, then you do or you get what we're seeing here today. there's been a lot of opening statements in your opening statements, well, let's go back to the opening statement that our chairman made of the financial services -- the chairman mentioned. when he said it was the iranian officials who said this was really a ransom. now, our president, i'm not saying my president. let's get something clear. the president of the united
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states is our president. so so our president is telling us that it was not. he was trying to save lives and bring them back home. so let's figure out who the real enemy is here. if i'm sitting here listening to this as many americans are, it almost seems like my colleagues are pitting our president against the individuals that they are now chastising us for bringing our individuals home. so we have been intense in here. we have been somewhat humorous in here. so let me be very abstract in here. since this has been a lot about money, let's just say i wanted to say since they're expecting you after you have actually said in one of your statements that you thought the money went for economic needs, but yet you keep
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being badgered over the cash and badgered over where the dollars are going, and more specifically, that they're going to fund terrorism. so what if i would say to my colleagues, there's something called the rnc. and moneys that they give go into the rnc. so would they remember or know that their moneys to the rnc that went to the presidential candidate, donald trump, who i believe insights terrorism, would they be then able to say back to me why they did? let's assume most of them didn't give to him. interesting, isn't it? but we know their dollars will go into fund a presidential candidate who excites terrorism. a presidential candidate who is not about saving lives, who makes fun of those who are disabled, who degrades women, and yet, they stand here wanting to question our president for
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going back and giving the money that belonged to them already. it was their money. he gave now, i also think you would use words like, it was incredibly brilliant that our president cared so much about those individuals who were being held there that he wanted to do one thing. if he's guilty of something, it was to make sure that the timing of the transaction -- it was already done that he was giving the money. that was not a secret. we knew he was giving it. we even know how they lined up the foreign currency to be put on the pallets to give to them. that is not a secret. if you're trying to do something that is not legal or fair, you don't publicize and describe it and say it. so it was timing that he wanted to do to make sure that people
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were returned safely. so i want to thank you for trying to be helpful. i want to thank you for your answers, but i think you said it best when you said you're not there knowing how the dollars -- how the dollars are transferred or what we did, but you do believe they went for economic needs. thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california and the chair of the foreign affairs committee, mr. royce for five , minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the reason we're concerned with cash going to iran, especially billion in cash, is because iran 1.7 is in the process with the iranian revolutionary guards corps of funding terrorism in the region. and specifically, what they're trying to do is get their hands on hard currency. so when they're trying to develop, for example, for hezbollah, the capability to use gps in order to be able to equip
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the missiles and rockets and inventory with this special capability to be able to hit the tallest buildings in tel aviv or be able to get around the iron dome, this -- these two things, the transfer of the missiles from iran to hezbollah, they already have transferred 100,000 of these rockets and missiles, and second, it meets the capability of being able to switch this over to this gps capability. for that kind of terrorism, they need hard currency. that's why we're interested in the $1.7 billion cash payment. because by insisting that it was the only way to get the money to iran, we are strict in maintaining banking sanctions. this is hugely misleading. lead why. the sanctions system was designed with tribunal payments in mind. the iran transactions sanctions
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regime contains a number of exemptions from the rule, and in this case, they are explicitly authorized and would shield any entity involved in such a transaction from liability under u.s. law if this had been done the proper way without use of cash. no. it was the iranians who wanted the cash. they wanted the cash because they're trying to fund terror. that's what the irgc does. it's the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world today. so the administration chose not to license a transaction within the international financial system. they chose to deliver in $1.7 billion untraceable assets, which was the demand on the part of iran. and if everything was on the up and up and there is no connection to hostages, why not go through the process laid out in law? this is a state sponsor of
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terrorism. so you're right that banks don't want to do business with a country that is backing the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents. and those in syria, and developing missiles, ballistic missiles, by the way, aimed at us because they're intercontinental ballistic missiles, but the truth of the matter is if you wanted to pay through a bank, you could have. the primary example here is north korea and banko delta asia. no one was more toxic than north korea, not even iran today, but when the last administration wanted to get north korea, wanted to give the funds back to north korea, it found a way using the new york fed and the russian central bank. it found a way through legitimate financial channels which you certainly could have done. likewise, you found a way during the interim agreement to facilitate $700 million back to iran each month through international banking relationships. yes, it would have taken longer, but the dispute, this payment
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was supposed to settle, was over 35 years old. what's a couple more months? the the only way that i see timing coming into play, if this was a ransom for the release of americans. and if this didn't drive the capture of three more americans and remember, that's what the department of justice said at the time, don't do this. it will be perceived as ransom and we'll have more americans captured. the heavy water payment, another now, that's not compared to the $10 million. but was this paid in cash, too? $1.7 billion. ? i would certainly like to know, because the danger i see here is cash is going to become the new normal for iranians. and lastly, i would just bring up, pursuant to the victims of trafficking and violence protection act in 2000, $400 million in taxpayer dollars was supposed to go to u.s. citizens
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to settle judgments against iran for terrorist attacks. it looks to me like part of this understanding is letting iran off the hook for those terrorism claims that was part of that settlement. is that correct? >> with respect to the victims of terrorism claims, as i answered one of your colleague'' questions, those judgments were paid in 2000 with the victims of trafficking act congress appropriated $400 million to pay them, so their judgments were paid. >> but what about the interest on that that should have come out of this account? >> those claims were then subrogated to the united states so they became u.s. government claims and they were factored into the overall settlement. >> in terms of my question on the situation of how this was handled with north korea, why was it not handled the same way with respect to iran? >> i'm not familiar with north korea, but what i can tell you
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is this. we share your concerns with respect to iran's troubling activities. we have a variety of tools we use to counter those activities including robust sanctions, including sanctions that continue with respect to hezbollah and legislation that was passed in this body. we we continue to use those and intend to aggressively enforce those as we go forward. with respect to the mechanism of the payment, all i can say is iran -- regardless of the legal prohibitions, iran did not have the international relationships, did not have the accounts, because of the sanctions that were so strongly imposed by this congress. there were -- accounts were not allowed during the sanction period. as a result, iran did not have those relationships. it was difficult to do anything else in an immediate way, and the immediate payment of these funds is what allowed us to get favorable terms in the interest of the united states. >> the immediate payment is what managed to coincide with -- >> the time has expired. the chair now recognizes the
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gentleman from washington, mr. hecht for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. my understanding is the most recent settlement at the tribunal was in 1991, when washington and tehran agreed to a $278 million payment as compensation for military equipment that the shawh paid for but was undelivered at the time of the revolution. the final negotiations on that settlement coincided with the release, as you'll recall, of two western hostages, including one american, by iranian-backed shiite militants in lebanon. according to a "new york times" article dated november 28th, 1991, bush administration officials at the time denied that the deal was linked in any way to the fate of the hostages in lebanon. the state department's legal adviser then as now under president bush said in the times that respect to the arms deal,
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quote, it's pure coincidence that it's coming together at the same time, the hostages are being released. in your view, is there any reason to doubt the bush administration's claim that the hostages release had anything to do with the arms deal settlement which they claim had been under discussion for a long time? >> congressman, i am familiar with those -- i recall those reports at the time. i wasn't involved in that particular settlement, but our practices that -- in looking at all of these cases, we assess litigation risk and decide these settlements on their oinwn -- on marriage. >> i'll take that as there is no -- on their own merits. >> i'll take that as there is no reason to doubt the bush administration's claim. i'll ask if you recall any public outcry at the time over that. fact was, there was none from congress. i would also ask you if you recall any hearings being held by any relevant committee of jurisdiction regarding that
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issue as we are today. i'll save you the time, there were none. and i will also remind you that in the wake of the original iranian hostage crisis back in 1981, we in fact signed a deal to transfer nearly $8 billion, a transfer which was authorized by incoming president reagan, and once again, there were no congressional hearings on the legality of that. nor an indication from the members of the then-majority party, as now, that it constituted a ransom. so one of my favorite hobgoblin of small minds.
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congratulations. evidently, there are no small minds today, because there certainly isn't a lot of consistency. you know, ordinarily, we have hearings often on subjects which i don't agree with, or with such incendiary titles as is today's hearing. but i almost always find a way to thank the chair because i think it at least unlocked the door or opens the door for a constructive dialogue and questions and answers that can help eliminate. that's not the case today. there's no legitimate reason to be holding this discussion other than to dissemble the facts and engage in propaganda. none whatsoever. indeed, the only thing i want to say, and not further legitimize this hearing, is that for the four of you and your colleagues, however directly or indirectly you were involved in the return of those four americans, you have our thanks. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the china recognizes the
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gentleman from colorado. >> thank you, mr. chairman. grosh, what is policy of the united states when it comes to ransom for putting out payment for hostages? >> congressman, my understanding is stated by the president that is the u.s. government's policy of the pay ransom. >> we don't pay ransom. you made the comment that there was a desire to be able to conclude all of our lines of effort when payments were made of ultimately cash sitting on $1.7 billion pallets going in the middle of the night to iran. were the hostages part of that line of efforts that you were talking about? >> congressman, as i described, there were multiple lines of effort. the implementation of the nuclear deal -- >> was there a tie between the hostage and cash and the hostage release? >> there was not a tie. >> how does it go back to your comment about the lines being tied up to achieve the end.
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>> i don't believe i said the lines tied together. what i was trying to convey is we thought we had a unique opportunity in diplomatic momentum where we could achieve multiple objectives. including bringing home american citizens who had been unjustly detained -- >> so there was a tie -- >> and settling a long standing outstanding claim. this was not a question of whether to pay 1.7 billion or it zero. was a question of whether to pay 1.7 million or more. >> i would like to be able to get into the terrorism end of this in terms of the agreements that were put forward. during the negotiations for the settlement purposes of the agreement with iran in payments, did anyone in the administration ever bring up the issue could these funds be used for
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terrorism? was that raised as a concern? >> again, my expertise in all of this is very narrow. it really is to litigating claims assessing litigation risk, and in any of these settlements whether it's this one or the ones we entered into prior to give advice about good advice? caller: any concerns raised by the -- >> any concerns raised by the administration? >> we have multiple concerns with the iranian government. >> what overrode those concerns? >> as i noted, we have tried to take step-by-step on multiple lines of effort, areas where we think we can advance u.s. interests we do so in a concerted and thoughtful way. we have done that with respect to the most immediate threat, the iranian nuclear program, with respect to one of our top priorities, bringing home our american citizens and with respect to the claim, we did so in a way that saved american taxpayer >> you're talking about dollars. saving taxpayer if we look at dollars. national security adviser susan
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rice, she admitted that some of the iranian money could be used for terrorism. is that a concern that you took into consideration? >> we are constantly concerned with what iran might do with respect to its support for terrorism and we have a variety of tools to counter that, robust sanctions passed in this very pass, that includes designations of entatitentatties like the quds force, others that support terrorism. >> maybe you could give me clarity on this. the where you sent over cash in $1.7 billion the middle of the night on pallets to iran that went into their possession, you said the majority of this has gone to infrastructure programs. so we're left assuming they're filling potholes over there. since you're able to track that money, what happened to the rest
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-- >> where did the other money go to. >> i don't believe i said infrastructure. saying did, but i recall was the joint domestic economic needs. i made the point again and again we have a variety of tools in place in order to try to counter that. that's an ongoing effort of our government. >> did they give you any guarantees the money wouldn't be used for terrorism? >> i'm not aware of any guarantees. but the way we approached this
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is from what the u.s. government can't do with respect to our intelligence capabilities with , respect to our operational capabilities and diplomatic capabilities to track and deter those sorts of activities. we have vigorouses efforts to deter and divert shipments to hezbollah. that is an active effort ongoing. we have sanctions which is intended to degrade the potential for those actors and we have other lines of effort where we're trying to resolve other issues of concern and other threats to the united states. >> >> the gentleman's sometime has inspired. we recognize kildee for five mr. kildee for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm not on the subcommittee, but i'm here because there's probably not a subject since i have been in congress for the last four years that i have spent more time on than the issue of the u.s. relationship with iran, specifically because one of those americans that people continue to refer to is a
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young man who lives about a mile from me now. a young man named amir from flint, michigan, my hometown, who gratefully, thankfully, as a result of the great work of the agencies represented here, our secretary of state, president of the united states, is now a free man. at home, pursuing the rest of his life. the reason i make that point is that there were very many members of congress, including some members congress, including some members who have expressed their outrajge today in this hearing based on their assumption that there was some connection between these three distinct negotiations that took place, that one was a quid pro quote for the other. there were many members of the house of representatives who took time at the point that the jcpoa was enacted agreed to, that the release of these americans should have been a part of that transaction, and
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that it wasn't. so i have a bit of concern with what i see as some duplicity here, that on one hand when it fits the political narrative, the administration is criticized for not making these separate negotiations all combined into one, and when it fits the political narrative a month or two before a presidential election, suddenly we're criticizing the fact that they assume that they were. well, they can't have it both ways. this does not make -- these negotiations does not make iran a good player on the global stage. there are still a lot of unresolved issues. certainly some regarding their terrorist activities or their support of terrorist activities fits that category. the fact that we still haven't had information about the status
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of robert levinson is a great concern. many of us continue to press iran for information regarding his status. but to hear the same voices say these should have been part of the separate negotiations with be now say they were a part, coming out of the same voices, makes it obvious that's what's going on here is simply politics. sadly. especially when we consider the gravity of not just the relationship between the united states and i run, but to bring the happy release of these americans in to that conversation i think is unfortunate. let me just ask at what point , since 1979 did the united states have any direct negotiations with iran? was
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there any point in time before president obama and president rowhani spoke by telephone during the general assembly? was was there any direct negotiations, face to face negotiations, officially between the united states and iran between the revolution and that moment in 2013? >> congressman, i wouldn't want to speak to the entire history but let me summarize and perhaps answer question. diplomatic contact was basically cut off for that entire period. >> i guess the better way to put it, was there ever an opportunity to resolve these long standing disputes through direct negotiation, whether it is the release of the americans or this dispute that resulted in the payment that's the subject of this hearing? was there a moment that occurred prior to the jcpoa negotiations that took place that allowed for another track of negotiations to
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occur simultaneously? >> well, with respect to the hague tribunals, my colleague has noted, we have had ongoing conversations in that tribunal to settle claims. with respect to the consular issues you raise that we agree a so important, the first tangible opportunity to raise those was in the context of the jcpoa. we took every opportunity to raise those particular cases and it was that channel that allowed us to continue discussions on their ultimate release. >> my point is that it should come as no surprise to anybody observing a relationship between therefore 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
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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. -- 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.
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>> 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. 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.
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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. 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
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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? >> 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.
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>> 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? 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.
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>> 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 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.
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>> 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 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
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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. 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.
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>> 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 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
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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? 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 --
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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 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
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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. >> 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.
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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 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
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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 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
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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 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?
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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. 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
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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. 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.
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>> 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 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
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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 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
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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. 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
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-- 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. 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?
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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 ,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.
5:21 am 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. 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.
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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 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?
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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. 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
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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 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.
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>> 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? >> 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
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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. 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?
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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 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 --
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>> 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 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
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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 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
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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. >> 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
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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. >> 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?
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>> 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? >> 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
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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. >> 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
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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. 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
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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 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
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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. 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.
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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, 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
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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. 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
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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. 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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] > today, a hearing on the federal response to the flooding in louisiana. testifiesohn edwards along with members of fema.
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that is live at 8:30 this morning on c-span two next, leaders of the u.s. intelligence community talk about national security, measures to combat isis, and measures to protect the u.s. election system. [applause] [applause] >> okay. so here we are, last panel of the summit. i could say arguably the best but then we've had several other very, very good panels but i think this is going to be a very informative panel. to introduce the panel of the big six directors, join me in welcoming former president and current.of nsp and good friend,
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allen mccarthy. >> i am really nervous. this is incredible. when i was at -- so great job. so good afternoon, i'm ellen mccarthy the president -- november obvious is a nonprofit research corporation that provides scientific research and engineering with clients in the federal, state and private secretariesors, including the u.s. intelligence commute ear. we're proud to be a premiere sponsor of this summit today. the subject today is the state of national security. thank you again for pulling together all six directors, which i why i'm a little nervous, on stage to share their thoughts on the state of the world or anything else we want to ask you. he. we're fonda to have with is john
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brennan, the director of nga, robert rahr del low, the director of nsa, mike rogers and the director of nro bete zap, the director of fbi, mr. james comey. and joining us today as our moderator, eric schmitt. and please join me in welcoming this incredibly stellar group today. >> thank you for those introductions and i also want to think you for arranging this event. very difficult to get six of these directors up and i couldn't think of a better time, with all the things going on in the world, in terms of national security and intelligence matters, both foreign and domestic, and of course, all in the midst of a presidential campaign that you may have
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noticed is going on right now. the way we'll work this afternoon is each of the directors will have two to three minutes to speak briefly about the challenges their agency is facing, then we'll open it up to a discussion among the six -- the seven of us for about half an hour or so and then we'll turn to your questions to wrap up this panel. so, we'll start with on my left, director comey. >> great. thank you, eric, great to be back up here with my colleagues. have six more offer these to do maybe seven. i'm counting on all of them to be here for each of them. i thought i would just use my two minutes to frame the challenges and opportunities the bureau faces through the lens of vision statement we just rewrote for the organization to make it shorter and to capture some of our challenges and students. our vision statement for the next five years is to be ahead of the threat, through leadership, agility and integration.
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what we mean by ahead of the threat is constantly be asking ourselves how are the threats we're working together evolving first, and constantly asking ourselves what are the things we're not working today that are coming at us and the way we can do that is through exercising better leadership inside the organization and outside, and to the last two pieces which are agility and integration, which i think are illustrated well by the challenge we as a group have had in confronting the so-called islamic state. that threat emerged jest as i was becoming director in september of 2013, we have had had to refocus ourselves as an organization and get much better at working together across boundary lines in the u.s. government but maybe even more than that, across country lines with our counterparts. the isil threat is coming at is digitally, and it's coming at news human form worldwide. at the same time we're facing the problem we all call going
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dark, which is harder for us with lawful authority to see the threat and understand its. one way we're trying to respond to that darkness is get much better that using human intelligence, using sources and undercovers, and that requires not just these six agencies to work well together but to do that with all of our counterparts. and so we are trying to be much more integrateed within just gov and across boundaries so we divide up the work, don't just do traditional deconfliction but decide the priority, who will focus on which actor and share that information we gain with each other so that we can better confront worldwide threat. we think that's a way of staying ahead of the threat through being more agile and integrating which is our emphasis. i'll slop. >> director brennan. >> it's great to be back here at this event. jim used the word is think most of us use when we talk about
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agility, integration, b make sure we can respond to challenges of today and in lightning speed fashion. the world has changed appreciably, significantsly, since started the career in 1980 in terms of adversaries we face, the diversity of the threats, the world stage, how it has changed over the course of the last 36 years or so. but on the technological front i think that's where we obtain most of that revolution take place in termites how it as factoid day-to-day lives. the fact we have digital domain that dominates our daily activities and it is fundmentally changed how the intelligence, law enforcement, security services, are able to operate in a much more challenging environment dealing with technologies we face, that's why a number of us are involved in some transformation wall activities throughout our organizations so we can adapt to
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a new operating environment and make sure that we're able to leverage as effectively and efficiently as possible, all of the capabilities and all of the tools and expertise, all of the opportunities we have so that we're able to bring those capabilities to bear very quickly. and that's why i think what we're all doing is, in the case of the cia, trying to make sure that the next 69 years of our history are going to be as accomplished as the past 69 years in making sure you're ready to deal with the challenges that lie ahead of us and that requires so new approaches, new practices and new thinking in terms of how we're going to certainly in the cia's case be able to fulfill or responsibilities and operate in a broad and clandestine man sore we can provide what we can to help our national security. >> thank you. >> thanks to you for taking time fromyear busy lives.
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hard to believe it's been a year since we were here. as you heard from john and jim, you'll hear some very common themes. to for the national security agency, ace welcome world around us the challenge wes face, similar to my teammates on the stage choose, you continue to generate meaningful insight in a world in which the a little to do that becomes more difficult. not impossible but more challenges and challenges your work force and your capabilities. much of the underlying technology and the digital world changes at an incredible pace and we have to be capable of working at that rate of change, so that's a great challenge in terms of leadership. how to create a work force that is optimized not just for the challenges of today but the challenges two years from now, five years from it. that has led us at nsa to fundamentally step back, ask ourselves how -- in foreign intelligence missions and information assurance positions,
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trying to generate insight, how are we going to stay ahead of the problem set. so we have come to the conclusion we need to fundamental hill reassess ourselves. so even at the same time we have this incredible growth mission with an incredible set of challenges to maintain the levels of insight, the work forcing trying to go threw level of change good and we're all trying to do this in an environment in which the resource base is level or decline so all.prioritization for all of us, how we team much more. the three touchstones of the view of the future threats, is about people, integration and innovation. and we have got to get increased able in all -- and capability in all three of those areas and that's what wore focused on in nsa 21 we started the journey a week ago today. on the 31st of august. imenergizeed by the opportunity that presents. i acknowledge change is never
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easy so there's always turbulence and challenges in doing that. >> mr. stewart. >> thank you, everyone, for being here. it has been a little over three years since dia embarked on its integrated intelligence center. so the challenge no longer is how do be integrate collectors and our analysts, all othursday sops intelligence, that's a done deal at this point. and i can tell you stories about how this unfolded or how we executed operations at the -- during the coup attempt in turkey which showed exactly how the analysts, collectors and all sources of intelligence came together to give us insights into what was going on. but what really sold it to me that we were past the discussion about integration was when the
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analysts started asking questions like how did we do this before we had an integrated center so that was the ah-ha moment for us. we were well past the discussion about integration. i can't do what i do without the inputs from all the folks here on this stage. the challenge going forward, think, is how do i deliver content to our consumers? how do i deliver content in a real dynamic, integrated way, that makes sense and helps make decisions. sometimes defined the common intel picture. i'm not sure that's the correct term for it. so we claim the term, user defined intelligence picture itch want to bring all the layers of data from all the different entities, put them in one place, make sense of it, help our analysts make good judgments because you we have the data aggregated and then deliver content at the speed of the network, at the speed of the
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way the world is changing, and to me that's the next great leap. because the way we produce things, the hard copy production of materials, that is delivered a day late, two weeks out, just isn't going to get it the way the world is changing today. so the dynamic delivery of content that's built upon layers of data, that's wrapped around judgments by analysts, i think is the next big step and i'll stop there thanks. >> director. >> my colleagues have raised -- the in-roads known for building the best in space-based collection systems and we spend a lot of time -- we do our own research and development in making sure the systems stay ahead of targets and threats in terms of capability, but recently with been much more focused on ground, and make sure we have the ground capability,
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and that's to make full use of those space systems we have built and launched. and that means ground systems that can learn and operate at the speed of cyber. not as the speed of human beings making decisions. and that's a big change for us that's a huge change for the community in terms of the way we task and too our business. and there are not only systems that learn and think, but they are systems that can integrate across intelligence disciplines and across domain, between, say, for example, space and air. so that's been a big change for us. the other change for us is watching -- paying attention to resilience across our space and background, architecture.
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i'll mention what mikes and others have mentioned. we have the people who are the best at what they do, from r & d to development, operations and maintenance, and you talk roe & d, in keeping up with the tarrings and the threats, our folks take great pride in doing from space what people don't think is fob possible to do anyplace. and they not only take pride in that but they deliver it over and over again. thought about that in the strength of my team, and when we did our 9/11 commemoration this morning. folks in the the audience second lieutenants, first lieutenants, who were probably only seven, eight years old, when 9/11 helped and they're so focused on mission today, because even though they were very young when that event happen, they're very
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focused on making sure it doesn't happen again, so i'll stop there. >> just take everything everyone just said. look, happy to be back. great -- we should do this more often. thank you all -- i have the privilege of directing a very young agency in that we're about to celebrate or 20th year so two fbi directors worth, okay? and a very old profession. and a storied one at that and so the challenge and the opportunity we have is because our discipline, our team, we don't show well alone. we shine when we partner with the teammates here and whether it's jim and his field office in minneapolis, and us connecting our assessments of a somalian
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refugee flow, or an influx and whatnot and making sure that handover happens, couldn't be proud-under over our imbeds with john at langley doing very sense stiff operations around the world. mike talk about the challenge of going from the cyber domain to digital domain. i like to take it to the logical and physical and eventually geographic domain to try to share and contextualize. vince mentioned the user definedded intel picture. we are the frame to have that understanding in that view, and so we contextualize and illuminate and hopefully amplify as things come together on top of that and betty and i are off together and jointly working with y'all to do the kinds of things betty just explained, because when i was in this business it was with a nice cozy monopoly and we have had very high walls around us and life
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was relatively simple. very dangerous but relatively simple. now, as has just been explain, the whole worths has changed. the upside of that is this room and us leveraging the talent in the room to make the biggest difference. i'll stop there. -- whether it's coming from criminal networks, governments or other entities, and director comey, we heard yesterday from the defense secretary ash carter speak agent oxford, warning the russians no tot meddle in, quote, our democratic processes. so far the u.s. government has not publicly named russia as a prime suspect in the dnc hack and related cases, even though many in the private sector pointed to strong evidence that


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