tv Newsmakers CSPAN September 18, 2016 10:00am-10:31am EDT
gang of eight, the most senior house and senate democrats and republicans to get the highest intelligence briefings. what a talking about complicated world we live in today. let me introduce the two reporters that will be asking questions. >> i want to start with the russian hacking story. when wednesday if she was asked if they would be responding to hacking, stay tuned. what do you think she meant by that? they haven schiff: not made a firm decision on what the course of action will be. i have been asking the
administration more generally to make public attribution, to call rush out and what it's doing in terms of hacking. i think the russians see any failure to push back as an open door. even since that conversation we agency,he world doping secretary powell's private e-mails. we are going to see more and more of this if there's not a strong push back. gin by naming and shaming. russia is probably the worst culprit. it's time they were called out. deb: is there a problem with , areng it was the russians we just not there yet in terms of it? congressman schiff: i think there is ample evidence to call out the russians. i don't think it's for a lack of evidence.
are a number of considerations the administration has to wait to prepare to go beyond naming and shaming, one of the repercussions they would consider? i think you have to take a graduated approach. if the conduct escalates, the response can escalate and it can escalate in the form of economic sanctions or going after the individuals who are responsible. there are a range of things that could be done if the russians persist. i think it's vitally important that the american people be made aware that a foreign government may be seeking to meddle in its political affairs and to create discord, so the american people can decide what they want to do with that information. nationstates have been trying to hack the united states are's. -- four years.
the leaking of information that we have seen since april, but can we make of these websites that seem to be two of the main operations in addition to wikileaks? congressman schiff: there are a bunch of different categories. the purposeer for of theft. we have had some progress with china. economic steal for benefit. then you have theft for the purpose of foreign intelligence entering. then you have dumping that information to disrupt. that does not mean it has to be accurate information. we have seen the russians do that in europe. what i think is very concerning here is that these activities go
beyond simply hacking. that is simply gaining intelligence. i can only discuss the public reports. accurate, they have been alerted by the federal government that a foreign government hacked into their databases. oft's not for the purpose intelligence gathering. why would you hack a database of registered voters? that something to do if you're laying the foundation for interfering or disrupting with an election. i think it's very important to make sure we are prepared. that's why every state should have a paper trail. many of us of been urging this or years. some states don't have that in a lot of cases. they ought to be taking every precaution they can. they need to make sure that they are well guarded.
deb: do you think we're going to hear of other states that have been breached sides illinois and arizona? congressman schiff: i can't comment on anything i may have learned through the committee. i can say that if these public reports are accurate of these two states, i don't believe they are unique. if a foreign entity were tracking -- hacking into two states, they would have more of an interest in just those two. every state should take precautions. the most at risk are any systems that are plugged into the internet. even beyond that, states that allow electronic voting or that results, orelection where you can tamper with a voter registration database when people go to vote in there's no
record of them and they have to contest, anything that would call into question the legitimacy of an election would be highly disruptive and very serious. deb: has of the damage already been done? close, theres would be some suspicion that there was outside forces? congressman schiff: there is some damage that's been done already. we have had these hacks and questions raised. i think there is more damage if we are not willing to inform the public about what's going on. important for the administration to speak as much as they can about this topic. people are armed with information. it's one thing if we screw up our own elections as we did in florida some years ago. it's another if we have a foreign party that is the liberty -- deliberately making mischief. what is the motive behind that?
i think that's very important information. i think he can be delivered to the american people without making in a partisan thing. that may be a concern that the administration has. say that russia is hacking and all of the russian connections with donald trump's business, they may feel that they are putting their hand on the scale. i think they can deliver nonpartisan information and they should not shy away from doing that for fear that some will our group -- argue or perceive it as being partisan. damian: edward snowden is in russia right now. there is a new movie out about him. snowden has made another appeal to get a pardon from president obama. there being any resolution or development on
this issue during the obama administration? congressman schiff: we had a hearing on a two-year investigation we've been doing into the snowden case. we are in the process of which i hopeummary will be public in the next 24 hours. havees through what we unclassified at this point. we think the american people need to know about snowden. one of the things that leaps out to me because it is so at odds with the narrative as he tells it, the vast majority of what was taken has nothing to do with privacy or privacy rights of others. wasmajority of what he took military secrets and defense secrets. i think that is at odds with the narrative he wants to tell, that he is a whistleblower.
he knew about the whistleblower provisions. he knew how to take and vantage of them. he had taken advantage of the opportunity to talk to people within the proper chain. that's the interesting thing. he knew the process that was available for them. instead, he stole this ,nformation and went to russia to places under authority that has very little privacy. we do intend to make public what we can. we have asked for the declassification of the entire report. we think it's important the public has that information. it's a bipartisan report. knows thenk everybody bulk collection of phone records has ended. records still a lot of
and e-mails being swept up in surveillance. i think congress is trying to find out how many. how are we doing on that? that goes tochiff: the 702 program. there were two programs that were the discussion. one was the data program. that was domestic call data which we have restructured. the government isn't gathering that data anymore. the phone companies hold their in data and we go to them certain cases. 702 is a program that authorizes the collection of communications that are between foreigners on foreign soil. raised, what been happens when you are collecting communications between people on foreign soil and you inadvertently capture
communication of people on american soil. it's not always immediately apparent from the identifiers of the communication where they are for what is going on. we are overseeing that now. we have done for some time. we will have a debate on that when we go to the real -- reauthorization of 702. how may americans have been caught up inadvertently in this program that is focused on foreign to foreign communication? it's very difficult to figure that out without having to go into all of those e-mails and figure out are these americans or are these foreigners overseas. you have an intrusion into people's privacy to figure out how many people have been captured.
those communications are never looked at. do we want to look at them and figure out we wouldn't have read these. that is what the intelligence community is debating. a menu ofgiven us potential ways they could answer the question. there would be varying degrees of accuracy. that's the most intrusive. another would be to do a random in this random sample, what percentage were american communications? that is still being analyzed. that's an important question. the democrats have been hard on donald trump about his lack of foreign policy asked. --rit one of the interesting one of the interesting things we
see is his approach to counterterrorism. taking oil, potentially torturing terror suspects. whoe seem to be americans feel he would be in the best position to take on the islamic state. you think americans have not communicated well the approach is better? are you worried that his approach to counterterrorism is going to sway voters in november? congressman schiff: democrats have been at a disadvantage on national security issues. it goes up and down over time. what party do you trust more on national security, republicans usually get a more favorable answer. that's been true since the it. -- vietnam. donald trump starts out with
that heritage that is to his advantage. there are some people who respond to he seems like a strong guy. i think most people, the vast majority of those who of work on these issues are terrified of the aspect of him being the commander in chief. for any number of reasons. , they stoodublicans up to the evil empire of the soviet union. to see a standard bearer so cozy up to this russian autocratic vladimir putin who is hostile to the united states and is in league with the iranians and hacking into our systems, who , he saysis neighbor nice things about donald trump. i think that's the most revealing thing.
of course he is going to say good things about this adversary of the united states, because he says nice things about donald trump. is it really that simple? nato,ct that he demeans he says he might do away with sanctions on russia for the invasion of its neighbor. recognize there are legalization of crimea. terrifying,this what a president says really matters. what a candidate for president really says matters. he is heading national security impact already. sayingd of hezbollah is obama trump admits that and clinton were the founders of isis.
he is playing into a narrative tell, onea once to that the conspirators in the arab world want to tell, that somehow we created isis because we wanted to weaken the arab world. damaging, it's a terrifying thing for people who work in national security. at the end of the day, the american people see that. i think many already do. more will between now and election day. damian: part of his pitches he says the foreign policy status quo stinks. democrats can't go to voters and say the middle east is not a mess. they are almost plain from there back foot and having to defend the administration's approach to the middle east.
he has the benefit of being able to say i am just going to rethink everything. i think a lot of americans believe we should rethink everything. how do you get that allen's without making voters feel like you don't see what's going on? congressman schiff: you are absolutely right. there is more instability around the world than most americans have seen in their lifetime. it's unsettling to people. even beyond the national therity, going through recession there is a great deal of economic uncertainty. any candidate that says if you like the way things are, that's great. what undercuts trump is on most of these issues were he is taking issue with secretary clinton, he has the same position. when you look at what he says
about iraq before he was a candidate for president, he was for the iraq war. qadhafi.r toppling of a leg toave much stand on when it comes to world events. most i think he is at honorable in terms of the election is he can offer nothing by way of a proposal or solution. it,ever he is asked about what do we do about isis, his only answer is i have a secret plan. i can't tell you. even i don't know it apparently. i don't mean me, i donald trump don't know it. i am going to ask my generals to come up with a plan in 30 days. i thought these with the same generals that you said you knew better than they did.
i will entertain their suggestions. i will come up with a double super secret lan which i can't tell you. does that mean he is going to send a hundred thousand troops into syria? what would it take to defeat isis tomorrow? it might take 100,000 troops. who have no idea with him. i think just like one of his casinos, he's asking the public to make a roll of the dice on him. deb: do you sense that there would be a change in intelligence collection under either clinton or trump? anything on the horizon that you see might be different? i think thischiff: is already happening, we will see a greater devotion of
resources and focus on russia. we have to. we had a dividend from the end of the cold war for a while. it is over. vladimir putin has taken russia in a belligerent direction. what donald trump would do is very hard to say. he went on russian tv the other day and said he's not sure the russians are really hacking the dnc. he is either willfully ignorant or will say anything. what would that mean he was directing the intelligence community. would he tell the intelligence committee to lay off russia? who knows. i think under president hillary we would have a surge of intelligence resources. she would want to see a stronger intelligence budget. she would want to see that go
into human intelligence. i think she would recognize areas around the world where we have prioritized the immediate isis athat is al qaeda, the expense of the midterm threats like russia and china and other countries. damian: we did have sort of a terrifying summer in europe. turkey, france, germany, elsewhere, we haven't seen as many in the past few weeks. what should americans be expecting in terms of the current threat. seemed to behreat the isis inspired. they are going to get worked up over the internet and then commits of atrocity. what are you most fearful of? congressman schiff: i have a different take on this than some
representative been speaking on post 9/11. the emphasis has been on degrading isis in syria and iraq. they are losing ground. this is just going to make the this isisse from around the world. they are going to feel the need to be more aggressive. that may be true. as they lose ground, they will feel the need to continue to recruit people enhance their reputation. that doesn't detract from the fact that it's a very important development that isis is losing ground. they are losing battles. they are losing followers. all of that is very necessary. it's not sufficient. it doesn't mean the end is near. we have to do with that caliphate. that has been the primary magnet
for isis. we should not belittle the importance of the ultimate destruction of that caliphate the problem will become more diffuse. isis will look more like al qaeda. in some ways, they will be more pernicious. they mark a depth that social media. they are more adept at social media. beon't want people to discouraged and say we are winning on the battlefield, but that's just going to make the problem worse. it does mean that we are going to have additional challenges in the near term as isis tries to maintain its recruitment and it deals with these battlefield losses. difficult for us to erase their caliphate. deb: isis broke off from al
qaeda over a disagreement about the caliphate. if they are losing ground and territory, if the caliphate is dissolving, is there any thought that is to could join back again? congressman schiff: it's certainly possible. organization, they are trying to distance themselves from al qaeda the moment. and if you want to associate themselves with isis. statelesscomes a terror organization and if it's diminished, it's possible in the future they could reunite with al qaeda. underscore what a few merits of this agreement.
we'll see how long it lasts. i am deeply skeptical. the day after isis is defeated, the number one threat becomes al qaeda in syria. in many ways, that's a difficult foe. it's more indigenous than isis. syria is more syrian. it's much more difficult to uproot you that maybe the most consequential thing we're going .o interact with it i do think we will be confronting both in that region as well as places like yemen, afghanistan, elsewhere al qaeda in some areas and isis in others.
they are going from of the leading to al qaeda and they may go back isis. they follow the money. i think we can expect that to continue. can you give us your level of concern over the latest north korean nuclear test? congressman schiff: they are trying to put these on plastic missiles. i think the only thing we can really do that gives us leverage is we have to persuade the chinese it's in there and just to crack down the, which we have not been able to do. one way is secondary sanctions. that means a chinese bank institutions are doing business, they can be sanctioned. we may have to pull that trigger. if they don't take action, we will find it necessary to intensify our military presence in the reason.
that is something china doesn't want to see. it,hey don't want to see there is an answer for them and that is they can choke off the light line -- lifeline. susan: thank you for being our guest this week erie it i appreciate your time. after ourk conversation with adam schiff. kind of a historical question, how dangerous is it for this country and this waning presidency when the uncertainty of the election and if the president is losing his leverage in congress, is this an opportunity we are aware of? congressman schiff: this reminds me of the time in 2008 when we were in the middle of the financial crisis and the bush administration was very nervous
about imposing a big new policy. we went several months without any new policy on housing. i think we entering a similar space now. they have this new agreement with russia on syria. the russia hacking incident, is the u.s. being cautious in how it responds because there's going to be a new president soon? you don't want to tie the hands of the next commander-in-chief. mightnclear how russia escalate things. he was urging the white house to name russia as a starting point at least. it was interesting how he talked about the concerns the white house of the president might look like he is putting his hand on the scale for the election. how does this environment with
mr. trump with his positive statements toward russia while the hacking is going on, it's all swirling around us. deb: i think that's a good question. nohink he mentioned there is doubt about the fact that russia is to blame here or at least packers affiliated with russian government organizations. what we are hearing now is they are not sure what hundred percent on the attribution. i think the delay could be on that as opposed to they don't know what to do because of all of these different political considerations or diplomatic generations. susan: having 100% certainty before you put -- point the finger in other words. deb: how do we know the government hasn't responded? we just don't know.
damian: the u.s. and soviet have been doing this kind of thing for decades. i think what a lot of people believe, if vladimir putin is behind this, he sees it as an extension of a ping-pong match that's gone on for years and years. the u.s. is had involvement in elections all of the world going back to world war ii. think analysts believe this is just the way things work. you want to send a signal to ever will alert -- emerge from the selection that russia is on to you. that might be the signal they are sending. there is a big difference between vladimir putin telling his officials to do makes it harder to respond. susan: at the same time we have cooperation on