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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 29, 2016 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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joint chiefs on this issue. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to yield to a former member of the judiciary committee, now the ranking member on the education and labor committee, the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott. and i yield to him five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, the terrorist attacks perpetrated against our nation 15 years ago killed nearly 3,000 people. no one can fully fathom the grief still felt by families to lose their loved ones in such a horrific way. we understand the need to continue to seek justice against those who may have aided and abetted the individuals that orchestrated these attacks. however, this legislation is not the right way to go about achieving that justice. foreign sovereign
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immunity, there are several that recognizes it. jasta goes much further than any recognized practice of international law. mr. speaker, as the gentleman from texas just suggested, one fundamental indication of fairness of legislation is not how it would work for our benefit but what would we think of it if it was used against us? the united states allows our citizens to haul foreign nations into foreign courts, what will other nations enacting legislation allowing their citizens to do the same thing to us? obviously we would not want to put our diplomats, military and private companies at that risk. consider our nation's actions in iraq. while there may be questions about saudi arabia's indirect involvement on 9/11, there's no question about who the state sponsored actor was in 2003
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when we bombed baghdad and killed and injured hundreds of thousands of people with little to no evidence that iraq was any immediate threat to the united states or our allies. hat would we think if iraq enacted similar legislation to jasta, allowing them to sue the united states during the iraqi war, contractors living and working in iraq today could be hauled into iraqi court, tried by an iraqi judge, held responsible by an iraqi jury that would assess the amount of money owed to each and every iraqi citizen killed or maimed. furthermore, if they adopted similar legislation to this, other nations could sue the united states and our citizens for sponsoring organizations they deem as terrorist organizations. unfortunately, these discussions are already taking place in capitals around the world because of this legislation. jasta does not make clear how the evidence would be gathered
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to help build a credible case against the foreign nation. would the plaintiffs be able to subpoena foreign officials or would the u.s. department of state officials have to testify? would we be required to expose sensitive materials in order to help american citizens prove their case? and, again, how would we feel about foreign judges and juries deciding whether or not the united states sponsored terrorism? there's also questions about how the judgment under jasta would be enforced. the legislation does not address how the court would enforce the judgment, could foreign assets be attached, how would this process work if other countries enacted similar legislation? would u.s. assets all over the world be subject to attachment to satisfy the foreign jury verdicts? mr. speaker, there are more responsible mechanisms that this body could enact, their
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involvement in international terrorism without exposing the united states citizens to lawsuits around the world. mr. speaker, we should do the right thing and sustain the president's veto of this legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia yields back. the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, i yield myself one minute to respond to the gentleman from virginia. first of all, with regard to some of the examples given by the gentleman from texas, i want to make clear that this is the foreign sovereign immune its act that's being amended. -- immunities act that's being amend. foreign sovereign. if they were to flip action to do something in their courts, it would only apply to governments, not to individuals. so with regard to the assertions made by the gentleman from virginia, many countries have already done what we're proposing to do here today. the whole tort rule that's
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utilized in the united states, which says, just as an example, if you provide a bag of money to a terrorist in the united states, you can sue that foreign government and our country's right now -- and our courts would change if they provide the bag of money in paris you can do it. right now it's a loophole. guess what, any foreign government that wants to sponsor terrorism in the united states, what's the first thing they're going to do right now under current law? they're going to make sure the money is transferred outside of the united states so they're not subject to the jurisdiction of u.s. courts. customary international law does not seem to require the entire tort limitation. article 12 of the united nations -- i yield myself an additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. goodlatte: article 12 of the united nations convention on jurisdictional immunities of states and their properties would apply the territorial tort exception if the act or omission occurred in whole or
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in part in the territory of the state exercising jurisdiction. most nations that have codified the exception appeared to require some act or omission in their territories. but it is not clear that these nations have done so from a sense of international legal obligation rather than from comity. even if customary international law were properly read to preclude a nation from applying the territorial tort exception on the base of death or damage within its territory, the application of jasta to the 9/11 cases, as an example, would still not violate international law since the 9/11 attacks clearly involved tortious acts within the united states. and jasta require that the physical harm occur in the united states. but to have an exception that says that if people aid and abet from outside of the united states, their government -- the government aids and abets from outside the united states -- i yield myself an additional
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130ekds to point out one additional thing and that is under jasta of the president or his representative, the secretary of state can appear in the court where a lawsuit is brought and delay the proceedings for a period of time. but not forever. then, if that time expires and whatever effort the united states is making to resolve this with a foreign government does not change the circumstances, they can still go back to the court and they can require the court -- they can ask the court to delay it further. but then it's up to the court to make that decision. again, i urge my colleagues to override the president's veto. at this time i'm pleased to yield two minutes -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. but -- mr. goodlatte: i'll yield two minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. lance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for two minutes. mr. lance: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in strong support of overriding the president's veto of the justice against
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sponsors of terrorism act. this is our constitutional prerogative. we in congress can override the veto of a president and in this case a strong bipartisan majority disagrees with the president. earlier today, the senate of the united states voted 97-1 in favor of an override. if is right and just that the victims of the horrific terrorist attacks of september 11, 2001, be able to pursue full justice in our courts of law. i also represent a congressional district in new jersey that lost 81 people on 9/11. opposing views fear repercussions against the united states if this legislation becomes law. but the united states does not support, finance, or condone international terrorism. we're the nation that
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historically has helped rid the world of evil and we have nothing to fear from truth and justice. nations around the world should recognize the fundamental justice in legal remedies against a terrorist network that killed nearly 3,000 americans. it is our duty to provide the victims of 9/11 this legislative remedy by which they can seek the facts and the federal government should be as transparent as possible with the evidence and the intelligence. the still grieving families of 9/11 deserve their day in court. they have waited long enough. and this narrowly tailored legislation will give them recourse for full justice and compensation. mr. speaker, any override of a presidential veto is a serious and sober matter. i do not advocate an override lightly. i deeply respect the office of president of the united states. this president has never been
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overridden by the congress. i believe, however, that an override is the better public policy in this momentous situation. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased now to recognize the distinguished gentlelady from texas, who serves both on homeland security and judiciary committee with great skill. i yield to her four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized for four minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the ranking member. i think it is important to state on the floor of the house that president obama has been an outstanding commander in chief. i have served on the judiciary committee proudly for the tenure i have had in the united
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states congress and on homeland security since the tragedy of 9/11. i have and i'm committed to engaging in efforts to develop policies that anticipate and respond to new and emerging challenges to and curity of our nation peace and safety of the world. stood on the front steps of the capitol and saying with members of this congress, god bless america. visited the world trade center in months and weeks after this heinous tragedy. and grieved continuously each year as we commemorate sadly /11. the loss of these families will be painful and piercing. just recently the judiciary committee heard justice against sponsors of terrorism in a hearing or had a hearing on the
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bill. and the supporters of the bill offered powerful and compelling testimony in favor of ensuring that 9/11 families have access to their day in court against the parties directly and vicariously libel for the injuries they suffered. i also take into consideration the concerns of the administration which deals with underlying sovereign immunity and open up u.s. diplomats and u.s. torges for legal action for see if foreign countries pass resip prokohl laws n addition the president has said it would upset long-standing let me suggest to our friends
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that under the facts that we know, 19 of these attackers on 9/11 were saudi citizens. they did not represent the government. this is not giving permission to sue the government under its government actions as much as it is to recognize that these were citizens who operated outside of that realm and to allow these citizens of the united states to have relief. you cannot deny the citizenship of these individuals. i would also suggest that these individuals are common criminals. and why should individuals who have been harmed be prevented from addressing the common crimality because they are from a different country? i make the argument we're not finished with this at this point. i hope there will be further discussions. i do believe that if countries decided to take up and sue legitimate actions of the united states in defense of their nation, they would have the full power and force of law
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of the united states to be defended. i don't believe that will happen. i do believe we should continue further discussion on this very important topic. but as well, having been a senior member, again, on homeland security during the many meetings that we have with the 9/11 families, and ultimately passing the 9/11 legislation as i chaired the transportation security committee, i believe that listening over and over again to the devastation and the need to ensure there are laws to protect this nation that this measure provides the extra opportunity to address the common crimality of individuals whose citizenship lies in one place or another. we should stand, however, in protecting u.s. diplomats, military service, intelligence community members, and i believe this country has the power to do so. so i believe at this point the 9/11 families, their matter should be addressed and we should address it today. with that i yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time it's my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. donovan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. donovan: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, chairman, for yielding to me. foreign threats should never dictate american policy. that's unfortunately what happened with president obama's eto of this legislation. that a foreign government can hide behind sovereign immunity after slaughtering americans in our own homeland is an outrage. it's no wonder that this bill was passed by congress unanimously. terror victims can already sue individuals for their complicity in an attack. a foreign government shouldn't be immuned from justice simply because it's a government. for those of my colleagues who may be reluctant about voting for an override of this veto, i think chairman goodlatte's explanation of the bill should give them peace. there are already nine
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exemptions to the sovereign immunity law and jasta will not create a 10th. it modifies one of those nine. just jasta is about 9/11 victims who have waited more than 15 years to have their day in court. it's about the families of over 300 people killed that day who lived in my congressional district. it's about my friend, lawrie, whose husband, firefighter joseph, died that day saving other people's lives. i urge my colleagues to put american victims first by voting to override the president's veto and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields back the balance of his time of the the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to recognize the gentlelady from new york, mrs. loney, for 2 1/2 minutes the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york is recognized for 2 1/2 minutes. mrs. maloney: thank you so much
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for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise to express my support for overriding the president's veto of the justice against sponsors of terrorism act. i understand and give weight to the president's concerns, but i believe that this bill is focused on and applies to overwhelm those attack that is are committed on u.s. soil that harm u.s. nationals. the attacks of 9/11 were singular acts of appalling cruelty. they were targeted knowingly and specifically to civilian noncombatants. they were barbaric crimes that violated all new orleans of civilized conduct, and all of the international conventions of armed conflict. the hijackers of those planes died that day, it is virtually indisputable that there are people who conspired with them in the planning, preparation, excuse, and financing of those horrific acts who walk the streets freely in foreign capitals today. they walk comfortably,
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securely, suggestly, believing that because of a peculiar interpretation of international law they are safe from the long arm of justice immune to any consequences. jasta as it is called is needed to correct some shortcomings in previous legislation and lower court decisions. the bill is needed to make it possible for the survivors and for the families of the victims of savage acts of international terrorism to seek a measure of justice through the civil courts. this bill is needed because both congress and the executive branch have affirmed that civil litigation against terror sponsors, including foreign governments, can have an important deterrent effect. the attacks of 9/11 were roundly condemned by people and governments around the world. so this bill is needed not just by the families of those who died in new york and at the pentagon and in pennsylvania, it is needed to send a message
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to people all around the world, a message that the long arm of american justice will not be deterred, will never tire, and will never falter. as we have done in the past, we will pursue the perpetrators of such savage acts of inhumanity as we saw on 9/11 to their very graves, there is no loophole and there will be no escape. yes, it may be true there are risks in passing a bill like this that may have some unintended consequences, but compare that to the risks of doing nothing and the risks that are very real that are all too present. i urge my colleagues to not forget and to overturn the president's veto. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. mrs. maloney: it is a deterrent to future crimes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time it's my pleasure to yield three minutes to the
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gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith. the speaker pro tempore: gentleman from new jersey is recognized for three minutes. i thank my good fren for yielding and and congressman king for their leadership on this bill. mr. speaker, with all due respect to the president of the united states, the central argument in his veto message accompanying the justice against sponsors of terrorism act, reciprocity, is weak, unsupported, and egregiously flawed. the white house drafters of the veto message either didn't read the carefully crafted bipartisan bill or seeking to conflate the text since jasta only permits access to u.s. courts by waiving immunity for foreign governments not government officials and employees, and corrects conflicting case law except in the cases where someone knowingly aides, abets, or conspires with a state department designated terrorist organization. the president is wrong to assert under the haloed
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principle of reciprocity, u.s. officials and military personnel could be subjected to lawsuits. it's worth noting that nothing precludes that now or ever, but as an argument for veto it simply doesn't pass muster. while sovereignty immunity has its place in the conduct of responsible diplomacy, it is not absolute. as even the 1976 foreign sovereignty immunities act contains nine exceptions n 2008, as you negotiation the u.s. court of appeals for the sick circuit dismissed legal actions against saudi arabia and other defendants holding u.s. courts lacked jurisdiction. other actions by the courts have thwarted the full accountabilities that americans expect and deserve. jasta corrects that. the victims of 9/11 and their greefing families deserve what jasta empowers. a judicial process to discover the unfettered and ugly truth that to this day remains cloaked, concealed, and covered up. jasta provides a way to hold
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perpetrators and enablers of terrorism to account. anyone who has read the recently declassified 28 pages of findings from the house senate intelligence joint inquiry in 2002, despite the heavy redactions, knows the provocative evidence of saudi complicity in 9/11, and that remains unexamined. the 28 pages are filled with names and suspected associations with the government of saudi arabia. mr. speaker, i have worked with and befriended many of the 9/11 family members. many died in my -- from my district, and i can state unequivocally there would have been no 9/11 commission and other historic policy initiatives without them. they have been extraordinary, tenacious, committed, and courageous. on september 20, many of us -- many of those family members gathered outside the white house to appeal to the president to sign jasta. two of the remarkable widows from new jersey, laurie and
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mindy carried this sign on my left, your right, with a picture of president obama and king -- the saudi king from the front page of the "new york daily news." the headline said, don't choose them over us. u.s., united states. the president chose the caning kink and he vetoed the bill. we can correct that today. vote to override. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: there is no doubt at there's so much passion involved in this with the bill's supporters, but as legislators, i'd like to urge that you carefully and
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thoughtfully consider the long-term interests of our country. and i'm pleased to indicate that the scholars that -- and others that will be voting to sustain the president's veto former ael mukasey, the attorney general under george w. bush, steven headly, the former national security , visor for that president richard clark, the former white house counterterrorism advisor for bill clinton and george w. bush, thomas pickering, the former united states ambassador to the united nations, all
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gree that we must be considerate of the long-term interests of our own country. and so for the foregoing reasons and those stated by the national security experts, the international law scholars, the president of the united states, i find that i must vote to . stain the president's veto and mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues to override the president's veto. it is the right thing to do. it is the right thing to let american citizens have access to their courts for torts, for
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terrorist attacks that occur on american soil. this bill is a modest amendment to already existing exemptions to the foreign sovereign immunities act. it is the right thing to do. i urge my colleagues to join me in overriding the pres >> cia director john brennan addressed the senate vote overriding the president's veto of a law allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue the saudi arabian government. other topics included isis, the syrian conflict, and cyber security. director brennan was interviewed at the ideas forum. this is 20 minutes. [laughter] [applause] interviewer: good afternoon. director brennan, thank you very
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much for being here. there is a lot to cover. newse jump right into the of today, which i think you find disconcerting. there has been a senate override of the president's veto and it of the bill that would allow american citizens to sue foreign governments. you have been very, very energized against this. what does this lost mean from the cia perspective? mr. brennan: the legislation is misguided and does not take into account national security interests. i think we all recognize that the emotions associated with 9/11 are still quite palpable. i was up at the ground zero museum this week, and the victims' families are looking for justice. but the 9/11 commission found
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there is no evidence that the saudi government, saudi officials, were responsible for the attack. that said, piercing sovereign immunity, i think this is a dangerous slippery slope we are getting on. and foreign governments are going to start to pass similar legislation that will haul the united states into court for frivolous charges and allegations and i think it is more than just going after the saudi government. what does it mean, this concept of sovereign immunity? interviewer: i want to come back to that saudi issue, a controversial issue, but staying on the issue of the senate, it was 97-1. you go to senators and you say, "you are hurting national
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security if you do this." what do they say to you? mr. brennan: a number of legislators recognized downsides to this and there are considerations and i find it hard to believe that they are supporting this override. i think many of them understand what the impact is going to be on national security interests. broader than this issue, what is it going to portend for individuals overseas who are going to bring the united states government into court? we have far greater resources around the world than any other state. will those assets be attacked by some kind of court that attacks those assets because of some court case? interviewer: are you sure saudi arabia had nothing to do with 9/11? mr. brennan: clearly, saudi citizens were involved in the current this attack, hijackers.
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i am sure others within saudi arabia supported them, with financing, with encouragement. but, again, the report said there was no evidence that senior saudi officials were involved in any way. litigants do have the ability to bring into court individuals who may have been identified in a joint inquiry report. s whoidentified some saudi's were involved in this. you can bring individuals and organizations to court. bringing a foreign government in opens update floodgates for across-the-board. any country may be brought into a court inside the united states with allegations that they sponsor terrorism. interviewer: it is no secret that saudi arabia is not obama's favorite ally. it is no secret that saudi arabia is not the most popular country among broad swathes of
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the american public. it seems to be your argument that saudi arabia is an ally in the fight against global terrorism. orthat a fair description, do they play confusing and contradictory roles? mr. brennan: i spent years in saudi arabia and was there working in the 1990's. with my principal work, i was exceptionally frustrated with my saudi partners. they were not forthcoming with information and cooperative. after 9/11, after the many attacks that took place in saudi arabia, they did a complete 180 and they are the best. -- are among our best counterterrorism partners in the world. they are engaged in operations and they have many who were killed by terrorist groups. their officials have been horrifically killed by daesh and others. i am concerned by how the saudi government will interpret the
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legislation. i think they are still going to be counterterrorism partners with us, because they are committed to ridding their communities and their region of this. interviewer: the downside is huge of this? mr. brennan: very huge. not just in context of saudi arabia. there is tremendous investment in this country by the saudi government, in terms of assets they have here. do they want to continue that when there could be a court ruling that awards the litigants? interviewer: is this more of an investment issue? what are the security issues, is what i am getting at. mr. brennan: there are concerns about this legislation and what this could have for the future. i think there is a very legitimate financial and economic concern they could have, how their resources, assets, could be attached. in addition, there is a sense in saudi arabia that despite the
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need for our cooperation, the congress takes it so lightly that they will go forward, and say the saudi government despite what the 9/11 report concluded -- are going to allow the saudi government to be brought to court. interviewer: the house is going to vote on this very shortly. are you going to the hill to argue? or do you think it is a hopeless cause? mr. brennan: i was on the hill today and i had a public statement about what i see as tremendous downsides of this legislation. and i hope that the house upholds the veto. the secretary of defense the , chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the president and vice president, and all of the officials recognize how bad this legislation is for our interests. interviewer: let me talk about the national security interests not only in saudi arabia, but in
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the broader muslim world. you and i have had this conversation in the past, where you have essentially argued that we cannot win the war against radical islamic extremism , jihadism, whatever you want to call it, without the help of muslims. i have talked to a lot of people in the intelligence community who argue that the way that donald trump, among other people, talk about islam, talk about muslims, actually hurts our national security interests. , widening thehat optic, talking about banning islam, talking about banning muslims -- is this a hindrance to carrying out your work? mr. brennan: words and comments that taint the religion as being the source of the problem i think is detrimental to our interests and understanding this phenomenon. with princes, presidents, and prime minister throughout the middle east.
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they are outraged that their community, the muslim community, has been infected by this cancer, individuals that have a distorted and perverted interpretation of islam and pursue these psychopathic agendas of horrific violence. they recognize they have a very important role, a leading role to purge their communities of these influences. these individuals who are fanatics, extremists and terrorists -- they are driven by this ideology that is not rooted in islam. it is a psychopathic ideology that is very absolutist. you are either with us or against us. that is why the establishment of the so-called caliphate by isil are trying to cause this -- samuel huntington referred to
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this as a clash of civilizations. they want to draw a wedge between them and the modern world. interviewer: have you talked to donald trump? mr. brennan: i have not talked to him. interviewer: what would you say to donald trump about the impact of this kind of discourse? mr. brennan: anybody who promotes this characterization of the problem, a mischaracterization in my mind -- i would try to describe how these comments are being interpreted, and how they are feeding this narrative that the terrorist organizations are propagating. that it does not help to arrest the cancer that has taken over so many of the communities, because of so many of the the underlying conditions that exist -- economic deprivation, political disenfranchisement, lack of opportunity. these organizations and this
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perverted version of a religion preys upon a sense of hopelessness. and by making comments that are incendiary and are viewed as attacking a religion, or a people, or a community, it only furthers individuals' extremist views. they interpret a lot of the comments that are made as, the west or the united states are against them. when the comments come forward, the comments of a bin laden or say,s resonate, and they "you know, you are right." interviewer: bin laden are doing the same thing, that there is no room for cooperation. mr. brennan: there are previous comments that have fed this. interviewer: there are a lot of people who support this. -- support that kind of narrative, who would say, i know you say this is a perversion, nothing to do with islam. but these are muslims who are citing scripture, seemingly devout people, who have broad
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support in the muslim world, and it doesn't add up when you say it does not have anything to do with islam. it looks like a form of islam. what is the response to this? one of the reasons this has salience is because it does not pass the smell test for some people who might be drawn to a donald trump style narrative. mr. brennan: people can take the jewish or christian faith and distort it to use it for violent agendas. and we have seen, through the course of history, that individuals who think they are the vanguard of the effort of christianity, judaism, hinduism, or other religions have a distorted interpretation of their faith. and the overwhelming majority of 99.9% of muslims do not support this kind of violent agenda. yes, there are some individuals who are radical inside of islamic faith or even extremist.
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but the use of this horrific violence, the kind of violence isng perpetrated by isil, something we have not seen, i think, previously. qaeda, as we al know from some materials taken from the compound, there is concerns about muslims killed by terrorist attacks and there was urging of al qaeda to be more surgical. interviewer: it is hard for the mastermind of 9/11 to argue. mr. brennan: isil makes no distinction. this letter innocence. they have a very strong anti-shia engine in front of it. their argument is even with the , innocents killed, god will sort them out. they will go to heaven earlier. interviewer: i want to cover iran, iraq, the south china sea, russia -- but i have seven minutes. let me start with syria, which
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is the epicenter of a lot of woe in the world today. i want to read you something that hillary clinton told me in an interview two years ago about syria. the failure to build up a credible fighting force against assad -- islamists, secularists, everything in the middle -- that left a big vacuum that jihadism has now filled. that was interpreted as a critique of the early years of obama's policymaking in syria. is she right? did you miss an opportunity to shape the outcome of the conflict in 2011, 2012? mr. brennan: if you look at the last five or six years, a lot has happened that none of us were able to foresee and isil was not like it is today, taking over large swaths of territory. at the time, when syrians took
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to the streets against assad, there was a collection of different types of groups -- even shia and christians taking up arms against assad because he was so repressive. at the time, there was an of the spectrum. since that time, that extremist and of the spectrum has grown larger. there is an opposition with all sorts of different stripes. looking back with 20/20 hindsight, sure, people can say, if we only supported them then more strongly, we would have been able to push the objectives and realize the goals. but when we look at a place like libya, where the united states and allies came involved, and gaddafi was pushed out, and is not like democracy flourished and peace and security broke out. there was anarchy and chaos there. you look at afghanistan and iraq
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after 15 years or so. you invest in blood and treasure and it does not rebuild societies. you can take care of certain threats with military force. but the use of military force brings another day. how are you going to rebuild out of the rubble of airstrikes what you need to build for the future? syria is the most complicated and vexing issue i have ever had to deal with in 36 years, because there is so many internal and external actors, competing interests as they try to bring an end to the assad regime, which has exterminated -- interviewer: for the sake of american credibility, was it a mistake not to enforce the red line of 2013? mr. brennan: as a result of the restatement of the red line, syria's chemical weapons arsenal was virtually destroyed, equipment that worried u.s. national security experts as well as israel for many years. it was only because of that threat of use of military force that russia put the screws to
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syria to destroy their chemical weapons. we are better off for that. however, in light of subsequent events, the bloodshed has continued. again we can speculate what , might have happened if bombing took place. but, again, bombing is just a way to address a threat. it is not a way to solve problems. i think the middle east has frustrated a lot of those objectives for many years. interviewer: stay on that credibility for one more question. you talk to foreign intelligence chiefs all the time. was u.s. credibility hurt by not enforcing a redline? mr. brennan: i think a lot of people were disappointed there was not follow-up action. i think there were -- certainly israeli officials were glad , syria's chemical weapons were destroyed. now, people look back on it and say credibility was hurt because of not just not following through the bombing, but subsequent events. interviewer: two more issues. on russia, can you assess for us
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the question -- is russia trying to, in essence, hack our election? [laughter] interviewer: shall i repeat the question? mr. brennan: russia has tremendous capabilities in the server room. -- in the cyber realm. we know they have used those cyber capabilities to extract information from networks, to get access to e-mails. we also know the russians have been very active locally in trying to influence political developments in a variety of countries, including engaging in election politics and manipulation in countries overseas. i think the u.s. government right now is very much aware and working on the issue of who might be trying to get into and intrude in the electoral systems. one of the real benefits of our elections is, they are state-owned. it is very dispersed, diverse,
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not as though you can just get into a system and have access to all the precincts and other things. there is an effort over -- jeh johnson is reaching out to states, offering assistance. i think jeh has said publicly that a dozen and a half states have asked for assistance from the federal government to better safeguard their systems and protect against this. what we do at cia is look at countries' capabilities, intent, look at what they have done in the past, and look at whether something that looks like a duck , smells like a duck, and flies like a duck, whether it is a duck or not. [laughter] [applause] interviewer: i am going to mark that down as "yes." [laughter] interviewer: i am just going to note that as a yes. mr. brennan: we are duckhunting. interviewer: you are the big duck hunter. it is right at the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
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the overarching question that the typical person wants to know, i think, from the cia, is -- are we safer than we were 15 years ago? on the one hand, we have obviously developed systems to thwart complicated multinational plots. on the other hand, we are living now in the age of self-generated, self-radicalized lone wolf attacks. take a minute and talk about where you think we are, 15 years after that terrible, world-changing event. brennan: when you are doing that assessment, you look at vulnerabilities, you look at threats, and you look at mitigation capabilities you have in order to mitigate those threats. you look at the vulnerabilities. compared to 9/11, this country is a heck of a lot safer than it was then, because of improved security at our airports, at our borders. much better interaction between the federal government and state and local governments.
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watch lists and information is moving at the speed of light. it is a much more difficult environment here for these overseas terrorist groups to operate. now, you look at the threat. you see with the continued growth of the digital environment and the ability of overseas terrorist organizations to reach into the country, be in the digital realm, and incite and guide and direct individuals to carry out attacks. with the growth of isil and the lethality of al qaeda, the threat is still significant. though we have vulnerabilities that have been reduced, the threat is significant both from a standpoint of they are trying to carry out strategic attacks and the one offs, somebody who has an automatic weapon or is going to drive a bus into a crowd. the mitigation is, i think we have done a very good job working with international partners.
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we are going upstream into places in syria where a lot of external operations of isil are planned, in mosul and some other areas. we are disrupting a lot of their plans and activities before they get to the execution phase. that is what we are trying to do, keep them away from our homeland and stop them before they get close to actually strapping on that suicide vest or picking up that weapon. and the fbi deserves a lot of credit. homeland security does as well. the interaction between all of the different elements of this great country as well as the international architecture that we have created -- i will go back to what we started talking about. the saudis provide significant amounts of information that feed into the system, that allow us to disrupt these threats. and it would be an absolute shame if this legislation in any way influenced the saudi willingness to continue to be among our best counterterrorism partners. interviewer: director brennan, thank you very much for joining us today.
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i appreciate it. [applause] >> "washington journal," live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. carolinaing, north democratic congressman david price on recent police shootings and the 2016 campaign. then, republican congressman steve came from iowa about the latest on government funding efforts, and the 9/11 victims lawsuit bill. watch "washington journal," live this morning at 7:00 a.m. join the discussion. >> wells fargo ceo john stumpf testifies today at his second congressional hearing about unauthorized customer accounts. we are live with the house financial services committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern, here on c-span. >> deputy secretary of state tony lincoln talks about the civil war in syria and its
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impact on other middle east countries. we are live with the senate foreign relations committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. you can also watch live on c-span.org or listen live at the c-span radio app. the house water resources bill, members debated an amendment that adds funds to help the city of flint, michigan deal with its water crisis. the amendment was offered by the congressman from michigan. here is that 12 minute amendment debate. ch will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. mr. kildee: this amendment is something i have been working on for some time and it would bring urgently needed aid to my hometown of flint michigan. for over a year, the flint water crisis has been public and we have not yet been able to act here in congress. it has been longer since the water -- residents of flint have
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drinking water that is poison, poisonned with lead two full years. and to be clear what happened in flint was a tail you are of government at every level of government. through this amendment, congress can take its rightful place in fulfilling its obligation and its responsibility to help my hometown recover. the amendment would authorize $170 million to restore the safety of water infrastructure in communities like my hometown of flint that have lead in their water and more importantly, it would create a concrete commitment from both bodies of congress to get aid to my hometown, for my hometown to the president's desk. the senate passed similar legislation by a vote of 95-3. this amendment would ensure that the house also supports communities like flint that are suffering with this terrible
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problem. we have just waited an awful long time for this. we work very hard to get this amendment in a bipartisan fashion to the floor and i want to thank all my friend and i'll say more about that later, but co-sponsors ho this amendment. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to claim the time in opposition, though i am not opposed. the chair: without objection is recognized. mr. moolenaar: i yield myself a minute. i want to express my appreciation to my colleague, my friend and neighbor from flint, mr. kildee, for his work on this and advocacy of his hometown. and i wanted to say, mr. speaker, the crisis in flint was caused by failure of government at all levels and the federal
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government played a significant role in causing this crisis and congress has held multiple hearings to investigate. members on both sides of the aisle have found fault with the federal government's actions in flint. today, the house has the opportunity to acknowledge those failures and do right by the people of flint. while the federal government failed, the pipes in flipt were damaged beyond repair and residents were poisonned with lead. that's why fixing the infrastructure, the water infrastructure in flint is a proper role for the federal government and a step forward for the city and its residents. i urge my colleagues to support the amendment. and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee is recognized. 3 1/2 minutes are remaining. mr. kildee: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from michigan, mr. moolenar is
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recognized. mr. moolenaar: i recognize mr. upton. mr. upton: we know what happened in flint was a tragic failure at every level and folks are tired of the finger pointing. they want answers. is it asking too much for the e.p.a. to tell folks when lead levels are too high? i say no. this is why this very body passed the kildee-upton bill that would force the bill to alert families when lead levels are too high. is it asking too much for us to tackle this problem in a fiscally responsible manner? i say no. that's why we have a responsible solution right in front of us. this provision will be fully paid for when conferenced with the senate. is it asking too much for our kids to have access to safe drinking water? i say no. i was just in flint with my
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friend, mr. kildee. we ought to be focused on working to get the job done. folks in flint have been asking these questions for more than two years now. they deserve answers, action and results. it's time to stand up and deliver. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. -- the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. moolenaar: i yield one minute to the representative from michigan. >> mr. speaker, i am so thankful that congress is stepping up finally to do the right thing by providing assistance to the people of flint. flint has suffered a manmade disaster because of the failure of government at every level of government, county, local and state of michigan has acknowledged their responsibility and has been taking some corrective action.
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if this disaster beyond the city or county or state to deal with. the federal government has to buck up and entirely appropriate and necessary that we do so. helping the people of flint, mr. speaker, especially the children and these are american children. these are american babies, not from some other foreign country where we give foreign aid having them speak to us as a people. never turning our back on our own when they need help and certainly our fellow american citizens of flint need our country, this country's help right now. i will be proud to vote yes and i urge all of my colleagues to do the same. i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. mr. kildee is recognized. mr. kildee: i yield to mr. highseninga one minute. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for one minute.
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>> this is going to be from the heart. my family is originally from flint on my mom's side. i had a many fond memories going and visiting aunts, uncles and cousins and i recently those who have been affected and it's tragic. mr. speaker, the fact is if these were folks that had been affected by the breach of a dam or by a nuclear plant meltdown, we would not be turning our backs on them. we would be taking care of them. and we should be doing the exact same thing with the folks in flint. . they have experienced failure of government for decades, local, state and the federal government. that's been well acknowledged. but what we have not been talked about is how we are going to then care for those citizens. let's fix the management issues
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but more importantly let's care for our fellow citizens and make sure those children, especially, are going to have the same opportunity as every other child in michigan and the united states. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. moolenaar, is recognized. the gentleman from michigan, mr. moolenaar, has two minutes remaining. the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee, has 2 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. moolenaar: thank you, mr. speaker. just in closing, i want to compliment everyone that's been part of this bipartisan solution. it shows us working to solve a problem. this is something that those of us and many of us traveled to flint, have listened to the stories of the families of children who have been poisoned . it's a tragedy on the national level. presidential candidates have been there. this is something concrete that congress can do to move the ball forward and help flint with its healing and making it a huge difference in the lives of residents in michigan, and
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with that i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee, is recognized, with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. kildee: thank you. i just want to say how much i appreciate the efforts on behalf of my home community by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but as you've heard, congressman moolenaar, my neighbor, has been there right along. congresswoman miller stepped up immediately after this crisis became known and articulated a need for federal intervention very early in the process. mr. huizenga has been there with roots and has come to my community. i can't say enough how much mr. upton has to update e.p.a.'s notification and now working to get this amendment before the house of representatives. you know, it broke my heart
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when this whole episode began, to see my hometown, the place that's given me virtually everything i have to go through a crisis that's a threat to its very existence so i'm grateful to members on both sides of the aisle and i want to yield if i have one minute remaining to the ranking member on the energy and commerce, mr. pallone. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. pallone: i thank the gentleman from michigan and for yielding and i'm happy to support this amendment. the people of flint have begun over two years without clean drinking water in their homes. they're still being harmed. it's a disgrace we are fight being providing them about essential federal aid. i want to commend my colleague, mr. kildee, and democratic leaders in the house and senate who kept attention on the plight of this community and worked tirelessly for the opportunity to offer this amendment. i hope to see this amendment pass shortly but our work will
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not be done. we have to work to go to conference with the house and the senate wrda bills to ensure that the people of flint receive the funds they need. safe drinking water is essential to every person in this country, and provisions to ensure safe drinking water should not be a partisan issue. so i urge my colleagues to join me in voting yes on this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee, is recognized with 30 seconds remaining. mr. kildee: thank you, mr. chairman. again, for my colleagues, thank you so much. i hope and pray that we have a strong bipartisan support for this effort. it's surely been demonstrated by my friends who have spoken. this is one of those issues that should not transcend some of the divisions that often occupy this house. it's a matter simply of doing what is right for the people of my hometown and the people of this country and it means a lot to me that so many of you have stood with me during this time. with that, mr. chairman, i urge my colleagues to
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live with the house financial services committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. state secretary of testifies about the civil in syria and the impact on other middle east countries. we are live with the senate foreign relations committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three. you can also watch on c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. this weekend, c-span cities tour, along with our cable partners, will explore the literary life of play below, colorado. >> it is the industry that during p -- that bring pueblo
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where it is today. people still keep coming back to this place because it is a natural place to build a city. c-span2, atv on colorado state professor and author of "making an american workforce: the rockefellers and flow" talksf love about the strike between minors and the colorado fuel company which led to a nightmare for john d rockefeller junior. >> he tells him to turn around. he says you are not welcome here. i cannot tear into your safety. thematthew harris discusses " founding fathers: and the debate over religion in america." theye of the only things said was you did not have to hold public office -- you did
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not have to believe in some form of christianity to hold public office. >> here about the ludlow massacre, which took place during the colorado coal strike in 1913-1914, and visit the steel museum and talk to the curator about the colorado fuel and iron come in a. >> this is the shift change whistle. many generations learned how to tell time by this whistle. >> the c-span cities tour of .ueblo, colorado sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span three, working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. next, a hearing on protecting u.s. elections from cyber threats. state, federal election,
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election officials testify before a subcommittee. this hearing is two hours. >> [inaudible] >> the subcommittee on information technology will come to order. without objection that shares authorized to declare recess at anytime. i like to inform everybody that we will probably be interrupted by votes sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. we will get get there is much of this hearing as we can and will likely reconvene after that vote which is a short series. thank you for for being here and good afternoon. we're here to talk about voting. voting is the cornerstone of democracy and a fundamental right of all americans. our existence as a democratic
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republic is only made possible and legitimate through free and fair elections. each americans invoice should be be heard, but to ensure that we must protect the ballot box. like everything everything else in the digital age, however voting can be vulnerable to hacking. there are about 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide that administer elections and even within states, counties use, counties use different systems and different technologies for elections. while the long run the table for this election cycle, state local election officials including secretary kemp was here today have expressed concerns that classifying election system and critical infrastructure will be a federal takeover of what has always been a local process. the purpose of the hearing is to examine the threats posed by the entities seeking to disrupt, undermine, or in any way alter the results of this election. i also hope to initiate and foster discussion about what designates it as critical infrastructure would entail. i think think the witnesses are being here today for their
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efforts as fellow citizens to ensure that november's election are free and fair. i like to recognize the ranking member of the full committee, mr. cummings up for an opening remark. >> thank you very much mr. chama. i think you for your courtesy and i think you you and ms. kelly for this hearing. i want to thank all of the witnesses that are here today. the focus today on the risk of election and integrity posed by cyber threats is a very important one. it is only a fraction of the risk to our elections. eligible voters, access to the ballot box, they also pose an urgent threat to our election. voter rights and throughout our very democracy. in january, election commission
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executive director brian newby, who i see sitting in the audience today, wrote to alabama, georgia, and kansas, giving the appearance that he had the unilateral authority to allow the states to change the federal voter registration forms to require citizenship. mr. newbies invalid act led to the disenfranchisement of at least, tens of thousands of kansas voters alone, and who knows how many more in other states. as a vice-chairman at the time, mr. hicks you stated that mr. b acted unilaterally and that the commission has quote, from that agency staff does not have the authority to make policy
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decisions. i simply do not agree more this is why i haven't and investigating this member for ranking member robert brady on the house administration. and as a democratic leader jim clyburn. thankfully, federal court has issued an injunction halting and reversing mr. newbies invalid actions. however, that litigation is ongoing, i worry about the voters who have already been turned away. perhaps never to be able to vote in this election. chairman hicks, mr. new be, mr. tatum, we are sending you another letter today that outlines our findings thus far.
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i ask unanimous consent that the letter be added to the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you very much. we. we learned that mr. new be conducted no written analysis regarding the impact of his ability of eligible voters to register to vote he also conducted no cost-benefit analysis to compare the potential for voter fraud with potential eligible voter disenfranchisement. he also claimed that he had been unaware until recently that proof of citizenship laws could have a disproportionate impact on people of color. i would invite him to read the case of john doe versus north carolina. a lengthy disk decision, it
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makes it clear that it is a major problem with people of color not been able to vote. in light of these findings we seek additional information and also request that mr. new bb resend his unilateral decision for mr. new, i find your action to be shameful, and i hope you will swiftly resend it. but this is not the only threat to our right to vote. in 2013 the supreme court struck down a crucial part of the voting rights act that required some states to seek a preclearance with a department of justice before changing their election laws. mr. norton, your organization the brennan center has been tracking the voting restriction laws passed. in fact, 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place this fall for the first time in a presidential election.
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literally stopping american citizens from voting. these preclude a photo id include photo ids which have been shown time and time again to unduly burden young voters, the women, the elderly, people with, people with disabilities, low income and the homeless. pessimist exclusively by republican legislatures, these laws have been proven to have racially discriminatory intent. i'm almost finished. in july, federal appeals court struck down the voter restrictions in north carolina finding that they, and i quote, listen to this. they target african-americans with almost surgical precision. they were enacted with racially discriminatory intent in violation of the equal protection clause. we can fix this harmful in our democracy by updating the voting
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rights act and build bipartisan support and have propose that we do so immediately. however, republicans in congress refuse to bring any of these bills to the floor for votes. it is truly shameful. as a nation we are better than that. i urge my colleagues to move this crucial legislation, the integrity of our democracy is at stake. with that, i think you for your courtesy mr. chairman and i yelled back. >> i think the ranking member. and now i would like to recommend a jet recognize the gentle lady from illinois, my friend ms. kelly, the ranking member of the subcommittee on information technology for her opening remarks. >> thank you. last week after receiving classified briefings and threats for the upcoming election, senator dianne feinstein and adam -- accuse russia of making a serious and concerted effort to influence u.s. elections. recently, director of of national intelligence james
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clapper also cited a long history of russia's efforts to influence elections abroad. the director said that russia's apparent efforts to compromise u.s. elections should not come as a big shock to people, but it tends to influence the outcome of our elections and not just limited to foreign government. according to law-enforcement and the fbi, cyber attacks in august against voter registration databases in my state of illinois and arizona were most likely criminally motivated, possibly targeting voters personally identifiable information. to know that my own state suffered this attack is extremely troubling not only because of the threat of identity theft but because of what hackers do once i have access to that database. for example, perhaps they could change of voters list a party affiliation in a way that affects primary election. or perhaps perhaps they modify voter addresses to invalidate registration.
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we must address these questions and do absolutely everything we can to defend our future attacks. in today's today's hearing we will be addressing crucial questions, how secure is an electoral infrastructure from any cyber attack regardless of the source? according to security experts, massive attack against the of a structure as a whole is not the biggest cyber vulnerability in our election process. rather, it is the individual voting machine that post some of the greatest risk. according to a 2015 report from the brandon center for justice, many voting machines were designed and engineered in the 1990s or early 2000's. these machines were designed before the internet started advanced cyber risks and are all too common in our current threatened by me. for example in 2015, thousand 15, virginia's board of election decertified a voting system used in 24% of precincts after finding that an external party could access the machines wireless feature to quote, record voting data. be on
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cyber attacks these machines are vulnerable to operational failures like crashes and glitches. as one security expert at rice university put it, and i quote, these, these machines, they barely work in a friendly by mitt. as we examine the upcoming election and beyond we must consider what source of investments, that we must make sure voting of a structure. today's hearing will provide us with an opportunity to learn how vulnerable are elections might be to hackers and what our local state and federal governments can do to protect our electoral processes. i must also add that i hope that we have more hearings on the topic of the right to vote in the access to the ballot box. too many states across this country have enacted troubling voter suppression law since the supreme court decision in shelby county versus holder. i've been deeply disappointed at the lack of interest across the aisle in addressing this issue. we must repair the damage done
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to the voting rights act in legislation and that must be top priority to preserve the integrity of our ballot box we must protect citizens access to it. mr. chairman, chairman, think holding is important hearing. >> thank you. i will hold the record (five legislative days for any members would like to submit a written statement. the chair notes the presence of our colleague, congressman buddy carter of georgia, we appreciate your interest in this topic and welcome your participation today. asking animist consent that congressman carter be allowed to fully participate in today's hearing. without objection, so ordered. will now recognize our panel of witnesses. i am pleased to welcome doctor andy -- assistant secretary for munication at the u.s. department of. thomas six, doctor andrew [inaudible] a eugene higgins professor of science and mr. lawrence norden.
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from the new york university school of law. i'm i'm pleased to recognize my colleague mr. carter to recognize our distinguished witness. >> thank you it's definitely an honor today to represent were to welcome the secretary of state from the state of georgia. my friend mr. kemp who preceded me and i served in the house while he served in the senate. and i moved over to try to clean up the mess that we left with. but over the last mr. kemp was elected the 24th secretary of state in georgia in 2010. he has done an outstanding job in cutting wasteful spending and implementing zero-based budgeting. he serves as cochair of the national association of secretaries and state elections committee. he is elections committee. he is a member of the dhs election infrastructure cyber
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security working group. he is a native of atkins georgia, go dogs. he and his lovely wife have three beautiful daughters and we are glad to have him here and have him representing us. >> welcome to all and pursuant to committee rules all witnesses it will sworn in before you testify. so please raise and your right hands. >> do solemnly swear or affirm the testimony about to give it will be the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. >> thank you, please be seated. let the record reflect that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time please allow your testimony for five minutes and your entire written statement will be made part of the record. and now i would like to recognize doctor osman for his opening remarks. >> thank you chairman her,
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rankin member kelly and cummings, members of this committee, thank you for today's opportunity to discuss cyber security and our election infrastructure. at the core of our american values is the fundamental rights of all citizens to make their voice heard by having their vote counted. ensuring the integrity of our electoral process is a vital national interest in a high priority as citizens in the democratic society. increasingly, some parts of the infrastructure leverage information technology for proficiency and convenience. like other systems, reliance on digital technologies can be introduced. however, the dispersed however, the dispersed and diverse nature of our election infrastructure provides inherent resilience and presents real challenges at the intense of election results. our election system is run by state and local governments and thousands of jurisdictions across the country. a portly, state local officials have already been working
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individually and collectively to reduce risks and ensure the integrity of their elections. consistent with our long-standing work with state and local government, we, dhs are partnering with election officials to share information about side birth security risk and to provide voluntary resources upon request. addressing cyber security challenges such as these is not new for department. our national our national cyber security and communications integration center, or in kick provide support to state local customers such as election officials as part of its daily operations. in august, secretary johnson hosted a phone call with election officials from across the country that included representatives from other federal agencies to discuss the cyber security of election of a structure. the secretary offered a suspected from dhs to assist officials in securing their
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system. that in kick provides at the same assistance on an ongoing basis to private and public sector upon request. the the assistance is voluntary and does not entail regulation, binding directives or any kind of take over. the dhs role is limited to support only. the engagements with the state local officials we are offering three types of assistance. best practices information sharing and incident response. in support of of best practices dhs has offered two different types. first, cyber hygiene scans on internet facing systems provide state local officials with recurring of reports that identify any vulnerabilities and provide mitigation recommendations. second, or second cyber security experts can go on-site to conduct risk and vulnerability assessments. the assessments are more thorough dhs provides the customer with a full report of vulnerabilities and recommended litigations following the testing. dhs will continue to share relevant information on cyber
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incidents through multiple avenues. for example, dhs publish best practices for security and voter registration databases and addressing potential threats to election system. more broadly, the inkick works with the multistate information sharing or msi sac. that provides threat and vulnerability to state officials. it was crated by dhs to support state, local and territorial and is partially grant funded by dhs. the msi sac is located with the inkick to allow access to information and services for the chief information officers. during the season the dhs inkick is prepared to provide it
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instant response to help state and local officials identify remediate any cyber incidents. in the case of an attempt to compromise affecting election infrastructure, the inkick will share technical information with other states to assist their ability to defend their own systems from similar malicious activity. moving for, we must recognize that the nature of risk facing our electoral infrastructure will continue to evolve. dhs has therefore established in experts group comprised of academic, independent researchers and federal partners. this federal partners. this group will continually evaluate the emerging risks and know that state local officials have the system needed. before closing i want to reiterate that we have confidence in the overall integrity of our electoral system. our our voting infrastructure is fundamentally resilient. it is diverse, subject to local control, and has many checks and balances built inches as the
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risk environment evolves in the department will continue support state local partners by providing information, assistance with best practices and tools upon request. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i. i look for to any questions. >> thank you. inkick you are now recognized for your remarks. >> good afternoon. my name is mr. hicks and i am chairman of the election assistant commission. it's a four member bipartisan commission, the mission is to guide, sis, direct the effective administration of federal elections through funding innovation guidance and information. the eac was charged with three duties, one develop and administer a voting machine machine testing and certification program. two, develop and administer a clearinghouse for information and 32 have a grant to allow states to purchase new machines. since our existence the eac has
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carried its charge 47 of 50 states use eac voluntary voting machine testing and certification program. either imparts or in whole. we produce the most confidence of election administration survey in the country. we produce lines of material designed to help election administrators run their elections more effectively and efficiently. among other things these materials help the states understand and react to the current cyber security threats against the voting system. state local election officials run the election and we support them. i'm here today to testify on three items. first first and foremost, our elections are secure. the american election administration system inherent protects our elections in its vast size and complexity. voters should have confidence that opposes will be counted accurately when they cast them. second, there may be headlines related to cyber attacks and data breaches, but these headlines are not representative of our voting machines.
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unlike the systems in the headlines come our voting machines are not connected to the internet. there, the eac works every day to help ensure the security of our elections. first, the security that is inherent in our election system because our system is vast and complex. some states and territories run elections the american election administration system is compiled the more than 50 administrative systems. each state has developed its own processes for can conducting federal, state, local elections. the states and territories are made up of thousands election jurisdictions. often they are on top of mislead who report to the state. it's important to identify today's hearing is that there is no singular or uniform national election administration system that manages elections. this this means there is no national system that a hacker, or bad actor can infiltrate to affect the american elections as a whole. the complexity of our american
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election system, both deters attacks and allows election officials to ensure the integrity of the election in the event of an attack. the complexity deters potential attackers from accessing elections because of a number of resources that one would need to do to complete such an attack and it may be prohibitively high. there are thousands of individuals operating, often autonomously, a bad actor bad actor would have to figure out how to successfully access a significant portion of these. additionally most poorly, voting machines are not connected to the internet. so bad actor would have to access the systems in person. the amount of resources required to carry out this attack would be immense. that is not to say that nobody will ever try to access american elections. recent events in arizona and illinois remind us that this is not true. the breaches in arizona and illinois exemplify another
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strength in our system because the state administrators its own elections, the breaches any states did not compromise the system in other states. instead of causing a national crisis, the breaches notified election officials across the country that they should be on high alert. with these new information officials across the country they started administrating system security checks and double checked their procedures. the eac took action as well. upon learning of the attacks was in security system testing guide and other voting machine information to election officials. at eac were focused on election security since our inception as an agency and we are quickly and we acted quickly and we realized the current events demand our help. both are voluntary voting system guidelines and best practices focuses on ensuring the security of our elections. this year we have also created a new initiative to help election
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officials better administer their elections this fall. it is called the be ready 16. through. through be ready 16 we distributed voter training material, current current information and guides to election officials draw the country. we also integrated topics such as election security into our public meetings around tables. we're proud of our be ready 16 but is just one example of many ways we report election officials. in conclusion, i'm here to communicate one message and that is that our elections are secure. there secure because the american election administration system inherently protects them. there are threats to our elections but the voters have confidence that their votes will be counted accurately and recorded accurately when they cast them. i think every time mr. chairman and ranking member. and other members of the committee, and i look for to your questions. >> thank you your questions. >> thank you mr. hicks. secretary camp you are recognized for five minutes. >> good afternoon. i want to thank represented carter for that fine introduction i think the
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committee for invited me to discuss election security, the safeguards on our elections in my perspective, as the top elections official in georgia, the eighth largest state in the union. as a georgia secretary of state i currently serve as the cochair of the national association of secretary of state selection committee. within the last three weeks i have agreed to serve on the department of homeland security's elections infrastructure cyber working group organized by secretary jay johnson. recent events including the hack of the dnc database as well as successful cyber attacks against voter registration databases in arizona and illinois have rightfully caused great alarm among the public as well as the election officials. however, it's imperative imperative that we as a nation respond the correct way to these attacks. administering elections is a great but unique responsibility,
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the foundation of our republic rest on the trust that americans have in the way that we elect representatives in our government. if that trust is eroded, our enemies know that they will create problems of the better walker of american democracy. we can allow this to happen. the d.c. response to these attacks has been to take steps to federalize aspects of elections, election systems, standardizing security measures. there is a better way to face these attacks and future potential threats than what has currently been proposed by dhs with designating election systems critical infrastructure. in discussing election security it's important to understand the difference between the components of an election, the system is comprised of campaigning systems, registration and reporting systems, as well as voting systems. no done
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these systems manage their voter education roles and report unofficial results on election night. although these are more prone to attack then voting systems, attacks on these systems cannot change the votes cast. regularly, have redundancies, failsafe, and backups. voting systems, the actual equipment used on election day, oregon network pieces of hardware that do not connect to the internet. there tested by vendors, states, tested eac here they are by local technicians to ensure
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their accuracy. looking towards november, it is important to a jurist the threats that may come against the nation's elections. are threats that undermine the confidence in the outcome of the election. this has already started among conspiracy theorists, campaigns, and the media. senator feinstein mentioned russia's influence. this narrative will continue through canvassing and beyond. although election officials must the cognizant of these narratives and respond as needed , this threat cannot create actual harm to the system or results. second, threats that disrupt elections. they can be cyber attacks, web-bae systems, but more violence,hysical verbal altercations, or misinformation distributed at polling locations.
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to occurore likely than an individual hacking. this threat is not only more have ae, but also would greater chilling effect on election participation. the third is altering the outcome. this requires an attack on the voting system. isever, the voting system layered with combinations of physical and technical security to address concerns. the voting system is the most secure in the election space. it is not networked, not on the internet, and is tested many times in different ways. as well as having overlapping physical features to defeat cyber and physical attacks. this threat would require too much coordination, planning, and ability to physically manipulate thousands of machines at thousands of locations.
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possible, it is not probable, and there is no evidence it has ever occurred. as i said, secretary johnson responded to the threat of cyber attack when he began considering designating the election system critical infrastructure. this, as you could be made aware, or you can suggest, caught many election officials by surprise. rightfully so. agencygestion from the completely regarding unfamiliar with the election space raised the level of public concern beyond what was necessary. the decision has been resized by election officials and cyber security experts alike and addresses one of my main concerns, which is why i'm to be here to answer your questions. >> thank you. votes have been called. we will get through your opening
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statement, then we will adjourn for a vote, then come back and finish with the questions. you are recognized for five minutes. i am a professor of computer science at princeton university. i do not represent my employer. i'm here to give my professional -- mylions other professional opinions as a scientist. i am software verification, election machinery. i strongly recommend at a minimum congress seek the elimination of electric recording machines, touchscreen machines come immediately after this election. congress should require all elections be subject to sensible auditing tool ensure -- to
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are workingnes properly. there are cyber security issues in all parts of the system. photo registration databases, during the election, voting sheens. after the election, vote tabulation. opening statement, i will focus on voting machines. the other topics are addressed in a report i co-authored. votingntitled 10 things election officials can do to inspire confidence. there are two kinds of voting machines. those that count paper ballots and touchscreen, direct recording electronic. each is a computer running a computer program. whether that counts the votes accurately, makes mistakes, or cheats by shifting votes depends on the software installed. use computers and have had occasion to install new software.
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sometimes it is an app on purpose, sometimes it is an upgr ade. installing software in a voting machine is not that much different than any kind of computer. , in the courtroom of the superior court room of new jersey i demonstrated how to hack a voting machine. i wrote a program to shift votes from one candidate to the other. installing that takes seven minutes per machine with a screwdriver. i did it in a secure facility and am confident my program is not leaked out. any computer programmer could write the same code. when installed a could steal elections for years to come. are delivered to polling places several days before the election. e locations, anyone can
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gain access for 10 minutes. between elections, they are opened for maintenance by county employees or private contractors. let's assume they have the of most integrity. in the u.s. we try to run our election so we can trust the results without relying on one individual. other scientists have demonstrated similar hacks. it is not one glitch in one many facture -- in one manufacturer, it is the nature of machines. optical scan paper ballots. the voter fills in the public next to the candidate, takes it to the scanner, and feeds it in. it has a computer in it. we cannot 100% prevent that from being hacked, but the paper ballot drops into a sealed talks under the machine. those can be recounted by hand in a way we can trust.
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unfortunately, there are 10 states that primarily use paperless touchscreen voting computers with no paper ballot. after the voter touches the screen, we rely on the computer. whatever program installed that day to print the true totals. what must we do? in the near term, we must not connect voting machines to the internet. same goes for those that prepare the electronic allard definition files. the is we must not connect voting machines, even indirectly, to the internet. many election administrators already follow this practice. i hope all counties and states follow this and other security test practices, but it is hard to tell if they do so consistently. these and other best practices can prevent the hacking of voting machines through the internet, but cannot protect us from mistakes, bugs, ms.
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calibration, or local criminals. what we must do after november is adopt, nation-wide, paper ballots marked either voter come accountable by computer, re-countable by hand. in 2000 we saw what a disastrously unreliable technology punch ballots were. in 2002 congress outlawed punch ballots. congress ensure the elimination of touchscreen voting machines after this election. thank you. .> thank you the committee stands in recess until immediately following votes.
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>> the subcommittee on information technology will come to order. i think you for the indulgence. we have one more opening remark, then we will get to the question and answer. you are recognized for your opening statement. you are recognized for five minutes for your opening statement. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member kelly and members of the subcommittee for inviting me to testify today. for those who don't know, the brennan center is a think tank and public advocacy group, nonprofit thagroups,nonprofit ts of democracy and justice. i'vi'd rather work on the technology security for over a decade. there are two points i want to convey today. first is the real threat to the election integrity to be treated
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with the utmost seriousness among other things that means we need to distinguish between genuine threats and rhetoric. second, the biggest danger i believe to the integrity of our election is the attempt to undermine public confidence specifically as we've heard from others attacks that are highly unlikely to have widespread impact on the vote totals this november. however the attacks or malfunctions that could undermine public confidence are much easier. when we have public discussions of election systems that we
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distinguish between the kind of there are the campaign e-mail servers are different in the voter registration databases which are different than voting machines. on the topic of the databases, the secretary did a very good job talking about the kind of steps that are being taken to make them secure. the good news is when it comes to the integrity they are relatively straightforward steps to ensure that any attack against voter registration databases should not prevent people from voting. most importantly, regular backups of the system should allow us to reconstruct.
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as far as i know every state does this. on the issue a lot of ground has already been covered about why they are different than the registration databases that voting machines should never be connected to the internet and we have a decentralized system for 10,000 jurisdictions using different machines and having different rules and i agree with all that. but one thing that i would add that wasn't noted, the vast majority this november will vote on a paper ballot or vote on a machine that has a paper trail they can review that 80% of americans will do so. that should provide voters with confidence that there is a check to ensure that their votes have been accurately recorded. these factors and others have
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mentioned they make it highly unlikely that there could be a successful widespread attack to change the vote totals. having said this, i want to talk about the problem of aging equipment in the united states. i do believe that if this is not addressed, it can do damage to voter confidence and therefore the integrity of the elections. if this is particularly true now when there are discussions of the elections in the public discourse. in 2015 we oversaw a study that looked at this and found that 42 states are using voting machines that are over a decade old this november and that is close to the lifespans particularly those designed in the 1990s. i want to be clear that it is a
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blunt tool to measure it doesn't mean that it will suddenly start working. before i can get a hearing today i saw in 1965 ford mustang running and it looks like it was running perfectly and obviously the kind of maintenance and investment that is put into machinery can allow it to work much longer. they saw a state they invest in their equipment and they are using machines most other jurisdictions have had to replace because they put that investment into them. but the interviews that he conducted with officials in all 50 states make it clear that there are real challenges growing with aging equipment. failures of systems during the voting outdated hardware and
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software means they struggle to find replacement parts. we talked to a number of officials to find critical parts like decades old storage devic devices, analog modems and one was essentially to hold it together and of course, these older systems but i'm talking about did not go through the more rigorous federal certification system that we have now for security, and as doctor klippel noted, they are disproportionately paperless. we are facing this equipment has a major issue. in 32 states, we spoke to election officials who wanted to replace their equipment before 2020. in 21 states officials told us they didn't know where they would get their money.
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we interviewed about 250 local officials, and about the majority said they either needed to war should replace their equipment for 2020. and 80% of those said that they didn't know where they would get the money for that. i will close on that point. thank you. >> i'm going to recognize myself now. my first question is for all five of you. in the written testimony, i appreciate the oral testimony as well as such an important time. i'm looking at this important issue and i think you give the american people some comfort. i think this is a yes and no question to all of you.
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can a cyber attack changed the outcome of the national elections? >> i'm confident that will not be the case. >> when you did your research in the equipment, that was done in a controlled environment, is that correct? were you able to access multiple machines? were they connected o or take yu to access them each individually?
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so none of the machines connect to each other? that means they are not facing the internet as well. >> the kind that we use in new jersey and at the same that are used in louisiana i don't know if any practical way to hack them through any network. >> so there is no practical way to hack these voting machines unless you have physical access and then you have to have physical access to each because none are connected. >> secretary can i just want to clarify their role as the vice chair of the association of secretaries of state there are no voting systems, correct?
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>> the commissioner can back me up on this but i know the systems are not. i wouldn't want to speak for every state in the country but i would feel very confident in saying the majority probably all are not connected. no voting machines are connected to the internet. >> let's take one municipality they probably have how many machines? is there an average five to ten, five to 25? in one voting location. >> i think it depends on the jurisdiction certainly in the precinct in fulton county you could have over 100 machines and in a smaller county you may have 5-10.
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>> so in that scenario they would have to have access to manipulate the record. it is a virus. very much like that inserted into the nuclear centrifuges in iran. >> in the auditing of the machines we look at that, correct? in those machines that have that vulnerability, don't be scammed for that? >> it's difficult if you ask a machine to report it will lie. those used in the counties in
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other states are vulnerable to this type of virus that can be carried to the machines even if the criminal attacker doesn't touch the machines or isn't even in the same state of the machines. i don't have any such way on the cartridges. >> do you have an opinion on that when you provide the best practices to folks that request your assistance in this vulnerability >> it is a good opportunity for me to elaborate on my answer. we have to always be vigilant. we have no indication that they are planning cyber operations against the infrastructure that would change the outcome in november and we have overall confidence in the system. individual parts of the system are more or less vulnerable you
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can never eliminate the vulnerabilities. there's a wide variety of procedures across the restrictions and many checks and balances and fiscal controls are not connected to the internet. i cannot speak to the individual security device. overall we view the system as robust. we can never relax obviously and that is one reason that we are offering voluntary assistance in the state and local governments. >> i would like to recognize the gentleman from california. >> thank you mr. chair. earlier this year donald trump asked russia to hack an american citizen. we know later that they hacked the democratic national committee as well as the democratic national campaign
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committee and other entities in the influencing. my question for you is what steps has dhs taken to try to prevent russia or other entities from influencing this november? november? >> without this as to the source of the dnc i would like to speak to what he offered the state and local officials. we offer best practices. we are offering to scan the internet connected systems to the voter registration systems primarily count count the tabuln for the results reporting and we offer to scan these regularly for any vulnerabilities and we will provide a weekly report on any vulnerabilities and recommendations week-old cyber
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hygiene scanning. we also offer to more in-depth vulnerability assessments that would require us to send people on site to do a more detailed assessment of the systems. we have local field deployed personnel and protective security advisers that are available to provide assistance to state and local governments and finally we offered the tools, training and resources available to the state and local officials and then more broadly we have the multistate entity that we have funded for well over a decade to help support the state and local government and there's a good security practice. >> commissioner, thank you for your testimony. because we have 50 states and jurisdictions it is complex and
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robust. my view is they don't have a hack for these states. they just need one swing state, one or two or maybe a few counties and one swing state. so why do challenge that somehow we are robust and my question is is very focused to make sure we do everything we can to make sure it is protected. >> the rest of the community is focused on all the states not just the swing states because we feel all the votes are valuable in that sort of realm. the basic premise of this is that if someone goes into a polling place and attempts to influence the

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