tv DNI Director Declines to Say if President Asked Him to Push Back Against... CSPAN May 27, 2017 4:11pm-6:17pm EDT
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the director of national intelligence dan coats was before the senate armed services committee this week to take questions on global security threats. at one point he was asked about a recent report that donald trump asked him to deny evidence of collusion between russia and the campaign. there was also testimony from vincent stewart. this is just over two hours. sen. mccain: good morning. senate armed services committee meets this morning to receive testimony on worldwide threats. we are pleased to welcome our distinguished witnesses. dan coats, who is the director of national intelligence and ewart director of the
, defense intelligence agency. out of respect for the scheduling commitments and members, we will conclude the hearing at 11:30 in the interest of time and ensure senators ask questions i will be brief. i know that comes as a disappointment, especially to the senator from south carolina. i would ask witnesses to please submit their written statements for the record if they can. that is not required but anyway. , last night's horrific attack in manchester was a gruesome reminder the world is on fire and everywhere we turn we can see threats to the world order. it underpins global security and prosperity. and when it comes to the great national security challenges we face, u.s. policy and strategy are consistently lacking, whether it is china or russia or iran, islamic radical terrorism,
i have heard few compelling answers about how the united states intends to use diplomacy's,ades, but most of all the military to defend our national interest and rules-based order that supports them especially with , sequestration still the law of the land. this is still a young administration. strategy takes time to develop, but we should be mindful that our adversaries are not winning for us to get our act together. time is of the essence. senator reed. sen. reed: in keeping with your spirit, i will abbreviate my statement. but ask the full statement be part of the record. sen. mccain: without objection. sen. reed: i want to thank our witnesses for appearing here today to provide their analysis of national security threats and other challenges facing around the world. i would like to welcome back our former colleague director coats.
and general, thank you for your continued strong leadership in the defense agency. the national military strategy is organized around the so-called four plus one. primary threats facing your -- our nation today, namely russia, china, north korea and iran, and the enduring challenge of violent extremism. an example of what was witnessed in manchester, england last night. our hearts go out to the people of england and the world. we are pursuing these issues and i know you gentlemen are at the forefront in terms of the intelligence efforts. i appreciate what you do. the four plus one threats i touched upon inform the capabilities we develop, the size of the force we build, and the scenario we plan against. however, to paraphrase former secretary gates, we have a near perfect record in predicting the nature of the next threat. we have always gotten it wrong.
we rely heavily on the intelligence community to highlight the emerging threats and the ones we have identified already. i hope our witnesses will provide the committee with thoughts on the other challenges we should play close attention to moving forward. sen. mccain: i ask committee to answer six nominations in the list of 818 pending military nominations. first, consider the nomination of david norquest to be director of cross assessment program evaluateion of department of defense. kerry binging to be principle deputy. robert -- to be assistant secretary for international security affairs. mr. kenneth -- to be assistant secretary of defense for homeland security and global security. motion of favor, six nominations. >> so moved.
sen. mccain: all in favor say aye. >> aye. [in unison] sen. mccain: welcome to general coats. we begin with you. i think you, given your advanced age. [laughter] thank you, mr. chairman. we have an ongoing race between who is the most aged and experience. and you win every time. which is quite in a competent. [laughter] -- a congressman. general coats: i am pleased to be before you, chairman mccain, ranking member reed and members of the committee. i must admit when i walked through the door, i made a right turn trying to find my seat up on the panel. and i thought come i have to
come down here. sen. mccain: you are welcome at any time to come take a trip down memory lane. general coats: thank you. let me reiterate what you said about what happened in manchester last evening. i just returned from london a couple days ago and met with all my intelligence community colleagues there. we spent a significant amount of time discussing threats to our respective homelands, it is a tragic situation we see all too much of happening in countries around the world, in particular our allies. it reminds us this threat is real. it is not going away and needs significant attention to do everything we can to protect our people from these kinds of attacks. i am here today to discuss the assessment of the multitude of threats facing our country.
vince will give some brief opening comments as well and i have tried to condense my opening remarks knowing this is an unclassified so they will have plenty of time for your questions. we are here to describe in an unclassified way the complextyity of the threat environment, which is ever-expanding and has challenged us to stay ahead. it has not been an easy task. we appreciate the support from this committee to address the threats in a way that will give the president, congress and other policymakers the most integrated intelligence we can assemble. in the interest of time, i will discuss just some of the many challenges we currently face. the written statement summit earlier discusses these and many other threats in much greater detail. let me start with north korea. north korea is an increasingly grave national security threat to the united states because of
, the growing missile and nuclear capabilities combind pp -- combined with the aggressive approach of its leader kim , jong-un who is trying to prove he has the capability to strike the u.s. mainland with a nuclear weapon. we assess all flight tests this year, including two this month , have demonstrated capabilities just short of an icbm at this time. north korea updated its constitution in 2012 to declare itself a nuclear power and officials consistently state nuclear weapons as the bases for -- the basis for regime survival suggesting kim does not intend , to negotiate them away. assess the regime will maintain momentum on the battlefield, provided it maintains support from iran and russia. the continuation of the syrian conflict will worsen already dangerous conditions for syrians in regional states.
furthermore as you know on april , 4th, the syrian regime used the nerve agent serin gas in what was probably the largest chemical attack by the regime since august 2013. since that attack, we have observed more than five allegations of syrian regime chlorine use. we assess syria is proudly both willing and able to use chemical weapons in future attacks. we are still acquiring and continuing to analyze all intelligence related to the question of whether russian officials had before hand knowledge of the attack in syria on april 4th. cyber threats continue to represent a critical, national security issue for the united states for at least two key reasons reasons. our advisories are becoming more first, bold, capable and adapt
at using cyber to threaten our interest and shake the outcome. the number of adversaries grow as nation states and terror groups and criminal organizations continue to develop cyber capabilities. second, the potential impact of the cyber threats is amplified by the ongoing integration of technology into our critical infrastructure and into our daily lives. we see this today in the form of cry ransomeware attack. as this activity continues, the u.s. government investigation is ongoing. the worldwide threat of terrorism is geographically diverse and multifaceted and it cruises -- and it poses a continuing challenge for the united states, for our allies and partners who seek to counter it. isis is experiencing territorial losses in iraq and syria, however we assess isis will continue to be an active
terrorist threat to the united states due to its proven ability to direct and inspire attacks against a wide range of targets around the world. i might mention isis has claimed responsibility for the attack in manchester, although they claim responsibility for virtually every attack. we have not verified yet the connection. outside iraq and syria, isis is looking for interconnectedness among global branches and networks. aligning their efforts to a strategy to withstand efforts. we assess isis maintains the intent and capability to direct, enable, assist and inspire transnational attacks. al qaeda and affiliates continue to pose a threat overseas as they remain primarily focused on local and regional conflicts. homegrown violent extremists andin the most frequent
unpredictable threats to the united states homeland. this threat will persist with many attacks happening with little or no warning. i would like to take a quick run through key areas of the middle east. baghdad's primary focus is recapturing and stabilizing mosul and other territory controlled by isis. we assess iraq will still face serious challenges to stability, political liability, and territorial integrity, even as the threat from isis is reduced. will costtion billions of dollars and political reconcilation will be an enduring challenge. in iran, public statements suggest they want to preserve the joint comprehensive plan of action because they view the deal as a means to remove sanctions while preserving some nuclear capabilities.
we assess the jcpoa agreement has extended the amount of time iran needs to produce a nuclear from a few months to about a year. in the meantime, toronto -- tehran's activities continue. iran provides arms, financing, training and manages as many as 10,000 iraq afghan and pakistan , fighters in syria to support -- to support the the assad regime. -- the iranian populace also probably supports the nuclear deal. shortly before the election, the rcg, called for
iran to start interaction with the world and not be under "the evil shadow of war." certainlyputting will -- fighting will persist between the alliance forces, trained by iran and the human government my back by a saudi led coalition. neither side have been able to achieve decisive results through military force. al qaeda in the caribbean peninsula and isis branches in yemen have exploited the conflict in yemen and the collapse of government authority to gain new recruits and allies and expand instruments. the ic assesses that the political situation in afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in military assistance by the united states and its partners. this deterioration is
underpinned by afghanistan's dire economic situation. afghanistan will struggle to curb its dependence on external support and until it contains the insurgency. order reaches a peace agreement with the taliban. meanwhile, we assessed that the taliban is likely to continue to make gains, especially in rural areas. afghan security forces performance will worsen due to a combination of caliban -- of caliban operations, combat casualties, desertions, poor logistic support and weak leadership. pakistan is concerned about international isolation and the -- and sees its position through the india's rising national status including indies foreign outreach and deepening ties to the united states. pakistan will likely turn to china to offset its isolation. empowering new relationships that will help beijing to
protect influence in the indian ocean. in addition, islamabad has failed to curb militants and terrorists in pakistan. these groups will present a sustained threat to u.s. interests in the region, and continue to plan and conduct attacks in india and afghanistan. russia is likely to become a more assertive nation in global affairs more unpredictable in , its approach to the united states and more authoritarian in its approach to domestic politics. we assessed russia will continue to look to leverage its military support to the assad regime to drive a political settlement process in syria under russian terms. moscow is also likely to use russian military intervention in syria in conjunction with efforts to capitalize on fears of a growing isis and extremist threat and expand its role in the middle east. we also have noticed and discussed in significant detail
and may do so during the session , russia's influence campaign and strategies to undermine democratic institutions and interfere with elections. as i said, i returned from europe. clearly in france's election, now in germany with its pending election, and england with its pending election, we are seeing the duplications of what has happened here in our election , so the russian strategy continues. let me talk a little bit about ukraine and russia. we assessed that moscow 's strategic objectives in ukraine, maintaining long-term influence over kiev and frustrating ukraine's trying to integrate into western russia continues to exert military and diplomatic pressure to coerce ukraine into implementing moscow's interpretation of the political provisions of the minsk agreement, among them
constitutional agreements that would effectively give moscow a veto over kiev's strategic decisions. i will finish up here with china. china will continue to pursue an active foreign policy, especially within the asia-pacific region, highlighted by a firm stance on competing territorial claims in the east china sea and the south china sea. relations with taiwan in this pursuit of economic engagement across east asia. china, which reviews a strong military as a critical element in advancing its interest, will also pursue efforts aimed at fulfilling its ambitious one belt, one road initiative to expand china's strategic influence and economic role across asia through infrastructure projects. in the interest of time and to get to your questions, i will defer assessments on western hemisphere issues, which i trust we will discuss during the
question period. however i would like to make one final on a key authority going point forward. as you are all well aware, section 702 of the fisa amendments act is due to expire at the end of the year. i cannot stress enough the importance of this authority in how the ic does its work to keep americans safe. section 702 is an extremely effective tool to protect our nation against terrorists and other threats. as i described in my confirmation hearing, 702 is instrumental to so much of the ic's critical work in protecting the american people from threats from abroad. we are committed to working with all of you to ensure that you understand not only how we use this authority but also how we protect privacy and civil liberties in the process. in conclusion, intelligence -- the intelligence community
will continue its tireless work against these and all other threats, but we will never be omniscient. although we have extensive insight into many threats and places around the world, we have gaps in others. therefore, we very much appreciate the support provided by your committee and will continue to work with you to ensure that the intelligence community has the capabilities it needs to meet its many mission needs. i will now turn to general stewart for a few brief remarks. dir. stewart: chairman mccain, ranking member read, members of the committee thank you for this , opportunity to appear with dni to provide an assessment of threats to our national security. i concur with the director's statement in its entirety. however i would like to reinforce to this committee and by extension the american people that your defense intelligence agency's view on five military threats facing the nation. we in dia call these our no fail missions because risk is too
high for us to fail in pursuing these missions. they include the nuclear capable and increasingly provocative north korea, a resurgent russia, a modernizing china, and -- an ambitious regional power in iran, and violent extremist organizations. the last category encompasses ongoing operations in afghanistan, iraq, syria, and elsewhere. the world is focused on events in pyongyang and for good reasons. since assuming power, kim jong-un and has conducted three nuclear tests, and the regime has tested an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles of varying ranges over the past year. although shortfalls remain, key milestones have been met in specific systems, and they continue to obtain valuable data and insights from each test. let me be very clear on this point. if left on its current trajectory, the regime will ultimately succeed in fielding a nuclear armed missile capable of threatening the united states
homeland. while nearly impossible to predict when this capability will be operational, the north korean regime is committed and is on a pathway where this capability is inevitable. russia views military power as critical to achieving its key strategic objectives and devotes significant resources to the military modernization program. the russian government seeks to be the center of influence in what it describes as a multi-polar post-west world order. to support this worldview, moscow pursues aggressive foreign and defense policies by employing a full spectrum of influence and coercion aimed at challenging u.s. interests around the globe. operations remain a priority as demonstrated by its ongoing deployment to syria and long-range aviation approaching u.s. airspace. china is in the third decade of an unprecedented military modernization program involving weapons systems, doctrine,
tactics, training, space, and cyber operations. it now stands firmly as a near pure u.s. competitor. new bases are being built in the south china sea, and evidence suggests that outposts in the south china sea will be used for military purposes. a key component of china's strategy for regional contingency is planning for potential u.s. intervention in a conflict in the region. it's navy remains on a course -- its navy remains on a course for 350 ships by the year 2020 and anti-axis aerial denial capabilities continue to improve. turning to iran, despite sanctions, tehran is putting considerable resources into conventional military priorities such as ballistic and cruise missiles, naval systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, air defense systems that can threaten the u.s. and our interests in the region. iran's conventional military doctrine is designed to protect iran from the consequences of
its assertive regional policy, spearheaded by the iranian revolutionary guards quds force, and his regional proxy, as well as hezbollah and several iraqi shias and the houthis. we should expect iran to continue to undermine the architecture using terrorist organizations and proxies to complicate u.s. efforts throughout the region. finally, we are making steady progress against transregional tourism but -- terrorism but still have a long way to go. isis has been greatly diminished in libya, will soon lose control of mosul, and is nearly isolated in the capital of iraq and we have killed many isis and al qaeda leaders. the trendlines are moving in the right direction, but this fight will not end soon. the enemy remains highly adaptable and capable, and territory gives them -- capable, and instability and
under-governed territory may give them opportunities to research. i am concerned about the long-term impact the returning foreign fighters and the potential for these groups to capitalize on the proliferation of armed unmanned aerial vehicles to do harm to u.s. and our allied interests. mr. chairman, the man and women of your dia are providing unique defense develop its around the world at war fighters, policymakers, planners, and the defense acquisition community. we do so on the field and at headquarters, here on the banks of the potomac, and in the capitals of the world through our defense attache service. it has been a privilege to work with them the last 2.5 years and see their services and contributions to our country. i look forward to the committee's questions. sen. mccain: thank you very much. director coats, according to the "washington post" story this morning, president trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in march to help them push back against an fbi investigation and the possible coordination between his campaign and the russian
government. according to current and former officials, trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, daniel coats, and to admiral rogers, the director of the nsa, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 elections. coats and rogers refused to comply with the request, which they both deemed to be inappropriate. is that an accurate reporting, director coats? dir. coats: mr. chairman, as the president's principal intelligence advisor, i am fortunate to be able and need to spend a significant amount of time with the president discussing national security interests and intelligence as it relates to those interests. we discussed a number of topics
on a very regular basis. i have always believed that, given the nature of my position and the information at which we share, it is not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of that. so on this topic, as well as other topics, i don't feel it is appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president. sen. mccain: and isn't it true that some of these leaks could be damaging to national security, director coats? dir. coats: leaks have become a very significant -- played a very significant negative role relative to our national security. the release of information not only undermines confidence in our allies but our ability to
maintain secure information that we share with them. it jeopardizes sources and methods that are invaluable to our ability to find out what is going on and what those threats are. sen. mccain: in light of -- dir. coats: lives are at stake, and leaks jeopardized those lives. sen. mccain: thank you. in light of the tragedy in manchester last night, doesn't it lend significant urgency to retaking raqqa where all of this originates? dir. coats: well, that will not solve the problem, particularly homegrown and inspired attacks clearly going to the heart of isis and driving a stake through that heart, we assess, will significantly improve the situation. the plotting and the planning that comes from a centralized caliphate or safe haven for isis, we have seen the damage
that has occurred. we do assess, however, that its ideology and methods have spread like tentacles into many places, most of them ungoverned countries, and then send some foreign fighters back home that might want to carry on their mission. but, clearly, the strategy, i believe, is the right strategy, and that is to go to the heart and disperse their planning and their leadership. sen. mccain: the defense science board told this committee at least in the next decade, the offense of cyber capabilities of our most capable adversaries will likely far exceeded the united states' ability to defend key critical infrastructure. do you agree with that assessment? dir. coats: i do. i do. i think cyber has risen to the top or close to the top of one of the most serious challenges that we face. as i mentioned in my opening
statement, we need to see this as a very significant challenge to our public safety, as well as the public health. sen. mccain: two years in a row, we have authorized the provision of defensive lethal weapons, the defense authorization bill to ukraine. do you believe we should seriously consider that in the light of continued russian aggression in that country? dir. coats: well, mr. chairman, that is a little bit outside of my portfolio. it is a policy decision that perhaps general stewart may want to discuss, but we want to try to continue to provide the intelligence that would shape and fashion that decision among our policymakers, general mattis, and others. sen. mccain: finally, on the issue of cyber, right now we have no policy, nor did we for the previous eight years of the last administration.
and so therefore, without a policy, we do not have a strategy, so therefore when we don't have a strategy, we do not know how to act. is there is that a true , depiction of the scenario as we see it as far as cyber is concerned? dir. coats: well, i think we are learning that we do need to take this seriously, which we do. we do need to fashion a means by which we address these cyber attacks that are growing by the day. our critical infrastructure is at risk. our personal lives are at risk. our financial community, commercial communities, military, and other entities that are important to our national security are at risk. and shaping a policy and a plan to address this, i think, rises to a top priority. sen. mccain: i want to thank you and general stewart for your outstanding work for our
country. senator reid. such a read: thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you both gentlemen. , director coats, apparently the alleged call was prompted by mr. comey saying the fbi was conducting an investigation in the nature of any links associated with individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was coordination between the two. in your capacity as director of all the intelligence services including many aspects of the fbi, are you aware of such an investigation? dir. coats: i am aware of the investigations that are underway both by the house and senate and now special counsel. sen. reed: and the fbi? dir. coats: and the fbi yes. , sen. reed: do you have any reason to question the appropriateness of the investigations? dir. coats: no, i think these investigations are in place to
get us to the right conclusion so that we can, so that we can move on with a known result. sen. reed: there are other allegations in the article which suggests that the president and the white house personnel contacted other people in the intelligence community with requests to drop the investigation into general flynn. are you aware of any other contacts, not just yourself personally, but to others in the intelligence community to conduct -- dir. coats: i am not aware of that. sen. reed: ok. ,ou have, and general stewart have painted a challenging picture of the threats that face us. let me raise to specific issues. -- two specific issues. with respect to iraq, there have been discussions in the kurdish community of a referendum to declare essentially their independence or their desire for
independence. in your estimation, what would that do to the ability of the iraqi government to come together after the defeat of isis? dir. coats: well, it certainly adds an issue that is going to need to be worked through, as complicated as the situation is. it would add one more complication. i would turn to general stewart relative to the military aspects of that. dir. stewart: once isis is defeated in mosul, the challenge to the iraqi government is to reconcile the differences between the shia dominated government, the sunnis out west, and the kurds to the north. by resolving the oil fields and the revenues of the oil fields dissolving the ownership of the , city of kirkuk will be
significant political challenges for the iraqi government. to adjust those, coming up with a political solution will result in conflict among all of the parties to resolve this and go back to what could devolve into civil strife in iraq. those are significant challenges. kurdish independence is on a trajectory where it is probably not if but when, and it will complicate the situation unless there is an agreement in baghdad, an agreement that all the parties can live with. so this is a significant referendum that comes up in this october year. sen. reed: director coats, going back just for a moment, i understand that you feel you cannot comment on any communications between you and the president, but just hypothetically, if a president reached out to the director of national security and made such a request, would you think that
would be appropriate? dir. coats: mr. vice chairman, i made it clear in my confirmation hearing for the senate select committee of intelligence, my role and the role of the director of national intelligence is to provide information, intelligence information, relative to policymakers so that they can base their judgments on that. any political shaping of that presentation or intelligence would not be appropriate. i have made my position clear on that to this administration, and i intend to maintain that position. sen. reed: thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director coats, you made a couple brief comments about what
happened in manchester last night, then you responded to a couple questions. is there anything you would like to elaborate on that incident last night, particularly when we have witness after witness coming in here, talking about the threat with you talked about to this country, it is only a matter of time -- anything else you would like to add in terms of last night's attack. dir. coats: in my discussions with counterparts in london, mi6, the various intelligence agencies and counterpart to my position, their greatest concern was the inspired or homegrown violent extremist attacks, which are very hard to assess and detect. initial reports that we have received our that it was a suicide attack. whether there were others implicated in that is under assessment.
my counterpart actually will be boarding a plane to come to the united states to testify before -- not sure which committee it is. i will have some information on that. i have called him to try to see what the latest information is. sen. inhofe: you have had conversations as recent as this morning? dir. coats: i have -- my colleagues in the ic have been talking. my direct discussion with my counterpart, he was actually briefing the prime minister at the time. we have a call teed up as soon as soon as this hearing is finished. sen. inhofe: on north korea, we all know the significance of may 14, the capability that is there, the anticipation they will have the capability to do something with the payload that
they can survive the exit and reentry strategy. this is already that is a great , concern, but it already was a concern to us. now i understand, and i have heard from different witnesses , that in intelligence-gathering in north korea is more difficult than it is in other parts of the world. talking about whistleblowers and other things. can you talk about the difficulty that is unique to north korea in gathering information? dir. coats: it is if not the hardest, it is one of the hardest collection nations that we have to collect against. if you look at that satellite picture of the lights at night, from the satellite there is one , dark area with no lights on, and that is north korea. their broadband is extremely limited, so using that as an access to collection is -- we get very limited results.
who do not have constant, -- we do not have constant consistent , isr capabilities, so there are gaps, so it is, the north koreans know about these. it becomes a difficult challenge relative to society, one is -- as closed and isolated as north korea is to get the right intelligence that we need. senator inhofe: i know it is a haveem, and that has to make the accuracy of a problem , in relation to other countries involving intelligence. dir. coats: clearly. in the last hearing that we had, we talked about the fact that we know in north korea the big problem is that it is written unpredictable -- that is unpredictable, that it is managed by someone who may be mentally deranged. they talk about the danger that is there.
but they did also say in the last hearing last week, they talked about maybe one of the opportunities we have is a new awakening in china, that china may no longer be as close to them as it had been in the past. do you see an opportunity? i noticed when you went over it, you did an excellent job in seven different areas, the last one was china. but you do not say anything about a change that will enable us to make a little bit more progress in north korea. dir. coats: as you know, the president had a very positive meeting with president -- prime minister xi. we have been working with -- our secretary of state and others have been working very closely with the chinese. we see them playing an integral role in the situation in north korea, and in fact it is probably the only -- there is a strategy in place relative to a sort of ratcheting up of efforts
with china to influence north korea to cease and desist their nuclear weapons goals. so that along with the election in south korea, with its new president, that is part of our strategy to leverage things -- efforts against north korea to get them to reassess the current strategy. sen. inhofe: thank you, thank you, director coats. >> thanks, mr. chairman, and thank you both for being here this morning. director coats, you talked about russia's influence campaign and its effort to undermine western elections, as we saw here in 2016, and we are seeing in france, we saw in germany. so far, we have failed to hold russia accountable for that
interference, which, would you agree, sends a message to other countries that would threaten our cyber security here at home that we have failed to hold russia accountable? dir. coats: i think we are looking at every opportunity to hold russia accountable, and determine, and i think it is still a process, determining what kind of actions that we should take, but there clearly is a consensus that russia has meddled in our election process, as it is in germany. as it is -- i was in france just after the election of macron, the clearly -- and that clearly had russian influence, attempting to address that election. i was in berlin. germany is facing the same thing. the u.k. is experiencing the same thing with an election
coming up. we see this happening all across europe. russia has always been doing these kinds of things with influence campaigns but they are , doing it much more sophisticated through the use of cyber and other techniques. sen. shaheen: and they haven't, they haven't actually tried to influence the outcome of our elections in the past in the same way that we did -- they did in 2016, as we heard from our intelligence community. do you think it would be helpful for congress to pass increased sanctions on russia that would be a response to what they did in our elections? there is a bipartisan bill in congress that has been introduced that would have a significant impact on russia. dir. coats: well i would leave , that to my former colleagues. i have had to remove my policy hat, which has not been easy, after a career in politics, and put on my intelligence hat. my goal -- job now is to provide you with the intelligence to make those decisions.
that would i keep having to , correct myself and say whoops, i am not supposed to go there, and that is up to our executive and congressional branch to make the policy they feel is necessary to address the problem. sen. shaheen: well i certainly hope that a proposal will come out that will hold russia accountable as some white in the near term. -- some point in the near term. pointing to the events of last night in manchester, the horrible tragedy and the threat posed by transnational terrorism, both of you have talked about that. i think that points to the need for robust intelligence-sharing. so what kind of message does it send to our allies that we have revelations that classified information was disclosed in a meeting with secretary lavrov? and just let me point out this
issue that has been raised by me recently by a high-ranking official of one of our closest allies about whether their country could count on information that was shared with us with being kept secret. dir. coats: well one of the , purposes of my trip was to assure that we maintain that kind of relationship you are talking about. it is essential, given the threats that we face today, that we are all in on dealing with this issue. there is no safe haven anymore among our allies in terms of being a victim -- a target for an attack. and the better that we can share information, the better that we can maintain our relationships and trust those relationships, the better able we are to prevent these kinds of attacks. i would say two things. the -- we have had some
significant successes in providing information back and forth relative to preventing attacks. but secondly, to a country, the consensus is the most difficult attack to prevent is that which is inspired by an individual -- sen. shaheen: sure -- dir. coats: someone doing it through hatred and wants to do damage. sen. shaheen: i do not want to interrupt, director coats, but i think all of us on this committee understand that. i'm about out of time. i do want to ask you, have you reassured our own men and women in the intelligence community that their work to protect his -- this country and their relationships to be safeguarded? dir. coats: absolutely. my initial response -- my initial message to all of the intelligence community is do your job.
provide us the best intelligence of any entity in the world, keep your focus on what we are here to do. and i am confident that that is what is happening. i know general stewart wanted to make a comment. dir. stewart: we remain focused on our missions. nothing has changed. our relationships with our partners have grown over the past year. we have seen no indication of partners walking away from us. none. sen. shaheen: thank you. sen. mccain: they are very worried, general. senator fischer? sen. fischer: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank both of you gentlemen for being here today and for your service to this country. generals testified to the taliban, and recent reports suggest it is increasing to include weapons, logistical and financial support, and even medical treatment to taliban fighters.
what do you assess russia's goal to be in afghanistan? general, if you could also discuss the impact that this assistance has had on the battlefield. dir. stewart: so russia continues to view itself, as i mentioned earlier, as a global power. it is going to be influencing actions around the world. its narrative is that, primarily province is arzon threat to the central asian states and ultimately a threat to russia. that is their argument. it is a pretty weak argument, and they use that argument as the avenue to get the taliban forces to fight isis in that province. so they are in conversation with taliban. we have seen indications that they have offered some level of support, but i have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred.
they have had conversations because they want to be part of the solution, "solution" in the afghan theater. they will continue to battle, and they will continue to bet on all of the horses, including taliban, so they have a say when there is a political solution. sen. fischer: director. dir. coats: i am privileged to be able to serve with general stewart. one of the great things about this job i inherited is that i inherited a group of people that are experienced in the areas that they interact in, and they have been enormously supportive and helpful. and so it is -- i think it points out the fact that the act that was passed in 2005, i believe it was and enacted in
2006, has benefited in terms of our ability to reach out to all of the 16 agencies to collect the information necessary to integrate that into a coherent and effective intelligence assessment. sen. fischer: and would you agree with the assessment of russia's involvement? dir. coats: i agree. yes, i do. sen. fischer: thank you. and both of you in your in opening statements you know , increasing investments are being made by other nations with regard to their nuclear forces, especially russia and china. and director and general, how does that discussion of the escalate to deescalate approach to nuclear weapons affect a change in the russian thinking or planning with respect to the use of nuclear weapons? dir. stewart: russia builds nuclear capability with the intent of using it on the high end of conflict for more determination or de-escalate or escalate to terminate ideas that
if the crisis is going in a decidedly negative way for russian that the tactical use of , nuclear weapons will discourage further actions by nato or u.s. forces. so the idea is tactical use of nuclear weapons causes us to us to think about whether we want to continue to fight, and creates the opportunity where they can settle the contest in more favorable terms. they are the only country i know of that has this concept of escalate to terminate or escalate to deescalate, but they do have that built into their operational concept. we have seen them exercise that idea, and it is really kind of a dangerous idea because it then escalates -- could escalate to further escalate. sen. fischer: have you seen any indication that they are changing their path on that at all? dir. stewart: none. senator. sen. fischer: with regards to
china and their modernization efforts, do you see any of their views with nuclear weapons -- do you see any of their views changing? dir. stewart: certainly nuclear weapons and modernization of the ir nuclear force is an integral part. all of these countries view nuclear weapons as the guarantor of their regime. it is much like north korea. so china continues to modernize all levels, including nuclear forces, including capability to deter u.s. forces from entering the west pacific. they do not talk about a first use, but they do talk about use of nuclear weapons as part of war fighting. dir. coats: i might add to that, despite the heroic and really incredible efforts by former senators nunn and luger toward minimizing and reducing the use of nuclear weapons, the
success we had in libya, the success we had in ukraine, unfortunately the lessons learned have been if you have nuclear weapons, never give them . -- never give them up. because it is a deterrent for things from other actors who may want to interfere in their country. if you do not have them, get them. so we see what has happened in ukraine. probably would not have happened if they had maintained nuclear weapon capability. but we see what is happening in north korea. who believes that regime survival is dependent solely on becoming a nuclear power. and so we, unfortunately, tend to be moving in the wrong direction as countries around the world think that gaining nuclear capability is a protection, either a deterrent to or for survival of the
country or potentially could be used for offensive capabilities. sen. fischer: if i could follow up with you later, mr. director, i would appreciate it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director coats, if a memo exists documenting you or admiral rogers' conversations to the president regarding the russian investigation, will make those available to robert miller and -- robert mueller and the intelligence committee? dir. coats: i have no documents to make relevant. sen. gillibrand: ok. in an opinion piece in the "new york times" last week, it said israel the eyes and ears of the united states in the middle east when it comes to intelligence. would you agree with that assessment? dir. coats: israel is very valued in terms of supporting us in many number of ways, including intelligence-sharing.
sen. gillibrand: the piece also suggests that president trump's shared highly sensitive information from israel and could do permanent damage to the special intelligence relationship. it does not say what was revealed, but could the unsanctioned sharing of highly classified information from israel or other countries harm those relationships and therefore our ability to gather the intelligence of protecting americans? dir. coats: i have not seen evidence of that or any reporting relative to anything that would lead to the conclusion. sen. gillibrand: with regard to the documents, whether they exist or not, if you get called in front of the intelligence committee, will you share your conversations with president trump in that hearing, in that setting? dir. coats: as i mentioned to senator mccain in answer to his question, i do believe that the information and discussions that
i have had with the president are something that should not be disclosed. on the other hand, if i am called before an investigative committee, i certainly will provide them with what i know and what i don't know. sen. gillibrand: reports indicate that moscow is a lifeline to pyongyang in a way that might undermine north koreans to give up their nuclear program. please describe what you can in an open setting the extent of russian ties to north korea to the extent that you can. dir. coats: can you repeat that? sen. gillibrand: can you describe to us in this open setting the extent of russia's ties to north korea? dir. coats: that is something i think i would rather reserve for a classified session. senator gillibrand: researchers at this first few labs -- kaspersky labs report they found
evidence linking the recent global ransomware to north korea cyber operatives. the threat is clear and present. how do you think about the most recent attack, if it was by the north koreans, fits into your plan? dir. coats: well, the -- i am sorry, i would you state that , question again? sen. gillibrand: how do you think this most recent attack, if it was by the north koreans, fits into their plans? dir. coats: well, we do not have evidence yet to confirm that there has been that link. we do know north korea possesses the capability of doing this kind of thing. but we are still assessing as to what the source is. sen. gillibrand: do you feel we are prepared to meet further cyber challenges from north korea and other actors? dir. coats: i think we need a constant evaluation and
engagement in terms of how we deal with cyber and the threats that it poses to us. the question was asked earlier, and i agree, this has risen to a significant, if not the most significant threat to the united states at this current time, and our policymakers to be fully engaged i believe in how we deal with these, both from a defensive and perhaps an offensive way of addressing this particular issue. so i have been outwardly -- i have been outspoken relative to the need to do this. and we will continue to provide as much intelligence as we can to support that deal. sen. gillibrand: do you believe infrastructure is critical infrastructure, and do you believe we should have a national security plan so's
they have to be certified for cyber compliance and resiliency? dir. coats: i believe they are two relevant issues that should be thought through, and the policy should be devised in terms of defining how we best address that. on the critical infrastructure side, we are so interconnected now that it poses a major threat to the united states and our individual states also. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for your service to your country. director coats, you began a conversation in response to senator fischer's question with regard to nuclear weapons. and you made an interesting statement that what we're learning is that if you have nuclear weapons, you keep them, and if you do not have nuclear weapons, you get them. for a lot of years now, many of our allies have been dependent
upon arrangements or agreements with the united states in which we are carrying nuclear weapons and that we, in many cases, are responsible for carrying that nuclear deterrent so they do not have to, which keeps nuclear weapons out of other countries' hands. but it also requires a responsibility for us. you suggested something here, and that is that those countries out there are learning a different understanding of the world that perhaps is not consistent with our message to them. could you elaborate in terms of your analysis of the information and the, what it is that you believe right now that that is their believe, that if they have them, they keep them, and if they do not have them, they need to get them? dir. coats: well, it is just an assessment of mine, almost a personal -- i was not quoting an intelligence community report. i was simply saying it appears that based on what has happened in the past years here with
regard to the nuclear capability question -- sen. rounds: is it due to a policy that was not followed up on? that we failed to follow up on to reassure our allies? dir. coats: well i think it is a , relevant question that you ask, and i don't have the answer. know.do know that i don't but i believe that and have -- have heard that some of the narrative out their relative to the situation in ukraine has led some thinking along the regard of -- and then watching what is happening in north korea and how they have basically linked nuclear weapons, even possession and capability, even by amending their constitution to declare , themselves a nuclear state. sen. rounds: would it be fair to say for those who are our allies
that it would be appropriate for us to reinforce our policy provisions in defense of their -- their own security where we have made that commitment? would that be appropriate? dir. coats: i think it would be appropriate, and i think we want to reassure our policy allies that we have the capabilities to provide that. at the same time, we're basically saying we have to up our game, whether it is conventional or whatever, because these threats are real. and having the capability to address these -- i would like to turn to general stewart to let him -- dir. stewart: if i can offer this, i think our allies are very comfortable with the arrangements, the protection that comes from our nuclear umbrella. it is the rogue states. and it is not just about nuclear capability. rogue states are looking for anything that will guarantee their survival, their hold on power. and one of those things they
believe guarantees their hold on power is to have a nuclear device that can threaten either neighbors or the united states. sen. round: but general, you would not consider ukraine a rogue state, would you? and yet they must have that thought process, and i would consider them to be an ally of ours. dir. stewart: i do not know if they fall in the allied category, to be honest, but i know they are a strong partner. i do not know that we have an alliance with ukraine, but i suspect the ukrainian government probably views the fact that they gave up much of their capability is part of the disarmament some of that put them at greater risk and greater pressure from the russian government. so i would imagine that they probably wish they had some lethal -- to go back to senator mccain lethal capability that , could hold at risk russian interference in their government and their way of life. sen. rounds: but among our
allies, you are suggesting that they have a strong belief that we would respond if necessary, and you do not see our allies who do not currently have nuclear weapons as feeling that our policies are clear and that our resolve is clear as well? dir. stewart: that is a fair statement, senator. dir. coats: and i agree with that assessment. i was not attempting to suggest otherwise. rogue states or marginal states i think are thinking at a different level than our allies. sen. rounds: thank you, mr. chairman. >> director coats, you have refused to confirm or deny whether the president asked you to intervene with director comey. if you are asked those details by the special counsel robert mueller will you be forthcoming? , dir. coats: yes, i will.
sen. heinrich: you said lives are at stake and leaks jeopardized those lives. if the president held any other position in our government, what he told the russians could be considered the mother of all leaks. was it dangerous for the president to share the kind of classic ride information with the russian government -- that kind of classified information with the russian government? dir. coats: i was not in the room and do not know what the president shared. i have just read the public -- sen. heinrich: so you have only read the reports? dir. coats: first of all, i have been on travel. sen. heinrich: you have been on travel? dir. coats: and i have not discussed the issue with the president. sen. heinrich: i find that troubling. dir. coats: i was in europe and he was in the white house. sen. heinrich: can you describe the interagency process that the intelligence community undertakes when deciding what information can be shared with a foreign government? dir. coats: well, we work through a process.
i can't specifically describe the process here today. i am new to the job, weeks in. but there are procedures and processes in place. i would happy -- be happy to get those back to you. sen. heinrich: did the trump administration undergo that interagency clearance process prior to the president's may 10 meeting with the russian government? dir. coats: i have no awareness of that. sen. heinrich: so if they did, you are not aware of it? dir. coats: i am not aware of it. sen. heinrich: that is disappointing, but shifting gears, i have got another question i want to get to the bottom of having to do with whether or not the office of the director of national intelligence has received any guidance from the trump administration, either written or verbally, that the odni or any other agency for that matter is not to respond to oversight
inquiries from members of congress. dir. coats: i am not aware of any information to that extent. sen. heinrich: no information to say that they will only respond to chairs and ranking members? dir. coats: to my knowledge, no. sen. heinrich: thank you. mr. chairman, i am going to yield back. >> thank you, gentlemen for , being here today. director coats, we do expect an announcement on the president's new strategy in afghanistan shortly. and what i hope we do not hear is an accelerated plan of what we have already been doing in afghanistan. i do hope that we see some new ideas. and hopefully the plan that we see is one that will take into account a broader strategic problem and something that we all understand and know is that we cannot address terrorist
groups in afghanistan on the their without addressing safe havens in pakistan. so my question to you is, what steps do we need to see afghanistan's neighbors take to help stabilize that region, and how do we make sure that they are following through? dir. coats: well, once again, we provide the intelligence relative to the policymaking, but to directly answer your question, i think certainly an evaluation of how we work with pakistan to address the situation of the harboring of terrorist groups would be essential to a strategy that affects afghanistan going forward in afghanistan. potential very a , disrupting situation, putting our own troops at risk, and undermining the strategy of dealing with the taliban and
local groups that are trying to undermine, undermine the government. so it is a very clear link that i think would have to be addressed in conjunction with whatever is done in afghanistan. sen. ernst: thank you. and general stewart, i had the pleasure of flying into afghanistan with you last year at thanksgiving time. so it was very good to catch up with you. besides more troops, which i anticipate might be part of the plan that we see, do we need to implement a different strategy on the ground in afghanistan? dir. stewart: thanks, senator. again, i hate to talk about either policy or strategy, not just intel. so let me phrase the response this way. pakistan views afghanistan or desires for afghanistan some of the same things we want, a safe, secure, stable afghanistan.
one addition, one that does not have heavy indian influence in afghanistan. they view all of the challenges through the lens of an indian threat to the state of pakistan. so they hold in reserve terrorist organizations. as we defined terrorist organizations. they hold them in reserve so that if afghanistan leans towards india, they will no longer be supportive of an idea of a stable and secure afghanistan that could undermine pakistan interests. so we have to get a couple of things. one, very clear that afghanistan's security and stability is in the interest of all of the parties in the region and does not pose a threat to pakistan. we have got to convince pakistan that if they are harboring any of the network members, that it is not in their interest to
continue to host that network. that we ought to be working together to go after this 20 terrorist organizations that undermine not just afghanistan, not just pakistan, but all of the region. we have to make sure we are pushing them to do more against the akani network. they separate the taliban from the pashtun. they want a pashtun-dominated afghanistan. we have got to get the conversation going to talk to pakistan about their role, not harboring any of these terrorists, helping to stabilize afghanistan, and i think maybe we will have some progress. they also have some influence in bringing the parties to the table, so we have got to get them to think about reconciliation, that the status quo is not in the best interests. sen. ernst: do you think that we can frame the intelligence in a way that would state that we need pakistan to be a good friend to not only afghanistan
and the united states, in order for the united states to be a good friend to pakistan? dir. stewart: i am hoping to do just that in the weeks ahead. sen. ernst: ok, thank you. i will yield back my time, esther chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank both witnesses for being here. we are greatly appreciative of your hard work. everyone in indiana is out of you. we feel more safe having you in that position. in february, north korea tested on missile which we're told , caught the u.s. by surprise. i understand the types of fuel and the location of the tests were not anticipated to just over a week ago, north korea tested a missile they say is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. one at a time, or either of you able to confirm that the recent missile test is in fact capable of carrying a nuclear warhead? dir. stewart: i would prefer not to talk about that in this setting, senator.
dir. coats: i was just about to say that the same thing. , sen. donnelly: can you talk about what technological hurdles north korea would need to overcome in order to successfully make a nuclear warhead that can survive reentry? dir. stewart: the technical hurdle remains in the survival of the reentry platform. they have certainly demonstrated a range of missiles, range of fuel types, range of boosters. they have the space launch vehicle, so that could have intercontinental range. the single hurdle we have not seen all the pieces put together is the reentry vehicle surviving the atmosphere. but that is really a matter of enough trial and error to make that work. they understand the physics. so it is just a matter of design. sen. donnelly: i was just going
to talk to you about the trial and error. sometimes you hear folks almost smile about having a failure or something in their testing, but to me, and i want to check with you, to me, the way we learn is by trying and doing, and the fact it is a failure is not so much a failure for north korea. they are learning all the time. and it is becoming of increasing concern. would you agree with that? not only -- they dir. stewart: they not only are learning with every test, but they are not encumbered with some of the challenges we have with our safety and acquisition program. so they will take greater risks. so the timeline where we would see things and say based on our , model, it would take seven years they are accelerating that , time because they are not encumbered by some of the bureaucratic burdens that we have in our weapons acquisition program. sen. donnelly: understanding that north korea might not currently be able to deliver a nuclear weapon to the
continental united states, can you speak to their capability to use a nuclear weapon against south korea, where we have 30,000 troops stationed, or japan, where we have 50,000 troops stationed? dir. stewart: i would not want to answer that in this hearing. sen. donnelly: thank you. let me ask you about something else, and that would be the chinese and their efforts to try to affect the decision-making by kim jong-un. have you seen any indication that they have become more serious in this effort, that they are taking the steps necessary to alter his -- kim jong-un's decision-making process? have you seen that they are aware of the sufficient grave situation we have here? and then as a follow-up on that, -- aredo you think is the kind of steps china could
take that might actually get kim jong-un's attention? dir. coats: we certainly have been able to get their attention, and they have taken some steps. at this point, it has not produced the results that we had hoped. secretary tillis has said that defines this as a series of , steps relative to putting increasing pressure on north korea, and that we are just at the early stages of that. so clearly, china's engagement in helping us address this issue is critical. deemed that way, and we continue to work with the chinese in that regard. beyond that, i would think the opportunity to address that to secretary tillis -- secretary tillerson -- sen. donnelly: i knew who you meant. tillerson. to get a better detail of what we are trying to do. clearly, china needs to play a
role. it has been suggested that, speaking of senator tillis, he just walked in, i acquainted you with the secretary of state. you are smiling. i'm not sure you want the job. anyway. the ability -- it has been publicly stated that china has rejected some coal imports from north korea. there is a question about oil that is provided and other economic issues, but it really follows alongside my category and more in the secretary of moo the secretary of state's category. >> thank you both for compelling testimony.
when it comes to russia, former director of the cia run in said today that russia bracingly interfered in our 2016 the election. do both of you agree with that? >> i agree. we have high confidence from sources that there was -- >> do you agree with that? >> yes or. iran will not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon. director codes, do you believe that the current agreement with iran with their nuclear program a conscious goal? clear that it would not accomplish this goal. accomplish the deferment, relative to their -- nuclear capability. don't see any indication
that iran is pursuing breaking out of the deal at this point. goales it accomplish the of denying them nuclear capability? >> ultimately it does not deny it differs for 10 years if i understand the agreement. iran, do you agree is more aggressive concerning activities in the region? >> we have sign a lot of efforts on the part of iran that are provocative. confirmation, the last 90 day certification that has to be signed every 90 days relative to the uranian compliance, the a - general?ree,
>> their actions in syria were the same. in yemen, that has picked up. >> would you say the are a disabling force in the region? >> absolutely. is it fair to say that they have increased their military capability? >> some of the money they have gained has gone to military. most of the money has gone to economic development and infrastructure. >> is iran a greater or lesser threat since the agreement or the same? >> i would say it is a threat to the region. whether it is greater or lesser based on the agreement i >> can assess that. >>how do you get on the ballot to run for president in iran? it looks like you can get on
the ballot, but you can get kicked off. >> who has the final say? >> i think it is the supreme leader. >> nobody is on the ballot he doesn't want. north korea, is it a policy of the u.s. to stop north korea from developing a nuclear medicine -- weapon that could hit america or is it a policy of the was to contain the threat by trying to shoot it down as they launch it. >> it is the policy to prevent it. >> general store? yes, senator. >> so that would mean all options on the table are to prevent it is that correct? im not in a position to remove any of the options. isis, our strategy to take , is thatmeback
creating version with turkey? >> yes. >> yes. >> should we have more arabs in the fight? >> general medicine is the best person to answer that. madison.l is our policy to arm the kurds with weapons? >> it contributes to it. >> do either one of you know anything about bitcoin. >> i try to figure out what it was but i never got a good answer. i am still using dollars. >> me too. could you look at that issue and report back to the committee whether or not you believe bitcoin will become the currency of terrorists and criminals down the road?
>> we would be happy to look into that. there is some indication it is being used for that purpose but we can give you an assessment. will be aration disaster for both of >> your agencies if it kicks back in. >>it would continue to cut into real capability. toit's difficult for me answer that question relative to the community as a whole. it would depend on what other measures of resources might be available. thank you. i don't want to duplicate the questions of others have asked. just take upto another area about the serious threat to our security and economic issues around the
world. and that is climate change. the science is unmistakable. human activities are releasing greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change. our defense department reports two years ago observed global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for euros national security. over the seat's foreseeable future it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation. short, this dod report describes climate change as a threat multiplier. director codes are you agree? i don't know if i would describe it as a threat multiplier, our job is simply to assess the consequences of potential changes in climate relative to migration relative
to humanitarian issues. the science falls to other federal agencies. certainly, i think there have always in the history of the world, then reactions to , andrent climate changes it is an issue that continues. >> the department of defense report has identified that climate change exacerbates existing problems, poverty, social tensions, their words. do you disagree with any of that? disagree.on't i am saying that has been an ongoing issue throughout the ages. >> how should we be integrating climate change risk into our national security strategy? >> we should be assessing what
the consequences of changes that issuesevant to security that should be part of the assessment, and it is. >> climate changes merely a international peace and security. i think it is important that we take this seriously and we adapted vertically. let me ask you another question and this is a question others have asked about the interference of the russians in our election and now in other elections. we all agree that interference by foreign actors in our democratic process is unacceptable. right now it doesn't seems like we are doing enough about it. my question is what more do we need to do to make sure the u.s. is officially prepared to defend against russian-style cyber
attacks on our elections, and particularly those who -- i can escalate to manipulations -- alterationrs of registration rolls in our 2018 and 2020 elections. >> that is a matter for you sitting on the dais here. intelligence on the basis of the accuracy of what -- to the best we can what has happened. the response to what has happened is something that the executives -- >> so you don't have any advice on this? to provide the intelligence, not to make policy. we should treat our election systems is critical infrastructure and provide cyber security assistance to state and local officials? certainly should
do that. anyone was trying to undermine the dog that institutions of the -- the at institutions. for,en you testified the your predecessor, james clapper, said our election apparatus should be considered critical infrastructure and should have the protections that were intended. i think he is right. protecting our election systems from vulnerability should be part of our strategy. >> i agree with that. we do not have an assessment that any of our voting machines were temperament. >> thank you. director coats, it's great to see you.
general store, thank you for being here. just a quick follow up. think the aggressive actions of russia, iran, north korea and china, their current strategies and the threat they have concerned with climate change. based on your intelligence? >> i have not seen anything in intelligence circles that set the policy is driven by climate change. >> thank you. i went to spend most of my time -- going back to your opening statement, you're talking about section 702 and the need for reauthorization. can you give us some sense for public consumption of how that tool has been used to identify real threats and potentially intervene before a bad action takes place? havelot of our threats
come from foreign sources and when we have information that leads us to a potential foreign of that inxamination terms of what they might be planning to do, who then maybe talking to the terms of accomplish and attack on the u.s., has been an invaluable present information that has prevented many attacks. as i mentioned earlier, it is also to the great gratitude of our allies in europe and numerous, prevented threats that could have turned into disastrous attacks. it has been an essential element of our collection process. as we know, we are talking here ,bout foreign, not u.s. persons that have bad intentions towards
the united states. it may be that those persons are connecting with people here in the united states, and we want to make sure what is being transferred in that regard. during that process, it is possible that u.s. citizens names are mentioned in an email, mentioned in a verbal way, and -- we give immediate attention to what we call minimization, make sure we are not collecting on those persons. program has adapted to ensure that we provide privacy .rotections for u.s. persons there is a process that we go through, minimization being one of those. we also have oversight, the most effort that the u.s. has against over agencyatter
and government. all three branches have oversight capability in the program to ensure the privacy of individuals. there is a lot of misunderstanding about 702 is and what it isn't. we have scheduled and will continue to schedule a specific meetings with the relevant committees and the congress to describe exactly what is done and not done. to make sure the public itself is fully aware of the importance of the program and also the privacy protections that have been a put upon it. even if we address some of the concerns that came up with of u.s. citizens, would it be fair to say that if we fail to realtors 5702 that it will lead to disasters reissuete -- fail to
702 it will lead to disastrous consequences? thank you to our witnesses today for our testimony. china is currently executing a multi-decade strategic land to acquire the u.s. technologies that they believe will be foundational to their economic growth as well to their military strength. the primary tool that we use is to block or mitigate foreign investment so to pose a national security risk. both of you are very familiar with the spirit because the intelligence community plays a of role in the process developing the national security threat used to inform committee decisions. based on its current mandate reviews transactions on a case by case basis rather than a
-- onlyc assessment those transactions that involve a controlling interest by foreign investors, as we have seen recently and continue to see on a regular basis, other transaction types also can result in the transfer of key technologies that are outside of jurisdiction. the intelligence community increasing rapidly. the workload marked by increased chinese investment in the very tech knowledge is that are the key to military advantage including autonomous vehicles, are robotics, virtual reality as well as gene editing. most of this remains a voluntary process which underscores the importance of the intelligence community to identify both unreported and non-notified
transactions that may pose a national security risk. what are some of the challenges in finding the technical expertise necessary to resolve potential national security implications across this very diverse threat spectrum? this issue has been raised, and under consideration. i think your questions are valid relative to the current status and whether or not just minutes -- adjustments need to be made. in contest with the private sector. the private sector that offers higher compensation for the probably a hire and better work schedule. nevertheless, we are blessed who want to give service to the government and to
work longer hours with lesser technicalring capabilities. we are trying to recruit these people constantly. we need to understand the kind of technical capability that we need that we may have to look at becausery structure just about every major corporation in america whether it is cyber or other issues are looking to find people with these capabilities. thanng is more important the safety of americans and that is the first responsibility of government. , we ought two areas to do it. and look at how we can get the best and brightest to be able to
caused by break open nato countries in their near abroad. again, the capability is to increase the path of any u.s. nato action against russia and to protect to give them proper space. i think they would like to extend that barrier down through the mediterranean, worried about actions they might take him bolivia, but that is about breaking out of the nato encirclement. sen. mccaskill: please. >> thank you. presidentsed that the
chose the muslim country is his first visit, signaling to the world that we want to have allies in the muslim world. my question to the two of you are we sending enough signals like that to the american muslim community? heard you all and others that have jobs like yours that the biggest threat is the radicalization of people that are legally in this country, not syrian refugees, not people traveling here from other countries. we have seen the radicalization of people who are either american citizens or are legally in the country and have been your for some time. weyou feel comfortable that are doing enough to reach out to the american muslim community, especially for personnel that we can use as maybe our most valuable assets in terms of what you all need to do within the intelligence community? don't have an assessment on
how we are reaching out to the community in general. relative to our intelligence that the, we realize , cultural,f ethnic any number of ways is important for us to understand the world that we live in, and understand -- and understanding from people who bring different assessments and different cultures and give us the diversity we need to fully understand what is going on. that is very much a part of our recruitment. america there are people i have talked to, american muslims who feel disconnected right now. tendency when that happens to internalize and not if theyward, especially have some concerns about
somebody being radicalized. do you share that concern and you -- are you taking steps with the intelligence community to deal with that concern? a roleo not see that as of the intelligence community, except in the area as i , promote how we hire and train and incorporate people from different cultures, different ethnic backgrounds. evidence thate someone might be radicalized through the gathering of doelligence here in america, you hand that intelligence off to someone who could then circle around to people within that muslim community and that geographical area to try to get confirmation or additional evidence, that would allow us to ?ut people in prison
the fbi is a part of the intelligence system. there is division between the -- potential criminal activity that the fbi has control over, relative to the intelligence aspect of the fbi. that is something that is information is garnered, it is passed on to the fbi to determine whether or not there is an investigation or potential criminal element in play. >> senator mccaskill: ok. let me quickly because i have less than a minute left -- i'm worried about chemical weapons in north korea. reports of indicated that kim jong-un -- it has been indicated they have 5000 metric tons of chemical weapons in north korea. can you confirm that chemical weapons were used to kill kim jong-un's half-brother? dir. coats: yeah.
that is something i would have to get back to you one. senator mccaskill: yeah. we trained on chemical weapons, and with the proximity of semi-people in south korea and the deliverance could be in such a way that it would be -- the proximity of so many people in south korea and the deliverance could be in such a way, that it would be disastrous and i wonder if there is a way to check on the ground whether there are chemical weapons? dir. stewart: chemical weapons are assessed to be part of the north korean arsenal. senator mccaskill: ok, if there's any other information you can provide me in terms of our capabilities, defense, i would be very appreciative. thank you both for your service to our country. >> thank you very much. because of the pending vote, i must depart. let me ask members to be recognized in order of their appearance if the chairman does not return.
we expect them to return shortly. >> ok, mr. chair. i aim going to go vote after these questions. >> ok. let me go ahead and recognize senators sullivan, senator king, then senator kaine, unless a republican intervenes, and then that person will be recognized, and then i will try to get back here as soon as i can. senator sullivan: thank you, gentlemen. director coats, great to see you. i appreciate the focus in your written remarks, the icbm, north korea, obviously a new direct threat to the united states area there has been testimony across the board in terms of our military and intelligence officials' public testimony that it is no longer a matter of if, but when kim jong-il and --
kim jong-un will have the to hit, not just states like capability mine, alaska, and hawaii, which are much closer in 48ge, but the lower intercontinental states with an intercontinental ballistic missile at some point. i, with others, have introduced a bipartisan bill interested in enhancing our homeland missile defense. but i would like to get your sense in terms of the estimates. what do you think the estimates are with regard to win -- when kim jong-un will have this capability? i know it's a very important question. i know you do not have a precise date. but the american people need to know it's probably a lot sooner than most people anticipate. can you give us a range, a
window on when you think that capability is going to exist for this very unstable leader who has threatened to shoot nuclear missiles at our homeland? dir. coats: i think we would both like to talk to about that in a classified manner, session. i would say this. we certainly assess this is the intent of north korea and kim jong-un has publicly stated they would like to have intercontinental ballistic missile capability, nuclear capability that could reach the united states and they are on that goal. relative to exactly where we are, what, and when -- of course, that is dependent on their testing and ability. as i testified in my opening statement here, they have not reached that capability yet. sen. sullivan: right, but there has been public testimony from intel leaders that they are
going to get it. not if, but when. so, i know we have estimates. i know that some of them are classified. i actually think it is very useful to let the american people know -- this is not 15 years off. this is not 10 years off. general, can you give us an estimate? within a couple years? it's actually a really important issue. people are going to wake up to it someday relatively soon. it is an enormous threat. i think the more we talk about this, the better. it's going to happen. can you just give us a window of what the best estimates are on that intel? dir. stewart: as i said earlier,
left unchecked, it's going to happen. sen. sullivan: how about a window? dir. stewart: if i gave you a window, it would be potential to reveal the insight we have on the capability, so we won't do that here. but it is inevitable if left unchecked. sen. sullivan: let me turn to iran. you know, under the iran nuclear agreement, iran is restricted to 130 metric tons of heavy water. however, in 2016, the iaea reported that they had surpassed that threshold twice. so, do you believe that iran is in violation of the agreement right now? dir. coats: the intelligence assessment relative to the certification that was assigned, perhaps, i think, three or four
weeks ago -- sen. sullivan: and that was the certification by the iaea, correct? dir. coats: that is the certification we provide to the congress every 90 days -- sen. sullivan: isn't that based on the iaea assessment? dir. coats: it is based on the iaea and our own assessments. sen. sullivan: how much confidence do we have when they violated the heavy water provision twice? it is something that i think is a real disconnect between what the facts seem to be and what secretary tillerson stated and what our military community -- senator mccain: i apologize to the senator, but we agreed at the beginning that director es and general stewart would be out of here in five minutes.
sen. sullivan: mr. chairman, can i get an answer to that question please? senator mccain: no. we have three people in five minutes. i apologize. senator blumenthal, we you do me a favor and ask one question and allow the other two to ask? would that be agreeable to you, director coats? >> i appreciate that, mr. chairman. i apologize -- i mean, i don't apologize, but i have an event at the supreme court with the chief justice and i do not want to be late on that. senator mccain: i understand, but would that be agreeable to the members, to have one question each? senator blumenthal? senator blumenthal: director coats, thank you very much for being here. i know that given your long record in public service and the oath you have taken you would , never allow anyone to discourage or deter you from a lawful investigation. and your nondenial of the "washington post" report, i think, should lead to even more intensive investigation of the
alleged effort by the president to enlist you in shutting down that investigation. this evidence, if true, goes to criminal intent and constitutes mounting evidence of obstruction of justice, and you are aware that obstruction is a crime, and i'm sure that you will cooperate in an investigation of that crime. and i presume that you would not agree with the president of the united states that this investigation of russian meddling and possible collusion by the trump campaign in the interference in our elections is a "witch hunt," so therefore i want to ask you whether you have discussed efforts by the president to stifle or stop the investigation, enlist you or admiral rodgers in denying such
an investigation of collusion focused on him, whether you have discussed these reports with anyone, including admiral rodgers? dir. coats: well, senator, as i said in my opening statement, i am not going to characterize my conversations i had with the president -- senator blumenthal: i don't mean to be misunderstood. i'm not asking about your conversations with the president. have you talked about this issue with admiral rodgers? dir. coats: that is -- that is something that i -- would like to withhold that question at this particular point in time. senator blumenthal: i'm going to assume that in withholding the question, the implicit answer is that, yes, you have. i would like to know in another
setting, if necessary, what the substance of that conversation was. senator mccain: let me just say for the record, director coats, your response to my question by no means meant yes or no. it meant your conversations with the president are private. senator blumenthal can have his interpretation. my interpretation of your answer to my question was it is privileged conversations between the president and members of his team. senator king. i in no way interpret your response to my question as inferring anything except you are keeping with the tradition of privacy of conversations between members of the president's national security team and the president.
senator blumenthal: and, mr. chairman, i respect that -- senator mccain: senator king. senator king: is the intelligence committee doing investigation -- dir. coats: i'm sorry? senator king: is an assessment being done or has been done of the significance of the impact of the release of that information? dir. coats: we have not initiated an assessment of that . there are procedures we go through to determine whether assessments have been made or need to be made. there is a process that we go through. is my understanding we have not initiated it. senator king: has there been any reaction by other countries to the intelligence committee about the revealing of this information to the russians? any reaction from other countries?
dir. coats: i do not -- of course, i'm just back from some of those countries. the issue was not raised during my time there. on that specific question -- senator king: the intelligence communities with other countries did not raise this issue with you at all on your trip? dir. coats: they did not raise that specific question. senator king: thank you, mr. chairman. senator mccain: senator kaine. senator kaine: thank you. in the aftermath of the budget that was released in late april, the president tweeted it might be time for a good shutdown. with respect to the missions of both of your agencies -- the dia and the director of national intelligence -- in terms of dealing with world rights, the topic of today's hearing, with -- would there be anything good
about the shutdown of the government of the united states? dir. coats: there might be some good and some bad. if the shutdown involved functions that were not producing or essential, but if you are talking about an across-the-board shutdown, i never believed that is the way we ought to handle our business here, and definitely it could potentially have an impact on our ability. senator kaine: general stewart? dir. stewart: not only would it impact our operations, but it has a debilitating impact on our workforce every time there is uncertainty about how they will get paid next payday. debilitating effect. kaine: thank you. thanks, mr. chair. senator mccain: thank you, director coats, general stewart. i know this is a very difficult time. i appreciate your candor. i also know the committee understands these areas that are
simply protected by the relationship the president has with his team and the people he relies on. so, i would like to repeat again that there's a lot more to be found out, but also these leaks are not good for your business. isn't that correct? dir. coats: that is absolutely correct. they are devastating. and as i have said disclosing , methods and sources put our patriot people doing great service for this country, it puts their lives at risk. it puts the lives of americans at risk. it details the methods by which we have gained information which have prevented attacks against the united states. senator mccain: so do you believe that there is risk because of these leaks? dir. coats: potential he, yes.
-- potentially, yes. senator mccain: did you want to say anything else? >> i would like a follow-up question. which would be worse, a leaked to the american people or to the russian foreign minister? [laughter] senator mccain: this meeting is adjourned. >> can i ask an additional question -- no? that's all right. senator mccain: we will be seeing him again. unfortunately for him. [captionie national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]