tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC March 20, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
prepare director was re-upped for a time. mumm muller was the first to serve for the statuary ten years. a president can get rid of an fbi director. it happened to the fbi director before bob muller. he was actually ushered out the door after there were allegations he was using federal fund to make some improvements at his house. i think it would be extraordinary for any nuchlt to move an fbi director for anything less than obvious misconduct on the job. >> to our viewers just joining you, top of the 10 a.m. hour, we've just seen fbi director comey come down the hallway. this is the time when we were supposed to be gavelled into order. as far as we can tell, not all the members are in the room as of yet. we saw a brief scurry when the
press corps thought comey was coming in the back door. we will eventually see him here and there will be no shortage of pictures still and video of director comey. nicole wallace, his reputation in washington. >> so interesting, i asked republicans this morning if trump isn't happy with what he hearse today, does he have any recourse, to pete williams' point. and he said no, this president is stuck with comey basically. there's no case to be made that he's done anything other than his job. you can criticize how he's gone about doing his job. i know some democrats are still pretty enraged about how hugh he handl -- how he handled the hillary clinton e-mails and i feel like we've been on this beat for many months. comey was my colleague in the
white house. he became famous for going to jim ashcroft's bedside and making a point on the terror policie policies. there's nothing to suggest he isn't probably perfectly suited for this job under this president. >> kasie hunt is outside in the hallway. what should we know about what's going on out there? >> well, you saw director comey come down this hlway andnto the hearing room so we're clearly at the point where we are gettin ready to get all of this under way. of course comey reacting the way he has everybody time he's been up here, shouted questions from reporters and absolutely zero answers, reactions, nothing from the fbi director. if you are a politician who does not like to answer shouted questions and you need a role model, fbi director comey may be the one to look to.
staff nemembers are telling politicians, hey, you don't have to answer those questions. comey does not. he is going to face questions from the members of congress. as we were talking to questions from the committee, it clear that i think -- there are partisan interpretations of the information we're getting here but there's kind of unified frustration of kind of the lack of clarity between facts and rumor. i think he's going to get pressed pretty hard there. right now we're just at the point where you can see the other camera crews around here in the hallway and other members as well, brian. >> okay, let's go into the hearing room. sorry for the picture quality of the shot we keep taking of rogers and comey from the side. as soon as we get cleared here, we will have clearer video from the reverse angle, as their
testimony going. let's listen in. >> i'd like to welcome james comey and admiral rogers. thank you for being here today. i would like to remind our members and witnesses this is an open hearing. i recognize the challenge of discussing sensitive national security issues in public, however, as part of this committee's investigation into russian active members during the 2016 election, it is critical to ensure the public has access to credible, unclassified facts and to clear their regarding unsubstantiated media reports. to our guests in the audience, welcome. we appreciate you being here. i also expect that the proper decorum will be observed at all times today and disruptions during the proceedings will not be tolerated. and i will recognize myself for five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement. the putin regime has a long history of aggressive actions
against other countries, including the outright invasion of two of its neighbors in recent years as well as its brutal military action in syria to defend the assad regime. but its actions take hostile acts aside from the many souls. they traffic in anti-american conspiracy theories. russia also has a long history of meddling in other countries' election systems and launching cyber attacks on a wide range of countries and industries. the baltics and other russian neighbors have long decried these attacks, but their warnings went unheeded in far too many nations' capitals, including our own. the fact that russia hacked u.s. election databases comes as no shock to this committee. we have been closely monitoring russia's aggressive for years.
a year ago i publicly statedabi regime plans has been our biggest failure since 9/11. however, one benefit is already clear, it has focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the raugs auto democrat. in recent years committee members have issued repeated add forceful pleas for stronger action against russian blej rens, but the obama administration was committed to the notion and i hope today's hearing will shed light on russia's active measure. first, what actions did russia undertake during the 2016 election campaign and did anyone
from the political campaign conspire in these activities? number two, were the communications of officials or associates of any campaign subject to any kind of improper surveillance? the intelligence community has extremely strict procedures for handling information pertaining to any u.s. citizens who are subject even to incidental surveillance and this committee wants to be sure all surveillance activities have followed all relevant law, rules and regulations. i've been saying for several weeks, we know there was not a physical wiretap of trump tower. however, it's still possible other surveillance activities were used against presidents trump and his associates. number three, who has leaked classified information? numerous current and former officials have leaked reportedly classified information in connection to these questions. we aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of
classified information so that these individuals can be brought to justice. i hope this committee kmit's bipartisan investigation. did that end we encourage anyone who has information about these topics to come ford and speak. i again thanks witnesses and will recognize ranking nem ship. he's asked for 15 minutes for his opening statement. i will give him 15 minutes for his opening statement. mrschiff. >> mr. director, i think you. i want to thank mr. comey and mr. rodgers for appearing today. last summer at the height of a bit early contested presidential campaign, a foreign adversarial power intervened to weaken our democracy and to influence the
outcome for one candidate and against the other. that foreign adversary was of course russia, and it acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct instructions of its auto democratic leader, vladimir putin. the campaign may have begun as early as 2015 when russian officials launched an attack. this continued at least throughout winter of 2016. while at first the hacking may have been intended solely for the collection of foreign intelligence, in mid 2016, the russians weaponized the stolen data and used platforms established by the intel services such as d.c. leaks and third party channels like wikileaks to dump the documents.
they were almost uniformly damages to the candidate putin despised, hillary clinton and by forcing her campaign to deal with the constant dripping, it favored donald trump's campaign. we will never know whether the russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. indeed it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small change cog have dictated a different result. more importantly and for the purposes of our investigation, it simply dots no matterap what does matter is ts -- the russians successfully meddled in our democracy and our intelligence agencies they will again. russian intelligence has been similarly infearing in the personal and political affairs of our other loose -- if we
thought the russians would not blatantly interfere in our affairs, we were wrong. we know a lot about the russian operation about the way they amplify the damage, their hacking and dumping of stolen documents was causing through the use of slick propaganda like r.t., the kremlin's media arm, but there's a lot we don't know. most important we do not yet know whether the russians had the help of u.s. citizens, including people associated with the trump campaign. many of the trump's campaign personnel, including the president himself, have ties to russia and russian interests. this is of course no crime. on the other hand, if the trump
campaign or anyone associated with it aided or abetted the russians, it would not only be a serious crime but would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of democracy in history. in europe where the russians have a much longer history of political interfeerps, it used a variety of techniques to undermine democracy. they played the hacking and do you mean le as they did here but they have also used bribery, blackmail, financial material and entanglement of individual citizens of targeted countries. the issue of u.s. involvement is only one of the important matter that the chairman and i have agreed to investigate, which is memorialized in the detailed and diept scope of investigation that we have signed. we'll examine whether the community or missed the
opportunity to stop this russian attack much earlier and whether the leak of information of michael flynn or others is indicative of a systemic problem. we have also reviewed whether there is any evidence to support president trump's claim that he was wiretapped by president obama in trump tower and found no eftd whatsoever to support that slanderous accusation. we hope that dr. comey can now put that matter to rest. today most of my colleagues will be exploring with the witnesses the potential involvement of u.s. persons in the russian attack in our democracy. this issue is least understood by the public. we realize of course that the witnesses may not be able to answer many of the questions in o open session. they may or may not be willing to disclose even whether there is an special, it is a matter of
such gravity that it demands a thor other investigation not only by us, as we intend to do, but by the fbi as well. let me give you a short preview of what i expect you'll be asked by our members. whether the russian's active measures began as a matter of gain williing intelligence or m than that, we do not know. the months o october of 2016 was pivotal. it when they began using it to help donald trump and harm hillary clinton. the question is why? what was happening in july/august of last year and were u.s. persons involved? here are some of the matters drawn from public sources alone since that is all we can discuss in this setting that concern us
and weep believe should concern all americans. in early july, carter page, someone donald trump identified as one of his national security advisers travels to moscow on a trip approved by the trump campaigned gives a speech critical of the united states for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption. according to christopher steele, a former british intelligence officers, who is reportedly held in high regard by u.s. intelligence, russian sources tell him that paige has already ha had a conversation with a former kgb officer. he's is offered a deal involving a 19% share of the company. according to reuters, the sale of a 19.5% share takes place
with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees. also according to steele's russian sources, the campaign is ofrtd documents damaging to hillary clinton, which the russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniable like and it would be a policy that focuses on nato countries for not pairing their paper and now conversations have come to pass. in the middle of july, paul manafort, the trump campaign man injury and someone who was long on theayroll of proussian ukrainian interests attends the convention. cater paige, bass from moscow, ld page the convention.
it was -- ambassador sergey kislyak attends the republican party convention and meets with carter paige and j.d. gordon and walid ferris. ambassador kislyak meets with the chair. the republican party platform is chang changed. manafort categorically denies involvement bit trump campaign in altering the platform but the
republican delegate who offered states it was removed at the insistence of the trump campaign. j.d. gordon admits to the inclusi inclusion. later the first e-mails damaging to hillary clinton appear. the leading private cyber security firms including crowd strike, mannedion and threat connect review the evidence of the hack and conclude with high certainty that it was the work of apt 28 and 29 who are known to be russian intelligence services. the u.s. intelligence community also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by russian intelligence and gusifer 2 acted as a front. in late july candidate trump
praises wikileaks, says he loves them and openly encourages them to hack his opponents and they will be rewarded. and in the middle of august, he creates with the russian cutout gusifer 2 and offers a breitbart piece denying connection to russian intelligence. in august, stone does something remarkable. when he predicts that john podesta's personal e-mails will soon be published, trust me, he says, it will soon be podesta's time in the barrel, #crooked hillary. in the weeks that follow, stone says i have total confidence a that wikileaks and my hero
julian assange will come soon #lock her up. in election day on november donald trump wins. donald trump appoints one of his high fprofile surrogates, michal flynn, as national security adviser. michael flynn as a secret conversation with sergey kislyak. michael flynn lies about the secret conversation. the vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no such conversation ever happened. the president is informed that flynn has lied and pence has misled the country. the president does nothing.
two weeks later the press revealed that flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire mr. flynn. the president then praises the man who lied, mr. flynn, and castigates the press for exposing the line. is it possible the removal of the ukraine provision from the gop platform was a coincidence? is it a coincidence that jeff sessions failed to sell the senate about his meeting with russian officers? is it a coincidence that mr. flynn would lie about a meeting with the same russian ambassador when they spoke over sanctions over russian hacking? is it a coincidence that the russian gas company sold a 19% share afr former british intelligence officer steele was told by russi sources that
carter page was offered fees on a deal of just that size? is it a coincidence that steele as you russian sources also affirmed that russia had stolen documents hurtful to secretary clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro-russian policies that would later come to pass? is it a coincidence that roger stone predicted that john podesta would be a victim of a private hack and have e-mails published and do so before mr. podesta himself was fully aware that his private e-mail would be exposed? is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? yes, it is possible. but it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated and that the russians used the same techniques to corrupt u.s. persons that they employed in europe and elsewhere.
we simply doesn't know, not yet. and we owe it to the country to find out. director comey, what you see dal we have to commit to this investigation. this is it. we are not supported by hundreds or thousands of agents and investigators were offices around the world. it is just us and our senate counterparts. in addition to this investigation we still have our day job, which involves overseeing some of the largest and most important agencies in the country, agency, which by the way are trained to keep secrets. i point this out for two reasons. first, because we cannot do this work alone and nor should we. we believe these issues are so important that the fbi must devote its resources to
investigate each of them thoroughly. to do less would be negligent to our country. we need the full cooperation so we may know what you know. second, i raise this because i believe that we would benefit from the work of an independent commission that can devote the staff and resources to this investigation that we do not have and that can be completely removed fri any political considerations. this should not be a substitute for the work that we and the intelligence should and must do but as an important complement to our efforts just as was the case after 9/11. the stakes are nothing less than the future of our democracy and liberal democracy. because we're engaged in a new war of ideas, not communism versus capitalism or authoritarianism versus democracy. only by understanding what the
russians did can we inoculate ourselves from further russian interference that we know is coming, only then can we protect our european allies who are, as we speak, enduring similar russian interference in their own elections. and finally i want to say a word about our own committee investigation. you will undoubtedly observe in the questions and comments that our members make during today's hearing that the members of both parties share a common concern over the russian attack on our democracy but bring a difference perspective on issues in the earlier stages of this investigation. this is to be expected. the question most people have is whether we can really conduct this investigation in the kind of thorough and nonpartisan manner that the seriousness of the issues merit or whether the enormous political kons kenss of wourk will make that impossible.
the truth is i don't know the answer. bu i do know if this committ can do its work properly, if we can sufficient facts wherever lae lead, to hear witnesses testify, to learn what we will and reach a common conclusion, it would be a public public as much and what that will very much be in the national interest so let us try. >> with that, admiral rodgers, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you on behalf of the men of the national security agency. i'm honored to appear beside my teammate mr. comey to discuss russian's activities and continue tensions and want to ensure the committee that my team is doing the best to sin al-fil -- fulfill the requests
for information. when we last met in january, we discussed the classified version of the january intelligence community's assessment on assessing russian activities and intentions in the recent u.s. elections. today more than two months after we issued this assessment, we stand by it as issued. there is no change in our confidence level on the assessment. the specifics need to remain classified to protect sense it have sources and methods, so today i will limit my discussion to information in the public domain that of the public lily released assessment. there are some issues i cannot discuss in an open session, nor will i be able to provide specifics in some areas.
the intelligence community has a longstanding policy of not discussing surveillance arg targeting information in various cases. to do so would be harmful to our national security. like the committee, we are also greatly concerned about leaks of classified information, as they can reveal the sources and methods we employ to provide intelligence to american policy makers and war fighters. i also want to assure the committee that we take very seriously that obligation to protect u.s. person's privacy. this applies to all stages of intelligence, but i like to indicate one area, the dissemination of u.s. personnel
information. i do want to specifically mention that among the collection and authorities that we have to target for actors in foreign spaces, fisa section 702 and executive order 1233/ 12333 been instrumental in gathering facts of foreign activity in this election cycle. it would be difficult to overstate the breadth and scale of malicious cyber activity occurring today. our adversaries, include being nation states, have not rested in trying to penetrate government systems, steal our intellectual property and make greater strides towards cyber attack capabilities. we have a hard working and dedicated team at nsa to works
every day but cyber defense is a team. and i'm glak glad to beble to describe here today how we are, to include providing a better understand being of russia's intentions and capabilities. in light of the i.c. ace ses money nsa continues to ploup ploy regular rig rouse analytical standards. our analysts have consistently proven to be reliable and thorough in their, make informed decision, protect our nation's freedom and protect the safety of our citizens. we continue to monitor for additional targeting of russian
systems and those of our friend and allies around the world, to share that information with our i.c. colleagues and foreign counterparts and produce timely under and unbrprejudiced reports to t committee. >> i'm honored to here representing the people of the fbi. i hope i have shown new our actions and word how much we at the fbi value your oversight of our work and how much we respect your ability to investigate those things important to the american people. thank you for showing that both are being taken very seriously. as you know, our practice is not to confirm the, especially those investigations that involve classified matters. but in unusual circumstances
where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so. as justice department policies recognize. this is one of those circumstances. i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counterintellince mission investigating the russian government's effortso interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. as with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any triems were committed. because it is an open, ongoing thegs i cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining.
at the request of congressional leaders, we have a taken the scored step in coordination with the department of judge, of briefing congressial leaders, including of this committee, in detail about the investigation but i can't go into those details here. i know that is, treemly frustrating to some folks but it is the way it has to be. for reasons i hope you and the person people can understand, i fbi is. we are also very careful about the way we handle information that pay be of both of those are issues in a counterintelligent investigation. please don't draw any conclusions from the fact that i may not be able to comment on certain topics.
i know speculating is part of human nature, but it really isn't fair to now some folks may want to make comparisons to past instances where the department of justice of justice and the fbi have spoken about the details of some investigations. but please keep in mind that those involve the details of comple complete is limited when those investigations are still open, which i hope makes sense. we need to protect people's privacy. we need to make sure we don't give other people clues as to where we're going. we need to make sure that we don't give information to our foreign adversaries about what we know or don't know. we just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we're doing it. so we will try very, very hard to avoid that, as we always do. this work is very complex and there is no way for me to give
you a timetable as to when it will be done. we approach this work in an open-minded, independent way and our expert investigators will conclude that work as quickly as they can, but they will always do it well no matter how long that takes. i can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead. and i want to underscore my friend mike rodgers said. leaks of classified information are serious, serious federal crimes for a reason. the they should be investigated and where possible prosecuted in a way that reflects that seriousneserious ness so that people will know it will not be tolerated. >> thank you, director comey. mr. rodgers, on january 6, 2017 the intelligence community assessment assessing russian activities and intentions in recent u.s. elections stated
that the types of systems russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying. so my question as of today, admiral rodgers, do you have any evidence that russia cyber actors changed vote tallies in the state of michigan? >> no, i do not but i would highlight we're a foreign intelligence organization, not a domestic intelligence organization so it would be fair to say we are probably not the best organization to provide a more complete answer. >> how about the state of pennsylvania? >> no, sir. >> the state of wisconsin? >> no, sir. >> state of florida? >> no, sir. >> state of north carolina? >> no, sir. >> the state of ohio? >> no, sir. >> so you have no intelligence that suggests or evidence that suggests any votes were changed? >> i have nothing generated by national security industry, sir. >> director comey, do you have any evidence that any votes were were changed in the states i mentioned to admiral rodgers?
>> no. >> thank you. admiral rodgers, i know that there is a leak of information regarding director clapper and former secretary of defense cart er who are looking at relieving you of your duties. are you aware of those stories? >> i'm aware of media reporting of that. >> those stories were leaked as soon as you had visited with president-elect trump; is that corre correct? >> yes, sir. i was asked if i would be prepared to interview with the trump administration for a position. which i did. >> did the leak of that information at all impact your ability in your assessment that you did for the intelligence community's assessment on january 6th? >> no, sir. if i spent time in this job worrying about unsourced media reporting, i'd never get any work done. >> thank you, admiral. >> director comey, i remain
extremely concerned about thewide sprethe wi widespread illegal leaks -- does the unauthorized disclosure vie laying 18 usc 793, espionage act that mannedmanned -- handling o transmitting information? >> yes. >> yes, in addition of being a breach of our trust with the fisa court that oversees the use of those authorities. >> thank you, mr. director. i'm going to yield to mr. rony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i i'd like to direct my questions first and foremost to
admiral rodgers to convey my thanks to the many men and women for their dedication at the nsa for keep aing our country safe d as well as i'd like to talk about the recent media story which may have led to confusion about what the nsa is and is not legally collecting and the safe guards put in place to protect personal data. i'd like to clarify as chairman of the subcommittee on the nsa, i recently got to meet your deputy admiral last week and we vitsed and spoke about some of those things. what we can talk about here today publicly. if you can't, you can't, but i think that this is important for the people and listening outside understand. is it true the nsa would need a court order based on probable cause to conduct electronic surveillance on a u.s. person inside the united states? >> yes, sir.
>> and just to be clear, the section of the fisa that is expiring later this year that 702, which we'll be talking about a little bit, cannot be used to target u.s. persons or persons in the united states; is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> section 702 focuses on non-u.s. persons outside the united states primarily, correct? >>. >> yes, sir. >> do you believe section 70 is important and valuable for u.s. national security? >> yes, sir. >> so it's safe to say without having this tool, it would be a threat to our national security? >> it would significantly impact my ability to generate the insights that i believe this nation needs. >> in the media there's a lot of reporting about certainly called incidental collection. can you talk about what incidental collection is? >> yes, sir. incidental collection is when we are targeting a valid foreign target, for example, in the course of that targeting, we eat
get a reference to a u.s. person or suddenly a u.s. person appears as part of the conversation, that's what we call incidental collecting. >> and what do yodo when something like that happens, if there's a u.s. of an interelection what kind of safeguard are put in place? >> it depends o on the legal authority we're using to execute in the first place. we step back and we ask is there something that we expect to encountered that we now encountered. if we come to the conclusion it's a u.s. person, we ask are we listening to criminal activities, is there something of imminent threat or danger or are we receiving something that
has nothing do with our valid collection authority. in some cases we will just personal it has no intelligence value and it wasn't the purpose of what we were doing. in some cases then if we believe that there is intelligence value, for example, whether it's a difference to a and in our rorgt we will mask the identity of the person, we'll use a phrase like u.s. person 1 or u.s. person 2. for our purposes, u.s. person is defined very broadly. that is not just a u.s. citizen, that is a shipper/air so it's not just a particular individual if that's makes sense. the term for us is much broader because it's designed to ensure our pror texs of u.s. persons.
>> and the procedures and protections you talked about are required and approved by the fisa court; is that correct? >> yes, sir and the attorney general. >> and you mentioned in your opening statement for that kind of information to be disseminated outside of your agency and the nsa that, that dissemination would be strictly on a need-to-know basis; is that correct. >> we use two criteria, is there a nee to know in the course of the person or group asking for it is there a need to know in the course and excuse of their official duties? >> who would that be? >> an element within the intelligence community, it could be an element in the nsa and it could be a policy maker. i apologize. there was one other point i wanted to make. i lost the thread in my mind. >> let's get back to masking briefly. you spoke about masking and
trying to keep a u.s. person's identity concealed and when it is disseminated, you -- we often talk about in the intelligence community about the exception to how -- if somebody's masked, how you unmask them. what would the exception to that masking be before it's disseminated. >> we use two criteria, the need to know on requesting us and execution of their responsibility and is it necessary in the context in a that an the intelligence value that is designed to intelligence. >> is that identify of a, that ordinarily disseminated in a masked or unmasked form? >> if we make the decision that
there's intelligence value and we're going to report on it, it is normally disseminated in a masked form. we'll use a rirchs u.s. person one, u.s. person two. if you look at the highlight of our total breadth of our reporting, involving u.s. persons at all is an incredibly small subset. >> who normally in the n.l.a. would make the decision to unmask? >> there are 20 authorities includes myself. >> and does the level of approve chan change. >> if it was someone very important, would that -- requests can be pushed up to my level saying, hey, sir, we just want to make sure you're comfortable with this.
>> so 20 people are what procedures a what's to say they're not unmasking and my ability to disseminate information from the database associated with u.s. persons. >> let's run through a following hypothetical. if the nsa collects a communication where a tar debt under surveillance a s talking to a u.s. person -- is necessary to understanding the foreign intelligence or assess its importance? >> first of all, try to understand the nature of the conversation. is this truly certainly that involves intelligence or national security implications for the united states? or is this just very normal, reasonable conversations in which case we have no desire to have in we'll ask ourselves is
there criminal activity involved, potential threat or harm to u.s. individuals being skaused in the information. >> if there was prl activity involved, what would you do them? >> if there's disseminate the information, we'll, in some cases i also will generate a signed letter under my signature and we are not a law enforcement, we're a justice organization, we're not in a place to make that determination. >> based on that hypothetically, if the nsa received the communication of general flynn while communicating with a surveillance target legally works you please, change hour general flynn's identity could be unmasked basis on the
exception has we discussed. >> sir, i'm nothing go -- if i could make reference to a woch or if you've seen it, which states national security under mike emplin u.s. sanctions against russia with the country's ambassador to the united states during the month before pahrump took offer. coming rurnt and former u.s. official said the article goes on to say that nine current or former officials who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the call spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. did you read this article? >> i apologize, sir. it's an article doesn't
necessarily ring a bell. i've seen plenty of media reporting of that but i'm not going to comment on specifics. >> just basically under the breath of that article, when we hear that nine former current and we heard director comey and the chairman speak of this as a potential crime. a serious crime under the espionage act. assuming if this article is accurate, who would be in a position to request the unmasking of general flynn's idtity? would that be you? >> i would have the authority to do that. >> who else would? >> the 19 other individuals. >> would that include director comey? >> i'm talking about 20 individuals within the national security agency and talking about nsa reporting.
>> would people like attorney general p attorneyy general and attorney general and director clappe clapper. >> they would be able to come and ask. i'm not going to talk about the specifics of an individual or hypothetical scenario. >> eefr as it's been alleged, wou -- in your opinion, would leaking of a u.s. person who has been unmasked and disseminated by intelligence community officials, would that leaking a. >> okay, if hurts, this like which which we all agreed it's
vital or at least you and i agreed to that, do you think that leak actually threatens our national security? if it's a crime and if it's unveiling a mass person and this tool is so important that it could potentially jeopardize this tool when we have to reauthorize this tool and we can't get it done because whoever did this leak or nine people who did this claek create such a stir, whether it be in our legislative process or whatever that they doesn't feel confident that a u.s. person under the 702 program can be masked successfully and not leaked to the press, doesn't that hurt -- that leak hurt our national security? >> yes, sir. >> can you think of any reason why somebody would want to leak the identity of a masked person? >> no, sir, i -- i mean, have.
>> part of the ethics of professi profession, not just the legal requirement but the ethics of our profession is we do not engage in that activity. i reminded if i become aware of any such conduct, there is no place for you this team. >> well, i think that as we move forward, is the sacred trust the intelligence community has with the american people. >> i think it's important for those who break that sacred trust, if they are not eternally or fbi through conviction or
through the attorney general's office of that crime, it is very difficult for to us be able to keep that sacred trust, to know that what we're doing is valid and what we're doing have no nefarious motivations and for us to be able to keep america safe without violating the constitutional protections that we all enjoy. mr. chairman, i'm not sure how much more time i have left. i just wanted to -- >> congressman, can i make one comment? i apologize, it comes to my mind based on your question. i want to remind everyone in general, fisa targets in general has nothing to do with 702. 702 is collection overseas against nonu.s. persons. >> right. and wh we' talking about here is incidentally if a u.s. person is talking to a foreign person that we're listening to, whether or not that person is unmass aked -- >> i just want to make sure we
understand the context. >> and whether or not someone in the intelligent community that we put the trust in is going to leak that information too the press for whatever reason. . and i'm not even going to get into the gratuitous what that reason may be. but it's really going to hurt the people on this committee and you on the when we try to retain this tool this year and convince some of our could when someone in the intelligence community says you know, what to hell with, it i'm going to release this person's name because i'm going to get something out of it. we're all going to be murt by that? >> yes, sir. >> mr. >> the committee sent to you on march 15th a letter -- yeah, to admiral rodgers and direct or
comey. have you had a chance to look at this letter? >> yes, sir, i in fact have given you a reply on the 17th. >> just real quickly because i don't want to take up any more time, can you give us a sense of how many unmasked people were disseminated from june 26 to june 17. >> no, sir, we're in the occasion of woman tiling that can you tell us broadly who was reloved, donald janchts trump -- >> i won't answer until i complete the research. >> assuming they released information related to the trump or clinton campaign, would that have been a reason for unmasking? >> i apolize. i don't understand the question. >> let me move on to the next one. along those lines, if the nsa had wanted to disseminate
unmasked u.s. person's information related to either the presidential campaign, who in the. >> again, it would have been one of the 20 and i approach described that in my initial response to the committee. i've outlined the specific 20 individuals. >> thank you, admiral. i preesh your answers. i look forward to working with you on the subcommittee moving forward. mr. >> we'll begin it line of questioning and finish it the next round. fisa and other similar related vital, many of us on both sides of the aisle believe isis and similar counterterrorist programs prevent terror attacks and save lives. but they are intentionally
designed to observe the privacy of u.s. -- to make sure the kmfgs collected is used only for legitimate national security and criminal investigative purposes. there are statuary safeguards, there are warrants based on probable cause, there is aifiesia court that is involved, there are audits on the back end and we think show highly of this information, it is for up to ten years in if tt. all of this was done to make sure this information gathered remains protected as it relates to u.s. citizens. the way i view it, director comey, the people will we are
going to give you the tls to keep us safe, even if it infringes on our privacy some. we're going to give you the tools and government in return promises to safeguard the prom sis of u.s. citizens. and when that deal is pon, it jeopardizes american trust in the surveillance program. so let me ask you, do you agree fisa is critical to our national rour rour were they intentionally designed to safeguard the elements of u.s. persons? >> there are other elements but that's the primary goal. >> it wasn't an after thought, an accident. these are intentional safeguards we put in place to protect u.s. citizens? >> correct. >> do you believe much of what is learned from these programs
is classified or otherwise legally protected? >> all fiez a applications, review by the court, collection by us pursuant to our advise a. >> -- of classified and legally classified material pun ishl as a felony with up to ten years in federal prison. >> as it should be. >> in january of this year "the washington post" reported according to a senior u.s. government official a named u.s. citiz citizen, and i will not use the name, a named u.s. citizen phoned the russian ambassador several times on december the 29th. in february of this year, "the washington post" reported nine -- nine current and former officials who were in senior
positions at multiple agencies at the time of the call, spoke on the within of anonymity to and that officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and diplomatic cables. in february of this year, the "new york times" reported a u.s. citizen whose namely not use discusses sanctions with the russian ambassador in a phone call according to officials who have seen a transcript of the wi wiretaped conversation. and again in february of this year, the "new york times" reported on a phone call involving a u.s. citizen, including significant discussions of often records,