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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 17, 2018 11:29am-1:30pm EDT

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consistently conservative record than i have, but i have to say that this is something that would undo a lot of what we accomplished with the last vote to allow us to start rebuilding our system. we got in a position where we didn't have the brigade combat teams that were adequately prepared to go to battle. we had 60% of our f-18's were not flying. all of these things we're trying to recover from. we have now started that recovery. and my concern is, and senator graham i think said it very well, that in the event we pass this -- it should pass, it won't, but if it should that's going to be a problem and a problem that we can't overcome. right now our number one concern should be defending this nation, and this is the opportunity to -- to at least let people know that there is a legitimate vote for conservatives to vote
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for a strong national defense. i don't want to send the signal to our kids overseas, our kids in battles in harm's way that we are not going to take care of their needs as we just started just a year ago to do and we've got to continue that for the sake of our national security. i suggest that you vote against the rand proposal. the presiding officer: the question on the motion to proceed to s. con. 36. the yeas and nays are previously ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or wishing to change their vote? seeing none, the ayes are 21. the nays are 76. and the motion to proceed is not agreed to. the senator from virginia hoff will the senator yield? -- mr. inhofe: will the senator yield? a senator: the senator will -year-old. mr. inhofe: i appreciate that very much. i want to make a brief statement
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about the vote just made. there wasn't time before the vote. that is, right now we have more threats than we've ever had in the history of this country. i think we all realize that. we think -- general dunford said we're losing our quantitative advantage over our adversaries. he's talking about russia and china. we have adversaries out there that are actually ahead of us in terms of their capabilities and artillery in other areas. so here we are and quite frankly, this vote -- we knew i was going to come out. i have here the same vote that took place the last five years and came out the same way as before. the point is even though it wasn't going to pass, the problem you have is sending a message to our kids that are out there in harm's way. and i think that we look and we see that we have started our road to recovery, and it's been an exciting thing to happen because we came so close to
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being in a position where our brigade combat teements, a -- combat teams, a third of them didn't work. our f-35's in the field, the marines couldn't use less than half of them. all these things were going on because of what has happened to our military. so finally we turned the corner. we turned the corner on the last vote, not the one we took today but the one we took a few months ago. we are now rebuilding our military. i had breakfast this morning with the secretary of the army and with the chief of the army and really good things are happening. i can't think of anything worse than to send a message to our kids in the field that we are going to go back and undo the positive things that have pulled us up into a competitive position. so for the sake of our military, for the sake of defending america, the vote there was to vote against that and not send the wrong message to our kids in harm's way. i thank the expwra for field -- the gentleman for yielding to
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me. mr. warner: i ask that the senate reassume consideration of the house resolution. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: i want to thank my friend, the chairman of the committee from south carolina. we've gone through a lot over the last couple ever years, and i appreciate the fact of timing wise that he's going to allow me to speak first on gina haspel. gina haspel is among the most qualified people nominated to be director of the c.i.a. she served with the agency for 33 years including tours as a case officer, four times as a station chief. the deputy chief of natural resources division, the deputy director of the national clandestine service and currently as deputy director of the agencies. in many ways, her story is representative of the thousands of people at the agency and throughout the intelligence community who serve quietly without recognition. and often at great personal risk in order to keep our nation safe from those who wish to do us harm.
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in addition, while she has not emphasized this, we should not overlook the historic nation of her nomination as the first woman to be nominated as director of the c.i.a. seeing her portrait in the halls of the agency next to the long line of former directors will be a long overdue but important breakthrough for the intelligence community. and i would also note that as the senator from virginia, the home to thousands of c.i.a. personnel and the vice chairman of the intelligence committee, i've heard from many agency officers, and for that matter, members of the rank and file of other intelligence community agencies. and almost to a person this rank and file has supported her nomination. let me be clear. this has not been an easy decision for me. over the past several weeks i've healed multiple meetings and calls with miss haspel and many others about her record and her character. in our open hearing committee, in our open hearing, i raised question about her involvement
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with the rendition detention and interrogation program. and if she were to be confirmed, her willingness to push back if trump, president trump asked her to undertake any immoral or legally questionable activity. i questioned her willingness to declassify to the extent possible more information about her background at the agency. i still wish more could be done to discuss her background in an open setting. the agency just recently has declassified more information about her service with the counterterrorism center. i thank them for that. but still believe it would have been preferrable if we could have found a way to be even more transparent. if she's confirmed as director, i will encourage miss haspel to keep this in mind. to those here who have concluded that miss haspel's background with the r.d.i. practice should preclude her from leading the c.i.a., i respect their
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arguments and i know the passion with which they put forward their position. i my will struggle with this point. many people at the c.i.a. participated in the program. they were told it was legal by the justice department and ordered by the president. but some of the actions undertaken were repugnant and amounted to torture. since those days, america has had a long debate about the standards that we as a nation can and should apply to the treatment of detainees regardless of who they might be. that is why i was one of the 17 cosponsors in the senate of the mccain-feinstein amendment to prohibit torture and to prohibit any interrogation techniques not authorized by the u.s. army field manner. that's why i voted to both approve and to declassify the senate intelligence committee's extensive study of the r.d.i. program. i strongly believe that we as americans have a duty to look squarely at our mistakes and to
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not sweep them under the rug. but to learn from them and in the future to do better. nor do i believe that we can excuse torture or the way in which detainees no matter who they were or what crimes they were guilty of were treated. we are better than that and we need a c.i.a. director who will ensure in an ironclad way that we will never return to those days, that we will follow the law as enacted by congress. this is why i pushed miss haspel both in our hearings and our private meetings on this very point. what is her view now of the r.d.i. program and how will she react if she were asked as director to undertake something similar in the future. in both our one on one meetings and classified sessions before the committee, i found acting director haspel to be forthcoming regarding her views on that program. however, i thought it was important that she say this in public, not just privately,
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which is why i asked her to memorialize those comments in writing. gina haspel wrote and i quote, with the benefit of hindsight, my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the c.i.a. should have undertaken. end of quote. i believe this is a clear statement of growth as a leader and learning from mistakes of the past. and while i also wish that she would have been more forceful, i also understand her reluctance to contend the many men and women at the agency who thought they were doing the right thing at that time. i first met gina at one of her overseas postings, but i didn't really get to work with her until this last year when the former director appointed her to be deputy director of the agency. over the last year, i found her to be professional and forthright with our intelligence committee. i've had the ability to have candid, unfiltered discussions
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with her, whether the challenge we confront is north korea, isis terrorists, or the long-term challenges of countries like china and russia. i will feel safer knowing that the c.i.a. has miss haspel at the helm. most importantly, i believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president, who will speak truth to power, and if this president orders her to do something illegal or immoral, like return to torture, she will refuse. i believe this not just because she's told me so or because she wrote it in a letter or even because she said it in front of the committee under oath. i believe it though as well because i've heard it from people who worked with her for years, people who know and trust her. john brennan, jim mattis, leon and many others who served presidents of both parties. every one of them has said they
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trusted her to push back on actions that might be inappropriate coming from this president. i furthermore believe she's someone who will push back and push back strongly against any attempts by this president to undercut, denigrate, or ignore the professional men and women of the c.i.a. and their responsibility again first and foremost to speak truth to power whatever the political implications may be. it is for these reasons that i am supporting gina haspel's nomination to be the director of the c.i.a. i respect my colleagues who have made a different decision. this is not an easy choice. i, too, have spent weeks working through it. but at the end of the day and as we vote hopefully later this afternoon, i believe gina haspel should be confirmed. i look forward to supporting her. i look forward to her being a good director of the c.i.a. i look forward to her performance convincing those who could not support her today that
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her long-term value to our country will make our nation safer and she will act in accordance with the principles and values of our country. with that, madam president, i will yield the floor and 30 seconds to my colleague, the chairman of the committee. i want to thank him as well for continuing to push not only ms. haspel but the agency, the department of justice, and others to make sure that members of the committee and to another extent members of the senate had as much access to information as ever before in any c.i.a. director. i value the working relationship with the committee. sometimes we -- with the chairman. we don't always agree, but we always deal with this in a straightforward manner. with that, madam president, i yield the floor to my dear friend, the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: i thank the vice chairman of the intelligence committee and would also reiterate what he said. this is one of the last bipartisan committees of the
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hill. it should be. it's because we're entrusted with seeing things and hearing things that nobody else can, and verifying that we live within the letter of the law, the presidential directive for the less of the 85 members of the senate and the american people. we take that very seriously. mr. president, i rise today in support of gina haspel, the president's nominee to be the next director of the central intelligence agency. ms. haspel has been asked to lead one of our nation's most treasured assets, an agency that works in the shadows. it requires a leader with unwavering integrity who will ensure the organization operates lawfully, ethically, and morally. gina was born in kentucky. she was the oldest of five children. her father was an air force lifer, let's say. she traveled from place to
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place. she told her dad one day that she wanted to go to west point, only to hear her dad very gently remind her that west point did not invite women. that did not dilute her sense of service. after graduating from the university of kentucky, gina went on to work as a contractor with the tenth special forces work. it was at fort devin she learned about the c.i.a. a place where she could serve her country along with other women, doing clandestine work around the world. this excited her. in 1985, gina swore an oath to defend the constitution and began a 30-plus-year career of service at the agency. since that day, gina haspel has developed extensive overseas experience and served as chief of station in several locations around the world that we can't mention, but i can tell my colleagues that every time i have traveled abroad to a
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location that gina was the chief of station, i got the most thorough brief from the most organized station that i have had the opportunity to see. in washington, she has consistently proven herself a strong leader, rising to the role of deputy director of the national clandestine service and then deputy director of the entire central intelligence agency. those who saw her approach to that role say she served as a peacemaker, a general, a tough advocate for people, and a clear, steady guide for an agency dealing with a complex web of rural crises. i believe ms. haspel's experience, her dedication to service, and judgment make her a natural fit to lead the c.i.a. as it enters a period of profound change and uncertainty. she is, by many accounts, the
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most qualified person the president could have chosen to lead the c.i.a. and the most prepared individual in the 70-year history of this agency. she is intimately familiar with the threats facing our nation where others can discuss world events, gina haspel has lived those events. she has no learning curve. she has acted morally, ethically, and legally over a distinguished 30-year career. she has earned the respect of the agency workforce, of her peers, of republicans, of democrats, of military officers, of civilian security leaders, evidenced by the number of letters received in support of her nomination too numerous to read. gina has also the courage to speak truth to power. she has demonstrated that courage time and time again. she has a clear-eyed vision for the agency and its future.
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informed by her career and her past experiences. previous outside leaders of the c.i.a. have worked hard to understand the agency they were asked to run, but when a case officer just back from a war zone describes to gina the credibility of a newly recruited asset and the challenges of dodging checkpoints to get to a meeting with a source, she knows all the right questions to ask because she has been there, she has done that. for all these reasons, i support gina haspel to be the next director of the central intelligence agency, but i'm also mindful of the historic nature of gina haspel's nomination and what it means for those first tour case officers and junior analysts that will join the agency this year and in years to come. as i said at miss haspel's nomination hearing, outside the
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agency workforce, not many americans get an opportunity to walk the halls of the old headquarters building. those who do after entering encounter a series of portraits depicting pictures of former o.s.s. and central intelligence agency, as its name has morphed. some of these directors were loved, some were controversial. some little understood the agency they were asked to lead. some made disastrous decisions out of hubris or inexperience or both. but one thing is common -- all the portraits are of men. many want to make gina's nomination about one small piece of the agency's past. madam president, if that were the standard that this institution applies, john brennan would have never been confirmed as the director of the central intelligence agency because when he was at the
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agency, he was fourth in command versus gina haspel who was a gs-15. most of us, though, are looking towards the agency's future. averill haines, morrow park and many others who have served or are currently serving have cracked the glass at the agency. gina is poised to break it. it may be impossible to measure the importance of that breakthrough, but i do know that it will send a signal to the current workforce and to the workforce of the future that a lifetime of commitment to the agency and its mission can and will be rewarded. to those walking for hours to get to a source meeting, to those officers that stay up all night preparing for the presidential daily brief, to those making tough calls about putting their people in harm's
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way to secure the intelligence, we need to keep our country safe. to those who find a needle in a haystack, catch the bad guys, find the weapon shipments, and come home and walk past a wall of stars at the agency, know that we support you and we support the job you do. you deserve a director who understands who you are, what you do, what you can do, and what you should do. you deserve a director who understands your sacrifice and has a clear vision for the future of the agency and its mission. you deserve gina haspel. i ask this body this afternoon when the senate reconvenes that we confirm gina haspel as director of the central intelligence agency without further delay. i thank the president. i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cruz: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cruz: madam president, i have five requests for committees to meet today during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and the minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. cruz: madam president, i rise today to give thanks and celebration for the united states' embassy established in the city of jerusalem and for the continued safety and security of the jewish people in israel and across the world. almost exactly 70 years ago, israel's founding father, david
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bengerrian, brought together people in the jewish people's council at a tel aviv museum to declare the founding of the state of israel. 11 minutes later, president harry s. truman courageously recognized the state of israel, over the objection of many of his advisors and the state department. and the fates of our two countries have been intertwined ever since. until this week when the u.s. embassy was finally, finally, finally moved to jerusalem, recognizing that it is the eternal capital of the jewish people and the undivided capital of israel, i was proud to have traveled to jerusalem along with my fellow senators for the official opening of the new embassy. it was an incredible honor to witness history unfolding.
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a joyous moment for israelis, for americans, a moment of history. i had the opportunity to visit with prime minister benjamin netanyahu about the incredible significance of ending the 70 years of discrimination that israel had faced. no other country on earth did america have our embassy in a city other than its capital city. it was only israel where our embassy was not in the capital. and i would note that for many years, presidents of both parties, democrats and republicans, have campaigned, promising that they would move the embassy to jerusalem, which is the capital of the nation, and yet presidents of both parties have failed to do so.
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i commend president trump for honoring that campaign commitment, for delivering on that campaign commitment. moving our embassy to jerusalem is an acknowledgment of undeniable truth that jerusalem is in fact the capital of the nation of israel. it is where we find the ken nettest. it is where we find the supreme court. it is where we find the prime minister. it is where we find the president of israel. it is the capital city, and now our embassy reflects that fact. but moving an embassy and recognizing jerusalem as the capital of israel has significance beyond that. it has significance because it is an unmistakable message to our friends and to our enemies that the united states stands with our friends and stands
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unshakeably alongside the nation of israel. there was considerable debate within the administration about if and when to move the embassy. that's been true in prior administrations as well. considerable debate. and the principal argument against moving the embassy has always been that the enemies of israel wouldn't like it. well, that, i believe, is yet another reason why this was the right thing to do. there were some who made the case that moving the embassy would diminish the chances of peace in the middle east. now, i'll confess, i am skeptical that peace will be attained anytime soon. i don't believe the impediment to peace in the middle east is the nation of israel.
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israel wants peace. it is israeli babies who are being murdered by the terrorists. the barrier to peace -- i don't believe we will see peace in the middle east unless and until the palestinian leadership, number one, acknowledges israel's right to exist as a jewish state and, number two, renounces terrorism. as long as the palestinian leaders are engaged in a unity government with hamas, an avowed terrorist organization, seeking to destroy the nation of israel and murder innocent israelis, peace will not be had. but what i urge president trump and have urged the administration is that moving the embassy increases, i believe, the chance of peace. why is that? because it demonstrates that
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america stands strong, stands by our friends, and is not shaken, is not buffetted by probably meetia -- by global media opinion. i suggested to the administration that our arab allies in the nation, they publicly would denounce the move. they would have to for domestic political concerns. however, i believe privately those allies -- the egyptians, the jordanians, the saudis -- privately would be relieved that america moved our embassy. why is that? because an american president, an administration strong enough to move the embassy and stand up to the nattering neighbobs in the press might also be a president and administration strong enough stand up to iran, to end the catastrophic obama-iranian nuclear deal and to do whatever is necessary to
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prevent the ayatollah khomeini from getting nuclear weapons. and indeed we saw that assessment was true. i think it is quite fitting that the opening of the new embassy occurred just days apart from the president making the historic decision to pull out of the disastrous obama-iran nuclear deal. we are seeing the difference between strength and weakness. if history teaches anything, it is that weakness and appeasement do not work. and instead i think america is far better when we pursue policies of peace through strength. we all recognize there are those who rage against the existence of the state of israel.
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there are the ayatollahs of iran who swear death to israel and death to america. indeed, who refer to israel as the little satan and america as the great satan. and who finance terrorism at israel's doorstep and across the world. there are the terrorists of hamas who seized control of the gaza strip over a decade ago after israel had already fully withdrawn from the territory. but the last several months, hamas has been organizing civilian mobs with terrorist cells embedded throughout to attack israel's border and the soldiers stationed there. they call the riots the march of return. in reference to what they call their right of return, which is
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a euphemism for having millions proliferate descendants of palestinians flood into israeli and destroy the modern state of israel, end its existence as a jew usual state. hamas timed their weeks of riots to culminate this week during what they call nakba day. madam president, we should understand that. they denounce every year when israel celebrates the creation of the modern state of israel. hamas mourns the catastrophe, to use their word, that israel even exists. but, inevitably, in these
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battles for survival that israel faces daily, we can count on global media elites acting as little more than propaganda arms for hamas and other terrorists. and no week has that been more evident than this week madam president, i direct you to the front page of "the new york times" from this week. "the new york times" is headlined, "israel kills dozens at gaza border as u.s. embassy opens in jerusalem." anyone reading this headline, goodness gracious! why are the israelis murdering people? that's what "the new york times" says. one takes from the coverage apparently poor, innocent, unarmed people are being shot
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for no reason by israel. that's certainly what the global media elite are portraying. what are the actual facts? you remember facts, the things that used to be reported when journalists were actually being journalists and not propagandists. let's talk about the facts. for several weeks we've seen riots and violent attacks at israel's border, terrorist attacks that culminated in the attacks that led to these shootings in self-defense. the rioters, they use massive tire fires, which create smoke to cover their attacks. they use guns. they use pipe bombs. they use molotov cocktails, they
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use grenades. they use mechanical catapults to attack the border and a tack israeli troops. they tie petrobombs to kites, and they launch them to set fire to israeli fields and livestoc livestocks. the kites -- well, let's take a look at the kites. the kites that they use are painted with swastikas, just so you're not confused about their motivations. these are pictures taken a couple of weeks ago of kites, of images of swastikas by the hamas terrorists with gasoline bombs designed to commit murder and mayhem. the palestinians in the riots, they don't hide their motives or intentions. it is not that "the new york times" can't figure it out.
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it's that they don't care. one 23-year-old rioter said, quote, we are excited to storm and get inside. understand that if he got -- and that if he got across the border, he would do whatever is possible to kill, throw stones. madam president, i would note, a violent terrorism attacking the border, seeking to murder people is not a peaceful protester. as the useful idiots in the media falsely portray them. another hamas terrorist who was flying a swastika kite told n.p.r. -- and this is a quote -- this is a quite that's going to -- this is a kite that's going to go to the jews. the jews go crazy for hitler when they see it. this is actually what we want them to know, that we want to
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burn them. now, let me remind you again of "the new york times" headline. "the new york times" headline says, "israel kills dozens at gaza border," kills dozens of what, of whom? do they say terrorists? do they say hamas terrorists flying swastika kites filled with gasoline seeking to murder israelis who say, quote, this is actual what i we want them to know, that we want to burn them? a rational person, when hearing about brave soldiers protecting innocent civilians from terrorists seeking to murder them, that is a good thing when terrorists are stopped before they can carry out their acts of terror. but "the new york times" can't
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be bothered to include those facts. there is a message to be conveyed. and for anyone lacking nuance or subtlety, their message is simple -- israel bad. israel bad. that's their whole subtlety. and mind you, the bodies of those poor, helpless little terrorists. well, you know, when a terrorist seeks to commit murder, we do everything possible to prevent them from doing so. so when you read the headline, understand this is who "the new york times" is celebrating. i'll ask you, madam president, why wasn't the swastika on the cover of "the new york times"? might people understand it differently if they actually showed photographs of what was happening? one of hamas' facebook pages posted maps with directions to
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nearby israeli communities. where thousands of israeli live within two miles of the border. you look at this map, this map is posted -- you don't understand. these protesters are not just there saying, you know, make love, man, not war. "the new york times" wants to paint them as some happy little hippies with daisies in their ears. just give peace a chance. you know, john and yoko are among them. why is hamas posting this map saying, if you cross the border, here's where the israeli communities are to go and murder israelis? here's the map. if you make it across the border, here's where you can find victims to kill as many of them as possible. they're not hiding their intentions. this is not subtle. if you get across the border, your target is wherever you can
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find jews to kill. these are the terrorists that "the new york times" celebrates -- "kills dozens." why is it is that "the new york times" doesn't mention the ma the maps that they have to israeli homes to murder innocent women and children, to kill as many jews as possible? here's a partial list. -- of what happened on the border over just a few hours an monday. at 12:53 p.m. there were five pipe bomb detonations. at 12:58, another explosive device was detonated. at 1:15, a terror cell opened
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fire at israeli soldiers who caught them trying to plant bombs. at 1:30, there was another shooting attack at israeli soldiers. at is:45, there was yet another shooting attack. this time by a terror cell of hate using the rioters as cover, as human shields. at 2:09 there were three more bomb debt nations. at 3:13 there was a molotov cocktail attack. at 2:49 there was another molotov cocktail attack. at 3:10 there was yet another bobbing team. and so on -- another bomb attack. and so on and so on and so on. that's just two hours. where in "the new york times" headlines, and sadly this is emblematic of much of the global media elite who are unified in their antagonism of the state of israel, where is any
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acknowledgement? pipe bombs, molotov cocktails, shooting? how would this headline read differently if violent hamas terrorists open fire on israelis who defend innocent civilians taking the lives of the terrorists? that actually would be news, that actually would be factual, that actually would be describing what happened instead of becoming propaganda for the terrorists. strategy for these riots, for these terror attacks, it's a win-win for hamas if they breach israel, then their terrorists can rush into israeli towns, try to kidnap and kill israeli civilians. if they fail to breach the fence, they attack the fence and
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israeli spoerldz defend israel. and if they're shot, then they know that the media, are the useful idiots, will provide endless photographs and stories denouncing israel. how dare you kill terrorists before they're able to murder innocent civilians. the media has been more than happy to oblige hamas' propaganda needs. reporters, celebrity talking heads and members of our political establishment have faithfully and enthusiastically parroted the hamas line. they say that the riots are the fault of the united states for moving our embassy and that the rioters are peaceful and unarmed protesters. there's a word for that. it's called a lie. and when so-called journalists
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repeatedly and deliberately lie in the name of propaganda, well, they shouldn't be priced to have earned -- shouldn't be surprised to have earned the moniker fake news. the hamas talking points which are print bid our media are aimed at whitewashing the terrorist genocidal hatred of israel. in fact, these attacks are waged because hamas refuses to accept the existence of israel. mind you, gaza, they control. israel doesn't govern gaza. hamas governs gaza. this is an attack on the border of israel seeking to murder innocent civilians. "the new york times" has been unremitting in its dishonesty. they told their tens of thousands of facebook followers that israel, quote, used tear gas and gunfire to keep
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palestinian protesters from crossing the border fence with gaza, killing at least 52, according to palestinian officials. 40 miles away officials celebrated the u.s. embassy's relocation to jerusalem. once again -- this is "the new york times" pretending to report. israel used tear gas and gunfire to keep palestinian protesters from crossing the border fence with gaza, killing at least 52. these are not protesters. these are terrorists seeking to murder people. when you call a terrorist a peaceful and unarmed protester, directly contrary to the facts, you're not engaged in journalism. you're pursuing a political
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agenda on the pages of the old gray lady. their website's headline on monday blared, israel kills 58 and injures over 1,300 by gunfire at gaza border. a mass attempt by palestinians to cross the border fence quickly turned violent as israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire. gosh, where in their headlines, where in their coverage is any mention that these are terrorists with bombs and guns and molotov cocktails and kites carrying gasoline? i don't know, these why just protesters who for no reason whatsoever, those bad, bad israelis decided to shoot. they just got up and said let's just shoot a bunch of people. that's what the "new york times"
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tells us. for no reason whatsoever, they just began firing into the crowd. by the way, if you go into the fever swamps of social media and you see the left, "the new york times" knows what its appropriate began do does. it's not hard to find people on twitter suggesting that for no reason israel began shooting people because shooting people is fun. remember their message is not complicated. israel bad. and so if israel bad, then you just start shooting people because that's what you approach a monday morning. that's the message, and it's heard by social media. it's heard by anti-semites across the globe. it plays into vicious blood libels that go back millennium. it happens to be a lie. not an accidental misstatement. a deliberate, calculated,
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repeated lie. undoubtedly, tragically some of those killed have been palestinian, civilian human shields. this is by design, madam president. part of what hamas does is it uses terrorists to commit acts of terror. then it uses innocent palestinians as human shields trying to get them killed because that serves their propaganda purposes. consistently during these riots, it's turned out that a great many of the deaths are of the actual hamas terrorists picked off while planting bombs and attacking israeli soldiers. the american military had been able to shoot the terrorists on 9/11 who flew airplanes into the world trade center, who flew an
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airplane into the pentagon. the military had been able to stop those terrorists and shoot those terrorists. and with the "new york times" reading, the headline would read american military shoots peaceful flying passengers. when you stop a terrorist seeking to commit murder, it is not shooting a peaceful protester. during past riots, hamas has acknowledged that up to 80% of those killed were terrorists. this time around already, between one-third and one half of those killed have been identified as terrorists. look, this is hamas telling you this. the people being shot are avowed terrorists. there's no dispute that hamas is
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a terrorist orgsz. -- organization. there is no dispute these are their marytrs, these are the terrorists that we have sent who were killed. where was the word terrorist in the coverage? you saw on tv images of violence on the border juxtaposed with the image of the embassy unveiling. no doubt intended to put the blame for the attempted terrorism, to put the blame on the united states. how dare the united states of america actually stand with israel. how dare america open an embassy in the capital of israel. the blame for the violence lies with the terrorists, not america for standing with our friend. you know what? these terrorists, they hated israel.
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they hated jews. and they hated america before we moved our embassy. and their come -- compatriots hate america, hate jews after we moved the embassy. their religious zealot try is the cause of the murder, of the violence. the hamas spokesman went further on tv and said that in the last round of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were hamas. gosh, madam president, "the new york times" just said a bunch of unarmed protesters were standing there when for no reason israeli soldiers began shooting them. what complete mendacity. hamas admits these are hamas
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terrorists. and yet, the media does all they can to hide that. imagine the outrage if when the american embassy in benghazi was attacked by al sharia in 2012. a newspaper has printed, quote, americans kill dozens of libyans. by the way, that's the exact same headline "the new york times" did. yes, protesters coming to commit murder. soldiers fight back to stop them from committing murder. fortunately even "the new york times" didn't quite have the gall to say that. but the facts are comparable. the blame for all of the deaths, whether terrorists or human shields, is on hamas and hamas
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alone. any implication otherwise is nothing less than shameful support for genocidal terrorism. in 2014, i introduced in this body bipartisan legislation along with new york senator kirsten gillibrand, a democrat, support israel's right to self-defense and condemning hamas' barbaric tactics. specifically condemning the use of human shields as a war crime. that resolution passed the united states senate unanimously, and it passed the house of representatives unanimously. and yet, we see the tactic yet again. these terrorists using human shields, using innocent palestinians as human shields precisely because they want them to die, because they can trust
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the global media to carry their message. a few years back when israel faced rocket attacks from hamas one after the other after the other, hamas had its headquarters in the basement of a hospital. indeed some years ago i wrote an op-ed entitled a tale of two hospitals. it said you can tell a lot about a society about how they treat their most vulnerable. it compared two hospitals, one the ziff hospital in northern israel which i visited. at the time the ziv hospital provided over $8 million in free medical care to syrians badly wounded in the civil war playing out in syria. freely caring for their neighbors being murdered by their own head of government. the op-ed contrasted that
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hospital to the hospital in gaza in whose basement hamas had their headquarters. for hamas, it was a win-win scenario. option a is that israel refrains from hitting the headquarters because it is in the basement of a hospital. that's obviously a win because then the terrorist headquarters doesn't get targeted in. that ultimately is what happened. and the israel forces did not hit hamas' headquarters. but option two from hamas' perspective is also a win. if israel did strike at their headquarters, a military target that was launching military attacks tried to murder israelis, then the result would be pictures of dead bodies on cnn and "the new york times,"
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pictures of patients at that hospital being used as human shields. it is hamas desiring the death of little palestinian babies, newborn in the maternity ward because they knew if israel actually took out hamas' headquarters, they could take those babies who hamas used as human shields, and they could count on the "new york times." can -- can you imagine the headline in "the new york times"? israel bombs babies. it's not marketedly different. from their headline israel kills dozens at gaza border. it's propaganda. as long as hamas has leaders who manipulate them, who lie to the
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palestinian people, who lie to the world, and who use human shields in their bloody terrorist campaign against israel, there can never be hope for peace or prosperity. israel has the right to defend itself, and israel is defending itself. i only wish our global media had some tiny passing qualm of guilt to at least pretend to report the news. to at least pretend to tell the truth. to not function as hamas' propaganda agents. but instead to tell the truth that when hamas terrorists say with their nazi swastika kite bombs that we want the israelis to know we want them to burn,
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these are the facts they need to report. even if it happens to disagree with their political agenda of undermining the state of israel. but, fortunately, mr. president, regardless of the partisan bias, regardless of the propaganda, as "the new york times" and other global media outlets put out, america, the american people stand and will continue to stand unshakeably -- unshakeably alongside our friends and allies, the people of israel, and we have reason to celebrate. when i was in jerusalem just a couple of days ago, i visited with person after person, israeli and american, who were
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reduced to tears. some holocaust survivors. the phrase i heard more often than anything else was i thought i would never live to see the day. well, we did live to see the day. america's embassy should have been in jerusalem 70 years ago. it should have been there 60 years ago. it should have been there 50 years ago. 20 years ago, one year ago. but, fortunately, america's embassy is where it belongs today, in jerusalem, the once and eternal undivided capital of israel. jerusalem was the capital of israel 3,000 years ago and jerusalem is the capital of
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israel today and the united states government recognizes that and just as harry truman did 70 years ago is leading the rest of the world to follow suit. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: will the senator withhold your request? mr. cruz: i will. mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i thank the journalists of this country who are not enemies of the people and do their jobs explaining complicated issues and fight every day to do things as straightforwardly and honestly as they can. so i start with that. mr. president, each year during police week we honor our law. officials and the families who support them. had they all -- they all give so much in commitment to their communities and too many give the ultimate sacrifice to keep
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us safe. mr. president, i mentioned, and the families for an important reason. the families whether it's families of soldiers or marines, families of deputy sheriffs, families of police officers, families of police chiefs, families of f.b.i. agents, they share the anxiety and the fears -- the anxiety and concerns for their loved ones that are so important and we always honor them too. this year, mr. president, we'll add the names of 360 officers to the national law enforcement memorial, including the names of ten ohioans of we lost six of those ohioans years or decades ago. their service will now be recognized on the memorial. we pause to honor franklin stone, frank morrison, donald orville mcglothland, martin stanton, bradley thomas scott,
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samuel john mant z. we also honor four who laid their lives last year, officer amee, chief desa rirch o, patrolman mart ib inn wear, patrolman justin leo. each of these losses is a loss for families, our community and fellow police officers. we will add two more, officer eric guron and officer gerd. they laid down their lives and service to their communities and their country just a few months ago in february. we cannot begin to repay the debt we owe them, we owe their families. we can work to support their families and their fellow
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officers as they work to compete our community safe. this year is part of the spending passage the children of hero scholarship act to offer scholarships to those parents who lost their lives in the line of duty. this spring i led a bipartisan group of senators in calling for full funding of the bulletproof vest partnership. last year we secured $21 million for the partnership that gives officers the safety equipment they need. bulletproof vests save lives. i hope we can pass the bipartisan power act. i am working with my colleagues, portman, schumer, markey, and capito. deadly illegal fentanyls are too common in our states.
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it is why we worked together and the president signed a bipartisan interdict act and we need to give law enforcement the same access to screen for fentanyl and carfentanil. on tuesday ohio law enforcement gathered in my office for a demonstration showing how they can use these screening devices to enhance their ability to investigate drug crimes while protecting themselves and the ohioans they serve. they serve us. they protect us. we should do all we can in this body to serve them and protect them, making a very dangerous job -- jobs that police officers do every day, making those jobs just a little bit safer. some ohio cities use these devices already. one officer at the demonstration from the twinsburg police department said his office could use that equipment right now. our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. this police week we owe them
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more than gratitude and we must support the selfless men and women who serve our communities and country every single day. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i ask unanimous consent to vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, as the senate moves to vote on the nomination to head the c.i.a., here is the bottom line. while the american people have been told that gina haspel likes johnny cash and talked to mother teresa, ms. haspel has been exercising the unprecedented power to personally censor any facts about her that might get in the way of her nomination. when the senate votes on a nomination, when all the relevant information is by
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design kept secret, how is this any different than a coverup? i regret to have to say the surrender of the senate's responsibility to conduct real oversight of this nominee means that gina haspel has been given a pass on all the most important and the most relevant issues. i'm going to start with three. the first is, what was her opinion about the c.i.a.'s torture program when it was happening? "the washington post" newspaper reported that unnamed officials were pushing back against accusations that she had supported torture. now, ms. haspel said she learned about the program in 2002. i believe that it is especially
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important to know what her views were later between 2005 and 2007 when the c.i.a. itself was winding the program down. at that time did ms. haspel call for the program to be continued or expanding? i asked her that in an open intelligence meeting. she did not come close to answering that crucial question. number two. what was her role in the destruction of the torture case? mr. president, the nominee's story here is riddled with holes and key facts have been covered up.
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now, one matter that we know about is that her boss at the time, mr. jose rodriguez, has publicly contradicted her account of the handling of the destruction of the torture tapes to a pulitzer-prize winning journalist. and, number three, how can the senate possibly take seriously ms. haspel's confirmation conversion on torture that was submitted on the eve of a crucial vote? there's been a lot of reporting in the press saying that she personally played a role in the c.i.a. torture program. the american people deserve to know whether those reports are true. every single material question to her about them has been met with stonewalling and evasion
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instead of real responses, ms. haspel offered possibly the latest confirmation conversion in history 16 years after she first learned about the torture program and only just before a vote on her confirmation earlier. mr. president, over and over again, i and other senators have insisted that ms. haspel declassify information about her background that would not in any way compromise the safety of the american people. this is information that is directly relevant to her nomination. and in the language of the intelligence community, i've read it. the overwhelming bulk of this information can be declassified without compromising sources and
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methods. yet, every single time a senator pushed for declassification, gina haspel said no. despite our repeated requests, she decided she would not allow the american people to know who she is and what has she done. this has been and again, it's painful to have to say this, a stark failure of senate oversight, and it is about as flagrant an example as i have ever seen. the senate should have stood up to this self-serving abuse of power but it did not. for me, it's democracy 101 that confirmations are not supposed to take place in secret. nominees don't get to decide what is known about them. yet, this core principle, core principle of our democracy had
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just been chucked in the trash. instead of standing up for the constitution and for the american people, the senate could be rewarding gina haspel and the c.i.a. for this extraordinary and self-serving abuse of power. now, with respect to other issues, it's important to note that the agency again under the direction of ms. haspel has also conducted an unprecedented influence campaign to promote her confirmation. this, too, is wrong. the c.i.a., like every government agency, works for the american people. it's not supposed to use its enormous power to serve the personal interests of whoever is running it. classification rules are there for national security. they're not there for the political security of an
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individual. they're there to protect the dedicated women and men who undertake dangerous missions under cover. they're not there to shield a nominee for a senate-confirmed job from scrutiny. i and a number of my colleagues have looked at the classified information about ms. haspel and concluded it can be released to the public without compromising sources and methods. so we asked how she could justify keeping it secret. her answer almost always is, that's how we always protect our officers. now, i want people to understand what's wrong with that statement. of course, of course the c.i.a. must protect undercover c.i.a. officers. i don't take a back seat to anybody in this chamber for protecting those people who are
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undercover. in fact, i wrote a law with senator bunn for increasing the penalty for outing people who are undercover. but gina haspel is not undercover. she is asking the united states senate to be vested with the position that would make her one of the most public and visible intelligence leaders in the world. this is not an undercover job. it's one of the most visible national security positions, not just in our country but in the world. it ought to be accompanied by accountability and hiding behind the protections that are rightly given undercover officers to advance her career i just find
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absurd. i'd also like to note that her classification judgments are in violation, her decisions of executive order 13526. for decades the intelligence committee has been barred from keeping information classified to prevent embarrassment or conceal violations of law or administrative error. pretty clear those rules aren't high up on ms. haspel's priority list. and what i'm especially worried about -- i'm going to go into this -- is that if you can violate the classification rules to get confirmed and the senate says oh, no big deal, it's going to get done again and again. last time i looked, most americans believed that this country needs more accountability, more transparency, and less unnecessary secrecy.
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now, much of the attention on the nomination has been about the press reports of ms. haspel's role in the c.i.a. torture program. throughout the process, she has just flat out refused to confirm or deny if she had any connection to it. how can this possibly be classified? three years ago the senate intelligence committee released a 500-page executive summary of this torture area. the c.i.a. released a long and detailed response. what the c.i.a. did to all those detainees is now officially declassified. former c.i.a. officers have written whole books about it. how in the world can you say ms. haspel's reported involvement in the program is classified. well, you can do it because she said so and she's the boss.
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at one point, mr. president, i asked ms. haspel whether opinions about the c.i.a. torture program expressed by c.i.a. officers were classified. i wasn't even asking then about anyone's involvement in the program, just what people might have thought about it. ms. haspel wouldn't answer that question either. she said that even the matter of whether those opinions are classified is itself classified. downright orwellian in my view. in a democracy there have to be some basic rules about what is and what isn't classified. we're seeing a replacement of those rules with essentially the whims of leaders who aren't accountable. secret law, the classification
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of legal interpretations rather than sources and methods is a serious problem. including at ms. haspel's c.i.a. information that doesn't need to be classified to protect national security is being covered up for political purposes. now, speaking of orwel, the classification rules themselves are going to be classified. i have been concerned about this tendency for years, and i want to emphasize i have made it clear to political leaders of both political parties, and i continue to believe that if the c.i.a. and ms. haspel can get away with all this, the worst is yet to come. as i've been saying since she was nominated, i have a host of concerns about all of these issues. i hope that senators will
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exercise independent judgment here and there is a classified intelligence committee minority memo about ms. haspel, and i hope every senator will go read it and ask themselves publicly if the american people actually knew about all this, how would i vote? what i can say is her classified comments about her background have been as troubling as her public testimony, and what i can say is when i did get unclassified responses to my questions, they certainly were not assuring. public discussions about the c.i.a. have generally been about overseas operations affecting foreigners. it's been decades since the public really focused on the danger that the c.i.a. could violate the privacy of americans but the danger is there and hard
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questions ought to be asked. one example, section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act recently reauthorized by the congress, the c.i.a. has the authority under that law to identify foreign targets and then to search through the communications of those targets for particular americans. and the c.i.a. can conduct these backdoor searches of americans without a warrant. that creates a danger of reverse targeting, which is when the government in the indication of the c.i.a. targets a foreigner to find out what an american is saying. one way to help prevent reverse targeting is to recognize when the government is conducting lots of backdoor searches on americans and then sending around reports on those americans, maybe it's the americans who the government is really interested in.
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and by the way, the privacy board agrees with it and so does the courant assistant attorney general for national security -- the current assistant attorney general for national security. given all that, the prospect of what it would mean for americans, i asked ms. haspel about it. again, what i got back was plenty of words but nothing that provided any assurance that the c.i.a. has any system at all for guarding against reverse targeting of americans under the foreign intelligence surveillance act. also, the agency collects a lot of intelligence under an executive order known as 12 triple 3. i wanted to know if the agency was conducting backdoor searches on americans through that data. the current director of the national security agency told me that when the n.s.a. conducts
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searches of americans, those searches have to be approved on a case-by-case basis with probable cause by the attorney general. the n.s.a. doesn't actually have to go to court which is a concern, but those requirements create meaningful hurdles to abuse. so i thought it was important to ask about the c.i.a. when can the c.i.a. conduct backdoor searches of americans? the response i got from ms. haspel is that the searches are authorized if they're designed to get information related to the c.i.a.'s activities. that means there's no standard at all on backdoor searches of americans. now, i mentioned these two unclassified examples because they show how vague the rules are and how easily the c.i.a. could violate the privacy of americans. that's why it's important to have leaders at the agency who
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believe in the privacy of the american people and are committed to protecting it, protecting americans, protecting americans even if sometimes a lawyer says that something might be technically legal. i don't believe, and i regret to say this, that gina haspel will be that kind of leader. mr. president, before i wrap up, there are a couple of other matters with respect to the torture program. i mentioned that since the torture program has been largely declassified, it can be discussed openly. now, senator mccain who we admire so much said last week that ms. haspel's refusal to
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acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying. i'll just say, mr. president -- i'm going to talk a bit more about senator mccain before i wrap up -- i've always been a john mccain guy on a lot of issues. he came to the senate and joined the commerce committee that he chaired and i'll talk a little bit about that. but he sure sums it up right on torture. he says, it's wrong. it harms america because of the statement it makes about american values around the wor world. and then he points out it's not effective. but since the program has been largely declassified, it can be discussed openly. the c.i.a. captured innocent people.

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