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tv   [untitled]    February 3, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EST

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be able to implement what is needed there. >> thank you. i just wanted to point out there's a war going on in mexico. more people have been lost in mexico in the last number of years than we lost in the vietnam war and it's right on our southern border an it's coming across, so i appreciate your attention to that problem. >> thank you mr. calvert. i have a couple areas i want to cover and some i'm trying to understand exactly where we are, policy wise at least from the united states government in relation to our intelligence responsibilities. i think i'll start with the reconciliation process, and just some things i think we need to understand. is the hakani network, how would you describe the hakani network director? give me two sentences on its activities that give us pause for concern.
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>> the hakani network, which is affiliated with the taliban, but probably not an organization that is likely to reconcile based of course primarily in north waziristan and the tribal areas of pakistan, and a very, very lethal organization that has been behind a number of the most important attacks, those the attempted attack on the base, for example, in wardak province south of kabul there were i were indicated attacks on a number of our bases and of course the embassy attack effort as well. >> they've also expressed some interest in reaching outside of that theater as well, have they not? >> that's correct. there have been, over the years, indications that they would like to be a bit more transnational. i'm not sure that we can say we've seen examples of that yet. they're still pretty focused on
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trying to regain influence over the provinces in which they had historic control during the taliban time. >> you could at least say it's aspirational. >> absolutely. >> the taliban has also over time expressed some desire to go beyond their theater of operations and it seems to me that seems to be aspirational as well. is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> the taliban continues today to have some relationship with aq, some logistics, finances, recruiting, sharing bases, sharing training, those kinds of things. is that correct? >> that's correct, and indeed as we've discussed before, chairman, there's really a syndicate of extremist elements located in some of these sanctuary areas, and particularly in the waziristans, you'll find not only the hakani network but also some afghan taliban, some pakistani taliban, commander nazir group, some al qaeda elements, islamic movement of uzbekistan, among others.
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>> and some of that is, there's a strong relationship through the quetta shua? >> the quetta shura encompasses a number of those but not all and al qaeda would not be necessarily viewed as part of that although there is a relationship. the hakani network calls themselves astal been and sometimes responds to central direction but not always. >> is -- the taliban uses acts of political assassination to further their gains, do they not? >> yes, absolutely. >> i just want to cover a few of these quickly. as do other groups. >> again the hakani ump indicated in these as well, islamic movement of uzbekistan up in the northern parts of afghanistan. >> hakani also uses political -- dpsh. >> yes, all of these organizations. >> so they're very lethal, they've been successful to some degree in their attacks? >> they have. >> i just want to cover a few of these that, just to bring to
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light. going into the fall, the taliban, these are held responsible by the taliban, were successful in assassinating chairman rabbani, chairman of the afghan high peace council, former president of afghanistan. >> right. >> going into this year or late last year, excuse me, musat kan of the helmand province, a successful aassassination. el hadj ap. bayeg, former chief of police in the hakar and kunduz provinces, a successful attack and assassination. razik, police chief in the kandahar province, that one failed, was not successful, but there were some deaths and casualties associated with it. going into this year, aga, the district governor in kandahar province was assassinated by the taliban. mohammed mahma, the tribal
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leader in kandahar was successfully assassinated by the taliban. the u.n. reports that 462 civilians were assassinated by the taliban in 2012 -- excuse me, 2010 alone. and so you would argue by these numbers that the taliban has not abandoned its practice of political assassination, is a form of intimidation in afghanistan. is that correct? >> certainly. >> and so one of the things that we see in reports coming out of afghanistan is the one thing that the taliban has been telling afghans, is in fact, we're coming back. the united states is leaving. we're coming back. as a matter of fact we've got some great cia analysts walk us through that not all that long ago so that's a disturbing trend, don't you think? >> it is, certainly. >> and so you can see where many, maybe someone who looks at all of this information might scratch our head and wonder,
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given the fact that after the negotiation started, they were committing acts of political assassination to undermine all of the work, all of the sacrifice of the united states military and intelligence forces on the ground, why some of us might get a little bit cranky about what we're doing when we talk about reconciliation and the fact and you can clarify for this, we've already stated in the senate hearing that the individuals who were discussed as a possible transfer to as they call it the confidence building of the, i go's what they hope is, are peace negotiations, were all deemed too dangerous to release, is that a fact? my understanding it was an agency report. >> well, most recently, the agency was asked to assess these five individuals, their
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significance, and the risks that could be incurred by their release, not to the afghanistan/pakistan area but to a third country with a varying degree of mitigating measures, and indeed, obviously the risk is higher if you have fewer mitigating measures and lower if you have more of them, and that was what the agency provided. >> sure. but at one point a report says they're too dangerous to release. >> that is i think a couple of years ago, director clapper i think, that's an intelligence community report i think. >> well i think that's an extrapolation of the determinations that were made by the inner agency group on those who needed, would be retained or not from guantanamo. i don't think that was the exact language used, but in essence, that was the recommendation of the inner agency that they be retained at guantanamo. i have to say, i understand your
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concern with all this, but whether or not we negotiate and with whom we negotiate and the terms of negotiation is not an intelligence community call. it's a policy issue. >> i understand that director. however the intelligence that i hope that the national security council is having access to and i imagine they're getting access to the same information we are. is that correct? >> yes, they are. >> this is important because i want to make sure that we all understand what information we see and what information they see and why i think from a policy perspective, which is at the end of the day why we're engaged in the whole debate it's important to have the discussion. i happen to believe this is, if this happens, we have crossed a red line that we will never be able to get back. it is a serious doctrinal change for the united states government. i, mike rogers believes as a member of this committee, seeing the information that we collect,
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tracks very well of why this is a bad idea. i just want to make sure that they're seeing what we're seeing, so that we can come to the conclusion together and why i think there was so much bipartisan opposition to the nsc's consultation with the congress if you will so i'm trying to establish basically what we're all looking at so we can all determine from policy perspective this say good or not good idea for the national security of the united states. so i understand your aversion to the policy debate but unfortunately, you fuel the information that policymachers are going to use to make this decision. so i'm just trying to set the record straight. >> yes, sir, i understand and i would make clear that intelligence community has been a large part of the deliberations inner agency and i don't think anyone harbors any illusions, certainly not in the
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administration about whether this, and there has not been a final decision made on this, whether this will pan out or not, but it seemed from the administration's point of view, worth exploring. >> i understand and i'll just take exception to one comment there, director. this is certainly i'm not being critical but there have been operational things that have been conducted up to this point, so this isn't an aspirational policy change. this is something that is well under way, and has been at least the suggestion has been passed along to the very people that we would like to negotiate with. that's very different than, we haven't really made any decisions, it's not really done yet. i'll take exception on that one point. and i again, i just think this is so serious that we get this piece right, and what our concern was and i think mr. thornberry brought up and we pulled the quote to make sure we had it right, by the secretary,
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"by mid part of 2013 we'll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training/advising role." i can't find anyone here that believed that was the time line of which we are on, both from the armed services committee, the hacd on appropriations and intelligence community, that was never our understand so long that is, in fact, a change, because if you're going to make it by mid 2013, even by the directors' assumption of time lines you have to start that earlier. so i guess why i'm confused by all this is because the rhetoric of which we are pursuing this doesn't match the intelligence of which we are receiving. we've just clarified that they are, in fact, still using political assassination. we have clarified by our intelligence forces -- sources, excuse me, that the taliban is, in fact, looking at, this is
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triumphant. they know what their time line is when they have to survive, that we've seen reports of defections to the taliban, and it's all about intimidation. that's who we know they are. are you familiar with the -- i'm going to say 2006. it may have been into 2007, the pakistani effort, i'm going to call it peace negotiation with some of the tribes and some of the taliban in the fatah. are you familiar with that? i call it a peace accord. it really wasn't an accord necessarily but are you familiar with that effort? >> well, if you're talking about the effort with the tariki taliban pakistani, that's correct, and it was limited to the area of swatt valley, in what used to be known as the northwest frontier purchaseiness and the tpp broke that in short order and the pakistani army subsequently went in and cleared swatt valley in the northwestern
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province and something they continue doing today and they lost a lot of soldiers in doing that. >> which is important because that negotiation gave them breathing space to both reconstitute, recruit, refinance, retrain. and we just saw that as a matter of fact and we have seen that with the taliban over and over and over again, and i'm just -- we're frustrated in the sense that we had some very classified, sensitive briefings on this along the way and i commend the administration for that. we thought those conversations were going to remain in a sensitive, classified setting, because they were just the opportunity to advise and consult. you can imagine how frustrated we are when we find out it was a little bit further along than that, and certainly a press conference on january 22nd basically alluding to this peace process that i think is very, very dangerous to our national security interests, and i felt
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it was important we get this on the record to know that negotiating with people who are associating with this level of violence is very concerning, given that they haven't even slowed down their political assassinations during the course of those very negotiations, very, very disturbing. again, i hope that the packages of intelligence that we see are at least in the hands of the nsc so that they can make a wise decision and i would hope listen to the advice and council of the bipartisan members of the intelligence community to turn this thing around before i argue it's too late. i just want to talk about iran, quickly. director mueller, i've heard several times, i think this is so important, that the operation that the quds force tried to conduct here in the united states to politically assassinate, with i is a state sponsor of terrorism act, the saudi ambassador here and with disregard by the way for
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civilian casualties, u.s. civilian casualties was bufoonish, amateurish. the criminal they approached in mexico, would he have passed a criminal vetting, if you will, of being a pretty good bad guy to be able to move weapon, people and conduct operations across the border in the united states? >> it's hard to definnively say. he had the wherewithal to contact others with that ability. >> there has been some knock that the way they transferred the money was a bit ridiculous. can you talk about that? those accounts were, because the fbi was early engaged in this operation, which was by a bit of stroke of luck, was it not? >> it was. we had the source that had been handled by the dea and brought
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it initially to our attention. >> and so you can imagine that source is surprised when an iranian operative shows up and says gee have i got a deal for you. that's a dea source. that's not the kind of information they'd normally take, is that correct? >> it may the not shall -- all take the information and dea, fbi, get it in the right pew. understand the importance of this and we then immediately followed up, including carrying the investigation all through to the point in time where the money was provided for the plot to go ahead. >> i misstated by question. i meant we were fortunate the dea had got on it this guy on another matter, showed up and the dea was exceptionally on the ball and turned it over to the fbi quickly. >> yes. i might add if i could going back to the discussion had before on this particular issue is this certainly was a viable
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plot, and it also is representative of the willingness to utilize proxies or others to carry out attacks which as i think director petraeus pointed out was an modus operandi on iran. >> doesn't this get to your testimony that the iranians have made a calculation that they could possibly pull off an attack in the united states and might have some capability to do that? >> oh, obviously they think they do, and that is, it's something that we need to be vigilant about, given the aggressive nne and incredible boldness in such an audacious plot. so obviously, which they had intended it to effectuate here
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in this city. so we have to be, you know, vigilant for more of that. >> that's not the only act we have seen globally. they have reached out in other places of the world and done something similar, maybe not the exact m.o. but they've done something similar, have they not? >> well, there have been other instances of outreach through proxies, attempts to plots, one in thailand is the case in point. >> so one of the things that we saw in reporting is iran's strategic shift to iraq. they believe with the trdrawdow there's some opportunity for them in iraq. can you talk about that a little bit? >> i'll start. yes, they do. they see this, our departure from iraq as a favorable condition for them, and they certainly want to try to exert
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influence to the extent that they can in iraq. i'm not sure the environment there is entirely conducive to that. i'm not sure they're as welcome as they might think but clearly they're interested in that. dave, you want to -- >> well, they've tried to do this all along. there's no question that they have exercised a degree of influence at varying times since the end of the saddam hussein regime. the fact is, though, that the iraqi leaders have no desire to become, if you will, the 51st state of iran. they do want a relationship -- they have to have. iran is always going to be to the east of iraq. it's always going to be larger. it has considerable resources of its own, but they also remember that they fought a bloody war with each other, that one is persian, the other is arab, that one speaks arabic, the other
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farsi, so although the predominant religion in each country is the same, shia, they're conscious of the differences and the iraqis are really quiteshia while they wil assistance and they want to religious tourism, they want their electricity and necessities right now at that stage of iraqi development but they do not want to be a satellite of iran. >> they have been engaged killing soldiers -- >> i want to make that clear. >> and they have been very engaged in the fuelling this sectarian violence that we see today. >> they have supported groups over the years, indeed, and they continue to support groups now that have caused significant security problems and sought to
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intrude in the political and economic realm. >> if you see they are supporting asad, i think they would over throw him if they thought they could get a different regime, they feel they could conduct an actually attack on the united states. what is the sense that they believe that when we say all options are on the table that they honestly believe that all options are on the table? you can see where the story at their level is difference. the intelligence, through their eyes is hey, we are making progress here. we have destabilizing efforts in iraq. it not going well in afghanistan
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by general clapper talked about the ine, from their viewpoint things are going their way. how do we get them to understand that we are deadly serious about all options are on the table? >> well, i the change in the rhetoric connected with the strait of hormuz and the initial threats to close it and i think when we made it clear that that was not acceptable, they kind of tempered their rhetoric and also by their behavior, when the lincoln transit of the strait is indicative of that, yes there's the rhetoric and their assertiveness, but i do think they have respect for what our potential capabilities are here.
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and i think as well the sanctions are obviously led by the united states are having an affect. having an impact to economy as never before in iran. do they take us seriously? again, this all gets back to you know to what extent the leader of this country or any other for that matter is seeing reality? >> sure. and i understand, it seems to me it a little disjointed which on a policy front we need to work from the executive branch and congress. if we do not focus together on this problem, it really should not takes congress acting on both bills to get the executive branch to sign it. the narrative is they have to believe that we are serious when
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we say all options are on the table. i'm not convinced we are there yet. >> could i make a comment quickly on the nie? it's important that folks understand that because there's been some mischaracterization in the press of this. as you know, it's an nie that looks at post 2014 afghanistan. it not looking at how things have developed in the recent years. it devotes all of about one paragraph to the insegancy, what it does do is postulates different levels of support for afghanistan post 2014 assesses what will the situation be like under those different assumptions and not surprisingly
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if you put more in, you probably get more out. so, again, very important though, again as we discussed before, it has not necessarily been characterizationed correctly in all quarters. >> i understand that, i read it again last night to make sure, it does not -- i mean some of this we can cover in the closed session. there's things to be concerned about and i would argue -- >> there's plenty to be concerned about in afghanistan. >> the announcement of the secretary of defense without getting into details of the nie will lend credence to the less than rosie predictions in the nie, how is that for not trying to get around that, we will talk about that in closed session. >> we will, i have it right here as well. i read it this morning. >> mr. chairman, thank you for
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having these open hearings. as you know, we have to deal in a classified way for the benefit of our country and our national security, but it's very important for us to communicate as much as we can especially about the intelligence community so people understand what we do, what our mission is and that we are there to protect our country and not evade civil liberties or anything of that nature. there's been issues and topics the two areas that i would like to focus and i think i'm the last person to ask questions, first is the cyber threat. those of us who have been on this committee for a while, we are asked what keeps you up at night and if you look at the two biggest threats from where i sit, i want to hear your point of view, it the weapons of mass destruction and those that have the capability to kill people and the other is cyber. what concerns me about the issue of cyber is the average person
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in our country is not really aware of the cyber threats that are out there. for whatever reason. we know our media writes about a lot of issues, especially the republican primary it seems lately, but the issues that are out there. and when we have a cyber attack or intrusion, it's not a story. when our nasdaq is attacked or other areas that are attacked, we know that our pentagon, we know that our business sector and an example. in 2011, the national counter intelligence executive he showed that china and russia are responsible for theft of u.s. property. we go further. wikileaks had a major impact on our national security and
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foreign diplomacy, we need to start talking about what the impact of the cyber attacks. we have to get the language, cyber attacks are considered like a war. sometimes we call every intrusio an attack, but we know that thousands and thousands from different countries on a daily ba basis what my concern is a radical extreme paying a hacker to go down and take down a major bank. we now south korea lost a major bank to this. what i want to hear, what are your concerns are as far as a catastrophic attack. i think the public needs to know here, and i want to use this forum, how serious this is. we know we have secrets that are being taken. there are a lot of issues out
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there. how about for the national security of our citizens? >> let me start by prefacing remarks by saying that i believe that the cyber threat will equal or exceed the attacks in the future. the attention we give it has to be undertaken with regard to the cyber threat. and quite honestly there are a number of targets or ways of looking at it. one hand, taking down the electrical grid or power grid or the ability to bring energy or other materials, pipelines and the like. >> air traffic control. >> air traffic control. the financial system. there's little that we do in this day and age that is not somehow


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