tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN December 14, 2015 12:33pm-7:01pm EST
nuclear weapon in 1998 along with israel and india pakistan has never signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. the discussion about pakistan's nuclear program live from the atlantic council at 3:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. also this afternoon on our companion network c-span, mexico's foreign minister visiting washington, d.c. she'll be speaking at the migration policy institute at 4:00 eastern live on c-span. all persons having business before the honorable, the supreme court of the united states, to addmonish and draw near to their attention. >> tonight on c-span cases -- >> you have the right to an attorney, you have the right to remain silent. anything you say against us can be used in a court of law. >> okay. >> you are sure you understand? >> that's right. >> ernesto was arresteded in phoenix on suspicion of
kidnapping and raping a young woman. after two hours of police questioning, he confessed and signed a statement to say his confession was given voluntarily. at trial miranda was sentenced to 20 years in prison. but his lawyer argued he had not been told that the right to both an attorney or the right to remain silent. the case went all the way to the supreme court. follow the case of miranda versus arizona and the evolution of policing practices in america with our guest jeff rosen, president and ceo of the national constitution center. and paul cassell university of law school professor specializing in victim's rights. and former u.s. district court judge. that's live tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span c-span3 and c-span radio. for background on each case while you watch, order your copy of "the landmark cases" companion book available for $8.95 plus shipping at
cspan.org/landmarkcases. the senate returns today at 3:00 p.m. for legislative business. at 5:00 they will debate and vote on the nomination of the stars act. tomorrow at noon eastern they will be in session for general speeches followed by legislative business at 2:00. congress has until midnight wednesday to pass a long-term spending bill and avoid a government shutdown. both the house and senate will be working on a measure to meet that deadline as well as legislation that would extend certain tax provisions set to expire at the end of the year. the u.s. is planning a new $1 billion embassy in london. the house oversight committee last week held a hearing on the security standards for the embassy. utah congressman jason chaffetz chairs the committee. >> in july we learned how state failed to properly acknowledge known risk in the construction
of new em baa cy in kabul, afghanistan. building the embassy has caused hundreds of millions of dollars more than budgeted leaving embassy staff less secure in a temporary facility. in september we saw how long delayed the design to build consulates in new mexico exposed personnel to unnecessary risk. and today we hope to understand the state department's progress in the building of a new embassy in london. perhaps the single largest expenditure we have had on such a building. obviously, the united states needs a large secure and functional embassy in the capital of one of its oldest and most important allies. certainly, our presence in london is noteworthy and needs to provide a variety of functions above and beyond what other embassies, i'm sure, are called upon to do. but what one of the things we are concerned about is the state's gambleing with federal dollars to get the embassy that
our diplomats need. over the summer the inspector general issued a report on the findings regarding the london embassy construction. the inspector general found that while the agency has certified to congress its plan for a new embassy would be secure in reality that was not necessarily the case at that time. in fact, state had no idea that the embassy had met security standards but started the construction anyway. state's premature certification in construction violated federal law and its own internal policies that require state to prove the new embassy would be safe before construction began. construction in london began before state even blast-tested the embassies outside wall. the test was designed to ensure the safety of the building and its personnel. rather than admitting that it violated federal law, the state doubled down outside the building called a curtain wall that had failed several computerized blast tests. in fact, we'll put up a picture of the rendering. this is a rendering, not a
picture, of what the new embassy is supposed to look like in its final -- in its finality. the outside of the building called the curtain wall had failed several computerized blast tests. thank you. you can take that down. state's den diplomatic bureau was hoping to do a full blast test rather than computer simulation. that blast test did not start until three months after the state certified to congress that the curtain wall was safe. and the curtain wall did not actually pass blast testing until approximately six months after the certification and construction had begun. proceeding without knowing whether the building would be safe was gambling with the government's money. and we're concerned about that long-term. state is freely spending tax dollars on its embassy and consulate construction around the world yet it is
quote/unquote self-funding. the london property through other sales in log dochbndon. state sold its current embassy in london to a group of investors. under the deal state has to leave the current space by early of 2017. significant financial penalties to state and ultimately the taxpayers will be incurred if construction goes over schedule. we have learned over several past hearings on the subject that most of the time at least in our experience that has happened. fear of the penalties drove state to take significant risks to meet its aggressive schedule. these risks include contracting vehicle never before used by the state department. according to the inspeck sorekctor general, the inspector general's inability to account for roughly $42 million is evident. the ieg doesn't believe the money is missing, but it is not
accounted for due to mismanagement. quite frankly, i can't tell the difference. if they can't account for it and can't find it i just don't know how it's not missing. and that's part of what we're hoping to clear up here today. even accepting that the ieg's conclusion, it shows state met too much of a progressive schedule made another gamble by using a contracting vehicle it did not understand, state did accept the inspector general's option to look into further contracts of the sort but there are other challenges and questions that we hope to have clarified regarding the london embassy project. state department spent $1 million evidently on a granite sculpture that was too heavy for the new embassy. however, no one figured that out before spending the money. in addition, the glass for the curtain wall should have been earning some frequent flyer miles as press reports indicate
the glass was manufactured in europe shipped to the united states under guard for framing and sthent back across the atlantic for installation in london. state's under secretary for management is the same person who certified the construction could begin before the blast testing dismissed the criticism saying, quote, sometimes you have to move things sometimes you don't, end quote. and finally, the documents produced to the committee show that state authorized what appears to be $12 million in soil remediation. as we have discussed in other hearings this year particularly in mexico city state doesn't mind building embassies in the places where soil is contaminate contaminated and would like to learn more on what is happening there. we need to get our people in safe facilities as quickly as possible. we don't need to take wild risks and freely spend money that could otherwise be used to get other folks in high-risk places into safer facilities. building and construction is a volatile situation.
there are many moving parts and things changing and adapting over time. we understand that and there needs to be some degree of flexibility, but with two outstanding recommendations from the inspector general, we would like to have those resolved and have this discussion. this is a billion-dollar expenditure and we need to get it right because london is one of our moist important embassies on the face of the planet. and we need to make sure that it is done right and properly and that we account for it. in this case tens of millions of dollars that we can't seem to find. so with that i would now like to recognize the distinguishing member, the ranking member mr. cummings, for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, for calling today's very-important hearing. as i said at our first hearing on the london embassy project back in july of last year, our diplomats deserve overseas -- our diplomats overseas deserve the most secure embassyies in the
world. today, a year and a half later i am pleased that experts from state department and its construction contractor have confirmed that this project is meeting all security specifications. including for the glass curtain wall that is being built to comply with all of the required security standards. the recent attacks in paris as well as those here in the united states remind us that we face threats, not only in the high-risk locations like afghanistan, and of course london has been the victim of its own horrific terrorist attacks, including the 2005 suicide bomb attacks against the public transit system that killed 52 people, as well as the stabbing last friday. the details of which are still
being investigated were further discussed in speech saturday night. terrorists continue to evolve here and abroad. secretary stars has written testimony today and highlights the department's efforts to research, develop and evaluate new and innovative methods in order to protect our people in the face of this ever-changing threat. in addition to meeting all of the required security standards, could construction of the london embassy remain on budget? and in her written testimony today in the hearing, she overseas building operations and say that this project is on budget and schedule to be completed at the end of 2016
end of quote. some people may not have noticed, but this entire project is being funded through proceeds proceeds. meaning that this project has no additional cost to the united states taxpayers. meeting security budget and schedule milezones during a large project is no small feat. the department has a rigorous construction schedule so that it can move our personnel from the existing outdated embassy to the new facility as quick alyly as possible. i also want to thank the inspector general for the work in his office for insuring that funding is being used on this project. we have come a long way since the massive costs overruns and delays we saw in the construction of the u.s. embassy in iraq during the previous
administration. however, we must always strive to continue proving our processes. so i thank the inspector general for his report and look forward to hearing about any remaining concerns that may still need to be addressed with regard to this project. the new embassy current lyly in london will have more security features, and found in many other high-profile buildings throughout the world including the building we are sitting in right here today in washington, d.c., these features include blast resistant setbacks from the street anti-climb barriers and a number of other specification. today i hope our state department witnesses will discuss all of these issues. without so hope they will address one more. while we must ensure that our diplomats overseas live with
secure facilities, we also have to make sure they are able to do their jobs. according to press reports, many diplomats are concerned that the united states won't be well deserved by preventing our diplomats from being able to interact abroad. they are concerned that a fortress mentality will impair their work. so, in addition to addressing security concerns, which are paramount, our witnesses here today will also discuss how they plan for the new embassy to operate in a way that maximizes the functions of our critical international diplomacy while keeping our diplomats safe. with that mr. chairman i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. hold the record open for five legislative days for any members who would like to sub many it a written state. now we'll recognize our witnesses. please welcome back ms. lydia monis, overseeing building
operations at the united states department of state. mr. gregory starr assistant secretary of the bureau diplomatic security at the department of state. and steve linick, inspector general of the office of inspector general at the united states department of state. welcome, all. all witnesses should be sworn before they testify. will you please rise and raise your right hands? do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. let the record reflect that all the witnesses answered in the affirmative. we would appreciate your limiting your verbal comments to five minutes. your entire written statement will obviously be entered into the record. ms. muniz, you are now recognized for five minutes. bring those mikes right up
close. we need the projection plus we need it for the -- there thank you. >> thank you. chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings and members of the committee, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the u.s. department of state's project to build a new u.s. embassy in london. i'm lydia muniz, director of the building overseas operations at the u.s. department of state. as a single property management for all diplomatic properties overseas, we manage the design construction acquisition, sale and maintenance of the department's worldwide property portfolio. that portfolio includes the property platform supporting 275 missions in 190 countries and has over $14 billion in projects and design and construction. like you, the state department is deeply committed to the safety and security of our personnel serving abroad. every new design and construction project that we undertake meets the security and life standard safety met by law.
we work in all steps of the process to insure security steps are made in our security considerations are addressed in our operations. in 1960, the department of state opened a new u.s. embassy in london locate old grover in square not surprisingly, security and life safety standards have evolved significantly since that time and the chance rate does not meet current security and life safety standards n addition after more than 50 years of okay pan circumstance the facility has ageded and is in need of extensive investment and infrastructure. in 2006, obo examined several options for the chancery. the rehabilitation was estimated to cost approximately $550 million and to take nearly seven years to complete.
as envisioned the project remains financed entirely from the proceeds of sale existing property and i'm pleased to report the project is on budget and on schedule to be complete tedcomplete "discovery" -- completed at the end of 2016. it is a steel-framed cube with a glass curtain wall. the project is efficient makes maximum use of real estate and best practices, more than
appropriated dollars and still not resolved the significant security deficiencies. instead, the department developed an innovative financial and design solution that will provide for a modern secure face state the no cost to the u.s. taxpayer. the development of creative solutions mindful of limited resources is what the government should be about. we must protect our staff abroad and lessons learned, we can build consulates to better serve our mission and colleagues, better value to the u.s. tax pay and make better use of resources in the short and long term. security, safety, excellence in diplomatic facilities are mutually reinforcing, not mutually exclusive. u.s. embassies the world over serve as visible reminders of america's influence in global diplomatic presence, symbols of america's cultures and values. just importantly, they are safe, secure, functional platforms from which our staff advance vital u.s. policy objectives. with the depth and breadth of
its responsibilities, our embassy in london will soon have a platform that does all of these things and better supports their critical work with one of our oldest friends and most important allies. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. starr, you are now recognized for five minutes. >> chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings, distinguished committee members. good morning. and i want to thank you for your invitation to appear today to discuss the construction of the u.s. embassy in london. i, along with my colleagues at the department of state, look forward to working with to you examine the issue and illustrate how we collectively support the men and women who serve at this mission with a safe and secure facility. as the assistant secretary for diplomatic security, i work every single day with my colleagues to ensure a safe environment for our people. environments in which we operate today require comprehensive planning, agile decisionmaking and deft diplomacy. most of all, they require us to be presents fully engaged and
100% committed to the security of the our people and our facilities. the u.s. embassy in london is an exceptionally important platform for diplomatic and consular engagement, to advance our national interests in this country. as you know, i work closely with my colleagues in the bureau of overseas building office operations as the department builds diplomatic missions that increase the safety and security as well as meet rigorous security standards. concerning the u.s. embassy in london, ds has worked with obo throughout the design and construction project to ensure that this project would be executed while meeting the security standards. as you know, the threats faced by the department are ever evolving. in response to this changing environment, ds commits a significant amount of time and effort and energy toward research and evaluation in order to ensure our facilities are able to combat such threats. the outcome of this innovation provides ds with different designs and different building
methodologies that accommodate the department and these environments. we toe to our diplomats, along with our security profession as in the field, to provide them with safe secure platforms from which they can operate. i want to thank congress for their resources and support that you have provided and look forward to your continued support in years ahead. thank you and i will be glad to answer any questions you have. >> thank you, mr. linick, you are now recognized for five minutes. >> chairman chaffetz, ranking member cummings and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify about oig's july 2015 audit of the new embassy compound in london and its implications for future department of state construction projects. at a cost of more than $1 billion, the london embassy project is among the most expensive embassies built by the state department. our audit had two objectives, first, we suit to determine whether the department resolved security issues before allowing construction to begin, associated with the exterior
glass curtain wall on the outerfacade of the chancery building. those security issues would be resolved before construction could begin. second, oig sought to determine whether the department adhered to federal contracting requirements in negotiating the price for the construction of the london compound when it send $42 million in additional contract expenses without obtaining sufficient justification for them. we found the department's practices in both area, the timing of the certificating and acceptance of the added expenses did not conform to applicable requirements. as a result, we made four recommendations in the process of being addressed by the department, to have been closed. let me briefly discuss our security-related findings first. the department's physical security standards require most new office buildings to provide adequate safeguards to protect people from the effects of explosions and projectiles much the exterior curtain wall at the london compound had to meet blast protection requirements. within the department, the bureau of overseas building operations directs building program and the bureau of
diplomatic security is responsible for overseeing new construction to ensure compliance with security standards. by statute, the department must certify to congress that a construction project for a new embassy will provide proper security before it undertakes such a project. the department's published incertain brettation and implementation of the statute is contained in the foreign affairs manual. it states that no contract should be awarded or construction undertaken before certification. not withstanding this policy, since at least 2003, the department has followed the practice of authorizing construction contractors to begin work prior to certification n the case of the london compound, the contract award, site work and construction began many months before the department certified the project to congress in december of 2013 as providing adequate security protection. oig is also concerned that the department certified the safety of the project without obtaining blast testing results. the blast testing was not
completed until may of 2014, more than six months after certification. as early as november 2012 ds notified oboe of its concerns with the curtain wall design and reiterated that full blast test needed to be completed to ensure the wall met standards. ds changed course after the director of oboe provided written assurance shortly before certification it would address any issues should the test failed. ds and oboe ultimately agreed that the kur own wall met standards by initiating construction without first completing the blast testing, the department committed itself to constructing a glad could have required significant redesign potentially place the department and taxpayers at financial risk. let me turn to oig's second area of concern, the department's contracting process. the department initially targeted early 2017 as the move-in date for the london could. >> pound to meet this target, the department chose a new contracting strategy, the early contractor involvement or eci,
which was intended to shorten the time between design and construction by involving the construction contractor early in the process. london was the department's first experience with eci. under federal rules, a contractor using the eci is required to submit two pricing proposals to the government. the first one is an initial target price for construction, which is submitted at a point where project design is partially completed. the second one is a final price proposal submitted at a later stage of the design phase. under the rules, the contractor is required to submit sufficient data to support any difference in price so the government can effectively negotiate a firm fixed price. in the case of the lop done compound, the department's contracting officer negotiated the final price of the contract without requiring the contractor to explain adequate lay $42 million difference between the initial proposal and final proposal. in sum our findings and recommendations, if implemented, will have a positive impact on future department projects and
reduce risk to taxpayers. thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this work and i look forward to addressing your questions. >> thank you. i will now recognize myself for five minutes. ms. muniz how is it that obo started construction on this facility prior to having the security parameters in place and how is it that the undersecretary of management certifies to congress that it's safe and secure but when they haven't completed all the security tests? >> let me take -- let me take that question first and then i will hand it over to greg, who is the one who certifies an confirms that these projects meet all of the department's security standards. i would like to remind the committee that when a project is certified, what ds is doing and what ultimately the
undersecretary for management is doing is they are certifying a design. the design of the london embassy met all of the very stringent requirements that were provided by diplomatic securities. it meets those using very complex calculations and running those calculations for hundreds sometimes thousands of hours. so it is possible to confirm by calculations that designs meet the standards and that is precisely what was done. >> why did you start construction prior to the ds certification? >> i would argue that we did not start construction. i would argue that we awarded a construction contract, as the department has done since the last ten years. >> when did you think we started construction? >> so, for years, piling and doing the pile caps is considered part of the site work and the site stabilization.
>> okay. so, let me run you through couple pictures. these are pictures provided by state department on your flickr account. are you telling us that that's not construction? i have three pictures here i would like to show you. and what we have been told is these pictures are dated by state department on the state department website prior to the certification and that's what the inspector generals -- it didn't come to our attention but for the inspector general and you don't seem to agree with it and we are confused by that. we are supposed to believe that that's not construction. go to slide number two. that to me likes an awful lot of work going on and construction, you're telling thanks is not construction? >> i agree it is an awful lot of work but under the definitions we use and have used for years diplomatic security we do site
pilings and we cap those pilings to stabilize the earth the soil and the site before we come out of the ground. >> let's go to the next slide. >> this -- this exact process has been followed with the standard embassy design for ten years, over ten years, ex-agenciesex-actly the same process of awarding contracts, doing site works and coming out of the ground after certification. >> we have never built a building like this. you have never used the blast wall like this. it had not been certified. it had not gone through the testing. when i went to london and talked to the people on the ground, they said we have never built anything like this. and the point the inspector general is making i would like to get his comments on this is you're taking a huge risk. that, to me looks like construction. and you're saying, well, it's done in the past it is not construction. mr. linick, is that
construction? does that put us at risk? what if it hadn't passed its test? >> go when you -- >> go ahead. >> when you put up a picture like that, to me, it does look like construction, but from the point of view of our report it's really irrelevant because the department's own published policy, the fam says you can't even award a contract, okay, or undertake, initiate construction prior to certification. so, in my view, that means no activity should be occurring based on their own published policies, which are the official interpretation of the statute, which congress passed. by initiating construction prior to certification prior to testing, what you're doing is committing to a course of construction, committing to a building that may have to be redesigned if the blast testing fails or certification doesn't work. that is primarily our concern
is that the department needs to take into consideration the risk to taxpayers as a result of a failure of testing. i don't know what would have happened in this case had blast testing failed. it's not clear to me. but this has implications not just for this embassy but really for future projects. >> and that's the key to why we are here. mr. starr, give you a chance to answer. my time is expiring but this picture was taken weeks before you even started your testing. >> sir those photographs are dated 2014. i certified that building in december of 2013. >> this -- if you go -- keep going. >> in addition i want to make something clear, that for years, we have done something called soil stabilization, as lydia muniz was referring to. your first photograph is closest to what we allow to occur before we actually start to construct the building. we will not let obo start
constructing the foundation of the building, even the foundation before certification. we do permit them to do -- >> your blast testing -- was your blast testing done before that date? >> no, sir, i'd like to talk about that as well. >> that's the point. that's the point. >> there's no requirement to do blast testing. sir there is no requirement -- >> you're here to tell me as the head of diplomatic security you're not required to do blast testing? >> no, sir. >> you need a piece of legislation that tells you we are going to have to do blast testing? >> no, sir. if i could explain. >> yes. but don't come before us and tell us that you had certified that building. that's not what the inspector general had found. >> no, the -- >> you had not done the blast testing when that -- look far developed that was. they didn't win that up in two weeks. >> sir if i may explain. for most of 2013, my staff went back and forth with obo and did not certify the building based
on the original designs that we got. we did have questions about the design of that building. obo and the architects and the blast consultants went back many times from the original designs and looked at it and closely evaluated how to build that building to meet our standards. to meet our standards. in late november of 2013 late november and in early december i sat down with my entire staff, i sat down with obo, we sat down with the architect of record and we sat down with the widelinger company, which was the architect of record's blast test consultants, one of the absolute most experienced best blast consultants in the world bar none. the question that i needed answered, to me, before i would certify that building was will
that building, as it is currently designed, meet our standards? our forced entry standards, our blast standards. widelinger, the architect of design and my own people said yes, it will. >> when was that? >> it late november and early december 2013. >> then why didn't do you any blast testing? >> sir learn things from blast tests. i also am a little bit -- from the -- i don't know, from the missouri school i want to be shown the things actually do it. but when i have the architect of record and perhaps the best blast engineering company in the world, widelinger telling me that this building will protect our people absolutely will protect our people that is a promise that they are saying and putting in writing and therefore, i can sit there and i can write a certification to
you, a promise that the facility resulting from the project is going to protect our people adequately. now, we wanted to blast test it anyway. we scheduled those blast tests shortly after that. we learned things from blast testing. in the lay-ups of the blast testing, we actually used glass that was thinner we used glass that was the same. we used glass that was thicker. we learned things from blast testing. and ultimately, when we blast tested the full lay-up it confirmed exactly what the engineers had said. >> that's not true. >> yes, it is. you had failures during these blast tests. >> no, sir. >> you tell me there were no failures of these blast tests? >> i'm telling you that -- >> no where there any failures on these blast tests? >> component tests pieces of glass we tested including some that were less than what we were putting up including some that were less failed. >> there you go. >> pieces that were less than what we were doing sir. we do blast testing to learn a lot of things. we find out a lot from it.
the full-scale mockup of the building that we did passed every single test with flying dollars. >> after you had started the construction. >> reaffirming what the architects and the blast engineers gave us in writing saying absolutely -- >> but my time -- >> this will pass. >> my apologies to my colleagues i did not want to take so much time. i want to give you latitude to offer those types of answers. you have a very sceptical congress who thinks you're gambling with a lot of money and a lot of commitment here at the same time you have an inspector general finds it is not in compliance with the law not in compliance with your own internal standards and you're here to try to convince us based on those three photos that that's not actually construction. that's why we are having this meeting. >> i understand it and appreciate the opportunity. >> let me go to my ranking member, mr. cummings. >> mr. starr to be clear, you
had said that the pictures were taken, according to the dates in 2014, is that right? and your certification came in 2013, is that correct? now, where there a series of tests leading up to the major blast tests? can you explain that? 'cause we need to -- i need to understand exactly what goes into this certification process, if you can do it briefly. >> the certification process does not require us to do blast testing. i mean literally we could have just accepted the engineers and the architects and its blast person -- blast consult tants and say, yes this meets standards. we do this in many cases. in this case, because the windows were very large, we decided we are going to blast test this anyway. we did some component testing before and as the chairman says, there is a report one of them says that it's inconclusive. we actually had overpressures that were higher than what we
needed to test to and we had pieces of glass that were actually less robust than what we built this building with to test them. we learned things from that type of testing. when we did the full-scale mockup as the engineers had predicted and had certified to us, it passed with flying dollars. sir, we promise that we are going to build a building that meets our standards. we are building a building that meets our standards. there has been a lot of discussion about how the london embassy will look rather than how it will function, but if you're sitting inside the embassy, whether it has a glass wall, a cement wall, some other wall the issue is the same. you want to know you are protected, am i right? is your mic on? >> yes, sir. >> i would like to clarify. so, there's -- there's no remaining doubt that the new london embassy will protect the
men and women who work there. is the new london embassy project meeting all the state department security requirements to date? >> yes, it s. >> now, ms. muniz, would you agree with that? >> yes. it absolutely is. >> now, the glass curtain wall of the building has been an issue for some time on this committee, so i would like to be clear on that wall. mr. star does the glass wall surrounding the [ inaudible ] meet all the safety requirements specified by the security requirements? >> yes it does. >> has it passed all the requirements of the blast test? >> yes, it has. >> director muniz does the glass wall support the structure of the building or is it an external layer of protection? >> it is an external layer. curtain walls are differently
than a window wall a curtain wall is not load bearing. in other words, the wall could be removed and the structure would be intact. much is that right? and are you confident in the performance all the components of the wall, including the panels, the fasteners and other materials? >> i'm very confident. >> you, mr. starr? >> yes, sir, i am. >> all right. the department's security requirements include certain features that all new embassies must meet, including setbacks from street of at least 100 feet. anti-crime and anti-ram features and other physical properties. is that right mr. starr? >> yes, sir that is correct. >> in addition to these standards, based on requirements, you testified in your previous hearing on july 9th that you are also security requirements depending on the
contents, the threat and the environment in each case. for example, for our facility in afghanistan, you stated and i quote "we constantly examine our security methods to ada tonight an evolving threat environment." you also said that, and i quote, "scrutinize the environment in afghanistan and our security footing to seize opportunities to improve security where possible." is that right? >> yes, sir, it is. >> how do you go about doing that? >> we look at what types attacks we are likely subjected -- likely to be subjected to. we look at the theater that we are operating at. we look at what weapons terrorists and others have in their hands and how they could attack us. we look at terrorist tactics and procedures and then we make determinations in addition to our physical security measures that are our baseline standards, other things we may have to do. in certain cases we are using
overhead cover to ensure that mortar attacks and rocket attacks are protected from. in certain cases, we have things like radar warping systems that give us time in vans when we are being attacked for people to take cover and duck and cover systems. these are examples of things that we look at, depending on what country we are in and where we are at and how we try to mitigate the threats. >> when you are looking at what happened in paris, is there anything -- and i don't want to get into any kind of secret information, but is there anything that we can learn from that that would affect the embassy, the building of the embassy at all? >> no, sir. >> because of the type of attack, i take it? >> no we have seen those types of attacks before. those attacks were effective because they were attacking soft unhardened targets without
protection. it really does not apply to better protected facilities. >> i got you. and does the new london embassy project meet both the overall security standards and any environment-specific requirements you believe are necessary? >> yes, sir. we looked close late london. we look at our security standards. the facility, as i said, and certification under public law 100204 as amended, that facility resulting from this construction project will meet our standards and will provide the adequate safety and security for our personnel in that facility. >> do you agree, ms. muneiz? >> i do. >> mr. linick you have heard all of this, my line of questioning, do you disagree with anything that has been said by either mr. starr or ms. muniz? >> our work did not assess whether it's safe and all of that, so i have no reason to dispute that.
>> fair enough. fair enough. one other thing mr. starr. yesterday, i'm going back to the paris incident, but yesterday, i had to do a speech at a building directly across the street from the fbi building and while i was waiting to park, i just noticed that there are just -- i mean, just lines of cameras and which i would expect in front of that building, and all around it as a matter of fact cameras everywhere. and i was just thinking about the paris thing, do you worry about those kinds of attacks at all? >> yes, sir. they are attacks that are -- we have suffered in the past. if you remember the jetta attack on our consulate, there were armed gunmen with ak-47s and explode saves this came in, they breached our perimeter over the wall. because of our security
standards, they never got into our facility and the saudi forces and our guard forces effectively terminated that. the same thing happened in harat in afghanistan. we are aware of those types of attacks, we believe we have the proper security in place to defend against them. >> can you talk briefly about this $42 million? a lot of money. americans looking at this would say, you know, $42 million overrun is that right, mr. leonard? is that the right -- proper description of it the $42 million of change orders, what do you want to call them? >> yeah. the $42 million was an increase in price, which was not justified and it was accepted by the department so we just don't know whether the 42 million is supported with accurate data. >> would you comment on that, ms. muniz? either one of you? >> i would be happy to. i'm not sure what this $42 million is about. what i do know is that is when
we first notified this project to the hill and, in fact, when we first notified the acquisition of the site, this project is $30 million under those initial notifications and continues to be $30 million under. >> you have a comment on that, mr. starr? >> no, sir unfortunately -- i'm not familiar with that out of my security realm. >> y'all get your numbers together. she is talking about 30 under. you are talking about 42 over. hello? >> yes. congressman, $42 million -- actually obo was asking for information to support that figure and they weren't getting it and they -- the contracting officer misinterpreted the law. i see. >> and didn't realize that he was supposed to get that information from the contractor. this was at obo's request. and obo to my knowledge still
is not satisfied with the justification of that $42 million. >> yes, ms. muniz? >> i bemr. linick is talking about is when we used eci, the early contractor involvement, the reason we did that is to the degree that you can involve the contractor much earlier in the design phase, you can resolve a lot of issues that would later become issues during construction. so it's a way of getting the whole team involved very early. it is the case that in -- in an ideal circumstance using eci, this contracting method, we have had more pricing information from the contractor and we did try to obtain that additional pricing information. so i think that's quite right and that is a tool that we are trying to improve and that is actually an improvement over our prior program, where we did not have early contractor involvement. it is, however the case that our estimates of the
construction contract and of the total project budget are still on target and, in fact our budgets are coming in -- we are coming in $30 million under our initial proposals. thank you very much, chairman. i recognize mr. micah. thank you, mr. chairman. well, we are spending a lot of money on this facility. i guess it's in the billion dollar range? if that's correct. and we are designing it -- well, it was designed unsafe or unsecure manner based on some requirements that we should be following. we have -- state relies on -- the state department relies on an unpublished 2003 draft memorandum between the bureaus of overseas building operations and diplomatic security rather
than federal law and fam. is that correct? >> in any discussion of whether a fam or federal law takes priority, federal law takes priority. >> but it doesn't appear that -- that, again that there was proper procedure and proper consideration for security give the final design. >> sir, i disagree with that i think we fully complied with the law, absolutely. we do have one poring of the fam that i think has not been updated since 1993, and in particular, in the early 2000s, using standard embassy design that is a design build methodology of receiving the project as opposed to design bid build, the fam says we are not
supposed to sign a contract beforehand. in fact that does need to be modified in the fam. the law says nothing about that. we are -- >> so, that's a recommendation to avoid the -- >> yes. that is one of the recommendations from the inspector general and we are addressing that. >> i think that's very important. again, we are, you know the thing is under construction and the design is there. this was built to the inman specifications? >> it goes all the way to the inman specification and then we have gone through several iterations of this, finally culminating with pl 100204 that gave us directions that we need to certify in advance of the construction of the building, that the facility is going to result in a building or a facility that's safe for classified information or national security activities and our people. >> and the new design does that
include all of the embassy functions? are there -- are there other functions, like foreign commercial service operations in other facilities around london? i'm not familiar what with what we have got outside of the embassy there. >> there -- there were other embassy functions in the -- what was called the navy annex. we were not co-located. that is another law that congress has passed that we must have 100 feet of setback for every facility that we build and we must coelho kate everybody in the facility. they were not co-located in the old facility. >> they will be co-located in this facility? >> yes, sir. >> how about foreign commercial service? >> yes, sir. off the top of my head, i can't name every agency that will be in the new facility -- >> my other question will there be some outside? >> no. >> i visited paris -- went to the paris air show and spent a day on -- looking at our
facilities in paris, looking -- 'cause we knew after the hebdo that it was -- could be a target and they chose not to go after the hard -- hardened targets now, you know, a cafe a restaurant, a theater, and people at a christmas party are their new targets. but any other recommendations you have in changing the law so that we don't have the hiccups we have with this particular project? >> no, sir. i -- i would like to say something. since 1985 and the inman commission, we have gone through a series of processes, like having the overseas security policy board set security standards for new construction. we have had laws passed that require us to coelho kate our
personnel and have 100 fete of setback or in new construction on the secretary of state can waive that. we are required to tell congress in vans of starting the construction of the actual building that the building will result in the safe and secure facility. we have, since -- well since i have been on board, we have never reachbreached that trust and we never will. every building that we build will meet the security standards. we are getting the funding from congress not because we need to replace out-of-date buildings, because the buildings are insecure. that's why congress gives us the funding. this particular project is not using appropriated funding it is using proceeds of sale but i assure you also that we would never build a building that will not be safe and secure for our people, for the -- >> if the gentleman will yield, the problem is when you have a
facility that's life expectancy is less than ten years a different set of standards not what happened in brz, not what happened in tripoli. did you not erect a facility in tripoli that was secure. it was the biggest embarrass tonight this government. i have been there i have seen that. you cannot tell me you have done it every single time where they were killed -- i -- in those facilities. >> sir you are correct that the benghazi facility did not meet the standards. we did not build that facility. there is a difference between when we have to go places and sometimes accept what we can lease and try to upgrade it in the meantime. my promise to you is that when we build a facility -- >> what would you consider tripoli? >> tripoli we leased -- >> okay, so don't -- the problem is you take an american and you put them thought, they are in a very difficult circumstance, we need our diplomats out there engaging these people. they are -- do you think they care that there's a difference whether you built it or somebody else built it?
you're certificate nation it's secure and you don't do that on a regular practice it is regular practice to offer waivers. one of the waivers we are looking the here happened in london. that's why we keep having these hearings, don't lead congress to believe every facility we put people into is safe and secure when you offer waiver after waiver after waiver, did you it in triply, did you it in benghazi and did it before in other places. >> sir i agree -- no one is more cognizant of what happened in benghazi than i am. no someone more cognizant than i am in the -- >> you just sat here before us and told us every building we put people in -- >> we build. sir, sir, please. >> and that's mincing words that's not being honest and candid with the american people and with this congress. >> sir it is not mincing words. i'm being exact. when we build a new facility from scratch -- >> what do you tell the kid from tennessee that you send overseas, well, we leased this one, so it's not as sec zur what do you tell that family?
>> congressman may i answer the question? public law says when we build a new facility and we have had, thanks to congress, a new embassy construction program for many years, every single one of those buildings that we build new meets every one of those standards, we don't waive things. when we have to accept -- congressman, please. when we have to go in to different places and lease a facility that we know doesn't meet our standards we try our best to upgrade it. we try to provide other methods of mitigating the threat, whether it's u.s. marines, where it's diplomatic security agents sometimes we use temporary barriers around them h i cannot make a leased facility that has never been -- never been designed to meet blast standards or setback meet blast standards or setback. there is a difference between when we build new and that's what you asked us to certify,
when we build new then we have to go out on more or less an expeditious expeditionary basis and lease something. the facilities that we had in tripoli and benghazi did not meet the new embassy construction standards and do not. >> i yield back. >> before the gentleman yields back are there any waivers in jakarta? the answer's yes. >> no, i don't -- >> and you're building that facility. >> i don't believe there are waivers in jakarta. >> okay. you give us -- you give us a list of new construction waivers and you put in writing that that number is zero. >> he have year, we provide a report to congress on any waivers that we have given for new construction. we have provided every single year. you give this committee -- is that fair enough? you give that information -- >> the senate foreign relations committee, the house foreign relations committee. will you give that to our committee? >> absolutely. >> the reason you are here the inspector general is saying you are not abiding by federal law. so our time has gone well past.
ms. moloney from new york is recognize forward very generous five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman for calling this important meeting and i would like to ask assistant secretary starr, our number one focus is to protect the men and women who are serving our country overseas. and is this facility secure? are they protected in this london facility that you're building? >> in the new facility that we are building, yes. >> is it one of the most secure embassies in the world now with the new technologies? >> it will be, yes. >> it will be one of the most secure in the world. so the bottom line that we are looking at going forward we have to make sure that they are secure and you're testifying that this is one of the most secure sites and embassies in the world? >> yes. >> well thank you for that. but i do want to point out that president obama in his speech
last night talked about the evolving threat of terrorism. it is not just what we face today. it's what's gonna be tomorrow, what's their new technique is going to be. and he said, and i quote, "the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase." so, i want to know how are we responding to these new phases as a result of new technologies or whatever's going forward, so i would like to ask you well, i guess it was your report mr. linick, your report highlights the importance that research and development and testing is important for innovative development designs. that's what you were stressing in your report. and is that correct, and i just -- that you have to have these new technologies and testing for the new technologies and emerging threats? >> um, congresswoman, our report didn't assess whether innovation
is necessary or not necessary. our focus was narrow in that we looked at whether or not the security issues were resolved before construction, before contract award. that's what we looked at and we also looked at the contract. so i'm not in a position to tell you whether we need innovation, et cetera. as far as testing goes my only point with that was that the testing of the glass curtain wall didn't occur for six months after certification and it was our opinion that it ought to have occurred before certification because we failed to see how you can certify something is safe without, you know making sure that it passes the blast test. >> well, then assistant secretary starr, there is a need, would you say, for research and development and i understand there's a research and development group within the diplomatic security, is that correct?
>> had yes congresswoman it is, it is. >> and i understand a lot of what this unit develops may be classified but can you give this committee a quick overview of the type of other research or methods that ds or development security is -- diplomatic screening and security is developing? >> congressman, thank you for the question. we work sometimes by ourselves sometimes with a defense threat reduction agency sometimes with the national labs. and we -- our buildings meet higher standards for our security standards. and i don't want to go into exactly what they are, than any type of commercial building. and in order to do that, we had to develop new types of products. i can tell that you one of the products that we developed, if you look at the first generation of embassies that we built from 1988 to 1992 that withstood blast, the windows were about
two feet by two feet and they were about five inches thick. today, we can build windows we have windows and commercial contractors build them for us now, that are, you know six feet by eight feet, that meet the blast requirements, and that has further developed to a point where we are building the embassy in london and jakarta, where the curtain wall is actually all glass and yet still meets those blast requirements. these are the types of things that, as we go forward building new buildings, give us different options to build while still meeting the very rigorous security standards. >> that's good to hear that you're focusing on the blast response. but can you elaborate on how the state department is utilizing other creative solutions to adopt to the ever-evolving
threat environment that we have around the world for our embassies? ms. muniz or mr. star either one, ms. muniz since we have heard from the other two papalists. >> let me respond first to your earlier question about the importance of looking at new materials and -- new materials for the state department, in any event. curtain wall technology is really the predominant technology that is used to build what we call high-rise buildings and high rise is defined as anything above seven stories. what we found as we were moving forward in our construction project is that in our construction program rather is that increasingly it was difficult for us to find large sites in cities that are quite developed and where real estate is quite expensive. so it was really in our interest and the department's interest to take advantage of technologies that would allow us to build buildings higher and to do that efficiently and economically. so that is the benefit of
testing new products or using new products to new standards, such as curtain wall, though again, curtain wall has been in use in the construction industry since the early 1900s. with respect to the types of flexibility that we build into our buildings, i will address first what we do that is non-security relate and then we will turn it back to my colleague, mr. star. the excellence initiative we have tried to look at a lot of things that are used in industry quite skillfully to make better use of our buildings and make them endure longer. we have used raised floors and demountable partitions rather than hard partitions so that if we need additional staff or reconfiguration, it can be done quickly and easily at very little expense. we have also looked at the degree possible, building in as much efficiency and establishbility as we can to drive down operating costs. that's also an important factor when we select our sites, so we
are picking sites that ribbon cease leg -- that are increasingly closer to the -- in order to drive don't operating cost of shuttling them 3045 minutes, sometimes an hour to visit their colleagues. so, all of these things combined additional flexibility, technologies that will help us build faster but also building in places where we can have our diplomats close to the colleagues and the people they need to work with those are all things the program is focusing on. well, thank you for your hard work. my time has expired. thank you. >> thank you. and now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. we hear a lot about construction today. obviously, it's a very important topic. but i believe today's hearing is also about the process, about accountability, it is about transparency. in 2013 december 2013, undersecretary for management
certified to must congress that the state had ensured the adequacy of all safety-related measures. in fact the ds had expressed concern about is a state's use of computer modelling to simulate this blast testing for the curtain wall and they ordered a full mockup blast test before certification was appropriate. the problem is that test doing is not start until february 2014 and was not complete until may of 2014. it is not clear in the certification package to congress that state provided notice that blast tests was ongoing. and here's the questions, a couple of them. did state's certification to congress in december 2013 ex-policeplicitly alert the committees that state that not even begun blast testing? ms. muniz, i will start with you. >> i'm not certain that it did, but we were very clear about when blast testing was going to happen in thea q succession of the project.
i would also like to add that certification is done of the designs of a project and those designs were stamped and by calculation, all of the designs met the rigorous requirements established by diplomatic security. >> so when you say all safety mesh slurs been completed, you are just saying this is the certification with the projection that they will be completed, is that my understanding? >> i'm not sure i understand your question. let me frame it this way, when a building is certified, then i will turn it over to mr. starr who ds is responsible for those certifications and for their reference to the undersecretary for management. certification is done of designs of building. by design engineers calculate that designs meet any of the requirements including blast loads. that was done prior to the certification of the london embassy project.
mr. starr? >> congressman, essentially, certification is a promise to congress. you have given us the resources and you want to know that we are certifying to you in advance of starting the building of the building that the facility resulting from the project is going to be safe and secure. it's a promise. we can -- we can fulfill that promise many different ways and some of the standard embassy designs, when we were first looking at the standard embassy designs, we were a little nervous about some of the things and we certified them based on what the architects were telling us and quo look at concrete and we could look at steel and pretty much figure it out. as we go forward into newer types of methodologies, we do rely on our architects a, and as i say quite possibly the best blast architectural firm in the world, widelinger and telling us yes this design meets your standards, this design will surpass your
standards and i can take that and promise to you, promise to congress, the facility resulting from this design is going to meet our standard. well we went even further than that afterwards a blast tested it, just to ensure that their calculations were correct. and in fact they were. >> did it show the highlights or highlights the weaknesses in the design? in other words, did it include a memorandum from the office of director of national ingems in which the office notes that should blast testing highlight weaknesses in the design of the curtain wall director muniz has confirmed in writing that all necessary steps will be taken to rectify the issues. can you confirm here today that congress received that memo with a december 2013 confirmation, mr. muniz? >> i don't think we sent that to congress, sir. what we did was certified that the design met the requirements and we also talked about, well, if the blast testing showed that it didn't what would we do? even though the engineers were fully saying, yes, it would >> let me ask mr. linick did you know whether congress received the office of the director of national
intelligence memo in december 2013 with state certification package, you are saying, mr. starr, you never sumbmit to congress? >> i'm trying to remember the actual package. i know the certification is signed by the undersecretary for management. i don't think -- i think the certification says that we have consulting with odni on this. i'm not sure in the package that we send to you that we actually include the memo from odni. mr. linick do you recall? mr. starr doesn't remember. >> it is not clear to me whether the certification package advised co-congress that testing would occur after the certification. >> mr. chairman, time has expired and maybe follow up with someone else, but thank you. >> congressman, if you like i will get back to you with an answer afterwards whether the package we sent to congress actually has the odni letter or not. can you give me a time for when you are able to do that? one week, two weeks? >> i will find out by tomorrow and give your office a call.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman has yield -- >> mr. starr, you are taking great liberties well beyond your ability to back them up to suggest "engineers fully stayed would," it was not unanimous. all the engineers did not line up and say this meets every standard. and what i point to is mr. linick's report go to page nine of the audit itself, it goes through the audit results. mr. linick please clearly tell us in your opinion, did they or did they not violate their own internal spoils on what they should or should not be doing and when they zhoud it? >> they clearly did violate their -- their policies to fam by certifying after contract award and after construction. and that's the basis of our
finding, finding a. this is an issue that doesn't just affect london embassy but also other -- other embassies as well. the question congress should know what constitutes construction, when certification's occurring. there should be transparency in the process so congress knows exactly what rules the state department's relying on when it undertakes construction and when it certifies. so, that's really -- that's the essence of the report. >> and mr. starr to subject the government buildings are more secure than any -- the representation you made, than any private sector building on the face of the planet, you cannot get away with saying that. there are a lot of buildings out there going to be a lot more safe and secure using different materials and different -- why do you make such sweeping generalizations when you know they can't be backed up? that is something the committee needs to -- >> i said the -- >> no we will pull back the record.
you are just overstepping your bounds. >> congressman, you are -- >> no i'm not calling on you right now, we are calling on mr. we, mr. welch is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. and this issue of embassy security obviously is very important. i appreciate the work you're doing. mr. chairman, appreciate the work you're doing and enjoyed my trip to libya with you to inspect an embassy. you have got a tough job. and i think we appreciate that. i have got a couple areas of questions. one is taking up on what mr. cummings started on about the 100-foot setback. the state department has several additional physical security standards for diplomatic facilities and they include the anti-crime per rim terse, handed building exteriors, safe spaces for taking refuge in the event of an attack. do all the new embassies have these type of features and i will go ahead, sir, yeah.
>> yes, sir, every embassy we construct anew does. >> and are there any other security features or requirements you think is critical to securing the embassies? >> sir, the security standards that we have for construction of the new embassy are extensive things that you mentioned are not the only things that you have. the standards are passed by the overseas security policy board which is a set of directors of all of the agencies that are security director of all the agencies that exist overseas that are at our embassies and consulates, including the department of defense, department of justice, the intelligence community, everyone. >> some of these, mr. starr, some of these security features for u.s. embassies in london and elsewhere are actually more stringent than what we have for many governmental buildings at home here in d.c. for example, none of the congressional office buildings
have any of the anti-crime features of u.s. embassies, is that right? >> congressman you're correct although what you're pointing out is a -- is an issue that we also have also have overseas. these buildings predate building to new, safer standards. they were built many years ago. we have embassies like that as well. >> right. so the building we're in right now doesn't have many of these features that are going to be organic to the construction of facilities overseas, including london, right? >> yes, sir, if i understand your question. yes. >> all right. another topic. one of the things that i have seen in visiting some of our embassies is that there is a -- there is a conflict between the needs of security, which oftentimes dictate a somewhat remote location, and almost a fortress-like construction and the accessibility to people who
need to use the embassy. i have actually -- i am actually one who has favored having our facilities located more in the center of cities rather than way on the outskirts. is there any way to resolve that? i don't know if that's just a concern i have or if it's shared by any of my colleagues. >> director muniz will say something about this as well. at the beginning of the program, after the loss of the embassies, we built many embassies across africa and other places that had ten acres of land and were not in the center of the cities. as we are approaching sort of the mid-point of building new embassies, we have built over 110 new facilities now, we find ourselves in a position where we want, particularly in cities in europe and other places, to not be very far out. and that requires a building that is not low and flat and
takes ten acres of land to build. we're looking at like london on a much smaller site and we go up. that means we have to have the new technology like curtain walls to be able to do those things. >> thank you. miss muniz, do you have anything you'd like to offer that relates to questions i've asked? by the way, thank you for your good work. >> thank you. i would just add that i believe very strongly that we could build great embassies that project an openness and meet all of the security standards and be in those locations where our diplomats need to be. i really think that these are things that we can resolve. it takes creativity and it takes an approach to each site that we're able to find. really an approach that we're taking now, an original look to see how we can build on that site. but i'm comfortable that we can meet all the security standards
and have our diplomats located where they need to be. >> i want to thank you all. a word of advice that you don't really need, but the chairman has really been taking a very active interest in this, and i think a lot of us support him in that concern for safety, and i know you do as well. so to the extent you can stay in touch with the committee, i think that will be helpful to all of us. thank you. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. hice, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. linick, let me begin with you. did your office, the office of the inspector general, make recommendations to o.b.o. to not begin construction until they were sure that the building would survive a blast? >> congressman, we recommended that o.b.o. establish controls to ensure that construction is not initiated before designs have been approved by the bureau of diplomatic security.
then we recommended to bureau of diplomatic security that they establish controls to require that testing is completed before certification to congress. >> okay. so is that -- it would be a yes, then? >> i mean, we did recommend that certification -- >> which included that it could survive a blast. >> that all of that -- yes. >> with the d.s., let me go further with what you're saying. did your recommendation to d.s. include that they have controls in place to make sure that any building is fully vetted so that it is adequate for security purposes? >> yeah. and more precisely that any required testing be done before certification. >> okay. >> so there is -- so that they can establish that safety is adequate. >> all right.
in your recommendations from your perspective, from the office -- o.i.g.'s office, would a letter from an architectural firm be adequate, or did you want more than just a letter? >> well, they had always -- d.s. was clearly not satisfied with the safety of the glass curtain wall until blast testing was to occur. in fact, they were concerned about it as early as november 2012 all the way to december 6th, just a few days before certification. so a letter in that circumstance wouldn't have sufficed. they had to do the blast testing. that was a required test. >> you're saying that the blast testing was required. >> i am saying -- that's right. i am saying that, if they're going to certify it's safe, they ought to do the blast testing before they certify it's safe because blast testing was something they were concerned about. if it failed, then what? >> then all failed.
we've heard today from mr. starr that in his opinion blast testing was not required. in your opinion that's the only way to adequately ensure that it was equipped to endure a potential blast. >> yeah. what's required under the law is that before undertaking new construction they certify that adequate and appropriate steps have been taken to ensure the security of the construction project. it -- like i said, in my view the blast testing had to be completed, otherwise -- >> otherwise all you have is a letter. so in your opinion the recommendations that came from your office were not fulfilled. is that true? >> well, the department actually has agreed in theory to comply with our recommendations, but we haven't closed them yet, the two recommendations, the one i just mentioned, until we received documentation. >> the recommendations are still outstanding. >> that's correct. >> all right. in your words, did you receive push-back from ovo or d.s. on the recommendations?
>> well, initially -- initially we received push-back. but during the compliance process they have appeared to agree to comply with our recommendations. >> although that has not yet taken place. >> no, but we're still in the process of following through with this. >> is there any reason, any valid reason that you can think of as to why o.b.o. and d.s. would not comply, would refuse, deny to implement your recommendations? initially. >> well, the -- they're not -- our recommendations are simply that, recommendations. we can't require them to. they have to agree to it. >> is there any valid reason you can think of why they would not proceed with fulfilling -- >> no. we made our recommendations, we
made our findings and we stand by them. >> is there anything legislatively that can be done that would help? >> i think congress might want to consider clarifying what it means to undertake, initiate construction prior to certification. i think that would help. because, after all, you have heard that there are various definitions of what construction is. and i think some clarity on what construction is and, you know, exactly when blast testing, the required testing, has to occur would help. because when congress received the certification package in december, it's not clear to me what congress knew, it's not clear to me that congress realized that the department was relying on an internal memorandum of understanding, which is not law. and ultimately we have got to rely on the laws and our -- the official interpretations of them. that's the problem from our point of view. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you. very helpful. miss norton, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.
i must say, mr. starr, it must be difficult today to be a diplomat abroad in light of what we're seeing. after the paris attacks, i wonder if there are specific changes that the state department feels are necessary in light of those attacks. >> we're looking closely at the paris attacks. we are looking for lessons learned from the paris attacks. i don't think that there is anything necessarily going to come out of that that's going to affect how we build buildings or how we construct facilities. what we are looking at, from the consular section and from other methods, is how to best warn americans overseas, even faster than we do, and i think we do a very good job of it now. we encourage all americans that
are overseas to register with embassies and consulates in the region. you can do that online now. we're taking advantage of more online tools. many embassies -- >> all americans, did you say? >> we encourage all americans that are overseas to register and let us know that they're traveling overseas. many embassies nowadays have automatic sms messaging, and if an american citizen provides their telephone number or an email address to us, if something is going on in their location, we can message them immediately and warn them to either, you know, shelter in place or evacuate or things like that. i think one of the lessons from paris that we're learning is that, as -- i think quite honestly, as many of us had feared for many years that terrorism that we had seen in places like the middle east and african countries was eventually going to evolve through europe into other countries, and these are countries that have many, many, many american expatriates
and american visitors and tourists. so we are looking at how we can better warn american citizens overseas. as i say, i think we do a very good job of it already. in the aftermath of paris we're looking to see if there are even better ways that we can do it. >> mr. starr, you probably get it coming both ways. there were recently reports in the press that some diplomats feel hampered in their diplomatic activity because of the kinds of security that you apparently have had to place on them. have you had such -- have you had such complaints, and have you considered how diplomacy, which has to be done everywhere, is or can be carried on in light of diplomats who are hell-bent on doing what they came to do but the department may feel that
they are dangers if they proceed? how do you reconcile the dangers with people feeling that they're not always able to do their job? >> congresswoman, that is an excellent question and something that we thrash with often. we have had a lot of questions about it. one of the reasons we build safe and secure facilities is so that when our embassy officers and our local staff are in the embassy, working out of the embassy, it's a safe and secure facility and we don't lose it or everybody in one attack, to the absolute maximum extent we don't want to lose an embassy like in nairobi when the bombings took place. we don't want to lose our platform for justice and intelligence and law enforcement and aid programs. but the flip-side of this is that diplomats have to get out of the building.
diplomats, by their very nature, don't work just inside that building. they need to get out. they need to talk with legislators, they talk with human rights advocates. they talk with people running aid programs and humanitarian affairs. they need to talk with the people that are running the country in power. they need to talk with the opposition. well, in order to do that, we have other programs besides just the embassy building program. this is why we provide armored cars. this is why we have diplomatic security agents and bodyguards in some cases. this is, of all cases, why we are now engaging in training our diplomats in fact training. foreign affairs counter threat training before they go overseas to get them medical skills. counter surveillance skills. driving skills. rudimentary understandings of weapons and explosives. these are the types of things that are the flip side of creating a safe and secure
embassy when they're there but also understanding that their job is to get out and to meet people and talk with people and represent the united states. so we have both types of programs that we're running simultaneously. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to say, i think perhaps benghazi more than paris may have taught about eager democrats trying to go to places that are unsafe. perhaps one learned more from benghazi than even from paris. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank the gentlewoman. we'll recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter for five minutes. >> i believe this is the third time you've been here before this committee this year. is that correct? yes or no? >> yes, sir. >> that's what i thought. that's what my calculation showed. you appeared here before this full committee in july to review the cost overruns of the u.s. embassy in kabul. and again in september to discuss both security concerns and cost overruns with the two
u.s. consulates in mexico. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> and that's just two examples. two examples that you have had to answer for this year. other examples would include the state department paying a construction company $18.5 million for renovations to a prison in afghanistan originally slated to cost $16 million. and then the firm only completed half of the work over five years. and now the state department calculates it's going to cost another $16 million to finish the project. the state department has spent $5 million on fancy glassware as embassies. the embassy in new guinea had to be entirely scrapped and started over. that resulted in almost quadrupling the cost of the project.
is that correct, mr. starr, yes or no? >> i believe that's correct, sir. >> here we find ourselves here today. today we see that the state department has decided to act, contrary, as we've been told, contrary to federal law and state department policies by starting construction on the london embassy before the required blast testing was completed. we have established that point. that's why we're here today. the state department has blatantly ignored its own policies, ignored federal law and numerous recommendations. poor decision has exposed the state department to millions of dollars in cost overruns. now you're trying to push ahead and start the project as we've seen so there is no turning back. does that sound familiar to foreign affairs security training center that you're trying to build in virginia right now? >> no, sir, it does not sound familiar to me. i think you're misstating a lot
of the facts. >> mr. starr, i am following your example because you have misstated a lot of the facts all day long. you could have renovated and redone the current london embassy for less than a billion dollars if you had only slowed down and made sure it was done correctly. we've established that here today. we've established that. and then, you know what bothers me so much about this, is that we're making the same mistake all over again. all you have to do is look at what you're trying to do with the foreign affairs security training center. that's all we've got to do. you look at what was done. you compared the federal law enforcement training center in glencoe, georgia. they submitted a bid of $243 million. you went to fort picket. they submitted a bid of $950 million. you went back and said, come on, can't you do better? they said, okay, we'll come down to $450 million. we' eliminate the dorms and cafeterias, all the things that
already exist and we'll get the price down. why don't we do this. i tell you what let's do, miss muniz and mr. starr. let's schedule -- mr. chairman, let's go ahead and schedule the next hearing on the cost overruns at fasce. we know you'll be right back here. we've seen it already. let me tell you. when you get back here on the cost overruns on that, if i am still on the committee, don't count on my support. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman. >> is there a question you'd like me to answer, congressman? >> mr. starr, i don't -- >> gentleman has yielded back. gentleman has yielded back. the gentleman from north carolina, mr. meadows is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you all for being here. it's good to see you back. a few of you. mr. starr. i think part of the frustration
is that you answer with such specificity and inclusiveness that it's hard for any of us to take some of your testimony seriously that everything is okay. now, i have talked about your colleague a number of times, have a good relationship, i believe, with her in terms of trying to find areas to address the embassy and diplomatic needs that we have. so i guess the question i have for you is, i heard mr. linick talking to mr. hice about the need for clarity. so would you say that some of the not following the rules is because of ambiguity in the law? >> no, sir, i don't believe so. first -- >> so why are we not following -- >> i don't think this committee -- i don't think we have had the opportunity to spend the time with the staff of this committee that we spent in
years past with the senate foreign relations committee and the house committee on foreign affairs. >> whose fault is that? this committee? i'm willing to take this committee to task if they haven't made themselves available. >> no, sir. i think this hearing and briefings that we're trying to do i think are valuable. i think they help the committee understand things. this is a tough business. and we do make choices. >> well -- let me get back to the question. i only have five minutes. i have been able to spend time with miss muniz in my office. she came after a hearing. said, is there anything that we can offer? we've had followups since then, you know. it's that dialogue. while we may not agree on
everything, we were able to come to an understanding on a number of issues, and so i guess my question is, if there is not a lack of ambiguity, other than informing us, what's the problem, mr. starr? are we going to come in under budget? are we going -- are you going to -- >> well, the budget, sir, i can't really tell you about. what i can tell you is -- >> so we may require appropriations to finish things? >> this building i don't believe so. if you'd like to ask director muniz. but the security of this building, i can tell you we are building a building that meets -- >> do the ends justify the means? >> no, sir. it's a question that you have to look at -- >> well, it's not a question that you have to look at. it's a question of law. and what mr. linick -- >> yes. >> -- has pointed out is that there seems to be either ambiguity or the lack of following what has been laid out. which is it? >> i don't believe there is a lack of ambiguity in the law, sir. >> are you saying there is a lack of following what -- >> no. and certainly no lack of following it. i certify --
>> so everything is okay? >> sir, this building is -- >> hold on. let me let her -- >> we promised. >> you have been talking a lot. let her jump in. she wanted to jump in. >> i'm sorry. i just want to jump in and give my interpretation of the issue. i really believe that, first of all, the work that o.b.o. does and d.s.'s certification of our projects is highly technical. you're familiar with construction. it's a very technical field. i believe the crux of this discussion is a difference of interpretation. we are very clear and believe that the law provides us the right to certify based on designs and calculations which is done commonly across the industry. the i.g. has interpreted that a blast test was necessary before confirming that. i would argue that blast tests
are done commonly, not blast tests, testing of components of buildings are done commonly during the construction phases, and when developers, whether it's a state department, government developer or in private industry, when there is an understanding that any kind of a course correction can be made and all of the standards can still be met, construction proceeds from the beginning with adjustments made during construction so we finish on schedule and we certify. >> as you know, i understand that. i guess the real question is the american taxpayer dollars. at what point are we so sure that those standards are met, because mr. starr has indicated there are a number of waivers that they have continued to give, maybe not on london but on other projects.
and yet he says that we're following all the standards, and those were your words, in quotes, all the standards. so why would you need a waiver if you're following all the standards? >> sir, the law requires that we inform congress. >> that's not the question. >> for new construction, i can't even remember the last time we've asked for any waiver for setback -- >> i didn't ask that. >> per location or for any of our standards. >> mr. starr, it's your testimony that suggested that there's waivers and that you followed all the rules. those two are mutually exclusive. it couldn't happen. >> sir, we -- when we have to take a facility that's already built, when we go into a city that we have to accept, we're never going to meet the standards. and we do have waivers for those. >> mr. starr, with all due respect, that's apples and oranges. we were talking about new construction. have you done any waivers with new construction? >> we have a waiver in jakarta for the swing space and for historic building that's on the compound.
i can't remember another waiver that we've issued -- >> on new construction. all right. will you get that to this committee? >> yes. i promise, sir. >> i yield back. >> this is why i have a problem when you make sweeping generalizations saying we never issue waivers. there are two examples right there. you make this infinitely more complex in your testimony. that's my personal opinion. and to suggest that we haven't made staff available, well, here is my frustration. june 23rd, 2014, we sent a list of questions. still outstanding. have not gotten a full and complete response to that. july 21st we sent a letter. production is still going on. we sent another letter dealing with other places and saudi arabia sent august 6th, still outstanding. we sent a letter to you on october 16th regarding danger pay, still outstanding.
sent another letter on october 7th. october 21st. production has not even started on that, nor was it even started on danger pay. so you say it's a lack of communication, but when i send you a letter and this committee wants to get some answers, even when we've given you, you know, nearly six months, you can't seem to respond to us. and that leads us to beg the question of what is it that they're hiding? why will they not comply with this? we're asking, i think, some very basic, simple questions. other committees, other agencies, don't have this problem. some do but others don't. and it's compounded by the fact that we have the greatest respect to the inspector general community. and when these professionals, without their partisan hats on, without all the -- come in and look and do an analysis and say impartially that there is a
problem here, it gets our attention. we're irresponsible if we just ignore it and put it on a shelf. my biggest fear is these 13,000 people throughout the inspector general community, they do good work. they'll look at it sometimes for a year or two, and that we don't respond to it. that's -- that's my concern. and so, the situation here with the blast wall is different and unique because it's never been used. not only has it never been used by us as the united states government, when i went to london the people on the ground, good hard-working people committed to making the best, safest product they can. i asked, is there an example somewhere in the universe that we can look at this? they said, no. nobody has ever done this before. they were proud of the fact that we were blazing new trails. it kind of begs the question that maybe we should do a testing. now you come before the committee today and suggest that all the engineers were all lined up behind this. that's not true.
it's fundamentally not true. so i think mr. linick makes a very good point. the certification will get to congress. you can play hide the rabbit and we have to try to figure out which hole it's under. there is an expectation i think in the law that that certification tells us that the tests have been done and that you -- and you say it's not a lack of clarity. but you have the inspector general disagreeing with you. that's why we're here today. so i appreciate the gentleman letting me use some of his time. let's recognize mr. russell for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and again, thanks for addressing this important issue. we all realize it doesn't matter which embassy a threat may get. just getting one. we saw the destruction in the beirut embassy that resulted in many of the security standards that we now live by.
we saw the loss of the tanzania and kenyan embassies that furthered under the secretary of state then colin powell to make something to provide the dollars that we have a provide security in all the foreign missions that we possess. and therein lies the problem. we have seen in recent years a deviation. some, you know, for needs of topography or needs of the country or needs of the mission, but some just for purely different political reasons. and i guess, you know, director muniz, you know, you bring not only integrity and a great work ethic and reputation that i think both sides respect, and you have certainly earned that, but my question -- and we see it here even with the london embassy.
what do you think would be the most important? spending hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the scope of what's needed in non-standard designs with renewable energy projects and initiatives or building proven secure embassies that will, you know, maybe alter for aesthetics or for culture in our most vulnerable missions overseas? which is more important dealing with the terror threats that we face globally today? >> thank you for your question. i think i would argue that we don't have to choose one, we can do both. i think london is a great example of, as i explained earlier, the department was faced with a situation where we could have spent $550 million at the time of that estimate. today that would be $730 million. we could have invested in renovating the existing chancery.
and it still would not have met security standards. so we had to look at alternatives. we sold existing, functional properties in london to finance the current project. many of the sustainability requirements of the embassy, the public art requirements for that embassy, were put on us by the city of london and by the borough in london in which we're developing that building. so part of it is is what we need to do to satisfy the local government's requirements for us to build, much like we meet local requirements here. >> sure. i understand the cultural needs. i mean, we are representing our country and theirs around the globe. i have had the privilege to travel as a member of this committee to many countries, examining embassies. but i don't think that we are having security and thrift as the greatest thing in view.
and then to hear you, mr. starr, say that, in essence, it's all unicorns and rainbows and it's perfect out there, and now we need to spend hundreds of millions of more dollars on a training facility that quite frankly our armed forces could probably cooperate and provide many of those needs. just from an infantryman's point of view and having been in a number of embassies this myy sies it in my military career i saw a lot of glaring things that you don't seem to be caring to address.t in my military career, i saw a lot of glaring things that you don't seem to be caring to address. in my military career, i saw a lot of glaring things that you don't seem to be caring to address.in my military career, i saw a lot of glaring things that you don't seem to be caring to address. security detachments. basic stuff. you're complaining about not having tens of millions of dollars for this or that. i got some questions for you. night vision devices. we're talking four figures here can fix these in any given embassy. power generation, water store
allege on the storage on the periphery walls. they say we can hold out for 0 days. no if it's out there on the wall. sewer, where does will this go? we think there are bars town here that would prohibit people getting -- these are consistent things i've seen. and we're not talking hundreds of millions of dollars, sir. we're talking single digit millions could fix a great many of these things. my question to you if you are so dedicated to security, what are you doing to address those things? >> thank you congressman. there are thousands of things that are wants and there are things that are needs. working closely with the inspector general who goes out and looks at our posts and then we put together multiagency teams that include the
i have specialized units. >> you get out to your embassies more and talk to those security teams that are -- >> sir, i've been to afghanistan, iraq. >> no, i'm not talking afghanistan and iraq. i'm talking countries that largely have peaceful populations. >> i've been so many of those places well, sir. >> i have no doubt that you have, and i would suggest -- in fact, i would like a report back on how you're addressing -- when you have basic marine riflemen that don't even have an aiming aid on their rifle per rifleman, when you don't even have, in a, say, a six-in-one security detachment and they don't have seven total night vision devices, these are very, very simple fixes. when you're talking about peripheral water storage and electrical generation that could be brought interior much more close and allows these ligations to survive for critical hours where they can maintain and continue, i would say we have much more work to do. quite frankly, mr. starr, i have not been impressed with a lot of the initiatives and the bright, rosy picture that you portray because in very simple correct fixes, we can do so much more than we're doing now in practical terms without asking the american taxpayer for hundreds of millions of dollars. mr. chairman, thank you for indulging me beyond my time. i yield back. >> before the gentleman yields back, i want to follow up on his question. are you suggesting to us that there are no outstanding requests for anything from the marines? >> sir, the marine corps is responsible for providing weapons for the marine detachments. i am not aware that there are unfulfilled requests from the marine detachments through their ncos to the marine corps. the marine corps sets the specifications for what weapons they get, what gear they have. that is up to the marine corps, not up to diplomatic security. the larger question about other things that we have -- >> wait, wait, i want to get to the marines here, okay? if they need materiel, if they need equipment, they're to make -- >> through the marine corps. >> through the marine corps. >> yes, sir. >> and they're to get that from the marine corps? >> yes, sir. >> so if they need night vision capability, they're sitting
there in the booth and they want to be able to see the perimeter, whose responsibility is that? >> that would -- if there's a need for night vision equipment, it would come from the marine corps. >> wait a second. now, there's individual goggles. >> right. >> but then there are cameras. >> right. all of our cameras have night vision capabilities. >> that is absolutely not true. >> sir -- >> you are so full of it, i can't even begin to tell you. that is not true. ypyou come before congress, and you keep representing that we have all this -- they do not! >> sir -- >> don't -- no, mr. starr, you are not -- mr. starr, mr. starr, the time -- when i ask you a question, then you can answer it. this is the problem with you in this position. you cannot tell me that there is night vision capability at each of our embassies and consulates. is that what you're testifying to? >> sir, all of our cameras, even our lowest and oldest cameras have enhanced resolution. >> do they have a night vision capability? >> they are capable of seeing what is going on in the compound at night, sir. >> in the dark? >> if the -- if we lose all power and if we lose all generators, there are certain posts that will not be able to do that. but we have low-light capability, and we've had that since the early '90s.
>> you are misrepresenting the facts, mr. starr. >> we have -- sir, we have low-light capability cameras, and we have engaged since benghazi in an upgrade program starting with all of our -- >> it's not complete. you've wanted us to believe, if i didn't question you, that every one of our posts can see at night. they can't! and you don't understand that. you are the assistant secretary bureau of diplomatic security, and you don't know that our people can't see at night. >> our marines and our agents can see at night. >> well, i will tell you this, mr. starr, if i may, mr. chairman, the regional security officers are the ones that provide, as you well know, the security for each of the compounds. state funds the rso's request. >> correct. >> and that includes many of the pieces of equipment that they ask for. now, either the integrity of the marine corps is at stake here where they say that they can't get the equipment because it's funded through the rsos, or maybe somebody else's integrity is at question here.
>> i think the picture is really clear. you can understand why these rsos are having so many problems. i walk into every embassy i go into now and ask them if i can see at night. one of the most recent embassies i walked into, they said, well, if the lights are on. i said, well, what happens if it's dark? what happens if they shoot out the lights? no, then we couldn't see a thing. we'd be in the pitch dark. how are you, in that position, have the arrogance to come before us and say everybody has the ability to see at night? i'm telling you, mr. starr, you are beyond, beyond belief here. this is why we keep coming back here. because that is fundamentally and totally not true. and i'm dedicating my life running around the world to make sure that they get the equipment that they have. the problem is the persons in position to do it who could go down to home depot and buy this stuff isn't doing -- doesn't even think it's a problem. i would love to see a list. are you able to provide a list
to us of all the outstanding requests by the regional security officers? can you provide us that list? >> i believe i can, sir. >> when will you provide it? >> give me two weeks, sir. >> two weeks it is. now i recognize the gentleman from alabama. >> may i comment, sir? >> sure. >> sir we have embassies all across the world. we have embassies in third-world countries and first-world countries. we have embassies where we've never lost power, and we have embassies where we do lose power and we run on generators. we have some of the most comprehensive security standards for any facility in the world. now, i'm not saying that our buildings are built better than the protection for nuclear facilities. but in comparison to a regular office building, our facilities are built to a standard that is very safe and secure. our embassies in sudan and in tunis withstood 8 1/2 hours of
crowds pounding on them when the police wouldn't come and rescue our people. our marines and our rsos had the equipment to defend those embassies during that time. nobody got in. nobody was injured. we have comprehensive programs. they're not perfect. there is no such thing as a perfect program, and we continue to run reasonable risks overseas. but we will do our absolute best to ensure that our people are safe and secure. >> i appreciate you getting that list to this committee. i do appreciate it. we look forward to seeing it in two weeks. mr. palmer from alabama is now recognized. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. muniz, mr. starr, why does the overseas building operations and the bureau of diplomatic >thank you, mr. chairman. mr. muniz, mr. starr, why does the overseas building operations and the bureau of diplomatic >thank you, mr. chairman. mr. muniz, mr. starr, why does the overseas building operations and the bureau of diplomatic thank you, mr. chairman. mr. muniz, mr. starr, why does the overseas building operations and the bureau of diplomatic security rely on up published draft memorandum rather than federal law in the foreign affairs manual to determine when to begin construction on facilities? >> i'm not sure i understood your question correctly.
i think it was why do we rely on our published policy versus law? >> unpublished draft memorandum. >> i would say that we rely on the law when it comes to certifications to congress. i would turn this over to mr. starr. >> sir, in terms of certification, i agree with the inspector general that we have a section of the fam that's out of date that does not -- is actually saying something that's different than public law. if there's any question about what takes precedence, it's public law over the foreign affairs manual. >> what is your response to the oig's finding that the use of the draft memorandum, without telling anyone is likely to mislead audiences including congress who expect the department to follow its
published policies? >> sir, the public law requires us to certify to congress that the facility resulting from the construction project is going to be safe and secure for our national security activities, our classified information, and our people, our personnel. we are providing a facility in line with that certification that is safe and secure for our people, our national security activities, and our classified information. >> my concern is is as the oig's report points out is that it's likely to mislead people including congress. and i want to -- put the slides back up that mr. chairman had up at the very beginning of the hearing on the construction project.
ms. muniz, you've made the argument that that's not construction. i worked for two international engineering companies, engineering construction companies, and it is -- there are times when you could separate the site work from the overall contract where it could be contracted out. but having worked in engineering construction, i can assure you that site work is part of the construction, but even more importantly, when you're setting piles, it's absolutely critical to the construction process. and i think you made the assertion that that's not construction. frankly, i was astounded when you said that. it raises questions in my mind your competence in your position. >> i'd like to be clear about the department's position on this. first of all, with respect to this photo, this photo was taken after certification. >> are you saying this is the department's position that
setting the piles and doing the basic foundation work is not part of the construction? >> the department -- what i explained is that the department has allowed four years since 2003 the construction of piles up to pile caps in advance of certification. that has been common practice for over ten years. >> if you do that, does this not result in substantial numbers of change orders when you haven't certified the building and you find out later that the foundations are not sufficient? i think there's been some issues with that. >> we have not found that, and we certainly have not found that in the case of london. >> i'm talking about overall because i think there are issues with exceeding the budgets, having numerous change orders. i think there was some issue with a couple of things you wanted to put in the building that you couldn't put in because
you found out that the building wouldn't support it. >> i'm not sure which project you're referring to. that's certainly not the case in london. >> my point about this is is that you come in, and listening to the chairman's questioning, and you argue that or assert that the setting of the piles is not part of the construction progress and that you admit that you have done a lot of this work without certification of the building, which raises questions to me that if the building's not been certified, that it leaves the door open for design changes that do impact the construction costs. and i think that's one of the problems that we have in trying to make sure that the taxpayers' interests are protected, not
only our employees who depend on these facilities for their protection are taken care of, but that we take care of the fiscal aspect of this as well. i mean, you know, we're deficit spending every year. and certainly not -- it's not totally due to cost overruns, and this is something that i'm finding throughout the federal government. but it is a problem here. and listening to some of the other questions that have been asked about some of the inadequacies that are not being addressed, and we're spending, i think, millions of dollars having to address issues of design changes and change orders and other aspects of construction projects. and again, frankly, for someone to assert that setting the foundations and driving the piles is not part of the construction process raises serious questions in my mind
about the qualifications of the individuals that make those assertions. i've gone over my time, mr. chairman. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. as a follow-up here, i have a number of issues -- questions we need to go through. so that picture that was just up on the screen, that is one of our concerns. i think it's a legitimate concern. it's something that the i.g. is seeing, something that we're seeing. if we can put that picture back up there, that same one which is the most recent one. if i hear right, obo is saying that's not construction. that has been the practice for ten years, predated what you had done, and we're looking at that saying, well, we think that does meet the standard of construction. and one last line, then i'll give you a chance to answer. in the i.g. report, it says, quote, the department must provide certification to congress that the design will meet security standards prior to undertaking construction. and i think this is the disconnect. we may not be able to resolve it today, but i think we've understood where the disconnect, in part, is. ms. muniz.
>> so my comment about this photo is only that this photo shows work beyond the piles. so what we have argued is that it has been common practice in the department to award a construction contract. i'll be very clear about that. for years, award a construction contract and to allow the beginning of the construction of the piles to the pile cap. we stop prior to the foundations and certainly prior to coming out of the ground. this photograph was taken about five months after certification, which is why you do see the building coming out of the ground in this photo. again, i want to be very clear about the awarding the construction contract. it's clear to me why that would be viewed as commencing construction. and that is a practice that the department has undertaken for 12-plus years and is simply a practice that we continue to progress with.
i do agree there is this -- there is this ambiguity between awarding the construction contract and the certification, but i really believe that we should work together to resolve the issue because the advances in speed that we have been able to make awarding design build contracts or awarding contracts and having those piles come out of the ground, and those have benefited the program for over ten years have been because we have gone forward with that practice. so i think we should work to find a methodology that everybody is comfortable with where we can move those projects forward. >> sounds good. the problem is the inspector general is also not convinced. and i think we would have a greater level of confidence. but the inspector general, still five months out, is still saying this is an outstanding recommendation.
and i think it is also materially different when you have such a design element that is dramatically didn't. it's not something we've ever done before. nobody's ever done before. and it's not a little hey, we're going to try a new air conditioner. we're talking about the whole facade, the whole blast wall of the entire building in this day and age where safety and security is so paramount. we've surrounded it. i'm just saying we want to work with you on that. but i also want you to work with the inspector general. i think our issue is not just pulled out of thin air. it is well founded and that the i.g. is really the one that pointed this out. along with that is -- there are four outstanding recommendations or two of those have been closed? help me as to where we're at with this. >> yes, congressman. two of those have been closed. those relating to the $42 million, the two recommendations were that the department put together policies and procedures to make sure people understand the contracting, the eci method, and also that there's training. and both of those have been
closed. we've seen documentation indicating that the department has completely followed those recommendations. the other two that are outstanding are the ones to ds and obo regarding making sure there are controls in place to ensure that construction's not initiated before certification and that required testing is done before certification. >> and i think it would be helpful if state could provide sort of a definition of what construction is because i think this is where there's a disconnect between the three different entities here between state, the i.g., and certainly us in congress. so i hope you find that fair. we'll work towards that. >> will the gentleman yield for
a second? >> yes, sir. >> mr. chairman, you just hit on a very important point. it seems as if you have one understanding, and you have another. and in some kind of way we've got to come together or we're going to be going through this process over and over again. there seems -- >> this is why we're five months later after these recommendations, and we're having to call a hearing. >> so i just -- i think that's very important that we figure out how do we get on the same page with regard to understanding the law and regulations. is that -- ms. muniz? >> i think that's fair, and i think there is a way that we can come to an understanding and brief the committee so that we are all very clear about when construction contracts are awarded, when certification happens and all of the steps in between. i do think that's something that's achievable. >> thank you for yielding. >> taking photos of buildings under construction, what -- is there a state department policy on that? do we do it?
we don't do it? i'm getting conflicts here. >> we actually can't prevent it. i mean, you can be outside of our perimeter and take photographs of it as it's going up. we have certain things, certain places and certain sections inside that we don't allow photographs. >> when i was in jakarta touring that facility, the oversight committee, i'm the chairman of this committee, and they didn't want me -- or i took some, but they didn't want me to take any photos of those buildings in a very raw state. and then we come back and we look online, and you've got flickr accounts. and go to the other one. this is all public. you know, and i really do question, based on the security side, i don't know if y'all are having to look at this, but there's another photo -- hopefully we have it -- from the inside of the building where i really question whether -- whose best interests -- i mean, i though we want to get our facebook posts up and get more people following us on instagram, but we'll show you these. and this is a sensitive post. we've got a lot of classified
information that's going to be flowing through there, and we're showing the duct -- you know, we just passed a law, an energy bill, that doesn't allow for us to show how electricity flows and where -- and yet we're out there taking pictures and posting them up and trying to promote, hey, look at how the construction's coming along. i think it is a security question, and i think we should -- i just encourage you to go back and look at that because i don't think it's in anybody's best interests to have the intimate details. from the street, afar, you know, if they're at a hotel taking a picture, you're right. not much we can do about that. but when we do it internally, i think that's somewhat of a problem. the glass, i do question the whole blast wall and why we picked such an opulent-looking facade. what is the cost of taking this and shipping it?
i believe it's constructed in germany, right? goes to connecticut, then it's got to go back over to europe. what does that cost to do? because now we're starting to see it blossom and go into other facilities like jakarta and other places. so why this and why is it -- what is the actual cost of this? >> we could get you back to you on the detailed cost of curtain wall as separated from the rest of the building. i don't have that off the top of my head. i do know, as you pointed out, on the london embassy the glass is manufactured in germany, is shipped to the u.s. for security reasons to be reassembled with the frames which are manufactured here and then shipped back. we, when letting a contract, don't control what we call the means and methods in that construction contract. so we let the contractor find the best provider of any material. my hope is that we will be able
to, and jakarta is an example where we are using a u.s. manufacturer of the glass as well as the frame. and i think that's the ideal scenario. >> so the cost of the glass, the production, the shipment, all of that, my understanding this is in the range of -- you know, this alone is about $100 million of the expense. so when is a reasonable time to get that information? >> given the holidays, i'm being conservative. >> understood. >> given the holidays, why don't we give you something early january. we'll try to see if we could break out the costs. some of this will require us to go to the contractor and ask for their numbers. >> fair enough. let's keep going. >> but we could work on it. >> fair enough. i want to get to this. there's an issue with the vat tax. i don't know where we're at in this process. i've read news reports. locally they were going to charge us. the state said no. what is the status of the vat tax obligation? >> we have resolved the vat tax discussions. and we'd be happy to have more
detailed conversations in a closed-door setting about the resolution of the agreement. >> why can't you share that with -- a tax bill -- >> the conversation has been resolved with the british authorities, and we are within our budget and actually below our budget which had included an estimate for vat. >> why is that -- is there some classified -- something classified about this, or is it just embarrassing? >> it's not just embarrassing, but our bilateral conversations and agreements on that with different countries are occasionally privileged. and in this instance, that is the case. but again, we'd be happy to have a more detailed briefing in a closed-door setting. >> okay. i'll trust on you that. >> but the issue is resolved. you will be happy to know -- the discussions are closed, and we are within the budget.
>> there was a news report that you had spent a million dollars on some slabs -- i don't know how to describe it other than slabs of cement that was supposed to adorn the embassy. it was a million-dollar expenditure. the artist's last name, i think, is scully. but then it was discovered -- one report was that it was too heavy to move and certainly too heavy to be in the embassy. what is the latest on that fiasco? >> so the latest on the art acquisitions is we had -- you're quite right -- contracted with a gallery to provide a monumental sculpture for the outside of the embassy. as you'll recall, we were required, in order to get permitting for the building, to invest 1 million pounds in public -- what would be considered public art, not unusual in large developed cities. that went towards that contribution. it is true that the sculpture as envisioned was solid granite blocks. and my understanding is was too heavy for the position where it was going to be.
but we are going to replace it with other public works. the piece in question was not purchased, and the piece was not manufactured. and we have an agreement with the gallery to work out other arrangements for that public art. we going to spend on art in this embassy? >> so, the total art budget is a little over $4 million, as you know, we provide .5% of all of our construction contract amounts for art programs in our new buildings new embassies and new consulates. in this instance because of the 1 million pound requirement to add public arts we added that because all of that will be focused on the exterior to get permits. >> was that a london city request or was that -- >> we can get back to you on whether the borough or the city but it was a local requirement. >> mr. starr, have you had, i'm
talking broadly data breaches of our information systems at the state department in the last 12 months? >> yes. >> how many? zbl>> i know of only one that any data was ex-filtrated. >> and was that different than the office of personnel management? >> yes. and how many people did it affect? >> there was no pii released sir new york personal identifiable information. it wasn't that type of breach. >> was there any classified information released? >> no. we don't believe there's any classified released either. >> is -- within the structure whose responsible for the
security of those systems? >> diplomatic security runs a computer virus -- computer cyber security center for irm which runs the infrastructure pipes it does all of the communications and all of that. it's -- they're responsible for the system we helped protect from the outside looking at things that are coming in. we work closely with u.s. cert and homeland security and other agencies to make sure we have right types of protection on the outside of the system. >> internally what sort of operating systems are you using? microsoft products or these -- >> yes. it is mostly microsoft-based although a tremendous amount of other applications on the system, but the a microsoft-based system. >> like windows what? >> sir there are -- there are -- i'm not the best one to
tell you this. irm would be the one to tell you. i can tell you what's on my screen, athink windows 7, when it comes uppen 0 the un unclassified unclassified. >> 97. >> windows 7. it's -- it's -- >> old, isn't it? >> it's -- it's fairly -- it's fairly new. part of -- state has made a significant investment in trying to upgrade the unclassified systems. but i would i'd be very pleased to come up -- some of this gets into sensitive information, particularly about the breach. i'd be pleased to come up and talk with you. but also i'd like to bring the head of irm with me. >> okay. >> i want to make sure we're clear now. you all -- mr. starr, you're going to be providing us -- i
was out of the room in a meeting, when you apparently said this -- that you were going to be providing us with all of the security requests from the regional security offices within the next few weeks, is that right? >> i will try my absolute best to do that sir yes. >> you all -- you all are going to see if you can get on the same page here. how do you plan to try do that? >> i think the old fashioned way, we'll have a conversation we'll map something out, and then we'll come brief to the hill and to others who are sort of outside the process to make sure that it's clear and makes sense. >> and are you agreeable to try to do that, mr. leonard? >> absolutely. >> very well. i want to thank you all for being here today. appreciate your testimony. we of course have our concerns. we are always concerned about costs, even though we know you
know, how this is pretty much paid for by the swap or whatever you want to call it. but the fact the sale of properties, our properties overseas, over in london and england. but we also are very concerned, as always about security. i think the frustration that you heard from the chairman i think, part of that is about frustration of trying to make sure that we're doing it right so that we can cross all of our ts and dot our is. so anyway, thank you all for being here. look forward to working with you. >> i thing you all. as i said a couple of times before, it's one of the things that makes this country so unique and so sought after we have heated discussions about things we care about, open a transparent way, we have inspector community who dedicate their lives and we appreciate them and their efforts. i want them to know how much we
care about the work product and time and effort they take. sometimes gone for long periods of time traveling around the world for those that serve in diplomatic security and the obo office, i've had the pleasure of meeting these oftentimes very young people out there dedicating their lives. they are very patriotic people work hard. and serving their nation and proud of what they're doing. that's the spirit in which we approach this as well. as i know the both of you do. we appreciate the hearing. look forward to the interaction. with that the committee stands adjourned. >> thank you. coming up a look at poe
continuation for nuclear deal with pakistan. the country first tested a nuclear weapon in 1998. along with israel and india, pakistan has never signed a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. the discussion about pakistan's nuclear program live from the atlantic council 3:30 on c-span 3. also, on our companion network mexico's foreign minister visiting washington, d.c., speaking at migration policy statute 4:00 eastern live on c-span. >> having business before the honorable supreme court united statesed a admonish to give their attention. >> tonight on c-span's landmark cases. >> beth of you listen you're under arrest, right to an torn. right to remain silent. >> understand. >> yes. 23 years old in 1963, when he
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jackie kennedy, responsible for the historic association. nancy reagan, on the list of suspected communist sympathizers in the 1940s. she appealed to reagan for help and later became his wife. these stories and more are featured in c-span's book first ladies. presidential historians on the lives of 45 iconic american women. the book makes a great gift for the holidays. giving readers a look into the personal lives of every first lady in american history stories of fascinating women, how their legacies resz nate today, stories of america's first ladies for the holidays. c-span's book "first ladies" available as hard cover or ebook. order your copy today. >> homeland security secretary jeh johnson last week sat down with the journalists to discuss counterterrorism. the refugee screening process and gun control.
this is just over half an hour. >> good morning. >> bright monday. and it's chilly. >> i have to say this at some point, we'll get over how impressed we are that one point if my career i led 10,000 lawyers. >> yes. >> somehow that's more impressive than leading 240,000 people at dhs. >> less than sending those 10,000 to syria. >> i will not go there. >> i'm the son of a lawyer, i'm allowed to make that joke. >> i didn't you you had a parent, by the way. >> we joke. not sure who gets more grief, the lawyer or the reporter in the family. here we are a lawyer and a reporter. well, we'll get right to it. we have a half hour. we'll have a good discussion. and there are a lot of folks in the audience bank of cameras here, i think quite a few things in the news that have popped up long after we first scheduled
this sit-down. so, in our defense one leadership briefings we talk to about leadership management of the senate security threat across the government. but also news organization and so we've got a lot of things to hit on. i'll get to it first in the weeks after paris, after california, secretary johnson. >> the current environment highlights -- new phase in global terrorist threat that solves not just terrorist is attack -- >> is that on? >> here on the homeland and other countries. in this environment which involves the government response
which i hope we get so at some point, having -- not having a specific credible -- specific plot is not the end story. dealing with a prospect of terror ism terrorism tof attacks below our radar and could act on a moment's notice. we've replaced the color codes, color bars with the national threat advisory system which we never used because it depends upon a specific credible threat to the homeland. i believe that in this environment we need to get beyond that and go to a new system that has an intermediate level to it and i'll be announcing soon hopefully what
our new system is that i think reflects the current environment and realities. >> why wait? >> we need a system -- look we need a system that adequately informs public at large not through news leaks of joint intelligence bulletins to law enforcement not through leaks of anonymous government officials but a system that informs the public at large what we are seeing, even if what we are seeing could be self evident to the public. but what are seeing, doing about it and asking the public to do. the ntas system is intended to that but it has a trigger that's a high bar, why we never used it. i believe that we need to do a better job of informing public at large of what we are seeing removing some of the mystery about the global terrorist threat and what we are doing about it and what we're asking the public to do. i'm hoping i will announce this
in full in the coming days. >> you know what you're describing is involves difference between a credible threat -- that is known that's imminent -- versus i guess what california was, by all indications, not known, not on anyone's watch list, the bigger fear, what activating that system have in any way prevented this or are there other threats out there now that you think something not threats i should say, is there a scenario now where having a system would be helpful? it's the holiday season. >> since paris we have in effect, been in a heightened security posture. and what we've said is there's no specific credible intelligence of a paris-like attack on the homeland but we are concerned about copycat acts concerned about terrorist-inspired acts by lone wolves, that was true last week, the week before and true now.
a year ago, i'll give you an example of what i'm talking about a year ago, after ottawa i issued a statement that said here what happens we're seeing, here's what we're doing about it, and the reasons for this should be self-evident to the public a, attack in ottawa on the parliament building and the war memorial and b, isil's call for attacks on western objectives. put those two together it is an environment in which we should inform the public and we should outline the things that we are doing. and that's what i did in a statement in october 2014, i think we need to do more of that kind of thing and that's what i'd like to see us use our ntas for. >> talk about the preparedness for what you said, difference between terrorism, inspired attacks versus lone wolf attacks. i've said, talking backstage, california seems like it's the perfect marriage suddenly
terrorism-inspired attack of folks who had possibly been to the region had been to the region, a mix of homegrown but an old fashioned workplace shooting. they didn't go after the capitol building, they didn't try to set up a bomb at the statium, big terrorism fears that the public thinks about when they think about something like a paris. how does that -- does that change or was the u.s. government as a threat protection agency that you're a part of, is it prepared for all of the hybrid scenarios that are coming? what comes next? what are your bigger fears? is it really the bomb in times square or more of these, you know suburban health clinic, the next place that terror. pops in. >> first, the fbi-led investigation is still ongoing. i hesitate to reach conclusions categorize san bernardino just yet. but in this new environment we've -- we are doing -- we're
evaluating things that we could do and i want to give you a sense of the things that we're doing in the future. first, obviously, bombing them in iraq and syria. we are training request quipping ground forces in iraq and syria, as the president laid out last night. fbi, law enforcement in the country, in my judgment, does a very good job of detecting investigating, interdicting terrorist plots, prosecuting terrorist plots. we continue to do that. jim comey is very very focused on his counterterrorism mission and the fbi. they've gone back as jim laid out, and focused on a bunch of cases domestically in light of paris. we have, in dhs, and with the fbi, done, sense i've been secretary, a much more elaborate job of interacting with state and local law enforcement about
the threats that we see on a national and international level so that local police departments know what the global terrorist threat looks like to us. we do that almost weekly if not daily, joint intelligence bulletins and otherwise. we've enhanced our press sense at federal office buildings around the country, federal protective service, something i ordered a year ago. we have enhanced aviation security. last point departure airports, we started that a year ago. i issued guidance for enhancing, tsa administrator and i, enhanced that effort. personnel working at airports. >> terrorists in california -- >> we took steps in april for
the perimeter of airport security inside airports when it comes to airport employees. there were airport security last point departure airports. and beginning last year we got a chance with the visa waiver program. there are thousands of foreign terrorist plans who have left in europe, gone to iraq syria, countries -- beginning last year announced series of advancement advancements. someone [ inaudible question ]uestion ]estion ]stion ]tion ] in as we
enhanced the program further. we have been working with the congress to come up with smart legislation to put teeth into the security enhancements. looking at where more should be necessary. and the reason for doing what i think this is so important encouraging european companies do something more. we have advanced passenger information and passenger name recognition data. and we're edge couraging countries in our visa waiver program to make more use of this the interpol stolen passport database, to make more use of passports, federal air marshals on the flights and visa waiver program is a way to do that. congress is actively considering legislation to help with this. i think that is a good --
>> the public has a role. if you see something, say something, more than a slogan but specifically since last year, since i've been secretary, we have enhanced what we refer to inside the bellway here as our cee efforts, countering violent extremism. i have gone to muslim communities, major metropolitan areas, i'm going to one at 4:00 in northern virginia where i will meet, have a public event with muslim leaders about their communities and the u.s. government, state and local law enforcement, whoing together. given the nature of terrorist-inspired attacks domestically, this is something that we've got to be focused on and we're going to continue to work at this. >> before we go to europe, heading out that way, what is
your aspect on europeans -- running -- >> as a matter of fact tomorrow night night, more information sharing about the travel of individuals of suspicious, more for them internal awareness of people who are traveling in and out of their orders more information sharing when it comes to people traveling to the united states, more security measures we need here domestically in the united states when it comes to domestic and international travel. given the nature of the islamic state, a large segment of their fighting force, foreign terrorist fights who leave countries in europe and elsewhere, go to the hot spots and then come back. we want to know, and we need to know, who those people are.
>> then, talk about that screening process. this is one of flashpoints in the american dialogue right now, is about refugees, about entire muslim community, as something to be watched or not watched. how -- how after california, put it this way, why should the u.s. have faith in the system that you're in charge of what they couldn't screen this woman this pair, much less the rest of the immigration population to come or beyond that, refugee wave that's been authorized to come as well? this is a real fear of pretty much the entire left right half of the country. why should there be any faith in the system. >> first of all, one of the two attackers was a u.s. citizen, born in this country. the other, his wife, arrived here pursuant to a k1 visa. for fiances. the refugee system and, as you heard from the president's
address last night, he has ordered that the department of state and the department of homeland security evaluate that specific process, which we're going to do. it is something that involves the state department vetting and dhs vetting at a certain point. the refugee screening process is the most thorough multilayered process for admission of anybody into our borders. on average it takes 18 to 24 months. we have particular enhancements when it comes to the screening of iraqi and syrian refugees for resettlement here. it is a thorough, thorough process. what we have identified is the visa waiver program where we have made security enhancements and we are making security enhancements because of this foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon. and i think that that's a good place for our focus, our focus
in the executive branch and in congress to enhance our own security. >> and that doesn't cover the fiance visa, does it. >> no,s that a different process, different set of vetting. we are evaluating that particular process. >> so are you confident in the immigration process to prevent another person like this woman coming through to launch a terrorist attack? >> well look that assumes -- and this investigation is still under way -- that there were flags that were raised or should have been raised in the process of her admission to the united states and i am not prepared to say that. i am not prepared to make that declaration. the investigation is still open but what this entire wave of events does highlight is the need for a approach when it comes to terrorist inspired
attacks. a terrorist inspired attack is one you don't necessarily have a lot of advance notice of. our intelligence community has developed a pretty good system for detecting overseas plots at their earliest stages. a terrorist inspired attack domestically is a harder challenge. it could happen at a moment's notice, with little or no notice to our law enforcement and intelligence community. which is why a whole of government approach, enhancing our law enforcement efforts and enhancing our efforts to counter violent extremism here in the homeland are becoming all the more important as well as public awareness and public vigilance. >> i've heard you and director comey and others talk about the see something say something aspect of this. asking americans if you sniff something out, if the hair on the back your neck stands up, say something. which is essentially rat people out in some way.
square that with -- >> i would disagree with that -- >> that's why i said it that way because, you know. but square that with the rhetoric we've heard. as the secretary of homeland security, as a cabinet member who's in charge of seeing a lot more than americans see, when we see the country, before the shooting stopped, twitter already was among the -- was among twitter, the most divisive moments we've ever seen. instantly people took to their political camps. it was either pro gun control, anti-gun control. pro openness toward muslims or shut the country down. it was incredibly divisive. in the middle of that atmosphere, calling for americans to speak up if you think your brother-in-law might be suddenly in the back room a little too often. >> look, if you see something, say something means say something about a pattern of
behavior, a package that is in a suspicious place. see something, say something does not mean alert law enforcement to a personal profile of someone or a person's religion or skin color or clothing. it means awareness concerning suspicious behavior. in the current environment the answer cannot be to vilify all american muslims. or to drive them into hiding in this country. now, more than ever, we need to work with the muslim community, and it's not a monolith. it is communities across the country. to encourage them to help us help them if they see somebody traveling in the wrong direction, in the wrong community. it is the case almost always that when someone has self-radicalized and is turning
to violence, there is somebody else that sees the signs. and so we need to build bridges, build relationships with muslim communities across this country and not vilify them, not drive them in the exact opposite direction. i think that would be hugely counterproductive to our efforts. which is why i'm doing this event today at 4:00. we need to send the message to the public at large and muslim communities that the answer to our homeland security efforts cannot be to vilify all muslim-americans and people because of their religion. the muslim religion is the second most populous region in the world. one in four people in this world are muslim from multiple continents. and there's something like 3 million who live in this country. the overwhelming, overwhelming, majority of muslims from whatever continent, from
whatever nationality, are people of peace. and their community is being targeted by the islamic state. and so we need to work with them to build bridges, to heighten awareness, to help them develop the message counter to isil. and i've been at this since i've been secretary and i'm going to continue on this, because it's becoming all the more important. >> so, the other group that we're hearing about lately as the extremist threat in the united states is conservative extremist or white extremist. depending on the label from the southern poverty center. do you agree with the -- with the assertion that that is actually the bigger extremist threat in the united states? >> well, i wouldn't call it conservative extremism. i think that's very unfair to conservatives, actually. it's sick behavior.
domestic terrorism of whatever strike -- stripe is sick behavior. and we've created in dhs an office for community partnerships that is focused on countering violent extremism of a domestic nature with a domestic agenda versus an international terrorist agenda as well. given the nature of some of the types of domestic terrorism like charleston, south carolina, that can be more challenging for dhs, just given the nature of that specific attack. but it is the case that domestic extremism, domestic violent extremism, of the type in charleston or oklahoma city, we just recently had the 20th anniversary of the bombing in oklahoma city, is a huge challenge.
it is something that we have to address. we have to be aware of and we have to root out. >> but the punditry wants you to say that's a bigger threat versus the islamic terrorism or the other one is the bigger threat. does that rhetoric matter to you? does that distinction matter to you? >> look, i try not to get bogged down in these inside-the-belt way debates about terminology. the fact is that when you're dealing with terrorist-inspired attacks, you have to work with communities that are being targeted by those who want to inspire people within those communities. you have to build those bridges. it is foolish to do otherwise. it is foolish in my view and counterproductive to vilify that very same community and drive them away from us. we have to work with them. and that is true in, you know, multiple different contexts,
whether you're talking about something inspired by al qaeda, the islamic state or some other form of extremism. >> a final gun control question, a cyber question and then we'll get to the audience to see what we have left. gun control is the other hot flash moment right now, topic right now. >> yes. >> because of the shooting, again, you know, before it's over already the country takes immediate sides. and we heard from the president several frustrating moments, no grand presentations or policy changes. where does this sit in your mind, you know, that -- where does gun control fit in the terrorism debate, number one? and number two, why should americans right now of all times agree or feel they should hand in that guns as a lot of advocates want when they feel to their core there's no way you're going to take my firearm away
from me when the government won't -- can't protect us or i just don't trust them, whatever the reason is. >> two things. as a matter of common sense, as the president said last night, if somebody's on a no-fly list, why should it be the case that they're not allowed to fly but they can still buy a gun. that's a matter of common sense. gun control is not an all-or-nothing proposition. i think that there are responsible measures that can be taken and should be taken that i know the congress and this administration have thought a lot about, that don't mean and don't require taking guns away from responsible gun owners. there's a lot we can do in this space to -- to better control
the prevalence of guns in this society without taking guns away from responsible gun owners. and we ought to continue to make that effort. this is part of our problem. >> what can we do? you said there's a lot. >> well, the administration -- we have very specific proposals out there. starting with what the president proposed last night, which is that if you're on a no-fly list, you should not be allowed to go buy an assault rifle so -- >> my last question before "q" and "a" on cyber taking up dhs' role of cyber -- >> can't ignore cybersecurity. >> i want to follow up on the opm hack and a lot of people probably in this room got the letter saying their information was compromised. loved within's information was compromised. >> i got mine last week. >> yeah. excellent. who did that hack again?
>> we have not publicly attributed the attack to anyone. as you know, there was a delegation of chinese here last week. a ministerial level delegation for a dialogue with me and the attorney general, which is a follow-on to the president's dialogue in september -- >> more cooperation on cyber. >> we talked about opm and a number of other things to encourage them to live up to what they signed on to on paper, which is the five-point commitment to cybersecurity norms. they stepped up to this in september. and what i said to my counterpart last week and what i've said publicly is actions will speak louder than words. we now have a baseline for what the chinese government says they will agree to. and part of that came out of their own president's mouth when he was here.
and we're pressing them that actions speak louder than words. we did that last week. i think we made progress. we're going to have another dialogue in june, and we're going to keep at this. >> but we're not going to say that it's the chinese who did it. all right. we have to go to "q" and "a" otherwise i would press on that rhetorical dance. very well done. right here in the front. we have a microphone, tell us who you are and where you're from and keep it short or i will cut you off. we have a short period of time. >> my name is doreen. >> good morning, secretary. i'm a pmf fellow starting at dhs next week. i wanteded to ask a question -- >> congratulations. you chose wisely. >> thank you so much. i wanted to ask a question about what you're doing for the future of the agency to include more young diverse people at uscis which i will be at and dhs to create a cutting edge and adaptable agency. thank you. >> thank you for that question.
congratulations on coming to work for us at dhs. there has never been a more important time to be involved in homeland security as part of service to the nation. when i came to dhs i was surprised to see that after 12 years we were still very stovepiped in our components missions. and so we have set out on a strategic way through unity of effort which has been referred to, to at headquarters be more strategic about what each component's mission should be. and what each component's budget should be, so it's no longer just in receipt mode for a budget proposal from each individual component. i need this many helicopters, this many vessels, this much cybersecurity. we're now giving them guidance much earlier in the budget cycle and in the acquisition cycle about here's what we think you
need looking across the broader dhs mission. we have something in place called a joint requirements council for that purpose. we've embarked upon acquisition reform. my overall objective while i'm secretary is to see our department function better as a business and a government agency. we've been far too stovepiped for too long. we need to move in that direction. one of the very tangible things i've done in that regard is to create joint task forces dedicated to border security. when i got to dhs, i was rather stunned to learn that when it comes to border security we've got the border patrol, we've got immigration enforcement, we've got citizenship and immigration services, we've got the coast guard. all working separately on their respective missions when it comes to border security. wait a minute. let's coordinate this effort under the umbrella of a joint task force director in the
southeast, the southwest, and for investigations. we stood that up earlier this year. and i think it's working well. we have a challenge right now in the southwest border. the numbers of apprehensions on our southwest border have been going up again. and so i'm meeting with my joint task force directors regularly to address this. >> your talking point for a while has been that they are declining. >> that is true. last year fy-'15 we had the lowest number of apprehensions with the exception of one year since 1972. it was about 331,000. this year we've seen a steady increase beginning in about july. and in the last couple of days and weeks that increase has gone up a little more sharply. and so it's something -- >> do you know why? >> -- we're very concerned about. i hesitate -- i see i have
alicia's attention there. she's now typing. i hesitate to draw cause and effect. but the numbers are, in fact, rising. and we are in the process of addressing it and considering other things to address it. >> follow-up question on that? >> yes. alicia caldwell, the associated press. >> one moment for the microphone, sorry. >> on the border, the numbers have risen steadily by 5,000 in each group of families and children for a total of about 10,000 each month since july. mexico had set up a number of checkpoints and people have obviously been moving around those based on your internal reports. what's the next step to curbing -- you are in a season -- >> if they were internal reports, you wouldn't know about them, would you? >> well, potato, potato. >> great. >> people have identified they are moving around the checkpoints and the numbers are steady as you just said increasing now in a time where ordinarily they're dropping
precipitously and they stay rather flat through the winter. what's the next step, though, given the volume 40,000 in the last four to five months, so what's the next step? >> we're evaluating what to do right now. we have continued a fairly aggressive public messaging campaign. i believe that more will be necessary. we have since last year focused our efforts on criminal smugglers. i believe more of that will be necessary in the southwest. and we're going to have to work with hhs for the placement of uacs now that the numbers of uacs are rising. we're in the midst of ratcheting up our efforts right now. >> okay. >> considering what more to do. >> this gentleman right here in the front. >> thank you. thank you, secretary johnson, for your service and for what
you're doing to keep this beautiful country and great nation safe. my name is rafi and i'm from kabul, afghanistan and a graduate of georgetown and american universities. the threat to the united states, your area of responsibility is the homeland, but security threats are coming to the homeland from overseas, so it has an external component to it. you rightly said that you're engaging allied countries and europe such as england. but your policy's short of actually widening that strategy to actually go to countries where the greatest threats to the united states are coming from, like pakistan and saudi arabia. the california bomber suspects and the new york times square bomber suspects have links in pakistan. pakistan is actively harboring -- and these are the places are going. >> your question?
>> i was wondering are you engaging countries like pakistan to shut down those training grounds? and by the way, i'm muslim, and i'm from afghanistan and i love this country more than any other place on earth. >> thank you. >> let me say two things. first, engaging countries like pakistan, engaging countries in the arab world, let's not forget turkey also. turkey's got a huge border problem. they've got syrian refugees, for example, in the seven digits. that's -- engaging those countries is not new. we've been doing that for some time. one of the things that i omitted this from my original remarks. one of the things that i want to >> watch the last few minutes with jeh johnson on our website,
c-span.org as we take you live to the atlantic council meeting in washington, d.c. for a discussion on pakistan's nuclear weapons program. >> good afternoon, welcome to the atlantic council. i'm the director of the atlantic council center. it is my pleasure to be here today with my friends and colleagues, tobey dalton co-director of the nuclear policy program at carnegie endownment for international peace, deputy director of the stenson south asian program and senior fellow atlantic council south asia professor. we wanted to claim full ownership of our fellow. as you all know, we are here today to discuss the policy options to address potential of a grand nuclear bargain with pakistan. earlier it was rumored the obama administration was exploring a deal with pakistan. for pakistan the deal would be a formal welcome into the nuclear
club in the words of a journalist. prior to visit by the prime minister visit to the u.s. followed by army chief of staff, this was the rumor floating around. around the same time tobey dalton and michael craypon published a report "mainstreaming a nuclear normal pakistan" which i understand was met with a lot of criticism, to put it mildly is that correct, tobey? >> yes. >> yeah. but since then there is an increasing pessimism about the prospects of a deal. last week the house committee on foreign affairs hosted a hearing on the subject. what the congressional hearing made clear was the need for intense scrutiny of a possible deal. the geopolitical landscape in which it could be implemented and the lasting effects of normal nuclear pakistan. in the region there are various hurdles to potential deal, including pakistan's own willingness to engage with the
united states. those cleavage i believe are represented in the panel today. i hope it will make for a fascinating and enlightening conversation on this very important subject. without further adieu, i'd like to open it up to the experts to provide their expertise on the issue. tobey, each of them will have a seven to ten minute discussion and then we'll engage into question and answer session. thank you. >> okay. thanks great to be back at atlantic council. pleasure to share the stage with you and my colleagues here. so it's -- it feels like it a little bit artificial to start this conversation from today when the sort of starting point for my involvement in this issue is several months back, and a lot has happened in the intervening period. but for the sake of the discussion, i'll start at the
beginning. why should there be a consideration of nuclear deal with pakistan? and i used that term nuclear deal in a vague way. i think there's -- we can be more specific about it as we go along. i think in general there's a sense that because of the evolution of pakistan's nuclear arsenal, there's a growing sense of danger. and that's being felt here and in other capitals that these growing nuclear dangers are raising the possibility of nuclear terrorism or nuclear war or what have you in the region. so despite the very good work that pakistan has done on nuclear security and the like over the last several years its image is starting to change and perception of danger is also starting to grow and it's -- it is a threat to peace and security in the region and internationally. and a lot of that derives, i think, from the recent sort of
announcements of having tactical nuclear weapons longer range systems, putting nuclear weapons at sea those developments, i think, are driving thisnarrative. scrutiny has led to some sense of a need to think through what the options are. and, frankly, the options are not particularly good. if you think about what leverage exists versus incentives are, i would submit, on the leverage side, there's very little. and our record in addressing states that already have nuclear weapons with punitive measures doesn't necessarily produce better results. so in this instance, i'm not sure that there's good leverage to be had. i think in terms of pakistan's priorities, it's -- in speaking with officials there, you get a sense it's pretty comfortable with where it is. it doesn't like the reputational part of this but it has, you know, a sense of security that
nuclear weapons have provided. and that there's very little outside pressure could do to change that. but, at the same time, the reputational piece does come in to play when it cops to joining the nuclear regime. in that sense, i think if you were to assess pakistan's priorities first priority to keep india out of the nuclear suppliers group, as a member. second priority if india goes in, make sure pakistan has a way in, too. that does create some set of incentives by way of establishing a path to join nuclear regimes. now, there's a question about whether it's wise to negotiate on that basis. that's i think the reason that we're here. i'll return to that in a little bit. my sense is that trying to negotiate these things kind of in a vacuum, is not going to work. and? part, that has to do with the need for there to be a different internal logic in pakistan in order to accommodate these kind
of changes. essentially, as long as there is a military driven logic for more nuclear weapons, any sorts of measures that pack stage would take would need to take to join this path to the nuclear regime are unlikely, unless there's a change in the military logic. and understanding of nuclear weapons. there's obviously institutional politics and so military relations come in to play. in thinking through this problem, we tried to have this discussion in pack stage a year ago, we asked people, okay you want to get into the nuclear suppliers group, how are you going to do that? essentially the answer we heard was, we going to do exactly what india did. which is fine but pakistan's not india, i think there's a cognitive distance there that exists. so we thought, well, some potential for pakistan to join the regime if it were to take
certain steps. but what does the future look like? we postulated two futures, one projection of the status question with which the security competition that exists between pakistan and india continues that the pakistan military continues to think of die ter ents in relative terms, that is any time there's a qualify tate inor quantitative change in india's nuclear arsenaler to conventional military capability that pack stagekistan would need to address that, leads to a growing arsenal. number on a material procapability assuming no other restraints pakistan could have 350 nuclear weapons again based on fissile material. others have come up with different numbers and we can get into why numbers are different. but some point you have to question what additional capabilities do for deterrents and what's the marginal utility of additional capabilities. alternative future exists which
is at some point if there's a ring recognition nuclear weapons aren't going to deter at 300, 400, it's possible to think differently about the nuclear capables that pakistan has. if pakistan were to decide it's security in capables in absolute terms, it opens possibility for some constraints and these kind of constraints aren't denuclearization by anyimagination, rather thatting 0 what is the forced number for pakistan to have and what does it do in terms of diplomacy potential for pakistan. well, i would suggest that these kinds of questions aren't well debated in pakistan. what is the optimal number of weapons, right force posture? what you tend to get is a sense that any self-constraint any constraint imposed from the
outside would somehow compromise national security. without really thinking through you what nuclear weapons do provide in terms of national security or other ways of thinking about national security but the strong feeling that any constraints, any demand for it to compromise will inhibit as national security. if the military were to arrive at understanding of nuclear weapons that is different than current understanding a until of nuclear weapons it has today is sufficient forrer or down the road is sufficient it doesn't need to add more diplomacy becomes an option and a nuclear deal becomes an option. we suggested five things that pakistan could do exempt particulars, not prescriptions or demands. changes in declare tori policy would be useful.
thinking about both knew marial geographic constraints on tactical nuclear weapons would be useful signal coming up with limits on fissile material production, given concerns about the growth potential and its arsenal would be useful and that think about signing ctbt before india with the understanding that if india were to test, pakistan would be able to exercise its supreme national interest clause and leave the treaty. is it wise to seek this path? that really depends on what your assessment of priorities is, whether you think terror up is a more important priority. depends on assessment of alternatives whether we have other measures available to address the sense of earn can go the direction and magnitude of pakistan's nuclear weapons program. is status quo a better or is it worse than trying to negotiate some sort of deal?
what is the impact to the nonproliferation regime from trying to negotiate a deal? what would the impact be on the u.s.-india strategic relationship? in are questions that are inherent in the issue that haven't been adequately addressed and deserve further discussion. of course, focusing just on pakistan is a little bit artificial. a lot of criticism that we received is that we didn't address india side of this question. we didn't call it a normal nuclear india. we called it a normal nuclear pakistan. but even so, you have to recognize that because the pathway for pakistan also depends in some measure on india's membership in the nsg you have to look at these things together. if there's an open door for india, but a closed door for pakistan, that essentially limits policy options. so, for me there is wisdom in thinking about a bargain. both here and in south asia and so i look forward to more discussion about it. >> thank you.
>> great. i'll try to pick up where tobey left off, i wasn't one of the co-authors on the report but i read it, saw the merits in it, thought about arguments why this would be beneficial for the united states potentially, potentially for india as well. i think sort of the critical one in the mix is that if a nuclear deal or a nuclear agreement where pakistan took the steps where tobey and michael recommend, if that occurred there would be a potential significant reduction in crisis escalation, nuclear escalation. so if this involved limiting production and deployment of pakistan's tactical nuclear weapons it could reduce the gravest dangers of crisis escalation that might stem from cross border attack or simple escalation on line of control firing which happens between india and pakistan. recessed posture might mitigate
any first strike incentives from pakistan during peacetime and potentially strengthen crisis stability. i think some of the greatest crisis escalation risks that we see in future scenario between india and pakistan come from command and control in fog of crisis unauthorized launch theft, capture of a mobile platform with functioning nuclear weapon this are all risks exacerbated by nuclear weapons in the field and operational. if there was a way to constrain that or offer incentives for pakistan to restrict that operationalization, there would be benefits for all parties involved, for any parties that care about nuclear escalation or concern about it india united states, other observers as well. you know in terms of the other planks of the idea of the so -- it was not quite a deal per se but things that pakistan could do that would signal steps towards nuclear restraint in
order to be part of the -- become more normalized sort of nuclear state, some of the ideas of assigning ctbt fissile material cut-off treaty separation of separation of civil and military nuclear programs. all these things are not things that would necessarily be harmful to a country like india. it certainly would reduce pressures on nuclear competition which in the long run is probably good for india. ultimately their objective is become a great power and that relies on sort of continued sustained economic growth and development. and that will be benefitted in not having to be engaged in a nuclear competition with pakistan. i think another sort of positive step that can come out of this is it can show a path for pakistan out of isolation or potential perceptions of isolation. it can empower moderates that counter narratives that exist in pakistan that they're boxed in with potential partners. the idea of containment has been
floated, but for pakistan to take more provocative actions either to gain leverage or pull people to the table, those are counterproductive for stability in the region. as toby alluded to i think there's also some value in proposing this idea because it forces debate on nuclear sufficiency, how much does pakistan need, what are the mission sets, what are the objectives, and the tradeoffs that are involved in that sort of process. if there ultimately is some sort of calculation that nuclear weapons are an effective substitute for conventional forces, then there's going to be a question about what is sufficiency of the nuclear program that pakistan has when does it start i ammpinging on the debate as well. the discussion of a nuclear deal
sparks it because it allows pakistan to weigh the range of its requirement for national security. i think the iran deal that was signed this summer there's a lot of references to it by critics of this idea who say that that's not really an appropriate model, the iran deal is completely different, it stopped iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, in this case pakistan is not going to roll back its nuclear program. but the point was the iranian nuclear program, the reason we were willing to allow this deal is because it would have an effect on stability within the middle east. the impact on strategic stability vis-à-vis israel potential domino effects with other countries in the middle east, and restrictions on u.s. operational freedom. it's a the strategic effects of it that were the greatest
concern. the idea behind this is there would be a similar logic, that if this deal could forestall or persuade pakistan to have tactical employment or other long range capabilities that would have a dramatic effect on stability in the region it might be worth prioritizing above other concerns about support for nonviolent state actors. there are two concerns i've heard raised against the idea of this. the first is that it rewards a quest for parity with india. and the second is it could potentially set back india-u.s. relations. so in terms of the deal it would potentially negate any request for material parity because it would ask pakistan to send certainly costly signals that would be restraints in advance, such as signing ctbt or restraining the tactical nuclear weapons deployment. so those wouldn't really be advancing material parity.
what it would do is probably trade some degree of prestige, allowing it to be part of the club the same nuclear club as india. and of course india is not particularly happy about this. this wouldn't have any sort of significant increase in the material balance of power in the region. and there's no reason to expect that sort of a marginal increase in prestige for pakistan would have a major strategic effect. in terms of the relations with with -- india-u.s. relations down the road i think the united states has proved itself quite defendant and capable of managing relationships with rival states. we did this with greece and turkey in nato. we've done this with japan and south korea, post-world-war-independent contractors i-- and having a strategic dialogue as well. it's possible to maintain a good
relationship with a state even if they're rivals at some level. it's worth considering the debate. . >> well, without necessarily disagreeing with the logic of what toby and samir have had to say, i'm going to take a slightly contrary position. the reason is that i agree with the logic of what they're saying but i think what a lot of observers fail to take into account and the fundamental grand strategy of the pakistani state. i don't think the pakistan nuclear weapons program can be addressed without persuading pakistan to take a step back from its grand strategy that it has followed over the last 30 years. the idea of a nuclear deal with pakistan where pakistan is accommodated into the family of nuclear nations has been in the
air since roughly 2010. on the u.s. said that would entail pakistan accept some sort of a positive movement on nuclear arms control treaties such as the if i say i will material cutoff treaty the comprehensive test ban treaty, accept certain curbs in its nuclear weapons program in return for a nuclear rapprochement with the united states, and also accommodation with the nuclear supplies group which led to restrictions on nuclear trade with pakistan. in the past year there had been rumors that the obama administration has turned its attention to pakistan after negotiating, successfully negotiating the nuclear deal with iran. now, pakistan wants a deal similar to the one that the u.s. struck with india in 2005 where the u.s. in essence gave nuclearindia's nuclear weapons program a free pass. pakistan is not interested in making positive movements off
the fissile materials treaty. from washington's perspective, within the beltway and outside the administration, the three greatest issues were the rapidly expanding size of the pakistani nuclear weapons program, the scope and ambition of the pakistani nuclear weapons program, as well as the potential danger of an implosion within pakistan, a political implosion, or a partial breakdown of the state that could in the future create a potential nuclear terrorism incident. from washington's point of view, if pakistan must make progress in treaties and norms to reach a nuclear pardon me with the u.s. the carnegie document and the stimson center that published a report earlier this year reiterate these points in considerable detail. now, this approach is very
sensible. but it misses the fundamental point that there is an underlying linkage between pakistan's grand strategy and its nuclear trajectory. the u.s. struck a nuclear deal with india simply because after the potential size of india's nuclear market and also because india is a potential balancer to china in the asia-pacific region. a lot of people miss that the nuclear deal was made possible because india is a normal power, by that i mean india accepts the international status quo. it has international status, but it is considered both legitimate and acceptable in the international system. but i concept, pakistan is a
revisionist power. pakistan is revisionist because it seeks to overthrow the status quo with the use of force. and the instruments it deploys are not state actors. there is a linkage between pakistani revisionism and the threats to stability. during the past 30 years pakistan has used it's arsenal to shield itself from the effects of an asymmetric war with india. india's response to pakistan's nuclear weapons program does enable a symmetric war fare. faced with a theoretical prospect of a defeat on the conventional battlefield, pakistan has adopted full spectrum deterrence strategy that will allow it to deal with india on every running of the
nuclear ladder. hence the idea of a more modest defensive strategy absent fundamental revisions i would argue is a fool's mission. our goal should be to pursue pakistan to become a normal state and give up its policy of delegating goals to radical islamists and nonstate actors. in pakistan were to return to being a status-seeking state, india would threaten it with a conventional war. tensions between the two would then create positive incentives for pakistan to switch from full spectrum deterrence to limited strategic deterrence strategy. as a thought exercise let us assume for example, just for argument's sake that we succeed
in persuading pakistan to accept curbs on nuclear weapons and succeed in persuading pakistan to have a limited strategic deterrence strategy but this happens absent any changes in pakistan's grand strategy. in this scenario pakistan would be vulnerable to jihadi blowback effects and remain vulnerable to an implosion politically. you one argument that i hear is that we should adopt is flawed. one, iran was ambivalent to its nuclear weapons. this opened the door for negotiations. but there is little a.m. biv
alens on the pursuit of full spectrum deterrence. second, in iran there was never any cause of linkage between pakistan's support of terrorism and pursuit of nuclear weapons. nuclear weaponsit makes sense for us to negotiate with iran and its support for terrorism abroad i don't think the state approach is valid for pakistan. in the case of pakistan we must take up the nettle some task of pakistani revisionism as part of any grand nuclear deal. to conclude, let me take a step back and put this in perspective. the goal of american grand strategy since world war ii has been to promote democracy, market capitalism and discourage the growth of any nuclear deal with pakistan that treats its nuclear trajectory would end up treating the symptoms of the disease and not the disease
itself. in india's case we made an exception by down playing nonproliferation treaties and norms. in pakistan's case we should tackle the broader issue of pakistani revisionism. normalizings the pakistani state has the bet downstream chance of normalizing pakistan's nuclear trajectory. thank you. >> thank you. i'm going to take a slightly different approach and invite questions from the audience before i jump into my own questions. >> my question is that this is a timely meeting because recently india and pakistan were at the highest level in islamabad and pakistan relations but at the same time after a few days india was told by terrorists in
pakistan that they will destroy india. so what message do you think india should get one official statement sometime including defense minister of pakistan that if needed, including of course they will use the nuclear weapons against india. what will the future of india and pakistan relations and also do you believe there is a nuclear race in the region? thank you. >> is the question to the panel? >> he was looking at you. >> oh. so let me ask you -- leapt me answer the second question first. i don't think there is a nuclear race in the region because india is pursuing its nuclear trajectory at its own pace. it is pakistan that has really accelerated the development of nuclear arsenal over twice the speed that the indians are.
the indians have a series of objectives and are looking largely at china. they think they have sufficient deterrence against pakistan. they've accelerated the program and by most accounts have a greater number of nuclear weapons than india, and most believe that in the operational aspects of the pakistan's arsenal is far ahead of india's. so -- but the race implies there is this interactive dynamic. i don't see that happening. beyond that i think relations are pessimistic. i do not see the prospects of -- it's like an ugly stability and that will likely persist for
some time to come. >> on the arms race question, i agree in the sense that there aren't interactive effects. but there are, at least in a sort of tit for tat way, but i think you do see in the broader security equation you know, pakistan reacting to things that india is doing. so tactical nuclear weapons are ostensibly a reaction to cold start. cruise missiles are ostensibly something that they are developing anyway. i think you see maybe more on the pakistanies iesi side reaction to statements, rumors et cetera in india. in india you don't see the same i think kind of drivers. they tend to be a little bit different. arms race has sort of a specific meaning, and i think it's not an arms race but there are security dynamics that do drive the competition in certain ways. >> i would agree with toby on that count.
if you're taking arms race in terms of an interactive dynamic between the two powers, i don't think that's happening. in pakistan there is this greater sense of threat and the greater sense of i would call it paranoia. and they are developing their arsenal at a very fast clip. in india there is a lot of bluster and actually a lot of it comes from the scientific agencies, which made a lot of statements, have a lot of r&d programs that don't translate into operational systems. but in pakistan it is often programs that will be operationalized and the responses. >> this raises an interesting point. our assumptions about pakistan and india are quite different in this regard. we think when pakistan tests a system, we think that is going to be a system that will be operational, whereas there is
greater skepticism that that will happen with india. in this sense the rhetoric around pakistan that it's the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in a sense pakistan is the victim of its own success. >> i was going to say it doesn't have to be about missile buildups and fissile material billion buildups. if we're saying that pakistan is reacting to some indian capability of rapid reaction, sort of on multiple fronts, whether we want to call it co-star or something else. that's able to sort of subvert pakistan's deterrence as they see it which then can sort of
lead to counterreactions. in that sense there's reaction on both sides. >> could we broaden the discussion just a little bit to talk about india pakistan in terms of potential strategic nuclear discussions, disarmament reductions, confidence-building measures? and i realize that track two has been doing a lot of this the balusa group has been at this for years without success. i know the answer to my question may be nothing but what do you think it would take to induce both india and pakistan to sit down and begin discussions about being sensible over the nuclear issues to put in place confidence-building measures and other things that would alleviate a crisis in the event that a new mumbai takes place, something happens in kashmir, and now you have pakistan with nuclear weapons?
>> my sense is that there are several prerequisites. one is political leadership on both sides that has the wherewithal, the credentials, the support from the submittal establishment, particularly in the case of pakistan, to be able to have that kind of dialoguing. that hasn't arguably existed in 1999, but hasn't since then. there would have been a number of working level discussions over the years about confidence-building measures, but mostly they have been how to implement things that were agreed in the past, and there are a number of obvious things that could be added. for instance there is a notification regime about conducting ballistic missile tests. it's been, you know patently obvious that adding cruise
missiles to that is very good. there is an agreement to provide every year a list of nuclear facilities, an agreement not to attack those facilities. adding to that an agreement not to use cyber means not to attack facilities, that would be good. the biggest thing that would get you from confidence-building issues to a regime is political will. partly that's will and an ability to take and accept risk, just very difficult in both systems to do that. >> looking back at the case of the u.s. and the ussr during the cold wear, i think serious arms control really happened towards the end of the 1960s when both countries reached a certain plateau. there was a certain maturity in the development of the arsenal
it reached a maturation point. i would like to think in one sense that india and pakistan are still in the process of arriving there. and they have not had a kind of a cuban missile crisis that has concentrated the minds on the potential of a nuclear conflict. it's all in theory yet. that would be a catalytic condition that might concentrate their minds. there's the famous saying, nothing concentrates the mind of an individual than the prospect of being hanged in the morning. i know it sounds rather ominous, but they haven't had the kind of a cuban missile crisis that concentrated their minds. both sides haven't talked about what sufficiency means and how they might stabilize that competition. >> do you think there's a point, given your assertion about
pakistan's grand strategy, is there a point that there would be a sufficiency? >> i hope so. in the report for example they actually laid out the economics of what pakistan is doing. and i would hope that at some point that structural -- you know, i would hope it hits home. i'm skeptical, but i still hope so. >> i wonder if -- just one other point. i wonder if it's not so much the strategic level -- at the strategic level that there has to be break through but there needs to be some assessment that that's no longer a viable means of conflict. maybe that's not -- maybe that amounts to a change in grand strategy, i don't know. or maybe it's just an assessment that there's no deterrence operating at some level there. but that might create the means for different kinds of confidence building that then could translate into strategic arms control. >> we'll come back to that. >> okay.
i'll just add that i think his point is well-taken particularly when you talk to indians about sort of the relative priority of threats. the focus is still on sort of -- and maybe this is sort of like a signaling device to u.s. interlocutors. they constantly emphasize the terrorism issue above nuclear risks. the big risk out of sort of the terrorism scenario that provokes some sort of crisis and mobilization towards a border is the nuclear escalation scenario. they're pretty dismissive about that risk that somehow things will be controlled, somehow things will be contained and managed, and they won't illuminate why they think that is the case. they're much more sanguine about control of those escalation risks. maybe it does sort of require some sort of crisis to then focus the minds on thinking through, you know, clear signals and clear red lines.
>> thank you. ashih shen with the atlantic council. >> could you speak into the mike? we can't hear you. >> can you hear me? so i wanted to ask you, what in fact is pakistan's nuclear relationship with china have on u.s. leverage with pakistan? and do you see a role for china to change pakistan's strategy? thank you. >> i actually want to couple that question with one of my own questions. and this is directly to toby, and samir can feel free to comment if you want. when i read your report i saw you had listed a whole range of challenges associated with striking a deal with pakistan. and you have pointed out that pakistan's nuclear commerce is also less incentivized. and in the report you also point out that the pakistani position has hardened since the evidence
that you've gathered suggests that pakistanies feel compelled to compete against india. so -- and coupling that, chinese, that they have the healthy cooperation of the chinese. in this context would would pakistan subject its to this sort of deal? >> it depends on what you mean by the deal. >> the grand nuclear bargain. >> sure. the commercial piece first i think it's absolutely the case that pakistan's nuclear energy requirements as it defines them are being met by china, largely by way of ignoring the rules and the nuclear suppliers group. it's hard to imagine a circumstance where there was a nuclear deal that would change that in some way. i think that set of incentives that had existed in india, although i take the point that
that was only part of the rationale for that deal that essentially doesn't exist. it's hard to imagine a vendor other than chinese vendors that would have the sort of state backing and tolerance to invest in pakistan. nuclear erectorsreactors are expensive, and pakistan is short on capital. most wouldn't want to assume the liability of a large infrastructure project. the chinese seem to be able to do that. the net result of that is that not only because pakistan is not a very good nuclear market and because china is essentially satisfying that nuclear market and would under any circumstance, there's not a lot of incentive there for others to argue for a nuclear deal because of that. but your other question about whether china might have some leverage i think that interesting one. and and, you know, there's a history of chinese involvement in the
pakistani nuclear weapons program. it's been written about. there are very strong beliefs in india that that cooperation continues, that the pakistani tactical nuclear weapons are essentially a product of chinese cooperation. i don't know whether that's true or not. if that were true it would be a violation of the nonproliferation treaty. and so i suspect that if there's truth in it, it's not as expansive as the indian claims are. but it may very well be the case that china and pakistan are collaborating on missile guidance other sorts of things, who knows? i'm sure there's evidence there, i'm just not aware of it. and so that kind of raises a question about whether china would have given that it's aided pakistan's nuclear weapons program in the past, ostensibly or presumably for reasons having to do with balancing india in some way why would it seek to restrain pakistan in some way? i think the answer there is, if
it becomes apparent that what is happening in pakistan has some potential to damage chinese interests as well. whether they're economic interests in pakistan whether it's the potential that terrorists trained in pakistan carry out some attacks in china for which there's some evidence that the chinese have pressured the pakistani government in the past, you know, you can see a logic there where chinese perceptions of this problem might start to change. it's not clear to me that there has been an event yet that would precipitate that. but there could be. maybe in the future it's possible that china might be a source of leverage. but at this point it seems to take the opposite approach, which is to essentially ignore what's happening with the pakistani nuclear weapons program and continue to focus on large infrastructure projects like the china/pakistan economic corridor and the like and not use that in any sort of leverage
terms. similarly, if you draw a parallel to the china/north korea relationship, i think you see there a pattern of behavior that would suggest caution in thinking that china might be willing to use leverage over one of its neighbors and partners in the future. >> can i just add a little to that? so i quite agree with toby. >> we're supposed to do to be way. >> everything china has done so far has contributed to the autonomy of the pakistani program. and so, you know, i really don't see that happening in the immediate future except -- i'm just thinking of scenarios. one scenario could be, you know, what toby pointed out, that pakistan could become unstable and there is a prospect of a partial state failure and the chinese might be concerned there might be stillover effects and a nuclear incident. that's one scenario. another is china decides that it
needs to acknowledge the indian program openly and comes to some sort of agreement with the indians. that might open the door for some sort of triangular, you know, stabilizing the competition between the three. >> there's also a possibility, i mean china may have played sort of a negative contributory role in the past, and even potentially in the present. there's also the potential for these things to change over time. so we know that for a long time china was silent about pakistan's dahlians with violent non-state actors. apparently there were one of the pressure points for the operation when then sort of precipitated a whole bunch of other counterterrorist operations. there's a lot of suggestions that they might have had some pressure on the pakistani government for zarbi azaf as well. i would add to that they are investing a significant stake in
the pakistani landmass with substantial number of workers that are going to be deployed into this massive set of construction projects. so they are more at risk in future escalation scenarios than they have ever been which probably gives them a stake more so than they've ever been. >> you know, the nuclear suppliers group operates by consensus. and so if india is going to join, it will have to be with chinese support. and the chinese government has been fairly quiet on this subject, at least publicly. but there was one statement from the foreign ministry i think in the spring that was actually about pakistani membership, not indian membership. but the reply that came back was there essentially needed to be a way to handle the question of non-mpt state membership in an equitable way which suggests to me that, you know, i don't know what the extent of
pakistan/chinese conversations on this issue has been but that china will protect pakistan's interests in that regard and try to keep the door open in some way. so it's important that we think about chinese interests and what it can and can't do on this question recognizing that our interests, the stated u.s. interests in having india in the usg may run up against china's interests. for the panel. so if this pileup in the growth of the nuclear arsenal is driven by its sense of insecurity within the establishment what could the united states do to reduce that sense of insecurity that might lead to a change in behavior? >> i mean, that's a tough one. i mean, if i were to be provocative, i mean, i would almost say that pakistan's sense of insecurity is pathological.
and i just think that its military is operating on its own belief systems that are not shared outside. so i really don't know what the united states can do. or all the u.s. can do is supply high tech conventional weapons, which it tried through the 1980s. even today, if you look, actually there have been some very interesting -- there's been a very interesting study that came out last year that looked at the conventional balance between india and pakistan. and the gap at least in the immediate short term has actually narrowed, and pakistan wan do a much better job defending itself against india than most people like to imagine. but if there was this paranoia and if it's driven by this pathological belief in pakistani insecurity, i don't see what the united states could really do, unless the united states threw its weight behind trying to change pakistani grand strategy. because unless pakistan were to give up that whole role of
seeking revisionism and changing the status quo, it will not be a satiated power. you're provoking a crisis that feeds into your threat and it's an endless cycle.8[k÷ >> so i think a lot of this depends on sort of how you categorize pakistan as a state. we use the dichotomy of revisionism versus status quo power, but there are gradations in between. there are gradations of change and learning that states can adapt to international sort of relation structures, stimuli. so i think one, it's feasible to sort of imagine scenarios in the future where the revisionism can decline over
time. it's based on a territorial dispute with india where there's large numbers of forces concentrated. one of the paths out of this down the road is renewed dialogue that eventually tried to resolve some of the territorial disputes that have large military forces involved that are ultimately threatening each other. that at least can be a confidence database building mention that can unwind 50 revisionist narratives that are contribute to go the pakistani state. >> i would also i guess, for the sake of argument challenge the sort of black and white revisionism. i think the idea that pakistani grand strategy is i ammmutable is not a correct one. i think there's a fair amount of evidence at this point that should cause us to question, you know this commitment to -- some
have called it jihad under the nuclear umbrella, whether it's the current operation or what we've seen happen with lashki lashki junjee. there is some desire to assert, you know, both positive and negative control over groups that in the past have been targeting in india. i think there's some evidence that should cause us to question that assumption. but i would also i guess challenge your assumption that somehow addressing pakistan's insecurity is the key to nuclear constraints. and i guess what we laid out is a lot of this comes back to what you believe about nuclear weapons. and if you have this absolute faith in nuclear weapons then no amount of security is going to change that and no amount of insecurity is going to change that. but if you start to question what nuclear weapons do and
don't do and what they could and could not deter and how many of them and how they're postured then you can maybe still -- you know, there may not be a need to address the sources of insecurity. and i think what we had suggested in our report was that, you know, the faith in pakistan that tactical nuclear weapons are going to deter conflict at a very low level may not be correct. and that's kind of a dangerous assumption. you know, india did not do cold start after mumbai. that may or may not have had something to do with pakistani nuclear weapons. they didn't have tactical nuclear weapons at that point in time. so i think there's reasons to question how much -- how many nuclear weapons are sufficient. and i would hope that that conversation is happening inside pakistan. the problem is that whereas in
many states there's, you know shared responsibility for nuclear weapons that allows for some discussion and debate about the size of the arsenal and the force posture and readiness and these kinds of things, in pakistan that -- sort of those external stimuli don't really exist. these conversations happen solely within the military. there's no real -- there's civilians that are involved in the national command authority, but let's be realistic, most of the requirements are going to be set by the military and the decisions are going to be made by the military. in that sense there's not this feedback loop that would challenge very strongly held beliefs about deterrence. but there were strongly held beliefs about militants too, and you start to see some repricing reprioritization to focus on external threats. thinking can change as evidence challenges some of the assumptions. >> so, you know, i want to
address the points that samir and toby raised. they're correct that there is variation. you cannot treat revisionism and status quo power as a dichotomy. even revisionist states do change over a period of time and there are various grades of revisionism. one of the things the united states could do, let us some for a moment that we accept pakistani revisionism, pakistan has a legitimate grievance in its territorial dispute with india, but i think the united states could try and persuade pakistan to adopt different means to pursue that revisionism. in other words give up its -- you know, the support of nonstate actors. there has been some thinking we haven't had another mumbai since 2008. we don't know whether that's a retreat.
even if pakistan would stick with its revisionism but give up its strategy to pursue that revision i am, that would have a cooling effect on the region which would then open the door for the united states to try and persuade the indians to kind of abandon their adoption, to threaten pakistan with a conflict which would then create incentives for pakistan to retreat from tactical nuclear weapons. so that might be a way out. >> dan horner from "arms control today." two questions both coming from points that toby made initially, so i'll direct it to toby first. given that it's not, as you described it an interactive arms race what response by india would expect if pakistan
took the steps that you recommend in your report? and secondly, on the point about the nsg, you cited this interesting comment from china about the requirements. and it seemed at the time of prime minister sharif's visit to the united states thatl that there was consideration of an exception for india. it seemed to leave the door open to so-called criteria-based approach. do you think that's possibly in the cards? what do you think about that? thanks. >> so the second piece was about criteria and whether it was a criteria-based approach that might open for nsg. you know, let me start with that. i think that that's an interesting -- personally i support the idea of criteria because i think from a nonproliferation regime point of view, having even criteria for india and pakistan is better. india could probably meet most
of the criteria that could be agreed before pakistan could. but as a matter of process, i think having criteria versus exception is better. the problem there is that india has a view of its exceptionalism just as there is american exceptionalism, there is indian exceptionalism. and the idea of criteria kind of runs up against that. and so i think that's a real challenge for the obama administration's approach so far. at this point, i don't think the idea of there being an exception for pakistan is really what was on the table. my sense of what was on the table was you know, support for the idea thatn could be on a path to joining the nsg but in order to even be on the path, you know, there needed to be steps to get to the first step, essentially. so pre-steps, if you will.
i think that's -- my sense of what the conversation was about. at this point it doesn't seem like pre-steps are in the cards. there's steps backwards, if anything, just to extend the analogy. what was your first question again? sorry. right. you know, i would love it in the indians were to say, wow this is fantastic, our security is much better for having done this, thank you very much. but in fact when samir and i were in india some weeks ago, we heard a lot of complaints that we would even dare to consider that somehow pakistan with nuclear weapons could be legitimate and that these kinds of steps in some way might actually improve india's security. and how dare we reassert some sort of equivalence between pakistan and india on these questions. which, you know, on some level isn't surprising but it also suggests that for all the indian professions that status is not
what they're really after here, the idea that pakistan could have a similar status suggests that india is involved with status. i mean, i think the steps that we suggested there are questions about how feasible those are. and i think their acceptability in pakistan is pretty low. in india they were missed as insufficient. that's been the response. >> walk us through your experiences in pakistan. >> sure. so in pakistan, there was a lot of interest in the title of the report especially the "normal nuclear pakistan" part. but everything after page 1, we were criticized for that. it was suggested we were somehow advancing india's interests, that all of the steps that we had suggested would compromise pakistan's national security, that our assessments of fissile
material production were off, that we were completely discounting india's nuclear program, et cetera, et cetera. >> marvin birnbaum the liss institute. during the cold wear, in the united states, and in russia as well, the soviet union there was a fear of what the consequence of nuclear war might bring. my sense is knowing pakistan perhaps a little better than sba india, that that's lacking, that there's no willingness, whether it's in civil defense preparations where, you know, we thought a lot about this, you don't see anything not that one can build bomb shelters given
the kinds of weapons, but you don't get that feeling. and i wonder how much that plays into the inability of both sides to perhaps evaluate this nuclear competition. and at the same time, what is the sense in both countries, because i've never seen this the answers may be very obvious, a feeling here about adequate second strike capability. because certainly that -- in m.a.d. that ultimately was what the ultimate neutralizer was. it wasn't numbers, but just that neither side could expect to emerge here with very much left. so if you could explore this. >> specifically cold war was
mentioned, my question is specifically, the united states and the former soviet union negotiated the strategic arms limitation treaty at the heart of the cold war and still the u ussr was a revisionist power. so what are the differences you see in applying the same logic between u.s. and pakistan? >> i'm going to start with his question and come to yours, if that's okay. i mean, okay so that's a great question. yes, the u.s. and the ussr, there was the dayetente between the two superpowers but let's not forget that the detente collapsed. arms control really did not take off. it took off and then hit an
stasis and then broke down and then ultimately collapsed. to get to marvin's question at least on the indian side, there is a psychological disbelief that nuclear weapons are instruments of war. it's more -- so it's more that these are psychological props in one sense, that forces the psyche of the elite in a crisis or, you know builds up or supports your backbone or helps you develop a backbone to put up with nuclear coercion. there is not much belief that these weapons could ever be used. and which is kind of ironical, because here you are, building up operational capabilities on the ground but at the same time at the political level, i don't think the political leaders recognize or accept the fact or has brought itself to
countenance the idea of actually using these nuclear weapons. on the indian side they've tried to build up a sea-based arsenal, sense. on the pakistan side, from a purely military perspective, they've done a pretty good job of building up a mobile ballistic missile strike force. i'm just thinking in terms of second strike they might be thinking in terms of third strikes, which is, you know, toby, you talk about this in your report, where you have long range missiles that can strike any part of india and beyond which you can only make sense of it if theoretically you've gone thinking in terms of protracted nuclear exchange with a much
more powerful nuclear power which actually india is not, but it potentially might be. but yes, they are thinking of second strike capabilities, very much so. >> i'll just pick up on a thread that you put out there marvin. so i think you're right that we have civil defense preparations inherently by having procedures for like duck and cover, going in bomb shelters something like that, you engage the public in sort of what will be the consequence of the actual nuclear exchange. and it doesn't appear that there has been anything like that probably because there are much higher priorities of what you do with social spending than build bomb shelters. but i think it's an important point, because oftentimes you hear a lot of strategic leaders invoke the public in their discussions and say our andhands
are tied because if we were willing to back down on our position we would be lynched. i feel like that term "lynched" is used liberally in south asia about what the public will or will not allow. but i don't think the public has engaged in this debate other than at a very surface level. it's possible that the public has hard line views on nuclear weapons, but i think if we were to sort push a little bit in terms of what scenarios might be involved, we might see evidence for a nuclear taboo or the costs of this. that's an another area of potential engagement maybe it's a civil society type of engagement that's required. but it certainly is invoked. and i don't see any evidence of it actually happening in the public. [ inaudible ] >> true. >> just to add a couple of things to that, i think the rise of discussions of consequences
were either just slightly behind or in parallel with thinking about what it would actually take to fight a nuclear war at least the american thinking. the soviet thinking i don't know. but you saw arguments about fighting a nuclear war and the kind of commitment that would be required to include civic defenses and ballistic missile defense and these kind of things. i think in india the political sentiment around nuclear weapons hasn't really allowed for that kind of discussion. pakistan is an interest case. on the one hand, you have this faith in deterrence and the faith that nuclear weapons will deter even very low level conflict, which is interesting. and yet you have pretty regular political statements about the use of nuclear weapons which there's a dissonance there, and i don't quite understand it. and i think you also see, and for me the shaheen 3 is kind of the evidence of this over and above tactical nuclear weapons,
thinking about using nuclear weapons in counterforce roles. that leads you down the role of thinking about nuclear war fighting, notwithstanding the protestations that these are weapons of peace and meant to deter conflict and so forth. i think you see the strains of military logic that push you down this road. but you're right, there is no civil society that asks or could engage the questions about what are the consequences of fighting a nuclear war. and that is really what's lacking. and i think there's been some suggestions i've heard that, you know, the united states or others ought to try to engage that question in some way in south asia to, you know, make clear the scare that we had in the cuban missile crisis or so forth and, you know finding ways of using the media to do that and so forth. and it's -- i think it has to come from south asia. it can't come externally. it has to be an idea that is specific to the way nuclear
weapons are understood there and the fears that people have. you know, maybe it will take a cuban missile crisis or something like that to actually spur that. you don't -- where are the bollywood movies about nuclear weapons and so forth? >> i want to add one point. i'm just speculating over here, but india and pakistan haven't had the experience of europe and the united states, russia of the first and second world wars where you had millions dead and it was a very real possibility in one sense. it was deeply embedded in the psyche that this can happen. but so i'm just speculating. so it's all theoretical. i mean, the wars that have occurred have been short affairs. and compared to what happened in europe over the last century they haven't had that kind of mass scale conflict. and so maybe -- >> there's an actually one piece of this too, which is that our
ideas about what constitute unacceptable damage came from the second world war, whereas the idea of unacceptable damage in south asia is very low. [ inaudible question ] >> if that should happen, i would imagine we would see a crisis, hue manmanitarian crisis at a level that really we've never experienced before. we could see millions of casualties deaths. and the implications for the international community and its preparedness to then be able to step in to something which would have -- go on for months and even years. >> i just hope we don't get
there. we'll restrict ourselves to the bollywood movies. >> but unless people talk about it, i don't think it registers. >> well, can i -- sorry. quickly, this is just from my conversations with various senior commanders in india's strategic forces command. one of the interesting things that comes out is they're so terrified of the social chaos that emerges from the slightest whiff of normality, i don't think there's -- i think there's disbelief that even if they took certain actions, it would be possible to do anything. maybe they don't -- you know, i'm speculating here again. but that's what comes out in private conversation. >> thank you.
i'm pauline nyack an independent consultant on southeast issues for a long time. i wanted to raise the question of command and control, and the -- what i perceive to be largely the absence of discussions of how, if you take out the other side's command and control, you may actually unleash worse results and how this isn't just a cyber issue this has a great deal to do with the physical distribution of not just weapons but leaders as well, and the continuity of government arrangements for senior decisionmakers, their ability to communicate with people in the field. so that whole issue seems to me to be another way in which at least in the public domain, there's very little speculation,
discussion, imagination. but i would like to hear your comments. >> who wants to go first? >> it'sknow, it sort of piggybacks on the conversation we just had about nuclear war fighting. so i think the are aware of the fact that they are going to be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to isr capabilities. and the other part of isr capabilities is they're not as observable as cruise missile tests and things like that. isr has the potential to enhance a first strike. it has the potential to make a first strike possible. it's something that we were pursuing during the cold wear. there is some interesting research that's been done on this recently. it's put out the case that we had the ability or thought we had some ability for this because we were tracking soviet subs and mobile missiles and had sufficient isr capabilities and sources that we were to maybe think
about, contemplate. because it's not observable it's possible pakistan has a deep and abiding fear. they have -- they have to weigh potential in the future. it's more modernized and has built-in capabilities in civil society. so i think they could be much more concerned about the command and control issue faster than the indians would to fully up to installation. >> on the inside i think in the strategic forces command that handles operation side of the arsenal and now also within the prime minister's office they have strategic planning group there is growing realization of what this means but they won't talk about it. it's again as said, these are the invisibles of that part of the arsenal, not visible, we
really don't know. i thuink they are paying attention, hard to extract information. >> i think you're right it's a really esoteric issue hard to know how the u.s. or others could have conversations with both sides about that issue. there are some issues about the legality of some subjects you might discuss given mpt commitments, the whole palace thinging i don't know how far that extends. i'm sure the state departmview on that. it's a hard conversation to imagine. in public dough manmain there's little information. the kind of capabilities being sought, what the implications of the capabilities are. as analysts it's a very difficult space to work in, but i think you're right to flag it. >> i wanted to have one final
question bringing back to the subject of the discussion the bigger subject of the discussion, and we'll have closing words, if there aren't any other comments. you probably get the question frequently during the cold war about the pressler amendments, pakistan u.s. national security reasons, during that period pakistan violated terms and conditions set out as well as united states chose to look the other way, too, for its own national security considerations. in 1990s the pressler amendment agreement went into effect ending government military sales to pakistan. so hypothetically if we have deal in the loose level sense what are the institutional checks and balances? if such -- to prevent something like this and there was huge amount of bad blood that went
into the u.s./pakistani relationship because of this, each side accusing others of you know various issues. so how would you -- how would you respond? >> i think you're making the point that i started with which is punitive side of this is unlikely to have any real effect on pakistan. other sanctions i don't think there's any evidence to suggest those are forthcoming. there's some discussion you saw withholding of the coalition support funds. maybe there's some threat to military assistance to pack stap.stap stan, i don't think those measures would have any real effect. for me it'sen 0 the incentive side of the equation. sustaining the possibility there's a path to pakistan to join some of the nuclear regimes. if you close off the path permanently, what are -- it's
finding ways to work with those incentives. that done mean that things go absolutely smoothly, you know, kinds of steps that we suggested in our report were things that would be concrete and indicative of changing views about the utility of nuclear weapons and that's where we were looking for for evidence of change. i think there's, you know, real questions about the feasibility of these kinds of steps. it's clear in the reaction to the -- to our report, and enin the news there may be some potential for discussion, the reaction of pakistan was quite severe, and there was a real closing of ranks. the military's essentially rejected any possibility of constraints. the space, if there was any space, the space is even narrower now. i think that there's -- the logic that i laid out is a simple one, and i think there's
a rational for it. but again that would require changes in pakistan that are difficult to foresee at this point. >> do you have any? >> yeah, sure. i'll just -- i'll say it broadly, for all of the ideas we've sort of put on the table today, whether we think what's driving pakistani behavior is revisionism, whether we want to engage them on questions of strategic deterrence dissuade them of nuclear war fighting, all of these require some level of engagement or some interaction. i don't think changing the narratives or discussion points on any of the areas will be advanced by cutting off ties or sort of trying to sort of -- maybe the course of threat of that might have some sort of value but the actual implementation of cut-off of engagement and ties, i don't think there's any good evidence to suggest that works. while i would say evidence for engagement is mixed it seems to be somewhat better.
i also say, even if at the end of the day dealing with pakistan, where there's a military dominant narrative, a lot of control over the public debate and social space, we know from experience from dealing with a lot of regimes that are like much tougher to crack in some ways these are not homogenous units there are always internal debates, even if they have professional incentives and we've seen with pakistan there have been internal debates in the past, right? we know there's pushback on the strategic tactical utility of cargill. we know from officers who retired there was debate whether pakistan should proceed into north warziristan. i think we're more lickkely to have than disassociate ourselves with that. >> i don't necessarily -- i agree with sameer we should
engage pakistan you have to engage pakistan we should not go into sanctioning pakistan and isolating it, that's not going to have a positive impact. but there are two issues. one, simply looking at nonproliferation issues and movement on various treatments and norms and strategic arms control and tactical nuclear arms control in isolation and other putting it into a broader geopolitical context and within the context of the state's grand strategy. i don't think -- at least for me, i cannot understand how progress could be made, pakistan to turn around on the nuclear issues without pakistan making movement on the its grand strategy. and i think the united states needed to engage pakistan on both fronts simultaneously. >> i argue it hard to imagine success in this area without also engaging india in some way.
all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states admonish to give their attention. >> tonight on c-span's landmark cases. >> both of you listen. you're under arrest, you have the right to an attorney. you have the right to remain silent. anything said to us can be used in the court of law. >> okay. >> understand. >> that's right. >> miranda was 23 in'63, when he was arrested in phoenix on suspicion of kidnapping and raping a young woman. after two hours of questioning he confessed, and signed a statement saying this in confession had been given voluntarily. convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. but his lawyer argued that he had not been told of the right to both an attorney or the right
to remain silent. the case went all the way to the supreme court. follow the case of miranda versus arizona evolution of policing practices in america, with our guest jeff rosen, president and ceo of the national constitution center and paul cassell, law school professor, former district court judge live tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span c-span3 and c-span radio. for background, order your copy of the landmark cases companion book 8.95 plus shipping c-span.org/landmark cases. >> the director of citizenship and immigration services testified before a house judiciary subcommittee last week about the vetting process for refugees and other immigrants entering the u.s. south carolina congressman trey
gowdy chaired the hearing. it's almost two hours. 8the chair's authorized to declare recesses at any time. we welcome everyone to today's hearing of overnight of united states immigration services. i'm begin recognizing myself opening statement. first, welcome our witness, mr. rodriguez. u.s. citizenship and immigration services, uscis, for short responsible for processing over 6 million immigration benefit politics per. implementing programs important to immigration enforcement e-verify for entitlements program, known as s.a.v.e. without concerns raised about terrorist seeking to exploit our refugee program or aspects of our immigration system to enter the united states, processing such large numbers of
immigration benefits applications would be a daunting task. but those concerned are being raised and they are on the forefront of my fellow citizens' minds. i'll look forward to what chings if any director rodriguez has to help ensure terrorists are not approve for visas or immigration benefits. many of the people i work for are concerned about pros second of terrorist resettled in the communities through the u.s. refugees admission program. i know we discussed this very issue in the subcommittee, those concerns are not going away. we are still looking for assurances refugee program vetting is secure and effective. our concerns were only exacerbated by remarks of our colleague homeland security chairman mike mccaul, indicating efforts to enter our country via fraud, currently occurring. aside from security vetting concerns fraud is always a problem.
i know the current and former directors of uscis have come before the committee and have said fraud detect is a number one priority but that is difficult to reconcile when we consistently hear from sources within uscis that leadership will not pursue anti-fraud technology, rubber stamping of benefits application is encouraged and some instances forced and uscis' own anti-fraud unit, the direct rate is routinely sidelined and underutilized. nigh constituents are proud the u.s. has the most generous immigration policy in the world, and they are proud the united states is a beacon of hope for foreign nationals seeking a about thor life. but they have a right to know the immigration programs are being run in a matter that does not pout them in danger and right now, they don't feel that way. that is not to say there's not some good news coming out of
uscis. e-verify program use of which by employers is growing which has had an extremely successful verification rate. i want to thank director rodriguez for his continued support of e vie-verify program. i recognize the gentle lady from california. >> thank you, chairman and director rodriguez, it's good to see you here again welcome to immigration subcommittee. i'm sure we will hear from you to the extent you're able to discuss security measures taken by the especially in light of the news coming out of san bernardino in my state. so i'm going to focus on other elements that are part of your important mission. as we know a year ago secretary johnson issued a series of directives two of which have been held up in a
dispute with republican governors. i wouldn't address that because the supreme court is going to do so. i'd like to talk about some of issues that were not the subject of the litigation. specifically, the parole program for immigrant entrepreneurs. one of the things that keeps our country ahead of the game economically is the tech sector. and we have failed in our necessary effort to reform the immigration laws which is really the result that is necessary. but the president was trying to think -- and jekt johnsecretary johnson -- was trying to think of things that could be done with the current lawing make the economy work better and one of things the patrolrole program for up grant entrepreneurs. a lot of companies household names are right in my neighborhood intel, google yahoo! ebay, et cetera, et
cetera, et cetera, were founded by innovative immigrants. they now employ tens of thousands of people. and according to a new research immigrants have created half of america's top venture-backed companies, and those companies have in turn created an average of 150 jobs each. when you look at some of them like google it's tens of thousands. so i'm concerns that we haven't launched the entrepreneur program. i'm eager to know where that stands. maub maybe you'll be able to address it. i want to touch on an action i found gravely disappointing. i realize it was not primarily the uscis but that was the october visa bulletin that was mistaken. many people, immigrants relied on the bulletin as is reasonable to do to their detriment. for example, i met personally with an individual who is a
post-doc doing cutting edge neuroscience research funded by the federal government funded by the nih. he was going to file for his permanent residence based on the priority date. he did not renew his h-1b visa. then the visa bulletin was amended and he's nowhere nowhere. it's crazy someone who has been here for years who we're funding, who may get a nobel prize, is just nowhere. i don't know how many people like him were disadvantaged but i'm wondering, what efforts the agency has thought about just to ameliorate the harm done by that mistake in the bulletin. i am concerned that the program really set up to avoid the rush
of refugees across our border through -- who have come through mexico fleeing violence. the alternative to process refugee applications in country has not really worked. i don't think any child has been admitted yet, and i'm concerned whatever light you can put on that situation i would appreciate knowing. and i also would like an update on the technology efforts that the agency has been making. when the president was elected we were almost entirely paper-based and i think we've made some progress but not as much as i expected or hoped that we would. and i'm hoping to be able to give us, you know, if you've got a fedex package you can track where it is, expecting delivery. we haven't been able to do
deliver that kind of customer service. and i think the american public would be better served if we could. anything you can give us on those lights, and i know you will talk about the security issues that the chairman has also touch on. with that, mr. chairman i see my time is about to expire. >> gentle lady yields back. we are pleased to welcome our distinguished witness today, director, if you would please rise and allow me to administer the oath. do you swear the testimony you are about to gives the truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth so help you god. >> i do. >> may the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. you have a long and distinguished career as a prosecutor, which i'm going to give short shrift to in my introduction introduction. today's witness is the direct of the united states citizenship and immigration services sworn in as director on july 9, 2014 previously served as director of the office of civil rights department of health and human services a position he held from
2011-2014, from 2010-2011 chief of staff for civil rights department of justice. received j.d. from boston college law school. as i mentioned beforehand, i think you prosecutorprosecuted in every level one can prosecute. with that, i recognize you for your opening statement. >> thank you, chairman. it's great to be here in front of the committee today and to address the myriad of issues that both you, chair and ranking member lofgren have raised during your own opening remarks i had planned to in my opening remarks, discuss my own broad priorities for uscis, specifically to fully and effectively implement executive actions to effective and safely process our refugees to continue to advance our transformation
process and continue to mane taken a high level of customer service and stakeholder engagement. however, the recent mass murder in san bernardino california, near miss lofgren's district, and a number of recent events, i think as the chairman pointed out, make it particularly important that we talk about security issues here this afternoon. i would note at the outset two things, one, i will not, fun unfortunately have the luxury of talking about specific cases. some cases are under law enforcement investigation. in any event there are privacy policies and laws that apply to specific files. two, i would observe that after nearly a quarter century in and around law enforcement, one of the things that i've learned very much through personal experience, is that violent criminals can come from pretty much any faith, any nationality.
they can be u.s.-born, they can be immigrants. they can come from just about anywhere. my particular role our particular role in uscis is to ensure that those who seek the privilege of admission to the united states, be they as travelers or as immigrants, that they in fact be individuals who deserve that privilege that they not be individuals who either intend our nation harm or who intend to be become criminals when they come here no the united states. we have been working diligently in recent years to enhance our ability to weed out, both individuals who are criminals and who are threats to our national security. to give some examples of the kinds of things that we do we have enhanced the resources against which we vet all immigrants, not just refugees,
but also all immigrants. we have developed improved techniques for fraud detection, interviewing in order to advance that. in light of the events in san bernardino, the president and the secretary have both directed uscis to review both the k1 visa program has a whole, which we are in the process of doing right now, but also to do a retrospective look at cases approved in recent years under the k1 visa program. we are fully along in conducting that effort. i remain mindful, however, that our charge in uscis is really to look at the security of our entire process, so while we are focusing on k1 today i want to make clear to the committee and importantly also to the american public that our focus will be
across all of our lines of business to ensure that bad guys do not gain admission to the united states. i am blessed that uscis with a tremendous staff who is dedicated, both to following the law, to serving the american importantly, to preventing fraud and threats to our national security. as a company of examples of the kinds of things that we've done, in light of concerns about our asylum program, we've been increasing presence of fraud detexzde detection and national security officers, we've doubled the number of individuals in recent years. similarly eb5, wave dubbed the fraud detection and national security officers as well. there are many other topics i'd like to address, hopefully through questioning i'd have the opportunity to address a number of the issues that ranking member lofgren raised. but i'd like to conclude with this observation.
i read something in the paper just a few days ago that really rang of truth to me and that was the notion that the worst thing that we can do top the terrorists that wish us harm, terrorists trying to recruit others to harm us is to continue to be a beacon to people throughout the world. the fact that many of the very same people who those terrorists would like to recruit in fact are seeking admission united states, is the most severe indictment of what they are trying to do. that inspires me as much as anything else to do the work that i do as uscis director. thank you, chairman for having me today. >> i'll recognize myself for five minutes of questioning. director, i'm going to make a certain -- series of what i think are factually supported assertions. if any assertions are incorrect, i want you to correct them
because hypotheticals or realities are no good if there's an incorrect factual assertion. it appears the female terrorist in california entered the united states july 2014 on a k-visa. and there's an application process which includes some level of investigation on our end and, as i understand the application process it may well be uscis and the state department have some level of engagement at least at the application process. and then as i understand it, there is or is supposed to be an in-person interview at a embassy or consulate, which is another level of investigation. so you have the application which may involve uscis and the state department, then an in-person interview. and the way i count that's at least two, maybe more levels of
inquiry or investigation. then fast forward the fbi director today, i believe tells us there is evidence that the female terrorist was radicalized two years ago, and there's a media account, you are free to put whatever stock you would like in a media account, but it's been widely reported that the male terrorist was part of a plot in 2012 to do harm in this country. so it appears to me that the investigations done by our government would have occurred after both her radicalization and after his previous plot to commit an act of terror. and yet the visa was approved. and she emigrated here and 14 body bags later we are trying to figure out what went wrong. some assume arguendo the fbi is right, which is not an unreasonable assumption.
the female terrorist was radicalized well before her application to come to the united states. how did we miss that twice? >> so again, i will take that question as a hypothetical given my inability to speak to the specific factual scenario. i think, in addition to the interviews that you described, individuals are also vetted against law enforcement and intelligence databases at multiple stages in the k1 visa process. when we adjudicate the petition by the u.s. base person usually the fiance on our side of the ocean, there is a background series of background checks done at that time. the state department does another more folsom series of checks and we see that individual then again at the time of the adjustment once they
are in the united states. the nature of the interview depends on what derogatory information we have about the individual. so in the absence of a specific -- we ask a series of questions that are intended to vet that individual out but in the absence of a specific basis, we probe basically the record that is -- that is before us. one of the things we are looking at right now -- and again i think about this not just in terms of the fiancee visa program but in terms of everything that we do -- are things we need to be doing differently prospectively to probe even more deeply to ensure that we are not admitting individuals who will come here to do us harm. >> i wholeheartedly concur that we should be looking at all visas no matter what letter occurs in front of them. it just so happens that this is a k visa. but the analysis could very well
be the same regardless of what kind of visa it was. and what i'm -- i'm not trying to put words in your mouth -- but what i hear you saying is we don't know if anything would have been done differently and it's a thorough investigation, and yet we still missed it which tells me that i have to go back to south carolina and tell people, there's going to be an error rate. >> one of the issue that we're looking at are what are our authorities at different points in the process. for example, at the point when we adjudicate the petition, as it stands right now as long as the bona fides of the petition are established by the u.s.-based petitioner regardless of what derogatory information may exist against that individual, we don't at -- again i'm talking generally, not talking about this -- any specific case -- that is certainly an issue we're looking at as to whether we need to
think differently about what we do in that stage of the process. we're also looking at what we do on the back end of the process, at the time when we actually give that person green card or we give them a conditional green card, are there additional measures we need to be taking at that stage as well. >> director, do you know whether or not the female terrorist in california was interviewed in person at an embassy or consular post? >> i'm not at liberty to talk about any specific. i can tell you what our practice is. generally there have been exceptions to this -- generally it is our protocol we do not -- we only interview people in the k1 visa program in cases where there is some issue that needs to be explored as part of the case. that could be derogatory information about the individual, it could be factual questions not necessarily derogatory about the
application. that is the existing practice as we speak. that's certainly part of ourreview. >> do you know how long the investigation lasted from the time she applied for a kvisa until the time interviewed at whatever consular post or embassy? >> again, i'm not at liberty to discuss a particular case. that can be -- from the time they -- if i'm understanding the question, from the time they're interviewed at consular post to the time we adjust them is that the question? >> i was more interested from the time she applied until the time whatever first interview, whether or not there was research done into her -- her school, if any, attended, social media, if any employment, if any, and i'm going to go to the gentle lady and give her the same amount of time i took. i'll tell you this i appreciate -- because i hear it a lot from administration folks did they cannot discuss an
ongoing investigation. i note the obvious. they're dead. so i don't know that we're terribly worried about their privacy considerations and i'm not lodging this allegation at you, specifically. i can jut tell you i've been around five years now and it just strikes me that sometimes folks cite an ongoing investigation or prosecution when they just really would prefer not to answer the question because there's not going to be a prosecution of either one of these frorterrorists, you and i agree on that. i'm not sure what we're worried about jeopardizing by allowing congress to look at her file. what -- what investigative or prosecutorial strategy would be jeopardized by allowing miss lofgren and i to look at her immigration file? >> again i'm really citing the general practices in rules.
i think you and i are both aware of cases, regardless of the fact there may be two dead perpetrators were there are still investigative reasons to maintain secrecy. i'm not speaking necessarily to this case. that is the practice i've lived about in my role as director or when is and a prosecutor previously, i did not talk about cases that were ongoing. regardless of those characteristics. i understand why this body would want them. i understand why that information might be helpful to this body in discharging its responsibilities. i do not see myself as at liberty to share that information at this time. >> chair would recognize the gentle lady from california. >> thank you mr. chairman. just picking up where the chairman has left off, i'll disclose that my office did call over and ask for a copy of the k1 application, and we were
advised it was the fbi who has said really this needs to remain confidential at this point because of their investigation. and i accept that. you know, i want the fbi to be able to do everything it's supposed to do. when they're done however, i want to take a look at all of it. so i think how long that investigation will take, none of us can know. but i know that the chairman i'm sure, would share my desire that once it's over, let's take a look at all all of it. we wouldn't want to jeopardize the ongoing investigation. in terms of what uscis does you -- the interview for -- not talking about this case but just how one obtains a nonimmigrant visa be it k1 or h-1b or whatever, the applicant applies abroad, and it isn't uscis that does the interview. it's the state department, isn't
it. >> yeah, that's correct. all we do at that stage is adjudicate the bonnie fidys of the petition here, of the relationship, the actual interview, screening is conducted by the state department at a consular post overseas. >> and you're not a law enforcement agency per se. what you're doing, in terms of the criminal element, checking it out, is checking with the fbi and the database and the like to see what comes up isn't that right? >> that is correct. i will -- i will amend that to see we see ourselves as having both national security and law enforcement responsibility. >> yes. >> to ensure that people who trip over those wires are -- >> of course. but you don't have an army of agents to, as law enforcement agency, you rely on the fbi? >> nobody on my staff carries guns as part of their job. >> all right. so in terms of the -- if a
person comes over on a k1 visa, say, they have 90 days in which to get married to the american who has petitioned for them. what happens then? >> what -- at that point, i believe they have 120 days. once the individual is hire, they have 120 days within which to seek adjustment. which in the ordinary course most people actually do. at that point, they become essentially conditional permanent residents. i apologize, i don't know exact -- >> it's conditional. and the marriage has to prove valid. >> yes. >> and at the -- after two years then couple goes in and they apply to remove the condition because they're still married, it's a valid marriage, is that
correct. >> correct yes. >> so at that point, you are still interviewing to make sure there's nothing that you can discover that's fraudulent or wrong, aren't you. >> we're both interviewing and also running additional checks. you know of the kind that have frequently discussed before this committee. we're doing additional checks on those individuals. >> if somebody came on any kind of visa like that many, many grounds for inadmission to the united states, whether or not maried to an american or a fiancee. if you have committed drug smuggling or if you are human trafficker, you're not admissible to the united states no matter what. if you're intending to commit a crime in the u.s. or you have terrorist ties, you're not admissible to the united states. >> that is correct. if there are indications that you are a criminal or that you are intending to immigrate or
travel to the united states to commit a crime then that would -- >> the real question is not whether or not the law needs to be changed that is the law, it's a matter of how that information is discovered and by whom. >> correct. and one of the issues that we're looking at is our authority at different points in the process, in addition to our practices at different point in the process to ensure that we are trapping those issues at every opportunity that we can. >> i'm going to switch to another subject. after -- there was a report both in disney and southern california edison who were using the h-1b program to replace u.s. workers. it was pretty outrageous reports. secretary johnson described it, and i quote as a very serious failing of the h-1b program. and the congress could help put an end to this through increased
enforcement mechanism for situations where an employer does, in fact replace american workers with h-1b visa holders what happen type of enforcement mechanisms do you think are needed to ensure that the h-1b program is not used to displace american workers? >> so i think this is an area where we would be very happy to work with this committee to provide technical assistance. i think one of the issues to which you're speaking one that i was very interested to learn as i was digging into the h-1b processes, you can accomplish a certain result through contractors that you couldn't necessarily accomplish directly. and that's certainly a discussion that we'd be happy to have with this committee as a technical assistance matter. >> we may take -- i've got some ideas on that as well. some of it is regulatorys7n3çbo some of it is economic and we
might change the utility of that method through just the economic parameters of the program. you know i -- i want to touch -- i know we're over but the chairman said i got the same amount of time. so i want to talk about the special immigrant juvenile program. as we know this has been -- this category has been in the law since 1990 and it provides protection to children who essentially have been abandoned by their parents. the juvenile court in the given state is the one that makes that determination on whether the child before the state court is -- has been in fact abandoned. now, although your agency is charged with fraud combatting fraud, i'm hearing reports that your adjudicators are seeking
evidence to essentially collaterally attack the decisions that have been made by state courts about dependency. i'm wondering, absent information about specific fraud, would that be something your agency should do? what would be the legal basis for a collateral attack on a state court determination of juvenile dependency? >> yeah. the concerns about our examination of state court findings are issues that have been raised to us frequently by stakeholders. as a former county attorney actually come with the background of having represented a child welfare agency myself so i understand the process pretty well. those inquiries by our staff members are not meant as
collateral attacks but the current circumstances where the order issued by the family court or the juvenile court whatever the court of jurisdiction may be does not satisfy on its face the requirements of the law. in essence, it doesn't say everything that it needs to say in order to qualify under the special immigrant juvenile. it is at that point that our officers are asked to look further to ensure that those elements are established. >> all right. that's very helpful information. i see my time has expired. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> director rodriguez i'm at the end of this i'm going to make sure that congresswoman has exactly the same amount of time i have it's just if i don't ask this question now, i probably will forget to ask it before i go to chairman smith, something she said prompted me to want to ask this. it strike mooz he that there are at least two things we can say to our fellow citizens, we missed it as it relates to the
female terrorists and that's just a risk that we're going to have to accept as an open society. the other alternative is to say, this is what we've learned from that fact pattern and this is what we're doing differently to prevent the next one. which is it what assurances will you give to make sure we will not repeat this fact pattern. >> the point i made is we're look at everything in other words, cases that may have happened today and looking at all of the issues related to where we can do our job better and make sure that to the extent of our ability we'll never eliminate all risks and to the extent of the resources that we have that we reduce risk to the greatest extent possible. that is a commitment i make to the american people that is a purpose of as former prosecutor to press us to not miss those
opportunities to do better and to keep the american people safer. >> thank you. it seems to me the president's words and actions are having an unfortunate impact on both immigration levels and on immigration policy. for example, president's proposed amnesty led to a surge last year in illegal immigrants coming from central america. we're seeing a similar surge today. the president's proposed changes in our cuban policies have led to a recent surge in cubans particularly coming across our southern border. they are not illegal immigrants but the point is it has led to a surgeon as a result of his policies. because of this administration's lack of enforcing current laws, the number of sanctuary cities has double under this administration. all of that is worrisome to me,
as is the administration's policy towards syrian refugees, what i want to ask you about. in regard to those applying for asylum from syria do you feel that we are able to get as much information about their backgrounds as we are applicants for asylum from other countries? >> i think we do have -- it's very hard to compare because i think it would be easiestier to compare to cases. comparing one broad body of individuals to another broad body are different nationalities i think is a different kind of scenario -- >> generally you think we're getting as much information and there's as much data -- >> i think we're getting a lot of information that is useful, that enables us in particular cases to deny individuals applications for refugee status, to put questionable cases on hold. i don't feel able to engage in the kind of comparison that
you're inviting me to. >> initially you said we -- you thought we were getting the same. you're aware of course of the fbi director saying we are not getting the same amount of data on syrian refugees as we are other individuals? >> he -- if i -- >> are you aware that director of the fbi said that. >> i'm aware of that. if i may, congressman i think the main comparison being made -- it's a hard comparison to argue with -- is that we're not in syria. we don't have boots on the ground in syria. we did have boots on the ground in iraq. that doesn't mean that we're blind. >> no, i'm not implying that. the director of the fbi said, my concern about bringing syrian refugee into the united states there are certain gaps i don't want to talk about publicly and the data available to us. as a result of that, do you think it is more risky to admit individuals from syria than other countries because we don't have as much information or do you think there's no more risk involved in admitting individuals from syria?
>> there -- there is risk in our business -- >> no, no that wasn't my question. i wasn't asking you about general risk. i was asking you specifically, is it riskier to admit individuals applying for asylum from syrian than other countries. >> i think individuals who come from places where terrorists are active, where terrorists are seeking to recruit, command from us a higher level of scrutiny. that is why syrian refugees in particular receive the most, the toughest most -- >> i understand that. but that doesn't count for anything if there's no information available. if you don't have good data you don't have a good result no matter how good the prsocess is. i'm not questioning the process. >> that's the point i'm trying to make through concrete example. we have denied people admission because of information that we learned from law enforcement -- >> is your denial for those
applying for refugee status from syria a higher denial rate that other countries? if so, what is the rate. >> i think the denial rate is a deceptive statistic and i'll tell you why. it is very easy to demonstrate a claim for refugee status in syria. syria's a mess. there is all kind of sectarian violence, violence based on political opinion. so it would be very hard not to establish a claim for refugee status. the question is is the individual inadmissible because they are a terrorist or a criminal. >> what was the answer to my question? what is denial rate for those applying from syria versus those applying from -- >> i believe it is approximately 20%. >> 20% denial? >> of -- of -- of the group we've admitted so far. in other words, a number of individuals in the pipeline that rate could shift. >> you admit 80% of the refugees from syria? >> given the very small pool that we've seen so far. in other words i don't think
that necessarily speaks to what our rates are going to be. >> it seems to me for a group that seems to be riskier and a group on which you have less information than those applying for refugee status from other countries it seems to me that's a dangerously high admission rate. >> -- let me correct that. that is a rate of nonadmission. in other words those could be individuals outright denied or on hold. >> understand. >> that could shift over time. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the againleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan mr. conyers. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. director. tell me, what is the immigration services doing to ensure that the deferred action for childhood arrival ss, renewal
applications are adjudicated in a timely fashion so that young people don't suffer some of the grave consequences we've heard about? >> that is an important question. we did have some circumstances early on because of delayed applications, because of issues related to either errors in applications, background checks where some individuals were not being approved prior to the expiration of their deferred action. we have taken a number of steps to ensure especially for those individuals who apply on time, that we do -- are able to finish adjudicating applications before expiration. first of all, we have extended the time at which we give them initial notification of the fact
that they're coming up for renewal. we now do it 180 day before expiration rather than 150 days. we have accelerated the time in the cycle when we begin adjudicating issues that we find with applications be it if there are, for example, criminal history hits that need to be analyzes or errors in the application, we're doing that earlier in the adjudication cycle than we used to. we have engaged in extensive engagement with community-based groups to make sure that individuals understand what they need to do in order to be ready for us to be able to adjudicate the case in a timely manner. those are examples of two among a number of steps that we've taken. in fact we've seen considerable improvement, and i believe all about a fraction of 1% of cases are now adjudicated within 120
days of application and i believe roughly 90% prior to ex expiration of those cases. >> happy to hear that. the subject of haitian family reunre reunification program. this program has potential to help many more haitian families. i want you to tell me what you see as challenges involved in expanding haitian family reunification parole program to include all of the department of homeland security approved haitian beneficiaries, and not just a small subset. >> again, i think, as you know generally, parole is a tool that
is a kind of relief that we use on a case by case basis either where there is a humanitarian reason or whether there is a significant public interest. what we've done in the haitian case is created parameters in cases for individuals who are -- who have a qualifying family relationship, who are within a certain horizon prior to the ability to adjust. that, for us, in designing that policy seemed to be the right parameters to put on that case in fact, that is offered relief to a number of individuals. but we can certainly continue to engage on ways that we can possibly improve that program. we certainly know that haiti, in particular, is a country that has had great difficulties in recent years. the reason we have the policy
altogether is because we believe that it is in the interest of the united states to help haiti and the haitian people get back on their feet. so we can certainly continue to engage on that topic. >> and let me close by asking you about since -- with reference to syrian refugees since uscis holds responsibility for conducting in-person interviews with refugee applications to determine eligibility, how can it do so in a manner that most appropriately assesses for potential threats? >> thank you for that important question. our officers -- first of all extremely many are very experienced, ones to sent to work in those particular groups of cases are abelongmong the most
experienced, briefed from classified and flan classified sources on country conditions within syria. they have benefits of prior interviews conducted of those individuals. they have the benefits of background checks of those individuals. those all provide very strong tools for those individuals to conduct a thorough and intensive interviews to identify possible bases of inadmissible. >> may i ask unanimous consent to have my statement on this subject entered into the record? >> yes sir, without objection. thank you. >> gentleman yieldsing ba. the chair will recognize the gentleman from iowa, mr. king. >> thank you chairman director rodriguez, thank you coming back secretary time within a month's period of time to testify to us today. i was listening to your earlier testimony and was interested in a statement that you made, violent criminals can come from just about anywhere was the
summation of that, although there was more detail in your statement. i'm curious, that statement i don't have any doubt is true, but is there a higher incidents among those violent criminals, let's say, for example more likely male or female? >> again, i -- i take the cases as they come. i don't -- i don't screen based on whether people are men or women or where they come from because the point is just about everybody can be a bad guy. >> you've been in law enforcement for 25 years and you don't have a judgment on whether more likely a male or female? >> i have seen male violent criminals, female violent criminals. that's the point i was trying to make. they can be just about anybody. >> we recognize that. i recognize that in my first sentence to you, i believe. but could we establish here that there are more male than female that are committing violent
crimes? >> i speak to my job as a law enforcement officer. when people commit violent crimes or have histories that disqualify them from particular benefit we do our jobs. >> can we recognize that the population of our male presence are substantially greater than the female prisons. >> sure. >> would that be an indicator -- >> as far as i know that's correct. >> we know that's correct. >> would that be an indicator that males commit more crime and lookly more violent crime and more homicides than females? >> sure. >> okay. so, it took us a while to get to that. and i think it's going to be a little harder to narrow this down a little more. is it against the law to profile? >> it is certainly race. for example based on national origin, it is against the law to profile.
>> could you cite the laws that prohibit law enforcement from profiling? >> i couldn't specifically cite it. it's based on case law, based on constitutional case law. >> not on statute? >> that i'm aware of, there is certainly not a federal statute that prohibits that. >> so as law enforcement officers, are you prohibited from looking for a person based on a profile? >> for example if you have somebody who is suspected of a crime and their identifier, i think this is where you're trying to go, identifier is based on their race, national origin, some other identifying characteristic, of course you're allowed to know he that in order to be able to catch that individual. >> and it could be multiple identifying characteristics. could be height, skin color, sex, clothing, a vehicle they drive. it could be patterns that they have. >> patterns of behavior. >> patterns of behavior. >> the bar they go to i guess
is sort of the example you might be going to. sure. >> and then if we happen to see that criminals are coming out of that -- i just described a profile by the way. if we happen to see criminals are coming out of that profile, are you prohibited then to give greater scrutiny by law to that profile that is consistently coming back to us as the most likely profile of a violent criminal? >> again, i think as a matter of criminal investigation, i think this also this principle applies to anti-terrorist investigations. you go where the activity is. so i don't think that's based on what race the person comes from, what national origin a particular group comes from. you go where the activity is. >> but we would also know that if we -- and i'm not going to speak to this specifically, but when we walk through prison, we get a pretty good idea of the makeup of the prisoners there.
you can't walk out of there and not have some ideas about where you're likely to find crime on the streets of america. would you agree with that? >> i think that's a fairly complicated topic actually. >> we got to this place here less than a month ago, too. and i wondered if you went back and reviewed a couple of federal sections of code 1101 and 1158 that it require that you consider the race, the religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion as a factor when you do the background checks on individuals that are applying for asylum? >> those are the bases for either asylum or refugee claim would be persecution based on membership in those categories. >> last time you said you don't inquire as to religion. >> i misspoke. we actually do require as to religion as part of the
interview. >> thank you. i'm glad we got that clarified. and you had an opportunity to do that. and then do you recognize that there are muslims who are persecuted because of their religion? >> without a doubt, yes. >> and there are christians persecuted because of their religion? >> without a doubt, yes. >> and applications for asylum in both those categories. it's curious to me when i look at the report from 2015, 1500 sun sunni muslims from syria and 29 christians. that would seem to be disproportionate to me when i go over there and see the numbers of victims that are displaced and persecuted in population of syrian christians that was something like 2 million now down under 400,000, we can only find 29 out of that group but we found 1,572 sunni muslims. so i'd ask that you consider religion in a different light than perhaps you might be.
>> appreciate that feedback. i will certainly let you know that we have both in syria and in iraq, we have screened and admitted refugees, not just muslims, but from a number of religious minorities including christians. as i understand christians represent about 1.3% of the cases seen by unhcr. so we are -- part of what the proportions that you're talk about reflect is the population of who is in syria. last i checked barrel bombs don't discriminate. >> or the u.n.'s regulator. i've run out of time. i thank you and yield back. >> the chair will now recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> good to see you, mr. director. thank you for coming and joining us and for your service. so i won't try to figure out if you've ever discriminated against christians or muslims. who you're showing some preference for.
i think that is another hearing here. or how many people are. i would like to ask you about the new guidance on the three and ten year bar, how far are you along into that implementation of that new guidance given that one of the most infamous and onerous impediments to legal immigration was changing the law in 1996 here with the three and ten year bar. before there was no three and ten year bar. where are we along the way on giving new guidance? >> congressman, i share your views about the importance of that guidance. there was a clear lack of understanding as to the definition of extreme hardship as a basis for a waiver from those three and ten year bars. the draft guidance that we
issued i guess a couple months ago now was meant to bring clarity to that purpose. we opened it for comment for 45 days. i will tell you that we received a number of productive comments that we think we will be incorporating into the guidance. that comment period is closed now. so we're in the process of incorporating the comments that we got. >> how much longer do you predict? >> again without being able to be exactly specific about it, just a small handful of months. >> and who exactly will receive this guidance, what is the family of the officer within your service that will receive this guidance? >> they will be immigration services officers we will also of course make it public.
we will take steps to train the staff that will be adjudicating those cases so that they understand not just what the guidance says but how to actually use it. and also we will -- >> and how many of these officers exist? >> well, i think as you know, i have thousands of officers. >> thousands. >> what i can't tell you now is how many are the eligible of those -- >> but we have thousands that could be eligible. but they just don't only determine the three and ten year bar, they determine a wide variety of things. >> that is correct. i would guess that we will have sort of particular groups of officers working on these cases. >> you must be able to read -- >> it's been said, congressman. >> yeah you're good. i thought since it's new guidance, you're using the old guidance, you're giving them the
training. and there are thousands of them. and you don't need thousands of them to do this three and ten year bar. you can pick a group of people. you might want to train a group of people. so we know who the ten and three-year bar guy is who has been trained, or woman. >> again, i'm not sure who we will pick as the eligible sort of group of receivers for those cases. my guess is that the volume of those kinds of applications will go up. now that there's more clarity. >> now that there is more clarity, and just for my friends on the minority and majority side, i think this is important because this could help us. 15, 20% of the 11 million undocumented with no action of the congress of the united states through the sponsorship of an american citizen or permanent resident that is eligible could get their undocumented status cleared up.
we could start getting the work done that america sent us here to do. so i think it's a very important job. secondly, because my time is running out, 40 seconds more, so historically people become citizens, there is an uptick when three things happen. a, you increase the price so people want to get in before there is an increase in price. that's not happening on citizenship. but two other things historically we have seen increase people's participation in becoming citizens. and since six of the eight million are mexican nationals, this is important to a group of people that have been called murderers and rapists that they could become citizens at this particular point. so the other two factors are an election and they feel under attack. the feeling under attack i think the majority would probably say, yep, that one. that one. they're under attack.
and there is an election that they can use to respond to that attack. that has been traditionally. are you ready for what i expect to be hundreds of thousands of permanent residents who can be -- if the past is any indication of what you're going to confront in the coming months, are you ready for that uptick in citizenship applications as we get ready to go into 2016 and those permanent residents legally admitted to the united states who feel under attack and want to participate get to participate? >> i would add to the drivers the fact that we're also engaged because there are 9 million legal permanent residents, many now for a very long time in a very active process of promoting civically integration of legal permanent residence, so we think that will drive it. and yes, we are ready. >> so in addition to the two that i gave that will be drivers, there is the third? >> we are -- >> you guys are out there engaging the community
civically? >> we are. and because of the importance of naturalization in particular, we've made sure to bring those processing times in line with target. they are at target. >> my time is up. i just want to make sure everybody knows we're out there teaching them english, the constitution of the united states and getting them ready to be american citizens. and nobody can be against that. thank you. >> the chair will now recognize the chairman of the full committee, gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte. >> thank you. and with your permission, i will give my opening statement and then if time allows, and all the other members have asked their questions -- >> permission granted. >> -- of director rodriguez. so director, your appearance before this subcommittee comes at a time when americans are feeling increased concern about the security of our nation. and in particular about the way u.s. immigration policy is being
exploited by those who wish to harm this country's citizens. quite frankly, americans do not believe that their interests are being put front and center when it comes to decisions about whether or not to issue an immigration benefit to a foreign national. and your agency has the responsibility to show a commitment to reversing that belief. today i hope you can convince us that the uscis is in fact putting american interests first. but i'm dubious given recent events. immigration benefits data, decisions by your agency, and even your own written testimony. at the beginning of your testimony, you give the slightest nod to, quote, safety and security, end quote, one small part of a sentence and then launch into a top priority to implementing the president's actions on immigration. as you know, i and many americans, believe that such
executive action is unconstitutional. it's a usurpation of plenary power and despite that, your agency continues to deny only 65. -- 6.5% out of nearly 700,000 approvals. but there are many other reasons that my constituents and i do not have confidence in the uscis. for instance, when the general accounting office finds as it did in a scathing report released last week that the uscis has very limited fraud training for asylum officers, that uscis doesn't regularly assess fraud risks and thus doesn't have in place mechanisms to mitigate fraud. and that even when random reviews of asylum cases to assess whether the cases are being adjudicated correctly are conducted, fraud is not considered. the fact that the uscis approved
a k visa for a radicalized islamic extremist who went on to murder 14 americans and injure many more does not exactly instill confidence in the work that the uscis is doing. the fact that my staff was told that there were no plans to review previously approved special immigrant juvenile cases in light of suspected rampant fraud brought to light by a news organization's superior investigative work does not instill confidence in the work that the uscis does. the fact that uscis issues policy memos determining that individuals initially classified as unaccompanied alien minors can continue to pursue uam status despite the fact that they subsequently live with their parents doesn't instill confidence. the fact that despite valid concerns about the vetting of refugees raised by members of congress, the american people, and even the federal bureau of investigation and intelligence officials within the administration, uscia simply tells us not to worry.
the vetting process is good enough -- doesn't instill confidence. the fact that the uscis continues to abuse their authority to create new classes of foreign nationals eligible for parole in the united states despite congress' unwillingness to do so doesn't instill confidence. the fact that there continues to be a seeming rubber stamping of credible fear claims for the record high number of individuals surging across the southwest border doesn't instill confidence. and the fact that sources tell us that uscis is considering making it easier for individuals with dui individuals to get daca doesn't instill confidence. the americans are not impressed to lip service. they deserve action, ensuring their safety and security. i appreciate your appearing before the subcommittee and look forward to asking you some questions to follow up on these comments that i've made so that
you can assure me, despite all that i've outlined and the numerous examples i have yet to outline, that the uscia is putting american interests first. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the chair will now recognize the gentleman from colorado, the former federal prosecutor, mr. buck. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good afternoon, mr. rodriguez. >> nice to see you, congressman. >> i wanted to ask you, how did ms. malik get into the country? how did she slip through the procedures that you have? >> again, i'm constrained given, one, there is and ongoing law enforcement investigation and, two, existing policy and law with respect to alien files. i am constrained from talking
about an individual case. >> you were a former prosecutor. >> yes, sir. >> and i was a former prosecutor also. i didn't specialize in prosecuting dead people. i'm wondering why you can't talk about someone's application after they have been killed or after they have died. >> again, without speaking to the specific case at hand, without a doubt there is a law enforcement investigation that is ongoing right now. >> there are a lot of law enforcement investigations going on right now throughout the country. but what information -- how does information on her application that you would have examined or that your agency would have examined implicate a federal investigation? >> our practice is when there is and ongoing law enforcement investigation and when we're talking about whether an alien file that we don't talk about
specific cases in public. so those are the constraints that i'm under, congressman. >> what have you learned from the fact that your agency allowed someone into this country who ended up participating in a mass killing, what changes has your agency made to its procedures? >> we are in the process right now of at the directive of the president and the secretary of reviewing both cases, the k-1 cases in the last two years, and also overall looking at our procedures. a couple of issues that we have identified.
remember, we're in this process at two different points. we're at the petition stage when a u.s. based petitioner is filing a petition for an applicant who is abroad. at that point our only authority given to us by this congress is to adjudicate the bona fides of the application. if there are inadmissibilities at that point, we don't have authority. >> what authority would you like to have? >> that is a discussion that we can have going forward. >> can we have it today in 2:01? >> we can give technical assistance. i'm identifying a particular gap that we've seen. >> would you do anything in terms of developing a profile on this particular individual that would help you in your determination of whether other individuals should come into the country? >> i'm sorry, congressman, i know your time is short. i don't think i understood the question. >> sure. did you do anything -- we all understand what happened in san bernardino. you know who did it and you have information on this individual that you can't share with us. did you look at that information
and make any changes to your background checks and what information you need and what information you'd like before admitting somebody into this country? >> we are weighing changes now and are also looking to see what other changes we may want to make. >> what are you weighing? >> right now i can't speak more specifically than that other than to see if there are enhancements to background checks, not just in k-1, but possibly other areas. the points at which we do those background checks are among the kinds of issues that we are looking at. >> mr. chairman, based on my inability to get any specific information that is helpful, i will yield back. >> and i'm sure the gentleman's frustration is fueled in some part not because of this witness, but it's the director
of the fbi himself who has given us some of this information. for instance, i read today that the female terrorist was radicalized years before her application. that came from the director of the fbi. so i'm not blaming today's witness. i'm sure he's doing exactly what he was told to do. but you can't cherry pick certain information and share that with the public and then hide behind an ongoing investigation and expect to be taken seriously. but that's not a reflection on today's witness. with that, the gentleman from idaho, mr. lab dor. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to start with the affirmative asylum process. you're no doubt a waiver the december 2 gao report regarding fraud in the asylum process and i'm sure you were just as troubled as i was by the
ultimate conclusions. i know there is significant backlog in affirmative asylum adjudications that linger way beyond the established time table for adjudications. can you provide us with the number pending for over 180 days? >> i can't provide that specifically other than to acknowledge that that number is significant. i can assure this committee that we are working as fast as we come to hire up asylum officers so we can move those caseloads. i also have things i'd like to say if the opportunity presents itself about the gao report. >> is it your testimony that this is solely due to the lack of resources, the delay? >> we've certainly seen a significant increase in the volume of asylum cases. and so it has necessitated an increase in resources to process those cases. >> adjudication is important to keep the cases moving. i'm concerned that there was no
fraud risk completed. i can understand a delay if such a fraud assessment was under way. can you explain why uscis has you can explain why uscis has not completed such an assessment? >> i would say we're taking a number of steps based on the findings that the gao made. we are adopting most of the recommendations that they have made. i would also indicate the fact that there have been a number of prosecutions for asylum fraud which resulted from our asylum officers identifying those cases as fraud cases. so i to some degree take issue with certain omissions in the gao report. we are embracing its recommendations. >> so do you believe fraud is a pervasive problem in the asylum context? >> i believe that it is
something that we need to do everything we can to prevent. i certainly perceive -- >> but that it's a pervasive problem. >> i view it as a risk. i would not break that it is a, quote, pervasive problem. i view it as a risk. >> how many asylum cases are being granted in the united states right now? >> i believe it's roughly 25,000 in recent years. >> so what percentage is that of the adjudicated cases? >> i couldn't tell you specifically what percentage it is. i can certainly get you that information. >> based on uscis internal investigation and audits does the agency have an estimated percentage of the number of fraudulent applications affirmatively filed each year? >> again, we know the cases that we've found and that's why i point to the cases where asylum officers detected fraud and flagged those cases. we can certainly get you cases
where we identified -- >> can you get us that percentage? >> we can give you a briefing on what we know about the sort of, quote, pervasiveness of fraud in our cases. >> are asylum officers given the training and resources necessary to detect fraud? >> they are and, in fact, they have. they have detected fraud. >> do you believe that the 35 fraud detection and national security officers embedded at asylum officers nationwide is sufficient to combat the fraud in the process? >> that represents, as i think as you know, a doubling of the number of fraud detection national security officers assigned to the asylum. i think that has permitted them to provide much greater support to the asylum offices. we'll obviously continue evaluating whether that is enough. if we need to increase the number, we will increase the number. >> do you believe it's enough? >> i have no reason to believe it's not enough. >> what other steps is the agency taking to address this issue?
>> the main issues is to continue to train our officers and make sure they're getting the resources they need to combat fraud. >> i yield back my time. >> the gentleman from idaho yields back. the chair will now recognize former u.s. attorney from texas mr. radcliff. >> thank you. director rodriguez, i want to follow up on a point raised by chairman goodlatte in his questioning to you. it was about your stated testimony that your top priority is to implement the president's executive action on immigration. i know you're a former prosecutor. i am, as well. we both took an oath to defend the constitution. i was one of the first folks who questioned the constitutionality of the president's actions in that regard. and while that certainly may not matter to you, i think what should matter to you is the
opinion of a federal judge followed by the opinion of a federal circuit court of appeals which ruled the constitutionality of the president's actions still remains very much in doubt. and so for you to make what nj÷ appeared to be highly questionable likely unconstitutional action of the president your highest priority is troubling for me. this is especially true when there is very little doubt that it was the president's action in that regard regarding executive amnesty that was the catalyst for the 2014 surge of unaccompanied alien children across our southern border and even though the courts have now issued an injunction on the president's amnesty, the belief in other countries that you can still simply show up here in the united states and be granted amnesty and legal status is very much a pervasive belief in those countries. and accordingly we are, as you
know, still seeing a continued rise in the influx of unaccompanied alien children. according to the department of health and human services in just the past two months, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing into the united states is 10,000 in just the last two months. that's a spike in activity and i know this is a fact because hhs contacted my office to let me know that as a result of this dramatic increase, they will have to open additional facilities to handle the influx. and two of those facilities will be in texas and will open on friday and one of those facilities will open on friday in my district. in roy city, texas. to be clear, we certainly didn't advocate for this and we didn't support the policies which have been catalyst for this crisis,
but nevertheless we're left with dealing with the aftermath of the president's actions in this regard and as i hope you can appreciate, this is an issue of great concern to my constituents. so i want to ask you, you know, the inspector general report back in 2012 found that 25% of the immigration service officers were pressured to, in their opinion, get to yes in handling questionable applications. and i know that you were not the director back in 2012, but given that the president's amnesty has been put on hold by the courts, but your stated priority remains administering the president's
executive actions in that regard, what assurance can you give me, and i hope that you can, that presently staffers aren't being asked to approval questionable applications as a way to implement the president's intended policies in this regard? >> i'll tell you exactly what i have done. i have communicated with my entire workforce through town halls. i have visited uscis offices throughout the world. and i have communicated very directly to my officers that the authority too make decisions about cases rests with them and with their supervisors. that my role is certainly to set policy, to set procedures.
but the individual cases are theirs to decide. i have a tremendous amount of respect for my workforce. i've gotten to know many of them. i would say that all of them take their professionalism far too seriously and their oath far too seriously to be bullied by anybody into making anything other than the decision that they believe is right based on the law, based on our policies, based on our procedures. i haven't seen the inspector general report that says that 25%, quote, feel that way. what i have seen is what i have seen being fully engaged with my workforce as its director. and i have not the seen evidence of that. >> mr. chairman, it appears my time has expired, so i will yield back. >> and the chair would now recognize the gentleman from virginia, the chairman of the full committee, mr. goodlatte. >> thank you. director rodriguez, it's my understanding that there was a teleconference last week between
the refugee asylum and international operations division and uscis office personnel regarding refugee processing. and on that call, the deputy associate director of raio, jennifer higgins, told the field office personnel that as refugee pools decrease in places from which we have resettled many refugees in recent years like malaysia and nepal, our real focus will be in the middle east, jordan, turkey, iraq, russia, kenya. is what director higgins said true, that in the next few years essentially the bulk of refugees will be coming from places like jordan, turkey and iraq, places where we know security is of great concern? >> chairman, i'm not going to be able to comment on internal deliberations. but let me answer the main question that you're asking. it is in fact that there are
certain refugee streams that we have been seeing in recent years where basically they are drying up. i don't know that i would necessarily use that phrase, but where the cases are essentially slowing down. at the same time, the syrian example speaks for itself. you have 4 million applicants for refugee status in jordan, lebanon, turkey. they are coming from a country that is absolutely devastated. more than half of its population displaced. the president has been clear in his directive to us that we admit at least 10,000 people from syria in this fiscal year along with an overall target of 85,000. we have been very public about that, about those goals. so, yes, we are perceiving that in certain places the refugee streams are drying up where in fact they're increasing from other countries.
>> and it doesn't concern you that there might be security issues in some parts of the world that it is more difficult to vet the refugees? >> of course it concerns me. and that's why a big part of what i've dedicated myself to is to digging into our security vetting process, observing our officers in action, visiting them on site, which i've already done. i traveled to turkey back in june. i've had engagements with my refugee officers, asylum officers, as well, to ensure myself that we are in fact deploying what we have described and i now believe correctly as an intensive multilayered process to ensure that refugees deserve status -- >> let me interrupt. i'm going to run out of time and we have votes on the floor.
would it be acceptable for a uscis asylum i've to grant asylum in cases that they suspect fraud? >> i think when we -- if we suspect fraud, then we need to chase down that issue. >> what changes do you plan to make regarding asylum processing procedures given that asylum officers in seven out of eight asylum offices the gao spoke with told the gao, quote, that they have granted asylum in cases in which they suspected fraud? >> we are enhancing our training. i am engaging with my workforce that i hear those concerns directly, not just laundered through reports. and we will continue to support our officers both in training and -- >> support or admonish them to change their practices? >> to support them. >> and to continue to approve cases where it's -- >> if they suspect fraud, then those issues should be chased down. >> in may of 2013, the uscis issued a guidance memo regarding asylum applications filed by unaccompanied alien children.
i have heard from several immigration judges that this memo is problematic. one of the end results is that an individual initially classified by dhs can continue to benefit from the uac status despite the fact that they actually live where their parents in the united states. how does that possibly make sense that an individual is class classified as a uac when the department of health and human services service officials have released them into the care of a parent? >> i will need to dig into that further. that memo arrived before i did at the agency. >> does that raise some concerns to you? >> again, i need to know the facts and circumstances related to that directive. >> i understand that the fraud detection and national security officers conduct open resource research as part of security screening.
so they check on see if there is evidence that was used on the application actually occurred. but isn't it true that with open source checking, an application capital could simply describe an event that he or she has heard about or has knowledge of and that it really doesn't prove the individual was present at the event? >> i'm fairly confident that my fraud detection national security officers are looking at a whole lot more than open source information when they're checking claims by our applicants. >> i wonder if you could give us a comprehensive description of what it does mean to use open source, number one, and number two, what in addition is done when open source in some instances seem to be the only thing they cite as the basis for approval of the claim. >> again, depending on the facts and circumstances, i could see where the open source does not raise the concerns you're
talking about. i also know officers look to classified, confidential, secret sources as well as part of our vetting, as part of their evaluation of claims made by applicants be it for refugee status or whatever other benefit lines we're talking about. >> thank you. and mr. chairman, if i might ask, when do you think you could provide those answers to the committee? >> within two weeks of today. >> that would be very good. thank you mr. chairman. my time has expired. >> the gentleman yields back. director, they have called votes. there is six minutes left in the vote. i'm happy to try to get the gentle lady from texas in. i don't want to jeopardize anybody missing votes. i hate to do it to you. >> i don't mind a water break. >> okay. there are two votes. we'll cast procedural votes and
delaying implementing this program that is so vital to immigrant crime victims so that they can participate in a criminal justice system and render justice? and what comes to mind first, of course is the domestic violence the issue of being taken of robbed assaulted, raped. and based upon their vulnerability and their inability to testify. now, can i give you a series of questions? u visa and how long it's been takeing to implement it. i would be very interested in that. we had the director from the department of justice on eior deal with immigration courts. but i also know that you work with -- your responsibilities deal with asylum speakers coming into the united states. and i just wanted a sort of
forceful if you can give it confidence of the vetting process that you have for those refugees. some landed in houston on monday. and i hope that the response news ton was a celebratory won because of the recent discussions they happen to be from syria all the news cameras and stations were going to film or record their coming into the state. i might say that we have been taking refugees in the state of texas for a very long time and i'm glad that the state of texas abandoned what was an illegal action to attempt to stop the refugees from coming in. but i would be happy for as forceful and vigorous as you can. my last question which is one i may want to probe a little bit more. but i really want to track the fiance visa. let me be very clear. over the years i have seen a
number of our men and women who have worn the uniform, who have brought in their fiance from the place in which they had taken up arms. these were wonderful marriages and this was a wonderful tribute to the diversity of people. in the instance of the terrorists and this individual, i cannot help but having discovered publicly that this person had been radicalized for one or two years as to where we were in that visa vetting program. because it hurts the program and it should not. but she went to very conspicuous places. she was an educated woman which is unusual -- when i say unusual, in terms of how far education is allowed to go in some communities. so if you can at least give me some framework. and as i understand it her
point of departure was saudi arabia. and so i'm very disturbed that she even got into the united states and received a fiance visa. and maybe i should ask the question. and i can receive it in whatever form. but how long that process took. so if you could just start quickly with the u visa and then the asylum, refugee question and k-1 visa i would appreciate it very much. >> so as to the u visa program, i know we've been working on the parole program. we've been working on developing that policy. i know that there is eagerness urgency and we will continue to work expeditiously. i appreciate your urging us to get it done. >> and you keep me updated, please? >> yes ma'am. >> the committee. thank you. >> as to refugee screening, i would point out that we have
admitted 785,000 refugees since september 11th and 3 million since the begin of the modern refugee program, let alone how many we admitted prior to the modern program. not quite 20 of those 785,000 have been arrested on charges related in some way to terrorism. so it shows historically how that process has on the whole, admitted people who came here to be law abiding hardworking citizens, raising families just like all of us here. notwithstanding that we have continued to tighten up the vetting. it is an intense, redundant, multi-layered process. it involves three interviews, one by
process. process. >> mr. rodriguez, in my review of the process there are at least 21 steps. some of those probably are yours. some of those are the state department. what you're suggesting is that it is a layered review and just as testimony which members don't give, i have in my state texas impact catholic charities and interfaith ministries of which i used to be the chairman of the board. all have been engaged over the
years and i have to strain myself to find an incident out of the refugee resettlement program. you have an ally in me. i think it's important for the american people to know how stringent the vetting process is. >> i appreciate that observation, congressman i think it's important that the american people understand how intensive a process it truly is. in particular, when people are coming from places like syria. >> thank you. >> finally in response to the fiance visa program, i appreciate your observation that most people -- most of the relationship relationships that are part of that program are legitimate relationships between people who love each other and trying to start a life together. one of the things i focused in most of today's hearing is the fact that our security needs to
be for all visa priorities. where we can make improvements in that process. we're looking retro expectative ly at those cases in identifying whether there are gaps that we need to address. >> well may i just pursue a line of questioning? when you say reviewing it what would you look at? if you want to look at the present circumstance objectively without going into details you have a person that seems to have travelled to or came from very challenging areas. she wasn't marrying a former military or military person. and it seem ss that there need to
be more assessment than what we did. >> those are the issues we're delving into right now. i can't speak to the specific case. i'm con strained from doing that. >> let me finish, if the chairman would indulge me just for a moment. >> i've indulged you for 3 1/2 minutes over the alotted time. >> i apologize, mr. chairman. >> can you assure me this will be your final question? >> yes, i will do so. thank you so much mr. chairman. the ranking member and myself went down to the border a summer or two ago, dealing with central american families that we still maintain fleeing horrific conditions, persecution. they are in the asylum process which is seemingly delayed and they are in detention. we've made some progress. but what are you doing with those families that basically it's been documented they are fleeing murder pillage drugs,
heinous acts and they're moving through the asylum process? >> actually what we have been doing is moving with the credible fear and reasonable fear screens as quickly as we can. we are processing times for those are now below nine days. down to around six or seven days right now to conduct those screening processes. they move forward into the nta process with the immigration courts if there's a negative finding, they go home. they're removed. so we are moving expeditiously in that process. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman a letter dated may 7th, 2008 dealing with the
numbers of women who experience sexual violence and assault who need for it to be moved quickly. i would ask that the letter be put in the record. >> without objection. >> op-ed indicated asylum seeking families need help not detention dated december st 2015 i would like for for it to be placed in the record. >> without exception. >> thank you. >> the gentle lady for california for any remarks she may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a couple of comments. i can't help but notice los angeles is twice as long as any other areas. we are hoping that efforts will
be made. it's all too long but that's really unacceptable. consolidating. the first asylum case i ever worked on was an iranian who was in the united states when the fundamentalist took over and the shah was deposed and he was jewish. they were machine gunning jews in iran and that was the key element in his case. the fact that there's open source information does not mean it's not helpful. i've always wondered why, and i would like to suggest that this be done not only in the
immigration courts as well consolid ate information and update it every day. you can read last month gangs murdered all the bus drivers and left their bodies in the buses. there's more information -- i mean, there are things that are material that should be available and shouldn't have to be made part of the record in each and every case. then applicants can add to it, if they wish. but just the background data ought to be provided. i wanted to mention also that discrepancies in an asylum case does not equal fraud. if you have a woman, as sheila and i, when we went down to visit asylum applicants, we met a lot of women, many of whom had
been raped and abused. and, honestly, if you put "i was raped on x date" on one document and a different date on another document, it doesn't mean you're making it up. you need further inquiry obviously. but the fact that there are discrepancies when people are fleeing chaos and violence does not, per se, indicate fraud. i think it's important to note that for the record. i also was concerned by your comment that is completely hands off by officers making determinations. it should be hands off with political inference but officers can make mistakes and there needs to be some way to correct it. not that they're bad people. i remember getting requests for evidence on whether a particular positioning company existed. and it was microsoft. it doesn't mean that the application could be approved
because that's a whole -- but i could tell them that microsoft did exist as a company. we had a request for evidence on whether a job description of a former prime minister, european ally of the united states was legit. these were things that were just bone-headed mistakes and there's got to be some capacity to fix that. not just say we can't interfere. every congressional office gets complaints and each one of us has to respond and send them to you for correction. and there should be some way to deal with that in a systematic way to make sure obviously, there's not political interference. usually people contact us when they have run out of --
comparing the syrian refugees to the iraqi refugees may be a mistake. the fact is we know more about the iraqi refugees than any other refugees ever. because most of them were our translators. and they're people that we know firsthand. we have extensive contacts with them. the real comparison is a congolese refugee or somebody who fled complete chaos where we don't have anybody on the field. the challenge is, how do you find out the truth when you don't have -- because the situation is so hazardous, and the truth is that you do that by creating crowd sourcing in a sense, re-creating an entire history of an area and seeing if what the spern saying is true or
not true. and we're going to make mistakes but not be reckless. i would just finally note that if you read the fifth circuit decision on the administrative actions taken by the secretary of homeland security, it was really focused on the administrative procedures act and whether it applied in the discretionary actions. it wasn't really a finding of unconstitutionality. i just thought it was worth pointing out for the record. with that, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the gentle lady yields back. thank you for your patience mr. director. i want to make a couple of observations and then i would like to end it by allowing an open-ended question. the first observation i would like to make is for folks
following this issue. and i would argue, and i know you would agree a lot of folks are following this issue nationwide because of what happened in california and frankly, because of comments made by other administration officials with respect to the refugee program. there's a justifiable legitimate angst. i appreciate that you did not just confine your remarks to the k visa process, that you understand that there's a prospective and retro expectative need to evaluate all the visa processes. so i want to thank you for that. i want to be -- i want to say this delicately but as firmly as i can. i realize that we learn a lot post tragedy. it would be great if we could learn some of these lessons pretragedy.
we have a tendency to want to focus -- i learned more about the k visa program than i had probably read in the last ten years. it would be great if it did not take something like what happened in california for all of us, frankly, to redouble or efforts. the first objective should be to prevent it from happening not to figure out what happened afterwards. i have no reason to quarrel with the statistics the crime statistics that one of my colleagues shared with you. i don't know whether they're accurate or not but i have no reason to quarrel with them. other than to say this. the margin for error is very very, very small. in fact, it's nonexistent. we can get it right a lot of the time. we can get it right the overwhelming majority of the time. but there's still risks and at some point as a country we'll have to weigh and balance the risks with what we perceive to be the reward of the program. what i want to do at the end is i'm not going to ask you questions that i know you cannot
answer. but i do want to put the questions on the record. i don't expect you to answer them. i realize that you cannot answer them. but i want people to have a sense of what i think congresswoman and i would like to ask. she's willing to wait until the bureau concludes their investigation. i'm a little more skeptical of whether or not it can't be done now. regardless, i would like to know if a female terrorist did travel to the united states in july 2014 on an approved k visa. media reports are that she did. if the director of the fbi can say certain things, i would think that would be either confirmed or not confirmed. at which embassy or consulate post was the visa issued? are the draiss she listed on hearvey kaisa application
wrong? it can be mistakenly or fraudulently wrong. did she undergo an in person interview with a consular officer and if so how long did it last? when did she first apply? what does the investigation consist of before you get to the in person consular interview? were her neighbors interviewed in the country of orgin? her work history. school. employers. you know, it strikes me, director, that this country is conferring a privilege on people to allow them to immigrate here. therefore, we should be able to ask to see whatever information we think would be relevant to that inquiry. whether it is cell phone records, if that's applicable in a country or whether it is
interviewing neighbors. i want to make this one observation. not going to press you. you say you can't answer the questions, i get that. i respect the fact that prosecutors and law enforcement officers often time ks not comment on whether or not investigations even ongoing. i would tell you that people like consistency because it breeds confidence and our president has on at least two different occasions commented during an ongoing investigation and i try not to criticize him gratuitously, but when you comment on an ongoing investigation, as he has done twice, on the merits, the facts, and then you ask administration officials to come before congress and in my judgment correctly note that they could not comment on an ongoing investigation? it breeds a lack of confidence. i don't think the lack of confidence is with you.
i just think the president would do well to take the same advice that you have received, which is if you don't know what you're talking about, it's better to say nothing. with that, we're all going to go back to our districts at some point, hopefully in the next week or so. and i think we're likely to be asked are we safer than we were a month ago. are we safer than we were six months ago with respect to what we've learned about the visa. i want to let you close us out by giving an assurance, if you're able to that we've already taken steps to at least make us safer than we were the day before the incident happened in california. >> thank you chairman for that. again, without going into able to go right now into the specific detail there are affirmative steps we are
preparing to take now. that will certainly enhance our visibility. into the backgrounds of at least certain categories of individuals who seek admission to the united states. i think as we complete our process of review we will be able to talk in fwraeter details as to what that means. >> if u you learn that it is appropriate for the ranking member and i and nins else to review that file, we would like to do so. don't want to interfere with an investigation, but don't want that to be cited as a reason if it's not legitimate. so, if it's brought to your attention, we'll will happy to come to where ever the file may be. with that we want to thank you again particularly for accommodating our vote schedules and for answering all the member's question questions and
>> you're under arrest. you have the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent. anything you say to us can be use nd a court of law. is that clear? >> okay. >> you sure you understand? >> he was 23 years old in 1963 when he was arrested in phoenix on suspicious of kidnapping and raping a young woman. he signed a statement and said his confession had been given voluntarily. he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison but his lawyer argued he had not been told of the right to an attorney or the right to remain silent. the case went to the supreme court. follow the case of miranda versus arizona. with our guest, jeff rosen and paul cassell law professor specializing in victim's rights. that's live tonight at 9:00 eastern on cspan.
cspan 3 and cspan radio. for background on each case while you watch, order the companion book available for 8.95 plus shipping. next, a senate panel looks at terrorism and global oil markets. witnesses told the committee oil cells are a top source of revenue for isis and offered ideas for cutting off the money ply such as bombing oil insulations and distribution networks. the senate energy and commerce hearing is two hours. >> calling the committee to order this morning. this should be a very interesting and informative hearing. as we do an oversight on the intersection of terrorism and the global oil markets. before we begin, i'd like the take a moment and introduce a former colleague here in the
senate and a former chairman of the energy committee. and a long time friend of mine. that would be my father frank murkowski, who has placed a keen interest on trying to understand the role between oil and terrorism in the connect there, so just happens he's in town today, so we didn't do this hearing because of him but the timing worked out. so, it's nice to have him before the committee. more than half of global oil production occurs in regions of the world whether it's the middle east, africa, russia venezuela, that are subject to instability of various kinds including civil war and terrorism. oil production in certain countries such as iraq, syria, libya, yemen, sudan has been knocked offline due to terrorism and related violence. the indisputable fact that we're dealing with is that north american barrels have largely displaced -- or largely replaced
this disrupted production so far. in tandem with opec, the global oil supply is saturated and may be for quite some time to come. we also know that iran, one of the most deadly state sponsors of terrorism will soon be rejoining the global oil market if president obama gets his way, even as he continues to fight efforts by many of us to repeal the outdated oil export bantha -- ban that would allow us to send oil to allies. it does beg the question and part of the discussion hopefully this morning will be with that new source of revenue that iran is anticipated to receive, what do they do with it? what will the intentions be? is it to build hospitals or direct yet additional sources of revenue to the terrorists
organizations? in recent months, we have seen a great deal of discussion about isis oil production and distribution and efforts to disrupt this source of revenue. bottom line is that the islamic state, this oil is helping to finance terrorism and significantly finance terrorism. i have argue used it's central to national security. we released staff reports. one was entitled oil production outages. also, a report entitled, a dark pool in the mideast, the problem of isis oil sales. today i'm rereleasing them for public education and review. i think it is just kind of a historical walk through understanding some of the ties that we have. but it's not just funding of terrorism by isis that we will explore this morning. i'm concerned about continued
violence in libya, which is a significant source of light crude for our allies in europe. if we're smart enough to lift ban on our oil export, we could sell to our partners in europe. terrorists are active in west africa and nigeria could threaten the suez canal or elsewhere. that's why in part why i have been so determined -- and i think my colleague here, senator cantwell, to make sure that we don't make reckless mistakes when i