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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  April 15, 2016 9:00am-11:01am EDT

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captioning performed by vitac in today's terms we were the kick starter for women. emily stands for early money is like yeast. we make the dough rise and we've been doing that ever since. >> go to for the complete weekend schedule. >> on this friday morning we planned to take you live to capitol hill where the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction is set to testify on the cost of the u.s. weapons and initiatives in that country. the house arms services subkmlt on oversight and investigations is conducting the hearing this
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morning. we hope to join it live shortly here on cspan3. secretary of state john kerry presented the 2015 country reports of human rights practices. secretary kerry identified the middle east and conflict in syria as having the most widespread violations. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor took questions from reporters after secretary kerry's remarks. this is the 40th edition of the annual report examining the status of human rights in countries around the world. >> good afternoon, everybody thanks for being here. i'm going to make a statement and i have to run from here to nse meeting on a number of issues, forgive me if i dash out of here. i think john will come to the
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podium and make some statements. i know there's some events you're curious about and we will be commenting on them. let me at this moment wait until we do a little more homework with respect to that. particularly, please that you're here for the release of of the human rights practices, our report for 2015, i want to thank tom mel now ski and his entire team for producing the materials which takes enormous work and effort. it's an all-year effort. next year's report, the work will begin today. and it's a continuous effort. this is the 40th edition of what is among without any doubt the department's most widely read and significant publications and we think it's a model of careful and comprehensive research.
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i want to stress about the standard that is applied in the compiling of this report. the norms referred to in this report, in these reports, are universal norms. they are not something that we make up. they are not some arbitrary standard of the united states which we seek to impose on people. these are universal standards of human rights that have been adopted and accepted and are agreed to by most nations in the world and even some nations that have agreed to them but violate them. these are the international standards. in the arena of human rights, every government, every government has the ability to improve, including the united states. the point that we make over and over again is that respecting human rights isn't just a moral obligation, it's an opportunity
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to harness the full energy of the country's population and building a cohesive and prosperous society. and it doesn't jeopardize stability. it enhances it. you can measure that in country after country, where human rights are respected and people are happier and people are freer to pursue their own designs, happier and freer to be artistic and creative and be entrepren r entrepreneurial and make a difference in the building of the community. that is not a theory. that is a fact that is proven every day in countries all around the world. countries that suppress freedom of expression are less likely to have economies that innovate, diversify and grow. and societies that discriminate against women and minorities particularly, have trouble competing against those that benefit from the contributions of all of their citizens.
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and governments that deny political liberty forfeit public trust. thereby, opening the door to civil unrest of all types, including, i might add, violent extremism. it is also a fact that countries where governance is really bad or nonexistent or corrupt, are countries that also wind up seeing remarkable abuses within a criminal justice system if there is one or just in the day to day treatment of people. here's the truth we believe. the government that fails to respect human rights, no matter how lofty its pretensions has very little to boast about, to teach, and very little indeed in the way of reaching its full potential. it is important to underscore that the reports that we release
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today as volume nous as they are, represent just a tiny fraction of what this department does to advance freedom and dignity across the globe. human rights are part of our agenda with every single nation. and also, in the multilateral organizations to which we belong. not a day goes by without one or more of our officials in this department advocating on behalf of basic liberties, speaking out against corruption, pressing for the release of political prisoners or underscoring our support for constitutional procedures and the rule of law. and i might add for myself to every official who travels on behalf of our country, we raise specific names, special cases
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individuals with leaders in countries around the world. in past year i traveled to a host of countries where our backing for human rights and democratic principles is a focus of our diplomacy. this includes the states of central asia, where civil society is heavily embattled and includes egypt where i emphasize the importance of distinguishing between violent and nonviolent dissent and includes cuba where president obama and i urged the authorities to allow more political openness and online access. there's no question in my mind that most cubans are far more interested in plugging into the world economy than in recycling arguments left over from the cold war. the only question is how long it will take for the officials in havana to catch up with the population. of course, not every conversation that we have on
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human rights bears fruit. and certainly not immediately. and not in all areas but steady effort we have seen again and again can foster progress and make a difference. and i particularly want to emphasize that one life saved is a difference worth fighting for. for example, we have seen important democratic gains in such countries as tunisia and nigeria and sri lanka and burma. but we're working closely with each of those countries in efforts to help meet those challenges. vietnam is another example. the country remains a single party state but hanoi has pledged as a member of the trans pacific partnership to allow for the formation of independent trade unions for the first time. a potential significant advance
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for freedom of association for workers. we have welcomed the release in the past month of a number of political prisoners and we hope for more. we believe that expanding freedom of expression and political participation will do much to strengthen that country and our relationship. the human rights reports spell out our concerns on every continent but the most widespread and dramatic violations in 2015 were those in the middle east. where the con fluance of terrorism and syrian conflict caused enormous suffering. i have discussed this crisis in this region repeatedly in recent weeks. and i saw -- i'm just going to highlight a few points right now. first, the united states wants those responsible for committing
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human rights abuses in syria, iraq and elsewhere, to be held accountable for their actions. to that end, we are supporting international efforts to investigate, collect, analyze and preserve evidence of atrocities. second, we're doing all we can to aid the victims of human rights abuses, including counseling and other assistance for women and girls who endured slavery. third, with our partners with continue to go after daesh shrinking its territory and degrading its leadership and hammering its revenue sources and cutting its supply lines and rallying the world against its genocidal actions and ideology. finally, we're deeply committed to the search for a political solution to the conflict in syria, including full access to humanitarian supplies,
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sustainment of the cessation of hostilities, the release of the prisoners and syrian led political transition in accordance with the geneva kmun okayed in 2012. given the horrors of these last five years, i cannot imagine a more powerful blow for human rights than putting a decisive end to this war, to the terror, to the repression and especially to the torture in the indiscriminate bombing. thereby, make possible a new beginning for the syrian people. there are some who believe after decades of dictatorship and years of bloodshed, syria can never recover. well, i disagree with that. and i think the example of the
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human species and human spirit in so many different places and times in history shows exactly how resilient people can be. it's the in many ways the untold story of recent years is how dispar at groups of brave syrians managed to keep their communities alive amidst the most incredible hardship and carnage. this violence has declined over the course of the past weeks. we've seen evidence of this resilience already in the operation of local councils and organization of relief networks and the resumption of nonviolent political activity. there's no guarantee that syrians will be able to put their country together again. i'll tell you after all they've been through, they deserve the fairest opportunity to be able to try. now, i talked to stephan today
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from geneva and we talked about the reconvening of the peace talks at this political moment. i want to emphasize on his behalf and behalf of the international syria support group and all of the nations involved in this, we urge all of the participants on one iside o the other, regime, others, to adhere to the cessation of hostilities. there's an opportunity in these days ahead to be able to negotiate transition according to geneva kmun kay of 2012, the russians signed up to, turks and qataris and saudis and most european countries, all of the countries that are part of the international syria support group. and we strongly urge all of
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combatants to give stephan and his team an opportunity to be able to do their work in the next hours and days in geneva. before i close, i want to say a word about the issue of torture. i want to remove even a sin till la of doubt or confusion that has been caused by statements that others have made in recent weeks and months. the united states is opposed to the use of torture in any form at any time by any government or nonstate actor. america's commitment to the humane treatment of persons in captivity began as far back with general george washington in the revolutionary war, it has been reaffirmed countless times throughout our history and in a host of international commitments. we declared this opposition to
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torture yet again just last year. in bipartisan legislation approved by the united states congress, this is a standard that we insist that others meet and therefore we must meet this standard ourselves. i know personally that the fierce anger that arises in war when fellow country men are attacked, whether they are soldiers or civilians can sometimes prompt fury, rage, revenge. but there's a sharp dividing line between societies that abandon all standards when times are tough and those that do their absolute best to maintain those standards. because ultimately, upholding core values is what makes a nation strong. i'm pleased now to turn the floor over to tom mel now ski for his remarks and your
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questions. thank you all. >> thank you, everybody. my thanks to the secretary. also, i want to begin by thanking all of the hundreds and hundreds of people who work so hard over a period of months to compile these reports from steven icen brown and his team at drl, my bureau, to the hundreds of wonderful human rights officers who we have at embassies all around the world who do the leg work. we're very proud of what the human rights reports have come to represent after 40 years of doing them. the reports help to keep us honest with ourselves and with the world about allies and adversaries alike. we still have our debates and
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disagreements around here about how to address the challenges that are outlined in the reports but when it comes time to settle on policy, this document ensures that we all argue from the same set of facts. now, the secretary focused on syria in his remarks and that's where i'll start too. i think the crisis there shows just how vital the defense of human rights is to everything that we do around here. in syria, we see how human rights abuses in one small country can have consequences far beyond that small country's borders, from refugee exodus altering the politics of europe to a spawning of a terrorist group that threatens us all. i think syria also shows us something that is perhaps a little bit more encouraging. when you think about how the crisis there began five years
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ago, it began with ordinary citizens going out on to their streets, holding peaceful marches and rallies to ask for basic freedoms. and in response, they were met with sniper fire, with scud missiles and chemical attacks and mass torture and starvation with cruelties that one would think would leave any ordinary human being completely numb and hopeless. and yet what did syrians do the moment that this cessation of hostilities that secretary kerry helped to negotiate gave them a fragile respite from all of those horrors? they went out on their streets holding peaceful rallies and marches asking for the same basic freedoms they were asking for five years ago. that's something that we have taken note of here. everything that we are doing in syria is done with the aim of
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helping those people win back a country that is worthy of the sacrifices they've had to make. a country that is free of both denialism of daesh and brutality of the assad regime, for our sake and ours. these reports contain a lot of unhappy stories from many countries. they come at a time when it seems that authoritarian governments beginning with influential powers like russia and china are striking out with particular ferocity with the freedoms of expression association and the press. if you look at the introduction to the reports, you'll find a section where we tried to itemize and respond point by point to the arguments that secretary kerry and i and others here get when we travel around the world from governments that are going after civil society, which i hope you'll find
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interesting. the trend obviously disturbs us and it ought to disturb us. but i don't think it ought to surprise us. civil society has become a growing force around the world. if you're trying to steal an election or to stay in office for life or two profit from corruption, objectif course you going to be threatened by ngos and journalists who try to expose those abuses of power. in all of these countries, there are people who face that kind of persecution and who just carry on with faith and determination and even good humor. secretary kerry and i meet people like that from cuba to bahrain where we were a few days ago to vietnam and they always remind us, every chance we have to meet them, there's always something the united states can do to help. now, the secretary mention some places were sustained university
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efforts have helped over the last year. we're focused on how to push for more progress in the year ahead. in burma, an ee leked civilian government has begun to free political prisoners. we'll do everything we can to support and tackling reform of the country's laws and constitution and seeking peace with ethnic minorities and addressing the human rights and humanitarian challenges of the rekind state. in vietnam, tpp, if congress approves it, offers the chance as the secretary mentioned, to break the government's monopolyon labor organization. president obama's visit will encourage progress on other human rights issues in keeping with vietnam's pledge to bring laws and institutions into harmony with its constitution and with international standards. in nigeria, we'll support a newly elected government in its fight against boek ka hk ka hard
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winning the trust of the civilian population by protecting them and respecting their rights. in tune is i canisia, to streng most hopeful model of governance to emerge from the arab spring. in iraq, advancing our campaign against daesh and striving to do so in a way that restores good governmentance to liberated areas and gives idps, including minority groups subjected to genocide and crimes against humanity, to return home. in venezuela, working with regional partners to persuade the governor to release political prisoners and respecting the newly electing parliament. >> in sri lanka, in keeping with the joint resolution its government co-sponsored with us at the u.n. human rights
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council. in china, given all of the hardships that people working for better governance there now face, we think it is especially important to stand by the lawyers being imprisoned for doing their jobs. but the religious minorities persecuted for their faith and activists and journalists being abducted in some cases from other countries for speaking out. we mobilized the first joint statement on china's human rights record in over a decade and we'll continue to forge a common front with our friends and allies on these issues. there are a lot of other efforts that i could mention. i assume you may ask me about some of them. before i finish, i would like to raise one final issue, that is central to everything we're trying to do to advance human rights around the world and that is the fight against corruption. secretary kerry has said that there's nothing more
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demoralizing and disempowering to any citizen of any nation than the belief that the system is rigged against them and that people in positions of power are crooks who are stealing the future of their o people. but there's also nothing harder for dictators to justify than stealing from their own people. corruption is once a uniquely pernicious feature of authoritarianism and greatest political vulnerability. we've heard a lot recently about how some of the world's most powerful people have been able to evade taxes and hide their wealth. some of which may have been ill-gotten in anonymous shell companies with the help of firms that provide financial secrecy to clients who can pay. in certain quarters, it's been suggested that these revelations can only be some kind of american plot. well, if the allegation is that
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the united states supports law enforcement agencies and civil society groups around the world that expose this kind of corruption, then we take it as a big compliment. that's what we should be doing and we will keep on doing. as you follow the story, one thing i'd like you to keep in mind is that for two years now the obama administration has been asking congress for legislation that would require all companies registered in the united states to identify the human beings who actually own them. there are many members of congress as you know who ar dentally support the cause of human rights and press us every day here in the state department to do more. i would argue the most important thing they can do to advance human rights this year is to pass legislation to keep our legal and financial systems from being used to facilitate hit tok
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krascy overseas. >> we'll take a few questions and ask you to please identify yourself and who you are with. >> thank you, sir, for taking my question. i'm with the palestinian newspaper. i wanted to ask you the secretary said that human rights was a moral obligation. should that obligation be extended to the palestinians and occupation and if so, what steps have you taken to hold israel accountable to its human rights violations such as home demolitions. >> the simple answer to your question is yes, it should and it does and it has. these issues are issues that we raise with every country around the world. we raise them with our adversaries and our closest allies and the secretary has raised those issues with the israeli government on many, many occasions. look, we have always argued that
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israel has a right to defend itself against terror attacks. that is a human rights imperative in and of itself, whether those attacks come in the form of indiscriminate rocket fire or people stabbing civilians on the streets. but that right to defend itself as we always had argued needs to be exercised in a manner that is consistent with israel's obligations under human rights law and humanitarian law, whether that is in gaza or occupied territories or in israel itself. >> where would you say this accelerating trends to stifle freedoms has been most stark in 2015? you mentioned that china and russia, maybe turkey. where would you say you've seen it most starkly? >> i mentioned -- you could pick
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a lot of countries unfortunately. i mentioned china and rush sha because they are influential countries and when we see determined efforts to legislate an end to freedom of association in a country as large and influential as russia or china, whether it's through targeting of foreign funding of ngos and the treatment of russians campaigning against torture or for free elections as if they are traitors to their country, or china's conflation of peaceful activism and journalism with terrorism through
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legislation, that is of particular concern because those practices are much more likely to be copied in other countries. so that's why i would single them out. but then there are also as the secretary and i both mentioned, there are places where civil society is holding its own and fighting back and democracy is advancing. i had one of the most moving experiences of my time in the state department yesterday meeting a group of newly appointed chief ministers, ie governors and government ministers from burma who just came through washington. >> we'll leave these remarks to go live now to capitol hill for a hearing on the cost of the u.s. weapons programs and initiatives in afghanistan. the house arms services subcommittee on oversight and investigations is conducting the
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hearing this morning. we join it in progress. >> we appreciate any feedback that improves our support to our war fighter and strengthens our management controls. as a retired navy flight officer and father of two daughters, both naval officers one currently deployed in the middle east and father-in-law of a marine corps b-22 pilot deployed to the middle east, i assure you no one takes it more seriously than i do. thank you for the opportunity to testify and i welcome your questions. >> thank you to all of the witnesses for your testimony. this is very, very important to not only our national security but certainly to the lives of our service members. i want to start with mr. lilly because we are talking about two separate instances of potential waste or inefficiencies in the department of defense that we want to look at so we can address and get better. one was from the past as mr. sopko indicated, the program
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dealing with afghanistan reconstruction has ended but we have a lot of lessons learned there. we want to talk about that for the future. i want to start with you because this is something that is currently going right now as we have pilots in the air and we have planes flying, we want to make sure the parts in those planes are up to the specifications they need to be and no war fighter is in danger. so mr. wisecarver, it is apparent the defective parts dla received from its vendors made it into the services supply chain. did your team find any instances in which any of the defective parts were installed in any end items as replacement items for repair or returned to service? >> madam chairwoman, we did not find as a result of this but we do know they are in the supply chain because they left 36,000 plus straps in the supply chain and we know that they are there. we don't know if they've been on
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a flight put in customers were not notified, but i believe that they are in the supply chain and should be pulled. >> so mr. lilly, what are you doing to try to find these 36,000 parts that are potentially still out there in pilot's helmets? >> the way we go about identifying parts in the customer's inventory to provide what we call a supply alert. each service has a screening activity which is then responsible for working with their individual service customers to alert them to the deficiencies of the potential deficiencies of the parts. and then we're to have them notified and then coordinate the return of those materials to our defense depots, as a result of the audit, when we were alerted to the incident, we went back and ensured that that notification was sent and we sent an additional notification to once again reinforce the fact that we have this potential. it will be dependent now and
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we'll continue to work with services to try and identify parts that are in the inventory and pull them back. in addition to all of this, in 2008, this particular -- it's a zip -- they call it a tie strap but it's a zip tie. 2-inch piece of plastic zip tie that you put on to hold the host of the helmet. those zip ties were identified with several other sizes of zip tie in 2008 as a potential problem and in 2008, the inventory in dla warehouses was frozen and has been frozen since that time and in 2008, those particular zip ties were included in a larger suspension where our customers were notified. so we've back in 2008 -- those by the way those particular products have remained in litigation since 2008. that litigation was finally cleared in 2014. the result of that litigation
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was that the customer representative that faced the department of defense for that company was disbarred. no longer available or allowed to do business with us. and we refine that company and received $400,000 back for the die efficient material. >> that's good. didn't you just complete your audit fairly recently? >> yes, ma'am. in february 2015 -- i mean, 2016. >> we're in april of 2016. you just released this in february. i understand mr. lilly, you've only had a couple of months to start making corrective action. we appreciate your commitment to doing that and steps you've taken. what procedures will you follow to track this 36,000 ties that are out there that are defective? you've sent the alert. how will you know whether they have turned them back in or recovered them? is there a checklist? how will have you assurance that
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this has been taken care of? >> as a result of the audit, we've taken several steps to improve and strengthen our processes. one of the steps we've established is the creation of a position we call the product efficiency report coordinator. we have now assigned one person, an individual who is going to be responsible for monitor pqdrs from the day they are established in the system to the day that the material is actually returned back to the system as repaired or refunded to us and so this person will be responsible in this particular case for now picking up that tracking to ensure that number one any material that's identified in the inventory system is returned to us and that we then send it -- in this case because of the low dollar value and unability of a manufacturer to repair the ties that will be destroyed and get a refund for this. >> i understand you've only had
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two months to get started on this. but how will -- how much of the 12.3 billion dollars -- million dollars. >> $12.3 million estimated worth of restitution that is recoverable from defective parts, how much of that do you anticipate that we'll be able to get? and how will we know as members of congress how much of that has been recovered? >> we've -- we're conducting a comprehensive review of all of the pqdrs we have on file. currently we have gotten through half of them. there are 1,077 total over that time period. we've gone through half of them and determined that for those pqdrs rerecovered $3.5 million as part of our normal process. those are things that had been recovered before the audit. that's not to say there's a lot of material out there. we completely agree that where our process broke down is after
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the alert. we didn't have a good mechanism to track as has been pointed out in the hearing, the follow-on return to the supply system and back to the vendor. we have 500 now pqdrs we're working as a result fl our comprehensive review. we have a line by line step by step procedure to go and take for each one of the 500, we have inventory in the system that will require for us to discuss with the suppliers that provided them a restitution plan whether that be that will ship those 500 items back to the supplier for repair and then returned to us. whether they'll pay us to fix them internally or pay it back. we intend to continue that progress through august of this summer. >> very good. i know i have other questions for all of you, but i'm going to let my colleagues ask their questions and move on and then
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we'll come back to another. mr. speier. >> thank you, madam chair, deputy inspector general wisecarver, this is not the report that's been done on dla to suggest they are not doing their job, is it? >> no, ma'am, we've issued several reports. >> how many? >> we have 16 reports that we issued over a number of years on the parts and inventory area. >> and in your estimation, has dla been responsive to these reports? >> they've tried in the most part, yes. >> and in your review this time, you looked at just a few parts, wasn't it, just about 65 parts that you ash trarly picked out of the 5 million? >> we actually did a statistical
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sampling and came up with 65, that's so that we could get our arms around, if you will, what we're going to audit and try to do them in a timely manner. we do statistical samplings to project across a whole of the parts. >> you took 65 and of those 65, you were able to determine that at least one in particular was so defective that it could put at risk those pilots flying planes because this part had been determined to be defective when? these straps? >> i don't recall. i'd have to take that for the record exactly when the edwards air force base maintenance group found it. >> but was it a year ago, three years ago? >> i think -- and i -- >> in 2012 mr. charlie says. >> 2012 we're made aware this is a defective part and place our
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pilots at risk. and by happenstance, they do this statistical sample which includes these straps and finds out it is still in the supply chain. that to me is frightening. how long have you been in your post, mr. lilly? >> three years. >> so certainly it was already deemed defective when you came into your post, correct? >> correct. >> and nothing had happened relative to this item until the inspector general did a report and now you are taking steps? do we need a report from the inspector general to get the department of defense dla to take defective parts out of the supply chain. >> no, ma'am, we have procedures in place. >> why didn't these get removed? >> as i stated, in 2008, all of these parts were frozen in inventory -- >> what does frozen mean? >> it means that we code them
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it's a code in our distribution system computers that prevents any issuing of that material so if a customer requisitions it, it's from dla stock and not allowed to be issued and there's no way it could happen. what -- in what i've mentioned earlier was in 2008, this part along with several other parts manufactured by the same agency was frozen in stock. there were 16,000 of those straps issued about the first quality deficiency report was received. those were in the customer inventory. we alerted in 2008 the all supply customers of the fact that these straps and other sizes in addition were at potential defective parts and at that time that material was screened and the material should have been returned back. if a sailor or soldier or airman had stock in their bin and missed the lot screening, that's
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possible. maybe that material stayed in the supply system, but once again, as a result of the audit, we reissued those notifications to ask our service partners to search their inventory to ensure that nothing this material would be removed if possible. >> mr. lilly, i don't have a lot of confidence in dla's response generally. i think the fact that the inspector general has done all of these reports and there are still problems should make us all pause. as it relates to the $12.3 million that is due the taxpayers in restitution for these faulty parts, i would like for you to report back to this committee on a regular basis until we know confidently that restitution has been sought and received for all of these defective parts.
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inspector general sopko. you said in previous congressional testimony that data was missing from the hard drive provided by dod and forensic accountants were reviewing to determine if the data has been manipulated. has that review been concluded? >> yes, it has. and although we can't tell if it was manipulated, we think we don't have all of the data. and it could just be that the records are so poor that they just don't have the data. >> when the tfbso program wasn't doing well for a number of years, and yet it was on autopilot it seems to me based on your report, how from your perspective, how do we prevent the wasteful spending of almost a billion dollars on a program like tfbso when you know, a
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quarter of the way through, half of the way through, it's clear that it's not working? >> you know, that's a very good question. i don't have a great answer for it. reports were filed with congress. i'm not certain that those reports were accurate and were truthful and really reflected what was going on. and i'm certain having worked in congress myself as a staffer, you're inundated with reports. i don't even know if anybody even noted those reports. i think a critical problem you had with tfbso, it was a new mission for the department of defense and nobody planned for having extra oversight over that new mission. and it was almost like a perfect storm. that program reported to the secretary of defense's office. now the secretary of defense has
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many things on his plate but operating a billion dollar program is usually not something he's going to focus on she's going to focus on. later they moved it down to the deputy secretary of defenses for reporting. again, he doesn't really run day to day operations. it was reporting to the wrong spot in dod. lastly, they moved it down to report to the policy shop, the under secretary of defense for policy. again, maybe very good in policy but normally the policy shop does not oversee day to day operations of an agency. and i think that was one of the critical problems. and nobody really read the reports and the warning signs -- i know somebody -- house armed services committee raised concerns early on and some of the legislation raised those concerns. but apparently it fell through the cracks. >> somehow sometimes think we're
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doing our job when we put report language in and then they don't report to us and nothing transpires. this gas station that cost $43 million, the one in pakistan cost between 200,000 and $300,000, we then actually equip some afghan vehicles so that they could take cng, correct? >> that is correct, ma'am. >> what a hair brain idea when to retrofit these vehicles is equivalent to the salary for an afghani for a year. >> that is correct, ma'am. again, it goes back to common sense -- >> which this program didn't have. >> cost benefit analysis -- do a cost benefit anasis and it doesn't seem anyone did a real cost benefit analysis on this program. you would have seen there were inherent program.
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everyone had written you have to have an infrastructure in place. there is no infrastructure in afghanistan. you have to have a market. there is no market. and that is just a repetition we've seen through almost all of the tfbso programs. >> my last question, in your comments, you said this is one of the worst programs you have investigated in afghanistan, i believe you said, the most waste, most fraud. when were you first made aware of it? >> i think i started to hear complaints almost when i started the job four years ago but it was a relatively small program in comparison. remember, we've spent 113 billion here. so we had put it on our audit schedule a couple years ago and we came out with our first audit, i believe on the mineral section and did two audits in
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that. it's been in our view for at least two or three years. >> again, thank you both inspector general sopko and secretary general weiss carver for your great service. i yield back. >> thank you madam chair and mr. lilly, thank you for straightening out what i was discussing with mr. conway over here, and that at a penny a piece it sounded like a zip tie to me, something most of us probably have. you can walk down to a walmart or cvs or certainly any hardware store would have them. and so $523.14 worth of zip ties by my calculation, 52,314 at a penny a piece. i'm sorry you're getting brow beaten over a zip tie or 52,000 of them to be honest with you. i wonder how much money -- this has gone on over the zip ties
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since 2008, is that right? >> correct, sir. >> we have five members of congress staff and three of you here and we're talking about zip ties. i mean, if i put one on something and it breaks, i would simply put two of them on the next time if it wouldn't hold. and i mean, the people that i know that work in the air force that are pilots that get our men and women and aviators ready to roll, they are smart enough to know if one zip tie won't work, maybe you use two. if you use a different size one. is it possible to calculate how much money the government has spent and taxpayers have spents over $523 worth of zip ties? >> in trying to find them? >> oh, i can't answer that. we could probably come up with an estimate. it's a lot of money. >> would you agree you could buy
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a zip tie at any hardware store out there? >> well, sir this -- you can get those zip tie s hardware store. because of the regulations in our f.a.r., we probably wouldn't go to lowe's. we would have to follow the f.a.r. but you're right, it's the same type of zip tie that's out there. >> i just wonder, as a private business owner, i would never spend $10,000 or $100,000 or however much money has been spent from 2008 to 2014 over $523 worth of zip ties. i'm somewhat taken aback that we're even discussing zip ties. anyway, mr. sopko, the full
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financial audit for tfbso activities, has this begun, and if so, when can we expect that audit to be complete, and will it go so far as to identify parts that are a penny apiece and how much money was spent trying to find zip ties? >> i don't think we're going to be looking at zip ties. >> obviously someone has spent an awful lot of money, more money has been spent searching for the zip ties than the zip ties cost. >> it appears that way, sir. remember, i'm not doing the zip tie investigation. on tfbso, we were asked by senator ayotte on the senate side to conduct a financial audit, as well as a program audit. the program audit i believe
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has -- we're putting that together, and if it hasn't started, it's about ready to start. and we're going to just -- you know, a program audit is a little different than a financial audit. the financial audit, i don't believe we've started that yet. we've also been joined, asked by senator grassley to conduct both of those. so there's a lot of interest on the other side. >> i look forward to seeing that. and i'll yield the remainder of my time. i'm under a minute. >> thank you, gentlemen. now we go to ms. graham. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. thank you all very much for being here today. my question is in the category of lessons learned. inspector general sopko, you mentioned in your written testimony that a major source of tfbso's issues in afghanistan is that it didn't implement any changes based on the experience in iraq. >> that is correct. >> is there now a formal system
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for capturing lessons learned and what are your recommendations for ensuring that they are incorporated into future protocol? >> some agencies of the government have a formal structure to capture lessons learned. the department of defense is probably the best one for doing that. and the various agencies of the department of defense. so the air force, the army, the marines, will be doing their lessons learned. and hopefully those will be applied. the biggest problem we see, congresswoman, is that there's no whole of government approach to lessons learned. if one thing we learned in afghanistan and iraq, it's not only the dod is going to be there. state department's going to be there. aid is going to be there. and our allies. and no one is doing that. and actually, we are doing that at the recommendation of general allen. i remember him coming over and
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saying -- laying that out to me. he says, dod will do a pretty good job, but the next time we do this, when you're going to a provincial reconstruction team, there will be spots for a.i.d. and state, but nobody is doing the whole of government. so we're actually embarking upon that at the suggestion of general allen and other people. and we're hoping to do that. the other thing i would seriously consider is neither state nor a.i.d. have the system of doing lessons learned in their budget as well as the staffing to do it like dod does. and that's going to be an inherent problem. >> i would agree with you. in every facet of life you need to learn from the past and do better in the future. well, thank you, i guess. mr. lily, i would ask the same question of you.
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it's not your fault, by the way, i understand, inspector general. is there a formal process by which dla has incorporated lessons learned into its processes and procedures? >> as a result of our audit, we learned a lot. and we have five recommendations that we're implementing. as he mentioned earlier, we've taken and reviewed all the pprs to make sure that we review acol the money, and we'll report back as asked. we made sure that stock is frozen so it can't be reissued and alerted our customers. we've also established some new procedures as a result of that. so what we'll be doing is creating that position called a ppr coordinator in our supply center that will then track from the beginning to the end every time we receive, to ensure that we alert our customers as fast as possible, to ensure that the
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material is received and sent back to the suppliers for restitution. we've also established some first line supervisor and senior leader oversight to include check lists that have to be signed as we go, to ensure that that process is done correctly. in addition to that we have son corporate metrics that we track the opening and closing number of each one, the total age of those pdqrs. that is provided to the coordinator, myself and the attorney general, once a week. we'll be tracking that to ensure that doesn't happen again. those lessons learned from that audit and this review have been provided to the headquarters. as i mentioned earlier, the dla director has established a working group to take a look at the entire process across dla, and through that working group we'll take the lessons we learned, incorporate them into the overall review, and then come up with a total revision of the process that will hopefully
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be better a will allow us to have tighter control and execute our responsibilities for stewardship in a better manner. >> thank you for that. i hope, mr. inspector general, that we can learn from these lessons. and we need to be working together so we don't repeat the mistakes of the past. i don't know where to start with putting that in place. but it seems to me that when we're working, as the united states of america is working overseas in various countries, all aspects of our country need to be working together to make sure we're doing it efficiently and effectively. so i'm out of time. if you want to respond. >> i agree wholeheartedly with you. and hopefully our lessons learned program will help in that process. but remember, there's a difference between lessons observed and lessons learned. there are a lot of reports on the shelves, but very few people sometimes read them, and they're
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not put into doctrine and put into the training. but somebody goes back out to afghanistan, whether he's foreign service officer, an a.i.d. officer, or a captain in the marines, he should be given a document which tells him what have we learned from afghanistan before, what have we learned from iraq, what have we learned from other experiences. and that is what people keep coming back to me. i mean, we do these audits. we do these reports. and i have been approached by many people in the administration and on the hill saying, what was does it mean and how do we do it? so i understand the frustration, and that's why we've this lessons learned program, we've put together and brought in some very bright people and trying to get buy-in from the various agencies. that's what general allen encouraged us to do. we're following on his guidance. hopefully it will help. >> great. i remain ever-hopeful. i appreciate it. thank you. i yield back what time i do not have anymore. >> the lady's time has expired.
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that's one of the reasons we're having the hearing as well today, mr. sopko, is so that we can flesh out the concerns we have had and learn as we go forward. mr. conaway from texas. >> thank you. just to make sure. i'm a cpa, and my license is still current, so i'm one election from being back in public practice. i spent a lot of years auditedinaudited i auditing. when you come to a circumstance like this filling station, gas station, it makes no sense in hindsight. did you have access to documents that were prepared and put in place and the decisionmaking processes that were there to come to these conclusions? when you have a circumstance that makes no sense, we typically don't have all the facts available to figure out how the decisionmakers, who unless you want to project
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malfeasance on them, were working to do the right thing. did you look at what the rationale was? >> to be honest with you, congressman, we did not have full access to the records. >> okay. so the billion dollars spent, all of it was wasted. is that your conclusion? >> not all of it. we did build a gas station. >> that's a waste. >> but it was built. >> okay. how well is it functioning today? i'm just trying to figure out. there's 100% error. did you find any successes whatsoever in the deal? >> we found a few successes. >> okay. >> but the problem is, you know, we measure inputs, outputs, and outcomes. the output was you got a gas station. the output was you actually got 400 taxi drivers, i believe about 400, got their cars converted at u.s. taxpayer expense. they're very happy. >> i'm not trying to defend this deal. i'm just trying to make sure that we understand the circumstances.
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total dollars spent over your audit, not you personally, but your auditing, how much money was spent by dla over those 16 audits that you made reference to, total dollars spent? trillions? >> not a trillion, no, sir. we had about 300 -- >> my dust-up audit stat stuff, you do a statistical sample. >> yes, sir. >> you found the error with the zip ties. your overall conclusions on your statistical sample, what is your error rate? >> 90 to 95%, sir. >> so 95% of what dla spent, they spent wrong? >> of the sample that we collected. >> so did you expand your sample? >> no, sir. >> why not? >> because we had enough of -- >> no. i want to make sure i get the
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record straight here. they spent half a billion dollars? >> not on this -- not on these parts, sir. >> no, no. why would you do a statistical sample. you're not going to be look at all the parts, you said? how many parts in your universe, ma'am? >> 269. >> and you audited 65 of it? >> yes, sir. >> okay. and of that, you're saying that of those 269 parts that you audited, 95% of the money spent was spent incorrectly? >> we weren't talking about the dollars spent. we looked at actually the product deficiency reports they were reporting and how -- it all equals dollars and cents, i understand that, but i would have to go back to the record for specifically what we're talking about. >> of the 269 parts, your conclusion would be that 95% of those parts were deficient? >> no, sir. we had 95% confidence rate on
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our sampling, is what i'm saying. >> no, ma'am. that's not what you said. my question was what was the overall projected error rate within the overall universe. you said 95%. i understand that 65% is representative of the whole. what i'm asking, of the 65% that was wrong, that you found wrong, how much of that you say is in the full universe of 269 parts. the 65 that you audited, how many of those had problems? >> i'm sorry. how many of those had -- >> had audit deficiencies that brought this conclusion that the zip ties were out of whack. >> we had many samples. i'll have to take it for the record. i guess i don't understand. >> are you an auditor yourself? >> yes, i am. >> why would you use a statistical sample of a
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universe? what's the point of statistically sampling rather than looking at the whole universe? >> timeliness. >> isn't it to look at a small sample, and if there are no errors in that small sample, you're 95% confident that the rest of the universe is okay? and you statistically sampled 65, you picked 65 on a statistically sound basis, so we don't have to look at all 269. we looked at the 65 and the error rates in the 65 leads us to believe that the universe of 269 is either good or bad. so what i'm trying to figure out is, you found the error with this one part, however insignificant it might be. but because it was statistically picked, it has a greater significance to the overall conclusions.
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so you look to 65, you got at least one, zip ties, which you had a problem with. what else did you find among the 65 that you then projected to the greater inventory? >> as i said, we found many of the 69 that had problems. >> okay. i don't have -- no, ma'am, i don't have a clue what the word "many" means. 65. we got a discrete universe of items looked at. for the record, would you please get back to us with a better explanation on what's the value of the statistical sample was. if you're not going to use it from a statistical sample was, why wouldn't you look at the top ten parts? you only picked zip ties because you're trying to get -- all right. on the failure of the zip ties, and i know i'm passed my time, mr. lily, did the zip tie fail when it was snugged up against the -- when did it fail, and
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what did that failure result in? when we use the words war fighters are put at risk, those are pretty inflammatory words, those are words we ought to pay attention to. help us put in context, there's an air hose coming off the helmet, going to somewhere in the cockpit. you snug it up with the zip tie. what was the point of failure? >> sir, actually the failure was discovered as they were putting the zip ties on the hose itself. so in the routine minnesota, i read the pdqr that was submitted, in the -- >> so the point of failure is known before the helmet goes on the pilot's head and before he takes off, off the ground? >> in the case of this particular pdqr, exactly right. >> if we can't use, from a statistically valid standpoint, if you can't project the zip ties to a greater use than what appears to be the case, then i would have to agree with my
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colleague that we may have missed the boat. i would rather you look at the top ten most expensive parts of your 269 rather than -- i yield back. i'm sorry. i'm a little frustrated. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. let me just follow up on the previous line of discussion. i was in the military for 26 years. and i often would call them lessons identified, lessons learned. and when you say the military is the best at it, we have some significant shortcomings. we're good at having conferences and maybe writing things down. but because of some of the things that were identified even in here because of high turnover and, you know, motivated people trying to bring their own bright ideas into the new assignment, we are reinventing the wheel all the time in the military. when i read the testimony, and we look at the details of these failures, it is just infuriating to me, honestly. my last assignment was at u.s.
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africa command. we were intended to try to have a whole of government combat and command. we had members of u.s. a.i.d. we would often see, how we, the military, want to go in there and fix everything, whether it's a disaster, whatever, even if we have no no idea what we're doing. our job is to fight and kill people and break things, and we find ourselves in these situations where we're doing things totally outside our and/or compenccom competencies for a variety of reasons. a time when our readiness, our force structure, our personnel, it's infuriating to see this much money wasted in the department of defense for bright ideas that absolutely failed. what i don't even understand, it isn't about lessons learned, it's about, we're stove piped on the front end, we don't have the same chain of command, we don't have the same funding lines.
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so we can have a little love fest as we're coordinating things but in reality we don't have the same title and lines of funding. and so i don't even get like what the authorities were that allowed them to do this. can you just explain to me how the pentagon thought this was a good idea and under what authorities they had to do this as opposed to letting the lead federal agencies and those that are experts in these areas taking the lead? >> congresswoman, i experience and feel your anger. and the absurdity of some of these things. if it wasn't the fact that we lost nearly 2300 lives in afghanistan, most of what we found could probably appear on comedy central. >> it's ridiculous. >> i cannot believe some things i have uncovered. and i am outraged too. i worked on the hill for 15 years for sam nunn and i thought i saw some really bone-headed moves. >> this is the ultimate bonehead. >> this is the ultimate. i wish i can answer your yes on
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the authority because the authority is kind of mixed on the tfbso. it started in iraq really not to do contracting, just to sort of fix things with the industry. then it morphed into a contracting role. and initially, the secretary of defense's general counsel's office raised concerns that this whole thing was illegal. >> right. what's the funding stream? is this oco money? >> i believe it was oco money. >> how are we using oco money to build villas and gas stations? this is -- >> we're trying to find it. we still haven't found -- there's a memo issued by the office of the secretary of defense. this is why i'm so frustrated. and your colleague has hit the frustration point. this program didn't disappear in 1944. this isn't like something that harry truman ran. this program went out of existence less than a year ago, and i could not find a soul in
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the department of defense who could explain any of these questions. i call this a rare case of amnesia in the department of defense. i had to fight to get those records, which congresswoman spears asked me about, the amount of records i got for tfbso, fewer than one of my staff has on her cellphone, the gigabytes. so this is the most bizarre investigative done. and i've gotten so much pushback from the defense department on this $1 billion program. now, we have looked at some of the major parts of this. but i follow the lead of your colleague. we're not -- you know, there's many more billions of dollars that have been wasted and at stake. so we did not want to focus on tfbso. i did not want to turn this cigar into the tfbso inspector general. there's many more problems out there. but every time we open a rock or
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uncover a rock, something crawls out which just sort of you can't understand. this is a mystery to me, how this program got into action and why it survived. >> so if there were no authorities for spending this money, what accountability is happening? if somebody is illegally spending taxpayers' money, where is the accountability on that? >> it was added to, if i'm not mistaken, to the authorization act. so it was authorized at one time. initially it came from oco. i think it was, and i don't want to misspeak, i would have to ask my colleagues. yes, fy '11, i'm told, service authorized in the nda, prior to that. what's interesting is that in fy '11, that's when the head of the organization basically says, we ought to shut the thing down, it
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can't operate. and that was ignored. >> right. and then they're spending more. i know i'm out of time. how can we make sure here, and i'll follow up for the record, that something like this never, ever, ever happens again? everybody needs to stay in their lanes. fight and win america's wars, military. u.s. a.i.d. does economic development. we need to make sure this never happens again. i would love to follow up on that. and i'm out of time. >> we'll try. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. i want to talk about the authority. there was the brian mcuen, who was invited to attend today, and due to a family prearranged activity, he wasn't able to be here. i believe he appeared before the senate armed services committee. but i did submit his testimony, which i have read. and in there it talks about how in fiscal year 2014, congress
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made an amend to a law, you know, authorizing for this program to continue. so i think congress has a role in this as well. so, you know, we need to certainly, as members of congress in the future, have a very important role in the future in deciding whether we do something like this again or how we apply these lessons learned. that's one of the reasons we're having this hearing today, to go back and say, hey, did it work, is it wise, and should we ever do that again. i did want to also ask you, mr. sopko, about the amount of money spent. because in mr. mcewen's testimony that i have read here, he says there was $800 billion that were obligated, $600 billion that were disbursed. so i would assume the department of defense would say that they spent around $600 billion on this, rather than the $1 billion that is being thrown out today in this hearing. so which is it?
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how much would you guess is more accurate for how much was spent on the program? $800 million was obligated, but only 600 was -- i say "only," that's still a lot of money. >> our review was, as you said, $822 million was authorized, and $759 million was obligated. >> how much was disbursed of that? how much was spent? >> we're actually doing the audit. we don't have that number. >> okay. so that's just something for us to be aware. but that is still a tremendous amount of money. secondly, we haven't talked about the villas. your testimony states that tfbso operated out of the villas. did the tfbso use funding to
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build the villas or did another government agency do the construction? >> no, the villas were not built by us. these were all rentals. we rented the villas from afghans. >> what time period does the $150 million cost cover? >> well, for almost as long as they were there. as soon as they came over from iraq, they pursued using it on the economy like that. and until -- although the director brinkley said to bring them back in august of 2011, they continued in the villas until i believe the end of the program, which would have been the end of 2014, if i'm not mistaken. >> it seems like i read perhaps in mr. mcewen's testimony, three years? >> that would be -- >> about right. so $50 million a year. that included the security as
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well as you talk about a lot of the amenities that were in there, which the 27-inch flatscreen tv, queen-size bed, menus for the catering of two entries every night, options onsite. so certainly not what i would think our soldiers would be eating and how they would have been living over there. i know it's not quite the same. how do you account for paul brinkley, the first director, saying that this, the task force should move back into our military facilities, and not continue leaving in the rentals, yet that was ignored? >> we're trying to get to the bottom of that. we don't have an answer. we have his memorandum, which he says, because of security reasons and also because of management problems, he wants to bring everybody back, and he orders them i think by august of 2011, everyone will move back
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onto military bases. but we have no further information as to why that was ignored. and that's again a problem we have with tfbso. the records are so abysmal, it's hard to figure out what they did and why they did it. >> okay. as regarding the natural gas facility, the gas station, you think said a minute ago, you have to have a market, and there is no market. and i think those are very wise words, before you do any of these projects, there needs to be marketing analysis done. and it wasn't done. you look at the list of the projects that were done there, and average businessmen or women here in missouri -- well, here in the united states or from my state, missouri, would just probably say no, this isn't wise that we invest here, we move forward. i wanted to mention since mr. mcewen isn't here, in his testimony he says, to be sure, the average afghan does not own a vehicle.
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so i think the department of defense also is, you know, bringing up that point. now, he does say in there, though, that you had a question to the department of defense about whether the station was still operating. and he says, my staff contacted the operator of the station by e-mail on november 15th of last year. the operator indicated that the station was working normally, that 230 cars had been converted, and that every day approximately 160 cars obtained fuel from the station. do you think that is accurate? it is still open, it is operating, there are some cars that the taxpayers here in america paid for that are using it? >> it would make sense that they would use it. i mean, we gave them a free conversion kit. we converted their car for free. and using the compressed national gas is cheaper than using gas from afghanistan. the question is, is it
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sustainable. i mean, those are happy taxi drivers, just like there are happy goats in afghanistan. but is any of this sustainable? and that -- the purpose of this program wasn't to make a bunch of taxi drivers there rich at u.s. taxpayers' expense. you've got to go back to the documents. and we do have some of the documents as to what the purpose was. and they did obtain it. so i go back to it. the input, we know how much was spent. the output was, they did do a gas station, they did convert cars. but the outcome was to create a market, and all over northern afghanistan, and that never occurred. and the reason is because no one ever looked, there was no infrastructure. >> okay. so i just wanted to clarify, because earlier in this hearing you said the project failed, in your opening comments, but yet you would not say -- i mean, it is operating. so you're just using that terminology just based on -- >> yes.
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what it was supposed to accomplish. >> for the record, we should, due diligence, clarify it. i wanted to get into the testimony of the department of defense that was submitted regarding the cost, because i know you and the department of defense have been disagreeing on that. the number $43 million costs of the compressed natural gas station has been used. so did the gas station itself cost $43 million alone? or was that the cost of the entire compressed natural gas station infrastructure project that also included refurbishing the existing pipeline, purchasing new pipeline for installation, for funding? i will say that in mr. mcewen's testimony here that he submitted, he says the costs for the entire project was $5.1 million. and that is for actually the infrastructure. and then he alleges that you
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extrapolated the consulting cost over the entire country and projected all of the overhead, the $30 billion overhead costs for that. you and i may be summarizing -- not quality summariadequately s he's saying there. is the cost really accurate? how do you disagree or not with what the department of defense alleges it only cost? >> well, i haven't seen mr. mcewen's testimony but i remember testifying with him before. the approximately $43 million number is not cigar's number. we did not compile that. we found that in the records we uncovered. and it was records prepared by a contractor for tfbso. we spoke to the contractor. he prepared an economic impact
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assessment for tfbso, was paid $2 million by tfbso to do it. in his report, when we interviewed him, he is the one who gave us the number. he broke the number down by direct costs, indirect costs, subject matter expert costs, overhead costs. those were his numbers that he got from tfbso. so first of all, those are the department of defense's numbers, not ours. secondly, when we interviewed him, he said and gave us records about a back and forth between his office and tfbso over the preparing of the economic impact assessment. many times, that assessment was reviewed and approved by tfbso way before we came in to do the
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audit. as a matter of fact, the director of tfbso approved those numbers. the director actually changed other numbers related to the gas price but never changed that $43 million number. this is the best number we have. we acknowledge that the records kept by tfbso are abysmal. we actually interviewed a comptroller employee who mr. mcewen sent over to try to review the records. and he said he thought the number was wrong but he couldn't come up with a better number either because the records are in such poor shape. so we're stuck with this number. but ultimately the taxpayer paid -- u.s. taxpayer paid $43 million. whether it included the gas station, whether the overhead
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numbers are correct or not, it's the best number we can come up with. if we can find a better number, we'll report it. so far no one has given us a better number. >> thank you for that explanation. ranging member spear. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. i am not interested in quibbling over whether it was 10 million or 43 million, when we know in pakistan they built it for 200 or $300,000. the real question is, does tfbso belong in the department of defense. should the department of defense be engaged in doing economic development. and i think the examples that mr. shopko mass provided uhas p it clear we should not be in this business, it's not part of their expertise. i think that brian mcewen tries his darnedest to defend the
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program. but in the end he does say, and i'll quote, i am skeptical that the department of defense is the natural home for this mission of promoting economic development. so regardless of why he goes about trying to defend it, he comes to the conclusion that we shouldn't be doing that. and mr. sopko, as our inspector general on afghanistan reconstruction, has done an extraordinary job, i think, over these number of years, pointing out why we fail. and to everyone's point that has been made here, just pointing out is not good enough. we've got to clean it up. and my concern is that we see a problem, we have enough evidence, and we don't shut it down. it continues to operate on auto pilot. now, to mr. scott's comments and also to others', i think in
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fairness to ms. weisscarver, it wasn't just the zip ties that they looked at. in her report she talks about the defective co-pilot control wheels for the c-5 aircraft valid at $35,000 each. the investigation determined that all 30 parts provided on the contract were defective, and that the contractor was at fault. dla aviation searched the dla distribution depot inventory in march 2014 and identity that 23 of the remaining defective control wheels were being stored at the dla distribution depot in georgia. dla instructed the dla distribution depot to ship the parts back to the contractor. however, dla aviation officials did not respond to our inquiryies about the 23 control wheels and dla transaction data showed that the defective control wheels were never shipped from the dla distribution depot in warner
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robbins. according to dla aviation, could not produce any evidence that it received restitution for 23 of the 27 defective parts valid at $825,000. in addition, dla aviation did not notify the other customers who purchased the remaining four of the 27 defective control wheels. so it wasn't just zip ties. we were looking at more expensive equipment. and there is a problem with defective parts not being returned to the contractor and that restitution is not recovered. now, ms. weisscarver, this is just one area in dla. isn't it true you're now working in another area as well, and could you tell us about that? >> yes, ma'am. we have some ongoing audits on price reasonableness. we have some on inventory. both those areas we have worked in the past, and we are working
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in the future on. >> isn't there one you're doing about marine parts that's under way? >> we are looking at the land and maritime area in dla, the same type audit, if you will, just on a different area, land and marine maritime. >> besides the zip ties and these wheels, are there other examples of parts that were in the chain, the supply chain that restitution was not sought and that we're continuing to reside in the supply chain? >> yes, ma'am. we have about six other examples in the report, switch and bracket part, and the other one was -- there are several of them, we have pictures. that's in the full report that i put for the record. >> i yield back. >> thank you. mr. scott? >> thank you, madam chair. sir, you testified on the zip tie issue that they were
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identified prior to being put in flight, so no crews ever lost oxygen or anything along those lines from those zip ties? >> that's correct, sir. >> the report that i have before me reads, causing loss of oxygen to aircrew members during flight. it doesn't say potentially. it says, causing loss of oxygen to aircrew members during flight. i ran up to my office. this is a zip tie. this is what we're talking about. it's a single use item. when you do any type of work on the helmet, you would cut the old zip tie off, i would assume, and replace it with the new one, and if the new one didn't hold, you would grab another one from the bin and put another one on it. is that pretty much the way -- >> yes, sir, that's the way that -- >> i think the problem is, one is, i think your people should be commended for identifying the problem prior to it being put in flight. so thank you for that.
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i know you've got a lot of family in the military, and if i'm not mistaken, spent some time yourself there. i'm glad to have you in the position you're in. i will tell you the idea that this is -- that 36,000 of these are specialized aviation parts is ridiculous. and i hope you don't spend any time or waste any time looking for them. i hope you just get rid of them if they don't work and you can go buy some more somewhere. you've got to have the flexibility in anything that you do to discard things that are just not worth more than a penny. it doesn't make sense to spend dollars tracking them down. no private business would do that. the other thing i'll tell you is, i'll get the facts on the c-5, i know those people well. robbins favo robbins air force base is in my district. those are very skilled people that work in that facility, and i have no doubt that if a part needed a minor modification, they have not only the tools but the talent to make a minor
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modification to anything that may have come in. and i will seek that out and find that myself. but i would like to know this, ma'am. when you -- the zip ties, you identified that as 36,000 potential problems. are the 36,000 zip ties identified as 36,000 potential problems? >> no, sir. what i said was they were left in the inventory. >> well, i would yield the remainder of my time. but i think that disposable parts, disposable parts that are worth a penny apiece shouldn't be part of the -- what did you say? i agree with you. the reason it costs so much to
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do anything for the government is because we micromanage every aspect of what the people at the dla do. with that, i yield the remainder of my time. >> thank you, gentlemen. i nev i think we've had a very good productive discussion today. our job is oversight, to investigate how the taxpayer dollars are used. and while we're advocating for more money for our national defense because we see the needs and the cuts that have occurred and our readiness in jeopardy and modernization not where it needs to be, at the same time we need to make sure every dollar that is spent and authorized from this committee to the department of defense is spent wisely. and we need to make sure that our men and women in uniform are safe. and so i appreciate your appreciate your work, mr. sopko. i appreciate, you know, the lessons learned, that we are
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learning. and i agree with my colleagues as well as the gentleman, mr. mcewen from the department of defense. i was going to bring up that same quote in my closing statement here, that we need to question whether the department of defense should do this again, should take on this mission, because there clearly was perhaps some mistakes made over there and some money that was spent that could have been spent more wisely. and so thank you for your work there. and thank you as well, ms. weisscarver and mr. lily, for what you do. we want to make sure that parts -- i'm familiar with the farm equipment business, and there's parts and service. and it's important when there's a defective part, if it is something that -- i appreciate my colleague's comments about zip ties, i think there's a lot of wisdom in that too, we ought to have common sense mixed in here. but if there are major parts that could endanger our war
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fighter, we need to make sure they're returned, not put back onto the airplanes or whatever the equipment is, but also that restitution is made. if there's a warranty, rwe need to turn that in, get the money back for the taxpayer. or if it's a major part with a consequence that we need to have it replaced, it needs to be followed through. thank you, mr. lily, for the efforts you are going to make. and i look forward to the reports that ms. spear requested. and i agree with it, to keep us apprised of how this is going. thank you all very much for participating. this hearing is adjourned.
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a reminder that if you missed any of this hearing, you can watch it any time in our video library at and in political news today, senator bernie sanders has arrived in rome, where he's addressing the pontifical academy of social sciences. the "new york times" describing the group as in effect the vatican's think tank on social,
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economic, and environmental issues. the democratic presidential candidate had hoped to visit with the pope during his time in rome, but a vatican spokesman said there won't be a meeting with the holy father. the pope, who is leaving for greece on friday sometime after mr. sanders' arrival, would not be meeting with any participants of the conference, the spokesman said. you can read more about the visit at coming up live today at noon, former president bill clinton speaks at a campaign event for his wife at the college of mt. st. vincent in river daily, new york. that state holds its primary this use, april 19th. watch that campaign event live beginning at 12:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. and on the republican side, donald trump is holding a rally today in hartford, connecticut. that state holds their primary
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on april 26th. watch mr. trump's rally live beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern on our companion network, c-span. our live coverage of the presidential race continues tuesday night. for the new york state primary, join us at 9:00 eastern for results, campaign speeches, and viewer reaction, taking you on the road to the white house on c-span. this weekend the c-span cities tour takes you to tuscaloosa, alabama to explore the history and literary culture of this southern city, home to the university of alabama. on book tv we'll speak with earl tilford. >> what he was trying to do
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above all was to get the university of alabama away from this party school, football school focus and get it headed in a new direction to become a viable academic institution, first in the south and then nationally. and it took a while to do that. the first thing he had to do was hire faculty. when he became president, only a third of the faculty had terminal degrees. that was in 1958. by 1965, two-thirds had them. that made us competitive. today we have our share of some of the finest faculty in the country. we also are attracting students today that could go to harvard, yale, places like that. we lead the country in the number of national merritt scholars that come here. >> and on american history tv, we'll history the mound hill archeological site and learn
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about how the american indians lived here in the 11th century. >> it contains the remains of 30 flat top mounds. we are standing at mound b. this is the largest mound in alabama. it contains 12,000 cubic yards of built. this is where the highest ranking ruler of the highest ranked chance would have been. originally researchers thought it was built one basket load of dirt at one time. now we think they were initially built with sod blocks, which were then filled in with clay. this would give a lot more stability to the structure as they were building it. we know that periodically, after the mound was built, it would be capped over with different colors of clay so if you sliced
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into the mound, it would resemble a layer cake. >> watch the c-span cities tour saturday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv, and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span cities tour, working with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. current u.s. representatives to the united nations and a former u.n. diplomat turned whistleblower were among the witnesses at a senate foreign relations committee on allegations of sexual abuse of civilians by u.n. peacekeeping forces in various conflict zones around the world. they testified and responded to questions on the nature, extent, and coverup of such abuse, as well as u.s.-led efforts to combat it.
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>> we as a courtesy and as protocol, we have the government witnesses typically first, and then we have other outside witnesses second. today, not to show any disrespect in any way to those panelists who are going first, i wish the second panel was going first, so that you could hear the testimony, especially because of its -- because of its nature, they generally prepare comments for me to make on the front end and i generally with a couple of alterations stick to them. today i want to be very brief and just say that, look, we understand the importance of the u.n. peacekeeping missions. we thank you for being here to tell us a little bit about some of the progress being made. but i think all of us understand the terrible, horrible things that u.n.'s peacekeepers are doing to the people they're
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supposed to be protecting. the sexual abuse, what they're rendering to the populations that are in this helpless situation is beyond belief. and i think all of us on both sides of the aisle get very frustrated with the process focus that takes place at the u.n., but the lack of results that occur. and again, i understand you guys are working hard, you're working within an environment that i find less than satisfying on every level, whether it's at the security council, and keeping agreements intact, or whether it's this kind of thing. let me just make a statement. based on what i know, and maybe i don't know everything i should, if i knew right now that a u.n. peacekeeping mission was going to go into north chattanooga today, which is where my wife is, i would be on
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the first plane out of here to go home and protect her from the u.n. peacekeepers, especially if they came from certain countries. i'm just telling you, so here i am as chairman of the foreign relations committee, and if i knew that the u.n. was sending peacekeepers into my neighborhood, i would leave here immediately, i would drop what i was doing, i would catch the next flight home, and i would go home and try to protect my family from the abuse that they put forth on the very people that they try to protect. and that's in north chattanooga. you think about in some of these isolated places where people are held up in camps, where young girls are subjected, young boys are subjected to this sexual violence by people that we're paying, the united states of america is paying, we're the largest contributor, and this is taking place.
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look, i know you're here today to share with us some of the progress that's being made. this is not you doing this. i got it. this is not directed at you. but i can just tell you, i am disgusted, disgusted by the reports, by the actions of u.s. peacekeepers, that u.s. taxpayers are paying for. i hope somehow out of this hearing and other hearings and other actions, somehow we'll figure out a way to reel this in. again, if i knew they were going to chattanooga, i would leave here immediately to protect my family. with that being said, i look forward to this hearing. i want to thank our ranking member for his desire and cooperation in having this. i thank you for your service to this country. but i hope out of that service we as a nation will figure out some way of ensuring that the very people that are sent to protect people are not doing the
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dastardly, terrible thing they're doing to populations that are very vulnerable. thank you, and i'll turn it over to our ranking member. >> well, mr. chairman, thank you for your passion on this issue. interthe first time we've dealt with problems such as this. this committee has taken i think the right position on trafficking of persons, where the united states leadership has instrumental in changing the attitude of so many places in the world where young people were trafficked for sex or labor purposes, and this committee came in very strong in oversight to make sure that the integrity of what we do in evaluating countries' progress on f trafficking is not compromised by politics. when you look at the united nations, we will not tolerate the united nations, under the auspices of the unity nations, perpetrating these types of violence against young people,
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against anyone. so i agree with you completely. i first want to underscore the importance of the u.n. peacekeeping missions. 120,000 and police personnel, overwhelming number performing their professional responsibilities in the appropriate way with commitment and honor. protecting vulnerable citizens from the south sudan to the golan heights, 16 missions around the world, four continents. ambassador power pointed out that the united states not only has a direct security interest in the u.n. peacekeeping missions and we contribute, as the chairman pointed out, to the these missions at a greater percentage than any other country in the world, but value for the united states. i think ambassador power pointed out it's like an 8-1 savings for u.s. taxpayers to be able to use the international united nations peacekeepers rather than the united states having to fulfill that function.
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so there's certainly a very important benefit to the u.n. peacekeeping missions, and the overwhelming majority of those who are doing the work are doing it properly. but the sexual abuse by-up peu. peace keepers must end. must end. those who are perpetrators need to be held accountable. there can be no exception to that. steerns. i must tell you, mr. chairman, you're right to be jut raged because we're talking about young children who are very vulnerable, who are poor, who have been subject to the most difficult lifestyles, being enticed by food or money to do horrible things under the united nations. that cannot continue. so there has to be accountability here.
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the thing that gets chairman corker and me so concerned is the reports that at least initially within the united nations the response was fragmented and bureaucratic, that it was not treated with the seriousness that it should have been treated. that's hard for us to understand. the entry ti that is supposed to bring the world peace and stability condoning through their actions those types of activities. so united nations passed u.n. security council resolution last mar march. i've read it. it looks like an appropriate response. will it be enforced? will we be prepared in fact to repatriate all of the uniformed personnel from countries that are not doing what they need to do in draping their personnel before they're in theater to
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deal with sexual abuse issues, holding those who violate accountable including prison time. if not, they should not be part of the u.n. peacekeeping mission. are we prepared to implement that? i say that because, mr. chairman, there are shortages of personnel, there are more countries that are now participating in u.n. peacekeeping missions including those from developing countries that may not have the same access to training. so will the united nations compromise the safety of young people in order to meet the numbers in the peacekeeping mission? if they do, the chairman and i are doing to to everything we can to make sure we don't have the resources to do that. we're not going to support that type of activity. so there can be zero tolerance, and i really do look forward to discussion we're going to have
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with our two panels today, and i do know that people the people that are in front of us are working every day to make sure that the united states leadership makes it cheer thlea we will not allow, tolerate that type of conduct and demand particularly under the u.n. banner that there be total accountability and no tolerance for this type of activity. >> thank you, senator. i appreciate your services very much. ambassador coleman, u.s. representative to the united states for u.n. management and reform. our second witness today is the honorable tracy ann jacobson, principal deputy, assistant secretary of state, bureau of national organizational affairs. our third witness is major general michael d. rothstein. did i pronounce that correctly? >> yes. >> deputy assistant of state for
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plans, programs, and oermss, state department bureau political, military affairs. we thank you all for your service to our country. i think all of you know without objection your written testimony will be entered into the record. if you could summarize in about five minutes. and i would say that i know you all are very busy. to the extent you could hear the testimony of the second panel it might be beneficial to you, but we thank you for yours here now. if you could start in the order i introduced you, i'd appreciate it. thank you for taking the time to be with us today. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member carden and other distinguished members of the panel for inviting me here to testify today on this urgent and shameful issue of sexual abuse and exploitation by u.n. peacekeepers. earlier this month i had the opportunity to travel with ambassador power to the central african republic to witness the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president of
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that country. and in many ways the trip underscored both the best and the very worst of u.n. peacekeeping. the presence of u.n. peacekeepers has been critical to staumpbling the ethnic violence in that country, violence that has led to the deaths of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. as we also know, some troops have been implicated in allegations of horrific sexual abuse, preying on the very people that they were sent to protect. during my time, ambassador power and i had the opportunity to travel and meet with the families of victims. and their descriptions of the violence that their loved ones have suffered at the hands of u.n. peacekeepers were really powerful personal accounts that
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for me cut through the handwringing, the -- frankly the excuses for why this skournl has been allowed to persist for just too long.courge has been allowed to persist for just too long. sexual exploitation and abuse by u.n. peacekeepers is not a new problem. it has plagued missions from bosnia to haiti to the democratic republic of congo to the central african republic. let me read you a short passage from an internal u.n. report documenting sexual abuse among peacekeepers. some girls, i'm quoting, some girls talked of rape disguised as prostitution in which they said they were raped and given money or food afterwards to give the rape the appearance of a consensual transaction.
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these words, i'm sorry to say, come from the report in 2005. we know from the scope of current allegations now more than a decade later these very same offenses are still occurring and despite years of u.n. leaders insisting on, quote, zero tolerance, a culture of impunity has been allowed to fester. when ambassador power asked me last year to lead our mission's efforts to establish a new paradigm for really tackling this scourge, it was clear that an unacceptable lack of transparency and accountability were at the heart of the issue. yes, the u.n. published an annual reportal hitting the numbers and types of sexual abuses by mission, by peacekeepers, but under pressure from the troop contributing countries themselves it withheld the nationality of the alleged perpetrat perpetrators, and that made it difficult for member states to take collective action on tracking the status of
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investigations and the outcome of disciplinary action to hold perpetrators to account. and in short, without transparency, real accountability was at best, at best, inconsistent. and this finally is changing. and, senator, i share your outrage on this. to look back over so many years of words, of rhetoric, that has not resulted in true accountability is simply unacceptable. last year, u.s./u.n. led negotiations in the general assembly for what i view as a breakthrough, finally, on transparency. we gain consensus among member states to support the secretary-general in his intent to name countries in his annual report. those countries whose troops have allegations against them. a long overdue step. and a of early march this year the u.n. is now reporting on its
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website in real time it is posting credible allegations along with the nationality of the alleged perpetrators. and with this information, we are pursuing a comprehensive approach to track individual cases and follow up with the appropriate authorities. in march, u.s./u.n. brought the issue of sexual abuse, as you know, to the security council with resolution 2272. another significant step forward for accountability. the resolution endorses the secretary-general's decision to repatriate peacekeeping units that have demonstrated a pattern of abuse which is a clear indication of insufficient command and control. and the secretary-general is empowered to repatriate all the troops from a mission, from a particular troop or police contributing country if it is has not


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