tv CPAC Highlights CSPAN March 17, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm EDT
is a very terrible situation for many for -- for many from a humanitarian standpoint. there are many human fighters that are attracted to the conflict in syria who have joined the opposition. the opposition, in my view, has been very astute about that. howquestion comes up -- long will assad last? our standard answer is that his days are numbered. we don't know that number. he is very committed to hanging in there and sustaining his control of the regime. >> how would you assess there ran -- assess iran and the role they are playing in serious to -- in syria today? >> in terms of providing
material aid as well as advice, to the extent of organizing militias and the sort of thing -- iran, along with their surrogate has below, have a huge stake -- their surrogate hezbolah, have a huge stake. it would be a street -- a strong strategic loss for the iranians if the regime falls. >> you have mentioned that assad's days are numbered. how do you think iran will react to a post-assad syria. >> that is why they are investing with materials and fighters, to maintain their interest and their physical presence there.
whatever form some successor regime takes, or if there is fragmentation, they would at least have a foothold in syria. we really don't know what their strategy is. >> i will leave you with one last question and then i will give back my time. on egypt, how capable do you think that the current egyptian government is in handling the unrest that we are seeing currently? >> unrest, you say? they were able to suppress the violence in port said. i think they have the capability, once they put their
minds to it, to maintain order. >> thank you. >> ok, i yield back. >> senator king. >> i want to call upon your long years of experience. we put a lot of stock in sanctions and have over the years. we are putting a lot of stock sanctions in iran. as americans, we tend to think that other countries will act and react the way we do when, in reality, their systems are very different than ours. my question on iran is -- is very sufficient political -- they sufficient middle class that has clinical power to influence the regimes decisions aced on the squeeze supplied by the sanctions? does the supreme ayatollah care whether his economy is going down?
>> yes, he does. he does care. it does concern him about the deterioration in the economy because of the prospect for promoting unrest. among the citizenry of iran. ofare seeing more signs that. at the same time, i think the supreme leader's standard for the level of private nation that iran suffered during the iraq war. we don't believe they have reached that point yet. as the supreme leader looks westward or looks at us, he can
argue that we are on the decline with our influence declining particularly in that part of the world. his view of the world may not be necessarily fact-based come a particularly when it comes to internal conditions in his country. >> turning again to another long-standing part of us policy, which is nuclear deterrence, which is a policy since the late 1940s -- does deterrence work with a country like north korea or iran? it is sort of the same question. do they care of a mutually assured destruction? are they've responsive to that kind of thinking that has guided us policy for 50 years? are they countries like the soviet union that we think that they will make a rational decision knowing that, if they do something crazy, they will be wiped out? >> i do think they both understand that. i'm not sure in particular with
north korea if they would expect us to use a nuclear weapon here but they certainly respect the capability of our military. they have gone to school on we have done, starting with desert storm. i know that for a fact. i think deterrence in this broadest context does work and does have impact on the decision-making calculus of these two countries. >> you had a brief colloquy with last year's cyber bill. that bill did not get through. there were rejections from -- there were objections from the is his point of view. are there things we can do to get that bill through? there is a certain urgency here. i believe it went twice before the senate and it didn't go through either time. thatis happening to get done? i'm sure there are things that
congress can do to push this forward. i would underscore the importance of being able to come up with some legislation that will be addressed -- that will address vulnerabilities that our opponents would be aware of. >> would you characterize the cyber threat as accelerating? >> absolutely. our site is all i have. >> thank you very much. -- that is all i have. >> thank you very much. we will see if we can work together that we can get a bill together that we can move to the committee on the information sharing part of it. that might the of help to you. so we will begin that effort shortly. we will have one other quick round. i have a question on has bola -- on hezbolla.
they will continue to conduct terrorist attacks against israelis and americans. as it has recently done in other places. it is a yes or no question, i think. >> yes. they clearly have the intent to do that when they can. capacityw does their compared to al qaeda at this time? >> i don't think they reached that level of been the core al qaeda at its height. >> i would agree with director clapper. to be specific, it is not at that level. it does have a presence that
extends to many countries around the world. we have seen activity across the globe. but we haven't seen anything like capabilities or duty that can be seen from al qaeda in the last 10 years. >> thank you. isyou are the guy who responsible for gathering all of the information from the intelligence community, sifting through it and making some critical decisions, not only about who gets what, but where the danger is. this is a public hearing. tell the american public what keeps matt olson awake at night. >> thank you. i would say that this is -- there are a number of things that we are particularly concerned about. from an overseas perspective, it is the decentralized nature the threat from al qaeda.
as we talked about this morning, the threat from the core al qaeda has been greatly diminished. it is nowhere near where it was 10 years ago. but we have seen that threat become geographically dispersed as affiliated groups and groups sympathetic to al qaeda and its message have grown in areas, for example, in north africa. the significant of those affiliated groups is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. attacksk to carry out against aviation targets three times over the last several years. so i would put that on the top of the list on the overseas perspective you're looking for certain home in the homeland, the number one concern for an attack, albeit a small scale or unsophisticated attack, comes from homegrown extremists who
may be inspired or radicalized the message that al qaeda sends. but it would be a person more likely to act alone or in a small group to carry out a sophisticated attack. it is very difficult for us from an intelligence perspective to see in advance and therefore be able to disrupt. >> is there an aggressive effort on the part of al qaeda as well as other affiliated groups or other terrorist groups for that matter to develop homegrown -- american homegrown terrorists? >> we deftly have seen both al qaeda court in pakistan as well as a queue, ap in yemen, to reach out beyond those regions into the united states to radicalize individuals who are here who may be susceptible to that kind of a message. they may be simply wayward knuckleheads.
but they may well be inspired by that message and seek to carry out an attack. >> let me address that to you, also, director mueller. the fbi has jurisdiction over criminal and domestic activity. i would like your comments on what you see taking place from the pinpoint of homegrown terrorists. >> let me start by saying that the threat from aq ap, the thread is still out there. the individuals responsible for previous events are still there. more directly at home, it is the radicalization of individuals on the internet who have developed the desire or the will to undertake attacks. they are difficult to find. co-conspirators and others can join in.
but then again, the internet can facilitate that kind of meeting or coming together for of attack. it is lone wolves that we are principally concerned about. the other point in terms of keeping me awake is cyber. and the fact that what is happening in the cyber arena cuts across any of our disciplines, whether it's counterintelligence or countered and -- counter terrorists as well as criminal. there are various objectives and goals of discrete individuals utilizing the cyber arena, whether it be for criminal purposes or for terrorist purposes that has grown to be right up there with aqap with homegrown terrorists and cyber attackers. >> thank you. senator rockefeller, are you ok? >> i think i'm ok. i have a couple of questions i
would like to ask, but i would like to get to the closure. >> i know you have a fustian. >> just one, madam chair. on the surveillance front, i hope we can do this with just a yes or no answer and i know senator feinstein wants to move on. last year, the nsa director was at a conference and he was asked about the nsa surveillance of america. he replied, "the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions dossiers on people is completely false." having served on the committee now for a dozen years, i don't really know what a dossier is in this context. so what i wanted to see, if you could give me a yes or no answer to the question, does the nsa collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of
millions of americans? >> no, sir. >> it does not? >> not wittingly. there are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect but not willingly. >> i have additional questions to give you in writing. i thank you for your answer. tojust to answer -- just follow on his questions, we keep talking about al qaeda. but my impression -- we have to realize that it only takes four or five people these days to mount some kind of a threat. is there a danger that we are so focused on al qaeda that we will miss a second cousin of al qaeda that arises in brazil or someplace that constitutes a
serious threat? >> i don't think so. that is reflected on this panel. closelyork area together to look forward to determine where that next threat is coming from. there very focused on activities of groups in north africa during that may simply butympathetic to out cato, have not reached the level of -- to al qaeda, but have not reached the level of pain al qaeda. i speak on behalf of the people working at the national center who are laser focused in trying to identify that next threat good will be -- next threat. will we be perfect every time? no, but we are focused on trying to see that next threat. that is something we are doing as a community. >> if i might add, domestic
threats, we have not forgotten the bombing of oklahoma city in 1995. while, yes, outside threats can be undertaken within the united states. with homegrown terrorists, we try to look aboard -- we try to look across the board. >> are you seeing any increase in those numbers, the number of those groups not related to islamic extremists, but more homegrown? >> to a certain extent, it is cyclical. lose are groups who may their leaders. either they are incarcerated or have passed. the capabilities of that group,
in order to undertake an attack, would the diminished. we have seen that off and on. we seen that many of the radical groups or extremist groups do not want to be associated with the lone wolves them out.ush if you have surveillance or understand what is happening, a substantial extremist group having someone around them would present a special challenge. >> we are seeing a proliferation in north africa of chapters. ony seem folk used more local and regional issues -- they seem focused more on local and regional issues in those particular countries and less inclined, at least at this
point, to promote attacks elsewhere. although that is always a possibility. so we will watch these groups as they evolve in their objectives. >> thank you. >> let me thank you, everyone, on behalf of this committee for your service to this country, for your presence here today, for your testimony. and for those of you who did not have a chance to respond, we look forward to seeing you in the committee on some of these issues. we will recess and reconvene directly to our skiff right down the hall at the call of the chair. so thank you and this committee is recessed. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
>> on "newsmakers" the chairman of the republican study committee discusses the congressional debate over spending and taxes, energy policy, and the committee's opposition to a carbon tax. that's today at 6:00 eastern on c-span. the joint chiefs of staff chairman will talk about the future of the persian gulf. iranmic sanctions against have increased tensions in the region. that begins at 12:30 p.m. on c- span3. blessed a crowd in st. peter's square following his election by a conclave of cardinals. he is the first south american pulp and he succeeds pope
[applause] >> this week, vice president joe biden, house minority leader, nancy pelosi, and a bipartisan toegation will travel vatican city. travel with susanna martinez and the president of georgetown university. the delegation from the house includes representatives chris smith, john duffy and others.