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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 10, 2013 10:30pm-6:01am EDT

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raises concerns about providing talking points that would include a mention of al qaeda because of concern that congress would use that against the state department. >> the state department has said -- they raised two primary concerns about the talking points. the points went further than n assigning responsibilities. there was concerns about protecting the integrity of the investigation and that was expressed in other departments not just the state department. >> there were concerns about giving members something to use against the state department. >> this was a process where here was an effort underway, interagency process for information that could be delivered by government officials both congressional and administration officials about what we knew. not going beyond what we knew was important.
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so -- >> that means -- the language of the e-mail is pretty clear and the response is clear in terms of asag within want this and this is a concern. no matter who ended up providing the talking points in the end, it certainly seems clear that there was an influence by the white house and the state department on the talking points. >> the white house, as i said, made one minor change to the talking points drafted by and had ed by the c.i.a. and few inputs on it. discussions that went on prior to this reflected the concerns of a variety of agencies who had a stake in this issue, both the f.b.i. because it was investigating, the c.i.a., obviously, and other intelligence agencies. the state department because an ambassador had within killed and
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a diplomatic facility was attacked. the concern was not provide information that was speculative in terms of whether it was real la strength what happened. happened. to what the discussion about -- the republicans again on in this ongoing efforts when mitt romney took political advantage out of his in a move that was not approved by members of his own party. -- this were the we trying to play down an act of terror and an attack on the embassy. the president himself in the
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rose garden said this was an act of terror. he talked about it within the context of september 11, 2001. we had other officials of the administration refer to this as a terrorist act. susan rice when he went out on the sunday shows using the talking points that we're discussing now talked about the possibility. we believed extremists were involved and there were suspicions involved but there was not hard, concrete evidence. so ambassador rice in those shows talked about the possibility that al qaeda might be involved or other al qaeda affiliates might be involved. that demonstrates there was no effort to play it down, it was a reflection that we did not and
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other agencies did not jump to conclusion about who is responsible before we had an investigation to find out the facts. >> the concern about how congress react because factor? >> if you look at the development of the talking points the answer to that is no because the talking points reflect the intelligence community about what happened and the other issues about who was responsible, what specific organization might have participanted, what information was available or threats were known about the situation in libya or benghazi specifically. all of that was part of the investigation and provided to congress and as we learn more about it to the public by the administration. >> you said a my floor change in venue. y such a big deal today with
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this deep background off the record -- >> it wasn't off the record. >> they have decided to leak this information to reporters, information we provided months ago to republican lawmakers to the relevant committees and leadership and there's an ongoing effort to make something political out of this. the problem is it has never been clear of what they think they are accusing the administration of doing. when it comes to who is responsible we were open about what we knew, what we thought we an ongoing s is the investigation and we would learn more about what happened in
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benghazi. >> it seems like there has been the fire. to if this is such a minor issue -- >> i'm here right now to take our questions about the issue. as i said at the top, it is not a replacement for this briefing nd that is why i'm here. on september 14 in those e-mail exchanges, there's a discussion -- that is a
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stylistic edit. that is a major dramatic change. >> i appreciate the question and the opportunity again to make there was talking points. let me just finish. from that -- >> from pressure from other parties that were involved. >> i will point you to the statements that the top officials at the c.i.a. making clear they wrote the talking points, they believe the talking points represented what they knew to the best of their knowledge and did not conclude what they could not be concretely sure of. hat is a good example of it.
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a lot of people rushed out and said this is the group that is responsible. we were not sure that group was responsible but we knew it was extremists. it is the idea that saying extremists is somehow hiding the ball, does anybody not understand that extremists in libya are the kind of people that would attack the u.s. diplomatic facility. >> if you go back to what sousa rice was talking about. his is an altogether different thing. >> she talks about the fact that they might be responsible. she talksed about al qaeda could be responsible. what she did not say is that we
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know for a fact that they are responsible. there were countless hearings and countless documents that have been provided in 25,000 pages of document. this is just the talking points that was the base line for public officials, beginning with members of congress that is what they were developed to. they were provided to ambassador ce >> you are comfortable our show you characterize this? yes, it might be the white house who made the single adjustment
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and maybe it was the c.i.a. that drafted the talk points. that glosses over the fact that you have changed this. this is a content-driven change. >> others asked for it that there was a change to make it factual from calling the building in benghazi from a conscious lat to a diplomatic facility. there was a lot of discussion where this the various issues were discussed about what could be and what was said and what
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we're speculating about. in that process, the white house involvement in the talking point swise limited. so you're talking about the speculation about what may or may have not happened in enghazi. >> you said the only changes were stylistic. is it stylistic to take out all terror references to and ghazi? >> i appreciate the question again. what i was talking about were the documents the cia drafted and sent around, then i would not precisely call the change of one word to another tries -- > these were after they were
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concerns raised by the state department. >> well, i think you are getting -- >> there are specific references to al qaeda. the original cia version includes extensive discussion of the ruby terrorist attacks in benghazi. those were taken out. >> the cia wrote another draft -- >> based on input from the state department. >> this is what i'm saying. i have answered this question several times. i am happy to answer it, if you will let me answer it. there are a lot of people that have a stake in a matter like this. the investigative agency, the state department in this case, and the national security staff. everyone provided information and commented. on saturday morning, the cia said we will take a crack at these talking points based on hat we know.
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do not forget the fundamental issue here, which is what can be said concretely about what the intelligence community knew to be true. not that some people thought it was all sharia. some people thought it was other al qaeda affiliates. -- not that some people thought it was all sharia -- al haria. there have been protests out of which the attacks occurred. that was a response to be demonstrations in cairo, that were ultimately a response to that video. that turned out not to be the case. but it demonstrates the fluidity of the information, the fact that it was hard and continues to be hard in an investigation to know concretely, especially in the first days afterward, what happened. and that is why we were so careful to say, here is what we know or what we believe we know.
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every time we said that, we said we fully expect this image to -- this information to change as we learn more. nd it did. the effort by republicans to find some hidden mystery comes to nothing because the president called it an act of terror. the ambassador to the united nations that very sunday, which has caused republicans such concern, talk about al qaeda and al-sharia. all of this is a distraction from the key issues. the diplomatic post was attacked by individuals in libya, in benghazi, for americans lost their lives. from the beginning, the president has committed all of the resources of this government to find two is responsible and bring them to justice. he also, very clearly, together with the secretary of state,
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said we need to make sure what went wrong, what problems there were with allowed this to happen, hold people accountable, and making necessary changes so it it does not happen again. that process happened. that process was led by two of the most experienced and widely regarded figures in national security in washington, the foreman -- the former chairman of the joint chiefs admiral ullen and tom pickering. they conducted an extensive review of it. they said they had access to all the information they needed. they had access to all the old he needed to talk to. they produced an unsparing report with a series of very critical observations and very serious recommendations, every single one of which the state department has adopted.
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that is the way it should work. the president and the secretary of state insisted it should work hat way. >> you said the only changes that were made to the white house or the state department were stylistic and a single word. what we see here is the state department raised objections about the reference to al-sharia and they raised objections to the fact that the cia had warned of a terror attack in benghazi prior to the attack. those subjects were taken out of the cia talking points at the direction of the white house -- >> first of all, it was not under the direction of the white house. this process said, everyone is concerned. we have to be listened to and take into account. ultimately, these were intelligence community talking points that the intelligence community -- john, can i finish? you had a long time there. it represents the intelligence
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community view of what they knew at that time about what happens. this would be more significant if we did not acknowledge from the beginning that extremist were likely involved, if we did not acknowledge from the beginning that it very well could have beenal-sharia that was involved or al qaeda ffiliates. this is an effort to accuse the administration of hiding something we did not hide. in fact, we spoke publicly about t. we spoke openly about that possibility. every bit of information that has come out about what we know happened in benghazi, literally all of the information provided by the various agencies of the administration -- the investigation continues to this day. just last week, the fbi released photographs of individuals they believe might be connected to the attack on benghazi and the
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effort to bring those people accountable. that is what remains to be done with regard to benghazi. >> just one more question. when you said what you said, did you know this had gone through 12 versions and there had been extensive changes made yet go -- changes made yet go -- changes made? >> there is always a deliberate process. i knew the cia said on saturday morning, we are going to draft these points. those points were delivered virtually unchanged, with the exception of the one change i mentioned to congress for years. -- for use. >> you acknowledge that your initial description was to some extent a mischaracterization? >> i think it is important to examine the information that we provided congress months ago,
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which they have decided to leak today, which i suppose is their prerogative. the fact is, the white house's involvement of the talking points was to suggest a single change. by the way, we suggested change. everybody's signs off or does not. this is a matter of fact. i i think people were fine with t. even prior, in the deliberative process i was referring to, that john was talking about, the white house was not involved in any actual -- the white house involvement in any actual substantive changes was extremely minimal. >> why not come forward initially friday night and say [unintelligible] why not off that information? >> the intent is to answer the question. the questions are related to -- this is the republican accusation everyone was very excited about at the time.
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did the white house change the intelligence community's assessment of what happened? did the white house tell the intelligence community to change what happened? the underreported fact is these documents bear out what we said all along. the answer is no. >> speaker boehner -- has asked for that you release the e-mail. and officials are asking they get more documentation about the meeting at the white house. will you release those e-mails? >> i think we have seen what they were able to review and take extensive notes on. i think including these speakers house, and perhaps he is unaware of that. >> is the president unaware of those allegations? >> allegations of what?
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>> the irs story. >> i have not spoke on the president yet, but you can be sure that if there was inappropriate conduct, we will not tolerate that. >> [unintelligible]>> i know when they began investigating it for however long the irs has said, but i do not have as pacific answer for that. i can tell you based on what we have learned today, two things. the iressa has taken action to correct this. the -- the irs has taken action to correct this. we thoroughly concur with that investigation. >> conservative groups were complaining about this from 2010 and 2012.
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was the white house aware of that then you go -- aware of that been? >> aware of what? the irs? i do not have information about that. i think there are public reports but i would refer to you to the i.r.s. >> [unintelligible]>> the irs is an independent gency. the secretary-general is an independent investigator. that office is investigating them. that is entirely appropriate. yes? >> speaker boehner's office says they have seen the e-mails, but they want them to be released to the public. >> as i mentioned at the top, there is a long president for protecting internal deliberations across administrations of both parties. we took the extraordinary step,
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which is unusual, i think especially unusual with regard to our predecessor, of providing these e-mails so the relevant committee members and staffers could review them, take notes, spend as much time with them as they like. that was an extraordinary step, because it was demanded by republicans as part of what they were asking for during the confirmation process for john brennan. i would remind you in response to that, a number of republicans said that they felt they had the information they needed. the brennan nomination moved forward and he was confirmed. >> i guess people still have a lot of questions -- >> we provided this information o the committee. the very thought that we used it and leaked it -- they are asking for something they already had access to demonstrates, i think, what it was at the beginning from the republican end of it,
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which is in a highly political matter. the hours after the attack, from the republican nominee's unfortunate press release, there has been an effort to politicize the tragedy, the death of or americans, to try to suggest that even though the president calls it an act of terror, even though the ambassador to the united nations says that the probable responsibility as al qaeda or al qaeda affiliates, that we were somehow not talking about that. when the publicly available evidence proves the boss reject the -- when the publicly available evidence proves the opposite. >> the house will take up next week to repeal the affordable care agent. speaker boehner says they have 70 new mobes that have not had a chance to vote on the affordable care act. what is your response? >> i appreciate that.
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i think what i said in the past olds true today. it would take 44 votes to repeal the affordable care at would achieve nothing beyond what it has achieved in the past, which suppose is a waste of time. the congress passed the affordable care act. the supreme court upheld the affordable care act. we are implementing the affordable care act. it just seems to me whether the house of representatives vote on passing a measure that would prioritize debts -- default by any other name -- basically accept the situation where they would tank the world economy if they do not get the tax cuts for the wealthy that they wanted, that does not seem like a representation of what the american people want the members of congress to be doing. and then we go through the charade again of voting to
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repeal a law that has been upheld by the supreme court and passed into law and signed into law. it just seems misguided. what would be great, i think, for members of congress to do is focus on things the american people want them to focus on. like measures to help the economy. to focus on some of the things that the president focused on yesterday in texas where he highlighted the remarkable advances being made in high-tech manufacturing, the advances that are helping to build the economy of the future, where he announced at the initiative to find another innovation institutes so again we develop these jobs for the middle class, the jobs of the future, and then to assist middle-class americans to fill those jobs and ensure that those jobs pay the kind of wages the middle class likes.
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that is what the american people are focused on and what they want. the efforts to refight the political battles of the past are not looked upon kindly by a majority of americans. john christopher and then -- >> as the british invasion continues monday, prime minister david cameron will be here. he met with mr. putin in russia today. aside from the discussions about the g-8 summit in northern ireland, how much of the discussion will be on syria, and can you give us any more details about the meeting and what will be discussed? >> as always, the president will be with prime minister cameron. the relationship between our two nations is extraordinarily close. we cooperate on matters across he international spectrum. the upcoming g8 will force the topic of conversation. the united kingdom will host
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hat. they will also clearly discuss syria. hey will probably discuss it -- iran. they will probably discuss the middle east these process. a whole host of issues, as is always the case when these two leaders get together. >> another question about the irs. did anyone at the white house know this was going on? >> i just learned about this today. i think the irs has addressed when it learned at the headquarters level, how it learned about it, and what actions it was taking in the investigation. >> so, it whether the white house was involved or not, you can't say -- >> i learned about it today.
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peter? >> is it not also political to say you want to keep something out of the talking points because it might he riticized? >> i think the state department has addressed the concerns when that office engaged with other agencies in discussions about what we, what they knew and what the various agencies knew and what was appropriate to include in public talking points. i think one of the concerns is we do not want to put in information that would suggest by its inclusion that it is relevant to or determinative about who is responsible, when in fact, we did not know that. as we learned more information, we have provided it. we are openly engaged in onversations that folks like al-sharia might have been responsible.
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remember, the issue at the time was, where we somehow including in the talking points that there had been protests that led to this attack outside the facility in benghazi. the president talked about xtremists. i think everybody knows what extremist means. the information that we, that he intelligence community had, information that could not be confirmed. what the cia said. >> is the phrase was notlet not
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put this out because we can't confirm but it says that let's not put this out because it is not political itself? >> i think the state department has addressed the concerns about this. they focused on not assigning responsibility prematurely. the definition was likely to change. and that we not use language that is consistent with what members of congress have been deploying information about this, which, again, was not what we believe to be true. in an effort to focus everyone who was talking about this up quickly on what the lead agencies here were -- the information they had, as opposed to speculating about who is responsible or what relevance there might be that there had been threats and warnings in libya in general and benghazi specifically.
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>> you said, everybody does it, basically. republicans and democrats. don't you think it encourages the idea that you had something or your colleagues had something they did not want to say out here? >> not at all. that was an effort to do what we do periodically, to walk people through what we knew with granularity, which i am happy to do as long as you want here. >> [unintelligible]. >> again, peter, we provide information on background, but it is not a substitute for on the record, on camera rethink where i will take any question and try to answer it. >> what purpose is that? > to provide information and follow-up with the public briefing. >> [unintelligible].
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>> i can answer the questions. i was able to, you know, listen to the briefing as well. and i think it helps me answer the questions. >> do you think you gave much of this information from the briefing, the background, on the record? >> the answer is yes. but my familiarity with the subject predates today significantly. >> overarching, looking back -- is the president satisfied with the way the investigation handled this? would you do something differently? would you want the administration to do something differently? >> no. the administration has focused on what is important here. investigating what happened. working to bring those who killed four americans to
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justice. investigating what went wrong with security. and taking steps to make sure it never happens again. those tracks have been pursued from the beginning at the president's direction. and our effort has been to provide as much information as we have when it is available and when we feel confident it is accurate. and i think this is reflective of a major incidents like this all the time, that information may not come out to be wholly accurate. from the beginning, we said the investigation is just getting. as more information came out, we would make you aware of that. that is exactly what we did. >> you talked right away about the video. i wonder, you saying now it was speculative. a lot of us then were wondering why you did not just wait. why are you saying the video
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-- >> i was -- i was saying based on the points that the cia had provided. >> right. >> i think that is instructive. at that time -- and obviously different people saw different things -- the leading intelligence agency and this process decided that is what it believed and knew at the time and that is what it provided to us as well as members of congress. as that changed -- what? >>don't the series of the emails now suggest you did speculate that, that you were cherry picking? >> no. ne thing that is consistent in the material provided is from the beginning, that was in the talking points that the cia was
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prepared to disseminate, and it was based on what they do at the time. the fact that parts of that -- and the only part of that that turned out not to be the case, that there were protests over the -- reflects how fluid information is and how risky it is to make declarations about what we know to be true in the immediate aftermath of an incident. it is important to look at that. the talking points that have been mentioned -- and remember these are talking points -- to this day, have been shown to be wrong in only one instance, and that was the existence of demonstrations preceding the attack. everything about them was true, including the assertion that extremists might have been involved, and the assertion that as we got more information on this, the account would likely be evolve and change and we would provide that information as we got it.
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all of this, the republican attempts to politicize this, is based on that single thing which we corrected once we knew it was no longer a correct description of what happened. >> but the president today spoke about the health care --because this has continued because that information was not put out. >> i do not understand what you mean, "that information. are you saying we should rely on the intelligence community on what they knew? so did others. we made clear it was preliminary that was subject to change as more information became available. >> you are saying the first teration of the talking points that the cia drafted was what they thought happened, and the last version was what they knew happened. >> the case, as i said, knew what they thought they knew happen, and based on their assessment, that is what they
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thought they knew. it was couched in alterations, and the caveat that more information became available, the picture would like the change. >> by nature of the cia's integration of the talking points -- why was it deemed necessary to then refer them back to not including certain information in the final draft version, if they were perfectly fine with that? >> the process began because the cia got the request from the house permanent select intelligence committee, and they began the process of drawing up points. again, as i have said, as the process evolves, there were clearly inputs from other agencies who had direct stake in
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this, including the fbi, the state department, the national ecurity staff, and others. and when the cia drafted the points on saturday morning, it kept those points to what they believed they knew at the time, based on the information -- i have addressed that. there was no concrete determination. there were some people who believed it and some who did not. there was no concrete etermination that warnings about the threat that existed in libya were or were not directly related to what happened in benghazi. all of those matters have been discussed in matters of investigation, but they were not what we knew or the intelligence community knew to be true at the time. ambassador rice, who has been the focus of this in the use of these talking points and a very partisan focus of republican complaints on this, openly
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discussed the possible of that and the likelihood that the extremists that we felt were involved might have some outcome or some other affiliation to an extremist group as to opposed to some unaffiliated silent actors. >> why would they sign up on the first version? >> you are talking about a draft process that involves a bunch of agencies offering their views -- >> but they are not comfortable with putting it out there. >> i would say -- here is a good point. there was and one of the stories i read -- and these are documents that somebody provided to reporters -- but one of the things that has been noted that was removed is an assertion about a warning from social media about potential demonstrations in cairo. we do not hear a lot of republicans citing that because
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that would have, if it was included, reinforced the assertion that demonstrators did an attack in benghazi, that they were the result of reaction to the violent demonstrations in cairo. the focus of these things was to write just what we knew or what we thought we knew based on the intelligence community's best assessment. >> it is coming up on eight months since the attacks. the fbi just got around to releasing names of people they were looking for information about the perpetrators. is the president confident the fbi is capable of solving this and finding the perpetrators? is this a priority for the president? >> absolutely, and this is a reason that reflects the hard work that the fbi is working on,
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working with other agencies as well as authorities in libya, and that continues. this president has a record to prove it that he will keep focus on this until those responsible are brought to justice. this president has a record to ack this up. >> you talked about the talking points being about what we knew or one the cia believed in t. the first two drafts, we do know that islamist extremists with ties to al qaeda participated in the attack. this is not couched. they say they do know. >> [indiscernible] and you should direct this question to the intelligence community, where there were different inputs about what they
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thought they knew and the people who provided information thought they knew, and it was the assessment of the leadership of the cia and those who were -- >> when they said they knew -- >> it was reflected there was not enough concrete information, and the former director of the cia has testified on this, as has the acting director, and made clear that the points, as they emerged and were disseminated, reflected what they felt they knew, what they could say concretely based on assessments, and the intelligence community does not deal in facts just picked off the shelf. they have to assess a wide variety of information, information just like what happened in benghazi that was so chaotic. they had to base it on a variety of streams of information, and they made the assessment they did.
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then, when being cautious not to go beyond what they knew, one of the points they made turned out not to be true, and when that became clear, they corrected it, and we corrected it -- and in real time -- and that is how the public and the press became aware of it. >> on the irs, your reaction to hings that speaker boehner said, that this act echoes some of the most shameful abuses of government power in the 20th century american history, and many asked that other federal agencies use government powers to attack americans for partisan reasons. [indiscernible] >> there is so much i could say about that, but all i will say is that it's a matter of concern and it needs to be thoroughly investigated. it is being investigated by the inspector general, who is
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responsible for the irs, which is an independent enforcement agency. and the activity as described is inappropriate. that is the view of this white house and should be thoroughly investigated and acted on. i will do one more, voice of america. yes. > to syria [indiscernible] and interviews with people of coming close to the border. do they have different intelligence? >> we were offered with a number of allies and partners in assessing the situation in syria on the ground, and as of late in relation to this very important matter, the use of chemical weapons in syria. but the president and what we
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have said is we have information that chemical weapons were used, but we do not have a complete picture about how that was used, who was responsible, and the hain of custody. you need information about that case before you make policy decisions based on it. that is something the american people would expect us to do, to be delivered about this. also to rely on not just an intelligence assessment -- we have been talking about intelligence assessments and the fact they evolves and in sometimes in the first instance are not accurate -- and we need to build on that, and we believe strongly that the intelligence work done here has been very solid, but it is not the end of a process, it is closer to the beginning, and we continue to work with partners, continuing to press for the united nations to investigate, but we are not leaving it only to the united nations. as i have said, we are working
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with allies, partners, and the syrian opposition to gather more information and evidence about chemical weapons use in syria. thank you, gentlemen. i think we will have to provide it -- do i have here? thank you all very much for reminding me. the schedule for the week of may 13, 2013 -- on monday, the president will hold a bilateral meeting with prime minister cameron of the united kingdom at the white house. this will highlight the fundamental importance of the u.s.u.k. relationship, to which we address a broad range of security concerns. later on monday, the president will travel to new york city for events before returning to the white house in the evening. >> are those open? >> i will get that information. my trusted deputy says one is open.
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tuesday, he will attend meetings at the white house. on wednesday, the president will deliver remarks at the national peace officers memorial service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement killed in the line of duty in the previous year. on thursday, the president will welcome prime minister erdogan of turkey to the white house for a working dinner. the prime minister's visit underscores the close friendship between the united states and turkey and the importance we put on our relationship moving forward. on friday, the president will to travel to baltimore, aryland. more details regarding this travel to baltimore will be forthcoming. >> [indiscernible] >> i don't have the answer to that. we will get back to you when i have more details. thank you all very much.
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>> at today state department briefing it was talked about the process led by the c.i.a. in developpling the talking attacks on the benghazi attack in libya last year. the state department had a paragraph deleted that referenced an al qaeda group and terrorist threats in benghazi. here's a portion of the briefing that focuses on the issue. t runs about 10 minutes. >> ok, good afternoon, everyone. i jumped the june a little yesterday saying happy friday, today i'm allowed to say it. happy friday. i don't have anything at the top so i will turn it over to you. whitney, you look eager. go ahead.
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>> so about the e-mails that abc and the "weekly standard" have released today. in the exchanges when victoria newman was e-mailing with the intelligence community and the white house during the drafting process of the talking points, who was she directly reporting to? >> let me say a few points about the talking points. just to remind everybody, these were talking points developed during the process led by the c.i.a.. one thing to say that was consistent throughout, despite the sort of cherry picking or looking at one e-mail or another we were clear about the attack. another thing in the talking points throughout -- the question wasn't if they were violent extremist, obviously, they were. the question was who they were
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and if there was a demonstration at that time. it appears there wasn't despite the best intelligence assessments at the time. the news agencies are quoting from these because we made them available to congress earlier this year, a number of months ago. so the talking points were based on the intelligence community assessments. they were the best assessment at that time. the spokesperson office let me be clear, the state department reviewed the points on the friday eastbounding after the attacks that they were being used by public use by the members of congress. we raised two primary concerns at the time but the points went further in assigning responsibility and the preliminary assessments suggested. secondly, the points were inconsist wept the administration points that used to date. members of congress would provide more to congress than
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the administration. that is the two concerns we raised. i can't get into every aspect of that. clearly, there were other ajncies involved and the white house and others. that is what i can tell you about the state department and the spokesperson office role on that friday. >> the charge that seems the c.i.a. warns -- it says in the original -- the first if you drafts seems to indicate that the c.i.a. warned the state department several times about a growing threat and all qaeda and insinuates through these talking points they said they prepared that the state department ignored the warning. did the c.i.a. warn the state department about a growing islamic threat? >> i can't get into intelligence assessments and how they were shared between agencies. what i said earlier and i think
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you were walking in was two things are constant threat. we said all vergs of this they were extremists and the notion of the protest was in intelligence assessment in the beginning and through the later. that was what the intelligence community talked about when they updated that assessment. i also want to have the opportunity to raise one other thing. this is something that came up this week, this notion that mr. hicks testified too that somehow the f.b.i. investigation was slowed down as a result of these talking points. that is another thing i wanted to be very clear about. just to remind people that the libyan government granted they assisted the f.b.i. team on the sunday talk shows. they got their flight clearance arrived iny and they tropli on the 17.
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when he was with secretary clinton, this is the libyan prime minister was on a press appearance a week later. he made clear that they would do everything -- whatever is necessary to expedite the investigation and do anything to pursue the justice. so we reject that claim as well. >> to finish that on the first question. but when victoria in the e-mail said leadership, who does that refer to? >> i mean, i can't speak to every word that has been cherry picked from the e-mails. i can tell you from the spokesperson the way we do in talking points -- >> they are not necessarily words that are cherry picked. the e-mails are out there. >> again, excerpts of various
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e-mails have been taken. >> you feel that if we were able to read the e-mails in their entirety it should show some context that we would understand? >> when you take them and snippets of them they can be taken out of context. one of the things that i made clear that does not come across is peskly -- specifically in the spokesperson office we're looking at them for talking points for members of the house at this time. there is a discussion on how they were developed and how the intelligence community makes their points, that is a different question. >> does it matter if they are for ambassador rice or for congress. talking points is your basic knowledge. >> again, think is part of the point of us at the spokesperson level. some of the tactical assessments are who is speaking and what has been made prior.
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when you're proceeding for the podium, we talk about how we're going to brief later. those are the concerns that we're going to raise. when you say you're raising it up, that means some of the policymakers are going to be looking at it. i can't speak in this specific case in the context of of who is being referred to. in general terms when we're inside an organization negotiating and sometimes we make a reference to other individuals or other policymakers. so that is the context i can provide in general terms on how we operate as press spokespeople. not only the best language to use but the best tactics to use in terms of explaining what we're talking about to journalists and others. >> you seem to suggest that the e-mails that just reading sip notes of the e-mails don't fully and accurately describe the concerns that you had.
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why not just release the full e-mails? the the full e-mails will show this wasn't about some kind of cover run? seeart of our concern is to these document, which we've shared, thousands of documents. in term ofs of sensitive and identifiable information or other things that go through the process to make public release, that is a separate process that goes through the lawyers. i can't speak to on the an individual document. suffice to say to be transparent with the congress who wants this information, we shared it with the congress. >> one more. vice chairman of the oversight -- ittee said that probably [unintelligible] how do they feel about that? >> that is up to them.
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there was a back and forth. you heard there was a process with the committees where, you know, it looks like they were prevented from testifying so there was concern there. if the committee wants them to testify and if those members want to testify that is up to them. there was concern that they were willing to testify and he spoke to this earlier this week about his willingness and there was confusion about why he wasn't brought into the hearing earlier in the week. pertinent not a issue if they wanted to testify or not. >> that would be up to them as individuals. >> on the next washington journal a report on hospital fees. made by 3 d enburg printers. then a help from students
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getting ready to take the advanced placement exam. washington journey live on c-span. the vice chair of the armed service committee is our guest this week on newsmakers. the congressman talks about the tack in benghazi, libya, syria, and the report on sexual assault. watch newsmakers at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> with the hunger strike continuing at the guantanamo bay president obama renewed his call to close the facility. congressman says that he has the authority to do so and needs to engage congress. he spoke at an event in a repeat
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report on the detainee task force confirming the use of torture tactics like water boarding. this is an hour and 35 minutes. >> i think we should start on military time so let us start precisely at 10:00 a.m.. i want to thank all of you for attending. this is a very important briefing. much consideration and investigation over policy at guantanamo bay has taken place ince september 11th, 2001. at this point the facts are irrefutable. most of the detainees that were brought to guantanamo could not be charged with crimes. they were brought to guantanamo and return for substantial doubt
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he's given to their captors. -- for substantial boutnies given to their captors. they have been held extrajudicial late. -- held extrajudicially. this was confirmed by a report released by a former senator in arkansas and congressman from oklahoma. they concluded that these inmates have also been tortured. i welcome the president's recent pledge to be engaged with the ongress on guantanamo bay. guantanamo bay was created to be outside of the jurisdiction of the united states courts. the political and legal expediency of the detention center at guantanamo bay has not
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been worth the cost to america's reputation around the world nor to the erosion of our legal and ethical standards here at ome. it should never have come into existence. we have also been joined by olonel davis this morning. he served 25 years in the u.s. air force. he was the chief prosecutor for the terrorism trials at guantanamo bay for more than two years. he says the same thing, that it eeds to be closed. i gave him a terribly hard time he came up to me in that army-navy game and said, "you
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were right. t needs to be closed. according to a landmark study 80% -- 86% of guantanamo bay detainees were captured by. the majority of these young men have never committed an act of iolence against the united states or our allies and only 5% have ever been members of al qaeda or organizations ssociated with al qaeda. the statistics refutes the rhetoric that many of my colleagues have made. that guantanamo's population consists of the worst of the worst. i have heard them say that over and over again. it is simply not true. the prison has been too easily
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used as a rallying cry and recruitment tool for our enemies. its continued existence is a direct threat to our national ecurity. congress has constrained the president's options for closing this facility. president obama still retains the authority to do so. hould he wish to choose to fully exercise his power and authority -- he does have the uthority to do so. he needs to read into it with congress. he understands that. -- he needs to read-engage with congress -- to re-engage with ongress.
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the president did establish a periodic review board to give these individuals the ability to challenge this designation. the panel has never been formed. i respectfully suggest that the president should form the panel now. some have argued that military commissions are the solution to try those that cannot be transferred.
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ut military commissions do not report with our civilian constitutional standards. for the market is not even clear that military commissions are a profit regardless of their legal status. f the two guilty verdicts ever achieved by trial and military commissions, the verdicts were recently overturned on the basis that the terrorism charges leveled against them do not constitute war crimes. instead those detainees that cannot be transferred should be tried in civilian courts here in the united states. the president must re-engage with the congress in order to achieve that.
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notwithstanding these options, 166 men remain indefinitely etained. many have, understandably, given up hope. believing they will never leave cuba, 100 of them are protesting their indefinite detention through the only way available to them, through hunger strikes. because the situation has become so grave some of them are being ube-fed. detainee's are being held in a chair for approximately two hours to ensure that the liquid supplement they are fed into the ube is digested.
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guantanamo has become an immediate humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed now. this morning we have organized a great panel of speakers who have a depth of knowledge and xperience with guantanamo. the moderator of the panel will introduce each of them to you. hristine is an adjunct professor, she is the member of the board at directors of the constitution project. she is a counsel to a number of current and foreign detainee's at guantanamo. also want to give a shout out to todd, who spent innumerable hours searching for justice on his issue. he shares the commitment that i rust many of you do.
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i know the american people will when they have all of the facts at their disposal. at this point let me turn the podium to miss christine husky. [applause] >> i know you want to hear the experts. david irvine is attorney and brigadier-general. he received the direct commission of the strategic development officer. he was on faculty for 18 years at the army intelligence school, teaching prisoner of war ilitary interrogation law. he also served four terms as a republican in the utah house of representatives. he is a member of the -- and he cannot with a report, it is back there on the table, the
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comprehensive version is over 500 pages and is available on-line. our next guest is a senior staff attorney for human rights. she represents the families of two men that died at uantanamo. she is also an adjunct ecturer. the next speaker is a retired u.s. army colonel and former chief of staff to secretary of state: powell. he volunteered to serve in the vietnam war and locked in 1100 hours of combat. he went on to rangers school before attending the naval war college and served as a deputy irector at quantico.
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colonel wilkinson is a professor of government at the college of william and mary. lastly we will have dr. george -- he is the professor of systematic theology at princeton theological seminary. he earned his ph.d. from yale. a leading expert, he is also an ordained presbyterian minister, the founder and a board member of the campaign against torture, and a delegate to the official reform roman catholic international dialogue. his most recent publication is "thy word is truth. he is author of the book torture is a moral issue. after they speak we hope you will stay for the q and a.
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that will be a great time to ask the questions that have not been raised in their remarks. there is a table back there with informative material, containing reports and statistics and more data. you will notice this box of -- everal boxes, actually, with a petition to close guantanamo. that is something to think about as over 190,000, close to 200,000 signatures in the last week. without further ado, general ivan. -- without further ado general rvine. >> i worked with all officers to get the united states out of the business of torture and to close the prison facility at guantanamo bay, cuba. there are two iconic image as that will forever be the most widely recognized and reviled
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legacies that our opinion or against al qaeda. first as a prisoner that is appearing to be connected to electric cables. they have created perceptions for the world, especially the muslim world, that the united states does not honor the rule of law and this particular democracy is no different in its disregard for human dignity and injustice than the oppressive regimes under which some many people live. we can tell ourselves that these are false perceptions and truly they are. i am addressing a room full of politicians and you know better than anyone that perception is reality. as a nation we have found ourselves to a legacy that is absolutely contrary to the values and principles of the declaration of independence and our constitution. in january 2012 a group of flight officers wrote to the
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president's saying that the guantanamo bay prison facility has become a symbol of how the united states jettisoned its most basic principles and values out of fear rather than relying on reason and are world renowned justice system. unfortunately it remains central o al qaeda's propaganda. we should not be afraid to provide terrorist suspects with new process of law as we bring them to justice. doing so will ultimately make america more secure on the battlefield, in the skies, and here at home on our on its soil. the response from the white house was silence. we requested a meeting with the present a few months ago to discuss the closing of guantanamo bay. the response was more silence. this was disappointing because most of our group should be behind newly elected president obama as he signs the executive order that was to shatter
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guantanamo bay in the next year. he has the authority to begin transferring detainees out of guantanamo. he recently reiterated his pledge from 2009. indefinite detention without charges or trial is absolutely contrary to the principles of american law. there is no precedent for them. our dollars bills proclaim, "and new age begins. guantanamo is our very own chateau the gift. i was in london to interview hree guantanamo prisoners. a detailed a regimen that was characterized by inadequate and poor quality food, lack of medical care, violence, and
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gratuitous and regular sexual humiliation intended to degrade muslims. one detainee was blinded in one eye. if another country were holding a few hundred americans under similar conditions we would be declaring war. americans do not care what goes on at guantanamo bay but it is safe to assume that no one else is paying attention. millions of muslims are paying close attention and this is a culture that is prepared to take revenge for injustices' that occurred when thousand years ago. i am haunted by the words of one of the former prisoners, "you have lost an entire generation of muslims who have written you off. they are forever against you. the hunger strikes will likely prove another way of shooting ourselves in the foot. we concluded that the means to break the strike is a manifestation of violence.
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we recommended an adoption of standards of care consistent with the guidelines for management of hunger strikers as set out in the 1991 world medical association declaration, including affirmation of forced feeding is prohibited and provisions should be responsible in evacuating, caring for, and it buys and prisoners engaged in hong airstrikes. -- hunger strikes. this allows hundred strikers to make an informed decision to die. there are no good options for an indefinite detention policy. on a strike is their only means of protest. he reality is that world opinion -- second, for the brutality associated with the way we bring congress strikes or any alternative for allowing prisoners to starve themselves o death. the guards instructed them how
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to kill themselves. -- how to kill myself. using the authority we currently have the president needs to lear out the detainee's. it is a first small step in what urely will be a long effort to estore lost honor. there is something wrong with the system when a war crime keep indefinitely. that is what the majority of the task force recommends that the emaining prisoners be tried by article 3 quarts or at least countries that will take them. we found indefinite detention without charges or trial to be in poor practice. we recognize that this may well require some individuals to be brought to secures facilities in
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the united states. i should note that one of the problems the state department experienced is the reluctance of many nations to solve our problems for us when we are unwilling to take cuts to any of these people on u.s. soil. one of my colleagues was pretty blunt about this. bring them to trial or release them. if they return to the battlefield we will kill them on the battlefield. we are getting really good hought that. general colin powell has said he would close guantanamo this afternoon. i will say that it is a cancer on america's claim to moral leadership that becomes more dangerous every day it remains open we are in a position that was best described by sir winston churchill, "americans cannot be counted to do the right thing because americans can be counted to do the right thing only when they have
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exhausted all other options. -- americans can be counted to do the right thing only when they have exhausted all other ptions. >> thank you very much. i wanted to start by thanking the co-sponsors of this event, my fellow panelists, and all of you for being here. i represented men at guantanamo and have been down to the base in 2007. i am going to speak from that xperience. one of the man i first met has been known by his serial number, 310. he has been held for charge without charm for over 11 years like most of the 166 men who remain. the justice department under president bush conceded in court that there were no longer any
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"military rationals" for his detention. as we speak here this morning he is in solitary confinement in a cell and the guantanamo. he is now 46 years old, he has lost over a decade of the most productive years of his life. he is the son and brother to them when members -- to family members who have not seen him for years. his detention continues indefinitely despite that he has never been charged, will never be charged, and despite that two administrations have determined that his detention is not militarily necessary. last week we got a letter from him. he is on hunger strike like most of them at guantanamo. he has lost over 50 pounds. a doctor told him that when his body reaches the point of
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deteriorating he will be forcibly fed with 80 tube and restraints. -- with a tube and restraints. he and men have been forced into cells for 23 hours a day after and obama administration ordered a review. he discussed the situation as "unbearable, like our first days. all of this for the crime of going on a hunger strike because they no longer want to be abused. his continued detention and pain are senseless. the ndaa national security waiver allows for the transfer of men like him, the 86 men did ministration has determined is no longer necessary -- the administration has determined is no longer necessary.
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he waiver provision provides a clear route for transfers to third party countries with appropriate cases and to ensure that the requirements under section 10-28-d do not bar all transfers. before those requirements were enacted the administration successfully transferred about 70 men to their home countries. the transfers were pursuant to an agreement with united states and the receiving countries that included security measures that are compliant. the same type of agreement could satisfied with the provision under section 10-28-d of the national defense authorization act.
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nor is the problem that other men have been approved for transfer remain because they have nowhere to go. of the 86 who have been approved to leave about a dozen men have feared persecution in their own countries. in 2010 there were a number of countries in europe and elsewhere that offer safe haven to men who cannot return home. the problem is not at all countries are now unwilling to take the men but the administration has stopped asking and backtracked on its promise to closure, galvanize, and support the international community in 2009 that resulted in many resettlement. the administration closed the office of the state department's special envoy that has been tasked with negotiating the resettlement, repatriation of cleared land. that office should be open and more probably get ministration
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to appoint a senior official in the white house to spearhead this process of transferring etainee's. the administration can and should also list moratorium on all transfers to yemen that have been in place since 2009 obsessively without review. at the critic of the 86 to have been cleared for transfer 56 are from yemen. many of those men want to go home. they're individuals with their own backgrounds and circumstances who we need to start treating collectively -- whom we need to stop treating collectively and start dealing individually. that shift to start with the president himself by lifting the ban that the un experts has condemned as "a clear violation of the principle of non-discrimination. the cost of maintaining that ban
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shast year with the death of a yemeni man. he has been approved by the obama and bush administration or transfer. and yet he remained at guantanamo because this administration's policy. he had gone on hunger strikes many time to protest his detention. he was forced fed as a life sustaining matter and he died, leaving behind a teenage son he has not seen since the boy was 3 years old. there are yemenis who remain at guantanamo today. they include men let our client, who i met at the base last month. he was captured by police in pakistan and was likely turned over for bounty, like most
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prisoners ever held. he was not charged. the obama administration unanimously approved and for ransfer. he was 107 pounds and he is being forcibly fed. he went on hunger strike before this crisis. the administration failed to act in time for mr. latif. there is a window of time now where we can do things differently. in parallel with taking immediate steps to affect transfers, president and secretary of defense should address the current conditions in the camps, which have regressed. the defense department team that was passed with that review specifically found that "further socialization would be essential to maintaining humane treatment over time. the key aspect to that would be
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more human to human contact, intellectual stimulation, and group prayer. conditions have moved in the opposite direction. for months most men have been held in 22 to 23 hour solitary confinement. they are limited to recreation time strict alone. they are deprived of news and prohibited from group prayer. these conditions not only call into question article 3 but escalated the crisis. they deepen the resolve for the men to continue their hunger strike. some of our clients have said they would rather die than live like this in perpetual detention after 11 years in inhumane conditions. their hunger strikes are not? someing acts of suicide as
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have reported. they are resorts to be heard and released. [applause] >> i do not know what i can add to what has already been said. i am not an expert on torture. let me read you a little history of the crime. -- let me review a little history of the crime and share the concerns of a soldier and a citizen. "i did not lay aside the citizen when i became a soldier. i remember vividly the day
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secretary powell came back. i jotted down the notes of what he told me. one of the things he told me was he wasn't sure we were winning the battle of geneva. we had, in many respects, led the world in creating -- he said the argument over whether to abandon geneva or not have gotten quite hot and at one point his lawyer, who was with him at this meeting of principles, himself a former deputy secretary of defense -- donald trump's zero was asked "what is final -- donald trump's felt was as "what is final disposition?" do you plan on keeping these people in cuba? for 50 years? 60?
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his answer was we will cross that bridge when we come to it. we crossed that bridge several times. the world knows what we are about. in case you haven't noticed, a former president of pakistan -- some of the charges have him on house arrest in his own country concerned the disappearing of pakistan, many of whom disappeared with his complicity and maybe even his monetary gain or the monetary gain of the isi. they collected the bounties on their enemies and their enemies ended up in orange jumpsuits in guantanamo, guilty of nothing more than having been an enemy of the powerful man in pakistan.
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guantanamo stands out to the rest of the world, not just the 1.3 billion muslims, but to the rest of the world as a clear indicator that the american empire is in decline. major decline because it you look at history closely this is what empires do when they begin to decline. they begin to use power to cover their needs. they begin to use power instead of wisdom and rights to achieve their goals in the world. this issue reminds me of another issue in our history. i am reading a marvelous book on george washington. i never thought i could read anything more on washington that would be just as insightful.
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a new note has been struck brought in from the 20th century. a note that tells you page after page in an almost 1000 page book of washington and incidentally of jefferson's and madison's and other's struggle with slavery and how long it took forestry eradicate that cancer from our soul. george washington had personal slates in the white house. he toured the south in incredible long tours to show the country who we was and what he was and to hold the union together. he took his slaves with him.
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we fought a civil war. the casualty count was well over 600,000, it was more like 1 million. a bloody war to eradicate that from our souls. this the same kind of problem -- i remember being at the ritz- carlton in pentagon city. general irvine was there. it was the night john mccain was try to get the armed forces of the united states out of the business of torture. we drew it in a letter and it was sent to his desk. i remember the comment made by a man who was clearly 90, a former marine -- towards the end of our proceedings he wanted to be recognized in the words that he told me and the words were searing.
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he started by saying he never thought he would be in a discussion like this. never. not in all his life. i never thought i would be standing at a podium talking about the democratic republic of america torturing people. if you have read that report you know it had two seminal questions in it, more than that but those that really struck me. "did we torture?" resounding yes. "was it of the rest in the highest credit authorized by the highest power in the land?" resounding yes. guantanamo needs be closed. [applause]
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>> i would like to focus on the sacredness of human life. the belief that all human life is sacred is a bond across the world's religions at their best. it unites the the first religious communities, christian, jewish, muslim, and others, that have joined in forming the national religious campaign against torture, nrcat. i founded in 2006, it is an organization of supporters and 323 religious member organizations. we played a key role in prompting president obama to
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issue the exucitveorders -- to issue the executive orders on his second day in office to and u.s. torture. one of those orders was his pledge to close the prison at guantanamo. this pledge, as we know, is still unfulfilled. more recently nrcat served as a task force on treatment by those who have just been released by the constitution pocket. one of the co-sponsors of our briefing is here this morning. he is a member of the constitution taskforce and has written, "human life is sacred. this means that each and every human being has been set apart for designation as a being of elevated status and dignity. each human being must therefore be viewed with reference and be
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treated with due respect and care, with special attention to preventing any desecration or violation of a human being." he lays special stress on our shared moral obligation to protect human life from wanton destruction, desecration, or violation of human rights. human beings must be protected and defended against all cruel, inhuman, and the grading treatment precisely because of human life is sacred. there are some things that must never be done to any human being, no matter what wrongdoing they may have engaged in.
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the conviction of life's synchronous provides a universal moral framework. life's sacredness underlies america's commitment to basic fairness as enshrined in the rule of law. all men are created equal, being endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. no doubt can exist that in many terrible ways the prisoners at guantanamo have not been treated fairly. they have not been protected from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. indeed they have been systematically abused in a shocking way.
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their abuse offends common decency and makes a mockery of the rule of law. their lives have been desecrated. their human-rights are violated and their very existence, in some cases, being wantonly destroy it. i will not dwell today on the fact that despite what we were told, most of the men in guantanamo did not make up the worst of the worst. i will not pondered the disturbing revelation made some years ago by colonel wilkinson himself that most of the guantanamo detainees were guilty of no potential wrongdoing and that no intelligence of any value was ever gained from them apart from a small handful.
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nor will i expand upon the festering moral outrage that many of these detainee's have been stuck in that hellhole for more than 10 years without any charges being brought against them. finally, i would disregard the paradox that these detainee's face a desperate future of prolonged indefinite detention with no prospect of being released for the rest of their lives, precisely because our government tortured them and is therefore afraid of what they are going to do if released. putting the soros to one side i want to focus on -- putting these sorrows to one side i want to focus on human fate in guantanamo. i want to lift up the hunger strike to reasons it came into
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being. the main question i want ask is this, do we even realize that these prisoners are human beings? can our ears no longer hear the cries of those wrongfully detained? have we allowed our hearts to become so hardened by bitterness and fear that we live in danger of becoming what we ourselves most heat? -- most hate? have we forgotten the sacredness of human life? "gitmo is killing me." he describes his plight. "i have been on a hunger strike since february 10. i have lost 30 pounds. i will not eat until they restore my dignity. i have been detained at guantanamo for 11 years and
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three months. i have never been charged with any crime. i have never received a trial. i could have been home years ago. no one seriously thinks i am a threat. but i am still here. last year on march 15 i was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. they tied my hands and feet to the bed. they forcibly inserted an i.t. into my hand. i spend 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed.
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during this time i was not permitted to go to the toilet. the inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading, unneces. i was not even permitted to pray. i will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. i cannot describe how painful it is to be force fed in this way. as it was trusted it made me feel like throwing up. i wanted to vomit but i couldn't. there was agony in my chest. i have never experienced such pain before. i would never wish to school punishment upon anyone. -- which this cruel punishment upon anyone. the only reason i'm here is because president obama refuses to send any detainee's back to
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. this makes no sense. i am a human being, not a passport. i deserve to be treated like one. i will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. i am now 35. all i want is to see my family again and start a family of my own. the situation is desperate now. people are thinking with -- are fainting with exhaustion everyday. i have vomited blood. there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. i just hope that because of the pain we are suffering the eyes of the world will once again look at guantanamo. the guantanamo hunger strike has
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continued now for nearly 100 days while spreading to 100 prisoners, more than half of the 166 being held there. to force feeding has been condemned by international's as an international crime. the whole world is watching and it no longer gives us the benefit of a doubt. although guantanamo may be invisible to many americans it is virtually all that the rest of the world and especially the muslim world sees. as the hunger strike continues the first death is only a matter of time and america's moral authority will continue to plummet.
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the consequences of ignoring guantanamo are enormous. not only for america but chiefly for the prisoners themselves. many of whom have reached point that they would prefer to die rather than persisting more years of indefinite detention, which is in itself that amount to torture. we have called to president obama to release all detainees have no case against them. we urge him to transfer the rest to u.s. courts where they can be charged and tried. we implore him above all to do as he promised, by shutting guantanamo down.
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it is imperative not only for the captives to be dealt with fairly but also for those who tortured them to be held accountable. what is the point of having laws against torture if they do not apply to the powerful? the real crimes were not committed in guantanamo or in afghanistan. the real crimes were committed in washington. without genuine accountability the sanctity of human life in america will continue to languish its content. thank you. [applause] >> thank you to our esteemed experts. i also want to thank congressman moran and his office for holding this very important briefing. i also want to thank the co-
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sponsors of the constitution project national religious campaign against torture and the new america foundation for helping co-sponsor this briefing. we have this room until 11:30. this briefing is intended to be educational and informative and so we have a lot of time for questions and answers. let us start that. i would like to take a couple of questions together. if you have a particular panelist in mind please let us know and speak loudly as this is on c-span. in the back, please. please state your question very clearly. state your question and i will go on to another one.
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[indiscernible] >> do we really have a good steady about how government detainees are being held in gitmo and how we have mass incarceration in the united states? [indiscernible] why don't we have a study of this basic issue?
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>> first of all, we are not going to have long speeches on issues that are not directly related to guantanamo. we want to make this not only as informative and to some extent as efficient as possible use of our time. i would suggest to others that want to make a statement that no matter how valid the points they want to make that i am going to cut them off in the middle of that statement. we want to get to this issue at hand and address the experts accordingly. i heard your question. i do not want to be rude. there has been a steady. it is at the back of the room. you can read through that and there are other extensive studies on this issue. excuse me, i hate to be such a yes, sir?
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>> [indiscernible] you also mentioned he needs to be engaged with members of congress. what efforts does he need to do to re-engage congress? >> that is a question on everybody's mind. there are concrete steps. can one of the panelists -- would you like to address it? >> i think as we have been saying, concretely the national defense authorization act passed in 2011 does contain certain requirements on transfers that makes the process more burdensome.
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there are some specific requirements that oppose a reasonalbe and impo -- a reasonable and impossible burdens on countries. there is a national-security waiver provision that allows the secretary of defense to take other actions to mitigate risks. they may be imposed by specific individuals and ultimately to certify that transfer in the security interests of the united states. what you're saying is those types of actions to mitigate security risks were taken pre- ndaa. there was no detainee transferred from guantanamo in 2009 or 2010 that was pre transferred. they were all pursuant to very carefully negotiated agreements with host countries that included security arrangements that were agreed upon by the united states and the recipient country. those kind of agreement can
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happen again and the certifications can happen under the national-security waiver. that would make the transfer of at least 86 people possible. those are 86 people the obama administration has unanimously determined can be transferred with the property agreements -- with the appropriate agreements. there are additional detainees who remain. our starting point after years of no movement is let us look at the group we all agreed do not belong at guantanamo. >> let me cut to the chase, i teach presidential opposition making -- presidential decision making. if the president can decide to go into libya without even talking to the congress of the united states he could close
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guantanamo tomorrow morning. [applause] >> can i just add a footnote to that? i mentioned this group of retired flag officers in my comments earlier, we look at this question as a consequence of the last presidential election and in conjunction with another human rights organization, proposed a plan for closing guantanamo. i will just give you the website reference, it is apt www.humanrightsfirst.org. the title of the document is "how to close guantanamo." >> thank you. i have to leave at 11:00 so i am just going to say a few words. the question the young man asked is the most important one to be addressed.
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with regard to the panel, these are great people. greek people choose not live within their comfort zone -- great people choose not live within their comfort zone to the outside of our comfort zone. it would be within our comfort zone to turn our back on guantanamo, to close our consciousness to the people -- to close our consciences to the people of guantanamo. it is not how we became a nation that we are today. this is not going to be easy, to close guantanamo.
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and i can tell leawood every confidence, particularly given tell you with every confidence that congress is not going to do the right thing in this instance without a great deal of political pressure. i think the president wants to do the right thing regardless. there are some things i know, that without political pressure the president is not going to be able to accomplish this. if there is not poiltical pressure in this democracy guantanamo will never be closed. the only hope these detainees have is an informed public. that is our only hope. that is why we are having this panel today. that is why i appreciate all of you being here.
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i have to go on to another thing. thank you all very much. [applause] >> to follow up on your question, there are certification requirements. the national-security waiver allows to waive those requirements and the executive can do that. he can start by appointing somebody in the white house who will every day wake up and say, "how do we start transferring men yesterday?" another question? >> it seems like it is just getting the flow going again.
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i thought the case of -- would be an easier one because he is a u.k. citizen and the prime minister has asked for his release. we heard a very strange response from the administration saying the u.k. didn't want him released. if this is a good case to push on could you let us know. the prime minister of human wanted to meet with the administration and cannot get a meeting with the high official in the white house. why are they so reluctant to move forward on any releases to yemen? >> we will take one more question and then address that. another question, please.
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in the back there, a gentleman with the glasses. >> i was wondering, the question was, who would you blame for changes that have come to the camp, and what do you think the president should do to fix the issues with the lockdown following the hunger strike? what should the president do to fix that aspect? >> ok, the first question, does anybody have any information regarding the u.k. and the -- anyone in the room? there are people here who have been following that. i guess i'd put it to the department of state who might be able to answer that. it is a very good question. the next question is yemen -- any intel essentially on what happened with the human rights minister from yemen and the white house?
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we did invite the department of defense, office of detainee policy, the department of state. i understand mr. russo was just coming back from afghanistan, and expressed interest in attending. i am sorry they are not here to answer questions. >> i am going to open my mouth. i met with the shadow defense minister of the u.k. about two weeks ago at the state department's invitation, and we had a conversation about a lot of things. he is labour, not in power. nick klegg is in a very weird coalition with david cameron and has been neutralized. i would suggest to you any signal coming out of london is probably mixed, and because of that and can be played on by the white house, the white house will play in the direction it wants to play in.
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with regard to yemen, it is the same issue. it is the issue with guantanamo and this president in general, and that is they do not want their hands tied and they do not want to do anything, and so the best way to do that is to avoid dealing with anyone who might potentially tie their hands. and that in my view makes me question my vote for this president. >> and the question about a hundred strikes and you might be to blame for the changes and what can be done other than transfer -- start with conditions, the parties you were mentioning. >> i do not know behind the scenes what was going on.
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the camp administration is its own entity, and our senior people in the department of defense and the white house. the camp administration and the commander right now at the base seemed to be responsible what we have been seeing in terms of lockdown and the changes in conditions. what needs to happen is some kind of intervention by the secretary of defense or the white house to take a look at what is happening and to intervene. i think immediately the problem, the changes have resulted from camp administration at the base. why, i do not know. >> the detainee treatment task force report has a chapter on the role of medical professionals in detention and interrogation operations, and there is an interesting discussion in that chapter with respect to how the force-feeding protocol at guantanamo differs from the procedures that are generally followed by the u.s. bureau of prisons.
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i will not go into detail with that, but there are steps that could be immediately taken that would alleviate some of the concern about the way force feeding is accomplished. dr. thompson, one of the task force members and is a physician, noted that if a prisoner is sufficiently strong, that he can resist efforts to feed him forcibly. he is probably not at a state where force feeding is medically necessary as a way of sustaining life. one of the concerns we had was that the force-feeding process may be restored to much earlier in this state than is necessary to maintain life and to sustain life.
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another difference between the procedure at guantanamo and that with the bureau of prisons is -- at least i believe this is a difference -- if the bureau of prisons undertakes to force feed a prisoner, there is a requirement that those feedings be videotaped, so there's no question about how it is being accomplished and how it is being practiced. one of the complaints that was made by prisoners that we interviewed was that the force feeding tubes as they were used would be withdrawn from the system of one prisoner and then reapplied on the other prisoner without cleaning. i do not know if that is the case, but if it is the case, that is a violation of every medical protocol i can think of. i would refer you to chapter 6 in the task force report. it is a pretty interesting chapter.
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>> let me add comments to that, which is the american medical association made a statement last week, i believe, or perhaps this week, that forced feeding of detainees -- by its core ethical bounds of the medical profession and the world medical association has stated forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable, even if intended to benefit. feeding, accompanied by force or physical strength, is a form of in a humane and degrading treatment. the issue here with the force feeding is whether detainees are voluntary the consenting to artificial feeding or if they are being forced to be fed, and that is clearly a violation of several treaties and the u.s. constitution. >> we talked today about [indiscernible] what would you recommend that
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members on the hill do today and where we need to go to bring this issue to a close? >> an important question. thank you for coming. >> simply, political pressure from the public has a role. we have been focusing on obama. he is ultimately who can make this happen, but the public needs to share support on closing guantanamo, and the issue has been invisible for many years. getting the facts about who is there and making a demand that this is not happening in your name is a very basic thing that everyone can do. >> i think also there has been i do work on the hill, but by mentioning the senate i am not making a faux pas here -- but i believe there has been dear colleague letter that goes to it, that says, damn it, start those transfers. glad i do not work on the hill.
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>> question of the force feeding and other issues. i am a member of the general public and i feel like i follow this issue closely, but i am confused as to whether the united states is allowing red cross in to observe what is going on, and without notification first, and whether or not the u.n. human rights group is about to go in unannounced and watch and see what is taking place in guantanamo. >> take one more question and we will answer that. >> can the person address the issue -- >> contingent issue? how many signatures and how we started. a good question. and, you, sir, in the back. >> [indiscernible]
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it seems to be a force more power than the president holds. >> ok, start with the first question -- sorry -- >> red cross. >> the red cross is allowed to make visits. as a matter of policy they are not allowed to discuss their findings publicly. so that is the basic issue, that we do not know what concerns they may have and what they are conveying or not to the administration and how the administration may or may not be responding. as far as other monitors, no, the red cross is the only independent monitor about at the base. u.n. experts, the inter-american commission on human rights, they have requested access and have continuously been denied.
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it is the red cross only that is allowed access to the base. >> i want to plug the report once more. there is an interesting discussion about the role of the red cross at guantanamo, and about a particular disagreement within the highest levels of that organization about how it was going to deal with what it found at guantanamo and abu ghraib. the discussion about the resignation of the director early on, because of the way the administration at that time was trying to politicize the fact that there were red cross visits and make it sound as though the red cross had in fact sanctioned what is going on at these facilities, when in reality the red cross evidently was appalled by what it was finding is a very interesting part of that report. >> let me say, having worked with the red cross before, as a soldier, i am sure the general knows this, too, the red cross'
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policy is to go to the lowest level of the chain of command and to report the infraction or infractions and see them corrected. then if they are not, to go to the next level and the next level and the next level. they want to stay within the chain of command on the ground. that is how they are so effective. when you get the director of the icrc go to see colin powell, you understand how bad it was, and i will not make any comment on that director, but the icrc caught in the dilemma, that it is most effective, by staying inside a chain of command, and yet if the chain of command is unresponsive, what does it do? >> let me add in the past u.n. bodies and special parties, they did requests, but on conditions were that they would not be allowed to speak with any detainees directly. they refused because the goal is
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to be able to speak with detainees, and other organizations are allowed at the military commission only as observers and not as a monitoring, independent body. and, mo davis, can i call on you, to tell us about your petition. >> change.org\gtmo. what led me was code pink. i was watching the john brennan hearings and i saw these little old ladies stand up -- [laughter] and get the lead out, i thought why don't i have the courage like these ladies who stand up for what they believe in? guantanamo is wrong, and for all the reasons that have been laid
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out, the financial, fiscal irresponsibility. if it continues until the end of this administration, we will spend another $750 million on guantanamo. to fiscal conservatives, it makes no sense. we're witnessing its torture at change.org, and if other people are willing to stand up, why can i? >> mo davis was a prosecutor in the military commissions. [applause] >> and the third question was, where is the political will to keep it open? why is it open? >> i will take a shot at that. put my foot in it again. two words -- moral courage. moral courage is most often the most missing ingredient in any presidential decision-making process.
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i do not care what president you want to talk about -- ronald reagan, harry truman, dwight eisenhower. moral courage is sapped by what i would call political reality. it is sapped by clinical opposition and the caliber and brouhaha nature of that opposition. what happens when you confront a series like this, even though you are in your second term, have been reelected, even though you do not have political concerns for yourself, you do have concerns for others. why do you think my party, the republican party, is still going on about benghazi? it has nothing to do with their affection for the incident or their desire to find the truth. it has everything to do with hillary clinton so she will not be a candidate or give them worry in the next presidential
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election. what about elections in the congress with regard to the house and the senate? they are up there, too, so the president has to concern himself with all these things. i come back to my original point very seldom in the post-world war ii national security state do we find a president with the moral courage to go against essentially all those influences. and that is what is tying this president in knots. i have no doubt in his conscience it tells him he should close it. i have no doubt either that the political currents working against that decision are also. >> yes, sir. >> in terms of reparations for people who have been tortured domestically with long-term solitary confinement and also in
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guantanamo with the more extreme methods of torture, do you think bringing charges against president bush for war crimes or crimes against humanity and possibly against president obama is how we really address this issue and move on to a more spiritually clean path? >> we will take another question. yes, ma'am. >> i heard numerous people on the panel about putting detainees into the federal court system, and there has been concern about evidentiary issues, especially with the torture going on in the state secrets. i am wondering if someone could address what i'm hearing about the federal courts, what that would look like in terms of those issues, and something we should take into consideration in terms of jurisdictions? >> i would start with the general on this question of reparations and war crimes and accountability.
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>> first of all, the report that the task force prepared early on made a determination that we were not there to function as a screening panel as to who did or who did not commit more crimes. we do not raise that issue specifically in our report for a number of reasons. the question of reparations or making things right is a very interesting issue, because one of the things that people do not forget when they talk about torture, for example, is that we have tortured a lot of people, including a lot of people who either had done nothing that warranted that response or who had no information to provide even if they'd wanted to.
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so the question becomes, how do you make that issue right with people who have been wronged? so far, the record of our justice system is pretty poor, because the administration, the department of justice, has asserted the official secrets act or defense on every occasion when someone who is claiming they have been wrongfully tortured or treated or abused has tried to get that case to court. our record in that respect is pretty appalling. there needs to be a way for someone who has been legitimately aggrieved -- that sounds like a conflict in terms and it probably is -- but if there is a grievance that can be
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compensated with money, which is the whole basis of our tort system with law, there needs to be a way that person can get the case before a judge and a jury and get a determination and get compensated. we have made no effort to do that in any kind of responsible way. the other issue that is as is it with that is when prisoners have been released from guantanamo, they are almost literally dumped where they get off the plane, with no means of support, no network to receive them, and this is a real problem. again, there is a chapter on this aspect of how we have dealt with guantanamo prisoners that is interesting as well, and more needs to be done provide a way of integrating these people back into the social system from which they came. the arrangement that presently exists is that there is no system for doing that.
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the gentleman in britain said i am not responsible for guantanamo, but i am spending all this time dealing with prisoners who have been released who come to me and say, what can you do to help me get on with my life, who said, i did not come to the united states. the united states came to me. this is not my issue, but somehow i am ending up responsible, as are others who are involved in other countries, for solving a problem that we had created and that we want to walk away from. >> just to put this in some kind of perspective, two things -- first, many of you will know the name of a canadian citizen who was wrongfully abducted, sent by extraordinary rendition to syria, tortured severely.
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they found out he was the wrong person. he is a canadian citizen, and the canadian government did get him significant reparations. second, it costs about a million dollars a year to keep each prisoner in guantanamo. if we are not offering these people reparations, as an adequate as a financially preparation would, it cannot be for financial reasons. >> let me add one footnote. one of the issues that the report deals with is the rendition program and how various individuals were snatched by the cia and other places and then rendered either to other countries for interrogation or taken to guantanamo. a number of those individuals were citizens of great britain. one of the ironies of all this to me is that several libyans who were protesting and wanted to rebel against the government
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of colonel gaddafi taken by the cia and turned over to the gaddafi by a favor by the central intelligence agency. some of these guys have now served lawsuits on the officers in britain who had some responsibility for that, and there are a couple that are very curious. jack straw, the british foreign secretary, is the object of one of these suits. the government of great britain settled with one of those snatchees for $3.5 million. one of the individuals in libya who has sued against mr. straw has said publicly he would be willing to settle that case for a nominal payment of about $6 u.s., plus an apology.
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the apology is the sticking point in putting that case to bed. >> apologies are extremely important to the victims who have traumas that will affect them for the rest of their lives. >> did you want to add something? >> we have gone on about this issue, one thing i would want to say, because there has been no the administration has decided not to pursue criminal accountability and civil liability has been very difficult in u.s. courts, we have gone outside of the united states and used universal jurisdiction law to bring cases in other countries for criminal prosecution, accountability, and those efforts so far have not resulted in success yet, but there are those efforts happening. and the different forms of reparations and acknowledgment of wrongdoing, this extends
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beyond attention to targeted killing, the various areas of national security, where the acknowledgment of even the act is not forthcoming. so i agree there are different ways that reparations can happen, and the base thing is acknowledgment, which is not the least being seen in the targeted killing context either. >> the next question is a very important one -- given the closing at guantanamo, could detainees be brought to u.s. federal courts? are there issues or concerns regarding allegations of torture, and what would that trial look like? let me say there was a trial in federal court of the detainee who was at guantanamo, and as far as i know, that trial ended in a conviction, and i will turn this over to mo who can talk about commissions versus federal court spirit that trial ended in a conviction. it was a life sentence, yes, a life sentence, and they stuck to
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the federal rules of evidence in civil procedure and the constitution, and there was a conviction, and it happened quickly. as you all might know, there have been seven convictions in military commissions. six of those were plea bargains. two of the main charges that have been brought, that are being brought, which are conspiracy and material support for terrorism are up at issue now as to whether those are war crimes prior to 9/11, or at 9/11, at the time. mo, you talk more about -- let's say it, bringing detainees in the trial -- what will that look like? can we do it?
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come up here. there is a seat for you. >> yeah, it could be done. when i was the chief prosecutor, 14 guys got off the airplane with khalid sheik mohammed. one was galani, the only detainee brought to the u.s., prosecuted in new york. new york did not collapse in a heap because of the trial. he was convicted. critics say he was acquitted. he was acquitted of 199 and convicted of only 1/5 of charges. but he got life without parole. at guantanamo we have had seven convictions. five of the seven people being convicted are now that compared you get convicted of a war crime, that might be our joke. you have to lose to win. you might get to go home.
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if you do not get charged, you could sit there for the rest of your life. the administration has to make a decision on which cases they want to prosecute, and they should be prosecuted in federal court, where it has been fast. there have been no acquittals in a terrorism-related case. severe sentences at guantanamo hamdan got a misdemeanor. a family in virginia got a bigger sentence by giving their teenager a beer. the d.c. circuit has overturned his conviction, saying material support for terrorism was not a criminal offense. six of the seven people being convicted have been convicted in the offense that our courts have said is not a crime. again, it is hard for me to imagine what is the good reason to keep guantanamo open and continue this process other than right-wing talking points to paint the president as weak on terrorism.
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but let me add, as a former litigator, there is a classified information procedures act that people are concerned about classified information. do you know how many trials related to al qaeda, suspected terrorism, where it comes to the play? classified information is protected. if torture is classified in some way, then it will not be released to the public. if not, then the public should know. we have a right to know, whether torture is being done in our name. >> you can establish a federal district court right now at guantanamo bay if the president so decides. second, this group of retired flag officers and others oppose the use of military commissions to try these people for this reason.
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it grants them warrior status, which they very much desire, but which is an honor that they do not deserve. we would much rather see them treated as the common criminals they are rather than as the warriors they pretend to be. >> we should be focused on the procedure and not necessarily at the end and look at the length of the sense as an indicator of the strength of the system. we should be focused on fairness, which has a better chance of happening. >> let me take one more question and then we will wrap it up. >> i would ask us to reflect on how we have let our institutions do our sinning for us.
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i was at the holocaust museum in israel. there were pictures of generals giving allegiance to hitler. we are not very far from that. right now we have representatives of the best of the best, ok, of those three professions. some doubly represented, ok? but how is it, for example, that the legal profession cannot find its voice? the ama says there is at such a thing as a hippocratic oath. the aba talks about hypocritical things. but what will it take these people to be held accountable by their professional peers? [applause]
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>> i am not sure there is an answer to that. let me ask our experts if they have concluding remarks regarding transferring the men out of guantanamo, particularly those who have been cleared, and closing guantanamo. any last thoughts? >> i want to play off a comment that the colonel made. the congress of the united states is a reactive branch of government. the supreme court of united states is a reactive branch of government. the presidency has the power of the bully pulpit to accomplish many, many things. and i think in this case, what really is necessary and will do more than anything else to flush this issue to the front would be for an aggressive presidential
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leadership policy to be implemented from the white house, and he may challenge the limitations on presidential power, but unless those challenges are made, nothing is going to happen. and he is the one person who right now is in the position and has the authority and the political power to begin to make a serious difference, and it has to start there. [applause] >> to follow up, this is a very disquieting thing for me to follow the polls in this country on, for example, torture. the polls are not declining in terms of americans who support torture. they are rising. if you do not have the american people behind you, then you have potentially the greatest influence missing.
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that is one of the great ingredients of the presidential decision-making process, sensing the will of the american people. you go out in the hinterland, and in the hinterland, 61% of americans under certain conditions -- express those in your polling questions -- would support torture. a hell of a lot of moral courage is required on the part of the president to stand up to that. >> it is actually a little worse. the numbers are exactly flipped. more americans are opposed to torture under president bush, and now the number that are
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opposed were pretty much the number that favored torture under some circumstances under president obama. why did this happen? i think the primary reason -- and this is the flip side of the president needing a popular refresher -- the proponents of torture had been given a free rein in the media without any significant opposition from the president and the people in power. and so they have managed to turn public perceptions in their favor. you cannot move forward without looking back. and if you do not look back, the past will come back to bite you. >> i wanted to end by underscoring the urgency of the situation, the urgency of action by the president now. there really is not time, and i
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do not think it is exaggerated to say there is not time to review cases and deliberate. there needs to be transfers that start now. there are over 100 men who have been on hunger strike for over 100 days. over 20 of them are being forced fed. the military's response so far has been we will not let people die, what we will just force feed them. as the president said, that is not a sustainable, tenable scenario. in order to keep guantanamo from becoming a more shameful chapter of american history, there needs to be action starting now, and there are 86 people the administration has approved for transfers, that they can begin transferring today. [applause] >> with that, i would like to
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end, but i would like to talk about political will, that means people and members of conference, to start those transfers yesterday. thank you. [applause] if anyone wants to join us, there will be a [indiscernible] at 1:00. you are encouraged to come join us. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] honorsident obama will the 2013 national association of police organizations tomorrow morning in the white house rose garden. you can watch live coverage beginning at at 11 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> the vice chair of the armed
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services committee is our guest this week on "newsmakers." a ducks about defense makers, including the attack on the u.s. embassy in libya. defenses,s about including the attack on the u.s. embassy in libya. next, president obama outlines the healthcare law benefits for women and young people in a mother's day themed event at the white house. one, consumers can enroll in coverage through health insurance marketplaces called exchanges. landsge under the private begin january 1. one.ans begins generate -- january 1. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. [applause]
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>> hi. my name is carol metcalfe. i'm here today to share with you the profound affect the affordable care had on my family. two of my children have a very disease. we have cheese -- faced challenges that life with challenges bring steel. as my children approach young adult hold, another challenge loomed. my children were going to age out of our health insurance plan. the pre-existing condition may that insurance market unaffordable and unapproachable. we are looking at some very actions.ng the affordable care act has
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brightened those options. my oldest son has been able to stay on our insurance and get his feet under him after graduating from college. with my younger son, i do not insurance concerns. we have had a huge worry lifted. now my children's future will not be determined by a constant struggle to afford health care. now their future is entirely up to them. it is my pleasure to introduce to you president obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. welcome to the white house. i want to say thank you to carol for a wonderful introduction. let me start off with a couple of service announcements to dads, partners, kids of america. [laughter] sunday is mother's day. you should not forget it.
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you cannot go wrong with giving, a homemade card, moms some relief and quite time is appreciated. when we put mothers first. i remember when we were talking. moms often put themselves last. in the put everything else before themselves. that is particularly true
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discussion things like healthcare. moms take care of us. background]n [laughter] >> case in point. they are worrying about the co- pay that has to go to gas or groceries are the new soccer uniforms instead. or worst, they know the unfairness of being charged more for the health care because they are a woman or the stress of trying to manage a family budget when healthcare costs are impending upon it or trying to ensure a chick -- a sick child only to be told know over and over again. and over again. we decided that needed to change. there was no reason why a family's security should be
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determined by the chance of an illness or an accident. we decided to do somethg out in thiss to the women room and people all across the country. we have worked really hard. it has been more than three years since congress passed the affordable care act and i signed it into law. [applause] it has been nearly a wink -- [applause] the american people went to the polls and decided to keep going in this direction. the law is here to stay.
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those of us who believe that every american deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare has an obligation to not make sure that full implementation moves forward the way it needs to. the sickly there are two main things of the american people -- basically there are two main things that the american people need to know. first, if you are one of the nearly 85% of americans who have health insurance, whether it is through your employer or medicare or medicaid, you do not have to do a thing. this law provides you with a wide array of new benefits, tough new consumer protections, stronger costs control measures, that existed before the law passed. those things are in place. you are benefiting from it, but you may not know it.
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making sure that insurers cannot take advantage of you. making sure that your child can stay on your health insurance. they 27 stay in till years old. -- until they are 27 years old. if you are one of the tens of millions who do not have health insurance, beginning this fall you will finally be able to compare and buy quality, affordable, private plans that work for you. [applause] that is what you need to know. if you have health insurance, this just enhances it. if you do not, you will be able to get it. , this lawears now has provided real and tangible benefits to millions of americans.
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women have more control over their own care than ever before. i'm pleased to be joined today by many women who wrote in to tell us what the affordable care act means to them. her oldest child is a recent college grad. a dramatic rain injury survivor with a rare genetic lung disease. without the affordable care act, he would not have been that she would have been removed from that health policy. his health is excellent, but a costs of maintenance is overwhelming. given his history, he would be virtual uninsurable under the old set of rules. of contemplating law school, all that is resources would have been channeled into finding health insurance. carol and her son and the himrdable care act let's stay on his parents plan until he turns 26. now his feature is governed by
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what he wants to achieve and not what the health insurance mandates. by the way, he is look -- he is here. [applause] sunday is mother's day. does want to make sure you remember that. [laughter] avy, ais the mother of beautiful and sweet three-year- old girl. imagine what that is like for a parent. you're just figuring out how to take care of it a b and find out how to pay for expense of treatments that could save your baby's life. any parent knows that there is nothing we will not do to take care of our kids. it is nice to have somebody who has your back. affordable care act made it illegal for bad actors in the insurance industry to discriminate against kids
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like avy. today she is doing great. where is she? there she is. hey, sweetie. [applause] alicia wrote in and said the healthcare law is about people like me. it is alicia care. because of alicia care, the affordable care act, insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care that you receive or drop your coverage if you get sick or discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions. women have access to free preventive care like checkups and mammograms and cancer screenings. you can catch preventable illnesses on the front and. end.nfront
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that is already happening. a lot of people do not know but, if you have those protections. under the age of 26 are able to stay under their parents plan. that is helping millions of young adults. seniors on medicare receive free checkups with no co-pay or deductible. they get a discount on prescription drugs. that has saved over 6 million seniors more than $700 each. that is already happening. seniors may not know they have been getting $600 discount. but it is there. the affordable care act ensures for everyone to see that no states have any authority things to incentives under this law to reject unjustifiable rate interest.
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insurers are now required to spend at least 80% of the money that you pay in premiums on health care and not on profits or overhead, but on you. if they fail to meet that target, you have to reimburse you. it can be with a rebate or lower premiums. millions of americans discovered this last year. they opened up and look from the insurance company. it was not a built, a check. it is already happening. people do not know it. but that is what is the affordable care act is all about. beginning this week as part of a transparency tool, we make public the prices that differ in hospital you for most common services. you can see if you are getting what you pay for. soon that actors and the insurance industry will never again be able to discriminate against you just because you have gotten sick in the past.
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they cannot discriminate against you if you are pre-existing condition. [applause] , they cannot charge you more for being a woman. [applause] pregnancy will no longer be considered a pre-existing condition. [applause] finally, beginning this fall, if you're one of the millions of americans who do not have health insurance, you will have the chance to buy quality, affordable care to just like everyone else. here is how this is going to work -- we are setting up a new online market laced. -- place. beginning october 1, you can go online or talk to organizations
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in every state that will have the set up. you can comparison shop on an array of insurance plans. you can compare them side-by- side. you will be part of a new pool of millions of americans, part of this exchange. insurance companies will want to compete for your business the same way that they compete for the dismisses of a big company with a lot of employee use. once these marketplaces are up and running, no one can be turned away from private insurance plans. period. if you are sick, you have the same chance to buy affordable health as everyone else. if you cannot afford to buy private insurance, if it is you will expensive,
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have a better deal through these exchanges. if you still cannot afford it, you will get help reducing your out of pocket premiums with the ofgest healthcare tax cut working families and small businesses in our history. [applause] what does all of this mean? if you lose your job or you change your job, you start that new business, you will still be able to purchase quality, affordable healthcare. you will have the security and peace of mind that comes with it. if you are a young person expected to try many different careers until you find one that suits you, you will be able to buy insurance that travels with you and gives you the freedom
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to pursue whatever you want without the fear of illness or accident that could derail your dreams. there is a lot that this law is doing for americans with insurance. there is a lot more that is going to happen for folks who do not have insurance. but we still have a lot of work to do in the coming months to make sure that more americans can buy affordable coverage. something as personal as healthcare, i'd be less people are anxious, nervous. i am here to tell you that i am 110% committed to getting it done right. it is not an easy undertaking. , there'll be some mistakes and hit cups -- and hit cups, but will your learning from it.
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when the prototype came in at 21 pages, he said, we can do better than that. it is now three pages long. the pages. the industry-standard is actually about 17 pages. .hree pages is good than the lot shorter when he had to fill out now for insurance. but this is going to be a lot of work. still a lot of political bickering going on over this law. the same folks who fought tooth and nail for years ago. they are still telling tall tales about obamacare. some small businesses are being told their costs will go up. they are exempted from the law.
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or that they stand to benefit from it. premiums gourance up, they are being told it is because of obamacare. there is no evidence that is the case. right now there are a bunch of n insurance were a company decides to jack up rates. may be shifting more costs onto the employees. they think that will help their autumn line. -- help their bottom line. because there has been so much misinformation, sometimes people may not have a sense of what the law actually does. that does not mean misinformation will not continue. but what all the people on this
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stage understand is that this is too important for political gains. most -- games. most moms and that's do not think the politics when their kid gets sick. they do whatever it takes to make sure their child gets well. [applause] this is an issue of personal security. it is personal to carol and to alicia. anyone who has ever known in justice of a broken health system, this is what this is all about. that is why we are determined to get it done right. we will need everyone out there to get the right information. do not just read a blog. [laughter] or some commentary from some pundit.--
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read the actual facts. do not let people confuse you. do not let them run the okey- doke on you. do not be bamboozled. [laughter] there is one more person i want to mention today. someone i have spoken of several times over the past several years. when i received a letter, she was a self-employed cancer survivor from ohio. she has always done the responsible thing by buying her own insurance from the private market. a few years ago, her insurance company charged over $600,000 in $900ums. wheedling for worth of care and told her they jacked up her rates even though she had been cancer free for more than a decade. despite her desire to keep her health insurance, despite her fears that she would get sick
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again, she finally had to surrender her coverage. should it not afford it. chance.her fortunes on a few weeks later, she felt ill and was diagnosed with leukemia. days before the health reform kate nash became a reality. -- days before the health reform became a reality. my oval the wall and office. act intofordable care law. she is here today. -- i signed the affordable care act into law. she is here today. [applause]
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because of this law, there are millions of other americans, mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons who no longer have to bet their fortunes on chance. we're not going to inflict that on to the american people again. the u.s. does not send such people to suffering because they do not make enough to buy insurance on the private market. [applause] just because their work does not provide health insurance, just because they fall sick or suffer from an accident, that can happen to anybody. or ore access to a dock medicine or preventive care, that not some earned privilege. -- to a doctor or medicine or preventive care, that is not some earned privilege. i understand the politics of this. but there are times when i want
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people to step back and say, are thateally prepared to say 30 million americans should not have health insurance? are you really prepared to say that is not a worthy goal? because the politics? that is why we will keep on fighting with everything we have got to secure that to make sure that every american has the care that they need at a price that they can afford. that is what families deserve. that is what americans believe in. at is what we are going to make sure we deliver. thank you. god bless you. [applause]
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honorsident obama will the 2012 national association of police organizations tomorrow morning in the white house rose garden. live coverage begins on saturday at 11 a.m. eastern on c-span. ladye is the first first to receive a college degree. some called her the mother of a regiment. she opposed slavery and influences our husband to switch to the anti-slavery republican party. she hosts the first white house easter egg roll. as we continue our series on first ladies with
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your questions and comments by phone, and facebook, and twitter. 9 p.m. eastern on c-span. britain's prince harry participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the two of the unknowns in arlington national ceremony -- cemetery. it was part of his american tour. he also visited the burial site of president john f. kennedy. the best of the day included a stop to the walter reed medical hospital on a flight to colorado springs for the warrior games. this is about 10 minutes.
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>> present. ♪
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♪ [playing "star spangled banner"]
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>> present.
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[drumroll] ♪
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>> platoon leaders, take charge of your platoons. [drumroll] >> about face. forward, march.
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>> forward, march. >> forward, march. >> forward, march.
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>> on the next "washington vieback onise hospital fees. an integrated bird on 3-d printers and handguns -- and and greenberg on 3-d printers and guns. "washington journal" live at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. this department might be nearing a stage with a theuency other crime and perception that there is couldnce of it it's -- undermine our ability to carry out the mission and to recruit and retain good people we need. that is unacceptable to me and the leaders of this institution.
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it should be unacceptable to everyone associated with the u.s. military. we need cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect. all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treating -- treated with seriousness. victims privacies are protected and bystanders are motivated to giving. -- to intervene. offenders need to know that they will be held accountable by the system of justice. hagelense secretary outlines initiatives to fight sexual assault in the armed services. saturday at 1:40 p.m. eastern. mr. hicks10:30 a.m., on the tax him a nazi. on book tv this weekend, eric schmidt and jared cohen talked about where everyone is connected.
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and on american history tv, former cia on cold war intelligence during the eisenhower administration. sunday at 3 p.m. louisiana governor bobby jindal is the keynote speaker at a fundraiser hosted by the hampshire gop state senate political action committee. he is reportedly considering a presidential run in 2016. event was held at the radisson radisson hotel in downtown new hampshire. it is about an hour. [applause] thank you. for that generous introduction and thank you for the tremendous work you do. andk you for coming out making a great difference in your state. let's give them another round
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of applause for the tremendous work they are doing. [applause] even before i get started, i , we to say as an american are sending kelly ayotte to the u.s. senate, what a fantastic job she is doing for us every day. [applause] she is courageous in stands for our principles. what an improvement in washington, d.c. would be easy to talk about president obama's failed policies in all of the things he is doing wrong. but i will assume you already know that and agree with that. many of us worked hard to make him a one term president. i want to talk about something different tonight. i want to talk about where we go as a republican party. all you do is watch the tv networks and listen to that washington pundits. at those like our entire republican party is in a state
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of public confession. we all need counseling. everywhere you go, everyone has got their perfect solution. we just need to hire more consultants in silicon valley. fix this whole data thing. our views.change we need to become more like the other party. i'm a little tired. that welost an election probably should have one. i was amused to hear people's rationalizations afterward. votes,ad just gotten x we would have won the election. but we have -- that like saying if we had gotten more points, we would have won the football game. the reality is i'm tired of all of the public confessions. we already have one liberal party in america. we do not need to liberal parties. we can win elections by sticking to our principles. i do think we need to make some changes. we need to think about where we
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go from here. i gave a speech or i was the keynote speaker. wrote an op-ed listing several things that i think we need to do as a party. i listed seven items and i will share five with you tonight. one of them got more attention than anything else. i say we need to stop being the stupid party. everyone paid attention to that, but did not pay attention to anything else. childrent three young at home. i do not know about you, but we have a jar where if you say a bad word, you have to put a dollar in that jar. i have a little nine-year-old boy at home. he says, daddy, you said a bad word on tv. that he will more dollars into the jar. i meant what i said. it is true. i mean more than just the dumb comments. what i meant by that is that we have got to present thoughtful
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policy solutions to the american people. not just bumper stickers. how ourto show them ideas will benefit them. we need to stop talking down to the american people. it is also being a party that looks forward and not backward. what do i mean by that? we are a young country at heart. our best days are ahead of us and not behind us. we need to look forward and telling people that america's best days are ahead of us if we get control of our government and preserve the freedom that we inherited from our parents. we need to fight for 100%. we need to fight for every single person. we need the confidence and the courage to say our policies and police help everyone join the middle class. if we want voters to like this, we have got to like them first. divide people into
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groups and subgroups? we should not do that. we should put americans first and treat them like that. we have got to stopping the party as big. big anything. because het party bit of populist party, but they are a party that believes in centralized government. top-down solutions like obamacare. they believe that bureaucrats know better than parents on how to educate their old and. we are the true populist party that believes in freedom, empowering, and a trusting the people to does -- make decisions for themselves. we have got to be comfortable talking about ideas and issues that we have not focused on before. i want to give you examples. i want to start first with education policy, and, second, i want to talk about why we need to the be about the party about growth and opportunity, not austerity. one is education's role. you can make it practical argument education is one of the
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most abundant challenges and issues in front of us, not as a state, but as a country. you can look at the studies that show if we want to be a superpower, keep kids out of jail, reduce people on welfare, if we want to do these things, educational achievement is key. you look at statistics. they are sobering. we rank 17th in math, 25th in science, 16th in educational attainment across the world. think about that. if you are in your 50's, you ranked number one when you were in school. it does not sound american to be yelling "we are number 16!" the reality is how will we compete unless we have the most educated people in the entire world. throwing more money at it is not a solution. we have doubled per-student money, but scores are flat. we spend more money for students, but rank so far behind
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these other countries. our kids compete with kids from singapore, japan, taiwan, russia, and that is all of the world. it is not just a practical argument. there is a moral argument. we should stand as a party and conservative movement for providing a great education to every child in the state and country. the moral imperative is this -- we are an aspiration party, people, and country. we believe and our bones that the circumstances of your birth do not determine your outcome. we believe that you did not have to be born in the right zip code, your gender does not even matter. that cannot determine your outcome. it goes back to what every mom and dad says -- if you are willing to work hard and get a great education, there's no
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limit to what you can accomplish. how many times have we heard those stories? you can grow up to be a doctor, and for that to be true, we have to provide a great education for every child. there's a story that i like repeating because it makes it funny point, that bobby kennedy went home one day and told his dad, the famous joe kenney, that he'd wanted to be a catholic priest. with joe kennedy, he wanted his boys to be president. when bobby kennedy went home and told joe this, he said," bob, that would be great. we have never had a pope in the kennedy family before. it would be good to have one of those." i love that confidence, that attitude that my child to do anything. yes, there are too many children in this country who do not have the opportunity to get a good education. we like to say we are about equal opportunity. we need to change the way we educate our children. most of us will move to
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neighborhoods with great public schools. or we will save to send our kids to the private schools if that is what it takes. there are far too many kids who live in neighborhoods with bad local options. what do we do? there are a couple of things we have done in louisiana. i will start with a simple idea. make the dollars follow up the child. do not make the child followed the dollar. let me tell you what that means to us. we fought hard to pass a government scholarship program, our dollars-for-dollars for the kids, because every child learns differently.
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some kids will do great in a public school. some kids will do great in an on-line school. the point is let the moms and dads decided they know their children better than anybody else. when we proposed this, the teachers' union said parents do not have a clue when it comes to making choices for their kids. i cannot imagine anything more offensive or more untrue when it comes to the educational debate. that is a contrast to what they believe compared to what we believe in. moms said, we make choices for our kids every day. this is not just theory. look at what is going on in new orleans today. 70% of our kids are in charter schools. in the last five years we have doubled the percentage of kids doing reading and math on grade level. go back to before 2005, over half of our kids were graduating in new orleans. i can go on with numbers, and we have more work to do, we're not
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where we need to be, but we're moving in the right direction. we started a program in 2008. we were spending over $8,500 per kid in public school. we spent over $5,000 in scholarships, and the academic scores were better. last year when we did it for the first time, we had 10,000 kids apply. this year we had 12,000 kids apply, and we had 8,000 in the first-run alone. we have higher academic scores. who could oppose this bill? the coalition or the status quo? the teacher unions and others who did not understand reform is about the kids, not about the adult in the class. it is about making sure our kids will only have one chance to grow up to get a good education. i am tired of people telling us just wait and give them time, we will improve their schools. we only have one chance to get a
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good education. the second thing is to put a great teacher in every classroom. every study shows the single most important thing you can do. if you can reduce class size, buy new computers, that is great. the single most important thing we can do is put a great teacher. there are studies at stanford showing kids earn thousands of dollars more in their careers because of good teachers. if your fourth-grade daughter has a great teacher, she is more likely to go to college, less likely to become pregnant as she gets older as a teenager. from having a great fourth-grade teacher. you would think we have policies to recognize this. most of our states, we reward our teachers based on how long they have been breathing, not how well they're doing. if i went to your business and
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told you -- after three years, you're not allowed to get rid of any of your employees for any reason -- if you have two employees, one who is productive and stays afterward and does a great job, and another that does the bare minimum, you have to pay them the same. how long would you stay in business? that is how we treat the teaching profession. that is how we have revamped tenure, pay, hiring, firing policies to say let's do something obvious and simple. let's tie all that to student achievement. let's reward teachers who are helping kids to learn. a radical thought. let's treat teachers like professionals. for the first time we are above the southern average in louisiana, and we want to do better than that. it is not complicated, letting the dollars follow that kids. this is the right thing to do for states, the country, also the right thing to do for the republican party.
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if we will be aspirational, a party about opportunity, we have to be about a great education for every student. the reason i am passionate is not only do i see the impacts of my state, where 78% of companies that want to move to louisiana say their concerns are finding skilled workers. we have cut taxes. we have revamped our ethics code. we have done many things. yet our economy is doing better than these other economies, but if we want to continue, we have to have the most skilled people. my dad is one of those, one of nine, and every one of us has an example like this. one of those kids that drew up in a house without electricity, without running water, the first and only one in the family who got past the fifth grade. i heard these stories every single day of my life.
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my dad did not grow up with a lot of money, but when he was raising his family, he would tell us this -- i will not give you a famous last name or inheritance, but i will make sure you get a great education. in america there is no limit what you can do if you have a great education. i have seen it in my family. this is what we stand for as a party. we spend too much time criticizing the other party the other side without saying what we are for. we allow them to characterize that you want everybody to have that dream that my dad has pursued, that your grandparents pursued, if your grandparents were the first in your family. that brings me to my final point. we need to be the party of growth, not austerity. if you listen to the debate, it is about zeros. it is about austerity and about spreadsheet and powerpoint presentations and tv ads. we have to stop spending money
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we do not have. i worry about that with my hildren. 26%. we balance our budget every year. we cut taxes. we cut the number of state employees. fewer state employees in 20 years. let me tell you this. in louisiana, in new hampshire, in america, we must not become the party that is obsessed with government and government only. this debate is not what we're about. think about this. we are fighting this debate on the other party's terms. this is all about government and the government economy. it is not about the private sector economy. we need to remind the american people, the other party is the party of less. not the republican party. the democratic party pretends to be the party of more government. there are actually fewer jobs.
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lower incomes and more scarcity. i don't know about you, the republican party is not the party that managed the slow decline of our country. that is what you have democrats for. that's not the republican party's goal. we're all about growing the private sector, not the public sector. not the government. the real economy happens far outside washington, d.c.. we need to get our spending out of control. we're about freedom. we're all about growing the middle class and helping others join the middle class. an ashington, that includes means more y that domestically produced energy,
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blowing up the tax code so it is not washington telling us how to live our lives. it should not be complicated to fill out your taxes. this means having a real debate about the size and scope of the government's interest in our lives, but if you only remember one thing, i hope as a republican party we will stop being the party of austerity, but be the party of growth and opportunity, be the party of growing the middle class. as i conclude, i share this -- we lost a great leader when margaret thatcher passed away. she gave the remark that you have to win the debate before you win the election. it is important we win the next election and the one after that, but this is more than just about winning an election. this is about winning a very important debate about where do we go as a country. one of the things my dad would tell us, and parents always tell you things to make you roll your eyes, and you do not appreciate them until you have your ids. every day i get to tell of how sorry i am for the misery i caused my parents.
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one of the things my dad would tell us growing up, tell us you re lucky, you are blessed. you should feel blessed that you ere born in america. when you are a kid, you do not appreciate that. what else would i do? i was born and raised my whole life in louisiana. would i be a texan? where else would i be? of course i am an american. now, i appreciate what he is trying to tell me. my parents didn't come from an other country for less. they came because they knew in america if, you worked hard, you could get ahead. you could give your children the opportunities that their parents weren't able to give them. every generation has more opportunities for our children than we have inherited from parents. let's not become the first
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generation that mortgages our children's future. we have to win this debate, and i am tired of the confessions and the analysis. if we are brave and courageous to stand for individual freedom, to stand for lower taxes and smaller government, if we are willing to say to the president we trust the american people to make their own decisions, to run their own lives, we will win the debate and win those elections. look no further than the motto of this great state. for those that are wringing their hands or looking at poll numbers and worrying about the last election results, i tell them freedom is an eternal principle. it is a principle worth fighting for. i close with this. as we decide the candidates to support, i would hope we do this -- i would hope we rally around a candidate and those leaders that stand for what is right, not just what is popular, the candidates and those leaders that are willing to take a stand for freedom to say america's greatest days are ahead of us, and our answer and beauty and
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the genius of this country was not in a building in washington, but in the hearts and souls of the individual american people who truly make this the greatest country in the history of the entire world. thank you for letting me come peak to you. [applause] >> thank you. we will see a lot more of him. thank you.
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right. >> how long have you been there? >> about 10 years. there are changes there. > it is really neat. we have to -- the legislature --
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>> wow! >> he went from the house to the senate. they was speaker of the house and then was in the signal light. there is only one other person who has done that. he is like a walking encyclopedia. he knows all the history. very nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you too. >> we have a great state. i'm particularly fond of new orleans. i've been there several types. >> we had a great jazz fest. thank you. pleased to meet you. >> nice to meet you. i've heard great things about
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you. my old roommatings live in opelousas. >> we have some friends. has been very involved in -- to keep them in school. phenomenally successful. > thanks for coming. >> thank you again. t was great to meet you again. >> bob nash. my wife, pat. we represent the independent -- n new hampshire. jeff albright, i'm his counterpart in new hampshire. >> we have a great relationship with him. even before i was governor.
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>> good friends of ours. do a nice job in our industry. >> i don't know how you do it here. ur government in the 1990's -- they finally -- they broke that trend. jindal. a very good job. former legislature. a treasurer. seems to be doing a good job. our premiums are starting to come down. after california katrina we had real troubles. -- you have done a great job. we love new orleans. we have been there probably 10 times. it is nice to see you come back. > we support her in a big way.
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>> we were on a bus together. she has tremendous energy. great people skills. people love it. she is just so friendly. she has made a big imimpact pact. a lot of people don't do that. she has done a great job. >> thank you for your time here. >> you can tell that. >> she is -- she has taken strong, courageous positions. she has really made a difference. >> your comment about principle over party. thanks for your time. >> thank you very much. give her my best. >> thank you very much, governor. >> good to see you. i saw you last time you were up ere. > my wife is one of the -- >> i met her at the reception.
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there that especially -- is a lot of focus on each of them. especially during sessions. you probably don't don't see a whole lot of those. i think your daughter is as well. >> i actually have a nice picture. in wisconsin, last year. i hadn't seen him. he looks really good. e is doing well 3678
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>> i haven't seen him. working.-- she was >> i saw a number of people.
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good to see you again. >> pleasure to meet you. >> talked to him last week. he is making some money, which s a nice change.
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>> amazing. what's the secret? >> i think a lot of things. i think one of the things that happen was for a year -- i think when you're -- people are willing to make changes. it is one thing to compare yourself to somebody far away. in when you look around you, new orleans was bigger than austin. now austin is bigger than us. our grandchildren were moving out of state. think there is a huge desire. i don't want to get on a plane go and to houston, atlanta --
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we 80 is our first -- didn't have a republican have so it is not l -- he norm. the first time ever we have a republican majority in the house and senate. >> it is interesting talking could happen, right?
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>> you have time to lay out your plan. do you have 15 minutes? >> stop -- the -- the state of new hampshire and a state like louisiana, we have the expectation, we're going to see -- and i think the more that are able to do that. they see these distortions. they say wait a minute. i met this guy. he is not really like that. >> people say what do you think about romney? we only met him three or four times. thank you for your time.
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she has had enough of that. she wants to watch this episode off this d.v.d. this on demand. we were lucky just to have a cartoon or anything. >> that's all they know. hen i was growing up, i was -- she didn't believe me. she asked my mom. she said grandma.
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did they have remote controls when you were a little girl? he said they didn't have tv's. there has always been cellular phones and -- >> thank you so much for your ime. how are you? >> i don't remember -- she was on our staff in iowa. she is with me working on the gomez campaign in massachusetts. and curt, we can't get rid of him. >> i talked to gabriel last friday. >> you did. eah.
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>> we're in the middle session now. we would have more fun if we were on the bus. >> the bus in iowa. she did it actually, honestly. to be completely honest with you. >> hard work, planning -- it was flawless. >> you moved the needle for us up there. i'm sorry we came up short. >> it wasn't for lack of effort. >> you were right to touch on the things that you did. you're on the right track. >> i hope gabriel does well. >> i did actually. i went on a cruise. i went out of the country. so much fun to work with. >> i just talked to him on the phone. i haven't met him. he is such a genuine guy. you read hi his bio.
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in the military. >> good to see you, as always. seriously. i'm not joking. it was outstanding. i would like to take credit for her work. >> just had a bunch of pictures. brought back such great memories. >> on the bus. i sent them to curt. >> these restaurants. it was great. it just brought back a lot of nice memories. good luck. good luck in the race. >> nice to meet you. there are a lot of business people who have connections with the u.s. chamber from louisiana. they all have good things to say about you. >> thank you. you know the don hughs -- mora, the u.s. chamber.
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she was back about 10 years ago. >> she was chairman. >> this year she is the chairman of the state. her husband was the chairman many years ago. her husband today is -- and so jack was talking. he said well, i think we might have to -- these tax credits. i was like go check with your wife. they are both such great -- >> nice people. >> the kind of people you want o see in politics. >> i wanted to ask you a question. this is probably why you didn't ake questions at the podium. i would like to believe that our best years are in front of us but what do we have to do to get focused on our $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities? >> two things. i believe our best years are ahead of us but i don't think
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that is inevitable. we have to make that decision. i spent a year in 1990's while i was bipartisan medicare commissioner. you can count on the americans to do the right thing after they have exhausted every other alternative. the problem is last time -- social security. you remember the greenspan commission in the early 1980's. they did it -- before congress. unfortunately, if we had made hese changes back in the 1990's, instead we keep kicking the can down the road. well, it is not going to be bankrupt today. it gets a lot harder to change. medicare is the much bigger challenge compared to social security. i'm a believer the ofrpbl way we'll -- of the only way we'll see changes is congress is by electing you people, in louisiana, we have aed budget amendment in our constitution.
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we have a constitutional -- we have a fixed abt amount of time to pay off our u.a.l.'s. it takes a 2/3 vote. you can't have benefits unless you want to pay for them. we have a 2/3 vote before we can raise any taxes. we have a constitutional limit on our debt and borrowing. we have term limits. we have a part-time legislature. as a result of that, for example, when we have a pension debate in louisiana, we know some states play games. illinois borrowed money from the pension system. we didn't do that. we could not do that. every year we make our constitutionally required payments. that payment goes first. we don't say how much do you want to give the pension system? we do that before we do anything else. i also passed a law moving our new hires -- the contribution system. i think for congress, the only way they are going to confront the big challenges is if you make big structural challenges.
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as long as i can make more money and borrow at low interest rates, they will never -- it doesn't matter who you send. it has to be structural. i think you have to make those structural changes. that is going to involve giving up a little bit of power. they are going to have to say like the states, we're going to have to balance the budgets and we can't create new liabilities unless we refund them. the reason those changes happened in louisiana is that for years, they kept promising benefits. we have these ridiculous pension benefits. finally they said we're going to bankrupt ourselves. we have to stop that. they knew nobody would stop unless they constitutionally stopped it. >> california and illinois, i'm just waiting for the day when one of those governments is going to go crying to obama and say you to help us out. i hope they have the balls to say you guys created this, not
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us. >> you soocra, bankruptcy. -- cra, bankruptcy. it is a problem -- the states that have stronger pension systems generally have other constitutional requirements to prefund them or pay as you go to do things to avoid those long-term liabilities. if we don't fix this, what this ill mean is our successors won't have any money money for roads or schools. that's what you're taking from. we're taking it from the next generation. but the big, big point i think is you have got to have structural changes. we fool ourselfs into thinking, it didn't get any better when there was a republican majority in congress. you to have structural changes to force them to make the hard decisions. i think if you do that, it is doable. phil graham was on our commission. he still talks about the magic
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of come pound interest. if you shave a half percentage off every year, it accumulates. we do the -- right now we give them little incentive for long-term savings. so a five or 10-year speshtive. band ave band aid after aid and never get to the root of the problem. >> thank you. >> they do great work. great people. >> nice meeting you. thank you for your time. >> nice to meet you both. >> hey, guys. governor. >> how are you? >> thank y'all for coming out. >> i asked you in charlotte if you're thinking of running for president? >> i'll tell you to same thing i told you in charlotte inform anybody thinking about 2016 needs to have their head examined. we have to win the debate. we don't need to be splintering
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talking about the 2016 election. we just had a presidential election ma many thought we should have won based on the economic data and the objective facts. spent too muchwe time talking about the other party's faults rather than making our case. we want to make sure we have great candidates including here in new hampshire. we also have a full time day job working in louisiana to make sure we grow our economy and continue to outperform the southern economy. our focus is to help our party win the debate of ideas. >> why are you in new hampshire? >> i was thrilled. i got the invitation to help the senate republicans. there are 13 of them here. they are doing a great job
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fighting for charter schools. something i feel strongly about it. omething we have in louisiana. i'm going to go back tomorrow morning to my state. i was happy to come here and do it. they thought i could help b help them raise the resources. >> you talked about the ideas for the party. where do you stand on senator rubio's position? >> tefrl things. we're in the middle -- several things. i'll say several things about our immigration system. it is obviously broke pnl we need to increase the number of people that are allowed to come here legally. i think it is good for culture and good for our country. it is absolutely foolish for us to educate people and kick them out of our country. they go off and start new businesses and companies. we need to keep keep them here. third, i think border security is absolutely important. i was disappointed to hear the
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president say in a couple of different remarks and context that he didn't think it should be tied to the path way for the 11 million folks who are here today illegally. i think it is wrong. i think border security is critical. you saw that with the incident in boston. as a country, we're ompassionate people. we're not a country that turns people away from our emergency rooms or schools. i don't think that is who we are. i think we can find a compassionate solution but it has to include all of those almosts. i think one of the things that has to be done is we have -- i'm talking about millions. i'm not talking about incremental changes. i'm talking about a dramatic increasing of allowing people to come into this country lyle legally. yes, it is good for them but it is good for us too. it is good for this country.
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selfishly, they are going to contribute to our economy and improve our quality of life. i think we're a young country. i think that is an absolutely part of this immigration debate that doesn't get a lot of focus and attention. >> on the path way to citizenship. >> i hthe bill. in toverples border -- i think border security is a critical component. > i haven't read the bill. good to see you again. >> governor. i walked in a little late. you were talking about education. you talked a lot about education and how important it was in your life and how important you feel it is. i just heard something on the radio talking about a study during the reagan administration talking about where the schools were headed. that was 30 years ago. there have been how many administrations in between.
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what do you see it is a roadblock? >> three things. for too long, we have simply thrown money at the problem. that's not the answer. century you need resources. -- certainly you need resources. i don't think it is more government control. if i had been in congress, i would not have voted for no child left behind. i don't think the government should tell us how the run our schools. we're -- standardsized normalized testing. in louisiana, what i don't believe works elsewhere are two simple things. let the dollars follow the kids so you choice in competition and secondly, great teachers. we have value-added tests. we measure the children's performances at the beginning reward f the year and teachers. you can show dramatic progress in a short amount of time.
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the percentage of kids doing reading and math at a great years.as doubled in five stayed-wide, we have seen our graduation rate going up 10 points. highest rate it has been even as we increased the standards to garage. you can make progress quickly. -- graduate. these kids only grow up once. for too long the solutions have been the same old solutions. it is not that complicated. it is great teach teaching in the classroom and rewarding that teaching -- give parents meaningful choices so they have the ability. every parent that is resources whether it is a parochial school, online school, public school, private school. let them make those decisions. what we have seen is scores are
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better. we are saving millions of dollars doing it and we have done it quickly. >> we understand any time you show up here, or in iowa, we're going to ask you about president. >> i'll say what i'll say. the reality is anybody thinking about 2016 needs to have their head examined. we have to win the debate of ideas. we just finished the presidential election. we have important work as a party to provide a positive message. we spent too much of last year simply criticizing the president and pointing out with his policies didn't work. not doing enough to show the american people our conservative ideas can help them join the middle class. education is a great example of that. there are many examples of what we can be doing as a party. i'm focused on helping candidates win in virginia and new jersey. i'll be focused on helping candidates.
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that will be my political focus. in terms of growing our economy and continuing to cut our taxes. we don't need to be focused on 2016 now. let's win the debate. the majority of people thinks the federal government should be doing less and they still voted for president obama. that shows we have work to do as a party. >> thanks, governor. >> the yes, sir short but the answers are too long. hank you for coming out. >> thank you. >> would you mind getting a picture with me, sir? thank you.
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ed >> thank you very much. thank you so much. thank you for coming out. > thank you very much. >> sometimes pronunciations are different. i always tell people. i don't know. the louisiana way of saying those names. e have a lot of heberts. some people pronounce them ee-bert. we got an eddie lambert in the statehouse. luis lambert was our state senator who ran for congress. still very active attorney.
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not in politics. >> well, it is good to see the name has carried on. >> great to see you again. >> hi, governor. nice to meet you. this is my wife, susan. > very nice to meet you. >> this is my wife. >> nice to meet you. >> kentucky senator rand paul headlined the iowa g.o.p's lincoln dinner? cedar rapids. he said he is considering a run for president but the decision will not come before 2014. iowa senator chuck grassly and representative steve king also delivered remarks at the dinner. this is about an hour.
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[applause] >> on behalf of the prearnt of iowa, i want to thank all of you for coming out tonight. it mee means a lot to me and to the party. when we look at a crowd like this in eastern iowa, i can tell you that the first congressional district is in play in 2014 and we will be prepared to fight in it. the second congressional district is in play. we're recruiting hard for that seat and we plan to compete and win there also. you can clap. we're good. [applause] but we've got a wonderful opportunity ahead of us as republicans and i can tell you, when we as a party stand on principle, we win. time and time again, when we have stood -- if you look back
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at 2010, when we swept across the nation with a tea party title wave of wins in the republican category it is because we as a republican party stood on principle. i'm confident that a republican arty that stands on principle, that stands up for marriage, human life is going to be a republican party that will energize the base and that will advance the principles that we ll are fighting for. [applause] at this time i'd like to introduce tonight's first speaker, congressman king. king served in the iowa senate before being elected to the united states congress in 2002. congressman king is a husband
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and a father of three, which is absolutely the most important thing he can be. and we all know him here in iowa as the nation's strongest advocate to end obamacare. [applause] please join me in welcoming my congressman, steve king. [applause] >> wow. thank you all very much. i -- whoo. [applause] that is a really, really nice welcome. i -- thank you so much. this is a roomful of republican luminaries and it's like a great big family reunion for me. old friends, new friends, people to become friends and people
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that are bonded together here to move this country and this state in the right direction, and one of the directions that we have for us is this -- the process of selecting the next leader of the free world begins in iowa and it's already begun. [applause] and we as individuals in this state have more to say about who will be the next president on a per capita basis than anybody else in the country, in spite of what they might thing among my friends in the granite state. and we have great friends there and we need to be bonded together there to make sure that iowa stays the first in the nation caucus state and new hampshire stays the first in the nation primary state. that's got to be our bond. [applause] and if we don't do that whoever is the richest, whoever has the deepest pocket, whoever can hire the best media people can create
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a persona for the nation that would cause them to go on to be the next president and the common person could never again be the president of the united states. while i'm here saying this, the person who i think has done the most for the caucus, something like 384 meetings around this state. rick santorum did a great job to preserve the first of the nation caucus here in iowa. [applause] that's what we want. we get to know these candidates face to face, one-on-one if we can. now, what's from front of us? first of all, when a.j. talked about the repeal of obamacare, remember when that passed? i do. t was way into the night and i had -- it's a long story, but i went home thinking i could sleep. i couldn't. and i got up and i slept actually about two, two and a half hours. i sat down to my word processor and typed up a bill draft
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request and when the door opened at 9:00 in the morning. i had that request in to get a bill out. it was the first bill out that repeals obamacare, 40 words, rip it out by the roots. we're not giving up on this, folks. [applause] it's an unconstitutional taking of american liberty and it diminishes our spirit, our vitality and american potential and it's a disaster. there are 26 states that will not set up the exchanges. the federal government can go in and set up the exchanges but they have no legal authority to tell you have to engage in those. which means, when premiums hit in january of 2014, example, 12%, 30% increases, how about a 8-year-old female who spokes
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-- smokes who sees her share from the premium go up -- the penalty for smoking, the community rating, the annual increases that come with obama care. the $200 a month premium goes to $800 a month in january of 2014. you think that doesn't start a movement in this country to rip it out by the roots? i think it does and i think that's the subject matter for the 2014 election. second is, i'm watching this immigration bill come now, the gang of eight and the work that's being done in the senate today. here's what it does in short form, with an exception or two that i'll note at the end of this. it gives amnesty to and legalizes everybody that's in america illegally today. it invites everybody who's been deported in the past to come back into america because we didn't really mean it and implies that anybody who gets
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into america after the deadline can stay in america. now, if you commit a felony they might find a way to prosecute and deport you, but other than that, that is the scope of this ill. the pillars of american exceptionalism you know. but the central one is the rule of law. this law destroys the rule of law and forever produces contempt of the rule of law. one of the reasons i said no on the race for the united states senate was i cannot take myself out of the arena of the house of representatives for the next 18 to 20 months. [applause] the prospect of perhaps stepping out on the floor of the united states senate in january of 2015, with chuck grassley, and putting up a vote that would start to put the genie back in the bottle didn't seem to be
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worthy of what we would have to give away. every day we would have an opportunity to step up and defend american exceptionalism, american values. the core of the greatest civilization the world has ever seen. i couldn't take time out on that to do the campaign. i believe so strongly that there's a place for us -- there's a place for this country that goes beyond ronald reagan's shining city on the hill. there's an altitude, an elevation above that. he never said that the shining city on the hill was our destination. remember? ronald reagan said the shining city on the hill was america. it is america, but there's an america to be, and the america to be expands on god-given liberty and constitution principles and free enterprise and freedom of speech, religion, and the press, the freedom to peaceably assemble and a right to keep and bear arms and a right to life and a marriage between a man and a woman, and a rule of law and no double jeopardy and face a jury of your
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peers and the enumerated powers in the constitution that are not enumerated to the congress evolve to the people of the states respectively. that's the greatness of america. [applause] and we have a unique american spirit that's distinct from any other population on the planet. it comes from these god-given liberties, from the wisdom of our founding fathers, from the history, culture and core of our nation. but it also comes from the vigor of legal immigrants who chose to come to america because they were inspired by the statue of liberty, by god-given liberties and we got the cream of the carom. -- crop of every donor civilization on the planet. if you're not first, second or third generation, you were
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taught that by your parents or grandparents. because that's the value of america. we have that responsibilities and it's no stronger anywhere than here in iowa. so i'm dedicated. i'm dedicated do advancing these american principles and to advancing iowa values in the heart of the united states congress. i'm dedicated to -- i'll pick up the dishes if i need to. but i'm dedicated to this cause with all of you. that's why we're here tonight and i want to strengthen this republican party, i want to support the potential nominee for the united states senate and i want to see us go with a delegation that puts an end to us tom harken canceling out chuck grassley's vote for a generation of time. what sense did that ever make? tell me how it is that we rationalize -- well, we have a liberal and a good -- what sense did it ever make to elect people to cancel each other's votes? did you ever go to the polls
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with your wife or husband and one of you pull the republican ever and the other pull walk out, ver and shake hands and say you did something for the country? no, it was null. nothing happened. i want to see what score kept when we do better in this state. i want all of you to do that and i want to strengthen our values and work within the republican party to make that happen. god bless you and thank you. [applause] >> thank you, congressman king. people of iowa are going to appreciate you continuing to fight in the fourth congressional district for us in
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washington to make sure that owa values at some point penetrate that dome in d.c. our next speaker is looking for someone to join him from the state of iowa to vote the right way. right, chuck? senator grassley works for iowans and i think that really says it all. he works harder than anyone in this state at going around and listening to iowans, going around meeting, shaking hands, hearing the concerns of owans. the caucus has got the phrase "pulling a grassley" from enator grassley. we have candidates now that attempt to duplicate what our senator does by going to the 99 counties in iowa within a year and that's something senator grassley has done for a very long time and that's wart of what has given him that reputation as someone who works for iowa.
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i have been thrilled to be chairman of the party with senator grassley as my senator. i can't tell you how much i've appreciated, from the time i got elected chairman to today and going forward, how eager and happy he is to help anytime the republican party of iowa has asked and i don't think he gets thanked enough. so please join me in giving him applause for that. [applause] please join me in welcoming republican party of iowa finance chairman and united states senator charles grassley. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you.
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well, thank you very much. i appreciate the opportunity of eing where enthusiasm is demonstrated in a quantity fible way by the large number of people that have turned out here to hear senator rand paul. and thank you very much, rand, for coming to iowa again, and thank you very much for being a senator of principle and fighting for those principles and standing on those principles nd not being afraid to espouse them, even for 13 hours at a time. [applause] i like what you bring to the united states senate. thank you. well, you heard congressman king
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and our state chairman speak about the senatorial election coming up. so i hope that this once in a generation opportunity we have of maybe having two republican senators in the united states senate -- and that's only happened four out of the years that i've been in the united states senate -- of doing that again. so if i, tonight, as well as the next 18 months, concentrate on that issue, i hope you understand that it's something i'd really like to have you join in this effort to do, to get a republican senator from iowa so my vote will not be canceled, as is rightly stated. [applause] so that -- tonight i would simply tell you the basis for my concern about this, and that concern goes directly to everything you're concerned about.
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what's the future of our country? you know our model for our state. our liberties, we prize, our rights we will maintain. and that's just like our shared values of iowa's republican party. life, liberty, the right to keep and bear arms, individual prosperity, or you might say just honor what our constitutional writers had in mind. uphold the constitution of individual liberty. a government, a constitution written to protect us from a government that people in 1787 knew that they couldn't trust because of what king george brought to the colonies. we have that freedom and it's our job to maintain it.
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so we have this opportunity once in a generation to seize a historic moment. it is our destiny as republicans to put an end to washington's overreaching and that overreaching is probably more of a problem than even the overspending. you know, we're facing another federal train wreck in just five months when on september 30 we will be hitting a debt ceiling and faced either default or government shutdown and remember, this president added $6 trillion to our national debt. so washington is long, long overdue to get its fiscal house in order and getting rid of a liberal u.s. senator and getting us a republican senator will go a long ways to change that. we know
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we know that the stop-gap spending measures and the sequester historiery is a classal leadership failure and -- colossal leadership failure and remember that sequester idea came directly from the white house yet they don't want to own it. they want to complain about it. so that brings me back to where we started. iowa needs another advocate in the united states senate and winning iowa's open seat for the first time in a generation will get us back on the right track. and speaking of train wrecks and senator -- congressman king made this very clear. there is even a bipartisan coalition in washington calling the implementation of obamacare,
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that train wreck. my friend of the other party, senator baucus is retiring because he is so fed one the possibility of this thing being a train wreck and he spoke of it as you know, the quote, when the secretary of h.h.s. was before our committee, he said its implementation is going to be a bombshell or a train wreck but that is the bombshell that he left. it is a shame that a train wreck even left the station a couple of years ago as congressman king has made very clear. in fact, i found out the hard way how you can't trust this president. that was on august 5, 2009. after we had been negotiating some on healthcare. he called six of us to the white house. three democrats and three republicans. and that's after nine months of trying to do something in a negotiated way.
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and he said would -- to me, would you be willing to be one or two or three republicans to help us get a bipartisan bill passed and i said no! because -- [applause] -- i said no because we were working real hard for all of those months to try to get something to pass the senate 80 or 90 votes. i said you can ask senator baucus that. you know, i used to get phone calls from him even on my cell phone. he hasn't called me once since then. do i care? no, i don't care. [applause] well, well, as this obamacare takes bigger bites out of our paycheck and obviously it is going to get between patient and
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the doctor and destroy that relationship, it is more important than ever that a republican senate majority is ere to do what obamacare doesn't. obamacare didn't legislate. it delegated. you think you can read me that 2700-page bill and understand it? no. you can understand it, yes. but you don't know what it does until those 1693 pages of regulation get ready and there is only a few dozen of them written yet and there is 19,000 pages that stack up 7 feet high so you don't really know how it affects you yet. so this all boils down to who do you want to make decisions affecting your wealth, health and security? do you want an elected
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representative of the people or do you want some faceless bureaucrat? now that's the key difference between reins and democrats in the conference -- republicans and democrats in the congress with. we think people know best. they think washington knows best. we believe in representative democracy. dictato rinch al democracy. that's what democrats do. first and foremost, congress needs to secure our borders. that means any immigration reform bill must preserve the rule of law. we can't afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. and i want you to know i learned a lesson and i want you to know that i and we screwed up in 1986. we legalized 2 million imgraham grant. it did not solve anything
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because we didn't secure the border even though we thought we were passing legislation that did secure the border. today we have 11 million people who come to our country illegally. é
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c-span!
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forced into their cells for 22 to 20 hours a day. administration ordered a review of conditions at the base to ensure they were jiffy 9 -- geneva convention compliant. he describe the conditions as unbearabl. all of this for the crime of going on a hunger strike because we no longer want to be abused.
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his continued detention and pain are senseless. security's national waiver allows for the transfer of men like him. the 80 six men whose detention the administration has determined is no longer necessary and where any security risks can be mitigated. carl levin wrote in a letter that the provision provides for a clear route for transfers to third countries and appropriate cases and was meant to ensure that the certification requirements under section 1028 d before those requirements were enacted the administration successfully transferred about 70 men to their home countries. the transfers were pursuant to an agreement with united states and the receiving countries that included security measures that are compliant. the same type of agreement could satisfied with the provision under section 10-28-d of the
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national defense authorization act. nor is the problem that other men have been approved for transfer remain because they have nowhere to go. of the 86 who have been approved to leave about a dozen men have feared persecution in their own countries. in 2010 there were a number of countries in europe and elsewhere that offer safe haven to men who cannot return home. the problem is not at all countries are now unwilling to take the men but the administration has stopped asking and backtracked on its promise to closure, galvanize, and support the international community in 2009 that resulted in many resettlement. the administration closed the office of the state department's special envoy that has been tasked with negotiating the resettlement, repatriation of cleared land. that office should be open and more probably get ministration
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to appoint a senior official in the white house to spearhead this process of transferring detainee's. the administration can and should also list moratorium on all transfers to yemen that have been in place since 2009 obsessively without review. at the critic of the 86 to have been cleared for transfer 56 are from yemen. many of those men want to go home. they're individuals with their own backgrounds and circumstances who we need to start treating collectively -- whom we need to stop treating collectively and start dealing individually. that shift to start with the president himself by lifting the ban that the un experts has condemned as "a clear violation of the principle of non- discrimination." the cost of maintaining that ban should have been evident last year with the death of a yemeni man. he has been approved by the obama and bush administration for transfer. and yet he remained at guantanamo because this administration's policy.
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he had gone on hunger strikes many time to protest his detention. he was forced fed as a life sustaining matter and he died, leaving behind a teenage son he has not seen since the boy was 3 years old. there are yemenis who remain at guantanamo today. they include men let our client,
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who i met at the base last month. he was captured by police in pakistan and was likely turned over for bounty, like most prisoners ever held. he was not charged. the obama administration unanimously approved him for transfer. he was 107 pounds and he is being forcibly fed. he went on hunger strike before this crisis. the administration failed to act in time for mr. latif. there is a window of time now where we can do things differently. in parallel with taking immediate steps to affect transfers, president and secretary of defense should address the current conditions in the camps, which have regressed. the defense department team that was passed with that review specifically found that "further socialization would be essential to maintaining humane treatment over time." the key aspect to that would be "more human to human contact,
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intellectual stimulation, and group prayer." conditions have moved in the opposite direction. for months most men have been held in 22 to 23 hour solitary confinement. they are limited to recreation time strict alone. they are deprived of news and prohibited from group prayer. these conditions not only call into question article 3 but escalated the crisis. they deepen the resolve for the men to continue their hunger strike.
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some of our clients have said they would rather die than live like this in perpetual detention after 11 years in inhumane conditions. their hunger strikes are not? of suicide, they are a last resort to be heard and released. -- their hunger strikes are not? of suicide, -- are not acts of suicide, they are a last resort to be heard and released. thank you. [applause] >> i do not know what i can add to what has already been said. i am not an expert on torture. let me read you a little history of the crime and share the concerns of the shoulder and a citizen. "i did not lay aside the citizen when i became a soldier."
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i remember vividly the day secretary powell came back. i jotted down the notes of what he told me. one of the things he told me was he wasn't sure we were winning the battle of geneva. we had, in many respects, led the world in creating -- he said the argument over whether to abandon geneva or not have gotten quite hot and at one point his lawyer, who was with him at this meeting of principles, himself a former deputy secretary of defense --
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had asked donald rumsfeld was as "what is final disposition?" do you plan on keeping these people in cuba? for 50 years? 60? his answer was we will cross that bridge when we come to it. we crossed that bridge several times. the world knows what we are about. in case you haven't noticed, a former president of pakistan -- some of the charges have him on house arrest in his own country concerned the disappearing of pakistan, many of whom disappeared with his complicity and maybe even his monetary gain or the monetary gain of the isi. they collected the bounties on their enemies and their enemies ended up in orange jumpsuits in guantanamo, guilty of nothing
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more than having been an enemy of the powerful man in pakistan. guantanamo stands out to the rest of the world, not just the 1.3 billion muslims, but to the rest of the world as a clear indicator that the american empire is in decline. --jor decline because it you if you look at history closely this is what empires do when they begin to decline. they begin to use power to cover their needs. they begin to use power instead of wisdom and rights to achieve their goals in the world. this issue reminds me of another issue in our history.
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i am reading a marvelous book on george washington. i never thought i could read anything more on washington that would be just as insightful. a new note has been struck brought in from the 20th century. a note that tells you page after page in an almost 1000 page book of washington and incidentally of jefferson's and madison's and other's struggle with slavery and how long it took forestry eradicate that cancer from our soul.
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george washington had personal slaves in the white house. he toured the south in incredible long tours to show the country who we was and what he was and to hold the union together. he took his slaves with him. we fought a civil war. the casualty count was well over 600,000, it was more like 1 million. a bloody war to eradicate that from our souls. this the same kind of problem -- i remember being at the ritz- carlton in pentagon city. general irvine was there. it was the night john mccain was try to get the armed forces of the united states out of the business of torture.
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we drew it in a letter and it was sent to his desk. i remember the comment made by a man who was clearly 90, a former marine -- towards the end of our proceedings he wanted to be recognized in the words that he told me and the words were searing. he started by saying he never thought he would be in a discussion like this. never. not in all his life. i never thought i would be standing at a podium talking about the democratic republic of america torturing people. if you have read that report you know it had two seminal questions in it, more than that but those that really struck me. "did we torture?" resounding yes. "was it authorized by the highest power in the land?" resounding yes.
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guantanamo needs to be closed. [applause] >> i would like to focus on the sacredness of human life. the belief that all human life is sacred is a bond across the world's religions at their best. it unites the the first religious communities, christian, jewish, muslim, and others, that have joined in forming the national religious campaign against torture, nrcat.
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i founded in 2006, it is an organization of supporters and 323 religious member organizations. we played a key role in prompting president obama to issue the exucitveorders -- to issue the executive orders on his second day in office to and u.s. torture. one of those orders was his pledge to close the prison at guantanamo. this pledge, as we know, is still unfulfilled. more recently nrcat served as a task force on treatment by those who have just been released by the constitution pocket. one of the co-sponsors of our
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briefing is here this morning. he is a member of the constitution taskforce and has written, "human life is sacred. this means that each and every human being has been set apart for designation as a being of elevated status and dignity. each human being must therefore be viewed with reference and be treated with due respect and care, with special attention to preventing any desecration or violation of a human being." he lays special stress on our shared moral obligation to protect human life from 1 ton description -- from wanton destruction, desecration, or violation of human rights. human beings must be protected and defended against all cruel, inhuman, and the grading treatment precisely because of human life is sacred. there are some things that must never be done to any human being, no matter what wrongdoing they may have engaged in.
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the conviction of life's synchronous provides a universal moral framework. life's sacredness underlies america's commitment to basic fairness as enshrined in the rule of law. all men are created equal, being endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. no doubt can exist that in many terrible ways the prisoners at guantanamo have not been treated fairly. they have not been protected from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. indeed they have been systematically abused in a shocking way.
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their abuse offends common decency and makes a mockery of the rule of law. their lives have been desecrated. their human-rights are violated and their very existence, in some cases, being wantonly destroy it. i will not dwell today on the fact that despite what we were told, most of the men in guantanamo did not make up the worst of the worst.
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i will not ponder the disturbing revelation made some years ago by colonel wilkinson himself that most of the guantanamo detainees were guilty of no potential wrongdoing and that no intelligence of any value was ever gained from them apart from a small handful. nor will i expand upon the festering moral outrage that many of these detainee's have been stuck in that hellhole for more than 10 years without any charges being brought against them. finally, i would disregard the paradox that these detainee's face a desperate future of prolonged indefinite detention with no prospect of being released for the rest of their lives, precisely because our government tortured them and is therefore afraid of what they are going to do if released. putting the soros to one side i want to focus on -- putting these sorrows to one side i want to focus on human fate in guantanamo.
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i want to lift up the hunger strike to reasons it came into being. the main question i want ask is this, do we even realize that these prisoners are human beings? can our ears no longer hear the cries of those wrongfully detained? have we allowed our hearts to become so hardened by bitterness and fear that we live in danger of becoming what we ourselves most heat? -- most hate? have we forgotten the sacredness of human life? "gitmo is killing me." he describes his plight. "i have been on a hunger strike since february 10. i have lost 30 pounds.
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i will not eat until they restore my dignity. i have been detained at guantanamo for 11 years and three months. i have never been charged with any crime. i have never received a trial. i could have been home years ago. no one seriously thinks i am a threat. but i am still here.
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last year on march 15 i was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. they tied my hands and feet to the bed. they forcibly inserted an i.v. into my hand. i spend 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. during this time i was not permitted to go to the toilet. the inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading, and unnecessary. i was not even permitted to pray. i will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. i cannot describe how painful it is to be force fed in this way. as it was trusted it made me feel like throwing up. i wanted to vomit but i couldn't. there was a guinea in my chest agony in my chest. i have never experienced such
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pain before. i would never wish to school punishment upon anyone. -- which this cruel punishment upon anyone. the only reason i'm here is because president obama refuses to send any detainee's back to even. this makes no sense. i am a human being, not a passport. i deserve to be treated like one. i will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. i am now 35. all i want is to see my family again and start a family of my own. the situation is desperate now. people are thinking with exhaustion everyday. -- are fainting with exhaustion everyday. i have vomited blood. there is no end in sight to our imprisonment.
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i just hope that because of the pain we are suffering the eyes of the world will once again look at guantanamo. the guantanamo hunker strike has continued now for nearly 100 days while spreading to 100 prisoners, more than half of the 166 being held there. last week, the resort to force feeding has been condemned by international's as an international crime. the whole world is watching and alough guantanamo may beet of a.
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invisible to many americans it is virtually all that the rest of the world and especially the muslim world sees. as the hunger strike continues the first death is only a matter of time and america's moral authority will continue to plummet. the consequences of ignoring guantanamo are enormous. not only for america but chiefly for the prisoners themselves. many of whom have reached point that they would prefer to die rather than persisting more years of indefinite detention, which is in itself that amount to torture. we have called to president obama to release all detainees have no case against them.
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we urge him to transfer the rest to u.s. courts where they can be charged and tried. we implore him above all to do as he promised, by shedding guantanamo down. it is imperative not only for the captives to be dealt with fairly but also for those who tortured them to be held accountable. what is the point of having laws against torture if they do not apply to the powerful? the real crimes were not committed in guantanamo or in afghanistan. the real crimes were committed in washington. without genuine accountability the sanctity of human life in america will continue to languish its content.
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thank you. [applause] >> thank you to our esteemed experts. i also want to thank congressman moran and his office for holding this very important briefing. i also want to thank the co- sponsors of the constitution project national religious campaign against torture and the new america foundation for helping co-sponsor this briefing. we have this room until 11:30. this briefing is intended to be educational and informative and so we have a lot of time for questions and answers.
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let us start that. i would like to take a couple of questions together. if you have a particular panelist in mind please let us know and speak loudly as this is on c-span. in the back, please. please state your question very clearly. state your question and i will go on to another one. >> [indiscernible] do we really have a good study about how government detainees are being held in gitmo and how we have mass incarceration in the united states?
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[indiscernible] we have force feeding in the rehab centers. these type of things -- mortgage foreclosures it is a system problem. why don't we have a study of this basic issue? >> first of all, we are not going to have long speeches on issues that are not directly related to guantanamo. we want to make this not only as informative and to some extent as efficient as possible use of our time. i would suggest to others that want to make a statement that no matter how valid the points they want to make that i am going to cut them off in the middle of that statement. we want to get to this issue at hand and address the experts accordingly. i heard your question. i do not want to be rude.
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there has been a study. it is at the back of the room. you can read through that and there are other extensive studies on this issue. excuse me, i hate to be such a yes, sir? >> [indiscernible] has the existing authority to close it, you also mentioned he needs to be engaged with members of congress. what efforts does he need to do to re-engage congress? >> that is a question on everybody's mind. there are concrete steps. can one of the panelists -- would you like to address it?
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>> think as we have been saying, concretely the national defense authorization act passed in 2011 does contain certain requirements on transfers that makes the process more burdensome. there are some specific requirements that oppose a reasonalbe and impo -- a reasonable and impossible burdens on countries. there is a national-security waiver provision that allows the secretary of defense to take other actions to mitigate risks. they may be imposed by specific individuals and ultimately to certify that transfer in the security interests of the united states. what you're saying is those types of actions to mitigate security risks were taken pre- ndaa. there was no detainee transferred from guantanamo in 2009 or 2010 that was pre
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transferred. they were all pursuant to very carefully negotiated agreements with host countries that included security arrangements that were agreed upon by the united states and the recipient country. those kind of agreement can happen again and the certifications can happen under the national-security waiver. that would make the transfer of at least 86 people possible. those are 86 people the obama administration has unanimously determined can be transferred with the property agreements -- with the appropriate agreements. there are additional detainees who remain. our starting point after years of no movement is let us look at the group we all agreed do not belong at guantanamo.
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>> let me cut to the chase, i teach presidential opposition making -- presidential decision making. if the president can decide to go into libya without even talking to the congress of the united states he could close guantanamo tomorrow morning. [applause] >> can i just add a footnote to that? i mentioned this group of retired flag officers in my comments earlier, we look at this question as a consequence of the last presidential election and in conjunction with another human rights organization, proposed a plan for closing guantanamo. i will just give you the website reference, it is apt
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www.humanrightsfirst.org. the title of the document is "how to close guantanamo." >> thank you. i have to leave at 11:00 so i am just going to say a few words. the question the young man asked is the most important one to be addressed. with regard to the panel, these are great people. greek people choose not live within their comfort zone -- great people choose not live within their comfort zone to the outside of our comfort zone. it would be within our comfort zone to turn our back on guantanamo, to close our consciousness to the people -- to close our consciences to the people of guantanamo. it is not how we became a nation that we are today. this is not going to be easy, to close guantanamo. and i can tell leawood every confidence, particularly given tell you with every confidence that congress is not going to do
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the right thing in this instance without a great deal of political pressure. i think the president wants to do the right thing regardless. there are some things i know, that without political pressure the president is not going to be able to accomplish this. if there is not poiltical pressure in this democracy guantanamo will never be closed. the only hope these detainees have is an informed public. that is our only hope. that is why we are having this panel today.
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that is why i appreciate all of you being here. i have to go on to another thing. thank you all very much. [applause] >> to follow up on your question, there are certification requirements. the national-security waiver allows to waive those requirements and the executive can do that.
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he can start by appointing somebody in the white house who will every day wake up and say, "how do we start transferring men yesterday?" another question? >> it seems like it is just getting the flow going again. i thought the case of -- would be an easier one because he is a u.k. citizen and the prime minister has asked for his release. we heard a very strange response from the administration saying the u.k. didn't want him released. if this is a good case to push on could you let us know.
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the prime minister of human wanted to meet with the administration and cannot get a meeting with the high official in the white house. why are they so reluctant to move forward on any releases to yemen? >> we will take one more question and then address that. another question, please. in the back there, a gentleman with the glasses. >> i was wondering, the question was, who would you blame for changes that have come to the camp, and what do you think the president should do to fix the issues with the lockdown following the hunger strike? what should the president do to fix that aspect? >> ok, the first question, does anybody have any information regarding the u.k. and the -- anyone in the room? there are people here who have been following that. i guess i'd put it to the department of state who might be able to answer that.
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it is a very good question. the next question is yemen -- any intel essentially on what happened with the human rights minister from yemen and the white house? we did invite the department of defense, office of detainee policy, the department of state.
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i understand mr. russo was just coming back from afghanistan, and expressed interest in attending. i am sorry they are not here to answer questions. >> i am going to open my mouth. i met with the shadow defense minister of the u.k. about two weeks ago at the state department's invitation, and we had a conversation about a lot of things. he is labour, not in power. nick klegg is in a very weird coalition with david cameron and has been neutralized. i would suggest to you any signal coming out of london is probably mixed, and because of that and can be played on by the white house, the white house will play in the direction it wants to play in. with regard to yemen, it is the same issue. it is the issue with guantanamo and this president in general, and that is they do not want their hands tied and they do not want to do anything, and so the best way to do that is to avoid dealing with anyone who might potentially tie their hands. and that in my view makes me question my vote for this president.
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>> and the question about a hundred strikes and you might be to blame for the changes and what can be done other than transfer -- start with conditions, the parties you were mentioning. >> i do not know behind the scenes what was going on. the camp administration is its own entity, and our senior people in the department of defense and the white house. the camp administration and the commander right now at the base seemed to be responsible what we have been seeing in terms of lockdown and the changes in conditions. what needs to happen is some kind of intervention by the secretary of defense or the white house to take a look at what is happening and to intervene. i think immediately the problem, the changes have resulted from
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camp administration at the base. why, i do not know. >> the detainee treatment task force report has a chapter on the role of medical professionals in detention and interrogation operations, and there is an interesting discussion in that chapter with respect to how the force-feeding protocol at guantanamo differs from the procedures that are generally followed by the u.s. bureau of prisons. i will not go into detail with that, but there are steps that could be immediately taken that would alleviate some of the concern about the way force feeding is accomplished. dr. thompson, one of the task force members and is a physician, noted that if a prisoner is sufficiently strong, that he can resist efforts to feed him forcibly. he is probably not at a state where force feeding is medically
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necessary as a way of sustaining life. one of the concerns we had was that the force-feeding process may be restored to much earlier in this state than is necessary to maintain life and to sustain life. another difference between the procedure at guantanamo and that with the bureau of prisons is -- at least i believe this is a difference -- if the bureau of prisons undertakes to force feed a prisoner, there is a requirement that those feedings be videotaped, so there's no question about how it is being accomplished and how it is being practiced. one of the complaints that was made by prisoners that we interviewed was that the force feeding tubes as they were used would be withdrawn from the system of one prisoner and then reapplied on the other prisoner without cleaning. i do not know if that is the case, but if it is the case, that is a violation of every medical protocol i can think of.
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i would refer you to chapter 6 in the task force report. it is a pretty interesting chapter. >> let me add comments to that, which is the american medical association made a statement last week, i believe, or perhaps this week, that forced feeding of detainees -- by its core ethical bounds of the medical profession and the world medical association has stated forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable, even if intended to benefit. feeding, accompanied by force or physical strength, is a form of in a humane and degrading treatment. the issue here with the force feeding is whether detainees are voluntary the consenting to artificial feeding or if they are being forced to be fed, and
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that is clearly a violation of several treaties and the u.s. constitution. >> we talked today about [indiscernible] what would you recommend that members on the hill do today and where we need to go to bring this issue to a close? >> an important question. thank you for coming. >> simply, political pressure from the public has a role. we have been focusing on obama. he is ultimately who can make this happen, but the public needs to share support on closing guantanamo, and the issue has been invisible for many years. getting the facts about who is there and making a demand that this is not happening in your name is a very basic thing that everyone can do. >> i think also there has been
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i do work on the hill, but by mentioning the senate i am not making a faux pas here -- but i believe there has been dear colleague letter that goes to it, that says, damn it, start those transfers. you can tell i do not work on the hill. >> question of the force feeding and other issues. i am a member of the general public and i feel like i follow this issue closely, but i am confused as to whether the united states is allowing red cross in to observe what is going on, and without notification first, and whether or not the u.n. human rights group is about to go in unannounced and watch and see what is taking place in guantanamo. >> take one more question and we will answer that.
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>> can the person address the issue -- >> petition issue? how many signatures and how we started. a good question. and, you, sir, in the back. >> [indiscernible] it seems to be a force more power than the president holds. >> ok, start with the first question -- sorry -- >> red cross. >> the red cross is allowed to make visits. as a matter of policy they are not allowed to discuss their findings publicly. so that is the basic issue, that we do not know what concerns they may have and what they are conveying or not to the
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administration and how the administration may or may not be responding. as far as other monitors, no, the red cross is the only independent monitor about at the base. u.n. experts, the inter-american commission on human rights, they have requested access and have continuously been denied. it is the red cross only that is allowed access to the base. >> i want to plug the report once more. there is an interesting discussion about the role of the red cross at guantanamo, and about a particular disagreement within the highest levels of that organization about how it was going to deal with what it found at guantanamo and abu ghraib. the discussion about the resignation of the director early on, because of the way the administration at that time was trying to politicize the fact that there were red cross visits and make it sound as though the red cross had in fact sanctioned what is going on at these facilities, when in reality the
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red cross evidently was appalled by what it was finding is a very interesting part of that report. >> let me say, having worked with the red cross before, as a soldier, i am sure the general knows this, too, the red cross' policy is to go to the lowest level of the chain of command and to report the infraction or infractions and see them corrected. then if they are not, to go to the next level and the next level and the next level. they want to stay within the chain of command on the ground. that is how they are so effective. when you get the director of the icrc go to see colin powell, you understand how bad it was, and i will not make any comment on that director, but the icrc caught in the dilemma, that it is most effective, by staying inside a chain of command, and yet if the chain of command is unresponsive, what does it do?
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>> let me add in the past u.n. bodies and special parties, they did requests, but on conditions were that they would not be allowed to speak with any detainees directly. they refused because the goal is to be able to speak with detainees, and other organizations are allowed at the military commission only as observers and not as a monitoring, independent body. and, mo davis, can i call on you, to tell us about your petition. >> change.org\closegtmo. what led me was code pink.
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i was watching the john brennan hearings and i saw these little old ladies stand up -- [laughter] and get the lead out, i thought why don't i have the courage like these ladies who stand up for what they believe in? guantanamo is wrong, and for all the reasons that have been laid out, the financial, fiscal irresponsibility. if it continues until the end of this administration, we will spend another $750 million on guantanamo. to fiscal conservatives, it makes no sense. we're witnessing its torture at change.org, and if other people are willing to stand up, why can i? >> mo davis was a prosecutor in the military commissions. [applause] >> and the third question was, where is the political will to keep it open? why is it open?
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>> i will take a shot at that. put my foot in it again. two words -- moral courage. moral courage is most often the most missing ingredient in any presidential decision-making process. i do not care what president you want to talk about -- ronald reagan, harry truman, dwight eisenhower. moral courage is sapped by what i would call political reality. it is sapped by clinical opposition and the caliber and brouhaha nature of that opposition. what happens when you confront a series like this, even though you are in your second term, have been reelected, even though you do not have political concerns for yourself, you do have concerns for others. why do you think my party, the
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republican party, is still going on about benghazi? it has nothing to do with their affection for the incident or their desire to find the truth. it has everything to do with hillary clinton so she will not be a candidate or give them worry in the next presidential election. what about elections in the congress with regard to the house and the senate? they are up there, too, so the president has to concern himself with all these things. i come back to my original point very seldom in the post-world war ii national security state do we find a president with the moral courage to go against essentially all those influences. and that is what is tying this president in knots. i have no doubt in his conscience it tells him he should close it.
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i have no doubt either that the political currents working against that decision are also. >> yes, sir. >> in terms of reparations for people who have been tortured domestically with long-term solitary confinement and also in guantanamo with the more extreme methods of torture, do you think bringing charges against president bush for war crimes or crimes against humanity and possibly against president obama is how we really address this issue and move on to a more spiritually clean path? >> we will take another question. yes, ma'am. >> i heard numerous people on the panel about putting detainees into the federal court system, and there has been concern about evidentiary issues, especially with the torture going on in the state secrets.
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i am wondering if someone could address what i'm hearing about the federal courts, what that would look like in terms of those issues, and something we should take into consideration in terms of jurisdictions? >> i would start with the general on this question of reparations and war crimes and accountability. >> first of all, the report that the task force prepared early on made a determination that we were not there to function as a screening panel as to who did or who did not commit more crimes. we do not raise that issue specifically in our report for a number of reasons. the question of reparations or making things right is a very interesting issue, because one of the things that people do not forget when they talk about torture, for example, is that we
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have tortured a lot of people, including a lot of people who either had done nothing that warranted that response or who had no information to provide even if they'd wanted to. so the question becomes, how do you make that issue right with people who have been wronged? so far, the record of our justice system is pretty poor, because the administration, the department of justice, has asserted the official secrets act or defense on every occasion when someone who is claiming they have been wrongfully tortured or treated or abused has tried to get that case to court.
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our record in that respect is pretty appalling. there needs to be a way for someone who has been legitimately aggrieved -- that sounds like a conflict in terms and it probably is -- but if there is a grievance that can be compensated with money, which is the whole basis of our tort system with law, there needs to be a way that person can get the case before a judge and a jury and get a determination and get compensated. we have made no effort to do that in any kind of responsible way. the other issue that is as is it with that is when prisoners have been released from guantanamo, they are almost literally dumped where they get off the plane, with no means of support, no network to receive them, and this is a real problem. again, there is a chapter on
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this aspect of how we have dealt with guantanamo prisoners that is interesting as well, and more needs to be done provide a way of integrating these people back into the social system from which they came. the arrangement that presently exists is that there is no system for doing that. the gentleman in britain said i am not responsible for guantanamo, but i am spending all this time dealing with prisoners who have been released who come to me and say, what can you do to help me get on with my life, who said, i did not come to the united states. the united states came to me. this is not my issue, but somehow i am ending up responsible, as are others who are involved in other countries, for solving a problem that we had created and that we want to walk away from.
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>> just to put this in some kind of perspective, two things -- first, many of you will know the name of a canadian citizen who was wrongfully abducted, sent by extraordinary rendition to syria, tortured severely. they found out he was the wrong person. he is a canadian citizen, and the canadian government did get him significant reparations. second, it costs about a million dollars a year to keep each prisoner in guantanamo. if we are not offering these people reparations, as an adequate as a financially reparation would be, it cannot be for financial reasons. >> let me add one footnote. one of the issues that the
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report deals with is the rendition program and how various individuals were snatched by the cia and other places and then rendered either to other countries for interrogation or taken to guantanamo. a number of those individuals were citizens of great britain. one of the ironies of all this to me is that several libyans who were protesting and wanted to rebel against the government of colonel gaddafi taken by the cia and turned over to the gaddafi by a favor by the central intelligence agency. some of these guys have now served lawsuits on the officers in britain who had some responsibility for that, and there are a couple that are very curious. jack straw, the british foreign secretary, is the object of one of these suits. the government of great britain settled with one of those