tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 31, 2013 2:00am-4:01am EST
articulable suspicion that these people are associated with specific terrorist organizations. >> madam president, thank you. i'm reading the statement on behalf of the commission and i'm >> madam president, thankvice you. i'm reading the statement on behalf of the commission and i'm here today instead of the vice president, who is unavailable. >> the commission is concerned about recent media reports that the united states authorities are accessing and processing on a large-scale the data of european union citizens using major u.s. online service providers. programs such as the so-called prism and the laws on the basis of which such programs are authorized potentially endanger the fundmental right to privacy
and to data protection. the present case as reported in the media is also likely to reenforce the concerns of e.u. citizens regarding the use of their personal data online and in the cloud. already in 2012, 70% of e.u. citizens were concerned that their personal data held by companies could be used by a purpose other than the one for which it was collected. the prism case as reported in the media also highlights the difference between the european union and the united states. whereas in the u.s. system only u.s. citizens and residents benefit from constitutional safeguards, in the european union everyone's personal data
and the confidentiality of their communications are recognized and protected as fundamental rights irrespective of their nationality. while reports are particularly worrisome -- >> colleagues, commissioner, 500 million european citizens were very shocked last week to find that a foreign nation has unlimited access to every intimate detail of their private life. it was the president himself who came and answered to questions of congress and the media. so what do they see in europe? first of all, with all due respect to the commissioner, we get the commissioner for public health to deal with this issue.
well, the president who should have stepped in his helicopter and flown to straussburg to answer, we have at least the responsible commissioner to respond to terrorism in the house. where is the responsible commissioner? why aren't the prime political leaders of europe here? we also need to look at ourselves, colleagues. look around you. an empty hemicycle. this house just over a decade ago when faced with a similar situation, something called echelon, we decided to set up a heavy parliamentary inquiry. today we get a handful of dedicated m.e.p.'s to address 500 million citizens. we are failing the european citizens at a time where trust in the european union is at an all-time low! we should be ashamed of ourselves. and then to the subject matter itself, first of all, we can't have been very surprised to find that the americans are spying on us because we knew about it.
we have been asking questions again and again and again. but asking questions through the commission is like talking to a wall. i have a long list of nonanswers to my questions about the patriot act, about extra territorial application of u.s. law, and we get no answers from the european commission. the member states because there is a national debate about the same issue everywhere. we will ask the americans for an explanation. in all of the member states, including the u.k. and in my member state, we are doing the same. the states are doing double speak to the citizens. are we surprised that they are losing trust? and actually, you can say the citizens don't trust their governments any more, but the governments seem to trust their citizens even less.
we are also losing moral authority here. how can we tell the governments of say egypt, iran, any other country that they should not spy on their citizens because that has no place in a democracy if we are doing the same on our citizens? we are losing credibility here. on the special relationship, i have heard nearly all colleagues here refer to the special relationship with our best friends and closest allies the united states. i don't know if you listened to the statement of president obama when he was addressing the american audience who were worried. he said don't worry, you know, we are not spying on you as citizens, we are only spying on foreigners. foreigners. so that is us. that is european citizens. so what kind of a special relationship is that? and over the last 12 years, europe has bent over backwards to be the closest ally of the americans in the fight against terrorism. and i'm sure that we will continue to be their ally. but we need to see eye to eye.
and we expect the commission and with all due respect i'm grateful you are here, commissioner borg, but this is a matter for political leadership. we need political leadership in europe to defend the rights of our citizens and the time is now. >> as we look at the specific cases described in hearings earlier this week, what at first seemed like fairly dramatic claims, dozens of terror plots being foiled, looks a lot less dramatic under closer scrutiny. separate out prism and 702 from 215, you say 40 of these terror events again, whatever that is, were overseas so those may have involved prism or at least half may have involved prism in some significant way and 10 or 12
that are domestic. and then when you start looking at exactly what that means, you say how many of those was 215 actually used specifically? this metadata program. and well, the majority we believe. okay, six or seven. what are the cases? one involved finding someone donating money to shababb, the ethiopia group. find and prosecute those people. not exactly a terror plot foiled and not clear why the same thing could not have been achieved using traditional tools. another terrorist already being monitored. whatever use was made of 125 later. not clear why a more targeted use of that would not have been possible. there was this other case involving a supposed plot to bomb the new york stock exchange. was it a serious plot?
the deputy director for the f.b.i. says well, the jury thought it was serious because they were all convicted. there was no jury trial and they were not convicted of plotting terrorism. they were convicted of material support for a terrorist organization meaning, again, assistance, money. and the new york stock exchange plot part of it appears to have involved the fact that the u.s. person involved in the case scoped out several tourist targets and it appears to have been abandoned. the u.s. attorney who worked the case said there was no specific plot. if these are the showpiece cases they are bringing up to justify the bulk collection of all americans' phone and possibly internet records, it is not clear that that is a justification that passes that cost benefit test.
if you have general warrants to search any suspected place, any home, then yes it turns out when you are investigating crimes the thing that you used that will be helpful in solving those crimes was the general warrant. if instead, as we have, you have a system where warrants are specific and based on probable cause, that is what will end up when you look back having been useful in solving crimes. i will say that they are similar in that they both appear to represent elements in a trend i think we have expected or suspected as being going on in the fisa court since 9/11, which is an increasing shift from restrictions on the front end on collection, that is to say up front restrictions on what can be acquired to back end restrictions where you have a very broad access, analysts themselves who have the discretion to select which things are going to be queried
for search, which particular selectors will be entered to pull up particular phone records or e-mail contents. and then various back end procedures sort of counted on to prevent that from being misused. i think that is, frankly, a dangerous shift in a way that the fourth amendment was supposed to prevent. it was centrally about moving discretion in searches from executive agents to neutral magistrates. and so, you know, instead of letting the agent decide which homes to search and having some kind of back end review to make sure that they weren't indiscriminately searching too many homes you would say no, you actually need an up-front warrant for each particular home you are going to search. the move away from that especially given the scale of the surveillance which i think
makes any kind of meaningful oversight really more sort of a kymara than a reality as chimera than a reality as evidenced by the fact that what they are forced to do is statistical sampling to determine their validity should not be sufficiently reassuring to make us comfortable with this larger scale shift from front end to back end restrictions. once you have got data, you have got the data. and the back end restrictions on what you do with it last only until you decide to change them and the record so far suggests we won't necessarily know if they decide to change them. >> do you see any limitation under the fourth amendment or the patriot act on the government's power to gather information en masse on people?
>> yes, sir, i see very many limitations from both the fourth amendment and from the patriot act and the fisa act. there are many, many limitations put in and many checks and balances both to the -- >> let's go over a couple of those. i assume you have to go to the fisa court and those are one of the checks and balances. could you go to the court and argue that you had a right to obtain, say, either an individual's or every american's tax return? could you argue that with a straight face? >> i think they -- >> i have a long list of them. yes or no? >> any individuals tax return? there are separate laws that cover the acquisition of tax returns. >> you could get tax returns. could you get somebody's permanent record from school? >> if it was relevant to the investigation you could go and ask for it. >> somebody's hotel records? >> if it was relevant. >> the record of everybody who stayed in a particular hotel at a given time? >> if you can demonstrate to the court it is relevant.
>> could you get my visa and master card records? >> if i can demonstrate to the court -- >> could you argue with a straight face you could create a database of every financial transaction that happen in the country because visa and master card only keep those for a couple of years? >> that is dependent on what i'm investigating and what the relevance of the information and how it would be used and how it would be limited. it is not a simple yes or no black or white image. >> could you get google searches? >> excuse me, sir? >> all of the searches on a search engine. >> i would have to make a showing to the court that that kind of information is relevant. >> get all google searches and come back and say we will search them later when we got that information? >> it would depend on the way i
would be able to search them and again under 215 of this statute that we are talking about, it is only if i can show that it is related to specific terrorist organizations. >> can you get the g.p.s. data from my phone? >> i'm sorry? >> the g.p.s. data or mapping software on my phone, too? >> only if it is relevant to investigation of the specific terrorist organizations. >> how is having every phone call that i make to my wife, to my daughter relevant to any terror investigation? >> i don't know that every call that you make to your wife and >> but you have got them. >> i don't know that they would be relevant, and we would probably not seek to query them because we wouldn't have the information we would need to make that query. >> we are here today for a very simple reason. to defend the fourth amendment. to defend the privacy of each and every american.
and the director of national intelligence has made clear the government collects the phone records without suspicion of every single american in the united states. my amendment makes a simple but important change. it limits the government's collection of those records so those records that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation pursuant to section 215. opponents of this amendment will use the same tactics that every government throughout history has used to justify its violation of rights. fear. they will tell you that the government must violate the rights of the american people to protect us against those who hate our freedoms. they will tell you there is no expectation of privacy in documents stored with a third- party. tell that to the american people and our constituents back home. we are here to answer one
question for the people we represent -- do we oppose the suspicionless collection of every american's phone records? >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman reserves. who seeks recognition? >> i reserve the balance. >> the gentleman from florida seeks recognition. >> madam chair, i rise to claim time. >> the gentleman is recognized for 7 1/2 minutes. >> i'm very happy to yield three minutes to the gentleman, very distinguished chairman of the house intelligence committee, the gentleman from michigan, mr. rogers. >> the gentleman from michigan is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairman. the american people, certainly some well-intentioned members in this chamber have legitimate concerns and they should be addressed and we should have time and education on what actually happens in the particular program of which we speak.
i will pledge to each one of you today and give you my word that this fall when we do the intel authorization bill we will work to find additional privacy protections with this program that has no e-mail, no phone calls, no names, and no addresses. 14 federal judges have said yes, this comports with the constitution. 800 cases around between the 1979 case have affirmed the underpinnings of the legality of this case. 800. so 14 judges are wrong and 800 different cases are wrong. the legislators on both intelligence committees, republicans and democrats, are all wrong. why is it that people of both parties came together and looked at this program at a time when our nation is under siege by those individuals who want to bring violence to the shores of the united states?
those who know it best support the program because we spend as much time on this to get it right, to make sure the oversight is right. no other program, no other program has the legislature, the judicial branch, and the executive branch doing oversight of a program like this. if we had this in the other agencies we would not have problem -- problems, excuse me. and think about who we are in this body. have 12 years gone by and our memories faded so badly we forgot what happened on september 11? this bill turns off a very specific program. it doesn't stop so-called spying and other things that this has been alleged to do. because that is not what is happening. it is not a surveillance bill. it is not monitoring. it doesn't do any of those things. what happened after september 11 that we didn't know on september 10 and again passing this amendment takes us back to september 10 and afterward we said wow there is a seam, a gap. somebody leading up to the september 11 attacks, a terrorist overseas called a terrorist living amongst us in the united states and we missed
it because we didn't have this capability. what if we would have caught it? the good news is we don't have to what if. it is not theoretical. 54 times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks both here and in europe, saving real lives. this isn't a game. this is real. it will have a real consequence. this is hard. think about the people who came here before us in this great body. madison. lincoln. kennedy served here. the issues they dealt with and politics of big and moving america forward while upholding the article one mandate to this house that we must provide for the general defense of the united states and think of those challenges.
the anash amendment would have prevented government from invoking section 215 of the patriot act. but not the content of the calls unless the government had a reasonable suspicion that a specific target was involved in terrorism. it fell one vote short. 205-217. 93 republicans voted for the amendment and 134 against. >> france, mexico, brazil and other countries, we insist on freedom and privacy in solidarity with our friends in germany, we say [speaking in foreign language]. and we insist on freedom and privacy in solidarity with our friends in france, we say [speaking in foreign language]. we insist on freedom privacy in solidarity with our friends in mexico and throughout the spanish speaking world, we say [speaking in foreign language].
in solidarity with our friends in brazil, we say [speaking in foreign language]. we insist in freedom of privacy. the state, the state has made this equation. security or liberty, take your pick. listen to benjamin franklin's well-known admonition in 1755 he said, "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve
neither liberty nor safety." today, in 2013, faced with a choice from a government which moves without morality, without respect for liberty or law, here or abroad, without adherences to the constitution, let us declare that we have made the choice and we choose liberty! we choose liberty over a national security state. >> as a result of edward snowden's disclosures, i have learned that your cell phone turned off can be used as a listening device. an open microphone. turned off. as a result of edward snowden's disclosures, your cell phone's
locating devices can be used when your cell phone is turned off. the greatest fear i have is that nothing will change. there is a general apathy for what is happening because "it is not about me." i'm reminded on the statement of the wall of the holocaust museum. first they came for the socialists, and i did not speak out because i was not a socialist. then they came for the trade unionists. and i did not speak out because i was not a trade unionist. then they came for the jews. and i did not speak out because i was not a jew. then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me. who is looking at all of this personal information? how will it be used? how will it be abused?
stand up, america, we are mad as hell and we want you to stop this spying on us now. >> look at the program that we have. we as american citizens, everyone at this table is also an american citizen. have agreed that we would take our personal data and put it into a pile, a lockbox. that would only be looked at when we had reasonable and articulable suspicion that we had connection to a foreign al- qaeda or related terrorist group and look into that box. in 2012, we had 288 such selectors that we could go and look into that. that is it. of the billions of records, only 288. and with that, we had tremendous oversight. when you look at the amount of
oversight from this committee alone and from others, from within the d.n.i., the department of defense, with our own director of compliance works our own general counsel and with our own i.g. and with all of our compliance individuals at every level everything that we do on this program is audited 100% on the business record fisa. 100%. the data is kept separate from all of the other data that we have. i think it is important to understand that the leaker did not have access to this data. period. the technical safeguards that we have there ensure that no one else gets access to it and no one can get a query unless it goes to one of those 288 numbers of the numbers that are currently on the list. only 22 people at n.s.a. are authorized to provide numbers,
to approve numbers and about 30 are authorized to look into that database and that is it. when you look at the number of people that we have and the oversight and compliance that we have on this program, and what it does to protect our civil liberties and privacy, we couldn't think of a better way to do that. let me give you some thoughts here because i think this is important for our country to think about this. if you look at the trends in the c.t. arena, in 2012 it was the highest globally that has been ever. over 15,000 people killed. in just this last month, 2,336 people were killed. 1,510 injured in pakistan, afghanistan, syria, iraq and nigeria and yet there has not been a mass casualty here in the u.s. since 2001. that is not by luck. they didn't stop hating us.
they didn't say that they were going to just forgive this. they continue to try. it is the great members in the intelligence community, our military, our law enforcement that have stood up and said this is our job and we do it with our partners and our allies. and it has been a great partnership. when you look at the numbers that we gave you early on about the numbers of terrorist-related events that we helped stop, recall that 13 were in the u.s., 25 were in europe. they are closer to the threat. it is easier to get to europe and they are going after them. and i think it is a privilege and honor from the united states perspective to know that we have helped stop incidents there. as congressman king said, one incident was called 9/11. we call that one incident.
that should never happen again. that is what we are about here. that is what we are trying to do. i think it is also important to note that we have asked industry's help. ask, okay, more accurately, we have compelled industry to help us in this manner, by court order. and what they are doing is saving lives. and they are being penalized because they are helping to save lives in our way of life so that people sitting behind me can express their feelings. that is something we all stand up for so they can say what they believe. we think it is important that they have the facts. industry has helped because they were compelled to help. and i will tell you there are a lot of patriots out there that know that what they are doing is saving lives not only here but in europe and around the world and it is the right thing to do.
and it is done under court order. i think it is absolutely vital that we understand that. so where do we come from? eight plus years, we have been a team for seven plus years. this is the greatest workforce i have ever met. these are patriots who every day come to work saying how can we defend this country and protect our civil liberties and privacy? nothing that has been released has shown that we are trying to do something illegal or unprofessional. when we find a mistake, a compliance issue, we report it to this committee, to all our overseers and we correct it. in the business record fisa and in the 702 there have been no willful violations.
under our executive order 12333 there have been 12 over a decade. the majority were done in foreign space on foreigners. i think that is important to understand. for our foreign partners and our allies, we hold ourselves to that same standard no matter if we operate here or abroad. if we do something that does not fall within an intelligence requirement, it is wrong. we report it, we hold our people accountable. if they do that willfully and disobeyed orders, then they are held accountable and most all of those people are gone. three of them were military. two were given a court martial, reduced in rank, half a month's pay for two months and 45 days extra duty. we hold our people accountable and we report to the committee everything that we are doing. as we go forward in the future
one of the things that we talked about, this is a tough time for n.s.a. where everybody says what are you doing or why are you doing it? here is what we do, when we get together, we don't -- well, maybe a couple times we whine. but we actually say it is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a program that would result in this nation being attacked. we would rather be here in front of you today telling you why we defended these programs than having given them up and have our nation, our allies be attacked and people killed. and the interesting part is we have shown we can do both. defend the country and protect our civil liberties and privacy. chairman, ranking members, it
has been an honor and privilege to work with this committee even though at times you wirebrush us. you know that we are going to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and everything that we know every time, that is our commitment to you. and that is our commitment to this country. >> we got on the press account the n.s.a. is collecting billions of cell phone location records every day and reporters gathering information or communication of information of online gaming sites. the stories suggest the activities are directed abroad but we know the n.s.a. was making plans to obtain cell site location information under section 215. we also know that the n.s.a. engaged in bulk collection of internet metadata under the register statute. it suggests to me under that kind of a legal interpretation of fisa the n.s.a. could collect the same amounts of massive information domestically that this suggests they are collecting abroad.
maybe i should direct at you, i know the program authorized the bulk e-mail and other internet metadata was shut down in 2011 because it wasn't operationally useful. under the current law would the n.s.a. be able to restart the bulk collection of internet data? >> i think that if the n.s.a. and the department of justice were able to make a showing to the fisa court that the collection of internet metadata in bulk which is a category of information that is not protected by the fourth amendment if it were relevant to an authorized investigation and could convince the fisa court of
that, then yes, it would be authorized. >> it was shut down before as not being operationally useful. would you have to go to the court? >> i believe we would have to. >> to restart the bulk collection of internet data, would you have to go to the court? >> i believe we would. >> mr. cole? >> yes, mr. chairman. under the fisa statute i think you would have to get court authority just like you would under 215 to do that and would only last for a period of time. there is no active authority for it right now. >> setting aside any technology limitations, would it authorize you to obtain internet metadata, not just e-mail? >> i think that is correct, but would be limited to the metadata in that regard. >> if i could make sure i understand mr. cole's answer. the only limitation would be that it would be metadata? >> it cannot be content.
and the latest order of the fisa court under 215 specifically excluded cell site location as well. i was going to add that you would have to show that the categories of metadata that you were seeking was in fact relevant to the authorized investigation. >> mr. cole, you talked about the legislation senator lee and i talked about to update the electronics communication privacy act. want to require in criminal matters government obtain a probable cause warrant to gain access to the contents of electronic communication stored by a third-party provider. section 215 of the u.s.a. patriot act requires the government to show only relevance to an authorized intelligence investigation or to obtain records. i'm not talking about bulk collection but the more standard usage of 215.
as section 215 ever been relied upon to obtain the contents of stored communications from a third-party provider? >> not that i am aware of, mr. chairman. >> mr. litt? >> i'm hesitant to give an answer to that. it is not a question i ever asked. i would prefer to get back to you on that, sir. i don't know the answer sitting here. >> can you get back to me by the end of the week? >> i will try. >> if they haven't as a legal matter could section 215 be used to obtain the contents of communication?
>> i would have to think about that. considering that it is -- it is limited to the types of information you can get with a grand jury subpoena, i would have to look because of the aspects of stored communications and things of that nature, i would have to check. but i'm not sure. i would have to go back and look at that. so without a check of the legal authorities, i will get back to you on that, mr. chairman. >> and i appreciate you checking those. i think you understand by the question -- >> yes. >> there are some serious legal ramifications to your answer. >> i agree. >> well, good. the -- i'm going to yield to senator franken. but general alexander you talked about using and i will get to you in my next round about going to the private sector and looking for best practices from them.
you can imagine i'm going to ask if those best practices had been used would a 29-year-old subcontractor have been able to walk away with all of your secrets like mr. snowden did? senator franken? >> going to ask that in the next round or do you want it answered now? >> you -- that is okay. i don't want to take -- you have been waiting patiently. i will wait my turn. >> okay. the general will have plenty of time to think about that. i have a question for you. see if you can do both at the same time. i have the surveillance transparency act, i think you are all familiar with. among other things, general alexander the bill would require n.s.a. to tell the american people how many of them have had their communications collected by the n.s.a. do you think that the american people have the right to know roughly how many of them have had their information collected by the n.s.a.?
>> i do, senator. i think the issue is how do you describe that? those that are under a court order so under fisa as you know to collect the content of a communications we have to get a warrant. the issue would be almost in the title three court do you tell someone, a u.s. person who may not be a u.s. citizen that we are tracking that we are tracking them here in the united states or that we have identified that? >> i'm not suggesting that you have to tell people they are being surveilled. i mean that they personally are a suspect. what i'm saying is the american people have a right to know how many american people have had their information collected. that is a different question. i wasn't suggesting we tip people off that are suspects. >> i think in broad terms, absolutely. >> in broad terms? >> for example under 215 today, less than 200 numbers approved for reasonable articulable suspicion for being searched in the database. >> 200 orders or 200 people? >> 200 numbers.
some may be multiple numbers per person. those numbers could be both foreign and domestic. in fact, they are. but that is the total number for that category for a section 215 today under that program. the other one that i think, and i think the deputy attorney general mentioned, is we can also put out more about what we are doing under the f.a.a. 702 program that we have compelled industry to do in a more transparent manner. the issue is how do we do that without revealing some of our own capabilities? and we are working with the interagency to get resolution on that. >> okay. i'm being told by staff that that is actually the number of people that had their phone numbers searched, not collected, right? >> so under 215, all of the data
is going into a repository. >> metadata. >> metadata. if, for example, i'm talking to a foreign terrorist my number would automatically hit that link. in fact, you probably would want to know that. i know the white house would. >> we need to know that. >> the issue would be how many of those. what we would do is we would look at those and based on our analysis give those numbers that are appropriate to the f.b.i. to go through the appropriate process to look at those numbers. >> mark mazzetti of the "new york times." we have seen the hearings in the past year with general alexander and director clapper. among the revelations in the past year have been the tapping of the cell phones of foreign leaders. what has that meant to the administration? how impactful has that been? >> it has been incredibly embarrassing for the obama administration. it has taken up a lot of time of
senior officials trying to explain to allied governments specifically how this happens. now, many allied governments are not surprised that even friendly governments spy on each other but it creates major setbacks for some diplomatic relationships. germany is one of them. the united states has long had a relationship with britain and other english speaking countries that they don't spy on each other. beyond that relationship there really isn't -- kind of fair game. everything is fair game. so the merkel relationship has really been one that sort of fractured this year as well as other relationships. the relationship with brazil for instance. >> as the year wraps up, general alexander in a hearing this past week said we can't live in a pre 9/11 moment, which is something he said several times throughout the year.
as we go into 2014, what does the administration hope to do with this issue and will anything happen legislatively in terms of pulling back some of the n.s.a.'s ability? >> it is not going away in part because the revelations will continue. there is still thousands of documents. the press will be continuing to report them. i think the real question for 2014 is whether president obama is going to deal with this actively. this is now part of his legacy. and how he wants it to be part of his legacy is the question for the next year. he has spoken occasionally about it. he said he wants a debate about surveillance. the tension between liberty and security. and yet frequently he avoided opportunities to really talk about it. the question is for 2014 will he embrace the issue as one for debate and try to roll back some of the things that the n.s.a. has been doing and really create a debate in the united states
about where the boundary should be. >> and this is a story that you will keep reporting about. >> yes. >> thanks for being with us on our year in review. >> thanks very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] the federal budget debate in the government shutdown. close women in more series. >> she discusses the department's growth in the past 23 years she has been on the force. told stories of growing up
in the washington dc area. at 7 p.m. eastern here on c- span. tuesday, our encore presentation of first ladies continues with the life of pat nixon. she traveled abroad more than any other first lady before her. increased public access to the and while she rarely spoke in public, she communicated with her husband about business by memo or through presidential aides. >> we are in the gallery of the light catcher building of the watcom museum. exhibition is the
to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the planets frozen frontiers, the alpine regions, the arctic and antarctica. this is a photograph of agreement ice sheet by a german 2008. dating from it is exhibited side-by-side of easthotograph greenland. it is from the artist last greenland serious. many people understand the importance of ice for the planet , it's reflective qualities that help regulate the climate. but many people are unaware that there is a collective consciousness in western culture and so ise regions important within the context of climate change to let people know that these regions are
fundamental to our identity. the watcomfrom museum. saturday at noon on c-span2 and sunday at five on c-span three. >> s 2013 began, the issue of gun violence was fresh on america's mind. the new town shootings had just happened in connecticut on december 14, 20 12. over the next hour here on c- span's year in review, we are going to show you debates on the issue of gun violence and gun policy. we're going to start with january 16, 20 13. president obama lays out some of the reaction of children to gun violence. he also talks about what his administration plans to do about the issue. >> i started getting a lot of letters from kids. for them are here today.
they are pretty representative of some of the messages that i got. these are some pretty smart letters from some pretty smart young people. hannah, a third grader, wrote i feel for the parents who lost her children. i love my country and i want everybody to be happy and safe. grant said, i think there should be some changes. we should learn from what happened at sandy hook. i feel really bad. said, i'm not scared for my safety, i'm scared
for others. i have four brothers and sisters and i know i would not be able to bear the thought of losing any of them. these are our kids. this is what they are thinking about. what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them. and shield them from harm. and give them the tools they and do grow up everything that they're capable of doing, not just to pursue their own dreams, but to help the this country. first task as a society. keeping our children safe. this is how we will be judged. their voices should compel us to change. last month i asked joe to lead an effort along with members of my cabinet to come up with some concrete steps we can
take right now to keep our children safe. to help prevent mass shootings, to reduce a broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. we can't put this off any longer. last thursday, as tv networks recovering one of joe's on this topic, news broke of another shooting, this time in california. 20 children and six brave adults were taken from us at sandy hook, many more died ine -- 900 have the past month. every day we wait, that number will keep growing. forward a specific
set of proposals based on the work of joe's task force. in the days ahead i intend to use whatever way to this office holds to make them a reality. because while there is no law or set of laws i can't prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent , ify tragedy, reactive evil there's even one thing we can do to reduce his violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. i'm going to do my part. as soon as i'm finished speaking here i will sit at that desk and signed a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of
the tools they need to help reduce gun violence. we will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system. we will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans. health make sure mental professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence, even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than a perpetrator. year those whor oppose even modest gun safety measures have threatened to defund scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, i will direct the centers for disease control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it. congress should fund research into the effects of violent video games have on young minds. we don't benefit from ignorance.
we don't benefit from not the science of this epidemic of violence. these are a few of the 23 executive actions that i am announcing today, but as important as the steps are, they forin no way a substitute action from members of congress. to make a real and lasting congress too, must act. and congress must act soon. i am calling on congress to pass some very specific proposals right away. first, it is time for commerce to require universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. [applause] the law already requires gun
dealers to run background checks and that has kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. but it is hard to enforce that law when as many as 40% of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check there safe, that is not smart, it is not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. if you want to buy a gun, whether it is from a licensed user or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one. this is common sense. and an overwhelming number of americans agree with us on the need for universal background checks, including more than 70% of the national rifle association's members, according to one survey. there is no reason we can't do this. second, congress should restore the ban on military style assault weapons and a 10 round
limit for magazines. [applause] the type of assault rifle used in aurora for example, when paired with high-capacity toazines has one purpose, pump out as many bullets as possible as quickly as possible. using bothch damage, often designed to inflict maximum damage. that is what allowed the gunmen ,n aurora to shoot 70 people killing 12 and a matter of minutes. weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater. a majority of americans agree with us on this. by the way, so did ronald reagan , one of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment, who wrote to congress in 1994, urging them to mrs.
ronald reagan speaking, urging them to listen to the american public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the for the manufacture of military style assault weapons. [applause] and finally, congress needs to help rather than hinder law enforcement as it does its job. we need to get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this. since congress has not confirmed a director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms in six years, they should confirm todd jones, who has been active and i will be nominating for the post. [applause]
and at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce their police force, we should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets. we are at the hill offices on washington with rebecca shabazz. you've covered a number of gun related hearings and events throughout the year. just sing the president from earlier this year in january, how did the newtown shootings of last december propel the administration and congress into action? >> i think the fact that a number of children were killed during that shooting, there were 20 of them plus six employees of the school, that was really the breaking point for lawmakers on the hill, for the white house to do something about the gun issues in this country. there aurora shooting happened the summer before, just a few months, so they wanted to introduce something that would issuely try and move the forward.
president obama introduced a number of executive orders that working they are still on them today. vice president joe biden announced $100 million of additional funding for mental health services this week. >> you talk about those executive actions, but how receptive was congress to any sort of change? >> i think initially they did take newtown and thought we have to do something about this. a lot of republicans on the hill, they did acknowledge that it was an issue, but a lot of them focused on the mental health aspect. they claimed that the gun regulations in place did not need to be tightened anymore. but democrats did want to tighten them and a number of lawmakers to introduce bills on the hill. one did make it to the very last point, but was not successful. >> you're talking about the coming together of the democrat from west virginia and the republican from pennsylvania. what were they trying to do? >> they introduced an amendment to a bill from senate majority
leader harry reid that would have expanded background checks so that it would be applied to all gun sales, including the private market. at the moment, the law says that those background checks only .pplied to federal gun sales that bill did not pass congress. the senate rejected it by just a few votes. -- sorry,eally the that was really the breaking andt for a lot of lawmakers kind of impeded the issue for the rest of the year. >> so congress did not do anything in terms of major, in terms of gun legislation for the rest of the year, but what about the localities and states. was there a reaction to change gun laws locally? >> that was a good point. a lot of states did and that is a number of different -- a lot of states did enact a number of gun laws. about 100 gun laws
increase america's safety by reducing gun violence. i came on the floor of the senate and i urged my yellow senators to abandon efforts to filibuster proceeding to this bill. the senate should not have to overcome a filibuster to respond to the call for action to response to the gun violence they're experiencing. mr. president, i have the privilege of being the longest serving member of this body, and i've watched debate on so many issues. if there was ever an issue where all 100 of us should vote yes or no, it's here. i was encouraged by the comments of a number of senate republicans that they are prepared to debate this matter and will not support this
wrong-headed filibuster. even the "wall street journal" he wouldized against a filibuster yesterday. in a lead editorial titled "the g.o.p.'s gun control misfire." i don't agree with much, but i would quote this: "if conservatives want to prove their gun control bonafide, the way to do it to vote on the floor. senators should understand what is in this floor the small minority of republicans are seeking to prevent the senate from even considering." the bill has three parts. none of them threaten second-amendment rights. none of them call for gun confiscation or a government registry. in fact, two of the three parts have always had bipartisan support and with regard to the third component, the provisions
closing loopholes in our current background check system, senators manchin and too maniy yesterday announced they're going to have a bipartisan amendment for this component as well." and yesterday senator collins, senior senator from maine, and i were able to announce another step towards consensus. and we had previously been eengaged with discussions with law enforcement and victims groups. more recently we have been engaged in discussions with the n.r.a. we have agreed to negotiations to stop the illegal firearms act that addresses all of is substantive concerns while doing as we've always wanted to do, providing law enforcement officials with the tools they need to investigate and prosecute illegal gun trafficking and straw purchasing. now, senator collins and i are both strong supporters and
advocates of second-amendment rights for law-abiding americans. and it seems absurd that some senators nonetheless persist in filibustering the consideration of our bill. we, the american people expect us to stand up and face our responsibilities. whether we like having to vote or: without objection. mr. cornyn: mr. president, yesterday i had the solemn privilege of meeting with coming of the families -- with some of the families who lost loved ones in the sandy hook shooting. aes as a father, i can hardly bn to comprehend the enormous grief that these individuals have suffered, losing such a young
child or a spouse or a mother in an act of what would appear to be just senseless violence. burying your child is something that no parent should have to do. the families and friends of the victims at sandy hook are owed the dignity and respect of a transparent, good-faith effort to address gun violence. i do believe there is a common ground upon which republicans and democrats can come together. the issue of mental health of the gun owner is that common ground for me, along with
enforcing current laws that are on the books. if there's one thread that connects the horrific series of gun violence episodes in our country, particularly in recent times, it is the mental illness of the shooter. in every days the perpetrator's mental illness should have been detected and in some instances it was reported but no report dt reported. these individuals should never be allowed access to gun. this is actually something we can and should do something about. we need to make sure that the mentally ill are getting the help they need, not guns. as i said, this is something that i believe all of us can agree on. in response to the tragedy at
virginia tech in 2007, the united states senate and the congress unanimously passed a measure to bolster mental health reporting requirements on background checks. some states like mine, texas, have received high marks for their compliance. but many states have essentially been noncompliant and the department of justice has failed to adequately back up implementation of the law. so essentially the law that we passed in the wake of the virginia tech shooting to require reporting of people who are adjudicated mentally ill in their respective states is not working the way it should. rather than just string along an ineffective program, i think ing officer: theful opportunity senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you. i'm glad that we're proceeding
on this very important legislation. the american people might be wondering why the senate has not been voting on any amendments to the pending gun legislation. the senate voted on thursday to proceed to the bill. thithe senate should debate the bill. that's why i said i'm glad we're getting there. there has been very little debate. the president has said that various proposals deserve a vote and we on this side of the aisle don't intend to stand in the way of proceeding on those votes, particularly on the amendments. and i hope we're able to vote very soon. last week senator manchin and toomey unveiled an amendment on background checks. the media hailed the agreement as a way to pass gun control. the majority leader announced that the manchin-toomey
amendment would be the first one that we would vote on. but, just starting the debate now, obviously we haven't voted, so hopefully we'll get to the vote. now, we haven't voted because despite claims from the other side, background checks are not and never have been the sweet spot of gun control debate. we haven't voted on it because support dears have the votes -- because supporters don't have the votes to pass it at this point. at least that's the way it appears to me. they don't have the votes even though published reports indicate that vice president biden has been calling senators and asking them to support the manchin-toomey bill. they must not be telling him what he wants to hear. they don't have the votes for background checks even though the vice president has reportedly stated that the
opposition to the proposal comes only from -- quote, unquote -- "the black helicopter crowd." well, it doesn't come from that point. manchin-toomey would impose new obstacles on law-abiding gun owners. it would do so even though expanding gun background checks would have done nothing to stop newtown or other mass killing. it would do so even though expanding background checks would do nothing to prevent these killings in the future. i often quote the deputy director of the national institute of justice, and it was recently -- that institute and that person recently wrote that background checks could work only if they were universal and were accompanied by gun
registration. and, of course, most members of the senate oppose gun registration. they know what has happened historically with gun registration. it has led in other countries to confiscation, and members of the senate, but more importantly, lots of people appearing at our town meetings fear that and don't want to go down that road. the background check amendment claims to strengthen the rights of gun owners, but in fact it does mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we are debating one of the most important bills we've had before the is that the in a long time -- before the senate in a long time. the reason we're debating this is because of what happened in newtown, connecticut, on december 14. gun violence takes its toll every day in america, in cities all across the country and in my
home state of illinois. and we know, because we read and hear in the news of the victims. at this moment, our nation is saddened by what happened yesterday in boston. we still don't know what the cause of that was, who was responsible for it. i just have to say that we're stunned by it. members of the senate that i work with on the immigration bill had planned to announce it today in a press conference. we've postponed that, in respect to the people who have fallen and been injured and their families in boston. it is a moment of grave concern across america, expressed well by the president last night. we wait for the information and details to build a case for those who are responsible. i, for one -- and i'm sure my colleagues feel the same way -- don't want to rush to judgment until we have the facts as to the partie parties responsible t the sadness we feel for the victims and thed isness w the sl
for americans who stand on the side lines and cheer on the runners is profound. the issue of bus is gun safety. it comes before us because 20 beautiful first graders were massacred at their grade school at sandy hook in the town of newtown, connecticut. and six of their teachers and administrators literally gave their lives in defense of those children. there's not a parent or grandparent alive who didn't identify with that horrible loss. last week i met with a group of parents from sandy hook elementary school who in their continuing grief still had the courage to come to congress and to beg us to do something, to spare future families and future children from this type of massacre. i met with them early in the morning. there wasn't a dry eye in the room, as you can imagine. as they showed me the
photographs of their beautiful little children who were gone. i commend him for their courage for stepping forward. now the question is whether the senate has the courage to step forward. this isn't an easy vote. i come from a pretty diverse statement i comstate. i come from down state, illinois, more gun owners than the great city of chicago. for 14 years i ran in an area where the gun issues were very volatile and very important to many people. i took some positions which the gun lobby didn't care for. several times they decided that they would wage a campaign against me when i ran for reelection. i survived their attacks and eventually was elected to the senate here. this is the first meaningful gun safety legislation that we've taken up since i was elected to
this body over 16 years ago. we're here because of newtown, connecticut. there's no question about it. i of coursi often remind peoplee of our own, gabrielle giv giffo, congresswoman, was gunned down point-blank in the face, and we did nothing. no hearings, no changes in the law enforcement it was just another gun statistic to manyn
good-paying jobs, and they are struggling to pay their bills. and their frustration with government continues to grow. these americans, these hardworking middle class americans, are counting on their elected representatives to show leadership during these hard times. this continuing resolution will keep the government funded at its current level without increasing spending on the discretionary level while congress finishes working on a real budget. americans are tired of seeing their government continue to spend more and more of their hard-earned tax dollars, and for the first time since the korean war, it will be possible to have two consecutive years of discretionary spending cuts. this resolution will also protect the working middle class from the devastating effects of obamacare. each week we hear stories about
how both major employers and small businesses are cutting back benefits and cutting back hours. the president's health care law is turning our full-time economy into a part-time economy. even the heads of major unions who were once so supportive of obamacare want to see this law drastically changed to avoid further, quot, -- quote, nightmare scenarios, unquote. let's defund this law now and protect the american people from the economic calamity that we know obamacare will create. americans back home are fighting for their families and we in congress were sent to washington by our constituents to fight for them. they have put faith in their leaders to do what's right. for this entire congress, the house has led on restoring faith in our economy and trust in our government. we should pass this continuing
resolution so the senate can finally begin to do the same. again i would like to thank the gentleman from kentucky, the chairman of the appropriations committee, hal rorges, for his work on this mesh -- rogers for his work on this measure, along with the help of the gentleman from louisiana, republican study committee chairman, steve scalise, for their hard work on the issue. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky reserves. the gentlewoman from new york is ecognized. mrs. lowey: i am very pleased to yield tea minutes -- three minutes to the distinguished whip, mr. steny hoyer from maryland. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for three minutes. mr. hoyer: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. madam speaker, today we are considering a measure to fund government only if the democratic senate and democratic president will agree to dismantle the health care reform
law that will help millions of americans access quality, affordable care. that isn't going to happen. and it is a blatant act of hostage taking. the republican c.r. also lays the groundwork for a default on our debt, an unthinkable act, by instituting a pay china first provision. and it fully embraces the dangerous and irrational policy of sequester. this bill enshrines and confirms the descent into an economy destroying national security undermining, and ineffective rendering of the government that our country and our people need. the majority party with its destructive obsession with the repeal of the affordable care act, and it's unrestrained hostility towards government, has offered this bill notwithstanding republicans'
hollow claims of the rationality of the see questionser policy their party adopts. the majority does so notwithstanding their chairmans. accurate prescription of their policy of sequester, i quote the distinguished chairman, mr. --ers, as quote, unrealistic a policy which chairman rogers says, i quote again, must be brought to an end. his words, not mine. chairman rogers' vote today and the votes of his colleagues will, i expect, do just the opposite. they will vote to continue a policy that will inevitably lead to an american decline and retreat. i will not be party to the disinvestment in america's greatness. today's bill undermines the education of our children, the security of our seniors, the
present and future health of our people, the strength, training, and readiness of our armed forces, growth of our economy, and creation of jobs. the quality and viability of our infrastructure, the health of our environment, the proper compensation and respect for those who labor in the public sector, and most certainly the honoring of america's debts and obligations. today's bill undermines all those priorities and more. i will not support it. and i urge my colleagues to oppose it. and continues us on the path so aptly described by chairman rogers again, his words not mine, as lurching path from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis. i urge my colleagues with wisd