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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 25, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EST

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different incarnations and i thank you for coming. in addition to our distinguished peter kelly he was in many careers in addition to law and politics. at patron of the arts, he is also had a career in international relations. we do have our attorney general and i thank you for coming. not everyone knows there are three siblings. as talented as our attorney general is, by far the most attractive and brightest is his sister. i think rita for coming. in the intelligence business, you have to keep secrets. you learn and you promised never to divulge. becca be stressful for many people and a bit lonely. it works a lot better if your partner understands and supports
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you and knows not to ask questions so thank you. out will make today about the intelligence community. some threats and challenges. i'd have to talk about the snowden controversy. i would like to talk about the way forward and invite some questions. connecticut has produced its fair share of heroes. when i was in washington, i was invited to the cia to speak to groups and do orientations and explain what the intelligence community does. outside of the headquarters is in an auditorium and that stands the statue of their patron saint from connecticut. after you give a speech like that, a connecticut guy outside, it is kind of moving. on the statue artist in his words -- i only regret that i have but one life to give for my country. nathan hale means a lot to
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people because some of them do give their lives. some names who you and i will never know have done that and he is an inspiration. very interesting. he went from poverty and went down to new york city and he was discovered because he was disguised as a peddler. he had the manners of a gentlemen. that aroused suspicion and when they interrogated him, they found out he was not what he was pretending to be. discovered that he was a spy and they hanged him. hero of another connecticut and it is my predecessor, the head of the public utilities control. he is 83 years old today. --tin december, he received just in december, he received the cia's award of the distinguish cross. who intoother american
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china. their mission was to pick up an agent who was a special importance to the united states. unbeknownst to him, the agent had been compromised by the chinese. as their plane came in on a secret location for a landing, it was shot down and the two pilots were killed. they spent 20 years in a chinese prison. until thened there early 1970's. we have our heroes. connecticut has those yale graduates famous for the cold war when in just after world war inand played a very crucial the central intelligence agency. most people are heroes we never hear about. i have a friend here today whose nephew was injured in the bombing in afghanistan where the cia officers were killed.
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and that isuietly what intelligence work is often about. most people in intelligence are just less well known. they have private, less dangerous lives. they do things like economic analysis or photo interpretation or the intercept conversations. kindare the backbone -- i of think they should be recognized in the same way that we recognize our military or police officers or first responders or firefighters. they are public servants. the work that they do should be celebrated. we can't know what they do with the fact that they are there and doing their job is what we should be celebrating. one lesson i learned early on in intelligence was -- i learned from an israeli intelligence officer. . this lesson was basically that in life, especially
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intelligence, unique strategic focus and a long-term spectrum. in 1978, i was his chief of staff. a critical issue that year was the sale of f-15s the saudi arabia. something that united aircraft had a very real interest in. we refuse to meet with any of the vendors of those planes. the senator and i went to saudi arabia and met with the saudi leadership and decided that the problem was serious. apart.5s were falling they needed new airplanes. the u.s. air force decided they should have f-15s because the u.s. wanted to train the saudi pilots. said,aw iraq and iran and
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this country is endangered and the vital flow of oil is something we need to defend. we decided we would proceed in the president said he needed the senator to lead the fight because israel decided they did not want it to happen. the f-15 is a symbol of prestige, the best aircraft. israel did not like it. there is a fight in the senate. this was the only fight that the americans ever lost. it was approved by nine votes. it was an extremely difficult experience but it prevailed. the hydrometer, high national news -- hydrometer and high national news and it happened at th. once those that 50's wore out, without any controversy, an
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entire replacement was put in. the next day, after this vote a lot of hard feelings -- i get a call from an israeli intelligence officer and he asked me to have lunch. i accepted. we were at lunch and he looked at me kind of intensely across eat table and said, you b us. that was not how we look at it. we looked at it as trying to do something right for america. we will look upon this differently but i have a toast. he ordered someone to raise the glass and said, here is to working together tomorrow. here is to a positive relationship going forward. smart. mean by strategic focus and long-term perspective. we did. difficulty,s of especially in times of
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difficulty, strategic focus and a long-term perspective. communityntelligence is a large complex array of 16 intelligence agencies. plus the office of the direction of national intelligence. who are they all? the largest are in the defense department. the national security agency which has been in the news a lot. the national geospatial intelligence agency who i worked with for a couple of years. they take pictures from satellites. the defense intelligence agency does mostly intelligence matters. reconnaissanceal office which manages satellites. and a lot of people think you launch a satellite and it is just up there. no, you fly a satellite. you determine welhere it will be and then you maintain it. that is what they do.
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two intelligence agencies focused primarily on the united states. the fbi and the department of homeland security. they're concerned with threats st organizations and they work with state and local governments. view of the treasury government -- department. the drug enforcement agency. their work should be obvious. the energy department which is where my security clearance currently resides which looks after nuclear matters and energy matters. each of the five armed forces as its own intelligence branch. you put all that together and to 16 of them. the problem with the silos. we learned from 9/11 that all that intelligence was never brought together. lookyou retrospectively
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back and see all the clues, all the pieces were there and they never were put into a coherent whole. we need an integrated intelligence on a more practical level. i have a friend who went to graduate school. he was commander of the submarine. to go given an order photograph a brand-new ship from a hostile country. , tookt into shallow water great risks, took some photographs. he was able to escape and come out. manyyou think you have people live in your hands and you take that kind of risk. he later transferred to the national security council and was working on things when this particular question came up. they looked at the files with extensive photographs of the
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ship that he risked his life to go photograph. where do they come from? satellite photos. he said, i risk the life of my crew to go up there and take these from a summary when you guys already have them from satellite? the answer was yes. that is what silos are. that is what lack of integration is. the navy intelligence did not know that this satellite agency had the pictures taking. that is what we are fighting today. we want integrated intelligence. i could give several other examples. that what has always been very poignanto me -- to me. it was created after 9/11 on the director of national intelligence. enable wiseed to national security policies. allen's and improving
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capabilities and put investments in the right places. to function as an integrated team. at the heart, it has been a partial success. at the heart of all this is the unique advantage american intelligence has over other countries. we have an outstanding classic spy network that is called human intelligence. people always use the james bond -- human spying. we are outstanding there. so are some other countries that don't have technical advantages. you think of the countries for whom intelligence and national securities the huge priority who don't have the satellite capacity that we have. countries like cuba or israel or singapore have extremely skilled human intelligence by networks. spy networks.
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we also have very capable human intelligence but we have technical capacities that are not equaled anywhere else in the world by those 16 agencies that i described. to hear things, see things, and survey that other countries cannot do. when it works, we resent an informed package. the standard of success is often not this broad and all these things that we assume are there. the prospect of a terrorist attack and how to prevent it. for all the things that go on, one terrorist attack could rally public opinion, scare the daylights out of everybody, and give the intelligence community a grade. it is not fair. no one said the world is fair but it is very easy for a calamity an attack to take place. 50 million legal
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visitors come to the united states every year. we have 14,000 homicides in the united states every year. we lose between 30 and 35,000 deaths is automobile accidents. we have boston. that was not up for an attack. look at allwhen you these threats facing the united states, we don't have many terrorist attacks. the intelligence community does his job but it is not infallible and there will be attempts. we just have to recognize that. our strength in doing this lies in integration and the remarkable capabilities that we have. the true test of the effort to reform the intelligence community comes from changing the culture. change in the question of, and i obliged?
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to have to share this information with someone else? that was the old style. is there anyone else in intelligence community who could benefit from having this information? that cultural change has been very difficult but it is making great progress. some rivalries remain. the white house is sometimes reluctant to delegate real power. the ciancies such as very jealously guard their special role and reject any reporting lines other than directed to the president even though the law provides otherwise. that said, in its brief history of integration, it is really an infant level. now.s integrated networks they all have the same batch. dghe. e. my intelligence bad to get me
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into any one of those 16 agencies. that separate appointments and separate clearance processes. now you show up and show your badge and you can go in. cultures that never existed before 9/11 and that is a huge advantage. is major source of strength our cooperation with allies. at unique institution is one that some of you have heard of is the five i's. united states, united kingdom, canada, new zealand . . to say they work together is a massive understatement. they are joined in ways that profoundly affect their approach to national security. the agree not to spy on each other. they integrate and align the foreign policy very basically.
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this alignment exceeds popular understanding. you can say all that and then still you do not understand how closely they are linked. i was once at a download station, which is a facility from which information from satellites comes down to earth. and is made available, digested, sent on to people who need to receive it. i was there at a shift change, and about 15 people, mostly military, came on, and i noticed the new guy lining everybody up, not american, he was an aussie, a major in the australian air force. i watched him operate. he lined them up. clearly in charge.
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i asked somebody, what does that mean, this fellow? he said he is our boss. he assesses and gives the annual fitness report for the americans working there. that is not cooperation. that is integration, full integration, and it happens elsewhere as well. i say that point because what came out of that download station went to all five countries and did not come from americans or the kiwis. it came from all of them. that relationship is absolutely critical. aside from the five i's, just about everyone else in the world has some degree of policy, convergent indifference with us. we need allies. but it is a tricky business, because aside from those five
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i's, we cooperate in some areas and some areas we do not. the united states and russia collect against each other, but right now they are collaborating on keeping terrorists and damage out of the olympic games. are they friends? no. are they enemies? no. there is a strong resistance to breaking down barriers with allies. it has been widely reported that the director of national intelligence sought to strengthen our intelligence sharing with france, and bob gates in his book has written about this. that effort was defeated in the united states, not ready for expansion beyond the five i's to include other countries. how do you manage relationships with your allies? everything you do counts.
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we suffered a major strain, tensions to the enhanced interrogation techniques and guantanamo. that was controversial, and it had a negative effect. allies need to believe in what you are doing, and when you have a dissenting factor involved, it affects attitudes, work, and what happens, so many people inside and outside intelligence were morally offended by what was going on and it became a campaign issue in 2008. people debate whether these techniques were torture or not, and if what happened ever happened to you or a member of the family, you would never have that debate. very fortunately, both obama and dennis blair immediately said it is over, we are not going to get into what it was and how you define it. it will not happen on our watch, and it ended, which made a huge change with our relationship
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with our allies. it also did damage to our intelligence community. people who were told this, it is legal, it is moral, it is absolutely necessary for our intelligence proceeded to do so and then were second-guessed later on by people who said it was not legal and it was not moral and we do not believe it was necessary. how does a professional reacter that in order to maintain your morale? strategic focus and long-term perspective. we need that in the intelligence business, and when we do not follow it we sometimes pay the price. to switch to a more pleasant topic, the attraction of young people. it is amazing what the effect they are having. the intelligence community always ranks the national surveys as one of the best places for the united states government to go to work. people like it there. it is a positive attraction. when they get there they have
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great jobs. sometimes you get up to 5000 applicants per month trying to get into the intelligence community. the acceptance rate is maybe 10%. very difficult to get a job in the intelligence community, and very prestigious when you do. they hire interesting people, information specialists, linguists, military, mathematicians, video gamers. area strategies, the united states has a huge advantage internationally because of that diversity of our population. we have a remarkably talented core of young people in our ranks. espionage is popular these days. they enjoy their jobs. that electronic generation that lives on social media makes it much easier to break down these silos.
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for these people coming on, they cannot imagine why you keep things here and not share them there. their instinct is to share information, not keep it within the solid confines of the traditional bureaucracy, and you see the difference between -- people as old as i am, working in there, what their perspectives are and the youngsters'. they say get it done far faster than my generation could, and how do they share it? very healthy. parochialism is breaking down. nothing else makes sense to people like that. what about threats and challenges? especially in times of economic duress and recessions, we do not think of ourselves as we are and as the rest of the world does think of us as basically living in luxury. our standard of living, what we are able to enjoy here puts us
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at a level of a high standard of living and vulnerability that most countries just do not have. 9/11 brought home to us what a lot of countries live with all the time, that vulnerability, the threat from terrorists, and continues to exist today with cyber attacks. in my current position, leading connecticut's public utilities control authority, i am aware of the threat of cyber. they are dangerous and ubiquitous. there are a lot of evil people out there trying to do some nasty things that affects all of us. we have to have countermeasures to be able to do that. unfortunately, when you have a liberal open society such as we have, and we want to stay that way we do not want to turn into east germany. we can be secure, if you just had absolute, rigorous controls everywhere, but that is not the united states. to live the kind of lives we want to live, we have to accept there is this vulnerability and we have to counter it.
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they include listening to and using the resources of our professionals in the field. what i only discussed is defense, and is vital, but at the same time there is a remarkable positive use of national intelligence. especially the national intelligence council, a group of 100, 120 academics, intelligence veterans, very smart, talented people led by a person who is extremely smart, and what they do is they analyze. they start with the background of professors, and what they have, and they add to it, and the product that comes from them is remarkable. this is one of the greatest assets the united states has.
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when they can integrate from what they learn from intelligence, all those 16 agencies, they are available to enable wise decisions. the community did not foresee the decline of the soviet union, did not get the weapons of mass destruction of saddam hussein, but the overall record has been extremely impressive and it is a talent resource we do not use enough. one of the basic frustrations inherent in intelligence work is the inadequacy of intelligence. i worked with the director of national intelligence, mr. clapper, a veteran of the intelligence world. he once turned to me and said reflecting on experience, he said, 50 years of experience in the world of intelligence, there are two outcomes in national security affairs. one is an operational success. the other is an intelligence failure.
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they are used to being blamed for things going wrong. when they do not go wrong it is because of intelligence. you do not often use intelligence the way you should. one goes back to an example of like to use, not using your intelligence, go back to the strategic arms limitation treaty. again, to work with senator ribicoff, they finished the treaty, they had a group of 12 senators to meet the soviets to complete the ratification. he was the chairman, i was chief of staff, and before we left one of the u.s. intelligence agencies came around and met with the senator and said, you are about to meet somebody we do not know anything about. a candidate member of the politburo. we said we know very little about this guy, and if you would spend some time with him and tell us what your impressions are, we would appreciate it.
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of course i did. after a major banquet, i pulled the senator aside and he said, it is important, you just have to go back and ratify it. this is not something you leave to chance. senator ribicoff said i am in favor of ratifying the treaty. some are not, some are undecided. that is why we're here, to learn from you because the senate will make up its own mind. the politburo candidate member said, no, it is too important, so you do not leave it to them making up their own mind, tell them this is too important, no debates, just go back and ratify it. the senator explained it does not work that way in the u.s. senate. the russians are getting kind of frustrated and exasperated, and
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said, listen, this is not something you allow them to make up their minds on. invoke discipline. the senator, getting also a little frustrated, explained there is no discipline. the united states senate does not operate that way. there is no discipline to be in invoked, and therefore we have these discussions. the member finally threw down his napkin and said, listen, he said, it costs millions of dollars to run for the senate, right? the senator said that was true. then you tell them, if they do not ratify the treaty, you do not give them the money. [laughter] the kgb and the cia would have no trouble understanding each other and knowing how the senate operates. he obviously had not gone to get briefed on how the senate operates, but he had very strong views. the same exists in united states, in every country in the world.
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i remember right after 9/11 i was in washington, attending a speech given by the vice president, and the deputy secretary of defense. i was stunned. i heard the deputy secretary of defense who was an ardent neocon explain that iraqis had weapons of mass destruction and we were going to invade. what the arab leaders feared the most was the democracy-loving populations they were suppressing. the masses would rise up and demand elections, that democratic elections would take place, there would be a cascade of elections to the arab world culminating in democracy in palestine and within a few years a peace agreement with israel. i remember being so stunned i did not know where to start. nobody had gone to the national intelligence council and said is there any semblance of
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rationality to the scenario that was being spoken of at the highest levels of the u.s. government? and of course it was not invited. the strategic assessment was not done. to be bipartisan on this, in 2009, 2010, the current administration is deciding whether to have a surge in afghanistan. the question was, should we have counterterrorism, which is an effort to diminish terrorism, or counterinsurgency, which is an effort to win hearts and minds which would resist islamic extremism. the decision was made to go counterinsurgency and have it last for 18 months. had someone come to me and said we were trying to change in one generation, 18 years, a culture
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of afghanistan to reject corruption, to accept the role of women, to accept a representative government, and to resist this kind of islamic extremists, i said, 18 years, i'm not sure. difficult, but possible. to do it in 18 months is not serious and does not reflect strategic intelligence work. a word about the snowden controversy. a spoiler alert for the olympics? i have strong views on this. managing national security requires we have an intelligence capacity. if you do not accept that, then that kind of -- we will part ways at the start. one of the things you do when you join the community is you make a promise and commitment not to divulge information. the premise is two things. one is that we should have intelligence capacity and in
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order to operate it you have to maintain confidentiality. leaking by consumers is one thing, and that is not what happened. most reporters say that 95% of the leaking in any administration comes from the top, from the white house and the national security council. it usually comes because of disagreements on policy views, usually trying to show that the policy decision made is wrong by leaking intelligence or showing that it was right by leaking intelligence, and the net result is almost bad, almost always bad because it tells our enemies what we are doing and how we got to that conclusion, what our methods are. it helps our enemies. it is not good. manning and snowden were not leakers. nor were they whistleblowers. whistleblowers expose illegal behavior, and nothing that they have done has been deemed to be
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illegal. both of them exhibited a severe, a serious resentment of the entire concept of secret intelligence, and they sought to expose it. all three branches of government have all determined that from what we have learned from snowden that no laws were violated. especially that two intelligence committees in the house and senate have backed up the administration in saying everything that was done was legal. maybe it should not be legal, but it was legal, and that is our guarantee. that is how are our system works. the executive branch operates, informs key members of the intelligence community, they oversee it, and determine whether it is ok to proceed, whether it is legal or not, and you have to abide by that and you cannot substitute your own personal judgment.
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the question is often posed by the media, was snowden a hero or traitor? i think the right answer lies on the traitor side of that question. but he had access he should not have had. he was a technical administrator. he managed programs and processes of which he had no substantive involvement. if he had grievances over that, he could go to the intelligence community and say i think improper things are taking place. that is the safety valve. and for the record, to reiterate, both committees sustained the administration very strongly on this. suppose all that did not work. snowden could have exposed them, then arrested, and stood on their principle, but on contrary he spent months gathering information and made elaborate efforts to divulge vast reams of
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information he had no idea what was in it. you cannot run your law firm, your university, business or anything else by saying i do not like what is going on here, so i will take a whole bunch of secrets of this organization and make them public without even knowing what they are. to me that is not a principled stand. those are the actions of a narcissistic criminal. i find it ironic that this guy has taken refuge in china and in russia, those bastions of law and respect for institutional behavior. in fact, the damage done to the united states is done in ways we will never know. however, the intelligence briefing which on the record that general clapper even earlier said since the sources and methods have been
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compromised, american lives have been put in danger, and the propensity for allies working with us has been diminished. if you think we need to have an intelligence -- this fellow did not do the united states any favors at all. he betrayed his country. having said that, i think the intelligence community made two mistakes in managing snowden that we learn from. one we've talked about we could've talked about these programs early on. i think the parameters of what were there should have been divulged. after a terrorist attack, you cannot do enough, cannot throw enough money at the intelligence community, and what you do is yours what we are going to do, broad parameters, so there is no discovery when a leak takes place. the second thing is we should have installed a security system
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on data that worked so a low-level contractor like this could not have done so much damage without being detected. i think the solemn nature of the agreements made cannot be broken. let's see, let me just move on to an example that i think shows what it is. you think of an act of conscience, and it galls me that people say this is a principled human being who did what he thought was right. i think of martin luther nailing those 95 treatises to the church in wittenberg in 1571 and then saying, here i stand, god help me. that is principle, doing something you believe in and standing by your word. this ties in that i have no idea what is in there, so here it is, and i'm off to china and russia to seek refuge.
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enough on that. i think about half of the 100,000 americans in the intelligence community, our anger is justified, and we feel betrayed. one of the best terms in intelligence that i love is the term "a way forward." whenever you have as a problem, and this happened, it is a mess, what are we going to do now? this was a bad decision, this guy did not do his job, this should have been included in here, a huge mess. you have to end this with the way forward, but sooner or later, what is the way forward? we got to stop licking the wounds. now what are we going to do with that? it is one of the best part of the memo you read, ok, enough bemoaning of all this, now what are we going to do? a couple things about the way forward.
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i think we need an intelligence capacity in the united states immense to the american leadership responsibilities during this time, this unique time of american power, and in the world. our intelligence ought to be up to serving that opportunity to face the united states. the ingredients of this effect of intelligence capacity are there, but they require constant attention. they require attention from the media, from our elected representatives, and different communities. the world affairs councils and people like you who care what our intelligence community is doing. we have to have an informed citizenry, and they have to understand what this is an give their support or their criticism to the intelligence community. it requires active support from the president of the united states, real, serious delegation to the director of national intelligence, who should be
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required to manage strong congressional and media relations. the american public and our allies want to have, want to believe in a professionally skilled, morally disciplined intelligence community, and we have an excellent intelligence community. it is changing rapidly, but we can be proud of it. this is an outstanding group of men and women who serve in exemplary fashion. all i can say is if you are on the inside, if you are proud to be there,, we are making progress. the other side is we can never be comfortable. we demand a lot, but benefit mostly from the skill of the diverse american population. they operate without being known what they do. their families, neighbors, have no idea how they are contribute into our well-being. i come back to the strategic focus, the need for long-term perspective. follow those two, we will be in
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great shape. i hope looking forward, looking down the road, our national leaders in the future prove themselves to be as capable of using our intelligence community as that intelligence community is capable of serving the united states. and i would be pleased to take questions, if we think we have time for them. [applause] >> one of the things that disturbs most people about the snowden affair was how could a low-level contractor get access to the information that was so profoundly damaging to this country and what steps are being taken to prevent this.
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>> yes, everyone heard the question? the inadequate answer is that he was a program administrator. just as in your office you have somebody come in who knows nothing about what your job is, but can take apart your computer system, find out what is wrong, and have access across the board. that is how it happened. i am saying he was a program administrator, and, therefore, through his administration and by recent news we have learned that having some people who gave him passwords that he should not have been given, he was able to get in and get access to massive amounts of information that he never should have had access to. my second point of what we can do going forward, put in safeguards. just as private manning never should've been able to do the wikileaks to the extent that he did, we still do not know everything he has and we are so worried about what it may involve.
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it is a parcel of information, it is something we really need to fix. >> two items, one is talk a little bit about cyber security, and government trying to do with it, but also the corporate world, and, secondly, please do the jimmy carter, please. [laughter] >> [as jimmy carter] i have always said that our country would be better off if we had people like peter kelly serving our country. [applause] [as himself] cyber is very threatening.
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look, let me give you a little data on this. our cyber system was designed to enable and convey and allow people to enter it. it was not set up for security. every minute there are 3 million google searches in the world. there are 2.5 billion internet users in the world. there are 168 billion e-mails daily going round the world. this was not meant for security. it was meant for open communication. the evildoers, both nationstate and hackers, and get inside such that they can jump, compromise, go from internet communications to operating systems. yes, it is frightening when you know about it. i have been working on a project right now at the suggestion of the connecticut governor to look
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at how this could affect our public utilities. the ability of those who would do us harm to enter into and compromise such systems, "the new york times" called it the glass jaw of industry. some countries have stolen very valuable events secrets. others go there to copy programs and get designs, things like that. the united states intelligence community does not conduct espionage on behalf of american business. it does not take place. let's look at this world in which both offense and defense takes place. one of the most profound events in the last several years was
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july 2010, the stuxnet operation. the delivery system jumped to the siemens operating system in iran and went into attack phase. i do not know who did stuxnet. it was reported united states and israel were involved. i do not want to go there. that kind of attack which can shut down a massive capacity followed by soon thereafter a massive attack on aramco in saudi arabia which wiped out 30,000 computers, the scope for damage is huge, and if you think of suppose you lost electricity, suppose you lost a gas pipeline coming up to the northeast during the weather we are having now, that pipeline generates electricity. if we were without gas to heat
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by and electricity generation, where would we be? it is an act of war. it is a defense posture that we have to take all the time. we live without understanding both the vulnerability and the potential for such damage. it is another one of those things that we do not always understand the luxury that we have in the united states and the vulnerability that requires action all the time. be friendly to your local security agent. he or she is trying to help you. vulnerability is very, very real, something that will be part of our future going forward. we are not going to turn into an authoritarian state in order to stay secure. that would deny the basic fiber of the american society. but the liberties that we enjoy bring those insecurities that we have to defend against. >> thank you. what do you think the american policy should be back in europe
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as we have seen with lithuania with the struggle between the russian-speaking half of lithuania and the other half sympathizing with europe, to give the other side the tools they needed to make that decision? we have seen this play out, to keep the russian tanks busy for the afternoon. what do you see as that struggle amongst the old satellites being pulled back into the russian sphere without us getting back into a checkpoint charlie confrontation? >> you mean lithuania, not the ukraine? >> i meant ukraine. sorry.
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>> there is obviously. the president of ukraine vetoed the agreement with western europe, and ukraine is very divided between those who would rather have their economic and integration, their political affiliation, or cultural ties to russia and those who would like to turn to the west. it is playing out right now, 25 killed this morning, an obvious hot spot. this is one of those -- we need two things. this is where you need the national intelligence council, what is at play, what we think is going to affect the outcome, what are the range of policy decisions that are open to us, and then you need a wise decision. we cannot intervene in all these crises of the world. it could be very bloody, and to go in there into direct confrontation with russia at this point, obvious reasons not
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to do this. our hearts obviously are with the western-leaning ukrainians. they would like to return to europe, which is our way of looking at things. one of the wise thing to do through intelligence is decide not what you do, but what you do not do, and there are times when there are crises that you just better not enter unless you are ready for a full-fledged confrontation that could create american casualties. up to now, the united states has done the right thing. it is difficult when you send encouragement, which we have done in the past, to one side to say hang in there, you're doing the right thing, we are with you. a lot of people interpret that as meaning the yanks are coming, they're coming here to help us, let's go to the barricades, and then you find out we were just kind of wishing you well. very difficult to watch not only your strategic decisions but all
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the words that have been made to describe it. and up to this point i think united states has made it clear this is an internal division and also not one in which we are going to give specific encouragement or discouragement to one side or the other. at this point, it is there to sort out for themselves. >> i would like to have you talk more about human intelligence. i remember the 1970's, and there seems to be an emphasis on technical means and human intelligence, and perhaps the iraq war and 9/11 brought emphasis to human intelligence, and you pointed out the difference between knowledge and what we do with it. it seems united states has been behind the pace and reactive to the green revolution in iran, the arab spring, and i do not
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know whether that is policy or knowledge, and it seems to me in the ukraine that wisdom of forethought would have strengthened the european union so they would have had an offer for the ukraine as opposed to russia coming in with $50 billion. >> covered a lot of ground there, john. john and i served together with the former director of national intelligence dennis blair when we were white house fellows together. good to see you, john. you have combined both human intelligence and analysis and national security action decisions, so when you bring this together, you have covered a lot of ground. united states has outstanding human intelligence capabilities. we take second place to nobody. there has been a question as to how much actual action should be delegated to the central
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intelligence agency versus the pentagon. there are two separate titles. one is covert operations with deniability. the other is overt action. sometimes you get the same kinds of people doing it. only difference is whether it is title x or title 50, whether the sun comes up. if it comes up, it is discovered, it was military. if it does not come up, it is a covert operation. i question should our intelligence agency become as active an operator as the cia has become. they are outstanding in their analysis and in their human intelligence to understand things. let me give you an example. suppose you are in a conflict and you have learned from being in that conflict that here is somebody who clearly is operating with the enemy. you identify that person. that is human intelligence. suppose you are able then because you know who that person
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is to focus on his or her cell phone communications one way or the other and find out what that person is up to. and you confirm this person is making bombs, dealing with the enemy, doing things we do not want. where does this person go? that is where you can use intelligence to track where that person is, maybe find their headquarters, learn a lot. there's the combination i was talking about, human intelligence, geospatial intelligence and in ways in which no other country can. i like our human intelligence capacity, plus, quite honestly, we have advantages you do not find in the world. i was in one country, inside the inner sanctums where things are being done, and i noticed somebody who was clearly a native of that country inside
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our intelligence operations, and dressed like the natives and everything else, and when i flew back to washington, i was at dulles airport, and i looked, and there the guy was, wearing a business suit, and he probably lives in los angeles. we have every single nationality, every single race, everything is represented in the united states, and they are patriotic americans and they lend themselves, their linguistic abilities and the ability to blend in with the local populations, like no other country can. frankly, we are very skilled at that. i like the integrative approach. you got into several different should we haves, and each one of those is a separate question, and perhaps we should take some of them up, but you reach these do or die things. syria.
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syria starts to fall apart and a lot of people coming in. you act quickly, saying we are going to be active here and we're going to help guide the faction that we favor the most. or you stand back. we stood back, doing some humanitarian assistance, so forth, but that is a decision that has to be made early on because it is very difficult to come in. it is one thing to do it when there are a thousand people, 2000 people involved, but it is another when there are 20,000, 50,000, and when you do innovation it makes it a different thing. the wisdom to make those decisions, but i hope i have covered the integration and the role of human intelligence and the other sectors for you. i would be glad to talk about those others afterwards. >> would you comment on the significant amount of intelligence activities that are being outsourced to private industry and whether you think that is a good idea. >> sure.
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i once directed a team of about 80 people in one of my jobs. 35 worked in private industry. you cannot tell the difference. they had a green badge versus a blue badge. one team. in general it is good, why? because a lot of the progress being made in information technology is being done in the private sector. we have really right people. you have people competing for government contracts who can do it better. you have enormous skills, and we benefit from that. sometimes they come to work for us. sometimes we give them a contract. from all my experience, all i have seen is that the united states is by far the benefactor of having included all the scientific, technological
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information progress that exists by the contractors that we bring on board. it goes to things like information technology. everything from linguistics to area specialties. you better be careful, obviously. you go inside an intelligence facility, a dunkin' donuts, and even though they are employees that have been cleared, everything you do has to go through a security clearance. sometimes people think you are outsourcing this to a private contractor, oh my goodness, that is not a security risk. usually it is not. but the capacity, the potential for strength that they bring into the equation is a huge resource in the community, and
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we have benefited tremendously from it. my summary answer is it has been a good deal for the united states. >> last question. congress is, considering several proposals to reform the irs. feel --p is set to on unveil his for pushover tax reform. what are some of the things that we know already about the proposal that chairman camp will announce question mark -- announce? >> he has been able to reduce income tax for individuals to 25%. we are hearing about a big tax on financial institutions and banks that could raise $60 billion. -- it is a hearing upmor mill appear -- -- u
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here. you are hearing capital gains tax. surtax.ll be a there are a lot of different proposals coming out of ways and means today and coming out of k street. we have seen analysis from the joint committee on taxation. >> what are you hearing from rank-and-file members in terms of this being an election year. how are they greeting the news of a tax reform package? >> we reported this morning and are night that republicans supported in general and in theory as a republican idea. when it comes to being a few months out of the midterm election, they are not pleased that they have to take a stance on a bill that has a lot of
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democratic ideals and it. it.n they may take a whack at things that are popular with taxpayers areour bipartisan -- bipartisanly popular. eric cantor in john boehner, the leaders of the republican caucus -- that has been lifted and has allowed him to go forward with a draft. there is still not support, from what we understand. democrats say that this will give them an amazing opportunity -- what they think is an amazing opportunity -- to whack republicans for being anti-middle-class or being in the pocket of big business. it will be harder to make that
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argument when there is the big levy on banks and the wealthy. those are democratic ideals. they will begin the opportunity in future negotiations of the budget to point to any one of the inclusions in dave camp's we canl and say, "hey, raise money by taxing financial institutions because that is a bipartisan proposal and was in dave camp's plan." >> it starts with ways and means on the house side. mcconnellring mitch saying that this package has no chance in the senate. mitcht is exactly what mcconnell and senators are saying. it is much more rocky. camp'scus was dave partner. wyden on to get ron
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board. there is much more disagreement about how much revenue should be raised. to patty murray and harry that $1 trillion should be raised and that is doa with republicans. there is not going to be tax reform in the house of the senate because there would be an immediate roadblock when it got to the upper chamber. said, they put the brakes on it last december and they seemed to alleviate that hard line a little bit to allow them to put out a draft. this is a draft and this is not a real bill. it will be written in legislative language and they have to introduce it as legislation to go forward for on the houseote floor. what we're hearing from both conservatives, members of the republican caucus, and moderates, is that it is not going to go past the debate and
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the discussion. -- he may beo have able to have hearings on it. it will not happen until after the midterm elections on the house floor. tweeteduse floor, you about some of this this morning. morning --at in the lastly, what are these bills in the house that the house is considering? >> they will have more success with this bill. it will more than likely pass with a republican majority. it is a bill that would change would --01(c) how much politics they can engage in and keep tax exemptions.
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he says that regulation should not be allowed to go forward until congress completes the probes into the irs controversy. that is backed by almost every republican on board. that bill will come this week. the house is expected to vote on two pieces of legislation that would ban the irs from asking about religious, social, or political beliefs. the other would be that if the irs shared your taxpayer information with another government agency, they would have to tell you in writing about it. >> lorrain french is a tax reporter for politico. thank you for the update. >> late tuesday afternoon, the white house issued a statement that opposed the bill on the irs regulations of tax-exempt organizations.
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in a few moments, a hearing on the legislative agenda on disabled veterans. half, the and a defense budget. after that, we will re-air the conversation from the world affairs in connecticut. a couple of live events to tell you about tomorrow on our companion network. a senate armed services committee looks into the relationship between military and sexual assaults and suicide. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. at 2:00 p.m., a hearing on the effect on alzheimer's disease and the state of all summers research. -- alzheimer's research. as studentsre told
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and as a nation, in terms of popular imagination, is that there are citizens and margins and demonstrations that occur. they are really done i famous and iconic people. they simply, rosa parks was so tired that she refused to get up from the bus. and, a young preacher that the president referred to during the election. of africansses americans from racial oppression. there is a notion that martin could do this stuff and jesse could run and all these other things. they sound good and they really simplify a complicated history. the complicated history really involves so many african-americans, women and men, who proactively dismantled racial segregation coming
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including rosa parks. rosa parks was a good activist. she did not refuse to give up her seat on accident. it was a strategic effort to transform democratic institutions. >> professor and an author, peniel joseph. he specializes in black power studies. his latest book will be in stores on march fourth. live for three hours. >> senators voted 99-02 begin consideration of a bill to expand veterans benefits. at the same time, members of the house and senate affairs committees held a joint hearing to hear about the legislative agenda of disabled veterans. is a little more than 1.5
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hours. my privilege to be joining you on theive testimony legislative priorities for disabled american veterans. we have a little bit of housekeeping that we need to address. miller as chair man of the house veterans affairs committee. you're watching live coverage on c-span 3. >> after hearing from myself, chairman blumenthal and acting ranking member heller, i'd like to ask all other committee members to waive their opening statements. there is going to be an
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opportunity for remarks following testimony today. hearing no objections so order. it's an honor for me to be here this afternoon with so many dav members and i thank you all for coming to the hill once again. due to the hard work and dedication of vav's 1.4 million members, especially dav service officers, veterans are provided with professional benefit counselling and claims assistance and transportation to and from va health care facilities. dav also assists with transition assistance services and on-site care at military treatment facilities, va medical centers and clinics and at home. that's just to name a few of the many programs that you, dav, provides every single day. i've witnessed many of these efforts first hand and i'm personally grateful to each of you for the hard work the dav
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does across the country as well as right here in washington d.c. on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you all for your commitment to our veterans, for your time this afternoon and for your brave and honorable service to our nation. i want to take a few moments to welcome several individuals who have transitioned into new leadership roles with dav. i begin with national commander joseph w. johnston who was elected to the position at dav's 2013 national convention. mr. johnston retired from the united states army in 1992 and subsequent to his military service has dedicated his efforts towards working with nonprofit organizations. commander johnston, we welcome you here today. other new placements within the professional leadership of dav include navy veteran j. mark
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bergus. gary august steen is the new executive director. nice to have you back. marine corps veteran jim now serves as dav national service director and his fellow marine corps veteran barry janowski leads as executive director of headquarters in coal spring, kentucky. very good to have you back, too. with us today is miss susan miller who was elected today office of national commander of the dav aux illry. she prefld served as a registered nurse with the veterans administration and her son, trent, is a member of the united states army, recently serving in his second deployment to afghanistan. gentlemen and miss miller, thank you for your leadership and for your service. i look forward to working with each of you in your new roles and continuing to work with
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those of you that are continuing in the roles that you have had for a number of years. i'd also like to recognize the dav members from my home state of florida who may be with us today. if you could just raise your hand so we can say hello. isn't this just like home? this is just like home. welcome to those from the sunshine state. we're glad to have you here. each of you are a credit to our state of florida and to your communities, and i'm proud to have you here in your nation's capital. thank you for your military service and for our ongoing service to veterans. commander johnston, officers, and members of the dav, you have a tremendous force behind you to accomplish the immense mission that is before each of us. our charge, yours and mine, is to assist and oversee that the department of veterans affairs carries out america's promise to those who have worn the uniform of this country.
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this includes ensuring that veterans receive timely, accurate, and consistent decisions when seeking service-connected disability compensation, safe and high quality health care and prompt access to earned benefits. it demands that in dealing with the department of veterans' affairs, veterans be treated with the dignity and professionalism that is earned through honorable service to our nation. the need for oversight is crucial. but it is the need for accountability that is paramount. speaking directly to the disabled american veterans, you and your members understand that leaders must set the example. true leaders lay out clear expectations, put others in positions to succeed. they follow through, and most
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importantly, they hold themselves accountable for their actions. follow me, that is the motto of the infantry. yet, those words can be easily translated to organizational leadership at the va. when there's a mission to be accomplished, those who put themselves on the line are the leaders that others want to follow. and, it is a lack of accountability that corrodes trust within a chain of command. that said, an undeniable, wide-spread, systematic lack of accountability exists today in the department of veterans' affairs. in fact, if you look at recent preventable deaths at va medical centers, patience safety incidents and claims backlog increases, department senior executives who presided over
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mismanagement are more likely to have received a bonus than punishment. it is a leadership model that is primed for failure. so today, i ask for your support of a measure that i have introduced, hr, 4031, the accountability act of 2014. this bill would provide tools to the secretary of veterans' affairs to better manage senior executive service employees, those who are directly responsible for the day-to-day success or failure of va programs. hr 4031 would give the secretary the power to hold leaders accountable when they fail to perform their duties in a manner that properly serves the veterans entrusted to their care. dav, you know leadership. and i hope that you will support this bill and work with us to
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empower the secretary to lead va into the future. i also want to comment on something from your written remarks. you noted that the department, specifically, the veterans' benefits administration, has exhibited reduced transparency and openness of late. i can assure you that this shift has been noted by this congress. i will underscore these ongoing concerns to the secretary. the va is to effectively to carry out its duties, the department as well as congress and veterans' service organizations must be open to candid and honest conversation. i will be paying close attention to the matters of transparency as vba pushes towards 2015, and i encourage you to continue your dialogue with congress and va to the maximum extent possible. i look forward to hearing your
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testimony today, and i am certain that we will work together over the coming months on many items that are on your list of legislative priorities. before i yield my time, i want to touch upon one specific area that you have noted is a top priority for dav in 2014. that is the expansion of advanced appropriations for the department of veterans' affairs. thank you for your resounding support of hr 813, putting veterans' fund first act. while the health administration is largely shielded from budgetary impasse, other functions critical to the department and the veterans are not, including accounts for information technology as well as construction spending on vital maintenance and improvement projects. i'm going to continue to advocate for passage of this measure as well. gridlock must not compromise the
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functionality of the department of veterans' affairs. there's great work ahead for all of us, but with your help, i am confident that there is also great potential for success for america's veterans. thank you once again for being here today, and i now yield time to my colleague and friend from the senate, chairman blumenthal for his opening statement. senator? >> thank you very much, chairman miller, and thank you to the leadership of the dav, commander johnston and others who are here today. most important, thank you to all the dav members who are here today. thank you so much for making the trip and sending a message by your presence about not only the concern and interest but your knowledge and power by your numbers and your presence here today. i'd like to ask that chairman sanders' full opening statement
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be placed in the record. he could not be here today because indeed he is helping to manage the bill, the comprehensive bill that is under consideration this week before the united states senate. indeed, i will have to leave early to go back and assist him in that effort. i hope you'll forgive me, but with the chair's permission, i'd like to ask that his opening statement be placed in the record, and i'd like to make a few opening brief remarks. >> without objection. i thought it was probably going to be because of the snow that he was not able to be here. >> we are here in the warmth compared to connecticut and vermont. let me ask the connecticut dav members who are here to raise your hand so i can thank you personally for being here, all the connecticut members. i know that connecticut dav state commander robert whirlic,
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barry berneier and the vice commander all regularly advise me, and their guidance and thinking is so very valuable to me. let me begin by thanking the dav for its support for the comprehensive veterans' health and benefits military retirement pay restoration act which is the bill on the floor of the senate this week. the dav set about this bill. this bill is and i'm quoting, unprecedented in our modern experience, would create, expand, advance and extend a number of va benefits, services and programs that are important to the dav and to our members. your help and support has been critical along with the help and support of virtually every veterans' and military organizations in the country,
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including the american legion, the veterans of foreign wars, the vietnam veterans of america, the military officers association of america, the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, the paralyzed veterans of america, the gold star wives and many more. we thank you for your support for this bill which includes many measures that were reported out of our committee, the senate veterans' affairs committee, by unanimous vote or on an overwhelmingly partisan vote. there's nothing partisan about supporting this bill or any other measure that provides what we owe to our veterans. they should be above partisan politics. this bill is big and broad because the needs and challenges of all our veterans are big and broad. that's why it's comprehensive. it would provide the restoration of cola for military retirees,
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improve va health and care benefits, expand educational opportunities, help in the backlog which we know be devil's our country still and would help put our veterans back to work. i'm very proud to be supporting this measure. it's a historic effort to be comprehensive, to reach and aid our veterans in a multi-prong, multi-facetted way. of particular interest to me is hearing from you about where you think the priorities ought to be and how we can address the problem of uniting, for example, uniting the medical records and personnel data of the department of defense and the department of veterans' affairs. there are gaping divisions in that system where there should be none, and i am appalled by
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the delays that often occur in the transfer of information. i'm deeply appreciative of the work of the dav experts who help every day in aiding our veterans with their claims and i value your expertise in addressing this challenge. i'm also personally committed to determining what we can do more and better to help veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress. we should assist equally a veteran from today's conflicts as well as those from past conflicts, including our vietnam veterans who suffered posttraumatic stress before this debilitating condition was medically diagnosed or perhaps even seen for what it is. that's why i'm working to get the department of defense to give a second look at the records of our veterans of past wars, including vietnam, who may have been less than honorably
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discharged or otherwise disadvantaged because their condition was undiagnosed and untreated. given what we now know, those individuals who today are upstanding members of the community and suffered from posttraumatic stress ought to be given a second look, and their discharge status re-evaluated if necessary. on all of these issues, again, your expertise and guidance not only today but every day is very, very valuable, and i want to welcome you and thank you for your service to america in uniform and when you have returned to your communities and today as you come back to the capital. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator. i yield five minutes or as much time as he may consume to the ranking member of the full house committee. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and thank you for your service for this great nation of ours as well.
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good afternoon, commander. i want to thank you and all members of dav and the aux illry for your service. we thank you for your continued dedication to our nation's veterans. i want to take an opportunity also to welcome those in the audience from maine, the sons and daughters of maine have a history of serving our nation. i'm glad to see that they're continuing that tradition as well by fighting for veterans' issues. dav and other veterans' groups are partners with us in congress as we work to keep our promise to america's veterans. i want to thank you for your work of advocating and the passage and enactment of hr 813, putting veterans' funding act first. it is time that the rest of va's
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discretionary budget be treated the same way. we owe it to the veterans to provide funding. va is pursuing a wide range of initiatives from new methods of health care delivery to electronic benefit management. these investments will help bring the department into the 21st century. working with you in the department of veterans' affairs, we will make sure that these initiatives implemented fairly, transparently and in the best interest of veterans and the american taxpayers, making sure that the department of veterans' affairs can meet the challenges of the 21st century is a job of all of us. i know the dav, your members across the country and your staff here in washington, are ready and eager for that challenge. so i look forward to your testimony today, commander, and again i want to thank you and d.a.v.'s long history of
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distinguished service for the men and women who wear the uniform. it is because of our organization that will actually give members of congress the information that we need so that we can make those decisions important for our veterans and their families in this country. once again, thank you very much, and thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> recognize for as much time as we may need, the acting ranking member, mr. heller from nevada. >> mr. chairman, thank you. >> glad to have you here. >> good to be back, seeing old colleagues and some old friends that i have on this side of the capital. i want to thank the commander for being here today and everybody that will be testifying and answering questions today. thanks for taking time. it's always a wonderful view to see this crowd. everybody here and your advocacy for issues that are important to all of us. i want to take a moment to acknowledge the veterans who have flown here from my home state, bill bowman and john
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hanson. are you out there? there we go. any other nevada veterans please raise your hand. they're tremendous advocates. they had poinappointments at my office at 9:30 this morning and they were there at 8:30. if that gives you an idea of how aggressive they are. i appreciate all the work you do and they respepresent our state quite well. i think we can agree there's a lot to be improved upon when it comes to our american veterans. which is why the work that the group does is so important. this is the second year i have had a privilege to sit on the senate veterans' affairs committee. while that may not be for as long a period of time compared to some of the other members here, it's clear that one issue continues to be a primary focus, and that's the disability claims backlog at the va. the va promised veterans that
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there are claims to be completed in 125 but they have waited much longer than that. nevada has the longest waiting time in the nation. that's why i made it a top priority to work to address this issue in a bipartisan manner. the claims backlog is the greatest challenge facing the department of veterans' affairs today. but this issue has been plaguing the va for over 20 years, two decades, and the reality is we must update the process. it's a 1945 system for a 21st century veteran. the va needs a claims process that is proactive rather than reactive. one that can anticipate the needs of veterans to keep a backlog from happening. some may want to point fingers, place blame, but at the end of the day, the congress, the vsos and the va all have a part to play. for the past year i worked with
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senator casey through a bipartisan va backlog group to learn what can be done to fix it. it has taken significant time and resources to dig into this issue and shortly i look forward to rolling out suggestions that we have developed with the help of the dav. our nation owes it to our veterans to keep our promise, to care for them and resolve this problem together. this is just one of the many important issues that will be discussed today, and i appreciate the dav being here and look forward to the testimony. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator, we are certainly glad to have you back on our side of the building. before i yield to my colleague, dr. win strupt, i want to recognize two other people that i did not talk about.
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dr. joseph, it's great to have you here with us and see you on the hill all the time, and ron mentor, national director of voluntary service. ron, glad to have you here, too. my staff just said i was going to yield to representative winstrupt to introduce the commander, but i think it's important that you understand that dr. winstrup is a combat veteran of iraq, a surgeon by trade, and a bronze star recipient. [ applause ] >> with that, you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as a proud member of the house veterans' affairs committee,
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it's my privilege to introduce joseph johnson. as commander johnson works to represent injured and disabled veterans, i have had the honor to represent him in the house of representatives. having personally served as a combat surgeon in iraq i saw our troops in the minutes and hours after being wounded. but oftentimes the toughest battle our veterans fight is when they come home. disabled american veterans is a strong advocate for those who have served our nation and given more than most, and commander johnson does yeoman's work on behalf of the nation's disabled veterans. i've had the honor of sharing the stage with mr. johnson during veterans' tributes in ohio. his passion for our military veterans is clear. it's selfless and with great conviction. a 100% service-connected disabled veteran who served in the vietnam and persian gulf
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wars, commander johnson joined the u.s. army in 1966 serving first as an enlisted soldier and later a commissioned officer. he retired at the rank of co concern nal in 1992. our state of ohio and nationally commander johnson has been elected to and held various management and leadership positions with the dav and is active in various chapter and department programs, culminating in his election as national commander last year. fellow members of congress from the house and senate, it's my honor to introduce national commander joe johnson to present the davs legislative agenda.
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>> welcome, commander. you're recognized for your testimony. >> thank you very much. chairman miller, acting ranking member hiller and ranking member michaeu, i want to thank you for convening today's hearing and for your leadership in helping to fulfill the promises to the men and women who have served. chairman sanders has recently brought forth introducing senate bill 1982, and that is indeed one of the most wide ranging veterans' bills ever brought forward. i'd like to extend our sincere appreciation to chairman sanders and all members of these committees on behalf of the more
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than 1.4 million members of dav and its auction illry for the outstanding support you have given our nation's injured and ill veterans and their families and survivors. we wish you all the best in your efforts to the rest of the 113th congress on behalf of america's veterans, their families and survivors. allow me to introduce as seated at the table with me as well as some distinguished guests. national adgent mark burgess, service director jim marcelek, director joe violante, ron mentor, national commander susan muller of colorado, national adgetent, judy, ron hope at
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north carolina. junior vice commanders, moses mcintosh of georgia, dave riley of alabama, and dennis krulder of new york. judge advocate mike dobmeyer of north dakota. national chief of staff, raymond hutchinson of ohio and let me introduce the love of my life vicki and my son james who is also a dav member and his wife rhonda. one man who for the first time in decades is not at the table with us today is art wilson. he retired in 2013 after a 47-year career, serving as dav's
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suburbly effective chief executive director. after such a long and distinguished term will clearly leave a void but dav has selected an able, experienced executive in mark burgess as our new ceo. the dav national executive committee please stand and be recognized.wthe dav national ex committee please stand and be recognized.ithe dav national ex committee please stand and be recognized.lthe dav national ex committee please stand and be recognized.lthe dav national ex committee please stand and be recognized. the dav national ex committee please stand and be recognized. will the members of the national legislative interim committee also please stand. i'd also like to recognize the entire dav delegation from my home state of ohio. please stand.
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i've already submitted for the record my written testimony detailing a number of concerns and ideas for your information and consideration. so i will use my time today to highlight a few of the most important issues facing veteran today. mr. chairman, veterans stand with each other and support one another in combat. long after the bullets cease to strike, we always rely on our warrior brothers and sisters. i'm hoping that every member of congress will also stand with us and for us each and every day of your respective terms. since our founding dav has remained dedicated to fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served, their families and survivors, dav's core mission is carried out through
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our chapter department, transition in national service officers and all dav has nearly 3,000 service officers including county veteran service officers who are credited by dav. during 2013 dav's 276 national service officers interviewed over 187,000 veterans and their families. reviewed more than 313,000 va claims files, filed over 215,000 new claims for benefits, and participated in more than 272,000 va rating board actions. in addition, our national appeals officers provided representation in almost a third of the appeals decided before the board of veterans' appeals. our transitions service office conducted 1400 briefings to
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groups, counselled 31,000 persons in individual interviews, reviews the military service treatment records of 230,000 individuals and submitted benefits applications for 19,000 personnel for filing with the va. our mobile service officers traveled almost 90,000 miles last year to 833 cities and towns and met with more than 20,000 veterans and other potential claimants to offer our assistance. about 17,000 dav and zilry volunteers donated more than 1.8 million volunteer hours to assist america's wounded, injured and ill veterans every year, saving taxpayers over $40 million in cost. dav's national transportation network logged almost 26,000
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road miles and transported over 700,000 veterans to va health care facilities. nearly 9,000 volunteer drivers spend over 1.7 million hours transporting veterans. from 1987 to 2013, we have donated nearly 3,000 vans to the va at a cost to the dav of more than $537 million. mr. chairman and members of the veterans' affairs committee, let me thank you at our press conference calling for advanced appropriation for all veterans' programs, services and benefits. we are also joined by members of many other veterans' and military organizations, by all uniting with a message for
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congress to pass the putting vut rans' funding first act. in addition, hundreds of dav members and supporters have been visiting your offices. thousands have been calling from back home, and over a million, that's over a million, have sent or heard our message through facebook, twitter and the other social media, all calling on congress to keep the promise by passing advanced appropriations. today if you open up any of the capitol hill publications, you'll see our full page ad, and you can see them online at corresponding websites. you can also read the op-ed in today's would you te today's "wall street journal" that i co-authored.
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i wrote together with the national leaders from the vfw and the american legion. together our organizations represent more than 5 million veterans. mr. chairman, you and the other members of this committee know the importance of advance appropriations judging by the overwhelming votes in favor of this legislation in both your committees. let me especially recognize chairman miller and congressman micheau for sponsoring the legislation in the house and the senators for sponsoring this legislation in the senate. i also want to thank you, chairman sanders who isn't here, for getting behind this legislation, ensuring that senate bill including the benefits and for moving it through the committee. the government shutdown last october confirmed what has become increasingly clear, the
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federal budget and appropriations process is broken. over the past 25 years, the f r four-year budget has been enact by the start of the fiscal year only three times. in 2009 as a result of a grassroots advocacy effort by dav and other vsos, congress passed and the president signed the veterans' health care budget reform and transparency act that provides advanced appropriations for a va medical care program. this past october, while many va offices and services were shut during the shut down, va hospitals and clinics were able to provide uninterrupted health care. the backlog was slowed, activities were scaled back and what medical research projects were nearly suspended.
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when va regional offices were shut down, many of our national service officers resorted to occupying temporary quarters, including tents, in order to continue helping veterans seeking their earned benefits, we at dav were determined that our free representation would not and could not be interrupted. during last year's veterans' day activities, a woman approached me to say how grateful she was to the dav for our efforts in helping the government shutdown before va ran out of funds for disability compensation. she and her husband's only income was his monthly va compensation, and as the shutdown lingered on, she told me with tears in her eyes that they were terribly worried that they would not be able to buy food, gas, or pay their rent. as national commander of this tremendous organization, i was
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grateful for those kind words about dav's effective advocacy, but it concerned me greatly that she and her husband were forced to go through a terrible ordeal given the sacrifice they made for this country. we should never again put a disabled veteran or his or her family in similar circumstances. this is why dav's operation keep the promise has made advanced appropriations for all va funding accounts including its mandatory disability payments to veterans, our highest legislative priority in 2014.
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mr. chairman, advanced appropriations is a common sense approach to a long-standing problem, and it has broadened bipartisan support in congress and the veterans' community, and by the american people at large. now it's up to the leaders and congress to bring this legislation up for votes in both the house and the senate. it's time for congress to keep the promise to america's veterans. of course, authorizing benefits for veterans, especially disabled veterans, without providing the systems to deliver those benefits in a timely, accurate manner, is a promise unfulfilled. for decades, va's benefits claims process has failed to meet that promise.
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today, however, for the first time in years, some good news is coming from the vba. after four years of comprehensive transformation that included 'em plimt tags of new organizational and operating processes, new i.t. systems and new training, testing and quality control regimes, there is measurable progress in addressing the backlog of pending claims for a veterans benefits. similarly, without the infrastructure to deliver services and benefits, the promises made by our government will ring hollow. dav believes one of the greatest challenges facing va in the enormous short fall and funding for the infrastructure, according to va 'own analyses just to maintain it's current infrastructure requires up to 63 bllgds over the next ten years. va will need more than 25 years to complete that work.
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in major construction alone, va estimates that say that there's an average of $2.3 billion is needed each year for the next decade, but this funding's level was a pitiful $342 million. our veterans deserve more than aging facilities that may soon be falling down around them. we need your support to increase funding for maintaining va's infrastructure needs to continue delivering the health care and benefits our nation's heros have earned. mr. chairman, family care gives play an indispensable role as a part of va's service and support systems. they provide the vast majority of the care for loved ones with chronic needs and functional limitations. as a result of legislation passed in 2010, va provides essential care give services and support only to the newest
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generation of severely injured and wounded veterans. family care gives of veterans from earlier wars do not receive the same comprehensive support to fully address the burdens and strains of a lifetime of care giving. dav urges congress to correct the inequity and extend this successful program to care gives of all eras. in closing, i'd like to point out to all of you that before you are men and women of honor, that means that they did whatever was needed to be done when our country called. ladies and gentlemen, you can still call on us any time that you need us, and we would be proud to serve. that's why this country is never going to be overrun by an enemy force as long as we all draw
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breath. mr. chairman, this completes my testimony and my staff and i would be pleased to respond to any questions that you may have. thank you for allowing me the opportunity to appear before you an behalf of the dav and share our proud record of service to veterans in our country. may god bless the men who are in harm's way and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much for your
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testimony, commander. what i'd like to do since the senators may have to depart to go back to the senate side for the debate that's on the floor, i'd like to go ahead and yield to the chairman for any questions he may have in case he has to leave. senator? >> thank you, chairman miller. i very much appreciate that courtesy in yielding and very grateful for that very stirring and inspiring comment and testimony. i want to focus my brief couple of questions on the capital budget, the ten-year plan, that as you very wisely and per receptively say can't be accomplished in less than 25 years which is a contradiction in terms and really a betrayal of the promises that we do need to keep. i want to ask you about the
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impacts, the human impacts, if you could tell us from your deep and vast experience of failing to fulfill that ten-year plan. >> yes, sir. the impact is going to be even greater if we bring down the army and the other services to preworld war ii levels. the va is going to be inundated with new requests for claims and health care services, and to have these infrastructure facilities falling down around folks' ears is absolutely the wrong thing to do. we need to make sure that we get the appropriate amount of funds budgeted to cover these shortfalls that are certainly going to occur in the years to come. simply because the war ends does not mean that the necessity for va services gets any less. it gets greater.
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>> in fact, perhaps you would agree with me that the contrary is true as the wars end and as we downsize to levels of world war 2 and preworld war ii, we are going to see a million men and women leave the military over the next five years. those statistics come from the v va itself, many of them afflicted not only with highly visible wounds but also the horrific invisible wounds of posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, one million men and women added to the ranks of our veterans. they're the ones who will be
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impacted by this failure to fulfill the ten-year plan. in connecticut, for example, we see the va hospital in west haven found wanting and failing in a number of critical areas by the ig, the inspector general, of the va in a recent report that has to be addressed through capital improvements as well as changes in procedures and practices. so i would agree with you very strongly and really want to commend and thank you for the statement and the presence of so many of the members who are here today so that we can fulfill that promise. thank you very much. request i want to thank you, mr. chairman, for allowing me to ask that question in case i have to
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leave. thank you. >> senator heller. >> thank you for your testimony and everybody that's here today. it's good to see you here. at 4:30 this afternoon i have the secretary coming into my office and i'm going to ask him a lot of questions. i'm going to ask him obviously about the veterans' backlog issue and progress if any are being made. the issue of lack of communication between my office and reno will be another question that i'm going to ask and hopefully get a good answer for. but there are other questions that you might think that i should ask him. are there any questions, if you were talking to the secretary today, what question would that be, and i'm going to take notes and this is your chance to advocate. >> i wouldn't presume, sir, to tell you what to ask the secretary, although the secretary is an airborne ranger like me, so he is my friend.
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he has told me that he will reduce the backlog by 2015, put i would defer to members of my staff for any additional information they might want to share. >> love to hear from them. yes. >>you. we do believe that the va is making progress on the backlog. we obviously feel that advance appropriations is necessary because every year there is a lapse between the start of the fiscal year and when the budget is finally approved. that causes all kinds of problems in training, getting things accomplished and business -- efficient businessman business manner. we would like the secretary to support our efforts to get advanced appropriations for the rest of the va and for discretionary. he himself has indicated that
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it's very important for his i.t. budget and construction budget to be received on time because of the problems associated with those two issues. so we would like to know if secretary will continue to advance or to support our advanced appropriations? anyone else? >> i certainly appreciate those comments and they will be well heeded. one of the issues that comes up in my office commander is the fully developed claims program. it's a new initiative by the va office. veterans who submit a fully developed claim are able to receive a decision under 125 days. and suring that the claims do not become backlogs. what more can congress and va did to ensure that


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