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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  November 22, 2015 11:00am-6:01pm EST

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so are the settlement agencies. so are the settlement agencies. and the process reflects that, as director rodriguez has already testify. while the number of refugees being resettled here today is relatively anemic, the security protocols in place are stronger than anything i've ever seen in my 26 years working in the field. so strong, that is made the refugee resettlement program and to more fortress than evidence, -- more fortress than ambulance, causing massive backlogs of legitimately deserving and unnecessarily suffering refugees. it is based on erroneous assumptions. the flow of refugees to europe is entirely dissimilar to the refugees accepted to the u.s. program. the refugees will arrive in the u.s. have undergone extensive
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security vetting prior to setting foot on u.s. soil. refugees to europe are not screened until after they enter. this is the distinction. a simple he make sense for u.s. -- it simply does not make sense for u.s. lawmakers react to the tragedy and paris by proposing legislative changes to the u.s. refugee program. history has demonstrated that our democracy and not only withstand large influxes from other countries, but will prosper as a result. when we welcomed millions from communist, fascist, and not see -- nazi regimes, our country did not become infected with any of these ideologies. nor with the terror associated with them. if anything, these refugees immunized us from the ideologies they were fleeing. it is not the wide reaching program was intended to be. given the complexity,
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intrusiveness, and unpredictability, it seems highly unlikely if not impossible that a terrorist would choose the resettlement program as his or her pathway to the u.s. my written testimony outlines a number of suggestions to improve the program, while increasing both security and efficiency. but it does not recommend a certification process. thank you for inviting me here to testify today. this country must continue to be both welcoming and safe. >> thank you. i will remind the witnesses and the numbers to direct the responses and comments to the appropriate audiences. for members, it would not be to one another. and for witnesses, not one another. with that, i will recognize the ranking member of the full committee, mr. conyers from michigan.
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mr. conyers: thank you, mr. chairman. i apologize for appearing late. this is an important hearing. which focuses on the syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the security of our nation's refugee admissions program has a potential to shed meaningful light on critical issues, to all americans -- to all of us. unfortunately, the value of today's undertaking is greatly diminished by the fact that immediately following the conclusion of this hearing, we will go directly to the floor to vote on hr 4038, the so-called american safe act. a bill that would effectively shut down refugee processing for syrians and iraqis. clearly, there are no easy
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solutions to humanitarian crises of this magnitude. yet, 4038 is not the right answer, in my view. and i want the witnesses to please let us know what should be our response, keeping in mind these factors. to begin with, while ensuring the safety of all americans should be our top priority, hr 4038 would effectively debar syria and iraqi refugees. but it does nothing to promote security. this measure has unreasonable clearance standards that department of homeland security cannot meet, and thereby would halt refugee resettlement in the u.s. which is perhaps what the whole point of doing this is.
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so without question, the program should be held to the highest standards to ensure to the greatest extent possible that the security screening is thorough, effective, and timely. in fact, refugees are already subject to the highest level of vetting. more than any other traveler or immigrant to the u.s. this extensive screening process performed by the department of homeland security and and state, with conjunction with the fbi and other law enforcement agencies, relies on methodical and exhaustive background checks that often take up to 24 months on average to complete. even longer in some cases.
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like any system, there is room for further improvement. i would appreciate your thoughts here and after this hearing on how we can accomplish that goal. we must keep in mind that our nation was founded by immigrants. and it has historically welcomed refugees when they are suffering around the globe. whether it is an earthquake in haiti, a tsunami in asia, or years in syria, we provide protections for asylum-seekers. especially women and children. nevertheless, in the wake of september 11 attack in the tragic november 13 terror attack in paris, we must be vigilant -- especially in the midst of a global refugee crisis.
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i keep referring to the extreme overreaction to these latest security concerns. rather than shutting our doors, the desperate men and women and children who are risking their lives to escape death and torture in their own homelands, we should work to utilize our immense resources and good intentions of our citizens to welcome them. and finally, congress needs to do its part by properly funding
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refugee resettlement, as well as sending federal agencies, so they have the necessary personnel and programs to complete security checks. rather than slamming the doors to the world's most vulnerable, we should be considering legislation to strengthen and expand refugee programs. for example, i am a cosponsor of hr 1576, protecting religious minorities persecuted by isis. which allows persecuted individuals in isis-held territories do apply directly to the program. rather than rushing to the floor to consider legislation that was introduced just two, days ago we should devote legislative sources to develop meaningful solutions. i thank the chair for the opportunity. >> the chair will now recognize himself. national security is the preeminent function of government grade security and public safety are not factors be considered for some broader policy objective. national security and public safety are the ultimate policy objectives.
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the safety and security of our fellow citizens should be the driving force behind all decisions we make. as representatives, it would be incongruent to take any act copulated to jeopardize the safety and security of those who sent us here in the first place. people do not employ is to represent them so we can take risks with their security. this country has a rich and long history of welcoming those fleeing persecution. we have a long and rich history of liberating those suffering under oppression. we're the most welcoming country in the world. and we are the most generous country in the world. and we help those in need both here and abroad and we administer that aid in greater quantities than anyone else. our country has welcomed over 3 million refugees since 1975. we consistently provide aid to those in need. we provide protection for those who cannot protect themselves. and we provide a defense for
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those who are defenseless. regrettably, the world we find ourselves in is imperfect. it is because we are free and secure and live in a society rooted in public safety that we have the liberty of being generous to other people. rather than address the underlying pathology that results in displaced people, those in charge of our foreign policy see more interested in treating the symptoms. there are refugees from middle east and northern africa because those regions are on fire. and riddled with chaos, and our policies of containment and smart power, or whatever we call it today, have failed. terrorists to the lives of over 100 innocent people in france and injured many more for no other reason than the fact that they could.
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they killed 100 because they cannot kill 1000. and their objective is evil for the sake of evil. it is murder for the sake of murder. it is rotten, willful violence premeditated depravity. calculated to take as many innocent lives as possible. the acts of barbarism committed against france are the latest in a long line of malevolent acts committed against innocents. that is not like to be over. cia director brennan said what happened in france was not a one-off event. we know terrorists are intent on finding ways to attack. director brennan said isis has an external agenda they are determined to act on. i would not put them above the refugees. that is a huge concern of our's. those are the words of our very own intelligence officials, who serve this administration. the president has said he is too busy to debate the critical issue.
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and unfortunately, what passes for debate in this political age, is some absurd conclusion about widows and orphans. it is that hyper partisan debate that has one fact. we have no idea what our foreign policy is in the middle east. the people i represent our kind and generous, and they are asking this president one simple question. what assurance can you give us with respect to our public safety and national security, and so far, no one has been able to provide that assurance. on monday, the president said the country would continue to accept syrian refugees, but only after subjecting them to security checks. those are wonderful words. but at some point you have to ask, what does that mean? and the head of our own fbi said the concern in syria, the lack of our footprint on the ground,
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the database will not have the information read we don't have any information. were talking about a country that is a failed state that does not have any infrastructure. all of the data sets, the police, the intelligence, they do not exist. that is not a republican resident told hopeful. that is the head of the fbi. he also said we can only query against that which we collect. if someone has never made a ripple in a pond in syria or any other place that would get their interest reflected in our database, we can query it into locales come home. but nothing will show up because there is no record on that person. lastly, he said i cannot sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there is no risk associated. so the question then becomes, what amount of risk is acceptable? if this is not a risk-free endeavor, few things are,
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someone 20 to tell me what amount of risk is acceptable when you talk national security and public safety. i will say this in conclusion, the president says we are scared of widows and orphans. with all due respect to him. what i'm afraid of is a foreign policy that grates more of them. so where he ought to start, maybe he ought to start with a foreign policy in the middle east, including syria, or people can go back to their homelands . maybe you ought to defeat that junior varsity team you thought you had contained. that would be the very best thing you could do. with that, i will recognize the lady from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. when we are elected to congress,
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our first responsibility is to make sure that the security of the american people is attended to. that is number 1,2,3,4. i take it very seriously. that admonition has caused me to review the procedures and laws relative to our refugee program. the refugees from syria and other places in the middle east are arriving in waves, unscreened at europe's doorstep. as mr. hatfield has recalled, we were shocked to see the body of a three-year-old child on the beach. of families trying to escape from isis who are beheading people. but our process is different. we have an ocean between us and europe and the middle east. and that has allowed us to provide for a rather extensive process.
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here is what it is. in order to even be considered, the united nations high commission on refugees refers you to our system for screening. only a few people actually make that process to be screened. at that point, we have a resettlement support center that does an interview. we do biographic checks. then we do the class system, the lookout support system, which queries data that is classified. it includes the dea, fbi, homeland security, immigration, customs, on and on.
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then we have certain refugees, that includes syrians, a security advisory opinion. which is a positive clearance from a number of u.s. law enforcement agencies. the participants are classified. but it is everybody. and then we have the inter-agency, a check which was new. before 2008, we do not have this. and unfortunately, we admitted four iraqi refugees who turned up to be terrorists under the bush administration. we reviewed the process and change that to avoid that repetition, as well as the biometric checks and the next generation information system, along with the automated biographic identification system.
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and the automated biographic id system, that is followed by in person interviews and some post-interview efforts. following that, there are additional checks for syrians. so it is no small surprise that this process takes a couple of years for someone to pass. i listened to the fbi director, who we all respect. i am mindful that the fbi has a veto. if there's somebody we do not know who they are, they cannot come in. they cannot come in, that is the current law. and that is how it should be. that we would think querying what bashar al-assad thinks about a refugee, i do not care what he thinks about a refugee. he thinks all of the sunnis are terrorists.
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and they are not. let us put this in perspective . if i were a terrorist, when i say, i'm going to go to a camp, hope the u.n. will refer me to the system, go through this extensive process for two years, and honestly, because of paris this has been extended. everybody wants to make sure that every t is crossed, every i dotted. i don't think so. i don't think so. we need to take a look at all of the systems that we have. most of the terrorists -- it looks like all of the terrorists were europeans. they had european passport. they had belgian and french passports. they could come to the united states very easily. we need to take a look at what processes we have in place to make sure that the country is safe.
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but it does not include being afraid of a five-year-old. it is important that you are here. i was listening to my colleague, luis gutierrez. yesterday, a syrian family, refugees, arrived in chicago. the nonprofit group that was resettling them was the jewish community center. that tells isis and the world that we are on the right side of history and they are on the wrong side of history. how do you recruit more terrorists when the united states stands up for what it is? that is part of this equation. we need to win this militarily, but we also need to win it in a values fight. we are not going to win that fight by backing off from being free and being american. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman gowdy: the chairman now
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recognizes the gentleman from virginia. rep. goodlatte: thank you, mr. chairman. from an immigration standpoint, perhaps the most essential lesson from the 9/11 terrorist acts is that for a national who want to do us harm will exploit all aspects of our generous immigration policy to do so, even if it takes months or years. tragically, our allies in france learned that same lesson when over 120 people, including at least one american, were slaughtered by isis terrorists. at least one of the perpetrators registered as a refugee from syria while in transit to paris. armed with that knowledge, today we examine the administration's plan to admit thousands of syrian's into the u.s. as refugees. during fiscal year 2015, the president admitted 1682 syrian refugees to the u.s. in september, the administration announced that during this fiscal year, they plan to admit at least 10,000 more.
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that number could go higher as secretary of state john kerry stated. i underscore the "at least." it is not a ceiling. it is a floor. since the ceiling is 85,000 at a minimum, according to the secretary of state, nearly 12% will be from a country with little infrastructure, incomplete turmoil, into which thousands of radicalized fighters have poured, parts of which the islamic state controls and in which we have no law enforcement presence. the administration conducts security checks prior to admitting refugees. according to the administration, these checks are robust. but are they enough? can these checks ensure that the individuals admitted as refugees are not terrorists and will not commit terrorist attacks once in the united states?
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dhs secretary jeh johnson told congress that agencies involved in the vetting process are committed to doing the best they can and as deliberately as they can. such a statement from the top u.s. homeland security official does not exactly instill confidence in the vetting system. islamic radicals around the world are chanting "death to america" and mounting barbaric attacks on western targets. isis is specifically saying, we will strike america at its center in washington. top security officials have told congress that the refugees that in process is not adequate. fbi director james comey said that while the vetting of refugees has improved, the reality is that with a conflict zone like syria, where there is dramatically less information available to use during the vetting process, director comey could not offer anyone and assurance that there is no risk associated with admitting syrian refugees.
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not only did his boss not refute his statements, but she conceded that there are challenges to the refugee vetting process in her testimony on tuesday. i wrote to the president asking why he continues to ignore the concerns of some of his top security officials. i look forward to the witnesses thoughts on such concerns today. exactly who the individuals fleeing syria are is a question of immense concern. there is little doubt that members of the islamic state and some of the foreign fighters who have streamed into syria over the last two years are some of the individuals leaving the country. in september, the director of national intelligence, james clapper, noted, "i don't, obviously, put it back -- past the likes of isil to infiltrate operatives among these refugees so that is a huge concern of ours.""
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non-syrians trying to pass themselves off as syrians to get into the country. the booming fake identification document industry, where a forged passport can be bought on the turkish border for as little as $200. i know the administration is trying to implement the refugee laws that congress puts in place. if implementation places americans in danger, it is clear that congress must take a look at the refugee provisions to determine what changes should be made. lastly, i would like to thank the witnesses for testifying today. i know that some of you had to rearrange your schedule to make it here today and we appreciate your willingness to testify on this important topic. chairman gowdy: the chair will now recognizes the gentleman from idaho or five minutes of questioning. rep. labrador: thank you mr. chairman. thank you to all the witnesses for appearing here today.
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when i hear somebody like mr. hetfield talk about us as if we are going back to the 1930's, i am very offended. i think your testimony was completely out of line and out of ways because most of us are here concerned about the safety and security of the united states, while, at the same time, we want to make sure we can continue with this humanitarian program that has helped so many people throughout the world. it was very disappointing to hear your testimony. the mission that we have with humanitarian concerns must not, the costs of our national security. with recent testimony from james comey and attorney general loretta lynch let the administration -- that the administration is not able to properly vet incoming refugees, congress has the duty to act.
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we are not acting out of plain fear based on a few members of congress talking to each other. we are acting after testimony after testimony from top national security experts telling us that we have a problem with the vetting process. ms. richard, you reference an intensive security screening that all refugees must undergo prior to admission. do you think that the current vetting system is appropriate? ms. richard: yes, i do. it is the toughest one for any traveler to the united states. rep. goodlatte: it is the toughest one, but do you think it is sufficient for the current crisis we are in? ms. richard: yes. anyone who has any doubts about anyone who we think might pose a threat to the united states, any possible way, is not allowed to come in. rep. goodlatte: do you agree with that, mr. rodriguez? mr. rodriguez: i do agree.
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rep. goodlatte: how about you? >> i agree. rep. goodlatte: i am sure that you disagree with his testimony that it is not sufficient. ms. richard: what director call ey does not say is that it is normal or the u.s. government to have no information -- rep. goodlatte: that is not true. he was in this committee and said that there is a huge difference between the syrian population and the iraqi population. intelligence on the iraqi population. ms. richard: the reason is that iraqis and afghan programs were not in normal rescue programs. we take people who have served from the u.s. military and worked alongside our troops from iraq.
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there is a great deal of information about them available. rep. goodlatte: reclaiming my time -- he has testified again and again and again that we do not have sufficient vetting. i trust him a lot more with my national security then i request -- then i respect you. you have a mission, which is to bring more refugees to the united states. i respect that you have that work to do. i am concerned about the national security of my situate, the people that are in my district. we have two refugee centers in the state of idaho and we are concerned about what is going to happen in the state of idaho if we do not do the proper vetting. it is my responsibility to make sure they are protected. mr. rodriguez, i want to touch on the interviews.
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how are the interview questions generated? mr. rodriguez: they are generated by intensive briefing on country conditions, including classified information, as i explained before. they are generated based on the information received in prior interviews of that same individual. they are also generated by the experience and training of that officer and what we have learned from other refugees. rep. labrador: how often are those questions altered? mr. rodriguez: they are determined carefully on a case-by-case basis. there is constant communication among our office. rep. labrador: what is the typical duration? mr. rodriguez: i have observed them to be an hour, two hours. it depends on the nation -- the nature of the place -- of the case. it takes as long as it needs to
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take. rep. labrador: mr. jones, in your opinion, it security protocols are not updated, what is the future of the u.s. refugee admission program? mr. jones: could you repeat the question? rep. labrador: if security protocols are not updated, what is the future of the u.s. refugee admission program? mr. jones: i think the challenge we have is the databases that are feeding into the refugee programs. we have gaps in syria. in the iraq and afghan cases, we had large databases, biometric information, names based on people who are coming into prison systems at checkpoints. we do not have them here. this is a notable concern. we have gaps of information that we generally have not seen in many other cases. rep. labrador: thank you very much. chairman gowdy: the chair would now recognize the gentleman from california. rep. lofgren: thank you. mr. rodriguez, we have heard that refugees for admission to the u.s. are subject to more rigorous screening than any other traveler. or immigrant.
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this screening is often conducted because refugees may not often have the documents that we would have walking down the street. they have, in some cases, fled for their lives with just the close on the back -- the clothes on their back. they may not have documents. how do we proceed to establish identity in those cases? it is not just syria. we have the lost boys from sudan, we have congolese refugees, we have people who have fled, you know, people chasing them, and here they are. how do we go about identifying? mr. rodriguez: i think it is important. i appreciate your distinction between syrians and others. most of the syrians that we see you come with documents that are
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authentic documents on the whole. what we do is an expensive process of assessing, mapping out emily trees, -- family trees, aliases, associations, other processes. when we do have less documentation that is the norm -- than is the norm. we have trained personnel to recognize fraudulent documents and to use the interview as an effective way of determining identity. rep. lofgren: in march, the chairman of the committee organized a congressional delegation to visit the middle east. one of the most interesting elements of that trip, and i think the chairman for organizing it, was a trip we took to the refugee camp on the syrian border in jordan.
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we had the opportunity to meet a large number of refugees. all of them wanted to go home, but their homes had been destroyed. either way, they were very -- by the way, they were very grateful to the united states. that was very rewarding to hear the recognition that the united states has among the refugees for our efforts. do we ever crowd sourced information? those people that we met, some of them were computer science students. some of them were widows. you could find out lots of somebody by doing not just an interview with them, but crowdsourcing the information with everyone around them. do we do that?
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mr. rodriguez: that is a great phrase. we do so in two respects. we are always comparing and vetting what we hear from one refugee or family of refugees, which is typically what we are encountering with what we are learning from other individuals from that town. as we see refugees, they tend to come from particular areas. and also, as part of the classified information that we received, there can well be information that gives more detail in the manner that you have described. rep. lofgren: so in terms of the role of the refugee core and the additional training that they received, what supplementary steps are taken with syrian refugees as compared to all other applicants? mr. rodriguez: the manner in
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which they are briefed on country conditions and regional conditions is more intensive than what we do for any other officers. they have their basic training on protection law, refugee law, and interviewing. they then have a two series -- have two series of general briefings. one is on syria, iraq, and iran. prior to deployment, there is an eight-day period where they see intensive briefings of a classified and unclassified nature from a number of different sources, including consultations with security experts, to really feed them in the specifics of the environment they are going to at the time they are going to it. we ensure that that information is current. once in the field, those individuals have a 10-day mentoring, shadowing period before they can do an interview on their own. rep. lofgren: i see that my time has expired. chairman gowdy: i now recognize the gentleman from virginia.
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rep. goodlatte: i would like to follow-up on that line of questioning. if the interview process is so effective, why do we have 5 million people in the united states who are lawfully admitted to the united states through the interview process and have overstayed their visas, violated the promises they made when they entered the united states? mr. rodriguez: what i can speak to today is the actual refugee crisis -- process. rep. goodlatte: we have already talked about the greater difficulty of obtaining background information. you have a more highly accurate set of circumstances than people applying for other types of visas. mr. rodriguez: i am not sure i understood the question. rep. goodlatte: if the interview process is so effective and we
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interview people who apply for a whole multitude of different types of visas and they are coming from countries where we have a much greater presence on the ground than we do in some refugee companies -- countries and that we do not have at all in syria, we still have 5 million people illegally present in the united states. they did not come across the border illegally. mr. rodriguez: what i can speak to his -- is the refugee screening process. for syrians, it is the most intensive process. rep. goodlatte: the fbi director noted that you have little inside syria that you can contact. you cannot access local or national databases. you cannot interview neighbors. you cannot interview business associates. you cannot interview other contacts with the people because they are either in the country and we cannot get to them or they are dispersed around the world. why do you think this interview process is so effective? mr. rodriguez: because, again, it is based on extensive detailed mapping of family relationships, associations, credibility assessments based on prior documents. and this is really critical --
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it does not follow from anything that director comey may have said that we are querying a void. i am -- rep. goodlatte: i am paraphrasing, but he said you can query a database until the cows come home, but if the information is not in the database, you are not going to find anything.
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mr. rodriguez: that is why we have placed people on heightened review. that is why there have been denials. that is why there have been holds. rep. goodlatte: why not do what so many other members of congress and other people have said on both sides of the aisle, and that is hit the pause button on this? the situation in syria has been going on for a new year's. it continues to do -- for a few years. it continues to deteriorate. we have a problem with forged documents that are fooling the europeans and maybe us as well. why not simply delay this for a period of time until we make sure the criteria we set forth in the legislation that we are putting forward today can be met?
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mr. rodriguez: because the process is currently constituted and resource. your question is, is the best we can do good enough? the fact is, it is the most intensive process. it has resulted in denials and holds. it is a redundant, rigorous process. rep. goodlatte: mr. krikorian, does the u.s. have any way of distinction between individuals who are syrian and those posing as syrian refugees? mr. krikorian: they can try. i have no doubt that u.s. officials are doing their best to distinguish between people pretending to be syrians and people who are not. there is a limit to how effective that can be and there is an extreme paucity of data. sometimes, i have no doubt, they will smoke out people who are lying or cheating. i am sure it happens all the time.
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more than 90% of syrian refugee applicants are being approved. that might go down a little bit as those cases in limbo are formally decided. the average worldwide is 80%. how stringent really can a vetting process be when more than 90% of the people are being approved? rep. goodlatte: thank you. my time has expired. chairman gowdy: the chair will now recognize ms. lofgren. rep. lofgren: i ask unanimous consent to submit to the record of this hearing 37 statements, including something christian reformed church, lutheran immigration services, southeast asian resource center, and the disciples of christ. chairman gowdy: without objection, the gentleman will recognize -- i will recognize the gentleman from virginia. rep. conyers: my question is directed towards market field -- mark hatfield -- hetfield.
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i respect the testimony of the other four witnesses. but i am trying to see how much difference there is between the european refugee and the u.s. refugee resettlement program. is there much of a distinction there? mr. hetfield: there is a very significant distinction, which is why it is surprising to me that the attacks and paris have resulted in more scrutiny of the refugee resettlement program. the refugees who arrive in europe are asylum-seekers. there vetting does -- their vetting does not begin until after they touch land.
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as director rodriguez testified and you have heard over and over again, refugee applicants are vetted right side up, upside down and sideways, every which way you can possibly imagine, before they are admitted to the united states. then the process continues after they arrived. they have to apply for an adjustment after a year in the united states. they continue to be under close watch. the risk of admitting terrorists is very low. rep. conyers: we are considering hr-4038 on the floor today. conservatives argue the bill does nothing more than add a certification process that would ensure no terrorist elements and to the country -- enter the country for resettlement. do you think that is the whole
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story behind this? mr. hetfield: well, it is a very short bill and does technically add nothing more than a certification process. but that process would cripple a system without making it more effective. refugees are already thoroughly vetted prior to arrival and having three different high-ranking officials certify each and every refugee case is a guarantee that the system will come to a screeching halt. it already moves so slowly. the refugee resettlement program is no longer a rescue program. it saves lives, but it saves lives very slowly. that would bring it to an end. rep. conyers: mr. hetfield, you are with the hebrew immigrant aid society. are you concerned that refugees
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will -- that we will be accepting from syria and iraq would pose a specific threat to the jewish community in the united states? mr. hetfield: we are, as everyone else is, very concerned about screening people out who want to do us harm, especially those who have a particular ax to grind against the jewish community. again, these refugees are thoroughly vetted. what worries us much more, because we feel the vetting is being done, but we are also seeing xenophobia, islamophobia, driving a further wedge between muslims and the rest of the world. we are afraid that could do far more damage to muslim-jewish relations, to who we are as a country, to our security as a country, and make us even more
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vulnerable to attack because we basically said syrian muslims are not welcome here. we do not trust them. rep. conyers: my final question to you is for you to try to explain why our war with isis and other terrorist groups is different. because they do not comprise an army -- enemy states or governments. shouldn't the protection of our people be our first concern, even if it means not allowing some refugees into the united states? mr. hetfield: it absolutely should be our paramount concern to keep the united states safe and secure. i can say with great confidence that my colleagues in the department of homeland security
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are doing that to a fault. that is their mission. they have had every refugee to make us safe. i cannot imagine what additional protocol they could install to make us safer. no terrorist in his right mind would use the refugee program as a way to enter the united states. they may find other channels. it is not going to be through the refugee program. it is too intrusive, invasive, thorough in the security checks that it does. rep. conyers: secretary richard, do you have anything to add to that comment? ms. richard: the people who we are bringing have gone through this process, but they are referred to us in the first place because we know the type, the profile of refugee that we want to help. we are looking for people who have been tortured, burn victims from bonds -- bombs, people who
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are widows, children, the elderly, families who have been ripped apart, whose members have been murdered in front of their eyes. every single one of us feel that the first priority is the safety of the american people. if we cannot provide for that, we would shut down the program. but we believe strongly that by the time a refugee is brought here, we are bringing some of the most vulnerable people, giving them a second chance at life. we have screened out anyone who we had any question about. they may not have been referred to us in the first place, which is maybe why we have a higher acceptance rate. i think the proof is in the success of the program in communities all across the united states. so thank you for the opportunity to provide some information. we would be happy, if given the opportunity, to explain more
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about the nuts and bolts of the process. we think it can withstand scrutiny. the chair and the ranking member of the subcommittee has spent a lot of of time on this already this year. we are happy to meet with other members to go into this point that, for example, the fbi holdings would only tell you a limited amount of information about the refugees. if a refugee ever committed a crime in the united dates, the fbi could tell you that. most refugees have never been to the united states before, which is why we need to use many more bases, techniques, and approaches to get the full story, make sure their story holds up, and if it does not hold up, if there is any question, they are not included in the program. rep. conyers: thank you. chairman gowdy: i now recognize the gentleman from texas. rep. smith: i would like to single out mr. krikorian for his excellent testimony.
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i do not know how anyone could disagree with one word. before that, a question for ms. richard. i have to tell you how it seems to be right now. that is that the president of the united states says he wants to protect the security of the american people. we have a bill on the house floor where the fbi has to certify that a syrian refugee is not a threat to the united states. and yet the president of the united states is threatening to veto a bill that tries to protect the security of the american people. i have no rational explanation. it is simply astounding to me that the president of the united states would want to veto a bill that tries to protect the security of americans. i just do not get it. ms. richard, my question to you
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is this -- this year, we have admitted 1700 refugees from syria already in the last several months. how many of those 1700 refugees have been arrested for committing a crime? ms. richard: we brought 1700 in the last fiscal year. as far as i know, none have been arrested. rep. smith: do you track all the refugees? ms. richard: we do not track them after the first three months in the united states. rep. smith: how do you know if they have been arrested? ms. richard: i rely on the law enforcement agencies to tell us. rep. smith: so far, none of the 1700 have been arrested. ms. richard: that is right. rep. smith: as far as the stopping of the tracking after three months, are you going to stop the 10,000 proposed to be admitted next year in three months, stop tracking those
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individuals as well? ms. richard: once they are in the united states, after a year of being here, they become legal residence. after five years -- rep. smith: i understand that. ms. richard: because of that, they are treated like ordinary americans and they are not tracked. rep. smith: are they treated differently than any other refugees. do you consider them to be more of a threat or not? ms. richard: they are not treated differently. rep. smith: i think most consider them to be more of a threat. ms. richard: they are less of a threat because they fled their country. they voted with their feet. rep. smith: you say syrians are less of a threat even though we
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have had testimony from the fbi director that all the cohorts of refugees, including iraqi refugees, we have less information than the others -- i mean, the fbi director regrets he does not have more data about the syrian refugees and he ask it is risky. apparently, the administration disagrees with the fbi. you are saying that syrian refugees are less risky than other refugees? ms. richard: my point is, syrian have been outside their country. we know what they have been up to. rep. smith: they could be terrorists in training. terrorist organizations have said they will use the refugee program to try to infiltrate the united ace. you are saying you are more worried about syrian refugees than other refugees? ms. richard: i am very worried about terrorists. i think we should focus on
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terrorists. we should prevent terrorists from coming to the united states. rep. smith: do you think syrian refugees could someday become terrorists? ms. richard: i think the odds are very small. it does not stop us from focusing our program to make sure nobody who comes in might be a terrorist. rep. smith: i appreciate your trying to focus the program that way, but we have heard that you do not have the data that you need to make that determination. ms. richard: what the fbi has said is they do not have a lot of data from inside syria, which makes sense because the fbi has not operated -- rep. smith: exactly. ms. richard: it is normal for us, with most refugees, to not have data. rep. smith: if you do not have the data on the syrian refugees, it seems to be difficult or me to -- for you to give the american people the assurance that they are not terrorists. ms. richard: the fbi does not have a big amount of holdings based on u.s. presence in syria. we have a lot of information
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about syrian refugees. leon's program collects the information and does a fantastic job. i have sat through those interviews. instead of doing scores of visa applicants in a day, they take their time and do about three or four -- rep. smith: every law enforcement official that testified before us has disagreed with you. they say they have less data and less information on the syrian refugees. i am just saying what other law enforcement officials have testified. the last question is this -- if the citizens of a state or city do not want to have syrian refugees resettled within their jurisdiction, is the state department, is the administration going to force them to take those refugees? ms. richard: there is a legal answer and then there is the reality answer. the legal answer is it is a
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federal government programs of the federal government has the right to resettled refugees all across america, as we do. rep. smith: what is the reality answer? ms. richard: this program only functions if we have the support of the american people, very much at the level of communities and societies, to come forward and help these refugees. rep. smith: i appreciate that. you are saying that the administration, while it has the legal right, will not force refugees. let me finish my statement. let me repeat that. you are saying the administration, while they have the legal right to force resettlement, is not going to exercise that legal right as long as communities opposing the resettlement of refugees? ms. richard: i have not said that. it is up to the president to decide that. i would not want to resettled anyone in a hostile community.
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rep. smith: i would not refer to them as hostile communities. they are acting in the best interest in protecting their own people. thank you. my time is up. chairman gowdy: the chairman now recognizes the gentlelady from texas. i'm going to try to do a better job of limiting folks to five minutes, including myself. rep. jackson lee: thank you, chairman, and to all the witnesses who have come. thank you to the ranking member for her valiant effort on trying to strike a compromise with the bill that is being debated on the floor. i was delayed because i was speaking at the rules committee and trying to find -- excuse me, on the floor, trying to find a reason for us moving forward hr-4038. let me be very sustained, if i
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succinct if i might. let me ask to put the u.s. refugee admission process diagram into the record with unanimous consent. chairman gowdy: without objection. rep. jackson lee: it is difficult to see the maze of what it is. the inquiry being made through this legislation and hearing is a legitimate one. having started on the homeland security committee, as the recovery of 9/11 was still occurring, having been to ground zero and seeing the angst and feeling the deeply-embedded pain, there is no memory that sears the minds of americans as 9/11. although we had the bombing of pearl harbor that resulted in the internment of japanese americans. i am not sure whether, at that time, it made the nation safer. this process troubles me.
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i'm going to ask mr. richard -- ms. richard and mr. rodriguez a scenario. approximately 23,000 individuals were referred by the united nations from syria. i do not know if they included iraq. you took about 7000 two interview and about 2000 came forward in terms of the process. the process lasts 18-24 months. is that correct? ms. richard: that is correct. rep. jackson lee: and they include the people outside of syria who are either in the camps and not that you directly going to the bowels of syria and pull someone out. ms. richard: outside of syria. rep. jackson lee: and the individuals are those women and children, families. 2% of them happen to be unmarried men. ms. richard: of the ones we have brought to the united states,
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only 2% are unmarried, single men traveling without families. most our families, women and children, multiple generations. ms. richard: have you read hr-4038? mr. rodriguez: as it happens, i have, yes. rep. jackson lee: very good. it is not one of our long ones. mr. rodriguez: it was within my attention span. rep. jackson lee: it has not had a hearing before the domestic security committee. it deals with refugees but also deals with issues to do with terrorism. you are the tactical man in this process. as you look at it, do you read it as i read it that the persons engaged in certification must certify every single person,
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syrian or iraqi? do you read it and that terminology? mr. rodriguez: i would not dare to opine or interpret -- let me just say i am aware of it. i will talk about what we do right now and what we are planning. rep. jackson lee: maybe somebody us wants to opine. i think you can opine and i need you to understood -- to understand, to be understood. it says that everyone in this category has to certify each refugee, does it not? can you say that better -- that? mr. rodriguez: our basic position, as the president stated last night, it does not add anything to the already-rigorous process in which we engage. rep. jackson lee: let me go back to ms. richard. as i read this, each person
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would have to be independently-certified. if you are a five-year-old syrian girl, you would have to be certified by the long list of persons that already do it collectively. is that not accurate? ms. richard: i don't know. i have not spent time looking at the bill since it is brand-new. but we do have interviews for cases which are either individuals or families, interviews that leon rodriguez's organization carries out. meeting with the whole family and then -- chairman gowdy: the gentlelady's time has expired. i really do want to give every member a chance and votes are imminent. the chairman will now recognize the gentleman from iowa. mr. king. rep. king: i direct my first question to mr. rodriguez.
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when you do this extensive vetting process do you take into account the religion of the applicants? mr. rodriguez: we do not accept that as being a possible -- in many cases, it is a basis of persecution, but we do not disqualify anybody because of their faith. rep. king: do you ask them, what is your religion? mr. rodriguez: if that is part of the basis of persecution, we do inquire. rep. king: you are required to take into account religion. then could you explain to me, the data out here and what we're seeing in the real world -- by the way, i just came back and i was in the kurdish regions in the front lines, as close as i could get to isis, the border of turkey, and then over to sweeten cash -- sweden to see the end result.
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i ask that in turkey, i asked them to take me to refugee camps where i could talk to persecuted christians and they could not do that. i said in kurdistan take me to register -- refugee camps and they could not do that either. the reason is christians are being taken into homes that exist in the area. it turns out to be exclusively muslims within the camps as far as i can determine. i don't have data. -- answersquestions for the questions i got it state. and so, can you name for me or identify for me a suicidal terrorist that was not a muslim? mr. rodriguez: i'm not even sure how to answer that question, congressman. what i can talk about here today -- rep. king: why can't you answer that question? you can say i can or i can't. rep. jackson lee: will the gentleman yield?
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rep. king: no, i wouldn't. the administration policy is not to utter these words. we have to walk around this subject rather than directly speak to it. i would accept that answer, too. mr. rodriguez: what i can say is that we do our job. if terrorists are attempting to gain admission to the united states, we do our job to prevent them. i think that is what the american people are asking of me. rep. king: you are telling me that you are doing a thorough vetting process but you told me you do not specifically ask what their religion is. if you don't ask them neither are you able to quantify the risk to the american society. i want to move away from that a little bit. i think my point is made. i would like to make this point. we are operating on the wrong premise. we are operating on the idea that we can vet potential terrorists and examine them up, down, and sideways and we are
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going to be ok if we do a good job of vetting the refugees that we would allow it to america. what we look at the situation, here is the headline -- nearly 70 have been arrested in america over isis plots in the last 18 months, including refugees who have been given safe haven who turned out to be bringing terror against americans. nearly 70. that number is actually 66. i understand that we cannot be perfect with this, but some of the people that came in were vetted. i do not think they were terrorists when they got here. they became terrorists after they got here. they were radicalized. and so when i look at this and i think we are talking about a huge haystack of humanity. that hay is benign, relatively speaking, but in that haystack are the needles that are terrorists. andy proposal coming from the administration is we are so
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professional that we can examine all of that hay, identify the needles, sort them out of the haystack, and prevent them from coming into america and then this haystack will be benign and they become part of our culture and assimilate into the broader american civilization. that is nuts to think that. furthermore, i would city the that we have-- hat purified and cleaned the needles out of them. but we know even by this article that people are radicalized in this country. they attacked us. we have multiple attacks in america. when i look at the map of europe and the hotspots where they have been attacked in nearly every country in western europe. it is proportional to the populations that they brought in from the middle east and south -- north africa we cannot stick . we cannot stick our heads in the sand and say that we are not bringing this upon ourselves.
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we are watching this. we are slow-motion cultural suicide in america. a generation behind europe. i have traveled all over there and walked through the zones in country after country in europe to see it. i am watching the people that were there and they feel so guilty about political correctness that they are able to accept any kind of violence brought into their country. chairman gowdy: the gentleman is out of time. rep. king: if we are going to save ourselves, we have to intervene and provide an international safe zone for the persecuted religious, which are the syrian christians. thank you, i yield back. chairman gowdy: the chair will recognize the gentleman from illinois, mr. gutierrez. rep. gutierrez: we are all shocked and horrified and deeply saddened by the news coming from paris. as a member of the intelligence committee, i know there is much to fear, both for our allies and us. in light of the attacks on our
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allies in france last friday, i urge my colleagues to keep a cool head and not react exactly the way isis and other terrorists hope we do, with fear and chaos and lashing out. sadly, that is what we have seen. republican governors and elected officials and candidates and media figures. i have been here long enough to know a thing or two about opportunism. maybe it is too much to resist when you have 15 guys and a lady running for president on republican side. politicians pundits and , celebrities will say whatever they can to get in front of the news cameras. the governor of illinois in my home state could not resist saying that our state was close to syrians fleeing the terror of isis and assad regime. he said there was no place in illinois for women, children, elderly, muslims fleeing assad regime and the isis terrorism.
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the murder, the rape, there is no place for those children and those women. luckily, just as he said that to show the opportunism, a wonderful syrian family arrived in chicago just two days ago and found a safe place. that is the message that destroys the hatred of isis. not the reel they are going to have of people saying, we do not like muslims. we can't trust muslims. muslims are going to create a cultural system in america that are going to destroy us. every community of people that have come here has strengthened this nation. and i just said to say that when you feel fear, when you use fear -- and i do remember, last year, we were here. the last fear that i remember talking about is when the kid showed up -- remember when the refugee showed up from central america?
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we had medical doctors saying that those children were bringing ebola to the united states of america. they went to africa and quebec, crossed the border in came back here with ebola. a year later, where is it at? remember? i remember governors saying that they were going to close down their states. every time we hear this, it is about they are coming because they are murderers, rapists, drug dealers. it is fear. you know the best position of -- tradition of america is when people have stood up against fear mongers. who traffic in hatred and bigotry and prejudice. that is what i sadly believe is happening now with syrian muslims fleeing. if they were christians, then it would be fine.
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that reminds me of the irish when they came here. they said if only they were white anglo-saxon protestants. but they had an allegiance to the pope in rome so they were suspicious people. we have heard these arguments time and time again in america and america has always responded to them correctly, by welcoming those to our nation, regardless of the face that they hold, so that they can celebrate that faith. so they can live in that faith freely in america. look, we used fear during world war ii. boy, do we regret it. the internment camps of the japanese, a stain on america. we used fear and bigotry to say that those who would flee the prosecution and the persecution and the death of the nazis and
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the holocaust. we said, no room in america for you. there is room in america. i understand that there is a terrorist system out there that wants to hurt us. i understand that. i also understand that there are tens of thousands of american men and women patriots that are out there protecting the homeland every day and they are not working 100%. they are working 200% and they are keeping us safe. we are taking those measures and they do not willy-nilly let anyone go through a screening process. those are americans watching out for americans and i think we impugn their integrity and who they are and their patriotism to this country. i would like to say, look, we have made some mistakes before. let's not make it again. if you said, all we want to do is add an extra layer, that would be good. but that is not what we are doing.
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they are in the camps. they are getting vetted. we should welcome them to america. we should not fall into the trap of isis. thank you so much. chairman gowdy: the chairman recognizes the gentleman from colorado. rep. buck: i want to tell you about my experience. i was the district attorney in northern colorado. we had between 1500 and 2000 somali refugees, mostly muslim, if not all muslim come to greeley. there were some hiccups, but for the most part, they were welcomed and have lived there happily and in a community that is open to them. how many refugees are there around the world that are in a position to come to this country? how many potential individuals are there? mr. rodriguez: my understanding generally is that there are
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about 19 million refugees worldwide. assistant secretary richard can correct me if my number is off. but it is the largest it has ever been. rep. buck: so we have 19 million refugees. why are we -- how many of those can come to the country? what is the number we would allow? mr. rodriguez: every year, we establish a target. our target this fiscal year is 85,000. rep. buck: so a drop in the bucket of those 19 million. why would the administration object to a pause of syrian refugees when we have 19 million potential refugees that we could take from other countries where we have been successful in integrating those refugees, for the most part, into communities? mr. rodriguez: because a quarter of all of those refugees
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worldwide are syrian. the potential for an even greater number exists with the continued activity of isil. rep. buck: we have 75% of 19 million people. again, we could certainly find 85,000 from that 75%. why are we so interested in taking syrian refugees? this is not a matter of religion as my colleague from illinois pointed out. there have to be various religions in that 75%. mr. rodriguez: the situation in syria is devastating to the extent that there is no reasonable prospect of return to that country. rep. buck: and taking 85,000 syrians would not do anything to change that devastation either? mr. rodriguez: it would start us on the road. it is something we are doing alongside our european allies. the germans are expecting 1.5 million people. rep. buck: i want to move on. i understand. my point is simple. there are plenty of other people we could take in, hit the pause button, and do some research on
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this. director rodriguez, mr. hetfield said he was surprised that attacks in paris have resulted in more scrutiny for america's refugee program. you surprised that there is fear in this country over relocating syrians into this country? mr. rodriguez: there are enemies of the united states. those enemies of the united states are in syria. rep. buck: i was asking if you are surprised. mr. rodriguez: i know that the united states has enemies. whether they are in europe or syria. rep. buck: your point does not answer my question. are you surprised that americans are fearful over what happened in paris? mr. rodriguez: i am neither surprised by the fact that there are fearful americans -- i am not surprised by that or the fact that many americans want us to be a welcoming country to those who are victims of conflict and war. rep. buck: ok. let me tell you one of the reasons why americans are distrustful.
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we have a president who, after the murder of an ambassador in benghazi and the murder of three heroes in benghazi, four people in total, told the american people that the attack was the result of a video. we have a secretary of state who immediately identified that it was not the result of a video, that it was the result of a well-planned attack. then the administration paraded out one official after another to lie to the american public. the american public has very little faith in this administration when they assure the american public that, somehow, they are able to determine that syrians that come to this country are going to be trustworthy and we will be safe. it's a result of this administration's lack of credibility that has caused a fear and panic among many of the americans in this country. i yield back my time.
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>> the chairman of recognized -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. director rodriguez, following up on mr. box question. -- bucks's question. you think americans have a right to be fearful? >> sure, there are threats to the united states. there are no questions about that. >> i'm going home this afternoon. what should i tell my constituents that we are doing about their fears? engaginge are doing is , and i'm assuming were talking about syrian refugees because there's a whole of more we are doing to protect united states what wes on -- beyond are doing to scrutinize the 10,000 people. i would tell them this is the most rigorous process of history of refugee screening we have
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deny people envision. there are hundreds of people on hold because either their stories like credibility are there was derogatory information about them. the work is being done. >> can you sort of understand the complete lack of confidence that most of my constituents, whether it be veterans over the v.a., seniors over the future of social security. families over the affordability of health insurance premiums. can you sort of understand why people have an apprehension? >> i think it's the benefit of this hearing that we have a little bit more of a burden of information with people that i think we perceived. i think we need to make sure the american people understand in a calm, reasoned dialogue what we are doing because what we are doing is rigorous and extensive and redundant.
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rep. trott: you're confident that the progress -- process will work going forward? >> it's a robust process that we are engaging in as aggressively as we can. rep. trott: in your mind there is no value hitting the policy button -- pause button? i think it will be many democrats to join us who want to hit upon button and work in a collaborative fashion to make sure our homeland is safe. there is no value in considering doing that in your mind? dir. rodriguez: i stand by what what i said about the process. i don't biggest necessary that repeat it. i think we need to think about that causes of an action. rep. trott: processes can never be built upon? dir. rodriguez: of course. we are working every day to make
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sure we refine our understanding about what is going on in these countries. we learn more as we screen each and every refugee. of course there is room for improvement. but the process as it exists is a robust, intensive, meaningful process. rep. trott:. i will yield back my time 80 for being here sir. >> recognizing the dome of protections -- gentleman from texas, mr. ratcliffe. rep/ratcliffe: i had a town hall meeting with the people i represented tonight to go. it was similar to many of the inephone town hall meetings the since i had about 8000 people on the line it wants. as many as 300 or 400 people queued up asking questions. what was not typical with the uniformity and lack of diversity in the questions i had. i had no questions about obamacare. not a single question about
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government overreach. not about $18 trillion in debt. i have 300-400 questions about syrian refugees issues and a concern that isis might try to use gaps in our process to make america less safe. there is really no exaggeration or hyperbole in what i related to you. i think it underscores and highlights grave concerns that the people in my district and i think around the country really have about this issue. is particularly relevant for us because in texas in the last historically,ved, has received the largest percentage of refugees for resettlement of any state in the country. last year for fiscal year 2014 10% of all arrivals in the united states were resettled in texas. and i think or hope we can all agree that the conflict in syria
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to isis'stated and promises infiltrate the refugee process presents us with a unique challenge. in light of these challenges i think it's incumbent we all honestly assess whether our system is equipped to protect the working people. if not, we have to hit pause while we get -- fix the process. some say it lacks compassion but to those folks i would emphasize that america is the beacon of freedom to the world in part because it is a refuge. because it is a safe place for people to come. if we sacrifice national security, we will begin one of the very aspect of our country that attracts the week in the vulnerable to our shores. with that in mind i want to 70 director rodriguez. i understand that an applicant for refugee status must be clear allr must
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required security checks prior to final approval other application. with respect to this process, and we admit individuals unless something negative appears during the screening process or do admit only for those for whom we have information? dir. rodriguez: we need to have confidence one, they can sustain a claim for refugee status. they are screened according to priorities by the united nations high commissioner for refugees. that's why a substantial number, his family units or victims of torture victims. people who have been injured in war. we screen very carefully as to whether there are exclusions or bars that they apply. if they have been affiliated with a terrorist organization. we have rule people out on those bases are placed them on hold because we have suspicion that those -- rep. ratcliffe: it sounds like we screen based on -- do we
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screen on the presence of information or the absence of information? dir. rodriguez: we screen for both. if there is insufficient context for us to be this person is who they say they are and they claim is what they say it is, then that would give a minimum for the case to be placed on hold. rep. ratcliffe: i want to address it from a state and local perspective. i understand the current law that state and government local officials regarding refugee settlement in the community. i understand that the extent to which that consultation actually takes place varies greatly. are supposedions to result in a development of policies and strategies for the placement and resettlement of refugees. but it's all of you probably know as of yesterday more than 25 governors, including my governor in texas issued statements think it would bar syrian refugees from resettling
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in their state. i want to ask the question. would consultation take into account the desire on the part of the state governor and residents to decline to accept refugees? dir. rodriguez: i think assistant secretary richard will take this question. issueary richard: on the of consultation you are absolutely right. that's an important aspect of this program. we require that the local organizations that are partnered with us in carrying out refugee programs have quarterly consultations. that they do this with the community leaders. every state has a state court nader who is reporting to the governor, but he worked for the department of health and human services to make sure that there is a suitable provision made for the refugees. one of the thing the chairman has reinforced in our discussion is that it is important that our
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partner organizations talk to the people who are the most responsible authorities at the community and state level. they don't just talk to people who are interested in the program but they go to the police chief, the mayor, the school principal, the health care center to make her the know who is coming, what to expect, and this reinforces the community's acceptance and preparation are welcome during the refugees. texas is the most welcoming stated united states for hosting refugees and i was surprised that so many governors spoke out so quickly. i think will we have to do -- we had a phone call about the governors of the white house arranged the day before yesterday. i think we have to get more information out to people so they understand what the program is, how it operates, and why we take such care and making sure
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it is done in a way that for the refugees and especially its runaway that the security of the american people is not endangered. rep. ratcliffe: i would love to follow of -- out of my time is expired. thank you mr. chairman. >> i want to let the witnesses know that a vote is been called. i more than likely -- i don't want you to think any my colleagues left because of disinterest. they even called to the floor. it's an important issue in my district. i am willing to risk the wrath of missing votes to ask some questions. i want to go last because they wanted to hear everyone else's perspective. i wrote a number of notes down and i think i were them as accurately as they can be written. this is what kept going to my head. this past weekend i saw a gentleman in my hometown walking away from a gas station hearing the gas can.
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-- carrying a gas can. his car in out of gas and i made a decision whether or not to offer him a ride. and i did. i offered him a ride. that is a risk however small i was willing to take for myself. i would never ask any of you to do that. you have to weigh in balance that risk yourself. i am willing to get on an airplane today because it would to get home quicker. the risk is small that something that is going to happen. i am not willing to go bungee jumping even of the risk may also be small that something bad is going to happen. i have not heard a single bloody say there is no risk. in fact you can't say there is no risk. even mr. hatfield, i think you "very"s in front of there is some risk. nobody said there is zero risk. i think everyone of you would
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agree that the potential consequences of us getting it wrong are maybe cataclysmic. we have got to be right every time. small andan still be something bad can happen. and what i am trying to get folks to do was way and balance the risks versus the potentiality of us getting it wrong. let me start here. have we ever gotten it wrong in the past? i'm not talking about syrian refugees. i'm talking that any category of refugees. has our bidding failed in the past -- vetting failed in the past? not all at once. i will take that one. the answer is yes, many times. just earlier this year. bek was convicted of
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assisting terrorism. a couple of years ago to iraqi refugees who were in kentucky had it admitted. they have their fingerprints turning up later on ied's. of skeptics come the defenders of bringing syrians, they insist on saying no one has been convicted. no refugee has been convicted of terrorist -- no syrian refugee has been convicted of terrorism in the united states. these iraqis killed americans abroad. that is not make me feel better. rep. gowdy: the conviction doesn't mean anything to me, the paris attacker is not going to be convicted because he is dead. you can't use a conviction as a barometer for somebody being a threat. they might not be around to convict. does anybody disagree that there have been failures in vetting?
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does anybody take the position that we have made no mistakes? >> chairman gowdy, i agree with you that in the history of the 3 million refugees that have come here, there have been a handful that have been a threat. fortunately, they have been stopped before anything bad happened. the two iraqis in kentucky was the most shocking example. they had done bad things in iraq, lied to get into the country, and had our current system been in place, they would have been caught before they got here. that is why the system has been improved since that episode. you had said few things in life are risk-free, i heard the governor of washington state say you take a risk when you get out of bed in the morning. there are a lot of dangers in the world,
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absolutely, but i think the program we run does as much as humanly possible possible to reduce the risks of bringing refugees to this country. we have great confidence in it. and we invite members to come out to the field and meet some of the people and sit through some of the briefings by leon's team that i set through. it's a very impressive and thorough -- rep. gowdy: ms. richard, that is what makes me hate waste, fraud, abuse, deception so much. when anyone engages in it, it also impacts those that would never consider engaging in it, because it makes everyone stop and think. there is some risk. there is a great reality that if get it wrong something bad could , happen. you have to balance the risk with the potentialities of something bad happening.
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when you do have people who abuse any system, believe it or not, there have been federal judges who undergo rigorous screening, including going back and talking to neighbors 25 years ago, and they still turn out -- we did wrong with them time to time. united states attorneys, serious fbi background checks with every available database. we still get it wrong. even members of congress, believe it or not, we get it wrong from time to time. that is what i am trying -- we can't do it this morning, but you can't say there is no risk, and i appreciate the fact that nobody has tried to say that. we all agree that we are dealing with an enemy that affirmatively wants to do whatever bad thing they can do to us. i just think it as put the american people in a tough position, particularly given the fact that public safety and national security are critical functions of government.
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i do want to end this by thinking you for coming to south carolina and noting that the reason you had to come to south carolina was nothing you had done. to mr. hatfield, and others in his line of work. you are exactly right. the sheriff needs to be talked to, the superintendent needs to be talked to, the computer the -- community needs to be talked to, not simply people who may be supportive. if you want to find out the truth, you have to talk to everybody, including those who may not support the program so you can weigh the competing evidence. you should not have to have come to south carolina, quite frankly. it should have been done well before you and i ever met. i think a lot of information -- the sooner it is shared and more fully it is shared, the better people can make informed decisions. as i leave to explain to the majority leader why i missed the vote, this is what i encourage everyone to do.
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what i really wanted to do that we work going was get you to walk the american people through every step of the vetting process. i really do like the director of the fbi, but i also would acknowledge the fbi may be experts in this realm of data. you have access to other wrongs of data. again, people can draw whatever conclusions you want, it is none of my business -- but until you have all the facts, you can't draw any conclusions. so to the extent you are someone else could lay out for the american people every single step, and every database you can access, and every question you can ask, and the training of the people doing the questioning -- folks are still going to come down on different sides of this issue. they just are, but at least they will know they did it having access to every bit of information. with that, i do want to thank
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the administration witnesses for agreeing to a single panel. i know that is unusual, but given the circumstances, it was a necessity. i thank all of our witnesses, and with that i am going to head to the floor and we are adjourned. thank you. >> thank you, chairman. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> national security was a major topic on the sunday talk shows this morning. with the syrian refugee crisis and the isis threat dominating much of the conversation. we heard from lawmakers, former administration officials and presidential candidates. here is some of what they had to say. >> there are two problems. the foreign fighter. we've had 5000 europeans with passports going to these countries and we need to do with that issue. we had hundreds of americans who have traveled and come back. each could be ticking time bombs. and we have radicalization over the internet. lastly, we of the syrian refugee crisis. i think -- i take isis at its word when it says it wants to exploit the refugee program to infiltrate the west. we know one or possibly two of these attackers in paris actually came through the refugee program. that is why in congress we said
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let's put a break on this until we have assurances and confidence we can properly that and do background checks. our top national security officials, the fbi director or homeland security secretary will privately and publicly testify before my committee express their concerns and warnings about this program. >> we're concerned that we don't of the time and we don't have years. we need to be aggressive now because isil is a quasi-state. they have 30,000 fighters. it has a civil infrastructure. it's got funding. it is spreading in other countries. it's a big, big problem. now when you see in other places is a competition developing from other terrorist organizations. but isil is something apart.
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is enormously strong and it has to be dealt with in a very strong manner. >> we need to help build a stability, a platform of stability before we are able to resolve anything. we can keep killing people. we can keep playing a proxy war game and destroy the middle east and seeing the results of that is refugees and other clear consequences of that kind of an effort. but the russians have got to be part of this. i think the iranians have to be part of this. it isn't an alliance. let's seize on the common interest. what is the common threat to all the countries? what is our common interest? isis. the build around that. you build that into the next series of steps with assad and so on. i don't think you will find a resolution for assad until you figure out how to deal with isis
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and you bring in the different groups and elements in countries and leaders together on some unification. >> i've been arguing we need a gulf state-type coalition, including arabs. we need to work closely with the jordanians, the saudi's. 20 to work with the gulf state, the egyptians. when you do coalition and destroy isis on the ground. i have argued for no-fly zones that would include the kurds. it would include jordanians protecting the st. mary's to the refugees to not have to leave the country. i'm also saying when the --we win the military battle, what comes next? we have to stop the radicalization of people and we can do it together. >> as far as national security, i am honestly not happy about the events that happened last week in paris. i think is a positive development that suddenly it is forced americans to confront more carefully the issue of national security. . it is the most important thing a president will do is the most important function
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of the federal government. i hope we focus on that more. doctors for political advantage, but because the world is a dangerous place. if the chinese military buildup, russian aggression, north korea's dozens of nuclear war in -- warheads, iran trying to acquire nuclear weapon capabilities. we are of this rating our military capabilities of the world's growing more dangerous. >> we would hear more about national security and ongoing efforts to combat terrorism tomorrow. the brookings institution is hosting a discussion on what is next for france and the international community after the terrorist attacks in paris. that is live tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states should give their attention. >> coming up on c-span's landmark cases, we will discuss brown versus the board of
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education. for linda brown separate but equal met a six block walk to the bus that would try for one mile to the all-black school, even though the all-white school was only a few blocks away. her father sued the school board and their case along with four other similar cases made it all the way to the supreme court. we will examine this case and explore racial tensions of the times, the personal stories of the individuals involved, and the immediate and long-term impact of the decision. that is coming up on the next "lynn marquesas." with -- landmark cases." and for background on each case while you watch, go to your -- order your companion book. it's debatable -- available for $8.95 at landmarkcases. all campaign long, c-span takes you on the road to the white house. unfiltered access to the candidates at town hall
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meetings, news conferences, rallies and speeches. we will take your comments on twitter, facebook and by telephone. and every campaign event we cover is available on our website at democratic president of candidate hillary clinton later at her plan for combating the isis threat in syria and iraq this past week while speaking at the council on foreign relations in new york city. following her remarks she took questions from cnn's to read -- farid zakaria and the audience. this is one hour.
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[applause] mr. haass: good morning, ladies and gentlemen. mr. mayor, welcome. i'd like to welcome you all to the council on foreign relations. for those of you who do not know us, we are an independent, nonpartisan, membership organization, a think tank, and a publisher, dedicated to being a resource for our nearly 5,000 members, for government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other citizens to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing this and other countries. consistent with this mission, we are making ourselves a resource
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for the presidential candidates and their staffs, as well as for the american people, in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. i've written to the democratic and republican candidates alike, offering briefings from our experts, as well as the opportunity for them to come here to the council and speak and take questions from our members. so far, we have had marco rubio, the senator from florida, and jim webb, the former senator from virginia. this tuesday in washington, chris christie, the governor of new jersey, is scheduled to speak. today, however, we are pleased and honored to host the former secretary of state and former senator from the great state of new york, hillary clinton. today's conversation will be conducted by fareed zakaria, one of this country's leading thinkers on international relations and american foreign policy.
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fareed was also managing editor of our in-house magazine, foreign affairs, and is host of a show, coincidentally named "fareed zakaria gps." >> [laughter] mr. haass: the format for today is that we will first hear remarks from secretary clinton on the critical topic of u.s. national security in the wake of paris, after which she will take some questions from dr. zakaria, and then from cfr members. we aim to accomplish all this in the span of one hour, so that we can conclude by roughly 11:30. madam secretary, senator, i want to welcome you back to the council on foreign relations. the podium is yours. [applause] mrs. clinton: thank you. thank you very much. thank you, richard. and thanks for the great work that the council does under your leadership.
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it truly is an important resource for us all. fareed, i look forward to having the conversation with you, everyone here at the council. and, mr. mayor, thank you very much for being here and for everything you are doing and will do to keep our city safe and strong. i'm very grateful. i wanted to come here to our city, which has shown such resilience in the face of terrorism, to talk about the events of the past week and the work we must do together to protect our country and our friends. when the united states was hit on 9/11, our allies treated that attack against one as an attack against all. now it's our turn to stand in solidarity with france and all of our friends. we cherish the same values. we face the same adversaries.
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we must share the same determination. after a major terrorist attack, every society faces a choice between fear and resolve. the world's great democracies can't sacrifice our values or turn our backs on those in need. therefore, we must choose resolve and we must lead the world to meet this threat. now, let's be clear about what we're facing. beyond paris, in recent days, we've seen deadly terrorist attacks in nigeria, lebanon, iraq, and turkey, and a russian civilian airline destroyed over the sinai. at the heat of today's new landscape of terror is isis. they persecute religious and ethnic minorities, kidnap and behead civilians, murder children. they systematically enslave, torture, and rape women and girls. isis operates across three
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mutually reinforcing dimensions-a physical enclave in iraq and syria, an international terrorist network that includes affiliates across the region and beyond, and an ideological movement of radical jihadism. we have to target and defeat all three. and time is of the essence. isis is demonstrating new ambition, reach, and capabilities. we have to break the group's momentum, and then its back. our goal is not to deter or contain isis but to defeat and destroy isis. but we have learned that we can score victories over terrorist leaders and networks only to face metastasizing threats down the road. so we also have to play and win the long game. we should pursue a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy, one
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that embeds our mission against isis within a broader struggle against radical jihadism that is bigger than any one group, whether it's al-qaida or isis or some other network. an immediate war against an urgent enemy and a generational struggle against an ideology with deep roots will not be easily torn out. it will require sustained commitment in every pillar of american power. this is a worldwide fight, and america must lead it. our strategy should have three main elements: one, defeat isis in syria, iraq, and across the middle east; two, disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilities the flow of fighters, financing arms, and propaganda around the world; three, harden our
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defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats. let me start with the campaign to defeat isis across the region. the united states and our international coalition has been conducting this fight for more than a year. it's time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate and deny isis control of territory in iraq and syria. that starts with a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allies' planes, more strikes, and a broader target set. a key obstacle standing in the way is a shortage of good intelligence about isis and its operations. so we need an immediate intelligence surge in the region, including technical assets, arabic speakers with deep expertise in the middle east, an even closer partnership
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with regional intelligence services. our goal should be to achieve the kind of penetration we accomplished with al-qaeda in the past. this would help us identify and eliminate isis' command and control and its economic lifelines. a more effective coalition air campaign is necessary but not sufficient. and we should be honest about the fact that to be successful, air strikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from isis. like president obama, i do not believe that we should again have 100,000 american troops in combat in the middle east. that is just not the smart move to make here. if we've learned anything from 15 years of war in iraq and afghanistan, it's that local people and nations have to secure their own communities. we can help them, and we should,
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but we cannot substitute for them. but we can and should support local and regional ground forces in carrying out this mission. now, the obstacles to achieving this are significant. on the iraqi side of the border, kurdish forces have fought bravely to defend their own lands and to retake towns from isis, but the iraqi national army has struggled and it's going to take more work to get it up to fighting shape. as part of that process we may have to give our own troops advising and training the iraqis greater freedom of movement and flexibility, including embedding in local units and helping target airstrikes. ultimately, however, the ground campaign in iraq will only succeed if more iraqi sunnis join the fight. but that won't happen so long as they do not feel they have a stake in their country or
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confidence in their own security and capacity to confront isis. now, we've been in a similar place before in iraq. in the first "sunni awakening" in 2007 we were able to provide sufficient support and assurances to the sunni tribes to persuade them to join us in rooting out al-qaeda. unfortunately, under prime minister maliki's rule, those tribes were betrayed and forgotten. so the task of bringing sunnis off the sidelines into this new fight will be considerably more difficult. but nonetheless, we need to lay the foundation for a second "sunni awakening." we need to put sustained pressure on the government in baghdad to gets its political house in order, move forward with national reconciliation, and finally, stand up a national guard. baghdad needs to accept, even
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embrace, arming sunni and kurdish forces in the war against isis. but if baghdad won't do that, the coalition should do so directly. on the syrian side, the big obstacle to getting more ground forces to engage isis beyond the syrian kurds, who are already deep in the fight is that the viable sunni opposition groups remain understandably preoccupied with fighting assad, who, let us remember, has killed many more syrians than the terrorists have. but they are increasingly under threat from isis as well, so we need to move simultaneously toward a political solution to the civil war that paves the way for a new government with new leadership, and to encourage more syrians to take on isis as well. to support them, we should immediately deploy the special
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operations force president obama has already authorized, and be prepared to deploy more as more syrians get into the fight. and we should retool and ramp up our efforts to support and equip viable syrian opposition units. our increased support should go hand in hand with increased support from our arab and european partners, including special forces who can contribute to the fight on the ground. we should also work with the coalition and the neighbors to impose no-fly zones that will stop assad from slaughtering civilians and the opposition from the air. opposition forces on the ground with materiel support from the coalition could then help create safe areas where syrians could remain in the country rather than fleeing toward europe. this combined approach would help enable the opposition to
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retake the remaining stretch of the turkish border from isis, choking off its supply lines. it would also give us new leverage in the diplomatic process that secretary kerry is pursuing. of course, we've been down plenty of diplomatic dead ends plenty of diplomatic dead ends before in this conflict, but we have models for how seemingly intractable multi-sectarian civil wars do eventually end. we can learn lessons from lebanon and bosnia about what it will take. and russia and iran have to face the fact that continuing to prop up a vicious dictator will not bring stability. right now i'm afraid president putin is actually making things somewhat worse. now, to be clear, though, there is an important role for russian to help in resolving the conflict in syria, and we have indicated a willingness to work
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with them toward an outcome that preserves syria as a unitary nonsectarian state with protections for the rights of all syrians, and to keep key state institutions intact. there is no alternative to a political transition that allows syrians to end assad's rule. now, much of this strategy on both sides of the border hinges on the roles of our arab and turkish partners, and we must get them to carry their share of the burden with military intelligence and financial contributions, as well as using their influence with fighters and tribes in iraq and syria. countries like jordan have offered more, and we should take them up on it, because ultimately our efforts will only succeed if the arabs and turks step up in a much bigger way. this is their fight and they need to act like it.
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so far, however, turkey has been more focused on the kurds than on countering isis. and to be fair, turkey has a long and painful history with kurdish terrorist groups, but the threat from isis cannot wait. as difficult as it may be, we need to get turkey to stop bombing kurdish fighters in syria who are battling isis and become a full partner in our coalition efforts against isis. the united states should also work with our arab partners to get them more invested in the fight against isis. at the moment they're focused in other areas because of their concerns in the region, especially the threat from iran. that's why the saudis, for example, shifted attention from syria to yemen. so we have to work out a common approach. in september i laid out a comprehensive plan to counter iranian influence across the
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region and its support for terrorist proxies such as hezbollah and hamas. we cannot view iran and isis as separate challenges. regional politics are too interwoven. raising the confidence of our arab partners and raising the costs to iran for bad behavior will contribute to a more effective fight against isis. and as we work out a broader regional approach, we should of course be closely consulting with israel, our strongest ally in the middle east. israel increasingly shares with our arab partners and has the opportunity to do more in intelligence and joint efforts as well. now, we should have no illusions about how difficult the mission before us really is. we have to fit a lot of pieces together, bring along a lot of
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partners, move on multiple fronts at once. but if we press forward on both sides of the border, in the air and on the ground, as well as diplomatically, i do believe we can crush isis's enclave of terror. and to support this campaign, congress should swiftly pass an updated authorization to use military force. that will send a message to friend and foe alike that the united states is committed to this fight. the time for delay is over. we should get this done. now, the second element of our strategy looks beyond the immediate battlefield of iraq and syria to disrupt and dismantle global terrorist infrastructure on the ground and online. a terror pipeline that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing, arms, and propaganda around the world has allowed isis to strike at the heart of paris last week, and an al-qaeda affiliate to do the same at charlie hebdo earlier this year.
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isis is working hard to extend its reach, establish affiliates and cells far from its home base. and despite the significant setbacks it has encountered, not just with isis and its ambitious plans, but even al-qaeda, including the death of osama bin laden, they are still posing great threats to so many. let's take one example. we've had a lot of conversation about isis in the last week. let's not forget al-qaeda. they still have the most sophisticated bomb makers, ambitious plotters, and active affiliates in places like yemen and north africa. so we can't just focus on iraq and syria. we need to intensify our counterterrorism efforts on a wider scope. most urgent is stopping the flow of foreign fighters to and from the war zones of the middle
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east. thousands, thousands, of young recruits have flocked to syria from france, germany, belgium, the united kingdom, and, yes, even the united states. their western passports make it easier for them to cross borders and eventually return home, radicalized and battle-hardened. stemming this tide will require much better coordination and information-sharing among countries every step of the way. we should not stop pressing until turkey, where most foreign fighters cross into syria, finally locks down its border. the united states and our allies need to know and share the identities of every fighter who has traveled to syria. we also have to be smart and target interventions that will have the greatest impact. for example, we need a greater focus on shutting down key enablers who arrange transportation, documents, and more.
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when it comes to terrorist financing, we have to go after the nodes that facilitate illicit trade and transactions. the u.n. security council should update its terrorism sanctions. they have a resolution that does try to block terrorist financing and other enabling activities. but we have to place more obligations on countries to police their own banks. and the united states, which has quite a record of success in this area, can share more intelligence to help other countries. and, once and for all, the saudis, the qataris, and others need to stop their citizens from directly funding extremist organizations, as well as the schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path to radicalization. when it comes to blocking terrorist recruitment, we have to identify the hot spots, the specific neighborhoods and villages, the prisons and
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schools, where recruitment happens in clusters, like the neighborhood in brussels where the paris attacks were planned. through partnerships with local law enforcement and civil society, especially with muslim community leaders, we have to work to tip the balance away from extremism in these hot spots. radicalization and recruitment also is happening online. there's no doubt we have to do a better job contesting online space, including websites and chat rooms, where jihadists communicate with followers. we must deny them virtual territory just as we deny them actual territory. at the state department, i built up a unit of communications specialists fluent in urdu, arabic, somali, and other languages to battle with extremists online. we need more of that, including from the private sector. social media companies can also
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do their part by swiftly shutting down terrorist accounts so they're not used to plan, provoke, or celebrate violence. online or offline, the bottom line is that we are in a contest of ideas against an ideology of hate, and we have to win. let's be clear, though. islam is not our adversary. muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism. the obsession in some quarters with a clash of civilization or repeating the specific words radical islamic terrorism isn't just a distraction. it gives these criminals, these murderers, more standing than they deserve. it actually plays into their hands by alienating partners we need by our side. our priority should be how to fight the enemy. in the end, it didn't matter
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what kind of terrorist we called bin laden. it mattered that we killed bin laden. but we still can't close our eyes to the fact that there is a distorted and dangerous stream of extremism within the muslim world that continues to spread. its adherents are relatively few in number but capable of causing profound damage, most especially to their own communities, throughout an arc of instability that stretches from north and west africa to asia. overlapping conflicts, collapsing state structures, widespread corruption, poverty, and repression have created openings for extremists to exploit. before the arab spring, i warned that the region's foundations would sink into the sand without immediate reforms. well, the need has only grown more urgent. we have to join with our partners to do the patient,
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steady work of empowering moderates and marginalizing extremists, supporting democratic institutions and the rule of law, creating economic growth that supports stability, working to curb corruption, helping train effective and accountable law enforcement, intelligence, and counterterrorism services. as we do this, we must be building up a global counterterrorism infrastructure that is more effective and adaptable than the terror networks we're trying to defeat. when i became secretary of state, i was surprised to find that nearly a decade after 9/11 there was still no dedicated international vehicle to regularly convene key countries to deal with terrorist threats. so we created the global counterterrorism forum, which now brings together nearly 30 countries, many from the muslim world. it should be a clearinghouse for
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directing assistance to countries that need it or mobilizing common action against threats. and let's not lose sight of the global cooperation needed to lock down loose nuclear material and chemical and biological weapons and keep them out of the hands of terrorists. at the end of the day, we still must be prepared to go after terrorists wherever they plot, using all the tools at our disposal. that includes targeted strikes by u.s. military aircraft and drones, with proper safeguards, when there aren't any other viable options to deal with continuing imminent threats. all of this, stopping foreign fighters, blocking terrorist financing, doing battle in cyberspace, is vital to the war against isis, but it also lays the foundation for defusing and defeating the next threat and the one after that. now, the third element of our strategy has to be hardening our defenses at home and helping our
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partners do the same against both external and homegrown threats. after 9/11, the united states made a lot of progress breaking down bureaucratic barriers to allow for more and better information sharing among agencies responsible for keeping us safe. we still have work to do on this front, but by comparison europe is way behind. today, european nations don't even always alert each other when they turn away a suspected jihadist at the border, or when a passport is stolen. it seems like after most terrorist attacks we find out that the perpetrators were known to some security service or another, but too often the dots never get connected. i appreciate how hard this is, especially given the sheer number of suspects and threats, but this has to change. the united states must work with europe to dramatically and immediately improve intelligence sharing and counterterrorism
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coordination. european countries also should have the flexibility to enhance their border controls when circumstances warrant. and here at home, we face a number of our own challenges. the threat to airline security is evolving as terrorists develop new devices, like nonmetallic bombs. so our defenses have to stay at least one step ahead. we know that intelligence gathered and shared by local law enforcement officers is absolutely critical to breaking up plots and preventing attacks. so they need all the resources and support we can give them. law enforcement also needs the trust of residents and communities including, in our own country, muslim americans. now, this should go without saying, but in the current climate it bears repeating. muslim americans are working every day on the front lines of the fight against
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radicalization. another challenge is how to strike the right balance of protecting privacy and security. encryption of mobile communications presents a particularly tough problem. we should take the concerns of law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals seriously. they have warned that impenetrable encryption may prevent them from accessing terrorist communications and preventing a future attack. on the other hand, we know there are legitimate concerns about government intrusion, network security, and creating new vulnerabilities that bad actors can and would exploit. so we need silicon valley not to view government as its adversary. we need to challenge our best minds in the private sector to work with our best minds in the public sector to develop
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solutions that will both keep us safe and protect our privacy. now is the time to solve this problem, not after the next attack. since paris, no homeland security challenge is being more hotly debated than how to handle syrian refugees seeking safety in the united states. our highest priority, of course, must always be protecting the american people. so, yes, we do need to be vigilant in screening and vetting any refugees from syria, guided by the best judgment of our security professionals in close coordination with our allies and partners. and congress needs to make sure the necessary resources are provided for comprehensive background checks, drawing on the best intelligence we can get. and we should be taking a close look at the safeguards and the visa programs as well. but we cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and our humanitarian
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obligations. turning away orphans, applying a religious test, discriminating against muslims, slamming the door on every syrian refugee, that is just not who we are. we are better than that. and remember, many of these refugees are fleeing the same terrorists who threaten us. it would be a cruel irony indeed if isis can force families from their homes, and then also prevent them from ever finding new ones. we should be doing more to ease this humanitarian crisis, not less. we should lead the international community in organizing a donor conference and supporting countries like jordan, who are sheltering the majority of refugees fleeing syria. and we can get this right. america's open, free, tolerant society is described by some as a vulnerability in the struggle
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against terrorism, but i actually believe it's one of our strengths. it reduces the appeal of radicalism and enhances the richness and resilience of our communities. this is not a time for scoring political points. when new york was attacked on 9/11 we had a republican president, a republican governor, and a republican mayor. and i worked with all of them. we pulled together and put partisanship aside to rebuild our city and protect our country. this is a time for american leadership. no other country can rally the world to defeat isis and win the generational struggle against radical jihadism. only the united states can mobilize common action on a global scale. and that's exactly what we need. the entire world must be part of this fight, but we must lead it.
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there's been a lot of talk lately about coalitions. everyone seems to want one. but there's not nearly as much talk about what it actually takes to make a coalition work in the heat and pressure of an international crisis. i know how hard this is because we've done it before. to impose the toughest sanctions in history on iran, to stop a dictator from slaughtering his people in libya, to support a fledgling democracy in afghanistan, we have to use every pillar of american power-military, and diplomacy; development, and economic, and cultural influence; technology, and, maybe most importantly, our values. that is smart power. we have to work with institutions and partners like nato, the eu, the arab league, and the u.n., strengthen our alliances and never get tired of old-fashioned, shoe-leather diplomacy. and if necessary, be prepared to
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act decisively on our own, just as we did to bring osama bin laden to justice. the united states and our allies must demonstrate that free people and free markets are still the hope of humanity. this past week, as i watched the tragic scenes from france, i kept thinking back to a young man the world met in january, after the last attack in paris. his name was lassana, a muslim immigrant from mali, who worked at a kosher market. he said the market had become a new home and his colleagues and customers a second family. when the terrorists arrived and the gunfire began, lassana risked his life to protect his jewish customers. he moved quickly, hiding as many people as he could in the cold storage room, and then slipping out to help the police.
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i didn't know or care, he said, if they were jews, or christians, or muslims. we're all in the same boat. what a rebuke to the extremist'' hatred. the french government announced it would grant lassana full citizenship. but when it mattered most, he proved he was a citizen already. that's the power of free people. that's what the jihadis will never understand and never defeat. and as we leave here today, let us resolved that we will go forward together. and we will do all we can to lead the world against this threat that threatens people everywhere. thank you all. >> [applause]
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mr. zakaria: thank you so much, madam secretary. and thanks to richard haass, again, for organizing this extraordinary opportunity. in the wake of the paris attacks, president obama said that he thought what was needed now was an intensification of his existing strategy against isis. is what you are proposing an intensification of the existing strategy, or a change to it? mrs. clinton: well, as i said in the speech, it is in many ways an intensification and acceleration of the strategy, but it has to also intensify and accelerate our efforts in the other arenas. what we have done with airstrikes has made a difference, but now it needs to make a greater difference, and we need more of a coalition, you know, flying those missions with
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us. what we have done with the president saying there would be special forces sent is right in line with what i think, but they need to get there and we need to take stock of whether we need more. and we need to also empower our trainers in iraq to have more support to do what they're trying to accomplish by getting the iraqi army once again to be a fighting force. and we need -- one thing that i believe we haven't done yet is make it clear to baghdad that we are going to be arming sunni tribes and kurds if they don't, because at some point they have to be in the fight. the kurds, as you know, are fighting bravely on both sides of the border, and they need the support that we've given them in some of the special ops work and the assault and taking back of sinjar, and then these other two elements that i mentioned. we have pieces in place but i think we have to deepen and better coordinate not only
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within our own country and europe but more broadly. mr. zakaria: do you believe that president obama underestimated isis when he called it the jv team? mrs. clinton: look, i don't think it's useful to go back and re-plow old ground. i think that from the perspective of what they had accomplished at that time, even though they had seized and held territory, the major focus of our government was on trying to remove assad from power so that there could be a resolution, a political resolution. and there were so many groups fighting. there were so many other factors at work. now that isis has made clear that-i think in part because they have been pushed hard by the airstrikes, by the kurds, they're now expanding their reach so that they can keep their propaganda going.
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so i think there's been, you know, an evolution in their threat and we have to meet it. mr. zakaria: a couple of days ago the "new york times" had a headline that said, "paris attacks complicate hillary clinton's alignment with obama." has it? mrs. clinton: well, it's not the first headline i've disagreed with. [laughter] look, i have made clear that i have differences, as i think any two people do. i was very proud to serve as president obama's secretary of state. i think we made a good team. we largely agreed on what needed to be done to repair our alliances to get our country in a position to deal with the wars that had been inherited and to take on some of the new challenges we faced. but even when i was still there, which is publicly known, i thought we needed to do more earlier to try to identify indigenous syrian fighters, so-called moderates, and i do think there were some early on,
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that we could have done more to help them in their fight against assad. but, you know, this is an evolving and fast-moving situation. i think we're all, you know, working to, you know, make sure that what we do actually will produce the results we seek. mr. zakaria: when you were secretary of state, you tended to agree a great deal with the then-secretary of defense, bob gates. gates was opposed to a no-fly zone in syria, thought it was an act of war that was risky and dangerous. this seems to me the major difference right now between what obama's administration is doing and what you are proposing. do you not -- why do you disagree with bob gates on this? mrs. clinton: well, i believe that the no-fly zone is merited and can be implemented, again, in a coalition, not an american-only no-fly zone. i fully respect bob and his knowledge about the difficulties
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of implementing a no-fly zone, but if you look at where we are right now we have to try to clear the air of the bombing attacks that are still being carried out to a limited extent by the syrian military, now supplemented by the russian air force. and i think we have a chance to do that now. we had a no-fly zone over northern iraq for years to protect the kurds, and it proved to be successful, not easy. it never is, but i think now is the time for us to revisit those plans. i also believe, as i said in the speech, that if we begin the conversation about a no-fly zone, something that, you know, turkey discussed with me back when i was secretary of state in 2012, it will confront a lot of our partners in the region and beyond about what they're going to do.
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and it can give us leverage in the discussions that secretary kerry is carrying on right now. so i see it as both a strategic opportunity on the ground and an opportunity for leverage in the peace negotiations. mr. zakaria: you talked about arab partners, but it's worth noting that after having announced with great fanfare that they would join us in the strikes, saudi arabia has essentially dropped out, the uae has essentially dropped out. what would you-what could-can you do particularly to make these key sunni states that seem more interested in fighting in yemen, where they are battling a shiite force, as they see it, what can you do to make them actually take this on as their struggle? mrs. clinton: well, we did build that coalition with respect to libya. we had the uae, qatar, jordan involved in what we were doing on the ground. and it takes constant outreach, and obviously you have to define
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the problem in a way that they see it as affecting their national interests. and you're right; the saudis were actually involved in syria and now have put all of their resources against the houthis and the iranian backers of the houthis in yemen. now, what does that mean? well, it means that they see the battle that they want to fight as one against iran and its proxies. my argument to them would be, left untended you could have iranian reach from tehran to baghdad if you allow syria to fall into as terrible a distress as it currently is, and basically assad being a proxy for, a front man for, the iranians. the russians are interested in their naval base, and so you will find a consolidation of authority with the iranians and,
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moving into baghdad, even more so. so what you're facing in yemen could be a limited preview of what you could face going forward unless we get some concerted effort to stop the fighting and to seek a political solution that does give some room to all the different groups within syria to have a say in the future. mr. zakaria: donald trump says that if you look back you see that every time-i get a laugh -- every time -- i get a laugh just saying it. [laughter] donald trump says that every time we have deposed or encouraged the removal of a dictator in the middle east, what has followed has been political chaos and a worse humanitarian situation than existed before. and if you look at iraq, if you look at libya, if you look at yemen, if you look at the fragility of the assad regime and what it has produced, isn't he right? mrs. clinton: well, he has a
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very short-term view of history, because it is not at all clear what the final outcome will be in the places that you named. as i mentioned in the speech, i spoke about the foundations of the region sinking into the sand just as the arab spring was breaking. and i did so not knowing about the arab spring coming to full bloom, but because it was so clear that what was being done by dictatorships, by the denial of opportunity, by the repression, by the sectarian divide just could not stand. it was going to explode at some point or another. and with the developments in libya, for example, the libyan people have voted twice in free and fair elections for the kind of leadership they want. they have not been able to
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figure out how to prevent the disruptions that they are confronted with because of internal divides and because of some of the external pressures that are coming from terrorist groups and others. so i think it's too soon to tell. and i think it's something that we have to be, you know, looking at very closely. now, deposing milosevic left problems, but problems that we came at by having a deal -- in fact, my husband's in dayton today speaking about the dayton accord, where people who had been slaughtering each other had to come together and resolve to exist within a government together. is it perfect? no. but has it, you know, kind of kept going and do we have some work to do there? absolutely. so we have to look at all these different situations, i think, on their own, as well as part of bigger trends. mr. zakaria: several of the
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people running against -- against whoever the democratic is argue that -- argue that we should not be taking in syrian refugees, but if we do we should prioritize christian refugees. jeb bush has said this. ted cruz has said this. and the argument is that they are being persecuted particularly harshly by isis. why isn't that right? mrs. clinton: well, i just don't think we should have religious tests about who we bring as refugees into our country. we've had, last i looked, more than 2 million refugees since 1990. so far, we know that trying to vet and understand he -- the connections that a person or a family might have with somebody in the united states, you know, looking to see what organization, often a faith-based organization, well -- will sponsor them, and what
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they'll do to help them get education or a job, is by far the best way to sort out and to determine who should be included. now, this is going to take a long time. i mean, really, doing this is hard under any circumstances. doing it when people are essentially stateless, they don't necessarily have documents, it's hard to do the vetting. it's going to be challenging, which is again why i said in the speech that congress should be providing resources for us to do it right, you know, not trying to stop it. i just don't believe that's in keeping with our values or our history. and frankly, it doesn't send the kind of message that we want to send to the rest of the world. so, yeah, we have to be careful. we have to be vigilant. and we have to have a system that does all of that. mr. zakaria: let's open it up to members of the council. let me -- if somebody wants to put up their hand, identify themselves, and please make sure it is a question with a question mark at the end, and be brief.
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sir. >> thank you very much for your comments. with respect to tpp, i would like to understand a little bit better why you oppose it and what changes would perhaps make it acceptable to you. mrs. clinton: i think, you know, there are two problems that i see with it. one, the final language of the treaty itself, which i don't think went far enough to meet the test that i've always applied to any trade agreement. i have voted for them and i have voted against them when i was a senator. does it help to create more good-paying jobs in america? does it raise incomes? does it advance our national security? and i think there are enough -- unanswered questions -- it was an -- it was an extraordinary effort to try to bring these countries together to come up with an agreement. but i think that, at the end of
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the day, for a number of reasons, reasons-including that they couldn't figure out how to get currency into the agreement and it's only in a side agreement, i opposed it. the other side of the coin, though, is we have been doing so little, because of republican opposition mostly, to better train and prepare people who have been really either sidelined or whacked up against their head by globalization. globalization is real. it's happening. it's having an impact. we don't have a good training program. we don't have the kind of support that people need to be able to move into positions where they can acquire new skills. and i see those two things as going together, because we have to first and foremost focus on how we better prepare more americans to be competitive in the global economy. and i don't think we've done that. i want to see that done
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alongside any trade agreement to a greater extent than the republicans have been willing to support it. mr. zakaria: ma'am. amy: madam secretary, amy bondurant. hi. so, importantly, you've recommended that the u.s. lead the air coalition. and i wondered what next steps might be taken to ensure that that would happen. mrs. clinton: well, amy, there's nothing magic or easy about putting together such a coalition. i know president hollande will be coming to the united states to see president obama this week, and i assume that there will be a group of french officials, defense officials, intelligence officials, homeland security officials who will be meeting with their american counterparts.
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and on the defense side, i think that certainly the united states, working with france, and then from that, you know, sort of hub beginning to reach out to other countries to seek out support. and i would go back to arab countries as well. so looking for a way to begin the discussions about the negotiations that lead to the coalition as quickly as possible. you know, going back to libya, you know, the europeans were the ones who wanted american support, and we did not agree to do so until we had a very clear idea what they were willing to do. and then we reached out and worked with the arab league so that there would be arab partners as well. and that took weeks; it wasn't something that just happened overnight. but it is definitely doable if we begin, i think, with the french-american position and move out from there. mr. zakaria: sir.
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terry: terry whitney castle. my understanding was, with regard to u.s. support for syrian rebels over the last year or two, one of the main restraints was that they could not fight assad directly, and that this was a severe limitation and part of the reason the plan didn't work. when you recommend supporting additional training for syrian rebel groups, would you advise them to allow them to fight assad? or is that part of the conflict that we don't want to get involved in? mrs. clinton: well, back in the first term, when leon panetta and dave petraeus and i made our recommendation about vetting and arming syrian moderate rebels, the target was assad. it was to defend themselves and be able to prevent the military taking over territory and creating the kind of humanitarian disaster that, obviously, we've all seen. so that was what we recommended
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back in the first term. since then, i know it's been a very difficult task for the -- our government to take on and pursue successfully. but one of the challenges has been trying to draw lines, and you draw lines because you want to be able to vet and follow what happens to the arms that you are equipping people with. but what happened to some of the few groups that have been trained is that they were quickly overrun by much more hardened fighters who were fighting assad. so it was a -- it was a very hard task to do two or three years later. i think it might have been -- but again, i've said many times i can't predict sitting here what would have happened if we had moved earlier. it might have worked. it might not have worked.
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but you can't really take syrians who are rebelling against assad and tell them they can't use their training and their weapons against the person who, as i said in my speech, has killed far more syrians than isis has to date. mr. zakaria: let me ask a follow-up on that, madam secretary. if the only way you could put together a moderate syrian force is by having the united states cajole, bribe, arm, and train it, we are then looking for this force to defeat isis, then defeat assad, then defeat al-nusra, then defeat other al-qaeda affiliates, keep at bay the shiite militias and hezbollah, take control of damascus, and establish a pluralistic democracy in syria. isn't that kind of a tall order? mrs. clinton: well, certainly, described like that. [laughter] and that's why i focused on isis, i mean, because i think it is -- i think right now we have one overriding goal, as i outlined. we need to crush their
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territorial domain, and we need to try to secure the entire border between syria and turkey. there is not going to be a successful military effort at this point to overturn assad. that can only happen through the political process. so our effort should be focused on isis. and, yes, there are other terrorist groups. al-nusra, whom you mention, is a particularly lethal fighter. mr. zakaria: so no fight-no fight against assad for now? mrs. clinton: there -- we have to prioritize. and we had an opportunity, perhaps -- i want to say that it say that it would have worked. but right now, we've got the russians in protecting assad,
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the iranians, and hezbollah protecting assad. we need to get people to turn against the common enemy of isis. and then we need to figure out how we put together a political outcome that provides enough autonomy so that the separate immunities within syria will be able to recreate a syrian state, even though it probably is unlikely it will be controlled by the alawites from damascus, the same way it was before the civil war started. mr. zakaria: there's policy here, but there's also politics. there are inescapably people trying to appear tough and tougher. if there were, god forbid, another terrorist attack, god forbid, in the united states, do you think the pressure to send american troops into syria would be unstoppable? mrs. clinton: well, it would certainly grow, but i think it would be a mistake. look, as i said, we should be sending more special operators. we should be empowering our trainers in iraq. we should be, you know, leading an air coalition using both fighter planes and drones. we have a lot of work to do to be able to, you know, really
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decimate isis in iraq and in syria. but we've got to work with the kurds on both sides of the border. we've got to figure out how to, if possible, have a second arab awakening in anbar province, get the sunni tribes to feel that it is their fight again, as they once did. and that requires a lot of political pressure being put on baghdad. injecting some large contingent of american forces complicates that, in my opinion. right now, we need to keep the pressure on the people on the ground, and get them to change their priorities, and work together. mr. zakaria: final question. jim: jim zirin. madam secretary, hi. back to the no-fly zone, are you advocating a no-fly zone over the entire country or a partial no-fly zone over an enclave where refugees might find a safe haven? and in the event of either, do
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you foresee you might be potentially provoking the russians? mrs. clinton: i am advocating the second, a no-fly zone principally over northern syrian, close to the turkish border, cutting off the supply lines, trying to provide some safe refuges for refugees, so they don't have to leave syria, creating a safe space away from the barrel bombs and the other bombardment by the syrians. and i would certainly expect to and hope to work with the russians to be able to do that. you know, the russians have, as you know, been primarily focused on assad's enemies and not on isis. i think that has changed. and there is an indication that has changed. after hollande comes here, he's going to go to moscow to see putin.
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and as i said earlier, i think getting russia to play a role in that and getting assad to understand that what happens to him will be a result of a political resolution, which secretary kerry is undertaking right now. but to have a swath of territory that could be a safe zone, both for syrians so they wouldn't have to leave but also for humanitarian relief. and i think that it would give us this extra leverage that i'm looking for in the diplomatic pursuits with russia with respect to the political outcome in syria. mr. zakaria: we can take one last brief question. ma'am. sylvana: thank you. i'm sylvana sinha. my question relates to saudi arabia. do you think that the goals that you outlined in the middle east can be achieved without more cooperation from saudi arabia? and if not, how do you think saudis can be convinced to changed course?
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mrs. clinton: well, i think that that the saudis are critical to achieving the goals. and, you know, the saudis are now engaged in the discussions that secretary kerry is leading. they're in the same process as the iranians, which is something that was hard to get to, but finally achieved. and i think that the saudis have a multiple level of responsibilities. first and foremost, stopping their own citizens from continuing the financing for extremists. and you know, saudi financing is still a major source of revenue for terrorist groups inside syria, inside iraq, elsewhere. mr. zakaria: including isis, you think? mrs. clinton: i have no evidence of that. but they are -- isis has become quite a self-financing terrorist network, with their theft of oil, selling it on the black market; with their destruction and seizure of antiquities,
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selling that on the black market; with their taking over mosul and raiding the banks. they've got a source of funding. so i don't really know, but i know that saudi individuals have certainly funded other related terrorist groups over time, and also exported a lot of wahhabi radicalism by kicking out or sending out imams and teachers to set up schools and mosques to preach that particularly harsh brand of islam. so the saudis have a lot that they can do to both stop and then to help. and that's why i said, look, they are legitimately concerned about a takeover in yemen that butts up against their border. and so that is why they are expending a lot of money and a lot of military resources trying to beat back the houthis, trying to reestablish hadi's government. they've got a lot going on
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there. but i would hope to draw them into a broader reading of what's going on in the region. and, you know, for a lot of people, the sunni-shia sectarian divide is one of the major reasons for what's happening there. it's understandable, but the saudis need to have a broader view. and looking at iran's influence inside syria, their growing influence in iraq, as well as in yemen, they need to understand they have to help us stabilize at least northern syria to start with, while trying to come up with some resolution of the civil war. and i hope they will be more willing to be involved. mr. zakaria: madam secretary, thank you so much for giving us your time. [applause] mrs. clinton: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute,
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which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: more road to the white house coverage now with democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders. he recently spoke about his views on democratic socialism and how it can apply to americans' everyday lives. this is one hour 45 minutes. >> [cheering] [applause] >> thank you. wow. look at this. is there some excitement in this room today? thank you all for coming on behalf of the mccord school of public policy and georgetown university, thank you all for being here. i'm going to try to be brief because i'm guessing you're not here for me. a few years ago, when the school became the first news school at
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georgetown in decades, it really came together behind a commitment to bring together the notion of the jesuit ideal of service with the common good, and evidence-based policy, and bringing them together. part of that vision was too great in institute that looked at the practical side of politics. campus was here on realized the semester with the creation of the institute of politics and public service, or gu politics, as we like to call it. not like to think dean montgomery. >> [cheering] [applause] and i am not just saying that because you are my boss and in the front row. [laughter] at gu politics, we believe that politics is actually a beautiful thing.
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it is how democracies settle their differences. most major movements in our nation's history or relies, at least in part, through a practical political element. went is done right, it is how we as a nation realize our dreams and our goals as a people. when it is done right. but it is not always done right. and there is a real disconnect right now between people and their politics today. nowhere is that more evident than with young people, then with your generation. it is not that your generation is disengaged. i think those of you that were standing out there in the rain for hours this morning proved that point. but politics doesn't always speak to young people the way it used to or the way that it ought to. politics is to figure out ways to address that. we are here to pull back the curtain, show you how politics is actually done from the people
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who actually do it, and bring that political access that is in d.c. to you here on campus. but more importantly, we are here to engage you. i was in politics for 20 years before came back to start this institute. i can't teach people how to do politics, i'm one of the guys who broke it. there is a better way to do it, and we need to hear from you what it is. so we want to learn from you. so it is in that spirit we gather here today. regardless of whether or not agree with his politics, you've got to give today's speaker a lot of credit. he has energized a tremendous number of americans with a message of engagement. economically, socially, and politically. the speech that he is getting today has the potential to be one of those the five components of the 2016 presidential campaign. the fact that he came here to georgetown to give it and to take your questions afterwards
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is a testament to his commitment to engagement. i am thrilled that he is here today. i am thrilled that you are here today with the dialogues like this one. maybe we can begin to reconnect people with the political system. as we like to say, public service is a good thing. politics can be, too. with that, i would like to bring out the person who is going to introduce our speaker. don't you guys just love this? [laughter] wahal is originally from appleton, wisconsin. she is passionate about gender equality and economic empowerment. you can find her at her cap his job at the career center or on an aimless walk somewhere. please don't giving a warm welcome to shweta. >> [cheering]
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[applause] [applause] [cheering] [applause] thank you for the introduction, mo. and thank you all for being here today. it is an absolute honor for me to be able to introduce our guest, 2016 presidential candidate, senator bernie sanders. >> [cheering] [applause] mo mentioned, i am a senior and a student advisory board member for gu politics. i joined gu looking for a space on campus where i can meet other students as a passionate adult about political engagement from both sides of the aisle.
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standing here today, i can confidently say that i have found just that. gu politics is making conversations, like the one we are going to have today, possible. you might be skipping various commitments or should be in class, like i'm supposed to be right now, but the fact that you have been waiting in line for hours and have filled this hall to the brim, speaks to how engaged you truly are. you are here because you care about what is going on in the world outside of the front gate, and you want to be a part of the dialogue. that is amazing. and now, i am honored to introduce senator bernie sanders. >> [cheering] [cheering] [applause] [cheering]
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[applause] [cheering] [applause] [cheering] [applause] ms. wahal: we are so excited to have -- we are so excited to have with us today senators sanders, or bernie as he is known to the people of vermont, and others who are feeling the burn. >> [cheering] ms. wahal: this is the point where i should ask you to turn your phone off, that i want. as long as you keep it silent, we want to -- you to continue the conversation by using the #bernie at gu. without further a do, please help me welcome senator bernie sanders. >> [cheering]
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[cheering] [applause] thank you all for being out on this beautiful day. >> [laughter] mr. sanders: and let me thank mo and shweta for that wonderful introduction. i think my message to you all today is a pretty simple one. faces,t is: our country norm's problems could and these problems are not going to be solved if people turn away from political struggle, if people throughout their hands and say i don't want to get involved with this crap. you are getting a great education here in georgetown, and i hope very much you will
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learn and use what you have fight to create a better world and follow in the traditions of so many people for so many years who have struggled to create a more democratic and just society. let me take you now back to the year 1937, and in his inaugural address in the mist of the great depression -- midst of the great depression, franklin delano roosevelt looked out at the sawon, and this is what he and this is what he talked about in his inaugural. he saw tens of millions of people denied the basic necessities of life. he saw millions of families trying to live on incomes so hall of family
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disaster hung over them every single day. he saw millions of his fellow americans denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their he saw millions lacking the means to buy the products they needed and by their poverty and lack of disposable income denying employment to many other millions. he saw one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. and he acted. against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic
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royalists, roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty and restored their faith in government. he redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our country. he combatted cynicism, fear and despair. he reinvigorated democracy. he transformed the country. and that is what we have to do today. and, by the way, almost everything he proposed was
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called "socialist." social -- [applause] i thought i would mention that just in passing. [laughter] social security, which transformed life for the elderly in this country was "socialist." the concept of the "minimum wage" was seen as a radical intrusion into the marketplace and was described as "socialist." unemployment insurance, abolishing child
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labor, ending the fact that children were working in factories or working in the fields the 40-hour work week, , collective bargaining, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, and job programs that put millions of people to work were all described, in one way or another, as "socialist." yet, as you all know, all of these programs have become the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class. thirty years later, in the
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1960s, president johnson passed medicare and medicaid to provide health care to millions of senior citizens and families with children, persons with disabilities and some of the most vulnerable people in this county. today, medicare doesn't seem to be such a terribly radical idea, to say that when somebody gets old, they should have medical insurance. proposed, once again, we heard right-wing forces described these programs and a threat to our american way of life. that was then. now is now. today, in 2015, despite the wall street crash of 2008, which
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drove this country into the worst economic downturn since the depression, the american people are clearly better off economically than we were in 1937. but, here is a very hard truth that we must acknowledge and address. we must not sweep it under the rug. that is, despite a huge increase in technology and productivity, and i can november, i was the mayor of burlington, vermont. anyone here from vermont? [applause] [laughter] when i was mayor in the 1980's, a radical development took place . we got computers in city hall. [laughter]
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1980's. despite a huge increase in technology and productivity, meeting everyone using the technology is producing more than workers produced before despite major growth in the u.s. , and global economy, tens of millions of american families continue to lack the basic necessities of life, while millions more struggle every day to provide a minimal standard of living for their families. i hope none of you will turn your back on that reality. this is a truth we must put on the table -- yes, we are better off today economically than we were seven years ago than when bush left office, but the other ,ruth is for the last 40 years
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under republican leadership and democratic leadership, the great middle class of this country has been in decline and faith in our political system is now extremely low. new technology, increased worker productivity, people working longer hours for lower wages, faith in our political system now is extremely low. richer. rich get almost everyone else gets poorer. super pacs funded by billionaires buy elections. the koch brothers alone and a few of their friends will spend more money in this election cycle than either the democratic or republican parties.
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people, working people, young people do not vote. economic and political crisis in this country and the same old, same old nottics and economics will effectively address those crises. serious about transforming our country, and i hope all of you are serious about transforming our country, if we are serious about rebuilding the american middle about if we are serious reinvigorating american need to develop a political movement, which, once again, is repaired to take on whosefeat a ruling class
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greed is destroying our nation. [applause] now, i know terms like ruling are probably not talked about too often here at georgetown. [laughter] [applause] not too often talked about on cbs or nbc, but that is the simple fact. in my view, the billionaire must be told loudly and clearly that they cannot have it all, that our government belongs to all of us, not just a handful
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of billionaires. [applause] but this goes beyond politics. we need to create an entire as pope francis has reminded us, cannot just be based on the worship of money. accept a nation in which billion errors compete as to the size of their super americahile children in go hungry and veterans, man and women who have put their lives on the line, sleep out on the street. america, we are the
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wealthiest nation in the history of the world. but few americans know that because so much of the new income and wealth is going to the people on top. years,, over the last 30 there has been a massive redistribution of wealth. the problem is, it has gone in the wrong direction. [applause] in the last 30 years, we have seen trillions of dollars flow from the hands of working families in the middle class to the top 1/10 of 1%. a handful of people, the top 1/10 of 1% who have seen a
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doubling of the percentage of the wealth that they own during that time. a doubling of the percentage of wealth that they own. unbelievably and grotesquely, ownsop 1/10 of 1% today nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90%. nearly as much as as the bottom 90%. that is not the kind of america that we should accept. [applause] my statel you that in of vermont and all over the country, it is absolutely not
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uncommon to see people working two jobs or three jobs to cobble together the income and health care they and their families need. in fact, americans work longer of anyhan do the people other industrialized country. despite the fact our people are working so hard, and i go around the country and see a lot of working people, and you can see the stress and exhaustion on their faces. they are working crazy hours. husband hardly see wives and people don't have the quality time for their kids because they are working so hard just to bring in the income. despite our people working so hard, 58% of all new income going to theay is top 1%.
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today in america as the middle class continues to disappear, is $4100mily income less than it was in 1999. the median male worker made over $700 less than he did 42 years ago in of -- an inflation-adjusted dollars. do you know why people are angry? they are angry because they are working terribly hard and yet in real inflation-adjusted dollars, they are earning less and they are looking all over saying what is happening? why is that? but it's not just men. last year, the median female worker earned more than a thousand dollars less than she 58% of all new income goes to the top 1%. today in america, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, more than half of older
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workers have zero retirement savings. think of that. 50 or 55 years of age and you are thinking how am i going to retire? because my wages have gone down, i have zero in the bank for retirement. and, at the same time, all over america, you've got millions of seniors and people with disabilities trying to survive on 12 or 13 alison dollars a year social security. california, to older workers are scared to death and saying how am i going to retire with dignity? you can get your calculators out -- not now, when you leave here try toome arithmetic and put yourself in the place of a
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senior citizen in my state of inmont, where it gets cold winter, trying to survive on $13,000 a year. you tell me how you are going to pay for the food you need, heat your home and by the medicine that you need? you can't do it. america, nearly 47 million people are living in poverty and over 20% of our children, including 36 percent of african-american kids are living in poverty. the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any nation on earth. what i want you to think about is why is it in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, where we see the proliferation of millionaires and billionaires, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any country on
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earth. today in america, 29 million americans have no health insurance and even more are outrageouslywith high copayments and adaptable. in other words, people have insurance -- i talked to people every day with a $5,000 deductible and they can't go to the doctor when they need. on top of that, for a wide variety of reasons, our people in the highest prices world for prescription drugs and doctors tell me all of the time medicine for our patient and they can't afford to prescription. one in five americans can't afford to fill the prescription. what insanity is that? today in america, youth unemployment and underemployment
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is over 35%. for african-american kids, it is over 50%. , we have more people in jail than any other country. authoritarianst country, we have more people in jail then china and countless as weare being destroyed spend $80 billion a year locking up our fellow americans. today,tom line is that we have massive wealth and income inequality, and a power structure built around that inequality. protects those who have the money.
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today, a handful of super wealthy campaign contributors have in or miss influence over the political process while their lobbyists determine much of what goes on in congress. in any member of the united states house or senate prepared to tell you the truth will tell you exactly that. in 1944, in his state of the union speech, president roosevelt outlined what he called a second bill of rights. whatroosevelt outlined was he called a second bill of rights. in my view, one of the more important speeches ever made by a president. gottennately, it has not the attention it deserves. so i am going to give it some
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attention today. speech, thisable is what roosevelt said. we have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. than are not free men and women." in other words, real freedom must include economic security. vision 70oosevelt's years ago. it is my vision today. have not yetn we achieved and it is time that we did. [applause]
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in that speech, roosevelt described that economic rights that he believed every american was entitled to. at rights for a decent job them pay. the right for adequate food and time off from work. the right for every business, large and small, to function in an atmosphere free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies. americans toall have a decent home and decent
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health care. roosevelt was stating in 1944, what martin luther king jr. stated in similar terms 20 years later and what i believe today is that true freedom does not occur without economic security. free when not truly they are unable to feed their families. they are not truly free when they are unable to retire with dignity. they are not truly free when they are underemployed, unemployed, or when they are exhausted by working 60, 70 hours a week. people are not truly free. when they don't know how they are going to get medical help
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when they or a family member are sick. let me take this opportunity to define for you simply and straightforwardly what democratic socialism means to me. on what building franklin delano roosevelt says when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all americans. it builds on what martin luther king jr. said in 1968 when he "this and i quote -- country has socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor." [applause] my view of democratic socialism
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of manyn the success other countries around the world who have done a far better job than we have in protecting the deed of their working families, their elderly citizens, their sick and their poor. means wec socialism systemform a political which is corrupt, that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy. mindratic socialism, to my speaks to a system which for 1980's -- ing the want you to hear this -- allows $5 billion to spend
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over 10 years in lobbying and ordergn contributions in -- they wanted the government off their back. they wanted to do whatever they wanted to do -- spend $5 billion over 10 years on lobbying and campaign contributions. then, 10 years later, after their agreed and illegal behavior led to their collapse, what our system enabled them to do is to get bailed out by the united states government, which through congress and the fed provided trillions of dollars in aid to wall street. street usedds, wall their wealth and power to get
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congress to do their hitting for deregulation. then, when wall street collapsed, they used their wealth and power to get ailed out. quite a system. to add insult to injury, we were told that not only were the banks too big to fail, we were told that bankers were too big to jail. [applause] and this is the system -- young people who get caught possessing andjuana get police records and iundreds of thousands have seen police records that have impacted their lives in very serious ways.
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on the other hand, wall street eeoc who helped destroy the economy, they don't get police records. they get raises in their salaries. is what dr. martin luther king junior meant when he talked about socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for everyone else. hady view, it is time we democratic socialism for working families, not just for wall street, billionaires and large shouldtions, it means we not be providing welfare for corporations. it means we should not be providing huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country or trade policies which whilecorporate profits they result in workers losing
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their jobs. government create a which works for all the american people, not just powerful special interests. bemeans economic rights must an essential part of what america stands for. things, itother means health care should be a right of all people, not a privilege. [applause] i know there are some people out is anwho think this incredible argument -- imagine in the united states of america all of us having health care as
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a right. i hope all of you know this is not a radical idea, it is a conservative idea. it is an idea and practice that exists in every other major country on earth, not just in scandinavia, denmark, sweden or norway, it exists in canada. i live 50 miles away from canada. a radical idea. germany, taiwan, all over the world, countries have made the did termination that all of their people are entitled to health care and i believe the time is long overdue for the united states to join the rest of the world. [applause]
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a medicare for all single-payer program, which i support, would not only guarantee health care for all people, not only save middle-class families and our entire nation significant sums of money because usual no our health care system is by far the most expensive per capita of any system on earth. a metal care -- a medicare for all single-payer program would radically improve life of all americans and ring about significant improvements in our economy. think about it -- people who get sick will not have to worry about paying a deductible or making a copayment. a radical idea -- when they are sick of a they can actually go to the doctor and not -- not end up in the emergency room at a
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greater expense to the system. think about it -- business owners will not have to spend enormous amounts of time worrying about how they are going to provide health care for their employees. -- and we don't talk about this very much -- you have millions of workers in this country who are staying on jobs, in jobs which they do not want to stay and but they are there decent they have a health care program for themselves and their families. think what it means when young people or anyone else can tell andthis is the job i love i'm going to go out and start this business or do this work and i don't have to worry about health care because all of us in america have health care. [applause]
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a medicare way, what for all system will bring about is in the -- the absurdity of the american people paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. when i talk about democratic socialism, what that means to me 2015, a college degree today is equivalent to what a high school degree was 50 years ago. means is that public allow everyst today person in this country who has the ability, the qualifications, and the desire the right to go
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to a public college or university tuition free. [applause] is this a radical socialistic idea? i don't so. countries allany over the world and you know what? it used to exist in the united states of america. we had great universities like the university of california, the city university of new york, virtually tuition free. ourcratic socialism means government does everything it can to create a full employment economy. tomakes far more sense to me put millions of people back to work rebuilding our crumbling
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infrastructure than to have a real unemployment rate of almost 10%. it is far smarter to invest in jobs and educational opportunities for young people than to lockloyed them up and invest in jails and incarceration. [applause] democratic socialism means if ,omeone works 40 hours a week that person should not be living in poverty, that we must raise the memo wage to a living wage, $15 an hour over the course of the next several years.
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[applause] it means we join the rest of the world and pass the very strong paid family medical league -- medical leave bill now in congress. [applause] i want you to think about this you to see what goes on in our country today. otherot only that every major country, virtually every country in the world, poor countries and small countries reach the conclusion that when a woman has a baby, she should not be forced to be separated from
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that newborn baby after a week or two and have to go back to work. making sure moms and dads can stay home and get to love their value we a family should support and that is why i want and will fight to and the absurdity of the united states being one of the only countries on earth that does not guarantee at least three months of paid family and medical leave. [applause] democratic socialism to me means that we have government policy, policy, whichent
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does not allow the greed and profiteering of the fossil fuel industry to destroy our environment and our planet. [applause] it means to me that we have a moral responsibility to combat climate change and leave this planet healthy and habitable for our kids and grandchildren. [applause] democratic socialism means in a ,emocratic civilized society the wealthiest people and largest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes. [applause]
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yes, innovation, entrepreneurial ship should be rewarded, but ised for the sake of greed not something that public policy should support. [applause] it is not acceptable to me. in the last two years, 15 of the wealthiest people in this country -- 15 people saw their wealth increase in this rigged $170 billion.
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that is more wealth than known by the bottom 130 million americans. let us not forget what pope francis has so eloquently stated idols --ve created new the worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cold of as a dictatorship of the economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal." got to doords, we've better than that. it's not a political issue, it's on an economic issue, it's a cultural issue. we have to stop worshiping people who make billions and billions of dollars while we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country. it is not acceptable to me that major corporations stash their profits in the cayman islands to avoid paying $100 billion a year
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in taxes. it is not acceptable that hedge fund managers pay a lower effective tax rate than nurses or truck drivers. it is not acceptable that ilion air families are able to leave virtually all of their wealth to their families without paying a reasonable estate tax. it is not acceptable that wall street speculators are able to gamble trillions of dollars in the derivatives market without paying a nickel in taxes on that speculation. democratic socialism to me does not just mean that we must create a nation of economic and justice and environmental sanity. it does mean that but we must create a vibrant democracy based on the principle of one person, one vote.
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it is extremely sad and i hope all of you will pay a lot of it tension to this issue -- it is extremely sad that the united states, one of the oldest, most stable democracies in the world has one of the lowest voter turnout of any major country and millions of young people and onking people have given up the political process entirely. in the last midterm election, just a year ago, 63% of the american people didn't vote. 80% of young people did not vote. the efforts ofe any republican governors who want to suppress you vote to make it harder for people of color and old people to participate in the political system, our job together is to make it easier for people to
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vote, not harder for people to vote. [applause] ideal, and iadical will fight as hard as i can as president to say everyone in this country who is 18 years of age or older is registered to vote. end of discussion. [applause] so, the next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, like tomorrow, -- [laughter] believe this -- i don't
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governor -- government should take over the grocery store down the street, our own means of reduction, but i do believe that the middle class and working families of this country who produce the wealth of this country deserve a decent standard of living and that their incomes should go up, not down. i do believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in america, companies that create jobs here rather than companies that are shutting down in america and increasing their profits by avoiding low-wage labor abroad. [applause] i believe most americans can pay
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lower taxes if hedge fund managers who make billions manipulating the marketplace finally start paying the taxes that they should. i don't believe in special treatments for the top 1%. but i do believe in equal treatment for african-americans who are right to proclaim the moral principle that lack lives matter. [applause] i despise appeals to nativism
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, a lot of which we have been hearing in recent months. believe inrobably immigration reform -- [applause] that gives hispanics and others a pathway to citizenship and a better life. [applause] and while i am on that subject, let me just say a real word of concern from what i have been hearing from some of the republican candidates for president in recent months. honestcan have disagreements about immigration or anything else. that's called democracy. but, people should not be using
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the political process to inject racism into the debate. [applause] if donald trump and others who refer to latinos as people from mexico as terminals and rapists, if they want to open that door, our job is to shut that door and shut it hard. [applause] this country has gone too far. to me people have suffered and to me people have died for us to continue hearing racist words coming from major political
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leaders. believe in some foreign inhim, but i do believe american idealism and one of the real joys i have experienced on this campaign so far, being here seeing the huge numbers of young people who are coming out, who want to make this country better, who want to use their intelligence and energy to address the many problems we have. so, i want to thank all of the young people here and all over this country for their idealism and do not, do not, do not become cynical. running for president because it is my turn -- not quite. i was born in a three and half room apartment in a working-class family in a
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brooklyn apartment. [applause] i've got brooklyn, i've got vermont -- i visited california -- [applause] seriousness, it's not quite my turn. that's not why i'm running for president, but i am running for president in order for all of us to live in a nation of hope and opportunity not for some, but for my seven grandchildren and for all of you. understood that are then franklin delano roosevelt the connection between american strength at home and our ability to defend america around the world. proposed a second bill of rights in 1944 and said
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in that very same state of the "america's owner rifle place in the world depends in how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all of our citizens. for unless there is security here at home, there cannot be lasting these in the world." i am not running for president to pursue reckless adventures abroad, but to rebuild america's strength at home. i will never hesitate to defend this nation, but i will never send our sons and daughters to pretense orlse pretenses about dubious battles with no end in sight. [applause]
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as we discussed foreign policy, i know that all of you share with me your shock and horror at what happened in paris and you share with me your condolences for the families who lost loved ones and your hopes and prayers that those who were wounded will recover and those same thoughts go out to the families of those who lost loved ones in the russian flight that we believe was taken down by an isis and those who lost their lives to terror attacks in lebanon and elsewhere. to my mind, it is clear the united states must pursue policies to destroy the brutal and barbaric isis regime and to create conditions that prevent fanatical extremist ideologies from flourishing.
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but, we cannot and should not do it alone. begin with anust understanding of past mistakes and missteps in our previous approaches to foreign policy. it begins with the acknowledgment that unilateral military action should be a last resort, not a first resort. [applause] and that ill-conceived military decisions such as the invasion of iraq can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilization over regions for decades. [applause] it begins with the reflection
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that the failed policy decisions rushing to war, theme change in iraq, toppling in iran must president in 1953. he was gotten rid of to protect british petroleum interests. the shaw of iran came in, a brutal big tatar and was thrown out by the islamic revolution and that is where we are in iran today. consequences, often unintended consequences. saddamther it was hussein or the guatemalan president in 1954, the brazilian president in 1964, the chilean 1973, this type of
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regime change, this type of overthrowing governments we may not like often does not work, often makes a bad and difficult decision even worse. these are lessons we must learn. [applause] responseld war ii, in to the fear of soviet aggression, european nations and the united states established nato, the north american treaty organization, and organization based on shared interest and goals and the notion of a collective defense against a common enemy. expandy belief we must
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on these ideals and solidify our commitments to work together to combat the global threat of terror. we must create a new toanization like nato confront the security threats of an 21st century and organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly, to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts. we must work with our nato partners, we must work to expand the coalition with russia, and we must work with members of the arab league. but let us be very clear. while the united nations and nations have the strength of our military and political systems, the fight against isis is a struggle for the soul of
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countering violent extremism and destroying isis must be done primarily by muslim the strong support of their global partners. [applause] this has been my view, long before paris. thesery happy to tell you same sentiments have been at goat by people like jordan's king abdullah the second in a speech just sunday, in which he said terrorism is the greatest threat to our region, the gulf region, the middle east, and that muslims must lead the fight against it. he noted that confronting extremism is both a regional and
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international responsibility, and it is incumbent on muslim nations and communities to confront those who seek to hijack their societies and ofigion with generations intolerance and violence ideology. let me congratulate king abdulla not only for his wise remarks, but also for the role his small country is playing in attempting to address the horrific refugee crisis in that region. [applause] a new and strong coalition of western powers, muslim nations, mustountries like russia come together in a strongly coordinated way to combat isis,
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to seal the borders fighters are currently flowing across, to share counterterrorism intelligence, to turn off the spaghetti of terrorist financing, and to end support for voiding extremist ideologies. what does that mean? cases, wehat in many must ask more from those countries in the gulf region. while jordan, turkey, egypt and lebanon in their own ways have accepted their responsibilities for taking in syrian refugees, other countries in the region have done nothing or very little. and this isrtant -- a point that may make some people uncomfortable, but it is a point that must be made -- countries in the region like
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,audi arabia, kuwait, the uae countries have enormous wealth contributeds have far too little in the fight against isis. that must change. [applause] king abdullah is absolutely right when he says the muslim nations must lead the fight against isis and that includes and must include some of the most wealthy and powerful nations in the region who, up to this point have done far too little. out, hasbia, it turns the third largest defense aged in the world. isis,stead of fighting they are focused more on a
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-backedn to fight it ran rebels in yemen. kuwait, a country whose ruling family was restored to power by the united states driving saddam hussein costs iraq out of kuwait known sources of financing for isis and other violent extremists. qatars been reported that will spend up to $200 billion on 2022 world cup, including the construction of an honest number of facilities to host that event.
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organizations funnel money to some of the most extreme terrorist groups, including al nusra and isis. all of this has got to change. wealthy and powerful muslim nations in the region can no longer sit on the sidelines and expect the united states to do their work for them. as we develop a strongly coordinated effort, we need a commitment from these countries that the fight against isis takes precedence over the religious and ideological differences that hamper the kind of cooperation that we desperately need.
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further, we all understand that bashar al-assad is a brutal dictator who has slaughtered many of his own people. i am pleased that we saw last weekend diplomats from all over world, known as the international syria support group, set a timetable for a syrian-led political transition with open and fair elections. these are the promising beginnings of a collective effort to end the bloodshed and to move to political transition. the diplomatic plan for assad's transition from power is a good step in a united front. but our priority must be to defeat isis. nations all over the world, who share a common interest in protecting themselves against
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international terrorist, must make the destruction of isis the highest priority. nations in the region must commit that instead of turning a blind eye, they will commit their resources to preventing the free flow of terrorist finances and fighters to syria and iraq. we need a commitment that they will counter the violent rhetoric that fuels terrorism -- rhetoric that often occurs within their very borders. this is the model in which we must pursue solutions to the sorts of global threats we face. while individual nations indeed have historic disputes the u.s. and russia, iran and saudi arabia to put it mildly, do not like each other.
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do everything possible to put aside those differences to work towards a common purpose of destroying isis. sadly, as we have seen recently, no country is immune from attacks by the violent organization called isis, but we must work with our partners in europe, the gulf states, africa, and southeast asia all along the way asking the hard questions whether their actions are serving our unified purpose. the bottom line is that isis must be destroyed, but it cannot be defeated by the united states alone. a new and effective coalition must be formed with the muslim nations leading the effort on the ground, while the united states and other major forces provide the support they need. let me conclude by once again
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thanking all of you for being here today. all across this country, there is a significant alienation from the political process. people look at washington and throw their hands up. why aren't our senators and congressmen paying attention to our needs? why aren't we developing a rational foreign-policy rather than talking again in a quagmire of middle east? let me conclude by saying the problems we face as a nation are indeed very serious. by and large, all of these
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problems were caused by bad decisions. if we stand together, if we do not allow those to be divided up by race, whether we are born in america or not, male or female, if we focus on how we can create sane foreign policy, how we can combat climate change, we can end racism and homophobia. if you and -- as young people are prepared to engage in the political process, there is nothing we cannot a cup together.
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thank you all. 2 -- cannot accomplish together. thank you all. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> all right. senator, again, we cannot thank you enough for being here today. we invited all the major public candidates.
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you were the first to accept our invitation. thank you for being here. [applause] we received a lot of questions and you covered a lot of ground. the questions are very good. i am going to group some of them together. they are on a common scene. let me give the central premise to the first part of your remarks. democratic socialism. a freshman from brooklyn, shout
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out right there. you are it more in the middle of the spectrum between capitalism and socialism. a freshman from paris, france, in the school of foreign service, no problem with the word socialist, i consider myself a socialist. you feel pressure to call your's of a democratic socialist, but i cannot see a difference between the two. these questions alone see some of the differences in how people view the word. i wonder if you could comment to that and clarify it a little. mr. sanders: the reason i have always throughout my political experience defined myself as a democratic socialist is the fact
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is my vision. my vision is not just making around the edge, but transforming to make it into a much more vibrant democracy and an economy that works much better for working families. what is implicit to the word socialism to me is that it is imperative that we are serious about change. a lot of people want change but at the end of the day, real change does not come unless we have the courage to take on very powerful special interests who control our country. that is my view. certainly most people in congress would not. at the end of the day, we have
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got to recognize that we are experiencing mass income and wealth inequality, but a small number of people have extraordinary power. if we are not prepared to tell them they cannot run for government for their own interests, the real change many of us want will never take place. i know some people are uncomfortable about it. i say it is imperative we create a political revolution, that people get involved in the political process and make things great for all and not just a few. [applause] >> staying on this topic, david,
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a sophomore points out that margaret thatcher once said you eventually run out of other people's money. how do your politics promote long-term sustainability and prevent the reason just the addition of existing wealth. mr. sanders: given the fact we are seeing trillions of dollars being transferred to the top 1/10 of 1%, we start with a position that there is already a lot of money out there. that point has to be made. we are not a poor country. we are the wealthiest in the history of the world. we should be doing a lot better and should not have 47 million people -- of course wealth is created and one of the points, i believe we
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significantly hurt the economy by having a medicare for all single system. that would free millions of people to be involved in creating this is an crating jobs, our trapped at work. -- are trapped at work. if you have a trade policy not defined by corporate america, move abroad, but a trade policy which works for the american people that you can create over millions of years decent paying jobs. i believe when you raise minimum wage to $15 an hour, roosevelt talked about it. when you put disposable income into the hands of people today, they will then take the money spent and create jobs.
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i think it really in fact will create wealth and strengthen the economy. these are diametrically opposed to the trickle-down economic theory that says we can give tax breaks and somehow that will -- the middle-class and the poor. that is a false doctrine and it has not worked. [applause] david: i will move to this topic next and it is one you touched on in your remarks. that is tuition. julia friedman asked, under your plan to reduce the cost of college, what tax on wall street speculation be sufficient and a
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freshman in business school rights, as many of us know, in the united states, many of the greatest -- how do you plan to combat the high price? mr. sanders: for a start, the answer to the first question is yes. the legislation i have introduced makes public colleges and universities tuition free and also addresses a crisis in this country of millions of people paying high interest rates on their student that. i suspect some of you guys will graduate here in that spirit i see one person there. i suspect there are many more. what we do are two things. we also say it is a little bit
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crazy today. many people out there paying interest rates, 10%, when we can refinance our homes at 3% or 4%. what our legislation does is allow people the ability and the freedom to roll interest rates, that will save people all over this country collectively. free tuition in public colleges and universities, an expensive proposition that costs about $70 billion per year. it can be paid for by a tax on wall street collection. we know that georgetown
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substantially increasing telegrams to make sure working-class families can get the help they need. we also significantly increase student work programs so universities can have funds available to employ students on campus. your point is well taken. legislation also makes private colleges and universities less expensive. [applause] david: let's move to the second portion of your speech. a junior from denver asked, pacifism. how would you address reason and escalating violence?
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does being a democratic socialist state entail opening borders to syrians and other refugees? a freshman in the college from bethesda asked, of the recent attacks for isis worldwide, more generally, how do you protect the safety of the american people? mr. sanders: i am not a pacifist but i have a lot of respect for pacifists. i voted against -- within the first month i was elected congress. in 2002, after listening to bush and cheney and donald rumsfeld, and listening carefully to what they had to say, i voted against the war in iraq. [applause]
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but i did vote for the war in afghanistan. i believe osama bin laden should be held accountable. to end the ethnic cleansing. no, i am not a pacifist. i think war should be the last resort but we have a responsibility to govern. of course, we should be prepared to use it when it is necessary. in terms of where we are right now, the main point with my remarks is i think it would be a terrible mistake for many reasons for the united states, virtually unilaterally, to get involved with the war in syria or re-involved in the war in iraq. we send our troops in their in combat and they come back into
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-- in caskets. 20 or 30 years from now, we're still talking about the quagmire in that region of the world. i believe -- i agree very strongly with king abdullah, who is absolutely right. a struggle for the soul of islam. there are millions and millions of muslims who detest and are disgusted with what isis and other extremist groups are doing. but now they have to get into the process. their troops should be armed. we should be supportive and i support president obama's effort. airstrikes. but leaders must come from muslim nations. in terms of how we protect our country, obviously we have to be super vigilant against terrorist
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attacks. there are a lot of discussions about refugees. i am not happy to hear what i have heard in recent days about people talking about going in or maybe closing down mosques. not happy to hear that maybe we should close our borders -- because of terrorism. i believe after a thorough screening, which we have the capability to do, working with the rest of the world should accept refugees from the region. it is the moral thing to do and accepting refugees is what america has always done. [applause]
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david: the next couple of questions grouped together come from something that i think created a lot of buzz in the debate. it is about climate change and is specifically linked to terror and terrorism. jonathan, a freshman from business scored -- business school in florida, and another asked similar questions. can you elaborate on the link? mr. sanders: obviously, organizations like isis are a major threat. but if you look into the future, and this is not bernie sanders but the cia and the defense department, if we do not get our
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act together, if there is more doubt around the world, more flooding, more extreme weather disturbances, sea levels continue to rise, and flood coastal regions, there will be massive displacement of people. people need water and land to grow their crops. they're going to migrate and they will be in competition with other people's for natural resources to that happens according to the cia, according to our own defense department, that lays the work -- groundwork for international conflict. of course, climate change its major to international conflict and also, for example, right now
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in syria, it is the result of the same drought. the rural areas flooded into the cities, causing more instability , and people come to extremist propaganda, massive instability. when i was your age, the challenge of my generation -- all over the country, and i was involved in chicago, young people said, we will end segregation in america. our brothers and sisters fighting in the south, we did what we could where we were. one of your great challenges today, continue the fight against racism and sexism and
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homophobia. also understand we are fighting for the future of the planet and if we do not move aggressively, i am on the energy committee and i talked to scientists all over the world. we have a small window of opportunity to transport our energy system away from fossil fuels. we need to take on the fossil fuel industry who are looking at short-term profits ahead of the future of the planet. i hope you will be involved in the effort to transform our energy system. [applause] david: i want to close with one last thing and i think it is an
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important one. the notion of why our institutes exist. how do we get this done? a sophomore in the school of foreign service says, a republican majority in both houses, would you be willing to compromise some of your ideals and a freshman from san francisco writes, my question is how do you plan on incrementing social programs with the immense opposition in congress? mr. sanders: great question. by definition in congress, you compromise every day. i was there for 16 years and certainly ended up getting more amendments that -- pass on the floor of the house. when there was an issue out there where i could work with republicans, we put together a good coalition.
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i worked as chairman of the u.s. senate. i worked with republicans like john mccain in the senate, people like congressman jeff miller in the house. we put together a comprehensive veterans health care bill. yes, i can compromise. here is the point i want to make. for many of the issues, on virtually all of them, before the american people say look, i am this radical, while tied socialist with crazy ideas. but look at the issues. we want to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. wildly popular. i want to create 13 million jobs
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through infrastructure per wildly popular. popular right here. making public colleges and universities tuition free and lowering student debt, widely popular. combating climate change. there are some republicans who still do not accept it but most americans do. asking the rich to start paying their fair share of taxes. here is my point. sure you have got to compromise, but the more important point is why is congress so far out of touch with where the market people are -- the american people are? the republican agenda cuts to security and medicaid, the planetary crisis of climate change -- 5%, 10%?
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so when i talk about the political revolution, when i talk about transforming american politics, what i am talking about is bringing in the voices of millions and millions of people who have given up on the political process, to have their needs being heard by congress. when that happens, everything i talked about will be passed. if that does not happen, -- nothing will be passed. i say this in every speech i do. it is not just electing bernie sanders to be president. i still would appreciate your support. but very honest, it is much more than that. no president can implement the kinds of changes we need in this country unless millions of
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people begin to stand up and fight back. right here on college campuses all over this country, we are beginning to see that fight back among low-wage workers, going out into the streets and saying, eight or nine dollars an hour, raise the minimum wage. we are beginning to see that movement development. we can in fact transform this country. thank you all very much. [applause]
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announcer: c-span has your coverage of the road to the right house 2016, and for the speeches and debates, and most important, your questions. we are taking you into classrooms across the country m contest.tudents ca
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on tv, on the radio, and online at announcer: yesterday, voters elected john bel edwards. becomes the first democrat to win in the state since 2008. opponent,er was his and he said he would not be seeking reelection in 2016. [applause] gov. vitter: thank you.
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thank you all, so much. thank you all so much. thank you all so much. well, we came up short tonight. but let me rephrase that. i came up short. thank you for your dedication and your love and your hard work. we are so honored by that, and we will always be. you know, i have lost one campaign in my life. tonight. and, ironically, it is the campaign and political effort i am most proud of, particularly these last few weeks fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with you. thank you so much for that honor. [applause]
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gov. vitter: i called john bel edwards and wished him our sincere congratulations and best wishes. sincerelyi truly and hope he leads all of us with the right solutions and succeeds. and we wish him and his family only the best. let's give him a round of applause and good wishes. [applause] me i amter: as for , eager to refocus on the important work in the united states senate. but -- [cheers and applause]
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but i am only going to be doing that for one more year, through this term. when i decided to do this with wendy, i decided i was going to pursue other things. outside the senate. i have reached my personal term limit. now obviously, we are disappointed that those challenges are not leading the senate, but i am genuinely excited about starting a new chapter of my professional life and all of the fun and reward and challenge that will bring. so we are looking forward to that very much. [applause] and in saying that, i am also very confident that we are going to elect another strong conservative to fill this senate seat next year. [applause] and i will -- and i will certainly be working with
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all of you to make sure that happens. it is important for louisiana and for our country, so with that said, how can i begin to express my thanks? i am so blessed. so enormously blessed. being suchhanks for a fabulous spouse and mom and partner in this important work, and best friend. thank you so much. [applause] wendy,tter: wendy, wendy! children, thanks for all
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of your love and support, and i hope i have encouraged to through my small old to always follow your dreams, to always take on new challenges, and to never settle for the easy or the comfortable. never do that. [applause] gov. vitter: to our family, they are almost all here tonight, thank you for your love. you all do so much for us and give us such support, including all of that great sign-waving today. thank you for that. >> we love you, david. [applause] gov. vitter: to our senate staff and campaign staff, your are all, bar none, the best staff in louisiana political history. thanks for that work.
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you have served the people of louisiana is so amazingly well, and i am honored to have worked side-by-side with you. and, you all know, like wendy and i certainly know, staff, you have had the best team leader imaginable in kyle. [applause] gov. vitter: that is my campaign manager and chief of staff kyle rucker. [applause] >> kyle! kyle! kyle! kyle! gov. vitter: and last, but certainly not -- >> we love you!
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gov. vitter: well, i am about to return it, because i was going to say last but not least, thanks to all of you. you are family. we love you. are honored by your friendship. we are honored to have worked and fought side-by-side with you. we will always love you, and thank you so much for this enormous honor of service. thank you all. we love you so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] mr. bel edwards: thank you.
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what a great night. is this a great state or what? we heard a prayer while ago. we are supposed to glorify god in all that we do, so i will say right now, to god be the glory for tonight. first of all again, i begin with words of deep and profound gratitude for all of those who worked so hard, who were willing to believe that we could confound the conventional wisdom that this victory just could not happen. and yet, thanks to all of you, here we are. it did happen. [applause] mr. bel edwards: i love our great state and its wonderful people. i am especially grateful tonight to my beautiful wife. 26 years. my partner. [applause] mr. bel edwards. yes.
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she is a public school teacher. and she is the last person i talk to every night. i want to thank our children as well. for over two years, they did not see much of their poppa. and i have missed them tremendously. but they are the best children i could ever have hoped for. and i love them very much, and i want to tell them i appreciate them for everything they have done. they have sacrificed like you would not believe, but they knew that tonight was possible. i want to tell you that i thank my family. i am standing next to my mother. a charity hospital nurse a , charity hospital nurse who taught all of her children compassion for their fellow human beings. very much,you, mama, and tonight i cannot help but , think about my daddy. my poppa who i lost in april of
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last. a great man. a great public servant. who, along with my mother, raised eight children. a wonderful man who loved his hotel room where we are right now, and whose daddy came here in 1927, when he ran for sheriff and won, and he spent the night here and woke up the next morning and read the times picayune to make sure he really one the race. and my brothers and my sister. do not feel sorry for my sister. she was oldest, and she was plenty mean. [laughter] edwards: alice, i am kidding. they worked so incredibly hard. they came, they volunteered, they did things i never knew they did. they traveled the state, putting up signs, moving signs, talking to voters.
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i could not have had a more supportive family. both my wife and my kids, but also my my brothers, my sister, and my mother. nothing they did and nothing you did was more impotent and the up, notthat you offered just for me but for the great state of louisiana, so thank you very much. you know it takes a lot of to do , the footwork that to a campaign like this requires. calling people, telling our story. to those who contributed money to what a campaign like this cost, because it does cost a lot of money, but most of all, the good people who voted for us. god bless you. i am eternally grateful. i am humbled. thank you so very much for the confidence you have shown in me. i will not let you down. [cheers and applause]
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edwards: i want to thank the hundreds of committed volunteers all over the state of louisiana and i want to tell you , i have the best campaign staff that has ever worked in the state of louisiana. and it was the smallest campaign staff in the history of the state of louisiana, and it is the most underpaid campaign staff that has ever worked in the state of louisiana. i want to thank linda, my campaign manager right here. , she did a wonderful job. i want to thank [indiscernible], i want to thank a colleague from party, and i've -- and i wantalso to thank also my legislative colleagues, democratic and republican alike, but you always get in trouble when you do this,
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but i went to single out to my seatmate, sam jones. he worked tirelessly throughout. sam, thank you so much. he was the first true believer. and i want to take just a moment and thank jay darden. [cheers and applause] edwards: he is a great man and a committed public servant. he put louisiana for. not self. not party. but louisiana. i am so proud of him. this election shows us that the people of louisiana, in a time about deep cynicism about our politics and future, that the people have chosen hope over scorn and negativity and over a distrust of others. i did not create this breeze of
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hope blowing across our beautiful and blessed state, but i did catch it and i thank god i , did. this breeze has its roots in the songs of the louisiana hay rides the food of our cajun ancestors, , the spirituals of our --ican and karen african-american churches, in the faith of our italian immigrants, and the strawberry farmers and the energy of native americans and hispanic immigrants. no, i did not start the breeze of hope, but i did catch it and so did you. so did you. thank you. that is why we are here tonight. because we all caught the breeze. the people of louisiana have chosen to believe we can do better. and by doing better, we will be better. i submit to you, we will be better as of tonight. [cheers and applause]
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edwards: you know, struck by the words that nature can do, but down by attacks on education, embarrassed by the vanity of its leadership, the people of louisiana have chosen hope over business as usual. and, i pledge to treat their trust in this hopeful spirit as a sacred obligation. we have a lot to of hard work to -- we have a lot of hard work to do. we must unite to work together. together, regardless of party, regardless of gender, race, of geography, we are together. we are one louisiana. applause]\ mr. bel edwards: together, always putting louisiana first.
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together, always tackling our biggest challenge together. together restoring opportunity and prosperity for the great people of the great state of louisiana. now, let me tell you it is going to be difficult. but with god's blessing and your hard work and your prayers we will prevail whether it is our finances, education, job creation, transportation, taking care of the environment. we are going to prevail. and i want to invite all louisianans of all political persuasions, all ethnicities, i don't care your economic station in life. i want to invite all of you to join with us to work hard, to work together, to pull together, to move louisiana forward. so as abraham lincoln once said, to call on the better angels of our nature and catch this breeze of hope that these deep and abiding issues can be dealt with in ways that speak to the common good. i am going to be the governor of
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all the people. and i am thanking everybody in louisiana right now. whether you voted for me, did not vote for me, or did not vote. i am going to be your governor , and i am going to work just as hard for you as i am working for those people who have been supporting me from the first day. i'm going to work with you and for you just the same. and by the way, that goes for senator vitter, too. he called me a little earlier this evening, and he was very, very gracious. , and i what you all to know that i am going to work with others i want you want to know that i will work with him and every other elect did official, people and the private sector, people all over the state of louisiana. because every constituent of senator vitter is also a constituent of mine. he announced tonight that he will not seek reelection to the senate.
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my hope ands expectation that he and i will work together to serve the state of louisiana, to promote the common interest. and i look forward to that opportunity. so my pledge to you tonight remains the same as it has been four months. i will always be honest with you. i will never embarrass you. and i will get up every day the -- to put the great people of the great state of louisiana first. god bless you. god bless louisiana, and god bless the united states of america. [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪
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announcer: c-span has live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate on c-span2. over thanksgiving, watch our session with six members of congress. carter, an buddy republican from georgia, and the only pharmacist serving in congress. then, a new jersey democrat and long time union electrician. then a california democrat and former restaurant owner. at 10:30, congressman mark and a, republican, minister in his first elected office. then, congresswoman mimi waters inm california, and in turn d.c. when younger, and then a harvardsetts democrat, graduate, and marine who served four tours in iraq.
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this is on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span presents "landmark explores 12h historic supreme court decisions, including marbury versus madison, brown versus the board of education, miranda versus arizona, and roe versus wade. was written by" a veteran supreme court journalist and published by with cqn cooperation press. get your copy today at announcer: secret service director joseph clancy recently
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testified on the agency's conduct issues. they apologized for using an internal database for getting records. the actions were called inexcusable and unacceptable. other witnesses included the homeland security department director and a representative from the government accountability office. this is two hours.
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host: we will come to order. the purpose is to examine failures at the u.s. secret service and their implications government wide. himself forcognizes an opening statement. in september, the dhs office of inspector general, the oig, released a report on its ,our-month-long investigation and the findings were alarming. widespread violations of the privacy act and of agency policy occurred by secret service employees, who accessed and distributed information on past employment applications, and senior management did nothing immediately to stop it. the inspector general noted that the episode was deeply disturbing. said heion, dr. clancy had a different account of what -- directory told
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clancy said he had a different account of what was initially told oig. how did this happen? why did secret service membership not act, and why did director clancy change his account almost immediately after the report was released? the american people deserve answers. dhs must hold all responsible parties accountable. this is only one example of other incidences where secret service employees describe -- exhibited very poor behavior. some may be under the influence were involved in a suspicious package. director clancy was again not immediately informed. late last year, oig also reported about a 2011 incident where agents were diverted to an incident at the home of the director's assistant, which
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appeared to be a misuse of agency resources and violation of the code of ethics. the findings of the latest report are just another example of the damage to the american people's trust in the secret service. scandal after scandal emerges, and management is ill-informed or fails to act, the american people have cause for great concern. we entrust the secret service with tremendous tools. and authorities. they violate their contract with the american people pre-because of the recent failures, the toretary had a panel recommend changes to improve the service. the panel made broad recommendations in december 2014 related to training and personnel and security technology and operation and leadership. the panel report provided a broad growth map. expect director clancy to
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fully explain today what progress has been made in implementing the panel's recommendations. while congress has a responsibility to conduct rigorous oversight of the latest incident, we also must understand what is being done to improve the overall management of the secret service. also concerned that similar abuses and shortcomings could occur in other law enforcement agencies. it is important to understand what policies are in effect if any about abuse, whether it is a member of congress or one of our constituents. if it happened at this service, what is to say other agencies are any better? today, it must be about more than pointing fingers. americans have high expectations, as they should, with the secret service and want to their mission to be successful, which is critical to the well-being of the united states, and as we saw about the excellent work done during the
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papal visit and at the united nations general assembly, the service can succeed with proper oversight and leadership. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses how the secret service can overcome recent help.les to ae chair now recognizes member of the governmental affairs subcommittee on regulatory affairs, the gentleman from oklahoma. >> good morning, everyone. i am trying to think of a more soward position paid we are far away from each other. i do appreciate everyone here. i hope to walk through this process together. i do hope this shed some on thent light, not only secret service but government wide, and i want to acknowledge the role that the secret service
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bills and its incredible role for our country. we do very much appreciate the role the secret service plays and what it has done and continues to do. cannot, recent history be swept under the rug. the ig investigation looked at the protective information in march of this year. at the secret service continue to misuse their information.access 60 incidents of unauthorized access to the database by 45 secret service employees , asated the privacy act well as an internal and dhs policy. report also noted that 18 senior secret service executive failed to stop the unauthorized access or to inform director clancy about the unauthorized accesses. fairness, they were told to
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cease accessing the database. face, such widespread violations are deeply disturbing. ig did not question those involved if this was the only time they had inappropriately use the database. in the internet age, everyone is concerned that personal information can be stolen or misused. our agencies are not above the law. those involved must face appropriate consequences, but to me, there is a much bigger issue. these days, millions of ersonal data is stored online, and there were alarming findings. from 2009 to 2014, the number of security incidents involving personally identify -- identifiable information has more than doubled. gao has said that many agencies have fully implemented hundreds of recommendations previously made.
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these security weaknesses continue to exist, and the hasection of personal data by the irs, hhs, and other agencies than effected. just this month, the social security ministration office of inspector general released a report, showing the social security ministration paid monetary awards to 15 employees who were previously discovered to have access personal information to others without authorization. 50 employees who accessed information on others without authorization, and yet, in the end, they were rewarded despite breaking the law. in another example, the senate ammittee found that whistleblower was retaliated against for shedding light on prevention practices at ava hospital. this whistleblower learned that be a employees illegally and improperly accessed his private -- the records after
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question is now, how do we fix that americans believe means? take a step we can forward to address this issue and would like to thank mr. clancy and mr. roth for their testimony today. >> the chair recognizes mrs. watkins: for her statement. >> thank you for holding today's hearings. rector clancy, i want to extend my condolences in person on the loss of your father. rector and inspector general roth and mr. williamson, i thank you for your testimony. i also want to thank the men and
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women for their diligence and hard work during the recent visit and the 70th anniversary of the united nations general assembly. i am well aware of the gravity mission,cret service's particularly regarding its duty to protect the president along foreign dignitaries and oversee securities at major events domestically and abroad. thee i am confident overwhelming majority of the men and women of the secret service take their job seriously, i am appalled by the recent reports of operational lapses and poor judgment by senior-level management. there's aous widespread lack of consistent leadership within secret service. however, this did not just begin under director clancy's leadership. last year, secretary johnson commissioned the independent panel to evaluate the secret
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service. needed to service undergo a cultural change, including leadership capable of fostering greater accountability staff, modernizing administrative functions, including uniform division personnel. including their training. , inr the panel this panel 2015 alone, the inspector general issued to memoranda regarding misconduct among the secret service personnel and management advisories. the most recent was issued on october 21 when personnel were caught sleeping on the job. staffing and scheduling factors contributed to officer fatigue and this could oppose immediate danger. instead of addressing the root of the problem of having
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overworked agents, the secret service considered the finding and isolated incident. furthermore, most recent management advisory on improper the agencycess shows has a deeply rooted cultural problem not being addressed. the inspector general found 40 --nts improperly addressed access members of congress access an improperly database. the severity of the situation was not recognized and dismissed the data breach as a rumor. the inspector general found that instead of dealing with the situation, the director discussed the database access at a luncheon. what is more glaring is the inspector general found the assistant director of training appointed by director clancy to andss all development
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capacity for the agencies suggested the information contained in this database be leaked to embarrass a congressman. while this is reprehensible, it is not an official front to be here today to speak about it in isolation. we must have a broader discussion about the secret service management and culture. finally, i know the secret service cannot improve without help from congress. therefore, i need to know from the director what he needs from us to not only make the adequate changes for staffing but the technological advances for personal databases. i also need to know what his hens to the agency are, when has top level management that turns a blind eye and said of addressing issues. with that, i yield back the balance of my trying -- balance of my truck time -- balance my time. chairman perry: and now we
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turned to the gentlelady from north dakota for any statements that she may have. >> thank you, chairman perry and cochairman langford, i first want to say thank you for the brave men and the brave women who serve in the secret service. while i understand the last few months and few years have been marked by high profile incidences of agency misconduct, i know and you know that the majority of our agents work hard and put their lives on the line every day to protect the white house, has presidents, presidential candidates, and many officials and foreign dignitaries -- past presidents, presidential candidates, and many officials and foreign dignitaries. i know what a few people can do to the morale of an entire organization, and i know that just by looking at the faces behind you, is to clancy, i know
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the impact that these discussions have had. i am here in a spirit of, let's work together to make the secret service what the secret service should be, the most respected law enforcement agency in america. let's restore the morale of your agents, and let's work together in collaboration and cooperation to change this dynamic and to once again have your agents stand tall, if they tell their agents -- if they tell their friends and neighbors that they work for the secret service. that is why i am here today, is to remember and to remind everyone on this dais that there are literally thousands of men and women who every day walk alongside cars, willing to sacrifice their lives and serve protection as leaders -- for the leaders of this country. not one person can take away the
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bravery of those men and women, and so clearly, we have some issues to discuss, there is no doubt about it. you have already heard about the concerns that we have today. but my reason for being here and for being interested in this topic is really to restore the morale and restore the integrity of the secret service so that all of the brave men and women who have done nothing wrong in the secret service can once again hold their heads high. and once again, i yield -- i yield back the balance of my time. chairman perry: thank you. we recognize the gentleman from mississippi for his statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i think the subcommittee and the senate subcommittee on regulatory affairs for holding today's hearing, and i also think director clancy and inspector ross -- roth for being here today.
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i want to thank the men and women of the secret service doing both the papal visit and the anniversary of the united nations, and the dedication of the office of the secret service is admirable. unfortunately, their tireless work is taught -- is mired in the issues within the agency. these issues lasted long before director clancy's appointment. however, congress and the public and the offices and the agency he leads hold him accountable. prior to director clancy's appointed, this panel, known as the protective mission panel, has several glaring findings and recommendations. livy's findings was articulated
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through many years of oversight within the secret service. the law enforcement agency needs to undergo a cultural change that includes leadership that is capable of fostering greater accountability. pannell stated that the agency's star for leadership. -- the panel stated that the agency is starved for leadership. the panel completed its review, and the office of the inspector general looked at issues involving leadership of the secret service in more than one occasion.
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asmembers disrupted a bomb they drove through a barricade less not. the inspector general found at least 45 agents improperly accessed a mainframe personnel database to retrieve information and attempt to embarrass a member of congress. of those agency may have broken by improperly accessing this database, approximately 18 were at the gs 15 and ses levels. thefinal thoughts concluded director of the secret service, failed toof staff take seriously that agents were discussing information about the congressman's personnel files. the inspector general also made the finding that the director of training to manage and direct
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all aspects of personal, career development and professionalism suggested the information found in the database the leaked in retaliation to congressional oversight. the findings further illustrate there is a lack of leadership and accountability from the top down. , their instance leadership and accountability was shown. director clancy has indicated the secret service will be expanding and undergoing a rigorous and necessary hiring freeze. the new hires will be looking for their leaders for guidance. as the secret service expands, it's our responsibility to assist the secret service with adequate necessary funding for its russian. and the mission panel inspector general have confirmed the office can place protections
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at risk. it also needs to be able to properly vet employees before they begin work rather than continuing the practice of workingnclear personnel in sensitive areas. the new recruits should represent america and have opportunities for advancement. , the numbers are dismal. furthermore, it would be hard be the law enforcement to included seriously with a class action racial discrimination going over the secret service pothead and the secret service using every delay tactic thedent of resolving problem. the deeply rooted problems will insteade overnight but
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of continually glossing over, going forward with business as usual, i look forward to working with the secret service to advance its mission. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. bening statements may submitted for the record. we are pleased to have a distinguished panel of witnesses before us today. the witnesses entire written statements will appear in the record. the chair will introduce all the witnesses first and then recognize each of you for your testimony. the sturgis of the secret service in february of 2015, after serving as acting director. rigorously, mr. clancy served as the special agent in charge of the presidential division. he began with the secret service in 1984 in the philadelphia
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field office. the honorable john roth assume .he post of inspector general previously, mr. roth serves as the director of the fda and an assistant u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. welcome. mr. joe wilson is managing director of the technology he leads the gao where the gao possible relations across the federal government. joining the gao in 1979, he has led numerous reviews of information technology systems and management at a variety of federal agencies. welcome. mr. clancyecognizes for his opening statement. good morning, mr. chairman, chairman langford,
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chairman perry, chairman johnson, ranking member watson coleman and ranking member thompson. and distinguished members of the committee. the opportunity to testify. i plan to address the findings from the recent report and that many findings designed to .rotect the findings i also look forward to discussing the numerous organizational changes we've made at the secret service and would like to express my gratitude and recognize the support of secretary johnson and the congress in making many of these changes possible. i said this for you -- i said before you today a proud representatives of the men and women who selflessly execute the issue of this daily. as well as a number of high-profile cyber investigations served to reinforce this healing. , the secret service
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personnel are at this very moment deployed around the world ensuring the president's safety while in southeast asia in yet another example of their commitment and dedication to the mission. their many recent successes, i recognize the --inappropriately utilized an internal database to access the records of a member who is now part of congress. this is inexcusable and an acceptable. unacceptable. on behalf of the secret service, i would like to publicly renew my apology for this breach of trust and return to my commitment to restoring it.
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this violated secret service policies regarding the private acts of protecting information. at the time these investigations occurred, this required online train courses. i was angered by the willful disregard of these policies. i'm determined to ensure that all employees are held to the highest standards of professional conduct. i am committed to ensuring the regardless of rank or security coul. employees have been issued disciplinary proposals related to these events. the discipline is being administered in accordance with dhs and secret service policy.
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i'm confident they will be completed in a timely fashion. if intervening factor was the nature of the information systems that housed at the data. secret service recognizes sufficiency some years ago and began to modernize its infrastructure to allow for such data to be compartmentalized. to restrict the access to those with an official need to know. was completed this last june. at this time, the system has been officially retired. the number of employees with access to the new system has been reduced to more than 95%. much has been made of my decision to reopen the investigation on october 20 5, 2015. the oig provided a direct copy for my review.
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i became aware of the rumor on april 1. i have been made aware of the rumor on march 25. it was a rumor with no indication of employee --conduct here it misconduct." i took the initiative to contact mr. ross to make sure it was accurate. with respect to the recommendations of the admissions panel, tremendous progress has been made in all areas. we have significantly alter the way the secret -- altered the way the secret service is managed. we have expanded training opportunities for current members. i'm realistic in knowing that these changes will take time.
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in the interest of time, i will point you to my written testimony submitted in advance of this hearing for a more thorough description of this process. remuld like to close my emembering former assistant jerkedirector jerry parr. he is known for the actions he took during the 1981 assassination attempt on president ronald reagan. the decisions he made that day, including evacuating residents directly to the hospital, likely saved the president. reflecting on his passing, i had the opportunity to review a speech he made to a special agent training class in 1984. "an organizational culture is a product of time,
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successes, sufferings, failures, and hard work. so, a100 years or corporate memory evolves. it cannot by this corporate memory. this is a priceless commodity." as the men and women of this agency traverse these challenging times, it is important to remember that culture involves more than an agency's failures. thank you, and i welcome any questions you may have. >> thank you. the chair recognizes mr. rock for an opening statement i. >> members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here to testify. ve conducted a number
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of audits and investigations. we have a number of ongoing projects. the written testimony describes some of that work and expresses some of these implications. discovered the details about german jason chaffetz' a pplication secret service. we found that the entry contained in the master central index was accessed by secret 60 times thisees year. we concluded that the vast so didy of those who did it in violation of the privacy act of 1974. individual to identify disclosing this information to an outside source. of a number of individuals who acted with this
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information was so great, we were unable to identify others who may have disclosed information to third parties. we found the access began minutes after director clancy began testifying for the committee for oversight and government reform on march 24 and continued in the days following. his application was widespread and fueled and confirmed by improper access. of agents were accessing it improperly, and others were accessing it themselves. they did not copper and the --comprehend the seriousness of what was developing. attempted to stop this unlawful activity. the case management tool implemented in 1984 did not have the audit and access controls of the modern i.t. system or
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appropriately segregate the control system. would mitigate this kind of action. this also violates the privacy act, which requires safeguards to ensure the safety -- the security and confidentiality of the records. the secret service must ensure that only relevant records are maintained in these databases. the privacy act requires that the agency maintain its records as is relevant and necessary to serve the purpose of the agency. had recordst they of an unsuccessful application from 12 years earlier with sensitive information which could lead to identity theft led to the violation of the privacy act. received yearly refresher training, it is clear
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that many agents reduce regarded -- agents disregarded that training. toy migrated all that data about five other secret service information systems in december the 2015. -- december 2015. we're currently doing a technical assessment of the surgery systems that they now use to retrieve information. over the past year and a half, we have investigated the various allegationsvolving of misconduct and other issues related to the secret service is --serviceson organization. the secret service has taken steps to address these challenges, but not always successfully. we are looking at three
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incidents involving security lapses, including shopping fired from constitution avenue, an intruder jumping over the fence, and an arm guard coming in close proximity to the president. we are determining whether the secret service followed some protective policies and whether these corrections were adequate. the aim of this review is to determine and understand the root cause of these lapses. year, we planned to issue three reports on these incidents and report that identifies the root causes and identifies any other overarching recommendations. i welcome any other questions you are the subcommittee's behalf. --may have. >> thank you chairman perry. chairman langford. :.nking member coleman. member
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members of the subcommittee's bid iq for inviting me to testify. i will summarize our statement on information security across the federal government. we've had long-standing concerns about the state of information security in the federal government. we initially edified federal information security as a governmentwide high risk area 18 years ago. subsequently expanded this high risk designation to include computerized systems supporting the nation's critical infrastructure and the protection of privacy and personally identifiable information. the cyber threats facing our country continue to be very serious. incidentsights recent
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and the sharp increase of incidents reported by federal agencies over the past several years. this has risen from 5500 in 2006 in 2014. given the risks posed by external and internal threats and the increasing number of incidents. we takeucial that appropriate steps to secure systems and data. however, we and inspectors general have identified significant weaknesses in needed security controls. 2014, 19 of 24r major federal agencies declared information security as a material weakness or significant deficiency. agencies have reported witnesses--weaknesses in the key control areas that we track included those that we inempt to prevent, limit,
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particular, our work has often shown that too many agency employees have too much unnecessary access to unnecessary systems and databases. clear policies on access of information. he needs to be granted to users at the minimum level necessary perform job-related tasks on a need to know basis. the point of these activities is to track-- thatportant to make sure improper usage is properly identified and remedied. to address information security weaknesses that federal agencies , gao has made thousands of
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regulations. have may 2000 regulations to improve information security programs and controls. today, about 58 of these have been incremented. until these actions are federal networks and sensitive information, including personally identifiable information will be at increased risk from internal and external threats. actions to implement recommendations will strengthen systems and data security and reduce the risk of cyber intrusion or tax. --attacks. thank you. >> thank you come mr. williamson. the chernow recognizes himself for questions beginning with mr.
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roth. mr. roth, how the subpoenas regarding the safest incident-- were issued?dent >> one. were multiplere individuals who had breached the information and compromised it, thewould only one subpoenae issued-- be issued? >> most of it was from government systems, so no subpoena would be necessary. it is our policy in the circumstances to have a level of predication before we go and subpoena a personal telephone records. >> even those who admitted to
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wrongdoing? >> abstract. >-that's correct. ine index itself was created 1984. ability tohave the readily do the kinds of forensics that you would do on a modern data system. requiredwhat we were to do, what the ministers of the database were required to do, was right to scripts or programs to be able to find and access this information. it was time-consuming. ty ofse of the necessi finding this information as quickly as possible, we only ffetz'sd cha name. time, we have no idea if any other citizens have had something occur, whether was
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searched, we have no idea? >> that's correct. >> that unsettling. director clancy, are you familiar with operation moonlight? >> unfamiliar with some of the details. -- i'm familiar with some of the details. not meantmmittee is to impugn the credibility of your agency. americans currently have the highest regard and want to have that. i do something like that happen? secret service agency's government databases and equipment, time, material to survey of a private citizen's property without having to do anything. that is my narrative. what is yours? some --oing to rely on
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it was found as the oig's report that some people made decisions that were not supposed to happen and there were changes made in the management. i will read the subject, directive 2000 and nine. is from your agency. is moving forward based on what theoccurred, regarding information in the data breach. i want to give you information on a flavor of what i seizure. -- see here. "the employee will be provided with, should have an opportunity to the employee is entitled to.
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.." you get my gist. america is wondering what are the consequences of the actions accessr 41 employees to his data and whoever disseminated it. what are the consequences to those individuals? we see what the employees rights are. ffetzow does mr. cha get his reputation back? secretary johnson and i've met and talked about this in the of transparency. we made a joint decision that the department of homeland security would make proposals, and in this case, i will tell you, i heard the comments made
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today, they are reprehensible, disturbing, embarrassing, i agree with what has been said here today and my workforce does as well. this hearing today will help me get my word -- get the word out on the importance of protecting pii. we have the trainings and ethics guys, but hearing like this puts the definitive stamp on our failures. in this case, the individuals to answer your question, we are proposing, as of today, 42 will be issued rangingal of discipline anywhere between three days to 12 days of suspension. that the maximum of 12 days. so the maximum penalty, the maximum repercussion, we all
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know that when you look at these computer systems there's a warning in front that this is to be used for official business only. i have a secret security clearance. inrybody in the room knows, your agency knows that using this information for what it was used for was incorrect and improper and unauthorized and illegal. the toughest disciplinary action right now is not a loss or revocation of your secret security clearance, not the loss of your employment, it is 12 day 's suspension. grades 15 and below. those proposals have been issued today. i'm pretty clear on that. ses folks have not had this discipline proposed. what is the range of discipline or consequence for
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?r. lowry what can we expect? >> the range goes from reprimand to removal. >> the chair recognizes the thuman from oklahoma. >--gentleman from oklahoma. >> thank you, chairman langford. everyone, director clancy, every , theret that we know of seems like there was not an adult in the room. there was no one who provided that voice to say, hey guys, this is not the way to do this. we have a responsibility that is higher. while we look at management and resources, you said in your testimony that you talked about culture corporate coulte
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of the secret service is a priceless commodity. you can't do it just from a management standpoint. you have got to change the culture at the bottom. that is one of the concerns we have. all of this has happened with great impunity, and you cannot touch me. the chairman just talked about that. or, it is ok to do this. know, as management changes, as we look at systemic rules and policies, those are only as good as the commitment of people at every level within the secret service. what are you doing to build capacity for people to be the adult in the room to say this is not what we do in the secret service?
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this discipline system is relatively new, approximately two years old. in the past, it was held at a local level. now, everything is funneled to the office of integrity. >> i'm not talking about discipline. i'm talking about culture. consequences are a part of changing that culture. what about the integrity at every level of basically saying, we don't do this, we don't go to hotels and hire people to service us? we don't drive into the white house and disrupt a major investigation. we don't access a congressman's secret record. who is the person, how are we training people at every level to stand up and stop this behavior? i don't think we can do it just having hearings like this.
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i think we need to restore this priceless commodity you are talking about. it's the integrity element of the men and women at every level knowing it is their responsibility to help maintain the secret service. that we have to do more in terms of communicating with our people. we can have all the training, for example, i've been to approximately 10 of our field offices. i speak personally to our agency. i walk around the white house and talk to the officers. i took recruits by to their graduation. i tell them what they represent and what is expected of them. i have to do more of that and so does the staff. we have to keep communicating to our people. what congress is doing today is a help to our agency and our people. the seriousness of this case resonates in these types of
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hearings. >> i think the issue of coulter has a lot to do with what we have been experiencing and some of the lapses that have occurred. i want to talk about the panel's recommendation. one of the things noted in the panel was that we needed new leadership. we need a new leadership that didn't have the long term that might somehow influence the relationship they did have and feed it a sort of insular way. you have a 27 year record or experience with the agency.
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clearly you are an insider. there was a removal of a number of deputies and they were replaced, and the majority of the deputies that were replaced were also from within the agency with long service records. my question is, how do we change the culture of the organization if the very top leadership has been a part of that culture and perhaps only sees this organization from within? would we have not been better served had you identified the capacity to go to the outside and find people with certain skills, leadership abilities, accountabilities that would -- that would have transcended the relationships that individuals may have had, could that possibly have helped us become more efficient, more effective and more accountable as an agency? mr. clancy: thank you for that question. i tell you that this position,
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the director's position should have been someone from the outside. there's good reason for that. i understand that. i consider the fact that i had left the service for three years, worked in private industry, has allowed me to bring me some outside views on how to run a business and how to run this agency. so what i did do is first of all, i brought in a chief operating officer, a civilian, from outside the agency. and that c.o.o., the chief operating officer, is equivalent to the deputy director. additionally, we created a lot of subject matter expert positions where traditionally they answer to agents. you know, prior to me arriving here, all the top level security was run by agents, and some of them candidly were not subject matter experts. for example, finance. we now have a chief financial officer who does not answer directly to an assistant director. she is the chief financial officer. chief technology officer is an engineer, not an agent.
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the chief strategy officer is a lawyer who's not an agent. there's a few others as well. so we brought in -- we're trying to bring in this outside perspective to run this business but also move the agents into our core mission of protection and investigations. mrs. watson coleman: so talk to me about your ability to bring in not only new people into the agency but more diverse people. because the information i read regarding the secret service is that it is predominantly white male, there are -- there's a small percentage of women and not very -- not consistent with across the board in federal government. what are you doing to address the issue of lack of diversity in terms of race and ethnicity and gender in positions? and what are you doing to address the long-standing and outstanding issue with the civil rights complaints? that move beyond them as opposed
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to using this system to delay the implementation of the corrective actions that could be taking place? thank you. mr. clancy: in terms of diversity, i'd ask you to look at my executive staff. on that staff of approximately 12 people, we have five african-american, six females and -- but going down throughout the ranks, you're correct. we are not where we want to be with diversity. so we are targeting universities that are -- provide diversity for us. we've shortened our hiring process where we can go to these universities and over a weekend period of time do a testing, an interview and polygraph if the first two steps are met. but we are targeting specific areas of the country to really work on this diversity. because we are deficient in that area. certainly with females as well.
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we are working diligently to try to improve that diversity. mrs. watson coleman: thank you. i yield back for another -- >> the chair thanks the gentlelady. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. johnson. senator johnson: in your written testimony you state that, quote, "information was accessed by secret service employees on approximately 60 occasions between march 26 and april 2 of this year and you went on to say that we concluded that the vast majority who accessed this information did so in violation of the privacy act of 1974. what are the pants for violating the privacy act of 1974? mr. roth: there's civil penalties for the agency if there is a widespread sort of gross negligence standard. for individuals who accessed the system and to -- improperly, knowing it was protected under the privacy act. that's a misdemeanor which has a
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fine as a penalty but no custodial sentence. senator johnson: is there any department of justice investigation undertaken right now to determine whether those misdemeanors were being to be -- are they going to be prosecuted? mr. roth: no. during the course of our investigation, we presented a case of the most compelling case we had and it was declined by the u.s. attorney's office. senator johnson: why would that be? mr. roth: there's several reasons. first of all, each individual agent has a fifth amendment right to not speak to us if in fact he's under criminal jeopardy so we could not interview individuals compel their interview which we ultimately had to do in this case for a lack of voluntary cooperation. so the level of evidence that the department of justice had was not sufficient for them to move forward.
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additionally, when one looks at the penalty it was simply a matter of competing resources. senator johnson: director clancy, i got involved in looking into the culture problems with the secret service back in early 2012 after events in cartagena. this is not why i ran for the united states senate was to look into the secret service. it's an agency that we all want to have a high deal of credibility and, you know, as you stated in your testimony, the culture in many respects is almost, you know, beyond rapprochement. it's a fabulous agency. they're doing great work, but the other hand, there's a real cultural problem. what are you going to do about it? i mean, i hear communication. i understand communication, but actions speak far louder than words. and when we're just talking
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about a disciplinary process, when there are violations of the privacy act and there are no prosecutions of it, nobody is held to the misdemeanor penalties, there's nothing more corrosive in an organization that has a cultural problem when misdeeds go unpunished. so what actions are going to be taken? this is three years now. you know, cartagena occurred in april of 2012. we had 2013 and 2014 and 2015. three years later, we have a number of members of the secret service violating the privacy act. mr. perry: we have benchmarked that with other agencies. so we are we want to be consistent with what's being
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agencies. we want to be consistent with what is being done across the board. and just recently i published for the first time to our entire work force our integrity, the discipline over the past year. so they can see what types of cases are out there, are supervisors being disciplined equal to the work force? we are trying to be transparent. that communication is critical here, but we are trying to be more transparent and driving home the point people will be held accountable. in this case they will be held accountable. mr. johnson: there are a lot of protection force the employees, the actual agents, again it's hard to see the accountability. do you find that to be a problem? are you constrained in what actions you would like to take based on all the protections for the agents? should we have -- should we be looking at the law there and making sure the agencies have
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enough power to actually hold people accountable? director clancy: i think the accepted service would allow us to speed up the proposals and the discipline process. i know sometimes we are delayed in the process as we move forward. senator johnson: you would like some ability to take stronger action quicker? director clancy: yes. senator johnson: we need to take that into account. thank you. mr. perry: the chair now recognizes the gentleman from mississippi, mr. thompson. mr. thompson: thank you very much, mr. chairman. almost to the member before me the conversation has been about the culture, the organization. and i think it speaks to whether or not internally we can fix it or do we just cover it up?
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and i'll get to a specific shortly. inspector roth, in your review of the secret service, how would you describe the culture within the service, especially at the executive level? mr. roth: as we noted in the report on the access to chairman chaffetz's employment record, we found a number of supervisors who, in fact, themselves had access to m.c.i. to me that was a very troubling incident. additionally, few people then elevated their concerns or the fact that this was being used to a high enough level of management for something to be done. so that was sort of certainly troubling behavior that we identified. mr. thompson: let me -- so we had senior level people
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accessing information. then we had that information being it noted by people above those individuals, and is your testimony that nothing happened? mr. roth: that's correct. i'll give two examples, if i may. the first was the special agent in charge of the washington field office came to understand some of her employees were accessing the m.c.i. to understand whether or not that rumor existed. she ordered her individual, her subordinates, to cut it out, i think her exact words were knock it off or quit fooling around with the m.c.i. database. in fact that's what occurred in the washington field office. unfortunately throughout the country other individuals were doing that. so that would be one example. the second example is the special agent in charge of the indianapolis field division who was, frankly, curious why it
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was, in his view, chairman chaffetz was so hard on director clancy. and he just out of idle curiosity accessed the database himself to discover, in fact, that chairman chaffetz was a prior applicant. he did nothing with that information. did not elevate it up or do any other kind of conduct. there are a number of examples like that. mr. thompson: thank you very much. so director clancy, i hope you sense the membership's concern about the culture. and i would hope that going forward you would take this hearing, as you said, as a
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moment of instruction to try to fix it. the men and women deserve it. they do wonderful job. and -- it's about leadership. and i think it's absolutely important. as you know, i have been talking to you since the summer. a little small issue to some. it's relative to the fact that we found out that there was 643 employees assigned to duty that require a security clearance and they were working for the department without the completion of the clearances. and i had asked you for the demographics of those individuals. and as of this date i don't have the information. i know you have been busy, but can you give me some indication
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when i can expect to receive the demographics of those 643 employees? director clancy: yes, sir. first of all my apologies you have not received that information. 640 individuals i'm assuming may be department wide. i think within the secret service we did have people working that did not have their security clearances. i think it was much less than that. we'll get you an answer in the coming days on that -- mr. thompson: it was department wide over a five-year period. my point is some of us run into men and women around the country who indicate that i'm trying to get employed with the secret service, but they tell me i can't get considered for employment because i haven't been cleared. i can't go to training.
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i can't do a lot of things. but it troubles some of us when we already employing people whose job require clearance on the other hand. so i don't know if that's favoritism or what, but it's real concerning. director clancy: i'll follow up on that, sir. i can tell you that we don't look at that diversity in terms of who gets a security clearance, who does not. in this case the one that you referenced, i'll speak for the secret service, we were delinquent as we went through this hiring process. we did not get people their security clearances in a timely manner. and they were assigned to positions outside of washington for the most part. but what we have done now is we brought in some contractors, additional 14 contractors, who ensure this never happens again where someone goes through our training when they get their graduation, when they graduate, they should have their clearance.
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that has been resolved now within the secret service. mr. thompson: thank you. so is your testimony that nobody working for the secret service right now without a security clearance? director clancy: that's correct. to the best of my knowledge that is correct. mr. thompson: can you verify that for the committee? director clancy: yes, sir. mr. thompson: yield back, mr. chair. mr. perry: the chairman now recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. loudermilk. mr. loudermilk: that you, mr. chairman. and thank you-all for being here. this is especially troubling for me as we look back over the history of this incredible agency, this service. it's an icon of what i think is american exceptionalism. and the action that is we have seen take place of course it tarnishes the reputation of the service. but more so i think it really tarnishes the image the american people have of what they have
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always elevated as the exceptional service. not just in the nation but in the world. and i think it's imperative that we address these issues not just in hindsight but going forward to make sure we restore the trust of the american people, the trust of congress, and the trust of the protectees. mr. roth, you said something in your written statement that really struck me here. the secret service has certainly taken steps to address these challenges. but not always successfully. these persistent challenges may not be easy to resolve through actions such as suspending employees and issuing new guidance. they may require more fundamental change that addresses the root of the misconduct. i think that's what we need to focus. what is the root, in your opinion, what's the root of the problem?
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mr. roth: when you look at guidance with regard to creating a ethical culture, they say it comes in three dimensions. one is tone at the top, not just the very top but all through leadership of an organization. the leaders have to set the exact right tone. the second is to have a code of conduct and ethics that is truly meaningful. the third is to enforce that code of conduct in a way that expresses to the rank and file that you mean what you say with regard to that tone at the top. you have to look at all three of those things. as director clancy said, i think the middle part, code of conduct, was not there until cartagena. there have been steps they have taken since then to establish a more rigorous policy. that's certainly an improvement we think is well deserved or a positive step in the right direction. again, it has to be tone all the way through the organization, as well as a meaningful enforcement of that code of conduct.
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a mr. loudermilk: i have a timeline of misconduct that went back to cartagena, but it goes back to 2011. up until that time -- there is misconduct in any organization. was there a history like we are seeing now, mr. roth, that you are aware of, prior to the last four or five years? mr. roth: i'm not aware of it. i don't have any insight into it. certainly we are only as good as the audits we do and the investigations we do. we didn't have anything before that. mr. loudermilk: thank you. mr. clancy, i applaud your efforts. you have a difficult task. you have been in the agency for quite a while. do you recall there was the level or consistency of misconduct previously in the agency, or is this something new? director clancy: i think agency
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has always had misconduct. the secret service has had misconduct in the past. i think it has more -- more attention has been brought to this misconduct in the last several years, and that's a good thing. i applaud the inspector general's office for that. this has to be brought out in the open. these misconduct episodes, otherwise we won't correct it. mr. loudermilk: make sure i understood it right. you're trying to benchmark your disciplinary actions of other agencies, is that what you're referring to? looking at other agencies? director clancy: yes. my understanding when the table of penalties was built out, our legal team worked with other agencies to see what they were doing from a discipline standpoint, what their table penalties were. and we took their best ideas, best practices and built ours. mr. loudermilk: i would suggest, you guys have to be a little stronger, little better. the nature of the work that you do is so important to this nation. one last thing.
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we talked a lot about culture in here, and that is true. i think what you're getting at is the culture of the agency, it's the espirit de corps. you're in the secret service. you have an obligation to the integrity, the honor, and the dignity to uphold this agency. and i think that may be what's missing somewhere, just real quickly, i was going over this timeline, and there seems to be a common element with a lot of these. i look at cartagena, alcohol was involved. june, 2013, alcohol. november, 2013, abuse of alcohol. december, 2013, alcohol. march, alcohol. june, 2014, alcohol. there seems to be this continual cycle of alcohol abuse associated with this which, from my experience in the military, usually indicates that there's a morale issue.
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i'll let you comment and i'll yield back after that. director clancy: you're correct, congressman. we do have a morale issue. a lot of it is because of our staffing. that's one of the things we need to do work is our staffing so we can build up the staffing level we can get more training which our people want, give them a better quality of life, which will help their morale as well. again, to your point here today, the accountability and discipline matters also helps that morale. are we going to hold people accountable? i will tell you the episodes since i have been here, you mentioned the march 4 incident where an individual -- two individuals after retirement party drove on to the white house. i can tell you that retirement parties now are -- i don't know of any taking place. people got that message. what we are talking about today, p.i.i., people are getting the message. unfortunately it takes these significant errors, misconduct to resonate sometimes with our people.
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i do want to also say one thing. less than 1% of our people are involved in this misconduct. 99%, some of you mentioned, are doing the right thing. but we have to focus on that less than 1% because we are held to a very high and rightfully so, we are held at a high level. mr. loudermilk: i hope you can get the service back to the point where people aren't doing the right thing because they are afraid of the discipline, but they are doing the right thing because they are dedicated to their job, to the service, to the spirit of the service, and their oath to the constitution. thank you, sir. mr. chairman, i yield back. mr. perry: the chair thanks the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from california, mrs. torres. mrs. torres: thank you, mr. chairman. director clancy, just to be -- to have some statistics here on the record, according to the partnership for public service the agency is 74% male, is that correct?
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director clancy: 75% -- let me just check that real quick. that sounds correct. mrs. torres: 72% white. leaving it severely out of step with other agencies. women make up 25% of the agency's work force, but only about 11% of the agents and uniform officers. director clancy: you're correct, yes. mrs. torres: you talked about your outreach efforts with universities and targeting certain areas of the nation. have you engaged an employment agency to help you or to advise you in finding a more diverse work force?
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director clancy: i'm not aware we have done -- taken that step yet. it's an excellent suggestion that we may look into. i will tell you that when we go to these different areas of the country, we have a very diverse group recruiting group that goes out to try to encourage females to apply, as well as across the board in diversity. mrs. torres: are you targeting also the military or law enforcement agencies looking for -- there's great people working -- director clancy: we go to military bases. again we run what we call these entry level assessment centers, so that, for example, the military base, if you want to apply for a job with the secret service, we can do a testing initially. if you pass the test, that very day we can do a super interview of you.
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if it looks like you're a good candidate, then we move you right to a polygraph all within a weekend to speed up that process. absolutely. the military bases, we found personally that people that have had military background serve us very well. mrs. torres: they have a high work ethic. they understand the pecking order. they understand the need to serve. i am disturbed by the incidents. i am happy to hear that it's a therei am happy to hear that it's a reflection on less than 1% of the work force, but by no means does it make me feel like better or safer. so would you say you have an agent problem or do you have a management problem? director clancy: management problem. it starts with me. there's no question. it's a management problem, it's a management problem, leadership problem that i have to find an answer to. mrs. torres: have you taken steps to ensure that when we are here climbing down on agents
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that tougher disciplinary actions are taken upon the . people who supervise them? director clancy: supervisors are held accountable. again, we put this out, again, trying to be transparent, to show our work force how -- mrs. torres: are there policies in place to ensure that whistle blowers are protected? director clancy: everyone in the service knows that whistle blowers perform a vital function and they cannot be -- there is no retaliation, there is no -- you have to let them go. mrs. torres: so, there are disciplinary steps that the agency takes when the department rules are violated? director clancy: yes. mrs. torres: and there are disciplinary steps that the department takes when our laws are broken? director clancy: yes. adirector clancy: yes.
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mrs. torres: the agents are read miranda rights, is that what you were referring to an earlier question? director clancy: no, they are not read miranda rights. they are read others. let the inspector general correct me here. but that's what they are read, yes. mrs. torres: i come from the civilian part of law enforcement. so criminal charges are filed i whether they are felony charges or misdemeanor charges. what are your steps? what steps do you take during will will that process? will that process? director clancy: if criminal will charges are filed, we typically immediately move to will removing the security clearance. so that this individual can no longer have access to any of the protected facilities, any access to any of our protectees or any of our --
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mrs. torres: what happens to the rest of that immediate department that are working with that employee now in the process of a criminal investigation and their supervisors? director clancy: if it's -- at that point we don't have -- we remove all their badges. we remove their equipment. and then it goes through the normal course of criminal justice system. mrs. torres: my time is out, but what i'm trying to figure out is if you have a rotten apple, how do you ensure that the whole bowl isn't bad? director clancy: we can remove them very quickly in that case when there is criminal charges. mr. chairman, if i could just correct the record for one item. ranking member thompson asked me about the security clearances. our agents and officers, some of them in training now, have not had their clearances settled. they will by graduation. so anyone who graduates from our academy will have security clearance.
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while they are going through will will training some of them may not have. mr. thompson: as of this summer when we talked, that was not the case. the speaker pro tempore: that's correct. that was not the case. you're correct, yes mr. perry: the chair thanks the gentlelady. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. clawson. mr. clawson: sorry to hear about your dad. director clancy: thank you, sir. mr. clawson: greatest generation. i know many here lost their fathers from that generation and i think we learned from them. was your dad a vet? director clancy: he was. mr. clawson: i know all about this. i just lost my mom. it's the generation that the class is halfful. put the team first. work hard and go to church on sunday and the rest answers itself, right? director clancy: yes, sir. absolutely. mr. clawson: we were lucky to have those kind of folks. director clancy: yes, sir.
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thank you. mr. clawson: although we do a little bit for our country now, without ever saying it that remind us compared to what they did we don't do much. director clancy: yes, sir. mr. clawson: i have full respect and admiration for you and your dad. i walls thought organizational culture being performance and how your agent and employees think of themselves is dependent on those because they see it. when that bad behavior is not dealt with quickly, it impacts that culture and how we view each other. because it discourages good performers that they are doing their job every day. everything tells me that these incidents of bad behavior ought to be isolated, put up in lights for everyone to see, and that action needs to be taken quickly. therefore -- and that that really is the responsibility of leadership. therefore, when it drags on and on, when it drags on and on, it really sends a bad message to
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this corporate culture that you referred to earlier. why so slow? i mean systematic, you're the chief and you got the head of homeland security. let's go. let's take some action so you can do what's right and preserve the culture for all your great performers. am i missing something on that? why so slow? director clancy: you're correct. again certainly if there is any criminal activity, it's quicker. we can remove security clearance right away. with other types of misconduct, it does take time for the full investigation. and again in transparency we had the o.i.g. handle this investigation to do a very thorough investigation and then once the investigation was completed, then we could move forward with that discipline. under title 5, the employees,
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federal employees are given certain rights and we follow that process. but eventually we get to where we need to be. eventually we do get to where we need to be. mr. clawson: it's going slow for my pace. typical folks that run large organizations don't understand this kind of length of time for -- it just festers because you don't put it behind you. my point is let's get going. i have found in organizational change, if you don't change a third of your people in positions of responsibility, you won't change the culture. because they are going to outwait you. they always out wait you. if you change more than 50% then you may have a problem with the institutional memory that you discussed earlier. i'm really glad you brought diversity and experience into your direct reports, but they'll outwait you below that.
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no rule of thumb is 100% for sure, but film' sitting in your chair and not changing a third of my managers, and you're thinking you're going to change your organization, good luck. don't believe it. don't know if you thought of it in numeric terms, but let's get a performance culture going without washing away the memory of the successes of the past. i'm all for having both and i don't think if you implied this in your early comments, i don't think it's one or the other. change your culture and preserve the successes of the past. does that make sense? director clancy: it does, yes, sir. mr. clawson: anything i said you would disagree with? director clancy: i wouldn't, sir. mr. clawson: we want you to succeed. we can talk all day about whether you should be in the job or not but you're in the job. we need you to be successful.
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anything can i do and our group, we want you to succeed. i really like the tone at the top. so let's get them. thank you. mr. perry: the chair thanks the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter. mr. carter: thank you, mr. chairman. thank all of you for being here. mr. clancy, how many times -- when did you get -- become the acting director? director clancy: october 6, i believe. mr. -- of 2014. mr. carter: how many times have you appeared before congress in director clancy: this may be my sixth or seventh. mr. carter: i have been here since january 6, i think this is the fourth time i've seen you. obviously we got concerns here. and there seems to be an ongoing problem. as you might know i'm very fortunate to have the federal law enforcement training center in my district.
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and i'm familiar with the training that takes place with the secret service agents down there, and i think they do an excellent job. i also want to remind you of the protective mission panel that came out and actually said that the amount of training that the secret service agents were getting was far below what it should be. in fact, i think at one time they said it was equaled only to 25 minutes for each 1,300 uniformed officers? what are we doing to change that? director clancy: you're absolutely correct. i have been down to your federal law enforcement training center. they do a great job down there and they help us as we try to build our staffing levels. in terms of what we have done, uniform division, 99% have gone through a building defense exercise training mission. 10-hour block. additionally, approximately 700 of our uniformed officers have gone through a three-day training period where they do their firearms, emergency medicine, control tactics. number of things. the agents on the president's detail, we have increased the
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number of agents on the president's detail. by the second quarter, early january, we went out have increased the numbers there by 85, which is what was recommended by the blue ribbon panel, and that will help their training. so we have increased training. by 85% on the president's detail in the past year. mr. carter: specifically, let's get to what we are here about today and that is chairman chaffetz and that situation. inspector roth has stated that several of the agents that violated the secret service and the homeland security policies, when they accessed his records, this is a criminal offense, don't you think? director clancy: it's on the books as a criminal offense. mr. carter: tell me what you have done. have these people been fired? have they been disciplined at all? a criminal offense by an agency that we hold to the highest standard. earlier, i'm a little frustrated by some of the things i heard here.
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keep in mind that we up here are experts at spin and pivoting. my campaign manager, that was his favorite word. all of a sudden i heard about the data. give me a break. if they wanted to see this they were going to see it i don't care how the data was protected. how can you let this go on? why didn't you fire these people? don't you agree? they do this was wrong. -- knew this was wrong. director clancy: i do agree. certainly there's misconduct here. the discipline has been proposed for those 15 and below. but the data is also important. it's a sidestep. mr. carter: i understand that. i respect that and i acknowledge it is important that it be protected. but still the basic premise here is that they knew what they were doing was wrong. director clancy: the o.i.g. report they should have known what they were doing was wrong.
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some of them i think will acknowledge -- mr. carter: should have known? to an agency that we consider to be -- to hold at the highest level? i just can't go along with that. even you yourself said it was inexcusable and unacceptable. and it is. it deserves discipline. i'm a small business man. i have employees as well. i can tell you when something like this happens -- i'm not trying to tell how to run your business, you know as well as i do that when you got a cancer, you got to get rid of t otherwise it will destroy your whole business. you have to get rid of this cancer here. you have to set an example. and you have an opportunity right here to set an example because what they did was wrong. they knew it was wrong. and they deserve discipline. they deserve to be let go. director clancy: we do look at the whole picture here, too. the whole person. some of these people have spent 28 years with no discipline in their history. some of them self-report it.
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some of them, they are all obviously very remorseful. it was wrong, yes. we do look at the whole picture. the whole person of their career. mr. carter: i get that. i want to make sure that the punishment befits the crime. i understand that. and you should look at their whole career. at the same time, again, you have been here six times since you took office. we don't -- we want you to succeed. we don't want to see you fail. we don't want to see you here anymore is essentially it. we want you to do this. we want you to do well. but we got to have you help. mr. chairman, i yield back. mr. perry: the chair thanks the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. -- senator lankford. senator lankford: thank you. let me state a couple things i picked up from a lot of the conversation here today.
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i want to walkthrough multiple questions. there are a lot of issues with secret service. that's been well documented. i want to talk about that a little bit. i would say to you, i do disagree with one of the findings of the panel, do i think someone from the inside needs to be there to fix it. someone from the outside that doesn't have the same law enforcement backgrounds or doesn't have the same sense of corporate identity with secret service walks in as an outsider and has a different opinion on it. someone on the inside can say i'm one of us and can turn things around. i appreciate you there. i'll come back that. mr. roth, let me ask you a question, is it your sense for these individuals that accessed this database it was the first time for them to access this database like this? did anyone ever ask them, gosh, did you just happen to think, gosh, maybe i should look at jason chaffetz' records? someone said i think i could get access to that. or did this look like a pattern of behavior if they are interested in someone they can pull it? mr. roth: i think it ran the gamut depending on the agent.
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some didn't think it was wrong at all. it was our database. it was a secret service database unlike n.c.i.c. or one of the other larger criminal databases. this was one by the secret service and saw nothing wrong with it. others didn't understand it was wrong until after they did it. then they realized, gee, i probably should not have done it. senator lankford: there is training that happens multiple times a year both orally and electronically. your computer when it starts it up there it says for official use only. still your perception some individuals ignored that and said it's our database, we can do what we want? mr. roth: that's correct. senator lankford: the problem is if they can pull a member of congress, an individual there, that also means the new neighbor down the street, i can check my records and see if there is something on the new neighbor down the street. when their daughter starts dating some new guy they can
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pull his family and pull the records on it. if this is someone they don't like, they can pull their records. what we saw from the v.a. and talk about this for g.a.o. in just a moment, but the v.a. became a whistleblower there and we found other employees that were pulling records that were medical records on someone they didn't like as a whistleblower in the process. the challenge that we have here is access to data and it's official and nonofficial and how do we direct this? based on your perception of walking through this, with secret service, is it your perception this has been an ongoing issue for some employees just to be able to use that database as just, i can go look at it, whether it's official, nonofficial, and they blur those lines? mr. roth: that's the sense we got from. -- from at least to some of the agents we interviewed who accessed the database. mr. willemssen: how do we identify this. also during the year had something toes to information for unofficial purposes and looked people up. v.a. has this issue we can talk about with someone grabbing
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information that's a whistleblower. how many agencies have good systems in place to be able to audit at least how individuals access these sensitive databases? mr. willemssen: this is probably the most common issue we see when we are doing detailed information security audits. too many people have access to things they don't need access to. it's not part of their job description. they don't have a need to know. yet they are given access. access is a real issue. it's one that we -- i would say that's probably the most frequent one we come up with. another issue that's interesting in this case is when you're collecting p.i.i., one of the things you do is end up scheduling a records notice with national archives and records administration to among other things tell them how long you'll keep the files before you dispose of it.
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i was curious about why an application filed from 2003 would be kept 12 years later. those kinds of things should be disposed of fairly quickly. hopefully that's part of what this service will be doing going forward. you're supposed to schedule those records out and dispose of them at a certain date. sometimes one year, sometimes five years -- senator lankford: can you pause on that. mr. clancy, the electronic records that are not applicable, and paper records, it's my understanding there are still some offices though the access point has been changed electronically, if you go into a file room, those old application files may still be there in paper form as well. has that been dealt with? director clancy: yes. we are moving forward to, for example, applicants, every two years those files will be purged. now, right now there's an investigation going on with the inspector general so some of that will be delayed slightly until they are through the investigation. but that is the plan forward. and also with the applicants in mind, 95% of the people that had access before no longer will
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have access because of the new system. senator lankford: both paper and electronic for those officers around the country? do they still have access to paper records in a filing cabinet? director clancy: i have to get back to you with a good solid answer on that. i think we moved away from a lot of the paper, but i will get you a better answer. >> that would be something wise to evaluate as well. to make sure that is also purged. it may be that if you have access to that room and you also have access to those files. which agency would you identify and say this is a good model example of how to handle personally identifiable? have one.t >> that is depressing. >> yes, it is.
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on the more optimistic note, since the cyber disaster this has become a major priority. heads now recognize that this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. >> this is something that gao has for years and years than to fight issues with va. prevent unauthorized access of medical and private information for our veterans? have a significantly high percentage of systems considered , theimpact systems
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disclosure of data or modification of data because of medical records considered to be very severe in terms of possible impact if lost, stolen or reviewed by others. so you have to put much stricter controls. including monitoring users and what they are doing and if they have any atypical patterns and use -- senator lankford: is this an audit or algorithm. mr. willemssen: it's both. it's contained in national institute of standards and technology guidance for high impact systems. like i say v.a. has a significant percentage of high impact systems where you've got to put these kind of controls in place to try to prevent the kind of situations that you described. mr. lankford: mr. chairman, i would like -- i don't know if we have a second round of questions but i do have additional questions for director clancy as well.
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mr. perry: i recognize mrs. watson coleman for a second round. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. chairman. you know, i know we were here, i know that my colleagues wanted us to sort of focus on what happened to chairman chaffetz, i think if i were he, i probably would want this to go away now. take care of the business that needs to be taken care of. discipline the people that need to be disciplined. learn the lessons that you need to learn. i don't think he needs to have this or wants to have this as a continuing story. but it does speak to other issues that were identified and does speak to a culture or way of thinking or way of doing business or the way we -- we perceive ourselves on the inside that needs to be addressed.
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i know you have expectations for that changing. i'd like to know any steps that you're actually taking to change the culture in the form of action? what happens with your executive level? what happens with the level beneath that? the supervisory level? what happens with the rank and file level? how are you addressing the need to get our agency to think more differently about how we come to work, what we do at work, we don't sleep at work, we don't sex text under any circumstances. we don't look into files that we don't have a responsibility or need to look into. is there going to be some sort of a fail-safe mechanism that shows when the file is being accessed by someone who shouldn't be or has a reason to be? i would like to know some steps that you're taking.
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thank you. director clancy: you just think in terms of the overall culture here, one of the things we are doing is we are trying to have our work force take ownership of this agency. it's their agency. and let me just give you one example. just three or four weeks ago we started a new program, it's a crowd sourcing type of service on our internet where our agents and our officers and all of our employees, professional staff, can send in ideas, suggestions. what we should be doing better, what we should be looking at. and they get other people from the work force looking at that. they can like that for a better term, and then it forces the executive staff to look at that. we have seen this as a very positive already within a few weeks.
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we have had close to 200 hits what we call spark, where people have taken ownership of their agency. i think that's where we got to get to that point. it is management. it's my leadership. but additionally it's the individuals who have to take ownership of this agency. i will say again, 99% of our people do have that ownership. mrs. watson coleman: mr. clancy, i have been on the executive branch of government and i know it takes that kind of expectation, but it takes a plan of action and it takes whether or not you're hiring people from the outside who look at these issues and work through groups and you work down through the organizations. so at some point i'd like to know if you're planning to do those kinds of action steps. then the last question is, i really do want to know, is there some sort of way that there is a notification of accessing information when you're not -- when it's out of order for what you're doing, it's not related to your case. your identification number to get into it signals whether or not you are or are not the right person to be accessing this information. as a follow-up to senator lankford's concerns. director clancy: my understanding is and the her
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gentlemen may be able to answer better, it requires constant monitoring and auditing. there is no automatic notice that someone has accessed someone's data inappropriately. it has to be constant monitoring. there's an administrator for each of these buckets of information. that administrator has to control who has access, who has the need to know that information. it's up to the administrator. with our human resources we have approximately 260 who have access to our applicant data with this new system. that administrator would have to ensure that anyone else who enters -- has access they have approved. mr. roth: if i may, just as an example the d.h.s. text system is one in which, for example, if director clancy had created a record there and i accessed that
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record, director clancy would get an email that i was the one who accessed the record. not only what director clancy was talking about, which is you can run reports by the system administrator, but there are real time controls on modern i.t. systems that weren't present in the m.c.i. system. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. mr. perry: the chair recognizes the gentleman from, mr. lankford. senator lankford: thank you. i think the audit system will be the key. whatever percentage that that is to be able to have for this computer at this spot, here's everything that you ran, and that they know at some point someone's going to just spot audit. you can't go through all of it. no need. just a simple accountability that sits out there someone to know there is an algorithm that's running there is a search for files that don't seem to be consistent with official records. there's a spot audit saying you pulled records from your neighbor down the street or someone you don't like. all of those things i think
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become important. we have a tremendous number of people that work in the federal work force that are great people. that generally love the country and love to be able to do what their job is. the problem is these small, as mr. clancy you mentioned, the 1%. i had to smile as we were working through some of the conversation about secret service and picking on secret service today, i hope we are really not picking on you. this has become the latest example of multiple examples whether it be v.a. or social security or others, a visual example again. as i listened to some of the conversation about challenges with public relations nightmares and employees not doing their job and alcohol abuse and everything else, we could flip the tables and you could hold a hearing on members of congress and have the same accusation. i will assure you it's more than 1% of the members of congress have some of these same issues. this issue is a human behavior issue, it's also a
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professionalism issue. i have taken the task seriously. mr. clancy, i'm going to give you an unfair list and just to be able to walkthrough a few things and aim going to tell you this in advance. as -- i'm going to tell you this in advance. as i have walked through the issues and some of the recommendations, the oldest general law enforcement institute in our country, it's an incredibly val usual resource to our nation. but my fear is some changes that have been put in place over the past several decades, not on your watch, have brought around some morale -- how do we shift morale back and get on top of this? otherwise it's whack a mole with inch issues. overtime rules seem to come up over and over again. getting some sort of standard practice with their counterpart agencies. accountability of leadership so if there is a bad actor everyone knows that's not tolerable in our agency. when you actually confront issues, everyone knows that's the standard we are going to live up to it. if there is a bad apple that's been stated, everyone works down to that level.
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prior of new equipment and technology i find secret service is not getting the top priority for some of the newest technology and newest equipment among our d.h.s. law enforcement. and i think that's demeaning. that sends a false message to secret service they are not as valuable as some of the other aspects of d.h.s. the responsibilities seem to be getting cluttered instead of a clarity where it has been historically for protection and for counterfeit duties. there seems to be other duties that seem to be creeping into it that distract from the core mission here. the consistent career track, a consistent theme that i have heard over and over again. career track seems to change. and so no one knows what path they are on here. am i off on any of these? director clancy: no. you're correct. i'll comment on your last, the career track. we did bring in a work force of agents at different levels to try to look at the best career track moving forward. we have just announced a couple months ago a new career track
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for our agents so that they can plan their future. that's been one of the problems. you don't know if you're going to come to washington, or go to texas. again, listening to our work force trying to find solutions. senator lankford: that's one thing you can do on the inside. but i encourage in the career track, you examined this, the possibility that individuals on the previous career track still could finish that out. they could be grandfathered into that. or if they choose to shift to the other one they could choose that as well. that gives then the option, doesn't feel like the new guy has the new stuff. also i started on this and complete this and i feel like the rules are changing on me again. this corporate identity is extremely important and valuable. and what i fear is that there is a growing sense of lack of importance of people that run credibly important to our nation. i never want secret service hopes to feel like they guard doors for the living. they don't have an incredibly valuable role and the morale and
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role and standard you set will be incredibly important for years to come. if there is a silver lining in this, historically, secret service have had a really bad time when a president was shot. no one's been shot. there are just some things that are messed up. this is a unique moment for the secret service to re-evaluate again and go who are we? where are we going? what's our clear task? i would encourage you if there are issues in working with d.h.s. and in the scheme of things, these committees need to know it. because we want to make sure that all of the d.h.s. families, all feel equal levels of importance. your secret service transition pretty quickly, i guess, from working in the treasury to d.h.s., and all the restructuring, and you're now one of many rather than the big dog at treasury. that has both benefits and challenges. and we need to know and have some way to be able to help communicate in that so we can help engage in this because we
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are not only advocates but accountability in the process. today probably feels more like accountability but also the desire to be advocates on these roles. we'll need to know that. is that fair? director clancy: that's fair. if i could comment on one thing there. just to give you some comfort. i know it's given me comfort. i went through this papal visit as well as the u.n. i traveled with the pope and i can tell you as i talk to our agents, our officers, and our professional staff, this was a defining moment for our agency. as i talked to these people and looked in their eyes, they wanted to be successful. they know the issues that have been highlighted, and rightfully so, over the past several years. this was an unprecedented time in our history. our people were determined to make this successful. we did this for them without incident. our people felt proud about that and i'm very proud of our work
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force. having said that we have to correct these other things, too,
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and we will. we've got people that redskin would go very hard for the american people. senator lankford: we acknowledge that and understand that. we also don't want anything to distract it. mr. willemssen, let me ask you this, databases and access points, is there any independent agency or agency that's an executive agency that you think has a higher risk or has no system of tracking this? old or new, that you look at it and say these are the high risk, these are the highest risk, and part of my question are the independent agencies, do we know for certain that they have auditing process because they handle incredibly sensitive financial data on americans? mr. willemssen: i would point to those agencies who have the most p.i.i., personally identifiable information as reason to make sure that they are doing everything they can to protect that. you start with social security administration who has p.i. on almost every citizen. v.a. you already mentioned definitely an issue. department of education probably somewhat overlooked because they have a tremendous amount of p.i.i. because of the student loans not only on the student but sometimes the parents. i would be most concerned about where the p.i.i. is most significant. senator lankford: let me ask you about things like f.c.c. or cfpb, they have a tremendous amount of data. do we know on their employees how they have access anti-limitations they have? mr. willemssen: we know that they have at least three sets of data collection that includes p.i.i., maybe more. arbitration case records, bank account and transaction level data, and storefront payday loans. senator lankford: we did make a recommendation in terms of the -- we previously had done work and made a recommendation related to their privacy impact
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assessment. whenever you correct p.i.i., you have to do a privacy impact assessment that lets everyone know what are we collecting, why are we collecting it, how are we going to use it, how are we not going to use it, and when are we going to dispose of it? they had not fully done those when we did our work that we maimed a recommendation on that. that's something i can follow up on. senator lankford: i know cfpb has requested again another incredibly large jump of information they are gathering on americans and databases. that seems to exceed even what was originally designed in dodd-frank. mr. willemssen: it may be more than what we had mentioned in our report then. they may have further expanded t senator lankford: it's a fairly recent expansion. what we are trying to figure out who has access to that and how often. mr. willemssen: we can follow up for you on that. senator lankford: that would be
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helpful. gentlemen, i thank you for your participation today. mr. perry: the chair thanks the gentleman from oklahoma. before i close out i have a couple of questions. mr. willemssen, you are from the government accountability office, i read through your information. i'm just wondering if you can provide any clarity on other agencies regarding penalties, regarding accountability for actions that have been -- that they have engaged in regarding security clearances. that might be out of your wheelhouse mr. willemssen: i can talk about numerous -- some of the major incidents over time. probably the first major incident we had with inappropriate browsing was at the i.r.s. in the mid 1990's. several employees decided to start browsing celebrity's tax returns, as a result of that there was an act passed that taxpayer browsing protection act, 1997, and that among other things has the penalties of up to $1,000 fine and imprisonment of not more than one year.
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mr. perry: do you know if anybody was prosecuted under that and subjected to those penalties at all? mr. willemssen: do not know that, sir. but i can -- we can follow up on that with i.r.s. mr. perry: i actually wish you would just so we know. director, you also mentioned that i think you had -- there are limitations, right, what you can do regarding accountability, punishment for actions that are beneath the standard, is that correct? director clancy: yes. we are not able to fire at will. mr. perry: so we need to know, the members of this board and congress in general, needs to know what you need us to do for you to be successful, for you to manage it for us. we need your direct recommendations. that's as said so many times in the room, we want you to be successful.
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if we are standing in the way, you need to let us know what we can do, what we should do, so you can be successful. i have served for over 30 years in the united states military, if you're familiar with the army, i can guarantee you if there is a question of your security clearance and activities regarding the security clearance, that is suspended on an interim basis pending an investigation. if you're found to have been at fault and have breached, it's serious. incredibly serious for the most minor infractions. it's not meant to be a culture of punishment and fear, but it's meant to keep honest people honest. and to raise the level of importance of those things that should be important. i would just suggest that maybe that would be something you might want to look at for suspension of security clearances, which i would imagine in your business a suspension of a security clearance, certainly on an interim basis, but -- maybe on an interim basis but absolutely on a permanent basis means loss of employment because you can't be employed without it, right? director clancy: that's correct. mr. perry: that gets to where we want to be.
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i would also say, we are concerned about how fast you're getting the information. but i'll tell you that whether it is my family or the military, bad news does not get better with time. there must be a culture of something happened and who need to know we must get the information to the top of the chain as quickly as possible. subordinates do not know that is your expectation that will have this continuing. you are sitting here in front of us and defending your agents. thatill probably also note 95% of your time will be spent on 5% of your people. i have been well impressed and all of us want to hold up the secret service as that.
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,mericans desperately want that so these things are incredibly hurtful when we hear them in the news. there is a bigger picture here and. it is not their system, it is the taxpayer database. it is the individuals information, you don't own it. to use it willy-nilly is reprehensible in an age where all the information the government has gathered at the avid sector is gathering, and what happens to it and who owes it -- owns it and the force of law and the aca which says you must submit your information, and to wonder that somebody might be using that for their personal whatever is a problem for the american citizen trusting their government and your employees have a direct connection to that and in my opinion they must understand that.
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you have been questioned a couple times on diversity i want to speak to on filling your ranks. we understand that you have challenges just like everybody does, filling your ranks with the people that you want to have. we want you and i want you to get the best. noticed that you said you were trying to be consistent with other agencies and i will tell you this. i understand where you want to be but this is secret service. the premier organization in the world. if you cap find somebody who meets the standards that you want to set in your agency, go outside or make your own standard.
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members may have additional questions for the witnesses and we will ask that you respond to those in writing and without exception -- objection this subcommittee stands adjourned.
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[inaudible] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> the answer is, did i feel prepared? i really did. i wasn't elected so it did not make that much difference. i did notice the difference between being a vice president's wife and the president's wife was huge. the vice president's wife can say anything. what cares. the minute -- nobody cares. the minute you say one thing is presidents wife, it is news. >> barbara bush used the office of first lady to promote literacy among raise awareness about aids and homelessness, and became only the second first lady to be both the wife and
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mother of a precedent. -- president. ladira bush on first es: influence and image. and privatee public lives of the women filled the position of first lady from barbara -- martha washington to michelle obama. c-span has your coverage of the road to the white house 2016, where you will find the candidates, the speeches, the debates, and your questions. we are giving students the opportunity to discuss the issues they want to hear the most from the candidates. follow the student cam contest and the road to the white house 2016 on tv, the radio, and
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online. here on c-span, newsmakers is next with republican congressman tom price of georgia. then, a house hearing on the syrian refugee resettlement program. at 8:00, our conversation with admiral michelle howard on "q&a. host: our guest on "newsmakers" this week is tom price of georgia. he is a doctor, and a longtime friend and confidant of the new bigger of the house, paul ryan. -- speaker of the house, paul ryan. let me introduce our two reporters who will be asking questions. daniel, the first question, go ahead please.
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mr. newhauser: everyone's mind is on the attacks on paris. should the house do more? rep. price: as you say, everyone's house and prayers -- thoughts and prayers go out to the victims in paris. the real challenge, the real problem, is that the united states does not have a strategy. the administration has not defined a strategy. they refused doing gauge in this issue in a way that would make ito