Skip to main content

tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  November 17, 2010 7:30am-9:00am EST

7:30 am
>> thank you, mr. speaker. what does the prime minister have to say to my constituents that we'll now be left in unfit housing because his government has scraped the flagship housing market renewal program the gateway path finders game. i've been inundated those who are desperate with properties surrounded that are boarded up? i'm seeing them tomorrow at a residence meeting. what can i give them? >> i think there are schemes like the regional growth fund that his constituency will be able to apply for to help to deal with issues like improving the level of housing. and that is -- that is one of the schemes that we have. we also have a huge program for upgrading and building new homes through the new rent scheme that we have. all of these can make a difference and he can talk to his constituents about these. >> james morris? >> thank you, mr. speaker.
7:31 am
the borough that i represent, can the prime minister reassure the children and parents of schools that the government i believe it with pupil premium policy is on the side of children and families in sand dhooet well? >> i absolutely can do that because we made some difficult choices in the spending review to say we're going to put more money into early years education for 2-year-old from deprived families. that wasn't previously available. we're going to fund extra hours for 3 and 4 years old in education. we're going to make sure there's a pupil premium. never dreamt bia labour government in 13 years in office that is over and above the per pupil funding in our schools and then we're going to carry that through university so children on preschool meals will have time at university for free and won't have to pay the student premiums. all those things will make a big difference and show that this actually is a government that's
7:32 am
made some progressive choices in education even though we inherited a mess that we had to clear up. >> bridget philipson. >> thank you, mr. speaker. does the prime minister agree with his business secretary that the scrapping of regional development agencies has been maoist and chaotic? >> given that he is implementing the policy, that is not his view. we all take a view that the rda's wasted a vast amount of money, many of them weren't popular with the businesses in the area and the local enterprise partnerships will do a much better job. and i would suggest instead of complaining about it, why not work with our local authorities to get a good local enterprise partnership in her area to start backing business and jobs in economic revival. >> on a day when employment is the top of people's minds can i ask the prime minister to join me in graduating the saga group on their wise decision to move into hastings with very high public sector -- with up to 800 new jobs for the town? >> i'm very happy to join my
7:33 am
honorable friend congratulating saga and the very good work that they do and i'm sure in choosing hastings they made an excellent decision. there is good news in today's unemployment figures. we should celebrate that. there's a lot more to do to get this economic recovery underway. but it would help if we didn't have so many people determined to talk down the performance of the british economy. >> mr. bradshaw. >> doesn't the devastation in cornwall illustrate the economy of his recent decision to slash investment and flood defenses? >> that's simply not the case. they will be spending over 2.1 billion on flood and coastal erosion over the next four years. that's roughly the same that's spent over the last four years. we made some difficult choices in the spending round but we protected flood defenses because it is important. but all the while we had to bare in mind the absolutely and rotten inheritance we had from the lot over there. >> order.
7:34 am
urgent question, mr. peter bone? >> here on c-span2, we'll leave the british house of commons now as we move on to other legislative business. you've been watching prime minister's question time aired live wednesdays at 7:00 am eastern while parliament is in session. you can see this week's question time again sunday night at 9:00 eastern and pacific on c-span. and for more information, go to and click on c-span series for prime minister's questions plus links to international news around the world. you can watch recent video including programs dealing with other international issues.
7:35 am
>> now an interview with congressman eric cantor, the house republican whip talks about his party's legislative priorities in the next congress when they'll have a majority in the house. he's interviewed by "wall street journal" managing editor, robert thompson. this is 20 minutes. >> i guess it's not right to call you the new nancy pelosi. [laughter] >> i guess right now we're in the post-pelosi era, almost. how important is it that the congress be seen to be doing something? is it a sufficient policy just to say no? obviously there's some characterization that it will be the strategy. what signals are you going to send that this is going to be a great and productive activity? >> well, first of all, engineering really identity necessary to sort of look back and if we can take some lessons learned from the congress that
7:36 am
assumed the majority back if '94 and '95. i was not a part of that congress but i think it's fairly certain -- it's fairly easy to say that control in the house doesn't allow for control of the government. this has got to be a partnership. you know, congress is going to be in place. republicans will be in the majority to provide an oversight. and the congress that we're talking about embarking upon come january is one very much focused on the oversight authority that we're given connected with the lever that comes with appropriations authority. and it's the coupling of those two that i hope will allow us to identify where things have gone wrong, how to follow up on the regulatory uncertainty, on the epa issue, on the issue of todd-frank and any number of agencies where i think where many of you say, look, we cannot
7:37 am
deal with this kind of uncertainty continuing. and i do think congress that says no to antibusiness, antigrowth regulation is important but at the same time, we've got to go about putting in place signals and policies that are incentives for capital formation. which is ultimately we've got to lower the price and risk for all of you. >> congressman, one area of uncertainty is the extension of president bush's tax cuts. and if we were to read between the lines of what the treasury secretary, tim geithner, told us earlier today, it was the two-year extension for all cuts probably fine. as has been made public opposition at this stage to a permanent extension for wealthy. -- wealthy recipients. does that give you something it off bargain with? over the next few weeks? and would you agree it off a two-year extension and then use
7:38 am
that period for a broader base reform of the tax system? >> first of all, i think all of us -- you know, the message from the election again the uncertainty connected with the tax rates was primary. it really was. and many of the folks who are looking at whether it comes from estate planning or any small business person understanding whether it is cap gains go up. those of you who are dividend issuers know good and well the dangers of having dividend rates going from 15 to 39%. look at tom farrell shaking his head there. so it is -- it is something that hopefully we can resolve prior to the end of the year. something that i think that the administration understands. it cannot be done by decoupling the rates for those making under $200,000 to those higher earners. that's a direct signal that higher earners are going to
7:39 am
experience a tax hike with however long the extension is. and again, the argument that we made during the election i think successfully even before the election when congress adjourned without deal with the issue is that it's not only the likes of you in this room that are running, you know, the very large corporations but it is the small business people. if you look at the numbers, 50% of the taxpayers over the $200,000 individual mark get at least 26% of their income from entities that are small businesses. subchapter s, partnerships and the rest. and the higher that risk goes the jobs. the message that the electorate gave us stop even thinking about raising taxes on anybody right now when we're facing these economic times. i'm hopeful, robert, we can get this resolved in the next couple of weeks. we've yet to hear any definite progress on that front, though. >> but if you were listening to
7:40 am
the mood music coming out of the white house right now, are you reasonably optimistic about it? and would you accept a temporary extension? >> the mood music, that's probably an interesting way of looking at it. i have heard and i heard mr. axlerod on television on sunday say that certainly this has to get done. he has not said the president has ever come off its insistence that we need to rescue the middle class. all of us agree the middle class has been hard hit. but, you know, when you say temporary or permanent extension, you know we're talking about the budget window. and, you know, right now i think it is best for us to focus on, however, long we can in terms of extending these rates so that uncertainty is diminished. and that has to be the goal. and i'm hopeful that we can work together. >> congressman, one thing that
7:41 am
didn't happen at the g20 in south korea was a tripact bilateral as we seemingly to get done and get the mood music in that case. is it fair to say that free trade is almost hint of words. what can be done to change the nature of the debate to broadening the understanding of free trade and is it possible for congress at the moment to even consider, for example, the colombian pact or the rescinding of the ban on mexico trucks? >> i think you can count on a republican-led house to push some free trade bills. this session. and because we believe very strongly that there are a lot of jobs to be gained if we can get back on track towards free trade.
7:42 am
now, politically that means also we've got to address the sense of fair trade. and making sure that we are applying the rules under which the international community engages in either multilateral bilateral trade. and that means to be the political challenge that we've got. because somehow the electorate especially in the states that have suffered manufacturing losses seem to think that all that's happening is growth of jobs overseas without any sense of job growth at home. so we've got to make the case that strong american companies -- and if they are multinational but based here, growth for them is good growth for all of us and means ultimately more jobs here at home. but i think coupled with a free trade agenda needs to be the recognition that there's going to be a lot of temptation on the
7:43 am
part of our international allies to engage in perhaps trade rules. you know, we see this on the currency discussion going on right now. the monetary policy that the fed has embarked upon as we have all seen invoked quite a response from our international allies. and, you know, i think many of us have some questions about how that monetary policy will or even have an effect on the economy. but i think it makes the point even louder that we've got to pay attention to our own house first. our economy is still three times as big as china's economy. instead of focusing on just aiming towards currency policy in that country, we can do a lot more if we focus on our taxation and the competitiveness on our tax rates and focusing on our regulatory environment as well as our litigation environment. which continues to be a hamper and a damper on the fact that we
7:44 am
can't continue to attract more capital here. so i do think it's first and foremost we got to take our business here. >> on the question of quantative easing. if you were on the federal reserve board would you have voted in favor of qe2? >> one thing i am not is an economist. i will tell you we represent the area around richmond, virginia and i've talked to on the consistent basis the governor of the fed in richmond and tried to get as much input on where quantative easing is hopefully taking us. i'm not yet convinced that it is a policy at $600 billion of late is going to deliver on the job creation or the wealth effect that perhaps the fed thinks it will. and, you know, i do think that we need to be very mindful that the potential and the specter of perhaps monetizing debt or we're enabling the facilitation of these fiscal policies that we've
7:45 am
been about in this town is something we've got to take into consideration. i'm not necessarily under the belief that the cause and affect is really there but there are danger signs obviously as we do that. and again, keeping our eye focused on what the goals should be we got enough on the fiscal end in congress, i think, to take care of the agenda. we've got some tough decisions to make when it comes to discretionary funding and we put out some proposals with republicans. we got some tough decisions to make and we better start coming to the table on these entitlement questions. and i think as any lender or investor would look towards a borrower or entity to put confidence in, we in this country, in washington, has to demonstrate that we have are determined to get back onto a path of fiscal sustainability. and all of what we do in our conduct will bear on whether we're successful. >> bearing in mind for fiscal stability, can you see much
7:46 am
sucker in that? >> you know, there's some -- there's some, i think, room for us to begin some adult discussions finally around that document. obviously, some troubling issues spiral when you're dealing with an economy the way we are in right now. certainly there are some formulaic suggestions on the entitlement end that we really ought to take a look at. so, you know, i think it's a positive thing that perhaps we're out of the political realm and begin to talk about what's good for this country long term. >> retirement age, are you in favor of increasing it over the term, short or medium term? >> i think the discuss has to be, look, there's a difference between those nearing retirement and those seniors existing right now. and those who are younger are not going to see the benefits that seniors today are just by virtue of application of the statute. the formula is such that benefits will be reduced.
7:47 am
so if we do not do something to extend retirement age -- if we do not something formulaically of the top tier earners you will not have this program. that's the reality. i'm hopeful that these suggestion that is came to the debt commission will help facilitate some real discussion and hopefully your news organization will treat that in the way that it needs to be which is to focus on the work that we got to do and help promote that productivity. >> on the concept of a value-added tax, are you for or against? >> i have not come out in favor of a vat tax. my concern -- and i know those who have favored a vat tax think that the incentives may be better for growth oriented economy. that if you favor -- at least on the application of a tax on the
7:48 am
consumer side tends to provide disincentives there while providing incentives for investment savings. i think in concept it's very good with us. i think you have to deal with the here and now and right now is the here and now is congress has got the right to levy the income tax and all the taxes for the current regime. i don't think any of us want us to go in the direction of the social welfare states around the world that we seem to be headed right now. and right now unless we do something to drastically reform the tax code, you can't put that out there assuming that we'll have it all in terms of the government's ability to tax us so right now i'm not in favor of that. >> have you and you president have a conversation since the sfleks >> i have. the president called the day after the election. it's funny. i said, mr. president, how are you doing? he said i've had better days. [laughter] >> but i do think that was something that, you know, we look forward having further conversations looking to the
7:49 am
president to encourage the senate to work with us as a house. i think that the blame game should long be over. we got serious problems to deal with. and i know we and the new republican majority will look forward to working -- reaching out to work with this administration. >> the earmark ban which was agreed to senate republicans already in the house. you're in favor of such a ban. it's whether or not the president will veto any bills that come before him with earmarks? >> i think the first thing the president could do is call up harry reid and tell him he's got to join us now in saying an end to the practice that has been in place for way too long. and, you know, it is about the oversight role we are going to play that will help engender more support around the country for this new way of doing business. and hopefully the president will be successful and encouraging. harry reid as well as agencies in his administration.
7:50 am
>> i'd like to throw the floor open to the floor. we're privileged to have the congressman here on the eve of his presumption -- well, you won't actually take that office until january the 3rd? is that correct? you have the remarkable opportunity to ply him with questions. yes, bill. >> i just had a very naive question that i thought i would ask related to earmarks. how much of the infamous stimulus funds have been spent? and of those that haven't, is there a way to go back in and reallocate in effect unearmark and reprioritize that approved spending? in light of the electorate sentiment? >> i'm afraid to give you a number right now in terms of how much is unspent, how much is
7:51 am
unallocated because there are two different points there. and he, there could be a possibility for us to go in and rescind some of that. and i think you're going to see a congress start in january that is going to be bent very much on cutting spending, saving dollars rather than coming and say, we have a better way to spend so we're going to spend this way. it is going to be focused first and foremost bringing down discretionary levels. we've already talked about bringing down discretionary levels that have produced $100 billion in savings the first year. if you look at the growth in discretionary including the stimulus. it's been over 80% in the last couple of years. so we've got a job to do there but i think we've also committed and you'll see a weekly focus on bills brought to the floor that will actually cut spending. i mean, you look at the federal bureaucracy and the growth and the budgets there, you look at
7:52 am
the growth in pay scales and how disproportionate they are to those in the market and in the private sector. those are the kinds of bills i think you're going to see together with a look at the stimulus. [inaudible] >> yes. >> glenn? glenn, if you could introduce yourself. >> glenn hitchens from silver look. -- silver lake. as we look at job creation, et cetera, what probability should we attach that there will be a long-term plan and binding plan by our government to balance its budget? >> there is every bit of commitment for us to get back on a path. it off a balanced budget. -- to a balanced budget. and i say that to say that we will be on a balanced budget tomorrow is -- you know, that's certainly a tall order. and i think it recognizes we
7:53 am
didn't get to where we are overnight. but going back to the overall goal of reducing uncertainty, going back to the sort of sense that if you look at the u.s. government as a borrower or as an entity for one to invest in, we've got to be concerned about sending signals that we're serious about long-term viability and fiscal sustainability. so i do think with all the confidence that i would ask you to have in us, given the situation we're in as a house, with under republican control in january, with the democratically controlled senate in the white house under democratic control, that hopefully the parties can begin to work together to do that. now the prospects of an election and a big election in two years may play in our favor. we'll see. >> so is there time for one final question.
7:54 am
>> my name is david crane from energy energy and for purposes of this question, we own power plants and trying to develop new nuclear power plants. and the nuclear renaissance that people have talked about in the united states actually started in congress in 2005 with the energy policy act of 2005, which was passed by a republican house. i think the house recognized back then that even before the financial meltdown of wall street was not in a position to finance nuclear plants after a 30-year hiatus and there was provisions for a loan guarantee and that's prestimulus. when you have now -- now that you have this overriding concern about budgetary constraints but this is clearly discretionary spending on new nuclear which virtually all republicans support, i mean, how are you going to balance the two? and which one will take precedence as you move forward?
7:55 am
>> i think underlying your questions is the priorities. what's this congress going to be about? and congress has got to be about cutting spending. got to be about sustaining some sense of fiscal viability for the government. and jobs. so first i think we would say, you know, we're looking to the private sector as the answer for long-term job creation. now, you lay energy on top of that. and energy we've had discussions about the nuclear play if you will being a huge job creator. now, i don't know what the proper balance is as far as federal participation in that program and whether there are other things that we can do right now that are in the way of seeing an industry flourish but i do think that the message is received that the nuclear component of our energy future is imperative. it's from a national security standpoint and just from a reality, from a domestic demand point. -- standpoint.
7:56 am
i think people have gotten that. hopefully the forces that have been against and opposed on the growth industry have gotten the message is well, although i'm not too certain about that. and we'll have to get there. i don't have an answer for you as far as, you know, what kind of commitment of a budget allocation if you will on loan guarantees and the rest that we can make. but i'm well versed on having a home grown utility that i pay bills to in two locations of what the costs are to those plants. and how to expect companies as big as some of yours with market caps that you have to undertake an $8 billion expenditure is unrealistic. >> the congressman has been very, very generous with his time. we should be generous with our applause. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you. >> if i could ask you all to go
7:57 am
upstairs now where mayor bloomberg awaits and we get to ask him whether he has an aspirations to be president bloomberg. [laughter] ♪ >> the transportation security administration has instituted new air cargo security rules following october's attempted package bomb attack from yemen. tsa administrator john pistol testified about the new rules at this hearing of the senate homeland security committee chaired by senator joe lieberman. this is an hour and 35 minutes. >> good afternoon. the hearing will come to order. our subject today is air cargo security.
7:58 am
beginning with the attacks against america on 9/11, our terrorist enemies have consistently sought to use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction. and more generally they have seen in our aviation system a strategic choke point of international transit and commerce that could be brought to a halt or at least stopped through terror attacks. we've seen shoe bombers, liquid bombers, underwear bombers. time and again terrorists have sought different ways to blow up an airplane. in the most recent attempt, of course, terrorists hid bombs inside the toner cartridges of printers and sent them to the u.s. as air cargo. this plot as the others before it was thwarted in this case
7:59 am
largely because of extraordinary intelligence and here we give thanks and credit to our friends and allies in saudi arabia. but there was in this an elementary of good fortune, luck and luck, of course, is not a strategy to defend our nation from the threat of terrorists. as this most recent plot demonstrates, good intelligence and strong foreign partnerships are critically important. but i think the point that remains with us -- and it's that phrase that echoes from the 9/11 report in which they said 9/11 occurred because of a failure of imagination. our failure to imagine that people could possibly try to do what the terrorists did to us on 9/11. and every time one of these events happens, it compels us to
8:00 am
figure out how we can better anticipate terrorists' next move, not just react to the last one. former tsa administrator and deputy secretary of dhs admiral james lloyd recently said in an op-ed in the "washington post" that after the 9/11 highjackings we hardened cockpit doors and now the terrorists tried to shoe bomb and we removed our shoes and they tried liquid bombs in sports drinks and we cracked down on liquids that could be brought on board. then the underwear bomber came close to bringing down a plane over detroit and now we've gone to full body imaging and, of course, i support every one of those steps that we've taken. now terrorists are going after a weak spot in cargo inspections. and we will respond to that is well we should but they our enemies will keep looking for new vulnerabilities.
8:01 am
we have got to continue to try to think as they would and raise our defenses before they strike. ... but they will continue to probe our weaknesses attempting to detect our flaws and then -- then defending against them. we have to make sure that not only does our luck not run out, but that we're prepared to stop whatever they try. here's some of the questions that i like to ask our -- ask our witnesses today. clearly both the gathering of intelligence and acting on it is crucial. i want to ask -- how we can improve our intelligence beyond even where it is now. intelligence is always -- is always important in war, never more important than in the particular war with islammist extremists trysts that we're fighting today for all of the reasons that i just talked about.
8:02 am
threats come within the united states or from abroad. our ability to deter and intersect that foreign threat here is limited by our own sovereignty. we have got to depend on foreign partners to implement strong security programs and i want to -- i want to ask both of you what we're doing to strengthen those relationships and implement international security programs. obviously, we have limited direct control over incoming passenger flights and -- and -- cargo flights. while our government has chiefed 100% screening of air cargo on domestic passenger flights which is a -- a significant accomplishment consistent with the 9/11 legislation we adopted, only about 60% of cargo on passenger flights coming in to the united states from abroad is
8:03 am
screened. there's a -- there's a kind of patchwork system on -- on cargo shipments on all cargo aircraft. i want to ask how we can prove that and convince our foreign countrys to expand and accelerate, their screening of -- of cargo coming either on passenger flights or all cargo flights to the united states. right now we require air carryiers from europe, asia and africa and south america to provide manifest information after the plane has taken off. four hours before it is due too arrive. can't we move that timeline up? isn't there a -- additional or different information that may be helpful in identifying high richar go. finally, how are we preparing to identify the next gap terrorists will likely try to exploit? do we have an institutional way -- as difficult and
8:04 am
unprecedented as this enemy is in threatening our homeland security to -- to try to think ahead of them? our witnesses today are of course ideally positioned, by -- by -- by the offices they hold now and by their experience to help us answer these questions, t.s.a. administrator john pistol and customs com misser allen, i thank you for both of you being here and look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, your testimony particularly when you were quotinged a miral loy shows up that the terrorists remain up flagging in their determination to exploit scomploith vulnerabilities in the -- exploit vulnerabilities in the security systems developed since 2 september 11, 200 2001.
8:05 am
the united states has narrowly avoided two mots against aviation, the first was averted by sheer luck and the quick action of the passengers and crew in the skies above detroit on christmas day. the second which we just discussed was disrupted due it intelligence shared by our allies and -- and the hard work of federal law enforcement intelligence and homeland security officials. and several international partners. and i want to commend the two leaders who are before us today who i know worked around the clock once they were n-informed of this threat. informed of the threat. in these two failed attacks we see the fan natism and patience of our enemies. both thwarted, these plots
8:06 am
should prompt us to reexamine whether our priorities are correct and our resources properly deployed. . .
8:07 am
daily is clearly a former ability. the department of homelandeland security must use this near miss to redouble its work with other countries, airline carriers, and shippers to tighten the security network. we must move quickly to shore up our defenses without interfering with the legitimate flow of commerce. and, of course, that is always the challenge that we face. al qaeda is, after all, seekingo to destroy our economy and way of life, as well as to kill oure
8:08 am
people. we must not allow either goals to be accomplished. goment cld analyze how government can bestan focus its limited screening resources on the highest risk, cargo. it could provide a road map for risk based screening of the air cargo. maritime cargo manifest information must be submitted to d h s at least 24 hours before it heads to the united states. using this information and other intelligence, the dhs target high-risk cargo for inspection prior to the departure. in sharp conference, air cargo
8:09 am
manifest information is required to be submitted only four hours before the cargo arrives in the united states. that is a major difference. it needs -- it means that the information is transmitted well -- while the aircraft is in the air. provided no opportunity to conduct further inspections of flat cargo before departure. that reminds me of the problem where he was flagged and was going to be stopped, but only after he are arrived in the united states. we have a similar problem in the case of our air cargo. customs and border protection have good knowledge that based on the shipping information, about the to package from yemen, the agency would have applied them as a high risk upon
8:10 am
arrival in the united states. our whole concept is to push out our borders so that that screening, that the flagging of dangerous cargo occurs not when the cargo is a riding in our country, but before it is even put on board a vessel or in aircraft bound for this country. i recognize that the tempo of air cargo supply chain is different from maritime cargo, but regardless, we have an obligation to examine vulnerability is in our supply chains and to manage risk to those systems. there are also opportunities to make better use of the private sector in securing air cargo overseas or screening efforts are now more limited. instead of attempting to screen almost all cargo at the airport,
8:11 am
it could be screened at a warehouse for the package is sealed long before it arrives at an airport and kept secure until it is delivered to the air carrier. that is just one idea that would avoid the potential delays of trying to do everything immediately prior to loading packages. dhs mustned that constantly read -- reevaluate the allocation of its security. i still remain concerned about the intrusiveness and effectiveness of the advanced imaging technology as a potential negative help a fact. this is an issue -- health effect. i believe the department should independently evaluate the help
8:12 am
the facts of the technology end should consider -- health effects of the technology and should consider technology that respects travelers privacy by automatically identifying objects that could be a threat. my department's response to inquiries have been inadequate. i know that he was on his way to view this technology when the plot from yemen was on coverage. i want to a knowledge that. obviously, our government's first priority is to protect our people against terrorism. the public will accept a certain level of intrusion and inconvenience. dhs should be using technologies and techniques that are as safe
8:13 am
and effective as a possible -- as possible that minimize privacy concerns whenever possible. thank you. >> thank you, senator collins. we welcome your statement now. >> good to be here today. to address the committee of the rolls in the area of air cargo security. i appreciate the committees' leadership and ongoing efforts to ensure the security of air cargo and passenger for the american people. three of weeks ago, as we have noted, we disrupted the attack when the individuals we believe to be -- concealed explosive
8:14 am
devices hidden and toner cartridges. the two packages were shipped from yemen and destined for the united states. the incident began on october 28. i got a call regarding specific credible intelligence as to exact packages that should be assessed. we worked through the night and over the next few days, staying in close contact with their colleagues throughout the u.s. intelligence -- u.s. intelligence law enforcement community. of course, the private sector. the first step, i immediately grounded all air cargo packages coming from yemen. we took additional steps in conjunction -- for example,
8:15 am
would quickly identified and located all other u.s. bound packages from yemen that were in transit. we located and identified those packages. we provide additional focus on current threats. there were a team of security inspectors to work with the authorities to provide cargo screening gardens -- guidance, expertise, and detection equipment. i leveraged a previously planned speech that i had to the aviation securities will conference in frankfurt to -- and gave that speech, met with counterparts from europe. i met with the international air transport association, a world
8:16 am
recognized expert in the area. i went to examine five days after the plot became -- we became aware of the plot. several days later, on november 2, we spoke with leaders of the international shipping industry, including ups and fedex. about enhancing air cargo security without its disrupting the critical air cargo supply chain. on november 8, we announce that air cargo from yemen and somalia would be banned from flights to the u.s. for the immediate future. we indicated no high-risk cargo
8:17 am
would be allowed on aircraft bound for the u.s. all high-risk cargo would receive additional and enhanced screening. we were to the postmaster general on some of those issues. these are just some of the steps we have taken. those steps will continue. we have required the 100% screening of air cargo transport on domestic air carriers. we have worked in large part to the certified card the screening program, or we have over 1100
8:18 am
private companies in the u.s. to do screenings away from the airport. it is done through these private screening facilities that we certify, we inspect. >> is that for passenger planes and cargo planes? >> it is for passenger planes. we're looking at the possibility with cargo, recognizing that fedex and ups have their own screening regiment and do a very good job independent of what we would do. this security program keeps commerce moving without creating a screening bottleneck at the airport. we are looking at that as a worldwide model for implementation. a number of different issues that we are addressing, i would just note that in june of last
8:19 am
year, the hazmat about the online targeting system to better target to high risk cargo. these efforts complement our continued diplomatic work with their international counterparts. thank you for the opportunity to be here today. i look forward to working with the committee and as we consider these collective efforts, i will take to questions. >> thank you. commissioner, thank you for being here. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i acknowledge and appreciate the committees' leadership and support in exploring the gaps in the deficits that we have said that we can more effectively confront terrorism. i would like to address three dimensions of war work. first is the air cargo
8:20 am
processing that we currently engaged and the second is building on the administrators testimony. the response to the october 29 event. the partnership with tsa and the steps we are complementary -- contemplating taking together. with regard to a cargo -- air cargo, a rise in this country into ways. -- it arrives in this country in two ways. in fiscal year 2010, we processed nearly 334,000 such flights and inspected and screen to over 57 million regular and express records. this is a massive part of our international trade policy and
8:21 am
economy. currently, our systems and processes are designed to identify high-risk cargo for inspection after their arrival in the united states. they are not designed to identify dangerous cargo prior to take off as art -- as is our regime in the maritime context. under the trade act of 2002, carriers currently must provide cargo manifest data four hours prior to the arrival of the aircraft. upon receipt of the advanced manifest data, cbp processes and deep data. the system identifies potential threats, hazardous materials, and other areas of concern to
8:22 am
the agencies and the nation. ats is the primary platform used by the department of homeland security. it is used by our air cargo advanced targeting units at local airports to conduct risk assessment. it is also used by our national target incentive cargo located in virginia, which conducts high-level sweeps based on intelligence and specific targeting rules but are written to reflect present and prospective threats that we perceive to intelligence or otherwise. these rules identify risk factors ever-present in the manifest did that we receive from the carriers. each of these risk factors receives a quantitative value or score and give the shipment
8:23 am
exceed a predetermined score or threshold for national security concerns, replace the shipment on hold. we conduct an examination upon arrival. once the cargo arrives in the united states, we conduct examinations of all such identified high risk air cargo where other cargo identified as high risk by the local against targeting units. these examinations must include the non intrusive inspection equipment is available or physical inspection of the shipment as well as a mandatory radiations can. we also -- radiation scan. the customs trade partnership -- importers and shippers adopt minimum security standards, at which they must adhere to throughout their security chain. in exchange, we treat the
8:24 am
shipment at slower risk and provide fewer inspections. as the illustrator indicated, when we began -- we became aware of the threat, we responded immediately by identifying all air cargo shipments from yemen destined to the united states, aside from the two that were the subject of the increase in the emirates and the united kingdom. what we ask right away was, what more could be coming toward us? who could have been sending it to us? and how quickly can we mitigate or neutralize that risk? we ascertained at the location of each shipment and we held them to inspection. we've been completed inspections using x-ray systems, explosives detective canines and equipment. we can go into further questions and answers, 38 shipments in
8:25 am
total, and we discovered an identified those shipments within hours of receiving the information. within days, we had located all those 38 shipments among millions of packages that arrived in the country. within a week, we've satisfied ourselves and cleared those cargoes as a result of techniques of scanning that were applied to them. where do we go in the days ahead and the months ahead? with the help and guidance of experts, ever since the december 29 incident involving -- the partnership that has produced a valuable results for our nation and for the homeland security. we need to do the same now with regard to air cargo. what we believe is that this
8:26 am
cooperation is the best source of the project -- progress we can make quickly. we're providing assistance to a gsa to fill out the mandate set forth in the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, to screen 100% of cargo transport on passenger aircraft. we are collaborating to exploring the potential of utilizing the automated targeting system as a risk targeting tool in the air cargo context. it can be shared. this will allow us to leverage the data information already collected. we also acknowledge the importance of partnering with the private sector. with partners in that sector, they can assume a considerable assistance and let -- and lend
8:27 am
us considerable assistance in securing the supply chain. we also recognize that we must receive information in the advance of what we are currently receiving and we are working with tsa in determining what the parameters of that car. our private sector partners, to get their views as how they can most expeditiously -- expeditiously provide that information. let me abbreviate the statements that we can get on to the dialogue of questions and answers. we believe that we have the foundation in place to implement a more effective system.
8:28 am
we can strengthen the system and do it relatively quickly. we should do it cautiously and deliberately and i look forward to working with this committee and its staff in reaching a satisfactory outcome in building the next level of security into our air cargo system. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, commissioner. we will go to the questioning now. we'll have seven-minute questions. we're focused on air cargo security, but more broadly on the question of aviation security. the so-called pats' down procedures that follow and are associated with the use of the whole body imaging scanners, we
8:29 am
held hearings on this subject after the christmas day bombing attempt. most of us were calling for you to go to the whole body scanners. i wanted to give you an opportunity to explain the pat- down procedures that have troubled people and why you think they're justified. >> there is an effort evolving nature of the plots that has been described here. the challenge for the whole u.s. government's is to develop both the best techniques and the tactics enabled by the best technologies to identify those plots. it is clear that we have to be one step ahead of the terrorists. we are not always in that
8:30 am
situation, as evidenced by these last three plots that could have been successful. it really comes down to a balance of where partnership on one hand, working with the traveling public, the safety issues on the other hand, and what is the proper mix. what we try to do is understand and we want to be sensitive to privacy concerns and their personal being. but we have to ensure that everybody on every flight has been properly screened. we recognize that to reasonable people can disagree as to what that proper balance or blend is between privacy and security safety. that being the case, i think everybody who gets on a flight wants to be assured that everybody else around them has been properly screened and everybody else on the flight mixed -- wants to make sure that i have been properly screened. how do we reach that balance?
8:31 am
that is the challenge that we go through. the advancing technology is the best technology that we have today to detect the nonmetallic devices that are well concealed. what i am concerned about and i know many share this concern is that we have an individual who opt out of advanced imaging technology, thinking that, i will not receive a thorough passed down and i can get on that flight. what i want to reassure the public is that we are concerned about your safety and security and your privacy. let's work together to ensure that we can have it the best way forward. >> let me take a moment -- make clear, if you will, how does
8:32 am
someone get subjected to a pat- down? >> there is a very small percentage that would actually have it. it would occur almost exclusively in situations where somebody has opted out of the advanced imaging technology or that they have alerted on that because there is something in their pockets or they may be trying to carry some contraband. >> it did they have chosen not to go through the scanner or they have gone do it and there is some alerts. >> there is some basis for do that. even with that, there is a very small percentage of all the passengers. very few people -- because it is a new technique. i have been in europe several times over last few months and
8:33 am
have observed it being done in many airports. it is very similar. our approach is very similar to what is being utilized in europe. >> you have the same gender person doing it. i presume that are put the training. this is a difficult balance. this has to be a more intimate and intrusive investigation because they are instructed in a way that will determine whether somebody is potentially dangerous, but also when doing so, doing minimal harm to their privacy. >> correct trade if they go through training. the clearest outcome of that training is to be professional and to give clear guidance and a
8:34 am
lot of clarity as to what they are going to do in terms of the actual path down -- pat-down. there has been a lot of publicity out there about a certain individual who traveled but did not want to have it. if people get away from just the passengers to hear what the security officer was saying, very cool, professional, collected. they did this in a way that is professional. again, the bottom line is if you have to plan sadr getting ready to depart and one he said, everybody has been thoroughly screened on this planet. where we have another plan where we have not done a thorough screening because people did not feel comfortable that. i think, most of us would say i want to go on that plan that has been thoroughly screened. >> i agree with you. i think you are given the right thing. perhaps the reaction got ahead
8:35 am
of the department's description of what you're doing and what you're doing it. -- and why you are doing it. if it had gone off on the plane over detroit, the public would have been demanding -- not just the body imaging equipment -- but pat-downs. i understand the private see -- privacy concerns, of course. we get on those plans and we want to have the confidence that nobody on that plane has evaded security in a way that will allow them to blow up the plane and kill everybody else on it. this is unfortunately the world in which we live. it was not our choice.
8:36 am
but we have to do everything we can to protect the travelling public. i think that what you are doing it here is difficult. it is sensitive, but it is necessary for the security of the american people. my time is up. >> let me start with a fundamental question. but for the intelligence tip that was provided by a car allies, would our current security system have detected these packaged bombs? >> my professional opinion, no. >> that raises the issue of what can we do to make sure that in the future, if there is another attempt to exploit the gaps and the air cargo
8:37 am
security, that we have closed those gaps. in many ways, we're lucky that we had an ally with extremely specific intelligence information that allowed us to target these packages before harm was done. what is the single biggest change that you think we should be making. >> we have high confidence and indeed known shippers. we have high confidence in those international shippers with established records. the challenge because -- the
8:38 am
challenge becomes other hot spots around the world where there is not a known relationship. the challenge of screening those packages in the same way that we would require here in the u.s., there are several challenges what is the capacity of some countries. some countries, like yemen, and they have an x-ray machine that they use for cargo. but they were not using explosive trace detection or 100% physical inspection of packages. there are a number of issues and challenges there. >> i would be worried about the people doing the screening and whether they share our goal. >> you raise a very good point. the insider threat, if you will, what kind of biting and validating of those individuals is being done? that is done even around the
8:39 am
globe. >> -- uneven around the globe. >> we have a pretty well defined system for the screening of cargo that comes by the maritime system. 24 hours before the cargo is even loaded on the ship overseas, we have a manifest that is combined with other information to allow us to identify the cargo and target that which may be of high risk. why can we do that -- can we do that with air cargo? a system that says, we want to know four hours before it arrives at our shores provides very little protection. the flight might be already on routes. -- en routhe.
8:40 am
te. >> one that the to deal with this is to segment the traffic. the other method of doing this is the risk management that we have applied in the maritime context. the three elements are -- receiving the information in infanta, sufficiently in the ban so that we can apply are targeting rules and attempt to identify any high-risk cargo. scan or screen and using appropriate technology. in effect, we should be looking at the same techniques and we have begun that process. it we will want to customize its given the nature of the trade. the differences between the
8:41 am
maritime and aviation context. the broad categories can give us good guidance. >> are you looking at increasing the am out of time -- the amount of time before cargo a ship to our country where you receive a listing of the cargo? the four hour strikes me as something you could change immediately. for example, in response to the times square bomber attempt, the tsa acted immediately to change the update will on targeted individuals. are you looking at the four-hour rule? >> we are and we are looking -- we are working with the private sector, the airlines, the cargo carriers, to reach a determination of how we can advance that a deadline for
8:42 am
providing information. we expect that we will be coming up with a revised recommendation in the near future. >> it is as much as a pragmatic issue. if we could -- if i could issue a security directive today saying 24 hours, whenever it would be, the question is, are the carriers capable of implementing that today? that is what the commissioner is referring to in terms of working with them. what can they do electronically? all of these smaller carriers around the world are not released electronic. how do we make it happen? >> we will call on senator levenson, senator brown. >> i want to presume senator
8:43 am
collins questions again. right now, the rule is that you have to have your manifest to four hours before the arrival. is that correct? >> for those destinations that are less than four hours from our shores, it is upon wheels up. >> what are the practical problems of increasing that? >> the first is the electronic systems to get the information to us. >> that is the same whether it is four hours or six hours. there has to be an electronic system. so you could do 8 hours with the same problem? with're trying to work out
8:44 am
the carriers that can do that. what would be the system that would provide us with the information? >> that is not a practical problem. >> the problem of making sure that we are getting it as quickly as we can and getting information back to the carrier, putting a hold on certain high- risk cargo. >> why would 12 hours help you do that? >> it would help you. >> so that is not a practical reason. there are practical problems and i have not heard one yet. >> the practical problems -- there are airlines that simply
8:45 am
do not have the capacity to electronically transmitted to the data to us. >> part of it, senator, is that the carriers themselves do not have that manifest data. sometimes it is only two or three hours. >> if it is required that a 12 hours, then they will have the manifest data. that is not a practical problem. that is the same that you have to have been manifest in data. >> if there is a last-minute shipment or something, they are out of luck. >> one hour before our arrival? what are the other problems? >> the small carriers around the world, and we are not talking about ups and fedex, we are
8:46 am
working with them to provide notification when they receive the manifest, whatever the time line might be. >> that is not a practical problems yet. i have not heard a practical problem yet. it is paul bowers, whatever. why can you do that right now? -- it is 8 hours, 12 hours, whatever. why can't you do that right now? >> those packages, they would not have the capacity to provide that information more than four hours and events at this time. i would have to differ -- >> the lumber number of hours, the greater number of hours
8:47 am
prior to arrival, it seems to be the easier it is to get the information. you have more time. i do not get it, folks. i do not see the urgency in your testimony here. i do not get it. it is such an obvious question. i do not know why we do not have a direct answer. >> the practical problem is the one from the situation from the status quo to where we want to be. no one is saying that we should not move there. >> it is a matter of issuing a directive. >> the practical problem is that it has not been done because it has been perceived that it would unduly interfere with the commerce in the world. we have come to a situation like this, there is an urgency. we overcome a lot of the practical problems that we are keeping the situation from being
8:48 am
handled that way in the past. >> i read your comments about -- about the length of time. use a security cannot bring business to a standstill. i do not think that anyone is suggesting that business be brought to a standstill. is it reasonable to tell people, you have to have your package enter document in 12 hours before the plane lands? that does not bring it to a standstill. that slows it down. will the public of the world except the delay in getting something out to where it has to go in order to have greater security? my answer is, -- this is easier
8:49 am
than pat-downs. i was worried about your comment about the delicate balance. rather than you telling us, yes, you do not see any practical reason neither. we are trying to overcome practical problems, which you have not been able to identify. >> in terms of your risk management and assessment contract, the issue comes down to, if we would impose on all cargo worldwide the same mandates that we have here. the cost of doing that would actually exceed the revenue from that cargo. >> increase in four hours to a
8:50 am
hours -- >> a different issue. >> i think he should get your experts to provide for the record what does practical problems are. my time is up. >> i accept that suggestion. >> good to be back. thank you for putting this together. my concerns are pretty simple. what tools and resources do you need to better do your job so we can figure out to -- god forbid that this happens again. as someone who flies and family members to fly, i want to make sure that when i or my family or friends get on a plane, and that the cargo -- how common is it to
8:51 am
have a full flight of passengers and to have some extra room on a passenger plane and have that cargo then be filled? >> would under% it originated in the u.s. are screened. 100% are rigid in the u.s. our screens. >> we are not there yet because we do not have either the civil aviation authority is not put on the same procedures that we have. their estimates anywhere from 2/3 to 80% of all the cargo is being screened.
8:52 am
the one takeaway is that we say it was under% of the high risk. we do not provide that publicly. how does that work? it is a good point. >> toner cartridges from yemen -- did that have a red flag go off? did not raise a red flag. >> it absolutely did. >> how did even get on the plane? different protocols, for example. it was separated in the box -- segregated in the box. they had identified it as suspect packages. when you ask for the cooperation of the various carriers, did you get the cooperation of all of
8:53 am
them? >> absolutely. >> there were no questions asked. >> they had been very capable as partners. they're looking for solutions that make sense. >> is there going to be an updated screening and inspection plan when it comes to those transfers? is there something that you are proposing more working on? >> how do we work with our international partners? international civil aviation organization, part of the un, under 90 countries signed up under the declaration last month in montreal. they're trying to leverage their resources in a way that builds capacity in some of the areas of the world that need additional screening protocols or actual trace detection.
8:54 am
>> i lived in two other countries and you see the cargo. -- i have lived in other countries and you see the cargo. it will take a commitment to ensure the partners aviation -- aviation partners, people who fly into the united states and delivered goods, they take their jobs seriously. i recognize the comments of the two previous questioners regard -- regarding the timing. is there a way to ensure speed and accuracy when it comes to x- ray and inspecting? do we have the technology to do that to make sure that we do not slow down this to a crawl? >> generally, yes. it comes down to known shippers that are trusted partners. the problematic ones are those
8:55 am
individual shippers that we do not have any history on. we do not have any intelligence about who this person is, what they are shipping. if someone is printing -- shipping a computer printer from yemen to chicago, that is the kind of information that we need. >> how much of your cargo is being screened today? he touched upon it earlier. >> wonder% in the u.s.. -- 100% in the u.s. they use a variety of those that clearly? rate, it explosive trees detection, -- explosive traced
8:56 am
protection it -- detection. they transport its a few miles and a secure fashion to the airport to put on the cargo flights. >> in conclusion, i want to solve a problem. i want to figure out what you need to get the job done and whether -- we have a private meeting, or whatever works. we have identified -- at some point, we're not going to be lucky. i gave you the tools. this is not about party politics. this is about the safety of our citizenry and to keep commerce moving. if you could just post testimony at some point. that would be a big help. >> good idea, senator brown.
8:57 am
it will arrange for that. >> from the beginning of your service in the senate to this, your last week with us, you've been a most faithful member of this committee. probably attending more than anybody else. so thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is because of the interest in this committee and this topic here has caught my interest because i may not be on point for all my quick questions, but i am concerned about travel across this country. you canr. kespistole, answer this, what is the definition of a high-risk package? >> the do not define a publicly.
8:58 am
-- we do not define it publicly. >> we have to stop putting everything out there. i'm sorry, go ahead. >> it is generally outside the known shipper trusted arena. generally, individuals who are shipping packages with no history, perhaps from some hot areas such as yemen, horn of africa, things like that. it is all intelligence driven. what do we know about the shepard? was the package physically inspected? what do we know about the cargo carrier? how thorough is the airport at the facility? a lot of criteria goes into the planning. >> those packages were headed to synagogues allegedly in chicago? that is another concern.
8:59 am
on the past downs -- pat-downs, we have some airports that are staffed by contract screeners. is that correct? >> 17 airports are staffed by contract employees. >> how do you deal with those in these airports? do you have jurisdiction over those individuals? >> absolutely. they follow the same protocols we put out for all t s employees. >> they go through the same training? >> they are identical to the transportation security officers and protection officers and the t s a employees.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on