tv U.S. Senate CSPAN October 27, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
this was passed in 2005, kind of dropped in in sort of back roomi negotiations. it was never part of regular order, there was no hearing before our ways and means committee to talk about this because the elements that have been documented in our committee and on the floor about the unworkability of this would never have survived a regular legislative process. legislative process. well, i'm pleased that the democratic side has at least tried to delay and to try and fix this. i'm pleased that we have worked with mr. herger in a bipartisan fashion to bring this legislation forward. and i think mr. camp and mr. levin are committed to regular order. we have been having, i think, some very productive discussions on major issues. i hope we can keep this commitment to regular order to
be able to make sure we don't have something like this in the future that has massive unintended consequences. mr. speaker, this is an idea that never should have been advanced in this form. it's been a long road to try and correct it, but today we are making an important step towards that correction. but i would add a note of caution. but i would add a note of caution. the same spirit of cooperation and focus that has gotten us to this point with one will be an overwhelming vote i hope is unanimous. we need to keep going so that this isn't a casualty of the back and forth process in the house and senate. the senate played a large role in giving it in the first place. we need to make sure that it is not caught up in the larger dramas that occur around here that we can keep our eye on the
ball and fix it. and i do want to say just one brief word about the pay for. it is illusory because it would cost far more than we would ever collect but we have to deal with the rules as they are. there are two proposals. one would tighten eligibility for the health care reform. the other would take away some unnecessary tax benefits to large oil companies that long ago ceased to have any impact on oil exploration or reducing price. but while i actually think the pay for from our side of the aisle dealing with the oil tax adjustment is superior, i think it is a practical matter. we are going to have to do both of these in the months ahead if we are going to deal with our budget problems.
reducing expenditures. i am hopeful that we don't allow the debate over the pay for to explore -- obscure the need to move forward and as a practical matter we have challenges ahead to get our deficit under control and i think frankly that both of these items should be enacted into law and will be enacted into law and there will be a spirited discussion and i respect the people on both sides and i think they will be making good points i hope doesn't get in a way of the big picture. in closing i appreciate the gentleman from michigan permitting me to speak on this. his leadership in this, salute my friend mr. herger. i hope we can focus on how we deal with larger issues going forward so we are not back in
this situation in the future. thank you end of the yield back. >> the gentleman yield back his time. the gentleman from california. >> i yield my time that i may consume. i want to thank my good friend from oregon, mr. blumenauer for your support as lead co-sponsor on the other side of the aisle. thank you very much. i would like to take a moment to review the content of the ways and beans committee receive from business and organizations across the country demonstrating why repealing 3% withholding tax is critical to lay in a stable foundation for job creation. buffalo supply inc. of boulder colorado rights, quote, we are 28-year-old small business that sells high-value medical equipment at a low margin with a very significant part of our sales going to the federal, state and local government. the 3% withholding tax would
feed our company's tax liability which will destroy cash flow and ultimately hinder our ability to grow the business and add new employees. principal and founder of eee in virginia says if enacted this would mean withholding of approximately $130,000 of revenue using our projected 2,011 revenue. this 3% withholding would essentially be a loan to the government for the year until taxes are filed. worse still it might require a company to secure a loan to help us cover operating expenses at a time when cash in the bank is limited. the withholding could limit our ability to make payroll each month and limit our use of profits to give bonuses to our
employees, expand our business and hire new employees. $130,000 with holding each year would deeply our cash reserves by 30%. the university of illinois, this would add expenses at a time when the university like many others around the country is facing reduced state support. we would have no choice but to pass these expenses on to our students many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. the american medical association states, quote, in repealing of the 3% withholding provision altogether, h r 674 will help medicare beneficiaries maintain access to care while assisting government agencies, physicians and other -- other healthcare providers avoid substantial implementation costs that will outweigh the benefits.
i would like to add that at a time when many of us are concerned about fixing the fdr that threatens massive cuts to physicians participating in medicare and loss of access to physician services for many seniors the last thing we want to do with that another potential cut to physicians' payments. these are just a few of the dozens or hundreds of letters and testimonials that the committee received from businesses across the country. we need to pass h.r. 674 and repeal this harmful tax today. i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from michigan. >> i yield as much as he can consume too a member of our committee. most-active member of our committee, mr pascal from new jersey. >> the gentleman from new jersey
is recognized. >> good morning. i come to the floor today in support of h.r. 674 which will reveal a burden on government contractors, small-businesses. i oppose the enactment of a 3% withholding when a republican congress and republican administration enacted it. i knew it would hurt the economic engines of our economy. the repeal of this requirement will free up small-business's cash flow, increasing their ability to add jobs and bid on new projects. this is only a very small part of a jobs plan that could help to reduce unemployment and wage stagnation. the majority has not allowed a vote on a known job-creating measure such as the infrastructure bank or funding for our first responders and
teachers. i would imagine that is not very important, those items. the majority have decided to promote their full 15 bills that attack clean air, safe water and consumer safety. be prepared, america, to eat poison. not only do independent economists state that these bills do not create jobs, recent report found the so-called economically stifling regulatory atmosphere is not as bad as they say. the report says this -- the obama white house has approved fewer regulations than george w. bush at this point. the cost of those rules have reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under president
bush's father, president bush i. you would never think that by listening to the propaganda on the other side of the aisle. we have overregulated supposedly and businesses spend so much money on these regulations but when we look at the facts this is not true. eat your words. even former reagan treasury official bruce bartlett quoted wall street journal saying the main reason u.s. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand. rather than the uncertainty over government policy. you can grow as many warns as you want around the president. once again, look at the facts and the statistics.
more regulations at this point when former president bush was the president. it is ironic that the majority is adjusting health reform to pay for this legislation. you condemn the health act and take the money from the health act to pay for this. that is a ponzi scheme if i have ever heard one. the majority voted to repeal health reform yet to pay for this legislation which is a separate piece of legislation, health reform must be in place for ten years. how do you do that? get rid of the health-care act or trying to anyway, yet they use every time the first ten years to pay for the first bill. how do you do that? i am anxious to see how you do that. just as the 2012 budget was paid
for by health reform savings, discussed this in the budget committee, this bill was paid for by the health reform which they blocked to annihilate. if the majority is against the health reform bill, perhaps they should stop making their agenda so dependent upon it. while i support h.r. 674, we cannot have ourselves on the back and claim victory then this is a victory for jobs. congress must do much more. thank you, mr. speaker. >> gentleman from california. >> mr. speaker i yield two minutes to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. paulson. a distinguished member of the ways and means committee. >> the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. >> i also rise in favor of h.r. 674. of bill that will repeal this ill-conceived withholding rules for all government contractors
including private hospitals to accept medicare or medicaid payments and provide lunches for schools. this is one area in which republicans and democrats are working together. even president obama singled out this provision as burdensome to our nation's job creators. the president in his jobs plan proposed delaying this will. the fact that this will continue to be delayed has not been implemented as first created in 2005 just tells you how bad an idea it truly is but we shouldn't just the lay it. we should eliminate it and we feel that immediately. i spoke with many small businesses in my district who will be negative impacted. the profit margin for many of these companies that have government contracts is right around 3%. one minnesota company says withholding free% withholding would be catastrophic on their balance sheet meaning covering cost and paying bills and covering operating costs would
be a challenge. as they point out during these hard economic times withholding more money from our small businesses that they most likely would not update their equipment or drill as bad or be able to hire more people. this goes against everything washington should be doing. giving our employers need to create more jobs. this lot needs to be repealed. another contractor pointed out the federal government does not need to be playing banker with our income. this what may have sounded like a good idea on paper but in practice it will be disastrous. this is evident by the cost of the program implementing for the department estimated to cost $17 billion over five years. here's the irony. the program is forecast to bring over $11 billion against the spectrum of government so the program will cost more to implement than it will take in. i urge support of this common-sense approach and
bipartisan approach in adopting this bill. the president supports to pay for. the member of the ways and means committee i ask for support. >> gentleman's time is expired. gentleman from michigan. >> i don't know if the majority has any free speakers. >> i am prepared to close. happy to reserve. >> i support this legislation. it should not have been passed in the first place. it was not vetted effectively by of the than majority. it is time we tried before. it is time to support this bill. i yield back. >> gentleman yield back. gentleman from california. >> i yield myself. >> gentleman is recognized. >> i request unanimous consent to enter through the record a letter from the president, executive office of the
president. >> without objection so ordered. >> in this letter from the president the administration, the quote is the administration supports passage of h.r. 674 which would repeal 3% withholding on certain payments made to provide contractors by federal, state and local government entities. the effect of the repeal of the withholding requirement would be to avoid a decrease in cash flow to these contractors which would allow them to repay these funds and use them to create jobs and pay suppliers. mr. speaker, jobs are the number-1 priority of the american people and jobs should be the number-1 priority of this congress. many initiatives that are billed as, quote, creating jobs are controversial. this is not. we are repeals a tax that hurts small businesses that will cost
the government more to implement than it collects. this is a win/win for businesses, workers, local public services and taxpayers. i urge all members to vote to repeal the 3% withholding tax and create new jobs now. i yield back the remainder of my time. >> coming up on the c-span network starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span secretary of state hillary clinton testified on future u.s. strategies in afghanistan and pakistan. on c-span2, the bp gulf oil spill compensation fund administrator ken feinberg talks about the implementation of his fund. one hour earlier at 7:00 eastern on c-spanfree homeland security secretary janet napolitano on u.s. immigration policy and enforcement. that is tonight starting at 7:00 p.m. on the c-span
networks. two house homeland security subcommittee looked into recent allegations that iran attempted to assassinate the saudi ambassador to the u.s. and iran's covert operations internationally. including hezbollah and mexico's drug cartels. witnesses include retired general keane who developed the iraq surge strategy for president george w. bush. this is two hours and 40 minutes. >> the subcommittee will come to order. we have a joint subcommittee. oversight subcommittee and intelligence subcommittee meeting today to hear testimony regarding the iranian terror operation on american soil. the iranian government is a threat to the international community, building weapons of mass destruction. it is a threat to the middle east dominating the region through intimidation and support
for terrorist organization that recent reports indicate the iranian government is a threat to the homeland security by attempting to assassinate the saudi ambassador on our soil using drug cartels operating on our doorstep. enough is enough. in the past we in the international community have attempted to use economic sanctions. is obvious these sanctions have not worked. our message to iran should be simple. continue threatening the national security of the united states and there will be a punitive response. hour hearing today examined threats from the iranian government, to did you as response and alternative courses of action. in february the international atomic agency director agreed that iranian leaders seem determined to build a nuclear weapon. additionally iran has declared it successfully enriched uranium. iran's growing arsenal of ballistic missiles enhance its power of projection and there
are reports in iran is adapting one of its ballistic missiles to deliver a nuclear warhead. the u. s department of state considers iran the world's most-active state sponsor of terrorism. since its inception in 1979 the islamic state issued terrorism as an interval part of its foreign and military policy. it provides funding, weapons, training and sanctuary to terrorist groups most notably those operating in iraq, afghanistan, lebron and other middle eastern countries. iranian backed political violence has killed a thousand people in two hundred terror attacks including the 1983 suicide bombing of american and french military barracks in beirut. killing 299 people. most recently the u.s. department of justice filed charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism against a naturalized u.s. citizen who hold an iranian
passport. and a member of the special covert unit of iran's revolutionary guard. spkuri is still at large and thought to be in iran. mr months your who is living in corpus christi at one point in time in my district attempted to higher the mexican drug cartel to assassinate the saudi arabian ambassador in washington d.c.. we should be concerned about a nexus between iran, hezbollah and the drug cartels. this indicates dangerous escalation of the iranian government's role in sponsorship of terrorism. world war i started because of an assassination of a foreign diplomat. the iranian government established strong ties to latin america. mahmoud ahmadinejad and hugo chavez our allies.
they are recruiting venezuela and you for use as intelligence and militant operatives blue summer brought to iran for training. sources claim hezbollah evolve in this operation. iran air operates a tehran to caracas flight referred to as terror for transporting terror suspects and iranian shipments and hezbollah operatives. the venezuelan government sealed passenger list from interpol on these flights. obviously iran is a rogue state which continues to work towards acquiring nuclear weapons, building long-range missiles and supporting terrorism. actions taken by the administration are not working. we do not enforce sanctions against iran's central bank. iran uses its bank to circumvent sanctions. additionally this bank assists the iranian force in funneling money into terrorist groups such as hezbollah and hamas. strict sanctions on the central
bank of iran must be enforced sooner rather than later. if it turned out the iranian assassination plot on u.s. soil was sanctioned at the highest level of the iranian government i believe military force should not be taken off the table. i look forward to the witness's testimony. we have a distinguished panel today and i look forward to see what actions the obama administration will take to demonstrate the iranian government's actions are simply unacceptable. with that i recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee on counterterrorism intelligence, be gentlelady from california, miss speier. >> i would like to congratulate the people of libya for ending the rain of muammar gadhafi last week. it is time for the libyan people to begin the long process of rebuilding their country and regaining libya's standing in
the international community. i would like to commend president obama on another national security victory. for hoping to assemble the coalition that supported the libyan and opposing the dictator without placing any of our forces in harm's way. those developments in north africa should hold relevance for today's topic as well because another example that it is our increasingly interconnected world through the most brutal regimes cannot continue to press their citizens' desire for freedom and democracy. i want to thank our distinguished witnesses for being with us today to discuss the iranian threat. this is a discussion that has grown in significance following the plot to assassinate the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states by an iranian american man allegedly acting on behalf of islamic revolutionary guard. though this head has focused the
debate on security from iran we all know that iran has been a primary security concern for america for a long time. earlier this year we held a subcommittee hearing on has a lot examining links between the iranian government including hezbollah. a group responsible for devastating attacks against the u.s. including deadly bombings of the u.s. embassy and marine corps barracks in lebanon. iran continues to provide support for hezbollah and other terrorist groups including hamas. through some of the proxy groups iran has been tied to a tax in half -- iraq and afghanistan and iranian weapons cause the deaths of many american service members. the recently foiled plot which was allegedly authorized, funded and planned by members of the cut force opened a new dimension to the threat we face from iran. -- of the version of events laid out by the justice department in its complaint is true that this
plot was authorized by members of the iranian government, what does it mean for the overall threat we face from iran? given that the target of this plot was not american, how does this change our estimation of the iranian capability and intent to strike the u.s.? does the alleged attempt to partner with a mexican drug cartel member indicated greater collusion between iran and drug trafficking organizations? we need to learn all the facts in the troubling case but one thing is for sure. we need some over, recent discussion of the foreign policy challenge we face not the inflammatory sound bites characteristic of the debate until now. the heated rhetoric from both sides over the past decade brings back memories of the darkest days of the cold war. before this recent plot was uncovered the u.s. and iran had been contemplating a hot line between the two countries to provide a direct line for top leaders to communicate during a crisis in the hopes that cooler
heads would prevail. a similar solution was adopted by the u.s. and the soviet union during the cold war. with the arrest earlier this month sparking more heated rhetoric i can't help but think such a hot line would have helped. we must carefully assess the most effective path forward for dealing with iran. america needs to send a message that iran's leaders must be held accountable for their actions but we cannot take any reckless action which may lead to opening another front in the war on terror which the american people do not want and cannot afford. we need to work with our international partners to find the right balance and make iran accountable. as we showed it libya the best approach to build a coalition and avoid unilateral action. many people have criticized sanctions of iran for lacking teeth, just last week the washington post reported iran's nuclear program faced major setbacks in part due to poorly
performing equipment and shortages of parts as global sanctions exert a mounting toll. even china has recently slowed oil and energy investments in iran to be more in compliance with sanctions program greatly entering the iranians. working with our partners to enhance the sanctions program and increase pressure on iran further isolating the regime and providing a path forward that does not put our troops at risk. i hope to gain new insights into these and other challenges in the hopes we can move forward building a strategy for dealing with iran that is both effective and responsible. i yield back. >> the chair now recognizess the chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, mr. meehan. >> thank you for your presence here today. since the iranian sponsored assassination plot was revealed to the public two weeks ago i have been struck by much of the
commentary in the media that underplays the plot. even suggesting it would be impossible to pull off. questioning how iran would ever use mexican drug cartels for a terrorist attack on american soil. i would note september 11th attacks, the 9/11 commission pointed restated and i am holding up. this was their conclusion. across the government there were failures of imagination, policy, capability and management. most important was failure of imagination. we don't believe leaders understand the gravity of the threat. a failure of imagination. to our leaders completely understand the gravity of the threat? that is the essence of what we are trying to ask today. when it comes to the ambition of iran fought to develop nuclear weapons and willing to engineer terrorist attacks on united
states soil and bound to white israel off the map it appears to me our government risks a failure of imagination. it may not be fully considering the gravity of the iranian threat. i hope we can analyze that. today's hearings address a critical homeland security issue. iran's terror operation on american soil. in my view this in the game change your and represents crossing of the red line by iran. for many members of this committee is not surprising. this committee in july held a hearing on hezbollah on iran's presence in latin america and its ramifications for the united states, land. witnesses testified that iran both directly and through its proxy hezbollah had tentacles firmly entrenched in venezuela, throughout latin america and into mexico. one witness even testified
hezbollah was sharing underground tunnel technology the same used by another iran supported terrorist group, hamas. the egyptian gaza strip border. those issues are alarming but there's a general consensus among the witnesses from many in the intelligence community that although hezbollah has a presence in the united states primarily for fund-raising activity, iran wouldn't attack the united states homeland unless provoked by the united states for an attack by them on israel for their nuclear facilities. our nuclear facilities. does it now appears that consensus is wrong? these were among the questions i hope the principal purpose of this hearing can be. in new york and october, ramifications that are significant for homeland security in the united states. the focus since 9/11 has been on al qaeda and affiliated
terrorist groups. the thing about iran's capability to strike at american soil has been limited to the nuclear issue. that must change and i hope today's hearing is a constructive contribution to the debate. the united states and international community has issued sanctions against iran in some form since 1979 it is obvious from the assassination attempt that iran has not been deterred. some fee arise such an attempt might signal some amount of desperation and dissension within iran particularly as it relates to the relationship between mahmoud ahmadinejad and the ruling theocracy. what are the implications of that? i do believe regardless that it is important for the united states to get serious. sanction the iranian central bank, oil refinery business and shipping companies and support operations. while iran is assassinating a
foreign ambassador in washington d.c. is a significant provocation it is not a plot considered in isolation. iran is on a path toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. we cannot allow that to happen. if we can't deter iran's actions now, the thought of them with a nuclear weapon is the unimaginable. simply taking him at his word, president mahmoud ahmadinejad would use nuclear weapons to wipe israel off the map. is my belief this a should be taken at his word. and do everything we can as a nation to stop iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon insuring the united states and israeli security. the u.s. and israel share a common enemy in iran and israel's case a potential that essential threat if iran obtained a nuclear weapon. the united states must do everything to protect the state of israel from an iranian attack. let me close by saying i would
like to call special attention on one of today's witnesses, retired marine colonel tim garrity, who was the commander of the u.s. multinational peacekeeping force in beirut, lebanon in 1983 when a hizbollah suicide bomber killed 241 service men. as we all know this attack was planned, finance and ordered by the iranian government. this past sunday was the 20 eighth anniversary of the attacks. i know i speak for all members of congress when i say we have never forgotten their sacrifice. i want to highlight their was a remembrance ceremony at arlington national cemetery. section 59 where many of colonel gary's former marines rest today in honor. what i believe to be a striking contrast, a 2004 monument was erected in tehran commemorating the suicide bombs that killed
241 service men in that attack. organizers held a registration drive seeking martyrdom volunteers. just an anecdote, intel's us much about the type of enemy iran poses to the united states. with that i yield back. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the ranking member of the subcommittee on oversight, the gentleman from massachusetts mr keating. >> thank you for conducting this hearing. i also acknowledge former the a colleague, chairman meehan and drinking abrogate team. i am pleased to be here and have the subcommittee to join together and insight of the iranian threat. for 30 years the relationship between iran and the united states has been tenuous at best. since 1995 united states had an
embargo with iran and this may seem like a long time. opposed dating the red sox to the playoffs. also sponsorship of terrorist activities against the u.s. and other countries, that creates three decades. as i watch our young men and women returned from the battlefield in iraq and afghanistan bearing the physical and psychological wounds of war would angers me the most is allegations of the extensive collaboration between iran and some of our most threatening enemies like the taliban, afghan war lords and al qaeda themselves. for this very reason our former policy with iran should not be a partisan issue. iran's actions are wrong and as we focus on their nuclear
ambitionss which are incredibly concerning we cannot turn a blind eye to the revolutionary's own ambition to stretch their tentacles even further across the middle east and likely the western hemisphere as well. there is no doubt that following the failed iranian elections in june of 2010, the iranian regime has had its legitimacy wounded and their own parents or has increased. they have called on islamic extremists to increase their violent posture and advocated the annihilation of the jewish state. as if this were not enough to worry about, israel whose true democratic ally and trusted friend iran have nuclear ambitions are moving swiftly toward the nuclear reality as
the world waits with a bit of apprehension. europe, israel and the united states must undoubtedly prepare for more dangerous iranian regime in that near-term yet nothing endangers peace more than a refusal to face and accept the fact. and examination of a way forward with iran makes sense. with iran's known and speculated alliance plans with terrorist organizations posed a threat to the united states homeland is a question many have tried to answer. what we do know is members of the elite cut an iranian revolutionary guard corps were involved in a plot to assassinate saudi arabia's ambassador to the united states. we should insure that the decision on how to proceed is grounded in the best interests of the united states. according to the complaints by the department of justice and iranian americans working on
behalf of an iran based member of iran's force attempted to hire a member of the mexican drug cartel to assassinate the saudi ambassador to the united states. the cartel member turned out to be an informant for the u.s. drug enforcement agency who tipped off u.s. officials and helped them build a case against perpetrators who were subsequently arrested on september 29th in new york. the focus of this hearing belong on the islamic revolutionary guard corps, an organization dedicated and islamic organization -- a terrorist organization by the united states. whether the entire i rtc acknowledges the scheme or not have alluded to earlier the evidence exists that the i r g c is playing an active role to undermine iraq by funneling funds and arms to shi'ite melissa engaging directly in
military activity and gather intelligence. the united states and european union agreed the cuts force are providing equipment and support to help the syrian regime suppressed revolts in syria. this information alone is a cause for concern. although i believe president obama's track of engagement and policy has had a profound effect on iran's capabilities we must begin to weigh other measures and prepare to cover the evolving threats of iran. i look forward to this hearing and look forward to what we discussed and ideas coming from our witnesses and thank our witnesses for being here today and look forward to hearing your views how to counter this threat and how far along the threat lies within our borders. i want to thank the chairman and ranking members for being here and look forward to the testimony. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes chairman king for an opening statement.
>> let me thank you and chairman meehan. this is a vital issue and important that two subcommittees' come together to hold this hearing. much references was made this morning to the recent indictment and allegations regarding the plot against the united states by iran and within iran. i have seen much of the evidence in the intelligence committee and the totality of the evidence makes it clear this was a real plot. of various types of evidence confirms how real it was and this to me is as chairman meehan said a game change. this takes it to a new level. iran has been an enemy for many years. statements this morning have catalogued iran's actions against the united states but contemplating what would have been an act of war against the united states, killing a foreign
ambassador on american soil in the nation's capital but also from statements that were made that there was a willingness to kill hundreds of americans along with that. the assassination of a foreign ambassador with the willingness to kill hundreds of americans, this is an act of war. we have to -- can't just do business as usual or carry on sanctions as usual. sanctions have been somewhat effective in the past but the cost of the red line that was crossed i believe further action is needed to make it clear how strongly we feel about this and not just to send a message to iran but to other nations in the region how serious we feel. we should expel iranian officials in new york and the un and in washington. many working as spies in new york. we had particular experience of
people out of the iranian office of the un actually doing reconnaissance on the new york city subway system expelled from the country. we know from i believe fairly clear the number of representatives that would be involved in washington and in new york. that is a clear signal that clear action should be taken now. additionally congressman keating referenced iranian revolutionary guard corps. i don't think they have been designated a foreign terrorist organization. the government should make that official designation and designate them as foreign terrorist organization and also has generally mccaul said it is necessary to enforce sanctions against central bank. these would send clear signals and it is important to say nothing should be taken off the
table. that will embolden iran and caused concern among our allies in the region and other countries. i don't think anything should be taken off the table. i look forward to the hearings and the witnesses. let me thank general keating. we had a number of meetings over the years. i know the particular work he did formulating the surge strategy in iraq at a time everyone said the policy would not work and having meetings with general king in late 2006 and early 2007 and if anyone was the architect of that strategy i want to thank him for that today and i want to thank all witnesses for being here and with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> the chair recognizes the ranking member, bennie thompson. >> we were recently made aware of an alleged attempt to
assassinate the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states in washington d.c.. the u.s. government has linked this assassination attempt to high-ranking iranian officials in iranian revolutionary guard force. i commend work of intelligence and law enforcement community and look forward to seeing justice served in the case. united states and iran have a long history. even before uncovering the alleged plot to kill the saudi ambassador the united states designated iran as a terrorist country. reports that iran is vigorously pursuing nuclear weapons and alleged ties to al qaeda additional reasons why the united states should pay close attention to iranian activities. however recent remarks by some of my republican colleagues as well as this morning suggest the alleged assassination attempt represented the crossing of a red line by the world's largest
state sponsor of terrorism against the united states and israel and claims sanctions are not working may be premature and could inflame an already -- furthermore they -- currently awaiting trial is accused of attempting to enlist a mexican drug cartel member to assassinate the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states. although some have made the point that capitalize on a possible alliance between iranian and mexican drug cartels the facts indicate otherwise. we must be careful to stick to the facts. we must not overstate or overreact to a threat we currently face from iran. some criticize the sanctions we placed on iran as too soft and have suggested taking actions that would lead us on a path to escalation but iran is a nation that has already isolated itself
from the world community. it has long lost even more credibility following its latest round of eligible but elections and the arab spring that has swept the middle east. let us not lend them the legitimacy they need by taking reckless action that would lead them the path to another war. i thank the witnesses for being here today and look forward to their testimony. i yield back. >> i thank the ranking member. let me say i recently met with fbi agents and the i agents involved in this case and i personally congratulate them. u.s. attorney offices and intelligence community. this was a true joint operation that worked the way it is supposed to work and i want to personally thank them on the record. with that we have a distinguished panel of witnesses here today. general jack keane is a four star general who completed 37
years in public service. in december 2003 culminating as acting chief of staff of the u.s. army and served as chairman of the institute for the study of war. thank you for being here today. next we have reuel marc gerecht with the defense of democracy focusing on iran and afghanistan and iraq and terrorism and intelligence. he served as specialist at the cia as director of operations. next we have dr. nat leavitt 11, director of the stalin program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the institute of near east policy. from 2005-2007 dr. leavitt 11 was deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the department of treasury and counterterrorism adviser. dr. lawrence korb of the center of american press senior adviser
for center of defense information. he was director of national security studies for the council on foreign relations. dr. korb served as assistant secretary of defense for manpower reserve affairs, installation and logistics'. finally we are very honored today to have colonel timothy geraghty who entered the marine corps in 1959 following graduation from st. louis university. he commanded a reconnaissance company in vietnam and while lieutenant-colonel served in a special assignment with central intelligence agency's special operations group he commanded the 20 fourth marine amphibious unit in beirut in 1983 as part of the multinational peacekeeping force. upon his retirement he returned to the cia to serve counterterrorism center. let me personally thank you for your service and the brave actions on that fateful day in
1983 in beirut. we will never forget the marine that died that day. with that i will recognize general keane for his testimony. >> thank you to the other ranking chairs and minority members. i appreciate you inviting me to share my views. i got to say it is one of the most unique testimony is provided here bringing these two committees together and also the number of shares and ranking minority members that are here. honored to be on this panel with the distinguished colleagues that will share their views with you as well. the iranian bungled operation to use proxy's to assassinate the saudi arabian ambassador to the united states and purposely planned the operation inside the united states is a stunning rebuke to the obama administration's policy of
negotiation and vice lenient -- isolation with the iranians. republican and democratic administrations since 1980 failed to deal effectively with the harsh reality that iran is our number one strategic enemy in the world. frankly the iranians stated this in 1980 that the united states was the enemy of the islamic revolution and their intent was to drive the united states out of the region. therefore they have been systematically killing has for over 30 years. as mentioned in 1983, rare proxies' to hezbollah blew up the american embassy, marine barracks in lebanon and the embassy annex the following year with a total of almost 500 lives lost. we not only had no response to this tragedy but we pull our troops out of lebanon. in 1983 the iranian backed al w aldawa attacked raytheon's
residential area killing and wounding 80. in 1984 the cia station chief in lebanon william buckley was captured and eventually killed which was the beginning of and iranian-backed campaign to take high-profile hostages over ten year period. this led to the poorly conceived and ill-fated operation by the reagan administration to exchange arms for hostages with the iranians. in 1985 twa flight 47 was seized on route to rome and forced to land in beirut which led to the killing of a u.s. navy diver and dumping his body on the tarmac. eventually the airplane hostages were released as the israelis released hundreds of extremist terrorists from israeli jails. in 1996 the u.s. air force covert towers barracks in saudi arabia was blown up by the iranian-backed hezbollah killing 19 and wounding almost 400.
again although our intelligence identify the culprits as iranian-backed hezbollah we had no response and eventually we shutdown the u.s. military bases in saudi arabia. since 2003 in iraq the iranians provided rockets, mortars, enhanced aids and money to the shi'ite militia who were directly involved in killing u.s. troops in iraq. moreover they were trained by the force assisted by the hezbollah at training bases in iran. the iranians were defeated politically and militarily in iraq in 2009 but the president's recent decision to withdraw all troops from iraq puts our hard-fought gains a rack at risk and plays right into the hands of the iranians. similarly the iranians are supporting the taliban in afghanistan with money and
ammunition. the action arm for iran state sponsorship of terrorism outside their borders is led by general sullivany has been in charge for 15 years. he has no military or political boss. the answer is will one person, the supreme leader in iran, ayatollah khamenei. we must conclude that to plan an operation inside the united states that would result in americans being killed, surely the supreme leader at a minimum approved the plan and may in fact have directed it. moreover we must ask ourselves has u.s. policy with respect to iran been working? we appear to have a policy of condemnation when the iranians in gauge in behavior adverse to
united states interests and engage in negotiations which are on again off again while the iranians pursue nuclear weapons. we tried to isolate them in the world which as best we can tell also has had no impact on their pursuit of nuclear weapons or sponsorship of terrorism. we also must admit the iranians are not with the other own challenges having two fledgling democracies on their borders in iraq and afghanistan is a huge geopolitical threats to their tyrannical control of their own population and preservation of their regime. the arabs praying is a repudiation of radical islam. the people in the streets are seeking political reform, social justice and economic opportunities which are the mainstream of western democracy. certainly the iranians are attempting to take advantage of the opportunity for social unrest the arab spring provides but no one has demonstrated on
behalf of their head values. losing state-sponsored terrorists like gaddafi is a setback to be sure as is the upheaval in syria, the no. one ally in the region. it is time to review our strategy for iran against the harsh reality that despite our rhetoric attempt to negotiate, isolate and sanction, the fact is the iranians continue to use proxy's against u.s. interests and pursue nuclear weapons. therefore one must conclude the obvious -- our policy has failed and failed miserably. what can we do? first and foremost, begin to treat iran as the strategic enemy they truly are. as such, develop a strategic competitive framework that counters every major interest the iranian regime engages in.
of course the international community's support and cooperation but regardless of the amount of support we are able to obtain we must act. as an example seize the financial assets which are outside of iran. much as we did with al qaeda. limit their ability to trade by denying their ships and 3 to ports around world. limit the ability of% full bank to operate effectively. conduct and offensive cybercampaign against selected military and economic interests in side of iran. conduct covert operations led by the cia in cooperation with other agencies to target their proxies'. provide money and information and encouragement to the dissident leaders inside iran to use their population to put pressure on the regime. in by view these measures have realistic chance to compel
behavior change or possibly the regime to fall. is much i do know. if we continue the half measures of the past, the iranians will continue to kill us, will continue to sponsor terrorism and use their proxy's against our interests and will continue to pursue nuclear weapons. the next nightmare the world is waiting is around the corner and it is an unchecked iran with nuclear weapons. thank you and our look forward to your questions. >> the chair recognizes mr. gerecht for his testimony. >> it is a pleasure to be here and be invited by the committee and are must always say it is a pleasure to sit next to general keane. back to the dark days of 2006. there were few individuals in this town who believed iraq could be turned around. and general keane did and we'll
have a great deal. i am going to primarily talk about operation. about how are have observed the iranians over 20 years to go back a little bit in time, to when i was an iranian targets officer and central intelligence agency. a great deal of conversation occurred after the plot was failed in many sensible quarters that they couldn't really believe the iranians were responsible, couldn't believe ayatollah khamenei could have been involved in this and most importantly couldn't believe the iranians were involved because the operation was so liam. ..
they bombed paris repeatedly. my favorite, the most lethal bombing of a place called pozzi, which was an inexpensive department store, best known for its inexpensive women's underwear. the individual who was responsible for that was a tunisian and several people who were but probably god and live with a tunisian muslims who converted to islam, which was taken back to iran and had been a failed seller of vegetables and fruit in the streets of
paris. yet, the hezbollah and iranian found him to be an ideal candidate to bomb paris. within about less than a fourth at the dst, and the french internal security ripped the whole thing apart. it was patently obvious. the iranian titanic. he attracted iranian operations all over in the 1980s and 1990s. many of those operations succeeded. that is they killed individuals. most of those operations again didn't take very long to put all the pieces together again. the iranians really don't hide all that much. that is the real truth. i might make a slight digression and just say all intelligence services aren't as good as you think they are. and the iranians are no exception. been make a lot of mistakes. it is important to remember when you think about the
revolutionary guard and the cold war to, is the service is largely reflect the domestic athletics. not the way the irgc works, the revolutionary guard corps works inside of iran is usually one of brute force and coercion. they are not the subtle organization. the ito sees the inside of the country is the same eat those that she's the outside of the country. they do not have one body of very sophisticated folks who are at a persian persian at james bond, working outside of the country and just the birth, the thugs are tied. it's the birth from the thugs in both places. so do not for a moment i.d. argument from those who said it cannot be because it's too sloppily. this is how it is done. cast your mind back again to something that obviously hurt
us. if you go back and look at ottis operations for the millennial bombing of an attempt to cope better, it's positively comical. it is able to recover and consistently sloppy way and almost able to sink the uss cole. the iranians will -- the intelligence game and this types of darker system -- the prize goes to those who just do. if you just persist at it. and with the iranians do is they persist. and it is important to note here that it is better than a 50/50 guess. in fact, it is more like a 9010 guests that every single iranian terrorist operation since 1989, since her death of ayatollah
khomeini has been approved. he has been a somewhat cautious man, and occasionally inside of iran. i would argue that since the airport of june 2009 in the explosion of the green moment and its collapse, but actually even that analysis is overrated. he has essentially turned a consensual bureaucracy into a tape leadership. he is with members of the guard correlate their musical chairs. he is in control of that system. lord help solo money if he engaged in operations to kill americans in washington d.c. without his approval. i guarantee you he will be gone soon. he will most likely be dead soon. what we need to look at in the future -- and i suspect this is
where the operational aspect of this is going to get worry some, what i think the iranians will do i say the only reason the iranians haven't hit the united states in the past is because they fear an american response. they have had very act of operations throughout the last, except the united states. the only answer to that was immediately after the revolution of the assassination of a former iranian diplomat. since then, they have not engaged in legal operation as far as we know in the united states. the reason for that is they have been scared. they have been scared of the possible outrage coming from the united states. they've been scared of the american military. i would emphasize to you the reaction in tehran in 2001 after the invasion of afghanistan in 2003 and after the invasion of iraq was dead silent and fear. it went a way because the
americans started talking about afghanistan and more importantly iraq is a failure. danny raised in it's fair. their attitude about what to do to americans started to change and they started to publish, push. if they can get away, they will push forward and they did get away with it. even though it's insidious to say this, it is crystal clear and washington d.c. could have a terry stop for a station that could test most. the americans in saudi's and they could get away with it. the only way that i would argue that you are going to stop that type of men tawney and attitude is you have to convince them that you will escalate. you don't want to run away from that. you want to run towards it. if you don't want to say we don't want to have another front
in the war on terror. so you are more than familiar to have a front on the war of terror. >> mr. gerecht, this is really fascinating. i asked he wrapped up just to get to a question-and-answer period >> yes, operation and what i suggest the committees look at as they look at canada. i think that is where the iranians have much more success in developing contacts, networks and i suspect what they'll try to do is move the type of operations they have in canada, move them south. >> thank you for insightful testimony. the chair now recognizes dr. leavitt. >> chairman ranking members can list in which members of, and cherry paneled with these distinguished speakers. the fact that iran uses brutal means to achieve its foreign policy goals is nothing new.
the fact that decided to carry out the attack in washington d.c., an attacker would've killed many more americans if they didn't appear to have any concern about the possibility and this is indeed something new. there've been past plot the united states. i include those in my written testimony. many, many more broad come including targeting of diplomats abroad and of course my major instance in the past covered towers where they try to hit u.s. and saudi interests at once. according to the iran human rights documentation center, arena stage at least 162 judicial killings around the world since 1979. several members have noted, questions have been raised about the plot of official sm, could've been a rogue operation and why would it mean to say to carry out an attack like this? had like to ask questions and if there's time to suggest things right now to give a answer.
i agree wholeheartedly we have to answer somehow now. as to the unprofessionalism, i don't think anyone said it would've been unprofessional at the person he turned to come a member of the court held not been a undercover. this was a spectacular success of law enforcement intelligence. had they not come to that individual, no one would've pooh-poohed it then. in fact, going to the mexican cartel doesn't necessarily suggest a formal target of opportunity perhaps just as easily, but certainly would have been seeking reasonably finite ability and that is a hallmark of quds fours and hezbollah together. i ran in the gulf in the 1990s, the cia but it's now been declassified that iran would sponsor easily deniable attacks against u.s. targets, presumably mostly abroad. by reaching out to someone they assume to be tied to mexican drug cartels, using this foolish looking guy as they cut up,
keating farmers that they were building some typos playability. my written testimony set the case of ali saleh, fruits, vegetables and clothing, not with a success in the paris subway -- excuse me, as precedent for the quds fours just like this. indeed, i would argue the fact that the quds fours has several recent failures suggest that they may not be quite as wanted as people assume that they have been. consider the foiled plot in azerbaijan, where to hezbollah operatives were convicted and then released, but to whether quds force members were captured and quietly released. consider reports of a joint hezbollah's quds force operation in turkey, where quds force operates were quietly released. they had a series of failures.
this is not the only one. as for rogue operation, i too agree at the head of the quds force did something like this without prior authorization, he's in for some very tough times. in the past, khobar towers, the bombings in argentina and 92 and 94 have been timed and tied back to the only ibm and quds force, the high levels of leadership and the iranian national security council. i go into that in detail in a written. the fact is u.s. intelligence assessed in august 1990 that iran had been on civil response to numerous attacks against the past year and assess at the iranian terrorist attacks carried out in 89, 90 were, and a quote, probably approved in advance by the president and other senior iranian leaders. we will likely find something along those lines here, too. by what they carry out attacks now? there's all kinds of reasons. the saudi ambassador reportedly was quoted in wikileaks that came out in the press as saying
that the saudi king told u.s. officials we should do something against tehran. tensions between the u.s. and iran are at least as high now as they were in the 1980s and it can 90s. the revolutionary radical elements within iran are in the same. all the things going on that lead to increased attacks are going on now and there was a shadow war going on. if you look at this from iran's news, the quds force, people defect to numbers of the nuclear program suddenly disappearing. these are things they blame us in israel and every every once in a while the great for doing. all of these may be had in effect. so what should be done? i argue especially while the court case is ongoing, we wouldn't do something prejudicial. i would also argue that the fact is that republicans, democrats alike is not the whole stomach for a major military intervention. it should not be taken off the
table. i testimony is what can be done right now? i'll give you a few examples. none are more than pinpricks to be sure. if we do a we do a bunch of pinpricks right now, we can send a message before the trial is over without being prejudicial and i think we have to do something right now. i think we should be working with allies in the saudi's targeted here to carry some water to get some of the larger iron south america brought down to size. after the bombings in 1994, members of the testified. what we've seen is an increasing number of embassies, size of embassies. it should also be pressing allies to take out of the country. known as suspected ministry of intelligence and security operatives and rgc operatives. we have long lists of people along those lines. i think that we should restrict the movements of iranian diplomats. so that they can't go outside
capital cities and dignitaries can't do more than what came before. they were allowed to go into that meeting and nothing else. no press, no lectures, nobody with the pope and italian officials. i think the gcc can be writing here. most you she's best gcc -- i do think that something that can be done and there's people pressing that right now as we speak here but let's be honest. the major issue there is not the europeans were both allies disagree with us, that denmark has the should be designated, but the question what would happen should the international oil economy and the world economy at a time when we invite no special europeans are facing serious economic problems. that is something that'll have to be answered before we get people with us. iran sits on a kind of international bodies. membership should be suspended so long as they engage in activities completely beyond
acceptable for international norms. there are small types of military pressures, especially in iraq. we could be publicizing some of that. there's more we could be doing. i would add just one last thing aside from more sanctions on the quds force and a lot more we could do. chairman king had asked if they were designated as an fto. they been designated by treasury as a global terrorist entity. one thing that can be done in dhs can play a role, as the greater customs control. we do have dhs officers in brussels working closely with fbi and others coming to a yeoman's work i'm dealing with iran's procurement and customs violations. there is precedent within the e.u. for setting up a small body that might share information in a timely manner, focused on one particular issue after kosovo there was never like this. we could do that on my brand and highlight iran's customs violations. that would help on proliferation
and argue terrorism as well. a lot more detail in my written testimony. thank you for the opportunity. >> to chernow recognizes dr. korb for his testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. by general keane can i testified over a hundred times and never seen so many chairmen and ranking members. i am honored. this is certainly a critical time for u.s. iranian relations. i would like to begin by pointing out the success of the law enforcement people here, playing a critical role shows that in dealing with the threat from terrorists with the global reach it doesn't have to be military and in fact we can work with our law-enforcement agencies here at home. there is no doubt that iran sponsors terrorism and its undertaking illicit nuclear programs. and while it's likely the most families satisfied to take military action, i think it would be exactly the wrong side. you go back and look at our
history, chairman paul was talking about the world war i assassination. everyone agrees that was an overreaction to the assassination and created problems that plagued us for the rest of the 20th century. i remember the korean war, people -- general macarthur wanted us to bomb china. when i was in vietnam, people talked about using nuclear weapons and of course the cuban missile crisis, people wanted us to invade cuba. any of those steps would then disasters. i think one example of this overreact team is in what the late ted sorensen called the mindless needless, senseless invasion of iraq did strengthen iran and continues to strengthen them in that part of the world. and it undermines our image throughout the world and made people listen more to iran. my feeling is that this attack or the alleged attack is a sign of desperation. it shows that the stations are working and while we should not take anything off the table, i
think what we need to do is use this occasion as an opportunity to assemble the coalition to increase the sanctions and follow the advice of admiral mullen, who recently said even in our darkest days of the cold war, we had direct relations with the soviet union. we should follow that with iran. now, when people talk about the sanctions not working, i am reminded to a good man i had the privilege of serving president reagan used to call the misery index. take a look at the misery index an array and over 30 when you count both inflation and unemployment. there's political turmoil. you had four joint elections. the fact that the ruling clerics are trying to undermine the president and in fact today there was a report that the
ruling clerics would like to do away with the presidency. the nuclear program is not working. david albright from the institute for science and international security, who was the foremost expert on this has recently argued that the program is not working because of all the problems that we are having. now, i think the key to the sanctions has got to be getting international consensus. the sanctions adopted last jam had u.n. approval and that all other countries involved. that's why they are working. and i applaud president obama for freezing the assets of the man care and i think we should begin to move towards getting sanctions on the central bank, but do not do it unilaterally. it has to be done with the rest of the world. and let me conclude with this. everybody talks about how horrible iran is and may have done a lot of horrible things, but let me tell you, they were the first muslim country to
condemn the attacks of 9/11. at the bombed complex in which we set up the car is a, george bush ambassador, jean dobyns said without the support of iran, the fact that the karzai government would not have been installed. you have to put things and realize there's times they've worked with us. thank you very much. >> thank you. colonel geraghty is recognized. >> last sunday was the 20th anniversary -- excuse me, last sunday was the 20th -- 28 anniversary of the beginning of the symmetrical war, raised by radical islamists against the united states and our allies. it was on that day when they coordinated a suicide truck bombings killed 200 party when peacekeepers under my command as well as 58 french peacekeepers. those atrocities led to the withdrawal of the u.s. national peacekeeping force from lebanon,
major changes in u.s. national policy. since then, radical islamism has evolved into major national security threat in the 21st century. perhaps the most significant development that came out of the beirut mission was the ascent of iran as a major player, not only in the region, but globally. since iran does not a border with lebanon, or israel in the early 1980s, it deployed through serious or damascus a contingent of lebanon's backoff ballet. i might add that was during the height of the iranian iraqi war. the iranians established an operational and training base, which remains intact of activities today. they found that, financed and trained hezbollah as mentioned
previously. and used those shiite surrogates to attack peacekeepers that sunday morning in beirut. we can see today that iran's entry into lebanon was a game changer and continue to destabilize lebanon, attack israel indirectly while raising and influence throughout the arab world. iran has the capability today uses it to cause havoc on several fronts. on its own schedule, convenient distractions and while it's nuclear centrifuges and. the iranian mullahs breaching a radical war of aggressive campaign, support al qaeda, hamas, hezbollah, palestinian islamic jihad, three of whom are sunni. they support the taliban as
mentioned previously by the general and afghanistan against nato forces. and used the quds force in iraq to finance and equip those sunni and shia militias. some key leaders who are implementing the iranian policies hearken back and are worthy of a closer scrutiny and hearken back to the beirut days. the stop, mohammed, veteran commander of the irgc, the 150,000 irgc was made minister of defense. in 2005. in 1983, he was commander of the irgc lebanon contention and was directly responsible for the beirut truck bombing. today he is the minister of the carrier and iran.
they have redeployed irgc forces around the major capitalists and while you're not hearing any of the protests coming out of iran. with the arab spring. protest throughout the middle east. the fiercely debated election 2009 reveals another correction with lebanon. his selection instantly put down that those protests in iran at that time imported some of his hello folks from lebanon but did train. his selection new defense minister and current is general on my bikini, who also participated in the 1983 peacekeepers bombings and later succeeded as the commander of the lebanon contention. he is the one who founded the
quds force, serving as its first commander. he is currently on interpol's most wanted list, the red notices for the bombings in buenos aires that the israeli embassy in 1992, killing 29 and a jewish community cultural center in 1994, killing 86. but he was linked by the european union to fascinate for iran's nuclear duties. and the development of nuclear weapons delivery systems. while overseeing the research and development of weapons of mass destruction. haiti's assignment and background as to why is why iran retains the dubious distinction for over a quarter of a century of being the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
the expanding relationship to treat mary ann, president keating and hugo chavez requires closer vigilance, the u.s. and their allies. they are open to hegemony as clear propaganda is to provide cover for other activities. plans include russia billeting venezuela to produce the aka one of three automatic weapons and to ascend 53 years, military helicopters. besides having major operating bases in the tri-border regions of argent team, brazil and paraguay, they have also established another one on venezuela's margarita island. mentioned previously, the weekly fights from iran to venezuela are not monitored. which brings back memories of my multinational peacekeeping moore's -- peacekeeping
headquarters in beirut at beirut international airport, which later evolved in the late 80s as a terrorist of. the u.s. southern command has expressed concern on the growing connections between iran and hezbollah. all of this is happening without a purpose. it is not happening without a purpose. adea chief of operations has confirmed his operations of foreign partnership with major mexican drug cartels. they have been using the smuggling routes to smuggle both people and contraband into the united states. these developments should cause red flags to fire -- fly and i know a lot of attention is being paid across the intelligence defense, diplomatic and home security communities. we have to presume that
hezbollah cells are in the united states had been fortified , or weed and artisanship. to discount this threat and their capabilities would be an invitation to disaster. reports from the homeland security documents, the earlier revealed that 180,000 illegal aliens in countries other than mexico were apprehended between 2007, 20 times. which questions how many witnessed. the recent iranian backed plot to assess the needs saudi arabia's ambassador to the united states involved a key comes first commander linked to the killing u.s. troops in iran and iraq. should come again as no surprise. the leader of that group operated within the iraqi
militia of cleric sadr, dressed in u.s. and iraqi, dressed as u.s. and iraqi soldiers and assault in karbala, which killed five americans. according to a treasury report, he supplied sadr's group also with the rapidly. the kaizen was arrested, the co-conspirator with an iranian american living in tax base. the bizarre plot involving using mexican drug traffickers to bomb the restaurant in washington, which the ambassador frequently frequented. when you stop and realize using that bizarre plot, that is like in sales lingo, not a cold car
called, why you'd use that link unless there's a lot of previous site tbd. the uniqueness of the plot provides some insight to the nature of the asymmetrical threat we face. the plotters also discussed bombing saudi and israeli embassies in washing 10. my question is the modus operandi which was considered. did it involve a paper truck bombing model used by them against the u.s. embassy in beirut and the peacekeepers in 1983? are the two u.s. embassies in west africa, tanzania and kenya in the 98th for the israeli embassy in witnessed areas in 1992? in closing, i believe iran is intent on attacking us in the
homeland. all one needs to do is to review their strategy, and their behavior, their attacks and their targets for the past three decades. their ideology mixed with their excessive hatred of america makes us a prime target. the use of proxies have proven to be successful while avoiding any retribution for the carnage they have brought as leading state sponsor of terrorism. one of the questions we should ponder that are timid response to iranian carnage for the last three decades is that if they feel that they could go nuclear with impunity, the commendable work being performed daily across the defense intelligence and domestic law enforcement
agencies as a matter of record. our national unity and internal vigilance is required now more than ever. thank you. >> thank you, colonel. thank you again for your service on that tragic day in beirut. the chair now recognizes himself for five minutes for questions. curnow, i agree with you that we have had a timid response to iran since 1979. general keane i thought very masterfully, all the attacks and attempted attacks on the interest of the united states in 1989 and the failure both parties come to either party from the administrations prior to adequately respond to the threat. and now we have an attempted assassination on a foreign official in a nation's capital. unfortunately, it was foiled. but according to her testimony,
general keane, this goes to the highest levels when you say that ayatollah khomeini at a minimum approved this plan and may have directed it. that is very bold. and if true, i think deserves a proper response. you mention that our policy has failed. and we have had sanctions on and off since 1979 and we are still faced with the threat that continues. i think you mention would be to treat iran as a strategic enemy. i agree with that. it's about the general and the colonel, what do you think should be the proper response to do with iran? >> well, as i said in my remarks, step one is to back his plan as our strategic enemy and therefore use only element of national power as such to push against the enemy. and i am not suggesting that the first push should be a military
one. quite the contrary. but let's face it. even the sanctions we is had never had any major impact on these guys. because they are not tough enough. lay down every single entries that they have and then counter that interest. we know that when they took power, and they took all the shots, business interests around the world. and in europe and some in the middle east. they have those business interests. they are billionaires because of it. let's go get them. why do we tolerate that? there so many other things we can do when people on this panel have outlined those things. and let's not wring our hands if the international community doesn't want to step up to it. we go without them. if we don't take measures -- serious measures and introduced either to bomb, they are going to keep killing us until we
eventually get a weapon that can truly hurt us. so i am suggesting that we get comprehensive and holistic about what we are doing. i am not suggesting for a minute that we start with some small things in lead up to larger things. i am saying we put our hand around her throat right now in every interest that they have. we have a significant offensive cybercapability in this country that no one else in the world has. some are close. we can do limited right now. why are we doing not? they would have rather traumatic impact. where permitting the quds force leaders who have been organized in this killing of us were 30 years to go around still walking around. why don't we kill them? we kill other people who are running terrorist organizations against the united states. these guys have killed almost a thousand others. why don't we kill them? and why don't we conduct espionage against them?
we have people in our government do not have to do this. i'm not suggesting military action. i am suggesting covert action has a degree of deniability to it. my partner to my left here knows more about this than i could possibly ever know. but i am suggesting -- >> unfortunately only have a minute left here by me just say this. i agree. i don't think anyone wants to go to a war with iran, but i do think we need a tougher response, petite lili in light of the nation's capital. colonel, i want to give you the last word in my little bit of time left. you have discussed quite extensively a connection between tehran and caracas, between iran and venezuela and latin america, the fact that hezbollah forces are in latin america, the fact that hezbollah forces may actually be working with drug cartels they think is in your words, probably not a cold call. they may have been connected
with them previously. could you expand upon not? >> it's almost like a play i've seen before, establishing a base in lebanon and using that. and look what they have expanded that to today. really it is preventing any kind has the larger issues. it is preventing any kind of accommodation between palestinian and israelis, that with thomas they become a major player and a major threat that they never had before that. that is why save the iranian revolutionary card boot into lebanon if they were there in a peacekeeping mission is a game changer because the capability certainly weren't there before. i mean, the bomb that we faced was that put together by any she has, wasn't put together. it was the largest nonnuclear explosion ever recorded. still retains that.
the magnitude of the bomb really predetermined mass casualties and removal, really destruction of the mission at the same time. moving back, i would state that the cause commander assassination plot here is the fellow that i pan that has to be one of the key guys in the planning and control of the quds force as the founder that was in beirut as current minister of defense in tahiti. he is the one that founded it. he is the one -- just look at the job csi before he has been the minister of defense. and it is all key jobs that lays out like a mentioned a roadmap. and he was in venezuela earlier
this year. he was expelled from olympia after the interpol because he's on their red notice. but he travels under diplomatic covenant. the point is he is probably the key guy that is orchestrating all of this, not only the use of the quds force, but specific measures that would think that has that kind of influence. >> thank you, colonel. let me also echoed dr. leavitt's testimony. i think it would be helpful. these flights going between caracas and tehran cannot be checked by interpol. the international community cannot check these sites. i've had with the lawmakers tell me there's iranian on this flight, going to iran. i think it is time that general king mentioned to start stepping up to the plate and responding. so with that, i now recognize the gentlelady from california, and this.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you again to all of our witnesses and i don't think we can say often enough to general keane and general geraghty, the great service you provided to our country. it is very commendable. let me start with you, dr. korb. he discussed the very sanctioned programs have achieved. can you describe the u.n. sanctions that are designed to restrict iran's access to global financial system's? >> last june in the u.n. security council adopted its tougher set of sanctions and the u.s., the e.u., australia, japan, south korea and norway followed up a sanctioned event around. and the goal is to restrict iran's access to the global financial system, especially major patents. there are provisions in the resolution to prohibit any financial services, meaning
banking, insurance to iran if there's reason to believe those services could assist arenas are your threats. if the sanctions have been powerful come i think more powerful than most people expected and it had particularly tangible effects on iran's oil industry and associated set errors. and that is why i mentioned the president they can use to call the misery index is beginning to have -- you know, beginning to create problems for iran internally. >> you referenced in your comments as well but the plot be a sign of annoyance weakness and desperation. can you expand upon my little bit for us? >> well, i think if you take a look at the fact that the government balancing chaos, they are concerned about the arab spring because this is undermining the iranian narrative that they are there in the islamic republic should be
the future of the muslim world. we know that when president ahmadinejad expect that some of our offers about enriching nuclear energy announced for us giving him nuclear materials that could be used for medicinal purposes, he was undermined by the ruling cleric. as i mentioned this morning, the ruling clerics are now basically saying that they don't want to have a president anymore and we know what happened of course in the 2009 election. so with their influence declining, with them having economic problems, this wasn't some people talked about it in factory potential game changer to show they are still relevant. they think the very fact they allow this renegade -- i mean, this is the keystone. this is not a success if you take a look at the way this is
done, the very fact they would allow that to happen shows the country is in disarray and they are becoming desperate. >> the movement of the money is something that still kind of perplexes me. do any of you have any knowledge of how this money could have been moved en masse to say that we would not know about it? >> anonymous that exactly how it happened. it hasn't been made public yet. as deputy assistant secretary, this is the type of thing looked at closely. it can be sent directly to an american account, but there's many ways it could've been sent en masse. there's channels to and from a banking channels or a combination of both, meaning he transfers, the bottom line is that probably was sent in as come from iran is somewhat able to be traced through at least one third country.
with one cut out, you can pretty easily find those. >> .guerrier korb, back to you. use of the nuclear cores are working. can you elaborate someone i met? >> as you mention in your opening statement here, the report in the "washington post" quoted high-level government officials in the intelligence community and also david albright who has monitored this closely, saying that as a result of the so-called computer virus and also with the sanctions that have been, that their nuclear program is not where they would like it to be. they don't have access to all the materials they would like in order to move in the direction that they would play. so what has happened is the program installed. you know it's very interesting. you can back and i can show you statements for people going back to 2004, save in six months i
nuclear weapon. and they don't have it yet. i think what has happened is that shows that the international community acting together has made it difficult for them. you know, we talk about russia actually backed off a deal they had made to send them, you know, missiles as a result of the sanctions. so i think what has happened is they are no further along than they were a couple years ago. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my time has expired. >> the chair now recognizes mr. mean. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for the distinguished panel who has really opened their eyes. i go back now to the commentary made at the beginning about what we been through before. colonel carmine discussed this. we're looking at the past to analyze the past after 9/11, we talked about the failure of imagination. today, each of you has identified various points the concept of red flags. our committee has for the
issue -- we are aware of the iranian nuclear ocean. we are aware of their animosity towards israel. what we begin to study more is the use of these proxies outside of the middle east and now increasingly closer to our homeland. we've heard testimony today about the activity within the margarita islands, where chavez has worked and created a stepping off point. we've now seen creation of relationships with mexican drug cartels. the significance to me is the reality that this cartel could create the opening opportunity for terrorists to get into our country much easier than we may perhaps anticipate. we've heard testimony today about an iranian presence in canada. my question is this a red flag moment? have a?
have a say in a time in which we've seen iran crossed the line? we have a window, dr. korb. we've got desperation on the part and this is showing the sense of inability. but we've also heard testimony about persistent and sloppiness, but still having results. is clear in everybody's mind that the game remarkably changes that iran never gets a nuclear weapon. as a result, this appears to be a remarkable moment of opportunity. should we be concerned about the ability, however, at iranian influenced proxies or otherwise to use the groundwork being laid as the ability to penetrate our homeland and to use that as a leverage against any kind of more per disc stands against
iran. we have discussed a series of sanctions, but we also see the realistic capability for iran to strike. what are the implications of our continuing efforts to try to type the screws on iran. i guess if you know, each of you to answer that particular question. what should we be doing next? >> i'll go first here. i mean, again, i've nothing against sanctions. there's a lot of sanctions in the united states should take. i haven't favor of most of what we might call central-bank sanctions. the iran oil free zone. but again, the people water and rest up essentially through killing people. they have maintained a coercive system that has become a course of, not less. they do not respond in the same rational economic ways that we do. iran would not look like the country it is today if they were
concerned about the bottom line. so call a i don't think that you are going to really intimidate these people, get their attention unless you shoot somebody. it's pretty blunt, but i don't think you get to toronto. i think if we believe the guard choristers possible for the operation, then you should also amani responsible. he travels a lot. he's all over the place. go get him. either try to capture him or kill him. but i think you have to send a pretty powerful message to those who have undertaken this were think down the road you are asking for it. they will print the status response to someone who is strong, but a response -- >> there's got to tell you things identify today that could be pretty significant. to react to get to the point of some type of an aggressive military response to still be
able to accomplish the advocate and roads in interfering with their instability to carry out this proxy terrorism is always good towards a nuclear capability? >> well, you could aggressively harass many of their operations overseas. no doubt about that. but you have to have a consensus to do that. that is to say the white house, cia would have to be on board to do that. you would have to have the approval to do that. we'll know as washington d.c. these things are difficult to do. so you may find out this type of covert action is actually much more difficult to do than going after say so amani when he travels. >> if i may add, and i agree, there has to be something clearer that is done. in 1987, referring back to the
19831984 beirut comments come the cia reported any iranian leaders use this precedent is proof terrorism could break u.s. resolve in sabotage and terrorism is an option in concentration with the united states and persian gulf. papery something like this really is a red flag in the sense they decided to carry an operation united states. the question is how to respond. i don't agree necessarily have to put a bullet in someone's head. i do think if we aren't, and i hope we are already, that there should be a significant covert action program in place to do with these types of things. sometimes sophisticated, sometimes not so much. sometimes the iranians to make sure we know that they know it's going i would say they'll are diplomats in different places using iranian diplomat vehicles just so we know they are there, even if that type of thing together with other things can be verified this. i was about a bunch.
one thing about sanctions or someone who is treasury official at one point. i said this on us in government and say all the time now. the sanctions have been tremendously couchman is the effect it. let's be clear. they were never intended and they never will solve your problem. that the north korea sanctions, not the iran. where they are the most effective and will continue to be effect it is an disruption. they sold out the program. iran is much further along than it was, but if every six months we think they're about to get a bomb and 108 years we have this conversation, that's a little bit tree, but not policy. it doesn't get us where we want to be. it has to be used in tandem with other things. military options, covert action, customs enforcement, all of these have to be done in a way bold send a message through we've through said give you one recent example. after the spot was rebuilt,
treasury designated several individuals to reveal more information based on intelligence about the nature of the pot, including the head of the quds force on a terrorism basis. re: gbit designated twice. once an proliferation executive order, once in human rights according to the deceiving regimes suppression of people there. on the one hand that's great because we use this as a vehicle to get out to the public would believe this is not a rogue operation, that this was done at the highest levels of the quds force. on the other hand if i'm sitting at my desk and say the u.s. government designated the third time, now i'm worried. there's different reasons to use these tools, but i think we use them enough in tandem with others aggressively in the tomato and care. we are forever shatter when it comes to iran and they are extremely aggressive.
it's not a culmination was going to work for us. they may say something it thinks are important. >> i'll let you respond, but we are running over the timeframe. >> go ahead. i can wait. >> mr. chairman, in fairness he did in his entire five minutes. maybe we can get a minute. >> fair enough. >> okay. i think we americans like to solve problems right away. but i think we have to be patient. in the long run, type this on my site. if we overreact by using military forces, this will unite them. if we are patient and continue to do these things, some of which have been mentioned by my colleagues, eventually the regime is going to have to change his character. if you told americans back when president truman came up at the marshall plan that the cold war was going to last another 40 years, he would've said no, we can't wait that long.
president eisenhower has to stop people from the rollback strategy. i think you need to be patient and keep taking the steps, but the more consensus you get from the international community, the more effective they will be. >> chair now recognizes mr. keating. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to try something because my time is limited. i'm going to give it, to ministry different questions and sql to just jump in. first comment. is my recollection, correct or if i run, the president of the united states has not ruled out military action in terms of a rant? i heard a statement. so my comment is, what more can he do in terms of what he says? other three questions. one of them is a little provocative. i was in pakistan fairly recently. and i was astounded when i saw three different officials in pakistan tell me that they do not believe the united states killed osama bin laden.
and i asked him how they came to that conclusion. i was incredulous actually, even al qaeda made it back. i estimate it came to that conclusion. and they all cited the information and propaganda coming from iran. so my question is, i think the propaganda machine is being pretty effective if they could ever come to that conclusion and what can we do to cover it? number two, i think it has been touched on, but it's a comment thread and mr. gerecht mentioned canada, talk gerecht mentioned canada, talk what are the threats in what are the threats in the western hemisphere that we should be really vigilant about because i find that to be a common thread. the third thing is an axiom about the enemy is your friend. it is my belief that what they
iran is an internal conflict historically and i think it still exist with the ayatollah and ahmadinejad. there is a conflict with them. is the u.s. nonintentional economy is but is the u.s. that taken away that we are inhibiting that internal conflict that's their front incubating and may be causing problems within iran itself. those are the three questions. i will throw it open to anyone that wants to answer you. first the propaganda, second the western hemisphere. third is, are we doing things unintentionally to maybe not let the percolation of their internal conflict grow? >> if you take the first one, the propaganda, i think we have to recognize because we invaded iraq under false pretenses, people don't trust a lot of the things we say in that part of the world. also during the 90s, we cut
back what i call u.s. information agency and we really haven't got enough to where it stands now. i think one thing that has been missing here in terms of iran's internal conflict, remember that a democracy. we overthrew it. we allowed a shot to begin developing nuclear weapons. so when we say you can to accommodate, they say wait a second, you didn't mind then. exactly after they hope us in afghanistan, okay, and that the northern alliance, which they rightly support the karzai government, present bush put them on the axis of evil. they say what do you expect from us and therefore they went back to some of their economy and no, behavior. >> yeah, i'm going to let it pass lares rendition of history and go to the discussion of internal events.
i'll just say this. when president obama came into office and he had a very aggressive policy of engagement. he was writing letters to how many, that could have a profound effect they think. and it spooked the and did the opposite of what the president that would have been. he sends out letters. president harmony gives a speech thereafter and refers to the united states, incarnate. president obama actually said his theater of the united states of the western cultural vision on the pro-democracy dissidents of the green movement started chatting in persian or shortened version of p. is with us. ..
americans and europeans would see them and talk about only one thing--they talk about the nuclear program. what did those diplomats right back home? they don't care about anything else. that is a mistake. >> something i would add is we know how to do this propaganda. we have a history and have done it effectively. we did it somewhat effectively with in countering soviet union propaganda but it does take authorities and resources and perseverance to do it. >> it is easier these days because of social networking to be more effective. >> very much so. in my statement i said we certainly should be targeting iran with this kind of effort in terms of making an impact on those people. one of the low points in american history when a million people were in the streets of
tehran in 2009 in july and we had no moral response to that movement and this was one of the most repressive regimes that we had and we did not respond and side with them much as we have responded to the polish movement, ukrainian movement and others around the world where people came into the streets fighting against a dictatorship. it should be one of the other things. >> the final comment i have and i will relinquish my time, it is over. let me just say this. there are things we can't talk about that reclassified but many of the things you have suggested this government should be doing i would suggest perhaps we are already doing those things but just can't talk about them. thank you. >> the chair recognizes mr. bill raucous. >> thank you for your testimony. i have a couple questions. this is with regard to the
cartel and this is for the general and the colonel. does it stand to reason the iranians would not have approached the cartel for the first time what they pass as delicate and sensitive as assassinating an ambassador and does it not suggest a level of trust indicating a preexisting relationship? whoever would like to address that. the general or the colonel. >> after you, general. >> the answer is obvious from my perspective. of course it suggests to take on something as vital as conducting an attack inside the united states discussing the relationship there that there has got to be some trust in that relationship. let me just say something. i want to associate my remarks and totally disagree with dr.
korb that this is an act of desperation. that a strategic decision to attack the united states because of a sense of frustration involved in chaos i totally dismissed that theory. that they would come to the united states. they came to the united states to do this because they believe it would advantage them in their part of the world and they are trying to get the influence of the united states and the west out of their region and they fundamentally believe they would get away with it. when bin laden took the two embassies in africa in 1998 we lost 400 people. i think what we did in terms of our response is week through some missiles into a training base in afghanistan and bin laden conclude by killed 400 of them and they won't even come for us. i think we can come for them
because they are week. that is why they are here. because we are week. that is what they believe. they are here because they believe we are weak and we are not going to respond. thank you. >> this question is for mr. gerecht. is it true some of the car bombs used by the cartels in mexico are technically very similar to those used in iraq by iran's terrorist proxies'? does this indicate possible collusion or training between the cartel's and terror groups? >> i am not a wiring expert. i doubt it. i think the knowledge of bombs gets around. proliferation not only occurs with high-technology but also low technology. i am not sure you need to see links in car bombs to suggest
active engagement. you might. i am not denying it. i am saying this type of knowledge is fairly ubiquitous. it spreads easily. >> anyone else want to comment on that? >> i will add generally that we should be wary of jumping too quickly to the conclusion that in order for there to have been this type of cooperation it has to have been institutionalized with lots of trust. the d a found many times you have the same facilitators', gray area people who work in industries for all types. that is clearly happening in mexico where people -- the same people who will move things will move guns or money or people and sometimes it is just an opportunity. if they had business in mexico, apparently a contact with this individual he thought was a member of the drug cartel and
turned out to be -- it may be an opportunity to leverage its relative who is living here who has connections south of the border and might be able to do this just for money. sometimes it is that simple. it is still telling because there are opportunities to leverage those relationships but it doesn't necessarily mean that these are institutionalized and we have to wait to see how the investigation pans out and is made public to draw conclusions. >> i yield back my time. >> the chair recognizes ranking member thompson. >> thank you very much. let me say from the beginning that there might have been some acts perpetrated before the last
three years of this administration it might have been characterized from response standpoint as week i am very comfortable that under the obama administration, we have taken some very bad people out. no question about it. the record is clear. this notion that somehow as a country we are weak from my standpoint i want to make sure that there are some who disagree with that but that being said, given the situation we face now with the drawdown in iraq and the situation with iran, hy what to ask unanimous consent to add into the record by the u.s. ambassador. >> without objection so ordered.
>> going forward, dr. korb, can you give some of us on the committee how you think diplomacy going forward would be imported. some talked-about expelling any iranian official from this country and going to other levels but i would like to ask a couple other gentlemen also whether diplomacy in this situation where we are today? >> i support what admiral mullen stepped down as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said. we are not talking to iran but don't understand each other. you ought to keep the contact
open to the extent that you can. i agree with you, basically reaching out to them, wanting to negotiate, that it demonstrates to people in iran that we are not the enemy or completely against them. if you go back and look when iran attacked -- when iraq attacked iran and i was in government than, giving them photos that said they used to drop chemical weapons on iran until what you say that there are terrible people and things we have done that while reaching out and talking to them and using diplomatic channels willing to negotiate, i think will undermine that narrative of some people in iran that were just out to harm them and we don't agree with their role in the world.
i am all for keeping contact open and talking to them to the extent that we can. as admiral mullen mentioned the darkest days of the cold war were not just some u.s. interests were involved but u.s. existence was involved. we kept channels open with the soviet union. >> general keane, given your 47 years of military experience, what role do you see the military having with respect to iran where we are today? dr. korb talked about diplomacy but i want to talk about the military. >> certainly. let me respond to something you said. when i use the term week high with using iran's perception of
us. i was not using my perception of our country. just to clarify that. i believe bin laden when he believed we were weak he underestimated the united states of america and the character of our people. and i think he found that out obviously. the role the military plays right now with iran primarily is planning. the united states military has been asked to put together a plan to conduct war in this country. on different bases. this is not unusual for us. we have to do that sort of planning in the event that we have strategic surprise or unpredictable explanation. in this case we plan for all out war to include a ground war or we deal with very limited action
to deal with violation, mining -- or to deal with very limited action against their nuclear capability. so there is a whole scale of response the united states military has planned and those plans all the way to this president of the united states and approved as plans. that is what the united states military does and then it goes out and indicate and trains officers and leaders in the military how to do this and conduct exercises. i have been anticipating as division commander and corps commander in simulation exercise conducting war in iran maybe a dozen times. unless you want us to do that so that this event happened that we do not want to happen that we do it professionally and capably with minimum loss of life. that primarily is the function of the united states military. they have pushed back against
iranian proxies' in iraq. we were directly involved in that activity and to some degree today but that will be minimized dramatically and we push it back against the proxy's they use with the taliban providing ammunition and resources and obviously we are pushing back against those that the primary mission is what i stated. thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady, miss speier for unanimous consent request. >> that the gentlelady from texas, miss jackson lee allowed to ask questions. >> without objection so ordered. the chair recognizes mr. beck and. >> i think the general and the colonel for their service to the united states military. i specifically want to thank the colonel for his role so to speak in beirut in 1983 and enter into
the record a friend of mine from high school from north carolina, lance corporal timothy mcneeley played football with my brother who i knew personally who died in 1983. it is not lost on a lot of us that are following the situation that the quds force and terrorist arm of iran, has the law is involved with the mexican drug cartel for quite a while. we have raised awareness a number of times about this over my short ten months in congress. i want to encourage the members of the committees that have not signed on a resolution 429 which mr. higgins and i have sent the
dear colleague letter of round on and that resolution basically urges the administration to include the western hemisphere in the administration's 2012 national strategy for counterterrorism area of focus. we are aware of venezuela and a stronger working relationship between hezbollah and mexican drug cartel and quds force and the drug cartels. i urge you to sponsor that and appreciate the members that have. knowing our southern border, the comments you made in your testimony, knowing there's a working relationship that has been revealed, what could we be doing differently as a sovereign nation on our southern border to keep any infiltration of personnel or weapons into this country?
>> i live in arizona. it has gotten better. no question about it. through the efforts of a lot of dedicated people. but i have to look back from a historical standpoint at how these things develop and what we can do and what impact they have. very hard to measure particularly in real time. it is the delayed reaction that usually is after an attack and i use as a sample of that from personal history the mission in beirut, be blowing up of our embassy, the attacks on two embassies in east africa that the general talked about earlier that essentially went by with no response. al qaeda never had the
capability of suicide coordinated attacks that has below pull off during the beirut mission that killed -- they do not have that expertise and bin laden took inspiration from this -- the success of those attacks and part of that was our non response and it was a meeting until there was a meeting between him and the point man for the shi'ite who was part of iranian intelligence later. as the point of attack for us in beirut. they had a meeting in sudan in 1996. al qaeda's first coordinated simultaneous suicide bombing. the first mission where the two first u.s. embassies in east
africa and they expanded the same beyrouth model for the four commercial airline hijackings, simultaneous coordinated attacks for us on 9/11. so i used that and with all the activity going, what we know about and more importantly what we don't know about is building operational bases in venezuela, marguerite island and hezbollah has been operating drug-trafficking for longtime. when they talk about using drug cartels down there, it is not cold call. they are familiar with this and i am sure have good contact with different ones. they're shopping all of this. when they say this is a bundling attack that shouldn't be taken
seriously it is at our own risk if we ignore that and that is part of the problem with this, our freedoms are our vulnerabilities and they know how to play this every which way. to use -- i couldn't agree more that when you have a link to assassination in this country, in our capital, the saudi ambassador, to try and the quds force commander connection with that, the minister of defense and what is their background and so on, i would take this threat very seriously. again, the whole french ties into what we don't know as much as what we do know and i know
that the fbi and the intelligence community, there is a lot of great work and one of the reasons we haven't been attacked here. i will guarantee you the iranians and the crowd that run them are driven and abscessed. the ideology and so on that they are going to -- we are on their target list primarily. when it does happen it will probably be as they have key targets and spectacular coast to coast or whatever. even a mumbai style attack. just to carry it out because hate and humiliation go along with their obsession against the western world, the united states in particular. >> i yield back. >> i agree with you.
the potential combination between iran, has landed drug cartel is powerful and dangerous and with that the chair recognizes mr. davis. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for an enlightening discussion. mr gerecht, if i understood you to implied or suggest that the government's of iran is such that you don't necessarily get the same response that you might get from the use of sanctions with another country, and that maybe there is a distance
between the governing bodies and the people to the extent that sanctions may not play the same role that they play in another country. >> yes. i think sanctions in iran have been effective in many ways but if you just take the guard corps for example, the guard corps has gotten richer and more powerful as sanctions have gotten tougher. for them the last five years have been pretty good years. i thank you always have to try to see it the way they say it. the thing about the guard corps is they have lots of publications. they have their own world. it is not that hard to read the guard corps. i met a few guardsmen. is not hard to get a grasp of how they see the world because it is fairly forthright. there have been nuances and
variations between individuals on the bottom and the top of the guard corps and family histories and all these things come in to play. but i don't think the supreme leader khamenei tells you he is not scared of sanctions he is telling the truth. he is not. that is not to say sanctions haven't heard them and the bureaucracy and the business community isn't aware of the damage they have done to iran but you have to be very careful about believing the sanctions that would make us stand up and take notice do the same to them. i would make one other quick comment. it is natural the iranians gravitate and not be spooked by drug cartels because the revolutionary guard corps is responsible for the move to the vast majority of all opiates that come out of afghanistan and go to turkey. it is one of their major income
producers. so they would gravitate towards that is natural. it is not something that would be uncomfortable for them. >> recognizing sanctions have been used as a diplomatic tool for a long time it is kind of a normal reaction often times ultimately where we get -- dr. leavitt, how do we make the assessment of how our impact will use of sanctions might be? how do we determine whether it is doing what we want to do or whether it is something we are doing but the value is not there and we're not getting the kind of responses we might be looking for? >> the most honest answer is
with difficulty. but it comes down at its core to determining and admitting -- there's no one answer. not this administration or the prior administration. what is it you're trying to achieve with sanctions? if you're trying to achieve disruption? sanctions have been tremendously effective. i don't know anyone who disrupts that. there are ways it can be done better. there are things we should be doing more. it has been tremendously successful. do you also think or expect or hope anywhere along that spectrum that you will put enough sanction and economic misery on the revolutionary regime or the people vote the sanction regimes are mostly affecting those in illicit conduct. they're not the shotgun regime sanctions that affected people as well. do you expect some combination of sanctions like that would alter the calculus of this
regime and the side perhaps a nuclear program is not guarantee of its survival but perhaps an inhibitor? something that might cost survival? i don't think that is the case. i don't think we will be able to do that but we can do in of sanctions that will be increasingly disruptive, bias more time and do things as i think the designation of the central bank will do that will have more impact on the country. i have also argued in the house and senate banking finance in and out of government that what we need to do now and i'm still a minority on this but what we need to do is get a better mix of cocktail sanctions for multilateral engagement purposes and other reasons we have focused on sanctions that are graduated, targeted on those
most involved in conduct. we can target three more times and a dozen times. will only be so effective. we need to pull into the mix some sanctions that will impact people on the ground as well that sends a message for domestic iranian channels to the regime and that is a different way of running their level of comfort. ultimately this is a tool, not a policy. it is a tool if used in tandem with other tools can be effective. my problem used to complain about when i was in government is not because it is the rightful but we have no better answer to difficult problems we want to use this tool so we can say we have done something. that is the worst time to use the tool. when i was a treasury official i would argue vehemently against using treasury authority because there's nothing else to do to undermine those authorities. i think there are ways we can target better. we should be pursuing a central bank of iran.
i hope could be done multilaterally. that is not something i would say we should do unilaterally because it would have an international impact because of the way banks worldwide react to risk issues. on the flip side much more aggressive designations' over a period of time targeting entities exposing them even if it is not teasing assets is the type of thing we could be using unilateral with zero cost. >> thank you for your indulgence. >> the chair recognizes in order of appearance, miss hahn. >> really fascinating hearing this morning and i thank the witnesses for being here. we have a wide range of experience and a wide range of opinions on what we need to do, when we need to do it and how we
need to carry it out. certainly i believe the comments about iran's hate and obsession for us drive their actions against us even more than the fact that they might perceive us as being weak. i was interested in a couple hours ago general keane's testimony and mr. gerecht's testimony. general keane, you certainly believe that so far sounds like the sanctions we have been using have been not as effective as they could be, you used the term grabbing them by their throats and ramping up the sanctions from seizing their assets to
denying entry to ports around the world. mr gerecht feels until we shoot somebody there are not going to pay attention. sitting here 2 hours later is that still your view? that ramped up version of the sanctions is where we ought to be going now or do you feel the only way to get their attention is to use military action and shoot someone? >> i do think the fact that they have made the decision to come in to the united states and conduct this attack is something we should not walk away from and we should not treat it like other terrorist attacks in the region even though many of those were against us as well. i am suggesting that they have been killing us for 30 years.
we all know that. until we get more effective with a response they will continue to kill us and they will continue to work against our interests in the region. their objective is to drive us out of the region. that is clearly what they want. today on the merits of it we have not been effective in stopping them from killing us and sponsoring terrorism and continued program to develop nuclear weapons which i am convinced they haven't given up on. so i want to look at the whole issue. number one, admit to us they are our strategic enemy and use all the elements of national power to hold the military element in check and as i said figuratively, get our hands around the throat and use those elements of national power. and do it comprehensively and
and near simultaneously as we can. i agree that we should target them. we got other terrorist organizations who have killed us that we targeted and killed them. why do these guys get a pass? they shouldn't get one. they should feel that kind of pressure. i am not suggesting that we bring in military forces and conduct operations inside iran. i am not suggesting that at all. i am suggesting we conduct covert operations. i am suggesting we conduct espionage that is covered as well. they have to feel some of this pressure and if we don't recognize that i am convinced it will continue. >> thank you. anyone else want to answer that? you are backing down.
obviously low on the totem pole. most of my questions have already been asked and answered but one of the things i will ask the entire panel. none of you really mentioned it or suggested but maybe a lot over the years, a lot of these attempts have been thwarted thanks in large part to our law enforcement officials on the ground and of course congress is in the middle of some tough debate on our budget, our supercommittee is looking at cuts to our defense. many homeland security grants are looking to be pared down and some eliminated altogether. i know i have been pushing for our port security grants to continue for another year because i still feel like our ports are a vulnerable entryway
into this country. i would like to hear some thoughts on the importance of continuing to fund programs that directly help to secure our local law enforcement efforts on the ground as a way to continue to attempt to for what we may not be able to stop another way. >> i think the way you need to do this is to look at national security in a holistic way. whatever you decide to spend on the department of defense, homeland security, state and all these things recognize they all contribute. you mentioned in fact you are concerned about port security. do you realize we spend more on one program, missile defense, that we do on the entire coast guard? if you look at it in a holistic
way you say where is it likely someone will shoot a nuclear weapon at those with a return address and try to smuggle it in. i would give more security to that. the reason you can't is have a stove pipe when we did the budget with the executive branch and do it over here. i urge you to the extent of whatever you decide you have to reduce the deal with the deficit you look at it in a holistic way and for years we have been putting out a program called unified national security budget that assesses some of those. we take the amount, the administration of bush and obama and look at how long you can get with more bang for the box. >> as former fbi guy here i should say i completely concur this is an amazing example of what we can do. i mentioned earlier dhs program on customs enforcement here and
abroad, people in brussels doing tremendous work. sometimes i am concerned that we minimize the importance of the will law enforcement gets politicized sometimes. these are not either or sanctions or an either or military. it is getting the cocktail right. in this case it demonstrates what we are doing at home and abroad, this plot was not thwarted at home. win -- we need to maintain that vigilance. that is clear. i am glad it is -- >> thank you. >> i agree as i indicated earlier. meeting with these agents who pull this off and the intelligence community. they did a magnificent job. with that the chair recognizes mr. higgins. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
and iranian political terror ease those. there's the near enemy, israel but also the far enemy, united states of america. the topic of this hearing is iranian terror operations on american soil. i commend my colleague, jeff duncan, for his bipartisan resolution to include as an area of focus the western hemisphere and our nation's counterterrorism efforts. it is very important. hezbollah, the party of god, shea at terrorist group highly committed to violent jihad. hezbollah acts as a proxy, as upon, as a tool for venezuela,
syria and iran. hezbollah has presence estimated to be between a few hundred to a few thousand in the sixteen country region of latin america. hezbollah also has a presence in 15 american cities including four major cities in canada. we were told that previous hearings that while the confirmation of hezbollah's presence in north america is indisputable, we shouldn't worry. they are just here for fund-raising activities. hezbollah, a terror group committed to violent jihad. i don't make the distinction between fund-raising and terrorist activity. fund-raising for terrorist activity is terrorist activity. i represent buffalo, new york.
and i know from terrorist history, terrorist cowards look for high impact targets. we have the peace bridge that connects buffalo to southern ontario. the border crossing for passenger vehicles in north america, third busiest for commercial vehicles. we have the destination of millions of people, every single year. we have 90 miles away toronto blue a multi-cultural, fascinating international city. we have in close proximity a project which produces the cheapest, cleanest and most electricity in all of new york state. i would like you to comment consistent with the hearing's topic, iranian terror operations
on american soil, be it iran directly or their proxy to do their dirty work for them, and what more can we be doing about their presence, their direct presence in 15 american cities and four canadian cities generally in north america? >> i am particularly grateful for the question because i am completing a book on hezbollah in south america and north america so i know one person will now read it. it is more than 15 cities in the u.s. and canada. several years ago in written answers to follow a questions fbi officials conceded that they see hezbollah doing more than fund-raising. they're doing pre operational surveillance. they believe that is done for
the purpose of getting new recruits. if i were a terrorist mastermind fitting and new recruit his primary responsibility was fund-raising and logistics' there would be other ways to make sure this person was a capable fund-raiser other than surveying u.s. federal buildings. one great surprise about this plot is they were doing this apparently on their around whereas usually they are doing things together with lebanese hezbollah. that has been the m o in the western hemisphere in argentina. it was the m o earlier in 1994 a few months before the bombing in thailand and attempted bombing of the israeli embassy that was thwarted not because of anything counterterrorism officials did but the bomber got into a car accident and many other cases. that may suggest their capabilities are not so high. as i noted in my testimony, they face a series of failures since
2008 when they tried to resurrect what had been a nascent foreign terrorist operations capability in the wake of the assassination of imam mcmia. we need to be concerned about crossing not as to the south but to the north. one case we know of, a hezbollah guy who had training and smuggled across the border from mexico had connections in canada as well. he was arrested trying to carry out a bombing in israel with canadian citizenship and travel on a false u.s. passport and married an american woman and recently released for him in the dearborn area was his last known address and there's a lot of movement across the bridges, more in the michigan area but i am sure this is something we need to be cognizant of. the good news is i say not is because i came to this town working for fbi but based on the
research i have done for the book i have been tremendously impressed. local police and others, the work they're doing focused on hezbollah in particular is impressive. >> a very quick comment. the hezbollah is more comfortable with the expatriate lebanese shia population than the iranians are with their population. the interesting exhibition might be in canada because in canada you have second generation of iranian immigration. much more devout communities and communities that are much closer to the folks back home. they exist almost in ghettos which is something you don't see anywhere else with the iranian expatriate community so iranians are naturally going there which is why they sent one of the brothers of the most famous
family in iran to there to be, quote, inc.. has a lot -- no way around it, has certain prestige in the lebanese shia community even among those who are ideologically are not in sympathy with has. it is a problem. it is a problem you have to be aware of. that is why has blocked is much more effective maneuvering overseas than iranians are. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady from texas, sheila jackson lee. >> thank you to all the chair persons and ranking members for your courtesy but more importantly let me congratulate you for the topic of this hearing. if there is every time of unanimity on prospective dealing with iran it is certainly on the
point that they never stop and we have concerns that need to be addressed. so let me start with you, dr. korb on a far stretch inquiry which is -- since my time runs quickly, why did the arab spring miss iran even though it was a year ago they might have proceeded but didn't succeed but i remember iranian americans in great emotion when the people of iran rose up and stood on mountains. we will never forget the insightful picture of a young woman bleeding. >> the reason it happened is similar to what happened in syria, bahrain, people use force or the threat of force to make sure it doesn't happen. remember in egypt the arab spring succeeded because the
military refused to continue to back the mubarak government and in libya once the rebels got a strong hold the international community was able to come in. just don't have those circumstances and people like admiral mullen and the former head -- the last thing you want to do is put military involvement. >> why would they say that? >> it would be counterproductive and unify the country against the threat from outside and it would also basically then they would step up the activities that have been described here in other parts of the region. i can't emphasize too much in my view time is on our side. they cannot keep on doing what they are doing given their syrian ally will no longer be able to use the syrians the way they used to.
>> let me put on the record before i asked colonel geraghty, i have no friendship for the iranian government. i do believe the people there, there is a body of politics that wants freedom and i am also concerned in reference to a war that i did oppose all the respect of those who served ably in iraq because i fear we have left malaki in the hands of the iranian government without the ability to be independent. i would like to build on what dr. korb said. do you agree terrorism today is franchised to a certain extent? >> yes. >> did you make the point we're preparing for war against iran? was that your comment that i heard? that military makes plans?
>> no. my comment was talking about the sanctions and so on and the sanctions we had for 25 years against iran, as sanctions are increased, one of the major purposes for the sanctions are what is the response of the one you are sanctioning against which is iran, we have seen a steady pattern that continues of them expanding their terrorist activities and when you look at -- you step back and not that the sanctions haven't had some effect, very hard to have any kind of measurements of effectiveness. they have some in all this, but as dr. leavitt said they are
more full than policy. the point that i was getting at was with the sanctions, you look back and what have they accomplished? iran throughout this period has >> and expanded their terrorist activities as the number one world sponsor of terrorism. the question right in the middle of that when you look -- they decided to go nuclear and open defiance against a united world against this not only in the region but worldwide and how they are fighting that in your face and continuing that, there has been the current sanctions disrupting that but at some point in time there has to be are these going to be effective enough in order to have iran change behavior. that is constantly being looked at. it was not going to war with
them. the other thing in iran is i prefer people to read the book by the iranian -- is a pseudonym, khalil called a time to be trey. he was a cia agent for the cia. it gives insights of the mind set and how brutal they are in suppressing any kind of protesting within iran. you saw it bubble up in the 2009 election, the reelection of lock, then a the but the focus was so severe that the fellow doing that was the minister of interior that is suppressing all that. that is why you don't hear a lot
from the protests within iran. >> i wanted to ask you a question about -- thank you. i just want to follow-up on this point. the colonel clarified as we accelerate the frustration with iran, the military are engaged in planning and preparation doesn't mean they are engaged in moving on a country is the interpretation but i notice in your testimony you indicated that the saudis at one point asked that the head of the snake should be cut off. my question on the issue of terrorism as it circulates around this horrific and horrendous potential assassination that wraps the united states and iran in the mix, we have the responsibility that if we act in any way it should be collaborative and
based on fact and we should be very consistent with protecting the homeland so do you have a response on how you generate those three points that is short of saying we are going to allegedly attacked this sovereign nation that potentially has nuclear capacity? >> thank you for the question. i think it is important as you heard everyone in the panel described in one way or another that this is a national power approach. is not sanctioned or something else or law enforcement or something else or covert action or something else. it is all these things in tandem at the same time. at the same time in tandem in a concerted effort over short period of time, what is new. we have done a lot of these things and pause and wait. we need response to this. a clear message that need not be military action. it should be a lot of types of
action at the same time sending a clear message. someone earlier asked something about creating or promoting or underlining fissures within the regime. as you asked about the arab spring this came to mind. one thing the treasury tried to do is try to target sanctions when it is doing sanctions that will promote fissures within the regime. that is one of the reasons the administration came up with human-rights executive orders and it is the quds force and the basij militia cracking down on peaceful protests. that is responsible for the missile program and sponsorship of terrorism. often the same people and the read designation send a message. we could be targeting fees to have multiple purposes not only in terms of trying to shut down the next quds force front that is bringing in some material
preventing someone from travelling but also send a messages to the iranian people that we are promoting their efforts at peaceful protest. that is important. you do these things in tandem you can send a message. we talked earlier about messageing. you can promote security in the homeland and even disrupt their activities abroad. >> the chair recognizes closing comments. >> i want to thank the panel for a remarkable presentation today in addition to the response to the questions. we have heard everything from bumbling and disarray but we also hear lethal and persistent. the one consistent thing we hear is they are here and as a result we have to come together with some appropriate response. i want to thank you for taking time to raise the red flags that
we discussed have not been seen or watched before and i certainly hope the failure of imagination that was discussed at the end of the 9/11 report clearly your kind of study of this current moment allows us to anticipate and i hope we can respond inappropriate fashion. thank you for the work you do and continue to do to help us protect our country. >> the chair recognizes miss speier. >> i associate myself with comments made by my chair. i also want to say thank you again for your presentation. i want to underscore the fact that many of you in further questioning recognize military action, immediate military action is not what we should be looking at. it is very clear that anything we do needs to be multilateral,
we are vigilant, needs to be heightened and we need to do everything we can to nurture the arab spring lettuce percolating within iran as well. i thank you again for your testimony. >> mr. chairman. >> it is getting away. >> may i put a question on the record. this will be in the record. you might not answer it and i appreciate that but one of our difficulties for those of us who engaged with iranian resistance in the united states and in europe is we need to delineate and declare whether this group can move forward in the non terrorist label. they may be in fact individuals that could encourage the democratic movement in iran and they have been in limbo and are in the united states and they are viewed as good citizens and they are asking this nation to address the question. this hearing asks about terrorist activities that
generate from iran. i hope we can get an answer from iranian americans who are supporting the iranian resistance once and for all including a response to camp asrock. >> let me thank the witnesses for being here. very compelling testimony particularly in the fact that this assassination attempt in washington was sanctioned at highest levels of the iranian government. that sends a message to was the we need to send a clear message to iran and we need to respond effectively to iran. we failed to do that since 1979. the takeaways that i get on elements of national power we treat iran as a strategic enemy and we need to seize its financial assets and have an offensive cybercampaign against matt needs sanctions to enforce
sanctions against their central bank. we need more aggressive designations. we need the expulsion of iranian and hezbollah operatives in this country. we need a significant covert action against iran and finally we need to support the resistance movement within iran. this youthful secular movement to overthrow the ayatollah khamenei. with that we will submit a letter to the president that with the findings of this hearing i would hope ranking members will join us in that letter to the president. this has been a productive hearing. this meeting is adjourned. thanks. ,..
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