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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  April 30, 2012 8:30am-12:00pm EDT

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addressing that over the coming year. >> host: and this is an issue that "the communicators" will continue to monitor. catherine crump, staff attorney of the american civil liberties union, thank you for being on our program. josh smith of "the national journal" was our guest reporter. >> here we go, welcome aboard the water taxi, everybody. beautiful downtown oklahoma city. my name's cap train rick, give me a big old howdy, captain raich. >> this weekend, we explore the history and literary culture of oklahoma city including the history of science collection at oklahoma university. >> most important part of the book was on motion. when this book was published in 1632, the pope was angry that galileo had broken his promise to treat it hypothetically. his enemieses joined together,
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and the result was his trial. and this, also, is a copy that contains his own handwriting. so this is like being able to look over his shoulder in the months leading up to his trial. >> all next weekend the local content vehicles in oklahoma city on c-span2's booktv and be on american history tv on c-span3. >> four years ago i was a washington outsider. four years later, i'm at this dinner. [laughter] four years ago i looked like this. [laughter] today i look like this. [laughter] and four years from now i will look like this. [laughter] [applause] that's not even funny. [laughter]
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>> mr. president, do you remember, do you remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? that was hilarious. [laughter] [applause] that was your best one yet. but honestly, a thrill for me to be here with the president, a man who has, i think, done his best to guide us through difficult times and paid a heavy price for it. you know, there's a term for guys like president obama. probably not two terms -- [laughter] >> miss any part of the white house correspondents' dinner? you can watch anytime online at the c-span video library. behind the scenes, the red carpet and all the entertainment at library. >> and we're live this morning as the antidefamation be league is holding their national leadership conference. this morning a look at u.s. foreign policy with foreign
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policy scholars and several members of the obama administration, and that'll be followed by a panel discussion on the same topic. it's all taking place at the may flower hotel here in the nation's capital. we expect it to get under way in just a moment. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> again, we are live at the mayflower hotel here in washington. the anti-defamation league's national leadership conference is about to get under way here. this morning looking at u.s. foreign policy. after opening remarks, we are expecting a panel discussion on foreign policy in the middle east. we are just moments away from the start of that. while we wait, brigadier general mark martins is the chief prosecutor at military commissions overseeing the trial ofen in mastermind khalid sheikh mohammed. the general last week said that the trial will be fair and transparent. he spoke here in washington at the institute of world politics and was introduced by that group's founder and president. a portion of that now while we wait for this event to get under way. >> let me talk a little bit about military commissions. we are dealing here with an
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institution that in its previous two iterations were flawed. they were flawed. we worked hard on reforms and believe strongly that these military commissions can be fair and can do justice. i'll talk a little bit about some of the procedural protections with some emphasis on the reforms that have come in the 2009 military commissions act. and then i'll talk about, um, i'll talk about some of the actors in this system, some of the officials. it's very comparable in a lot of ways to court systems that you know about but worthwhile to talk a little bit about some of the different officials in the system. and then i'll raise several -- just to get you thinking so we can start the conversation and maybe you'll be warmed up -- i'll raise some of the criticisms and what i believe
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are now decisive counters to those criticisms. okay. so military, military commissions. um, in military commissions an accused is presumed innocent. the prosecution must prove the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on specified elements of offenses. the accused is to be provided notice in writing, the charges have to be written down, of what he's charged with. the accused has a right the legal counsel and a choice of counsel. any accused facing an offense for which the death penalty's authorized by congress receives come at government expense -- counsel at government expense. and someone who has experience in death penalty matters, so-called learned counsel under
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the statute. an accused may not be required to self-incriminate, a right against self-incrimination. there is a right against the introduction of statements obtained as a result of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. and the standard of admissibility for statements of an accused is voluntariness. this is one of the areas that's an important reform of the 2009 act. an accused has the right to see all of the evidence the government's going to present. this is discovery. you're familiar with this in our criminal civilian legal system. that's fairness. you have got to see what the proof is of the government. you've got to be able to confront it meaningfully, confront that and challenge that evidence. you have the right to cross-examine the government's witnesses. an accused has the right to compel using the authority of the government witnesses on his
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behalf. they have to appear in order -- if court has jurisdiction, the ability to compel anybody for the government same as the accused to compel witnesses on his behalf. the accused is protected by exclusionary rules of evidence that prohibit the introduction of information that is overly prejudicial or not probative or would otherwise be fruit of a poisonous tree, different types of exclusionary rules that, again, are similar to those in civilian criminal practice. protection against double jeopardy, can't be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb for the same charges. protection, has a right the -- to represent himself if he is competent and if he has been
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very clearly put on notice of the right to counsel and his opportunities. you can't be forced to be represented by a lawyer. and a right of appeal upon conviction. to a court of review, military commission court of review that congress established in the act as well as the federal district court or federal appellate court for the district of columbia circuit, federal circuit court. so it goes through the federal system, our article iii federal courts, to the supreme court. so these are, it's a broad, comprehensive body of protections, and i've merely just summarized some of them. and with the, um, again, the reforms in the 2009 act prominently including the prohibition on the introduction of cruel and human, degrading treatment, statements obtained
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as a result of cruel and degrading treatment and a modification of hearsay rule, there is a slightly broader aperture for the introduction of hearsay evidence that in a federal civilian court because a judge is put on notice by the statute to take into consideration operational and intelligence factors that involve the collection of evidence on a battlefield. where you may not have the ability to bring all the evidence into court because the place where the crime occurred or where the individual was captured or arrested is beyond the jurisdiction of a court in a faraway place. there are hearsay exceptions in our civilian criminal court that allow for the introduction of hearsay. this is an out-of-court statement offered. so you don't bring the witness into court, but you offer a document or somebody telling you what someone else said.
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these things are disfavored. they don't tend to be brought into court because you want, again, the accused to be able to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him. so our law, anglo american law disfavors hearsay. many legal systems do. hearsay exceptions exist, though, when you have a type of out-of-court statement that is, it has inherent reliability. there may be indicators within it that make it more reliable. it's a regularly-produced business record, or it's a dying declaration of somebody, you know, the person is no longer available, but he made a comment that has some historical indicators that it may be reliable. and it's introduced for a certain purpose at trial. military commissions allow for a slightly broader aperture of hearsay for the things that operational reasons, battlefield exigencies where evidence tends to disappear would make it in
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the interest of justice to allow the introduction of probative -- that means it provides proof of something -- relevant, it's material, it deals with the issues at hand in the court and lawfully-obtained. it has to have been obtained through lawful operations of forces. so, again, the statement, an out-of-court statement obtained under cruel and inhuman treatment would not be admissible under this rule. the 2009 act narrowed, although it's still a slightly larger aperture for hearsay than you would find in federal court, it did narrow the standard that was there in the 2006 mill care commissions act -- military commissions act by requiring the party, either the prosecution or the defense, that was offering the hearsay to establish its reliability. previously, it had been flipped. so it was the challenging party
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had to establish why somebody was, that the moving party, the introducing party was offering was unreliable. and i think that's a significant change as well in the direction of fairness. congress, another important reform is congress wrote in the 2009 military commissions act defense of congress that the resourcing of the defense function in guantanamo was important to the legitimacy of the tribunals and that they should be resourced. it also stated that the opportunity of an accused to obtain witnesses and evidence shall be comparable to that in an article iii federal civilian court. so this notion of resourcing the defense and insuring they have the ability and the wherewithal to mount a defense and to test the evidence, this was in forma
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relationship with competent counsel, this was something that the court or that the 2009 military commissions act in congress felt strongly about. and then another reform, and the president here mentioned this in passing, classified information procedures. the 2009 act incorporated the classified information procedures act that is used in federal court. so very -- and this goes to the balance that he also spoke of between national security and the insurance of our cherished civil liberties and how we do things as a country and commitment to the rule of law. that we are going to both protect our secrets, they're really our secrets. there are sources and methods of intelligence that help protect us from future attacks that could be compromised if they were brought out in open court.
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troop movements, methods and ways in which these ununiformed, irregular forces -- >> we'll leave this program at the point and go live now to the anti-defamation league's national leadership conference and a look at u.s. foreign policy. >> our experts' round table on this next topic and to call on national commissioner and regional board chair from new england, michael sheets. [applause] >> okay. good morning again. the intense focus on promoting arab/israeli peace that once dominated america's middle east policy agenda has taken a backseat to concern about seismic shifts upside way in places like -- underway in places like egypt and syria. the arab uprisings have brought about profound political and
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regional upheaval. it will be years before we can truly assess its lasting impact. but for now the uprisings have shaken up some of the foundations upon which u.s. policy has been based. at the same time, leaders across the international community find their attention shifted to iran's nuclear weapons capability and the often heated debate over options to confront it. we've just heard from president obama's top adviser on national security in the middle east, and now we're privileged to have with us a panel of veteran policy analysts. each will share with us their views of the challenges facing the administration and their vision for the best way for the u.s. to move forward. dr. aaron david miller, who's second to my left, is a public policy fellow at the woodrow wilson international center for scholars where he wrote his
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fourth book, "much too-promised land: america's elusive search for arab/israeli peace." he served six secretaries of state as an adviser on middle east peacemaking and u.s. policy throughout the region. dr. miller also served as a senior member of the state department's policy planning staff and in the bureau of intelligence and research. david more cover sky -- david makovsky is director of washington institute's project on the middle east peace process. he co-authored with dennis ross the book "myths, illusions and peace: finding a new direction in the middle east." before joining the washington institute, mr. makovsky was an award-winning journalist based in israel where he covered the peace process for the jerusalem post and "u.s. news & world report".
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danielle pletka, third from my left, is vice president for foreign and defense the policy studies at the american enterprise institute. before joining the institute, she served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for near east and south asia on the senate foreign relations committee. she writes frequently on national security matters with a focus on domestic politics in the middle east and south asia, u.s. national security and terrorism and weapons proliferation. adl first began working with ms. pletka when she worked for the late senator helms crafting important counterterrorism legislation at a time when the threat of terrorism against americans was seen as remote the all but a few courageous legislators. and we're also gratified to have with us washington bureau chief of the jewish telegraphic agency. ron kampeas covers these issues
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day in and day out. his blog, capital j, is a must-read for beltway insiders following politics and issues of importance to the jewish committee. we'll give the floor to each of our panel and -- panelists and then engage them in discussion before he takes questions from the audience. please, consider what questions you'll have. there are mics around the room. and make sure when you get up to ask a question that you give us your name and your region. thank you all for taking time to be with us today. [applause] >> our order today is going to be aaron, david, dani -- add which is considering both my profession and the topic -- [laughter] so we're going to start with dani pletka. sorry, aaron. [laughter] i was looking at you. see? i told you. [inaudible conversations] you can speak from the podium if
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you'd like, that'd be great. >> first of all, it's an honor and a privilege for me to be here today. a few shoutouts. abe foxman, where are you, abe? extraordinary member of the american-jewish community and someone who has managed to do what very few people have done, and that is to establish a close personal relationship with my father. abe, it's really, really good to see you. [laughter] [applause] and finally, to barry from cleveland, we're going to see you guys tomorrow night, lindsay's really looking forward to it. i can't imagine anyone with more integrity and more passion to assume the responsibilities. adl is an extraordinary organization, and i'm really, really pleased and happy, um, about your new role. [applause] i've had the honor and privilege over the course of a quarter century of providing both good and bad advice to a half a dozen secretaries of state.
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when the advice was bad, it flowed from one primary mistake, and that is to see the world the way i or we wanted it to be rather than the way it was. we do not have the luxury, the time or, frankly, the power in this country anymore to harbor and abide illusions. and illusions in life can be very, very dangerous. they're endearing because you cannot just see the world the way it is. if we all saw the world the way it was only, nothing would change. but if you choose to see the world the way you want it to be without taking into account the way it really is, policy -- and i speak from great experience here -- we'll fail. i want to make three general observations and then deal quickly with the situation in iran, syria, the arab/israeli peace process and the arab spring, and i promise to do this under ten minutes. [laughter] number one, we are in an investment trap. we are a great power in an investment trap in this broken, dysfunctional, angry region. we cannot fix it, and we cannot
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extricate ourselves from it. this is the worst position, in my judgment, for a great power, you know, the greatest power on earth to be in. forget transformation. american interests and policy in the middle east is not about transformation. it's about transaction. it's about survival and protecting core interests. and, frankly, we'll be lucky and fortunate if we can do that. core interests preventing another attack on the continental united states, the organizing principle of any nation's foreign policy. if you can't protect your homeland, you don't need a foreign policy. 9/11 was the second bloodiest day in american history. 9/11 is not a footnote, it is not a historical memory. it is a reminder of our vulnerabilities. preventing weapons of mass destruction, maintaining access to energy, security for the state of israel. i would argue when you strip it all away, these are our core interests. the other two, promotion of
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arab/israeli peace making and trying to do what we can to bring greater transparency, plurality, humanism, respect for human rights, gender equality to an arab world in the process of change, to me, is going to be a very tough proposition. if you cannot change history, you better be very careful. because if you don't get out of its way, you can easily be run over by it. and we need to keep this in mind as we deal with these issues. number two, street credibility. street credibility in this region is everything and, frankly, we are very low on it. we are extricating ourselves now from the two longest wars in the american history. they were, arguably, after the first year in afghanistan in my judgment discretionary wars. they were not wars of necessity, they were wars of choice. and in wars of discretion you better know what you're doing because the standards for success in a war of discretion rather than a war of necessity are very high.
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and i would argue to you that in both of these wars what we have paid for what we have received, there's a huge disconnect. victory for us means not can you win, but when can you leave. and for a great power this is the worst possible set of consequences because it has resulted in a situation and helped promote a situation where we are neither admired, feared, nor respected in this region as much as we need to be. finally, leadership. in my judgment leadership -- forget leadership in washington for a moment. i have, forget leadership in washington for a moment. i'm talking about leadership out there. if i were to tell you that between 1920 and 1950 six human beings were responsible for most of the death, destruction, devastation and prospects of peace and prosperity for much of the western world, six people, it would simply drive home the
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core point. leaders, what they do for good or ill, is critically important to whether the world gets better. and we have, in my judgment, a profound absence of leadership just about everywhere. and this, by the way, is not something confined only to the arab and the muslim world. israel also has its own leadership crisis as it makes a transition from the founding generation to a set of politicians who lack the legitimacy and the authority to make the kinds of decisions that their predecessors were able to make. an investment trap, lack of street credibility, everybody says no to america without cost or consequence these days, and the absence of leadership. these are three issues which will continue to dog and hound our policy. now, a quick regional tour. iran. the issue of the nuclear issue
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in iran cuts to the core of one fundamental question, and that is, do the mullahs want to acquire the capacity? if not, the actual stockpile of nuclear weapons? that is the core issue, it seems to me. there are five permanent members of the security council, they all have nuclear weapons. outside of those five there are four additional powers that have them; the north koreans, the indians, the pakistanis and the israelis. three of them, in my judgment, are nations driven by a profound sense of insecurity and a profound sense of entitlement. that is the worst possible combination in a nation, it's even worse in a human being. someone who is profoundly insecure and yet who has visions of grandiosity. and in my judgment, iran is the poster child for this. ..
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there would be some fundamental change on the ground. right now you don't even have a stalemate. you have a situation where the regime still controls instruments of state power. the opposition will not break but neither can it cause the regime to break. now what to do about this? this of course is the great conundrum. what do we do?
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here again i am a believer, if the united states determines that it is in its vital national interest to remove this regime, then it should act comprehensively and decisively in an effort to do it. if it does not believe it is in the vital national interests to remove the osads and in my judgment it is not a vital national interest we should stay out. and certainly not adopt the kind of half-baked, ill-advised, half-measures that will get us into a military commitment without producing desired results. arab-israeli peace. let me be very clear on this. it is now closed for the season. it is missing three things. i'm not idealogically opposed to this. it is not happening because of some magic metaphysical reasons. there is no legitimate reason that israelis and palestinians can not end
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their conflict. it is simply missing three things. number one, leaders on each side who are prepared to pay the price for a conflict-ending resolution. neither side right now is prepared to pay that price. two, the urgency that is required to make these decisions. nations like people take bold decisions for one of two reasons. either there are prospects of real pain or alternatively there are prospects of real gain. without pain, disincentives or gain gain incentives you have the status quo. manageable, painful, uncomfortable but it does not change and there is no example in the history of the arab-israeli peace-making where in fact you can make progress without leaders who are masters of their constituencies, not prisoners of their politics or without urgency. finally missing ingredient, if you had had the first two,
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if you had the first two, would be an administration who is prepared to be reassuring enough and tough enough and fair enough to actually serve as an effective mediator. now we haven't had one of those for a while. abe and i will continue to disagree on this i just attended saturday night jim baker's 82nd birthday party. i admire jim baker. i really admire him. he was tough. he was unsentimental and he locked horns with many in the american jewish community but ultimately the policies he undertook benefited not only the united states and the state of israel and the arab world as it was at the time. so you give me those three factors, you, you give them back to me, or create them, we could have a real peace process. if not this is an illusion which may be in our interests to maintain but it is still an illusion.
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finally, president obama, let me be very clear, this president i think has learned a great deal about american interests in this region. he came wanting to bend the trajectory of american foreign policy, to transform it. i think he quickly understood that was simply not possible. i would give him relatively high marks. no spectacular achievements with the exception of killing osama bin laden but no spectacular failures either. and keep this in mind. the revisionists on eisenhower now argue that his greatness as a president lay in what he didn't do and an english general was quoted as saying some of my greatest victories lay in the battles i did not fight. we have to be very clear here. who will in unforgiving about when we project our power, economic, military and diplomatic and why.
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and frankly i think obama has learned much from this. some say he's leading from behind. it's a ridiculous expression but it reflects something extremely important because if leading from the front means iraq, if leading from the front means a badly mismanaged delusionary policy in afghanistan, if leading from the front means bringing american credibility and setting america up for failure, well, i don't want america to lead from the front. last point, barack obama, barack obama, he's different, i voted for him. i voted for him not because i knew he was. i noted for him not because he could transform america. i voted for him because only we of any democratic polity in the world, including the israelis inconcluding the
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french, including the british it, could have done what we've did in 2008. elect a man of color whose wife is direct descendant of slaves. to president of the united states. that is the transformative act. that is the act of our exceptionalism. he is not a transformer he is a transacter. whether i vote for him again or not is another matter. i make one point with respect to the israelis and i watch presidents and secretaries of states. this is not bill clinton when it comes to israel. this is not george w. bush when it comes to israel. this is not a man instinctively and emotionally understands or bonds with israelis. he is much less sentimental, much less forgiving. netanyahu would describe him as bloodless and he would describe net a yaw hue as a con man. if he could, if he could, he would bring to bear enormous amount of pressure on the
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israelis in an effort to facilitate a solution to this conflict. he may or may not, may or may not have the chance and finally i'm writing a book called, can america have another great president. i will close with phrase of the last president who had an emotional impact on me, jack kennedy, who, i was 12 when he was assassinated. described himself as a idealist without illusion. that's where america should be. never giving up on the possibility that the world can be made a better place. every religion has a concept for it, improving the imperfect world but as we go through this process of improvement, of reform we better go through it without with our eyes open. the costs of going through it without having our eyes open have become prohibitive. thank you very much [applause]
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>> okay. aaron is a tough act to follow. a good friend and i'm honored to be on the panel and to be back with the adl and abe and everyone here. good to see so many friendly faces. look i'm going to try to focus just on two issues if i can. things i feel are on people's minds and that i think is swirling around and i would like to try to address them head on. one is issue of iran because i know that people here care very much about what's going to be on that issue and the other issue is there going to be an egypt-israel peace treaty? is it going to last? it has been the centerpiece for israel for the last 30 years. if i have time i will add a third issue in connection with the broader thing of the arab spring. basically how america and look at egypt and israel differently. where the differences are. let me try to stick to those two points.
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look on the iran issue we saw a convergeance with the president's and prime minister netanyahu's meeting in march. there was some convergences on iran but the gaps were not closed. so i think the good news was that there were these convergences but it didn't close the gapss. the convergences were that the president's for the first time said containment will not work. more explicitly than ever before this is america's problem to deal with. this is a vital american national interest that has to be addressed. this isn't just an israeli problem. this is america's problem because iran with nuclear weapons means an arms race in the most dangerous part of the world, the middle east. a nuclear arms race with the saudis, with the turks. if egypt were to recover from its financeal crisis, egypt as well. this is something that is very important and his concern this would lead to proliferation, to nonstate
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actors to, terror groups like hezbollah and the like and that's what the president said and that is crucial -- now why containment won't work? brzezinski who is arguing the containment school. we have nuclear weapons. we'll contain iranian nuclear weapons. there are key difference that is the president saying containment won't work i think he understands. a, the issue in the cold war, we had 500,000 nato troops in the middle of europe as a bulwark against the soviets. we had embassies in moscow and washington throughout the whole time. since the cuban missile conference we had hotlines from the kremlin to, you know, into the white house. we have none of those things when it comes to iran. i'm not even talking about the fact that you have a regime that has some messanic impulses and, but even assuming they're
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rational actors, but rational doesn't necessarily mean reasonable. and read bob mcnamara's accounts of the cuban missile crisis. even with very rational actors and even with 500,000 troops and even with embassies and even with all these contacts the chances of miscalculation were very high as mcnamara says it and ear we don't have any of the prerequisite infrastructure and that to me says, when there is not that communication, then the chances of miscalculations go through the roof. moreover in the middle east we have local triggers for conflict with proxy groups that get funding from iran that we didn't have during the cold war with hezbollah and to a lesser extent with hamas. these all make the situation far more dangerous. moreover we didn't have the case of saying soviet union will wipe a country off the face of earth like israel. none of these things exist with tehran and jerusalem, that's for sure. i think this is more
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dangerous division and it is important therefore the president spoke about containment not being a viable option and by really saying therefore it's america's issue we have to solve. and he also talked about israel's right to defend itself by itself and that was a critical piece at a time that, that was one question, netanyahu clearly went back to jerusalem, focusing on that focus as well. but with all these convergences and the fact that pa net at that -- panetta spoke more about the military option, when he said we don't take things off the table and gave a speech last month explaining what he means in terms of a military option saying we will act if we have to but it's a last resort. now, why do i say the gaps are not closed? the gaps are not closed because of the asymmetry and military capability between the united states and israel. united states is a sup superpower. israel knows very well it is
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not and therefore when you have more capability, your ability to wait longer is there. we heard steve simon an hour ago talking about all the sanctions will be even enhanced on july 1st with the e.u. oil cuttoff. i real, the iranian currency has been devalued by about 68%. that is very, in most countries of the world when there is such a massive devaluation there are political consequences. a lot of the iranian oil is sitting in tankers because they can't sell it. the sanctions are sharp and they will be sharper especially given the fact that oil is, accounts for most of iran's foreign currency reserves. steve simon said to you iran can not even access 60% of the its reserves. that's important but that gives america more of a chance to try to wait it out, to see, well maybe sanctions will bite because if you have more capability you can wait longer. if you're not a superpower
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and israel is not a superpower, you're very cognizant of the fact your capabilities are more fine fight and -- finite and therefore your window for action is tighter. you have a tighter timetable. you would love to wait it out but you're not sure you can. your window might shut and it is that asymmetry, a military power between israel, between the united states and israel that means these gaps are not closed. if, one word, you know, if you had to take away one word from this, one phrase from this talk the clocks are not synchronized and that is the concern because of this asymmetry and the military capability. now does israel's window close at the end of this year? we don't know. i tend to agree with aaron miller that there is no imminent attack. israel wants to see how the sanctions play itself out. interest is no diplomacy going on between the u.s. and p 5, permanent five
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members of the security council and iran. it is unclear if a deal is going to be done. israel's fear is that the iranians try to create a wedge between washington and jerusalem, do just enough to encourage the united states that these talks are going somewhere but not enough that it will make it, you know, there will be decisive. for example, will israel, if iran agrees to ship out their, their enriched-uranium at 20% enrichment will that be considered for israel enough? will israel agree that as an interim? some people say interim. there is no end. that iran can enrich at a lower level. i don't want to bore you. i'm not a nuclear physicist, but hardest part of making a nuclear weapon is nuclear fuel. lower enriched-uranium, below 20% is hard to do. that is only reactor grade fuel. to go up to high enriched you uranium is weapons-grade
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fuel. to go from 20% enrichment to 90% enrichment might only take a few months. for israel the fear is you can't cut it too close because when will you detect it in time and will you act if you detect it in time? israel has some real concerns about that. and the united states believes we will know how to detect in time and we will act on that knowledge. israel is not so sure. and so israel's going to have a tighter timetable and it is going to have a higher bar for iranian action. we'll see if this diplomacy works. no one has ever gone broke being a pessimist on middle east diplomacy. you won't count on it but it could be that israel would want to tell the president, look, we're not out to mess up your re-election. your concern that gas prices are going to shoot up, this will choke off a very weak recovery and could imperil your re-election at a time europe is going head long
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into a recession. we get that. we're not out to mess that up. so this is a huge, a huge issue. the other element is so that the iran diplomacy, we can discuss this more, there is asymmetry there. on the issue of egypt-israel peace the differences are clear. that the united states is hoping for the best. israel fears the worst. the u.s. believes, hear people flooding the square yelling for democracy and economic empowerment, how can we not be for it? israel's fear is, a muslim brotherhood government will say whatever it takes to get into power but ultimately it is certainly not committed to the treaty given all the statements over the last decade. the united states is counting on egypt's economic peril to say, well, egypt can't afford to renounce the treaty. very have virtually no foreign currency reserves.
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they were 35 billion. under 15 billion. apple computer is 100 billion. saudi arabia is 400 billion. that is the only thing they have is the economics. so the u.s. is hopeful. if the israelies are more nervous. mubarak was the lynch pin their regional strategy for 30 years that has given israel's peace. israel's peace dividend, i keep focusing on economics. i think it is key. if you remember how much israel spent on military spending servicing the debt, that is 40% of the its gnp. today it is nine. if you book back of envelope, 60, billion, billion dollars savings in one year. think of all the jewish philanthropy organizations you know. maybe they give billion and a half. they don't give 60 billion. israel's standard of living and ability to focus on education it is critical because of peace with egypt. no matter how much of a
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peace it is it has dramatic impact on israel. why israel feels it is a march into the unknown. whitewater rafting so to speak writh with a new egyptian government going to the polls for a new president this month. steve is charitable when he said it will be a bumpy ride. i think whitewater rafting would be more like it. i would say in summary here that there is differing views on where we are and and what this means going forward. israel fear this is new middle east is something that is going, that maybe in the long run is going to be good because you have peace between peals but in the middle east you live in the short run and you live in the interimmediate run and the short run and long run may be decades and decades away. so just, you know, i would say put the tray tables in the upright positions and fasten your seatbelts. thank you all very much. [applause]
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>> good morning, everybody. real honor to be here. i've spoken to the adl groups many times and, i'm always so proud to see such a great group of people so committed to such a wonderful and important cause. so, good for all of you for being here today. speaking last, always a little bit difficult because one has the challenge of redundance and being fresh at the same time. also i can't see my watch without my glasses on but i can't see you with my glasses on. so i have a double challenge here so i'm going to try to get to it. lovely being here with my colleagues and aaron never fails to provoke me into saying something and i will be do my best to be measured and not respond to every little thing he said [laughing] after all i'm sitting next
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to him and i can kick him when i sit down. aaron described the notion of being an why the alist without illusions and it's, it's a pleasant-sounding if not ringing idea. i prefer to think of america as a country that is idealist with ideals and while there are always occasions when we can not meet those ideals, nonetheless it seems indispensable that we actually have them. it also bring as certain coherence to our foreign policy, one unfortunately the notion of leading behind doesn't actually bring. everybody has heard of the expression, situational ethics. god knows you're in washington so you know that. but situational foreign policy really isn't one that succeeds and when you fly by the seat of your pants in addressing the various challenges around the world and you don't have a set of principles that animate you,
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you really are in kind of a difficult place because you don't actually know where you want to end up and i think that's where we find ourselves right now. so let's think of that in applied fashion. and by the way, let me explain to you why i'm an idealist. maybe, we represent, see some of you are younger, some of you are still older, thank goodness but, represent a generation for whom at least the memory of world war ii is fairly alive. it is certainly for me and when i think about what america can do, i think about that because you see we never want to do the right thing. we didn't want to get into world war i. we didn't want to get into world war ii. we really never wanted to get in any conflict. winston churchill is absolutely right. we always do the right thing but only after exhausting every other possibility. we're in the midst of
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exhausting every other possibility right now. why should we want to do the right thing and what is the right thing? well, i don't think i'm taking this -- to most of us. the right thing is to live in peace, freedom. for individuals to have rights and responsibilities. for them to be able to change their governments as they wish. for there to be transparency and accountability. for minorities, women, religious mine mofrts have rights protected by the state and the state not to dictate too much else into the economic or private lives of the individual. that sounds okay to most of us i'm sure with a few weeks here and there. well that's how we live for the most part and i think that's how mow people wish to live. again, with certain tweaks to the parameters of it. that is certainly how most people wish to live and many don't. many particularly, in the middle east don't. and what does that do when power is reposed in the hands of the leadership?
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it tends to breed resentment and that's what we've seen in the arab spring. we had somehow for many years embraced the notion that countries with dictators were the ultimate instability and of course those dictators shared that embrace but what you discovery very quickly maybe it is a decade, maybe two decades, maybe it is seven decades in the case of the soviet union but eventually those dictatorships are unsustainable and how they end is pretty important as we're learning and we learned in iraq and we'll learn elsewhere as well. but countries that have stable democracies with people who have kinds of lives i described tend to be countries that aren't perfect but tend to be less belligerent, tend not to fight with their neighbors and tend not to kill many of their own people. that is good thing. that is an ad whyes, that is ideal we can fight for and an ideal we can stand for. we can't always fight for that ideal in every country of the world. we have to look for that unique confluence. we have to look for the unique confluence of
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national interest and our ideals and where we see that confluence we should act. ideally we act with others and use all of the power we have. our moral, our economic, our political and if necessary our military persuasion to act with others but if we can't, we should always consider the possibility that we act alone and that's the menu of options that i believe exists with the united states in order to achieve those ideals. where do we see that confluence? well, i could turn directly to syria but i know syria is not front and center of the mind of everybody although it is on the front and center of my mind since hundreds of people have been killed since the great cease-fire that was imposed by united nations. why do we care about syria? well, let me use it to pivot for a moment to say we care about area and we care about iran. one of the problems we face in iran is a government developing nuclear weapons
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despite disagreements by somewhat their intentions are. a government developing nuclear weapons and a government that will survive any military action whether it is led by the united states or by israel or by anybody else. for the simple reason that none of us have any intention of targeting the regime itself but only the nuclear program and that is unlikely i think most believe to lead to the fall of the iranian government and the fall of the regime, the civil itself, of the islamic republic. that at the end of the day is what is going to last and what is going to return to the quest for nuclear weapons. so that's a bit of a problem for us. why is syria interesting in that regard? well, syria is iran's most important ally. while i think that things are going reasonably well for iran in its quest for a nuclear weapon things aren't going reasonably well for iran in the middle east. the arab spring has not been good to iran.
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efforts to relabel it as an islamic awaken having been rejected entirely. part of that because this has been in many ways a sunni revolution. part of it is iran doesn't have a good reputation for democracy or standing up for individual rights or economic freedoms in the regions and most countries and most people don't like iran. so there were great hopes, for example, that after mubarak left office a year ago, in egypt that iran would be able to renew relations with egypt. there was a lot of talk about it. military leaders talked about. muslim brotherhood talked about it and iranians talked about it a lot and it hasn't happened to the contrary. the relationship is very frosty. needless to say iran's relationship with its gulf neighbors as declined substantially over recent years because of, because of iran's predations in the region. because of iran's aggressive posture towards its neighbors and we could go on. the evenly place where iran has got a good thing going is in lebanon and in syria.
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it's got a good thing going in lebanon because hezbollah dominates the lebanese government and has a good thing going in syria because syria is client state of iran's and ba'asyir assad does iran's bidding in every single way. they most importantly are the main conduit for iran's exercise of power in the levant including to supply weapons and arms, weapons and cash to hezbollah, to hamas, to palestinian islamic jihad and to other groups whose initials i can't remember. if assad falls, that will be bad for iran. iran will be entirely isolated in the region. that seems to me to be a unique confluence of our moral interests and our national interests to isolate iran. how do we do it? well those are the kind of things that get discussed ad nauseum in washington.
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i will give you three short bullet points how we can do it not involving boots on the ground in much the same way we helped nato in libya which by the way did not involve a confluence of national and moral interests but merely moral interest at the time seemed more attractive to the president than apparently the moral interest of syria at this moment not with standing the national interest we can arm the free syrian army. we can help organize the syrian opposition. we can stop talking about the syrian opposition as if they were crap. we can bring them together. we can help them create a constitution. we can help them form a transitional government. we can form safe havens. we can protect safe havens. we can protect safety corridors for people seeking to escape bombardment. those things aren't terribly difficult. do we run risks? yes. do the syrians have good surface-to-air missiles from the russians? yes they do. on the other hand these are all eminently doable things
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for the united states and if they weren't, by the way, you should be very worried because if we can't take on the syrian military i don't know what enemy we can take on. so, that's one important piece. here is a second important piece. what are our ideals for iran? well, they're the same as our ideals for everybody else. that iran should live. that the iranian should live under a government that represents them. that doesn't open press them. that doesn't kill people. doesn't murder women in the streets. i think we could go on. doesn't sponsor terrorism. doesn't seek nuclear weapons. doesn't share their work with syria as iran did or with north korea as it does to this day. if anybody saw the photos of north koreans in iran recently, so we want a better government in iran. how do we begin to get there? well, we begin to get there first by action in syria. second by having a clear vision of what it is we seek to achieve there. we haven't had a clear vision what we seek to achieve in iran since the
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revolution in 1979. we could have that clear vision. does that mean we can achieve it? no. does that mean we can cause the green movement or expatriate iranians or anybody else to be more serious about getting rid of their government than they are? well perhaps a little bit more. one thing that we could do is we could stop talking about this as if the main challenge is to deter the israelies from attacking iran. that meeting we had in istanbul with the p 5, the permanent five members of the security council plus one, the germans was basically a meeting dedicated to notion we must stop the israelis from attacking iran this year at all costs y this year? i don't know what you will be doing in november but i think the white house is well aware what they're going to be doing in november. that is why this year is so important. that's why november is so important. so that's really an important goal for us. as we move to the next meeting in baghdad, the most important goal should be that we don't compromise
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with the iranians in advance. if you've seen "the washington post" this morning you've seen we already offer ad compromise despite the fact that the iranians haven't offered anything to us. that we don't offer a compromise, that we don't pay the iranians for complying with their international obligations and that we allow the iranians to recognize rather than july 1st being the end of the terrible sanctions that are going to be imposed on them, july 1st will be the beginning of the terrible sanctions that are going to be imposed on them and if they think things hurt now they're going to hurt a lot worse later. in addition we could allow them to think that the united states might actually have all options on the table as opposed to consistently announcing that the united states doesn't really have all options on the table. why are those good things to do? because they're synonymous with our values, they're synonymous with our interests and that is a good framework which i believe we should do everything. thanks. [applause]
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>> thank you, all of you. those were very succinct remarks. you left out east timor from your calculations but got everything else. >> [inaudible]. >> i beg your pardon? >> democratic government. >> yeah. i wanted to, i wanted to start with a question, i will just ask one question. i'm going to ask you to relate what you've been talking about, today particularly as it relates to iran and what david was describing as a convergence about, but still having gaps within it between the united states and israel and iran. how would you tie in what's been happening over last few days including. being bluntly critical of the prime minister and ehud barak in terms of their rhetoric on iran? what, what does that mean?
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what does what is going on in israel in terms of the disk and and in terms of the muted sense more muted yesterday in new york how does that tie into the gaps between israel and the united states on iran? david? >> i would say, we need a little historical perspective on this if you go back. 1981, between '81 and iran today but if you look at israeli decision-making in '81 there is much more similarity than you would think. a the guy head of the mossad he was against an attack. the head of military intelligence was against the attack. in other words you had leaders of the military defense establishment in israel that thought this was a mistake. and there was no defense minister. weitzman had resigned over the differences with begi in the talks.
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begin was the prime minister and begin was the defense minister. what i take for that story, analogies are never perfect. do not underestimate political leadership. at the end it is a political decision. begin imposed his stature on the government. despite the head of mossad, despite the head of military intelligence. there is touching story that the june year coalition partner said i was against this this is big mistake t will hurt u.s.-israel relations it. will hurt israel's position in the region. i'm against a strike. begin hat the votes in the government on the october 28th. strike ended up only being nine months later there were a few reasons for it but the one of the reasons was he said i want you to be shape with this decision. he needed him as a junior coalition partner because he thought he might bolt the coalition. he said to why. adin we'll not do anything
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until he was satisfied. he had the military intel people flood yadin intelligence information. in the end, yadi comes around and begin does the strike. for me the story is, a the importance of leadership at the top and ability of leaders through galvanizing the political forces to basically overcome the opposition of his defense establishment. so, i think here it is a little more pronounced because all this spilled out into the public view. you know, diskin former head of shin bet. former head of mossad. and former head of the chief of staff you have to believe my understanding that they also reflect the current security establishment too. ultimately if you have a determined prime minister, a determined defense minister as you had with barack and netanyahu i would not underestimate this due oh to overcome the objections
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within. but you point to something that is real but if history is a guide ultimately it is politicians who decide. >> go ahead. >> i have aist did view. israel's, israel's tiny, tiny country, 250 deliverable nuclear weapons not with standing with a dark past moving on the knife's edge. preemption in this situation, israel may be a regional superpower but has the mentality of a small power. preemption worked as demonstrated success, '67. '81, 07. but that is where the similarities stop. situation in israel is confronting right now, nothing like those situations seems to me. even '67. in large part because from the standpoint of the international community, even the united states, this is a war of necessity right now for only one country. only one country believes right now this is a war of necessity. iran does not have a fissile
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materiel to create a bomb. it hasn't mastered the component parts of actually producing the weapon. it hasn't tested a weapon. it does not have a nuclear weapon. this is a war of discretion even from the perspective of israel's closest ally. under these circumstances i don't think the issue is barack and netanyahu overcoming the concerns of the defense and security establishment f barack and netanyahu come overcoming their own fundamental insecurities and uncertainties about the risks involved in this operation and the prospects of what returnxd justify those risks. right now an israeliñiñi n$+ckñó isñrxd lik"r mowingñi the grass. the grass is going to grow back and it is going to growxdñi back withñiñixdñixd inintesrtyçi legitimatecy and ferocityñi
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nuclear weapons. under thoseçó circumstances, if you could evenñrñr justifyçói those risks, if in fact you could a, justify the risks failure and that is to say, not succeeding and risks of reaping whirlwind including higher gas prices, world financial markets. and more attacks on americans in afghanistan. as far as i'm concerned, this is less dega and diskin can say whatever they want. david is absolutely right. this is political decision, but in my judgment neither ehud barack nor benjamin netanyahu want to do this. what they want to do is create a strategy which minimizes our on suns -- options and maximizes the prospects that we will do this. and, i think they have been brilliant, israelies have been absolutely brilliant in orchestrating this campaign. in fact, even with diskin
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and, the most, dagan's objections. if i believed in conspiracy theories i would argue this is all part of a carefully orchestrated plans to force the american president to do exactly what he is doing which is shifting the locus of action from containment to prevention. our president is now on the hook for preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. not even george w. bush on whose watch iranians laid the basis for crossing the nuclear threshold was prepared to do that. so i think the israeli strategy frankly is working. if the israelis have a strike today, i think they would be hard-pressed to justify it. zone of immunity or no zone of immunity, they would be hard-pressed to justify it. so let it play out for the next several months.
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>> dani? >> anyone else want to applaud. [applause] i always think it is unseemly, i always think it is unseemly when countries play out their domestic politics on foreign soil which is exactly what the israelis are doing. we've done it too plenty of times but that of course is what the israelies are doing and we shouldn't look at this as a great philosophical debate israeli national interests. this is a great debate about who is in power in israel and who did what to whom. i think your description of '81 is absolutely spot-on and i'm very glad that you did it. i think history is less well-written of course this is also what happened in '07 when don't go there you rotten leader ehud olmert was in power and told by the president of the united states, don't do this.
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don't attack the and he chose to go forward despite objections from his military leaders, his military intelligence and many more about the costs of potential risks, look what will happen, syrians, heartland of terrorism. yet the truth is if you sit down and you calculate the risks they're always myriad reasons not to do something. i agree with aaron. there are many, many reasons not to attack iran. the question is whether the reasons to outweigh the reasons not to. that is difficult calculus. maybe iranians know what they want to do and maybe the irrans -- iranians don't know what they want to do. i want to make between the wars of discretion and wars of choice and wars of necessity. all wars are wars of choice. the notion somehow if you're attacked you need to retaliate doesn't seem to me to be correct nor does it
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seem somehow the legitimacy of a conflict should only derive from an attack on your soil. if a leader is not responsible for protecting his own people from an attack, rather than after an attack i don't know what a leader is good for but that is just me. >> like you to wrap in any further rebuttal if you have with answers from the audience because they have been anxiously awaiting. so i would like to hear questions now. usually we have people lining up by the microphones? is that how we're doing it? >> yes. >> blinded by the light. go ahead. >> steve daniels, florida region. how do you think the administration is analyzing the, i'm sorry, is analyzing the analagies and differences between the libya situation and the syria situation? how are they walking through the analysis? >> dani, do you want to
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start? >> sure. anytime you're asked to answer a question about how an administration is thinking you're guessing. talking to people inside the administration the sense that i have is that the president wasn't that enthusiastic about libya either. that it was the beginning of the operation. that it was the beginning of the arab spring. that he felt he was cornered into it by french president sarkozy. he was pused into it by the weight of international clamor and that it was a mistake. that we shouldn't have done it. yes, the outcome was okay although that remains to be seen in libya. and that he is not going to get pushed into another one. this is what i understand from friends inside the administration, otherwise, honestly i can't see a coherent argument against it. i are supported the overthrow of qaddafi, a absolutely. i thought as you could hear from my opening remarks. i thought it was the right
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thing to do but i also think it's, i also think that it's important to manage in a state that somehow none of us have learned from the mistakes of the previous administration, i also think it's important to actually try and manage what happens afterwards. it is not just okay, to say, you know, the evil man is gone, long live whoever else comes, see you later and that is part of the challenge is that the longer you let those kind of things go the more likely it is you're confronted with something distasteful to you. i'm sorry, there was one other thing i wanted to say and that was, aaron, you said that only the israelis are the ones who want to bomb iran. you know, even wikileaks will reveal that in fact former lebanese prime minister, saudi king, the have been on us to bomb iran. they may want us to do it, not israelis to do it but at the end of the day i don't think they would be that picky. >> aaron, why don't you talk a little bit about, why
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don't you talk a little further about what you were saying about the unfair image of the obama administration as leading from behind in terms of the gentleman's question. >> i mean, you know, you have an administration, you had an american president who inherited a very difficult foreign policy situation. the first shooting war he actually had to since lyndon johnson. a guy who, by the way afghanistan is now obama's war. it is not george w. bush's war. the president made a decision to double down. he was presented with several different options, all involvded addition, not subtraction with respect to the deployment of american forces. i think the president had a very, like his own view of domestic policy, like his view of himself, that he was potentially great president and he had an opportunity. in my book greatness in the presidency is driven by three things, crisis of a kind that is so profound it
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tames the political system, character, issue that a president dominates the times through his, only his personality, and capacity, to know what to do. those three cs, determine greatness. obama thought he had them all. obama was wrong. the american political system is not ripe for transformation. his crisis was not as profound the three grate presidents who dominate american history. and we misjudged his capacity. the fact that he ran a brilliant campaign will be studying for decades is not in our ex to validate the principle that he knew how to govern. foreign policy he seems to me initially he pursued the same transformative agenda. he was going to end about the arc of history. largely through rhetoric by the way. the more he talked the wider the gap became between his words and his deeds. we saw that in cairo. we saw that with the empty
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threat with respect and wrong misplaced threat to challenge the israelis own the whole enterprise which is not the issue you should be fighting it israelies about. but not settlements. but i think he has learned, if you compare the cairo speech around os low acceptance speech -- oslo, and nobel prize he didn't want and clearly didn't deserve, the fact there has been a change. he has the worst economic dislocations since the great depression. he is dealing with dysfunctional politics, deficit, infrastructure, four or five dead did i ds, and as consequence his foreign policy agenda in my judgement, dani disagrees but i would argue this is not a question of left or right, conservative or liberal, democratic or republican. it's a question of dumb or
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smart. and which side of the line do you want to american foreign policy to be on. we're coming off of two of the longest wars in american history. they cast their own shadows. we may have overreacted to them. but we're right to overreact. we're right to not look at when you decide to put american men and women, american resources, and american credibility in harm's way. when do you do that? under what circumstances? 20th century has been kind to only one american president with respect to an international conflict. only one. and you know why it was kind? 2 was kind because the justification for a war of necessity or choice was so clear, the objectives, and the victory were decisive and final and it was the only war of the 20th century where america's internal house was strengthened as a
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consequence and its influence abroad was strengthened. i'm not holding up this war. we don't have the luxury in the 21st century and it's a good thing too. my only point is we need to be, and i will, if i haven't used words i will use them now. we need to be cruel and unforgiving when we decide when and under what circumstances to deploy american military power. libya is not syria. and a combination of neocons and liberal interventionists are convinced that it's, that's right, it's not. it's not libya. it is more important than libya. it is more important because syria is more important. it is more important because syria is centrally located. it is more important somehow if we bring down the assads we somehow can bring down the iranians. i understand all of that it
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still doesn't answer the question. you need an effective question to bring down the assads. eight months to bring down qaddafi. eight. i'm not against him. i made it clear at the beginning. the president decides bringing down the assads is vital american national interest, then let him do it with a strategy and a coalition and a desighs sieveness that will actually accomplish it but do not give me a strategy based on an illusion if we arm the syrian opposition, if we create a safe zone, if i will somehow you will have so suppress syrian air defenses you will have to protect the safe zones. you will have a enlist the turks as full and willing partner. you will need some form of international legitimatety to sustain this campaign which could take eight months. don't give me, half-baked ill-advised based on our ideals and our illusions. do not do that again because i've seen a much worse
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variation of this movie under the previous administration where our illusions and our ideals drove us to at least one discretionary war that frankly i'm sorry, and i don't want to trivial eyes americans who died and grievously wounded in that, never would i do it, but you tell me what the results have been to justify what it is we've paid? just explain it to me. and then maybe i will be more open to deploying american power in these situations now. [applause] >> you started --, you dropped a nickel in there. >> i did. >> wrong subject. >> and i'm going into hiding. can we have a question and i'll give dani a chance. >> jerry axelrod, houston. first of all, thank you for
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a very illuminating and informative session. my question for any and all of the four is how do you convince the chinese and russians that come along and say that their interests are aligned with our self-interests? >> on what issue? on what issue, sir? on syrian, iran issue? >> you name it. primarily iran. >> let's focus on iran. >> on iran, let's remember when it comes to iran about american credibility, there have now been three administrations, democrat and republican, that have said, that iran will not get a nuclear weapon. what is going to be the future of american credibility if iran is not stopped? who is going to believe america anywhere in the middle east? we've already had a crisis over the arab spring.
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we've i don't want to get into which already led to a certain real sense of discord about american credibility but who is going to believe america if we allow iran to go that distance? and i'm, not saying that my panelists believe that at all but if iran is really the number one issue in that regard, and even if we're looking at syrian issue through the prism of iran, to me the difference between aaron and danielle on the issue of syria, it seems to me we have to look at it really clearly through that prism, could we really be decisive in that war in a very short timetable? or do we get mired in something that is going to be a great distraction from the iranian issue? now as danielle is right that it is going to help us vis-a-vis iran, then it seems to me it has to be a quick strategy to keep our
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eyes on the ball. if aaron is right, that, ultimately we'll never going to commit enough resources, then, it seems to me it is going to be a big distraction. so i would like a strategy, if is really being seen through the prism of iran to what extent is there a strategy to have do something in a very relatively short period of time. that to me is critical. and clearly the russians, excuse me, have been blocking us at the security council despite us having meetings with left love and telling him all sorts of things -- levov. we're not out to take arms share of the markets and his response, to hillary clinton when she raised this with him, you know what, i believe you hillary. i'm sure you mean what you say but the problem is at the end of the day, that you don't decide. at the end of the day the
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new regime in syria will identify us with the old regime and we don't have a chance with them no matter what america's assurances are. i think all this effort to flip russia on this issue has not produced. not that we haven't tried. not that we haven't sent saudis and turks to russia, et cetera. on the issue of iran we tried to have the saudis talk to the chinese about making up oil production. i think we've had some successes in cutting the chinese oil from iran, and i think that's good but i also think we have to project the sense that american credibility is at stake. if three administrations republican or democrat, if we say we're going to stop iran and we don't stop iran we're toast in the middle east. aaron is right, street cred is everything. there is no curtis lemays in this story. nobody is out to firebomb tehran whether american or israeli. no one wants war but at the
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end of the day if we're serious people, anyone who believes iran with a nuclear weapon is going to make it easier for american position in the middle east, i think they're totally wrong and it is going to be much harder than we've ever seen. israel is not looking to start a war. i agree with aaron, that clearly israel's interests would be that the united states deals with this issue as a superpower. israel's fear is you don't always get your first choice in life. that they issue goes away peacefully through diplomacy and sanctions or you get your second choice of life that the united states handles it. they have to worry, what if you have to deal with your third choice? that is where israel's at. not because it is wanting to go to war. i agree with danielle that saudis made clear you have to cut off the head of the snake. israel is not alone. the question is, how long can you wait? at which point is just too hard to strike because the way the sites are kong figured? that is the
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question and, what's happened with north korea and pakistan is that america has said too early, too early, oops, too late. that has been the track record until now. >> is there somebody on that side? sorry. in the middle, sorry. >> glen tobias, new york. >> why don't we take a couple of questions. >> assuming a second term obama administration, i would welcome your thoughts as to everything else being equal, which of course it never is, what kind of shifts might occur in the policies of that administration, vis-a-vis the type of issues we've been discussing? >> okay. >> question from over there? >> that was my exact question, actually. >> okay. good. so let's get to your question. i only have to put two together. >> adam roe, chicago, illinois. >> talk in the mic.
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>> adam roach, chicago, illinois. wanted to know mr. aaron david miller why you would said net yaw who would call obama a con man? if i took it out of context --. >> [inaudible]. >> or obama would call net hue a con man? >> that is my own view. i have written it three or four times. i have not a sled of empirical evidence that is how the president thinks of the prime minister. but having worked for four or five presidents and have a done secretaries of state and what he was told about the prime minister and his first incarnation, from many people, some who are in his administration still, some who are not, i a absolutely persuaded that the president believes that netanyahu is insincere and at a minimum. has no interest whatsoever in pursuing a serious negotiation with the, with the palestinians and if the
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president could find a way to get even with him, stick it to him, if he could, which relates to the second question, on the second term, i think he would . . >> soon to be president says to sharone, we have driveways in this country wider than -- country longer than this is
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wide. i'm not saying he's an anti-semitism, but his capacity which is hard for him on other issues is doubly hard here. he sees this is from the national interest paradigm. he sees it not as a morality play, but gray. i know about gray. i lived for 25 years in the world of gray, and a deal is not black or white. a deal is gray. i don't think he'll push for a deal because it's a second term illusion. presidents make mistakes in their second term. they get tired. they think about legacy. thinking about legacy works both ways. just ask bill clinton. camp david in july of 2000. i just think that there's too many constraints, too many
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problem, the u.s. is to resilient. the arab spring too uncertain. the sun, moon, and the stars are not there. he may decide to go for it anyway because he's the president, and that's what presidents do. >> thank you. do you want the second part of the question or the second question as well? what happened in the obama administration, second term obama administration? >> i have no idea. you know, everybody made a great fuss about the president heard on that hot microphone moment when he was talking to the president of russia saying, you know, give me space, i have more flexibility after i'm re-elected, and, you know, it was obviously a foolish thing to be caught saying, but the truth is, the white house said is true, and it is true. it's true for any president.
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i guess the only question we have to answer is what does that flexibility in the second term mean for this president? especially if he chooses to go into re-election with a vice president who will not after him seek the presidency. a little bit liberating in some ways. i don't know. i've been struck by what i perceive, and as the president of israel, and i am noted as saying nicely, i have more empathy with people who have imp thy with israel, and i think you're right, the president has no empathy, no visceral feeling towards them, but that could cause trouble for us in the middle east, make our lives more complicated, and we'll have a less friendly relationship, and, you know, the rest of the world,
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i guess, if you're a country that doesn't wish to lead, then you are a country that wishes to do nothing or to follow. there are many people in washington, many, and i agree with it absolutely there's no left-right divide who wish for us to do less in the world, and i think the president is among them. the chinese, perhaps, the russians in eastern europe, and intervene when there's an imperative national interest, whatever that might be, and so i think that's very well could be the shape of a new administration. i worry about it a lot. >> okay. to wrap it up -- >> can i -- >> let's wrap it up with david. >> i think the math of expending political capital, the physics of that is not immune to a second term. i remember george bush talking
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about privatizing social security. he decided to put a lot of political capital, it failed, and he lost a lot in the process. i tend to believe that math is going to be true in the second term too. this is a president, who until now, has tried to see where do i use my political capital, and i think if he thinks this is a loser of an issue, that there's no chance, he's not -- he knows if he deploys it here, he's not able to use it elsewhere. i think that physics remains in the second term. i think where i defer slightly with aaron on the issue of obama's relationship to benjamin netanyahu, i would not use that phrase that he did. i mean, i've heard from people who talked to him had he -- he would say benjamin netanyahu wants peace in the abstract, but he's not going to use political capital to make it happen. you need political vision, and then you've got to be able to use that capital, and his question about benjamin netanyahu is someone, who in
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principle, talkings about how much he wants peace and defies the base, but on any given visits to washington, there's a reason why not to do it at this time. that's a little bit of a difference between the comment airplane used, but neither as a ravine person who is really to have the vision and see that through, he'll say he doesn't have a partner on the palestinian side. we'll have a debate about that. i think obama at this time is different than what's coming in, came in in seeing palestinians as the victim, very much feeling that it's been frustrating to deal with, and that his on many issues, and a more nuanced view there as wellment i think it's more of aaron's gray that exists than it did when he started his
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first term. >> did you want to add something? >> i want to say one last thing. israel has instances of people who want to do less, who want to not intervene, who want us to just why all the sudden do things, and they found their hay day in the 1930s. history is complete with very, very few examples -- history shows us very few examples of people who look back and say i wish we had done less. >> okay. well, thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you to our panel very much for an interesting perspective. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> we are now moving on to our workshop which we're starting at 10:30. there will be staff people outside the ballroom who can help you find the rooms for the workshops you've signed up for. we believe the workshops are large enough to handle all of you. if they are full, please find another room. thanks for your cooperation and understanding. we're going to be meeting back here at noon for our luncheon program. [inaudible] thanks, guys. [inaudible conversations]
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>> that's this portion of the adl conference comes to a close, we'll go back to an earlier portion about today with remarks from steven simon, the director for middle eastern affairs on the national security council. he spoke for 20 minutes. up first, pamela schwartz, the anti-defamation leadership chair. >> good morning. [inaudible conversations] a very good morning to everyone. welcome back to the monday session of the national leadership conference of the antidefamation league, one of the premier civil rights and human rights agencies. we are proud of our 100-year record of building bridges of understanding between all people. we'd like to honor our guests from the diplomatic and
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political community from egypt and israel and others. [applause] i'd also like to welcome ambassador from norway. thank you for being here. [applause] before we start our session, i want to take a few moments to recognize a few of our leadership classes, and i recognized this earlier, guys, but i hear the buzz. i want to hear from you. let's start with atlanta in the southeast. [cheers and applause] how about detroit? [applause] houston in the southwest? [cheers and applause] las vegas? [cheers and applause] they are used to staying up all night. we have an interesting program this morning on u.s. policy and the dynamic and dangerous middle east. to introduce the first speaker, i want to call upon steve adler,
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member of the national commission from austin, texas. [applause] >> good morning. this morning's session is focused on the dramatic upheavals in the middle east and the policy challenges that they pose for the united states. the obama administration entered office expecting to face a full plate of issues to manage while pursuing middle east policy goals, countering iran's march to nuclear weapons capability, promoting israeli-palestinian negotiations, a military presence in iraq, and managing volatile situations in pakistan and afghanistan. that makes for a full agenda. if you add to that, the sunning political upheaval in the region that no one could have
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predicted. as these events have shown, and as our next speakers are likely to remind us, the only thing predictable about the region is the inability to predict events and the repercussions. today, we're happy to have with us steven simon, the senior director of the middle east and north africa at the national security council. mr. simon had a distinguished career as an author, scholar, and one of washington's most insightful analysts on middle eastern terrorism and the broader regional dynamics. adl first encountered him when he served in president clinton's national security council as director of global issues and senior directer for transnational threats, and during that period, he advised president clinton on counterterrorism policy issues and operations as well as
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security policy in the near east and south asia. during his service in the obama white house, his door has always been open to us, and he's been generous in sharing his time, his wealth of understanding, and his insights. please join me in welcoming white house senior director for middle east and north africa, steve simon. [applause] >> steve's introduction reminds me of something i used to say before i came back into government. when i was asked about the ash -- arab spring, which was since i didn't see it coming, how do i know where it's going? i still feel like that a little bit. anyway, thank you, all, for being here and inviting me to join you this morning. it's an honor.
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truly an honor to address such a distinguished group. let me start by thanking all of you here today for the work that you do every day through the anti-defamation league to advance and protect our most fundmental american freedoms and values. for nearly a hundred years, you've been on the front lines of the freedoms americans cherish whether by combating anti-semitism here and around the world, standing up against hate crimes, and speaking out against anti-muslim bigotry. your work is in the finest american tradition, and your voice is an important contribution to our discourse, our national discourse, on all of these issues, and, yet, all of your impressive achievements, of all of them, perhaps none is as important as the work adl has done to protect the security of israel. in a world of changes threats, that task has never been
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manufacture urgent or challenging. this morning, i want to focus my remarks on the obama's administration approach. since 60 years of founding, years of war and peace, u.s. administrations of all stripes have worked do safeguard israel's security for republican and democrat, but i would maintain no administration and no president has done as much as president obama has done to promote israel's security, and i say this having served in every administration other than one with ronald reagan in office. i have a personal per perspective to have as well as analytical. benjamin netanyahu rightly said the security cooperation with israel is unprecedented. that was his word for it.
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if you have relatives or friends in southern israel, they tell you what this meant in practice call terms in recent months. in addition to the record levels of security assistance, the united states was already providing israel, our administration secured an additional $2.5 million to help produce a short range rocket system, iron dome. the purpose was money was to enable israel to accelerate production of iron dome batteries. well, during the recent attacks from gaza, iron dome intercepted nearly 80% of the rockets they tried to engage, and that's dozens of deadly explosions that might otherwise have taken place at hospitals, schools, or homes. it's been a god send for besieged communities along israel's border with gaza, and the department of defense, i'd
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like to say, has announced recently our intent to provide israel with additional support for this critical defensive system. in addition, we continue to work with israel on the error weapons system to intercept weapons and the shorter range missile defense system. now, against these procurement programs, we continue to collaborate on a powerful radar system linked to a u.s. early warning satellite system that can buy israel valuable time in the event of a missile crisis. it's not just about material and technology, and i hasten to add this because it's also about relationships, and it's a web of relationships of which i'm a part so i can speak to it with some, you know, familiarity,
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even inthat -- intimacy. we launched the most meaningful and comprehensive consultations across all levels of our government in the history of the u.s.-israeli relationship, and bear in mind, i go back to the reagan administration, and i believe this is true. later this year, for example, our nation's armed forces will conduct their largest ever joint military exercise with israel, austere challenge involving thousands of u.s. troops in and around israel working with israeli military personnel. in 2011, last year that we have a complete count of obviously, nearly 200 senior level department of defense officials visited israel and senior israeli officials visited the u.s. just as often. this is a very thick network of ties and very intense collaboration.
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despite tough -- excuse me -- i can't get the words out whenever i have to say the words " difficult times," that's my experience. despite difficult fiscal times, president obama requested assistance for 2013, which is the most ever. [applause] standing up for israel's security also remains -- also remains an important issue in the area of israel's legitimacy because it's been a priority for this administration to stand up to attempts by anyone to delegitimize israel in the international arena. as president obama said, including in the speech he gave in cairo at the beginning of his administration, israel's
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legitimacy is not a matter of debate. that is why we were the only country, the only country to vote in the human rights council this spring, a u.n. agency, against the establishment of a fact-finding mission on settlements and why we opposed unilateral palestinian events to negotiate circumstances to have statehood in multilateral organizations, and that's why we stood up for israel's right to defend itself after the goldstone report was issued about the 2009 gaza war, and that is why when israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flatella incident, we supported them -- when no one else did i might add. that's why we refuse to attend events that endorse the
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conference against racism, and we'll always, i repeat, always to equate signism with racism. [applause] that is why we're working, literally around the clock, and around the world to prevent steps taken at the u.n. or its agencies because as the president said, there's no shortcut to peace, no shortcut. the issues can only be resolved through negotiations, not through action of the u.n.. that is why we've been so focused on doing everything we can to prevent this from happening. now, we know that israel sees the threat posed by iran as existential and make no mistake, an iran armed with nuclear weapons presents a direct and serious threat to the curet of the united states as --
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security of the united states as well. this is about both allies, israel and the united states. not just about israel and not just about the united states. that's why our policy is not just to contain iran, but to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. [applause] now, you've heard a lot of loud talk about iran, and you'll hear more in the coming months. this, quote-on-quote, lose course on war, as president obama describes it, benefits the iranian government by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program. there it is. for the sake of israel's security, america's security, and the peace and security of the world, our approach has been different. we believe now is the time to speak softly, but carry a big stick, to let our increased
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pressure sink in, to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built and to engage iran in good faith as the window for diplomacy shrinks, and it is shrinking. because the united states and israel both assess that iran does not yet have a nuclear program, and let me assure you that we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring the program, we and the israelis, there remains time and space for diplomacy backed by pressure, obviously, to succeed. iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision and abandon their current course. though, as the president has clearly stated, time is running short. we have backed up that commitment by building an unprecedented coalition to impose thee most far reaching
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sanctions that iran has ever faced. as a result, iran finds itself increasingly isolated from the international community. it finds is harder than ever to acquire the materials for its nuclear and weapons programs and to conduct transactions and dollars and euros. it is unable to access 70% of the foreign currency reserves at this point. it has struggled to buy refined petroleum and goods needed to modernize its oil and gas sector. already, already close to $60 billion in iranian energy related projects have been put on hold or simply shut down. no funds. world leading companies are deciding to stop doing business there. i'll give you a list because it's impressive. it's a partial list. shell, total, eni, stock oil,
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rep salt, luke oil -- which is russian -- that's significant in and of itself. toyota, and many others. this is true, too, by the way, of the foreign subsidiaries of the u.s. firms such as ge, honeywell, caterpillar, and a number of others. now, most recently, the administration worked with congress to make sanctionable a host of transactions involving the central bank of iran. we are now working with partners to implement this new law in a way that maximizes pressure on the iranian regime. the regime is feeling the pressure. there's no about -- there's no doubt about that. in fact, you don't have to take my word for it. here's what iran's president, ahmadinejad, said about sanctions to iran's parliament late last year, and this is the guy who a year before had told
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the same audience that western sanctions were a hankie that he blows his nose in, okay? he's not exactly a refined guy. [laughter] anyway, this is what he said much more recently. "the west imposed the most extensive sanctions ever. every day, all our banking and trade activities and agreements are monitored and blocked. this is the heaviest economic on slug on a -- onslawght on a nation in history." that's ahmadinejad. the purpose of the pressure is not punishment. it's not what we're trying to do. it is to convince iran that the price to be paid for pursuing a nuclear weapons capability is just too high, and the time is now to make good on its commitment to the international community. iran's leadership had no doubt
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about the resolve of the united states or about israel's sorch -- sovereign right to defend itself. as the president has said, we take no options off the table. of course, iran's nuclear program is not the only regional issue of concern to israel or its leaders. in a period of sweeping regional change that brings new opportunities, but also new challenges and uncertainties, the united states will continue to bear israel's security in mind as we development and implement our foreign policy in response to these challenges. concerning israel's neighbor, syria, we believe that the longer assad remains in power, the greater the risk his brutal tactics destabilize syria and possibly the region. for that reason, we're working with our international partners for assad to step down as soon
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as possible for a stable led democratic transition can get going. in egypt, we have supported the historic transition to democracy that began last spring. this will continue to be a bumpy ride. as each of us debate freely the big issues of the day for the first time in many decades, this is a country where politics was frozen for 40 years. it's now just thawing out. as egyptians begin to build the constitutions that will secure their future, amid the ups and downs, as we support universal principles of democracy and individual rights, we'll also continue to do all we can to protect the egypt-israel peace treaty and the relationship between israel and egypt that has anchored regional security for so long. in conclusion, let me turn briefly to middle east peace,
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one of the most critical and one of the more allusive of america's foreign policy goals. israel's own leaders, just take as a baseline, understand the imperative of peace, and they speak about it. prime minister benjamin netanyahu, defense minister barak, and they call for an israel that can live side by side with a palestinian state. that is profoundly in israel's security interest and the best solution to the host of challenges it faces from shifting demographics that will eventually jeopardize its status as a jewish democracy to emerging weapons technologies to the challenges afoot in the region. peace is also the only sure way for the palestinian people to realize their legitimate and long standing aspiration for a
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state of their own, and as vice president biden said about president abbas, israel has partners that share the goal of peace. all of that said, as you know, was, well, as i do, peace will be very difficult to achieve, but america, too, has a profound interest in peace, and both israel and the palestinians continue to believe that our involvement is important to making progress. both israel and the palestinians want the united states to persevere. as president obama said recently, while there are those who question whether this goal will ever be reached, we will make no apologies for continuing to pursue peace. that is why from the president down, we remain deeply engaged with israel and palestinians continuing to work to a
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resumption of direct negotiations. there was a host of serious discussions between parties in jordan. in a more recent example of direct contact between parties, a pair of palestinian envoys carried a letter from president a base to benjamin netanyahu on december 17th. we believe such contacts are essential for progress and encouraged by the fact that the parties put out the statement following needing reaffirming their commitment to peace. at the same time, of course, serious challenges remain, and we're not oblivious to them. we have made no secret about our concerns about the deals made, and our policy an hamas has not changed, but designated as a foreign terrorist organization, and to play any role in achieving peace in an independent state, it has to renounce violence, recognize israel, and adhere to previous
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agreements. we believe that president a base remains -- abbas remains committed to the principles. president obama also made clear there will be no lasting peace unless israel's security concerns are met, period. to summarize, the u.s. government has done more to ensure israel's security under the president's leadership than under any previous administration from providing record level security assistance that's saving lives to leading vigorous diplomacy that defends israel at the u.n., championing sanctions against iran. our record is rock solid. based on my own firsthand experience working these issues day in and day out, i can assure you that israel's security is at the top of the agenda of president obama's national
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security team, and as for the -- [applause] as for the president himself, he said he has israel's back, and he meant it, and that's one of the reasons why i'm very proud to serve in this administration. thank you very much. [applause] >> four years ago, i was a washington outsider. four years later, i am at this dipper. [laughter] four years ago, i looked like this.
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[laughter] today, i look like this. [laughter] four years from now, i'll look like this. [laughter] [applause] that's not even funny. [laughter] >> mr. president, you remember when the country rallied around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? that was hilarious. [laughter] that was your best one yet. [laughter] honestly, it's a thrill for me to be here with the president, a man who, i think, did his best to guide us through difficult times and paid a heavy price for it. there's a term for guys like president obama. probably not two terms, but there it is. >> miss any part of the white house correspondence dinner?
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watch any time op line at the c-span video library. behind the scenes, the red carpet, and all the entertainment at
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>> believed for some time that police departments around the country are tracking people's cell phone on a routine basis and out getting warrants based on proibl cause. >> tonight, american civil liberties opportunity on police uses for monitoring cell phone for police purposes and the right to privacy at eight eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2.
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>> here we welcome aboard, beautiful downtown oklahoma city. i'm captain rick. i live in oklahoma, and give he a howdy, captain rick. >> exploring the literary culture of oklahoma city including the works of galileo at oklahoma university. >> it was on motion. when the book was published in 1632, the pope was angry that the galileo broke the promise to treat it hypothetically. galileo's enemies joined together, and the result was his trial. this also is a copy that contains his own handwriting.
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this is like being able to look over his shoulder in the months leading up to his trial. >> all next weekend, the local content vehicles in oklahoma city on c span2's american history tv and on c-span3. there was a hearing on bilogical and infectious disease research and the potential it's used for bioterrorism. senator joe lieberman of connecticut chaired the hearing. >> this hearing will come to order. good morning, and thanks very much to our really distinguished panel of witnesses. we use the word "distinguished" around here easily, but it
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actually does relate to this panel, and i thank you for being here. we begin by looking back a little bit in 1851, a revolution in medicine already under way was crystallized in a letter from lose pastoor wrote to a fun saying i'm on the edge of mystery and the vail is getting thinner and thinner. thanks to him and succeeding scientists, the microbial world has been revealed, and we're healthier and living a lot longer as a result. childhood diseases like polio and measles have been vanquished in many ways. they led to treatments of aids viruses, and according to one witness today, the real possibility of a cure for aids is in sight. the last global pandemic that killed on a massive scale, the
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spanish flu killed at least 50 million people was almost a century ago. i remember this because that deprived me of knowing one of my grandmothers. my paternal grandmother who died as a young woman in new york from that pandemic. in addition to all the medical miracles that were underneath that vail, pasteur pealed back dangers. research that lead to cures extending life for millions also can kill many. a pathogen released by accident or because it fell into what i will call evil hands, and it is this paradox of dual use research that we gathered together today to consider at this hearing. last fall, the world was shaken by the news that two researchers working in a research team, working independently, had been able to engineer a new strain of
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the h15n virus, known as bird flu. if the virus ever made the jump from a virus, mostly confined to birds, to one transmitted to humans, it could cause the pandemic. the mortality rate for the few reported cases in humans who have been infected is as high as 60%. by contrast, the spanish flu which i mentioned, had a mortality rate of about 2%. the researchers that i referred to based in the netherlands and university of wisconsin announced they were going to publish the result of this study in the journal science and nature. this set off what i would call a global ethics debate in the scientific community about whether to publish or not
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publish these results, and if the spearmints, which were funded by the nih, should have been undertaken at all. on the one hand, they say getting the information out could help other scientists better understand the mutant strains to prepare for a possible pandemic by investigating looking for natural mutations and developing vaccines and medications. the fact the two research teams were able to create this new strain from existing genetic material means that nature could create it as well. in fact, many scientists said that was quite likely, but given the lethality of the virus, this could create huge security risks because it offers a blueprint for a deadly bilogical weapon to rogue states or terrorists, and, of course, that's where this committee's interest is joined
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because of our responsibility for homeland security. in a recent speech in jay -- geneva, secretary of state, hillary clinton, warned al-qaeda issued a call for a, quote, "brothers with degrees in microbiology or chemistry" to develop a weapon. there's a concern that it could escape from the laboratory, something we've been worried about in the past. last december at the request of the department of health and human services, the national science advisory board for biosecurity or nsabb, was asked to review the research papers. the nsabb concluded that more needed to be known before the research was made public, and they asked the editors of science and nature to delay publation. both magazines agreed.
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last month after further review, the nsabb voted unanimously to allow the university of wisconsin study to be published, and by a divided vote of 12-6 to allow the netherlands' study to be published with clarifications. one of the things that influenced the board's decision was the revelation that the modern strains of h1n5 were less critical. that true attention to the director of the center of infectious disease research and policy at the university of minnesota and an nsabb board member himself. in a letter to the nih, he wrote the nsabb deliberately ignored the voice of scientists who believed publication of the research was dangerous, and i quote from his letter, "i
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believe there was a bias towards framing a solution that was a lot less about a robust science and policy based risk benefit analysis and more about how to get out of this difficult situation." he then added, "we just can't kick the can down the road without coming to grips without the difficult task of manage manageing." this is a serious charge which i hope as the morning goes on, the panel will respond to. the publish or not published debate continued earlier this month in a 2-day conference the world's leading scientists convened by the royal society in london. i learned that most of the attendees seem to agree on it that we need to put in place better systems to track this research at each experimental stage rather than waiting until it's ready for publication to
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make decisions about what can be revealed, and that's another question i hope our panelists will discuss today. although this particular controversy about publication appears to have been resolved, it's going to reoccur, and we can't just kick the can down the road dealing with it on an ad hoc basis. what systems were in place to monitor dual research that could produce dangerous results at the time the experiments begun, and how do we balance these against the obvious evaluation of the invaluing of the quest for knowledge of free scientific inquiry. hatched into the national academy of science's head quarters were the words of one
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of many words quoted often -- the right to search for truth implies also a duty. one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true. of course, this matter before us this morning raises another question which is what if pealing away nature's vail unleashing dangerouses to the world? those are difficult questions to balance, and, again, i repeat that we asked them here in this committee because of the direct qex -- connection between the scientific work and homeland security of the american people which is our first responsibility to protect. i really look forward to your testimony and the question and answer period, and, again, i thank you for being here.
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senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's been almost a century since the 1918 spanish influ ensai virus that infected one-fifth of the world's population killing more than 50 million people and claiming some 600,000 american lives. various straps of influenza are still a major threat. the h1n1 strain, more commonly known as the swine flu, claimed more than 18,000 lives during the 2009 outbreak and exposed gaps in our preparedness capabilities for response to a global pandemic especially in the development, production, and distribution of life saving vaccines. in 2008, this committee held a
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hearing on the report by the commission on the prevention of weapons of mass destruction which examined the security of bilogical pathogens on the select agents list. the testimony by the chairman of the commission, former senators bob graham and jim fallon helped raise the awareness on the security and ensure that deadly pathogens and the research carried out on them are contained in secure lab facilities. this committee also held numerous hearings from the nation's efforts to prevent, prepare for, and mitigate the impact of a pandemic influenza outbreak. in 2009, the administration's
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failure to ensure we were prepared to distribute vaccines remains cause for great concern. preparedness also required some vesting in critical life sciences research to expand our nag base and technologies to help us better respond to the next potential global pandemic. such a pandemic could be even more communicable than the 1918 influenza virus or as varilant as the flu virus. they documented 576 human cases of avian flu infection worldwide since 2003. 339 of those cases resulted in death. recently, research funded by the
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national institutes of health and conducted with wisconsin and the neitherlands resulted in genetic changes to a strain of avian flu that allowed its airborne transmission. they plan to publish the study in two journals. the findings are obviously important steps in a big scientific process, but others expressed concern that the publication of the methodology and some of the data could help create a road map for terrorists and others seeking to further modify the virus into a bioweapon. that's why a government advisory board, the national science advisory board for national security, recommended in late
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december that partial information be withheld from public publication. late last month, however, the board reversed course, and it's now advocating for the full publication of the research done in wisconsin and the publication of a revised paper on the research performed in the netherlands. the decision and reversal have been part of a larger debate within the scientific and national security communities and there are important arguments being made on both sides. when the american people pay for sign tisk research intended for the common good, they have a right to expect their money will not be used to facilitate terrorism. these are not hypothetical
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threats. before he was killed, alawaki sought poisens to go to the united states. the new leader of al-qaeda has medical background, and therefore, he may have a greater interest in pursuing chemical and biloming call terrorism. at the same time, there's legitimate concerns about government censorship that could kill academic freedom and scientific inquiry or even limit the sharing of information necessary to save lives to improve public health. recently, nih relates the new policy for the oversight of dual use research of concern. this policy's intended to improve awareness of current and prepared dual research of concern and provide some guide
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lines for mitigating the associated risk. this new policy, however, is only the beginning of what must be a straightforward dialogue among science, health, national security, and government experts and leaders in order to promote scientific research while protecting the safety of americans and others around the world. i look forward this morning to hearing and reviewing the testimony of our witnesses about these challenging issues and how we can strike the right balance. i doment to apologize i will, however, have to leave early due to a markup in the appropriations committee that begins at 10:30, but i will certainly review the transcript of this hearing. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator collins,
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for that thoughtful statement, and whether it's this meeting or appropriations or others, you watch for the budgets of nih, dhs, and others that may be recipients on the panel. >> absolutely. >> that's your record, i know. first to witness is dr. anthony fauci, really a national hero, a hero of mine, and directer of the -- we look forward to your testimony now. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. senator collins, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on the nih mission of performing biomedical research for preparing for and responding to national emerging and re-emerging diseases and the relationship of the research of bilogical security. as you mentioned, the issue at hand is the ongoing threat of
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the emergence of the h5n1 pandemic influenza and the concern to address the threat. the conduct and publication of such research in the form of two manuscripts you mentioned put attention on dual use research, mainly research directed at providing information to the public health, but at the same time has mal applications. in the record, and my time, i'll hying lit as pegs of the issue. first, the public health challenge. seasonal influenza is a threat worldwide and among the global causes of death due to infectious diseases. each year, influenza causing more than 2,000 hospitalizations and 49,000 gets in the united states and half a million deaths globally. yet influenza has animal reservoirs, especially in birds,
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and these viruses can undergo extensive genetic changes and jump species resulting in a virus to which humans are highly vulnerable. such an event can and historically has led to global disasters like the one you mentioned. the prime example being the 1918 global influ ensai pan -- influenza epidemic killing thousands worldwide and caused enormous economic disruption. there's a clear notion we'll have another pandemic as they have the capability as we've seen in 1968, 2007, and 2009. over the last decade, a highly pat jenic influenza emerged among chickens. rarely, the virus spreads to humans. since 2003, approximately 600
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confirmed cases occurred in humans in more than a dozen countries shown in red on this poster. nearly 60% of those reported cased have resulted in death. should the virus mutate to transmit more efficiently to and among people a widespread influenza pandemic could ensue. indeed, nature itself is the most dangerous bioterrorist, and even as we meet today, h5n1 and other influenza viruses are naturally mutating and changing with the potential of a catastrophic pandemic. it's not a hypothetical danger. it is a real danger. they supported research including on transmission, post adaptation, and veer lens. the goal is to anticipate what the virus is continually trying to do on its own in the wild and
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to prepare for it. such goals were pursued by the nih funded science and could have important positive implications for prediction, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. they constructed variants of influenza in order to identify which genetic mutations alter the transmission of the virus. in their studies, they had a standard influenza model, namely a ferret. this was modified for transfission of one ferret to another. i'll point out one of the causes of the public misunderstanding was the widespread belief that the virus transmitted by aerosol from one ferret to another actually killed the ferret when, in fact, that was not the case.
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.. >> which is shown on this posted. if a particular research experiment has identified as durc, that designation does not necessarily mean that this research should not be published, nor that it should be even prohibited in the first place. however, it does call for us, as you mentioned, the balance
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carefully the benefit of the research to the public health, the biosafety and biosecurity conditions under which the research is conducted, and the potential risk that the knowledge gained from such research might fall into the hands of those with ill intent. in this regard, the national science advisory, the national science advisory board provides security or national science advisory board for biosecurity or nsabb, was asked to advise the united states government on the publication of these manuscripts. you will hear in detail from dr. keim, the chair of the group, about the board's deliberations. importantly, the public attention and concern generated by this issue has triggered a voluntary moratorium, or pause, on this type of research on the part of the influence of research community, as well as a fresh look at how the u.s. government handles durc, as manifested by a formalization of a governmentwide policy to address the issue. this policy which was released on march 29, strengthens and
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formalizes ongoing efforts in durc oversight, and is described in my written testimony. the ultimate goal of the nih in its embrace of this new policy is to ensure that the conduct and communication of research in this area remain transparent and open, at the same time as the risk of benefit ratio of such research clearly tips towards benefiting society. the public which has a stake in the risk, as was in the benefits of such research, deserves a rational and transparent explanation of how these decisions are made. the upcoming dialogue related to this policy certainly will be informative, and hopefully productive, in its goal of benefiting the public with the fruits of such research while immediate rating associated risks. thank you. >> thanks very much, dr. fauci. that was an excellent introduction to the topic, and i
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look forward to asking you some questions. next, doctor daniel gerstein, deputy undersecretary for science and technology at the u.s. department of homeland security. sharing with the committee the concern about whether this research represents a real threat to our homeland security, and if so, what we should do about. thanks so much for being here, and we welcome your testimony now. >> thank you. good morning, chairman lieberman, ranking member collins. i think for the opportunity to testify today regarding dual use life science research of concern. my testimony today will describe both department of homeland security mechanisms for addressing and mitigating dual-use concerns arising from an internal life sciences research, that dhs funds, as well as dhs involvement in u.s. government and other efforts to address security concerns arising from the life sciences research.
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as the department considers the durc issue, several principles help guide our thinking. first, there it is extremely complex issue with scientific research development community -- committee. with ensuring our nations security by preventing the misuse of such technology. second, almost all research conducted today in bioscience and biotechnology contains some degree of dual use application. third, dual-use concerns must be addressed and if right after that levels from research funded by governments to research funded privately, to experimentation done by individual scientists. and, finally, there are both domestic and international dimensions to the durc issue, as the recent 85 in one papers. dhs performs research which might be considered durc or a bride at different mechanisms including our internal laboratories, such as the national biodefense analysis and countermeasures center, and we
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also sponsor and collaborate with other departments. additionally, we provide funding to colleges and universities, primary to our centers of excellence program. one vignette that demonstrates the degree to which dual-use research is both ongoing and critical to the dhs mission is the development of a recombinant foot and mouth disease vaccine. the recombinant vaccine governments are being developed to our dhs center of excellence at texas a&m. the material is then shipped to plum island where it is used to challenge tests employed live virus. at plum island dhs and enough state department of agriculture are working shoulder to shoulder in this effort. once approved for licensure, a commercial company will produce the vaccine. this crosscutting project demonstration the importance of collaborative efforts of dual-use research. dhs's primary objective in fun activity in the life sciences is
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to meet our homeland security mission. we, therefore, exercise control of the information where necessary, through no publication or nondisclosure mechanisms. research conducted or funded by dhs in as a biological and chemical defense undergoes particular scrutiny and high level departmental review because of the potential to raise concerns regarding security, nonproliferation and treaty compliance. at dhs, our approach to dual-use research is multidimensional. at the lowest levels, project managers are trained to understand and assess their programs are possible dual use applications. the national science advisory board for biosecurity, nsabb definition of durc embodied in the -- seven experiments of concern served as the basis for this understanding. the same criteria have been identified for use of the new federal wide durc policy. the dhs compliance assurance office, or cable, reviews projects that are to be
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conducted. this review into tears based on whether they include nsabb experience of concern, raise perceptions of noncompliance with arms control agreements, utilize select agents of toxin can have the potential to generate or reveal national security vulnerabilities, or provide information on threat agent production, or dissemination. at the highest levels of the department, our compliance review group, or see its gee, -- crt, with full participation reviews altered with a particular eye towards ensuring compliance with chemical weapons convention and biological weapons convention. dhs routinely contracts for life science research that involves use of select agents of toxins, or the record special provisions. in all cases, we ensure that contracts contain clauses to ensure conformity with
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applicable laws regulations and internal policies. in addition, research contracts for life science work typically provide for dhs to object the publication or disclosure. further depend on the type of proposed publication or disclosure, the information to be released must go through an internal review process. in the end, -- in the unlikely event that sensitive unclassified material is produced from research projects, funded through grants to academia, dhs requires grant recipients to create information protection plans which detailed how the information would be identified and secured. i have been discussing the internal management of durc within dhs. let me now turn briefly to the broader durc issue. dhs has been an extreme active participant in the for malaysian of the u.s. government policy on dual-use research, including 29 march government policy for drug oversight. we're in complete agreement that strengthening durc oversight and
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establishing regular reviews of u.s. government funded or projected research is both necessary and a responsible approach. however even with the conventional dhs oversight policies described previously, in the u.s. government policy on oversight of u.s. funded life sciences research, dhs believes that security related concerns to durc cannot be entirely resolved by formal u.s. government policy. the international nature of life sciences research, coupled with explosion of biotechnology funded by private sources, means that much of the durc being conducted is not under direct u.s. government control. advances in the life sciences and data we create technological capabilities that will be of tremendous benefit to humankind. but will also require careful stewardship including development of appropriate regulations and policies, as was continued emphasis of a strong by risk management programs that emphasize biosafety, biosecurity and bioethics.
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in working through this issue we must find ways to mitigate risks, associate with the potential malicious use of durc while at the same time allowing for open and unfettered innovation via our nation scientists and laboratory. at the end of the day, the durc issue comes down to a risk-benefit evaluation of whether the balances in favor of sharing the information for the good of humankind for public health, medical or biotechnology advancement versus the potential for misuse. ultimately, the international life sciences community must appreciate the durc problem and internalize these concerns while developing and conducting research. in this regard, the h5n1 pavers have served as a necessary wakeup call for the life sciences community. thank you for giving us the opportunity to testify today, and we look forward to your question. pics, doctor christine. just while we have you, while some of my, clarify for the record for me, what the role of
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the department of homeland security is with regard to dual-use research happening outside of dhs grantees. >> well, senator, we set as part of the interagency by that delivered so we have a strong voice, and, in fact, as usher will talk more about later, the 29 march policy actually reflects much of the work that we have been doing previously in fulfilling our biological weapons convention requirements. we made use of the nsabb seven experience of concern. we've always loved at the select agent program to make sure that we are in accordance with the requirements and reporting requirements, so we do that tiered process in order to make sure that experiments do full and fall compliance with us. what we have done that is because of the alignment of the 29 march policy, and the work that we've done previously, we
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essentially have a leg up on the implementation of the 29 march policy. >> okay, and just to take this one step further. on the board in which you said, is this to determine governmentwide policy, or also to approve particular projects, or to a guy with particular research projects? >> these are into the boards that are designed to look at the department's experiment station, the projects that we are to be conducting. >> okay. and then finally, just give us a sense, and i don't think too much detail here about how, how widely dual-use research projects are being carried out are funded in the federal government put in other words, the natural place to think about is nih, but i presume d.o.d. buzz also doing funding projects, et cetera? >> senator, i would like to
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think of my department and just take what we are doing come in the department of homeland security. we, through our review process, looks at a total of about 200 projects that fall, what we call tier one, just regular experiments that don't rise to the level of concern. in the tier two, ones that could perhaps have some issues with perception, we do 12 to 15. been in the highest category we do five to 10. so a total of about 225 experiments per year, which all of them run to our compliance review group process. >> those are all funded within dhs? >> they are, yes. >> maybe, dr. fauci, you're the one to turn to to give us for the record a broader sense of how widely do research either being done or in federal agencies are funded by federal agencies? >> that's a very good question, mr. chairman, and it's important as you did yourself distance
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between dual-use research and dual-use research of concern. almost anytime you even go near a microbe it is dual-use research but if your but if your type of dual-use research concern we actually just for this purpose as part of the implementation of the march 29 governmentwide policy, we did and in the tory of what we do with her own scientists at the nih and at the nih funded government scientist, as was the extra extramural grantees and contractors but just to give you an example, when we did an inventory of what we do mostly on the bethesda campus and a rocky mountain campus, there were 400 for intramural projects that could be dual use complies 147 manuscripts, and none were found to be dual use research of concern. when we do the extramural inventory, all of the grantees, there were 381 grantees or contractors, 10 of those grants were designated as durc. seven of them worked in influenza, one in anthrax, one in played and won in botulism.
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so out of 381, there were only 10. those were the ones were not going to the process that delaney very carefully in the new policy. so that's the scope of what we're doing at nih. >> that's very helpful. and just generally, and the right to assume that there may be dual use research projects of concern, for instance, at the department of funded by the department of defense? >> as dr. gerstein, i hesitate to make a statement about the department of defense but we collaborate a lot with them, and yes, i cannot imagine that they are not doing so. but probably a very small amount typically are doing some. >> okay. samosas probably coming through nih, okay. thanks very much. next, dr. paul keim, acting chairman of the aforementioned national science advisory board for biosecurity. we thank you very much, dr. keim, for being here, and please
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proceed with your testimony now. >> chairman lieberman, thank you for holding this hearing on biological security, the risk of dual-use research. i am paul come, the acting chair of the national science advisory board, for biosecurity. i appreciate the opportunity to speak to you about dual-use research, and in particular about the boards activities at a recent evaluation of two scientific papers concerning that avian and h5n1 fires. it's been recognizer many years that signed second on different -- good purposes and then. this two-sided coin we refer to as dual-use research. the problem is that all biological research can be construed as having potential bad applications as well as there are good ones. the nsabb created a new term, dual use research of concern, or durc, as we've been saying, to distinguish normal research from that with exceptionally high potential to be misused. the parameters defining durc would include the magnitude of
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any danger, and the immediacy of any threat as balance against the overall benefits of the work. over the last eight years, the board has advised u.s. government on best practices and policy approaches for research communication, personnel reliability standards, codes of conduct, and international engagement for issues associated with durc. the board is recognize a good policy needs to protect us from the science misuse and protect us, protect the scientific enterprise from being overburdened with unnecessary regulation. both are essential for our country to be safe, productive and remain a global leader. the national science advisory board for biosecurity that is comprised of well respected scientists, lawyers, infectious disease experts, scientific editors, and public health experts. we have an eight year track record of protecting academic freedom while seeking policy recommendations that will minimize in this use of biological sciences research.
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with that in mind, recognized the significance for the board unanimously recommended against the publication of two scientific papers in november 2011, due to the potential to be misused. the u.s. government as the board to review to nih funded studies reporting that allowed a highly dangerous bird flu virus to transmit from one parent to another. by a split vote, the board instead recommend to the government the key elements of the studies not be published and the only redacted papers were acceptable for general distribution. these recommendations are based upon the board's findings at this avian influenza virus acquires the capacity for human to human spread, and retain its current very domestic the world could face a pandemic of significant proportions. we found that the potential risk for public arm to be of unusually high magnitude. the board has published its recommendation to the us government, along with his rationale. importantly we pointed out that
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an international discussion was needed among smokable societal components to develop policy in this arena of high consequence there. i would further note that in a few months that the recommendations were released, there's been a flurry of u.s. and international meetings to discuss the risks and benefits of these experiments. the research issues of policy consequence are now commonly known and being debated. is continuing global conversation is important for the scientific endeavor and for our biosecurity. in late march 2012, the u.s. government passed nsabb with reviewing revised versions of the two original manuscripts. this is coupled with a face-to-face meeting such the board could hear directly from the investigators about their research. in this meeting the board received nonpublic information about the risks and benefits of the research from the international public health and research community, as well as from the united states government intelligence community. in a classified briefing from national intelligence council
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and national counterterrorism center representatives, the board heard an assessment of the risk for misuse and of the global political ramifications associated with these papers. the details of these briefings are classified, but i can tell you that many of the board were left with the impression that the risk of misuse did not appreciably increase with full publication. and it is a high likelihood of undesirable political consequences to not publishing. in addition to the u.s. government has recently issued new guidelines. this is based upon the innocent abb's own definition of durc and seven categories of experiments that weren't special considerations, and target a particular high consequence pathogens. it is in this context that the board arrived at different recommendations for the revised manuscripts. one paper was unanimously recommended for full publication while the other was recommended by a split vote of 12. in balancing the risks against
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the benefits of the revised manuscripts, in the context of additional information and u.s. government policy, the board shifted its position. in my opinion the split vote is highly significant and signals that the board still believes that there's great potential for misuse of information generated by these types of experiments. a majority of the board members voted for publication but they were clearly still troubled by this research and its potential to be misused. it is fair to say that the board believed that these types of experiments will arise again and that these issues are not fully settled. as one board member noted, we've only kicked this can down the road and we'll be dealing with it again in the future. it is critical that we establish policy that intensely monitors high potential, durc research from cradle to grave, in order to protect this misuse. but also to free low potential from onerous regulation but we must be careful that we don't destroy the enterprise as we try to protect against misuse of
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some research. thank you. >> thanks very much, dr. keim. let me just ask you one of raises in my mind. what did you mean when you said, referred to undesirable political consequences from not publishing? >> so, this was a classified briefing, so in this environment we can't talk about it in detail but there many international collaborative projects went on in public health to try to control and predict and understand influenza pandemics. many of those little agreements are very fragile, and i think it's fair to say that not releasing this information was seen as having a detrimental effect upon those fragile -- >> understood, thank you. final witness, dr. thomas inglesby, chief executive officer and director, center for biosecurity, university of pittsburgh medical center. welcome back. >> mr. chairman, thank you for the chance to speaker today. i name is tom ingalls be and i'm the director for the center for
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biosecurity. infectious disease physician or drink in the last two decades have seen many patients with influenza died despite excellent medical care in american hospitals. for many of my center colleagues and i then discovered -- that need to be taken to protect us from those challenges. and like all of you, i am deeply concerned that h5n1 is a major global threat. i have been opposed to the publication of the revised fouchier manuscript. the breakthrough and it was making h5n1 transmissible in the air between ferrets. just as well, h5n1 kills ferrets, the sentient virus also kills ferrets the same way. so there's no evidence that i've seen publicly presented at this engineering virus would have less virulence in humans and wildlife h5n1 infection with the with this virus -- so this word
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were replicated after publication and it led to human infection following accident or mischief, we can't rule out the chance it would lead to high is tallied and the spreading epidemic, difficult to stop. as you noted, there are others in the scientific and public health communities who share this concern. that said, i appreciate a deliberative process has taken place in the last six months. the majority of the nsabb minister and u.s. government agencies and the journal of science have decided this work should be published. i'm concerned about this but i recognize this decision has been made so now it's time to look ahead, anticipate the future of h5n1 research which scientists are now poised to pursue. here are some brief thoughts on benefits and risks of further pursuing this line of research. will further engineering age five and one viruses help improve surveillance? in my view, in the short term it's unlikely. genetic mutation data does not want connect 18 flu system but
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very few sequences are analyzed in real-time. even if we could identify excremental mutations in birds in real-time, prescribed response would still be the same. culling of infected birds, all flocks regardless of the vice. into every service has been a place that collects far more genetic sequence does so in time things are meaningful, and i predicted by is sufficiently to additional action infield is researching's unlikely practically improve surveillance. nor is this research necessary to making h5n1 vaccines for reasons i've explained them a written test for. what could go wrong with transmissible h5n1 one? couldn't ask of her? accidents are in, and most pathogens have little capacity for societal spread. the accident escape of an engineer very good mamma million -- although it's uncommon actions do happen.
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in 1977 h1n1 pandemic probably from elaborate ski. nine years ago during sars at least three incident in which researchers working in labs in singapore, taiwan and china isolate infected themselves with sars. i'm not meet us in a laboratory for criticism. mistakes or maybe all types of professionals, doctors, hives, rocket scientist, all of us. because we are human. human error surprise -- can we assure this research will be other kid and deliberately misused? no. we can hope no potential adversary to pursue this. we can accurately predict the chance of this work will be replicated by a scientist somewhere in the world, war terrorist group or nation state. what happened if a virulent mammalian transmissible h5n1 searches per? seasonal flu infects 10 to 20% of the world every year.
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so if a string of h5n1 without fatality rate were engineered, the spread like seasonal flu, hundreds of is a people's lives would be at risk. even a string 100 times less they love would place at risk millions of people's lives. so what should be done about h5n1 going for? first, i would extend the moratorium that dr. fauci discussed the reasons many experts agree with the moratorium are still felt the before proceeding we should more confidence this procedure will be to practical benefits osha for other ways to study transmissive but that don't require virulent mammalian transmissible strings but if this were allowed to continue which should limit to the smallest number of labs. by understanding that the uk and canada have indicated the consumer decide this work can only be performed in certain less. we should have these discussions an open transparent way that is the scientific and public health communities. second, let's decide if the red lines that shouldn't be crossed. for example, should increase the
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in -- are to understand their human? should other avian flu strains be engineered for mendelian transmissibility? should it be -- so we can understand the gen x of those problems? we should decide now if there are any uncrossable lines. they are, you should continue to strengthen its pandemic preparedness efforts. priorty should include the capacity to manufacture flu vaccine on a large-scale, universal flu vaccine, new antivirus, and better surveillance and culling of infected blood. preparing for pandemic and 80 struggle important. let me turn to the policy for dual use research of concern recently announced. this policy is a good step towards addressing the kind of issues raised by the h5n1 controversy. success of the policy will depend on how it is limited. in my written test might i provide recommendations for success of the policy and i'll highlight for the new. number one, input effectively at
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the local and. sciences and th institutions and institutional biosafety committees will be crucial to the success of this policy. this is new territory for them, a training and education will be key. and also need new members, the resources. number two, learn from experience. this process will need to evolve as we learn. i understand in a tree view of the portfolio found attend experiments warded further risk management. it would be a viable going to for the science community to understand these cases. what caused the concern, how were risks mitigated? it also could be useful to do as much as again from the h5n1 risk assessment and risk management process, how are risks a sense, our conflict of interest managed? going forward the success of the jerk policy will depend on these issues. third, attended the regulatory this policy will add another process to enacted by scientific committee that is already heavily regular. we have to make sure we don't impose search word and that scientists can continue their important work. so to this end i would recommend
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ask the national academies to examine the effects of existing policy and regulatory burdens on u.s. scientists. and last, reaffirm the role of nsabb. it deserves a lot of credit for its work. nsabb members have been substantial public service. they prepared a valuable guidelines instead great deal of energy, intellect and time on this h5n1 debate. and independent and strong nsabb should have an important role in durc policy implementation going for. and i hope the nsabb will read in a position of getting invited in the process after manuscripts have been submitted. i think we all agree in this room the risk assessment and management process should happen early in the research process. so to conclude, scientists who research infectious disease are working to understand our understanding into the door. u.s. need to continue supporting entrepreneurial talented scientist with the best ideas. at the same time we need to acknowledge there are rare situation with consequences of
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an accident or misuse are so serious that special processes are needed to manage the risk to the public. this new durc policy is a good step in that direction. >> thanks, doctor. help us just to lay public, and including me, when you hear about accidental escape of pathogens from laboratories we get alarmed. so toggled it more about it, does that normally happen -- >> no. >> the example used to, the infection of workers and personnel in the lab. >> yes. all the occasions i mentioned, there's typically the way, that infection would escape a letter a laboratory in which could affect the usually when laboratories are infected they don't spread to anyone else. so the risk really is primary to the person working in the laboratory. it's rare for the laboratory and to pose a risk outside the lab. >> dr. fauci, i assume all the regulations both before and after march 29 were intent on
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limiting the possibility of exposure to personnel speak was definitely, mr. chairman. in general, definitely. and specifically, in the two cases that we are discussing as per teicher today, but to laboratories, one in wisconsin and one in erasmus, were very, very highly qualified, inspected multiple times, and given a rating of meet or exceed the standards for the kinds of protection we are talking about. >> mr. keim, let me ask you first about the to laboratories that were the subject of this concern. to the extent that you can, why was the ultimate decision unanimous in the case of wisconsin, and then mixed in the case of erasmus? >> so, the underlying science and approach that he took for doing these experiments was different. they did love together a lot, so of the approaches was viewed as having a greater biological control of risks.
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it's one of the aspects that we've instituted across the board in biosafety experiments, which is to try to do these experiments that a biological context, that would be less dangerous. and so for example, if we do an experiment where we're going to add a change something in we usually like to do that with a pathogen that has been disarmed before we ever get there. and so distinguishing the two groups and their approaches, i would say that was the biggest difference was one worked in a platform, if you will, that was viewed as less risky, not as very likely that any other windows taking really the from the wild side, the raw material from nature, then changing the transmissibility on that platform. >> and if i understand that difference, had more to do with the scientific decisions of each team as opposed to differing levels of safety standards that they're operating under, in
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their respective institutions, or countries. >> yeah. so as dr. fauci pointed out, both institutions were heavily regulated, heavily reviewed come and both exceeded the requirements for biological safety that we have in place for these types of experiments. >> okay. dr. keim and dr. fauci, i want to give you an opportunity to respond to the dissent in the letter, which was i gather originally a confidential letter, then was leaked from michael osterholm in his criticism of nsabb decisions. and to some extent, not totally reflected by dr. inglesby, but also dr. inglesby expressing some concern about the decision. dr. khan, why don't you begin? >> so, first off, on the
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committee we again ari porth of almost 25 highly qualified individuals, and we really agree upon anything. >> sounds like congress. >> i know. [laughter] spent although we may not be highly qualified. >> i must say that we actually embrace this, and we use it, joe, we actually cherish the different members and their opinions, and it's true for this particular example as well. this was, in fact, a letter that was meant for an integral type of a process for us to understand in a retrospective fashion will be done and what we have come through. as such, i view it as a very constructive type of a communication. it was unfortunate that it was leaked and became part of the public dialogue. it makes it harder to have a constructive and proactive type of conversation there. many of the things that he said are worth examining. one, one point that he makes in
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the letter is, in fact, that there was a bias in the witness list. i think that is true. the primary witnesses that we brought in, or breathe, briefers that we brought in for this hearing were, in fact, investigators themselves. they are inherently biased. they wanted their work published. we brought in a second investigator who has been collaborating them and working on how you use this information for surveillance purposes. again, somebody who would like to see their work published and sees the benefits far clearer than the risks. i don't think this was a great concern though, mr. chairman. we are scientists on this work, and what we did is we look at scientific data and look at other scientists were, and we can be very critical of that. and so the biases that were inherent in those types of witnesses, i think was not a problem for us. and so we, in fact, i think that with that very well, and we were able to ask very tough questions of the investigators over a series of time.
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dr. fauci he was infamous for two hours with lots of intense questions answered about the. so i think that those vices were something that the board could do with quite well. >> one part that was clearly not, was independent of all the other aspects of the science was intelligence briefing. this was a briefing that was set up by the u.s. government intelligence community, and you know, we came into that as scientists. and pretty much took this on faith what we're hearing the assessments of the risks and the political consequences were fact. that was and if i'm where the board is perhaps a little bit naïve. we don't have the capability to look behind these assessments. the briefing was held at the secret level, and we're only able to ask so many questions, but they were quite confident. and that briefing in fact suggested to us that, in fact, the risks were minimal and that the political consequences again
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were great. i think that a great effect upon the board. so, that's one aspect dr. oz jones letter that i think, you know, is an adjective of the process itself. we didn't -- this is never set up as a point/counterpoint, so we didn't have time in the six hours we had witnesses in front of us to actually have everybody in the world there. but the most important witnesses that we did have were inherently biased. >> interesting. if you had to do it over again, which you try -- >> i would do many things different, mr. chairman. one is i would probably make sure that this was being a lot of work is being done before it ever came to the board. we were brought these papers, you, under very tight timeline back in october, and you know, in retrospect the amount of time and the time i went on was much too tight. the process and the number of hours we put into reviewing
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these two papers was massive. it's clear that the new government policy identifying durc our guys going to be critical for moving much of this evaluation earlier on before -- >> it's a very important point. i agree with you that dissent even to some extent the bias is not itself of concern, particularly in scientific debate and discussion. but obviously from homeland security point of view, we are concerned about the impact. am i right that you were essentially, to the best of your ability, providing assurances that information is not going to be released in the two studies, particularly in the fouchier study, that would significantly increase the risk of deliberate, or accidental release of modified h5n1? >> so, the board was pretty confident in the case of the fouchier and kawaoka paper. in the case of the fouchier case
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it was a split vote, 12-6 and/or strong feelings on both sides here i would say that again, and this type of a bore process each of us had to weigh the evidence. enemy, they were great and certainty in this type of research. a very small number of, relatively small number of ferrets were actually use 80s experiments. to understand the biological properties of these viruses is not 100% certain that we don't know everything there is about these, and so these 20 board members had to weigh the evidence as best they could. and i will tell you, you won't find a better group of people to do this. this board is extremely qualified and able to do this, and worked very hard in understand the risks and benefits, and came to a split vote on the fouchier paper. >> dr. fauci, do you want to respond to the osterholm complains to some extent to dr. inglesby is concerned? >> sure. well, with regard to the letter,
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there were, as you probably know, because i'm sure that your staff or you have a copy of the letter, there were several issues that were brought up in there. i have to say that i agree with many other things that doctor kimes had come in the sense that this is a strong board, a really good board. we have worked with them for a long time, and i don't think they'll be significantly influenced by what they might perceive as a bias but if they did i believe, as paul has done in the past, if you have an issue with something can you bring it up. the letter was sent to the executive secretary of the nsabb, who's at the nih, dr. patterson. we have responded on a point by point basis do everything in that letter. so we would be more than happy to make that response available to you so that you could see the point by point discussion. again, there were important issues about looking for.
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there were several things in there that i must say quite frankly, mr. chairman, that i actually disagree with. one of which was the concern about the security briefing. as you know, i have a great deal of trust with the director of the national intelligence to tell us what we need to know. so that's just one example. the idea, as you mentioned about the picking of people who would be on, we did not give me any indication of doctor awesome of people he wanted to see there that were not there. so rather than go tit for tat on the i can just say that i think the general principles that were brought up by dr. keim i don't agree with. i just have to say for the record that a disagree with many other things in his letter. >> no, i appreciate that directness, and i thank you for it. do you have a reaction, to dr. inglesby suggestion that the moratorium should be extended? and if so, for how long?
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>> i totally agree with dr. inglesby about an extension of the moratorium. the real critical issue is, is for how long. this is a voluntary moratorium, and i think that's something that the public needs to understand that this is a voluntary moratorium on the part of the scientific committee. i had a discussion with the scientists and encouraged them, and actually to their credit and to the discussion that dr. keim's himself had in the nsabb, this is something that they agreed upon. exactly to called off, i think we need to see how we can have, and we're very actively involved in pushing forward the principles and application of the march 29 governmentwide dirk policy. that's going to have an important impact on when we can feel comfortable that we can then go on pixels long as people understand both the principles and at the magician mechanisms of address durc. several of the lab that are
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involved understand that now. we need to make sure that that's broadly understood. so i definitely agree with it. i just want to make one point of minor disagreement, if you want to call it that, with my esteemed colleague, dr. inglesby. if we only look at the short-term benefit of research, we wouldn't do a lot of research at the nih, because you very often have a situation where it is incremental and you build up into something that really becomes important. so although i understand the point is being made, if you look at what immediate benefit of those mutations are going to have right now, sure, you can say that there isn't a lot of surveillance capabilities, or high sequencing, et cetera. but the incremental accumulation of knowledge is one of the fundamental principles that the nah -- the nih research is built upon. i think is a bit of a disagree on the. i don't think you need to have an absolute media benefit to
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research not to be ultimately important to do and to publish. >> do you want to respond? >> yes. actually i complete agree with wages since i don't think we disagree on the. i agree that fundamental research and understand biological risk is both critical and is a part of the, critical part of the science mission. this is just one very specific and rare example of what i think the bar for whether to proceed with this line of research should be beyond a deeper fundamental understanding of biology. but in general, i think i completely agree that the tests for basic science shouldn't be what it has practical benefits in the next year. but in this case there's been a lot of the proponents of the research have been arguing for urgent practical benefit, and in my view i just haven't seen a compelling case. >> not worth it. >> this leads me to ask you, dr. fauci, and anyone else who wants to answer, some since it's a
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question in the margins, when considering future research that would be seen as durc, dual-use research and concern, can you imagine instances in which you would conclude that research should not be undertaken, under any circumstances? >> i do. i don't think, i think it would be scientific -- to say we can do anything want to do regardless, curiosity of it for understanding of it. so i do think the are some experiments that would be better not done. i think that would be a very rare situation, mr. chairman, particularly, i mean you can fantasize about ridiculous and dangerous experiments just for the sake of doing it. those who don't even bother with. but in the realm of trying to keep up with something that is a clear and present danger of it happening in nature itself, that's the critical thing that we're dealing with here and that's the reason why we agree
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so much on it, and yet all of us at the table no that this is a delicate issue. if you are doing something in an experiment of fashion that you might be pushing the envelope of creating something that would give you some information, but it isn't really addressing any danger, then i think that that's very televised to go there. but when you have a situation where nature itself is already doing some of the things that you are trying to stay ahead of, that's when you really have to service to consider it. the short answer to your question, the principles of the new governmentwide durc policy that we put out on march 29 actually put that into the consideration. so when you look at the number of experiments that you can do, look at the seven, there are now seven classic experiments, that if they come up you have to decide, you have a risk mitigation for that particular result or that particular experiment, one of the risk
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mitigation's very well may be don't do the experiment. so it really falls a nicely into the answer to your question. it is built into the new governmentwide durc policy, that that is, in fact, an option. >> so, i presume that this is not an area where you can draw a very clear red lines, right? in other words, what you described is the standards adopted in the policy, particularly with regard to risk mitigation, and that in any given case the decision-makers might decide that in the interest of risk mitigation, the research simply should not be conducted? >> it's essentially a continual evaluation of risk-benefit. you take each individual case and you look at it, and if it turns out that clearly the risk, and our ability to mitigate the risk come is such that it's just
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not worth doing. >> hocker gerstein, from homeland security point of view, why don't you talk to is all about this, and whether you think that there ought to be clearer guidelines here, or whether this is an area of scientific inquiry where it's simply impossible to state a red line unless you see any particular proposal for a research project. >> well, senator, i agree exactly with what dr. fauci said. i think there are some experiments that should not be done. in fact, that is likely the intent of the compliance review group, looking at the nsabb seven experiments and looking at the type of pathogens we routinely work with and the sort of threat analysis and characterizations that we do. so we look at these very hard. we make sure that all of them are needed to make sure that we're doing that in the safest possible ways them in the appropriate facilities.
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but at the end of the day we recognize that national security, homeland security needs to look at some of these different capabilities and assess what sort of threats they pose. still, we're doing them in the highest containment for the department. we do most of our internal work in our facilities, the fort dietrich facility, and the pump island facility, piadc, so we are very keen on the. >> okay. we talked so far about the u.s. government response to this challenge of durc. but obviously scientific research is global, and in this case one team in wisconsin, one team in the netherlands. so help me understand, and the committee understand for the record, what's the state of discussion, standards internationally? are their scientific
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international scientific bodies that are moving to adopt standards such as a march 29 u.s. policy, or different? are their national standards being adopted in individual countries throughout the world? what's happening? because obviously we're talking here about a fear, in one sense, a global pandemic. so if something wrong happens in a laboratory halfway around the world, it can still affect the lives of people here in the u.s. >> let me take a shot at that, mr. chairman. you know, it's very interesting because this gets into what we refer to as the culture of responsibility, global culture of responsibility. back in the '70s when the revolution in dna technology took place, globally but fundamentally here in the united states, scientists got together and tried to develop, you know, it's strikingly similar to the
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challenges that we are facing now, and came up with what we ultimately have right now, the dna recombinant advisory committee, the rac as it is called. although that only pertains when you talk specifically about government funded research here in the united states, what happened is the fundamental principles, the code of conduct, the culture of responsibility that was engendered by the discussions back in the '70s every comment dna technology, without any capability of enforcing it globally, essentially permeated the global approach towards recombinant dna technology. so although we didn't have any enforcement capability, it became something that was widely shared throughout the world. now, other countries, including the netherlands right now, are addressing it in a very serious matter how they're going to approach this because it was one of their scientists. but there's also going on in the
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uk, in france and places like that, so what we hope and what we envision is that as a result of this, there will be a culture responsibility, that even though we don't have they cared and the stick of funding, withdrawing funny, but these kind of principles will actually be implement throughout the world. we're all hoping for the. and ask to have confidence that it will. >> good. dr. christine cassel i know that secretary napolitano and people in the department now are developing ongoing relations with the homeland security departments, or comparable departments around the world, is there discussion of this particular concern in those international meetings? >> senator, there is. we've had a number of bilaterals, for example, we have 12 nations we do bilateral discussions with, and we have had these discussions. the nation's feel very similar to us, but there is not all good
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news as far as this is concerned. u.. >> we may be working very hard in this country, and we may put in place the proper provisions, but it's important that we do the international outreach, especially into some of the countries that may not have the same sense of the life science issue and the durc issue that we do. >> yes, doctor. >> to the good news side of the story, first of all, i think the
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h5n1 debate has been somewhat useful internationally because people are paying attention to this issue, so i think that has one good consequence of this has been enlightenment or awakening in many maces of the world. -- places of the world. at a science meeting two weeks ago when this question came up and there was concern that private foundations wouldn't follow the lead of the u.s. government in the new policy, a representative from one of the most important science foundations stood up and said let me make very clear if u.s. government is going to continue this policy, we absolutely intend to follow it ourselves. and i imagine that others will. and the third good news was an article published yesterday in one of the most important science journals in the world which said the u.s. is taking an important leadership position on this durc policy and other nations should follow suit. so there's some indications maybe this will move in a direction where other people are doing similar things. >> well, that's encouraging. let me go to a different aspect
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of the durc policy which interested me which is that it requires departments and agencies to report to the white house national security staff in the next several months on their current durc projects and risk mitigation measures. um, the concern i want to express is that griffin -- put it this way, the national security staff is probably larger than most people think, but it's still relatively small for the range and responsibilities it's given, particularly those on the nsc staff that work on biosecurity and bioterrorrism issues. and i wonder whether you have a sense of how the information's going to be used to support oversight of such research and whether any of you expect your agencies and/or the nsabb will
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be asked to support the oversight that the white house national security staff has charged -- is charged with carrying out here? maybe i'll start with you, dr. gerstein. >> well, senator, that would be somewhat speculative. i would just like to take you back to the deliberations to date. we have used those deliberations to better understand what has gone on with the papers, we've been briefed on the science, we've been briefed on the policies, the issues that have surfaced, and i think what's come out of the 29, march white house-led effort is a good first start. what we expect is, that this will continue. this is not an end point, so to speak, but it is the beginning of a process that we will continue to look and try to insure that our policies with regard to durc are as good as they can be to insure national security but also homeland security as well as insuring
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scientific work goes on unfettered. so in that regard we're very hopeful. it's a reporting requirement. all d.s and agencies are -- departments and agencies are submitted to that, and we have not come up with the next step, to speak, in trying finalize the policy. i know this has generated, though, incredible discussions across the inner agency where departments are getting together and discussing how they're handling it. we received several phone calls to see how we were dealing with our university grants program, and the language that we have inserted that provides us at least a stopgap measure should it be necessary to insure that publication of certain materials would not proceed. so this has, actually, been a very positive outcome, i think, across the government. >> good. dr. keim, do you anticipateat


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