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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 23, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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up with middle eastern problems and completely consumed with our own difficulties here at home. so what is the case you make for the president? >> to answer your question i don't think you actually at this time probably could make a compelling case to him. i think it's really the narrative right now that you are just outlining a narrative that appeals to him obviously. is a narrative that appeals to lots of republicans up on the hill. i mean, you would want him i think to sort of display the inside in the fortitude to say you know, george w. bush had when he launched the search and where his most inner circle everyone except him would -- it but i don't think he will. i think the only way the narrative changes is if the fall of assad does not happen and then what you do see is not
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20,000 people dead but 100,000 people dead. i think every 10,000 increments of slaughter you might say diminishes that narrative. so i don't know where that line is where suddenly that is not a narrative that you want to start out any more. but i suspect you know, somewhere between 10,200,000 people today. so wherever that line is, think that is where you are no longer going to use it. now you could still use the argument and you hear that argument more often on the republican side which is just sort of let them all slaughter each other, and without a great consideration of the strategic calculations in the middle east because it's sort of like the middle east, just go away. so, i think that is also a pretty powerful again, i would emphasize -- emphasize if you
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had to write now put your finger on something that would change the dynamic here, that has to be turkey. turkey. i think, i think professor -- professor, president obama's out of this one unless you see something happen in turkey or if you just see the slaughter accelerate at such a rate that we are more or less obliged to do something. it's possible that if the fsa could get ahold of aleppo and declared a free city to set up an opposition government in aleppo and figure out some way how to stop the armor, the artillery and the planes from driving them out at least for a while, that you could rapidly change the dynamic. and it would certainly be, it would certainly be an interesting game with turkey is the fsa could do it. i don't think they have the wherewithal to do that now but if something like that were to occur, then you could get a
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benghazi scenario that would have a lot of traction with turkey and might be a compelling argument in washington. >> david can i get you before we get to the audience you're thoughts on the issue of how susceptible the current conflict is to some kind of outside intervention that would actually have a positive shaping influence both on where this conflict goes in the immediate period ahead and what icom after that? >> well, i think a number of people, the rep was anyway and what we have seen as them is them sort of give up on international intervention and i think that has been the key dynamic in the last six months if they have just decided that they have to go it alone one way or the other. and they have done that and they have created networks and i think turkish intelligence may be could be a little more involved than we are getting.
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there is some evidence and talk of that. and they have managed certainly light weapons and they have a regular flow of weapons now. they do not seem to have money issues and i think the trajectory is that eventually they will take down the government or force it into some sort of alawi enclave. intervention, retype in, if we are talking about just bombing, taking out defenses, do we want to be responsible for what will probably be the likely ensuing massacre of the alawite minority or the driving out of the alawite minority? what will fill that power vacuum? there is obviously at this point a vacuum that is we are moving toward a total vacuum and i think after the government falls, that could be even more serious. i don't necessarily see an
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intervention that prevents these things. possibly lessening the overall death toll by taking away the government's ability to use these heavy weapons, but other than that i think all of the dynamics that we are talking about still exist, even if we are involved or not, and then you also have the issue of you know what we just saw in libya. what happens when we dump a bunch of weapons on a country of that is the way we go about it? then what happens? where do these weapons go? do they fall into the hands of islamist fighters who are then going to attack our allies in jordan? so, i don't know that there is a clear intervention in any sense of the word and i think a lot of syrians, increasingly you hear
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the rebels say, we don't want nato. we are going to do it ourselves and we will be better off because we have done it ourselves. >> okay, good. >> an interesting issue here because how do you find victory in the situation? that is basically the important thing. if you for assad into a alawi enclave if that is victory enough for you then probably we shouldn't do anything about it. just to ensure that the current clashes intensify and for assad to do something, to go to in alawite enclave. if that is the definition of victory, then that is already happening but if your notion of victory is a stable country, and now it is getting very difficult as i said, to achieve that.
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it supplies a lot of micromanagement but if that is your definition of victory, then you cannot stand on the sidelines and you cannot simply watch on the sidelines and say, you know, this is acceptable and what is happening is exactly what should be happening. we needs to -- many people said the opposition did not -- months ago we came up with their own plan and we spoke about it. we don't want an entire military campaign. in fact we don't want a lot of sophisticated weber 90 because you don't want to be in a situation of militias. when you introduce peacekeepers into the formula and allow peacekeepers to go into sensitive areas to complete the
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separation of forces then you are alleviating all of the concerns. and the problem is you are facing, not that this plan is not realistic or practical, the problem is there is no international rules ever involve so we are dealing with an international community that really wants to do nothing about it but they want the conflict to somehow resolve itself. so that we don't have to worry about the solution. we don't have to worry about massacres taking place and we don't have to worry about -- so we have a wish list that is very long but we are not willing to do anything to get any of these wishes to come true and this is where -- the dilemma we are facing but knowing what the solution is, we have known it months ago and what kind of an intervention was needed. is really an intervention that is doable and affordable.
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especially if you enacted it months ago, it would have been easier, but there is no other way around it if you want stability to be an outcome in syria. if you don't care about stability in syria and you can live with chaos then i think all you have to do is watch and enjoy the show. >> okay, let's turn it over to the audience. if people would identify themselves to me and identify yourselves for the rest of the audience. >> on the face of it, turkey's position seems ambivalent and perhaps incoherent. if you speak to turkish diplomats as i have in recent days event come to the conclusion that turkey's position is ambivalent and perhaps incoherent. [laughter] and i would love you to try to explain what their calculation is. i know ammar looks at this and your experience around turkey. >> quickly just to say that i
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think ambivalence is exactly it. they are afraid of the kurdish issue. that is one important situation for them and also i think there is a point of view that the turkish establishments, what is happening is a normal process. people are rediscovering their identity and on the other hand turkey wants to ensure that the instability does not fall in to turkish areas that is why i think the agreement that happened between the kurdish factions, they want to ensure that -- achieve autonomy. strangely enough they are very pragmatic exactly like they were pragmatic about the iraqi -- there is an advantage to have a stable partner who basically in
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iraq and kurdistan and we see a similar scenario happening in the kurdish enclaves across the border in syria. so for them, as long as they can get that out, and perhaps some support whether it's intelligence or allowing for the arms smuggling to happen, to assure that the fsa is getting enough weapons, then they are happy with that kind of an outcome. i don't think they want to intervene and i don't think they want to be dragged into -- especially with the obama position. for him to lead from behind is not something that turkey wants to do. >> reuel did you want them a good brief comment? >> i hear that. i think the added component that turkey and that mindset has permeated with the islam as crowd is that the arabs are just bad news. veron enervating factor.
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they were the weak part of the ottoman empire and the whole thrust of turkish foreign policy was just a sort of stay away from them. obviously they have tried to change that to some extent but still it is they are. it is in the body politic. it certainly is inside the military and needless to say erdogan and the turkish military do not have a very happy relationship so you add on the troubles between the civilian government and the turkish military which is under siege, the military has no desire whatsoever to go in there and the arabs are always bad news. and extremely difficult i think to get the turks to go there, that you can get the turkish intelligence service to do a bit more is doable and they have been doing it but again it's not their bailiwick. the turks haven't had really pleasant experiences when they have tried to project power.
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of course it was a logistical mess, so they really don't want to go there, but i still think it is conceivable if you look at where turkish rhetoric, turkish actions are now, backstage 12 months it is quite a difference actually, so it changes but it is still possible. >> please identify yourself. >> i want to read remain on -- and ask about to countries that were briefly mentioned. one is jordan. i assume that jordan is worried about the chaos and fragmentation's so what can jordan do and -- [inaudible] in the context of islamization we have seen other arab countries really pushing an islamist agenda. are they doing something similar
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and what are they doing in syria? what is that country endorsing? >> well i mean for me i would like very much to see jordan a more hospitable to the refugees to begin with. they have not been as hospitable as turkey. there are problems in this area and i hope they can resolve it soon. i know jordanian officials are reminded publicly of that but that is an issue they should be reminded of anyway. that is my job as an activist. [inaudible] the other thing however that is happening is that they seem to be, not to realize that they can be easily dragged into a conflict across the border. yesterday there were fractures between the jordanian and syrian armies on the border. i cannot confirm it or not confirm it so far but i would not discount the conflict across
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the border with turkey and it could happen across the border with jordan as more refugees flee and loyalist militias try to stop them. the jordanians might find themselves in a position where they have to respond. the problem is the more the situation evolves in syria, especially in the southern parts, the more likely that some scenario like that is going to happen so i think they jordanian should begin to think in ways to reach out across the border and work in transitional arrangements of their own, very much like the turkish have done. perhaps they can identify partners and they might be able to pacify -- and make sure that it's stable and friendly. and that moderate elements are in charge of the local government so that is one thing the jordanians can do. this is a positive step in my
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opinion if they adopt that mindset. and as far as your second question on the islamization, i also don't want to sound -- it's happening but i'm not saying it's the trend. it is a trend but there is financial support. but it's not necessarily coming from the government per se or the saudi government that individuals are doing it. and this is problematic in itself. and it's not about the brotherhood. i think the brotherhood as far as that is concerned is more moderate along the islamic factions of we are talking about people far on the right of the brotherhood when we talk about islamization. the brotherhood of islamization has been enshrined in the doctrine repeatedly about civil states and respect for minority
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rights and i think this is a good step. we still need more guarantees whether they are sincere or not and it's something we have to talk about in there for the actual structure of the states and how things should be phrased and not lightly trusted. and so they still have a distance to go and they still need to be tested. my warning us about those groups that are not affiliated with any movement. the brotherhood is there and they have structure. the other movements are new and they are current and basically are becoming aware of themselves and we don't know. there will be a problematic in syria because already they have different parts of the world, damascus and an attitude in terms of core operating with other groups which wasn't very positive so apparently, they are calling openly for islamic states even salafi groups are not going for a --
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state. the membership is too limited for them to be a serious threat in that regard that they could be on a local level. this is what you have to think of in terms of syria. it's not a national scene. on the national scene we are all minorities. the movement, every group in every region are all minorities right now. it's a regional identity. and then there are the political groups so we are all minorities but the fragmentation that is happening right now having a group and various and damascus falling from the islamic state is going to be a problem because they control a certain area and they will not give it up if that is their ideology. so no one is saying, and the transition is not going to be easy that the same time i don't envision necessarily that all of these groups are going to be fighting especially if there's a
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political vision, there is an international will to somehow manage the situation and empower the dialogue between these different groups that we continue to see a hands off policy and this is troubling. >> hussein. speak and i speak to jordan for a moment? i spent i think jordan has been slowly pushed into becoming more supportive. obviously i think the majority of jordanians are very supportive of the revolution. i spent a couple of weeks in march trying to get across the jordanian border with a group of salafi fighters who were being funded by at least individual donations from the gulf. they were not able to get across in march. the jordanians weren't letting anything across. although they were apparently occasionally engaging in some skirmishes with the syrian military, apparently to cover refugees who were fleeing. the jordanians weren't
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apparently engaging syrian soldiers who were attacking people who were fleeing into jordan. as far as aid for refugees i think there are probably a lot of iraqis who feel -- i mean essentially we are staying as far as jordan and the refugee concern, the conflict they were open and supportive and taking the refugees who were bringing money and when we have reached the point where people are fleeing with virtually nothing because they are forced to, the jordanians have quietly sort of shut down their borders and hopefully activists will be able to convince them otherwise. but the iraqis seem to have very very little success in doing that. the jordanians that i speak to, politicians and businessmen largely saw the tipping point for jordan being when syria was no longer viable as a trade
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route or as an economic partner, when they were losing more economically by not coming out against assad and they were gaining. i think probably as syria continues to sort of fragment and fall apart, we have probably reached that point with jordan. i mean now it does seem that now they are at least allowing fighters to cross the border again with weapons, with other supplies into da-da. >> thanks. >> david, doing what you do, do you feel safe or do you feel the company of people like hezbollah >> okay, let's get right here. please identify yourself. >> my name is casey.
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and i'm from the american friends of -- and mr. enders mentioned refugee camps in syria,, sorry in turkey are being used as a staging ground for rupp of groups and i'm wondering if the panel had any recommendations as to how we could protect the integrity of those camps as the basis for humanitarian aid rather than active variables of conflict? >> in the back here, this gentleman. >> i have heard some concerns -- >> louder. >> i have heard concerns about the command-and-control capabilities of the rebel groups and trying to coordinate through youtube and starting up radio and television students in the past couple of weeks it seems they have been remarkably coordinated especially with the assaults on damascus. has something changed and what
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is your impression of their command-and-control capability of this point? >> david, do you want to start off? >> do you want me to take all three of those? >> at least the first in the last one. >> as far as hezbollah, in the border areas when you are crossing from lebanon into syria there is talk about hezbollah fighters patrolling those areas, but inside beirut, inside tripoli and inside lebanon in general, at least as a foreign correspondent i feel safe. there were some reports maybe four months ago, five months ago, but that the syria and it embassies threatening journalists, but nothing like that seems to have happened since then. as far as preventing the camps from becoming staging grounds, there are turkish soldiers stationed at these camps, searching bags, but i think as long as you allow syrians to come into turkey, they are going
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to be planning and using these areas. i mean the turks are patrolling the border very happily and to some extent there is just such a volume that it's very hard to do anything about it without dedicating a lot more manpower than i think they are willing to right now, to making sure these camps aren't used that way. and the third question was? >> a question about command and control. >> command and control. so the rebels have at least three tv stations that broadcast on satellite, one of which is a very slickly produced, obviously has a lot of support, and we do see that skype is becoming a major tool of the revolutionaries. they do have satellite internet in a lot of places and they do use skype to coordinates things. i think probably their ability
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to communicate and their communications infrastructure just out of necessity has gotten better, and they are coalescing under command in larger areas. we are seeing them unite in ever larger groups of rebels, sometimes loosely, sometimes somewhat strictly. and i think that is just a natural development. >> i think it is also to correct to say that the cia and the turks have delivered encrypted radio equipment. >> okay, can we get some final -- >> i think there was a question on the refugees and the question of refugee camps in turkey. >> correct me on this, but most of the planning that is happening happened in some of the refugee camps exist but not necessarily the camps themselves. there was only one camp or the
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military officers exist so they do take part in some planning that the other refugee camps as far as i know no civilians are there. they have a lot of limitations on their movement anyway so they cannot therefore really take an active part in planning and operations but if you're talking about areas outside of the camp these unofficial refugees who are there but they are not in the camps than yeah, but i actually see a problem for the integrity of the refugee camps that they are being used as operational centers are kind that is not my impression but then you can speak more on that. >> no i wouldn't say operational. it's much less formal. there are areas around the camps where there are lots of fighters and their young men sharing information side the camps, how to build a bomb, how to do this and how to do that. and, in mean a kind of turned into a joke. journalists were not allowed to go into the camp and we were
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sitting there looking and there were turkish soldiers stationed at the interest of the camp and a few hundred meters away there was a big hole in the fence where people were coming and going freely. so that sort of gave us you you know, an idea may be how tight the control really was. >> have we got any final questions in the last couple of minutes we have? let me quickly ask, ask reuel and ammar about of country that hasn't been mentioned and that is israel, in the context of potential use or going loose of chemical weapons. what do you think the israeli calculations are now? >> you see any possibility in which the israelis would have to get involved in this conflict? >> i don't think the israelis would want to get involved in this. i don't think they have any great desire. i do think obviously the chemical weapons and biological
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weapons, if there would be a significant factor for them, then they would try to watch that. i don't know what the israeli network is inside of syria. i suspect it's very haphazard, so their ability to collect intelligence on this that is not technical is probably somewhat limited. but, you know i don't see -- you know i suppose that they might decide to deliver weaponry and there are certain syrian groups who would, but i suspect that they see their role right now is largely that of a reserve or. >> ammar? okay we have reached 11:00. please everybody join me in thanking the panelist. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] ..
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help you avoid the accident with cars, with pedestrians, bicyclists. see the traffic signs and tell you what traffic signs it saw. >> collision prevention, web streaming thousands of channels, smartphones with a 21-hour battery life and social media based polling the latest in technology and tech device from the consumer electronics association technology fair on capitol hill on "the communicators" on c-span2 >> a lot of the stores i've seen fail are stores that were opened by people who
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were interested in having a business, not that they were have an attachment to books or a love of books but, you know, they were business people. i think you really have to have kind of a gut attachment to books to care enough about them because your customers are like that. i mean they come because they really care about books. >> we're live here at the world affairs council where senate intelligence committee chairman dianne feinstein will speak about u.s. global intelligence and the relationship among government agencies since 9/11. her committee has oversight over the cia and the national security agency. following her remarks, john walcot of "bloomberg news" will moderate a q&a session. this is live coverage here on c-span2. we're expecting the senator
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to start her remarks shortly. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> a few quick programing notes while we wait for senator feinstein to begin her remarks. the senate is back in session today at 2:00. at 5:00 eastern this afternoon the chamber takes up consideration of a federal district court nomination for new jersey. the senate will likely spend much of the week on legislation dealing with the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as well as president obama's proposal to extend tax cuts for families making under $250,000. again that's live senate
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coverage beginning at 2:00 eastern here on c-span. >> good afternoon, everyone. hope you all are enjoying the nice lunch that we have here today. thank you. thank you all for being here today. this is a great forum. i'm certainly delighted to be here. the world affairs council is really without pier educating the public about issues so critical to our world and our times. the service it performs in this capacity is truly invaluable and the distinguished speaker series is one such service, service that we're all going to enjoy the benefit of today. today the distinguished
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speaker we're honored to have it us is a person who has given her entire adult life to public service and i think serves as a model for what makes our country so great. from her early days in california and san francisco politics to her current role as chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence, senator feinstein's work on batch of her nation and her state has personified selflessness and bipartisan leadership. i've been fortunate, i have had the opportunity over the years to inner act with senator feinstein on numerous matters of importance to national security. her knowledge of the security landscape, combined with her absolute integrity in addressing the facts has very appropriately earned her the reputation as one of our nation's visionaries on these critical issues of our time. i always feel fortunate to be able to hear senator feinstein speak and i'm looking forward to her talk today. so ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the stage the chairman of
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the senate select committee on intelligence, the honorable dianne feinstein, and edie frazier. edie is here to present the award. [applause] >> thank you, wes bush. and to those of us that care so much about public service, as wes said there is no finer public service -- servant in this nation, or the world than senator dianne feinstein. and as wes said every time we listen to the senator we learn as she covers the world, as she covers the threats to this nation, and the issues that we care about. just to mention, she has sponsored 109 bills and cosponsored over 206 in her
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amazing career, and we'll just throw in that she was one of the most respected mayors and voted the number one respected mayor when she was mayor in san francisco. on behalf of the board of the world affairs council, it is our privilege to give this plaque that says to senator, honorable senator dianne feinstein, chairman of the u.s. senate select committee on intelligence, the outstanding international public serve service award for your amazing leadership for this nation and the world. senator feinstein. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you.
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okay. here we go. thank you. thank you very much. [applause] now i speak? now i speak. all right. well, ladies and gentlemen, members of the diplomatic corp., members of the press club and who care about this great country and its position in the world. i'm very pleased to be here but there is really only one reason i'm here. if edie were a cowboy, she would be a champion roper because i do not do lunch speeches. i do not do lunch
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engagements and she called and said would i. oh, edie i don't know about the day. i don't know about votes. i hate to sign up for something. oh, please, please, please. you know how she is. so here i am and if you would give edie a big round of applause because she is a very unusual and special woman. [applause] the and as for wes bush, when i first ran for the united states flat senate, northrop grumman was really one of the only defense plants that would let me come and see what was being done. at the time kent cressa was the ceo. here i am a senate candidate and they won't let me sit down and see what is happening in these plants. northrop was not like that. and from this day forward i came to have a great
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appreciation for the openness, for the kind of leadership and kent cressa was wonderful and he left big shoes which wes bush has fit into just amazingly. the only mistake he made, the only mistake he made, was to remove the corporate headquarters from california and place them in washington, d.c. so,s that's the only bone i have to pick with him. i need to ask you to, give me a little bit of space here. i have a very bad cold, so you're going to be hearing some coughing and nose-blowing. please put up with it. i apologize for it. i'm on antibiotics and prednisone and hopefully that will take care of it but obviously i had to show up so here i am. okay, i have been chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence
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for some 11 years. i have been very graced by having a wonderful staff director who is here today who came over from the house, became my liaison on intelligence and then, when i became chairman 3 1/2 years ago made him staff director and i'd like to introduce him to you. would david granis please stand? right over there. [applause] we resolve that one of the first orders of business was to take a committee that had been partisan and change that into a totally bipartisan effort and i'm very pleased that we have been able to do that. the vice chairman is senator sachs by chambliss, from the great state of georgia. he and i work closely together. i trust him. i believe he trusts me. i try to keep people fully
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informed as possibly can and we have extended our oversight. we work staff to staff on a bipartisan basis. the oversight of all kinds of different activities of the 16 big intelligence agencies of our government. we are in the process of completing what will be a major study on the interrogation and detention of high-value detainees. their treatment, their custody, really all about it. unfortunately sometime ago the republican aspect pulled out. so this is in effect a majority report but it will be 4,000 pages long. the staffs have gone through some 5 million pages of cables, e-mails, information. 20,000 footnotes and so, we hope to have that finished
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soon and it will go to the committee for its recommendation and we will see what remains classified and what is released to the general public at that time. so in our oversight of many different areas staff has been branching out and particularly as we go in to certain operations, we have been very careful. we have a special effort on the cia predator program. the staff has made 28 visits to various facilitis. attended intelligence gathering. we have looking at the intelligence. the key to these that minimize collateral damage, to go for the targeted individuals but to have intelligence which is just as good as it could be to be totally actionable and so
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the collateral damage is really greatly reduced beyond what you may read in the press. i have asked, please, please, please, can i release these numbers and the answer is no. they're classified. so that's about as far as i could go on that. most people ask me right away, are we more secure today than we were before 9/11? and the answer, ladies and gentlemen, is a resounding yes, we are. in the first place the stovepipes which really enabled agencies to keep intelligence to themselves are down. so intelligence is rapidly analyzed by, i think a much improved analytic corp. across the community and red-teamed, which means argued against to develop
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problems in that intelligence and to wherever it should go. we have a counterintelligence center to protect the homeland, to specialize against threats against the homeland. we have the fbi which has developed a 10,000-plus intelligence unit within the united states. and some people are surprised at that and they say oh, bob mueller, the director of the fbi, in his public report in an open hearing to us pointed out that there have been some 20 arrests this past year of people engaged in the pursuit of a terrorist plot against this country who have been stopped. i think that's very important. i think it's important that we continue it. it is my belief people will come after us if we can, if they can. therefore the safety of this
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nation, the protection of this nation is really our first challenge and our main goal. so i think that is very good. i think to show the difference you can look at the a bottom at that bad -- abottabad take down, the care that was taken with intelligence, the specialization of the people who participated. and the fact that it was done without an american life lost in the process. there is no question that it's created friction with pakistan but it's very difficult for most of us to believe that osama bin laden can live in a relatively large compound in a militar military-related community for over five years and that community does not know that he's there. so this was a very important
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takedown because this was the head of the movement to kill americans, 3,000 of them, on 9/11 in those great buildings in new york city. and it was carried out and most interestingly enough, the head of that mission was in fact at the time the director of the counterintelligence agency, now the secretary of defense, a great calfornian, and a good friend, leon panetta. and that was a mission really very carefully and very well-carried out. so i can say that the intelligence community is much better. we have achieved some element of overall coordination in the, authorization of a director
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of national intelligence who was mentioned earlier in this program and that is general james clapper, and he has the overall authority of these 16 agencies. as you might guess because of decades of separateness, there are some amount of territorially imperative i which i think over the years has begun to dim that nonetheless has, have a, has a way to go. the thrust of this is to be able to have, if you will, a kind of central command, from which orders can flow, and priorities be adjusted quickly, and you think we're on our way to that. we are in the process right now of doing an intelligence authorization bill. that will be marked up in the intelligence committee tomorrow afternoon. part of this bill will address what has become a particularly egg agreeing
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just -- egregious situation, and that is leaks and it's, it's a very difficult area because people ask you a question. there can be a statement made totally inadvertently. reporters like the gentleman who is going to question me in a few minutes, have developed a unique skill of piecing things together so they get one little bit in one place and then they go to two or three or four or five additional places and they manage to put together a whole story. the problem with this is that it jeopardizes actionable intelligence. it jeopardizes people who are willing to help this country. and it creates a view well, why should i help them? i'm not going to be
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protected and my life may well be in danger. so that's the main part about leaking that you really do jeopardize an effort that is beginning operation. we have a process in the senate where as the leadership, and i'm very proud to say we work closely with the house chair and ranking member. i had the privilege of going with vice chairman chambliss and the house and senate chair and vice-chair to afghanistan a few weeks ago and, so we work closely together as well. and share information and that's bipartisan. i think that makes for most, much more coherent, stronger, civilian oversight. let me just point out the need for civilian oversight of intelligence agencies.
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it is critical and it is key. it is as important as civilian oversight of our defense agencies. that intelligence is overseen. that intelligence is conducted within constitutional bounds. that legal opinions are able to be reviewed by us so tee the grounds that certain actions taken on. this has become more and more difficult because presidents and administrations want to carefully guard their in-house papers and don't want to show them to the other branch of government but without them we can not make judgements as to whether certain things were initiated with legal ray approval. and that's very, very important. the bill that we will be marking up tomorrow
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essentially adds an administrative process within the departments for the investigation of leaks. the director of national intelligence would ask the inspectors general to carry this out. we have some very good inspectors general. we may need to give them some additional authorities which we can do but up to this point they appear to be adequate. really for those leaks likely not to have federal prosecution because federal prosecution is very difficult to achieve. that there will be an administrative process that go up to termination for someone that knowingly leaks classified information. it will also have a cooling-off period when you
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leave government with a classified status of one year before you can go on as a pundit on a station and talk about all you know about intelligence. so, steps are being taken. let me end with one other thing and then we'll go into the next forum. i happen to believe that the most dangerous part of the world today is the middle east. i happen to believe that not enough attention is centered on it. i happen to believe that something that happened in the spring over turning of government has really metastasized into a very unpredictable situation and i will leave you with one description. egypt, which is the largest
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country in the middle east, and to some extent with its culture, its economy, a very, very prestigious country, also has agreed to a two-state solution, recognizes israel's right to exist and whatever one might say about mubarak, he had been helpful, to israel in terms of keeping guns out of going into gaza, and being a supporter of a dialogue which might yield a two-state solution and that is a major lift in that part of. we have a parliament 50% muslim brotherhood. 25%, salafist, even more conservative and a member of the plus him brotherhood is now the president of the country.
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i was told what he most wants is the release the blind chic who shake responsible for the 1993 bombing. i believe that is nonstart irand how egypt goes and what happens in a way will set a trend. it's size, its complexity, the difficulty, the military part of it, the islamist part of it, the secular part of it, how all this comes together and whether a stable, somewhat progressive government can come out of this remains to be seen and on top of that we now have syria. i'm sure we'll talk about that in the q&a, i won't go into it anymore right here.
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but i just want to say to you, that we need to beef up our intelligence in the shadowy world of terror, of asymmetric attack, of asemimetric armies, terrorist groups, not nation states, the biggest weapon we have is good, actionable intelligence and so, our job is to keep that strong and to be able to see if we can protect our people, prevent and attack and do the right thing for the world at large. so i'm delighted to be here and we'll go onto the next part and i thank you very much. [applause] >> well, thank you, senator and thank you again for all of you for being here. let's start where you left
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off in syria. a very uncertain situation that the defense department just today renewed the warning that some salafist elements, al qaeda in iraq types, have showed up in the middle of the fighting and there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the syrian opposition and the also the intentions of president assad. whether he might, for example, use chemical weapons against his opponents, what he is doing moving chemical weapons which he has begun to do. do we have the kind of intelligence. that not only takes pictures from the sky and shows, yes they moved something, but gets at the human question, what is intent? what do, what sort of government do the opposition types envision? what is assad's intent? is our intelligence good enough?
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>> oh, i think not at this time on those very difficult questions. i think that, we know, where the cw, the chemical weapons are kept. there are a large number of sites. there are a large variety of chemical weapons. i think it is fair to say they are being watched carefully. any movement hopefully will be detected. i think it would be absolutely dastardly, for assad to use chemical weapons against his own people. i trust he has got the good sense to know that. i think the arab league's statement that they would work with him to find a safe,
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harbor for him, is very significant and hopefully we can support that, and, a safe harbor can be found can retreat. if he and his family leave governance there is the opportunity to put something together. as we were talking before we came in. there are dozens of groups. some are shadowy. we don't really know. the biggest one is the national council in turkey. it looks at this point, that is the group that we should try and work with. i jotted down on a piece of paper this morning, actually david did it for me, on things we should work to do. the first is not fly zone. more difficult to do.
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we can't do it as easily as we did it in iraq. second is to support the national council. see if we can help grow them into a cons skengsal, diverse, representative group, that has good thinkers, and -- con qengs group. work the arab league. keep out, weapons. gasolines, out of the country. blockade ships. keep ships with gasoline out. both from iran and as well as from other places in the world. . .
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that speaks to the history of syria. and particularly the minority groups, and what could happen in a civil war if the country split, and al wit stretched up the coastline to turkey. it's bad news. so keeping our eye on this country, very closely making a series of statements and backing them up where we can with action. and some of this has been taken such as keeping weapons out of the country, weapons that will go to the government.
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encouraging the affection of high-level officials. this is now beginning to happen just as it happened in the libya. and that may or trendline how the thing is going to go. those would be my suggestions. >> let's stick to that for a minute. it is a terribly important issue. the issue of stopping arms supplies. one of the problems was flights over iraq to iran to syria. there was stopped but there was some indications they have resumed using syrian planes. >> well, candidly, let me express dismay at prime minister mall lackey support of syria in this respect. united states put a lot of american lives and treasure into
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iraq, and to see if that government is not going to cooperate, that would be, i think, a very bad happening. , and i would like to encourage the cooperation of the iraq government in this regard because it would be for iraq too if this thing turns into a massive civil war, and i think the american people do not want boots on the ground. some people talk about it, but when it actually comes to putting americans in what would become another war, i don't think it's the right thing to do. the other thing that i think is very important, is encouraging both russia and china to play a role. they are major global powers, and major global powers have a
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responsibility to the rest of the world to exert that power in a constructive way. and this is really an opportunity to do just that. i think there are vetoes of u.n. resolutions, i think their reluctant to support the arab league, it's a huge mistake because it means these countries are really not going to help solve some of the big problems in the world, and i hope they will change and become a dominant force so the three great powers, united states, russia, and china can work together to create a backdrop for some very positive actions. >> moderator: the other obviously -- you mentioned the situation in egypt. we have a on the golan heights on the northern border, the departure of president new par mubarak has lead to instant from
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sinai and troubles across gaza. do you think there's a problem on the northern border and they lose control. the family and shall we said had the issues. one thing they did for many years was to maintain the peace at got lane heights overlooking northern galley. that could fall apparent, couldn't it. >> that's right. one of the things that had existed was information that vale and syria right well be able to form an agreement to be able handle the golan heights issue as well as other issues. that indeed was going to be good news. israel is put in par par riel by all of this. nobody should think to the contrary there are estimated
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50,000 rockets some more sophisticated than in the last showing israel got from lebanon from he -- he's he's bow will. but there are so many and any -- fire on israel would create more problems. >> the other problems with he's bella prime minister both fingered thing for the terrorist attract on israel tourist in bulgaria, he's bow will -- hezbollah is there an opportunity here to strike a below against hez hez -- well --
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'02 right. largely a lot of the rockets in the lebanon and hez is hezbollah is a approximatey for the -- republican of the iranian government. i think no questions about that. so if you begin to see these instances, i have no information that iran was responsible for the israeli terrible bus tragedy, but that's the talk. and israel has said they will respond in some way at the appropriate time, so we'll have to wait and see but to my knowledge, no evidence has been put forward at this time.
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i would hope that iran would take this as very cautious note. it's hard for me to see any benefit for iran to increase this kind of terrorist activity. it'll only make what has been a pattern of about six different instances appear a solid pattern, they are extending whether anywhere else or whether it's attacking saudi ambassador here. it would only say that had has become a pattern and practice. it would create a whole different dimension to this thing. i also don't really believe there should be, i mean, all our efforts right now should be on p5+1.
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next meeting, later in the week, i think this week an important to meeting to see what the iranians put on the table with respect to nuclear enrichment. i think most of us know what the solution is. so this is a very important meeting, and my hope will be that the iranians would lay down a proposal that would have some merit and they would recognize there really is nothing in it for them if what they want is medical that can be provided. if they want a medical program, that can be provided. if they want ab energy program, that can be provided. the one thing that is being asked for is do not become a nuclear weapons country. and the games for them not becoming a nuclear weapons country, in my view, is so
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different. it's so much more they can be recognized in the world community. you can recognition of the government, you can have the beginning of, you know, an economic trade, you can begin to ratchet down the sanctions are are ratcheting up and beginning to bite. you can sit down with iran and discussion a whole host of other issues. which they have wanted to for some time now. there are a lot of pluses in getting that p5+1 negotiation run by the european commission kathleen ashton and the the iranian negotiator. >> i suspect that you're -- [inaudible] journalistic trade craft that, which, by the way, so you all understand is exactly what
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intelligence analysts do. they take bits and pieces. it's called mosaic theory.. we're just doing the same thing they are. anyway, have you see any indications that iranians are prepared to negotiate their right to develop nuclear weapons? >> i think they're coming to the table in the case of -- indicates change. in october lady ashton wrote a letter to -- suggesting this. i believe it was november or december when they responded positively. and so the big p5+1 meeting began. the first one, i think there was a lot of encourage and it was discouraged.
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-- discouragement. i think people have to think long-term. agreement what happens? iran continues to enrich both beyond the 20%, becomes a nuclear weapons power, gets attacks by israel, and i believe israel will not let this happen, and then what is the reaction? iran is militarily strategically deep, iran will respond how is unknown. and one of the things that, i think we need to spend more time on is if they do this, we do that, what's the next step? and this could be cat clizzic for the entire middle east.
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so it is, in my view, the most serious of questions on the world map. in terms of security, the number one issue right now, and we have to get it right. and we have to encourage china, russia help iran stop syria get solved egypt get stabilized, tunisia looks like it's moving along quite well. libya gets stabilized. it's really critical or any number of thins could be a major e juption. >> let me go to the intention issue i started with. is the question of as these issues become more complex, and e find ourselves faces threats in northern mali, and the northern part of nigeria in places we have not concentrated on. do we have particularly the human intelligence capabilities,
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the language skills, the culture knowledge, the geographic knowledge to cope with these threats as they become more widely distributed? despite the success as you said in . >> i think it is building inspect is the problem. all of this requires cultural and language skills on the part of our people, which the intelligence community has been making a major effort to improve. john, it takes time. it isn't overnight, and you can't pick up, you know, 2,000 years of history overnight. this is an and sent part of the world. it is more difficult. it is also interesting at how divided this area is. countries into themselves are divided.
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all of the minorities groups. so it is very hard. i would say that are we are better than we were we have a long way to go. >> fair. fair answer. and it's my understanding is that it is difficult sometimes to recruit people to have the language skills, for example, because of the issues the issues you raised which is security. and it's simply hard to get clearances for people who do not fit a more conventional pattern but the cultural understanding with religious knowledge, et. cetera is what you're referring to. >> that's exactly right. >> so what can we do about that? >> well, this is a disubl -- double-edged sword. you have to be careful. you don't need a double agent.
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it's a difficult world, mali in particular, i think is a huge problem, that's where al qaeda is now going to. it's terrible, so hopefully there is going to be an increase the effort, i can't talk about it, really. >> let's talk about leaks, why don't we? [laughter] either way we -- you knew we were going have do this. one of my core questions, what we've seen secretary pa panetta institute -- restrict briefings to the press. >> you picked up that part? mentioned that part. okay. good. >> i did. we can talk about that offline.
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i do have some questions about that. we'll open it up. during the bush administration, when was making a war against iraq, the counter arguments to what the the information was putting on the table as far as iraqi connections to al qaeda would not have been possible under some of these conditions that are now being set, and i wonder if that leads to the american people and done responsibly -- but access people who say look, i know my directedder said publicly, i know what the white house said publicly but actually our intelligence doesn't support that. >> well, let me answer it this way. one of the reasons why i wanted to become chairman of the intelligence committee is to see
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that never does the intelligence community do a national intelligence estimate called an nie that is both wrong and bad. saddam hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction. we had our secretary of state ting wished four-star general stand before the world at the security counsel of the united nation and hold up which crams was a biological weapon for a mobile lab, there were none. and it should never ever happen again. i read that classified report very carefully, i read the white paper, i believed it. shame on me. and i voted yes to go to war on what was america's first war.
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i have a sympathy with the question, obviously, the way we remedied the situation, i think, is to see that policy makers have the right intelligence instead of intelligence which is just plain wrong. >> opinion even in the intelligence commune tee. -- committee that's one of the strengths. they did not always agree with the defense intelligence agency. >> which is exactly what happened. the problem was, value it, every time there was a big difference, the cia prevailed, and what is the energy department or with the military departments, and now the analysis has been changed. it's much better, i'd like to believe this would never happen again, but we had an similar
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instance where policy makers trust intelligence, and that intelligence could not be trusted. that's a big problem for this country. >> the other part of the problem, i think, is that -- in my experience it is the white house. not so much the cia. >> the white house owns intelligence. >> the white house has been known on occasion to leak. i said at the conference twenty years at least, whatever administration that was, that the state was the only one i encountered that tended to leak from the upper decks. not a bad line, i guess. >> yes. >> so he can do what he's doing. congress can act. the president has control, as you said of all intelligence.
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some of the leaks we have seen recently that created a scare, do have, i think, some finger prints on them that are not from the central intelligence agency or dni or the defense department. and how do you discipline that? >> i am aware of that. i think that is a correct analysis. i think the white house has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. i don't know specifically where, but there are, i think, they have to begin to understand that. and do something about it, and, i mean, there's one book they can read, and i'll say it very clearly, i think that should be the case. i think you know what the president actually knows about
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this is difficult because with respect to intelligence, he is in a bubble. he has his day brief called the pdb president's daily brief early every morning. he gets a brief of intelligence. i don't believe for a moment he goes out and talks about it. i don't believe the briefers go out and talk about it, but who knows who does. and i think that the importance of this has to be really set by the president himself. and hope fry -- hopefully he'll do it and i think he'll most likely read the book and see it himself. >> have you a chance to talk to him about this? >> no. >> because you came -- comb pelled testimony from remembers of his staff nor is there any
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legal recourse. the president has control of all classified information. and so if members of the staff are declassifying it, it's generally not a legal issue. >> well, that's right. and the president can declassify it like that, and one of the things we do on our bill is ask for simultaneous notice that we will know if an issue was declassified and we will know why. if he -- by know we don't know. and so that has the difficulties. >> let me got audience questions now. one of them is on the topic. it's a good place to start. can you be more specific about the danger of leaks. who is at danger? >> well, i tried to be specific. people who help us are at danger. we're collecting information. we collect it in two ways, one
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is satellite intelligence, and the other is human or humans. and the human intelligence comes from people and therefore those people what are called aspects for intelligence officers are endangered. , and i can tell you without any doubt that with the recent leaks they've been jeopardized. i can tell you without any doubt that we have lost assets because of it. and that's who was hurt, and then we can't get the right information. this isn't deliberate. some of us like square you can read on social media and that's a good thing, we need to do more social media, i guess. but what a government is thinking, what the military and what various terrorist groups are thinking only comes from a certain accusation of material
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from people who have the ability to know that material. and that's the key to human intelligence, and it's difficult. >> all right. with the audience here. this is a good question a topic we didn't touch on. i know, you have seen it firsthand recently. how important is an improved bilateral relationship between iran and the security. >> i think it's very important. i would like to see an improved relationship. i'd like to do anything i possibly could to help that improved relationship. i think there is a new head of the pakistan intelligence united. unit. we have more clear to pakistan what our concerns are in the pakistani agree to reopen the
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glocks, which are the loops and which equipment comes into afghanistan. i think that's a very good sign. we now have another problem with the tax coming from pakistan directly into afghanistan, and so there is a real need there for pakistan to step up. this will be a test. will they step up? will they stop these attacks? and we need to develop trust. the trust is very low between the two countries. so these are some of the things that i think need to be getting down. >> the other thing we spoke about following up on the yod yens questions. a lot of the attacks coming from the economy networking. which is based in areas. we have still to this day never designated them a farm terrorist organization. i believe you've been in favor of it.
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>> for two years. i've written to state to that effect. i've entered -- introduced a bill they should be designated a terrorist organization. they fulfill all of the criteria, and i think the -- see i have a concern that terrorist groups aren't going negotiate with you when they think they're going. they're going to negotiate when they think they're weak. and making them a terrorist organization and putting the full-fledged support behind that designation may be effective in meeting -- leading into into a different place. and letting things go as it is. they had a reservation, i'm not sure why, you know, we know there is some effort to start
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negotiations with certain groups, but i don't see it candidly with the haqqani. they keep killing our people, every time they do, it sets our effort back. if they kill our people, it's a very singular message they don't want to negotiate. >> just continue with that for one more beat. that decoration has been setting on secretary clinton's desk now for six to eight weeks. as you say, you and others have been talking about it for two years or more. let me take one more run at why you think it hasn't happened? there's no question there are farm terrorist organization. there simply is not. >> i happen to believe secretary clinton is really a fine secretary of state in interest
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of full disclose sure, she is also a friend and has been a colleague, and i have strong feelings about her, positive. so it cant be hey, hilary why don't you do this or that? i have written a number of letters, i have outlined my concerns. she's well aware of them. i think the house has passed a bill now, that will likely come over to us. that is conditional bill should rather than shall. >> right. >> if that's the best we can do. that's fine with me. we'll pass it. >> still no explanation from her. >> not at this time. >> okay. well, more audience questions. could the u.s. intervene in syria without a u.n.
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resolution? >> well, i suppose so. i don't think you have to have a u.n. resolution to do the things that i outlined. those are things that we can certainly work on on our own. you united nations resolution which would be most helpful would be the solution resolution. they have not been effective at this point. and so i would bet that anything would come out of the united nations that would do. i think much more -- because china and russia vetoed, so china and russia become pivot in this. they're in the neighborhood, at least russia is, and i think they have to step up and middle east explodes, certainly there will be involvement, and i think to sit back and see the huge
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world turmoil evolve does not make my particularly proud of a great nation. >> do you believe that good actionable intelligence are completelied a odds? >> yes. to a great extent, i do. intelligence transparency, as i take the meaning, means to make it public. you can't do that. you can't and have good actionable intelligence. one of the things that we have learned in this battle we've been fight, the opposition is not stupid, and that the internet has changed the nature of communication. so it's very easy to communicate and so you have to be careful.
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i mean, that was the wick i can -- wick key -- wikileaks millions of bits of intelligence which did have a downside there's no question about it. so by the nature of what intelligence is, it's to give you information which can enable you to make a correct decision whatever that decision may be. so it's information for policy makers to make that all public immediately jeopardizes people that have given you that information, it jeopardizes your ability to properly respond to it, and it kills, i think, any effort to really solve -- these are difficult problems. these are the average problems you get intelligence on.
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these are special problems. >> you have raised another really good issue that i know you have paid a lot of attention. and that's cybersecurity. and what more we need to do in that area we are facing an enormous challenge from china, somewhat more sophisticated operation out of russia and some of our allies are active in this role. what sorts of things do you think need to be done to increase the security of our communications? especially as we move more and more to the cloud? >> cyber is the most national security problem faces us. i think people don't really understand the degree to which these intrusions are made. because a lot of them are classified and can't be released. and in the private sector, banks, for example, that are
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robbed, like the royal bank of scotland of $10 million i can't remember if it was $8 or $10 million. it was in 2008 from 250atm. they didn't want the clients to know that. city bank $10 million. they didn't want their clients to know that. so cyber attacks on company after company by the thousands that people adopt know about -- don't know about it becomes extraordinarily difficult you get to critical infrastructure. the command and control systems which were taken down in eastern europe during that problem. a command and control system in the taiwan 1998 -- strait to be taken down. the electric griding with up of these throwing a country into a real turmoil can take place. the biggest venn or or --
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vendors are china, russia, and some extent israeli. to put on the table. so it's really very important that we have, i think, some kind of international agreement on cyber. i even doubt that the chinese central governments know the depth of which there are cyber penetrations into this country coming outs of certain parts of china. thousand and thousands a day of cyber intrusions. so the part of the bill that the intelligence committee staff had done and we have worked on together and it's a part of lieberman, collins, rockefeller, feinstein is the information
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sharing part about bills. and we have worked very hard, we have shared it with others, i just told west, you know, please take a look at the final draft quickly. this is fully transparent. we have tried to work with people in the liberal ring who have concerns about privacy sei to see what privacy can be taken care of. we have tried to do it on basis that high-tech has an understanding with defense has an understanding. it's not easy. but when the information is shared under the bill, you're absolved from liability, and so let's share it with the government. i think that's the positive nature of this bill. companies don't want to share data. but in this arena, if we, you know, don't stand together, we will all hang separately. i really believe that.
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>> another issue raised is. bipartisanship of your committee and chairman rogers and ranking member house intelligence committee which is in rather sharp con test to the -- contrast to the atmosphere on the hill this day as issues as important as the federal budget. how is this those two committees seem to be the exception of what is the rule of partnership. >> i think one of the things -- this is just, it could be wrong. one of the things we broke down from the very beginning and david was a huge help where with this is to bring the two staffs together. they work separately there was democratic staff and republican staff and who the staff director and his or her ability to do this is really critical.
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i think this goes to the top, and i think that the intentions of the leaders of the committee is critical. i think briefing individual members when you learn something cutting them in, i mean, there are saxby and i have may have some disagreements. i can't think of any at the moment, and we'll comprise them or i will give or he will give because he the overall mission is too important until we get our work done. it has been six years before with no intelligence authorization bill which is supposed to be annually. the law under which the intelligence community works and change in the laws. and we have now passed three. so that's a good sign. and we have done it by unanimous
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con. by working together and using the mechanism of conflicting the bill with the house and senate and work together the beginning between the openness and sharing between the two houses. i find it easy to talk to mike rogers, saxby chambliss. that's quite wonderful. >> again, it's the exception. here we are in a country where millions of americans are suffering economically. your home state has been hit hard since 2008. we -- with no movement on that issue. so why is it that the rest of the congress can't do what you and senator chambliss and congressman rogers have been able to do? >> for awhile i thought, well,
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it's the nature of what we do. and then i became chairman of the energy and water subcommittee and lamar alexander of tennessee is the republican ranking member, and we were able to work closely together. and you have to talk. and i think you have to understand how this government is set up because if you comprise in an ideological strait jacket becomes a word. comprise in our democracy becomes the word that affects change. because it's the only thing that you can do to effect change. if people resist on both sides and won't compromise so they can pound thundershower -- pound their chest and say i helped shut down the government. or, you know, i don't care what
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happens. i'm going to cut everything. it's of no help. there are problems you have to handle, and the only way you can handle them is to try and comprise. so the ideological strait jacket doesn't really work for a working body. and i'm lucky, i have two people who understand that that i work with. and i think that's the positive of it. john, i think we have to understand that we don't the country a service to elect people who won't make something work who won't ever come to a conclusion if it's not their way, it's the highway. and that is just plain wrong, you can't do it in this kind of democracy. we're not a parliament tear system. >> some people wish we were.
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we're looking president issue election that is starting down that same path with a tax and counter of tax and ads that don't always stand up to scrutiny. it's a game, if you will. and i think a lot of americans wonder what had happened to us. why is it going on? >> what it does is divides and polarizes the people. it takes a kind of -- putses campaign on a very low level. and one thing that is democracy, and i've been on the judiciary committee for the twenty years i've been here, i've been up close and personal to the constitution, and we have come to have a great appreciation for this document. it is the a foundation of all law, and the government that
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comes out of it, the three equal branches is really amazing. people don't really understand that what our government depends on is an enlightment document. people have to become one to grapple with the issues in a thoughtful way. not based on bumper strips or signs but really think about these issues. join groups, you know, i was a member for a long time the world affairs counsel. the league of women voters, great decisions in my early days, where i could really post college meet with people and professor and others to learn more and more and more. and one of the great things about being a senator, you have
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access to all of the great minds in the world. you can pick up the phone and call someone whether it be a mark or professor jenson and sit down and talk about your thoughts. that's an amazing thing to enrich somebody's decision making ability. and we need morph -- more of it. not less. we have time for one last question. i will defer to one of the farm visitors. thank you for coming. on the have visa waiver issue. opportunities and risks from an intelligence and security point of view. >> i know who that is. [laughter] >> let the record show, i did not identify the questioner in. >> any in event, i historically have not been a big program for the visa waiver program for everybody. it's a huge program.
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it admits -- at least 23 american million americans a year through a whole number of countries that don't have to have visas, the have visa is waive pched the problem is we have no exit system. we don't know if those people return home. shocking but it's true. and i've been working with the department to try to see they come up with an exit system. and we keep for years, we've been promising and it doesn't happen and it doesn't happen and it doesn't happen. you know, you go to china, you fill out a little slip, it's it says the purpose, where you're staying and when your going home. there's none of this for us. we don't know where anybody that comes into the country is or whether they go home. and so we don't even know when
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you thought about ill legal immigration, how many of it is from visa waivers where people come here and just stay. we don't know how much of its from visa where people don't leave, and that's been a long-staning problem i have wanted to fix. and i think it's fair to say, i have an subcommittee of judiciary. i'm number two in the seniority. i've been pushing, the way it's measured is what i guess it's called rejection rate, and that is measured on when they know people go not come. and certain countries are not admitted until that rate drops forget the percent right now.
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it's below a percent. there are countries that have been helpful to the united states, that are god friends to the united states, that are very concerned about it. and i'm aware of it. and i app hopefully we will have an exit system soon. and that should go a long way to handle the problem. >> thank you very much. you have certainly lived up to your well-earned reputation. >> thank you very much. thank you, everybody. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. [applause] thank you. [applause] >> we all thank and appreciate the senator for sharing her time and insights with us today while she's being demiked. let's give her another round of applause. thank you. [applause]
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[applause] i would also like to thank john from bloomberg for being us and west bush for their sponsorship. i want to announce on september 18, the world affairs counsel will be back in this building for a luncheon with charles bolden the administrator of nasa. we hope to see you all then. thank you. [inaudible conversations] in a few minutes at 2 eastern the u.s. senate gavels in for the day and we have live coverage of that for that as always on c-span2. until then the national journaling here in washington, d.c., last week held an
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conference on women. the e volving roll of women in politics challenges they have in the workplace. while we work we'll show you remarks speaking of last week's conference. >> good morning. we're pleased to have you here today. thank you for joining us. she has a remarkable her great, great grandfather was a signer of the texas declaration of independents. she graduated herself from university of texas law firm, then went to work as a tv reporter because no houston law firm was willing to hire a women lawyer. she started a small business became the first republican woman in the. she was elected as state --
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taken open the seat. she has been reelected three times, and is now the senior republican woman in the senate. she is retiring, as you know from the senate when the term is up at the end of. i expect the houston law firms would be glad to have you on staff now. the first office official office in washington was at the national transportation safety board. president ford appointed you at vice chairman there in 1976. i wonder if you could describe what things were like for a woman appointed to top job like that now and compare it how things have changed or not so much in washington for women in positions of power. . i think there was a beginning of an effort to bring women.
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we were talking in the back stage and ann armstrong who had been my mentor. she was the first co-chairman of the republican national committee. and my first foray into washington was in 1969 or '70 with ann armstrong. to -- president ford for the position. i was young at the time i was maybe 26 or something. and there was an effort, there was an effort and i loved that experience. it was my first real experience besides an internship earlier in college in washington, and i got my feet wet, and there were a small group of women who were appointees of the president and i thought it was great we were beginning to build. that was the building time.
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now i think it's a standard we see women in the very top jobs, and secretary of state on the cabinet and we have 17 women senators, and 17 approximately 17% of the house and senate are women, so i think things are coming our way. >> the 17 women senators now, it's a relationship among women senators across party lines different from the relationship among male senators across party lines? >> i don't know for sure who the guys do. but we do have a bond. they were together last night. we chipped in to give susan collin qhobs is getting married in august, our colleague, a gift certificate to a spa, and we
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thought, you know, love the most and we got together and decided to do that for her. hillary clinton gave me a baby shower when i got my little daughter, and so it's those kinds of things. i guess what we do in our dinners and our social context are just talk about the either the obstacles we face or the information we need if we have children here, information about schools, or where to live, how you manage going back and forth to your home state. and we have made different choices. some choose to have their children here and some to keep their at home. a very hard choice. we're getting advice from each other. and it's a great relationship, and it doesn't usually depend on
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our motive. bevote our states, we vote our philosophies. we don't pressure each other to change something because we all understand that our constituents is our first responsibility. but as far as comrade rei and understanding that is not very many women have about the kinds of obstacles we face, it's really fun and interesting. >> now i'm pretty sure the men don't get together and chip in and buy a spa certificate. i think that's something for the female side. you have the civil conversation about common concerns and so on. if were there 83 women in the senate and 17 men instead of the reverse, would things be different? would they be different either in the policy enacted or in the kind of tone that is taken? the way the approach that the senate takes toward doing the
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business? >> you know in some ways yes and in some ways no. we all get elected the same way. we run campaigns usually they're tough. we have tough end up to meet those challenges. in many ways, i think men campaigning against women now approximately the same way do against each other. i think it applies in the senate. i would say our governing style different somewhat in that we really do -- i think every one of us wants to get something done. we want to accomplish things. we want to bring people together and hammer it out. sometimes that isn't the case in the senate. >> in fact we know that the senate the congress generally seems pretty frozen, and hogs --
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hostile along partisan lines. is there a way out of that? >> it's a collegial place. i think even more in the house because we do have more open rules, and therefore, minority has more power in the senate than they do in the house. in the house everything was done by the majority. in the senate, the minority can stop legislation reporting on votes, they can have -- we have a straight work relationship with our colleagues always understanding that we may differ on philosophy and may differ on the way things are done, but in the end understanding that everyone wants do the best they can for their state and for their philosophy. so some of my best friends are
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democrats. and also republicans but i think we do have friendships across the aisle in the senate and we always know and certainly happened a lot in my tenure in the senate, you're in the majority today, you may well be in the minority tomorrow, and so you get along. and you don't break bonds, you don't burn bridges, if you lose, you live to fight another day. when you win, you're a gracious winner. this dinner sounds interesting. how long do the dinner of the women senators being going on and when did it started? >> it started when the women senators method with the women -- met with the women leaders of northern iowa. we started trying to encourage them about their role and trying
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to bring peace and we started to telling more stories about our experiences and how we were elected, and we overcame obstacles and broke into this men's club, and it was so interesting that laura who is the senior democrat and i said, you know, there was a book here and we were nine at the time. nine women senators, and we went to bob barnett who is the sort of book contractor or many people in washington republicans and democrats, and we said we want to write a book, and would you see if any publishers are interested. bottom line, we wrote a book called "nine and counting." each of us wrote our own chapter
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about our different obstacles and the one charity that we could agree that all the proceeds could go to because most of us had the experience of being girl scouts was that. so we wrote the book and gave the proceeds to the girl scout finance has been a book that is kind of and couragement to young girls especially for women who have faced obstacles or maybe they're trying to overcome a challenge right now. and this sold quite well. it was the beginning. we decided to start meeting [inaudible conversations] take you live to the senate floor. at 5:00 p.m. eastern senators will vote to advance of the nomination for michael ship in the federal district court in j financial. this is live senate coverage
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here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal savior, our help in ages past, take our lawmakers to a safe refuge, for you are their strong defense. let them find safety under your wings, as you protect us with your constant love and faithfulness. today, refresh our senators with your spirit.
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quicken their thinking, reinforce their judgment, and strengthen their resolve to follow you. show them what needs to be changed and give them the courage and wisdom to make the changes. lord, we conclude this prayer by asking you to embrace with your arms of mercy the victims and the families affected by the tragic shooting in aurora, colorado, we pray in your holy name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america
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and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, july 23, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i move to proceed to calendar number 467. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar 467, s. 3412, a bill to amend the internal rev of knew code of 198 -- revenue code of 1986 to provide tax relief to middle-class families.
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mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate now observe a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting in colorado. [moment of silence] mr. reid: mr. president, this afternoon the senate pauses to remember those killed in last week's horrific shooting in colorado. among dead was 26-year-old
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jonathan blunc, a graduate of hud high school in reno, nevada. a navy veteran, father of two. my heart goes out to his loved ones, to all the victims and their families as they struggle to make sense of the senselessness. how can you make sense of something that's so senseless, mr. president? we may never know the motivations behind this terrible crime or understand why anyone would target so many innocent people. friday's events were a reminder that nothing in this world is certain and that life is precious and short. today we pause to mourn the dead but also honor how they lived. we pledge our support to the people of aurora, colorado, both as they grieve and as they begin to heal from this terrible tragedy.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: we've all been sifting through the events of last friday and i think it's entirely appropriate for the senate to take a moment today to acknowledge, as we just did, the victims of this nightmarish rampage, their families, and the wider community of aurora. in the life of a nation, some events are just so terrible that they compel all of us to set aside our normal routines and preoccupations, step back, reflect on our own motivations and priorities and think about the kind of lives we all aspire to live. this is certainly one of those times. and as is almost always the case
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in moments like this, the horror has been tempered somewhat by the acts of heroism and self-sacrifice that took place in the midst of the violence. i read one report that said three different young men sacrificed their own lives in protecting the young women they were with. and we know that the first responders and nurses and doctors saved lives, too. including the life of an unborn child. i think all of us were moved over the weekend by the stories we've heard about the victims themselves. it's hard not to be struck by how young most of them were, of how many dreams were extinguished so quickly and mercilessly. but we were also moved by the
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outpouring of compassion that followed and by the refusal of the people of aurora to allow the monster who committed this crime to eclipse the memory of the people he killed. president obama, governor hickenlouper and the religious leaders in and around aurora are to be commended for the effort they put in for consoling the victims and the broader community. i think the best thing the rest of us can do right now is to show our respect for those who have been affected by this terrible and senseless crime and to continue to pray for the injured, that they recover fully from their injuries. there are few things more common in america than going out to a movie with friends, which is why the first response most of us had to the shootings in on
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aurora was to think, it could have been any of us. it's the randomness of a crime like this that makes it impossible to understand and so hard to accept. but as the scripture says, the rain falls on the just and the unjust. so we accept that some things we just can't explain. evil is one of them. and we take comfort in the fact that while tragedy and loss persist, so does the goodness and generosity of so many. and now i'd like to join governor hickenlouper in honoring the victims by reciting their names. er havveronica moser sullivan. gordon cowden.
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matthew mcquinn. alex sullivan. makayla mideke. john larimer. jesse childress. alexander boyd. jonathan blunc. rebecca ann wingo. alexander tevis. jessica golly. we, too, will remember. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved.
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a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and i be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i rise again today to once again urge the majority leader of the united states senate to bring to the floor for debate one of the most important pieces of legislation that comes before this body each year, the
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national defense authorization bill. on several occasions i have approached the majority leader and asked him to consider this legislation, legislation that for the last 50 years this body has taken up, debated, amended, passed, conferenced with the house of representatives, and sent to the president for the president's signature. last week, the majority leader leader, the senator from nevada, stated that senate consideration of a controversial and flawed bill on cybersecurity, a bill that has not been considered in the regular order, is more important and of higher national security priority than the defense authorization bill. i respectfully but vehemently disagree with that statement.
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accordingly -- according to the majority leader, -- and i quote -- "we're going to have to get to cybersecurity before we get to the defense authorization bill because on the relative merits, cybersecurity is more important." let me repeat this again. the majority leader of the senate is arguing that legislation dealing with cybersecurity, which is a subset of national security, of national defense, is more important than legislation responsible for the ensuring that the men and women of the armed forces have the resources and authorities necessary to ensure our national security. a bizarre statement. i have been involved in national security issues for a long time. i have been involved with
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the -- with the bills concerning national defense, and i have never heard a statement that cybersecurity is more important than the overall security of this country. that either was the majority leader misspeaking or the majority having a lack of understanding of what national security is all about. he's arguing that a controversial and flawed bill on cybersecurity, a bill of such significance that it has languished for the over five months at the homeland security and government affairs committee, no committee markup, or normal committee process, no amendments, and it should take precedence over a bill which was vetted for over a period of four months by the
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senate armed services committee and reported to the floor with the unanimous support of all 26 members, which certainly would not have been the case if there had been a vote on cybersecurity legislation as it is presently proposed because i am a member of that committee and i and others certainly would never have supported this legislation, and at least we should have been allowed the amendment process. but that's not the case with -- quote -- "cybersecurity." also i might add, i understand we will have to have a motion to proceed which then will drag us into next week, when we could -- i emphasize "could" -- finish the defense authorization bill in one week and at most two. i remind my colleagues that
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consideration of the defense authorization bill is more than a simple right of this body. it's an obligation to our national defense in fulfillment of our responsibility to the men and women in uniform that the senate has honored over the past 50 consecutive years. i'd say to my colleagues today i went out to bethesda, walter reed, to visit with our wounded. it's always an uplifting and always an incredible experience for me to make that visit. can't we -- can't we as a body for the sake of those men and women whose lives are on the line pass a defense authorization bill that's responsible for their security, their training, their weapons, their equipment, their morale, their welfare? can't we pass a defense authorization bill through this
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body? are we so parochial? is the senate majority leader oblivious to the needs of the men and women who are serving this nation? they deserve better than what they're getting from the leadership today of this united states senate. the senate armed services committee version of the fiscal year 2013 national defense authorization act provides $525 billion for the base budget of the defense department, $88 billion for operations in afghanistan, and around the world, and $17.8 billion to maintain our nuclear deterrent. in the area of pay and compensation, the bill authorizes $135 billion for military personnel, including costs of pay, allowances, bonuses and a 1.7% across-the-board pay raise for all members of the union formed
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services consistent with the president's request. the bill improves the quality of life of the men and women in the active and reserve components of the all-volunteer force and helps to address the needs of the wounded service members and their families. it also authorizes important military construction and family housing projects that cannot proceed without specific authorization. all major weapons systems are authorized in this legislation, including those that will benefit by the committee's continuous, rigorous oversight of poorly performing programs. every piece of equipment, large or small, that the department of defense needs to develop or procure is authorized in that legislation. with the planned reductions in afghanistan, the importance of providing for our deployed troops while training and
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transitioning responsibilities to the afghan forces has never been more important. the bill provides our service men and women with resources, training, equipment, and authorities they need to succeed in combat, and stability to operations. it also enhances the capability of u.s. forces to support the afghan national security forces and afghan local police. as they assume responsibility for security throughout afghanistan by the year 2014. the bill contains important initiatives intended to ensure proper stewardship by the department of taxpayer dollars by among other things, codifying the 2014 goal for it to achieve an auditable statement of budgetary resources. strictly limiting the use of cost-type contracts for the production of major weapons systems, requiring the department of defense to review
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its existing profit guidelines and revise them as necessary to ensure an appropriate link between contractor profits and contractor performance. enhancing protections for contractor employee whistle-blowers and restricting the use of abusive -- quote -- "pass-through contracts." another vitally important provision in the bill repeals provisions of last year's national defense authorization act that threatened to upset the delicate balance between the public secretary tore and the -- sector and the private sector in the maintenance and repair of military systems and the bill addresses many other important national security policy issues. with respect to cybersecurity, i'm in full agreement that the threat we face in the cyber domain is among the most significant and challenge threats of 21st century warfare.
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this threat was made even more evident by the recent leaks coming from this administration. that's why the defense authorization bill takes great steps to improve our capabilities by consolidating defense networks, to improve security and management and allow critical personnel to be reassigned in support of offensive cyber missions which are presently understaffed. it also provides policy guidance to the department of defense to address the clear need for retaliatory capabilities to serve both as a deterrence to and to respond in the event of a cyber attack. based on the procedures the senate has been following over the past few years, with little or no opportunity for debate and amendments, the majority leader aa paraphernalia intends to rush through the senate a flawed piece of legislation.
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the cybersecurity bill that he intends to call up later this week is greatly in need of improvement, both in the area of information sharing among all -- sharing among all federal agencies and the appropriate approach to ensuring critical infrastructure protection. without significant amendment, the current bill the majority leader intends to push through the senate has zero chance of passing the house of representatives. or even being -- ever being signed into law. whereas the defense authorization bill, we take it up and pass it, clearly we would have a successful conference with the house and we would send it after voting on the conference bill, send it to the president for his signature. there is no chance that the cybersecurity bill that the president of the united states -- that the majority leader wants to bring to the floor will have a chance of
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passage in the house of representatives. so here's the choice: take up the defense authorization bill, which has important cybersecurity provisions in it, and provides for the overall defense of the nation, or take up a flawed bill that never went through the committee, was never amended, and take it to the floor of the house, use up a week while we go through the motion to proceed, and then maybe pass it, maybe not, and not have it even considered by the other body during the month of september, which is the last we will be in session before the election. so for the life of me, i do not understand why the majority leader of the united states senate should have so little regard for the needs of the men and women who are serving in the
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military today. and i hope that he will understand better the needs to defend this nation as we are still involved in conflict in afghanistan, we face a major crisis with iran over their continued development of nuclear weapons. we just saw their ability, the iranian ability to commit acts of terror all over the world, the latest being in bulgaria. the fact that syria is now coming apart and in danger of -- because of this administration's failure to lead, that there can be chemical weapons not only spread around syria but also in other places as well. there is a danger of chemical weapons that are presently under bashar assad's control from flowing to hezbollah, presenting a grave threat to the security of israel. all of these things are
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happening in the world without this body acting on the most important piece of legislation as far as our national security is concerned and the majority leader of the united states senate has decided not -- he paraphernalia has decided not -- apparently not to bring it up but wants to bring up cybersecurity instead. it's a grave injustice, a grave injustice to the men and women who are serving this nation and sacrificing so much. i hope that the majority leader of the senate who by right of his position and in the majority decides the agenda for the united states senate will change his mind and bring up the defense authorization bill, which i assure him we can have passed by this body, as always, in a near unanimous vote, if not totally unanimous vote, for the benefit of the security of this nation. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: i ask unanimous consent further proceedings of the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kyl: thank you. mr. president, i want to say a
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few words today about the current debate over class, a term that's become ubiquitous in this election year. its usage in political rhetoric is, i believe, misguided and wrong and even dangerous. most prominently, we have a president who talks incessantly about class, particularly the middle class. maybe you've noticed that. he defines class strictly by your income. in the president's nawr active, someone who -- narrative, someone who makes $99,000 a year is a member of one class and someone who makes $200,000 belongs to another class. does that make sense? indeed, each day the president's out on the campaign trail championing himself as the great protector of what he calls the middle class and pitting these americans against their fellow citizens by arguing that the wealthiest class is victimizing them through the tax code. if wealthy people aren't made to
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pay more, he argues, middle-income people will be stuck in their current stations. what one class wins, he implies, the other class loses. in this, i believe he's wrong. moreover, i believe such a formulation is contrary to four centuries of american history. first, i think class is a loaded term that's not appropriate for our debates about income, mobility and tax policy. implying that there is a rigid class structure in america suggests that some people were born innately superior to others and that where you're born is where you stay. that's not what we believe in america. a true class-based society is one in which one rich ruling class employs another class that labors but can't own property or move out of their class. this is not who we are in america. we don't have an ingrained class
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system. there are no noble bloodlines. we don't have an aristocracy or commoners, where people who are legally unable to own land, for example, because of their class. spreading economic resentment weakens american values and ideals and it ignores the uniquely meritocratic basis of our society, where you can succeed if you work hard and you can do well. generations arrived near america to get away from class -- arrived here in america to get away from class societies in europe and they believed in that meritocracy. they wanted the opportunity to make it in the land of self-government, equal rights and opportunity, to work and to compete and to build something of their own, something that they could, perhaps, one day pass on to their children. in america, we believe that everyone can achieve the american dream regardless of background. and how many rags-to-riches stories are there out there? there are countless.
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how many from one generation to the next, by the third generation you had an incredibly more successful generation than the first? think of all the people who had a big dream and built something or made something that changed lives. maybe a company that employs a lot of people or a product that makes life easier or maybe even just more fun. we have different talents to offer and different ideas of success and what we want to do with our lives, and that's all part of the american story. as come up nist robert samuelson noted, four modern-day presidents -- obama, clinton, johnson understand ice e hour -- all came from very modest backgrounds. so we don't need the current president touring the country and defining every american's status based upon a class system he's made up. if we want to talk about income and mobility, which is the basis of the class debate, let's do that. and that leads to my second point: income in america is fluid. that is, there is ample evidence
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that people can and do move among income groups. economists study this. they divide our country into quintiles and talk about how people move from one quintile into other quintile. though this throughout their life. you know that young people start out in the younger quintiles and as they get education and get work and then improved work and more subpoena experience, they o higher quintiles. the tax foundation found from 1987 to 2007, only 50% of the taxpayers who reached millionaire status did so more than one time. in other words, high income status is often the result of one or two years of financial success based on the sale of an asset or some other temporary event. here's another notable factoid:
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a kaufman survey found that 93% of entrepreneurs came from middle-income or lower-income backgrounds. entrepreneurship did not run in the family for these people. "the majority were the first in their families to launch a business." a treasury department study on income mobility in america found that during the ten-year period starting in 1996 roughly half of the taxpayers who started in the bottom 20% had moved up to a higher-income group by 2005. people in the top income group dropped to lower groups, thus making way for others to move up. the point is there's no such thing as a permanent middle class or any other class in america. there are other measures of income mobility. as columnist samuel -- robert sam aolson noted, "one litmus test is whether people rise above their parents' economic." and this happens frequently.
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citing a new report from the pew mobility project, he noted that 84% of americans exceed their parents' income at a similar stage in life. income gains were sizable across the economic spectrum," he writes. "indeed, in the bottom fifth of income earners, median income grew by 74% over just this decade. while income mobility has slowed during this economic downturn, the overarching point is that nobody in america is stuck where they are because of a ruling class of greedy, wealthy people." here is my third point. the real class threat is a class of bureaucrats and crony capitalists using their government connections to rig the rules and rise above everyone else. one example is obamacare. recently released documents show that industry lobbyists and
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democrats work very closely in drafting obamacare. after it became law, the department felt that human services granted approximately 1,700 temporary waivers from the new annual limit requirements of the law. when the federal government is handing out lucrative favors, it's easy to predict what will happen. companies hire armies of lobbyists and politically connected organizations in this case primarily labor unions, will get special treatment and that's exactly what happened here. it's not just obamacare. cap and trade would have enriched politically connected energy firms. even without cap and trade, many of barack obama political supporters have reaped huge benefits from the green energy industrial policy. the solyndra scandal demonstrates what can happen when government tramples free markets in a misguided attempt to pick winners and losers. as university of chicago
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economist angales reminds us in his book "a capitalist for the people" being pro-business is not the same as being pro-market. all too often the obama administration has embraced spending policies and regulations that favor certain businesses but are fundamentally antimarket. if a federal policy is pro-business but antimarket, it is most likely an example of crony capitalism. the irony here is remarkable. even though president obama tours the country advertising himself ras the defender of the little guy and a guardian of the middle class, he has consistently embraced policies that promote crony capital itch. that's not the type of capitalism that made this country so prosperous. and it's not the type of capitalism the american people support. citizens across this country are eager for policies that promote free markets and equal opportunities for all businesses, all industries, all
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entrepreneurs, all people. those are the principles upon which our country was founded. americans firmly reject the idea that certain companies and industries should receive preferential treatment for political or ideological reasons. centuries of evidence from around the world demonstrate that crony capitalism leads to corruption, a decline of social trust, and economic stagnation. that is certainly not the future that americans want. instead of policies that favor politically connected entities and take even more money from successful americans, let's clearhe way for more opportunity and mobility in a true, free market system. higher taxes and more government are not the answers. we should not make it more difficult for americans to get ahead. and we should certainly not believe that americans are to be distinguished by their income in any given year or be presumed to
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have different values or value because of that. to say america has a middle class presumes we have a lower class or an upper class. think about it. you can't have a middle without something on either side. is it true that we have a lower class and a middle class? i don't think -- and upper cla class? some americans are better off financially than others are. that's certainly true. but that's no basis for dividing us into arbitrary classes to favor one over another. my guess is that all of this talk about class, while it has a tendency to divide americans, is really more about trying to identify with the common man and that is something that all politicians try to do. i'm just like you. i'm just like the average guy.
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abraham lincoln talked about identifying with the common man. he said he thought that god made a lot of them, and i think that's true. most people in this country like to think of themselves as just basic common citizens. and they don't particularly like somebody identifying them as a class in order to suggest that they are better or worse than somebody else. that's why i think that even though this divides america, the discussion about class is probably simply an effort to say, i'm for you. and some politicians don't like to say, i'm for everybody because that would imply that they're for people who are very successful. why shouldn't we be for people who are very successful?
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they're probably people who have accumulated wealth because of something they've accomplished in life, usually by studying hard, working hard, sometimes by creating some special kind of product. take bill gates or steve jobs. they were smart people who created something that people wanted and were willing to buy and they got very, very wealthy because of that. is that bad? bill gates has created a foundation, but he and his wife have contributed more to charity than probably any other 1,000 people you can name. that's a good thing. they've created more jobs than many other people in this country have. and they have created products that have enabled us to lead much better lives. the same thing is true of steve jobs and thousands and thousands of other entrepreneurs. so there's nothing wrong with being successful, being rewarded for that, because most likely
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it's given many other people an opportunity. there was a recent editorial in "the wall street journal" that talked about the chicago bulls and michael jordan, and it noted that they weren't a very impressive team before michael jordan came, and the team wasn't making very much money and neither were any of the players. when michael jordan came, after he established how great he would be, he was given an enormous, almost unheard of salary. did the other players say, that's not fair? no, actually all the other players got big salary increases, too. nothing like michael jordan, but they got huge salary increases. why? because he made the team better. and it began to succeed and eventually you all snow the story-- --you all know the story -- the world championships. the whole franchise did well, the people selling popcorn, the
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people parking the cars. much made more money than they ever would have had michael jordan never came to the team. but michael jordan still made many times more than any of them did. this is a point president john kennedy made when he talked about reducing the tax rates in the country on business, on capital gains, so that businesses could create more wealth, so that they could do, what? they could grow and hire more people. he said a rising tide lifts all boats. if the economy is doing well, if we have wealthy people who are doing well, we have less wealthy people who will also do better. and that's what america has always been about. we don't take it away from the person who makes a lot of money. maybe it is because they're lucky with the god-given talent they have or their good lux and their actin acting -- good lookd acting ability, whatever it is. they generate activity that
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creates wealth for others as well. they also create products or services or evenenttainment that we enjoy. so many americans don't look askance at these people. we celebrate them and are happy for their success. frequently it helps us, too. besides which they pay a lot of taxes. those people who are less fortunate -- i don't know of any politician who wants to talk about the lower class. that almost is a pejorative term. it's like, these are lesser people. the reality is, maybe it is just somebody down on his or her luck. maybe it's somebody just starting out, so they are not making as much money as somebody who has been in business a lot longer. maybe it is just a student, for example, somebody that suffered misfortune, somebody that doesn't have a good education, maybe a recent immigrant to the country. there ishiri and they may be in a
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lower-income group, at least temporarily, but there's no reason to distinguish between the people in that income group and however the president defines the middle class. why is the middle class more deserving or special than people who don't make as much money as those in the middle class in the point is, people are deserving all up and down the economic ladder. and it isn't just about money anyway. the person who makes just an average income and others to his family, provides them a good home, good tutelage as a parent, strong values, maybe sends them off to college and helps them to prepare for their life as a productive citizen, that person is just as important as the wealthy person in this country. the teacher that doesn't make much money but influences the lives of thousands of young people to be better citizens in this country, more educated, the influence of that person goes far beyond the salary that the individual makes. so you can't just judge value by
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how much money someone makes. and you certainly can't identify with just one class and say, that's the class that i'm for. the president in particular represents all americans. he should be for all americans. and i don't think there's anything called "middle class values" that are different from the values of other people in this country. tell me what's different about the values of someone who the president identifies as middle class? does that mean middle income? if so, what income? and what year? because a person will be a lower income group one year and a middle-income group the next year and maybe ten years later in a higher income group. has that individual's values changed? no. americans are americans. it doesn't matter how much money we make in a given year. what matters is that as a country we have found a degree
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of success that others can only dream of because we create opportunity for everyone to succeed. and we teach that to our kids. i think it's destructive for the leader of the country, the president to be suggesting something else, that you should consider what class you're in in this country. if you're middle class, that's great, i'm for you. well, what about the other classes? and what about the person mightt be tomorrow? i just think the whole discussion of class is wrong. it's not what we do here in america. you can divide people for statistical purposes into economic income levels, into wealth levels, into levels of education, into all kinds. we divide ourselves for statistical reasons into all kinds of categories. but at the end of the day we don't suggest one group has
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different values than the other or that one is better than the other one. that, i think is the pernicious effect of the president's rhetoric constantly talking about the middle class, as if somehow or other we -- i don't know if i'm in the that group or not. am i in the middle class? i make less money than the president suggests to identify the wealthy but i don't think my values are any different than those who make less money or more money than i do. in my view, money isn't the measure of what this should be all about anyway. mr. president, i just hope as the campaign goes on, maybe we can focus a little bit more on what unites us rather than what divides us, on the values that i think we all subscribe to and on the things that would make us a better country not just in economic terms but in other terms as well. and if we focus on economic terms, let's focus on those things which will make us better off economically.
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better education, a better home environment, strong communities, a government that's willing to help when that's necessary. and certainly governmental policies that reward what? that reward education, that reward hard work, that reward savings and investment, that reward entrepreneurship, people working to create something to, create a business, that reward job creation so that you don't have a law like obamacare that says you're okay if you have 49 employees but as soon as you have 50 employees here arrest lot -- here are a lot of expensive burdens you're going to have to take on. that's not something that favors build ago business beyond 49 employees. it doesn't favor job creation beyond 49 employees. these are the kinds of things we should be debating. what will make our country better both in economic terms
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and all the other terms that define us as a society? i hope, mr. president, as the campaign goes on, as i said, we will focus a lot more on the things we hold in common, that we share, that we can do better with rather than those things that divide us, and especially that divide us in political terms. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, the horrific shooting that occurred last week in aurora, colorado has shocked america. our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones, their families and all those whose lives have been forever marred by this tragedy. 12 died, 58 more have been injured, many very seriously. we certainly thank the first responders and the medical personnel who did everything they could. most of all, though, we mourn those we have lost. sadly, no state in the union is immune to the horror of lives cut short by violence. in my home state of illinois, there have been too many lives lost, too many families shattered, too many children caught in the crossfire of praise places like my hometown of east st. louis and the neighborhoods of chicago. the tragic mass shooting in
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aurora has sent ripples of sadness and loss far beyond the state of colorado. for many people in illinois, unfortunately, that scene last friday was too familiar. it was a little over four years ago when a mentally disturbed gunman walked into a lecture hall at northern illinois university in dekalb, illinois, opened fire killing five people and injuring 21 more. we in illinois know something about the grief coloradans are feeling after last friday's mass shooting, and we grieve with them. we were especially saddened to hear that a young man from illinois was among those killed in aurora. u.s. navy petty officer third class john larimer of crystal lake, illinois, was a fourth generation navy man. he joined the navy last year and trained at the naval station great lakes near chicago. he was a kryptologic technician,
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based in buckley, colorado, where he was assigned to the u.s. fleet cyber command. last week, petty officer larimer went to the movies with his girlfriend, julia, a nurse who grew up as well in illinois. she was from algonquin. when the shooting started, john larimer shielded julia's body with his own. julia said that john -- quote - "held my head and protected my whole body with his and he saved me." end of quote. john larimer was a brave man who died a hero. john was 27 years old. his commanding officer, jeffrey jacobowski said the following of john larimer -- "he was an outstanding shipmate, a valued member of our navy team. he will be missed by all who knew him." over the weekend, john larimer was remembered by friends and family for his intelligence, his good nature, his compassion, his
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dedication to his family, his community and his country. family members spoke of his incredible mind and quiet gentleness. his english teacher at crystal lake south high school remembered a good student who was incredibly bright and firm in his ideals. he said john was a good, strong human being, and i know he would have done incredible things for our country. to his high school principal, john larimer was just a great kid to be around. whether it was giving a big tip to a neighborhood kid who sold him a lemonade or sending letters to a local newspaper calling for tolerance and respect for the views of others, john larimer inspired those around him through the way he lived his life. now he has inspired us for the way he died. literally sacrificing his life to save another person. his passing is a heart breaking loss to the community of crystal lake, to illinois and to our country. i offer my condolences to john's parents, his brother and three sisters. all of us will keep john and his
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family and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. mr. president, a night out at the movies is supposed to be a happy, joyful event. that it could end in such a horrific scene reminds us of how precious and fragile life is. in the days in which to come, we're going to learn more about what happened in aurora, colorado, and whether there was any point at which this disturbed gunman could have been identified or stopped. there are going to be a lot of discussions and debates about whether we need to change any of our laws or policies. we certainly owe it to the victims and their families to see that those debates are guided by an honest assessment of the facts. what it will take to keep us safe in america, safe from the gunman who walks into the classroom at northern illinois university in dekalb or the gunman who walks into a crowded theater in aurora, colorado. i came out of church yesterday and a woman came up to me and said they're talking about
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putting metal detectors in movie theaters now. what's next? i said sadly i'm not sure. i don't know where we'll turn next to keep america safe from people who misuse firearms, assault rifles, 100-clip ammunition. all of these things are raising questions in minds of everyone about where is it safe anymore. and i said to this woman outside our church -- there was a big crowd sitting in that church today, too. just as in that movie theater, we all thought we were safe until this happened. forted, because not to enter into a debate about these important issues, which we must face, but simply to remember and honor those who died, to offer our condolences to those that were left behind and pray for the recovery of all those who were wounded and those who have
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suffered, we wish them comfort in this difficult time. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reeve reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: are we now on the motion to proceed to s. 3412? the presiding officer: we are, sir. mr. reid: i have a cloture motion at the desk that i wish
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to have reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 467, s. 3412, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to provide tax relief to middle-class families. signed by 17 senators as follo follows. reid of nevada, baucus, udall of new mexico, stabenow, begich, whitehouse, levin, casey, harkin, carper, coons, mikulski, merkley, gillibrand, inouye, blumenthal, warner. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask consent that the mandatory quorum required under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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