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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 21, 2014 8:00am-10:01am EST

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government, as you alluded to. research organizations, think tanks, not just in washington but all around the world have a role to play in helping us get this right. the strategy that we try to help produce a nctc in support of the fascist city council staff, and my answer to chairman feinstein, are typically whole of government strategies, not just a link on our intelligence capability or military capabilities but also trying to take advantage of abilities, the resources we have across the government to try to produce the conditions that would, over time, eat away at support for terrorism in some of these conflict locations overseas. ..o into it understanding well those efforts will ultimately take years, if not decades, to play out and to reap the benefits of those types of strategies. in the meantime, you are left to handle a very difficult threat environment. >> i just want to make sure we
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are not simply putting out the fires. we also have to think long-term, it seems to me, or we are in for a 100-year war. >> exactly right, sir. >> this morning at an open meeting, nsa director rogers said there should be no doubt in our mind that our nation states and groups with the capability festa to forestall our ability to operator basic infrastructure whether it is generating power or moving water and fuel. how concerned are you about terrorist groups using their capacity for what i call hackers for hire to attacker infrastructure? how serious is this cyberattack threat? >> i would agree with the nsa director in what he said this morning. as i understand it, the threat he is referring to is more acute from state actors that present them for an individual terrace or establish terrorists. >> isil has shown a pretty good
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capability with the internet. >> exactly. certainly one they aspire and exercise. and so, knowing that, we are looking for ways to be ahead of them in our ability to defend her infrastructure and in our ability to detect key individuals engaged in that kind of act tvd and disrupt their tvd. the mac rogers, isn't it true we've lost a lot of capability of tracking some of these groups because they have gotten dark in part based upon their awareness giving to them by this at three revelations and that his compromise our ability to protect ourselves? >> i would agree with you. not just the snowden disclosures, but other disclosures in our collection capabilities have caused our terrorist adversaries to adapt, look for new ways of doing
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business, find new classrooms, it's go dark in some cases or simply find new ways in attempt to keep fha snowdon as they move from potential platform to potential platform. this is not going to challenge for the intelligence community. i know our colleagues at nsa are particularly focused on this, but you're absolutely right. >> in my view with the terrorist with the terrorists that come intelligence is the first line of defense. these are people that we can line up the rv the navy and shoot. we need to know where they are coming and when and intelligent intelligent -- that is why it is absolutely critical. >> i would agree with you, sir. >> thank you. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, senator. i was going to save that are worn. senator heinrich. >> mr. rasmussen, i want to
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thank you for being here and for all of your public service. as you can see coming you have an enormous amount of respect from rfid. i was going to ask you come to giving your experience the national counterterrorism center, really going back to its inception, it is clear there are a few in the federal government with your knowledge of the transcendent and its mission. in your responses to classified commission me talk about the unique role, particularly of transcendent analysis as outlined in the terrorism prevention act of 2004. as well as the mission objectives designed nctc three dni national intelligence strategy. i want to dig deeper if i can in the unique nature of the analysis that troon seven does relative to that by a member of the intelligence community agencies.
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as you know, even though nctc is effectively the primary government tasks to analyze terrorist organizations, there are several other agencies within the track and they analyze terrorist as well. can you articulate for us, how is the analysis can not did i nctc truly unique compared to that done by these other agencies? >> one element that put nctc in a unique position to carry out the best possible analysis of terrorism information is our access to the full body of the terrorism information. again, that was a unique insight of the irtpa. so an analyst at nctc will have whatever is available to the u.s. government in terms of intelligence reporting from overseas collection effort as well as domestic law enforcement investigations here at home.
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and that is not true of every other element of the intelligence community. so that puts nctc at a uniquely danish position. now that obviously plays out -- that advantage plays out more profoundly when you talk about homeland threat for the bridge between domestic and foreign intelligence matters so much. i would not quibble at the talent capability or insight that analyst for most of my intelligence partners could very to the analyticaanalytica l effort on some of our key challenges overseas. i mean, during the period of -- just one example. during the period of our extended military afghanistan iraq among the defense department, defense intelligence agency analysts were doing terrific work. most of that with time on the ground and i would never do anything to suggest otherwise. to answer your question, it is access to information that makes
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a critical difference >> so, would you characterize the most unique thing has been able to see a bigger picture from multiple sources and particularly when we talk about a combination of foreign and domestic? >> is, i would. >> in your response to questions to the committee come you express the importance of monitoring growing social media and he data in tracking terrorist threats and big data analysis. you mentioned it could help civil protections beyond the current safeguards already in place. could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean by that and also sort of describe for us the shortfalls that you see them in the privacy and civil liberties safeguards that are currently in place. >> i wouldn't so much describe it as short hauls as much as i guess what i was referring to what that answer, senator is the more we can do to automate and make happen technologically segregation of information, all
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of the things we commit to do as part of our adherence to the attorney general guidelines, the more we can take a human element of that, where a human makes a mistake and advert they see something, retains a thing, was onto something they did not have authorization to do. the more we can automate the technology and give ourselves the ability to audit ourselves for a fact ugly and trademark actively is what i was trying to get at. >> on those rare occasions when we had something go right in terms of handling of information, we have found it has almost universally been a matter of human error rather than any intent to mishandle or misuse or not protect information. >> thank you again.
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>> i believe this completes the questions. i would like members to note that it is my intention to vote on this nomination as soon as possible when the senate returns. it may be off the floor after thanksgiving. any member should submit questions for the record i next monday so we can have the answers by the time the vote is taken, please. and we look to and we will do our level best to let this as quickly as we can, mr. rasmussen. >> i'm grateful for that, madam chair. we look at every question back to you as quickly and expeditiously as possible. >> that is fine. can't do that if an ip thank you for being here and the hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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other topics included ukraine, isis nbc for afghans who assisted u.s. troops. peter and of the senate foreign relations committee ran just over two hours. the >> this nomination hearing for tony blinken as deputy secretary of state will come to order. let me welcome you back to the committee as the former staff director of the committee for chairman biden at the time. you know as much about the nomination process as anyone, although perhaps you are less familiar with being on that side of the table.
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between your service here in in the white the white house, you also understand the challenge of multiple complex situations inherently and i played the situations will serve you well as confirmed for this position. your nomination as deputy secretary of state comes at a time when the united states is facing a range of critical challenges and people in west africa to russian aggression in ukraine and the challenge of countering isil anorak to iran's continued westward nuclear weapons program. at the same time, we are seeking to forge new global partnerships with india in the middle east and asia and looking for opportunities to expand american exports and business opportunities. so there will be no shortage of critical issues that you will face. each will require your attention and the full attention of this committee and i look forward to hearing your views on all of these issues and working close
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to your issues of mutual concern should he be confirmed. for most of our national security agenda is combating the barbarity of isil i'm a threat to national security as well as the entire region. i would like to hear from you today about the administration's views on a new isil specific u.n. eyes. i was hoping the committee would hear from secretary kerry and/or secretary haeckel to speak on the president announced plans to work with congress on the new umf and use of military force, but that did not happen. i continue to believe it is incumbent that congress take the lead in utilizing the use of force and any prolonged military campaign requires a new constitutionally approved -- congressionally approved aumf and i believe congress should act in secret rational action. we also face the continued
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christ in ukraine were the cease-fire is collapsing as more weapons across the border into eastern ukraine and in my view it is time to provide defensively but military assistance to ukraine and escalate pressure on putin. sanctions are impacting russia's economy, but who continues on the right to papineau indicators point to it and to it in defendant attempted to carve out a land bridge to crimea. we must be willing to raise the, which will make to defensive lethal military sense since to the military government in kiev. clearly just the beginning of a long list of challenges. the diplomatic challenges are complicated and all of these challenges will be part of your portfolio as deputy secretary of state. i know that there will be times when we will look reenter times that we will disagree, but i look forward to working closely with you should he be confirmed. i think that your experience today places you to do an
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excellent job in this regard and i look forward to the answers to your questions. but unless they surprise me, i look forward to supporting them. >> thank you, mr. chairman for having this hearing. i want to thank mr. savoie for his service to our country and his willingness to serve in this capacity. this position i think as most people now is a very, very important position. the deputy secretary serves as the secretary of state from the secretary is out of country. and he also is the principal adviser to the secretary. a lot of people likely don't understand the importance sometimes a disposition. so it is very important and it is important that he is a very candid adviser to the secretary. we have had the benefit of
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having someone who is a professional or 30 years. he just laughed at me as someone who was very independent. he shared the good, the bad and the ugly. and i know we have a very private conversation the other day. i hope you are going to be as forthcoming today as you were in our office. but my strong desire that the person who fills this position is equally as independent and has the ability to share with us because it is our liaison to be able to make kinds of judgments we need to make here. on that note, i just have to say, we have had found harsh conversations in the past when i felt like speaking for the white house i would speed the time. i wasn't being taxed u.s.a. person about the reality. i was being spent. we had a conversation about that in likely will have a
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conversation today about that. obviously this position is a very different position than someone spending for the white house and trying to paint a flowery picture about what has occurred. so, it will be your responsibility, it can earned, to provide us the kind of information and work with this dramatically to help us create the best foreign policy or our nation. it is my hope that during this hearing again you will demonstrate that independent. if you are confirmed again, i expect you to work very, very closely with us. again, i look forward to your testimony today and i want to thank you. we talked extensively about your background and upbringing and i hope you'll share some of that during her opening comments. but i do appreciate the fact you have an extensive background and i do appreciate your commitment to serving our country in an appropriate way.
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so thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you yet i know senator schumer wanted to be here to introduce you, but because of those, we decided to move up the hearing with the agreement of the ranking member in order to get the bull for this hearing and before we have a large number of votes. the votes will take a large number of time. i appreciate his willingness to come before the committee and recommend you to the committee and we look forward to putting his statement in the record. so that may remind you take your false statement will be entered into the record without objection. i would ask you to summarize in about five minutes or so so that we can get to the hardest questions and answers that members are going to want to hear. i certainly invite you to introduce any family members here with you today since we know they are part of the sacrifice of serving our nation. we thank them in advance for the support that they lead you carrying out your duties.
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but that come you are welcome to proceed. >> mr. chairman, ranking member corcoran, thank you very much. she members of the entire committee, it is not to appear before you today as president obama nominates you become deputy secretary of state. i'm grateful for the privilege of this nomination and i'm grateful to the two patterns of this committee. secretary of state kerry for his confidence in me and vice president biden for his friendship, his partnership in his mentorship or more than a decade. it is indeed a novel experience for me to sit on this side of the dais. for six years i served as staff director of this committee and the majority, in the minority. if that were mr. o'brien and mr. munson are sitting right now. in my case, behind ben senator bayh, homes, lugar, hagel, dodd, obama, as well as distinguished members here today. watch them work together in the
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best tradition of bipartisan policy to strengthen our diplomacy, to advance our interests and our values around the world. during the six years, i developed enormous respect for the senate as a whole and for this committee in particular. for its members, for its asset for it is shaping our nation's foreign policy. if confirmed, i will do my best to uphold the standards of professionalism that i've learned here in this room, in these halls and i pledge to work closely with all of you to try to fulfill the potential of american leadership. there is another reason i am very passionate to this committee. they confirmed my father, donald blinken to be a master of hungary. it confirms my uncle, alan blinken as ambassador to belgium and just last year for my wife sitting behind me, at an ride to the secretary of state for
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educational and cultural affairs. so i hope nothing i do take is to cause to break this tradition of diplomatic service in this family. >> we hope you can do as well as she did. the >> thank you, mr. chairman. and let me just say breaking member corker, we talked about this, i recognize if confirmed i will play a different role. part of my current job at the white house is to explain and defend the administration's policies, including with congress. if confirmed, my new job at brigadoon from responsibility to work with this committee and leadership of the state department to advance our foreign policy and national interests around the world. i've consulted with leaders like an hundred ran to play roles including bob zoellick, john negroponte, rich armitage, jim steinberg and i have to tell you if confirmed, my role model would be my immediate predecessor, bill burns come a man who epitomizes professional juicer republican and democratic
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as well with balance indecency. then they begin by thanking the committee for the last two years weird weather was the ukraine loan guarantee, copper reauthorization, embassy security, oas reform, state department nominees amid this committee has played an indispensable role in translating our foreign-policy vision into crack this and indeed bringing the vision is held. if confirmed to my new position, i would again it worked very closely with every member. if i am confirmed, i would also be coming full circle to where i started in government 21 years ago, department of state. virtually every day since then during my time in state, 13 years of her two administrations in the white house on the national security staff and my tenure with this committee, i have worked with the men and women of the state department. i've experienced firsthand their extraordinary leadership of foreign policy in a time of immense challenge and change. i've watched them do more than most americans will ever know to
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keep us safe, keep it secure and keep us prosperous. i have witnessed their passion. i've witnessed their energy and their courage and i've seen them bring luster of strength to a word that deserves our respect, diplomacy. just in the past year, american diplomacy is globalized countries around the world to the round isil and ebola, to revitalize nato's commitment. that same hard-nosed diplomacy backed by the federal forests eliminates there is a vocal weapon stockpiles, cheeky% agreement with the rand has stopped in some respects roll back its nuclear program. secretary kerry's personal diplomacy helped competing afghan political blogs achieve the first diesel political transition in that country's history. and the secretary has worked tirelessly to build a secure lasting peace between the jewish democratic state of israel and the palestinians, just as the stand resolutely with israel whenever and wherever it is
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under threat. we saw american diplomacy in action this summer at the first-ever u.s. africa leader summit building new relationships among government with the private sector to unleash the nick unleash the next era of african growth and strengthen democratic institutions and defend security partnerships. we saw that the bank a week ago with vice president biden bringing countries together to support that to support leaders of central america as they develop plans to strength in institutions and economies and combat crime and and trafficking that affect us at home. just this past week we saw in asia were president obama led our diplomacy to strengthen the core institutions in asia to enlist china and the effort to go about climate change and build greater confidence between tears on the information technology and expand visa to the benefits of our students, businesses and economy, to the transpacific partnership closer to fruition, representing 40% of world gdp. you know, in a few weeks, just before christmas, i think many of us, certainly we will engage in what is an annual ritual and
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that is to watch a wonderful life on television. we all know what happened to veterans all as when george b. lewis out of the picture into me at least that is self-evident for the world would be in the picture on all the challenges i just mentioned. i would submit to the question before us is not whether america is pleading for i believe we are, but rather how we are leaving to bud adams, to what effect do not miss a proper subject for debate, discussion and dialogue. mr. chairman, i have submitted for the record some of my thoughts. i would like to leave you with that code a personal note. some brief insight into what brought me to government service and what motivates me every day to carry out the service. i am very fortunate. i was born into a family that had done very well. i actually acquired for parents on the way. i'm blessed with two wonderful stepparents facility. you've given me incredible the and supporting everything that i have done. i correct in new york and at an
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early age move to france. in france, i had the unique experience from age nine to 18 at beginning to see the world through the eyes of others, but in particular, to see my own country through the eyes of others. i found myself in the state at a very young age and playing junior diplomat, trying to explain to the united states to my fellow students. this is the end of the vietnam war, cold war, afghanistan and i think that is what got most motivated and interested to do this work. but even more than that, it is the family story i think we all come from family stories that resonate and move us in certain directions. my grandfather, my father's father fled but is now ukraine, flee the program, coming to the united states like so many other supporting his father, younger brother, working his way through school, sending his own sons off
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to harvard including my father who became ambassador to hungary and got the hungarian government to help bring an american troops so they can go into bosnia to protect the people. i am proud of my father every day for the way he's conducted his life in service. his wife, my stepmother fled communist hungary but reignite on a train is a god trial spirited out of the country, mother married and a sham marriage to get out of the country. she came to the united states. she was welcome here and was given so much service ever lectured the international rescue committee to help others in need. my mother spent her entire career bringing the greatest american artists around the world at times when our policies are ever challenged that she's done so much to advance has done wonders for foreign policy. finally, her husband, my stepfather was made an american by special act of congress. he served in the kennedy administration. he started life in bialystock, poland. he is among if not the youngest survivor of auschwitz. at the very end of a war, when
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he was being marched on a death march out of the camps, the allies were dancing from one side, russians from the others, he made a run for it and he found cover despite the german fire. in a day later having taken cover, he heard a rumbling sound. it was a large tank and if he looked up from a shelter, elected to take benefit of the dreaded, he saw some enough, a five pointed white star and he ran for the tank, the hatch opened up, he got down on his knees and spoke he only three words in english he knew that his mother had taught him, god bless america. tgi lifted him from the ground into the tank into the united states and to freedom. it is those experiences from my parents, their lives, their service that has motivated me to come to this place has motivated me to want to do the job that i
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stand before you for consideration. so mr. chairman, ranking member corker, i am grateful for this opportunity. i'm grateful for consideration. i look forward to serving on this committee and i welcome your questions. >> well, thank you. that is a very riveting personal history. that is very insightful. let me ask you a couple questions. as you know, the president has stated that he is interested in engaging congress on may do aumf nsu also may know, i am personally uncomfortable and i understand all the claims for both constitutional and other authorities under existing to dozens. the man personally uncomfortable relying on either the 2001 september 11 aumf and certainly the 2002 iraq aumf to prosecute action again isil.
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i think if you are going to happen is the president clearly stated a prolonged military campaign that needs congressionally approved aumf. so first of all, do you agree that we should be pursuing a new isil specific aumf? >> yes. >> the president said the administration would resent what he needs to be the set of authorities and the aumf. and my obvious such as authorization for the military force should be specific to isil and should include authority to go after individual organizations fighting or on behalf of the isil should be limited to three years or some other reasonable timeframe should foreclose the possibility of a large-scale combat mission in iraq in 2003 and 2011 as some
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of the elements of it. >> mr. chairman, without negotiating the elements you laid out in such a neural matter we have the opportunity to discuss them and they would form a good race is for conversation developing a new aumf. >> let me ask you about ukraine. this committee has taken a forward-looking view on a bipartisan racist about helping the ukrainians not only financially, but also independent of weapons. i know there is to do that because we are going to quote, unquote provoke the russians. well, i don't think the russians need much provoking because they seem to be acting without
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provocation. they did it in the first instance when they invaded and ultimately annexed 792 regular forces. and now, for the second time so they are engaged in having russian troops, tanks, armored vehicles, surface to surface missiles, that some of which i witnessed when i was in ukraine taking place in the original time and now we see even after the cease-fire happening again. and while i applaud the sanctions that the administration has pursued in this committee has supported, the reality is that unless there is a change in britain's calculus, which includes the cost of what is pursuing in eastern ukraine and from every information that we have the key for that bridge, you know, to
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see their comment that unless we change that calculus, we are just going to see a continuous action moving forward. so can you give me your insides talking about the administration national security council talking about your insights if you were confirmed to position as to what you would say about those fears? >> certainly, thank you, mr. chairman. a few things. since the beginning of this crisis, we decide to do three things you reside to support ukraine and i will come back to that. we sought to impose costs on russia for its actions in ukraine and we sat to reassure our partners particularly in nato. and we have been moving aggressively, at least in my judgment come on all three those lines about her. with regard to ukraine, as you know, we have provided to date a significant amount of assistance including about $100 worth of security assistance and this includes everything from the end
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for ms. anne-marie's and blankets, but also things like night vision goggles, protective vast, counter mortar radar, communications gear, transportation care, et cetera. we have not, you are right, provided lethal defensive assistants. part of the reason has been that in our judgment, as much as we are able to throw at the ukrainians, anyone can give them in terms of legal support, torsional against the russians choose to, they will outmatch that easily. that said, what we have seen in recent days and in recent weeks, including the blatant violation by russia of the very agreement signed, which among other things require it to be established the international border, to make sure that ukraine has sovereignty under its own border, to make sure the border is monitored and that there is a buffer zone. instead of doing that, it is
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gone in the opposite direction. it has deployed our forces to the border. we have compelling information that those forces have been sent into ukraine and sent to the separatists. and so, the question of defensive legal assistants have never been off the table. it remains on the table is something we are looking at the vice president will be in ukraine and the next few days and i'm sure that will be a topic of discussion. at the same time, mr. chairman, we have worked very hard to impose significant costs on russia they are. i believe we have. the challenge is that many of those costs will play out over time. some of them are already visible in getting more and more visible. as a result of bringing europeans together on sanctions repeatedly, we have seen already a significant impact on the russian economy. we have seen capital flight that is of great magnitude. we've seen for a direct
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investment drying out. we see the purple all-time low in russia debut in russia tapia and into foreign reserves, 72 that $80 billion. >> i don't mean to interrupt you. we have seen that, too and putin continue to invade ukraine. so while i appreciate that it is not off the table, if we don't exercise, from my perspective, if we don't exercise the ability to give ukraine the defensive weapons, russia can overpower it if it chooses to do so. i won't dispute that. by that same consequences of how many russian funds will be sent back to russia as a result of that has to affect prudent calculation. the problem is that as time progresses, that becomes an increasingly less likely proposition and less effective. so i hope that you all are going to calculate that in a much more significant way because we can't -- yes the sanctions are fighting, yes there are consequences and yes they have not deterred from acting.
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at me ask you one other question. there's a whole universe of the world to engage in here. so that is difficult. to let me ask you one other question. i specifically, working with senator rubio, booked out what was happening in venezuela and said to ourselves, this is amazing. here the western hemisphere, you have a country that is violating it for dissidents, human rights, simply protesting against this government, repressed by military force and a country that even though it has one of the largest oil reserves in the world cannot do basic commodities on the shelf for people, so people protest peaceably to try to make a point to their government. we were rebuffed by the administration in pursuing think shannon against the regime.
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and we gave time for everybody who had expectations of negotiations and they were going to bring the shura to a different place than we are in the same circumstances. we had the later a the opposition in a sham trial where he can't even present defenses, which tells you everything about the legal system in venezuela. and if i go visit venezuela, i get the screening process i have to go through with cuban security agents who ran as where the security. -- venezuelan security. >> you really comment that our policies are a success or have we recalibrated and decided that at this point sanctions as an appropriate way to proceed? >> mr. chairman, we share your views of the government and his leadership. we are working with partners in latin america to see if they could, with less than others, get some of the opposition leaders out of jail, move forward on the electoral reform
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and in doing that, they told us that sanctions at that point might be counterproductive. we thought it was worth letting them try, with our support, to move forward. as we sit here today, that has not succeeded. they have tried. it hasn't produced results. so given that, we would not oppose moving forward with additional sanctions. even at the administration took steps that it's a in consultation with congress including visa restrictions on violators of human rights, but we would look forward to working with you to go further. i think there is still an opportunity to try to get a reformed electoral commission that brings the opposition out of the commission that has congress do that before it gets pushed to the supreme court where of course nothing will happen. i think that is worth a shot and i will work, if confirmed, with you on that. i would also say that you are exactly right. but the world is going to have
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increasingly difficult problems delivering for his people. you need oil to be $85 a barrel and it is lower than that in order for him to make good on a social contract. that is not happening. the squeeze is getting tougher and tougher. last thing i will say, my cousin went to school with leo polo low pass, so i hear from her frequently about his sliders and what we are doing to help in. >> senator corker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. atlanta thank you are sharing the compelling stories of your family and again for your desire to serve in this way. i think you know this because we had this conversation and i am sure you have read this. but there has been some concern about the president's desire, it seems, to have people that are very close to him in various positions and to be very insular. and while your role in your current job is one to champion
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the administrative policies as you mentioned in your opening statements, this one is very different. one of the criticisms of the administration i think would be hard to debate, although i think it would be debated, has said that he has been a day late any dollar short on so many things, has been cautious, has had interval debates that protract. it's faster, things get worse. it is very difficult to overcome is your conversation with chairman menendez about ukraine. do you believe you have the abilities in this other position to be a bulwark against this cautious navelgazing and to bring clarity to foreign policy in a way that would allow our nation to move ahead and show the leadership do you talk about in your opening comments? >> thank you, senator. you know, in my current job, my role has been to try to bring what we call the interagency
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together so that every voice is heard as we deliberate policy. if they know what these judgments to bear and then we try and lift up a recommendation to the cabinet, to the president. part of that is the deliberative process to make sure that everyone has heard and we factor everything and. if i move over to the state department if confirmed, my job among other things would be to advocate strongly for the position of the state department in this interagency deliberations. to do that and to try and move the process forward and to get decisions made. secretary kerry is someone who is, as you know, a very passionate and energetic participate in that process. we work very hard to deal with what is an extraordinary number of challenges that are all coming on this so it seems, at the same time. but i pledge to you that if
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confirmed that is exactly what i will try to do. i have to say a tragedy that in my current job. i recognized the frustrations that are merge and it is something that i will continue to try to do with confirmed. >> thank you for that. i know that is the same answer you gave in the office. i'm trying to get specific, will you be urging, if confirmed as secretary of state, to give lethal assistance to ukraine now? >> senator, i believe that is something that we must look at and look at -- >> we have been looking at it now for a long time. the question is yes or no, in this new position as soon as the white house where you have to be a part of whatever is decided they are, will you again just to raise the cost, we understand that russia is always going to be able to overwhelm a country like ukraine, but will you, yes or no, urge the secretary of state to pursue a policy of
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arming that they are ready for ukraine? >> i know this may not be a satisfactory answer. here is what i can say. i have to keep what counsel i get now to the president, what counsel i would give to the secretary of state if confirmed friday. that would be part of the job. let me say this. >> what is your own? >> i believe that given the serious russian violations of the agreement that they find in the minutes and court, that one element that could hopefully get them to think twice and deter them from further action is strengthening the capacity of ukrainian forces, including defensive lethal equipment. that is what i think it is something we should be looking at. >> that is not a satisfactory as their conversation the other day, but he understand we are in a public setting.
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the chairman discussed it has been the tradition, the standard that when a aumf is sought, as you mentioned, semi being sought, although being sought in a very tricky way, that the administration seeks explicitly a aumf and actually sent a draft up of what they would like for it to be and then we begin the negotiations. do you believe that it is appropriate that if an aumf is written, that the administration explicitly speak that and you and your office or after with a draft in direct negotiations in the can not? yes or no. >> senator, can i thank you, the committee and view the chairman for the work you have done in the past on this theory a aumf a year ago and most recently. we would welcome getting aumf and i can tell you not only would we welcome that, we would
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like it and we would like to have a targeted focused aumf that deals with the challenge before us, which is defeating isil. the question is what is the best way to get something that gets bipartisan support? because we are much stronger if the executive branch and the legislative branch are working together and acting together, especially on issues of war and peace. if we can get an aumf that is present poor, there is no question we would be better off. we've engaged as to do with you, other members of congress in recent weeks on and aumf. >> you have not engaged at me. that is totally untrue. >> we think is for certain numbers. limits are you going forward from today we will absolutely actively engage with you, with other interested members, trying to come up with a aumf that answers what is needed and what is focused on isil that observes
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the authorities the president is to take action in the national interest and i hope as everyone coming together so that we can demonstrate that we are united. a short answer is we want to work with you on that. we want to work on new -- 51 night in the days ahead. >> a very important component seeking a aumf explicitly is laid out what it is the administration hopes to achieve. it is a very important element. i know that when this was all announced this fall, this was a half-baked deal. i actually believe that general allen and others are putting some elements together that are beginning to make some sense. but i think it is very important, beginning to make some sense i might add. it is very important for you to explicitly ask for it and come up here explained only in classified settings and public setting that the nation can expect as an outcome if in fact
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this is authorized. all along, do you believe that congress, who put the sanctions in place, working with the ministration no doubt, do you think the congress should have the right to vote on a deal that is maybe one of the biggest geopolitical decision that is going to be made by this nation in the event an agreement is reached with the rand? >> senator, congress will vote on a deal. he'll have to vote on any deal because any deal on the end of the day would include him at some point, the lifting of sanctions. >> that if you suspend sanctions, which you can do, start with the permanent lifting we have to vote on. if the moment you suspend sanctions you break apart the international coalition and you know that. and iran knows that. and that is why they have been urging you to suspend. we know that.
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he says they know that the moment you do that and you actually begin the actual lifting under that expansion, you have broken apart the entire coalition that is that the sanctions in place. so do you not take on the front end that congress should play a role? i am not talking about the permanent lifting that could be pried away tears down the road. i am talking about on the front end. >> our view what we would not suspend sanctions until a man has taken significant steps to comply with any agreement reached. we have to see that first before suspension. >> i understand that. >> and then, precisely because the hammer congress has fielded and held over their heads at the ukrainians that has been so effective, we want to keep them in place as long as possible. we also wanted snapback provisions with any are violated or cheated in any way, the
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sanctions can be snapback with some automaticity to avoid the problems rightfully raise. >> and bad addresses than violating the agreement. >> absolutely. >> what it doesn't address on the front end, if congress believes the range that you have reached, even if they honor it, is unacceptable. so again, i would just ask, having come from this committee, stepping out to an independent position if confirmed, do you believe that we should have the opportunity to give an approval over an agreement that has so much to do with the future of that region and the world? >> i think if we get to an agreement and are able to reach one, one of the things way to talk about a work together on is how we can most effectively work together to make sure that is is implemented that ukrainians make good on their commitments. so there may be schemes under which congress acting in certain
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times and certain ways will make that more effect. we should talk about that. not knowing right now would any deal is going to look like, what the terms will be, what the commitments will be and what the timelines will be, it is something we should talk about to figure out how to continuously work together to make sure any deal is implemented. >> senator corker. >> first, mr. blinken, thank you for your public service and thank you for sharing your family story. it's inspirational. i just want to underscore the point that mr. corker just made because there is bipartisan support for the comments about it we must be together. first, i want to compliment the administration for keeping the coalition together and keeping the sanctions in the position where it has kept her ran up the negotiating tables. you have been effective in doing that. there is concern that there will be some agreements reached in
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the very near future that may take some action by the united states that could jeopardize the unity of the sanctions moving forward. i would just urge you and the strongest possible terms to work with congress so that we are together on the strategy moving forward with her ran. our greatest hope is that you reach a comprehensive agreement that prevents her ran from having to breakout capacity for a nuclear weapon with inspections, et cetera. we look forward to that. if that is not the case and i think it is critically important that we understand and are together on the strategy moving forward and that we are together in our resolve that iran will not become a nuclear weapons state. and i would just urge you to
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listen to what senator corker has said because i think there is strong support in congress for the statements he made. i want to underscore a point talking about sanctions in our hemisphere that you impose on defense. i also applaud the administration for imposing visa restrictions on hungary in regard to six individual is applied in corruption. senator mccain and i have authored legislation that would make them and it's the global, which are basically visa advance. but as the ingredient that congress can initiate a required review, that the state department, matters that we believe should be subject to consideration of these are restrictions. you and i had a chance to talk and i very much appreciate your commitment to basic human rights and your understanding that the u.s. national security very much depends on a stable regime
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respecting human rights and that we need to be more open about that and they can have more of that as a priority. my point for racing not as i will be looking for your leadership as to how we can move forward i'm making it clear that this country stand strongly in support of human rights on our partners and that we will look at ways that countries. ukraine is a good case here we are all outraged by what russia has done. we provided a great deal of support and working with their economy, but they need to deal with their problems of irruption. we just had that today as a centerpiece. i want to ask you a question on following up the point erased from the provision dealing with the mineral right of countries and the provision that was included in the.frank law under
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the provisions that the sec is still struggling with the required transparency from the extracted industry. the fcc -- the court sent back their first wins because of the first amendment concerns and it is now prepared to issue its new regulations. the reason i bring it up is bad the fec is required to consider first amendment issues, which they should. one of the major concerns expressed by the administration when dodd-frank was moving forward of our need for a stable energy supplies and the importance for transparency and for the importance of the esters knowing what countries are doing and where the funds are going. it is my understanding that the communication of the state department and at could be critically important to the fec and -underscore nadine portends a stable energy supply. i just urge you to please follow up on not because time is running on this issue.
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if you want to respond, that is fine. >> thank you for a much, senator. if confirmed, i welcome following appeared if not confirmed, anything i can do to be helpful. >> you still have a day job. >> for the time being, thank you. i want to underscore one day because i think it is so important. corruption and the work you have been doing and other members of this committee have been doing to combat corruption. one of the things that i think is a common denominator around the world of virtually every popular movement we have seen, whether the ukraine for the arab spring, has been people rising up and discussed in corruption. it is one of the most powerful instigators of change. we have been working in a very deliberate way over the last six years to focus on this issue. i think there is more that we can do and particularly more
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that we can do working with congress. one of the issues i would welcome working on with you and other members of the committee are the efforts of the united states in a combat corruption. i see it everywhere as an instigator of change and there are ways we can use it effectively to help advance the kind of change we would like to see. >> i thank you for that and agree with you completely. ukraine about corruption wasn't about to west president or who was in government. we just saw the recent tragedy in israel at the synagogue, barbaric act. three americans were killed. one was a relative of the constituent of nine, judge karen friedman. so adjust hits against our own country in a way. if this happened in america, there would be justified outrage and demand that our country take steps to protect the security of our country. israel always seems to be placed on the international round on the defensive and defending its
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own people. it's only strong ally is the united states. will you continue to speak out for israel's obligation to defend its citizens against these types of barbaric actions and preparing itself to defend the security of its own country? >> absolutely. senator, the united states has, is and will continue to stand sentry, even if alone, against against threats to israel and against any attempt to undermine israel's legitimacy. we do it again, day out around the world in international organizations. secretary kerry is often not that post again alone sometimes. we will do it as often as it takes, we will be there. ..
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the first john is for leaders to work to lower tensions, reject violence because majorities want peace. they want to work toward that end we will work with anyone who wants that and to isolate anyone who doesn't. i have to tell you as well these kinds of attacks are personal to me. i have a cousin who lives in tel aviv, a her husband, daughter,
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two sons. the daughter recently completed her military service. during gaza this summer her eldest son was in military training and indeed was training for the engineering unit that was the one going in to deal with the tunnels and bombs. he wasn't deployed during gaza but is now deployed. we were getting e-mails about what it was like to live under the threat of these rockets and terrorists trundling underground to kill or capture civilians and she talked about how the bomb shelters they had at home is usually a storage room, now a bomb shelter. talked-about how riding to work on her bike she would ride with one ear piece out so she could hear an air raid siren. talked about living on a 90-second time because that is how long you get to get to a bomb shelter of the siren goes off. this is something i feel is
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real. it is this a role. we saw the terrible tragedy of civilians, and children being killed in gaza and i thought to myself as well getting these e-mails from my cousin, what our palestinian american mothers and fathers writing home to their families here about what they had experienced and we have to somehow remembered the humanity that lies at the heart of these situations. this is at the end of the day about men and women, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. if we lose sight of that we believe lose. one thing is for sure we have a commitment to stand with israel and i'm proud of the industry and's record in doing that and it is something that will
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continue as long as we are acting. >> let me for the edification of the members advising what the intention is since there are votes at 3:00 to ask senator mccain to take the chair shortly before we vote and come back and keep this going as long as we can. so members can get their questions in. if you are a little farther down the round before asking, come back and ask your question. senator risch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. tony blinken, monday is the 20 fourth of november. what can we expect on monday? >> the negotiating teams are engaged at this moment working toward an agreement. i don't want to prejudge what may happen or may not happen.
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right now it is going to be difficult to get to where we want to go. it is not impossible. it depends on whether iran take the steps it must take to convince us, to convince our partners, that its program would be for entirely peaceful purposes. as we speak we are not there. secretary of state is prepared to engage directly and personally if we have enough to go on to move this over the goal line but it is literally a minute to minute, hour to hour thing. i was getting e-mails before coming here. i can't tell you what to expect. i can tell you in the days ahead as we move toward the 24th we will continue to be very close consultation with you, with members of the senate and members of congress where we are, where this is going and depending on where this goes, to work with you to figure out the most effective next steps. i wish i should tell you today are we going to get a deal or not get a deal? i just can't.
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let me add one thing. we have been very clear, we will not take a bad deal period. any deal we achieve has to we effectively cut off iran's pathways to a bomb. it has to deal with the iraq facility and its ability to develop a fittonia impact and the very facility where it was before the interim agreement producing 21%. it has to deal with an effort to accumulate a large number of centrifuges and the large stockpile and be able to produce material for a bomb very quickly and it has to deal as the effectively as possible with the potential for a covert program by having an unprecedented inspection and access regime and also deal with a possible military dimensions of the program, missiles and sanctions that we talked about earlier. as you evaluate anything we were
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able to produce you will appropriately evaluate it against all of those lines. that is what we need to be talking about as this moves forward and i pledge to you that in the days ahead, we will be in close contact as we see if we can get there. >> i appreciate that. the operative words here are good deal versus bad deal. i have heard people from the state department sit in the same chair you are sitting in and described the last couple deals as good deals. i have to tell you i speak for myself but i think for some other members of this committee, and that is our understanding of what a good deal is, differed greatly from what the state department's version of what a good deal was. i was very critical of that. other members of the committee were critical of that and i hope we don't have to be put in that position again. i couldn't agree with you more. we told the secretary of state
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just what the administration has been saying and that is no deal is substantially better than abed deal. once the bad deal happens you will never get that genie back in the bottle again and we will wind up having to live with what could be very difficult situation. so i caution you in that regard. i hope our definition and the state department's definition of what is a good deal is substantially closer to the same point that it has been in the past. let me make up parochial pitch here that i have over and over again, particularly to wendy sherman who sat in that chair i have a constituent that is being held. there is absolutely no reason he should be in prison in iraq. in addition there are two other
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americans under the same circumstances that shouldn't be there. it absolutely escaped logic to me why we released the billions of dollars we did without demanding that those three be released, i just don't get it. knowing how bad the those people wanted the money i cannot understand why that wasn't the last consideration, the last requirement that was put on the table before the money changed hands. i heard wendy sherman talk about it. i still don't understand it. i would one more time say if you get close to that, that ought to be paragraph 236 or whenever the last paragraph is but this doesn't become operative until those three people walk free. listening to you, i don't sense a lot of optimism that we are going to get to that point but
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should we get to that point i urge you in the strongest terms to see that those three people are turned loose and we can welcome them back here to america and my constituent. thank you. i want you to know. every single day. we are working for the release, the other unjustly imprisoned american around the world. and the than the nuclear agreement on the margins, we are determined to bring our people home. it will be at the very top of my agenda. >> thank you. if i could put a little more
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strength in to that there is a human side of this that never gets talked about. she has children in boise, idaho, and they have not seen their children for some time. they have family, a close circle of friends, this has a human component that doesn't get talked about. they want their father, their husband, their home very badly. i am glad to hear what you are saying. i will be much happier when actual action takes place. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, tony blinken, for being here today and your willingness to continue to serve the country. i want to follow up on senator risch's questions about the iranian negotiations because
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reports about those negotiations, we are not close to reaching and agreement and another extension might be something that people could agree on. was positive signs or movement do we need to see in order to agree to another extension. i assume we would all argue that unless we think there's some reason to the continued these negotiations, we should not do that. >> here is the challenge. we had driving to the 24. and requirements of the international community. and if we are judging where we are, difficult to get there, and depends whether iran can get the u.s. and the short answer is we
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don't know. and at this delicate moment in the negotiations in a public setting to get into the details because we believe that and you understand why with the negotiators. the negotiators, my colleagues were on the hill yesterday in closed session going through in much more detail the elements of what we're looking for. would welcome any opportunity, and as a public matter i leave it to negotiators to have the flexibility to do the job and get the job done. >> there is potential for
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movement. to follow-up on what is happening with isis can you talk a little bit about the new administration in iraq and whether the progress that they are making, sufficient progress in engaging with the sunni population so that we are seeing any real change their? >> you raised a critical question that goes to the heart of what we are trying to achieve and what is necessary to achieve if there's going to be success against isis. one of the many failures in the previous iraqi administration is it failed to not only engage but address the legitimate grievances of the sunni community creating an environment in which large parts of that community, either acquiesced to isis when it rose up and indeed went into lead
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with it. when the former prime minister was here in november of 2013 before isis was on the map, the president said to him the number one challenge was al qaeda and iraq. and we are working to give you the equipment and assistance you need with a counter terrorism and military matter but that is not enough. you have to deal with this problem comprehensively and engage the sunnis and address legitimate grievances. otherwise we will not succeed and as we know, he didn't. the new government was one of the conditions the president said before launching of a comprehensive effort we are making to counter isis and ultimately defeat it. absent a government that was willing to engage the entirety of iraq to work with the city's and the kurds, that strategy couldn't effectively succeed.
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what we have seen is significant progress. i was in iraq four weeks ago for a week, spent a lot of time with virtually all the leadership in baghdad, on all sides, military leaders and the president and prime minister, the head of the council of representatives, political party leaders and what i found was virtually everyone giving them the benefit of the doubt to the prime minister and new leadership to move the country forward. he has taken a number of significant steps. first the former prime minister had established the office of the commander-in-chief to short circuit the military and have it report directly to the prime minister's office and make it his personal service which was a disaster. the prime minister eliminated that office and fired the people in charge. last week he fired 36 generals many of whom were beholden to the previous government, had a sectarian agenda or were incompetent.
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that was significant. there is a national program that they need to move forward on to address legitimate grievances to toes but also seized with an idea we have been working with them on which is to form a national guard. what that would do, to enlist from local communities and providences people to protect those communities, so in the sunni areas you would be enlisting sunnis to protect their own but they would be tethered to the state because it would pay their salaries and provide them with equipment. this would build on institutionalized something that was so successful in the 2006-2007 period. there is tremendous promise. it will take awhile to get that stood up. we have been working with the iraqis and the government is pushing this on a bridging mechanism to get there. how can we now deal with the fact that many of these tribes want to work with the government. they see their future as better with iraq than isis. they need support, equipment,
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they need money. the government is working on a program with our support to bring in 5,000 tribesmen to pay them, to equip them, get them working with iraqi security forces to deal with isis. i came away from my most recent trip and virtually daily engagement be leaving the prime minister is moving things in the right direction, reaching out, in gauging ended that succeeds, that offers real promise to our overall efforts. >> thank you. i am almost out of time but when we spoke on the phone we talk about special immigrant visa program, they need to make sure it moves forward but i wonder if you could tell me what you are hearing from afghanistan as we look at the draw down, the importance of that program and whether we are going to be able to provide the visas that are required for the people who are
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being threatened. >> i want to commend your leadership on this issue, it was absolutely instrumental. and what we have, that is this program addressed specifically to people in iraq and afghanistan who have gone to work with us, put their lives on the line for us and put their families on the line by their association with us. deserve our every effort that they qualified to bring them to the united states and out of harm's way. this is something i have been focused on in my current capacity, something i believe in deeply. in afghanistan in a sense because of the success we had we are running against the limit. we need to be able to do more. we want to work with you very actively and aggressively to the do that because we can't abandon these people who put themselves on the line for the united states. i look forward if confirmed to working with you on those issues
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and i thank you for everything you have done today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator johnson. >> thank you for your service and your willingness to surf. these issues you are dealing with, problems and challenges are enormously challenging. nothing easy about them whatsoever. what i want to try to find out during my questioning is have you, has the administration learned from past misjudgments, past mistakes? are we willing to recognize reality? a little earlier we talked about ukraine. vladimir putin is looking for off ramps. do you really believe he is looking for a way out of this situation with the really looking to continue to be aggressive? >> thank you very much, senator.
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in my judgment, president vladimir putin has managed to precipitate virtually everything he sought to prevent through this crisis and the aggressive actions he has taken in ukraine. ukraine is now more western oriented than it has ever been and has more of a national identity than it has had. in affect even with the terrible aggression in eastern ukraine and crimea at he lost the ball of the country. he has precipitating as well nato be more energized than it has been, europe more focus on energy security and we talked little earlier. >> i want my question answered. is lead reviewed looking for an offering of? >> to get your question. it is a very important one. here is the challenge in my judgment. what happened is this. president vladimir putin has probably lost his ability as a result of their own mismanagement of the economy and
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to deliver and effectively for his people economically and oil prices have played a big part in that. that leaves him with one card and that is the nationalist card. when you play that card in the short-term it can be beneficial. the numbers go up and we have seen that. here is the problem. if they stop playing the card, people start to focus on the fact that things are not going so well that you lead them down a wrong path. this is the challenge. he does need an off ramp. otherwise he will keep playing the card and taking steps that are dangerous and destabilizing that are going to create even greater conflict. and the agreement that russia signed was an appropriate offer and if that is what you like to call it for russia in a way of moving forward and help ukraine
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-- >> with the white house's reaction. and to defeat soviet aggression, >> that was in the vice president and others. and we worked to support ukraine across the board, we work to develop international support for the economy, we produced a package initially of $27 billion to the international institution, working now as you know to -- >> what was your reaction? did it have any effect on your administration's attitude? >> u.s. that the outset do we go back to revisit things? the short answer is yes, we do. almost literally every single day.
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as i noted earlier we provide a significant amount of security assistance to date. it is beyond the blankets, things that matter in the fields to the ukrainians and technical advice assistance. as i said earlier we are continuing to look actively every day and other forms of assistance. >> got that. let's shift to isis in iraq. this is a historic strategic blunder leaving a stabilizing force in iraq to be the glue to hold that coalition together. what was your reaction in january of 2013 when you heard president obama implies that isis -- did it surprise you that the president would say that? >> senator, as i recall the context of those comments was a distinction between terrorist groups that were focused inwardly and did not have an
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agenda that planned to attack the united states or internationally that didn't have an international jihadists agenda and focused primarily on their own countries and that was the distinction being made. >> you have a president of the united states to minimize those threat of a group like isis. were you aware of the fred the growing menace basis represented not only to the region but the world? >> absolutely and let me tell you about that. we can certainly talk about the drawdown and withdrawal from iraq at the end of 2011. i am happy to come back with that. from the moment that we put our troops in iraq we worked literally from january of 2012 to work our way back in to help the iraqis develop a more effective means to deal with what was then cockeyed in iraq and became isil. we said to the iraqis at the time you are making a big mistake if you take your foot
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off the throat, they were down, senior leadership had been decimated. the iraqis were feeling overconfident but the fact of the matter is at that point in their histories they wanted america out of iraq. >> they agree that was a mistake to not leave a stabilizing force? they zinc that policy has worked? >> i believe we have a stabilizing force precisely because the ability to help the iraqis develop more effective counterterrorism means was necessary going forward. 2012 on, we started to work aggressively to help them build up their capacity to deal with counterterrorism. and arming them more effectively. they didn't see the problem.
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the summit came around. and we got better eyes on what was going on in iraq. the al qaeda thread. 2013 rolled around. and all of a sudden the iraqis saw this problem because they saw isil emerging in syria and spilling into iraq. we saw a problem we were warning them about for more than a year. starting in 2013. we led an effort to make sure we were getting to the iraqis. the fifteenth -- the technical advisers assistance they needed, the targeting cells, the i s r. and getting some more and throughout 2013 i led 14 meetings of the deputies committee on that very issue. we were seized with this before -- >> one quick question. when you lay out a goal, do you think it is wise to signal to
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your enemy what you may or may not do to accomplish that goal? in other words no combat troops a the ground. they isn't it is was with the intent to do little not deal think it is wise to signal that tyranny? >> what we have focused on in designing this campaign to deal with isil is a comprehensive effort that works on a military line of effort. dealing with fighters and ideology. on the military peace. we believe that it is not necessary and indeed not sustainable to have a repeat of what happened at decade ago which was to have a large and indefinite american deployment of forces into iraq to deal with this problem. what is more effective and sustainable is the strong support of a partner on the ground with air power, intelligence, training and equipping, advisers, they will do the fighting to fight for the
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future of their own countries. in iraq we have the foundation and makings of being able to do just that. working on the same thing in syria. that is the most effective and sustainable way. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we have votes on the floor so i will try to be brief. thank you for your service. long days, long nights, not going to get any shorter in your new capacity. i want to ask about your new job. good job of defending the administration's policy this morning. ..
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>> it strikes me that we have seen a massive outsourcing over the last 10 years of diplomacy from the state department to the military. and a substantial outsourcing of military activity from the department of defense to the cia and took over authority. you are moving from having an umbrella view of all of those activities to now a narrower window within the state department and i think you'll find many people in the agency who have some serious questions about whether they can do their
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job when you have this level of activity occurring without oversight from the state department or from this committee, which is charged with overseeing american foreign policy. i would love your thoughts about what mentality you're going to bring to the state department having do this anymore robust limbs at the national security staff. >> thank you. i think it's a very important question and it's one that we grapple with literally every day. part of my responsibility right now in my current job, indeed, it's at the heart of the responsibility, is to bring the entire interagency together on any problem. to make sure that not only is every perspective and voice heard but to make sure that each agency and department knows what the other is doing. and so we have a meeting of the so-called deputies committee that i chair, not only is every agency there, that's relevant to
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the question, we bring in thanks to the technology our ambassador from the field. we bring in as appropriate the station chief in the field. we bring in the relevant combatant commander or general in the field. precisely because we want to make sure that everyone knows and has full visibility on to what everyone else is doing. and to make sure that the appropriate departments and appropriate agencies and appropriate actors are the ones carrying out the appropriate responsibilities. that's something that is essential to the proper functioning of our government and our foreign policy. it's something i focus on every single day. if i'm confirmed and move over to the state department, i will get to move one seat down on the table off of the chairman's seat and once he down. but i will continue to bring the perspective to bear on those deliberations and because which
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afford to important and it's the only way we can function effectively. our ambassadors have to know what's going on from other agencies. the other agencies need to know what our diplomacy is doing. that communication, coordination, if it doesn't happen it doesn't work. >> i would just argue for a historical realignment whereby diplomats are doing diplomacy, warfighters are doing what they do best at our covert agencies are gathering intelligence. have always in operation but this is a pretty unprecedented scale. just one question on russia and ukraine. all the conversation has been about, most of the conversation has been about whether we are or don't arm the ukrainians. seems to me a lot of the conversation misses the broader picture, which is that rush is employing a set of tools that is unprecedented, somebody referred to a new phrase i have heard of yesterday that russia has
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militarized information. they are using information, propaganda, payoffs, support for ngos in a way that we have no understanding of and no ability to match. we don't necessary want to go to it for that, but instead of spending all this time talking about what specific arms we're going to give ukrainians, we should be paying attention to what russia is doing today in lotsd, estonia, in montenegro to essentially try to prep the next set of crises and hopefully this committee will be able to grapple with they need to have a much more robust conversation about how we need those new russian tactics. hopefully i think you understand that but it would be great to see some proposals coming out of the state department, new integer proposals about how we revamped programs like radio free europe so it has any a semblance of a chance to match up against what the russians are
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providing in the periphery of their area of influence. >> let me say briefly that that is something that if confirmed i would welcome working with you and other members of this committee on. you are exactly right. russia has a panoply of asymmetric tools to wield influence in countries on its periphery, and we see that everyday in the baltics. we see it in ukraine, in georgia and moldova. we see it in the balkans and places farther flung. for us to be effective we have to be focused on that as well as they do we are but it's something we welcome working on with you. we have, just a small point on this in the context of ukraine, we stood up and effort that undersecretary for public diplomacy week's tangle has been running to work on countering the messaging which is very, very strong and effective begin of the russian propaganda machine at home.
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that's something we're working on vigorously every day but a larger point that you may, this isn't a where think we could profitably work together and a welcome doing that if confirmed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. blinken, by the way, over the weekend i was at a seminar and a panel with former secretary gates, secretary panetta, and also former national security advisor mr. hadley. all of them strongly disagree with every one of your assertions here, particularly about the diminution of american power and influence throughout the world, including the fact that they said, again, including ryan again, including ryan crocker, one of the most respected members of the diplomatic corps have all said the administration could have succeeded in keeping u.s. troops in iraq after 2011 if it had been more creative and determined. you and i had that discussion in
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my office, and you've made some assertions which are just patently false, which is very disappointing to me. in march 2012 you said, and i quote, what's beyond debate is that iraq today is less violent, more democratic and more prosperous, and the united states more deeply engaged there than at any time in recent history. ivv disagreed with that at the time. so do the rest of us. will you admit you were wrong in that assessment? >> senator, at the time -- >> yes or no? will you admit you were wrong at the time? >> i stand behind what i said at the time. i think it accurate reflected what we thought -- >> even though we knew that if all the troops are going to be removed, that the ensuing situation would evolve and predicted it. and you were celebrating the fact that we had no more troops left in iraq. you celebrated it. and so did the president last
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trip, combat troop is left. and by the way, the baghdad chief of "the new york times" said the administration was ignorant of reality and quote did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with our narrative that you left iraq in recently good she. you did not leave iraq in reasonably good shape, mr. blinken, and the events afterwards directly negated your assessment of the time. it's this one to me you won't even admit you were wrong. you were wrong because you said you were leaving behind a prosperous and less violent, more democratic, and none of that than any time in recent history that it was just -- now, i'd like to ask you some questions. do you believe that we should be providing the ukraine resistance with weapons, with lethal weapons which defend themselves now? not whether it's on the table or not. do you believe we should be
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supplying them with weapons and were to defend themselves? >> i can say we need to consider that. >> i'm asking whether you believe we should be giving them the weapons or not. that is a straightforward question. >> you will understand that the advice that i provide speakers are not asking for your advice but i'm asking for your opinion. you're supposed to be coming before this committee and give us your views. >> my belief is that can play a role, potentially -- >> so let the record reflect, mr. chairman, that the witness would not answer the question. >> i would let the record reflect that the witness answered the question as he did. >> excuse me, would not answer either in a from or negative in response -- wouldn't answer in response to the question. the question i'll ask one more time. you believe we should be supplying the ukrainians with lethal defensive weapons? yes or no speakers and again i believe that is something that we need to look at their
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actively -- >> after 4000 dead and the country dismembered, and 4000 more russian troops in getting eastern ukraine, and you think it's something that should be looked at. that is really quite interesting. do you believe that bashar al-assad is getting stronger now that we are attacking only isis in syria? >> senator, i believe that has worked develop the moderate opposition, as we make it a stronger counterweight not only to isolate but to the regime, assad will get weaker. this position will change -- >> but we are not attacking assad, mr. blinken, are we speak with we're working -- >> aren't we attacking -- >> no, we are not attacking -- >> we are not attacking assad. at the end of september you stated quote, the best way to do
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with assad is to transition him out so that moderate opposition can fill the vacuum. that's what we've been working on. g20 over the weekend, president obama was asked if he was actively discussing ways to remove president assad as part of the political transition, and his response was, no. are we working to transition assad out or not? >> we believe, the president said repeatedly, i'm not sure of the exact words you are referring to, i've heard them say repeatedly -- >> it's very simple. he said no. >> assad has lost its legitimacy but there is no way going forward that syria -- >> the president was incorrect when asked if he was actively discussing ways to remove bashar al-assad as part of a political transition and his answer was no? >> the president has been focused consistent on the effort to support a moderate opposition, to build it up as the counterforce, to change the
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dynamic so we can get to a political transition that winds up removing assad. >> mr. blinken, and you quite often have referred about moral obligations and standing in the united states of america. do you believe it's immoral for us to train syrians -- do you believe it's moral for us to train syrians, in this case going to syria and fight when we're not attacking bashar al-assad and bashar al-assad is intensifying his attacks on the free syrian army? is that moral? >> senator, we've been working now for more than three years -- >> again, answer the question. it's too bad that you can't answer straightforward questions, mr. blinken. i want to ask you what you think that it's immoral or not for us to send these young syrians into an environment where they will be barrel bombs bashar
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al-assad? >> thanks to the work we been able to do with you, with congress, we've now -- >> you have done no work with me, mr. blinken. >> on the train and equip program for the -- >> you have not worked with me on anything. >> that's something we want to do and relish doing -- >> after six years you would want to do that. i thank you. >> senator, if i could just add, we've been working with a moderate opposition or nearly three years. we been working to build him up, give them support, give them greater means the -- >> mr. blinken, when you say that, it's disturbing to me because i know these people. i've been answered and i've met them. a lot of them of that are dead because who would help them. when the president said no to the recommendation of a sect of defense, sector and state and head of the cia to provide arms to them. a lot of them have died. we didn't all of those things you're saying, and there's ample proof that affect the situation that they're in today which is probably more tenuous than it's
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ever been in history. i take strong exception, because i've been on the ground there is not true. i know these people very well. they feel abandoned. there have been many media reports, not just my reporting, but as late as a couple days ago in "the wall street journal," they feel abandoned. they have every reason to abandon. many of them are deserting to go to al-nusra because italy they are getting any assistance. >> all i can tell you is from what i see, what i believe, what i know from what we've done. we have been working with them. we have been supporting them. we have an opportunity thanks to the great work that's been done with congress and intensified and excitement that effort to give them greater means to defend themselves, their families, communities, to become a counterweight to isolate also due to become a counterweight to assad.
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>> we know of way to get it done. we've known it for a long time a way to get it done and we've articulated time after time after time. since that way was not pursued we are now in a situation we are in today. whether it be iraq or whether it be in cedar you. dividing city and iraq into two different kinds of complex when we're fighting one in the of course is bizarre. one more point i guess i'm way over time. i'm sorry, mr. chairman. just today we were meeting with some people who confirmed to us our belief, if you have everybody out of afghanistan you see the outright movie again. do you believe that we should leave a sustaining force in afghanistan? >> senator, to me the lesson for afghanistan from iraq is a thing for political accommodation.
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what we didn't get sufficient in iraq at the time that i said the remarks that you referenced, i actually believed that we're in a position where iraqis were working together politically within the confines of -- >> but you were wrong. >> unfortunately the prime minister chose to take iraq in another direction. the foundation was there. the names were there. it didn't happen. that's something that unfortunately have stood iraq in very bad state. one of the lessons we should draw from that and you're right to focus on is absent that political accommodation and willingness to work together it will be difficult to sustain all of the progress in afghanistan. happily, at least for now, we have in the new president, the chief executive, abdul abdullah, a commitment to work together closely to bring the country to get and give investment we made in afghanistan to succeed including the afghan security forces. we need to keep that investment going, the financing going and support them in their efforts.
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if that happens i believe and, of course, with two more years to continue in an aggressive way to help build and develop the capacity of those forces. >> unfortunately mr. blinken, time has expired. unfortunately, you will be wrong again. if we don't leave a sustaining force behind afghanistan will collapse and you will be wrong again. >> the chair has allowed the sender greater time that he allowed himself. -- the senator. we have one or two colleagues who wish to come back and ask questions but we have a second vote. i think it's important not to close the hearing so that we can have them have their expression, whatever questions they want to ask you. i would like to take, before have to go vote, a moment to actually two quick questions, hopefully you can and should them quickly. one is, when the united states
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invaded iraq, who was the big winner? >> i think you'd point to a few potentially. and you're talking about in 2003? >> you. >> i think certainly iran benefited at the time. i think that arguably, unfortunately, al-qaeda benefited because it was able to them develop a front in iraq that it didn't have. and so there were some unfortunate consequences to that action. on the other hand, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, our civilians, whatever one thinks about the war and how it started and why it started, because of that sacrifice, because of the extraordinary effort over a decade, we gave iraq a chance to succeed. we help to give it the institutions of governance.
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we helped create structures that could allow it to actually be something relatively unique in the region. and there was a moment, at least in my judgment, where people were actually working within the confines of the constitution and institutions, despite their tremendous differences, to move the country together. >> it is in that context he made the comment that senator mccain referenced? >> yes. >> my own observation of some who voted against the war in iraq, it was that it was the biggest blunder that we committed. we ended up no weapons of mass destruction, no clear and present danger to the united states, n no imminent threat and the losses in their lives and national treasure. we certainly cherish the contributions and sacrifices made by american forces to ultimate liberate the iraqi people. at the end of the day, there's a
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lot of bad actors in the world. i can imagine that i would like to see go. you might imagine who's on the top of that list. and yet it's not a national interest of the united states necessary to pursue that course of action. what we did kids is iran an opportunity -- create challenges for the region. i just wanted to great context to your comments and i've filibustered sufficiently to the senator kaine take the chair as i go to vote. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. blinken, for your service and your willingness to be here. what a position of honor your position will be as a member of the committee. i visit on country and a host of meetings with fso is usually in the first or second term to talk about their lives and the questions and sacrifices and sometimes ask me about traffic in northern virginia where they own property.
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but mostly we talked about the very serious issues that they deal with. what a wonderful bunch of people that if you have worked with and you will continue to work with so i want to start off by honor them. i think we do a pretty good job of acknowledging members of our military who serve now, but there's so many americans abroad who are small a ambassadors and we just need to thank all of them. as i think you're going to a great opportunity to serve with wonderful people and i know you know that. two thoughts on the aumf process. we talked a bit about this. i do think it is a mistake for the administration not to have sent aumf lingers because a figure more likely to get aumf you like if you send of language and are less likely if you don't. that being said, we are the article i branches i don't think there's any excuse for us not to do it and to do with dispatch and hope we will and in a we worked together on the terms of
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the. so that the critique. but we now offer a compliment. senator king and i visited the air force base in qatar in early october to see the coalition in action. the administration and its both a military effort and a diplomatic effort, the efforts table together a meaningful coalition of nations who believe isolate is a threat, you know, it sounds good on paper, and when you see it, it's even more impressive. seamlessness of the coalition partners working together in the airstrike campaign, and we were in a room that look like the new ixtoc a change with big screens up and folks from so many nations making hard decisions and making them in an apparently seamless way. that was a month ago, was highly impressive.
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we felt pretty positive so i will often that to you as a compliment. one thing i like to caution you, both in the state department and all of us more broadly, and i love your your response on it is, don't let iraq, syria take her eyes off afghanistan. we let that happen. i think we let that happen in 2003. i think we let it happen in '06, '07. i first was in afghanistan in april of 2006 as governor visiting my virginia guardsmen and women who were serving there. i think it was the belief of a lot of the american both diplomatic and military leadership on the grand at that point that iraq was taking our attention away. the cheap instead been gained in afghanistan as a result of american efforts, diplomatic effort, military efforts have been a significant life expectancy, kids in schools but
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it's fragile under this new government, the formation of the new government is a huge to be to your boss into american diplomat effort. but it's fragile. while i am a supporter of an authorization of military action against isil in iraq and syria, i am mindful of the fact that we turn our attention to one theater and then that paid the attention that was necessary. and the afghanistan situation is hopeful enough but fragile enough if we turn our attention to dramatically to the events there in the newspaper every day, we run the risk of losing games that been achieved an awful lot of sacrifice and i would love to hear your thoughts on that. >> center come what you just said resonates in a very powerful way and it resonates because you said in this room. a decade ago in this room president karzai sat where i'm sitting today. he said almost exactly what you said. this was before the war in iraq, and he was testifying on
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afghanistan. and he said it's not my role necessary to get the united states advice on what should be or shouldn't do summer else. i ask you what if you do, don't take your eyes off of afghanistan. so what you just said seemed to have resonated across the decade i can do this a room. i couldn't agree more. secretary kerry, as you know, is intensely focused on this question. had it not been for his extraordinary personal diplomacy, i'm not sure that we would have got navy commendation that we so would president and chief executive officer of dual abdullah. that is attributed and triumph of american diplomacy and his personal engagement. now you are right. we need help sustain that and we are. we are very focused on giving them the support that they need to continue to move the country forward in an inclusive way. that is a much a focus of the secretary end of the administration.
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second, i think you're right to underscore this because went to sustained investment we made in afghanistan. wemade a commitment to help develop the afghan national security forces. we get other countries around the world to do the same thing. countries that commitments in pledges in chicago and tokyo militarily, on the financial assistance site. those have to be sustained. in fact, if you look at the assessments that have been done, our analysis and the analysis of lligence community's, is the single most important factor in helping afghanistan continue moving toward is sustained support from the international community. we hear very much what you're saying. we agree with you and i think there's a vital role that we can play together working with the committee to make sure that we are doing justice to that. >> there were early signs of success in the coalition government, the signing of the bilateral security agreement, the signing of the status of force agreement, but we initiation of a criminal investigation to corruption of the kabul bank, the signing of a
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long kind of dust was all over it potential energy deal with pakistan indicating potential for opening up better ties of there. so there were some good early signs but a some good early side-by-side some good early signs place i've had a story told in what the cabinet. i know that the afghan leadership is going to be going to a donors conference in london in early december and i'm sure they will separate them with questions about that. the u.s. played such a key role in the diplomatic rapprochement between president gone and executive abdullah. that whiskey. i think the we diplomatic role to play at some steps along what including in this is the formation of government because i can imagine that conversation with a donors will go very well. if you walk in and is not tangible evidence of real progress towards the formation of an inclusive government. >> we've made exactly that case to them. >> great. so many other questions have been asked. numerous questions about iran.
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i think it was senator risch who said he'd been a harsh critic of the administration, or just a critic of the administration's proposal. i was a real supporter but i may be as hawkish on the big deal. i really felt like the inch and he'll have to be done. done. there have to be an interim a phased approach that was postponed because of the lack of trust between the parties. when there is a situation that is just fundamentally characterized by lack of trust, the only we get to a better place is to test each other out in small things and see if the tests are passed enough to move on to larger things. the interim deal, huge supporter. you said you can't see what's going to go but it's going to be one of the past. if you going to be a deal, they will talk but whether it's a good or bad the of the we have to take out the consequences or it's going to be some request for additional time to put together. i think the body will be pretty tough on the to the extent that the toughest of congress is at
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all lost on the negotiators on the iranian side. i know our team over there will disabuse them of that notion as you in the final phases before november 24. last thing, just a thought, and i'm overtime but hey, i'm the last guy with questions so i can easily do this. something i'd like to respond to. we focus our energy as we often should come as we should on the problematic areas, you know. ..


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