tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN May 3, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT
avocados judge carter was talking about, they can't. they've got to get to your grocery store in a truck. every good or service that you use or buy is affected by the price of oil and gas. it's going to run the price of everything up. we have got to get this under control and we have got to exploit our domestic energy sources. you know, i agree with judge carter, texas is the leader in wind farm, it's a beautiful sight as i drive down ocean drive in corpus christi looking across the bay at the windmills across over by portland, that's the future. but you can't put a windmill on a car. you've got to have oil and gas to run your cars. now we can get into a cushion about needing to be focusing on cars working on natural gas as a more cost effective way to do
it, we've got a great abundance of natural gas but we have got to get rid of the moratorium, the de facto moratorium that is crippling the oil and gas industry in the gulf of mexico. it's running prices up, it's costing us jobs in texas, i want to talk just for a second, if you don't mind, judge carter, about the betrayal of the oil and gas industry being an evil -- the portrayal of the oil and gas industry being an evil industry. it's easy to talk about big corporations, big producers like exxon an b.p., i've got two things to say about that. first of all, i imagine if you've got a retirement fund or pension, you're an owner of one of these oil an gas companies. your pension plan, mutual fun, they're all investors in these companies. . oil and gas is produced by independent operators, who are
one, two, three, five men operations who take a chance and go out there and explore and drill and every time they find a prospect, they put their money on the line and they are on the line, if they drill a dry hole, they have to struggle to get their next pay check. but this is the entrepreneurial spirit that built america. these men and women are not evil. they are our neighbors and concerned about the environment. and concerned about this country and they want the price of gasoline that you put in your car to be reasonable. they are not profit-gouging. we can show charts about how the price of gas is going up and why it's going up, but, you know, and it's not that hard of a question to look at. if you took a middle school, government class, you studied economics and finance and
studied about supply and demand, and supply is down because we can't drill and produce offshore. we can't produce in massive areas of land that is controlled by the federal government and we have a regulatory scheme that is looking at making new technologies to produce energy more expensive and possibly illegal. so the supply is down. then you look across the globe at our competitors, china, india, korea, all of these countries are seeing new-found wealth. the old movies where the chinese were riding around on bicycles, that isn't the way name. their factories are using oil and gas and competing on the international market for that oil and gas. our national security, our
economic security and our very freedom lies in exploring, finding and producing our domestic energy resources. that's the way we are going to keep america free and keep the cost of our goods and services down and that's the way we are going to keep the price of gasoline in check. thank you, judge, i yield back. mr. carter: as the expansion of what you just said, let's look at what the democrats in this house and the president has talked about the solution to the high price of gasoline. they are going to cut the tax breaks for the oil producers and they name, chevron, exxon, bp, the big, what they call the majors and going to cut the tax breaks and therefore, they are going to make sure those billion
dollars worth of profit aren't going to be there so they are going to le dues the tax breaks which they say is in the billions of dollars. let's look at what the tax breaks are about. all the oil and gas produced offshore in other countries is not subject to america. and that's where they produce 80% and 90% of all the production of the majors in the country. those drilling inside the continental united states, almost all of those people drilling shallow water offshore and a few of those people drilling deepwater offshore and they are not majors. the entrepreneurial spirit of the wildcatter and small producer who is going out in an attempt to expand domestic production. and by the way, they are the only ones who take advantage of tax breaks and they are not
billion dollar companies that we use as examples. so the cuts, the way i understand it are not going to affect exxon mobil or chevron or the big producers from overseas because the tax breaks don't pertain to that production. it only pertains to production in the united states and those are done by independents. the vast majority of them done by independents. the only people who get hurt again by the tax policies by the administration are the small business map. it seems to be argumented at the small independent entrepreneur who is trying to make a go. don't be misled to think that the majors that we see these massive amounts of money they are making are the target that is really going to be hit that
our colleagues on the democrat side of the aisle have proposed that we should take, what they call subsidies, tax breaks to the producers in domestic production. and by the way, they've put all offshore production, offshore, they have shut it down. just recently, shell oil company after dumping a couple of billion dollars in an offshore operation in alaska, off the coast of alaska, pulled out completely bace they could even get started before dumping a couple of billion dollars into that production field out there, the e.p.a. came in with more and more stops and other things and said, we are going someplace else. we aren't drilling in american waters anymore, it's not worth it. right now, where we know we have production for oil and gas, we
have an administration that is fighting that production tooth and nail. this has cost jobs in the industry as we pointed out and made our dependence on foreign oil bigger. here's the price of the obama administration since he has been in office. here, this is another chart that shows you the offshore production of crude oil in barrels per day. and that's where the production was 250,000 barrels up to 400,000 barrels, down again -- i guess that was in 1999, clinton administration, was down. back up in the bush administration, into the bush administration, boom, down to 100,000 barrels of offshore production a day from 400,000 to 100,000 since the obama
administration. nobody can argue that the obama administration is anything but violently opposed to the oil and gas industry. and they are doing anything they can so -- throw big roadblocks. and you wonder why the speculators are saying, $5 for the price of a barrel of oil is going up because they are speculating. you know how many millions of gallons of aviation fuel, a company like american airlines or united airlines or continental airlines, major airlines burns every week? you know what they have to do to stay ahead of increasing prices. they have to speculate on the futures on the price of fuel. there are plenty of people that are speculating because they say, let's see, what's going on in the world.
we are finishing up on the war in iraq and has been out of the market for years and barely getting back in. we are sitting here with a moratorium on all the offwould shore domestic production and not opening up any further land. the obama administration has shut down the leasing on any public lands. texas is the only state in the union that didn't turn their public lands over to the federal government. but the rest of the country, in areas like idaho, utah, we know there is production up there, up in wyoming, up in montana, all the stuff that the canadians are producing across the border, the fields on our side are being curtailed by the administration. they don't want to produce oil but buy it from foreign sources and these foreign sources, the people who study the market say, libya isn't available anymore,
iraq is not available. what happens if we have no production at home, the market looks shaky, we better buy futures on oil. and guess what? the price goes up. they see a shortage coming down the pike and compete with india and china, two of the biggest competitors for any kind of energy that's out there and we aren't going to buy -- the chance to buy fuel at a cheaper price now. of course speculators are going to do that and industry is going to do that. as my friend blake was pointing out, the lack of production, the lack of faith in what this government is going to do to this industry and the fear that the shutdown will be complete, it's just sets up the situation for the price to go up. when the price goes up, then the price of gasoline goes up.
and by the way, if you take either you add more taxes to the cost of the oil production or you take away the tax breaks for oil production, who do you think is going to pay that increased in costs for the oil industry? well, i'll tell you. it's going to be the guys and the gals who are filling their cars up with gasoline at the pump, to the extent that the business has an increase in production, they do the best they can to pass that cost onto the consumer. that's the way any company, any company, steel, whatever it is that you produce, if your costs go up, the manufacturer has passes it on, to the extent he can and still stay within the price limits that are set, not by the government, but by the
demand of the consumer, then the price goes up. so you aren't going to lower prices by taking away subsidies to the oil and gas industry. the only thing you can do is raise prices. it's not going to lower prices to discourage production. that's ridiculous. if you have the oil supply and have short supply and discouraging production, price is going to go up. you learn that in the eighth grade. this isn't hard stuff but easy stuff to figure out. sometimes i think some of these folks that don't understand the oil business and only know what's on the end of their dip stick. this product is a major product to the modern society of the american public and i think the american public know it and won't be fooled by demagogry on these prices. my colleague wish to have more
comments? mr. farenthold: i wanted to reiterate what you said. the speculators are the users, they are the airlines. if you want to double what your vacation is going to cost, you take away the airlines' ability to hedge their fuel prices. let's open the spigot and those guys are going to lose money. i wanted to reiterate and talk about that fact. you know, if you take a look at what this nation's policy is today on the oil and gas industry, if you were trying to find a way to run up gasoline prices, you probably couldn't come up with a better way to do it than we are doing now. it is like we are intentionally trying to raise oil prices, we are limiting oil production and making production more expensive and using our regulatory agencies to make it more
difficult to drill. we aren't loosing any of our land. if anyone had said, blake, how can we make gasoline more expensive, i would list out exactly what the executive branch and the federal agencies, the regulatory agencies are doing. i can't think of a way to run the prices up that they haven't. if as we are hearing the president's goal is to get prices down, the eighth grade is the answer, increase the supply. that's all it takes. and it's keysy to increase the -- easy to increase the supply and we can't flip the switch and do it overnight. as we open up federal lands and reopen the gulf, get the
permitting process under control, those prices will turn around and they will go down. helping the oil and gas industry lower prices does not mean we abandon alternative energy. all of the above is the answer. i think some people on the other side of this aisle and in other offices in this town believe that's it either or, stranching will the oil industry so they can glide. it's not like that. the energy demands of a modern world are such that all of the above is a correct answer. wind, solar, safe nuclear and a stronger reliance on natural gas that is in the ground in supply, just five years ago, we couldn't have imagined with the
breakthroughs we have in producing shale gas, coal. there's no one answer. every watt of electricity, every b.t.u., everything we do lowers the cost and raises the standard of living of everybody here and abroad. i'm sick and tired of less, less, less, either/or. this is the united states of america, this is the 21st century. yes, we can, we can have it all and we start at the pump. thank you, judge. i yield back. mr. carter: i thank you for yielding back. and there are quonskenses to any action you take in this town. i wanted to point out something i said in a committee hearing one time, we were having this
debate, i said those people who want to do away with oil and gas and have wind energy as the solution better strap a sail on their volkswagen and hope the wind is blowing toward washington tomorrow morning or we'll have a severe shortage in the u.s. capitol. but it's more than that. look at this quote from the heritage foundation. how many jobs does the anti-drilling agenda of this administration cost? the cost in jobs is startling. a new analysis by a louisiana state university prfsor, joseph mason, projects national job losses at 19,000 from the drilling moratorium, with wage losses at $1.1 billion, about 1/3 of those jobs are located outside the gulf region. not only do the people in the gulf lose jobs, do they
continue to lose jobs, it's these jobs, believe me, there is somebody, somewhere, within a 100 mile radius of where we are now that is producing something that goes into the production of oil and gas because it is a nationwide and worldwide industry and all the machinery and all the other complicated pages and all the modernization of production of petroleum, all of that is far beyond just the state of texas, louisiana, and the other gulf states. it actually -- it circumvents the whole globe. so jobs is another important reason why we have got to do something about this whole concept that this administration seems to have that we are evil because we produce our own gas. yet guess what? states that were criticizing us for producing natural gas two years ago are dancing around
campfires in their states now that they've learned they've got shale oil in their state and some of our midwest and eastern friends seem to all of a sudden be really excited about the fact that they've discovered they've got shale oil beneath their land and can produce good, clean natural gas. i say more power to them. i hope they can. i hope their state and this federal government doesn't throw up roadblocks to production of shale gas because it is safe, this fear is a hoax, we have been doing fracking in the oil industry for years. it's amazing how all of a sudden a process that's almost normal for production, get the second round of production out of almost any oil well that was drilled in texas is using some form of h2o tracking to get
that second round of -- fracking to get the second round of oil out of the well. people rework and rework these wells with all types of processes like that. that's fracturing, is what that means. are there solutions that can bring the place of oil and gas down? yes, i think there are. here's one that my good friend doc hastings has proposed. reversing president obama's offshore moratorium, establishes a national domestic oil and natural gas offshore production goal to ensure a continued development of america's offshore energy resources. that's h.r. 1231. hopefully we'll have that bill on the floor of the house this week or next week. this is important. this is showing real leadership
in real energy production. you see nothing on there says let's shut downwind mill production and solar production or let's shut down nuclear production. or hydroelectric or anything else. it's saying let's produce energy in the form like this. another energy solution, real gas price solution. restarting america's offshore leasing now, h.r. 1230, by doc hastings again, requires the sale of specified offshore leases within set time limits instead of continued administration delays. the central gulf of mexico, within four months, the western gulf within eight months, offshore virginia, within one year, additional central gulf
of mexico by june 1, 2012. this bill sets out a road map to leasing for production in what we consider our gulf of mexico. when it comes to producing a product offshore, the first place it ever happened was offshore texas and we considered that gulf to be like a saltwater lake ever since. that's not true, but the point is to stop the production that's been going on since i was a small child in the gulf and i know -- i'm no young whipper snapper, this goes back to being what we do well, producing offshore. another doc hastings bill. this is one, putting the gulf
of mexico become to work. require new safety permits to prevent and combat blowouts before drilling. everyone in the industry i talked to, literally hundreds of people about the industry, everybody agrees -- they were very proud of the fact that until the b.p. oil spill, oil spills looked like they would be a thing of the far ancient past. that mexico blowout was 20-something years ago. mr. farenthold: yes, i was a child. mr. carter: requires the secretary to decide on issuing a permit within 30 days of the applications with two 15-day extensions are allowed and provides drilling companies with speedy fifth simbingt court access if the government violates the law or denies the permitting process. not only does it set a standard
that congress should impose on the secretary but in addition it gives recourse, the kind of recourse we're supposed to have on these issues of whether or not to drill. that is to go to the courthouse and let the justice system prevail. and so let's go to the fifth circuit, who has already spoken once, pretty loudly, and let them speak again. one more that i don't seem to have, we need to open up the leasing for our public lands in the west. the states of utah and idaho and wyoming and montana, we are well aware and very knowledgeable about the amount of heavy petroleum that's available in those areas. north dakota, probably south dakota, we already finally
allowed it in north dakota but all the federal -- it, too, is struggling to get permits to drill on federally owned public lands. let's remember that word public land. it's not the u.s. government's land. it's u.s. government's holding it for the american public and if we need to lower our prices, we should go where the oil is. i believe my -- i had a colleague one day say, i don't know why you texans want to drill anywhere, why don't you drill in your own backyard. if there was oil underneath my back yard, you can bet your soul i'd drill back there in a heart beat. i'm not worried about -- in fact, i'd be glad to cut the grass around a producing oil well all day long in my back yard. won't hurt my feelings at all. i don't think anybody would feel any way other than that.
it's almost a comment on the industry when you pull out of dallas-fort worth airport, at the entrance, right to your right is a pumping oil and gas well that was drilled within the last three years. right there in practically downtown dallas. because they discovered a field out that way. so we know it can be done safely. but we have to get on it. "the new york times", not a bastion of conservative values, had an article, u.s. consumer prices up .5%, pushed mainly by food and gas. they will reaffirm they are going to finish quantitative easing -- that's this dollar thing i was talking about, but the central bank would remain concerned about inflation
expectations of consumers who could demand higher wages and could raise prices and perhaps cut spending. one of the price gounling things you are accusing the gas industry of doing is the fact that we have dumped trillions of dollars into our economy for the quantitative easing of the economy. you know, you heard, on this very house floor, how much this body has spent in stimulus and in other things in the last couple of years. trillions and trillions of dollars. more money, the congress of the united states, signed by the president, than in the history of the country, yet besides that, our treasury has been printing money to supposedly ease the economy and they've literally put measure dollars
in circulation which in turn devalues the very of the american dollar. when the value of the american dollar goes down, the price goes up. an apple has a worth. if there's a worth, a cost to that apple, on the market, there's a value before we dumped cash into the system, maybe $2, and you dumped all this into the system, it'll be $3 or $4, not because the apple changed but because the dollar changed. the dollar is worth less. nobody gos to mexico in texas anymore but if you did, like some idiot that got shot by terrorists other there, but if you did you'd find that they won't even take mesh dollars. in border towns in mexico anymore. american dollar is not wanted
in mexico because they're concerned about it losing its value. it used to be the peso we worried about losing its value. something went high ware. as we devalue our dollar and create a shortage of gas and oil, there's no surprise at all that the byproducts of those two products, gasoline and diesel, is going up and it has gone up. if we don't do something about getting back into production it's going to go up some more. if the world perceives that the largest consumer of energy on this earth is going to be at a huge demand when the supply goes down, if they bought futures on that supply, they're going to get rich. that's not the oil companies we're talking about. that's the people who speculate. the people who cover their energy needs, and by the way, some speculators are buying
futures of oil and gas from china, from russia, from india, and from western europe, to compete with the world market. we have a golden opportunity to at least pr deuce what we can produce and i'm not cutting down any other energy source, i'm saying all of it is part of the solution but drill anywhere that's effective and drill now. that's the important thing. thel gas underground. they don't understand natural gas. when blake was talking about the independents drilling an oil well, the average cost of an oil well that is not that deep is about a million bucks. when you go out and gamble a million dollars and come up dry and have to drill another well,
you know, these guys are the true entrepreneurs of this country and they can lose their shirt and get lucky and find an oil well and get their shirt back. that's the world they live in a that's the world for exploration of energy. and we aren't ashamed of it. we are proud of it. we are proud that people are willing to take the risk to prosper in america. our economy, our world, our world of commerce in this country is built about the risk takers and they invest their capital and labor in trying to produce a product and between those two, they have some successes and they live their their failures. we are in a world that anyone who slips up, we need to pay them up. i have problems with them.
another newspaper article, "the examiner" says oil imports spikes as obama oil ban decreases demand production. while oil production in the gulf is down more than 10% from april 2010, statements, net crude oil imports are up 5%. more imported oil also means higher prices at the pumps. as a direct of the obama administration, we have the price of oil going up. so tomorrow morning, when you go out there and you fill up, whatever you are drying, whether it's a smart -- whatever you are driving, whether it's a smart car or hybrid or filling up your
suburban, we have fleets in this town. look around washington, d.c.,, there is a black suburban. sometimes a whole parade of black suburb answer go by. they are good cars. but they burn a lot of gas. you fill one up, you better have a pretty good-sized pocket, because when you fill up, you are going to need a bank loan, because that will take some hundred dollars to fill that thing up. and that is the consequence of trying to curtail one industry to enhance another and that's not the way americans are supposed to operate. take our going concern and let's buildup our alternatives. turn them loose and stop subsidizing everybody and
compete. that's the way americans are supposed to operate. until we get to operating that way, we are going to find ourselves in this up-and-down world of shortages and find ourselves also in a final world of unemployment because since this recession, there is only one place on earth in the u.s. where jobs are increasing and that's right here where we are standing. federal employment is up 11.7% and the private economy is down 6.1%. these are changes in employment since 2007. so the only people creating jobs are federal jobs and i would argue that's not the way it's supposed to work. it's all part of a policy that is misdirected and i would say because they don't understand the nature of the industries
they are dealing with. and they really don't realize how many b.t.u.'s of energy it takes to run the lights in this building. but it's a ton of them. and i can tell you my daddy sold natural gas for 40 years of his life and he sold it cheap. if he was alive today and if he knew about the price today, he would call out his grave and start selling natural gas. we've got this resource. this resource, we can use it cleanly and protect our environment and live a good life and live the american dream, but you can't do it by trying to kill one industry to enhance another and i would argue that's what we have been doing under the obama administration. and i have a fervent hope that they see the light and back off and let us go back in to
production of oil and gas and other natural resources of this great nation so we can maintain our status as the best country on earth and the best country that cares about the average guy and tries to keep prices affordable for the average guy. the price gouging that they are accusing others is nothing more than a misspreppings of the -- misinterpretation of supply and demand and let's all hope and pray that this administration wakes up to many things, but this is one of them. if they wake up -- energy policy that makes sense, we will see the future price. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
>> live coverage of the house always on c-span. >> over the next several hours, more reaction to the killing of osama bin laden. first, the head of the senate intelligence committee, senator dianne feinstein from california. in a little more than half an hour, new york representative peter king, chairman of a committee. after that, senate debate on a resolution commending the u.s. military and the intelligence community for the bin laden mission. >> congratulations again to all of this year's studentcam documentary competition. you can see them online, and if you would like an early start, the theme is the constitution. create a video about why it is important to you. " for details on our new web site starting august 1.
>> for over two decades, bin laden has been an al qaeda leader and symbol. he has continue to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. the death of bin laden marks the most significant achievement to date in the nation's effort to defeat al qaeda. >> watch the president's speech and others all in their entirety, whenever you want, on- line, with the c-span video library. search, watch, click, in share. it is washington, your way. >> senate intelligence committee chairman dianne feinstein said congress may cut aid to pakistan if it turns out the government their new where osama bin laden was hiding. the california democrat will meet with cia director leon panetta tomorrow morning with details. this is a little more than half hour.
ok, you are from where? >> aljazeera. >> i have read a recent memo on some of the things that had been found. >> and what can you tell us? >> well, it was a secret briefing, so let me put it this way. john brennan has said, and i believe it is correct, that considerable materials were found and are going to be examined. piniella, that would lead one to believe that they might be various aspects of the computer world, in a i would anticipate
that that was the case, and as much as is gathered in the 45- minute period, the forces were there. >> what was the soundproof do you have a sense about the material? small, medium, or a giant leap in terms of what we know about al qaeda and their operation and so forth? >> i think all materials are a help. i think it is our ability to analyze materials that is better than it has ever been. another ability is better than it had ever been, and so, i would have to say that virtually all material is helpful. >> chris. >> hi, chris. >> what kind of light can use
shep on how this was played out? the interrogations program of the cia, what do you know about that? the kfx of waterboarding. >> we are in the process of a big study on the detention and interrogation of the detainee is on the intelligence committee. the republicans have pulled out of the study, so this has been carried out by the democratic staff essentially. they have gone through more than 3 million emails, cables, pieces of paper, looking for this. today, the answer to your question is no. nothing has been found to indicate that this came out of guantanamo, and people were questioned, but there was no
positive answer. >> where did the information come from then? >> i do not know exactly where the information came from, but it is pretty clear that they were able to track this one gentleman for a period of time in islamabad, and then tracked him back to this facility, which is such that it is eight times bigger than anything rounded and was designed in a manner which would lead one to believe that it had superior protection, and so the reason is why did it have superior protection? if this was the home of the courier, that probably was not necessary, so this led people to believe that it might be more than that and that this might, in fact, been the home of osama bin laden. senator bond and i were briefed in december, and since that time, since senator bond is no
longer in the senate, and senator chambliss is the vice chairman, he and i were breached. it was a title 50 effort. it worked. and i am, as chairman of the committee, really, really proud of the intelligence community. putting this together was not an easy feat. it meant a sustained analysis over a substantial period of time, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody ever physically saad bin laden, stood to gain enough to enable the president to authorize by executive action this move was very impressive on the part of
the intelligence community. yes? >> from what you have seen, it is there any information that the pakistans helps him have shelter in any way? >> no, i have no information to that effect. it does cause one to question how this type of facility, which stood out, was closed by a military academy, it could exist for the length of time it did exist, and we now know that bin laden was there up to six years. that is a substantial period of time. when trashes burned rather than picked up by sanitation authorities. it was noted there was no electronic access, and yet, it was a sophisticated facility, the questions would have had to
have been asked, i would think. now, where the questions answered by those in pakistan, i cannot say. >> just to follow up on that, do you intend to ask about what they knew could >> yes, we will. we will have a meeting tomorrow morning with the leon panetta and the admirable -- admiral in charge. we will go through it at that time. >> do you have any questions about what they knew and did not know? >> i think we have to question whether they knew. if they did not know, why did they not know? why did they not pay more attention to it? was this just benign
indifference, or was it in difference with a motive? i do not know what the interest is. we need to find that out. >> yesterday, you were talking about it being a time of budget cuts and austerity and there could be an effort to not give money. >> i think it is premature to say that. here is the problem. if we do not, what then? and that what then is really important. does china step in? who steps in? does anybody step in? what would this do? and john brennan said this very clearly they have been good at going after some terrorists. on the other hand, they have given another network protection, and put them off limits to the united states predator effort, so they have
very suddenly walked both sides of the street. that is a concern to many of us, i think, the kids you have to declare yourself. now, having said that, we're in the united states of america. we are not in islamabad or karachi, so it is difficult. and i think from an intelligence point of view, we would want to know more about why this was not discovered by those in pakistan. >> how does the nuclear issue complicate things >> no question, it complicates. there is real concern that pakistan remains ground zero for terror today.
we know the taliban, or we believe the taliban -- if things went bad in afghanistan, the next place would be pakistan, that it is an expanding movement and that it would not be content to stand with a partial victory, and that is a very complicating factor, and it has to be well considered before an action is taken. united states, i believe, would want to support, as strong as possible, the pakistan government, one that would be willing to work with the united states, one that might one day be willing for reconciliation with india over kashmir, and a country that would really want to see its systems -- its citizens economically upwardly mobile. i think some military assistance can be much more important than
military assistance at this stage. we have and bards on this release 1.5 years. >> critics of the bush administration. >> what i said is that to the best of our knowledge, based on none of it came as the result of harsh interrogation practices. >> the original evidence. do you personally have any concerns about where the original tip came from? >> not precisely, no. i mean, we are going to find out
all there is to find out about it, but at the present time, i think it was a good intelligence, a piece here, a piece there, and then this man coming in and out of the compound, boeing 90 miles away, using a telephone, taking out the batteries and destroying the phone, that kind of thing. >> any reason to believe that u.s. intelligence knew about this before they tracked the courier back to it? >> i believe, based on what i know, that the couriers led to the compound. that is all i can say. that is what i believe, that by following this courier, he led them to the compound. that is what i know so far. >> can you elaborate a little
bit on that and the role? a courier to someone being monitored. >> i cannot speak to that. i do not know that. what was the other part of your question? >> can you elaborate? >> yes, i can. there is no question but at least since i have known about it, which was december, there have been 24/7 surveillance of the compounds, and, obviously, the nsa is a part of that. you do not need electronic signals to survey who is coming and going. i beg your pardon? >> senator, was that involved in
their surveillance? >> i am not want to comment on their surveillance. the items that they took i believe were related to computers and probably some records. that is all i know. >> left behind? >> i have no knowledge of that. >> john run-in yesterday spoke almost mockingly of osama bin laden. now, it turns out that that was not accurate. i want to ask you what is your level of confidence in the information that is coming from mr. brennan and the white house on how this has played out. >> i have a very high level of confidence on information coming from the administration and coming from john brennan.
this is a problem with everybody wanted to ask questions so fast and so thin, and it is very difficult to sort everything out, so he did correct himself, as you know, and we are all subject to that kind of thing. apparently, there was a wife who stood in front of her husband, and i believe the person may well have been the courier i have been talking about, but whether she was forced to do it, or she did voluntarily, i have no idea. >> are you saying that she was married to the courier? the wife of the courier? >> that is my tentative understanding, subject to change. >> do you expect the committee to review the photographs? >> i expect us to ask for that to see that, yes. >> have you seen them?
>> no. >> do you know there is a video of the burial? >> i would assume that it has been video and. i do not know that it has been. i think that this is being very carefully considered. i think for purposes of 100% of identification, there is value in doing so, and that would be the only reason. >> what are your concerns? >> i just do not see a need to do it. the dna has been positive. people may still doubt that. therefore, there may because, i do not know, to release a photograph, which i understand is very graphic. >> aside from your meeting tomorrow morning with leon panetta as chairman of this
committee, do you intend to hold meetings? >> that is a good question, and let me just say that is under consideration. i think we have to go step-by- step. the first step is to get a full briefing from mr. fox and mr. panetta, and then we can make a decision on where we go from there, and, you know, this is not the end of the battle. and i think to over the dramatize it does not do a tremendous service. one of the things that has been happening, and particularly in one area, has been a kind of loose metamorphosis between these terrorist groups, whether it is al qaeda or any other group, and they are not going to just disappear, so how they
regroup, where they go from here, what kind of act of vengeance they take, it all has to be considered in considered very carefully. >> when you learned in december where he was were you surprised? >> was i surprised. i would not say i was surprised. the first time i saw a photograph of the place, i thought, you know, it just may well be, because it is so much bigger, and no one approaches it except a few people coming and going, the way the walls are, the razor wire, the design, it
is there for some purpose. then you get to, well, maybe it is a high value detainee. then who, and it was a masterful job of intelligence, and for those of us that saw the iraq national intelligence estimate, the fact that the intelligence community is now so able, excuse me, to do this kind of analysis and really do it well, and the administration was willing to make a very gutsy call and go in, you know, they could have sent a predator with hellfire missiles and killed everyone in the place. they did not do it. it was a very gutsy mission. i think the one helicopter failure to place indicated just how gutsy it was, and the fact
that no one was injured or killed, the fact that the mission was accomplished cleanly, precisely, and they got in, and they got out, i was just very, very proud. >> >> some of the intelligence came from the bush era interrogation. >> i do not create i happen to know a good deal about how those in derogations were conducted. in my view, nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used. >> what recourse does congress have if they do not respond to the questions the u.s.
government has? >> what recourse? our recourse would probably either be a revolution of policy, or in the appropriations bill, when the money is appropriated, it is my and your standing that the total is between $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion. some of that could be changed, that is for sure. is it wise to do so? that is a decision that has to be made, and i think some of it depends on what we find out about the pakistani government knowledge about this and doing nothing about it. >> [inaudible]
a different senior official said that was not a mechanical failure. >> i know what i have been told. the temperature was 17 degrees higher than anticipated. based on the the temperature and the load in the helicopter, the helicopter began to descend. it was a kind of controlled hard landing. that is what i know. >> is focused overwhelmingly -- bin laden was found in the center of pakistan.
does that say anything about improper targeting? >> no. it does not. here is the reason why it does not. it does not because -- and i can only talk about the intelligence area, not the defense area -- but the use of the drums or the predator by the intelligence community is very carefully done. as part of our oversight, we have a team of staff that goes out there periodically and spends time out there and looks at the intelligence, which is what is happening, just to be able to provide a measure of oversight that real care is being taken to avoid collateral or civilian damage. i think they have done a very good job. that has been a concern of mine
from the beginning. i asked that this effort be established, and it has been. i think the finding is that the intelligence is very solid, the procedural change of approval is very solid, and the way in which this is being done is very careful. >> [inaudible] is there a concern? >> they have got an aide large value of high value detainee's parade the problem is that they get replaced. they have got never half of the high value targets, over half of al qaeda has been eliminated. now they had been replaced, so it is a constant issue. >> deal know what explains the lower number of strikes this year?
>> i do not. >> senator, do you believe there was an effort to try to capture bin laden? what kind of resistance? >> i have asked that question and i think if you -- if he came out with his hands up, or you would get been arrested. clearly, he did not. what was the armed? was the fighting back? >> i cannot answer that. >> [inaudible] what would have happened to him? >> no, i have not. >> [inaudible] >> i do not. >> back to the question about bin laden found in an urban area, do you understand why the
intelligence was so wrong about the location? >> what do you mean? >> given that it was believed for a great deal of time that he was in the tribal region between afghanistan and pakistan. why was that intelligence so wrong? >> i do not agree with you that it was wrong. different people, the pakistan he's put out information that he was in afghanistan. this has been a 10-year search. when they came upon his house, the focused changed. but i do not think any information was put out by the intelligence community on this location that was wrong. >> [inaudible]
>> i cannot answer that. >> at what point did they know for sure that bin laden was there? can you describe that moment? did you find out? >> i did not find out. they made that decision and i do not believe they shared it with the leadership. they decided to go ahead. they had enough to go ahead. >> one or two more questions. >> [inaudible] said that will be played by john brennan? >> if we had a confirmation process that made sense, if people got perfect -- confirmed promptly, if we had a confirmation process that moved smoothly, that might be one thing. we do not have the confirmation
process that moves smoothly. the obama administration is now going into a campaign for a second term had not been able to fill the vacancies of its first term. that should not be the case. i do not really think that the confirmation issue is a big issue. what is important is the president has the people around him to advise them that are the right people, that are skilled, that have the experience and knowledge. john brennan fits all those qualifications. >> is there anything that this administration did differently that resulted in this? >> yes. the red teaming of the intelligence was significant.
what that means is that they look for reasons why what they had as a piece of intelligence might not be accurate. might indicate something else. that is a very good process. it is a solid process because it exposes weaknesses in the intelligence. >> and that did not happen before? >> it did not happen over the iraq national intelligence. >> [inaudible] >> the bin laden unit? >> how crucial to the specific task. >> i think it is very crucial. this has been there for a substantial period of time. people become experience with the intelligent and they have
recalled pieces that went through before that you can pull back out. they were able, i am sure, to go back into his history, a history of his close associates, were they were, how they met them, what they did. going back to his days in this head-on. -- saddam. >> you looked in the wrong country all this time. what is your response to what he said about this? about the drawdown of troops and things of that nature. >> on one hand, you have what president karzei said, and you have what the general has said. there are two conflicting views. the point is, not it was right or wrong, but where he really
was. where he really was was 35 miles orth of a major pakistan i city. >> [inaudible] >> i do not think that this in spite a long shot. unless something happens to indicate that this whole movement subsides and people look for much more practical ways of expressing their views, not only practical, but productive ways, the united states is dedicated to fight terror. this has been the -- the people that fermented al qaeda are still there. they are coming across for sure.
have been separated out. i am not sure where they are. we can certainly find out. >> [inaudible] >> that is my understanding. >> [inaudible] >> i cannot answer that. that is my understanding. >> thank you. >> what is the next step? >> the next step is to carefully consider what we have learned from this, and and the lessons that indicate where we should go with it. the next step, we will continue to do what we are doing.
trying to take out the high- value targets, trying to make the difference in afghanistan so that we can begin to pull troops out in july, attracted down the iraq situation, and slowly leave that area. having said that, at bat is a lot to be done. -- that is a lot to be done. >> [inaudible] >> i am not going to comment on that. thank you. >> administration officials briefed members of congress
today on the mission. afterwards, at the head of a homeland security committee spoke would support -- reporters for a few minutes. >> have they learned anything that might prevent future attacks? >> nothing was said about any evidence they found. nothing was said about anything like that. it is still being analyzed. >> it was more of a narrative? >> it was a basic timeline. >> was the military right there, 1 mile from the compound? are you not concerned that billions of dollars that congress has appropriated, they
are correct? >> i met with the -- this is a real crossroads and defining moment in our relationship with pakistan. in the past, we had made the decision that was more positive than negative. in view of these issues of having bin laden right near the military academy, right near headquarters, living in a very upscale area, it is very hard to believe that some elements of the government were not aware of this. >> [inaudible] >> it is still going on, yes. >> [inaudible] >> this is obviously a very important relationship. this is going to be part of negotiations, part of meetings between pakistan knees and the
administration. >> unit said last night that there was water morning -- water boarding a use. >> do you have firsthand knowledge? >> initial information came from -- directly related to a career. after the interrogation, a more information came great initial information came from waterboarded. >> the white house said that he was unarmed. >> reports up till now, the team is being debriefed now. nobody knows what happens. >> did you get that in this
briefing? >> this was on my own. >> your team has still not been debriefed yet? >> that is-standing. >> the information is about the couriers. >> yes. >> [inaudible] >> somebody who was very familiar with what happened at the time. >> i do not want a conspiracy theory developing. the media is bad enough, imagine what they do on the internet. there is no doubt that they got him. from the heard pictures, they are not offensive. >> why didn't they show them at the briefing today?
>> that is still to be decided what will happen. >> i do not have anything to say, i just want to be photographed. >> was there must discussion about the decision to bury at sea? >> no. that was 30 seconds. it was given as part of the time line. >> it was there any discussion of the role of the isi? >> there was questions about what they knew and what they did not know. >> ira been discussing this with people over the last couple of days. in view of past actions --
>> [inaudible] what were their concerns about how we would respond? >> they are still on talking points. the relationship now has changed. we are at a crossroads. you cannot expect to get it without serious questions being asked. and the relationship being realized. >> [inaudible] >> they did not convince you of their [unintelligible] >> i am not rushing to judgment. we have not got the cooperation that we need. >> mike rogers said that he does not think that the government has institutional knowledge that osama bin laden was there. >> that could well be true.
institutional knowledge as opposed to people operating within the government that are allowed to flourish? >> there was a video that was being watched live at the white house. >> did show the operation and i do not want to go into details. >> it -- did it show the moment that he was shot? >> [inaudible] >> we have to begin very serious discussions. this is an important relationship and i do not want to trivialize it. we have to make a judgment about it. we have to pursue it and decide how it will change, how will restructure. ok? >> have you seen the photographs? >> no. nothing more than you would expect with a person with a
bullet in his head. >> the senate approved a resolution commending u.s. troops on the intelligence committee on the operation that led to the killing of osama bin laden. this portion of the debate is an hour. delaware has mentioned, over the last 36 or so hours, our nation and allies around the globe have rightly celebrated an extraordinary military triumph, a great victory in the war on terror, a turning point perhaps toward peace. osama bin laden, the heinous mastermind of the 9/11 attacks that murdered thousands of americans, has been final
brought to justice -- has been finally brought to justice and we are rightly celebrating the extraordinary service, bravery, skill of the navy seals who was the tip of the spear, an american military that has brought to justice one of the criminals, one of the war criminals of our time. and we celebrate not only, of course, the navy seals but all of the men and women who have given their lives and their service over the past years and their families, and we celebrate also the intellectual and intelligence community, the intellectual gifts that they have brought to bear, the intelligence that they have mobilized in support of this effort that were so crucial. even as these celebrations have
been conducted, on one small beach in connecticut, this news has been greeted with solace and somber remembrance. it is the beach at sherwood island, where connecticut is home to the living memorial for the connecticut victims of 9/11. a memorial to the 152 victims of this tragedy, this murderous act by the man brought to justice. it is a beautiful place, exquisitely and heartbreakingly beautiful. the skyline of new york is visible from this point justicing oujusticejut -- pointm west port, the place in could be seen in flames on 9/11. the place in provided a staging
area for manufacture the relief efforts -- for many of the relief efforts that happened on that day and succeeding days. and now it is a place that the community of west port, the state of connecticut, and the world can remember that tragedy and the 152 people who lost their lives. it is also the place that every year connecticut gathers to honor their memory and the families, many of them, of those 152 victims come, as some of them did yesterday, with very mixed feelings probably today. i know they are mixed feelings because i talked just a short while ago this morning with lee hansen, who is the father of peter and his wife su kim and their daughter christine, who lost their lives on that day.
lee and eunice come to that place on the day that we recognize the connecticut victims of 9/11 and many other days, and they felt deeply the ambivalence, the mixed feelings, the grief renewed again. on the memorial, a granite marker in west port, their reads the following: "the citizens of connecticut dedicate this living memorial to the thousands of innocent lives lost on september 11, 2001, and to the families who loved them." and today, while there are many voices who celebrate this victory -- and rightly so -- there are voices harder to hear, perhaps unheard, the victims and their families whose memory i wish to honor today and ask to
place in the record the names of those 152 men and women of connecticut who died on september 11, 2001, as recorded on the memorial that honors their legacy in sherwood island. i ask that their names be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. the lives of those families have been changed forever. their children are young adults. some of them have their own children now. their lives have moved on. some have remarried and some have come to peace. but their lives, like the lives of the emergency responders who ran into the building, the firefighters and police and their families, have been changed forever.
the lives of our veterans who have fought and served and sacrificed in the war on terror have been changed forever. and we owe it to them never to forget, even as we celebrate this victory, we owe it to our veterans who have served and sacrificed to honor that service not just in rhetoric but in deed and to make sure that we leave no veteran behind in education and jobs and health care, to provide for them what we have obligated and promised to provide. and while we hope for peace from this day forward, we must do everything we can to support the brave men and women who continue to serve in the war on terror that now continues and those of our allies, whose relentless
service and sacrifice have helped us to win this victory. and my hope is that the memory of the victims of 9/11 will bring us together in a time of unity and purpose, just as that heinous act did on that day almost ten years ago. the heinous, brutal murder of september 11, 2001, hit the world trade center and they hit the pentagon but they missed america, as was remarked at the time, they missed what makes america great and they brought us together in a time that we can remember with pride because it was a time of resolve and unity. and i hope that the memory of
those victims, the 152 from connecticut and thousands more from around the country, as well as their families, can bring us together now in a renewed sense of unity and purpose to face the challenges that lie ahead. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, late on sunday evening, the world was told of news we had been waiting for for almost ten years. osama bin laden was a murderer who devoted his life to the destruction of freedom, democracy and our way of life. his death is an important milestone in the fight against global extremist violence and a relief to the millions of americans and others around the world who have felt his murderous destruction. i first and foremost want to thank the military and the intelligence professionals who carried out this daring mission
which was executed flawlessly and will go down in our history books as a mission as to how we should do our work. i want to take a moment to complement all of our military and intelligence people who were involved in this -- in this effort. i take great pride in representing the state of maryland and our intelligence agencies that are located at fort meade. they do incredible work for our national security and for our nation, and they do a lot of things that keep us safer but they can never issue a press release because of the nature of their work. many times i believe their work goes basically unappreciated by the vast majority of americans. i just want to take a moment to congratulate all the men and women who have devoted their lives to keeping us safe, in our intelligence agencies and in our military.
this mission demonstrates the type of work that they do in order to keep this nation as a safer nation. this successful interagency operation illustrates intelligence sharing at its best and the commitment of the men and women of our armed forces as well as our political leadership. mr. president, as you know, after the attack on our country on september 11, we had commissions do work, we had a lot of congressional investigations, and there was one theme that came out very clearly in regards to the way that we collected intelligence information to keep this nation safe, and that is there was too much stovepiping and not enough sharing of information, and information that could have been shared, could have been used in a way to keep us safe was not being done. well, this effort demonstrates the advantages of sharing information. our intelligence agencies acted upon information that was made available through various sources, using that to be able to conduct this mission.
and truly bin laden was brought to justice as a result of president obama's deliberative planning, coordination and communication, his leadership and his partnership and our dogged persistence, we were able to accomplish this mission. i want to congratulate president obama. he had to make a tough call. the intelligence information was not conclusive. much of it was circumstantial. yet, he evaluated, with the best information we had, to determine that bin laden was at this location. he then had to make another tough choice as to what type of mission to use, whether to just use a -- a sophisticated bomb in order to destroy the property, which would have caused the loss of some innocent life, or whether to use a higher risk mission of sending our seals into pakistan. the president made the right call. he made the right decision, and i congratulate him on his
leadership. all americans were affected by bin laden's evil actions. we all remember that fateful day in september, 2001. i was on the other side of the capitol as a congressman in my office in the rayburn building. i remember receiving information that we thought that there was a plane that could be head to go our own building. capitol police ushered us out of the building so that we could try to get out of harm's way. we all began to understand our nation was under attack and the world was changing. while we're still living in that changed world, this event reminds us again that the strength of america, its freedom and its persistence can prevail. as a lifelong proponent of human rights, i know that we do not rejoice in killing, but his death rids the world of this man who was committed to intolerance, destruction, hatred and the desecration of human
dignity. bringing bin laden to justice helps heal the wounds of those who lost their loved ones and to a nation that lived through 9/11. we must remain vigilant as the fight against al qaeda and other extremists go on. while al qaeda is increasingly marginalized, particularly as we see in so many of the arab worlds exercising their desire for change, the threat posed by terrorist organizations will remain with us. we must remain on our highest guard, working with our allies around the world in order to fight these extremists. once again, i want to congratulate the tremendous efforts of our president, our military and our intelligence community, especially as their hard work continues, and may this event bring some sense of peace to the families affected by bin laden's evil, as well as to all in the world who love freedom and peace.
mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that in quorum calls, the time be equally charged against the majority and the minority. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. under the previous order, the clerk will report the pending resolution. the clerk: s. res. 159, honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed osama bin laden, and for other consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: mr. president, at 10:00 on sunday night, i was at the terminal at the detroit airport. i had gone through the usual airport security drills, shoes off, liquids in plastic bags and all the other inconveniences designed to keep us safe. it was at that same airport at christmas, 2009, that a would-be
terrorist sought to bomb an airliner. so i was surrounded by reminders large and small of how the threat of terrorism has affected our lives when defense secretary gates called me with the momentous news that our forces had succeeded in raiding a compound in pakistan and killing osama bin laden. a few hours later, my wife barbara and i joined a different scene. thousands of cheering young people waving american flags and singing patriotic songs in the early morning darkness outside of the white house, part of an outpouring of relief and emotion across the nation. what had happened is that osama bin laden could not avoid the long memory and the long arm of justice, and he could not hope to triumph against the indomitable spirit of the american people. the news that president obama
delivered to the nation on sunday evening gives us many reasons to reflect. we should first turn to those who still carry the grief and loss of that september morning. about ten years ago, to those who have lost loved ones in the fight against terror and the years since, to those who carry wounds of body, mind or spirit from that war. the death of osama bin laden cannot bring back the lives lost to his montana trust -- monstrous acts, but it can, i hope, bring some measure of relief from those losses. we first turn with thanks and admiration to the men and women of our armed forces and the intelligence community. for them and their families, the last decade has been one of long separations, uncertainty and danger, and yet time and time again, they have answered their nation's call with courage, with
competence and with skill and once again have earned our utmost gratitude. we should also commend the president for his courage and for his care in ordering a military mission to capture or kill osama bin laden. there was no direct evidence that bin laden was in the compound that the c.i.a. had determined housed two al qaeda couriers. instead, the evidence was circumstantial and there were differing views within the intelligence community as to the likelihood that bin laden or perhaps some other high-value target was there. moreover, the mission required the military helicopters to enter into pakistani airspace, to land in pakistan's sovereign territory and for navy seals to use lethal force on a compound in a city that was home to two pakistani armed registeriments.
-- regiments. the president courageously directed the alternative options of a bombing missile, a missile mission or waiting until there was more evidence of bin laden's presence. he rejected both of those alternatives. with his bold decision and with the heroism and skill of our military and intelligence professionals, our nation struck a tremendous blow not just against a single depraved individual but against the hateful ideology that he espoused, that there be no mistake, al qaeda is weaker today, its leader is dead and so is the myth surrounding him. osama bin laden sent his followers to hide in dank mountain caves and often to their own suicide from the comfort of his million dollar villa. his death has dealt al qaeda a
major blow. the mystique of osama bin laden, of osama bin laden has been punctured. the victory over hate-inspired terrorism is not yet complete. our successful mission against bin laden will no doubt lead to al qaeda's remaining leaders to issue calls for retaliation. it is critical that our intelligence and military strength continue to seek out those elements and franchises of al qaeda that remain in afghanistan, pakistan, the arabian peninsula, africa and other places such as al qaeda and the arabian peninsula in yemen. the threat may be diminished but it remains. further, it is critical that we ensure that our military and intelligence communities continue to adapt to the threat of our regular and
unconventional enemy. the interagency cooperation that helped make this mission a success is impressive and it remains a potent weapon in our effort to weaken the al qaeda network. this is an effort worthy not just of this nation but of all nations, and that is why it is important that we find answers to the significant questions raised by the news from sunday night. 35 miles from the pakistani capital and a qocial walk from the pakistani military's most important academy, in a town where the pakistani military and intelligence services own a large share of the property, al qaeda appears to have built a massive complex. ringed by walls as high as 18 feet, protected by barbed wire as the dedicated hiding place for osama bin laden.y it
is difficult to believe this occurred without at least arousing the suspicions of spook's security forces or their local officials. the american people prof provided billions of dollars of aid to the pakistani government deserve to know whether elements of pakistan's military and intelligence services or local officials knew of bin laden's location over the five years or so he was there. and if they did not know, how that could possibly be the case. hopefully, just as importantly, the pakistani people deserve these answers, for they have suffered greatly from al qaeda's violent extremism. assassinations, bombings, deaths of civilians and military personnel alike, all these losses show that al qaeda and its hate-filled terrorism and its terrorist allies threaten
pakistan's very existence. i believe that some of pakistan's leaders know this to be true, and i was heartened by the reaction of prime minister gahlani to bin laden's death. he said i think it's a great victory and congratulate this death. close quote. but it is urgent that the pakistani government get answers to the questions about what its military and intelligence agencies local officials knew and to share the answers with those questions with the world and with their own people. pakistan can be an important ally in the fight against terror. it has as much at stake, if not more, in that fight as anybody. all the more important that we openly and honestly address the questions which have been raised by the presence of terrorist
number-one, public enemy number-one, the world's enemy number-one, the presence of that person in pakistan in such a central place for all these years. it is important that those questions be honestly answered so that we resolution. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mrs. feinstein: i ask that the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: i rise in strong support of this resolution and offer my congratulations to the men and women responsible for developing the intelligence and carrying out the operation that led to the death of osama bin laden. -- on sunday, may 1. this is perhaps the most important and certainly the most stunning intelligence operation i've seen in my ten years on the intelligence committee. i want to congratulate, first and foremost, president obama. as he stated in his sunday night address to the nation, directed the leon panetta shortly after
taking office to -- quote -- "make the killing or capture of bin laden the top priority of our war against al qaeda." when the effort to collect and analyze intelligence on this compound in abbottabad bore fruit, president obama made a gutsy decision to oord the strike. even though the intelligence community could not assure him with certainty that bin laden was there. at the operational level, the hunt for bin laden and the raid on his compound has shown the greatly improved collaboration and cooperation across the intelligence community and, of course, the department of dwerchtion. -- the department of defense. the c.i.a. has seed and well-served the lion's share of the credit. the agency collected the human intelligence and carter out other missions that found and characterized the abbottabad
compound and c.i.a. analysts took the lead in analyzing and reanalyzing that information. the c.i.a.'s counterterrorism center has a banner on the wall that read, and i quote, "today is september 12, 2001." end quote. it's been nearly ten years, but the perseverance and dedication has truly paid off. i want to also recognize the efforts of the national security agency, which provided signals intelligence, and the national geospatial intelligence arks which conducted the imagery analysis on the compound. it was truly a team effort. i also commend and give thanks to the joint special operations command, or jsop, the team that flew to the compound under cover of night and conducted the raid. it was not a picture-perfect operation, and changes to the
plan were necessary, as the lead helicopter was forced to land unexpectedly. but the highly trained and skilled members of the navy seal team adjust, they reach their target, they killed osama bin laden without taking any casualties themselves. i was first briefed on the compound and the possibility that it housed osama bin laden in the beginning of last december, along with senator kit bond, who was vice-chairman of the intelligence committee at that time. since then, the current vice-chairman, senator saxby chambliss, and i have been regularly briefed and updated on the intelligence, and i thank director panetta and his team for keeping the intelligence committee leadership informed. as one who was regularly critical of our government's inability to keep secrets, it is very reassuring that this highly
sensitive and sensational intelligence was kept under wraps for months. mr. president, there is no doubt that sunday's operation gives rise to a number of questions. among the most important of them are, one, what did pakistan know about bin laden's presence and this compound in the up to six years he was there? it has to be pointed out, this compound was eight times bigger than any home in the vicinity. it was just a quarter mile away from another home. it was a mile away from a major military academy. it had raiser wire on the top -- it had razor wire on the top of very large walls and it was very large in itself. trashed wasn't picked up. it was burned. no one came in and out really except the two couriers that
went about delivering messages from a distance from the compound. it should have been an issue of curiosity, and neighbors surely would have been interested. who lives there? why is it so big? what's going on there? but there was virtually no reaction. the second point is, what does bin laden's death mean for al qaeda and for the affiliate groups and lone wolves that he had inspired and led? as the chairman of the intelligence committee, i'll be looking for answers to those questions and get more of the details of the operation itself. tomorrow morning in a joint classified hearing with the armed services committee, we will be looking into these and other issues. but this resolution is about commending the men and women of our intelligence community and
the united states military for their dedication and years of work that led to 40 minutes of incredible success. it should also recognize the fact that since 9/11, intelligence has been stream 13 -- streamlined, stovepipes have been taken down, and analysts have greatly improved that their trade craft. the intelligence having to do with this one facility was red-teamed once, red-teamed twice, and red-teamed at least a third time, and the red-teaming process gives the ability of other analysts to debunk the intelligence, to try to put tosh to indicate what might -- to try to indicate what might be a lapse, an inclusion, a false judgment. it is a very valuable process. this resolution also recognizes
the measure of justice now delivered to those who mourn and remember the thousands of men, women, and children claimed as victims on 9/11 and in the another attacks carried out by al qaeda under osama bin laden both here and around the world. this won't end terror as we know it today, but it surely is a monumental step to be able to put an end to the man who championed the cause, the man who provided the inspiration, the man who raised the money, and the man who was purely and simply the major leader. osama bin laden is no more, and the time is upon us -- and i hope the world will be listening -- to try to consider a better path, to move away from acts of terrorists, move away from the
killing of innocent men, women, and children, and become parts of the councils of governments, whatever they may be, across the world, to debate, to discuss, to vote, and to put forward principled policies. i very much appreciate the efforts of the majority leader and the republican leader in bringing this resolution to the floor and urge its adoption. mr. president, i noticed my distinguished vic vice-chairmann the floor and i particularly want to thank him, senator chambliss, you, for all the cooperation that we have been able to effect together. you truly have been wonderful. it's been a great joy for me to work with you, and i only wish i could give you a glass of california wine to salute this very special day. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. chambliss: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia.
mr. chambliss: let me just say, california wine being a favorite of mine, i'm available anytime, madam chairwoman. thanks for those kind comments. mr. president, let me just say to my good friend from california what a pleasure it's been to work with her. the intelligence committee has always been a very bipartisan committee, and nobody exhibits that more so than our current chairman, dianne feinstein. she -- she is tough when she needed to be tough, and she's fair at all times. she and i have a unique relationship with regard to the other committees in the senate in that we jointly hire all of our staff. and she has been streedgesly cooperative to me -- extremely cooperative to me in the hiring process, and again she's just been a pleasure to work with. and i have to say that diane and i have been on the committee foreseveral years. i am very proud of the work our
committee has done and our relationship with the intelligence community, and one of the big reasons that we had the success that we had on sunday in the takedown of bin laden is because of the oversight that diane and others have carried out on the intelligence committee and because of our relationship with the community. it iit is not a exadive relationship. we -- it is not a combative relationship. we had the head of the d.n.i. and others both formally and informally. those are the times that we find out the needs of the intelligence community and had you not provided the right kind of leadership, they wouldn't have had all the tools necessary to carry out this very important and sophisticated mission. so thanks for your great work. thanks for your friendship, and i look forward to that glass of california wine. mr. president, i rise today in
support of this resolution with respect to the takedown of bin laden and also to praise the mism our intelligence and -- the men and women of our intelligence community with regard to the operation. we have been pursuing the world's most infamous terrorist for over a decade but it was the hard work and tireless dedication of these men and women that led to this significant achievement. i am always proud of our military men and women but most especially today i am truly proud of their great work. as we approach the ten-year anniversary of september 11, i am thankful that the families and loved ones of the victims of 9/11 as we will as all americans can have some closure. the leader of al qaeda and murderer of thousands of americans and allies can never again sponsor a terrorist attack. it is also important to point out that this operation was made
possible by information provided by enemy combatants that had been detained and interrogated by the united states. there has been a lot of debate in this country about our detention and interrogation policy but this is probably one of the clearest examples. extraordinary -- of the extraordinary value of the information we've been able to gather. if we had not had access to this information, osama bin laden would likely still be operating undetected today. it is because of the information gained from these detainees, pursued andage ieft and analyzee years that led us to the compound. it is almost unimaginable that he was loablghted not in a cave in pack stains noman'sland but in a city just outside of islamabad with a large pakistani and government military presence. this is an amazing achievement,
one that will remembered for decades. but we must remember that al qaeda is a decentralized network that continues to threaten americans both at home and abroad. a number of dangerous leaders associated with al qaeda including ayman al-zawahiri are still out there no doubt plotting their next attack as we speak. we also face a growing number of threats from other radical organizations and individuals including homegrown terrorists and extremists. although bin laden's death is an enormous blow to al qaeda, we must make sure that we remain vigilant in all our efforts to defeat terrorism and never lose sight of our objectives, which is not the death of one man but the dismantling of our terrorist networks that seek to do us harm. in closing, i want to again thank our intelligence professionals and military personnel for their service and dedication.
i also want to remind everyone that while this is our greatest success to date in our efforts to combat al qaeda, we still have a lot of work to do and cannot rest until all of that work is done. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i rise to speak in support of resolution 159 honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed osama bin laden. i'm as happy to rise today as at any time in the past ten years, and it's been for the last ten years that i have eagerly awaited the moment when my colleagues and i could take to this floor and celebrate the news we got this sunday, that we got osama bin laden. justice has been done, and the world has become a better place now that bin laden is no longer in it. this is a time for national
unity and celebration. it's a time to finally close a painful chapter in the history of our nation even as our larger fight continues. and most of all, it's a time to give thanks and recognition to a distinguished group of our fellow citizens who will forever occupy an honored place in our history. i want to echo my colleagues in offering my humble thanks to the brave men who carried out this daring operation as well as to the men and women in uniform who enabled their success. i've been involved in national security my entire life, and i'm hard pressed to come up with another military operation that demonstrated sufficient sophistication, such professionalism, such precise and lethal effectiveness to accomplish such a momentous and consequential objective. i am truly in awe of what these
young men have accomplished, and i thank god that our nation continues to produce heroic warriors such as them who are willing to give everything, to sacrifice everything, to devote their lives not to the quest of wealth or fame but to the service of a just and noble cause that's greater than their self interests. we do not yet know their names, but we honor their achievements and we celebrate their heroism. they have made history and earned their place in it. i want to offer the same praise for our intelligence professionals. it's a truism that intelligence fails in public and succeeds in private. so it's a great day indeed when we can celebrate such a public success of our intelligence professionals. there are men and women across our intelligence community who have devoted the past ten years
and many more before that to finding bin laden. despite setbacks and sacrifice, despite the loss of leads and the death of friends; regardless of whether the trail was hot or cold, they woke up every day and carried on the fight. and tphoud we honor the -- and now we honor the fruits of their perseverance and sacrifice even as they themselves remain hard at work exploiting the new information we have recovered, analyzing the new data and setting up the next operation. i also want to offer my deepest congratulations and appreciation to the president and his national security team. i credit them with making the elimination of osama bin laden their top priority and for accomplishing it so unprecedently. regardless of the myriad groups and parties and factions into which we americans divide ourselves on a daily basis, the
killing of osama bin laden is a national triumph, and all americans should feel proud and appreciative of the leadership shown by president obama and his team on this matter. i specifically want to credit the president with ordering an air-borne assault by ground forces rather than aerial bombardment. it would have been a lot easier to simply turn bin laden's compound into a smoldering crater, but it would have denied us the certainty we now have that bin laden is dead. it took real courage to assume the many risks associated with putting boots on the ground, and i strongly commend the president for it. i would be remiss if i did not also thank president bush and the many officials who labored with him for eight years to do what has now been done. i know that it is one of president bush's regrets that he
could not eliminate bin laden on his watch, but he and his team should take solace in the knowledge that they laid the foundation for sunday's operation, and they deserve credit for that. finally i want to say a word to the many american families for whom this celebration is a bitter sweet, because it recalls memories of the mothers and fathers, spouses and siblings, sons and daughters who were stolen from them and from us all not just in the september 11 attacks, but in the many acts of mass murder for which osama bin laden was guilty. no act of man can fill the aching emptiness of a loved one lost. for that there's only the grace of god. but it is my sincerest hope that the elimination of osama bin laden, this act of justice done, will help to ease the pain and
bring closure to what has surely been a decade of torment as we were daily reminded that the world's most wanted terrorist was still free. i also want to credit the families of the victims of september 11, 2001. had it not been for their relentless efforts and advocacy, congress would not have established the 9/11 commission and adopted many of its important reforms of our national security establishment, reforms that no doubt were instrumental in facilitating the joint and collaborative operation to find and kill osama bin laden. i could not imagine a greater contribution that the 9/11 families could have made. of course the death of osama bin laden does not portend the elimination of al qaeda or the end of terrorist plots and attacks against our country. we must remain vigilant in our
pursuit of every enemy who would do harm to us and our friends and allies. and we shall do so. but there is no denying that the death of osama bin laden will have a significant impact in this long war. it will enable us to focus more of our time and attention and resources on others who would do us harm and perhaps are more importantly, it will enable our country to look more fully forward, to focus more completely on supporting the peaceful democratic awakenings that are sweeping the middle east and north africa, which are the greatest repudiation of al qaeda that we ever could have imagined or hoped for. if there is any consolation in the fact that osama bin laden lived as long as he did, it is that he got to witness arabs and muslims by the tens of millions rising up to demand justice and
dignity not through suicide bombings and mass murder, but through peaceful change, political freedom and economic opportunity, the very ideas that bin laden's perverse and murderous ideology seeks to destroy. that could be the truest death knell of al qaeda, and i for one am very happy that osama bin laden got to hear it just before a team of american heroes ended his wretched life. quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i think most americans are proud that the man who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks and then ref led in the horror of that day is dead. today we recognize the dedicated work of the many intelligence professionals, law enforcement officials, and the many men and women of our armed services who brought us to this day.
the pursuit of osama bin laden spanned over a decade. following the attacks of september 11, the senate voted 98-0 to authorize the use of force against al qaeda, an authorization that is still in force today. at the time, president bush enjoyed the support of a nation united behind his decision to pursue al qaeda and to drive the taliban from power. we should be equally united here today in honoring those brave americans who were committed to preventing further attacks upon our homeland. while bin laden and his followers were building their terror networks, we were patiently and diligently building our intelligence capabilities. and following the successful raid on sunday, those who remain committed to al qaeda and associated terrorist groups should know that one day they, too, will share bin laden's
fate. some might think that the success of this raid means the end of the war on terror. but as the president has said, the death of osama bin laden did not mean -- does not mean the death of al qaeda. and our intelligence community and armed services must keep up the pressure on al qaeda and associated terror networks. osama bin laden launched this war on the false assumption that america didn't have the stomach for the fight. on sunday night, he learned how wrong he was. and this week america showed the world that we meant it when we said we would not rest -- not rest -- until justice was done to those who carried out the 9/11 attacks. a generation of patriots has pursued al qaeda for more than a decade, driven by the idea that every day is september the 12th, 2001.
that spirit must persist. so once again i want to commend the president on this decision to go through with this mission. aboabove all, i want to thank te remarkable men and women who carried it out. not to be forgotten are the thousands of uniformed americans across afghanistan and across the globe defending america's interests as we consider this resolution today. the resolution reaffirms the senate's commitment to eliminating safe havens for terrorists in afghanistan and pakistan and i am reminded of the difficult work that remains. but today those who remember the horror of 9/11 take a certain satisfaction knowing that the last thing osama bin laden saw in this world was a small team of americans who shot him dead.
the brave team that killed bin laden made their nation proud and they deserve the senate's recognition and its praise. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: i thank the presiding officer for recognizing me. i stand, as every member of the senate does today, in support of this resolution and version everything this resolution -- and everything this resolution standed for. the elimination of osama bin laden as a symbol of murder, of tyranny, of repression is an important moment. it's a moment that came ten years after it should have. if we could have found osama bin laden ten years ago when we were looking for him, 9/11 might not have occurred, but it did occur, and the message to him for --
and the message to others was that you can -- you can't hide from the forces of freedom and democracy. this was a -- a moment when the forces of freedom and democracy triumphed over the forces of repression. this was a moment when the symbol of one view of the future was eliminated with the violence that -- and the kind of violence that he himself had perpetrated on so many others. i think the president made a great decision to send this team of the best of the best into this compound to find osama bin laden, to know for sure face to face that either he was going to be captured by americans or in this case killed by americans, to be able to take the hard drive, the documents, the
information that he had surrounding him will tell us a lot about his contacts and who knows what it might tell us about the network of al qaeda. the president could have made a decision to bomb the compound, and i guess we would be sifting through the ashes today to see if osama bin laden was there or not, and we might have been able to confirm that but we wouldn't have been able to confirm all the information that the seal team was able to take with them. i think these were two important decisions made by the president, the decision to bury osama bin laden in an unknown spot but with the -- with the kind of respect that his own religion required was also i think another good decision, and i want to be supportive of the president in the decisions made. there are times, i would think, when the predator missile is the right things to use and there
are times when it's not. one of the other things that we see from the death of -- of bin laden is that there is value to capturing our enemies and getting information from them, and that threat of information that began maybe as much as nine years ago finally was able to unravel in a way that made the connection that needed to be made so that osama bin laden could be found, so that his -- that justice could be done, so that the price would be paid by him as it's been paid by so many others in defense of freedom. and certainly, mr. president, there are questions today about pakistan, but there is no question that pakistanis have died fighting alongside americans in the last decade. there is no question that pakistanis have been the victim of terrorism. hopefully this will be a moment that brings all of those who
should want freedom to the same side. i just returned from a quick visit to egypt, which could very well be on the right path for the middle east, a path where without violence, people stand up and want more freedom. they want -- they want democracy, and that's not the goal of the extremists in islamic that osama bin laden became the great symbol for. we don't believe that osama bin laden has been in control, in operational control of al qaeda for some time. it would be wonderful if we find out in the next few days he was and that the terror of al qaeda would be eliminated. i don't think we'll find that out but we do know that he is a symbol that was unique in the way he symbolizes this wrong view of the future, the way he
symbolizes the wrong view of the requirement that everybody living together be exactly the same. and we, unlike any other country in the world, defy that view of the future. we have proven like no other country has ever proven that people can live together in great diversity, that people can live together with different points of view and that you can live in a society that still flourishes. and so, of course, we're the enemy of a world view that that's not possible, and it's not because of anything that we have done to the extremists in the world community. it's because of who we are. and yesterday, the message of who we are was registered again in a powerful way as we all over this country and people all over the world talked about what had happened the evening before. and certainly, not only the seals that went into the compound to see that justice was
done, but also all those who are willing to serve, those who would have been among the elite that went in or all those who have served, the over 4,000 americans including many missourians whose lives have been lost in the last decade, in addition to the 3,000 lives that were brutally taken by the operatives of al qaeda and osama bin laden on september 11, 2001. and so this resolution that recognizes the courage to bring justice, that recognizes the evil that was done by osama bin laden and his followers, that recognizes the importance of freedom and democracy in a society is a resolution that i'm proud to support. i'm proud of what the men and women did for us who executed this well-planned mission, but also of everybody who serves
every day, for all the families who have a missing place in their family for someone whose life was lost serving the country, for all the families who live with someone with disability because of the kind of war we're in now. and so, mr. president, i am pleased to stand here representing my state but hopefully representing, as all of us do, the forces of freedom and democracy that will ultimate ly triumph over the forces of repression and murder and chaos that one world view would try to perpetuate, and we recognize today another step against that view of leader. mr. reid: mr. president, those watching around the world may not be able to see on their screens the scene here in the united states senate today.
we have all come to the floor in a way we rarely do. we've come here this afternoon to express with one voice our endless respect and admiration for the men and women of our military and our intelligence organizations. the resolution is an appropriate name for this legislation that's now before this body. it honors the resolution to a problem that has lingered for nearly a decade, one whose weight has grown heavier each day on the shoulders of the families bin laden traumatized and the many more he terrorized. it honors the resolve with which our bravest stared down danger. the world is still absorbing america's astounding accomplishment, the mission to bring osama bin laden to justi justice, one that began more than 9 1/2 years ago and was accomplished just a little more than a day and a half ago. 9 1/2 years after the worst morning in our memory, we woke up yesterday morning to a world without osama bin laden and with a palpable sense of justice. our military and intelligence
operatives are the best in the world at what they do. as they set out to kill or capture our most valuable target, they captivated us with their skill and expertise, their patriotism and their professionalism. a flood of thoughts and emotions and analysis has been shared over the past 36 hours by many. as i said from this desk yesterday, the end of his life is not the end of this fight. it is a victory but it is not "the" victory. a lot has already been said about what bin laden's death really means. so before we vote on this resolution, i want to speak only briefly the american men and women who carried out this critical successful mission, a mission that was historically significant and tactically stunning. osama bin laden was the most-wanted and most-hunted man in the entire world. his was the face of our enemy and the face of evil. there were few faces more recognizable to the american people and to the citizens of the world. those who carried out the
commander in chief's orders this weekend could not be more different. the world doesn't know their names. we wouldn't recognize them if we passed them on the street today. and that's exactly how they would want it. this is the newest proud page in a long story of the american hero, the unknown soldiers, the unsung saviors who sacrificed for our country's flag and their countrymen's freedom. they don't ask for recognition. they don't ask questions. they just answer the nation when it calls. today the senate stands in awe of the countless men and women who have toiled in obscurity in the field in every corner of the world. professionals who gather one small shred of evidence here, unearth another clue there, pursue another lead somewhere else. the men and women who over the course of ten long years pieced together the most meaningful puzzles so that a few dozen of their fellow heroes could execute an operation the world will never forget. these heroes confronted fear
with brilliance and bravery. they met the worst of humanity with the best of america. the terrorist who carried out the 9/11 attacks did so with cowardice. the americans who carried out this mission did so with unfailing courage. no one has asked how these men and women vote or what their politics are, and so we've come here to the floor today to vote together on this resolution not as two parties, not even as a hundred senators but as one body representing one grateful country. mr. reid: mr. president, on this resolution, senator mcconnell and i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there is. the clerk will call the roll.
-9.enate voted 9702 0. >> he has continued to plan attacks against our friends and allies. >> watched the president's announcement and reaction from capitol hill and around the world all in their entirety whenever you want on line with the c-span video library. search, watch, clip, and share. it is washington your way. >> attorney general eric holder testifies in a few minutes at a justice department oversight hearing on capitol hill. more reaction to the killing of osama bin laden from the head of the senate intelligence
committee, democrat dianne feinstein of california at followed by new york representative peter king, chairman of the homeland security committee. >> to our morning, we will look at the debate over raising the debt ceiling with republican rep david [unintelligible] of arizona. and the ranking member of the terrorism subcommittee will take your calls in the aftermath of the killing of osama bin laden. we will focus on the future of guantanamo bay with "the new york times" journalist scott shane. homeland security secretary janet napolitano testifies
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>> attorney general eric holder says the death of osama bin laden could prompt retaliation. he told the house judiciary committee that law enforcement cannot become complacent. this three or hearing touched on the patriot act, the defense of mayor jack, and border security. -- the defense of marriage act, and border security. the judiciary committee will come to order. >> i will recognize myself for an opening statement and the ranking member for his opening
statement. this morning, we welcome attorney general eric holder for an oversight hearing on the u.s. department of justice. first, i would like to thank the attorney general for supporting the reauthorization of the expiring patriot act provisions. i support -- appreciate support of a policy that helped law enforcement officials tracked dangers pedophiles and keep children safe. although he may not want to take credit for this next item, i should think the attorney general for the decision not to try it certain terrorists. it is the right decision and will ensure justice for the families of 9/11 victims. terrorist remain intent on carrying out their plots to destroy america. the killing of osama bin laden is a significant victory in the efforts to combat terrorism. the terrorist threat does not end with bin laden's death. in the years of -- since 9/11, al qaeda has expanded and
splintered. this makes it harder to detect and deter plots against americans here, at home, and abroad. despite sunday's victory, we cannot afford to leave our intelligence community without the resources it needs to dismantle terrorist organizations, identify threats from groups and individuals, and interrupt terrorist plots. congress must reauthorize the patriot act. our laws should keep pace with the evolving terrorist threats but they must keep pace with rapidly changing technology. nowhere is this more apparent than with the dramatic increase in the proliferation and exchange of child pornography. pedophiles can exchange this material with near impunity. child pornography on the internet may be our fastest growing crime in america, increasing by an average of 150% a year. better data retention will assist law enforcement officers
with the investigation of child pornography and other internet based crimes. investigators developed leads that might save a child or apprehend a pornographer, their efforts should not be impeded because vital records were destroyed. while i appreciate the department's support on these important matters, i am concerned that in some cases, this administration may have placed political and ideological considerations above enforcing the law. earlier, the department abandoned its obligation to defend the defense of marriage act, a federal law enacted by congress and signed by the president clinton. it seems the president's personal and political views may have trumped the obligations of the department of justice. another example of selective enforcement is the views when it comes to immigration laws enacted by the states. the justice department sued arizona for enacting a law that mirrors the federal immigration law. the administration claimed the
law will only supersedes federal authority. what about a law enacted in utah that creates a guest worker program for illegal immigrants? this undermines federal immigration law. yet the administration has taken no action. this department refuses to defend the constitutional authority to determine drug policy. marijuana distribution is illegal under federal law regardless of whether it is used medicinal or recreation league. the department directed federal prosecutors not to bring charges against marijuana dispensaries and have taken it upon themselves to -- in states that have legalized medical marijuana. this case should have been a slam dunk for the department since the attorney admitted to violating the law. the president's ideological opposition to the program made
-- may have stopped a legitimate criminal investigation. the justice department has a solemn duty to defend the laws of the land as enacted by congress without politics are prejudiced. i am concerned there seems to be a pattern of selectively enforcing the law based on the administration's political ideology. i want to thank the attorney general for coming today and we look forward to hearing from him on these and other issues. the gentleman from michigan and the ranking member is recognized for his opening statement. >> thank you. once again, we welcome the attorney general, eric holder. most of us have known him for more than a number of years in his various positions in the government. i welcome you here and praise your standing up for the role of
law, especially in the area of national security. where you were the attorney general that supported the end of using torture, and to released legal memos on this subject that prove that what you were doing was right and some of those legal memos were incorrect. now for the things that we want you to improve on. i start off with the fact that the worst economic upheaval since the depression, with all
the suffering and damage that has caused citizens and their families, there is to my knowledge not one civil prosecution on any of the wall street barons that have created this economic mess. the systemic abuses not only have not ended, but are still going on as far as i'm concerned. in the area of -- the approach to crack cocaine cases under the fair sentencing act, that the department would continue to seek extreme sentences that have been rejected as a policy matter by the executive and
legislative branch is disappointing. more needs to be done to ensure that the so-called pipeline cases are handled in a just manner. the area of antitrust enforcement and merger review, we are getting more discussion about this, but our economy continues to become more dominated by global mega-firms. just about every merger that has come through the department of justice pose a front door has made it out alive.
and i know that you are getting ready to block one large merger. antitrust is still underutilized in the department of justice. i want to help work with you if we can to increase the use of antitrust enforcement has these global mega firms get larger. and then in the national security area, the state secrets privilege policy is deeply troubling to me. the department has become more transparent of late, and i appreciate that the state secrets report recently transmitted to our committee, there is still a lot of decision
making that remains flawed. this privilege to me as a threat to the separation of powers and to the right of every citizen to lawfully fight back against government abuses and must be reined in. outside of those minor observations, we welcome you to the committee, general holder. >> thank you. other members opening statements will be made a part of the record. we're pleased to welcome today's witness, eric holder. on february 3, 2009, attend a general holder was sworn in as the 82nd attorney-general. he has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. joining the department through the attorney general's honors program in 1976, he became one
of the department's first attorneys to serve in the newly formed public integrity section. he served with a judge of the superior court of the district of columbia. in 1997, he was named by president clinton to be the deputy attorney general. prior to becoming attorney -- [no audio] he attended columbia university, graduating in 1973 and from columbia law school. we look forward to hearing your testimony and welcome you again to today's hearing. please proceed. >> thank you. that was a wonderful introduction except for the part where you mentioned the dates i graduated from law school and college. people are calculating how old i am. i am of an age that i am sensitive. other than that, thinking. also, good morning and thank you
for this opportunity to discuss the critical work of our nation's department of justice. as i stated, no aspect of our work is more important or more urgent in protecting the american people. >> would you pull your mikc closer so we can hear you? >> protecting the american people is the most fundamental responsibility. two days ago was the death of osama bin laden. leader of al qaeda and the world's most wanted terrorist. our nation made historic progress in fulfilling his responsibility and in achieving justice for the 3000 innocent americans who were murdered on september 11, 2001. this achievement was the result of steadfast, almost a decade- long effort. one that spans two administrations and was advanced by many dedicated civilian and military leaders and enforcement of law enforcement
officers and counter-terrorism experts. president obama has made certain that efforts to kill or to capture osama bin laden remained the central focus in our nation's fight against terrorist threats. for the president's national security team, achieving this goal has been at the forefront of our work. even as we continue and strengthen broader efforts to dismantle and defeat terrorist networks using every tool available to combat a national security threats at home and abroad. the justice department has played a vital role in this ongoing fight. during the last two years, we have helped to identify and to disrupt plots to attack new york city's subway system and plots to deploy weapons of mass destruction in oregon, texas, and washington state. we have secured guilty pleas as well as long sentences and actionable intelligence from terrace.
the department has charged more defendants in federal court with the most serious current related offenses than in any two-year period. through the use of the law enforcement operations, this administration set a clear and -- sent a clear and unequivocal call warning. you will be pursued and will be brought to justice. although we can be proud of sunday's successful operation, and we can be encouraged by the way that thousands have joined together at this defining moment, we cannot become complacent. the fight is far from over. yesterday, i ordered the department's prosecutors and law-enforcement agencies to be mindful that bin laden's death could result in retaliatory attacks in the u.s. or against our interests overseas. i have instructed the department officials as well as our state
and local partners to maintain focus on our highly effective counter terrorism and the radicalization efforts. i have reiterated with president obama -- what president obama said. the u.s. is not and never will be at war with islam. bin laden was not a muslim leader. he was a mass murderer of muslims in many countries, including our own. we cannot and will not lose sight of this fact and i pledged that at every level of the justice department, we will remain focused on our obligation to protect the citizens we serve, using every available resource and appropriate tool, including the federal court system. we will be vigilant against international and domestic threats and we will continue to utilize the critical authorities that are provided under the provisions of the patriot act which i hope congress will move to reauthorize for a substantial time. i want to thank chairman smith for his leadership and support.
beyond our national security work, we will build on current efforts to combat violent crime and financial fraud and defend the rights of all americans, especially the most vulnerable. our country and the world have witnessed an historic moment. what we make of it now is up to us. osama bin laden has been brought to justice. a brutal terrorist will no longer be free to order the murder of innocent people across the globe and as we came together nearly a decade ago in the aftermath of the most devastating attack in america's history, i believe we must come together again. the on 9/11, our nation was real -- was united by tragedy and grief and a shared sense of loss. today, we must be united by a collective resolve and a common purpose, to protect our homeland and protect our people, to honor the values that have made our nation great and to build on the extraordinary work and progress
that has been achieved in protecting the people where of privilege to serve. thank you and i will be glad to respond to questions. >> thank you. i will recognize myself for questions. the first is this. at the end of the month, there are three temporary provisions that are set to expire. a lot of people say that we might exaggerate the significance of the ability of those provisions to enable us to gather intelligence. would you comment on how important those provisions are and whether you feel they should be extended? >> we believe, i believe it is essential that these expiring provisions be reauthorize. we never want to see these acts, these provisions expire. the fact that they have required us to come back periodically to get the real authorized is not helpful to us. we need certainty.
our prosecutors and investigators need certainty in that regard. our hope is that these provisions will be reauthorize for as long as we possibly can. if they were done on a permanent basis, that is not something we would object to. i am trying to confront political reality and my hope would be at a minimum, we would reauthorize these provisions for a substantial time. >> my next question, the importance of data protection -- retention to go after the child predators on the internet. has the absence of data retention or a significant periods of time hampered your ability to go after these individuals? >> i cannot point to a specific case but i am concerned that the lack of pretension periods will
hamper our ability to get at the cases you mentioned. child pornography but also in the terrorist field. it is something we have talked about with our european counterparts where they want to have data retention is shorter than we think our program. the concern you have expressed is something that is worthy of our attention. >> thank you. as i mentioned, it seems to me we have had the appearance that the department has chosen to prosecute with ideology. one example is the decision to sue arizona on an immigration bill that the state passed but you did not sue utah for the immigration laws that say past
and it seems the department probably should be consistent in its application of the law. also, you reopened an investigation into the say interrogations' and it ended a criminal probe into the lawyer who admitted leaking the information on the terrorist surveillance program. this does give you the appearance of a pattern of selectively enforcing the law and a one to ask for your comment as to whether that appearance is accurate or not. >> let me be very clear. with regard to those matters and all the other work that this department shows -- a justice does, we apply the facts as we find them. we apply the law as we find it. we do what we do and make decisions without any regard for political considerations. the work of the department could be made easier if we listened to the critics or the pundits were we look at the polls. that is not what we do and that
is not what i've asked the men and women of -- >> you can -- do you see the inconsistency that i point out and feel that that is not accurate, or do think there is an appearance of inconsistency? >> i do not say necessarily the inconsistency or the appearance of political considerations that you mentioned. about the utah law, that does not go into effect until 2013. it has been policy to work with states to see if there is a way in which we can reach an agreement without us having to file suit. we will look at the lot and if it is not change to our satisfaction by 2013, we will take all the necessary steps. >> thank you. the ranking member has yielded his initial time to the gentleman from florida. she will be recognized for her questions now. >> thank you.
i think the ranking member and the chairman. it is good to see you again. i know that you are going to be surprised about the subject, about which i will ask you. that would be our focus and our priority which i am thrilled continues to be a priority on the exploitation of our nation's children. we worked hard to implement rampart -- to protect -- to implement the protect our children act. the report that came out last year detailed but there are hundreds of thousands of criminal suspects in the u.s. engaged in child pornography tracking. this should give everyone an idea. in 2009, our internet crimes against children task force made over 3000 arrests and identified over 1000 victims. since passage of the act, the funding has remained relatively the same. $30 million. in the 111th congress, we passed
a budget that included $60 million for our task forces and we know that with every dollar that we add, we can make it that much more likely to rescue a child victims. wouldn't you agree -- would do not agree that doubling the budget that we would have an opportunity to rescue that many more children? >> tuolumne said that we have enjoyed working with you. the focus you have placed on this issue is appropriate. i hope will be a legacy item for this department that people will see that we stood up for our nation's most voluble and important citizens, our children. and the work you have done has been extremely effective. the task forces are -- have been extremely effective and we want to support them in every way that we can. we're confronted with budget realities that make it extremely difficult to do all the work that we want to do.
with regard to those task forces, we want to expand them to the extent we can to support the ones that do exist and we doubt efficiencies -- inefficiencies or can make sure that these problems do not get in the way of the important work we have done together. >> the administration has been supportive and made it a priority. my concern is we made a commitment to continue to increase the funding for the task forces and in this republican congress, i am concerned with the commitment will not be met. the chairman has been incredibly committed to making sure we can go after these child predators'. i am hopeful that his influence rises to the tops of we can ensure that commitment. i want to talk john a letter that i sent to you about shalom rebashkin. the judge has been accused of
some experts say communication and excess of sentencing. if we could follow with you on that and get a response from the department, i would appreciate it very much. it appears the sentence is incredibly excessive and the judge who live. the sentence engaged in inappropriate aspartate -- ex parte to medications. it is fantastic that the illustration has set up this task force -- administration has set up this task force. i want to review the current situation because most people are not aware. according to the energy information agency, under the u.s. department of energy, this is one week ago, the u.s. crude oil reserves that we had were at 363,000 barrels. which is higher than at any point during the eight years of
the bush administration. our imports are at their lowest level since 1997. domestic oil production is up and in the gulf of mexico, we have larger production now that -- than at any point. 1.6 4 million barrels a day, double the production in 1992. the average price was $3.96, up over $1. with all the good news about supply, one would think that there must be a dramatic increase in the demand for gasoline that drives those increases, but that is not the case. it seems like there is something that smells in denmark. can you tell us specifically how the fraud working group which i think is a very aggressive way of pursuing the facts and separating fact from fiction and helping to get to the bottom of how we can explore manipulation and collusion and fraud and tell us
how congress can assist you in this effort. >> there certainly market forces that are work. i do not want to oversell what is we will be doing but to the extent there are inappropriate attempts to manipulate the market, there is price gouging, other things of that nature that have had a devastating impact on average americans who are trying to in these tough times may do, that would be the focus of this task force. we have partners from the federal government as well as our state and local counterparts, state attorneys general and district attorneys, who all of whom will look at the situation to see if there are people who are doing things that are inappropriate and to the extent they are, we will hold them accountable. this is a serious effort by a dedicated group of people that is pretty wide ranging and involves prosecutors, investigators at we look at this on the civil and criminal
side. >> i suspect -- thank you for your indulgence. >> the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for his questions. >> thank you. thank you for coming. i would like to ask a few questions relative to the department's february 23rd decision not to defend the constitutionality of section 3 of the defense of marriage act. as a result, the house of representatives is going to have to hire outside counsel at our own expense to be able to make sure this issue is properly argue before the court. what did you do it? >> we had a unique situation in the second circuit where this decision was made. we had in prior instances had -- been in circuits where the courts of appeal had a defined standard. we had a circuit that had not
looked at the issue and had not come up with an applicable standard. when the department looked and had to make the determination as to what the appropriate standard was, given the nature of the way in which gay people have been treated in this country, given the nature of the reasons for the passage of the statute, we felt a heightened scrutiny test had to be applied. applying the heightened scrutiny test, we did not think the statute would pass constitutional muster and thought that we could not make reasonable arguments in defense of the statute, something that is done rarely but happens occasionally. i recommended we not defend the statute and he agreed. >> sexual preference is never -- has never been a protected class in any of our civil rights laws. mike understanding is the vast majority of the courts disagreed and believed the lower standard
which is rationally related to its legitimate government interest is the one that applies. evidently, the president has decided to take the opinion of one court to the exclusion of other courts and make this decision that he will not execute the laws that he took an oath to enforce. >> these instances happen occasionally. there is a federal statute that anticipates this and under that statute, when the eternal -- attorney general decides not to defend the statute, a letter is sent to congress. the reasons for the determination and the fact that much has changed since the passage of the bill 15 years or so ago, the supreme court has ruled that criminalizing homosexual contact is unconstitutional. congress has repealed the don't ask don't tell policy.
>> congress has never repealed or modified the defense of marriage act. this law has been on the books for over 15 years. you were the attorney general at the end of the clinton administration and this concern was never raised. two years in the obama administration, the president and you have decided that section 3 is unconstitutional. i know you have to pivot around in this business but the constitution has not been pivoting around. >> circumstances have changed and that is what i was saying. >> is it political or legal circumstances? >> if you look at the history of discrimination coupled with what congress has done with regard to the don't ask don't tell, what the supreme court have said -- >> don't ask don't tell was a personal issue in the defense
department and the decriminalization of homosexuality, that was the criminal law. doma does not deal with either of these items. it was a attempt to define that marriage was between one man and one woman in 45 states in this country have reached that conclusion either through a constitutional amendment ratified by the people, as was the case in wisconsin, or through statutory enactments by the legislature. my concern on this and it is deeply troubling that the president has decided to usurp the function of congress in making laws that the former president has signed and also to use -- usurped the function of the courts by saying this law is unconstitutional when that is not his job. i