tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN April 30, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
impartiality and integrity. >> i did and i'm grateful to my friend for saying that. we are keen to learn the lesson. and said that i.t. is vital in dealing with these cases for contact by officials and special advisers are carefully controlled and properly recorded so that the independent integrity and impartiality of the process is upheld and, just as in borden, seen to be upheld. -- just as important, seem to be upheld. >> does he agree with the prime minister that the next great
scandal in british politics is lobbying? forewarned is forearmed guest: [laughter] in this process we have seen the role of one corporate affairs adviser, and it is absolutely right -- it is white the government is conducting a review at the moment to make sure we do have proper transparency in the process. >> can the secretary of state comment on the allegation that he went to sea swan lake five days after reportedly speaking ichelle?mesha >> one of the melson suggested he call me just before seeing swan lake. it is a very important we have all the evidence before making a judgment on the basis -- >> mr. speaker, the secretary of
state said yesterday and is repeating today that he wrote to the low justice asking him to accelerate when he gives his evidence. given the revelations, is in it now and come upon them -- isn't it now incumbent upon them to give evidence to clear up these issues? >> i do think there questions for politicians of all parties to answer in this process. we have an independent judicial review, and ideas for lord justice of this and to decide the timing. i think it is important in this process that all parties engage constructively, because this is an opportunity to solve a problem that has bedeviled politics for a very long time. that is why constructive engagement with this process, not jumping on bandwagons, is the way forward. >> can my right hon. friend
confirm to the house that the process he described was approved not just by the cabinet secretary, but by -- >> i can confirm the secretary who was closely involved in this very, very important decision at every stage of the process. he gave me start advice about how to make sure the process was handled objectively and fairly and seemed to be handled objectively and fairly. >> on the 20th of january, 2011, the former minister with responsibility myself, i advised him in this house to hand over this decision to somebody else, because of his own previous role with bskyb and the murdoch s. is in the fact that he did not do it then and use adam smith as is invisible hand, two monumental errors of judgment --
>> using adam smith as my invisible hand, why did i make or decisions that were against what news corp. want? -- wanted? the reality is that this was traditional process and i explained the steps i took to do that. >> does the secretary of state agree with me that fred meshaal's view that the business sector "saw no problem with the bid" describe the fancy world this man appears to be living in? >> the evidence suggests that was also an exaggeration, that is why we must see all the evidence from all sides and allow the lord justice, who is truly independent in this process, no political bandwagon to jump on, to allow him to come to consider it conclusions --
>> leaving the house of commons to go to john brennan, giving remarks on at the president's counterterrorism policy at the wilson center in washington but he is being introduced by jane harman of the wilson center, former member of congress. >> as i see it, a great tribute to the kind of work we do here. we care intensely about having our most important policy makers here, and in getting objective accounts of what the united states government and other governments around the world are doing. on september 10, 2001, i had lunch with l. paul bremer. jerry bremer, as he was known, the committee on tourism, on which i served.
at that lunch, we limited that no one was taking our report seriously -- we lamented that no one was taking our report seriously. the next day, the world changed. in my capacity as a senior democrat on the house intelligence committee, i was headed to the u.s. capitol at 9:00 a.m. on 9/11 when an urgent call from my staff turned me around. to rem -- to our mind, the capital was the intended target of the fourth plane. congress shut down -- a terrible move, i thought. i frantically tried to reach my youngest child, then at a d.c. high school, but the cell towers were down. i don't know where john brennan was that day, but i do know that the arc of our lives can
together after that. when he was deputy director of the cia, when i became the ranking member on the house intelligence committee, when he became the first director of the terrorist integration center, an organization set up by then- president bush 43, when i was the principal officer of legislation that became the intelligence reform and at terrorism prevention act, a statute which we organize our intelligence community for the first time since 1947 and renamed the national counterterrorism center. when he served as deferred director -- the first director of the nctc, when he moved into the white house's deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counter- terrorism and assistant to the president, and when i succeeded
lee hamilton here at the wilson center last year. finally, when he became president obama's point person on counterterrorism strategy, and when the wilson center commenced a series of programs, which are still ongoing, the first of which we held on 9/12/2011, to ask what the next 10 years should look like and whether this country needs a clearer legal framework around domestic intelligence. clearly, the success story of the past decade is last may's takedown of osama bin laden. at the center of that effort were a senior security leadership of the country. i noticed dennis mcdonald in the audience, right here in the front row. certainly, it included president obama and john brennan. they made the tough calls. but i also know, and we all know, how selfless an extraordinary were the actions
of on an intelligence officials and navy seals. the operation depended on their remarkable skills and personal courage. they performed the mission. the wilson center is honored to welcome john brennan here today on the eve of the first anniversary of the bin laden raid. president obama will headline events tomorrow, but today we get an advanced peak from the insider's insider, one of president obama's most influential aides, with a broad portfolio to manage counterterrorism strategy in far-flung places like pakistan, yemen, and somalia. activities in this space, as i mentioned, at the wilson center on going. as are terror threats against our country. i often say we will defeat those threats by military might -- might won -- we won't defeat those threats by military might
alone. we must win the argument. no doubt our speaker today agrees that security and the body are not a zero sum game. -- security and liberty are not a zero sum game. as benjamin franklin said, "those who would give up liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." i want to congratulate him and president obama for nominating the full complement of members to the privacy and civil liberties board, and never part of the 2004 intelligence reform added up -- another part of the two dozen for intel inche -- the 2004 intelligence reform law. at the end of today's event, we would appreciate it if everyone would please remain seated while mr. brennan departs the building. thank you for coming. please welcome john brennan. [applause]
>> thank you so much, jane, for the kind introduction and that nice and memorable walk down memory lane. our paths did cross so many times over the years. thank you for your leadership of the wilson center. it is a privilege for me to be here today and speak to this group. you have spent many years in public service, and it continues at the wilson center today. there are few individuals in the country who can match the range fromne's expertise come intelligence service to comments security. homeland i would just say that i am finally glad to be sharing the stage with you instead of testifying before you. [laughter] it is a privilege to be next to you. thank you for your invaluable contributions, your research,
your scholarship, which helps further our national security every day. i very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss president,'s counterterrorism strategy -- president obama's counterterrorism strategy, in particular its efficacy. it was here in august 2007 that then-senator obama discuss how he would bring the war in iraq to a responsible end, and the war against al qaeda, particularly in the tribal regions of afghanistan and pakistan. he said we would continue this fight while upholding our laws and values and work with our partners and allies wherever possible. he also made it clear that he would not hesitate to use military force against terrorists who pose a direct threat to america, and he says that if he had actionable intelligence on high-value targets, including in pakistan,
he would protect the american people. it is especially fitting that we have this discussion here today. one year ago today, president obama was faced with this scenario that he discussed here at the woodrow wilson center five years ago he did not hesitate to act. soon thereafter, our special operations forces were moving towards the compound in pakistan, where we believe it was, bin laden might be hiding. but the end of the next day, president obama could confirm that justice had been delivered to the terrorists responsible for the attacks of september 11, 2001, and so many other debts around the world. the death of -- deaths around the world. the death of bin laden was our biggest blow against al qaeda. credit goes to the many intelligence professionals who pieced together the clues over the years that led to the bin laden hideout, and to president obama, who gave the order to go
in one year later, it is proper that we assess where we are in this fight. the end of bin laden marked neither the end of al qaeda at nor our will to destroy it. it is fair to say that as a result of our efforts, the united states is more secure and the american people are safer. here is why. in pakistan, al qaeda's leadership ranks have continued to suffer heavy losses. this includes one of al qaeda's top operational plan is, until one month after bin laden. it included the man who was killed when he succeeded ayman al-zawahiri. it includes the planner of attacks against the united states and europe until he was captured. with this most skilled and experienced commanders -- with
its most skilled and experienced commanders being caught quickly, al qaeda has had trouble replacing them. this we have been able to piece together from documents seized manybin laden's compound, of which we will release this week. bin laden or read about "the rise of the world leaders who are not as experienced, and this will lead to the repeat of mistakes." al qaeda leaders continue to struggle to communicate with affiliates. under intense pressure in the tribal regions of pakistan, they have fewer places to train and groom the next generation of operatives. they are struggling to attract recruits. morale is low and at some members are giving up and returning home. no doubt they are aware this is a fight they will never win. al qaeda is losing badly, and i bin laden knew it at the time of his death. in documents we seized, he
confesses to disaster after disaster. he urged leaders to flee the tribal regions and go to places away from aircraft, photography, and bombardment for all these reasons, it is harder than ever for the al qaeda a car in pakistan to plan and execute large scale and potentially catastrophic attacks against the homeland. it is increasingly clear that compared to 9/11, the core of the al qaeda leadership is the shadow of its former self. al qaeda is left with just eight handful of capable leaders and operatives. continued pressure, it is on the path to its destruction. we can look ahead and envision a world in which the al qaeda core is simply no longer relevant. nevertheless, the interest threat from al qaeda has not disappeared. -- that dangerous threat from al qaeda has not disappeared. it continues to look to affiliate's and adherence to carry on its murderous cause. yet these affiliates continue
to lose key commanders and capabilities as well. in somalia, it is or in to witness al qaeda's merger with al-shabab --. -- it is worrying to witness al qaeda's merger with al-shabab. at the same time, al-shabab is a focus on regional attacks, and this is a look at two organizations in a climat -- in decline. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula continues to suffer from the death of ayman al- zawahiri. nevertheless, aqap continues to be al qaeda's most active affiliate will continue to support the government of yemen in its fight against aqap. in north and west africa, another a little bit affiliate, -- another al qaeda affiliate,
aqim, continues efforts to destabilize friends and engage in the kidnapping o -- destabilize governments and engage in the kidnapping for ransom activities. and a group that aligns itself with al qaeda's violent agenda is increasingly looking to attack western interests in nigeria, in addition to the nigerian government targets. more broadly, al qaeda's killing of innocents, mostly men, wom -- mostly muslim men, women, and children has tarnished its image around world -- >> are you willing to speak out against -- what about the hundreds of innocent people we are killing with drones in pakistan and yemen and somalia? i speak out on behalf of those innocent victims. they deserve an apology from
you, mr. brennan. >> ma'am -- >> how many are you willing to sacrifice? why are you lying to the american people -- >> thank you, ma'am, for expressing your views. there will be time for questions and answers after the presentation. >> in pakistan, who was killed because we wanted to document the drone strikes. i speak on behalf of abdual awlaki, who was killed in damages because his father was someone we don't like. -- in yemen because his father was someone would all like to i speak on behalf of the constitution, the rule of law. you're making us less saved by killing some innocent people. shame on you. >> thank you. more broadly, al qaeda's killing of innocents, mostly men, women, and children, has tarnished its
appeal an image around the world. even bin laden and his lieutenants new desp -- knew this. they detonated mosques and spill the blood of scores of people. bin laden agreed that large numbers around the world had lost trust in al qaeda. so damaged his al qaeda's image that bin laden consider changing his name. has he set himself, but what u.s. officials have largely stopped using the phrase "war on terror." simply calling them al qaeda reduces the feel of muslims that we belong to them. to which i would add, that is because al qaeda does not belong to muslims. al qaeda is the antithesis of the peace, tolerance, and
humanity that we associate with islam. al qaeda and its associated forces still have the intended to attack the united states. we have seen a lone individuals, including american citizens, often inspired by al qaeda's murders ideology, kill innocent americans and seek to do us harm. the damage inflicted on the leadership or in pakistan, compared with how al qaeda has inflicted damage on itself, allows us to look forward. in the ticket after 9/11, the time of a -- in the decade after 9/11, it was the time of its decline, and i believe this decade will see its demise. it is the result of efforts made it more than a decade across two administrations, across the u.s.
government, with allies and partners. this includes the counterterrorism strategy guided by the president's 5 responsibility, to protect the safety and security of the american people. in this fight, we are harnessing every element of american power. intelligence, military, diplomatic, a development, economic, financial, law enforcement, homeland security, and the power of our values, including our commitment to the rule of law. that is why, for instance, his first days in office, president obama banned the use of intense interrogation techniques, which are not needed to keep our country say. staying true to our values as a nation includes all holding the transparency upon which our democracy depends. a few months after taking office, the president traveled to the national archives, where he discussed how national security requires a delicate balance between secrecy and transparency. he pledged to share as much
information as possible with the american people so that they can make informed judgments and hold us accountable. he has consistently encouraged those of us on at the national security team to be as open and candid as possible as well. earlier this year, attorney general holder discussed how our counter-terrorism efforts are rooted in and strengthened by an appearance to law, including the legal authority that allows us to pursue members of al qaeda, including u.s. citizens, and to do so using technologically advanced weapons. in addition, the general counsel to the department of defense has addressed the legal basis for our military actions against al qaeda. the cia has discuss how the agency operates under u.s. law. these speeches build on electorate two years ago by -- a lecture two years ago by harold
koh, who mentioned at how the use of unmanned aerial vehicles comply with all aspects of applicable law, including the loss of more. i venture to sit -- that the -- including the laws of war. i venture to say that the government has never been more open regarding its counterterrorism policies. there is some debate about how they are sometimes used against the fight with al qaeda. in the course of the war with afghanistan and the fight against al qaeda, i think the american people expect us to use advanced technology. for example, to protect attacks against u.s. forces and to remove tourists from the battlefield. -- terrorists from the battlefield. we do, and it is saved the lives of men and women in uniform. what is captured the attention of many is a different practice, beyond battlefields like
afghanistan, identifying specific members of al qaeda and targeting them with lethal force, often using aircraft remotely operated by pilots, who can be hundreds if not thousands of miles away. this is what i want to focus on today. jack goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general in the administration of george w. bush, now a professor at harvard law school, captured the situation well. he wrote, "the government needs a way to quickly convey to the public that its decision about who is being targeted, especially when the target is a u.s. citizen, are sound. first, the government can and should tell us more about the process by which it reaches high-about you targeting decisions. the more the government tells us about the eyeballs on the issue and the robustness of the process, the more credible will be the claims about the accuracy
of the factual determinations and the soundness of legal ones. all this information can be disclosed in some form without endangering critical intelligence talk as well, president obama agrees, and that is why i am here today. i stand here as someone who was been involved in the nation's security for more than 30 years. i have a profound appreciation for the truly remarkable capability of our counterterrorism professionals, and our relationships with other nations. we must never compromise them. i will not discuss sensitive details of any specific operation today. i will not, nor will i ever, publicly divulge sensitive intelligence, sources, and methods, for when that happens, our national security is in danger and lights can be lost. at the same time, we reject the notion that any discussion of these matters is as slippery slope that inevitably and teachers our national security. too often, that fear can become an excuse for saying nothing at
all, which creates a void that is filled with myths and falsehoods. that, in turn, can erode credibility with the american people and foreign partners. and it can undermine the public's understanding and support for our efforts. in contrast, president obama believes that, done carefully, deliberately, and responsibly, we can be more transparent and still ensure our nation's security. let me say it as simply as i can -- yes, in full accordance with the law and in order to prevent terrorist attacks against the united states and save american lives, the united states government connects targeted strikes against specific allocated to risk, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones. i am here today because
president obama has instructed us to be more open to the american people about these efforts. broadly speaking, the debate overstrikes targeted at individual members of al qaeda has centered on their legality, ethics, the wisdom of using them, and the standards by which they are used. for the remainder of my time today, i would like to address each of these in turn. first, these targeted strikes are legal. attorney general holder, harold koh, and j. johnson have addressed this question at length. to briefly recap, as a matter of domestic law, the constitution empowers the president to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack. the authorization for the use of military force, aumf, passed by congress after the september 11 attacks, authorized the president to use all necessary and appropriate forces against asians, organizations, and individuals responsible for --
9/11 against na -- against nations, organizations, and individuals responsible for 9/11. as a matter of international law, the united states is in our conflict with al qaeda, the taliban, and associated forces in response to the 9/11 attacks, and we use force consistent with our international rights. there's nothing that bans the use of formally piloted aircraft for this purpose, or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield. at least one of the country involved is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat. second, targeted strikes are ethical. without question, the ability to target as an individual from hundreds or thousands of miles
away raises profound questions. it is critical to use the strike against the basic principle of the law of war that governs the use of force. targeted strikes and forms with the principle of necessity. the requirement that the target has definite military value. in this armed conflict, individuals who are part of al qaeda or its associated forces are legitimate military targets. we have the ability to target them with a lethal force, just as we target and to meet leaders in past conflicts. such as german and japanese commanders during world war ii. targeted strikes conform to the principles of distinction, the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted. with the unprecedented ability of a remotely piloted aircraft to precisely target a military objective while minimizing collateral damage, one could argue that never before has
there been a weapon that allows us to extinguish more effectively between an al qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians. -- distinguish more effectively between and allocate it to rest and innocent civilians. targeted stocks conform to -- the notion of -- targeted strikes conform to the notion of proportionality. by targeting an individual terrorist or small number of tourists, it can be adapted to avoid harming others in the immediate vicinity, it is hard to imagine a tool that can better minimize the risks to civilians that remotely piloted aircraft -- than remotely piloted aircraft. for the same reason, targeted strikes conform to the principle of humanity, which requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering. for all these reasons, i suggest to you that these targeted strikes against al qaeda terrorists are indeed ethical and just.
of course, even if a tool is legal and ethical, that is not necessarily make it appropriate or advisable in a given circumstance. this brings me to my next point. targeted strikes are wise. remotely piloted aircraft in particular can be a wise choice because of geography, with the ability to fly hundreds of miles of the most treacherous terrain strike their targets with astonishing precision, and then returned to the base. they can be a wise choice because of time, when windows of opportunity and close quickly and there just may be only minutes to act. they can be a wise choice because they dramatically reduced danger to u.s. personnel, even eliminating the danger altogether. yet they are also a wise choice because they dramatically reduce the danger to innocent civilians, especially considered against massive ordnance that can cause injury or death far beyond the intended target.
in addition, compared against other options, a pilot operating the aircraft remotely, with the benefit of technology and the safety of distance, might actually have a clearer picture of the target and its surroundings, including the presence of innocent civilians. it is this surgical precision, the ability, with laserlike focus, to eliminate the cancerous tumor called an al qaeda terrorist while limiting damage to the tissue around it -- and that is what makes this tool so essential. there is another reason targeted strikes can be a wise choice, the strategic consequences that inevitably come with the use of force. as we have seen, deploying large armies abroad will not always be our best defense. countries typically don't want foreign soldiers in cities and towns. in fact, large commenters of military deployment is playing into al qaeda's strategy of
trying to draw us into long, costly wars that train as financially, and fleming anti- american sentiment, and inspire the next generation of terrorists. in comparison, there is the position of targeted strikes. -- precision of targeted strikes. i knowledge that we as a government, along with foreign partners, can and must do a better job of addressing the mistaken belief among some foreign publics that we engage in these catholand casually. as i will describe today, there is nothing casual about the extraordinary care we take in making the decision to pursue an al qaeda terrorist and the lengths to which we go to avoid the loss of innocent life. still, there is no more consequential position than it deciding whether to use lethal force against another human
being. even at terrorist dedicated to killing american citizens tried to ensure that our counterterrorism operations are legal, ethical, and weiss, president obama has demanded that we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards. this reflects his approach to broader questions regarding the use of force. in his speech in oslo accepting the nobel peace prize, the president said that all nations must adhere to standards that govern the use of force, and he added, "where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in finding ourselves to certain rules of conflict. even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, i believe the united states of america must remain a standard-bearer in the conduct of war. that is what makes this
different from home we fight. ource ofis worth -- s our strength." the united states is the first mission to regularly use remotely piloted aircraft against targets. president obama and those of us on the national security team are very mindful that as our nation uses this technology, we are establishing precedents that other nations may follow, and not all of those nations may -- and not all of them will be nations that share our interests or the premium we put on protecting human life, including innocent civilians. if we want other nations to use these technologies responsibly, we must use them responsibly. if we what other nations to adhere to high and rigorous standards for the use, we must do so as well.
we cannot expect from others what we will not do it ourselves. president obama has therefore demanded we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards, that every step we would be as thorough and delivered as possible. this brings me to the final point i want to discuss today, the rigorous standards and processes of review to which we hold ourselves today when considering to authorize a strike against a specific member of al qaeda outside of the hot battlefield of afghanistan. what i hope to do is give you a general sense in broader terms of the high bar we require ourselves to meet when making these profound decisions. that includes not only whether a specific number of al qaeda cannot legally be pursued with lethal force, but also whether he should be paid over time, we've worked to refine and clarify and strengthen this process and standards, and we continue to do so. if our counterterrorism of
assess that a member of al qaeda poses such a threat to the united states to consider legal action, they rays that individuals and for consideration. it goes through the review and as appropriate, will be reviewed by the most senior official in our government. first and foremost, the individual must be a legitimate target under the law. earlier, i describe how the use of force against members of al qaeda is authorized under both international and u.s. law, including both of the inherent right of national self-defense and the 2001 authorization for use of military force, which courts have held extends to those who are part of al qaeda, the taliban, and associated forces. if, after a legal review, we determined that the individual is not a lawful target, end of discussion. we are a nation of laws, and we
will always act within the bounds of the law. of course, the law only establishes the outer limits of the authority to which counterterrorism officials can operate. even if we determine it is lawful to pursue the terrorist and a questio -- in question, it doesn't necessarily mean we should. there are, after all, literally thousands of individuals who are part of al qaeda and the taliban and associated forces. thousands upon thousands. even if it were possible to go after every single one of these individuals with a gleeful force would need to be a -- i snore andwith -- with lethal force would neither be a wise nor effective use of our resources. we asked ourselves whether the individual's activities rise to a certain threshold for action, and whether taking action will enhance our security.
for example, when considering a lethal force, we ask ourselves whether the individual poses a significant threat to u.s. interests. this is absolutely critical, and it goes to the very essence of why we take as an exceptional action. -- take this kind of exceptional action. we do not engage in legal action to eliminate every single member of al qaeda and it will b -- in the world. most times, as we've done over a decade, we work in cooperation with other countries who are also interested in removing these tourists within their own capabilities and -- these terrorists within their own capabilities and ans law. we are not seeking vengeance. we conduct targeted strikes because they and necessary to mitigate an ongoing actual threat, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and to save american lives. what we mean when we say
"significant threat" -- i am not referring to some hypothetical threat, the mere possibility that al qaeda my attackers in the future it is significant threat might be posed by an individual who is an operational leader of al qaeda or operational force. or perhaps the individual himself is an offer to in the midst of training for planning to carry out attacks against u.s. persons and interests. or perhaps the individual possesses unique operational skills that are being leveraged in a planned attack. the purpose of a strike against a particular individual is to stop him before he can carry out his attack and kill innocents. the purpose is to disrupt his plans and plaats before they come to fruition. -- and plots before they come to fruition. our purpose is to only undertake lethal force when we believe that captain the individual is not feasible.
-- capturing the individual is not feasible. i've heard it said it tested at the obama administration somehow prefers killing al qaeda members and capturing them. nothing could be further from the truth. it is our preference to capture suspected terrorists whenever and wherever feasible. for one thing, this allows us to gather intelligence we might not be able to obtain any other way. the members of al qaeda let me and other nations have captured have been one of the greatest sources of information about al qaeda, its plans and intentions. once in u.s. custody, we prosecute them in federal courts or reformed military commissions, both of which are used for gathering intelligence and preventing future terrorist attacks. you see our preference for capturing in the case of a member of alpha about who had significant ties to al -- a kid in -- member of al shebaa who had significant ties to al qaeda
in the area peninsula. -- arabian peninsula. since 2001, such unilateral captors by u.s. forces outside of hot battlefields like afghanistan have been exceedingly rare. this is due in part to the fact that in many parts of the world, our counterterrorism partners have been able to capture or kill dangerous individuals themselves. moreover, after being subjected to more than a decade after relentless pressure, al qaeda at ranks have dwindled and scattered. these tourists are still seeking a remote and hospitable -- places te -- terrorists are skilled at seeking remote and hospitable terrain. oftentimes, attempting capture could subject civilians to unacceptable risks. there are many reasons why captured may not be feasible, in which case lethal force might be
the only remaining option to address the threat, prevent an attack, and save lives. finally, when considering legal force, we are mindful that there are important checks -- when considering lethal force, we are mindful that there are important checks on our authority in foreign territories. international legal principles, including respect for state sovereignty and the laws of war, impose constraints. the united states of america respects national sovereignty and international law. those are the questions we consider, at the high standards we strive to meet. in the end, we make a decision, we decide whether a particular member of al qaeda warrants being pursued in this matter. we consider all the information available to us carefully and responsibly. we reviewed the most up-to-date intelligence, drawn on the full range of our intelligence capabilities. and we do what sound intelligence demands.
a challenge it, question it, including any assumptions on which it might be based. if we want to know more, we may ask the intelligence community to go back and collect additional intelligence or refine its analysis so that a more informed decision can be made. we listened to the departments and agencies across the national security team. we ask for them and encourage them. we discussed, we debate, we disagree. we consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking action. we also consider the cost of inaction, and whether a decision not to carry out a strike could allow a terrorist attack to proceed and potentially kill scores of innocence. nor do we narrow ourselves to counter-terrorism implications but we consider the implications of an action, including the effect any action might have on our relationships with other countries. we don't simply make a decision
and never revisited again. quite the opposite. over time, we refresh intelligence and continue to consider whether a lethal force is still warranted. in some cases, such as senior al qaeda leaders directing and planning attacks against the united states, the individual clearly meets our standards for taking action. in other cases, individuals have not met our standards. indeed, there have been numerous occasions where after careful review, we have concluded that lethal force was not justified in a given case. as president obama's counter- terrorism adviser, i feel i.t. is important that the american people know that these efforts are overseen with extraordinary care and thoughtfulness. is capture not feasible? it is these individual a significant threat to u.s. interests? is this the best option? have we got through the
consequences, especially unintended ones? further attack -- is this really going to protect the country from further attacks? is this really going to save lives? we only authorized a particular operation and its best is of the individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is the terrorist we are pursuing. this is a very high bar. of course, how we identify an individual naturally involves intelligence sources and methods, which i will not discuss. suffice it to say that the intelligence community has multiple ways to determine, with a high degree of confidence, that the individuals being targeted is indeed the al qaeda terrorist we are seeking. we only strike if we have a high degree of confidence that innocent civilians will not be injured or killed, except in the
rarest of circumstances. the unprecedented advances we've made in technology provide us with greater proximity to target for a longer period of time, and as a result, allow us to better understand what is happening in real time on the ground in ways that were previously impossible. we can be much more discriminating and we can make more informed judgments about factors that might contribute to collateral damage. i can tell you today that there have indeed been occasions where we have decided against conducting a strike in order to avoid injury or death of innocent civilians. this reflects our commitment to doing everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties. even if it means having to come back another day to take out the terrorists, as we've done previously. and i would note that the standards for identifying a target and avoiding the loss of
lives of innocent civilians exceeds what is required as a matter of international law on the typical battlefield. that is another example of the high standards to which we hold ourselves. our commitment to ensuring accuracy and effectiveness continues even after a strike. in the wake of a strike, we harnessed the full range of our intelligence capabilities to assess whether the mission in fact achieved its objective. we try to determine whether there was any collateral damage, including civilian deaths. there is, of course, no such thing as a perfect weapon. remotely piloted aircraft are no exception. as the president and others the knowledge, there have been instances where, despite extraordinary conscience we take, civilians have been accidently injured or, worse, killed in these strikes. it is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. when it does, it pains us, and
we regret deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war. when it happens, we take it very, very seriously. and review our actions, we examine practices, and we constantly work to improve and refine efforts so that we are doing everything in our power to reduce the loss of civilian life. this, too, is a reflection of our values as americans. ensuring the efficacy of these strikes include regularly in forming appropriate members of congress and the committees who have oversight of our counterterrorism programs. indeed, our counterterrorism programs, including the use of lethal force, have grown more effective over time because of congressional oversight and the ongoing dialogue with members of the staff. this is the seriousness, the extraordinary care that president obama and those of us on the national security team brings to this weightiest of
questions, whether to pursue legal force against a terrorist was plotting to attack our country. when that person is a u.s. citizen, we ask ourselves additional questions. attorney-general holder has already described the legal authorities that clearly allow us to use lethal force against an american citizen who is a senior operational leader of al qaeda para it is discussed the careful review, including all relevant constitutional considerations, that are to be undertaken by the u.s. government when determining whether the individual poses a threat of a violent attack against the united states. to recap, the standards and processes i have described today, which we have refined and strengthen over time, reflect our commitment to ensuring the individual is a legitimate target under let, determining whether the individual poses a significant threat to u.s. interests, determining that capture is not feasible, being mindful of the important tax on
our ability to act unilaterally on foreign territory, having a high degree of confidence, both the identity of the target and that innocent civilians will not be harmed, and, of course, engage in an additional review that the al qaeda at -- tourist -- if the al qaeda terrorist is a u.s. citizen. we look to institutionalize our approach more formally so that the high standards we set for ourselves in or overtime, including, as an example for other nations. as the president said in oslo, in the conduct of war, the u.s. must be the standard bearer. i have made a sincere effort today to address the main questions that citizens and scholars have raised regarding the use of targeted lethal force against al qaeda para i suspect that there are those, perhaps some in this audience, who feel we've not
been transparent enough, and i suspect there are those inside and outside of government who feel i've been to open. if both groups feel a little bit on satisfy, i probably struck the right balance today. -- unsatisfied, i probably struck the right balance today. we are a democracy, the people are sovereign, and the counterterrorism tools are stronger and more sustainable and th -- when the american people understand and support them. they are weaker and less sustainable when the american people do not. as a result of my remarks today, i hope the american people have a better understanding of this critical tool, why we use it, what we do, carefully we use it, and white it is essential to protecting our country and citizens. i would like to close on a personal note. many people in the government
and across the country, the issue of targeted strikes raises profound moral questions. it forces us to confront deeply held personal beliefs in our values as a nation. if anyone in government who works in this area tells you they have not struggled with this, they have not spent much time thinking about it. i know i have. but i am certain of one thing -- we are at war. we are at war against a terrorist organization called al qaeda that has brutally murdered thousands of americans, men, women, and children, as well as thousands of other innocent people around the world. in recent years, with the help targeted strikes, we have turned al qaeda into a shadow of what once was. they are on the road to destruction. until that finally happens, however, there are still terrorists in hard to reach places who are actively planning
attacks against us. if given the chance, date and will gladly strike again and killed more of our citizens. the president has a constitutional and solemn obligation to do everything in his power to protect the safety and security of the american people. yes, war is hell. it is awful. it involves human beings killing other human beings, sometimes innocent civilians. that is why we despised war. that is why we want this war with al qaeda to be over as soon as possible, and not a moment longer. over time, as al qaeda fades into history and as our partners become stronger, i hope the united states will have to rely less on lethal force to keep our country safe. until that happens, as president obama said here five years ago, if another nation cannot or will not take action, we will.
it is an unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives, where sometimes obliged to take lives, the lives of terrorists who seek to murder fellow citizens. on behalf of president obama and his administration, i am here to say to the american people that we will continue to work to safeguard this nation and its citizens responsibly, adhering to the law and staying true to the values that define us as americans. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, mr. brennan. it is almost 1:00. i hope you can state a few extra minutes and take questions, and i would like to make a comment, ask you one question, and then turn it over to our audience. please, no statements. ask questions. first, your call for greater transparency is certainly appreciated by me.
i think that the clearer we can make our policies and the better we can explain them, and the more debate we can have in the public square about them, a the more, one, they can be understood and that two, they could persuade the suicide bomber about to strap on a vest that there is a better answer. i see you nodding. i am not going to ask you a question about that. i also want to say how honored we are that he would make this important speech at the wilson center. there is new material here for those who may have missed it, the fact that the u.s. conducts targeted strikes using drones has always been something that i as a public official against around because i knew it had not been officially acknowledged by our government. i was one of those members of congress briefed on this program. i have seen the feed that shows
how we do these things. i am not going to comment on specific operations or areas of the world, but i do think it is in important that our criminologist this and sets out as carefully as possible -- that our government acknowledges this and sets out as carefully as possible the reasons why we do it. i want at that at the wilson center, we will continue to debate these issues and see what value we can add, free from spin, on a non-partisan basis, to help to articulate more clearly the reasons why, as you said, war is hell, and why, as you said, there is no decision more consequential than deciding to use lethal force. thank you for making those remarks here. my question is this -- one think i don't think he mentioned in that enormously important address is the rise of islamist parties, which have been elected in 20 shock, egypt -- in
tunisia, egypt, and probably will be in turkey and other countries. do you think that having islamists inside the tent in a political sphere also helps to diminish that threat of outside groups like al qaeda? >> hopefully, political pluralism is breaking out in the middle east, and we will find in many countries the ability of the various constituencies to find expression for political parties. certainly, we are very strong advocates of using the political system, the law, to be able to express the views of individual firms with in different countries. rather than finding expression through violent extremism, these groups have the opportunity now -- they have never had before in countries like egypt, yemen, other places -- where they can participate meaningfully in the
political system. this will take some time for these systems to be able to much work so that there can be a robust and democratic system there. certainly, those individuals who are associated with parties that have a religious basis to them can find the opportunity to participate in the political system. >> my second and final question, and i see all of you with your hands about to be raised, and please just state a question as i am about to do -- you just mentioned yemen. i know you have made many trips there. you were eight t architect of the deal to get -- a key architect of the deal to get the 40-year autocratic ruler to accept the deal and leave the country and be replaced. do you think a human-type work in syria? hugh
perhaps having russia lead the effort to do that? because of its close ties to syria? >> each of these countries face different types of circumstances, and had unique histories. yemen was fortunate in that they had a degree of pluralism there. saleh allowed institutions to develop, and we were able to have a peaceful transition. certainly there needs to be some way found for progress in syria. it is outrageous what is happening in that country, the continued death of citizens at the hand of a brutal of authoritarian government. this is something that needs to stop. i would like to be able to see something that will transition
there is a domestic challenge posed, and there is the north- south struggle. also, the issue is the building up of those institutions within nigeria said they can deal with this, not just from a security perspective, but to address that needs that are violent -- that are fueling violent extremism. we have been working with molly and knees year to address the growing phenomenon and threat that is a unique organization a kid that these individuals for large ransoms. we are outraged whenever countries or organizations pay these huge sums to al qaeda,
because it is able to feed their activities. and the area that is such a large expanse of territory, it is in part to address the near term threats to give the government in mali the ability to build up those institutions come out address those development needs. it is a complicated area. i have a work with the french and british colleagues. there might be some way to redress some of these broader african issues that manifest themselves in the kidnappings and piracy and criminal activities. there is an operational cadence in africa that is concerning in a number of parts of the cont
inent. >> back there. >> i am from the state department. how can we sure of that executive actors, when they are undertaking counter-terrorism his actions, are helping to undertake standards as we ask them to be prosecutors, judges, and juries? >> as i tried to say in my remarks, we are not carrying out these actions to retaliate for past transactions. were of a court. we're not trying to determine innocence and carry out a strike in retaliation. what we are trying to do is prevent loss of lives to terrorist attacks. it is not as if we are judge and jury on their involvement in the
past activities. we see a threat developing, following a carefully, identify individuals responsible for allowing the plot to go forward, and make a determination about whether we have the solid intelligence base. we have standards. we evaluate that. there are interagency meetings we are involved in in an ongoing basis, determining whether or not we have a degree of confidence that person is involved in carrying out this plan to kill americans. if it reaches that level, we look at it according to the other standards in terms of visibility of capture, a determination that we are able to have intelligence that we can have a high degree of confidence we can track individuals, finding them, and be confident we're taking action against an individual who is carrying out an attack.
if we did not have to take these actions and had confidence there was not a terrorist attack, everybody would be very pleased. we only decide to take that action if there is no other option available, if there's no option of capture, if we cannot do something that will prevent that attack from taking place, and the only available option is taking that into vigil off the battlefield, and we will do in the way that will take -- that will ensure the fact there will be no collateral damage. there is a rigorous systems of standards and processes we go through. >> in the far back, yes, you. >> i was wondering if you could tell us -- >> identify yourself. >> i am with a japanese paper. how many times or what percentage of the time have proposals that target is this
the individual then denied? can you address the issue of signature strikes which are not targeted against individuals, but people engaging in systems is activities put a new address what the criteria is? >> i can tell you there have been numerous times where individuals that were put forward for consideration for this type of action was declined. you've made reference to signature strikes that are frequently reported in the press. i was speaking here specifically about targeted strikes against individuals who are involved. everything we do that is carried out against al qaeda is carried
out consistent with the rule all, the authorization of military force, and domestic law, and we do it with a similar rigor, and there are various ways we can make sure we are taking the actions we need to to prevent a terrorist attack. that is the whole purpose. whenever tool we use, it is prevent attacks and save the lives. i spoke today for the first fought openly about what is commonly referred to in the press as drones that can give thathat' kind of precision can excise that terrorist or a threat in a manner that will not damage the surrounding tissue. what we are trying to do -- there is a metastasizing cancer threat in the world. when that metastasized tumor
becomes lethal and militant, that is when we are going to take action we need to. >> last question will be the woman in the back. could you identify yourself, please. hong the pakistan governmens protested about the end of two grown strikes. inhofe you mentioned -- you mentioned countries can be unwilling to carry out attacks against militants. >> we have a dialogue with countries on counter-terrorism programs, and in some we are involved in discussions about the appropriate tools.
in the case of pakistan, the ambassador was there recently. there are ongoing discussions with the government of pakistan about how best to address terrorist threat. so many pakistanis have been killed by that only the tumor within the southern borders of pakistan. many brave pakistani s had given their lives. kirkpat as the parliament recently said, pakistan needs to rid itself of these foreign militants that have taken root. we are committed to work closely with the pakistan government, which includes intelligent , security, and various civilian departments. this is to help them address the terrorist threat, but also so
they can help us sure that area near afghanistan is never ever again used for the launching pad for attacks against the united states. >> thank you. nittany conclude by creighton saying mike peyton used to use the analogy of the lines on a football field. he said we need to get schock on their cleats. if you think about it that way, it is important to have policies transparent so that those carried out the mission and those in the united states trying to understand the mission know where the lines are. if we do not know where the lights on, some people will be risk adverse. other people will commit excesses'.
of a grade comes to mind. -- abu ghraib. john brennan has spent more than an hour of laying out in detail what the rules are for something that has been revealed today, which is the use of drones in certain operations. the debate will continue. people at different points of view. we know one young woman did during his remarks. that is why the wilson center is here, to offer a platform free of spin and partisan rhetoric to debate these issues the early, and you honor us by coming here today, mr. brennan. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> you can find this discussion on our website, c-span.org. the president is meeting with the japanese prime minister. the two will hold a press conference in less than an hour. the soviet to cox -- this will be at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c- span perry s. >> should tracking of cell phones for car and board approved tonight, an attorney on police use of technology for surveillance and other current
law protect an individual's a right to privacy. 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> years ago i was a washington outsider. four years later, i am at this dinner. four years ago, i looked like this. today i look like this. and for years from now i will look like this. [applause] that is not even funny. >> mr. president, remember when the country right around you in hopes of a better tomorrow? that was hilarious. that was your best one yet.
honestly, it is a thrill to be here with the president, a guy who has paid a heavy price. there's a term for guys like the president. probably not to terms, but -- [applause] >> you can watch any time online at the c-span2 video library, behind the scenes, red carpet, and all the advertisements -- entertainment, anat c-span.org /videolibrary. >> a look behind the scenes of the workings of congress. host: robert draper, who is jeff duncan? guest: jeff duncan is a conservative tea party freshman from the third congressional district of south carolina. it is a good question, i think,
that you are posing because i think a lot of people even and house republican leadership don't know who jeff duncan is. duncan is really the protagonists of my book in a lot of ways. and on a couple of levels, i think he is worth considering. first, because as one of the more conservative tea party freshman, he is but straw that serves the drink in the 112th congress, and also a guy who has learned how to make ends up known in an institution, a body of 435, clamoring about to be more than one out of 435. i think that tension between being powerful as part of a group that tried to insert himself as an individual is present in the book. host: how did you hook up with jeff duncan? guest: by chance. right after the midterm elections, peter, i decided i wanted to do this book. and once i commenced my publishers to let me do it, i
then showed up to the orientation meetings that the freshmen were having here in washington in the middle of november. i just grabbed the mountain in the hallway. i told them what i was up to. host: did you know who he was at the time? guest: i did not. i knew his name. he was one of the 87 tea party freshman but i knew nothing about him and he is one of the few people i talk to that day. but then we sat and talked in the coming days. what i liked about the bid is he is a very forthright guy, very ordinary. i thought, this guy could be my every man, as i sort of -- sort of the vehicle through which we learn how a bill -- bill is passed, how one tries to assert himself on the committee. but then the addition of the mention of him being voted by heritage action as the most conservative member of the entire body of 435 house of representatives was an added bonus. host: did that surprise you
after you got to know him? guest: not especially. he is from a very conservative district. and when he ran for congress, he ran on a set of principles -- all of these guys ran on something called a pledge to america. but his was ratcheted up. this was very specific in terms of the right to bear arms, the belief that god should not be routed out of government but instead should be an integral part of it. so, no, his conservative bona fides when not -- host: what does he think of the process? guest: i think he was frustrated by it. he thought the republicans compromise too much. the debt ceiling bill, he did not vote for it. he did not vote for a number of the continuing -- continuing resolutions to fund the government because he believed the government was still spending too much and needed to be slashed more. he parts company with his
leadership. what makes duncan relevant is that he is from a conservative district, and it is fine, he should represent and to the best of his abilities, but beyond that, he and a couple dozen or so very conservative republicans have succeeded in dragging his entire party to the rights. to the point where the bills that they have passed, had to satisfy many of these conservative republicans and stood little chance of being ratified by the senate and sent on for the president's signature. host: what is his view and the view of the republican freshman class of speaker boehner? guest: i think they are ambivalent. now, duncan and a little more charitable toward speaker boehner and many of the other tea party freshman who i spend time with. don't and like the boehner personally, but he does not --
duncan blogs boehner personally, was not feel it particular allegiance. this is where the 112th congress is very different from the congress during the newt gingrich revolution. when gingrich came in with his 70-something freshman, these guy were utterly -- guys were orderly beholden. his contract with america, the tapes they would listen to to help fund-raise or how to message, they were completely reliant on gingrich. he was there fearlessly. boehner is not. boehner took note of the tea party wave, and knew that he could be crushed by a or service. serve it, he did. but the freshmen are well aware he is not of that movement and the tension has been present throughout the legislative session.
host: we will put the numbers back on the screen. we are talking to robert draper, and this is his new book "do not ask what good we do: inside the u.s. house of representatives." what is the role that allen west plays in the freshman class? guest: equal opportunity offender, i think, more than anything. west is, without question, the most famous of the 87 freshmen. he was a tea party sensation before he was ever elected because in 2009 he gave this so-called bayonet speech in which he exhorted his audience to pick up the bayonets and charge the enemy to victory but i think you opportunity offender because although qwest is a reluctant tea party freshman, i should mention he is from the fort lauderdale area of florida, he wasted very little time upsetting leadership.
in fact, i met him on the set of "meet the press" and david gregory it asked him what things should be cut -- and he said everything should be looked at, include defense cuts. no sooner had we gotten off the set than his cell phone rang and it was the chairman of the house armed services committee saying, "what the hell are you talking about?" and west wanted to be on this committee but he said, look, mr. chairman, i know it is a low hanging fruit, but there are things that need to be cut. as soon as he did get to town, west took one look at the calendar majority leader eric cantor put forth that would involve congressman spending less time in washington and more time in their district and west announced that is exactly
backward -- he said we have some of to do with it spend more time in washington, and cantor was offended, too. but finally, to your question, west plays a role, to surprise of many and made himself, to convince freshman there is no point of looking for 100% solution, that 70% is better than nothing. and he was instrumental in bringing freshmen on board for the debt ceiling bill, among others. host: a lot of sports metaphors, moving metaphors and military metaphors. host: for him it is nothing whatever. he was lieutenant-colonel an army and was discharged after a harsh interrogation which almost led to a court-martial in prison. i noted in the book the time he was sworn in office, and fortune turned a different way he would just be winding down a multi-year prison term in fort leavenworth. who i think is a really remarkable guy -- some of the
outlandish things he says -- nonetheless still sees everything through the prism of military. he still walks around with all of his information and all of this briefing papers in a helmet bag, still has a bearing as someone with the army. and when he has had qualms with leadership, as often compared then, wantonly, to the military leadership that he himself experienced. host: why did you devote a chapter to sheila jackson lee? guest: because congresswoman jackson lee is emblematic, first of all, of the progressive dynamic of the democratic party. but the theme i pursued throughout the book, of how congressmen are all sort of entrepreneurs, all trying to get their piece of the pot.
sheila jackson lee is a very controversial levy in washington. she is not even well liked amongst her own democratic party. in part because she insists upon speaking on every subject, insists upon amending every bill, be it republican or democrat, which infuriates democrats when they put their own bills out and are expecting full support in here she is fine-tuning everything. and also, she is pretty tough on her staff. and so, she is not well-liked. and so -- yet, she is a very important spokeswoman for her district in houston and is beloved and has won by margins ranging from 50% to 70%. so, as she, to me, is a good case study in how you can be sort of effective at home and thus remain in the house of representatives, even as you rankle your own allies. host: politico this morning is
reporting on speaker boehner's appearance on "state of the union" on cnn. guest: yes, there are a number of anecdotes and my book where boehner says that everything -- one of them to the oldest congressman, ralph hall, and there is a point in which boehner comes up to him and says, ron, it is not the same without earmarks. we cannot heard the cats the way we used to. and senior members of the appropriations committee, registering their discontent because so many freshmen and so
many more senior conservative members have been voting against continuing resolutions bill that the appropriations committee had worked very hard to put together. and these senior members, say to speaker boehner, we've got to do something about these guys. you can't let them get away with this. you need to punish them, strip them of committee assignments, you need to take them off the list of delegation overseas trips. boehner says, no, that will only make martyrs of them. speaker boehner has an expression. he says, when you say follow me, and you had off, and you look over your shoulder and no one is behind you, you are not leaving -- you are just taking a walk. in a way, it makes boehner temperamentally suited, but it is also emblematic of how difficult it is for him to lead this very, very rambunctious freshman class. host: how would you describe the relationship between speaker boehner and nancy pelosi? guest: they have a working relationship, but let's face it, things have been so divided right now that it is not as if -- there were times, such as during the shooting gabrielle giffords, when they were in coordination. and other housekeeping duties
related to the body itself, there was communication. and this is evident throughout the book. the only time the republicans reach out to the democrats is when suddenly at the last minute they realize they don't have the votes, and then it is not boehner communicating to pelosi, it is house majority whip kevin mccarthy communicating rather plaintively to house minority whip steny hoyer. host: what are the takeaways for people reading your book? guest: i set out, peter, to do a book that was experiential as much as anything else. i was on election night so struck by these 87 freshmen that were taking office, 1/3 had never held elective office.
i was anxious to chronicle in a mr. smith goes to washington kind of way how these guys would fare. so, i spent a lot of time embedding myself among the freshmen. but along the way, i covered the more sweeping areas of the 112 congress and there's almost no way to interpret that in narrative as one of a parable of dysfunction. i think the book is a case study and a pretty vivid narrative of all these congressmen who seek to put their imprint on an institution.
host: the relationship between house democrats and president obama. guest: it is better. it was not a good relationship -- i should not say it was a bad one. democrats felt he was giving away the store. the president in january gave the speech about winning the future and about investing in america. that was the narrative the white house was trying to peddle. the prevailing narrative was cut, cut, cut.
democrats felt president obama so quickly lost his edge. there was a push by republicans to roll back the government. robert draper is our guest. previously he has written another best seller. he is a contributing writer to "the new york times." willie on our democrats line. caller: we have the worst congress in american history. ok? preceded by the worst president in american history, george bush. let's look at the congress' track record and the
republicans track record. they came in with the grover norquist pledge. canthey raised $4 trillion. what do we get? host: why don't you bring this to a conclusion? where are you going? caller: they do not want to raise taxes. goingllion -- you're not to cut that. host: anything to respond to? guest: as to the republicans,
the argument that they were responding to a movement and to the will of the voters in the election. they had a mandate as a result of the voters turning the house back over to the republican party to roll back the obama administration. voters were saying enough. too much government. the massive health care bill that the democrats cannot explain. economically difficult times. they have -- the problem is that it was a divided government.
it is not as though the keys were handed over to the republicans. the republicans proceeded to, rather than government or pass legislation that likely would gain the approval of the senate and the signature of the president, they passed legislation far to the right of what democrats could stomach. harry reid let those bills languish in the senate and paralysis occurred. host: do you leave with the same amount of respect, less respect, more respect? guest: i am as ambivalent as the average american. i like a lot of the congressmen
that i spent time with on both sides of the aisle. i was dismayed by their performance and continued to be dismayed as most americans. i thought about what the solution would be. it is a paradox. the house is perhaps the most loathed institution that we have. 9% approval rating at this past september. john dingell said i think even pedophiles' could do better. when the public registers such discussed at institutions and allows his behavior to continue when it has an opportunity every two years change the makeup, it is a puzzle.
caller: hi, peter. it has been a while. i think these millionaire tea party members will not change anything. i think the american people have seen what the corporate agenda is. i think they will have a difficult time going for their re-election this fall. i think they have been working against the average american citizen. they have been legislating for the !%, 2% as far as their tax policies and everything else. guest: you may be right that some may be voted out of office. the republicans got lucky. the elections coincided with
the national census. congressional redistricting. most states are controlled by republican state legislators and they got to redraw the congressional maps and did so in ways that would benefit some of these republicans, including the so-called tea party freshmen. one won in a district that had a democratic representative ortez, for something like 28 years. the district is 70% hispanic. the hispanics largely stayed home in 2010. he prevailed by something like
800 votes. but now, they have to figure of how to repeal these voters. instead, redistricting to place and he's been handed a different district. the hispanic portion has been sliced away. a republican can comfortably in habit for the next 10 years. this is an example of what a lot of republicans may stay in office. >> markus in a florida. caller: good morning. i'm enjoying listening to mr. draper's comments this morning. i think the tea party has gotten a bad rap.
my question -- in reference to congressman west, do you feel congressman west would be a good running mate for mitt romney? why this democratically controlled senate seemed to have such an abhorrence for getting the house in order. they seem to vote down every good built the republicans, along with. >> west is not going to beat mitt romney's running mate. talked about this. he is not interested in being president or vice presidents. he is still learning the ropes, legislatively speaking.
west is from florida and florida is a battleground state. he tends to say things off the cuff that may more news than the romney campaign would like to suffer from a running mate. the other question about the senate. the senate has been infuriating to the republicans in the house. harry reid said rather than negotiate, he was largely going to let all the bills languish. he believed there was no point in negotiating with them and that there were intent on
dragging america much to the right then americans could abide. it made more sense to leave the republicans out there and frame them as extremist rather than dignify them by negotiating. i understand the frustration of members of the house and americans as a whole for that strategic decision. it seems very cold. we will see in november whether it is effective. stiff-arming house legislation the republican legislation as extremist will bear fruit.
host: where did you get the title of your book? guest: he served four terms massachusetts and craft of the final language to the first amendment. he was in failing health. after four terms he decided he would not run any more. he wrote a note to a friend of his talk about partisan disagreements in the house. he wrote, "do not ask what fair we do." partisanship and division have always been with us. they manage to overcome these divisions. they stood up to the executive
branch, to pay back the war debt, and to annex a few states. they could get a lot done. joseph. guest: that is a good question. that is central to an anecdote about the debt ceiling standoff. a number of allies of john boehner say to him, "you need to be careful with your negotiations with obama. there is a good chance there could be a mutiny against you." eric cantor's staff is spreading rumors about you.
it only takes a dozen or so. they have been lockstep on legislative matters. i think eric cantor has watched himself a great deal more since the miserable approval ratings that the house has accumulated. he has been far less aggressive. does boehner know eric cantor is an ambitious guy? absolutely. host: what about kevin mccarthy? he spent a lot of time with him. guest: the whip is the guy who tries to get people together to vote on republican legislation, to try to get the requisite 218 votes to pass the bill.
they do not have the carrot and stick of earmarks and things like this to move people. mccarthy himself is an ambitious guy. hard to say what his end game is. he only served in the house two terms before he became the third most powerful republican in the house of representatives. i was interested in his ladder- climbing and his struggle to convince -- host: how would you describe his relationship with speaker boehner? guest: he has worked hard to cultivate that relationship. and john boehner is well aware
that mccarthy knows the freshman better than anybody else. mccarthy recruited a lot of these freshmen and has used his office as the unofficial flophouse for the newcomers to hang out in. so boehner takes the temperature frequently of mccarthy to find out where the rest of the conference is. host: dave from little rock, arkansas. caller: the aspect of grover norquist. eric cantor is all lies. newt gingrich -- these people
were meeting at the time that president obama -- to me, what looks like is they are a bunch of angry white men. they used to be in lockstep. this was from day one. all the lies they have been telling on president obama. they were so angry that a black man became president. grover norquist is their leader. host: we got the point. guest: you are alluding to the meetings that took place on the night of barack obama's inauguration. this was a meeting of about 15 congressmen, senators, and other republican leaders, and
the unofficial leader of the meeting was newt gingrich. this is not meant to be a dark conspiracy. it was 15 republicans licking their wounds. they were awestruck and devastated. "now we control nothing. what are we going to do?" they went through denial and recognize that they have lost their way. they had been unprincipled. they needed to be unified in their attacks against the obama administration, to attack
vulnerable democratic congressman and to attack vulnerable cabinet members. with the hope of taking over the house in 2010 and using the house as the pitch fork against the obama administration. that is what came to pass. grover norquist is key because of his "no new taxes" pledge. nobody had to put a gun to their heads to sign the "no new taxes" pledge.
grover norquist was in lockstep with them. i don't think he had to be coercive. host: you describe the three types of congressman. guest: one is a congressional leader like john boehner or cantor or mccarthy. another is a committee chairman. the third is a congressman who is content to represent his district. that was given to me by tom delay, who himself had been in leadership guy. i use it in the book to apply to john dingell, who would been the most powerful democrat on
the energy and commerce committee and had used energy and commerce to build up one of the committees into a great fortress of power. he was kicked out of leadership by as fellow democrats, by nancy pelosi and henry waxman. he had to content himself with being a congressman in the third category. john dingell at 85 still knows how to get things done. host: mike is our next caller. caller: you guys to a wonderful job. good morning. i wonder if you have a opinion of my representative in arizona. guest: i do not know him well.
i did not focus on him. he was a thorn in the side to house leadership and has been on whip team and was kicked off because he voted one way even as the majority whip was asking him to convince people to vote the other way. i mentioned in the book that he had gabrielle giffords got along well. as one of her last acts as congresswoman, she gave him a tour of the capital. the next day the terrible tragedy occurred. those are the only mentions that he gets. primaryn't he in a right now?
guest: ben quayle said barack obama is the worst president of my lifetime. nobody thought he would be thrust into a primary where he would find myself having to defend his conservative credentials. it is pretty clear this guy is conservative. that has been one of the more emotionally racking for the republicans with in the house primaries that we will be seeing. host: here's the cover of the book, "do not ask what good we do: inside the house of representatives." robert draper is the author. caller: good morning. i want you to comment on my assessment of the current house. the republicans have shown they
have no idea about how to govern. you did speak to senator reid's position on how to deal with the house. they created a debt ceiling crisis. they could not carry a vote to bring it to a resolution. the democrats had to carry the vote on the crisis they created. you have a republican house that cannot get legislation passed. they have no accomplishments for the time they have been there. i know that you disagree. you have to be able to get things accomplished. they do not have a clue how to do that. guest: the debt ceiling illustrates the quandary that
the republicans are in and the desire on the republican leadership to get things done. when these freshmen went to their orientation, the pollster happened to ask for an informal show of hands. "how many of you would raise the debt ceiling?" four people raised their hands. the leadership knew this was a problem. they knew that as john boehner said it would be armageddon if economically speaking if they fail to raise the debt ceiling. it became a matter of great
exertion on the part of kevin mccarthy. he had these listening sessions where he would try to explain to the freshman republican with the debt ceiling was and what concessions they could extract from democrats in return for voting choices. it did not take. two weeks before the deadline, the republican leadership was concerned that a lot of the freshmen and some senior conservatives were not get the message that the brought in jay powell about what would happen if they fail to raise the debt ceiling. he took them through the
narrative -- all of the federal prisons would be closed and mortgage interest rates. 1/3 of social security recipients would not receive their paychecks. people stood up and began to scream at him. sunday this bias presentation? he should be talking about the need to live within our means and not talk about all of this stuff. this is what they had to deal with. you cannot feel too sorry for them. they would not be in power if it were not for these 87 freshmen. it is the situation that these guys were much further to the right, much more extreme in their thinking than the
guest: that very series of questions became a plaque he would find around the republican caucuses and it would say above it, "cantor rule." he was more hot wire to the sentiments of the tea party than john boehner was. he recognized that this was a conservative movement that, to some degree, was a tiger they have by the tail to exploit. boehner did see the debt ceiling as a moment in which they could extract concessions from the democratic controlled white house. he could play the tea party
freshman as a bargaining chip. those hot blooded the guys brought going to let them default. if you really wanted to vote for them, you would need to give up some things. there is a moment in my book during the discussion of our revenue increases and he says that is not something that they are prepared to do at all. joe biden then says, "what do we get out of this?" a vote on the debt ceiling may not sound like much, but they have a lot of members who feel like failing to raise the debt ceiling in exactly what they need. they said they're working to educate them. host: harrisburg, pa., but your question or comment? caller: mike, this simply on the
idea of compromise. i would just like to use a mental image about this. i want to go east and you want to go west. where is the compromise? north or south? it will not get us where we want to go. we both just land where we are and do not go anywhere until we can figure it out. compromise is not necessarily a good thing if it gets us going to the wrong place where no one wants to be. i see that when people talk about legislation. why do they not compromise? everyone is on happy with the compromise, then that is probably a good thing. and i just thought -- no, they're probably got the worst elements and not the best to make both sides a little bit happy. a do nothing congress is not necessarily a bad thing if it stops us from doing the wrong thing.
guest: the analogy is appealing up to a point and maybe does not apply. people refer to the craft of legislating as unseemly practice, not particularly appetizing. the reality is that the nation's business has to be tended to in the house controls the power of the purse. they have to decide on a budget or if they cannot, they have to at least continued have resolutions to fund activities. you say maybe it would be a great. the government would shut down and if it did for a length of time it could mean that federal prisons would close, no infrastructure, people would fail to receive their social security checks, etc.
it costs money to run a country. in doing this, when there is a divided government, they control the size of the legislative branch. there is no getting around it. having said that, i do take your point that there are lot of people that believe that it is this sort of compromise and that is endemic to this system where everybody gets a little bit of what they want and it is just too bad about the public. this mutual back scratching is part of the problem. a lot of freshmen believe that as well. one of them said to congresswoman emerson, a moderate republican, that she
was upside that the debt ceiling did not need to be reused. she asked one of the freshmen, "what is this about exactly? explain the tea party position on the debt ceiling." we have spent too much money and that was the explanation. there is that sentiment there. was that point of view it sound like it was really teaching a lesson but causing us to the fault was maybe not the prescription. host: robert draper, let's return to the canter rule and the in god we trust debate. guest: it is we should be focused like a laser on the economy on reducing the size of federal spending, tax reform,
economic matters. otherwise, what exactly are we up to? in god we trust is a legislation that was put on the floor by one of the virginia congressman. alan west talks about it. he was perturbed by this. he thought it was exactly the kind of thing that makes congress as a whole a laughingstock under the republican leadership. we have a 9% unemployment and why all these other issues? are we even bothering with a law that would ratify in god we trust? indeed a speech on the floor on congress in which he apologized to his constituents and the nation for the lack of focus that his own leadership was
extending. host: republican line from shreveport, louisiana. we're talking about the 112 congress caller:. bless the tea party and allen west. we have got to come together and get this worked down or it will be the downfall of this country. my next comment for your guest, are we going to have a follow up book on the people leaving the democratic party? he said he could not be a democrat no more. i would look for you to write a book about that. guest: i'm actually a registered
independent. you could argue that i am a happy, but not a leftist pack. i'm not sure if shuler actually said he could not be a democrat anymore. he said the democratic party was not as hospitable as it once was to blue dog democrats such as himself. i spent a fair amount of time with him for this book and he was the administrative co-chair, the moderate on social issues. he was very much chagrined that nancy pelosi remained the leader of the house democrats and registered his protest to her on the phone. i have a long conversation with her about it. he is not running any more because he got redistricted by the republican-controlled state legislature in north carolina to
an extent that the progress of crown tool -- jewel, asheville, n.c., has been stripped away from him. he will have a lot of trouble getting reelected. he recognizes that and recognizes the growing impetus that modern democrats have had and he has other things he can do with his times and he decided to bowed out. host: is very second book? do you see a follow-up to this after the 2012 election? guest: i do not know. i am interested in the history of the institution and have done a lot of research that just did not make it into the book. as engaging as i found a lot of these characters, it is also very disparaging to write about a body that does not function.
i had figured with the 87 republican freshmen coming in that there would be an element of attacking the obama white house and that the house may come to more resembled the world wrestling federation than a legislative body. i just did not think this would be a body of a stalemate to the degree that it have been. the characters are really colorful, but the outcome is a tough one to cover. whether i come or my readers, could suffer another 300-page narrative remains to be seen. host: north carolina, your on with robert draper. caller: thank you.
i do not think we recognize the significance that the top 15 republicans had a during the inauguration of the president. i think they met to plot ways to make the president fail. that is what they said. there one goal was to make this president fail and it seemed like that is what they have done in terms of their meetings. one of the things it looks like they decided to do is that they would vote no one everything that the president presented not looking at how it would hurt the american people as well. their only goal was to make the american president fail. it did not make any difference to them. >> the goal was to regain power. the regains -- means they figured they would do so would be to make the president fail. i have reported this at length
in my butt and there have been other reporters who have written about this before, a paragraph here and there, but i interviewed most of the 15 participants and got a pretty granular sense of what happened. it was not this nefarious meeting were the great powers behind the curtain decide what is going to happen in america but a bunch of guys got together and felt pretty bad about it. they figured they may as well all sit around and be irrelevant together. in the course of the the competition, they began to think about how they could get their power back. nowhere in the conversation was there a conversation of finding a way to work with the president. i make that point in in the prologue, one thing that was not mentioned was the state of
america at that time. to be fair to the republicans, the democrats in many ways, they did not care. passing a cap and trade bill out of the house which was maybe politically ill-advised because it was destined to fail in the senate seemed dissident. they're worried about the job situation, the economy. what does passing a bill having to do with greenhouse gases have to do with any of this? it suggests that they did not care either which was playing into the narrative. what the democrats. they're going to overplay their hand and be too exuberant about finally being in control. the democrats do not care about struggling americans.
they care about their big government agenda. they walked right in to that. host: of of twitter -- guest: >> we now go to live coverage from the east room with the president obama and the japanese prime minister. >> it is a great pleasure to welcome prime minister of noda of japan, one of america's most closest allies in the automation -- asian-pacific region. one of the reasons we enjoy such a strong alliance between our nations is because it is rooted in the deep friendship between our peoples. i felt in my own life in my visits to japan, and we have seen less on display very
profoundly over the last year. last month, we marked the first anniversary of the tsunami in nuclear crisis that followed. all across japan, people stopped and stood in silence at 2:46 p.m., the moment that the earth shook. mr. prime minister, on behalf of the american people, i want to say to you and the people of japan that we continue to stand with you as well. we stand with japan in honoring the lost and the missing. 19,000 men, women come and children who will never be forgotten. we stand with you as you rebuilt what you, mr. prime minister, have called the rebirth of japan. we stand with you in the asian- pacific and beyond. even as it has focused on the hard work at home, japan has never stopped leading in the world. it is a great to be to the japanese people and to leaders like prime minister noda.
i am told many japanese have found strength in the bonds of solidarity between friends and neighbors, a bond which cannot be broken. the same could be said about the bonds between the united states and japan. today, we welcome you in that spirit. i have worked to strengthen the ties between our two nations. when prime minister noda and i met, we talk about strengthening. i want to thank you for the personal commitment you have brought to this endeavor. you have called the united states is japan's greatest asset. through our determination and humility we have seen this through. during our discussions today, the prime minister compared his leadership style to that of a point guard in basketball. he may not be flashy, but he
stays focused and gets the job done. that has helped make this visit a milestone. am proud to announce we have agreed to a new joint vision to help shape the asian-pacific for decades to come. this is part of a broader effort i discussed in which the united states is, once again, beating in the asian-pacific region. this will remain the foundation of the security and foundations -- security and prosperity of our two nations and a cornerstone of regional peace and security. we reviewed the agreement that we reached last week to realign american forces in japan which reflects our efforts to modernize with more forces that are more broadly situation. this will reduce the impact on
local communities like okinawa. this will improve our commitment for trade. our exports to japan and japanese companies in the u.s. support more than 1 million jobs, but there's more we can do as we work to double u.s. exports, so i appreciate the prime minister updating me on his reform efforts in japan including liberalizing trade and playing a leading role in the asian-pacific economy. the jury the trans-pacific partnership would benefit both economies and the region. we also talked about nuclear safety, clean energy, and cyber security. third, our joint vision lays out the future we seek in the asian pacific, a region where international rules and norms
are upheld, contributing to regional security, commerce, freedom of navigation. we continue our close consultation on the provocative actions of north korea which were a sign of weakness and not strength and only served to further p'yongyang's isolation. we want to encourage more reforms that improve the lives of the burmese people. our joint vision reaffirms our role as global partners down by shared values and committed to international peace, security, and human rights. our nations are the largest donors in afghanistan. we are planning for the nato summit in chicago and plan for the transition in afghanistan and japan will plant for a donor conference to sustain development. i want to think this time to
commend the prime minister and japan for showing leadership with regards to the iranian nuclear program. they are now appealing the crunch and one reason is that countries like japan made the decision to reduce imports. this is one more example about japan continuing to serve as a model and a true global leader. finally, this commits us to new collaboration between our scientists, researchers and includes new exchanges that will bring thousands of our young people together including high school students to help japanese communities rebuild after last year's disaster. mr. prime minister, thank you for helping to revitalize our extraordinary alliance so we enjoy even greater security and prosperity for both our countries. once again, i salute the people of japan for the resilience and
courage that they have shown during this past year. more than ever, the american people are proud to call you a friend and honored to call you an ally. before i turn it over to the prime minister, i want to warn the press that the prime minister is a black belt. if you get out of line, i have protection. mr. prime minister. [speaking japanese] >> i want to thank you, mr.
president, because i know how busy you are. i have had a good exchange of views with the president today on bilateral relations between the u.s. and japan. we talked about the asian pacific region and various global challenges. we were able to confirm broader perspectives and their present its significance and where the japan-u.s. relations should be headed in the long term. the president just now spoke about his support, and i would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the support given by the government and the people of the united states starting with the operation conducted by u.s. forces during the earthquake of last year. yesterday, [unintelligible]
he took care of children until his last moment following the great earthquake. i also met with representatives of the search and rescue teams who, immediately following the in theuake, deployed a region. i was able to meet with these true friends of japan. i have always held the conviction that our bilateral alliance is the benchmark of japan's diplomacy. having had conversations with my friends [unintelligible] one of such convictions, i am
realignment plan in accordance with the security committee during a statement released and to step up bilateral security and cooperation in a creative manner. we need to work with regional partners to build a network that is open, a comprehensive, and build on utilizing such a strain works -- frameworks especially with u.s.-japan, australia, and aipac. this is an important partner. it is also when portents that japan and the united states cooperate to promote necessary rules in the area such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy, and security. in the economic area, we need to
fortify the growth and prosperity of the promotion of economic integration in the asia-pacific region. to that end, and both of our credit, both countries will work on regional trade with the working on free-trade in the asian-pacific region. this will advance consultations to participate in the trans- pacific partnership. the shared vision calls for the strengthening of cooperation. we discussed today expanding exports to japan. that is stated in the shared vision among the next generation use. this will further step up exchanges among youth and such
endeavors as the u.s. side and some got she leadership. >> we will have two questions on each side. >> president obama, could you confirm if the dissidents cheng in beijing? would you grant him asylum? prime minister noda, how likely do think north korea's tests will continue? how're you likely to respond? >> i am aware of the press reports on the situation in china, but i will not make a
statement on the issue. what i would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with china, the issue of human rights comes out. it is our belief that the only is it the right thing to do because it comports with our principles and our belief in freedom and human rights. but also because we think china will be strong. they need to open up and liberalize their run system. we want china to be strong, and we're very pleased with all of the areas of cooperation that we have been able to engage in. we also believe that relationship will be that much stronger and china will be that much more prosperous and a strong as you see improvements
on human rights issues in that country. i know it was not directed at me, but i will make a quick statement on north korea. this was a topic of the extensive discussion between myself and prime minister noda. our consultation throughout the failed missile launch was, i think, reflective of how important our alliance is, not just to our two countries, but to the region as a whole. i have tried to make sure that the north koreans understand that the old pattern of provocation that then gets attention and somehow insists on the world putting up with this behavior is broken. what we have said is that the more you engage in a provocative act, the more isolated you will
become. stronger sanctions will be in place. the more isolated you will be diplomatically, politically, and commercially. i do not want to hypothesize on what might happen in the coming months. i think p'yongyang is very clear that the united states, japan, south korea, other countries in the area that are unified in insisting that it will abide by its responsibilities, abide by international norms, and they will not be able to purchase anything from further provocative act. >> with regards to north korea, between myself and president obama earlier, with regards to the so-called launch of a satellite, a missile launch, we share the view that it
undermines the efforts to achieve a resolution through dialogue. in the latest round of the missile launch, the also conducted a nuclear test which means there is a great responsibility. it the international community needs to call for restraint on behalf of p'yongyang. the measures incorporated in the recent u.n. security council needs to be complied with. we all need to communicate with each other. i cannot stress that china's role is very important. we to maintain close coordination with in the united states and we share this deal with president obama.
of tbs from japan? >> i have a question for both president obama and prime minister noda. how do you regard the location issue in the context of destroyed statement? although you did not refer to the location. on the u.s.-japan military realignment, it leaves the question open to some extent. what do you think of the possibility that they will be recruited to replace -- to a different place? >> it is most meaningful that in the joint statement as well as the summit meeting today that we
were able to confirm that our two countries will cooperate in the context of a bilateral alliance towards the realization of the optimum u.s. forces posture in the region and the reduction of the burden on okinawa. we will continue to work for the resolution of this state issue in a window. >> of the prime minister just noted, we think that the realignment approach that is being taken is consistent with the interests of both japan and the united states. we think we have found an effective mechanism to move this process forward in a way that is respectful of the situation in okinawa, the views of the residents there, but also is able to optimize the defense
cooperation between our two countries and the alliance that is a linchpin of our security in the region as well. we're confident that we can move forward with an approach that realigns our basic posture, our deployments, but also is continuing to serve the broad- based interests of our alliance as a whole. i want to publicly thank prime minister noda for taking a constructive approach to an issue that has been lingering in our bilateral relationship for quite some time. next question. >> we're coming up on the one- year anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. i was wondering if you could share some thoughts on that anniversary.
i also wanted to mention that you're likely opponents said, "anybody would have made that call, even as jimmy carter." i'm curious what you would say about that. mr. prime minister, on the same topic. you mention the international fight against terrorism in your opening remarks, and i'm wondering if you can reflect on president obama's record here. do you think, from an international perspective, the u.s. is playing it right in marking this anniversary? or do you think you might advise against excessive celebration? >> a few points. first of all, i hardly think you have seen any excessive celebration taking place here. i think the american people -- rightly -- remember what we, as a country, accomplished in
bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3000 of our citizens. it is a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams, our military, a political process that worked. i think, for us, to use that time for some reflection, to give thanks for those who participate in is entirely appropriate and that is what is taking place. as far as my personal role and what other folks would do, i did recommend that everybody take a look at previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go and pakistan to take out bin laden. i assume that people meant what
they said when they said it. and has been at least my practice. i said that i would go after bin laden if we had a clear shot at him and i did. if there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they would do something else, then i would go ahead and let them explain it. >> president obama has been in the fight against terrorism and i told him in high regard for that. although bin laden has been killed, terrorism has not been rooted out. concerted efforts will be needed, and we will be there for the united states. the forms of terrorism are
becoming very diverse. that just in japan, but also in cyberspace, and the oceans. we shall work together to root out terrorism of all sorts. next call from japan. -- enxt question. >> i would like to last a question for prime minister noda and president obama. there is no direct reference to china in the joint statement. what sort of exchange of views did you have on china in the context of a working on stability in the asia-pacific in connection with their advances in the oceans and their buildup?
what discussion have you had on these subjects? >> let me answer first. the shared vision does not refer to any specific country, but we recognized china as a major partner in the region. both of us confirmed that china is an opportunity for the international community, for japan, and for the asian pacific. i explained in the meeting the president obama that when i visited china last december i approach chinese leaders with my six-point initiative including cooperation in the eastern chinese see to further advantaging mutual beneficial relationship and have worked steadily to implement this.
i have also told the president about the strategic dialogue i have had with china. of course, there were also discussions that we need to seek a response and we had an exchange of views. >> i think i have said in the past and firmly believe that we welcome a peacefully rise in china. we have developed a very important strategic and economic dialogue with china. we think what they have accomplished in terms of lifting millions of people out of poverty is good for its own sake and it is also potentially
good for the world and the region. as prime minister noda and i noted, we do believe that, as china continues to grow, as their influence continues to expand, that it has to be a strong partner in abiding by international rules and norms. whether those are economic, like respecting intellectual property, norms of dispute resolution, like in maritime disputes and ensuring that small country than large countries are but respected in the international forum of responding to these issues. across the board, we want china to be a partner with us in international rules and norms that everyone follows.
as china make that transition, from a developing country to a major power, they will see that over the long term is in their interests as well to abide by these rules and norms. all of these actions are not designed to in any way contain china but ensure that they are a part of a broader international community in which the rules and norms are respected and in which all countries can prosper. thank you very much, everybody. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> the aclu has believe that police departments are tracking people's cell phones on a
routine basis, often without getting a warrant based on probable cause. >> should tracking 8 cell phone need a warrant? on the use of police technology for surveillance and whether current law protect the individual's right to privacy on 8:00 p.m. eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2. we're speaking some of the book tv's programming on c-span two in prime time. starting at 8:30 p.m. eastern, arlen specter and his book, "life among the cannibals." on "richard g. lugar" at 9:25. a biography of the wyoming republican, "the life of senator alan simpson." >> i was a washington outsider.
four years later, i was at this dinner. four years ago, i looked like this. today, a look like this. and four years from now, i will look like this. [laughter] [applause] that is not even funny. [laughter] >> mr. president, you remember when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow? that was hilarious. [laughter] that was your best one yet. honestly, it is a thrill for me to be here with the president, a man i think to has done his best in difficult times and has paid a heavy price for it. there is a term for guys like
president obama, probably not two terms, but -- >> if you missed the white house correspondents' dinner, you can watch any time on line in the c- span video library for a behind- the-scenes, the red carpet, and all of the entertainment at c- span.org/videolibrary. >> next committee house ways and means subcommittee on health on how to control medicare costs 3 premium support model. former federal reserve vice chair and white house budget chair and former u.s. senator from 1998 who was selected by the white house, house come and senate to chair the commission on the future of medicare. this is about 90 minutes. what's the subcommittee will come to order.
we're meeting on proposals to look at the bipartisan support for such proposals. i think it should be made abundantly clear that, despite what some on the iowa -- some on the other i'll may say, medicare serves as a critical function in our society insuring that american seniors and people with disabilities have health care coverage. unfortunately, the program faces significant financial challenges and is slated to go bankrupt in 2024. we cannot keep tweaking here and they're helping to kick the can down the road for a year or two. the medicare trustees again stated that congress must act sooner rather than later to
reform the program to ensure the viability. the medicare program is in dire need of reform and improvement so that it meets the health-care needs of its beneficiaries in the 21st century. the traditional medicare benefit was created in 1965 and it really has not been reformed since. this is despite the fact that the delivery of health care in the private insurance market has changed dramatically. the medicare fee-for-service the design, an array of confusing co-insurance, deductible levels, and its silo delivery center some as not kept pace with the rest of health care.
can you imagine getting all this from different companies and catastrophic spending production from yet another? that is exactly what the majority of medicare beneficiaries do today. this outdated design breeds confusion, waste, and even fraud. medicare is an antiquated design and inhibits care coordination, incentivizes over-use, and it has led to financial challenges throughout its history. what is to be done? simply hoping to make the medicare program solvent by cutting payments to providers is unrealistic. the chief medicare actuary has warned that the cuts already enacted as a part of the democrats' health law would
drive medicare payments below medicaid levels which could result in "severe problems with the beneficiary access to care." further drastic provider cuts may make medicare appear solvent on paper, but it would do so at the expense of the millions of seniors and people with disabilities to depend on the program. instead, we should examine reforms that will protect and improve the medicare program, the premium support being one way to do that. the term premiums support was coined by one of our witnesses here today and robert, both democrats, and it has received a bipartisan support. moving to a premium support
model was advanced by the national bipartisan commission on the future of medicare which was cochaired by a democratic senator, another witness here today, writing in support for the proposal. the former ways and means chairman bill thomas stated that they believe medicare "can be more secure only by focusing the government's power is on ensuring comprehensive coverage at an affordable price rather than continuing the inefficiency, and equity, and inadequacy of the current medicare program." premium support was also a key component of the recommendation from the bipartisan policy center, cochaired by it senator pete domenici and former cbo director and clinton omb
director alice rivlin, also testifying today. it is in this vein that the 2013 house budget includes a premium support proposal. we have drawn upon the ideas that are witnesses have proposed over the past two decades and put forward a plan to protect medicare from future generations. there certainly will be different opinions about how a premium support proposal should work. that is a healthy discussion. however, simply hiding our heads in the sand is not. house republicans have made it abundantly clear that we will not simply watch medicare become insolvent. my friend on the other side may not like our proposal to
protect the medicare program, but where is yours? relying on $14 billion in savings from so-called delivery reforms in the health care law is not going to say the program. they predict the demise of the program in 10 years. there is some time before it faces the dire shortfalls, however, we would be wise to heed the charge given to was by the medicare trustees and begin to work on this now to please medicare on solid ground. it is my hope that today's hearing will be the beginning of the end of this effort.
i ask unanimous consent that all written statement be included in the record and without objection, so ordered. >> i would like to thank the chairman for holding this hearing. it is the first that republicans have held in the ways and means committee to advance their plan as we know it. republicans want to take away the guaranteed benefits and by putting them back in charge. they are flying the flag to dismantle medicare high and proud. they have modified the plan by saying traditional medicare would remain "an option it."
that is not worth very much. it may be theoretically available but it would be beyond the reach of many because the doctor would not be guaranteed to cover costs. it would have sicker patients and undoubtedly enter into a death spiral. my republican colleagues do not like the sound of a voucher, so they made up a new plan called "premium support." the also dislike being the sole owner of this so they are holding this hearing today to share the blame and overshadow the fact that every single democrat in the house of representatives voted against their budget which included deep medicare voucher proposal. i can count on one hand the democrats to support doctors in several proposals. dr. aaron as the dubious honor of having coined the phrase,
premium support, but his written testimony says he is no proponent of the brian bertran. he quickly disavowed the rise in budget. he said he could not imagine a scenario where he would vote for it. i'm going to go on record, again, making clear the strong opposition the democrats have to the house republicans' proposal. by any name, it would be devastating to bennett -- medicare beneficiaries. raising the costs, negating the gains made that insure that all seniors of quality, affordable health care. instead, it would return us to a time when private health insurance would control what care seniors get and what price they are forced to pay. the sepia said it would lead to
an increase in overall national health spending-- cpo said it woudl lead to an increase in more costly private plans. it simply takes as in the wrong direction. i have to agree with the chairman that there are reforms that we can, and it should continue, to make had the care. but of the provisions we included, some are already moving forward. the payment and delivery system reforms including reducing payments to private health insurers in the plans to cost tens of billions of dollars to taxpayers each year. adding the solvency to the trust fund through the recent legislation, we did this while preserving and improving medicare benefits proving that you do not have to kill the patient to save them.
with that, and look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> today, we are joined by four witnesses. alice rivlin, a senior fellow at the brookings institution and co-chair the bipartisan policy centers task force on debt reduction. joe antos, scholar at the american enterprise institute. and henry aaron, senior fellow at the brookings institution. your entire written statement will be made a part of the record. servebreaux, you're recognized. >> thank you for inviting me --
senator breaux. >> thank you for inviting me. you served with me in a great capacity when we headed the commission on medicare reform. many view i've had the privilege of working with in different capacities. thank you to all of you for inviting me to talk about one of the most in court and tissues. it is one of the most let me say that i had the privilege of serving in this body for 14 years and the house and 18 in the senate, or the other body, as we like to call it over here in the house. each member from each party has in addressing the difficult issue of how we provide quality health care for our nation expects -- our nation's seniors.
i have observed that some democrats, not all, but some have taken the position that in health care, the government should do everything and the private system do nothing. others argue the opposite position, that the government should do nothing when it comes to health care and that the private sector should do everything. my opinion is that in order to ever reach an agreement between the two parties, congress is going to have to combine the best of what government can do with the best of what the private sector can do, and put them together. i would submit to this panel that that is exactly what we did in creating medicare part b. the best of what government can do in that legislation is help pave the program. second, government can help set up the mechanics instructor of the program with standards that the government would put in place. third, government can make sure that private sector and companies do not scammed the
system and can actually deliver the product. the government is those things very well. on the other hand, the private sector needs to be involved. the private sector can create competition among competing plans. sadly, the private sector can bring innovation and new products to the market -- secondly, the private sector can bring innovation. third, the private sector can -- can allow beneficiaries choices to pick the best plan for themselves. medicare was signed into law by president lyndon johnson back in 1965. the model chosen to deliver those health benefits for seven years ago was the fee-for- service model. to control the cost, the government picks is the price for everything from bed pans to brain surgery -- fixes the price.
the program has remained much the same as the past 47 years. a former colleague of mine in the united states senate was a great guy from pennsylvania. he was a truly committed liberal who served with great distinction in the kennedy administration as well as in the senate. he argued that american citizens should have access to the same quality of health care is that his or her member of congress had. he argued that if it was good enough for members of congress, it should be enough for all americans. what each of you have, and your staff, and millions of other federal employees, and myself included, is a health plan that does combine the best of what government can do with the best of what the private sector can do. federal employees health benefit plan, enacted in 1959, requires that the federal government brought the regulations that set up the program and then pays up to 75% of the cost of the health benefits. the beneficiary then pays the
rest, based on a formula set by law. over 350 private health plans or offer on the program, and 14 are so or fee-for-service the remainder of water called premium support plans. the government approves a group of private plans that employees can choose from that are required by our government to deliver the services. all this is implemented by an office of personnel management. when i chaired a bipartisan commission on the future of medicare back in 1988-1999, we examine several options on how to improve medicare. no one, republican or democrat on that commission, led to end the federal medicare and a strong majority supported the new delivery system based on market based premium support systems. it would be set at 88% of the
standard plan. unfortunately, the statute created that commission did not require a majority report, but a supermajority, so the plan was never formally submitted to the president or congress. however, what happened next was that republican leader bill frist and night developed complete, statutory language, not just talking points, but complete statutory legislation and introduced s-1895, which incorporated the fundamental principles of the medicare condition proposal. the core recommendation was to restructure unmedicated -- restructure medicare under r reid -- restructure medicare. including the existing fee-for- service program.
contribution not the federal government's would be based on the national average of the premiums for a standard benefit package. weighted by plane enrollment and adjusted for risk and for geography, not some arbitrary growth rate like gdp. that standard benefit package would be all services guaranteed under the existing medicare statute. bill frist that the overall medicare contribution at 88% of the national average cost of a standard benefit package. under our plan, the amount of medicare contributions would be guaranteed. partly under a plan, for rural americans, where competition is less like, beneficiaries would be protected from paying premiums that are higher than the current party premium. finally, we established the medicare board. this board would oversee competition among private and government sponsored fee-for- service plans and would be the
"office of personnel management ." overall, the commission estimated the proposal would reduce the medicare growth rate by 12%. one might ask the question, why change the system that has worked well for 47 years? i used to drive a 1965 chevy. i love to that car, but i would hate to be driving it today and keeping up with the main answer on that car -- i loved that car. perhaps a better answer to that question of why tinker with it now is a statement made by chief actuary for medicare and medicaid services, just this past week. mr. foster said in the 2012 report on medicare, "without unprecedented changes in health- care delivery systems and paid
meccas it -- mechanisms, the prices are likely to fall increasingly short of the cost of providing these services." some good news out there and there is in addition to important changes made in the affordable health care act, paid to those under 65 in the private insurance market, it also included promising reforms, moving away from traditional fee-for-service medicare, but still under the fee-for-service programs. things like ballet based purchasing in bundle payment systems not such as realigning doctors and hospitals for the quality of care they provide, not just quantity. new programs are being tested through the center for medicare and medicaid invasion. the goal is to improve patient
outcomes while lowering cost. in the event that we move to a premium support model, where there is more price competition between fee-for-service and private plan, the whole system is going to be better off if these promising fee-for-service medicare reforms cause-- >> senator, please summarize. >> the great challenge as i suggested both my democratic colleagues and my republican friends and colleagues, how do both political parties bridge the gap between the different political philosophies that produce health care reform for america's seniors? 1965, the bipartisan congress said fee-for-service was the best lyricist and back in. i suggest that in 2012, the best delivery system it is still what was contained in the breaux-
frist proposal. >> thank you, senator. ms. rivlin, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member. i am delighted to have the opportunity to testify on reforming medicare through a previous accord model. medicare is hugely successful program, but as dramatically -- that has dramatically increase the availability of health care to seniors, increase the length and quality of life of older americans, and greatly reduce their fear of being unable to afford care when they needed. we need. -- we need to preserve medicare is guarantee of for healthcare or older and disabled people and make sure the program is sustainable as the number of beneficiaries explodes with -- and upper pressure on health- care cost continues. medicare reform is not just about medicare. medicare plays a crucial role in
two of the most daunting challenges facing american policymakers. the relentless increase in the proportion of total spending that americans collectively the vote to health care, and the unsustainable projected increase -- collectively devoted to health care. medicare reform represents an opportunity to turn this large, publicly funded program into the leader in increasing efficiency of health care delivery for all americans. i believe that a well crafted, bipartisan bill that introduces a premium support model, while preserving traditional medicare, can help achieve these goals. i will focus my remarks on the plan that former senator pete demanded cheap and i devised at the bipartisan -- former center p. deminici and i devised.
our proposal would preserve traditional medicare as the default option for all seniors permanently. it would also offer seniors the opportunity to choose among comprehends the private health plans offered on a regulated exchange. these plans would be required to cover benefits with at least the same actuarial value as traditional medicare, and would have to accept all applicants, and would receive a risk adjusted annual payment based on the age and health status of their beneficiaries. the regional exchanges would collect and manage the prices and terms of competing plans within a designated region. and those plans would include the traditional fee-for-service medicare, as well as qualified private plans.
the government's contribution would be set by the second lowest plan in the region, subject to their having sufficient capacity. with more accessible information about cost and patient outcomes, cost-conscious consumer choice will lead the providers to emphasize preventive measures, managed care coordination of people with multiple chronic diseases, and adopt more cost-effective approaches to the delivery of care. however, we don't know in advance what consumer driven competition will do. so we have introduced, as a fail-safe, which would doubt will be necessary, a cap on per enrollee government contribution over time at the rate of growth of per-capita it gdp plus 1%.
there are lots of questions about how well this would work. one is, -- was not properly structured to give full competition among plans. our plan, we think, would structure the competition so that it actually lowers the rate of growth of cost. people question whether there is evidence that competition leads to lower costs and better quality. actually, despite its perverse features, medicare advantage provides considerable evidence that competition works. the impression that it is more expensive and derives from the fact that medicare often pays plans more than the cost of fee-
for-service. but under our plan, that would not be possible in a competent -- and the competition we think would hold plans down. finally, when older and sicker seniors in up in medicare and raise costs, this year is based on the assumption that risk adjustment cannot work and rules against cherry picking will not be enforced. but in fact, we believe that these rules can work, that they are working better in medicare advantage than they used to, and will work still better under a new system. we believe that health care policy is far too important to be driven by a single party's ideology. no matter how the 2012 election
turns out, the president and congressional leadership should strive to find common ground on how to cover the uninsured, how to reform medicare and medicaid bt.le stabilizing the deat we believe that our plan contributes to that end. thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak. >> thank you very much. >> medicare is a vitally important program. the part a trust fund will be depleted in 2024, and the program faces 27 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities of the next 25 years. the program will consume an ever increasing share of the federal budget unless policies are adopted to been to the medicare
cost curve. based on a principle of premium support and responsibly slow the growth of medicare spending and help set the company on a sustainable fiscal path. market competition among health plans to achieve high quality covered at low-cost. that is essential if we are to protect the medicare program for future beneficiaries. there are four points about the design of premium support reform that i will address. should traditional medicare be offered in a complete -- competing plan option? i think that is the most reasonable course. perhaps as many as 57 million beneficiaries will be enrolled in traditional medicare 10 years from now, when most proposals would start competition in premium support. traditional medicare will not disappear when premium support begins, even if we do not allow any new enrollments. moreover, traditional medicare is likely to retain a stronghold in rural areas and other markets dominated by few
providers. for that reason, we must find ways to reduce unnecessary spending in traditional medicare in the near term, as well as after premium support is in place. premed support the need to exclude -- premium support lets consumers decide for themselves which plan provides the best value and gives them a clear financial stake in that decision. second, will premium support shift huge new costs to medicare beneficiaries? let's be clear, the affordable care act already shift costs to beneficiaries could the law imposes an president cuts in provider payments to generate a hundred $50 billion in medicare savings over the next decade. -- $850 billion in medicare savings over the next decade. hospitals and other providers lose money on the medicare patients by 2019. large, across-the-board cuts in
provider payments without changing incentives, threaten access to care. that is real cost to patients that is not reflected in higher premiums. in contrast, premier support changes -- plans and hopes to increase their profit margin need to see more patients to deliver necessary care rather than add another test or procedure. there's plenty of room to improve efficiencies and health care -- improved efficiencies in health care. if private plans failed to offer a good product at a good price, beneficiaries will move to traditional medicare, which remains an option. this is an important safety valve that ensures that seniors will be protected. third, what index should be used to limit the growth of medicare subsidies? an index that ties medicare spending to the economy, brought some budget discipline, but let's not fool ourselves into
thinking that the spending target is what produces the reductions to the cost of care. efficiency and innovation in health-care delivery determine whether savings can be sustained in the long term. finally, what other reforms are needed? we obviously need to modernize medicare. we need to reduce unnecessary tests. that means we need better information, clear financial incentives, and reform subsidy structure that in forces rather than undercuts efforts to slow spending. i listed a number of reforms, there are many, that need to be done. certainly reforming the confusing structure of traditional medicare would be a good first debt and giving good pick -- giving people good information so they can make good choices. it is absolut bottle. in conclusion, there is broad agreement that we need to -- it
is absolutely vital. there is broad agreement that we need to bend the medicare cost curve. a well-designed premium support program can take full advantage of market capitalization is to drive out unnecessary spending and increase medicare's value to beneficiaries. it is about time we tried it, and i think we can find bipartisan agreement in moving forward. >> thank you, mr. anots. -- mr. antos . >> >> special greetings to congressman price, with whom i have had the privilege of working in the past. you have my written statement, and i understand it is going to be entered into the record. i would like to begin with what
i think is the central issue that divides those of us who are opposed to the premium support idea from those who are in favor of it. i think all of us recognize that there are reforms to the existing medicare program that could improve its operation. all of us would like to see cost competition play an enhanced role. all of us like to see delivery system reforms the result in better quality and lower cost -- all of us would like to see delivery system reforms. we hope that will work, but maybe they will not. if they do not, who bears the risk of cost rising faster than projections? under traditional medicare, those risks are pulled broadly across the population and over time, across all americans. under premium support, those
risks are shouldered by medicare beneficiaries who will be faced by higher out of pocket costs themselves. that is the choice, i believe, the fundamental choice that needs to be made in determining a position on this issue. some years ago, we point this term, premium support, and we did so with respect to it traditional -- a particular plan, that was more than vouchers, and inc. one of the features that the senator mentioned just now, that the index which benefits are tied should be held index, not an economic index. none of the proposals now under discussion needs senator breaux's standard in that respect. in the 17 years since we put
this idea forward, i have changed my mind, and i would like to just list a few of the reasons why i have changed by mind. i would urge you to consider this as well. the whole system of health care reform has been transformed. we wrote in the wake of the clinton health care effort and it was becoming steadily worse. both of those elements have changed. the passage of the affordable care act means that we have put in place a key element of the premium support idea for the rest of the population, now -- namely health insurance exchanges. we are finding those are difficult to implement. they are politically controversial. i think it will succeed, and
most problems are solvable. the medicare population is vastly more difficult to deal with than the population served under the affordable care act. we should prove that the health insurance exchanges work, get them up and running, before we take seriously, in my view, calls to put the medicare population through a similar system. the regulatory climate has changed. it is for more hostile to the kinds of regulatory interventions -- pretty aggressive regulatory interventions, that of a nine thought were essential -- that bob and i thought were essential to a functioning premium support a plan. at the time, we said that no premium support plan should move forward until risk adjustment was good enough to discourage competition based on risk selection. at the time, we thought it is
doable, sometimes it will happen. alas, it has not happened yet. a recent study has shown that the risk adjustment algorithm used under medicare advantage actually has increased the degree of risk selection that occurs through medicare and vantage. we are not there yet. when we are, that would be the time to consider whether premium support merits consideration. finally, the idea that competition is going to save money -- as an economist, are really want to believe that. i got my degree in that and i was pledged to like markets. i really do. the evidence to date is not encouraging, but the higher cost of medicare advantage is not attributed solely to the extra cost -- extra payments that are made, nor it is attributable to
selection of patients. after controlling for all of those factors, medicare advantage plans are more expensive than is traditional medicare. furthermore, even part of the drug benefits, which have come in below cost -- part d drug benefits have come in below the projections that were made at about the same time. so i want to believe that competition will work and save money. the evidence is not supported at this time. given the risks involved, it seems to me important to continue to spread the risks from rapid growth of health-care spending across the general population, rather than to impose them on a very vulnerable group of people, the elderly and people with disabilities. thank you. >> thank you, mr. aaron.
senator breaux, i think this is important to get this out of the way right at the beginning of this hearing. do you think premium support will ago in medicare as we know it -- will "end medicare support as we know it" as some have claimed? >> i think we want to keep medicare and improve the delivery system. everybody is committed to have the federal government provide excellent, quality health care for our nation's seniors. but we don't have to do it under a delivery system from 1965. just like michael chevy, things ,ave -- just like my chevy things have changed and improved. >> you would say that premium support does have the potential to improve the medicare program
and shore up its long-term finances by harnessing private sector innovations? >> yes, but you do not have to take my word for. look at the things we have done in areas where we have implemented premium support. medicare part d is a classic system. the government helps pay for it and help set it up. the private sector competes for the right to deliver the product. that is the desk, it is program that is more popular today than the congress that wrote it, and i include myself in that group, because i was there. the seniors love it. the second example is even better. everyone of us up there has a premium support federal employee benefit plan. people can choose from continued fee-for-service, but the federal government sets a premium support. we have office of personnel management guaranteeing that everybody that participates can
deliver the product and negotiate for the price. that combines the best of what government can do with the best of what the private sector can do. don't take my word, look at the two-time former able to do this, and i think you would agree, and works very well. >> i think it is important for all of us to focus on what the medicare program is facing today. medicare trustees released their 2012 report just this week. when you expect the medicare hospital insurance trust fund to go bankrupt? >> i rely on the trustees who are the secretaries of treasury, labor, hhs, and they rely on mr. foster, who is the chief actuary. if current law is actually implemented, which means major
cuts in payments to hospitals and other providers, then their projection is that the part a trust fund will run short of funds by 2024. , under other-co assumptions, it would be much earlier than that. under the so-called high-cost assumption, that the trustees also present, 2016. >> so even with the projections that we were to make these major cuts, which most -- most doubt very much we would make, use a 2024, what was the bankruptcy date in last year's trusty report? >> 2024. some people say we have held our ground. another way to look at it is, we are one year closer. >> we are when you are closer to
this looming -- drafting -- addressing this looming problem. congress and the executive branch "must work closely together with a sense of urgency." in other words, now is the time to address significant reform to the medicare program. do you agree with these assessments? >> yes, sir, it is absolutely vital. >> ms. rivlin, the plan you worked on is similar to the 2013 house passed budget, as it has private plans that compete against additional fee-for- service medicare. can you please explain how this competition will control costs, not only for the beneficiaries enrolled in the private plans, but also for traditional medicare? >> yes.
on a structured exchange, where you can really see rejigger the consumer can really see what the choices are -- where you can really see -- where the consumer can really see what the choices are, the plans to participate would offer their wares, and that would have to agree to take everybody who wanted to join their plan and to give actuarially equivalent benefits to fee-for-service medicare. they would be competing directly with fee-for-service medicare. there are lots of new innovations in how you treat people, including people with chronic diseases. there is evidence that plans can offer better services as they bring down the costs of
treating medicare beneficiaries. we believe that would happen, and that through the bidding process, the costs of the brands would maybe not come down, but not increase as rapidly as they otherwise would. that fact that the government's contribution would be slowed would be a benefit to everybody including those in fee-for- service medicare. >> in other words, quality could be higher, service could be higher, and calls could be more efficient. >> we think that would be true. fee-for-service medicare would compete and would probably get better over time, because otherwise, people would leave it. but there is a lot of evidence that fee-for-service does not
coordinate care very well. i am a medicare beneficiary, and watched this happen, and the coordination among providers is terrible. if you are looking at comprehensive plans, whose responsibility is to take care of everybody in that plan, you are ultimately going to get better results. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. aaron, with the medicare trust fund -- would the medicare trust fund become insolvent sooner under the republican plan to repeal aca? >> the aca contains many
provisions that extend the life of the medicare trust fund. there is grounds for legitimate debate about where greek -- about whether every element is going to be in force down the road, but there are additional revenues and a host of payment reforms that are designed to lower costs with storable savings, and others that while not scored by cbo, contain virtually every idea for payment reform that analyst can come up with. -- analysts can come up with. >> i have a letter from cfs that indicates that without the aca, the trust fund would expire eight years earlier. i would like to make that letter part of the record. >> without objection. >> if we had vouchers or whatever you want to call premium support things, medicare
would stop being a defined benefit plan and become a defined contribution plan, would it not? >> that is exactly what i meant in my opening comment about who bears the risk if costs rise more than anticipated. could i inject one comment which i think is important? the statement has been made a couple of times that medicare is the same as it was 47 years ago. that just is not true. medicare has been involved in a number of very important ways -- pioneered payment reform, and as various people have noted, it does contain in one form or another, whether we like it or not, options for individuals to
choose among a large number of competing private plans. >> i have always suspected it was republicans, these guys to march outside with the billboards saying the world is going to come to an end. they have now crossed that out and they said that medicare is going to come to an end in. i can remember when no sign said it was going to end in one year. i can remember when they said we had 20 years. the fact is that to change the life of medicare -- to change -- it costs so little to the population at large. i believe the figure to extend a solvency of medicare beyond the 75-year target that people have
talked about would cost less than a 3% total increase in the premium, or doing a host of those top of things. it hardly seems [unintelligible] if you are willing to ask the public who will benefit from this plan to pay reasonable amount over their lifetime, i see no reason that it cannot be extended forever without hurting job growth or putting the country further into deficit. does that make sense to you? >> yes, it does, but i would modify in one direction. i haven't a clue what is going to happen in health care world in 50 or 75 years.
what will be the impact on longevity? in my view, the time to look 50 or 75 years ahead with respect to health care is a fool's game. it was a bad day when the actuaries were required to look 75 years ahead in the case of health care prepare look 25 years ahead. that is quite a long time and there is a lot of uncertainty within that. over that time, you could close the part a trust fund gap with an increase in payroll taxes of 0.35% each on workers and employers, or for cost sharing on some medicare beneficiaries, or additional payment cuts through what is backed by improvement in delivery, which
is one of the goals of the affordable care act. i think the idea that medicare is standing on the brink of a dangerous precedent, as far ahead as it is reasonable to look, is simply incorrect. >> the 75-year target does not bother me much. >> i would agree we have a tough time estimating what is going to happen next year, let alone 75 years. one thing we do know, 10,000 baby boomers are now going on medicare every day. that is something we are aware of and we have to, hopefully in a bipartisan way, work together to solve this so that it does remain stable for our children and grandchildren.
mr. ryan is recognized. >> i hesitate to say this, but dr. rivlin, i think i agree with everything he said in your opening statement. the reason i hesitated, every time i say something nice about a democrat, it gets me in trouble. -- gets them in trouble. they get viciously attacked. i am considering making really nice comments about you. [laughter] i will be working on that. there seems to be this attempt to undermine premium support and how it came to be. let's remember that it's started as a democratic idea. we have the grandfather of the original idea year, the author in congress agree there is clearly room for the two parties to talk to each other about this issue. if we could just calm down a little bit, will not be able to save this program.
i recently worked with ron light. if we want real, lasting reform, and has to be bipartisan. here's what democrat says. he says a democrat cannot support a proposal that does not have an ironclad guarantee. it seeks to guarantee affordability for the medicare consumer and protect low-income. most of the strongest and consumer -- the strongest consumer protection for seniors. this is what a democrat in good standing tells me are the central principles for bringing support to move forward. that seems hardly irrational to me. that strikes me as these are ideas we should talk about with each other and there is plenty of room for conversation with one another. we ought to have that conversation.
we need to put this in perspective. this is a program that is going bankrupt. we have the actuary come here all the time, telling us providers are going to leave the system, stop seeing medicare beneficiaries, the trust fund is going bankrupt. all those things are known to us now, and is all just smarter to get ahead of this problem and prepare the program. competitive bidding. it seems to me a far smarter way to set the rate system garrett kern give me a quick synopsis of like competitive bidding is superior. what are the attributes to it, and how you propose to set up with the second lowest planned bid and the like? >> i think competitive bidding
among plants, including fee-for- service medicare, and a regional exchange -- and by regional we mean the metropolitan area or a large rural area. how this work is the plan would offer their plan and bid on the opportunity to serve medicare beneficiaries with the same benefits. the second lowest bid would determine the government contribution. if you chose the lowest bid plan, you would get some money back. if you wanted to go higher up the scale, you could read you could choose a more efficient plan or one that offered additional benefits for higher costs. but most people would look at
how can i get these benefits at a cost that i can afford, and the government contribution at the second lowest bid would then mean if you are in fee-for- service medicare, you would have the option, if that plan was higher, of moving to one that cost you less in getting the same benefit. there would be parts of the country where the fee-for- service plan might be the best land. and you could stay there, or other people in other plants could move there. but it seems like -- people in other plants could move their big people in other plants -- people in other plans could move there.
>> in some rural areas, you may not have competition. we said that no beneficiary would have to pay more than the current premium for a standard plan. you can take care of areas where there might not be sufficient competition. >> thank you. >> dr. rivlin, looking at your testimony and quoting you to say i believe a well crafted bipartisan bill preserving traditional medicare can achieve these goals. you go on to say that the revlon proposal is very similar to the bipartisan -- the riggleman proposal is similar to the proposal by senator paul ryan -- the rivlin proposal.
you consider it to be a premium support plan, is that correct? >> yes, i do. >> since the ryan plan was approved and passed a few months ago, there for that plan passed by the house is a premium support plan, is that correct? >> i think there are some differences between the plan put in the budget -- a budget resolution is just the budget resolution. it is not a draft of a medicare law, so that is a bit in elliptical. i will stick with my statement that i support the rhineland. >> i think a plan where the government would provide a payment to a private citizen, and that citizen would take that and then purchase a product or service with that money received
from the government. is that a typical, rational definition of what a voucher is? >> that is what a voucher means to me. premium support as we define it is definitely not a voucher. you do not get a check from the government. you get a choice among plans, and the plan gets a risk adjusted payment there reflects your age and health conditions. you don't even know what that is as the individual beneficiary. that is between the government and the plan. >> so the rivlin proposal was not about -- was not a voucher program. and the ryan program is not about to program regrets not as i understand those programs. >> mr. thompson is recognized. >> thanks to all the witnesses for being here. i am heartened that there seems
to be a lot of agreement. everybody agrees we need to fix medicare and make it work. that is the best news i have heard on this topic for a long time. i would submit that it might be helpful as we are looking at this if we had a plan in front of us. we have heard criticism about mr. ryan's plan. we have heard from those who are proponents of that suggesting maybe it is not what the critics say it is. it would be good if we had a plan we could actually see the details of that plan and be able to get down and look at it. until that happens, we may just be spinning our wheels. i know a couple of things for sure. i know that as mike -- as i travel my seven-county district that includes four rural areas
and urban areas, i hear from the people that i represent about medicare and what they think about medicare. i hear them tell stories juxtaposing the medicare they have today with what their parents or grandparents had. it is clear, and i hear it all the time, they like what they have now with medicare. they like that. i hear criticism of medicare. i hear people say don't cut my benefits, and i also hear people say, keep your government hands off my medicare. i always kind of chuckle at that because i guess everyone has not gotten the memo yet that medicare is in fact a government program. but i have never heard anybody say please, please go into a voucher system, do away with my defined benefit program. i do not think i am in the minority there.
the family foundation did polling on this and 70% of the people agree with that. i think we really need to keep in perspective the fact that providing health care to seniors and to people with disabilities is not a huge moneymaker. i think that his goal important that we note, and i am glad that mr. antos pointed out that he puts credit in what the trustees say creeks i want to reiterate what mr. starks said. it lengthens the life of medicare by eight years. the cbo has said that if we put in place my friend paul ryan proposal, they project total health-care spending would go
faster under that proposal. for the typical 75-year-old there would be an increase cost between 50% and 60%. can you comment on health care spending growing that fast and what it would do to the greater economy? lot don't think there is a of different among the four witnesses on the fact that rising health care costs or problem in this country. they squeeze public budgets. they squeeze private compensation. for that reason, systemic health care reform is the key to moving ahead. i think there is serious risk of trying to screw down on the costs of just one element, even a large and significant elements such as medicare. while not attending to the rest
of the health-care system. for that reason, i think that the most important thing to do now is to move ahead with systemic health care reform. a lot of the land is the affordable care act. nobody regards that law as perfect in every way. we are going to learn new things as it is implemented, and we will probably change it down the road. but the first job is to make, to the best of our ability, to make that system work. to the extent that we do that, we then should, in my view, be open-minded and willing to come back in future years consider whether changes such as the ones that are being proposed here today should be enacted and implemented. i think now is not the time to do that. >> i yield back.
>> i thank the gentleman. i would just like to emphasize that as our witnesses have pointed out, the trust fund is going bankrupt by 2024. the trustees have indicated it was going bankrupt by 2024 last year. that means we have one year less than we did a year ago. the sooner we begin working on this in a bipartisan manner, and not using scare terms like voucher, i don't know anyone except a few people on the other side that are using that term. the purpose of this hearing is to talk about premium support, which is a bipartisan suggestion on how we might be
able to fix the system and preserve it. so i would just like to make that point. with that, dr. price is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to commend the chairman for holding this hearing and want to also recognize and commend the chairman of the budget committee, mr. ryan, for his work within our conference on educating the people about the need for reform, but also the positive nature of premium support. i want to thank each of the panelists. you all have really put a life's work in too many things, not least of which is positive suggestions and reforms for our healthcare system. as a physician, i can tell you that folks are hurting out there, not just patients and doctors. there are real challenges in the current system that we have. by way of clarification to make sure folks understand that our
proposal is a guarantee proposal of procedures, it is stated in all of the communication that we have and also stated in the legislative language, a guarantee. seniors need to appreciate that what we are trying to do is say, strengthen, and improve medicare in a positive way. talking about what medicare is going to look like in 25 years and 75 years, i want to share with the what the current system looks like out there in the real world. the status quo is clearly unacceptable. new medicare patients -- if you are in a community and you are currently not a medicare patient, reaching medicare age tomorrow, and you are currently being seen by a physician who does not see medicare patients, the challenge that you have in
finding a doctor to see you as a medicare patient is huge. the difficulty of new medicare patients to find a physician is the new medicare patients idiocy in new medicare patients is massive. -- to find a position in the new medicare -- to find a physician and seeing new medicare patients is massive. one out of every eight physicians in this country sees no medicare patients at all. that is not a system that works. we need to find a positive solution, which is what we have been trying to put forward on our side of the aisle. >> i was encouraged by the tenor of your testimony, and commend you for the work you have done in the area of premium support.
you mentioned that your proposal differs somewhat from the ryan proposal, and when i got to that area of your testimony, which was not in your spoken testimony but was in her written testimony, one of the areas that you differ with the run proposal is that you believe we can move to a premium support system for seniors sooner than is in our proposal. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> which to expand on that? our concern was -- would you consider -- would you expand on that? our concern was that when you did not grandfather the grandfathers', moving in that direction that quickly would be too great. please help me understand why you think we could move there sooner. >> because we preserved traditional fee-for-service medicare as the default option. it does grandfather everybody
who is in it creek if you reach that age, you are in its unless you opt into something else. we believe that the changes that would take in competitive bidding are substantial challenges, but they could be met by 2018. we will have some experience in setting up exchanges in the affordable care act by then. there is no reason to start sooner and let everyone have a choice. you can view this on an improvement on medicare advantage that makes the competitive bidding and manicured vintage better accessible. if you do it that way, it is not
such a big deal. >> thank you for that. we will go back and scrub our numbers. i want to thank you for what will hopefully be the genesis of a new bipartisan opportunity to move better, save, strengthen, and improve by providing those choices and guaranteeing seniors have the option of remaining in the current medicare. >> will the gentleman yield? this idea that if a physician does not take medicare they are out of the system with two years, i would like to see that changed because it does not help anybody. thank you for trying to change that. >> i may fall in the category of mr. ryan if we all start saying nice things about you. >> thank you for holding this hearing and i thank you for your
testimony today. it is a delight to hear you and your comments. i still have a 1968 chevrolet malibu convertible that i love to drive around. you can do your own a tuneup. oil changes. its u.s. the typical senior in medicare, they feel comfortable with the system right now when they'd think it is essential to the quality of their life. they want improvements but they do not want to see it decimated. i am a dwindling breed, a moderate centrist trying to find a different pathway for word in a bipartisan fashion to address the challenges of our time. i cannot think of a bigger one than the dysfunctional health- care system and the impact it's having on people's lives and our national finances. i'm encouraged listening to your testimony because there's a lot of agreement on the panel today that a lot of the tools be put in place needs time to move
forward. the delivery system needs reform or better integrated, coordinated care so it is value based, not volume based. this discussion is premature. i agree. the affordable care iraq needs a chance to move forward to see of this stuff works before it can have a serious conversation about a voucher or premium support plan. we need better quality of care for a better bang for the buck and making sure that all americans have access to that type of care in this country. how we get there is something we continue to talk about. one of my concerns with the republican budget proposal is the risk and who will bear it. from's a concern i have the state of wisconsin. we have traditionally been one
of the lowest medicare reimbursements states in the nation and we share that with the pacific northwest and other regions. apparently the rates would get locked in at the lower of the current fee-for-service reimbursement rate for the second lowest plan in that region which would guarantee in wisconsin that are providers would lock in the lowest medicare reimbursement rate which they're struggling to live under today which tells me they will have to continue to cost shift the inadequacy of medicare reimbursement on the back of businesses large and small, on the back of a -- just one second. let me make my point. this would continue the death spiral they are experiencing in the state of wisconsin and the death spiral their faith in the widening health care costs because of the shifting that is going on making it harder for them to compete.
it does not make sense to go down this road, not until we find out about delivery system reform and payment reform have a chance to work. i have tried in my way to work in a bipartisan manner on this committee. i have been the author of previous bills responsible for these exchanges and i always have an equal number of republicans and democrats on the bill. we put that in the affordable care act in their run for the hills. this is for reimbursement on counseling for a best directives. and every year we have at least five or six republican members of this committee on that legislation and it was put in the affordable health care act and it was turned into a death panel. having that bipartisan conversation is difficult.
we'll principals and issues easily agreed on before and they divide us today. i agree that have a serious conversation we need a plan, words on paper to actually see. everyone on this panel would agree that the devil is in the details on how any kind of premium support or voucher plan is ultimately structured. i spoke to ron might, too. sometimes i feel like i'm talking to two people. what paul understands the plan would mean and what ron white understands and sometimes they're talking past each other. unless we get something on paper that we can truly analyze the impact of what this will mean, this is all theoretical. >> i will send to you and to mr. thompson the plan that senator white and i co-authored and i will send it to your office. >> i hear this from you, and i
think john testified to this, too, but these reforms as a part of the affordable health care act needed chance to continue to move forward. if, for some reason, we decide to overturn everything it will lead to an absolute state of chaos in the health-care system that may take a generation to recover from the pri go back to square one again. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the panelists. i have heard and i have said many times that this is entitlement reform and people on the other side do not want to hear that. i think it is utter nonsense. one-third of the health care bill is devoted to medicare, medicaid. it is very specific about the recommendations. their recommendations that we should be considering that we were not trying to suffocate
this legislation before it breeds in the next two years. only will this produce costs for medicare, but also the health care act will reduce costs for beneficiaries, unless you do not agree with the cbo numbers. the majority attempts to repeal reforms would turn medicare into -- let's not use a doctor program. let's not use that word. i will call it the "more out of your own pocket the" program. i think it will hurt beneficiaries. there's no doubt about it. this will mean more money out of pocket. no one has denied that. no one. according to the cbo office, the republican budget would dramatically cut spending in medicare for new beneficiaries by more than $2,200 per person per year.
that is what the cbo said and i will continue to use that when they support our position and then we tell them went -- that they do not know what they're talking about when they do not support our position. we do not need to scrap the system. as we sit here today in talk about strengthening medicare, the health care reform bill is actually what we are testing with the payment and delivery systems that will have innovation not only for the entire health-care system. let's talk about that. let's increase competition in terms of medicare. we do not have competition in the health-care system. many states have only two or three companies to like health
care insurance. why do we not do something about that? if we want to foster competition, let's foster competition. these are empty words that we just throw back and forth. this is one upmanship. that is all is going on. the basics of health care will be changed for the better of america. it will not be a socialist system. thank god we have graduated from that sense more insurance companies will be involved. we're heading back to 1964. i am convinced that is the direction we want to go in. when senior poverty was of the greatest since the great depression. that is where we want to go. why do we just not say that?
we're using a lot of pretty words. you may shake your head, but i'm telling you. we are marking time in place while seniors are being stopped at the door and pushed out under medicare. that is what we should be addressing. that is why we should be saying -- enough. the health-care system is not working. the health-care system has been totally taken over by the health insurance companies of this country. you and i both know it. we do not have competition. we have three or four in new jersey and we call that competition? maybe next year we will have three companies. maybe one will take over the other. how many states do we have only three or four, or less, and you want to put our seniors into that situation?
that's not competition. it's a joke. you and i both know it. i want to congratulate you on the work you have done. for 16 years, you have been at the forefront of talking about these critical issues for all of us. i know that it's not very popular to try and hold down out of pocket expenses. best of a popular position. i do not care whether it is or is not, but you have done the right thing and i admire what you're doing. we have enough to work with to change medicare, but let's not throw away everything because we want to get to a few that will profit. >> thank you. >> thank you for holding this hearing. this has been a nice reprieve where we actually get to talk
about policy. i want to thank the panelists here today for the serious work you have done over many, many years to advance the debate and real solutions resolving health care. senator, let me thank you for your years of service to our state of louisiana in your continuing willingness to do this and serve in a public capacity to invest the debate of health care. mr. aaron, he raised the point about competition and the fact that it has not lowered costs. i would submit that we're really stuck right now between a price controlled system and a vastly imperfect competition. we do not have the top of competition necessary in the health care financing arena as well as the delivery system aspect of this. i think if we could get more
competition there that we would see the advantages of lowering costs and enhancing quality coming from someone who has had many years practicing in the health-care system as a physician. i have some concerns about the tilting towards price controls in this. it is indisputable but it is what we're operating under right now. we already have a serious shortage of nurses and physicians in this country. if we continue on this path where we are basing cuts in sequestration, cuts year after year to providers, what will this really mean for access? coverage does not equate to good, high-quality care. even before i got to congress back in the 1990's i had serious concerns about the medical
program and as a heart surgeon i would do emergency coronary bypass and in the aftermath we could not find a primary-care physician to take care of the basic health care needs. i would have to get on the phone and start begging positions in my community that i knew and were quick to take on a new patient. the whole issue was the cost of care and the cost to these physicians' practices not being met by reimbursement. if we could get to a system that brings us back to real competition, it makes a difference. german rhine has taken a lot of the work that alice rivlin has worked on and put it in a body of work to try to get us to that. i do not know of any other alternative. would anybody comment? is there another model out there
other than the premium support model? >> i think the key to solving the problems you have described, quite elegantly, with regards to the fragmentation of care, it comes in some of the innovations in the affordable care act. there are two in particular i would focus on, the accountable care organization which is a group of providers who would be paid to assure the people of the organizations and the second would be in the bundle payments of in the event of a coronary bypass, a payment would be made not just for the act of surgery but for the follow-up care as well so that you come together with their primary care physician, perhaps a nurse practitioner, who would regularly contact the patient to make sure that he or she was
taking recommended medications, would all work together. >> one of the fundamental programs not addressed in the affordable care act is among in the context of this, we still have a federal barriers in place that prohibit physicians to integrate care with hospitals. that has not been addressed adequately. we need statutory relief in that area of to see that kind of innovation. >> i agree completely. >> i think this has been pointed out, but the demonstration "programs in the affordable care act. when i was in congress and i would want to stop something from happening, i would offer an amendment to do a study of and you would hope that it never got
completed. demonstrations are very important. you can demonstrate projects in the affordable health care act. it will improve the fee-for- service delivery and then there will be better competitors. that is what we tried to bring about. i think they are helpful and important, but it is not an either/or situation. >> dr. rivlin, do you want to comment? >> jetblue support what the senator said. it is a mistake to think of these as "alternatives," at least our plan envisions that the affordable health care act continues and the demonstrations in the very institution set up to improve the delivery system
will go ahead. we hope that works. we are only saying that there ought to be another way to get these innovations in use and that would be true competition. >> i agree. it would also be a mistake to believe that these things will materialize overnight. the devil is in the details and these are devilish. >> i yield back. >> i want to thank our witnesses for your testimony today. this has been an extremely interesting discussion, one that highlights the need for congress to act in order to place medicare on sound financial footing. premium support proposals like those we heard about today hold
a promised to improve how care is delivered, better protect beneficiaries against the medicare cost sharing requirements, and utilize competition to continue to control costs as a whole. any member wishing to submit questions for the record will have 14 days to do so. if any questions are submitted, i asked the witnesses to respond in a timely manner. with that, this sum the committee is adjourned. -- this subcommittee is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] what's the aclu has believed for
some time the police departments are tracking peoples still on the routine basis often without getting a warrant based on probable cause. >> should tracking a cellphone require a warrant? on the police use of technologies for surveillance purposes and whether current law adequately protect an individual's right to privacy at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "the communicators." >> president obama and japanese prime minister noda held a joint press conference today discussing the u.s.-japan relations in the u.n. security council. you can see this again at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. all this week on c-span to, starting at 8:30 p.m., a look at the lives of career senators. burt, former pencil -- pennsylvania senator arlen
specter, then looking at richard lugar, and then looking up former wyoming senator alan simpson on the book, "shooting from the lip." "booktv" in prime time all this week on c-span2. >> four years ago was a washington outsider. four years ago, i was at this dinner. four years later, i looked like this. today, i look like this. and four years from now, i will look like this. [laughter] that is not even funny. >> mr. president, you remember
when the country rallied around you in the hopes of a better tomorrow? that was hilarious. [laughter] that was your best one yet. but honestly, i'm thrilled to be here with the president, a man hiding to has done his best in difficult times and has paid a heavy price. if there is a term for guys like president obama. probably not two terms, but -- [laughter] >> miss any part of the white house correspondents' dinner? what on line in d.c.'s ban video library, behind the scenes, the red carpet, and all entertainment -- watch online in the c-span video library at c- span.org/videlibrary. >> changes made to the commission will result in fair trials. talking about the are vocaliii
courts-- the article iii courts. at the world institute of politics, this is one hour, 35 minutes. ladies andning, gentlemen. i'm delighted you are all here. i've been like to welcome you to the institute of politics. we're honored to have general mark martin's discussing a fascinating issue which deals with some of the classic policy questions concerning the conflicts of our constitutional liberties and our national security.
and this has to do with the effectiveness and the legitimacy of military tribunals for the prosecution of insurgents and terrorists who have been captured as irregular forces out of uniform on the battlefield. people who, by presenting themselves in such a fashion, have not particularly conformed with the laws -- the international laws of war and therefore who have put themselves in a certain kind of a jeopardy when it comes to the nature of how we go about prosecuting them. nevertheless, there is an abiding interest in the united states in ensuring that there is justice that is meted out for all, including the exoneration for those who may be innocent. but we also have the challenge of trying to maintain the protection of national security
and protection of classified information so this is a policy our government has wrestled with over the past several years. there's been a supreme court decision about this, there has been legislation and more importantly, the president himself has been involved in ensuring that military tribunals are indeed a legitimate way to go when it comes to handling insurgents and terrorists of this type. so we have today, really one of the premier authorities in the united states government addressing this issue, general mark martins, who is chief prosecutor of the military commissions. he became -- it was last september that he became the chief prosecutor. in the previous year in
afghanistan, he was commander of the rule of law field force, afghanistan, and had a dual hat role also in the nato rule of law field support mission. the prior year, also in afghanistan, he had served as the first and interim commander of joint task force 435 and then was its first deputy commander upon senate confirmation of vice admiral robert haywood. in these roles, brigadier general mark martins led the effort to reform u.s. detention operations in afghanistan and provided field support to afghan and international civilian rule of law project teams in contested provinces in the country. prior to his deployment to afghanistan, he led -- he co- led the inter-agency detention policy task force created by president obama in january of 2009.
general martins has an extremely distinguished career, background prior to these deployments in the war zone. he graduated first in the order of merit from west point in 1983. he served as a platoon leader and staff officer in the 82nd airborne. he became a judge advocate and served in a number of legal and non-legal positions. he's been deployed to zones of armed conflict for more than five years, including service as chief of staff of the u.s. kosovo force, staff judge advocate for the first armored division and the multinational force, iraq. he was a rhodes scholar, graduating with first honors, a graduate of harvard law school, magna cum laude. he also holds an mlm in military law and masters in
military strategy. he has numerous awards, including the defense superior service medal, the nato meritorious service medal, the department of state meritorious honor award, the legion of merit, the bronze star, twice, the army meritorious service medal and others. so it is a great pleasure and an honor to have you, general, to join us, and to speak with some authority, with great authority, about these matters. welcome to the institute. [applause] >> thank you, john, for those generous remarks. great to be in this historic building this esteemed institute, having a conversation today about reformed military commissions and the challenge and the project of legitimating that institution which i believe is a very important institution for our national security and our entire justice process. and as john, the president here mentioned, there is a challenge in balancing imperatives of national security and the implementation of the rule of
law. he mentioned i was an infantry lieutenant in the 82nd. i just got back from west texas. i was out in texas tech law school, trying to make time to get out to different venues to talk a little bit about military commissions. i was out teaching some classes for a former judge advocate general of the army, walt huffman, out of texas tech law school now in lubbock, and it brought back to memory my time there as a lieutenant with my platoon sergeant, sergeant first class smiley. we were out in a field exercise all day one day in the hot texas sun and it was a little after midnight when we finally got to bed beside our fox holes. had this grizzled two-time vietnam veteran next to me, airborne sergeant first class and i'm a green infantry lieutenant. we go to sleep, two hours later i'm nudged by sergeant smiley
and he says, sir, look up in the sky, tell me what you see. i looked up in the sky and saw a heaven full of west texas sky and i said i see a heaven full of stars, platoon sergeant? he said, sir, what does that tell you? i wasn't sure where he was going with the question so i said -- i did want to impress him, so i said, well, sergeant first class, astronomically it tells me there are billions of stars and hundreds of billions of planets, some of them may have life on them. theologically it tells me that we are but small and insignificant and god is great. meteorologically it tells me that with a clear sky we're going to have a great day of training tomorrow -- pause -- thinking i had overwhelmed him with this profound response -- what does it tell you, sergeant? sir, it tells me that somebody told our tent. -- stole our tent.
that was the last time i set out to try to be profound. it was a good, grounding moment of the kind you can only get in the airborne infantry. let me talk a little bit about military commissions. we are dealing here with an institution that, in its previous two iterations, were flawed. they were flawed. we worked hard on reforms and believe strongly that these military commissions can be fair and can do justice. aboutalk a little bit some of the procedural protections with some emphasis on the reforms that have come in the 2009 military
commissions act and then i'll talk about -- i'll talk about some of the actors in this system, some of the officials, because it's very comparable in a lot of ways to court systems that you know about but worthwhile to talk a little bit about some of the different officials in the system, and then i'll raise several -- just to get you thinking so we can start the conversation and maybe you'll be warmed up, i'll raise some of the criticisms and what i believe are now decisive counters to those criticisms. ok. so military commissions. in military commissions, an accused is presumed innocent. the prosecution must prove the accused guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on specified elements of offenses. the accused is to be provided notice in writing. the charges have to be written down of what he's charged with. an accused has a right to legal
counsel and a choice of counsel. any accused facing an offense for which the death penalty is authorized by congress receives counsel at government expense, and someone who has experience in death penalty matters, so- called learned counsel, under the statute. an accused may not be required to self incriminate, a right against self incrimination. there's a right against the introduction of statements obtained as a result of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the standard of admissibility for statements of an accused is voluntariness under the 2009 -- this is one of the areas that is an important reform of the 2009 act. an accused has the right to see all of the evidence the
government's going to present. this is discovery. you're familiar with this in our criminal, civilian legal system. that's fairness. you got to see what the proof is, you have to be able to confront it meaningfully, confront that and challenge that evidence. you have a right to cross examine the government's witnesses. an accused has the right to compel, using the authority of the government, witnesses on his behalf. they have to appear in order, if the court has jurisdiction, the ability to compel anybody for the government, same is available to the accused to compel witnesses in his behalf. the accused is protected by exclusionary rules of evidence that prohibit the introduction of information that is overly prejudicial or not probative or would otherwise be fruit of a poisonous tree, different types of exclusionary rules that,
again, are similar to those in civilian criminal practice. protection against double jeopardy, can't be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb for the same charges. protection -- has a right to represent himself if he is competent and if he has been very clearly put on notice of the right to counsel and his opportunities. you can't be forced to be represented by a lawyer. and the right of appeal upon conviction, to a court of review, military commission court of review that congress established in the act, as well as the federal district -- federal appellate court for the district of columbia circuit, federal circuit court. so it goes through the federal system, our article 3 federal courts, to the supreme court. broad,e -- it's a comprehensive body of
protections and i've merely just summarized some of them, and with the -- again, the reforms in the 2009 act, prominently including the prohibition on the introduction of cruel inhuman degrading treatment, statements obtained as a result of cruel, inhuman degrading treatment and the modification of hearsay rule. there is a slightly broader aperture for the introduction of hearsay evidence than in a federal civilian court because the judge is put on notice by the statute to take into consideration operational and intelligence factors that
involve the collection of evidence on a battlefield where you may not have the ability to bring all the evidence into court because the place where the crime occurred or where the individual was captured or arrested is beyond the jurisdiction of the court in a far away place. there are hearsay exceptions in our civilian criminal court that allow for exceptions. hearsay, this is an out-of- court statement offered so you don't bring the witness into court but you offer a document or somebody telling you what someone else said. these things are disfavored. they don't tend to be brought into court because you want, again, the accused to be able to confront and cross examine the witnesses against him so our law, anglo american law, disfavors hearsay. many legal systems do. hearsay exceptions exist, though, when you have a type of out-of-court statement that has inherent reliability. there may be indicators within it that make it more reliable. it's a regularly produced business record or it's a dying declaration of somebody, you know, the declarant is no longer available but he made a
comment that has some historical indicators that it may be reliable, and it's introduced for a certain purpose at trial. military commissions allow for a slightly broader aperture of hearsay for the things of operational reasons, battlefield emergencies where evidence tends to disappear would make it in the interest of justice to allow the introduction of probative -- that means it provides proof of something -- relevant, it's material, it deals with the issues at hand in the court, and lawfully obtained. it has to have been obtained through lawful operations of forces. so again, a statement, an out- of-court statement obtained as a result of cruel, inhuman degrading treatment would not be admissible under this rule.
the 2009 act narrowed, although it's still a slightly larger aperature for hearsay than you would find in criminal court, it did narrow the standard that was there in the 2006 military commissions act by requiring the party, either the prosecution or the defense, that was offering the hearsay, to establish its reliability. previously, it had been flipped, so it was the challenging party had to establish why something was -- that the moving party, the introducing party was offering was unreliable. and i think that's a significant change, as well, in the direction of fairness. congress, another important reform, is congress wrote in the 2009 military commissions act, the sense of congress, that the resourcing of the defense function in guantanamo was important to the legitimacy of the tribunals and they should be resourced.
it also stated that the opportunity of an accused that obtained witnesses and evidence should be comparable to that of article 3 federal civilian court so the notion of resourcing the defense, ensuring they have the ability and wherewithal to mount a defense and to test the evidence, that was -- and form a relationship with counsel, competent counsel, this was something that the court or that the 2009 military commissions act and congress felt strongly about and then another reform and the president here mentioned this in passing, classified information procedures, the 2009 act incorporated the classified information procedures act that is used in federal court. so very -- and this goes to the balance that he also spoke of between national security and the insurance of our cherished civil liberties and how we do things as a country and commitment to the rule of law,
that we are going to both protect our secrets. there really are secrets. there are sources and methods of intelligence that help protect us from future attacks that could be compromised if they were brought out in open court. troop movements, methods and ways in which these unbe -- ununiformed, irregular forces operating in the shadows of international boundaries disguised as civilians so they're not in a uniform, carrying arms openly and operating in accordance with the law of war, information about how they're operating, how they're using new off-the- shelf technologies that are so powerful and give them such
capabilities that they didn't have before, ways in which to track them down really could harm the public interest and the national security. so the classified information procedures act congress first passed in 1980 for the federal civilian system which gives a judge tools in order to ensure that the accused has the right to challenge the evidence the prosecution is bringing -- this is that discovery right that i talked about -- key to our system, right? you can't be convicted if you haven't had a chance to test the evidence. but to require that either the prosecution or the defense, if it's going to introduce classified evidence, that it put the court on notice in advance and give the court and the parties an opportunity to figure out how to reconcile those sometimes conflicting interests, that of allowing
confrontation, which is necessary in order for us to have a fair trial and get accountability, under law, for crimes. so that law enforcement, if you will, interest, and the national security interest, protect the classified information. and the classified information procedures act, cipa of 1980, says to the judge, figure out how to do both wherever you can and there really are ways to do it. you can summarize the evidence in a way. you can have an excerpt of a document that products the sources and methods but ensures that the accused sees what the part of it that is condemning him or inculpating him gets to be reviewed and tested and this has been in operation in the federal courts since 1980. there are a lot of cases it gets -- a lot of litigation over it because these balancing things are things that require
judgment, but it's a body of law that is now well established. the 2009 military commissions act took advantage of the fact that the federal courts have been using this since 1980 and incorporated it almost entirely. what it did, it incorporated it and then codified, enshrined into codified law the judicial changes to cipa or interpretations to the classified information procedures act of 1980 that have happened since 1980. so we have federal classified information procedures in our military commissions that protect our national secrets but also ensure that we can, with a full, fair trial process, hold people accountable under law.
so those are the major reforms. the protection -- let me talk a little bit about who is part of a military commission. well, i'll start with me. i'm the prosecutor, very much in the tradition of a public prosecutor in the united states legal tradition, represent the government in the prosecution of alleged criminals. has a lot of discretion associated with it. you have to decide what to charge, who to charge, whom to charge within your jurisdiction. you have to figure out, you know, do you perhaps talk to somebody about an offer to plead guilty such that he can cooperate with someone else. you've got to determine which issues on appeal may be raised. ofre's a large amount discretion, well tilled soil here in discussion of the prosecutorial function and why we have it in our system, and we have it because you need to
-- you need to give judgment calls to particular prosecutors to determine what are the most serious and beneficial prosecutions to bring, what comes with that, though, is a great responsibility with all that discretion. we don't give that kind of discretion out unless it's for the purpose of doing justice. so there's a strong doctrine of public prosecution which means that we're officers of the court, we're not just seeking to win at all costs, we're trying to see that justice is done and that's an important part of our tradition. actually, a couple of hundred years ago in the united states, we had a tradition co-existing with that of private prosecution. private parties, non- governmental, non-state actors would actually prosecute the case before the court and this has been supplanted and through the 19th century and currently with this public prosecution doctrine which requires that prosecutors turn over exculpatory evidence. this is another right that accused have.
if we find something that makes an accused look less guilty or tends to show that if he is guilty, he's less -- should be punished with lesser punishment, that's something we have an affirmative and continuing obligation to turn over. so that's the prosecutor. in many ways, the engine of the system gets it going, starts it by charging the individual and is subject to this public prosecution ethic that i've talked about. there is an official known as the convening authority and the convening authority has a number of functions. i'll analogize it to federal civilian legal practice and legal practice that you may be familiar with in state courts. the convening authority does serve a grand jury function, a testing function. once i have endorsed charge against somebody and, say, these are violations of our code of crimes. congress has codified 32 crimes
that are violations of the law of war, i see that they are charges and that we have the evidence against all of the elements of the offense, i, then, forward them to the convening authority who is an official who has to separately, with legal advice, he has competent counsel, he's supposed to look at them independently and determine if he agrees with that. if he does, he will then refer is the term, he will refer the charges to a military commission for trial. so convening authority in the function i just described functions something like a grand jury, it's oversimplistic to say it is the grand jury for the system because he has other duties which include actually assembling that commission and i'll talk about that in a minute, and then he has a clemency function on the other end, if there is a conviction,
he gets to see whether or not clemency is warranted after the commission has done its sentencing job. so that's the convening authority. this is very similar to any of you in the military, the military justice system, which is under our uniform code of military justice of 1950 and subsequent legislation that created our court's marshal for prosecuting our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for violating the code of justice, the convening body in that system is a commander. so the convening order of military commission is not a commander, he's actually retired vice admiral bruce mcdonald, highly regarded former judge advocate general of the navy, is serving in this convening authority function. ok, so you have this convening authority. the convening authority also selects a jury. so there is a jury, now, that
is the heart of the commission, then, that receives the referred charges. the military commission is composed of army officers -- active duty military officers. so there's a jury pool, if you will, of about 230,000 officers who serve worldwide from all 50 states, impressively diverse, monitored for diversity by our congress because the congress isn't going to let its military become a separate cast, and there's specific attention paid each year to how representative this pool is. it's not perfectly representative but again, i would submit to you, impressively representative. they differ also from a civilian jury that is chosen under our sixth amendment in a
civilian trial randomly out of a jury wheel from the district written a crime will have been committed under the sixth amendment, differs from that jury in that these are -- they tend to be a little younger than a jury in a random juror that would be picked in a location. they are college graduates because they're all officers. they've self selected for service worldwide, but they're not a random jury and a civilian jury and this is an important distinction between the systems. they do the jury function, right? this is a central institution of our criminal justice and our democracy that connects our government to the people, is the jury. and it holds that we have to have an impartial fact-finder that is going to look at this case, not somebody who deals with these things all the time.
an impartial fact finder is going to come essentially cold to the case, not know the accused, not know the charges, can be challenged off if they're too close to the charges or have some kind of bias. so this -- it's the same notion of the jury trial and in fact historians have found that the military jury first arose in britain's first mutiny act in the 17th century and it had 13 was the number, 13 members, and it was modeled after consciously the common law jury of britain, which was 12 jurors and then a judge -- 12 jury men and a judge so this is a tradition that is also part of our anglo american military legal tradition, this notion of the jury, of assembling people to look at the facts of a case and the basic function of a jury is to test those facts and look at them, find out what happened. you all remember john adams
defending the british red coats who were alleged to have massacred bostonians in boston, right? john adams, he's a patriot, featured u.s. patriot, who is now defending the british. the heart of the function is to test this? in an impartial way and i am very much a part of the commission process, not randomly chosen in the convening authority that i mentioned has the obligation to select jury members. by statute, he is required to pick them on the basis of age, and vacation, training,
experience, length of service and judicial temperament. having also been a juror i got tied for jury duty as an infantryman. i were to allow the military jury is. they are selected with an awareness of diversity. you want to have the american classic. the example list of angry men. -- the example is "12 angry men." yet people who are looking at the facts from a lot of different ways. there is a lot of power from that model. they wrote some very good articles about this. they are diverse in their life experiences.
yet different people coming with the same sort of facts they heard. an important part of our system. that is the heart of the military justice system. there is this case of officers. he studied in cairo. he got a defers group of people. they're testing these facts. his spent a little bit of time on it. the jury is a key piece of this. then there is a presiding judge over this. this is an experienced attorney. he is practicing before the bar of the states. he is typically an army colonel. for a navy captain. he is typically a senior officer who has significant training in criminal law.
they are done that tickets. --judge advocates. they are legally trained officers. they are not article three judges. these are not lifetime tenure judges who have been nominated by the presidents. like our federal, a pellett, and supreme court justices are. they are independent. if you look at their decisions and the things they have done to date, i defy you to say they're carrying out the will of somebody else. they are experienced in doing this. there the players in the system. they tried the charges. they insure that all of the procedures have been. and looks like a trial you will
see and a civilian world. both parties will make opening statements. they will tell the jury what the evidence will show. prosecution presents its case. it provides direct testimony. it brings in different types of evidence. forensic, physical evidence. all those witness testimony, all those witnesses will cross- examine. prosecution will rest. they will make a motion for finding it not guilty. they have this from cross purposes. if there is enough on particular charges that the
motion will be denied as to particular charges. defense presents its entire case. it brings forth all of its witnesses to show that an individual is not guilty. prosecution will cross-examine those witnesses. that is happening in front of this jury. they will give instructions to the jury. the party is a gift closing arguments to explain why. the tested prosecution's