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tv   Newsmakers  CSPAN  September 15, 2013 10:00am-11:01am EDT

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journal. we will be back tomorrow morning could a look at tomorrow's show, we will begin with the congressional debate -- the congressional agenda and the debates happening in washington is congress returns. and then looking at the affordable care act with jenny gold. and tomorrow's focus is health exchanges. and then lastly, in our final hour, our weekly series on your money. you will take a look at the $2 billion spent for united nations peacekeeping force. thank you for watching today, enjoy the rest of sunday.
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withming up, "newsmakers" representative rob wittman of virginia. he discusses automatic spending cuts at the pentagon and the u.s. response toward syria. and segments from the intelligence and national security summit. conversations with the chairmen and ranking member of the house intelligence committee. followed by results from national intelligence director james clapper. just on newsmakers this week is representative rob wittman of virginia. of thehe chairman subcommittee on readiness, which puts him in responsibility of the hugest -- of the biggest line items in the pentagon budget. let me introduce our reporters who will be questioning our subject, donna cassata and rick
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maze. of militarybility action on syria is still looming. >> that is of concern to all of us. what opportunities do we have to make sure that if there is military action, that we can sustain that? even if it is a small strike, we intoto look at if it turns an enduring mission, if it turns into more than just a strike, if there is indeed the involvement of other countries. what could a military do? if you look at the current state of readiness, are readiness continues to degrade. it does concern me, if we do have more than just a surgical strike or an unbelievably strong
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effort, what it will mean for our military. we are still engaged in afghanistan. those are deep concerns of mine. looking at not only what we are doing there, but the effort to take our forces out of there. i believe we will be pushed if we end up with an enduring mission in syria to be able to sustain that. the readiness elements where the money has most recently been taken out, and slowly put back in, are things like training, the operation and maintenance of our equipment, the operational capability of our systems that help collect the information our men and women need on the battlefield. those things concern me. it is not an initial strike. it is what happens if it is more than that. there is no guarantee this could not turn into an enduring mission. i concern is that is the direction it could easily turn into. the readiness of our forces will be at the forefront. >> you are not a supporter of a
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surgical strike, or a strike of any kind at this point. are there conditions that would make you change your mind on that? >> i do not see anything now, or can envision something in the future, that would create a clear, direct, and immediate strategic threat to the united states. under those conditions, i do not see a situation where i could support a military strike. >> could i ask about the political elements? the president has been forceful in supporting a military action. senators john mccain and lindsey graham have been very outspoken in pressing for aggressive military action. they even suggested the president could act without congressional approval. what is the divide within the republican party? do you see the party closer to the position of a lot of rank- and-file house members, who say no military action, or do you see the party closer to the mccain and lindsey graham perspective? x i think the vast majority are
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closer to the house position. what house members look at as they make a decision is, the strategic interests, the questions there -- whether it is a clear, direct, and immediate strategic interest -- what would the mission be? it is not clear. the element of the readiness of our forces. does this turn into an enduring mission if other countries get involved? that is a real concern for folks. as i talk to folks throughout the congress, both on the house and senate side, i see that as the mindset of the majority of members there. even regardless of party. havelook at it and say, we a moral obligation or a moral imperative. what i have argued is, the moral comparative, based on the agreement that 98% of the nations of the world have placed themselves in, is worldwide.
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it is incumbent on the united states, if we are going to do this, to bring other partners in to look at the diplomatic course of action. >> on concerns this might become an enduring mission, do you not have confidence that congress can affect the brackets around military action? asked the congress can define exactly what it wants to be done. congress cannot control the reaction of other countries and other players in that region. that is one thing we cannot concern. if there is a reaction from iran, or from russia, or the other actors in that region, we are going to be faced with, what do we do in response to that? that is something we cannot control. >> a reaction from iran would be a direct national threat to the united states. that would create a different situation. >> it could. it all depends on what they would do. they have said, or placed out there, certain scenarios they said they would pursue if we start syria.
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the question is what that would be. it really boils down to, what is the nature, if it were to happen, the reaction of those nations if we were to get further involved, if we were to pursue that strike and there was a reaction. >> is there a scenario you have looked at where you are concerned about u.s. capability, at least in the short term? >> we have asked specifically about their operations plan, their efforts, and what they would do. i did ask a question in the hearing in our readiness subcommittee on friday about if there was a formal operations plan. what are the readiness elements of the forces they would call upon? obviously, there was, based on that, immediate concern about the readiness of that specific strike. if it goes beyond that, that is where the real significant question is coming.
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>> is your real concern sequester related? if there is a sequester in 2014, is there a problem? x i think there is a sustainability problem occurring right now. 2013, there was the ability to move some dollars around. the money moved from investment accounts to operational accounts, to make sure we can operate and train. pilots that were put on standby in the air force are back flying combat training to make sure they stay certified. we are able to catch up now. the problem is, you have used that seed money, you have used investment dollars, to fund operational accounts. if those operational elements get pushed, those resources are not there. it is not just what we face now. if you continue that in 2014 -- remember, it is $50 billion a year. you are going to quickly see the impact.
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it is not falling off a cliff, but when you get to the point of seeing the impact, it is a precipitous drop-off in readiness. we are beginning to see those elements. priests,cure readiness and we see where things are trending. the trends are not good ones. in funding decisions made 2014 in relation to the sequester, it sequester dollars are not replaced in the defense budget -- the impact is going to be significant. -- that impact of a cr would equally be as troubling for the military. >> do you see any situation where the house would reverse sequester cuts in the upcoming cr? >> i do not know if it would be in the cr. it was certainly occur to me in the debt ceiling negotiations that it would be a place to talk about the balance to get that doll -- those dollars back. the house has addressed this in the short term.
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the defense appropriations bill puts many of those dollars back in, which of them into readiness accounts. i would push to say the dollars have to go back to those accounts. only addresses it one year. the sequester automatically occurs in each subsequent year. i think we have to say here is the sequester -- solution to the sequester through the military budget. >> you are looking for a four- year solution. >> i am looking for that in the debt ceiling negotiations. i would like to see at least a situation to address the automatic sequester cuts through the life of the cr. it looks like that might be about three months. i have been unfortunately displeased with what i have been hearing coming out. what you will have with the sequester levels is, you will have those automatic cuts that will be reflected in the cr if it does use the budget of 2012
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automatic numbers. that is what i have heard being proposed. that ayou concerned number of the defense hawks, especially members of the committee, feel they are shouting into the wind on sequester? i know there are a number of house republicans that are perfectly fine with the sequester cuts, and they accepted them. >> i can tell you almost everybody, to a person, on the house armed services committee, has been concerned. we have been talking to members to let them know the impacts, try to boil it down to let them know what readiness means. what we cannot do if these cuts continue. we are having those conversations. for some, they look at it in a bigger perspective and say, the ofth that -- the true threat national security is the debt. i do not agree -- do not disagree, but what is the
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nation's capability to defend itself? i think more and more people will hopefully bring themselves to understand it all stop i know there is an increased sense of urgency among members of the house armed services committee. when we completed our subcommittee hearing in readiness, we talked specifically about capability. all of us spoke afterwards and said, we have an obligation to go to our leadership within both of our parties to let them know how important this is, and to get commitments to them -- from them to do more in talking about what decreased readiness means for this nation, and what we would like to do as members of congress to address it all stop >> they are -- address it. >> they are talking about more furloughs. damagingd about how that was to your district. do you think it is a necessary thing? do you think they could be avoided?
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fax i think they could be avoided. my concern about reduction in force is this. in many situations, critical personnel we need on the civilian side. as you know under the strategic choices and management review, they have also talked about the uniformed services side, reduce enforce their. if you look at a marine corps that goes below the 189,000 proposed, reduction in force , just that inan itself is very troubling. what you will find is a number of missions that cannot be done at that particular level of marines. i am concerned about what it means in the long term when you have a reduction in force. i do not believe that is the way to go about addressing and managing the defense budget. -- whatt goes back to is the military capability under that scenario? cutting numbers means more than
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just having fewer marines, fewer soldiers, fewer sailors, fewer air man. it means lost capability. it means increased risk when those men and women in uniform are called to go into harms way. if we do not have the proper training, the equipment, they face increased risk. when they do go in harms way -- harm's way, more men and women parish in trying to achieve the mission. that is never where this nation has been, nor where it wants to be. wrecks yesterday, -- >> yesterday, the pentagon announced three possible places for an east coast missile defense site. do you think those sites are viable? >> we must address missile defense on the east coast. i want more time to look at the analysis about why they selected those sites, and the strategic significance of those sites, and what we are able to defend against if we have incoming missiles.
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to understand more about the strategic elements and the tactical elements in those sites. those are the questions we need to ask. we need to make sure we have the full scope of capability here on the east coast, as to the different scenarios of the threat we face, and make sure we can properly address those threats through the placement of these batteries on the east coast. wrecks do you think the money is going to be there? you are facing budget cuts, sequester. >> it is going to be a challenge. no doubt about it. we have to look at the numbers we have, look at making priority decisions. he have had to make some very difficult decisions. we have to make sure we are vocal when it comes to competing for resources throughout the budget. i have talked to everybody in the committee, including leadership, to say we have to be more vocal about where the true priorities are for the needs within the nation's defense, and
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be vocal about making those arguments as to why it is so critical for the nation. there are lots of great arguments for all different elements of government. thes incumbent for us on house armed services committee to make those passionate and cogent arguments about why resources should be directed here, as we are in competition with all the other elements of government spending, especially in a resource-challenged environment. chairman of the joint chiefs is been making a passionate argument for base closing, something i know you do not support. he has said the department has only percent excess infrastructure, and that no business would be able to operate in this fashion. i think he used the word desperately. we desperately need to cut infrastructure. is there any circumstance under which you would support base closure? >> not at present. we have so much churn going on with determining the strategic direction of our armed forces.
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how do we make sure we have a long-term vision about what resources will be there? a closurescenario, action costs money up front. as we are battling for resources, i want to make sure we take up the issue of the sequester. how do we have a long-term track forward the resources will be, where they are directed? at that point, we can get to having a discussion. i have never said it should be an absolute no in the future, but not at the present time. until other uncertainties are dealt with, i do not believe it is a good time to do that all stop we cannot predict what our base structure needs will be, how long-term funding will take place. the member, we have to have the dollars there to do it right. where do the other resources come from? where did he resources come from now? the need is now. the most important issues we are
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dealing with are things like readiness, where those shortfalls and accounts mean a lot. every penny we can find elsewhere -- let us take those priority decisions and put them in place now. future,point in the when we feel there is some certainty about defense budgeting meeting strategic needs, then, we can have the discussion on base realignment and closure. coupled with the base closing appeal from the pentagon has been their request to congress, often rejected, to raise fees on tri-care and health care and retirement. do you see any chance that the congress might go along with some change? >> there is a real concern about affecting the benefits of those who have served. i think we have a moral commitment as a nation to say
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this is the agreement, while not legal, under which you came into the services, and we need to stand by that. we can look at the benefits to those who come into the military in the future. the past.appened in changes have come in for those who serve the country at a future date. at the pentagon, there is tremendous focus and push to look at those benefits packages. i have talked to a number of folks that do the analysis. i know the concerns about the long-term cost. is a bignnel line item line item. the concern is the rate of increase of that. not just the element of the defense budget, but what does it mean if we pull back from what i believe is a moral commitment to our men and women that serve? to me, the impact is to what saving you might be able to accrue if you change those benefits. i am in favor of discussing what
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the benefits should be for military members that come into the uniformed services in the future. but we have got to stand by the nation's commitment to those that currently serve. wrecks do you think the current package is overly generous? whatthink it is fair for our men and women have been asked to do. think about the last 12 years. our men and women who served the nation have done a tremendous job. i do not believe we should pull back on the commitment we have made to them. also, understanding what they have done for this nation. under those scenarios, i think the benefits package is commensurate with what they have given to this nation. >> six minutes left. >> but i presume the people who served in the future are going to be just as dedicated and work just as hard. >> they certainly will be. but i want to make sure we have a frank discussion with them about what those benefits will be. the men and women today came in
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with a set of conditions, as well as their families understanding that, and have planned their careers around those benefits. it is not a reflection upon anybody who serves in the future. a truthful having and reliable commitment in the nation next to them, and the benefits they receive in return for serving this nation. that is critical for us. if we do not do that, we have issues with retention. folks come in and say, i was promised this, that something else happened, and i am gone. what about folks in the future? i might not go in because they said one thing and did something else. that element of commitment to men and women in uniform is, i think, critical. having that discussion with folks as they come in as to what benefits they will receive, having them understand that -- as of today, we will stand by the benefits. it will affect recruitment? >> i do. are what ies that
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call legacy families, where the grandfather, the father, the son and daughter serve this nation -- they have said, we have always been a nation to stand behind our military men and women and the veterans. the trust our men and women have out there who serve this nation, and those military families who make it a legacy and make it their public- service commitment to serve this nation. i cannot see us walking away from that. those will, if we affect benefits. >> you mentioned retention and talking to military families. there has been almost a rash of admirals and generals who are leaving, not voluntarily. do you think that is a factor in all of this? >> the pentagon has put out there a focused reduction in flag officers and senior executive service folks within the pentagon. i think based on the total
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reduction in force, the 100,000 reduction in force that will happen post-afghanistan, that they are beginning now -- i think that is a product of that reduction in force. i think that is probably a good thing, to make sure you have the right leadership structure so it does not become too top heavy. whether it is our great nco women,enlisted men and or junior officers, is there a balance within the force structure? if there is not, that could also be a situation where the folks down the line say, where is the priority for everyone? the proper balance in the force and the reduction in the flag officers, i think, is something that necessarily needs to follow with the total reduction in force. >> some of those dismissals have been for cause, sort of a rash of generals and admirals that have run into trouble one way or the other. what do you think about that phenomenon? do you think the military is
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being too tough on people, not accepting any errors at all? do you think they are doing the right thing? >> i think there is a high expectation for people who serve in uniform, especially flag officers. surership is about making people are held accountable and help to those high standards met our entire men and women in uniform are held to. i want to make sure that we understand that leadership is really about making those tough choices. i want to make sure people have due process. at the end of the day, our leaders are making those decisions because of the actions or in actions are the folks needing to be held to those high standards. i have no problem with them making those decisions. >> you mentioned flag officers. up this that has come year in congress is an effort to take chain of command outside of decision-making on whether to prosecute sexual assault cases in the military.
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thesenate has not taken up defense authorization bill. perhaps in the next month or so. where do you see that ending up as here? do you see the effort by senator jill a brand succeeding? -- gillibrand succeeding? >> there is resistance in the pentagon. i want to make sure we have the transparency there. also make sure that as the cases make their way up the chain of command, that people know that when i make a decision, i cannot hide it. i have to make sure i can explain the rationale behind it. to be able to explain not just --folks within the services an explanation has to come across as thoughtful and as balanced to the military families involved. the transparency isn't credibly
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important -- is extraordinarily important. conferenceo to the committee, to look at the policies set in the house and the senate versions. >> do you have a view of command's ability to handle these cases? >> there have been some glitches. those put a light right down to making sure there is accountability and transparency. i think, in some situations, those are the things that get called into question. i do think the military chain of command can do those things. also, making sure that you have a balance, where if there is a situation where people feel they have not gotten due process or proper justice within that realm, having an opportunity to make sure at least they have another opportunity to have their concerns heard is another important part of that decision- making process. but if you cut out the individuals in the chain of command, i think it has some disruptive impacts on how command and control takes place
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through the force structure, not just on sexual assault cases, but day to day operations. >> that has to be the last word. tank you for being with us. >> thank you. thank you. newsmakers is back. we just talked to the chairman of the subcommittee on readiness in the house of representatives, rod woodman of virginia. they topics -- syria and federal spending in the area of defense, and they are interrelated. what is going to happen? what is next when the congress comes back on syria? >> i do not think they know yet. i think they are waiting for some diplomatic solution, the date of which we do not know. you are not going to see a vote in congress until somebody else comes up with a plan. >> the president suggested he still needed a stick behind his diplomacy. his congress likely to find a path forward for him on that?
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verythink it will be difficult. there are divisions within both parties of what the next step should be. there is a definite war weariness toward military action. in fact, the members were out in the district last week, before they came back. and they heard an overwhelming voice from their constituents, saying, we do not want to get involved. >> at this point, if they take a boat, it goes against the president's decision, and that would hurt them on the diplomatic front, so i do not see a vote coming soon. tracks federal spending, we are reaching all sorts of deadlines. september 30, the federal budget year ends. the sequester debate, the debt ceiling debate. and a gop that is having a hard time working as a cohesive force. where do you see this going in the next several weeks? it certainly looks intractable at this point.
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house republicans, the leadership needs to bring the rank and file toward some sort of solution. effort to clear couple any continuing resolution with a statement on obamacare. it is hard to see how they get away from that and come up with a clean cr. >> i am in the third decade of covering congress. i can say that paralysis is at a new level. they cannot seem to do anything. and deadlines do not matter around here. just because deadlines are coming does not mean they cannot find a way to slowly move toward the end of the year. i just seet term, bickering and finger-pointing, and not any quick solution. the idea that we will use the debt ceiling debate to get the defense department a lot more money and solve their four-year budget cuts -- i do not think that is realistic. i can see the house of
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representatives passing it. i cannot imagine the senate would go along with something that would protect the defense department from future budget cuts, that no other agency of government. his is not the way the senate tends to work. >> what will be interesting in watching the next few weeks is for the fiscal cliff debate. one of the key players was senator mitch mcconnell. senator mcconnell is facing a gop primary challenger, as well as a democratic opponent, and it will be interesting to watch and see how involved he is in those negotiations >> the pentagon debate does it in fact become a proxy debate over the size of the military and how much force we really need? >> well, in part. because that's their excuse to try to get more money. but it is elementary just, this is fwunlt issue and the fact you don't have an agreement means you can't have a serious debate about the defense budget. i think the chairman is right when he's talking about there
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will be long term effects on military readiness if we continue this. you can't keep knocking 50 billion off the defense budget and at some point not have it hurt. you can take temporary measures one or two years but at some point you run out of equipment, people who are trained. supplies. morale is so low. it's a recipe for disaster if they can't come to some agreement at least by after the mid term elections. >> we didn't have a chance to talk about the views of the new defense secretary. but how are the republican committee chairmen's viewing secretary hagel so far? >> i think the jury is still out. i think they were appreciative of some of his more pragmatic straightforward approaches to certain issues. but i think they understand that this is the president's pick and they will work with
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him. and they understand that it's in their mutual interest as well. >> that's it for our time. thank you very much for being our guests this weekend and for your questions. > thank you. >> later this afternoon, on road to the white house 2016 coverage takes us to indiana, iowa. we'll be there live with potential democratic candidates vichese joe biden as a featured guest of tom harkin's 36th annual steak fry. you can see that event live beginning at 3 p.m. eastern here at c-span. >> yes, the world is changing. no, we can't control every event. but america remains the one indispensible nation in world affairs. and as long as i am president i intend to keep it that way. >> when the president in the earlier clip is talking about
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we're the indispensible nation what he doesn't want us to talk bout, we don't know how to win wars. we have by virtually any measure the best military in the world. we certainly spend more on our military than basically the rest of the world put together. but we don't know how to win wars. and it seems to me that there really ought to be a very serious national conversation as to why is that the case? where does the fault lie? is it our politicians, are too stupid? is it our generals are inept? is it the size of the forces are too small? or is it -- and this is my belief -- is it the fact that by its very nature war is unpredictable? to go to war is to roll the dice. and you might win, and you might not. >> more with retired army colonel and princeton history professor tonight at 8:00.
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>> the intelligence and national security security alliance recently held a summit in washington, d.c. to discuss the current state of the intelligence community. next, house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers and ranking member dutch rupersberger discuss an array of issues ranging from recent security links to cyber security threats from china and iran. this is an hour.
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>> good morning, everyone. the inaugural summit. our mission is to serve as a catalyst for public-private and academic partnerships in order to identify, develop, and promote solutions to national security challenges confronting he intelligence community. i think we can all agree that we have achieved that first mission here as we have been able to assemble an audience of ore than 500 professionals from across the sectors. as well as an impressive list of more than 40 panelists and moderators from those same
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sectors. i thank you all for being here today. i extend a special thank you for all of our sponsors. in particular, i would like to recognize our two host sponsors , north rup crumbnd and ratesdz i don't know for their continued support of our efforts. in addition to our host sponsors, i would like to thank man teck for sponsoring the breakfast. deloite for sponsoring the registration, pwc for sponsoring our speakers lounge, bae systems for sponsoring our lunch. and social intelligence and eagle ray for sponsoring the morning and afternoon coffee reaks. without your support we would not be able to put on events such as today.
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i would like to thank our media partner defense 1 for their support. will you all please join me in a round of applause for our sponsors. [applause] , 40 ve a full agenda today panelists participating in eight breakout sessions, each on a topic of critical importance to the intelligence community. we have four key energies community leaders in the persons of chairman mike rogers, who just arrived, welcome, mr. chairman, ranking member dutch rupersberger. dni james clapper who will be with us later today, andday director mike flint.
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all will share their vision for our future. join.urage to the companies will be showing their services. we have brought them together to facilitate this conversation but it is through your participation and insight that ogress will be made here today at the summit. when you registered, each of you received a copy of two white papers. that we are proud to be rolling out this morning. each will be a topic of discussion at breakout sessions later today. the first operational levels of cyber intelligence seeks to explore cyber intelligence as a disciplined methodology with understandable frames of reference in the form of
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perational levels. the paper reviews have methods for proactive operations including intelligence and dikemin defenses to combat actual threats by adversaries. the second a preliminary examination of insider threat programs in the u.s. private sector. an initial review and summary of current practices for cyber insite threat programs across the entire private sector. obviously, this is a timely topic. i think you will find the paper's conclusions very interesting. i would also like to thank all your volunteer members
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time and effort have resulted n the ideas and white papers that profor this and other events. given recent events it is no surprise that we have received a large amount of interest from thank a i would like all of them for attending as we believe that the american public has been well informed about the challenges and solutions that will be discussed here today. with that said, -- and let me add before i do introduce our panel. the events in syria and the whole issue surrounding wmd proliferation and the instability in the middle east and southationa and subsahara rica is again a poignant
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reminder especially as erica's military posture lowers its fro file around the world as it has been doing for several years. intelligence becomes that much more critical to the national security of the united states. that's yet another reason i believe this is a very timely conference indeed. and i know that we will all look forward to the insights of ur panelists this morning. with that said, i would like to introduce our first plenary session of the day, the view from the hill featuring congressman mike rogers, chairman of the house permanent select committee on intelligence, and congressman dutch rupersburger ranking member of the house permanent select committee on intelligence. moderating the discussion is
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fran townsend cnn national and executive vice president of holdings. and as many of you remember, fran was my predecessor as airperson of insa until last december. prior to her time at insa, fran served her nation in many high profile positions culminating in her tenure as assistant to the president from homeland security and counter terrorism. much of the groundwork for today's summit originated from her time as chairwoman and today's success is in large measure owed to her.
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>> i'm very glad to be here. inaudible] you know who the chairman is mike rogers. is er f.b.i. agent dutch, the ranking member, former police officer, both have long experience in the intelligence community. i'm going to turn this over to each of them to make sort of some introductry remarks plus there's a lot to try and cover here. i've got my twitter feed open. we're going to take questions from the audience. there's been news broken overnight that's become typical
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n the world of intelligence. >> if you go around some of the rapid changes some things we talk about a lot and some don't get a lot of attention at all. north korea has large chemical and biological stockpiles, they're watching the events of the day. you have the russian military is starting to reinvest in its technology. it wants some pretty sophisticated submarines, hadn't really seen that since
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the early 1990s. certainly putin is eager to get of influence me around the world. i don't know if you read his editorial getic lectured by the guy who invaded not that long ago. >> thank you mr. putin. and you look at where the chinese are going, the cyber espionage is breath taking and only getting worse even after the public disclosures of its aggressive nature. cyber planning is now a framework of every major nation state and unfortunately some that aren't major nation states are engaged in cyber military planning and using that technology around the world. the number one priority is to steal your intellectual property and pass it to i commercial use to compete against u.s. companies.
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they are also very good on their cyber attack planning. they have it as a part of their mainstay. a couple of interesting things china has done recently. they've announced that their oil platforms are now strategic assets and that they will defend them militarily change it is dynamic in the discussions in the south china sea significantly. so the tension has gotten hotter. what that means is they didn't want the u.s. navy to be sailing in the south china sea, a place we've been since we've been a country 40% of the world's trade goes through there. this is a new wrinkle that we're going to have to work through. they've also named their financial institutions all the way down to their atm's as a strategic asset in china. that has business implications and security implications for ll of us number two.
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we see a destabilizing event in syria, many call it a civil war, i think that's not accurate. i think this is a proxy war that has bled into the region. in a significant way. if we look at it as a civil war we'll make a lot of mistakes. those are a couple of things we worry about. there is more than that in the fact that we are working aggressively to dismantle the national security agency that provides us information we need to keep america safe. it's mind boggling to me. hopefully we'll get a chance to talk about that as well. >> thank you. great to see everyone coming together to talk about issues that are so important. i believe strongly intelligence is the best way to protect
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against attacks. they're smart, focused and have taken an oath to maintain the confidentiality of information. i guess snowden did not get that. who knows. for years, the committee was not doing the job they needed to do. there was a lot of partisan politics. when mike and i took leadership we decided we're going to work together as a team look at what e have done. all good fbi agents must listen to the prosecutor even if they are in the minority.
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mike and i disagree on things. we have always come to a resolution. a lot of it has to do with respect, relationships, and trust. we have a lot of issues that we are dealing with. things are evolving. we are very concerned about the cyber issue. mike and i pulled together to decide we had to do something about the cyber attacks. we brought in all different groups. we brought the white house, business community to try to find a way to deal with cyber. cyber command estimated in the past three years we have lost $400 billion from trade secrets and information to mostly china, but other countries. you know the issue of terrorism and how serious it is. it will go beyond our lifetime
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i am sure. we have to continue to use the best tools. do it legally and find these individuals. i call it needles in the haystack. we have to find them. we have to make sure we stop them before they attack us. the highest priority in the united states. secondly, allies. very important issue. you have the china/russia threat. the cyber attacks. these are things evolving. i can go on and on. i think it is better if i stop talking and listen to you all. >> thank you both. with your permission, i will call you by your first ame. let's start with the news of the day for many refer to it as a proxy war.
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i call syria, the vietnam of the 21st-century. you have big regional players like russia and iran playing out a larger political game at the expense of the syrian eople. talk to us, both of you, about the likelihood the russian proposal goes anywhere. do you believe there will be a credible plan, and can there be any plan without the threat of ilitary force? >> clearly the russians -- first, let's try to understand the problem. russians have been on the ground since the beginning. they have long-term contracts there. they really need the warm water partner. so they have a strategic,
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military strategic interest in keeping the footprint in syria, so we should try to eliminate critical quickly some benevolent interest in being the peacemaker in the region. they are concerned about losing a strategic asset. that is the number one primary concern. they have been on the ground providing advisors, intelligence packages, and it is in the interest that first people who might show up, i hink the russians want to be the first ones through the door. i imagine there is writing in there that might cause them concern. the problem with syria now, it can work, but interests have to align. we have to push the interest to align. i believe you need a credible military threat in order to continue to have negotiation success. which is why the russians said
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they would not allow that to happen in the united nations. take out chapter seven, which would allow a united nations military threat if we could not get a handle on the coming call weapons. they got exactly what they wanted on day one, which was time. they needed president assad to have more time. it allows them to continue to upply arms, financing, and other things, and it sends a pretty dangerous message to the opposition that he will be there for a length of time. am skeptical. i hope it works. i just do not think it will work if we do not have credible threats to say this negotiation does not go well, we have a whole other set of options and you will not like any of them.
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i worry that without that it becomes a game of taking four months to decide when to meet and who gets to meet and six months to decide who gets to go into syria. i do not think that is helpful to what is happening on the ground. >> do you agree there needs to be a credible threat of military force? >> without a doubt. ook at the history when all of this started. when the opposition was starting to gain the momentum, that is when russia basically wanted us to come to the table. why did russia do this? putin will only do what is good for putin and then russia. they know they are on the wrong side of the issue am especially when it comes to chemical weapons. hen hezbollah got in the game, things changed.
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we decided to be the quarterback that helped the pposition and the other allies to help them somehow change the tide. the whole goal then was to get russia back to the table. when you are in the position where you know where we are, i think the president made the right decision, because the only leverage we have now was the players that are there. assad killed 100,000 of his people. women and children. i have met with him. he is a low key ophthalmologist trained in great britain. i think his father's people in iran are pulling all of the strings. we have to verify, trust to erify. if this is a stalling tactic, then we have to continue on with the threat of force or
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nothing will happen. we have to verify with the people that will go to the country. >> last night, while most of us were sleeping, the guardian published the most recent document from edward snowden. it raises a whole bunch of ssues about leaks. this report alleges that the nited states is passing u.s. data to israel. we have seen an ongoing public debate in this country. his will only fuel it.
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how do we get the american people comfortable and supportive of what the intelligence community really needs to be able to ccomplish? >> great question. ook at the time. the first thing, there is always i believe a negative into a positive. there is no question that this debate of privacy has to be out there. the things we are dealing with with cyber laws in those types of issues. it is really difficult to let the public know a lot of what is going on because it is lassified. we will move forward not only with the public, but other
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members of congress. we will have to somehow change laws to be more flexible on the issue of what we are going to do and how we are going to deal ith classified information. these are dedicated people who get up every morning and work hard. they are getting hit pretty hard. we in politics we have to deal with the issue of perception, even though it is not reality. we have been working with general alexander and other people to try to find ways that we can get out more information to educate the people. he people are concerned. eventually there could be unintended consequences that might affect the national security. i will say something now that my staff will be very upset with, but i think it is important to raise this issue.
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this is about the media. i want to make it really clear. i believe the first amendment is one of the most important things that we have. we have to stand behind. we have to support the media ability to write and raise issues. i do not have a problem with this debate and printing the issues that are out there, but what i do think, the media itself needs to come together to see how far we go when we're getting beyond the debate of privacy and more on printing sources and methods that will eventually cause death to americans. it is a very sensitive issue. i am just throwing it out there. i will not be there, because i do not think we should. i think when you get to the point of article after article talking about sources and methods and will not be able to find where they are, how they
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are going to protect us. i just throw that out there. we're not doing anything about it -- i remember when i was a prosecutor, on the intelligence committee, you would never see i remember when i was a prosecutor, on the intelligence committee, you would never see information of al qaeda giving groups data on what we are trying to do to protect us. what is intelligence all about? what are the millions of dollars we spend? it is about trying to protect us. we have to have the laws. we have more checks and balances than any other country in the world on what we do. believe me, mike and i make sure they follow the law and is constitutional. if something is wrong, we will try to fix it. i better stop there. do not give me aar


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