tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 21, 2013 10:00pm-12:01am EST
president, a president with less check on his authority. because the fact of the matter is this -- any vote to break the rules to change the rules is a vote to ensure obamacare remaining intact. so, mr. president, i'll conclude by saying this -- changing the rules of the senate in this way was a mistake. but if the last several years have taught us anything, it's that the majority won't stop making these demands. and if we can't give in -- if we can't give in to these constant threats, sooner or later you have to stand up and say, enough is enough. but if there's one thing that will always be true, it's thi this -- majorities are fickle, majorities are fleeting, here today, gone tomorrow.
that's a lesson that sadly most of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle haven't learned for the simple reason that they've never really served a single day in the minority. so the majority has chosen to take us down this path. the silver lining is that there will come a day when roles are reversed. when that happens, our side will likely nominate and confirm lower court and supreme court nominees with 51 votes, regardless of whether the democrats actually buy into this fanciful notion that they can demolish the filibuster on lower court nominees and still preserve it for supreme court nominees. i yield the floor. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: first i would ask unanimous consent that after my remarks, the senator from alabama be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, in the
past, a few senate majorities, frustrated by their inability to get certain bills and nominations to a vote, have threatened to ignore the rules and to change them by fiat and to change rules to a majority vote change. rule 22 of the senate requires two-thirds of the senate to amend our rules. a new precedent has thousand been set, which is that a majority -- a new precedent has now been set, which is that a majority can now change the rules. because that step will change the rule into a legislative body that the majority, whenever it wishes, can change the rules, it has been dubbed the nuclear option. arguments about the nuclear option are not new. senator arthur vandenberg, confronting the same question in 1949, senator vandenberg, who
was a giant of the senate, one of my predecessors from michigan, said that if the majority can change the rules at will -- quote -- "there are no rules except the transient unregulated wishes of a majority of whatever quorum is temporarily in control of the senate." now, senator vandenberg, when he took that position, was arguing against changing the rules by fiat, although he favored the rule change that was being considered. overruling the ruling of the chair, as we have now down, by a simple majority is not a one-time action. if a senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules which binds a majority and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not
just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation. we've avoided taking these steps in the past, these nuclear steps, but we've avoided them sometimes barely. i'm glad that we avoided the possible use of the nuclear option again earlier this year when our leaders agreed on a path allowing the senate to proceed to a vote on the president's nominees for several unfilled vacancies in his administration. but today we are once again moving down a destructive path. the issue, mr. president, is not whether to change the rules. i support changing the rules to allow a president to get a vote on nominees to executive and to most judicial positions. buwhat this is all about is ends and means. pursuing the nuclear option in this manner removes an important
check on majority overreach. as senator vandenberg said, if a senate majority decides to pursue its aims unrestrained by the rules, we will have sacrificed a professed, vital principle for the sake of momentary convenience. republicans have filibustered three eminently qualified nominees to the circuit court of appeals for the district of columbia. they make no pretense of the argument that these nominees are unqualified. the mere nomination of qualified judges by this president, they say, qualifies as courtpacking. it is the latest attempt by republicans, having lost two presidential elections, to seek preventing the duly elected president from fulfilling his constitutional duties. the thin veneer of substance laid over this partisan obstruction is the claim that the d.c. circuit has too many
judges. to be kind, this is a debatable proposition, one for which there is ample contrary evidence and surely one that falls far short of the need to provoke a constitutional battle. republicans know they cannot succeed in passing legislation to reduce the size of the court, so presented with a statutory and constitutional reality they do not like, they have decided to ignore that reality and decided that they can obstruct the president's nominees for no substantive reason. so let nobody mistake my meaning. the actions of the senate republicans in these matters have been irresponsible. these actions put short-term partisan interest ahead of the good of the nation and the future of this senate as a unique institutionment and it is deeply dispiriting to see so many republican colleagues who have in the past pledged to
filibuster judicial nominees only in extraordinary circumstance engaged in such partisan gamesmanship. whatever their motivations, the repercussions of their actions are clear. they are contributing to the destruction of an important check against majority overreach and to the frustration of those willing to break the rules to change the rules. those of us who are unwilling to do that have now seen it occur before our eyes. the chair was overruled earlier today. so why do i not join my democratic colleagues in supporting the method by which they propose to change the rules. my opposition to the use of the nuclear option to change the rules of the senate is not a defense of the current abuse of
the rules. my opposition to the nuclear option is not new and republicans threaten in 2005 -- threatened in 2005 to use the nuclear option in a dispute over judicial nominees. i strongly opposed the plans, just as senator kennedy did, senator biden did, senator byrd did and just about every senate democrat did. including democrats still in the senate today. back then, senator kennedy called the republican plan -- quote -- "a preemptive nuclear strike." he said, neither the constitution snore senate rules nor senate precedence nor american history provide any justification for selectively nullifying the use of the filibuster. equally important, he said, neither the constitution nor the rules nor the precedence nor history provide any permissible means for a bare majority of the senate to take that radical step without breaking or ignoring
three kids of applicable rules and unquestioned precedence. and here's what then-senator biden said during that 2005 fight -- quote -- "the nuclear option abandons america's sense of fair play. it's the one thing this country stands for: not tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field." and he said, "i say to my friends on the republican side, you may own the field right now but you won't own it forever." and he concluded, "i pray to god when the democrats take back control we don't make the same kind of naked power grab that you are doing." my position today is consistent with the position that i took then that every senate democrat took then and that's just back in 2005 and that was to preserve
the rights of the senate minority. i can't ignore that nor can i ignore the fact that democrats have used the filibuster on many occasions to advance or protect policies that we believe in. when republicans controlled the white house, the senate and the house of representatives from 2003-2006, it was a democratic minority in the senate that blocked a series of bills that would have severely restricted the reproductive rights of women. it was a democratic minority in the senate that beat back efforts to limit americans' rights to seek justice in our courts when they're harmed by corporate or medical wrongdoing. it was a democratic minority in the senate that stopped the nominations of some to the federal courts who we believed would not provide fair and unbiased judgment. without the protections afford afforded, the senate minority, total repeal of the estate tax would have passed the senate in 2006. and we don't have to go back to
2006 to find examples of senate democrats using the rules of the senate to stop passage of what many of us deemed bad legislation. just last year, these recollections prevented an adoption of an amendment that would have essentially prevented the e.p.a. from protecting waters under the clean water act. we stopped an amendment to allow loaded and concealed weapons on lands managed by the army corps of engineers as a minority with minority votes. as minority votes, we stopped some -- we stopped legislation that would av allowed some individuals who were deemed mentally incompetent access to firearms. that's just the last year. removing these minority protections risks that in the future important civil and political rights might just disappear because a majority agree that they should. and let us not kid ourselves. the fact that we changed the rules today just to apply to
judges and executive nominations does not mean the same precedent won't be used tomorrow or the next year or the year after to provide for the end of a filibuster on legislation, on bills that are before us, and on amendments. just as i've implored my democratic colleagues to consider the implications of a nuclear option that would establish the precedent that a majority can change the rules at will is just as urgent for my republican colleagues to end the abuse of the rules which allow extended debate that were intended on rules that were intended to be invoked rarely. some of my democratic colleagues may rightfully ask, "if a democratic majority cannot initially muster a supermajority to end filibusters or change the rules, then what can the majority do?" the rules give us the path and that is to make the filibusters
filibuster. let the majority leader bring nominations before the senate. let the senate majority force the filibusterers to come to the floor to force the filibuster. the current rules of the senate allow the presiding officer to put the pending question to a vote when no senator seeks recognition. let us, as the senate majority, dedicate a week or a weekend or even a night to force the filibusterers to filibuster. in 2010, in testimony before the rules committee on this subject, this is what senator byrd said. "does the difficulty reside in the construction of our rules or does it reside in the ease of circumventing them? a true filibuster is a fight, not a threat, not a bluff." and then he said, "now, unbelievably, just the whisper of opposition brings the world's greatest deliberative body to a
grinding halt." and then he said, "forceful confrontation to a threat to filibuster is undoubtedly the antidote to the malady. we have not used that antidote to the malady which besets this body, allowing the mere threat of a filibuster to succeed without challenging that threat, without telling the filibusters, go ahead, filibuster. we've got rules that protect us. and when you pause and when there's no one else here, 3:00 on the fourth day or the fifth day or the sixth day, the chair can put the question. the am -- the american people will then see in a dramatic way the obstruction which has flanes in this body -- which has taken place in this body.
but before a senate majority assumes a power that no senate majority before us has assumed to change the rules at the will of the majority, before we do something that cannot easily be undone -- and we have now done it -- before we discard the uniqueness of this great institution, let us use the current rules and precedents of the senate to end the abuse of the filibuster. surely we owe that much to this great and unique institution. there was a conversation, which was a formal conversation, between the majority and the republican leaders just last january, and here's what the majority leader said. "in addition to the standing order," which is what we had adopted, "i will enforce
existing rules to make the senate operate more efficiently. after reasonable notice, i will insist," he said, "that any senator who objects to consent requests or threatens to filibuster come to the floor and exercise his or her rights himself or herself. this will apply to all objectionobjections and unanimot requests. senators should be required to come to the floor and participate in the legislative process, to voice objections, engage in debate, or offer amendments. and finally," he said, "we will also announce that when the majority leader or bill manager has reasonably alerted the body of the intention to do so, the senate is not in a quorum call and there's no order of the senate to the contrary, the presiding officer may ask if there's any further debate, and if no senator seeks recognition, the presiding officer may put the question to a vote."
he said, our majority leader, that "this is consistent with the precedent of the senate and with ri riddick's senate procedure." what this showed again is that if we in the majority have the will power -- as much will power as has been shown by some obstructionists in this body -- if we have an equal amount of will as they have shown, that the current rules before this change today can be used to force filibuster filibusterers o filibuster, to come to the floored and talk. all we need to do is to use the rules, to take the weekend off, to take the week that we hope for a recess and use it to come back here, to take the recess itself, if necessary, during the summer -- for a month, if necessary -- to try to preserve what is so essential to this
body, its uniqueness; which is that the majority cannot change the rules whenever it wants. the house of representatives can change the rules whenever it wants. it's called a rules committee. they can adopt and modify the rules at any time -- and they do. this body has not done that. we've resisted it. the we've attempted to do it. we've come close to doing it, but we've never done it -- until today. do i want to amend the rules? do i. i want to amend these rules with all my heart. i want to embody a principle that a president, regardless of party, should be able to get a
vote on his or her nominees to executive positions and to district and circuit courts. i believe in that. i think most senators believe in that. we need to change the rules. but to change it in the way we changed it today means there are no rules except as the majority wants them. it is a very major shift in the very nature of this institution if the majority can do whatever it wants by changing the rules whenever it wants, with a method that has not been used before in this body to change the very rules of this body. we should have avoid add nuclear option. we should have avoided violating our precedents. we should have avoided changing and creating a precedent, which can be used in the same way on legislation.
it may give comfort to some today, but this is only on judges, this is only on executive appointments. this precedent can equally available to a majority that wants to change the rules relevanrelative to the legislate process. madam president, those who have abused these rules -- mainly on the other side of the aisle -- whether they acknowledge it or not, are contributors to the loss of protections which we see today for the senate minority. given a tool of great power, requiring great responsibility, they have recklessly abused it.
but now i am afraid that it won't just be them that will pay the price. in the short term, judges will be confirmed who should be confirmed. but when the precedent is set, the majority of this body can change the rules at will -- which is what the majority did today. if it can be changed on judges or on other nominees, this precedent is going to be used, i fear, to change the rules on consideration of legislation, and down the road -- we don't know how far down the road; we never know that in a democracy -- but, down the road, the hard-won protections and benefits for our people's health and welfare will be lost. i yield the floor
>> at his weekly news conference, john boehner talked about legislation in the house. he was also asked about the filibuster rule changes in the senate. the house has adjourned for its thanksgiving break. >> hello, everyone. you have all heard me say that our job is to listen to the american people and to follow their priorities. republicans continue to do just that. this way, the house passed three more energy bills that will create more american jobs and more american energy. i would urge the resident to sign those bills. we will continue -- urge the president to sign those bills. we will continue to focus on middle-class families, better jobs and higher wages.
i think it is obvious that the reality of the president's health care law simply doesn't match the promises that the president made to the right of people to solve. and every year -- every day, we hear heart-wrenching stories by americans were getting letters of their health care plans being canceled or the cost of their new plan is skyrocketed. or they can keep their doctor. as a result, i think the mac and people are losing confidence in this administration. -- i think the american people are losing confidence in this administration. i don't usually redo this but i think i will give the president- elect vice. if you -- i don't usually do this, but i will give the president a little advice. too many private-sector job creators, especially small businesses -- and i used to run one of them -- are still sitting on their hands. he could support these energy
bills. he could finally approve the keystone pipeline. that would create 20,000 direct jobs and over 100,000 indirect jobs. or he could rein in the regulations. they are strangling our economy. or he could actually delay this health law which is causing many employers to have doubts about expanding the number of employees. the solution here is not more government. the solution lies in policies that help creating it or environment -- create a better environment for private sector jobs. thes encouraged that president said that he would not stand in the way of a step-by- step immigration reform. that is the approach that house republicans have taken. the american people are skeptical of big competence of those and they should be. the way to make sure that immigration reform works this time is to address these cop
issues one step at a time. i think doing so -- these consultative issues one step at complicatedese issues one step at a time. i am hopeful we can make progress on this very important issue. >> after thanksgiving [indiscernible] >> the house will continue to do our oversight of the executive branch as we are required to do under the constitution. we will continue to get answers to why people are losing their answers, why it is costing them more. in terms of legislative action, no decisions have been made. no, no, no, hold on. >> councilman rado said he is taking a leave of absence after possession ofof
cocaine. >> as you all know, and believe that embers of congress should be held to the highest ethical standard. riddle at this point mr. , the issues between he and his family and his constituents. speaker, on immigration reform, is this issue did for the coming year or do you expect -- what is the expectation that the house will actually move on step-by-step immigration? >> let me answer the first question. is immigration reform dead? absolutely not. since the dayear of the last election in 2012 that it was time for congress to with this issue. i believe commerce needs to deal with this issue.
there are a lot of have a conversations underway to try to figure out how we best move on a commonsense step-by-step basis to address this very important issue. because it is a very important issue. >> do you think you will be taking any kind of action -- you -- not zerotrenuous tolerance, but little tolerance for bad behavior. should there be any kind of punishment? >> there is -- this is between he and his family and his constituents. obviously, we won't get it before thanksgiving. how important is it to get done by the december 13 deadline and do you see any chance that we might see a crs 988? >> i am hopeful the chairman ryan and chairman mary can come to some agreement on the budget.
i am hopeful. but if not, the house will be prepared to move acr -- to move a cr. [indiscernible] as i said last week, i am opposed to discrimination in any case. but i don't believe that we need additional frivolous litigation in this implement area. alreadyhe poll protected in the law -- >> i know you do like to comment on the senate, but there is a pretty historic debate over there. senator reed has taken steps toward the so-called nuclear a d option. >> it sounds to me like and reread us try to change the subject. if i was taking all the incoming
fire and that he is from obamacare, i would try to change the subject, too. friday marks 50 years since the assassination of resident john f. kennedy and our special coverage includes your calls remembering the day during washington journal starting at 7:00 eastern. nbc newsarely seen coverage from 1963 when they thet reported on assassination. we will take you live to dallas for a commemorative event at daily paws up, including david mccullough reading from some of the president speeches. and then to boston from the jfk presidential library and museum for a musical tribute with james taylor, the pulitzer sextet who played for president kennedy and the u.s. naval academy glee club or forming select -- glee club performing selections from the
state funeral. by davidl be joined hawking's on "washington journal." also, presidential historian and authored richard reese will talk about the legacy of john kennedy 50 years after his death. gregory, a family- friendly harvey oswald will be our guest. journal" starts at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. my the disclosure of classified information by federal workers. keith randal discusses the edward snowden case.
>> my name is kate randall. i am an analyst at the fbi. i provide analytical assistance to active fbi insider threat investigations. i also spearheaded our indicator development program. we tried to grab the extent of the problem by breaking down the critical components, conducting research, and applying advanced
detection techniques against our data sets. anything that i am about to say is my personal and professional opinion based off of my first-hand experience working this issue within the bureau. it doesn't necessarily reflect what the fbi program is or isn't doing. it doesn't also reflected a doj oror position of the government. if you disagree with anything that i am about to say, don't hold back. if you're angry at the fbi for any number of reasons, please don't hold that against me. [laughter] my objectives with this presentation a threefold. i want to talk about the insider threat issue, what is and what it means, specifically highlighting how it is not a conditional cybersecurity or hacker problem. with different entities with government and industry, academia and vendors, i have seen that there is a lot of instances -- a lot of
inconsistencies about how to even define this issue. my hope for today is to provide more clarity about how to define this issue from the perspective who actuallymeone works these cases on a day-to- day basis. then i want to introduce a approach, theal concept of that, and the necessity of incorporating something like that within an insider threat program and hopefully provide a few high- level examples of how one might try to implement some of these concepts within their own organization. the insider threat problem -- everyone here has heard of edward snowden, recent nsa leaker. friday the manning -- bradley hanssen, andobert fbi special agent who spied for the righteous -- for the russians for 20 years. not our finest moment. we are not too proud of that. these are certainly the most widely known insider three
cases. but the issue itself is far much more expansive and runs far deeper than any one of the single incidents or these isolated case studies. if we are ever going to have any real chance of combating the student or threat problem, we can't build a defense mechanism against single case studies or specific actions. he can't just look at removable media activity because that is what bradley manning used. justice systemt administrators or privileged users because it was noted had a technical background. we really have to try to attack the issue after the root of the problem and really understand what an insider threat means. lines, the core feature of the insider threat is betrayal. these are individuals who betrayed their positions of trust and used their access for a legitimate means. the key factor is that it is purposeful. there is talk amongst the
community about an accidental insider. there is certainly utility that tries to create defense mechanisms against accidental insider's, which we have dubbed the knucklehead problem, for individuals who accidentally mishandle information or unwittingly cause damage to the organization. fundamentally different problem than someone who is purposefully and with malice and acting harm against your organization. so for the purposes of this how it shouldnd be defined for made should be looking for the specific intent of malice. threat issuesider has garnered a lot more support and a lot more noteworthy news in recent years because of some of the high-profile cases, it is one of the least voluminous of thes but has some highest impacts. insider threat cannot only compromise sensitive government information that can have long-
standing effects for our government, our economy, our international operations. it can also cause damage to the government and industry in the numbers of billions of dollars which i don't think has that money this -- that money to spare. key the space of the factor is that we cannot focus on specific, isolated situations. it is not about someone who is a spy or someone who prince a lot of data or injects malware into its system. it has numerous types of manifestations, both in terms of the actual malicious behavior and then in the a that that behaviors enacted. problem, asthreat you can see, can span from i.t. sabotage to fraud to workplace violence to unauthorized disclosure. the manifestations of that is hundreds of thousands of different ways that a person can do that. if we solely focus on how a person is doing it without taking it back to the root of
the problem, we really won't get anywhere. it is why i think it is so important to really focus on the heart of the issue. happens, mostw it people don't come into organizations with the intent to become a malicious act or. there are certainly people who can. hopefully, those individuals can be mitigated at the forefront from secure hiring protocol to background investigations. but most malicious insiders start out just like everyone else. they evolve into luscious actors over time as a result of opportunities, triggered risk factors, and peak motivation. these red flags are what we call indicators. and all employees in every organization have some of these red flag indicators and they exist at varying levels across the continuum. it is about identifying what indicators, to what degree might cause someone to get to the tipping point. basically, what makes them go over to the dark side.
that is what makes it a challenging problem because these risk factors exist all the time, always for everyone. what is it that makes it for one person kind of push them over the edge? the biggest thing that i want to stress today, again, is this is not atypical cybersecurity problem. by purethreat definition goes against all traditional means of cybersecurity, information assurance and data protection. where we protect our systems, our network center information from intruders and unauthorized activity. these are people who are within your realization and have legitimate access to do the things they are doing good you are not locking your doors are setting up an alarm system to prevent a burglar from coming into your house. you are opening the door. you're shaking the guys hand. you're inviting him in for a beer. they were giving him a key to your house while you go on vacation. the fundamental difference between an insider threat and a hacker is that we threat -- is
that we trust our threats. we trust them with our mess is that of an proprietary information that are realization holds and we trust that they won't betray that. most trust them with our intimate and proprietary ourormation that organization holds and we trust that they won't betray that. there are certainly insider threats that do have significant technical backgrounds that use this technical background to penetrate and info straight the us -- and infiltrate the system and do harm to the system. but that is only one component. other spherehole of how these behaviors are manifested. when i first got into this business, the most accurate yet depressing thing that someone had told me about how to describe the insider threat problem is that we are not looking for a needle in a
haystack. au're looking for a needle in stack of needles. i don't know how many people frequently put their hands in a pile of needles, but it seems pretty tame for land pretty difficult. that highlights exec with what the problem is to the insider threat. these are people who look exactly like the person next to them. it is not necessarily about try to figure out what is wrong or what is different. it is about identifying what some of these indicators or red flags along the spectrum are, trying to mitigate the expectation of them so that a person doesn't reach that tipping point, and then incorporating, monitoring or detection mechanisms so you can see some of these behaviors. i said, arly, as multidimensional problem so it requires a multidimensional solution. goal is to detect, deter and disrupt. you can take a twofold approach on how you can bet these objectives. the first is how you identify the problem.
not only are insider threats themselves multidimensional, that the problem itself spans numerous different subject matters and incorporates numerous key players. it is not just the security oneounterintelligence and implements the critical components from each of the stakeholders and attacks the problem from all of these perspectives to really get an understanding of what this problem is. focus your can efforts by looking at your people, your data and your threat. knowing your people is the most critical aspect to any successful inside of her program. and when we say no your people, it means really know your people. not talking about your i.t. or their e-mail address, the user name or their work schedule. it is really about understanding who they are, what they do, who they interact with and what
potential vulnerabilities they might have that sit along that spectrum so that you can try to proactively prevent them from reaching the tipping point. in taking this approach, we have come to adopt this three-fold model on how you look at the whole person. it is a commendation of hyper, hyper,ction and -- psychosocial.d construction -- contextual is yourou are, your job role, foreign axis. and cyber social being who you react to the different factors and stressors in your environment. you're coping mechanisms as they pertain to stress and your interactions with people in the workplace, getting a deeper understanding of who a person actually is.
for cyber indicators, again, what people do on the system. this is helpful because it allows you to actually detect activity of interest or of concern. in order to do this, obviously, the first step is to collect the information. for people who do not have robust insider threat programs, you can set up whole space auditing capabilities, collect audit logs from your critical applications, really garner a way to get an understanding of what people are doing on the system. from there, implement some alerting mechanisms make as it is not just about having the information. it is about identifying what is important. figuring out what activity might be of concern to you. if what is most concerning is the annual budget report getting late to the media, set up they -- set up an alerting mechanisms that indicates every time somebody looks at that document
or links that document or e- mails that document. concerned about the budget report leaked to the media and 10,000 people have access and on one day 9000 people print the budget report, from personal experience, this is a tough problem to deal with. you really need to incorporate some types of behavioral detection techniques. there is a huge fan of different ways that you can add intelligence to those alerting looking at not only anomalies against the enterprisewide solution but against yourself, against smaller groups. looking to see what would be different or what might be abnormal for a person. combining things together. so if 9000 people print the budget document, maybe you want to see who printed it and also e-mailed it or who accessed it within a certain timeframe. just put in more context to the things you're looking for is where you really get to the meat of the issue.
contextual, again, is who a person is hearing this is so important because it allows you to understand what your workforces and, more importantly, what your threats are. i know a lot of people do like to think of it in this way because we want to trust the people next to us. threats and when you are in a position of security oriented -- or unintelligent position, you cannot deny the threats that are among us. so this is the best way to strike the balance between them. some commonly known things e-mail and to generally look for. you want to look for any of those red flags or risk factors that could lead someone to a tipping point if exploited. if you're looking for financial consideration, someone who might have some problems in their financial history, having issues with their finances, not because
they are having issues with their finances, but because, if they were approached by a foreign intelligence service or a competitor among that could be a catalyst enough to enable them to reach the tipping point. likewise for foreign nexus issues. foreignne has ties to a country, it is not that we care that they are foreign. is that they might have an allegiance to a country other than the united states wage could potentially enable them to pass over that tipping point. so it is about identifying some of these factors and really thinking about the reason why we are interested in them in terms of how we protect our data. and how to go about that. with the interagency, there will be different ways you can tailor it, what is best for you, where you get this information from. some of the key ways to collect this information are doing background or investigative ,rocesses, doing interviews
normal security checks, self reporting mechanisms. a sickly anything that you can do within the limitations of your own organization -- basically anything that you can do within the limitations of your own organization that might prove important in the psychosocial component is the most underdeveloped of the three spears and i think it holds the most active dance -- the most significant. we recently completed a study where we were trying to identify which social said -- which psychosocial indicators are indicative of malicious behaviors. it really kind of shows that some of these more innate characteristics might be the most diagnostic, even across all three spheres. one of the indicators pretty reverent in the community is workplace disgruntlement in people who are angry do bad things ver
i don't know if it is just the fbi, but there are a lot of disgruntled people in the workforce, and the government. so what are you really try to look for? the problem behind that is that somebody might be upset enough at the workplace that they would enact some harm. the true indicator behind that is the psychosocial indicator that is between -- beneath the surface. you are looking for someone who has a retaliatory characteristic that will be exploited as a result of an external circumstance. but the concept is, to people working in the same office and have the exact same level of workplace disgruntlement that only one reaches that tipping point and becomes an insider threat and it is really getting at what is beneath the surface level indicator.
it is more difficult to do that than trying to determine characteristic features of employees. that is why the sphere is really in development and something within the community that i think everybody sees the utility in collecting this information and figuring a way to use this information. again, it will prove the most valuable. but it is figuring out the best way to do it with limitations, the feasible limitations, the legal and the sensitivity limitations within the environment. i think one of the best ways to do that as a starting point is to increase the training and awareness within your organization. get people to understand what the true risk factors are and try to create a reporting mechanism, a focused reporting mechanism so they have the ability to report these concerns should they see them. --t obviously would enable that would give us the opportunity to really understand some of these things and figure
out what these psychosocial indicators are. in addition to knowing your contextual a hyper, and psychosocial sphere, by knowing your enemy, you are identifying your potential vulnerabilities which puts you in a more effective position to defend against them. who is your enemy? is it a competitor, a foreign intelligence service? what type of information would they be targeting? who would they be targeting? how would the recruiter target these individuals? who by name are these high-value individuals in this organization? approach it from that perspective and maybe put more stringent security protocols on the people you think the enemy would be more attracted to. and also knowing your data. what are the crown jewels of your organization?
what is the most sensitive information that, if compromised, could be overwhelmingly damaging? in an ideal world, we want to protect all of our information. we are all struggling with limited resources at this time so it is really about starting by figuring out what is the most important information that i have. where's that stored? who has access to it? breaking it down to that level is one of the best ways to start to protect information that is the most valuable within your organization. thisplementing multidimensional approach, the key factor is really abrogating different data sources and taking that information and funneling it into a central depository. robert hanssen is obviously the poster boy insider threat for the fbi. he certainly had numerous red flags and indicators and risk factors along that 20-year
spectrum that multiple people saw. one person saw his sexual deviance. another saw his history of security violations. another new about how sensitive his position was and what access to sensitive information he had. the problem is there is no one person that's all of those things. and when you take this approach with those red flags and indicators, the red flags in isolation really don't mean much. it is the combination of those red flags. is why he went unnoticed for so long. no one person could conceal all that information in one place and make an objective system -- make an objective assessment of his threat level. this is the last slide but i guess i will and with the unfortunate truth that there is no sober bullet to think a lot of people are looking for the one thing that you should be looking for, the one action, the one tool or technology that cancel this problem. unfortunately, there is no sober
bullet. i think, if there is a silver bullet, it is the combination of all of these different things. that is what will be the most powerful in order to combat this problem. task certainly not an easy . there is a lot to look at. there is a lot to collect, a lot of time and money and resources put in place to actually have the most effective insider threat problem. but it is such a large and expensive problem and can have some any damaging consequences that it certainly is worth devoting some resources. i know that my biggest pitch is that with limited time and resources, instead of putting all resources into one aspect, it is about spreading it out and trying to get as much as you can across the sphere. it's really the combination of information across this multidimensional spectrum that will give us any possible chance of combating the insider threat issue.
that is all i've got. [applause] questions? she's in charge. mentioned the difficulty of developing the psychosocial dimension. how much of what you have now or with the industry has now is still anecdotal and how much of it is systematic studies? >> specifically for the psychosocial, there is not a lot of great research to look at the psychology of spies. there is a lot out there. the problem is that there are no studies or research that compare all of that great information to a control or comparative population to rule it is diagnostic. what we are seeing within the community is, ok, look for a narcissist, narcissism.
else hasnow if anybody interacted with the fbi, but find me an agent that does not have a little bit of gnosis is of in them. i'm not saying that it is not a good thing to be looking for. but when you're in an insider threat program and are proactively trying to look at your people. if you start with gnosticism, you're not limit -- with narcissism, you're not limiting the that much. thencial considerations and foreign contacts, it is really about what is diagnostic. we have conducted a study where we try to assess some of the diagnostic features of those rich fasters -- of those risk factors. a.b. be in five years it will be out there. but it is certainly something that people understand is a necessity. in the next couple of years, it will only garner more support.
>> for the psychological indicators of someone turning, if they are turning into a zombie or something, right, i can see there is a lot of potential good data sources from psych evaluations and other interesting things for my human resources and excuse my ignorance here but i don't know what the limitations are. what are your limitations of your ability to pull those resources and utilize it for threat profiling? limitations to the psych evaluation, and this is not limited to the geyer government am a but industry partners as well, but psych evaluations are considered medical and are protected under a laws.s -- under hipp
where i think the community is going is figuring out ways to ,ind of take that diagnostic you know, the diagnoses and break them down so they are not clinical, so you are so getting at the factors that are most important. again, there are still a lot of work to figure that out. you can't use clinical terms from the dsm. that is where you draw that line from medical territory. that is what the biggest challenges. -- biggest challenge is. mentioned taking reports from coworkers that observe things about people. is it of more value to have theymous reports or to have name of the reporter? >> i think both prove beneficial. i know we certainly have a problem in the bureau. i think there is a large sense of camaraderie between our enablethat might not
someone to be more forthright when they are reporting something. so an anonymous reporting system might work best in an environment like that where you fear that people won't report unless it is anonymous. ideally, you would like to know who's reporting so you can follow up with them. i think the critical aspect in any type of coworker or supervisor reporting mechanism is that nothing is reported triggers any type of specific punitive action. that is the biggest thing, especially with some of the psychosocial indicators and all of the indicators. no one thing is meant to trigger anything. so it is just a combination of things. just because you have financial arelems or you argumentative or abrasive in the workplace. it doesn't mean anything. you just may be a layer up and we may want to look at you a little bit more.
>> my question is about personality versus the nice assist diagnosis. you mentioned not going to dsm because of hippa. but is personality accessible in ways that these diagnoses minority? figurere still try to out the best way to do that and there are limitations. in an ideal world, we would like to have vertical psychologists conduct tests on our employees and take that information because it is validated and tested. that is not really a feasible option. so in my talks with other people within the community, we have been toying around the idea of creating a reporting mechanism, asking specific questions, not geared as if you think if someone is nice assist it but behavioral meditation is. so if your supervisor answers a
question or that has -- if butone is a narcissist behavioral manifestations. so if your supervisor answers a aire.ion simply answering questions on things that he has or has not observed in terms of what you behaviorally act in the workplace. that is one of the most feasible ways because of our taking up the clinical aspect. kind oftaking out any sensitivity, personality, psychology and you are linking how a person acts to what it might possibly mean. >> what do you do when someone goes critical on your indicator
score? [laughter] >> what do you mean? that's classified. i cannot discuss that. we have a variety of measures in place and a lot of the groups have similar measures. it's a struggle. troublesof the biggest within the community, what you do. again, even if someone is 100%, it does not mean that they are a malicious insider. they just have all of the risk factors. they could be further back, spectrum and i think one thing we always try to promote and why it's important to get plugged into your hr department is that it's not necessarily just about detecting. it's about deterring. if someone triggers 100%, we look at them but we cannot determine that they've done anything, the 100% is based off of these risk fact or's that are normal to a person.
they're going through financial problems, marital problems, acting out in the work lace. analogy thate the they are like rumble strips on the side of the road. a person going straight, at some point they veer off. if we could identify that and try to push them back straight on the road by giving them resources through the hr department, having our employee assistance program, having someone to talk to, getting them financial help, things like that, it can also help try to steer that. you speak to the data aggregation aspect? i understand collecting data from multiple sources, but how you get the data considering if you rely on your i.t. shop or something that you rely on the people you are looking at. can you speak at all about that? really big problem, too. it's something that we deal with
in every other program i've spoken to. who watches the watchers? when you'rento play getting this i.t. information or system information from your specialist. it is something the community still struggles with. we have mechanisms in place to kind of watch the watchers, but it's a big problem. in terms of literally how you aggregate the data, it takes a lot of building relationships with all of these other entities. that's another thing i'm seeing. we talked a lot of people within the community that, again, it's a multidimensional problem. you have tons of stakeholders that need to get information. hr needs personnel. i.t. need system audit logs. threat information. the personalities involved to try to get some of that information proves pretty difficult. technically aggregating that
with one central repository is trying toere we are go with this if it answers a question. >> i want to ask the question. are there studies out there, for forthe, to kind of bring these indicators? for example, a lot of psychological studies may be can be cited to really profile or put that indicator as important in this aspect rather than something else? can you shed light on that? >> there are certainly a lot of research out there. it's kind of oxymoronic but there is more research on the psychology side of things than there is on the cyber- intellectual.
we have more capabilities than psychological or psychosocial. the research that i'm aware of within the psychological community is that there are a lot of risk factors that have been identified. they solely focus on the bat population. these are all of the theyological elements but have not really compared that to try and understand what is actually diagnostic. again, begin into the problems that we cannoted really attain the psychological characteristic from our employees because of all of the sensitivities and other issues involved. with a lot of research, i think it's just about pushing it forward in terms of how to take the content and operationalize it. like some of the characteristics you mentioned up there, psychosocial, they are really cultural and different in the way that people behave. do you take that into
consideration when you do your analysis? necessarily saying that we are doing all of this. this is in an ideal world. that is an inherent issue when you kind of delve into turning something that is so subjective and try to make it objective that there are inherent bias in terms of where you are getting the information from. in terms ofias both their opinion but also, as you mentioned, what the behavior might actually mean. if anyone is going to try to implement any of these indicators operationally, that's exactly right. it's a key issue to keep in mind. i think where that ties in is the notion that there is no specific action from one of these things and you have to take all of this information with a grain of salt and it is sure that you are not penalizing someone or enacting any type of
punitive action on them solely because they're supervisor reported that they were acting weird in the office which, again, that could be a cultural difference. you are not talking to people because they do not feel cold feel comfortable with the cultural divide. if you implement something like this, you just have to really be cognizant of how you use the information. >> just curious because social media is so allover the place. how are you bringing in the data today? are you bringing in that data today? >> social media information is something that's on everybody's radar. it.re exploring i think that's the best i can say.
[inaudible] >> i'm speaking from my experience with the fbi population not anybody else and then my interactions with other groups and how they deal with their own employees. >> [inaudible] that is not my purview. i do know with the recent executive order and the known worthiness of insider threats that the fbi does have a mission to kind of reach out to industry . that's not something i can't speak about though, unfortunately. >> we have all of these rules and regulations that we're
supposed to share data. the only problem is when you share you become liable. how a person interprets what you are saying. is there anything about centralization of an insider threat across the federal government and the dod so we can be able to turn around and give it to the commercial world? kind of mission partners? >> that is something they're still trying to put together. i'm speaking from the fbi program. between nci s and the fbi, we have the national insider threat task force who has the objective of taking that order and breaking it down to the various government industry levels. we can touch base off- line and maybe point you in the direction of somebody who might be able to better answer that. yes. that's an unclassified e-mail. addressingut
nonintentional insider threat in terms of knowledge transfer from things like e-mail phishing a dropped usb memory stick? >> we are addressing the issue. what i predominantly focus on are the malicious insiders. we certainly have numerous processes in place to deal with spearfishing and individuals who are attacking our people that translates into the insider threat piece but i cannot really touch base or talk about that in this forum. sorry. ok. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] years sincerks 50 the assassination of president john f. kennedy and our special
coverage includes your calls remembering the day during "washington journal" at 7:00 a.m. eastern and the rarely seen nbc news coverage from november 22, 1963, when they first reported on the assassination. we take you live to dallas for a commemorative event and dealey plaza including historians reading from some of the president's speeches at 12:30 p.m. and to boston and the jfk presidential library and museum for a musical tribute with james who played sextet for president kennedy and the u.s. naval academy u.s. glee club performing selections from his state funeral. we will be joined by roll call's david hawking to discuss how the white house and washington d c prepared for president kennedy's state funeral. also, presidential historian and author talking about the legacy of john kennedy 50 years after his death.
later, paul gregory, a family friend of the harvey also all the, will be our guest. washington journal, 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> senate majority leader harry reid pushed changes through the senate filibuster rule that will make it easier to approve presidential nominees. the change does not apply to supreme court nominees who still require a procedural vote of 60 votes. minutesl be in a few here on c-span followed by republican leader mitch mcconnell who was against the changes and later, president obama weighs in on the filibuster rule. we spoke with a reporter for some background. >> joining us from capitol hill, errett from politico. what brought here he read to this point where he felt he needed to change the filibuster rule? tell you it is
unprecedented obstruction by the republicans specifically with the important d c court of appeals nominations. there were three blocked in thee weeks to argue that workload does not justify the confirmation that senator reed and his democratic caucus decided that republicans were just trying to keep obama from the filling of constitutional duties. >> this [floodgates. from this point on, will senator reed be able to bring those nominees in for a quick vote, for example? the would not say quick but 60 vote threshold has been eliminated and as soon as they change the rules they brought up a nominee and they got over the procedural hurdle with only 55 votes. they used the power very quickly. however, there are still very arcane procedural things that require long delays between votes and republicans refuse to give consent. things will not move faster but
democrats will be able to move with more majority rule from here on out. >> the front-page headline on your article is, kaboom, senate goes for nuclear option. you write in the article that the democratic leader mitch triedell was furious and to make a motion to adjourn for the day or at least until late in the afternoon but failed. he had to see this coming. >> it felt a little sudden and that a crop that today right before going home for thanksgiving break towards the end of the year. yes, this has been steadily building. this is the third filibuster rule fight in one years time, ever since obama's reelection. each time, they have gotten closer to the brink and this time they went over. >> clarify. this is judicial nominees but what about legislation? they are debating the defense
authorization bill. would that be subjected to it? >> legislation would still be at a 60-vote threshold. procedural hurdles would still be 60. ways it does not necessarily matter if democrats would be able to pass partisan legislation. it still would not be able to become law. for now, they're concentrating on the senate which esther approve of these nominees. they are just concentrating there on the things they can do unilaterally which is approved cabinets.'s picks for >> for historical reference, when was the last time the senate changed or attempted to change the filibuster rules? >> they attempted to change them in july, so not that long ago. they did change a few in january but it was a more piecemeal thing to get rid of a few procedural hurdles but it left the filibuster unscathed. have been knocking on this door for a long time. erett from ev
politico, thank you for the update. >> thank you for having me. >> before the senate voted to change its filibuster rule, majority leader harry reid and mitch mcconnell both came to the floor to speak about the use of the filibuster. this is 30 minutes. 113th congress, the united states has wasted an unprecedented amount of time on procedural hurdles and partisan obstruction. as a result, the work of this country goes undone. congress should be passing legislation that strengthens our economy, protects american families. instead we're burning wasted hours and wasted days between filibusters. i could say instead we're burning wasted days and wasted weeks between filibusters. even one of the senate's most basic duties -- confirmation of presidential nominees -- has become completely unworkable.
mr. president, there has been unbelievable, unprecedented obstruction for the first time in the history of our republic, republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent president obama from appointing his executive team or confirming judges. it's truly a troubling trend that republicans are willing to block executive branch nominations even when they have no objection to the qualification of the nominee. instead they block qualified executive branch nominees to circumvent the legislative process. they block qualified executive branch nominations to force wholesale changes to laws. they block qualified executive branch nominees to restructure entire executive branch departments. and they block qualified judicial nominees because they don't want president obama to appoint any judges to certain courts. they need -- the need for change is so, so very obvious.
it's clearly visible. it's manifest we have to do something to change things. in the history of our country, some 230-plus years, there have been 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominations. half of them have occurred during the obama administration. mr. president, 230-plus years, 50%. four and a half years, 50%. is there anything fair about that? these nominees deserve at least an up-or-down vote, yes or no. but republican filibusters deny them a fair vote, any vote, and deny the president his team. the gridlock has consequences and they're terrible. it's not only bad for president obama, bad for this body -- the united states senate -- it's bad for our country.
it's bad for our national security and bad for economic security. that's why it's time to get the senate working again not for the good of the current democratic majority or some future republican majority, but for the good of the united states of america. it's time to change. it's time to change the senate before this institution becomes obsolete. mr. president, at the beginning of this congress the republican leader pledged that -- and i quote -- "this congress should be more bipartisan than last congress." mr. president, we're told in scripture, let's take for example old testament. the book of numbers. promises, pledges, a vow, one must not tkpwraeubg his word. -- break his word. in january the republicans promised to work with the majority to process nominations
in a timely manner by unanimous consent except in extraordinary circumstances. mr. president, exactly three weeks later republicans mounted a first in history filibuster of a highly qualified the senator from fee for secretary of defense. despite being a former republican senator, a decorated war hero, having saved his brother's life in vietnam, defense secretary chuck hagel's nomination was pending in the senate for a record 34 days, more than three times the previous average of a secretary of defense. remember, mr. president, our country was at war. republicans have blocked executive nominees like secretary hagel not because they object to the qualifications, but simply because they seek to undermine the very government in which they were elected to serve. take the nomination of richard cordray to lead the consumer financial protection bureau.
there was no doubt about his ability to do the job. but the consumer financial protection bureau, the brainchild of elizabeth warren, went for more than two years without a leader because republicans refused to accept the law of the land, because they wanted to roll back a law that protects consumers from the greed of wall street. so i say to my republican colleagues, you don't have to like the laws of the land, but you do have to respect those laws and acknowledge them and abide by them. similar obstruction continued unabated for seven more months until democrats threatened to change senate rules to allow up-or-down votes on executive nominations. in july after obstructing dozens of executive nominees for months and some for years, republicans once again promised they would end the unprecedented obstruction.
one look at the senate's executive calendar shows that nothing has changed since july. republicans have continued their record of obstruction if no agreement had ever been reached. republicans continued their record of obstruction as if no agreement had been reached. there are currently 75 executive branch nominations ready to be confirmed by the senate, have been waiting an average of 140 days for confirmation. one executive nominee to the agency that safeguards the water that my children and my grandchildren drink, and the air they breathe, has waited almost 900 days for confirmation. we agreed in july that the senate should be confirming nominees to ensure the proper functioning of government. consistent and unprecedented obstruction by the republican caucus has turned advise and
consent into deny and obstruct. in addition to filibustering a nominee for secretary of defense for the first time in history, senate republicans also blocked a sitting member of congress from an administration position for the first time since 1843. as a senior member of the house financial service committee, congressman mel watts understanding of the mistakes that led to the housing crisis made him uniquely qualified to serve as administrator of the federal housing finance agency. senate republicans simply don't like the consumer protections congressman watt was nominated to develop and implant. so they denied a fellow member of congress and a graduate of the yale school of law even the courtesy of an up-or-down vote. mr. president, in the last three weeks alone, republicans have blocked up-or-down votes on
three highly qualified nominees to the d.c. circuit court of appeals. this doesn't take into consideration they twice turned down one of the most qualified people in my 30 years in the senate that i have ever seen come before this body, caitlin halligan. so we have got three more to add to that list. the d.c. circuit is considered by many to be the highest court of the land, and some think maybe the most important. it deals with these complex cases come from federal agencies and other things within their jurisdiction. republicans have blocked four of president bush's five nominees to the d.c. circuit, whereas democrats approved four of president bush's six nominations to this important court. today, the d.c. circuit court, at least the second most important court in the land, has more than 25% in vacancies.
mr. president, i ask order. there is a conversation over here that's quite distracting. the president pro tempore: the senate will be in order. the senator is -- has the right to be heard. mr. reid: thank you. mr. president, there isn't a single legitimate objection to the qualifications of any of these nominees to the d.c. circuit that president obama has put forward. republicans refuse to give them an up-or-down vote, a simple yes or no vote. republicans simply don't want president bush to make any appointments at all to this final court, none, zero. further, only 23 district court nominations have been filibustered in the entire history of our country, 23. you know what? 20 of them have been in the last four and a half years. 230-plus years, three, last four
and a half years, 20. that's not fair. with one out of every ten federal judgeships vacant, millions of americans will rely on courts that are overworked and understaffed are being denied the justice they rightly deserve. mr. president, more than half of the nation's population lives in parts of the country that have been declared a judicial emergency. no one has worked harder than the presiding officer to move judges. the presiding officer is the chairman also of the judiciary committee. no one knows the problem more than the presiding officer. mr. president, the american people are fed up with this kind of obstruction and gridlock. the american people, democrats, republicans, independents, are fed up with this gridlock, this
obstruction. the american people want washington to work for american families once again. mr. president, i'm on their side, which is why i propose an important change to the rules of the united states senate. the present republican leader himself said, and this is a direct quote -- "the senate has repeatedly changed its rules as circumstances dictate." close quote. he's right. in fact, the senate has changed its rules 18 times by sustaining or overturning the ruling of the presiding officer in the last 36 years. during the tenures of both republican and democratic majorities. the change we propose today would ensure executive and judicial nominations an up-or-down vote on confirmation. yes, no. the rule of change will make cloture for all nominations other than the supreme court, the majority the threshold vote,
yes or no. the senate is a living thing, and to survive it must change as it has over the history of this great country. to the average american, adapting the rules to make the senate work again is just common sense. this is not about democrats versus republicans. this is about making washington work regardless of who is in the white house or who controls the senate. to remain relevant and effective as an institution, the senate must evolve to meet the challenges of this modern era. i have no doubt my republican colleagues will argue the fault is ours. it's the democrats' fought. i can say from experience that no one's hands are entirely clean on this issue. but today the important distinction is not between democrats and republicans. it's between those who are willing to help break the gridlock in washington and those who defend the status quo. is the senate working now?
can anyone say the senate is working now? i don't think so. today democrats and independents are saying enough is enough. to change the rules regarding presidential nominees will apply equally to both parties. when republicans are in power, these changes will apply to them just as well. that, mr. president, is simple fairness. and it's something both sides should be willing to live with to make washington work again. that's simple fairness. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the president pro tempore: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the president pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. mcconnell: over the past several weeks, the american people have been witness to one of the most breathtaking, breathtaking indictments of big government liberalism and memory, and i'm not just talking about a web site. i'm talking about the way in which obamacare was forced on the public by an administration and a democratic-led congress that we now know is willing to do and say anything, anything to pass the law. the president and his democratic allies were so determined to force their vision of health care on the public that they assured them up and down that they wouldn't lose the plans they had, that they saved money instead of losing it, and that they would be able to use the doctors and hospitals they were already using. but of course we know that that rhetoric just doesn't match
reality. and the stories we are hearing on a near daily basis are now ranging from heart breaking to comic. just yesterday, i saw a story about a guy getting a letter in the mail saying his dog, his dog had qualified for insurance under obamacare. so yeah, i would probably be running for the exit, too, if i had supported this law. i would be looking to change the subject, change the subject just as senate democrats have been doing with their threats of going nuclear and changing the senate rules on nominations. if i were a senator from oregon, for example, which hasn't enrolled a single person, a single person for the obamacare exchange, i'd probably want to talk about something else, too. but here's the problem with this latest distraction. it doesn't distract people from
obamacare. it reminds them of obamacare. it reminds them of all the broken promises. it reminds them of the power grab. it reminds them of the way democrats set up one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else. one set of rules for them and another for everybody else. actually, this is all basically the same debate. and rather than distract people from obamacare, it only reinforces the narrative of a party that is willing to do and say just about anything to get its way. willing to do or say just about anything to get its way. because that's just what they're doing all over again. once again, senate democrats are threatening to break the rules
of the senate, break the rules of the senate in order to change the rules of the senate. and over what? over what? over a court that doesn't even have enough work to do? millions of americans are hurting because of a law washington democrats forced upon them, and what do they do about it? they cook up some fake fight over judges. a fake fight over judges that aren't even needed. look, i get it. as i indicated, i want to be talking about something else, too, if i had to defend dogs getting insurance while millions of americans lost theirs. but it won't work. and the parallels between this latest skirmish and the original obamacare push are just too obvious to ignore.
think about it. just think about it. the majority leader promised, he promised over and over again that he wouldn't break the rules of the senate in order to change them. this was not an ancient promise. july 14, on "meet the press," said we're not touching judges. this year, july 14, "meet the press," we're not touching judges. then there are the double standards. when democrats were in the minority, they argued strenuously for the very thing they now say we will have to do without. namely, the right to extend a debate on lifetime appointments -- to extended debate on lifetime appointments. in other words, they believe that one set of rules should apply to them, to them and
another set to everybody else. he may have just as well have said if you like the rules of the senate, you can keep them. huh? if you like the rules of the senate, you can keep them. just the way so many democrats in the administration and congress now believe that obamacare is good enough for their constituents, but then when it comes to them, their political allies, their staff, well, of course, that's different. and let's not forget about the raw power, the raw power at play here. on this point, the similarities between the obamacare debate and the democratic threat to go nuclear on nominations are inescapable. inescapable. they muscled through obamacare on a party-line vote and didn't
care about the views of the minority. didn't care one whit about the views of the minority. and that's just about what they're going to do here. the american people decided to give the democrats -- not to give the democrats the house or to restore the filibuster-proof majority they had in the senate back in 2009, and our democratic colleagues don't like that one bit. they just don't like it. the american people are getting in the way of what they'd like to do. so they're trying to change the rules of the game to get their way anyway. they said so themselves. earlier this year, the senior senator from new york said they want to fill up the d.c. circuit one way or the other. fill up the d.c. circuit one way or the other. and the reason is clear. as one liberal activist put it earlier this year, president
bush's agenda runs through the -- president obama's agenda runs through the d.c. circuit. you can't get what you want through the congress because the american people in november, 2010, said they had had enough. they issued a national restraining order after watching two years of this administration unrestrained, so now it runs through the bureaucracy and the d.c. circuit. as i said, in short, unlike the first two years of the obama administration, there is now a legislative check on the president and the administration doesn't much like checks and balances. so it wants to circumvent the people's representatives with an aggressive regulatory agenda, and our democratic colleagues want to facilitate that by filling up a court that will rule on his agenda, a court that doesn't even have enough work to do, especially if it means changing the subject from obamacare for a few days. and get this -- they think they
can change the rules of the senate in a way that benefits only them. they want to do it in such a way that president obama's agenda gets enacted but that a future republican agenda couldn't get his or her picks confirmed by the supreme court using the same precedent our democratic friends want to set. so they want to have it both ways. but this sort of gerrymandered vision of the nuclear option is really just wishful thinking. as the ranking member of the judiciary committee, senator grassley, pointed out yesterday. the majority leader changes the rules for some judicial nominees, he is effectively changing them for all judicial nominees, including the supreme court, as senator grassley pointed out just yesterday. so look, i realize this sort of wishful thinking might appeal to the uninitiated newcomers in the democratic conference who served exactly zero days in the
minority, but the rest of you guys in the conference should know better. those of you who have been in the minority before should know better. let's remember how we got here. let's remember that it was senate democrats who pioneered, who literally pioneered the practice of filibustering circuit court nominees and who have been its biggest proponents in the very recent past. after president bush was elected, they even held a retreat in which they discussed the need to change the ground rules by which lifetime appointments are considered. the senior senator from new york put on a seminar, invited laurence tribe, cass sunstein. in the past the practice had been neither side had filibustered circuit tkphorplt niece. in fact -- nominees. in fact i can remember senator
lott voting cloture on circuit court judges to the ninth circuit knowing full well once cloture is invoked they would be confirmed. this business of filibustering circuit court judges was entirely an invention of the guys over here on the other side, the ones you're looking at right over here. they made it up. they started it. and this is where we ended up. after president bush was elected, they held this retreat that i was just talking about. they made a big deal about it. it was all a prelude to what followed. the serial filibustering of several of president bush's circuit court nominees including miguel he is -- estrada whose nomination to the d.c. circuit was filibustered a record seven times. know they want to blow up the rules because republicans are following a precedent they
themselves set and i might add are following that precedent in a much more modest way than democrats did. so how about this for a suggestion? how about instead of picking a fight with senate republicans by jamming through nominees through a court that doesn't even have enough work to do, how about taking yes for an answer and working with us on filling judicial emergencies that actually exist. yet, rather than learn from past precedents on judicial nominations that they themselves set, democrats now want to set another one. i have no doubt that if they do, they will come to regret that one as well. our colleagues evidently would rather live for the moment, satisfy the moment, live for the moment and try to establish a story line that republicans are intent on obstructing president obama's judicial nominees. that story line is patently
ridiculous in light of the facts. an utterly absurd suggestion in light of the facts. before this current democratic gambit to fill up the d.c. circuit one way or the other, the senate had confirmed 215 -- 215 -- of the president's judicial nominees and rejected two. that's a 99% confirmation rate. 215 confirmed and 2 rejected. 99%. look, if advise and consent is to mean anything at all, occasionally consent is not given. but by any objective standard, senate republicans have been very, very fair to this
president. we've been willing to confirm his nominees. in fact, speaking of the d.c. circuit, we just confirmed one a few months ago 97-0 to the d.c. circuit. so i suggest our colleagues take a time-out and stop trying to jam us, work with us instead to confirm vacancies that actually need to be filled, which we have been doing. this rules change charade has gone from being a biannual threat to an annual threat now to a quarterly threat. how many times have we be threatened my colleagues? do what i say or we'll break the rules to change the rules. confirm everybody 100%. anything less than that is obstructionism. that's what they're saying in effect.
let me say we're not interested in having a gun put to our head any longer. you think this is in the best interest of the united states senate and the american people to make advise and consent in effect mean nothing, obviously you can break the rules to change the rules to achieve that. but some of us have been around here long enough to know the shoe is sometimes on the other foot. this strategy of distract, distract, distract is getting old. i don't think the american people are fooled about this. if our colleagues want to work with us to fill judicial vacancies like we've been doing all year, 99% of judges confirmed, obviously we're willing to do that.
if you want to play games, set yet another precedent that you'll no doubt come to regret, i say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you'll regret this and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. let me be clear, the democratic play book of broken promises, double standards and raw power, the same play book that got us obamacare, has to end. it may take the american people to end it, but it has to end. that's why republicans are going to keep their focus where it belongs, on the concerns of the american people. it means we're going to keep pushing to get back to the drawing board on health care to replace obamacare with real reforms that do not punish the middle class, and we'll leave the political games to our friends on the other side of
>> the senate approved the rules change eliminating the filibuster on all nominations except the supreme court meaning that most of the presidents to initial and executive branch nominees will no longer need to clear the 60-vote daschle to an uphe senate floor for or down vote. leaders met with reporters after. >> this is not a time for celebration. it is a time for being very serious. for too long, washington has been in gridlock, gridlock, gridlock. the american people are sick of this. we are sick of it. is there any wonder how people look at congress? as i said a little while ago, enough is enough.
i am not here talking about how clean we are and how dirty they are. when it comes to what has gone on on the senate floor, there is a lot of blame to go around. the abstract should we have seen from the republicans against president obama has reached new heights never dreamed of, never dreamed of, never even come close in the history of the country through all of the ups and downs we have had as a country. remember, for the first 140 years as a country, there were no filibusters. the founding fathers were clear on what they thought. there should be super majorities. impeachments, and of course on trading. in the same paragraph as it
deals with two thirds votes, the founding fathers did not mention at all things other than those two things that required a super majority. and the entire history of our country, there have been 168 filibusters against nominations. with obama as president, the other half. 23 district judges have been filibustered. 230 years, three. four and a half years, 20. 230 years, three. four and a half years, 20. under president obama, even his judicial nominees have had to
wait 100 days longer than president bush. we have one nominee who deals with making sure the water we drink and the air we breathe is sure. he has been waiting almost 890 days because they do not like that agency, the environmental protection agency. it is an undeniable fact that the obstruction we have seen this year is new and very, very different. this is not just about republicans versus democrats. this is about doing what is right for this institution to involve and remain responsive to the needs our country has and we have not been doing that. the status quo of this gridlock has guaranteed that the middle class gets no attention whatsoever. the most important distinction today between those who are
willing to solve this problem and those who defend the status quo. how can anyone in good conscience defend the status quo? for people to stand and say, you are breaking the rules to change the rules. since 1977, the rules have been changed 18 times. i got my numbers mixed up. rules are changed all the time. senator byrd, the master of the senate, number two, he went forward and changed the rules. we have done it in recent years. in today's vote, we declared we are on the side of the problem solvers. simple fairness. the changes we make today will
apply equally to both parties. when a republican is in power, these changes will apply to them. that is simple fairness. it is something both sides should be willing to live with. that is also simple fairness. the republicans are defending what is going on here. how can you do that? the d c circuit. last night i got a call from one of my republican friends. he said, we have a deal for you. we will give you one for the d.c. circuit and that way it will be 5-4. i cannot imagine. one of my friends, we have been in the house together and in the senate together. he came to me and said, what would you do?
what would you do, i said. just the two of us. i said, i am not answering that question. everyone knows what is going on is absolutely unfair and wrong and i am glad to change it. senator durbin? >> there comes a tipping point. today was that tipping point for the united states senate. how did we reach this point? we tried to reach friendly agreements between the democrats and the republicans in the senate. we tried several different times and several different ways. we said, no filibuster unless there are extraordinary circumstances. it turns out the extraordinary
circumstance in the eyes of many republican senators was the reelection of barack obama. that gave them free license to oppose his nominees, not just for the court, but for many important executive agencies as well. an effort to try to solve this problem in a reasonable, commonsense fashion. there was another tipping point. that came about because of nominees to the d c circuit court. a woman it from my home state. she argued for the two cases he for the u.s. supreme court. she was endorsed by both lyrical parties. when they were asked whether or not she could be bipartisan -- add to that a professor at georgetown university law school. and then robert wilkins. all of them stopped by filibuster. not a single person on the republican side stood up to criticize their qualifications
for the job. it denied president obama the opportunity to fill the slots on the court. that is what it came down to. to add insult to injury, what they did to our colleagues, congressman mel watt. it has been 1862 since -- if you listen to the speech gave to senator mcconnell, the notion of filibustering judges was a democratic idea. they abused it and we did too. that is what he said. what we said in return was that this change in the rule will provide for no future abuse i any political party. it solves the problem on a
bipartisan basis. we are about to take a break for a couple of weeks. i want to come back and do some work. we have things to do. we have problems to solve. if we look at the last 12 weeks, he can count on one hand what we have achieved. he put the government back in business. the enda bill, which i am proud that we passed. but it fell off of the end of the earth when it went to speaker john boehner. we need to face the issues that face families back home. >> thank you. first i want to thank senator reid for his leadership. today is a sad day. things should never have gotten
to this point. we have been forced here by an extreme group that has waged a successful war on government. we believe firmly that governments have to function to help average families out of their morass. there is a group on the hard right that wants to stop everything dead in its tracks. judicial nominees, executive nominees, and legislation. we have seen their success. the tea party wing of the republican party, which has been running the show, the leaves any dysfunction in government helps their cause. when a judge is blocked, their goals are served. when a cabinet post goes on failed for months on end, they think they win. this function is their goal and they have been achieving it a lot recently. many people look at the congressional approval ratings
hovering in the single digits and assume it is a pox on both of our houses. the 9% rating is a cry by the american people to the congress: do something to help us. stop the gridlock. republicans are grinding the senate to a near standstill. a are using rules that were intended to bring people together to tear us apart. the age old rules of the senate are being used to paralyze us and the public is asking, is begging us to act. we are at 9% approval because the rules give advantage to those who want to prevent the senate from achieving anything. mitch mcconnell says we try to change the subject? i beg to differ. three quarters of his speech is dedicated to obamacare. we are not changing the subject. he is. he does not want to discuss the dysfunction and the way
republicans have used the rules to tie this place in one big not. if you have 2 sides, one that is for action and one that is opposed, the senate rules give the opposition a head start. republicans have abused that advantage for years now, refusing to confirm qualified judges, preventing executive agencies from having the leaders they deserve. it is a new world. people demand action. the old rules need to be modified. that is what we have done today. we have not ripped them up. we have modified them in ways that can make rings work. who in america does not think a president, democrat or republican, deserves his or her pick for who should run the
agency? nobody. but there is a long list of cabinet and sub cabinet positions that have been opposed. we wish it had not come to this. but the american people deserve a functioning government, not gridlock. if our government continues to be gridlocked, people are going to lose total faith in government and it will be a different america. it was an imperative to change the rules to help rake the gridlock and that is what we have done today. >> what is at issue here is our ability to have a functioning judiciary and government. after unprecedented obstruction, the step that was taken today simply allows us to exercise our duty to confirm justices and presidential appointees. earlier this year, we thought we would reach a deal that would avoid this. the majority leader did everything he could to make it