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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  February 12, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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challenges to this country's security? >> s no, i have not. i've said something like that virtually every year i've been up here. this is my fifth of sixth time, and i decided to leave it out this year because kind of a cliche, but it's actually true. in my 50-plus years in the intelligence business i don't -- i cannot recall a more diverse array of challenges and crises that we confront as we do today. >> your job has been made considerably more difficult because of sequestration. >> yes, sir, it has, and i think the biggest problem with it, frankly, over time, is the uncertainty that it injects in the context of planning and plays havoc with the systems acquisition. so it's the uncertainty factor that we now have that is has
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also become a normal fact of planning and programming. >> thank you. just in the last few days the issue of torture has arisen again. general david petraeus made a statement that i'd like to quote to you. he says: our nation has paid a high price in recent decade for the information gained by the use of techniques beyond those in the field manual and in my view that price far outweighed the value of the information gained through the use of techniques, i.e., waterboarding. beyond those in the manual. the manual obviously prohibits water boarding and other forms of torture. do you agree with general petraeus' assessment? >> i do believe the army field manual is the standard, and that is what we should abide by. it serves the purposes of both providing a framework for the elicitation of valuable
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intelligence information and it comports withamerican values. >> that's the point, i think. isn't it the fact that this is -- american values are such that just no matter what the enemy does, that we maintain a higher standard of behavior and when we violate that, also we did with abu ghraib, that the consequences are severe. >> yes, sir. >> and erosion of our moral authority. >> i would agree with that. >> isn't it already proven that mr. bag daddy is sending people -- baghdadi is sending people with the flow of refugee that are terrorists in order to inflict further attacks on europe and the united states? >> that's correct. that's one technique they've used, is taking advantage of torrent of migrants to insert
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operatives into that flow. as well they also have available to them, and are pretty skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers as well. >> they're pretty good at establishing secure sites for them to continue to communicate. >> that is true. i alluded to that in my opening statement about the impacts of encryption and the growth of encrypted applications which is having a negative impact on intelligence gathering. i recently traveled to texas, and this is affecting not only us and the national security realm but the state and local officials as well. >> as you know in addition to the atlas rocket which uses the russia rd-180 rocket engine the united launch alliance maintains an american rocket with an
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american engine. as we continue to have the support and debate about how to break our nation residents dependency on russia for national security space launch, do you believe we need look seriously at that american rocket, the del dark as an alternative way to get off the rd-180, and encourage competition from other organizations capable of providing us with this ability? >> i'm a customer, chairman mccain, of the launch industry and the united states. my interest is in seeing to it that our overhead reconnaissance constellation is replenished on time and there is a capability with the delta which is, we think, from our standpoint, since we pay the freight when we use these systems, which is both
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effective and cost efficient. and i certainly do agree on fundamental american ten net of competition. that's why i'm quite encouraged by the aggressive approach that spacex has taken and our plan is to certify spacex for carrying national security pay loads into space. >> it's not in our interest in enough way to continue our depep den si on russian rocket engines. >> well, just speaking as a citizen i'd rather we didn't -- weren't more dependent on the rd-180s. we have been and they've worked for us. my interest, though, is getting payloads up on time. >> thank you very much. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. general clapper, today, what's your assessment of the
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compliance by the iranians with the jcpoa? >> right now, i think the key milestone here was implementation day on the 16th 16th of january, and the iranians did comply with the requirements that were -- that they were required to live up to. i think we in the spill generals community are very much in the distrust and verify mode. there are half a dozen or so ambiguities, make others, but certainly half a dozen or so ambiguities in the agreement we have identified and are going to be very vigilant about iranian compliance. >> that's exactly what you should be fight and commend you for that. just going forward, are you confident that you could detect the serious deviation from the agreements in sufficient time to give the executive options? >> yes, sir, i am confident.
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i will -- my fingerprints are on the infamous weapons of mass destruction national intelligence assessment of october 2002. i was serving in another capacity then. so, i think we approach this with confidence but also with institutional humility. >> thank you, sir. there are many challenges that are being posed by the russians but the russians are facing a challenge of unexpectedly low oil prices that seems to be continuing. has be intelligence community made an assessment of the impact, medium to long-term, on this on the ability of the russians to maintain their military posture and their provocative actions? >> well, the price of oil has had -- the falling price of oil has had huge impact on the russian economy. the price of euro crude is running around $28 a barrel. the russians' planning factor
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for their planning and programming for their budget is around $50 a barrel. so, this is causing all kinds of strain. if you look at all the classical measurements of economic measures, inflation, the value of the ruble, which has sunk to an all-time low, unemployment, stresses on their welfare system, et cetera, et cetera. nat said the russians appear to be sustaining their commitment to their aggressive modernization program, particularly with their strategic missiles. >> looking ahead, though, there is any indication or -- this is an area that you're picking up information through many sources that are reflecting great concern by the russians and they're concern to keep this up? >> well, that determination well be made by one man.
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i think for lots of reasons he will sustain the expeditioner in activity inned and dictionary activity in -- expeditionary activity in syria, and i don't believe the russians are disposed to do, ground insertion. >> quickly changing topics. in afghanistan, multiple challenges. president began any is truth to pursue a reconciliation with the taliban, and in that regard there's a four-nation price, china, pakistan, united states, and afghanistan. any insights about the possibilities of reconciliation or the motivation of any of the parties to this action? >> well, i think the taliban position has consistently been not to do that, not negotiate.
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the first -- the precondition they always have is removal of foreign forces and i don't see them changing that position. >> thank you very much. thank you, general, for your distinguished service. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a very accurate litany of doom. you covered a lot of stuff in a short period of time. have to go back and re-read that. when you look at what -- right now we're in a situation where russia is pursuing new concepts and capabilities of expanding the role of nuclear weapons in a security strategy. that's quote out of the u.s. national intelligence council you. cover that briefly in your openings remarks. when we talked to people on the outside and they say, you have
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russia stating they're going to make these advances, going to modernize, and yet we have a policy where we're not doing it. what's a justification? what kind of answer can we give people who ask that question, including me? >> well, sir, that's a policy issue. i worry about the adversaries. i've used this melt for before -- metaphor before this committee before but gent do it and the intelligence community are down in the engine room shoveling the intel general coal and people on the brim decide where the ship goes and how fast and arrange the furniture on the decks. that's a policy issue that others decide. >> well, i don't think it's good policy, personally, but we all have opinions on that. i was fortunate enough to be in ukraine back when poroshenko was
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successful in this election and there's not one communist in the parliament. that really kind of exciting, although i was upset with our lack of -- when putin came in and started killing people, with our lack of support at that time as a policy for ukraine. as we're looking at it now, and there's been statements made from russia saying that, as the nato becomes moral aggressive and we become more aggressive, they're going to become more aggressive. does it like to you like that's going on right now, and what is the end game of that? >> i think -- to answer your lastey on what the end game is, don't know, but i will say that the russians -- i might ask general stewart to comment -- i think the russians fundamentally are paranoid about nato. they're greatly concerned about
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being contained and, of course, very, very concerned about missile defense, which would serve to neuter what is the essence of their claim to great power status, which is their nuclear arsenal. so, a lot of these aggressive things that russians are doing for a number of reasons, great power status, to create the image of being coequal with the united states, et cetera. i think could probably -- could possibly go on and we could be into another cold-war like spiral here. >> cold war. i was thinking of that at the time. isn't that what we went through for such a long period of time where you had russia, or ussr, making statements and preparing themselves and wanting to outdo us just for the image. i see this as something similar to that. director clapper in your
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prepared statement you said that -- this is a quote -- u.s. every campaigns have made significant games in icele and then we have reports the u.s. fights against isil is actually benefiting al qaeda. there is relationship or what is that relationship between al qaeda and isil? >> i've seep that. i don't know i could say that airstrikes against isil are somehow benefiting al qaeda because we're still keeping the pressure on al qaeda. >> you're familiar with the reports, though. >> i've read them. i'm not sure i would subscribe to them. there have been -- there has been progress made against isil and its iraq, syria incarnation because that assumes some of the accouterments a of a nation state and that presents
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vulnerabilities we can exploit. the important thing is to keep the pressure on, on multiple fronts, and keep attacking those things which are near and dear to isil, which is the oil infrastructure that is owns and its access to money. >> one last question. my time expired. the rd-180 issue. one we're all looking at and there is a recognition we need to keep using for a period of time as we make any transition that might be in the future. now, we have in the defense authorization bill 16, i guess it was, we talk about nine additional ones. i think the air force has requested at one point in some form 18 additional ones. what is your thinking about senate the transition. >> i tell you, senator, i -- my position here is, i'm a user or customer. i have to have certain payloads delivered on time to sustain the
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health and viability of our overhead reconnaissance system which is extremely important to the nation's security, and i don't get into too much other than i pay the bills because i pay the air force, whenever we avail ourselves of their launch services. how they design their systems, that's kind of up to them. i'm interested in delivery. the delta has worked great for us. it appears to me to be cost efficient and is effective in terms of when we used it, it delivers. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i want to join my colleagues in thanking both of you for your extraordinary service to our nation. director clapper, you made the point in response to senator reed and also in your testimony that the international community is in your words well postured
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to detect any violation by iran of the nuclear agreement. has there been any indication so far that it is moving toward a violation? >> no. not yet. we have no evidence thus far they have -- anywhere a moving -- moving towards violation. >> i'm sure you would agree that this is? the international community need to be vigilant and vigorous in enforcing this agreement. >> absolutely, sir. as i said earlier i think we in the u.s. intelligence community are in the distrust and verify mode. >> and the distrust and verify mode includes the iaea and other investigative tools you have at your disposal. >> absolutely. >> going to the ballistic missile issue, which i believe is profoundly important and general stewart makes this point in his testimony as well -- i
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urge the president to impose sanctions and enforce them as a result of iran's continued development of ballistic missiles which are a threat to the region and also to our allies in europe, and fortunately he has -- heeded those calls from myself and letters that were joined by colleagues. how important do you think it ills that we continue to enforce sanctions in response to iran's development of ballistic missiles. >> i think it's quite important that sanctions be enforced not only for missiles but for terrorism or any other things that are covered under the sanctions. the iranians have a very formidable missile capability which they continue to work on. they fired some 140 or so missiles since the original u.n.
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resolution 1929 of 2010, and half of those firings were going on during the negotiations. which were of course, as you know, separate from the actual negotiations. so, for our part, this is a challenge we must attend to by being as village plant as possible on -- vigilant as possible on reporting this to the policymakers. >> speaking for myself -- and i believe my view is joined by other colleagues -- i will continue to insist on vigorous enforcement of those sanctions because of the threat that you have very powerfully outlined. general stewart, in your testimony you make the point that the economic relief that iran will see as a result of the jcpoa, is unlikely in the short
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term continue crease its military capables. is that create? >> i think it is unlikely immediately because i believe that the focus will be on internal economic gains. however, after 35 years of sanctions, iran has developed, as you just discussed, the most capable military -- missile force in the region. it's extended its lethality, its accuracy, it's got all the ranges covered that can reach all of its regional targets. in the long-term i expect they'll invest some of the now into improving the rest of their military capabilities. >> what is the long term? are we talking five years, ten years? and secondly, what should be our response -- and i believe it has to be a robust and strong response -- to that increase in
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longer term military capabilities that threatens our allies and friends in the region, most particularly israel, with terrorism and other conventional military capabilities, as well as the kinds of counterincentives we can provide. >> the long ternal might not be five years. you have seen dreamts between the iran and russia with the air defense system and seeing russia demonstrate tremendous capabilities that i was done their out of area deployment into syria. so lots of weapons technology being displayed and i think we can expect iran to invest in some of the weapons technology being displayed on the syrian battle field. >> what should be our response? >> i think i'll punt that to the policymakers on the response to how iran arms and might use this weapons capability. >> you would agree that we should respond robustly and
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strongly. >> i would agree we should have a policy to be prepared to respond appropriately. >> thank you, general. thank you, director clapper. >> senator sessions. >> thank you. we thank both of you for your service. director clapper, thank you for your decades of service to the country, and that's something we all respect and value. general stewart, appreciate seeping you again. you have -- seeing you again. you have been in the battle feed and seen it from both siteses and know the importance of intelligence. director clapper, it seems to me that we are about to see a tremendous expansion of proliferation and the numbers actually of weapons and the countries that possess nuclear weapons, something that the world has united behind trying
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to stop, the u.n. and the whole world, nato, sought to maintain a limited number of nations with nuclear weapons, and we have been particularly concerned about nuclear weapons in the middle east. where do we stand on that from a strategic position? your best judgment of the risk we're now facing. >> well, of course, you worry about north korea in this respect. and i think in mid-east i think the agreement, the jnw -- jcpoa which does prevent, if complied with, a nuclear capability in iran, at least in the for seeable future. that should serve as a tempering factor for the likes -- for other countries that may feel threatened if in fact iran
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proceeded on with it nuclear weapons program. >> we've got india and pakistan, secretary kissinger testified here a year ago, i suppose in which he said that we could see multiple nations in the middle east move toward nuclear weapons. and we do know that north korea will sell weapons, technology, do we not? and have done so in the past. >> that's true, that particularly north korea is a proliferattor. that's one of the principle ways they attempt to generate revenue is through proliferation. i worry, frankly, about more mundane things like man pads, which north koreans produce and
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proliferate throughout the world, which poses a great threat to aviation. so, i think our role in the intelligence community is to be at vigilant as we can about this and report when it spreads and that's a concern particularly in the middle east. >> general stewart, tell us where we stand in iraq. you served there and are involved with the sunnis in anbar province. you saw them flip and become -- turned against al qaeda. can we replicate that now in one of the prospect -- what are their prospect for the sunnies once again turning against the
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terrorists? >> i think the sunnis believe they have a real prospect, either for involvement with the iraqi government or some other confederation construct, their views and interests are represented, i think they'll likely turn against isil. i don't think that that message has been effectively communicated yet. i think a body would like a more inclusive government, but i'm not sure that it has all of the members of his ruling body behind such an inclusivity. until that occurs, then the sunni tribes are very likely to remain either on the fence or choose the least worst option which is the not antagonize and maybe even support isil in the western part of iraq. >> but that would -- the decisive action that needs to
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occur, that once again the decisive action would be if the sunnis would turn against isil as they turned against al qaeda. >> i think that would absolutely be decisive, but i think they'll be very cautious to ensure that we will not leave them hanging out there after they've turned against isil. this is pure pragmatism. if they're not -- if we're not successful, not supportive of the sunni tribes, they will die. al qaeda or isil will be brutal, ruthless, and so if we are going to support them, we're going to try to convince then them to turn and fight against isil, we have to have the true commitment of the government of iraq, and all of the parties to encourage them to fight against isil because this is purely about survival for those tribes. >> and in our effort to push back against isil, would be an extremely important action. development. >> yes, sir, believe it would
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be. >> what about mosul? a city of a million that was not -- does not have the heritage of icele and that kind of extremism. what are the prospects for turning the situation around in mosul and freeing mosul from isil. >> i'm less optimistic about mousesel. there's lots of work to be done itch don't believe ramadi is completely secure so they have to secure ramadi. they have to secure the haditha corridor in order to have some opportunity to fully encircle and bring all the forces against mosul. mosul will be a complex operation and so i'm not as optimistic, as you say it's a large city. not as optimistic we can turn that in the near term in my view, certainly nose this year. we may be able to continue the campaign through operations around mosul but securing or taking mosul is an extensive operation and not something i
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see in the next year or so. >> thank you very much, general stewart. >> thank you, mr. chair. welcome back, director clapper, general stewart. thank you for that predictably cheery briefing. director clapper, i've always believed that the ground war against isis must be won by our arab partners rather than by american ground forces, and so it was therefore pretty encouraging to finally hear saudi arabia and the uae over the weekend voice some openness to putting ground forces in syria. what is the intelligence community's assessment of the capability of saudi and uae ground forces and how realistic do you think this proposal is? in other words do you assess they actually have the political will to potentially do that? >> well, let me start with uae, which is a very, very capable military -- although small. the performance of their
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counterterrorist forces in yemen have been quiet impressive. i think -- quite impressive. i think certainly appreciate and value the saudi willingness to engage on the ground. i think that will be a challenge -- would be a challenge for them if they were to try to take that on. ...
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personal property, and to a lesser extent even kidnapping for ransom and foreign donations. certainly pleased to see progress has been made with the us coalition forces have escalated tactics while targeting road tankers and even cash storage sites in these efforts have helped force isis to cut its fighters pay and some reports by up to 50%. what additionally do you believe we can do to further restrict their financial resources? >> you have outlined pretty much the sources of revenue for isis and they have a very elaborate bureaucracy for managing their money. i think that important thing is to sustain that pressure on multiple dimensions.
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to include going after the oil infrastructure. isil has displayed great ingenuity by setting up thousands of these mom-and-pop refineries and it we have to stay out of it as well, the recent bombing of the financial institution and moz zero had a big impact on them. i think starting to see some success with the iraqi government in reducing payments to iraqi citizens who live in isil controlled areas. there is a downside to that that when they do that it potentially alienates the central government of baghdad, but to me the important aspect here and the important theme would be to sustain the pressure. >> one of the sources that has
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been i guess, surprise my consequential is a black market in two coody sales from the looting that has occurred. it is my understanding that the us has sanctions that it can impose on anyone who imports antiquities stolen by isis, but it does not have separate abilities to sanction individuals who actually purchase booted syrian antiquities. would be helpful to authorize sanctions not just against the bile-- buyer and seller, but the middlemen who are involved? >> i would want to take that under advice and consult with my colleagues in the department of treasury, but i would tell you in the relative scheme of things the sale of antiquities is not a big revenue generator and it has really kind of tapered off some, but i would be for exploring whatever ways we can pressure isil financially, we should. >> thank you both.
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>> i went to thank you both for your service and i went to thank you, director clapper, for your many decades of service to our country. i wanted to follow up on your written statement where in it and i think you reiterated today that's iran probably views the jcp zero as a means to remove sanctions while keeping his capability and in the second part you said as well as the option to eventually expand its nuclear infrastructure. can you expand on that? >> well, as the period of that agreement plays out, i think it's-- we should expect that the iraqis would want to push the margins on our end the. they have already done work on research and development on centrifuge design and they have sustained the position they have taken and there is one man that
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makes the decision is the supreme leader that they will not pursue nuclear weapons, but there are many other things they can do in a nuclear context that serves to enhance their technology and their expertise. >> let me ask you we saw a ron actually have ballistic missile tests on october 10 and november 21, post jcp 08 and even pre-receiving the sanctions cash relief that they recently received billions of dollars and we also know that recently north korea had a space launch developing their icbm program and i wanted to ask you first of all, we know in your statement you mentioned that historically there has been cooperation between north korea and iran on their ballistic missiles program can you tell us what that cooperation has been and can we
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expect that north korea will sell or share technology with to ron that could expert-- expedite iran's missiles? >> i have to be mindful of the setting here. there has not been a great deal of interchange between iraq and -- or between north korea and iran on the subject of nuclear missile capabilities, but there has been in the past, we have been reasonably successful in detecting this, so hopefully-- >> let me ask. >> with the vigilance we will be able to sustain that. north koreans know they are interesting in cash and this is one of their-- >> and we now know iran has more cash; correct? >> they do now, but as general
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stuart indicated a lot of the cash, at least the initial tranche is encumbered and they have a lot of obligation to fulfill economically. >> let me follow up, what do you make of the fact that the iranians did in fact post jcpoa in violation of the existing resolution make two launches a ballistic missiles and i think you were asked about the sanctions that were put in place and let's be clear though sanctions were not very tough. do you think those will deter-- deter iran from developing its program? >> well, the iranians have conducted 140 launches since the original un security council resolution in 1929 that was imposed in 2010. so, 70, about half of them were done during the negotiations. given the fact that missiles weren't a part of the negotiations, so as far as these
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two launches are concerned i think this was a illiterate message of defiance and that the iranians will continue with aggressive programs to develop their missile force. >> as you and i have talked about in the past, to be clear we judge that to ron would use ballistic missiles as its method to implement missiles and that's obviously why you would build up ballistic missile if you choose to build a nuclear weapon. >> they have hundreds that threaten the mideast and of course the two underdeveloped could potentially given the technology-- i guess the most approximate that would be launched is built by civilians and sensibly for space launch--
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>> i only have five seconds left, but i want to follow up with the hero in question and i believe he said heroine and sentinel, which is of course 32 my 50 times more powerful and coming over our southern border and that has doubled by the mexican drug cartel going back to 2010. do you believe that is something that we-- general kelly raise this that that delivery system and those cartels could actually deliver almost anything with the sophisticated networks they have established, but do you believe they should be focused also want more interdiction particularly on the heroine problem? >> i do and the experience lately has been observed and i think general kelly has said this consistently when he testified is that wasn't for lack of intelligence, it was a lack of operational capacity to actually react and so i am a big fan of the coast guard and the
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coast guard has done some great things. the national security cutters are fantastic capability against drug intervention purposes. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have many questions to ask, but i think i will focus on one. i am struggling with this and i would like to hear your thoughts about low oil prices. and how they affect our security posture. this is a good thing, but it has elements to it that i think are challenging. i was in israel in april of 2010, meeting with the president and i asked him what would be the most important thing the us could it do to enhance security in the region and he said we near itself off dependence on oil in the middle east and as i talked to him is basic logic was to the extent we develop noncarbon alternatives or our own david-- native energy
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sources and our demand would drop and that would have a affect the reducing prices and a lot of the nation in the middle east, iran and other nations, rush or venezuela have used higher oil prices to finance adventurism and if they get more strapped they have a harder time doing it. so, we have seen a dramatic development in american native energy and scene development of noncarbon energy and we has seen oil of prices go dramatically low and they will not stay there forever, but many are predicting that they will stay significantly lower than historic lows. it is good for american consumers, good for american businesses and poses challenges for some of our principal adversaries, russia for example. it puts a to some degree on what iran would get being back in a global and selling their oil, but it also poses risks as well and i've heard european counterparts eight they are worried about an aggressive
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russia, but even more worried about an economic basket case russia, so from the intel side as you look intel and threats, talk a little bit about the prospect of a lawyer-- low oil prices and any negatives associated with that, please. >> well, i think you have painted the picture pretty well. it is working, i guess, one could say to our advantage and russia spoke about that earlier and the current prices is $20 a barrel. when russia's planning factor for their national budget is $50 a barrel and this has affected, for example, they have been unable to invest in the arctic, so it has had profound impact and will i think for some time, just structurally in russia. venezuela is another case.
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a country that was completely dependent, almost for its revenue long time on oil revenue and of course with the drop in oil it has had a huge impact on their economy, which is state managed anyway and it laced with all kinds of subsidies for his people and now they are having their facing insolvency. so, it has that effect and, of course, to the extent that we become independent and not dependent on anyone's oil, that is a good thing. countries, middle, i think, it will be a mixed bag as to how well they manage themselves where they are dependent on others for oil and if the price stays low that is great. if it is hiked either by virtue of the national forces were artificially, that could have a very deleterious impact on the
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economy, saying europe, so it's a very mixed picture. >> follow-up about russian particular. it seems that sometimes they are more likely to engage in some adventurism outside their country when they are internal politics and economy is in trouble, i mean, vladimir putin seems like a guy that wants to divert attention and whether it's throwing an olympics or invading another country that seems to be kind of a move he will make when he has this satisfaction at home and driven by economic challenges, so is her son to greed that these lower oil prices negatively affect an adversary, but may make them more unpredictable and perhaps dangerous. >> that is true, and of course, all decision-making in russia is essentially made by one person. russians have a great capacity for enduring pain-and-suffering.
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the polls that are taken in russia still indicate high levels of popularity, 80% range for vladimir putin. it is interesting, though, as the speeches of late and domestically has taken a different turn or different tone and they are much more exhorting patriotic spirit and the great history of russia as a-- as i think probably a way of diverting attention away from the poor economic performance of the russian economy. and by any measure, you look at unemployment, inflation, worth of the ruble is at the all-time low and investment etc., whatever measure you want to use , it's all not good from a russian perspective. now, the issue would be how does
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that affect the street and at what points does the people start turning out to demonstrate, which that is what makes them very nervous if people get organized and restive on large scale throughout russia. russians are very concerned about that. >> thank you very much. to thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, mr. chairman director clapper, you assessed for and support will allow daech to make a think areas this year and general stuart, you state that the assad regime is unlikely to be militarily defeated or collapse in the near-term and is poised to enter 2016 in a stronger military position against the opposition because of their increased support that they are receiving from iran and hezbollah and russia. given a sods apparently
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improving fortune that we are seeing, do you assessed that he will negotiate a kind of transition from power? >> >> he is certainly in a stronger negotiating position that he was six months ago. his forces supported by russian air forces, supported by iranians and hezbollah forces are having some effect, but not decisive affect across the battlefield. they have isolated a level and they are now in a stronger negotiating position and i am more inclined to believe that he is a player on the stage longer term than was six months to make a year ago, in a much better position. >> general, how would you define a longer-term? >> yeah, that's-- i think this one is interesting because i think the russians are very
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comfortable with the idea that if they have a regime that supports their interests in syria, then assad might not be as important to them and far more to that iranians to maintain their relationship with syria and status around lebanon, so i think getting all of the parties to agree on whether he should go, the timeline in which he should go, who might be a better alternative because that is important to all of the parties. this is such a dynamic and then -- i think long term i am not seen any change in the status here for the next year or so and beyond that we will see how the fight on the battlefield unfolds. >> before i turn to you, director clapper, general, when you mention about iran and
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moscow being able to work together on this and maybe-- i heard maybe they are diverging in their support for assad and keeping him in power or giving him more leverage in a transition. do you believe that is going to come to a head, again, in the short-term long-term and whether the consequences of that? i mean, i can remember wasn't that long ago when we would all sit up here and say, it's not a question on if assad is leaving, it's when he is leaving and that obviously has changed. >> the russian reinforcement has changed the countless completely. that packed goal of relationship that iran and russia has today, i suspect at some point and it's pretty hard to predict at some point will diverge because they
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won't share the stage. iran wants to be the regional had find and if it has to compete with russia in the longer-term and again i cannot put months or years, i suspected their interest will diverge because of competition as a regional power. in the near-term, though, their interest is simply to prop up the regime and the regime in my mind is not necessarily assad, it's the regime first of all that allows russia to maintain its interests and allows iran to control syria, greater syria and parts of limit on and when those two things become pension points where their interest, where russia pushes for assad removal i suspect they will have at least a tactical breakdown. however, it is still in iran's address to maintain a
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relationship with russia because of what we talked about earlier, the ability to picture-- put your weapons from russia without any preconditions and they would like to modernize all of their military forces and russia seems to be an option for doing that, so the relationship might be tense, it might break down at some point because of regional desires for control, but they will still have the enduring relationship from a weapons procurement standpoint. >> director clapper, i'm out of time, but if you have a couple, and she would like to add their. >> the thing i find adjusting is that both the russians and the iranians are growing increasingly interested in using proxies rather than their own forces. to fight in syria. russians are in curate-- casualties, the iranians are and so to the extent they can bring in others and in iran's case--
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the russians are not wedded to assad personally, but they had the same challenge as everyone else, if not assad, who and i don't know that they have come up with an alternative either. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentlemen, thank you for being with us this morning and i was discussing yesterday with one of our partners overall long-term intelligence and worldwide threats. i'm afraid and you touched on this, director clapper, in your report. i'm afraid that the syrian refugee crisis is a precursor of a larger refugee crisis that we could be facing over the next head to 20 years this upon prediction of climate change, the band of the world that will be subject to drought, famine, crop loss, flooding in some areas, incredible heat in the band around north africa,
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central africa into southeast asia. we could see massive migration that constrain the western countries. would you concur with that? >> i think you are quite right and i alluded to that at least briefly in my oral statement about the fact that we have some 60 million people around the globe displaced in one way or the other. i think-- >> if that increases it will create-- because all of those people will want to go where things are better. >> exactly, so that is why that will place ever greater stresses on the remainder of the countries weather here in the americas, europe, africa, asia, wherever. the effects of climate change of weather aberrations, however you want to describe them just exacerbate this. what we have in the world by way
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of resource to feed and support the growing world population is somewhat of a finite resource. there is only so much water, oma-- only so much land and so the conditions you mentioned i believe are going to torment more pressure for migrants with that out of the instability of governance that i spoke briefly about in my oral statement as well, i think, will make for a challenging situation in the future. >> thank you. again, turning sous-- to something that you touched on, the lack of capacity to deal with drug imports it seems to me as something that is a real strategic and tactical challenge we are suffering terribly in my home state of maine with heroine , new hampshire has one death overdose a day and in maine its 200 a year, one death every weekday, if you will.
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we are trying to deal with the demand side and with the treatment and prevention. but, keeping this stuff out to begin with and heroine is cheaper than it has ever been, which tells me that supply is up where should we be putting our efforts? >> well, i think working with the mexican government and that's where great deal of this comes from ms. mexico. and i think the partnership that we can engender with them is crucial to this. >> are they our partner? do they want to start-- stop this or do they see this as a cash crop? >> it depends on who they is in mexico. i think the national leadership would obviously like to stop the flow, but there are, as you know, very powerful economic forces in mexico that are
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against that and we have got a lot of-- they had got a lot of money and so they also have a corruption problem, frankly, to deal with, so i think we need to be as aggressive as we can be in interdicting what we can. i mentioned earlier, for example, the tremendous impact of coast guard capabilities when they are brought to bear. as we discussed earlier, general kelly, former commander of south, has spoken to this many times about not so much a lack of intelligence, but rather the lack of operational capability to respond to the intelligence to interdict and we have intelligence capability and intelligence capacity, but it needs to be matched by resource commitment. >> we need a greater commitment in terms of capacity? >> exactly.
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>> with a few seconds left and perhaps you could take this for the record, always we talk about the cyber threats and we have done some action herein finally got through a cyber bill laster about information sharing and i'm still concerned about critical infrastructure and for the reppert-- record maybe you could give us pause about what further we should be doing here in congress or the country in terms of critical infrastructure because that's, i think, one of our areas of greatest vulnerability. >> we will provide something for the record. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you both for your many years of service to our country and first i would like to say it is reassuring to hear so many members of the committee who voted to give the worlds worst date tens of millions of dollars concerned about what iran might do about that money i wish we had more concerned about that during the debate and before we voted on the. at director clapper, testified
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last year that in your 45 years of public circus this was the worst global threat varmint you had our same. is that correct? >> yes, sir and i stayed again in response to a question earlier. >> and that was your point with senator mccain earlier is that it is the worst global threat varmint in 46 years. >> certainly the most diverse array of challenges and threats that i can recall. >> why is that? >> well, i think it is frankly somewhat of the function of the change in the bipolar system that did provide a certain stability in the world, the soviet union and its community. its alliance and the west led by the united states and virtually all of their threats were sort of assumed in that basic bipolar contest that went on for decades and was characterized by
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stability. when that ended, that set off a whole range of grupo forces, i guess, or dynamics around the world that have changed. >> you both have long and deep experience in the middle east. in your experience, is the middle east a place that prizes concessions and negotiations or strength and toughness? >> i would argue that in almost all of these cases strength is preferred over signs of weakness. >> do you believe that the appearance and reputation for power is an important part of the reality of power in national security affairs? >> yes, senator. >> what would you believe is our current reputation for power in the middle east after say 10 americans sailors were
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videotaped kneeling at gunpoint by iranian revolutionary guard corps forces? >> i don't know that that incident alone reflects the perception of our strength and power. i think over the last several years there have been concerns among our partners about our commitment to the region, our willingness to employee the force. where our interest of national and strategic interest lies, think that is cause a bit of concern among our partners about our commitment to the region. >> i would like to return to a question that the senator raised, the news that the saudi defense ministry and now the mri and foreign ministry have both adjusted they would willing to deploy their troops to the ground in syria and asked you to assess the capability of those
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militaries. threats for good or for ill or both capability and intention, and both of the statements from saudi arabia they both insisted that they would need to see us leadership in that effort. director clapper, do you have any idea what kind of leadership they are talking about, what more they would expect to see from the us that they apparently are not seen at the moment? >> i don't know what-- and i took it to mean specifically it was respect to if they deploy a significant military force into syria. i took it to mean the command control capability that the us is pretty good at. that is what i took it to mean. >> general. >> i think that arab countries led by saudi arabia and the commodities would like to see more ground forces to match
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their commitment. having said that, i do not assess that the saudi crown forces would have either the capacity to take this fight on. as i said earlier, they are very capable, lacked the capacity to take on additional fight elsewhere. i think the ideas, how do we get more us skin in the game of. >> director clapper, in early october shortly after russia began its incursion in syria president obama called a quote a big mistake and quote doomed to fail. due you believe board the hapless later that russia's incursion in syria is a big mistake from their standpoint and doomed to fail? >> it could be a big mistake. one of the concerns russians have, of course, those with long memories is a repeat of afghanistan.
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of course, that is why the russians to this point have avoided a significant ground force presence. they have about 5000 personnel tied up in supporting the interoperation advisors and intelligence, etc. so, long term, it could be a mistake for them. they haven't enjoyed the success, i think, that vladimir putin anticipated. i think he believed that he would go in quickly and be able to leave early and that is not turning out to be the case and they are getting into a long-term stalemate, themselves. >> thank you. my time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> good morning, gentlemen and i repeat what so many have said here, thank you for your public service. given what you just said, general clapper, about russia
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being concerned about being bogged down and going back to the comments of senator kane about the cash reserves of russia diminishing because of the price of oil and you mentioned that at some point the street in russia-- these are my words, going to erupt. can you give us any sense of when i might occur given these factors that has been discussed in the whole committee meeting? >> senator nelson, i cannot. i don't know when that ticking points might might occur and as i said the russian people have a great capacity for in doing discomfort and inconvenience and pain. but, i think at some points they
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will reach a breaking points and i think the russian leadership is mindful of that and are very concerned about it and do so this sustained economic recession, which will go well into the 2016, i think it is somewhat imponderable to predict when, if this is the same when will cause a breaking point and when the street will say something. >> from on intel standpoint, vladimir putin can continue his diversions, crimea, syria, whatnot to get the national listing fervor of the russian people continually stoked up, but when they can't get better-- and butter and make it to the
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point that they realize that is going more to guns, do we have any sense from the history of russia or from an intel stamp point, do we hear anything of the rumblings going on in russia that would give us a better idea of how to predict that tiny? >> well, no, i don't think predicting sociological dynamics is very difficult when people will collectively reach a breaking point. that is kind of happened with the demise of the soviet union. when the big lie, i think, became evident to more and more people. that's another thing that the russians are worried about is information and information from
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the outside world. russians expend a lot of energy, time and resource on controlling information and controlling the message in russia. so, the commendation of these factors, there ability to endure the gradual erosion of the economy of russia, their tight control of information, not unlike the heyday of the soviet union makes it, to me at least, very difficult to predict when all those forces will collide. >> lets me ask about assured access to space, which is essential to our national security. we have a great deal of optimism as a result of what we are seeing, a number of companies now producing rockets that seem
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to be quite successful. we have the likelihood of new engines being produced, but this senator is concerned, not in the long term, more in the short term of is there a gap there that if we do not have that russian supplied engine, the rd 180, that we will not have the assured access to space because of the alternative being number one at the delta four cannot be produced quickly enough and number two, that it would be prohibitively expensive compared to the alternative of the atlas five? >> well, as i said earlier senator nelson, i am in the customer mode. i have certain imperatives in terms of our assured access to space for overhead purposes.
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this is extremely crucial capability for the nation's safety and security. so, i look to the providers of those who get those things into space, which for me is the air force-- >> i understand-- >> the delta has worked great for us. we felt it was responsive, cost-effective and it worked for us. >> are you concerned that there could be a gap? >> i certainly would be, i mean, when we had to manage gaps, not so much from-- because of launch, but simply because of capabilities into space, that is a great concern to us and the intelligence community, so, yes, i would be very concerned about gaps. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director clapper and general
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stewart, thank you for your service to our country and we most certainly appreciate the participation that you have in this meeting today. in october, of the last year the us naval institute published a rather chilling article detailing the long list of advanced weaponry at the chinese military has cloned by stealing from other nations either through cyber espionage or reverse engineering. what roles do you see the intelligence agencies taken to prevent this hemorrhaging of american technological advantage? >> well, i figured is our response ability to ensure that our policymakers, particularly the department of defense are aware of this hemorrhage, if you will, of technological information that the chinese have. so, i think our duty, our obligation is from eight
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intelligence committee standpoint to make sure people know about this and where we can see just ways to stop it. >> general stuart seebeck i don't know if i can add anything more to that. we detect. we get appreciation, understanding of the threat factors, we inform and if we can we provide potential solutions. then, it comes up to those who have the technology, who had been threatened their intellectual property threatened to take those countermeasures, so i think we are identifying more and we report and it's over to the users. >> would you both with regard to the tools you have available today, do you have the appropriate equipment, tools and technology to be able to detect and reports these attacks? >> yes, we do, but i do think
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and this gives me an opportunity for maybe a small commercial that we do sustain our r&d, particularly important for all of the rc, but particularly nsa that we stay ahead of cyber technological developments in the world domain for foreign intelligence purposes to stay abreast of these. >> what do you believe constitutes an act of war in cyberspace? what do you assess it would look like? when does it become an active war? >> that's a great question. one that we have wrestled with to a certain extent i guess it's in the eye of the beholder. and this gets to the whole issue of cyber deterrence and all of those kind of complex questions. but, i think that's a
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determination that would almost have to be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the impact. >> so, if we were to suggest that it was time to define what an act of war in a cyberspace-- cyberspace would be, it would not be appropriate or should we be looking at defining what an act of war constitutes with regard to cyber activity? with that the helpful or not? >> i think it would be extremely helpful to have a clear definitions of what constitutes cyber offense versus acts of war. we generally look at all cyber e vents and defined it as an attack and in many cases you can do reconnaissance, espionage, saft in this domain we call cyberspace. but, the reaction always is whether it is an adversary doing reconnaissance, and adversary trying to conduct human
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operations in this domain and we define it as an attack and i don't think that is terribly helpful, so if we can get much fuller definition of the range of things that occur in cyberspace and then start thinking about the threshold where under attack is catastrophic you have or destructive enough that we defined as an act of war, i think that would be extremely useful. >> have we done enough for a sufficient job in deterring cyber aggression? >> i think we have a pretty robust capability to understand that the series. i think most potential adversary understand we have a capability, whether or not we are ready to use that because that is the essence of deterrence that an adversary actually feels that we will use a capability that we have.
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i am not sure we are there yet and that goes beyond our ability to understand and to counter military capabilities, so i think there is another dimension of convincing from a policy standpoint that we are used-- willing to use that capability. >> wouldn't it be a good idea to have a policy, general? as i understand it we have no policy as to whether we should deter, respond, and if so how? wouldn't it be good if we had a policy? >> i always find it good to have a policy that guides things i can do as a military officer. >> i think that is not a earth shaking, to tell you the truth. i don't think we will stop the presses. the fact is we don't have a policy and i don't know how you act when there is no policy as to how we respond to threats or actual acts of penetration into some of our most sensitive information.
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senator sullivan seebeck thank you, mr. chairman and welcome, gentlemen. great to see two marines at the table. as the chairman knows the terms marine and intelligence are considered synonymous by both, so glad to see-- >> really? >> lad to see you are bolstering that fine tradition. i wanted to focus a bit on what's going on in the south china sea and director klapper, last time you were here you expressed concerns over the possible militarization of some of the formations that are being built up in that part of the world by the chinese and as you know here we are a year later and that is exactly happened in terms of 3200 acres of new land, seven large land features an airfield, 110,000 feet long. where do you believe the chinese
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goals are in the region? >> well, i think the chinese are very determined to sustain their exorbitant claims of the south china sea. they have had this claim for some time. they have sustained that. i think they will continue with the building up there capabilities on these outcroppings-- >> do you think they are clearly looking to monetize those outcrops? >> not sure what the definition of military is. i think when you put in runways and hangers and start installing radar, doing port calls with the chinese navy and chinese coast guard ships, they have not yet,
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i don't believe actually landed any military fighter aircraft, yet. but, they have tested the airworthiness, so to speak, of their air grows there-- >> i think. >> i think is very clear they will try to insert as much possessiveness, if you will, over this area and the south china sea in general; to follow up on a point the chairman just made. as far as our policy to counter that, this committee in a bipartisan way has been encouraging the white house, the military to conduct regular ops in the region, preferably with our allies. i think our allies are all very motivated to see american leadership here. do you think we have clearly
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articulated what our policy is and do you think that regular ops by us military vehicles, ships, aircraft-- aircraft with our la is an important way to counteract the strategy that seems to have very little pushback on it right now? >> well, again, this is policy and we are just in the engine room shoving intelligence: i'm a but i do think we have made clear the policy on bremen navigation and have been at least two op missions. >> do you think our allies understand what our articulated policy in the region is? >> i think they do and i think they welcome our freedom of navigation operations. i think they are a bit shy to speak publicly and supportively as they do in private. >> let me turn to the arctic. i appreciated both of your focus on the arctic and your testimony. as you know there has been a
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dramatic increase in the russians military buildup in the arctic. there have been statements by the deputy prime minister about how we should colonize the arctic and you even mentioned director, in your testimony that the russians would be prepared to act unilaterally to protect their interests in the arctic. but me just ask a couple of questions and both of you can answer however you want in terms of prioritization. where do you believe the russians are up to with their dramatic buildup in the arctic? vladimir president putin is someone who probes for weakness. how do you think he is reacting to our actual plans for dramatically withdrawing the only arctic brain to force it in the active-duty us military? >> and we need to be looking at kind of a fontenot kind of operation in the arctic particularly given the russians
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have such a significant interest in the arctic and have built up their northern fleet, they have 40 icebreakers and the strategic northwest passages will only become more important. is that something we should be looking at doing on a regular basis? you can answer all three of those questions if you like. >> i can, from an intelligence perspective that we are turning attention to the arctic, about the 6000 kilometers long coastline that the russians have on the arsenic. they have established a northern fleet, a joint command and their military activities are refurbishing bases there. they are quantitatively, they appear to have where they are going would be actually less than what they had in the arctic regions during the heyday of the cold war, but qualitatively will probably be better. what has stymied the russians as
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i alluded to earlier, though, was there granda plans for investing their particularly with energy extractions have been stymied because of the economic recession. and they need foreign investment from a technological standpoint. they are not getting it because of the economic issue they are in. the economic arctic is important we engage with the countries there are a part of the arctic council, notably canada and norway and are stepping up our intelligence sharing with those countries in terms of what the russians are doing their. as far as what we do about it and troop deployments is kind of not our department seebeck but, you can give us assessment on what you believe vladimir putin with think as he builds up the arctic and we are withdrawing forces from the arctic and your assessment of how he operates and thinks. to what is he think about that? how will he view a reduction in
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the arctic forces by the united states when he is dramatically building up forces? you can certainly answer that question. >> i don't know what he thinks. i don't read his mind, but i guess anytime he sees an opportunity where he believes we are reducing or not being prevalent, then if that serves his purpose he will take advantage of it. >> general, any views? >> thy russians intend to increase their ability to control the arctic regions. they have built air bases. they are building missile defense capability, both culpable and nagel missile defense capability. they are doing that for economic and military reasons. in the absence of something that counters that, they will continue to expand. so, there is, i think, on
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imperative that we have both the willingness and capacity to pushback on their control or dominance of the arctic region. i think they are probably in a place where they will be willing to negotiate and discuss how you conduct operations in the arctic, but they need to have something to push against. >> thank you. >> senator king feels compelled to ask an additional question. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i think. quick question about money. to questions, actually. where does north korea get its money? it doesn't seem to have much of an economy and yet it's building missiles. military buildup. where is their funding? >> well, their primary trading partner, of course, is china by far. rapidly 90% of their trade. the biggest single export from north korea to china is:.
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about a billion point to a year from: sales. and then of course the listed finance, illicit finance, they have an organized approach to laundering money and that sort of thing, so-- but, most of their trade in north korea is natural resource heavy and so the chinese exploit that, so that is where they get the lion share. >> is it safe to say that if china did not like the direction of north korean policy they could have a significant influence over? >> i don't think there's any question to the extent that anyone has leverage over north korea its china. >> follow-up question, this time about russia. what percentage of the russian a budget is funded by oil revenues >> i will have to take that for the record, but a large part is of the significant proportion to their budget.
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i don't know exactly what it is. >> you talked about a 4% contraction i believe in their economy over the past year, which is projected to continue into this year? >> correct schematic-- >> at some point it seemed like they will run out of money and it would not imagine they would be too good of credit on the world. >> they have very significant financial reserves that they have built up over the years, which they are starting to eat into, but you are correct. they cannot sustain that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> quickly, director, general kelly testified before this committee about this issue of this manufactured her when, which has become a major issue all over america particularly the northeast and midwest with this dramatic increase in heroin drug overdoses, some of it come across the land border. general kelly testified that because of his lack of assets he watches some time seaborn transportation of drugs that
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land in various places in the caribbean and come up into the united states. isn't that an issue that you can trace to some degree to sequestration, but also the old squeezing the balloon theory? >> well, i can't say specifically whether this was attributable to sequestration or not, but i know that there is a great deal of intelligence community produces on drug flow into the united states and-- >> and some of that is shipped into seaborn. >> exactly with the semi submersible vehicles that are sailed to american coasts. the difficulty has been not enough operational resources particularly coast guard and navy resources that can be used
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to take advantage of the intelligence that is produced. i saw general kelly speak to that when he testified. >> the interesting thing about this is that if you talked to literally any governor in the northeast or midwest in this country today they would say that this is practically an act that-- epidemic, dramatic increase in heroin drug overdose death and now, we are going to have this agreement, which all of us went in columbia, but does that mean a lot of these people will go into the drug business? >> it certainly could, sir, and other thing i looted briefly to this in my statement was that we see an increasing cocaine, which is-- it comes from the lobby a and of this agreement and also i think president santos took heed of what was presented to him as
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environmental impacts of that ratification program that has existed in columbia for some years, so they are stopping the drug eradication and trying to appeal to the farmers to grow other cop-- crops which will probably be a challenge. >> saw that experiment in afghanistan, trying to get the farmers to go to other crops rather than poppies. it was a failure. >> well, it did not seem to work, no. there is so much money to be made and it is such a huge moneymaker that it is very hard to find alternate crops that are legitimate that are equally profitable. >> finally, apologize for imposing on your time, but one thing we know is the company that sells the russian rocket engines to the united states is
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ripe with people, cronies of the vladimir putin, people who have been sanctioned, part of criminal activities. wouldn't it be better for us rather than giving tens of millions of dollars to vladimir putin and his cronies to buy more deltas as part of the solution and i know your answer will be you are the purchaser, but i also think this almost borders on a national security issue. ..
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and have the development of russian rocket engines here in the united states, which people like spacex and others are working on. do you have any comment? >> i would agree with you. i'm interested in the service in lift and launch and getting out reconnaissance satellites deployed on time. i would much prefer that the totality of the system, that gets those satellites into orbit were american. >> i thank you. senator reed? >> i simply want to thank both general stewart and general clapper for the testimony and service and in particular general clapper, thank you again for your service to the nation. >> sometimes we dairy center maybe not too productive.
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i do this is one of the more helpful hearings that we've had before this committee, and i think the witnesses for their candor and their wisdom. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> former sec of state hillary clinton and senator bernie sanders will speak at democratic farmer labour party dinner tonight at st. paul, minnesota. live coverage at 8:30 p.m. eastern. >> silicon valley experts came to washington, d.c. to improve the federal government online services.
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>> if you just walk in as an enginengineer and walking a looa bunch of engineers and see what they are doing and how they're doing it, and it was his total insanity, like when you first looked. they were 55 different companies, contracted work on different parts of, which is a fairly complicated operation but it ain't that complicated. and there were i to know, conservatively, this is another piece of insanity, literally nobody knows how many people were engineers, developers, technical roles on the project, at least hundreds. they were in dozens of different buildings. .org to do not have any kind of habit or custom of working
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together, they were in most cases explicitly forbidden from communicating with each other. this was set up and there was nobody can the government reserve for itself the job according to all this is going to go. the government doesn't have that skill set and i believe that where that is. i can elaborate on that of the government just wasn't really equipped to do that job. work going on made zero sense. >> more from mikey dickerson and his team on to work on veterans benefits, the green card program, and a new project on background checks for gun purchases tomorrow night at eight eastern on c-span. >> homeland security secretary jeh johnson says counterterrorism remains his
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agency's top priority this year. he talks about immigration enforcement efforts, cybersecurity, airport passenger screening and visa waiver and refugee admission programs during a state of the department report yesterday that he delivered at the woodrow wilson center in washington, d.c. [applause] >> jane, thank you very much. i want to say welcome to the many distinguished guests, the senior leaders of the components of the department of homeland security who are here. secretary chertoff, george webster, the aspen group, members of the press, dr. demarco, and claire who is visiting from connecticut and my niece. and most of all sarah harrison
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who has control of my slides. good morning everyone. thank you jane and the wilson center for hosting me again for this annual ritual. jane is a terrific supporter of our department and our homeland security mission, and a voice of strength and common sense in this town. jane, for the third year in a row, i continue to appreciate your leadership and mentorship. thank you. today i will outline progress we made in 2015 and the goals the president and i have for the department of homeland security in 2016. in the remaining 344 days of this administration, there is much to do. i intend to make every day count. the former president of my alma mater, morehouse college, used to tell his students we only
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have just a minute, but eternity is in it, and it's up to us to use it. with deputy secretary alejandro mayorkas as my partner, we will push an aggressive agenda to the end. i begin these remarks with a shout-out to the men and women of dhs, led by the terrific component heads seated before me. it's the nature of our business in homeland security that no news is good news. but no news is very often the product of the hard work and extraordinary, courageous effort our people put in every day to keep the american public safe. last fiscal year, for example, tsa screened 695 million passengers, 3 million more than the year before, screened 450 million pieces of checked luggage, the highest in six years, and, at the same time, seized a record number 2,500 firearms from carry-on luggage, 84% of which were loaded.
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last fiscal year cbp screened 26.3 million containers, 11.3 million commercial trucks, 1 million commercial and private aircraft, 436,000 buses, ferries and trains, 103 million private vehicles, and 382 million travelers at land, marine and air ports of entry to the united states. at the same time, cbp collected nearly $46 billion in duties, taxes, and fees, making it the second largest revenue collector in the u.s. government. last fiscal year, hsi made a record high 33,000 criminal arrests, including 3,500 alleged members of transnational criminal gangs, and 2,400 alleged child predators. last fiscal year the coast guard saved over 3,500 lives, and seized 319,000 pounds of cocaine
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and 78,000 pounds of marijuana worth a total of $4.3 billion wholesale. in just one mission off the coast of central and south america, the national security cutter stratton alone seized over $1 billion in cocaine, along with two drug cartel-owned submersibles. last year the secret service successfully orchestrated what may have been the largest domestic security operation in the history of this country, by providing physical security to 160 world leaders at the u.n. general assembly, and, at the same time, providing security for pope francis as he visited new york, washington, and philadelphia. last year fema provided over $6 billion in federal disaster assistance, and was there to help communities recovering from flooding in texas and south
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carolina, tornadoes in oklahoma, and typhoons in the western pacific. this past sunday, dhs personnel from the secret service, tsa, cbp, hsi, fema, i&a, nppd, the coast guard, and other components led the federal effort to provide ground, air, maritime and cyber security for super bowl 50. then there are the individual acts of good and heroic work by our people, to save lives and go above and beyond the call of duty. in late december nine border patrol agents traveled miles on foot or by horseback to come to the aid of an arizona rancher who had fallen off her horse in a remote, mountainous area. last march two uniformed secret service officers helped save the life of a journalist who suffered a heart attack in the east room of the white house. last july coast guard petty officer darren harrity swam nearly a mile, at night, in
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57-degree water and 30-mph winds, to save the lives of four stranded fishermen. finally, we honor those killed in the line of duty. hsi agent scott mcguire was killed last month by a hit and run driver in miami. i was glad to at least have had the opportunity to visit with scott's wife and five-year-old son, and hold scott's hand before he was officially declared brain dead. his funeral was 10 days ago in new orleans. our people do extraordinary work every day to protect the homeland. please consider thanking a tso, a coastie, a customs officer, or a border agent next time you see one. though our people do extraordinary work, i know we must improve the manner in which the department conducts business. like last year, reforming the
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way in which the department of homeland security functions, to more effectively and efficiently deliver our services to the american people, is my new year's resolution for 2016. we've done a lot in the last two years, but under the leadership of our under secretary for management russ deyo, there is still much we will do. my overarching goal as secretary this last year is to continue to protect the homeland, and leave the department of homeland security a better place than i found it. the centerpiece of our management reform has been the unity of effort initiative i announced in april 2014, which focuses on getting away from the stove pipes, in favor of more centralized programming, budgeting, and acquisition processes. we have transformed our approach to the budget. today, we focus department-wide on our mission needs, rather
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than through component stove pipes. with the support of congress, we are moving to a simplified budget structure, in which line items mean the same across all components. we have transformed our approach to acquisition. last year i established a dhs-wide joint requirements council to evaluate, from the viewpoint of the department as a whole, our components' needs on the front end of an acquisition. we have launched the acquisition innovations in motion initiative, to consult with the contractor community about ways to improve the quality and timeliness of our contracting process, and the emerging skills required of our acquisition professionals. we are putting faster contracting processes in place. we are reforming our hr process. we are making our hiring process faster and more efficient. we are using all the tools we have to recruit, retain and reward personnel.
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as part of the unity of effort initiative, in 2014 we created the joint task forces dedicated to border security along the southern border. once again, we are getting away from the stove pipes. in 2015, these task forces became fully operational. in 2016, we are asking congress to officially authorize them in legislation. we are achieving more transparency in our operations. we have staffed up our office of immigration statistics and gave it the mandate to integrate immigration data across the department. last year, and for the second year in a row, we reported our total number of repatriations, returns and removals on a consolidated, department-wide basis. the long-awaited entry/exit overstay report was published in january, providing a clearer picture of the number of
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individuals in this country who overstay their visitor visas. it reflects that about 1% of those who enter this country by air or sea on visitor visas or through the visa waiver program overstay. we are working with outside, non-partisan experts on a project called borderstat, to develop a clear and comprehensive set of outcome metrics for measuring border security, apprehension rates, and inflow rates. since 2013 we've spearheaded something called the dhs data framework initiative. for the protection of the homeland, we are improving the collection and comparison of travel, immigration and other information against classified intelligence. we will do this consistent with laws and policies that protect privacy and civil liberties. as we have proposed to congress, i want to restructure the national protection and programs directorate from a headquarters element to an operational
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component called the cyber and infrastructure protection agency. i am very pleased with the 2016 dhs budget adopted by congress and signed by the president as part of the omnibus spending deal reached in december. i'm very pleased with that. it funds all of our homeland security priorities, including, finally, the completion of the main building of the new dhs headquarters at st. elizabeth's campus in southeast washington. i will never get to work there, but perhaps they will name a courtyard or conference room after me. the president's budget request for 2017, released two days ago, funds our key priorities, to include aviation security, the secret service, recapitalization of the coast guard, and provides a huge increase in funding for cybersecurity. finally, we will improve the levels of employee satisfaction across the department.
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we've been on an aggressive campaign to improve morale over the last two years. it takes time to turn a 22-component workforce of 240,000 people in a different direction. though the overall results last year were still disappointing, we see signs of improvement. employee satisfaction improved in a number of components, including at dhs headquarters. this year we will see an improvement in employee satisfaction across dhs. in 2016, counterterrorism will remain the cornerstone of the department of homeland security's mission. the events of 2015 reinforce this. as i have said many times, we are in a new phase in the global terrorist threat, requiring a whole new type of response. we have moved from a world of terrorist directed attacks to a world that includes the threat of terrorist inspired attacks in which the terrorist may have
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never come face to face with a single member of a terrorist organization, lives among us in the homeland, and self-radicalizes, inspired by something on the internet. by their nature, terrorist-inspired attacks are harder to detect by our intelligence and law enforcement communities, could occur with little or no notice, and in general makes for a more complex homeland security challenge. so what are we doing about this? first, our government, along with our coalition partners, continues to take the fight militarily to terrorist organizations overseas. isil is the terrorist organization most prominent on the world stage. since september 2014, air strikes and special operations have in fact led to the death of a number of isil's leaders and those focused on plotting external attacks in the west. at the same time, isil has lost
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about 40% of the populated areas it once controlled in iraq, and thousands of square miles of territory it once controlled in syria. on the law enforcement side, the fbi continues to do an excellent job of detecting, investigating, preventing, and prosecuting terrorist plots here in the homeland. as for the department of homeland security, following the attacks in ottawa, canada, in terrorist groups' public calls for attacks on government installations in the western world, i directed our federal protective service to enhance its presence and security at various u.s. government buildings around the country. given the prospect of the terrorist-inspired attack in the homeland, we have intensified our work with state and local law enforcement. almost every day, dhs and the fbi share intelligence and information with joint terrorism task forces, fusion centers,
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local police chiefs and sheriffs. in fy 2015 we provided over $2 billion in homeland security assistance to state and local governments around the country, for things such as active shooter training exercises, overtime for cops and firefighters, salaries for emergency managers, emergency vehicles, and communications and surveillance equipment. we helped to fund an active shooter training exercise that took place in the new york city subways last november and a series of these exercises just last weekend in miami, florida. as i said at a graduation ceremony for 1,200 new cops in new york city in december, given the current threat environment, it is the cop on the beat who may be the first to detect the next terrorist attack in the united states. we are enhancing information sharing with organizations that represent businesses, college and professional sports, faith-based organizations, and critical infrastructure.
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we are enhancing measures to detect and prevent travel to this country by foreign terrorist fighters. we are strengthening our visa waiver program, which permits travelers from 38 different countries to come here without a visa. in 2014, we began to collect more personal information in the electronic system for travel authorization, also known as the esta system, that travelers from visa waiver countries are required to use. as a result of these enhancements, over 3,000 additional travelers were denied travel here in fy 2015. in august 2015, we introduced further security enhancements to the visa waiver program. through the passage in december of the visa waiver program improvement and terrorist travel prevention act of 2015, congress has codified into law several of these security enhancements, and placed new restrictions on eligibility for travel to the
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u.s. without a visa. we began to enforce these new restrictions on january 21. waivers from these restrictions will only be granted on a case-by-case basis, when it is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the united states to do so. those denied entry under the visa waiver program as a result of this new law may still apply for a visa to travel to the u.s. we are expanding the department's use of social media for various purposes. today social media is used for over 33 different operational and investigative purposes within dhs. beginning in 2014 we launched four pilot programs that involved consulting the social media of applicants for certain immigration benefits. uscis now also reviews the social media of syrian refugee applicants referred for enhanced vetting.
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based upon the recent recommendation of a social media task force within dhs, i have determined that we must expand the use of social media even further, consistent with law. cbp is deploying our customs personnel at various airports abroad, to pre-clear air travelers before they get on flights to the united states. at present, we have this pre-clearance capability at 15 airports overseas. and, last year, through pre-clearance, we denied boarding to over 10,700 travelers or 29 per day seeking to enter the united states. as i said here last year, we want to build more of these. in may 2015, i announced 10 additional airports in nine countries that we've prioritized for preclearance. for years congress and others have urged us to develop a system of biometric exit, that is, to take the fingerprints or
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other biometric data of those who leave the country. cbp has begun testing technologies that can be deployed for this nationwide. with the passage of the omnibus bill, congress authorized $1 billion in fee increases over a period of ten years to pay for the implementation of biometric exit. i have directed cbp begin implementing the system, starting at airports, in 2018. last month i announced the schedule for the final two phases of implementation of the real id law, which goes into effect two and then four years from now. at present 23 states are compliant with this law, 27 have extensions, and 6 states or territories are out of compliance. you voted for this law, right, jane? [laughter] now that the final timetable for implementation of this law is in place, we will urge all states, for the good of their residents,
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to start issuing real id-complaint drivers' licenses as soon as possible. in the current threat environment, there is a role for the public too. if you see something, say something must be more than a slogan. we continue to stress this. dhs has now established partnerships with the nfl, major league baseball and nascar, to raise public awareness at sporting events. an informed and vigilant public contributes to national security. in december we reformed ntas, the national terrorism advisory system. in 2011, we replaced the color-coded alerts with ntas. but, the problem with ntas was we never used it. it consisted of just two types of alerts: elevated and imminent, and depended on the presence of a known specific and credible threat. this does not work in the current environment, which
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includes the threat of homegrown, self-radicalized, terrorist-inspired attacks. so, in december we added a new form of advisory, the ntas bulletin, to the existing alerts. the bulletin we issued in december advises the public of the current threat environment, and how the public can help. finally, given the nature of the evolving terrorist threat, building bridges to diverse communities has become a homeland security imperative. well informed families and communities are the best defense against terrorist ideologies. al qaeda and the islamic state are targeting muslim communities in this country. we must respond. in my view, this is as important as any of our other homeland security missions. in 2015 we took these efforts to new levels. we created the dhs office for community partnerships, headed by george selim. george and this office are now
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the central hub of the department's efforts to counter violent extremism in this country, and the lead for a new interagency cve task force that includes dhs, doj, the fbi, nctc and other agencies. we are taking aggressive steps to improve aviation and airport security. the traveling public should be aware that, because of this and increased traveler volume, overall wait times have increased somewhat at airports, but we believe this is necessary for the public's own safety. since 2014 we have enhanced security at overseas last-point-of-departure airports, and a number of foreign governments have replicated these enhancements. as many of you know, in may of last year a certain classified dhs inspector general's test of tsa screening at eight airports, reflected a dismal fail rate and was leaked to the press. i directed a 10-point plan to
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fix the problems identified by the ig. under the new leadership of admiral pete neffenger over the last six months, tsa has aggressively implemented this plan. this has included back to basics retraining of the entire tso force, increased use of random explosive trace detectors, testing and re-evaluating the screening equipment that was the subject of the ig's test, a rewrite of the standard operating procedures manual, increased manual screening, and less managed inclusion. these measures were implemented on or ahead of schedule. ..
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counterterrorism remains a cornerstone of our mission and i completed cyber security must be another. making tangible improvements to our nation cyber security is a top priority for me, and president obama before we leave office. two days ago the president announced his cyber security national action plan, which is the culmination of seven years of efforts by his administration. the plan includes a call for the creation of a com


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