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tv   CIA Director Nominee William Burns Testifies at a Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  February 25, 2021 12:39am-2:49am EST

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about today's hearing on the state of the u.s. postal service, the terms of its physical health, and persistent service delays. watch "washington journal." at 7:00 eastern thursday morning. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, texts, and tweets. >> the confirmation hearing for william burns to serve as cia director, next. he spoke about current threats posed by formers -- foreign states, including china and russia, and how to make the cia more effective in the future. this senate intelligence community -- committee hearing is two hours.
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good morning, everyone. i'd like to call this hearing to order and recognize that i think this is the first time in the history of the intelligence committee that we have met in the rules committee space and i think we probably owe that to the distinguished former chairman of the rules committee, senator blunt. we would hope, i know you're still the ranking member, but there's been a series of requests from intel committee staff that we would like a ship
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put -- >> only rules committee can have a ship. no ship is available. >> can you say nga west. well, again, i'd like to call this committee to order and, again, we appreciate the cooperation of our colleagues on the rules committee for letting us use this setting. welcome, ambassador burns. i know we talked that your wife, lisa, is still hard at work in geneva and your daughters are watching remotely. but i know they are here with you in spirit. i'd like to say congratulations on your nomination to be the next director of the cia. after a long and distinguished career in the foreign service, you have, you deserve a well-earned retirement. but the country still needs your talents. ambassador burns, bill, thank you for, once again, being
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willing to serve our country. welcome, also, to our two distinguished guests who are joining us remotely, former secretary of state james baker and former defense secretary and cia director leon panetta. it will be a privilege to hear from such imminent and bipartisan public servants who will introduce ambassador burns and, again, a great indication of his broad-based support. i understand that some of our members may be joining us remotely today, as well. although i would like to acknowledge senator casey for his, he appeared yesterday remotely but for his first in-person intelligence committee meeting. after the vice chairman and i give our opening statements baker and panetta will say a few works and then after these members questions will be for five minutes in order of
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arrival. today's hearing will provide members the opportunity to thoughtfully consider his qualifications, hear directly from the nominee and for ambassador burns to share his views on how he would lead the women and men of the central intelligence agency. bill took the foreign service exam in november 1979, just a few days after the seizure of our embassy in tehran. and went on to spend over three decades in the foreign service. working under both democratic and republican presidents. and abally representing america around the world and at the highest ranks of the state department. he's been confirmed by the senate five times. so, going for six today. and has served in both the number two and three positions at the state department. deputy secretary of state and under secretary for political affairs. he's been our nation's ambassador to russia and jordan and in a variety of other senior national security roles and holds the highest rank in the state department. that of career ambassador.
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he is currently the president of the carnegie endowment for international peace, the oldest international think tank in the united states. it's safe to say that ambassador burns is intimately familiar with the challenges and opportunities that the united states faces around the globe in many cases with first-hand on the ground experience and expertise. it is the key qualities of expertise and sound judgment that perhaps above all others will be most important in your role as the director of the cia. after four years during which the expertise and judgment of america's civil servants were at times belittled and discounted, the next director must lead and inspire patriotic professionals with humility and compassion, work clabatively and dispassionately judge the actions of our adversaries. the cia in some ways has been luckier than many other agencies.
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your predecessor has led the cia with distinction under very difficult conditions. but i'll be looking to hear your views on how to inspire cia's intelligence professionals who often risk much, sacrifice much and sometimes up to including their health and lives in service of our country. and oftentimes without recognition because of the requirement to do that in secret. i'd like to hear how you plan to reinforce the credo no matter the political pressure, no matter what. that the cia officers will always do the right thing and speak truth to power. it's up to america's leaders, including you if you're confirmed to assure that cia officers will not face retribution for speaking that truth to power. beyond this specific task our country faces a host of hazards. technologically to russia's continued malign efforts in cyber space and misinformation and ongoing threats from iran
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and north korea. moreover, we're still in the midst of a global pandemic, although with hope on the horizon that has take on the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of americans. these challenges are difficult, but with our traditionally strong network, they are surmountable. we'll always rely on the cia to be the nation's eyes and ears and see over the horizon and give us warnings of threats and challenges. not simply the ones we are facing now and in the near term, but those in the future against which we must begin to prepare today. fulfilling this committee's oversight obligations will require transparency and responsiveness from your office. we may at times ask difficult questions of you and your staff and we'll expect honest, complete and timely answers. at the same time, we wil also want you to feel free to come to the committee with situations
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that weren't our partnership. you can always count on this committee to hear you out, give you a fair shake, usually without the partisan tinge that has unfortunately affected much of the rest of this capitol. we'll have much more to discuss during today's questions but i want to take this moment to assure you that should you be confirmed i look forward to working closely with you to defend this nation's security. thank you, again, for your years of service to our country and for stepping forward yet again and agreeing to serve. i look forward to your testimony and with that, i recognize the distinguished vice chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and ambassador, thank you for being with us today. i joined the chairman in offering you and your family our congratulations and/or condolences as you may deem appropriate for your nomination at this important time in our nation's history with these challenges that we face. the role that you've been nominated to fill is without parallel in our government. if confirmed, you'll sit at the nexus of the agency's
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intelligence collection and liaison with foreign intelligence services responsible for any of these missions would be an enormous undertaking. for any single one of them, yet alone all of them. but the core mission of the agency is and remains the collection of intelligence, the analysis of that intelligence to help foreign policymakers and the decisions they make and then, of course, operations, as well. and in that context as director, you'll be responsible for managing the cia officers and employees of today but also for cultivating the workforce that we're going to need in the years to come. so, this, in my view, entails that the specialized skills and expertise needed to solve today's unique intelligence challenges are resident at the agency. but also it involves looking ahead a decade and thinking about what the next critical skillset is going to be that the officers will need. so, i appreciate your insights as to how you intend to achieve and accomplish that in your time there. on the subject of workforce management, i want to mention
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that the committee, and in particular, senator collins and others are interested in and ensuring any officers injured in the field are afforded access to the health care and benefits that they need. this is particularly true when it comes to injuries that seem to be consistent with symptoms of traumatic brain injuries. if confirmed, i ask for your commitment to work with the committee so that we can find the appropriate legislative or policy changes that ensure the cia's commitment to the health and care of its officers is never left in doubt and that we are applying the necessary resources to determine who was behind these things and that have impacted personnel from various agencies. i want to be clear, the government of the united states needs to solve this problem, needs to take care of our people, but needs to also respond to whoever is responsible for hurting americans who are serving our country overseas. today the united states faces an array of diverse national
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security threats. an array of threats that is as challenging as any in our history. the long-standing hostility from putin's regime in russia, iran, north korea, a global pandemic moving into its second year, violent extremism, state and nonstate cyber actors that infiltrate and plunder government and private sector computer networks with impunity and new and creative methods. but no challenge that we face rivals the multi-facetted threat posed by the chinese communist party. even as we continue to focus on the threats from counterterrorism and from all these other nation states and nonstate actors, the threat from the chinese communist party is the most significant facing our nation, perhaps in its history. we cannot, in my view, just be the orderly caretakers of our nation's decline. we must confront and i hope frustrate the ambitions of the chinese communist party, not
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just to upend norms and boundaries, but to replace the united states. their goal is to replace the united states as the world's most powerful and influential nation and achieving the goal of not letting that happen is going to involve strengthening and aligning and increase capability and a stronger revolve to meet with this challenge. this is not the same system of crisis that passed cia leaders were called upon. sudden, unpredictable and they're happening with greater frequency. often occurring in a gray space that embraces conflict without quite crossing the line into outright warfare. what i think is playing to me and to all is how they choose to engage the united states. what i'd like to hear from you today and if confirmed in the weeks and months to come is whether the cia needs to change how it engages the world. i hope over the course of our open and closed sessions today
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you'll take the opportunity to explain not only your understanding, but your vision for how that role needs to evolve in the coming years so that the agency is positioned to defend against those emerging national security threats that have not yet even materialized. there is no disputing the speed and unrivaled capability that the agency can bring to bear in responding to a fully realized national security threat. but what i'm driving at, however, towards the technological advances and the connectivity that will be at the core of the next threats. biotechnology, disinformation, deep fakes, social network manipulation. america's adversa adversaies ha all these things and use new instruments of technology and some that don't even have a name yet to close the capability gap that has enabled us for decades.
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methlogical advances calls into question whether the constructs of espionage need to be redesigned with it. i'd welcome your thoughts on this subject both today and going forward and add this is exactly the kind of undertaking that is benefitting by working with this committee and its members. my hope and expectation that you'll look at this committee as a partner for the cia's work as the first line of defense and the relationship between the agency and this committee is premised, obviously, on oversight, but most effective and most constructive when we are candid, fulsome and talking to one another. ambassador, as the chairman indicated, you have a lengthy and distinguished career of service to our country and i thank you for your willingness to resume that service and i certainly look forward to your testimony and your answers here today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator rubio. i understand you have two of most america's james baker and
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leon panetta that will present brief introductions for you. they'll be speaking remotely on your behalf today. so, secretary baker, would you like to go first? >> thank you, chairman warner. thank you, vice president chairman rubio and members of the committee for inviting me to speak today on the nomination of william j. burns to be director of the central intelligence agency. i am truly honored that bill asked me to speak on his behalf today. and i am delighted to be joined by my old friend leon panetta. without any reservations, members of the committee, i can strongly recommend bill burns to you. bill is to be congratulated. bill is quite simply one of the finest and most intelligent american diplomats that i had
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the pleasure of working with. his unique combination of experience, skills and character make him an outstanding choice for directorship of the cia. as secretary of state, i relied on bill's judgment during one of the most tumultuous eras and we worked in the cold war peacefully, ensure the reunification of germany firmly embedded in the west, reverse iraqi aggression against kuwait and bring together israel and all of its neighboring arab states for their first ever face-to-face meeting at the 1991 madrid peace conference. each of these complex situations was challenging. and bill's contributions made an enormous difference.
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bill was there every step of the way, even at times displaying his sense of humor by laughing at my weak jokes. bill combined a remarkable ability to grasp broad historical trends while at the same time, identifying pragmatic opportunities for the united states to advance our interests. after i left office, i watched bill rise to ever more senior ranks in the state department. executive secretary, ambassador to jordan, assistant secretary for eastern affairs, ambassador to russia, under secretary of state for political affairs and then, finally, deputy secretary of state. i wasn't surprised by his success. he is someone who seizes and surmounts every challenge that he meets. members of the committee, you can be assured when it comes to
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the security of the united states, our country will be in capable hands. i cannot help but think about another director of central intelligence. president george h.w. bush. my close friend who served as head of the agency in the 1970s. president bush and bill burnsed a in terms of age, background and career. they do share one essential and important characteristic. an absolute and abiding sense of responsibility and duty to the united states of america. bill burns is a leader and a steady hand under fire. he never hesitates to speak truth, even when he knows it may be unwelcome. he scrupulously nonpartisan and decades of experience working closely with the cia and other
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intelligence agencies. he knows washington. he knows the world. president biden and our country would be very fortunate to have bill burns at the helm of the central intelligence agency. distinguished members of the committee, let me close these brief remarks by simply saying that in my opinion, this confirmation should be a bipartisan no brainer. thank you very much for letting me speak to you today on behalf of bill burns. thank you. >> well, thank you, secretary baker. very much appreciate those comments. secretary panetta. >> chairman, senator warner, vice chairman rubio, distinguished members of the committee, it's an honor for me to, once again, have the
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opportunity to appear before this committee. that is so critical to protecting our national security. i'm honored to be here alongside my friend secretary jim baker. he's an old friend and a colleague for many years in the government. and someone who i believe is probably one of the great statesman and public servants of our time. i'm proud to join him in introducing the president's nominee to be cia director ambassador bill burns. i've known bill for a long time. i've been in public life for probably over 50 years. and i work with him in many of those capacities that i've held in congress, during my tenure as chief of staff to president bill clinton and as director of the cia and secretary of defense in president obama's administration. the job of leading the
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extraordinary women and men of the cia as they carry out their indispensable missions of collection, analysis, covert action all intended to defend our nation. that job, i believe, is one of the most important responsibilities in government. and the most important qualities that i believe a director should have. is to have respect and support the professionals in the cia. they put their lives on the line in order to protect this country and do their jobs. i think it's important for the director to protect them from political influence. to be nonpartisan. and to always, always make sure that the cia speaks truth to power. bill burns has those qualities.
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he understands the dedication of our brave intelligence officers. he has the right experience. he's got the right nonpartisan approach. and he knows the importance of protecting our country. from our adversaries. in a word, he'll make an outstanding director of the cia. i don't need to tell this committee that our nation faces an increasingly complex set of challenges and threats. i think in my lifetime, i've never seen as many flashpoints in the world as we have today whether it's russia or china or iran or north korea. whether it's cyber attacks, the challenges we face in the middle east and afghanistan. all of these challenges demand good intelligence. no president, no president can
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make the right decisions for our nation and protecting our national security without intelligence. this is what the cia does. by collecting and analyzing and presenting intelligence to policymakers so that they can make the best security decisions for the country. and provide intelligence that can be trusted and is credible. the challenge of president biden and a new director is to restore the trust and credibility of the cia. having worked with president biden, i believe that he understands that intelligence must be grounded in facts and never be politicized. he knows our selfless and brave
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intelligence officials and they deserve nothing less than our full support. it's these reasons that he chose bill burns to be the cia director. and i'm confident that both will work to restore trust of the cia with the national security team, with both democrats and republicans on this committee and with our allies and most of all, with the american people. as jim baker pointed out, bill has represented our country for decades as a deadcaded and honest diplomat serving both democratic and republican administrations. and i won't walk through his career, jim just did that. but it's been an outstanding foreign policy career. and i have to say, it's almost exactly ten months ago this or ten years ago this month that bill and i were in the situation room presenting intelligence to the president on the suspected
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whereabouts of osama bin laden. bill saw the cia in action gathering detailed information, providing insights, explaining what we knew and also what we didn't know. and bill was at the white house on may 1st 2011 when the courageous mission of our special operations forces unfolded. he was hand picked by the secretary of state to personally participate in closely held national security discussions about the mission and the place call to our key allies and foreign leaders informing them of the mission. he's a public servant who's spent his life serving and protecting americans. and as cia director, he will certainly speak truth to power
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because that's what bill does. and he's done that his entire career. he's long known that calling it down the middle is essential. even when it may not be convenient. he will also make sure he and other agency leaders are responsive to oversight by this committee and by the congress. as all of you know, i'm a big believer that the cia and this committee have to be partners in order to fulfill the mission of protecting the american people. and he knows the array of challenges that the agency faces. dealing with major competitors, as i said from china to so many other of those flash points i described. and the technological landscape in which our officers now have to operate.
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mr. chairman and vice chairman and members of the committee, bill burns is the right person at the right time to lead the cia. his experience in foreign policy and national security, his judgment, his unquestioned integrity will be assets as he leads the cia in facing the threats that we face. and he understands the sacrifices that are made by our intelligence professionals often working in the shadows in dangerous places away from their families. he knows that cia, these officers are silent warriors. officers who put their lives on the line for our country. and i trust bill burns to be a director who will have their backs so that they can continue
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the mission to protect all americans. as a former director, i am honored to introduce to the committee bill burns and urge his swift confirmation. thank you. >> well, thank you, secretary panetta and let me just say, it's on a personal basis not too bad to have jim baker and leon panetta be your introducers. now we'll move to the oath of office. ambassador burns, will you stand. please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear to give this committee the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth so help you god. >> i do. >> please be seated. before we move to your statement, i'd ask you the five standard questions the committee poses to each nominee who appears before us. they just require a simple yes or no answer for the record. first, do you agree to appear before the committee here or in
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other venues when invited? >> yes, sir. >> if confirmed, do you agree to send officials from your office to appear before the committee and designated staff when invited? >> yes. >> do you agree to provide documents or other materials requested by the committee in order for it to carry out its oversight and legislative responsibilities? >> yes, sir. >> will you ensure that your office and your staff provides such materials to the committee when requested? >> yes. >> do you agree to inform and fully brief to the fullest extent possible all members of this committee of intelligence activities and covert actions rather than only the chairman and vice chairman? >> yes, sir. >> thank you very much. we'll now proceed to your opening statement and after all i'll recognize members by order of appearance.
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so basically seniority. ambassador burns, the floor is yours. >> i'm honored and humbled to appear before you today as president biden's nominee for director of the central intelligence agency. i'm deeply grateful to the president for the opportunity to return to public service and to lead the remarkable women and men of cia. if confirmed, i will do everything in my power to justify the trust placed in me and to earn the trust of this committee, congress and the american people. i am also deeply grateful to secretary baker and director panetta, two of the finest public servants this country has ever produced for their very generous introductions. my whole life has been shaped by public service. my father, a career army officer, fought in vietnam in the 1960s and eventually became the director of the u.s. arms
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control and disarmorment agency. as my three brothers and i bounced from post to post across our remarkable country, i never had to look further than my father for the best model of nonpartisan public service. and i never had to look further than my mother to find the best imaginable example of selflessness and commitment and a life shaped by faith, family and hard work. i shared 33 years in the foreign service with my wife, lisa. herself an exceptional public servant and our two wonderful daughters, lizzy and sarah. their love and support have made everything possible and have enriched my life beyond measure. across those decades as a diplomat in the middle east and russia and as a senior official and administrations of both parties, i developed enormous respect for my cia colleagues. i served alongside them in hard places around the world.
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it was their skill at collection and analysis that often gave me an edge as a negotiator. their partnership that helped make me an effective ambassador and their insights that helped me make thoughtful choices of the most difficult policy issues. i learned that good intelligence delivered with honesty and integity is america's first line of defense. i learned that intelligence professionals have to tell policymakers what they need to hear, even if they don't want to hear it. and i learned that politics must stop where intelligence work begins. that is exactly what president biden expects of cia. it was the first thing he told me when he asked me to take on this role. he said he wants the agency to give it to him straight and i pledged to do just that. and to defend those who do the same. as the president has emphasized
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all of america's national security institutions will have to reimagine their roles on an international landscape that is profoundly different from the world i encountered as a young diplomat nearly 40 years ago or even the world as it was when i left government six years ago. today's landscape is increasingly complicated and competitive. it's a world where familiar threats persist from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to an aggressive russia, a provocative north korea and hostile iran. but it's also a world of new challenges in which climate change and global health insecurity are taking a heavy toll on the american people. in which cyber threats pose an ever greater risk to our society. and in whiched aversarial predatory chinese leadership poses our biggest geopolitical test. four interrelated priorities will shape my approach to
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leading the cia, china, technology, people and partnerships. as president biden has underscored, outcompeting china will be key to our national security in the decades ahead. that will require a long-term, clear eyed, bipartisan strategy underpinned by domestic renewal and solid intelligence. areas in which it will be in our mutual self-interest to work with china from climate change to nonproliferation and i'm very mindful that china is not without problems and frailties of its own. there are, however, a growing number of areas in which china is a formidable adversary strengthening capabilities to steal intellectual property, repress its own people, bully its neighbors, expand global reach and build influence in american society.
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for cia that will mean intensified focus and urgency. continuing strengthening of china specialists, expanding its language skills, aligning personnel and resource allocation for the long haul and employing a whole of agency approach to the operational and analytical challenges of this crucial threat. another priority intimately connected to china is technology. as all of you know as well as i do, the revolution and technology and rapid advances in fields like artificial intelligence are transforming the ways we live, work, fight and compete. cia has a rich tradition of innovation and nothing will matter more to our ability to remain the best intelligence service in the world. cia will need to relentlessly sharpen its capabilities to understand how rivals use cyber and other technological tools
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and anticipate, detect and deter their use and keep an edge in developing them ourselves. if confirmed, no higher priority than reinforcing cia's greatest asset, its people. the work is often invisible to most americans, but i have served side by side with them. seeing first hand their courage, their professionalism and their sacrifices. i was privileged to be in the white house situation room when cia's brilliant work helped bring osama bin laden to justice. but i also remember sadder and harder days. the sorrow and pain after the tragic attack and quiet, personal moments spent in front of the agency's memorial war whose stars include friends with whom i served. honoring the sacrifice those stars represent mean strengthening a workforce worthy of the cia seal. one that reflects the richness of our society and enables us to
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carry out our global mission. that means working even harder to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion from entry level to senior ranks. it means working even harder to retain and develop the agency's extraordinary talent. equipping them with the language skills, technical tools and training and trade craft that they require. and it means ensuring the health and well being of colleagues and their families through this awful pandemic and wherever and whenever they face harm or risk. finally, if confirmed, i'll prioritize partnerships within the intelligence community and across the world. i will work closely with the director of national intelligence my long-time friend and colleague avril haines to make sure the agency's efforts fit seamlessly for the intelligence community. america's partnerships and
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alliances are what set our country apart from lonelier major powers like china and russia. for cia, intelligence partnerships are an increasingly important means of amplifying our understanding and influence. investing in those liaison relationships has never been more important. it's a task for which my whole career has prepared me. no partnership will be more important to me than the one i hope to build with all of you on this committee. in my conversations with each of you over the last few weeks, i have been struck by your commitment to bipartisanship and sense of shared purpose. i deeply respect your crucial oversight role, which allows the american people to have confidence that the agency is working faithfully on their behalf and living up to our values. if confirmed, i promise to do all i can to earn your trust and to be a strong partner. i'll seek your advice, as well
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as your consent and i'll be accessible and honest, qualities i've tried hard to demonstrate throughout a lifetime in public service. i am deeply honored to be here today and i look forward to your questions. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, ambassador burns. for planning purposes, if any member of the committee submit questions please do so by the close of business by friday february 26th. we will be going through five-minute rounds. can you speak with a little more specificity to how you can go about restoring some of the morale of the workforce of the cia and what should be, morale is a term, are there measurement techniques or things we should look to see how the workforce is doing, operating three months, six months a year in? >> well, mr. chairman, i think
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in many ways the most important single thing is to reinforce to what i hope are my future colleagues and cia if i'm confirmed that their work matters more than ever as i tried to describe in my opening statement. that their expertise, their courage, their sacrifices are respected. and that as i promised president biden, we will deliver unvarnished intelligence, the best possible intelligence we can gather, the most sophisticated all-source analysis to deliver to policymakers without any hint of politics or policy agenda. to speak truth to power, just as you rightly emphasized in your own opening comments. that's what president biden expects of me. that's what i will do to the very best of my ability. and as i said, i will defend all of my colleagues who do exactly the same thing. and i think that's what's crucially important. >> we, i think the committee,
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will want to check in on this on a fairly regular basis. i think we've heard a number of concerns a number of folks, professionals who are leaving. we have to staunch that flow and move forward. on that, on that issue and related at least and this has really been a concern of senator collins, but the whole committee. we've seen evidence now not just of agency personnel, but state department personnel and others become victims of mysterious attacks. for a while called the havana syndrome and a number of us quite concerned that we still don't know the source of those attacks. we still don't policiy have a full medical diagnosis and even though we have put into law in the last three intel authorization bills the ability for the cia director to drive enhanced benefits to those
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individuals. you know, the kind of first-rate quality health care and compensation they need and deserve. we're not sure that is really taking place. i want you to speak to that and also get a commitment from you that cia personnel who may have suffered brain injury have the option of treatment at our nation's premier tbi facilities including walter reed and other faciliies of highest caliber. to date, unfortunately, that has not been the case. >> mr. chairman, first thing i would mention your leadership, the leadership of the vice chairman and senator collins, as well as other members of the committee on these issues. not only do i admire and appreciate it, but i know it's deeply appreciated by the women and men of cia. if i'm confirmed as director of cia, i will have no higher priority than taking care of people of colleagues and their families.
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and i do commit to you that if i'm confirmed, i will make it an extraordinarily high priority to get to the bottom of who's responsible for the attacks that you just described and to ensure that colleagues and their families get the care that they deserve, including at the national institutes of health and at walter reed and i look forward very much to working with all of you to ensure that that's the case. >> my last question is, this committee under the leadership of senator burns, senator rubio and carved out the role as the technology committee on the hill and we really were the group that first raised the concerns about china's technological advances. we were the committee that called into question and then tried to formulate across government a 5g response. this issue of technology
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advancement and as senator rubio pointed out, that china doesn't have the goal of competing with. they have the goal of beating us in technological advancement. you may want to comment on this briefly, but continuing cia's role to monitor china's advancement and all these technology fields not simply a cia directive, but we think the intelligence community has a broader view on this issue than any other part of our government. >> no, it's hugely important, mr. chairman. as i tried to emphasize in my opening statement, that connection between dealing with an an adverserial china and i do respect the role of this committee. i watched the open hearing yesterday on solar winds and it seemed to me to be a classic illustration of the value of
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serious committee and looking at these issues. i look forward to working with all of you on that. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, in your written questions you acknowledge that china uses cultural and educational programs and things like the confucius institutes and other to try to influence u.s. policy debates to spread prochina propaganda. given this acknowledgment, i want to focus on your time as president for carnegie involvement. involved with the china/united states exchange foundation. an organization that you acknowledged in your written questions or answers. it's part of china's united front system, which is an effort to co-op and neutralize sources and foreign countries to adopt positions and narrative supportive of beijing's preferred policies. and in this work at the endowment, it's reported that in 2019 invited 11 congressional staffers on a trip to china.
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they met with the professioner who works for the committee and met with the president of another group for the chinese communist party a group that was designated last october as a group that seeks to directly influence, actually, directly influence state and local leaders in the united states and this group that you partner with, you know, china/united states exchange foundation congressionally appointed commission in august of 2018 said they showed a clear intent to influence policy towards china in the united states. so, given your state of concerns about chinese soft power influence efforts, why while you were at the helm did carnegie endowment establish a relationship with and accept funding from this group, this china/united states exchange foundation? >> thanks, senator rubio, for the question.
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the first thing i would recognize that carnegie endowment is a transparent organization and scrupulous about ensuring that whatever financial support it receives whether it's from trustees or foundations, doesn't in any way shape the content or the conclusions of scholarly work at carnegie. that's first. second, on the china/u.s. exchange foundation. this is a relationship that i inherited when i became president of carnegie and i ended not long after i became president precisely for the concerns you just described. we were increasingly worried about the expansion of chinese operations and shortly after i ended that relationship, we began a program at the carnegie endowment on countering foreign which was aimed at china and russia and supported in part from a grant from the of a gran global engagement center. on the second issue, that you
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raised on the congressional staff delegation, in 2019 we did partner with the aspen institute which, as you know for decades under the leadership of dan glickman, they have managed member and staff delegations to many different parts of the world. this includes republicans and democrats. it was fully approved in advance by the house ethics committee and in my view is about illustration about what carnegie should do which is to provide congressional staff members with an opportunity to engage directly with chinese counter parts and to express their concerns about chinese actions and malign behavior. it was a good illustration of what a nongovernmental
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institution like carnige can do. i have tried to demonstrate our appreciation of that threat. >> my second and final question is the policy institute has been highly scrutinized. you worked there to set up the center in beijing, a center that featured seven individuals that work at the university as it's guiding scholars who have ties to the communist party. two of the fellows serve, and the center partner, a beijing think tank, and a link to the parties, via the -- he plays a
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prominent role with the front. i'm curious what conditions, restrictions, did the chinese impose in order for this center to be set up. >> well senator rubio you're right. the center they operate in bay sink has has more more than a decade is a partnership with the university. i was extraordinarily careful to ensure that the arrangements that we have as a governmental organization allow us to continue to do indent work and that has been the indication in the last six years. i also made clear that the moment that we were constrained in doing that work we would cease operations because our point is not simply to exist. it is to do high quality independent work.
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when that that is the moment that is the moment it is no locker feasible. >> thank you, as you know over a decade ago, they engaged in the use of o water boarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. you provided straightforward answers and i believe it remains a priority to make sure that we never return to this. let me ask you the same types of questions that i asked director coats and haskill. do you agree that current law
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does not allow any interrogation techniques. >> senator feinstein, it's good to see you. i believe that waterboarding does constitute torture. the issue of the techniques has been a settled matter for more than a decade. they were prohibited in this situation. and i think it is fair to say that we learned some very hard lessons in the period after 9/11. it is very important, crucial, can to be mindful of those lessons and to move forward. it's in that spirit that i also share director hanez view that we should not take actions
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against or prejudice the careers of officers that may have worked in those programs at a time when they were operating under the department of justice guidelines and under the direction of the president. so to answer the question, i'm committed to what the law provides right now and to ensure that those enhanced interrogation methods are never again used by cia. they are certainly not under my leadership when they're confirmed. >> it was fulsome, and i respect the fact that you came forward with it in the way that you did. as noted for the record, in 2019 and our most reentt worldwide threats assessment hearing, china has the ability to launch cyber attacks that cause
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localized attempts. russia has the ability to exkutt cyber attacks in the united states, they generate localized constructs. so i'm concerned by this and i want to know how we address this threat. so here is the question. what do you believe is the appropriate role for the cia in diminishing these types of cyber threats to our critical infrastructure? and what else could the cia be doing to help ensure the integrity of national signer -- cyber security. >> thank you, as the hearing that this committee conducted yesterday underscored, the solar winds attack was a very hash
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wake up calls for all of us in the private sector and the public sector. and we have seen how the chinese and the russian leadership have an aggressive determination to take advantage of these. i fist saw this in moscow in 2011. and they staged a very determined signer attack on estonia. so if this is a harsh wake up call, i think it is essential for the cia to work even harder to develop our capabiliies to detektt these kind of attacks. to help atranscript those.
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i continue to develop our own technological and signer capabilities as part of that potential deterrence, and at the same time to deepen partnerships across the intelligence community with agencies like the fbi and the department of security. many of who have faced these same kind of threats where we can learn from their experience and working together to not only build better defenses but also to begin to build leverage. over time i have been convinced work with like-minded countries, allies, and partners to not only build leverage but rules of the road. they help protect critical
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infrastructure and make clear international understandings that certain kinds of critical infrastructure are off limits. that will take time and enormous effort. but i think the cia and the intelligence with be an important part of that effort. >> thank you, mr. chair? >> thank you, mr. chairman. ambassador, welcome. hard to leave that we have known each other for a quarter century. you have not been given vacation spots at your time at the state department and we have grateful for you for your service up until now and for now what you're about to embark on. it is difficult for federal agencies to recruit talent today. it is particularly difficult at an agency that requires security
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clearances. do you have any idea today how you might want to restructure the recruitment process so that you can begin to unboard people earlier? it is different to recruit out of a university or graduate and say we have a job for you, but in a year after you have cleared security clearance, do you see a need to revamp that in a way that allows you to bring that talent in? >> senator bu are, r, yes, i do. i have seen this from my own experience at another agency. the price that you pay when security clearance processes drag on and on you is hard to recruit a diverse workforce that cia requires to be effective. so one of my priorities if i'm confirmed is to take a hard look at that issue. i no e that hard work has gone
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on in the past. i know previous directors have worked hard on this. but i agree on your significance. you can't hope for recruitment processes unless we find a way to stream line that process. >> the chairman has been outspoken about it and i'm sure he will be dogged as it relates to the way forward. you speak three languages. talk to us about how you see language requirements within the agency going forward. is it a priority? >> it has to be a priority. i know it was for gina haskill as well. human intelligence cuts to the core of cia's unique role and responsibilities. part of gathering that human intelligence, which compliments technical means of the cia and
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other parts of the intelligence community. part of that has to require, does require, a facility in foreign languages. so as i discussed the high priority that i would attach to china if i'm confirmed as director, part of that priority requires expanding the number of mandarin language speakers, making that a priority, and continue to expand it at the cia. it is crucially important. >> you heard and you will hear members on this committee all talk about technology. and i think most of us would agree that the united states is retarded as it related to our ability to adapt new technologies. we're slow. we fight it.
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the reason that many of our adversaries made the gains they had is because of their willingness to accept and use technology, to leverage that against what we have built. how do you intend to use technology both in the workforce and in the trade craft to make sure that we fully take advantage of what i think is the greatest innovative country in the world. >> cia has a rich history of technology and innovation. i recognize that we'll have to work harder to be innovative. one of the big challenges today in operational trade craft is technical surveillance. the capacity of a number of
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them, they will have to adapt to that type of a challenge. i'm sure they're capable of that. it will also require, this is one point that i would add, a greater effort to work with the private sector as well so that we can knot only keep pace with technological progress, but get out ahead of it. that is exactly what our adversaries are doing and that's what i think we need to put greater effort into as well. >> the two introductions made for you highlighted the need for the partnership with this committee and with the cia. i know you embrace that fully. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. ambassador, at the risk of this becoming a full fledge bouquet tossing contest, i want to register a cupping areas that
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you have been noveled in that are important to me. i any your experience at the state department, it is rare that we seem people with that kind of backgrounds. let me start and i think we touched on it. if they say something publicly that is inaccurate, will you correct the public record? >> i believe it is a serious responsibility if i'm a cia director in the case of a policy maker making a statement that i judge lat tore be in variance with intelligence to try to correct that statement and to get it right. i think as you know that cuts to
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the core of bidding credibility and trust. i think that is sound policy choices as well. i would take that very seriously in doing everything i can to correct the record. >> my second question deals with this question of technology and i'm glad that you taken out the ground that will be a priority for you. a major technology challenge will be to protect sources and methods while not hiding the legal interpretations that are used to conduct operations. i'm especially troubled by situations in which the government goes around the courses and buys americans private records from data brokers. people that are unregulated, one of the sleaziest operations that i know of we talked about this
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with director hanes at her confirmation process, and i would like to ask you whether or not you would make public the circumstances under which the intelligence community, the cia as part of the package purchases the communication. >> yes, senator i share the shoe that it would have very popular to lay out a frame work that makes clear and the legal boundaries for which we would under take those responsibilities. so i share the commitment. >> in 2013 the cia acknowledged that it fell short for failures
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associated with the management of the torture program. i want to use my words carefully here. this has been a subject of some debate. the cia then recommended and what i believe the discussion was about was going forward that it and aumpss responsible for those problems as well as management failures. this is a recommendation from a long time ago. will you implement it so everybody be will clear about the fact that it is falling. >> yes, senator. i will certainly follow through on that if i'm confirmed as
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director and i do think it is important in conducting accountability review processes to look at ways in which you can address systemic problems as well. i want to work with you on the time line and this will be something that we will talk about on another occasion. because it was recommended in 2013, it's a long time we have to get it done. over times they are limbing staff access. and failing to inform the committee at all. will you conduct a thorough review and report back to the full committee so that all of us, every member, will know how access can be expanded? >> i will be committed to trying
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to provide as much situation as possible to the broader committee and i do commit to reviewing the practices of my predecessors with review of the gang of age. >> thank you, i will be supporting ambassador burns and i look forward working with him. >> we are going by order of arrival at the gavel. >> senator burns, welcome. i want to express my appreciation for our conversation about the cia officials that have been the sect of these terrible attacks
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that have left them with permanent traumatic injuries. i'm very glad that the chairman and the vice chairman brought up this issue to you. i know we have a firm commitment to ensure that those injured receive the best possible medical care. without going through roadblocks. i hope we also have your commitment to focus on identifying the perpetrator of these attacks. >> senator, i appreciate your care on these as well. i refer to size my commitment on both of those counts to doing everything that i can if i'm confirmed as director to help get to the bottom of who is responsible for those attacks.
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>> could you -- could you scoot your mike a little closer? >> and commit to not only trying to get to the bottom of who is responsible, but also to ensure my future colleges get the care they and their families deserve. and i look forward very much to working with you on those issues. i no e there is a range of other issues affecting the care and well being of my future colleagues. those that served as paramilitary officers and made enormous sacrifices in the last two decades that also face genuine health challenges. i also commit to trying to ensure they get the best care possible as well. >> thank you, in the questions for the record, you were asked about the confucius institutes
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that were run. some of our college campuses. and i was pleased to see that you agree that the chinese communist party uses these institutes as an instrument for propaganda. two questions. first, could you elaborate on how the chinese communist party uses these confucius instituts to advance their goals. second what is the advice to any college campus still hosting a confusius institute. >> i think what they do is to promote a narrative of xi jinping's china. that is designed to build
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sympathy for what is, in my view, a quite aggressive leadership that is an adversarial approach. so that particular dimension of foreign influence operations constitutes a genuine risk. my advice for any institutions, including academic institutions, is to be extraordinarily careful of what the motives are. and to be very careful in engaging them. >> would you recommend shutting them down? >> if i was a president of a college and university and the head of a confucius institute that is what i would do. >> thank you, chairman.
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welcome ambassador. thank you for the time that we were able to connect earlier. if you're confirmed you will be the first that you will be the first diplomat in the career agency. you'll be in a position position to ensure that good intelligence is in the service of good policy. talk to us a little at the 30,000 foot level how you intend to leverage your experience in this new role as you did again. >> i had long experience in the field and in senior policy making jobs in washington and in working with the cia and i
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absolutely agree with you. that good intelligence delivered with honesty and integrity is the critical foundation for sound policy choices. i had a very positive experience as a chief emission working with intelligence colleagues. they understood that i was the president's representative on the ground. i lead country teams in the case of, for example, moscow when i was there from 2005 to 2008 was one of our biggest embasies in the world. there was two dozen agencies in that team. their obligation to keep me currently formed. i respected their professionalism and trusted it and i didn't micromanage. i can't imagine one instance in
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moscow or jordan where we had to elevate an issue because we have a difference. there was several instances, not a large number, where the differences were raised to my level. and i was able to work out with my counter part, the deputy director of cia, in virtually all of those instances a reasonable approach. i can count on less than one hand the number of times that we had to elevate that even higher. so i raise that only because i think there is no substitute in the end for good leadership, professionalism, and trust in making that relationship work and in understanding the critical role of unvarnished intelligence in the policy making process. >> i think that is a helpful answer. and setting up my next question as well which is "this is a remarkable agency. it has some of the most talented
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people in service to our country of any agency in existence. but as i mentioned in our recent conversation when things do get awry, sometimes it is because of things that are inherent to the culture if can be resistant to change, to transparency, not always welcoming of outsiders. i'm just curious, if it you're confirmed, how would you approach -- especially as an outsider, the cultural challenges that can be inhaernt -- inherent in an agency like this. >> i'm aware of the cultural identities. the old institution they have their old share of tribalism and
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cultural challenges. it's not perfect, either. you have to understand what drives professionals in an organization. if you're a case officer overseas, that requires an enormous amount of professional skill, courage, and creativity as well and that's a huge asset for the promotion of american interests around the world. analysts at cia are noted for their honesty, for their willingness to speak truth to power, and that's why it is so essential for the director to have their backs. making sure we get the best out of those different roles at the agency to keep pace with technological change as well. another great asset, i think, of cia and to be able to integrate
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all of those skills and cultures in a way that serves the national interests. and that's what i will be determined to do. >> thank you, chairman. i was going to understand those two topics. i read in some of the articles that the cia agents you worked with over the years were incredibly competent. that as a consumer of this information you bring a lot to the job. i think he said "burns knows the building." and i think your response to senaor heinrick suggests that you know the importance of being engaged in that culture in an intimate way. i'm wondering as maybe the
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bigger consumer of who had this job. how would that impact you structuring how the product comes out and how the agency works as it relates to the ultimate goal of the information not for the cia to make a decision, but to get it to the consumer in a way that an ambassador or someone in the administration or a member of congress can fully understand the information in the best possible way? >> thank you so much, senator. it cuts to the core of what my responsibilities will be if i'm confirmed. you know as a senior policymaker and consumer of intelligence from the cia, what mattered most to me was that i get their honest judgment on issues. even when it might be
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inconvenient or unwelcome in some ways if complicated what was a complicated set of policy choices. what i learned, sometimes the hard way, over my career is that unless you're getting unvarnished intelligence without policy agendas, it is nearly impossible to have an effective policy. whether or not there is a cyber threat like the one that the committee was discussing yesterday. being able to get to the bottom of that is absolutely crucial to try to sort through policy choices as well. so i think that the better the connection in a way between policymakers who understand what it takes to produce high quality intelligence and produce it in a timely way, and intelligence professionals that understand what policymakers are wrestling
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with as they try to sort through what are inevitably a set of unappealing choices, i think that becomes crucial to an effective process. >> i think you want to be sure that this committee becomes an informed ally in the effort to be sure that the artificial intelligence, the machine learning, helps you -- is adequate to get things narrowed down to where a individual should be looking at them. there is more information all of the time, and you get to your best policy point. the ambassador there, how do you think that your understanding of moscow is goes to be helpful as
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you advise the president. >> i remember fondly our meeting now, almost 15 years ago, i think nonow in moscow. most of my white hair came from dealing with russia. it is always a mistake to underestimate putin's russia. it is a declining power, but we have to be quite cold eyed in how the threats emerge. in dealing with those threats, responding to them and deterring them, firmness and consistency is hugely important. and it is also very important to work to the maximum extent possible with allies and partners. we have more effect sometimes on
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putin's calculus when he sees firm responses coming not just from the united states but also from our european allies and others as well. so it pays off to work hard at widening the circle of countries that push back. >> thank you i look forward to your nomination and your relationship when you're confirmed that you will have with this committee that is incredibly important for us and i hope it turns out to be important for you. >> i look forward to it senator. >> thank you chairman. >> senator king on web-x. >> thank you and welcome to the committee. it's great to be with you. i realized when you were being introduced we both took the foreign services exam. you passed and i did, but we won't dwell on that. i appreciate having you here.
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there is a lot of talk today about truth to power. and sometimes that sounds too easy. and my concern is that it is not -- it is more subtle than someone doctoring intelligence or changing it. it is human nature to tell the boss what he wants to hear. so the question is how do we build a structure to be sure that that is the on-going policy and that we don't slip into a kind of comfortable relationship with the president or this committee or the secretary of defense where it is more of an unconscious process, but the result is the same. biassed intelligence that undermines good decision making. give us thoughts on that.
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speaking truth to power has to be more than a slogan. it is often easier said than done. the tone gets said at the top. i have known president biden for a quarter century and i have great respect for him. when he told me in literally almost the first thing he said when he asked me to take on this role, that he expected me and cia to deliver intelligence to him straight, i know that he meant it. i think setting that tone at the top is crucially important. i know it can become difficult in the press of crisis and policy making to lose sight of the importance of delivering unadulterated intelligence judgements. it's important to be reminded of that. i know all of you on this committee will remind me, but i can say that i'm acutely aware of the importance of playing that role. i know it is different from the
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one i played in the past as a policymaker or an ambassador overseas. i understand from those perspectives how crucial it is to have intelligence, the best possible intelligence that cia can collect, delivered with honesty and integrity. and that is what i intend to do. >> in order to effectuate that i hope you will provide support to the analytical integrity program that is on going so the commitment you have from the agency extends through the agency. to follow up in your memoir you said your greater professional regret was your failure to effectively communicate your concerns prior to the 2003 invasion of iraq. seems to me that is an example of exactly what we're talking about. share that experience, if you would. >> sure. first senator i do agree with
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you on the important role that that is played. if i'm confirmed as director i will do everything i can to defend and strengthen that role. if gives analysts an opportunity if they have concerns about pressures or politicalization to raise them as well. i tried to write honestly, and the memoir that i published about my experience about the southeast bureau for colin powell, a leader for whom i have enormous respect in the run up to iraq war. i tried to be honest about concerns that we had about how complicated the day after in iraq would be even if the u.s. military successfully overthrew saddam hussein. a couple colleagues and mine, ryan crocker who became an
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ambassador in the hardest places around the world, wrote a memo in 2002 that we entitled "the perfect storm." and we tried imperfectly to lay out our concerns about what could go wrong in the run up to the war and we got it about half right and half wrong in terms of many of the problems we tried to identify. but i mention it only because it was an honest effort to express our concerns. and i think that is what is incumbent whether or not you're in a policy making role as i was then at the state department, or a senior intelligence role. be straightforward about your concerns. without that policy choices suffer. >> thank you. thank you mr. ambassador. i will also join my colleagues in seeing i look forward to working with you and the relationship with this committee is very important because
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separately from other agencies nobody is watching the cia except us. and therefore you have got to be as open as possible with us so that we can meet our responsibility to the american people to be sure that this secret organization, that is an anomaly in a democracy is being overseen and supervised by elected representatives. >> and i just want to make clear for members that the procedures we were operating with today, i no e it is a little different than in the past, we were doing questions in order of seniority among those present when the hearing was gavelled to order. senator corning? >> thank you, mr. ambassador for saying yes to president biden.
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and congratulations and again thank you for assuming this important role. i can't think anyone that has the breadth of experience that you have had. i know you have been exsupposed to a lot of foreign intelligence services. are there intelligence services around the world, any of them, that stand out as having what you believe would be commendable organizations or operations or structures? something that the united states government ought to consider in terms of structuring, organizing, or operating our intelligence services? >> i think there is a number amongst our partners.
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we could be looking at it from a perspective of a diplomat. some of the closest european allies are first rate partners. certainly the israeli intelligence services that i have known over the years are extremely capable and have also, i think, worked hard on the technology issue that we were discussing before which is extremely important. we also had intelligence services who are close partners in the war on terrorism, you know, over the last 20 years, whose capabilities i think, at least in my experience, have been enhanced over recent years. sometimes because of the cooperation with u.s. intelligence services. that is extremely important moving forward. i think there is something that we could learn and we also have to pay very careful attention to the capabilities of our adversaries as well. the russian intelligence services that i have experience with over the years or chinese intelligence services as well.
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it is important not to under estimate them. they're putting a great deal of effort into technological development and we see that on the part of smallered adversarial intelligence services. it's important not to under estimate their capabiliies and to learn where we can. >> on another topic, one of the things we learned from this pandemic is our vulnerability to supply chains. and reassuring our manufacturing of semiconductors. china is building about 16 fab's
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but we need to approach, i think, some of these national security challenges we have in china in a different way. what i mean by that is that we're so stove piped here in congress in terms of the way we do things. if it came to a financial incentive for the development of some oelg, that doesn't quite fit very well into our structure for appropriations and budget caps and the like. but i wish you would work with us and give some thought not only to what the vulnerabilities are, and thevulnerability that exists, but to help us find ways to perhaps modify, change, reform, or just adapt to the new
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competition that we have with china where they're investing billions of dollars in everything from 5g to ai. will you commit to working with us on that kmaj? >> yes, and i admire the work that you have done to highlight that problem. semi conductors as you mentioned is a classic example of that as well. if i'm confirmed, to understand from the perspective we bring from abroad, the ways some of our rivals can take advantage of those allies. and then to look at ways that we can coordinate efforts.
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it's not a as a ruler in iblt that is unique as you well know. so i look forward to working with you on that. >> if the chairman will indulge me, a final question on nuclear proliferation, can iron be trusted with a nuke a lar weapon? >> no, sir. i think it is important to do everything we can to keep them from developing a nuclear weapon. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you ambassador for your willingness to serve. we're very, very grateful that you're coming back. you had mentioned the enhanced competition with an increasingly threatening constitutional party. chairman warner said the committee has been closely tracking chie noo's assertive moves from moves and port frug.
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and investments that are intended to put our challenges in space. you listed off i think nuclear proliferation climate global health and technology as things where we news a long-term -- you said i think a long-term clear eyed approach. and you worked in countries with authoritarian regimes. it is poignant, i think, to see the two luminaries introduce you this morning, it is a reminder of a time where they can find a way to work together in this policy. making sure that we are looking out ten years or 20 years between the commercial breaks on the cable television at night.
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how do we as a democracy kpeetting in -- competing with totalatarian areas, how can we compete and win and succeed? i'm just interested in your perspective about helping us elevate our view. >> first, senator, i think it is important to approach all of those formidable challenges you just described with a sense of confidence. while i recognize that the international landscape is changing fast, we're in a period of profound transformation. the united states may no longer be the singular dominant player that we were when i worked for secretary baker 30 years ago, but i would still argue that we have a better hand to play than any of our major rivals. that's because of our capacity for domestic renewal that i know has been tested in recent years. but it is hugely important and
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it sets us apart from authoritarian regimes around the world. and second our capacity to draw on allies and partners that sets us apart from lonelier powers. the second thing that i would stress to pick up your point is that it is important as pressing as immediate crisis and immediate threats always are, at the cia, and anywhere else in the u.s. government, you have to be able to look over the horizon a little bit. you mentioned one very good example of that which is space. something that i know you have been very focused on. you know here is an area where they're working overtime to develop ourcapabilities. it can threaten things that are important to us. they can also handle international rules of the road right now in terms of commerce,
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security, or anything else. i think it is incumbent on cia to focus on issues like that. to highlight the threat that is growing for american interests, and then to try to think creatively and in support of policymakers about how you anticipate those threats and start planning for the best ways to deal with them. >> we look forward to working with you on all of that, i think. as you write in your book, the period of time that baker represents is a time when we were in the cold war and we had an organizing principal of some kind. it didn't mean that we didn't make mistakes because we did all of the time but we had an organizing principal. and i think that we lost that at the end of the cold war in some respects. that organizing principal. and 9/11 happened and disoriented us. and i think it is an opportunity
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to reintroduce our values to the rest of the world and do it with a sense of optimism. we should have a sense of optimism. a lot of the countries you served in had a sense of january 6th happen to them. what they don't have is what happened on january 20th here which is the peaceful transfer of power and that should give us confidence going forward and i hope it gives you confidence. >> absolutely i think we should approach however formidable the challenges are we should approach them with confidence and optimism. whether or not people like our promises or hate them, what they expect from americans is problem solving. that's what they admire most about our society when it's operating at it's best and that's what they hope to see from american leadership in the world. we don't always get it right.
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we don't always have a monopoly on wisdom, but we don't want to under estimate that core strength that america has and needs for the world. >> senator sasse? >> thank you, chairman. ambassador, congratulations. thank you for the time you spent with us in the run up to this and i will just say this committee as it well known to the members and to you is different than most committees on the hill. i think usually because we don't have cameras. usually people don't have incentive to make grandstanding speeches and this committee works better than most. i also want to commend you on the substance of your opening statement. confirmation hearings are usually an exercise in defense. you said a ton of substantive things. i also think your answers to senator rubio about ccp operations were meaty. so thank you for that. so this is not a hostile question at all, this is a
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genuinely sympathetic question. you said the biggest four priorities that you have are china, tech, human capital, and i forget the term -- alliances? >> partnerships. >> i think that is exactly the right issue set, and i think the right order. so first of all, congratulations. you have a substantive view of the calling you face. it's not bad we have had to go through an evolution as a nation on our china policy because everybody in a bipartisan way 20 years odd had a very different policy view, and that has not happened. could you walk us through a little of your evolution because you had different positions. i think i detect even an evolution from your atlantic piece that i read last
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june/july, to your meaty stuff today. walk us through your evolution in the last three or four years of how you think about the ccp? >> i think the truth is that xi jinping's china but engs mentioned it has been a walk up call in many ways. aggressive, undisguised ambition and assertiveness that made clear of the picture of the rival that we face today. and i think that has been true across partisan lines and not just in the congress but across our society. and the challenge therefore is how do you build a long-term -- and i emphasize long-term. we have to buckle up for the long haul. this is not like the competition of the soviet union and the cold war that was ideological.
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so it is buckling up for the long term and developing a clear eyed strategy that i think is possible right now. my role if i'm director of the cia is to try to ensure not only that we approach this with urgency and a very sharp focus but expand our capabiliies and deliver the best possible intelligence about the nature of chinese intentions and capabilities. that's the only way we can sustain that long-term strategy. the only other thing as we discussed before is a critical part of that is working with allies and partners. because that is where, you know, xi jinping's china and the wolf warrior diplomacy created opportunities for us. not just in asia, but other
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parts of the world to the snach of that threat as well. we need to take advantage of that in intelligence partnerships and in terms of diplomacy. >> i want to transition a little to your bureaucratic challenges and trying to reorient the agencies budget. if we had more time though i would also want to drill down a little bit and i may do that in private and follow up to this in our classified time today. a lot of us are very worried about secretary carey's undefined role. they will lie about what they're doing on climate. he will lie. if we have race challenges between the ccp and the freedom loving nations, the new nato for the digital revolution. the partnership and the
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technology standards, whatever that thing is if we take the pressure off and the alliance that we're going to build because there is a climate summit in 18 or 24 months where he will promise a bunch of work, it will be a house of cards. so i would like to ask you in the post 9/11 moment it was right for us to be focused on the global ct threat and the spread of jihadism. that's not the biggest challenge we face right now and most of our ic budget and personnel still has lingering effects. >> thank you, i look forward to a longer conversation with you on these. it's important to view cooperation with china on climate issues not as a fey tor
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to the united states. it is not something to be traded, it's in the self-interest of china as well to work on these issues and it's important to be clear eyed on that as the president and secretary carey will be. i don't have a neat formula to offer you about the balance between what is a continuing threat posed by terrorist groups and what are clearly huge emerging challenging particularly china but the other ones that you mentioned. it will be critically important for the agency to adapt for resource and focus. i don't have a neat formula to offer you today welcome but i look forward to working with you on that. that adaptation is going to require prioritizing among resources and people. >> thank you, i know the chairman will take my mic so i won't ask the question and i'll say that i'll follow up with you as well about the historical advisory program.
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your memoir shows the importance of declassifying records. we need to protect sources and methods wherever we can. we must. it's essential, but the inertia of motion should eventually be to declassification for public trust and scholarly purposes, and i think right now the inertia inside most of our agencies is assume if someone doesn't proactively declassify it stays classify. >> senator casy. >> senator cotton has been extraordinarily patient when we switch the order here a little bit today so i don't want to try his patience any further. >> senator casy. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. great to be with you. i come today to this hearing to thank you for or to express gratitude for three reasons. number one is for your exemplary public service, and i think that's an understatement, number two, for your service -- the service of your family starting with your father and throughout the time that your immediate
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family has served with you and provided their own measure of service. i'm especially grateful that your father has roots in pennsylvania and i think you've told me before specifically in scranton, pennsylvania. >> yes, sir. >> we provides a special recognition for me. but most importantly maybe for today your recognition in your opening statement of the -- not only the service but the sacrifice of the men and women of the cia. you talked about the -- those personal moments that you had in front of that agency and memorial wall and knowing some of those who had lost their lives so i appreciate the fact that you recognize them. i wanted to ask two questions. one is only specific, and one is more broad about our national security threats. the staff drafted a very good question for a new member that i'll use, but on china and you said, and i'm quoting in your
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opening statement, outcompeting china is key to our national security, and i agree with that. number two, when i consider the threats, the economic threats that china poses to a state like pennsylvania i've often said when china cheats, we lose jobs in pennsylvania so i guess just in terms of the threats posed by china, i guess by way of kind offitization or prioritization how do you rank them, technology, economic, military? how would you assess the basic threats that china poses? >> well, senator casey, it's good to see you again. i think as many of the members of this committee have argued eloquently in public, i think technology and competition and technology cuts right to the core of china's capacity to compete in military terms and economic terms as well so if i had to underscore the core area that's going to matter most in terms of competition with an adversarial china i think it cuts right to that issue of
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technology as we look out over the next decade or more. >> that's helpful, and i wanted to speak more broadly now about national security threats. again, if you could just itemize if that's possible in a shortens a. i know we don't have a lot of time, but the major national security threats that we face and then in particular, and i think that this is an important point that the staff made in the materials, how should the cia be positioned to predict, provide a warning about and to mitigate these threats? >> well, senator, i mean, one thing i've learned over the years is while it's very important to have priorities, and i think i would put at the top of the list, as i mentioned in my opening statement, the challenge posed by xi jinping's chip, adversarial china, it's hard for me to see a more significant threat or challenge for the united states as far out as i can see into the 21st century than that one. it is the biggest geopolitical
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test that we face. having said that, you know, in the same sentence, i would not want to give short shrift to a range of other challenges out there. as i mentioned, putin's russia continues to demonstrate the declining powers can be just as dis-richt as rising ones and can make use of asymmetrical tools, especially cyber tools to do that so we can't afford to u.n. estimate them. the non-proliferation challenges and the other challenges posed by iranian behavior, for example, are hugely significant and ones that we can't afford to ignore across the board. ballistic missile development, you know, as well as subversive and destabilizing actions in the middle east, and human rights abuses to its own people inside iran as well, and then, you know, as i said earlier, we have to look ahead as well to those emerging challenges, the problems without passports that we have to deal with that aren't confined to any one nation state, whether it's issues of
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global health insecurity as, you know, the american people have faced in full measure over the course of the last year, whether it's the revolution and technology, whether it's, you know, other forms of instability or problems that are going to create challenges for the united states down the road so, you know, if i -- if i had to put one set of challenges at the top of the list it would certainly be china. as i mentioned before, we just don't have the luxury of neglecting any of those other challenges as well. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. look forward to supporting your confirmation. >> thank you, senator. >> senator cotton. >> mr. burns, welcome. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you for your time today and congratulations on your nomination. >> is there any way to figure out what's going on with the mics?
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>> testing, testing. >> i'm sure you'll be restarting that five-minute clock. >> had you to wait. you've been very patient. restart the clock. >> mr. burns, i want to start by adding my voice to senator warner and senator collins' concerns about the microwave attacks at or imsis around the country. i won't belabor that. i share that and i appreciate your commit mont to the bottom of that and taking care of anyone injured in that. >> thank you. >> more broad i will as we discussed on the phone last week, i've taken an interest over the years in the health of our special activities center inside the cia, specifically or i should say the metaphorical health in terms of the numbers of paramilitary overs available and the workload we're asking them to bear but also the literal health because many do suffer the same kind of wounds that our service members face
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and i want to speak publicly what's on the phone. you do that to ensure the members have the best medical care available. >> absolutely, sir. i've seen firsthand the sacrifices they have made and courage they have demonstrated, especially over the last 20 years and i'm definitely committed to that. >> and continuing the work that director haspel and her leadership has started. >> yes, sir. >> to make sure that the officers have equal care or better care than what we provide our veterans. >> yes, sir. >> i briefly held dr. haines' nomination after an answer to one of her questions had implied she might reconsider some actions taken on long concluded accountability review boards related to long closed harris detention programs. i'm troubled by some media reports that i've seen that suggest a senior cia officer who was detailed to the dni has
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recently had his portfolio reduced because of his involvement in that program. i would like to get your commitment if confirmed you'll abide by the determination of the obama administration not to resurrect any efforts to prosecute or take administrative action against or prejudice in any way any future promotion or selection panels for any cia officers involved in the programs conducted under doj guidance and presidential direction? >> as you said earlier, you have my commitment not to take actions against or prejudice the careers of officers who may have worked on that's programs in the past when they were operating under department of justice guide lines and at the direction of the president. yes, sir >> thank you. we talked in our phone call about the importance of everything that the cia does but the centrality of the collection of foreign intelligence, and to put it in military terms, the collection is the main effort at the cia. >> yes, sir. >> and that means primarily the
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director of operations but other elements of agency in science and technology and of the new digital directate. you agree collection of foreign intelligence is the main mission. >> it's the core of cia mission. analysis, in other words, what you do with that collection to put it in a form that's going to be most useful to policy-makers is obviously critical as well, but at the core of what the cia does is that foreign collection and particularly human intelligence. >> and that's because the collection of foreign intelligence put in layman's terms, foreign secrets, it allows the analysts have to have an even richer analysis if they were using public available sources the way an academic or think tank scholar might. >> that's correct. >> and it does involve issues that are superior to what our rivals adversaries try to do. >> we talked about covert action. i shared my view too often administrations in the past of
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both parties have viewed covert action as not a supplement to policy but as a substitute for policy. would you agree with that assessment? >> yeah, and i think it's a big danger. i haven't had a chance to be briefed in detail on existing covert action programs, and it's something i look forward to talk about in closed sessions in the future, but your point about connecting covert action programs at the direction of the president to coherent policy is absolutely crucial. it can not be a substitute for sound policy choices. >> it is though, however, in many cases a sound supplement to a broader foreign policy and that we should not have a rehuck tans to use it. >> yes, sir. as one tool -- as one tool in a coherent strategy and policy i absolutely agree with you. >> when you were out of government, you said, quote, it is simply impractical to think that the united states will provide significant sanctions relief without assurances that iran will immediately begin negotiations on a follow-on agreement that at least extends
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the timelines of the deal and addresses issues of verification and intercontinental ballistic missiles. i agree. if confirm, mr. burns, will you provide that same realistic assessment to the administration even if it contradicts the administration's preferred policy approach to negotiations? >> yes, sir. senator, on iran as well as on a whole range of other issues it will be my obligation if confirmed to deliver those intelligence assessments in a straightforward and unvarnished way. >> thank you, mr. burns. i look forward to talking about some of these other matters later this afternoon in the closed session. >> thank you, senator cotton. >> we now have senator gillibrand on web "x." >> thank you, mr. chairman. over the last year alone according to reports russia tried to influence the 2020 election, attempted to assassinate their opposition
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using a nerve agent and they also breached u.s. government systems. you served as ambassador to moscow. you speak russian. where do you think we should start with the kremlin, and if you are confirmed, what would be your approach you to this profound challenge? >> well, senator, it's nice to see you, and i enjoyed our conversation earlier this week. certainly i think it's a huge mistake air, said earlier not to underestimate the challenge and the threat that vladimir putin's russia can pose to the united states. my own view in the past, both serving as a policy-maker and then as a private citizen has been there's no substitute for firmness and consistency in dealing with putin's russia and working as closely as we can with allies and partners who share those same concerns. i know that the biden administration is soon to produce an assessment of all of those issues that you just mentioned from solar, winds, to
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the poise anything and the cruel absurdity as the chairman has put for sentencing alexei navalny years in a penal colony for failing to check in with his parole officer and the reason he failed to check in was because he was in a coma after an assassination attempt by the kremlin to poison him to death. there's a whole range of issues that this assessment will provide not only the best intelligence that we're capable to know what exactly happened in those instances but also consequences for them as well. if confirmed i look forward very much to participating in that effort and what flows from it in the future, so the short answer, senator, is i think there's no substitute for firmness and consistency and being clear-eyed because the realitisy think in terms of american policy of u.s.-russian relations, as long as vladimir putin is the leader of russia, we're going to be
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operating within a pretty narrow band of possibilities from the very sharply competitive to the very naftali adversarial. >> yes. i think we also will have a similar challenge with regard to china, and obviously there's a great deal of strategic competition with china right now, but we also want to have some kind of engagement strategy. can you expand upon your views on what you would like to do to approach china. >> well, i think, again, if confirmed as director of cia my role won't be as a policy-maker anymore, but i think the core of sound policy choices is the best intelligence we can provide about the intensions and capabilities of xi jinping's china, and that's something that we need to develop ourselves. we need to work close i with allies an partners who share many of those same concerns. so as i said earlier, senator, i think it's absolutely important to be very clear-eyed about the
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long-term nature of that challenge from, you know, an adversarial way under xi jinping's leadership and we need to look carefully at vulnerabilities whether it's in supply chains or other areas and to always be mindful of the value for the united states of working closely with allies and partners in developing that intelligence but also in developing and executing smart policy. >> and your third large challenge, at least for the nation and president biden is iraq. i know you were instrumental in the negotiations under the obama administration. what do you think the approach will be with regard to iran? >> well, i've always thought that the key to dealing with a variety of threats that are posed by iran today is a comprehensive strategy of which preventing iran from developing a nuclear weapon is only one part. it has to be a strategy that
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pushes back against threatening iranian actions whether it's developing ballistic missiles, in destabilizing its region or subverting other governments or human rights abuses against its open people, so i think in all those areas we have to be mindful of the fact that even if iran returns to full compliance with a comprehensive nuclear axwreem and the united states does as well as president biden says he's prepared to. do, that needs to be a platform. secretary blinken has emphasized, a platform for building longer and stronger nuclear constraints and also dealing with the other areas of threatening iranian actions as i mentioned before. that's easier said than before and that seems to be the clear strategy for me. my role, if confirmed, will be to help provide the best possible intelligence as policy-makers pursue that strategy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator
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gillibrand. >> senator rubio. any other -- ambassador burns, you got through the first hurdle, swa out of 16 and if senator risch joins us will get first crack in the closed session. we will -- the hearing will go into recess and we'll reconvene at is being and very much appreciate your testimony and again to echo senator wyden's comments, rare lire does a nominee come before a commit we this much positive approval although rarely does a nominee also bring jim barrack and leon panetta as their introducers so we look forward to seeing you at 1:00. the committee stands in recess.
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again to echo senator wyden's 1l
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continues. host: congressman john yarmuth, the chair of the budget committee, democrat from kentucky, joining us to talk about the one $9 trillion covid relief will headed for a vote in the house friday. chairman yarmuth, mitt romney, republican of utah writes that this $1.9 trillion land is a
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