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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  March 10, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

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and we would be turning our back on american leadership in that endeavor. and then leave to people who want to race to the bottom, the standards for doing business, the absence of transparency, the absence of efforts to counter corruption, to deal with reform. important reforms are contained in this tpp. and i simply urge you, look at it, analyze it, i believe in the end, you will agree, this is not like any prior trade agreement, and i believe takes us to a much better place and reinforces american leadership in the region. >> mr. chris smith of new jersey. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman and thank you, mr. secretary, for your service. a couple of questions. when i learned late last year that the administration was contemplating designating massive crimes against the yazidis as genocide, which it is, but not christian, i
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committed a hearing. the yazidis were on the verge of annihilation, but also said the yazidis and christians face this genocide together. the bishop testified, christians have encountered genocide in the obama administration refuses to recognize their plight. dr. george stanton of genocide watch testified, failure to call isis's mass murder of christians, muslims, and other groups in addition to the yazidis, by its proper name, genocide, would be an act of denial as grave as u.s. refusal to recognize the rwandan genocide in 1994. my first question is when and will christians and other minority faiths be included in a genocide designation and secondly, last year a reuters investigative report, it was a very incisive report, and that without objection would like
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that to be made part of the record. of the record -- found that tier 3 recommendations made by the trafficking in persons office experts in 14 incidents, including malaysia, china, cuba, india and oman, were rejected further up the chain of command that state an -- and artificially given a clean bill of health for other political purposes. i convened a hearing. johnson testified in november. i asked a lot of pointed questions about who made these decisions, were there other political factors involved. she was very tight lipped. very good person but did not convey information. can you assure us because the new tip report will be coming out very shortly that that won't happen again this year. credibility of the tip report in speaking truth to power and defending victims against these heinous crimes of sex and labor trafficking as you know because you were a strong supporter of it as a senator and as secretary of state. we got to get the book right. what you do with that is all up to the administration in terms of penalties and sanctions, but the book has to speak truth to
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>> yes i can and i will respond. i'm responsible for that report. i accept responsibility for that report. i made the decision about malaysia. and i made it strictly on the merits. and, in fact, malaysia has made improvements, increased prosecutions, increased investigations, has passed amendments on anti-trafficking. it has passed amendments on providing better law enforcement protection. it has issued regulations in consultation with ngos, and it has increased law enforcement efforts to prosecute and to convict and it had additional convictions. now, you know, you have to make
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a judgment in some of these cases. but i will absolutely vouch for the integrity of this process. we have a very detailed year long effort where people are measuring and i have instructed our embassies to be engaged year long in working with countries to try to give them time to make changes to respond to our needs. sometimes you are better off working with, encouraging and getting people to do something than just slamming them in a report and finding that they say well the hell with them and they walk away and they don't respond. we found in the case of malaysia and some other countries, we've actually been able to make progress. but i can assure you this report will demote somebody who deserves to be demoted and call it as we see it. and i don't think anybody, but i'm responsible -- >> with respect, cuba, china, oman -- we were told that oman, because they helped on the negotiations with iran. cuba because of the -- and china when it comes to sex trafficking, because of the missing girls, tens of millions
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of missing girls, has become the ultimate magnet for pimps who are making -- turning women into commodities and selling them across borders into china. it is, i believe, the worst violator in the entire world in terms of the massive numbers. so i would hope china would be looked at. again on the christian designation. if you'ul demand for commercial sex and
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committed to reform their laws in accordance with the u.n. protocol. now if that doesn't happen then there's a measurement to try to go backwards, but we felt that in each of these cases there was progress. now i would put on the record here today, we're concerned that the government of cuba has not recognized forced labor as a problem. criminalized forced labor. or reported efforts to prevent it. and so there are things that we need to do going forward and that's what we'll measure. on the christian issue, i share your concern very, very much. again, this is a judgment that i have to make. i will make it. and any reports that we have made a decision to the contrary that it's not -- that decision has been made not to are incorrect. doesn't mean we made a decision to do so. this has to be done on the basis of a legal standard with respect
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to genocide and the legal standard with respect to crimes against humanity. i have asked our legal department to evaluate, to re-evaluate actually, several observations that were circulating as part of the vetting process of this issue, and i'm concerned about it, and i will make a judgment. i'll also try to do so very, very soon. we know this is hanging out there. we need to go to the gentleman from new jersey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for all your hard work. i want to go back to the topic of cuba. i know we've had this issue of 50 years, but there seems to be more repression in the last ten years, in this past year, than in the last ten years. i was wondering with all the people going back and forth to cuba, are any efforts being made to bring joanne chesimard back to the united states? >> we are discussing all of the
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outstanding -- i might add in conjunction with the chairwoman's question also, we're entering into the period now where we'll begin to be discussing the confiscated property, and that's a critical component of this, as well as extradition or release of various people. and all of those human rights issues are on the table. i will pursue and the president will pursue them when he's there. >> joanne chesimard. >> yes. we will be working on each. i can't go into the specifics. >> there's more repression now than in the last ten years after we made all these contacts with cuba, are we addressing those? >> yes, we're addressing the arrests. we were particularly incensed by the arrests of several people. who had been part of the release effort initially. the cubans say, they went out and broke the law again. we looked at what they allegedly broken, and we object entirely. one of them had hung a sign in a
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window saying that i will only vote in an election in which i can vote to choose my president and so forth. and four-year sentence. that's ridiculous. it's obscene, and we believe it's obscene and we've told them, that is wrong. so we continue to press those issues. but we do have more ability to be able to interact with the cuban people. when i was there to raise the flag, to have the marines raise the flag, the marines lowered the flag, there were cubans amassed behind the -- >> there were no dissidents, though. they weren't invited. >> these are people who cheered mightily at the return of the united states and the presence of our country and my speech in which i talked about democracy and talked about the need to have protection of human rights was broadcast to the entire country. and some of it, a little bit in spanish. the president's -- >> are diplomats allowed -- >> we have more ability because of this to interact with the cuban people. and more americans are traveling
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there and interacting. >> even diplomats are restricted from moving around throughout the island. >> our diplomats, we negotiated an ability for our diplomats a specific number, as we test the expansion of this relationship, more diplomats are able to proceed to travel around unannounced without people following them or engaged in any activities. we have diplomats who are able to travel around the country. >> are they actually traveling? >> i believe they are. i've heard nothing to the contrary. >> the other thing i want to talk about is colombia. if they do come to an understanding, i hope that we do not walk away from helping colombia. >> we are deeply committed, president obama -- that was part of the reason for the celebration of the 15-year mark. we invested -- we, you, everybody here, not everybody but those of you in the upper dais certainly investigated
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significantly in the late 1990s, which made a huge difference. that's why we talk about peace. >> we'll reach peace. i hope we still continue to assist colombia. >> so i do. -- so do i. >> the other thing this morning in the news i saw russia gave afghanistan all these arms. what do we make of that? now that there's an incursion by russians into afghanistan. >> the russians are deeply concerned about the stability of the country. they have raised the issue with us of trying to protect the region. they have concerns about countries near them. they have concerns about the flow of terrorists, that is also one of their concerns about syria. and so they are engaged -- in fact, we're discussing with the russians these issues of security for the ongoing challenges of afghanistan. >> were you aware these arms were going to afghanistan? >> we know that they are
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supporting the afghan -- >> this morning. it was in the news this morning. >> are you talking about the afghan government or -- >> yeah, gave 10,000 rifles or whatever, you know, arms. >> yes, we support that. >> okay. thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you. we now go to mr. dana z>dcu rohrabacher of california. >> thank you, mr. secretary. again, thank you for your service to our country. you work very hard for us, and while we have some disagreements, policy disagreements, you have our respect and our gratitude. so, first of all, let me mention then some of these issues that we may have disagreement on. when you say that the decision will be made very, very soon to act on the idea of whether christians and yazidis are targets of genocide, let me just note this has been going on, we've been seeing this now for well over a year, probably several years now, of the
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slaughter of christians in the middle east, and for us not to have made a decision and that we're making the decision, that that decision hasn't been made yet is unacceptable. we're talking about the lives of tens of thousands of people who are brutally, being brutally slaughtered targeted for genocide. i have a bill hr 4017 and the president has commented that it would just be giving preference to christians. is it preference to give -- is it wrong to give preference to people who are targets of genocide and say we're going to save them, realizing that they are the ones who are most likely to be slaughtered? >> no, this decision has to be made strictly -- and has to be made quickly. i understand that. but i only -- i think i only had the first discussion come to my desk on this in terms of the legal interpretations a couple of weeks ago and that's when i immediately initiated some
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re-evaluation which i'm looking at and i can tell you i want to do this as quickly -- >> let me suggest -- having this come to your attention only weeks ago -- >> well, it has to go through -- it requires -- congressman, it does require a lot of fact gathering. i mean, you have to get the facts from the ground, more than just anecdotal -- >> mr. secretary, the whole world knows that christians are being slaughtered in the middle east. it's clear. it's time for america to act and the excuse that we've got to study it, ask the lawyers what the wording is, is this really preference or not, and it's unacceptable. and i would hope your word that it's going to be acted on very soon, i would hold you to that. and secondly, do you agree with some of the administration officials that claim that russia is a greater threat to our national security than is radical islamic terrorism? >> i think, you know, i don't
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want to get into sort of either or here. because i don't think it's necessary. i think that what the defense department and others have been saying is that they see activities that russia has engaged in which present challenges. for instance, what happened with crimea, what's happened in support for the separatists, the long process back and forth on minsk implementation, is interpreted by the front line states as a threat and there's engagement by russia through its propaganda through operatives in these countries it's perceived as engaging in activities -- >> mr. secretary -- >> let me just finish. i believe that if you wanted me to put on the table the top threat to the united states today, in terms of day-to-day life and the stability of the world, it's violent extremism, radical religious extremism, and the violence of -- >> are you unable to say radical
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islamic terrorism as our president is unable to say? >> i think you just heard me say radical religious extremism. it's not always exclusively islamic. it's predominantly islamic. >> it's disheartening when a representative of our government can't say radical islamic terrorism. and at the same time can't make a decision whether christians are being targeted for genocide. this is not acceptable. about your point on russia and whether or not we consider them the greatest threat over radical islamic terrorism, let me just note that increasing the spending of our military spending in europe, so that we'll now have more tanks in europe, could be taken as a hostile act by russia as well. it's time for us to get out of this cycle of, well, we're going to find things that they're doing that we consider hostile
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and vice versa. russia -- we have every reason, do we not, mr. secretary, of trying to find a way we can work with russia to combat what is the real threat, which is radical islamic terrorism? >> congressman, i think you heard me say that it is predominantly islamic. and i have no hesitation in saying that. and i've said that in many parts of the world. that's not the issue. and, yes, we are trying to cooperate with russia with respect to this issue in syria right now. russia is the co-chair with us of the international syria support group and of the cessation of hostilities task force. and we are working very closely on the countering violent extremism initiatives which president obama has led. in the u.n. and elsewhere in convening people on a global
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basis. to me this is the greatest challenge we face because there are hundreds of millions of young people in many of these countries where you have 60% to 70% of the nation under the age of 35, and if they don't have jobs and if they are not educated and there is not opportunity, or we don't keep radical religious extremists of any kind from reaching them and turning them into a suicide bomber or an extreme operative of one kind, we have a problem. all of us. so this is to me the more prevalent challenge we face and russia shares an interest in working with us to deal with that challenge. >> we go now to mr. jerry connolly of virginia. >> thank you, mr. secretary. obviously my colleague wants to get you to say the number one threat is islamic terrorism. but is it not also true, not to dilute anything but that the
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biggest victims of islamic terrorism is islam themselves, is that not true? >> they are indeed very significant allies in this effort. and i would say every single country of the world they are joining in an effort to deal with the terrible distortion of one of the world's principle religions. >> i think that's a very good point, mr. secretary, to put it in context. not that my friend would do that. i don't mean that. but we have heard some presidential candidates taint an entire faith with something i think grossly unfairly when in fact victims are muslims and many other countries allied with us in the fight against terrorists are in fact muslim countries. so it's a very complex situation. but not subject to some
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simplification or oversimplification of who are the villains and who are the good guys. i just thought we'd get that on the record. i think this is your first visit back since jcpoa, the iran nuclear agreement got implemented. and i just want to say, for one, i think it's going to be part of your legacy. i think it's one of the most successful things u.s. foreign diplomacy has done in a long time. despite the critics and all the predictions we had a hearing the other week and we can establish definitively in fact iran has complied. and if we're looking at removing an existential threat to israel, we did it. and i just want to congratulate you. and if you want to disagree about compliance, please feel free. but it's my observation that in every metric we said so far we have not seen chaeating, we've been able to observe and validate in fact iran has complied.
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that doesn't make iran a good guy in the international stage, but it does mean we in fact were able to deliver on an enforceable agreement that improves everybody's security. i don't know if you want to comment on that, mr. secretary. >> thank you. i thank you, congressman, very, very much and that is in fact we concur with that they have complied. >> thank you. real quickly i want to pivot to crimea and the ukraine. one of the concerns i've got and i know it's shared by friends on both sides of the aisle is with respect to soviet expansionism, soviet imperialism, whatever word we want to use for it, it all starts with crimea. if you let crimea go, now you're quibbling over the price in eastern ukraine or wherever. and what is the united states' position with respect to the illegal annexation of crimea?
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>> that it is illegal and we're not seating crimea with respect to anything. but the primary focus for the moment is clearly on the don bos and minsk agreement implementation. >> but we're not going to give up on the crimea. >> no. >> the president, if i'm correct some of my friends have criticized him on issuance of executive orders but presumably not these. 660, 661, 662 and 685 blocking property, persons and transactions related to the illegal annexation of crimea and subversion in the eastern ukraine. how is compliance going with those executive orders? and is the administration seeking legislative -- additional legislative relief with respect to the subject? >> we believe that russia continues to pay a real price
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for the annexation of crimea and crimea is physically isolated from international transport links now, from the global financial system, its tourism sector has collapsed. it remains unable to provide full significant electricity to its population. and inflation has completely erased any potential of the russian promises of better standard of living for the people. now, it's obviously tragic for the people of crimea. we know that since the annexation the human rights situation for the people of crimea has deteriorated. and there has been a mounting repression of minorities, particularly the tartars. so we continue to press russia on this issue. and i believe that the measures that are in place are having an
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impact. >> gentleman from ohio. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you for your long service to our country. >> thank you very much. >> good morning. this is the 28th year i've had the honor to serve on the foreign affairs committee. i've chaired the middle east committee, the asia pacific committee and i've had the opportunity to listen to and to question a number of foreign -- excuse me, a number of our secretaries of state from warren christopher to madeleine albright to colin powell to condoleezza rice and you here today. this administration has less than a year to go, so what i'd like to do is to ask you to address some of the things which many would argue haven't gone so well. and what we can learn from these things and hopefully avoid repeating in the future. and as u yo know i've got limited time. i have several questions. so i'd ask you keep your answers reasonably succinct because i
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would try to avoid interrupt you. first, you've already been asked about the iran deal, but i'd like to go back before the deal and ask this. and i realize of course that hillary clinton was secretary of state and not yourself, so i'm not blaming you. but i would ask this question. was not aiding the students and the pro-democracy reformers in the iranian green movement a mistake? >> well, i think my memory is that president obama spoke out in support of -- and we suffered a lot of criticism from iran. in fact, this is one of the hurdles we had to get over in our negotiation. they believe that we were not only supportive but even responsible for it. >> that's -- you know, these young pro-democracy folks pleaded for our help. pleaded for it. and they got exactly nothing. >> when you say help -- >> from this administration. president obama essentially if you go back and look at what he said at the time, he took the
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side i would argue of the repressive mullahs of iran over its freedom seeking people. i think most people who are looking at at the time would say it was shameful what happened. let me move on. in retrospect, was it a mistake to pull all u.s. troops out of ir ir iraq? >> i believe that this has been badly misinterpreted because there was no contemplation -- first of all, the agreement itself was made by president bush to draw the troops out. but president obama tried to negotiate with maliki, prime minister maliki, the remainder that would stay. and they were non-combat troops. everybody needs to focus on that. there were no combat troops that were going to stay there. so even if they had stayed, that would not have made a difference with respect to what was happening because prime minister maliki was turning the army into his own personal, private
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sectarian enterprise. and that's -- >> again, i don't want to interrupt you but -- >> let me just finish. >> i think next to the iran deal i would argue that it was this administration's greatest mistake. and it led, i think, directly to the rise of isis. how is this administration so misread putin? now, to be fair, president bush did too. he famously looked into putin's eyes believing that he got a sense of his soul. but let's face it, putin's been undermining u.s. policy at every turn. why did this administration not see it coming? why did it let it happen? >> well, i don't think that anybody could predict what an unpredictable set of choices might produce. the bottom line is that at the
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time a number of other things happened which had an impact on putin's perception of what was going on. >> let me just -- i'm almost out of time. let me comment on your comment. it seems to me that from the start of this administration, from hillary's famous pressing of the reset button that we've been played like chumps by putin. this administration scrapped the missile defense program with our allies, poland and the czech republic to placate putin. and what did we get? he invaded an and annexed crimea, started a war in eastern ukraine which is ongoing, shoots down a civilian airliner, and of course denies it. his allies did that. threatens the nato alliance, props up assad in syria, harbors the treasonist edward snowden and on and on. i'd argue that this
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administration's policy with respect to russia has been feckless. and unfortunately i'm out of time so i'm going to have to leave it there. >> can i just respond very quickly, congressman? there was an agreement which yanukovych was supposed to honor, but putin from his perspective there was a deal and the deal was broken. and he thought and perceived certain things. people respond in certain ways and perceptions. i don't believe that -- i mean, and also the european association agreement and the way that had been maneuvered had a lot to do with perceptions. now, we are building a missile defense. the administration came to a conclusion they could do a more effective one. and that is currently being deployed. russia still objects to what is happening, but it's happening. so nobody pulled back from doing something as a consequence.
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nobody's been played for a chump. we went in and put sanctions in place that have profoundly negatively impacted russia's economy, profoundly impacted russia's ability to move and maneuver in the region and ultimately resulted in the minsk agreement which we hope can be implemented fully. if it is implemented fully, our policy will have in fact been successful because russia will not have taken over all of ukraine, not even the eastern part where the separatists will then still be part of ukraine and in an arrangement with the government kiev. i just don't agree with your conclusion there. and i also think that if you look russia's cooperated with the united states on the iran agreement. russia cooperated wtd united states in getting the chemical weapons that were declared out of syria. russia has cooperated with the united states and the syria international support group and the vienna process and now in an
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effort to triey to fight agains daesh. >> we need to go to mr. ted deutsche of florida. >> -- it's not -- the point i'm trying to make is it doesn't lend itself to just a one judgment. this is more complicated and for better or worse more nuanced th than some of these conclusions allow for. >> mr. ted deutsche of florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, thanks for being here. thanks for your service to our country. mr. secretary, i had the pleasure this morning of spending some time with ami amir hekmati. it's wonderful to see and am thrilled for the families, but i want to urge you to continue to press with the utmost, greatest sense of commitment and urgency to bring bob home to his family. i'm grateful for you're raising this issue. i just urge you in the strongest way to really continue to push.
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i'd like to talk about the iran agreement. without making judgments about whether it's the greatest achievement ever or the worst thing that's ever been done, i think it's -- this is a 15-year term, five months since it was signed, we just had the implementation day. a lot of us whatever side we are on before want to see this succeed. so i want to focus just specifically on the snapback provisions, which had come up earlier. both the international snapback and domestic snapback sanctions. on the international test of ballistic missiles by iran clearly violates security council resolution. ambassador power to her credit took this to the security council, the security council has kicked it to the sanctions committee, as i understand it. and the question is if is what in this case a clear violation can't be sanctioned at the
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international level, i commend you and the organization for taking action as the united states against these three entities and individuals, but at the international level if the security council can't act when there's a clear violation like this over the term of this agreement, why shouldn't we have concerns? or how do we address concerns that they'll never be able to act when there's a violation? that's with respect to international. on the domestic front you talked about the iran sanctions act and the reauthorization of the iran sanctions act. i just wanted to go back to a story that was in politico last summer in august in the midst of the heated discussions about the jcpoa, a senior official told politico, and i quote, we absolutely support renewal of the iran sanctions act, it's an important piece of legislation. we want to discuss renewal with congress in a thoughtful way at the right time. now is not the time as the isa doesn't expire until next year. and because we are focused on implementation. we'll have plenty of opportunity in the coming months to take part in the deliberate and focused communications with congress on this important
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topic. the deal's now been signed. implementation day has now come and gone. it is 2016, the year in which this is going to expire, mr. secretary, if not now, when? when will we have these discussions the administration was committed to having last summer? >> well, congressman, first of all on bob levinson, i i understand completely. i just met with the family and i completely understand the tension, the feelings and the disappointment that they feel. they see people come back and bob is not among them. and they don't have answers yet. but we have put a process in place as part of the actual agreement that we reached whereby he is very much front and center in terms of our
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following through to trace every lead there is and to be personally engaged. i won't go into greater detail, but i shared with the family some of the things we plan to do. and we will in fact -- we are doing them. >> thank you. >> with respect to the unskur, you asked about the missiles does it have a meaning somehow it's not going to do what we've said we're going to do and the answer to that is no. the missiles were left outside of jcpoa. jcpoa stands by itself. the missiles are separate track, the arms are a separate track. and we purposefully did not want to confuse the implementation and accountability for the implementation with these other things. so that's why we put additional sanctions on because of the missile launch on three entities and eight individuals. now, you raise the question about 2016, if not now, when. well, now is a good time, sir,
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to have the discussion. this is part of the discussion. we're having it here today. and i'm saying to you that we should be informed in whatever we choose to do on the isa by how well the implementation goes, by how necessary it is to be thinking about a concern about the application of the sanctions. we don't need -- excuse me. we don't need the isa. >> right. i'm sorry, i'm out of time, but i just wanted to ask, is one of the reasons that there's a hesitation to go forward now even after implementation day is that iran is going to view this as -- interpret this as some sort of violation of the agreement, which clearly it's not? >> no. i think it's on its face exactly what i just described to you. there's no rush. we know we can pass whatever we would need to very quickly, number one. number two, we want to be in whatever we decide to do,
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whatever message it might send ought to be advised by the efficiency and effectiveness of the way this has been implemented so that whatever we're putting in it is in fact rational and related to the process itself. as you yourself just said we're only a few months into it. let's get into it. there's plenty of time here. and see where we are. >> we go now to mr. joe wilson, south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. i'm very grateful speaker paul davis ryan has provided shocking admissions of how iran will use sanctions relief to fund terrorism, which i believe the american people needs to know puts families at risk. on january 21st, mr. secretary, you admitted, quote, i think that some of the funds from the sanctions relief will end up in the hands of the irgc or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorist. end of quote. this is sad, mr. secretary. iran is widely recognized as the
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world's leading state sponsor of terrorism supporting groups like hamas and hezbollah, that are responsible for murdering hundreds of americans. it therefore should come as no surprise that at least some of the $100 billion in sanctions relief granted under the nuclear agreement will be used to finance terrorists. you are not alone in this assertion. in fact, several key obama administration officials including the president himself have made the exact same admission. quote, do we think that some of the sanctions coming down that iran will have some additional resources for its military, for some of the activities in the region that are a threat to us and a threat to our allies? i think that is a likelihood that they've got some additional resources. end of quote. president barack obama also, quote, we should expect that some of the portion of the money would go to iranian military that could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior we've seen in the region up to
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now, end of quote, from national security adviser susan rice. also, quote, as iran's behavior the united states is under no illusions. this agreement was never based on the expectations that it would transform the iranian regime or cause tehran to cease contributing to sectarian violence in terrorism in the middle east, end of quote. >> undersecretary of state for political affairs wendy sherman. we agree on implementation day in january speaker paul davis ryan noted, quote, the president himself has acknowledged iran is likely to use this cash infusion, more than $100 billion in total, to finance terrorists, end of quote. this is exactly why a bipartisan majority of the house voted to reject the nuclear deal. sanctions should be only lifted when iran ceases its litany of illicit activities and ends its support for terrorism. until that day comes we should not be comply sit in fueling a
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regime that has a long history of hostility towards the united states and its allies. with thoughtful opposition to the iran deal, i believe iran promotes attacks on american families with its pledge of death to america and death to israel as proven by the intercontinental ballistic missile development as cited by chairman royce and congressman deutsche. secretary kerry, in response to questions, what i heard you say administration wants to let the iran sanctions act expire. the administration extending it through the international emergency economic powers act is simply a power grab. allowing isa to expire statutorily is unacceptable. with this background, how have iran easter ris activities been affected by the deal and the subsequent lifting of sanctions? has iranian support for
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terrorism increased or decreased? >> well, congressman, you raise a lot of questions in all of that. and you make some assumptions that i just don't share or agree with. we never suggested that the goal is to let it expire. i said let's take our time and be thoughtful about it. so you're drawing a conclusion that i've never lent any credence to. secondly, this goes back to the sort of argument about the iran deal itself. you say we shouldn't lift sanctions until they have given up their sponsorship for terror. the problem is what they judge, you know -- they just have a different interpretation about some of those things that would have lasted a lifetime and they would have then had a nuclear weapon. iran with a nuclear weapon would have been far more dangerous than iran without one. so if you're worried about terror, first objective is make
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sure they don't have a nuclear weapon. now, we've been very honest. i'm not going to sit here and suggest that some portion of the money might not find its way to one of those groups. but what they do is not dependent on money, congressman. never has been. they're going to do it anyway. if we hadn't gotten rid of the nuclear weapon, they were still supporting the houthi, they've still been supporting hezbollah, they've been supporting them for how many years? countless. >> they can finance terrorists in this country. mr. secretary, this is not right. i yield. >> okay. we're going to go to mr. davis salini of rhode island. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for your extraordinary service to our country. i have four questions i want to run through quickly to give you as much time as possible to answer. first, i'm concerned about the deteriorating state of the rule of law and adherence to human rights in egypt. the egyptian judiciary has long been rife with corruption and political agendas, but reports yesterday exemplify how bad the
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situation has become when a cairo military court handed down a mass life sentence to 116 defendants that mistakenly included a 3-year-old boy. this is incredibly outrageous and really does exemplify how little the egyptian judiciary and security apparatus care for the rule of law. and i really would like to hear what we're doing about it and additionally in the appendix to this year's budget request you asked congress to remove part shl aid conditions accompanying national security waiver what's the justification for proposing the removal of this language, and what kind of signal will this send to the egyptian government and the egyptian people? >> congressman, the removal of which language? >> the language related to partial aid conditions, the national security waiver and the reporting requirement. the second question is, you, you know, there are tremendous challenges, you've outlined them in your testimony. and the budget, the international affairs budget which funds programs designed to combat these challenges continues to shrink. since fiscal year 2010 the
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overall funding for the international affairs, that's the base budget plus oco has been reduced plus 12% and fiscal year 2007 slightly down from last year. what are your most serious concerns about the resources that will be necessary to confront the many challenges facing our country? and does this budget really provide the resources that you think we need? and third and finally, the u.s.-israeli memorandum understanding i know is going to expire in 2018, i understand that we've already begun to discuss a new set of terms. what's the status of those negotiations? and what kind of new training and equipment and assistance will israel need in light of increased instability in the region and threats to their security? try to do those fast. >> okay. no, i appreciate it. congratulations on moving up to the upper dais there. >> thank you. >> the -- let me just begin with
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your question about egypt itself. and, look, these sentences obviously are of enormous concern to all of us. we've expressed that very straightforwardly. and we've seen a deterioration over the course of this last -- these last months, i guess, is a fair way to say it. with the arrests of some journalists and arrests of some civil society personals, we understand egypt is going through a very difficult challenge right now. there are terrorists in the sanai, there are the challenges of extremism that has played out in bombings in cairo and in sharm el sheikh, elsewhere, so it's difficult. nobody's suggesting otherwise. but we believe deeply that countries that protect freedom of speech and assembly and encourage civil society will
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ultimately do better and be stronger in their ability to be able to defeat extremisextremis. we work very closely. i have a good working relationship with my counterpart. we talk frequently. we are working on these issues on a regular basis. we have succeeded in getting some people released. we've succeeded in getting some progress on a number of human rights issues, but it is a concern. their judicial system, which operates separate ly makes some moves that i think sometimes, you know, the leadership itself finds difficult to deal with. and our hope is that over the course of these next weeks and months we can make some progress moving back on these. i do -- i think egypt said something about the 3-year-old, if i recall. but i don't want to dwell on it
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right now. on the resources, we are cannibalizing a lot of programs within the budget. i mean, bottom line is everybody's dealing with difficulties in governance today as a result of our budget challenges. and it's no secret to any of you because these are the fights that you've all been engaged in on the floor. i think we're making a mistake. i mean, i try not to get into the politics in this position at all, but i do think the united states is, is not responding in ways that we ought to be to our global responsibility as reflected in the budget overall. and i think that we can and should be doing more. i think we handicap ourselves. i think we're behaving to some degree for the richest nation on the face of the planet. we're choosing to behave more
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like, you know, a country that actually doesn't have resources available to it. it's a question of which choices we make. where we want to make the overall trades in the budget. and we are where we are. so we have had to cannibalize considerably to make things work. and it really in my judgment diminishes the ability of the most powerful nation on the planet to be able to actually affect things more and so we see frustration on the part of our people that the world is in turmoil or we're not respondsing adequately here or there fairly significant amount of that is a reflection of resources. sometimes it's a reflection of policy judgments. i understand that. but a lot is driven by the resource allocation. with respect to israel and the mou, we will -- we're working on
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it now. we're in negotiations. we have never, ever put any of israel's security needs or challenges on the table with respect to other issues between us. israel's security comes first and foremost. president obama, i think, has unprecedentedly addressed those concerns with iron dome, with assistance, with our efforts in global institutions to not see israel singled out. and we will continue to do what is necessary to provide israel with all the assistance necessary so it can provide for its own security. i'm confident we'll get an mou at some point in time. the sooner the better because it allows everybody to plan appropriately. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for being here today. i'm suffering from a major head
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cold, so i may go a little easy on you today. >> that's good. i don't want wish a cold on you, but i'll take the benefit. >> last december we passed a a visa waiver program bill. my committee. it passed overwhelmingly. it was designed to keep foreign fighters from exploiting the visa program from certain countries like iraq, syria, sudan and iran. and in the negotiations -- i was in the middle of those. i was one of the national security chairmen involved with the correspondence back and forth between homeland, state department and the white house. we carved out two exceptions. one was national security and the other one was law enforcement. in the exchange between the department of homeland security, they mentioned what we consider humanitarian, business purposes,
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cultural, journalistic. i was in the room with the majority leader. those exceptions were rejected. dhs came back again and the final e-mail from the white house was that the administration supports this legislation. my thanks to all. then finally, the white house says i spoke to state department, they do not request any additional ed diitedits. administration does not request any changes with this time. we're good with the text as drafted. we opening the bill would require us to look at it again. yet the day after it passed you wrote a letter to the iranian foreign minister stating that parts of this law could be waived to accommodate iranian business interests. in my judgment, having played a part in that negotiation, it was in direct contradiction with the intent and the clear definition of the statute and the law.
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it seems to me you're putting the business interests of iran over the security of the united states. quite frankly, either misconstruing or rewriting the very law that we passed overwhelmingly by the congress. i want to give you the opportunity to respond to that. >> no, i really appreciate it, congressman mccall. i appreciate are the work we've done to try to work through this. look, we respect obviously the congressional intent. we respect the purpose of this. we all share that goal. we have to protect the country. we have to have adequate control over who's coming into the country and we learned obviously in the course of the visa situation that there's more to be done conceivably to be able to analyze and dig into background. but the bottom line is this -- the letter that i wrote to the
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iranian foreign minister was not an excuse for anything. it simply said that they were arguing that we had violated jcpoa. i wrote a letter that said, no, it didn't. it explained the law and it made clear we were going to keep those commitments. now, the -- what we're doing is actually following the letter of the law. but you have to -- i, please, would like you to understand that our friends, our allies, french, germans, british, others, are deeply concerned about the impact of this law inadvertent on their citizens. they have dual nationals. if one of those dual nationals just travels to iran, all of a sudden -- and they are in a visa
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program and they're a very legitimate business person, all of a sudden that person's ability to -- >> if i could -- look. i wrote the law. >> let me just finish. >> i'm the author of the bill. i understand the intent of the law. we had conversations with the white house. you tried to get this business exemption written into the law. that was rejected by the leadership. and the congress. and the time to have changed that was prior to the president signing it into law. but once you sign -- the president signed it into law, you can't just go back and either violate or rewrite it. i know the law. i marked it up out of my committee and you are talking to the author of the bill. that was not the intent of congress to carve out a business exemption. and i understand -- i understand the french and the iranians and all this stuff. but that was not the intent of the congress. >> but mr. chairman, we're not carving out a wholesale waiver
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intent. it is a case by case very carefully and narrowly tailored, number one. number two, the text of the law is clear. the secretary of homeland security -- >> i agree with you -- >> can waive the travel or dual nationality restrictions if he deems that it is in the law enforcement or national security interests of the country to do so. now we believe the full and fair implementation of the law is in fact in our national security interest. we have a very thorough systematic -- >> i guess it depends on how you define national security interest. i will commend -- jeh johnson called me to add libya, somalia and yemen to this list, and i am -- >> and i concurred in that. >> and i commend that decision. i'm sure you're going to construe the law in your interpretation. i do think adding those three countries was a positive step. just one last question on the designation of iran as a jurisdiction of primary money
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laundering concern. are we going to keep that designation or is there any attempt by you to lift that designation? >> we've had no such determination. py haven't contemplated it. >> do you intend to consider additional measures to provide economic relief to iran to lift any other designations? >> none at this point in time that ti know of. >> i appreciate that. chair now recognizes brad sherman of california. >> as to your bill, i'd point out that most isis fighters go into turkey where perhaps their passports are stamped, and then they sneak into isis-controlled areas where isis has a shoddy record of stamping passports and we may have to look at every
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european passport stamped in turkey. that would obviously be an issue. >> actually, what is now an issue is daesh's ability to actually produce phony passports. >> that would be another issue. mr. secretary, i've got so many issues, most of them i think you'll choose to respond for the record. first on the budget, this committee has urged and voted that you spend $1.5 million broadcasting in the sindhi language. now your budget requests an additional $35 million for broadcasting efforts. my hope is that you'll be able to respond for the record, that if we get you a substantial increase, maybe not the full $35 million, but the first additional dollars will be to broadcast in the language of southern pakistan -- >> i think it is worth $35
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million, congressman. >> it only takes $1.5 million. the rest is for whatever else you choose to spend the money on. i want to compliment your general council in karachi for looking into the assassination of a sindh -- i -- protector of sindhi culture. during world war ii we had rules of engagement that led to the deaths of 70,000 french civilians because we were serial. general de gaulle never urged us not to bomb an electric facility because it would inconvenience french sichl yans. he never asked dwight eisenhower not to hit a tanker truck because a civilian might be driving it. though my understanding is with isis, we will not hit a moving truck or we will not hit electric power lines because not only we don't want to kill in he
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civilians, even those working for isis, but we don't want to inconvenience those living under isis. and it is a major inconvenience not to have electricity. i hope you would comment on the record about our rules of engagement against isis. i warrant nt to focus on iran. now north korea has a dozen nuclear weapons. that's about what they need perhaps the next one goes on ebay, not quite that flippantly, but you get the point. i spoke to the chinese foreign minister yesterday and i will urge you to urge him, as i did, that china prevent any nonstop flight over its territory from north korea to iran. such a nonstop flight could easily export one or several nuclear weapons. if on the other hand that flight stops for fuel, as of course it should if china requires, they will -- i'm sure the chinese will take a look at what's on
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the plane. it's natural that you're here defending the nuclear deal. i didn't vote for it, but there are very good aspects of that deal. but i'm concerned that the administration now is just in a role of defending iran, as if any comment about iran is an attack on the deal. during rowhani's tenure we've seen a lot more executions in iran, and i hope that you would personally issue a statement condemning iran's violation of human rights, particularly when they kill people for the so-called crime of waging war on god. as to the missile sanctions, you indicate we sanctioned a few companies. we sanctioned a few individuals. those companies don't do business in the united states. those individuals do not want to visit disneyland, and i hope that you would sanction the iranian government for its violation with sanctions that
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actually affect the iranian economy. otherwise, to say certain individuals who have no intention of coming to the united states will not be allowed in the united states indicates an acceptance of iranian violations. under the u.n. security council resolution 2231, russia can't sell fighter planes to iran unless the security council specifically approves that. i'll ask you, will we use our veto to prevent fighter planes from being sold to iran from russia? >> i don't think you have to use a veto. i think it is a matter of a committee -- there is a committee -- it is in approval of the committee but we would not approve it. >> would we -- would we use our veto, if necessary, to prevent the -- >> to the best of the my knowledge, congressman. i haven't looked at the
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specifics of the transaction, et cetera. in principle, we are very concerned about the transfer of weapons, and so we would approach it with great skepticism. but i haven't seen the specific transfer or what the request is. we have a committee that will analyze this thoroughly before anything happens and the committee signs off on it, i assure you. we'll stay in touch with you. >> thank you. >> chair recognizes mr. poe from texas. >> thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. i just want to say amen to what my friend from california has said regarding the folks in iran that had been murdered by the regime, 2,300 have been executed. my opinion, mostly for political reasons or religious reasons. i would hope that the united states government through the state department would condemn this action by rowhani and the iranian government.
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couple questions dealing with georgia and ukraine. russians occupy one-third of georgian territory. they occupy crimea. and they occupy parts of ukraine's eastern property, territory. is it the u.s. position or not -- tell me what the u.s. position is -- that the georgia occupation is unlawful, crimea occupation unlawful, and the eastern ukraine possession unlawful, or not? >> that's correct. they are. >> so it is our position russians are unlawfully holding territory belonging to somebody else in those specific incidents. >> in one case not holding but engaged in intrusions which are assisting in the holding. >> that would be in eastern ukraine. >> correct. >> also your predecessor has visited georgia. d if you have time this year, it would be great for our relationship if you could go to
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georgia. >> i'm hoping to. >> specifically, i'd like to talk about piece of legislation that's passed the house unanimously. that's the foreign aid to transparency accountability act that i have authored along with mr. connelly from virginia. it basically requires that there be accountability for foreign assistance. transparency, and also evaluations of our aid to other countries. i think transparency in evaluations are good. american public needs to know how their money's being spent. if it is being spent well, then maybe keep it up, if it is not, then maybe we should stop it. the state department though has resisted this legislation, even though it's passed the house. pits's past your former committee unanimously over in the senate, and raj shaw
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supported it when he as usaid deputy director. do you support this specific legislation of transparency and accountability and evaluations of our foreign assistance? >> congressman, of course. we share the goal completely. and yes, we support transparency and accountability and we have huge transparency and accountability. it is one of our problems. i think -- i'm trying to get the numbers pinned down but the person hours and numbers of people assigned just to provide the transparency and accountability to all of you, and to others, is staggering. we lose an enormous amount of our implementing productivity to simply providing the transparency and accountability. we're currently -- we got 51 investigations going on with an unprecedented number of hundreds of thousands of pages of foia
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that we're responding to. i've had to cannibalize bureaus to ask young, capable lawyers, professionals to come out of one payroll to go sit and work on this so that we're able to meet the demands. and we're overburdened. i've appointed -- actually appointed a senior ambassador to be our transparency accountability sort of coordinator to make sure we're able to do this. so our concern is, you know, doing this in a way that is smart, efficient, efficient for you, efficient for us. we don't resist the goal in the least. the american people have a right to absolute accountability and transparency. we think there are already ways it is provided. there may be ways we can streamline some of that. so we'd like to work with you on this legislation so that it isn't another moment where we're having to transfer a lot of people away from doing what
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we're supposed to do. if you plus up the budget enough, we can do it all. >> reclaiming my time. that's exactly what the bill does. you have different departments in the state department doing transparency and evaluations. this makes it simpler for all of us. >> right. but we want to have a little more say -- >> reclaiming my time. it's passed the house unanimously. it's passed the senate foreign relations committee unanimously. but we're getting pushback from the state department on the legislation. >> because we want to make sure -- congressman, only because we want to make sure it works for us in terms of our process. i mean who can resist a piece of legislation, foreign aid accountability transparency act? >> we want it to work for the american people. as you know -- >> reclaiming my time. i have one last comment. you and i and most of the members of congress, when you mentioned the concept of foreign aid out there in the country to citizens, you know, they kind of get their backs bowed because
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people have been cynical for years, even though it is a little bit of money, about foreign aid. and this legislation i think tells folks in the community, citizens, taxpayers who send this aid all over the world that it's working and we can have transparency and evaluation for it so they can feel better about sending that aid. >> i'm with you. i support that 100%. president obama does and he has instructed all of us to make sure we're streamlining as much as we can be. >> the secretary's time is limited. >> secretary kerry, i'm going to ask you a question that's susceptible to a yes or no answer. or if you prefer yes or no with an explanation. has iran adhered to the nuclear deal? yes or no. >> yes, the best of our
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judgment. >> okay. thank you for that. now, there was concern that iran's money would be used to increase terrorism in the region after the deal was entered into. has iran's support for terrorism increased, decreased or remained the same since the deal was enacted? >> i think the best of our judgment would be it has remained the same. >> all right. is there any evidence that the money that iran received as a result of the deal has been diverted to support terrorism? >> we need to get into classified sessions to discuss that. it is a little more complicated. >> we heard the phrase used at the time the deal was under negotiation and discussion that iran would become a nuclear threshold state and that it would push the limits of the agreement and get as close as it could to developing a newuclear weapon so that in eight or ten or 12 years they would actually
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have a nuclear weapon. is there any evidence to support that? >> no. >> what is your -- >> the fact is iran was a threshold nation when we began this discussion. iran had 12,000 kilograms of 5% enriched. it had i forget how much 20% enriched iranian. it was one step away from being able to produce highly enriched uranium for bomb manufacturing. it had enough enriched uranium to be able to make 10 to 12 bombs. it has the technology and know-how. it has already mastered the fuel cycle. so in effect, it already was at the threshold. that's one of the reasons why we felt such urgency to try to close off these paths for actual movement to that. and iran has accepted increased transparency and accountability beyond anything that anybody else is engaged in on the planet. i mean, they've accepted the additional protocol. they've accepted higher
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standards for 25 years of tracking of all uranium manufactured. they've accepted 20 years of television intrusion on their centrifuge production and limited levels of enriched uranium in stockpile and limited levels of enrichment itself. 3.67% for 15 years. so they don't have the ability to be able to make one today. just don't have it physically in that regard. and we are confident of our ability to know what they're doing. >> has the administration ever tried to interdict uranium shipments to help terrorism in the region? >> yes. we have in fact successful interdicted. >> is it likely that effort will continue? >> not likely. it will for certain. >> it will for certain. can you give us one particular example? >> recently we turned around a convoy. we didn't know exactly what was on it, but we thought it was headed to yemen. we made sure that it went back to iran. >> all right. i'd like to ask you a couple of
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questions about isis. what is your own personal or agency assessment regarding the necessity to have ground troops involved in the fight against isis? not american ground troops necessarily or any ground troops. >> well, american ground troops, american special forces are engaged as enablers on the ground in syria today and in iraq. and i am 100% supporter of that. i strong advocate that that is a powerful way to have an impact. i am for trying to get rid of daesh as fast as is feasible without a major american "invasion." but by enabling, by using our special forces, by augmenting the syrian, arab and other presence on the ground, i believe it is imperative for us to try to terminate this threat as rapidly as we can. >> has america -- has the american government had discussions with saudi arabia, the uae, amman or jordan
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considering whether they would lend ground troops to the effort to fight isis? >> we are engaged in discussions with them regarding their offers to do so at this time. >> can you tell us in ig about that? >> not -- no. i think it is in a preliminary -- it is in discussion. they've indicated a willingness to be helpful. and this is in the fight against daesh. let me emphasize. as part of our effort, part of the president's effort to explore every possibility that is reasonable of ways in which to have an impact on ending the scourge of daesh, that is being evaluated. >> what about other countries in the region -- pakistan, turkey, egypt, algeria, morocco? have you had discussions of their potential to send ground troops to fight isis? >> there have been broad discussions with various -- mill
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-- mil to mil discussions and intel discussions regarding the possibility. >> chairman, can i ask unanimous consent request? >> yes. >> i ask unanimous consent the letter dated dice 13, 2012 addressed to then secretary hillary rodham clinton be placed in the record. >> without objection. >> i would further ask that the response from the state department dated march 27, 2013 to then-chairman darrel issa be placed in the record. >> without objection. >> lastly, i would ask that the news articles from the daily caller dated january 30, 2016 and "the hill" dated 2/2/2016 be placed in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. mr. issa is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, first of all i want to congratulate you on naming ambassador jacobs as your czar, if you will, for foia
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requests. i share with you the sympathy that the american people's desire to know things has outpaced the automation and the process for foia from the state department. as a former businessman, i might suggest though that as good as the ambassador is, perhaps you need to turn it over to somebody who is much better at getting data out rather than evaluating the details of state department communication. having said that, the information i put in the record is for a reason. in the last days of secretary clinton's administration, i sent her a letter specifically related to use of personal e-mails. i did so, not because of benghazi, not because of any other investigations you might be familiar with, but because in the investigation of the solyndra scandal at the department of energy, we had discovered that a political
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appointee, jonathan silver, had been using personal e-mails to circumvent foia and the scrutiny. he went so far as to say -- this is in the letter to secretary clinton -- don't ever send an e-mail to d.o.e. e-mail with a personal e-mail address. that makes it subpoenaable. the letter went on to go through a number of those things, and it specifically asked then-secretary clinton whether or not she had an e-mail and whether or not any senior agency officials ever used personal e-mail account to conduct official business, have any senior agency officials ever used alias e-mails. that was a different investigation. and it went on and i know by now you must have been made familiar with this letter. approximately two months in to your administration as the secretary, your agency responded to that letter by not
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responding. your agency sent a response that basically said, here's the title in the rules. now, since it's been reported in those two articles that you personally communicated with secretary clinton, your personal e-mail to her personal e-mail, is it true that you were aware that she had a personal e-mail, and that she used it regularly? >> i have no knowledge of what kind of e-mail she had. i was given an e-mail address and i sent it to her. >> did you look at the e-mail address? i mean was it dot gov? >> i have no knowledge what she was operating with. >> i appreciate. that's a responsive answer that you didn't know you were sending to her personal e-mail from your personal e-mail. do you know -- at least one of those documents now has been
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classified secret. do you know when that could be made available in camera to this committee so we would appreciate what it was about? >> i don't know specifically. >> you are aware that it's been classified secret. is that correct? >> i am aware. >> okay. the letter which did not respond to the specific questions occurred on your watch. you've now had your watch for three years. are you prepared to answer the questions in that letter, including who all is using e-mail and what you are doing about it? >> well, congressman, in principle, i'm prepared to have total accountability and i think we do. let me just say to you, my direction from day one to the entire department has been clear. get the clinton e-mails out of here, into the -- >> and i appreciate that, although it is amazing that -- >> let me have -- >> we're still waiting for them. let me ask you a couple of quick
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questions. >> i with a ant to finish my an. >> in the case of use of personal e-mail, we've discovered that additionally many individuals appear to be using text as a method of communication. do you use text as a means of communication, or do you know of any of your senior staff who use text as a method of communication? >> congressman, let me answer your question by saying this to you. in march of last year, i wrote a letter to the inspector general that i hired for the department -- >> i appreciate that you hired one and that your predecessor never had one. >> -- and i asked -- i asked the inspector general to look at all of the e-mail practices, communications practices of the department in order to deliver review. and we are working with the ig's observations which have been helpful to make sure that the department is living up to the
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highest -- >> there's a pending question, mr. secretary. would you answer the text question, please? >> congressman, i'm not going to get into an e-mail discussion with you here on the budget of our department, with all due respect. >> mr. secretary, this committee is entitled to know the communication -- >> and our communications process is thoroughly being animal litzize blsh analyzed by the inspector general. >> mr. secretary, it is a simple pending question. do you text or do you know of other individuals in your senior staff who use text -- >> i have no idea whether they do or don't. >> okay. and do you use text? >> i occasionally text some of the people. >> and the final question is, how are you seeing that that text, which by definition is required to be saved under foia requirements, under the federal records act. how are you seeing that those texts are preserved since they are not otherwise preserved? >> that is precisely what we are
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working on within our process today to make sure that everything -- by the way, i don't text anything regarding policy. i only text my top aide -- i only text my logistical administrative staff with respect to whether i'm arriving or going somewhere. nothing substantive is never texted. >> i would assume your private e-mail to hillary's private e-mail was also intended -- >> but that's secured. all e-mails are on the server that is the state department and it is all preserved. it's all part of the national records. >> i appreciate that, mr. secretary. but hillary clinton's were not and your personal e-mail were not -- >> i don't know how many investigations there are on this. i think people are really getting bored with it, congressman. there are an lot of important discussions. policy is another thing. that's what i'm here to -- >> mr. secretary, i appreciate that. but as i said earlier, there is not about any of the investigations. this is about the work that is
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being done related to the federal records act and compliance. it absolutely is more about whether the american people can get what they're entitled to under a law that you, quite frankly -- >> mr. chairman, i would note that the gentleman's time has expired. >> i have taken unprecedented steps, including with the inspector general, to make sure that that is fully adhered to and i stand by the steps we've taken. >> thank you. >> gentleman's time has expired. >> chair recognizes ranking member. >> thank you. i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the memo of the inspector general of february 3rd, 2016, where he noted that secretary powell and secretary rice's staff used private e-mails as well. i really think we should be consistent and not just have a political attack on hillary clinton. >> as long as we can enter into the record, mr. chairman -- >> let me just say i on.
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>> the chair has recognized -- >> may i tell the gentleman, this is not the oversight committee. this is a foreign affairs committee. >> i appreciate that. the only thing that i ask is that -- >> gentleman is recognized. >> -- alongside that, that the information where each of the former secretaries made their accompanying statements, including secretary powell saying that they were not classified. i'm happy to have the record complete. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> mr. keating is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. i just want to note for those of us that are waiting to ask questions, how much time is the secretary allocated to this meeting? >> he's here until 12:30. so with that, chair recognizes miss frankle from florida. >> thank you very much. mr. secretary, i want a to just thank you for your service. i'm very proud to have you as our secretary of state. and i just want to, in a most
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respectful way, really object to my colleagues litigating the 2016 presidential contest here in this foreign affairs meeting. i think there's some more important things to discuss other than hillary clinton's e-mails. specifically, i'd like to talk about what's happening in syria. and i would first ask you if you could very specifically detail the type of suffering that is going on and how many people are involved. >> well, congresswoman, thank you. syria represents the most significant humanitarian catastrophe and movement of peop people, deprivation of rights, slaught slaughter, since world war ii.
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there are 12.5 million people or so who are displaced or refug s refugees. more than 2 million in jordan, 1 million-something in lebanon, and 2 million or so in turkey. massive numbers of people, as we've seen. almost a million already who have entered into europe. sometimes 5,000, 10,000 a day trying to move across a border. but what has happened in syria itself, the slaughter by assad of his own people, the barrel bombs that have been dropped on schools, on kids, on innocent civilians, the torture which has been documented in vivid photographs, grotesque -- >> and is it still occurring, as we speak? >> well, slaughter is still occurring. the innocent people being killed. the bombs that have dropped on hospitals and on schools.
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that has obviously occurred, which is why we have pushed so hard to try to get a cessation of hostilities. but the combination of torture of not -- not just the torture, but of starvation, communities that have been laid under siege, people who haven't seen food supplies, medical supplies in years now. >> and children out of school. >> children out of school. people walking around looking like skeletons, like high people in the liberation of the concentration camps of world war ii. this is horrendous beyond description. the beheadings, the death by fire and the elimination of certain people by virtue of who they are. this is real ly a sad, tragic
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moment for a world that hoped that we were moving to a new rule of order, rule of law, and possibilities for young people and so forth. so it's really -- >> let me just follow up on that. if you could give us a prognosis. how long do you think it will be until these millions of people can either get back to a normal life in any way? >> it will be when russia, iran, the parties at the table of the international syrian support group, including the united states and our european allies and our gulf state friends and turkey and egypt and others come to the table ready to implement the geneva communique which requires a transitional government, which is precisely what we are trying to do.
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that is the moment where things could begin to turn conreceiverbly fconreceiveceivc. >> at that point is that when you are going after daesh, as you call them? >> well, no, we're going after daesh now as powerfully as possible given the difficult circumstances of the country. it would be much better if we were able to get a transition government in place according to the geneva structure, and then have the united states and russia and all of the parties focus on daesh, al nusra and be able to join together. the difficulty with that is, with assad there and the suspicion about intent by some countries simply to shore up assad, it is impossible to be able to do that sufficiently until you have resolved this process -- or at least
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sufficient sufficiently engaged in that process and are far enough down the road that you then can license the ability to have a kind of cooperative effort on daesh. the cooperative effort could end daesh very, very quickly. >> but that will require ground forces, you believe? >> well, the ground forces are there. you have the syrian army. if you have an ability to be able to bring people together around a transition government, you have plenty of people on the ground who can then join together, and together the forces from the air and the ground can quickly deal with the problem of daesh. that's why dealing with the question of assad is so critical. people aren't sitting around caught up in this notion that just because people said assad has to go, that's why we're sticking with the policy. it's because if assad is there, you cannot end the war. as long as assad is there, the people supporting the opposition countries that are defending
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their right not to live under a dictator are going to continue to support those people. >> thank you. >> mr. scott perry of pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for your time today. i'd like to try to take it back to something regarding the budget. my first question deals with the united nations relief and work agency in regard to our support of the palestinians. to my knowledge, the american taxpayer spends about $277 million per year between the fiscal years 2009 and 2015 to support these programs. meanwhile, unrwa staff unions, including the teachers union, are frequently controlled by members affiliated with a has. the curriculum of the unrwa schools which use the textbooks of their respective host governments or authorities has long contained materials that are anti-israel, anti-semitic and supportive of violent extremism. now despite unrwa's
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contravention of the united states law and activities that compromise its strictly humanitarian mandate -- its strictly humanitarian mandate, unrwa continues to receive united states contributions, including $408 million in 2014. just wondering, if you could quickly sum up for us, how your department is using this funding and your budget to discourage these activities. taxpayers are loathe for paying for terrorism, terrorist activities, and support of terrorism. and i know you know this. is there absolutely. and not only loathe it, i mean just bottom line is, it's disgraceful, it is unacceptable and we've made that clear. so have the leadership, by the way, of unrwa and the united
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nations. there is no you w -- has been v strict policy and procedure in place in order to prevent this kind of activity, to ensure neutrality, to prevent the funds and programs from benefiting any terrorist activity, obviously. and we -- >> how does -- with all due respect, how is that manifested? we have policies in place, but yet they continue to do it and the american taxpayer continues to fund this organization. >> well, yes. and the people who have done it need to be fired or -- >> but are they, sir? >> they should be. >> how do we ensure accountability? how do you take that money and say to these folks, you're not getting the money. how do you use the leverage -- >> well, we have pushed unrwa as a result of what happened to condemn racism and to assess every allegation that has been brought to the agency about this misbehavior and misconduct. and in those cases in which investigations have found that
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misconduct occurred, the staff was subject to remedial and disciplinary action, and that's what they have promised us is taking place. >> is it ever considered to just withdraw the funding until we see a good faith effort? >> yeah, it's been considered. and in a couple of cases it's been mandated. and the problem is we don't get back. i mean we've lost our vote at unesco, as i think you know, because of activities beyond our control which the palestinians engaged in by going to the u.n. and seeking membership. as a result of that, we are hurt. we don't have a vote. we didn't control their action. it wasn't a deterrent. but we've now lost our ability to be able to protect israel, stand up and fight within the mechanisms. so i think being draconian about it is not the best way to do it. we're being successful right now in being able to hold people accountab accountable. i think that's the best way to
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proceed. >> i appreciate the effort. i just see it differently. i don't think anybody is being held accountable. i would just beseech you that the federal government's $19 trillion in debt. the taxpayers are under siege and we don't have money to waste on organizations that support terrorism. and that's just how i see it. i would just ask you to consider that more than maybe you have. moving on, looking at your budget, it looks like last year we spent $300 million on the united nations high commissioner for refugees. and associated programs. with what we see in syria, seems to me that the american taxpayer is rightly -- we want to do our part. we don't want to see anything -- we don't want to see the horrific happens to these people, the women and the children. and we want to do our part to be good neighbors and good stewards in the world. that having been said, these folks are coming to our shores, and then school districts and hospitals and taxpayers pay double. i sent a letter to the administration asking why we haven't pursued a safe zone in
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the border region of syria and turkey as some kind of a program or a strategy to make sure that they're not refugees far from their country. can you enlighten us at all -- because i haven't got a response whatsoever. is that even a consideration? >> it's been very much a consideration, congressman. it's a lot more complicated than it obviously sounds. if you're going to have a safe zone within syria itself, it has to be exactly that. it has to be safe. how do you make it safe? how would you prevent a syrian air force barrel bomber from flying over? you got to have aircraft in the air. you've got to take away their air defenses as a result. how do you prevent daesh from coming in and attacking or the syrian army from coming in and attacking? it has to be safe. that means somewhere between 15,000 to 30,000 troops have to be on ground in order to make it safe. that's the judgment of the defense department. now are we prepared to put that
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on the ground? i mean i've heard these calls for a safe zone. >> i'm not calling for american troops to be on ground. we're already flying in the area. >> who's going to make it safe? right now safety is found by going to jordan or getting to that berm where there are about 15,000 people trying to get in to jordan and trying to make them safe there, or getting to turkey or getting to lebanon. that's safety. or trying to go et to europe. what we're trying to do is make it safe by getting a cessation of hostilities in place, getting humanitarian assistance delivered, and getting the political process that could actually end the violence. that's the safest thing of all. it does requirnot require, we h thousands of troops on the ground to provide a safe zone. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary. obviously this is a difficult time in the world. multiple complexities, multiple challenges in the world. i'm going to shift to south asia where we certainly have some
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opportunities but also some challenges. it is a time of unprecedented increasing relationships between the united states and india, so lots of positive movement there. one area of complexity though is the pending sale of f-16 fighters to pakistan. given pakistan's continued support of terrorism throughout the region, certainly we saw recent terrorist attacks in india in january at the air force base. at a time when we're seeing progress in u.s./india relationship, understanding the complexity of the region, understanding that we do have a vested interest in helping pakistan fight terrorists. i'd be interested from your perspective if pakistan is doing enough separating good
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terrorists versus bad terrorists and enough domestically pakistan to fight these terror threats. our interests in afghanistan as well. >> well, congressman, thank you. first of all, thank you for your thoughts about india and the sensitivity there. we acknowledge that. we've been really working hard building a relationship and trying to advance even the relationship between india and pakistan. i think it's required courage by both leaders to engage in the dialogue that they've engaged in. needless to say, we don't want to do things that upset the balance. but we do believe that pakistan is engaged legitimately in a very tough fight against a group
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of terrorists in their country that threaten pakistan. they've got 150,000 to 180,000 troops in the western part of their country. they've been engaged in north waziristan in a long struggle to clear the area, move people out. and they've made some progress in that. is it enough in our judgment? no. we think that more could be done. we're particularly concerned about the sanctuary components of pakistan and we're particularly concerned about some individual entities in pakistan that have been supportive of relationships with some of the people that we consider extremely dangerous to our interests in afghanistan and elsewhere. haqqani network, prime example of that. so there is a balance. but the f-16s have been a critical part of the pakistani fight against the terrorists in the western part of that country and have been effective in that fight. pakistan has lost some 50,000 people in the last years,
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including troops to the terrorists that are threatening pakistan itself. so it's always complicated. we try to be sensitive to the balance obviously with respect to india but we think the f-16s are an important part of pakistan's ability to do that. >> let me shift now. as one of the few physicians in congress, i do have a real interest in global health and looking at the current threat of zika virus. we were grateful to have dr. frieden and dr. fauci and representatives of usaid in committee a few weeks ago. as we're looking at zika and as we are gathering information, i know the president's requested $1.8 billion. one thing as a physician we know and very much so are recommending, if you're pregnant, if you're of reproductive age, to take all precautions. obviously the one thing that we do know is making access to full
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family planning services available in areas where we know there's endemic zika. and within usaid's purview, within the $1.8 billion request, the one thing is empowering women of child bearing age to have full family planning support services, whether that's birth control. we're seeing increases cases of sexually transmitted zika virus as well. so i'd be curious and i would want to make sure that we are providing the full resources in these endemic countries. >> we are doing an enormous amount, congressman. and i really appreciate the expertise you bring as a physician and your concern about this. the president is extremely focused on the zika virus challenge. the white house national security council is actually coordinating the all of
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government response on this. and together with the world health organization, with whom we are working very closely, and its regional offices for the americas, for the pan-american health organization, we are working with relevant international organizations and others. the president has emphasized a need to accelerate researcher efforts to make better diagnostic tests available, to develop vaccines, medicines, mosquito control nets and that all physicians have what they need to be able to deal with the virus. so we are using multiple lines of effort, an all-out effort. we do not want this obviously to become as challenging as ebola was. as you know, we mounted a response to that and the same kind of effort is being put into this. >> mr. ron disantos of florida. >> congress recently passed a
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trade authority bill that among other provisions instructed our trade negotiators to oppose any boycotts of israel, including persons doing business in israel or in israel-controlled territories. yet your spokesman recently said that the state department rejects that provision and does not believe that congress can conflate israel with disputed territories. so my question is, why won't the administration honor congress' enactment? >> well, i'm not sure exactly what statement you're referring to or what happened with respect to that. i think we do hon no are legislation. but -- >> you would say your negotiators, if a european country was saying that they wanted to boycott people or businesses that are doing business over the green line, you would not fight against that? >> no. we do not support any boycott efforts. we've been openly opposed to them. we're opposed to them at the u.n., we're opposed to them z e
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elsewhere. we oppose labeling. >> well, good. maybe he's not -- >> that's why i say, i don't know what the response is. >> okay, good. i think that's great. the labeling though, i'd like to follow up on that because your spokesman, mr. kirby, said that the u.s. doesn't oppose labeling of israeli products from the disputed territory and the state department does not view labeling as a boycott of israel. problem is once you go down the road of doing the labeling, that's really a precondition for countries to be able to boycott israel. so he suggested that the state department is not opposed to european efforts to require israel to label goods that are outside of the green line. are you saying that that's not the position? >> we don't view -- no. that kind of labeling actually -- i mean we require labeling of where people send goods from. we require labeling of goods that -- >> but if someone is from a
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jewish community outside the green line and it says "made in israel," it would be fine to force them to say that was produced in the west bank. >> labeling it from the west bank is not equivalent of a boycott. >> but it sets a precondition. >> the equivalent of knowledge to people so that they can have information about where products come from, which we require, also, by the way. you know? we have made in america -- >> but these are disputed territories and you have jewish communities there where they are producing goods and they label it as being made in israel -- >> i understand that. which is why we are opposed -- we are opposed to any boycotts or any efforts to isolate israel based on where something -- we're opposed to that. >> well, good. i mean i appreciate you saying that forthrightly because i think we've been getting mixed signals from the state department. in terms of funding, there is over the last several years about $1 million that's gone to this new israel fund. that's an organization that supports bds.
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do you think it is appropriate that money that the state department is dispensing in grants be used for organizations that support bds? >> i'm not familiar with that. that's news to me. i'll take it under advisement and review it. >> we'll get that. there is a movement to boycott israel on a lot of college campuses throughout the united states. do you view that as helpful for america''s diplomatic relations with israel and other nations in the world and do you think it is appropriate that u.s. taxpayers are funding universities that take an official position in favor of bds? >> i believe in academic freedom. i believe in student freedom to take positions. that's a time-honored tradition in the united states of america that we don't punish positions people take. >> what about the country's position? >> we as a government make our position clear that we do not believe it is helpful to be boycotting. but people have a right in america, thank god, to be able to make their own decisions. and we as a government do not
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punish students for the position -- >> i don't think it would be punishing stunlts. i thi students. i think it if a university ad t adopted an official position they are boycotting israel -- >> that's obviously a debate for congress but i would not advocate or support any challenge to the freedom of the university to make its own decisions. i think punishing them would be inappropriate. >> now money that goes to the palestinian authority directly under federal law requires the state department to certify that the palestinian authority is acting to counter incitement of violence against the israelis. i've noticed the last several years the state department has not made that certification. is that correct? >> i wasn't aware we hadn't certified the last couple of years. but we are following constantly the incitement issue. i just met with president abbas and raised the issue with him couple weeks ago. we are working through our
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relationships and constant engagement on the west bank to make sure that the incitement is not taking place in any official ways. >> i think the worry is that the certification has not been made so that would prohibit funds directly but the state department has been directing fund to the israelis to pay down the palestinian debts. question is is that trying to get around the spirit of the law? >> no. it's trying to sustain the one entity in the west bank that's committed to peaceful resolution an to non-violence and to a two-state solution. the fact is that there are many, many difficulties financially in the p.a.'s ability to be able to meet its needs for education, for health, for the standard process of trying to govern the west bank. and these have been particularly difficult last year-and-a-half or so, as you know, with
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violence that has risen. we condemn the violence completely. i might add, i was extremely disturbed to read today that iran has agreed to pay the families of people who have engaged in violence and people who have been "the martyrs" of the violence that's taken place, it is completely inappropriate and seems to lend some sort of credibility to that violence and to those choices. i think it is the wrong choice by iran. we strongly urge any kind of incitement of any kind. that even in its own way can be a form of incitement. you're going to have eternal support, the families will be fine and this is okay behavior. it is not okay behavior. but president abbas is committed to non-violence. he is the one leader in the west bank who has consistently, even
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in the middle of the violence, even in the middle of the gaza war previously, condemned violence as a means of trying to achieve the two states. we believe that trying to build their capacity is the way to ultimately move forward and solve the problem of the violence itself. >> i'll remind the members we need to stick to five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary for being here today. i'd like to follow up on dr. bera's questions with regard to the f-16s in pakistan. judge poe and i recently sent you a letter expressing grave concerns about the potential sale and asking to you consider stopping it. in our view, rewarding pakistan with such a sale when in fact they have not changed their
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harboring in support in pakistan. whether you talk about the 2011 statements by the admirable then or his statements that the iss played a direct role in supporting the deadly attack on our embassy in kabul in 2011 or to the recent release of the mast mastermind of the 2008 mumbai attack, supporting these terrorists is important with
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india, is this something you would be willing to reconsider and given all of these factors? >> councilwoman, i would like to talk to you in a classified setting if we could. and there are conversations that we can't go into. i would say to you that i share the concern as everybody does. the president and all of us are deeply concerned about isi relationships. deeply concerned about the networks and they operated and we had recent conversations with respect to that. i think in fairness because of the nature of those conversations, i will follow-up with you and definitely follow up with you in a way we can discuss this. >> i would appreciate that. the last time i met with you in my district in hawaii we met at the east west center. a place you know has been instrumental in creating dialogues with leaders with the asia pacific nations at a time when we are facing potential destabilization and north korea and island nations in the pacific and the challenges we
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are facing. the funding has been reduced to this year for the east-west center. i'm wondering if you can talk about why that is as well as why the funding was moved from its own line item into education and cultural exchanges and what impact that will have on this center's ability to continue to play a role in the asian-pacific region. >> i think it reflects tough choices that we have with the budget that we have. not everybody is getting as much. i think the president's 2017 request is 10.8 million. you're right it is below the level of 2018 and appropriated
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level, but i think it reflects just tough choices with the budget that we have. not everybody is getting as much as they did the year before, but it is not a reflection of some sort of downward trend. it reflects the difficulties of the current budget choice. we will maintain our consistent support for the east-west center going forward. i can guarantee you that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i've got a lot more questions. unfortunately, we don't have more time. one issue i would like to follow up on is the budget question within your budget that goes toward train and equip programs within both syria and iraq and the concern about how those funds are being used, who they're supporting and training as well as what coordination is occurring between state and the
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dod program and other agencies that are using this funding and toward what objective. the concern we've raised consistently over time about whether or not these funds are being used to overthrow the syrian government of assad versus fighting and defeating daesh on the ground there and other al qaeda extremist islamic groups. >> we look forward to working with you. >> we will go to david from michigan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, the christians have experienced some of the worst attacks in their modern history. and we sent a petition to the white house urging that they designate the muslim brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
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in response to that, the administration said we have not seen credible evidence that the muslim brotherhood has renounced its decades long commitment to violence. >> as a whole it's hard to wrap everybody into the same pot. there's clearly muslim brotherhood members that are engaging in violence. >> the administration not recognizing them as a terrorist organization, the state department welcoming them on an official visit last year -- >> no. there was a member or two who were part of the delegation that was -- that attended and nobody knew what membership anybody had with respect to that. >> well, days after their visit they released a statement calling for a long uncompromising jihad in egypt and two days later there's a
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major attack on the sinai peninsula. what should i tell and how should i explain the administration's policies and action of the muslim brotherhood to the christian families in my district? how should i explain the actions taken to address the atrocities? >> we are leading the fight. there is no country doing as much to fight against violent extremism to counter as the united states. we are the ones who put together the global initiative on countering violent extremism. it's a president obama initiative. he's led it at the united nations. we've had major conferences and meetings on this issue, and all violent extremists are brought into the purview of these efforts as a result of that initiative. in addition, we're leading the coalition in the fight against daesh, against al qaeda, against anybody appropriately designated as a violent broadly-based
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organization. we continue to carefully assess the status of the muslim brotherhood writ large as to whether or not it meets the specific criteria set forth in the terrorist organization designation requirements. while there are individual members that have engaged in violence and individual bran branches, the organization writ large over its overall heading has not expressed a commitment to that kind of activity, so it's difficult. we're looking at it. >> thank you, sir. let's switch to the president's plan to close guantanamo. we heard the cost estimate is $300 to $500 million to do the construction necessary to do
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that and hold the detainees here. no explanation has been forthcoming in how you resolve the conflict between that plan and the ban to move the detainees under the national defense authorization act. two days ago, one of the former detainees was arrested in spain for plotting to carry out an isis attack in explaspain. at a high level, do you believe that closing the prison makes america and americans safer? >> yes, i do. i am convinced it makes us safer. it has been an incredible tool and i don't think it adheres to the values of our country. people held in a military prison 14 years after it was apprehended without any charges or any evidence. >> so you believe as far as the recruiting tool, someone gets radicalized and joins isis because they were singularly motivated by this terrible
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situation in the prison in guantanamo. is that what drives someone to make that decision? >> let me ask you something. do you remember seeing people in orange jump suits in the deserts having their heads cut off? where do you think the orange jump suits came from? they came from guantanamo. yes, unequivocally it is no accident. >> is it going to end up like the panama canal where if we move the detainees out of there -- >> any plan to -- no discussion. i would personally be opposed to that. there's no discussion that i'm aware of. no, that is not what it is at stake here. what's at stake here is living up to our values. >> we can live up to our values without closing the prison, though. we can just correct the mistakes that were made anma


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