Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 7, 2016 1:33am-3:34am EDT

1:33 am
network devoted exclusively to nonfiction books. book tv on c-span2. television for serious readers. coming up on c-span3,
1:34 am
national security expert derek s chollet. that's followed by the chair of the national transportation safety board on driverless cars. later, the senate help committee on safety issues on college campuses. now national security expert derek chollet on his book "the long game: how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world." he spoke at this event hosted by the american university. it's just over an hour. >> welcome. great to have everyone here for our first dean's discussion of this academic year. i'm jim goldguyer of the school of international service, and i'm delight to welcome you all to this discuss with derek chollet who is the author of
1:35 am
"the long game: how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world." and as always for these dean's discussions, i'll start by kicking off the conversation for about the first half hour. and then we'll open it up to questions from you for the second half hour. and we have the mic over here this time. so when it comes time for q&a, if you can line up at the mic to ask your question, that would be great. and it's always great for the first -- the first student has to be the bravest student to get up at the mic. so just steel yourself and be brave. because otherwise we won't have anybody standing at the mic. and it's a great pleasure to welcome derek here. derek is currently at the german marshall fund in the united states and served in a number of capacities in the obama administration, most recently as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. prior to that, he was special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning at the white house.
1:36 am
and before that was deputy director of the policy planning staff. at the state department. so a lot to talk about. welcome. >> thanks. it's great to be here. >> we're thrilled to have you. so i wanted to start by breaking down the title here. so we'll start with the title. and then we'll work our way to the subtitle. and that is the long game, what you mean by the long game, and how to think about the long game as something other than just, you know, wait for 10 or 20 years and you'll see how brilliant this was. and, you know, how it is not an effort to deflect from any challenges from the present. >> well, great opening question. and thanks all of you for being here. and i really want to thank my friend jim goldgeier who has
1:37 am
been my friend for over a quarter century. we've written many books together and had many adventure together. so it's really a thrill to have this conversation with you. i'm glad we're starting with the title "the long game" because the title has a double meaning. first i contend in this book that president obama in the execution of his foreign policy has tried to play a long game. and what i mean by that, not just that he's thinking well, you know, just wait and everything will work out fine and just ignore the issues of the moment. but to try what academics call have a grand strategy and set the united states on a course that over time can succeed. what try to do is tell the story of how president obama became president and the situation the united states was in eight years ago when by almost every measure we were losing the long game in terms of our role in the world and our act to project power and influence in the world, as well as the situation here at home.
1:38 am
and one of the central struggles of obama's presidency, which we'll get to when you ask about the subtitle is the resistance, the debate here in washington has to playing a long game. and so often as you've seen in the last few days as president obama has been in asia where he is trying to implement part of what he sees as a major strategic move to the asia-pacific that is going to play out over time. but yet in the course of doing that, has been buffeted by news of the day, whether it's syria or whether or not the chinese have given him the right welcome when he arrived. this gets to the second part of the book, which is the title, "the long game," which i contend in history's long game, president obama's foreign policy will be remembered as one that is quite consequential for the
1:39 am
better. and it is often hard to see that now where there is so much turmoil in the world there is so much uncertainty. but i do believe, and i contend in this book that president obama has put the united states in a position to preserve its power, project its power into the future. so in that sense the book is not just a defense of the obama foreign policy. of course i served in this administration for six-plus years. so it's not just my effort to justify what's happened. but it's also an attempt to explain his foreign policy. and in many ways try to go to the pain in this book. i talk about the toughest issues that this president has faced in office whether it be libya or syria or egypt or iran or israel or ukraine and russia, and to tell the story of how he tried to approach those problems while also still trying to play a long game in terms of what he was doing with american strategy in
1:40 am
the world and the difficult trade-offs that he had to make as president. those of us who were responsible for helping formulate and implement that policy had to deal with as well in trying to struggle through these very challenging issues in which the united states has a lot of influence and the ability to shape outcomes, but many of the swrieshs struggled with for the past seven and a half years and we're going to struggle with moving forward are the outcomes we can't control on our own. and that's something else we've had to grapple with. >> okay. let's move to the subtitle then. so when we say how obama defied washington and redefined america's role in the world, talk to us a little bit about what you mean by washington. are we talking about members of congress on capitol hill? are we talking about the think tank elites? are we talking about journalists? and in terms of redefining america's role in the world, as you know, there has been a lot
1:41 am
of criticism of the president for not talking enough about american exceptionalism. and when we got bogged down in that debate at various points, and now that debate has reemerged as hillary clinton has been trying to emphasize american exceptionalism. and there are people who are saying ah, look, she is emphasizing it because president obama didn't. so break this down for us. >> sure. so first on the defying washington. one of the central themes of obama's presidency, and in fact if you go back to when he started to run for president in 2007, one of the central themes of his candidacy was to try to buck the conventional wisdom of washington. one of the most important moments in his political rise was his speech in 2002 against the war in iraq. and that was something that, of course, in 2004 when he ran for senate, but then as a candidate for president in 2007 and '08
1:42 am
was a distinguishing feature of his candidacy. and certainly i experienced in the years that i served in the administration a sense of trying to resist what the washington wisdom was saying the u.s. should be doing or student shouldn't be doing in the moment. first start with this disclaimer. i'm part of the washington establishment. i've worked in and out of government, worked in and out of think tank. and for 28 years. so i'm not writing this as an outsider looking in decrying all of what's happening in washington. there is plenty of books that do that. this book is trying to look at this from the inside and be a little self-critical of the way that the washington wisdom has said things should be done over the years. and president obama, you see this time and again in interviews that he gives throughout his presidency, not just recently, but from the day he took office, there was a sense of pride that he is willing to stand up to what editorial pages says he should
1:43 am
be doing or what washington wise people say he should be doing. and i think there is a couple reasons for that. part of it is his background where he has come, how he emerged as a political figure. this is definitely part of his political character. but i also think it goes -- there is a deeper reason there. and this gets back to the title, "the long game." you think of what the president has been trying to do in design a strategy and execute it over time. a strategy that both takes into account what america is trying to do in the world and our ability to influence outcomes around the world as well as the health of the united states here at home. which oftentimes in a foreign policy debate gets treated as sort of a zero sum set of issues. whether you're concentrating too much on foreign policy, your domestic situation is bad or vice versa. when in fact you have to look at it holistically. most presidents do, most successful presidents do. certainly that's the way president obama did. and so when he is trying to execute a long game, he's
1:44 am
willing to be subjected to criticism in the moment and a sense of many doubters out there. but with the confidence that over time this is going to pay off. and the incentives in the washington debate are varied. particularly today. it's been this way for many years. but particularly given the new media environment, the more splintered and partisan media environment, you're rewarded for sort of the short-term time horizon. so the analogy i use is president obama has been trying to be like warren buffett, the financier who of course made a pile of money thinking about long-term investments. making big transactions, by the way. so it's not as though he is trying to put all his money under the mattress. he is willing to take risks, but these are in the service of long-term payoffs. and the foreign policy debate tends to be more kind of day
1:45 am
trading, which is reacting to every blip on the market, seeing what will get the most retweets in the moment. now i'm not trying to pass moral judgment on one or the other. both are trying to make money. it's just totally different ways about going about doing it. i think the way washington tends to look at things, when i say washington, i mean the press. i mean politicians. i mean folks in think tanks. i mean folks in congress is it's what's happening. is there an instant answer. the president is very willing to set us on a long-term course. then the sec piece of this which is redefining america's role in the world. obama in many ways has redefinition tapped into traditions of previous presidents. although they're traditions that might be surprising to some of you. if you think of -- i do at this the end of the book where i'm
1:46 am
trying to puzzle about how we should think about obama historically, how he would compare with other presidents. if you look at or read how obama compares himself, it's to other presidents, it's interestingly not to the bright stars in the democratic presidential firmament. he usually doesn't talk about fdr or truman. he talks about george w. bush and dwight eisenhower. and the approach -- their approach to america and the world. he points to two republicans. it's an interesting statement, by the way, as an aside on our current political debate that the only person, political leader who would stand up and compare them george h.w. bush and dwight eisenhower is barack obama. even george h.w. bush's son talked more about his brother than his father when it came to american foreign policy. and that's very telling. but it gets to this issue of
1:47 am
exceptionalism. obama of course has been criticized since his first year in office of being an apologist for america, talking the united states down. i'm sure we'll hear another round of this in the next few days as folks read the news of the speech he gave earlier today in laos where he talked about the intensive bombing campaign the united states conducted against laos in the early 1970s, dropping more bombs on the small southeast asian country than we did in tonnage over germany and japan during world war ii. and as a way to talk about the hardship of that country, but really to talk about our role and responsibility today in trying to help that country. and many of his critics will say this is just another example of him apologizing for the united states. and this idea that some have tried to suggest that he doesn't believe america's exceptional. i think it's actually the very opposite. he believes truly in american
1:48 am
exceptionalism. i talk about this in the book. in fact, he would argue that the very fact that he is president is a testament to the exceptional nature of our country, and that the united states remains the indispensable nation. it is the country that others look to help solve problems, to come up with the answers, to organize the world to come around common solution to common problems. and his argument would be by acting in a certain way in previous years, particularly during the 2000s, we were actually losing what made us exceptional. we were losing the credibility in the eyes of the world. well were losing our moral stature. well were losing our ability to convince other countries to come by our side and try to come up with common solutions. so he believes in exceptionalism with every fiber of his being. and he has given, in my view, some of his most eloquent speeches one can challenge on
1:49 am
american exceptionalism. in some cases they are not about foreign policy directly, but they're everything about america and the world. one of the spiechs talk about in this book is a speech he gave in selma several years ago on the anniversary of the selma march. it's not exactly about american foreign policy, but if you go back and read it, it's all about what makes us unique in the world. and it's the reason why for so many around the world the united states remains a beacon of hope. >> so let's move into some substantive foreign policy issues and one that is getting a lot of attention because it just seems to continue to defy a solution, and has just been so horrific to see unfold is syria. your take on the issue that emerged several years ago with the red line and the decision not to use force against syria, and then the very remarkable
1:50 am
agreement to get rid of syria's chemical weapons, which seemed to come out of nowhere. so i'll give you the opportunity to say a few words about that. but then also, what -- where, where do you see this going? the meeting that the president had with president putin didn't seem to yield anything. >> secretary kerry continues to meet with secretary lavrov. the violence continues. and it's just so horrific. and we don't seem -- and i realize not every problem in the world has an answer. but just this one, you know, the international community has let syria down. and just wonder where you see that going and how you think what has unfolded in syria will affect how obama's presidency or the foreign policy part of its presidency is viewed in the long run. >> yeah.
1:51 am
syria is clearly the crucible of obama's foreign policy. and is an issue in government, in my time at the pentagon dealt with syria as an issue than any other issue by far. in my book try to disentangle two issues in our debate that get enjoyed. the issue is what to do about syria's chemical weapons, and the issue what to do with assad and the nature of the syrian civil war. the first chapter of the book is entitled "the red line" because i want to go right directly at this argument if only president obama had used force in 2013, we would have a totally different set of outcomes in syria. and we would have gained leverage to solve the syrian civil war. sort of that's the -- the president himself has said that's the inverted point of the pyramid for most of the critique of his foreign policy.
1:52 am
in my experience serving in the pentagon as one of the folks who was trying to plan and prepare for the strikes that we were advocating for at the time, the administration was advocating for at the time to the congress and also someone who spent the better part of the previous year prior to that worried about the disposition of syria's chemical weapon, what we ended um achieving not by design, but by improvisation and opportunism, creativity was something that none of us imagined possible. was that that the peaceful removal and destruction of 1300 tons of syrian chemical weapons. the puzzles about the debate overall, i struggle about it, i talk about it in the book is in iraq, we used force against a country that did not have wmd, it turned out. and the strategic consequences
1:53 am
are ones we are still dealing with today. and in syria, we did not use force and ended up with dealing with a wmd threat that did exist and in fact was ten times worse than the cia wrongly estimated iraqi chemical weapons to be. and yet that seems a strategic disaster. how do try to get at that puzzle? so that's what the first chapter is about, unpacking the red line both in terms of the history of it and how we got into the situation, and then trying to figure out why it is that snag has arguably made us all safer, which was 1300 tons of syrian chemical weaponress moved -- believe me, if we had the chemical weapons still in syria today and we would be worried about isis getting them, it would be something all of us would be very worried about. so i start with why is it that the red line is seen as such a disaster, particularly given the counter factual, if we had gone
1:54 am
ahead and used forced, decided not to take this opportunity that presented to us, to remove the chemical weapons peacefully, and we had gone ahead and used force, which would not have taken out the entire chemical arsenal. it would have taken out 25% of it at most, which is one of the reason why's there were so many concerns being expressed about why we wanted to use force against syria in the first place. but if we had done that in 2013, and then got forbid, some of those remaining weapons had gotten on the loose and had been used in europe or against israel or here in the united states, barack obama would have been held responsible for that. many people rightly would have said why did you give up this opportunity to try to solve the problem peacefully to uphold your honor and go barrel forward and use force. so that's one side of the argument. the second side, which is something that we struggled with mightily in the administration. clearly the administration is still struggling with today, and president obama's successor will struggle with is what to do about assad and the underlying dynamics of the syrian civil conflict. and here again, we have a policy
1:55 am
that assad should go. the question is less is that a goal, but how are we going to try to achieve that goal. and the united states has tried over the past few years to go about that process diplomatically. the view was that we needed to have -- i describe it in the book -- a managed transition in syria. and the fundamental debate that we had in the government and the debate that we have collectively about syria lies within the tension, the fundamental tension between the two words "managed" and "transition." because we can bring about a transition in syria. the u.s. military has shown repeatedly over the last decade plus that it can bring about transitions. the challenge for us has been those don't look very managed. now what the administration has been trying to do is bring about a transition that is managed, something that is through diplomacy and which the government doesn't collapse and which you've got an opposition that is trod come in and take
1:56 am
charge. and the basic institutions of society stay intact. but you put too much emphasis on that side of the equation, and the transition takes a long time, if it comes at all. and so that's where the tension lies. and i think that there is no doubt -- we know there is no doubt that there have been very difficult trade-offs in syria. and i talk in the book how in retrospect, looking back, are there things that we could have done differently. and some of these are arguments i made at the time. some of these are arguments i argued against when i was in the government, but upon reflection maybe we could have been more creative earlier. although i have to say even when i go back and look, repeat in my mind the history as it played out while i was living at -- unfortunately, i don't see the outcome changing dramatically. the fact is we've been using force in syria every day for two years. now it doesn't make the news anymore that we bomb targets in syria every single day, and we've been doing it since september of 2014. those are isis targets.
1:57 am
they're not targets against the assad regime. but as we've seen in the news recently, as some of the forces we've been training on the ground have been getting more successful, some of those questions are before policymakers again of what the target set should be of what we're bombing. we have been militarily engaged in syria for quite some time. the challenge for us is just how we calibrate that engagement in a way that we can try to affect the outcome without getting us into the morass that we ended up in iraq, or repeating the mistakes that we ended up making in libya, which again we're still dealing with today. and i think that's where i say the book is trying to explain things. it's trying to show that this is a really complicated picture. it's not to excuse a particular outcome. it's just to suggest to those of you who are interested in this and trying to follow and in your own minds piece together what you think makes the most sense for the u.s. and the world how we went about doing it and ended up where we are.
1:58 am
>> you mention iraq and what i want to ask you about is something that stems from something we wrote about when we wrote our book "america between the wars." we talked about how iraq has been a big central issue in american foreign policy since the summer of 1990, august of 1990 when saddam hussein invaded kuwait, and then the following year the united states led a coalition in the gulf war. and we talk in the book about how there was the handoff of the iraq problem from george h.w. bush to bill clinton, who maintained no-fly zones and handed off the problem of iraq to george w. bush, who went to war in iraq in 2003 and handed iraq off to barack obama. at the time the book came out in 2008 we didn't know who would be the next president, but we did express the hope that it would
1:59 am
be the last handoff, which it's not. barack obama will be handing off this problem to his successor. do you -- does it surprise you that there is yet another handoff? and of course one of the criticisms of president obama is that by not maintaining more of a force earlier, by withdrawing too quickly, he led, you know, an opportunity for isis to emerge in iraq and then syria. so what is your response to that? and also, just what's your thought on how long iraq is going to be such a feature of american foreign policy, as it's been now since 1990. >> well, first, you're quite right. we are approaching the fourth iraq handoff. and i think it's important for the students in the room to have that perspective, that iraq is a
2:00 am
country that the united states has been militarily entangled with for over a quarter century, from the first gulf war to the no-fly zones we had over iraq in the 1990s to the invasion in 2003 to the effort today to help train, advise, and assist the iraqi security forces. and i think, though, that one of the points try to stress in the book is when i unpack what obama's -- what are the loss. president obama's foreign policy. most presidents resist doctrine because they see the world as too complicated to have a one size fits all answer for everything. but there are elements of what i call a foreign policy checklist for president obama. just like checklists are kind of interesting ways to organize your thinking. not just a to-do list or a how-to list, but a set of broad concepts that one would follow in trying to implement in a
2:01 am
complex environment. one of the key elements of his check list sustainability. and i think one of the differences -- certainly, with the situation in iraq today versus iraq that he inherited in 2008 is today the united states has a position that is sustainable. that what everyone thinks of the surge in iraq in 2007 and 2008 and the reasons behind the success that we were seeing militarily in iraq during that time, that was not a sustainable posture for the united states to be in. we couldn't resource it. it was a surge, which by definition would recede. this actually gets to the second part of your question, which was the decision in 2011 to withdraw the remaining u.s. forces from iraq. that decision actually had been made by george w. bush at the end of his administration in an agreement that he had made with the iraqi government on the timeline for withdrawal for american troops. most folks may remember
2:02 am
president bush gave a speech in baghdad november of 2008. but the only thing they remember is when he had a shoe thrown at him. but that press conference with prime minister maliki of iraq was to announce this new agreement with the iraqi government on a timeline for withdrawal of the u.s. troops, which was going to end the end of 2011. president obama stuck to that timeline. and i talk about this in the book there was an attempt to convince the iraqi government to allow some u.s. troops the stay behind. for whatever reasons we weren't able to come to an agreement to leave roughly 5,000 troops behind. and history will forever debate whether having those 5,000 troops there would have made a difference in stemming the collapse this we saw in iraq two years later when isis took over mosul and started to flood south to baghdad. i personally have my doubts whether the 5,000 troops alone would have stopped that. because a lot of what we saw happening in anbar province, for example, were things were the dynamics underlying the downfall
2:03 am
or iraq's problems in 2005-2006. certainly at least we would have had better intelligence. well would have had better awareness of the deterioration in iraq. but that's for history to debate. have i my view expressed in the book on that. it's critical that president obama is handing over not just in iraq, but also in ire cyria in terms of the u.s. posture and the u.s. operation are stage. they're sustainable in how we can resource them. we're not breaking the back of the military in these deployments. we can resource them through our budget, through the regular budget. the american people support the mission. this is something that continues to maintain public support, which is very, very important. and the iraqi government supports this mission. this is something that the iraqi government wants us there. that's a big difference than 2011 when the iraqi government was happy to see us go. so yes, iraq is a chronic problem. and this is something that try to talk about in the book as
2:04 am
well as how in foreign policy, we often don't want to think of problems as chronic. we like to think of them as problems that lend themselves to solutions that can be -- we can turn the page and be done with them. and i really do see iraq and syria more akin to the way a doctor would look at a chronic disease, which we have a lot of tools that we can bring to try to shape an outcome, to try to mitigate some of the more negative consequences, to try to buy time for something better to emerge. but it's hard to see a set of tools we have that can solve the problem outright while still trying to play the long game. it's the other part of this. i could give you plenty of things we could do in syria to bring about change in syria quickly and decisively. i have a hard time telling you how we can do that while also executing the other parts of our
2:05 am
foreign policy that matter so much to us for future, and arguably could matter for news the future. because if we end up occupying syria, and i know no one is advocating that. but if you're thinking of overflowing a government and the consequences that would flow from that, it's going to be very difficult to have the resources to rebalance to asia. it's going to be even harder to have the resources to help reassure and secure europe amongst a rising russia. the u.s. has fewer limits than any other country in the world by far. but we still have some limits. i think that's another controversial part of president obama's approach to foreign policy is he is willing to talk about limits. even though we all intuitively understand that the united states, like any country has limits. we have fewer than any other country, but yet we still can't do it all. and one of the challenges of strategy is making those trade-offs. more of everything is not a strategy. you have to make choices. that's what governance is about
2:06 am
is making those choices. you can get criticized for those choices. you can make the wrong choices. but i think president obama has been determined to make these choices, to be honest about the trade-offs that we face, and to pursue a course that ultimately whatever problem we're trying to solve is sustainable over time. that's maybe the key difference with today's iraq and certainly as it was in 2001. >> i'm going to ask one more question. if you have a question, please come up to the mic, and i will turn to whoever is there after this last question. and that is on russia, we saw a very successful first term, a reset that i know a lot of people talk about the reset as a failure. we ended up with a new s.t.a.r.t. streetty. we had russian support for increased signings iran. that helped to lead to the nuclear deal in which iran gave up at least, you know, for the next 10 to 15 years ambitions
2:07 am
for a nuclear weapons program in which president obama outlined in the atrium a year ago august. which we were very honored to have him here. and then also opening the corridor into afghanistan that russia agreed to that gave us a second way in addition from the corridor from pakistan into afghanistan which was critical for being able to do the mission against osama bin laden, which would have been, i think, unlikely if the only way into afghanistan had been through pakistan. so i think it's little noticed how much the reset did in the first term. but of course things have really fallen apart. in the second term, the relationship with russia -- it's bad. >> totally a fun house mirrorish. >> yes. yes. the politics of this campaign on russia is bizarre for those of us who have watched u.s.-russia
2:08 am
relations for a long time. but the policy really -- the relationship is as bad as it has been since probably the early '80s. and the relationship between the two leaders is -- i mean, you'd have to go back even further to see this tense relationship to the leaders. maybe sort of khrushchev and eisenhower in 1960 after the shoot-down of the gary powers u-2. >> that's another book. >> all i was saying, the relationship is terrible. what is going get us in a different direction with russia? >> well, i think it's more about russia than us. and you're quite right on the reset. and one of the interesting puzzles that analysts of russia have struggled with is why did the reset work? the reset, we got a lot out of it, the united states did. it was a transactional approach
2:09 am
to russia, the view that president obama and his team took when they came into office was there was a lot of common interests we had with russia that for variety of reasons, we were unable to work out a deal with them. and whether it's on afghanistan or iran or on nuclear disarmament, those were areas where we gain from what we got out of the reset. different leadership in russia at the time. you had medvedev in power. putin was then behind the scenes as the prime minister. i think not one of the mistakes, but this retrospect, what many in the administration, myself include missed is we just assumed putin as prime minister during the medvedev years was fully on board with everything that had happened in the u.s.-russian relationship and didn't i think fully appreciate the degree of angst that was building up with putin about the loss of prestige or face that russia was going through in
2:10 am
those years. but, you know, i think that russia is -- the way obama looks at russia is russia doesn't have a discernible long game. it's a country that certainly has influence. it's a big country. it's got resources. its resource ain't what they used to be with energy prices plummeting. putin certainly has a set of goals. but as you measure many of those goals, he is not succeeding. i mean, his goal is to divide the u.s. in europe. his goal is to have nato be a paper tiger. his goal is to increase leg supplant the united states in support of global leadership. his goal is to have a sphere of influence in the countries on his border. again, some of those you could argue he is somewhat succeeding in. but in others, he is failing massively, right. i don't see russia gaining influence or friends in the international system right now. so that said, russia can play a
2:11 am
spoiler role. clearly in syria, they have shown -- by the way, syria the only country in the region where they have any friends anyway. if you set aside iran. they're showing that they're willing to do what it takes to protect their one friend in the region. and russia has, you know -- russia's influence has been a factor in syria from the very beginning. the chemical weapons out of syria was only possible because of russia cooperation. and that's why secretary kerry is working so hard now to try to get something going with the russians to find some kind of managed transition that we can agree to with assad. i think clearly the next president and secretary clinton, if he is the next president is someone who understands putin as well as anyone understands russia, as well as any political leader and was at president obama's side for the first four years as we were working on these tough issues with the russians and getting a lot out of it. will approach this
2:12 am
pragmatically, but also with determination that we're going to keep our alliances strong. we're going to sort of push back wherever russia is trying to engage in nefarious behavior. but also ultimately show the russian people and those russian leaders who are willing to listen that is there a different path. that we're not by definition against russia. we're against putinism. we're against russia's behavior, but we believe that russia has a place and responsible leadership in the world if it's willing to take that place. but also to be very clear with them that if they keep up some of the behavior they've been pursuing in the last few years in particular, it's going to be a rocky road, no question. >> all right. oh, my gosh. we're going to do -- we're going to do -- >> lightning round. >> we're going to do two at a time. introduce yourself when you ask your question, please. >> hello, i'm ashley. i'm a student in international peace and conflict resolution.
2:13 am
obviously the big upcoming event on everyone's mind is the upcoming election. and your book is very much focused on obama's pacific, focused on the long-term goal. how do you see our foreign policy decisions and our foreign policy changing as a result of this next election? do you feel that the long game is going to continue or it's going to turn into a very short-term game? >> interesting. okay. and the second question? >> my name is ben walters. i'm a student in the school of international service. and i was wondering because the crux of your book is moving from a reactionary to a forward thinking foreign policy how cybersecurity and the norms and strategies that the defense department has, how that factors into the long-term security strategy and obama's influence on that strategy. >> great questions, both of you. i'll start with the second first. but it feeds into the first question. clearly cyber has been a big focus of this administration.
2:14 am
everyone reads a newspaper every day understands that this is -- or maybe not reads the newspaper. goes on your iphone every day and understands the urgency of this issue and also how it's rapidly evolving in terms of the threat to the united states and whether it's our economy or increasingly, our hard security. and this administration has done a lot to try to up our game on cyberissues. and certainly this is something that president obama cease as an issue of the future. he was just asked about it in the last 24 hours at a press conference related to these reports about possible russian influence on our elections through cybermeans. he has taken some concrete steps, creating a cybercommand with the department of defense. dod has released a couple public cyberstrategies. this is kind of an interesting thing for obama too. and the critique about obama is that oftentimes he's portrayed as someone who is uncomfortable
2:15 am
with the military, doesn't like to use force, uncertain of leadership, what have you. but yet as i noted earlier, has used the traditional military often. he has used new instruments of power, drones, often. and he has innovated the use of cyberas an instrument of defense policy. and, you know, so clearly i think this is an issue for the future. and it's something that he spent a lot of time working on. this gets to kind of the -- your question about what's to come. and i finished this book before we knew who the republican nominee was going to be. but in many ways, i wouldn't change a word that i'd written. one of the many point is make in this book, president obama, the ecosystem he has been operating in as president, foreign policy
2:16 am
particularly, but also true in domestic policy is one that increasingly has had a loose relationship with facts. it's one in which kind of the what i would consider the textbook putin style leadership. bluster, you know, quick reaction, a sense of toughness that is entwined with this machismo and you're tough and all that. obama's almost the exact opposite of that in terms of his style. and what we've seen emerge on the other side on the republican candidate is someone who kind of perfectly embodies that perspective and that style. so clearly, what comes next is very much going to come from who the next president. the if it's trump, kind of all bets are off, to be honest. i served in the obama
2:17 am
administration, i worked two years with secretary clinton. my bias sought in the open. but that's objective. >> that's a fact. >> that, you know, if trump win, all bets are off. if secretary clinton wins, sure, things will be different. i mean, secretary clinton, president obama are different people. but they served extremely well together as close partners when she was secretary of state and he was president. and in many ways she was the coarchitect of many of his important policy moves whether it was on climate change or the rebalanced asia or the new approach to iran and the nuclear negotiations. so will there be differences? absolutely. but clearly in the sort of broad perspective and world view about america's role in the world, about the elements of american leadership, about the balance that is necessary between defense and diplomacy and development, those are things that clinton as secretary of state i'm sure she will continue to champion as president. >> thank you.
2:18 am
next two. >> hi. my name is benjamin brummer. i'm a graduate student here at international peace and conflict resolution. so during your talk, you discussed that obama's policy and his intellectualism is tied with his patience in developing the long game. but it feels like some of that has been contradicted by other parts of his policy. namely, his silence on the conflict within bahrain. the relative acceptance of the reversion of power back to the military in egypt. his drone policy seems very short sighted in just killing terrorists. while there may be some collateral and civilian deaths, the benefits outweigh the risk. all this seems to not go along
2:19 am
with the same kind of patient obama that you seem to paint today. >> good. good question. >> and then the second one. >> i am frank albert. i'm an alum. i'd like to ask about the pivot or the rebalancing back to asia. the president's given a lot of attention to asia, of course, with raising our relationship with asean to a strategic partnership last year, and now attending two u.s. asean summit, as well as the east asian summit in laos that you mentioned earlier. the justification kind of overall that i've gotten from reading about it is our goal is a rules-based order in southeast asia. but then certainly there have been gains. we've seen a number of relationships evolve. the vietnamese and the filipinos and so forth that would not have happened probably had we not
2:20 am
made this change. but at the same time, the one, the most dramatic kind of issue that came up recently was china's leaning on laos and cambodia to prevent asean from you showing a statement on the permanent court of arbitration's decision in the hague on the south china sea. so i just wanted to ask you about how you see the future of that relationship and also when you throw in the debate here about the transpacific partnership and the increasing unlikelihood that that will be passed before the president leaves office. what do you see happening out in the future? >> sure. great question. so i'll start with the question about bahrain, egypt, drones, this kind of short-term-long-term tension. and there is tension, clearly. when you're in government, you
2:21 am
know, you can't just talk about what is going to happen 20 years from now. you have to react to what is going on today. that's the balancing act you have to play. which is how do you do things today that set you up well for tomorrow. and certainly on the struggle we've had in the middle east in the wake of the arab spring in bahrain and egypt and almost every country in that region where we've seen many things happen that the united states hasn't liked. this administration hasn't liked particularly as it comes to human rights and the difficult trade-offs this we face. i was most involved in the egypt policy. i talk than in the book. our defense relationship with egypt is a truly one in the amount of assistance the united states has given egypt for a number of decades and our level of defense. and there are many in washington who wanted to cut all that assistance off in the wake of the events in 2013 when there was a -- an undemocratic change
2:22 am
of power in cairo. and we decided to withhold some of the assistance as a way to try to influence now president al sisi's regime and some of the decisions he made. i was personally on over 40 phone call with then secretary of defense hagel with president al sisi to try to convince him to make different decisions at the time and to use our influence as best we could to get him to do that. i can't say it worked as well as we had hoped. but we have an enduring relationship with egypt that is in our interest to try to make modern for the future. and also to try to preserve some semblance of order and democratic growth there. it's very, very difficult. an issue where if you look at the other tools of power that we have to try to influence outcorp., we don't bring enough of that. it's because of economic assistance. it's over sorts of assistance on the military tied. we just don't have the resources
2:23 am
that others who are playing in the egypt game like saudi arabia or uae or qatar are outspending us by an order of magnitude on the ground in a country like egypt. so it makes us very hard to have the influence. sometimes we don't get -- it can't be exactly, you know, clean. we have to make these trade-offs in the home in the service of what we're trying to do over the long-term. it doesn't mean that the united states should give up on the hope of long-term change in a country like egypt or bahrain. but we have to also preserve influence and maintain that influence for the future. and it gets to the drones issue, which i think the president has innovated the use of what the air force calls remotely piloted aircraft, because everyone has to remember there is a pilot behind the operation of each of those -- each of those pieces of equipment. he has innovated the use of that. he has vastly expanded the use of that. it's a tool that's technology,
2:24 am
precision. what president obama has tried to do in the very interests of ensuring that this tool is used in the right way over time and we can sustain the support and the legitimacy that's behind it is to try to bring this out more into the open. he has given released statistics on the use of this instrument to try to bring this out into the debate. now, many believe there's still not enough, but i can tell you that the motive behind it is in view that in order to sustain the use of this tool moving forward we need to have an open debate about it here at home and he has worked very hard to bring that into the open. i'm convinced the next president, whoever he or she is, will continue to use this instrument, power. on the rebalance, very quickly,
2:25 am
clearly one of the narratives that president obama had coming into office was for a variety of reasons the u.s. found i was at the end of 2008 out of position in the asia pacific. if you believed, as he does, as i do, that the most important arena of strategic change in the world in the 21st century is going to be in the asia pacific, the u.s. wasn't as present as it needed to be. whether that's a military posture or diplomatic influence as well as our economic efforts in the region, so one of the big strategic moves of his presidency was the rebalance. there's a difference between rebalance and pivot, and even though my good friend curt campbell has his own book out called "the pivot" he is the first one to agree that the ub intended consequences of the phrase "the pivot" is those that were seen as being pivoted away from, had unintentionally raised a loot of anxieties about
2:26 am
whether the united states was going to be there for them in the future. that's why the term of art that we use as the rebalance. it's not meant to say that the u.s. is going to abandon the middle east, but that we need to have greater balance in the way we deployed our power, and the most recent instance we pointed out in the question about china pushing back on some of the responses to this haag ruling is the perfect reason why the u.s. needs to be present. i was with secretary clinton actually in 2010 in hano wi at an asean meeting where the united states successfully worked with some of our southeast asian partners to push back on the chinese regarding some of their efforts in the south china sea. of course, our position would be stronger, by the way, if we were members and that's another issue. clearly the u.s. role in the region, the fact that president obama has just completed his tenth trip to the region as
2:27 am
president. the investment that we have made there that secretaries of state and secretaries of defense have made there. the fact that we have more military hardware there than we did eight years ago. the fact we're part of these regional institutions, and the fact we're trying to get this big trade deal done, which i agree is doubtful for the moment. i'm still one of those that holds out hope in a lame-duck that we'll be able to get there. that's all in service of what is a long-term strategic move. one of the challenges that president obama is facing, again, we've seen it again on this trip is it's hard to get credit for that in the moment. by something going on here at home. he had to cancel a trip because of the government shutdown. it's a perfect illustration of how hard it is to set a strategy and stick to it in this current
2:28 am
environme environment. >> my name is -- i'm from belaruse sis. i'm coming back to -- i will be critical. i'm sorry. you talked about sustainable, that obama expected to build sustainable policy with many countries, but unfortunately, as i see obama didn't find -- had a lack of understanding of this post soviet regime in the reasonable. in 2009, in 2010 he appeased dictatorships in belaruse and -- they failed. in 2010 on the square in minsk ash of that he tried to appease the regime together with the european politicians, they were trying to attract to western projects. what we got as a result, the war in southeastern ukraine. the problem, as i see -- don't
2:29 am
you think it was to -- like sphere of russia, because he was negotiated, and he was talking about eastern european policy only with putin, with kremlin people, but he stopped many democratic projects towards civil society in smaller countries. russian neighbors. for me it was quite disappointing when they started to cooperate with dictator. i was in prison at that time in 2010, and we were just ignored. we were forgotten. it was very disappointing, and
2:30 am
it helped putin to revive this post-imperialistic of what's happening now. >> in regards to the middle east and north africa, how do you figure that president obama has set the u.s. on a benevolent tragejectory pass when libya an egypt have experienced hardship and traversy, in part, because of the arab spring? >> this will be the last one. go ahead. >> thank you. i am bobby. i'm also a student here. mr. secretary, you touched on how president obama has handled iraq in comparison with the previous three presidents. why when there are 200 some countries has iraq been such a problem for u.s. foreign policy for three decades?
2:31 am
>> good. easy questions. >> softballs at the end here. on the first question obama's approach to central eastern euro europe, yol i don't agree with what's happened there and the continue i continuing challenges as a result of obama appeasement or wider european appeasement. however, i do think it's fair to say that up until the ukraine crisis in 2014 there was a sense not just in the obama administration, but certainly in the larger strategic community here in washington, and i would actually argue in the larger strategic community globally, that that part of the world was problematic, but more or less back burner set of issues.
2:32 am
certainly the ukraine crisis for the united states and for the washington community writ large brought back the problems of this region front and center. if you look at a situation like ukraine where most of the washington -- gets wraps around the axle of whether or not the u.s. is giving lethal assistance setting aside the issue that president obama has given ukrainian military $600 million in nonlethal assistance where, that gets lost in the debate because everyone wants to talk about the shiny object. on the nonmilitary aspects where
2:33 am
certainly our relationship with the ukrainian government, as problematic as that is, is far closer and more intense today as yanakovich. our level of engagement from here in washington, the role that our ambassador plays, and there's greater appreciation. in this administration, in the broader washington community, and i would argue depending who the next president is, if it's hillary clinton in the next administration, that there is still unfinished business in that part of the world. this gets back to the fun house mirror aspect of our debate, of course, because that's not really the debate we're having right now in the presidential campaign trail where, you know, you have one of the other candidate for president who would probably be articulating more match the critique that you articulated in terms of how you would handle that part of the world, visa vi vladimir putin. i think that -- i work in an organization now, the german marshall fund, that still does a lot of very important
2:34 am
programming in that part of the world. i think the one hope that i can take out of recent history we've been through. on this question of the turmoil we've been seeing in the middle ea east, at the arab spring and just sort of personal angle on this, my first week at the white house when i moved from the state department to the white house was the week mubarak fell in egypt. we still saw at that moment arab spring which we thought was going to be something more akin to what we had seen in central europe.
2:35 am
that's fundamentally not been about the united states. it's about demographics. it's about the poor leadership in the region. it's about broad swaths of folks if that region feeling disenfranchised. we talk about in the book that obama had high hopes when he became president before the arab spring about the way we would reset our relations with the muslim world and that we would try to kind of reframe the way the u.s. projected its influence
2:36 am
in the middle east. i think, begun, the challenge for says is as we're watching what's going no the middle east, we have to understand that the other two regions that matter most in the united states in terms of our future, europe and asia, we're also seeing historic changes occur. if you go to each region, the answer that all of our partners in each region are asking for is more of the united states. that gets back to my point i made earlier, which is more of everything is not a strategy. you have to continue to be engaged in all three of those regions, and we have close partners and treaty allies in those regions.
2:37 am
we can't meet all of their wishes equally, and that -- that triage is something that we struggled with in government and the next administration will struggle with as well. the last question was on iraq, and why is it that this parcel of land has been such a chal ek for the united states for 26 years? it's a great question. in part, this is the colin powell line from the debates in the early 2000s. the pottery barn rule. you break, it you own it. because of decisions made, i think the correct decisions made in august of 1990 by the first bush administration to come to the defense of -- also to get saddam hussein out of another partner ours, kuwait, for a variety of reasons. that began the military entanglement that we still struggle with today, and this
2:38 am
gets back to the sustainability issue. president obama's view -- my view is not that iraq doesn't matter. iraq matters. it's important because of its strategic position in the region, because of the capabilities it has, because of the influence it has, because of the mosaic of ethnicities and religions that are on its soil. what we have to be careful of and what we have to sort of calibrate constantly is how we can use our influence in a way that brings about the kind of change we want to see on the ground but does not envelope us in something that goes far beyond what our interest there actually are. that's -- that is -- this is not a game of science. this is more of an art. it's something that's very, very hard, and there will always be thoughtful critics to say whether we're getting it right or not, but this is what the next president will have to confront is they are the fourth american president to have to deal with this very difficult challenging, but important
2:39 am
country in the middle east. >> well, on that note, congratulations, again, on the book. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for being here. [ applause ] there are books for sale there. derek will sign any book that you buy. if you do enjoy, it's an excellent read, and we're really getting you up to speed on where we are in this country with respect to our foreign policy. thanks again. >> thanks. donald trump slightly ahead, and yet a new washington post 50 state survey indicates that donald trump is facing some critical weaknesses in trying to get to 270 electoral votes. scott clement is polling manager for the washington post. he is joining us on the phone. thanks very much for being with us. >> good to be here. >> first of all, explain this 50 state survey, what you were looking for, and what you found.
2:40 am
>> there were a handful of state surveys done by all types of firms. during on-line polling company survey monkey, to conduct a really massive survey. the largest we've ever done. over 74,000 registered voters across the country, which gave us the ability to look at the vote in every state, but also how subgroups are voting in different states. we can look at men and women, whites and non-whites and other groups and help to piece out the way the dynamics of the election are playing across the country. we found a number of surprises. one of the big themes that this year has been how there's been a deep division among whites by education. with college educated whites. particularly being repelled by trump, but college agrees being more supportive. we definitely see that throughout the data, but it's particularly notable in places like the upper midwest, and
2:41 am
they're helping to buoy trump support. >> based on your findings with nine weeks to go before election day, these are areas that donald trump needs to win if he has any hope of getting to 270, but at the moment is struggling. >> we've had close races. it goes with the theme seen throughout the survey where trump is underperforming in a number of solid republican strongholds. most notably, utah, which is certainly on no battleground map. he leads by only 11 points there. in airy we found. in texas we also found clinton plus one. those are contest that is are probably still uphill battles for clinton. they're not friendly states to democrats, and they might still
2:42 am
tilt back to trump. it signals that there's -- the overall enthusiasm issue for trump among republicans is struggle to unite the party behind his candidacy, and it's starting to show in some of the solid republican states. >> scott collegent, let's talk about florida. this is a state that both democrats and republicans put a lot of time and effort into. right now hillary clinton is ahead, but only slightly. a state that donald trump says he can win. >> he has to win. he leads by four points or more in 20 states. they only amount to 126 electoral votes. florida is one of those toss-ups. clinton is up by only two. it's a big state florida is a state where you see deep demographic divisions, as well as even within whites between
2:43 am
those with college agrdegrees a those without. >> one thing that definitely provides further questions going forward is how turn-out will fair among these groups. the survey was conducted among registered voters. we'll be focussing more on likely voters in the coming weeks and trying to figure out which groups are likely to turn out at higher rates. it's not a simple calculus this year i think because both clinton and trump are relying on some relatively low turnout groups as really their base. >> has donald trump consolidated the republican vote? >> he really hasn't. >> across all the states where we conducted surveys. >> we were seeing a similar
2:44 am
dynamic to what we've seen in national polls across the country where he is struggle to unite the base. still the vast majority of republicans are supportive of him, but the challenge is getting to that 90% standard that has really become consistent in recent presidential elections. two high profile third party candidates. jill stein and gary johnson. either candidate breaking through? >> in some states they definitely are. gary johnson is running a fascinating campaign that's fairing well in one of the states where he served as governor in new mexico. he gets 23% support in that state, and he is only a few points off of where donald trump is in that state. overall he gets at least 15%
2:45 am
support in 15 states. i mention that percentage because that's the threshold that the commissioner on presidential debates has put on whether he can participate in debates. they're focused on national surveys, but he clearly is getting significant support across a number of these states. he does less well in the deep south than he does in the upper mountain states. i should mention jill stein. jill stein also, she does a bit worse than johnson in the single digits in nearly every state. the one where she does very well is vermont. she has 10% support there, and that, of course, is the home to senator bernie sanders. could cause nervousness for hillary clinton. vermont, she's still a favorite to win that state. >> finally, a potential bright spot for donald trump and his campaign.
2:46 am
the upper midwest. >> this is what trump supporters have hoped for. the sign he can run the table in the upper midwest, or at least pick off some democratic heavy states. in pennsylvania clinton leads by four points, but that's slimmer than what we have seen in other public surveys. in michigan clinton leads by only two. in wisconsin by two. in ohio trump leads by three. the bulk of the states have gone democratic in the last six electrics. that signals how important these have been in boosting democrats. it's a fairly narrow victory there. the real way for trump to pull off 270 electoral votes seems to be through those states.
2:47 am
it is a long road to the white house, and they're polling all 50 states to figure out what each candidate needs to do to get there. the research and reporting of scott clement, along with dan balls of the washington post available on-line and in today's newspap newspaper. thank you very much for being with us. tloo thank you. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald on current issues facing veterans, including v.a. reforms, the commission on care report, and access to health care on veterans. tennessee republican congressman phil rowe will talk about wednesday's veterans committee hearing on the care the v.a. provides, criticism of secretary mcdonald, and the possible subpoena by the v.a. commission regarding documents of art purchases by the v.a. nationwide
2:48 am
since 2010. >> wednesday a hearing on improving veterans health care. members of the commission on care testify before the house veterans affairs committee live at 10:15 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. donald booth, special envoy, testifies live at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3. >> american history tv airs on c-span 3 every weekend telling the american story through events, interviews, and visiting historic locations.
2:49 am
our features include lectures and history, visits to college classrooms across the country, to hear lectures by top history professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums, and archives. real america, revealing the 20th century through archival films and newsreels. the civil war where you hear about the people who shape the civil war and reconstruction. and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies, and legacies. american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. now a hearing on the football defrauding of senior citizens. the senate judiciary committee heard from federal and state officials on criminals and abusivive practices against the elderly. this is an hour 50 minutes.
2:50 am
>> i thank everybody for their presence on a very important issue. i usually wait until there's representatives of both political parties here, but since we have have a vote at 10:30, i have permission to move ahead and so i'll give my opening statement, and then i'll refer to the ranking member. today's hearing will examine the growing threat of elder financial exploitation. it gives us an opportunity to ask whether the federal government is doing all it can to protect our nation's seniors. most importantly, we'll hear today firsthand accounts of the impact of elder financial exploitation and the physical and emotional toll that it takes
2:51 am
on our loved ones. it's been called the crime of the 21s century. studies indicate it's the most widespread form of elder abuse costing older americans as much as $36 billion each year under one suggested study. some studies come in at somewhat smaller figures. as the number of older americans increase, it's likely that the scope of these crimes will increase as well. we must have a firm understanding then of the problem. now and insure at the same time that effective counter measures are in place to prevent, deter, and prosecute these crimes.
2:52 am
older americans trusting and polite nature combined with their hard-earned retirement savings make them attract iive targets. it's estimated 30% of seniors in the united states are affected by some form of financial exploitation in any five-year period. these are not just one-time crimes. criminals have found deceptive ways for set the hook on a particular victim and then return for more. one study found that seniors who had been scammed out of just a small amount of $20 ended up losing an additional $2,000 in other scams over a five-year period. the most devastating impact of these crimes goes beyond
2:53 am
seniors' bank accounts. victims of financial exploitation can experience loss of independence, deteriorated health, and psychological distress. all of which diminish the quality of life. today we see an array of schemes and scams targeted at our nation's seniors. we hear of the so-called grandparent schemes where fraudsters will present themselves as a senior -- to a senior as a grandchild in distress in hopes of convincing the grandparent to immediately send cash or give up the credit card information. in my home state of iowa we're hearing more and more about sweetheart scams where fraudsters cultivate a romantic relationship with a lonely elder, typically on-line and then convince the seniors, in part -- to part with his or her
2:54 am
hard-earned money. there are also sweepstakes and lottery scams, government impersonation scams and tech support scams just to name a few. the form of these scams is limited only to the creativity of the professional fraudster. tlds still an alarming amount that we don't know about financial exploitation of senior citizens. only one out of every 44 cases of financial exploitation is actually reported to authorities.
2:55 am
most importantly, it means that there are people out there today who have suffered and continue to suffer from approximate financial exploitation and have not received the help they need. many victims for these many victims a feeling of shame or embarrassment is simply too strong, and it prevents them from sharing their story. when the exploitation is by the hand of a trusted caretaker or loved one, it's even harder to report to authorities. we must find ways to encourage and empower folks who believe that they've been victimized to come forward. for example, we need to arm families, friends, and caretakers with the knowledge of what to look out for and who to turn to when they suspect exploitation. we also need to insure that law enforcement is appropriately trained to respond to these financial exploitations if
2:56 am
reported. finally, we need to make sure that government at all levels is working to spread the word on this type of exploitation, that individuals on the frontlines receive proper training and that those in the position to combat these crimes have the necessary tools to do it. that's why i'm developing federal legislation to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation and i'm working with my friend beside me here, senator bloomenthal on that effort, which we hope to unveil soon. it will promote more effective inter-agency coordination, aiming to improve the prosecution of elder abuse, victim assistance to elder abuse survivors, improve data collection, ask tougher penalties for scam artists. recently i also sent a letter to the justice department to learn more about its efforts to combat elder financial exploitation. i asked about what types of data
2:57 am
the department is collecting and how it's being used to support the department's efforts. yet, in its response to department admitted that it does not collect data on the prevalence of elder financial k exploitation nationwide. they further admitted that because of the systems currently in place, it can't provide statistical information on the number of cases that are prosecuted. it seems clear that we're not getting the full picture of elder financial exploitation and the adequacy of the federal government's response. i've also asked the justice department what it's doing to combat i.r.s. impersonation scams which bilk millions of dollars from older americans. this is far from just a federal issue, by the way. state and local governments are on the frontlines of this battle
2:58 am
on exploitation financially, so it's important that policymakers here in washington listen and learn about what strategies are working. i'm pleased that we have with us today donna harvey director of iowa department of aging who will be able to discuss iowa's efforts. i'm particularly interested in how we can best protect seniors living in rural communities and how we can insure that they, too, have access to support. i look forward to hearing about the iowa situation. >> as we consider ways to improve the government response, we must not lose focus on victims themselves and the pain that financial exploitation has caused. originally scheduled for today was carla seibert, a fellow iowan whose elderly parents were scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars, but -- and her story
2:59 am
demonstrates the importance of watching out for. no doubt any effective solutions to elderly financial exploitation will require the commitment and collaboration of folks across the aisle and across the board. i hope today's hearing will help bring more attention to this issue, and i want to thank all of our witnesses for their hard work and now to my friend senator bloomenthal. thank you. >> thank you. thanks so much, mr. chairman, and thank you for having this hearing on a profoundly important and meaningful topic to all of us of all ages. senator grassley has been a real champion in this area.
3:00 am
i do look forward to working with him to expand the reach and protection of our federal laws in this heart breaking and gut wrenching area in the news business there is a saying if it bleeds, it leads. all too often the quiet, invisible heart break of financial elder abuse fails to make the headlines. it happens every day. it is a scourge that needs to be fought and conquered. i am particularly pleased to have with it today nancy shafer, who is the connecticut state long-term carom bu care ombudsm. i want to join you in welcoming
3:01 am
the iowa witnesses who are here, particularly donna harvey, who is director of the iowa department on aging. as attorney general of my state, i saw these injustices firsthand, and made a commitment to confront and defeat the con artists and scammers and crooks who have taken advantage of connecticut's nearly 500,000 senior citizens. a population, as we all know, will only increase in coming years. unfortunately, says elaborate scams run by crime sindicates have only proliferated. we know them as organized crime. not necessarily as they were depicted in the movies in the old days, but they are crime sindicates who are equally pernicious and insidious. each year it costs older americans nearly $3 billion.
3:02 am
four out of five cases go unreported as chairman grassley noted. in part, because victims are all too often ashamed to report the abuse. they are ashamed. they are embarrassed. they often fail even to tell their own family members about it, and so part of the reason is, in fact, because the overwhelming majority of abuse is committed by people occupying positions of trust. home health workers, fiduciaries, and even those family members. in my work in connecticut i have heard far too many stories of elder abuse and financial exploitation how incredibly damaging it can be for an individual and their loved ones, damaging to their self-respect and dignity to the quality of life. not just to their financial situation and their sense of self and self-respect. one story in particular struck
3:03 am
me that i think has always been my inspiration in this area. robert montava, a former resident of unionville in connecticut. a veteran. a marine. purple heart recipient. in fact, says a veteran of world war ii. he was defrauded and turned out of his home by his own son whom he had entrusted with his assets. mr. montava told me bl losing his ho -- about losing his home, his business, his savings, and how at every turn he was at a loss for whom to ask for advice. i couldn't help but wonder how much pain he suffered. a man who survived the worst, literally the worst of world war
3:04 am
ii coming back and then years later to see the worst of our financial injustice system. if he had earlier found someone to offer him and provide civil legal services specializing in elder justice, much of that pain might have been avoided. mr. montava, unfortunately, has passed away, but in his honor, i introduce legislation that bears his name. this bill would address a missing link in our legal system providing seniors with the right legal assistance at the right time. last june senator ayot at the e and i introduced the elder abuse victims act. this measure would enhance the legal response at the federal, state, and local levels in various ways, and in addition in april i introduced the elder protection and abuse prevention
3:05 am
act of 2016 to address the really inexplicable and inexcusable lack of screening requirements in federally funded senior services. the goal of this kind of legislation is as much to shine a lot on the problem, to educate and inform and to provide advocates for seniors who otherwise might go unadvised and unrepresented. on both these measures and others, i look forward to working with senator grassley and developing even stronger legislation. my home state of connecticut has made progress in addressing this issue, including passing a law that requires financial agents to be trained in detection of elder fraud exploitation and financial abuse and nancy shafer, our witness from connecticut, will tell of how she has been on the frontlines and how connecticut has been
3:06 am
fighting abuse of older americans. i thank her again for her dedication and passion in protecting vulnerable citizens. i would have to be absent temporarily because as you know about the senate, we have more than one thing going on at the same time, and i have a meeting of the commerce committee, a mark-up of the legislation, that is important to senior citizens as well as others. i will be gone very temporarily, he hope, mr. chairman, and then come back before we have our vote. i have read the testimony that will be offered by the initial two witnesses. it's very informative and helpf helpful, and i thank you both for being here today. mr. horn, you have the best job in the world. as i know from my own experience in this job. >> always wanting to be -- >> and i thank you both for being here. thank you for your great work
3:07 am
here in washington d.c. as well. thank you both. thank you, mr. chairman. >> yeah. >> thank you for being here, and thank you for your cooperation as we develop that bill. once again, i thank everybody for being here on the first panel of witnesses. we have john horn acting u.s. attorney in the northern district of georgia. he has been a federal prosecutor for a long time now. since 2002. mr. horn received a bachelors degree, college of william and mary and a law degree from university of virginia school of law. we have lois greisman who has been associate director, division of marketing practices at ftc bureau of consumer protection again for a long time since 2006. previously heading the ftc's division of planning and information in this capacity. she managed ftc's identity theft
3:08 am
program. the consumer response center and supervise implementation of the national do not call registry. ms. greisman received bachelor degree from brown university and law degree from george washington university. welcome, and thank you for joining us today. your complete written testimony will be included in the record, so hopefully you can keep your testimony to ten minutes, and let me see if i understand, we'll go with mr. horn first, and then you have a video that you want to show, and then your testimony. is that right? >> yes. proceed, mr. horn. >> thank you, chairman grassley. chairman grassley, ranking member bloomenthal and distinguished members of the committee. thank you for this opportunity to discuss the department of justice's efforts to protect older americans from financial exploitation. the department is and always has been fully committed to combatting the victimization of seniors in all its forms.
3:09 am
my new role is further evidence of that resolve as i am the first chair of the attorney general's advisory committee elder justice working group. the working group was set up this year to enhance the coordination of enforcement efforts against the u.s. attorney's offices and the sharing of information and outreach with the public and our many partners in this endeavor. today i would like to highlight three aspects of the department's efforts to address elder financial exploiltation. first, i'll discuss our international coordination to prosecute and dismantle foreign schemes targeting older americans. second, i'll describe our efforts with our many partners here in the united states in enhancing our prosecution, training, and outreach efforts, and finally, i'll highlight some of the impactful work in this area that's being done by federal prosecutors across the country. on the first aspect, the department is uniquely situated to respond to fraud schemes that originate overseas. we work closely with law enforcement agencies and the countries in which many of these fraud schemes originate. for example, the department co-chairs the international mass marketing fraud working group.
3:10 am
this group includes other u.s. investigative and regulatory agencies as well as representatives from across the world. the members of the group meet to improve intelligence sharing, to disrupt mass marketing skeemds and to increase the effectiveness of criminal and civil enforcement actions. in just one recent example of cases that have arised from this collaborative, the department weeks ago coordinated a joint effort with dutch authorities to foil an international mass mailing lottery scheme. the scheme involved direct mail solicitations that falsely claimed that the recipient had one or would soon win cash or valuable prizes. they mailed to the defendants that were located -- simultaneous u.s. and dutch enforcement actions now prevent these defendants from continuing their victimization of u.s. citizens while the dutch authorities are pursuing a concurrent investigation there. likewise, united states law enforcement has worked with our international partners to dismantle classic psychic schemes originating from france.
3:11 am
lottery schemes from jamaica. since 2009 department of justice has prosecuted nearly 100 defendants just linked to these jamaican lottery schemes alone, and the defendant sentenced thus far will be serving collectively more than 125 years in prison. the second while international collaboration is certainly important, the department is enhancing our coordination and information sharing with state and local partners to address the many fraud schemes that originate within our own borders. for example, in march the department launched ten regional elder justice task forces, including one in mie own district in atlanta. while these task forces were originally designed to create multi-disciplinary teams to bring fraud actions against nursing homes that are failing to provide adequate care, some of the task forces are already expanding to initiate criminal investigations, financial exploitation as well as other forms of elder abuse. in addition to the elder justice task forces, the department has spptd every supported training for state and local judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, civil legal aide workers and
3:12 am
others from around the country. the department is devoted and will continue to devote significant resources to developing training materials that build upon the significant experience and knowledge of state, local, and federal prosecutors and then disseminate that information as widely as possible. finally, i would like to emphasize that much of the day to day prosecution work in the u.s. attorney's offices around the country involve cases against fraudsters who are victimizing our elderly population and just using my own district as an example, many of our economic crime matters involve elderly victims, even if the perpetrators didn't necessarily intend to focus exclusively on the elderly. just as an example, last fall we indicted more than 50 inmates in georgia prisons who were using contra band cell phones to call thousands of victims, many of whom were elderly. they posed as deputy sheriffs and falsely claimed they had warrants for the arrest of the victims for failing to show up for jury duty. also, last year at a georgia
3:13 am
judge sentenced efferin taylor to almost 20 years in prison for persuading church congregants from around the united states to devote more than $16 million of their ira and retirement funds. in cases like these they're prosecuted every day in u.s. attorney's offices around the country, and the resulting convictions form the foundation of our ongoing effort to protect the elderly from this victimization. today i've highlight just a few of the department's many efforts to protect older americans from financial exploitation. while there is always more to be done, we have taken many important steps in the right direction. thank you for this opportunity to discuss the department's efforts, and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you very much. now, you proceed as you desire. >> i would like to start with the video, please. >> i got my doctoral degree in early childhood education. my husband and i had a wonderful
3:14 am
marriage, and i lost him in september of last year. i got a call from someone who indicated he was from medicare. they told me that they needed my social security number. they needed my bank account number for a new medicare card. i told them i was not giving them the information and hung up the phone. >> there were thousands of consumers affected by the scam. they told consumers that if they didn't provide this information that they might lose their medicare benefits and they imply that that would happen pretty quickly. >> they called back, and i have continued to refuse to give them the information, but they would transfer me to someone else who would give me the same pitch they were giving me. i just wanted them off the phone. i gave them the information they
3:15 am
wanted. >> these telemarketers are professionals. they know what buttons to push. they know what to say to get people to provide their information. if you receive a call from a government agency, be very skeptical. government agencies don't call consumers to ask them for money. they don't call consumers to ask for personal information. >> i think it is very important that all of us continue to learn about scams. >> because of consumer complaints like the one we received from dr. bowers, we were able to go into federal court, get a freeze on the defendant's assets, and shut the company down. >> i was so glad to even hear that they won the case and shut the people down. >> i suppose the moral there is that most people aren't that
3:16 am
bold to not cooperate with them. >> that's correct. that's correct. >> good morning. thank you, chairman grassley, member of the committee. i'm honored to appear before you on behalf of the federal trade commission to discuss its work to protect older americans from financial exploitation. the video you just saw highlights two core aspects of our work in this area. law enforcement and consumer education. we know as you alluded to that the economic injury inflicted by these frauds is significant. hundreds of millions of dollars. as you indicated, billions. equally harmful is the emotional toll taken when people lose their retirement savings or feel ashamed from being duped. aggressive law enforcement to combat fraud is a core element of the ftc's consumer protection mission. we see that certain types of scams specifically target seniors, such as the telemarketing scam that you just saw, where impostors posed as
3:17 am
affiliates of medicare to gain access to senior's bank account. other telemarketing scams such as those involving the sale of medical alert devices also appear to go after seniors. while some scams directly seek to dupe older consumers, we also observe ones that are more likely to impact older americans, and these include prize promotion and lottery schemes, health care related cons such as those involving the sale of pills, purporting to improve or stave off cognitive impairment, including alzheimer's. other scammers were the telemarketers impersonating companies such as dell or microsoft to purport to identify serious if not dire problems on her computer which, in fact, do not exist, and then offer for a fee to provide technical support to fix those problems. these are it is technical -- tech support scams. on the law enforcement front the ftc also has taken action against money transfer services
3:18 am
commonly used in scams targeting older consumers, again, involving lottery and prize promotion schemes. the grandparent scam among so many. crooks prefer these anonymous payment methods. in 2009 the commission charged that money grab allowed telemarketers to belg u.s. consumers out of tens of millions of dollars using its money transfer system. it led to a settlement with the ftc in which money gram agreed pay $18 million in restitution. the ftc is currently investigating whether western union has used effective procedures to stop consumers from sending funds to perpetrators of fraud both here in the u.s. and abroad using its network. as a civil law enforcement agency, the ftc regularly collaborates with criminal and foreign law enforcement agencies to combat fraud, including scams affecting the elderly. just last year we sued a company that allegedly ran a global sweepstakes scam that targeted senior citizens and criminal authorities filed a companion
3:19 am
case indicting four individuals in connection with the sweepstakes operation. fraud respects no borders, and on the international front we partner with many foreign agencies to combat scams that impact the elderly. in particular, we coordinate with extensive and federal foreign -- federal and foreign counterparts to combat telemarketing frauds coming out of jamaica and india, and i would like to add the department of justice has been a steadfast colleague in all of this work. shifting now to consumer education, our signature project, it's called pass it on. it's a campaign designed to respect the life experiences and wisdom of older active consumers and literally to arm them with the information they need so that they can pass on that information to friends and families who might need it. the materials cover a broad range of topics, including, of course, lottery and sweepstakes scams, health care scams, schemes involving veterans
3:20 am
benefit, charity fraud, and identity theft. all of which are available in both english and spanish. in 2016 alone we added new materials on specific, specific impostor scams. the irs scam that you mentioned, tech support scams, grandparent scams, and romance scams. the video you watched is part of a video series that the ftc has created to encourage people to talk about the frauds they experience. people who talk about a suspected fraud, we find, are much less likely to incur financial loss and they're also able to help their friends and families avoid scams. this is a core part of our educational message. the commission will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to tackle and prevent frauds that harm older americans, and i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you. if i could have a conversation with senator tillus.
3:21 am
we'll have a vote soon. i'll start asking questions. if -- just as soon as that light goes off, i'll quit asking questions. if you would like to use your five minutes, and if i don't get back, you would have to temporarily adjourn -- or not adjourn, but recess the meeting. is that okay with you? >> certainly, mr. chair. >> k okay. for both of you to maybe chime in on this, it's about hearing more about specific challenges that make it difficult for both of you to fight back against elder exploitation at the federal level here. can you please speak to any challenges that your agencies have identified, including any challenges that undermine more effective enforcement and consumer education and what specific strategies have your agencies pursued to overcome these challenges. >> i would be happy to start,
3:22 am
senator. in terms of specific challenges or hurdles that we're facing, they tend to be the traditional hurdles in an enforcement context and just keeping up with the ingenuity. >> can i stop you just a minute? >> yes, sir. >> i'll read your answer for the record. the light just went on. i'll go vote so that you can answer me and then senator tillus will take over. then hopefully we can keep it going. now that you're here, maybe we can keep it going. >> now that i'm here, everything will work out well. >> continue with your answer. then senator tillus will -- >> you know, there's always the enforcement challenge of keeping up with the ingenuity of the criminals and making sure that you are trying to keep up with the latest trends and getting the information that you need to respond to the complaints, as it's been indicated this type of exploitation of elders is not reported frequently enough. what we're doing in addition in recognizing that we're not going
3:23 am
to simply prosecute and jail our way out of this problem at the department of justice level, we are engaging actively in outreach, education with our state and local partners. we've launched the he would ever justice website, which we are using as sort of a clearinghouse of a lot of the information that we have for victims. it's got information on there for victims. it's got information on there for state and local prosecutors, for aging service providers and researchers, and we're hoping to in the next roll-out of that website in the fall to also have an active compendium of the latest fraud schemes that we're seeing. in addition we're doing training. not just of law enforcement, but we're doing training of aging service providers. we're reaching out to provide funding for americore volunteers. including 60 attorneys and paralegals that are providing services to constituents specific to the elder population. we're also doing outreach in the u.s. attorney's offices themselves. for example, in minnesota they
3:24 am
do presentations in assisted living facilities specifically. in wyoming and colorado they host the rocky mountain fraud summit every year, which has a specific component of elder financial exploitation and justice. in my own district we participate in health summits and programs and participate in an at risk adult abuse working group with the attorney general's group. it is keeping up with the ingui but also looking at it in a hard by the way >> mr. greisman you testified on aging and i appreciate the work you are doing. it is dispeccable of what these people are doing. i would like some form of
3:25 am
requirements so we can make their lives miserable as they are making the lives of our s n seniors. one question i had with this, the hearings that we had with aging and i think there is great work going on in terms of education and trying to inform like the lady who's in the video to do everything they can to resist the temptation to release the person by giving them information or getting them off the line. i think the emotions that are going on. has there been any work or recommendations that require legislative action that's seeking to provide you with more prosecuritorial tools. is there anything that we are
3:26 am
doing trying to connect the dots so that someone can be alerted to the fact that there is activities that's going on. it is more than just what you find by finding a credit card that's being used in an odd location. is there anywhere being done there and if so, is there legislative action that we need to take to provide those tools. >> senator tillis, thank you for the invitation for, suggesting legislative activities, actions. i am not -- with respect to specific legislative tools, i would like to refer you back to our office of legislative affairs and let them talk to you specifically since i don't want to advocate and in terms of what you are talking about financial information. one thing that's interesting in my own district, we are meeting
3:27 am
with some of the companies that process credit transactions on a basis and having them share the information where they are monitoring and looking for trends of frauds. there is meet ings happening. i assume with the working group that we have with the geac. we are taking out practice and taking it out and making it institutionalized with our department. mrs. greisman, do you have anything to add? >> it provides mechanism that law enforcement can access this database and i didn't have trends to searches and can search by age of the consumer and provide ready tools for rp
3:28 am
law enforceme law enforcement at the states and federal. >> one of the couple panels that we had on this sort of abuse. there was this one story of a man who testified from the charlotte area, from north carolina, where some thieves had convinced him if he had got off the phone that he had a warrant for his arrest, that if he did not go immediately to a drugstore and take out a series of $500 gift card and provide the gift card redemption information on the phone, he was potentially going to be arrested. my thought process was, was there something to be reached out to the community it is a fraudulent. in this case, i think that there
3:29 am
is some sway that the industry could work more closely. i think what you are suggesting more likely to predict pattern of fraudulent behaviors so you can deal further with it. this is realtime preventions how to get added on a bases where there is a lot of victims where you are talking to to figure out where the pattern is representing. >> basically with the type of sca scam that you just described. most of the transactions are cash. dealing with credit card companies are not affected. we have reached out to retailers and we did this extensively and in connection with our work of money gram and western union so at the point of purchase there are both consumers and materials and sales people are trained to ask questions, did somebody call you and say they are from the
3:30 am
irs. >> well, i would like to -- i don't want to more time and allow senator to ask her question because we are in ahmad l of a vote. anything that we can do to take a proactive approach to engage in industry in a lean way to provide more information of prosecution, we really like to work with you all to do that. senator. >> thank you, so much senator tillis. thank you for both of you. i actually establish the seniors victim prosecution unit in two ways. one where we were seeing a lot of abuse and the other was a lot of white color bases. we had one defendant where they found him in his car of the yellow pages. he was a chief and he circled on the senior department. we know that people are
3:31 am
targeting seniors on the internet and we know we are seeing an aging of the senior population in the next decade or . >> most guardians are great, of course, we had some bad apples in the states varied. . i guess i would ask you, mr. horn, how to measure these and help guarding other financial abuse and what our bill does is set some best practices. we are currented that that -- concerthat --
3:32 am
that -- concerned that some states don't have a background check pch check. your thoughts on this >> anything that can be done to enhance the integrity of the service providers where we are providing direct service to seniors were incredibly beneficial. we have an active case in georgia involving a lawyer was stealing, he was the c conservatory. it is certainly true that that the access that somebody has to a vulnerable person like that sometimes creates an irresistible risk so anything of the integrity of the people in that kind of contact, our seniors would be beneficial. >> so is that the other district?
3:33 am
>> yes, it is still pretty much considered as a whoin that dist. >> very cool. all right. mr. greisman, the bipartisan senior fraud protection act, that asked the ftc to distribute material to seniors and care givers to explain this process for contacting law enforcement. how are these types of educational efforts important? >> well, they are critical and it is apart of the fdc consumer protection mission. i have referred earlier to pass it on which is our signature consumer piece gearing towards our older americans. we outreach a number of ways at the grass roots and we held 30s in the past couple of years. those involved, states and law


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on