tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 1, 2016 2:07pm-4:08pm EDT
shared economy, i put those all together. use i using the web or whatever to engage people who aren't physically in the same room. a lot of you are familiar with facebook sort of disaster ping. if something happens in paris, i advise airbnb, and to give them full credit, airbnb after orlando but certainly after paris and in the buildup to the hurricane, airbnb renters -- they are not called renters. i just exposed the fact i don't use them. but airbnb people who put up their homes, we notify them and say there are going to be people who may need homes. they're an incredible community. that is something you can do whether it's a hurricane or terrorist attack. you can engage and use the platform. uber. a lot of you noticed uber is helping out with flu shots because public health is part of
homeland security in the sense you want a strong resilient nation. uber is starting to do a lot with trying to get people to get their flu shots. there are creative ways in which we can use people's enthusiasm, but also the way people communicate now, which is no longer i pick up a phone and call you. we follow the same people so we may get to know each other. those are optimistic and hopeful ways begin, as we all agree, you're not going to get the vulnerabilities to zero, not in this nation. >> that is a terrific overview. i have other questions i want to ask you. i'll put you on notice to think about it. one of the things that happened in the way that disasters and attacks are being communicated right now is it's immediate and the echo is profound. again, sometimes how that story gets told and spread, it's not always right information and it's not always helpful
information. one of the things that's been an ongoing concern and we'll talk about in a second, mayor, is communities that get targeted for secondary violence. in particular arab americans or muslim americans. i managed to pose it to you, but your family is originally from lebanon. that's the other layer of juliette kayyem, you've got the official, journalist, the parent but also arab american. i wonder especially right now because political rhetoric is part of this picture, too. how do you feel about that and do people look to you, as i am right now, to be an expert on that as well? how do you think that community reacts relative to any other community in what's happening the way the commission is moving. >> do you want me to answer that now or go to the mayor?
>> think about it. >> that's what i thought. >> especially because the mayor did think about it. we looked at the case study, we spoke to you and a number of other people, reporters, your police wouldn't talk to us. but we did a lot of research about them and all of the police reports during the shooting. we spoke to people on your staff. people who live in orlando about what happened and how they felt about it. we're down there looking around. we came away with the conclusion that orlando was pretty resilient in how it dealt with the aftermath of this attack. and what we heard and you don't have to agree with this, but what we heard from a lot of people in the city was they saw you as the hero of this story. and that they looked to you to tell them how to feel and you
did. what i think would be great, rather than me walking through the case study is have you talk about that day and tell us the chain of events, and when you made decisions about specifically about how to communicate with people and what to communicate. just starting with how did you first find out that this had happened? >> i'll tell 2000 things just to start out with. >> it's your show now. >> to set the stage a little bit. everybody knows orlando, right? there's not everybody i don't think in the whole world that doesn't know orlando what they know is disney is there and universal is there and 66 million visitors came to orlando last year not 49, which is the most visited place at least in america, not the world. everybody knows orlando, but they don't know orlando and its residents. you saw orlando and its residents during the course of pulse and the aftermath of pulse. we're a very young city.
we're a very open city. you don't have to be third generation to do whatever you want to do there. people come from opportunity, but we embrace diversity, quality, fairness. we are a multicultural city. that's who we were on that day. it wasn't something we needed to form and tell people it's who we were so we had that advantage going in that day. the second thing is, after 9/11 and then the three hurricanes that you referenced, and we had a work place shooting in downtown that had one fatality and three injured. we do a lot of emergency training. a lot of it is weather related, as you might speculate. but we also do a lot of active shooter training. we do it not just as the city of orlando, but on a regional basis. all our law enforcement people
know each other. when they showed up that night, it's not like they're meeting each other for the first time. they're all together. they know how they talk, they know how they act. they know what to expect, and then interestingly, we had been following the national trends like everybody else and we usually do hurricanes, we do active shooter, but we actually did a table top on civil disobedience after first and baltimore. a wild scenario was an african-american being shot by a police officer in one of our troubled neighborhoods with the naacp convention convened in town, and a rapper that was going to perform that night. that was an interesting scenario to deal with. but through that, we understood how important communication was all throughout this, and we actually now had esf function
that was simply social media. we actually had that esf. right. i usually don't bust into acronyms. >> all my life in the pentagon so i'm going to call you out on acronyms. >> we had plans on how to communicate, for instance in a civil disobedience, it would be police twitter, during a hurricane would be our twitter. >> roles and missions were defined. >> right. you can never anticipate. we never anticipated what was going to occur, and it would be hard to ever imagine that that could occur. so the first shots were fired at 2:02, 2:03, somewhere in that range. i got a call at home. i was asleep about 3:00 in the morning. the call was mayor, this is deputy chief enzoato, there has
been a shooting at the pulse night club. there's an active shooter, multiple casualties and it's now a hostage situation. the command center will be set up at certain locations, which you saw at some point. my first thought, i'm a dad. i immediately the next thing i did was call my 26-year-old son trey to see where he was. i don't know that he's ever been to pulse or whether he frequents there or not, but i wanted to make sure. it makes your job a little bit easier to do what you need to do if you know your family members are all safe. my wife is in bed. turns out he was in bed, as well. my next call was to my deputy chief who heather fagan who is our communications guru or queen. >> everyone said tell heather we talked to you and we were helpful. heather has a lot of sway over
these situations. >> my police liaison was on the way to pick me up. we agreed we would pick heather up second to have an extra five minutes to do her hair or brush her teeth. >> probably the last time she did for three days. >> right. we went down to the command center and got to the command center, and it's a big giant rv trailer type of thing with basically two rooms, a command room then one that has a lot of technical equipment that's being manned by the others. we come in and it's the chief, two or three deputy chiefs, fbi, fle and three sheriffs from orange or surrounding counties we had discussed on the way there, what's my role? we've done all these types of scenarios and everything. never envisioned being in the middle of the night in that type of situation. heather and i determined i needed to stay out of the way of the law enforcement. and let them do their jobs because they are trained to do
that. number two, we needed to make sure that i supported and did not undermine the chief's authority, even though i'm his boss, and make sure everybody saw that i understood the chief was going to make the final call on any decisions that were made. and the fbi and fdle and sheriffs were acting in that same fashion, which i took as very professional. third was to gather as much possible information as we could because we knew we were going to have to communicate in some fashion at some point. >> you told me that that was really important to you that you wanted to be able to communicate as much information as you possibly could as early as you possibly could. why did you think that was important? >> even back to charlie, if you don't provide as much information in a concise, accurate way, somebody else is going to fill in those gaps and
probably not with accurate information. the more information we could get out in an accurate manner and not a manner people stopped listening, but they want that information, i think it helps you serve the purpose that you're going to serve. so when we got there, the chief updated us on what had occurred. i could go through that or move on to communication. >> at what point were you rea ready -- not until about 7:30 in the morning you had your press conference? >> i'll shorten the five-hour time period to a three-hour time period. the opd and s.w.a.t. team had the shooter confined to a bathroom. all of the living victims were evacuated. they evacuated a couple dressing rooms that had not gotten out early on. so really early on, everybody that was in the main part were on the way to the hospital. by 4:30, everybody else except
those that were in the two bathrooms where the shooter was. >> you know some of these people were sending texts and phone calls and videos. what we found was, and i'm wondering if you can confirm this, it was mostly point to point. they were calling or sending video to family members or to first responders. they were not broadcasting. they were sending it to someone. >> no. they were not broadcasting. they were either texting or in some cases calling family members who were then calling 911. or directly to 911 in some cases. some of those calls have been released. they gave us the depiction. that's how we found people in the dressing rooms and were able to get them out. we knew roughly how many were in one bathroom and where the shooter was, which bathroom and how many people were roughly in there. what happened though from those, you also got inaccurate
information. the shooter was in contact with 911 and hostage negotiators and indicated he had explosive vests and was going to detonate those and he had explosives in his vehicle that was parked outside. that was confirmed by some of the people in the bathroom. they must have heard him tell that to hostage negotiators and they confirmed it. we had to verify that was the case and he gave an indication he was getting ready to act. the chief made a determination at that point it was time to breach the building. s.w.a.t. had gotten into place. placed explosives. there was a hallway between the two bathrooms. they were hoping to break into the bathroom where the shooter was not to get them out. they put explosive charges and it did not breakthrough the wall we had a piece of equipment called a barakaat which was then employed. just as an aside, i took a lot
of heat when we bought that because we were having discussions about the militarization of police forces. >> a little satisfaction. >> i was very happy we had that be bearcat. we evacuated about 15 people out of the bathroom that did not have the shooter. and we had thrown diversionary explosive devices in there so he was probably a little disoriented. he came out of his bathroom and engaged s.w.a.t. and shot one of our guys. fortunately in his kevlar helmet. our guys returned fire and killed him. that was 5:15. >> all throughout this, the shooter -- you never named him. you never said his name and you just don't consider him a relevant person. >> once he was dead, i didn't need to think about him, i didn't need to act upon him. that was somebody else's job.
that was the fbi's job. certainly everybody else could comment about who he was or why he did it. i'm not sure we know exactly why he did it. there is speculation about that. the instant he was dead, the fbi said, we're in charge, terrorist event. it went from opd being in charge to the fbi being in charge. we needed to follow their direction. there was an active investigation. but they had then determined it was a lone shooter at that point. we had that knowledge. they had a lot of information already about who he was. >> all throughout the attack he was using facebook and he was posting to facebook and googling himself and seeing if he was trending. facebook was taking them down. i don't know how fast, but they were taking his posts down. they didn't necessarily get wide play, but he was all throughout the attack broadcasting and
trying to shape his own story. >> we didn't know that at the time. fbi assumes control of the investigation. we start the discussion about how we inform the public. we actually had a -- >> about 5:30, 6:00 in the morning? >> we actually had a little discussion about whether the fbi or police were going to lead out. we pushed back and said no. i have to lead out because i'm the person that they know. ron hopper is the best fbi agent i know. when he goes out there, that's going to scare people. nobody is going to know who he is, whether to trust him or not. if opd leads out, that sends a whole different tone than if your elected mayor comes out we got them to agree with that. we were fortunate in that regard. the fbi's federal spokes people weren't there yet till the next day. we might not have been able to convince them, but we were able
to convince the local agent in charge that's the way it ought to be. >> note to any fbi headquarters officials listening, it's really good to have your local official who is known by the community in xharnlg of setting the tone in the communications. >> we were able to, i don't want to say dictate, but lead throughout the course of the first day in setting the tone. heather and i had a substantial discussion about what do we want to do when we go out to that first press conference? we delayed a couple of hours until 7:15, 7:30 in that range because there was still the possibility there were explosives in either the building or the vehicle. >> right. i remember you telling me you thought this was going to end with an explosion, a suicide. >> i did think that. we believed he had those explosive vests. i was prepared for the building blowing up with everybody in it. fortunately that was not the
outcome. we still thought there might be explosives in the vehicle. we did not think we would instill confidence in the public if we came out and had a press conference and his car blew up in the background while we were having the press conference. so we delayed having the press conference what we wanted to do was convey accurate information. we wanted to, and we talked specifically about this. we wanted to calm everybody down and instill confidence that we had this. that we're in control and let everybody know we were safe. those were the words and types of things we crafted. i also, from the very start -- i guess this might have been intuitive. i don't know why we said this exactly. we came out and what became our guiding principle was, we're not going to be defined by the hate-filled act of a demented killer. we are going to be defined by our response which will be love, compassion and unity. that rallied, i think, our
community behind us. >> then there was another press conference. a few hours later. you added some players to the stage for that one. directly germane to what you just said. tell bus that. you were thinking about potential for secondary violence. >> while we didn't mention the killer nor know for sure what his rationale was, we did know who he was and his lireligious ethnic background. >> you knew what he said. he pledged allegiance to isis. he was vague on the details. he had used arabic phrases. you knew that from the very beginning. >> we certainly have seen in the past there can be hostility towards muslims or arab americans in a circumstance like that. we wanted to do everything we
could to defuse that. i had an imam who i know and trust and i knew what he would say come to the very second press conference we had. he set the right tone saying this is not what the religion is all about. we do not support anything like that. that message was out there straight away. >> you didn't have to guess on who you could call on. these were relationships you had. >> i do have the benefit of having represented orlando in the senate ten years and as mayor for roughly 14 years. i'd been everywhere. if this would have happened in hispanic community, let's say the african-american community would have been the same in terms of having the connections. we work really hard at doing that, which is another part of the making sure we don't have
the civil unrest that some other cities experienced. making everybody feel like they have a seat at the table, then knowing people. >> you thought about all this and you called on the community to be part of the response, and you gave them a role. and then there were open mikes. talk about the danger of an open mike. >> were you there the first day? the way we have this set up -- usually you have your press area more controls than we did. once all the main press got set up, we did. but the press area got set up on a side road. it wasn't really monitored that well. we came out, did our first press conference. then we went back into the command center to figure out what we were going to do, second press conference, get more news. every politician in central florida that can reach the area had reached the area. it was open mike. people were taking to the microphone. most of all of them didn't
actually have any information other than what had been shared by cnn or the news stations which may or may not have been accurate at that point as well we were -- one of the more difficult things is trying to follow the fbi's suggestions. they were generally more than suggestions on what information we could convey. they knew who the shooter was, they did not want us to verify who he was. and just before we are going out, cnn and msnbc and everybody else is doing a profile on the guy. we're going out and they are asking, do you know who the shooter is? no. we don't know. we have not verified who the shooter is. that's after the first press conference. the hardest part of anything i did that whole time after the first or end of the first press conference, one of the reporters asked the chief in q&a, we understand there are 20 dead, is that right?
the chief either said yes there are 20 dead or at least 20 dead. i'm not sure. we already knew there were a lot more than that just from the observations of the police officers that had been inside. we turned to walk away and i said, gee, we've got to get an accurate count next time we come out here. we have to be able to tell them exactly what has happened. heather was talking towards us with this, i don't know how to describe the expression to let us know there were 50 people deceased, not 20. so the second press conference i had to come back out and that was the very first thing. to your other point, one of our congressman i come walking out and he's got the mike giving a lot of disinformation and heated political rhetoric, and remove him from there. >> i would point out voters removed him recently.
i'm not saying there is causeality there, but how he chose to talk about the attack didn't help him in his re-election bid. >> it wasn't helpful to us or anybody else. >> so i had to come out and tell everybody it wasn't 20, it was 50. at that point i knew that i had to keep my calm and keep my cool because if i broke down that, was not going to be good for anybody. that was one of those really deep breathing exercises where you take a really deep breath then say everything you have to say before you take a second breath. i can tell you looking out at say this was the press corps, there were a lot of seasoned people there. there was an audible reaction.
>> we heard from a number of reporters there was shock in the room. one thing we heard from everyone we talked to was this feeling of being overwhelmed. overwhelmed by what happened and overwhelmed by the amount of information that was coming in, especially once the rest of the country woke up and woke up to the news and the social media spiral began. that the amount of questions, the amount of speculation, all of it was overwhelming. we heard this from everybody. "orlando sentinel" reporters, everyone we spoke to. it would be interesting to hear you talk about that. but also we were very impressed with how the police and the city used social media to sort of manage that onsought of influx and how much worse it would have been if it happened in the middle of the day.
that feeling of being overwhelmed would have happened immediately. >> no doubt we were able to handle the communication aspect of it. in a more effective manner, let's say. we have three or four hours to get prepared before the onslaught came. we totally activated our emergency operations center. we had our communications people there, social media people there, we had somebody monitoring all social media coming out of any of our different areas, and we had a protocol in terms of press, in terms of press requests. i have no idea how many of those were actually were, but we had a team that everything filtered through. that was on the city side. even the police side of stuff came through my staff through the communications staff. then i told you we had the protocol in place since it was
this type of incident, the skwout going feed would be through the opd twitter feed. everybody else would take from that feed, as well as regional parkers. everybody was letting opd to disseminate the message and retweeting. >> if reporters called, they he got a message that said go to our twitter and facebook. that's how they got information. >> right. we tried not to have press conferences judge just to have press conferences. we only had three main press conferences that first day. the second one was to convey the numbers. so we had established a hot line for anybody that had information about anybody that might be a victim where they could call and set up a website that was going to have names of victims on
there. that became a very tough thing to manage as well because we set up a victims' assistance center with families could go to to get information. some people asked mistakes we made. that open mike was one. second was not having a secure location that the press could not get to the family and victims because they were there tracking people from the car to the building and back. so day two we went over to camping world stadium to park people in a secure place and they could walk in without the press being able to get at them. late in the day, we were able to evacuate the victims from holtz holtz -- from pulse to the medical examiner's office. good night had been on the job a week at most. he had not even been confirmed by county commission at that
point. but we emphasized to him how important his job was because if we went a day or two without identifying who the victims were, we'd have a different narrative going. he identified 48 of the 49 victims overnight. i came back in at 7:00 and that was the next press conference was letting everybody know we had identifications. he was able to identify the last one i think by about noon. that was critically important. he also had the presence of mind to take the killer into a different building and do the examination totally away from where the victims were. >> the mayor focused on victims. he focused on telling his city to show the world that they were, this didn't define them, and specifically they were lgbtq friendly, but also he focused on
the imam and the message that this was not the community's fault. it was not the islamic community's fault that this happened. this gunman did not speak for them. now, i think in orlando you saw the city respond to all of this. however, in ft. pierce, there was an arson event at the mosque that the shooter used to worship at. also a mosque in tampa was attacked. so i think this generates a lot of fear in the muslim american and arab american community in a lot of different communities. i wonder if you could talk a little about that. also, there's been a lot of rhetoric in this campaign that's given people -- that set the stage for this to be an echo chamber. i wonder if you could talk about that. >> i can and i talk about it not
just because of my family, but i want to talk about it as a homeland security policy and some of the challenges or how we think about it in terms of homeland security and counterterrorism. we want to thank the mayor. as you're sitting there, i think gosh, i hope you memorialized this because i know it's hard to do. you don't know for generations people will want to hear your story to learn from it. and clean the mistakes. >> i have these little handwritten notes from each press conference and i kept a journal the first four weeks. >> to peter's point, when he said what makes a resilient society. i teach on resiliency. one attribute is that rigorous lessons learned. i know you will look back and know did you things right and wrong and there are questions about the police waiting and whether that was right or wrong. thinking about the obligation to unfortunately the next mayor. this idea of orlando, i had been
in orlando two months before doing a speech to your police department on counterterrorism and how to think about it because they are so serious about it. was the first time i got a flavor for the nondisney orlando. i have three kids. the disney orlando. there's better than the disney orlando if you have three kids. it's an amazing city. if you just go in, fly, go to disney and back, that vibrancy was captured. that'at city in terms of that sort of sense of we're in this together, we're a all victims, we're all unified in the response. in some ways in this less yns learned, your immediate reaction in terms of who you're reaching out to in the community so they could be not the first spokesperson but the second, third or fourth spokesperson. the challenge for mayors that
might not be as sophisticated as you, who are those spokes people. you will find people on the other side. we certainly know that. a lot of times it's not the imam. the muslim community is as diverse as any other. who represents the jewish community? it's not necessarily the rabbi. figuring out who is the leading muslim doctor in the community who can come out, who is the leading big business owner and stuff, having multiple voices that aren't through the religious lane. the muslim community is as diverse as christian and jewish and other communities. we were talking about this before, the stent to which this islamicphobia is so outside the mainstream of a bipartisan sense of what is homeland security cannot be underestimated or underscored enough. for good or bad, there is an
established national homeland security community. it has from the moment george bush went to a mosque a few days after 9/11 to a very rigorous outreach by your former boss and predecessor to my boss, department of homeland security to what mayors have learned, which is community outreach through your diverse community is important. thief actually -- mayors have taken on the department because they don't like what we do with immigration. they know outreach and getting communities to come out is the most important thing rather than immigration an enforcement. it's just a complete outlier. what i like to remind people, it's an outlier not only because we are a diverse nation and we need to be respectful of other religions, it's actually if you ask people in counterterrorism and homeland security what makes america safer -- i never say safe, always say safer because we try to minimize risk. our oceans really help.
you cannot drive from dorchester to damascus. what's going on in europe is very different. the other attribute is our capacity as a nation through not perfect, i will admit that, but our capacity to integrate the other. you look at los angeles with the nextian community and you look at my city boston with the irish. they run the city or dearborn with the muslim community. that capacity to create generations of immigrants that are invested in america's safety and security is really probably our most successful and in some ways accident al homeland security strategy that reduced the risk. if we do things to alienate those communities or radicalize
those who are not, or as you were saying, the complicated nature of some of these cases. it looks like a couple of them have behind the isis is some sexual orientation aspects to it, they are questioning their sexual orientation, certainly that's the case in orlando. thinking about our outreach to communities as being an important part of our efforts and the stent to which this bashing of certainty communities or profiling you're hearing from giuliani who should know better, is really just so outside of a bipartisan acceptance of how we go forward. >> katie, do you agree with that? >> aktly do. i was going to say one of the unique things i have in my role being in congress i do international travel. the embassy can allow me to
speak to foreign officials with a bipartisan voice. the embassies try hard not to. over the course of the last year i go to the middle east probably every month or so, meeting with foreign officials. they want to talk to me most of all about the rise of donald trump and what that means for america and them, the likelihood of his success, what his sort of anti-muslim rhetoric means. i take that opportunity to actually dispel some myths that a majority of america or majority of the republican party believe the extreme views interpretation of what he is saying to put a nuance on it. some people i know can be very conservative on the immigration front, and therefore, out there aligned with donald trump don't necessarily agree with his rhetoric of anti-muslim rhetoric. i definitely agree it's not helpful from a security
standpoint to be so devisive with that world, with the arab world in particular. we thought about that a lot on the hill, at least among the staff that it's made it harder. i would agree the national security, i think, general view of the last year has not been particularly helpful to our safety. >> does it hurt resilience, too, is the question, here at home? >> i study less the community resiliency. i would have to assume so if your voices are devisive and you're putting neighbor against neighbor, that is not going to be helpful to a community rising up out of potentially bad situations. >> how much do you think -- one thing going back to the nature of the threat, a lot of the recent attacks have been self-radicalizing of american citizens. it's not necessarily a foreign threat in that sense.
it's a self-radicalizing group of americans. >> absolutely. >> is that what we are going to see in the future? >> hopefully not. hopefully we can solve the problem before it gets to a point where we can't stop the threat out there that is anybody particularly disillusioned or doesn't feel a strong community, you don't have to be an american citizen or not american citizen that you're susceptible to the messages these violent organizations can put out. the difference with the terrorist organizations right now, they are exceptionally good at it, particularly isil have taken sort of their media campaign to a whole new level. anybody susceptible -- when we are getting briefed and that's one of the benefits we have on the hill is the agencies come and will explain to us what they are seeing, it is self-radicalization.
it knows no citizenship. >> juliette, now that you've sort of changed sides here, at least in terms of whether you're a public official or press, how much responsibility should the press have to people like mayor dyer when something happens? is it their job to calm the public? do they have a civic responsibility? do they take it seriously? are there guidelines? >> i can only speak from where i work which had mistakes. certainly people -- they're election focused and that's cnn. i used to write columns for my local paper, the "boston globe." i'm surprised how they do want to get it right. in other words, that reporters want to get it fast, but also want to get it right. part of the obligation, and i think you heard in the mayor, you need to get -- you can't get
your numbers wrong. that's what i see killed -- i was on the government end during the bp oil spill. we got our numbers wrong, how much oil was spilled. we never recovered from that. get your numbers right. take the time to figure out the bad news about 50. i probably see it less. it was the first time i had been down to an event. cnn asked me to go down. you do see the vulture aspects of it. i'm more an analyst. i'm watching tv then going on air, which i think has to be managed by a real -- the thing i saw orlando do which was a helpful lesson learned. there are so many rumors going round. there was a rumor that the body might have been a second shooter. remember, they couldn't identify the body. that was one rumor. the other one was whether the s.w.a.t. team had taken too long to go in. that started to be a narrative. what you guys did on twitter was
important, which is you acknowledged that you understood that there was that rumor mill. so you don't look like you're stupid and didn't know everybody else is talking about this. we are aware there is one more body identified or we are investigating this. in some ways by acknowledging it you protect yourself even though you're not buying into that narrative. i think that's something because public safety tends to be slower than social media, and twitter trends is something public safety has to get better about, which is you see it coming. you can't act like it's not happening. and so acknowledging it even i think is key. >> were you watching the twitter trends? were you keeping track of what was popping up? >> yeah. he was. she was. >> they would not say on the social media guru of the city of oenld.
can i respond to one thing on the press though? we as the city wanted to get out a lot more information than we ultimately did in they are -- they've died on secret wait lists, we have in several states employees having instructed to falsify wait lists. we will have a new secretary of veterans' affairs in january and they have to improve the culture at the va and need to tackle these issues head on. some laws need to change. the house passed the va accountability act which is in the senate and they are looking to try to to get a final product to pass before the end of this year because like the albany stratton va hospital director the department of veterans affairs wanted to fire but the review board said you can't, the law is not going to allow you to fire this person who should have been replaced. improving the culture, changing some of the laws, changing money more efficiently are important. we can have a debate just on veterans because theres no end
ever to ways we can serve those who have kept us safe. >> thank you, there zeldin. at this point if you would like to, mr. zeldin, you have the opportunity to ask one question of your opponent, miss throne-holst you will have two minutes to respond to that -- if you have a question or comment, identify what you do or what you're with and pose your question. again if you're going on a monologue, i may cut you off. so lisa, please. >> hi, i am lisa and i'm here with new america and i'm going to ask air question on behalf of
usf actually and he says i wonder to what degree the approach and managing the information might have been under different challenges for example had a resent terrorists attack and that was the boston marathon bombing and there was an attack with the suspects on the run for three to four days before they were caught. it would have made it harder that the community was safe and we had this under control in the first press conference? >> we had that same situation and i mentioned that gateway shooting and that was where an employee came back and killed one person and shot three and then escaped, and we had no idea where he was. there were locked downs and the floor was shut down, so there was no way to come out and tell the community that they were safe. un fortunately we apprehended the guy within a few hours and
were able to come back out and actually the interesting thing about that is that i was walking out to do the first press conference and they ran up and said we've got the guy in his apartment, so the first press conference i was able to go out and say that we had the guy verses having to go out and say that we think that it's one person, but we don't know that for sure. it would have made it much more difficult for sure. >> this this city it was not considered a terrorists attack because there was not a political or motive involved, however, it's instructive how to something that takes place over a long time with a lot of un certainties and there's studies that say that it's much more traumatizing for the affected population when you have
something that takes place and there's so many unknowns. i think 50 percent of people were showing signs of ptsd even they did not live in the affected areas. it's a much more difficult challenge. did you have something to add to that? >> yeah, that's true. the fact that they did not find the brothers and the brothers for four days added to the stress and to the point by the response and that's -- i think that was true also for boston i mean we say boston strong and that's just a good mood that got us through it. really there were three people that died at the boston marathon and 300 people were sent to the area hospitals and no one died, so for a city looking at the numbers, that's are incredible
numbers. i mean cannot say that it's good news but the response writes the narrative and the rest of it can be stressful. i think the narrative of the boston was written by the response. >> the response is that cannot put out the truth and instead what you have and we can see this in whether it's and it becomes speculation and co competing theories and that's the feeding frenzy and that's what boosts social media. to be blunt what the cable news specializes in and bring on the
narratives and try to have the contention around it. we're going have to -- i think that we see from the ar lon doe case we don't have the best practice in these times. >> we will take the next question, please. >> this has been a fabulous panel. i want to absolute the mayor for telling us the instructive story. i found it very moving myself. i want to go back to what peter said. i think that you said peter that.
>> well, we actually -- yeah. that maybe a tactic that we're seeing with the massive data dumps too. >> and yet someone else had observations that when you're confronting someone the more they dig in and resists. can you or anyone un tangle this contradiction here in dealing with the russian. >> i think what we're getting at is not just the sense of blues but in the orlando case, there were multiple channels of information coming from the
government and they were con sis tif in the mess aging. what is the skill and targeting elections. it feels like americans right now and it's a playbook that's used in hungry and targeting brexit is that by the very nature of the elections, there is not unity. that's sides. this maybe something to hear about and i have been disappointed but not surprised by the reaction that's instead of looking at this operation and the attacks on america as a whole, it was moved into a partisan lens down to the fact of whether the russians did it
or not. we have the entire cyber community and the fbi and the intelligence community and it's sort of flying into the partisan ship if you're divided, it's hard to be resilient yept. >> i will just add and this feeds back to what we were talking about earlier and it was not seen as something to push back on and a threat. i know a lot of people and that's when we cannot stand for this anymore. i will add to it that we have a particular problem with the russians and that they perfectly willing to deal with falsities and america does not want to.
that's not how we behave. yet we have multiple problems that's on the -- we have the russians and the nation-state skbh then the other side is of that is the way that isil and other terrorists groups can use it in the network and lowest and dell kate the ability to tweet and the field level where as we still have a major reaction that because every tweet and tactical tweet can be a problem for the decision maker, we have to pull it up to the highest level of government, so you have to have a white house decision on the message of an aisil tweet.
that's something that we're trying to see how to deal with it and the problems. >> this is the moment that you may manipulate it. i want to remind people that there's a second way that i find the real rigging and that's the tax on the state and local app rat sis that do the voting. i think that story line is getting lost in the sort of sexiness of the politics. you know what your locals and how much money you're investing in the local cio's and the locals and that to me is a
vulnerable that no reason to believe that it's happening now, but just that manipulation is is happening now, but even this sense that we can't control the networks and talk about the narrative, that's a bad one. >> is this how we as a country defend ourself as a jurisdictional problem? >> well, it's a government problem. if you want to set up a nation from the beginning and, you know, you have divided government and you have state and local and counties and you're not going to solve it. you can try to make it work better, but you're never going to -- on elections, it's true in everything in homeland and having to be on the state side i
mean you can't tell a senator who is running for congress to get off the stage. >> yeah, it's hard to tell them that they can not command the mic. after that people come and stand behind you and then it appears that they're part of the press conference and they step up if you walk away. >> yeah, the voting thing is on the local and state side is that there's no authority over it. you're just completely dependent on miami did county investing in cyber security effort. >> in florida we never have a
>> it's the way that the terrorists groups and they try to show themselves as being successful and right now we're that's mostly what i have seen us trying to do. the challenge is getting it out at the speed and volume that they have been able to and to be able to reach all of the voices that you need to be able to
reach. >> the counter narrative that we do sometimes and it goes to what you're raising of being official and lacks that and so if you're thinking of the successes here, it would be on the hero side and the goal is to keep a certain community from being demonized. there's a narrative that's out there and why don't muslims point out terrorism or speak out against it? it's a counter narrative of identifying heros in the stories that might be from the community. we have seen that in the paris attacks and then they hide the jews and i remember one of the s.w.a.t. team members and that's
true and the victims of the bombing have in clued muslim americans and when we're telling the stories of victims and what defines these and makes the group so is that they're an attack on civilization itself. it's not just boston strong, it's going against all of us together. data dumps and numbers are important but having a narrative that's thought out. >> mayor, you built on and focused on the victims and the
type of city that you wanted to be. that was the story and the alternate story that you gave. >> i know you were not thinking of it, but that's what you did. you gave a different narrative. >> in the hindsight, i would say yes. >> that does not mean that as a guy you're going to die and as a woman it's roses.
the court gives the leeways and you can get the conversations out here in europe and the united states and there's an interesting case that the judge essentially said, you know, for lesser time we want to hear the story. >> to one of signature and it's like the hunger ask it's like how many times a day do you get something that's funny or a joke. how do you un lock that this and
humor and sort of skeptism is part of the challenge too. cannot do it and make it happen. it seems like a collective well takes it from there and not always in the right direction. >> actually i have another question from the university of central florida office. this is from a student. >> it would have been a far different experience in communication and challenge if it happened during the work day and heather and i were talking about it earlier today and not only would we have had the commune tigs aspect but thousands of employees and
businesses and it would have been a totally different reaction and although i don't think that if it were 11:00 the bar would not have been opened. i think the protocol is still right in terms of how we do that, but certainly the other organizations that are gathering zmchgs conveying information and the amount of social media that were out there and retweeting or tweeting to begin with would have more far more difficult experience for us. >> is that sort of the social media and communications exercise part of the national level exercises when we practice at a national level and incidences. are they doing that aspect of it? >> yeah, it is.
you're not going to make it look strong and you need both, but -- it's taking longer than i think most people like to get the social media viewed as probably -- i don't want to say it's more significant than local news but as significant. that chain is taking longer and what does it mean to be out there with tweets. who are the people doing it. do you live tweet. do you know how to do it? that's going to be a generational shift, but as police chiefs get youngers and others -- they're going to have grown with facebook and twitter and going to feel comfortable. it's still taking too long, i would say. >> okay. i just wanted to add on the
federal level that we have the challenge that we recognize the fbi and that's not closest to the people and it does not have the awe and it's just one of the challenges on the national security side and we were talking about counter narratives and it's really hard to think about the u.s. government sending out a whole bunch of tweets how it is in the west and it does not necessarily -- it's not the voice that should necessarily be doing so. we're thinking who should be the step above that should be sending that message, but everyone then who is the clearance of the content. it gets complicated very fast and then there's the problem of how do you make it fast as you need to to counter the messages that the enemy puts out. >> no more questions, and i'm going to pull us back to the hero point again.
remember we had a shooter trying to make himself actively and the reason that did not get out in real time was because facebook took it down. some of it were community rules and some of it was done with a human touch. the social media communities do have a responsibility and roles and one that's evolving as the threat and perpetrators change and also as the technology changes. again, live streaming launched two days before the attack on facebook. this is not going to be static. it's going to be changing. they have a role to play in not letting someone that's advocating for this kind of criminal violence and make himself the hero.
>> and he says that i have heard presenters talk on the use of cell phone cameras and it's complicated u.s. and allie operations in the field. are you familiar with similar stories that you can share and if this is a problem, is this an issue that the u.s. military is doing a better job at dealing with? >> yeah, it's definitely an issue. it's a great illustration of the idea and there's no more secretes or the secretes have a shorter half life. the bin laden raid was supposed to be the most secretive operation in the last generation. we saw the president watching in the situation room live and you had a pakistan it consultant
living and live tweeting the operation, so if that's happening this is several years back, we're moving forward and you were mentioning facebook live and we see that. that's again to go to the election you have this why can't we keep the operations and mosul secrete? part of it is that not only there's massive desert in between but everyone from the isis fighters to our allies are tweeting that there's a youtube channel that they created a hashtag for the operation. we're not in the same would. i want to circle back to what you raised and you said media companies need to regulate this and need to control but this is a new question for them and what they let out. there are acts of violence that
some we would not say and we can have an argument around that. this is the issue in the police shooting in minnesota and the manls of it and they violated the terms of service. it was a violence and killing online. others were saying no, it needs to be shown and needs to be on the national debate. the challenge is that the companies are the ones that are being asked to determine this one, do we want to do it and do we want them to do it. they set out to create a cool tech and they feel comfortable about it. >> one of the officials pointed out that you have the big companies that have the capacity
and interest and he pointed out that there's a guy with a server that does not have the interest to what is being posted. it may not be the case that you can or regulate the control. not everything that's seen by us has someone moderating it that wants to control it. that's an element here too. >> yeah, we had a case and you gave another one of, you know, a killing and in daytime and, you know, how that might be different including if the individual your video
of it gets out. how the reaction and the politics of it might be different. >> well we're just about how of time. any last comments for the audience? >> i just want to thank you for allowing me to participate in the forum and the work that you have done relate today the poll. >> thank you for coming. it was wonderful to get into the conversation with you. let's give the panel a huge round of applause. and for those of you here in person and for the audience that joined us remotely, thank you for tuning in and send ing us questions. for those of us in person, thank you. we have a reception outside.
coming up this afternoon we will bring you a discuss of the 2008 financial crisis and it's hosted by george washington university live school. live coverage is 4:00 p.m. eastern and just with a week to go both candidates are stopping for votes today. donald trump and pence are in wisconsin. we will have it live at 8:00 p.m. eastern. after that about 45 minutes later hillary clinton will be meeting with voters in battleground florida in ft. lauderdale. see them live at 8:45 eastern on c-span 2. >> this week on c-span 2 we're featuring political radio programs with national talk show hosts. on wednesday live from washington dc conservative radio talk show host hugh is live and
then thon and then mike gal ger. live this week from c-span 2. >> after i came up with this idea i did research investigation. this is the case with a lot of pieces that's going to be done for the competition and mental illness especially. it's a complicated issue. it's not black and white. it's so multifassetted that i had to research to get a base knowledge of what i wanted to talk about in this piece and obviously there was a lot of -- it's so complicated that i cannot talk about it in five to seven minutes. >> congress has a broad topic and it's nice to have like a vocal point that i want to focus on. so before i started to interview my parentins and started shooti,
i research the topic extensively. i visited my dad's pharmacy and talked to the pharmacists there. i talked to my mom and her colleagues and did a lot of internet research and we want to the library. >> i went to find more facts and data and statistics about the employment and those with the development disabilities and to see really what was going on. most of the information that i got off of the internet came from government founded websites and that's how i knew that most of the information that i was getting was legit. >> this year's theme is your message to washington dc. what are you wants congress to address in 2017. it's opened to all middle school and high school schools with $100,000 awarded in cash prices. students can work alone or in a group up to three to provide a
five to seven minute documentary and include some c-span programming and get opinions. the $100,000 cash prices are going to be awarded and shared between 150 students and teachers and the grand prize is going to go to the student or theme with the best overall industry. this year's dead lynn is january 20th, 2017. mark the calendarins and help t spread the word. go to student cam.org. a head of the 2016 elections law professors discuss congressional oversight powers of the executive branch. the constitution project hosted this event. they talked about overcoming the two branches of the government when it pertains to accessing. this is under three hours.
good morning, everybody and thanks for joining us today at this beautiful facility. i am one of the codirectors of the center at wayne state university law school. we are one of the sponsors of today's event along with the constitution project. senator carl levin is being joined today by the president of the constitution project and the
senator that's the chair of the center and distinguished legislator in residence at wayne state university law school. the person that is supposed to be presented in the remarks presenting the remarks this morning is jos lynn and is flying in and has not made it kbret, so i will assume her position here. we are here to ask and the struggles between the congress and executive branch over access to information. the title of this conference the right to know on that part of congress and that it's a right to document and witnessed the executive branch as part of a legitimate inquiry by congress to what the executive branch is doing or has done. verses a right to no and that's the refusal by the executive branch to respond to a request for information or access to a witness in order to protect its deliberative process and the president right to
confidentiality. we are joined by two panels of experienced practitioners and scholars who will help us grapple with this issue today. the format will be as follows. first we will have additional welcoming remarks and opening comments. from 9:15 to 10:30, we'll hear from awe will hearfrom a panel for a digital tools because the six individuals on oversight versus holter and lynch which involved the fastest program and the case involving harriet miers. we will break a 10:30 for 15 minutes and then hear from the panel of individuals who have both from experience and scholarship given serious thought to how congress and the executive branch can work through these challenging demands and relationships. we
will have a brief brief wrapup afternoon and then adjournat 12:15. so now i would like to invite the constitution project to come up and give her welcoming remarks. >> thanks and good morning. i want to welcome you all here today on behalf of the constitution project and thank the center for senator for cosponsoring the event today and also the senator and a my longtime friend. thank you also to mark rosenberg has written the original when congress comes calling for the constitutional project and it now has updated it or is in the process. we are grateful and delighted that the update is the basis for today's discussion. we ran out of the original long ago because it was so popular and such a useful tool for how the government
works. we are pleased that the update will be available in just a few weeks if you are interested in the update, please go back downstairs and pick up one of these and we will make sure that you get it. the other day i watched a show on the making of hamilton which i had the pleasure to see on broadway. it was an amazing piece of theater but also a great lesson in history and that's what today's event is about. it's about the history of the government and the balance of power that has been the fulcrum of our democratic system. hamilton was about the executive branch and differences of philosophies and personalities that ended up creating a system of government. it applies just as well to the current system. who controls the government and in what way, what power does congress have and how are they balanced again and by the executive branch and ultimately what role does the court have in
resolving any disputes that cannot be resolved by the political system itself. with credit to one of the best, everyone wants to be in the room where it happens. our program today is about who gets to be in the room, who makes the decision and how the policy is created once the decision is made. hamilton made it clear that our democracy is not an easy or flawless system. experts today will discuss what happens when congress comes calling. the war between the executive and congressional branches has always existed and always will. while hamilton didn't turn out all that well at least for hamilton himself, the founders created a brilliant system that seems today to be on the verge of breaking apart. there is no right or wrong in the tug-of-war that there must be conscientious people of good will to exercise their powers. our democracy
depends on it. when congress comes calling and gives them the knowledge and the tools to do their jobs responsibly and in the constitutional powers created during that the time hamilton portrayed in the developed in the years since then and now i'm pleased to introduce the senator that served in the u.s. senate representing the state of michigan and is the longest-serving senator from that state. he served as both the chair and the ranking member on the armed services committee and has both the chair and ranking member of several oversight subcommittees on the homeland security and governmental affairs committee including some 15 years on the
investigation. he was known for his in-depth investigations on the complicated issues and bipartisan approach to oversight and commitment to uncovering the facts. these strengths played out in his oversight of the financial sector in the 2008 mortgage bank crisis of wealthy individuals and multinational corporations and money laundering. he brings a wealth of experience and accomplishments to any discussion of oversight and we are so pleased to have him joining us this morning. [applause]. >> thank you so much for the introduction. according to the program i guess you were part of the welcome and i'm sort of the review part of the semi and will be more than a welcome, not quite as long as the papers i stuffed in my pocket, but a
little longer than the other remarks. thank you for the great work of the constitution project. in the teaching i do at wayne law school we are in the middle of a course and our main focus is on oversight and some of the cases and practices involved we use the book as one of the texts in the course and i hope joslyn gets here. she was the dean of the law school and now she's taking on other responsibilities but is also going to continue as the director at the leaven center. i think the pew center for their hospitality here today. i obviously am thankful to the director, my staff director and one who was also a staff director on the investigations and earlier oversight
subcommittee that was the oversight of government management. a number of people greeted me and said linda is here and we all love her. and with good reason. she's an extraordinary human being. we have for students four students here with us from the center. we wanted to greet them and give them a chance to participate here and watch what goes on here at this particular forum. let me kick off now with just a few oversight remarks of what we will be talking about here today. i believe very deeply in the constitutional
responsibility of congress to serve as the check a check on the operations of the expansion of the executive branch. the responsibility has long been wreckage as does an untroubled part of the system of checks and balances. in 1927, the supreme court explicitly stated in the case that the power to enforce it is an essential and important auxiliary to the legislative function into that position was reinforced when the court clearly acknowledged the congress inherent power to conduct investigations stating that it was a broad power including inquiries in the administration of existing law,
needed statutes for defects in our economic and political system and to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste. it was that's needed and existing power of congress that caused me when i came here in 1979 and the subsequent 36 years i was in the senate to choose to dedicate a significant portion of my time as a senator to conducting oversight. in order for oversight to work it obviously has to know what's going on in the executive branch and that means making demands on the executive branch for information. documents and witnesses. because i take an expensive view of the congress right to know, i i'm concerned
about recent court developments like the case where the district court recognized a broad deliberative process, deliberative process privilege. the growth of e-mail in other words, things that can be put into print or lasting, not just an oral conversation but with the growth of e-mail and e-mail weeks i'm somewhat sympathetic to the agencies to protect their intra-agency communications to the extent they are communications in preparation for developing a policy or position or responding to an outside event. in other words, the discussion in the decision-making process has real
value so that people can talk and communicate without the fear of being mischaracterized as taking a position, a final position either for the agency or the administration or even a position of the person who was uttering the words. but that recognition can result in a flood over time and the consequences if not carefully limited can be devastating to the role of congress and overseeing agency programs. we've actually seen some indication of the overbreadth that is inherited as a possibility and that approach and the indication of that
happening in the recent investigations of the affordable care act where the house committees sought information that had been denied based on the claim of confidential privileges and i also fear if congressional oversight is viewed as highly partisan as opposed to institutionally sound card that courts may respond with a more protective position than they otherwise would. in other words if it becomes accepted as a consequence can be that congress loses its power to know what's going on in the program that creates and in the executive branch and loses its power to act. congress doesn't
have to go to court at least theoretically. it has its own inherent enforcement authority that could issue a citation, hold a trial on its own or the hearing on the resolution and if the person is found guilty of contempt congress could act to leap to person and a congressional jail. congress already seems like a jail to some of the members but this is a different kind. this sounds bizarre but the supreme court has recognized this authority and congress used the power over 85 times most successfully. it hasn't been used in 75 years for good reason but it does speak to the right to know. in the recent case the house for the first
time adopted resolutions authorizing the house general counsel to bring a suit in federal court seeking enforcement of its subpoena. house committees were seeking information documents and testimony and chose to go to the federal district court. the reason they did this as the justiceis thejustice department refused to bring the contempt citation before the grand jury despite the law and requirement that it is the duty that contained a liquid words that reflect a few and i want to read
them to you. the power of inquiry is as broad as the power to legislate in that lies at the heart of the constitutional role. it's been necessary to the proper letter including the ability to compel testimony is necessary to the effective functioning of courts and legislatures. congress has use for the subpoena power in this case is no less legitimate or important than the grand jury in the united states versus nixon. both involve core functions of a coequal branch of the federal government. the recent cases
only district court cases so you are subject to revision. but we are on new ground and we have to recognize we have a new president and we have to see if we can come to a resolution between the need of congress and of the need of the executive branch the goal of any document request is to avoid conflict between the branches that were in the political environment where conflict is inevitable and of course that means the tension between congress and the working of the branch and the
deliberative process to have a free and frank discussion both have to be recognized. the resolution is something i hope we can talk about here today. again i want to emphasize a point which i need briefly before that in resolving the tension between the need of the legislative branch and the executive branch the more intensely partisan partisan oversight becomes, the more likely it is that the courts will protect the equity that is involved in the process in the administration. >> if at any point i would want to reinforce these remarks with
the bat. there've been some highly partisan oversight hearings and investigations into the disk than to be the perception of the court in trying to resolve what is the equity in an administration, the court is naturally going to say if the congress is going to involve itself in a highly partisan use of the investigative process and not do it on a bipartisan basis for the institutional need to use oversight to get information that the court i believe and
this is based on my experience the courts are likely to respond and give without it being mischaracterized again as being a decision when it's barely a discussion. so harsh bipartisanship is is another role in the sense in my view and in a number of other ways as well. they will face the kind of issues that you are discussing today so this is a meaningful time to review the rights and polls and principles that govern the tug-of-war between the branches and to contemplate a path forward. what is needed is to ensure congress can access
the information that it needs to oversee the executive branch and we check the executive branch effectively. how should congress at the same time be accountable for using its oversight powers and tools of oversight appropriately. we look forward to the panelists and we are grateful for them coming today. it's an issue that goes right to the heart of government. thanks for showing up today. [ applause ] [ applause ]
>> thank you for the remarks that come from decades of experience. it is my privilege to look at the development of the law and practice to the executive branch information and to assess where we are right now. this is the name of the cases brought into this active in now it is lynch so all of those are the name for the same case in this situation. i spent 24 years in the senate. it's now the homeland security governmental affairs. the
investigation includes the dod procurement, seizure policies, disbarment and campaign finance reform and throughout that we took a limited view of the right of the executive branch to with hold information and it's a position very similar to the legal argument the congressman made in the case and i don't agree on this issue. i'm very close to him on this position i would say. executive privilege to be is limited to the communications to and from and even then it was narrow and dependent upon the nature of the investigation. i gave little recognition to the process exception when it fell
into the communications. the one was never claimed. the kind of questions we're asking the executive branch i don't think raised questions but my attitude was we would rarely if any recognize the deliberative process in the context of the communication. with the past few years with the admires and holders, things have clajed. there appears to be greater recognition that the deliberative of the process and documents and conversations are exempt from the congressional access and that the courts are the mechanism to settle the
disputes and we have to know today what that means for the over sight. i would not call it a c change, but a change that we need to se refusal by the executive branch to provide congress with the information it needs. joining me on this panel this morning are three individuals who not only have direct involvement in fast and furious, but also have a distinguished history of working on numerous other congressional investigations. so they can draw from both recent and past experience. so let me first introduce to you the panel. first we have steven castor. steve serves as deputy general counsel for the house committee on oversight and government reform. he joined the committee staff in 2005 and has served on the committee as chief counsel for investigations. he has worked on a number of notable investigations,
including fast and furious, the irs, steroids in baseball, and jack abramoff. he received his b.a. from penn state, his mb from lehigh. next we have ron weich. ron currently serves as dean of the university of baltimore school of law. prior to that, he served as assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the justice department, representing that department on all legislative and oversight matters before congress. he has also served as chief counsel to senators harry reid and kennedy. we have andrew wright, associate professor at the savannah law school where he focuses his research on separation of powers with an emphasis on congressional oversight and national security. and he previously served as associate counsel to the
president and assistant counsel to the vice president in the obama white house, as well as staff director and counsel to a national security subcommittee in the house of representatives. andy received his b.a. from washington, and his j.d. from the university of virginia. so i want to thank you all three for being here today. and each panelist will have 10 to 15 minutes to present their comments. and i will then ask them a few questions and then after that we will open it to the audience for additional questions. so let me start with you, steve. you were on the house government reform committee staff for fast and furious. this was only the second time, the first being the meyers case, in which the house had decided to use the courts to enforce the subpoena and to seek a declaratory judgment in doing so. can you give us some background on these cases, and why the congress felt obligated to seek a declaratory judgment from the
district court, why you didn't use your inherent in contempt authority and why you didn't seek to use the u.s. attorney to enforce the subpoena. >> thank you. thanks for having me. fast and furious was a gun trafficking case gone wrong. the decision was made along the southwest border to stop interdicting weapons that were illegally purchased by straw buyers, and instead allow the straw buyers to purchase weapons illegally, and walk away with the purpose of allowing the network to develop. and while watching the network, the plan was to take the whole network down. and to stem the flow of traffic to the cartels in mexico. and it didn't work. and in hindsight it's no surprise it didn't work. it certainly is a case worthwhile of congressional oversight. nobody has ever said it's not worthwhile to look into what
happened. there was a significant things to look at. at the local level of atf, all the way up to senior levels of the justice department. after the investigation commenced, in the very early portion of it, february 4th, 2011, a letter was written to congress that was false, denying the charges. telling us essentially to go away. the problem with that was, we had insiders providing us firsthand accounts and documents. and the february 4th letter was wrong. it was false. ten months later that letter was withdrawn. part of our investigation was what happened during the gun trafficking case gone wrong, but another part of the investigation was, what happened between february 4th and
december 2nd, 2011, nearly ten months, where congress was stonewalled, obstructed, told to go away, it was not a legitimate oversight effort, and the justice department in blanket fashion told us we were not entitled to any documents post-february 4th. we brought contempt on the house floor. both civil contempt and criminal contempt. it was passed in bipartisan fashion. 15 or 17 democrats joined the republicans. but it was presented to the united states attorney, and the united states attorney te clind to prosecute. there was a criminal component. we filed a civil lawsuit.
the lawsuit is ongoing. we filed our appeal brief on october 6th. so as it relates to activities at the district court level, although i might have a great appetite to talk about it, i do need to be restrained, because, you know, it is in litigation. it could be remanded. but, you know, that being said, a lot of very important oversight actions happened prior to filing a lawsuit. you mentioned inherent contempt. it hasn't been used in the house since 1916. hasn't been used in the senate since 1934. the process of inherent contempt would be passing a contempt citation, taking it to the house floor, and then having the speaker instruct the house sergeant at arms to go arrest the attorney general. and bring the attorney general to the house jail.
and that hasn't been -- that type of enforcement mechanism hasn't been used in a very long time. so we certainly are aware of inherent contempt. it certainly is a valid means of enforcement. but it hasn't been used in so long, that it's hard to -- it's hard to consider arresting the attorney general of the united states as an ordinary means of enforcement. >> you said u.s. attorney declined to prosecute pause of executive privilege. but wasn't that a deliberative process privilege, or was that executive privilege? maybe you can explain the difference a little bit between executive privilege and deliberative process privilege. >> you want me to jump in? >> sure. >> this is executive branch doctrine here so i'm not speaking for congress certainly. but, you know, deliberative process would be one component of the executive privilege
umbrella document, executive branch doctrine-the years. the president gave it a slightly different slant. and i think it means there was no actis reyes if the president is following the policy under the president's order than from the u.s. attorney's perspective. maybe no criminal act at all. >> the documents being sought were documents internal largely to the justice department? they weren't just documents within the white house between -- to and from the president. they were also intra-agency documents, is that right? >> our subpoena had 22 categories. subpoenas are issued in the early part of the investigation. by the time we got to contempt, we had obtained, not necessarily from the justice department, but we had obtained many of the documents that we needed to
evaluate the operational components of fast and furious. we ultimately sued on 4 of the 22 subpoena items. and we sued on documents that were dated or created after the false letter, after february 4th. >> ron, do you want to respond from the justice department's perspective on fast and foreuse? >> but first of all, thank you, and senator levin, and the levin senator for hosting this event. and be ginny sloan for co-hosting, and providing this wonderful space. i want to pick up on something senator levin said in his introduction. he noted the timeliness of this event because we're two weeks out from a national election. to put a finer point on that, we don't know how that election is going to come out. the polls, you know, speculate this and that. but we don't know. and won't know until election day. who will control the agencies of the executive branch, and in this particular election there's
a genuine question about who will chair, which party will control, which house and senate members will chair committees and subcommittees of congress. we have what sometimes is referred to as a veil of ignorance. it's a very useful thing in that moment where you don't know who's going to have a benefit or have an interest to consider what the proper principles and practices are no matter who is issuing the subpoena or responding to the subpoena. so i think this is exactly the right moment to ask these questions. and i'll turn to fast and furious in a minute but let me just offer these general thoughts as someone who has been on both ends of pennsylvania avenue, as linda indicated in introducing me. i worked for senator kennedy, and then later for senator harry reid. and as assistant attorney general of the justice
department i was responsible for speaking for the justice department in response to those requests. and let me say at the outset, and thank my colleague, steve castor, for being too graceful to say, i am the person who signed that february 4th, 2011, letter that was false. i didn't know it was false. and i'll tell you one story when i became the assistant attorney general. someone who had the job before me, a friend told me that i was going to sign 100,000 letters, and one was going to blow up in my face. and i didn't know -- i wasn't going to know in advance which one it would be. it turned out to be february 4th, 2011, on fast and furious. able based on my experience in both branches of government, that it's a legitimate function of congress. it's beneficial to the congress in fulfilling its role in legislating, in making sure that public dollars are well spent,
in crafting new legislation or modifying existing legislation, where it benefits the american people. but i would also add it's beneficial to the executive branch executives. we recognize that the oversight kept us on our toes and helped uncover mistakes, and programs that were not working as well as they should work, and certainly in this case it uncovered a law enforcement operation that was fundamentally flawed. having said that, so indeed the public has a right to know, k-n-o-w. but there's something on the other side of the ledger, there are times when the executive branch has to say no, n-o, an there are several categories this becomes acute, especially at the justice department and that's the agency i know best. to review quickly, the department is concerned anytime there's oversight into open matters, when the department is
conducting a criminal investigation, perhaps in the middle of a prosecution, where there may already be an indictment, it is very dangerous for congress to be mucking around in there. it can alter the course of that law enforcement operation or prosecution in a very detrimental way. so there we urge congress to be very careful, and very frankly, to withhold oversight while it is open. even after it's closed, there's deliberative process. because executive branch officials and certainly in law enforcement decisions, they need to be able to communicate with each other. e-mails, a whole new world than when he and i first became lawyers. now we talk to each other electronically very often. it's a very efficient and effective way of doing that, especially in the justice department being such a
sprawling institution across the country. you can press a button and speak to 25 people at once, all of whom need to know the information that you're conveying, and want to weigh in on strategic questions. but sometimes it's merely conversation. it's figuring out what we're going to do on a matter. it's not a pronouncement of policy, or law enforcement action. and so we do feel that -- i say we, but i'm no longer there. i reflexively refer to the "we" there. we feel that for executive branch officials, especially a law enforcement agency like the justice department, we need some space to talk among ourselves without that being revealed. there are also concerns when line attorneys or line law enforcement agencies or career people who are making decisions are the subject of oversight and are asked to answer before a political body, congress, for good faith career law enforcement decisions.
obviously there are national security issues. those are the kind of considerations on both sides. yes, oversight, but we need to have some boundaries. the cases that have been discussed, the meyers case and the -- called the fast and furious case, do present some new boundaries. first of all, i think it must be noted that on the congressional side of it, we now know, at least from these two district court decisions, we don't have an appellate decision yet, but it appears from the two decisions that there's a forum in which congress can seek enforcement. you don't have to bring the attorney general or the assistant attorney general to a jail in the basement of the senate chamber, and have the sergeant of arms watch over him or her. instead, you go to the district court in the district of columbia, and it appears those judges will hear the claim that a subpoena hasn't been complied with. but judge jackson, in the most recent discussion in the fast
and furious case, did say there are limits to what the congress can obtain which subpoena. in fast and furious, i'll just answer real briefly, i don't mean to monopolize the microphone, but just briefly, steve lays out the facts. i only quibble in this respect. certainly as the house committee sought to determine what happened in this law enforcement operation, that was legitimate oversight, and i believe the department was reasonably responsive in providing that information. the committee then wanted to determine how it was that a letter was sent from the justice department, that denied facts that turned out to be true. that was legitimate. and documents were provided that explained it. explained that individuals who had knowledge of the matter more closely had asserted facts that turned out not to be true. then the dispute was, should the
congress get to review how the department responded to the oversight. what we in the department sometimes call memos on memos. and there, you can get right to the heart of the ability of the executive branch to function. and so in a rough way, and steve will quibble here and there, but in a rough way, i think the dispute was, should the department -- should any executive branch agency have the ability to say let us talk within ourselves as to how we're going to respond to the yoef sight. ultimately after judge jackson's decisions, the department released a lot of tefrl that showed that the department was responding in good faith, trying to get to the bottom of the situation that officials in washington didn't fully understand, and respecting the prerogative of congress to ask questions that would further a legislative purpose. >> one thing -- >> we'll go to andy and you can
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