tv [untitled] CSPAN June 25, 2009 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT
all americans are outraged about the recent outbreak of piracy and desire a comprehensive solution. but we also must recognize that commercial shipping lines bear responsibility to secure their cargos and should not be given free protection by u.s. military personnel everywhere in the world. . the solution of piracy cannot simply be a military one. the bulk of u.s. cargo and u.s. ships travel on ships that are not u.s. flag vessels and would not be protected by this amendment. further, the navy and marine corps don't have a sufficient number of embark security teams to protect even the relatively small number of u.s. flag vessels. based on operation tempo and dwell time, set by the chief of naval operations, it's clear that expanding deployment of
e.s.t.'s would compromise other commitments. for this reason and others, the navy does not support placing them on vessels. the navy pointed out that embarking on -- embarking u.s. service members on non-u.s. vessels presents problems for legal and liability issues. i would ask the chairman and gentleman from maryland to work with me in conference with the other body to develop a lasting solution that developing united states interest and does not place an undue burden on the united states. mr. couple: -- mr. cummings: how much time is remaining? the chair: one and a half minutes for the gentleman from
maryland and 3 1/2 to the gentleman from california. mr. cummings: we are talking only about providing security to u.s. flag vessels carrying united states government cargos, operated by united states citizens. surely we can provide that. with that, i yield to the chairman of the armed services committee. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. skeleton: i rise in support of this amendment. there may be requirement to redraft part of it at a future date, but i think the purpose and the intent are correct. piracy is here. it's an age-old problem. from the marines' hymn, the phrase, the shores of tripoli, that was a successful piracy -- anti-piracy effort on behalf of the united states marines. we have to do our very best to
protect america, american vessels, americans that are sailing the ships and particularly the government cargo that's on them. so i applaud mr. cummings for making this substantial step in the right direction in combating tie pi rahcy. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from maryland. mr. cummings: may i inquire how much time we have? the chair: the gentleman from maryland has 15 seconds remaining, the gentleman from california has three minutes remaining. mr. couple k -- mr. cummings: i urge the adoption of this amendment. this is an appropriate way to address this, it is a reasonable way. with that, yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields
back. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: i yield back. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman from maryland. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it, the amendment is agreed. to it is now in order to consider amendment number 34 printed in house report 111-182. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 34 printed in house report 111-182, offered by mr. holt of new jersey. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey, mr. holt and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: i want to thank the gentleman, mr. skelton, for his
support of theament. it's ident to call to the amendment passed by the house in the 2009 defense authorization last year with the exception of some changes in findings which i think strengthen the case for this amendment. a similar intelligence focused, c.i.a. focused video recording provision was included in the fiscal year 2010 intelligence authorization act voted out of the house permanent select committee on intelligence last week. the amendment's purpose is simple. it is to improve the intelligence operations of our armed forces by ensuring the video recording of each strategic interrogation of any person who is in the control or detention of the department of defense. let me be clear. this amendment does not impede combat operations. the bill explicitly states that troops in the field in contact with the enemy shall not be required to videotape or
otherwise record tactical questioning. it does require the secretary of defense to promulgate and provide to the congress guidelines under which video recording of detainees shall be done. it does require that the recordings be properly classified and maintained securely, just as any foreign intelligence information should bfment it does require that the recordings be maintained for an appropriate length of time. why? because multiple studies have documented the benefits of video recording or electronically recording interrogations. law enforcement organizations across the united states routinely use the practice both to protect the person being interrogated and the officer conducting the interrogations. it is the standard of best practice. some u.s. attorneys are on record as favoring this requirement for the f.b.i., customs and border patrol, and the customs and border patrol
does routinely videotape or electronically record key interactions and interrogations with those in their custody. video recording is the standard within the united states for interrogations of all types, in all agencies, and for prosecutors. what about the department of defense? is it appropriate there? earlier this year, a task force convened by secretary of defense gates to review our detainee policies issued its report. this is known as the welsh report. the report was unequivocal. it said, quote, we endorse the use of video recording in all camps and for all interrogations. continuing, quote, the use of video recording to confirm humane treatment could be an important enabler for detainee operations, just as internal controls provide standardization, the use of video recordings provide the
capability to monitor performance and maintain accountability, end quote. but more than this. more than maintaining the standards for behavior in the interrogation room, it strengthens our ability to collect intelligence and understand what's going on. the amendment would strengthen previous laws passed by congress regarding the treatment of detain quees and it would max -- of detainees and it would maximize our intelligence clecks from such interrogations. the origin of this amendment came from my questioning of interrogators when i asked how they get maximum information of nuances of language, languages that the interrogators might not have real flew ency with, who reviews the tapes, i said. they said, there are no tapes. in other words, by having these tapes, we can get the maximum benefit of the interrogation.
this amendment is endorsed by major human rights organizations, it's been certified by c.b.o. not to result in additional spending. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and i yield if he wishes a minute or as much time as he may choose to use to the distinguished chairman. the chair: the gentleman from missouri is recognized. mr. skeleton: as a former prosecuting attorney, i speak in favor of this eafment it serves two purposes. first it protects our men and women in uniform who are conducting interrogation of detainees from frivolous claims of alleged abuse or coercion. second, the videotapes will act as deterrent for private contracts or other agencies who are conducting interrogations of the department of defense detainees from straying from those requirements of the army field manual in the treatment of detainees. it is a way to ensure that it
is done right and when you have a correctly conducted interrogation, in all probability the results will be positive. and i certainly think this is a major step in the right direction, videotaping is good. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. mckeon: i rise in very strong opposition to this amendment and yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. mckeon: we've been down this road before. last year, mr. holt proposed a similar amendment to the bill. we received statements from the army and undersecretary of defense for intelligence stating their opposition to mandatory videotaping and interrogations. today the office of the secretary of defense informed us that the department strongly opposes this amendment. according to d.o.d., the
provision would cause three main problems. it would severely restrict the collection of intelligence through interrogations, it would undercut the department's ability to recruit sources and would impose a significant burden on the war fighter this would create a public record and go straight into terrorists' counterresistance training programs. i strong strongly oppose. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey's time has expired this egentleman from california has four minutes remaining. mr. mckeon: i yield to the gentleman from texas, mr. conley, -- mr. connellly -- mr. conaway, two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conaway: i also rise in great deference and respect for my chairman and mr. holt, and this difference of opinion. i think there's a great --
significant difference between collection of data, interrogations conducted in a law enforcement arena in which the evidence is gathered to go into a court of law to be presented with a proper chain of evidence and that the sources and methods are not necessarily needed to be protected, versus interrogations that go on every day in the battle against islamic jihaddists. i don't believe those interrogations routinely should be videotaped. we're in an argument right now with respect to data, photographs and videos taken between september 11 of 2001 and january 22 of 2009 as to whether or not that theyday ta should be made public. i for one believe it should not be made public. there are differences of opinion on that i think we need a legislative fix from allowing those photographs to be but put in the public edomain and further inflaming the islamic jihaddists. i oppose the videotaping. as my ranking member has said, it works against our efforts to
try to get data on the fly, intelligence on the fly, and will work against us. with that, i encourage my colleagues to vote against the amendment. i yield back. mr. mckeon: -- the chair: the gentleman yield back, the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: may i inquire how much time is remaining? the chair: the gentleman has three minutes remaining. mr. mckee: if i have time at the end, bill happy to queeled. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, just to again reit rat -- reiterate what the department of defense has told us that statement we received yesterday, yesterday afternoon, from the department of defense. i'd like to read just a couple of things from it. the department of defense, and i'm quoting, strongly opposes the provision because it would severely restrict the collection of intelligence
through interrogations, undercut the department's ability to recruit srses and impose an unreasonable administrative and logistical burden on the war fighter. a statutory video recording requirement will be a matter of public record. detainees will therefore know through counter resistance training that anything they say can be recorded and could be used against them in a courtroom or to gain leverage with other detainees. this will inhibit detainees from cooperating with interrogators and undercut the most effective technique, establishing rapport with detainees. if a video recording is released to the public and it's becomes known that a detainee has lab rated with u.s. intelligence, the safety of the detainee and his family would be jeopardized. even if there's an agreement to be recorded, there's a tendency
for both the detainee and the interrogator to play to the camera, creating ar artificiality and degrading the quality of the information. i yield to the -- how much time do i have remaining? the chair: the gentleman has a minute and a half remaining. the chair: a-- mr. mckeon: i yield 30 seconds ch. mr. holt: the communication you speak of came from a mid level member of the pentagon. the only formal statement comes from the welsh report, i quoted from earlier, which said, we endorse the use of video recordings in all camps for all interrogations. perhaps this mid level official at the pentagon has not received the word that currently there are being developed improved procedures for detention and interrogation in this new administration. the chair: the gentleman's time
has expired. the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: thank you, mr. chairman. the lieutenant colonel is a high-ranking field officer and i think the record as he stated stands for itself. he's a legislative officer with the department. lieutenant colonel will not state on the record something that opposes his higher rank. i think we all know that. with that i encourage all of us to defeat this amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: request the yeas and nays. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey will be postponed.
it is now in order to consider amendment number 39 printed in house report 111-182. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york rise? mrs. maloney: mr. chair, i have an amendment at the desk, number 39. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 39 printed in house report 111-182 offered by mrs. maloney of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 572, the gentlewoman from new york, mrs. maloney, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new york. mrs. maloney: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment would provide guidance and oversight to the federal voter assistance programs, efforts to increase ballot access for military and overseas voters. i would like to thank the distinguished chairman skelton for his support of this amendment. the voter assistance program, which is part of the department of defense, is the government's primary entity for assisting overseas voters access to the
ballot. including men and women serving in the military and americans living abroad who are our unofficial ambassadors. with the global economy, more and more americans will be living abroad and we need to make sure that their voices and votes are counted. while the state department cannot give an exact number, there are estimated to be between four million and six million americans living abroad. there are also hundreds of thousands of brave men and women abroad from afghanistan to germany serving our country in the armed forces. in recent election cycles, the voter assistance program has failed to bring about increased overseas voting participation, even with extreme and increased costs to the taxpayer. for example, in 2004, the integrated voting assistance system created by the voting assistance program cost over $500,000 with only 17 overseas
voters participating. in 2006, the voter assistance program did even worse by spending over $1.1 million on the same voting system, but it accounted for only an increase of eight votes traced to the system. in 2008, the voter assistance program website to help activate duty -- active members in the military to vote wasn't even put up and operative until july, just four months prior to the november election. from july 23 through november 4, 2008, of the roughly 1.6 million service members across the army, air force, navy and marine corps, only 186 service members requested ballots through the program. this really is disgraceful and disrespectful to the sacrifices made by our fighting men and women. mr. honda and i have offered this amendment to address the issues to overseas military and
civilian voting now long before the next election. this panel will provide oversight for the federal program that has struggled in a mission to ensure greater ballotccess for americans overseas and our military. the program's longtime director resigned her post in 2008. and at that time it appeared that the next director would be chosen in a closed process along with many members of this body on both sides of the aisle, we sent a letter to defense secretary robert gates urging him to conduct a fair and open hiring process for the program. i am pleased that secretary gates did a national search and selected mr. robert kerry to be the next program director. and i know and i respect his experience and i believe he will bring fresh ideas and workable solutions to improve ballot access for all americans living abroad. and while he is very capable
and will bring much-needed overhaul of the program, the advisory panel will add additional strength, expertise and depth and support for his efforts. by passing this amendment, which will establish an oversight board, we can guarantee that the best policies are being pursued to provide better access to the ballot by bringing greater attention and support for the voter assistance program for americans living abroad, for our military. i thank my colleagues for supporting this amendment, and i urge a yes vote on the amendment. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman from new york reserves the balance of her time. does any member seek time in opposition? the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i raise to claim time in opposition although i will not oppose the amendment. the chair: without objection, the gentleman from california is recognized for five minutes. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume.
mr. chairman, this eemed amendment would establish an overseas voting advisory board. now, that will not be to how tell people how to vote. mrs. maloney: absolutely not. it is to increase voter participation. in a global economy, believe me, there will be more and more americans living abroad. we now have hundreds of military living abroad. mr. mckeon: reclaiming my time. this will work to improve the process by which our men and women in uniform who are serving outside the united states register and vote in local, state and federal elections. i understand that congress is already working to improve this process. i also understand that the federal voting assistance program, which is responsible for assisting our troops with the voting process, has a newly appointed director who will begin his duties next month. with that i support efforts to increase the opportunities for our service members to vote. i congratulate the gentlelady from new york for bringing forth this amendment. and especially while they're
serving in combat. i know we had questions during elections whether their votes were counted, whether they got back in time, so i really appreciate the efforts she makes on this on their behalf. and, therefore, i support and urge all of our members to support this amendment. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from new york. mrs. maloney: reclaiming my time. i thank the gentleman for his support. it certainly is a bipartisan effort to increase voting participation in our country, particularly for our brave men and women living abroad and serving in the military. in this new global economy more and more americans will be living abroad. this is important for our country and our democracy. i thank the gentleman for his support and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from new york. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to.
for what purpose does the gentleman from missouri rise? mr. skelton: mr. chairman, pursuant to h.res. 572, i offer amendments en bloc in title number 3. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment en bloc. the clerk: amendments en bloc consisting of amendments numbered 43, 44, 7, 25, 27, 33, 46, 52, 53, 54 offered by mr. skelton of missouri. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 572, the gentleman from missouri, mr. skelton, and the gentleman from california, mr. mckeon, each will control 10 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from missouri. mr. skelton: mr. chairman, i urge the committee to adopt the amendments en bloc, all of which have been examined by both majority and the minority. the chair: without objection.
mr. skelton: mr. chairman, i understand that mr. polis wishes to propose a colloquy. and i yield as such. the chair: how much time does the gentleman from missouri yield to the gentleman from colorado? mr. skelton: three minutes. the chair: the gentleman from colorado is recognized for three minutes. mr. polis: i thank the gentleman. mr. chairman, i rise today to gain a better understanding of the status of the policy and law on the service of gay men and lesbians in the military, commonly known as don't ask, don't tell. this disrupts as gay and lesbian service men and women who knows what about their private lives. given the objective of the president to repeal the law, and the evidence that the law and policy harm military readiness and morale, what will
be the strategy of the committee on armed services for assessing this law? mr. skelton: i thank the gentleman for raising this issue. it's fair to say that much has happened since the law was adopted back in 1993. and i propose that the committee will continue to edge gauge in a deliberative process to hear perspectives from all sides of the debate but understand the perspectives of the civilian and military leadership of the department of defense and the perspectives of ordinary service members. if we conclude that repeal is a success of the change will-g on our full understand -- will hingeo our full understanding that will preserve the readiness and morale of our military forces. certainly hearings will be at the heart of the committee's effort to determine those necessary facts. mr. polis: mr. chairman, can we expect hearings to be conducted this summer? mr. skelton: our military personnel subcommittee has already held one hearing with outside experts. we will clearly need to hear the perspectives of the
department of defense as well. since the civilian leadership is responsible for personnel management within the office of the secretary of defense has not yet been announced, i don't think it would be appropriate to conduct the former reassessment process until a new undersecretary of personle and readiness will be allowed to settle -- personnel and readiness will be allowed to settle in. mr. polis: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. murphy. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. murphy: mr. chairman, i'd like to add my voice calling for the repeal of don't-ask, don't-tell law. as you have suggested, many years have past since the law was adopted. members of congress found compelling in 1993 will be considered outdated by current service members and the american public today. mr. chairman, i know our schedule in the armed services is challenging, but i would encourage you to reconsider -- consider conducting hearings at
the earliest possible date in the hope of correcting this policy that i believe undermines the national security and military readiness. i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. polis: i thank the gentleman for his comments and i thank the chairman for the opportunity to discuss the issue, and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from missouri reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i rise to yield to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith, two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. smith: i thank the distinguished gentleman for yielding and his help and the chairman's help in making this amendment, my amendment, part of the en bloc amendment. this amendment requires the department of defense, mr. speaker, to report to congress on the plight of our service men and women who along with their children suffer from intrafamilal international child abduction. the movement of our service members make them especially vulnerable to the risks of international child abduction. attorneys familiar with this
phenomenon estimate that there are approximately 25 to 30 new cases of international child abductions affecting our service members every year. one man, commander paul tollman, came in my office partly because of the publicity about david goldman and his son, sean goldman, the brazilian case i had been working on and he came in and said, you have to hear my story. it's a heartbreaking story of a man deployed to japan. he and his wife regrettably had a split. she is now deceased, and yet for six long years he's been trying to get his daughter back and has been unable to. the de facto custody is with the maternal grandparents. again, he has not been able to get his own child back. the amendment will not entangle the department of defense in custody disputes. rather, it will instruct the department of defense to report to congress about what they are doing to ensure that ou
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