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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 6, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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where we have great urban areas, we do have folks, cops on foot on bikes. we also do understand that you have if there's an area with high calls for service, has a higher crime rate, we have more police officers there. it is just simple. putting cops on the dots where they need to be. host: do your officers used body cameras? guest: we just began a pilot program. we just began a pilot program. i've been wearing one for the last six weeks or so. i have to tell you that i think they are great value. they are not the panacea everybody thinks they are going to be. they have limitations as well. in the state of maryland, it requires that i notify somebody they are being video and audio recorded when i have my camera running. it is a real conversation
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stopper sometimes. tough to have a normal interaction with someone after you tell them they are being recorded. i understand the value of it. part of when we talk about some of the impacts of ferguson -- people want police officers to be accountable. they want transparency. they want to know cops are doing what they are supposed to do. 99.9% of the time, my cops are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. the cameras are going to confirm that for the public and anybody else who is interested. host: do they go on automatically? how do they work? guest: you have to turn them on. we are in a pilot program now. we've just gone. i've got about 80 to 100 officers wearing the cameras right now. the officers are allowed to turn them off under certain circumstances. if they are going in to the locker room, going to the bathroom. if you and i are police officers
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and we are in the back of the station just talking about our kids and baseball and all that, you do not have to have your camera on. but if you have any interaction with the public or are doing law enforcement activity, the camera should be on. host: david joining us, los angeles. good morning. caller: good morning. when i listen to the police chief, it reminds me of every hammer needs a nail. despite the fact that what we have is complete system failure in the judicial system, from the police to the mass incarceration. it's amazing to me that when you engage in this degree of denial of a failed system that
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constantly justifies itself by perpetuating fear as opposed to saying when you asked him the question about his budget, you have all of these male-dominated professions like police and military. they garnish most of our economics here as far as tax dollars are concerned. there's no funding, or minimum or little funding for schools and social programs, educational programs, because all the boys get their toys. host: your response? guest: listen, in most jurisdictions and certainly in mine, education is our number one priority in terms of funding. i have a budget of about $280 million, the largest agency within county government. the school system's budget is in the billions.
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believe me, the emphasis is on education, as it should be. this notion that the entire criminal justice system is failing, i don't agree with that. but what i do agree with is the entire criminal justice system needs a real study to see where it can be improved. the last time we had a commission that looked at the criminal justice system, a national commission, was 1965. it is long overdue to have another crime commission to look at the entire criminal justice system to really look at the issues this caller talks about -- let's see where the system is failing. let's see where the system needs to be improved. since ferguson and with the other incidents around the country, everybody is focused on the police. everybody is criticizing the police. every time something happens oh, my god, the police are out of control.
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police need to be looked at, there needs to be accountability. we need to look at who is investigating police involved shootings. are police being held accountable? announcer: we will leave this and take you to capitol hill senator mitch mcconnell. senator mcconnell: good morning, everyone. day after the election when i had a similar press conference i said the american people have expressed their opinion, and there were two things on their mind. one was that the president is not popular. the other issue he heard about the kentucky and the other part of the country was dysfunction this is that nothing gets accomplished here. the casual observers, they were not sure what that dysfunction
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was, and you knew it was in the senate. the senate was basically shut down for literally years. how you measure dysfunction? one way is to vote on amendments. we had 15 rollcall amendment in all of 2014. so far this year we had had 160. for the last five years, the senate not paste did not pass a budget. that is not enough. my goal looking at the government the american people gave us, which is not unusual was what they are saying. they say why don't you look at things you can agree on and make progress for the country?
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and so, what i have tried to do is decisive things upon which there was some bipartisan agreement and bills that were big enough to be worth doing. we led off the keystone pipeline, and although the most important democratic country did not sign it it passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. he passed a budget. that is not a bipartisan exercise, and it was not this year, but we have also done the iran nuclear review act, a multiyear highway wibill. the senate is wrong to focus on things where we can make progress. what is not helpful is rhetoric like the president has been
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congress who have legitimate concerns over the iran nuclear agreements to those industries in terror on -- in tehran yelling death to america. we ought to treat this issue with the dignity it deserves. what i have said to the senate is we will handle this debate in the following way. we will try to reach an agreement to have a specified amount of time to talk about it. i will ask every senator to be at their desk listening to what others are saying. each senator will get an opportunity to speak and be this by other senators. this is an extraordinarily important issue for our country not only now, but in the future. the president will be gone in a year and a half and the rest of us will be living with the consequences of this extraordinary agreement which has transformed the middle east. it certainly has we are now
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entering into an agreement in which we are basically being asked to trust the biggest funder of terrorism in the world today, so it is appropriate to have skepticism about the debate of this magnitude. regardless of how the president talked about it, regardless of what his incendiary rhetoric is, we will deal with this in a respectful way dealing with the facts surrounding the issue and treat it with the dignity and respect that it deserves here in the senate. with that, i will be happy to throw it open and the what you would like to talk about. yeah. >> another thing you said after he got reelected was we are going to be a government shutdown.
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you repeated that yesterday. senator mcconnell: you're not doing government shutdowns or defaulting on the national debt. reporter: there have been a debate of those who are using their platform to say that the only way to go forward is to defund plantned character. senator mcconnell: you may have heard me before. this is a tactic that has gone back to the 1990's that republican majorities have always had a focus that the government is shut down, not looking at the underlying issues that is being protested. wetland care to is that what planned parenthood is engaged is in outragous.
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we had an opportunity this week but senators on record as to how they felt going forward with a delve that would have taken that with a bill that would not funding and used it for women's health, not a penny less under the proposal that senators were promoting. and that presumably would have gone to community health centers. there are 134 committee health centers and 2 planned parenthood centers. not a penny less can but spent in a way that consistent -- that is consistent with the law. any water back here? anybody? senator grassley is going to be investigating. he has a record as a very
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thorough anti-investigator, the author of the whistleblower law. we intend to continue to pursue the fact, and nobody is better at doing that venture grassley, and we will look at other opportunities to make our voices heard on planned parenthood. reporter: i'm wondering what you expect from the pope's visit here. i am wondering if you will welcome any comments from him given the planned parenthood -- senator mcconnell: i do not know what his address will be but i wanted to have him here at the capitol. we have more requests for his appearance that anything i can recall. we are happy to have him. reporter: today is the
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anniversary of the -- a lot of democrats feel that republicans have got some main protections of the act creating the you think it needs the updated or fixed and what will you happen? any advice for the candidates tonight? senator mcconnell: i was actually here that day.i have been an intern for a senator in 19 for who was involved in breaking the filibuster in 1964. i came back the next summer to visit him, and just happened to be here on this day 50 years ago. i was waiting in his office in hopes of talking to him.
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he walked out and said i have something important you should see. he brought me over here to the rotunda and i stood in the back of the room and watched lyndon johnson sign the voting rights act of 19 the five. -- 1965. the supreme court did not strike down the voting rights act. racial discrimination in voting remains the law of the land. it is important to understand how different the south is now. haley barbour used to be governor of mississippi pointed out there are more african-american elected officials in mississippi that in other states in america. the voting rights act was not struck down. i am sorry, that is all i have to say. you are next. reporter: i have a question regarding --
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[indiscernible] what are you planning to make people's minds change? senator mcconnell: i have not given a moments thought that, and we have a lot of things going on, and i do not know how you those right. reporter: immigration will be a big company tonight. what is your thought about answers for any bipartisan immigration reform in congress before the next election? senator mcconnell: not this congress. when the president took the action he did after the 2014 election, he made it impossible for us to go forward with immigration reform this congress. the concern expressed in that was validated that he is
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currently under a court ordered not to go forward with what he decided to do. and so the atmosphere for dealing with the issue in the wake of what he did is not appropriate to get the kind of immigration form we probably need to address, hopefully in the next congress is where we will have a different president for sure. reporter: you said no defaulting on that deck. -- debt. will you be keeping it dollar for dollar -- senator mcconnell: this will create a discussion, and negotiation. that is what we do here. and both of these issues will generate a discussion about spending on in the fall. i am not opposed to negotiation.
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when i was the leader of the minority, joe biden and i did three deals together, so we will try to figure out the way forward, and each side will have to give some things they do not want to give, and we will get to an agreement. reporter: the president's national security advisor said yesterday that congress will uphold cong the president's veto. senator mcconnell: this is a really the issue. we intend to this debate with dignity and respect and we will see. the president starts the so far as treating this like a political campaign, demonize your opponents gin up the base, if the democrats all angry, and
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rally around the president. it is a different kind of an issue. is not your typical political debate. this is an enormous national security debate. if the president will leave behind hundred the constitution a year and a half about the rest of us will be met with the consequences. i wish you well tone down the rhetoric and how about the fact. i cannot handicap the outcome but my members will delve into the details and make a decision based on what they think it's in the best long-term interest of our country. reporter: do you see the senate taking any other votes are actually september? senator mcconnell: this has been an incredibly productive first six months of the new majority. for americans who are paying attention, there was a difference between this majority
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and the last. we will continue to the four things that we can make progress on. examples -- i would love to finish cyber security this week, we have now an agreement that will allow us to finish it in september. highways, trade promotion authority, rewrite of no child left behind, defense authorization, the doc fix. we have been wrestling with that for 17 years -- fixed. this is going to be an extraordinarily productive congress and much of that will not take floor time. we will move the site cyber that move things like sex again. i will continue to look for things that make a difference for the country that can clear
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the senate, a body that require 60 votes to do most things. reporter: you have talked a lot about how the that has custody. democrats have spoken they will only lose these appropriations bills forward. [indiscernible] it seems like this is something that is pretty important to you. senator mcconnell: note that i am entering into the negotiation, and will not pursue the hypotheticals. what i can say is we will talk about this. we have divided government. we have to do talk with each forward. reporter: senator ted cruz has been somewhat of a thorn in your site. how will deal with him when he asked government funding of that
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ceiling, when he said he will use all these possible to get at his specific priorities? senator mcconnell: for any of our members, there are a lot of procedural tools available to slow things down, and the entities frequently, and we have worked our way through every one of them, and also on the highway bill, on the justice -- that victims of trafficking bill. it is easy for any senator to make it more difficult path to spirit it is routine around here, each is why the senate does not do things as quickly as the house. we have been able to service those kinds of challenges all year long that have been thrown out by one senator or another world one side or another and we still have an extraordinary record of a culture. you have a lot more left it. reporter: on the issue of reconciliation considering letting the senate consider and
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pass a reconciliation bill that would be put together and passed by the house as opposed to the senate putting together some reconciliation bill? senator mcconnell: this is an active discussion by the senate, and you know that anything done through reconciliation is like to be a republicans-only exercise. unlikely to be signed by the president. so we are looking at ways in which we live deployment budget reconciliation in a way that he might not agree with, but it is still important to us. the biggest candidate for that would be to try to repeal as much of obamacare at his reconcilable. the entire law, we believe based on discussions of the parliamentarian is not
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reconcilable, but much of it is. you are looking for candidates for the process, i would put that one on the top the list. reporter: do you expect to see movement toward the report and reauthorization and do you think that debate on that legislation could threaten congressional reception of the broader trade agenda? senator mcconnell: i do not think so. we have got two bills that i expect to get out of conference here sometimes it, defense authorization and customs. i do not think so. on the trade issue, we are watching carefully what is going on in the negotiation of the tpp, and we have given the president extraordinary grant of authority, which i enthusiastically in favor of,
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not only for, but the next president as well, but we are interested in what comes out of it. i would remind the president and thkis administration will need all republicans to pass to negotiate and many of us will take the opportunity to convey that to them. we will see. reporter: any timeline on customs? senator mcconnell: as soon as they finish. reporter: regardless of what procedural tactic senator cruz others pursue the you think you have the votes day to pass a bill without language defunding planned parenthood. senator mcconnell: you all keep trying, don't you?
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we will fund the government. i cannot tell you about any government resolution. there will be no government shutdown. reporter: you told us recently you to see abortion legislation on the floor. there is not a lot of time left, and a lot of-past legislation. [indiscernible] senator mcconnell: as we know it takes 60 votes to do everything to a budget process. we anticipate having a vote to proceed to 20-week capable will sometime by the end of the year as well. reporter: could you respond to the contention that the alternative in around his or if congress rejects deal. senator mcconnell: that is
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absurd argument and one day made from the beginning, that it is what the president negotiate or it is anwar. at the president spent as much time trying to ratchet up as they did on the agreement, in which we are highly skeptical of, as that any of the bank at all, we would have been in a better place. that is the argument they had made during the whole negotiation, either this deal or a better deal more sanctions. i think that has been a huge mistake on his part. she is gambling that he is gambling -- he is gambling that this will change the middle east.
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it probably will. you have outlined who, except for their that you have outlined who, except for the comment name is that america is no longer a dependable ally, you have the israeli government overwhelmingly opposed to the agreement. it has the potential to transform the middle east, but it strikes me not into a safer middle east, but one more wrapped discord -- -- racked with discord. jimmy carter sung it up best. -- jimmy carter summed it up best. a few weeks ago, i'm paraphrasing him that i'm totally accurate. he said could not think of a single place in the world where we were better off today than we were when the president of office.
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that is jimmy carter. i rest my case. reporter: it sounds like you view this negotiation of all like a global negotiation involving appropriations, debt limit, tax extenders, highway, with only a limited number of offset. do you view it as one sort of big global negotiation in which the democrats might do better on one half on another, that another? have you characterized discussions you have had with the white house as well as laying the framework? senator mcconnell: let me tell you how we ended up where we are. for the first time in six years the senate appropriations committee reported all 12 bills. the democrats quite probably have said he will not pass any of them even though a number of them voted for all of those
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bills or most all of those bills committee, because we want to ball the process of and force you into a negotiation in the fall. that is how we got to where we are. it's easy aexcuse me a second. i would have devoted weeks to passing appropriation bills at able to bring them. they would not allow us to proceed to the bill. so they wanted to force the negotiation that we will inevitably have, and they wanted to force it sooner rather than later. my was we had to do and i visited repeatedly the things we have been doing to try to improve our country. and we will have a discussion in the fall. they forced it, but i cannot
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handicap the outcome. reporter: a former campaign manager was indicted yesterday. you have any regrets -- senator mcconnell: we put out a statement yesterday about that, and i will you do that reporter: do you plan to watch the debate tonight? senator mcconnell: i do. i do. i am hoping to see a two-hour debate. it should be a lot of fun. reporter: i know google is that -- i know a current goal is the past national textbook. things like it is hard to find the ground between tax reform and -- senator mcconnell: let me tell
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you how i look at it. two separate issues. senator boxer and i put together a highway bill and passed it. the speaker has asked the chairman to cover up with a multitier highway bill and painful and pass that and paying for it in passing. that is one issue. a separate issue is the tax reform and there has been a lot of focus on the territorial system. i might well be enthusiastic about that i view it as a totally separate track unrelated to the highway issue. reporter: do you extenders that i would debate -- senator mcconnell:
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getting back to the multiple things that the will be in the fall. i do not blame you for bringing it up, but i do not know the answer. we will do an extender package. i hope we do not do it at the end of the year because taxpayers have to go to the tax year not knowing the tax implications of decisions they are making, and then you drop the extender package on them to cover the year you have just been in. i do not like that, hopefully we will not do that. have you already have one? reporter: stephen boehner -- speaker boehner --when it comes to raising the debt ceiling of do you think republicans understand? [indiscernible] senator mcconnell: all of your questions on this type of thing are good, but we do not know the answer to thatem.
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we have divided government. the house and senate do not always agree on things. , foley used to tell a story, he was asked by young members who is the opposition? he said, the opposition, that is republicans. but the enemy, that is the senate. there are always institutional differences. thus speaker hard to minimize those and have had a very open and respectable relationship, which we intend to do. they are going to be translated. every time you ball up the appropriations process it creates a big negotiation. and that is regretful but that
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is where we are. reporter: you have addressed -- one in the image he conveyed some of them yesterday. he responded to on twitter. have you talked about using that method of communication to make his point, the republicans are heading towards war? senator mcconnell:senator mcconnell: the president to treat this like a serious national security debate rather than a political campaign. and him down the rhetoric and talk about the facts. that would be beneficial for all of us, regardless of what kind of rhetoric he uses, that is how i choose to conduct this debate on the senate, and that is what we're going to do. thanks a lot, everybody.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: mitch mcconnell responding to the president yesterday on the iran nuclear deal. voted today the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee also spoke about the presidential speech. we hear this comments followed by the top democrat on the committee senator ben cardin. senator corker: the committee chose otherwise. we passed it out. they didn't know what the issue debated. what the president did yesterday
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by saying that senator cardin, who has questions about the run deal, senator menendez has questions about the iran deal -- both of which voted against the iraq war if i remember correctly. senator johnston who has concerns about the iran deal -- we are being compared to the hardliners in iraq because we have concerns -- in iran because we have concerns. if you must go the public was talking about what a thoughtful person i was. now because i have concerns, and i think everyone has concerns and people will have to make a decision -- this will be one of the toughest decisions -- he is
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trying to shut down debate by saying those who have questions, legitimate questions legitimate questions, are somehow unpatriotic, are somehow compared to hardliners in iran. it is to make this something about other than arguing it on the merits. i'm very disappointed. senator cardin was needed with the president last night. i want to say, senator, i usually have been there last night to hear the discussion about -- wendy sherman said yesterday, she would say how -- how that arrangement was working. i called her early this morning asterisk she would at least at a minimum that is have heard notes from when she was brief by the iaea. i am beginning to believe that one of the reasons a do not want
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people to know -- it is not about iran's confidentiality. i do not it withstand the test of late-night comedy if people understood how the -- was being done. i just hope we today that we thank sarah sewall for being here, the fact that we have concerns about trafficking that on unanimous vote of we ended slavery in this work, that somehow we would not be viewed as patriotic or unpatriotic, that somehow people are not serious on these issues. senator cardin: i want you to know i think you are a thoughtful and principal person. i respect your leadership on
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this committee in the matter that we had been able to work together. senator corker: you compare me to the hardliner syed in iran. senator cardin: i am still going through the review process. i have not reached a decision on the vote that will take place when he returned in september. i want to underscore a point that senator corker and i, working with our leadership, encouraged them to provide for the debate on the floor of the u.s. senate that we think would be sitting of this critical issue. yesterday we moved on to the bill currently comeback on tuesday, he will not go through a cloture vote, not go to any procedural hurdles. we will be on you. i expect the majority leader will put forward the bill that
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we will be voting on and be right on that debate when we return and use that week to debate this issue, and each member of the senate his or her mind as to what he or she thinks is in the best interest of this country. i do not interpret from the president's remarks that he is challenging any of our independent judgments on this. i voted against the iraq war. i do not see a comparison between this vote and the iraq vote. to make a sidebar on this, i voted against the authorization for use of military force in iraq and in my district, a congressional district, it was overwhelmingly unpopular overwhelmingly. it is was not a close call. and it was one of the most consequential votes that i cast in my career in the house. and it was interpreted to have an impact on my reelection.
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this is not the case when it comes to this vote. there are divided views in this country on this issue. this is not a clear situation where the popular view is support the president or oppose the president. there are strong views on both sides. that was a clear use that we are going to go for force here. we're not authorized the use of military force. i disagree with the president's interpretation. i do not disagree with the president's strong statement. he is clearly doing what we expect the president to do, show strength in his position and taking the case to the american people, as i expect he would. i do not -- announcer: this afternoon the c-span cities tour visits fort
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lauderdale. air force claims that went missing over the bermuda triangle. 6:00 eastern on c-span. at 8:00, a debate candidate for prime minister canada. stephen harper is seeking a third term, and the ownly scheduled debate he will face off with other candidates. that is live from toronto tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. this weekend, politics, books, and american history. saturday night on c-span, congressional profiles with four freshmen members.
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sunday night at 9:00 with elections coming in over, a debate among the four national party leaders in canada. 10:00 eastern, charles murray argues through technology can rein in the power of the federal government. sunday evening at 7:00, the city and people of nagasaki japan from the morning it was bombed on august 9, 1945, two today. this weekend on tuesday three -- on c-span3 we commemorate bombings of hiroshima and not psyche -- and not nagasaki. and we will visit the promotional exhibit -- the hiroshima exhibit.
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our coverage continues with the 2000 documentary on the making of the atomic. later, interviews with survivors. giving complete schedule at in justice department rules that inspectors general have to get permission from the agency they are monitoring for access to wiretaps, grand jury testimony and credit information. does a fine before the committee yesterday, the inspector general said the new rules will hurt his ability to find ways and abuse in government programs. chuck grassley chairs the judiciary committee. senator grassley: i had been told there are some people from the inspector general offices. i would like to have all the people that are i.g.'s please
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stand. thank you very much for your hard work. thank you for being here. the inspector general's act of 1978 created inspector general as independent units within the executive branch. then taxpayers have relied on them to carry out three important acts -- conduct audits and investigations of programs, dignity and efficiency effectiveness of programs, and to keep congress and agency heads fully informed. to help them achieve these goals and section six a of the act
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authorizes inspectors general do access all records belonging to their respective agencies. two weeks ago, the justice department's office of legal counsel issued an opinion claiming that that were "all" is not actually mean all. today we examine his opinion is entering work of the justice department's inspectors general and threaten all inspectors general. the i.g. act means what it says, it they are entitled to all records, period. if inspector general deems a document necessary to do his job been the agency should turn over immediately without hesitation or review. according to the department of justice inspector general, the
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department did exactly that prior to 2010. in 2010, the federal bureau of investigation suddenly changed at practice after the i.g. uncovered embarrassing information. the fbi claimed it had the right to refuse to provide the i.g. information in over a dozen categories including information about wiretaps, grand jury, cheap credit. you claimed its attorneys and review material first and then at the attorney general deputy decide what could be released. congress did not intend to create this sort of litigation-style standoff inside a department. it is a waste of time and money for two divisions of the same government department to be fighting over access to the
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department's own records. the department's from practice is exactly the opposite of what the law and vision -- envision. and inspector general must be independent because agencies cannot be trusted to investigate themselves. if i.g'have to ask permission from senior leadership ofs a would not be truly independent. the act does not loudly attorney general that does not allow the attorney general complete an investigation, but only in certain limited circumstances. when that that is taken be done in writing to the i.g., and the i.g must forward that it is. congress. the fbi with have us believe that the written notice being required to block an
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investigation, it needs written permission to comply with an investigation. this is simply not how long was designed to work -- how law law was designed to recwork. congress of action to resolve this dispute. we essentially underlined section six a of the act that insurers access to records. not literally, that section 218 this year's justice department appropriation act declared no funds should be used to deny the i.g. access to all records. section 218 also directed inspector general to report to congress within five days never there was a failure to with this requirement. in february and march alone, we received four reports that the fbi refused to comply. i wrote to the fbi was about
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notices and still receive answers to most questions. so, mr. kevin perkins, the assistant director, to hear to account for these matters, and so here is mr. michael hor owitz. i would like to find out the practice was before 2010 and whether that complied with procedures that the opinion now is argued as mandatory, because we have to realize, the fbi cannot be above law. it has obligation to comply not only the inspector general act but also to what congress places of creation. fbi employees cannot be spending their time with a view documents provided entity them to the i.g. this is what the fbi has been
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doing. olc needed 60 pages of logic to support its claim. not surprisingly the last thursday in the appropriations committee, authors of section 218 wrote a letter to deputy attorney general that the following -- the olc's interpretation of 218 and the subsequent conclusion of our intentions is wrong. for olc to determine our intentions other than supporting the olg's right to access and timely information is disconcerting. we expect the department and all its agencies to comply with section 218 and provide the oig with access to all records documents, and other material in accordance with section 6a of
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the act. is that about as clear a statement as you can get? unfortunately, only a few pages of the olc's opinion discusses the i.g. act. only a few pages only review if you pages -- override the promise of inspector general practice. those three provisions relate to title iii all caps -- wiretaps, title 16 grand jury, and fair credit reporting crew is to watson much ink was spilled on these three provisions given that the fbi has cited nearly a dozen provisions in withholding records from the i.g.
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there are dozens if not hundreds of disclosure provisions throughout the u.s. code and also limit inspector general access under that tortured logic of olc opinion. that opinion argues that nondisclosure statutes like these trophyump the i.g. act. by mentioning those by name in the i.g. according to the olc, the i.g. would have to mention each disclosure by name before doj would believe congress really meant to ensure access to all records. that is simply unworkable. we do not have a definitive list of nondisclosure's that she's that might -- that might need to be this it. it is the study at my request
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but missing specific exemptions to dozens or hundreds of nondisclosure's that she's would be too unwieldy. that is why we use the word "all" to cover everything without having to list each potential exception. it really is that simple. members should be able to ask the office of legal counsel about this and other questions or opinions. unfortunately, the department fused or a witness from olc today in response to the invitation. the department said the head of olc is out of the country today. personnel from the inspector general -- from across the country are here, as you have seen delisted as is understand this. i thank all of you for joining us. in mr. thompson's acids can beginning asks an alternative
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witness list. the department claim it does not have enough time to prepare for this testimony. after 14 months of working on this opinion since may 2014, that office was not ready to discuss it publicly. that is very astonishing. i also invited to deputy attorney general to testify about procedures she announced in may to improve access to records. country was being informed, i asked if she would appear before congress. all these people say yes. they now on to say maybe they will hear. four days after the opinion she updated these proceedings to comply with that. however, these new procedures and further delay uncertainty to the situation. the committee notified her of this hearing plenty of advance notice and move the original paper last week this week. unfortunately, the department that she was unavailable to
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testify. so, mr. carliss, and associate deputy general is here today. i thank you for coming. i also have here to testify dave smith because his department has quality olc opinion and denied access to that inspector general. this is a sign of things to them in terms of effective olc opinion will have one i.g.'s to access documents for the government. paul light from new york university, project on government oversight, ryan miller former i.g., i want to thank all of them for joining us. before i call on senator leahy
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one you to know that senator leahy and i might have some differences of opinion on issues before the congress, but when it comes to his and my working together on oversight, i think we are and in glove and i want to thank him when he was chairman to make amendments to the false claims act that needed to be made to congress could do its oversight and other issues as love. thank you, senator leahy. senator leahy: thank you. sometimes the press overlooks the fact that the public overlooks the fact that -- knows these things, but tend -- hawkins and democrat actually work together on a number of things in this body, as senator grassley and i on a long oversight. senator grassley: i will go
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across and vote on something that they got an executive session. i cannot tell me when to calm. senator leahy: as soon as he is out of the room, i will pass a law of. -- of stuff. [laughter] senator leahy: senator grassley and i have done things for a long time. past two weeks i have fought to protect our committee's jurisdiction: what is a cornerstone, transparency law the previous information blog. there been attempts to weaken the freedom of information act. i have fought against that. we have done a lot of -- senator cornyn of texas, the is of -- the assistant rebel leader, and i were close on this.
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we need to ensure that government law is strong and protected, and we do not hold that accountable. i have taken this position whether we have republican or democratic administrations. we are an amazing country in the ability to have accountability, makes us a stronger and better country. the inspectors general are central to the issue, and i bought all more here today. -- i applaud all who are here today. i meet some of you on occasion but i applaud all the work you do. who play a crucial role initial federal agencies and their employees operating efficienty and within the scope of the law. for no other agency is this watchdog agency than the department of justice and the
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department of justice is for policy that particular privacy and our constitutional rights. and for any age is effective, they have to ask is to information and documents necessary to conduct there has been what is referred to as a long sentence deal between the doj and the inspector general. for access to a grand jury and other types of investigatory material. it has blocked a once free flow of information. in a previous life i worked with grand jury's a lot and understand the questions of secrecy and i understand the importance. several vitally important program reviews, fighting for access to documents. i think there is a dispute that the bulk collection of
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american's phone records under section 215 of the patriot act. there is a ongoing review of the drug administration at four routine criminal investigations. the very first independent review of a program that was conducted in secret for decades. both democratic and republican administrations. to be an effective agency watchdog the inspector general needs complete and full access to information. i want to thank deputy attorney general yates for efforts to work collaboratively with inspector general howard on a resolution. under the leadership of attorney general yates we finally have an opinion from the office of legal counsel or clarifying his position. a new policy is in place to get information flowing but that is only temporary. today's open thing to the doj could still withhold information
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to the ig under certain circumstances. i think we need a more permanent solution. one that ensures they have access to the records they need to do their jobs. i will work closely with senator grassley to craft legislation and i think the two of us can do that. i see the senators here and i hope this hasn't brought about a recall petition, just before you get your work before you. i will put my own statement in the record and as i mentioned for the members of the voters have been put up at 2:00. >> do you affirm that the testimony you are about to hear before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help
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you god? thank you. michael horowitz, the first witness, the inspector general department of justice, esther kevin perkins will speak after him. mr. carlos your ert -- yuriarti his associate of the attorney general and mr. smith acting as the inspector general department of con -- >> thank you members of the committee. thank you it for inviting me to testify about the critical importance of the inspector general access to information and thank you for your bipartisan support of the inspector general community. the problem of our access to information is relatively new. neither the justice department nor the fbi questioned our legal authority to ask for all documents in its possession and we attained grand jury wiretap
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accreditation without legal objection and without the need for legal opinion. it would be hard to imagine how we could conduct effective oversight of the fbi, the dea and other law enforcement on a if we were prohibited from reviewing information like grand jury and wiretap information that those agencies frequently use. they are always offer -- handle information with care and we comply with all statutes limiting the use and disclosure of such information. we have been provided with access to some of the u.s. government most sensitive information in order to conduct our oversight and there has not been a single occasion in our 27 year history where we have been accused of mishandling such information. in 2010, our office had been
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denied legal access to such information despite of best practice and despite that no laws have changed. fbi lawyers had also identified 10 other categories of records where they lead we might not be entitled to access. since then officers faced numerous challenges to access to department records, seriously impacting our ability to conduct oversight. in may 2014, deputy attorney general cold asked the office of legal the opinion for the fbi's legal objections to our access to grant jury, wiretap information. they issued their opinion two weeks ago and concluded the following. the first was that the inspector general does not entitle our office to access, drennan does grand jury --grand jury and wiretap information. our office can only obtain such records if the disclosure exceptions listed in the grand jury wiretap permits inspector
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general access. third is in every instance the decision whether these disclosure exceptions apply will be made by department employees not by the oig staff. third, the department itself acknowledges there are circumstances with disclosure to the oig that would not be permitted. the legal underpinning represents a serious threat to not only my independence but to that of all inspector general's. the hallmark of the ig act is that the inspector general is entitled to access to all information in an agencies possession has been pierced. since the first time since it was passed in 1978, the word all in section six a of the ig act no longer means all. placing agency staff in the position of deciding whether to grant the inspector general
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access to information turns the principal of independent oversight that is enshrined in the inspector general act on its head. additionally, we are concerned as a community that following this opinion, the agencies may object to producing other categories of records that are subject to nondisclosure provisions. we understand that preliminary research has identified hundreds of laws that contain similar restrictions in them. this potential uncertainty as to what information the agency personnel can provide to inspector general's could result in their becoming less for coming in concerns that they could be accused of improperly divulging information. such a shift in mind could also deter whistleblowers from directly providing information to inspectors general because of concern that the agency may later claim that the disclosure was improper and use that
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decision to retaliate against whistleblowers. the only means to address this threat to inspector general independent is for congress to promptly pass legislation that affirms the independent authority of inspectors general to access, without delay, all information and data in an agencies possession that an inspector general deems necessary to its oversight function. the legislation should unambiguously state what we in the inspector general community have long understood, that no law restricting access to information applies to inspectors general and let's -- unless that law expressly states. and that such unrestricted access extends to all records available to the agency regardless of location or form.
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independent oversight by inspectors general make our government more effective, and efficient. inspector general's have saved taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars since the inspector general act was passed in 1978. refusing, restricting, or dealing an inspectors general's independent access to records and information may lead to incomplete inaccurate, and significantly delayed findings and recommendations. this interns may prevent the agency from promptly correcting serious problems and deprive congress of timely information regardless the age -- regarding the agency's activities. and i also impede or inhibit investigations and prosecutions related to operations. on behalf of the council of inspectors general, 72 federal inspectors general, we look forward to working closely with
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this committee and with congress on a legislative solution. i will be pleased to answer any questions that the committee may have. >> thank you for standing up for what the law requires. mr. kevin perkins. mr. perkins: good morning. i am pleased to appear before you to discuss the fbi's efforts in ensuring that the inspector general has access to records necessary, to complete its reviews, audits, and investigations consistent with existing law. the fbi takes very seriously its obligation to enable the ig to conduct effective oversight of all of its activities. we have been transparent with the department, inspector general, and congress, concerning the challenges presented by seemingly conflicted statutory commands. notwithstanding these challenges, the fbi has provided
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nearly 400,000 pages of documents and 136,000 e-mails to the ig in the past year alone. these documents were reduced in response to 118 document requests submitted by the oig to the fbi. which also contains an additional 343 sub hearts -- parts. during the same time they initiated 20 new audits and over 30 investigations into the fbi. to fill the oig's request and other oversight entities, the fbi dedicated almost a dozen individuals full-time to these tasks. the fbi and the oig have worked cooperatively to expedite the oig's access to materials consistent with the law. in the past few months, the fbi has taken additional steps to ensure the oig receives documents in a timely manner. specifically, the fbi has moved its document collection and production function back to the
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inspection division. since that time, the fbi is consistently providing documents to the oig in advance of requested deadlines. in addition, the bureau is actively working to complete the one remaining aspect of a document request that was subject to prior notification and congress under section 218 of the consolidated and further continuing appropriations act. the ig has already received all requested e-mails and the majority of the 1325 attachments contain there in. the final portion is slated to be delivered to the oig within the next week. the fbi will completely eliminate all backlogs of documents going to the ig. we remain committed to continuing to work with congress and the oig to ensure that the ig has access to all information it requires to fulfill its essential oversight functions.
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more specifically, we reiterate our commitment to work with the oig and members of congress and legislation that enables this department to comply with the law and providing the ig with the documents he needs as quickly as possible. thank you for the opportunity to appear here this morning and i will be happy to answer questions. sen. leahy: i appreciate the statistics you gave us, but mathematically, all of those don't equal aall. >> good morning members of the committee. i am pleased to appear before you to discuss the department's commitment to ensuring the office of the inspector general has access to all records and can complete its audits and investigations. the department greatly appreciate your commitment to guaranteeing that the ig can effectively and efficiently fulfill its critical oversight functions. as attorney general lynch and deputy general lynch have stated
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consistently and unequivocally the department chairs the believe that an effective and independent aig is at essential. notwithstanding they should be able to obtain all the information it believes necessary to perform it's important oversight role. the apartment -- the department has grappled with two flipping statutory commands. congress enacted the inspector general act which grant each access to access all records. on the other hand, congress passed statute that tightly regulate the disclosure of sensitive law enforcement aid information and -- to assist this department in this conflict question of statutory interpretation then the beauty attorney general ken cole requested a formal opinion from the office of legal counsel. that request focused on three specific statutes that includes
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a stringent restrictions on the disclosure. first, the federal wiretap act which restrict law enforcement and investigate officers from disclosing intercepted communications. second, rule six-d which are sticks that restrict them from releasing grand jury information. article six, which protects consumer credit information obtained pursuant to a national security letter. since that time the department has continued to work with the ig to ensure that access to materials it needs, has directed all components and agencies to a timely fashion, all of the documents needed to complete its reviews to the extent permitted by law. in fact, we are unaware of any occasion where they have not had access and did not receive them. these three categories of information are historically a small minority of the overall materials sought. since your appointed as active
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deputy attorney general, deputy attorney general gates and the department have worked diligently to find a solution to these issues and continue to work with the ig and a sincere spirit of collaboration and cooperation. pending the completion in april 2015, deputy attorney general gates issued a department wide memorandum to implement a new process to ensure the ig promptly receives wiretap am, and consumer credit information where it is believed to the material was necessary to complete its reviews consistent with been controlling statutes. the memorandum noted that it serves that the important function of a joined the department of justice is run efficiently, effectively, and with integrity. the memorandum makes clear that responding to the request is of the highest priority. on july 23, they published.
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the opinion concludes that they permitted them to the close information and connection with many, but not all of the investigation reviews. the opinion also concludes it does not override the limits on disclosure contained in the wiretap act. as the opinion to detail, the ig does not refer to the statutes or the information they protect and its broad general language do not contain sufficiently clear statements that congress intended to override those statutes carefully crafted information. on july 27, deputy attorney general gates issued a -- consistent with the opinion. consistent with that opinion the guidance directs proponents to wiretap and consumed credit material directly to the ig and states that attorneys for the derailment defined in the federal rules may provide grand jury material to the ig can instant with restrictions in the grand jury. finally i want to reiterate that
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leadership chairs the believe that an effective, efficient and independent inspector general is critical to a well-functioning department of justice. the attorney general and deputy are committed to working with the ig and members of congress on legislation that enables the department to comply with the law on ensuring that they receive all the documents they need to complete reviews as quickly as possible. to that and we have had a number of construction conversations about a legislative solution that ensures he gets all the documents you are tests. these conversations are ongoing and we hope to have a concrete proposal that we can discuss in the near future. thank you for the opportunity to be here and provide perspective on these issues. sen. grassley: mr. david smith. mr. smith: members of this committee, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today, regarding the opinion
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issued by the office of legal counsel and it impact on the ability of offices of inspectors general to carry out our mission. in addition to the description that mr. horace provided you -- mr . horowit -- i want to provide you an example. this is not just a justice oig problem nor is it limited to just law enforcement data. earlier this year we began an audit of the international trade administration enforcement and compliance business units efforts. in april 2015, the audit team determined the oig needed access to business proprietary information. they requested the data from ita. both ita and the department of commerce raised concerns that
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providing this business with proprietary information for an audit would be a violation of the tariff act of 1930 as amended and in conjunction with the federal trade secrets act critics expose the department to potential criminal litigation and penalties. the department's office of general counsel reached out to the department of justice office of legal counsel for god on this matter. -- guidance on this matter. llc -- olc said they were coming out with an opinion that would provide a framework to advise on the subject. in light of the potential criminal penalties, the office concluded it was advisable to wait until the olc opinion was released. the department's office of inspector general concluded that while we were able to release data relate to our office for an investigation pertaining to a specific proceeding, there was
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no exception and the tariff act applicable to an audit. trying to work collaboratively to obtain access to this information, we proposed that ita anonymize the data. according to ita all requested data fields were business proprietary information. we suggested that we could provide an insurance statement indicating we could understand the importance of safeguarding proprietary business organization from unauthorized disclosure. the office of general counsel stated that, given the fact that a wealthy opinion said it would -- olc opinion said it would release framework in exploit statutory conflicts. -- exploring statutory conflicts. the office of general counsel asserted that the tariff act amendment came into effect after
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1978 when the ig act was passed did not reflect the oig's authority to access information. after two months of trying to get access, we had no choice but to terminate our audit. because of the department's refusal to provide requested information based on advice from olc. conflicting laws hampered oig's ability to fulfill its mission eerie under the ig act which promoted efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of an to detect fraud and abuse in such programs and operations. as discussed above, the tariff act and the trade secrets act were cited as the reasons for denying oig access to records. ig act authorized access to all records, reports, audits, and reviews.
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papers, recommendations, or other information available to their department. this access should pertain to all government records. i join with the inspector general community and urging the community and congress to address these issues in light of the olc opinion and its impact on our ability to provide oversight of our department and agencies. i will be pleased to take questions. sen. grassley: thank you all very much for your testimony and we will have seven minute rounds for questions. some of my purpose this morning will be to find out whether or not igs have mishandled sensitive information. it is difficult and i guess i would ask the two to pay attention to my first question.
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it is difficult to understand what problems the department was trying to solve why reversing its previous position in 2010 and claiming for the first time that these various nondisclosure statutes override inspector general act over the past 26 years. the department of inspector general has been provided access to some of the most sensitive information available to the department. i am not aware of one allegation during that time that the inspector general mishandled or inappropriately released any sensitive information. i will start out with mr. perkins. i would like to ask. please speak about, are there any, are you aware of any allegations in the 26 year history of the ig releasing any sensitive information? >> no senator, i'm not aware of any breach of that during the
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ig's tenure. sen. grassley: ok. >> i am also not aware of any instance but i can say from a policy perspective the department believes the ig should get everything he needs to complete reviews. sen. grassley: mr. horowitz, is it true that you are subject to the same restrictions on public release of sensitive information as everyone else in the department? >> that is correct and that is why we comply as rigorously as we do with them. sen. grassley: i have to ask what is the issue? the inspector general has to protect sensitive information as well. what will be wrong with providing the ig full access to everything under the same conditions prior to 2010? >> i think, to put it in the proper context, there was no policy change in 2010 that moves
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things from one side to the other. there were process changes that took place but to put that in context, i would take it further back to right around 2001 in the mcveigh of bomb records review. which was one of the first early on reviews conducted by the previous inspector general. a significant document request, significant interview request, a lengthy review process. it was charting new ground for the bureau and the point i want to make is starting with that throughout the rest of the decade leading up to a pivotal point in 2009 at 2010. it's an evolutionary process even be on that today. today we have pivoted to a point where i think the inspector general will agree, outside the current issues with the olc opinion that the process in place today is the best it's ever been and continues to improve.
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that aside, 2009 and 2010 was part of a evolutionary process where we went forward with more and more investigations and document requests. questions were raised by our general counsel's office, are we in compliance? are we doing things properly? their review of that raised concerns. i know that prior to 2010 with grand jury material, none of that was turned over to the ig until we were totally sure those handling the documents were appropriately placed. when that was done, documents were turned over and the documented process all throughout that decade led up to that point. moving forward, it is a combination of the general counsel exposing whether or not -- expressing concerns whether or not we were operating within the law and turning over documents as well as when we went into 2011, increases in
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technology and improvements on how we search for documents vastly increased the number of records that were coming through the process. it was just a matter of volume at that point whereas in 2005 when we had a document request technology did not allow as thorough and deep searches that we conduct today. that was in my opening statement, hundreds of thousands of documents are being peru's today that could not have been perused back then. it's a combination of all those things that come together and bring us where we are today. sen. grassley: i'm sure you have given a sincere answer. it sounds to me like a lot of red tape and a waste of manpower that doesn't accomplish anything. the people that are supposed to give the information don't you the information and they don't have any documented wrongdoing on their part. i would ask you to respond. >> thank you, senator.
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i completely agree with you that we would like to streamline this process as much as possible. deputy attorney general yet has taken a number of steps to do that but for my policy perspective we do think the inspector general should get all the documents requested. what we are grappling with is a legal question about the interaction of these different statutory themes. on the one hand it is the general nature of the access provision and the ig act. and the stringent restrictions on the federal credit reporting act. those are related to intercepted communications, grand jury proceedings, and credit information collected from individual americans. those are very carefully thought through restrictions that congress included given the sensitive nature of that material. in grand jury proceedings the information about those is protected from disclosure because the nature of those proceedings and how that might
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impact an individual who came before the grand jury as a witness or a witness -- individual that was a target of a grand jury and was never indicted. those processes and procedures in the federal rules of criminal procedure are and we think congress thought for a hard about that. before moving forward with that legislation. again, we understand the general ask of provision. we were grappling with, those conflicting statutory concerns. we can work with mr. for rates to get to legislation. that is what we started the process that we started. >> i will and by asking him to respond to what you said. mr. chairman, as i indicated in my statement.
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before 2010 we had multiple reviews where we had the grand jury information. where we got water cap information. credit information. no one went to the office of legal counsel. we got in a timely manner. we got it in a very significant information. the 9/11 attacks. the surveillance program. exit at letter reviews. patriot act reviews. i could go on and on about the kind of work we have done. i can say this without anybody objecting to our access. it makes little sense to us what happens in 2010. when congress changes the laws, the congress changes no policies.
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we just kept on with what we do before 2010. >> in the order of arrival, what we have due in court. is persisting. go ahead. before you go at 11 we are going to shut down the security. i have a short meeting with the majority leaders. tell us. thank you for being here today. before ask questions we had a committee hearing last week with the irs. we had some concerns with what cynical view would suggest is a serious roadblock for getting the right information. to either congress so that we can perform our oversight duty. i think we have an increasing trend being able to get access
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to the information they need. i think i will respond to the comments that mr. perkins may. do you believe in the process. we will start with you. >> the process that there is at the department of commerce there still evaluating the opinion. i know that in a letter from the irs they are also looking at the opinion to block information to their inspector general. i am not sure there is a process in the department of commerce. other than to believe what the oil opinion is. it is general permission. and the specific acts that are out there.
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i know that mr. perkins was referring specifically to the process in the department of justice had he feel about that. i think the process changes that have occurred recently are removing the loiterers from out of the process. it is a good thing. if you're a lawyer it is better that has improved the process having said that we did not have this discussion before 2010 about whether the process was good or bad. we should not have to have a discussion. i should not have to spend my time and the attorney general's time have stated their support and made these changes. i'm sure they have much more important things to do than try to figure out what process is the best process. get us directly to the titles. >> my pronouncing your name right? . you mentioned that it was in the
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position that the department has taken right now is founded on your interpretation of the law. my question is what should we do to get back to a process that was in 2000 and 10. -- 2010, to the point that saying as a result of your interpretation if you come out with a current policy memorandum what do we need to change to get back to an all means all pre-2010 position. is that something the department would support? >> we are very committed to working with a legislative solution here. we do think it is workable and it is something that we absolutely support. as the inspector general mentioned we do not want to be in the position of having to feel these issues.
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we think it should be anything you need and know if it is dependent. we had a number of conversations with mr. horwitz. and between the department of leadership and mr. horwitz. we will be able to have something that we can concretely discuss with the committee shortly. the department of justice appropriation act attempted to address this. i think by and acting section 218 is that the best or what more do we need to consider. we thought it was fixed. with legal counsel decision decided it was not the best. they decided that provision was ambiguous. certainly from our standpoint having interacted with the general on that they thought they were clarifying it leaving the provision out there.
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so what we thought was a fix turned out not to be that because of the way that we have the interpretation of that statute. how do we get, i'm not an attorney. i'm not attorney. but it seems to me that this is a fairly straightforward thing. we know what your interpretation is. you can reverse engineered into what you need to get back to 2010. why are we discussing the specific proposal legislation that i hope we could pass. >> senator i do think there are there is legislation that needs to say very expressly in section six say of the ig act which is the provision that currently says all. it is now no longer all.
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in order to get back to it we need to have a language in that provision that says quite clearly that unless another law that respects general access. to this record all means all. the inspector general has the records. that is a result of this. >> thank you. >> this may be one of the most important hearings we have had. people forget the fact that we have a duty to congress to do investigations and oversight. and what this opinion does is
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undermine the oversight that congress has in the constitution. i do not know why the attorney general -- so it complies with the inspector general statute. how can somebody come up with a legal opinion of 66 pages. 67 pages. the law since 1978 has somehow preempted by these provisions. it just defies any common sense whatsoever. and any legal theory that i am aware of. it is the responsibility of a judge or a lawyer or of a legal opinion to try to recognize and harmonize the laws. not to say that this trumps it. we decided in 2010 that we are going to trump or preempt this
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all means all provision of 1978. i find it very disturbing. but frankly, it continues a trend that we seeing under the previous attorney general ever held in attempt of congress. this is a fast and furious investigation. upon which he has rendered at least one report. it strikes me that the department of justice has become so politicized that they are warning the mandate of congress. i got a wide we have to pass another law saying we need to change 1978. that is ridiculous. well, i wish the attorney general would take a closer look at this. there has been the office of
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legal counsel opinions that have been withdrawn in the pass. this one should be. i hope we will take a look at it. i have a lot of respect for attorney general lynch. i think she has the ability to change the department justice. she has my support. i also want to mention the fact that the president has continuously failed to respect the inspector general. the department of veterans affairs has needed her for 582 days. yet the president has not made an appointment despite congress urging him to do so. the role that each of you play is absolutely critical to the function of our democracy. and for capacity for central government. if any agency is in need of inspector general it is the v.a..
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the department interior which has needed a new interior since 2011. it will be 1000 more days before president obama gets around to making an appointment. that is three times longer than he has been in office. that is unacceptable. so what concerns me is the fact that one estimate shows nearly 40% of oil opinions are not publicly disclosed in any way. i wonder how many opinions there are that choose to reinterpret long-standing. in a way that restricts the public's access. restricts the inspector general's access to be a watchdog. i'm very concerned about that. i hope senator grassley will pursue that further.
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the department of justice testimony states that the memo has requested a quote to assist the department in dealing with the complex legal issues. however, by all accounts prior to 2010 no one thought the issue is complicated at all. what happened in 2010 to make what no one had before identified an issue so complex. can you share any insight? i will open it up to all of you. quirks what happened in 2010. >> my understanding is that the memo and decision from the legal counsel and the fbi followed several oig reviews. and other hard-hitting oig
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reviews, there was no other change in the law. there were no regulatory changes. the same laws in section 68 were the same thing. the grand jury title iii was not the change either. there are certainly no legal issue. >> based on the reasoning of the llc i'm not sure congress is capable of passing anything. i do not know, does anybody have any words we should include? that would clarify this. that all really does mean all. i noticed some people are chuckling. it is laughable. it is completely unacceptable. this is, unfortunately, part of the politicalization that we have found under the previous attorney general.
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i think it is just been a complete embarrassment. mr. chairman i would yield back. >> thank you very much. i have another meeting so i was a little bit late. this is important. we start with mr. perkins. they have a joint testimony. you state that the department of justice has an unwavering commitment to ensuring that the office of the inspector general has access to all records necessary to complete its investigation. is it your opinion that the department is currently turning over documents to the inspector general in a timely fashion. >> senator i will begin from a timely manner, earlier in my testimony within the fbi and
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allows for a greatly expedited review of internal information in the inspector general. i believe we have worked our way through the vast majority backlogged with a minimal amount left. where working very closely with the inspector general. the rest of the staff and his people, and with the process right now what you have seen a grossly expedited turnover documents. still somewhat hindered by the fact that we are mostly hindered that we will follow law in the llc opinion. so there are a discussions with the aig on that matter that are insurmountable. they are things we cannot overcome. >> anybody want to add anything? >> i will say thank you for the question.
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we are supportive of the steps the fbi has taken to streamline this process. and also the steps she has taken herself. to try to streamline the process . we are in the process trying to minimize the role of leadership to ensure that mr. haaretz gets what he needs. i think we would like to take that one step further. and work with congress. we can step out of the role. >> do you agree with the investment that there have been improvements and what could we do? >> certainly the secretary-general has taken steps in the last several months to try to improve the flow of information. and those are certainly well thought out.
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>> the problem is that mr. perkins indicated the llc opinion leaves open the fact that all does not meet all in section six aig. where does it stop? is it just those three statues. the fbi has identified 10 other categories. just yesterday, i am told in our review of the fbi a review that the committee is very much interested in doing. we have records with redaction's. those have been dealt with. but from other areas the fbi has identified legal concerns. while the process has improved, we are still getting redacted information. >> do you think it should be resolved legislatively? >> there is no other solution at
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this point. i think the opinion makes that clear. >> mr. horwitz under the office that you just mentioned there are three types of information. it is the title iii grand jury. it says we know highly sensitive and confidential information. what do you have in place to prevent the data breach? >> we work with the agency that is providing the information to the fbi. on how to make sure we protect the information. if is grand jury information we comply with the grand jury statute. we have a review that you know of. following 2001. probably the most sensitive review with the highest level of classified and protected information. in areas where we were told the
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lighthouse will show where we have access to. we have kept the information carefully. it is currently further protected in the skiff. we are always prepared. we protect the information. >> mr. smith do you want to add anything? >> we also protect the information provided to us. it is a branch off of the department's network. we have stronger controls in place to try to prevent any kind of intrusion. we also protect the information evidence locking it up and making sure that we follow all of the rules and requirements. we have to make sure that we have an extra duty to protect sensitive information and information on whistleblowers. >> we're sort of going off the issue of confidentiality.
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as a former prosecutor i respect the sanctity of the grand jury and the call that when we make the grand jury public we will not testify. it will move before the probable cause. do you have any concern that provides grand jury information that feels like they could undermined the institution? >> i think in the context of the inspector general's work ensuring everything could to complete his reviews we find information consistent with role 60. certainly in providing that things follow the same restrictions. the prosecutors have to follow it. that is the important of the grand jury process. that is why it has been such a difficult issue for us to grapple with. we do think that we can contribute to the ig and improve those interests.
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>> along those lines even when the grand jury was closed under role 60 the recipient may not disclose it further. right? in that situation showed it not imply to inspector general. in other words it should the ig be allowed to disclose inspector general. >> in regards to that information we regularly proceed , pursuant to the restrictions in fact with all of the information, what we do in anyone of our reports go out. in this case the fbi they tell us if they think there are restrictions and what those restrictions are, and are legal judgment can be informed by what they believe. and we have always complied with the law. there has never been an instant in our history since we opened
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our doors in the history of 1989 where we have violated the grand jury or any other provision of law. >> anyone want to add to the ok thank you very much. >> mr. horowitz in light of the change in procedures around attorney general gates do you think this will affect the timeliness of your investigation, getting access to documents? >> certainly my hope is that the change in procedures will make the productions occur more prominently. because our hope is cut down on whose is reviewing it and how long that review occurs. the challenge is having been a federal prosecutor if you look at the llc opinion and i will focus on grand jury information.
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it allows department lawyers prosecutors to produce material to the lg if they find the standard. i would say in the usa that would be a difficult call for me to make to decide whether that information that the ig is asking for would help the department as a whole. i could foresee circumstances where those situations are bumped up to higher levels. it could cause a drag. i think this point will dissolve into how we are going forward. our hope and belief is that the process will speed up. but as i said earlier, the issue for us is not are we doing it fast one issue is overdoing it fast, but are we getting it done
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as well. how are those decisions being made? what don't we know. finally, why do we even need this process. wise is processed even in place. as i said just yesterday, the enhanced process that has been put in place results and us getting in process with redaction's. because there are other categories there with information. >> mr. smith do you have anything to add to that? >> i do. we in the commerce ig office are concerned that other federal offices may use this opinion to routinely delay request by ig and getting that information. we would not want to see the department of commerce establish a legal review protocol office that would have to review every single request just in case there was a statue out there
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that did not specifically say the ig can have this. that we feel would definitely hinder our work and slow down the process. >> mr. horwitz and your opening comments you made reference to a whistleblower. how do you believe the protocol will affect the ability to the whistleblowers to report misconduct. >> that is a big concern for us. because all and all in section means a employees throughout the federal government whether it is the justice department or other agencies, before they could come to us for information knowing that we had a right to access it. they may not think twice. should they come to us with that, how many objections does my agency have? >> we have heard the department of commerce has an issue. we heard the peace corps has an issue.
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the aig has an issue. because their agency look at their laws and said we are not sure you get all the information. that is a very substantial concern. it is nice that a lot of lawyers can sit around and find out pages about the issue to try to deal with the issue in the niceties of the legal issue. we are talking about employees who are not lawyers who identified issues in waste management. they want to come to us with information. the risk is that they have to wonder what is that 58, 62 number of opinions mean. if i come to the inspector general for my agency will i be counted against if i do that. >> mr. smith? >> i would not necessarily call retaliation. then the agency can say you
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should not have given that information to them in the first place. it says right here that they do not have rights to it. they would not even be any whistleblower protection. >> i understand that the department has indicated that they really want to work with us to solve the problem. i believe our committee invited the department with our staff and the ig on friday. for what ever reason the department has declined to join us. how many times has your boss met with the inspector general? to discuss this problem. >> thank you for the question. i can tell you that the attorney general personally has been
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investigated in finding a solution to this problem. this is a general problem of the issue, or one of the issues that we took up right when we got to the department. this happened during inspector general. we have regular meetings with the inspector general. since we identify this problem and began working towards a solution. i have been meeting with mr. horwitz discussing specific regulation. i know she is dedicated to the station and wants to find a solution. she too believes that independent, efficient general is essential to her duty and running the department of justice. >> mr. horowitz how would you describe the working relationship, and the time to completion on getting a fix of this? are you working well together? do we need to accelerate the process? >> we have had productive meetings on a fix.
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i, as chair of the working with our legislative committee. we anticipate getting back to the department very quickly because we want to be back here at the end of august before the committee working with the of august, working with staff, having a legislative solution ready to go. every day that goes by where there is not the specs inspectors general -- where there is not this fix inspectors general are stuck and going back to my earlier point millions of government employees have uncertainty hanging over them as to whether they can go to their inspectors general with problems that they see resulting in waste, fraud, and abuse in their agency. senator tillis: