tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 13, 2013 1:00pm-3:01pm EST
questions, the importance -- i recognize that sometimes they bureaucracy can be totally wrong. i recall in particular receiving them it was a personnel action that was very old and everybody up the chain said coordinate, coordinate, coordinate coordinate. and i took a look at it myself, read the file very carefully and concluded, well, i just don't think this is right. and i remember ringing together around my conference table everybody who had coordinated let's do it on this particular action, and challenged a lot of the assumptions that have been gone into this issue literally for years. and after the meeting everybody who courted on before said we ought to take a second look at this. and whether it was that kind of thing or some of our counterterrorism operations every once in a while i felt like it was 11 to one and i was
the one. and said to myself is why the president put you here. so i recognized common even with the large staffs that we have around us that we surround ourselves with, every once in a while you have to take an independent look at something and not be afraid to realize that maybe they bureaucracy has got this wrong and you happen to be right. and i did that on a number of occasions at the pentagon. >> okay. as i prepared to yield to dr. coburn i'm reminded of the many definitional issue. one of my favorite, it goes something like this. leadership -- whenever else is marching to the wrong tune. leadership also requires folks to lead. and help you leave the department. my colleagues and i know that we, as you said his position has been vacant for months. the deputy position, deputy secretary for over half a year
and there are a number of positions they need to be filtered the administration has obligation to nominate many people and we have an obligation to act on them. i hope we will probably confirm you and then i hope we'll move to probably making sure your the team around you that you need. >> well, thank you. and again, welcome and thank you for your willingness to serve in this position. this committee and the office have struggled to receive timely responses from the department of homeland security to her inquiries, and to reports that the department has mandated under law to provide to us. for example, congress passed a law in march requiring teachers to turn over certain reports to our committee. they are just now complying with that, but only after threatened to hold every nomination. so here's a law written on the books and get no compliance until we have to use a bigger stick, and -- what i'm wanting to know is will you publicly commit to a to give us your word
that under your leadership you will require the department to respond to congressional inquiries in a timely fashion? >> yes, sir. >> specifically, the image is detail a couple of them that ask you for because i don't want her to be any surprises. we have requested mission logs for cpp's use of drones within the united states. are you willing to provide those to the committee? >> i'm generally sympathetic to the kind of request and i'll take a careful look at it. i would be inclined to respond to your request. >> we have requested that to fund state and local while enforcement purchases of cell phone interceptor devices license plate readers and more. are you willing to provide that to the committee? >> i will, if confirmed, probably take a look at and be inclined to get you what your request, yes, sir. >> we have requested other information about the investor visa program which appears to raise alarms about criminal and
national security weaknesses in the program but are you willing to provide those documents to us. spinks in answer digester spent we've requested contracts, project plans and other documents showing the dhs conducts its cybersecurity programs. >> same answer, yes, sir. >> we've asked sector by sector borders could plan. the former secretary promised to give me that within two days of a breakfast meeting senator carper and i had with her. we are still waiting on that. our inquiries have been met with stiff resistance. are you willing to provide those to the committee? >> if confirmed, i'll take a proud look at the request and i'll be inclined to give you what you need. >> we are waiting for responses passionate responses from several hearings ago that we held several months ago. are you willing to insist that members in your organization respond to questions for the record? >> yes emphatically. >> thank you. >> in your prehearing questions
i asked you if you'd used or read dhs's intelligence products and what you thought they were valuable. you mentioned that he didn't recall specifics about any of the dhs intelligence products that you may have read. you also wrote if confirmed, you -- and that you provide your feedback. many of us on this committee have questions about dhs's intelligence initiatives. will you commit today to provide your assessment of dhs's intelligence products as well as dhs intelligence programs including the fusion centers within six months of taking helm of the department's? >> yes, sir. >> on border security and comprehensive immigration reform you said one of your priorities if confirmed is to prepare for the dhs dhs is possible new responsibilities if that reform becomes law. however, many of the american
people have questions about whether dhs is effectively managing its current responsibilities and currently upholding our nation's immigration laws. will you commit to retain the status of the dhs is border security and immigration enforcement programs the? >> yes. >> specifically, all of the programs and report to us within a reasonable time. i know you reloaded so 90 days to six months would you give us your word that you'll give us your assessment on the? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. the other thing that i'm impressed with you is your background in the field of law and specifically national security and counterterrorism from the time at the pentagon. i know you've been getting up to speed on homeland security issue in the departments program. as you prepare for this evening did you identify any programs that you think were unnecessary within the department? >> i have some, i have some
questions about our intelligence and analysis component, and i would want to be sure that we are not speak i'm not going to answer for commitment on specific programs today, but the fact that you're looking at them and will take the input. i think it's important to have you do an analysis of that from where you stand with your experience if they get back to us within six months on which our thoughts are. >> happy to do that. >> that will help us. >> ii have a whole lot of the question that i don't ask this question in the qfrs. it has to do with the eb-5 visa program. i'm very worried about that program both diminish his kitty standpoint and from an effectiveness standpoint so i will ask that question to you in a qfrs.
i have about one minute and 20 seconds left. dhs has been given significant responsibly for cybersecurity including working with critical infrastructure owners and operators and helping federal agencies secure their networks. but the latest dhs inspector general reports have raised questions about whether dhs has been effectively managing its own cybersecurity programs. for example, last week i dhs inspector general report identified several problems at dhs is cybersecurity center including weak or nonexistent information sharing, lack of specialist training, working indication and performance during a cyber emergency simulation. they dhs inspectors most recent audit of dhs's compliance with federal information management security act this but ma standards that many problems including that dhs components and headquarters of dhs were not
adhering to dhs is own guidelines on this month including the installment of patches in a timely fashion or fixing known security threats. so it raises the question if homeland security can't apply the very rules to itself it's asking other agencies to comply with what authority can they have in executing cybersecurity at other agencies if they don't even follow their own rules for their own agency? so that's a big issue, and it's one of competency and confidence. and what i want to do under your leadership is to see that competency and that confidence restored. you have some great people under you in that area, and what we have to do is we have to make sure homeland security is doing it well before we ask everybody else to do it well.
will you commit to working with us to make dhs an example of good cybersecurity before seeking new authority? >> yes. >> i'm overtime over time and the kids will have a second round so i will pause and come back. thank you. >> before i yield to senator tester, you just committed to a whole lot of stuff. >> i know. >> this guy will make sure you do it. and in order -- you need some help to actually deliver on what you have committed to doing. and we've got to help you get that team around as his i would just again, remind my colleagues, deputy secretaries i just want to say dr. coburn mentioned the eb-5 program which most people never heard of, and it's one way to endless foreign investment for projects in the country to hopefully create a bunch of jobs. and i think the program was
reauthorized about a year ago but i think the leads were senator leahy and senator grassley. they did not include some of the program integrity recommendations from your department that was chanting. it didn't end up in the reauthorization language. they did get into the immigration reform bill which passed the senate and pending in the house. but we will have a lot more conversation unsure about the program, but just want to mention that. all right, mr. tester, you're on next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank ranking member coburn, and thank you for being here and willing to serve again. you are taking over agency that's barely 10 years old, 22 different agencies dovetailing on the question senator coburn talked about. my guess is when it was established in was established for two reasons to increase effectiveness and get the biggest bang for the buck. i think it is critically
important that you go back set turf aside and make sure that the agencies and departments that are there minimize overlap so there's a bigger level of a candidate and i'm confident you will do that so i thank you for your willingness to take a look at that. also, we will say that i think it's important we did find a balance between the securing of orders can defend the homeland and civil liberties of law-abiding americans and that would be something that it will be front burner for hopefully for a long, long time to come. what i want to talk about with you now is more out. -- morel. you've talked repeatedly about reforming dhs management would be your number one priority. i think that should be a top priority. in recognizing there's a high rate of attrition right now in dhs, what ideas do you have to help cultivate future leadership at all levels of the agency? >> in my experience, if people are excited about the mission, people believe in the mission, the importance of the mission,
they are willing to make a change possibly leave the private sector can possibly leave more lucrative positions in the private sector to come serve the country. and i was fortunate when i was at the pentagon to have some really, really capable people working around me or rhodes scholars and ph.d's that i was able to recruit that help with the overall effort. and i would hope to be able to do that at dhs. when it comes to morale, you know, in my experience people -- you remind people there serving the nation. these are things i think that's a lot of people at their core. i also recognize from experience that the row is driven in large part by just basic economic
issues. when somebody hasn't had a pay raise in a long time and they are threatened with sequestration or government shutdown, that takes its toll. so expect to address morale but there are limits to what you can do without giving people some basic relief. >> this is an understatement. this is a huge agency. and one thing that i think impacts morale is people thinking they are doing is surely worthwhile. that they're actually being effective in their job to any ideas in that particular round how you can give folks a sense of responsibility so they know what they're doing really does make a difference? >> in my experience complementing do for a job well done. you can't say thank you too many times when somebody deserves it. making them feel good about their work goes a long way. >> senator mccain and every so it is a builder from the pay structure of customs and border patrol agents, make the borders
how do you work with private technology and the private sector to assure we're using technology at the northern and southern borders? me living on the northern border with a little emphasis on northern, to aid where we, human resources either aren't effective or not cost effective? >> first of all i've learned a lot about the northern border the last couple weeks, thank you. as we move to more advanced technology i think we also need to be sensitive to privacy civil liberties concerns that people who live along these borders may have. i think that is important and as the border security professionals talk to me about you know, risk-based strategies, i want to be sure we don't have any blind spots that we're constantly vigilant in identifying where the high-risks are and where we can where we need to focus our technology.
>> i want to talk about the private sector and i want to talk about contracting in the private sector for those kind of technologies. something has been very frustrating for me and if you have a different opinion on this please let me know. that is often times we come to contracting we assume the big companies have you will at good ideas and little guys are cut out of the system. a lot of little guys have good ideas especially as it applies to regional problems. what are your thoughts about improving competition and opportunities for this little guy, the smaller people within the department? or is that a priority for you? >> in my experience, competition generally leads to better result for the taxpayer and for the agency. in my personal experience, sometimes the big guy on the block can also be the most complacent guy on the block. it's, sometimes good to find somebody who is up-and-coming a
little hungrier. and a little more innovative. so bigger is not necessarily better. >> so the question is, and i don't want to categorize and i will the big guys have pretty much gotten, they have gotten the contracts. the little guys have not. how do you fix that? if you think that's a problem which you have indicated you do? >> encourage competition. encourage people to put forward their rfps. a lot of time, in my experience, a lot of time when there is a competition it will depend upon how you write your specifications. how you write the requirements. >> correct. >> there are ways to write requirements such that only one company in america can put forward an rfp. and there's, you know, i'm not an acquisition expert. i don't live in that world. there are people who are but i
do know a lot of times it depends how you write the specifications for the job. >> and that's that's a very, very good point and i will tell you, you might not be an acquisitions expert but you're probably going to be heading this department up and your philosophy should be able to filter down through all the different sectors of the agency. thank you very much for being here. >> senator mccain. >> thank you. mr. johnson, i have known you for a number of years and i'm very pleased that you will be taking on these new responsibilities and, i view you as a an outstanding public servant and i'm confident that your nomination will be very, the process will be and confirmation will be very smooth. your predecessor, i want to talk about the border with you. your predecessor stated
frequently, the border is more secure than ever citing the reduction in apprehensions as a proof of that progress being made and she said it for a number of years. do you agree with that statement? >> senator i've seen the same numbers. i noted that the numbers are going down. there might be a recent trend upward but one of the things that if i'm confirmed i am going to look at is exactly how we should define border security and whether those numbers are an accurate reflection of border security. >> well in reality over the last two years there has been a 20% increase in apprehensions along the bored he have. -- border. when your predecessor made the statement i used just, get can't tell you the frustration i felt because i knew and those of us who are familiar with the border that the real reason why the apprehensions went down was because of the economy. now that the economy is getting
stronger apprehensions are up. if they're up 20% that means that the border is less secure. now as we work to do, the eight of us to complete this comprehensive immigration which is stalled as you know in the house and one of the major reasons why it's stalled is because the lack of confidence in border security on, not only members here but on members of the house of representatives. so now for years the secretary of homeland security said well, apprehensions are down are up, so that, the border is more secure because it was reduction in apprehensions. now the apprehensions are up. here we are faced with a situation where the border is still not secure and when we were trying to develop this legislation we went time after time to the department of homeland security to get what was needed to get the border
secured. what measures need to be taken. we never got that from the department of homeland security. never. we went directly to the border patrol which got very good information included in the legislation, specific sector by sector. the technology that was needed. can you tell this committee that you will not repeat what happened to us and frustration that we experienced? and i want to know what from you, what is required for to us have 90% effective control of the border? can you assure this committee of that? >> senator i will commit to you to working with you -- >> to him not asking work with me. i have want to know, if you will give this committee the exact metrics that are needed, sector by sector, so that we can obtain 90% effectiveness on the border? not working with me. answer yes or no, please. >> i'm inclined to give you what you need, sir. >> i'm not asking for your
inclination. i'm asking for a yes or no answer. i don't think that is lot to ask and we have responsibilities here and one is to have a secure border. unless we get the right information from your, from you and your bureaucracy we're not able to ascertain how we can secure our boarder. so as much as i admire and appreciate you unless you can tell me that you will give me the information which this committee has the right to have, i can not support your nomination. >> i am inclined -- >> i'm not -- >> to give you need, sir. >> let the record show you will not give a yes or no answer. deliver i will not support your nomination until i get a yes answer. this committee and members congress particularly of those of us who are on the border have the right to have that information. it is our responsibility and our obligation to our constituents. i have constituents in my state who, every night people are crossing their border illegally.
i have constituents every day drug smugglers are going across their property and their homes. they certainly have the right as citizens to know what measures need to be taken in order to have a 90% effective control of the border. i ask you one more time, will you or will you not give that information to this committee? >> you know, i've been through this process enough to know that a senator asks a question like that and somebody, afterward will tell me six reasons why i shouldn't do it. and in those instances i have said, senator, and i think you know this from me, well, the senator really needs it. we're trying to get to the same place. let's give it to him. so before i commit unequivocally to your question, and part of me very much wants to do that, i think i need to talk to people at dhs to better understand the issue.
i've read the letter you wrote in february. and i i'm strong lip inclined to give you what you need, senator. you know that from me from my track record at armed services. >> well, sir again i have an obligation to the citizens that i represent. right now, in their view, our border is not secure. and without your cooperation as informing the congress as to what measures need to be taken in order to assure 90% effectiveness, then i can't serve my constituents. i hope you understand that. >> senator you will have my cooperation, i promise that. >> i'm not asking for cooperation. i'm asking for information. >> let me just, senator mccain, are you yielding back your time? okay. make a suggestion, months ago, earlier this year senator mccain was good enough to host me in his state and we spent a lot of time, meeting with his constituents traveling along border, talking with folks from department of homeland security,
the border patrol. i would urge early in your tenure, if confirmed see if you can't head down there and spend some time, especially in arizona and in the eastern part of texas. i thought it was illuminating for me, very, very helpful. i think it would be as well. >> could i thank the chairman for traveling down there. i thank dr. coburn who traveled and spent extensive time down there both of you understand very well the frustration my constituents feel when they live in an environment where nightly people are crossing their property. where ranchers have been killed. this is not a academic exercise. and it seems to me that an obligation to the congress of the united states would be to provide us with information that we couldn't get when we were putting the comprehensive immigration reform together and we had to go direct to the border patrol to get required information. now i was told that that was because the white house had said
that the department of homeland security shouldn't provide with us that information but how can we carry out our functions of oversight if we don't get the kind of information we need to make the decision that is this committee is responsible to make? >> i would just say relate to the fact when we were promised information and didn't it, by the former secretary. >> okay. thanks mr. mccain. senator levin. >> thank you -- >> senator levin and senator begich. >> thanks, very much, mr. chairman. first, let me thank you mr. johnson, for your answer to the call to public service again and answer being yes and your family. we thank them for the support which is so essential to all of you who have taken these jobs with such responsibility. you and i have talked in my office about a number of things
and one of them i want to get into some detail on this morning has to do with the fact that we have about two million corporations that are created every year in in united states, by our 50 states. that is more than the rest of the world combined. the states approve these incorporations without ever asking who the real owners of the corporations are who are the beneficial owners of these corporations. some of these corporations get involved with medicare fraud tax evasion terrorism smuggling, drug trafficking and other wrongdoing. now just a few months ago, in june, at the g20 summit, 20 leaders including president obama reached the consensus that it was time to stop creating corporations with hidden owners.
all 20 leaders including president obama, committed to changing the way they do things in this regard. and in response to that international commitment president obama in june issued a, was called a quote national action plan which among other measures calls for enactment of federal legislation to require our states to include on their incorporation forms the one question asking for the names of the real owners of the corporation being formed. now that is very different from the owners of record which are too often simply shell corporations themselves in secrecy jurisdictions but this is a need for the beneficial owners who actually control and benefit from the corporation. senator grassley and i have
introduced a bill which would do that. we've been fighting for enactment of this bill for years. president obama was an original cosponsor when he was in the senate. law enforcement is the biggest supporter. groups that endorsed this bill include the federal law enforcement officers association, national association of assistant u.s. attorneys, society of former special agents of the fbi and so forth. federal law enforcement officers association which represents 26,000 federal law enforcement officers explained their support for the bill this way. quote, suspected terrorists, drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises continue to exploit the anonymity afforded to them through the current corporate filing process hiding hyped a registered agent, these criminals are able to incorporate without disclosing who beneficial owners are for the companies and thissen i believes them to establish corporate flow-through entity,
otherwise known as shell companies to facilitate money laundering and narcoterrorist financing. so our bills the levin-grassley bill is endorsed by huge numbers law enforcement, good government groups and put the list in the record if that is agreeable with our chairman. now, mr. johnson right now in the united states it takes more information to get a drivers license or open a u.s. bank account than to form a u.s. corporation. and what i'm asking you is, whether or not in light of the president's national action plan calling for legislation that requires states to request beneficial ownership information and impact on our homeland security that, the negative impact, that exists when we don't have that information and law enforcement doesn't have it, will you support the 11-grassley incorporation bill, senate bill
1465? >> i could just interject, i love carl levin. mr. levin, the legislation is championing opposed by most of the states. i would urge you to be careful in your response. >> i would be urge you to be careful in your response as well. [laughter] >> president of the united states wants beneficial ownership listed. only opposition we have is from a whole bunch of secretaries of state. but at any rate, we won't debate that here. i just would ask you to become familiar with this issue and whether or not you've become familiar wit and whether or not you will support it? >> senator after our after my visit with you a couple weeks ago i began to look at this legislation. i'm impressed by the number of law enforcement organizations and public interest organization that is support it. i'm sympathetic with the law enforcement, homeland security
interests. i would want to understand, if the states and the business community have objections to it, what those objections are. >> not the business community. the number of secretaries of states and their association. >> no, i would be interesting hearing their views. i would be interested to hear the business community's views. >> will you get back to us after you've done that promptly? >> yes. >> thank you. the report of the gao called, border security enhanced dhs oversight and assessment of inner agency coordination is needed for the northern border said that d-hs report that is the terrorist threat on the northern border is higher than it is on the southern border. given the large expanse of area with limited law enforcement coverage. i'm glad you've bam familiar with the northern border as you suggested a few minutes ago and we obviously are very much concerned with the problems on the southern border which
senator mccain has mentioned but my question is, that northern border state will you keep the needs of all of our borders in mind after you are confirmed? >> yes sir. absolutely. >> i have a statement about helicopters and the need of helicopters in a number of our coast guard air stations. i will have that for the record. and i i think my time is up. so we'll ask you that for the record. there has been a commitment to upgrade of helicopters at traverse city, one of our coast guard station that is has not been kept so we'll try to get you to put some place some attention on that longstanding commitment but hope you fully you will be confirmed soon and that will occur after that confirmation. thank you. >> thank you. >> [inaudible] >> you already got yours i understand.
yeah. >> before i turn to senator begich and senator ayote go back, quick ps on issues that senator levin has raised. dr. coburn knows dr. coburn is ranking republican, was ranking republican on permanent subcommittee on investigations with carl levin for a number of years. i served with him over a dozen years. he is tenacious and as a dog with a bone. on the issue he raised there is real validity to the concerns he raised. what we tried to do is encourage the states, particularly the secretaries of states to work with law enforcement to see what can be worked out in a way the states could administer it. and are agreeable to doing that. we have been having some meetings. i'm told that that they are good exchanges and we'll continue to nuture that and hopefully facilitate something so we can get it done. i can sit next to this man whom i love, arm in arm and resolve
this issue and then turn our attention to spring training where our beloved detroit tigers return to lakeland, florida and we're again friends. having said that, let me turn to senator begich. >> thank you very much. >> [inaudible] >> we have many. we believe in all of america's teams. we don't have one. but i will say that, just as i mentioned i will get into my arctic issue in a second. they may need helicopters, ships and few other things and ask him for the arctic. we'll get to that in a second. we have a very specific issue i want to put on your radar screen. it's with the cbp and it's regarding a request that was made for by a tourism company pretty largings, significant company to move folks from fairbanks, alaska to dawson city which is in canada and you know, obviously requires border, customs and border patrol
approval. they denied it and their answer, the reason they denied it was in efficient use of our existing resources. here's what's trouble about this. first off it could bring 19,000 visitors to alaska. the fees alone that the customs and border patrol would get would be $144,000. the cost to do this service is about 120,000. so in other words they would make money on this opportunity excluding all the other revenue streams that might come to the federal government through other types of expenditures, those almost 20,000 visitors. so they denied it based on inefficient use of their resources. first off, they don't have resources. that is why this was in place. they would have 140 plus thousand dollars to actually purchase those resources and homeland security will make, carefully, use this word about a 20% profit on it. so it seems from a business, if this was a business and it would make a lot of sense.
so i hope you know, their idea was, why don't they just rejigger the flights do them from anchorage to dawson, which makes no sense because part of the trip is to go to dolly park. it would add 400 plus miles air miles and costs to the traveler. it is almost like, i know that it is a big issue and pay a lot of attention to the southern border but actually alaska has a border too. we have actually good cooperation with canadians with regards to our border so i just don't think cdp understands the logistics of this and how large alaska is. i know sometimes they put everyone puts alaska in a little box off the coast of california but they forget it is one-fifth the size of this country. so i would hope thaw could look into this. i would think you would make a very good secretary and i think because you come from a variety of fields but also your, from my
conversation that we've had and others, you're practical. you look at these issues. just seems they have given what i would call a classic bureaucratic response. inefficient use of resources despite the fact when you do the numbers and actually makes them money and puts more people on payroll to do a service that grows our economy in alaska. if you could look at that, we would be happy to share the information with you at a certain point but office is clearly where we have written the letter last week. we made it very clear this is good for economy good for alaska and good for homeland security. it's a good relationship builder with our great ally of canada. i would hope that you put that on the radar screen. i don't know if you have a quick comment on that? i know it is under appeal so you can't say anything legally but would you at least look into this if the opportunity arises? >> yes. >> let me also go to the issue of the coast guard and i share
the subcommittee on oceans which has oversight on the coast guard. as we move toward the arctic, and as more arctic development occurs with oil and gas tourism, shipping, science research, all that requires the coast guard to be a partner there, in the sense of security and safety. not necessarily oil spill technology but really the whole issue around safety on the water and what could happen. my worry is this. that we will just shift resources around, kind of move the chairs on the deck around the country with the coast guard when in reality what we have to do is look what is needed in the arctic and bering sea which has enormous amount of traffic moving through that, international traffic. can you give me your thoughts in how you would address this situation that we have within the coast guard? limited resources but a huge, growing, new area of responsibility that will be significant for our country?
>> i think we need to be agile in terms of evolving needs, with the resources that we have. i know the coast guard is undertakeing a recapitalization program which i begun to learn about. i talked to the command dawned -- commandant about that. i talked about your part of the world, senator. i think the commandant himself agrees this is an area of the world that the coast guard needs to be vigilant and i agree it's a part of the world and i agree with him this is a part of the world we need to pay attention to and one i expect to do so if i'm confirmed. >> very good. let me move to another issue and that is, as you know, more and more domestic drone activity is being considered both private and public sector and i guess my question would be, how do you see homeland security department
engaged in that, in the sense of policy or otherwise? >> as we move to a more risk-based strategy, which is what the professionals at, you know, deal with border security have told me about technology is an important component of that. surveillance technology is an important component of that. as we rely more and more on it i think we also need to be very concerned about the privacy and civil liberty issues associated with that. dhs has an office, two offices dedicated to this. i think we need to further develop and refine policies as the technology moves further along. >> very good. as you move forward assuming your appointment you will share that and work with the regards to the policy. >> yes sir. >> one last specific one. i just had a hearing here. i chair the fema committee in this subcommittee in regards to
hurricane sandy and the devastation that occurred. one-year anniversary. one of the issues that came up is some complaints i've received regarding house of worship that is are unable to access certain grants even though non-profits can access them. let me give you an example. say you're a house of worship but you ran a day-care center or leased it out to someone who ran a day-care center. the day care center wiped off the face of the earth. but they get no capacity to go after grants. a day-care censor down the street run by independent non-profit has a different lease with non-sector, or private sector employer can get the grants. the house of worship it is not about the house of worship but about the facility being used. as a former mayor campfire, for example, was doing after-school programs with some of these facilities because that was only location and place we could do
it. what i'm asking you would you be willing to look into this issue assuming you receive confirmation? i think it is important to provide services needed and not put people at risk because where they put the facility or the service they are providing to the community? does that make sense that question? >> i would be happy to look into it sir. >> fantastic. i will end there. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'm not sure if the issue senator begich is raising is one, legislation was introduced in the house. >> that's correct. >> would allow houses of worship to receive directly i believe federal grants for damage con to those houses of worship. we had the constitutional scholars look at that legislation carefully and there are questions raised as you might imagine about separation of church and state. so while we want to be supportive of of whether it's a day school or a soup kitchen or something that is faith-related and has been damaged we want to be supportive in that regard. we have to be mindful of
separation concerns raised by legislation. >> i will add if i can mr. chairman, i don't disagree with that but as a mayor there are many times in communities where the facility is only available in a house of worship run by, for example, like campfire. i understand. i'm not a lawyer. never want to be one to be frank with you, no disrespect to lawyers. we have plenty this it body. i'm more in trying to figure out solutions to a many profit i want you to look at it and give me a response. >> yes sir. i'm trying to get out of the legal business, too. >> i know. i like you're going into public service. thank you. >> sometimes, senator begich, i refer to himself as recovering mayor and me as recovering governor. you can become a recovering lawyer. speaking of recovering attorney generals -- >> i was going to say exactly mr. chairman. i am a recovering attorney general. so thank you mr. johnson for being here and i want to obviously thank you for your willingness to step forward to serve the country again and your family. so we've made some significant
progress in taking out members of core al qaeda. yet we certainly have factions or affiliates, growing over a very large geographic region. al qaeda in the islamic ma greg. al qaeda in arabian peninsula and al qaeda in iraq and al nusra and al-shabaab. much what kind of threats do you think the groups pose in the homeland? is the threat growing and where do we stand with that? which al qaeda affiliate do you believe is the biggest threat. a bigger subquestion i have how much of a threat do we face with violent, homegrown terrorists in our nation? >> senator, i have to preface i've been away from intelligence almost a year now and i know from my experience that threat streams can evolve week to week. >> no, i understand the caveat but i know you also had substantial involvement with
this issue. >> yes. i would characterize it this way. i agree with you that we've had considerable success taking out core al qaeda. i think during my time at the department of defense we saw the rise of affiliates like aqap aqim the aq-affiliated elements of al-shabab. we had re-- success with respect to those affiliates and i believe that the way i would characterize it, we're moving to a third phase where the terrorist threat is becoming even more diffuse and we're seeing more lone wolf activity, more self-radicalization somebody reads a publication and they're not affiliated with aq in the traditional manner of accepting formal command direction or training at the camps. but they are committing equally
dangerous acts of terrorism and those types of threats in my view harder to detect. and so, i think that this ties in with the homeland security mission. i think that as we see more of a rise of that kind of threat we're going to have be vigilant on the civilian side in law enforcement, border security and so forth. >> and how do you envision -- i mean one of the issues, obviously communication is key. >> yes. >> from your prior experience at dod what would be the biggest priority when we look at preventing that threat to our country? which by the way you would agree with me is still a very real threat? >> yes. i think working with, communicating with state and local law enforcement first-responders is key. it's going to be even more significant i think in the years ahead. i believe dhs is situated in that regard with vertical sharing of information
intelligence and analysis. and the first-responders are going to have to be in a position to deal with these kinds of situations. >> where do you see one of the issues that you and i talked about at length from your prior position and now now that you're going to be very important position as the head of homeland security, this issue of interrogation, how important is it that when we do capture a terrorist, for example al-zawahiri, if we get him tomorrow, how important is it that we're able to conduct vigorous and sometimes lengthy interrogation of these individuals in terms of intercepting attacks and information about their networks? >> in my experience, interrogation of a terror suspect, somebody who is part of one of these groups has been a gold mine for us in terms of what we learn through national security interrogations.
that's been my experience in the first four years of this administration. >> so one of the challenges we peace that isn't directly under your purview now but i think that given the important role you face that you'll certainly i would imagine be offered i would hope be sought-after for advice on this, how do we deal with this issue in a civilian context of the challenge of if we capture al-zawahiri and if you bring him in right into our civilian court system we have things like miranda speedy presentment, which can interfere with the lent of interrogation you might need to find out what someone knows to make sure we're getting everything we need to protect our country? i feel like we're in limbo land right now where you and i talked about it in our meeting. let me hear what you think about this issue and what are the challenges we face and how can we have a policy that allows us to gather information while obviously i understand we need to preserve future prosecution but i'm deeply concerned that
we've got a huge gap right now? >> as you and i have discussed i believe there is currently legal authority for a national security intelligence interrogation premiranda, pre-presentment. when you have somebody who is in the category of a national security threat, who is captured or arrested. i also think that the executive and the congress ought to look at codifying some of this into law, to reflect the practice because i think it's going to become an increasingly important practice and there will be an increasing need for this type of interrogation. and i think the authority exists already. but i might be a good idea to try to codify it. >> well thank you very much. i appreciate your insight on that. and i think right now we're in a place where we don't have
really a detention and interrogation policy to address the situation where if tomorrow, we capture the head of al qaeda, where is he detain and where how long will he be held for interrogation. look forward to working with you on this issue because it is one i think will continue to present itself as you've raised. i want to ask you as well just in terms of issues that you'll be asked to address there are many issues of waste, fraud and abuse that i know dr. coburn and certainly chairman carper asked you about and i look forward to working with you on a them. one is raised is overtime issues, that is employees using administratively uncontrolled overtime pay system and therefore, amassing millions in unearned pay. it is an issue i've been interested in. how would you go about addressing that? >> it is obviously an issue of concern and i've read about it and had it explained to me. i know the acting secretary has undertaken a review and if i'm
confirmed i would be very interested in the results of that. i worry that it could be a systemic problem. and it is obviously one of that should trouble whoever the head of dhs is, should trouble congress and trouble the taxpayer. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> senator ayote thanks for those questions. senator paul, nice to see you. welcome. you're recognized. >> thank you mr. johnson for your testimony. i was wondering do you think the fourth amendment applies to my visa purchases? >> i don't have a legal opinion on that senator. i think that there may be a privacy interest there but i don't have a legal opinion for you right now. >> i hope you will think about it and i think it is something we all need to think about. i think the current supreme court law probably says no. and i think it's a tragedy that is the way the law has gone. with my visa bill you can tell what books i read, what
magazines i read. you can tell whether i go to a psychiatrist. not yet. you can tell what medicines i buy. i can tell virtually everything about my life because everything i buy i put on my visa card. people say i don't have any expectation of privacy because it's a third party record. i gave it up to someone. i think this is a big issue for us. frankly the administration hasn't been very supportive of the fourth amendment and we're going to press these issues but i want to know, i want you to know we will be watching and those of us who believe in the fourth amendment will be continuing to watch. do you think that a single warrant can apply to millions of records and millions of individuals? >> i understand that may be an issue with regard to certain surveillance programs. i don't have a, i don't have a legal opinion on that for you senator. >> pretty important issue. it is going to be one of the biggest issues and hopefully will get into the supreme court. do you think it is due process
to have a court trial where only one side is represented? do you think that's due process where only one side would have a lawyer? >> in the context of a litigation or a courtroom proceeding, no. >> we do have a court and that is what we're deciding constitutional questions, the fisa court. there is no advocate on the side of the constitution. there is no adversarial proceeding. i think there can be no justice. there is also reviewing of constitutional questions done in secret. do you think we decide the scope of the fourth amendment in a secret court? >> i think we, in the executive branch and in the fisa court need to be skeptical. we need to have robust discussion. i've been a part of that in making certain use of force decisions. and i am skeptical of simply a lot of yeses in the room and
believe somebody needs to ask the hard questions. >> and i don't doubt and i'm not questioning your integrity but what i would say is, due process isn't a bunch of people, good people in a room discussing whether we should kill people with drones or something. the president mistakenly said that is some how that is due process. that is nothing to do with good process but it is not due process. due process is in a court with debate back and forth with both side being represented with hopefully impartial justice where impartial justice is deciding this in an open court. a lot of things going on in our country which don't meet due process. whether you're a good or bad person or whether you're in a room discussing this or whether you give vigorous debate is not due process. it is important this is said over and over again because we're making important decisions which goes to my next question. do you think we should target american citizens overseas for killing who are not involved in contact? i'm thinking of propogandists
other people who may have committed treason but have not been charged or convicted you think bunch of lawyers in a room from one administration, from one political parity can decide guilt or innocence of american citizens? these are often mostly not engaged in combat? >> as you pose it i think my answer would be no. >> you realize a lost drones are directed against people just walking down the street or eating or doing something. i don't have any problem if an american citizen fighting in the middle of a war and shooting at our soldiers by all means use a drone or whatever means to kill them. we're killing people sort of walking down the street. what i'm arguing for and nobody really seems to be making a point i am, that for example adam gadd dan. we indicted him. he committed treason. you probably convince me if i was on a jury, i would convict him of treason. why not?
why not try him for treason? al-awlaki, give him a chance to come home. my guess he wasn't coming home to be tried for treason. go ahead try him for treason. then at least you have due process, a real court a due process and probably a lawyer on both side. the whole idea justice comes about through representation through a court trial and a through a jury is something too important. and i know this is an unusual circumstance. we've only had three or four citizens killed but the principle of it is pretty important. and i think we should all be aware there were times in our history we didn't do just toys to a lot of people for various reasons. for race. the japanese-americans. imagine what happened to them when, they didn't get processed during world war ii. also imagine what happened to, what would have happened to an african-american in 1910 in the south accuse of a crime. there are all kinds of reasons a lot of us should be a little more concerned about due process and not be so careless about
this. so i just hope you will think about these questions the scope of the fourth amendment but also what due process is and that if you're head of homeland security you and a bunch lawyers getting together and deciding what is fine to collect data on every american through one warrant, that is a constitutional question and not due process. i hope you will somebody will facilitate getting constitutional concessions -- questions in a room court and not through a mock court. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you senator paul. if i can i mentioned earlier in my comments, gao and dr. coburn and used gao's high-risk list, almost as a to-do list for a subcommittee we use stood take turns leading and this committee as well. what is high-risk list? high-risk ways of wasting money taxpayers money.
in short supply as you know. one of the things jane hall last confirmed deputy secretary used to go to gao. and would go pretty often to meet with the comptroller and others that work through him. go through your high-risk list and see what we have to do to get off of it. they made a whole lot of progress. hopefully later this year the department of homeland security will complete a clean audit and leave us only one large department, that is department of defense has not actually received a clean audit. but i i want to urge you and when we get a deputy confirmed hopefully soon, to take to heart what jane hull used to do. i'm sure as janet napolitano as secretary did it as well. with that having been said, let me just ask you what you believe
to be some of the major management challenges in the department? what do you see your role as a secretary in adjusting those management challenges? >> senator, i have read the i read the gao report. i saw the 31 issues that gao identified. i was pleased to see that according to gao dhs is moving moving in the right direction with respect to these issues and resolveing a number of them. in terms of management issues vacancies, insuring an efficient procurement process getting an unqualified, audited financial statement, dealing with some of the internal control issues that lead to an unqualified opinion i also think with six different
accounting systems we need to be sure we have what the financial people call business intelligence, so you can identify things like, unobligated fund across your bureaucracy. and i think dhs is moving in the right direction but it is only going to continue to move in the right direction if somebody is pushing it. sometimes making people uniform comfortable about deadlines and the status quo. i understand that is good leadership. i understand that a bureaucracy is a large sluggish aircraft carrier that will, if you let it just kind of chug along in a certain direction and i think good leaders need to push it sometimes in different directions which can be uncomfortable with a lot of people. >> good. when you have the opportunity to bring new leadership on to your leadership team we'll have in some case as lot of direct contract with gio and work gio has been doing or has done, i urge you to sit down early on what your expectations are. our expectations as an oversight
committee make sure federal departments throughout the federal government don't ignore the work that gao is doing. i would ask that you fully subscribe to that as well. just turn and talk a little by the state and local stakeholders. as you know, a lot of the work that the department of homeland security does involves partnerships and involves cooperation with state and with local governments and with non-profits like the red cross. the, in fact our nation's homeland security is dependent on these partners. i'm reminds every time i talk with the red cross folks in delaware and emergency responder. and because they, sometimes first on the scene to respond to disasters and try to help people in some tough tough situations. making sure these relationships work is an important responsibility of the secretary. and if confirmed, let me ask you, what are some of the steps what are some of the steps that you would take to make sure the
department continues to work ever better, with the state and local partners? >> i recognize the importance of this given the nature of the dhs mission. given the nature of the homeland security mission. working effectively with state and local law enforcement state and local governments the private sector, in the border security, national security, homeland security, cyber security realms, are important. i've been struck by the emphasis that people up here, people within dhs have placed on it. and the attention that if i'm confirmed, they want me to pay to it. and it's pretty apparent to meep it is part of the mission. when i was a federal prosecutor i work ad lot with the new york city police department, not just the federal law enforcement agencies and some of my most enduring rest from those
days were with the cops, new york city police department i worked with building narcotics cases. i think i get that. >> okay. good. one more, and that involves tragedy that occurred at lax couple years ago where three transportation security officers gerardo hernandez james spear, tony grigsby were shot if you recall with an attack at airport. of the sadly mr. hernandez died, left a widow and two children. we are deeply troubled by the reports that the shooter specifically sought out tsa employees during the attack. and i know it's not possible to protect.
let me give a shoutout to tsa they take criticism from a lot of folks. it is a hard job. it's a job they have a good leader in john pistol. it's a hard job. they're working hard to try to do it better. so they need a little bit of, they need some, certainly some sympathy for the loss of one of their colleagues. we extend that, but i want to say to the folks out there at tsa under john's leadership, they're working hard, trying to do the right thing and improve every day and we appreciate that effort and we urge them to keep it up, but if you're confirmed what do we do to mitigate the risk that tsa or department of homeland security employee could be the target of the attack like the one visited on officer hernandez and his colleagues? >> senator i read something about that attack, that was really upsetting which was apparently allegedly the
shooter shot hernandez left, went up and escalator and then came back when he realized he wasn't dead and shot him again. that's really bad and given visibility of people, interaction with the public need to look how to provide for their safety. i don't know the answer is screening everybody that comes into an airport. that would be a very long line but i think we need to look at better insuring their safety. one way or another. that is something i expect i will be focused on if i'm confirmed. >> i think in this instance the family in new jersey, knew something was wrong with their son and tried to reach out i believe to the authorities in the l.a. area. i think someone actually, police may have gone and visited the
person's apartment. and, he was gone. already left and apparently on his way to the airport. just reminds me we don't always agree on gun-related issues but i think one of the things we can agree on, one we don't want guns to be in the hands of people that are mentally unstable and are likely to use them to harm other people. i think we can all agree on that. we need to do better job on background checks and correct answer but the right answer. the second thing that, that comes to mind here, is the adage, see something, say something. when folks you see your roommate or member of your family is, is in this kind of a situation this kind of condition, got to say something. you got to speak up and not just ignore it or brush it aside. if that had happened maybe sooner perhaps this could have an averted. dr. coburn. >> thank you i would had my
congratulations to john pistole. i think he made remarkable improvements we've got a long ways to go but there is progress being made there. i'll address tom's other issue. our problems with mental illness in this country, we're not handling it. we're limiting practicing physician's ability to notify. through the hipaa laws. we are forbidden to do that when we know in fact somebody is dangerous. so that's an area i agree we can work on and we're negligent that we have not addressed that as a congress and as a country. one of the questions that has surround ad lot of homeland security spending whether we spend the money on risk or we spread the money out. it's my feeling that the vast majority of the our monies ought to go where the risk is the
greatest. what's your thoughts on that? >> i think i agree with that, senator. >> we ought to be risk-based. we spent $37 billion on grants, which is another high-risk program for the department of homeland security and probably less than 25% has gone to the highest risk areas. and part of that's parochial bent ever congress who wants to make sure we get our fair share for each parochial representative. but it's a real problem. the president proposed and i actually agree with this not very many members of congress agree, consolidating all the grant programs at dhs. i think that's a wise thing to do. then to base it on risk. what are your feelings about that? >> it's an issue that a number of people have raised with me. how we dispense grant money. it is taxpayer money.
i used to be on the board of a community trust that did nothing but give out grants and an important part of the job of that fiduciary responsibility was insuring that once we gave out the money we're making, recipient is making effective use of the money. i think that in general the professionals who i have consulted over the last couple of weeks seem to feel that we need to move in the direction of a risk-based approach to homeland security. and, that probably entails focusing our grant money in the same direction as well. so i would be inclined to agree with you if what you're saying is we need to make efficient use of our taxpayer dollars for purposes of homeland security. >> yeah. the other part of a grant program that is not present at homeland security is performance metrics and follow-up and elimination of grants on people who don't perform. gao has done a lot of work in
terms of the unspent fund, bogus expenditures and inappropriate expenditures. we actually highlighted them. i'm sorry senator ayote is not here because new hampshire in one of its small towns has a bearcat for its pumpkin festival, paid for with a dhs grant. 80,000 bucks that could have made a real difference somewhere else with a higher risk, they know i'm critical of it, but that is the kind of lack of control that we have. grant reform is a big deal to me. i think dollars we're going to spend ought to be spent to actually reduce risk rather than to satisfy our make a politician look good. i know that's, antithetical to some of my colleagues but that's what we're charged to do and i don't care if oklahoma never gets another dollar of homeland security grants as long as, as long as the dollars that are spent are spent on higher-risk areas and that's what, the way
it should be. >> will you work with our committee to reform the grant program and will you answer my question as far as the president's proposal of consolidating all the grant programs? >> yes. i want to study that issue. i will answer that, yes sir. >> thank you. one other thing that came up in your staff interview that i had concerns, and i've not had a chance to visit with you about this personally but was brought to my attention. in your questionnaire responses you stated, i believe one of dhs's many counterterrorism priorities to better detect what the experts call broken travel outside the united states. we must do a better job in partnership with foreign governments tracking foreign travel of suspicious individual before they return to the united states. and when you were asked about this you were asked if you meant dhs should track individuals under investigation or high-risk watch list individuals and your response was, i'm not
necessarily referring to just to suspicious individuals. later you added i would like to know more from homeland security perspective where you've gone, why you're away. can you state for this committee what role you envision for dhs in tracking the travel of u.s. persons at home or abroad that are not on a suspicious list or on a high-risk list? what do you mean by that? >> well, first of all i may not have i probably did not state it as artfully as -- >> we will leave this hearing now. you can see the entire confirmation hearing for jeh johnson on our website anytime at c-span.org. meantime in the house live, now, vote underway on asbestos claims fraud and on c-span3 today's white house briefing. that is live now on c-span3. the senate returns in a few moments to continue work on a bill to broaden the fda's oversight on compounding
mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and that i be allowed to address the senate as if in morning business, and i joined in the colloquy with the senator from south carolina, senator graham. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president the administration's negotiations with iran failed to achieve an interim agreement this past weekend, and if published reports are accurate, we owe our french allies a great deal of credit for preventing the major
powers in the negotiations, the so-called p-5-plus one from making a bad bad bad interim deal with iran, a deal that could have allowed iran to continue making progress on key aspects of its nuclear program and in return it would receive an easing of billions of dollars in sanctions. the senator from south carolina and i are not opposed to seeking an interim agreement with iran as a way to create better conditions for negotiations on a final agreement. we join with some of our colleagues on a letter to the president in support of such an approach. before the geneva agreement. but our support was conditioned on the need for any interim agreement to be based on the principle of suspension for suspension. that is to say the iranians would have to fully suspend their enrichment of uranium and their development of their nuclear weaponization programs and infrastructure, including
construction of the heavy water reactor at aria. the idea would be to freeze iran's nuclear program in place so that negotiations could proceed on how to roll it back without the threat that the iranians could use negotiations as a delaying tactic. and i remind my colleagues, they have done that time after time. in fact, the new president of iran mr. ruhani, bragged when he was negotiator that they were able to fool the negotiators and increase the century -- centrifuges from 150 to a thousand. we have seen the movie before. if iran agreed, though, to this freeze we would support -- senator graham and i said we would support suspension of our efforts to pass and implement new sanctions. unfortunately, public reports suggest that the administration was willing to agree in geneva to less than a full suspension
of iran's program and to pay for that inadequate step with billions of dollars in sanctions relief. this is not a -- quote -- "suspension for suspension, regardless of administration claims to the contrary, and that is a problem. it puts too much trust in president ruhani, the one i talked about before, who bragged, he bragged about deceiving the international community when he was iran's nuclear negotiator. in fact, the current diplomatic efforts are consistent with the pattern of past deals undertaken by the iranian government to buy breathing space and shift international expectations in order to continue development of its nuclear program. we have to avoid an interim agreement that diminishes iran's incentive to make the hard decisions that we ultimately need them to make as part of a final agreement and that final agreement must require iran to do the following -- comply with all outstanding u.n. security
council resolutions sign, ratify and implement the additional protocol of the nuclear proliferation treaty, address outstanding concerns of the iaea, especially through expanding inspection measures, halt construction on and ultimately dismantle the iraq heavy water reactor stop development of advanced centrifuges and turn its supply of enriched material over to the iaea. a final agreement should also not recognize that iran has any inherent right to enrich. a country that has continuously been on the path for nuclear weapons was -- which violated protocol after protocol should not have -- quote -- the right to enrich, and without these measures iran's nuclear program will continue to grow and as the program grows, it will be harder to track and harder to set back, and only when iran seriously undertakes measures to dismantle its nuclear program should sanctions be unwound.
the administration should not weaken the strong negotiating position that congress has helped to create. instead, it should use this position to its advantage. before i ask my friend from south carolina to comment let's not forget the context of iran and negotiations with iran. this is an arms control issue. the nuclear weapons. meanwhile, we seem to ignore the fact that iran is spreading terror throughout the middle east and would like to throughout the world. it is the iranians that have armed and trained and equipped 5,000 hezbollah that are slaughtering people in syria. it is iran that sends the iranian revolutionary guard into syria and slaughters people. it is iran that is supporting the islamic extremist groups that are now moving seriously on the side of -- of bashar assad
into syria. it is iran that is spreading terror throughout the middle east and would attempt to throughout the world. they still view the united states of america as the great satan. they are still committed to -- quote -- "wiping israel off the map." iran is a threat to peace in the world, and it's not only the issue of nuclear weaponry. it is their entire behavior of spreading terrorism throughout the region, propping up bashar assad while he continues to slaughter, maim, rape, torture and kill. for this administration and this secretary of state to ignore those facts about iran, in my view, is a disgraceful conduct and i would finally add before i turn to my friend from south carolina the united states influence and power throughout the world especially in the middle east, is no longer there.
every middle east leader that i talked to, everyone i know in the region say that the -- they believe the united states is leaving, the united states is not in any way involved, and they are making accommodation for the absence of the united states leadership. this president does not believe in american exceptionalism. america must lead or iran, russia and other countries will lead and sooner or later the united states will pay a very, very heavy price. we must not ignore the lessons of history. we have several times in our history tried to withdraw to fortress america and every time we have paid a very heavy price. so i would ask my friend from south carolina, it's important this iranian issue, it is of transcendent importance, but i do not believe that it can be viewed in a vacuum, considering
iran's continued effort to try to undermine and destroy everything that america -- freedom and democracy that we stand for. mr. graham: if i could respond i guess the essence of what we are trying to say is we believe iran is the problem not the solution to the middle east and the world at large. there has been bipartisan support for curtailing and controlling and eventually eliminating the iranian nuclear program. there has been bipartisan support for our friends in israel and we want to keep it that way. we want to make sure that the congress speaks with one voice that we are helpful when we can be and that we offer criticism at an appropriate time. i guess the concerns that we have about this agreement is -- is getting to be more like north korea in a fashion that makes us all uncomfortable. if you interject billions of dollars into the iranian economy now without dismantling the
centrifuges, i think you have made a huge mistake. what are we trying to accomplish? we are trying to make sure the iranians cannot have the capability to develop a nuclear weapon. the first question you have to ask is are they trying to build a nuclear power plant a nuclear infrastructure for commercial purposes or are they trying to create capability to produce a weapon? trust me on this. nobody goes about building a commercial nuclear program this way. they're trying to build a nuclear weapon. why? because that would give them influence in the region they have never had. it would give iran a strong standing in the historical suni-shia conflict between the persians and the arabs and as a consequence, it would lead to a nuclear arms race in the middle east because the sunni arabs are not going to allow the shia persians to have a nuclear capability. they also believe i think fairly rationally so, that if
they get a nuclear weapon, the regime is probably home free, that the west is going to back off much like we did in north korea. so the decision of how to handle this program is probably the most important decision president obama will make in his second term and it will be one of the most important decisions the world makes for the future of our planet here going into the 21st century. mr. mccain: would my friend yield for a question? the senator from south carolina and i have known the prime minister of israel rather well over the years and obviously the first target of iran in the case of a nuclear weapon would be israel, that iran has never stepped back from saying that israel should be wiped from the face of the earth. what -- has the senator from south carolina ever known a time
since creation of the state of israel that the united states and israel have been further apart, that there has been more open disagreement and indeed tension at a level the likes of which we have never seen, and does it appear as if by not including israel in any of the negotiations to start with, but also there seems to be a complete disregard of the knowledge information and front-line status of israel in this whole issue? mr. graham: well, i think it's pretty obvious that the tensions are growing not just with israel but one thing the obama administration's, i think eagerness to reach a deal is unnerving to the people in the region not just israel. the israelis and the sunni arabs have been pushed together in an unprecedented fashion. you are hearing out of the arab community the same concerns out of the israeli community.
so that's an -- that's an odd alignment, but i think -- mr. mccain: assad has already basically let it be known that if iran acquires a nuclear weapon they would be right behind. mr. graham: absolutely, an arms race. one thing that is a positive note the congress itself. the congress has not been confused. we are more together on this issue than we have ever been. the congress passed 90-1 a resolution rejecting the idea of allowing the iranians to have a nuclear weapon in trying to contain them. the idea of containing a nuclear-armed iran is not a good idea. we fear they would share the technology with a terrorist group that winds its way here in the united states. israel believes they could never have a moment of peace with a nuclear-armed iran. containment won't work. secondly the congress 99-0 said if israel has to defend herself against a nuclear-capable iran, has to intervene to stop this existential threat to the united states that we would try economic and military support and a resolution 99-0.
so the congress has been very much together. the next thing we hope to do is to have a resolution bipartisan in nature that defines the end game. what are we trying to accomplish? we don't want a war. nobody wants a war. the idea of the iranians having a commercial nuclear power plant is okay with me. mexico and canada have nuclear power facilities. they just don't enrich uranium. they buy the product from the world community. they don't have enrichment or reprocessing. i don't mind the iranians having nuclear power plants for commercial purposes as long as the international community controls the fuel cycle. here's the problem. they are insisting on the right to enrich, and the problem is you can take uranium and enrich it to a certain level for commercial purposes, and with today's technology, you can break out and have a nuclear weapon very quickly. so why in the world -- mr. mccain: and could i ask aren't the parameters of this proposed agreement to allow them to continue to enrich materials? mr. graham: the concern the israelis have and you and i have
is the number of centrifuges available to the iranians is into the tens of thousands now pushing from 18,000 to 24,000. who really knows? but the advanced centrifuges we are talking about can take 3.5% enriched uranium and go to 90% to get a weapon in just a matter of weeks if not months. so here's the rub. i think the congress will speak with one voice. we don't mind a commercial capability for the iranians as long as you control the fuel cycle. as to the previously enriched uranium, particularly the 20% stockpile, turn it over to the international community that's the u.n. position. stop enriching there's no right to enrich and then end of the day this plutonium heavy water reactor you're building is a threat to israel beyond belief, you don't need a heavy water plutonium producing reactor to engage in commercial power production. these are the things we'd like to led the administration know
would be a successful outcome regarding the congress and they mirror the u.s. resolutions. i'm hopeful we can find a way to end the nuclear program in iran in a win-win situation for the iranians and the world at large but here's one thing we can't afford to do, is get it wrong with iran. and these negotiations, the interim agreement as senator mccain so well stated, sent chills up the spine of almost everybody in the region so if the iranians insist upon enriching, to have the ability to take the african-american and enrich it in the future -- uranium and enrhythm it in the future that would be incredibly dangerous and you'll wake up with a north korea in the middle east. if the iranians get a nuclear weapon will be more destabilizing than north korea having one on the korean peninsula. i am hopeful that the administration will go into the next round of negotiations eyes
wide open, understanding where the american people, the international community is at, the people in the region, and if we get a deal, it is a good deal and what's a good deal? to make sure the iranians can have a peaceful nuclear power program but can't get a bomb. and the only way they can get a bomb is to have enrichment capability as part of an agreement. if they insist on enriching that tells you all you need to know about their intention. mexico and canada and 15 other nations have nuclear power plants for commercial purposes but they don't insist on enriching uranium to provide the fuel. 23 they insist on enriching that tells you all you need to know about what their true intent is. senator mccain, thank you for bringing your voice and, you know, -- mr. mccain: it's also true that the right to enrich is undercut by their many years' record of deception and efforts at acquiring a nuclear weapon. and finally again i want to
emphasize, our israeli friends are on the front line. it's not the united states of america that the ayatollahs have committed to -- quote -- "wipe off the face of the earth." that have been dedicated ever since the iranian revolution to the extinction of the state of israel. so shouldn't we pay close attention, we aren't dictated by israeli behavior but shouldn't we profit by their experiences? twice the israelis have had to act militarily against nuclear facilities. twice they've had to do that. in order to prevent in one case syria and another case iraq, from acquiring nuclear weapons which would threaten them with extinction. now this agreement clearly in the words of the israeli prime minister is something that is very dangerous to the very existence of the state of israel. again, israel does not dictate american policy but to ignore
the warnings of literally every expert in the middle east especially that of israel including arab countries, i think is ignoring evidence and opinions that are very, very well informed. and to get an agreement for the sake of an agreement in my view would be a disaster. mr. graham: just to conclude why are the iranians at the table because the sanctions are working. the congress passed tough sangsz to the obama administration's credit put together an international coalition that has gotten the iranians' attention and we're at the table. the last thing we want to do is relieve the pressure because that's what got them there. they must understand until you abandon your nuclear quest for a bomb and replace it with a reasonable solution for commercial nuclear power aspirations, we will continue sanctions and the threat of military force is one of the things that got them to the table. and jay carney said something
yesterday. if you push for new sanctions you're inviting war. i would like to respond. the reason we're having a peaceful opportunity moment here is because of the sanctions. if you back off now and infuse billions of dollars into the iranian economy and leave the centrifuges in place you're inviting an attack by israel. if you don't shut down the plutonium heavy water reactor israel is not going to sit on the sidelines forever. so to not have a continuation of sanctions until we get the right answer is going to invite more destabilizing the region and you got to realize israel is in a different position than almost everybody else. they're close the iranians have talked about wiping them off the map. when it comes to the jewish people they don't take that stuff lightly anymore. when they say never again they literally mean it and can you tell the prime minister of israel given the behavior of the iranians in the last 30 years that they're just joking? can you tell the people of the united states if the iranians got a nuclear weapon they
wouldn't share wit a terrorist group to come our way? name one thing they've produced they haven't shared. this is a moment of history this is the biggest decision president obama will make and i'd like to help him make the right decision, to help the world to resolve this problem without a war but here's the situation we find ourselves in. if you attack iran to stop their nuclear proper if you couldn't get a peaceful ending you would open pandora's box. ifbut if they got a nuclear weapon that would empty pandora's box. we have a little time to get this right. i hope we can. mr. mccain: i appreciate the patience of my friend from iowa and i thank the senator from south carolina. i yield the floor. mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, i would like to cover for a little bit here about the bill that we're actually on, the drug quality and security act. before i do that, i ask consent
that at the end of my remarks that the senator from new hampshire, senator ayotte, be recognized to speak. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: one year ago we were at the beginning of our effort to understand one of the worst public health crises this country happens experienced in recent years. we were just learning about the new england compounding center's astonishing disregard for basic procedures to ensure that the products that they were manufacturing were sterile. we were shocked and saddened by the news that hundreds were sick dozens had died from infections caused by necc's blatant disregard for patient safety. we were fearful for the fate of the thousands of additional patients who had received injections of necc's products. despite the urgency of that crisis, the bill we are considering today was not slapped together overnight. far from it. it's the product of a full year
of careful bipartisan policy collaboration and res. upon the factual foundation developed by the oversight investigation that senator alexander and i launched over a year ago. when we learned of the necc tragedy, we did not rush to pick up the pen and dash off a quick legislative answer. instead, we sought to understand what that story was what its causes were so we could develop legislation that would make a difference in the future and not just make headlines. so in early october of 2012, shortly after the outbreak became known and this is what the outbreak looked like, we had all these states, 64 deaths, 750 people got sick and when i say got sick i don't mean they got sick overnight and got better. some of these people who lived will have lingering illnesses for the remainder of their lives. debilitating illnesses.
in many, many cases where they'll never be able to work again because of meningitis. my partner's home state of tennessee was very hard hit with 15034 case -- 153 cases michigan was the highest with 264 cases. but this is what it looked like when this outbreak occurred and as you can see the east coast a couple outwest starting to spread that direction. thankfully the centers for disease control and prevention was able to intervene and find the source of this and stop it. again, another -- another example of how c.d.c. protects the american people. so again when this happened we began to talk directly with various stakeholders understand it we continued to talk to the f.d.a. and the c.d.c. on their investigations. we held briefing calls with the
massachusetts board of pharmacy where the necc was located towkd to an array of compounding products. on october 25 of last year to explore the i.e.d. for legislation, the committee launched a bipartisan process to examine the respective state and federal roles in regulating compounding pharmacy. my oversight team worked with senator alexander's to gather documents from f.d.a. and the state of massachusetts that shed light upon how necc had been had been allowed to grow so large with so little oversight. last november we released an initial report and held a hearing exploring the statutory and regulatory gaps that contributed to this tragic. -- tragedy. our bipartisan investigation continued and culminated in a final report that was released may 22 of this year. over the course of this investigation we explored how drug compounding has evolved as
an industry over the past couple of decades. now, drug compounding is a traditional and long-standing activity of pharmacies. it serves an important role in our health care system. compounding is when just a few people, maybe only one person needs a certain compound of a drug so a pharmacist, maybe not with a classic mortar and pestle but other devices mixes compounds the specific drug that's needed. maybe it's needed for a few people in a hospital, a specific illness a chronic illness someone might have. this is traditional compounding where you can't just get a prescription for it and go down to the pharmacy and have it filled simply because there's not that big of a demand for it. that's sort of the traditional role of compounding. but over the last couple of decades a number of
clarnlg-scale -- large-scale drug compounding companies have started to produce large batches of high-risk drugs for national sale. for example at the time of the meningitis outbroke, a sister company called amreidose was providing mixtures to 25,000 hospitals and facilities across the country. despite a scope of operations that make these companies much more similar to drug manufacturers than to pharmacies they primarily faced oversight similar to state-licensed community pharmacies rather than the more rigorous quality standards regarding drug manufacturers. so n e -- necc and ameridose had history of producing drugs
of questionable potency and had had adverse event reports and consumer complaints. the review of documents indicates between 2002 and 2012 necc was the subject of at least 523 adverse -- 52 adverse event reports, exposing the himself dangers created by its hazardous compounding practices. with documented issues including the failure to ensure the sterility of equipment and products the distribution of drugs containing payroll particular lat matter, mislabeling of drugs inaccurate beyond use dating, and the illegal distribution of drugs in the absence of patient-fek speck rntions. -- prescriptions. similarly, internal comments indicate that ameridose was the subject of at least 18 adverse event reports. they were cited in 2008 for
producing a compounded version of the pain reliever pmentanel that was more than 100% stronger than the standard level. what was happening at necc during this time period was unfortunately, an example of a larger problem across the country. in an effort to understand better the risk posed by increasingly large drulg drug compounding companies the f.d.a. undertook surveys of compounded drugs in 2001 and 2006. in each of those surveys about one-third of the drugs sampled failed one or more standard quality tests. in 2006, survey of sterile injectable drugs 33% of the samples contained either not enough or too much of the active drug ingredient.
between 2001 and 2011, f.d.a. documents indicate that at least 25 deaths and 36 serious injuries including hospitalizations were linked to large-scale drug compounding companies including 13 deaths in 2011 alone. between 1998 and 2005, f.d.a. documented at least 38 deaths and 210 injuries from drugs that were contaminated, mislabeled, or caused overdoses because they contained more of the active pharmaceutical ingredient than indicated. these included the deaths of six infants and children, and at least 18 other children paralyzed, burned, hospitalized or suffering from other severe reactions. and these numbers likely understate the actual number of adverse swreants veants because current law unlike what we have in this bill, does not require reporting of adverse
events. so our bipartisan investigation concluded that large-scale drug compounders continue to pose a serious risk to public health. at the time of our final report in may we had identified at least 48 compounding companies that had been found to be producing and selling drugs that were contaminated or created in unsafe conditions in just the proceeding eight months since this outbreak. 48 compounding companies we found. selling drugs that were contaminated or created in unsafe conditions. so i guesses guess what i'm saying, if you follow this, this has been going on for some time but it kept getting worse and worse and worse as more and more of these large-scale drug compounders found they could -- quote -- "get away with it." they could just "get away with
it." at that same time, ten drug compounders had issued national recalls because of concerns about contamination. 11 drug compounders had been ordered by state licensing agencies to stop producing some or all drugs. so our investigation concluded that in order to reduce the serious and ongoing risk to the public health from compounded drug products, it is essential that a clear statutory framework be enacted that requires entities compounding drugs outside of traditional pharmacy practice to engage in good manufacturing practices and to better ensure the sterility and quality of their drugs. so we develop this bill, the dqsa as we call it, to address the regulatory gaps that we identified in this investigation investigation. under the legislation before us, large compounders like necc or any other compounder that chooses to operate outside of
traditional pharmacy practice have only one legal option -- they must register with the f.d.a. they must follow good manufacturing practices. they must tell f.d.a. when their products hurt people. and otherwise they must follow the manufacturer requirements that apply to outsourcing facilities under this bill. if they are not traditional compounders and they do not meet the requirements for outsourcing facilities, our bill says f.d.a. can shut them down immediately. so the drug quality and security act is a carefully crafted bill that not only responds to the necc outbreak but to the root causes that i've gone over that goes back almost two decades that really kind of led up to this tragedy. so it's good bipartisan policy. i pointed out the other day in my remarks -- i'll point out
again here -- that it has wide industry and consumer support. the actedthe academy of nutrition and dietetics, the american pharmacists association the chamber of commerce of the united states, u.s. chamber of commerce large drug manufacturers and also again consumer groups. the center for science and democracy, center for medical consumers and others. so both consumer and industry support. so mr. president, i wanted to take this time to lay out the background and why this bill is so vitally important. and i will also point out that the house of representatives passed this bill on a voice vote. voice votement vote. and now we have it here at the desk and it is basically addition it's the same basic bill -- it's the same bask bill that we passed out of our committee on a anne unanimous
bipartisan vote out of our committee. and here we had last night a 97-1 vote on cloture to proceed to this bill. 97-1. that had to be an indication that this is an important bill but one that has broad bipartisan support. so now under the rules of the senate, we have 30 hours of which i'm now. taking my part of one hour. i don't intend to take the whole hour. so then we go 30 hours. then we get on the bill. and if one person then, this one person continues to object well i guess we'll have to file cloture on the bill. that will take two days to ripen. two days for cloture to ripen. then we'll have yet another vote on cloture on the bill. i assume we'll get 97-1. then we have another 30 hours after that and then we vote. i think that takes us to sunday, if i'm not mistaken, if we stay
here. again, this is not really part of what i wanted to talk about but i think again it's important to note this is another reason why i -- i and i can only speak for myself -- why i have supported a change in the rules of the senate since 1995. we cannot continue to be a 21st century country, to be a major world power and operate under 19th century rules. and regulations. it's just not right that one person one senator -- any senator; i'm not pointing fingers at any one i'm saying anybody, any one any one senator -- in the face of a bill that is not only vital for the health and safety of the american people but which has broad bipartisan support that one person can tie up the senate for literally a
week or more through procedural roadblocks. that's why i say we -- we -- we need to do something about the rules around this place. again, if this is a contentious issue, well, i can see the need to slow things down. this has to do with health and safety of the american people. a lot of time and effort went into this bill by republicans and democrats f.d.a., c.d.c. pharmaceutical companies consumer groups. that's why it has i think such broad support. so i would hope that -- that we don't have to go through all this. but if we do, we do. there's no doubt in anybody's mind that this bill will pass and it will probably pass on a 97-1 vote. but why tie up the senate for all this time? why put off the signing of a
bill that will get things in motion to protect the health and safety of the american people? so i hope that -- that we can bring this to a resolution, have a vote up-or-down on it. quite frankly, i think we'd probably voice vote the bill. i think we'd ask unanimous consent. but for one person, then we can voice vote. well maybe then there's an objection. maybe we do have to have a roll call. if someone wants a roll call, that's their right. but at least let's vote on the bill and get it out of here, mr. president. that's the least we can do to protect the health and the safety of the american people. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: thank you mr. president. last week i came to the floor to discuss the negative impact that obamacare is having on the people of new hampshire and i shared dozens of compelling stories from my constituents who are telling me that they're seeing their coverage canceled
and they are seeing their premiums rise. mr. president, these sad attorneys to continue to arrive in my in-box every day. and these are real people, and they're having great difficulty with not only the web site, but structural problems that exist with the law itself. they deserve to have their voices heard here on the floor of the united states senate and i will say that as one of my constituents said to me, lives in new hampshire are depending on it. last week president obama said he was sorry to those who are now receiving cancellation notices but a simple apology falls short because the structural problems we are now seeing with this law including the cancellation notices that too many of my stitch rents are receiving, are problems that many in this chamber even before i got elected to the united states senate, warned about before the law was passed.
here are some of the stories i want to share from people in ham and how they're being impact by this law. jeanne and meredith wrote me she was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 1/2 years ago. she was laid off her job after 21 years and then went on cobra. she traveled to mass general in boston to receive care and when her coverage ran out she worked with her insurance agent to receive coverage that sheacd ford and that wouldal -- that she could afford and that would allow her to continue treatments without any interruptions. she's now told me that what she has worked out and the plan she had has been canceled. she wrote me, "i like my plan and i not only liked my doctors i consider them my lifeline. if i purchase a plairnd the a plan under the exchange i lose access to all my doctors in boston and i find i will also lose my oncologist in nashua, as well. this can't be happening.
lori in littleton wrote to me and told me that she and her husband were recently notified that their plan would be casted. and she said, "we were shocked that the cost would be $400 a month more than we are currently paying. this is way beyond our budget. so we began to explore the so-called exchange to shop for all of our choices. once again we were very frustrated to learn that new hampshire has a monopoly with only one carrier on the exchange exchange." what i've also heard from my constituents is concerns that they are receiving notices that their premiums are rising as a result of obamacare. sarah in new castle wrote me that her premium for a high-deductible plan that complies with obamacare will be double her current premium. moreover sarah said that she will no longer be able to go to portsmouth hospital, my primary
care physician gynecologist eye doctor and children's pediatrician are also excluded from the a.c.a. plan that i will be forced to purchase by the end 2014. she finished the letter she wrote to me by saying, "no my family is not better off with the a.c.a.a." john in peoplebrook wrote "the new law is called the affordable care act. what a hurtful joke that is to hardworking americans. my existing policy is being canceled. after i called anthem to inform them they must have misheard the president and other supporters of the a.c.a. they told me that my existing policy did not meet the standards for the new law. i was shocked. the new higher plans from anthem in the best-case scenario are more than double my existing plan. david in nashua wrote me. recently he saw his coverage
canceled like soon others. he wrote "when working with anthem to get a plan that will have the closest coverages and plan services with similar deductibles and co-pays, i was disheartened to learn that it will cost me an additional $110 per month about 40% more than i was paying. -- than i was paying." he continued. "to get comparable services to what i had it will cost an additional $45 per month. all i said is i am looking at an increase of $150 per month. david said he's looking at a 50% increase in costs and an additional $1,800 per year. he said to me, this is grossly unacceptable, has been misleading from the words conveyed by the president and down right frustrating to have to deal with such a problem.
a couple from amherst, new hampshire, me wroa and said, because of the affordable care act, our health insurance plan is being canceled and the least expensive plan, either within the exchange exchange or outside of it will more than double our cost. the least expensive plan we can obtain will increase our monthly premium from $582 to $1,183 per month. our annual premium under the new health care law will increase from $ 6,984,000 to $14196 an increase of over 7,000 per year. they further wrote to me, "president obama promised us that if we liked our plan, we could keep it. but ours has been canceled. president obama promised us that if we liked our doctor, we could keep our doctor.
president obama promised us that under the new health care law we would save $2-b,500 but our premiums will be increasing by over 7,000 a year. another couple contacted me saying that their rates will double and cost them an additional $7,000 per year. they wrote, "we are both in our second careers and in our 50's working hard and doing two jobs. blue-collar couple who are very healthy, under the so-called affordable care law. our rates are going to double." scott from concord wrote to me, "i currently have a great family plan through my work. this plan costs me $240 per month. on january 1 this plan will cost me $600 per month. i can't afford to pay such a high premium. now i am forced to get a plan that has a 50% g