tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 25, 2014 3:00am-5:01am EDT
could explain that we have a medical emergency. a nurse arrived after my mother had been on the ship floor for what american physicians are estimating to be 15 minutes. the nurse had a radio but no defibrillator and no medical equipment when she arrived. she examined my mother and then she waited for a gurney to arrive. she did not initiate cpr. my mother was taken into the medical facility, located within a distance that my father and myself could have carried her, had we been told. they had to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and the computers and prepare the tiny examination room for the resuscitation process. they set up a portable defibrillator. after four cycles, her pulse did return. nevertheless, the duration of time that she went without oxygen approached 32 minutes.
once resuscitated, we were instructed to leave the ship. we did not have the option to stay. my father went to his room with personnel to pack his bags and carnival sent their personnel into my room to gather my belongings. they made us stay on the gangway and after we got off of the water taxi, we had to wait on an ambulance to come and get her. one carnival employee accompanied us but no arrangements were made with customs to expedite us as a medical emergency. we were all processed as tourists, including my comatose mother. the carnival employee gave my father the telephone number for the port authority and left us completely alone in a foreign country to find our own way to transport my mother back to the united states for additional medical treatment.
carnival's current contract states that they are not responsible or liable for anything involving the welfare or safety of its passengers. the company makes no assurances that a physician will be available on a cruise. and it states that medical care, in fact, may not be available at all or will be delayed. the contract also states that carnival is not responsible for the actions of physicians and nurses whom it considers independent contractors. as it turned out, my mother's cardiac event was the type that had she received cpr in a timely manner, she would be here today. my mother died needlessly because humane emergency protocol was not followed or enforced. the contract was too small to read. the general public does not understand all u.s. rights are
surrendered to carnival upon entering that vessel. had we known, our family would have never boarded that ship. we offer the following recommendations to improve health care. we know that some of these items are included in the cruise vessel security act, safety act of 2010, but we have been informed, also, that the medical requirements of that act have been very narrowly interpreted. our recommendations would be to modify the 2010 act to add a section on general medical care with the following requirements. aed machines, defibrillators should be placed throughout each ship with locations clearly designated and discussed during the initial safety meeting. cpr training and certification should be a requirement for all
personnel on the ships. personnel must be trained on how to respond to medical or emergent situations including alerting and summoning medical assistance in initial response to aid of passenger and family. the english language should be a requirement for personnel on these vessels that have united states ports of call. at a minimum, all personnel should be able to understand key words such as emergency, help, doctor. 24-hour health care is necessary, given that the ships carry several thousands people per cruise. the ship's physician must be present and available to treat passengers or must be on call for immediate response in the event of an emergency situation. doctors must have united states medical board credentials and emergency medicine, internal medicine or family medicine and
have add least served practcome. there have been standards to adopt these standards and more, however, carnival has nor virtually all of the standards that they agreed to to implement their ships as a member of clia. this must change for the welfare of future passengers. my father and i greatly appreciate the opportunity to tell my mother's story, our experiences, and our recommendations before this committee. thank you. >> no, thank you very much, miss butler. just for the benefit of the members of the committee, what amanda butler has been talking about, in part, is i would have to lose 60 years off my present life length and have triple
strong glasses and probably a magnifying glass to be able to read what you're talking about. >> yes. >> i mean, i gave it to bill nelson and -- well, he's getting older, too. i mean, you give up your liability. you have no idea that you're doing that, one, because you can't read this thing. i'm breaking protocol and i apologize. you give things up, you don't know what. you can't possibly read this. when you're buying a ticket, you're in a hurry. that's the whole point, and in this is your whole trip. >> right. >> so to speak. and it's just, to me, deceitful, easy to correct and unnecessary. >> if you don't mind, could i make one more statement, senator? >> yes. >> carnival is suing my father
and myself over $1200. literally. for the lack of medical care that we received after they dumped us off on an island completely alone. you do give up all of your rights. my mother was loved and the hot tropical sun and she did not have a chance because of the way that they treated her medically. >> i thank you. and i apologize to my colleagues for interrupting the protocol. kim ware was a passenger on the carnival triumph that caught fire in 2013 and was stranded for four days, which i really want to hear about. i don't know how one gets stranded for four days on a cruise ship. >> chairman rockefeller, committee members, my name is kim ware. i am from houston, texas.
i am the mother of five children and three grandchildren. my family and i have cruised many times. we love cruising and i naively had never given a thought to the possible dangers onboard a cruise ship. being weary of the cold in february 2013, my boyfriend ed and i booked a last-minute cruise on the carnival "triumph" to enjoy some sun in moex co. for the first two days of the trip, everything went as planned. as we went to bed on the second day, we had no idea what was to come. the passengers of the carnival "triumph" would be adrift at sea for four days living in horrendous conditions. in the early morning hours of our third day at sea, we were awakened by an emergency announcement that sounded ominous. ed quickly went out to our balcony where he saw a great amount of smoke coming from the back of the ship.
we immediately knew it was a fire. fear overcame me immediately, as during our muster drill, the crew had repeated over and over that fire was our gravest danger when at sea. shortly thereafter, the cruise director informed us that there was a situation in the engine room. there was confusion among the passengers as to whether to go to the muster stations or not. several hours later our worst fears were confirmed. there had been a fire. it was out but we were dead in the water, no power. eventually the giant ship began to list and, as you can imagine, this caused a great deal of fear among the passengers that the ship was going to capsize. it was soon very clear that carnival cruise lines had no plan in place for such a disaster. they were essentially winging it. conditions aboard the ship began to decay quickly.
there was no electricity, we had water intermittently, we were informed that the sewage system no longer operated. all passengers were given red bio bags to use instead of the toilets. as passengers, understandably, did not want to use the bags, all public toilets onboard the ship were quickly filled to the top with human waste. the sewer system quickly backed up and came out of the shower drains and, later, red bio bags lined the halls filled with feces. the stench was terrible and sanitation onboard the ship was nonexistent. i was one of the fortunate passengers who had a balcony cabin. the unluckily passengers who had booked inside cabins had no access to fresh air or sunlight. these passengers were forced to move their families to mattresses in the hallways on
upper decks or on to the lounge chairs on the pool deck where sheets were quickly raised as protection from the sun. a tent city was born. these passengers suffered the worst hardships. it was very disconcerting to see the elderly and young children in these circumstances. i couldn't help but wonder if the elderly had enough medicine with them, had the parents of the babies packed enough diapers? the crew was doing its best to provide us with meals. however, passengers waited hours in line for food. hoarding food became a problem as people were concerned that food would run out. i witnessed many heated arguments among passengers over food hoarding. the buffet no longer looked clean. people who had not bathed in days were handling server utensils and food. with the unsanitary condition of the food service and the sewage problem, it is a miracle that a massive viral outbreak didn't
occur. i was constantly in fear of becoming sick in these conditions. we tried to stay out of the public areas as much as possible. in truth, the entire ship had quickly become a refugee camp. i was very concerned that violence was going to erupt as passengers struggled with these living conditions. there seemed to be no security at all. at night, the ship became very dark and i never saw any type of security patrolling the ship. as time slowly dragged on, the plans to get us back to shore kept changing. first we would go to progresso and then flown out and then the plan was for tugs to take us back to houston, and the finalstition was tugs would pull us into mobile, alabama. this decision was made with no thought of the passengers on board. going to mobile caused the passengers to endure the miserable conditions aboard the triumph for an extra 24 hours. with no way to communicate with my family and days adrift at sea, i felt as though the cruise
would never end. i finally broke down and cried. upon return home, the only communication i received from carnival was a letter with a $500 check and a refund voucher towards a future cruise. this seemed to be inadequate for the danger that i was put in on the "triumph." after being home a while, i realized i had put my trust in the cruise industry with no knowledge of what would happen in the event of a real emergency situation. i now know that carnival sent the "triumph" out with only four of the six generators working and with knowledge of a potential fire hazard in the fuel lines. i wish i had known these things prior to setting sail. i feel that the cruise ship industry has a duty to provide not only a great vacation for passengers but to ensure their safety at all costs and to impart the upmost care when an emergency arises. information should be made public of problems akerring on
cruise ships so future passengers can make educated decisions on which lines to travel. further, passengers should have the right to pursue compensation for any wrongdoing on the cruise industry's part. cruising is a wonderful way for families to vacation together. however, cruising needs to be made safer for all u.s. citizens. my hope is that congress will pass legislation to insure the cruise industry abides by strict standards for passenger safety so that a future disaster of even greater magnitude aboard a cruise ship can be avoided. thank you for your time. >> thank you very much, miss ware. i'm going to start questioning to be followed by senator wicker, senator nelson if he comes back and senator begich and senator blumenthal, who's a 29--year-old attorney general in the state of connecticut, and one of the most astute
questioners i've ever listened to. but you're last. so be patient and stick around. last year i -- i have a big question for you, miss butler. last year, the major cruise lines adopted what they call a passenger bill of rights. now, we've done that in the airline industry and we pretty much enforce it. one of the so-called rights is one of the so-called rights is that passengers have the right to, quote, full-time emergency medical attention as needed until shore-side medical care becomes available. that's their language, not mine. and a few weeks ago, senior representatives from the cruise line international association, which i refer to as clia, told myself that cruise lines have
the duty to provide passengers competent medical care. my question to you would be, would you say that the care provided to your mother and in the first iteration it was full-time emergency medical attention is needed until assure that full-time medical care is available and all of a sudden it became competent medical care. so my question to you is, was the medical care provided to your mother competent? >> no. they did everything wrong. we were expecting that one of the security guards would step forward to initiate cpr. instead, they waited at least ten minutes to even call for someone to come down and look at my mother's body to, see if she was breathing or not and in that case she was not breathing.
she did not have a pulse. and to top it off, the infirmary was closed so we had to wait, literally, for them to turn everything on. they had to unlock the defibrillator, the aed, out of a closet and then plug it into the wall. they had to set up their own hospital while we're standing there waiting and my mom's not breathing. it was horrific. and completely unacceptable for american citizens. >> now, in your mother's case, carnival claims that it has and had no duty to provide medical care. no duty to train or supervise medical staff and no duty to make the sick bay available. further, they claim no duty to provide medical equipment like a basic automatic external defibrillator machines.
so, miss butler, when you brought your ticket for the cruise, did you understand that if you accepted medical care provided by the cruise line, you would be doing so at your own risk, at your own cost and that the cruise line would deny liability for the quality of the care? >> we had no idea. we couldn't read the font it was tiny. you had to click the link and check yes, i agree, to even print the ticket but you couldn't see what they were trying to hide and the average layperson, we're a humble family from mississippi, we didn't own -- we don't own a magnified glass and we weren't going to print it off and try to figure out what their legal jargon, or lack thereof, was hidden in the contract. >> plus, you assume a certain
level of responsibility, right? >> yes. yes. >> you all have -- senator begich and blumenthal, do you have this in your folders? i'd just like to have it passed to each of you i've circled the word liability and it's unbelievable. i can't read any of it. >> neither could we. >> at the beginning of the voyage, to provide safety information at a, quote, muster drill to help passengers prepare for an emergency, like a fire or a wreck. this information helps passengers prepare and no what to do in the event of an emergency. my question for the panel, many of you experienced emergency situations that you were unprepared for.
did the cruise line discuss any information about what to do in a medical emergency? i'm asking any of you. >> senator, no. in my situation, no. the cruise line did not. >> and in our situation as well, senator, no. and it would be very simple to simply just add, oh, by the way, our medical infirmary is on ya-da, ya-da floor. we had no idea where to go. >> the obvious question is, if you had this information, that might have helped, right? >> if we had the information, we could have saved her life. you know, someone should have given her cpr. >> okay. well, i've got more questions but my time is up for my first round so i go to senator begich. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and i appreciate the
opportunity to have you all here today and thank you for sharing your story. let me ask you, and i think you gave some suggestions, if i remember my line-up in my writing here. you had suggested aed machines should be more available? tell me what you mean by that. >> we've been told that carnival does have defibrillators, aeds, but they keep them locked up because they are afraid that the passengers may steal them. >> okay. >> so -- >> and your comment about cpr training to make sure that employees or all employees or employees related to security or help me understand what you're thinking there, too. >> at the very least, security when people are coming back on board from excursions. >> and there is part of the proposal that the chairman has
is that information is made to potential passengers or customers. let me ask you a question. when you were researching your desire, was this your first cruise or second or -- >> we had been doing this for years. >> so you're a cruiser? >> used to be. >> alaska, we have a lot of cruise ships so i understand. when you go look for a cruise, just tell me how you go about that when you want to go. >> i'll be honest, i have a cousin that organizes our family reunions so she picks it out and we all basically chip in to buy the tickets. so -- >> do you -- maybe i may not be able to ask you. maybe i can ask one of the other two. i'm trying to find out, when you go online -- i have not done a cruise. i am very familiar with cruises, let me make that very clear, with over a million passengers coming to alaska, from the small cruises, big cruises, princess, disney, so forth. i've been on many of the ships
but have not done a full-scale cruise. when you go online to look up what you want to do, do you -- in your mind, are you looking for not only what your location is, what you're interested in, but do you decide, geez, i want to know how safe this cruise is? does that come across? is that one of the thoughts that you have? >> you assume that if you're leaving out of a u.s. port, that you have u.s. healthcare -- well, safety, period. it was just an assumption. >> here's where i'm trying to go and anyone can answer this and i appreciate the chairman's piece of legislation. but in it it talks about putting a lot of the information on the department of transportation website. my question is, that is not
where you would go to if you were going to look up a cruise and think about the safety of the cruise. i mean, if it didn't -- you see where i'm going, in other words? >> yes. >> if you're going on to a cruise site and you think you want to go on to a cruise to the mediterranean and you wonder how safe this cruise is, is your first thought to go to the d.o.t. website? >> no. >> where would that be? >> i think all of us would go to travelocity, expedia, things like that, but the assumption with travel is that i thought the safety was in place. i thought a corporation as large as carnival, you know, with the reputation, i just assumed that they would have great safety measures in place on ships of that size. i was naive. >> no. i understand that. i'm just trying to figure out -- what i'm worried about, and i've told the chairman this, adding another layer of information but then the customer has no idea where that information is.
>> maybe they could put something on expedia saying go to this site for -- >> i'm trying to figure out what is the better -- >> well, definitely every cruise line needs to have an updated reporting on their website and in regards to the transportation, to me that would follow along with airline or train or if i was a consumer looking for something that involved all different types of transportation and incidents that occurred but the regular consumer may go to that royal caribbean and carnival website or even a travel but you should be able to know what type of crimes when you're planning your family vacation. the television ads give false presentation about let your kids go and do what you want to do on a cruise. i think the different crimes need to be reported and i feel all of them need to be reported, not just if they are open but if they are closed. >> do you think that should be the case for all types of transportation?
>> i don't know. for a family -- after what i've learned for -- what i didn't know, because i had the false sense when i left out of san pedro, los angeles, i thought i was taking all of my rights with me and didn't know it was flown under liberian flag and that's they were the ones the law was under. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, senator begich. senator blumenthal? >> thank you mr. chairman, and thank you for championing this bill which i am very, very proud to co-sponsor. thank you for having this hearing which gives us an opportunity to really not only express our support and sympathy but also to make you a part of the crusade for this legislation which will really, in a sense, make something good come of your horrific experiences. and i have a family who is a
constituent family in greenwich who suffered very tragically a loss that in some ways is reminiscent of yours, a loss that is still with them. george smith iv vanished, literally disappeared sometime overnight going into july 4th of nine years ago. he remains missing since 2005. there was blood on the ship when it went into a harbor. the crime scene was never secured, let alone adequately investigated. his death remains a mystery today. much to the understandable consternation of his family. his death is with us still in connecticut. it is a grievous reminder that
the rights of people who suffer as victims of crime while at sea are completely and inadequately protected, as miss dishman, you have reminded us so graphically. that's the reason that these kinds of limitations on liability make a mockery of the implicit promises that are made to passengers on cruise ships, that they will be kept safe. that's the minimal obligation that a cruise ship has to its passengers, to keep them safe. it can't guarantee that they will be happy, that they will always be celebratory, that the weather will always be good, but to keep them safe is a minimal obligation. in each one of your instances and examples, cruise ship failed in that basic obligation, and passengers were left without remedy. and without hope of real
recovery and in your instance, ms. butler, what happened to your mother may well have been avoidable and unnecessary in its ultimate consequence. you have my special sympathy in that regard. so we are really trying to impose minimal protection on cruise ships. that's the purpose of the cruise ship passenger protection act. it imposes standards of decency, standards of minimal, basic decency and fair dealing on cruise ship lines. i'd like to ask you ms. butler whether you have taken legal action. i note in your testimony you consulted with an attorney, and
he advised you as to where you had to file suit and some of the basics of the law in this area. i wonder whether you have taken any legal action. >> yes, we have. some attorneys have picked up our case. >> has he indicated to you the obstacles because of -- >> death on the high seas, it's literally david versus goliath. and we're david. >> and passengers not unlike yourself are not only an island as the chairman indicated, passengers are not only on an island in high seas but it's a lawless island. >> exactly >> ms. dishman, if i may ask you, have you taken any legal action? >> yes, i did.
>> has your lawyer advised you as to obstacles that are in your way because of the inadequacy of the law? >> yes, and i -- i experienced several different challenges and things that occurred in regards to my case. >> and ms. ware and mr. grisham, let me ask you the same question. i know you're an attorney. let me ask if you've taken action on behalf of your client. >> indeed i did. my client's case was settled for a handsome sum, i must say just recently. i would comment on ms. butler's situation, i litigated a similar case for seven years regarding anoxic brain injury for a 36-year-old third year medical student from ohio, who collapsed
on a treadmill on board the ship in the presence of a fitness center director, who took no steps at all to resuscitate her, and there was a factual dispute over the length of time she was down without any defibrillation, and there are international treaties that require crew members to be trained in cpr. the position that the cruise lines take is the training is only advisory, they're not required to use it, and it's discretionary as to whether or not they want to use it and federal maritime law is that they're not legally responsible if they don't use it. and they didn't use it in this case, and this young woman who a a brilliant career ahead of her essentially lives the life of a vegetable today, with no recovery. >> thank you. ms. ware? >> yes, i have taken legal
action. and i did not know by sign ing that ticket i was giving up all my rights according to carnival for compensation. >> mr. chairman, again my thanks for having this hearing. i'm going to ask that a letter from my connecticut colleague congressman heinz be entered into the record in support of this legislation, and that concludes my questioning. i'm out of time, but i really want to thank you again for being here today. thank you. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. there are a lot of questions, a lot of questions. the -- you know, the thing that amazing me is you have a very profitable industry. they make a lot of money. they are very popular, but i
think their popularity will continue to increase. many people have a pleasant experience. they pay virtually no taxes in the united states, even though they're based in miami and a couple other places. everybody thinks they're getting on an american ship, but they're getting on a panamanian, or it's always registered in some other country where there are no taxes and there is no sense of accountability or responsibility, and i say to myself why is it that they are so resistant to making some basic changes on things which are so obviously going to come back to haunt them? we understand that, you know, 90% plus or whatever of the -- whether it's a 3,000-person boat or a 6,000, and i think they're now building them 6 to 7,000
passengers. why, if you are making the money, you don't have to pay tax, you don't pay the coast guard for when they come to bail you out and drag you -- or when the fbi is involved, you don't pay them. they have a free ride. they make a lot of money. they have a very good future, so why not, as a matter of business sense -- forget humanity for the moment, but just as a matter of business sense, wouldn't they take steps to clear up some of these problems we've been talking about? i mean, i remember when my wife and i -- i had never done cpr, and our children were in high school. we went and took a lesson in cpr, which i got through, and i think probably three days later i couldn't have repeated what i did, because there wasn't a focus. there wasn't the same focus,
because it was all -- something that might or might not happen. why don't they make these voluntary make these things? why don't they inform you? and on -- i remember -- i've said this a number of times in this committee, i come from a state with a lot of coal, and coal is a dangerous occupation, but it's one where miners can be kept safe if you ventilate the mines and you pay attention s operators for the most part don't, they just get the coal out, and the miners take their losses and get black lung and die from black lung. but the companies continue to be profitable. i don't understand why the cruise industry doesn't spend the money to fix some of these
problems, because it would inure to their benefit, and would protect them from people like me and senator blumenthal and other others who would make them do what they should be doing and force them to do -- they just push us away. they don't want to talk. they don't want to discuss, just like they didn't want to react to any of your situations. in modern society, if you're in bankruptcy, you know, that argues for not doing anything, but if you're not in bankruptcy, you're making a lot of money and these are really good people that you have, why wouldn't you do that? i simply don't understand that. that sense of frustration s. the sort of corporate mentality stuff you're from the federal government, don't do anything about this.
what you're doing is talking about regulation. well, yeah, we do regulation, and we did it on the airlines. when pilots were flying way over their limit of being alert and they had a big airplane crash in lackawanna, new york, wravr wherever that is. and a lot of people were killed. and the pilots had gone, you know, a long time without sleep. so we put on requirements. they have to have before they get on an airport to fly, they have to have an eight-hour sleep. if they don't sleep, okay, they don't sleep, but they have to have that time to be able to sleep, with the time on each side to prepare and to get up from that. that's not a -- if that's government running rough shod over an industry, that is just not true. it's just not true.
it's common sense protection of passengers. the airlines are the safest thing you possibly can run on. you wouldn't know that reading international news recently. you stay away from certain countries and airspaces, but i don't understand why they won't do it. so the one of the reasons we've had this hearing today and you've been patient enough to put up with it and answer questions and tell your stories, is to put certain colleagues on this committee in a position where they need to help. and one of our colleagues said, well, we should -- this is a separate bill and you shouldn't attach it to the coast guard bill. everybody knows that the coast guard bill is a bill that you've got to pass. the cruise ships want the coast
guard bill to pass. but if you separate them, the coast guard bill will pass, the cruise ship bill will get flushed down the toilet. so you don't allow that to happen. you hold them accountable. it's done in life, it's done in business, it's done in family situations. you have to take responsibility. so i've got a lot of questions here. but i don't feel the need to ask them, because most of them have been in part responded to. this whole idea of a hotel versus a city, you know. it's mystifying. when we had our last hearing,
with the representative of clia, which is their lobbying organization, sat right where you are sitting ms. ware. you may want to move, and just dismissed it all. we're doing everything we possibly can. people have a responsibility for their own safety. well, that's true, but you know when general motors is discovering that when certain things don't work, the entire nation gets interested, they're pulled before congress and they have to end up paying a whole lot of money to change their ways and to learn how to run a company with the consumer in mind. i'll give you one final example. people often dismiss people who are trying to help consumers, protect consumers.
this committee used to be kind of a commerce committee. it was more business oriented. now we have tried to make it people oriented, consumer oriented, that's what it's meant to be. i give you this just to contemplate, because it sounds so stupid, but it affects people's lives directly. it's so nasty. people move, so they call a mover. not in all cases, but in some cases the mover comes. and they sign a contract. they load all of their belongings onto the van. the mover goes five miles and goes into an alley and calls them up and says we're going to triple your price. sorry about that, we're going to triple your price, you have to pay us three times than the contract you signed. you can go get a lawyer if you want, but you're not going to get your furniture back, because you don't know where we are. it's a horrible thing. you just don't let that stuff
pass by so we're making life more difficult for them and better for the consumers. i don't know. i mean you all made a trip, with good spirits, with good thoughts, with enthusiasm and ran into terrible problems, and there was nobody to help you. if you had been going on a little row boat, that would have been something, but you were going on a huge corporation's ship who had all the experience and the wherewithal, the money, to solve your problems if you ran into them. but they just didn't. the tent city concept that you were talking about. i mean, that's famous throughout the world, because it was such a vile thing to do to people. corporations have to be responsible.
this committee exists, as do others in other areas to do over sight, to find out if they are carrying out their businesses properly, with care some mistakes can happen, we understand that, but when there's this attitude of just neglect -- and i was asking be hind me and i'm not sure of the answer, but i sort of remember the last hearing, that when you signed the ticket with that invisible print, that in many pages, you give away the liability and all the rest of it, your ability to have recourse, but i believe -- and if i'm wrong, but this is what i remember -- it was in the signing of the ticket. after your signature was on the ticket, it was then that you were able to not take, you
know -- you were able to take the sticky covering of the next page which had that liability clause, which of course you weren't going to look at and couldn't read it even if you decided you wanted to, and then you could see it, if you could see it. it's awful behavior, if it was true. i'm not saying it was true. i remember that is the case, but i may be wrong. but i don't have to be right about that. because what happened to you was just simply wrong in a modern society in corporations that are doing well, or are on the upswing and have every right to want to make people have a happy experience and make sure that they do. everybody knows that not everything works out the way it should. there will be problems. you know, four days waiting, stranded, a mother who didn't
get any attention, and a 15-year-old girl who gets raped, in your own case. i mean, it's just -- you don't let stuff like that pass. particularly if it happens with a certain degree of consistency. so that's why we've had this hearing, and it's all in the record. everything you said is all in the record that bill, if we're going to pass a coast guard bill, which i tell you those cruise lines want, because they need that coast guard, and our coast guard is so broke, it has ships that are very, very old, but they're still functioning and still used by the cruise ship lines. the minority leader asking, why
can't we do them separately? he had a very clear purpose for asking that question. he knew if we did it separately, the coast guard thing would pass, the cruise ship wouldn't. it's my job as chairman to make sure that we don't play the game that way. so i just want to totally thank you, one, talking about experiences that are not comfortable to talk about, doing so in a forthright way, for educating this panel, and believe me just because not all the members are here, a lot of the staff is, and it's always the staff that really counts. if you've got good staff, you'll be a good senator. if you don't, well -- so i'm not going to carry this hearing forward, because i think the points this need to be made have been made. that's because you have made them clearly and with firmness
>> what rough questions about what the framers had in mind. questions about whether the activities that had been found out but the committee and the senate water gate committee were indeed impeachable. and thirdly can we prove richard nixon knew about them and even authorized them. water gate, 40 years later.
also describes threats from terrorism and cyber attacks. the bipartisan policy center hosted a forum on the report and national security. including comments by the homeland security committee and the director of the national intelligence. this is three hours. >> thank you all so much for coming today. we appreciate you all being here. i'm the director of the homeland security project at the bipartisan policy center which is a non partisan, bipartisan think tank founded by four leaders, who today we're here to celebrate the birthday of the 9/11 commission report but i'd be remiss if it wasn't also bob dole's birthday. so we're happy to celebrate that
as well. on behalf i'd like to say thank you for coming. we're going to be hearing more from cathleen hal jamison. and they are team. my mother was killed on september 11, 2001. it was a bit of a different day for me and the other members, many of whom are here in the room. my mother was lost. janice ashley's mother is here. abraham scott who lost his wife is here. and for us the 9/11 commission report was a bit of an end of the journey, not just the
beginning. for the members in the room, their journey started in early 20 2003. but for 911 families our journey started much sooner. i remember distinctly. i have a thing for dates. so it was january 30, 2002. and where he -- i was returning home to boston from d.c. we'd been fighting or i should say nicely, advocating on behalf of other family members with some lawmakers about issues relate to the victim compensation fund. and i was reading an article in the newspaper on the flight home. and the article said that president bush wanted to only have investigation into the intelligence failures surrounded 911, and not anything else. and i thought, i was just an average ordinary citizen who suddenly got caught up in a terrible tragedy, like so many others on september 11th. and i could understand why our government wouldn't want to investigate all that had happened simply to make sure that it never happened again.
we fought for many months. having an outdoor rally in june didn't immediately send off warning bells to us that it would be really warm. we had a number of lawmakers there and i remember watching them. they were just suffering in the heat and yet they were troopers. it was clear they knew what they were doing and they were there to support our call for independent investigation boo the attacks. i'm sure we all remember many meetings with many members of congress, some went very well. others not so well. again, we were not experts in how washington worked. so when we were told no, our answer was well, why not? i remember distinctly having a conversation with one member of congress, where i said, well, i don't understand why you won't investigate my mom's murder. if i pulled out a gun sp shot you right now that the police would do an investigation.
that was a mistake. his staff got a little tense and i had to explain no i'm not saying i'm going to do that. we are just saying we don't understand what the difference is. i never did that one again. we had meetings in the white house, where with very high senior level officials who i don't think are used to be asked why not. they had to get used to that with us. and one of my favorite meetings, i know the other 9/11 family members will laugh about this when a number of congress hid in his office because he didn't want to talk to house and we told him he could hear him breathing behind the door. so that was the process. and you can imagine when we finally did create it it was signed into law the day before thanksgiving in 2002. and that was the beginning again. and this time we had to meet the commissioners. they were saying who are these people?
and there are a few bumps along the way. but when we got introduced we knew we were in good hands. and of course we met the rest. unfortunately bob kerry and john layman couldn't be with us today but they stand behind the report we're releasing today. we knew we had a great team of people. and i have to say ten years ago and at the beginning of the 911 commission i never could have imagined i'd be standing here today and be so honored to introduce these remarkable americans, these individuals who not only came together 12 years ago to start their investigation into 911 and ten years ago to stand behind a unanimous report. but they are still here today. they still know it is their duty as citizens to do whatever they can do make our nation stronger and safer and more secure. and i'm honored to be able to introduce them all as they release that you are new report.
with that i'm going to invite governor cane and congressman hamilton up to the stage to give a few remarks and we'll open it up for q and a. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. carolyn mack has been the spark plug for this whole thing. thank you for everything you have done. so good morning and thank you all for oncoming this morning. wore hear to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 commission report. a document that led to major reforms in the way we do intelligence in the country. but we come together today to present to the public a new paper authored by all ten of our 9/11 commissioners.
first i want to thank my co-chairman lee hamilton and all the commissioners. i'm sorry a couple of them were not able to be here today. but eight of the ten are here. and they are a remarkable group of people. most remarkable group of people i've ever had the pleasure to work with. and all of ten of them agree by the way with -- five republicans, five democrats agree with every word in the report we're presenting. a special thanks to the bipartisan policy center. they are the home for our homeland security project for almost six years and grateful for their roles in making this whole report possible. we're grateful to katherine hall jamison of the policy center who
generously supported had project and made important and substantive can contributions along the way. those who helped in the drafting of the document and also other former 9/11 coalition staffers who voluntarily pitched in to make this report possible. we a also want to recognize, and carey already recognized it and we should talk about it a lot the contributions of the leaders and the families of 9/11. we're humble by every you have done and the fact that here you are once again today. we used to refer to you as the wind in our sails and ten years later you are here with us again and we're very very grateful. last fall we talked about how to observe the 10th anniversary. first how to get ourselves together and then the idea maybe we could do something useful.
so we app all wanted to look back at our own work ten years ago. and there may be lessons which washington is poisoned by bipartisanship which allows us to do almost nothing somehow. we also believe very strongly that the one area where no partisanship should ever exist is in protecting this country. and where he have to have bipartisanship in that area. the paper released this morning is a result of 8 months of thinking and spirited conversation. to better inform us we reached out to many of our countries most senior current national security officials. everybody we reached out to was cooperative, helpful and frank and honest.
and informative. we came away from that experience with renewed admiration for very dedicated public servants. we held separate conversation with each of the leaders and yet as you will see in our report we were instruct that there was a broad agreement among these leaders about what the current problems were facing the country and some of the solutions to attacking those problems. that is represented in our report. we hope we succeeded in doing our paper to amplify for the public what the common threads where and the consensus in the intelligence community on the problems. at this point i'd like to ask not just my co-chairman in all the efforts but my close friend lee hamilton who was instrumental in every one of these efforts to talk for a minute and summarize what we learned, the key points of the paper and then we're going to invite our floe commissioners answer questions.
i'll hit the highlights in each of these areas. we begin by saying the government has done a good job, not a perfect job over the last ten years protecting us over terrorist attacks. we've experienced tragedies like ft. hood and the boston marathon bombings but not suffered anything at all like 9/11 and the magnitude of that attack. our military and intelligence forces have done great damage to the afghanistan and the core that attacked us, killing osama bin laden three years ago. these really are significant achievements. we are concerned, however, that attention is drifting to other matters, that the country may be suffering from a waning sense of urgency with respect to the terrorists attacks. it's imperative we guard against that.
despite our achievements, the threat of terrorism exists today. al qaeda spinoffs that share its extreme ideology and hatred of the united states have proliferated and are now operational in more than 16 countries. of great concern fanatical state of iraq and syria which conquered much of iraq slaughtering thousands along the way. territory expands sanctuary for terrorists and increases the threat to the united states and the west. while that group is a growing threat over the last months and years, it's accelerated advances suggests the world has become an even more dangerous place in the last few days and weeks dozens
of americans and those of syrians traveled to join in the conflict of the danger is very real they may redirect their battlefield skills they have acquired and return to our shores to attack us. al qaeda in arabian peninsula possesses advanced bomb making stills which have now been passed to extremists in syria and iraq. that poses a serious threat to us in particular commercial aviation. homeland terrorism, lone wolves radicalized over the internet is another danger. while 9/11 recommendations centered on how to protect the
country from terrorism, recent conversations with a large number of security leaders have highlighted another major threat to the country. that is, of course relentless cyber attacks from foreign countries and criminal elements. the vast stealing of intellectual property over the internet pose a huge national security challenge. our cyber defenses and strategy lag bin the threat we face. in the cyber realm. in the last 10 years scale of government data collection has boomed. data collection and analysis are violation tools preventing terrorist attacks. but effective counter-terrorism must be balanced against civil liberties. vigorous oversight of collection activity by congress and the
courts is urgently needed. it is the government's burden to explain to the public what is being done by the government and to persuade the public that the tools being utilized are absolutely necessary and that a balance is being struck between security and privacy. congress's committee structure for overseeing homeland security continues to be dysfunctional. we use that word in the report. it was not originally our word. it came to us from members of congress in key positions. the splintered jurisdiction is episodic, inadequate and threatens our national security. this dysfunction lasted far too
long. our friends at the public policy center and justice society of the aspen program have run in recent days this add in the newspaper giving you the flow chart, if you would, of oversight. some 90 committees roughly had oversight over homeland security. that, of course, is completely unacceptable. on the positive side director of national intelligence and national counter-intelligence center are ensuring various intelligence agencies work together. there has been improvement there. that's progress. as tom noted, the report reflects on how we did our work a decade ago. calls for bipartisanship often go unheeded. we hope that our reflections point in the direction of how our political leaders might come
to agreement on the difficult terrorism challenge we face today and in the future. surely our political leaders can forego their political polarization to better protect the united nations and all americans. in many ways we are safer today than we were a decade ago, but the threat continues and is urgent. the generational struggle, which we referred to in our original report against terrorism has entered a new phase and the world is a -- remains a very dangerous place. we cannot let our guard down. now i would like to turn to other members of the commission for any comments they would like to make, and i will call them as they are ready to proceed.
governor thompson at the end. >> lee, thank you. chairman kean, thank you. first i'd like to say that participating in the work of this commission has been one of the greatest honors of my public life. not only the challenge we undertook but men and women who went to work on it as lee said in an extraordinary bipartisan fashion, which leads me sometimes to a sad place. it's appropriate we're in washington today. as i think everyone on the stage would acknowledge, it's almost embarrassing to contemplate that the congress of the united states that protected this nation since its birth cannot seem today to protect the
american people to come together to enact those laws which everyone must conclude and which bear no partisan label. i accept that our nation is divided perhaps by party, perhaps by philosophy on issues like abortion and gay rights and taxation and highway programs and all of the other things which the congress deals but surely, surely there is no republican or democratic position making sure people who come to the united states with terrorist ambitions don't stay here and plot a biometric program who is here and harbors animus toward our nation. i don't understand that.
i don't understand why the congress of the united states has not come together on the issue of cyber security as mentioned. every american has either had an experience where they have been hacked or the people whom they deal have been hacked. we all had to change passwords or get a new credit card. if we haven't experienced it personally, we've certainly read about it. is there any reason in the world why the congress cannot enact comprehensive cyber security law to protect us not only from the criminal hackers but from the terrorist hackers. and from nations who give
comfort. i'd like to see the congress of the united states put aside the nonsense, appeals to the base, preening around and come together to protect this nation. that is the first obligation of government. the first obligation. nothing else can be done for this country if we are not secure. and to this point the congress of the united states is failing us and failing us badly. >> thank you, jim. other commissioners? >> tim roemer? >> i'd like to say briefly three things. first of all i'd like to
recognize the extraordinary leadership of tom kean and lee hamilton. from the very first meeting that we had on the 9/11 commission when they pledged to do virtually everything together, never appear on a tv show without the other one. there are lessons to the rest of us to the eight other commissioners were extraordinarily profound. that we had been attacked, that we had lost almost 3,000 of our citizens and we were going to get to the bottom of it and work across partisan lines and produce a report that would make america safer. all the way through lee and tom showed this great leadership for the commission and for our country. i also want to say to my fellow commissioner, i've been blessed with a lot of different
opportunities to be serve our country. whether it's been in congress or overseas, i can't think of anything that has touched my heart, my soul, my brain, and learned more than from the people that i've worked with over the past 10 years. i salute you all. thank you for your leadership for our country. also i just want to recognize the 9/11 family members. the people who helped us create the 9/11 commission and look w the 9/11 commission and look into what happened and why. and if mary and carol and abe and carrie and all of you hadn't been there to hold people accountable, us accountable, our congress accountable, the white house accountable, we wouldn't be sitting here today. and we wouldn't be safer.
and who knows if we would have been attacked again if it hadn't been for all of you getting on planes and trains and literally in the middle of the night and coming down to washington, d.c. from your homes in new york and connecticut and all over the country to help make our country safer by breaking down these barriers of partisanship and politics and campaigning rather than putting our national security front and center. so i want to again thank these 9/11 family members that have made extraordinary contributions to our country. second, i just want to say that the challenges that the united states of america faces today to understand, to be proactive and to be smart about the changes taking place in the world before
we are attacked again is one of the most important lessons in our report. we have isis taking over large swaths of territory in the middle east, syria is an incubator for terrorist training and hatred around the world. people starting to come back from these training grounds into the united states, al qaeda now, pre-9/11 they were in a few countries, now they're in 16 countries around the world. this is a new dangerous phase that the united states of america is entering into. and so our congress, our white house, our policymakers must work together to understand these very significant challenges to the safety of the united states. jim mentioned cyber security and how important that is. we have a litany of different areas that our policymakers must
pay greater attention to. and last, as a former member of congress, someone who served in the great midwest for six terms, someone who believes that as our founding fathers called it the first branch of government. and sadly, today, it's the last branch that people in our country are looking for to solve our problems. that cannot be the case as we see these challenges of cyber, of isis, of al qaeda poised and ready to attack our country again and possibly create another 9/11 type of attack. so we encourage congress, and we'll have a panel on this, to take this seriously, to reorganize the massive bureaucracy that they have on the department of homeland
security that is bigger oversight today of what we have for oversight, i believe, for the department of defense. a $500 billion defense program with a smaller number of committees overseeing it than the department of homeland security where we have 92 different committees and subcommittees fragmented, dysfunctional and potentially destructive to our national security. with that, again, i look forward to the question and answer and appreciate the opportunity to speak to everybody. >> thank you, tim. any other commissioners? fred fielding. >> let me just say one thing, and again, i hope that you get a sense of the pride that this
group has because everyone always asks, how did you reach uninymity on your report when you looked at a committee that was bound to fail, splitting it evenly in an election year, how did that happen? and i think you can dpget a sen of how it happened by listening to the eloquence and warmth that comes from the members of this commission. this was a universally wonderful experience for all of us and certainly one that gave us a lot of pride and also was very, very rewarding. i want to mention one thing, because this happened before and it will happen again if i don't say this. and that is, the list that we have of recommendations as the list we gave before is not a list to pick from. these are things that each has
its own individual importance and each cries out for resolution and study. and so as you look at our report as you did before, and look at the recommendations, we didn't do this just to fill the space. every one of those is important. and again, to my fellow commissioners and to co-chair, thank you for a wonderful experience. sdplz thank y >> thank you, fred. other commissioners? if not, we will proceed with the program. thank you very much. did you want to say a word, jamie? what? questions from the audience? okay. i thought you wanted to make a statement. let's open it up for questions. okay, we'll begin here, and please speak up into the microphone, if you would, please.
>> thank you, chairman. the -- in covering this issue for the last 10 years and watching -- >> identify yourself. >> i'm sorry. j.j. green, wpt national security correspondent. in covering this issue for the last 10 years and watching how the world has changed since then, it occurs to me that in the last few years, things are happening faster. more things are happening faster. so the question that i have is based on a conversation that i had with general flynn from dia about a year or so ago when he told me that moore's law doesn't apply anymore, the law of technology that says things change every two years, it seems as though it's every two months. how does that affect the challenge that's facing the nation's leaders in terms of protecting the u.s. against these rapidly evolving threats like isis and others?
and i'll take the answer from anybody. >> we're going to proceed under rules which allow me to answer the easy questions and i'm going to give the tough questions out here. so we'll start with the commissioners here. that's a tough question. tom? >> the answer is you got to be more nimble than you've been before. bureaucracies, any government bureaucracy is by the nature of that bureaucracy slow in action. that's why it's called a bureaucracy. you can't afford that anymore in homeland security. you've really got to be nimble. the idea that when we wrote a 9/11 report 10 years ago, we didn't mention cyber security. nobody even mentioned cyber security in our deliberations, as i remember. it was not a big problem. now it's a problem every single
person we interviewed said should be right up front. and not only right up front but dealing with it properly. the world is dhachanging as we speak. we said in our report the most -- if a -- iraq became a failed state, it moves to the top. in the last few months, we've seen iraq become a failed state, basically, so it moves right to the top. it's constantly changing. in our congressional oversight, we have to be more nimble here than we are in almost any other area because it's going to change all the time. there are new terrorist groups now that didn't even exist 10 years ago that we've got to be concerned about. there are new weapons we've got to be concerned about. there are new explosives we've got to be concerned about. the answer to your question is
we've got to have our best and most nimble thinkers in this area of homeland security and they've got to be willing to use what we call in our report imagination. there can be no more failures of the imagination. we have to get ahead of these guys, not behind them. >> jamie? >> i would just add two points to tom's very good answer. as fred said, we didn't present a menu of things that we think need to be done. we think all of them need to be done. and right up there is the reorganization of the oversight of our homeland security process. when i was general counsel at d.o.d., the chairman of the joint chiefs was in a regular dialogue with the oversight committees in the house and the senate. two of them. and the chairs and ranking members of those committees knew what he was thinking, and he knew what they were thinking. we don't have that with regard to homeland security. you couldn't do that if you
wanted to. we'll have an opportunity to talk to chairman mike mccall on the house side in a little while, but i think it is -- if you look at the chart that lee hamilton held up, it would be impossible to have a sense on the executive branch side of what would be acceptable in congress in a short period of time with the structure that we have. so the agility that tom talked about is critical. you need organization on the executive branch side, but you also need a fully armed partner on the congressional side, and i don't think we have that. >> governor thompson? >> as to the rapidly evolving technology, we all understand that. and what is useful today may not
be useful tomorrow and things we can't even imagine now may be coming along. i'm sure they will. but what we're looking at is a framework within which government in the private sector can accommodate each other's interests in preventing cyber attacks. does the military of the united states or nsa possess knowledge, experience that can be useful to the private sector, to our banks, to our utilities, all of whom can expect some kind of cyber attack because it's happened before. well, the answer to that is yes. do we have a framework in the united states where the military, the nsa, other
branches of government can sit down with the private sector whose interests are vital to the welfare of the united states and work together so that everybody is protected to the extent that current technology will allow? and the answer to that is no, we don't have that. and why don't we have that? i don't understand. there can't abe republican or democratic position on this. i can't imagine that. is something that the congress is doing today more important than that? well, please tell me what it is. so i think that's one of the answers, too. >> tim roemer? >> just quickly, your question is very important. i think the speed of change today is comparable not to a bullet train but to a speeding bullet, almost literally.
and we're seeing now terrorists that used -- 10 years ago terrorists used to go to training camps in the northwest territory of pakistan and be trained and radicalized and potentially go to their targets. today they're radicalized in months or weeks over the internet. so the speed of change, the speed of radicalization, the speed of cyber technology to attack our banks, our c-17 programs or f-22 programs and steal information in our security is incredibly rapid and quick. so as tom said, we cannot afford to have bureaucracies put in washington, d.c. to fight these nimble networks. we need networks to fight networks, not bureaucracies to fight networks. >> i'm going to the audience now for questions. go back here.
please identify yourself. >> ken meyer. prior to the attack on 9/11, the group supposedly responsible had received aid from us back when the soviets were occupying afghanistan. today we are associated with groups of a extremist nature. look at who took over libya after we bombed the hell out of it. probably we have facilitated the rise of isil through our training of the sort of insurgents we hoped would take over in syria. i get all concerned that we are facilitating the growth of groups that will, in the end, prove to be our enemy.
>> the sensational commissioners are being very reluctant on that one. >> i think if we had been a little more nimble in our facilities in dealing with the issue in syria, we might have prevented some of the more radical anti-administration in syria forces from gaining the strength that they have. but we deliberately chose not to encourage those who we thought were, quote, moderate, unquote, if you can apply that to a military force fueled by idealogy. we didn't give them the weapons
that our military, i think, thought they should have. and so while there may be some truth in what you're saying, i don't think it's appropriate to go back to the aid that we gave in afghanistan encountering the soviet threat. my guess is that that's too long ago and too far away and doesn't have a lot of relevance to the challenges we're facing now. >> senator gordon? >> 10 years ago, this group decided that it could be of value only if it looked forward more than backward. and in our report, we did not criticize individuals or administrations for what had happened in the past by the use
of 20/20 hindsight. i think as you look at what we're doing here today, we've adopted the same philosophy. we give oa good deal of credit, and i think the credit is deserved, to the response of our country and of our administration to 9/11. and we have not had another 9/11. we emphasize, however, that the challenges changed very, very substantially. there's already many answers on the threat of cyber security. but our recommendations look forward saying how we can be safer in the future, how we can deal with these challenges in the future. and it's only by looking forward rather than backward with criticism that we can be of value. we hope that congress takes our
recommendations seriously and acts on them seriously. but it will do that best by looking forward rather than backward. >> one thing to have in mind in the question raised is some very nuanced areas is that we, looking forward, need to learn from history. and i suppose the question of support to the moja hadine in opposing our then rival and enemy, the soviets, is instructed in that. once aid is given, once weapons are transferred, there is no guarantee about how they would be used. and so i think that has proved
instructive in the current situation so that letting go of arming and arming various factions does not guarantee how those arms and training will ultimately be used in an area that is so intensely nuanced and difficult to predict. >> your question points out to me just the complexity of the middle east. there are so many different groups out there. there are so many cross currents that are taking place, so many shifting alliances that it's a very difficult thing to keep up with it. there is no one in the united states government that wants to facilitate an enemy. but you're caught in an exceedingly complex world.
every day i pick up the paper and read about support the opposition to syria. there are 1500 opposition groups in syria. well, you sort through those for a while to see who is going to help you and who is not going to help you. which we've been trying to do for several years, of course. so it's a complexity. i'm told we have time for one more question. i'll have to go over here, okay? >> good morning. lauren bedulo for business executives for national security. the changing nature of the threat you identify highlights the importance of information and intelligence collected domestically and disseminated domestically. who is in charge of domestic intelligence and how do state, local and federal law enforcement fit into your findings? >> well, you raised a very good
question, and it's something which we have talked about. there is far more sharing 10 years after our report than there had been, and that's very good news from all quarters that we've talked to. we hear good marks given to the integration of material in sharing information. the state and local authorities are the greatest area for enhancement force protection. so while there have begun to be greater efforts made to share information, more needs to be done. as we say in our report to bring state and local authorities into an integrated national approach. so it is something we've talked
about. we're headed in the right direction. there is more to be done. >> we'll be hearing shortly from the director of national intelligence, and there has been, as richard says, a lot of progress here. the intelligence community, as you all know, is a very vast community. billions and billions of dollars, many, many leaders, and the extent of integration in the last 10 years has really been quite remarkable. so there is much more cohesion than in previous times, but it's a work in progress, and we have to keep working at it. who is in charge of the intelligence community is a question that invites all kinds of answers. the director of national intelligence, we believe, has performed his function very well, has done a lot towards integrating the community, coordinating the community, and he will be speaking to us very shortly.
i think that's our time up for questions, carrie, we'll turn it over to you to get moving along here. thank you. [applause] >> so at this point we're going to transfer into our first panel, so i'm going to invite all the commissioners to come off the stage, please, except for jamie, since she's going to be leading our discussion. we're very pleased today to be joined by chairman mccall. i'm going to leave it to jamie to do a proper introduction of the chairman. but i did want to just say a few words as we make the transition that this panel is about the state and evolution of the current threat. as many of you in the room know, the homeland security project at the bpc has started an annual series of reports assessing the threat called the threat assessment. last year we released the first one. it was authored by peter bergen, bruce hoffman, eric suthers and mike hurley who is here as well.
we plan to release a new one with peter bergen this september. we obviously, based on the report we released today and the work we've been doing the past few years, realize that the threat is evolving. and we know that our nation needs to make sure that it's evolving its counterterrorism measures accordingly. no group is doing that more thoroughly than the house homeland security committee. not only are we joined by the chairman, chairman mccall, but we're also joined by members of his staff who are in the audience. we want to thank them for their hard work at keeping our nation safe and secure. we know that they often do it without being recognized, so we're glad they're here with us today. i also want to thank the members of the 9/11 staff that are with us here today. there are a large number of them. many have gone on to continue serving their country in a wide range of positions, and we're just so glad they could take time out to be here to honor the report that they worked so hard on 10 years ago. and with that, i'm going to turn
it over to commissioner jamie gorelick to introduce chairman mccall and then begin our discussion on the state and evolution of the threat. >> thank you, carrie. we are really honored to have mike mccall with us. there is really no one better suited to discuss the issues that we raised in our 10th anniversary report. the chairman is a 10-year veteran of congress representing a really robust and interesting district in texas. he has a background that is really quite perfect for the role, at least in my view, since i'm a lawyer and a former justice department official, and he served in that department with distinction and is quite familiar with some of the mechanisms by which we keep our country safe. so thank you, mike, for being here and for helping us think through some of these issues
today. >> thank you. >> i think i'd like to start where we -- where the conversation just left off and put on the table this question of who is responsible for protecting us in a very complex environment. in our report, we made a couple of observations as lee hamilton just said. we talked about the success as we see it of the director of national intelligence structure finally getting to a place where there is cohesion among the agencies. we talk about the importance of the collection of information in a world in which intelligence and intelligence analysis is really our best tool to dealing with a threat. we talk about the national counterterrorism center which brings together that information and which is quite successful. and i think we also talk about
the modelling that the president does for his intelligence agencies by personally calling them together on a regular basis to share information with him and with each other. so those are the observations in very brief in our report, and i'm wondering if you could comment on the state of our integration and the robustness of our ability to protect ourselves. >> thanks for having me here today, jamie. let me thank the bipartisan and policy center for holding this. members of the commission, i read their report. the report after 9/11 that the commission gave 10 years ago was, for the most part, implemented, and we'll talk about some of the pieces that were not. and i want to thank the members of the commission for this report here today that i think members of congress will take back to the hill. i want to thank them for their resounding endorsement for the current united states congress
as well. we can talk about that -- >> it's bipartisan. >> i also want to thank jamie for having me. she, as you know, was deputy attorney general for the united states. i was just a lowly lying federal prosecutor at the time at main justice, but i remember she was very much a force within the department and did a great job, and it's an honor to be with you here today. now on, i guess, an even level. back then she was way up here and i was ray doway down at them in the public integrities section. if i can just start by saying that everything i have attempted to do in my committee, in fact, everything we have done legislatively has passed unanimously. and i think that is important. i think governor thompson made the great point that this is an area that should not be a partisan issue. wh
whenwh it comes to protecting t american people and saving lives. so whether it's the bill that will hopefully be passed unanimously in the next month, or whether it's our border security bill which, if you've read the papers lately, there is a bit of an ongoing crisis down there. that will hopefully be part of our supplemental coming up. that also passed unanimously. i believe that's an important factor, because as many said, al qaeda doesn't have any partisan affiliation. they have one thing in common, and that's they want to -- they have a deep-seated hatred for the western united states, and they still, unfortunately, want to kill us. the threat has evolved. when i first got elected chairman, i landed in washington. they said, chairman, there's been a bombing in boston. and i think the boston example sort of illustrates a new sort of evolving threat that we are seeing in terms of
radicalization over the internet, in terms of smaller scale operations. the good work the 9/11 commission did, i think, stopped by connecting the dots and using imagination, as you alluded to, stopped a lot of these larger scale attacks like a 9/11 style attack. that would be very, very difficult to pull off in today's world the way the intelligence committee is set up and the homeland security department. i think these small-scale attacks, very difficult to deter and disrupt, and probably more likely the evolving threat you're going to see. and then isis, which has been talked about extensively, this marriage, if you will, between aqap al asiri, the bombmaker, and the force we're seeing now in iraq and syria with isis is a huge threat. the secretary will tell you the biggest threat to the homeland
and to the aviation sector. so i think that's going to be very important for us to focus on. the safe havens -- and i'll just stay with this because i know you want to do a lot of q and a, but people ask me, are we safe? in some respects we're safer thanks to the good works of the 9/11 commission. we have implemented the majority of those recommendations. but it's an evolving threat that in some respects we are not safer because al qaeda owns more territory now today than it ever has. in 16 different countries, as you heard, all these different affiliates, al-shabab, al-sharia. it's important how al qaeda says isis is too extreme? imagine the dayan an al qaeda affiliate would say it's too extreme for al qaeda. that is easy to demonstrate a
califate, as they call it, in iraq. i would say in terms of safegrounds and safe havens, it's easier to access, and i think the key point to these fighters is they have claimed legal travel documents. we have 100 americans, we have thousands of europeans, we have australians in there. and they're poweriuring in every for the fight. and some people will tell you who they all are. i will tell you that we don't, with a high degree of certainty. with that is a threat not only to western europe but also, i think, to the united states. so there are so many threats. i can talk about cyber for probably 30 minutes, but cyber, one of those things that keeps you up at night, because you know we have tremendous capability to shut things down. that capability in the wrong hands like iran, which has already tried to shut down our financial institutions, that they're out there, that the
chinese are stealing through espionage. we've had the largest transfer of wealth ever, according to the nsa director, in the criminal ip theft. we just picked up a russian who was indicted in seattle, washington. billions of dollars of intellectual property theft, credit card theft in the united states. this is a real threat. i hope this bill that we got out of committee will pass in the next month, because it's something the country really needs right now. >> let me go back for a moment to the situation in iraq and syria where you have observed that there are probably thousands of european fighters and in the neighborhood of 100 or so american fighters there. if an individual bearing a u.s. passport or a european passport where they gain entry to the united states via the visa
waiver program can travel here with impunity, what are our resources for, a, identifying those people, and b, stopping them? and do we have both the legal authorities that we need and the capacities that we need? >> that's an excellent question. i think one reason you haven't seen a large scale 9/11 style attack is that we've gotten pretty good at stopping the enemy from coming into the united states. most people think of tsa as the guy who checks your bag at the airport, but tsa does a great job in the intelligence community overall stopping threats from coming into the united states. this is going to be key. number one, how can we identify these threats in syria and iraq? either al nizra, which is tied to aqap, or isis, who has intents to harm the u.s. you have to start first with intelligence. i will tell you our human
intelligence is not where it needs to be on the ground in syria. we're getting better reconnaisance as to where these actors are, but in terms of identifying them on a personal case-by-case basis, i don't think we're where we need to be. you saw recently the restrictions on travel in terms of the screening has been ramped up in certain foreign airports, the ones most likely to be you'd by these foreign fighters to identify a certain category that would fit the terrorist profile for additional screening with respect to certain devices. that's about as far as i can go into that subject matter. i believe that's going to be effective, but remember, we can't sustain that vigilance for more than several months and then we have to ramp things down. what i'm concerned about is when we do ramp things down again is when they decide to make their move. they're very good at backing off and waiting and then making a move. so the visa waiver, you mentioned that, i think that's
something we need to be looking at, because they can travel freely and easily get into the united states. these bombs -- this is -- these briefings are very eerie. when you get briefed on the, really, level of expertise they have in bombmaking and they really haven't given up. they have not given up on blowing up airplanes. it's amazing to me. and they have this tremendous expertise to build types of bombs that could potentially get through our screening, these non-metallic ieds, they call them, like the underwear bomber. so stopping that is very, very difficult. i think precautions are in place now at the foreign airports, but we can't keep that height of vigilance forever. >> let me return to the question of organization. tom and lee showed this chart
which is a bewilderring chart showing the construction of the overhead chart from the homeland security. lee was, i thought, nicer than he needed to be on this subject because he doesn't know that we complained about the department of homeland security having 88 committees and subcommittees to oversee it, and now it has 92. this is directionally wrong. presumably, you would be the recipient of a consolidated jurisdiction. so maybe this is an awkward question to ask you, but is it achievable? is it possible that we could have the same sort of structure for homeland security than we do, for example, with defense? >> i'll be speaking at the aspen institute on saturday on this very topic. i appreciate the commission's leadership on this and calling
attention to an issue that i honestly have to deal with every day. it's very, very frustrating as a chairman of a major full committee, but at the same time to be so handicapped many times. you show the chart. policywise, we all know it's the right thing to do. politically is the problem. jurisdictions are holy grail. other communities don't want to give up their jurisdiction. but the ripest opportunity to get this done was at vthe very beginning, and unfortunately it wasn't. we talk about the executive branch siloing information, not working together, but i think congress is just as, if not more so, guilty of that. my cyber bureau has more committees, which causes me to negotiate with other committee chairmen. one chairman can hold up this
cyber bill until just recently. the program that governor thompson referred to because judiciary also has a referral, has stopped that legislation from coming to the fore. i think it's counterproductive, i think it's destructional, and that hurts the american people. we can't pass legislation that can protect them, and in addition, the oversight issue, reporting to almost 100 committees and subcommittees, how in the world can the secretary who -- jay johnson, who i have great respect and admiration for, but how can he do his job when he's constantly preparing for testimony? and he's got a very important job, and this whole lejts laigi district. why doesn't the committee on homeland security have jurisdiction over the entire department of homeland security and not have to deal with all
these offshoots? we are passing authorization bills, this congress, to demonstrate to leadership how many other committees these bills will go to. and it's a spiderweb kind of like that chart. so an authorization for even cbp or an authorization for ice and demonstrate this is what happens to this legislation. and i want to conclude with this, because this is a very important point. if you can imagine the department has been around for about 10 years. this department has never been authorized by the united states congress. has never been authorized by the united states congress. every other department in the federal government has been authorized by congress except for this one. i think that is shameful. and that is embarrassing. and shame on members of congress. i intend and plan to offer for the first time a full authorization bill in this next congress. and we will see how that plays
out. but i hope that will demonstrate the problems, and i hope that mr. hamilton, you and your colleagues on the commission, can help us with our leadership to demonstrate why this is important. this is not about me trying to have some power-grabbing jurisdiction, it's trying to make things more effective and efficient to protect the american people. >> i would make a couple of comments myself and then move on to the next question. first comment is that nearly every recommendation that we made was implemented by congress imposing a set of changes on the executive branch. and we were very appreciative of that. the only ones that were not implemented had to -- would have required congress to impose similar changes on itself. and that is just not right. and this has real consequences. when i was deputy attorney
general of justice, i knew what the chairman and ranking member in the house and the senate of my oversight committees thought, what their reaction would be to actions that we were taking or contemplating, and that helps with the agility that we were talking about as so necessary to protect ourselves. it is not possible, i don't think, for the secretary of homeland security to test the waters with only the committees on homeland security in the house and senate. and as hard as you may try, it is difficult for you to get each of the other 91 committees to see the whole and the importance of the whole and the tradeoffs that occur at the very top so that the department can
directionally move in a co hees i ha -- cohesive way. that would be my comment on that. i want to turn to data collection. we've had a period of debate following the snowden revelations in which the debate has principally been about how much should we fear the government and what it is doing? and to be sure, our report says that there must be robust oversig oversight. and it seems to me, and this is just a personal comment, though it seems to be reflected in our report, that what is sometimes missing in that debate is an appreciation for how much intelligence keeps us safe. and i'm wondering if you could comment on that, on this occasion of the 10th anniversary of our report. >> yeah, and thanks for your contribution on that. i think with the former chairman of the house intelligence committee here, perhaps you want to answer that question.
i fear the terrorists more than our government, but i know it's more in vogue to say you fear the government the most. i think, as you know, we have stopped many terrorist plots through getting good intelligence by listening to foreign terrorists in foreign countries. there's been a lot of misinformation about the data collection program. but when i was on the sunday talk shows and i was asked about all this, i actually applied for fisas. at that time i didn't envision all the phone numbers in the nsa. so it kind of spooked a lot of americans. with our fisa reform bill, we