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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  September 15, 2009 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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>> it's just not as numerous as it is with the chinese. it's a little bit harder to identify. how far, when you look at russian society, you see the role of hackers increasing in their heroism, their public image. there was an old soviet film where they had a genie come out of the bottle and the genie met this young kid and this young kid would show this genie of all the benefits of the soviet system. they have updated that version now and when the genie comes out of the bottle, he meets a hacker and the hacker shows how corrupt
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a lot of society has become and that there are a lot of benefits that could be gained by the use of cyberissues so they put a whole new spin on this ancient and very popular soviet film from the past. certainly, with when we saw in astonia and then in georgia, we know that there are groups of people who are interested in hacking. if you were reading foreign policy, there was a man who came out with some description of kremlin, of bloggers. we know that there are -- these weren't the people from the kremlin. they wanted to gain some type of notoriety. you know there are a lot of people who are interested in hacking. if you really want to read -- you know, they have their own journals. there are hacker journals. there's a lab developing viruses
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all the time. so the issue is alive and well in russia and they're doing an awful lot. and i would imagine because they really think issues through quite well, in my opinion, they have probably really thought through what it means to have a cyberattack and perhaps that's why there's such a push in the international arena by them to try to organize an information society and some of the rules and regulations within the u.n. certainly, a supporting reason is the fact that they're behind. i mean, that's certainly a supporting reason. whenever you're behind if you can throw a legal clamp on something, that gives you the advantage. >> i might add, the u.s. cyberunit came out with a paper on russian cyberwarfare against
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georgia. i think the executive summary is available unclassified version and it lays out clearly the case that these hackers were working on their own or with the russian military. not the government, but they clearly were working with the military according to this and organized crime which is a significant factor on its own right to attack georgean cybernetworks during the war. i don't know more than that but it does suggest some coordination at some level between the hacker community and the military command. >> yeah, actually i wrote about that. that study is coming out tomorrow on world politics. i thought it was very interesting. it outlined connections with western organized crimes and they were using social networks in the united states to recruit people and i thought that was an
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insightful observation. i think it's hyperlinked, but it is available. >> i'm sorry just one quick follow-up. why is there a differentiation associated with the military and not the government. everybody sort of puts that caveat in. and aren't they the military aren't they have the acquiescence or the support of the government? >> the operations were timed in such a way to be coordinated with the military offensives with georgia but there's no signs they were coordinated by the government and the military command and these hackers -- i would suggest -- 'cause i'm summarizing the newspaper accounts of what i read. i haven't read the whole summary yet. but the unclassified executive summary is available at the two websites richard and i have given you which talks about this.
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it gives you a lot of food for thought as to, first of all, the way that they use cyberwarfare but also some of the social networks. if you like of the russian military, the hacker community and you feel organized crime. >> just mill me if you want a copy and i can send it to -- back as an attachment. >> yes. my question is, you actually mentioned a few things they are doing in the area of cyber. but basically what we are talking -- we are talking about the cybercapabilities and what the russian military are actually using by themselves as a cybercapability. so what extent do we know anything about it? and how big is that 'cause we
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know even if we don't anything, we know a little about the american capabilities. they are huge. and we can certainly be the subject of attack. how much the russian military go through this kind of activity? >> uh-huh. the activity itself is something i don't know much about. that certainly is in the classified world. the theory part i can tell you quite a bit about. first of all, the russians -- there seems to be some sort of common ground between the russians and the chinese in the sense that they really believe that in order to attain a strategic advantage, and maybe i shouldn't include all russians, but several that i've read, you have to prepare the ground for your cyberattack. and the way you prepare the ground for your cyberattack is in peacetime you do reconnaissance. and you recon everything you can about a system. so that would be the preliminary
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step to gain a strategic advantage in case there was ever the need to kick off an offensive. your cyberattack would, as the chinese say, allow victory before the first battle. if you could take down certain sites and networks. especially, if you could interfere with logistics. on the other hand, you know, this business in peacetime, we don't see that much happening from the russians. i mean, really we see most of it from -- if you look across the international arena, most of the accusations are leveled against china. angela merkel, australia, mi5 in england, the israelis, south korea, taiwan, canada, you know, the list goes on and on. people who have accused the chinese of doing some type of reconnaissance ahead of time and trying it sort out vulnerability. there certainly seems to be more
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evidence on the chinese side than the russian side. the only thing we see on the russian side is the need to what they call -- and i think there's an honest debate going on in russia right now. the debate is over, should we or should we not prepare a common -- what they call information space that everyone can access. so that everyone in those agencies can access so they have the same systems and nomenclature and the terms and the understanding is the same. and the reason they're having this debate is because the question becomes, what's the end use of this thing? and they're very good at trying to come up with an end use before they actually do it. so they're asking one another, what's the purpose of this. i understand that it helps coordination, it helps us talk and everything but is there actually a use for it out there. so there are some really interesting debates going on in russia and china at this time. the interesting thing for people in the cyberrealm, i think --
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and a lot of people don't pay too much attention to foreigners. we're so focused on ourselves right now and the problems we're having or seem to be having in the cyberarea, that they miss some of these really interesting discussions that are all open source. i mean, you can read about them in the paper, you can talk with the russians, you can talk with the chinese about them. there's some really fascinating discussions going on right now because it really does matter for the future of a lot of folks, especially in the economic sector, that seems to be the one that has the greatest concern of everyone, i think. so i hope that answers your question or comes close. >> in light of the reconnaissance, do we see domestic links in the u.s. to carry out these attacks? >> well, as the cybercontingency
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report indicates, they were able to connect into social networks in the u.s. in order to strike at georgia. not having read through the whole report, i couldn't give you specifics as to that. but we see on a global phenomenon -- on a global scale, rather, the phenomenon of hackers getting involved in conflict situations of one sort or another even if they are, let's say, third parties and they are not directly involved. so, for example, there was -- there's been reporting that arab hackers have attempted to strike at israeli systems and these are hackers that are not in gaza. beyond gaza when the israelis attacked gaza at the end of 2008.
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so it's not unthinkable that you could see something like that in the future as there are signs of it already in the present. and again, the russian orchestrated an attack on astonia. it's clearly an attempt by an outside state to leverage developments in a domestic -- in the domestic affairs of a state with which it is at peace. and the same with the russian-orchestrated attempt to take down another place and threaten the leader if they didn't play ball with the russians we have ways, you know, of making your life very miserable. >> okay. if there's no questions in the audience, i've got some on c-span which i'll read out loud. first question is, did the russian incursion into georgia
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occur as a result of u.s. recognizing and giving kosovo to the muslim faction in the former yugoslavia and in bold, did the u.s. advise georgia to proceed with its actions. >> can i take the second question first? absolutely not. we never gave georgia a green light to do anything. a lot of russian propaganda has alleged this. it's quite clear that the leader acted in defines of u.s. advice. secretary of state rice privately told him to sign a nonuse of force agreement. publicly we gave no encouragement to attack and so that's just a kinard that was raised by russian and pro-russian sources. the russian government claims the kosovo serves as a precedent. now, obviously you can make that case if you want to. i don't think the reason that they attacked georgia in 2008
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and i'm on rub publicly as having said that the war was a provocation despite the disorder that characterized russian planning, that the leader fell into the trap because of kosovo, but rather because of nato enlargement and because of the fact of the immense antagonism between the russian government and the leader personally as well as georgia, so i don't believe -- there are others who would disagree with that. that kosovo and other recognition of kosovo independence was directly responsible. indirectly i think it plays a role because i never saw a really compelling rationale for recognizing kosovo for independence except the fact that the u.s. and the russians were tired of garrisoning the place and they wanted to show them their opinion doesn't count
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much. that doesn't set well in moscow. no russian government does not like to know that their opinions does not count in the balkans. there's a lot of historical evidence of that. even if that's the objective case that some would organize. as far as it being a provocation that, yes, we can go into georgia and truncate its territories and bridge its sovereignty, i don't think it's a direct precedent but it's a great pretext. >> i don't know how many of you have had a chance to read anything that andre elaniarno wrote. he used to be a putin economist. at least it gives you something else to think about. one of his quotes that really pertains to this -- the proclamation of kosovo's
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independence of 17 february moved war preparations into the home stretch. on the day before vladimir putin stated if kosovo declares independence it will be a signal to us and we will respond to our counterparts actions and protect our interests. we will not be apish. we have our own homemade products and know what we will do. so, you know, he makes the point if that's prime minister putin on the record that there was a little bit stronger statement by them way back in february and his point is that between february and april, war preparations were kind of set up between 20 april and 28 july, he calls it low intensity war where we had the russians shooting down the uavs in georgia and there are a lot of local skirmishes. there are a lot of people pulled out of different agreements. and so there was this so-called low intensity issue. and then i don't know how many
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of you saw or read the exercise that went on just before the war, but the russians openly stated -- i think it was 15 july and 28 of july if my memory serves me correctly, that we are watching the nato exercises across the border and we are preyed to implement a peace enforcement operation if need be. they were quite clear about their focus and they were quite clear about the fact that they were ready to do something. this really makes me wonder about all the stuff we hear about their -- they're moving the general staff and this guy went on vacation and all that. it makes me wonder because on the one hand you have this kind of strategic issue where people are moving all over and it makes it sound like nothing is being done. they're not ready to fight or do anything. where, in the newspaper, when they're talking about the operation, they're saying, we're ready, you know, we've got
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everybody in the area and we're ready to do something. we're ready to throw a peace enforcement operation against them. so you got these two conflicting paradigms all the time that you got to kind of decide. and i will say one thing about the russians. they are masters of ambiguity because if you look back over time over the deaths of several people, we still don't know exactly how those people perished and there's questions that exist. they'll give you three reasons, they'll give you four reasons, or four ways of what happened and never tell you what it was. and they're quite good at that. i don't know if they were part of this one or if this is just -- you know, you have a man giving his version and you have several different versions. you got one where the military is saying this is ready to happen. you got the guys back in moscow running all over the place, reorganizing. i don't know. but it's really interesting when you start thinking about the confusion they cause in our brains as well.
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>> okay. a question back there. >> there was an article that listed that the military planned to convert its plan to using civilian cellular operators and internet providers which is quite striking. it would seem to be an exception to that trend of securitizing or the state taking over different services and it seems to be an admission of the military's weakness unless it's intertwining the private providers in some kind of a military system, which would be consonant of the cyberattacks in georgia. >> i saw the same article. i'm not completely sure what to make of it because it was an announcement really out of the blue. both of your suggestions true. on the other hand, they have failed to come up with their own solution, on the other hand,
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that they're going to in some way intergrate the state into those systems and if necessary, they will then have the leverage subordinate them for state purposes. that raises some very interesting possibilities. >> we could talk about the -- i'm hank gaffeney, cna. we can talk about the immediate circumstances of the beginning of this war, but how come we americans never notice that this powder keg had been building and flashing for the last 19 years? >> it would be easy to say it's an intelligence failure. that would be the easy way out. but it was the last in a series of policy failures, not just in georgia. with regard to the use of american intelligence to understand strategic situations globally.
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i'm not trying to point the finger at any one administration or politician or public servant, but the fact of the matter is, that there was ample warning. all i could say, for example -- i played war games on georgia where it should have been cleared anybody -- you know, what could happen there. others did also. the fact of the matter is, and i published a long article about this, that the administration was caught by surprise and there is no excuse why it should have been. and what's more -- being caught by surprise, it was unable to devise an effective repost to the situation. secretary gates wanted to do one thing, secretary rice another. the president was unable to enforce guidance, whatever the case may be, and, unfortunately, that was all too characteristic of too many policies. and i don't see that in a partisan way but that's the record.
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>> could you wait for the mic. >> marshall e. miller. the russian press, media, and whatnot has got a drumbeat on georgia right now. it's almost like they're building up to a war. but why would they build up to a war? so what's the real reason for this? >> that's a good question. first of all, let them say i don't think they plan to attack georgia. putin said they don't plan to attack them. not like i take putin to be a spokesman for the truth. but they have said -- i find it hard to imagine what they would gain from doing so. yeah, they could overrun georgia. and they'd have the psychological satisfaction of getting rid of sacrfilly strategically they would lose more than what they would gain. what's going on here is a determination to keep a state of
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high tension in the caucuses to keep him on the defensive. i think they've convinced themselves that he's trying to rearm and take back those provinces, although, i have no idea on what basis they're doing this. but i do know russian intelligence is habitually faked and addicted to the worst case scenario. third, they want to make it clear to the united states, and this is clearly linked that it's at the nosh. it's ours. not yours. it has been written that in moscow the concept of the reset button is seen as an apology by the u.s. that we were wrong. and what's more, it's seen as an acknowledgement that the cis is a russian fear of influence. the obama administration has said no such thing and, you know, denied it.
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and the president said we would not stand by if there was another war in georgia. vice president biden's trip made very clear what our policy is. in public as well as i believe in private. this is an attempt, one, to maintain a state of siege. two, and it keep the, you know, the threat perception going for domestic purposes as well as for allocational purposes because actually they had to cut back the size of the base because of the financial crunch. third, they want to keep the caucuses in a state of tension and fourth, they believe their own propaganda about what a monster this guy is. and sixth, they are determined to find -- to push everybody accept their justification for the war and its outcome such as this new law that medvedev wants to push which would give retrospectal sanction to the war of last year.
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i think it's an extraordinarily dangerous and risky policy. i don't think it really gains anything from russia especially when you have the north caucuses on fire but i'm not making policy in the kremlin. >> i'll take any questions super c-span and any television viewers who want to ask a question, email it us. the question is for tim thomas. years ago you wrote the article "the mind has no firewall," do you believe, there will be new operational art in such a way to ensure its stability is shut down and outmaneuver any rival? >> sometimes you're sorry you title articles the way do you. that seems to have come back and bit me many, many times. the mind has no firewall was written with a discussion of
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some russian use of subliminal messages and they really were quite interested in that for an exceedingly long time. there was a guy who wrote a book called "information warfare." you would think that would be about information technical and information psychological. it was in the. -- it was not. it was commissioned by the national security council of russia. and the purpose of that book was to write algorithms and find ways to put suggestive influences into someone's head. they had a history of trying to find ways to plant subliminals. in this day and age, i wrote another article that was called "cyberskepticism, the mind's firewall" trying to give some balance to this thing. and i really and truly believe that if you're not a cyberskeptic, you're going to be fooled terribly about the use of the internet because it is so
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easy to make everything lack so authentic and attribute things to people that really aren't true at all. and this ability to fool people goes well beyond of what you might think are some simple examples. the best way i can demonstrate is there was a california newspaper that wrote an article that had a lot of people write in to criticize it. so if i was one of those people who wrote into this newspaper criticizing this article, i would look at it evidence, my criticism, but no one had anything to say approximate what i wrote. and i was kind of disappointed, you know, i thought i had some good points. remember that article that we talked about, i wrote this great abtract and sent it in and no one has responded. and steve says, what article? what abstract? and so let them show you and so
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we go online, and my abstract is not there. and i said darn it, they took it down. no wonder nobody saw it. so i go back it my computer and i'm looking around, and guess what appears? the abstract. i'm the only one who can see it. so whoever the cyberfrustrates were allowed me to see what i had written but no one else. boy, talk about cyberskepticism. you could be fooled in many ways. if you're not a good cyberask thattic -- cyberskeptic. most of their focuses is on nonlethal weapons. and there are things that they watch in our press. i mean, you should look at america, for example, and see what woody norris is doing. woody norris is an inventor in this country that really scarce the russians. i mean, you know, a country that
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has some belief in this subliminal issue and some belief in para-psychology and then you have a guy like woody norris. who's woody norris? woody norris has been in "newsweek," center section of the "new york times," business week, history channel. woody norris has a directional sound device and if he was in this room and he was focusing on someone in the back of room, that person could only hear what's baggie said. with a directional sound twice, you can imagine the impact of that from the standpoint of subliminals and para-psychology. you could be fooled about that. the article about woody in "newsweek" magazine had people walking by a coke machine and the coke machine had fizzing noises like coca-cola coming, you know, the direction of the sound advice. as you hit it the idea you would be thirsty and want to buy a
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coke. so you could see how, you know, the more you think about it, there's so many issues we're going to have to deal with in the coming years and the russians are dealing with them, we're dealing with them. they're not the only ones. we've got some as well. >> hank gaffney again. so why didn't all this brilliant operational art informational warfare helping them to solve all the problems in all the areas and how did it apply in the 1999 war in chechnya? and why aren't they doing better? >> you know, they're not doing better because they hadn't developed that one especially when chechnya started. they didn't said the power i don't think of the internet at
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that time. they we want out and put the videos and the cds of the ied explosions, the ambushes and beheadings and they put that out right at the start and it caught the russians offguard so they did respond and set up, you know, their own websites. i think one of the reasons that they haven't done more is because some of this stuff hasn't worked. i haven't seen any proof about the sublimbal messages and the algorithms. i haven't seen anything. so they've got a lot of theories and they keep saying, you know, the first one to develop a technology in this area will really going to gain an advantage. maybe an infinity way and it may never happen. they seem to be keep trying. it's part of the psyche there, you know, and the effort that they have. >> there's other points. in 1999 they tried to learn from their failure in '94, '96 and
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they imposed an information blockade that they would not allow anybody but progovernment media down there and they restricted what information came out of the theater as far as the russian audience was concerned in the '99/00 plan campaign. from now where the terrorism in entire north caucuses concerned, why isn't this working? it isn't working because as tim mentioned you can have information superiority but you have to know how to turn it into a strategic advantage. and they have not shown that because what they have in the north caucuses is an abysmal record of governance -- of mal governance, corruption, and
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brutality and you have an competing information space. you have these muslim websites that are competing websites. so if there's a cybercommunity there, they have options beyond the russian information space, if you like. and you can only do so much with information warfare if you don't have a good strategic approach to the region. i mean, they've tried a lot of things. they sent kozak report and it's scathing. and the parts that weren't is worse. scathing about the corruption, nepotism and these guys are no
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better. you have a situation in chechnya government and the modus operandi is murder-like. they murder political opponents in cold blood. and that's not really a basis for lasting legitimacy, although, it does inspire fear. i don't know what the solution is, but it appears to me that in moscow they're thinking of essentially putting the whole area under marshall law. this idea of appointing a general or 10 days ago to, you know -- after they kicked out the government for the failure after the big bombing on thursday. it suggest to me that they're going back to the lock, stock and barrel to the czarist approach. you put a military governor, they will apply principles where you make a desert and you call
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it peace. >> you know, you mentioned why haven't they done more? i would say what interests me is what can we learn from them because there are things that they're trying to implement right now, some of them are going to work, maybe none of them will work but i really like studying what they're doing so there's something we can learn from and get better here because in this country as many of you know, we're discussing strategic communications. how are we going to do strategic communications. everybody has got this buzzword in their head and everybody wants to know what type of organization we developed and so then. so the russians had an answer. to me it's basically strategic comes. it's certainly not a template that we're going to use but i'll read the eight steps which i think are really interesting but at least you know what they're doing. they need a specialized management system and structure to counter information aggression against russia. so certainly they're right off on not strategic comes but it's
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a counter-system for aggression. a counter for diplomacy including members of state structure, media business and political parties and so then headed by prime minister putin. advisor to the president of russia for information and propaganda opportunities. i thought he was writing this for himself 'cause i know he's -- he did his doctoral thesis on information war fairs years and years ago. state foreign affairs media holding company. subordinate this company to the ministry of foreign affairs where the american experience can be copied. so they're looking at us. state internet holding company, create a domestic media holding company for the publishing of books, video films and video games and so then. this one i really like, though. information crisis action center. i mentioned that but that's maybe something we need to develop. this is not the same thing i mentioned. that we need to do that in case we have somebody cybermaneuvering or cyber this or that. this isn't the same thing but i like the idea of information crisis action center. here's the definition.
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enable the authorities to present commentaries and unfolding events in a timely real time manner to the world information arena. homework assignments must be readied in advance. number six, information counter-measure system create a system of resources to counter information warfare operations by geopolitical enemies. seven, nongovernmental organizations. create a network of russian organizations operating in the cis, the e.u. and the usa and finally a system for training personnel for conducting information warfare. what institutions will train individuals? the diplomatic academy of the ministry of foreign affairs. the russian civil service academy, moscow state university, the institute of international relations. so, you know, those who felt they lost the war they're looking at what type of information system they can set up in the world of strategic comes to counter-aggression and then the other system, obviously, will be internal to -- what they might call
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buttress patriotic feelings in the country. >> steven, you mentioned during the previous comment the minister of communication, i don't know the timing of this. but how all those policies and doctrines might have been influenced by work that is going on in iran? >> i have an article coming out that talks about that. we've already seen some of the reaction internationally in the cis as a whole and in china through the upheavals in iran and moldavia. in china you saw forcible suppression. hundreds of people have been arrested. in iran, hundreds of people have been arrested, maybe thousands. the trials are underway. there are reports, unconfirmed
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reports, that people have been killed in prison or that they were even raped. this has been denied but it's been charged. i don't know how true it is. but the arrests in the trials are real enough. in kazakhstan, the internet law which is even more draconian than the russian law was decried by the president even though it flies in the face of kazakhstan's solemn commitments to the osce. it restricts what can be done on the internet of pain of persecution. it's part of a broader russian response to the massive economic crisis. they have created -- or talking about special units of the ministry of interior to uphold order in major cities. the general staff has talked about using the army to quell domestic unrest.
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which is a soviet and czarist practice. there is talk now -- medvedev just called the other day for cutting back on jury trials for terrorists. i don't think that he woke up on the morning after the bombings and suddenly decided we're going to get rid of jury trials. he's a lawyer. he should know better. this is something that has been discussed. a whole series of moves, nashi is thinking of creating its own auxiliary police force or military force to enforce order again and nashi itself is an organization, as i described it which is a kind of a cross between the hitler youth, which is turned on and off by the kremlin as it sees fit. i mean, they're looking for more action and more scope. but you could come out with this kind of thing betrays the real apprehension of the government
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which is in the national security strategy about the domestic situation. i have no doubt that all those phenomenon as well as order 65 and probably we will see more regulation of the internet are part of this knee-jerk even hysterical reaction to the possibility of any kind of domestic dissent. and the real danger and the real possibility is that we have a system that is built with a neoczarist system of power and government with putin played the role of a czar and to some degree still does, if not completely, that is lurching in the direction that looks something like recognizable of the international fascism of the war period and i don't use that term lightly. i'm not saying anybody who disagrees with me is fascist. but there are clear similarities in ethos, rhetoric, policy.
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i wouldn't say we're there but there are too many disturbing signs out there that it could go in that direction unless there is some sort of counter-movement to arrest that development. and the continuing instability in iran and what we saw in moldavia earlier this year just give rise to more justifications for that on the part of regime. >> far back we have a question. >> my question is, how much of russia's problem is propaganda management? i've heard some things just since we started this line of discussion about chechnya. i would push back and say that chechnya is an example of some kind of propaganda or information and management success. the chechnyaization policy achieving military victory, making it an internal security operation, calling for amnesty
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for militants who no longer want to oppose political leadership and then starting reconstruction. since then has that been a formula for achieving counterinsurgency success. at any rate, despite all the things that you're pointing out, dr. blink, is from moscow's perspective probably the least likely to be overthrown by some internal insurgent resistance and in that case, it's more of a -- i mean, the stability there to the extent that violence continues is achieved from moscow's perspective. but going on to what -- something that is a failure, i mean, when you look at the georgia war, which you were also talking about, i mean, do you think moscow has a political problem with this propaganda management? during the georgian war i remember the president on the phone with wolf blitzer providing an intelligence briefing of what's going on. you don't really get that side from moscow.
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and is it -- do they not have access? do they not feel like they should have to do that? is it a political problem? how would you address that? >> let them start with your first point. i take your point with regard to chechnya. in many ways you could say it's a success. for the reasons you outlined in your question. however, the leader is very much on his own and i'm sure he's beholden to putin or at least it's claimed that he is. but the russians waged this war it keep chechnya under control from moscow and chechnya is virtually an autonomous province now in many respects. and their leader really runs the place with an iron hand. now, yes, they're not engaging in anti-russian terrorism and so forth, but i'm not sure that's necessarily the strategic outcome that the russians originally wanted. it's the best they can do under the circumstances and as you said, it's not bad. however, it's a fundamentally
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unstable situation. i mean, one bomb tomorrow can put the whole country back in chaos if it hits its target. and the price of this has been the explosion of violence in the north caucuses. i would argue that the upsurge in the violence in the north caucuses in the last seven years is as a result of the russian campaign in chechnya. so i'm not all together convinced that the russians have achieved a achieved victory. but in these kinds of wars, the test of the strategic victory is the legitimacy of the government. and the legitimacy resides in the control over a lot of guns but all you need is one gun that gets through that network and that goes up in smoke. as far as the other problem, i think you're absolutely right. i do have a fundamental problem with management of their image and they are creating an organization to -- or have created an organization to
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improve their image in the west. they've hired a lot of folks in this town to do so. i was going through my papers and i don't remember who gave it me, listing the number of p.r. firms that are working for russia and it's quite an impressive list. but i don't think it's doing much good. even in the public relations world, even don draper will tell you you can't sell a bad product to a good catch line. the product has to be good in russia, unfortunately, it's still not a really good product as far as the west is concerned. the russians also are inherently suspicious of the foreign media. it's not likely you're going to to see putin on "larry king live" anymore giving, you know, larry or wolf blitzer those kinds of briefings. if you remember putin's appearance on cnn, they were not particularly successful.
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putin is not the best spokesman for russia. medvedev might be better but again, i don't know if you can sell a bad story so easily even with slick p.r. >> right over here. >> i'm stanley kober with the cato institute. the title of the conference is the russian military. as i hear the panels, it's more like the emerging russian threat. we had the cold war and then it all went down in the '90s, but there's a buildup and soap. when we talk about the reset budget, russia is using its territory to supply our forces in afghanistan.
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given the tone, do you think it's part of a rae set that -- part of a reset that it's part of russia for those logistics? >> i don't know the logistic cooperation is going to be a magnitude that would put our forces at risk if it was cut back. it would make things more difficult, obviously, but i think we could manage the situation. i think actually the outstanding achievement of the reset button is going to be the arms control treaty. that is under negotiation. we're going to talk about that in the next panel. i don't want to pre-judge that. but we went through a lot of -- we went interest a considerable length to avoid saying that we'll talk about the russian threat to the united states, and we didn't talk about that in the first two panels or this one.
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now, there is a russian threat to cis states and the russians have helped to create that threat by many of their actions. but i really do not think that the russian military is a direct threat to american forces or. >> they may be a threat abroad but it's not like a generation ago when we had this conference and all of us had been here talking about the development in the 1980s or '70s for that matter when there was really a much more -- a very hot threat environment. there are problems. there are issues with their neighbors. there's no russian threat to china, for example, and we talked about that. there may be a chinese development that could be threatening to russia, quite the opposite. and we alluded to that as well. so i think that to say that we're trying to gin up a russian
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threat is just misplaced. i don't see where it comes from. >> could i say there something, too. one thing that kind of has fallen off the scale for us, unfortunately, in the mid-'90s and early 2000s we did an awfullet of peacekeeping activities with the russians. that has kind of been -- we've been replaced by the chinese which is somewhat unfortunate paw we built up a very good relationship with kosovo and other places. and, in fact, we might find the three main missions of armed forces in the near future when says today and tomorrow -- it could be peacekeeping. it could be fighting terrorism and it could be fighting natural disasters. i mean, those three could just as easily be the joint missions and in the background will be some cacophony, you know, of threats and everything. but we may end up doing those three missions more than any others and as you mentioned, you know, the end of the cold war we had all that rhetoric but it came to peacekeeping and really
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a real understanding and a chance to work together with them. so you kind of have to hope that's going to be our future versus what could happen, i guess. >> a question in the center then. >> a question related to russian fears of u.s. offensive cybercapabilities after the military cyberinitiative was announced a minute or two ago. i happened to be reading some blogs where people were imagining scenarios from the terminator from the movies. they were afraid the americans would be able to, you know, have a weapon that would wipe out the soviet nuclear option, which -- is that totally in the realm of fantasy of these, you know, totally unexpert people who are speaking on these blogs?
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this kind of fear is that a fear. >> there's a russian proverb that fear has big eyes. these are really big ones. let them give you an anecdote here. 30 years my roommate in moscow as an exchange student told me before he'd come to moscow, this is 1976, he had taken a group of soviet delegation around the country and one night they had a free night and they went to see "star wars" and their jaws dropped because they thought the u.s. military had all this stuff and was going to blow them out of the -- out of space, out of water, or whatever. this is not a new story. there's probably people in the united states who believe that the chinese or the russians have these magic -- you know, the assassins -- [inaudible] >> proton beam weapons our our corrupting the water supply, you remember that movie.
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the internet is a magnificent invention but it allows people to say anything and everything without any compunction, whatsoever. i wouldn't lose any sleep over that. >> yeah, i'm really not one to follow blogs at all. you know, because so many people -- i started with some sports blogs. and i got so disgusted have a the first hour, 10 minutes, whatever it was, you know, where these opinions came out there that absolutely meant nothing, you know, and everybody has an opinion. so they like to express it and it gives them their opportunity. so for the most part, no, those are things that are really kind of bizarre. the thing that's really interesting, i think, about russian blogs is you do see these days some very creative, even opposition. i remember one image that sticks in my mind, if you can remember what a russian parade uniform
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looks like, there's a blog photo of president putin sitting in -- sitting on a horse in red square and he has a full lap he has his mini me, medvedev and somebody was just trying to make the point again, he's nothing but the mini me of prime minister putin. so the blogs go both ways. there's some really interesting political commentary. there is some stuff that is fascinating and worth reading and digesting and there's some like you said -- yeah, there's some science fiction stuff out there that's pretty tough. so i'll stop there. >> all right. let's collect any final questions and then we'll -- you can respond to what you asked and then we'll break until 3:15. any last questions. dan, you want to ask your question and then anyone else
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back there? go ahead, dan. you want to ask first. [inaudible] >> the cyberwarfare question conducted by states, is it, i suppose -- we have people that are not state actors of this activity and so are we making kind of a distinction here between those people who are not state actors who would be subject to state interchange? perhaps influence or control or whatever word you want to use? and the state as the -- as the conductor of cyberwarfare or is it just one overarching umbrella that we use in our strategic
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approach? >> yeah, i actually think that's why you need this crisis action center because you can't tell if it's an individual or a state. it shouldn't be states but states may be out there with surrogates doing reconnaissance. it's a real unbelievably gray line between state actions and individuals these days because surrogates are so easy to use. it's going to stay with us for a long time. i don't think you can divide it into, you know, those two categories. there's certainly this huge gray area. >> okay. thank you. we will break until 3:15. please join me in thanking the panelists. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> next month a unique look at our nation's highest court. it's role, traditions and history. >> i don't think it's an understatement to say that this building would not be here if it hadn't been the persistence of chief justice taft. >> taft had in mind that the court needed to have a building of its own. he believed that when he was president. and when he became chief justice it became almost an obsession. >> supreme court week with insights from historians and the justices starting october 4th on c-span. and go online now for a virtual tour of the court, historic photos and more at c-span.org/supremecourt. >> up next, a house hearing on
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detecting fraud and waste in afghanistan and pakistan. this is a little over two hours. >> good morning, everyone. with the quorum being present the subcommittee on national security and foreign affairs the hearing entitled afghanistan and pakistan accountability community oversight of a new interagency strategy will come to order. before we begin the hearing i'd just like to quickly address one piece of business that was left over from the subcommittee's june 6th, 2009 hearing that was entitled u.s. contributions to the response to pakistan's humanitarian crisis, the situation and the stakes. after that hearing, i had received a request of the united states agency for international
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development to submit a statement for the record. i would note that the usaid received an invitation to submit a statement prior to the hearing but declined to do so. how far, given the relevance of their statement to the subject matter of the hearing, i ask unanimous consent that the hearing record be reopened, usaid's statement be submitted for the record and the hearing record then be reclosed. without objection it's so ordered. the chairman and the ranking member of the subcommittee be allowed to make opening statements and without objections so ordered. i ask unanimous consent that the hearing record be kept over for five business days so that all members of the subcommittee would be allowed to submit a written statement, without objection so ordered. once again good morning to everybody here. i've already explained to the people on our panel that i'm sure there's no sign of disrespect from members to the people that were kind enough to come and testify and that those members that don't get here to the hearing will certainly read the testimony for the record and the transcript afterwards but i know at least on the democratic side there's a caucus going on. as i indicated probably some
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discussion about healthcare. if i'm not mistaken. and so we just want to express that. and otherwise, the hearing today probably couldn't be more timely than it is because in the coming days, the commanding general in afghanistan is expected to request that president obama provide significant additional numbers of troops for our effort there. meanwhile, in the coming weeks, congress will consider final passage of a bill to triple u.s. aid to pakistan to almost $1.5 billion a year. in short the united states is on the verge of doubling down on a commitment of troops to afghanistan and pakistan. as we learned in iraq a sudden increase of conflict resources increases the likely increases the waste, fraud and abuse unfortunately, some of our programs in afghanistan and pakistan to date have been flawed and have lacked basic accountability measures. for example, last year, the subcommittee and the general government accountability office conducted major investigations of the coalition support funds
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program by which the united states reimburses pakistan for expenses it incurs in certain counterterrorism operations. this program has represented the bulk of united states aid to pakistan, some $6.7 billion to date. the investigations found that there were no receipts for a significant portion of the u.s. requirements to pakistan and that the program lacked basic accountability provisions. further, the reimbursement program isn't really designed to improve the pakistani military's capabilities for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. in afghanistan in january of 2009, the government accountability office report brought attention to the significant lack of accountability for 242,203 small arms provided to the afghan national security forces. the department of defense combined security transition command in afghanistan could not provide records, did not track serial numbers or could not locate a significant portion of the weapons provided.
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in addition, the report drew to the attention the inability of the afghan national security forces to safeguard those weapons. while we are at a crossroads in the united states policy here in washington, d.c., it appears that we're also at a crossroads on the ground in afghanistan and pakistan. he wanted -- ..
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>> in afghanistan for the united states in international reconstruction and aid efforts they say daunting challenge of trying to rebuild a war-torn country in the midst of an active insurgency. security charges and political sensitivities currently restrict inspectors general for mobility, access and presence necessary to do the task. the principal question guiding today's hearing is whether the accountability committee is prepared to ramp up its own effort to mirror the massive increase in resources that the united states will devote to pakistan and afghanistan in coming years. frankly, i have serious concerns about the community's collective
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ability to provide comprehensive oversight coverage that keeps to the rapid bloom in the united states activity in the region, especially given the enormous burdens already borne by those offices. breschel challenge they face is security. afternoon trip to afghanistan and pakistan i am actually where the limits imposed on personnel in country. sustained physical presence in afghanistan and pakistan is crucial to establishing the relationships necessary to receive tips of waste, fraud and abuse. three-week rotations are not enough to establish the informal interactions that can provide vital information about flawed and feel activities. another concern i have is the account of the community's coverage of united states aid to pakistan. security challenges make u.s. aid efforts all the mobile burble to waste, fraud and abuse. i have serious questions are going oversight coverage of aid efforts in the northwest frontier province, and the federally administered tribal areas. finally, i would like all the panelists thought on ambassador eikenberry called more of our
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aid effort ever to build afghan government capacity. how will the united states government accountability committee to navigate its role in overseeing such a program's? we count on the inspectors general and gao against waste, fraud and abuse. especially these difficult economic times, we must demand absolute asperity unaccountably for every last taxpayer dollar. thank you. with that i'll ask mr. blake for his opening remarks. >> i think the cherry-pick i want to mention also republicans are caucusing as well. i apologize. both of us had to slip away. i have the same dangers as the chairman with regard to the oversight ability to police and to make sure that there isn't significant waste, fraud and abuse. i think with the backdrop here of the commitment to step up our troop levels there with what
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others have described is serious and deteriorates situation in afghanistan makes this kind of hearing very important to see what safeguards are in place. and if you have the resources and tools to ensure that our money is being well spent. so with that, i look forward to hearing the witnesses. >> thank you. this subcommittee will now receive testimony from the panel before us today. i will give a brief introduction of each of the panelists, and thankfully it is great because we really read all your conditions it would probably take up the rest of the hearing to quit a very distinguished panel here today that has been doing great service to the country which we appreciate, and winterset also the difficulty of which you are asked to do. to my far left is major general arnold fields, serves as the inspector general and afghanistan reconstruction, from 2072008 he served as a deputy director of the africa center for strategic studies in the department of defense. hematite in the united states marine corps in 2004, and producer as a deputy commander of the marine corps forces in
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europe. general field holds a bs in south carolina state university and an m.a. from pepperdine university. mr. gordon heddell, serves as inspector general for the department of defense. from 2001 to 2090 served as inspector general at the department of labor. prior to the position he served in the united states secret service for 29 years where he worked as the assistant director leading the secret services inspection in internal affairs programs worldwide. mr. adel holds a ba from the university of missouri and an m.a. of the university of illinois. mr. donald gambatesa serves as inspector general of united states agency for international development and concurrently held his position and the united states african development foundation and the inter-american foundation. prior to this post, mr. gambatesa served as the deputy director of the united states marshal service. he previously spent 24 years as a special agent in the united states secret service and he
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holds a ba from john carroll university. ambassador geisel serves as the acting inspector general for the department of state from 2022003 he served as the head of delegation for negotiations for the people's republic of china on the construction of new embassies. prior to assuming his post, he served more than 25 years in the united states foreign service. he holds a ba from johns hopkins university and an ms from the university of virginia. mr. jacquelyn williams-bridgers serves into the managing director of international affairs and trade of the united states government that can build the officer to 2022004 she led the strategic planning and the government accountability office. prior to this position she served as inspector general of the united states department of state and the united states arms control and disarmament agency in the united states information agency and the broadcasting board of governors. i want to thank you all again for being witnesses are today making ourselves available with your substantial expertise. as you all know, it is the policy of this witness to forward this is in before they
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testify. so i ask you to please stand and raise your right hands. does anybody else will be testifying with you, i ask that they also do the same. the record indicate that all the witnesses answered in the affirmative. i do tell you that all of your written statement will be put on the record i know some of you were kind enough to file written statements so you needn't feel compelled to lynches to do. were happy to comment for five minutes if we can and will go to questions and answers on the. so why don't we start with you, general. thank you again for being here. >> good morning, chairman tierney, ranking member flake and other members of the subcommittee. thank you very much for inviting me to participate at this hearing. in keeping with our mandate which focuses on afghanistan, my opening remarks this morning will be provided accordingly. i have provided a written
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statement, and i wish to at this time highlight a few of the elements of that statement. as the newest organization at this table, it was less than a year ago that segar obtained funding. we continue to aggressively build our organization to conduct, reduce other reconstruction projects and to provide findings and recommendations that will serve the congress and the administration abruptly. congress is has appropriate about $38 billion since 2002 to rebuild afghanistan. the present fiscal year 2010 budget request and includes additional funding for afghanistan which would bring funding for afghanistan to about 50 billion through 2010. together with my colleagues, at this table, sigar certainly is committed to providing the oversight needed to prevent waste, fraud and abuse, and promote the effective implementation of the reconstruction program in
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afghanistan. we are members of the southwest asia joint planning group and its pakistan afghanistan subcommittee. on afghanistan and pakistan. which serve as forums for coordinating work. all of that which is said to suggest that we do coordinate. also in our investigations, we collaborate with the national procurement fraud task force and the international contract corruption task force. sigar has grown from an office of two, to an office of 46 with an additional 17 prospective employees in the pipeline. we have offices in arlington, virginia, and in afghanistan, where we have offices in kabul. today, 12 located at the embassy in kabul, and leaning toward 20 which we have negotiated by way of the process with the
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ambassador and the department of state. we have personnel or office space in several other locations in afghanistan, including bogra merrifield, as well as kandahar airfield. backroom in the province of the province of kandahar. while growing we have once closely as the u.s. government has developed and expanded policy in afghanistan, and i wish him the extraordinary work of ambassador hokum who recently testified before the search committee. he has consistently highlighted the importance of oversight in the new afghanistan pakistan strategy. over the past several months, sigar has never agreed with senior u.s. government officials in both washington and afghanistan. in kabul, we have attended the meetings at the embassy. we have also built a strong network, the agencies, the international community, and the military components throughout afghanistan. these meetings, together with our ongoing war, helpless march
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to the administration's development of a new approach in afghanistan. and of course we are using this information as a basis to adapt and expand our oversight plans. we were continuously with the community to make sure that oversight work is coordinated and not duplicative, targets the highest priority areas, aims to produce positive change, and does not overburden the u.s. civilian and military personnel who are implementing the reconstruction programs. we are keenly aware that it is our job to find and document waste, fraud and abuse. with the expressed preference of working to improve the u.s. assistance program and identify wrongdoers. likewise, we are opposed to identify lessons learned. our mission is difficult. it has taken time to hire staff, people willing to do this work in a dangerous environment. however, we have made considerable progress. as of last week, we have issued for mandated for letter reports
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to this congress, and five audit inspection report, each with recommendations for improved processes and corrective action. another three draft report are currently at the agencies for comment as we speak. we have 21 ongoing audits and inspections, and we expect to issue five or more reports before the end of this month. sigar's investigative work has resulted in over $4 million in cost upwards. in one case and the guilty plea of two people offering $1 million in bribes for contract and a big our investigators are working 25 other active cases as we speak. our work has identified problems with contract oversight, a lack of integrated information on reconstructive activities in concert with sustained income capacity. the impact of oversight cannot be measured solely by statistics. we believe that being on the scene is a real deterrent to waste, fraud and abuse. we also operate a hotline given
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-- giving u.s. coalition partners and afghan citizens various methods by which to report allegations of waste, fraud and abuse. related especially to the reconstruction efforts. the hotline has produced a number of credible leads that we of course are pursuing. we are working hard to produce and provide a robust oversight is scheduled for the successful implementation of reconstructive programs in afghanistan, and i welcome your questions thereunto pertaining. >> thank you. heddell. >> chairman tierney, ranking member flake, and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning. mr. chairman, oversight and southwest asia with emphasis on afghanistan and pakistan is one of my top priorities. it is my goal to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our troops, and to ensure that
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taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. our current efforts include increased oversight by enhancing our theatre present in ensuring comprehensive and effective coordination. the oversight we provide through audits, investigations, inspections and assessments truly makes a difference. especially in such an unstable and dangerous region where the department of defense operations and troop levels are increasing. earlier this year, president obama announced a comprehensive new strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan. and to prevent their return to either country in the future. this strategy will involve several departments and agencies in our government. we have conducted oversight on pakistan in 2003, and again in 2009. and started oversight efforts in afghanistan in 2004.
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we are increasing our resources in the region to ensure proper oversight and staffing in regard to the new strategy. and the buildup of u.s. forces and programs in afghanistan. to support our oversight, we have established field offices and strategic locations in southwest asia. we also utilize an expeditionary workforce model to support our efforts. this helps facilitate timely reviews and reporting of results, while minimizing disruption to the war fighter. our central field office in the region is located at bogra airfield. with the support and endorsement of the commander of u.s. central command, we have staff new offices in kandahar and kabul. with 14 to play personnel, six investigators and eight auditors. in addition, our staff travel as needed for fieldwork in
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afghanistan. kirtley, there are 502 engineers, for instance, on temporary travel in afghanistan, and i will be traveling there myself in the near future to me with general mcchrystal and other commanders in theater. i have created a new key position within the d.o.d. office of inspector general to ensure that there is effective coordination and communication within the oversight community within southwest asia. this position, special deputy inspector general for southwest asia, will report directly to me and act on my behalf to coordinate and the conflict oversight efforts. the d.o.d. ig is the lead oversight agency for accountability in the department. for southwest asia, including afghanistan and pakistan, there are three critical coordination and planning mechanisms. for southwest asia joint planning group, a comprehensive oversight plan for southwest
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asia, and our many investigative task force is. in addition, in may 2009, the joint planning group established a new subcommittee to coordinate audit and inspection work solely in afghanistan and pakistan. this subcommittee chaired by the inspector general for the u.s. agency for international development, mr. gambatesa, issued in august 2009 the afghanistan pakistan conference of oversight plan. i think the committee for the opportunity to discuss our ongoing efforts, and i look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with congress, and all oversight organizations engaged in afghanistan and pakistan. >> good morning, chairman tierney, ranking member flake, members of the committee.
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thank you for inviting me here to testify today on behalf of the office of inspector general for the u.s. agency for international development. i am pleased to be here along with my colleagues from other oversight organizations with whom we work closely as execute our audit inspection and investigative responsibilities in afghanistan and pakistan. historical, my office has overseen progress in these countries allow regional office in the philippines, increasing our staffing levels there as a usaid funding in afghanistan and pakistan have increased. we recently established a full-time presence of foreign service officers in these countries placing an order and criminal investigator at kabul, and 200 criminal investigator in islamabad. these employees would be in addition to those currently providing oversight from our office in the philippines. we also have a request for three additional positions in afghanistan. today, in afghanistan with conducted 27 program performance audits in which we have made 84
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recommendations for operational improvement of usaid programs. moreover, we've issued nearly 30 financial audits that have identified more than $8 million in question because of which 1.3 million is sustained. in addition to conducting audits, we investigate allegations of fraud and waste in these countries. in afghanistan, we have open 44 investigation and have resulted in a indictment, night arrests and three convictions, and saves and recovers have totaled $87 million. i want to mention two of our investigations. and one, a defendant pled guilty to conspiracy this past week for his role in asking to solicit kickbacks in connection with the awarding of private security contractors in another investigation, for individuals in a security company they work for were indicted after they obtained reimbursement for fraudulent expenses. the company and individual stars have also been suspended indefinitely from doing business
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with the government. one former employee is serving a two-year sentence, and more than $24 million have been saved in connection with this investigation. in pakistan since 2002, with conducted by program performance audits and made 12 recommendations for program improvements. our 23 financial audits conducted in accident identified approximately $6 million in questioned goss, of which 3.5-inch was sustained and we have several ongoing investigations and pakistan. we in the oversight community have been working diligently for several years to coordinate our oversight activities in afghanistan. our criminal investors work closely with the national procurement task force which is established by the department of justice to identify and prosecute fraud associated with government contracting. we are also mems of the international contract corruption task force, an interagency law-enforcement group that coordinates contract and procurement fraud investigations and high-risk international locations such as iraq and afghanistan.
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a new coordination group which mr. dell dimension, which we chair was formed in june of 2009 in response to the administration's focus on afghanistan and pakistan. this subgroup of southwest asia plena group consists of representatives from the organization you see with me here today. afghanistan pakistan subgroup issued an oversight plan in 2009. i submitted a copy of the plan with my written testimony and asked if he made part of the record. this plan corresponds to the strategy develop on the u.s. government for assisting afghanistan and pakistan in addressing hyperbole issues. the five areas addressed in the plan are security, albert and rule of law and human rights, economic and social development, contracting oversight and performance, and crosscutting programs. this subgroup will monitor this plan and make adjustments as necessary during quarterly meetings. the members of the afghanistan pakistan subgroup have been
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working together to address oversight in this region for several years and i'm confident that we are effectively chordate with one another to provide the best oversight possible. i want to emphasize that oversight is a shared responsibility. that of the inspector general community and agency would oversee as well as the contractors and grantees to implement foreign assistance programs. we must all be vigilant to ensure that tax dollars are not wasted. thank you again for inviting me here to testify. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. ambassador geisel. >> thank you for inviting me to discuss the department of state in our ordination in planning efforts with other ig to provide oversight of u.s. resources and projects in pakistan and afghanistan. i also led to his office from 1994 to 1995 and am very pleased with the significant increase in oversight that oig is conducting around the world.
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the state department oig is an original member of the southwest asia joint planning group responsible for coordinating the work of ig's actors in this broad geographic region. this past spring the pack abs subgroup was focused on more group. 's eye pleaser broke that the group is working quite well. in addition to formal regular scheduled monthly mean, members take part in weekly and sometimes daily discussions. we are acutely aware of the difficulties in working in pakistan and afghanistan, and the burdens that are staffs can place on u.s. personnel working in those countries. therefore, we are committed to avoiding redundancy and maximizing our effectiveness. let me begin with pakistan to our middle east regional office, will conduct a review this fall of the current management control environment at embassy islamabad in anticipation of the significant increase of funding and program implementation during the next five years.
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merrill will assess risk and vulnerability associated with achieving current and new program objective. our plan is to use this risk and vulnerability assessment to drill down and conduct more thorough examinations of those programs and activities designated as most vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse to as we learn from iraq assistance programs in 2004 and 2005, effective management controls are needed at the initial stages of assistant implementation. additionally, in 2008, merrill completed a review of the fulbright program in afghanistan. our office of inspections will conduct a full post inspection of embassy islamabad in calendar year 2010. post inspection thoroughly cover every aspect of department activity managed by the entity. in august oig intimacy as taliban agree to have merrill opened a five person office at the embassy to monitor department programs.
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our auditors and analysts will be stationed in pakistan supplement as needed with additional oig staff to provide the necessary oversight. merrill has effectively used his staffing model that embassy baghdad and plans to open a similar sized office at embassy kabul this month. we expect to have our merrill office in pakistan opened in early 2010 as funding levels permit. now i will talk to afghanistan. our office is inspections will be in kabul this october inspecting the mission and should issue a report later in 2009. about 12 inspectors come including a highly experienced team leader, a former ambassador, will conduct the post inspection of all mission aspects, including contracting, mission programs, consular affairs, security and protection. additionally, the office of inspections will issue a report later this month on the department be mining program in afghanistan. in august, we released a merrill report recovering the performs of u.s. trained center, formerly
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blackwater, under the terms of its afghanistan contract. merrill also was participating in joint state d.o.d. audit of the afghan national police training and mentoring program. they will report at the end of this year. looking forward to 2010, merrill plans to work on a number of department funded programs including the following. refugees and internally displaced programs, public diplomacy and the embassies dark forces. regarding investigations, and 2009, we created the middle east investigative branch to conduct investigations in support of the department expanding middle east and south east asia missions. concerning department programs and employees and contractors from pakistan, to morocco, with focused concentration high-value, high risk areas and iraq, pakistan and afghanistan. tuesday, six criminal investigators are assigned to
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meet with five posted overseas and one in arlington, virginia. we can move our personnel easily from these forward bases in the region as needed to islamabad, kabul, or other priority post. we plan to increase staff at current post adding one in baghdad, one in amman, as 2011 funding permits pick in 2010 we plan to add to staff in d.c., need completed construction and staffing with the khyber office in 2009. during fy 2009 investigate activities in afghanistan include six open investigations and for preliminary inquiries covered a number of alleged criminal violations. the kennedy asked how we would plan our oversight should the pending bill for assistance to pakistan providing additional one and a half billion each year over five years. there is clear congressional intent for an in country presence by oig's pakistan.
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we have been staffing problem with islam for tampering to break up limit and we will increase staff there as necessary. successful funding either way will greatly improve our financial position for our office in islamabad which opens in 2010. the priorities set in the current builds, governs economic development helping people could touch of a number of state programs that would oversee and some that we share with the use eight aig. this includes rule of law, international archives, lots more to come education and cultural affairs and democracy, human rights and labor. thank you for the opportunity to present this information to you today. i would be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you, ambassador. >> chairman tierney, interplay, and represented on the committee. thank you very much for inviting me to testify discuss our oversight in afghanistan and pakistan. alongside my colleagues in the accountability community, since 2003 gal has issued more than 30
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reports and testimonies on u.s. efforts to disrupt, to the and destroy terrorism in afghanistan and pakistan. our work has identified the need for greater attention on issues such as the development of a comprehensive interagency plan for pakistan, building the afghan national security forces accountability over billions of u.s. assistance to afghanistan and pakistan, contract management and oversight of contractors, and u.s. counterparts efforts. gao's past work has recommended specific improvement needed in u.s. effort that should be considered in the administration's future strategic planning and implementation. gao found that several existing conditions such as worsening security, poor infrastructure, and the limited institutional capacity of the afghan government continue to create challenges for the u.s. effort to assist with securing, stabilizing and rebuilding
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afghanistan and combating terrorism in pakistan. to address these challenges, gao has recommended that state d.o.d. and u.s. aig improved their planning, and hans interagency coordination, increase police mentor for training the amt. as you know in your opening statement, would also recommend an increase oversight of weapons provided to the ans that, and the coalition support funds provided to pakistan. we also reported on the need for improvement on contract management and the numbers of oversight personnel with experience in in contingency operations. recently, the administration announced a new integrated civilian military campaign plan for afghanistan. and we understand that the plan for pakistan is being completed. state india d. have coordinated their plan for afghan national
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security for capacity building. and edition dvd has taken steps to improve accountability for weapons provided to afghanistan, and coalition support funds provided to pakistan. gao has several ongoing reviews addressing a wide range of issues such as the deteriorating condition in afghanistan, building the afghan army, u.s. contracting, and creating sustainable develop programs in both countries. like our college in the accountability community, gao worked to improve the performance and accountability of government. gao's authority of courts extends beyond single department agencies in order to provide assistance and support to the congress to make informed policy and funding decisions across government. gao's policy and agency protocols require us to courtney our oversight with other members of the accountability community. and we enjoy a very good working relationship with them. for example, as a member of the
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subgroup of southwest asia, joint planning group, gao needs and meets quarterly and was about our ongoing ongoing work for publication in respective documents. in addition to these more formal consultations, we regulate communicate with colleagues in various offices to enter our work is coordinated and overlap is minimized. inevitably, however, in developing our audit plans we often find that our planned work is quite similar in scope. given the statutory mandates, of our respective organizations, to conduct audits and evaluate programs and activities that involve multiple agencies, the overlap in our planning is not surprising here however, we find that through the coordination groups that we have enjoyed in the communication that occurs across our office we are able to the conflict and avoid potential overlap. we have enjoyed particularly a very strong working relationship
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with sigar as it has stood up its organization over the past year. that's not surprising since many of the employees of sigar are former employees of gal and my team in particular. the u.s. personnel faced enormous challenges working in afghanistan and pakistan. the security situation limit their movements and their ability to monitor projects. and a surge of civilian and military personnel has strained housing and other logistical support. is in that environment that gao and our colleagues in the audit community into our embassies and our military bases in afghanistan and pakistan. as such, we work to minimize the burden our oversight places on program management and staff. however, with additional u.s. resources and attention focused by this congress and this administration, on afghanistan and pakistan, there should be additional oversight to ensure
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accountability of u.s. efforts. gao relies on testimony evidence, documentation, as well as on site verification to conduct our work. gao has visited afghanistan and pakistan over 10 times in the past two years to ensure the integrity of our own work. nevertheless, we have faced some challenges in conducting oversight in country due to the unstable security environment and the limited housing available to temporary duty travelers. we take steps to mitigate these limitations by taking advantage of opportunities to meet with key officials and more secure locations, and when individuals traveled to washington. we also whenever possible take advantage of technology such as video conferencing. to enhance our ability to conduct our war, however, gao has astounded a steady presence in iraq. we have been there since janua january 2008. we have three staff that are stationed there on six-month vocational basis that this has proved invaluable to our ability
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to conduct oversight in iraq. with the challenges confronting the u.s. government for successful drawdown in iraq, and the significant increase in troop presence and resources plan to execute our new strategy, in afghanistan and pakistan in pakistan, gao has recently initiated an assessment to determine our requirement in the region as a whole. we plan to explore several options, including alternative tty at locations in afghanistan and pakistan. in closing, we recognize that carrying at oversight responsibilities in insecure areas will never be easy or without risk. as importantly, we have recognized that the men and women both civilian and military serving our country they're in your hardship and rescue to perform the work critical to achievement of our national security and foreign policy goals. my colleagues at this table and i know that we must be judicious in our present and mindful of
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any unintended additional burden on our diplomat and service personnel. gao stands ready to assist the congress in its oversight effort and will continue to closely coordinate with our colleagues. in the accountability community. and ready to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you. i ever shoot all of your opening statements, which were significant in their content as well. but i am stricken by the fact that people watching this perhaps our thinking we are all accounts or auditors. we sound like it sometimes. it is inescapable that we have to do this to cover the ground. you describe very well the organizational structures that you have any cooperatives efforts that you are making. but i haven't heard a lot about investigative strategy and i would like you want to comment on that a little bit. thinking it goes beyond the five years. you have all said that you're going to take a look at those, but what is the strategy, what types of investigations, are you a high priority? are you worried about
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implantation, results? what about sustainability? what is the priority on that, what is the strategy going on that basis? i note that one of the testimonies there was conversation about training and reconstruction obviously, but what takes priority and what are we really focusing on and how do you establish and assess where you are going to go for the fraud, waste and abuse. so let's start with mr. gambatesa on that. >> from an audit standpoint -- >> you probably have to push that button. >> thank you. sir, you mention investigations, but are you referring to both audits and investigations. i guess in the simplest terms, i can say that we follow the money wherever the large programs are, we dear our audit to those areas. >> if there is a lot of money going in one area, that is the principal consideration, nothing
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else, not the impact of the program on security or the impact on the program on the velvet or whatever else, where the money is? >> is really a combination, but with limited we only have so may people to do it but we try to focus on the largest impact, both from a financial standpoint and what's important to the government. >> i will get back to you on that because, ambassador? >> well, i think we all have a common situation that we are both planning and reacting. so if you are talking about investigations, criminal investigations, most of the time we are reacting to information that we have obtained. you've seen some of it -- >> i am standin am standing erge to cudgel. let's talk about things we take initiatives. we go in on a design and that and tells what your strategies
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are. >> exactly. like my colleague has said. some of it is going with the money is, but a lot of it is looking for where it is the most impact. where we see great risk to the united states. and that is not always where the most money is. we also do one other area, which is very important. and that is inspections. the good thing about inspections is that we can be much more open. we can take a much broader point of view. most of the work is actually publicized, and in both afghanistan next month and in pakistan early next year, we will be using large team of investigators, inspectors i should say, to develop leads, if you will, leads on the ground to work with embassy management, other embassy staff and figure out where we are going. there are the obvious bureaus were going at, thugs if you
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will. but a lot of it is going to be looking for ourselves, and then saying this is what we want to go. >> mr. heddell? >> the department of defense, defense criminal investigative service, i think is playing a major role in southwest asia. and in fact i would go so far as to say it is a leadership role, and it is about impact. i mean, the days of statistical results don't make a lot of difference anymore. it is about impact. for instance, the high impact work today isn't done by one criminal investigative agency. it is done by task forces. for instance, we are very involved in the national procurement fraud task force. we are very involved in the international contract corruption task force. these are taskforces that look
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very closely at contract fraud, major acquisition fraud. but most importantly work with other criminal bureaus like the fbi, on-call tobacco and firearms, and so on. but our focus is to prevent as much as it is to prosecute. for instance, we are very involved in education in southwest asia, teaching those procurement and contract officials want to be looking for. right now, for instance, we are very involved in a special project up in rome new york. we're looking at $14 billion in payment vouchers related to army purchases. it's not very glamorous or exciting, but out of that will almost certainly come some very important investigative work that will lead to criminal prosecutions in southwest asia. what kind of work are we doing?
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defense criminal investigative service, we focus on technology -- >> my time expired. i get that you are focus most on criminal investigations and to lead or things of that nature. >> we are not just reacting. we are very proactive i would say. i would go so far as to say that the defense criminal investigative service probably one of the foremost investigative agencies in our government. >> thank you. i will get to the other two witnesses. my time has expired. i want to get a chance to mr. flake. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to all the witnesses. ambassador, in your comments, in your comments, and your kids when you refer several times to pack after. we're used to hearing afpak. are you suggesting some shift in emphasis here? i've not seen it in other testimony. is the state leading the way
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their? >> i hope not, sir. i just like the liberation of pakaf rather than afpak. i think they both work. >> is that just you or have others been instructed to that? >> you know, i better check that. i didn't even mess up my testimony. it might've said afpak. >> you refer to pakaf. >> no, i have trento. i don't know of my folks are pulling a fast one on. i don't think so. >> just wondering there. sticking with you, ambassador geisel to the security guard to the embassy of fraud efforts as a country, or image in the region, untold grief. who bears responsibility? it seems unlikely that knowledge
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of this was with the eight who have been fired so far, had to have been broader than that. can you enlighten us as to what is going on in that regard? >> i will partially enlighten you, sir, because it wouldn't be surprising. i will confirm that we have a criminal investigation underway but i don't think you would be too surprised. there are two aspects that we are looking at. the first will be criminal misconduct, and that i'm not going to speak about. but we also, when the inspectors come in, they will be looking at just what you asked about. and that is the oversight over this contract and identifying just who failed on the job and who has to be held accountable. and that will be quite public. >> looking at that broadly, for a committee like this, it gives us a little pause. if we are unable to police the security guard at the embassy,
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and how good of a job we can do with other oversight on broader issues. >> it gives me pause to, sir. and i would say that i've are security program, there are two major efforts. the program that was mentioned in the newspapers, media, is the static guard. there is another area which is equally if not even more important, and that is what we call the worldwide versatile protective service. and that is actually protecting our people. when they moved. and in that base, we've already done a very significant audit all around the world. and the audits came out well, but you can count on the fact that there will be audits and inspections, because i was frankly just like a secretary,
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absolutely appalled by this information. >> general fields, what progress in afghanistan high office of oversight made so far? and how are we working with them? >> thank you, sir. the high office of oversight, as subcommittee may know, is born out of president karzai's attempt to deal with irruption. i have met personally with the minister who heads the organization. my principal deputy who was located permanently at embassy in kabul words in support of the embassy's dialogue with that organization. i am pleased that is off and running. there are some issues that does not have very much capacity and that it is an organization of only about slightly over a year old. and it really needs the support.
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>> cut to the chase. do you have much confidence in that organization? >> sir, i am pleased that the initiative has been taken to address corruption, and to put in place this particular kind of device to help deal with it. which in large measure is not really unlike the work that many of us at this table conduct. at the same time, again, it needs the support. it needs to pass the. and i feel that we, the united states, can help in that regard. >> thank you. my time is up. >> general, i have met the same individual you have talked about. i have been at their office. i don't have a great deal of confidence. i am so shocked you don't come to that same conclusion on that. there is one thing to have individuals sitting in a chair. there's one thing to talk about this whole deal but i think there is will. i didn't get a great deal of satisfaction thinking that there
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was a little from president karzai and his staff to actually go at this issue and go at it hard. one indication is by your own admission the failure of. is that there's a? >> that is there. >> thank you. mr. quigley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i guess following up on what you just said, very distinguished panel, but i think he would take it equally distinguished panel to think of a worse environment to try to gauge corruption and rooted out. i guess the line came to me when the chairman was just speaking was the line from casablanca when the gentleman says rick, i am shocked. this is government just embedded. it is a culture of corruption. besides the fact that the president leadership can best be described as weak. it just got reelected, on an extraordinary corrupt election.
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so now we are not only putting billions of dollars at risk, but i also think given the lack of accountability and transparency in no more things are, i think we're putting our young people's lives at risk. the best and brightest of us all, and you all, and almost unlimited resources, i don't have confidence that we can do this, that we can do the afghan is asian effectively without widespread corruption. because it is embedded in the culture. i guess i want your reaction. what gives you some hope that in that land with limited access, extraordinary dangers and a culture of corruption, we should have any faith at all that despite your best efforts, we're putting our folks at risk and wasting billions of dollars?
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anyone. >> well, i think that, i surely think you have every reason to make that statement. and there's a tremendous amount on the line here. tremendous amount of america's wealth is in southwest asia. and i think that people here at this table, and other members of the inspectors general and oversight community who are in departments who oversee programs and operations and budgets that are related to southwest asia, and take the ring out afghanistan and pakistan, are concerned. but i would also say that we have come a long ways in oversight community since 2003. i think we have learned a lot. i think the department of defense has learned a lot, and there have been some great lessons to be learned. we have taken issues that were
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identified in iraq, and we have transferred, identified the solutions and transferred those to the operations in afghanistan. and i can give you examples of that. so i think there is reason for optimism. the second thing is in 2007, the oversight community established by the leadership pretty much here at this table, established tthe southwest asia joint planning group chaired by the inspector general department of defense. over 25 members of the oversight community. tremendous example now working together, identify problems, joint problems, reducing redundancy, identify gaps, areas that are to be look at that are not being looked at, identifying new issues. we got people every day in southwest asia on the ground, auditors, investigators, meeting regularly with the commanders.
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sound out a commander doesn't have to wait for three or six months or even a year to get a report. he or she finds out right away what's happening. and they can make corrective action almost immediately. so we are very proactive here. we have made some significant steps forward in the last several years. the department of defense oig for instance, alone we have doubled our audit investigative staff over the last 12 months. now the numbers aren't great, we have gone from six to 14. but that is the gaffigan. we have almost doubled our entire southwest asia audit and investigative work force. and in the next 12 months, we're going to do more. we are going to increase that even significantly more. the point is that we are all trying to get ahead of the curve here. and if you look at it in 2003, we have come a long way. we did yesterday is not good enough for today. and what we are going to do
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tomorrow is going to have to be a heck of a lot better than we have done. >> mr. chairman, i recognize your best face after. all i'm suggesting is because it affects the decisions we're going to have to make my president recommendation, that it sounds like what you are telling us today is that you are making improvements on what you are doing it and i think the response, and i don't see an answer that tells me otherwise, as long as you're going to the afghanistan -- as long as you're going to afghanistan's government, there is no reason anyone should have paid that money will not be wasted and life will not be put at risk. >> i would like to take a shot at it, if i might. in a way, we are luckier than you are because we don't make policy. we do oversight. and that means as far as i'm concerned, we have to continue to inspect and audit what our very important programs, without
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saying whether it is a good idea, the policy is a good idea or not, we leave that to the president, to the congress. there are very important programs that want to give our best to. for instance, the rule of law. and anticorruption efforts, which i think are arguably the most important effort we at state and oig are looking at. regardless of whether these programs are going to succeed or not, we're going to give it our best effort as long as you tell us to be in afghanistan. >> i would also like to respond to mr. quigley's question and comments. a couple of things. one i think is that we here at the u.s. accountability community, if you will, can't do it alone. there is a global accountability community with whom we must also
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engage. gao does this regularly by having consultations and creating working groups with other national audit office's. we are engaged now in a capacity building exercise with the iraqis, national audit office, and we look to do this on a more regional basis. so we have to look to share the knowledge that we have in order to create partnerships with other accountability partners. afghanistan's national audit office is in its early stages but we've seen significant significant growth in other audit offices as well. >> i think the frustration would be like a day late and a dollar short. this thing up and going on since 2002, 2001. and now we're saying what we are going to finally and i think that is maybe some of the frustration here on the basis. nester duncan, you're recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i appreciate the fact that un ranking member flight are continuing to try to oversee all
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of the really unbelievable spending that is going on in this part of the world. because we so flippantly talked about trillions now where we were talking about billions. i think we really lucite, can't really comprehend the astounding amount of spending that is going on in this area. in fact, general field mentioned that we will be up to 50 billion in rebuilding afghanistan by the end of 2000. in yesterday's "washington post" it says the pending 2010 budget has 129 billion budgeted for spending in afghanistan, pakistan and iraq. and for the first time we will be spending over half of that or more in the afghanistan, pakistan region. 68 million as opposed to
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61 billion. no one humanly can really compromise how much even 1 billion is. so these are amazing amounts of money that we are talking about. and i certainly have no criticism of any of the witnesses here, because if we're going to be spending that kind of money we need to have people like this making sure that it is being spent in an honest and not wasteful way. but the point i would like to make is that we shouldn't be spending all this money in the first place. we are spending money that we don't have. our national debt is reaching a $12 trillion now. nobody can comprehend that kind of figure, but now they're going to have to come to the congress once again to raise the debt limit once again. it is just unbelievable what we are doing. i am saddened that it seems that
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criticism of these efforts has been limited primarily to liberals until a few days ago. george will finally started to question some of his because i have said many times, and i still believe, that fiscal conservatives should be the people most upset, post concerned about all of this amazing spending. it is just mind-boggling in a way. and general petraeus said a couple of months ago that we need to remember that afghanistan has been known through the centuries as the graveyard of empires. now, i'm sure that being the good bureaucrat he is, i don't suppose there's been ever real spending by the department of defense that he has ever really opposed. and that is one thing i think
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fiscal conservatives are going to have to realize at some point. that the defense department is first and foremost a gigantic bureaucracy. and like any gigantic bureaucracy it always wants to expand its mission and always wants to get increased funding. now i have the greatest respect for those in the military, and i believe the national defense is probably the most important, most legitimate function of a national government. but i also don't think that means we just automatically should approve every increase in every military venture that the defense department or any other debarment request. i will go back to what i said a few minutes ago. we're spending money that we don't have and we are really putting in great jeopardy the future. i used to say of

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