tv Washington Journal CSPAN April 29, 2012 7:00am-10:00am EDT
discusses the role and effectiveness of the united nations and later, the congressional research service looks at the role of the 12th amendment in creating the electoral college which elects the president of united states. "washington journal" is next. ♪ host: good morning, sunday, april 29, 2012 and here are your headlines -- the republican primary is all but wrapped up by former speaker newt gingrich has reportedly delayed the date he will officially dropped out of the race. in washington, d.c. last night, it was the correspondence dinner, an event known as oscar night for politicians.
we will get to all that and more but this week will mark the one- year anniversary of the death of osama bin laden. we want to know if you think the u.s. is set for today because of it. give us a call and let us know your thoughts. you can also send your comments via email and through facebook and director. a good morning to you. this week will mark the one-year anniversary of the death of osama bin laden and the headline in the "new york daily news" -
to's start getting calls talk about whether the u.s. is safer today. we go to a democrat from harlem, new york, good morning. caller: good morning. give me a moment -- i have not called in 12 years. there will be retroactive repercussions from the death of andbin kladen. pakistanis the sneaky as people on earth. i don't know why we trust them. nigeria is engaging -- they are doing hacking now. they have cyber threats and i think we need to reconsider
host: where are you hearing this information? caller: i have been hearing this for one year. host: do you think we are safer in the year since osama bin laden was wiped from the earth? caller: he is blaming the bush administration for everything. john panetta is the one who authorized this. host: the raid took place on may 1 of last year. christopher is a democrat from georgia, good morning. caller: good morning. i do not believe that america is safer. osama bin laden is one individual. if i was the head of an
although some of. -- of osama bin laden's death. there is no proof of his planning of 9/11. host: why are you not convinced? he took credit and intelligence was taken from his headquarters. caller: there were discrepancies in news reports and images of him on the television. for a number of years, he was on the fbi's top 10 most wanted list but was never accused of perpetrating a masterminding the acts on the world trade center. they had him for the earlier bombings at the world trade center, a failed attempt in the basement but never for the 9/11 attack. host: that was from buffalo, new york, a dowager - a doubter./
this is from twitter -- keep sending your thoughts on twister and keep calling in and we will go back to the phones on the republican line. go ahead. caller: it is like a reptile that can grow back a tell. we cut off the tail and you have not gotten anywhere. you have to cut off the head. until it is eliminated, we're still in danger. host: what more needs to be dead adone. where is the threat coming from?
caller: probably iran. host: as the u.s. done a good job of wiping out the al qaeda network? caller: i think they have started but i think they have to get the head and until they do, i don't think bin laden - he may have been the head but i don't think he masterminded all the things that have been done. host: keeping the pressure up on the al qaeda network. we will continue this conversation for the first 45 minutes. we want to take you to some of the other headlines. we talked a little about this in the opening -- the oscar night for washington, d.c.
the correspondents' dinner was last night and we want to take you inside and talk about what happened with patrick gavin. are you there? guest: thank you for having me. host: set the scene for us? . guest: as you can expect, there were a couple of themes that the president and jimmy kimmel hit on - the gsa conference and the secret service got rid of by both of them - got ribbed by both of them. the president said he ate a dog meat as a kid. and they joked about that. the republicans got a once over from both of them. the president talked about mitt
romney's two harvard degrees and jimmy kimmel said mitt romney was pulled for milan's and catalog. -- was pulled from a land's end catalog. let's show some comments from president obama. [video clip] >> is great to be here in the vast, magnificent hilton ballroom or what mitt romney said -- would call a little fixer upper. [laughter] [applause] look at this party -- with gunmen in tuxes, women in gowns, find one, first class entertainment. i was relieved to learn this was not a gsa conference. [laughter] [applause]
host: we're still here with stillgavin of politico. compare last night's dinner to previous years where it -- where the jokes more hard-hitting? there were some comments about donald trump last year. i think the humor of jimmy kimmel was edge here but we see a noticeable trend since the stephen colbert much- debated performance in 2006. each subsequent committee and is getting away with more and more. -- each subsequent comedian is getting away with more and more. the audience is not that
outraged anymore where they did in 2006. it will probably get edgier and jimmy kimmel did not disappoint last night. host: how did the folks in the audience compared to previous years stars? guest: there is always one or two celebrities who attend these events and get all the attention whether they deserve it or not. this year was lindsay lohan k lindsayim kardashian. those headline grabbers aside, you get a strong presence of hollywood types like steven spielberg and george clooney and diane keaton. there is really too many to list. it has become a must-do event for many west coast people. the east coast does not really recognize the appeal.
they really get mobbed. there was a wall around the georgia colony. george clooney. host: this is from twitter -- how do you think jimmy kimmel will go down in relation to other guests who made their appearance as in past years? guest: he is you need. he is not like jay leno or johnny carson or a comedian with a longstanding relationship with america. he is a guy who grew up in the 1990's and has done very well in this century primarily with and college-frat boy humor. it is that is not your cup of
tea, it is hard to get talent to come to this. it is a very highly-debated gig. it has a huge microscope and it is a big room with not the best acoustics. you have to follow the president of the united states. there is pressure to get a high- profile committee and that there are only so many. - comedian. you might have to ask somebody back. sometimes you get people who are super-high profile and some time to get folks like rich little in 2007 that people don't quite know as well host: this is one more clip from last night -- [video clip] >> it is hard to be filed with the president of united states
looking at you but day in and day out, joe biden manages to do it. [laughter] [applause] i wish he was here. so he could sit behind me and fake clap like he does during the state of the union address. is this fun for you? this is the first meal he has had in mind. they say diplomacy is a matter of carrots and sticks and since mrs. obama got to the white house, so is dinner. [laughter] you are very skinny. she does not let you eat. i felt guilty about eating dessert a. people thought you were from canada and that had nothing to do with your burt's a dividend. it is because you lost so much weight. we thought your the guy who won the boston marathon. host: one more comment from twitter-
tell us what the tradition of this event was. guest: it has been around for 98 years. it was traditionally an opportunity for white house correspondents to bring sources and lawmakers and politicians to an event one night only were they can have a few drinks. i think it was in the 1990's, we had a celebrity host and after that the flood gates were open. then it was about celebrities and that helped move into this new century for better or worse. the white house correspondents themselves get very overshadowed. host: thank you for getting up
early this morning. we will turn back to our question from this morning -- this week will be the one-year anniversary of the death of osama bin laden. we want you to tell us whether you think america is safer. there are plenty of article debating whether or not the u.s. is safer. we will go to david on the democratic line from mclean, virginia. good morning. caller: thank you for cspan. i want to let you guys know? we are much safer. the republican party refuses to give the president and credit for anything. their strategy for the next six months will be to pretty much say that the president is politicizing the death of osama bin laden. it is one of the biggest
accomplishments for american president. he has every right to tout his credentials. yes, the country is much safer without osama bin laden. in retrospect, it is one year since he was taken from this earth by great navy seals. i hope this country really focuses on what it means to be a good leader. it means to be courageous. , have a great foresight, the ability to make tough decisions, and put a country on a long-term trajectory. host: we will talk about the anniversary this week but you think the death of osama bin laden will play into the presidential election this fall? caller: i would hope that it is
not completely politicize. d. if the republican party tries to talk about the president not keeping this country say for the president is weak on national security, this is without a doubt, he should be brandishing his credentials of making a decision like this. peter bergen said all the drone strikes and the death of anwar awlaki. we still have a war in iraq and afghanistan. it is not being mentioned in the news lately host: thanks for the call and here is another comment from twister.
that story was from "the new york times." there'll be several more stores this week as delicate negotiations go on that head of secretary of state hillary clinton's a visit to china. back to the telephones and the question of whether the united states is safer one year since the death of osama bin laden. we go to anderson, south carolina, good morning. caller: this is the first time for me to get through on one of these talks. killed osama they bin laden. i think she is in a military prison being held by the united states. host: why don't you believe it? caller: they said he buried his body at sea and we find out later that it was brought back to the united states but they did not say where they kept it.
there were just too many things kept in secrecy. host: we have not heard any communication from him in the years since the u.s. government -- the u.s. governments as they have photographs from the raid showing him and you're still not convinced? caller: no. they had quite a few bodies to put in the bag. there is no guarantee they shot a osama bin laden or killed him. i think he is hidden in a prison not too far. host: joe, not a believer after the raid that killed osama bin laden. we go to roy from north carolina on the independent line. good morning. caller: thank you. i believe we are safer, especially considering what the alternative is.
the bush-republican morons. this was a whole lot more than just a decision. it was not just the president saying yes or no. there was amazing detective work in terms of getting them on in -- getting bin laden. they 8 million pages worth of al qaeda archives. they are bearing all kinds of fruit we do not know about. this was unprecedented. not just getting bin laden, but getting his whole library. there was another amazing story right after this. an incredibly cruel gangster from boston and he got hardly any airplay. it took detective work that was amazing. host: staying on the raid that killed osama bin laden, how will this play in the election coming
up this fall? will we remember it this week? caller: well, i do not know how much overt plate will get. covertly. it will be in the black for real. another saying obama -- another thing obama did great was we just took 9000 troops out of "now what. the entire big picture of the president and the vice president, our whole foreign policy, our entire defense department, everything. we are starting to bear an amazing lot of fruit. that never would happen under a republican. the whole party could not find a phone book in a phone booth. host: thank you. let us go to republican line to get a response from a republican. jared from sioux falls, s.d..
go ahead. caller: hi. i do not think america is safer. i think there will still be those people over there in that part of the country that will follow osama bin laden. they will see his death as a revenge attack to get back at america. i have heard about -- there is tightened security around the anniversary. i do not see that that made it safer. it is a huge point for obama. he can say, look what i did in his four-year term. host: thank you. sticking to the idea of whether this will play into the presidential campaign this year, the death of osama bin laden. don, writes -- host: don on twitter. his thoughts on the impact of the death of osama bin laden on
the presidential campaign this fall. a few headlines from the campaign trail that we touched on this morning. newt gingrich is said to in his presidential bid. that is not news to anybody. he is now pushing back the date of when he will step out of the race. sources are saying that will happen on wednesday of this week. we continue to watch to see when that happens. also, in light of the white house correspondents' dinner where the president always get a lot of free press for his humorous statement that he always makes at those events. that every president makes at that dinner. the romney campaign said forward to talk about their candidates and his sense of humor. this is a romney adviser
chart in talking spending over the course of the primary. now that is almost wrapped up. nearly $50 million in television ads. you can see, this is mitt romney's polling numbers over the course of the primary. below it, you can see when he dropped his ads and how much she spent. "the washington post" reach them positive or negative. some of the most negative from the romney campaign were run against newt gingrich in the january-february timeframe. by the end of february, the negative ads were focused more on rick santorum. when he was gaining in newt
gingrich was falling. interesting chart you can go see today. back to the question of the safety of the u.s. in the year since the death of osama bin laden. carroll, a democrat from georgia. thank you for waiting. caller: good morning. the way you post your questions are sometimes -- what you are saying is, are we much better? we did not hear any of this when bush was in office. nobody is blaming bush. in 02 years, president bush did not get osama bin laden. host: how would you pose the question? caller: people are saying that president obama, panetta, gave orders and not president obama. host: there was one caller who thought that. caller: she said that.
you have been letting people call in, not even question whether they are telling the truth. you should know the truth. you should know that president obama is the president and nobody makes decisions but him. that is neither here nor there because you know what's coming it does not matter because you can tell locals into your show. -- you can tell who calls into your show. sometimes you all put things certain ways to get people to respond in a certain way because, you know, even with jesus -- of the talked-about was good and look what he did to him. you might not like your president, but you have to honor him. that is why everything is going so bad for them. it is not dead. they do not have -- it is not that they do not have a good candidate.
until they start respecting the man that was voted in as president, nothing will happen good for them. if you see what is going on here -- host: thank you for the call. let us go to kevin on the independent line from indiana. good morning. kevin, are you there? go ahead. caller: i think we are safer because -- i do not know if everybody knows, but he is the one who had the idea of flying airplanes into buildings like 15 years ago before it even happened. the thing that gets me is are they going to change the patriot act and the laws they put on us to make us safer? i think you will always have
somebody mad at america. anymore, we have commercials that say the we are the world's protector. i think we are going the wrong direction with our military. the people should start rising up against -- our past is nothing buth looking for people to fight. host: at you been following the debate over cyber security? caller: a little bit. host: are you worried they will strip privacy rights from people andan attempt -- in an attempt to strike down several terrorists? caller: i think will come down the line.
they react. they put another law in place. that is the law for 10 or 50 years and then it hurts a lot of people but they do not even look at the sx. they might be trying to get the criminals, but they are turning their own people into foreign enemies. that is why everybody is all pissed off. excuse my french. we are being told we have to live like a criminal. host: kevin, i appreciate the call from indiana. let us go right to jay and the democratic line from phoenix, arizona. good morning. caller: high. can you hear me? -- hi. i think we are safer to a certain extent. i think the biggest problem comes domestically. we are supposed to be united. we have these two parties to are not agreeing -- who are not agreeing.
i grew up in texas. i know the mentality. president obama is the commander and chief. he is the one that made the decision to go after 0 osama bin laden and anybody who thinks differently needs to see a shrink. i am a gay american. the majority of the time, things do not apply to me like fairness and the constitution. i believe the constitution gives every american the pursuit of happiness and to me, that means being able to marry who i choose. i want to comment about the photo i saw of jan brewer on the tarmac sticking her finger in president obama's face. that was one of the most disrespectful things i have seen in my life.
host: you talk about concentrating on the home front. let me read a comment from twitter. host: do you agree? caller: bin laden was killed. i do not think it was an accident. i do think they need to bring our guys home. the war has been going on for more than 10 years. this is probably unnecessary. they knew what they were going into. my perception is that saddam hussein threatened to kill george bush and i think that was one of the determining factors.
nothing got accomplished except losing a lot of lives. host: thank you for the call. on "newsmakers" patrick donahue will talk about expenses. there that are accused -- articles this week. a senate bill was passed to refuse the postal service. we have donahoe and he talked about the potential to close thousands of post offices to save money. listen in. >> how often are the numbers fluctuating on a potential closure? 3700, being the post offices. over 220 in terms of mail processing plant. are those numbers changing? >> from a post office standpoint, the word closure is
one we never use. we say evaluate. consolidate. serving them on a level. even changing the hours. so that instead of having 02 hours, maybe six hours. the key with the post office is that we bring in $15,000. the average cost is $65,000. if there is a way to match up and bring the cost down close to the revenue, there is no need to close. host: you the entire interview on "newsmakers" after the show at 10:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. on c-span. a few more headlines to go over with you. bill clinton is planning on joining president obama to raise money for the democrats
reelection campaign. will be the first time that the two heavyweights have campaigned together in 2012. this is according to an article. i went to get one more caller in on this question of how to save america is one year after the death of osama bin laden. we go to dave from pittsburgh on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. absolutely, we are safer. there was doom and gloom predicted after his death and i have not seen any skyscrapers falling to the ground. personally, i think we have a much deeper concern with domestic terrorists. i cannot wait to see the first
drone fly over montana and take out some military camp. do i think this will play in the election? absolutely. every time the topic comes up of national security, the trump card will be pulled. who took out the mud in? it was a courageous move. are we safer? absolutely. they have decimated the entire ranks of that organization to the point that they could be considered neutered. host: thank you for the call. and for all the calls on this subject. we showed you a clip from the white house correspondents' dinner earlier in the show. you can watch the entire coverage of that of the and on our c-span.org. -- of that on our website at c-
span.org. you the subjects that were brought up on twitter. 60,854 tweets. that included the dinner. some of the fastest tweets per minute came when jimmy kimmel joked about chris christie during the opening routine and when president obama was joking about republicans, sarah palin , newt gingrich, and mitt romney. that is when twitter was most interested in the dinner. you can watch the whole thing on c-span.org. up next, we discussed the rise in cyber attacks with colonel cedric leighton and later on whether the u.n. actually works. first, a look at what is coming
up next on c-span radio. >> beginning at noon, we read air 5 sunday talk shows courtesy of nbc, abc, fox, cnn, and cbs. topics include presidential politics, homeland security, immigration. nbc airs at noon eastern time. the gas are the advisor to president obama's reelection campaign and the adviser to mitt romney campaign. also, the vice chair of though house republican. abc is at 1:00 p.m. with white house counter-terrorism adviser, the former ceo of hewlett- packard, the chairman of google, and the former comptroller general. fox news readers at 2:00 p.m. with more from white house counter-terrorism adviser. cnn three years at 3:00 p.m. --
re-years at 3:00 p.m. with bob mcdonnell and john boehner. the cbs complete the lineup airing at 4:00 p.m. eastern. today, we talk with former mississippi governor haley barbour, los angeles mayer, chairman of the 2012 democratic national convention, and california democratic governor jerry brown. "meet theith nbc's press." five networks, nbc, abc, fox, cnn, cbs. all beginning at noon eastern on c-span radio. this is a public service. listen to them all on 90.1 fm, xm 119, blackberry, iphone app or cspanradio.org.
>> born in a north korean workers camp, it is the only world he has ever known. he is the only one to have escaped. >> his first memory after the age of around four was going with his mom to a place near where he grew up in the camp to watch somebody get shot. public executions in the camp were held every few weeks. they worry way of punishing people who violated campus rules and of terrorizing the 20,000 to 40,000 people who lived in the camp to obey the rules. >> tonight, on the journey of north korea and learning about society and civilization at 8:00 p.m. may 6, look for our "queue and a" interview.
it coincides with the release of "the passage of power." >> "washington journal" continues. host: with the incidence of cyber attacks rising, congress declared cyber week. cedric leighton trends us right now. talk about this new statistic from the government accountability office that cyber attacks are up 680% over the past five years? guest: it is a function of what is going on in the internet. it is one of those things where we are looking and not only are the attacks on the rise, but people are using the internet for more than they did before. in the 1990's, 1% of all traffic or on the internet. as of 2007, 97% of all traffic was on the internet.
as a result, that makes it much more lucrative for people to want to go in to the internet to find out things that they maybe should not be privy to. we are looking at intellectual property, going through all kinds of different things that maybe part in parcel of everything from the cyber colonel's action such as stealing credit card number -- cyber criminal act in such as stealing credit card numbers. all of that is happening on the internet. you are seeing an increase in the number of hacking incidents. the number of fishing incidents. the placement of now where -- malware. these are all parts that they are trying to work into cyber security legislation. that is really what it boils down to. this is a function on the -- of the traffic on the internet and also a function of the fact that
hacking tools are much more readily available than they once were. host: are talking to cedric leighton, former air force colonel who spent several years on this subject and others. we want to get your thoughts. give us a call on the republican line. the numbers are on the screen. it seems like every agency of the government was bound to be tolerable to these attacks. was anybody doing well in guarding against cyber attacks? guest: it is really difficult to assess accurately because sometimes, there is the placement of malware and computer systems that is hard to detect. any of these statistics have to be looked at with a grain of salt because we are not sure what we do not know.
the ones that come out best are the military domain. they have a lot of vulnerability is associated with them. of course, it does not say anything about what has happened in the private sector. even though it remains relatively better, they are still vulnerable to attacks. the chinese have been thought to have hacked into the military computer domains. you have a lot of different aspects, you know, where you are looking at the department of a homeland security being hacked into. the department of justice was packed into. all of these areas are vulnerable. host: what is this serious attack we know has been carried out? caller: let us take that -- guest: the attacks against contractors. there was one the result in a lot of the brew -- blueprints that were part of the
compromise to the chinese. there was a situation where a lot of information that is proprietary that defense contractors have such as encryption information, that becomes another huge issue. there was a huge breach of the rsa security firm. that was noteworthy because they are responsible and has government contracts to protect government i.t. networks. that showed that even in crowded areas are as vulnerable in certain aspects to computer attacks. that shows that they to -- the basic mantra right now. if you do now know you were hacked, do nothing that you were not because you probably were. that is the world we are dealing with right now.
host: talk about the bill on the house floor this week and that was voted on and passed. host: hr3523. -- guest: hr3523. the cyber security protection act. they are trying to protect and -- is designed to bring together intelligence information and private sector information for the first time in a non-defense industry arena. that means there is a potential for big companies to share threat information with the government and specifically, the intelligence agents it 3g be intelligence agencies. the government may also -- the intelligence agencies. the government may also share
information with them. it is not a blanket sharing of information but what it does do is share information in ways that had not been done before so that internet threats, as they are detected, become known by both sides of the equation, whether it is the private sector or the government. from a security standpoint, you need both sides to talk to each other so that we can find except what the vulnerabilities are and fight them. this is at inner and speak and not just knowledge about the threat. we need to act fast. host: concerns relate to privacy issues. guest: that is one of the big reasons that a lot of entities such as the american civil liberties union and other groups that have worked the privacy issue and are defenders of american's right to privacy have objected to this bill. the main view that many have is that this is just an upgraded version of the sopa bill, the
stock, and piracy acts. that was a completely -- stop online piracy acts. that was a completely different issue. they were trying to work the internet protected issue for intellectual property. this does that, but it adds intelligence sharing that has never been part of any legislation of this type since 1947. that is really what we are looking at. host: we are talking with cedric leighton. he is a former deputy director of the war fighter support and integration. we will take some callers. the first up is ben for massachusetts. caller: good morning. i'm wondering if the colonel can answer whether he thinks that there is a sovereign domain for the internet and its
surveillance comes into this to really less than the u.s.'s ability to survey anyone on the internet -- a lot of them have been coming from foreign sources. if he believes the u.s. has a greater sovereignty over the internet and a greater domain to police the internet and other nations in the world. also, wondering -- i wanted to state that there has not been an increase.
guest: for private individuals, you see it in the https beginning of the domain name when you go into, say, on-line banking where some other web sites, that is the beginning of the encryption process. for you it looks transparent. for somebody coming on the outside, the data in the first instance is protected from their prying eyes but it is one of those areas where that's part of the solution. the other part of it is to always be on guard for things like malware and how do you do that? you upgrade your anti-virus
programs and make sure your anti-virus programs as well as all the different scans that you can and should do for your computer systems and i.t. networks are carried out on a very regular basis but also do it on an irregular basis as well. you might do it once a month, for example, but do it, you know, maybe on the 12th of the month just to see what's out there. those are the kinds of things. in essence, everybody is on the front line in this particular situation because everybody is on the front line, it means we're all part and parcel of trying to protect the internet. that's what this is really all about. host: adding some numbers to that stat that we talked about earlier, cyber attacks up 680% over the course of the last five years. accounts for 420,000 cyber security incidents in 2011, 5,500 compared to 2006 and for nation terrorist criminal groups and activists were found to be
behind the attacks. you can read the entire g.a.o. report on their web site at gao.gov. let's go to charles from indiana on the independent line. good morning, charles. caller: good morning. i guess i have a question. i've been using the internet for basically 20 years and i've seen a lot of evolution in the system. with the new laws that are going to be passed probably into law here pretty soon, i'm a little frightened by our privacy as american citizens to be able to use the internet regularly and not, you know, be monitored to the point to where we're, you know, well, we can freely use it. as we've always been able to do. and what comes to mind to me is the history of the country from, say, 1870 to 1900 like the wild west. and we did take the wild west
and the internet is kind of like the wild west right now. we were able to tame it. we didn't intrude in people's lives that we were afraid to use it. i'd like to see the comments on that type of thinking. guest: that's an excellent point and a lot of people in addition to yourself have said that, you know, this is the -- the internet is kind of like the wild west and there are a lot of good analogies that, you know, kind of indicate that we're at the stage before the sheriff came to town or before the, you know, the army came in and the calgary came in to rescue us from the band of bandits in the west. the internet is kind of like that. when you look at the privacy aspects that people are concerned about with this, they're certainly relevant concerns but when you look at how we've adopted other communications systems, it's interesting to note that when you started with the telephone, for example, and the telephone was deployed into rural areas in the early 1920's, you know, of
course it was around in bigger cities before then and some people had it before then, but 1920's, you really saw the growth of the telephone for rural communities. most people had party lines and everybody on that party line could pick up the phone and actually listen in on all the conversations and sometimes they'd do things like offer advice, unsolicited advice to their neighbors and, you know, that was considered acceptable at that time. today, we'd find that very intrusive. keep in mind, this is an evolving piece. as far as the privacy issues are concerned, the act when you're talking about cyber intelligence and information sharing, what they're trying to do is they're trying to not delve into the actual details of a person's e-mail. but what they're looking at is they're looking at what is happening to the network at large. so, for example, if, let's say, apple just to pick a company name was attacked from an outside source, apple could then
under the provisions of this go to the government and say hey, we have information that our network is being attacked. and it looks like this. what will happen is only the e-mails pertinent to that particular attack, the e-mail, for example, that the malware may be embedded in, indications that they were doing what they call a phishing expedition. what they would do is take that information and analyze that and see what the threat is, the extent of the threat, where it comes from, how it's going to be activated and more specifically, the technical parameters surrounding the virus or the piece of malware that's coming into this system or that wants to come into this system that they've detected. that, then, serves -- it's like a disease, like an i inocutaion for the body.
for example, smallpox, you have an vaccination that protects people against smallpox. the idea of the acts is to provide the innocuation for those types of things. we're trying to inoculate our internet system from things like computer viruses, malware and things like that, diseases of the modern age, if you lchlt>> i want to read a column from michelle richardson, a legislative counsel for the american civil liberties union and she wrote a piece for "the hill" newspaper here in washington, d.c. about this legislation as it was coming up last week. she writes "supporters have made information sharing the corner stone of our cyber security policy and there's nothing wrong with companies sharing technical data about threats per se but it permits sharing far beyond what's necessary and reasonable ultimately letting the companies that hold our information decide how much the government will know about the web sites we visit and the notes we send to our loved ones. congress should vote no and go back to the drawing board on information sharing as we've seen time and again over the next decade, once the government
gets expansive, national security authorities, there's no going back. they will hear little about it until rampant abuse is on the front page of the "new york times." this is congress' one shot of regulating cyber security and privacy, it must get it right. this is a column from "the hill". one more comment from twitter. ava writes on twitter "a responsible government will protect their web sites and businesses will do the same but don't stick your nose into my internet use." back to the phones. from minnesota, bob is on the democratic line. thanks for waiting, bob. caller: thank you for taking my call. i read an article, believe it or not in "popular mechanics" talking about cyber wars and the biggest threat was talking about came from china. national security to intellectual property and the
intellectual property and they've been hacking into our computer systems and stealing all of our business secrets and they're gonna -- it's a threat to our economy and also the national security issue as far as secrets that should not be on line, they need to find a better way to communicate secrets than on line, i think. i don't think they should be using computers for things like that and i wonder what your thoughts are as far as communicating national security secrets on line. and maybe some way that we can keep our businesses from being hacked and stealing all of our intellectual properties. guest: those are great questions. and, you know, when you look at the national security aspect of it, you know, the way it works
within the government is there are actually different levels of computer systems that are out there. for example, when i was active in operation iraqi freedom, i had four different systems that i used. one was completely unclassified. one was at the secret level and other two were at different levels of top secret. so the government does divide their various information systems based on the classification of the information that is supposed to be on them. you could definitely, though, make an argument that a lot more of the government's information should be on the secure versions of the -- what they call cipernet and jwix are the two major systems they use in government or the military. there's a lot of the government that does not use secret communications and that probably should change just from an information protection standpoint. as far as businesses are
concerned, the basic idea of a lot of the measures in front of congress, the house was the only one to pass a bill so far. the senate will take this up, i'm not sure how far it will get in the senate. there's also a -- if you will, there's a competing measure, there's several competing measures, actually but the most prominent of those is one sponsored by senators leeberman and senator collins from connecticut and maine respectively and what they're trying to do is they're trying to put the department of homeland security in charge of the whole aspect of it and that would then -- there would be information sharing just like with the act but it would not be the intelligence community would not be as prominent a player, at least the way that law is, that proposed law is written. >> is this the regulatory approach that we hear talked about? >> it is the regulatory approach and what's interesting about this is, you know, cispa in of itself is a voluntary
measure and does not require businesses to be a part of the system as well and businesses can choose based on the provisions of the act, businesses can choose whether or not they want to participate in that and even with, you know, let's say they have one moment they share some information and the next moment they can elect not to do that. they -- that's basically how the act is designed to work. when it comes to the collins approach, that's a more mandatory approach and that has drawn some opposition from the business community because they don't want an extra regulatory burden put upon businesses. host: which one are you more in favor of? guest: personally, i believe each one has its strength and weaknesses. what i like about cispa is the fact that it brings the intelligence community in very quickly into the process. people get very scared by that but having been a member of the intelligent community, i know what kind of privacy safeguards there are within the regulations
of the intelligence community has to follow. so i like the aspect of the intelligence community comes in very quickly with cispa. however, the lieberman collins piece is good in that it requires a degree of mandatory compliance for the most important businesses that deal with our infrastructure, for example, utilities, banks, businesses of that nature where their failure could have a complete negative impact on national security. that becomes an area where i believe there is a requirement for some mandatory measures to be in place because they become very important like we want our water to be protected and our air to be protected, there are mandatory measures in effect there, we need to do the same for parts of the internet. not to get into the content of what we read but the internet needs to be secured just like we expected our old mail, our snail mail to be secured as well. host: let's go to laurel, massachusetts. peter is on the independent line. good morning.
caller: good morning. thank you. i'm listening to what's being said and i've heard comments before the show about this. and how can anyone say no, we don't want to protect the government and large institutions from attacks? it seems to be the part about differentiating. of course, we want to protect it but what about the critics who say you're going to monitor how many web sites are clicked and private companies as a matter of fact are going to grab some of that information so now, it goes beyond the government when it's a separate contractor that's doing it and now they're owning a lot of information. and i guess a much more basic, just basically could you answer those points? guest: sure, i'd be happy to, peter. the basic thing that you're
looking at is you bring up an excellent point because, you know, within the government, at least within the part of it that i worked in, there were a lot of very stringent controls on what you could do with information that came from a domestic source. when i was at the national security agency, it was absolutely impossible to do anything domestically unless you had a court order to do that or there was legitimate proof that it had something to do with the communication that emanated from overseas. and once you had that, then it had to be related usually to terrorism or some other imminent national threat. that -- like i said, those stringent controls became very, very important in our daily conduct and, you know, if anybody violated those, they were subject to termination. host: you talk about your experience. where are some of the other places that you worked that you were deeply involved in cyber security? guest: basically, the last one was at n.s.a. but before that, i
also worked at the 70th intelligence wing, the air force component of the national security agency for lack of a better term, and it was a very clear aspect to our mission was to work the cyber piece at that particular time. there were some special operations that went on. this was in the early 2000's and of course, things are a bit different now but the basic idea was, you know, our effort was designed to safeguard the internet and understand what possible threats were coming through the internet so there was that aspect and then when i was on the air staff before that, i did work some aspects of cyber security and had some knowledge of exactly how that fits together and -- host: how many decades of work in cyber security? guest: i would say somewhere between 1.5 and 2. it's been pretty interesting. host: let's ask a question on the republican line from lancaster, pennsylvania.
good morning, mark. caller: good morning. could you let me know how much damage was done to our security when obama left that helicopter tail behind on his raid? did that help the chinese a lot? host: not exactly a cyber security question. guest: i'll be happy to take it. mark, there are a lot of aspects to that, you know, the exact details of a, you know, a compromise of that type, you know, are known to very few people. however, what the chinese were after and the report is the pakistanis gave them the rotor tail of the helicopter that went down in the raid on bin laden and what happens there is what they're looking for is an ability to reverse engineer things like this. so they look at things like, you know, how are the rotors shaped,
how are they made silent? how is the paint scheme composed of, what is it composed of from a chemical standpoint, those kinds of things. what metals are used? all of that becomes part and parcel of their engineering effort and this kind of information, although in this case it was a physical issue, blueprints of devices and weapons of that type are very, very sensitive if they're found on line, that's the kind of intellectual property that is subject to cyber attack. and that is one of the aspects of the legislation, to protect companies working on cutting edge technology, whether it's paints or metals or things directly related to the internet, those are the kind of intellectual property as well as national security ramifications that we seek to protect. host: jim asked you on twitter.
colonel, is there any possibility whatsoever that hackers could activate the u.s. nuclear arsenal? if not, i'm not concerned. guest: as far as we know, here's what i know about it. the system that governs our nuclear weapons is a separate system. it is not connected to the internet so in that sense, a direct attack is practically impossible. what is possible, though, is the deliberate insertion of malware into the systems that govern the nuclear command and control system. if that happens, that could be a completely different issue as far as i know, that has not happened. i know that the requirements are very, very stringent for the security that governs these kinds of things but any malware of any type that would be inserted manually into a system like that could cause significant damage. so from the internet, not a problem. otherwise, possible problem. host: let's go to johnny on the democratic line from sumter,
south carolina. good morning. caller: good morning, gentlemen. bear with me a minute because i need to point something out. our problem goes to education and the reason why i say this, we graduated that 70,000 engineers in this country and 40,000 of them are foreigners. china graduates 100,000. you talk about the tale in all this. we have all these companies in china making stuff. and talking about owe this money. we owe the money to the companies making stuff in china. and now we're worried about them getting our secrets. well, listen, you're talking about people getting an
education, still, we're giving all this money to china with the american companies making this stuff in china and we're worried about them taking our secrets? come on, this is a joke. host: you talk about folks going into cyber security as a field. i mean, this is a growing field for that is hiring now. guest: absolutely. it is one of the most sought after majors, you know, not only within government but also within the private sector and the reason for that is companies are beginning to get smarter to these kinds of issues. now, johnny is right in that a lot of companies have made some significant efforts in china and they weren't very conscious of security. there are legions of stories out there, one involved a firm that was engaged in wind power. and they -- they went into the chinese market. they brought their technology in with state of the art technology
and they discovered slowly but surely as they deployed their system throughout china, throughout the chinese country side that they were getting less and less traction with their chinese counterparts. and then they discovered that an exact replica of their windmill system motors that run the windmill was copied and put in place not too far from an existing installation that that american company had built. so the chinese are very adept at reverse engineering. they're very adept at copying a lot of the stuff that's out there. but his point about, you know, the educational efforts, the fact that we in relative terms graduate fewer engineers and a lot of that proportion that we graduate is actually foreign born and will probably go back to their country of origin. that is a significant national security issue but the field of cyber security in and of itself is a growing field in a lot of areas within the local d.c. area, a lot of universities and
colleges within the d.c. area are obviously pursuing the cyber education piece but there are other entities out there. other educational entities out there that are doing a pretty good job of bringing cyber security to the forefront. one of the key things, though, in the buyer beware department is that a lot of these entities may not be up on the latest techniques and the latest efforts so it's one of those things where you choose your program wisely. many of the ones i know here are pretty good but you have to be careful so buyer beware. host: your alma maters are, you went to school at the national defense university, air war college and the air command and staff college, correct? guest: yes, i did. host: back to the phones. angela is on the independent line from longview, texas. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm over 50. i'm a female. i have trouble even getting through just trying to learn all
about the internet. i'm new to it. during my years, in major events or news and magazines, i loved "popular mechanics". i watch science fiction, i understand everything you say. but what i'm serious about is when is america and the whole world going to get out from under the delusion that we're protected or we have privacy in any sector anywhere? there is no more privacy. you can put up the fire walls and the great walls that you want. we're hacking each other to death. and i just don't -- i'm trying
to use my computer on the internet because i'm being constantly warned that someone is after me. i'm afraid to touch it now. host: comment on twitter to go with angela's statement. writes "do not give up your freedom for temporary security. just another way to waste money at taxpayer expense." your thoughts? guest: well, i think that, you know, when you look at the whole cyber security issue, you know, angela's point that, you know, we are beginning to live in fear now all of a sudden on the internet, that is, you know, not really where we should be. what we should do is protecting what's out there. and people believe that it is not happening or that this is an effort by the government to bring its power, if watched carefully, it doesn't have to be that way and that's where what we have to do is we have to come up with very rational cyber security policies. angela's point about trying to
make sure that everything that we do is covered from a secure standpoint but also privacy is in essence a thing of the past, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way but our expectations of privacy are also much higher than they were in the past. the example that i used earlier about the telephone system when it first was deployed throughout the country, that becomes, you know, part and parcel of what we're doing. now, the thought of a party line is something that most people don't even consider as being real. and they're in some cases surprised that we had that kind of a system. what we're dealing with here is we're going from in essence the party line age to, you know, something better, something hopefully more secure and what we have to do is we have to foster the technology that allows us to be secure. it is not, you know, when you look at what the aclu has said and what others have said in their effort so safeguard privacy, those arguments need to be taken into consideration that we don't want any abuses of our
system and our privacy and way of life but what we also want to do is protect what we have and what we hope to have in the future so my basic view is we need some concrete protections that evolve as technology evolves over time. those concrete protections must include safety on the internet from a criminal standpoint, keeping people's financial information safe. keeping people's personal information safe. it's absolutely critical. but then from a national security standpoint, we cannot idly wait while people like the chinese, the russians, the iranians, even the north koreans go into our systems and hack us blind. and that is the thing that we have to avoid. that is the key element here and that's why the people on the hill need to make sure that any legislation that comes out of this and that hopefully eventual the president signs actually protects us in all of those aspects. that's what we're looking for.
host: couple more callers before we go to break here. ben is on the republican line from san francisco, california. good morning, ben. caller: it all sounds very nice, protecting the internet. but the fourth amendment gives us the right from unreasonable search and seizure and i think that you should never sacrifice freedom for safety. and it seems that's what we're doing in this situation. we're letting them win and we're showing that we're going to change the rurlz in order to deal with them. host: thanks for the comment. we'll get dave in on the democratic line to get his thoughts from wilmington, delaware. caller: thanks for taking my call. a couple of comments and a question. i'm very intrigued by the caller who tried to describe this situation in sort of a very simple term. this is very, very complex and
the way i see it is that you've got the merging from a political standpoint of everything from free markets to libertarian views. and i would hate to see this as many issues get demagogued without people really understanding, first of all, the importance of this and the fact that the last segment which was talking about more boots on the ground when it comes to terrorism, this is probably one of our highest threats and, perhaps, once it's known, it will be a very easy thing to do. this could basically break down a country. that's my comment and my question is what are other larger older democracies doing in other countries? guest: great question. let me start with dave's first. the -- you know, when it comes to what other countries are doing, the european union does
have a very stringent piece of regulations that does a lot of what's going on on the internet. the problem with a lot of the things that they do is that, you know, there are probably a lot of problems out there but the one that i'll address is that it's -- the information sharing from a cyber security standpoint within, say, great britain or germany or even france is not as rapid as it needs to be in order to thwart internet attacks. so that is something where, you know, we can certainly look at what the european union is doing from a privacy standpoint, some of it may work in this country. some of it may not. but the basic idea is that they try to assure privacy rights in those areas. you know, such as personal information, financial information, things of that nature. that, i think, is pretty simple to do. where it gets more complicated is if somebody is implicated in a crime or in a terrorist activity, terrorist-related activity and that's where all the legal strictures need to be looked at and we need to work in
a more rapid fashion than we have been used to in the past but with the same degree of protection. you know, getting to ben's comment from san francisco, you know, what you're looking at here, you know, fourth amendment is, of course, part and parcel of what every person in the government is sworn to uphold, the u.s. constitution. so when you look at the provision against unreasonable searches and seizures, you're looking at taking a piece of how we correspond with the world and whether or not that should be subjected to a look, you know, by a third party or a third set of eyes. the various things we look at within the cyber realm really boil down to this. is it something that is going to affect the national security of the united states? if it does, if it is intended to do that, then we have to revert to the system that we had in essence in the run-up to world war ii and during world war ii
where although, of course, communications traffic was far less than it is now in terms of volume, it was still part and parcel of the government's job to -- and it was done in secret but they looked at a lot of communicatio communications ways, because they knew that's how the bad guys communicated with each other. the same thing happens now when we magnify it a million fold probably because of the sheer ubiquity of the internet. what you have is in a system where a lot of people, almost everybody communicates on it. you have the system, though, that is also vulnerable to attacks and what you're looking at is a way in which you can -- you need to find a way to protect the freedom of the vast majority of people but you also need to find a way in which to protect this very common utility. in essence, it is a utility, the internet. it is a public good and so because of that, we need to find
a way in which we can safeguard it. if we do nothing, instead of worrying about the fourth amendment, we'll worry about our very existence and that's the key point. host: one of the last questions on the republican line from brooklyn, new york. go ahead. caller: well, i just wanted to know if the actual changes was from sopa because to me, they're exactly the same. there isn't any difference. you know, it only allows companies to handle private information. just for the war on terror that does not exist, what happens to privacy and free markets? guest: well, privacy and free markets are really being subject to a series of attacks from the outside. and what we're looking at here
is countries like china, from places like russia, iran has it on me and has north korea developing at least 1,000 folks, according to some reports that are active in cyber activity. the government is trying to protect against that. they also know because we have a clear division in our country between the governmental sector and the private sector, they know the private sector is vulnerable to attacks. for example, "the wall street journal" a couple of months ago ran an interesting piece on the company in canada. they were hacked into by the chinese and the chinese stayed in resident, if you will, within their i.t. network, the chinese hackers did for over 10 years. they took -- they siphoned off
all the intellectual property from an engineering perspective and because they did that, nortel faced bankruptcy and they were basically on the ropes because all their intellectual property, all the potential markets that they could expand into disappeared because chinese companies were taking advantage of it, so you've got a two pronged effort going on here. so on the one hand, you want to protect privacy but sopa was designed to safeguard the internet from on-line piracy in the form of movies, in the form of some other things that we used in terms of patents and things of that nature. protect them from piracy allegations. the cispa act is a completely different entity. what it does is it brings together for the first time in legislation the intelligent community and the private sector and allows them to cooperate in a way that i think is a model for the rest of the government
and the rest of our economy because it allows both sides to work together so that both can prosper and that is very important. host: we'll have to end it right there. thank you, as always, for coming in. guest: my pleasure. thanks for having me. host: up next, discussion on whether the united nations still works with brett schaefer and later, thomas neale joins us to discuss the 12th amendment and how it relates to the constitution.
host: it's been two weeks since a u.n. brokered cease-fire in syria appears to be in crisis. we turn now to two u.n. experts for a discussion on the role, effectiveness and future of the united nations. we have here in the studio brett schaefer from the heritage foundation, the international regulatory affairs fellow at heritage and from boston, richard gowan of new york university from the center on international cooperation. he's the executive director out there and mr. gowan, i want to start with you. as the -- as the association's director out there at n.y.u., start us off with some perspective on the role and mission of the united nations and how it sort of developed in what its mission is going to be. guest: the u.n. is playing a huge role in international security at the moment.
it has over 100,000 peacekeepers worldwide, stablizing countries ranging from haiti to liberia and it's been playing a significant role in the global response to the arab spring. it sent civilian experts to help reconstruct libya and now, as you say, it's in the thick of the conflict in syria. first, this is hard work and the u.n. is sometimes struggling. there are cases such as sudan and south sudan where u.n. peacekeepers don't seem able to stop wars from reigniting and the u.n. mission in syria when -- which is actually pretty tiny, less than 100 people on the ground doesn't seem capable of halting the ongoing repression there so a time of great activity and great successes to the u.n. but also some pretty severe crises, too. host: we'll put up some stats about the u.n.'s peacekeeping
operations that are going on and after doing that, brett schaefer, you've been studying foreign policy at heritage since 1995. the question for you is does the u.n. still work in your mind? guest: in some ways, yes and in some ways, no. you have to realize that the u.n. is a pretty limited instrument. and in certain instances, the u.n. can be very effective. in other instances, the u.n. cannot overcome the challenges that are facing us. and richard mentioned sudan. i mean, there are almost 40,000 u.n. peacekeepers in sudan right now in the three different missions. we're spending $2.5 million and collectively this is by far the largest u.n. presence around the world in terms of peacekeeping efforts. yet, they haven't been able to yet fully clamp down on the violence in darfour though it's much less than it used to be. they haven't been able to quell the conflicts going on over the
disputed territories over south sudan or sudan nor have they been able to get south sudan fully on a governing footing. when you take a look at the challenges that you have in syria, yes, we only have a few u.n. peacekeepers, observers on the ground right now but even if you had many, many more u.n. peacekeepers, i don't think that would be sufficient to deter the syrian regime's effort to try to repress the people that are acting out against it and rebelling against it domestically. host: we want to get your thoughts on the question in this segment of whether the u.n. still actually works. if you have a question for mr. gowan or mr. schaefer, give us a call on the republican line. democratic line 202-737-0001. if you're an independent 202-628-0205 and if you're outside the u.s. and want to comment, 202-628-0184. mr. gowan, what are the measurements we should be
looking at in your mind of success and failure of the u.n. in sort of the era that we're in? guest: the most important role of the u.n. is try to broker basic agreements between the u.s. and other major powers such as china and russia. and for much of the period since the end of the cold war, the u.s. has really been dominant in the u.n. and although there have always been crises and setbacks for the u.s. over iraq in 2003, america has normally been able to set the rules in new york. today, the global political picture is changing. china and russia are much more assertive in the u.n. and i think the big test looking beyond immediate crises such as those in sudan and syria is whether the u.n. will work the mechanism for china and the u.s. especially to work out common interests and common strategies for managing conflict in the
future. at the moment, there are some positive signs. china and the u.s. are actually cooperating pretty well these days to support the u.n. in sudan but there are other cases, again, obviously syria where there have been really vicious diplomatic breakdowns and that's the worrying point. host: got some numbers about the top peacekeeping operations going on in the u.n. that we'll share you in some of the costs of those operations. i know you've written extensively about funding how the u.n. is funded. talk about that and what the u.s. commitment is now and expected to be in the future. guest: first of all, you have to realize that the u.n. is much broader than those people generally realize. when people think about the united nations, they think about new york. they think about the general assembly, the security council, u.n. peacekeeping but it also encompasses about, you know, several different dozen orpgss that fit loosely under the u.n. system umbrella. and when you take a look at that entire u.n. system, it's rather
expensive. and the effectiveness and the appropriateness of those organizations in terms of serving u.s. interests -- vary greatly. there are some parts of the u.n. that are extremely useful to the united states. there are other parts of the u.n. that are, frankly, not very useful at all and that the united states, i think, should re-evaluate whether it should remain a part of those organizations and within the u.n. system itself is a massive amount of mismanagement, there's also a massive amount of duplication between these different organizations so the entire system has been built up over time in a rather haphazard fashion and so the organization we had today is very smooth. it isn't very sleek and it isn't very well organized. in terms of u.s. contributions, the u.s. -- the latest figure we have for the u.s. contributions in the entire u.n. system is about $7.7 billion in fiscal
year 2010. that's a number put forward by the office of management and budget at the white house and that was $1.3 billion more than the previous year. so we see not only a substantial financial commitment but an expanding financial commitment by the united states. host: mr. gowan, before we get into calls, i want to ask you about the current mission in syria and whether you think it's succeeding right now. there's been some question of that effort from today's "washington post." syria rebukes u.n. chief. syria accused the u.n. chief of bias and calls his commitment outrageous on saturday, a day after the world body's leader blamed the government for widespread cease-fire violations, the latest sign of trouble for a tenuous peace plan. it raised new concerns that assad is playing for time to avoid compliance of the plan that could eventually force him from office.
your thoughts on the mission in syria right now and is it succeeding? guest: no, the mission is not succeeding. i think there's still maybe 15, 20 u.n. personnel there and that number is only creeping up slowly. but that mission -- guest: these are the observers on the ground? guest: yes, only unarmed observers. they cannot act. the russia and china couldn't agree with how to deal with this situation. as is always the case, they turned to the u.n. and said send some peacekeepers. do something. tragically it seems that some syrian civilian who's have spoken to the u.n. monitors have been targeted and maybe even killed after doing so and i think this mission will be seen as probably a tragic failure and it will probably have to be closed relatively soon. but that shouldn't detract from the fact that there are other
missions, much, much bigger u.n. missions in places like liberia that have a very good track record of creating stability. but the syrian cases sadly not an effort to what the u.n. can do. host: mr. schaefer, i'll get your response. i wanted to add a little bit more to what's going on in syria right now. this from the a.p. 15 monitors are now in syria and there are expected to be up to 300. the u.n. is also sending over general robert lube is going to be leading that operation. some statistics about syria, more than 9,000 people are thought to have died in the -- at the uprising that has gone on and some of those deaths have come in the two weeks since that cease-fire was actually agreed to. mr. schaefer? guest: richard mentioned liberia and that's a pretty good example where the u.n. can be effective in terms of peacekeeping. we take a look at liberia. it was a situation where the
combatants were exhausted. they really decide that conflict didn't want to resolve the situation, wanted to come to the peace table, wanted to move beyond the conflict and so when the u.n. enters into a situation where the circumstances or the prospects for peace are right, the u.n. peacekeeping operation can really contribute to facilitating that process by putting a dampening effect on those who may want to try to up end that process. but in broader context, you have to take a look at the peacekeeping operations outside of that. and there is a tendency in the u.n. security council, richard mentioned it, that when the circumstances or the situations aren't particularly relevant or of interest to the major powers, they give it to the united nations or situations when the major powers can't decide and can't come to agreement on the
result of the situation, they give it to the united nations and these situations can be very, very difficult and not particularly good in terms of prospects for peace. you take a look at the congo which is the second largest u.n. peacekeeping operations and u.n. has been there for over a decade and the circumstances in eastern congo are terrible. you still have widespread violence. you still have a situation where the congo is the least developed country in the world according to the u.n., you have despite the fact that we've, you know, posse invested in the international community $14 million in the congo, you don't have a tangible effect on the improvement of the lives of people in eastern congo and yet, the u.n. peacekeeping mission is there, it's robust in u.n. terms. and it can't really quell the situation and at least have a situation where the prospects for normal life, the prospects
for development are -- are permissible and allowed. host: we have a few callers waiting to talk to you. we're talking to brett schaefer, the fellow in international regulatory affairs at the heritage foundation, a former department of defense assistant for international criminal court policy. and again, richard gowan, the associate director for the center of international cooperation at n.y.u. you are formerly a manager at the european program with the foreign policy center in london. let's go first to al on the democratic line from kansas. good morning, al. caller: good morning. host: you have a comment or question? caller: yeah, basically, we all know the united nations does not work. we're talking about situations within the congo and syria of failure. what about haiti? wasn't the u.n. responsible for cholera outbreak in haiti? but we ignore that.
at a time when america, we need to get our money down and focus on financial issues, the u.n. is a big waste time and time again, we see the u.n. is not capable of doing their obligations and it is a big waste of money and it is simply time for us to pull out. that's why i support ron paul. ladies and gentlemen, have a good day. host: give you a chance to respond to that if you want to, mr. gowan. guest: on the haiti case, it does seem that u.n. peacekeepers did bring cholera into haiti last year. it was a unit from nepal and that's a shocking disgrace and the u.n. did not handle that very well. but i would say that prior to that, u.n. forces did a fairly astonishing job stablizing haiti after the 2010 earthquake in spite of the fact that much of the mission's leadership was killed in the earthquake, the primarily brazilian peacekeepers
there got back on their feet and working with the u.s. marines did actually restore order during a -- a horrific crisis. and that's an example of the u.n. succeeding so we have to balance the successes and the failures. host: mr. schaefer, a question for you on c-span -- or on twitter, to help us understand sort of the make-up of the u.n. does the u.n. have a standing army is a question from jim on twitter? guest: no, the u.n. doesn't have a standing army. it relies on the member states to provide troops for its peacekeeping operations. and there are a few countrys that are very eager to do that, provide a substantial number of troops to the u.n. and there are countries who don't provide much in the way of u.n. peacekeepers. the united states is on the low end. and on the high end are countries like pakistan, bangladesh, india. you also have some south american countries that are substantial contributors to u.n. peacekeeping. host: we have some numbers on that on troop contributions that
we'll go through for you. like you said, pakistan is about 9,000. ethiopia, 6,000. and egypt at 4,000. back on the phone, brett on the independent line from panama city, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm on now? host: yeah, go ahead. caller: i wanted to, i guess, talk to brett there and love this show here and actually tv shows you run sometimes. anyway, i've got a question or actually a question/comment. i've been reading the u.n. web site and the resolutions and, you know, the best i can tell from the news i get, you know, people don't -- countries don't really pay much attention to what they do. and -- like the one guy was just talking about the haitian thing is a little off. but, you know, i just heard last week on c-span that, you know, the red cross hasn't figured out
how to disperse, you know, the pushing of billions of dollars they raised to help the haitians. they're still trying to figure out what to do with it and the people are still desperate for it. host: do you think there's still a role for the u.n. to play or beyond repair? caller: it kind of shifted my paradigm on some of the value and the book was called "lineman, the unsung hero" and it was a real simple book. it's like where people are placing values and orpganizatios are placing values. when you look at it, they're placing them on the almost to make money, to self-promote or to promote their agendas as opposed to making logical commonsense placement of the values and their resources and then it's like, you know, the book that i was talking about,
you know, they're just overlooked. teachers are overlooked. basketball players, football players, golfers, they make billions and it's kind of the same thing. it's like we don't pay attention to important things and the u.n., as i said, followed their web site and the resolutions that they passed and it doesn't seem like they're getting a lot done. host: brett, thanks for the call. we'll go to tom on the republican line from new jersey. good morning, tom. caller: yes. how are you? briefly, i'd like them both to comment on thchl the bottom line is this -- our immediate situation in our country is pretty bad as far as our economics. we're giving these folks a quarter of a billion plus last year. when we are paying that kind of money and we are watching as a country those folks in syria and folks in areas where these people know what's going on, they've been there, they supposedly have boots on the
ground looking at what's happening and our country is failing those people, and the bottom line is the u.n. has definitely wasted billions and trillions of dollars and it's not taking care of the people that we're supposedly there to help and i don't get it and it's a bottom line thing is they're coming after us because of the trayvon martin case? host: mr. gowan, do you want to respond to his thoughts on the u.n.? guest: well, u.n. operations are expensive but they're not as expensive as some of the alternatives including sending u.s. or nato forces to trouble spots. the cost of one u.n. peacekeeper is roughly 20% of the cost of one u.s. soldier in the field. the entire u.s. expenditure on u.n. peace operations adds up to maybe 5% of what we're spending on afghanistan.
and although the u.s. does spend a huge amount and by a great degree the biggest financial contributor to the u.n., it is still only paying under a third of the u.n.'s total cost, the members of the e.u. pay a higher percentage, for example. i think that in future india and china and other growing economies are going to have to step up and spend more, too, taking some of the pressure off what the u.s. prescribes but the idea that it's massively expensive needs to be corrected a little bit. host: mr. schaefer, you've written on this subject? guest: sure, the fact is that there are 16 countrys in the united nations and that comprise the geneva group, those 16 countries pay 80% of the u.n.'s regular budget and the u.n. pays 22% of the u.n. regular budget. those 16 countries pay a little over 86% of the u.n. peacekeeping budget and the u.s. pays 21.1% of that. these 16 countries are routinely overwritten when it comes to
trying to reform the organization, trying to make the organization more -- better managed. trying to reorient the resources in the budget towards tasks that are relevant, not duplicative and looking to be effective. the budget is passed by 128 countrys and has to be passed by 2/3 of the general assembly. the 128 countrys that can pass the budget, the countries that pay the least to the united nations pay just a little bit over 1% of that budget. so in theory, 128 countries could pass the budget over the objections of countries paying almost 99% of the budget. that is not conducive to moving reform forward because when you take a look at some. least success countries, it pays .001% of the budget vs. 22% for the u.s. so that means for the regular budget, the u.s. is paying about $567 million a year to the u.n. for the regular budget.
see a sierra leone is paying $28,000. the u.s. pays a little over 27%. the u.s. pays about $2 billion and sierra leone pays about $8,000. so all told, sierra leone pays about, roughly $34,000 for membership, voting privileges, exactly the same as the united states absent the security council detail. in the most prestigious organization of the world, they pay $34,000 for that privilege and this is the discrepancy between the financial obligations on some countries but yet the privileges that is so frustrating in moving reform forward and trying to make the organization more effective and more cost effective. host: mike on the independent line from germantown, maryland. mike, do you think the u.n. is still effective in its missions? caller: no, i think it's been a stillborn from the day it was initiated but people need to realize is that the charter for
the u.n. is based on the soviet union's constitution as written by comments by lalger hiss. they need to realize that it's complementing agenda 2011. it stands for international council for local environmental initiatives, they are basically trying to usurp sovereignty of nations and even communities by draconian measures under sustainability to basically hurt people into small impact cities and the strict use of public land and ultimately outlaw private property. it doesn't get any more marginal than that. host: unpack that comment for us and take us through it. guest: two points. i don't think that the u.n. is built on a soviet constitution. the u.n. was created primarily
by theodore roosevelt who was a president of the u.s. and over time, although deeply imperfect, the u.n. has tended to advance u.s. interests rather than hinder them. i completely accept that there is deep problems with reforming the institution. i pretty much write analysis on that. but the fact of the matter is that i would say 7 times out of 10, the u.n. does exactly what the u.s. wants to do. on the agenda 21 issue which is a complex and actually rather unimportant program that the u.n. has run for some years, this is a program that is meant to inspire communities to do good for the environment. it's well intentioned. it's pretty futile like many u.n. programs but it is not some sort of global draconian mark at all. host: mr. schaefer, you want to comment? guest: sure, i agree. the u.n. charter actually in
some ways mirrors the principles outlined in the u.s. constitution. for instance, there's a call for human rights and basic freedoms and so forth in the u.n. charter. the problem is a number of u.n. member states fail to live up to the principles outlined in charter themselves. you can point to china. you can point to cuba and point to a number of different countries that are repressive, they are totalarian and not respective of the rights of their own citizens and these views, unfortunately, are echoed and magnified within the u.n. system through a number of different bureaucratic procedures. for instance, countries tend to line up in regional groupings. in the regional groupings, asia, africa, latin america, western european and eastern european, the regional grouping tend to reflect and honor the principles and the priorities of the member states and you have a number of countrys that are very vocal in those groups and very influential and therefore, their flew over the debate in the
united nations tends to outweigh their actual real world influence. and so it's unfortunate but a lot of times you have countries that are not honoring the principles outlined in u.n. charter that are hostile to security, that are hostile to human rights and frankly not doing much in terms of advancing living standards of their own people that is another principle in there, that is able to manipulate the debates to, i think, the detriment of the organization and the detriment of people around the world. host: we have 15 to 20 minutes left with brett schaefer of the heritage foundation and richard gowan of new york university. let's go to bronx, new york, lewis is on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning. you know, i've been figuring out some stuff the other day. i was crunching some numbers just for fun. i realize that we sell a huge
amount of gasoline by the gallon. we can put a $0.50 surcharge on the gasoline and use it to pay the deficit down? i think we'll be doing the right thing to do. host: what do you think of the u.n. or the future of the u.n. and this mission in syria that's going on right now? caller: we have our hands full with the u.n. right now. we have to stick to it. i really think we have to make it work and we have to invest a little bit in it. and as our deficit goes down with the new technology that we have now, it's going to be fabulous. host: thanks for the call. we'll go to mike on the republican line from louisiana.
caller: i think the caller about the 21 is spot on. a lot of people should check that out. i would like to know really why do we support al-qaida in libya and then we shoot at them in iraq? i don't understand it's, you know, how we can -- how people don't see the fact that, you know, they're allies on one side and not on the other. host: mr. gowan, if you want to talk about the complicated partnerships that the u.n. gets into. guest: well, it's certainly true that in both libya and syria, the west is cooperating with islamist forces who five or 10 years ago, we would have rejected and destructed. the arab spring has created an
incredible degree of political turmoil and the libyan missions in libya and syria find themselves trying to navigate unchartered waters. and it's not clear who our allies will be in the region in five years and who the u.n. part will be in the region in five to 10 years' time. in libya, it was the western powers and nato backed up by some gulf arab states that decided to use force to overthrow qaddafi. it was the u.n. who was then sent in afterwards to try to reconstruct the libyan state with quite limited resources. and i think that's a good example of how often the u.s. and the west does something and asks the u.n. to clean up. very quickly, people are blaming the u.n. for creating problems rather than the actual origin of the policies and conflicts involved. host: talk about some of the complications in syria. i wanted to read some comments from susan rice, the u.s.
ambassador to the u.n. talking about the challenges facing the u.n. observers on the ground over there. we said there's about 15 on the ground now, she -- this from the morning herald earlier last week said the challenges for the observers. "they are going to be dependent for security on the very government which is responsible for the main security threat. they are going to be deployed in the midst of protesters who are desperate for protection they are not equipped or mandated to provide. they'll be deployed in numbers too small to protect the whole country but expectations that will be impossible to meet if the syrian government does not fulfill its commitment." mr. schaefer, is there a way to save this u.n. mission in syria right now or is it going off a cliff? guest: well, the u.s. and the obama administration which is probably the most pro u.n. administration in recent memory
went before congress last week and they said that the u.n. mission in syria, the peace plan brokered by kofi anaan was failing. richard gowan has said the program is failing. i would agree with that assessment, it is failing and the reason is because of an inability by the security council, particularly russia to apply sufficient pressure to force it to change its actions and what it's forced to do. as long as the syrian government is willing to go ahead and continue to commit violence and try to repress and maintain and hold on to power as long as they can by any means possible, yeah, that mission is not going to have the circumstances necessary for it to be successful. host: mr. gowan, kofi anaan brokered a six point plan. are any of the points of that plan being met right now in syria?
guest: there have been a partial reduction of violence but the violence it seems to be escalating again. i should say that i've spoken to a number of officials about this, i think there's a lot of doubt about whether it's right to deploy this mission. it's very dangerous for the monitors themselves. there's a high chance that some of them might lose their lives or be taken hostage and there's a moral danger. there's a moral question over whether you should put peacekeepers into a situation where there is no peace to keep because it's an alibi for more serious action and here i can entirely agree with that. unless you have far more effective diplomacy, the monitors cannot do anything at all. so although in slightly better, slightly different political circumstances, the monitors could contribute to an effective peace plan, at the moment, the
conditions just don't exist. host: i want to read you one more article from the a.p. about the syrian brokered peace deal and the struggles that the u.n. deal is facing. this from the associated press this morning. u.n. observers visited an embattled neighborhood in the central city on sunday, the syrian news agency said. activists said government snipers shot dead two people nearby. the state news agency said the observers toured the district which has seen heavy government shelling and clashes between syrian forces and rebels. the observers are part of an advanced team of 15 u.n. monitors in syria trying to salvage a peace plan brokered by kofi anaan that aims to end the country's 13-month-old crisis. that again from the a.p. this morning. let's go to flushing, new york. on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning, gentlemen. my question is if the united
nations has to be readjusted, i mean, restructured again so that they can always veto things that they don't like and the other members can veto this power so that means no country should -- even with veto powers, it's returned by the majority so these adjustments should be realized because this is the reality now because india is not such power. and the other countries like brazil, even africa, they should have such presentation as a veto power but it should be adjusted so we can see -- i mean, the united nations has done something good for the whole world. what we see what's going on in syria, there is a problem for
that. we send peacekeeping troops right into syria and then hope this -- there will be peace. but it didn't work out that way. host: talk a little bit about the overall -- overhaul efforts that are under way. guest: well, what the caller was referring to was security council reform and there's been discussions about how to reform the security council for a long number of years but there hasn't been any kind of an agreement on how to exactly reform the security council. there are proposals out there, for instance, suggesting to add new permanent members, to add additional rotating members. currently in the security council has five permanent members with a veto and 10 members that are elected for two-year terms and they want to expand it to about 25, 26 countries. the problem with that is that the more countries that you get under the u.n. security council, the less likely it is that the
security council is going to act quickly, decisively or you'll have unanimity in terms of providing a united front for the international community to address a particular issue. the more countries that you have on the council the more likely that the particular interests are going to lead them to either delay, defer, undermine or block actions of the security council and that problem becomes even more difficult when you add the veto to potentially to new permanent members of the u.n. security council. but the caller mentioned somehow getting rid of the veto. that's not going to happen. veto is established in the first place because none of the major powers wanted to enter into an organization that could force or compel action that they objected to so the veto is essentially the price of admittance or the price of creation for the u.n. security council in the first place and the prospect for being able to act in this way. more broadly, what i think we need to do is step back as a
nation and make an effort to analyze the benefits, the cost of the entire system. we should look at the fire agency and find out whether it's unique or duplicating the activities of another organization and determine whether it's worth to be a member of the organization, whether we should call for the organizes to merge together or whether these organizations are acting in u.s. interest or doing a good job. they completed one of the studies and found that four agencies were not performing well and they decided to end their membership in these orpgss and suspend the contributions to them afterwards. they identified a number of organizations that were performing poorly and if you don't improve your operations, if you don't improve your
management, then we will consider exiting those organizations as well and ending our contributions to those organizations. one -- those are the kinds of exercises that we need to be going through as a country fairly frequently to make sure we're spending your taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently. host: mr. gowan, you agree? guest: i do tend to agree. i think we focus a great deal on the failings of peacekeepers and what's going on in the security council. that is an amazing number of u.n. agencies and many of them do overlap. it's astonishing that the u.n. has three separate agencies dealing with food issues. all of them based in rome. and they spend a good deal of time fighting each other in turf wars. there are savings to be made in the u.n. system and most of them will involve organizations of
which i haven't heard of let alone most taxpayers in most countries. host: monte on twitter writes in his thoughts on these changes. he says the five permanent members have a vested interest of keeping the status quo! let's go to bridgetown, ohio, duncan waiting on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i am wondering if you were familiar with such organizations as the council on foreign relations and trilateral commission organizations that are believed to have real power and if they're deliberately blocking the process of the u.n. being corrupt. host: mr. schaefer, take that one. guest: i know the council on foreign relations and i know a number of people that work on the council of foreign relations. i don't believe that it's quite as the caller described it. host: let's go to bridgetown, ohio -- that was duncan on the republican line. let's go to the independent line, richard is in sarasota,
florida. good morning, richard. caller: good morning. what is going on in syria? i think it's a disgrace with we there on the ground monitor there. back in the days like years ago, the u.n. would go there and they would go there and take action. it's a disgrace that we're there and all this is going on. the way technology is and the way the world is today, everything is modern now, i don't think we should sit back and look at this, all this killing of these people. these innocent people by one person. we should go in and get that person out. why can they not do that? everybody looking at the political -- what's the word? everybody looking at the political accomplishment and what they can accomplish, everybody want to be boss. nobody want to go in -- nobody want to go in and do what it's supposed to do because they're
afraid of people talking about it. but i think they should go in. and this is happening. either we're there or we're not there. either we're there or we're not there. i think -- host: mr. gowan, your thoughts on richard's desire to go in and get assad out by the u.n.? guest: let's think you could actually do it because u.n. peacekeepers are not the right people to overthrow a government. who could send in forces? the u.s. could. european countries acting under nato could in theory but for both america and europe, the financial costs are arguably too high and the political costs of entering another quagmire in the islamic world are simply unacceptable to u.s. and european forces are very unlikely to go. that means turkey positioned on
syria's border, turkey could intervene and have been under some pressure from western countries to think about intervening but the turks are also very concerned about getting into a quagmire in syria and although arab countries have talked about intervening, they probably lack the military wherewithall to do so. and so there is no credible intervention force as of yet and that is why everyone has turned to kofi anaan and turned to the u.n. and said can you find a diplomatic way out? it's possible in three months or six months if the syrian crisis gets worse, that there will be enough political will for an intervention. but right now, there isn't and so instead there is a u.n. process. host: let's go to molly on the democratic line waiting in cincinnati, ohio. good morning, molly. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. you know, this president assad having family and relatives in
syria, i can tell you not only he but his father as well were ruthless dictators and continue to suppress and repress the population. even if we can't send troops in ourselves, i think it's only fair to, perhaps, do maybe what libya was offered and to maybe try to arm the rebels in some way and help them at least give them an opportunity to fight for their cause. and i know the u.n. can't do this but perhaps like mr. gowan said europe, the european countries or the u.s. can maybe do that and kind of equalize the playing field for them. host: mr. schaefer, the likelihood that someone will step in to do that? guest: there's been some discussion about whether saudi arabia has already begun doing this. there was some suspicion and there was some comments that they weren't. people have discussed this.
i think the largest concern on the part of the united states and other people is what exactly the rebels are. it's very confusing exactly who the groups are involved in the rebels. apparently, it's a very fragmented movement. it's not consolidated. there are suspicions that a number of islamic extremists, terrorist groups are participating in supporting the rebel movement. if you're arming the rebels, who are you supporting? i don't know the answer of those. i'm not an expert on syria or the dynamics of that but i do know that there are questions and concerns and that's to some of the hesitation. host: dave is next on the republican line. caller: good morning, how y'all doing this morning? host: go ahead. caller: excuse me, i see
something inherently wrong with the united states giving up its sovereignty for a large entity that our enemies run and then wanting to dictate what the united states does. somehow or another, when we think we're going to have this wonderful globalized world and we won't have wars anymore, it's impossible. what america needs to do is get rid of the u.n. because it's the worst thing that you can do for any country having one large head grabbing power and currency from a country breaking us down to set us up for agenda 21. all these things are set up to beat us down. thank you very much. host: you want to respond, mr. gowan? guest: again, i would encourage viewers to go on line and learn about agenda 21 and i think they will find it's frankly much less threatening than some of the
callers seem to assume. does the u.n. take away sovereignty from the u.s.? not really and historically we have seen in cases like kosovo and iraq, the u.s. is prepared to act without u.n. permission when it is deemed politically necessary. so i think that this claim that the u.n. takes away huge amounts of american sovereignty is simply salacious. i think the critique that it is expensive, that it is inefficient, that it needs reform is entirely justifiable. but these claims that the u.n. is running america through some plot are frankly unproven. host: last call we want to get in is the international line calling in from london, england. thanks for calling in. caller: good morning to you. there are a couple of points i'd like to make. one is about the united nations, whether it's working or not and then the second one is about
intervention in general, ok? right. so my first case, the u.n. has the phone shall of being a great organization, ok, international organization. ok. however, currently, i feel the western powers are using the united nations to further their own agendas, ok? and then when things go wrong, they use the united nations to go and fix the problem. that needs to stop. that really does need to stop. and secondly, as opposed to intervention, you do not do intervention, i think the u.n. shouldn't go into foreign countries, ok, they have the police in the world, bankrupt in the u.s., ok, and also every indication is it causes other problems around surrounding countries, ok, let's take other scenarios, ok, no one actually ever thought about implication, how it's going to affect
neighboring countries like libya, ok, and that problem has implication of it spreading further down wards to where countri countries, ok, so before we intervene in other countries we need to think about the implications first and foremost, ok. why are we intervening? are there interests? ok, would we put this interest aside and think about the wider implications. host: thanks for the call. in the couple of minutes we have left, give you both a chance to wrap up here and respond to the question, if you want. guest: first of all, i want to just to take a step back to the previous caller's question which is whether the participation of the united nations is a direct assault on u.s. sovereignty. any time you join a treaty, you're giving up a little bit of sovereignty. the question is whether the exchange and the benefits you get from adopting that treaty is
worth in the sacrifices that you make in that way in restricting your freedom of action. the answer in many cases is no, it should not be done. in some cases, the answer is yes. and the united nations, you have to realize there are a number of the decisions in the body are nonbinding. and they're essentially sort of like an opinion poll. the general assembly doesn't have any binding powers over the decision making. they adopt a number of resolutions that should be opposed by the united states but also, they really don't have an impact on the united states other than trying to establish a position internationally in a circuit that is where it stands and that the u.s. should follow through. but ultimately, it's our decision to do that and we also have a veto in the u.n. security council that prevents that body from mandating that the u.s.
does something that's not in its interest and as richard mentioned, the u.s. has the option to use force to protect its interests abroad and does so and i think it's appropriate that it should do that and we should not subject ourselves to the u.n. sort of permission slip when those decisions and u.s. interests are vital. host: in the minute you have left, your final thoughts. guest: the caller from london caught my attention by describing how many places in the world especially in north and west africa look fragile today, the extent to which violence may be spreading through the sa hasha and west africa and i think that really brings home the fact that we are going to be facing crisis after crisis in the years ahead. the u.s. and the west can't manage those crises alone and that's why we need the u.n. because in west africa, in north africa, it's often the u.n. that will be put on the front line to
manage the crises that no one else will touch. >> richard gowan, new york university, thanks so much. and brett schaefer of the heritage foundation here in d.c., thanks for joining us. guest: thank you very much. guest: thank you. host: last friday, we wrapped up our student cam competition where the theme is the constitution and you. we'll look at the competition in the next segment with the 12th amendment. a look at what's coming up on the sunday shows from c-span radio. >> beginning at noon eastern time, on c-span radio, five network sunday talk shows courtesy of nbc, abc, fox, cnn and cbs. topics on the programs today include presidential politics, homeland security and immigration. nbc's "meet the press" reairs at noon eastern time. guests today include robert gibbs, advisor to president obama's re-election campaign, and ed gillespie, advisor to mitt romney's campaign. also, the vice chairman of the
house republican conference, congresswoman kathy mcmorris-rogers. abc's "this week" follows at 1:00 p.m. with white house counter terrorism advisor, former ceo of hewlett-packard and the executive chairman of google and david walker, former controller general. fox news sunday can be heard at 2:00 p.m. eastern with more from white house counterterrorism advisor john brennan. cnn's state of the union reairs the 3:00 p.m. eastern. welcomes house speaker john boehner and governors bob mcdonald, virginia republican and brian sweitzer, democrat of montana. "face the nation" from cbs completes the line-up airing at 4:00 p.m. eastern. bob schieffer talks with the former mississippi governor, los angeles mayor, chairman of the 2012 democratic national convention and california democratic governor jerry brown. again, the reairs begin at noon eastern with nbc's "meet the
press". at 1:00 abc's "this week". 2:00 p.m. "fox news sunday". at 3:00 state of the union and at 4:00 "face the nation" from cbs. all of the programs are brought to you as a public service by networks and c-span and you can listen them all on c-span radio in the washington, d.c. area. nationwide on x.m. satellite radio channel 119. listen on your blackberry, download us an iphone app or go on line to cspanradio.org.
host: if you've been following this year's student cam contest you'll know this year's theme was about the constitution. we want to continue that conversation now with thomas neale of the congressional research service as we discuss the 12th amendment and the origin of the electoral college and i was interested to find out that the term electoral college is not actually in the constitution. so mr. neale, take us through how the founders actually set up the system before the 12th amendment. guest: john, the electoral college was actually a compromise. they couldn't quite figure out how to do it. so this gave some degree of public participation and also gave a great discretion to the states. the sticking point was is they assumed there would not be party politics and they assumed there would not be actual candidates for the vice presidency. so the way the original -- the original working of the electoral college, each
electorate casts two votes for president and the winner was elected president assuming that the winner won a number of electoral votes equal to a majority of electorates, it gets a little complicated and the runner-up being presumably the second best most popular would become vice president. now, that ran afoul with the fact that political parties developed almost immediately and the federalist and the jeffersonians each nominated tickets, unified tickets for president and vice president. and in 1800, the ticket of jefferson and burr clearly won 71 electoral votes each but what they needed to -- republican electors they called themselves needed to withhold a vote from burr so jefferson had one more electoral vote. host: so he could be president. guest: so he could be president. and they didn't do it. it was a tie. host: did somebody forget? i feel this is an important question. guest: this is a very good
question, it seems to me it was an oversight. you have to remember, too, you're dealing with 16 states scattered all along the eastern seaboard so the degree of coordination we have in our current campaigns was certainly lacking. host: put things into chaos. guest: chaos is a good word for it. on two accounts because first of all, this is the first election that we're plainly going to have a peaceful transfer of power, so we hope, and it also was -- you had this prospect of moving the election to the house of representatives. where each state casts a single vote and further, finally, another element that -- that complicated matters was that each state casts a single vote and the congress was the lame duck congress that was controlled by the federalists. host: not the newly elected one. guest: exactly. host: tell us about the 12th
amendment and how this changed things after that debacle. guest: well, it's -- the politic politicalmacanations were high drama. you could do a great movie with passion, lust of power. host: it was thrown to the house. guest: thrown to the house and it took a week and it took place about three blocks from where we are now in the original part of the capitol which is a tiny nearly unfinished wing and in the driving snow storms and mud and so it was uncomfortable. in fact at one point, the house was meeting and voting again and again and again and deadlocking every time and they begin to run out of wood to keep the fires going and the house chamber got very cold and damp. this went on for a week and the vote by the states again and again, jefferson had a plurality but he did not have the constitutional majority and the reason for that was the federalists, even though they had no chance of electing their
candidate, john adams, were playing the devil's advocate in this case. now, alexander hamilton, one of the leaders of the federalist party urged his fellow federalists, please, don't vote for burr. jefferson, i don't care for but burr is a scoundrel and this is one of the -- one of the -- when burr found out about it, they became enemies and this is one of the factors leading to their eventual duel in 1804 when burr killed hamilton in a duel in new york and new jersey, actually, so once they finally managed to break the tie. host: jefferson wins. guest: jefferson wins. it's surprising for that period the move for an amendment to fix this was surprisingly quick under the circumstances. the states began to petition congress and the federal government for an amendment to reform this process.
and you have to remember in those days, congress met for just a few months of the year and so there wasn't much opportunity to get together and work on this. and in 1802, they finally managed to work it out. the senate originally resisted it. you need a 2/3 majority vote in both houses of congress before an amendment can be sent to the state for the ratification process. and this was finally approved by both houses in december of 1802 and by may of 18 -- june of 1803, six months later, you have a ratification so it's hard -- almost hard to imagine considering the lousy communication. host: how did it change things? guest: it separated the votes for president and vice president. each elector instead of casting two votes for president, it cast
one for president and one for vice president. since they are good party men and women, they will vote for the candidates they are pledged to. host: this is how it works today even though when we're casting our ballot for president, we're not casting a separate ballot for vice president. guest: that's right. you're voting for electors who are pledged in some cases under state law to vote for the candidates to whom they are committed. host: but they don't have to? guest: there's a great body of law and dispute on this. i think most constitutional scholars will tell you it's an open question. it's brought to a final decision. host: give us a thought to the efforts under way to do away with the electoral college process, people who think it's outdated in how we pick our president? guest: the primary proposal for reform is what we call direct popular election. and it's very simple.
all votes will be counted nationwide in one tally, not by state as we do now. no electors and the candidates who win the most votes will be elected president and vice president. you would cast one vote for a ticket for president and vice president. and some of the proposals would require plurality or a percent or more but that's kind of an optional extra in those proposals. for many years in the 1950's and 1960's, there was a good deal of activity in congress on this and it came to the floor a number of times in both chambers of congress and, of course, it's difficult to amend the constitution and never passed both houses by 2/3 and congress is at this point especially after the election of 2000, congress elected to address the question of election administration in the state with the help america vote act and we've had very little activity on the hill since then.
so what has happened is that they have sprung up actions in the states. for instance, in 2004, colorado had an initiative on their ballot which proposed to award their electoral votes proportionally and in 2008, there was an effort, an unsuccessful effort in california to award electoral votes by congressional district. but right now, the most important one is not even a state effort. it's kind of a grassroots effort called national popular vote initiative. what that proposes is a compact in which the states would agree to award their electoral votes relying on their unquestionable constitutional authority to do so to the candidates that have won the most popular votes nationwide not withstanding the results in their own state. so essentially what we would get is a guarantee that if you have a nationwide plurality, you'll get 530 electoral votes for the
candidates that won the popular vote. host: i want to get your thoughts on the changes to the electoral college. do you think the electoral college is outdated? we'll put the numbers on the screen for you but we'll start with randy on the democratic line in pennsylvania. good morning, randy. caller: good morning. you touched on the one part of the constitution that i despise. do you believe one person, one vote is the first form of election? guest: it's more or less enshrined in starting the declaration of independence, all persons are declared equal, are created equal. and i think when you carry that forward into the realm of government and elections, one person, one vote and not only that, we have, of course, reinforced that over the years through legislation, supreme court in the 1960's struck down our various congressional and state legislation that allocated
congressional and state legislative districts on a principle other than one person, one vote. so it's something that's one of the -- one of the pillars of our, of our political society. host: we're talking to thomas neale of the congressional research service. how long have you been at c.r.s.? guest: i'm a career person. i've been there since i finished school and i've had a number of different jobs but hopefully each one is a little more interesting than the other. host: explain c.r.s. to folks out there who doesn't know it. guest: the congressional research service is the policy arm of congress. we are a department housed in the library of congress. we are nonpartisan. we are civil servants. we serve the members, staff and committees of congress regardless of their political party affiliation. we do not make policy recommendations. we provide the best possible information and analysis to the members of the committees and their staff, and of course, under the circumstances today,
i'm speaking as an analyst and historian on my own rather than reflecting any judgments or policies of c.r.s. host: let's go to terry on the independent line from florida. good morning, terry. caller: look, i've been watching the program all morning long. and what i've -- you know, being independent, that was my chosen side because i'm military. i spent 28 years in the army. what i'm hearing and what i'm seeing and listening to is basically an attack by a lot of the democrats on the constitution. you hear it every day. and it's kind of getting old. and it's starting to make me wonder if that's what's going wrong with the democratic party. host: thanks for the comment. just trying to give folks some information about the 12th amendment with the nonpartisan congressional research group here in this segment. we'll go to james from
chattanooga, tennessee, good morning, james. caller: good morning. what i would like to ask is this is if the conservatives say that if it's a rigid document, this document is not flexible but this is actually not true because every time the constitution was amended, what actually happened was it has been a sensible document. what i would like to ask is this -- if it's the cause of the constitution is enacted and you have things in the state that conflict with it such as convicted felons not being able to vote, why is it not a right of every citizen in the united states, once you pay your debt to society is not allowed to
vote and that right is -- why are the states allowed to abridge this right? host: james' question sort of goes with don's question on twitter. he asks currently, are there too many states now to amend the constitution to meet our needs? guest: well, with respect to a number of states, of course, we have 50. it's a high hurdle to amend the constitution and as i mentioned before, 2/3 majorities in both chambers of congress and then approval by 3/4 of the states before any amendment becomes part of the constitution and this has been, as we know, this hurdle has been reached only 27 times. attempts to deter amendments that do not have broad level of public support. host: again, we're talking about the electoral college system, read you a few stats here from the congressional research
service about the electoral college. it was established in article 2 of the constitution and amended by the 12th amendment which we're talking about now. votes cast are a vote for presidential electors, a.k.a. the electoral college that then elects the president. the constitution assigned each state's electors equal to the combined total of senate and house of representative tell gatiens, the majority of electoral votes is required to win and if there's no majority, the house of representatives elects the president, the senate, the vice president. how many times have there been a contingent election where it's gone to the house? guest: since 1800 and we look at the 12th amendment as a cutoff. under the current requirements, the house is elected the president once in 1824 in the senate, the vice president once in 1836. that's very little heard of. in 1824, the jeffersonians who by this time have become democrat and republicans, ancestor of the modern democratic party, essentially fell apart after 20 years of domination.
and they nominated four separate candidates basically sectional candidates and so they split the electoral vote among four democratic republicans and there was no majority and the election went into the house of representatives. once again, like 1800, hugely contentious debate. john quincy adams was the leading candidate of the establishment, if you call it that. andrew jackson from the far west was the candidate of the fronti frontier. henry clay from kentucky was the candidate of the middle states and thomas from georgia was also involved. he suffered a stroke. essentially what it came down to, since you vote for the three candidates was an election between adams and jackson and clay and adams won the vote in the house of representatives despite the fact that jackson won more popular and electoral
votes. he then -- adams then appointed henry clay his secretary of state and a corrupt bargain was alleged by the jacksonians and although it wasn't proved, it put some fire in their belly and the jacksonian democrats came back four years later and defeated adams handily and thus began the two terms of old hickory. host: back to the phones. linda waiting on the republican line from south dakota. good morning, linda. caller: good morning. my question is regarding the national initiative for the popular vote. host: the national popular vote interstate act. caller: yes. since the northeast has what i assume is 1/3 of the population or the west coast, another third. why would then there be any -- why should north dakota and
south dakota and some of the heartland, even bother to vote, then? wouldn't -- wouldn't the smallest states not have any reason to vote for the president if we didn't have the electoral college? guest: well, one of the reasons cited in support of the national popular vote initiative is that every vote counts equally. now, if you are a voter in the state of california with 55 electoral votes, your vote influences the award of a huge number of electoral votes, 270 to elect a president. there you have it right there. whereas in the dakotas you have three electoral votes each. so the smaller states derive an arithmetic advantage considered to be fairly small in comparison to the fact that what we call the voting power initiative, a voter in california or texas and florida has more power because they cast a vote in that -- in
that huge universe of electors. so the argument is every vote across the country whether it be in north or south dakota or california counts the same and the argument runs that presidential candidates instead of just visiting the battleground states or the big majority states will actually seek out votes in the less populous state. host: matt asks on question, would awarding delegates proportional by one own state's popular vote stop some of the benefits of gerrymandering? guest: that's what we call proportional award of electoral votes and states have the power to do that because the constitution provides them with a good deal of leeway in how they choose to award their electoral votes. and so you could have, for instance, as colorado sought to
do in 2004, you can award your votes proportionally instead of the winner take all which i think what our correspondent is referring to. most of the states have a general ticket or winner take all system whereby the candidates who win the most electoral votes statewide win most popular vote statewide win all the electoral votes. so any state could do that. we can't split electoral votes into fractions or decimal figures but any state that can find a way to do that is within its power right now. host: let's go to phillip on the republican line from ft. worth, texas. good morning. caller: good morning. what i want to comment on and ask you about is how come when they have these primaries, they don't have a national primary. wouldn't that save a lot of money as far as advertising and everything? and it gives everybody a fair chance to pick who they want their candidate to be because
when they have, you know, primary up north, ok, now those people got to vote for a different set of candidates than me at the end of the primary gets to vote for. why are they able to knock out my candidate without me ever getting to cast my vote? that's what really pisses me off. host: phillip in texas. guest: well, actually, the system as it's set up now reflects the fact that we have a political party system and our election system is essentially very federal. by that, i mean it's spread out and diffuse in its allegation of authority. so the states compete with each other, as you know, to get the best popular -- best possible time slot for their primary elections for presidential delegates and presidential nominating conventions so there have been proposals in the past
for regional presidential primaries or for a national presidential primary. and the question is whether congress under its constitutional grant of authority over elections has the power to establish that. but in order to do that, you have to first build the interest from the grassroots up and bring a winning proposal to the floor of both houses of congress. host: comment from tony on twitter. our founders were mistrustful of mob majority. we are a constitutional republic, not a pure democracy. back to the phones anthony from utah giving you a chance to comment. anthony? caller: good morning, gentlemen. i remember in 10th or 12th grade, we learned about this and what's the relationship with the senate and the electoral college and the election process? has something to do with representation vs. i believe our
legislators back at the turn of the century direct -- elected our senators by the legislatures. guest: allocation of senators and representatives is what we call the great compromise or the connecticut compromise and that was the -- the deal maker in the constitutional convention or one of the dealmakers whereby the more popular states agreed that the upper house would be equally -- equally allocated among the states. and at that time, it was elected by the state legislatures. there were three separate modes of election for federal officers. the house was elected in such manner as the state legislatures directed and they all chose popular elections and the senate was elected by the state legislatures and the president was elected by yet a third public, and the presidential electors.
as the concept of popular sovereignty grew during the progressive and populist areas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a very, very strong popular movement in favor of direct election of senators. and this eventually led to the 16th amendment which provides now for a popular vote. host: let's try to give one more call on mark from the republican line in pennsylvania. go ahead, mark. caller: yes, the electoral college was necessary in the old days because of travel and everything used at the speed of light today. so actually, they're not necessary. host: thanks for the call. and give your final thoughts on the last minute that we have here on changes to the system and whether they -- we're going to see the electoral college go away. guest: you know, for years and years, i told people that if we
ever had another what the political pundits call a misfire in the presidential election, that's a presidential election in which one candidate wins a majority of popular votes but loses the electoral college, i would say for years that well, that will lead to the change. and as we see, it's 12 years since the election of 2000 and president bush won clearly even if you take into account the competing viewpoints of florida, won fewer popular votes but a very slim majority of electoral votes and congress, as i said earlier, chose to move to reform election administration and voter registrations throughout the country so you asked me now, i would say the same thing but i don't know whether having seeing this, whether that would be the case. host: thanks so much for joining us. we appreciate you coming in. guest: pleasure to be w
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