Congressional Dish podcast

CD244: Keeping Ukraine

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Since the beginning of December, news outlets around the world have been covering a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. In this episode, get the full back story on the civil war that has been raging in Ukraine since 2014, learn what role our government has played in the conflict, and hear Victoria Nuland - one of the highest ranking officials in the Biden administration's State Department - testify to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee about the Biden administration's plans if Russia decides to use its military to invade Ukraine.

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Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes

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CD167: Combating Russia (NDAA 2018) LIVE

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CD068: Ukraine Aid Bill

CD067: What Do We Want In Ukraine?

CD024: Let’s Gut the STOCK Act

Articles, Documents, and Websites

Conflicted Congress. Insider.

TurkStream. “Project: The Turkstream Pipeline.”

Western Balkans Investment Framework. “Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) Project Financing.”

Amber Infrastructure Group. “About Us: Our People.”

Three Seas. “Three Seas Story.”

Three Seas. “Priority Projects.”

State Property Fund of Ukraine. “Large Privatization.”

State Property Fund of Ukraine. “How to buy.”

State Property Fund of Ukraine. “Ukrainian Government Assets for Sale.”

Stephanie. December 14, 2021. “Kiev mayor Klitschko warns of Russian invasion.” News in 24.

Kenny Stancil. December 13, 2021. “Groups Move to Uncover Why Biden Held Huge Drilling Sale That DOJ Said Was Not Required.” Common Dreams.

The Kremlin. December 7, 2021. “Meeting with US President Joseph Biden.”

Maxine Joselow and Alexandra Ellerbeck. December 6, 2021. “Biden is approving more oil and gas drilling permits on public lands than Trump, analysis finds.” The Washington Post.

Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies. November 23, 2021. “The US-Russia Confrontation Over Ukraine.” Consortium News.

International Monetary Fund (IMF). November 22, 2021. “IMF Executive Board Completes First Review Under Stand-By Arrangement for Ukraine, Approves Extension of the Arrangement, Press Release No. 21/342.”

Nathan Rott. November 17, 2021. “The Biden administration sold oil and gas leases days after the climate summit.” NPR.

Anatol Lieven. November 15, 2021. “Ukraine: The Most Dangerous Problem in the World.” The Nation.

John Vandiver and Alison Bath. November 12, 2021. “US Actions in Ukraine Backfiring as Risk of Russian Invasion Grows, Analysts Say.” Military.com

Andrew E. Kramer. November 3, 2021. “Weapons Tracing Study Implicates Russia in Ukraine Conflict.” The New York Times.

Anton Troianovski and Julian E. Barnes. November 2, 2021. “U.S.-Russia Engagement Deepens as C.I.A. Head Travels to Moscow.” The New York Times.

Anton Troianovski and David E. Sanger. October 31, 2021. “Rivals on World Stage, Russia and U.S. Quietly Seek Areas of Accord.” The New York Times.

David E. Sanger. October 25, 2021. “Ignoring Sanctions, Russia Renews Broad Cybersurveillance Operation.” The New York Times.

Artin DerSimonian. October 19, 2021. “Ice breaking? Russia waives ban on Victoria Nuland.” Responsible Statecraft.

Andrew E. Kramer. October 18, 2021. “Russia Breaks Diplomatic Ties With NATO.” The New York Times.

Mark Episkopos. October 16, 2021. “Victoria Nuland’s Mission to Moscow.” The National Interest.

Reuters. September 10, 2021. “Russia and Belarus launch 'hot phase' of huge war games.”

Antony Blinken. August 20, 2021. “Imposition of Sanctions in Connection with Nord Stream 2.” U.S. Department of State.](https://www.state.gov/imposition-of-sanctions-in-connection-with-nord-stream-2/)

Paul Belkin and Hibbah Kaileh. July 1, 2021. “In Focus: The European Deterrence Initiative: A Budgetary Overview, IF10946.” Congressional Research Service.

Henrik B. L. Larsen. June 8, 2021. “Why NATO Should Not Offer Ukraine and Georgia Membership Action Plans. War on the Rocks.

NATO. April 26, 2021. “Boosting NATO’s presence in the east and southeast.”

David E. Sanger and Andrew E. Kramer. April 15, 2021. “U.S. Imposes Stiff Sanctions on Russia, Blaming It for Major Hacking Operation.” The New York Times.

The White House. April 15, 2021. “FACT SHEET: Imposing Costs for Harmful Foreign Activities by the Russian Government.”

The White House. April 15, 2021. “Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Reutuers. April 13, 2021. “NATO, not Russia, will decide if Ukraine joins, Stoltenberg says.”

Vladimir Isachenkov. April 9, 2021. “Kremlin says it fears full-scale fighting in Ukraine’s east.” AP News.

Civil.ge. January 20, 2021. “Secretary-designate Blinken Says NATO Door Shall Remain Open to Georgia.”

Hans M. Kristensen and Matt Korda. January 12, 2021. “Nuclear Notebook: United States nuclear weapons, 2021.” The Bulletin.

Andrew Feinberg. January 9, 2021. “Two years after his infamous phone call with Trump, Zelensky comes to Washington.” The Independent.

David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Julian E. Barnes. January 2, 2021. “As Understanding of Russian Hacking Grows, So Does Alarm.” The New York Times.

David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth and Eric Schmitt. December 14, 2020. “Scope of Russian Hacking Becomes Clear: Multiple U.S. Agencies Were Hit”. The New York Times.

Mark Episkopos. November 11, 2020. “Ukraine’s Power Play on Minsk.” The National Interest.

Government Accountability Office. October 21, 2020. “Crude Oil Markets: Effects of the Repeal of the Crude Oil Export Ban, GAO-21-118.”

Anthony B. Cavender, Thomas A. Campbell, Dan LeFort, Paul S. Marston. December 23, 2015. “U.S. Repeals Longstanding Ban on Export of Crude Oil.” Pillsbury Law.

Robert Parry. July 15, 2015. “The Ukraine Mess That Nuland Made.” Truthout.

Robert Parry. March 19, 2015. “Ukraine’s Poison Pill for Peace Talks.” Consortium News.

“Full text of the Minsk agreement” February 12, 2015. Financial Times.

NATO. May 8, 2014. “Article 23.” Bucharest Summit Declaration

Seumas Milne. April 30, 2014. “It's not Russia that's pushed Ukraine to the brink of war.” The Guardian.

David Morrison. Updated May 9, 2014. “How William Hague Deceived the House of Commons on Ukraine.” HuffPost.

US Energy Information Administration. March 15, 2014. “16% of Natural Gas Consumed in Europe Flows Through Ukraine.” Energy Central.

Robert Parry. February 27, 2014. “Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine.” Common Dreams.

“Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call.” February 7, 2014. BBC News.

Adam Taylor. December 16, 2013. “John McCain Went To Ukraine And Stood On Stage With A Man Accused Of Being An Anti-Semitic Neo-Nazi.” Insider.

Brian Whelan. December 16, 2013. “Far-right group at heart of Ukraine protests meet US senator.” Channel 4 News.

Guardian staff and agencies. December 15, 2013. “John McCain tells Ukraine protesters: 'We are here to support your just cause.'” The Guardian.

International Monetary Fund (IMF). October 31, 2013. “Statement by IMF Mission to Ukraine, Press Release No. 13/419.”

Carl Gershman. September 26, 2013. “Former Soviet States Stand Up to Russia. Will the U.S.?” The Washington Post.

Amanda Winkler. November 14, 2011. “'60 Minutes' Exposes Congressional Insider Trading.” The Christian Post.

Images

USAID and Ukraine Privatization Fund

Bills

S.1605 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022
Sponsor: Sen. Scott, Rick [R-FL]

Audio Sources President Biden White House Departure

December 8, 2021

President Biden briefly stopped and spoke with reporters as he departed the White House for an event in Kansas City, Missouri. He began by addressing the Omicron variant, saying that the Pfizer vaccine is showing encouraging results against the COVID-19 variant. When asked about Russian President Putin and Ukraine, President Biden said if Putin were to invade Ukraine, there “will be severe consequences.” He went on to say that putting U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine is currently “not in the cards.” close Report Video Issue

Clips

  • Biden: We hope by Friday, we're going to be able to say and announce to you that we're having meetings at a higher level, not just with us, but with at least four of our major NATO allies and Russia to discuss the future of Russia's concerns relative to NATO writ large. And whether or not we can work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front.

  • Biden: We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they were to attack under Article Five, it's a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to NATO, I mean to Ukraine, but it would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well. But the idea of the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now.

  • Biden: Meeting with Putin. I was very straightforward. There were no minced words. It was polite, but I made it very clear, if in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences, severe consequences. Economic consequences, like none he's ever seen or ever had been seen in terms of ease and flows. He knows his immediate response was he understood that and I indicated I knew he would respond. But beyond that, if in fact, we would probably also be required to reinforce our presence in NATO countries to reassure particularly those on the Eastern Front. In addition to that, I made it clear that we would provide the defensive capability to the Ukrainians as well.

Hearing on U.S. Policy Toward Russia

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
December 7, 2021

Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy toward Russia. She addressed President Biden’s earlier call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that Russia would suffer severe consequences if it attacked Ukraine. Other topics included the use of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine, the cooperation of NATO and U.S. allies, Russia’s use of energy during conflict, and the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

  • 00:20 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): As we meet here today Russia is engaged in one of the most significant troop buildups that we have seen along Ukraine's border. To nyone paying attention, this looks like more than posturing, more than attention seeking. The Kremlin's actions clearly pose a real threat of war.

  • 00:40 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I want to be crystal clear to those listening to this hearing in Moscow, Kiev and other capitals around the world. A Russian invasion will trigger devastating economic sanctions the likes of which we have never seen before.

  • 00:59 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I proposed a suite of options last month in an amendment to the NDA. The Russian banking sector would be wiped out, sovereign debt would be blocked, Russia would be removed from the Swift payment system, sectoral sanctions would cripple the Russian economy. Putin himself as well as his inner circle would lose access to bank accounts in the West. Russia would effectively be cut off and isolated from the international economic system. Let me be clear, these are not run of the mill sanctions. What is being discussed is at the maximum end of the spectrum, or as I have called it the mother of all sanctions, and I hope that we can come together in a bipartisan way to find a legislative path forward soon, so that we can achieve that.

  • 1:51 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): If Putin invades Ukraine the implications will be devastating for the Russian economy but also for the Russian people.

  • 2:24 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): But is the Kremlin really ready to face a bloody, persistent and drawn out insurgency? How many body bags is Putin willing to accept?

  • 6:03 Sen James Risch (R-ID): This is a clearly clearly bipartisan matter.

  • 7:40 Victoria Nuland: First, let me review what we are seeing. Over the past six weeks, Russia has stepped up planning for potential further military action in Ukraine, positioning close to 100,000 troops around Ukraine's eastern and northern borders and from the south via the Crimean peninsula. Russian plans and positioning of assets also include the means to destabilize Ukraine from within, and an aggressive information operation and an attempt to undermine Ukrainian stability and social cohesion and to pin the blame for any potential escalation on Kiev, and on NATO nations including the United States. Russia's military and intelligence services are continuing to develop the capability to act decisively in Ukraine when ordered to do so, potentially in early 2022. The intended force, if fully mobilized, would be twice the size of what we saw last spring, including approximately 100 battalion tactical groups, or nearly all of Russia's ready ground forces based west of the Urals. We don't know whether President Putin has made a decision to attack Ukraine or to overthrow its government. But we do know he's building the capacity to do so.

  • 10:42 Victoria Nuland: Since 2014 The United States has provided Ukraine with $2.4 billion in security assistance including $450 million this year alone

  • 12:00 Victoria Nuland: Diplomacy remains the best route to settle the conflict in Donbas and address any other problems or grievances. The Minsk agreements offer the best basis for negotiations and the US is prepared to support a revived effort if the parties welcome that.

  • 15:16 Victoria Nuland: You might have seen a press conference today that commission Chairwoman van der Laan gave in Brussels in which she made absolutely clear that the EU would also join in very consequential economic measures of the kind that they have not employed before.

  • 23:26 Victoria Nuland: It's also important, I think, for President Putin to understand as the President conveyed to him today, that this will be different than it was in 2014. If he goes in you will recall then that our sanctions escalated somewhat gradually as he didn't stop moving. This time the intent is to make clear that the initial sanctions in response to any further aggressive moves in Ukraine will be extremely significant and isolating for Russia and for Russian business and for the Russian people.

  • 24:51 Victoria Nuland: As you know, energy is the cash cow that enables these kinds of military deployments. So Putin needs the energy to flow as as much as the consumers need it. But more broadly, we have been counseling Europe for almost a decade now to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, including our opposition to Nord Stream 2 and our opposition to Nord Stream 1 and our opposition to to TurkStream and TurkStream 2 and to have come to find alternative sources of hydrocarbons but also to continue their efforts to go green and end their dependencies.

  • 30:55 Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly indicated that they seek to deny any potential path to NATO membership for Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. Does the administration view this demand is a valid issue for negotiation? Victoria Nuland: No we do not and President Biden made that point crystal clear to President Putin today that the issue of who joins NATO is an issue for NATO to decide it's an issue for applicant countries to decide that no other outside power will or may have a veto or a vote in those decisions.

  • 32:22 Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): Senator Portman and I offered an amendment to this year's NDAA in that vein to increase military assistance and raise the amount of assistance that could go to lethal weapons.

  • 33:21 Victoria Nuland: But we will not be shy about coming to you as we as we need support and the bipartisan spirit here is really gratifying.

  • 34:08 Victoria Nuland: At the NATO ministerial last week, there was a commitment among allies that we needed more advice and more options from our NATO military authorities with regard to the consequences of any move by Russia deeper into Ukraine and what that would mean for the eastern edge of the alliance and what it would mean about our need to be more forward deployed in the east.

  • 34:44 Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): Belarus now that it is seems to be totally within Russia's control also presents another front for the potential for Russia to invade Ukraine. Can you speak to whether we view what's happening in Belarus in that way? I know that Ukrainians view it that way because we heard that when we were in Halifax for the international security forum and met with some Ukrainian officials. Victoria Nuland: Well, as as you know, Senator, the situation in Belarus is just tragic and really concerning in many, many ways, which is why the administration along with the European Union in a multilateral way increased sanctions just last week, including blocking the sale to us or to Europe of one of the great sources of Lukashenko has money potash, etc, and sanction some dozens more Belarusians responsible for the violence and intimidation there and particularly now for the weaponization of migrants pushing you know, accepting them from third countries and then pushing them against the EU's border in a very cynical and dangerous way. But I think you're talking about the potential as Lukashenko becomes more and more dependent on the Kremlin and gives up more and more of Belarus is sovereignty, something that he told his people he would never do that Russia could actually use Belarusian territory to march on Ukraine and or mask, its forces as Belarusian forces. All of those -- Those are both things that that we are watching, and it was particularly concerning to see President Lukashenko would make a change in his own posture with regard to Crimea. He had long declined to recognize Russia Russia's claim on Crimea, but he changed tack a week ago which is concerning.

  • 39:08 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): If there's one thing that Vladimir Putin aught to understand is how unified we are. I mean, there are many things that divide us politically in this country. But when it comes to pushing back on Russian aggression, supporting countries like Ukraine that are trying to develop their freedom, free themselves from their legacy of corruption from their former involvement with the Soviet Union, we are very strongly united.

  • 39:56 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): What we impose on them and how and how harmful it would be to Russia, you know, unfortunately to Russian people.

  • 40:36 Victoria Nuland: What we're talking about would amount to essentially isolating Russia completely from the global financial system with all of the fallout that that would entail for Russian business, for the Russian people, for their ability to, to work and travel and trade.

  • 41:41 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): I can't think of a more powerful way to punish Russian aggression than by rolling back what progress has been made, and if at all possible, prevent the Nord Stream 2 from ever being completed. Is that something that is being discussed with allies is that something's being contemplated? Victoria Nuland: Absolutely. And as if, as you recall from the July U.S.-German statement that was very much in that statement that if that any moves, Russian aggression against Ukraine would have a direct impact on the pipeline, and that is our expectation and the conversation that we're having. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): So again, direct impact is one thing, but I'm literally talking about rolling back the pipeline. Loosely define that but I mean, taking action that will prevent it from ever becoming operational. Victoria Nuland: I think if President Putin moves on Ukraine, our expectation is that the pipeline will be suspended. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Well, I certainly hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would take up legislation to go beyond just suspending it but from ending it permanently.

  • 44:28 Victoria Nuland: I think we can, and I know this is close to your heart as well, need to do better in our Global Engagement Center and in the way we speak to audiences around the world and particularly on these kinds of subjects.

  • 55:04 Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): But something different has happened in that country since what has been referred to as the Revolution of Dignity. I got the chance to be there on the Maidan during the midst of that revolution with you and Senator McCain.

  • 58:56 Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): The Three Seas Initiative is a really important initiative linking essentially the ring of countries that are either former republics or satellite states of the Soviet Union together. They're begging for US participation in their projects necessary to make them more energy independent of Russia. Isn't this an opportunity for the United States to step up and take some of these customers away from Russia's gas station? Victoria Nuland: Absolutely, as we have been doing with our support for more LNG terminals around Europe for many years, as we are doing now in our support for, you know, green alternatives, not just in the United States, but in Europe as well. And many, many US companies are involved with that. But that particular belt of three C's countries is absolutely crucial, as you've said.

  • 1:11:19 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): I visited to Maidan in 2014. The tires were still smoldering and the Revolution of Dignity changed everything. You know, Ukraine decided to turn to us and to the West, and to freedom and democracy. And it was a momentous decision. They chose to stand with us. And now it's our turn to stand with them. And we've done that over the years. I mean, if you look at what happened with regard to the Ukraine security assistance initiative, which I co authored. Over the past six years, the United States has transferred defense articles, conducted training with Ukrainian military. We have been very engaged.

  • 1:12:05 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): This week we have the NDAA likely to be voted on and likely it will include an increase in that lethal defensive funding.

  • 1:12:14 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): What defensive weapons has Ukraine ask for and what is the State Department willing to provide them under an expedited process?

  • 1:18:44 Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): My concern is this: if the United States and the West's response to a military invasion is sanctions, but no military response, obviously, we're providing military aid to Ukraine. And we've been generous in that way. But if we are not willing to help a Ukrainian military, that's 50,000 people matched up against Russia, I would think that China would conclude, boy, the West sure, I'm going to come to the aid of Taiwan, if we were to do something on Taiwan. Because China would conclude, we're much more militarily powerful than Russia is. And the status questions about Taiwan and sovereignty are a little bit murkier than those about Ukraine. And there's no NATO in the Indo Pacific, we have allies in the Indo Pacific but we don't have a NATO with a charter, with a self defense article. I think China would determine, if the West responds to a military invasion went as far as sanctions but no further, that the United States and other nations would be extremely unlikely to use military force to counter a military invasion of Taiwan. And I think Taiwan would likely conclude the same thing. So I'm very concerned about that. And I wonder, is that a fair concern that I have about how the Chinese and the Taiwanese would view the West's unwillingness to provide more significant military support to stop an invasion by Russia? Is my concern a fair one? Or is my concern overwrought? Victoria Nuland: Senator, in this setting, I would simply say that this is a moment of testing. And I believe that both autocrats around the world and our friends around the world will watch extremely carefully what we do, and it will have implications for generations. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): And those and those implications could go far beyond Ukraine. Victoria Nuland: They could go well beyond Europe. Yes.

  • 1:22:00 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Then I would imagine that he's already been publicly messaging what his asks are. The first is that we would pull back NATO forces from anywhere near their western border. The second is to completely rule out the admission probably not just of Ukraine, but Georgia as a member of NATO. And the third is to stop arming Ukraine. Of those three conditions that he's publicly messaged already, would the United States agreed to any of those three? Victoria Nuland: All of those would be unacceptable.

  • 1:41:11 Victoria Nuland: And in fact you could argue that in the Donbas he did take control of some 40% of Ukraine's coal reserves which were a major energy input

  • 1:42:04 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I hope the one thing that anyone in the world who is watching this hearing today takes away is that even on some of the most contentious issues of the day, on this one, there is overwhelming, broad, bipartisan support for Ukraine there is overwhelming bipartisan support for its territorial integrity, there is overwhelming bipartisan support for swift and robust action. And after conversations with some of the members of the committee, I look to galvanize that in some tangible way legislatively as we wait for the days ahead as to what may or may not happen.

Ukrainian President Zelensky Meeting with Secretary Austin at the Pentagon

August 31, 2021

  • Secretary Lloyd Austin: As you know sir, President Biden has approved a new $60 million security assistance package including Javelin anti-armor systems and more to enable Ukraine to better defend itself against Russian aggression.

  • Secretary Lloyd Austin: Now this department is committed to strengthening our Strategic Defense Partnership. The US Ukraine strategic defense framework that Minister Tehran and I will sign today enhances our cooperation and advances our shared priorities, such as ensuring that our bilateral security cooperation continues to help Ukraine countering Russian aggression and implementing defense and defense industry reforms in support of Ukraine's NATO membership aspirations, and deepening our cooperation in such areas as Black Sea security, cyber defense and intel sharing.

Russian President Putin Annual Call-In Program

June 30, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual call-in question and answer session with citizens from around the country. During this 70-minute portion, he answered questions on relations with Ukraine, the European Union, and the United States, reiterating that whatever sanctions are imposed against Russia, his country’s economy will prevail.

Clips

  • Putin: I have already said that it is impossible and it makes no sense to try to restore the Soviet Union by a number of reasons and looking at the demographic processes in a number of former Soviet republic, so it's unreasonable effort to do because we can face a lot of social problems that will be possible to resolve and some issues like the ethnic groups, in various regions, but what should we do about Russia itself without the geopolitical realities and about our internal development?

  • Putin: Why is Ukraine not on the list of countries who are Russia's adversaries? Another question: are you going to meet with Zelensky? Well, why Ukriane is not on the list of adversaries? That's because I do not think that the Ukrainian people are our adversaries. I said it many times and I will say it again. The Ukrainians and Russians, that's one people, one nation.

  • Putin: What I'm worried about is a fundamental thing. They are trying to open up military bases near or inside Ukraine. Making the territory of Ukraine, the territory that's close on the border with Russia a military platform for other countries is a threat to the security of Russia. And this is what worries us. This is what we have to think about.

Discussion: Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Former Vice President Joe Biden Council on Foreign Affairs

January 23, 2018

Clips

  • 00:06:15 Joe Biden: They cannot compete against a unified West. I think that is Putin’s judgment. And so everything he can do to dismantle the post-World War II liberal world order, including NATO and the EU, I think, is viewed as in their immediate self-interest.

  • 00:24:15 Haass: In the piece, the two of you say that there’s no truth that the United States—unlike what Putin seems to believe or say, that the U.S. is seeking regime change in Russia. So the question I have is, should we be? And if not, if we shouldn’t be seeking regime change, what should we be seeking in the way of political change inside Russia? What’s an appropriate agenda for the United States vis-à-vis Russia, internally?

  • 00:24:30 Biden: I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, but it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to—convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t. So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.

Confirmation Hearing: Defense Secretary Confirmation Hearing

Senate Armed Services Committee
January 12, 2017

  • 00:20:15 Sen. McCain: For seven decades, the United States has played a unique role in the world. We’ve not only put America first, but we’ve done so by maintaining and advancing a world order that has expanded security, prosperity, and freedom. This has required our alliances, our trade, our diplomacy, our values, but most of all, our military for when would-be aggressors aspire to threaten world order. It’s the global striking power of America’s armed forces that must deter or thwart their ambitions. Too many Americans, too many Americans seem to have forgotten this in recent years. Too many have forgotten that our world order is not self-sustaining. Too many have forgotten that while the threats we face may not have purely military solutions, they all have military dimensions. In short, too many have forgotten that hard power matters—having it, threatening it, leveraging it for diplomacy, and, at times, using it. Fairly or not, there is a perception around the world that America is weak and distracted, and that has only emboldened our adversaries to challenge the current world order.
Daily Briefing: Nuland Tape Press Conference

February 6, 2014.

Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson

  • 0:19 Reporter: Can you say whether you—if this call is a recording of an authentic conversation between Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt? Jen Psaki: Well, I’m not going to confirm or outline details. I understand there are a lot of reports out there, and there’s a recording out there, but I’m not going to confirm a private diplomatic conversation. Reporter: So you are not saying that you believe this is a—you think this is not authentic? You think this is a— Psaki: It’s not an accusation I’m making. I’m just not going to confirm the specifics of it. Reporter: Well, you can’t even say whether there was a—that this call—you believe that this call, you believe that this recording is a recording of a real telephone call? Psaki: I didn’t say it was inauthentic. I think we can leave it at that. Reporter: Okay, so, you’re allowing the fact that it is authentic. Psaki: Yes. Reporter: “Yes,” okay. Psaki: Do you have a question about it?
Phone Conversation: Nuland-Pyatt Leaked Phone Conversation

February 4, 2014

  • Nuland: Good. So I don’t think Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Pyatt: Yeah, I mean I guess, in terms of him not going into the government, just sort of letting him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of, sort of, the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate Democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this. Nuland: I think Yatz [Arseniy Yatsenyuk] is the guy with the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy. What he needs is Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] And Tyahnybok On the outside, he needs to be talking to them four times a week. You know, I just think Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] Going in he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk it’s just not gonna work. Pyatt: We want to get someone out here with and international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. And then the other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych. We’ll probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things fall into place. Nuland: So on that piece, Jeff, I wrote the note, Sullivan’s come back to me saying “you need Biden,” and I said probably tomorrow for an attaboy and get the deeds to stick, Biden’s willing. Pyatt Great.
Press Conference: Senator John McCain on Ukraine at the Atlantic Council

C-SPAN
December 19, 2013.

  • 00:16:45 McCain: If Ukraine’s political crisis persists or deepens, which is a real possibility, we must support creative Ukrainian efforts to resolve it. Senator Murphy and I heard a few such ideas last weekend—from holding early elections, as the opposition is now demanding, to the institution of a technocratic government with a mandate to make the difficult reforms required for Ukraine’s long-term economic health and sustainable development. Decisions such as these are for Ukrainians to make—no one else—and if they request our assistance, we should provide it where possible. Finally, we must encourage the European Union and the IMF to keep their doors open to Ukraine. Ultimately, the support of both institutions is indispensable for Ukraine’s future. And eventually, a Ukrainian President, either this one or a future one, will be prepared to accept the fundamental choice facing the country, which is this: While there are real short-term costs to the political and economic reforms required for IMF assistance and EU integration, and while President Putin will likely add to these costs by retaliating against Ukraine’s economy, the long-term benefits for Ukraine in taking these tough steps are far greater and almost limitless. This decision cannot be borne by one person alone in Ukraine. Nor should it be. It must be shared—both the risks and the rewards—by all Ukrainians, especially the opposition and business elite. It must also be shared by the EU, the IMF and the United States. All of us in the West should be prepared to help Ukraine, financially and otherwise, to overcome the short-term pain that reforms will require and Russia may inflict.
Discussion: Beyond NAFTA and GATT

C-SPAN
April 20, 1994

Arthur Dunkel, Director General of the UN

  • 26:00:00 Dunkel: If I look back at the last 25 years, what did we have? We had two worlds: The so-called Market Economy world and the centrally planned world; the centrally planned world disappeared. One of the main challenges of the Uruguay round has been to create a world wide system. I think we have to think of that. Secondly, why a world wide system? Because, basically, I consider that if governments cooperate in trade policy field, you reduce the risks of tension – political tension and even worse than that.”
Cover Art

Design by Only Child Imaginations

Music Presented in This Episode

Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

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Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I want to be crystal clear to those listening to this hearing in Moscow, Kiev and other capitals around the world. A Russian invasion will trigger devastating economic sanctions the likes of which we have never seen before. 00:59 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I proposed a suite of options last month in an amendment to the NDA. The Russian banking sector would be wiped out, sovereign debt would be blocked, Russia would be removed from the Swift payment system, sectoral sanctions would cripple the Russian economy. Putin himself as well as his inner circle would lose access to bank accounts in the West. Russia would effectively be cut off and isolated from the international economic system. Let me be clear, these are not run of the mill sanctions. What is being discussed is at the maximum end of the spectrum, or as I have called it the mother of all sanctions, and I hope that we can come together in a bipartisan way to find a legislative path forward soon, so that we can achieve that. 1:51 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): If Putin invades Ukraine the implications will be devastating for the Russian economy but also for the Russian people. 2:24 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): But is the Kremlin really ready to face a bloody, persistent and drawn out insurgency? How many body bags is Putin willing to accept? 6:03 Sen James Risch (R-ID): This is a clearly clearly bipartisan matter. 7:40 Victoria Nuland: First, let me review what we are seeing. Over the past six weeks, Russia has stepped up planning for potential further military action in Ukraine, positioning close to 100,000 troops around Ukraine's eastern and northern borders and from the south via the Crimean peninsula. Russian plans and positioning of assets also include the means to destabilize Ukraine from within, and an aggressive information operation and an attempt to undermine Ukrainian stability and social cohesion and to pin the blame for any potential escalation on Kiev, and on NATO nations including the United States. Russia's military and intelligence services are continuing to develop the capability to act decisively in Ukraine when ordered to do so, potentially in early 2022. The intended force, if fully mobilized, would be twice the size of what we saw last spring, including approximately 100 battalion tactical groups, or nearly all of Russia's ready ground forces based west of the Urals. We don't know whether President Putin has made a decision to attack Ukraine or to overthrow its government. But we do know he's building the capacity to do so. 10:42 Victoria Nuland: Since 2014 The United States has provided Ukraine with $2.4 billion in security assistance including $450 million this year alone 12:00 Victoria Nuland: Diplomacy remains the best route to settle the conflict in Donbas and address any other problems or grievances. The Minsk agreements offer the best basis for negotiations and the US is prepared to support a revived effort if the parties welcome that. 15:16 Victoria Nuland: You might have seen a press conference today that commission Chairwoman van der Laan gave in Brussels in which she made absolutely clear that the EU would also join in very consequential economic measures of the kind that they have not employed before. 23:26 Victoria Nuland: It's also important, I think, for President Putin to understand as the President conveyed to him today, that this will be different than it was in 2014. If he goes in you will recall then that our sanctions escalated somewhat gradually as he didn't stop moving. This time the intent is to make clear that the initial sanctions in response to any further aggressive moves in Ukraine will be extremely significant and isolating for Russia and for Russian business and for the Russian people. 24:51 Victoria Nuland: As you know, energy is the cash cow that enables these kinds of military deployments. So Putin needs the energy to flow as as much as the consumers need it. But more broadly, we have been counseling Europe for almost a decade now to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, including our opposition to Nord Stream 2 and our opposition to Nord Stream 1 and our opposition to to TurkStream and TurkStream 2 and to have come to find alternative sources of hydrocarbons but also to continue their efforts to go green and end their dependencies. 30:55 Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly indicated that they seek to deny any potential path to NATO membership for Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. Does the administration view this demand is a valid issue for negotiation? Victoria Nuland: No we do not and President Biden made that point crystal clear to President Putin today that the issue of who joins NATO is an issue for NATO to decide it's an issue for applicant countries to decide that no other outside power will or may have a veto or a vote in those decisions. 32:22 Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): Senator Portman and I offered an amendment to this year's NDAA in that vein to increase military assistance and raise the amount of assistance that could go to lethal weapons. 33:21 Victoria Nuland: But we will not be shy about coming to you as we as we need support and the bipartisan spirit here is really gratifying. 34:08 Victoria Nuland: At the NATO ministerial last week, there was a commitment among allies that we needed more advice and more options from our NATO military authorities with regard to the consequences of any move by Russia deeper into Ukraine and what that would mean for the eastern edge of the alliance and what it would mean about our need to be more forward deployed in the east. 34:44 Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): Belarus now that it is seems to be totally within Russia's control also presents another front for the potential for Russia to invade Ukraine. Can you speak to whether we view what's happening in Belarus in that way? I know that Ukrainians view it that way because we heard that when we were in Halifax for the international security forum and met with some Ukrainian officials. Victoria Nuland: Well, as as you know, Senator, the situation in Belarus is just tragic and really concerning in many, many ways, which is why the administration along with the European Union in a multilateral way increased sanctions just last week, including blocking the sale to us or to Europe of one of the great sources of Lukashenko has money potash, etc, and sanction some dozens more Belarusians responsible for the violence and intimidation there and particularly now for the weaponization of migrants pushing you know, accepting them from third countries and then pushing them against the EU's border in a very cynical and dangerous way. But I think you're talking about the potential as Lukashenko becomes more and more dependent on the Kremlin and gives up more and more of Belarus is sovereignty, something that he told his people he would never do that Russia could actually use Belarusian territory to march on Ukraine and or mask, its forces as Belarusian forces. All of those -- Those are both things that that we are watching, and it was particularly concerning to see President Lukashenko would make a change in his own posture with regard to Crimea. He had long declined to recognize Russia Russia's claim on Crimea, but he changed tack a week ago which is concerning. 39:08 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): If there's one thing that Vladimir Putin aught to understand is how unified we are. I mean, there are many things that divide us politically in this country. But when it comes to pushing back on Russian aggression, supporting countries like Ukraine that are trying to develop their freedom, free themselves from their legacy of corruption from their former involvement with the Soviet Union, we are very strongly united. 39:56 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): What we impose on them and how and how harmful it would be to Russia, you know, unfortunately to Russian people. 40:36 Victoria Nuland: What we're talking about would amount to essentially isolating Russia completely from the global financial system with all of the fallout that that would entail for Russian business, for the Russian people, for their ability to, to work and travel and trade. 41:41 Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): I can't think of a more powerful way to punish Russian aggression than by rolling back what progress has been made, and if at all possible, prevent the Nord Stream 2 from ever being completed. Is that something that is being discussed with allies is that something's being contemplated? Victoria Nuland: Absolutely. And as if, as you recall from the July U.S.-German statement that was very much in that statement that if that any moves, Russian aggression against Ukraine would have a direct impact on the pipeline, and that is our expectation and the conversation that we're having. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): So again, direct impact is one thing, but I'm literally talking about rolling back the pipeline. Loosely define that but I mean, taking action that will prevent it from ever becoming operational. Victoria Nuland: I think if President Putin moves on Ukraine, our expectation is that the pipeline will be suspended. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): Well, I certainly hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would take up legislation to go beyond just suspending it but from ending it permanently. 44:28 Victoria Nuland: I think we can, and I know this is close to your heart as well, need to do better in our Global Engagement Center and in the way we speak to audiences around the world and particularly on these kinds of subjects. 55:04 Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): But something different has happened in that country since what has been referred to as the Revolution of Dignity. I got the chance to be there on the Maidan during the midst of that revolution with you and Senator McCain. 58:56 Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): The Three Seas Initiative is a really important initiative linking essentially the ring of countries that are either former republics or satellite states of the Soviet Union together. They're begging for US participation in their projects necessary to make them more energy independent of Russia. Isn't this an opportunity for the United States to step up and take some of these customers away from Russia's gas station? Victoria Nuland: Absolutely, as we have been doing with our support for more LNG terminals around Europe for many years, as we are doing now in our support for, you know, green alternatives, not just in the United States, but in Europe as well. And many, many US companies are involved with that. But that particular belt of three C's countries is absolutely crucial, as you've said. 1:11:19 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): I visited to Maidan in 2014. The tires were still smoldering and the Revolution of Dignity changed everything. You know, Ukraine decided to turn to us and to the West, and to freedom and democracy. And it was a momentous decision. They chose to stand with us. And now it's our turn to stand with them. And we've done that over the years. I mean, if you look at what happened with regard to the Ukraine security assistance initiative, which I co authored. Over the past six years, the United States has transferred defense articles, conducted training with Ukrainian military. We have been very engaged. 1:12:05 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): This week we have the NDAA likely to be voted on and likely it will include an increase in that lethal defensive funding. 1:12:14 Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): What defensive weapons has Ukraine ask for and what is the State Department willing to provide them under an expedited process? 1:18:44 Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): My concern is this: if the United States and the West's response to a military invasion is sanctions, but no military response, obviously, we're providing military aid to Ukraine. And we've been generous in that way. But if we are not willing to help a Ukrainian military, that's 50,000 people matched up against Russia, I would think that China would conclude, boy, the West sure, I'm going to come to the aid of Taiwan, if we were to do something on Taiwan. Because China would conclude, we're much more militarily powerful than Russia is. And the status questions about Taiwan and sovereignty are a little bit murkier than those about Ukraine. And there's no NATO in the Indo Pacific, we have allies in the Indo Pacific but we don't have a NATO with a charter, with a self defense article. I think China would determine, if the West responds to a military invasion went as far as sanctions but no further, that the United States and other nations would be extremely unlikely to use military force to counter a military invasion of Taiwan. And I think Taiwan would likely conclude the same thing. So I'm very concerned about that. And I wonder, is that a fair concern that I have about how the Chinese and the Taiwanese would view the West's unwillingness to provide more significant military support to stop an invasion by Russia? Is my concern a fair one? Or is my concern overwrought? Victoria Nuland: Senator, in this setting, I would simply say that this is a moment of testing. And I believe that both autocrats around the world and our friends around the world will watch extremely carefully what we do, and it will have implications for generations. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): And those and those implications could go far beyond Ukraine. Victoria Nuland: They could go well beyond Europe. Yes. 1:22:00 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Then I would imagine that he's already been publicly messaging what his asks are. The first is that we would pull back NATO forces from anywhere near their western border. The second is to completely rule out the admission probably not just of Ukraine, but Georgia as a member of NATO. And the third is to stop arming Ukraine. Of those three conditions that he's publicly messaged already, would the United States agreed to any of those three? Victoria Nuland: All of those would be unacceptable. 1:41:11 Victoria Nuland: And in fact you could argue that in the Donbas he did take control of some 40% of Ukraine's coal reserves which were a major energy input 1:42:04 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I hope the one thing that anyone in the world who is watching this hearing today takes away is that even on some of the most contentious issues of the day, on this one, there is overwhelming, broad, bipartisan support for Ukraine there is overwhelming bipartisan support for its territorial integrity, there is overwhelming bipartisan support for swift and robust action. And after conversations with some of the members of the committee, I look to galvanize that in some tangible way legislatively as we wait for the days ahead as to what may or may not happen. Ukrainian President Zelensky Meeting with Secretary Austin at the Pentagon August 31, 2021 Secretary Lloyd Austin: As you know sir, President Biden has approved a new $60 million security assistance package including Javelin anti-armor systems and more to enable Ukraine to better defend itself against Russian aggression. Secretary Lloyd Austin: Now this department is committed to strengthening our Strategic Defense Partnership. The US Ukraine strategic defense framework that Minister Tehran and I will sign today enhances our cooperation and advances our shared priorities, such as ensuring that our bilateral security cooperation continues to help Ukraine countering Russian aggression and implementing defense and defense industry reforms in support of Ukraine's NATO membership aspirations, and deepening our cooperation in such areas as Black Sea security, cyber defense and intel sharing. Russian President Putin Annual Call-In Program June 30, 2021 Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual call-in question and answer session with citizens from around the country. During this 70-minute portion, he answered questions on relations with Ukraine, the European Union, and the United States, reiterating that whatever sanctions are imposed against Russia, his country’s economy will prevail. Clips Putin: I have already said that it is impossible and it makes no sense to try to restore the Soviet Union by a number of reasons and looking at the demographic processes in a number of former Soviet republic, so it's unreasonable effort to do because we can face a lot of social problems that will be possible to resolve and some issues like the ethnic groups, in various regions, but what should we do about Russia itself without the geopolitical realities and about our internal development? Putin: Why is Ukraine not on the list of countries who are Russia's adversaries? Another question: are you going to meet with Zelensky? Well, why Ukriane is not on the list of adversaries? That's because I do not think that the Ukrainian people are our adversaries. I said it many times and I will say it again. The Ukrainians and Russians, that's one people, one nation. Putin: What I'm worried about is a fundamental thing. They are trying to open up military bases near or inside Ukraine. Making the territory of Ukraine, the territory that's close on the border with Russia a military platform for other countries is a threat to the security of Russia. And this is what worries us. This is what we have to think about. Discussion: Foreign Affairs Issue Launch with Former Vice President Joe Biden Council on Foreign Affairs January 23, 2018 Clips 00:06:15 Joe Biden: They cannot compete against a unified West. I think that is Putin’s judgment. And so everything he can do to dismantle the post-World War II liberal world order, including NATO and the EU, I think, is viewed as in their immediate self-interest. 00:24:15 Haass: In the piece, the two of you say that there’s no truth that the United States—unlike what Putin seems to believe or say, that the U.S. is seeking regime change in Russia. So the question I have is, should we be? And if not, if we shouldn’t be seeking regime change, what should we be seeking in the way of political change inside Russia? What’s an appropriate agenda for the United States vis-à-vis Russia, internally? 00:24:30 Biden: I’ll give you one concrete example. I was—not I, but it just happened to be that was the assignment I got. I got all the good ones. And so I got Ukraine. And I remember going over, convincing our team, our leaders to—convincing that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t. So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time. Confirmation Hearing: Defense Secretary Confirmation Hearing Senate Armed Services Committee January 12, 2017 00:20:15 Sen. McCain: For seven decades, the United States has played a unique role in the world. We’ve not only put America first, but we’ve done so by maintaining and advancing a world order that has expanded security, prosperity, and freedom. This has required our alliances, our trade, our diplomacy, our values, but most of all, our military for when would-be aggressors aspire to threaten world order. It’s the global striking power of America’s armed forces that must deter or thwart their ambitions. Too many Americans, too many Americans seem to have forgotten this in recent years. Too many have forgotten that our world order is not self-sustaining. Too many have forgotten that while the threats we face may not have purely military solutions, they all have military dimensions. In short, too many have forgotten that hard power matters—having it, threatening it, leveraging it for diplomacy, and, at times, using it. Fairly or not, there is a perception around the world that America is weak and distracted, and that has only emboldened our adversaries to challenge the current world order. Daily Briefing: Nuland Tape Press Conference February 6, 2014. Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson 0:19 Reporter: Can you say whether you—if this call is a recording of an authentic conversation between Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt? Jen Psaki: Well, I’m not going to confirm or outline details. I understand there are a lot of reports out there, and there’s a recording out there, but I’m not going to confirm a private diplomatic conversation. Reporter: So you are not saying that you believe this is a—you think this is not authentic? You think this is a— Psaki: It’s not an accusation I’m making. I’m just not going to confirm the specifics of it. Reporter: Well, you can’t even say whether there was a—that this call—you believe that this call, you believe that this recording is a recording of a real telephone call? Psaki: I didn’t say it was inauthentic. I think we can leave it at that. Reporter: Okay, so, you’re allowing the fact that it is authentic. Psaki: Yes. Reporter: “Yes,” okay. Psaki: Do you have a question about it? Phone Conversation: Nuland-Pyatt Leaked Phone Conversation February 4, 2014 Nuland: Good. So I don’t think Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Pyatt: Yeah, I mean I guess, in terms of him not going into the government, just sort of letting him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of, sort of, the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate Democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this. Nuland: I think Yatz [Arseniy Yatsenyuk] is the guy with the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy. What he needs is Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] And Tyahnybok On the outside, he needs to be talking to them four times a week. You know, I just think Klitsch [Vitali Klitschko] Going in he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk it’s just not gonna work. Pyatt: We want to get someone out here with and international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. And then the other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych. We’ll probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things fall into place. Nuland: So on that piece, Jeff, I wrote the note, Sullivan’s come back to me saying “you need Biden,” and I said probably tomorrow for an attaboy and get the deeds to stick, Biden’s willing. Pyatt Great. Press Conference: Senator John McCain on Ukraine at the Atlantic Council C-SPAN December 19, 2013. 00:16:45 McCain: If Ukraine’s political crisis persists or deepens, which is a real possibility, we must support creative Ukrainian efforts to resolve it. Senator Murphy and I heard a few such ideas last weekend—from holding early elections, as the opposition is now demanding, to the institution of a technocratic government with a mandate to make the difficult reforms required for Ukraine’s long-term economic health and sustainable development. Decisions such as these are for Ukrainians to make—no one else—and if they request our assistance, we should provide it where possible. Finally, we must encourage the European Union and the IMF to keep their doors open to Ukraine. Ultimately, the support of both institutions is indispensable for Ukraine’s future. And eventually, a Ukrainian President, either this one or a future one, will be prepared to accept the fundamental choice facing the country, which is this: While there are real short-term costs to the political and economic reforms required for IMF assistance and EU integration, and while President Putin will likely add to these costs by retaliating against Ukraine’s economy, the long-term benefits for Ukraine in taking these tough steps are far greater and almost limitless. This decision cannot be borne by one person alone in Ukraine. Nor should it be. It must be shared—both the risks and the rewards—by all Ukrainians, especially the opposition and business elite. It must also be shared by the EU, the IMF and the United States. All of us in the West should be prepared to help Ukraine, financially and otherwise, to overcome the short-term pain that reforms will require and Russia may inflict. Discussion: Beyond NAFTA and GATT C-SPAN April 20, 1994 Arthur Dunkel, Director General of the UN 26:00:00 Dunkel: If I look back at the last 25 years, what did we have? We had two worlds: The so-called Market Economy world and the centrally planned world; the centrally planned world disappeared. One of the main challenges of the Uruguay round has been to create a world wide system. I think we have to think of that. Secondly, why a world wide system? Because, basically, I consider that if governments cooperate in trade policy field, you reduce the risks of tension – political tension and even worse than that.” Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
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    CD243: Target Nicaragua

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    In mid-November, following the re-election of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Congress passed and President Biden signed the RENACER Act, which escalated an ongoing economic war against President Daniel Ortega. In this episode learn about what the RENACER Act does as we examine the situation in Nicaragua and find out and why Daniel Ortega has a target on his back. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes Essential Background Episodes CD102: The World Trade Organization: COOL? CD167: Combating Russia (NDAA 2018) LIVE CD186: National Endowment for Democracy CD187: Combating China Rabbit Hole Episodes CD041: Why Attack Syria? CD067: What Do We Want In Ukraine? CD108: Regime Change (Syria) CD131: Bombing Libya CD156: Sanctions – Russia, North Korea & Iran CD172: The Illegal Bombing of Syria CD176: Target Venezuela: Regime Change in Progress CD190: A Coup for Capitalism CD191: The “Democracies” Of Elliott Abrams CD208: The Brink of the Iran War CD224: Social Media Censorship CD225: Targets of the Free Marketeers CD229: Target Belarus U.S.-Nicaragua Relations Maureen Taft-Morales. November 4, 2021. “Nicaragua in Brief: Political Developments in 2021, U.S. Policy, and Issues for Congress.” Congressional Research Service. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. September 14, 2021. U.S. Relations With Nicaragua William I. Robinson. August 19, 2021. “Crisis in Nicaragua: Is the Ortega-Murillo Government Leftist? (Part I)” North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Clare Ribando Seelke. March 17, 2008. “Nicaragua: Political Situation and U.S. Relations” [RS22836]. Congressional Research Service. Maureen Taft-Morales. April 19, 2007. “Nicaragua: The Election of Daniel Ortega and Issues in U.S. Relations [RL33983] Congressional Research Service. IMF Staff. May 16, 2006. “Nicaragua : Staff Report for the 2005 Article IV Consultation, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Reviews Under the Three Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, Requests for Rephasing and Waiver of Performance Criteria, Financing Assurances Review, and Request for Extension of the Arrangement.” The International Monetary Fund. Author’s Name Redacted. May 16, 1997. “Nicaragua: Changes Under the Chamorro Government and U.S. Concerns” [96-813 F]. Congressional Research Service. Edgar Chamorro. January 9, 1986. “Terror Is the Most Effective Weapon of Nicaragua's 'Contras.'” The New York Times. Fred Hiatt, Joanne Omang, Michael Getler and Don Oberdorfer. April 7, 1984. “CIA Helped To Mine Ports In Nicaragua.” The Washington Post. Nicaragua Relationships to Russia and China 100% Noticias. September 9, 2021. “Nicaraguan Parliament Ratifies Security Agreement with Russia. Havana Times. “Russia, Nicaragua ink information security deal.” July 19, 2021. TASS: Russian News Agency. Frida Ghitis. June 8, 2017. “A Russian Satellite-Tracking Facility in Nicaragua Raises Echoes of the Cold War.” World Politics Review. Cristina Silva. May 22, 2017. “New Cold War: Is Russia Spying on the U.S. From a Nicaragua Military Compound?” Newsweek. Carrie Kahn. November 17, 2016. “U.S. To Monitor Security Agreement Signed Between Russia And Nicaragua.” NPR Morning Edition. John Otis. June 4, 2015. “Nicaraguan Canal Plan Riles Landholders.” The Wall Street Journal. Matthew Miller. May 4, 2014. “China's 'ordinary' billionaire behind grand Nicaragua canal plan.” Reuters. 2021 Sanctions “Nicaragua Leaves the Organization of American States.” November 19, 2021. Telesur. U.S. Department of the Treasury. November 15, 2021. “Treasury Sanctions Public Ministry of Nicaragua and Nine Government Officials Following Sham November Elections.” Antony Blinken. November 15, 2021. “New Sanctions Following Sham Elections in Nicaragua.” U.S. Department of State. Ned Price. August 6, 2021. “The United States Restricts Visas of 50 Additional Nicaraguan Individuals Affiliated With Ortega-Murillo Regime.” U.S. Department of State. Antony Blinken. July 12, 2021. “The United States Restricts Visas of 100 Nicaraguans Affiliated with Ortega-Murillo Regime.” U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of the Treasury. June 9, 2021. “Treasury Sanctions Nicaraguan Officials for Supporting Ortega’s Efforts to Undermine Democracy, Human Rights, and the Economy.” “Nicaragua Minimum Wage.” Minimum-Wage.org 2021 Nicaraguan Elections “North Americans Debunk US & OAS Claims on Nicaragua Election.” November 10, 2021. Kawsachun News. Monique Beals. November 7, 2021. “Biden slams Nicaragua's 'sham elections,' calls Ortegas autocrats.” The Hill. Meta (formerly Facebook). November 1, 2021. “October 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report.” Meta (formerly Facebook). November 1, 2021. “October 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report Summary.” Nahal Toosi. October 26, 2021. “Tiny Nicaragua is becoming a big problem for Joe Biden.” Politico. Antony Blinken. October 22, 2021. “The United States Applauds the OAS Resolution Condemning the Undemocratic Electoral Process and Repression in Nicaragua.” U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. Carlos Dada. October 6, 2021. “La prioridad ahorita es que no nos maten; luego, la justicia y la democracia.” El Faro. Kai M. Thaler and Ryan C. Berg. August 24, 2021. “To replace autocrats of Nicaragua, think beyond this fall’s election.” The Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. December 11, 2020. “Nicaragua opposition figure seeks rule changes for 2021 vote.” The Associated Press. Foreign Agent Law Guy José Bendaña-Guerrero. May 2, 2021. “Changes in Nicaragua's Consumer Law.” Marca Sur. “Nicaragua: National Assembly Approves Law To Defend Its People. December 22, 2020. Telesur. LAND Staff. October 29, 2020. “Nicaragua Approves Cybercrime Law.” Latin America News Dispatch (LAND). Associated Press. October 15, 2020. “Nicaragua passes controversial 'foreign agent' law.” ABC News. Oretega’s Arrested Opponents Felix Maradiaga Biography. World Economic Forum. Felix Maradiaga Curriculum Vitae. Academia.edu Cristiana Chamorro Biography. The Dialogue: Leadership for the Americas. Cristiana Chamorro LinkedIn Profile. Juan Sebastian Chamorro LinkedIn Profile. Samantha Sultoon Biography. The Atlantic Council. Jared Genser, Brian Tronic, Stephanie Herrmann, and Michael Russ. October 28, 2021. “Petition to United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.” Perseus Strategies. Tom Phillips. October 22, 2021. “Nicaraguan business leaders arrested in Ortega’s pre-election crackdown.” The Guardian. “Nicaragua: Police arrest 2 more opposition contenders.” September 6, 2021. Deutsche Welle (DW). Ismael López Ocampo and Mary Beth Sheridan. June 9, 2021. “As election looms, Nicaraguan government arrests Ortega’s challengers.” The Washington Post. “Ortega Holds Arturo Cruz Prisoner at Interrogation Jail.” June 7, 2021. Havana Times. “Nicaraguan police detain another opposition presidential contender. June 5, 2021. Reuters. “Nicaragua: Opposition Leader Linked To Money Laundering Scandal.” June 3, 2021. Telesur. The Guardian Staff and agencies in Managua. June 2, 2021. “Nicaragua police detain opposition leader and expected Ortega challenger.” The Guardian. Trump Era - April 2018 Protests Paz Gómez. August 25, 2021. “The Break-Up: COSEP’s Love Affair with Daniel Ortega.” Impunity Observer. Mary Beth Sheridan. August 4, 2019. “Nicaragua’s Ortega is strangling La Prensa, one of Latin America’s most storied newspapers.” The Washington Post. U.S. Department of the Treasury. April 17, 2019. “Treasury Targets Finances of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s Regime.” Samantha Sultoon. November 29, 2018. “Trump administration’s new Nicaragua sanctions strategically target the top.” New Atlanticist Blog from the Atlantic Council. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua [Executive Order 13851] November 27, 2018. Federal Register Vol. 83 No. 230. Rocio Cara Labrador. November 26, 2018. “Nicaragua in Crisis: What to Know.” Council of Foreign Relations. Rafael Bernal. November 01, 2018. “Bolton dubs Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua the 'Troika of Tyranny'” The Hill. Mabel Calero. July 26, 2018. “Daniel Ortega buries his model of alliance with private companies that lasted 11 years.” La Prensa. Max Blumenthal. June 19, 2018. “US govt meddling machine boasts of ‘laying the groundwork for insurrection’ in Nicaragua.” The Grayzone. “Pension reforms in Nicaragua leads to violent protests and opposition from business groups.” The Caribbean Council. Foreign “Assistance” to Nicaragua About ForeignAssistance.gov National Endowment for Democracy Grants Awarded to Fundacion Nicaraguense para el Desarrollo Economico y Social National Endowment for Democracy Grants Awarded to Instituto de Estudios Estrategicos y Politicas Publicas Associated Press. August 26, 2021. “Nicaragua Orders Closure of 15 More NGOs.” U.S. News and World Report. William I. Robinson. August 20, 2021. “Crisis in Nicaragua: Is the US Trying to Overthrow the Ortega-Murillo Government? (Part II)” North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Elliott Abrams. June 9, 2021. “Biden and Democracy in Nicaragua.” Council on Foreign Relations. Ben Norton. June 1, 2021. “How USAID created Nicaragua’s anti-Sandinista media apparatus, now under money laundering investigation.” The Grayzone. John Perry. August 4, 2020. “The US contracts out its regime change operation in Nicaragua.” Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua [RFTOP No: 72052420R00004] “Section C - Statement of Work.” March-April 2020. USAID OIG Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office. October 24, 2019. “Financial Audit of the Media Strengthening Program in Nicaragua, Managed by Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Para la Reconciliación y la Democracia, Cooperative Agreement AID-524-A-14-00001, January 1 to December 31, 2018 (9-524-20-004-R)” USAID. IMF Western Hemisphere Department Staff. June 27, 2017. “Nicaragua : Selected Issues.” The International Monetary Fund. Richard Falk. February 21, 2012. “When an ‘NGO’ is not an NGO: Twists and turns under Egyptian skies.” Al Jazeera. Laws S. 1064: RENACER Act Sponsor: Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Passed by Voice Vote in the Senate November 3, 2021 House Vote Breakdown Law Outline Sec. 2: Sense of Congress "Congress unequivocally condemns the politically motivated and unlawful detention of presidential candidates Cristiana Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Felix Maradiaga, and Juan Sebastian Chamorro." "Congress unequivocally condemns the passage of the Foreign Agents Regulation Law, the Special Cybercrimes Law, the Self Determination Law, and the Consumer Protection Law by the National Assembly of Nicaragua..." Sec. 3: Review of Participation of Nicaragua in Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement "The President should review" the continued participation of Nicaragua in the agreement. The authority listed is Article 21.2 of the agreement that says, "Nothing in this agreement shall be construed... to preclude a Party from applying measures that it considers necessary for the fulfillment of its obligations with respect to the maintenance or restoration of international peace or security, or the protection of its own essential security interests." President Trump issued an Executive Order on November 27, 2018 that said that the response to the protests that began on April 18, 2018 "and the Ortega regime's systematic dismantling and undermining of democratic institutions and the rule of law, its use of indiscriminate violence and repressive tactics against civilians, as well as its corruption leading to the destabilization of Nicaragua's economy constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." Sec. 4: Restrictions on International Financial Institutions Relating to Nicaragua Directs the United States Executive Director at the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund to "increase scrutiny of any loan or financial or technical assistance provided for a project in Nicaragua" and "to ensure" that the loan or assistance is administered through an entity with full independence from the Government of Nicaragua. Sec. 5: Targeted Sanctions to Advance Democratic Elections The Secretary of State and Secretary of Treasury, "in consultation" with the intelligence community, "shall develop and implement a coordinated strategy" for implementing targeted sanctions in order to "facilitate the necessary conditions for free, fair, and transparent elections in Nicaragua." Targets sanctions specifically at... Officials in the government of President Daniel Ortega Family members of Daniel Ortega High ranking members of the National Nicaraguan Police Members of the Supreme Electoral Council of Nicaragua Officials of the Central Bank of Nicaragua Party members and elected officials from the Sandinista National Liberation Front and their family members Businesses that conduct "corrupt" financial transactions with officials in the government of President Daniel Ortega, his party, or his family. The sanctions are authorized by the 2018 law (outlined below) against "any foreign person" who, on or after April 18, 2018... Used violence "or conduct" that "constitutes a serious abuse" against protestors Taken "actions or policies" that undermine "democratic processes or institutions" Any current or former government official that used "private or public assets for personal gain or political purposes" Any current or former government official involved in corruption related to government contracts Any current or former government official involved in bribery Any current or former government official that transferred the proceeds of corruption Arrested or prosecuted a person disseminating information to the public The sanctions include... Asset blocking of "all property and interests in property" if they are in the United States, come within the United States, or come within the possession or control of a "United States person." Exclusion from the United States and revocation of visas and other documents. Anyone who "violates, attempts to violate, conspires to violate, or causes a violation" of sanctions can be hit with a civil penalty of a $250,000 maximum fine or up to twice the amount of sanctions violating transaction and/or a criminal penalty of up to $1 million or up to 20 years in prison. Sec. 6: Developing and Implementing a Coordinated Sanctions Strategy with Diplomatic Partners Requires the Secretary of State to coordinate with other countries - specifically Canada, members of the European Union, and governments in Latin America and the Caribbean - to impose the sanctions together "in order to advance democratic elections in Nicaragua." Sec. 7: Inclusion of Nicaragua in List of Countries Subject to Certain Sanctions Relating to Corruption Adds Nicaragua to an annual report that gets submitted to Congress. The people identified in the report who are accused of corruption in regards to government contracts, bribery, extortion, money laundering, or "violence, harassment, or intimidation directed at governmental or non governmental corruption investigators" will have their visas revoked and be prohibited from entering the United States. Sec. 9: Classified Report on the Activities of the Russian Federation in Nicaragua The Department of State - working with intelligence officials - will submit a classified report to Congress within 90 days about... Cooperation between the Nicaraguan military and Russian military, intelligence, security forces, law enforcement, and Russian security contractors. Cooperation between Russia and Nicaragua in telecommunications and satellites Economic cooperation, specifically in banking Threats that cooperation between Russia and Nicaragua pose to "United States national interests and national security." Sec. 12: Supporting Independent News Media and Freedom of Information in Nicaragua The Secretary of State, Administrator of USAID and the CEO of the United States Agency for Global Media will submit a report to Congress listing all media "directly or indirectly owned or controlled by President Daniel Ortega, members of the Ortega family, or known allies of the Ortega government" and it will access the extent to which Voice of America is reaching the Nicaraguan people. Sec. 13: Amendment to Short Title of Public Law 115-335 Renames the "Nicaraguan Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018" the "Nicaragua Investment and Conditionality Act of 2018" or "NICA Act" H.R. 1918: Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 Signed into law on December 20, 2018 Sponsor: Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Law Outline Sec. 2: Sense of Congress on Advancing a Negotiated Solution to Nicaragua's Crisis Congress wanted the Catholic Church of Nicaragua to negotiate for early elections on behalf of "civil society", the student movement, private sector, and the "political opposition" Congress did like that the Government of Nicaragua was refusing to negotiate Sec. 4: Restrictions on International Financial Institutions Relating to Nicaragua Forces the Treasury Secretary to instruct our representatives at the World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank to oppose "any loan or financial or technical assistance to the Government of Nicaragua for a project in Nicaragua." We can support loans "to address basic human needs" or "promote democracy in Nicaragua" Sec. 5 : Imposition of Targeted Sanctions with Respect to Nicaragua Authorizes sanctions against "any foreign person" who, on or after April 18, 2018... Used violence "or conduct" that "constitutes a serious abuse" against protestors Taken "actions or policies" that undermine "democratic processes or institutions" Any current or former government official that used "private or public assets for personal gain or political purposes" Any current or former government official involved in corruption related to government contracts Any current or former government official involved in bribery Any current or former government official that transferred the proceeds of corruption Arrested or prosecuted a person disseminating information to the public The sanctions include... Asset blocking of "all property and interests in property" if they are in the United States, come within the United States, or come within the possession or control of a "United States person." Exclusion from the United States and revocation of visas and other documents. Punishes anyone who "violates, attempts to violate, conspires to violate, or causes a violation" of sanctions with a civil penalty up to a $250,000 fine or up to twice the amount of sanctions violating transaction and/or a criminal penalty of up to $1 million or up to 20 years in prison. The asset blocking sanctions do not authorize the blocking of goods imports. Sec. 6: Annual Certification and Waiver Allows the President to waive the travel restrictions and sanctions. Sec. 10: Termination The sanctions authorized by this law expire on December 31, 2023. Audio Sources Kawsachun News - Nicaragua 2021 Election Observer Press Conference November 10, 2021 Moderator: I present Paul Pumphrey from Friends of the Congo. Paul Pumphrey: Here in Nicaragua, I saw a free and fair election. I talked to many people who were not a part of the Sandinistas party. And yet they themselves said they were willing to accept whatever result happened in the election. Moderator: Next we have Craig Pasta Jardula who is a journalist based in the United States. Craig Pasta Jardula: Mainly, I want to talk about the process, meaning the chain of custody, because that's something that we really saw that was great here in Nicaragua, it made this election a home run. The chain of custody is very strong here, including the fact that in Nicaragua, we have something that is awesome that a lot of countries need to adopt, which is where the vote is cast, it is counted, that ensures a strong chain of custody. Moderator: Next is Rick Cohn from Friends of Latin America. 14:57 Rick Cohn: I want to speak just a little bit though a group of 11 of us went to Bilwi on the Caribbean coast. And in the United States, one of the things they'll use to say this election is fake, is that a high percentage of people voted, and a high percentage of people voted for the FSLN. And that can't happen, because American politicians that would never happen. Well, so I want to say something about why the voters told us they were voting. They told us that basically, they had two Category Four and Category Five hurricanes last year, and the government came and saved their lives, saved many, many lives. And, you know, people have trust in that government. And then the government came in and made sure the electric was up. In Puerto Rico from a year earlier, electric still isn't isn't working, because they, you know, are making money selling electric, but it still doesn't work. They told us they had new roofs put on almost immediately they were delivered. They told us that the schools were rebuilt. All of the schools were in good condition. Oh, the schools and some of them have new buildings. So we had a situation where they were very happy with the performance of the government. And that is why -- oh, they also told us they had one kilometer of road before the FSLN came into power from the neoliberal period, now they have 500 kilometers. And with 70 more kilometers, they'll be able to drive from all the way to Managua, which they've never been able to do in history. So they told us these things. And the FSLN party received the highest percentage of votes, but that's not strange, because they really support the government. They received 86.7% of the vote. You know, there's no way that's made up - it's not fake. It's where they're at. It is certainly the biggest deficiency in democracy in Nicaragua is the interference that there is so much interference from the US government and the media, and the censorship and the lies that they tell. That's the interference that's occurring in this election. 33:52 Rick Cohn: Corporate media like Facebook, well, all of the corporate media including Facebook and Twitter, but social media, are actually just part of the US system and they're contracted to provide information back and forth, they're actually an aspect of the government and they close 1000s of people's accounts, who are people, and I met some of them, they're actual people, and they close their accounts. And they weren't, you know, anyone who was saying anything other than the fact that they may have been supporting the Nicaraguan people or opposed to the the sanctions on Nicaragua. AN INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO ORTEGA'S DESTRUCTION OF DEMOCRACY IN NICARAGUA September 21, 2021 House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration and International Economic Policy *Hearing not on C-SPAN Witnesses: Emily Mendrala Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Laure Chinchilla Former President of Costa Rica Co-Chair at The Inter-American Dialogue Ryan Berg, PhD Senior Fellow in the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Oct. 2018 - Apr. 2021: Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute Apr. 2018 - Oct. 2018: Research Consultant at The World Bank July 2014 - Oct 2014: US State Department negotiator at the Organization of American States (OAS) 2009: Intern for Paul Ryan Berta Valle Wife of Felix Maradiaga Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ): The regime has rounded up nearly every potential challenger to Ortega and has not even tried to hide these arrests and forced disappearances under the veneer of legality. 05:42 Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ): Having written the NICA Act with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), I am frustrated that the International Monetary Fund recently provided $350 million to the regime. The IMF should not take Ortega's us word for it that these funds will be used to address the COVID pandemic. 06:53 Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ): We should also begin preparing a number of severe diplomatic consequences, assuming Nicaragua's election in November becomes a coronation for Ortega. Nicaragua should be suspended under the International Democratic Charter on November 8, and its participation under the Central America Free Trade Agreement should be reconsidered. 10:39 Rep. Mark Green (R-TN): On November 7 a political farce will be held, claiming to resemble elections. No one should be fooled about the outcome -- any hope of unseating the socialist dictatorship is sitting inside of Ortega's prisons. 13:56 *Emily Mendrala: As you are well aware, the Ortega-Murillo government has carried out a ruthless crackdown over the past several months, canceling the registration of opposition parties, incarcerating journalists, opposition leaders, potential presidential candidates, students, private sector leaders and others who defend free and fair elections, attacking the free press, closing long standing NGOs that provide humanitarian and medical assistance to Nicaraguans in need. 15:06 Emily Mendrala: In the face of sham elections in Nicaragua, we and our international partners must continue to denounce and push back against the Ortega-Murillo government's anti-democratic rule as well as its use of Russian-inspired laws to carry out repression. 17:56 Emily Mendrala: Through USAID we continue to support Nicaraguan civil society, independent media and human rights defenders. Our continued support assures Nicaraguans that the outside world has not forgotten them. 19:06 Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ): Are we using our voice? Is the administration using its voice and vote with international financial institution to oppose loans and other financial assistance to Ortega? Because I have to tell you, it's very upsetting to me that we do all this work here. We asked the administration to put sanctions on different people. And yet the IMF, which we probably contribute the largest amount of money, or if not, one of the largest amounts of money, they seem to just ignore what's going on in Nicaragua. And it has to -- I intend to write a letter to the IMF. And hopefully we'll have them before this committee, because this is not acceptable. 20:22 Emily Mendrala: We are using our voice and our vote and every opportunity in front of multilateral institutions to oppose lending to the Ortega-Murillo government. We will continue to use our voice, vote and influence to advocate against lending from international financial institutions to the Ortega-Murillo government and we will also continue to collaborate with international partners where appropriate: EU, Canada and others to do the same. 30:43 Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX): The upcoming November 7 elections will be neither free nor fair 1:04:30 Berta Valle: Even though Félix [Maradiaga] has dedicated his life to serving our country, the regime has charged him and others with a conspiracy to undermine national integrity. The government is alleging that Félix and others were part of a global conspiracy to use foreign resources, including from the US Agency for International Development, the International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy to harm the interests of the nation. 1:16:33 Ryan Berg: As well as November 7, I think we need to declare Nicaragua's elections illegitimate under current conditions. 1:27:16 Ryan Berg: Thank you, Congressman Green, for the question. Yes, the two countries that I would point out as extra-hemispheric actors who have have come into the hemisphere to shore up the Ortega regime are Russia and Iran. Russia, we've seen with a significant presence in Nicaragua for a while. Its increased its presence in past years, to an extent that I think should be very alarming for the US government. Not only does it have a number of port agreements with Nicaragua, and access to the Caribbean, where it can engage in anti access and area denial capabilities, potentially. But also in cyberspace. We saw recently the Russians and Nicaraguans sign a major agreement in the cyberspace, particularly to help the regime not only increase its domestic security apparatus, but to spy potentially on the opposition on our own citizens, and indeed, potentially on on other governments in Central America, depending upon the strength of the equipment transfers that we'll see in future. So they have a whole number or whole range of capabilities that they are developing within Nicaragua, that there are signals intelligence stations that are actually quite close to the US Embassy in Managua. And so that's that's Russia, Russia has an interest in shoring up this regime on the cheap. And I think Iran has approached the regime in a number of ways, most specifically, in offering partnerships to circumvent US sanctions architecture, in which it excels, because of the sanctions architecture that it has been under for so long. And we haven't seen as deep I would say, as a presence of the Iranians in Nicaragua, but it's it's there and it's also concerning. I think, in general, Congressman, part of the Ortega regime's plan for survival is to sort of recreate a situation of rivalry and enmity in Central America again, and lend a platform for major geopolitical competitors to the United States to increase their capabilities on the US doorstep and I think that's a significant aspect of this political, economic and social crisis here. 1:35:50 Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ): If the Ortega regime moves ahead was stealing this November's elections the international community must come together to impose a very steep price. John Bolton: Miami Dade College’s National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower November 1, 2018 John Bolton: The "Troika of Tyranny" in this hemisphere -- Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua -- has finally met its match. John Bolton: Today in this hemisphere we are also confronted once again, with the destructive forces of oppression, socialism and totalitarianism. In Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, we see the perils of poisonous ideologies left unchecked. Nicaraguan President Speech at the United Nations General Assembly September 25, 2007 16:50 President Daniel Ortega: The General Assembly is simply a reflection of this world where a capitalist and imperialist minority is imposing global capitalism to impoverish the world continue to enslave us all and promote apartheid against Latin American immigrants and against African immigrants in Europe. This global capitalism is one beast and it has tentacles everywhere. 25:30 President Daniel Ortega: They have to understand once and for all, that just as they have managed to profit from privatizations that have given rise to these huge multi-nationals that then set up in developing countries, they say that they are helping us. No business person provides assistance, they simply go to earn as much money as they can, they don't go to invest. Developing countries are considered to be insecure countries, and we are simply being ransacked. If we compare the volume of riches that they're extracting from our countries -- the capitalists in developed countries I'm talking about -- through their major companies, the globalized multinationals. If we can compare that wealth with what the Latin American immigrants send back to their families from the U.S. or the Asian and African families in Europe send back to their families, it is a miserable amount compared to the volume of wealth that is extracted on a daily basis by these forms of institutionalized oppression. 28:30 President Daniel Ortega: These companies are simply using cheap labor. They are benefiting from clauses in free trade agreements. I've got us free trade, why not? Free trade for societies and nations. But clearly in that system, it's the law of the jungle the strongest will impose themselves on the rest. What well the world needs is fair trade. What the world demands is really a genuine change in the capitalist, globalized, imperialist economies, that is where we need to have a change. They have to change this concept that they have of a free market. They have to change the slant of these free trade agreements. Nicaraguan Presidential Address to Congress April 16, 1991 20:00 President Violetta Chamorro: My government is committed to radically reducing government intervention in the economy and the enormous bureaucratic apparatus that we have inherited. Our Congress approved a law that authorizes private banks to operate and encourages foreign investments and is studying the privatization law in order to convert government to businesses. We are rapidly advancing towards the establishment of a social market economy. Restrictions on prices and salaries must be lifted. Likewise, we have initiated a serious economic stabilization program accompanied by the corresponding tax reforms in order to discipline and improve and decrease public spending to encourage domestic production and to stimulate private domestic and foreign investment. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
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    Goodbye Thank You Episodes

    1:42:00

    This show wouldn't exist without its producers who have paid for Congressional Dish to keep it going and growing for 9 years and counting. In this last public bonus Thank You episode, hear about the changes coming to your podcast as it enters its 10th year. It's time to refocus and give you more of what you're paying for: Deep dives into what Congress is doing with your money and in your name. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources CD118: How to Get Your Name on the Ballot Producer-recommended Sources Kevin Carney. October 26, 2021. “Renewable energy: How can it replace fossil fuels?” An Interesting Blog. Andi Davis. October 22, 2021. “First-ever U.S. zero-carbon green hydrogen storage hub to be developed in MS.” Super Talk: Mississippi Media. Business Wire. October 19, 2021. “Hy Stor Energy Developing First-Ever U.S. Zero-Carbon Green Hydrogen Storage Hub.” Zoe Schiffer. October 18, 2021. “Netflix trans employees and allies release a list of demands ahead of the walkout.” The Verge. Cristan Williams. “Why I support #CancelNetflix. It’s not because Chapelle is offensive.” The Trans Advocate. The Energy Gang. October 14, 2021. “Where Green Hydrogen is Headed [Special Content]” Wood Mackenzie. J.K. Rowling. June 10, 2020. “J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues.” jkrowling.com Patrick Bedard. October 1, 2005. “The Case for Nuke Cars - it's Called 'Hydrogen.'” Car and Driver. BMW Group. November 5, 2000. “BMW Introduces World’s First Production-based Hydrogen Powered Car.” Donate to Jill Stein Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
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    CD242 The Offshore Drilling Police

    1:38:33

    On October 1, 2021 an oil pipeline that was likely struck by a cargo ship's anchor leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean and onto the beaches of Orange County, CA. In this episode, examine how the oil spill happened by listening to testimony provided to both the U.S. Congress and the California State Senate, and learn about the disturbing lack of policing that is taking place under the sea. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Articles and Documents Nicole Charky. April 7, 2021. “LA City Council Urges Newsom To Close Playa Del Rey Oil Storage.” Patch. Nicole Charky. March 23, 2021. “Is It Time To Shut Down The Playa Del Rey Oil Storage Facility?” Patch. U.S. Government Accountability Office. Offshore Oil and Gas: Updated Regulations Needed to Improve Pipeline Oversight and Decommissioning. GAO-21-293. Jen’s Highlighted PDF Heal the Bay. June 24, 2015 . “Confirmed: L.A. Tar Balls Linked to Santa Barbara Spill.” planetexperts.com Heal the Bay. August 20, 2012. “What Are Those Black Clumps on the Beach?” Sarah S. Elkind. June 1, 2012. “Oil in the City: The Fall and Rise of Oil Drilling in Los Angeles.” The Journal of American History, Volume 99, Issue 1. Tom Fowler. February 21, 2012. “U.S., Mexico Sign Deal on Oil Drilling in Gulf.“ The Wall Street Journal. APPEL News Staff. May 10, 2011. “Academy Case Study: The Deepwater Horizon Accident Lessons for NASA.” APPEL News, Volume 4, Issue 1. Offshore Technology. “Projects: Macondo Prospect, Gulf of Mexico.” Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. November 23, 1970. Treaty to Resolve Pending Boundary Differences and Maintain the Rio Grande and Colorado River as the International Boundary. Open Secrets Profiles Rep. Yvette Herrell - New Mexico District 02 Rep. Paul Gosar - Arizona District 04 Rep. Bruce Westerman - Arkansas District 04 Rep. Katie Porter - California District 45 Rep. Pete Stauber - Minnesota District 08 Images Playa del Ray in the 1920s 2021 Huntington Bay Oil Spill Image 1. CA State Senate: Natural Resources and Water Committee Informational Hearing Southern California Oil Spill: Preparation response, ongoing risks, and potential solutions. 2021Huntington Bay Oil Spill Image 2 CA State Senate: Natural Resources and Water Committee Informational Hearing Southern California Oil Spill: Preparation response, ongoing risks, and potential solutions. Mileage of Decommissioned Pipelines Removed Relative to Those Left in Place. GAO Analysis of Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Data, GAO-21-293. Potential Effects of Currents on Pipeline Leak Identification. GAO-21-293. Hearings Southern California Oil Spill: Preparation response, ongoing risks, and potential solutions California State Senate: Natural Resources and Water Committee Thursday, October 28, 2021 Witnesses: Chuck Bonham Head of California Department of Fishing and Wildlife Tom Cullen Administrator of OSPR (Offshore Spill Prevention and Response) Kim Carr Mayor Pro Tem, City of Huntington Beach Brian Nowicki California Climate Policy Director at the Center for Biological Diversity Pete Stauffer Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation Jennifer Lucchesi State Lands Commission Clips 3:44 Senator Henry Stern: But the pipeline that runs to Amplify and Beta Offshore’s platform is the source of the oil production that runs through the pipeline in question. That pipeline is in federal jurisdiction but it brings that produced oil onshore into the state waters and eventually on state lands. 21:05 Chuck Bonham: What we now know is about four and a half miles offshore, so in federal waters, there's a pipeline that runs from one platform, which is a collection of three platforms operated by a company called Beta Offshore, owned by a company called Amplify Energy. That last platform, Ellie, has a pipeline which delivers the product 17.7 miles inland, where the pipe comes on shore just below the Queen Mary more or less, to land based infrastructure. That pipe had a rupture in it. And we now know based on visual and diver and other evidentiary efforts, that about 4000 feet of that pipeline was moved about 105 feet off of center. And in that stretch is about a 13 inch horizontal, almost like a hairline fracture. If you could imagine a bone break in a pipe, which is, I think, about 13 inches in diameter, concrete on the outside and metal on the inside. That's the likely source of the leak. 22:25 Chuck Bonham: From the very beginning moments, all of us involved assumed a worse case. At that moment in time we had a planning number of a spill of about 3,134 Barrels which is 131,000 gallons rounding as a maximum worst case. 30:59 Chuck Bonham: A month later we now think the likely spill number is 24,696 gallons 41:13 Chuck Bonham: Fortunately given the size of the spill, there were not as many wildlife casualties as could have occurred during a higher migration cycle. 1:25:47 Mayor Kim Carr: So starting off on Saturday, October 2, it's been brought up that yes, we did have a very large air show happening that day. About 1.5 million people were on the beach that day to see the Pacific Air Show. And around nine o'clock that morning, there were city personnel that heard an announcement on VHF channel 16 by the Coast Guard of a possible oil spill in the area, but nothing very specific. At that time, no major details, it wasn't anything to really worry about. By 10:30 in the morning, the Coast Guard had advised us that the spill was larger than originally thought. However, we didn't have a whole lot of information as to where the location of the spill was nor of the scope of the situation. By 11 o'clock that same day, the Coast Guard had announced that it was now going to be a major spill, and that the incident management team was being activated. 1:28:00 Mayor Kim Carr: At two o'clock, the Coast Guard had advised us that the oil spill would not be reaching the shores of Huntington Beach until Monday, October 4. And again, we didn't have a whole lot of information as to where the spill was. We knew it was off our coast, but we didn't know exactly where or exactly how large the spill was. But then interestingly enough, just a half hour later, we started to receive messages that there were boats that were experiencing oil damage just outside of the air show flight box. And so that became a concern for our city. So then we activated our fire crews, our hazmat team, or the oil spill response trailer and started to do the mitigation efforts. Then this is where it gets to be very, very interesting. At 2:45 the city was notified by the Newport Beach rescue vessel that there were private contractors conducting oil spill cleanups outside of the air show flight box. 1:32:42 Mayor Kim Carr: What we could have done better, what would have been an opportunity was perhaps if the Coast Guard had some sort of awareness, the night before or when that nine o'clock notification came through, we could have been even more proactive because as I said before, every hour during these crises matters. 1:34:00 Mayor Kim Carr: The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve was spared. The Talbert Marsh does have oil damage and again looking back, if we could have had maybe a few more hours notice, we probably could have mitigated that damage even more than what we did. 1:43:17 Brian Nowicki: Like all of you, we at the Center for Biological Diversity are heartbroken by every oil and seabird and are alarmed at the miles of marshes and coastline that will be poisoned for years by this bill. We're angry that yet again, the oil industry has proven its inability to contain its toxic pollution. The structure of pipeline funding to beach proves yet again, that every piece of fossil fuel infrastructure is yet another disaster waiting to happen. And there is a lot of that infrastructure in California. It's increasingly old, outdated in disrepair and poorly located, like the 40 year old pipeline that gave us this most recent spill, all of which makes it increasingly dangerous. Looking beyond the nine oil platforms and islands in state water, there are 23 platforms in federal waters off California. But the fact that those 23 platforms are a little farther from shore should not give us much comfort. First, because oil spills from those operations still end up in our water, our beaches and our wildlife. But also as we've heard today, further from shore also means longer stretches of aging and dangerously vulnerable infrastructure, like the 17 mile long pipeline we're discussing today are clean, reliable federal regulations to protect us from oil spills in federal waters. Federal regulators continue to prove that they are perfectly willing to allow those platforms to continue operating to the last drop of oil despite the mounting dangers of decaying infrastructure well beyond its intended lifespan, outdated drilling plans, numerous violations and insufficient bonds to pay for decommissioning. 1:45:15 Brian Nowicki: But I want to be clear that this is not a problem unique to offshore platforms. At the exact same time that 10s of thousands of gallons of oil were rolling up onto beaches and marshes in Orange County, there was an oil spill in Kern County that is now approaching 5 million gallons of fluid, a mixture of crude oil, toxic wastewater, that includes 600,000 gallons of crude. In fact, in just the last few years, there have been many oil spills in California greater than the spill off Huntington Beach. In the Cymric field alone there were three huge spills in 2019 at 550,000 gallons, 836,000 and 1.2 million gallons respectively. 159,000 in Midway in 2019, 250,000 at McKittrick in 2020. There is another ongoing spill at a separator plant in Cymric that has been leaking since 2003 and has reportedly released as much as 84 million gallons of fluid to date. Now these numbers reflect total combined volumes of crude and produced water and mud, which constitute a toxic mix. As state agencies have testified before this legislature in the past, these dangerous onshore oil operations have contaminated groundwater, land, and wildlife. 1:46:32 Brian Nowicki: After more than 150 years of the oil industry drilling at will in California, the oil is gone and the bottom of the barrel that's left is harder and more dangerous to extract. There's also some of the most carbon polluting crude in the world. With the easy stuff taken, the oil industry is in decline in California, with production down 68% since 1985. The only question is how much more damage will this dying industry do on its way out? 1:49:10 Pete Stauffer: Now with the oil deposit seen as far south as the Mexico border, there are concerns that San Diego wetlands are also being impacted. Moreover, while birds, fish and marine mammals have been the most visibly impacted, the full scale of the ecological damage will take some time to become clear. In the week since the spill event, the oil slick has transformed into an incalculable number of tar balls in the ocean, while tar balls typically float, they can also find their way into underwater sediment or near shore habitats where their impacts on ecological health and wildlife may persist for years or even decades. 1:52:51 Pete Stauffer: According to the federal government there have been at least 44 oil spills since 1969 that have each released more than 10,000 barrels of oil into US waters 2:02:36 Mayor Kim Carr: Just to give you an idea of how much TOT we do receive in Huntington Beach, we receive about $16 million a year. We don't receive anything from those offshore platforms, nothing. And as far as the drilling that we currently have here in Huntington Beach, it's less than $700,000 a year. 2:05:54 Brian Nowicki: What I can't say though, for sure is that it's going to take longer than one season to see what the full impacts are to the local wildlife. And of course, it is wetlands and marshes that often are the most difficult and take the longest to recover from the sorts of impacts. 2:21:11 Jennifer Lucchesi: In 1921, the legislature created the first tidelands oil and gas leasing program. The existing offshore leases the commission is responsible for managing today were issued over a 30 year period between 1938 and 1968. Importantly, I want to highlight a specific act in 1995. The Cunningham shell Act, which serves as a foundational law for the existing legacy oil and gas leases the commission currently manages. Importantly, this Act required the commission to issue oil and gas leases for term not based on years, but for so long as oil and gas is produced in paying quantities. Essentially, this means that Alessi can produce oil and gas pursuant to their state lease indefinitely as long as it is economic for them to do so. 2:58:13 Jennifer Lucchesi: For pipelines that are solely within state waters and under lease with the State Lands Commission, we require the pipelines to be externally and internally inspected annually. And we have engineers on staff that review those inspections and consult with the fire marshal as well with our federal partners on any type of remedial action that needs to happen based on the results of those inspections. For those pipelines that cross both federal and state waters our authority is more limited because the federal government's regulatory authority takes precedence. And PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) is the primary federal agency that regulates those interstate pipelines. They require inspections externally and internally every two years. And that's what this pipeline at issue was subjected to, the platform Elly pipeline. 03:01:20 Senator Dave Min: Let's say you have a pipe and the lease term ends. What powers do you have? What are the considerations you have to follow either statutory or contractually to renew those permits, issue a new permit? Or alternatively, do you have any leeway contractually, statutorily to end those permits prematurely and say, you know, we don't think that, you know, the upkeep is appropriate, you're violating certain provisions, we're just gonna take away your permit prematurely. Do you have any leeway like that? So I'm just trying to get a sense of your flexibility, both in issuing new right of way permits, but also yanking away existing permits. Jennifer Lucchesi: Certainly. So I can give an example of our lease compliance and enforcement actions most recently, with a pipeline that served platforms Hogan and Houchin in the Santa Barbara Channel. Those are two federal platforms in federal waters, that pipeline that served those platforms did cross into state waters and connected on shore. That pipeline lessee of ours was not compliant with our lease terms and the commission took action to terminate those leases based on non compliance and default in breach of the lease terms. And essentially, that did terminate production on those two federal platforms. And they are part of the eight federal platforms that BOEM just announced they were going to be looking at as part of a programmatic EIS for decommissioning. The Commission does not have the authority to unilaterally terminate an existing valid lease absent any evidence of a breach or non compliance SOUTHERN CA OIL LEAK: INVESTIGATING THE IMMEDIATE EFFECTS ON COMMUNITIES, BUSINESSES, AND ENVIRONMENT House Committee On Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee October 18, 2021 Witnesses: Dr. Michael H. Ziccardi Director, Oiled Wildlife Care Network Executive Director, One Health Institute, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis Scott Breneman Commercial Fishing, Retail Market, and Restaurant Owner Newport Beach, CA Vipe Desai Founding Member, Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast Dr. David L. Valentine Norris Presidential Chair, Earth Science Professor of Marine Science, UC Santa Barbara Clips 15:44 Rep. Katie Porter: As of October 10, workers had recovered 250,000 pounds of oily debris and 14 barrels full of tar balls from the Orange County shorelines. That is a small fraction, though, of the oil that was released, most of which is being distributed in the ocean, making its way into the food chain or falling to the ocean floor. Some of that oil is now heading south. And we will not learn the long term consequences on the environment for many years to come. 17:39 Rep. Katie Porter: The witnesses here with us today will reveal a different kind of subsidy for oil and gas companies, an involuntary subsidy that occurs when the community bears the costs of oil drilling’s pollution. When a locally owned business like Mr Brennaman that has been in the family for four generations loses tens of thousands of dollars because of the leak. That's his subsidies to oil and gas. When a hotel loses its bookings overnight. That's its subsidy for oil and gas. When the fragile decades-long effort to recover a species under the Endangered Species Act is finally showing progress, but an oil spill puts it all at risk. That's a cost of oil and gas to these subsidies and so many others are the reasons that oil wells like the ones behind this leak are still active. Getting rid of the subsidies is the first step to get rid of the problem. 27:52 Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA): We know that the spill was not reported by the responsible oil company until the next day, despite the company's knowledge. We also know that Orange County residents recognize that there was a problem in part due to the smell caused by this bill and actually reported it before the oil company did so, clearly something wrong with that. 28:35 Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA): In my congressional district, which is just the south of here, the spill shutdown businesses and beaches in Dana Point in San Clemente. Tarballs that are likely caused by the spill have also been found as far south in my district as Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Del Mar in San Diego County. 29:03 Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA): It'll come as no surprise that more than $2 billion in wages and $4 billion in gross domestic product are generated by Orange County's ocean and marine economy, including tourism. So we have a lot to lose every time there's a spill, not just to our beaches but to our economy. 39:30 Dr. Michael H. Ziccardi: In Birds, the primary issue we are concerned mostly about are the acute effects due to hypothermia. If you think of feathers almost as a dry suit in animals, if oil gets on that dry suit, it creates a hole that allows cold water to seep next to the skin. Birds can get very cold in the environment and start to waste away, they have to come ashore to stay warm, but they can no longer eat. So these birds actually can waste away in a matter of days unless proactive capture occurs. There can also be chronic effects in animals as well due to printing of oil off of the feathers or ingestion in their food items. Those chronic effects can include, in essence, effects on every organ system in an animal's body from reproductive effects liver, kidney, respiratory tracts, depending on the dose and the exposure and the toxin itself. 42:50 Scott Breneman: We were fishing on Friday, October 1, and we were coming in the harbor and I detected a distinct odor of oil and it was about midnight we're heading in. Kind of search around the boat. I thought maybe it was a spill on the boat or a hose broke. I went in the engine room, searched all the hatches where I keep all my extra fluids and everything, didn't find anything. Come the next day the press released that there was an actual oil spill, and my fish sales and my fish market, once that was released, they dropped drastically down, 90% this past few weeks since it was released. I've seen the same effect -- my family's been fishing for four generations and in the 90s my dad went through the oil spill that was off Seal Beach, in our fish market, the same exact response from the public scared, worried the products contaminated. A huge ripple effect all the way up to the wholesalers I deal with outside of Orange County there. They had concerns from their customers, their restaurants. And to rebuild that business when it happened in the 90s, I watched my dad struggle for months to get back to back to where it was and it's...I’m seeing the same exact thing happen here. A couple of days after the oil spill they had closed Newport Harbor. And so my boat was actually trapped inside of the harbor so I wasn't even able to go service my accounts. And it's just been, to tell you the truth, a very difficult couple of weeks and I'm not sure how long this is going to last. I'm not sure how the public's going to respond to it long term if there's still going to have some fear that the fish is contaminated. 46:20 Vipe Desai: In fact between 2007 and 2018 there were over 7000 oil spills in federal waters, an average of about two every day. 46:50 Vipe Desai: The first impact came from the much anticipated Pacific Air Show. As oil began to wash ashore, beaches were deemed unsafe for activity. On Saturday October 2nd, 1.5 million visitors saw the show from Huntington Beach, but the show's triumphant conclusion on Sunday was cancelled with little fanfare. Cancellations hit hotels and resorts almost immediately and their surrounding retail and restaurants suffered. Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish tacos, informed me that the Saturday before the oil spill felt like a busy summer day. But the following day, once word got out about the spill, it was a ghost town. In addition, as the spill moved south, their locations in Laguna Beach and San Clemente started to feel the impacts. Bobby Abdel, owner of Jack's Surfboards, had a similarly bleak weekend. He told me that once the oil spill was announced customer traffic plummeted. Their stores are facing a stockpile of unsold inventory from the US Open of Surfing and the Pacific Air Show. All nine of Jack's Surfboards locations were impacted in some form or another because of the spill. Later in the week, I received a call from a colleague, Wendy Marshall, a full time hard working mother of two who shared with me that her upcoming Airbnb reservations, a form of income to help her offset college tuition costs for her children, had mostly been cancelled. From Dana Point though dolphin and whale capital of the world and the first whale Heritage Site in the Americas. Giselle Anderson from local business Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari shared losses from trips and bookings into November could be down as much as 74% because of the oil spill. 52:15 Dr. David L. Valentine: I want to invoke my privilege as a university professor to start with a little bit of a history lesson. Many people think that the largest spill in US history occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. This is not correct. The largest spill in US history occurred in California. It was not the October 2021 spill that we're here to talk about today. Nor was it the 2015 refugio beach pipeline rupture on the gaviota coast. It was not the 2007 Cosco, Busan spill and San Francisco Bay. And it was not the 1997 platform Irene pipeline rupture of Annenberg Air Force Base. It was not the 1990 American traders spill off the coast of Huntington Beach. It was not the 1969 platform, an oil spill off of Santa Barbara, the one that helped spawn the environmental movement. Nor was it the sinking of the SS Montebello, an oil freighter that was hit by a Japanese torpedo off the coast of Cambria and World War Two. It was called the Lakeview Gusher. It occurred in Kern County, and it's estimated to have released around 380 million gallons of oil over an 18 month period starting in 1910. And I tell you this bit of California history because it punctuates five important points. First, oil production carries inherent risk. Second, California has suffered more than its fair share of spills. Third, the size of a spill is only one factor in determining its impact. Fourth, responsiveness and context matter. And fifth, every spill is different and that includes the impacts. 54:24 Dr. David L. Valentine: For the current spill, I have honed in on three key modes of exposure that concern me most: floating oil slicks that can impact organisms living at or near the sea surface, coastline areas such as wetlands where oil can accumulate and persist, and the sea floor, where oil can easily hide from view but may still pose longer term risks. Among these three, the fate of impacts of submerged oil is especially relevant to California, is the least well understood, and requires additional research effort. 59:40 Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA): So recently I asked the Department of Interior about the specific kinds of subsidies that Beta Operating received. Beta is a subsidiary of Amplify Energy, and that's the company that owns the platforms and the pipelines that leaked off our coast. It turns out that they got nearly $20 million from the federal government, specifically because the oil wells are at the end of their lives and are not producing much oil, which makes them less profitable. So taxpayers are being asked to pay to encourage oil production in the Pacific Ocean by giving oil companies millions of dollars to do it. 1:00:39 Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA): Beta operating is in line to get another $11 million to drill for new wells off the coast because that $11 million is needed, in their words, “to make production economic.” So taxpayers are being asked to pay Beta to drill new wells. That means wells that would otherwise not be drilled without our taxpayer subsidy. 01:02:52 Dr. Michael H. Ziccardi: What we have found, during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is that dolphins can be significantly impacted by oil, primarily through inhalation of the fumes at the surface and ingestion of the oil substances themselves. What we found is that it affects their immune system, it affects their reproductive tract, and it affects their gastrointestinal tract, so very significant changes. And that's information that is just now starting to come out in the publications from the Deepwater Horizon incident. 1:06:51 Vipe Desai: Had this oil spill moved north, it would have impacted two of the busiest ports in the nation, which account for billions of dollars of goods flowing in and out of both ports of LA and Long Beach. And that would have had an even larger impact to other communities across the US. 1:08:21 Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA): The annual oil production off the coast of California is about 1/3 of what our nation produces in a single day. So it really is a drop in the bucket when you consider the overwhelming potential for economic damage for environmental damage, the risks simply aren't worth it. 1:09:34 Vipe Desai: California's ocean economy generates $54.3 billion in revenue and supports 654,000 jobs. 1:25:15 Dr. David L. Valentine: In Orange County, the areas that I would look at most closely as being especially vulnerable on the environmental side would be the wetland environments. Places like Talbert Marsh where oil can surge in with the tide. And it can get trapped in those environments and it can get stuck and it won't come back out when the tide recedes. Those are especially vulnerable because they're these rich, diverse ecosystems. They provide a whole host of different services, whether it's flyways, or fisheries, or in keeping the nutrient levels moderated in coastal waters. And that oil can stick there and it can have a long term impact. And furthermore, cleanup in those cases can be very difficult because getting into a marsh and trying to clean it up manually can cause as much damage as oil can cause. 1:26:24 Dr. David L. Valentine: And then the other environment that I worry a lot about is the environment we can't see, that is what's going on under the surface of the ocean. And in that case, we can have oil that comes ashore and then gets pulled back offshore but is now denser because it's accumulated sand and other mineral matter. And that can be sticking around in the coastal ocean. We don't really understand how much of that there is or exactly where it goes. And that concerns me. 1:29:18 Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA): But Dr. Valentine, how concerned Do you think California should be that companies that own the offshore platforms, wells and pipelines might go bankrupt and pass decommissioning costs on to taxpayers? Dr. David L. Valentine: I think that we need to be very concerned. And this is not just a hypothetical, this is already happening. There are two instances that I can tell you about that I've been involved with personally. The first stems from the pipeline 901 rupture, also known as the Refugio, a big oil spill that happened in 2015. When that pipeline ruptured, it prevented oil from being further produced from platform Holley, off the coast of Santa Barbara just a few miles from my home. That platform when it was completely shut in, all 30 wells, was unable to produce any oil and the company, a small operator, went bankrupt. And then shortly thereafter, they went bankrupt again. And this time, they just gave up and they did something called quit claiming their lease back to the state of California. Meaning that the plugin abandonment and property commissioning fell into the lap of the State of California in that case, and that is an ongoing, ongoing saga. The second example I would give you is in Summerland. In 1896, the first offshore oil wells in this country were drilled from piers in Summerland. Those have been leaking over the years. And as recently as last year, there were three leaky oil wells coming up in Summerland. The state of California has found money to try alternative plug in abandonment strategies because anything traditional is not going to work on something that is 125 some odd years old. So that would be the second example where this is now falling into the taxpayers lap yet again. IMPACTS OF ABANDONED OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE NEED FOR STRONGER FEDERAL OVERSIGHT House Committee on Natural Resources: Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. October 14, 2021 Witnesses: Dr. Donald Boesch Professor and President Emeritus, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Dr. Greg Stunz Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health, and Professor of Marine Biology Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Texas A&M University Robert Schuwerk Executive Director, North America Office Carbon Tracker Initiative Ms. Jacqueline Savitz Chief Policy Officer, Oceana Clips 10:34 Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN): I can certainly provide a summary of things that will help keep energy prices down: issue onshore and offshore lease sales; reinstate the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline; renew our commitment to exporting American energy, instead of importing foreign energy; reform a broken permitting process; and stop burdening domestic producers. 16:08 Dr. Donald Boesch: Oil and gas production from wells in less than 1000 feet of water declined as fuels discovered in the 80s and even earlier were depleted. Crude oil production in these relatively shallow waters declined by over 90% both in the Gulf and and in Southern California. Natural gas production in the OCS, which mainly came from the shallow water wells, declined by 80%. Offshore fossil energy production is now dominated in the deep water off the Gulf of Mexico, up to 7500 feet deep. Deepwater production grew by 38% just over the last 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster. 17:05 Dr. Donald Boesch: Since the lifting of the crude oil export ban in 2016, last year there was 78% more crude oil exported from Gulf terminals, exported overseas, than actually produced in the US OCS and three times as much natural gas exported, than produced offshore. 18:06 Dr. Donald Boesch: So, the depletion of shallow water gas has left this legacy of old wells and declining resources and the infrastructure requires decommissioning and removal. Much of this infrastructure is not operated by the original leaseholders, but by smaller companies with lesser assets and technical and operational capacity. 18:40 Dr. Donald Boesch: Off Southern California there are 23 platforms in federal waters, eight of which are soon facing decommissioning. In the Gulf, on the other hand, there are 18,162 platforms and about 1000 of them will probably be decommissioned within this decade. 19:46 Dr. Donald Boesch: According to the GAO, as you pointed out, there are 600 miles of active pipelines in federal waters of the Gulf, and 18,000 miles of abandoned plant pipelines. The GAO found the Department of the Interior lacks a robust process for addressing the environmental and safety risk and ensuring clean up and burial standards are met. And also monitoring the long term fate of these, these pipelines. 20:54 Dr. Donald Boesch: At recent rates of production of oil and gas, the Gulf’s crude oil oil reserves will be exhausted in only six or seven years. That is the proven reserves. Even with the undiscovered and economically recoverable oil that BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) estimates in the central and western Gulf, we would run out of oil about mid century. So unless some miracle allows us to capture all of the greenhouse gases that would be released, we really can't do that and achieve net zero emissions, whether it be by resource depletion, governmental or corporate policy, or investor and stockholder decisions. Offshore oil and gas production is likely to see it see a steep decline. So the greenhouse gas emissions pathway that we follow and how we deal with the legacy and remaining infrastructure will both play out over the next decade or two. 25:16 Dr. Greg Stuntz: In fact, these decades old structures hold tremendous amounts of fish biomass and our major economic drivers. A central question is, how do these structures perform in relation to mother nature or natural habitat and I'm pleased to report that in every parameter we use to measure that success. These artificial reefs produce at least as well are often better than the natural habitat. We observe higher densities of fish, faster growth and even similar output. Thus, by all measures, these data show artificial reefs are functioning at least equivalent on a per capita basis to enhance our marine resources. 28:54 Rob Schuwerk: When a company installs a platform and drills well, it creates an ARO, an obligation to reclaim that infrastructure when production ends. This costs money. But companies aren't required to get financial assurance for the full estimated costs today. Money to plug in active wells today comes from cash flows from oil and gas production. But what happens when that stops? The International Energy Agency sees peak oil and gas demand as early as 2025. This will make it harder to pay for decommissioning from future cash flows. Decommissioning is costly. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) data indicate that offshore AROs could range from $35 to over $50 billion while financial assurance requirements are about $3.47 billion. That is less than 10% of expected liability. The GAO believes these figures may actually underestimate the true costs of retiring the remaining deepwater infrastructure. 30:05 Rob Schuwerk: Only about a third of the unplug wells in the Gulf of Mexico have shown any production in the last 12 months. Why haven't the other two thirds already been retired? Because of uncertainty as to when to close and poor incentives. Infrastructure should be decommissioned when it's no longer useful. But the regulator has difficulty making that determination. This uncertainty explains why BSEE waits five years after a well becomes inactive to deem it no longer useful for operations with years more allowed for decommissioning. These delays increase the risk that operators will become unable to pay or simply disappear. We've seen this already with a variety of companies including Amplify Energy's predecessor Beta Dinoco off California and Fieldwood recently with Mexico. 30:55 Rob Schuwerk: There's also a problem of misaligned economic incentives. As it is virtually costless to keep wells unplugged, companies have no incentive to timely plug them. AROs are like an unsecured, interest free balloon loan from the government with no date of maturity. There's little incentive to save for repayment because operators bear no carrying cost and no risk in the case of default. If the ARO loan carried interest payments commensurate with the underlying non performance risk, producers would be incentivized to decommission non economic assets. The solution is simple, require financial assurance equivalent to the full cost of carrying out all decommissioning obligations. This could take the form of a surety bond, a sinking fund or some other form of restricted cash equivalent. If wells are still economic to operate, considering the carrying cost of financial assurance, the operator will continue production, if not they’ll plug. In either case, the public is protected from these costs. 32:11 Rob Schuwerk: A key risk here is operator bankruptcy that causes liabilities to be passed on to others. And we could see this in the recent Fieldwood bankruptcy. Fieldwood was formed in 2012 and in 2013 acquired shallow water properties from Apache Corporation. It went through chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, and then undeterred, acquired additional deepwater platforms from Noble Energy. Fieldwood returned to bankruptcy in 2020. It characterized the decommissioning costs it shared with Apache as among the company's most significant liabilities. The bankruptcy plan created new companies to receive and decommission certain idle offshore assets. If they failed, prior operators and lessors would have to pay. Several large oil and gas companies objected to this proposal. They were concerned that if Fieldwood couldn't pay they would. Ultimately the plan was proved. The case illustrates a few key dynamics. First, if bankrupt companies cannot pay, others, including taxpayers, will. How much of the possibly $50 billion in offshore decommissioning liability is held by companies that are only a dragged anchor, a hurricane a leaking pipeline or oil price shock away from default? And second, as detailed in my written testimony, private companies who face liability risks understand them better than the government does. When they transfer wells, they demand financial protections that are in fact greater than what the government requires today. 36:02 Jacqueline Savitz: Supplemental bonds are necessary to protect taxpayers from the risk of spills but BOEM is overusing the waiver provisions that allow a financial strength test to waive requirements for supplemental bonds. BOEM regulations require that lessees furnish a relatively small general bond and while BOEM has discretion to acquire supplemental bonds, it generally waives those. General bonds that lessees are required to furnish don't come close to covering the cost of decommissioning and haven't been updated since 1993. Since that year, the cost of decommissioning has gone up in part because development has moved into deeper waters, only about 10% of offshore oil production in the Gulf was in deepwater in 1993. But by 2014, that figure rose to 80%. Regulations need to be updated to ensure the federal government and taxpayers are not left picking up the tab on decommissioning. According to GAO, only 8% of decommissioning liabilities in the Gulf of Mexico were covered by bonds or other financial assurance mechanisms, with the other 92% waived or simply unaccounted for. 38:06 Jacqueline Savitz: BSEE does not conduct oversight over decommissioning activities underway and it does not inspect decommissioned pipelines so the Bureau can’t ensure that the industry has complied with required environmental mitigation. 38:17 Jacqueline Savitz: Leak detection technologies that the oil and gas industry touts as safer have not been proven to prevent major leaks. All pipelines in the Pacific region are reportedly equipped with advanced leak detection equipment. Though two weeks ago we saw exactly what can happen even with the so-called “Best Technology.” 42:00 Dr. Donald Boesch: In Hurricane Ida, all of a sudden appeared an oil slick, and it lasted for several days. And apparently it was traced to an abandoned pipeline that had not been fully cleared of all the residual oil in it so that all that oil leaked out during that incident. 47:59 Dr. Donald Boesch: One of the challenges though, is that this older infrastructure is not operating in the same standards and with the same capacity of those of the major oil companies that have to do that. So for example, when I noted that they detected this methane being leaked, they didn't detect it from the new offshore deepwater platforms which have all the right technology. It's in the older infrastructure that they're seeing. 54:14 Rob Schuwerk: There's actually one thing that exists offshore, joint and several liability, that only exists in certain jurisdictions onshore. So in some ways the situation onshore is worse. Because in some states like California you can go after prior operators if the current operator cannot pay, but in many jurisdictions you cannot. And our research has found that there is about $280 billion in onshore liability, and somewhere around 1% of that is covered by financial assurance bonds so, there is definitely an issue onshore rather than offshore. 55:04 Rob Schuwerk: The issue is just really giving them a financial incentive to be able to decommission. And that means they have to confront the cost of decommissioning and internalize that into their decision on whether continuing to produce from a well is economic or not. And so that means they need to have some kind of financial insurance in place that represents the actual cost. That could be a surety bond where they go to an insurer that acts as a guarantor for that amount. It could be a sinking fund, like we have in the context of nuclear where they go start putting money aside at the beginning, and it grows over time to be sufficient to plug the well at the end of its useful life. And there could be other forms of restricted cash that they maintain on the balance sheet for the benefit of these liabilities. 1:15:38 Jacqueline Savitz: Remember, there is no shortage of offshore oil and gas opportunity for the oil industry. The oil industry is sitting on so many, nearly 8.5 million acres of unused or non producing leases, 75% of the total lease acreage in public waters. They’re sitting on it and not using it. So even if we ended all new leasing, it would not end offshore production. 1:22:35 Rob Schuwerk: Typically what we'll see as well to do companies will transfer these assets into other entities that have less financial means and wherewithal to actually conduct the cleanup. Rep. Katie Porter: So they're moving once they've taken the money, they've made the profit, then they're giving away they're basically transferring away the unprofitable, difficult, expensive part of this, which is the decommissioning portion. And they're transferring that. Are they transferring that to big healthy companies? Rob Schuwerk: No, often they're transferring it to companies that didn't exist even just prior to the transfer. Rep. Katie Porter: You mean a shell company? Rob Schuwerk: Yes. Rep. Katie Porter: Like an entity created just for the purpose of pushing off the cost of doing business so that you don't have to pay it even though you've got all the upside. Are you saying that this is what oil and gas companies do? Rob Schuwerk: We've seen this, yes. Rep. Katie Porter: And how does the law facilitate this? Rob Schuwerk: Well, I suppose on a couple of levels. On the one hand, there's very little oversight of the transfer. And so there's very little restriction from a regulatory standpoint, this is true, offshore and also onshore. So we see this behavior in both places. And then secondary to that there are actions that companies can take in bankruptcy that can effectively pass these liabilities on to taxpayers eventually and so some of it is to be able to use that event, the new company goes bankrupt. 1:25:01 Rob Schuwerk: Certainly no private actor would do what the federal government does, which is not have a security for these risks. MISUSE OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS AND CORPORATE WELFARE IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY House Committee on Natural Resources: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations May 19, 2021 Witnesses: Laura Zachary Co-Director, Apogee Economics & Policy Tim Stretton Policy Analyst, Project on Government Oversight (POGO) Clips 27:10 Laura Zachary: There have long been calls for fiscal reforms to the federal oil and gas program. Compared to how states managed oil and gas leasing, the federal government forgoes at least a third of the revenue that could have been captured for taxpayers 27:25 Laura Zachary: On January 27 of this year, the Biden administration signed Executive Order 14008 that pauses issuing new federal oil and gas leases. And importantly, the language implies a temporary pause, only on issuing new leases, not on issuing drilling permits. This is a critical distinction for what the impacts of a pause could be. Very importantly, federal permitting data confirms that to date, there has been no pause on issuing drilling permits for both onshore and offshore. And in fact, since the pause began, Department of Interior has approved drilling permits at rates in line with past administrations. 37:08 Tim Stretton: Because taxpayers own resources such as oil and gas that are extracted from public lands, the government is legally required to collect royalties for the resources produced from leases on these lands. Project on Government Oversight’s investigations into the federal government's oversight of the oil, gas and mining industries have uncovered widespread corruption that allows industry to cheat U.S. taxpayers out of billions of dollars worth of potential income. Given the amount of money at stake and the oil and gas industry's history of deliberately concealing the value of the resources they've extracted with the intent of underpaying royalties, the government should be particularly vigilant in ensuring companies pay their fair share for the resources they extract. 46:28 Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR): We are here today for the majority's attempt, which I believe is more of a publicity stunt to criticize the oil and gas industry than to talk about real facts and data. The playbook is a simple one: recycled talking points to vilify the industry and to paint a distorted picture of so-called good versus evil. I'm sure that we'll hear more about corporate subsidies that aren't. We'll hear about unfair royalty rates that aren't and we'll hear many other meme worthy talking points that fail the logic test. 47:35_ Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR): What we're -really talking about today is an industry that provides reliable and affordable energy to our nation. This isan industry that contributes to almost 10 million jobs and plays a vital role in our daily lives. In fact, we cannot conduct virtual hearings like this without the fossil fuel industry. And of course, when myself and my colleagues travel to Washington, DC, we rely on this industry to fly or to drive here. 49:33 Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR): But they ignore the real world consequences of demonizing this industry. The results are devastating job loss and the loss of public education funding to name just a few. 54:05 Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN): I also had a roundtable discussion and learned how New Mexico schools received nearly $1.4 billion in funding from oil and gas just last year. 55:08 Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA): Mr. Stretton, how long has your organization been conducting oversight of oil and gas production on federal lands? Tim Stretton: For decades, I mean, we started doing this work in the early 90s. And actually, some of our earliest work in the space was uncovering in excess of a billion dollars in unpaid royalties to your home state of California. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA): And you mentioned, what are some of the patterns? You've been doing this for decades? What are some of the patterns that you observe over time? Tim Stretton: The oil and gas industry working with each other to really undervalue the resources they were selling, fraudulently telling the government the value of those resources, which left billions of dollars in unpaid revenue going to the federal government. 1:01:09 Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): There are some people who have made environmentalism a religion. Rather than focus on solutions that can make lives better for people, some would prefer to vilify an industry that provides immeasurable benefits to people's livelihood in the function of modern day society. 1:04:21 Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): The other side looks at globalism, you know this environmental movement globally. So it makes more sense to me at least and folks I come from that we produce it cleaner more efficiently than anybody else in the world. And so that geopolitical application, if you're an environmentalist, you would want more American clean oil and gas out there versus Russian dirty or Chinese dirty gas. 02:37:23 Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT): In January state education superintendents in Wyoming, Miami, North Dakota, Alaska, and Utah submitted a letter to President Biden outlining their concerns with the administration's oil and gas ban which has reduced funding used to educate our rising generation. 02:43:35 Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM): I'm glad to be able to highlight the true success story of the oil and gas industry in my home state of New Mexico. To put it simply, the oil and gas industry is the economic backbone of New Mexico and has been for decades. The industry employs 134,000 People statewide and provides over a billion dollars each year to fund our public education. 02:44:30 Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM): Many of my Democratic colleagues have stated that green energy jobs can replace the loss of traditional energy jobs, like the 134,000 Oil and Gas jobs in my state. Many also say that we need to be transitioning to a completely carbon free energy grid. Can you tell me and the committee why both of those ideas are completely fantasy? Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
  • Congressional Dish podcast

    CD241: 20th Anniversary of the Patriot Act

    1:29:55

    The Patriot Act: A law that is still governing us after 20 years despite being almost universally hated. In this episode, we take a close look at the lesser known parts of the Patriot Act that became permanent immediately, examine the status of the few provisions that had to be reauthorized over the years, find out how the law was crafted in the first place, and see what happened to the members of Congress who voted for this rights-destroying legislation. Executive Producer: Stephen McMahan Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD236: January 6: The Capitol Riot CD235: The Safe Haven of Sanctions Evaders CD160: Equifax Breach CD105: Anthrax CD098: USA Freedom Act: Privatization of the Patriot Act CD048: The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Patriot Act Overviews Charles Doyle. April 18, 2002. The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch, RS21203.” Congressional Research Service. Charles Doyle. December 10, 2001. Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, RL31200. Congressional Research Service. Indefinite Detention Anna Mulrine Grobe. October 7, 2021. “Guantanamo: A former prosecutor’s solution to an ‘unsolvable problem.’” The Christian Science Monitor. Jessica Corbett. July 22, 2020. “ACLU Says Release of Adham Hassoun Confirms US Government Lacks Power to 'Lock Someone Up Without Due Process.'” Common Dreams. Carol Rosenberg. June 29, 2020. “Judge Rejects U.S. Effort to Hold Palestinian Man After Prison Term.” The New York Times. Nino Guruli. February 24, 2020. “The Unreasonableness of the Citizenship Distinction: Section 412 of the USA PATRIOT Act and Lessons from Abroad.” The University of Chicago Law Review Online. Jennifer K. Elsea and Michael John Garcia. March 14, 2016. Wartime Detention Provisions in Recent Defense Authorization Legislation, R42143 Congressional Research Service. ACLU. December 31, 2011. “President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law.” ACLU. October 23, 2001. “How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Permits Indefinite Detention of Immigrants.” Credit Reporting Agencies Ken Sweet. October 6, 2017. “Equifax Collects Your Data, and Then Sells It.” Inc. “Experian Revenue.” Craft. “Equifax Revenue 2006-2021| EFX.” Macrotrends. “TransUnion Revenue 2011-2021 | TRU” Macrotrends. 15 U.S. Code § 1681v - Disclosures to governmental agencies for counterterrorism purposes. Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute. Reauthorizations and Expirations Charlie Savage. August 14, 2020. “McConnell Appears Set to Quietly Suffocate Long-Debated F.B.I. Surveillance Bill.” The New York Times. India McKinney and Andrew Crocker. April 16, 2020. “Yes, Section 215 Expired. Now What?” EFF. Charlie Savage. March 27, 2020. “House Departs Without Vote to Extend Expired F.B.I. Spy Tools” The New York Times. Office of the Press Secretary. March 9, 2006. “President Signs USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act.” The White House. Steven M. Martinez. April 21, 2005. “Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.” archives.fbi.gov Brain Duignan. “USA PATRIOT Act: Reauthorizations.” Britannica. ACLU. “The Sun Also Sets: Understanding the Patriot Act ‘Sunsets.’” Surveillance Charlie Savage. January 22, 2021. “Intelligence Analysts Use U.S. Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says” The New York Times. Charlie Savage. December 3, 2020. “U.S. Used Patriot Act to Gather Logs of Website Visitors” The New Times. Charlie Savage. March 31, 2020. “Problems in F.B.I. Wiretap Applications Go Beyond Trump Aide Surveillance, Review Finds.” The New York Times. Byron Tau and Michelle Hackman. February 7, 2020. “Federal Agencies Use Cellphone Location Data for Immigration Enforcement.” The Wall Street Journal. Charlie Savage. December 11, 2019. “We Just Got a Rare Look at National Security Surveillance. It Was Ugly.” The New York Times. Sharon Bradford Franklin. July 25, 2018. “Carpenter and the End of Bulk Surveillance of Americans.” Lawfare. Adam Liptak. June 22, 2018. “In Ruling on Cellphone Location Data, Supreme Court Makes Statement on Digital Privacy.” The New York Times. International Impact Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Bill Weinberg. June 15, 2018. “USA PATRIOT Act Threatens Uruguay Banks Over Legal Cannabis System.” Cannabis Now. Bills and Laws The Patriot Act United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot Act) of 2001 House Vote Senate Vote Law Outline TITLE I: ENHANCING DOMESTIC SECURITY AGAINST TERRORISM Sec. 106: Presidential Authority Expanded the authority of the President to "investigate, regulate, or prohibit" financial transactions to include "any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States." Expanded the authority of the President to block transactions and property of "any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" "during the pendency of an investigation". Expands the authority of the President to confiscate property "of any foreign person, foreign organization, or foreign country" when the US has been "attacked by a foreign country or foreign nationals" and the President can then decide what to do with that property "for the benefit of the United States." These provisions remain in current law as of 10/18/21 TITLE II: ENHANCED SURVEILLANCE PROCEDURES Sec. 201: Authority to Intercept Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications Relating to Terrorism Expands the list of suspected actions that can justify the Attorney General and some subordinates obtaining judicial permission for wiretaps (a list that has since been expanded further) to include terrorism related crimes. Sec. 203: Authority to Share Criminal Investigate Information Allows grand jury information to be shared with "any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official" if the matter involves "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" The government official who receives the information has to notify the court that it got the information, but that notification can be in secret and they have to submit it "within a reasonable time after such disclosure", which is not defined. The government official who receives the information is authorized to share it with "any other Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official" if it includes "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" The procedures for sharing the information was left up to the Attorney General to decide. Sec. 205: Employment of Translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Authorizes the FBI to speed up the hiring of translators Sec. 206: Roving Surveillance Authority Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 If a person is a "foreign power or an agent of a foreign power", the government can authorize wiretapping a "common carrier, landlord, custodian, or other specified person" if the court finds that the target is using communications that "may have the effect of thwarting the identification" of the target. Sec. 207: Duration of FISA Surveillance of Non-United States Persons Who Are Agents of a Foreign Power The warrants can be issued for up to 120 days fi they are for targeting individuals and can be for up to a year if targeting a "foreign power" Sec. 209: Seizure of Voicemail Messages Pursuant to Warrants Allows the government to seize the contents of voicemails using a warrant instead of a surveillance order, which is a faster method for authorization. Sec. 210: Scope of Subpoenas For Records of Electronic Communications Expands the information that can be subpoenaed from telecom companies to include connection records, records of call times and duration, types of services used, telephone numbers, IP addresses, and method of payments included credit card or bank account numbers. This provision had no sunset. Sec. 212: Emergency Disclosure of Electronic Communications to Protect Life and Limb Allows the telecom companies to provide customer data to the government if it "reasonably believes that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serous physical injury to any person requires disclosure of the information with delay" Allows the telecom companies to provide customer data "to any person other than a governmental entity" Allows the government to require a telecom company to disclose customer records, which was previously an option decided by the telecoms. Sec. 213: Authority for Delaying Notice of the Execution of a Warrant Allows the government to delay notifying their target about a warrant if they court finds that the notification "may have an adverse result" such as an individual fleeing prosecution, endangerment of someone's life, tampering with evidence, witness intimidation, or jeopardizing the investigation. This provision allowed "sneak and peek" warrants, which allowed the government to secretly enter - physically or electronically - a target's property to search, take pictures, copy documents, download files, etc. as long as they didn't take any property with them. This provision had no sunset. Sec. 214: Pen Register and Trap and Trace Authority Under FISA Eliminates the requirements that trace devices only be applied to devices and facilities used by foreign persons, so that now they can be used on devices belonging to US citizens so long as the devices are likely to provide information related to a foreign intelligence investigation. Sec. 215: Access to Records and Other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Authorizes the FBI to order "the production of any tangible items" for their investigations into international terrorism, as long as the investigation of a US citizen or company is "not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution." The entity turning over the property can not tell anyone that they gave the FBI whatever they requested or tell anyone about the investigation's existence, and in return, the entity that produced the items "shall not be liable to any other person for such production." Sec. 216: Modification of Authorities Relating to Use of Pen Registers and Trap and Trace Devices Requires that the court "shall" authorize the installation of trace devices "anywhere within the United States" if the court finds that the government has shown that the information likely obtained from the devices "is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." The order "shall apply to any personal or entity providing wire or electronic communication services in the United states" A record must be kept of which officers installed the device, the date and time it was installed and uninstalled, the date, times, and durations that the device is accessed for information, and the information collected from the device. The record must be provided to the court "under seal" within 30 days "after termination of the order". There was no sunset for this provision. Sec. 217: Interception of Computer Trespasser Communications Allows companies to voluntarily request law enforcement monitoring of intruders on their networks and authorizes the government to intercept information transmitted by a "computer trespasser" Sec. 219: Single-Jurisdiction Search Warrants for Terrorism Allows judges to issue search warrants outside of the districts where the property to be searched is located. There was no sunset for this provision. Sec. 222: Assistance to Law Enforcement Agencies Requires that companies that help the government install tracing devices authorized by Section 216 on their network be "reasonably compensated for such reasonable expenditures incurred in providing such facilities or assistance." Sec. 223: Civil Liability for Certain Unauthorized Disclosures If a court finds that an employee of the United States has disclosed information collected improperly, the government has to conduct a proceeding to determine if discipline is warranted. Damages can be awarded of at least $10,000 plus litigation costs. Sec. 224: Sunset Sets an expiration date of December 31, 2005 for Sections 203(a), 203(c), 205, 208, 210, 211, 213, 216, 219, 221, and 222. Sec. 225: Immunity for Compliance with FISA Wiretap Provides immunity to anyone who complies with a FISA wiretap, including private and government persons. TITLE III: INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING ABATEMENT AND ANTITERRORIST FINANCING ACT OF 2001 Subtitle A - International Counter Money Laundering and Related Measures Sec. 311: Special Measures for Jurisdictions, Financial Institutions, or International Transactions of Primary Money Laundering Concern Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to require domestic financial institutions to maintain records and file reports, including personally identifiable information, about transactions in a location outside the United States or between foreign financial institutions. Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit or impose conditions upon accounts being opened in domestic financial institutions by people from foreign jurisdictions. Sec. 312: Special Due Diligence for Correspondent Accounts and Private Banking Accounts Requires banks that open accounts for non-US citizens to investigate the background of the account opener or owner for money laundering red flags. Sec. 313: Prohibition on United States Correspondent Accounts With Foreign Shell Banks Prohibits domestic financial institutions from opening or maintaining accounts for a foreign bank that doesn't have a physical presence in any country. Sec. 314: Cooperative Efforts to Deter Money Laundering Orders the Secretary of the Treasury to write regulations that encourage law enforcement and financial institutions to share information about individuals, entities, and organizations, with a specific focus on charitable organizations, non-profit organizations, and nongovernmental organizations. A financial institution that shares information that "may involve terrorist acts or money laundering activities" can not be held liable "under any law or regulation of the United States" or of any state or contract and they can not be held liable for failing to inform their customer that their information was shared. Sec. 315: Inclusion of Foreign Corruption Offenses as Money Laundering Crimes Expands what qualifies as "money laundering" to include "bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of public official" and some smuggling and firearm offenses. Sec. 316: Anti-Terrorist Forfeiture Protection An owner of property that is confiscated under US laws that allow the seizure of assets of suspected international terrorists can contest that confiscation, but the government can use evidence against them to justify the confiscation that is "otherwise inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence" if it finds that "compliance with the Federal Rules of Evidence may jeopardize the national security interests of the United States." Sec. 319: Forfeiture of Funds in United States Interbank Accounts If funds are deposited by suspect into an account at a foreign bank that has an account in the United States, the money in that bank's account -up to the amount deposited in the target's account - can be held or seized from the bank's account. If a foreign bank doesn't terminate their relationship with the suspect, that foreign bank can be fined up to $10,000 per day until that relationship is terminated. If a convicted criminal hides their property, the court "shall" order other property up to the value of the missing property to be seized. Sec. 320: Proceeds of Foreign Crimes Expands the government's power to seize property held inside the United States if the property was obtained via felony drug offenses if the offense would be punishable by death or more than one year in prison under the foreign nation's or the US's laws. Sec. 323: Enforcement of Foreign Judgments The government can apply for and the courts can grant restraining orders to hold property that is the subject of investigations being conducted by foreign governments as long as the offense would have been illegal if committed in the United States. No one can object to the restraining order. The defendant is no longer required to have received notice of the proceedings in time to act but instead the foreign court has to "take steps" to notify the defendant. Sec. 326: Verification of Identification The Secretary of the Treasury has to write regulations that require banks to verify the identity of their customers and check a list of suspected terrorists to make sure that those people are not trying to open accounts at their bank. Sec. 328: Criminal Penalties Any official or employee of the US Federal Government, or any one who helps them, commit fraud on the United States "shall be fined in an amount not more than 3 times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both. Subtitle B - Bank Secrecy Act Amendments and Related Improvements Sec. 351: Amendments Relating to Reporting of Suspicious Activities Provides immunity to "any financial institution" that makes a voluntary disclosure of a possible violation of law to a government agency Prohibits the financial institution or anyone in it and the officers and employees of the Federal Government from notifying the customer that their suspicious transaction has been reported to the government. Sec. 355: Authorization to Include Suspicions of Illegal Activity in Written Employment References Authorizes employees of "any insured depository institution" (which includes "any uninsured branch or agency of a foreign bank") to "disclose in any written employment reference" of a current or former employee information about "the possible involvement" of that person in "potentially unlawful activity." If the information is shared "with malicious intent", the institution sharing the information can be sued. Sec. 358: Bank Secrecy Provisions and Activities of United States Intelligence Agencies to Fight International Terrorism Consumer reporting agencies "shall furnish a consumer report of a consumer and all other information in a consumer's file to a government agency authorized to conduct investigations of, or intelligence or counterintelligence activities or analysis related to, international terrorism when presented with a written certification by such government agency that such information is necessary" for the agency's investigation. The consumer reporting agency is not allowed to tell the consumer that the government requested the information or that the government received it. Provides immunity for a consumer reporting agency that complies with the government request. Sec. 361: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Transforms the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) into a bureau in the Department of the Treasury. Sec. 363: Increase in Civil and Criminal Penalties for Money Laundering The Secretary of the Treasury may impose civil money penalties equal to or more than 2 times the amount of the transaction but not more than $1 million on any financial institution that violates the money laundering laws and special measures. Sec. 365: Reports Relating to Coins and Currency Received in Non-Financial Trade or Business Requires that any coin or currency transaction that is over $10,000 be reported to FinCEN. The reports must include the name and address of the recipient, the amount, the date and nature of the transaction, and the name of the person filing the report. This does not apply to any transaction if the entire transaction occurs outside of the United States. Subtitle C - Currency Crimes and Protection Sec. 371: Bulk Cash Smuggling Into or Out of the United States Creates the crime of "currency smuggling", which is when someone knowingly conceals more than $10,000 in currency or other monetary instruments on themselves or in their luggage or containers and transports it, or attempts to transport it, into or out of the United States. Punishment: Up to 5 years in prison and forfeiture of the money involved in the smuggling, or an equal amount from the suspect's personal belongings. Sec. 373: Illegal Money Transmitting Businesses Anyone who "knowingly conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business" can be imprisoned for 5 years, fined, or both. Sec. 374: Counterfeiting Domestic Currency and Obligations Expands the definition and punishments for counterfeiting to include analog, digital, and electronic images. Lengthens prison sentences for a range of counterfeiting offenses. Sec. 375: Counterfeiting Foreign Currency and Obligations Dramatically expands prison sentences for counterfeiting foreign currencies from single digit year sentences to 20-25 years. Sec. 376: Laundering the Proceeds of Terrorism Expands the applicability of computer fraud offenses committed outside the United States if they involve devices issued by a company inside the United States, like a credit card, or if the defendant used any property within the United States to commit the crime. TITLE IV: PROTECTING THE BORDER Subtitle A - Protecting the Northern Border Sec. 402: Northern Border Personnel Authorizes unlimited funds to triple the number of border patrol agents, customs agents, and INS inspectors on our northern border along with an additional $50 million to update technology. Sec. 403: Access by the Department of State and the INS to Certain Identifying Information in the Criminal History Records of Visa Applicants and Applicants For Admission to the United States The Attorney General and the FBI will provide criminal history records to the State Department Subtitle B - Enhanced Immigration Provisions Sec. 411: Definitions Relating to Terrorism Adds being a representative of a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the Secretary of State or being a representative of an organization that publicly endorses terrorist activity to the grounds to denial of entry into the United States. If the endorsement of terrorist activity has occurred in the last five years, that person's spouse and children are also barred from entering the United States (this can be waived by the Attorney General if it can be proved that the spouse/children didn't know or has renounced the behavior). Defines "terrorist activity" "To commit or to incite to commit under circumstances indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily injury To gather information on potential targets for terrorist activity To solicit funds or other things of value for a terrorist activity, a terrorist organization (unless the solicitor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the solicitation would further the organization's terrorist activity). To solicit any individual to engage in terrorist activity or membership in a terrorist organization (unless the solicitor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the solicitation would further the organization's terrorist activity). To commit an act that the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons (including chemical, biological, or radiological weapons), explosives, or training for the commission of a terrorist activity, to any individual who the actor knows, or reasonably should know, has committed or plans to commit a terrorist activity, or to a terrorist organization (unless the actor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the act would further the organization's terrorist activity.) Defines a "terrorist organization" A group designated, upon publication in the Federal Register, by the Secretary of State in consultation with or upon the request of the Attorney General, as a terrorist organization, after finding that the organization engages in "terrorist activity" or that the organization provides material support to further terrorist activity A group of two or more individuals, whether organized or not, which engages in "terrorist activity" Sec. 412: Mandatory Detention of Suspected Terrorists; Habeas Corpus; Judicial Review The Attorney General "may" certify that an "alien" is "engaged in any other activity that endangers the national security of the United States" An alien who is certified "shall" be taken into custody by the Attorney General "The Attorney General shall maintain custody of such an alien until the alien is removed from the United States... such custody shall be maintained irrespective of any relief from removal granted the alien, until the Attorney General determines that the alien is no longer an alien who may be certified" If the alien is finally determined to not be removable, detention "shall terminate" but an alien who has not been removed "and whose removal is unlikely in the reasonably foreseeable future, may be detained for additional periods of up to six months only if the release of the alien will threaten the national security of the United States or the safety of the community or any person." Judicial review of "any action or decision" relating to this section ("including judicial review of the merits of a determination") is available exclusively in habeas corpus proceedings. Outside of that, "no court shall have jurisdiction to review, by habeas corpus petition or otherwise, any such action or decision." The habeas corpus proceedings that are allowed may be initiated only by an application filed with the Supreme Court, any circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, or "any district court otherwise having jurisdiction to entertain it." The final order "shall be subject to review, on appeal, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. There shall be no right of appeal in such proceedings to any other circuit court of appeals." Section 413: Multilateral Cooperation Against Terrorists Allows the Secretary of State to share information with other countries about "individual aliens" for the "purpose of preventing, investigating, or punishing acts that would constitute a crime in the United States" Subtitle C - Preservation of Immigration Benefits for Victims of Terrorism Sections 421-428: Provide leniency to immigrants who were either direct victims of 9/11 or whose US citizen spouse or parent died on 9/11. TITLE V: REMOVING OBSTACLES TO INVESTIGATING TERRORISM Sec. 501: Attorney General's Authority to Pay Rewards to Combat Terrorism Allows the Attorney General to offer rewards via public advertisements for assisting the Justice Department to "defend the Nation against terrorist acts" The money can come from "any executive agency or military department" "Neither the failure to of the Attorney General to authorize a payment nor the amount authorized shall be subject to judicial review" Sec. 502: Secretary of State's Authority to Pay Rewards Allows the Secretary of State to pay rewards - including rewards over $5 million - for "the identification or location of an individual who holds a key leadership position in a terrorist organization" The reward limit has since been increased to $25 million, but higher amounts can be personally authorized by the Secretary of State Rewards up to $100,000 do not need to be approved by the Secretary of State Current law: "A determination made by the Secretary under this section shall be final and conclusive and shall not be subject to judicial review" Sec. 504: Coordination With Law Enforcement Allows Federal officers who conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches to coordinate with Federal law enforcement officers to "investigate or protect against" actual or potential attacks, sabotage, or clandestine intelligence activities by agents of a foreign power. Sec. 505: Miscellaneous National Security Authorities Authorizes FBI investigators to collect the name, address, length of service, and toll billing records of telephone, financial records, and consumer reports of US citizens as long as the investigation is "not conducted solely on the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States." Allows the FBI to obtain records faster using National Security Letters instead of the previous process where they had to document specific and facts showing that the person is an agent of a foreign power Sec. 507: Disclosure of Educational Records Allows the Attorney General (or high ranking designee) to request a court order for educational records that are relevant to investigations into "an act of domestic or international terrorism" The application to the court "shall certify that there are specific and articulable facts giving reason to believe" that the records will likely contain information related to their terrorism investigation. Provides immunity to educational agencies and institutions that comply with the court orders TITLE VI: PROVIDING FOR VICTIMS OF TERRORISM, PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS, AND THEIR FAMILIES Subtitle A - Aid to Families of Public Safety Officers Sec. 613: Public Safety Officers Benefit Program Payment Increase Increases the death or severe disability payment amount from $100,000 to $250,000 Subtitle B - Amendments to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 Sec. 621: Crime Victims Fund Allocates money specifically to 9/11 victims and ensures that the payments do not count as income in order to reduce any government assistance that victim receives. TITLE VII: INCREASED INFORMATION SHARING FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION Sec. 701: Expansion of Regional Information Sharing System to Facilitate Federal-State-Local Law Enforcement Response Related to Terrorist Attacks Funds new information sharing networks TITLE VIII: STRENGTHENING THE CRIMINAL LAWS AGAINST TERRORISM Sec. 801: Terrorist Attacks and Other Acts of Violence Against Mass Transportation Systems Sets penalties for attacking mass transportation systems For attacks or plots that don't kill anyone or have passengers on board: Fines and up to 20 years in prison For attacks on vessels carrying at least one passenger or that result in "the death of any person", fines and up to life in prison. Sec. 802: Definition of Domestic Terrorism "The term 'domestic terrorism' means activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States." Current law maintains this definition Sec. 803: Prohibition Against Harboring Terrorists Establishes punishments for anyone who "harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, has committed, or is about to commit" a list of terrorism related crimes. They can be fined, sent to prison for up to 10 years, or both. Any Federal judicial district court can prosecuted these offenses. Sec. 804: Jurisdiction Over Crimes Committed at U.S. Facilities Abroad Gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against Americans that take place on property used - not necessarily owned - by the United States in foreign countries and in the residences used by United States personnel assigned to foreign missions. Sec. 806: Assets of Terrorist Organizations Subjects to civil forfeiture "all assets, foreign and domestic of any individual, entity, or organization engaged in planning or perpetrating any act of domestic or international terrorism against the United States, citizens or residents of the United States, or their property, and all assets, foreign or domestic, affording any person a source of influence over any such entity or organization; acquired or maintained by any person with the intent and for the purpose of supporting, planning, conducting, or concealing an act of domestic or international terrorism... or derived from, involved in, or used or intended to be used to commit any act of domestic or international terrorism..." The language 'any act of domestic or international terrorism' has since be changed to 'any Federal crime of terrorism' Sec. 809: No Statute of Limitation for Certain Terrorism Offenses Exempts terrorism crimes that result in or created a forseeable risk of death or serious bodily injury from an 8 year statute of limitations. Sec. 810: Alternate Maximum Penalties for Terrorism Offenses Increases penalties for crimes Arson prison sentences increase from a maximum of 20 years to a maximum of life Destruction of energy facilities increase from a maximum of 10 years to a maximum of 20 years Arson or energy facility destruction crimes that result in a death can be given life sentences Material support to terrorists and terrorist organization prison sentences increased from a maximum of 10 years to 15 years Material support to terrorists or terrorist organizations that result in a death can be given life sentences Destruction of national defense material crimes and sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel prison sentences increased from a maximum of 10 years to 20 years Destruction of national defense material crimes and sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel that result in a death can be given life sentences Damaging or destroying an interstate gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility crimes prison sentences increased from a maximum 15 years to 20 years Damaging or destroying an interstate gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility crimes that result in a death can be given life sentences Sec. 811: Penalties for Terrorist Conspiracies Adds people who conspire to commit crimes including arson, killings in Federal facilities, destruction of communications lines, stations, or systems, wrecking trains, material support to terrorists, torture, conspiracy, sabotage of nuclear facilities or fuel, interference with flight crew members and attendants, damaging or destroying an interstate gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility, and a few others to the list of those who can be punished with fines and prison sentences. Sec. 814: Deterrence and Prevention of Cyberterrorism Increases the penalty for intentionally damaging a federal computer from up to 5 years in prison to up to 10 years in prison (up to 20 years for a repeat offender). Sec. 817: Expansion of the Biological Weapons Statute Establishes a maximum 10 year prison sentence and a fine for anyone who "knowingly possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system of a type or in a quantity... that is not reasonably justified by a prophylactic, protective, bona fide research, or other peaceful purpose." TITLE IX: IMPROVED INTELLIGENCE Sec. 901: Responsibilities of Director of Central Intelligence Regarding Foreign Intelligence Collected Under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Because only the President and Attorney General are able to initiate a FISA surveillance order, this provision facilitates information sharing from the Attorney General to the CIA in a way that ensures that the CIA "Director shall have no authority to direct, manage, or undertake electronic surveillance or physical search operations." Sec. 905: Disclosure to Director of Central Intelligence of Foreign Intelligence-Related Information With Respect to Criminal Investigations The Attorney General or the head of "any other department or agency of the Federal Government" with law enforcement responsibilities "shall expeditiously disclose" to the Director of Central Intelligence foreign intelligence gotten in the course of a criminal investigation. TITLE X: MISCELLANEOUS Sec. 1005: First Responders Assistance Act Creates a grant program where the Attorney General will fund States and local governments for hiring additional law enforcement personal dedicated to "intelligence gathering", purchasing spying equipment such as wire-tap, pen links, cameras, and computer hardware/software, protective equipment for patrol officers, and communications operations for improved interoperability among surrounding jurisdictions. Sec. 1007: Authorization of Funds for DEA Police Training in South and Central Asia Authorizes $5 million for fiscal year 2002 for "regional antidrug training in the Republic of Turkey" by the DEA for police and "increased precursor chemical control efforts in the South and Central Asia region." Sec. 1010: Temporary Authority to Contract with Local and State Governments for Performance of Security Functions at United States Military Installations "During the period of time that United States armed forces are engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom and for the period of 180 days thereafter", the Department of Defense is allowed to use their money to contract out security at their military bases in the United States to local and State governments. Sec. 1012: Limitation on Issuance of Hazmat Licenses The Attorney General will complete background checks at the request of the States on people applying for a license to transport hazardous material Sec. 1016: Critical Infrastructure Protection Creates the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) Hearings House Session - October 23, 2001 Sound Clip Transcripts 1:26:29 Rep. Bobby Scott: First of all, I think it's appropriate to comment on the process by which the bill is coming to us. This is not the bill that was reported and deliberated on in the Judiciary Committee. It came to us late on the floor. No one has really had an opportunity to look at the bill to see what's in it since we've been out of our offices. The report has just come to us. And it would be helpful if we'd wait for some period of time so that we can at least review what we're voting on. But I guess that's not gonna stop us. So here we go. 1:27:26 Rep. Bobby Scott: This bill makes three significant changes. One, it reduces s+tandards for getting a foreign intelligence wiretap from one where it is the reason you're getting it, to it is a significant reason for getting the wiretap, much less. Then you wonder, well, if it's not the primary reason, why are you getting the wiretap? Second, it allows the roving wiretap so once you find a target, if he's using cell phones, for example, you can go and find them wherever he is. And third, you can use the information in a criminal investigation and the combination gives you the situation where there's very little standard, and you can essentially conduct a criminal investigation without probable cause. If you have, for example, a target, who is using cell phones, you get the the wiretap, he uses a payphone, you can listen to anybody using the payphone. If he's in a club or organization, in a business, you can go on you tap the phones there, if he's visiting the democratic national headquarters, maybe you can tap all the phones there. 1:29:47 Rep. Bobby Scott: There are provisions that allow attention under certain circumstances that may be indefinite, we expand the ability of the government to conduct secret searches and so called sneak and peek where you don't tell people they're even being investigated. And you can start targeting domestic organizations, designated domestic groups, as terrorist groups and you can start getting the CIA into designating these groups as targets for criminal investigations. There's a lot in this bill that we have not appropriately considered. And that's why we need more time to think of it because it goes way past terrorism. This is the way you're going to be conducting criminal investigations and therefore the bill ought to be defeated. 1:39:09 Rep. Spencer Bachus: You know, we may not have understood and appreciated the word “terrorism” and what terrorists were before September 11. We certainly do today. We know who they are. We know what they're capable of. We may not have appreciated the need for this legislation before September 11, but surely today, we appreciate the need for this legislation and the urgency of such legislation. 1:44:04 Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: I'm concerned that the legislation still permits the Attorney General indefinitely to incarcerate or detain non-citizens based on mere suspicion and to deny readmission to the United States of such non-citizens. I'm also concerned that the AG and the Secretary of State have the power to designate domestic terrorists. You might simply be paying dues and be declared part of a terrorist organization. It has widespread investigation of Americans just on the basis of intelligence purposes. It allows searches of highly personal financial records, and allows student records to be searched. I would say this, Mr. Speaker, let us show America's character and bring forth a bill that all of us will find a good balance. We'll review this bill but I hope that we'll vote on a good bill and provide the leadership that we need to lead. 1:46:41 Rep. Marge Roukema: I would like to say to some of the naysayers that complain about the provisions, the question as to whether or not they deny due process or whatever. The question has been asked, Are we endangering the rights and privacy of innocent Americans? The answer is no. But it does give our law enforcement officials the requirements that they need for their careful investigation. It gives our regulators and law enforcement officials what they need to get the job done. 1:52:25 Rep. Zoe Lofgren: I would also like to note, however, that there's been a lot of loose language among people who oppose this bill, and people are perfectly free to disagree with it, but it's important that we not be incorrect about what's actually in the bill. I actually heard someone say that the bill would provide for indefinite incarceration on a mere suspicion by the Attorney General, that's simply not the case. The Attorney General may detain persons but he has to certify and he has to have reasonable reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals have involved in terrorism and that decision is reviewable by a court. So that is really the to say it's a mere suspicion and indefinite is certainly not the case. 2:07:48 Rep. Mel Watt: Some groups in our country have had their rights violated, trampled on, by the law enforcement authorities in this country and so we don't have the luxury of being able to just sit back and give authority, more authority, than is warranted, the authority possibly to abuse due process, to law enforcement, even in the context of what we're going through now. This is a very difficult time. I acknowledge that it is. But I think we are giving the government and law enforcement too much authority in this bill. 2:18:15 Rep. Barney Frank: Mr. Speaker, I don't know how I'm gonna vote on this bill yet, because I have this notion that in a bill of this weight, I ought to read it. So what I want to talk about now is my deep disappointment at the procedure. The gentleman from Wisconsin, the chair of the committee, has fought hard for a fair chance for the members to look at things. But on the whole, his efforts have not been honored. We now, for the second time, are debating on the floor a bill of very profound significance for the constitutional structure and security of our country and in neither case has any member been allowed to offer a single amendment. At no point in the debate in this very profound set of issues, have we had a procedure whereby the most democratic institution in our government, the House of Representatives, engages in democracy. Who decided that to defend democracy we had to degrade it? Who decided that the very openness and participation and debate and weighing of issues, who decided that was a defect at a time of crisis? This is a chance for us to show the world that democracy is a source of strength, that with our military strength and our determination and our unity of purpose goes to continued respect for the profound way in which our democracy functions. And this bill ironically, this bill which has been given all these high flying acronyms, it's the Patriot bill, it's the USA bill, it's that stand up and sing the Star Spangled Banner bill, has been debated in the most undemocratic way possible. And that's not worthy of this institution. 2:21:13 Rep. John Conyers: The members of the judiciary committee, who had a free and open debate, and then we came to a bill that even though imperfect, was unanimously agreed on. That was removed from us and we're now debating at this hour of the night, with only two copies of the bill that we're being asked to vote on available to the members on this side of the aisle. 2:22:18 Rep. John Conyers: Although I like the the money laundering provisions in the bill, I detest the work product that bears the name of my committee on it that has now been joined with this bill. And for this reason, as we close this debate, my inclination is not to support the bill. 2:23:12 Rep. James Sensenbrenner: Mr. Speaker, this is the latest step in a long process to attempt to pass a bill and send to the president that is vitally needed. It is vitally needed by our law enforcement officials, who are fighting the battle at home. We don't know how this battle will be fought. We don't know what tactics the enemy will take. We don't know what agents the enemy will use. And what we need is we need to get the intelligence necessary to protect the people of the United States of America from whatever the enemy has planned up its sleeve. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
  • Congressional Dish podcast

    CD240: BIF The Infrastructure BILL

    1:04:20

    Jen has been all over the internet lately telling the world that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a dumpster fire of a bill. In this episode, she backs that up by comparing the levels of investment for different kinds of infrastructure and examining the society changing effects the bill would have if it were to become law. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD218: Minerals Are the New Oil CD205: Nuclear Waste Storage Oil CD073: Amtrak Recommended Articles and Documents Benjamin J. Hulac and Joseph Morton. October 7, 2021. “With GOP sidelined, Manchin steps up to defend fossil fuels.” Roll Call. Connor Sheets, Robert J. Lopez, Rosanna Xia, and Adam Elmahrek. October 4, 2021. “Before O.C. oil spill, platform owner faced bankruptcy, history of regulatory problems.” The Los Angeles Times. Donald Shaw. October 4, 2021. “Criticizing Joe Manchin’s Coal Conflicts is ‘Outrageous,’ Says Heitkamp.” Sludge. Michael Gold. October 1, 2021. “Congestion Pricing Is Coming to New York. Everyone Has an Opinion.” The New York Times. Utilities Middle East Staff. September 13, 2021. “World’s largest carbon capture and storage plant launched.” Utilities. Adele Peters. September 8, 2021. “The first commercial carbon removal plant just opened in Iceland.” Fast Company. Hiroko Tabuchi. August 16, 2021. “For Many, Hydrogen Is the Fuel of the Future. New Research Raises Doubts.” The New York Times. Robert W. Haworth and Mark Z. Jacobson. August 12, 2021. “How green is blue hydrogen?.” Energy Science & Engineering. Emily Cochrane. August 10, 2021. “Senate Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Handing Biden a Bipartisan Win.” The New York Times. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. June 3, 2021. “2020 Fatality Data Show Increased Traffic Fatalities During Pandemic.” U.S. Department of Transportation. Nation Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). May 19, 2021. “What We Know—and Do Not Know—About Achieving a National-Scale 100% Renewable Electric Grid .” Michael Barnard. May 3, 2021. “Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Are Mostly Bad Policy.” CleanTechnica. Hiroko Tabuchi. April 24, 2021. “Halting the Vast Release of Methane Is Critical for Climate, U.N. Says.” The New York Times. Grist Creative. April 15, 2021. “How direct air capture works (and why it’s important)” Grist. American Society of Civil Engineers. 2021. “Bridges.” 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Open Secrets. “Sen. Joe Manchin - West Virginia - Top Industries Contributing 2015-2020.” Savannah Keaton. December 30, 2020. “Can Fuel Cell Vehicles Explode Like ‘Hydrogen Bombs on Wheels’?” Motor Biscuit. Dale K. DuPont. August 6, 2020. “First all-electric ferry in U.S. reaches milestone.” WorkBoat. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser. 2020. “CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” Our World in Data. Jeff Butler. January 27, 2019. “Norway leads an electric ferry revolution.” plugboats.com Our World in Data. Annual CO2 Emissions, 2019. Hydrogen Council. 2019. Frequently Asked Questions. Mark Z. Jacobson et al. September 6, 2017. “100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World.” Joule. Kendra Pierre-Louis. August 25, 2017. “Almost every country in the world can power itself with renewable energy.” Popular Science. Chuck Squatriglia. May 12, 2008. “Hydrogen Cars Won't Make a Difference for 40 Years.” Wired. Renewable Energy World. April 22, 2004. “Schwarzenegger Unveils ‘Hydrogen Highways’ Plan.” United States Department of Energy. February 2002. A National Vision of America’s Transition to a Hydrogen Economy -- to 2030 and Beyond. The Bill H.R. 3684: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act August 10, 2021 Senate Vote Breakdown July 1, 2021 House Vote Breakdown Jen's Highlighted Version Bill Outline DIVISION A: SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TITLE I - FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAYS Subtitle A - Authorizations and Programs Sec. 11101: Authorization of Appropriations Authorizes appropriations for Federal-Aid for highways at between $52 billion and $56 billion per year through fiscal year 2026. Sec. 11117: Toll Roads, Bridges, Tunnels, and Ferries Authorizes the government to pay up to 85% of the costs of replacing or retrofitting a diesel fuel ferry vessel until the end of fiscal year 2025. Sec. 11118: Bridge Investment Program Authorizes between $600 million and $700 million per year through 2026 (from the Highway Trust Fund) for repairs to bridges If a Federal agency wants grant money to repair a Federally owned bridge, it "shall" consider selling off that asset to the State or local government. Sec. 11119: Safe Routes to School Creates a new program to improve the ability of children to walk and ride their bikes to school by funding projects including sidewalk improvements, speed reduction improvements, crosswalk improvements, bike parking, and traffic diversions away from schools. Up to 30% of the money can be used for public awareness campaigns, media relations, education, and staffing. No additional funding is provided. It will be funded with existing funds for "administrative expenses." Sec. 11121: Construction of Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Authorizes between $110 million and $118 million per year through 2026 (from the Highway Trust Fund) to construct ferry boats and ferry terminals. Subtitle D - Climate Change Sec. 11401: Grants for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Creates a new grant program with $15 million maximum per grant for governments to build public charging infrastructure for vehicles fueled with electricity, hydrogen, propane, and "natural" gas. The construction of the projects can be contracted out to private companies. Sec. 11402: Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Establishes a program to study and test projects that would reduce emissions. Sec. 11403: Carbon Reduction Program Allows, but does not require, the Transportation Secretary to use money for projects related to traffic monitoring, public transportation, trails for pedestrians and bicyclists, congestion management technologies, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technologies, energy efficient street lighting, congestion pricing to shift transportation demand to non-peak hours, electronic toll collection, installing public chargers for electric, hydrogen, propane, and gas powered vehicles. Sec. 11404: Congestion Relief Program Creates a grant program, funded at a minimum of $10 million per grant, for projects aimed at reducing highway congestion. Eligible projects include congestion management systems, fees for entering cities, deployment of toll lanes, parking fees, and congestion pricing, operating commuter buses and vans, and carpool encouragement programs. Buses, transit, and paratransit vehicles "shall" be allowed to use toll lanes "at a discount rate or without charge." Sec. 11405: Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Program Establishes the "PROTECT program", which provides grants for projects to protect some current infrastructure from extreme weather events and climate related changes. Types of grants include grants for "at-risk coastal infrastructure" which specifies that only "non-rail infrastructure is eligible" (such as highways, roads, pedestrian walkways, bike lanes, etc.) Sec. 11406: Healthy Streets Program Establishes a grant program to install reflective pavement and to expand tree cover in order to mitigate urban heat islands, improve air quality, and reduce stormwater run-off and flood risks. Caps each grant at $15 million TITLE III: RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY, AND EDUCATION Sec. 13001: Strategic Innovation for Revenue Collection Provides grants for pilot projects to test our acceptance of user-based fee collections and their effects on different income groups and people from urban and rural areas. They will test the use of private companies to collect the data and fees. Sec. 13002: National Motor Vehicle Per-mile User Fee Pilot Creates a pilot program to test a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee. DIVISION B - SURFACE TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT ACT OF 2021 TITLE I - MULTIMODAL AND FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION Sec. 21201: National Infrastructure Project Assistance Authorizes $2 billion total per year until 2026 on projects that cost at least $100 million that include highway, bridge, freight rail, passenger rail, and public transportation projects. Authorizes $1.5 billion total per year until 2026 (which will expire after 3 years) for grants in amount between $1 million and $25 million for projects that include highway, bridge, public transportation, passenger and freight rail, port infrastructure, surface transportation at airports, and more. TITLE II - RAIL Subtitle A - Authorization of Appropriations Sec. 22101: Grants to Amtrak Authorizes appropriations for Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor at between $1.1 billion and $1.57 billion per year through 2026. Authorizes appropriations for Amtrak in the National Network at between $2.2 billion and $3 billion per year through 2026. Subtitle B - Amtrak Reforms Sec. 22201: Amtrak Findings, Mission, and Goals Changes the goal of cooperation between Amtrak, governments, & other rail carriers from "to achieve a performance level sufficient to justify expending public money" to "in order to meet the intercity passenger rail needs of the United States" and expands the service areas beyond "urban" locations. Changes the goals of Amtrak to include "improving its contracts with rail carriers over whose tracks Amtrak operates." Sec. 22208: Passenger Experience Enhancement Food and beverage service: Amtrak will establish a working group... Sec. 22212: Enhancing Cross Border Service Amtrak must submit a report... Sec. 22213: Creating Quality Jobs Amtrak will not be allowed to privatize the jobs previously performed by laid off union workers. Sec. 22214: Amtrak Daily Long Distance Study Amtrak would study bringing back long distance rail routes that were discontinued. Subtitle C - Intercity Passenger Rail Policy Sec. 22304: Restoration and Enhancement Grants Extends the amount of time the government will pay the operating costs of Amtrak or "any rail carrier" that provides passenger rail service from 3 years to 6 years, and pays higher percentages of the the costs. Sec. 22305: Railroad Crossing Elimination Program Creates a program to eliminate highway-rail crossings where vehicles are frequently stopped by trains. Authorizes the construction on tunnels and bridges. Sec. 22306: Interstate Rail Compacts Authorizes up to 10 grants per year valued at a maximum of $ million each to plan and promote new Amtrak routes Sec. 22308: Corridor Identification and Development Program The Secretary of Transportation will create a program for public entities to plan for expanded intercity passenger rail corridors, operated by Amtrak or private companies. When developing plans for corridors, the Secretary has to "consult" with "host railroads for the proposed corridor" Subtitle D - Rail Safety Sec. 22404: Blocked Crossing Portal The Administration of the Federal Railroad Administration would establish a "3 year blocked crossing portal" which would collect information about blocked crossing by trains from the public and first responders and provide every person submitting the complaint the contact information of the "relevant railroad" and would "encourage" them to complain to them too. Information collected would NOT be allowed to be used for any regulatory or enforcement purposes. Sec. 22406: Emergency Lighting The Secretary of Transportation will have to issue a rule requiring that all carriers that transport human passengers have an emergency lighting system that turns on when there is a power failure. Sec. 22409: Positive Train Control Study The Comptroller General will conduct a study to determine the annual operation and maintenance costs for positive train control. Sec. 22423: High-Speed Train Noise Emissions Allows, but does not require, the Secretary of Transportation to create regulations governing the noise levels of trains that exceed 160 mph. Sec. 22425: Requirements for Railroad Freight Cars Placed into Service in the United States Effective 3 years after the regulations are complete (maximum 5 years after this becomes law), freight cars will be prohibited from operating within the United States if more than 15% of it is manufactured in "a country of concern" or state-owned facilities. The Secretary of Transportation can assess fines between $100,000 and $250,000 per freight car. A company that has been found in violation 3 times can be kicked out of the United State's transportation system until they are in compliance and have paid all their fines in full. Sec. 22427: Controlled Substances Testing for Mechanical Employees 180 days after this becomes law, all railroad mechanics will be subject to drug testing, which can be conducted at random. DIVISION C - TRANSIT Sec. 30017: Authorizations Authorizes between $13.3 billion and $14.7 billion per year to be appropriated for transit grants. DIVISION D - ENERGY TITLE I - GRID INFRASTRUCTURE AND RESILIENCY Sec. 40101: Preventing Outages and Enhancing The Resilience of the Electric Grid Creates a $5 billion grant distribution program to electric grid operators, electricity storage operations, electricity generators, transmission owners and operators, distribution suppliers, fuels suppliers, and other entities chosen by the Secretary of Energy. The grants need to be used to reduce the risk that power lines will cause wildfires. States have to match 15%. The company receiving the grant has to match it by 100% (small utilities only have to match 1/3 of the grant.) Grant money be used for micro-grids and battery-storage in addition to obvious power line protection measures. Grant money can not be used to construct a new electricity generating facility, a large-scale battery facility that is not used to prevent "disruptive events", or cybersecurity. The companies are allowed to charge customers for parts of their projects that are not paid for with grant money (so they have to match the grant with their customer's money). Sec. 40112: Demonstration of Electric Vehicle Battery Second-Life Applications for Grid Services Creates a demonstration project to show utility companies that electric car batteries can be used to stabilize the grid and reduce peak loads of homes and businesses. The demonstration project must include a facility that "could particularly benefit" such as a multi-family housing building, a senior care facility, or community health center. TITLE II - SUPPLY CHAINS FOR CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES Sec. 40201: Earth Mapping Resources Initiative The US Geological Survey will get $320 million and ten years to map "all of the recoverable critical minerals." Sec. 40204: USGS Energy and Minerals Research Facility Authorizes $167 million to construct a new facility for energy and minerals research. The facility can be on land leased to the government for 99 years by "an academic partner." Requires the USGS to retain ownership of the facility. Sec. 40205: Rare Earth Elements Demonstration Facility Authorizes $140 million to build a rare earth element extractions and separation facility and refinery. Does NOT require the government to retain ownership of the facility. TITLE III - FUELS AND TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS Subtitle A - Carbon Capture, Utilization, Storage, and Transportation Infrastructure Sec. 40304: Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authorizes $600 million for 2022 and 2023 and $300 million for each year between 2024 and 2026 for grants and loan guarantees for projects for transporting captured carbon dioxide. Each project has to cost more than $100 million and the government can pay up to 80% of the costs. If the project is financed with a loan, the company will have 35 years to pay it back, with fees and interest. Loans can be issued via private banks with guarantees provided by the government. Sec. 40305: Carbon Storage Validation and Testing Creates a new program for funding new or expanded large-scale carbon sequestration projects. Authorizes $2.5 billion through 2026. Sec. 40308: Carbon Removal Creates a new program for grants or contracts for projects to that will form "4 regional direct air capture hubs" that will each be able to capture 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Authorizes $3.5 billion per year through 2026. Subtitle B - Hydrogen Research and Development Sec. 40313: Clean Hydrogen Research and Development Program Changes a goal of an existing research and development plan for hydrogen fuels (created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005) from enhancing sources of renewable fuels and biofuels for hydrogen production to enhancing those sources and fossil fuels with carbon capture and nuclear energy. Expands the activities of this program to include using hydrogen for power generation, industrial processes including steelmaking, cement, chemical feestocks, and heat production. They intend to transition natural gas pipelines to hydrogen pipelines. They intend for hydrogen to be used for all kinds of vehicles, rail transport, aviation, and maritime transportation. Sec. 40314: Additional Clean Hydrogen Programs Creates a new program to create "4 regional clean hydrogen hubs" for production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of "clean hydrogen." At least one regional hub is required to demonstrate the production of "clean hydrogen from fossil fuels." At least one regional hub is required to demonstrate the production of "clean hydrogen from renewable energy." At least one regional hub is required to demonstrate the production of "clean hydrogen from nuclear energy." The four hubs will each demonstrate a different use: Electric power generation, industrial sector uses, residential and commercial heating, and transportation. Requires the development of a strategy "to facilitate widespread production, processing, storage, and use of clean hydrogen", which will include a focus on production using coal. The hydrogen hubs should "leverage natural gas to the maximum extent practicable." Creates a new program to commercialize the production of hydrogen by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The overall goal is to identify barriers, pathways, and policy needs to "transition to a clean hydrogen economy." Authorizes $9.5 billion through 2026. Sec. 40315: Clean Hydrogen Production Qualifications Develops a standard for the term "clean hydrogen" which has a carbon intensity equal to or less than 2 kilograms of carbon dioxide-equivalent produced at the site of production per kilogram of hydrogen produced." Subtitle C - Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Sec. 40323: Civil Nuclear Credit Program Creates a program, authorized to be funded with $6 billion per year through 2026, that will provide credit from the government to nuclear reactors that are projected to shut down because they are economically failing. Subtitle D - Hydropower Sec. 40331: Hydroelectric Production Incentives Authorizes a one-time appropriation of $125 million for fiscal year 2022. Sec. 40332: Hydroelectric Efficiency Improvement Incentives Authorizes a one-time appropriation of $75 million for fiscal year 2022. Sec. 40333: Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectricity Incentives Authorizes a one-time appropriations of $553 million for repairs and improvements to dams constructed before 1920. The government will pay a maximum of 30% of the project costs, capped at $5 million each. Sec. 40334: Pumped Storage Hydropower Wind and Solar Integration and System Reliability Initiative Authorizes $2 million per year through 2026 to pay 50% or less of the costs of a demonstration project to test the ability of a pumped storage hydropower project to facilitate the long duration storage of at least 1,000 megawatts of intermittent renewable electricity. Subtitle E - Miscellaneous Sec. 40342: Clean Energy Demonstration Program on Current and Former Mine Land Creates a new program, authorized to be funded with $500 million through 2026, to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of putting clean energy projects on former mine land. There will be a maximum of 5 projects and 2 of them have to be solar. Defines a "clean energy project" to include "fossil-fueled electricity generation with carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration." TITLE X - AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR ENERGY ACT OF 2020 Sec. 41001: Energy Storage Demonstration Projects Authorizes $505 million through2025 for energy storage demonstration projects. Sec. 41002: Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program Authorizes between $281 million and $824 million per year through 2027 for advanced nuclear reactor demonstration projects. Sec. 41004: Carbon Capture Demonstration and Pilot Programs Authorizes between $700 million and $1.3 billion through2025 for advanced nuclear reactor demonstration projects. Sec. 41007: Renewable Energy Projects Authorizes $84 million through 2025 for geothermal energy projects. Authorizes $100 million through 2025 for wind energy projects. There is a clarification that this is definitely NOT in addition to amounts wind gets from another fund. Authorizes $80 million through 2025 for solar energy projects. DIVISION E - DRINKING WATER AND WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE DIVISION F - BROADBAND DIVISION G - OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS DIVISION H - REVENUE PROVISIONS DIVISION I - OTHER MATTERS DIVISION J - APPROPRIATIONS DIVISION K - MINORITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
  • Congressional Dish podcast

    CD239: The Enablers of Larry Nassar

    1:48:11

    In June 2015, the FBI in Indianapolis was notified that Larry Nassar, a doctor for Olympic caliber gymnasts, was sexually abusing his underage patients. In this episode, hear highlights from a riveting Senate hearing with testimony from Maggie Nichols, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles and get all the details presented in an Inspector General report explaining why the FBI did nothing to stop Larry Nassar for over a year while he continued to abuse dozens of additional young girls. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Documentaries Athlete A. Netflix. Hannah Shaw-Williams. June 24, 2020. “Athlete A True Story: What Netflix's Documentary Leaves Out” Screen Rant. Government Documents and Reports Office of the Inspector General. July 2021. Investigation and Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Handling of Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Former USA Gymnastics Physician Lawrence Gerard Nassar (21-093). United States Department of Justice. Office of the Inspector General. 2021. “DOJ OIG Releases Report of Investigation and Review of the FBI’s Handling of Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Former USA Gymnastics Physician Lawrence Gerard Nassar.” U.S. Department of Justice. Senator Jerry Moran and Senator Richard Blumenthal. July 30, 2019. The Courage of Survivors: A Call to Action. Senate Olympics Investigation. Manly, Stewart & Finaldi. September 8, 2016. “Jane JD Doe Complaint: Case Number 34-2016-00200075.” Superior Court of California, Sacramento. News Coverage Grace Segers. September 15, 2021. “Gymnasts Rip the FBI for Its Failure to Stop Larry Nassar’s Serial Sexual Abuses.” The New Republic. Rebecca Shabad. September 15, 2021. “FBI fires agent accused of failing to investigate Nassar sex-abuse allegations.” NBC News. Kara Berg. September 8, 2021. “How much Michigan State has paid in wake of Larry Nassar scandal.” The Lansing State Journal. Sayantani Nath. February 25, 2021. “Who owns Twistars USA gym now? John Geddert sold gym infamous for Larry Nassar's sexual abuse before suicide.” MEAWW (Media, Entertainment, Arts WorldWide). Reuters. February 25, 2021. “Nassar Whistleblower Repeats Call for USAG Decertification.” U.S. News & World Report. Dan Barry, Serge F. Kovaleski and Juliet Macur. February 3, 2018. “As F.B.I. Took a Year to Pursue the Nassar Case, Dozens Say They Were Molested.” The New York Times. Matthew Futterman, Louise Radnofsky and Rebecca Davis O’Brien. June 2, 2017. “Former U.S. Gymnastics Chief Received $1 Million Severance Package.” The Wall Street Journal. Tim Evans, Mark Alesia, and Marisa Kwiatkowski. September 12, 2016. “Former USA Gymnastics doctor accused of abuse.” The Indianapolis Star. Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans. August 4, 2016. “A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases.” The Indianapolis Star. Matt Krantz. September 13, 2013. “2008 crisis still hangs over credit-rating firms.” USA Today. Audio Sources Dereliction of Duty: Examining the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Investigation Senate Judiciary Committee September 15, 2021 Committee concluded a hearing to examine the Inspector General's report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation, after receiving testimony from Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General, and Christopher A. Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, both of the Department of Justice; Simone Biles, Houston, Texas; McKayla Maroney, Long Beach, California; Maggie Nichols, Little Canada, Minnesota; and Aly Raisman, Boston, Massachusetts. Sound Clips 47:54 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): By the time Nassar was convicted and sentenced in federal and Michigan State court, over 150 survivors had come forward to recount the impact of these horrific crimes. Today we believe Nasser abused more than 300 athletes before he was brought to justice. 48:20 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Between 2018 and 2019, a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee led by our colleagues, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Jerry Moran conducted an 18 month investigation into this case. The investigation concluded that the US Olympic Committee in the USA Gymnastics knowingly concealed abuse by masseur between the summer of 2015 and September of 2016. The Senate passed two bills aimed at addressing the failures in the Nasser case with overwhelming bipartisan support that protecting young victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017, sponsored by Senator Feinstein, and the umpiring Olympic Paralympic amateur athletes act of 2020 by Senators Moran and Blumenthal both extended the duty of certain adults to report suspected child abuse. These are good and important steps. But the reporting requirement in both laws is not worth much if law enforcement and the FBI failed to respond and immediately and aggressively investigate the abuse cases. 51:57 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): We'll also hear from the Inspector General and the FBI Director, who owe these young women in this committee an explanation of what the FBI is doing to ensure that this never happens again. And I'll add that I am disappointed. We asked the Justice Department to testify about their decision not to prosecute the two FBI officials who made false statements to the Attorney General. I understand it's a long standing department policy not to comment on decisions not to prosecute, but robust oversight of the Department of Justice is a core responsibility of this committee, committed to ensuring that committee members have an opportunity to question the Department of Justice about this issue at an oversight hearing in the fall. 56:44 Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA): I suspect there's much more to that story. One issue not talked about much is that the FBI has a division in Washington DC, known as the Violent Crimes Against Children unit. This component of headquarters was notified by two of its field offices about the Nassar allegations way back in 2015, and 2016, respectively. The Children's unit employs subject matter experts so it is well position in FBI to guide those field officers on their duties in child exploitation cases. Because it's housed at headquarters, this children's unit also was uniquely positioned to play a coordinating role by supervising case transfers to the appropriate FBI field offices. And this unit was well positioned to offer qualitative supervision of field offices' work. 58:19 Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA): The Children's unit helped develop a white paper, or more accurately, a whitewash, after the Nassar case attracted national attention. Ensuring that truthful information was provided about the FBI's role in this investigation was clearly not the main priority. This is a serious problem at the heart of the FBI. Not a case of a few errant agents. 1:00:12 Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA): Finally, I want to mention that I'm working on legislation to close the legislative loophole in the sex tourism statute that the Inspector General flagged in his report. This gap in the law allowed Larry Nassar to evade federal prosecution for assaulting children while traveling abroad. 1:26:34 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Our first witness Simone Biles, one of the greatest gymnast of all time. She is the first woman to capture five all round world championship titles and the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in World Championships history. 25 medals overall, she is a seven time Olympic medalist. Her extraordinary accomplishments have received widespread recognition including two Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year awards. 1:27:18 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): McKayla Maroney was a member of the American women's gymnastics team dubbed the Fierce Five at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She won a gold medal in team competition and an individual silver medal in the vault. She was also a member of the American team at the 2011 World Championships where she won gold medals in the team and vault competitions and the 2013 World Championships where she defended her vault title and we frequently see her on TV jumping on a roof. 1:27:48 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Our next witness Maggie Nichols led the University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics team to Team national championships in 2017 and 2019, also winning six individual titles. She represented the United States at the 2015 World Championships where she won a gold medal in team competition and a bronze medal on floor exercise. She also holds several USA Gymnastics national championship medals. 1:28:15 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Finally, Aly Raisman, one of the most accomplished American gymnast of all time, two time Olympian, team captain of the 2012 and 2016 women's gymnastics team captured six Olympic and four World Championship medals, including an individual silver medal in the 2016 Olympic all around and gold medals in team competition in 2012 and 2016. A leader on and off the floor. Reisman uses her platform to advocate for abuse prevention and education. 1:32:25 Simone Biles: USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee knew that I was abused by their official team doctor long before I was ever made aware of their knowledge. In May of 2015, Rhonda Faehn, the former head of USA Gymnastics women's program, was told by my friend and teammate, Maggie Nichols, that she suspected I, too was a victim. I didn't understand the magnitude of what was happening until the Indianapolis Star published its article in the fall of 2016, entitled, "former USA Gymnastics doctor accused of abuse." Yet while I was a member of the 2016 US Olympic team, neither USAG USOPC nor the FBI ever contacted me or my parents, while others had been informed and investigations were ongoing. I had been left to wonder why was not taught until after the Rio Games. This is the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of American sport. And although, there has been a fully independent investigation of the FBI his handling of the case, neither USAG nor USOPC have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny. These are the entities entrusted with the protection of our sport and our athletes. And yet it feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered. 1:34:30 Simone Biles: We have been failed and we deserve answers. Nassar is where he belongs, but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable. If they are not, I am convinced that this will continue to happen to others, across Olympic sports. In reviewing the OIGs report, it really feels like the FBI turned a blind eye to us and went out of its way to help protect USAG and USOPC. A message needs to be sent. If you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe. 1:37:00 McKayla Maroney: As most of you are probably aware, I was molested by the US Gymnastics National Team and Olympic Team doctor, Larry Nasser, and in actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor. What I'm trying to bring to your attention today is something incredibly disturbing and illegal. After telling my entire story of abuse to the FBI in the Summer of 2015, not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report, 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said. After reading the Office of Inspector General's OIG report, I was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative they chose to fabricate, they chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester, rather than protect not only me, but countless others. My story is one which Special Agent in Charge Jay Abbott and his subordinates did not want you to hear. And it's time that I tell you. In the summer of 2015, like I said, I was scheduled to speak to the FBI about my abuse with Larry Nasser over the phone. I was too sick to go meet with anyone in person. And talking about this abuse would give me PTSD for days. But I chose to speak about it to try and make a difference and protect others. I remember sitting on my bedroom floor for nearly three hours as I told them what happened to me. I hadn't even told my own mother about these facts. But I thought as uncomfortable and as hard as it was to tell my story, I was going to make a difference, and hopefully protecting others from the same abuse. I answered all of their questions honestly and clearly. And I disclosed all of my molestations I had entered by Nassar to them in extreme detail. They told me to start from the beginning. I told them about the sport of gymnastics, how you make the national team, and how I came to meet Larry Nassar when I was 13 at a Texas camp. I told him that the first thing Larry Nassar ever said to me was to change into shorts with no underwear, because that would make it easier for him to work on me. And within minutes, he had his fingers in my vagina. The FBI then immediately asked, Did he insert his fingers into your rectum? I said, No, he never did. They asked if he used gloves. I said no, he never did. They asked if this treatment ever helped me. I said no, it never did. This treatment was 100% abuse and never gave me any relief. I then told the FBI about Tokyo, the day he gave me a sleeping pill for the plane ride, to then work on me later that night. That evening, I was naked, completely alone with him on top of me molesting me for hours. I told them I thought I was going to die that night, because there was no way that he would let me go. But he did. I told them I walked the halls of a Tokyo hotel at 2am, at only 15 years old. I began crying at the memory over the phone. And there was just dead silence. I was so shocked at the agent's silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence he asked "Is that all?" Those words in itself was one of the worst moments of this entire process for me, to have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me. Just to feel like my abuse was not enough. But the truth is my abuse was enough, and they wanted to cover it up. USA Gymnastics in concert with the FBI and the Olympic Committee or working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator. I then proceeded to tell them about London, and how he'd signed me up last on his sheet so he could molest me for hours twice a day. I told them how he molested me right before I won my team gold medal. How he gave me presents, bought me caramel macchiatos and bread when I was hungry. I even sent them screenshots of Nassar's last text to me, which was "Michaela, I love how you see the world with rose colored glasses. I hope you continue to do so." This was very clear cookie cutter pedophilia and abuse. And this is important because I told the FBI all of this, and they chose to falsify my report and to not only minimize my abuse, but silence me yet again. I thought given the severity of the situation, they would act quickly for the sake of protecting other girls, but instead, it took them 14 months to report anything when Larry Nassar, in my opinion, should have been in jail that day. 1:42:00 McKayla Maroney: According to the OIG report, about 14 months after I disclosed my abuse to the FBI, nearly a year and a half later, the FBI agent who interviewed me in 2015 decided to write down my statement, a statement that the OIG report determined to be materially false. 1:42:33 McKayla Maroney: What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer? 1:42:55 McKayla Maroney: What's even more upsetting to me is that we now we know that these FBI agents have committed an obvious crime. They falsified my statement, and that is illegal in itself. Yet no recourse has been taken against them. The Department of Justice refused to prosecute these individuals. Why? Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco couldn't even bring herself to be here today. And it is the Department of Justice's job to hold them accountable. 1:43:25 McKayla Maroney: I am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing, because my abuse was enough and we deserve justice. These individuals clearly violated policies and were negligent in executing their duties. And in doing so, more girls were abused by Larry Nasser for over a year. To not indict these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates. It is a disservice to the system which was built to protect all of us from abuse. It was a disservice to every victim who suffered needlessly at the hands of Larry Nassar after I spoke up. Why are public servants whose job is to protect getting away with this? This is not justice. Enough is enough. Today, I ask you all to hear my voice. I ask you please do all that is in your power to ensure that these individuals are held responsible and accountable for ignoring my initial report, for lying about my initial report, and for covering up for a child molester. 1:44:30 McKayla Maroney: I would like to express my deep gratitude to the United States Senate, a very powerful institution, that from the very beginning has fought for us rather than against us. 1:46:47 Maggie Nichols After I reported my abuse to USA Gymnastics, my family and I were told by their former president, Steve Penny, to keep quiet and not say anything that could hurt the FBI investigation. We now know there was no real FBI investigation occurring. While my complaints with the FBI, Larry Nassar continued to abuse women and girls. During this time the FBI issued no search warrants and made no arrests. From the day I reported my molestation by Nassar, I was treated differently by USAG. Not only did the FBI fail to conduct a thorough investigation, but they also knew that USAG and the USOPC created a false narrative where Larry Nasser was allowed to retire with his reputation intact and returned to Michigan State University, thus allowing dozens of little girls to be molested. As the Inspector General's report details during this time period, FBI agents did not properly documented evidence failed to report proper authorities and the Special Agent in Charge was seeking to become the new director of security for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. A job opportunity raised by Steve Penny. 1:51:20 Aly Raisman: In 2015, it was known that at least six national team athletes had been abused by Nassar. There was even one of the athletes that was abused on film. Given our abusers unfettered access to children, stopping him should have been a priority. Instead, the following occurred. The FBI failed to interview pertinent parties in a timely manner. It took over 14 months for the FBI to contact me, despite my many requests to be interviewed by them. The records establish that Steve Penney, FBI agent Jay Abbott, and their subordinates worked to conceal Nassar's crimes. Steve Penney arranged with the FBI to conduct my interview at the Olympic Training Center, where I was under the control and observation of USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The day of my interview, Steve Penny flew to the Olympic Training Center, and he made sure I was aware he was there. I felt pressured by the FBI to consent to Nassar's plea deal. The agent diminish the significance of my abuse and it made me feel my criminal case wasn't worth pursuing. Special Agent in Charge of investigating Nassar met Steve penny for beers to discuss job opportunities in the Olympic movement. Another FBI agent work with Steve penny to determine jurisdiction without interviewing the survivors. I've watched multiple high ranking officials at USAG, USOPC and FBI resign or retire without explanation of how they may have contributed to the problem, some of whom were publicly thanked for their service and rewarded with severance or bonus money. My reports of abuse were not only buried by USAG USOPC, but they were also mishandled by federal law enforcement officers who failed to follow their most basic duties. The FBI and others within both USAG and USOPC knew that Nasser molested children and did nothing to restrict his access. Steve Penny and any USAG employee could have walked a few steps to file a report with the Indiana Child Protective Services since they shared the same building. Instead, they quietly allowed Nassar to slip out the side door knowingly allowing him to continue his “work” at MSU Sparrow hospital, a USAG Club, and even run for school board. Nassar found more than 100 new victims to molest. It was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter. 1:54:33 Aly Raisman: USAG and USOPC have a long history of enabling abuse by turning a blind eye. Both organizations knew of Nassar's abuse long before it became public. Although you wouldn't know that by reading their press releases, which would have you and their corporate sponsors believe that athletes safety comes first. We have called for a fully independent factual investigation for years now, because I and these women who sit before you know firsthand, these organizations and their public statements are not to be trusted. They claim they want accountability, but then seek to restrict which staff can be interviewed, which documents can be examined and claim attorney client privilege over and over again. The so called investigations these organizations orchestrated were not designed to provide the answers we so critically need. Why are we left to guess why USAG and USOPC deliberately ignored reported abuse? Was it to protect the value of the sponsorships? The LA 28 bid? their own jobs? to avoid criminal liability, perhaps. But why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high? 1:56:04 Aly Raisman: Why would duly sworn federal law enforcement officers ignore reports of abuse by a doctor across state lines and country borders for a future job opportunity? Or whether additional incentives and pressures? Why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high 1:57:00 Aly Raisman: Without knowing who knew what when, we cannot identify all enablers or determine whether they are still in positions of power. We just can't fix a problem we don't understand 2:04:28 Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA): I Hope this isn't something so sensitive, you don't feel you can talk about it. But do you have any thoughts or inputs to share about SafeSport, the national nonprofit entity that has been tasked by Congress with handling allegations from amateur athletes? Aly Raisman: Yeah, I personally think safe sport is...I'm trying to be respectful here...I don't like safe sport. I hear from many survivors that they report their abuse and it's like playing hot potato where someone else kicks it over to somebody else, and they don't hear back for a really long time. I think a really big issue is that safe sport is funded by USA Gymnastics or the United States Olympic Committee. I'm not sure exactly what the correct terminology is. But if you're SafeSport and you are funded by the organization you're investigating, they're likely not going to do the right thing. And so I think that it needs to be completely separate. And I personally think SafeSport needs a lot of work. And I know from many survivors and you know, my mom has personally reported things to safesport, but we've followed up so many times, they say we can't help you or they either ignore us or pass it on to somebody else and the person they pass it on to says they kick it back to them. It's just a complete mess and the priority doesn't seem to be safety and well being of athletes. It seems to be protecting USA Gymnastics and doing everything to keep the PR good. 2:10:15 Aly Raisman: Because the FBI made me feel like my abuse didn't count and it wasn't a big deal. And I remember sitting there with the FBI agent and him trying to convince me that it wasn't that bad. And it's taken me years of therapy to realize that my abuse was bad that it does matter. 2:11:33 Simone Biles: Okay, one more to add -- we also want to see them, at least be federally prosecuted to the fullest extent because they need to be held accountable. 3:03:54 FBI Director Christopher Wray: I want to be crystal clear, the actions and inaction of the FBI employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable. These individuals betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people. They failed to protect young women and girls from abuse. The work we do certainly is often complicated and uncertain, and we're never going to be perfect, but the kinds of fundamental errors that were made in this case in 2015 and 2016 should never have happened. 3:06:37 FBI Director Christopher Wray: When I received the Inspector General's report and saw that the Supervisory Special Agent in Indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, I immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of a Special Agent, and I can now tell you that that individual no longer works for the FBI in any capacity. 03:07:01 FBI Director Christopher Wray: As for the former Indianapolis specialists in charge, the descriptions of his behavior also reflect violations of the FBI, his long standing code of conduct and the ethical obligations for all FBI employees, especially senior officials. Now that individual has been gone for the Bureau for about three and a half years having retired in January of 2018. Before any review launched and I will say I will say it is extremely frustrating that we are left with little disciplinary recourse when people retire before their cases can be adjudicated. 3:11:10 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: Let me briefly just summarize the results of our investigation. In July 2015, USA Gymnastics reported the sexual assault allegations against Nassar to the FBI Indianapolis field office. USA Gymnastics officials described graphic information that had been provided by Ms. Maroney, Ms. Nichols and Ms. Raisman, and informed the FBI that all three athletes were available to be interviewed. However, it wasn't until six weeks later, on September 2, that the Indianapolis office interviewed Ms. Maroney by telephone as you heard, and neither Ms. Nichols nor Ms. Raisman were ever interviewed by that office. Moreover, the Indianapolis office did not formally document its interview of Ms. Maroney at the time, or its July meeting with USA Gymnastics. The Office also didn't formally open an investigation or an assessment of the matter. Immediately following that September 2 interview, the Indianapolis office and local federal prosecutors concluded there was no venue in Indianapolis for the federal investigation. Both offices also had serious questions as to whether there was federal criminal jurisdiction, as opposed to state or local jurisdiction. Yet the Indianapolis Field Office didn't advise state or local authorities about the allegations and didn't take any actions to mitigate the risks to gymnast that Nassar was continuing to treat. Further, that office failed to transfer the case to the FBI office that actually might have had venue, despite informing USA Gymnastics that it had actually done so. 3:12:45 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: After eight months of FBI inactivity, in May 2016, USA Gymnastics officials contacted the FBI Los Angeles field office to report the same allegations that they had provided to the Indianapolis office. Following this meeting, the LA office opened a federal investigation and undertook numerous investigative steps. But, critically, it didn't contact state or local authorities and it didn't take action to mitigate the ongoing threat presented by Nassar. 3:13:13 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: It wasn't until August 2016 when Michigan State University Police, that police department, received a separate sexual assault complaint from another gymnast. And in September 2016, the next month, the MSU Police Department executed a court authorized search of Nassar's residence. Among other things, they seized devices containing over 30,000 images of child pornography. 3:13:42 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: According to civil court documents, approximately 70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment between July 2015, when the FBI first received these allegations, until September 2016. 3:14:00 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: We further found that when the FBI’s handling of the Nassar matter came under scrutiny in 2017 and 2018, Indianapolis officials provided inaccurate information to make it appear that they had actually been diligent in their follow-up efforts, and did so in part by blaming others. In addition, it resulted in the Indianapolis Supervisory Special Agent drafting a summary of his telephonic interview of Ms. Maroney from 2015. That summary included statements, as you heard from Ms. Maroney, that didn't accurately reflect what she had told them and could have actually jeopardized the criminal investigations by including false information that could have bolstered Nasser's defense. Further, we concluded that that agent made false testimony statements to the OIG in two interviews that we conducted. 3:14:55 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: We also learned during our investigation that in the fall of 2015, the FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge, Jay Abbott, met with USA Gymnastics president, Steve Penny, at a bar and discussed a potential job opportunity with the US Olympic Committee. Thereafter, Abbott engaged with Penny about both his interest in the US Olympic Committee job and the Nassar investigation, while at the same time participating in Nassar investigation discussions at the FBI. Abbott applied for the US Olympic Committee position in 2017. But wasn't selected. We determined that Abbott's actions violated the FBI's clear conflicts of interest policy. We also found that Abbott made false statements to the OIG and my agents in two interviews that we conducted. 3:19:21 FBI Director Christopher Wray: So we have something called CAFI's, which are Child Adolescent Forensic Interviewers. These are interviewers who are specially trained in the unique sensitivities of what it takes to interview people, victims, survivors of these kinds of crimes. And one of the reforms that we've put in place is to make crystal clear in policy that interviews of individuals like Miss Raisman should be conducted with those kinds of interviewers and they should not be conducted telephonically, they should be conducted in person wherever possible. That was true before, we've made it more clear now, and we're putting training in place --mandatory training. 3:20:12 Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): General Horowitz, did any of the FBI employees or agents involved in this case deliberately misrepresent any facts to you and your investigation? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: They did. We found both that the person who wrote the report that Ms. Maroney testified about falsely testified to us about what he did in connection with that report, as well as other matters that we asked him about and Special Agent in Charge Abbott made false statements to us about the steps he took in 2015 when these allegations came in, but also about his job seeking efforts with the US Olympic Committee. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Do these deliberate misrepresentations reach the level of criminal violation? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: Well, we found that they violated criminal law sufficiently that in what we do at that point is make the referral to prosecutors to assess them because that's who needs to make the decision whether or not there will be charges brought. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Director Wray, what happened next? FBI Director Christopher Wray: Well, as inspector general Horowitz said, those were referred to the prosecutors over at the Justice Department and they're the ones that made the decision. As I understand it from Inspector General Horowitz's report the prosecutors at the Justice Department on two separate occasions, both in 2020 and then again in 2021, declined to prosecute, but I really would defer to the Justice Department for those. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): Are you personally aware or professionally aware of any facts or circumstances that would lead to that decision? FBI Director Christopher Wray: I am not. 3:22:49 FBI Director Christopher Wray: So there's a whole bunch of things we've done differently. First, we've accepted every single one of Inspector General Horowitz’s recommendations, and then some. We've already begun implementing all of those. We are strengthening policies, we're strengthening procedures. We're taking training, we're strengthening our systems, all building in double checked triple checks, safeguards, oversight, different ways of making sure that we cannot have as occurred here, in certain instances, a single point of failure. That's one of the lessons here that is just totally unacceptable. And so part of what's built in is a bunch of, as I said, double and triple, even quadruple checks to make sure that that doesn't happen, both in terms of how the initial reports are handled with the appropriate urgency, but also in terms of communication. One of the important recommendations from Inspector General Horowitz is reporting to state local law enforcement, as well as communications between field offices, transfers between field offices. 3:31:20 FBI Director Christopher Wray: My understanding of the most senior individual involved, based on looking at the thorough and independent investigation that Inspector General Horowitz conducted, was that the most senior individual with knowledge and responsibility was the Special Agent in Charge in Indianapolis, Mr. Abbott. 3:32:23 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: FBI policies don't require the level of detail and reporting to the headquarters unit that would, for example, put the responsibility directly on them to have notified state local authorities. 3:56:55 Senator Chris Coons (D-DE): My impression from what she'd said, and what I've read is that their concern is that USA Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee have thrown a variety of roadblocks into a genuinely thorough investigation into whether there had or hadn't been previous incidents similar to Dr. Nassar, either in USA Gymnastics or within sports more broadly. It is hard to believe that this is the only time that there's been a failing of this scale. Given, Director Wray, when you just said about the 16,000 arrests, we all know that the horror of child sexual abuse is tragically far more widespread in this country and around the world than any of us would like to see. So first. Mr. Horwitz, do you think there is still a pressing need? And who would be the appropriate entity to conduct that? And what if any advice do you have for us on respecting her request to this committee? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: It's a great question, Senator Coons. And, frankly, as you indicated, the reason we can do a report like this and other reports that we've been able to do is because of the statutory authorities that we've been given by the Congress that make us independent. And by the way, picking up on something Miss Raisman said, which was very perceptive, about who is funding the oversight, as you know, back in 2008, we were given an independent budget line so that our budget is not coming from the Justice Department, but is being set by an independent appropriator. I don't know, as I sit here, frankly, what the oversight mechanisms are currently on USOC and the other entities. But actually, one of the things I did have a chance to talk with Senator Blumenthal about during the break was the importance of given what I'd heard from these gymnast's, the very issue you just mentioned, which is thinking about what is the right independent oversight mechanism of those bodies, which are not just private entities, right? These are organizations that have been sanctioned by Congress to oversee our US athletes, and they need strong oversight as well and I'm happy to work with you as well Senator, and the committee, in thinking about how to do that because we are seeing the IG (Inspector General) model replicated in many places, as you know, across the country, including many state and local entities. 4:04:55 Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): What steps are you taking to ensure that the agents communicate allegations of sexual assault with local law enforcement? FBI Director Christopher Wray: So we've enhanced our policies and procedures on the specific issue of reporting sake and local law enforcement built in. Now they have to document it, which they didn't have to before. And that builds in, as inspector general Horowitz referred to, an ability to hold them accountable. They have to alert their supervisors. So there's a second set of eyes. So that would help. We've also enhanced our training to make clear that it's mandatory and that's regardless of whether there's some question about potential federal jurisdiction. We can continue to investigate if we there's federal jurisdiction, but we have to do, on a parallel track, report to the appropriate state and local or, in some cases, social services agencies as well. 4:06:36 FBI Director Christopher Wray: So I appreciate the question. There are two pieces of this one. The Child Adolescent Forensic Interviewers (CAFIs), which again, is a very specific discipline that requires very specific sensitivities and skill sets. And we've changed our policies to reinforce the use of those interviewers for these kinds of cases. Second is our victim services division. And one of the things that we changed even before receiving inspector general Horowitz his report on my watch is to make clear that the victim services that we provide, which is a little bit different from the forensic interviewing part of it, but it's also very important to handling these survivors with the appropriate sensitivity, that that is triggered at any stage. There is not just a full investigation, but we're in when we're in the assessment or pre-assessment phase. It has to happen there too. 4:07:42 FBI Director Christopher Wray: The scale of this kind of criminality in the country, as reflected by the 18,000 investigations that we've had over the past five years and the 16,000 arrests that we with our partners have made over the last five years, I think goes to your question about resources. And I can assure you that if the Congress were to see fit to give us more resources for those programs, they would immediately be able to be put to good use. 4:12:15 Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CN): Jay Abbott lied to you. Why do you in the course of your investigation of his Miss Congo 18 United States Code 1001. People get prosecuted for making false statements when they applied to a bank, federally insured bank for a mortgage. And here is a federal agent, the former Special Agent in Charge of the Indianeapolis office making a material false statement to you. In your investigation, you refer that for criminal prosecution, did you not? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: That's correct. 4:42:30 Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA): Could you please elaborate on the nature of the discussions between Mr. Abbott and Mr. Penny, regarding potential employment for Mr. Abbott at institutions associated with USA Gymnastics or the US Olympic Committee? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: I can. They began, as I mentioned in a discussion that they had when they met at a bar in 2015, where Mr. Penny and Mr. Abbott discussed a future job opening, Head of Security at the US Olympic Committee, that Mr. Penny expected to occur. That initial discussion led to Mr. Abbott's interest in the position. And then there are ongoing discussions between the two of them, as we outlined in the report, in emails that we've seen, where Mr. Abbott expresses his interest in the job. And equally troubling, acknowledges that it would be inappropriate for him and a conflict of interest for him to pursue the position because of the ongoing Nassar investigation. Yet, as we found in 2017, that is precisely what he did in applying for the job, which he was never ultimately interviewed for. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA): And who initiated the discussion about employment prospects? Was that an opportunity dangled by Mr. Penny? Or was it solicited by Mr. Abbott? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: That was an opportunity mentioned first by Mr. Penny, because of his understanding that there might be a future retirement or an upcoming retirement at the US Olympic Committee. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA): So just to be clear, Mr. Penny, the Chief Executive at USA Gymnastics, while there is an ongoing FBI inquiry into gross misconduct, criminal activity and sexual abuse by at least one USA Gymnastics employee, raises with the Special Agent in Charge at the field office that is steering this investigation, the prospect of potentially lucrative and prestigious employment at a parallel organization where Mr. Penny may have influence. Is that correct? Inspector General Michael Horowitz: That's correct. And at the same time, writing in emails for example, how he's looking for additional information about the Nassar investigation and events as they occur. 4:46:06 Inspector General Michael Horowitz: The challenge on Mr. Abbott, with regard to the criminal issue here, which is 18 USC 208, which is the federal criminal statute is a, I think I mentioned this earlier, challenging one and that's being generous with speaking about how it's written to determine whether there was a criminal violation. The challenge here was, and I'm focused on the law here as to how 208 is because Mr. Abbott was looking for a job at the US Olympic Committee, and Mr. Penny was employed by the US Gymnastics Federation Association, two different entities, that situation is not clearly covered by 208. No matter how clear it would be to a layperson the interactions between those two entities. Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
  • Congressional Dish podcast

    CD238: Losing Afghanistan

    1:37:18

    The war in Afghanistan is over. In this episode, we document how and why the Biden administration finally admitted defeat in our 20 year attempt to create a new government in Afghanistan and we take a hard look at the lessons we need to learn. Afghanistan is a country in a far away land, but there are disturbing similarities between the Afghanistan government that just collapsed and our own. We'd be wise not to ignore them. Executive Producer: Rachel Passer Executive Producer: Anonymous  Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD236: January 6: The Capitol Riot CD218: Minerals are the New Oil CD210: The Afghanistan War CD124: The Costs of For-Profit War How We Got Here Craig Whitlock. The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War. Simon and Schuster, 2021. Patrick Tucker. August 18, 2021. “Trump’s Pledge to Exit Afghanistan Was a Ruse, His Final SecDef Says.” Defense One. Eugene Kiely and Robert Farley. August 17, 2021. “Timeline of U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan.” FactCheck.org. Eric Schmitt and Jennifer Steinhauer. July 30, 2021. “Afghan Visa Applicants Arrive in U.S. After Years of Waiting.” The New York Times. Craig Whitlock, Leslie Shapiro and Armand Emamdjomeh. December 9, 2019. “The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war.” The Washington Post. Mark Landler and James Risen. July 25, 2017. “Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals.” The New York Times. John F. Harris. October 15, 2001. “Bush Rejects Taliban Offer On Bin Laden ” Washington Post. The Evacuation: Those Left Behind William Mauldin. September 2, 2021. “Afghanistan Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Staff Left Behind.” Wall Street Journal. Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Annie Karni. August 29, 2021. “Series of U.S. Actions Left Afghan Allies Frantic, Stranded and Eager to Get Out.” The York Times. Sami Sadat. August 25, 2021. “I Commanded Afghan Troops This Year. We Were Betrayed.” The New York Times. Marjorie Censer. August 18, 2021. “US contractors rush to get former employees out of Afghanistan.” Defense News. Siobhan Hughes. August 18, 2021. “Afghanistan Veterans in Congress Trying to Prevent ‘a Death Warrant’ for Helping America.” Wall Street Journal. Alex Sanz and Tammy Webber. August 18, 2021. “US friends try to rescue brother in arms in Afghanistan.” AP News. Seth Moulton. June 04, 2021. "Moulton, Bipartisan Honoring Our Promises Working Group to White House: Evacuate our Afghan Partners.” Contractors in Afghanistan Matt Taibbi. August 18, 2021. “We Failed Afghanistan, Not the Other Way Around.” TK News by Matt Taibbi on Substack. Jack Detsch. August 16, 2021. “Departure of Private Contractors Was a Turning Point in Afghan Military’s Collapse.” Foreign Policy. Matt Stoller. July 15, 2021. “‘A Real S*** Show’: Soldiers Angrily Speak Out about Being Blocked from Repairing Equipment by Contractors.” BIG by Matt Stoller. Lynzy Billing. May 12, 2021. “The U.S. Is Leaving Afghanistan? Tell That to the Contractors.” New York Magazine. Oren Liebermann. March 29, 2021. “Pentagon could open itself to costly litigation from contractors if US pulls out of Afghanistan this year.” CNN. Lucas Kunce and Elle Ekman. September 15, 2019. “Comment Submitted by Major Lucas Kunce and Captain Elle Ekman.” [Regulations.gov(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulations.gov). Aaron Mehta. Oct 25, 2016. “30 Years: William Perry — Reshaping the Industry.” Defense News. Jared Serbu. August 22, 2016. “DoD now awarding more than half its contract spending without competitive bids.” Federal News Network. 41 U.S. Code § 3307 - Preference for commercial products and commercial services. Money: Lost and Gained David Moore. August 23, 2021. “Lawmakers Benefit From Booming Defense Stocks.” Sludge. Lee Fang. August 20, 2021. “Congressman Seeking to Relaunch Afghan War Made Millions in Defense Contracting.” The Intercept. Anna Massoglia and Julia Forrest. August 20, 2021. “Defense contractors spent big in Afghanistan before the U.S. left and the Taliban took control.” OpenSecrets.org. Stephen Losey. April 16, 2021. “The Bill for the Afghanistan War Is $2.26 Trillion, and Still Rising.” Military.com. Eli Clifton. February 16, 2021. “Weapons Biz Bankrolls Experts Pushing to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan.” Daily Beast. Open Secrets. 2021. Defense: Lobbying, 2021. Open Secrets. 2021. Defense: Money to Congress. Laws S.1790 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 Sponsor: Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) Status: Became Public Law No: 116-92 on December 20, 2019 H.R. 3237: Emergency Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Status: Signed into law, 2021 May 20 House Vote Breakdown Congressional Budget Office Score Law Outline TITLE IV: BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE GENERAL PROVISIONS EXTENSION AND MODIFICATION OF THE AFGHAN SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM Sec. 401: Amends the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009 to expand eligibility to include Afghans who worked not only for the US Government for more than 1 year but also our allies as an off-base interpreter or if they performed "activities for United States military stationed at International Security Assistance Force (or any successor name for such Force). Increases the number of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to Afghan partners by 8,000, for a total of 34,500 allocated since December 19, 2014. Sec. 402: Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security and Secretary of state to jointly waive for 1 year (maximum 2 years with an extension) the requirement that Afghan partners eligible for SIVs get a medical exam before they can receive their visa. The Secretary of Homeland Security has to create a process to make sure Afghan SIV holders get a medical exam within 30 days of entry into the United States. Sec. 403: Allows the surviving spouse or child or employee of the United States Government abroad to be eligible for immigration into the United States if the employee worked for our government for at least 15 years or was killed in the line of duty. It also expands entry permissions for Afghan SIV applicants in addition to those who have already been approved. This is retroactive to June 30, 2021. Policies for Visa Processing: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Policy Manual, Chapter 9: Certain Afghan Nationals U.S Department of State -- Bureau of Consular Affairs. “Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans - Who Were Employed by/on Behalf of the U.S. Government.” Audio Sources Gen. Mark Milley: "There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days." August 18, 2021 General Mark Milley: The time frame of rapid collapse that was widely estimated and ranged from weeks to months, and even years following our departure, there was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days. Central Command submitted a variety of plans that were briefed and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the President. These plans were coordinated, synchronized and rehearsed to deal with these various scenarios. One of those contingencies is what we are executing right now. As I said before, there's plenty of time to do AARs(After Action Reviews) and key lessons learned and to delve into these questions with great detail. But right now is not that time. Right now, we have to focus on this mission, because we have soldiers at risk. And we also have American citizens and Afghans who supported us for 20 years also at risk. This is personal and we're going to get them out. President Biden on Afghanistan Withdrawal Transcript July 8, 2021 Sound Clips 01:30 President Biden: When I announced our drawdown in April, I said we would be out by September, and we're on track to meet that target. Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31. The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart 3:40 President Biden: Together with our NATO allies and partners, we have trained and equipped nearly 300,000 current serving members of the military, the Afghan national security force, and many beyond that are no longer serving. Add to that hundreds of thousands more Afghan national defense and security forces trained over the last two decades. 04:04 President Biden: We provided our Afghan partners with all the tools, let me emphasize, all the tools -- training, equipment -- of any modern military. We provided advanced weaponry, and we're going to continue to provide funding and equipment and we'll ensure they have the capacity to maintain their Air Force. 5:54 President Biden: We're also going to continue to make sure that we take on Afghan nationals who worked side by side with US forces, including interpreters and translators. Since we're no longer going to have military there after this, we're not going to need them and they'll have no jobs. We're [sic] also going to be vital to our efforts. they've been very vital, and so their families are not exposed to danger as well. We've already dramatically accelerated the procedure time for Special Immigrant Visas to bring them to the United States. Since I was inaugurated on January 20, we've already approved 2,500 Special Immigrant Visas to come to the United States. Up to now, fewer than half have exercised the right to do that. Half have gotten on aircraft and come commercial flights and come and other half believe they want to stay, at least thus far. We're working closely with Congress to change the authorization legislation so that we can streamline the process of approving those visas. And those who have stood up for the operation to physically relocate 1000s of Afghans and their families before the US military mission concludes so that, if they choose, they can wait safely outside of Afghanistan, while their US visas are being processed. 8:13 President Biden: For those who have argued that we should stay just six more months, or just one more year, I asked them to consider the lessons of recent history. In 2011, the NATO allies and partners agreed that we would end our combat mission in 2014. In 2014, some argued one more year. So we kept fighting. We kept taking casualties. In 2015, the same, and on and on. Nearly 20 years of experience has shown us that the current security situation only confirms that just one more year of fighting in Afghanistan is not a solution, but a recipe for being there indefinitely. It's up to the Afghans to make the decision about the future of their country. Others are more direct. Their argument is that we should stay with the Afghans and Afghanistan indefinitely. In doing so they point to the fact that we we have not taken losses in this last year. So they claim that the cost of just maintaining the status quo is minimal. 9:19 President Biden: But that ignores the reality, and the facts that already presented on the ground in Afghanistan when I took office. The Taliban is at its strongest militarily since 2001. The number of US forces in Afghanistan had been reduced to a bare minimum. And the United States and the last administration made an agreement that they have to with the Taliban remove all our forces by May 1 of this year. That's what I inherited. That agreement was the reason the Taliban had ceased major attacks against US forces. 9:55 President Biden: If in April, I had instead announced that the United States was going to go back on that agreement, made by the last administration, the United States and allied forces will remain in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, the Taliban would have again begun to target our forces. The status quo was not an option. Staying would have meant US troops taking casualties, American men and women back in the middle of a civil war, and we would run the risk of having to send more troops back in Afghanistan to defend our remaining troops. Once that agreement with the Taliban had been made, staying with a bare minimum force was no longer possible. 10:34 President Biden: So let me ask those who want us to stay: how many more? How many 1000s more Americans' daughters and sons are you willing to risk? How long would you have them stay? Already we have members of our military whose parents fought in Afghanistan 20 years ago. Would you send their children and their grandchildren as well? Would you send your own son or daughter? After 20 years, a trillion dollars spent training and equipping hundreds of 1000s of Afghan National Security and Defence Forces. 2,448 Americans killed, 20,722 more wounded, and untold 1000s coming home with unseen trauma to their mental health. I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome. 11:51 President Biden: Today the terrorist threat has metastasized beyond Afghanistan. So, we are repositioning our resources and adapting our counterterrorism posture to meet the threats where they are now: significantly higher in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. 12:07 President Biden: But make no mistake, our military and intelligence leaders are confident they have the capabilities to protect the homeland and our interests from any resurgent terrorist challenge emerging or emanating from Afghanistan. We're developing a counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed at any direct threat to the United States in the region and act quickly and decisively if needed. 12:38 President Biden: We also need to focus on shoring up America's core strengths to meet the strategic competition competition with China and other nations that is really going to determine our future. 14:58 Reporter: Is the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan now inevitable? President Biden: No. It is not. Because you have the Afghan troops, 300,000. Well equipped, as well equipped as any army in the world, and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable. 15:45 President Biden: Do I trust the Taliban? No, but I trust the capacity of the Afghan military who is better trained, better equipped, and more competent in terms of conducting war. 18:07 Reporter: Your own intelligence community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse President Biden: That is not true 18:53 President Biden: And I want to make clear what I made clear to Ghani, that we are not going to walk away and not sustain their ability to maintain that force. We are. We're going to also work to make sure we help them in terms of everything from food necessities and other things in the region. But there is not a conclusion that in fact, they cannot defeat the Taliban. I believe the only way there's going to be -- this is now Joe Biden, not the intelligence community -- the only way there's only going to be peace and secure in Afghanistan, is that they work out a modus vivendi with the Taliban, and they make a judgement as to how they can make peace. And the likelihood there's going to be one unified government in Afghanistan, controlling the whole country is highly unlikely. 21:30 Reporter: Mr. President, how serious was the corruption among the Afghanistan government to this mission failing there? President Biden: First of all, the mission hasn't failed yet. 22:00 President Biden: There were going to be negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan national security forces, and the Afghan government that didn't come to fruition. So the question now is where do they go from here? The jury is still out, but the likelihood there's going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely. 23:20 Reporter: Mr. President, "speed is safety," as you just said in your remarks. Are you satisfied with the timeline of relocating Afghan nationals? Is it happening quickly enough to your satisfaction if it may not happen until next month at the end? President Biden: It has already happened, there have already been people, about 1000 people have gotten on aircraft and come to the United States already on commercial aircraft. So as I said, there's over 2500 people, that as from January to now, have have gotten those visas and only half decided that they wanted to leave. The point is that I think the whole process has to be speeded up -- period -- in terms of being able to get these visas. Reporter: Why can't the US evacuate these Afghan translators to the United States to await their visa processing as some immigrants of the southern border have been allowed to? President Biden: Because the law doesn't allow that to happen. And that's why we're asking the Congress to consider changing the law. President Biden Remarks on Afghanistan Strategy Transcript April 14, 2021 Sound Clips 00:38 President Biden: I'm speaking to you today from the Roosevelt -- the Treaty room in the White House -- the same spot where in October of 2001, President George W. Bush informed our nation that the United States military had begun strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. It was just weeks, just weeks after the terrorist attack on our nation that killed 2,977 innocent souls, that turned Lower Manhattan into a disaster area, destroyed parts of the Pentagon and made hallowed ground in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and sparked an American promise that we would never forget. We went to Afghanistan in 2001, to root out al Qaeda to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States planned from Afghanistan. Our objective was clear, the cause was just, our NATO allies and partners rallied beside us. And I supported that military action along with the overwhelming majority of the members of Congress. More than seven years later, in 2008 weeks before we swore the oath of office -- President Obama and I were about to swear -- President Obama asked me to travel to Afghanistan and report back on the state of the war in Afghanistan. I flew to Afghanistan to the Kunar Valley, a rugged, mountainous region on the border of Pakistan. What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country. And that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan Government. I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that, we accomplished that objective. I said, along with others, we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if need be. That's exactly what we did. And we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put President Obama's commitment into form. And that's exactly what happened Osama bin Laden was gone. That was 10 years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to Bin Laden a decade ago. And we've stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan have become increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved. Over the past 20 years, the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe. Al Shabaab in Somalia, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, on Al Nusra in Syria, ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia. With the terror threat now in many places, keeping 1000s of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and our leaders. We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdraw and expecting a different result. I'm now the fourth United States President to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth. After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the Vice President, as well as with Mr. Ghani and many others around the world. I concluded that it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home. 5:01 President Biden: When I came to office, I inherited a diplomatic agreement, duly negotiated between the government of the United States and the Taliban, that all US forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1 2021, just three months after my inauguration. That's what we inherited. That commitment is perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government. And that means something. So in keeping with that agreement, and with our national interest, the United States will begin our final withdrawal beginning on May 1 of this year. 8:11 President Biden: You all know that less than 1% of Americans serve in our Armed Forces. The remaining 99%, we owe them. We owe them. They've never backed down from a single mission that we've asked of them. I've witnessed their bravery firsthand during my visits to Afghanistan. They've never wavered in their resolve. They paid a tremendous price on our behalf and they have the thanks of a grateful nation. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) High-Risk List Center for Strategic and International Studies Transcript March 10, 2021 Speaker: John Sopko - Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Sound Clips 7:40 John Sopko: But right now, that state is under threat. In the wake of the February 2020 withdrawal agreement, all is not well. Compromise appears in short supply on either side. Taliban attacks have actually increased since the agreement was signed. Assassination of prominent officials, activists, journalists, aid workers and others have also increased, including an unsuccessful attack on one of the female members of the peace negotiating team. And the Taliban offensive on Kandahar city last October, as peace negotiations were ongoing, may well have succeeded, were it not for U.S. air support. Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have achieved little for Afghanistan so far, and only time will tell as to whether the new Biden administration initiative will bear fruit. And the Afghan people's fears for its own government survival are exacerbated by the knowledge of how dependent their country is on foreign military and financial support. 12:56 John Sopko: Another equally serious threat to Afghanistan’s stability has also largely been ignored as we focus on the boots on the ground in Afghanistan. And that is the provision of last year's U.S.-Taliban agreement that stipulates that in addition to the departure of U.S. and coalition troops, or non-diplomatic civilian personnel: private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting service personnel also must leave the country by May 1. Should this come to passSIGAR and many others believe this may be more devastating to the effectiveness of the Afghan security forces than the withdrawal of our remaining troops. Why is that? Because the Afghan government relies heavily on these foreign contractors and trainers to function. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 there are over 18,000 Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan, including 6000 Americans, and 7,000 3rd country nationals, 40% of whom are responsible for logistics, maintenance, or training tasks. Now, it is well known that the Afghan security forces need these contractors to maintain their equipment, manage supply chains, and train their military and police to operate the advanced equipment that we have purchased for them. For example, as of December, the Afghan National Army was completing just under 20% of its own maintenance work orders, well below the goal of 80% that was set and the 51% that they did in 2018. So that's actually going down. The Afghan National Police were just as bad if not worse, undertaking only 12% of their own maintenance work against a target of 35% and less than the 16% that we reported in our 2019 high risk list. Additionally, and more troubling. The Department of Defense does train, advise and assist command air, or commonly called TAC air recently reported that since late 2019, they have reduced their personnel in Afghanistan by 94%, and that the military drawdown now requires near total use of contract support to maintain the Afghan Air fleet. They assess that quote “further drawdown in the associated closure basis will effectively end all in country aviation training contracts in Afghanistan.” Again, why is this significant? Why do we view this as a high risk? Namely because contractors currently provide 100% of the maintenance for the Afghan Air Force, UAE 60 helicopters and CE 130 cargo aircraft and a significant portion of Afghans Light Combat Support aircraft. TAC air this January gave a bleak assessment, namely, that no Afghan airframe can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months in the absence of contractor support. 17:51 John Sopko: Continued funding for U.S. reconstruction programs aimed at promoting economic development, rule of law, respect for human rights, good governance and security for the Afghan people may be more significant, because it may be the primary lever left for the US and other donors to influence that country. It appears that even the Taliban understand Afghanistan's dire need for foreign assistance. Because, as one of the few commitments that the US had to make last year was, “to seek economic cooperation for reconstruction, with the new post settlement, Afghan Islamic government.” Now how much the donor community wishes to stay involved will of course depend on what that government looks like and how it behaves. Numerous officials, including then Secretary of State Pompeo and Ambassador Halley, have stated that the US will be able to advance its human rights goals, including the rights of women and girls with the Taliban by leveraging or conditioning this much needed financial assistance. But unfortunately, as SIGAR has long reported, even when conditionality involved only dealing with the Afghan government, donors do not have a stellar record of successfully utilizing that conditionality to influence Afghan behavior. 27:19 John Sopko: Today our report suggests the donor community should realize the Afghan government is focused on a single goal, its survival. Afghanistan is more dependent on international support than ever before. It may not be an overstatement that if foreign assistance is withdrawn and peace negotiations fail, Taliban forces could be at the gates of Kabul in short order. Hearing: A PATHWAY FOR PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN: EXAMINING THE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE AFGHANISTAN STUDY GROUP House Committee on Oversight and Reform: Subcommittee on National Security February 19, 2021 Testimony was heard from the following Afghanistan Study Group officials: Kelly A. Ayotte, Co-Chair; News Corp Board of Directors since April 2017 BAE Systems Board of Directors since June 2017 Blackstone Board of Directors Boston Properties Board of Directors Caterpillar Board of Directors Board of Advisors at Cirtronics General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. (Retired), Co-Chair Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Obama and Trump presidencies. Lockheed Martin Board of Directors since February 2020 Nancy Lindborg, Co-Chair President and CEO of the David Lucile Packard Foundation Former President and CEO of the US Institute for Peace Former Assistant Administrator for the bureau for democracy conflict and humanitarian assistance at USAID During the mid-Obama years. Sound Clips 3:13 Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): I'd also like to take a moment to thank the nonpartisan US Institute of Peace for the support and expertise they provided to the study group during the course of its work. 3:23 Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): In the fiscal year 2020 omnibus bill Congress led by Senator Graham Senator Patrick Leahy and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee of state foreign ops and related programs. They tasked the independent and bipartisan Afghanistan study group to quote, consider the implications of a peace settlement or the failure to reach a settlement on US policy, resources and commitments in Afghanistan. After nearly nine months of review and consultation with current and former US and Afghan government officials, allies and partners and other key stakeholders, the Afghanistan study group issued its final report earlier this month. 15:12 Kelly Ayotte: We recommend that US troops remain beyond may 1. We believe a precipitous withdrawal of US and international troops in May, would be catastrophic for Afghanistan, leading to civil war, and allow the reconstitution of terror groups which threaten the United States within an 18 to 36 month period. 15:41 Kelly Ayotte: Let me be clear, although we recommend that our troops remain beyond may 1, we propose a new approach toward Afghanistan, which aligns our policies, practices and messaging across the United States government to support the Afghan peace process, rather than prosecute a war. Our troops would remain not to fight a forever war, but to guarantee the conditions for a successful peace process and to protect our national security interests to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a haven again, for terrorists who threaten the United States of America. 37:15 General Joseph F. Dunford: Do we need to increase forces if the Taliban don't accept an extension past the first of May, and if they then would re initiate attacks against US forces? and Chairman, we heard exactly what you heard. In the fall. What we were told by commanders on the ground in the department of fence was that 4500 US forces, in addition to the NATO forces that are there was the minimum level to address both the mission as well as protection of our forces in the context of the conditions that existed in the fall in as you've highlighted, those conditions have only gotten worse since the fall so in in our judgment 2500 would not be adequate. Should the Taliban re initiate attacks against the United States Hearing: Examining the Trump Administration’s Afghanistan Strategy House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on National Security January 28, 2020 Witness: John Sopko - Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) Sound Clips 48:54 John Sopko: We've almost created a system that forces people in the government to give happy talk success stories because they're over there on very short rotations. They want to show success. The whole system is almost geared to give you, and it goes up the chain of command, all the way to the President sometimes. He gets bad information from people out in the field because somebody on a nine month rotation, he has to show success, and that goes up. 54:24 John Sopko: Maybe incentivize honesty. And one of the proposals I gave at that time,be cause I was asked by the staff to come up with proposals, is put the same requirement on the government that we impose on publicly traded corporations. Publicly traded corporations have to tell the truth. Otherwise the SEC will indict the people involved. They have to report when there's a significant event. So put that onus, call it The Truth in Government Act if you want, that you in the administration are duty bound by statute to alert Congress to significant events that could directly negatively impact a program or process. So incentivize honesty. 1:10:25 John Sopko: Over 70% of the Afghan budget comes from the United States and the donors. If that money ended, I have said before and I will stand by it, then the Afghan government will probably collapse. Wartime Contracting Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs September 21, 2011 Witnesses: Charles Tiefer: Commissioner on the Commission on Wartime Contracting Clark Kent Ervin: Commissioner on the Commission on Wartime Contracting Sound Clips 1:11:30 Charles Tiefer: Our private security in Afghanistan appears to be a major source of payoffs to the Taliban. Our report has the first official statement that it’s the second-largest source of money for the Taliban. Sen. Carl Levin: After drugs. Charles Tiefer: After drugs, that’s right. 1:25:18 Clark Kent Ervin: It’s critical that the government have a choice, and that means that there needs to be at least a small and expandable, organic capacity on the part of these three agencies to perform missions themselves, so the next time there’s a contingency, the government has a choice between going with contractors and going in-house and the determination can be made whether it’s more effective to do it either way, whether it’s cheaper to do it either way. As we said at the inception, right now the government doesn’t have an option. Contractors are the default option because they’re the only option. President George W. Bush announces U.S. Military Strikes on Afghanistan October 7, 2001 President George W. Bush: Good afternoon. On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime. More than two weeks ago, I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands: close terrorist training camps, hand over leaders of the Al-Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals including American citizens unjustly detained in your country. None of these demands were met and now the Taliban will pay a price by destroying camps and disrupting communications. We will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans. ** International Campaign Against Terrorism Senate Foreign Relations Committee October 25, 2001 Witness: Colin Powell: Secretary of State Sound Clip 27:00 Colin Powell: Our work in Afghanistan though, is not just of a military nature. We recognize that when the Al Qaeda organization has been destroyed in Afghanistan, and as we continue to try to destroy it in all the nations in which it exists around the world, and when the Taliban regime has gone to its final reward, we need to put in place a new government in Afghanistan, one that represents all the people of Afghanistan and one that is not dominated by any single powerful neighbor, but instead is dominated by the will of the people of Afghanistan. Executive Producer Recommendations Elect Stephanie Gallardo 2022 Krystal Kyle and Friends. August 21, 2021. “Episode 35 Audio with Matthew Hoh.” Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
  • Congressional Dish podcast

    CD237: Hunting Domestic Terrorists

    1:58:59

    In the aftermath of January 6th, Congress passed a "Capitol Security" law and is considering other measures to deal with "domestic terrorists". In this episode, after we examine the new law, we take a look at the domestic terrorism related bills making their way through Congress, we analyze the laws already on the books which allow way too many Americans to be branded as "domestic terrorist" suspects, and we take a close look at the Biden administrations disturbing plans for investigating, preventing, and prosecuting American citizens for crimes they haven't committed yet. Executive Producer: Christopher Grizzle Executive Producer: Jose Huerta Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via PayPal Support Congressional Dish via Patreon (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to: @Jennifer-Briney Send Cash App payments to: $CongressionalDish or [email protected] Use your bank’s online bill pay function to mail contributions to: 5753 Hwy 85 North, Number 4576, Crestview, FL 32536. Please make checks payable to Congressional Dish Thank you for supporting truly independent media! Background Sources Recommended Congressional Dish Episodes CD236: January 6: The Capitol Riot CD235: The Safe Haven of Sanctions Evaders CD228: The Second Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump CD224: Social Media Censorship Domestic Terrorism Policy and Strategy U.S. Department of Homeland Security. August 13, 2021. “National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin”. U.S. National Security Council. June 2021. National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. The White House. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. May 11, 2021. “DHS Creates New Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships and Additional Efforts to Comprehensively Combat Domestic Violent Extremism”. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. September 19, 2019. "Fusion Centers." "John D. Cohen: Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security." No date. U.S. House of Representatives Document Repository. John Cohen LinkedIn profile U.S. Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency. No date. "Humanitarian Assistance". Perspectives on the "Domestic War on Terror" Branko Marcetic. July 28, 2021. “The FBI’s Domestic 'War on Terror' Is an Authoritarian Power Grab.” Jacobin. Ken Bensinger and Jessica Garrison. July 20, 2021. "Watching the Watchmen." BuzzFeed News. Harsha Panduranga. June 21, 2021. “Why Biden’s Strategy for Preventing Domestic Terrorism Could Do More Harm Than Good.” Los Angeles Times. Glenn Greenwald. June 2, 2021. “The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun -- Even Without the New Laws Biden Wants.” Glenn Greenwald Substack. Faiza Patel. February 16, 2021. "We Don’t Need More Terrorism Laws After the Capitol Riot. Just Look At Our 9/11 Mistakes." Brennan Center for Justice. January 6 Capitol Riot Aftermath Natalia Gurevich. August 24, 2021. “After Jan. 6 attack, US Capitol Police choose San Francisco for new field office.” KCBS Radio. Barbara Sprunt. July 27, 2021. “Here Are The 9 Lawmakers Investigating The Jan. 6 Capitol Attack.” NPR. Glenn Greenwald. July 8, 2021. "The Capitol Police, Armed With $2 Billion in New Funding, Expanding Operations Outside of D.C." Glenn Greenwald Substack. United States Capitol Police. July 6, 2021. “After the Attack: The Future of the U.S. Capitol Police.” Lexi Lonas. June 30, 2021. "Nearly 70 House lawmakers ask leadership to reimburse National Guard for Jan. 6 response.” The Hill. Jacob Pramuk. May 20, 2021. "House passes $1.9 billion Capitol security bill that faces Senate roadblocks." CNBC. Corporate and Government Partnerships Rachael Levy. August 15, 2021. “Homeland Security Considers Outside Firms to Analyze Social Media After Jan. 6 Failure." Anti-Defamation League. July 26, 2021. “PayPal Partners with ADL to Fight Extremism and Protect Marginalized Communities.” Danny O'Brien and Rainey Reitman. December 14, 2020. “Visa and Mastercard are Trying to Dictate What You Can Watch on Pornhub.” Electronic Frontier Foundation. Gillian Friedman. December 10, 2020. “Mastercard and Visa stop allowing their cards to be used on Pornhub.” New York Times. Shannon Souza. October 12, 2020. “Credit and Debit Card Market Share by Network and Issuer.” The Ascent: A Motley Fool Service. New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Christchurch Call. “Anti-Defamation League.” Last edited March 30, 2012. SourceWatch. Valens Global. "Who We Are." Laws H.R. 3237: Emergency Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (Capitol Police Funding) Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Status: Signed into law, 2021 May 20 House Vote Breakdown Congressional Budget Office Score Law Outline TITLE I: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Emergency funding appropriated... $600 million for the National Guard $500 million for the "Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid" account TITLE II: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Emergency funding appropriated... $25 million for Refugee and Entrant Assistance for Afghans TITLE III: LEGISLATIVE BRANCH SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Emergency funding appropriated... $11.6 million for the House of Representatives for coronavirus related expenses. $ 8 million for the Senate Sergeant at Arms for coronavirus related expenses $346 thousand for the families of late members of Congress Ronald Wright and Alcee Hastings. CAPITOL POLICE Emergency funding appropriated... $37.5 million for "Salaries" account for January 6 related expenses $3.6 million is for retention bonuses $6.9 million for hazard pay $1.4 million for a wellness program for the Capitol Police officers $33 million for "General Expenses" account for January 6 related expenses At least $5 million must be spent on "reimbursable agreements with State and local law enforcement agencies" At least $4.8 million for protective details for Congress $2.6 million for physical protection barriers and other civil disturbance unit equipment $2.5 million to the US Marshalls Service for providing counseling to Capitol Police officers. $800,000 for coronavirus expenses $35.4 million for mutual aid and training $9 million for payments to other local law enforcement partners who responded on January 6 Leaves $25 million for Capitol Police training ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL Emergency funding appropriated... $22 million for coronavirus expenses CAPITOL POLICE BUILDINGS, GROUNDS AND SECURITY Emergency funding appropriated to the Capitol Police and Architect of the Capitol Police... $300 million to repair January 6th damage $281 million for windows, doors, and enhances physical security $17 million for security cameras GENERAL PROVISIONS Sec. 310: No Permanent Fencing No funds now or in the future can be used to install "permanent, above ground fencing around the perimeter, or any portion thereof, of the United States Capitol Grounds. TITLE IV: BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE Emergency funding appropriated... $100 million for "humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and to assist Afghan refugees" $500 million for the "United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund" GENERAL PROVISIONS Extension and Modification of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program (See episode CD238) TITLE V: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE Emergency funding appropriated... $1.1 million for reimbursements for protecting Joe Biden between his election and inauguration USA PATRIOT Act Sponsor: James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) Status: Signed into law, 2001 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). August 24, 2021. “FinCEN's 314(a) Fact Sheet.” United States Department of the Treasury. FinCEN. December 2020. “314(b) Fact Sheet.” United States Department of the Treasury. United States Department of the Treasury. February 10, 2011. "Fact Sheet: Overview of Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act" Douglas N. Greenburg, John Roth, and Katherine A. Sawyer. June 2007. “Special Measures Under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act.” Review of Banking and Financial Services Bills S. 1896: Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act Sponsor: Doris Matsui (D-CA) Status: Introduced, May 28, 2021 S. 937: COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act Sponsor: Mazie Hirono (D-HI) Status: Enacted, March 23, 2021 H.Res. 272: Calling for the designation of Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization Sponsor: Lauren Boebert (R-CO) Status: Introduced to the House, March 26, 2021 S. 963: Domestic Terrorism and Hate Crimes Prevention Act Sponsor: Richard Durbin (D-IL) Status: Sent to the Senate for consideration March 25, 2021 S. 964: Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 Sponsor: Richard Durbin (D-IL) Status: Introduced, March 24, 2021 H.R. 657: District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act Sponsor: Eleanor Norton (D-DC) Status: Introduced, February 1, 2021 S. 130: District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act Sponsor: Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Status: Introduced January 28, 2021 H.R. 350: Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 Sponsor: Brad Schneider (D-IL) Status: Introduced January 19, 2021 H.R. 4192: Confronting the Threat of Domestic Terrorism Act Sponsor: Adam Schiff (D-CA) Status: Died in 116th Congress The Hearings Resources and Authorities Needed to Protect and Secure the Homeland Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs July 27, 2021 Testimony heard from Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security 37:00 DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: Domestic terrorism is the most lethal and persistent terrorism related threat to the United States today. That is why we are requesting $131 million to support innovative methods to prevent domestic terrorism, while respecting privacy, civil rights and civil liberties. 2:27:00 Sen. Jon Ossoff (GA): According to DHS, FBI data from 2015 to 2019, 65 Americans were tragically killed in domestic terrorist attacks. And I want to put that in context by referring to CDC homicide data over the same period of 2015 to 2019. 94,636 Americans killed by homicide over that same period. 2:27:15 Sen. Jon Ossoff (GA): What leads you to the conclusion that the level of threat from domestic violent extremists and the level of threat posed by potential domestic terrorists has risen to the extent that it justifies this bureaucratic focus and this budgetary focus you've requested, for example, resources to establish a new dedicated domestic terrorism branch within DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. 2:28:00 DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: What we see is an increasing amount of social media traffic that is based on ideologies of hate, and extremism, false narratives, and an increasing connectivity to violence - intention to commit violent acts. And so that is what causes us to conclude that this is the greatest terrorist related threat that we face in our homeland today. 2:28:15 DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: What we seek to do is more effectively disseminate what we learn about those trends - mindful of rights of privacy and civil rights and civil liberties - disseminate that information to our state, local, tribal, territorial partners on the one hand, and importantly, to equip local communities, to empower them to address the threat in their own neighborhoods. Terrorism and Digital Financing: How Technology is Changing the Threat House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism July 22, 2021 Testimony was heard from the following Department of Homeland Security officials: Stephanie Dobitsch, Deputy Undersecretary, Office of Intelligence and Analysis Previously served as former Vice President Mike Pence’s special adviser for the Middle East and North Africa Jeremy Sheridan, Assistant Director, Office of Investigations, U.S. Secret Service; and John Eisert, Assistant Director, Investigative Programs, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 3:15 Rep. Elise Slotkin (MI): Some of the online platforms and online tech allow easy access for thousands, if not millions of users to donate money through online campaigns. For example, crowdfunding through PayPal, GoFundMe, and Amazon have become popular ways in recent years for extremist groups to raise money. To put this in context, according to the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, from about 2005 to 2015, just about every extremist group they tracked featured a PayPal button on their website. Now, even though PayPal and other payment processing platforms became aware of the issue and began to ban extremists from their flat platforms, which is a great first step, these groups have persevered and maintained a strong online presence. 5:00 Rep. Elise Slotkin (MI): But just as nefarious groups have changed their fundraising tactics after crackdowns by payment processors like PayPal, when law enforcement begins following and cracking down on illicit Bitcoin use, terrorist fundraisers advise supporters to use other cryptocurrencies to avoid detection. This was the case of a pro ISIS website that requested its supporters send money via Monero, another cryptocurrency instead of Bitcoin because of its privacy and safety features. 6:00 Rep. Elise Slotkin (MI): But we know we have an uphill battle. Our subcommittee really stands ready to help the department with what you need. If you need changes to legislation, if you need resources, we want to hear more from you, not less. 56:55 Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ): I hear the phrase that it enables the democratization of currency. And every time someone says we're democratizing something, it kind of ends the conversation. That's sort of good. I don't really understand what that means in this context. I think it's an abstraction, whereas ransomware attacks are not an abstraction. They're hurting people, every single day. So I'm not sure if I see it. And I think we do need to expand this conversation to ask that fundamental question, whether the challenges that you are facing - that we are asking you to deal with - in protecting us against all of these social ills, are challenges that are necessary, inescapable and inevitable. And I think we have to ask, what is the good? What is the positive social value of this phenomenon that is also creating all of this harm? And you know, I think when you look at the history of how we built modern economies in the United States and around the world, we started three or 400 years ago with multiple currencies that were unregulated and not controlled by governments and in every modern economy, we built what we have today when government decided no, we're going to have one currency that is issued and regulated by government. And I think I could ask you - we don't have time - how we can better regulate cryptocurrency, but I think if we regulated it, it wouldn't be crypto anymore. And so what would be the point? So I come back to the question, should this be allowed? Thank you. I yield back. Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Part II Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Committee on Rules and Administration March 3, 2021 Hearing on C-SPAN Day II, Part I Hearing on C-SPAN Day II, Part II Testimony was heard from: Robert Salesses, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security at the U.S. Department of Defense Major General William Walker, Commanding General of the DC National Guard Jill Sanborn, Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice 06:42 Sen. Gary Peters (MI): But the January 6 attack must mark a turning point. There can be no question that the domestic terrorist threat and concluding violence driven by white supremacy and anti-government groups is the gravest terrorist threat to our homeland security. Moving forward, the FBI, which is tasked with leading our counterterrorism efforts, and the Department of Homeland Security, which ensures that state and local law enforcement understands the threats that American communities face must address this deadly threat with the same focus and resources and analytical rigor that they apply to foreign threats such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. State and Local Responses to Domestic Terrorism: The Attack on the U.S. Capitol and Beyond House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism March 24, 2021 Testimony was heard from: Dana Nessel, Attorney General, Michigan Aaron Ford, Attorney General, Nevada John Chisholm, District Attorney, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin 07:19 Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI): The post 9/11 era of security where the threats come from abroad is over. In the 20 years of the post 9/11 era, they came to an end on January 6th, the new reality is that we have to come to terms with is that it's our extremists here at home, seeking to explain internal divisions that pose the greatest threat. Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy February 25, 2021 Testimony was heard from: Iman Boukadoum, Senior Manager, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Lecia Brooks, Executive Director, Southern Poverty Law Center Daniel Glaser Global Head Jurisdictional Services and Head of Washington, DC Office at K2 Integrity Senior Advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Board member at the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury Daniel Rogers Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Global Disinformation Index Daveed Gertenstein-Ross, CEO of Valens Global 03:28 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): In the wake of the attacks of September 11th, we recast the entire federal government and worked feverishly to defund terrorist streams. To effectively disrupt domestic extremist groups, we need to better understand their financing. 23:11 Daniel Glaser: Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to talk about how the US government can employ similar tools and strategies against white nationalists and other domestic terrorist groups as it has employed against global jihadist groups over the past two decades. 27:42 Daniel Glaser: Potential measures in Treasury's toolbox include the issuance of guidance to financial institutions on financial type policies, methodologies and red flags, the establishment of public private partnerships, the use of information sharing authorities, and the use of geographic targeting orders. Taken together these measures will strengthen the ability of financial institutions to identify, report and impede the financial activity of domestic extremist groups and will ensure that the US financial system is a hostile environment for these groups. 30:10 Daniel Rogers: These groups leverage the Internet as a primary means of disseminating their toxic ideologies and soliciting funds. One only needs to search Amazon or Etsy for the term q anon to uncover shirts, hats, mugs, books and other paraphernalia that both monetize and further popularize the domestic violent extremist threat. Images from that fateful day last month are rife with sweatshirts that say, Camp Auschwitz that until recently were for sale on websites like Teespring and cafe press. As we speak at least 24 individuals indicted for their role in the January 6 insurrection, including eight members of the proud boys have used crowdfunding site gifts and go to raise nearly a quarter million dollars in donations. And it's not just about the money. This merchandise acts as a sort of team jersey that helps these groups recruit new members and foment further hatred towards their targets. We analyze the digital footprints of 73 groups across 60 websites, and 225 social media accounts and their use of 54 different online fundraising mechanisms, including 47 payment platforms and five different cryptocurrencies, ultimately finding 191 instances of hate groups using online fundraising services to support their activities. The funding mechanisms included both primary platforms like Amazon, intermediary platforms, such as Stripe or Shopify crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, payments facilitators like PayPal, monetized content streaming services, such as YouTube, super chats, and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. All of these payment mechanisms were linked to websites or social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, telegram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, gab, picshoot and others. The sheer number of companies I just mentioned, is the first clue to the scale and the scope of the problem. 43:25 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): Mr. Glaser, you you, though suggested something new that I'd like to give you a maybe 30 seconds, 42 seconds I have left to elaborate on you said you were taught you were hopeful for sanctions like authorities against domestic actors. You did nod to constitutional civil liberties concerns. But give us another 30 seconds on exactly what you mean. And perhaps most importantly, what sort of fourth amendment overlay should accompany such authority? 43:52 Daniel Glaser: Well, thank you, thank you for the question. The fact is, the Treasury Department really does not have a lot of authority to go after purely domestic groups in the way that it goes after global terrorist organizations that simply doesn't have that authority. You could imagine an authority that does allow for the designation of domestic organizations, it would have to take into account that, the constitutional restrictions. When you look when you read the a lot of the court decisions, there's concerns could be addressed in the statute, there's concerns. A lot of the scrutiny is heightened because sanctions are usually accompanied with acid freezes. But you could imagine sanctions that don't involve asset freezes that involve transaction bounds that involve regulatory type of requirements that you see in Section 311 of the Patriot Act. So there's a variety of ways that both the due process standards could be raised from what we see in the global context. 48:21 Rep. French Hill (AZ): On 314 in the Patriot Act, is that a place where we could, in a protected appropriate way make a change that relates to this domestic issue? Or is that, in your view, too challenging? Daveed Gertenstein-Ross: No, I think it's a place where you could definitely make a change. The 314-A process allows an investigator to canvass financial institutions for potential lead information that might otherwise never be uncovered. It's designed to allow disparate pieces of information to be identified, centralized and evaluated. So when law enforcement submits a request to FinCEN, to get information from financial institutions, it has to submit a written certification that each individual or entity about which the information is sought is engaged in or reasonably suspected of engaging in terrorist activity or money laundering. I think that in some cases 314-A, may already be usable, but I think it's worth looking at the 314-A process to see if in this particular context, when you're looking at domestic violent extremism, as opposed to foreign terrorist organizations, there are some tweaks that would provide ability to get leads in this manner. 1:15:04 Iman Boukadoum: What we submit is that the material support for terrorism statute, as we know, there are two of them. There's one with an international Nexus that is required. And there's one that allows for investigating material support for terrorism, domestic terrorism, in particular, as defined in the patriot act with underlying statutes that allows for any crimes that take place within the United States that have no international nexus. And we believe that that second piece of material support for terrorism statute has been neglected and can be nicely used with the domestic terrorism definition as laid out in the Patriot Act. And we hope that statutory framework will be used to actually go after violent white nationalists and others. The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions (Part II) House Committee on Oversight and Reform June 15, 2021 Testimony was heard from: General Charles E. Flynn, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific Lieutenant General Walter E. Piatt, Director of the Army Staff, U.S. Army Christopher Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation 2:51:19 Chris Wray: Among the things that we've taken away from this experience are a few. One, as you heard me say in response to an earlier question, we need to develop better human sources, right, because if we can get better human sources, then we can better separate the wheat from the chaff in social media. Two, we need better data analytics. The volume, as you said, the volume of this stuff is, is just massive, and the ability to have the right tools to get through it and sift through it in a way that is, again, separating the wheat from the chaff is key. And then the third point that I would make is we are rapidly having to contend with the issue of encryption. So what I mean by that is, yes, there might be chatter on social media. But then what we have found and this is true in relation to January 6th, in spades, but it was also true over the summer in some of the violence that occurred there. Individuals will switch over to encrypted platforms for the really significant, really revealing communications. And so we've got to figure out a way to get into those communications or we're going to be constantly playing catch up in our effort to separate as I said, the wheat from the chaff on social media. 3:16:54 Chris Wray: As for social media, I think there's, there's it's understandable that there's a lot of confusion on this subject we do not we have very specific policies that Ben at the Department for a long time that govern our ability to use social media and when we have an authorized purpose and proper predication, there's a lot of things we can do on social media. And we do do and we aggressively do but what we can't do, what we can't do on social media is without proper predication, and an authorized purpose, just monitor, just in case on social media. Now, if the policies should be changed to reflect that, that might be one of the important lessons learned coming out of this whole experience. But that's not something that that currently the FBI has the either the authority or certainly the resources frankly, to do. Executive producer contact information  Robyn Thirkill Instagram: @Flossies_Farmstead LinkedIn Cover Art Design by Only Child Imaginations Music Presented in This Episode Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

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