tv House Hearing on U.S.- Saudi Arabia Relations CSPAN September 11, 2020 1:03pm-1:39pm EDT
court. after talking with counsel, i ave determined that compliance of the subpoena is consistent with the privileges and rights house. igned sincerely, paul d. irving, sergeant at arms. he speaker: pursuant to the order of the house of january 3, 2019, of the following ndividual to the board of folg es of the american life center -- folk life center in the library of congress for years. the clerk: ms. arrington of lubbock, texas. speaker: pursuant to section 4-b of house resolution 967, the house stands
>> term that they would use for any of their surveillance benefits -- to benefit the president? >> just for monitoring their social media operation, they accounts, twitter, twitter and facebook shut down thousands of saudi accounts and saudi operations in the united states. you should recall during the investigation, there was a big outtag and then we found that originated from saudi arabia, so they are trying to play that game. they are not on the same level as the russians or chinese with their influence operation, but something we need to pay
attention to and focus on. >> thank you. raised the issue of a duty to warn mr. khashoggi of a threat to his life if we in fact had evidence of that. evidenceware of any that anyone in the united states had about the plot to murder mr. khashoggi? >> thank you for the question. only aware of what was reported in the media. i am trying to get to the source of the information, but without much success. havingcan say is that analyze what was in the public domain, on the basis of the standard related to the duty to warn, i reached the conclusion that if indeed there had been
mbsrmation originating from and the use of trigger words suggesting violence, in my opinion, because of the origin s, they should have treated further analysis, or at the very least, assessment of the risk and of the validity of the threats. that kindere indeed of intersection made, then in my view, it should have triggered an analysis of the validity of the threat, and possibly than a duty to warn. for the u.s. is intelligence to release
information that was reported in the media. issues thatof the was recommended, and possibly at the legal level, an appeal of the freedom of information act for those information to be released. i do hope that as well as the release of the information regarding the cia assessment of the responsibility of the conference, and in keeping with one of the themes of today's discussion, which is transparency, i will really that thed recommend information regarding the intersection of communication originating from the crown prince be made public. >> thank you. just re-flee, you alluded to the taliban has a relationship with that arabia so you assess
negotiations are currently ongoing with afghanistan and saudi arabia and afghanistan have a relationship? >> not with the current leadership, because the leadership is negotiating with the u.s. in doha. monolithic is not a organization so there is a network that dances to the tune of islam about and there are other -- islamabad and there are other factions, so it is not one monolithic organization. as the leadership, the court taliban, i don't think the relationship they had does have is as good as it was when al qaeda was in power. >> i yelled back. -- yield back. >> peter welch.
how would you describe the view of the trump-pompeo administration as to what they of the u.s. is getting out supporting saudi arabia in the way that it is, number one, and number two, however they would define it, is it giving from their perspective anything of benefit? the president has been remarkably open and transparent on why he want the relationship -- wants the relationship with saudi arabia. they are one of the world great customers. in fact, that was very much the case. >> i just want to interrupt.
that is transparent in the way the president is, but what he give any strategic definitions in the traditional sense of a state department or strategic sense beyond, we are making money and it is good for business? >> i think he also sees it in ,erms of the struggle with iran and his secretary of state placing social calls, maximum pressure on iran. policy released that saudi arabia fully endorses. -- they see eye to eye. >> this policy that we are supporting saudi arabia is hurting saudi arabia as opposed to iran. >> exactly.
mbs hascies that pursued are counterproductive. there is a lot of pressure on iran and other areas, but these are two notable areas, particularly yemen. -- [indiscernible] >> what would be your judgment if the u.s. did cut off the support to saudi arabia for arms "won" in yemen. >> they will still have many domestic enemies at home, but it would end saudi involvement in the war and that is the important part, not only to end their involvement and their siege. because of their siege, food and medicine has not been getting to the people, and the united
nations is warning of vast famine in yemen in the following months, 3 million people being at very high risk. we could end the saudi support for the blockade if we could end saudi bombing raids. not make iton will perfect but will make it much better. very tall signal inside the saudi royal family, the saudis know they are the biggest beneficiaries. we don't need saudi oil. we have more oil than we possibly could use, especially in a pandemic. we produce more than them. that will send a powerful message. >> thank you. how would you describe saudi objective with their dramatic change in policy that includes
extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings that we have heard about? >> this is something we have never seen in saudi arabia wasioned, and saudi arabia given a different light, but they never allowed targeted assassinations. ruling in this kind of style in his network, young, inexperienced. they are instigating everything they want and if they don't get it, they will kill you. they are sending a strong message to intimidate dissidents, to scare them. they even put spies on twitter in san francisco to give them detailed information about dissidents and where they are. as we speak, there is an ongoing three saudi against
operatives who are spies for the government on twitter, spying on us in the united states. this is not what i know about saudi arabia. these are not the institutions we worked with in saudi arabia. we mentioned how med but not beniafrlier -- hamid earlier. al qaeda tried to kill him but they failed because their relationship in counterterrorism between them and the saudi's is basically a personal relationship. an order for mbs to take over. this is not institutions. the is not the people in situations in saudi arabia saying, this is what we need to
do, we have a strategy. this is a win of an erratic prince. >> thank you for an extraordinary report. to rosner go now krishnamurthy. >> can you hear me? >> great. likeank you very much, and the others, i echo the sentiments that this is really an entirely appropriate discussion to have on 9/11 when we remember the first responders and those we lost. is at theon i have same time that we are extremely concerned about iran developing a nuclear weapon, i am concerned, as are many people on this committee, about the saudis pursuing a nuclear weapon.
my understanding is that the chinese government has recently assisted them in certain matters related to enriching uranium and so forth. what can you tell us about the status of this saudi nuclear weapons effort? >> [indiscernible] the crown prince has said it publicly. they want nuclear weapons in saudi arabia. the good news is there technical capabilities in physics are pretty primitive. they have a long way to go. the bad news is that saudi arabia has a policy of buying what it needs to do that. i think the chinese deal in this space, i would be particularly worried. we have had rumors -- more than saudis-- for decades of
having new clear -- nuclear operations. the relationship is in trouble in the mbs era, but it is a deep relationship particularly between the pakistan military and their saudi counterparts. i would like to demand as much transparency as possible and certainly encourage the committee to tell the dni that this needs to get off of the list of requirements of both saudi arabia and pakistan. >> there is an understand that -- program.ankroll do you believe if the saudis demanded to have a nuclear weapon in their arsenal, that the pakistanis would agree? >> it is a very good question, impossible to know. i think it will be more than a demand.
i think the saudis would say to the head of the pakistani 100 million,e is 500 million, you name the number, and it is for you personally. in addition to which we will ,ffer assistance to pakistan that's how i think it would operate, not just simply the nation to nation deal. it will probably include quite a -- to the pakistani military. >> we talked a little bit about 9/11 before. what are some of the most important questions that remain unanswered regarding the saudi role in 9/11, as you see it? >> we have a couple of things that are coming out through the lawsuits. for example, we still anticipate
to know what happened the first laxays when they arrived to even the 9/11 commission did not talk about the first 30 days, the first month. now from the lawsuit, it appears they were connected immediately upon their arrival with a guy who is connected to the saudi government, and then they had relationship with another person who is also connected to the saudi government. now we know there are more individuals. released whos not was connected with them. there is a lot of connection. they are two saudis. just the idea we are trying to classify the heck of it -- heck out of it, it is good to know. we have a lot of things the committee -- and this is
specifically for the saudis -- the 9/11 commission made it clear they did not look into all of these things that exist on the potential saudi role. we are not saying it is the saudi government, may be people in saudi government or working next to saudi arabia. 15 of the hijackers were saudi. they used a saudi passport during the whole operation, so there was a lot of connection, but these connections we always see before. and of saudi connections two roadside bombs were from saudi arabia. u.s., the uss the bomb the bomb they used to the call was purchased in saudi arabia.
point it gets to a significant amount of number, the suicide bombers used by isis, saudi arabia. the number two in the organization, he was killed the , and he isl-baghdadi also saudi. -- if thegovernment saudi government has any alert of this or not, that remains to be seen, especially in the face of 9/11. >> thank you very much. >> val jennings. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and to our witnesses for joining us today. i join my colleagues and remembering the first responders and others who were lost on 911 19 years ago. a policeigned as commander to the orlando national airport on that day, a
day i will never forget. i hope none of us do. i join mr. himes in his very strong push for answers, because it really is about time. you so much for your testimony today. i just wanted to ask you, has anyone from the u.s. government requested to review the evidence that you have? >> no, nobody did. >> no one from the u.s. government, with all of the questions still unanswered, asked to review the evidence? >> no. >> would you be amenable to the u.s. intelligence committee or community or u.s. law enforcement communities receiving it? it depends what you mean by evidence.
already -- the report with a great deal of information. as a special reporter, i cannot share with you information that was given to me by a confidential source. we need to go back to each and every one of that source, and i will invite them to speak with you directly rather than to me -- rumi. -- through me. that arranged a number of issues that i could not fulfill, but most of the information is already within the knowledge of the united states, and that they probably have some more how theion than i do on killing was organized, how it was planned, the level of involvement of the highest
state, persons in the and so on and so forth. i am a bit honored by your question. i suspect they actually do have the information already. >> you also discussed training and equipment that the u.s. should withhold from the saudis, from saudi intelligence services. is there training you would suggest the u.s. provide? about the training andided by intelligence more generally security forces on both sides. we, my colleague and i have suggested first of all that there should be a moratorium on
knology related to tech , simply because it is difficult the use of the technology, and there are no systems in place in saudi arabia , meaning no institution that can be trusted, to provide the necessary oversight. we know -- and their speaker pointed out -- there is a pattern of territorial and extraterritorial surveillance over actors, including american citizens and economic actors. take knology training at the moment, -- technology training at the moment, it will be related to human rights and human rights standards and in
relation as well to international humanitarian standards, but we have already dealt with the question of yemen. i should just suggest to maybe the committee that actually the commission on yemen, the u.n. commission on yemen had a new report yesterday where it also -- obtainedange of a range of allegations with regard to saudi arabia violations in yemen that you would find of interest. >> thank you so much. will,s threatened, if you to abandon the u.s. for a better , closer, more effective relationship with russia or china. how credible do you find those
threats and if you find them credible or not, why is that? i don't think they are very credible. you don't change horse overnight. the radar system will not work. the f-16. the russian radar system on an f-16, good luck trying to land that airplane when you want to get back to base. it takes a long time from having american and british equipment to russian or chinese. china doon, russia and not share saudi arabia's antipathy for iran. quite to the contrary. the chinese in particular are looking very much forward to selling arms to iran once the u.n. embargo comes off. huff and puff,--
threatened and the like, but we -- with our british allies unless he wants to think about 30 years from now, which i don't think. >> thank you all very much. mr. chairman, i yelled back. -- yield back. >> i had a couple of questions i wanted to ask and then see if there are any further questions from our members. greatly appreciative of your expertise. you recommended the u.s. government support a mechanism to independently investigate harassment or targeted killings of dissidents by authoritarian regimes. can you explain why the current system is inadequate or broken, and how your proposal would work? >> thank you very much. the current system in my view is extremely weak.
i took on the investigation into the killing of jamal khashoggi because it fits within my mandate, but i am not the best equipped as a special reporter. we have very limited resources we are focused on human rights issues. i could focus quite well on state responsibilities, but as i pointed out, individual liability is a much more difficult process for a special reporter. second, there was heavy pulled politicization of this investigation. the secretary-general fell back justify notons to moving forward with any kind of
formal investigation. felt and feel it will be good to remove those issues a little bit from this politicization and the lack of resources and so on. instrument at the crew human -- human rights and criminal level could declare its jurisdiction without request from the states or secretary-general, so it would have the freedom to pick on cases on a number of criteria. nationaleither support investigation where they are shown to be a good way but with little capacity, or it could undertake the investigation where national authorities are
airily not interested in doing so. -- clearly not interested in doing so. the killing of human rights defenders, dissidents, are largely killings with impunity. the vast majority of them. cases where it doesn't happen, but we as an international community could not find that. >> i have one last question to you. the terrorist attack in pensacola, how was it, do you think, the saudis did not do the due diligence on their end, given as this person has continuing ties to al qaeda? how is it that dod-fbi did not do due diligence on their end, sense that this
has the potential to reoccur? >> it is a sensitive event and we know now from reports that this person has been communicating with al qaeda for many years. usually, when they do the vetting for people from the military, coming from allied military to the united states, we trust the assessment of the country. so his name is sent to the and they will do the background and say, he is a good guy, bring him here. there is a big failure in not knowing the relationships that he has with al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, but that also shows how mbs' war on the institutions in saudi arabia in
the name of fighting corruption is weakening the professionals in these institutions to do their jobs. many red flags have been missed in saudi arabia, and i'm sure we have a lot of assessed the united states to see, what did we miss? usually something like this goes to the saudis and they give us the name and this guy is good or not because they are considered a good ally to the united states. >> when pressure is brought to bear, when you have critics or dissidents outside of saudi arabia, what kind of pressure is bought to -- brought to bear on their family? i am sure you saw the children of jamal khashoggi gave some form of forgiveness to those that were recently convicted in the saudi trial. guessould remove them, i
from consideration for the death penalty. how much pressure is brought to bear on the family? that are also allegations another man's children are being detained. how much danger are they in? how would you assess those? >> i feel sorry for the family of jamal khashoggi, not that they have any choice with what happened with their father. what mbs is trying to do is intimidate, trying to put fear in the hearts of dissidents. if you are against me, we will get to you wherever you are. it was mainly saudis. now we start to see going against other people, including u.s. resident. the only way he would continue to get away with this, if he is
not held accountable. accountability is the key. we see people, dissidents in jail in saudi arabia. we see the family of dissidents in jail in saudi arabia, and we see the level of intimidation they are using on social media and in the physical sphere, so big for anyone to bear. i think it affects the family, the people being targeted, and this is a way to intimidate. i hate to say that, but this is a mafia's dial ruling -- mafia style ruling, and they are sending a message of fear against the -- us. a lot of people give up, but we cannot give up, because the moment we give up, people like him will win. that is why we cannot give up and that is why we need to send
a message that, you cannot do this to fellow human beings and you cannot do this especially to american residents an american citizen. >> thank you. let me just ask my colleagues, anyone have a last question they would like to ask our witnesses before we adjourn? right, hearing none, i want to thank you. thank you so much for your testimony today. have just provided invaluable information to our committee and others around the country watching today's hearing , so we are greatly in your debt. with that, the hearing is adjourned. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> this evening, a debate between the candidates running
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