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Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee - Building Partnership Capacity and the Development of the Interagency Process

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Location: Washington, DC

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REP. ROBERT ANDREWS (D-NJ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning. Madame Secretary, Mr. Secretary, Admiral, thank you for your service. Thank you for your time this morning.

Two states that pose significant issues for our country today, for different reasons, have a common problem in their recent history with our country, and that's Iran and Pakistan. Frankly, the standing of the American people and the American image in both countries is very different, but to the extent that there is disfavor toward the United States in each country, one of the reasons is our association with unpopular, oppressive rulers. There are Pakistanis who have negative opinions of the United States because of the real and perceived actions by General Musharraf. And although I understand our standing within Iran is rather good, there are still some Iranians who are bitter toward the United States because of our support for the shah over the decades.

In that context, Mr. Secretary Gates, I want to ask about your recommendation of expanding Section 1206 coverage beyond military forces to include security forces. Now, I read this as saying your intent is to be sure that we bring peace and stability to troubled places. I don't read a word in there that would talk about anything offensive or oppressive to the citizens of those countries. But what kind of criteria or safeguards do you think we should consider putting in to limit the use of Section 1206 coverage for something other than military forces?

In other words, aren't we setting up the possibility that we will create in other places the kind of ill will we've created toward ourselves in the two states I mentioned, because we are seen as subsidizing and encouraging oppressive behavior toward people of those countries?

SEC. GATES: I think that the reason for broadening it beyond military to security services is simply because many of the countries that we work with and that we potentially will work with organize themselves differently. So that in Liberia, for example, the coast guard, that is helping us with maritime surveillance and so on, is not a part of their military. In Pakistan, the Frontier Corps is not a part of the military. So it's really those kinds of institutions that we're talking about. And as I say, there is a notification process in terms of accountability, where you-all can see who we're giving this money to and what we're doing. And they also have to meet the human rights requirements.

REP. ANDREWS: I appreciate that, although let's posit this circumstance. Let's posit an emerging, growing state that has an orthodox military structure and an interior ministry. And let's say that the interior ministry is dominated by a minority religious or sectarian group and has some problems with the majority group. Should there be substantive criteria, not simply notification, but substantive criteria before we would use 1206 coverage for that interior ministry?

SEC. RICE: Well, I think, Congressman, we've tried -- first of all, we do have the human rights vetting provisions for -- that we use to make certain or to attempt to make certain that the equipment and training that the United States does would not be used for internal repression in one way or another. And we've not always been able to assure it. Certainly there have been some cases. But we have not been shy about cutting off assistance if there -- if those human rights abuses are found, even down to a unit level, in some cases.

We're not talking about standard police forces here. I think we're talking more about forces -- paramilitary forces, in some cases, that may come into being in terms of counterterrorism operations. But I wouldn't know how to establish criteria that are universal. I think this is really going to be more of a case --

REP. ANDREWS: Madame Secretary, I don't know that they need to be universal. And frankly, my question is more of an institutional separation of powers question than it is about any particularly case. We are I think justifiably reluctant to say that the Congress can be notified that these funds are going to be used for interior ministries but not have some substantive criteria to understand whether that human rights vetting process you talked about is, in fact, happening, how thorough it is, how credible it is.

I don't envy the job of anyone who had to deal with Iran in the '60s and the '70s or Pakistan in these times. It's difficult. But I do understand that there is a record here that shows that our position, and therefore our security, is sometimes weakened and jeopardized because of the use of repression by people that we've associated with or funded. It's a difficult problem, but I do think it's one the Congress needs to play a substantive role in and not simply an advisory one.

I see my time has expired. I thank you.

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