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Local Congressman on CNN State of the Union Discussing Iran, North Korea, the Terrorism Threat and Amazon Drones

Published on Monday, December 9, 2013 | 11:19 am

Yesterday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee, spoke with host Candy Crowley and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on CNN’s State of the Union to discuss the latest in national security, including Iran, North Korea, the continuing threat of terrorism, and Amazon using drones. With the House considering a bill to add new sanctions to Iran before any final agreement is reached, Schiff pushed the Congress not to pass new sanctions that could scuttle the deal.

Schiff said: “It’s one thing to say that Iran can have a peaceful nuclear energy program. You can have a peaceful nuclear energy program with no enrichment. The uranium can be provided for that. It could be taken back. They don’t need the centrifuges. They certainly don’t need fast speed centrifuges. They certainly don’t need thousands of centrifuges. The only reason why you want to have the kind of capability Iran is developing is if you want a fast breakout capability. So, what I think the administration needs to push for in this negotiation is a peaceful program without enrichment – and I wouldn’t begin the process by conceding anything on enrichment.

“I do part company with the idea that we should pass another sanctions bill, and I know there are many pushing that right now. We don’t want to be perceived by our partners as the ones that are throttling this agreement before it has a chance to live. And if we do, then I think the coalition that has supported these sanctions which includes many reluctant partners like China and Russia starts to unravel. It will be one thing if the Iranians renege if they cheat, then deals off. We not only resume the freeze, we add sanctions. But I don’t think we should take steps that aren’t necessary right now. The Iranians know, and if they don’t know, they’re stupid, and they’re not stupid, that the minute they renege, sanctions are coming flying out of the Congress.”

You can watch the full segment below:

Why the North Koreans hold Merrill Newman: “It may be as a North Koreans have said that, you know, part of a personal pique they found out about his war record and they pulled him off the plane. It may have something to do with Iran with the fact that North Korea is the not the focus of attention right now. They often will grab people to gain attention to get a world leader come and rescue them from North Korea. It may have something to do with the internal fight going on, the purge of Mr. Jang, the uncle of Kim Jong-Un. So, it may be purely internal North Korean politics. It may be a shout to the rest of the world that we want you to pay attention to us again and our nuclear program or it may be simply confined to something Mr. Newman said that caused him to be taken off the plane.”

Are we safer today: “I think we are. And I was surprised when I have to say by the reaction we got from both our chairs last week. I think vis-à-vis the kind of attack we had on 9/11, we are much safer than we were. We have seriously degraded the core of al Qaeda, their ability to organize that kind of a massive attack. It’s true there’s a proliferation of the spinoffs of these low level attacks, plans of these lone wolves like we saw in Boston. They’re still very threatening. But I think we are safer from the big attacks. We do see, you know, continued risk of these smaller attacks. And we see increased instability and Syria right now is ground zero. I think we are better at it now than we have ever been. But we’re never going to be 100 percent safe. And the kind of magnet that Syria has become with people flocking to Syria to join the jihad and who may come back is going to be a problem we’re going to deal with the next decade.”

On Amazon drones: “It’s feasible. I don’t think that’s the primary threat we need to be concerned about. You know, I was watching those drones stories and it kind of struck me as like the Jetsons come to life. It may be nice to get your books from a drone. The thing is that that drone is going to need cameras on it to guide it. And I think people are going to have real privacy problems, even if it’s delivering something you want, that it is scanning all of our neighborhoods as they’ll be very little privacy left with that kind of a situation. I do have a grave concern that as drone technology proliferates, many other countries are going to will start employing it and employing it with lethal capabilities. And that’s a big problem. It’s something that we need to think about in terms of our own drone program and the precedent we’re setting and what that will mean for China and Russia and others.”

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