[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
BREAKING THE IRAN, NORTH KOREA,
AND SYRIA NEXUS
THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
SUBCOMMITTEE ON TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION, AND TRADE
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
APRIL 11, 2013
Serial No. 113-12
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio BRAD SHERMAN, California
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
TED POE, Texas GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MATT SALMON, Arizona THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina KAREN BASS, California
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
MO BROOKS, Alabama DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
TOM COTTON, Arkansas ALAN GRAYSON, Florida
PAUL COOK, California JUAN VARGAS, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania Massachusetts
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
RON DeSANTIS, Florida ALAN S. LOWENTHAL, California
TREY RADEL, Florida GRACE MENG, New York
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia LOIS FRANKEL, Florida
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
TED S. YOHO, Florida JOAQUIN CASTRO, Texas
LUKE MESSER, Indiana
Amy Porter, Chief of Staff Thomas Sheehy, Staff Director
Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
TOM COTTON, Arkansas DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas ALAN GRAYSON, Florida
RON DeSANTIS, Florida JUAN VARGAS, California
TREY RADEL, Florida BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina Massachusetts
TED S. YOHO, Florida GRACE MENG, New York
LUKE MESSER, Indiana LOIS FRANKEL, Florida
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio, Chairman
DANA ROHRABACHER, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
MATT SALMON, Arizona Samoa
MO BROOKS, Alabama AMI BERA, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania BRAD SHERMAN, California
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
LUKE MESSER, Indiana WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
TED POE, Texas, Chairman
JOE WILSON, South Carolina BRAD SHERMAN, California
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois ALAN S. LOWENTHAL, California
MO BROOKS, Alabama JOAQUIN CASTRO, Texas
TOM COTTON, Arkansas JUAN VARGAS, California
PAUL COOK, California BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
TED S. YOHO, Florida Massachusetts
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable R. James Woolsey, chairman, Foundation for Defense
of Democracies (former Director of the Central Intelligence
Mr. Henry D. Sokolski, executive director, Nonproliferation
Policy Education Center (former Deputy for Nonproliferation
Policy, U.S. Department of Defense)............................ 22
Mr. David Albright, founder and president, Institute for Science
and International Security..................................... 31
Ray Takeyh, Ph.D., senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies,
Council on Foreign Relations................................... 39
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable R. James Woolsey: Prepared statement............... 9
Mr. Henry D. Sokolski: Prepared statement........................ 24
Mr. David Albright: Prepared statement........................... 33
Ray Takeyh, Ph.D.: Prepared statement............................ 41
Hearing notice................................................... 74
Hearing minutes.................................................. 75
The Honorable Bradley S. Schneider, a Representative in Congress
from the State of Illinois: Prepared statement................. 77
Mr. Henry D. Sokolski: Material submitted for the record......... 79
BREAKING THE IRAN, NORTH KOREA, AND SYRIA NEXUS
THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa,
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittees met, pursuant to notice, at 2:30 p.m., in
room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ileana Ros-
Lehtinen (chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and
North Africa) presiding.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. The subcommittee will come to order.
After recognizing myself, then Chairman Chabot, Chairman Poe,
Ranking Member Deutch, Ranking Member Faleomavaega, and Ranking
Member Sherman will each be recognized for 4 minutes for their
opening statements. We will then hear from our distinguished
panel of witnesses, and without objection the witnesses
prepared statements will be made a part of the record, and
members may have 5 days to insert statements and questions for
the record subject to the length limitation and the rules.
The Chair now recognizes herself for 4 minutes. As we
assess the growing threats emanating from Iran, Syria, and
North Korea, this timely hearing will examine the options
available to confront these regimes. We know Assad has a
chemical weapon stockpile and we know that it once had a
nuclear reactor built with the assistance of North Korea until
it was destroyed supposedly by an Israeli airstrike. The future
of Assad may be uncertain, but what is assured is that we must
not allow his chemical weapons to fall into the wrong hands.
Syria's future is of vital U.S. national security interest, but
those interests are undermined when reports surface that Iran
has been sending weapons and fighters to aid Assad in this
Iran's Quds Force and Hezbollah operatives are working to
ensure that Assad remains in power which iterates our need to
take a strong position against the Iranian regime. The latest
round of P5+1 negotiations failed to put a halt on Iran's
nuclear program as Iran announced several new nuclear related
projects. It is almost as if we refuse to learn from our
In North Korea, Pyongyang has written the playbook on how
to proceed with a nuclear program while still gaining
concessions from the United States. In 2008, the Bush
administration erred in taking North Korea off the State
Sponsors of Terrorism list. This mistake must be corrected by
relisting North Korea for its December 2012 launch of a long-
range rocket followed up with Pyongyang's third successful
nuclear detonation this past February. Since then, Kim Jong-un
has ramped up the rhetoric and threatened to pull out of the
1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, destroy U.S.
military bases in Japan and Guam, and launch nuclear war
against the United States and our ally South Korea.
The U.S. must demand that Iran, Syria, and North Korea
allow IAEA inspectors to immediately inspect and have access to
all nuclear facilities and stockpiles to ensure their safety.
If these three rogue regimes, this triangle of proliferation,
are allowed to continue on their current paths, it will lead to
a global nuclear arms race. To counter this threat I have
introduced, along with my colleague Congressman Brad Sherman,
H.R. 893, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation
Accountability Act. This bill expands on Iranian sanctions from
last year and makes them applicable to North Korea and Syria
while also enhancing them. Cutting off the economic lifeline to
these regimes is imperative, but we must also counter their
efforts to proliferate technology and scientific knowledge to
advance their WMD ambitions. Our bill prohibits U.S. assistance
to any foreign government that provides assistance to Iran,
North Korea, and Syria, and will increase sanctions on any
person or entity transferring goods, services or technology for
the chemical, biological, or advanced conventional weapons
program of Iran, North Korea, and Syria.
History has proven that diplomatic negotiations with these
regimes have been a waste of time. The administration must
fully and vigorously enforce sanctions against this triangle of
proliferation and have a coherent and coordinated strategy to
counter these threats. Thank you.
And with that I'm proud to yield to our ranking member,
Congressman Ted Deutch.
Mr. Deutch. Thank you, Madam Chairman, and thanks to our
witnesses for joining us today. As Iran continues to grow
further isolated from the international community, it should be
no surprise that this regime has sought to pursue even closer
relations with fellow rogue regimes, Syria and North Korea. The
mutually beneficial Iran-North Korea relationship is driven
largely by Iran's desire for North Korean enrichment technology
and North Korea's need for Iranian missile expertise.
But there remains a stark difference in the foreign policy
agenda of these two regimes. North Korea's leadership has
seemingly accepted its international isolation and uses this
lack of transparency to brutally control its own people. And
Iran wants international recognition, participates in
multilateral organizations, and seeks influence over its
neighbors and any like-minded leaders it can find around the
world. So while Iran's relationship with North Korea appears to
be pragmatic, Iran's relationship with Syria is strategic.
In keeping Iran's regional aspirations in mind, it is clear
that the regime's chief foreign policy objective lies in saving
the Assad regime or at least some version of a Shi'ite
controlled territory. The removal of Assad would deal a
devastating blow to the Iranian regime's ability to get heavy
weaponry into Lebanon and into Gaza. It has been reported that
through the end of 2012 Iran had given Assad $10 billion in
support. In March 2011, a weapon shipment from Iran to Syria
was intercepted in Turkey, and according to one report boxes on
the plane contained rocket launchers, mortars, Kalashnikov
rifles and ammunition. And that was only a few months after the
fighting had begun. One can only imagine what else has made its
way into Syria over the past 2 years. And we know that Iran has
sent its elite Quds Force to train and advise Syrian forces. A
senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander was killed
near the Lebanon-Syria border in February. There are also
reports that Iran is raising militias in Shi'ite strongholds in
preparation for a Shi'ite enclave in post-Assad Syria.
Iran's brazen attempt to shape the Syrian conflict risks
broader regional security and stability as Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
Jordan, and other Sunni states are backing various factions
waging war against the regime. Now Iraqi-Shi'ite militants have
acknowledged that they too have joined the fight alongside
Assad in Syria. These are the same militant groups that
repeatedly waged war on American troops in Iraq.
Last week we sent a letter to Prime Minister Maliki asking
him to inspect Iranian planes suspected of carrying weapons
through Iraqi airspace en route to Syria. Iraqi Government
officials have said that they have no interest in arming either
side, but this requires actively preventing weapons from
flowing to Assad's forces. Now Maliki's op-ed in the Washington
Post this week affirmed his desire to have a strong
relationship with the United States. And as the U.S. showed our
commitment to Iraq's security last October by finalizing a deal
to provide 18 more F-16s to Iraq, we also need cooperation from
our partners to help bring an end to the Syrian conflict. So
the question remains, how far is the Iranian regime willing to
go to protect its ally and further its desire to raise Shi'ite
militants through the Middle East? As Iran's economy is
suffering under devastating economic sanctions, how much longer
can it continue to sustain Assad's forces financially?
As we examine these issues today, we must focus on the
driving factors behind Iran's relationships with these rogue
regimes, and how U.S. policy toward these regimes can serve our
national security and the security of our allies in the Middle
East and Asia. Again I thank my friend, the chairwoman, and I
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Mr. Deutch. And now
I am pleased to recognize subcommittee chair Mr. Chabot of
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Madam Chair. I am pleased in joining
you and Chairman Poe and the others and our colleagues on the
committee in holding this hearing to address a triple threat
that is becoming more dangerous as each day passes. The
individual threats that North Korea, Iran, and Syria pose to
the United States and the rest of the international community
could easily consume an entire day of discussion. But today we
will look at the linkage of their illicit activities and
ongoing cooperation with each other which has not received the
amount of attention it deserves.
Of late, the world has been witnessing an escalation of
bellicose rhetoric and reckless actions from an inexperienced
and imprudent third-generation Kim. It would be unwise to not
take North Korea's confrontational behavior seriously. While
most believe that North Korea is unlikely to initiate a
suicidal all-out war, it seems to again be playing the threat
game to wring concessions from an uneasy international
community. However, unlike his father and grandfather, young
Kim does not seem to understand how far is too far.
North Korea's threats extend far beyond the Korean
Peninsula and Asian continent. North Korea has positioned
itself squarely within the circle of rogue regimes, a one-stop
shop for missile and nuclear materials and technology. North
Korea prides itself on providing whatever its very few friends
need as it gets oil, cash, and weapons essential to maintaining
the power of the Kim regime. It does this with the likes of
Iran and Syria to circumvent international sanctions and United
Nations Security Council resolutions.
Other countries, among them Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan,
and Iraq have also been patrons of North Korea in black market
weapons deals. It is no secret that the Syrian nuclear facility
destroyed by Israel in 2007 was built with the assistance of
North Korea and modeled after North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear
reactor. Even more threatening is the long and enduring
relationship between North Korea and Iran that began in the
1980s with the sale of Scud missiles to supply Iran's ballistic
Over the course of the past few decades, the linkage has
not received the attention it deserved, perhaps until now that
is. Following the test of North Korea's third nuclear bomb in
February, it was suggested that Iran had in some manner
sponsored the nuclear weapon. This followed a Scientific and
Technology Accord that North Korea and Iran signed in September
2012, which is aimed at ``strengthening bilateral ties,
expanding cooperation and boosting the anti-hegemonic front.''
The nuclear test also underlined another harsh reality--that
North Korea's weapons capabilities are more advanced than
This highlights the tremendous failure of the Obama
administration's policy, or lack thereof, for dealing with
North Korea today. U.S. policies toward Iran have not been any
more successful, unfortunately. Despite numerous overtures from
the U.S. Government to the mullahs in Iran, they are closer
than ever to obtaining nuclear weapons. It is hardly a
coincidence that while North Korea is creating such
international anxiety, Iran entered into another round of talks
with world leaders to supposedly limit its nuclear program that
ends in a stalemate and it is followed by Iran's announcement
of two nuclear related projects that will expand its ability to
extract and process uranium. In the face of economic sanctions
against its own country, Iran seems to be flexing its muscles
through North Korea.
This is all occurring as the situation in Syria takes on
another frightening turn into the throes of civil war. A war
that Iran wants Syrian dictator Assad to win because his
removal would be a divisive setback for its own strategic
future. I will yield back the remainder of my time and I look
forward to this hearing. Thank you for calling it, Madam Chair.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And
now we will hear from Ranking Member Brad Sherman of
Mr. Sherman. Thank you. Cooperation between Iran, Syria,
and North Korea has long been a problem. In 2007, Israel
destroyed a nuclear facility in Syria that had been built not
only with help from North Korea, but help from Iran as well.
Last month I joined the chairwoman in reintroducing the Iran,
North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation and Modernization Act.
This was quite similar to the bill we had introduced 2 years
previous that passed the House 418-2, and like so many good
bills, died in the Senate without action. Hopefully that will
not be its fate this year.
That bill contained provisions that would sanction
countries that provide Iran, North Korea, or Syria with the
technology to mine and mill uranium. It would also prohibit
assistance to any foreign government that has provided
assistance to Iran, North Korea, and Syria or has failed to
prevent individuals or entities under its sovereignty from
aiding those countries' proliferation activities. Our bill
would also sanction any entity that is selling conventional
military goods or technologies to Iran, North Korea, or Syria
by freezing property and denying access to the U.S. banking
As to the talks in Kazakhstan, I think Mr. Chabot was
right. Once again a round of talks followed by an acceleration
of Iran's nuclear program, now complemented by its renewed
efforts at mining and milling and creating yellowcake. As to
Syria, Hezbollah has been an active part of Assad's fighting
forces. Tehran has been sending commanders and fighters from
both Hezbollah and the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps to Syria
as well as arms. Israel's military intelligence chief has
claimed that Iran and Hezbollah have built a 50,000-strong
parallel force in Syria to help the Assad regime. The fall of
the Assad regime would obviously be a blow not only to Iran,
but also and especially to Hezbollah. Hopefully we will see the
end of that regime, but we must note that Syria has massive
stockpiles of chemical weapons including sarin and VX gas.
Assad may use that against his own people, and that is of
course a red line for the United States, or transfer those
weapons to Hezbollah or Iran.
One of the issues that is before the United States is
whether to license the repair of old Boeing jets owned by Air
Iran. Some argue that it is humanitarian to fix these
supposedly civilian aircraft. First of all, the aircraft should
be grounded until Iran grounds its nuclear program. But as to
the humanitarian aspect, in May 2011 the United Nations Report
revealed that North Korea and Iran had been routinely sharing
prohibited ballistic missile technology with the help of Air
Iran flights into an unnamed third country spelled, C-H-I-N-A.
Now we see Iran using supposedly civilian aircraft of Air Iran
to airlift arms, weapons and murderers to Syria. So those who
think that fixing these planes is the humanitarian thing to do
should talk to the bereaved families of the victims of the Iran
Revolutionary Guard Corps fighting in Syria.
We are dealing with three evil countries or at least evil
governments, but they are at very different stages. One seems
to be on the ropes. A second seems to be dedicated only to its
own survival. And that is why I focus mostly on Iran because it
has the ambition to influence events around the world, and I
think poses the greatest threat to the United States. I yield
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Mr. Sherman. And now
we will hear from subcommittee Chairman Poe of Texas.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Madam Chairman. There may be a chart on
the screen. I want to hold up the one I have. A little history
about how nuclear weapons have proliferated in our lifetime.
First, the Soviets helped the Chinese and later the
Russians assist the North Koreans in nuclear proliferation.
China also helps the North Koreans, and China helps Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the North Koreans assist the Iranian nuclear
program, and while they are doing that they assist the
Pakistanis in a missile program in exchange for nuclear
technology. The Pakistanis not only assist the North Koreans,
but they help the Iranians as well. And then of course Iran
assists Syria in chemical and biological weapons programs. They
are all very busy bees helping each other out getting weapons
they wish to probably use in the future. This is a serious
threat to the world, this proliferation, and it is important
that we recognize the truth for what it is. And Syria, if Assad
doesn't get chemical weapons and use them on his own population
they could wind up in the hands of the terrorists like al-
Qaeda's Al Nusra Front, one of the most heavily armed and
effective groups in Syria.
In a hearing I chaired last month along with Ranking Member
Sherman, we looked into the terror Iran is causing around the
world through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its
proxy Hezbollah. And we found that there is narcotrafficking in
South America, there is support for Assad in Syria, rebels in
Yemen, terrorist plots across Europe and Asia, and money
laundering on almost every continent. It will only get worse
should Iran think it has the cover of nuclear weapons to
Back when I was on the bench as a judge, I knew that it was
important that we don't reward people for bad behavior. There
should be consequences. With both North Korea and Iran, the
United States and the international community should make it
harder not easier for them to continue their march toward
nuclear weapons. I don't believe we should give North Korea any
more aid. They took our food aid in the past and still let
their people go hungry while the regime enjoyed luxuries of
life and expanded its weapons program. The danger is not just
about Iran and North Korea getting nukes, but the sharing and
selling of that technology with other bad actors including
state and sub-state actors.
We should increase our sanctions to go after illicit
transactions, weapons smuggling, and nuclear technology
transfers. We should not give up on demands that actually show
the stopping of a nuclear program, such as giving up all
enriched uranium and stopping all centrifuges. And I would ask
unanimous consent to put this chart into the record.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Without objection.
Mr. Poe. And I yield back.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you. Thank you so much, Congressman
Poe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for that presentation. I am going
to introduce our witnesses now, and I would like to first
apologize. There are a lot of other committees going on at this
time, and subcommittees, and some of them have markups. So you
will see our members coming and going, and it is not indicative
of their level of interest on this topic. And number two,
unfortunately I have to leave early at 3:10 to catch a flight
for a family matter, so you will excuse me as well.
But the Chair is now pleased to welcome our witnesses for
this afternoon. We will first hear from Ambassador James
Woolsey who is the chairman of the Foundation for Defense of
Democracies, and a co-founder of the United States Energy
Security Council. Prior to that Ambassador Woolsey has had a
long and distinguished career in government service having
previously held Presidential appointments in four
administrations, most recently as Director of the CIA from '93
to '95. Ambassador Woolsey has previously served as the
Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at
Stanford, and in 2010 was a senior fellow at Yale at the
university's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Welcome, it
is always a pleasure.
Next, we will be hearing from Henry Sokolski, executive
director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a
nonprofit organization founded to promote a better
understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. He
also currently serves as an adjunct professor at the Institute
of World Politics, and previously served as Deputy for
Nonproliferation Policy in the Department of Defense for which
he received a medal for outstanding public service from then
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. He has also authored and
edited a number of books and publications on proliferation.
And third, David Albright is a physicist and a founder and
president of the nonprofit Institute for Science and
International Security. Mr. Albright has written numerous
assessments on secret nuclear weapons programs throughout the
world and has co-authored several books on the subject. His
2010 book, ``Pedaling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms
America's Enemies,'' was listed by the Atlantic as one of the
best foreign affairs books of 2010.
And finally, our subcommittees welcome Dr. Ray Takeyh,
senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign
Relations where he specializes in Iran, political reform in the
Middle East, and Islamist movements and parties. He is
currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and has
previously taught at the National War College, Yale, and the
University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Takeyh previously
served as a senior advisor on Iran at the Department of State,
and is the author of several books and articles in his area of
I would like to kindly remind our witnesses that your
testimony will be made a part of the record without objection,
and to please limit your verbal testimony to no more than 5
minutes. And we will begin with you, Ambassador Woolsey.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE R. JAMES WOOLSEY, CHAIRMAN,
FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES (FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY)
Mr. Woolsey. Thank you very much, Madam Chairwoman. I want
to cut short the analysis of the problem. I think most of us
understand the nature of these three regimes, and the fact of
their interaction particularly with respect to nuclear weapons
and ballistic missiles. North Korea helps develop Iranian and
Syrian ballistic missiles. North Korea and Iran effectively
have a joint missile program together. Iran financed the Syrian
nuclear program including particularly the reactor that was
destroyed by, probably, the Israeli Air Force. And the whole
situation is one in which these three countries have a very
stressing and negative effect on a full scope of world affairs,
but it centers in many ways on their approach toward
proliferating both ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
We need to remember that in 1957 when the Soviets first
launched a basketball-size satellite, the United States went to
general quarters. Sputnik changed a lot about the United
States. And one of the reasons was because if you can put
something into orbit, you can get to the other side of the
earth. And you may not get to the other side of the earth very
accurately, but you can get there, and then you can work on the
accuracy. So once a nuclear power has ballistic missiles of
substantial range, particularly once it can orbit anything, we
are not in the early stages of a problem, we are very, very far
into the problem.
I think it is important to focus on what we might be able
to do in terms of policy. I would make three points. First, our
primary and overall goal should be to break, literally destroy,
this axis. Not destroy the countries, but destroy the
interaction between these three states and their offshoots in
the terrorist world--Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. To do that I
think we need to do three things. First of all, we need to
vigorously support non-Islamist opposition. I understand the
problem about putting boots on the ground, but at the very
least we can speak up with respect to the behavior of these
states. President Reagan struck a huge blow for freedom when he
told Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. And we can, I
think, enhance the ability internally of those in Iran and
Syria and to some extent maybe even in North Korea to resist if
the American Government will take a brave and solid stance. So
far we have not done that. Although we told Mubarak to leave
after 10 days of demonstrations, we have well over 2 years now
in Syria, with tens of thousands of deaths, barely done a
thing. I think that air power use is, under this circumstance,
reasonable particularly for a no-fly zone. But even without the
use of force we could do a great deal more in terms of
training, assistance, and helping the resistance. I do think it
is absolutely vital that we be in Syria somewhere, somehow, on
the ground and able to take custody of those chemical weapons
immediately upon anything occurring which could put them at
loose in the black market or Syria fracturing or anything else.
Secondly, I think we need very strong financial sanctions.
I would simply endorse the chairman's bill and say that this is
vital. There are more than 12 banks in Iran. We shouldn't be
dealing with just 12 banks. We should be conducting an all-out
boycott of the country's products and their commercial efforts.
And that would require a good deal of change in our attitudes,
but I think it is time now to start talking about things like
near total embargoes, excluding only humanitarian aid and the
And then finally, we need an effective anti-ballistic
missile program in the United States. We do not have one. We
especially don't have one that would deal with a so-called Scud
in a bucket. That is, a Scud fired from a fishing boat. Scuds
are all over the world including all of these three states. One
of these states has nuclear weapons, another is about to get
them, and I think that that will be a major test. We have to be
able to deal with electromagnetic pulse, not just with accurate
weapons. Thank you, Ms. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Woolsey follows:]
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you. Thank you very much. Excellent
testimony. Mr. Sokolski?
STATEMENT OF MR. HENRY D. SOKOLSKI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
NONPROLIFERATION POLICY EDUCATION CENTER (FORMER DEPUTY FOR
NONPROLIFERATION POLICY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE)
Mr. Sokolski. Thank you, Madam Chairman, for inviting me
here today to discuss some principles by which the U.S. should
proceed against Syrian-North Korean-Iranian strategic weapons
collaboration. I think the first and most important principle
may be the most obvious but hasn't really been focused on
enough and that is, less is better. Although three doesn't
really sound like a large number, Iran, North Korea, and Syria,
along with their key foreign supporters, present a set of
diplomatic intelligence and military challenges that is
exponentially greater than dealing with just one or two
I say this based on my own experience in the Pentagon
dealing with the Condor Program versus dealing with a single
program for missiles that had to do with South Africa. Believe
me, the latter was a lot easier to deal with. Certainly the
transition of just one of these states to moderate, self-
government would have significant positive nonproliferation
knock-on effects. And in specific, the challenges and
uncertainties of trying to neutralize the remaining
proliferators would fall dramatically.
As for Syria, it is unclear what awaits us if Assad's rule
should come to an end. Some of his arsenal may fall into bad
hands, however, I think these risks must be balanced against
the near certainty that if Assad were to stay in power, he
would restart his nuclear program, which brings me to the next
important principle. It is critical that we avoid conceding per
se rights to these or any other state engaged in dangerous
nuclear and aerospace activities. For reasons of convenience, I
believe our Government and most of our allies have gotten into
the lazy habit of explaining the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty as a deal that demands and supplies three things
equally--nonproliferation safeguards, nuclear disarmament, and
the sharing of peaceful nuclear technology.
This breezy ``Three Pillars of the NPT'' pitch, although
popular, lacks historical or legal substance. It also defies
common sense. While nuclear disarmament and the sharing of
peaceful nuclear technology are mentioned in the NPT, they play
only a secondary supporting role to the treaty's primary aim
that is and must be nuclear nonproliferation, not nuclear
technology sharing or global disarmament. It would be helpful
if Congress could get State to heel on this point.
I note that the chairman in the past has held hearings on
this, but it has been about a decade. It may be time to come
back to this topic again. Some experts, after all, are still
recommending that we concede Iran's right to enrich uranium in
exchange for merely limiting enrichment to levels of about 20
percent. Yet, what is most worrisome about Iran's program is
the increasing number of centrifuges and our inability to
secure timely warning of possible military diversions from
nuclear fuel making, not the amount of 20 percent of enriched
uranium it has on hand. Certainly, if Washington were to
concede Tehran's right to enrich, it would make preventing Iran
from breaking out and acquiring nuclear arms far more
difficult. It also would make resisting the nuclear fuel making
demands of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and every other
nation that might want it far more challenging.
Similarly, while we should close ranks with South Korea
against North Korea, it would be a mistake in our current
nuclear cooperative negotiations to allow Seoul to make nuclear
fuel from U.S. nuclear materials or to allow it to prepare or
condition U.S.-origin spent fuel for this purpose. Such fuel
making is not only unnecessary and uneconomical, it risks
encouraging Japan to take the fateful step of massively
increasing its stockpile of nuclear explosive plutonium by
opening a very uneconomical reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. In
fact, Parliamentarians in both states claim large-scale
reprocessing would serve a desirable nuclear weapons option
purpose. Any move to actually produce more plutonium-based
fuels in either South Korea or Japan, though, would inevitably
prompt China to up its nuclear ante, and so dramatically
increase the nuclear threats already facing us in this region.
Finally, a word on putting North Korea back on the list of
terrorist states. I think this would help assure Pyongyang's
financial dealings are sanctioned. The one thing Pyongyang
needs most to keep its Communist party members faithful is hard
currency. It is kind of like organized crime. By the way, this
is something Beijing has never given Pyongyang. To secure this
cash, Pyongyang used counterfeiting, drug trade, gambling
establishments in Japan and illicit arm sales.
But to hold and move its cash from these activities, North
Korea also needs legitimate banks. By the way, this is a point
that I raised in a piece I wrote a decade ago and it was acted
on. In fact, it is why North Korea protested so loudly in 2005
when U.S. officials sanctioned Banco Delta Asia, even though
the amount frozen--$24 million--was nominal. This action also
got China's attention. It was deathly afraid that its own banks
would be targeted next. Actually, that is a pretty good thing
that they would be afraid. Unfortunately, the U.S. dropped this
sanctioning effort and removed North Korea from the list of
terrorist states in 2007. To increase pressure on North Korea
and China without harming innocents, I think it would be useful
to revisit this decision as well as enforcing U.S. and existing
allied nations' laws against the illicit ways in which North
Korea raises cash. By the way, this one doesn't require getting
a lot of countries to agree, and it only targets the Communist
party faithful in North Korea, which is exactly where you want
to place the pressure.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sokolski follows:]
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you so much, sir. And the Chair
would like to, before we recognize Mr. Albright, ask if my
Florida colleague, Dr. Ted Yoho, would take over the chair. I
would be greatly honored, and you can steal some of my best
questions here from the great mind of Mr. Acevedo. Thank you so
very much. And Mr. Albright, you will be recognized as soon as
Dr. Yoho takes the chair. Thank you.
Mr. Yoho [presiding]. Okay, what an honor. You were next,
right, Mr. Albright? Go ahead.
STATEMENT OF MR. DAVID ALBRIGHT, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT,
INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Mr. Albright. Well, thank you very much for the opportunity
to testify today. As it has been made clear, North Korea is
capable of significant acts of nuclear proliferation. As was
pointed out, Syria bought a reactor and assistance from North
Korea, and North Korea also likely assisted in creating the
capabilities and facilities to produce fuel for this reactor
which in normal operation makes weapon-grade plutonium. Now
given the ongoing internal conflicts, Syria is unlikely to be
pursuing a secret nuclear program at this time. However, the
Financial Times raised concerns about the security of upwards
of 50 tons of highly purified natural uranium alleged to be in
Syria that was designed for use in the Al Kibar reactor. Now,
of course this material would need further enrichment before it
could be used in a weapon, and it does not pose nearly the
risks of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. However, this
uranium stock could end up in the hands of terrorists who may
wish to sell it on the black market, and this material may also
end up in undeclared programs of other states such as Iran.
Unfortunately, North Korea and Iran could mutually benefit
from collaboration on their respective nuclear programs, as I
think other witnesses and members have pointed out. We have
seen reports that North Korea provided Iran with nuclear
weapons data, and North Korea also appears to have deployed
centrifuges based on Pakistan's P-2 centrifuge which is also
the basis for Iran's more modern IR-2m centrifuges. North Korea
just announced that it plans to use its centrifuge facility for
making enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, and North Korea
knowledge could potentially help Iran to overcome significant
technical challenges that have plagued its centrifuge program.
Furthermore, if North Korea builds devices using weapon-grade
uranium, this expertise could benefit Iran should Iran decide
to build nuclear weapons.
North Korea has extensive experience with miniaturization
of nuclear weapons for its plutonium bomb, and this kind of
information would be immensely useful to Iran. North Korea and
Iran may also assist one another in obtaining nuclear and
missile dual-use goods and materials for their sanctioned
programs, and Syria may have earlier been involved in such
illicit procurement efforts. Now of course Iran and North Korea
also illicitly procure their own goods for their programs. They
cannot manufacture many of these goods indigenously unless they
are dependent on buying them from suppliers in high technology
companies or via middle men in trading companies located in
countries of trafficking concern. In their smuggling efforts,
Iran and North Korea use Chinese private suppliers as direct
sources for goods or as platforms to buy high-tech, high
quality U.S., European, and Japanese goods. In the latter case,
these goods are transshipped through China to Iran or North
So what is the U.S. going to do? I would like to make just
a few points, one of which is to talk about China. China
remains a key illicit trading and transshipment point for these
trafficking efforts because of its failure to adequately
implement U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions and
enforce its own trade controls. To encourage China to take
action on Iran, President Obama should designate it a
``Destination of Diversion Concern'' under CISADA unless it
commits to better enforcement within a given time period, and
such a designation would require special licenses to export
certain sensitive dual-use goods to China and could have
significant and undesirable economic consequences for China.
However, its cooperation on this would eliminate the imposition
of these licensing requirements.
Now CISADA on this issue was a very good idea and it needs
to be broadened, and Congress should pass new legislation
giving Congress the authority to apply this approach to North
Korea and perhaps other countries. Others have talked about
stopping the money flows that pay for nuclear and missile
related goods, and this is a very important part of this
effort. And I think it is time to start taking the steps toward
designating North Korea a ``jurisdiction of primary money
laundering concern'' under Section 311 of the Patriot Act. And
while it may not be necessary to do it all at once, I think the
process needs to be started and to create a basis for more
intensive sanctions on North Korea.
Also the threat posed by Syria's nuclear missile
proliferation is now rooted in its internal instability, and
the United States therefore must seek solutions that prevent
the leakage of nuclear assets within or out of Syria, and in
the longer term root out and dismantle weapons of mass
destruction programs in Syria. And as is being done, the
facilities and sites need to be carefully monitored, and as
other witnesses have talked about, the United States needs to
be prepared to act quickly to recover or to seize any assets
that are posing a risk.
As we seek to engage in negotiations for long-term
solutions with Iran and North Korea, and I do hope that at some
point that we can have those, we must at this same point be
pragmatic about the need to exert pressure and implement
measures to detect and prevent the improvement of these
countries' nuclear and missile capabilities, and in the case of
Iran, inhibit its growing ability to break out. I would note
though that in these negotiations it is very important that the
sanctions regimes that are being created should not be in any
way relaxed absent significant concessions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Albright follows:]
Mr. Yoho. Mr. Albright, I am going to ask you to hold off
now, and I appreciate your comments----
Mr. Albright. Okay.
Mr. Yoho [continuing]. So we can move on. But I want to
come back to that because that is something that we definitely
need to talk to.
Dr. Takeyh, if you would go ahead I would like to hear what
you have to say. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF RAY TAKEYH, PH.D., SENIOR FELLOW FOR MIDDLE
EASTERN STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
Mr. Takeyh. Thank you very much for inviting me, Mr.
Chairman. It is a privilege to be here with Ambassador Woolsey,
and of course my old friends Henry and David.
I think as we focus on Iran's relationships, Syria and
North Korea, it is important to stress that Tehran will always
search for allies that share this animosity toward the United
States. For Iran's rulers, the United States is an imperialist
power determined to exploit its resources. For Iran's rulers,
the Islamist themes are never far behind as the West is also
seen as seeking to subjugate Muslims and impose its cultural
template on the region. Hence, for Iran's rulers, the West is
central to their view of you that is often laced with
conspiracies and enduring animosity. This is a clash of
interests as well as a clash of ideals.
I think looking back on it now, the 2009 Iranian
Presidential election was a watershed moment. The Islamic
Republic at that time had a stark choice. It could move to a
more progressive future and become part of the community of
nations or it could choose a path of defiance. The public chose
a certain path, the leadership chose another. The gap between
state and society today has never been wider. Today the rulers
of Iran's ideological preferences are not shared by a wide mass
of the Iranian public. In a manner that I think is both
destabilizing and dangerous, all of Iran's international
relationships are being defined and distorted by the nuclear
Iran is at odds with its Gulf neighbors because of its
nuclear aspirations. For the first time in three decades of
animosity and antagonism there is a real possibility of a
military clash between Iran and Israel. Washington and Tehran
obviously seem locked in a confrontational posture that they
cannot escape given their disagreement on the nuclear issue.
The European states have moved beyond their policy of critical
dialogue which was always being critical of the United States
while having a dialogue with Iran, and they have now embraced a
policy of sanctions and disputes with Iran again centering on
the nuclear issue. Even the Russian Federation seems to be
moving away from Iran as its conflict with the international
community deepens. China of course were mentioned by others.
I would say one of the most enduring ideological aspect of
Islamic Republic's international relations has been its policy
toward the Levant, the Arab East. The defining pillars of
Iran's approach toward the Arab East is obviously its hostility
to the state of Israel and hostility to all diplomatic efforts
to normalize relations between Jewish states and its neighbors.
Iran's strident ideological policy has of course been
buttressed by strategic incentive, as its support for militant
groups such as Hezbollah and militant states such as Syria
gives an ability to project power in the Levant and inject its
voice in deliberations that would otherwise be beyond its
control. Along this path of course Iran has made common cause
with the radical Syrian regime that shares its antipathy toward
Israel. So long as Iran's policy toward the Arab East remains
immured in its conflict with Israel, Tehran is unlikely to edge
toward pragmatism and moderation in its embrace of the Assad
The Syrian civil war has pretty much altered Iran's
approach to this region and to the state of Syria in a
particular way. For a long time that particular relationship
was more tactical. It was based on shared animosities as
opposed to common interests, but now that has changed. The
Syrian civil war has made Bashar Assad far more dependent on
Iran. As the Assad dynasty veers closer to collapse, the
Islamic Republic will do all it can to sustain its ally-turned-
client. The preservation of the Syrian regime is now Iran's
foremost strategic objective, a Syrian regime that is obviously
excluded from the council of Arab states and isolated in the
international community, but nevertheless it has become a
centerpiece of Iran's international affairs. Through dispatch
of arms, assistance and advisors, Tehran has made a commitment
to sustaining the Assad war machine. For the rulers of Iran,
outside of Syria is a front-line of resistance toward the
United States as well as forces of democratic change.
In sum, today we face in Iran a determined and disciplined
adversary. The Islamic Republic is committed to advancing its
nuclear program and maintaining its allies. To address the
threat posed by Iran we must appreciate that this is a multi-
front struggle. The Western powers have to resist not just
Iran's surging nuclear ambitions but also its attempt to
subvert moderate Arab states. In many ways, Syria has emerged a
lynchpin of the new struggle for the Middle East. The collapse
of the Assad regime could go far in undermining the forces of
radicalism led by Iran, although I don't think we should
exaggerate the impact of that on the Iranian state's own
durability. It is important, however, to note that the tide of
history is working against the Islamic Republic. A regime
distrusted by its neighbors, disdained by its citizens poses a
challenge that the robust Western effort can still and surely
overcome. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Takeyh follows:]
Mr. Yoho. Thank you, sir, and I appreciate your testimony
Mr. Takeyh. Thank you.
Mr. Yoho. What I would like to do now is ask you some
questions here for a few minutes, and then we will pass this on
to the ranking member Congressman Sherman. This is something
that I have been following for the last 30, 35 years, the
proliferation in the Middle East. And I always go back to the
Founding Fathers, what George Washington said, that ``honest
trade and commerce with all nations, true friendship with all
nations, entanglement with none.'' And I see a policy that has
not worked real well over the past 35 years.
And I want to ask you, the panel, how close do you see that
Iran is to a nuclear weapon? I have talked with Ambassador
Bolton. He said 3 to 6 months. I have heard other people say it
is years away. Do you guys have a feel for where we are at? The
other question I would like to ask you is how many nuclear
weapons, with your best estimate, do you feel are available in
North Korea, Pakistan, the possibility of Iran? Ambassador
Woolsey, if you would start please?
Mr. Woolsey. As far as how close is concerned, I think I
will yield to Henry on that type of question as I have for
years. But my own judgment is that Iran probably could assemble
something that passed as a nuclear weapon and have an explosion
up in the northern desert and some radioactivity and a mushroom
cloud within a matter of a very few months. How soon it would
be before it was really something that you could put on a front
end of a missile and have it perform adequately, I don't know.
Considerably longer, I would think.
One thing we really need to worry about is that since Iran
has orbited a satellite, we have a situation where they may be
able to launch and have something that goes into orbit or
partial orbit. The Soviets had an old fractional orbital
bombardment system, they called it, which started out heading
south around the Pole to catch from us a direction where we
weren't looking. It is fairly simple, you don't need a reentry
shield if you are going to detonate in an orbit, you don't need
a lot of things. Why would they want to do that? Once they have
a nuclear weapon, a detonation up at a low earth orbit area--
20, 30, 40 miles--could have an absolutely, even with a very
primitive weapon, could have an absolutely huge effect on our
Mr. Yoho. Sure.
Mr. Woolsey. The pulse, the electromagnetic pulse of a
nuclear weapon, rivals that of the so-called Carrington Events
that occur about once a century: An extremely strong sun pulse
that affects electronics and can affect them decisively. So I
think we need to keep our eye on more than just a simple
nuclear weapon. And the combination of the ballistic missile
program, the launch vehicle program, and the Iranians' hard
work on nuclear weapons, says to me that we should get busy
shielding our electric grid.
Mr. Yoho. Well, my concern is if they have that capability
then they can go into the dirty bomb category and that is a
whole different category that we don't want. I appreciate your
Mr. Sokolski. When this question comes up I am reminded of
a meeting I once had with Dr. Deutch, from MIT when he was
running the CIA, and he talked to me and my former boss and
said, we have that much intelligence, but we have this much
Mr. Yoho. Right.
Mr. Sokolski. I think we are on terra firma saying we are
now in a zone where no one knows how soon. I would ask that, I
forgot to ask. There are two or three items that are very
brief, very brief that are cited in my testimony I would like
to place in the record, if that is possible.
Mr. Yoho. Please.
Mr. Sokolski. One of them goes over, technically, how soon
things could happen. We don't know when any longer because it
is very close in, and the variety of views now are starting to
move closer together. People argue very, very hard for their
own point of view, but boy, it is getting closer and closer.
And the differences between various estimates are not that
broad. They now are talking about, roughly, months, not many
years. And so at this point you have to start acting like it
has happened, because if you wait you are really going to be
behind the curve.
Mr. Yoho. Yes, we don't want to do that.
Mr. Albright, if you would. Thank you for your testimony,
Mr. Albright. At ISIS we spend a lot of time assessing
these questions and we have experts in centrifuge that help us
do it. I think the key thing though is you want to prevent Iran
from making the decision. I think that is the fundamental goal,
and so we don't know how long that will work. But there are
certain dates that are defined technically that you can talk
One is if they tried to break out now and make weapon-grade
uranium in a sufficient quantity for a bomb it would probably
take them a couple months, maybe even longer because sometimes
their centrifuges don't work very well. However, as they
increase the number of centrifuges, you reach a point where
they could break out and the international inspectors wouldn't
detect it before they have got enough material. And at ISIS we
have identified that that could happen in mid-2014, and that is
what we have called critical capability and is another date to
keep in mind.
You asked about North Korea. I mean we have done
assessments on North Korea, and I agree with Henry. There is
not a lot of information. I have visited North Korea. I have
had discussions on their centrifuge program with North Korean
nuclear officials. But the bottom line is just that we have to
make a judgment, and we would assess based on what we know that
they have enough plutonium essentially for about a dozen
weapons, and they could have more if they had made weapon-grade
uranium for nuclear weapons. There is uncertainties to it. It
could be lower, it could be higher.
But it is a substantial number.
Mr. Yoho. I appreciate your comments. I am going to cut you
And Dr. Takeyh, since I was a bad scorekeeper here I am
going to let the ranking member Mr. Sherman, Congressman
Sherman, please go ahead. You are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Sherman. One comment is China has decided on its
behavior based upon how it sees the world. It has decided to
subsidize North Korea, and as long as it is clear that will
have free access to the U.S. trading system, which it abuses
constantly, it is unlikely to change its behavior.
Mr. Sokolski, North Korea hasn't been shy about sharing its
technology, but often if you want something you just want to
buy it, not buy the technology to make it yourself. Why has
North Korea been unwilling to just sell a completed weapon to
North Korea, Syria or others?
Mr. Sokolski. It is afraid. Just because we think they have
interests different than ours doesn't mean they are totally
different than us.
Mr. Sherman. Well, they are not afraid that Assad is going
to bomb North Korea, but I mean I assume they are afraid that
Mr. Sokolski. Right.
Mr. Sherman [continuing]. To the sale of a weapon would be
far greater than our reaction to the sale of technology.
Mr. Sokolski. Well, that is one thing but it doesn't stop
there. Everyone likes to talk about how eager all these
countries are to hand these things off to terrorists. Really?
Mr. Sherman. I didn't say----
Mr. Sokolski. No, but the point here is that there are
risks when you sell a completed item that are not attendant to
say, oh, it is just a reactor. Now do you know what our
reaction was to that reactor? No pun intended. Well, we argued,
I think, for several weeks, well, is it really related to a
weapons program? Right?
Mr. Sherman. I thank you for your answer. I want to go on
to another question. Everyone in the world is convinced that
China is generally angry with North Korea, but North Korea and
China and especially their Communist parties have been
cooperating for a long time. It is possible according to my
most conspiratorially-minded staff members that this is a
charade, a good cop-bad cop situation.
Mr. Albright, what concessions might China extract from us
in return for getting North Korea to be quiet, which is the
traditional good cop-bad cop game? The good cop protects you
from the bad cop in return for something.
Mr. Albright. I think China is upset about North Korea's
recent actions, but I think as you pointed out----
Mr. Sherman. The whole world thinks that. I am asking you
Mr. Albright. Yes. Well, China also does not want to see
North Korea collapse and it creates a fundamental problem of
how do you elicit Chinese cooperation on this? And I think it
is more of a problem of how you look at that but not giving
Mr. Sherman. You are giving me the standard information
that is in all the press. I appreciate that.
Mr. Albright. Well, it is also true.
Mr. Sherman. I know. I asked you to comment on the
possibility that it wasn't, and I guess we are going to buy
into the traditional view. So we are going to do that and we
are going to move on to the next question.
You provided important information in formulating Title 3
of CISADA which deals with transshipment. That is to say, for
example, nuclear or useful technology is shipped to one country
such as China really for further shipment on to Iran. And the
administration has been unwilling to name China as, I believe,
it is a country of transshipment concern. First, should Title 3
be amended to target not just the transshipment or diversion of
American goods, but the transfer of nuclear equipment no matter
where it is made, to Iran; and second, if the administration
won't designate China, should Congress do so?
Mr. Albright. Yes, I think it would be good to broaden it.
For example, you see European goods being transshipped, and so
I think it certainly should be broadened. It should also be
broadened to include North Korea, Syria, and other countries as
Mr. Sherman. So as destination countries not as countries
Mr. Albright. Yes, probably a bit more. And also, for
example, I think it is very important to name China now as a
country of diversion concern. How punishing that would be isn't
really the issue right now. What is important is that China be
named and that then see how they react, if they start to----
Mr. Sherman. I think the diplomatic reaction would be
greater than the practical reaction, but I think it would be a
good step. Since the administration is highly unlikely to take
it, we will see if our 435 people can agree.
Mr. Albright. Well, and if Congress, I think there is
certainly in my organization, I think we would be very
sympathetic if Congress passed a law helping that designation
Mr. Sherman. Thank you.
Mr. Yoho. Mr. Albright, I appreciate it. Mr. Sherman, thank
you. I would now like to recognize Mr. Chabot, chairman of the
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, for 5 minutes.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I will
address this to the whole panel. We all know that Russia and
China should be more cooperative and that it would be in their
best interest and the best interest of the world if they would
put more pressure on all three of these countries; they haven't
been particularly helpful. What recommendations or what
suggestions would any of the panel members make to how we can
actually get their attention and get them to cooperate? What
could we do that we are not already doing? Mr. Woolsey?
Mr. Woolsey. I don't have a very good suggestion about
China. Because of its economic power and military power, it is
more impervious to diplomacy and so forth, I think, than it
used to be. Russia has only one thing that it does, it pumps
oil and gas. It does not manufacture anything. It doesn't do
anything but pump oil and gas, and it uses oil and gas as
instruments of power. I think a system in the United States
whereby we have choice at the pump and could have gasoline, and
let us say, not only ethanol but methanol made out of natural
gas to drive on, the way the Chinese are starting to do, I
think if we had something that competed with oil products so
Russia began to see oil consumption and demand for oil going
down and a lot of pressure on OPEC, I think that is the two-by-
four between the eyes that could get the attention of Russia.
Mr. Chabot. Okay, Mr. Sokolski?
Mr. Sokolski. Two ideas, one I mentioned. It doesn't take
much to get the attention of the Chinese if any of their banks
get contaminated as outlaws. They get very nervous even if it
is not much money. They freeze. So that is a lever point and
that is the reason why, I think, you can get the Chinese, not
just the North Koreans to pay attention, if you go after the
financial institutions that are laundering this hard currency
that is illicitly gained by North Korea. So that is one lever.
Two, I think to varying degrees the Russians and the
Chinese, for different reasons, are very sensitive about being
accused of violating human rights treaties, but they both are.
Forced repatriation of the North Koreans who flee cannot be
focused on too frequently, too often, too loudly in this
chamber and outside it and it is not getting the attention it
deserves. It is an old song, but we have got to keep singing it
until people believe it. They, the Russians and the Chinese,
for all kinds of deep concerns about control of their populous,
do not want that focused on. Good. Focus on it.
Finally, something friendly. We always want to end on an
upbeat note. The Russians really do worry about the Chinese and
their military. Why don't we listen more to them about that? We
actually are concerned too. Far be it from me to make many
recommendations about working with the Russians, but on that
one, sign me up. That makes sense.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Mr. Albright?
Mr. Albright. I think on the North Korean situation, they
clearly do a lot of banking business in China. China knows it,
and I think if sanctions start targeting that I think it could
elicit a perhaps better Chinese reaction. We will see. I mean I
think this all has to be tested. China is a very big economic
power, a lot of U.S. corporate interests in China. But I think
it is time to start putting this kind of pressure on China.
We like at ISIS the idea of the country of diversion
concern because it is a way to start. We are just asking China
to enforce its own laws, essentially, and we want assurances
that our products that we are in good faith selling to Chinese
companies do not end up in the nuclear programs or sanction
programs of Iran and North Korea. So to us that is a start, but
I think it may have to be followed by some more aggressive
sanctions, and the banking sanctions or the financial sanctions
would be very useful.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Dr. Takeyh?
Mr. Takeyh. I don't have recommendations beyond what I have
suggested. I would just say one thing. The current negotiations
with Iran takes place in the context of what is called 5+1, the
five members of the Security Council and Germany, and the last
meeting was in Kazakhstan. That particular format has,
actually, despite limitations that it has, has I think in some
ways served us well. When Iranian officials in these particular
meetings behave with truculence and mendacity even the Chinese
and Russians are compelled to actually impose pressure and
sanctions on them.
The reason why I say the 5+1 has served us well, because
there is a movement now, and there is some degree of suggestion
that perhaps the United States and Iran should move to a more
of a bilateral discussion away from 5+1. That actually removes
the penalty for Iranian mendacity. But so long as they get
together in Kazakhstan and they lie in front of all the members
of the international community, there is more of a pressure
therefore to build sanctions on Iran and other measures of
coercion than actually doing so in a bilateral context where
everybody else is exempt from responsibility.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. My time is expired.
Mr. Yoho. Thank you, sir. The Chair would like to recognize
Ms. Meng from New York now.
Ms. Meng. Thank you, Ambassador, and our witnesses for
being here today. My question is, as the United States is
growing our naval presence in the Pacific, what are some of the
things our Navy can do to disrupt North Korean trade and
shipping? Any and/or all?
Mr. Albright. I mean the interdictions are critically
important. I mean right now I think it is a little difficult to
contemplate seizing a North Korean ship at sea. We are not sure
of what the consequences of that would be given the tensions on
the Korean Peninsula. But the presence is useful. My
understanding is this pivot to Asia doesn't dramatically
increase the actual naval presence. It is an increase, but not
a huge increase. But it is important.
But on the interdiction side, it is critically important to
be able to have the mechanisms which involve intelligence or
information gained from states to try to stop North Korea's
shipments, and it mostly focuses on the ports or keeping a
North Korean, deterring a ship from North Korea to be able to
land someplace. In a sense we saw that before. They end up
going back rather than land where the shipment could be
Mr. Sokolski. There is a reason why we don't do it on the
open seas. It is illegal. We can't do it. It is the reason why
we have to limit PSI mostly to port interventions and why it is
a problem with air travel for certain kinds of small goods and
why you are not seeing the movement of large items and why the
cooperation is in situ. You have North Koreans living full-time
for many years in Iran and now Iranians living full-time in
North Korea. So it is a lot tougher than it used to be.
Mr. Woolsey. We have had two carriers in the Persian Gulf
area for some time. We are now going to go down to one because
of sequestration. It is very hard to tell an area that it is
really important, and we are here as the number one naval power
in the world and so forth, if we can't afford to send ships to
it. And although the tilt toward the Pacific, I think, as David
said will help with respect to maybe keeping things there about
where they are, or very slightly enhanced, we are paying for it
in other parts of the world because of sequestration.
Ms. Meng. Thank you. I yield back my time.
Mr. Yoho. Okay. The Chair would now like to recognize Judge
Poe, chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
Subcommittee, for 5 minutes.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for
being here. We have three bad actors--Syria, Iran, and North
Korea. I call them the SIK axis. That is S-I-K axis. I have to
keep it simple, as you know I am from Texas.
Ambassador Woolsey, I would like to know, at the end of the
day, and all four of you, at the end of the day is Iran going
to get nuclear weapons? Is North Korea going to get nuclear
Mr. Woolsey. Well, North Korea has had three detonations,
and the last one the people commented on the fact that it was
small. But if, let us say, they mean to use it for
electromagnetic pulse then you don't need more than a very few
kilotons. What you want is gamma rays. So it is an essentially
enhanced radiation weapon. So they may not be staying small
because they can't build a larger weapon, they may be testing
small because they have decided to enhance their ability to
take out our electric grid.
Mr. Poe. I guess I am really asking about delivery systems,
with weapons plus delivery systems. That is really my question.
Mr. Woolsey. Well, North Korea now has put at least one
maybe two satellites into orbit, and if you can get around, get
high enough and with enough lift to go into orbit, which
doesn't take a great deal, you can reach the other side of the
earth. And the ability to use a fractional orbital bombardment
system to just detonate something up above the United States
that comes at us from the south, we don't have radars pointed
down that way, and you have a very, I think a very, serious
Another kind of problem is the so-called Scud in a bucket,
which is a simple $100,000 Scud missile in a freighter pulling
up to a couple of hundred miles off the East Coast and
launching a nuclear weapon. If you want to be able to stop
something like that you have got to be able to shoot it down in
boost phase or ascent phase while it is going up. We started
some work on those in the Reagan administration, different
types. We have now cancelled every single American program that
deals with intercepting ballistic missiles in the ascent phase
or boost phase. We might well see a North Korean or Iranian
fishing boat launch something, but there is not a damn thing we
can do about it unless we catch it at midcourse or coming into
a terminal phase to its target at detonation. While it is going
up we can't shoot it down. So I would say at least, at least
working on those two types of problems is something our
military ought to move back into.
Mr. Poe. All right. Dr. Sokolski?
Mr. Sokolski. I was reflecting on the question, the answer.
With regard to North Korea, I guess what this conversation
reminds me of a little is the conversation I remember having in
graduate school after the flash in the South Atlantic occurred
in 1979, and we were still debating as graduate students, did
Israel have nuclear weapons or not. I am not sure it is a very
good analogy, but it suggests----
Mr. Poe. Excuse me, sir.
Mr. Sokolski. Yes?
Mr. Poe. Cut to the chase. I only have a few minutes.
Mr. Sokolski. Okay. I think you need to move on. Yes, they
have nuclear weapons in North Korea, and yes, you are not going
to know exactly whether they are deliverable or not, and all
the interpretation is just guesswork.
Mr. Poe. How about Iran?
Mr. Sokolski. Iran----
Mr. Poe. The day they are going to get nuclear weapons and
Mr. Sokolski. If we continue the way we are going,
Mr. Poe. All right. Dr. Albright?
Mr. Albright. Yes, I am a little scared to say this after
what Henry just said, but we do assess in North Korea, and we
would assess that they are capable of putting a miniaturized
warhead on a Nodong missile which has a range of about 800
miles. We don't think they can put one on an intercontinental
ballistic missile until they do quite a few more flight tests
of the warhead, but they could be starting to do that and so it
is very worrisome.
On Iran, I think again no one knows. I mean a lot of it is
going to be what the United States does to prevent Iran from
getting nuclear weapons. The role of Congress and the sanctions
to increase the pressure, the pain, helping stop Iran from
getting the kinds of goods it needs is all very important. If
Iran crosses, it is probably going to be a fairly crude weapon
as probably more of a nuclear explosive device. And it would
take several more years, probably, to have a reliable,
deliverable nuclear weapon on a missile.
Mr. Poe. All right, thank you.
Mr. Takeyh. The Iranians seem determined and they have
crossed many red lines. They are crossing further. I would just
say one thing. And it is at times suggested that Iranians will
stop at the breakout capacity and not cross the threshold when
they get to it, I don't think that is true. I think if they get
there they will cross, and they have broken every other taboo
so that is the road we are on.
Mr. Poe. Thank you. Thank you very much. Yield back.
Mr. Yoho. Thank you. The Chair now would like to recognize
Ms. Gabbard from Hawaii for 5 minutes.
Ms. Gabbard. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen,
for being here today. My questions will be mostly focused on
North Korea. We have seen with the policies that we have had
and how we have been dealing with North Korea so far,
representing Hawaii obviously in the Pacific we pay very close
attention to what is happening in North Korea, and we have seen
this endless cycle over decades now of North Korea making
threats, providing sanctions, providing aid over and over and
over again. What needs to be done to break this cycle?
Mr. Woolsey. The North Korean Government, as it is
constituted and operates, is run by a fanatic. And negotiations
to try to persuade them to take steps have been for us, for 25
years anyway, playing the role of Charlie Brown trying to kick
the football with it being pulled away every year at the last
minute. We have been conned. We have not performed well. And
North Korea has worked very hard while executing that classic
diplomatic maneuver known as lying through their teeth.
We have to decide that we are going to effectively bring
the government down. And I think the only route to that short
of using force ourselves is probably the financial sanctions of
the sort that have been talked about by the chairman, and I
would mention that Henry described especially going against
their elites. And it is almost our last gasp on keeping them
from being a functioning nuclear power with the same
characteristics that they have as a government. It is one of
the least effective series of events in the conduct of American
foreign policy that I know of.
Ms. Gabbard. Thank you very much. And just a follow-up to
that. Bringing up the financial sanctions on hard currency,
this was done a few years back but only for a short period of
time. Mr. Sokolski, I wonder if you could address why it was
stopped almost prematurely?
Mr. Sokolski. I understand you were going to have
Ambassador Hill here. I think he holds the answer to that
question. I do not understand it. I know people on the Left and
the Right working within the system that shook their heads when
that happened, and I certainly on the outside shook mine. I
think it was a mistake. It was the very smartest of what could
be described as smart sanctions. It was making a difference. It
was getting China's attention. It was doing damage to the
elites that really mattered. I mean that country is run by 2
million Communist party members. That is your problem. And I
don't know. I think that should be something that you should
get satisfaction on here in Congress about, and if you can't, I
Ms. Gabbard. Thank you. And Dr. Albright, since 2009, the
United States and South Korea have basically adopted a joint
approach including four main elements, one of which includes
refusing to return to nuclear talks with North Korea unless
they demonstrate that they are taking irreversible steps to
denuclearize. Realistically, is that an option for North Korea?
And if it is, what could possibly be offered as an incentive to
move them in that direction?
Mr. Albright. Yes, one of the problems is as we have
learned with North Korea, I mean it is not a great history but
things can get a lot worse. I mean North Koreans have been
talking off line for a couple years they may deploy nuclear
tipped ballistic missiles, shorter range like the Nodong and
that is a much worse situation if they overtly deploy those. So
I think it is very important that we create a sanctions regime
that sticks and it should only be reduced if there is
significant concessions on the part of North Korea.
But I also think we have to start finding a way to talk to
them again. And the point is two-fold. One is to start limiting
their nuclear program. I mean not to have this reactor restart,
not to have the light-water reactor, which is five times
larger, they are building that turn out plutonium for weapons,
to start shutting down parts of their centrifuge program. And I
think the Obama administration is going to have to face that. I
think the South Korean Government is beginning to. That the
talks, ultimately, you want denuclearization, but in the short
run you want concrete limits on their ability to build and
deploy nuclear weapons.
Ms. Gabbard. Great. Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. Yoho. Thank you. Now the Chair would like to recognize
Mr. Tom Cotton from Arkansas. You have 5 minutes, thank you.
Mr. Cotton. Thank you. Mr. Woolsey, I would like to draw
upon your experience as a senior leader in our intelligence
community to explore our intelligence gathering efforts in
North Korea. How difficult is it for the United States to
actually collect reliable intelligence from that country?
Mr. Woolsey. Our technical systems are extremely good, and
over the years we have gotten a lot of information about Korea
and its programs from those both the satellite systems and the
electronic systems. Human intelligence espionage is
extraordinarily difficult to conduct in a country where we
don't have a diplomatic presence, where we don't even have any
American commercial people. And even people from other
countries who would help us would have a very difficult time
learning anything about what was going on there. It is probably
the hardest place in the world to spy in human intelligence
Mr. Cotton. And that would include our allies in the
Pacific Rim, up to and including South Korea?
Mr. Woolsey. Yes, generally. Probably our best place to go
to find out what is going on in North Korea, and the most
useful set of arrangements that we have got is not so much, I
think, likely to be espionage we are running ourselves, but
rather liaison work with the Republic of Korea, South Korean
Government. Because people have relatives in the North, people
have family, they have contacts of one kind or another,
refugees get out, they know people on the inside. Probably the
most useful way to spend time outside running all our
electronic and technical collection is working closely with the
Korean intelligence services and in law enforcement and other,
anybody that has a link to a South Korean who has some link to
Mr. Cotton. Does the Chinese Government needs to conduct
intelligence in North Korea or do they simply talk to North
Mr. Woolsey. The Chinese spy everywhere, and I imagine they
are worrying about North Korea as David and Henry, I think,
everybody has pointed out. They don't want it to collapse. They
don't want millions of refugees headed north across the Yalu.
But by the same token, they don't want it to get into a war on
the Peninsula, and the worst thing they could think of would be
a war and then unification which would mean the South would be
running a major country on China's immediate border that is an
attractive, functioning democracy. So China doesn't have an
easy time, and I would rather imagine that one of the top
portfolios for the senior Chinese intelligence officials would
be figuring out what is going on in North Korea.
Mr. Cotton. Given that relationship, do you think that
senior decision makers in the Chinese Government would be aware
if the North Korean Government was going to strike South Korea
or any U.S. interest in the area to include a conventional
strike with the thousands of dug-in pieces of artillery across
Mr. Woolsey. Very hard to say. They would probably work
very hard to try to know what was going to happen, but this new
young leader of North Korea, Trey Parker and Matt Stone did a
marvelous job on his father, Kim Jong-il, in Team America:
World Police. He is even more conducive to humorous treatment,
I think, than his father was. I don't have any idea about
anybody who knows what is going on in this guy's mind, whether
he is blustering, whether he has a tactic in mind, whether he
is just uncontrolled.
Mr. Cotton. Any idea whether he is acting as the prime
decision maker or as a cat's paw for other elements of the
Mr. Woolsey. I don't know. The external appearance doesn't
make it look as if he is doing anything as a subordinate, but
who knows what the power structure is underneath him and what
military officers are on his side and who might want to look at
somebody else? I don't know. That is the kind of thing that
probably outside North Korea the only people who know much
about might be some part of the South Korean intelligence
Mr. Cotton. Thank you. I would agree that he is ripe for
parody. I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Yoho. Thank you, sir. The Chair now would like to
recognize Mr. Juan Vargas from the great state of California.
Mr. Vargas. Thank you very much, and thank you for the
pitch for California. I appreciate that.
Mr. Yoho. Yes, sir.
Mr. Vargas. Especially coming from Florida. Thank you, sir.
My first question would be this. I certainly believe that Iran
is attempting to get a nuclear weapon in their program. Do any
of you doubt that? Are any of you in any doubt that that is
exactly what they are attempting to do?
Mr. Woolsey. Well, I think it is exactly what they are
doing. The Persians invented chess and they are good at it. And
they have had one of their pawns being moved down steadily to
the king's road to become converted to the most lethal piece,
the queen, nuclear weapons, and they are distracting us by
doing things on the other side of the chessboard. And as soon
as we turn our attention away they figure out a way to get that
pawn moved even closer to lethality.
Mr. Vargas. So you have no doubt then?
Mr. Woolsey. With everything in intelligence and foreign
policy and so forth, there has always got to be some kind of
shred of a doubt, but my doubt about that is about as small as
I could imagine in this field.
Mr. Vargas. Anybody else?
Mr. Albright. Let me just say I would express it in a
little more complicated way. I think they made in a sense a
strategic decision to try to build nuclear weapons and they
have been stopped in the past. I mean I think in 2003, between
fear of what the United States was doing in Iraq, the
negotiations done by the Europeans that led to the suspension
in their enrichment program, they hurriedly shut down what
looks to be the weaponization program. And so I think they were
deferred at that point and I think they were on the track to
make nuclear weapons.
Mr. Vargas. Do you believe now that that is what they are
Mr. Albright. I think they are trying to build a
capability, but I am not sure they have made the decision,
because ultimately it is the decision by the Supreme Leader,
and I think he is weighing whether he can get away with it, and
so I think the more that is done to deter him the better. And I
think it is very important that he understand that a military
strike is possible if Iran goes to build nuclear weapons.
Mr. Takeyh. If I could just say the few things about it.
Number one, I think if you look at their strategic environment
given the fact that there is an imbalance of conventional power
between they and their neighbors, it makes sense for them to
have a nuclear balance to that. Number two, I think Ambassador
Woolsey said that we should hope for the collapse of the North
Korean regime. I would say there are large members of the
international community that don't want the North Korean
Government to collapse. And why do they not want it to
collapse? Because it has nuclear weapons.
So Iran, with nuclear weapons, I think, will have an
opportunity to get the international community invested in
perpetuation of the current regime. I think you can make a case
and a fairly cogent one that the prolongation of the Kim
dynasty has had something to do with the fact that it has
Mr. Vargas. And my other question would be this. I am from
San Diego. We do, in fact, have two nuclear carriers there, the
Carl Vinson and the Ronald Reagan. And you mentioned,
Ambassador, now that we only will have one carrier in the
region down from two, we also talked about ballistic missile
system to be able to attack at a particular level. Those cost a
lot of money. I agree with you on both, but what do we do
though when we are cutting money here? What is your suggestion
Mr. Woolsey. Well, just to be clear, I don't know how long
we are going to be down to one carrier in the Persian Gulf,
whether it is a few months or a year or more. But it is just
symbolic to me of what we are doing to ourselves by our fiscal
situation. I am very, very worried about the state of the
military and programs getting cancelled and people leaving that
we need in the military. And I think that however Congress
sorts out this fiscal situation that we are in, I really hope
they do it in such a way that we don't end up losing a great
deal of military capability.
Mr. Vargas. Anyone else want to comment on that issue? And
then lastly I would ask this. How far do you think Iran would
go to save the Assad regime? We talk about intervention. How
far would they go? Doctor?
Mr. Takeyh. Sure. My guess would be they are going to
commit considerable degree of what they are doing already at
the intensified level. But I think there is also a notion
pervasive within Iranian councils of power that they can still
play around in Syria in aftermath of the collapse of the Assad
regime. Because the collapse of the Assad regime doesn't end
the civil war, and the idea is that they have capabilities of
being active in ambiguous areas as you saw with Iraq and
Afghanistan. So I think the Assad regime does not end Iran's
involvement in Syrian affairs.
Mr. Vargas. Thank you.
Mr. Yoho. I am sorry, we are out of time. I am going to go
on. The Chair now would like to recognize my colleague Randy
Weber, from the great state, or as he refers to as the country
of Texas. Randy, you have 5 minutes.
Mr. Weber. All right. Well, the president of Texas will
appreciate that. Ambassador Woolsey, you made the comment in
earlier remarks that you think the best way to bring down the
North Korean Government is through sanctions. If you could put
every sanction in place that you thought was necessary, give us
a time frame.
Mr. Woolsey. That is very hard to do. If Congress,
tomorrow, could follow Henry's advice and re-implement those
banking sanctions with the stringency that they were in
effect--for what was it, a couple years before they were, not
even that, more like a year--and if we furthermore proposed a
total secondary boycott of anything having to do with the North
Korean regime. And what I mean by that is this. If any
manufacturing facility in any country exports anything to North
Korea, overtly or covertly, that institution would be barred
from using American banks, trading with American companies, and
having any economic dealings with the United States.
Mr. Weber. All right.
Mr. Woolsey. Make people choose. North Korea or the U.S.A.
Mr. Weber. Okay, thank you. Yes, I think that sounds like a
good plan to me. And secondly, I don't remember who said it
that if they got a missile into orbit, North Korea, we would
not see it coming from the south. Was that you, Henry? Mr.
Mr. Woolsey. I am afraid it was probably me.
Mr. Weber. It was you. Does NORAD not look to the south?
Mr. Woolsey. There is a gap.
Mr. Weber. Well, let us not tell anybody.
Mr. Woolsey. Well, it is all out in publications and it is
unclassified. But the United States has never defended the
southern approaches to the U.S.A. effectively.
Mr. Weber. Okay. Thank you, I appreciate that. And this
would be a question for all y'all, which is plural in Texas by
the way. Y'all is singular. Who has the most vested interest to
know when North Korea is about to strike? I ask you first.
Mr. Sokolski. Well, I don't know. Let us just pick one.
Mr. Weber. Would it not be South Korea?
Mr. Sokolski. South Korea and China.
Mr. Weber. Okay. So you talked about not having good
espionage available, and yet with the close relationship
between people in South Korea and North Korea, families, it
would seem that South Korea would be our go-to people in that
regard. Is that too naive of thinking on my part?
Mr. Woolsey. No, I think that is right. Our alliance with
South Korea, it has had rocky periods here and there but
generally it is very good and it works very well. And the close
cooperation between the intelligence services, they even called
their intelligence service for a time the CIA, it is also very,
Mr. Weber. That is what I thought. Now the question, do
China and South Korea share Embassies?
Mr. Sokolski. They do a lot of trade. They are quite close.
Mr. Weber. Okay. And then I think Mr. Albright you said
that Iran was, when my colleague Congressman Vargas asked you
about did you think Iran was hotly pursuing weapons, I noticed
you kind of gave it that, and you said you thought they were
stopped in the past and you gave a couple of examples.
Reiterate those examples of what stopped them in the past.
Mr. Albright. Well, they started their bomb program,
nuclear weapons program, from the information available, in the
mid-'80s, and they had a long way to go. But by early 2000s
they were moving along pretty well. And I think with the
invasion in Iraq and with the international attention that was
brought to bear on Iran, they then made cutbacks and stopped
the nuclear weapon----
Mr. Weber. Okay, that is what I wanted you to reiterate
right now. Final question, who is best, who has the most vested
interest to know about a nuclear bomb in Iran?
Mr. Albright. Israel.
Mr. Weber. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Takeyh. Can I just say one thing about when the Iranian
nuclear program began, because I don't think it was mid-'80s.
Hassan Rohani who was a negotiator, a high ranking Iranian
official, has written his memoirs unfortunately only in Persia.
And he suggests that actually the decision to resume or sustain
the Shah's nuclear program was made while they were still in
exile in 1979. So it actually has, the antecedents of that
program come before Iraq's invasion of Iran, which leads me to
believe that this is not a weapon of deterrence.
Mr. Weber. Okay, thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield back a
Mr. Yoho. Appreciate it. The Chair now would like to
recognize from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mr. Connolly.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, and welcome
to our panel. I am picking up in your last point, Dr. Takeyh,
can we point to an example of a country that has seriously
decided a priority that nuclear capability ushered in your
full-fledged adult membership into the family of nations as a
power that had to be respected and therefore we are proceeding?
Is there any example we can think of in history that that
country was persuaded to desist once having made such a
Mr. Takeyh. There has been cases of nuclear reversals,
Ukraine, for instance, that had Soviet weapons and then it gave
them up, or some Central Asian republics, they actually gave
Mr. Connolly. Libya.
Mr. Takeyh. South Africa. So there has been cases. But if
you look at all those cases, every case is particular into
itself. Ukraine was trying to become part of the European
community. The South Africans had a change of regime. So in
terms of the fact that, the incentives for Iran to have a
nuclear weapon today are greater than the incentives for
Mr. Connolly. Would you agree with that, Mr. Albright?
Mr. Albright. I am not sure. I mean it is hard to know what
they are thinking on these questions. And I think the outside
does have an impact, and part of the strategy is to play for
time. I mean I would also add Taiwan to that list where the
U.S. intervened twice to stop their nuclear weapons program.
And so it is possible, I think, to keep a country from building
nuclear weapons even when it looks like that is what they are
trying to do.
Mr. Connolly. Where we clearly have some leverage.
Mr. Albright. He mentioned, and not to interrupt Henry, but
South Africa, Ray mentioned South Africa. There was in the
sense a regime change, but it was the President changed. It
wasn't a regime change as often thought about. But there had
also been all these efforts to press South Africa through
sanctions, through working with the African National Congress
to change the nature of the decision making of the----
Mr. Connolly. And weren't there some anomalous explosions
we detected in----
Mr. Albright. '79?
Mr. Connolly. Yes.
Mr. Albright. Yes.
Mr. Sokolski. For what it is worth----
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Sokolski.
Mr. Albright. Yes. No, they had nuclear weapons so----
Mr. Sokolski. Let me intervene, because I was on watch and
traveled to the Ukraine and traveled to South Africa when they
let go of these things. And you can't tell me that there wasn't
regime change for the better that had a heck of a lot to do
with our ability to reason with these folks on these things,
and without that I don't think we would have seen it.
And in the case of Taiwan, how many countries are like
Taiwan? I mean we don't have leverage over the world like we do
over Taiwan. I think the point about ``regime change'' that
Ambassador Woolsey raised, which is, I guess, politically
incorrect to say that anymore, so we talk about a transition to
self-government, is that is is powerful, still important,
Mr. Connolly. Yes, and Ambassador Woolsey, I want to come
back to your regime change because it is good advice. But it
seems to me that the experience of Pakistan is not felicitous
with respect to regime change. We have gone through lots of
different governments, military, civilian, leaders who are
executed, leaders who have had to come back from exile, leaders
who went back into exile. Multiple regimes, but one constant
was the pursuit of nuclear capability until they got it.
Mr. Woolsey. That is exactly right. It is different ways in
different circumstances. In South Africa it worked. In Libya it
kind of worked. So it is not really clear when it is going to
function. It is just that if you keep trying as governments go
through changes for one reason or another, you may be able to
somewhat limit the spread of nuclear weapons, but you are
certainly not going to be universally successful.
Mr. Connolly. Mr. Albright?
Mr. Albright. I think I have to take exception. South
Africa did not go through regime change as typically it is
defined. In 1989, when P.W. Botha stepped down and allowed F.W.
de Klerk to take over as President through an election, and
that is when the decision was made. And there were many other
factors that came into play that where South Africa was under
tremendous pressure and wanted to then change the regime and
allow, and then to apartheid, and then a black government.
Mr. Sokolski. You and I should disagree off line and I will
fill you in with what I know.
Mr. Albright. All right. But the point I want to make
though is that I think that regime change as a strategy to stop
proliferation has not worked that well and we need other things
much sooner. And I am not sure. In my experience working on
North Korea for 20-some years that regime hangs on. I was not
real enamored with the Agreed Framework in '94. I ended up
supporting it, but I was told, well, don't worry. In 5 years
that regime won't exist. We will never have to build the light-
water reactor. These regimes hang on, and your example on
Pakistan is an excellent one. So I think our strategy needs to
be not on regime change but on other things. If the regime
changes through various means then it may be better, it may not
Mr. Sokolski. How about an energy policy analogy, ``all of
the above,'' please. Don't be blind to these possibilities.
Mr. Yoho. Thank you. Mr. Albright, I appreciate it. We are
out of time on this question here. What I would like to do is
address you on a couple things and then we are going to pass
this on to Mr. Cotton from Arkansas.
Like I said, I watched this unroll for 30, 35 years. I have
seen the cat and mouse game with the IAEA and Iran. Yes, we
have, they are saying they have nuclear capabilities or they
are developing them. No, we don't, and then it goes back and
forth, and then some concessions are made. Sanctions are put
on, and then they come forthright and say yes, we have done
that, and then it starts over again. I have watched that for 35
years. It is not working real well. We have spent a lot of
money in foreign aid. Actually it is more foreign welfare in
this situation. And we need to change, I think, our whole
And you guys have been involved in this for a long time,
and I would love to hear your response, especially dealing with
the situation, Mr. Woolsey. And I want to address all of you
where you were talking about with sequestration we are bringing
our fleets home. I have met with Navy, people in the Navy, and
they said Iran, North Korea are watching our Navy. They know
when we have to bring them back and when we have to refuel
them. They know we have so many in the ports. It is a very
dangerous situation that they can just afford to sit back and
wait. And if they were to decide, if you say within 3 months
that they can have a bomb capability and they go out on a Scud
or on a boat, it is a dangerous situation and our policy has
not worked real well. And with sequestration, yes, we would
love not to be in this situation but we are here, and if we
don't get some things straightened out in this country it is
not going away real soon.
So in lieu of that, what policy difference could we make,
or what different policies could we come up with instead of the
sanctions? Because the sanctions we have tried. But yet when
you have China and Russia, and then you have Venezuela
funneling money from Iran that keeps them afloat, how can you
go about putting more sanctions on that when we are borrowing
over 40 cents on a dollar? It is a very precarious situation
for this country and for the rest of the world. I would like to
hear just your thoughts briefly, and say 30 seconds each and
then I am going to pass this on to Mr. Cotton. Thank you.
Mr. Sokolski. I would have to say that you do have to have
a long-term effort kind of like the Cold War. I have argued
this for a long time since I worked in the Office of Net
Assessment where we do competitive strategies. You don't want a
hot war. That means you are not going to get a quick answer.
And if you think longer and bigger you are going to have more
success with all these cases. That is what we have not done
Mr. Albright. I think on North Korea one of the important
things is to, in a sense, learn some lessons from the Iran
sanctions that it is to apply the sanctions that can get you
the result or try to get you the result you want. In this case
you want China to cooperate and press North Korea, and so I
think that has to be one of the goals. And to think through
what are North Korea's vulnerabilities? I mean that is really,
I guess the key for the Iran sanctions was to understand Iran
better. I think we need to understand North Korea better.
The other thing is, I think we are going to have to depend
on South Korea to try to create some possibilities with North
Korea. I mean right now is not the time, but I think they are
going to have to take the, not necessarily the lead, but to try
to get back to the point where there are limits put on the
North Korean program, but we don't give rewards for that. That
we want, the policy to get North Korea to stop activities is
very important to maintain but it is going to be very hard
right now to do that. But I think that it has got to take
Mr. Yoho. Okay. Dr. Takeyh?
Mr. Takeyh. I agree with Henry on his long-term approach. I
do think that our policies of sanctions and sabotage have
slowed down the Iranian nuclear program based upon the evidence
that is available. I would just say one thing, this is true
about the United States. This is true about Israel. This is
true about all countries who have engaged in diplomatic
dialogue with Iran. We have drawn red lines that we have not
Mr. Yoho. Right.
Mr. Takeyh. That actually gives the impression of
irresolution which further actuates that. If you are going to
draw a red line then we are going to have to stick to it. If we
are not going to stick to it then we shouldn't draw it.
Mr. Yoho. I agree. Ambassador Woolsey?
Mr. Woolsey. There aren't any very good short term answers
to the question. In between military force and just talking
sanctions are about the only thing, really, that is there. But
if you take a longer look at it, in 1945 at the end of World
War II there were 20 democracies in the world. Today there are
about 120 depending on how you count. An awful lot of that was
us, not directly as we brought about democracy in Japan and
Germany and Italy, but often indirectly. But a lot of that was
us. And part of it was by example, part of it was standing firm
against the Soviet Union in the Cold War. There was just
different things that produced it. And we would be in a lot
worse shape now with respect to the spread of nuclear weapons,
I think, if we hadn't had that rather substantial increase in
states which are free. But it is not the only solution. And you
have democratic states like Pakistan which are kind of going
crazy, six directions at the same time, and maybe their nuclear
weapons leaking out to Taliban or Lord knows what.
Mr. Yoho. All right. I am going to cut you off there, and I
appreciate your input. The Chair now would like to recognize
Mr. Connolly for 5 minutes.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman. A fascinating
panel, a fascinating discussion. I wish we could do this for
many hours more. I don't know if you feel that way.
But Dr. Takeyh, I heard what you said about red lines, and
I absolutely agree with you. On the other hand, I think I am
not sure I agree that we have set red lines and then allowed
them to slip. I think there is a difference between Israel and
the United States and what our red line is and what their red
line is. And within some reasonable boundary, I think that
ambiguity can be useful because the other side has to now
calculate who is going to do what. But if, however, you are
right that we absolutely, clearly, allow a red line to go past
us, then I think we dissipate credibility and damage actually
the end goal. Comment?
Mr. Takeyh. No, I am not disagreeing with you, Congressman.
For instance, look at the Fordo facility, the facility that is
in Iran, hard and in the mountains. Our position used to be
that Fordo has to be shuttered. Now our position is the
activities in Fordo have to be suspended. That is not
shuttered. Maybe if it was too hard to shutter Fordo then we
shouldn't have asked for it.
Mr. Connolly. Yes. It reminds me a little bit of Potter
Stewart, Justice Stewart on the Supreme Court who once said
with respect to the definition of that which was obscene, I
know it when I see it. And maybe we will know the red line when
we see it. I don't know, but I take your point.
Yes, Mr. Sokolski?
Mr. Sokolski. Mr. Takeyh is absolutely spot on correct. He
could go on with many more examples though. We once opposed
opening up Bushehr. Oh, we don't anymore. They have a ``right''
to that now. So we do not only not hold to the red lines we
set, we move them, and I think that is what you are referring
Mr. Connolly. Yes.
Mr. Sokolski [continuing]. And you are nodding, so yes.
Mr. Connolly. Okay, fair enough. Great. I want to go back
to the question of Iran and Syria. Lots of stuff going on in
Iran right now. How far do you think, and I think, Mr.
Albright, you were commenting on this in response to
Congressman Vargas. How far do you think Iran is willing to go?
How much credibility, how much by way of resources is Iran
willing to expend in either shoring up the Assad regime or in
making sure that its interests are protected to Syria as
opposed to the Assad regime?
Mr. Albright. Ray was talking about that.
Mr. Connolly. Oh, you were talking about that, okay. Dr.
Mr. Takeyh. In some ways this is an unusual situation for
the Iranians because this is one of the first time they are
looking at a situation where a critical strategic ally faces
the possibility of extinction. So we don't have too many
historical precedents about how far they will go. So far they
have made the determination that they will give financial
assets, military advice, technological transfers and all kinds
But what I wanted to suggest that there is an increasing
perception in the Iranian power circles as far as we can tell
that they seem to think they can nevertheless function and
advance their interests in post-Assad Syria. Because post-Assad
Syria is still going to be a state which is going to be at war
with itself, different confessional and different sectarian
groups. And it is such an ambiguous situation Iranians have
experience of dealing whether it is in southern Lebanon,
whether it is Iraq, whether in Afghanistan, they seem to do
well in terms of finding allies and even clients in situations
I don't know how far they would go in terms of, my guess is
they are going to the limit in terms of financial transfer and
that stuff, not necessarily effective deployment of their own
forces. But I should say for the Islamic Republic this is an
unprecedented situation and so this is going to be case law.
Mr. Connolly. And I have 37 seconds, so Mr. Ambassador, the
same question in a sense about China and Korea. Seems to be
some cracks in the cement around feet in Beijing with respect
to the recent actions of Pyongyang. How much credence should we
give to the seeming growing, well, the seeming distance between
the new leadership in Beijing and the new leadership in
Mr. Woolsey. I rather imagine that the Chinese are worried
enough that they are starting to work very closely with the
South Koreans, and we may almost be kind of in a rivalry with
China over who can work more closely with the South Koreans
these days. I think the Chinese would very much like to have
anybody, if anybody is going to make people mad and much less
use force, they would much rather it be us than them. And I
think it is pretty unlikely that they are seriously considering
trying to effectively constrain North Korea in the way that
they might have to to get the job done. But it is an odd
situation and it is one that is very difficult to predict how
it is going to come out. I have rarely seen Asia in quite such
a state of confusion.
Mr. Connolly. And Mr. Chairman, if I may though, how much
credence though should we, or are we reading too much in some
of the statements from the new Chinese leadership with respect,
I mean they made all the veiled references to the leadership in
Pyongyang at least inferentially in negative terms.
Mr. Woolsey. At least what, deferentially?
Mr. Connolly. Inferentially. I mean they didn't by name
say--no. But they clearly said countries have to behave in a
certain way and the inference being they are not.
Mr. Woolsey. I think the new Chinese leader seems to have a
bit more taste for the military and taking sort of a strong
posture in getting along with them than may have been the case
in recent history in China. I think China is probably worried
and they are not quite sure what to do other than to just kind
of look strong and try to figure out who knows what. I don't
think they are in a hugely better shape than we are.
Mr. Albright. I think we have to careful. I agree with what
the Ambassador said. But there are two things to remember. The
President of China made the statement, we thought it was North
Korea. The Chinese Government, I believe, issued a statement a
couple days later saying no, they were talking about the United
States. And then one of the articles that has been widely cited
is showing this crack. The guy was removed from his job. So I
think the U.S. challenge to get China to start playing a more
constructive role is still front and center.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cotton [presiding]. As the chair, I think I will
recognize myself for 5 minutes. We spoke earlier about our
efforts to look into North Korea. I want to maybe turn the
mirror now on ourselves and evaluate our response not
necessarily over the last 4 years or the last 30 years with
North Korea, but maybe the last 60 days, and get your opinion
as a panel on how the President and the administration has
responded on the positive side.
I see that in general it has not rushed to prostrate itself
the way the American Government has sometimes in the past. The
introduction of the B-2 bomber into annual exercises, the
forward deployment of F-22 fighters to South Korea. On the less
valuable side, I have seen a cancelled ballistic missile tests
from our West Coast, General Thurman, the commander in South
Korean forces, a decision not to return here for a previously
scheduled testimony. Maybe most troubling, some reporting by
David Sanger in the New York Times a few days ago, with that
senior administration official, said the United States
Government finds itself in the unusual role of trying to
restrain the South Korean Government and any attack by North
Korea such as artillery shells against our forces or South
Korean territory, or ships are being met with a more
proportional response rather than overwhelming response.
If I could just go down the panel and get your assessment
of how the administration has handled the last, say 60 days.
Mr. Woolsey. I guess I would say no huge errors, but when
dealing with somebody like Kim Jong-un, or if there is anybody
like him, to sort of start out from a firm posture and then to
kind of back down to one that is less so is frequently the
worst thing to do. It is not called appeasement anymore, but
that is what appeasement meant in 1938 before it took on its
negative connotation was basically accommodating,
accommodating, accommodating. And one wants to be able to talk.
I have spent a lot of time in diplomatic negotiations and there
are sometimes things that you can usefully do even between
enemies in a crisis. But to start out and transition now to
look like you are pulling back, I don't think is wise.
Mr. Cotton. Mr. Sokolski?
Mr. Sokolski. I was in Korea and was able to talk with
officials both in South Korea and in our Embassy in 2010. And
the unanimous view of all parties political and official was
that when the United States found out about the sinking of the
corvette and the shelling of the island, it instructed the
South Koreans more or less to be quiet, to take it. I think
what is regrettable about what has happened in the last month
isn't so much what the President has done, which I think,
actually, is appropriate, but that it had to be so public. I
think it had to be so public because of what happened in 2010.
And then because they were getting criticized for overplaying
their hand, they, then, publicly said, well, we will restrain
By the way, we are in a tricky situation, I understand,
because the South Korean military is very eager to say that
they will go north. You do not want to get sucked into a war
easily, so there is a real problem here. But I think the cycle
of concern about how we look is driving too much of what we are
doing, and it doesn't look good when you do that. I think that
is the point.
Mr. Cotton. Mr. Albright?
Mr. Albright. Yes. No, I won't pretend to be an expert on
military strategy with North Korea, but I don't think it was
done as well as it could have been. I mean, I do know in
working with North Korea over many years that they are very
worried about U.S. military strength. They think they are going
to be attacked. And some of it is propaganda to keep the
regime, or the population under control, but a lot of it they
And I think the public actions with the B-2 bomber and
other actions guaranteed a massive escalation on the part of
the North Koreans, and they are never going to let us have the
last word. And so I think it could have been done differently.
And then cancelling the ballistic missile test, I kind of agree
it is a sign of weakness. Now maybe that can be turned in, or
what is the phrase? Lemons can be turned into lemonade somehow.
But I think it could have been done better.
And we have to always remember that we are dealing with a
regime that has military people that are incredibly isolated,
never left that country, see us in an extremely paranoid way,
and see us as incredibly powerful and they are never going to
show weakness. And so you have a very tricky situation. And I
think at the same time, I don't think South Korea is going to
take another attack. I think they will respond. I think the
past President made that clear. I think the current one has
made it clear. And so I think the United States has to work
carefully with South Korea to make sure that if North Korea
does attack that there is, I guess the term would be a
proportionate response that they hopefully will not escalate
into a war.
Mr. Cotton. Dr. Takeyh, in brief?
Mr. Takeyh. As you mentioned, Congressman, with the Korean
crisis there is always a cycle. There is a North Korean
bellicosity that is usually followed by diplomacy and rewards
and so forth. I think the administration has been measured in
its response not to follow that particular cycle. In a
situation like this you have a task of deterring your adversary
and restraining your ally. What I don't know is how this crisis
ends, because at some point North Korea has to be given a path
out of the predicament of its own making and that may at some
point call for introduction of diplomacy into this.
Mr. Cotton. Thank you. Briefly.
Mr. Albright. Yes, don't underestimate the military's
influence that they don't want to negotiate. I mean we are in a
very tricky situation, and I think that it is not necessarily
the old cycle.
Mr. Cotton. Thank you all. I will now turn to the gentleman
from California for 5 minutes.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much. Mr. Albright, let me
just note that if they--yes, they are not going to show a sign,
what they consider to be a sign of weakness to us by reaching
out or trying to find a peaceful way of interacting with us.
That they see that as a sign of weakness on their part. But
they also see when we are doing that as a sign of weakness,
isn't that true? So it is not just them saying oh, I am not
going to show a sign of weakness, when we try to do the same
thing they think we are being weak.
Well, so what does that mean about our policy for the last
20 years dealing with North Korea? Have we not been subsidizing
North Korea to the tune of billions of dollars between
ourselves and our friends in South Korea? Haven't we been
providing them with billions of dollars? Did they see that as a
sign of friendship or of weakness?
Mr. Albright. Yes, but we have gotten quite a bit for it. I
mean their program was constrained for years, and so I can tell
you it can get a lot worse. I mean if they start deploying
nuclear tipped ballistic missiles----
Mr. Rohrabacher. Yes, we got a lot out of it. We are now in
a position where you have a North Korean regime that may be a
nuclear armed regime soon. We didn't get a lot out of that at
all. That regime may have fallen had we not provided a subsidy
in oil and food so they could use their own money on weapons.
Before I had to leave for other meetings, Ambassador
Woolsey was mentioning other alternatives of how Ronald Reagan
approached the Soviet Union which had nuclear weapons, which
was a threat, which was involved with aggressive actions toward
us, and he said, ``tear down the wall.'' Well, I was one of
Ronald Reagan's speechwriters as most people know, and Ronald
Reagan was the one responsible for those lines, I will tell you
that much, because all of his senior advisors didn't want him
to say it, except his speechwriters of course. And had Ronald
Reagan not done that it would have been a sign of weakness, and
instead of having the wall come down and the Soviet Union
collapse without an armed conflict we might have actually
perpetuated Soviet strength.
And during that same time, Reagan was also, as Ambassador
Woolsey mentioned, supporting those people within their society
who were trying to regime change from within. Whether it was
the Afghans fighting the Soviet Union, whether it was Lech
Walesa, whether it was the Contras down in Nicaragua, we were
undermining the Soviet military regime that threatened us by
supporting the enemy of our enemies.
Instead, in Korea----
Mr. Albright. But I think all that has been done on North
Korea. I think all that has been done in North Korea.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Instead in Korea, our approach has been to
subsidize this wacko, lunatic regime that now threatens the
world with nuclear weapons.
Mr. Albright. All right. If you are talking about the
Sunshine Policy of the South Korean Government----
Mr. Rohrabacher. Which we encouraged.
Mr. Albright [continuing]. That was a tremendous subsidy,
and I think the South Korean Government is unlikely to pursue
that path again.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, it is too late now. We have already
given them the billions of dollars they needed so that they
could invest in their nuclear program without having to deny
their people food.
Mr. Albright. Yes, but back to the early----
Mr. Rohrabacher. I have only got 1 minute more.
Mr. Albright. I don't think the regime would have collapsed
in the early '90s if there had not been something like the
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, unless we came in and decided, like
Ronald Reagan did, to support people who are going to try to
overthrow that regime.
Over to Iran, let us just note we haven't done anything
with Iran either. I mean we have been making our gestures, this
administration in particular made wonderful friendship
gestures. But over these last years instead of supporting those
people, whether they were the Iranian students who were out
protesting when we just held them at bay and said, we don't
have anything to do with you, or the Azeris or the Baluch or a
number of these other groups that are there, Turkmen who are
part of that country, we haven't done anything to help the
opposition to the mullahs. So how can we expect that the
mullahs are going to look at that as a sign of friendship?
Again, they are seeing this, all of these dictators see
these efforts on our part as a sign of weakness. And when we
allow, for example, we make this big deal about what, we are
having this economic boycott. We can't buy oil from Iran. And
then we give waivers to everybody in the world to go ahead and
buy your oil, which I think we just gave it to China, how do
you expect them to take us seriously? The mullahs think we are
weak because we are not siding with their enemies. We are not
siding, and their enemies happen to be the friends of democracy
and the friends of the United States.
So we have gone down the wrong road with Iran, and now they
are on the edge of threatening us with nuclear weapons. We
subsidized the North Korean nut cases, and now we are on the
verge of having them threaten us with nuclear weapons as well.
So much for trying to curry favor with dictators.
Mr. Woolsey, Ambassador?
Mr. Woolsey. One quick point, Congressman, I agree to a
great degree with what you said. There are indirect effects too
of the kind, I would call it weakness that we have exhibited
toward Iran because it makes it easier for other countries, in
this case it is often Russia, to lean on small countries in the
region because they don't think we are going to stand up for
them. Azerbaijan as an example. Bulgaria as an example. Both of
those countries have a number of people who would like to work
with the United States, but the Russians are scaring them. And
the Russians take heart from the fact that we are not standing
firmly against the Iranians, I think.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cotton. Thank you.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to
give Mr. Albright the last word.
Mr. Albright. I am not going to challenge what you are
saying, I mean you have done this a long time. But I would add
though that we could have been facing the situation we are
facing now 20 years ago with North Korea. So I think in my own
experience delay is worth something, but now we are paying, we
have to deal with it.
Mr. Cotton. Mr. Albright shows his wisdom by not
challenging what the gentleman from California is saying.
The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Weber. And also since he is honored to give the last
word proves he is probably not married.
Four quick questions, I hope. Ambassador Woolsey, you said
sanction all the banks, all the companies doing business with
North Korea to bring the most pain to them. Do we know a list
of their trading partners, or do you know a list of their
trading partners in order?
Mr. Woolsey. I don't personally, Congressman, but we have
got pretty good information, I think.
Mr. Weber. But we would have that and so----
Mr. Woolsey. The Treasury, probably more than the CIA, it
is the Treasury.
Mr. Weber. Okay. And what length of time have we had those
sanctions on Iran?
Mr. Woolsey. Oh, we haven't done anything close to that
Mr. Weber. Okay, so it is safe to say that probably ought
to be a two-pronged attack, in your opinion?
Mr. Woolsey. Well, I mean if we didn't have the nuclear
weapons and ballistic missile problem, we have got one of the
countries that has ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, and
we have got another one that has ballistic missiles and is very
close to having a nuclear weapon. So I am afraid, yes----
Mr. Weber. No, I get it. But my specific question is what
would the impact be on trade? In other words, that is going to
affect businesses in the United States. Has that been
Mr. Woolsey. I don't know that it has.
Mr. Weber. Who would calculate that?
Mr. Woolsey. If it has it is probably the Treasury. The
Treasury on all of this business about sanctions and the like,
the Treasury over the course of the last 6 or 8 years has built
up a really extraordinary expertise. They are smart and very
Mr. Weber. Okay. And then, Mr. Albright, I am intrigued by
your statement when you said that if North Korea does attack
South Korea that there had to be a proportionate response but
that it should not lead--did you say you didn't think it should
lead to war, or wouldn't lead to war? What did you say?
Mr. Albright. I would hope it would not lead to war. I
think it is risky.
Mr. Weber. I think that is naive. I mean----
Mr. Albright. You think it will lead to war?
Mr. Weber. Well, if I was South Korea and I had been hit
that number of times, I would hope they would go kick their--I
mean, I am sorry. Yes, I would think it would lead to war.
Mr. Albright. Yes, they would be very vulnerable though,
Mr. Weber. And if you want to call it an excuse, it would
be a great reason, a justifiable reason for them to go right at
them. And I would hope the United States would back them up to
Mr. Albright. Then this is a question for the United
States. I mean South Korea has to worry about being hit with a
nuclear weapon. What is the United States going to do?
Mr. Weber. No, I understand. Mr. Sokolski?
Mr. Sokolski. We just as a country authorized the
development and export of long-range strike systems for South
Korea. Now, the export is kind of hard to argue against, but we
also authorized them to develop missiles that they are working
on to do precisely the kinds of strikes against command and
control centers that, as I think you are rightly pointing out,
have consequences. And if they proceed unassociated with our
efforts it could cause trouble. I think that is the reason why
everything we do to support South Korea needs to embrace them
even closer and integrate them more in what we can do with them
for their defense, because otherwise you could really get into
Mr. Weber. No, I understand. And fourth and final question.
I think, Mr. Sokolski, you said to Mr. Albright earlier that
you all were just going to have to disagree but you were going
to do it off line. I want the time and date of that so I can be
Mr. Sokolski. How should I put it? My view is informed by
the experience of negotiating with the Ukrainian authorities
and the South Africans. And I can tell you sure as day they had
their eye on a change in government and they were making
calculations that were right down to the nickel with regard to
the implications of who was going to take control and what
financially that would mean if they did or didn't do our
Mr. Weber. No, I kind of gathered that.
Mr. Albright. Well, okay, but that is not regime change. So
I mean there may not be as much----
Mr. Weber. Okay, what we are having here is a disagreement,
ladies and gentlemen. No, I get that.
Mr. Sokolski. We are into definitional issues here.
Mr. Weber. No, so we will do that off line. Thank you. I
yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cotton. Thank you. Recognize the gentleman from Florida
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Deutch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a couple of
questions. Thanks to the witnesses for sticking this out as we
came and went and came back.
Dr. Takeyh, can we chat about the elections in Iran,
whether they mean anything, what we can expect to see in them?
Mr. Takeyh. Sure. Elections in Iran tend to be unfair,
uncompetitive and unpredictable. So there is a whole slate of
candidates running. I think the Supreme Leader will have three
criteria for who will become the next President of Iran. Number
one, he has to firmly believe in the ideology of the system.
Number two, he has to be submissive to the authority of the
Supreme Leader. And number three, he has to demonstrate some
administrative competence. The third is less relevant than one
and two, but I think with experience that he has for the past 8
years has put some premium on administrative efficiency.
Mr. Deutch. And Ambassador Woolsey, let us just go back to
what you said at the very beginning during the start of your
testimony. In talking about Iran, and you spoke briefly about
Iran sanctions then you talked about other things that we
should be doing to really cause the regime to, that ultimately
would either cause the regime to actually make concessions on
the nuclear program or cause the regime to fail which is
something in the nature of an all-out embargo. Is that right?
Mr. Woolsey. Yes, I think that we have not taken anywhere
near the kind of stance in support of the Iranian people that
they deserve and that they clearly wanted in '09 when they had
the election and took to the streets in huge numbers and we
didn't support them at all. I think we need more than a dash of
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Pope John II who
together, the three of them, did so much to bring the Cold War
to a positive conclusion. And one of the things they did was
they didn't let up on criticizing the Communist system and the
Natan Sharansky I know slightly, and he was in the Gulag
when Reagan said, ``Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,'' and
he said the word of that spread like wildfire throughout the
Gulag through these various ways they have of communicating
with one another, tapping on pipes and so forth, and he said he
still remembers when he heard it. And his response was, we are
going to win.
That is what we have got to do. We have got to convince the
people of Iran that we are on their side not on the side of the
Revolutionary Guards who own an awful lot and control a lot,
sort of like Nazi Germany being run by the SS. And I think we
need to show people and let people know what side we are on
with respect to Iran, and we haven't really done that very
well, I think, really since the fall of the Shah and the coming
into power of Khomeini.
Mr. Deutch. Well, do you think given that there is an
ongoing discussion about maintaining a viable military threat,
yet there is very little discussion about instituting what
would really be the most significant economic threat, which is
an embargo, so that is something that ought to be spoken of
more directly as a real alternative that may be implemented
Mr. Woolsey. I think so. I mean I would be slow definitely
to put boots on the ground over there, but in terms of using
economic power, using embargoes, using sanctions, taking the
gloves off completely with respect to those, doing everything
we can to bring down their economy, I think that is something
we can at least make a very good effort at and could use as
part of the rallying call, I think, to the American people and
people who are oppressed by Iran in the region and otherwise.
Mr. Deutch. Well, thanks. It has been a long day so I will
yield back. Thank you.
Mr. Cotton. I want to thank all four of our witnesses for
coming today. Thank you for your service to your country over
the span of a very distinguished career for each of you. This
hearing is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:54 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing RecordNotice deg.
[Note: The following material submitted for the record by Mr. Henry D.
Sokolski is not reprinted here but can be found in committee records:
Report by Gregory S. Jones, March 19, 2013, entitled ``Iran's Rapid
Expansion of its Enrichment Facilities Continues as the U.S. Concedes
That Iran Is Getting `Closer and Closer' to Having Nuclear Weapons:
Centrifuge Enrichment and the IAEA February 21, 2013 Safeguards