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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  June 8, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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>> it is the position of this department of justice and certainly this attorney general that we will vigorously defend and vigorously use section five,
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the need for it is still there. >> thank you. the first bill this president signed was the lilly ledbetter act, prohibiting, dealing with discrimination in employment. one of the things, talk about discrimination and employment, 19 cv-5 president johnson signed a bill with federal contracts, understand this administration still allows discrimination in federal contracts based on religion, so-called faith-based group. my question is, do they need permission, certification, to qualify for the right to discriminate? or do they just get the right to discriminate based on the fact it's faith-based on the nation using federal money? >> i think we are committed to ensuring that we partner with faith-based organizations in a way that is consistent with our laws, values and the department
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will continue to evaluate legal questions that arise with respect to these programs and try to ensure that we make sure that we ensure that we fully comply with all of the applicable laws. >> does that mean they can discriminate? >> the chairman's time is expired. i think it was a yes or no. >> okay. go on if you answer the question. >> as i said, we look at these policies and try to make sure that they do act in the way consistent with law. >> okay. thank you, mr. scott. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general, i will just follow up on what my friend from virginia, mr. goodlatte, had to say with respect to the case. i realize you reassign people after that. i realize it was an investigation and indictment came before you were attorney general. that's not the point.
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the point is if you have no real consequences now, you will have no real changes in the future. that was conduct that was stated by the judge to be outrageous. he hailed a hearing as to whether trial ought to be called before he made a ruling. you did come forward with a motion to dismiss, recognizing the problems internally. the investigations showed widespread misconduct among the whole team. and yet i am unaware of anybody that was fired. and senator stevens lost his election, but more important, lost his reputation. and i happen to think that in the absence of serious action taken against employees of either the department of justice prosecutorial core or the fbi,
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that frankly the message was not seriously received. so i would just like to state that for the record. and now, mr. attorney general, if are lucky enough to be invited down and see you at your office at the justice department, wouldn't i have to show a government issued photo id to get in to see you? >> you might. >> if i were to go to the federal courthouse here in d.c., either as a party or as an attorney, wouldn't i have to show a government issued photo id? >> that's not been my experience. spent some federal courts, are you aware that's required? >> i don't know. >> are you aware that if i had to come here from california to exercise my constitutional right of travel, as an ordinary citizen, petitioned the government for redress, my
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grievances, i have to show a government issued id, do i not? >> that one, yes. to get on a plane. >> that does involve a constitutional right of travel among the states, correct? >> the supreme court is to the right of travel is a constitutional dimension. >> so, is your justice department investigating the discriminatory effect of those laws with respect to someone's constitutional right to travel or constitutional right to visit you? i mean, the constitution doesn't say, petitioned the government for redress of grievances, only goes to some people. i mean, if i've got a complete with the justice department and what to come to the justice department, are you inhibiting me, affecting my constitutional rights by requiring me to show a government issued photo id? >> let's get to the bottom line.
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that -- >> no, my question is -- >> i will give you an answer. the answer is that with regard to the limited things you have discussed that might not have an impact on your constitutional right, but some of the laws that we have challenged you have an impact on a persons ability to to exercise that most fundamental constitutional rights, and that is the right to vote. >> fundamental right to petition the government to redress my grievances, don't you think that is as important as quote unquote the right to vote the? >> i would agree with president johnson with what he said after the voting rights act was passed, that voting is the most important right we have as american citizens. what distinguishes this country and makes it exceptional as compared to other nations around the world. >> i also happen to think it's important the opportunity to petition the government to redress the grievances. i think that is as fundamental -- >> but to vote, i can change the government.
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i have that ability. >> you can still be in court. you can threaten to sue me in court, and as a proud individual american citizen, i suppose i have a right to at least talk to you but will you bring me before the court, and i would think that is as important are right. >> i certainly have that ability to talk to you but i disagree with you at the end of the idea village to cast a -- >> but i can't even come talk if i show a government issued photo id is my point. >> that's not true. if you were to show up in the justice department, so it could vouch for you, you could come in and we have a very short conversation. >> is that right? i haven't tried that. but with the tsa. that doesn't work very well to knock on your door to get to see you. >> there are terrorists trying to bring down planes. we've seen over the course of the last 12 years. >> and there are people who cheat about voting when you don't have a right to vote.
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>> we do not see that in proportions that people have said in an attempt to try to justify the photo id laws. all of the i think empirical and neutral evidence showed that the question of vote fraud did not exist to the extent that people say does exist. >> so the supreme court was wrong in his decision 2717 states have a legitimate interest in requiring photo ids for voters even absent evidence of widespread fraud in order to inspire confidence in electoral system, do you disagree? >> do you know what's interesting? >> if you'll answer the question we'll move on. >> the supreme court, the crawford case is different from that which would talk about now. that was not a section five? indiana is not covered by section five of the voting rights act. i would just, with all due respect, he talked about the proper decision, the indian decision and how this is
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different. he said that the court across the undeniable fact that voter id laws can burdensome citizens right to vote. it is important for states to implement and it is such a loss in a way that minimize that possibility. events he will not hesitate to use the tools are available to us if these laws important though they may be are used improperly. that is michael mukasey talking about the indiana crawford decision. michael mukasey. not eric holder, michael mukasey. >> thanks, mr. lundgren. the gentleman from indiana is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me start by just expressing my disappointment that some of my colleagues are spending so much time advancing the notion that we should be disqualifying people by exercising the most basic right they have in our democracy, the right to vote.
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and that this is the judiciary committee in which these arguments are being advanced. disappointing to me. second, i want to applaud the justice department for some work that they're doing in my congressional district in particular, some very high level cases, fighting drug trafficki trafficking, protecting against child predators, a bunch of money we spent on the talks program, and the most vigorous supporters of the c.o.p.s. program are the most conservative sheriffs in my congressional district, because they have been able to access funding to beef up their law enforcement capacity. so i won't go back to the voting
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rights part of this because i think i will get too emotional about that. let me deal with the thing that undermines subcommittee jurisdiction, the one i'm the ranking member on, and that's, we made some efforts to try to do something about piracy. we were not successful legislatively, but the problem has not gone away. recent article in the "usa today" notes the proliferation of dangerous counterfeit products that pose safety concerns for the american public. many of these products, including counterfeit pharmaceutical available online and come from foreign sources. in january this year department of justice issued indictments against megaupload, a foreign-based website that was charged with illegally infringing the copyrights of american businesses, and now i
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note that some group has -- what's it called -- anonymous, unleashed a series of cyber attacks in the aftermath of the indictments against megaupload. so now there's a connection between piracy on the one hand, and cybersecurity on the other hand. can you just talk to us about the real threats that we have in that area, both on the piracy side of this issue and on the cybersecurity, and their connections, just a little bit, so we will have some background, at least in forms the american people how serious the problem is? >> the piracy issue has a number of dimensions to it. it is an economic issue. it is a jobs issue. when the theft of our intellectual property our methods we use to produce is still my other organizations or
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by other countries, it has a direct impact on our economy. there's also a safety factor. healthful items, medicines that are produced in a way that are inconsistent with the great stance we have in the united states and so back to the united states are sold in other countries can put people at risk. the whole question, various parts that can be used in airplanes, other things that are not done in a way consistent with what our intellectual property, standards are done, can have a negative impact on safety in that way. so the piracy question is one that has economic consequences as well as safety consequences. if one looks at the whole cyber issues, again, these are national security issues. the ability of foreign countries or organizations to have an impact on our infrastructure, the use of cyber tools to ferret out secret information from the
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united states all put our nation at risk and is worthy of the attention of, i think, this committee, this congress and many executive branch, and i would hope would be able to work together to come up with a way to craft tools to deal with what are truly 21st century problems. >> i thank you, and i come at the risk of not going overtime, like some of my colleagues have, i'll just stop there because any other questions i could ask would be well over into the next person's time. so i will yield back, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. attorney general, december 14, 2010, brian terry was gunned down, and we begin knowing more about fast and furious shortly thereafter. but you have said people representatives have repeatedly you did know about it before that. i've sent you a number of
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letters. senator grassley center number of lunatic you mention in your opening statement the speaker's letter. the speaker did not limit the scope of subpoenas you're under an obligation to respond to. he simply asked you for response to two key areas. he did not revoke any subpoenas. however, you complied that we're working together when, in fact, since may 18, nothing, nothing has come from your department. not one shred of paper. i want to ask you first of all today, have you and your attorneys produced internally the materials responsive to the subpoenas? >> we believe that we have -- >> no, mr. attorney general, you're not a good witness. a good witness answers the question asked. so let's go back again. have you and your attorneys produced internally the materials responsible for in
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other words, had he taken the time to look up are sipping and find out what material you have responsible to it, or are you simply invented a privilege that doesn't exist? >> use it internally speak was internally have you polled all that information speak with we look at 240 custodians. we're process millions of electronic records and we viewed over 140,000 doctors and produced about 7600. >> how many documents are responsive at your withholding at this time? >> we've produced 7600 -- >> i don't want to hear about the 7600 spent chairman, i would beg to allow -- >> the lady is out of order. it's my time. >> excuse me, mr. chairman, i would outbid to allow the attorney general to be able to finish his answer. >> the attorney general will be allowed to answer the question. the attorney general have more time to do that if we don't have more interruptions. >> i would like to have my time reclaim. >> you will be given additional time. >> that you i suggest we take back the time mr. lundgren use,
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the two minutes over his time that he used and speed if you want to give me a bishop to miss, that's fine. >> i will give you the 45 seconds i yield back but we're going to apply our will on one side of the aisle, we ought to apply the rule -- >> let's get back to regular order. the gentleman from california has the time and the attorney general will be allowed to answer the question. >> isn't it true you're not produced a log of material withheld even though our investigation of asked for a? >> i know that, i'm not sure about that. i know that speed is okay, i'm sure you didn't so let's move on. march 15, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down, april 19, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down, may 7, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down. may 17, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down. june 2, 2010, before brian terry was gunned down.
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july 2, the real date of our independence, 2010, obviously earlier, before brian terry was gunned down. these wiretap applications which we did not subpoena which were given to us by a group of whistleblowers that are tired of your stonewalling indicate that a number of key individuals in your administration, in fact, were responsible for information contained in here that clear shows the tactics of fast and furious were known. they were known and are contained in these wiretaps. i understand you read these wiretaps since we brought in to your attention to him is that correct? >> i have read and i disagree with the conclusion he reached. >> let me go through a very simple line of questioning, if i may, mr. attorney general. james cole, deputy attorney general, has written that the department has a greater obligation than just checking the legal sufficiency and approving wiretap application.
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he thinks that applications also have to comply with doj policy, is that correct? >> applications have to agree with doj policy? >> that's what he said. >> sure. spirit during a transcript in the deputy assistant attorney general jason weinstein testified that senior officials approving the wiretap applications do not read the wiretap applications. is this practice acceptable to you? >> they read summaries of the application. that's a process that's been used by this administration and by all previous administration. it is the way in which the office of -- >> are you aware that federal judges,. >> can answer my question speak with you give me a sufficient answer and considered him a question i have an amount of time i have. you're okay with that practice what you already answered that. so would you agree that senior officials are responsible for doctors they signed? i would assume the answer is yes to let me ask you the question,
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jason weinstein, is he responsible for what is in these wiretaps? >> is he responsible -- >> he's a responsible officer understand you. easy responsible for them even if you read a summer? >> he did not create those application. he did not create that much but he would've been a person who would review that -- >> when congress writes a statute requiring certain individuals be responsible, such as jason watch it, lanny breuer and are self -- >> regular order, mr. chairman. regular order. spent time in the middle of a question. >> the attorney general will be allowed to answer this question. >> he didn't -- >> if, in fact, they are responsible and if, in fact, they are not read, then in fact -- >> regular order. >> how of the american people to understand -- >> regular order. >> the attorney general will be allowed to answer this question. >> anyone of ordinary reading, including the atf director,
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former director, anyone reading these according to him would have to be sick to stomach because they be unaware that -- >> do we have a question, mr. chairman? >> who is responsible, mr. attorney general? >> you conflated a bunch of things. the responsibility -- >> you delivered so little. >> regular order now, mr. chairman. we be allowed to answer the question now? >> i would appreciate no more interruptions so he can answer the question spent the responsibility about what you speak is, in fact, responsibly of a deputy of a deputy assistant attorney general looking at the summaries to make sure that there is a basis to go into court. and to ask that court to grant the wiretap based on a determination that the responsible official makes that probable cause exists to believe that a wide facility has been used in the commission of the crime but they do not look at the affidavit to see if, in fact, to review all that is engaged, all that is involved in
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the operation. i have read those now. i have read those but i read those. i have read wide receiver as well. i can say what happened in connection with fast and furious was done in the same way as wiretap application was done under the previous administration in wide receiver but i've look at the summary and to act in way that is consistent with the practice and responsibility that they have as defined by the statute. >> the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you before -- >> does the ranking member wish to speak out of or? >> if i may, please. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> i think the previous questioning was first note of the hostility and interruption of the witness that i think has been uncharacteristic of what we have been doing here so far today. i would like to ask the chairman to admonish all the witnesses
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here on out, please try, all the members from here on out to please allow the witness to finish his answers spent would the gentleman yield? >> of course. >> you know, i appreciate that there was hostility between the attorney general and myself. i. >> i would hope that the ranking member would understand that, in fact, most of it was produced by the fact that i have a great many questions and a relatively little period of time in which to get answers. and that for you to have my committee through subpoena and interrogatories has been attempted to get answers, for which this witness has basically said he asserts a privilege without -- >> parliamentary inquiry, trying to. >> the gentleman from michigan has the time. >> parliamentary time spent i would like to yield to the attorney general at this point, please. >> with all due respect, to chairman issa, he says there's
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hostility to us but i don't feel that. i understand he's asking questions i'm trying to respond as best i can be i'm not feeling hostile at all. i'm pretty calm, i'm okay. spirit let me assure the gentleman from michigan the attorney general will be allowed to answer future questions, and the gentleman from california is recognized for her questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and mr. attorney general, thank you for being here with us. when you were last before us in december, i asked you about a case involving the seizure of the domain name called the jazz, for others copyright infringement. in the summer you said you were unfamiliar with the case, but the choice or a look into it and get back to me. since that hearing new details have surfaced, and, therefore, i'd like to revisit the issue. to refresh everyone's memory,
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the jazz one is a blog. it is a blog dedicated to discussions hip-hop music. and in november of 2010, the domain name of the site was seized as part of ice operation in our sides, and an obligation by prosecutors in your department. after the government sees the domain name, the owners fight request for the government to return to them under the law government had 90 days to initiate a full forfeiture proceeding against the domain or else return the property. however, in this case that deadline passed with no action. when the website is lower inquiry with the department lawyers he was told the government had filed an extension, but understood that the website was given no notice and they were never given an opportunity to appear in court and to respond to i've talked to the representative of the website, and he assures me that
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he paid attention efforts to try to appear and make his case. we asked for proof that the extension existed, your department's lawyers basically said they would have to trust them. now, this happened two more times. finally, in december of last year, more than year after the original seizure, the government decided that it didn't in fact have probable cause to support the seizure and return the domain. now, we now have on sealed court records and we know that eyes and your department were actually waiting for the recording industry association of america which made an initial allocation of investment to provide detail, apparently proof, and i've reviewed the affidavit, which i would ask unanimous consent to put into the record, that in september of 2011, 10 months after the seizure, the i.c.e. agent was
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still waiting for information from riaa to get probable cause. now here's the concern i have. blogs are entitled to first amendment protections, and i think it's the law that you have to have probable cause before you sees things. you can't see these things can have secret proceedings of the federal court and then a year later, with probable cause. so here's my question for you. it looks to me, and i would say another issue as to websites. at me, this isn't like a car that is stolen, going to disappear, or a bag of cocaine. it's a website. so the evidence can be completely preserved even without seizure. so i think the issue of seizure does need to be visited with us. but i want to know what the departments posture is, if an i.c.e. age and is behaving
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recklessly in an investigation, as it seems to be in this case but don't the prosecutors in your department have an obligation to reject faulty affidavit? do you think that the ex parte process that was included here is proper and consistent with the first and fifth amendments to seize a domain name that is first amendment protection for a year without any opportunity for the owner to be heard? >> as with all domains that are sees, an operation in our sides, i believe it is a seizure you reference conducted pursuant to a lawful court order and procedures that the department filed in the case, including the ex parte procedures you mentioned were consistent with the statute that authorized the seizure and forfeiture, and also due process protection for the statues provide. >> so you're suggesting that the representation which turned out
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to be false under the initial affidavits, which i can would ask be made a part of the record, those false affidavits were sufficient to have ex parte communications in sealed and secret proceedings in the federal courts for over a year? >> clearly material was submitted that was false and underlying affidavit spent or misleading. >> that would not be an appropriate basis for action on behalf of the government. the seizure and forfeiture of property's, and will powerful to powerful to let them has, has to be used judiciously to east end our problems along the lines that you have described. that would be a great concern. we should not be in court trying to do the kinds of things that i've described here. domain name seizures. if the underlying material is not consistent with the facts but that's something we shouldn't -- >> as i say, in last december
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you going to get back to me and i know you have many things to do, but i would appreciate, i'll ask again if i could get a report on this specific case, and certainly as my colleague mr. watt has mentioned, there are important enforcement issues that need to go on. i do not disagree with that. we also have to be very careful about the first amendment and the fifth amendment. and i hope that you -- >> thank you, ms. lofgren. and without objection the document the gentleman referred to will be made part of the effort spent parliamentary issue. >> stager issue. >> thank you. the gentleman from california any statement about his own subpoena mentioned today that he did not request wiretaps under seal. and in mr. isis contempt citation the wiretap application document extend and evolve of the criminal division -- >> with the gentlewoman state
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her parliamentary procedure? >> my question is did anyone review with the justice department before the string whether the use of this information will harm the department ability to bring justice -- >> that is not a parliamentary inquiry. the gentleman to -- >> how do we know the use of information during this hearing is asked is -- >> we're going to have to deduct this on your time if you continue. that is not a parliamentary inquiry. >> i believe it is, mr. chairman. but i hope we reduce -- >> mr. forbes is recognized for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think despite all the rhetoric we know that this committee is not asking you to break the law regarding what you say your information, you provide to congress. it's just as you know it doesn't matter if you appear in congress seven times or 70 times. it when you're asked you say i don't know to the questions that are most pertinent. or it doesn't matter if you supply 7000 pages, or documents, or 700,000 pages if they are not
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the proper papers to answer key questions. so i want to begin where you begin, and that was the standard that you said you have in the department, which is that every action is guided i law and facts and nothing else. i think i stated that correctly, is that there? >> certainly when we're at our best that's what happens. >> we know that every cabinet secretary doesn't adhere to that standard in fact we have any paper today the fact that several cabinet members were required to come to a meeting at the democratic national committee headquarters with the campaign manager, a top strategist for the campaign, the executive director of the democratic national committee was there telling them the actions that they should take, and for items, to help the president win reelection regarding the campaign structure, the importance of the electoral college, and the importance of staying on message.
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the question i want to ask you this morning is, i know that your family with david axelrod, who is obama's top campaign strategy to end to the best of your knowledge, has mr. axelrod or nobody on his behalf or anybody on behalf of the campaign, has any discussion with you on numbers of the justice department regarding actions that you should or should not take, messaging that you should or should not make, or hiring decisions that you should or should not support the? >> absolutely not. i mean, one of the things that i like a great deal about my interaction with people in the white house is that i think they take their lead from the president is that they have respected what i would almost call a wall between the justice department and the clinical operations that goes on in the white house. i've not had any kind of that interaction. >> so there been some publications out and we never know what these publications are accurate or not but at least in one book that claims that you
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and mr. axelrod had some type of confrontation when he was trying to get you to hire somebody, and you're saying that is not accurate at all, you'd never had any enemies with him regarding any hiring decisions at the department of justice? >> no, we talked about, that's not a hiring thing. without the ways in which we might improve the ability of the justice department to respond to political attacks that were coming my way. david axelrod and i are good friends, he is a close friend of my. we have a great relationship. he's a person i respect a great deal. work together on the campaign while he was at the white house. but he's never been anything that i would consider inappropriate. >> but then what you're saying is you have had contact with mr. axelrod, campaign strategist, about how you should handle different attacks come at you as attorney general, kurt? >> there's a political dimension to the job that i have as attorney general. the reality is that i don't set up in an ivory tower and just do law enforcement.
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i am the subject of a tactic i'm a person he was seen by some as pretty controversial, and there are times, at least that was at that time, when i was looking for some help in that regard. >> so you have had those discussions. did he ever tried to encourage you to higher or put any particular person and department of justice? >> no. >> with fast and furious, there's been a lot of discussion about and we know that is a big item, not just for us, but the ambassador from mexico has said that that operation which took place under your watch has poisoned the mexican people and really put a strain on strides we've made in two successive administrations in the trendy. he has been concerned that the investigation has been completed. have you ever had any consultation with the white house or anyone with the campaign, or with mr. axelrod, about messaging related to fast and furious? >> about messaging with regard
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to -- >> comments you make him how you going to messaging, any of the? >> we have certainly talked about the way in which we can do with the interaction between the justice department and congress about ways in which we would -- >> but nothing about press messaging at all? >> well i mean, in terms of trying to get a message out that was consistent with the facts and make sure that it was done in an apartment way. i've had conversations like that. >> just two other quick question. i know that you filed actions against arizona, south carolina, utah, alabama come all republican governors to my time is a. would you give us the list of any similar actions of a similar profile you filed against any democratic governor, states with democratic governors? and also the final thing is, if you let us know if you had any relationship or meetings with the white house, members of the campaign about any of the messaging or any of these actions that took place on the?
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and mr. chairman, my time has expired and -- >> one thing with regard to the governors, i'm not sure that there has been a photo id attempt made by a state run by democratic governor. >> no know. i was asked about photo ids. if you look at the states they were regarding i think immigration policies, but any action that you've taken against a democratic governor of a similar high profile speech i think with regard to the immigration laws as i understand, i will check but i don't think it has been a similar immigration attempt made by state-run by democratic governors which be the reason why we're not opposed them. but i will check and we'll show the information. >> also, mr. attorney general if you would make sure you let us know the context of with mr. axelrod regarding any messaging or anything that might come regarding those actions. thank you. >> that gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee is recognized. >> i thank the chairman, the
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regular, and the attorney general for service. i just want to add what i don't think very quickly within the introduction of the attorney general, and then my series of questions, mr. attorney general, without disrespect will be questions like a series of questions in. but it did not do a deputy attorney general under the bush administration. you continue to serve i think anytime that you appointed under president obama, is that correct what did you remain during that time speak was a little know fact that i was george bush's first attorney general spent i think i should be made clear for the record. because you had a continuous public service commitment to cure and the private sector, but between a judgeship and the superior court, that i understand you appointed by president ronald reagan at the time, is that correct, mr. attorney general? >> that's correct. >> let me thank you again for your service and ask a series of question. i will be giving to you today a letter to ask for the investigation of the state of
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texas for its purging of 1.5 million voters, and i encourage and hope that there would be a speedy review and as much as we are in a process of election, november 2012 election. i just want to ask the question on this issue of voting, my good friend from california and wanted to establish certain rights, egress, ingress, protection of assets and the first amendment. i want to just focus, if you want to partition your government and use no government id, most could either take their vehicle, hitch a ride, but they would not be totally targeted from exercising that constitution right. and you made a point about fundamental right, but if you're denied the right to vote, there is no alternative, is there not? is no other way, maybe get a bullhorn in the middle of the streets but there's no way you could impact the choice of those. can give you a quick on the
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answer? >> i think that's right. if you want to directly impact governmental policy, that is directly tied to the ability to vote, to cast about. >> do you think it is a legitimate duty, action, of the division on civil rights, of the department of justice, operating under existing current law to assess issues of purging or the impact of the voter id law? >> absolutely. we apply the law that was passed by this congress. we authorize it recent messages go all formally by congress. >> are you going outside the bounds of the law when you in essence three florida or texas, ohio or indiana, the indiana case, are you outside the boundaries as you can assess? >> all we are doing is applying the law that exists and has existed over 40 years. >> with respect to the up affordable care decision, do you feel there's an adequate review
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in the decision ultimately rests with the supreme court which i think has done a decent and fair job on recusals with effective justice kagan. have you done anything more? >> with regard to the recusal issue? i don't think, i think is something best brought up by the litigants indicate. i don't know if erase it or not but i think the justice department did all they can better think of probably can be shared has been shared. >> we are certainly saddened by the loss of life that was resulted by the fast and furious. i think you said that often. are you aware of the report produced by ranking member elijah e. cummings? >> yes. >> and were you aware that, do you believe that under this report that his staff and the ranking member comings and oversight committee extensively reviewed either the 7600 or at
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least the world of information that was given? >> i think they did a good job reviewing the information. to produce a good report that contains a number of reforms that we have tried to enter the. >> quickly. the statement says that they found no quickly motivated operation that fast and furious was not conceived and directed by high level obama administration, political appointees at the department of justice. would you concede that they would have the basis to say that? >> i think if one looks at the documents, that statement is manifestly true. >> can i ask you as well to investigate, and are you concerned or have you seen the impact of single race based juries in a number of cases? this has been issued a number of areas, particularly in the south, in cases that are particularly sensitive. i'm going to ask you to investigate the case which is a beating incident that occurred in houston, texas, and the series of trials that are coming
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forward, but in particular one case was tried by a single race jury and, of course, resulted in the acquittal. would you please take this as an official request for the justice department to investigate the leading and the resulting trial that was a single race jury in the case of chat hauling? >> the supreme court has recognized that the selection process that deliver to attempt a grading a jury of a single race under the case is not appropriate. i'm familiar with the hall the case but not intimately familiar but that is something that we're in the process of determining what they course of action we should take. >> numbers today have made requests from you of information to when can expect those requests be responded to? within two weeks or so? >> we will do the best we can and quickly as we can. i'm a little surprised that we have not responded at least to some of the things that have been raised in connection with
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the last about you but we'll try to do a better job. >> i thank the chairman. spent thank you, ms. jackson lee. mr. king is recognize. >> thank you, attorney general for being here to testify. i'm just picking up on the chairman's remarks. i point out that i had a series of questions that asked december 8 your, and although we haven't press release late for those response, i haven't seen it. so i will be submitting a new request from december 8, and an additional here for this today, i believe it but i think first of all there's one piece left on the fast and furious. i would just ask you that, can you tell me when you first started to doubt that the original letter was in nitrd? can you tell me what piece of information caused you to do that? >> i think my first doubts happened just before, or just about the same time that asked the inspector general to conduct a report. as i listened to media reports and things i was getting from
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senator grassley, that's what i think my doubts first began about the accuracy of the report. >> was a piece of information though in particular in those media reports that cause you to doubt, or just the information itself? >> i'm not sure i can remember anything specific but i remember the reports were inconsistent with what i've seen for people in the department. also inconsistent with what mr. grassley was telling in a letter. >> i got a, a favorite fourth letter denying atf ever walked guns. that was 20 lenders i don't have the data of the sender grasses are bound of that letter was formally withdrawn on september 2, september 11. thank you. i take us back to the pickford issue and the discrimination issues that we discussed the last time, general holder. and now we discuss eckford, and i posed the question that in the
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farm bill of 200 2000 a consistt with i believe your testimony and also statement me personally to me by secretary vilsack, that the farm bill authorized the negotiations to the agreement that ultimate lays out in the terms of $1.15 billion be distributed to black farmers who have claims of discrimination. and the authorization in the farm bill is 100 million. that's to capital for all of the settlements that are there, and now i see that not only is not capped at 100 no, it's been expanded and, to 100.25 billion. we have three other cases out of since that period of time your garcia versus vilsack. heat single versus vilsack, love versus vilsack but and i told him up its 1.33 billion in this order, garcia, seven or 69, 1.33 billion, love, 1.25 billion pickford for a total of altogether $4.93 billion poised
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to either having been disturbed or poised to be destroyed under these discrimination cases. a lot of it, three-point 58 billion coming out of the judgment fund. can you tell me how much is in the judgment fund, and i'm going to ask you to produce a report of the funds that come in and the funds that are distribute out of the judgment fund. i think this congress needs and oversight if we're getting numbers that are approaching $5 billion. >> what i can say is that the settlements that were reached, you said, pools of money that can be tapped if people can prove if, in fact, they were discriminates against the they're certainly an unfortunate history of discrimination that i think everybody acknowledges exist between the department of agriculture in dealing with farmers, a friday of ethnicities and genders. and the attempt at structuring the sentence was to deal with to redress those wrongs. spent but $5 billion, that is a
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big chunk of money to be distributed without congressional oversight. do you have any resistance to congress taking a look at the data, the contingency fees at the dissipation of us and the source of that money? >> i think that's legitimate oversight to talk about the way in which the cases were settled. spent i will follow-up with a more specific question to a once as she ask you about your reaction when you saw the video of the young man who claimed -- someone to go and your action, reaction to the requirement for the photo id after you saw that video. >> i mean, it's an attempt to show some at close to what i drew from that it was that guy was very careful not to say he was eric holder, not to get a ballot. he did do the kind you think that would've subjected him to criminal species are not worried about that but he could have obtained your ballot with ease but it was offered to him. so, i would just suggest this,
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that it may not be impossible what i think it's been determined here today in the questioning of mr. lungren that visiting a federal building, even your building, is maybe not impossible but difficult without a picture id. and if it's difficult or impossible to visit a government building without a photo id, then how can we allow someone to choose our government without a photo id? >> see, i think the question is if you look at for instance, south carolina, they had in place measures that protected the integrity of the ballot before they went to the photo id. and i don't say photo ids are necessary that the question is how the structures are put in place, how they are distribute, whether or not it has an impact on people of certain race, certain ethnicity, certain age. >> why would a? >> the gentleman's time has expired. thank you, mr. king. the gentlewoman from california, ms. waters. >> i would like to welcome you,
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mr. attorney general. i had a number of questions i want to ask you but might attention has been diverted to the line of questioning from congressman goodman. it is well-known that you dismiss the charges that were placed against senator stevens following your investigation that indicated that certain exculpatory evidence had been withheld. now, was the just one thing or were there several things that were done that you disagreed with that caused you to dismiss? >> the thing that was the main motivator for my decision to dismiss the case, i thought the solid evidence we had uncovered, exculpatory material had not been shared with the defense. and i think that was the basis, main motivation of my deciding to dismiss the case. >> and it seems that, i think his name is pronounced mr. --
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agreed with you basically. but the punishment now does not seem to match the crime. prosecutorial misconduct, and a lot of people are wondering how does the office of professional responsibility literally disputed the seriousness of the withholding of the exculpatory evidence? how do you account for that? >> yeah, i wouldn't agree that they don't take it seriously. by me, mr. schulke, came up with the report and said he thought the material that was withheld intensive. the opr report was seven page long said the information was held but was done recklessly, not intentional but it was on that basis the opr recommendation was made as to what the appropriate section
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was. mr. schulke never made a recommendation as to what he thought the appropriate sanctions should be because i think as the judge said that was not in order that he could actually appoint to so that he could find content or something like the pics i think that's the difference between the mr. schulke report and the opr report the state of mind. people who didn't turn over the information. >> so in your opinion, tv leave out the recommendations for punishment by the office of professional responsibility, those recommendations basically aligned with the unintentional withholding, perhaps it could've been stronger? what do you think? >> well, i think it's appropriate for the attorney general not to comment on these determinations because it is something that is not my responsibility to do. we put that in the hands of the career people. we have a great opr, great
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office of professional responsibility, a structure in place with people outside of the opr, look at the signings of opr and to make a determination as to what the appropriate sanction should be, and the people who are political in nature are really insulated from that process. >> so i suppose what we can conclude is that you dismiss, he felt that the withholding of information was serious enough to dismiss? >> yes. >> and bad weather, and asked i think earlier, was there leaking of information? was their sharing of information? with others that it should have been shared with in addition to the withholding of information? >> know. i don't know but as i remember it, the concern that i had was with the non-providing of information that the defense was entitled to. that was the concern that i had. >> and so clearly you addressed that concern, but again, after having addressed it, the office
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of professional responsibility had the responsibility to determine what the punishment should be. and you have no hand in that, is that right? >> that's correct. >> i just want to get on the record that the withholding of the evidence was a serious matter, and that you made a decision based on that. >> i would agree with you. whatever, whether you agree with mr. schulke or opr, weather was intentional, reckless, negligent, it was serious and i think this is a dismissal of the case, which is what i did. >> thank you very much to i yield back the balance of my time. >> does the gentleman from virginia have unanimous consent requests because yesterday i? yesterday i ask unanimous consent into into the record letters on the national organization for black law enforcement executives, city of philadelphia police department, boston police department and association of prosecuting attorneys on behalf of the
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attorney general. and also a copy of the draft contempt citation we were questioning what was asked for, draft contempt citation offered by the committee on oversight, government reform which says in part the wiretap application document extensive of him as a criminal division of fast and furious, yet the department of justice has failed to produce them in response to the committee's subpoena. so we know exactly what was asked. >> without objection those documents will be made part of the record. mr. franks is recognized for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, general. mr. holder, on april 27, 2011, members of this committee as you to give us information surrounding a decision by justice to forgo prosecution of the unindicted co-conspirators in the whole land foundation case. this is the largest terrorist finance case of course in u.s. history. you refused to comply with his request and you have still not produced, or are you still not
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prosecuted this despite there being what many consider to be a mountain of evidence against these jihadists groups to at least one of which now says it is working inside the agency to help advise on the purge of counterterrorism training micheel. we are told that this none of evidence which outlines the jihadists network within the united states amounts to 80 bankers boxes, full of documents. this evidence was turned over to the cord, and much of it was giving to the jihadists defense lawyers. members of this committee and other committees would like to review this evidence. what it has to be on a classified basis or not. would you commit today to give us, provide us with those documents? >> it's hard for me to add to that question. i don't speak know it's not. will you or not stupid i don't know what the basis of the evidence. i don't know if it's grand jury evidence, i don't know if it's wiretap. there's a variety of things i
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need to look at the we can check to see what the nature of the evidence is and make a determination about whether it is appropriate for that material to be reviewed. i just don't know. >> we made the request on april 27 last year, and so far it hasn't happened. so i would like to make the request, and would you give us your best efforts basis, your good-faith effort that you would give that information to us if you can do so? >> i will certainly make a good-faith effort to look at the request and see whether or not it can be supplied. >> well, i guess i would hope that you would also give us some explanation as to why the request has been ignored thus far. initiated years here on you. it's been reported that multiple agencies including the fbi are now purging calories and training materials of information outside groups might find offensive. i'm including discussion of things that fundamental as quote al qaeda is a group that
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endorses violent ideology that should be examined. that's one example. for the new guidelines fbi agents made no longer discuss this in the training sessions because it offends some people. it's been courage, and this strikes me as the sacrificing of vital national security, the muslim of our security apparatus on the altar of political correctness. this concern i think general seems order given the bipartisan senate report on the fort hood massacre to quote them, the worst terrorist attack on u.s. soil since 9/11, found that quote political correctness inhibited officials from taking action that could have stopped the attack. now, members of multiple committees are now investigati investigating. has anyone inside your agency coordinator with any other federal agencies such as dod or dhs or the department of state to carry out this review of counterterrorism training material? >> well, let me say first, the
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decisions that were made by the fbi with regard to what use would be made of certain material not made a political credits or whether that something is -- the senseless for mature that was simply incorrect. it stated, that assertions about particular things that were simply wrong, and didn't think that was appropriate to be included in the training materials. bob mueller has taken this very cystic, but i can tell you, anybody who knows bob mueller, he is not making the determination on the basis of what is either offensive or politically correct. that is not the driver in his attempt to make sure our training materials are accurate. >> so is anyone inside your agency coordinated this effort such as it is, whatever it might be, with dod or dhs or the state department? >> well, i'm not sure that we necessarily have to. we interact with our partners all the time in a variety of ways. the deputy attorney general issued some guiding principle to all dj components in u.s.
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attorneys to make sure that the training materials were accurate. we interact with our partners all the time, and it is on that basis, among other things, that we have the ability to decide what materials are accurate. >> well, it's one of things to. either your position is no one in your agency has met with other agencies and the white house and carry out this vital counterterrorism materials, or they have to and if they have, who directed it to the agencies to purchase easement to? and what outside groups advise the department on the issue? >> this is an internal process being done by members of the fbi, members of the justice department you are seeking this -- >> can you tell us what outside groups are advising you on this process? >> i, this is something being run primarily out of the fbi, i mean to the extent that there are outsiders involved in what we're trying to interact with, we perhaps try to get you those
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names. >> i will leave it right there. if you'll just respectfully officially ask you to give us the list of the outside groups are that are working with you on this causes, because one of them is a jihadists group that said that are working with you on a. i just want to make the -- >> i don't believe that is accurate but i will relay the request. >> all right, thank you, mr. chairman. .. >> has become politically motivated in an attempt to
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embarrass the administration, and that diminishes the process. the operative phrase that comes to mind since "bad with witnesss been used is pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. mr. attorney general, welcome to oz. pay no attention that the agencies lack sufficient resources. pay no attention that the head of the atf hasn't been allowed to be appointed. pay no attention that the laws are inadequate to protect agents and citizens on both sides of the border, even more specifically that in arizona any citizen may purchase an unlimited number of ak-47s and transfer within the state and private sales. that the special agent, peter forsellly, testified at a
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previous hearing that as it relates to straw purchasers and punishments, he used the expression, quote: some people view this as no more consequential than doing 65 in a 55. and that as it relates to the gun show loophole, we recognize the fact -- and others would ask you to pay no attention -- that you can buy any type of gun you want without any background he check. you could be adjudicated as dangerously mentally ill, you could be a felon, you could be on your third order of protection, you can be on a terrorist watch list, and you can buy what you want. in terms of resources, the washington post said in 2010: the atf has the same number of agents it had in 1970. i'm glad the fb, and i the cia got the growth they need, because they make us safer. finally, pay no attention to the fact that peter f that sellly --
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that sellly said i have less than 100 agents assigned to the state of arizona. do we have the resources? no, we don't. end of quote, we desperately need them. so, mr. attorney general, life is, unfortunately, even after tragedies about moving on. and i ask you in a perfect world what are the situations and resources that you and other agencies have to combat the threats that are still going on, the fact that people are still dying from gun violence in the border area? >> yeah. it is an issue that we have to, um, confront. recent studies have shown that of the 94,000 guns that were seized in mexico, 64,000 of those guns can be traced back to the united states. i think there are a number of stems that congress could -- steps that congress could take and help us in connection with this fight.
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we need a comprehensive firearms trafficking statute, we need tougher sentences for straw purchasers, so you don't have that 65/55 mile-an-hour thought. we need to give atf the resources that it needs. in fiscal year '11, congress cut our request for 14 project gun runner teams in the half. decreases our capacity to do these kinds of things, and i think congress should not attempt to block the long gun reporting requirement that would require somebody buying multiple ak-47s over a five-day period to have that information simply share with the the atf. that is a valuable intelligence tool and has helped us while it's been in place in only four border states to develop leads and deal with the situations that you have described. >> and if i might switch gears briefly, i come from illinois, i come from chicago. it's important to recognize the
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gentleman stepping down from the attorney general's position in chicago, he's built an extraordinary legacy. i want to commend his efforts, and i'll give you the opportunity to do the same, if you l. >> i have known pat fitzgerald since he was a line lawyer in the southern district of new york and working on really consequential terrorism cases. i've admired his work then. he has been an outstanding attorney in two administrations. he is a true patriot, he's been a great attorney. he has focused on public corruption matters as well as national security matters. he is -- he has, n., be a model as a u.s. attorney and somebody who's going to be sorely miss inside the justice department. >> thank you, sir. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. quigley. the gentlewoman from -- >> unanimous concept to submit to the record a report of the
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minority stamp of the government oversight and reform dealing with fast and furious, ask unanimous consent a statement on the draft citation of the oversight committee, a letter regarding the purging of voters and a letter regarding race-based juries. i ask unanimous be concept to -- >> ve receiver b -- reserving the right to object. >> the chairman reserves the right to object and can be heard -- >> i have no objections to the latter material, but in the case of the former material f we're going to enter one side of any document from a committee, the if you want it into the record, corps responding documents be allowed to be prepared so as to give a complete report. >> without objection -- >> and i have no objection. >> will be made a part of the record, and the documents referred to by the gentleman from california will be made a part of the record. we'll now go to the gentleman
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from texas, mr. gohmert, for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. sir, you know where i'm coming from, mr. attorney general. i've been a prosecutor, i've been a district judge handling penalty, including death penalty cases. as a -- i've been appointed to defend cases i didn't want to defend, but i did my very best job. and be did it well. i've had people come before me who were friends that i've sent to prison because that was consistent with justice of what i would have done to someone in their situation who was not a friend. i have sentenced the children of friends with a courtroom full of my support beers who were all begging me not to, but i knew if i was going to be consistent in
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justice, i had to do that. i've sent people to prison because it was the fair and just thing when considering all of the facts and considering what had been done in the past, and then i've gone in my office after sentencing and wept because of the personal anguish of those that i care deeply about. but i knew i did the right thing, and history has borne me out. so when i hear an attorney general of the united states come before us and say, somewhat cavalierly, there is a political aspect to this office, it offends me beyond belief. your job is justice, mr. attorney general. it's justice across the board. and that is what's been so troublesome be around here. when we made a request a year ago here for the documents that
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your department has produced to people who were convicted of supporting terrorism, they're terrorists, and we wanted the documents you gave to the terrorists. we're a year later, and we still don't have them. why in the world would your department be more consider rate of the terrorists than of the people who are members of congress who can vote to just completely defund your department? it makes no sense. so i will ask again, and there is no room for a response that, well, it's an ongoing investigation, well, some of these may be classified. i'm asking for the documents your department produced to the terrorist supporters convicted in the holy land foundation trial. can we get those documents, just the ones
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>> we've talked about fast and furious, and you were asked who actually authorized fast and furious, you had said we may not ever know who authorized fast and furious. are you any closer right now as you sit here to knowing who authorized fast and furious? >> i suspect that we are closer given the fact that the inspector or general that's charged with the responsibility of investigating this matter at my request has been in the field and been interviewing people, and my guess would be that we're closer to that. i would expect that report would be out relatively soon. >> did you not ever go back to your office and say when you find out about fast and furious, i demand to know who authorized this? are things so fast and loose in your office that somebody can authorize the sale to
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international criminals of american guns that are bringing about the death of even american agents, and nobody has to do that in writing? >> the gentleman's time's expired, but you can answer the question. >> well, let's look at what i did do. i asked the inspector general to conduct an investigation, i put an end to the policy that led to and furious debacle. i made personnel changes at atf and in the u.s. attorney's office, we made changes in the procedures there, and that's in stark contrast to what happened to my predecessor, attorney general mukasey, when he was briefed about the transition of guns to mexico and as far as i can tell did far less than what i did. >> sir, that was a different aspect. >> if you want to look at what i did, those are simply the facts. >> my question, though, mr. chairman, was did you to back and say i demand to know who authorized this fast and furious
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program? that was the question. pretty simple. >> that's consistent with me telling the inspector general, find out what happened here. so the answer to your question is, yes. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from georgia is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on may 12th the house passed its commerce science appropriations bill, and this is a part of the ryan budget, and it tries its to eviscerate and murder the ability of the justice department to protect americans as it is supposed to do. you can't operate without money, and the bill in its attempt to neuter the department cuts funding for financial and mortgage fraud enforcement, it
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prohibits funding for enforcing the requirement that licensed firearms dealers report multiple sales of rifles to the same person, it prohibits funding to bring actions against states for their voter identification laws among other things. the bill, the bill would, um, cut funding for the general administration line on the doj's budget request from, um, $81 million to $45 million. excuse me -- yes, $29 million hess less than requested. the doj, um, program for
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rescissions and asset forfeitures has been cut. the number of u.s. attorneys, you'll have a thousand unfilled positions, and you already lost -- you've already lost attorneys. you've already lost 850 staff sense the hiring freeze that was instituted in january of 2011 has gone, since that went into effect. and this bill could result in an additional 411 positions lost. the antitrust division is cut $5.2 million. you could lose up to 70 positions in that unit. you've already lost 77 positions in that unit. that's the unit that keeps
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consumer prices low and gets at collusion and bid rigging and other activities that cost money to consumers, cost consumers money. the u.s. trustee program which you administer which is so important in bankruptcy which are on the rise, you've seen a 5% reduction, 50 positions may be suspended. law enforcement wireless communications for the department has been cut. the ability to hire people in foreign language, skilled in foreign languages has been cut. these things hurt the
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department's ability to be effective. i want to get to that part about the voter identification laws. you were answering a question that have posed to you by mr. -- from iowa, mr. king, but you were cut off by the bill, and you were not given a chance to complete your, your statement on that. can you complete it now, please? >> i'll be honest with you, i don't remember what it was. >> well, it had to do with the south carolina challenge of your department to their voter id laws. >> all i can say is with regard to the south carolina law, we looked at the evidence that was provided to us by south carolina, did not feel that the evidence about voter fraud was
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substantial enough, um, to overcome the disproportionate impact that the changes in their voting procedures had on, um, minorities, older people, young people and it was on that basis and under section 5 of the voting rights act that we decided to file -- to not preclear which they had tried to do. >> so, basically, you were stating or you stated that the reason that south carolina gave for making it tougher to vote through voter id requirements, the reason that they did that which is to get at voter fraud did not hold any water? in other words, there was insufficient evidence of voter fraud and so, therefore, there must have been some other intention behind their legislation to make it more difficult to vote there, would
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you agree with me on that? enter well, the initial material that we got from them did not have any statistical proof. we got a submission from them later on that indicated there were, perhaps, 900 people who, i think, were dead who were on voter rolls. that was then disputed by another south carolina official. this is all a matter that is now before the court and will be ultimately decided by a court here in washington, d.c.. >> and then as i stated earlier, the house commerce justice -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> -- funding to bring actions against states for their voter identification laws. and i'll yield back the balance of my time. but i would like to make a unanimous consent request -- >> without objection, what document does the gentleman wish to enter into the record? >> there are ten letters of support for attorney general holder praising his leadership from the national fraternal order of police, from
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patricia -- [inaudible] the tucson shooting survivor, a letter from the leadership conference to chairman issa, a letter from commissioner ramsey to chairman issa, a letter from the national action network to chairman issa, a letter from the leadership conference to speaker boehner, a letter from the national women's law center to speaker boehner, a letter from the national women's law center to chairman issa, a tri-caucus letter from representative gonzales, representative cleaver and representative -- >> without objection, all those -- >> and last but not least, a letter from the national organization of black -- >> did you get these letters from the attorney general himself? no, i'm teasing. [laughter] without objection, all those letters will be made a part of of the record.
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>> thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here, attorney general. i want to thank your office for the cooperation we've had on this specific issue of human trafficking, the new scourge that's happening in the united states. a recent pew study has come out and said that there are approximately two million ineligible voters in the united states. of that two million, 1.8 million are dead people. i would assume you would agree that voter rolls when verified that a the folks on the rolls are dead, they should be purge inside some manner. would you agree with that or not? >> absolutely. i think the purging ought to occur, it just ought to be done consistent with federal law. >> the, your office -- how many, how many specific cases have you prosecuted or your office has prosecuted on voter fraud since you've been attorney general? >> i don't know what the number is. um, i know that i prosecuted them myself when i was in the
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public -- >> just when you've been attorney general. >> i don't know what the number is. >> would the number be zero? >> no. i think that we have had vote fraud cases that i know that we've either settled through pleas -- i'm not sure we've had trials, but i know where we've had cases where people have committed offenses where they've made straw donations and other ways in which, um, voter fraud was carried out. i know we've done those cases, i don't know what the numbers are. >> okay. so that i know the exact number, because the information i've been given it's zero. so if you would provide me the actual number, i don't need the cases, just the number of cases that your office has prosecuted under section eight of the, of the law and let me know and let the chairman know the exact number because, like i said, my information is there are none. >> well, i mean, our efforts to fight voter fraud, though, go beyond just section eight. there's a boeing -- whole range
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of other statutes we use. >> understand. i would like to know specifically section eight prosecutions under your term as attorney general. >> we can wrap that into the larger -- >> i know there are other cases. i'm not asking for the other ones. just to be specific, i'm asking for the section eight prosecutions by your office. >> just to be fair, to get a sense of what it is we're doing, but i will give you -- >> you can give me more information, if you wish. that's fine. just so section eight's include inside that, that would be great. the mexican ambassador to the united states recently has made some comments about fast and furious that mexico was unaware of, quote: mexico was never apprised how the operation would be designed and implemented. talked about the fact that and furious has hurt the relationship between the united states and mexico. i'm not surprised that he would say something like this. we cop instantly talk -- constantly talk, as we should,
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about the americans that were killed in fast and furious, but there were, apparently, according to mexican nudes reports hundreds -- news reports hundreds of mexican nationals killed because of fast and furious. the last time you were here you said more people will probably die because of fast and furious. do you know how many people in mexico have been killed as a result of the united states helping to facilitate straw purchaseses of automatic weapons going down to mexico? do you know how many? >> i don't know, but i would think that there have been some, and i know that given the 64,000 guns that have gone to, from the united states to mexico that, um, mexican citizens, mexican law enforcement officers have lost their lives as a result of guns that started in the united states but ended up in mexico. >> how many of the guns have been e covered of the total -- recovered of the total number in fast and furious? you get different numbers, i've heard 100, i've heard 2000.
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how many guns have been recovered in mexico that were a result of the guns in fast and furious? >> i don't know that number. >> any guess at all? that was the purpose, was it not, of fast and furious? to sort of keep up with the firearms when they go to mexico and see where they were use inside a crime scene, wasn't that sort of the purpose? failed purpose? >> that was the stated purpose as it was in wide receiver and the previous, um, attempts at dealing with the flow of guns from the united states to mexico, one of which were ultimately successful and all of which allowed guns to be, um, inappropriately put into the stream of commerce. >> how many guns have been recovered on fast and furious? >> i've heard different numbers on that as well, anywhere from 800 to 1200. i just don't know. we start off with a number of ant 2,000 -- about 2,000 that were inappropriately put into the stream of commerce, and the number that was recovered i've heard 80 to 1200, but i don't
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know. >> what would our, what would america's reaction be if roles were complete hi reversed, that if our neighbors, mexico or canada, they smuggled -- facilitated the smuggling of automatic weapons into our country where americans were killed, mexican nationals killed? what was -- what would be our reaction to that? >> probably similar to what the head ambassador has said, though i do have to say we have a good relationship with mexico, certainly law enforcement is the one i'm most familiar with. i have a good relationship with the attorney general in mexico, we talk all the time. and we continue to work together on a variety of law enforcement projects, and it's not been deterred by the regrettable fast and furious episode. but i can understand the mexican ambassador's comments. >> and what are we doing to wrap -- >> [inaudible] >> oh, i'm sorry, i didn't
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recognize. if we're from the south, we should get more than five minutes. we talk slower. >> why doesn't the gentleman ask the attorney general the question -- you mean ask the question or submit the question in writing? >> i was going to suggest you ask the question you were planning to ask, and we'll get the response late other than. >> i will submit the numerous questions to the attorney general. >> without objection, thank you, mr. poe. the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i'll talk fast each though i'm from the south. in october 2008, the department of justice approved the merger between delta and northwest airlines. the department of justice issued a statement -- you may not remember this. quote. the proposed merger between delta and northwest is likely to produce stable and credible efficiencies that will benefit u.s. consumers.
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unfortunately, that forecast has in many people's minds in memphis in particular proved to be grossly inaccurate. many of the promises made by delta in front of this committee have been broken. as anybody in memphis can attest, the price of flying out of this quote-unquote fortress hub is much, much, much higher than it is flying out of other cities. and be you can fly to cities through memphis at cheaper prices than you can from memphis to x. it's cheaper than memphis to -- this has caused the city the loss of conventions, the loss of businesses who said we left memphis because the price of flight in and out was too great, so they moved to atlanta. a convention moved to kansas city, another group moved to kansas city. people of memphis are very upset about this, and we have unreasonably high air fares. memphis is not alone. cincinnati lost their hub, and service has been cut in
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minneapolis as well. now that the merger's in place, what type of enforcement mechanisms does your department of justice have to insure competition or to try to get competition and break up what is, in essence, a monopoly? >> well, i think we have been appropriately aggressive in our antitrust enforcement efforts. there are a number of cases that we have brought, everything from e-books to the way in which telecommunications industry has tried to, has tried to consolidate, and in those cases where we have not brought suit, we have extracted from the parties who have sought to join promises or, um, concrete divestitures of assets so that we would maximize the chance that the consumer would benefit. i think we have focused appropriately on what impact will be on consumers, and i think that the -- >> but in the airline industry have we done anything? because the airline industry has gotten to be, basically, three
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major carriers. they've divided up the middle cities, and the middle cities are hostages, and the people in the cities have to pay whatever they're charged. can we do anything about that? >> well, i mean, a certain amount of consolidation that has happened in the industry that i think is necessary for the survival of those companies. but, for instance, you look at what delta and u.s. air tried to do in transaction involving laguardia airport and national airport here in washington, d.c.. we approve what they wanted to do in new york, and we have reserved decision on what they wanted to do here in washington to see what the impact of the, um, these consolidated -- >> be if i could interrupt you because our timing is limited. washington, los angeles, new york, the big cities have got competition. it's the middle american cities that are getting the bankrupt of this. memphis is one of them. what can you do about memphis, cincinnati, st. louis, pittsburgh? >> well, i mean, what we can
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always do is to examine what the impact of these mergers, um, has been, and if we find, um, anti-competitive operations in a particular city -- >> well, then can i ask you to look into memphis and the situation there? frontier airlines came in, delta came in, undercut 'em, frontier left. u.s. air now is running memphis/washington, delta is going to undercut 'em. southwest is not looking to come in. we talked to southwest, they said if we come in, we're going to be undercut. that's monopoly. >> yeah. there cannot be -- i can't comment on the particulars with you because i'm not aware of them, but to the extent that one entity tries to undercut another inappropriately by lowering it prices and driving that competitor out of the market, only to drive the competitor out of the market and raises the prices once the competitor's gone, that's the kind of thing that would have an impact on consumers and that we would aggressively pursue. >> let me ask you to look at the
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situation in memphis, that's number one. i think i've written you about this, kroger's have taken over the grocery store market. they brought out snooks, they've got an area of influence in southern illinois they didn't have because they swapped scores with kroger. it's happening all over america. business is finding ways to work with each other to create monopolistic advantage of consumers. it's what's happening. income inequality, purchasing ability inequality, the middle class, the consumer, they've got nowhere to go. the only hope and change they've got is with you and this administration. other side big business is -- otherwise big business cutting them out, so i appreciate you looking after the consumer which i know you want to. >> our focus is on the protection of consumers, and i think as i said that we've been, um, aggressive. we put people to head that
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division who shared that attitude and, as i said, they've done a great job. >> gentleman's time has expired. chair recognizes the gentleman from be utah, mr. face-to-face fete, for five minutes. >> i'd like to focus my comments on and furious. you stated in previous testimony here today that you had read the six wiretap applications. i, too, have read those wiretap applications. i come to a conclusion that is totally different than your conclusions. um, and that is but, i think, a sliver of the information that we're looking at where a reasonable perp -- person would only come to the conclusion that the senior most people within the department of justice did, indied, know that those tactics were being used. and i guess my question for you, mr. attorney general, those things are sealed. nobody wants to impede an
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ongoing investigation or hamper a prosecution opportunity. my question for you today is would you be willing to make yourself personally available to myself and mr. goudy, and in the essence of fairness, mr. bobby scott and mike quigley to come talk to you, sit down, and i want you to show me how you don't come to that conclusion, and i'd like to show you why i think there's a preponderance of evidence that would lead one to believe that, yes, indeed, the department of justice did know about this. is that fair? could you make yourself available? >> chairman, a parliamentary inquiry. >> mr. chairman, please. >> continue to inquire. >> mr. chairman, i know the attorney general's about to answer -- >> just -- >> but the, is it appropriate, is it appropriate for members to refer to sealed documents in this judiciary committee room and suggest that the attorney general makes a personal visit to members on what is sealed and
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should not be provided during a criminal investigation? >> i simply asked if, again, please, mr. chairman, this should not count towards my time. i'm simply asking, a dispute here. this has been going -- this has gone on for a year and a half. most members on this side asked about fast and furious, we're trying to resolve this, get to the end of it. it's hard to do in five minutes. i'm just asking for personal time to show you what we've seen and for you to share with us what you've seen. >> but, mr. chairman, i again refer these are sealed documents. i'm trying to understand is the gentleman wanting the chairman -- excuse me, the attorney general to speak to sealed documents that have been leaked and then discuss it with members while there is a pending criminal investigation? is in the appropriate -- >> gentleman will suspend. the contents of the sealed documents may not be discussed. the gentleman may have his time back and will --
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>> thank the chairman. >> the remaining time that has been allotted to the gentlewoman from texas. >> will you sit down to talk with us about that? >> i don't think under the federal law i have an ability to talk about, as the statute says, the contents of the wiretap -- >> would you be willing to sit with us and talk about all the other pieces of evidence that we see that aren't sealed? >> what? >> well, i have sat down with you on eight separate occasions. >> i'm asking for more time to sit with you personally, more than just five minutes and go through this in some depth. give us two hours. two members from the democrats, two from the republican side and go through this. >> you know, with all due respect, i give you four hours at a crack on eight separate occasions. i'm not sure there's an awful lot more i have to say. here is one thing i have to say. you and i have both read materials that senior people in the justice department as they
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went through that approval process that they did not read -- >> let me go on, please. so the answer is, no? >> well -- >> the -- you're eating up my time, and i only have three and a half minutes left. let me share with you why this is imperative. jason weinstein sends an e-mail: do you think we should try to have lanny participate in a press when fast and furious and tucson case are unsealed? it's a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked, but it is a significant set of prosecutions. james trustee sends back to jason weinstein, it's not going to be any big surprise that a bunch of u.s. guns are being used in mexico, so i'm not sure how much grief we get for guns walking. it may be more like finally there are going to be people -- they're going after the people who sent guns down there. now, you claim with passion that
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nobody at the senior level of the department of justice prior to the death of brian terry knew that guns were walking, and i've got an e-mail using the term "guns walking." >> i think we went through this exercise before. that refers to wide receiver, not fast and furious. >> that's not what the february 4th pletter that was sent to the united states congress said. it said that the atf never uses those tactics, never. >> and we said -- >> and that's not true. >> and we said that that letter was inaccurate. it was ultimately withdrawn. but the e-mail you just read, this is important, that e-mail referred to wide receiver. it did not refer to fast and furious. that has to be noted for the record. >> it's -- no, it doesn't. it says fast and furious. do you think we should try to have lanny participate in press when fast and furious and lawrence tucson case are unsealed? it's specific to fast and furious. that is not true, mr. attorney
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general. i'm happy to share it with you. i ask unanimous concept to give you some extra time to review it. >> the tucson case refers to -- >> it says fast and furious. we'll let the media have it -- >> laura duffy was not involved in fast and furious. >> the e-mail says fast and furious, you say it doesn't, i've got it in black and white. >> i have superior knowledge. >> did you personally read speaker boehner's letter sent to you on may 18, 2012? >> yes, i got that. >> did you read it? >> have you personally responded to the speaker? >> the deputy attorney general responded. >> so you delegated that to james cole. >> i didn't want delegate it to him, i thought it was appropriate for him to respond. >> you didn't think it was appropriate for you to respondsome. >> what i've indicated in my opening statement and i'm certainly willing to indicate right now is i am willing to
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personally engage with the four people who signed that letter so that we can get you the information consistent with what i think is our need to protect ongoing investigations. i want to be as flexible as you said -- >> i have a hard time buying it when you won't sit down with a guy like me -- >> gentleman's time has expired. chair recognizes the gentleman from from puerto rico. >> welcome back, attorney general. and i realize it's been a long hearing and, as you say, the eighth occasion which you appear before us. as i have stated before, the first thing i'll say is that i have to commend your demeanor, your patience, your decorum in appearing before us and in subjecting yourself sometimes to process that i do not believe is fair. if anything, this committee
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should always try to afford due process. and i am sad to say that sometimes here you were interrupted in a way that is not deserving to the position you're holding. so i, for one, i thank you. now, as you probably expected, i want to complain a little bit. the familiar subject of my questioning is the federal government's response to drug-related violence in puerto rico and the neighboring u.s. virgin islands. the murder rate is nearly six times the national average and nearly three times higher than any state. most of these homicides are linked to the cross-border trade in illegal drugs which is primarily a federal responsibility to combat. during your previous testimony, you stated that drug-related violence in our nation's caribbean territories is a national security issue we have
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to confront. you also stated that puerto ricans are american citizens who deserve the protection of their government. i know you and your team have been working to address this problem. you on behalf of the doj's component agencies have always made yourselves available to talk to me despite your busy schedules, and i appreciate that. and there have been some major success stories including yesterday's federal-state operation which resulted in the arrest of dozens of airline workers in puerto rico who were smuggling drugs on the flights to the u.s. your men and women in puerto rico are doing terrific and courageous work. i hope you know i recognize and respect that. but it's also clear to me and to any reasonable observer that far more needs to be done. the cjs appropriations bill, which we approved recently, this year, explicitly stated the
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committee's aware that efforts by federal law enforcement to reduce drug trafficking and associated violence in the southwest border region have affected trafficking routes and crime rates in the caribbean. the committee expects the attorney general to address these trends by allocating necessary resources to areas substantially affected by drug-related violation and reporting back to the committee. i wrote this very same week to the president asking him to direct ondcp to prepare and publish a caribbean border counternarcotics strategy which would outline a federal plan of action to address drug trafficking and related violence in puerto rico. ondcp already does this for the southwest border and the northern border. so the first question i have is do can you see any reason why
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ondcp should not do the same for the caribbean border? >> i think that's, actually, um, a fair point, and it's consistent with what i testified to, i think, before your remarks. my remarks that you referenced before. when one looks at the caribbean, puerto rico in particular, i think we need to have a strategy. um, we have a task force on puerto rico that the associate attorney general is one of the co-chairs of. i think to the extent that it is not explicit, that we should develop, um, such plan. >> thank you. and my second question and, mr. chairman, you know, i would like to be able to make my question and then get an answer even if my time expires. quite a few of my fellow members have had that courtesy, i hope you can extend it to me. >> gentleman, just ask the question. >> okay. the second question is, can you explain the concrete steps that
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doj has taken to strengthen -- [inaudible] in puerto rico? wouldn't it be appropriate to increase the resources it devotes to the island even if it only is a temporary surge just like when there was a spike in violence on the u.s. side of the southwest border? i know we're live anything an environment of constrained resources, but i'm talking about prioritizes the resources you have and making sure they're being allocated to the areas where they're needed the most. by the way, and i have the stats, dea has increased it manpower. but the fbi and atf have not in recent years. shouldn't you be acting with more of a sense of urgency in this area? please, tell me why i should feel better about this than i do. >> yeah. >> the attorney general will be brief. >> okay. we are, our law enforcement components have really developed recruitment and retention incentives for agents who are
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willing to, who are stationed in puerto rico. retention is a really, it's a unique problem that we have in puerto rico, but be i think the issue that you raise about surges is something that we are starting to embrace because we have seen -- although we've seen historic drops in the crime rate, we have seen hot spots for lack of a better term around the country, and we are developing a capacity to surge agents, resources, money at times to help law enforcement into those hot spots. we have done it in a couple of cities in the united states mainland. we plan on looking at other places, and i think puerto rico given the, um, homicide rate, the violent crime rate that far outstrips what is the national norm, i think puerto rico would certainly be a candidate for a surge. >> thank you so much. >> gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman recognizes the gentleman from south carolina,
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mr. goudy, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you for your great service to the great state of texas. mr. attorney general, i want to ask you about a comment attributed to you and a statement by the department of justice. in a new york times interview you said there is a desire to, quote, get at you because you, quote, consistently take progressive stance. shortly after that interview, the department issued a statement wherein it said your critics, and i'll quote. your critics rightly view you as a progressive force. the common theme in both of those statements is an apparent belief that you are targeted because you are, to use your term, progressive. so i want to be really clear with you, mr. attorney general. i'm not a critic of yours because you consider yourself to be progressive. i'm a critic because i don't think the attorney general for the united states of america should have any political ideology whatsoever. you're the attorney general for the entire country, regardless
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of your political ideology or anyone else's political ideology. you're the attorney general for everyone. you're a former judge, you're a former u.s. attorney, you're currently the chief law enforcement official for the united states. i don't know what attracted you to the criminal justice system. i haven't had an opportunity to ask you. i can tell you that what attracted me to it was the notion of working solely for a woman who is blind folded and carries nothing with her except a set of scales and a sword. no political ideology, no agenda, just a set of scales and a sword. and it's important to me that she doesn't care about anyone's station in life, and she doesn't care about their political ideology, and she doesn't care whether they're black, white, brown, progressive,
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conservative. it's just about the equal application of the law. and further in that interview with you in "the new york times," you singled out my colleague from north carolina, senator graham, as someone who had good faith in his criticisms toward you. so my question -- and then you oughted that others -- suggested that others are motivated by something more nefarious, bad faith, a desire to get at you, a desire to do damage to the president. so my question to you is this: do you think it's possible to be motivated by good faith and still ask who the senior most level officials within main somewheres diswere who knew about the tactic of gun walking prior to brian terry's death? is it possible for me to ask that question and be motivated by -- >> do you think john ashcroft was a conservative? >> um, i don't know mr. ashcroft. i tell you who i do know, mr. attorney general, i know the united states attorney for the district of south carolina. he was appointed by prime presit
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obama. he is every bit as progressive as you say you are, if not more so. and not only have i not been a critic of his, i have been one of his biggest fans because you cannot tell what his political ideology is from the way he discharges his job. so i don't know john ashcroft, i don't know you. i know bill nettles, i know the united states attorney. you can shake your head when i say that, but the truth is you're the one who said you were being targeted because you're a progressive. and my point to you is, i would be asking the exact same questions about fast and furious whether you were john ashcroft, whether you were dan lundgren, i don't want care about the the political ideology of the u.s. attorney or the attorney general. >> all i would say is this, the decisions i have made in connection with anything i've done in the justice department don't reflect my political ideology, they reflect my view
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of the facts, the law -- >> well, then why did your department say that? why did your department in december say that you were a target because you consistently take progressive stance? do you think that's why i'm asking you about fast and furious, because of your political ideology? >> i have -- i will accept that your question to me is one that is based in good faith. i'm not going to say -- i'm not going to ignore reality and say that all of the attacks that have been directed at me have been those that are nonpolitical in nature or that have come in good faith -- >> can i be motivated by good faith and still believe that y'all have to show an id to vote in zack? >> absolutely. you can operate in good faith and ask that question as i can disagree with you in good faith and not have a political mote vague behind my position. >> mr. attorney general, you have a difficult job. but if you think that you are
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being singled out because of political ideology or race or any other characteristic or factor when it comes to fast and furious, you are sorely mistaken. i would be asking the exact same questions regardless of what party was in power. and with that, i'll yield back, mr. chair. >> gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. attorney general holder, before i begin my questions, i'd like to take a moment to commend you for the progress that the department has made on various issue, for instance, on intellectual property rights. you have made that a priority. it's very, very important, um, for our economy, and i congratulate the department of justice on the ground-breaking case earlier this year where you charged seven individuals and two corporations for running an international organized criminal enterprise that have responsible for causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners. and i also want to thank the
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department for seeking to protect every american's right to vote. during 2011 the civil rights division handled 27 new voting rights cases, and with 176 bills introduced in congress that are aimed at suppressing americans' right to vote, you're doing incredibly important work. um, i also want to applaud you for, um, changing the material that the fbi had been using in their counterterrorism materials that had many ip program in story -- inflammatory statements about islam and offensive stereotypes about muslims. and, in fact, the fbi has conducted the review of this counterterrorism training material that indicated factually incorrect information. and earlier congress member franks said these were statements that had to do with political correctness, but actually i wanted to name some of the statements that were made in these training materials that
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were incorrect and, in fact, offensive. for instance, this one that was in the fbi manual, never attempt to shake hands with an asian. or how about never stare at an asian. i must personally take offense at that, i must tell you. and how about this? the arabic man is swayed more by ideas than by fact. or how about traditional muslim attire and growing facial hair is an indicator of extremism. i think those are statements that have to be removed from those manuals. and my question has to do with the fact that a generation of fbi agents and joint terrorism task force members have been trained with these biased materials. what is the department doing to make sure that those that have been trained with those materials don't hold these kinds of stereotypes? >> well, we have certainly removed those materials so that the training does not continue, and as people are updated in
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their training, we make clear to them that that material was inappropriately shared with them before. um, there are ongoing things that in the field offices to make sure that people don't rely on the kinds of things that you have just read into the record in their enforcement efforts, so it's an ongoing thing. we understand there have been certain agents who have been exposed to this, and we understand it is our responsibility to make sure that that information was incorrect -- not politically incorrect, but simply factually ip correct -- that we make sure that they operate only on the basis of factually correct information. >> i truly appreciate that. and, actually, i also wanted to talk about another issue, and that's the nypd and the muslim community. in august 2011 the associated press published an investigative article that described intelligence gathering by the nypd of the muslim community in new york.
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so 34 members of congress and over 115 community and civil rights groups have requested of the department of justice open an investigation on this issue. has the department of justice begun a formal investigation into this issue? >> well, we are aware of the allegations. we have received, as you indicate, several requests to investigate the nypd, and we are in the process of, um, reviewing these requests. we are, we are very far along in what i will call this preliminary stage, and i expect to be getting something, a formal recommendation fairly soon. >> i would appreciate that because, um, we want to make sure that innocent americans aren't spied upon simply for eating at a restaurant or simply practicing their faith. and it is offensive to many. i always remember the fact that we had 120,000 japanese-americans that were taken off to concentration camps based on allegations of spying,
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and yet in the end not a single case of espionage was ever proven. so we wallet to make sure that the rights of innocent americans -- we want to make sure that the rights of innocent americans are protected. >> yes. that is our objective as well. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, ms. chu. the yeswoman from florida, ms. adams, is recognized for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. hello, attorney general. good to see you again. >> good morning. good afternoon. >> earlier when you were asked about when you became aware of the tactics of fast and furious, i believe you said it was the early part of 2011? >> right. >> and how long after agent terry's death were you made aware of the fact that one of those guns that walked was actually used to kill your agent? >> i think roughly, um, about the same time -- i'm not sure we've ever had a ballistic match in that regard, but i was made aware of the fact that guns found on the scene were from fast and furious, roughly the
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same time, some time in february. i'm not sure exactly when. >> would you consider that? i'm going to go back to your opening statement. you said about how you and your agency are working closely with all the agencies, um, and that all the issues that apply to whether it's the national security leaks, homeland security, you're working very closely. yet you have an agent murdered, there's gun on the scene that come back to fast and furious, and it takes one, two months before you're made aware of the fact that this has happened? >> well, you're talking about my personal knowledge. >> yes. >> there were other -- >> you are the attorney general, are you not? >> i will -- >> you are our chief law enforcement officer, you have a dead agent -- >> no, but i'm saying that there were people in the justice department who were aware of the fact that those guns found on the scene were from operation fast and furious. i personally did not become
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aware of that until february. but there were people in the department working with our dhs allies and people in local law enforcement and the fbi who were aware of that fact. yes, i thought you were directing the question at just me as opposed to somebody else. >> well, you know, i've heard, i've listened all day long, and i listened the other day when you were here also, and every time when questions are posed about fast and furious, we always get a different timeline, or similar, or we've had a letter called back for inaccuracies months after it was delivered to us. so now we have you sit here, and you tell us today in your opening statement how well your agencies are working together, yet you have an agent who is murdered, and it takes a couple of months before you're made aware as the attorney general that the weapons that were left and allowed to gun walk were used during his had had. so -- can during his homicide. so i go on to, if we have a


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