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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 30, 2014 12:00am-2:01am EST

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government overreach or lax protection for consumers in these laws. i berlex protection for consumers in these laws. i think it is the changes show a need for congress and the departmendepartmen t to act. we need to set appropriate limits for when and how the government can collect vast amounts of data from americans assuming we even have the power to allow any agency to do this. legislation to reform electronic indications privacy act. i think the senators and parties who joined similar legislation. we have to ensure the huge amounts of data that we collect
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whether assuming that they have the right to collect it, which is a big assumption, that those are collected and shared and stored by businesses are kept safe from the growing threat to data breaches and identity theft. we are going to examine this issue in detail and a hearing next week. it's also important the department support criminal justice mission. i know the attorney general and i share the unshakable commitment to keeping americans safe and supporting the men and women on the frontlines of military. we work closely last year and i appreciate the help to reauthorize the violence against women act and trafficking victims protection act ,-com,-com ma the critical improvements to protect all victims. after three-year effort lester the president signed into law
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the safety offers benefits improvements act. it will make significant improvement to public safety and so important to our first responders. i appreciate the attorney general strong support for the goals that the justice reauthorization act the second chance reauthorization act and francisco reform legislation each of which will approve the effectiveness of our criminal justice system and i would like to see them enacted this year. i know a lot of people in law enforcement would like to see it enacted. i appreciate the attorney general's recommendation of the bipartisan efforts currently underway by this committee to address the unsustainable growth of our prison population. at the rate we are going there will be no money for law enforcement and to the extent of having geriatric units in these prisons. at a time when shrinking budgets and the government the problem we have in expanding prison population presents devastating
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consequences or our public safety priorities. if you do nothing and we love the federal prison population to consume more than a quarter of the department's budget and eventualleventuall y even more than that, that makes us less safe. we can change it to mandatory minimums were drug offenders is a good place to start that i'm optimistic we will be able to pass a bipartisan bill out of this committee to do that. thank you attorney general for returning to the committee to discuss these important issues. i also want to thank the men and women of the department of justice who work hard every day to keep us safe. i met with a lot of them. you are the face of the department of justice. there are thousands of people whose faces will never be in the news that are out there every single day throughout the country and abroad keeping us safe. we pray for their safety and we appreciate what they do.
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senator grassley. >> before i read my statement i would like to say to general holder obviously you and i were bitten by different political bugs but we have policy differences and we have more agreement that you and i may realize that a particular time and i think those policy differences are legitimate. in my statement and i'm going to make some comments about some administrative action where i think there is no excuse for and congress isn't being respected by your department and whether it's you or people within your department i think at the very least we ought to have responses where there should be no political differences, just wanting information. so i hope you appreciate the fact that if we disagree on policy issues that it doesn't
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carry over to things when congress simply wants some administrative action on your part. i thank you chairman leahy for this hearing. it's a very important hearing. oversight is very very important and i think the attorney general for coming here. at least you two are for filling a constitutional responsibility of giving us information that we needed to be public. i have to start by pointing out to the chilled -- chairman that we still haven't received answers to our questions on the record from her last oversight hearing with the attorney general which was almost 11 months ago. as i have indicated i think this is unacceptable. the department should show sufficient wrist that for this committee to answer answers questions at least prior to the next oversight hearing now 11 months elapsed.
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we also have not received replies to questions directed to other department officials who testified at various hearings over the past year. this hearing also affords me the opportunity to call to your attention general holder the many letters the department has not answered and it's an orchard that we always have to start a department oversight hearing with the same request to respond to and answer questions from congress. for instance back in early november i wrote you about the justice department's counsel take health and human services on the affordable care act. hhs says in consultation with your department you decided not to apply the anti-kickback statute to the affordable care act. this is a clear violation of congress's move to strengthen anti-fraud laws and you have helped those strengthen a lot of
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anti-fraud laws. since i haven't received an answer to my letter i'm going to ask you about that today. i have also written to you about the department's handling of cases in which the national security agency employees used their signal intelligence authority. on august after news reports i wrote to the nsa inspector general about them and in response the inspector general indicated that since 2003 there were 12 documented abuses of nsa employees, abusing these authorities and in many cases by spying on loved ones. it's good that the number of cases was very small but even one case to many. according to the inspector general at least six of these cases were referred to your department for prosecution so it not over i wrote to you to request information about how
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the department handled these cases. i asked for a response by december the first. i haven't received one. it's important for the public to know whether the department is taking these cases seriously. we need to deter this kind of behavior in the future given nsa's powerful capabilities. in addition this committee has spent a concert of my time over the past six months considering reforms to the nsa. in a speech a few weeks ago the president directed u.s. attorney general to work with the intelligence community to develop quote options for a new approach and quote to the bull collection of telephone metadata. i would be interested in hearing how that is proceeding. the president has also asked you to do a review of the fbi whistleblower protection and recommend changes on how to improve them.
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the assignment was contained in presidential policy directive 19 which claimed to create protection for whistleblowers with access to classified information. the president gave you 180 days to complete the review and it's now 10 months overdue. there is a lot of lipservice to whistleblower protection that this is another example of how the actions don't match rhetoric or it i'm concerned about the president's -- and i recently had a cia contact my office who is seeking to report alleged violations of the whistleblower protections in the president's directive 19 false statements to congress and concerns related to key legislation. he tried to get permission to share the class of light details with me, yet a cia lawyer wrote a letter denying information claiming judiciary committee members aren't authorized to
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receive classified information from the cia which is of course false, but it scares whistleblowers and it intimidates them into silence. this is one of several things that suggest to me that even with the president's directive we need stronger legislative protection for national security whistleblowers. another topic to discuss is the department's nonenforcement of controlled substance act. in august the department announced it wouldn't challenge laws in colorado and washington legalizing trafficking erdogan a the department apparently believes that so long as the state's create effective regulatory schemes key federal enforcement drier days would not be undermined. those priorities include the diversion of marijuana into other states increased use among minors, and more drunk driving
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fatalities. however i'm concerned that in many ways this policy is based on willful ignorance of the realities in the states. example, as a result of failure to adequately regulate medical marijuana, colorado is seen a sharp increase in public health law enforcement problems related to these federal priorities in a few years. just a few weeks ago he senior drug enforcement administration official told my aunt senator feinstein's caucus on the international narcotics control that what was being in these states is quote reckless and irresponsible. at a minimum it is important that the department set firm criteria to measure whether or when it's federal priorities are harmed so much so that the decision not to challenge the state laws is revisited.
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this is all the more important now that i understand you will soon announce initial guidance that will prevent bear wanted distributors in the states to use the banking system to engage in what is under federal law money laundering. i'm also concerned that this administration hasn't been faithful to the constitution on a number of areas by unilaterally changing or ignoring laws passed by congress. in my view many of these actions are inconsistent with the constitution's requirement that the president quote take care to faithfully, that the laws be faithfully executed and quote great however your department's office of legal consult provides an independent check on executive action. the office of legal consult is responsible for advising the executive branch on constitutional questions.
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moreover it reviews the constitutionality of all proposed executive orders. last night during the state of the union address that president signaled that he will use executive orders to advance his agenda this year. transparency should be brought to the office of legal consult analysis of proposed executive orders so that the american people can see whether they are subject to a rigorous constitutional review. thank you very much general holder for listening. >> please go ahead. >> chairman leahy, ranking member grassley and members of the committee i want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the recent achievements in the ongoing priorities in the united states department of justice. i would like to thank members of congress for coming together earlier this month to pass a bipartisan budget agreement that restores the department's funding to increase sequestration levels.
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we are reviewing this legislation to determines its impact on specific row grahams and components but we anticipate that you will provide for hiring additional agents, prosecutors and other essential staff. this will allow us to invest in innovative brokerage to keep supporting state and law enforcement agencies and to continue building on the outstanding work that my colleagues have made possible over the past year. as i've said the department's top priority must be the protection of the american people from terrorism and national security threats. since i last appeared before this committee we have continued to strengthen key intelligence gathering capabilities to define our ability to identify and disrupt potential terrorist plots and ensure those charged with terrorism related offenses can be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. as president obama noted roughly two weeks ago in carrying out
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this work it is imperative that we continue striving to protect our national security while upholding the civil liberties and all of us hold dear. monday we took a significant step or word in this regard when the department acted to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests that are issued to communications providers, the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests and the underlying legal authorities. through these new reporting methods providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers. allowing this aggregated data will resolve an important area of concern to communications providers as well as to the public. in the weeks ahead as we move forward with the timely implementation of this and other reforms directed by the president my colleagues and i will work closely with members of this committee and other congressional leaders to determine the best path forward.
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we also will continue enforcing essential privacy protections and other guards concerning data possessed by the government as well as by the private sector. the department of justice takes very seriously reports of any data reach reticulated those involving personally identifiable or financial information and looks into allegations that are brought to its attention. now while we generally do not discuss specific matters under investigainvestiga tion, i can confirm that the department is investigating the breach involving united states retailer target and we are committed to working to find not only the perpetrators of these sorts of data breaches but also any individuals and groups who exploit the data by credit car fraud. now beyond this important work to department will continue to build on the progress we have seen in confronting a wide variety of other threats and challenges from combating drug
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and human trafficking to addressing cyberattacks and protecting americans from violent crime and taking commonsense steps to reduce gun violence. earlier this month the department strengthen the federal background check system by clarifying federal rules concerning mental health-based prohibitions on firearm purchases. under the leadership of our civil rights division we are working diligently with our partners to uphold the supreme court's ruling in the promise of equal protection under the law for all americans emily's and to extent applicable in federal benefits to married and same-sex couples. we are vigorously enforcing that rule voting protections and congressional leaders from both parties to refine and strengthen the proposals congress is currently considering to help ensure every eligible american has access to the franchise. in addition last year as part of her ongoing efforts to hold
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accountable those whose conduct conduct -- the mortgage crisis the department filed suit against bank of america in the ratings firm s&p. in november the department received a 13 billion-dollar with jc morgan chase -- jpmorgan chase to resolve federal and state civil claims related to the company's mortgage securitization process. i think that these results demonstrate that no firm no matter how profitable is above the law. they reinforce our commitment to integrity and equal justice in every case and every circumstance and every community. this commitment is also reflected in the smarter crime initiative that i announced this past august to strengthen our federal criminal justice system to increase emphasis on improving diversion rehabilitation and re-entry programs and to reduce unnecessary collateral consequences for those who are seeking to rejoin their
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communities. as part of the smart on crime of pro-china mandated a significant change to the justice department's charging policies to ensure people accused of certain low-level federal drug crimes will face sentences that are appropriate to the individual conduct and mandatory sentences will be observed for the most serious criminals. alongside other important reforms this changeful maker criminal justice system not only fair but also more efficient and it will cover proposals like a bipartisan smarter sentencing act introduced by senators durbin and mike lee which will get judges more discretion in determining appropriate sentences for people convicted of certain federal drug crimes. i look forward to working with chairman leahy and the distinguished members of this committee and other leaders who have shown a commitment to commonsense sentencing reform like senator rand paul to help advance this and other legislation. i want to thank you all once
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again for your continued support of united states department of justice and i would happy to answer any questions that you might have. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you and thank you for mentioning what senator durbin and senator lee and senator paul and i and others working together to try to get something that not only makes sense but that can pass the old one-size-fits-all we realize one does not make us safer and two it does not deter crime but three, it means we are spending a huge amount of money on things that don't make us better and has to take money away from good law enforcement that we need. last week the privacy and civil liberties oversight board issued a report that included the nsa's loan records program and i agree with that.
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for the recommendation you and the director of national intelligence executive action is not enough. i think congress has to act to ensure this legal theory and it's what i consider legal theory is not used by any administration to spy indiscriminately on its citizens. now, doj's current interpretation relevant to section 215 could allow the government to inquire any database that might someday down the road for some reason, somehow find useful -- first is there anything in the constitution that allows us to pass such an overbroad law, to allow us to search anywhere we want and is there any meaningful limiting principle for the government's interpretation of section 2 and in 15? >> well i think we can look at what the government has been
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able to do in terms of surveillance whether it is wiretaps, mail covers. their number of statutes that congress has passed that allows the government to engage in that kind of surveillance activity. i think the difference between those kinds of i think universally recognized programs in what we have seen under section 215 of the metadata program is that these other materials, the other programs are predicate-based. the metadata program is really an accumulation of material without necessarily a predicate that i will say the query of the database there has to be a predicate and that is consistent with what has been passed by congress before and constitutionally upheld by the courts. >> well, maybe we could pass something and you mentioned we could also pass, congress could pass a law for example that would allow a police officer to
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seize anybody en bloc them up incommunicado for five years to pass this law. you are a former judge and attorney journal of united states and i think you would be with me and everybody else at that not -- would not pass constitutional tests at all. so i ask again the question, does the constitution give us the right to pass a law to allow nsa or the bureau of land management or anybody else to collect such untraveled metadata on american citizens? >> i would say 15 judges in the fisa court and 10 judges one in california one in new york have looked at this question and made the determination that the 215 program is in fact constitutional. one judge in washington d.c. has decided it is not but i think
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that only deals with one app of the question. i believe that they are correct, that it is constitutional. it is an appropriate use and a constitutional sense of the government's power but the question is and what the president has proposed to us just because we can do something, should we do it and that is what director clapper and i have been wrestling with over the 60 to 90 days in modifying the program the way the president has anticipated. >> yes you do that you'll be consulting with the privacy and civil liberties oversight board? >> we will be touching base with them. obviously there's a report that we can look at but i think we want to make this a wide-ranging interaction with those people to be critical of section 215 and the other surveillance program so we have as much information both pro and con before we make recommendations back to the president. there are ports in the past week
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at the nsa and british intelligence agency are working together on personal information and i have some questions i will ask you in a classified forum but what protections are in place to ensure the nsa doesn't do an end run around u.s. surveillance rules including the fourth amendment obviously by just going to another foreign agency and saying hey we are prohibited from collecting this information in america. would you do it for as? >> under executive order 12333 the intelligence community is not permitted to ask a foreign government to collect information that we ourselves would not be allowed to collect so any attempt to have a foreign government acquire information that we are not permitted to gather ourselves would be a violation of that executive order. >> faa approved the use of
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unmanned aerial drones. the faa is developing drones to operate in commercial air space by next year. we have also heard on this committee that drones are already being used in a number of areas in homeland security, law enforcement purposes. that raises significant privacy concerns. i can almost feel what my reaction would he if i saw it drone flying around over my farmhouse in vermont. and what i would incline to do to not knowing where it's coming from or what it was. what plans does the justice department have to use drones
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within the u.s. for law enforcement law enforcement purposes and what kind of sick guards are being developed? viewer well he announced that i find very chilling. >> with regards to the use of these unmanned aerial systems the only component within the department used in operation away is the fbi. and i think we have to understand that if used properly they can serve a useful purpose. i don't think you remember the young child who was held hostage in a tunnel i think in georgia or alabama or someplace. use was made of it drone in that case that proved decisive in resolving that situation in a good way. the inspector general of the justice justice department has recommended the come up the uniform system of rules and regulations within the department to control how these devices are used. i think that's something i
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supported something we will be developing. >> that i would like to work with you on development and i think other members on both sides of the aisle. simply the fact that we have the technology i can see in the hands of some. this is the latest and greatest whizbang. let's just go spy and everybody's backyard and everything else. i think the reaction to the american public would be pretty significant. as compared to the very specific targeted law enforcement, the missing child thing that you mentioned. and lastly and i apologize senator grassley, but we talked about the federal prison population and this is a concern to many of us here. it has grown by more than 500% in the last 30 years and that is money that can't be used to hire more prosecutors or agents or provide assistance to sustain
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local law enforcement. in fact the inspector general said the bureau of prisons budget is at the top of its list of management challenges for the department. the top of the list. what's is this increasing prison population population doing tier of the party's? >> the euro prisons budget takes up roughly a third of the justice department's entire budget and it precludes us from doing a variety of other things that members of this committee are interested in and does her interest that i share. our ability to help our state and local departments and grants has impacted. our ability to hire more prosecutors and more agents and more support personnel is impacted. we have to fund the prison system to make sure that people who are in those systems are safe, that we provide
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constitutional care to people who are incarcerated but unless we take i think a fundamental look that has been suggested by you senator durbin senator lee and senator paul unless we take a fundamental look we will have a prison system that impedes our ability to do the kinds of things the american people expect the justice department to do. i'm very concerned about that and that is why he announced the smart on crime initiative in august. i think it's consistent with what the members of this committee have suggested as well and that is why i want to work with you to try to get a handle on ways i think is a growing and potentially dangerous problem. >> please do and you will get broad bipartisan support across a system to find your way out of this. >> before my time starts could i follow up? i at the same concern you do about privacy being violated by drones but i want to point out that with airplanes in iowa and
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nebraska the epa has some authority to spy on certain animal feeding operations that they were spying on people that didn't have the right to regulate with airplanes. we are going to have a bigger problem with the government abuse of privacy with drones now so i would just raise that as an issue. not for you to comment on and not for you to comment on. >> general in my opening statement a couple of questions on something i have discussed with you. i mentioned that i wrote you in october concerning the department's handling of cases referred to in which the national security agency intentionally or willfully abuse surveillance authority but i never received a response and i
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need to know whether the justice department is taking any action or whether you consider the case as serious. can you tell me whether anyone at the nsa of prosecuted for this conduct and if they haven't why they haven't been prosecuted >> i think the concern you raise is a legitimate one and we will get a response to you in greater detail. but the fact there were referrals but the fact that members of the nsa who have access to this information and access to these tech makes, these capabilities would misuse them for i think you said in your statement to use them for essentially personal use to spy on people with whom they had relationships is totally inappropriate. we will get you a full response to indicate how those cases were dealt with by the justice department but i share the concern. >> is it possible you can do that soon? >> yes, we will do that soon.
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but i will write that down and eventually get back to. >> i referred to director 19 released 15 months ago but this follows on my interest of making sure whistleblowers have protection. it mandated that you deliver a port to the president with them 180 days. that would be april of last year to assess the effectiveness of fbi procedures of handling whistleblowers. i raise this issue because we have whistleblowers rights violated like robert cobos jane turner getting the runaround for years even after the inspector general has found in their favor. however to date there has been no public announcement that your review has been completed. why have you not issued a report every 10 months after the deadline and what have you learned from your review? will you provide a copy to the committee of the review?
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>> i will have to check on the status of that review. i'm not sure what shape it is in and whether it is ready for dissemination but i will look at that. again i share the concerns that you have about whistleblowers. i think evil who have concerns about the way government is conducting itself have to have the feeling that they have places that they can go and report these things in a way that does not do damage to the government itself. so if there is not that feeling that they have mechanisms established means to share those concerns they may end up with people sharing things i think in another inappropriate way with newspapers and other media. the concern you have is a legitimate one and this is another one where i will have to get back to you and let you know where we stand. >> when you mentioned the concerns of the government i vitiate up this government has
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certain responsibilities but when you have one individual against the government it seems to me it's pretty easy to see how that one individual will be run over if we don't see that they get their constitutional rights protected. i have a question on drones but i think you have answered that. i will go to the office of legal consoles review of his second quarters that i spoke about. i mention my concern that the president has been using executive orders to circumvent the will of congress and the american people. i'm sure he doesn't feel that way. i will tell you it's a big concern for people to come to my town meetings. it appears he may continue to do this. he said so last night. in the interest of transparency and with transparency comes accountability, would you disclose to the public the office of legal consul's analysis of proposed executive
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orders so the american people can see whether they are subjected to rigorous constitutional review? it seems to me that would be one of your responsibilities. it seems to me you would want the president to do only those things that are legal and constitutional and if you would make these public would you tell me why? >> first let me say with regard to the use of executive authorities what the president has talked about was the desire to work with congress to try to pass legislation but in the absence of that to use the power that he has this president in the way that he described. what he has described his consistent with what other residents have done over the years. i think if one looks at a various number of studies this president has used are fewer executive orders than his predecessor. >> i'm not questioning whether or not he can do it. i may have questions about the
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constitutionality of that and of that entity has the has the constitutional authority and the legal authority we can't do it, we are just trying to did term and whether or not he has exceeded that authority and is there anything wrong with the public saying what the basis of that is? >> i think we can certainly look at the request but we will have to see how the president proposes to use these executive authorities and to the extent that we can share the zero will see determination or whoever the justice department is looking at in making these determinations. >> will you at least, if you can't share it will you tell me why you can't share it? i don't just want a big lack all here. >> the concern we generally have is that we want to have full conversations and full discussions about these matters where llc lawyers write pros and
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cons about a particular issue. >> we are probably interested in the outcome, not the debate within your agency. just what is the outcome? >> the memos will contain all of the arguments including a couple of pages or whatever. we will try to find ways in which we can share this information with you so you and other members and the american people fill the president is acting in an appropriate way. to the extent that he makes use of this authority at all because essays that riemer and inclination is to work with congress to pass necessary legislation that i think all of the american people want to see happen. >> if the chairman will give me a couple minutes because he took two and half minutes. >> i'm not sure about that. [laughter]
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>> the last question or maybe half a question after this one would be this simple. this is a discussion i had with the secretary of health and human services in another committee. they announced that it does not consider affordable care act plans to be quote unquote federal health care programs. that exempts them from the anti-kate back laws and undermines the health reform law to make kickbacks a violation of the false claims act. so you caught my interest on the false claims act as well. secretary sebelius said she made this decision after consulting with your department. i asked secretary sebelius why these plans are any different than medicare advantage. she claimed advantage plans are different because payments are made directly from the medicare
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trust fund. so i wrote to you about this last november. i would like to know when i might be able to expect a response but more importantly whether you agree with secretary sebelius that the affordable care act plans should be exempt from the anti-kate back laws. doesn't seem to me like you would want to exempt anything from the anti-kickback laws and was the department's advice to the hhs documented in writing and if it was that like to a copy of it. >> that is something i will have to examine but i will say we have been very aggressive in enforcing the anti-kickback laws and recovering record amounts of money over the last few years. i have to look at the particulars with regard to the affordable care act and the applicability of those provisions. >> presumably this is action
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that the secretary is taken so there ought to be a sheet of paper around there that you can give to us. the half question i was going to ask, you have one more day to decide whether not the boston bomber is going to be subject to the death penalty. what is your decision and? >> we will know that by the deadline. >> thank you. >> the amount of money the department of justice has collected i believe has set an all-time record. i want to complement you on that senator durbin. >> thank you mr. chairman and i would say it's the grassley amendment that brought us into this world in terms of bringing members of congress and their staff into the affordable care act which we are now under and it was not complete when it came to anti-kickback and we certainly want to make sure that it is. [inaudible] >> i think every staff member in
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the congress are paying considerably more for the health care notes the grassley amendment. >> mr. chairman if i could address two questions related to the wheels of justice. each year when you appear mr. attorney general i ask you the same question he gave me the same answer about racial profiling guidelines and you say really soon we are going to work on this. this year i would like to ask you how quickly can we expect new racial profiling guidelines when it relates to issues of religion, national origin and whether it applies to national security and border security cases. >> i don't want to repeat the words really soon given what you said so i will say that they are forthcoming and forthcoming a shorter than really soon. we are working with those in
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there's a review underway. i mean this sincerely we are truly in the final stages of this. the proposal is now being circulated for comment within the department and my hope would be that it would need out of the department very soon and obviously white house involvement talking about the 2003 executive order. i would hope that we would have in the libby to talk about the modifications that i think are appropriate in a forthcoming way. >> thank you. wheels of justice question number two. 155 detainees remain at guantguant ánamo. i want to say for the record this has been the subject of a lengthy debate here in congress. the president made his intentions clear when elected to close guantánamo and yet resistance to congress has awarded it from accomplishing that. for those who want establishment
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of the record over 500 people have been convicted of terrorism and terrorism related crimes through our judicial process since 9/11 in federal courts. in contrast there have been six convictions and one plea agreement from guantánamo's military commissions. two of those convictions have been overturned. the most dangerous terrorists have been convicted through our judicial system resides in our prison system and the worst of the worst in maximum security. we spend on average $78,000 a year in facilities like florence colorado baxam security to hold the most dangerous criminals in america including the most dangerous terrorists and their has never ever ever been an escape for question of an escape we are spending for 155 detainees in guantánamo on average not $78,000 a year,
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$2.7 million a year per detainee. it is an outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars. we were going to start a process to start reviewing the 155 detainees in the hopes that we could dispose of some, dismiss some, transfer some. it took a long time to get started. the wheels of justice unfortunately went very slowly. the president issued an executive order in march of 2011 the first periodic review board hearing on guantánamo took place in november of last year and earlier this month the board recommended the transfer of the first detainee in question. the second periodic review board hearing occurred yesterday. i'm glad to hear that process has been made both with 155 detainees, said than the one of whom are eligible for evaluation
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mr. attorney general we can't live long enough to go through this process. at $2.7 million a year per guantánamo detainee? can we get this process moving in an orderly and faster way? >> i think we can. the president has indicated from the day he took office that he wanted to close the one time of facility. he put me in charge of an initial review done within a year that categorizcategoriz ed all the people in guantánamo, those who could be tried in military commissions and article iii courts and those that could be released and those that had to be detained. we did that. we did that and i will say with all due respect congressional restrictions placed on us thwarted our attempts to close guantánamo and a more timely fashion. you are right, we are now in the process of going through this review board and the review board russ is largely based on the work we did on the earlier
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task force that i was the head of. we are trying to do all we can to close guantánamo and i'm actually grateful for the loosening of the restrictions in the latest budget act that makes it easier for us to effectuate that closure. but this is something that for the fiscal reasons you talk about and the national security reasons that the continued presence of wanton amo poses that facility simply has to be closed. >> the sooner the better from my point of view and i wish more members of congress felt the same way. you were in chicago in november of last year and that the installation of the u.s. attorney for the northern district who was a unanimous choice of senator kirk, myself and our bipartisan review panel. you made encouraging statements and commitments that would be made to chicago to deal with violent crime problem and murder issue. giving credit where it's due
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rahm emanuel and the superintendent of police have made extraordinary progress in this regard that we need this help. can you be more specific in terms of the resources and personnel that you will make available to help us fight these problems? >> we are looking to come up with ways in which would can increase the number of federal agents in chicago on a temporary or permanent basis and also looking for a grant so we can make available to the city. i will be speaking speaking to mayor emanuel tomorrow. the purpose of the conversation and one of the things we'll be talking talking about are the specific needs he can identify that we might be able to help with. i will also be talking to the u.s. attorney to get his perspective on this as well. i think that we want to do as much as we can but i don't think that should obscure the fact that the city administration working with the u.s. attorney i
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think it's made significant progress and i don't think they necessarily give the credit that they deserve for a dramatic decrease in crime in chicago. but there is federal assistance that we want to make available. >> my time is up that i'll put the new corporation bill you will find assistant u.s. attorneys to help them in this effort in the northern district. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman. welcome mr. attorney general. thank you for your service. i'm going to try to ask a series of questions and i have tried to counter them so you can answer yes or no. to the extent that you can i would appreciate it very before asking questions about the nsa surveillance matter i would like to express my concern about the department's refusal to fully enforce the controlled substance act. marijuana is now widely available across the border in colorado. federal state and local law enforcement are seeing success in going after marijuana rowers
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on public lands in utah. there is a direct link between the u.s. marijuana. and large-scale drug trafficking organizations that threaten the safety and well-being of our country. legalization in colorado threatens the success that we have been seeing in tackling the problem. the controls on legal marijuana are" -- unlikely to deter drug cartels from wrapping up their operations on public lands in utah and elsewhere especially since demand in colorado is widely exceeding supply. i really think this policy shift sends a mixed and dangerous message to both the law enforcement community and fellow citizens. do you share my concern that legalization in one state can encourage more illegal marijuana production on public lands by drug cartels and others in
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bordering states? >> very quickly, i share those concerns and those concerns are expressed in the eight priorities that we set out. preventing the duration of marijuana states where it's legal under state law preventing the growing of marjuan on public lands and preventing marijuana position for use on federal property. these are three of the eight things that would reciprocate federal government actions or enforcement by the tsa. >> general holder the debate on nsa surveillance is in full swing. it was hardly the best way to start this debate and i think the underlying -- a lot of attention is focused on the nsa's collection and analysis of so-called telefon metadata as you mentioned. it's worth reminding ourselves when that's -- what that information is and what it is not. includes the telephone number
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calling, the number being called and the daytime length of the call. it does not include any information about the identity of the color of the content of the call. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> the privacy and civil liberties oversight board issued its report last week concluding that the patriot act does not provide legal authority for the nsa's metadata program. in an interview last week of at least 15 judges dozens of occasions they said the program itself is legal. that's correct? >> that is correct. >> to be thursday or position that the collection of the data under section 215 of the patriot act as legal and the oversight of lord's conclusion on this point is wrong? >> that is my view. >> it is mine to match great as
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someone who was on the intelligence committee. in your judgment has the nsa abused or misused its to collect and penalize telefon metadata? >> i think the nsa has acted in a way that's consistent with a lot that is indicated i think it is one of the analysis in the analysis and part 2 is whether or not we are getting from the acquisition and retention of that data material sufficient to deal with the privacy that others have expressed. that is what the president has asked us to look at. >> one other question about the data. in creating the board congress authorized him to do two things. first, to ensure that they need for executive branch actions in protecting us from terrorism is balanced with the need to protect by the sea. that is true? >> yes.
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>> second to ensure that liberty concerns are considered in the development of laws and policies in this area. is that sure the? >> i believe that is true also. >> responsibility calls for policy but i don't see how they include opining on legal issues such as the legality and the metadata program. the oversight or exceeded statutory mission in addressing this issue? >> i will be honest with you i am not as familiar as to what is statutory mission is. i will accept as legitimate the concerns that they have expressed though i do not agree with their legal determinations. >> i think they exceeded the statutory mission. so be it traded so we are clear in my opinion on the limited information that the nsa collects and analyzes. we are clear that the metadata program is legal and the nsa has
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not abused or misused his authority to collect and analyze this information as far as you know. >> there have been compliance issues that have been identified by the courts for the justice department and sometimes by the nsa but those have all been corrected once brought to the attention of the nsa. >> my next question is how to know whether the program is variable. the presence review group sevens said in its report that the metadata program was not itself essential to preventing a specific terrorist attack. is that the right standard and must there be proof that it prevented an actual attack in order for it to be valuable for national security and for it to continue? >> i think we have fallen into a false analysis. i'm not sure that's the only way by which you can judge the validity or the value of the program. there is a mosaic of things would take into consideration in determining if we are acting in
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an optimal way. there questions i think that can legitimately need broad and we consider about the continued need for section 215 but i don't think the only way we can test the validity or the need for 215 is whether or not it is prevented axe number of attacks. >> on march 5, 2004 in a speech and the chairman is expanding me a little more time so i can finish this question. >> you will actually be given two more minutes. >> the university school of law you discussed oversight of surveillance programs of the surveillance act. the justice department interfered national intelligence conduct oversight once every 60 days and report to congress at least twice a year. i understand surveillance programs under section 215 of the patriot act and 702 of fives are different but would you say that the metadata program authorized under section 215
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enjoys similarly rigorous oversight to that which you describe for collection under section 702? >> i think there are sufficient oversight of section 215. between what the justice department lawyers are looking at as we are looking at materials presented to us by the fisa board and then what nsa is doing internally. i think that there is a great deal of oversight and the oversight has yielded issues that have been identified as problematic and then resolved. >> one of the president's proposals is for telephone companies rather than nsa to store the metadata. there has been telephone companies do not support this idea puts it does they do. today on the 22 individuals that the nsa has access to this metadata 22 people but there are dozens of phone companies each of which would have to maintain
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these records. thus you have some number of employees at each telephone company with access to these databases in addition to the 22 analysts that nsa has access to query these databases. how can you possibly provide a comparable level of supervision and accountability when the data is stored in numerous locations and accessible by far more individuals than it is today? >> yeah one of the things the president has asked director clapper and i to do is to come up with an alternative way that the information can be stored in the issue you have braces one that has to be resolved. the nsa has done a good job in the way of which it is stored this information. if we are to move to a different scheme i think we have to ask a question of how can we put it in indifferent place and maintain the integrity above the process that nsa has done a pretty good job that. >> i have additional concerns about the security data at the
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phone companies. verizon's data breach investigation report found a privilege to misuse and abuse by insiders played a role in 13% of data breaches over the past year. the company can only do so much to protect against outside threats to its networks. just look at target and neiman marcus. do you believe the metadata would be more secure in the hands of the private sector than the nsa? >> i think we have to try to find out if we can do that, if we can maintain that whole question of maintenance of security, if we can do it in a different setting than we presently do at the nsa. and that is the assignment given to me and director clapper. >> i appreciate the time. >> thank you senator hatch and now i yield myself seven minutes. ..
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great skill by two former chuck schumer employees camellia williams who has been gone for a while and brian fallon we miss very much. and so first on autism spectrum disorders. i know you are familiar with the case. he is a child with autism spectrum disorder. and he wandered away from his school this fall without help. 50% of all asd children wander in his remains were found three months later about 11 miles from the school where he vanished from. the heart of new york's win out to his mother and grandmother and i have numbered them and i know that their grief and heartache is big. cheered by many parents with autism.
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you can imagine it's a very heart-wrenching situation. and so right after he went missing, i call upon the department of justice to expand a current grant program that you have in place, which is provided for the use of tracking devices to work with patients diagnosed with alzheimer's and families of those patients. the programs administered by the bureau of justice assistance. we have been doing this for alzheimer's patients at the justice department that funds the program. so it seems that almost it is obvious that hand fits into a glove that we can do this in people with alzheimer's do as well. it seems like just a perfect fit to do the same thing with children with autism.
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and it is not available for salaries with children of autism and so have you been able to identify any other streams of assistance pursuant to my request? >> i think this concern that you have is a very good one and a legitimate one. it is something that is going to help a lot of kids. and these transmitted bracelets, sometimes they have bracelets on the ankle. >> it will be made available for the purchase of the device are meant to localities we can apply immediately and that is great
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news and i really appreciate that and it's a big step forward. one other question is in order to ensure a permanent adequate stream of money for this, i have introduced legislation and we call it in new york avante's law. named after this lovely boy. it creates a new glance that will be available to local law enforcement schools and nonprofits to assist children with autism spec or disorder. it will authorize $10 million and that is how much i think we spend on the alzheimer's. in order to help fund the purchase of voluntary tracking devices. and what you are doing is great. it will solve the problem.
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and legislation would ensure this. and do you agree with the general principle of trying to enact this in statute? >> i think that given the nature of the unique issues with kids with autism issues face, in which our nations responded and they ought to be treated in much the same way. so i can't commit. and i think that it makes a great deal of sense. >> we will go through the long laborious process he has got to 40 different agencies and get their support for this legislation, which we hope will be forthcoming. now i would like to turn to media shield. and i appreciate the administration support with the free flow of information act,
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which would protect confidential sources by providing clear and reasonable standards. additionally it will advise guidelines governing the obtaining of evidence from members of the news media is a step in the right direction. but that hasn't been finalized once the department sent its report to the president. so when will the revised guidelines be finalized in the code of federal regulation when will go into effect? >> i would expect that we would have it available for comment within the next couple of weeks. i hope that we would have them done by this hearing. there was a little glitch towards the end. but i think we will get through that and we will have them available for public review and comment and i will say that in spite of the fact that they are not yet issued, we are working under them as if they were in place and we are also looking to the board that we are putting
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together. >> has the committee been established? is it officially working or unofficially working? can you give us a status of the review committee. the news media dial up group is what you called it. to assess the impact of the department's revised new-media policies. and another one would involve outsiders on a periodic basis. with an update of the reforms we have put in place. mr. fallon has been working to come up with the appropriate people for the outside board.
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>> how soon do you think? >> i don't want to steal him and his thunder here. >> we expect the first meeting will be at february. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. general. i will call on senator sessions and turn over the process and engage in the august process of turning over the gavel to senator klobuchar. >> antistate within your time. very well. you mentioned gun violence and crime. were statistics and the total prosecution of guns declined 5.2% this year from last year. and i think the prosecution does
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make a difference. i would continue to keep the numbers up. and having to deal with the mandatory sentences, i would just say that i was there only have the revolving doors in the 60s and 70s. and the we as a nation created a system. in my college have to be careful and if we go forward until we go for to analyze some areas where
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the crime and punishment can be reduced. and i think that her position is sound. and the percentage of young people are going to the university of their state, 50% plus in the nation energize itself and nancy reagan had the just say no program.
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the coalition is involved in we created and worked to create. and it is not socially acceptable. and the trend talked about starting any other way. less than 25% of high school seniors under that study admitted to using illegal drugs. i invested bituminous amount of my time. including the varied by ability of our educational system and the future of so many and i have to tell you that i am heartbroken to see what the
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president said just a few days ago. it is just stunning to me. and the headline is that obama on pot legalization, it is an important point to go forward. and i view it as a bad habit. not very difficult from the cigarettes i spoke as a young person. i don't think it's more dangerous than alcohol. it has less impact on the individual consumer.
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and i probably overstated the case. this is just difficult to me, as you can see how the president of the united states should make such a statement. >> are prosecuting the same number of people from 2007 through 2013. then we have made that with a number of other cases that are down. do you agree with the? >> i think that i have not read the article yet.
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and we thought the use of marijuana by young people was not a good thing. >> if there is indication that the marijuana is being distributed this that would require federal involvement. >> give us your opinion. and included in that would be alcohol. >> i don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol. do you agree with that? >> i think that any drugs that you use in an inappropriate way
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can be harmful. in alcohol is among those as well. >> using marijuana, is against the law in a is an appropriate use? >> welcome as i said, for young people to do that, that is something that violates the federal law and something that we said that we would continue to use. >> the president has appointed and it is also a benign substance that has no ill effects. >> miners will involve an entailed a very vigorous federal response.
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and i'm not sure that that is not necessarily true. >> attorney general holder, if marijuana is legalized for adults, it makes it more available for young people? >> i say that only because the alcohol, people can't buy alcohol until your age 18 and younger people found ways to get alcohol because adults can. >> to the president conduct any medical or scientific survey before he waltzes then and it is
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universally prior to that? that marijuana is not -- that it is not come as i have quoted him, did he study any data before he made that? did he consult with you before you made that statement? >> no, he did not. >> what about this study from the american medical association of october 2013. and this includes anxiety moods and psychotic thoughts disorder. in this study found that marijuana users have abnormal brain structure and that chronic marijuana use may lead to brain changes resembling schizophrenia, the study also
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reported in did you discuss or see those reports? spirit i have not read those reports from the ama. they are good reports. that is exactly why one of our eight enforcement minorities is the prevention of marijuana to minors. lady gaga said she is addicted to it and it is not harmless. and patrick kennedy said the president is wrong on the subject. then we begin to pull back from this position will be adverse to the health of america.
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>> we are doing a lot of soul seeking. we have a lot of those that are observers of the department and i think that we are very appreciative of the fine leadership in the department of justice. and we have a cybercommand with two four-star generals, leaving nsa. and on the law enforcement side, our administrative advancement to meet this threat has been, to
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put it mildly, it has been incremental. and there is a lot of responsibility for cyberthreats within the department of justice which is divided between the criminal division of the national security division. and they do a tricky job. in the spending bill, thanks to chairman mikulski is exemplary legislation talents, there is a provision that provides 120 days, within 120 days to put forward a multitier strategic plan.
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and so they will cripple us if we talk about the budget stuff without their presence and what it will look like with the prerogatives over the budget issue with omb. as we go forward, we are going in a moderate pace. requirement will be done within 120 days and i'm expecting that they will actually have a report within 120 days and i'm hoping that you and omb will put suitable effort. at a rapid rate in which this is growing and morphing into more complex and varied threats, all the ways in which it can affect ordinary americans. and it adequately structured
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with the problem in the long haul. what assurances can you give me about this with a multiyear strategic plan within 120 days. >> i don't want to be alarmist, but i think that this is well-founded. >> we have a lot of cybercapabilities that are associated with criminal organizations and nationstates. and we have adequately responded to it. and we have an examination to come up with this multiyear plan. and we will take it within that timeframe and i think that
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members of congress have expressed an interest. and it will be with us, i expect, throughout the duration that will only give orders. and the dangers will only be heightened. >> i spoke to the fbi cyberdivision yesterday morning. and used the example of the united states air force. and it began as a subcomponent of the army signal corps.
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and the other thing i want to raise with you is that many of us have been shocked by the discrepancy between the filings of political organizations have made and they had spent tens of millions of dollars in political activity. and i expect that that will reflect false statements under section 1001. and there have been no cases because the iris hasn't referred anything. and now they have decided to take a look at those rules.
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and make sure that you are comfortable were the rules are coming out and make sure that if there are open and notorious conflicts by these organizations and get in front of a grand jury and find out if they are, in fact in the problem exists with the tax reform act. it is always guarded that exist between the department. and with an open and notorious violation appears to be having in place, there is nothing that prevents the department of justice from saying, why are you not referring this to me? i can see what is happening in the plain light of day. they set $0 filing under oath.
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someone is lying and we need to look into it. i think that is just defining what extraordinary means. and this is an ideological issue. i think it should be held to the full letter of the law. >> senator cornyn? >> i want to introduce you to a constituent of mine and senator cruz.
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catherine ingle direct of houston, texas. she is dedicated to furthering the ideals and improving the elections of our founding fathers. she leads a coalition of citizen volunteers that work as election monitors that provide resources for voter registration drives and are dedicated to rooting out election fraud. and yet the federal government has targeted catherine ingle direct and her organizations with her harassment and discrimination. through the vote of the patriotd for nonprofit status and they wanted to participate in the political process. when the irs failed to respond and a few weeks later, they
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began a series of gratuitous and inquiries into the situation. the federal government, every facebook and twitter post that ms. englebrecht have ever posted. but this kind of abuse of power has been limited to the irs. according to cbs news to arms targeted this. and the fbi made calls to king street patriots and attended some of its meetings.
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in coincidence? may be. where there's smoke, there's fire. and we now know that it is one of the conservative organizations that was targeted for discrimination and harassment. and it is based totally on their political beliefs. in the business that they built, simply because they dare criticize the federal government. this is telling. and it should be acceptable to united states of america.
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and he called this scandal and intolerable and inexcusable. no one has been accountable for this abuse. and i can't imagine how this would be instilling public confidence in the investigation. and it is an important one for his agency. but now it has been publicly reported that the department will not pursue criminal charges against any irs officials.
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even though the fbi investigation has not been concluded. and shockingly, the department made this decision and she has not heard a word from the fbi. so i want to know, general holder, what you have to say to ms. englebrecht. those spending thousands of dollars to defend themselves against the internal revenue service for daring to exercise their constitutional right to participate in the political process. and i would like to ask you whether you agree to make sure that your department consults personally with every victim of
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this type of intimidation by the federal government. and what count of accountability can expect from abuse of power. and you made similar concerns. >> i actually ordered the investigation into these matters. and the treasury inspector general and the fbi indicated that this is a matter that is an open inquiry in the matter is still going on.
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and what is actually going in in the investigation comes as the blood not been made privy coming to something that is open. it is something that is preceding. >> is there a potential for criminal charges with the investigation. and obviously there has been a determination but it has not resulted in the decline of the case. >> if you think it is important to protect the most people the most information about what exactly happened? like this victim of abuse of power like katherine englebrecht? >> i'm not sure who you refer to, but i'm confident that the other investigative agencies to conduct a thorough and conference of investigation and that is why matters like this take as long as they do.
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>> would you please make your to me and publicly to contact katherine englebrecht and get her side of the story? and she seems like a logical person to talk to her. i don't have any independent knowledge as to what the involvement is what the organization is about. that is something about the to the people who are career professionals make determinations as to who needs to be interviewed. >> i hope the department would talk to victims. >> thank you, senator cornyn. senator klobuchar, i'd like to also turn the gavel over to her.
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and we have had so much available to both sides of the committee whenever we have called you and we appreciate that. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. welcome and thank you for being here. you and i have talked about as many time and i want to make sure that my republican colleagues and the state of minnesota has not had a full-time attorney for 882 days. they were appointed to head up the atf after syria, he did an able job and now through the vote of the senate. during that time for two years he was a part-time u.s. attorney in fact he was at the atf much
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longer than he was u.s. attorney. and i have had federal judges call repeatedly. we now have a very good candidate who is supported by law enforcement. and now the senate has decided not to take up unanimous information is being blocked. we have a situation where people are working 882 days without a full-time box. and i do think that it is actually outrageous. when minnesota became a state and this is the office that prosecuted the second biggest case next to ernie made off and this is the
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case in the office that dealt with what would have been the additional terms for 9/11 it has handled numerous cases and has been one of the best u.s. attorney offices. and i have talked everyone about this, but it has to end. i just asked a republican colleague and my colleagues when we were in iowa and minnesota when senator grassley repeatedly criticized the office in minnesota. with crime numbers and other things that i have mentioned. that we get the u.s. attorney in minnesota and i would like to comment about that. >> i agree with you and the point he made at the end is one that is extremely relevant and hopefully the senate will consider that this is not simply
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an we also have a united states attorney in iowa needs to be confirmed and we also have other people in the justice department who are waiting confirmation and these are people who are not controversial at all and they are simply waiting to go through the normal senate process, which is usually by unanimous consent. and hopefully we can get through that and he is an assistant united states attorney general and it matters. and hopefully it's something that we can work our way through. >> i would like to suggest to my colleagues and no one really allows us to gone go on so long to have a job share. i will never do this again. and i really understand the reasons for it. but because our congress is not able to do simple things like approve people for the atf or
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approve people who have u.s. attorneys offices that clearly can't take the responsibility to do that job. because we can't handle the responsibility and then we deserve what we get is that happens. and i want to turn something over to you, sex trafficking, we have a lot of support among bipartisan support which has been a very good portion and it gets ahead of one of these things. and the super bowl is approaching this weekend, which is a concern and there is a 300%
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increase with things like super bowl specials, just like what the justice department is doing about this increasing problem due in part to the number of ads and what we are seeing. >> it is something that our country needs to take note of. and you see young girls and women brought into these areas for illicit sexual purposes. and at the top priority with the justice department and we need to have an effective program to
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see young women, the young women who are involved in this with victims and not as criminals and come up with rehabilitative services and we have a proposal that you have made with regard to getting the trafficking experts together to look at this problem and come up with ways in which we are more effective in dealing with this issue. and it's one that i fully support and there are certain publications that make it known that young women published and are available for this number of purposes and that is something that we need to deal with as well.
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>> something that senator schumer and senator grassley and feinstein and i have worked on with others in this round. we have had several people in the united states and i want to thank you for the proper fusion and the prosecution in duluth, minnesota. people have been laying in the street died of synthetic drugs and we are waiting that sentencing and the guy in charge, something like $700,000 and i just want to thank you for that work. >> the definitions again, we need to confront. especially among young people.
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and we are really devoting a lot of time to dealing with these issues and we had a number of significant things and there is an educational component that we really have to focus about the dangers of the synthetic drugs are marketed in such a way to make them think that there are no dangers. >> i believe that senator lee is next. >> thank you madam chair and senator holder for joining us today. thank you for the opportunity to work with senator dick durbin on that. and welcome to try to move forward in a way that makes our law enforcement efforts more effective and make sure that we don't continue to escalate our federal prison population for about 10 fold over the last 30
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years. i wanted to talk to you about metadata. regardless of whether you think smith versus maryland and its progeny are a constitutional case that can be made for the collection of this data as it relates to american citizens. would you agree that at some point when you amass an enormous value and volume of american citizens and retain within the federal government capacity to search that data, targeting, potentially, specific americans. that gives the u.s. government a lot of power to tear into things that are by their nature very private. >> we can only do that through the traditional use of
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authorizations. and that is what the president is doing unless there's an emergency. and right now what you have is an internal operating procedure. >> we want to try to work out what the mechanism idea. this includes the appropriate amount of protection. >> and we have a pretty quick pace is that we are giving up on. i think that there might be willing to records in the metadata including the number of queries that were made in the database which was about 300. >> understand that you and i think for purposes of this discussion even if we were to assume that all of the men and
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women serving within the nsa are acting in good faith. and there's a great risk of abuse. and we have put into place some very specific restrictions. especially with senator grassley, he would like to get congress to agree with with him especially if we can't get congress to act.
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and he will issue an executive order anytime you get the chance. this brings to mind a concern that we have. and the supreme court has, since justice jackson's concurrence with that without the concurrence without the majority of the court. they tended to separate this out into three categories. we have a situation where congress acts and we have a
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congressional congregation or a congressional prohibition. so it's sort of a twilight zone were just a little unclear in murky. and a lot of times we have congressional command. so i would ask number one, if this analysis undertaken each time that the president issues an executive order. number two, when the president, for example announced on july the second 2013, that he would not be enforcing the employer mandate. including through 2014. >> before the president exercises i think it is pretty
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clear that the president must work with congress on behalf of the american people. in the absence of that kind of activity that was done with regard to raising the minimum wage. and so those kinds of activities are done with the the justice department and the now says is done to make sure that the president is acting in an appropriate and constitutional way. and those three categories that we are talking about that we studied in law school about justice jackson, as to where the president's authority is rated. and to which of those three categories would you put the decision to delay the employer mandate? of that category one or two or three? >> i have not seen the analysis
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and i'm not sure where along the spectrum that would come. >> without this. >> i assume he consulted you? >> yes, there have been complications done with the justice department. from my perspective it is category one and it regulates contract and how contracting is done. >> so you're saying there is a federal statute that have authorized them to issue the executive order? >> and it is a constitutional basis given with the
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responsibility is in running the executive branch. i think there is an inherent power there. >> with regard to the employer mandate? >> as i said to my have not had a chance to look at it for some time exactly what the analysis is there. and again i would think that given that we are talking about this, that it delegates the executive branch. >> ice my time has expired. but as i conclude, i would just like to point out that this is very important as my colleague suggested earlier.
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with legal counsel or whoever is advising the president on these issues. and this is part of protecting us against the excessive icky relation of power. i think the president owes it to the american people and you owe it to the president to make sure that when he does talk about this or executive order, that he does so clearly what the basis of authority so that the american people can be aware of what is happening and on what authority. and perhaps you can submit something, especially about the
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basis for making some of these decisions with regard to some of that away of the employer mandate. >> on me just say that i have great respect for the legal and analytical skills. and the president will not act in way that is inconsistent in a way that other presidents have acted in using their executive authority and we have made far less use of executive power at this point in the administration with some of the predecessors. and that is the desire of the president to work with congress. especially this is part of what we are saying.
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that means that he has made use of it for other presidents. and this is not precedented. and they point to the delay, the unilateral delay in the lawless delay, and my reason of the employer mandate as an example. particularly given the fact that it's difficult to imagine who is challenging this and especially in a timely enough manner to avoid a problem in this case.
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>> we will talk to him about the future desires and what we plan to do. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chairman. i want to begin. i wanted to begin by respectfully taking issue with my colleagues including senator lee. to say that the use of executive orders in the past has been very sparing. in fact, in my view, the number of executive orders which have been far less than any recent president, reflect that very sparing prosecution, in my view, to cautious into scary. and i applaud the apparent determination to use his authority more aggressively and vigorously in areas that matter so much to the well-being of the
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american people, particularly when it comes to economic opportunities as well as to immigration and veterans issues. the basic concept is that the president is using his authority. ..
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i think your position that in the use of executive power will be in accordance with the law and authority clarifies it and i think what has been missing a lot of the reaction of the president's speech were some of his critics have said that he's going to be legislating or bypassing congress and in fact he is using legislation that granted him authority. let me just say on the issue of trafficking i welcome your comments on that score. i have proposed a resolution, bipartisan resolution with my colleague rob portman who is not a member of this committee basically saying that there should be more vigorous enforcement of these laws particularly around the time of the super bowl because the trafficking on web sites like back page.com and tends to increase during this time so i welcome your comments. and let me just add briefly, to take senator leahy's comments, i
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want to thank you and the department of justice for really over these past years viewing these legal issues on their merits, on their legal merits putting politics aside. the justice department went through a dark area in my view under the previous administration when politics far too often became part of the analysis and i want to thank the career, justice department employees who worked so hard and long under you to make sure that the rule of law is berserk. let me turn to a part of the president's speech where i might have hoped he had said more on the issue of repenting gun violence. the mention by the president was very brief, but i hope and i hope you will join me in the
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view that the president remains completely committed to ending gun violence in this country, adopting common sense sensible measures like background checks and mental health initiatives and a ban on straw purchases and illegal trafficking. the bill that was before us unfortunately failed to pass but i would like your commitment on behalf of the administration that he remains resolutely and steadfastly in support of these initiatives? >> yes, we do still have that commitment. the worst day that i had his attorney general of the united states was the day that i went to newtown to thank the first responders. the crime scene search officers that were there and they took me on a tour of that school. and if people had the ability, if the american people and legislators and members of congress have the ability to be with me today to walk through
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through the classrooms and see the caked blood and i didn't understand when i first saw it, the carbon where bullets had gone through and picked up the carpet and people had seen the crime scene pictures of those little angels i suspect the outcome of the effort we mounted last year would have been different. our resolve remains the same. my resolve was as firm as it was back then and i think what we should also understand is the vast majority of the american people still want those commonsense gun safety measures that we advanced last year. our commitment is real and we will revisit these issues. >> and on the subject of the use of the president's authority, my hope is and i would urge that he take whatever action is possible as he has done in a number of steps already and as you have done and trying to clarify the mental health issues that have
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to be reported to the system. my hope is that the initial measures, executive actions are contemplated under that authority. >> the president, it is his intention to again try to work with congress but in the absence of meaningful action to explore all the possibilities and use all the powers that he has two frankly just protect the american people. >> thank you. one last subject. i have a lot of subjects that i could explore with you but i'm hoping that the administration will also explore very vigorously what i can do to stop assaults on campus. i applaud the president's initiative and you were part of the task force that he has

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