tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 11, 2014 5:00am-8:01am EDT
about how they can best keep america safe and from those who would seek to carry out deadly attacks against our country and its people. we also hear about actors in cyberspace who want to drain our bank accounts, shut down our fragile systems, our electric grid, steal our identical -- identifiable information as well as the r&d that will enable american businesses and the military to remain preeminent in the world. accessing these ever-changing broad threats and making sure government continues to hone its ability to stop is a top-rated for this committee particularly as we approach another 9/11 anniversary. this year hearing takes on added significance as our nation confronts a growing terrorist threat in iraq and syria. as we sit here today are here today or militaries engage in limited airstrikes in iraq and the to dislodge them or tell that threat. later this evening president obama will address our nation. he's expected to share with us on the world the steps he is
recommending be taken in iraq and syria to reverse the expansion of the islamic state of iraq and syria and to enable the people who live in those countries to reclaim their lives. much of the world has been exposed to a steady stream of deeply disturbing images from those regions in recent weeks. brutal executions, human rights atrocities, repression of women and the seemingly endless possession of mass militants defiantly waving the flag of jihad in celebration of their brutality. effectively addressing the threat from the newly proclaimed islamic state will require multifaceted strategy and that strategy will need a military component and a robust international coalition to execute. among the goals about strategies to ensure the islamic state of israel and syria also known as the isis does not establish a long-term safe haven from which it can launch attacks against our allies or our homeland much
like we saw al qaeda to in the days before 9/11. today we will examine the steps are government has taken along with the steps we still need to take to prevent this from happening. we will drill down on the threat and its impact on our homeland both in this open hearing as well as in a classified briefing directly following. that is not all we are going to do. in addition to examining the conventional terrorist threats the instability in iraq and syria may pose we will also closely examine another major threat that affects our homeland and that's daily cyberattacks. everyday nationstates and their affiliates, criminals, terrorists, and hackers launch cyberattacks against government agencies, our businesses and important parts of our daily lives such as utilities, financial networks. some of these actors want to steal information to sell it on the black market or to gain a competitive edge. others are trying to make a
political point. somehow -- some would like to use a cyberattack to cause widespread damage or physical harm. many of them are good at it. and they are getting even better. we need to stay a step ahead of them. today we will hear the open portion of his hearing and the closed portion on how we plan to do that. and the steps we are taking to address terror threats in the wake of 9/11. congress clearly has a role to play here. actually several roles. one of them is an oversight ro role. as one that we take very seriously. others are legislative roles that involves developing legislation to help enable america to anticipate and repel the cyberattacks that we face on an almost daily 24/7 basis. in the last several months this committee has completed action and reported three separate cyberbills unanimously to the full senate. one bill would significantly enhance the capabilities of the department, and security cyberworkforce.
another way to protect federal agencies from cyberattack and a third were codified the cyber center at the department of homeland security uses to monitor and respond to the attacks to strengthen its ability to do so. i'm grateful to dr. copeland and his staff are working closely with us on each of those pieces of legislation. yesterday an op-ed in "the hill" newspaper by j. jones to recognize bipartisan process on this committee and we talked about the legislation in congress. i could not agree more. in closing as we mark the anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow let's keep in mind when of the key lessons we have learned since that fateful day some 13 years ago and that is the threat is always evolving. not that long ago kirksey is to rob a bank to steal her money. now they click a button on a distant computer and accomplish the same goal. nation-states used to employ corporate insiders to steal
company secrets. now they send a spear fishing e-mail. terrasys to be introduced threats in the mountains in places like afghanistan and now increasing numbers are homegrown and maybe using european or american passports. as the threat becomes more sophisticated more elusive and more diffuse we need to remain ever vigilant to ensure our government is nimble enough to keep up with tomorrow's threats as they confront us. we have come a long way since 9/11. in many respects we are more secure than we were 13 years ago but the world in which we live remains a dangerous place and there's always more work to do. when it comes to securing our homeland anticipating the next directly onto the american it to the american people to strive for perfection. as it says in the preamble of the constitution in order to form a more perfect union that wasn't the idea to form a union but a more perfect union and it
took 110 years to approach perfection even if we have never achieved it but got as close as we could. the costs are too severe. pleased to have a panel of witnesses who work together every day to tackle the terrorists and cyberthreats we face. we are grateful to each of you for what you do with your life and for your service to our country. now i turn to my partner in all this doctor coburn for any remarks that he might wish to make. dr. coburn. >> well thank you mr. chairman. i concur i'll live with what you said. i want to thank each of our witnesses for testimony. one for what you do a number to cover your vigilance and number three for the criticism you take.
where i would disagree with senator carper is i don't think we are any safer. i think the threat to our country is just as great as it was pre-9/11. based on what is happening in the world, the absolute lack of control of our borders specially our seven border and the inability and the corruption on both sides in terms of law enforcement on the border. so i think we have a long ways to go but i know we have dedicated leadership now in all the areas that are concentrating on the same goal. i think it's a shame that the leader of the senate won't put a cybersecurity bill on the floor. one that creates true information-sharing. let the senate debate it so we can actually start to really protect the cyberaspect of our
government and that requires all of us to work together in the cyberrealm to ensure -- we are vulnerable today. we have seen both at homeland security and in the private sector significant breaches. they will continue. most of them are on nation-state actors, china and russia specifically. we should not fall back from talking about what they are doing and why they are trying to both steal our intellect and damage our economy. these are real issues. this is an important hearing for the american people to hear and in as much detail as possible what's going on and where we need to improve. again i thank you all for your efforts. the fbi and the nctc are valuable contributions and having the privilege of sitting on both intel and homeland
security i get to see as well as anybody what everybody is doing and everybody is working in the right direction except the u.s. senate. my hope would be that we would start helping you rather than hurt you. i yield back. >> i would like to associate myself with your remarks and my colleagues from oklahoma. we need to move not just the three cyber bills reported out of this committee i think unanimously that some version of information-sharing. i hope is that we will have a chance to do at least those for this year. that's my goal. if we can do more, god bless us. we have members of our committee. thank you for joining us today. our first witness is a retired brigadier general francis taylor. mr. taylor's undersecretary for intelligence analysis in the department, security. how long have you been in the job now? >> four months.
>> he provides the secretary of dhs leadership in state and local and tribal and private sector partners with, security intelligence and information they need to keep our country safer. general taylor came to dhs for 31 years of service in the air force for years at the state department as counterterrorism coordinate or an assistant secretary for diplomatic security and eight years as vice president at general electric. the second witness is james spaulding's undersecretary for national protection and program director at the department of homeland security. as undersecretary one of the responsibilities coordinating and overseeing policy and operation protection activities including cybersecurity. mr. spaulding spent more than 25 years working on national security issues in congress and executive branch in the private sector. this includes extensive experience working with many critical infrastructure. welcome.
our next witness is nick rasmussen deputy director of the national counterterrorism center for the office of director of national intelligence. mr. rasmussen has served on the national security council and is responsible for providing staff support of the president national security adviser and homeland security adviser in counterterrorism policy and strategy. prior to this he served in a variety of key positions within a the purpose debris provided support for the arab-israeli peace process in u.s. north korean agreed framework in the persian gulf security issues. welcome this morning. our final witness is robert andersen executive assistant director of criminal cyber response in the services branch of the federal bureau of investigation. in this position mr. anderson oversees all fbi criminal and cyberinvestigations worldwide and national operations. a critical incident response and victims assistance. during the 20 years he has worked at the fbi's mr. anderson
served in the hostage rescue team counterintelligence division and the intelligence division as well. what did you do before you were part of the fbi? >> sir i? >> sir of the delaware state trooper for nine years. >> were you any good? >> i hope so. >> were you ever trooper of the year? >> yes sir i was in 1989. >> did you ever escort the former governor? >> he pulled me over time or two. one other time fired a warning shot. no damage was done. great to see you and thanks for what you did for us and for our country now. our testimony will be made part of the record and what i would ask you to do your testimony in five minutes. general taylor if you would like to lead us out. >> thank you chairman carper and ranking member coburn
distinguished members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss threats to the homeland and environment. i'm mindful that tomorrow is the 11th of september and i vividly remember where i was on that day 13 years ago sitting at the state department as the coordinator for counterterrorism. what has changed since 2001? are we any safer now? these are questions that have been repeated countless times since that tragic day and rightfully so. i come before the committee today to outline lessons we have learned since 9/11 and how we are postured to address evolving threats in ways that we did not of september 10, 2001. the key lesson we have learned from 9/11 is the need to develop an actual homeland security enterprise that constantly collaborates and shares information and intelligence to
identify threats and risks and to adjust operations as necessary to address the range of challenges the nation faces. partners with in the homeland security enterprise are the first responders at the local level or decision-makers in the capital cities across america or here to nation's capital require predictive intelligence and analytical products that help them make informed decisions to protect our citizens. the cornerstone of our mission at dhs has always been and remains protecting the nation against terrorist attacks. in fact secretary johnson just yesterday reiterated that counterterrorism is their most important mission at dhs. we are vigilant in detecting and preventing terrorist threats that may seek to penetrate the homeland of land, sea or air. i will first address the current terrorist environment and then
discuss threats to our efforts as they relate to each of the secretaries for priorities. mr. chairman mindful of the time limit, i will submit other remarks for the record and summarize just a couple of things. first on terrorism al qaeda and al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and their affiliates remain a major concern for the department of homeland security. despite senior leadership the group maintains antenna capability to conduct attacks against u.s. citizens and facilities and have demonstrated the ability to adjust their tactics, techniques and procedures for targeting the west in innovative ways. the islamic state of iraq and l'enfant is a terrorist group operating as a military organization and their experiences and successes on the battlefields of syria and iraq have armed them with the capabilities most terrorist groups do not possess.
at present dhs is unaware of any specific credible threat to the u.s. homeland and isil and we recognize that isil constitutes an active and serious threat within the region and could attempt attacks on u.s. targets overseas with little or no warning. isil is a sophisticated propaganda capability disseminating high-quality media content on multiple on line platforms including social media to enhance its appeal. media accounts of the conflict in the propaganda in particular play a role in inspiring u.s. citizens to travel to syria. we are aware that a number of persons, more than 100 have either made their way or have tried to make their way to syria over the past few years to join the international foreign fighters. i will conclude with aqap has
attempted three times to attack the u.s. homeland. the airliner plot in december of 2009 in an attempt against a u.s. bound carb -- u.s. bound cargo plane and an airline plot in may of 2012 demonstrate their efforts to adapt to aviation security procedures and underscore why aviation security is there prior to area outlined by secretary johnson. in response to these recent threats overseas over the past two months dhs has taken steps to enhance aviation security at overseas airports with direct flights to the united states and other nations have followed suit with similar enhancements. mr. chairman i will conclude my remarks and if you would allow me to submit the rest for the record. >> thank you general. it's great to see you.
please proceed. >> thank you distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today particularly pleased to be here with my colligan secretary taylor and our partners from the federal bureau of the counterterrorism center. i will amplify with regard to the threat to cybersecurity and to discuss the actions with our partners to understand and address these threats both information and capability building. first however i also want to note as we approach this 13th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, three efforts that we have underway to heighten public
vigilance and public awareness. this month, september is national preparedness month. october is national cybersecurity awareness month. we focus on enhancing the resilience of this nation against cyberthreats november's critical infrastructure security and resilience month. all three of these are key mission areas for the department and all require daily collaboration with our stakeholders in the private sector and government at all levels. growing cyber threats are an increasing risk to critical infrastructure, to our economy, and to our national security. dhs uses cybersecurity information to reduce risk, to detect and block cyberattacks on federal civilian agencies, to help critical infrastructure entities improve their own protection and also to use the
information that we developed collaboratively to protect their customers. we maintain a trusted environment for the private sector partners to collaborate on cybersecurity threats and trends. this trust is based in large part on our commitment to privacy, civil rights and civil liberties across all information-sharing programs with a particular emphasis on safeguarding personally identifiable information. so far this year, dh as's 24 by seven cyberoperations center come the national cybersecurity communications integration center has processed over 600,000 cyber instances issued more than 10,000 actionable alerts, detected more than 55,000 vulnerabilities and dispatched over 78 incident response teams for on-site technical assistance.
let me tell you about one recent success. but in the last few weeks the united states secret service shared information on some malware with our cybersecurity op center for analysis. the results of that analysis form the basis for an actionable alert that was distributed widely to our critical infrastructure owners and operators and lead u.s. businesses to check their systems for this malware and identify and stop ongoing cyber intrusions thereby protecting their customer's data. while both the cybersecurity threat and the nation's dependence on cyber infrastructure has grown exponentially, the legal framework particularly regarding the articulation of the departments authorities, has not kept pace. as the chairman and the ranking member have noted legislative action is important. both the house and senate have made real progress on cybersecurity legislation.
i would like to personally thank this committee for all of its hard work that has ensured progress on this front on a bipartisan basis. but we are not over the -- yet. as secretary johnson were today their areas of legislation the strong consensus codifying the cybersecurity responsibilities of a department of homeland security, making it easier for dhs and the private sector to work together to mitigate cyber vulnerabilities and enhance the ability to recruit and retain that essential cybersecurity workforce. these authorities are vital to ensuring that the department has the tools it needs to carry out its mission on behalf of the nation. while deliberations continue on other elements of cybersecurity legislation, we should not wait to pass bipartisan and broadly supported bills. you have come so far and the threat is so great.
i urge congress to pass what it can now come even as we continue to work hard on remaining provisions. let me close by emphasizing that dhs's mission to security infrastructure requires us to focus on physical risks to that infrastructure as well as cyber risks because the majority of the nation's critical infrastructure is all owned and operated by the private sector. dhs worked with those partners primarily on a voluntary basis to understand the range of threats, share information and promote training and other capability building. dhs and the department of energy along with other interagency interagency partners for example provide a classified and unclassified threat and we do this on a regular basis to the energy ceos and industry executives on physical and cyber threats. in the wake of a terrorist attack on a shopping mall in nairobi kenya dhs and fbi
engaged more than 400 major malls across the united states to facilitate exercises based on a similar attack involving active shooters in the use of improvised explosive devices. working collaboratively with what they're private sector where advancing our core mission of strengthening the security and resilience of our nation's critical infrastructure against cyber and physical threats. chairman carper ranking member coburn thank you for this opportunity to testify today and i look forward to taking questions. >> thank you very much ms. balding. mr. rasmussen welcome aboard. please proceed. make sure your microphone is on please. >> thank you chairman carper ranking member coburn and members of the committee for for the opportunity to testify today. nctc director metals and i don't often testify in open hearings
so today is an important opportunity we believe to share what we see is an evolving dynamic of terrorist threat and to share the understanding that the committee and the american public. indeed earlier this summer 9/11 sound communicate about the threat and we hope to do just that. as i began this morning i would like to frame this evolving threat in broad terms generally applicable across the broad sweep of groups of individual groups and terrorist networks. the threat from terrorist groups we see today is geographically diffuse from a diverse array of factors and is proving overtime to be both resilient and adaptive to the counterterrorism pressure we are putting on it. the global justice movement continues to increasingly decentralize itself both in terms of geography and command-and-control. geographically speaking it's no longer generally confined to the afghanistan-pakistan and south asian reason -- region that covers a broad swath of territory's across the entire
middle east the levant and northern africa and western africa as well. of greatest concern of the terrorist groups such as isil that taken foothold in areas where governments is lacks in governments are unable to government for lack securities allow groups to coalesce train and plot. in terms of command and control they also see a trend of decentralization. with the amir of an qaeda affiliate in the arabian peninsula now serving as the general deputy to al qaeda leader ayman al zawahiri. additionally the al qaeda core is increasingly encouraging individuals to act independently in support of the movement. smallholder -- no longer holding expectations that leaders will clear plans with al qaeda senior leadership. in this evolution as a result of an adaptive enemy. our counterterrorism operations continue to derail al qaeda's attacks from its place in the fata but as result of leaks and
disclosures including those attributable to edward snowden terrace now understand the scope and scale of western collection capabilities and they are changing the way they communicate. they're adopting encryption technology trade fair shifting accounts reporting the use accounts reporting these electronic medications all of which frustrate our counterterrorism efforts. in short we cannot connect the dots if we do not collect the dots that matter the most. our collection is challenged in this new environment. the remaining time i would like to focus on three areas the threat from isil and aqap in the threat we face from homegrown extremist. starting with a isil. the greatest threat from isil to the united states and its interests is inside iraq right now which combined the syria constitutes isil's person there. as we move further isil's ability to develop and execute large-scale sophisticated attacks initiatives.
this is not to say it does not pose a threat outside the region. it certainly desperate indeed the arrest in france of an individual and the subsequent discovery of explosive devices in his possession as well as the killing of four individuals in the jewish museum in belgium provide evidence and indication of a isil's ambition to operate outside the middle east. both the responsible individuals are permitted in europe who are in custody reportedly fought alongside isil elements in the middle east. however these examples also demonstrate that right now isil's ability to carry out large-scale attacks is currently limited. left unchecked however that capabilities likely to grow. with over 2000 westerners now believed to be fighting in syria and iraq we assess the threat to europe is perhaps more immediate but nevertheless the united states is not a mean as the chairman and ranking member noted. over 100 persons from a variety of backgrounds from all across the country have traveled or
attempted to travel or somehow indicated intent to travel to the region including some who look to engage with isil. most of these individuals are known or believed to have western travel documentation with re-entry into the u.s. or other countries which is why it's a top-rated for the united states and our partners. that's why so so important the international committee challenge isil's ambitions now degrade their capabilities and overtime work together to defeat and destroy isil. left unchecked isil opposes it increasing threat to governments it considers apostate. middle eastern and south asian and african nations as well. but they quickly turned to al qaeda and the arabian peninsula. the continue to assess that aqap remains the al qaeda affiliate most likely to attempt to transnational attacks against united states. the groups repeated efforts to conceal explosive devices to destroy aircraft demonstrate his continued pursuit of high-profile attacks against the west.
it's increasing awareness of western security procedures and their efforts to adapt to those procedures. the group also continues to present a high threat to u.s. personnel and facilities inside yemen and saudi arabia and the anyone time we are tracking several plots to her and just inside yemen and inside the arabian peninsula hatched by al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. the group also continues as the committee will knows to radicalize immobilize individuals outside of yemen for the use of inspire magazine der publication. the most recent issue its 12th issue of inspire was released in march and continues to encourage lone wolf and the lone offender attacks on the west citing specific targets in the united states u.k. and france. let me also say a quick word about homegrown violent extremists. the boundless on line virtual environment we see today combined with tears increasingly sophisticated use of social media makes it increasingly difficult for us to protect our
youth for messaging designed to radicalize and motivate to action homegrown violent extremists. we have nctc are working closely with our partners at dhs and the fbi and department of justice to inform and equip families communities local governments and local institutions all of them provide the best defense and have the greatest ability to counter the narrative of bioextremism in equities. despite her efforts however it remains the most likely immediate threat to the homeland. individual action by individuals. we expect the overall level of hd activity to remain the same as we have seen over the course of the next year and by that i mean we expect to see him full of uncoordinated and mostly in sophisticated plots emanating from a pool that amounts to a few hundred individuals. last year's boston bombing certainly underscore the threat with little or no warning to act violently by themselves or in small groups and as we have
discussed with this committee these lone actors to act autonomously or the most difficult to detect. mr. chairman during your hearing you noted identifying and deterring plots is extremely challenging in the homeland security committee and i think everyone would agree with that assessment. let me take one moment to talk about one of her efforts in ctc to a counter the array of events and that is to identify precisely by putting a face and into the threat whenever possible. as you know under the law nctc is charged with maintaining governments shared knowledge bank of known and suspected terrorists as well as their contacts and support networks. nctc tied up with environment is a database of tears and ensures all relevant information collected about identified individuals including syrian foreign fighters all the information shared with
intelligence law enforcement and screening agencies. where absolutely realism efforts to ensure the data is as accurate as possible that as possible as it entered ackerley in the records are as comprehensive as they can possibly be and we are mindful of privacy and civil liberties concerns particularly with respect to u.s. persons. in the case of u.s. persons in a nomination to tie those two at least four layers of review including a legal level overview 10 should underline derogatory information is sufficient and meets established legal standards. our management at nctc and this unique consolidation of identities as creative form for identifying and sharing information with our partners in the community. it has better integrated our efforts to identify and enhance individuals we suspected the syrian identities. this work greatly increases the chances we will disrupt potential terrorist activity by individuals as they seek to return from syria. in closing mr. chairman and
members of the committee we face an evolving decentralized threat from a diffuse set of actors who are adapting constantly to our countermeasures. that's why nctc and their partners within the intelligence community must continue to adapt to this threat operating within the bounds of our existing authorities and resources. we appreciate the committees continued strong support in a separate semiwould encourage senators to visit nctc to see first-hand the breadth breath of the work we are doing with our partners are mr. chairman and we have the honor posting on several community staff with nctc to talk in detail about those threats and i was gratified to see her interest in the work we are doing along with fbi dhs. thank you again for this opportunity. >> thank you and as i mentioned dr. coburn and i not only enjoyed that meeting with you but we thank them for their service. it was very informative and frankly quite encouraging so thank you for that. former trooper anderson it's great to see you.
welcome. please proceed. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member dr. coburn and members of the committee. thanks the opportunity to be a day to talk to you about the cyberterrorism threats to our nation and how we are working with partners to prevent and combat them. in my role as executive assistant director of the fbi is the chairman said i manage multiple divisions within the fbi but the two we will concentrate on is the cyberprogram. as the committee knows the number of cyberattacks attacks against emissions that would have increased or medically over recent years. we truly expect him to continue to climb and grow. i could break on the threats to our country in four broad categories from cyber. spies, transnational organized sides -- organize terrorists and act as grocery the bottom line is we are losing a lot of data money ideas and innovation to a wide range of cyber adversaries. fbi director comey has recognized this and the severity
of the threat is made cyber one of the number one priorities in the fbi. under his leadership the fbi's continue strengthening our cybercapabilities and in the same way we enhanced our intelligence and national security capabilities in the wake of 9/11. today's fbi's national security enforcement opportunities as intelligence to prevent and respond to all types of threats. we constantly seek to understand the threats we face in each of our offices both here and abro abroad. what is out there, what we see in what we might be missing. we know to effectively combat the cyber threat we must continue to expand partnerships both in government and the private sector. in fact we expects director comey and dhs secretary thompson will soon sign a new cyberunified message for state and local law enforcement. this message makes it a federal agencies are working together to
ensure that a call to one is a call to all. when law enforcement partners report information on a cyberattack or incident. also for a law enforcement partners we launched the cybershield aligns an on line one-stop shop that provides cybertraining as well as the ability to report cyber incidents to the fbi. earlier this month we deployed malware repository and analysis system as a malware investigator. our intelligence and law enforcement partners allows them to submit power directly to the fbi that we share with our partners for triage and analysis of what's going on in cyber. we are significantly enhancing our collaboration with the private sector in the past industry is provided information about attacks, we have investigated them but they really didn't share or provide information back. now we are. as part of farnham's outreach we have identified sector specific
threat briefings private companies over the past year alone. over the past several months the fbi and the department of justice along with many partners at this table and abroad have announced this series of indictments on cyber criminals. just to name a few on corp or forms which was indictment of the three hackers. black shades ever had access to computer software that steal and infect hundreds of thousands of computers around the world. we are calling these indictments to near -- nuno because we expect them to continue. while the cyberthreat is one of the fbi's highest priorities terrorism continues to be the number one party in the fbi. as complex emerge through many parts of our world we expect terrorist groups to use this instability to recruit and incite acts of violence. syria remains a major concern as a ongoing conflicts shows subsiding.
due to the prolonged nature and the high-visibility of the searing conflict we are concerned that u.s. persons who have an interest in committing geological beach on to that region and the world. we can address these issues much more in a closed session that follows the session and we look forward to doing that. in conclusion mr. chairman to counter the threats we face we are engaging in an unprecedented level of collaboration. within the united states government and our private sectors around the world and with the international law enforcement organizations that we each of the tabletop to each another every day. we look forward to continue to expand these partnerships and to work with the committee to defeat our cyberand terrorist adversaries. thank you again very much for the opportunity to be here today and i would have been happy to answer questions you in the committee would have. >> thank you mr. anderson. it's good to see you and thank you for being a today. our first question from maine
would be for mr. rasmussen and general taylor. one of the recurring themes in my life is to figure out what works and i want to play off of that for a moment. go back seven years ago. iraq the sunni awakening and the predecessor to isis was rolling along pretty well and then not so much. due to the enlightened leadership of general petraeus, i think good work done by the prime minister of iraq working with tribal leaders. al qaeda in iraq -- was greatly diminished. what can be gained or map doesn't it? is there anything that can inform what we do today. >> one of the things we try to do is we try to think about the problem with isil to think of
potential vulnerabilities that the group hasn't a to think of ways in which the progress they have made can be addressed. you point to some of the lessons from previous efforts against al qaeda in iraq and there i think we did learn the group very much struggled to gain legitimacy across a broader population of iraq when that population in iraq saw in baghdad they represented government responsive to their needs. the ongoing transition in baghdad they were saying now that you alluded to is an important step in potentially giving the sunni population in iraq a signal that they do not have to turn or rely -- i'll lie with isil in order to have their issues addressed to feel they are represented and protected inside of iraq. that's an important lesson learned. i think it's one where we have seen progress in the last few weeks. over time we will see if that
kind of political transition actually has that effect we are looking to see. i don't know that we can say yet how quickly that will happen but it's something i think was a necessary precondition to any strategy against isil. >> thank you very much. general taylor and maybe for you nick. what if you or both of you mentioned the ability for isis till mount an effective attack against our homeland is limited. but it's not time for us to sit back and assume it's not going to calm but to prepare and be ready for it. what are some ways to prepare for that eventuality and to better prepare for it should it come? general taylor want it you lead off then. >> certainly sir. as i mentioned we assess the
threat from isil primarily to be in the region. nonetheless with a number of european and american set have gone to fight in syria that threat can manifest itself either in europe or the u.s.. i think we have begun with the aviation security changes we have made since july to make it more difficult for people to try to get the explosives onto an aircraft to bring those aircraft down that could be traveling to the u.s.. we have increased our intelligence cooperation with our partners across the world in attempting to identify people who have gone to serve or to fight in syria. intelligence is the one thing that helps us identify these individuals before they are able to act and using our intelligence systems to learn who they are makes us much more effective getting our communities aware
of the risks, i am sorry, homegrown violent extremists. as nick mentioned, probably the most immediate threat comes from a home grown violent extremist who listens to the propaganda, reads it and decides he or she are going to answer the call and take up arms in the u.s. so community awareness, resilience around these issues with our law enforcement partners in the fields so we understand what those elements are to look for as being counter folks in communities to help communities learn about this early so we can respond. >> one related to offense and one related to defense. if we're going to get ahead of the effort over time to develop
a homeland threat capability, we have to over time shrink the safe-haven and attack the safe haven inside iraq and that is something the secretary of state and the president spoke to our foreign partners overseas about because's and that ability to bring additional western potential operatives into iraq and syria in that safe haven and potentially deep for them to europe and the united states will remain a threat. a more defensive piece of business we are engaged in already and we are making good progress on its aggressive information sharing with all our foreign partners who face a similar problem. this is an issue we have been engaged in for going on 18 months now, engage in the very european partners many of whom face this problem more acutely than we do in terms of their citizens having an easier route and easier path to travel to syria and iraq. unlike a lot of the situations where it is difficult to talk with partners about information
sharing about individuals this is a case where we're getting very little push back. they share the same sense of threat so the information we share about individuals who travel to syria or iraq can be used to add to our listing in screening systems and give us a significant legacy and our efforts to disrupt travel when they seek to leave syria and iraq. it is not a fail-safe for the only pillar of a defensive effort but an important pillar, one that isn't always easy to get our partners to work with us on but in this case that sense of shared threat is so widely shared on all levels in the government that it is making that level of interchange much more robust than it often is. >> my time is expired. when we come back, in our closed session, i want to visit the issue of information sharing and sequencing of authorization of information sharing. in the open session enclosed
session. >> i hope the media that is here today listen to what you had to say, a very cogent, open assessment of where we are. not on the basis to scare people but on the basis to inform them where we really are, the other thing i would comment on is i am happy to see the fbi being aggressive on deterrence because for so long we thought we could build a higher wall people can climb over. they will climb over every wall on cyber the we have an we have to have both efforts, we have to have the law but also the pross equatorial deterrence this is we are going to -- it will be painful and i am very thankful for that attitude coming from the fbi. i hope to see more and more both domestically and internationally because of the costs.
let me ask you a couple questions, is there any intelligence product examining the vulnerabilities in student exchange in district programs or the visa program and whether it poses a threat to national security? >> yes, we have. we have published several pieces to support the student visa program and the risk that comes from that program working with c bp and ice. >> of those public classified? >> i believe they are classified but i will check. >> questions in the closed hearing. it is reported that millions of people -- dhs is struggling to
attract this population. is there any assessment of threat from the population of these? anything you have done on that? >> we have. we helped ice to prioritize its focus on the threat perspective and we can share that in closed session. >> the staff has been cooperative. when we review the documents, what we see is approximately 700 miles of our southern border that are not secure. that is looking at the documents that you all give us. can you prepare a current assessment of the coverage of the border and the threat to national security, and adversaries that might transcend that order? >> you are asking can we are
have we? >> i am asking can you given the basis of where we stand? >> absolutely. i would also ask the secretary directed a comprehensive 7 border security strategy which will have an intelligence annex that will address what you just described, the risks to the border and how we can better focus our efforts at securing those gaps that we identify our existing. >> do you have a timeline on that? >> he just approved it. at least the concept and we are beginning to put meat on the bones. i can't give you an exact date but i will have staff check. >> thank you.
mr. anderson, does the fbi monitor cyber attacks? >> to monitor cyberattacks around world with the federal government and the private sector. >> can you tell me which departments in the federal government haven't been hacked? >> i don't know if i could tell you that. i would have to go back and look. i think i agree with our current directors that they haven't been hacked. i don't know if we haven't realized. they have all been hacked.
>> if you would, give us a list of what your records show. you can do that in a secured setting or an open session. i would like to see what you all see on that. i mentioned the deterrence, i am pleased with that because you have to have both sides of the sword working. the rest of this is for classified settings, i will wait and eskimos of nick and suzanne and others. >> joining us at the hearing, senator johnson, senator mccain, senator portman, senator johnson, you are recognized. >> of like to associate myself with the comments about the need
to face this reality. then need the american people to be informed, not about scaring people but facing reality. general taylor, you started the hearing asking are we safer? i want to break that down to two part because there are two parts to it. do we have greater defensive capabilities to keep us safe? has the threat grown? i want your assessment of both of those. what is your assessment over the last 13 years in terms of defensive capabilities and what is hampering our efforts and your assessment of the growing threat? >> thank you, senator. as i mentioned, i was state department coordinator for counterterrorism on 9/11 and was party to our efforts then and have watched the government changed its approach to this. indeed i think our capacity to share information, to work to
get there is as good as it has ever been in the history of our country. we work every day with the fbi in gathering information, sharing data. in that sense our capacity is much more effective than it was 13 years ago. there is always room for improvement and change but the leadership of the community of our government to understand that if we don't cooperate bad things will happen. the nature of the threat, as nick characterized, 9/11, 2001, we were focused on al qaeda and afghanistan and pakistan. today al qaeda adherence and other jihadists are essentially global. and operating in south asia and much more diverse, they still
see us as the enemy and a threat to the united states and operations around the world. >> i believe the threat is growing, more grave. you mentioned the effective, ed snowden's disclosures. has that degraded our intelligence gathering capabilities? >> i would argue yes. i could talking greater detail in closed session, an indicator as we have seen, we rely on collection to try to get ahead of terrorist plots. is in arguable the collection environment, more challenging today than we had not been dealing with these disclosures. >> deputy assistant secretary of state met derek and i asked him
directly, what does -- with red does isis directly posed to the united states. she talked-about 30 positive the suicide bombers in iraq, australian and german suicide bomber set themselves off in baghdad. we saw the first american suicide bomber. i am concerned the talk out of this administration we may want -- this may take three years. that me ask do you believe isis can be contained or managed? versus destroyed? >> i think of this in phases legions of near-term you can take steps to degrade and disrupt their ability to carry out attacks. but to prevent yourself from having to deal with that in perpetuity you have to go beyond that and look to destroy or defeat the organization and that is what the president and secretary of state talked about over a longer period of time. that objective is not as easy to put a specific time horizon to.
>> kind of like having orange smiths in your backyard. you identify the friend and want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. you don't want to poke it with a stick for three years. what i want to see is a clearly articulated goal of destroying isis as quickly as possible so we can maintain our defense against the other threats that are metastasizing around the world. would you agree with that assessment? >> i share that goal. the talk about the phasing is simply a recognition that to build the intelligence base necessary to attack and pull apart and organization and defeat it takes time. >> understand but while you are doing that you try to put great pressure on the organization so it can't punch you in the process when you're going through the longer process. >> we have to guard against fighting the last war, concentrating on past threats. to what extent is the intelligence community using our imagination in terms of looking at what other possibilities
might be out there. >> we certainly are devoting time and attention to that. pressures of the day off and leave you to focus on the wolf closest to the door yet we also challenge our analysts and intelligence community partners to look around the corner and see not only where the next group might come from, where the nick peters of concern might be but also what tactics and techniques for innovation might exist in the terrorism community as well. that is harder and you are not often relying on intelligence in that setting, you are often as you say using your imagination. it is important work and helps us over time to tie get our collection to try to get ahead of those particular threats. cyber is one of those areas where we have not seen terrorists necessarily develop great capability to date but they certainly understand the economic impact intervention in the cyberworld causes so we assess that over time that is a
capability -- >> i want to explore that and a secure briefing a little bit. secretary spaulding, you talked-about critical infrastructure, what is our physical and cyberthreat? i want to talk about something i have been briefed on, the threat of the m p. in terms of high-altitude nuclear blast which is what i always knew existed out there and just hoping nobody has the capability or would be stupid enough to do it, also aware of the fact that a massive solar flare represents a real threat. is that something you are aware of? is that something we're looking to harden our electrical grid against? >> absolutely, senator. thank you for the question. it is certainly something we have been focused on and working with our colleagues in the electric sector to find ways to
address. i was recently in the u.k. at an international conference, energy infrastructure security summit where emt was a clear focus of those discussions and this is something very much on our radar screen so we are working with an to address. >> we will cover more of that. in terms of the -- for mr. anderson. the attack at the metcalf substation, do we have any further information you can share in open station to track down the perpetrators, have we come up with the reason terms of what that was about? >> we are heavily engage, it is easy to describe we are doing in closed session. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator mccain. >> i think tank the witnesses.
mr. taylor, mr. rasmussen, have there been reports from twitter and facebook of messages that watered infiltration into the united states across our southwestern border? >> yes, there have been twitter, social media exchanges among isil adherence across the globe speaking of that as a possibility. >> would you view it as a threat? >> any infiltration across the border would be a threat but in the course of our border security -- >> i use satisfied we have sufficient border security to prevent that? >> i am satisfied we are trying to build the border security capability that would -- >> are you satisfied the we now have the capability to prevent that? >> i am satisfied that we have
the intelligence and the capability at our borders that would prevent that activity. >> it is interesting because an american reporter named james o'keefe dressed as osama bin laden walked across the rio grande river undetected. does something like that concern you? >> he was not been detected. he was known to the border security agencies. >> why didn't they stop him when he came across? >> i can't answer that question. >> you can't answer it because they weren't there to stop him. that is a matter of being on record. but the fact is there are thousands of people who are coming across our border who are and detected, who have not identified and for you to sit there and tell me that we have
the capability or now have the fraud protection of our southwestern border particularly in light of the urgings over facebook and twitter for people to come across the southwestern border is of great concern to the citizens of my state. i would like to hear your response to that. >> the security -- great concern to the department and certainly understand the concerns to the citizens of your state. if i gave you the impression that i fought border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risk coming across the state that is not what i intended to say. >> could you give us to the committee for the record what is required to achieve 90% effective control of the border and prevent this threat from
materializing? i don't think there is any doubt. i don't see when you look at isis and the threat of ices that it would be logical, as they were saying on facebook and twitter to come across the southwest border because they can get across and the flow of drugs across the southwest border has not been decreased by any significant measure. would you agree to that? >> the flow of drugs continues to be significant, yes, sir. >> those of us who strongly support comprehensive immigration reform are deeply disappointed in our lack of devotion to in funds and capabilities to secure our southwestern border which created a credibility problem in our states and across this
country that we can guarantee people if we enacted comprehensive immigration reform that there would not be another flow of refugees. i ask -- illegal immigration into this country, now we have this phenomenon, or i guess occurrence, thousands of young children showing up at our border not trying to sneak across but just showing up at our border, has tailed off some but still by the thousands. isn't this diverting the assets and capabilities of our border patrol by having to handle this credible influx of children from diverting them from other duties like trying to interdict drug smugglers and others, and isn't
it true, i say to you, it is astonishing to me how our friends on the left and those that are pro immigration ignore the fact that the brutalities inflicted on these young people, particularly young women as their brought across by these coyotes is absolutely aberrant, would you agree with that? >> i would agree with that. to your earlier question, we assess that not only assess but we believe the border patrol has done a remarkable job in handling the crisis. >> they have been diverted. >> it has been a priority given the number of people at our border to focus on that issue,
certainly with resources as they are, resources have shifted to priorities. >> in light of the growth of isis and the aggressiveness of isis and the information they have been able to recruit, and americans were killed over there, it seems to me that dramatically heightened their requirement to have a secure southern and northern border. would you agree with that? >> absolutely. >> finally, mr. rasmussen, is entertaining to me that it is like it all just happened with isis, another wolf at the door. we have known about isis for four years. people like me and lindsey graham and others, warned about it and talked about it while we have done nothing to really stem the tide, the growth of isis and
the chaos that we now see pervading iraq and syria, the president of the united states will finally recognize that threat, and outline to actions that it's taken behind. many of us predicted this and many saw it coming and it comes as no surprise. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator baldwin, senator portman. >> mr. taylor and mr. rasmussen, a i want to talk a little bit more about the estimated 100 u.s. persons left to join the fight in syria, how it was phrased, is this an estimate or do we have a sense of actually who this 100 plus people are, how much detail do we have or
are we just estimating it is about a hundred? >> i will take a stab at that. that number is meant to capture a number of categories of individuals who have shown intend to travel and that travel has not happened, individuals who have traveled, who have traveled and come back, individuals who traveled and been killed in the fight over there so that number is all encompassing. it does not necessarily reflect an estimate of who was there today. there is more we can say with greater precision in closed session but i think i can reassure you that we have -- there is a significant detail behind a broad number. >> i will try to ask a couple more questions in open session on this topic and see how far we can get. with regard to that number, is there differentiation, specific differentiation between those who have actually joined isil
and those for example -- i traveled to turkey over a year ago but there was certainly american citizens of syrian descent who were trying to provide humanitarian relief in the fight or trying to do what they could to help the moderate rebels--moderate elements try to participate in battle there. are we differentiating when we talk about these rough numbers? >> yes we are. in some cases we know of individuals who indicate intent or have traveled to syria, who go over and not necessarily knowing who they will affiliate with when they get there. they look to join the fight from an extremist or jihadists perspective and where they end up affiliating plays out over time and we may or may not have intelligence on that but you are right. the number of individuals who
travel to syria can capture people who engage in a wide variety of activities. >> but that hundred or whatever we are tossing around, over a hundred you believe are engaged in the battle with the isil extremists. >> you know there are a number of repair. >> before i get to that point do we have a sense that european allies have as granular information on their citizens who have traveled to syria as we do on our? >> it is not a constant picture across all whole of europe. in some cases with some of our partners with whom we work most closely the answer is absolutely yes. they have a very detailed understanding of individuals and have done a great deal of work talking to in many cases individuals who have come back
from syria to understand the appeal and the draw but also the experience those individuals had and how they -- what contribution to the threat picture in their homes they may present and i know a significant amount of law enforcement effort in the united kingdom is devoted to that effort. but i wouldn't argue this is constant across the whole of europe. particularly in southern and eastern european partners closer to the front line of travel to turkey and syria their capabilities simply are not as well developed tour as well resources to handle a large national security challenge like this in the way more traditional partners are. as i point out in my statement there is a good news story in that the willingness to let these lock arms and share information is something we have seen constantly across the board. >> the intel committee gave me a
cautionary note. a good feeling for what is appropriate to say, in a closed setting, if you ask questions, may be deferred to the next part. how do you do that? >> do we have a sense of how many nationals are engaged in al qaeda globally, there's a much greater fragmentation, in particular al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, that same granular information there. >> it varies depending on which al qaeda affiliate group you are talking about and look at specific cases involving specific individuals in another
setting. >> can you describe in open session for the committee, what we know, what our intelligence said about the relationship between isil and al qaeda? is it cooperative? are they reading each other on? what do we know about this, their relationship? >> one of these things that has been a development we spend a lot of time trying to understand and assess is the degree of conflict and tension between isil and core al qaeda leadership and what you could argue you are seeing now is in a sense a contest or competition for primacy in that overall effort to lead the global jihad. with isil increasingly posturing itself as the legitimate follow-on to osama bin laden and the al qaeda division.
what that is also doing is causing intellectual ferment in the broader jihadists community around world. we see that in other al qaeda affiliates as they seek to decide for themselves to realign with isil or do we maintain fidelity to our traditional bonds of loyalty to al qaeda corp.? ..hink one thing that we can observe pretty obviously is that success breeds success. so that when isil has had success on the battlefield and taking over large swaths of territory that has served as a draw not only to foreign fighters who might want to choose where to bring their capabilities but also to individuals who may be affiliated with other al qaeda groups to the side would like to know where it is the most talked and where my ability to impact can be felt most acutely. and there is no doubt that the level of individual al qaeda, that is out there.
it is something that will play out over time whether isil was a plans al qaeda core in terms of overall. but it is clear that things trend in this direction for a long time and one can make an argument. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the testimony in the opportunity nasty questions in another session. and there is some much to go over. i want to talk a little bit about what you have said today and what some of my colleagues have asked about in terms of isil and the situation. i think it is important not only will we do now but also to look to afghanistan. and what we are doing or not
doing to ensure that we don't have a similar situation. with regard to afghanistan, how do you assess the security forces there, the afghan security forces as compared to the iraqi security forces? >> i would want to -- >> typically the capability to conduct counter-terrorism operations against the taliban and al qaeda partners. >> i believe we have made a substantial amount of progress in bringing the afghan national-security force up to the level where they can carry out counter terrorist operations against known terrorist targets inside afghanistan. what will be -- will we will not know until we see over time is whether the afghan government is able to sustain that capability,
invest in resource and sustain that capability over time so that they are able to do this as they encounter threats. >> greater capability than the iraqi security forces? there is no u.s. support. >> i am reluctant to put it in comparative terms. the right expertise or knowledge would be happy to give you an answer. >> i think it would be interesting. here is my feeling from the reports which were made public. in fact, the security forces were further along at the time in which we chose to pull out. if we decide to do the same thing in afghanistan the president has said he has plans, we may have a similar situation given the assessment of their capabilities to be able to have very effective counterterrorism
operation. i just make the obvious point that we need your help in terms of learning lessons and a roughly taking those lessons to afghanistan. there has been a lot of attention recently to president obama's comments last january about regional terrorist groups being like university teams in relation to isil. following that back-and-forth.
and those years total by ouri marines and soldiers in a and br the fall to make a peacefulace, place, those comments are particularly disconcerting.uw as you all know we took seriouse losses. r and one period, ohio's reserves infantry battalions lost 46 nty- marines, 22 wtere killed from oe rifle company in columbus. o obviously a struggle affects a lot of our communities including back home in ohio. you, and 201e intelligence community identify that al qaeda had expressed interest -- interest? >> yes. we can talk about the war in closed session. >> in 2013 to they assess the threat exists is? >> absolutely. >> do u.s.s. that the iraqi security forces early this year had been operating without u.s.
troops riverside for two years, took any successful actions to the rest control of pollution from isil after they seized in january 2014 or earlier this year? >> i would like to give an answer for the record because i am certainly aware of iraqi security force counter-terrorism actions, but i want to be specific response if. >> what is it? wresting control back. >> not wresting control back of areas you describe. >> you know, i just think again we should learn some lessons from this. over the last two years, access to fighters and resources as well as inconsistent counter-terrorism operations are pressure from the iraqis to escalate? >> certainly true that they have escalated their operations and taken advantage of the lack of
our real border between iraq and syria which has allowed them to move resources back and forth to escape counter-terrorism pressure. >> well, i think your answers to these questions are helpful. understanding why we should be doing and looking for to afghanistan, being sure that we are prepared to take the steps to avoid a repeat of his. let me change the topic, if i could. this has to do with the ebola crisis. amateurs to hear what work your office is doing. and i were 2300 people may die. who tells us today they expect 20,000 people die relatively soon. other groups have much higher estimates. if you could tell me how you're
monitoring the situation in africa, what you're going. >> sir, my office works with the office of health affairs leading the department in an interagency response to the ebola virus. the consequences take me to the u.s. as well as the african region. interagency meetings on an issue and trying to get aid to those countries to stem the spread of the virus. >> you feel we have an effective interagency and intergovernmental coordination? >> i think we have affected u.s. interagency and intergovernmental coordination. this is a global problem and is going to take a global solution to solve. the nations in the region are less capable in certain cases of handling the kind of infection that they're seeing.
it will require a global effort to extend this particular issue. >> i understand health affairs is taking the lead. in new take a look at what u.s. government it? we intergovernmental and entered the agency to -- interests is a process. >> have not personally looked at it. my most recent experience, we had an effective interagency coordination on at. >> i'm concerned that we are not being as aggressive as we could be in of the agency would take a look at what we have done in the past where we have been relatively successful, not just with foreign aid but also the specific steps we have taken to try to get more countries engaged and deal with the issue. one final question, do you have any insights on how you see this
developing and what we should be doing here in this country? and noticed that you talked about the national prepared this month. one of my concerns is based on recent reports we are not prepared. we have unfortunately the situation where if a pandemic were to occur there are shortfalls including expiration's on down to some of the medical responsibility necessary. thoughts about that? >> i would prefer to a respondent holistic way and consultation with my colleagues. >> we appreciate you getting back to the committee. >> thank you. thank you for those questions. senator, and after you have spoken i'm going ask mr. mr. anderson. we have not picked on you enough one opportunity, a point you
want to make a share with us before we get the closed session. now. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this important hearing. i want to tinker with this is what they do keep the country safe. secretary taylor, wanted to follow upon some of the questions that senator baldwin had. and i would ask all of you to give me some insight on a comment that i heard from our fbi director. i think it's important that the american people understand what we're dealing with in terms of not only americans but westerners who have potentially travel this area or of interest in traveling to syria and joining with one of these extremist groups, including isil you had testified that more than 100 u.s. persons your tracking and have identified those who have intended to go, those who have gone and some of own, have been actually engage in killed.
i note that the fbi director said in august -- and i give you the number of 100 americans, i can't tell you with high confidence that it is 10200, 10500, 100 or thousand more because it is so hard to track. here is a very important question and i think people need to know. that is, do we really know? and how many of these two we really have a track of and how many don't we have a track of? >> senator, i would share the director's comments in terms of we don't know we don't know. and i think those -- the context in which he was making those comments. we have very high confidence on the number that we do know, and we have systems that help us identify more day in and day out
abcasix here today and give you the number of over hundred and tomorrow it may be based upon intelligence investigation, the fbi, more identities that we did not know about before. >> but is the reality now while we have confidence in the hundred that we really don't know how many more may be part of this? >> i think that's a fair statement. >> i assume that's why the director who i have a lot of respect for made that statement when he was specifically asked about how confident we are in the number. >> well, given home run violent extremists, given the nature of foul people radicalize data. is difficult to say with any degree of certainty that we know all that could be wanting to
join this particular effort. .. looking at this issue for government. >> if i could address the. i agree with general wholeheartedly that i could tell you, any individual and a deadly put into the three categories mr. rasmussen is talked about. any individual to dedicate an investigation on the guy is an open case on the individual whether they are abroad orientate united states. we also dedicate an immense amount of resources to covering individuals we know about. i can't get into all those into session what we will in detail in the next session. o >> let me ask you, the 100 we am know about,o what authorities do i can't we have to revoke their
passports? in other words, you are a unitet we states citizen. you're entitled to certain rights,es so what can we do to other make sure that they can't getwo, back in the community, if weyou believe that they enjoyed, foriu example, an extremist group, like myself who was brutally,he horrifically murdered two american journalists?it hae hav >> senator, that is, it's a vere complicated question in terms of taking away an americansnalist? passport. >> senator dodd is a very complicated question in terms of taking away america's passport. there are judicial means to do that. i am not an expert and map it became get you the answer of whether the authorities would allow that to happen. >> we need to understand we
certainly don't want a situation where you will talk to someone and you don't have the authority to detain them. they are in a position where they have to appear before a judicial authority but in the interim they are not detained and they have open access in america so i would like a follow-up to what the processes are, what tools you have at your hands when there is obviously evidence that an american is involved with a group like isil so that we can understand whether those authorities are efficient so i would appreciate a follow-up on that. i also wanted to ask what i understand from your hearing your testimony today you said the threat of isil is regionally focused, meaning the region of where they are operating in iraq and syria and the surrounding regions. what kind of access do they have to financing?
>> that has been one of our great concerns as isil has surged in iraq that they have had the ability to draw on a wider array of sources for financing including kidnap for ransom, simply occupying and taking others holdings. >> i heard an estimate that they are making $1 million a day. is that a fair statement? >> that's a fair estimate. >> is. >> as i understand they have safe havens and syria, correct? >> guests. >> they are obviously taking over more territory in iraq, correct? is their design and one of the reasons the concerns we have with regard to what's happening in iraq right now? >> that is their ambition in iraq in recent weeks iraqi security force action in combination with united states military action has been the ability of isil to gain more territory. >> but they have territory right now, you would agree with me? they have territory and syria
and territory in iraq. the elements to make money and when we think about this threat, the passport issue, it's not just about americans. i know secretary taylor in your testimony there are about 2000 westerners but i have also seen estimates of 7500 potential foreign fighters from all different countries that have joined this conflict starting in syria. i don't know how many of those have joined isil but this threat goes beyond thinking about americans. i know you talked about a story about more communication between our other countries with regard to these individuals who have joined these extremist groups but we also have a visa waiver program with countries like the united kingdom and france and so how good is our intelligence and ability to attract those individuals? we talk about the 100 so we are
worried about are people but thinking about the individuals that don't need a visa to come travel to the united states of america. as i understand it there are thousands. the numbers that the united kingdom and great britain is facing is much bigger than united states. can you give us an assessment of how good of a track we have on them and what ability we have to stop them from coming to the united states or to know exactly where they are so that we don't face a situation where someone is -- you know that james foley video. that individual who committed that barbaric murder, he was clearly from great britain. you could tell from his accent so individual like that coming to the united states and then participating in an action here. can you give us a little more insight on that because i think it's important for people to understand. >> yes maam. i would prefer nick to talk
about the intelligence cooperation that we have which is significant with our european partners and daily we exchange information. more importantly the visa waiver does not mean people come to this country without screening. every passenger coming to the united states from outside the united states is screened through our terrorist screening system and if there is derogatory data they are not allowed to come to the united states. >> that assumes we have the data, correct? >> that assumes we have the data and that is what intelligence cooperation is all about, making sure that with our partners in europe and other places that we are getting that data and getting it in a consistent fashion. >> so i think this is obviously a very important issue as well is knowing and tracking who these individuals are who if we
don't have the data we may allow them in our country without being able to stop them from coming. my time is up but i just want to say one thing that concerns me. what concerns me as i know we have talked today about believing that really the focus on the threat of isil is a regional threat but here we have sophisticated terrorist organization which our own secretary of defense has said is beyond anything that we have seen and in fact we have a situation where you know secretary dempsey described this group as an imminent threat. we have combined with, they have financial means to make money. they have territory and some safe havens. we know that in january their leader basically threaten the united states of america. we have seen through their actions the brutal murders of these two journalists that obviously the threat that they
faced, the type of there -- barbaric actions they are willing to take against americans and we know that these people who joined this we are not quite sure how many there are and they could return to the u.s.. i'm concerned that it's an understatement to say that this is a regional threat in terms of what my present to us and our homeland. >> mr. chairman qunai response to this one? you are using the word regional and i by no means meant to mean directed at the united states because isil has the capability to threaten the united states not just proper but our embassies personnel and diplomats and unofficial americans. >> as i set up a lot of her time to utilize the safe haven they currently are enjoying. >> right now you don't think they have the capacity? >> right now we assess they do
not have active ongoing plots in the nicest homeland. >> that's a different question whether they have the capacity. we don't know of any active ongoing threats are plots. >> we do not assess right now that they have it capability to mount an effective large-scale plot inside the united states. >> large scale. >> another piece of this you can't necessarily count for individuals we talked about under the category of homegrown homegrown bioextremist who may self-identify as acting in sympathy with isil. maybe perhaps never having touched isl leadership but in the aftermath of a potential attack may be here in the homeland it might self affiliate. i don't mean by any means to minimize the threat to isil. that's not my intent. i simply trying to describe in a sense concentric rings and the levels of concern we have at present versus what we see developing over time.
what you describe at the foreign fighters is what gives them the capability to threaten the homeland over the longer term. >> thank you. >> i was at one point. you have to take in fact the excitation of various members of isil to come across our southern border. it's out there. it's in the social media. i know you while they're looking at that the factors that's pretty scary. you talk about what we don't know, we don't know the people who are coming across our border and what the threat is. we don't know. >> i said mr. anderson we would take the opportunity to offer an opposing thought, please. >> thank you mr. chairman. if i could i would make a closing remark in turn back to cyber for a second. the one thing i think the committee needs to know and they probably do is when it comes to cyber i have never seen more cooperation in my law enforcement career than i have in the last year or so.
the people at this table dhs secret service a large variety of intelligence partners we all get it. we get that this is something that's going to go through from now until the next several years in our government has a deep concern to work together and work towards a fix. you know we talked a little while ago about the number of federal departments within our government that possibly could be hacked or if they were hacked and just didn't know about it. i think one of the things we are all working on in the legislature is also is trying to figure out how to share real-time information with our private sector partners. i think that is absolutely imperative mr. chairman and i think my colleagues would echo that. one of the main reasons is because everyone knows a lot of are classified and very sensitive technologies are developed, designed and built out in the private sector way before they are ever classified. our adversaries know this
whether his counterintelligence counterespionage economic espionage counterterrorism they have had the pleasure over the years to testify with director of intelligence and chairman feinstein and dr. coburn many times regarding this kind of scare for us. i would tell you the one thing that i see is the government coming together as one on this thread and working towards a positive fix. thank you mr. chairman. >> i would just add to that the threat of isis and these other terrorist groups, are they a threat quack sure they are. it's not any time to pat ourselves on the back and become complicit. it's time to be more vigilant. we will see what the president has to say tonight. i believe it will be very strong and working with nations around the world to destroy this. that is what we are looking for hopefully that is what we'll get. i would also say i go back to
underlying root causes. we talk about underlying and root causes and i would say number one al qaeda in iraq was on their back. they were almost done about seven years ago. the policies of the iraqi government actually help them get off the map and back into the game to be the threat they are today. my hope is the new government that is being stood up in iraq will be part of the solution to help us accomplish what we did seven years agoand to dot ag with that, this portion of the hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> this morning, a ceremony marking the anniversary of september 11 terrorist attacks at the world trade center's national memorial plaza. families will read the names of the nearly 3000 people who died in the attacks. we will have live coverage beginning at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> this weekend on the c-span networks, american history tv is live from baltimore's fort mchenry for the 200th anniversary of the star-spangled banner on c-span3. later at 6 p.m. eastern on american history tv, we will tour fort mchenry and hear how war came to baltimore in 1814.
>> a recent report by the harvard joint center for harper -- rising cost of the living standards of seniors. former housing and urban develop and secretary henry cisneros discussed the report's findings at an event hosted by the harvard center and aarp. this is one half-hour. >> thank you very much. what an energetic presentation. it's not necessary to be the mayor of san antonio become secretary of hud, but it doesn't hurt. [laughter] lisa, thank you for your kind words about my city and i'm very proud of pole in castro, but equally proud of his successor because an economist at the seventh largest city in the country, and there's never