tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 16, 2015 8:00pm-10:01pm EDT
we have been working to get to the bottom of these issues and the need to fix them. recent information that the tsa cleared for employment individuals with ties to terrorism showed extreme changes need to be made. the findings made by the inspector general are indeed alarming. in may, a report released founds the tsa didn't have the appropriate controls in place to make sure screening equipment has necessary maintenance work performed. news outlets showed test results showing screeners failed to detect prohibited items 96% of the time and we learned that 73 airport employees with potential ties to terrorism were issued credentials allowing them to get
access to secured locations at airports. breaches involving a gun smuggling ring and an employee of the faa by passing security and buying with a firearm. we learned of a drug trafficking ring operating out of the airport in oakland, california. these findings are concerning and they shake the public's confidence and only further demonstrate the need for steady leadership at tsa to work through the many issues that pla plague this administration. we will continue to close loopholes and security safety of the nation's aviation system. the purpose of today's hearing is to thoroughly identify the identity gaps highlight in the most recent reports about worker
vetting and find ways to improve the vetting process so the american people can feel save and secure when travelling. aviation workers are supposed to be thoroughly vetted due to their access to sensitive areas of the airport and the fact they hold trust in the transportation system. as the ig report found there are shortfalls in the vetting chatty the ig found tsa doesn't have access to all of the data it may need to thoroughly check an aviation work's potential ties to terrorism. what is more alarming is a memo was sent to the tsa admin strart last year noting the need for additional information and tsa has yet to resolve the gap a year later. the report found that airports don't match expiration dates of an employee's credential to the authorization of their legal
work license in the united states. the tsa is working to resolve the issues by the end of the year it raises serious concerns the gap exist in the first point. i sponsored hr-270 the improved vetting act for aviation workers along with chairman mccaul, congressman rice and payne, to close the links in the network. the reality is the terrorist threat is growing and we as a nation must remain responsive to holes in the security of transportation systems and insure the protocols keep place with the everevolving landscape. improving the vetting of the employees who have access to the sensitive areas are help close another backdoor in the aviation network.
we have representatives from the tsa, gao and the inspector himself. i look forward to hearing testimony and having a dialogue to keep education safe and secure for the american people. the chair recognizes the ranking member of the subcommittee the gentlelady, ms. rice, for any questions she has. >> we have an important job of getting to how we can do better vetting for employees. clearly, if a terrorist were to penetrate an airport in that way the results could bet catastrophic. we have to assume someone right now is trying to do just that. we have to assume we can prevent it. we have to keep working together
aggressive aggressively to strengthen security, find and close the gaps and stay one step ahead. tsa is responsible for vetting people from the identity program, pre-check, and aviation workers. they are a diverse group of people that play many different and important rolls within the airport environment. from the person working at the news stand behind the checkpoint do is the mechanic to has access to the plane itself to perform his or her duties. they go behind the checkpoint in the secure area of the airport and we have to do everything we can to insure people going to work in these areas are exhaustively vetted before employment and on a recurring bases. last month 73 individuals with links to terrorism were able to get jobs with airlines and
airport vendors and access a secure area. that is not acceptable. we should be grateful to the inspector general for bringing this to our attention and to think about what could have happened should be all of the motivation we need to work together and make sure this doesn't happen again. we are here not to create a spectacle or cast blame. we are here to figure out how it happened, what we need to do to learn from it and how we can close the gap in security. inspector general roth noted the vetting process is generally acceptable. there seems to be two manufacture manufacturemain manufacturemain things that made his this happen. they don't have access to the needed database.
they should have access to any and all information that will make their vetting process as exhaust exhaustive as possible. the report made it clear that tsa's own databases a are mess. 87,000 profiles with no passport. 300 files for no full name of the employee. there is no excuse for that. it strikes me as everyone sloppy and there is no place for sloppy when dealing with the nation's aviation system. our information must be airtight and everything we do must be precise. the inspector general office recommended six recommendations and i appreciate the occurring of the situation. i look forward to hearing more about the issues and corrective action and after the hearing i
look forward to taking up legislation that will codify information from this report and another oig report detailing the need for tsa to manage the airport equipment. i am eager to hear your testimony, have a productive conversation about doing a better job vetting aviation workers and keeping airports secure and primarily keeping passengers safe. mr. chairman i thank you again for convening the hearing and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, ms. rice. i know mr. mccaul plans to come and make a statement. when he comes we will get the opportunity to do so and extend the same courtesy for mr. thompson if he shows up. we are pleased to have several distinguished witnesses before us.
let me remind the witnesses their entire written statement will appear in the report. mr. roth, welcome back. ms. fitzmaurice and ms. grover, thank you for being here. i would like to hear from mr. roth. >> chairman ranking member and members of the subcommittee thank you for inviting me here. federal regulations requires that individuals working in secure airport areas undergo secure background checks and they are required to do so before granting them a badge that allows them unescourted access. that is a terrorism check a finger criminal report check
and evidence of authorization to work in the united states. the airports use this and submit to vetting to the tsa through a contractor. once the tsa receives the data it matched it to the terrorist screening database to identify individuals with potential link do is terrorism. tsa vets airport workers every time it receives a watch list update. based on this review tsa may direct the airport to grant, deny, or revoke a credential. we found tsa was general leo effective in identifying individuals with links to terrorism but we did uncover resign weakness. the nationalal terrorism center performed a data match of over 900,000 airport workers who have access to secure areas against the national terrorism center database.
as a result of the match, we identified 73 individuals with terrorism related category code within the database who had active airport credentials. according to tsa officials, current inner agency policy prevents tsa from relieving all terrorism codes during vetting and the lack of access to complete records resulted in tsa not discovering the issues with the 73 individuals. tsa officials recognize that not receiving these codes represent the weakness in its program and informed us that tsa cannot guarantee it can consistently identify all questionable individuals without receivinging the categories. in 2014 the tsa adminstrator authorized the staff to do so.
they have not received additional categories of records. additionally we found an issue with the manner in which airport workers are checked for criminal history. the airports themselves maintain the authority to review and determine whether an individual's criminal history contains disqualify crimes. but the tsa didn't have adequate process in place to insure the airport operators properly received the criminal history. airport officials, rarely or almost never documented the results of the criminal history reviews electrically. tsa cannot determine if individuals with access to secure areas of the airport are free of disqualifying convictions. under current law and fbi policy, tsa and the airports are not legally authorized to
conduct reoccurring vetting in the process. we found weakness in the verifyification -- verify -- of the workers legal right to work in the united states. our review of tsa data shows tsa has had to deny credentials for over 4800 people signing up because tsa showed they didn't prove their lawful status in the united states even after an appeal. these individuals had been cleared to work by the airports as being legally authorized to work. finally we looked at the quality of the data involved in worker vetting. tsa relies on airports to submit complete aviation data. we identified thousands of workers that appeared to have
incomplete or inaccurate biographic information. we made six recommendations in the report and tsa agreed to all of them and gave dates for corrective action. we will follow up on the implementation of the actions. thank you again for inviting me to testify. i look forward to any questions you or other members of the committee may have. >> thank you mr. roth for your continued professionalism in handling these matters. our secretary witness, ms. fitzmaurice, deputy assistant administrator of intelligence and analysis. she was division direct for the checkpoint solution and integ integrity division. she managed state of the art technology and capabilities that screen passengers at u.s. airports. prior to her federal career she
had management positions with airlines, us air ways and transstate airlines. the chair recognizes ms. fitzmaurice to testify. >> good morning, chairman ranking member rice and members of the subcommittee i appreciate the opportunity to testify before you about the tsa aviation vetting program. tsa conducts security threat assessments for more than two million workers requiring badged access to airports. these individuals undergo terrorist checks immigration status, and background checks. tsa checks against the databases are constant and give us real-time notifications to the changes in the list of known or suspected terrorist so we can take appropriate action. the ig and independent review of dhs's vetting process deemed the tsa vetting process to be
effective. tsa made key enhancements through projects that began in 2012 including the ability for airport to upload immigration and identity documents to conduct more robust checks and implement implementing system logic to reject inaccurate information. airport operators are responsible for reviewing fbi criminal history records and ultimately making a determination about granting badges to workers that provide secure access to our nation's airport according to tsa's requirements. an airport operator may not issue a badge if tsa deems the individual to be ineligible. airports make risk-based decisions using tsa provided information and locally derived information for the final batting decision. tsa recognizes the value of conducting more frequency or reoccurring criminal checks on workers to identify cases of
criminal activity. the u.s. of criminal record checks is considered by the fbi to be for non-criminal justice purchases according to pre-9/11 law. in september of 2014, the fbi implemented a new auto mated capability that will provide services to tsa for a fee to get the criminal background checks the police get. tsa is planning for a wrap back pilot in the aviation sector to begin later this calendar year. the ig made several key recommendations on worker vetting including one that the tsa identified as an area of enhancement namely there is additional data that may perform value and improve the vetting conditions. the ig identified 73 cases for
additional attention. these individuals are not considered to be known or suspected terrorist to be clear. tsa rereviewed all cases and found the individuals do not pose a threat to transportation security and the original data did not change the records. they don't meet the standard of being considered a known or suspected terrorist by the u.s. government. that being said, tsa recognizes the value of having as much relevant data to make informed decisions in the vetting and as such former tsa administrator pistol signed an amendment supporting the tsa request for additional data. this information may not only be important for tsa to conduct security threat assessments but also may allow tsa to assist the intelligence and law enforcement community by identifying unknown
associations of known or suspected terrorist. tsa and the department are pursuing auto mated access to the data and working to complete the request. tsa conquers with all six of the ig recommendations and is taking steps to address all of them. in addition to the three items i mentioned, we will be including the requirement for inspectors to improve verifying a review of the criminal history, records and legal status, publishing guidance to regulated airports to make sure the badges are deactivated with the license to work in the united states ends and validate reasons for denial and issue guidance to airports to address any weaknesses. the ig's finding support our efforts to improve the vetting of workers and compliment the
steps tsa has taken to identify vulnerability. we recognize the need for complete and accurate information when vetting. tsa appreciates the work of the ig during the course of the audit and will use the information to enhance our processes going forward. i want to thank the committee for their interest in the important issue and look forward to answering questions. >> our third witness is jenny grover. she has done goa reviews of tsa and coast guard programs and operation. she joined the goa in 1991. the chair recognizes her to testify. >> good morning, chairman katco, ranking member rice, and other members and staff. i am pleased to be here to discuss the oversight of the aviation worker program that tsa
and airports use to determine whether airport workers pose security threats. tsa in collaboration are airport operators and the fbi complete background checks known as security threat assessments for airport facility workers, retail employees, and airline employees. in general security threat assessments include check of a person's criminal history, immigration status, and known links to terrorism. tsa, and airport operators, have different responsibilities within the process. airport operators collect information and send it to tsa for the security threat assessment. tsa reviews the results of the terrorism and immigration checks to determine if the person meets the eligibility for holding the credential. the information check contains information from a finger print
history back to the airport operator for review. based on this information, the airport operator evaluates the criminal history to identify potentially disqualifying marks and makes the decision of the eligibility. tsa has faced long time challenges obtaining the necessary criminal history information to accurately assess aviation workers. in december 2011 we found lim nations in the criminal history checks increased the risk the agencies was detecting all people applying with potentially disqualifying marks. tsa is considered a non-criminal justice requester, similar to that of a private company conducting an employment check on a new employee. the information the tsa received on aviation workers was often
incomplete. tsa didn't have access to many state records with information on sentencing release date, and parole or probation violations. recommended that tsa and the fbi jointly assess the extent to which this limitation poses a security risk and consider alternatives. the tsa concluded the risk of complete information could be mitigated through state supplied record and the fbi reported expanding the criminal information that is available for the security threat assessments. a remaining vulnerability that others noted is that tsa didn't conduct checks of airport workers after they had been hired. in fact workers who maintained continuous employment with the same airport authority didn't undergo any other credit checks.
the airport now requires periodic checks of workers with access to the private parts and they will continue this until they are told not to. in conclusion with updated information about workers and history, tsa are in a better position to detect people with disqualifying potentials. they will conduct random checks and this is a positive step until the wrap back service is in full effect which provides airports with real-time activity monitoring.
chairman >> the chair recognizes the chairman of the full homeland security committee the jim from texas, mr. mccaul for any statement he has. >> thank you chairman katco and ranking member rice. recent reports about the tsa screening in my view are deeply disturbing and call into the question the post-9/11 security measures we worked hard to put in place. islamic terrorist are still plotting daily to kill americans. lately the threat picture has gotten worse. our aviation sector is of particular interest to the terrorist. they think they can bring down our economy. last week we reportedly hit al-qaeda's number two in a drone strike in yemen where the terror group has been focused for years on developing bombs to plant on
airplanes. it will not stop terrorist from aiming at our skies. the american people need confidence in our defenses. terrorist have to be right only once. to defend ourselves we have to be right a hundred percent of the time. millions of travelers pass through the nation's airport every year and we need to know the systems in place protect them. tsa is giving us more concern than confidence. reports about tsa's performance have alarmed to american people and raised fears that bombs should pass through airport passenger screening and terrorist might slip up on the tsa employee vetting. we need to get to the bottom of the claims and do everything we can to deny terrorist an opportunity to exploit our defenses. next month i plan to hold a hearing with the new tsa administrator. one he is confirmed, i want him to outline his vision for tsa
and give us answers on how he will close any identified vulnerabilities. this will not be easy. but in order to win the confidence of the american people tsa needs a good wire brushing and strong leadership. we cannot become complacent about the threat. we can and must improve our screening ability and need aviation workers who are thoroughly vetted. i am co-sponsor hr-2750 the improved vetting for safety act which codifys the inspector general's six recommenditions to insure no loop holes in the program. i strongly support hr-2077 the keeping our travelers safe and secure act introduced by ranking member rice that close gaps and
strength strengthen aviation security. i want to thank general roth for leadership and strong oversight of tsa and dhs in bringing these vulnerabilities to our attention. i want to thank to tsa witnesses and the oig and hope they are committed to restoring the trust of the american people. when i heard 73 airport workers have ties to terrorism, when i got that news first of all i could not believe it. i want additional briefings on the ties but that was totally unacceptable. i think the american people deserve better. when we see the grandma, the veteran, the active duty service, the children being patted down at the airports and the water bottles being taken
out of luggage, and 96% of this stuff is getting through and we cannot talk about what it is because it is classified. but 96! that is a four percent success rate. the american people deserve better. and they deserve to feel safe when they travel on airplanes. and with that mr. chairman i yield back. >> thank you very much mr. chairman mccaul. i now recognize myself for five minutes to ask questions. i will start with mr. roth and summarizing the finding in the report and the recommendations, you recommend four broad categories of recommendations. and i just want to make sure i got them right. tsa should request and review additional watch list better. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> number two they require airports improve verify of employees right to work correct? >> correct. >> they revoke credentials who the right to work expires?
>> correct. >> and number four improve the vetting data. correct? >> yes. >> does tsa agree with all of those recommendations? >> yes, they do. >> i want to focus on requesting and reviewing additional watch list data first. mr. roth, i will start with you briefly, you mentioned about 900,000 individual employees nationwide are run through the international counter terrorism tie database is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> how hard was that to do? >> for us the actual task of running and it ntct did it for us. the legal authorization took a time. we needed a memorandum of tsa and ctcc to do it. it took 18 months because of the requirements of the data matching act. legally and burrit was a huge lift.
>> the mechanical checking against the database one the hurdles had clear is easy? >> yes, the size of the data wasn't that large so it wasn't too difficult. >> if we can fix the hurdles it should be an easy task to have the vetting going through the database regularly? >> yes, sir. >> ms. fitzmaurice, when did the tsa become aware of the problem with respect to not getting appropriate codes to run names through the database? and i know from at least may of 2014 there was a memo to administrator pistol advising they needed additional codes for employee screening. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> to your knowledge, is that when the administrator first became aware of this being a problem? >> that is my understanding >> may of 2014 at least the
administrator, the head of tsa was aware of the fact they may were getting incomplete data regarding employees and that might affect whether individuals with terrorist ties are working at airports across the country, is that right? >> yes, if i may explain the difference of the information we are requesting. tsa receives watch listed information that is maintained by the fbi's terrorist screening center. and that information is the information we primarily use in the vetting process. that is who the federal government has deemed to be known or suspected terrorist and meets the reasonable suspicion standard which is why that has been shared with us. but we are seeking access to additional intelligence-related information that is contained in the nctc's tied database. i think it is important to understand the information that is on the watch list are in tie
but not everyone in tie is a terrorist and meets that reasonable suspicion standard to be put on the watch list. >> understood. but the fact remains there were 73 individuals are potential ties to terrorism that were not identified because you didn't have the appropriate information. is that correct? >> that is correct. we didn't have access to that information. we did review the cases of the 73 individuals and determined they don't pose a threat. >> who made the determination? >> tsa. >> did anyone outside of the tsa make that determination? >> sir, as part of the typical process of looking at information and looking at individuals who may have nexus to terrorism we often times will consult with various law enforcement, and intelligence community partners. >> did you do that? >> we do that regularly as part
of the process. >> with respect to the 73 individuals with potential ties to terrorism according to the tie database tsa made their own independent determination they don't pose a threat? >> tsa reviewed are all of the records on the individual and determined they did not pose a threat to transportation. that is part of tsa's day in and day out process. every time we understand that someone may have a potential nexus they may not be assigned as a known or suspected terrorist. we do that consultation with the ic and other law enforcement. >> just a brief yes or no. did you consult with people outside of tsa before making the determination that the 73 individuals who are on the tie database don't pose a threat. >> yes, that is part of the process. >> okay. and i take it that is something we can see in the secure setting? the information regarding that. >> yes, we would be happy to show that in a closed setting.
>> reporter: >> this is raising concern about a gap and the biggest concern i have is the amount of time a concern is raised with tsa and the time tsa acts upon it. i guess from a guideline standpoint we have may of 2014 is when the information was brought to administrator pistol correct? >> yes, sir. >> what did the tsa do after that to try to fix this problem? i know as of today a year later, the problem has not been fixed. so tell us what you have been doing in the meantime. >> certainly. the administrator signed a memorandum acknowledging our wanting to seek access to the information. we have been engaged in ongoing discussions to receive access to the information. i recently came back to the office of intelligence and analysis in march and since my return to the office have had numerous inneragency discussions
on this topic. we are working to expedite the process and request to gain access information. >> it has been a year with all due respect in response to expedi expediting this. it doesn't sound like it is. >> i understand your point there. like i said, we are working very hard to gain access to this information. >> when you say very hard what does that mean? we have had this problem with employee screening since 2011 and still talking about the problems four years later and hear the same thing all of the time. we are working on it. with all due respect, and i know you are filling in for someone unavailable, but that is not acceptable. you have the nation's security in your hand. and giving us the response we working on it in expedited
manner. you are talking about a gap and you are working on it? >> it is important to note we receive the terror database and they are the individuals deem as threats: we vet all of the workers against those and taken action. we are seeking access to additional information that will assist us and provide fuller contact on the individuals and potentially identify unknown associations. >> the point is and i ask you to take it back to the supersoy supersoy -- supervisors. as it stands now, i doubt that
we would be any closer to getting access to the tie database thereat identified 73 people you didn't know about it. your determination of whether or not they have ties to terrorism is internal and we will look at it. but it needs to be quickly done. we cannot have this from the people in charge of guarding the airports. i will yield my time the ranking member ms. rice. >> ms. grover you mentioned the tsa is not qualified with the law
enforcement agency so we have to deal with that change. ms. fitzmaurice, one of the first things you said in the testimony is the vetting process by the tsa has been found to be effective whether that is mr. roth's finding or your finding, and i have to tell you just sitting here, how is it possible that anyone can come to that conclusion when we are talking about all of these deficiencies? >> i understand that. and i think -- let me provide context for that comment. the inspector general in part of his report did say they found the vetting process to be general general generally effective. the department sponsored a
review of dhs' vetting programs and we participated in that and the review of that found that the tsa system was one of the best performing and effective systems that dhs has in the vetting enterprise. i think one of the key things we have to keep in mind and part of watt we are talking about today is the information we have access to. so, we have very sophisticated vetting system that takes millions of records and that said again, the databases of known and suspected terrorist but we are depended on having access to the right information about individuals who pose you know a threat to transportation security. and who also may have value from an intelligence standpoint. additionally as has been highlighted the other piece is important on the information we receive on the people applying to work in our transportation system. and so we are focused on those
areas right now. but what my comment was specifically referencing was the effectiveness of the system that we have built that is complex in the vetting >> i think it is clear after today and probably clearer much earlier we cannot use that word effective at this point in my opinion. mr. roth i want to ask you you said that tsa denied credentials to 4300 people applying who had previously been found to go okay. can you elaborate on that? >> with regard to immigration status? >> yes. how did that happen if you can do it quickly. >> that is precisely my question. the airports are legally responsible for insuring immigration status and the folks have lawful authority to work. they do that by the time they send it to tsa they are certifying -- >> they being who?
>> the airport operator. >> the airport operator send the background information to the tsa? >> with the certification they are able to work. >> this is a deficiency on part of the airport operator not doing their work? >> correct. and the tsa bounces are off cif records and that is where we found the discrepancy. >> it is clear, i think, from what we are hearing here today that post-9/11, 14 years post-9/11 we have federal agencies and private operators silencing relevant information in a way that could lead to a catastrophic event. how do we fix that mr. roth? >> certainly the airports themselves under law have the obligation to certify if someone meets the criminal history check. in other words, void of any disqualifying criminal offenses. that is 450 airports across the
country. tsa is obligated to do a quality check on that. since they are not electronic records it has to be manual. if they do an airport inspection they might do an annual review of only 1 percent of the applications to determine whether or not the airport works who have the badges have disqualifying offenses. >> i think that is one of the most disturbing things i hear. airport operators are not doing their due diligence to make sure people they are sending to you to get the stamp of approval are not giving you the relevant information you need. >> and i share your concern. it is especially concerning given the fact there are no layers of security once you have a badge that means you have unescourted access to anywhere in the airport. you can load baggage, have access to aircraft and do
anything un-escourted and that is concerning. >> certainly the airport operators have to assume an enormous amount of accountability and responsibility. we have to find a way to check the information they are giving is correct. i yeld back. >> the chair recognizes the gentlemen from alabama for any questions he might have. >> this could be for mr. roth or ms. fitzmaurice, both of you made statements that inferred you don't have accesses to databases that would give you the relevant information to make sure the staffers don't get the badge. is that what i am hearing? you made a reference you cannot do the job without access to important information. so you are saying you don't have that access? >> we do have access to the u.s. government's terrorist watch list data but we are seeking
access additional intelligence information on individuals and working through the interagency to request that. >> is that an existing database you want access to? >> that is a database we are seeking auto mated access to incorporate additional information into the vetting process. >> have you been told you cannot have access or something you didn't realize? >> we realized the value and started trying to gain access. >> i am trying to figure out why you are saying we probably should have had access to the database. if it was a ditatabase with potential terrorist information why wouldn't you be plugged in? >> the watch list maintained by the fbi terrorist screening
centers are what is determined to be individuals who pose threats to transportation and we receive the watch list for purposes of vetting. i think what we have recognized over time through our experience in vetting individuals and understanding the additional intelligence information that is contained and tied we believe that we can supplement for the value of what we do by identifying individuals who may be unknown. >> who has control of the database now? >> that database we are talking about is maintained by the nctc. >> are they giving you any problems about access? is it just a technical issue now? are they happy to let you in on it? >> this is a coordination discussion right now with the interagency. the vetting systems are very complex. we have the airports, we have the airlines submitting information to us we have our systems that is actually doing the analysis we are getting information from the watch
listing community. it is more complexity. >> how long do you think it will take you to work through that? >> i am optimistic. we had frequent and ongoing discussions and i expect to work through it in the future. >> that is lawyerly. >> i am not a lawyer >> you sound like one. >> that hurts for the record because i am an attorney. >> i am a recovering one too. 60 days? 90 days? >> i can tell you we are having daily conversations on this topic and even this as frequent as this afternoon we will be continuing those discussions on how we can seek and gain access. >> mr. roth is what she described watt you were making refances to about the side of
edges? >> there are a number of codes we were talking about. >> a number of what? >> of codes or categories of individuals or names in the large tie database. some of those are known or suspected terrorist that tsa does not have access to. and others were out there that are simply in the large tie database that are not used for watch listing purpose. although tsa would like them to be noted for watch listing purposes. so there is two categories of information. some are already vetted information for example there are several categories that other components within dhs gets but tsa doesn't get. >> why? >> it is difficult to describe in an open setting but we can certainly explain it later on if you would wish. >> yeah i do. let me ask is this the first time that you've done an ig report on this problem?
>> we have done reports on access badges in general and control over access badges. this is the first time we have done a data run comparing the badges to the terrorist databases. >> do you agree with ms. fitzmaurice about the characterization of the 73 people identified were not a problem? >> we don't have information as to the process tsa used once we gave them the names in november of last year. i would say that the more information you have the better decisions that you make. so whether or not these 73 individuals in fact did not pose a threat to terrorism doesn't mean the system is working perfectly. >> my time is up. i hope one of the other members picks up n othis. i would like to know if they were not a problem why were they on the list to begin with. >> the chair recognizes mr. payne from new jersey for questions. >> thank you mr. chairman and
thank you to the ranking member of this committee. mr. roth a bit of a kind of confusing element in your most recent report is how tsa's vetting process can be considered generally effective yet 73 individuals with links to terrorism were not found during its process. it seems a little controdictory. can you elaborate? >> thank you. we are talking about the operation the vetting unit does with the tsa. they are only as good as the information they get. they do a very significant job. for example, they are over 2.2 million reoccurring vetting hits they have to process every year.
that is about 6,000 per day. they have to additionally manually review 24,000 records a year so that is 2,000 records a month and 500 records a month to look at hits off the terrorism screening database to see whether or not these are the individuals listed on the database itself. they do a good job with the information they have but we said they uncovered a vulnerability not having all of the information they needed to do their job. >> so with the volume if it was another issue a other than terrorism, it would be considered not that bad but you know the potential 73 individuals, you only need one to have ill will against this country. >> that is the nature of the threat that tsa faces. it is an asymmetric threat where all it takes is one and they have to be right every single
time. >> your board acknowledges that social security numbers are a good match but they are not taken during the process. can they identify the risk if elements are discounted? >> i think it makes their job more difficult. one of the things with regard to social security numbers -- that is probably the best identifier you can use as far as an individual being able to match an applicant off a database. the privacy act doesn't require them to have their social security number and i can that is something that would be useful. >> and ms. fitzmaurice during the q&a with the members up
here, what leverage do we have with the airport operators if they are not implying and giving the information, you know, i believe you said there is a lapse sometimes with the airport operators in doing that job, what leverage do we have to make sure they are complying? >> so you know before we get to the compliance piece i think what is important is us working closely with the airport operators to identify the areas for improvement, put out guidance on how week do that work with them to implement that and insure we have a robust compliance mechanisms to go back and review and insure they are doing that. and you know take corrective action if we continue to find that they are not complying with that. >> and what would those corrective actions consist of? we are having obviously continued issues around them
getting to where we need them to be what leverage do we have? what you know, if they are falling short? >> we do have formal security programs with all of the airports that they are required to comply with. and we have inspectors who go out and review their performance against those requirements. i am not familiar with all of the consequences i will say with respect to issues of non-compliance but happy to follow-up with with you on that. >> what can we do to strengthen the relationship the tsa has with the airport to insure cras of the data from -- accuracy -- potential and current aviation workers? >> yes, thank you. we continue to look at this and conquer with the recommendations the oig made in the area. going back to 2012 we have been making improvements. putting in system logic so that
it will reject information that may be erroneous or inaccurate. we have added automation to allow them to upload identity documents so we can have the information to review. looking forward there are continued opportunities and one of the things we are looking at is further automation in the process. the way the information comes from the airport operators through channelers to us is through both auto mated and manual processes. we are looking to move to a fully automated process that will reduce the opportunity for erroneous data to be submitted. >> thank you. and i yield back chairman. >> thank you mr. payne. the chairman recognizes mr. ratcliffe from texas. >> thank you chairman katco and ranking member rice for holding this hear. i have to say it feels like
some of what i've seen in the report calls to mind the troubling pre- 9/11 trend that we have. and i know that you're a former justice department official and as the former assistant united states attorney i should say and as you know we had a problem before 9/11 where the intelligence were not sharing information and connecting the dots. but we have an excuse back then we changed that information, so i want to ask about the report because he said he didn't because they haven't cleared to receive all terrorism categories under the current interagency
guidance. did i restate that accurately? and you talked about this with congressman rogers but i'm not clear is this a situation where we need to change the law? >> it may very well be. my suggestion would be to allow tsa to deal with the office of the national intelligence and determine whether or not they would be able to have access to this information and if not, it may require a change in the law. i will sure give you could say information sharing is critical particularly in this area even if there is information contained in the database that is unsubstantiated. it's useful for individuals doing the manual review of somebody that is going to have unfettered access to secure areas. what is very troubling sort of about the tide database as well as the criminal history checks
is that it is being treated for all intensive purposes as if they were a wal-mart that an individual holding a badge for the history checks stand in dance in line with wal-mart to determine whether or not there will be a criminal history check >> we talked a little bit about that in the testimony, talked about the fact airport operators reviewed the criminal history for the applicants for the badges to secure airport areas but tsa and the airports are not legally authorized for the return and criminal history betting is that right? >> that's correct. >> so how do tsa and the airports though if they committed a crime? >> that is the difficulty of it and how it is providing this grab bag program if the pilot
program if they are going to start at the end of the year. spinning as far as the current conditions that is a vulnerability. >> but is tsa right now checking -- did he have the ability to check against the marshals service want list? >> we do check against. >> but that doesn't include all disqualifying crimes, correct? spec that is critical here is getting rid of the rats packet capability. >> i see that my time is expired. >> the gentleman from massachusetts for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you mr. chairman. as mentioned, this reminds him of the movie groundhog's day and also of the leonardo dicaprio movie catch me if you can where he dresses up like a pilot in
through security because these are real issues. one of the things that came out of that is that jurisdictional problem and we are hearing it again today and very severe terms. i just want to follow up and say if you have noncompliance what can you do about it? we hold parameters not being looked at and they were cited in the vulnerability assessments and other things and nothing was done because there was no enforcement over the airport authority. we are seeing now in testimony this morning when you are reviewing some of the employment getting us there, you are doing
only 1% of it but it didn't come forward. yet how is that follow that follow it up and how are they penalized for that? what are they threatened before that? is seems we have a basic jurisdictional issue aside from information sharing where if the federal agencies were not giving each other information that they should be giving each other, and we could change the law to make sure that is the case yet what are you doing with municipalities? there was an effort on the part to take the lanes in the security area and moved the authority away move the authority away from the employees and give it to the local municipals. is it fair to say that is officially dead, are you going to stop pushing that effort to
get rid of the employees and replace them with municipal airport airport employees or authorities at the airport and their employees? are you aware of what that effort has been in the last few years to shift shift the response of the? >> i want to make sure that i'm responsive. you are asking whether we would take back the responsibility of -- >> you've been asking the airports over the last couple of years to shift the responsibility, take the responsibility in that exit lane they are where other people are coming in and that has been the way in part because of embers of the committee expressing concerns. is it fair to say given what we are hearing this morning but that isn't going to be pursued any more?
>> i apologize i will have to get back to you. >> also, when we are looking at the number studies on the vulnerability studies on the physical aspects of this we found it is less than 3% being reviewed and this morning we found out it is only 1% and they are not doing their job either. there's too many of them so we have them as we have them all the way through where i would hope, and maybe i can ask do you think there's a need to have more accountability and a better need to enforce the operations of airport authorities in the municipal airports as well where they can just look at the recognition that what has been found coming and we, and we are not even cleared of anything done other than they can shrug their shoulders as they did in the security to say we don't
have the resources for this and i just do not want to see the situation where we have a tragedy and you know, federal government pointing their finger at the municipal airports and the authorities pointing at the federal government or the other law-enforcement pointing fingers at -- it's dangerous and it's going to get us nowhere and that's what we've been having with for the last few years. do you think that there is a need to put peace in what they can do with the airports? >> you raised a good .5 but it's something we would be willing to consider which is irrespective of whether they follow up and actually find out for example whether the airport officials are doing a criminal history check the need to do when they find noncompliance would do they do about it and unfortunately i don't have the answer to that question. >> it is a toothless grin.
nothing. so let's find out here. i yield back. >> thank you. the chair recognizes you for questioning. >> i appreciate your leadership in this most disturbing situation that we find ourselves in. i read your report and i appreciate it very much. but there were several things in a report that were very disturbing to me. very disturbing. first of all, it is my understanding that the security credentials are being given to individuals regardless of their work or authorization is that correct? >> that's correct. what we found is that they were authorized to work for 18 months. you would get a security badge that would turn off at the determination of the authority to work. >> so what you're telling me is that we might have people in the -- we may have people, we probably do have people who are walking around, not escorted in our airports and security areas
that are here illegally? >> who do not have authorization to work on the yes we identify that as a vulnerability. >> you know, certainly we have these people's social security number correct? spinet i'm sorry i missed the question. >> certainly we have their social security number correct? >> no, we do not. stack we have people walking around on escorted in our airports and we don't even have their social security number. >> that's correct. we did a scrub of the data and found a number of areas in which they don't have either their own registration registration number if that's appropriate the passport number if it's appropriate with their social security number. >> pulled the -- holy cow. >> they found that we have thousand of incomplete or inaccurate applications and biographical information. can i ask you if you bear with
me please give me your first name. i have three minutes left to ask questions. you think i can guess your first name in those three minutes? and my point is simply this. we have applications that only have the first initial of the first name. >> that is correct. >> does that scare you? >> we are looking at where we have missing information. and we are taking action if we've already implemented logic -- >> and i appreciate that. i really do. but look, i am from georgia and i traveled to the busiest airports in the world through atlanta to the jackson airport and to think we may have people
walking around in the airport and we don't even know what their name is or their social security number isn't that something that looks, i'm okay. i'm pretty confident i can take care of myself to a certain extent but my son is coming up later today. i want to make sure that he's okay. my youngest son is coming up today and my oldest is coming up tomorrow. isn't there something we should take care of immediately? >> we are taking action to work on the continued improvement to improve the data quality in the system. >> i just can't leave that in the world's busiest airport in atlanta hartsfield jackson airport that we could have people walking around on escorted in secure areas of the airport we don't know their
social security number, we don't know their name, and that something you want to be on the phone right now. we've got to figure this out. i'm just appalled at this. i appreciate the efforts of all of you but we need to take care of this immediately. >> thank you mr. carter. the committee shares your frustration and that's why we had something else scheduled today on the passenger rail safety and transportation safety. instead we chose to have this hearing and i want to juxtapose tsa response to the seemingly serious problems with both with the kennedy has done. we found about this a week ago. we are having the committee hearing today and we are marking up the bill to fix the problem right after this hearing. so, the point is that you have
issues and you need something done i would highly encourage you to come to us because we can get you the legislative fixes instead of waiting for a year to negotiate or hope to negotiate something when the security gaps continue. i know they are trying to fix something. let me tell you what you're doing in the meantime. we have a problem with pre- check that will be introduced in the next couple of weeks to deal with expanding and revamping the pre- check program and having it be run properly because it was concluded that it was not. it's a managed inclusion where we take people out of the wind had been into pre- check because keeping to the passengers that's not right and mr. thompson is introducing a bill regarding that. it is absolutely abysmal and when people have guns on airplanes or they are dealing
dope out of the airport, it is a problem. it can't wait for discussions. we are introducing the screening bill next month that is going to introduce that. we also have many other things we are going to be working on and i can tell you going forward i would highly encourage them to work with us. not just to close the ranks and say that we are looking at the issue. it's now a year after you found out that your employees are not getting checked against the database. after people start requesting that information happen and there is still spinning of the wheels. that can't happen. he wore interested in the nations security, and we need to do a better job. we just don't need to do a better job in district leadership. it took months of begging and the president just to appoint a successor. that is unacceptable in such an important agency.
so i can tell you one thing going forward we are not going to wait for things to happen. we are going to fix these things because we cannot wait for these to be fixed. i would encourage you to keep doing what you're doing. you are doing a superb job of keeping us informed and exposing issues that need to be taken care of. i know it's a lot of work and i can tell you that what you are giving you some critically important. i applaud both of you for your agencies and what you are doing. so keep it up. i want to thank the witnesses for their testimony and members further question. we may have additional questions in alaska to respond to these and writing. the hearing will be held open for ten days without objection the committee stands adjourned i would note the arguing to markup in about 15 minutes after the break and we will have the committees out hopefully through the full committee next week and on the floor for the folks that is how it should be done.
first families take vacation time and like presidents and first ladies a good read can be the first companion for your summer journeys. today the senate voted to end the debate on the defense programs go in and 83-15 vote. democratic leaders have been critical of the bill because the extra $38 billion added for the pentagon war fund. today's action allows for the potential final passage vote on the bill sometime this week.
some also considered several amendments to the bill and improved one that would prohibit certain enhanced interrogation practices that critics call torture. the amendments remain sponsors democratic dianne feinstein and republican john mccain discussed the issue before the senate voted. >> thank you very much mr. president and i would think the distinguished chairman for this.orked i don't think i would take 15 minutes mr. president i join senator mccain and the ranking member read as well as senator collins and the other original cosponsors of the senators leahy white house mikulski, warner, baldwin and markey in offering an amendment that would help to ensure that the united states never again carries out
abusive interrogation techniques were indefinite secret detentions. i'm pleased the senate will consider this amendment and i urge the vote. the amendment we are offering today is very simple. it applies the authorizations and restrictions in the manual to the entire government and extends what the congress did buy the vote of 90-9 with the treatment act that i believe senator mccain offered which banned the department of defense from using techniques not authorized by the army field manual and also ban the government from using cruel inhumane treatment or punishment and it also requires pop access by the international committee to any detainee held by the
united states government. both of these provisions are consistent with united states policy for the past several years but this amendment would codify these requirements into law. in the first few days on january 22, 2009. that formerly prohibits the matter of policy, the use of interrogation techniques not specifically authorized by the army field manual on human intelligence operations. that is long overdue. the amendment also codifies another section of president obama's january 09 executive order.
requiring access by the international committee of the red cross to all u.s. detainees in the government custody. access has been to strictly granted by the united states and other law-abiding nations and needed to fulfill obligations in the international law such as the geneva conventions. it's also important to understand that the policies in the executive order are only guaranteed for as long as the future president agrees to leave them in place. this amendment would codify provisions into law. current law bans torture as well as cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. however, this amendment is still necessary because interrogation technique were able to be used
which were based on the deeply flawed legal theories into the technique was sad not to constitute torture or cool treatment. this could be written again. in 2009 president obama's executive order settled the issue as former policy and this amendment will codify the prohibition on the program that was already debunked at the end and the director has the stated that he agrees with the ban on interrogation technique is that are not in the army field manual. the director wrote the following for 2013 about the presidents over nine executive order. and i close, i want to reaffirm
what i said during my confirmation hearing. i agree with the president position in filing the director of the cia this program will not under any circumstances be reinitiated. i personally remain firm in my belief that enhanced interrogation techniques and they are used to continue to play the leadership role in the world. furthermore it's important to point out that the senate and the house both required the use of the army field manual in the intelligence authorization bill. mr. president, what everyone may think about the former detention
and interrogation plan we should all agree that there can be no turning back to the era of torture. and interrogation that would together constitute torture do not work. i would like to ask for unanimous consent to place and to record a series of letters and statements in support of this amendment. we can reconsider results to the precepts that the united states does not torture without exception and without equivocation. and sure the mistakes of the past are never again repeated in
and who arguably has more experience dealing with foreign detainees across the u.s. government in any other adhere are his or her words i support the extension of the provisions of the u.s. army field manual manual that govern the actions of the military to all u.s. government personnel and contractors. in my view that outweighs the value of the information gained through the use of the techniques beyond those in the manual. i would urge my colleagues to list the words of david petraeus. there is a letter that i received this month from the former intelligence interrogation professionals u.s.
military cia and fbi. here's an excerpt of the letter they sent this month. they've offered the torture and other forms of cruel or degrading treatment and we strongly encourage you to support the amendment on and on. those that have kept america safe for generations were lawful and produce reliable, actionable intelligence and interrogation scenarios. to promote the return to the respective level of professionalism, there must be a single well-defined standard of conduct consistent with the values of the nation across all u.s. agencies to govern the detention and interrogation of people. this month, 30 retired in
putting in putting it and the marine corps and centcom and the commander in the u.s. army europe among others the following and i quote this amendment only solidifies the stand of cool and inhumane degrading treatment. the interrogation methods used by all u.s. personnel are professional and reflects the government's best practices. in that way we not only ensure that the interrogations are humane and lawful and that they produce reliable intelligence on which we depend if we are to win against the current threat. i ask unanimous consent that would be dated june 9, 2015 to be included in the record and -- the armed military including the
commander marine corps also to be included in the record. >> the evangelicals wrote the following support of this amendment. by all the use of torture is prohibited across all of the government agencies by the executive order. the fundamental principle should always be enshrined in the law to ensure that no future president may authorize the use of torture. that is from the national association of evangelicals. the committee of the international justice and peace and catholic bishops wrote the following in support of the amendment and catholic teaching and it violates the dignity of the person with victim and perpetrator and degrades any society that tolerates it.
they are charged with protecting this country. for 14 years america's security professionals in this activity and intelligence committee and beyond have lived every day in their determination to protect their fellow americans. at the same time, we must continue to insist that the methods we employ into peace and freedom we must always be as right and honorable as the goals and ideals that we fight for a. of a compromise. the compromise our values, stand in our national honor and get practical good. i don't don't feed the we should have been toward such practices in the past when we should never permit them in the future. this provides greater assurances
that never again will the united states follow that dark path of sacrificing the values for the short-term security needs. i also know that such practices don't work. i know from personal experience that the abuse does not produce good reliable intelligence. victims of torture will offer intentionally misleading information if they think their captives will be leaving it and i certainly be the that all people even capture enemies possess the securing rights which are protected by international standards often said by america's past leaders. the act without conscience if we must not. but if we reassert the population that is essential to the success and the more we ask those that fight to remember at
all times they are defending a secret idea of how the nation should be governed and conducted with others even our enemies. those of us us that give duty are obliged by the nation's highest ideas -- respect for human dignity we need not risk our national honor to prevail this or any war. we need only remember in times the times of the chaos and terror of war suffering and loss that we are always americans indifferent, stronger, better than those that would destroy us. >> the senate then approved a ban on torture for interrogations. in the 78-21 vote. it would remove sexual assault
cases from the military chain of command creates the senator debated the amendment with senator john mccain and dianne feinstein. this part of the debate is a half-hour. i rise to urge my colleagues to support my amendment number 1578 the military justice improvement act to ensure the survivors of the sexual salt have accessed to be unbiased trained military system. last year despite the support of the senators of the coalition scanning the entire ideological spectrum including both the majority and the minority leader are those creating independent military justice free and inherent biases and conflicts of interest within the chain of command with filibusters by this body.
but as you said then, we will not what the way. the brave men and women in uniform for defending this nation deserve a vote. that is our duty. it is our oversight will. it's congress responsibility to act. it's the great survivors of sexual assault are our sons daughters, wives, being betrayed by the greatest military on earth. we owed them that at the very least. over the last few years congress forced the military to make many incremental changes to address this crisis and after two decades the complete failure and lipservice for zero tolerance the military now says trust us this time we've got it. if this represents the data to claim that the mission is accomplished. but when you dig below the surface of the top lines you
will find the assault rate is exactly where it was in 2010 in average of 52 cases. they don't think that it's worth the risk of the crime committed against them. 75 percent do not trust the permit system. one incident victims were assaulted by someone in their chain of command. and 60% of the cases, a supervisor or the unit leader is responsible for either sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. this is not a climate of the military deserves. it's no surprise then that one of three survivors believed that reporting what hurts the career. the reform that made the retaliation of crime they made
zero progress on improving the 62% retaliation raids that we had in 2012. they cannot provide a single example of disciplinary action taken against those that retaliated against the victim and sexual salt. they are told times more likely to suffer the retaliation began to see them get convicted of the offense. in my close review of the 107 cases from the largest domestic military bases, one from each service in 2015 i found that nearly half of those that did move forward and report ended up dropping out of the cases. survivors still have little stake in the system under any
metric system remains plagued with distrust and does not provide a fair and just processed that our survivors are men and women in the military deserve. simply put, they haven't held up to the standards posed by general dempsey one year ago when he said we are on the clock if you will. the president said to us in december, you've got about a year to review this and if we haven't been able to demonstrate, we are making a difference and we deserve to be held to scrutiny. i urge my colleagues to hold the military to that higher standard. enough is enough of the dead. yesterday i received a letter from the survivor of the military assault in active duty. the reason i'm writing on her behalf is because i hear that she would be retaliated against for speaking out. while the military is on the
hill lobbying senators not to support the military justice approved fact, i'm asking you to take a stand with survivors and their families. these military lobbyists have good intentions. however, i'm doubtful any of them would represent my perspective. a fellow brother in arms that she should have been able to trust. please come support the military and support the military justice approved and back to the common sense law that significantly improves the military justice system, the military sons and daughters after surviving in the stress disorder and satisfied. i believe that the end of the path it's to save lives and that will positively affect the lives of survivors of victims and their families. no one should have to worry about retaliation in the chain of command when these reports.
retaliation happens so often that a majority of the of assaults go unreported. every military that can't sexual assault these herbs process. professional treatment by the trained military individual and equal opportunity to seek justice. it's time for the chain of command to be removed from could be removed from the decision-making and sexual assault cases and replaced by those trained nonbiased military personnel educated in the wall and experience of handling sexual assault cases. further they specifically carve out other serious crimes with the remainder being left in the command. please hold of the military to a higher standard by voting yes to be unbiased military system.
the men and women will give their lives to the country. we will have far more heroes. the brave men and women will be sent in to keep us safe and deserve nothing less than the justice system is called to their sacrifice. by listening to the victims, we can deliver that. i urge everyone here listen to the brave survivors. support the bill and do the right thing. i now yield from the military justice approved an act, the senator from iowa. as a cynic thank you senator for the leadership in this area over the long period of time.
she's been a great leader on the issue and as you see she has a dogged pursuit of justice. last year when i spoke in favor of the major i made the point that this wasn't a new issue that required further studies. we've been hearing promises for years and years. there's a crackdown on military sexual salt. last year, the national defense authorization act included a love of commonsense reforms. but it did not include any fundamental reform of the military justice system.
at the time i made the point that we had already tried working within the current system to no avail. i am not one to advocate for the major reform if less they will address the problem. what we have been doing last year after the congress passed the modest reforms but not the justice approved the tax amendment the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general dempsey said we've been given about a year to demonstrate and we will treat us this with the urgency that he deserves and that we can take or turn the trend lines any more positive.
we have not seen significant movement. in terms of the number of sexual assault cases and the shocking rate of retaliation against the report, we simply don't see progress. that is probably because the current system is part of the problem. the fact that the victims of sexual assault have not turned into an independent system of justice combined with a very real fear of retaliation acts as a terrible deterrent for the reporting of sexual assault. if sexual assault cases are not reported they then cannot be prosecuted. if sexual assault is prosecuted elites to predators remaining in the military. and the perception that this sort of activity is going to be
tolerated. by allowing this situation to continue, we are putting at risk many women who are volunteers to place their lives on the line. we also seriously damaged the military morale and readiness. taking precaution. for the federal prosecutors that are independent of the chain of command will help to ensure partial justice for the men and women of the armed forces. this would in no way take away the ability of commanders to punish the troops by the military and precious. >> the prescience. >> the commanders also can and should be held accountable. but the point here is the sexual
salt salt as a law-enforcement matter, not a military one. this is a sound reform that came out of the blue either. we have an advisory committee appointed by the secretary defends themselves that came out in the support of the reforms. on september 27, 2013, the defense advisory committee on the women in the services this committee voted overwhelmingly in support of the components of the military justice improvement amendment. it was created way back in 1951 by the secretary defends george marshall for the military men and women that are appointed by the secretary defends to provide the advice and recommendation on
matters of policy is relating to the recruitment and retention treatment employment and integration and well-being of the highly qualified professional women in the armed forces. the committee conditions have been instrumental effecting changes to the law and policy pertaining to military women. this isn't some advocacy groups were fly-by-night panel. it's a long-standing advisory committee and hand-picked by the secretary defends bandit supports the substance of the amendment to a t.. we tried reforming the current system and it didn't work. when we are talking about something as serious and life altering as sexual assault we cannot afford to wait any
longer. so i urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this amendment. but this isn't -- as we approach this from the outside it gives me an opportunity to reiterate what i see wrong in so many bureaucracies we are always promised change. in the various bear sees nothing really happens from within. it is the number one responsibility of the federal government this change has to have it from without because it hasn't happened from within in regard of the promises.
to grant the privileges for the remainder of the year. >> mr. president, this year we gathered to debate this issue and i think it's important to point out that everyone in this body has the same hard when it comes to this issue and that is we want to make sure the victims that are assaulted are protected and supported that the system is highly trained and professional that the perpetrators have due process but also are putting resin of the system finds them guilty. which system would better accomplish those goals. we have agreed on so much and it's important to point out that the work that the congress has done reforming sexual assault in
the military. the provisions that were enacted into law this year we haven't stopped. we have 13 more provisions and a piece of legislation. there was a disagreement over which system would protect the victims better. the historical reform commanders have been stripped from their body to overturn the conviction and they are being held accountable in the rigorous standards. every victim that is now reports gets their own independent lawyer to protect the rights and fight for the interest. it's a crime for any member to return the unit against the victim. they had heard of no witnesses. they heard a brief presentation from myself and by senator that they didn't spend days on it
whereas the system's response panel put in place by this congress spent weeks and weeks examining this. they heard from dozens of witnesses from every side of the issue and by the way this panel is made up of a majority of civilians, majority women come into voted overwhelmingly to reject an approach that removes commanders from their responsibility and their duties and therefore their accountabilities. i went into this thinking that it made sense but when you hear the facts, it just doesn't hold up. she was joined by liberal icons
that were available in the congress has served as have served as a representative and also spoke out saying once she understood the system and understood the fact she agreed keeping the commanders accountable was crucial. haven't we seen progress? it's one thing to have anecdotal information and it's another to have a statistically valid survey. retaliation is continuing the problem and we are relying on the very same survey. incidents are down. that's meaningful progress. dropping 29% just in the last two years. reporting continues to go up which is the stated goal as we began these reforms. the report card up 70% from
2012. back in 2012, only one in ten victims were reported. we have that down to one in four. that is not spam, that is fact. victims have come forward because they have a renewed confidence that they will get that information into the system is stacked against them both reports occurred in all categories. the number of unrestricted support for up and importantly a number of reports that victims converted from restricted to unrestricted furthermore they went about the country and focus groups and this was in the military they were the well-known for their well known for their ability to do statistical information and
there were different focus groups and they asked them to come forward and participate in the survey and this is important they agreed that the unit commander supported this. 73% were satisfied and they would recommend other parts of your victims of sexual assault and this is really important. the amendment does nothing to retaliate. they found that the majority doesn't come from commanders that comes from peers. certainly i would stand ready to work with senator gillibrand in all of my colleagues to work to see what can we do to get this retaliation of what was reported and finally, the amendment weakens punishment for the crime of presentation by moving the
retaliation from article number two and it would reduce the maximum punishment for this crime and it finally prohibits the resources necessary to get this problem. they cannot add any additional resources to get after this. historical reforms have been made. they are working based on the data and talking to dozens and dozens of prosecutors and untold victims as a former prosecutor that cares nothing more cares about nothing more than taking care of victims and making sure they have due process. i must urge them to reject the approach that removes commanders from being held accountable where they must be held accountable. thank you mr. president and i would urge a no vote on the amendment.
>> i would like to respond to the last point and first point of my colleagues made that somehow this reform makes commanders was responsible. >> the senators are advised all time is expired. >> i ask for unanimous consent to continue the debate for five minutes. >> is there objection? >> without objection. >> so the statement that somehow commanders are removed from responsibility and that we are not keeping the commanders responsible, that couldn't be further from the truth. get a commanders are the only one response before the discipline. at the rate of the crimes are being committed and to punish
the retaliation. they have failed in that duty and in this chain of his chain of command, 97% of the commanders do not have the convening authority would like to give prosecutors. 97% it doesn't change one iota is it to say that you're you are making the commanders less responsible is a false statement that has no bearing in fact they are 100% responsible for the discipline and for training the troops, and in one year they've been on notice for years about this for 25 years they got this. in one year not on prosecution retaliation. the retaliation under article 15 this side can do something about the retaliation. only 3% have the right to convene and that needs to be
moved to someone that is actually a lawyer that is trained and knows how to make the right decision and that isn't what has happened today. so, right now this supervisor peter is in 60% of the cases where there's alleged gender determination or sexual that sexual harassment is a unit leader committing it. one in seven are one of these commanders chain of command. so carter is a perspective god is a perspective by the provider that his chain of command doesn't have my back so i would like to give it to another chain of command at the senior military prosecutors for this decision. so the perspective can be someone's got my back. this chain of command may well be changed for her in the unit commander is harassing her. you need to professionalize the system. the vast prosecutorial system in the world and they can do this mission. we need to give them the tools and having this current status
quo, the status quo that's been in charge of no retaliation for 25 years is failing. you have the same rate of retaliation that we had two years ago. every one of the summer commanders doesn't have convening authority but every one of the commanders could have gotten the retaliation and when you say peer-to-peer, it is dishonest, 21% of the cases in retaliation cases and retaliation are administrative 30% are professional. commander can administer professional retaliation. this culture must change and if congress doesn't take their responsibility to hold the department of defense accountable, no one will. i yield the floor. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: the fiscal year ndaa passed last year. commanders have barely had time to implement these provisions, let alone assess their effective effectiveness. fiscal year 2014 ndaa included more than 50 individual
provisions the most preenive set of chings to the uniform code of military justice since 1968. cumulative the last three ndaa's including 71 sections of law containing more than 100 unique requirements, including 16 congressional reporting requirements. this year's bill builds on that progress with 12 military justice provisions including every proposal that was offered by senator gillibrand during the committee's markup of this including every proposal that was offered by legislation. it is true that sexual assaults have been reduced. so to somehow allege that nothing has been done and what her proposal