tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 10, 2016 8:00am-10:01am EST
process that enables bulk data screening and analysis any manner that protects both individual liberties but producers information about you. these are just a few of the stepped dhs is taking to meet this challenge and will continue to seek new ways to solve our most pressing national security issues and fulfill our border security, immigration, and travel security and other homeland security missions. ..
every morning when i wake up to do my work i think about exactly that. i want to talk about what refugee programs fit in the context of those threats. we heard refugee programs described as purely humanitarian and optional -- i am here among other things to suggest to you that the refugee program is a vital part of our foreign policy and national security. let's talk about the specific syriac case. the 4 million refugees now dispersed throughout the middle east and you're on the hole a victim of individuals sworn to destroy us in the united states. they are scattered in the middle east and europe, 400,000 syrian refugee children are not in school. they do not need to dwell long
on what the consequences with human trafficking in radicalization, with risks of harm's which should be intuitive to this body. therefore refugee admissions are a critical element of regional stability stabilizing the regions where these individuals are located, an important consequence of the united states, with european allies who are facing this problem imminently, talking about taking 10,000, roughly, in the united states, many of my european colleagues are dealing with many times that in their borders and in many cases without control at all. 10,000 we are talking about is 1/4% who are currently refugees, and even smaller fraction of a number of syrians displayed within syria or elsewhere in the
world. we represent 1 to 300 of 1% and the overall population in united states so i would suggest to fail, to admit refugees were the most immediate and severe victims of that sort of terrorism, those sorts of threats would feed a vital part of the battlefields to the very people seeking to destroy us. in order to admit those refugees we need to do it safely and that is a critical topic of this hearing today. i am here to talk about refugees and more generally about our immigration system in what we do have been doing to ensure those who seek the benefit of coming to the united states and saying to the united states are not those who mean us harm, threats to the national security or otherwise threats to our society. in fact refugees go for a very
lengthy process involving multiple interviews and multiple screenings, they are checked against a databases of united states law enforcement, intelligence community, customs and border protection, state department advisory services and many of these are tools that for example when we talk about september relevance did not exist at that time. even when we talk about individuals who came in 2009-2010, some of the most powerful tools we use now are tools that were not in existence at this time. let me talk about one particular example with a tool we call the interagency check, that is now used in the case of virtually every see irian admitted as refugees in the case of every iraqi admitted as a refugee, that sort of checked those against the entire universe, intelligence holdings and law-enforcement holdings in the united states, and the
effectiveness of the use of tools, along the 2,000 or so who have not been admitted, 30 individuals denied out right. they fail be the check or interview process, several hundred are on hold and fraud detection, national security directive conduct a more thorough investigation of those cases before making a final decision and many of those may end a being denied because they resolve the concerns of those individuals. i am look forward to talking in more detail, these are vital issues and want to provide this committee and the american people and the insurance they require so we can engage in strategically important effort of refugees. thank you. >> the chair recognizes the director. >> good morning, chairman
mccaul, distinguished ranking members, thank you for the opportunity to discuss international indeed intense security efforts to confront challenges on a global stage. i am honored to provide a review of international operations, highlight a program, based on 20 years as a law enforcement officer, one of the most critical security programs at this point in history. and there is more granularity for director rodriguez's new programs since 9/11 and the vetting process we had overseas. isis focused on detecting in deterring threats for the nation's borders. to that end we deploy approximately 250 special agents, investigative staff, 62 offices, and international staff, and foreign law enforcement counterparts, to detect, disrupt and dismantle
transnational criminal organizations and individuals that mean harm. and deployment of officers, diplomatic posts, security act theories and provide advice and training to state department colleagues. this critical mission is accomplished by security program we refer to as sb, the primary purpose to identify terrorists and criminals and others ineligible for a visa prior to their travel. they place investigators on the front line of defense to exploit terrorist and criminal organizations through the visa adjudication process which is one of our first opportunities to assess whether central visitor her immigrant poses a potential threat. the u.s. government continually that applicants from the time they submit their application to the time they make their travel arrangements to the time they
have appeared at our border and beyond. as new information becomes available for screening processes is provided to the appropriate decisionmakers which can ensure that we use all our tools to protect the united states from individuals who may present a security concern. recently in 2014 we instituted the pre adjudicated threat recognition intelligence operations team which we call patriot initiative, an important part of the screening process. vice personnel and coordination with state and see vp use the results of the automated screening process to identify individuals of concern, those individuals are referred specifically, in 20 countries. and identify individuals of concern early in the visa
application process which allows us to utilize law-enforcement tools in country to participate in interviews and engage international law enforcement partners for additional information, and prior to these issuances. and 4 consular officers refuse visas. ice action for officer screening, and also of facilitates traveling individuals. to targets of interest. in fiscal year 2015 alone, it screen approximately 2 million visa applicants from designated high risk locations. contributing to the refusal of 8,000. of those refusals, 2200 applicants have some suspected
connection to terrorism. and to enhance and 60 records in the united states as a result of these operations globally. with $18 million enhancement that congress provided, operations expanded six additional posts since last year. the single largest expansion of the program in its 13 year history. further using the same money eyes will expand four additional locations move which will result in 50% increase in expansion of the program globally in two years. this record expansion was made possible by the additional congressional funding by cp and ice's joint initiative for screening and vetting in the national capital region in collaboration with department of state and sites election post-election and expansion. to get their eyes and states are joining overseas personnel
integrating staff to enhance regular time information. the state department personnel are collectively identifying ways to further improve screening and vetting constantly, to identify the most critical embassies for future expansion. thank you for inviting me to testify, for your continued support of the ice mission and law-enforcement mission overseas. h s i is committed to working with this committee to prevent an combat threats to our nation and look forward to more. >> the chair recognizes the assistant secretary miss bond to testified. >> good morning. ranking member thompson and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to testify today on the topic of security vetting for each applicants. the department of state and partner agencies throughout the federal government take our commitment to protect america's borders and citizens seriously and we constantly have an
update. my written statement which i request into the record describes the rigorous screening regimen that applies to all these categories. and the vast majority of these applicants and all immigrants, interviewed by councilor officer. every counselor officer completes an extensive training course with a strong emphasis on border security, fraud prevention, interagency coordination and interviewing techniques. all these applicant data i've vented against databases including terrorist identity data bases that contain millions of records found ineligible for a visas or derogatory information exists. we fingerprint nearly all of these applicants and screen them against the dhs and fbi databases with no suspected terrorist wanted person,
immigration violators and criminals. all these applicants are screened against photos of known or suspected terrorists and prior visa applicants. when the interagency screening process shows potentially disqualifying derogatory information the counselor officer suspends visa processing and submit a request for a washington-based interagency security advisory opinion preview conducted by federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies and departments of state. the department of homeland security patriot system and visa security program as described provide additional protection at certain overseas post, dhs, immigration and customs enforcement special agent, more than 20 embassies and consulatess and threat locations provide on said setting of these that applications and other law-enforcement support to counselor officers. security reviews did not stop when the visa is issued, the
department and partner agencies continuously match new threat information of existing visas. we refuse more than a million visa applications a year. since 2001 the department has revoked more than -- based on information that surfaced after issuance of the visa. this includes nearly 10,000 visas revoked for suspected links to terrorism based on information that surfaced after issuance. mr. chairman, ranking member thompson and distinguished members of the committee the department of state has no higher priority than safety of fellow citizens at home and overseas and the security of the travelling public. every decision is a national security decision. we appreciate the support of congress as we work to
strengthen our defenses. i encourage each of you to visit our consular section when you are abroad. i'd look forward to your questions, thank you. >> i recognize myself for questioning. i think the most important mission, and identifying threats, and keeping them from coming into the country. we are here today primarily as a result of the san bernardino shooting. and the fact that a pakistani foreign national was granted a visa in the united states and it was divulged that social media at had not been reviewed prior to coming in to the united states or as part of the visa application process, something
as fundamental that any employer before they hire someone that i am aware of checked, on social media, yet we see that antiquated system we want to bring to the 21st century when it comes to something so vitally important as the nation's security. i understand there's nothing derogatory on the facebook account. mr. cohan mazes issues as well that the department was not looking at social media, it was my understanding, there were three putt that programs watched, looking specifically at the syrian refugee program. is important to note that since may, 40 suspected jihadists were caught entering through the syrian refugee process. many of not all had links to
the use of social media and the department of homeland security is false. and to debate, 33 instances in the department where components argue social media, and it is not -- we are not doing comprehensively as a department and as you know, one of the big pushes has been to organize departmental information in a way that complements various missions of components. and how can we organize ourselves to use the system most effectively across all the missions the department performs. >> i want to give you the opportunity to respond because it made a big deal in the media. what was the task force for?
>> my task force was formed on the fifteenth of december, and the policy in the department was written in 2012, authorise use of social media. >> at this point with respect to syrian refugees stream, we are reviewing social media in those cases where there are existing flags of concern, we are building as quickly as we can to build to the point where we would in fact be screening the entire body of syrian refugee applicants, we are prioritizing as we bring new resources online, prioritizing resources where we detect the greatest risk, we discuss some of that yesterday in the classified briefing. it is important as we talk about social me and placing context of overall screening that we do, is
one full among a battery of tools we use to screen individuals so it is used in conjunction with the information we derived through intelligence data bases, used in conjunction with multiple interviews conducted of these individuals before they are granted admission. particularly important to recognize those individuals are done with the benefit of intense briefing to officers. and on country conditions to a great degree of granularity that exists in countries from which they are coming whether we are talking about syria or iraq. not only talking about syria as we bring the capability on but also in iraq. if we have the history of individuals who have been arrested for terrorist plots and more of the history of individuals having terrorist
plots. >> in those cases where we did have intelligence we brought in terrorists. >> again, that is the importance and at some other point the importance of interagency check which was not used in the same manner. >> i do not understand all that but this is about social media. when the director of the fbi testified here and secretary of homeland, the database to properly vet. my question is are we checking social media for the 10,000 syrian refugees. >> flags of concern adding resources quickly so we use that in fact -- the higher body. >> high risk. and moving the population. >> my next question these visas security units in the embassy,
these are the high risk countries, seems to me you don't have the capability at to get algorithms, check social media, my recommendation would be that this be expanded, the social media checking and vetting not just to the 10,000 syrian refugees but all the security units across the globe. >> that is our intent. to be as comprehensive as we can indeed ability to allow the maximum amount of fighting against that particular data set for the purposes of the mission. it is not limited. we started with the k 1s and refugees, a starting set, the longer-term plan is to apply that capability against all of the vetting responsibilities. >> you have my strong support
for the expansion into anything we do to help you. with that i recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. speaking of waiting, on your line of questioning, relative to the it security program, lev kubiak, we historically have had six new high risk these that issued -- authorized, it is my understanding that in the 2016 omnibus appropriation it did not provide adequate funding to operate the expanded number of visa security programs. if we are mandating for you to
do more, how are you going to expand the visa security program? >> thank you for the question. the funding we are providing in f y 15 also was accompanied by the ability to carry some of that money into f y 16. we have been very judiciously using the money, reapportioning the money around the globe to cover up the larger threats as we see them developing, we were able to use some of the money given in 15 and 16 for that expansion, and expansions of the patriot screening. as we move forward. we are able to do more, for future appropriations, looking for the way to expand the
program. and in 15, and 16 as we move forward. >> because you are able to use funding to support the present mission. >> to carry over that funding. >> following that line of questioning with respect to the platforms with social mia and other things that have an interest on this committee. have we identified the resources to complete those projects related to establish a new platform on social media? >> that is part of the charter to develop an investment
strategy on that capability. using data within dhs, it was useful in moving that forward and we don't know yet what the exact amount will be and once we have that completed we will get it through process and back up to the hole. >> can you talk to was a little bit about whether you identified the personnel necessary to carry out, are we going to have to depend on outside contractors to complete the mission? >> my experience in this, we won't have enough capabilities on board in the government to do this robustly, particularly for
linguists, talking about social media, and language skills in those sorts of things that are more readily available in the private sector. and capability that mirrors that responsibility to review this type of data, they are trained and able to do it. my sense is the initial investment will be heavily contract. >> for the record, ms. bond, some discretion about the standard dino leaks facebook page. to clarify whether or not the presence or lack of derogatory information was on social media?
>> to my knowledge there was nothing publicly accessible that indicated jihadists or other threatening beliefs. there was nothing on a face book page with something else that one would have been able to find. >> that he return to the subject of syrian refugees. what percentage are males overall? >> i think i should take that question. i believe that it is the
minority -- referring to just those admitted to the united states should be standard rickey's string? >> let's talk about refugees, what percentage of males of military age and connected to families or not? >> i don't have that specific data in front of me but i could make it available. >> according to the un high commission on refugees, that is the source for 62% are male and 25% of males of military age connected to families or not, any reason to believe that is not the case? >> i have no reason to believe that is not the case. i would like to get you the exact figure is based on our experience but i have no reason to think -- >> the state department tries i think to bcu the data a little bit and say 2% of males connected to families certainly
proud director rodriguez. >> the absence of the question, when we queried the various databases that we have described, what percentage of those individuals don' that dont show up on those databases at all. >> again blank slate, no information whatsoever. >> i described the cases where individuals are in those databases because there is derogatory information about them. you were asking what portion. a large portion don't have derogatory information about the. i think your question is -- >> any information -- we you have no information, what percent fall into that category? >> we generally give information that is beyond just what that individual lives. in other words, we are checking also against country conditions. >> again let me go to my question and hope you will
answer it. what percentage of syrian refugees to you have no independent data on? >> a large percentage do not have derogatory information in those databases the there is other documentation that they present and just about every case. >> i know they don't have any derogatory but i think you're finding nothing, a large percentage of no information about one way or the other and use them that there's nothing derogatory, is that right? >> we have other sources of information in order to check the veracity of information that they are giving us in the -- >> i'm not talking about general condition to i'm talking about on that specific individual are you saying that in those cases you have no third party independent data? >> part of what, it depends on what you are calling third party. in other words, it is true. most of them will not appear in the databases because they have done nothing wrong.
>> but if we -- you don't know for sure whether done something wrong or not, is that correct? there's a way to guarantee that something in the background? >> we can never 100% a limited risk in anything that we do in this life. that is a terrific the fact is we have a very intensive process to mitigate risk in this particular case. >> right but again, you said the great majority are individuals about whom have no independent data about. >> with other documentation with which to check information about the giving us i into entities. that is the point i'm trying to make. >> i guess i think again, i don't hear you, yes, you don't have a negative but i think you have any pressure whatsoever on the majority? >> no, we do. they bring extensive government documentation. we interview multiple family members, multiple members of communities.
so that is actually a benchmark with which we test the information they're giving us an interview. >> but again that the general information, not necessarily about the specific individual. >> it is both a general and specific individual about that individual, about the individuals community, about that family unit. >> but again you have no specific information that is negative. >> that is correct. >> you don't know whether there could be something out there that you don't have access to? >> certainly if they are not in come if the derogatory information about them is not in the databases then we would not know the malice we got it. >> that's what i'm looking for. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank all of you for your service to our country in helping us keep us safe. i did have a question, important i think the regimen was going down this line of concern by the
committee. that's the resource concern. one of the things i wanted to ask, i guess assistant secretary bond or anyone else who can answer this is the fact that we are reviewing social media now but do we have enough linguists available to do the job right now? i have a concern that resource why we are not there yet. is that a problem of resources for you? >> in terms of our ability to vet documents, social media, other information that's in the local language or in another language, for the most part our consular officers are trained in the language of the country where they are working. we also have local employees who are fluent in the language, and often assist with interpretation and other things.
if need be we would be able to hire additional people in the case of the state department's consular work, we are fee funded and we would be able to find the resources if we needed to amp them up. >> i thought we are expanding in those areas be on the pilot. if we are, is there enough in the pipeline? >> let me ask a colleague from dhs to talk about their program. >> from prospective ufc 98 as, for example, the social media screening, as would increase the capability in that area we do have access to language assistance contracts and whatever the relevant language is might be. i thin think you understand oury market fundamentals and then everybody else at this table. the work we do with respect to refugees, that the resources
that are drawn with these we collect from feepaying immigrants, the naturalizing citizens, green card holders speed let me rephrase. you have enough linguists? >> we have access to enough linguists in the near term. >> what about planning an expansion. do you have enough you're getting the pipeline now for this expansion? >> what we are building right now, yes would've access to enough resources. we are assessing what our long-term nature going to be. >> thank you. i have a question, there's a difference with the refugees that are coming in. they don't have the same constitutional rights that an american has. along the lines assistant secretary bond, with the interview process, i'm curious have you tried to incorporate technology into the process in
terms of light detection and other issues for this? were those things implemented at all and interview status come in the interview process? because we use those in our country if there's a waiver of some of. i was a district attorney before, doing investigations. we incorporate those things here. are they being incorporated as part of your vetting process? >> if you are asking specifically about the interviews of the refugees, that is a program that begin with all keep going back to. our friend mr. rodriguez, but it is his agency that does those interviews. i can answer questions with regard to -- >> mr. rodriguez, i'm sorry. thank you. >> i think the question is do we have enough resources? >> are you incorporating technological devices and
equipment that are pretty advanced now in terms of light detection as part of the process to? >> i would not talk about the specifics of how we use technology in an open hearing. i would be happy in a closed setting to describe what we are doing what we are thinking about doing but i would not venture into the area in this setting. >> okay. i can understand a classified site, however the person, i understand but i think you're being a little brought in not answering the question. people who are going to go do know it's there so it's not going to catch people by surprise. >> we do use polygraphs in the refugees said he, the answer is no particular of the things i think you'd want to know about that i would not try to discuss your particular direct question is are we using polygraphs, the answer is no. >> thank you for all want to in
a few seconds, the timeframe for moving some of these pilots for for social media review in these critical areas, can you give us just an idea timeframe when you'll be able to expand and how much in the future? >> right now we are conducting manual betting, nor do we are literally just going into facebook and google and other sources identified the social media information. that's very slow going. so in the short term we're going to be focusing acting as quickly as we can just for the syrians as soon as possible so recover as much of that 10,000 we are seeking to admit this year as weekend. longer-term we are looking for technological solutions that will permit us to look at that were probably. i don't know what the timeline would be for identifying and deploying those technological solutions for product. >> my time is up. thank you again for your service. >> if i can just add to that the in our visa waiver bill, we did
put the department needs to look at these technologies for truth detection if you will. mr. rogers from alabama. >> thank you. mr. taylor, back in october we had director comey of the fbi here and he was asked if he could tell us with a high degree of certainty that he through the vetting process could assure us that isil would not be able to move some of their terrorist members into countr the countryh these refugee movements. he basically said no, that problem was we didn't know what we don't know. here we are four months later intimate knowledge we are still in that same situation. why are you insisting that we continue to visit this topic of this 10,000 refugees? >> i believe there are two questions. i will ask director rodriguez to answer the question on the refugee screening which is more his line. i believe what director comey was referring to was a data that
he had a table within the fbi and within the intelligence community about this particular population. we know a lot more today about this population that we did when he testified back in october, and we continue to learn every day. that's our system. i wouldn't want to get specific and to have that knowledge base grows, but it grows. every day. it has grown since 9/11. i welcome the opportunity in a closed session or another session to speak to that capacity. >> it grows because we have a lot of room for improvement. the problem is with the cancer without to get certainty that they will not be able to sneak isil members into those groups. i got to tell you, mr. rodriguez, i've been you, this is my 14th year to be honored to serve in congress. i haven't heard an open statement from a witness i disagree with more than yours. i don't know why in the world you think we should have a sense
of urgency to accept these refugees. moral or otherwise. the fact is the refugees that left syria are no longer in danger. our moral obligation is to make sure they have a place to stay, health care, food into we get them safely back into their country. we have millions of them in lebanon, jordan, turkey i can understand why you think we would want to be good americans at we always are. generous americans. and help them in those areas but why should we move into our country? i can't understand why you think that is necessary. one of the things that came up in hearing what director comey was here is we had a group of refugees that came up through south america, mexico and came to our southern border and turned themselves in, wanted asylum. those people were not in danger to they were looking for economic opportunity. that's what i think is happening with a lot of these people. and is happening in western europe as well. these people are not once
they're out of syria they're not looking for safety anymore. it's all about economic security. i had the ambassador from romania in my office this month along with a member of parliament and ask them as their talk about the migration issues have been ups and western europe and eastern europe. i said y'all have had a problem with refugees in romania? he started laughing. he said we are way too poor. he only refugees, to romania either by accident once he realized they were in romania they left and went to germany or some other place for economic opportunity. tell me why we are focused on this instead of removing bashar al-assad empower? why we know what john helping the refugees stay in the neighborhood, and came into in cities and bring it into our country where we know isil and since to use them to kill us? >> i think an important starting point for this discussion is the fact that since september 11 we have admitted 785,000 refugees,
120,000 of those have come from iraq. a number of them have come from other places where there is, in fact, an active terrorist threat, somalia is a part of north africa. not a single one has actually ever engaged in an active attack on the homeland. there have been plots that have been disrupted by u.s. law enforcement -- >> what percentage of sabra and the last few months since paris and since without the problem, the attempted attack in berlin or the attack in san bernardino? you are conflating it into a completely different picture. the world has changed dramatic over the last several months and you know that. we have to be focused on were isil is and efforts to use and get people in this country. i agree you are a country of immigrants. we've had a rich history with immigrants but we have a new dynamic right now and that is not relevant to what you're describing is not relevant to this dynamic. >> where we disagree and i appreciate your highlighting the
disagreement is i didn't believe that refugee admission is purely a moral and humanitarian undertaking. it is that but it is much, much more. it has a critical strategic national security and foreign policy role. if we are not seen as offering opportunity to the very victims of isil and on this room, then we will have -- on disrupt -- we will have given away a vital part of this opportunity. opportunity. >> why do we owe them opportunity? >> because right now those individuals are displaced. they may be saved over the short term. are 400,000 children who are not -- >> we can provide the opportunity for safety in their neighborhood in turkey, jordan, in those areas. we don't have to have been in our country to make sure they stay safe and well fed and cared for. >> that is one reason why the numbers we're taking our relatively small compared to the overall number who are in refugee status. it is something we're doing
alongside the other english-speaking countries that have made commitments to accept refugees, the other european countries that have made commitments. that's critical. we need to work with our allies to deal with this problem together. we cannot place ourselves in a posture where we are saying it's their problem and not ours. that in my mind actually does have a national security application. i understand that is a point at which you and i disagree. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to thank the panel for testimony today in the work you are doing to protect the american people. general taylor, secretary bond, you both highlighted some processes that the federal government is implementing or has already admitted, that tightening screening of visa applicants and refugees. i think we can all agree this is
as vital to ensure that security reviews are as thorough as possible and thorough enough to flag any applicant with a derogatory information and government databases. however, i remain concerned about applicants for whom there is no u.s. source intelligence. but for whom there may be intelligence from our partners. do you share these concerns? what a barriers remain to free flow of information between counterterrorism agencies here and those abroad, particularly in europe which i know as strict or different privacy laws that we have been made to restrict the information sharing? we that desperate about classified an open session expressing that concern. what can we do to remove them? >> thank you very much for that pertinent question. i think i would start out with the legislation that recently
passed in december which has strengthened the visa waiver program to include the requirements for information sharing. which not all countries of visa waiver had an agreement with the united states. by the end of this year all countries will have adequate editing that strengthens the intelligence and law enforcement exchange that is so vital to this global problem. the one thing that has been crystal clear to me is that terrorists do not on her borders. they did not honor law enforcement. they move anywhere that they believe they can move with impunity. and the way in which information sharing our government and our allies to be more effective in
spotting those movements. and so that exchange is risk. is continuing, and a new sense of urgency in our partners, particularly in europe to collect the data that is necessary to protect the country and then collecting, the contras collecting that data, make that data available to u.s. authorities on a reciprocal basis spinks under the agreement using in place by the end of the year, you are confident that we'll take care of all the problems? there would be no -- .ini to change their laws anyway? >> all i can say is we've made it very clear to our partners in the visa waiver program that they necessary ingredient in that agreement for visa waiver is that we have an information sharing agreement, and that we are insisting on it.
that begins a process. it's not an in game but these relationships grow over time, but the framework for those relationships will be in place with all of the countries that we currently have visa waiver agreement with. >> thank you. secretary taylor come in your testimony you state that the department recognizes that technological advances and the evolving nature of the threat environment require you to continuously read i would end up with our screening and vetting process. can you for the elaborate on how you are evaluating and how you can enhance the way the department solicits information from applicants identify new kinds of data that might be valuable and developing new methods to efficiently incorporate this david into the department system? >> i would answer that in two ways. first, this committee has been very supportive of the
initiative of the secretary's to great the dhs data framework, and, therefore, pashtun and for the framework to be effective in sharing data across all of our components as opposed to just individual components, which is a big step towards how we organize ourselves to use information that may be available in one component that's not available in another. so that's the first step. the second step is these issues are becoming much more complicated, and in many cases components will solve their initial issue that they want to do with social media but not solve a more broader issue. our task force has designed to create a center of excellence for vetting in the department where we are continually striving to look for new techniques, tools, processes that help was get better at
this. not at a suboptimal level but as a department. that's our goal going forward. >> i think it's essential to be nimble and to recognize technology changes, we are doing everything we can to incorporate those new capabilities into our vetting system. >> that's the secretary's direction, and we're moving with all deliberate speed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. duncan from south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to review one thing that mr. rodriguez just a. hadn't been an active here, i will not refuted but i want to have law enforcement stop acts of terror that could've been committed by refugees have been granted refugee status in this country january 7, texas and california, prime examples of iraqi refugees granted refugee status in this country 2006, 2009, whatever the was. law enforcement got it right. actually stopped at the i
applaud them for that. i think you mean for your service but the glaring example that i just mentioned -- i think you men dashed if you don't think refugees committed this country, the potential, the possibility of an act of terror happening on u.s. soil from someone that comes from iraq or syria israel. -- is real. last week back in the district i have an opportunity to testify before the south carolina state senate, possibly the first time a united states congressman has ever testified in the general assembly of south carolina. myself on congressman mulvaney on the syrian refugee issue. south carolina does not want unvetted syrian refugee to locate in the state. but yet the obama administration continues to try to make that happen. since the syrian civil war broke out, the numbers i have are 2693
syrian refugees have been admitted into this country. for the record, 53 of those were christian. 33 were non-muslim. the remaining of those were muslim. mr. chairman, i would like to but for the record my testimony in the south carolina senate last week. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. in 20 or pashtun in 2011 or 12, mr. chairman, we travel to afghanistan. they are at a forward operating base we met a gentleman that was assisting the united states military as a translator. this nameless hollywood. after -- is nameless hollywood. after we left we were contacted by a former member of congress from hawaii who served with that unit at that forward operating base, a new hollywood well.
saw him want to pick up a gun and fight the taliban, who was threatened by the taliban for being an interpreter for this country. did you ask us does this hollywood was come into the country under the asylum program for interpreters that help our country? it took over two years for this gentleman who was verified by the general of the third army, 10th mountain division, it was verified by the unit that he existed, who had members of congress writing letters for him, who had general petraeus, for goodness sake, admit that gentlemen and vouched for him. took two years to get the gentlemen here under the program. we scrutinized his background. but we are going to allow unvetted syrian refugees from an area that isis was declared war on the time it, whether we
declared war on the or not, had said they will infiltrate that refugee program and also exploit the migration program into europe and that's a whole other topic of foreign fighter flow, of the ability for someone was a long-term vision to get into europe and eventually come into this country under those programs. but we are going to allow unvetted seeing refugees into this country. these policies the obama administration put americans at risk because we don't know who's coming into this country by allowing unvetted seeing refugees. you guys can say would've the best job we can. director comey refutes that. he said we are trying to do better. got it on testimony. we are not very good at it. we can't tell you that we vetted these folks because information isn't available. the records administrator david stone. someone from syria can travel into turkey over $600 by a new
identity, india passport. so mr. chairman, i appreciate us continuing to raise awareness of this issue with syrian refugees. i'm amazed and administration wants to expand background checks for law-abiding american citizens exercising their second amendment constitutional rights will refuse to do the background checks necessary on possibly syrian refugees. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. recognize ms. torres from california. want to begin by asking, i would like to ask unanimous consent for statements from a coalition of states based in tennessee groups to be entered into the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. is a rodriguez, mr. taylor,
thank you so much for the briefing that we received yesterday making yourselves available to us. i want to make sure that understand this process. as you know i have been very involved in the refugees that were placed in my home city. i have had meetings with them about the interview process and asked them directly from their perspective what was their experience. two families, their young children, and one has a mail that was 15 or 16 when they started the process. 19, 20 now. now, social media for a three year old obviously a three-year
old, like my one euro grandson, may not have a social media account. may not have a social media presence. when we ask you to check all those 10,000 of those with social media process, that could be impossible. can you explain that process to me? >> i don't think it would be impossible. i may not be a social media presence or all 10,000 of those individuals that the capacity to determine that is something that is certainly within where we are trying to drive towards for the future. >> the young male explain to me that for every one appointment come into the appointment that the family had, he had two or three additional appointments.
cell phone records, phone book, any information that he could provide to the department was asked in very different meetings to ensure that he was telling the truth or to verify that he was not giving different types of statements. mr. rodriguez, that interagency check that you are beginning to explain earlier, can you provide more detail, information on the? >> sure. and i think the example you're citing, and i'm assumed that was a refugee energy overseas but it may been some subsequent activity here in the united states -- >> it was overseas. >> it illustrates the point i tried to make to congressman smith which is we don't just hear what the person has to say, where there are reasons do we go beyond and look for documentation, but it helps us
export issues that may exist or help us corroborate information that is presented in the testimony. speaking specifically about the interagency check, i am not delivered in an open setting to talk with everything that sits behind the check. everything that is queried as part of the check, but the point of the interagency check is it gives us a one stop place to access all intelligence holdings come all law enforcement holdings that could carry and, in fact, in some cases have carried derogatory information about an individual spent i don't have a whole lot of time. i do want to ask you, is it in the best interest of the u.s. to have a robust process their overseas rather than closing that process that would possibly
encourage more syrian refugees to take on a path to come through our southern border and prevent themselves know that once there they are here and where to do with them at our border? >> i think that's another critical point, which is we can either have an orderly internationally-based system of migration where we're working together with our allies and create an actual opportunity for permanent resettlement, or we can have hundreds, thousands, millions of people who are displaced without any prospect of immediate settlement meeting their kids don't go to school, they'll have any kind of economic security. that will have consequences for the entire world if we allow that to happen. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director rodriguez, my constituents in pennsylvania are worried about their safety when
they hear that the refugees are coming into the commonwealth because they simply don't trust the vetting process. and to be honest with you, i have a lot of concerns, too. here's why. here in this committee according to former fbi assistant director tom fuentes, this is his quote, our human resources in syria are minimal and we don't have a government we can partner with and that's a key thing. number two, national counterterrorism center director nicholas rasmussen explained that the intelligent picture without of this syrian conflict zone isn't what we'd like it to be. you can only review data with which you have. three, fbi assistant director michael steinbeck said the concern in syria and we don't have a system in place on the ground to collect the information to all of the data sets, the police, the intel services that normally you would go and seek that information from don't exist.
and number four, fbi director james comey said we can query our database is until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person who we can only query what you have collected. my question to you is, can you confirm to us today that not one single refugee who doesn't show up on our databases is admitted into the united states? >> i think that's a point, if you don't show up on the databases it means there isn't derogatory information. it means we don't have -- >> that's not true. i don't think anybody here believes that. i don't think it means we have no database to check doesn't mean that there is no history. we have no records or we cannot count on the syrian government to give us the database. that doesn't mean nothing exist in needs we just don't have any database to collect that information. i don't think anybody here believes that.
>> one of the key parts i've been trying to -- >> this is why the american people don't trust us allowing people india because they don't think we're getting a straight story. >> i think him if i had a couple of moments to describe the entire process, which is a lengthy process -- >> i would like you to answer my question first. can you confirm today that not one single refugee from syria will be admitted into the united states if they don't choke on a database? can you confirm today that not one person will be allowed in? >> that our people have been admitted who have not shown up on databases. we don't take other steps -- >> that doesn't mean -- >> there are other things we do to satisfy ourselves that the person we are admitting does not pose a threat. i think you need to hear how the whole process works before focusing on what element of the process. >> it only takes one person. doesn't take an army.
your family, my family and everything a person in the family can have found the most important people in the world to you. it only takes one person. i don't think we should allow one single refugee into the united states if we cannot confirm factually that we have checked the database and we can confirm that that person does not possess an intent or a threat to the american people. i want to go on because i got the answer i wanted. i've been saying since i've been in congress, and in the something i so like a broken record. the nine 9/11 commission report taught us many times that the best weapon that terrorists have is a valid travel document. because the terrorists want to think that they want to get into the country and then you want to stay here just long enough to carry out their mission. and more than 40% of illegal
immigrants that are present here came here legally and have their visa expired and they may never left and we can find the ether state is home to an international airport, i believe you are a border state. approximate 400 individuals have been convicted in the united states as a result of international terrorism related investigations conducted from september 2001 through march 2010, approximately 36 reviews overstays. i don't believe there's a strong enough deterrent -- visa overseas. a strong enough deterrent for anyone who wants to overstate their visa. that's one reason i introduced a bill which brings that these overstate lost in line with current law for crossing a border unlawfully. makes them very low, making it a crime to overstate your visa and it's more of a deterrence. undersecretary taylor, would you agree that tougher penalties and clarity in the law will help agents perform their jobs? t. think we need to have a
tougher deterrent and exists right now for those who are thinking of overstaying their visa? >> at this point what i would say is that the department for the first time in history produced a these overstate report that had asked for from this congress for many years. is this an area of great concern to her secretary and he has directed cbp and i.c.e. to work on potential solutions that would deter individuals from wanting to overstay their invitation to our country. are not in a position today to tell you what that's going to look like but i know that direction has been given and ensure the secretary will be happy to address that issue once he's had a chance to have his team consult on it. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentlemen, lady, thank you very much for your time here
today. mr. rodriguez, can you tell us the last time you read the national security strategy? >> i'm not sure i have read the national security strategy. i'll acknowledge that. >> i'm looking at your resume here, which provided to us and i'm assuming it's correct that it goes back to 1997. icu spent some time in pennsylvania but adults eat any foreign company service in foreign countries or with the state department over to the. the reason i bring this up, as i listened your opening statement i found it breathtaking that your lecture and suggest to the united states congress that this refugee program is a vital part of foreign policy and national security. while i appreciate your opinion in fact, that is wholly out of the purview. your job as director is to carry out the policies therein prescribed. and so while you're trying to impose a narrative on america
without the act of consent of the individual. we are extensively querying the social media account. >> so is this policy going to change? >> this is sort of the ordinary baseline that you're looking at. >> shouldn't the ordinary baseline, even considering mr. barletta's question regarding databases information that we don't have where we are relying on many systems, but arguably on the fidelity of the individuals themselves, shouldn't the policy, shouldn't the default setting be that we're going to check everything and we make exceptions when we don't need to check everything? it seems to be the default setting if we give all these people the benefit of the doubt and less of an something derogatory? >> i think there's more significant practical issue, which is all we can access, all we have the technological tool to access is the public facing statements that individuals make.
media accounts as part of our security vetting for people we are admitting. >> but is that the default setting or is that the exception? based on this policy speak is what i am telling you is what we do which is most important thing. we can parse what the policy say. what we are doing is we're looking come when we look at social media we're looking at it and -- >> hold on a second. fugitive we will look at social media. you are the director. i'm one of the folks out in the field look at policy statements. this is my job and it says i have to treat all the people that i don't know anything about them don't know the culture, don't know the language, could be a terrorist, like every american citizen. do i call you and say hey i'm not sure about this one? >> what i am telling you is we are looking with appropriate linguistic support. you are looking at accounts right now without necessarily seeking the specific consent of the individual. >> congressman from if i might
follow on. policy was written in 2012, was promulgated by our privacy office. was not obligated as a part of a broader teaches strategy for the use of social media and our operations across department at one of the responsibilities to, the secretary has given to my task force is to rewrite our policy to bring it up to current standards, to make its -- >> when can we expect that and what is the interim guidance? if you don't mind, mr. chairman. what the agents in the field at this time, what is their guidance? >> they have 33 clear policy announcements and i can get those for you, by the components outlined their day to day use of social media. my intent is to have a policy door -- before the secretary
next month. that's on my shopping list of things that i've got to get done. but this policy was written in 2012 as a baseline for how the department would use social media. certainly the environment and the technology has changed significantly since the policy was written and that's why the secretary wants a -- >> i look forward to the information. thank you. >> mr. camp go from new york. >> time when. we vetted robust discussion about the things you are doing to enhance the vetting process for refugees and for people come into this country in general. want to flip on the head and put the we should be doing because i think in this instance especially matters of national security we need to strive for perfection at all times. that's what i was heartened by your comments when you said that you're constantly rechecking the
process that we can do better because that's exactly the attitude we need to have. i just have one pointed question and then i have a second a question that's more general. the question for you is in enhancing the vetting process for mining the public access to the internet, how much input are getting from the private sector? i ask that because in my role as chairman of the subcommittee on transportation security, it's become apparent to me that homeland security in general and tsa in particular do not do a good job, good enough job of looking at what's going on in the private sector and assess, ms. lockett district sometimes the security part of the process is something what insular attitude and you getting the idea set out the. top of the companies that do a terrific job with greedy algorithms that the youth and the private sector to mind the public, public social or the internet to vet people.
we are not doing that on homeland to get up and i think we need to. without i would just ask the question. >> thank you very much for the question. it's a part of the charter i've been given by the secretary and our task force. not only to look at us in class within our department, within the government that best in class in the private sector. to that end we have announced an industry date at the end of february where we're going to invite folks from across the private sector to come in and tell us what they're doing, how they're doing it and how that might help us with the mission we have set forth. we recognize, as you know i came back to govern from the private sector weather is a lot of innovation. we should exploit that information as we move forward in this effort and that will be a big part of what we do. >> i applaud and i would like to hear, and report practice of which are doing in that regard because tha that is a seachangef happy dude in the past.
sticking with the same vendors and the same ideas are not how we're going to solve this problem or get better at this. >> is not innovation. we have to come back as a task force developed. >> i take it all for you agree that mining the public sources of the internet is wholly a problem trying to keep our country safer is that correct? >> absolutely speak i would just note for the record everyone is nodding her head and a gladiator. with respect, switching gears, we talked about the kentucky as incident were iraq individual slipped through the cracks and then plotted some terrorist activity here in the united states before they were caught and arrested and convicted. obviously, that's a huge concern. then we also heard about not so much in refugee process but a more recent case of tashfeen malik for which is dignified about radicalized she was before she got here. so obviously there's caps, problems. instead of telling us what
you'vyou've done, to me what yor plan from those two cases? one children from those two cases that you can do better because in both those cases we missed them. one refugee process, the kentucky case. tashfeen malik was a visa case and in both cases with mr.. i'm not criticizing. tell me what we can do to make it better. >> i think it's been clear from the members of the committee. everyone that sits at this table understands personally and professionally the challenge that we face in terms of protecting this country from folks that will do her harm. and our process is very clear. every failure becomes an opportunity to learn. every failure becomes an opportunity to develop new tactics, techniques and procedures and to go back and examined it just as wicked and the private sector when we had failures.
we go back and we take a look and improve. and everyday the system is evolving. every day because everyone in this business today understands that the american standard, it only takes one. we don't want that once inhabited unfortunately a couple have. but our process is not to say we got it. the process is to critically examine what we do, why we did it and why the failure occurred and that i just our processes and procedures to address that. >> when these two particular cases, someone answered in particular, what did you learn from those two cases? >> we learned that potentially we should, in the tashfeen malik case which is why we're looking at the k. once and social media, that perhaps we didn't explore as many sources as we could've export although her private social media would not have been able so we have begun the process of developing a system
to do that and then the kentucky case, we come back to look at the vetting and the sources that were used for bedding come after were not as extensive as they need to be. and since that case came to light we have significantly enhanced the screening processes that are used in our intelligent law enforcement partners for the purpose. so in each case we do a deep dive in terms of what the it wa, figure it out and adjust processes appropriately. >> i would just like to also point out that we are not just learning from incidents in the united states but we are constantly evaluating those instances as they occur around the world and partnering with our foreign counterpart. in paris were involved to our attaché offices in scrubbing the
information that was being shared from law enforcement about the attackers and were able to make significant contributions back to that but also tightening our own defenses. the happy to give much greater detail in a classified setting so that we don't default methods and tactics in an open forum. it's not just waiting for an event to occur in the united states at it it's proactively through law enforcement through our law enforcement to the buildings adjusting our tactics as the world evolves. >> i would add one more thing. every week i chair or co-chair with the secretary our counterterrorism advisory board. every morning i meet with the secretary on new intelligence that has come in. we challenge our components based upon intelligence, based upon which changing what have we done differently. it's the first time in history of our department that we have
had come every component had sits at the table for accountability from our secretary. we've developed a counterterrorism posture that says intelligence is changing, we need to change and we need to understand how that intelligence changes our defenses. we do that on a weekly basis. it's why we changed aviation security, lots of other things going forward. that's been at the direction of the secretary. >> thank you and thank you for indulgence, mr. chairman. >> mr. donovan from new york. >> i think each of you for which are doing to protect our country. all the testimony we heard today was about redevelopment and improving our screening process with the visa applicants. i'm concerned with another significant gap in our security maybe we can talk about the a little bit. it's been publicly reported that is probably hundreds of thousands of stolen syrian passports. some of which are actually
blank. and it's suspected that these documents are enhance the of the islamic state. we've heard about our counterparts in the european countries say that there's a real industry in selling these false documents or stolen documents. and at least two of the attackers in paris apparently had false syrian passports and entered the eu through greece with them. this proliferation of genuine documents used maliciously by groups like isis presents a real challenge for our screening process. i was just wondering is if the information that is being reported confirmed? is that the information you're getting with as well? we are getting reports from the press about it. and if it is what each of your agencies doing to deal our combat or address that issue? >> i would ask mr. kubiak to address that. i think the specifics are
probably handled in a close setting as opposed to this venue. we are concerned about any false documents that could be used to move anywhere in the world, but we have systems that we are working with from an international perspective to address that particular issue you outlined more fully. but i would like to do that in a closed session. >> if i may just jump in before mr. kubiak. we are aware of the issue you're describing. i wouldn't say much more in this setting. but what i do want to say is, that is a critical and well-developed component of our screening, and that as situations arise we take specific steps with respect to those situations like the one you just described that's all begin on which is an open city. i want to communicate we are on it and we can talk about it in greater depth in a different
environment. >> thank you for your question. fraudulent documents are a critical part of the i.c.e. contested event date. as we look at all of us to travel and illicit finance that funds illicit travel as it occurs around the globe. i.c.e. has and hasn't for a number of years one of the world's most renowned forensic laboratories which specializes specifically and is located not far from your if anyone would like to take a tour or get a view of it. it has an immense capability that our supply to the united states government in cbp, state department colleagues, cis and others are evaluating false documents, recording lost and stolen documents like the ones that you are referencing, and promulgate that and shares that information legitimate travel documents with other countries so we're able to up our defenses and now what they turn into
documents are and how the fraudulent documents and either fake or stolen, we'll come are used in this network to supply terminals and terrorists potentially travel networks, travel capability. happy to give you because it's such a big part of what we do, happy to give you much more significant briefing in a classified setting. >> you just mentioned how we share information with our allies. are our allies come european union, are they sharing that information with us as well? >> it's a broad question because the types of information and begin we can get into that in a different setting but yes, on passport requirements we're getting information regularly from foreign governments that says this bank of the passports were stolen or this is the compromise or this is a false document that we've identified and utilized, and just information we have about others that may be similar. we are showing that back and forth around the globe. some countries more so than
others, and some more robustly than others but yes, and begin we can conclude that in a briefing for you as well. >> ms. bond, i did want to leave you out if there's anything you want to add. >> no. only to add that we do work very closely on this at also participate in reporting any lost or stolen u.s. passport, for example, once that's reported to us. we make sure that it is immediately registered with interpol so it's available to other nations and, of course, across the interagency. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you to the panel your. ..
>> when you talk about refugees, are you including in that category? >> we defer to mr. rodriguez on that, specifically. >> that is not a trick question, i just want to be clear on the terms we are using. >> a refugee is an individual who is a broad making a claim for protection and a protection under the same basic legal construct-- >> but they are doing it here and that's where i would like to focus my three and a half minutes on.
can you describe the difference between the that he echoes on between asylum seekers and refugees because my understanding is a refugee overseas is going to a number of refugee camps, about a year of vetting then state department does vetting and dhf does vetting and those are asylum seekers that are showing up, who is during the vetting of the asylum seeker if they are coming from one of the countries designated as special interest. >> that is a key point in it depends on what country they are from. when that they are from the countries of particular concern, virtually all of the process and the being the process that occurs overseas in terms of the kinds of interviews, preparation , the kinds of checks that are done. however, in that situation, it's often a joint undertaking between us and our partners at
ice and our partners at custom and border protection, a lot of that depending on how we encounter the individual. doing to them at the port of entry, or a situation in the interior? >> the person seeking asylum, where are they when you go through that process? >> well, are they in the community? >> are they in a detention facility, on their own recognizance while they are doing their bidding? >> depending on the facts and circumstances it can be any of the above. if they are at a port of entry, that is something immigration makes the determination as to whether that individual will be released or not and minors any as they do not do it if there is concern in that case. >> how long does that vetting process take, average cracks i know every case is different.
are we talking two weeks, two mines, a year? >> i would not attempt to give an actual, i think it's variable the pending on the country, nature of the case, composition of the family could be incredibly variable, so i don't think i could give you any kind of credible average. i don't know if mr. kubiak has anything to add. >> it is very specific to the circumstances of the individual, the situation they have arrived in the united states and then what process they will undergo next. >> you all are saying that level of vetting of asylum-seekers is on par with the level of vetting that a refugee goes through? >> the tools we use are just about the same tool that we use overseas and again in a different setting we can go into detail as to how that is to see that great. and bastard taylor, always a pleasure to see you.
are you getting enough intelligence of human smuggling organization or human trafficking kingpins in places like ecuador, brazil, colombia, guatemala and mexico? because those are the networks that would facilitate folks from the countries that will try to do us harm to take advantage of our asylum program. >> i am getting significant intelligence through our ice organization and from the intelligence community. it's not perfect information, but certainly it is an area of very high priority for us. >> on the national intelligence priority framework, do you think the human smuggling is high enough on that list? >> i wouldn't say it needs to be high enough on that list. it needs to be a high focus for our departments and whether it is on the priorities framework or not, it is the bread-and-butter of what we do. >> amen. >> we have focused on that to a
great extent, much of the intelligence about migration and that sort of thing comes from our law enforcement partners from cbp and from ice that goes into this, so it is our responsibility. we are working hard on better understanding that phenomenon and predicting as appropriate. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> this next sally from arizona. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for your testimony and the work you do trying to keep our country safe. i have her discussion and i know some of this you can't answer in a setting of things that are being discussed or debriefed or best practices and things about me put in place. i weep-- realize well-intentioned, but it's also bureaucratic barriers to moving things quickly and i have often said isis is moving at the speed
of broadband while we are moving at the speed of bureaucracy and other challenges you deal with as you try to move things forward, but to be clear and i know you can get into details. have we made changes to the k-1 program since the leak case in san bernardino? like are there changes in place and can you tell us-- do we currently have changes in place based on what we learned from the failures in the case? >> i wouldn't-- i would say that the case made us look at the process all over again. we identified new opportunities to do better. >> has something changed it now? >> that is one of the things i want to drive out and then i will turn it over to assistant secretary bond. our primary sort of lever that process is that the time individual seek green cards and so what we are doing-- we use it for k-1 and we will look at this across all immigration categories. how we more strategically use
the interviews that we conduct when we get green cards. >> i don't want to spend a lot of time because we have talked about it, again, what we are doing and will do best-- versus what is changed today. >> we will be using those more intensively in a more strategic and targeted way with enhanced lines of questioning is to target the kinds of issues i know we are worried about. >> thank you. i want to reference a bit off the main topic of terrorism, but also challenges in bureaucracy of the ig report that came out a couple weeks ago about again just information sharing not happening related to human trafficking victims being trafficked into the country using our legal system that the ig report identified 17 of 32 instances where no human traffickers in use at work in the k-1 visa process to bring victims into the country illegally because information sharing between organizations wasn't what it needed to be and 274 individuals, i am reading of the report, subjected to human
trafficking investigation successfully petitioned to bring 425 family members and fiancés into the united states. they are using the legal system, human traffickers, to bring victims into the united states or family members. we marked up a bill yesterday to try to close the gap, but has something changed us us us ig report in place now to fix these issues? this is a travesty. >> we embrace the recommendations that were made in the ig report long before the report was issued. we were doing things to make sure that mr. mr. kubiak agency and my agency are communicating so we can do our jobs best, so that is the state of affairs as we speak. mr. kubiak can speak to that as well. >> one more question again about knowing challenges that we we have had in the aftermath of the boston bomber in one of the individuals arrested from
keswick stan, i am sure you are familiar with this, did not have a current eye 20 and was on a student visa, but he actually left the us and came back and he was let in and the finding was because officers at inspection stations do not have access to student exchanges or information system, so again, this is information sharing within one organization where the guys checking him when he came and did not have access and that he did not have a current i 20 on file to read these are all just like information sharing things, so has that been fixed? >> i would have to get back to you on that specific incident. >> i'm just saying in general, like daily now, do they have access to that system? >> the system, which is driven primarily based of a biometric -based issue we can't write yesterday are connected and working together, so i would have to get more detail specifically on what happened in
that instance that's prevented that, but i would be happy to get back to you on that. >> please do and it's a broader question of we just have got bureaucracy and stove pipe information sharing and we have to figure how to speed that up so we have known cases whether it's traffickers here or the one associated austin bombing where we have identified where information was not shared and have we fixed that for the long-haul? if you could get back to me that is great. i yield back. >> just one thing to the question you asked about what has happened with the k-1 review because that was very much a joint operation and we were looking at our piece of the k-1, so i went to say that there have been some action that has already been taken and not huge dramatic, but we spoke to the posts that handle the largest number of fiancé cases, got their sop and reviewed some of
the standard things that they do working on these cases in high-volume and have share those ideas are probably two other posts that adopt these ideas. they will make you more efficient and ensure you are not overlooking anything in the process. so, that is an example of something that has already taking place as a result of the review. >> thank you. that chernow recognizes the gentlewoman from texas, excuse me. to let me think that chairman and ranking members and the witnesses for your presence here today and i know my colleagues have been extensive in their questioning, so i will partly be engaging in some of my comments for those of us who have been consistent and untiring supporters of emigration and immigration reform and the values of this nation. from my early upbringing, that
centered around the magnificent lady in the new york harbor, the statue of liberty. as a child that is what i grew up on and i understood this nation to be a refuge and to be a land of opportunity. certainly, within the skin i live and i have seen moments of those of us who live here experiencing a separate and segregated life with questions of liberty and justice and opportunity have been a question for americans. so, i understand some of the banks that have been exhibited by americans who may feel that jobs have been lost or security has been jeopardized. i have always said that the privilege i have of serving not only does congress, but in this committee, which i take very seriously, even nor we are the frontlines of security of this nation and it is our job to counter the negative, the angry
and the wrong headedness of some public officials who want to condemn the very entity of which this country has been based, land of immigration and immigrants and land of loss. you all are the holder of this responsibility along with the duty of protecting this nation. so, i'm going to having been in judiciary committee and leaving for another committee has a speak, i'm just going to ask all four of you to take the context of what i said, that this is land of immigrants and the question of recognizing the concerns of the security questions and start with you, secretary taylor, and you are dealing with the social media. so, each of you will tell me
what you are doing for those two points, securing the nation. you may want to weave in the social media context. context that we are seriously using that as a tool so that we can do right by those who legitimately come to this country for the values of this nation and get those and i mean get those who come to do us harm. secretary taylor. >> i would be happy to start. first and foremost, the mission of our departments and every person in our department is to stop people who want to come to our country to harm our citizens or our way of life. it is how we have organized our screening and abetting. is how we have built our partnerships with the intelligence community and law enforcement community and as you mentioned, we understand that our use of social media has not been as effective as it needs to be, which is why i am leading a
task force at that piece of information to our screening and vetting. one of your other colleagues had asked about how we adjust because the enemy is adjusting as we speak in terms of tactic techniques and procedures. it is our everyday focus on how what we are doing the gates the risk that we are seeing from intelligence and other activities. that's what we'll-- do every day. it's our solemn spots ability to this country. the secretary has announced from the day he started on the 23rd of december, 2013, that counterterrorist is the top priority of our department and every official in our department. >> mr. rodriguez. >> we have had a number of robust tools in place and we are fine tuning it and we are finding those tools as we go along to ensure that any of the
millions of people who we screen each year to not pose a threat to national security, or public safety. we use a series of tools. one of them is that interviews by very highly trained officers, in particular, refugee officers and we are always seeking to refine not only their training, but their preparation for the specific environment that they are addressing, so if it's a refugee officer interviewing syrians we make sure they are our steeped in that conditions in syria alongside the technological and intelligence tools that we use and fine tune as we continue to do our work. >> mr. kubiak. >> thank you for the question. i outlined what we did overseas and with the visa security unit earlier, so i would like to say that the key thing that ice brings to our national security strategy is to identify those
networks and of those criminal organizations that are seeking every day a new way to exploit of the security of the nation's borders and working globally to be able to circumvent about security and those protocols that we have to move illicit goods and illicit people and illicit finance both into and out of the united states whether it is to support terrorism finance overseas, to obtain critical technology weapons in the united states and export them to other places or whether to smuggle people and goods into the united states for criminal purposes and our role is to identify those networks for the department, attack those networks because you can try to this-- stop at the border, but the goal is to push those borders out so that we protect the homeland by being abroad and that we identify that entire network to lead identifying it, disrupting it and dismantling as we move through.
we can't ensure everything. >> ms. bond. >> in the course of reviewing and assessing each visa application, the consular officers are part of a team and we often talk about the officer who does the interview, but that person is not working alone. part of what we do is a very careful prescreening review of applications in order to identify questions in the file and focus the time of the interview in the most valuable way. but, in every office we also have a unit specifically for fraud prevention. when an officer has a concern about a case, they can review the case for what you could call a deeper dive by that fraud prevention team that will be looking into things. we do use social media in cases where we believe that that will give us information we need to resolve questions that may-- we might have. along with our collies and dhs also looking at how we can make
broader and effective use of social media. but, we really invest in the staff to ensure that they are thoroughly trained to take on the responsibilities that they have in terms of personally interviewing and assessing the qualifications of every single visa applicants. >> thank you, ms. jackson. let me thank you mr. chairman and i want us to remain a country of immigrants and laws and to keep our values that we have had an billed as a country. >> that chernow recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. radcliffe. >> thank you mr. chairman, and i think the witnesses for being here today and for the work that you do every day to support the primary role of the federal government and that being to provide for the common defense and to keep america safe from
evolving threat. right now that you've only threat from radical islamist jihadists are constantly on the minds of the nearly 700,000 texans that i represent and for good reason. the terrorist attacks in paris and san bernardino and other places prove that those extremists intent to exploit if a possible about the refugee and the visa processes to carry out mass killings against innocent people here in the united states and abroad. so, i know you would agree with me that we need to utilize every tool in our arsenal to ensure the people coming to the united states whether it's through the refugee program or through or on a visa that they are properly vetted in that regard we also fulfill our obligation with her spec to the federal government for filling his primary role. to give her citizens safe, so let me starts and ask you a
question under secretary taylor, following the san bernardino attack there seem to be a lot of confusion about whether or not under current policy dhs immigration officials are allowed to review open source social media when considering visa applications and i say that your predecessor john: was on record as saying during that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of a screen process. following that, a person for dhs came out and said that the department had begun three pilot programs to include social media and vetting and following that the president came out and i think it an effort to clarify said that and i will quote, our law enforcement and intelligence professionals are constantly monitoring public posts. that is part of the visa review process, so help me out, help is coming out here.
what is the current policy across the board with respect to dhs immigration officials, authorization to use social media as part of the vetting process for applicants? >> first, let's me as a mentioned earlier in this hearing, mr. cohen's suggestion that the secretary or any department official have prohibited the use of social media by any official in the department as of 2014, is just not true. we have had a policy in place since 2012. there are 33 instances to date were social media is being used by our components for the purpose of complying with their mission requirements. the one thing that we learned after san bernardino and why the secretary asked me to take a review of all of the social
media use within our department was that our efforts were not as robust as they needed to be and that we needed a comprehensive methodology within the department for the application of social media, that vetting social media for our mission and we are involved in that task force to date. we have made recommendations to the secretary in terms of how we plan to proceed and i have a work stream that i had a promised to execute that will get us at a better place in terms of where we are, but there was no prohibition as of 2014 for any official in the department for the use of social media. >> he said part of the policy since 2012 is being used. is allowed or is it required under that policy? >> under the policy from 2012,
it set forth a framework established by our privacy organization in terms of how components should-- >> i'm just trying to get at him is it always? is a part of the process or just a tool to mike i think what we have learned is that it's not comprehensively used and part of that is the technology. >> don't you think it should be? >> absolutely. >> part of your recommendation is that it's going to be required? >> in a center of excellence for the department to ensure standardized effect of social media use across the mission. >> if of the chairman will indulge me i want to follow up with respect to that same issue as it applies to refugees. fbi director testified before this committee and said
something to the effect that if a someone never makes a ripple in a pond in syria, we can that's our database-- base until the cows come home, but it won't help us because nothing will show up. so, i understand that we have a robust vetting system in place of people in the database, but secretary johnson and director kobe about testified before this committee that they lacked on the ground intelligence in places like syria to confidently that individuals, so director rodriguez, how does us eis incorporate social media as part of vetting into the refugee programs? >> what we are doing right now as these efforts are foes-- focused on syrians is that in those cases in which there are flags, elements of concern, we do a social media review in those cases to further develop
and determine whether there is information in social media, which helps us resolve that case either derogatory information that would lead to a denial or satisfy us that the individual was okay. what we are building toward in quick order including with the necessary both training and linguistic path to do this kind of review is to use that not only all syrians, but also across all iraqis as well. we will start deploying the capacity as we start hiring and training folks, and we will do that in short order. more importantly, we will look at using social media across all other immigration categories as well. a lot of that work is already done by secretary bonds folks at the consular level.
we are looking at using when we see people for example at time of adjustment there may be opportunities to do that work further at that stage as well. >> my time has expired, but so i'm clear, right now what you are saying is allowed only if there is a red flag? >> no, it is being done. it is allowed in a broader category and we are authorized to build as quickly as we can and do it in a broader category, so i view it as more active and directed rather than merely permissive. >> again, not required, allowed but not required? >> not in all cases only because we need to bring that capacity online as fast as we can. >> chairman, i appreciate your indulgence and i yield back. >> the chair recognizing the ranking member. >> thank you very much and let me take them-- think the witnesses for what i think was excellent testimony before the committee. mr. rodriguez, one thing that i think that the record would need to reflect is, the role in the
refugee program and a lot of questions about it, but in the process of the questions i never felt that you got a chance to answer, so can you give us the role that you play in this refugee process? >> sure and i think that key starting places that we are one of a multitude of agencies that are involved in the process and it starts with the un high commissioner for human rights that first refers the cases to the state department who in turn and at that point it is the first round of security checks initiated by the state department. both unhcr and state department conduct both information gathering in interviewing. we do the actual screening, meaning all that information that was gathered by unhcr and
also by the state department is reviewed by our officers. we conduct an interview based on our knowledge of the country conditions, the countries where these individuals are coming from. we sift through the results of those background checks in order to use that for interviewing purposes where we look at social media. we use that as a resource. the burden is on the refugee, that is the critical point to demonstrate to us that number when they qualify as a refugee ended that they are not inadmissible because they are a terrorist or aligned with terrorist organizations. then, the case goes back to the state department that conducts but the medical screening and a cultural orientation carried the database check it is going on a continuous basis from the first time the state department initiates those checks, right up until and beyond the time-- >> we will leave this herein at this point as today's senate session is about to get
underway. today, donating up to seven hours ago requiring mandatory sanctions of any entities complicit with north korea's missile development program and other illegal activities carried a vote in the senate is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. eastern. tomorrow, senators are excited to take up trade customs enforcement bill and live to the senate for. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, glorious in strength and marvelous in majesty, we ascribe to you the glory due your name. you have elevated this nation and sustained it through its history. keep us from forgetting that righteousness exalts but sin