tv Federal Officials Testify on the Threat of ISIS CSPAN May 31, 2016 8:37am-10:31am EDT
conflict zone. about 7400 westerners. isis eyestrain 400 fighters to target fighters to target europe with its external operation and at least eight other foreign fighters returning from syria with the same network in the paris attacks, brussels attacks, the same behind the paris attacks in the brussels suicide bombings. in total 162 victims. 1.8 million illegal border crossings into the european union in 2015. 1.8 million. the previous year in 2014 there were 280,000. you can just see as things degrade in syria and iraq, that is putting enormous pressure on the european union states. isis has 43 affiliates according to some reports and supporting groups globally. the fact that isis has a
territory, has established a caliphate, other islamic terror groups are beginning to pledge their loyalty, so isis continues to metastasize it until we defeat them, they will continue to inspire and be a growing and real threat. again, we have to take this seriously. we will continue to explore this good looking forward to the testimony from the department of homeland security and department of state. with that, i will turn it over to senator carper after i ask consent to enter my written statement in the record. >> i think that's a great idea. mr. chairman, thanks for pulling this together. i want to say to the secretary, and thank you for joining us today. it's an important hearing and a timely one as well. our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the belgian people of france to not only endured losses from terror attacks in the capital city, but
also the recent tragedy involving the crash of the flight without airport earlier this month. while we are still learning facts around the egypt air flight, this tragedy reminds us that securing our homeland is likely to remain an ongoing challenge for some time to come in their efforts must adapt its groups like isis evolved their tactics. as the chairman has alluded to some of the progress made on the battlefield and other ways with respect to isis. 60 nations beginning to work and providing good leadership. that is going slower than we would like. the real progress may not only in terms of regaining land, reducing their capacity to be successful and not part of the world come to taking away their money, their ability to finance
operations. securing borders and immigration system is obviously key for keeping us safe. we focus quite a bit on this topic since you know. hearings know. you're infamous u.n. refugee programs in the visa waiver program and fairness of the efforts bear witness to our focus. we found the syrian refugee process take upwards to two years, the dhs has enhanced the security of the visa waiver program, not once, but three times in the last 18 and a lot of energy as well. our government also deploys to help consular officers detect fraud. securing our borders however is only half the battle in which a shutdown will travel immigration to the country is still not be safe from terrorist threats. that's because as peter bergen testified in november that year in this room, every person who's been killed by a terrorist in this country since 9/11 has been killed by an american citizen or resident. let me say that again.
every person has been killed in this country since i live in has been killed by an american citizen or resident. the people who carry out these tasks were foreign students. they were not tourists. they were not even refugees. they were americans. in many cases they spent much of their lives in this country, the united states. for instance, they spent nearly a decade before carrying out the boston marathon bombings. major nidal hasan was born and raised in america and the serving the u.s. army when he committed the ford had attack. sad farook spent most of his life before he committed this massacre. unfortunately, isis knows the best way to attack america is to have americans do it for you. that is why isis put an emphasis on social media -- media and the
internet. in order to counter homegrown terrorist attacks, we have to do our best to make sure that when isis makes its recruitment comment it falls on ears. we must also be vigilant in ensuring the best of our ability that we can stop almost every terrorist attack well before an attack can be carried out. let me be clear. dhs, department of homeland security and other agencies are not allowed in tackling the threat of homegrown terrorism. congress must help. indeed, all americans must tell. we can start by taking action and whether their explosives or guns out of the hands of terrorists. we also need to improve the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to protect homegrown terrorism plot by half the number are there challenges on encryption. we need to give our federal use
the tools they need to help prevent our young people from falling prey to isis, and propaganda. late last year i offered some of our colleagues legislation to tackle this challenge. this legislation was created at the department of homeland security passed with working with community groups, families, especially young people and religious leaders to develop community-based solutions for stopping recruitment of young americans into isis. i legislation was reported out of committee later this year and also included in the department of homeland security accountability act just yesterday. we need to get this bill enacted into law as soon as possible so we can further help our communities resist recruitment efforts. secretary mayorkas and mystery -- do you pronounce your name siberell? siberell. i want to commend you in your
departments for the work you do to protect our people in this country from attacks both at home and abroad. we stand ready to work with you both and your colleagues to make sure that your department has the resources you need to combat these threats. we welcome your testimony and appreciate your hard work and leadership you provide to reflect selfless devotion. god bless you. thank you. >> thank you senator carper. if you would all rise and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony will give before this committee will be the truth from the whole truth and nothing but the truth to help you god? our first witness is mr. alejandro mayorkas. mr. mayorkas is the deputy secretary of the department of homeland security. previously he served as the night the citizenship and immigration services for usc isi dhs. a lot of acronyms in this
business. he was in the locker room and the youngest united states attorney to serve the nation conference in 1998 as the u.s. central district of california. in that capacity also served as the brashear attorney general subcommittee on civil rights is a member of the subcommittee on ethics in government. mr. mayorkas. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman johnson, ranking member carper and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear to discuss priorities and key actions of our department of homeland security to address the terrorist threats to our nation particularly following the islamic state of iraq and the labonte in november 2015 and march 2016 terrorist attacks in brussels and paris. i will be brief in my remarks in deferred to my written testimony submitted this past tuesday so that i can focus on the questions you may pose.
as i articulated in the earlier submission, the threats they face today are more complex and decentralized than they were a decade ago. we are in a new phase of the global terrorist threat. we have moved from the world of terrorist directed attacks to a world that increasingly includes the threat of terrorist conspired attacks. one in which they may never come face-to-face with a member of a terrorist terrorist organization but instead inspired by the propaganda of isil. they detect, could occur with little or no notice presenting more complex security challenge. confronting the world of terrorists directed and terror inspired attacks, our department of homeland security is focused resources and efforts in four areas in order to counter the evolving threats we face. aviation security, border security, counter and violent extremism and information sharing and support. each of these areas we have
strengthened our programs and are executing critical initiatives to better respond to the dynamic landscape across the world. we have strengthened our screening protocols at domestic airports and establish security enhancements at foreign airports that are less points of departure to the united states. we are continually taking a risky strategy and extending our zone of security to interject for a sr outward from our homeland is possible. we are leveraging all available at vance passenger data, intelligence, blind person information and open-source information. has strength in the visa waiver program in coordination with the department of state and congress had all individuals traveling as part of the visa waiver program are subject to rigorous screening for departure in the united states and throughout the travel continuum. the visa waiver program significantly enhances our
nation's security and my enforcement partnerships with her dissipating countries and we continue to work with their international partners to strengthen information sharing increasing our joint presence at your pole. we have strengthened our efforts in the close partnership with state, local and tribal von forsman, are key first responders throughout our nation. we have strengthened the -- i would like to thank this committee for endorsing the secretary's key unity of effort in priority. strengthening and ensuring the department is an ongoing process and would rely on this committee to work with us. legislating the joint task force and undersecretary for a
strategy helps plants in the office of leads are encountered violent extremism efforts is critical to ensuring the department of homeland security is able to pursue key priorities. on behalf of our department, we want to thank you -- our entrance for your support of our department. i'm proud to work alongside the men and women who work each day to protect our homeland. thank you very much. >> our next witness is mr. justin siberell. mr. siberell is the coordinator of counterterrorism at the u.s. department of state. he joined the state department foreign service in march 1993 and the bureau and july 2012. he's a career member of the senior foreign service with the rank of minister counselor. before joining the counterterrorism bureau, mr. siberell was officer in dubai united cameras.
they tour the state department operations center and executive secretary. mr. siberell. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman john said, ranking member carter, thank you for the opportunity to appear today for the department of state is working closely with the department of homeland security and other u.s. government agencies to counter isil and keep america safe. we face an evolving terrorist threat environment increasingly dispersed and adapted. the new reality requires to strengthen partnerships globally, including european partners. we are doing just that. i submitted this into the record. partnership with a broad coalition across the globe has made progress debating capabilities of transnational terrorist groups. in particular, the u.s.-led global coalition has been important progress in reducing controlled territory and iraq and syria as well as construed in the fun and foreign terrorist
fighters available to it. at the same time, terrorist groups continue to ask what instability clique were not exist and porous borders in key regions of the world to extend their reach and attract and mobilize new recruit. in the face of increased military pressure, isil, al qaeda, mass casualty attacks against targets in public spaces. terrorist attacks in beirut, brussels, jakarta, paris, san bernardino and elsewhere demonstrate these groups remain resilient and determined to continue targeting innocent civilians. mr. chairman, the department of state is working to mitigate the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters and other radicalized individuals, particularly in europe working with partners to increase information sharing, augment border security nickel machines to enable more effect
developers. this engagement has yielded positive results. 45 countries of whom are aged are updated to address the threat caused by foreign terrorist fighters. the united states has agreements with 55 international partners to strengthen efforts to identify, track and deter suspected terrorists. we provide a supported interpol to enhance the role of serving as a focal point for sharing critical foreign terrorist critical foreign terrorist vibrates entity data in countries around the world. 58 countries and the united nations now contribute the profile to interpol. many actions are guided by the requirement and the u.n. security council resolution developed by the united states and agreed to council number 2014. we continue to work with dhs and the 30th visa waiver program partners to strengthen a vital security counterterrorism
partnership in implementing changes for the visa waiver program improving and terrorist prevention act of 2015. the visa waiver program gives unprecedented leverage to hold partners to the high standards of security issuing passports and screening travelers and it is vital to the security of the homeland as well as security of our closest allies. we've increased our engagement with european partners in the aftermath of the perfect terrorist attacks in paris and brussels. earlier this year but avoid foreign fighters search teams to depose efforts across the interagency counterterrorism community to several european countries including belgium and greece. these teams work with partners to identify concrete are the type of operation to identify, disrupt, arrest and prosecute terrorist fighters. the department of state is strengthening international partners border security to develop deployment of the terrorist interdiction programs and working with the department of homeland security to deploy key technologies to more
effectively identify your target that travelers. or grants provide a highly viable capability for countries to strengthen border control and enhanced technology. effective border security is one of the most essential tools to deny terrorists the space and freedom to plot and carry out attacks on our first regard and the partners adopt and implement effective procedures and technology to enhance our collective security. our focus on identifying and preventing direct extremism to stop radicalization and localization of individual to engage in terrorist attacks. yesterday the department of state and usaid released a joint strategy encountered violent extremism but articulate an expanded effort to better understand and address the drivers the radicalization of disrupt the recruitment into terrorist groups. mr. chairman, no greater priority than keeping america safe from the threat of terrorism. the departments they worked in
close partnership with colleagues at dhs and other government agencies to counter the threat posed to the united states by terrorist groups like isil. we appreciate the support of our efforts and look forward to your questions on our discussion today. thank you. >> thank you, mr. siberell. mr. mayorkas, the headlines nowadays about the long lines at tsa i do want to talk about that. we didn't have a briefing and congress committee. i just want your estimate of what is causing that. what is the root cause of lines of fine history areas at chicago o'hare. >> if i can, thank you for the opportunity. when they separate chicago o'hare and the three-hour lines that were experienced about a week ago because quite frankly doubt with error on our part. that was a failure to address
with appropriate staff in a very printed bold stare jenny p. chandler traveled. so that wasn't not duration if you will with respect to the agencies, a failure to address. >> we can separate o'hare, but the problems at other airports, let's talk about the problem in totality. >> we would identify three general factors if i may. they have arisen over the course quite some time. number one and very importantly, we have enhanced security measures at our airports in response to an inspector general's report that was published last year. that inspector general report identifies certain deficient these protocols and has since executed a 10-point and directed by the secretary to address those deficiencies. >> let me stop you right there.
you have a metric in terms of what is enhanced security measures are a meaning in of throughput and do we have an average number of passengers versus what it was versus what it is today? >> i don't have that. >> out of s&p submitted afterwards. >> most certainly. secondly, over a number of years, the staffing at tsa dropped considerably and they dropped at a time, the third factor that the increase in travel volume. i would say those factors together, enhanced security, which we will of course not compromise, an increase in travel volume and a reduction in the staffing of our personnel. we are addressing all three of those very, very vigorously. >> talk about the staffing.
we've also have representatives from the customs border protection having a hard time also staffing. i will tell you manufactured in wisconsin, there's not one who can hire enough people. talk about the staffing. is it a budget related issue? the fact we are simply not able to attract and recruit enough people? are people leaving for certain reasons? >> there are multiple fact yours and i appreciate the opportunity to explain and i should first thank you and your colleagues for a $34 million programming that has allowed us to hire additional personnel in the short-term basis, could her part-time personnel to full-time and paid overtime so we can be ready for this search and volume. the tsa -- there was a purposeful effort to reduce staffing over a number of years
and moved to a risk-based methodology that reside on tsa pre-check another group accelerators to include managed inclusion, a program that a program that we have since eliminated following the inspector general's report and also under administrator messengers assessment of the second. the imperative. we have suffered attrition because of the paid tsa employees was these and because many of them are part time looking for full-time opportunities. and there are better opportunities in what national workforce by virtue of the part-time data is. so there are multiple reasons that we are tackling each and every one of those good we are converting quite of part-time position to full-time positions. we are taking a look at the pay structure, which of course we need to partner with congress to alter the tsa employees are not
on the gs pay schedule. we are also taking a look at staffing models we employ. for example, we have skilled screeners, airport screeners performing functions that don't necessarily require those talents. we want to move those talents to where they are needed and employ people with divestiture offers, does that communicate to passengers in mind that they need not take off their shoes if they are in tsa pre-check line, but if not they need to take off their shoes and coats, et cetera. >> standard cisco with contract in with the tsa security, correct? >> yes, it is. >> how many other airports use the same model? >> i know there are others. i don't have the exact number. our ability to staff security at airports is involuntary. it's a partnership with a local
airport. but what i think it's critical from a security bid is even if it's a private company, they must of course maintain security protocols according to her standards. >> the question i have is are those privacy or contracts, are they the same long lines at those airports? >> san francisco airport is a major hub that does have some weight time issues. they are not as acute as some of our top airports. i should say at the top airport at peak times that create the weight time phenomenon and we are focused therefore on the top 20 airport at the peak times and searching staff accordingly. >> we are going to have admiral neffenger at 6:00 or 7:00 so i will get in greater detail with him. i know he's been doing a top to bottom assessment of this.
he talked about the layered approach to border security. i want to talk about a layered approach at the airport security as well. we had an interesting hearing with dhs. i'm a big opponent of canine views. there is no technology that comes close to the ability. can you just talk a little bit about it's been a year of admiral neffenger doing this a sycophant. sort of a reengineering of airport security. thank you, mr. chairman. admiral neffenger is a phenomenal leader and i use that adjective. the assessment is underway, but the changes are underway as well. admiral neffenger has not waited to complete the assessment before implementing reforms already identified as needed. you mentioned canines. we've deployed additional canine
center looking to deploy more. they are in fact extraordinarily effective tool both from a security to them critically from a throughput is because individuals who pass the canines review, if you will, can go through expedited screening just as though they had enrolled and succeeded in being approved for tsa pre-check. so the canine deployments, from a risk-based approach, reengineering the tsa pre-check process, maximizing the marketing of the tsa pre-check. if the security imperative. it is also an advantage. we went last year from the daily average of 3000 enrollees into tsa pre-check to now close to an average of daily moment of 15,000. two days ago we reached the 16,000 mark. those are two examples of the
reforms that he is instituted for the assessment is underway, not wait until it's complete. >> just so you know, i'll be highly supportive of beefing up an increasing unit of canine units. senator carper. >> mr. chairman, i didn't plan to address tsa -- came back in through san francisco and connected yesterday morning and landed at dulles. what i witnessed in travel there earlier in the month of may and april, most of the folks on this committee have tsa pre-check and that's how we get through airport. time and again i would quickly through tsa pre-checks. long lines of people were waiting to go. we talked to admiral neffenger a lot in the last two weeks.
one of the things that got to do as a collective responsibility. we got to get more people in the numbers you just cited up to 60,000 per week. we would triple that. we want to continue to do that. tsa used to have a program. they have bio. i want to get the message out again. could be good tv commercial. people waiting for 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes to get the regular checks and people zipping back pre-check to understand. they've got a tough job. they've got all kinds of people to get through the security and go someplace. by the same token, make sure nobody gets through who's going to create mayhem on the airplane. there's tension we have to deal
with. i have to ask the admiral to have the tsa be a great leader. a lot of of invention or management problems. there is a leadership and has been changed and that is good. a very interesting thing as you know in terms of how modern i've seen the procedures you go through and for the security checks i understand.a couple 21st century main comment the airport in atlanta and other airlines do the same thing. i'm told the processing time for people going through tsa, rather than regular checks is a 25%. jeh johnson, i asked him to consider paying for their
employees, particularly the ones who are more senior and that is something i would urge us to do on around. we all have fortune 500 company sinners saved. why don't them a copy? this is what secretary johnson has. the same thing as well. i have to send more airports to run there's maybe three more of those. leadership is the most important element. you've got a great leader and we look forward to the committee. it's timely and important.
i think the people who work there. i can't tell how many times people are said to me nobody has ever thank me. i tell them who i am and what i do. i want to pick up -- push secretary mayorkas, where the number of hearings on visa waiver. it's the soft underbelly. they don't understand the travel limitation several years ago to where we could or information in 38 countries that we partner with. briefly mention some of the ways we've tightened up our pre-check comment visa waivers to make sure the information is valued and protected them at the same time protect our security. thank you. >> thank you very much, ranking
member carper. we expect the visa waiver program. answer the question in two parts had won us with respect to the individual traveler. an individual traveler who seeks to avail him or herself with the visa waiver program must submit an application before hand and we have strengthened the application to capture more data so we know more about the individual travel before they arrived in the united states. we added in fact 22 additional field to the application and those additional field have in fact elicited data that has been very material to a security determination whether to allow a visa waiver program applicants were right here in the united states under that program. so from the analysis and assessment of the individual traveler, with strength in the application forms in very significant ways. for a country to qualify as the visa waiver program countries,
they're of course statutory requirement that are very critical to our homeland security mission and there are additional that we ourselves have to depose and secretary johnson has strength and the. the participating country must have the visa refusal rate that is under a particular percentage to ensure that they are not a source of visa fraud. we have critical homeland security in mind for smith partnership agreement that a country must sign and must implement in order to qualify that these are waiver program country. we use the visa waiver program as a mechanism to drive better cooperation of a better information sharing with key international partners. for about the micro and macro is, the visa waiver program
enhances our homeland security. >> one last quick question here in the appropriations bill, we provided the department of homeland security grants to counterbalance extremism and 10 million is not a pot of money. sounds like it is, but it isn't. how is dhs going to ensure ample resources to do with this thread and how can we help further? >> thank you very much, senator. the challenge of violent priorities. the secretary has made it one of his top five priorities. we created the office for community partnerships to strengthen our efforts in this critical mission areas and its name is actually very significant because what we used to do, frankly, we used to have to scrape lines about third throughout the department, separate agencies in separate offices at very important and very effective work underway,
but we were not united in our absurd and we were not necessarily aligned in our allocation of resources. under the secretary, we have brought all of those resources, all of those efforts together for community partnerships. why the name is important the community itself is the means of counter during a violent extremism. what we do is we equipped, trained and empowered communities in the struggle. we are going to allocate $10 million for which we are very thankful and a grant program. we are tapping into the immense grantmaking expertise to administer to ensure that we
employed us find this effect deflates usefully as possible. in fact, we are engaging stakeholders now to ensure that the plants we develop are in fact the plans that the communities themselves believe are most prudent and most effective. it is a very difficult challenge. isil is extraordinarily sophisticated and extraordinarily focused on his propaganda internationally and it's very able use of social media in its effort to radicalize individuals here in our homeland. we have to counter that message as you have alluded to earlier. and we cannot do it as a government we are working with technology companies, students, universities and colleges to
really engage in the counter violent extremism messages in a peer-to-peer format, which we think is the most effective way to proceed. >> thank you for all of that. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for voting another hearing on a critical topic. i will say we haven't made much progress. with all due respect in what we just heard about the new approach is being taken isis is being contained, which is that the administration is that on occasion. isis was called a bunch of guys in a trap. i think that was all misleading rhetoric and sadly if you'd look at what is happening, isis continues to grow. it continues to grow in a lot of respects. one is destabilizing effects of the middle east well beyond the area and once again trying to retake falluja and we have more
and more military assets going into iraq after precipitously pulling out of iraq. i think you have to also save earth are destabilized europe -- the chairman talked about refugees moving to europe, many of the goalie and we see what has happened with the attacks in paris and belgium, but it's well beyond that. isis poses a greater threat in public testimony. i assume he would not disagree with. it's a greater threat than last time we held a hearing. the ability to reach out to people continues to grow. when you look at what is happening on the internet and the real social media communication going on my only concern and i have a lot of respect item are you you, but it looks like you are doing their
best. there's not a sense of urgency here. it is right that we have passed some legislation not of this committee that can be helpful. i'm all three levels, one is the military thought about going after isis in syria and iraq. unavoidable for doing kabila take out their ability to attack us in europe and other places. second on the border security for we continue to have doubts and as the fbi director told us in this committee, we have serious doubts and yet they are coming. finally, perhaps the most important area, the one we haven't yet been able to figure out is what i would say counterterrorism communication to put a broadly and specifically online. i have a had some recent data. you know, we are facing a very
effect of opponent online. they have a slick narrative. we see when we are asked to look at, the isis propaganda online, violent extremism. here is a report we got recently a single month of summer, 52% of the 900 propaganda messages sent out a focus on quality-of-life issues. 37% had only 2% touchdown brutality of violence. they are sophisticated. they are reaching out to the alienated youth in the west and elsewhere. i don't think we can say there are fewer jihadists going to the middle east, can we? i think it's increasing. i guess what i would say this morning is what are we doing
that is responding to this increased capability they have to the urgency of this problem. what would you say is the most important thing we should be doing. i notice mr. siberell come you talked about the state department and catherine violent extremism after that the homeland security. we talked about community part shapes. we talked about director george down this morning. is there an acm groups about a year old or less. the state department started this new group because the center for strategic communication was not working well and not providing the counter messaging you had hoped. are you all working together? i think it's great there is a unity of effort now at the department of homeland security. would you say that we are effectively countering this message recount about this morning?
>> thank you, senator. the coronation within our government on this issue is definitely a strength name. it's a major challenge. i would agree with you that the use of social media in the internet and to use the internet as an effective tool to recruit our members have an unprecedented and it's not something we have seen used as effectively by any other group previously appeared the narrative of the jury so successfully and if you think in the early 2015 era has been significant losses that isil has suffered good does it during has been marked somewhat. they are not delivered effectively on government. you noted this takes focused on 52% of their messaging on quality-of-life while they have
suffered in their ability to provide that quality-of-life. the global engagement center is a new affair. it is intended to build out networks globally to coordinate messaging. >> how long has it been up and running? spinach is since earlier this year from the executive order authorized. >> we still have the -- [inaudible] >> no. it's folded in. >> you are suggesting the narrative is less compelling now because they can't focus as much on quality-of-life issues. does this mean fewer foreign fighters attracted to the middle east? >> dequeue motive number is sent in unprecedented. that's something we've never seen. >> me restate the question. are you saying that the fact that the mobile outlook import forward which is fewer foreign fighters, fewer alienated youth
been attracted to the middle east. is that happen? >> there have any decrease. >> do think there's a decreased number of number of foreign fighters? >> yes. >> can you give me any information on data in a follow-up communication as to why you think i know what your numbers are based on? >> i would be happy to do that. these are inclusions that come out of our intelligence community. their observations. >> you would disagree with this morning. you saying that there are fewer foreign fighters coming in to the middle east and therefore less of a risk to the united states? do not or has been a decrease fighter entry, but an increase in other places. libya as an example. other places that isil does continue, as you pointed out to associate themselves with existing insurgencies and that is a problem. it's not something localized. as you noted, a global
phenomenon we have to confront around the world. >> i think it would be misleading based on other administration officials have testified in public. i'm not talking the classified rethink to make sure we are decreasing. i would love to see statistics and we've got them. >> secretary mayorkas, would you say dhs is communicating directly and coordinating with his new office of global engagement center? >> senator, i'm not particularly familiar with that aspect of our communication on the international front. my focus has been domestically on countering the violent extremism as it is targeted to the homeland and i would have to defer to my experts in the international arena. >> time is expired. thank you, mr. chairman.
i guess what i would say at this committee would be interested in knowing what the coordination is between and dhs. let's face it, social media is not subject to boundaries. the same people you are trying to dress in those communities are the same people hearing this message overseas and i would hope we could have better communication within our government. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator peters. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate our witnesses today on this very important topic. it's important to remember that isis is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of muslims. we have to engage abroad as well as the most community and their own state and in this country. we have a very vibrant muslim community in michigan. one of the most patriotic individuals that i've ever met are part of that community and certainly they need to be a part
of any solution to counter the radical extremism that we see from the recruitment efforts occurring in our community. mr. siberell, i have a copy of a new report that just came out i believe just yesterday on the department of state and usaid joint strategy on countering violent extremism. could you summarize what you think are the key part of this new strategy and how does that differ in the past and why do we believe this will be more successful than anything we've done in the past? >> thank you on a senator for the question. we did release the usaid extremism and the first time they have released a strategy. what a guess that is the essential determination conclusion that our effort and globally this to be more
comprehensive. we need to scale up our effort to better understand the drivers and ruth the radicalization that is leading to recruitment into these terrorist groups that is enabling these groups to continue to recruit and identify and track their members despite the fact that they offer only mr. reagan that in their own community that they control. we understand that we've had significant success in planting the capabilities over time and certainly great success through intelligence, military fun for some efforts and removing terrorist leadership yet the groups continue to attract new followers. this strategy is in a college mentor the fact that our approach -- when i say our, the united states working in partnership around the globe need to better understand to the
ideology that these groups propagate and what can be done to address the factors. the first of which is to advise more seriously and researchers of coming to better better understanding of these drivers and the factors of radicalization. it then discusses the importance of doping in a national understanding of effective measures that can be adopted by governments at the national and some national level. it addresses the importance of orienting some of our capacity building and development effort towards those drivers come to beginning to blog the radicalization process and also hope deal with those who have been radicalized to read untrendy radicalized and provide effect ugly to joining up with
these organizations. it also addresses the importance of counter narratives in an area we are investing in the global engagement center will be leaving and not after. it is a global engagement center, just to address the earlier question, an interagency organization with representation from across the federal government. finally, the strategy addresses the important than rehabilitation and reintegration efforts and desired for efforts related to those who have for instance entered into detention system, the prison system and what governments can do to reintegrate those or rehabilitate those that have renounced violence. the strategy we believe provides us a strong framework to more coherently implement the policies and programs around the world to develop the approach
that is more merited. >> that's an overview of what is happening overseas. if you could talk a little bit about what's happening in our local communities. outside of my time of vibrant american muslim communities that we have in the united states and in particular michigan. her department has engaged in a very good basis. secretary johnson has as well. give us an assessment of how important is that for and what we should ask back in the future. >> thank you very much, secretary johnson has actually visited and engaged with quite a number of communities across the country. i visited detroit a number of years ago in my prior capacity at u.s. citizenship and immigration services for the very same purpose from a different give at that time and i've also of course visited in minneapolis, boston and new york. our efforts in the community are absolutely vital.
one of the things we're focused on sa department and quite frankly across the government is actually being in the community and finding and identifying and empowering and equipping local trusted voices to be the critical messengers in the battle to counter violent extremism, whether they be faith leaders, educators, parents, civic leaders and the like. our office for community partnerships equips local communities with tools, with toolkits and messages so helps to identify symptoms of an individual on the path to radicalization, across the administration. we created the interagency task force to counter violent extremism, to make sure unity of
effort is not only accomplishes in the department of homeland security, but across the government. we have harnessed the resources of the federal bureau of investigation at the national counterterrorism center and other agencies that are focused on the security and safety of the american people. .. >> not only for the safety of the nation but for the safety of their respective communities. no one, no parent wants to lose a child to violent extremism.
no parent wants to see a child traveled to the conflict zone and join a terrorist organization, no responsible parent, of course. and so they are our close allies. we've brought in leaders from communities across the country into the department of homeland security, into our offices to understand their perspectives, to better understand sensitivities and to frankly learn from them how best we can partner together. we did not have a monopoly on the best ideas on how to both work with and impact the communities that we're trying to reach. it's a very much a collaborative effort. it's a very much a partnership with those communities. >> yankee. my time has expired but appreciates the efforts of both of you. thank you. >> thank you, chairman.
secretary mayorkas, we have a visa waiver application, is that application cross checked with both our terror watchlist and our no-fly list? >> senator, yes. that application, the data is run through multiple databases. and i should say that visa waiver program traveler is vetted at a number of different -- >> okay, said terror watchlist, no-fly list. i assume there's obviously our fbi criminal database that, you know, their record-keeping process for criminal records, what other databases? >> it is the watchlist, the no-fly list, our law enforcement database, and also other intelligence databases. and i can survey provide subsequent to this hearing
greater specificity on which of those databases is checked but it is a full complement. >> so here's my question. when we look at the attacks that happened both in paris and then subsequently in brussels, my question is this. we know that many of the european countries, and in particular poor countries, the united kingdom, the united unitd kingdom, france and belgium have received the greatest number for fighters to go back and forth between i the iraq and syria. my question is pretty straightforward. those the window to involved in the paris attacks or the brussels attacks, were any of those individuals not on our terror watch lists or our no-fly list list which is a smaller subset of the terror watchlist, or our other databases?
>> i would defer to our expert and i will shortly follow up with you, senator. >> so this is a really important question, and the reason i think it's a really important question is we are only as good as the information that we have. we can add additional questions on the visa waiver checklist, but we don't do an in person interview with those that apply for the visa waiver program, correct? >> we do not do a consular interview, that's correct. >> that's a pretty large country with -- program with 38 countries of all. we've added additional questions but it's really what comes in what goes out is important to how valid, how we are doing. so i think it's really important for this committee to understand any of the individuals that we know that identified that have been involved in paris, that
have been identified with brussels, whether on the terror watchlist? were they on any of our databases? if not then we better understand why not, and would better understand as we look at the countries of origin that we see if there are gaps in our information sharing. the reason i asked it is, it's been pretty widely publicized, for example, that belgium had very serious issues with their law-enforcement capability here as we know the information was shared from countries like turkey about at least one of the individuals involved in the attacks that were not acted upon. and so would you agree with me this is pretty important for us to understand? because it's only as good as the information we have in terms of how this happens. >> if i may, senator, this is absolutely an important issue. whether or not an individual is
on a no-fly list is not necessarily dispositive of with our security that it would prevent that individual who would pose a threat or danger -- >> i would agree but we are more likely, if they are not on a tear list which is a populist than no fly, no flight is a subset of care, they're not in our fbi database or they are not in some of these other databases that we can't discuss here, if they are nowhere, it's a lot less likely that we're going to discover them. we do a great? >> not necessarily. >> tell me why you think we will discover them. >> if i may. i don't keep it specific to the visa waiver program. the application that traveler must complete is a very conference of application and contact in our effort to strengthen the visa waiver program that application has become even more comprehensive. so we picked up data of an individual traveler that is not
dissent in our databases that we've picked up data about that traveler that has revealed information, that has enabled us to deny that individual's ability to travel based on -- >> so let me ask you this. how many visa waiver applications are there? how many people? >> i would have to get you that. >> i think it's important understand that. in which individual investigation is done on each of those applications? in other words, when i get an application if i'm an investigator, how much follow-up is done on each application? >> senator, what i would appreciate is the opportunity to have our experts refute in a classified setting as to how we address the extraordinary amount of information we receive of those applications. >> this is what i'm trying to get out. we know there were deficiencies in belgium. and the past i know the
secretary is look at countries of concern but information should is a critical piece for us to protect our citizens, whether within the visa waiver program or not. but in particular with this category of individuals because they don't have to take the other extra step. i think it would be important whether in class but said or not that we understand the individuals that were involved in brussels, in paris, or any of them on any of our intelligence databases? number two, how many folks went in the visa waiver program? number three, on a hard paper application how many of those do we have the opportunity to individually investigate aspects of that application? so that's why the list becomes important a because we intelligence becomes important because presumably with the numbers we can't individually investigate each application. what worries me is that you have a significant obviously number of foreign fighters at every
turn to these european countries, and the sharing of information with our allies is critical. it's also the critical piece to how effective our visa waiver program is. i know my time is up by hope that we will have an opportunity to really break this down so we can understand fully how thorough the betting is in this program. thanks. >> mr. chairman, may i seek your indulgence speak with yes. because i'm going to seek your indulgence next. >> this is a very important point. allow me to make a number of points. first, we vet every single application of the visa waiver program travel, every single one. >> what does that betting at all? >> checking is our databases. not only the name of the individual but also pinging against our databases and our extensive holdings, all of all e information that we collect through the application.
and so sometimes the information that is of secondary importance, if you will, not necessarily pertinent to the individual but pertinent to other individuals identities whom we identify all the application has proven to be quite vitriol in our security vetting. and i could explore further with you in a different classified setting, number one. number two, the ease with which an individual might travel from one european country to another, by way of example is very different than the ease with which or the difficulty with which someone might travel from european country to the united states. our security protocols at last point of departure airports is extraordinarily robust, and we have multiple layers of security. and so the travel from one foreign country to another is not to be viewed synonymous with the build of an individual to
travel from one foreign country to the united states specifically. thirdly, there is a difference between a refugee, to give a particular example, being processed across a border from one european country to another, and what we consider and what we employed as our security vetting. the difference between the processing of an individual, the caption of the biographic information, and allow the individual to travel through within the european zone ultimately to resettle is a very, very different process. the our multitier rigorous screening of refugees here in the united states. >> well, mr. secretary, i appreciate your description but that's what i want to know how many folks are in the database or not. and second, the refugee issue is a separate issue versus i'm a
citizen of belgian. i'm in the visa waiver program. i'm not necessarily unless we know someone, you know, been back and forth and a good our information is easily afford. so i would also like to know how much we are able to get, given the volume, i would like to know what the volume is and how much follow-up if we don't have some other database on actually able to do. thank you. >> mr. chairman, i don't normally interject myself into the conversation but i would like to ask for 30 seconds. we have talked about the precludes program. i hope at some point we'll have an opportunity to do that. the idea of precludes is it pushes out our borders further and further to other places so folks that come through preclearance actually have interviews, they have their biometrics taken. the other thing, everybody who comes through a visa waiver when we get to this country we collect if i'm not mistaken their biometrics. they are fingerprinted. it's gotten better and better as
time goes by. can we do better? yes. a lot of work has been done and i think we need to acknowledge that. thank you. >> i want to click china and. from what i know -- quick chime in. i believe the greatest we have in terms of risk factors, rank of foreign fighters or isis operatives come into america threatening the homeland, the least risk is a refugee program because with proper vetting we can really take no risks there was another we bring in. so that's the lowest risk. i would say the visa waiver program is the next highest risk but a think our greatest risk of foreign fighters, isis operatives going through africa into central america coming up through the porous borders. that's my breaking in terms of risk assessment. lowest risk of refugee program, next lowest or next highest risk with the visa waiver program. highest risk coming to our porous border.
i just want your ranking, mr. mayorkas, endorse, mr. siberell. just breaking. no rationale. what do you think is the lowest risk to the highest risk? >> i haven't ranked vendor i want to think about that. all of -- >> that's fine, mr. siberell. think about it because of come back to it in my questioning. mr. siberell come together quick answer to that? >> i don't have a relatively rank as th that of the. i would say with the visa waiver program as i think we discussed previously, this is a program that enables us and provide us leverage over the visa waiver program partners to require improvement and strengthening of their own processes and so, therefore, makes, is a border city program effectively. it's very strong. >> again, i think honestly the ranking is kind of obvious but think about at the conduct of my questions. i do want to take it anymore
time of mr. booker's questioning. >> gentlemen, thank you very much for the ethical working out and do every day, the service you ready to a question at a grateful to you both. they were really colossal and consequential intelligence failures in our european allies about some of these horrific attacks to take place. for instance, we understand now the world a lot of gaps in the ability of eu member countries to collect information about people who traveled to fight with isis in transit, iraq and not even libya. even some of the countries themselves and we now know that belgium has got a lot of problems internally from a federal system divided by language, geography, culture. you are a different security agencies, three languages, seven parliaments and brussels has 1.2 million people. there are 19 communes, each with
its own major administration. there are multiple communities that different from ours and our most of america's would find themselves as americans if you integrate into society. european muslims don't have the. there are a lot of challenges with our european allies. within the eu general hayden headset eu member states share more with the united states, which is a good thing, then with each other but this allows challenges and problems in europe i imagine to fester and to explode as we see. information sharing among the eu members states debate is often compared with where we were pre-9/11. which has a lot of overlapping stovepipe security entities. i would just like for a second to look at what's happened since the belgian attack, agency of their starting to really change their procedures, policies, and
deeply that there is really political buy-in for sharing across the borders in european countries really around counterterrorism, is there adequate coordination going on, information sharing and the like? and either of you can respond. >> i'm happy to jump in first. thank you very much. so the issue of information sharing is a critical as identified in my opening remarks. of course, critical to homeland security concerns of the sharing of information with us, and it very well may be true that figure -- fisher more fres information with those the with each other because we demand that in her for travelers to arrive in the united states, either to the visa waiver program or otherwise. they have, in fact, advanced considerably the sharing of information, understand the imperative post paris impose brussels attacks. i can cite some specific examples. we are very encouraged when the
european union past a name record for the collection and sharing of passenger name record data, information that is critical snapshot of who the individual is well in advance of travel within the european territory. number one. number two, they have really empowered and equipped euro poll as a central repository of information and cooperation, really i coordination hub of which we participate considerably in the collection and dissemination, the sharing of information. they have got a european counterterrorism center in europol. they have a human smuggling center in data surfing as a great hub. i think you are making tremendous advances in the collection, in the sharing of information.
they have a ways to go. they do not necessarily collect and share passenger name record information with each other. they are marshaling through the privacy and other interest that have served as a cellist in the past that i think the eu pnr agreement is frankly a milestone in the effort and i would defer to my colleague for any other comments. >> i would agree with all of that. i think there is political will within europe for improving their own systems and integrating watch lists, again to collect pnr data is that effectively as noted that i think is political will is there today. it is somewhat late in coming, but it is a factor of the fact that they have large numbers, as we all know, of foreign terrorist fighters have gone into syria.
this has been a crisis for some time. the paris and brussels attacks really brought this on. we have seen a change i in the y to the approaching these issues, grading -- great williams anderson they need to improve their systems, a greater openness to work the polls with us even than they had been which is already close. >> we after all 9/11 attacks greater fusion centers which have been really effective. you are mentioning things like europol but are they really replicating what's been successful here in terms of the fusion centers we're using? are leasing them move as rapidly as we did in the direction? >> what we've seen can do is to lay out a series of steps that need to take to better integrate their systems. i think the aspiration is to ultimately a unified list we've developed since 9/11, but in the meantime with the need to do is build better integration between their lives and to ensure you can have a single point of
search against all other holdings. that isn't very we can help them and we're prepared to provide technical assistance as they work through that. >> the house just recently passed h.r. 4314, i counterterrorism screening and assistant act to accelerate our role in supporting the. i guess my question is, there's a lot we've learned, a lot of resources we have, a lot of technology we've developed. how can our systems to better tilt them to improve their capabilities. are the things we should be doing to help sure those best practices and provide that technology that this body here should be acting on with great delivered urgency? >> senator, i was absolutely yes. and we are. let me if i can t. get the bottom line to your question, which is i think they are improving the sharing of information. they are on the right path. they are not where we need them
to be, but we are working to make sure that they are. i actually am joining the attorney general and others, general taylor, the leader of our intelligence and analysis office who is here today. we are going to europe on tuesday to address the very issue that you raise. we have offered our technological advances in this area to secure real-time platform, the automated targeting system is global. we have offered those critical instruments that we ourselves have developed in the course -- and, of course, avail ourselves of to assist them in this imperative, the security imperative. >> i don't have time to go into this light of questions but i want to reiterate, there is a problem with government run efforts because they delegitimize, really the kiss of
death when it comes to our involvement in countering message that was brought up an earlier question. i just want to encourage the efforts that i've seen that are going on that are allowing a thousand flowers to bloom that a more authentic voices, and one of the most authentic voices, is former foreign fighters who themselves have been disillusioned with the toxicity of hatred and what you've seen and experienced, often are very persuasive as a buffer or an anecdote to the toxins that are being spewed by isis. i would just like to say that and encourage you, i was very happy about the state department and usaid unveiling their joint strategy but i just hoping -- i just over investing. i said this is secretary johnson, cde should not mean law enforcement. it should really mean these other efforts that are going on our empowering local
communities, helping to elevate authentic voices, and we do things that actually work to counter violent extremism. >> senator, we couldn't agree more, and that is the ethics we are executing it is not our voice that is going to move the mountain of this challenge her brother of voices in the community. i attended an extraordinary, quite frankly. keep your challenge where students from all over the world competed in developing or grams. it came from students and it was focus on reaching students, facebook was a critical partner in that endeavor. we are working with technology companies so that they serve as platforms for these flowers to bloom. we are working philanthropic organizations. the community based organizations, faith leaders, teachers, schools, parents, peers most critically, and you've identified an
extraordinarily powerful voice in those who once were on the wrong path and realized the great problems of their prior ways. >> thank you, sir, and that is music to my ears. as a jersey boy it's almost like springsteen music to my ears. >> thank you, mr.chairman. gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. first i want to start with a comment because we had a lot of great discussion this morning i think in regards to isis propaganda and actually combating that. i know senator portman had mentioned earlier in his comments that we really need that governmentwide coordination in combating the propaganda as well as i think work in the communities. and i share those concerns. i think all of us do, and i have joined with chairman johnson and senator booker in introducing a bill that would require the president to combat terrorist
use of social media, it's where we see so much of this coming up. so i do hope that we are able to move that bill forward in the summer at a just want to thank both of you for partnering on fat. we do have a lot of folks that are concerned. we hope to work very well with you as we move through a number of these processes. and then deputy secretary, if i could start with you, please. i do understand the benefits of a visa waiver program. i know that we have it, but still some security concerns. senator ayotte was echoing some of those, but we have 38 countries that participate in that, is what i understand, correct? >> yes. >> are all of the meeting the necessary requirements as they go through their vetting? >> senator, thank you very much. the requirements are prerequisite in joining the visa waiver program, and to remain in
the visa waiver program. we have strengthened that under secretary johnson's leadership. if, in fact, the country, if we determine or assess the country is falling short of its obligations under the visa waiver program then we develop a remediation plan with a timeline and strict requirements to ensure that no traveler that is arriving in the united states poses a threat to the united states. we have, in fact, employed mechanism when a country has fallen short, and so we are quite rigorous in the requirements of the visa waiver program. program. >> are the any of those countries that are meeting the requirements right now? >> senator, there are. we have them on programs, any further details i would be happy to share with you in a different setting. >> i appreciated that because of that is something i think the public is concerned about as we have a number of countries
involved in this. and the public really doesn't know what is being followed up on. i think as long as we stay on top of that, it's a regular that they're meeting their security requirements. how do we check that? how do we know that? >> yes, and i should say this underscores one of the article benefits of the visa waiver program, which is that we do this leverage with another country, a country that wishes to remain in the program. we use it as a tool to ensure compliance with extraordinarily stringent obligations that serve the security of our homeland. it's a perfect example how the visa waiver program serves as a tool of security rather than otherwise. i do wish the name was changed because the term waiver would suggest some sort of relaxation of the security requirement
when, in fact, the opposite is true. not only do we capture an enormous amount of information about the individual traveler wishing to avail him or herself of the program, but we also use the program and other nations is our to purchase but in it as a driver of information sharing, information collection, and greater security partnership with the united states. it really dovetails with the question that senator booker posed with respect to a european country does in its security mechanisms. perhaps it is better with us than they do with each other. by virtue of the participation of the visa waiver program and their desire to avail themselves of that program's. thank you. i'm appreciative that explanation. mr. siberell from media reports indicate that we set a foreign fighter search team to brussels a month ago.
excuse me, and most before the attacks there. what challenges prevented us and the belgian authorities from preventing the attack? and additionally, is our search team still on the ground of there? if you could answer that first, please. >> thank you, senator. the search team that was deployed to brussels i should first say that that followed on cooperation that we've been undergoing with the european countries since 2013 when the problem of individuals traveling to syria first manifested itself. this was before i saw was a factor when it was al-nusra and other al-qaeda affinity groups. we've had a long dialogue on these issues. after the terrorist attacks with a discussion within the government to determine what other things can we do now to push our european partners to a heightened level of cooperation? either catholic and identified
what we put together interagency teams, who went out to brussels and had a very, it's a dialogue that's quite mature and open, the belgian government is open to these consultations, and across issues like document integrity, passport issuance and integrity, targeted screening, that techniques that we develop a dhs to protect us developed, helping construct the belgians on the new techniques. better integration of watchlist and improve information sharing. all of these areas were identified in the work plan of that surge team. the surge team, and made an initial visit as a group to identify where we would have expanded cooperation and our ongoing action. so does it work plan that has been developed and we're continuing to send individuals back and forth. we have belgians also coming to the united states. it's an elevated partnership effectively. >> is there anything that could've been done by our surge
team to assist before the attack happened? is anyway we could have helped close up that gap? >> i'm not aware of any specific piece of information that would have been provided or revealed by our surge team members prior to the attack. >> okay. and as you know, i'm going to jump to the iraqi kurds for just a moment as well. as you know, the iraqi kurdish forces are one of our critical partners, if not the most critical part of it in the fight against isis. and i understand that the administration just allocated or designated $415 in financial assistance to iraqi kurdish forces, and can you provide to me with additional detail on where the assistance will come from, who it will be going to, and what purpose that would be for? >> senator, i think i'll have to
take the question back into june and it should. from a counter to the perspective i would agree with you that kurdish forces have been among our closest partners, and in coordination with the government of iraq provided a critical counter to isil come and get pushed isil out of considerable areas that encroach upon including in northern iraq, and the kurds continued what a critical role with those in the coalition to confront isil. but i will have to get an answer back. >> government, thank you for being here today. i appreciate your time and effort. thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, senator urged. mr. siberell come in mr. mayorkas his opening statement he talk about isis has gone from directing activity to inspiring. i would agree that al-qaeda directed so that that brand of islamic terror was a centralized operation that directed activity, but my take on isis is that their method using socially
has been to and inspire. outside of their caliphate, the territory, they are inspiring, but what concerns me is the progression has been, now they are beginning to crack it is not true that there are reports that they had a hand in directing the brussels attack? either different names for this but we'll call it an external operations unit you can integrate. was gone beyond just inspiring to having this external operations unit starting to direct attacks. >> i think you pointed out the essential difference and why isil poses a new kind of challenge that al-qaeda had previously. al-qaeda was made up effectively of clandestine cells can individuals who had to become a member, have to be vetted effectively by the opposition, and then operated in a clandestine manner secret in a number of locations around the world in which they challenge security of our partners
globally. isil works on a completely different model. they do have is court of individuals concentrate in iraq in syria. they have a very disciplined military structure to pursue their efforts there, but at the same time they make use of the internet, social media to inspire others, individuals who may not have become members of the group but to act on their behalf. that also reflects the time difference we have from when al-qaeda was in the fight to isil is today with the internet and social media having access to those platforms in a way that al-qaeda never was successful in using. but if i could, just answering your question, it is true, yes, that isil is looking, has identified, we know that identified among the foreign fighter cadre those with skills that could be useful in infiltrating back to their home countries to carry out plots.
so the external operations network that isil is built as a very real danger, and we've been working against it and had some success in doing so. it is absolutely the case, there's also not only trained operatives but the trained individuals to inspire attacks using social media deliberately, including individuals in the united states. >> so we may be nibbling around the edges. we might have started to take back some territory in iraq but they are growing, evolving, less pesticides answered to send out the operatives. the 1.8 million refugees flowing into europe, and i'm going to go back to again my quest. i think the answer is quite obvious. the refugee program, literally we can sure that whatever the number is, 10,000, those refugees that might be let into this country should pose no risk. you set the criteria, women and children relatives, that the financial capability of
supporting them, 10,000 out of 4 million displaced refugees, we can make sure that we take no risks of those refugees. same with transcend the i agree. i think it is, combined with preclearance, we can really reduce the risks. so in the order of what concerns me a potential to isis operatives coming to this country, the least concert i is the refugee program, the next the visa waiver and by far my greatest concern is our porous southern border, correct? when we were dead in central america i heard a new term come into acronym, as taipei, special interest aliens. so isn't that true? doesn't that also point to the fact that we have to secure our borders trucks mr. siberell, you first. >> i would defer to the secretary mayor goes on the border issues because of three categories of concern and we have to be coming to a poor
security measures are effective in preventing any of those categories and individuals from threatening the american people. >> i've also point out, one eyewitness, isis is very strategic. you don't take your little foreign force and take over vast territory in iraq without really planning this thing it and being very strategic. and as we watched them dangerously if off, i am highly concerned. mr. mayorkas. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first of all we are very, very focused on special interest aliens come individuals from designated countries that seek to enter the united states illegally. we are extraordinarily focus on the. we may not agree today, mr. chairman, on the level of security on the southwest border. that border, in our estimation come is more secure than it has been in a long, long time.
one of the primary areas of concern -- >> let me just stop you right. him in terms of the actual numbers, okay? unaccompanied children, this is from central america, let me get it here. in 2014 the enormous surge, year-to-date through april, last time we had come with 25,500 unaccompanied children. as of april 2016, we are at 25,359. we are at the exact same level year-to-date of unaccompanied children. in terms of family units, we are ahead. in terms of total number of apprehensions on the border, in 2014 year-to-date we were at 261,000 last year at the same point in time we were down to 182. right now we are at 223. again, i do not see improvement in terms of security at our borders. it just hasn't improved and to
represent an enormous risk. i will let you finish. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first of all the unaccompanied children and the family units pose a unique challenge because by and large those individuals fleeing the three central american countries of guatemala, honduras and el salvador did not seek to evade law enforcement. >> again i would do what you stressing that because has nothing to do with i suspect i'll just point out that fact in terms of lack of secure our border. if you wanted about the numbers, to apprehensions which are pretty much at war with 2014. >> and 2014 was far different and far lower than in prior years. but if i may, to the point of how we ensure the security of the border, and specifically with respect to the terrorist threat. one of the challenges in the smuggling of individuals is the transnational criminal or
physicians and their participation a smuggling organizations. we have no evidence to suggest that a willing participant in the smuggling of individuals or members of terrorist organizations. in fact, we have quite the opposite, that they wish no part in the overt smuggling participation in the smuggling of terrorists. and perhaps it is that it would make sense that it is for fear that they would bring even greater force of the united states to bear on their organizations. the question is, are the low-level individuals in these organizations who unwittingly may be smuggling an individual from one of these countries it is, in fact, a terrorist? and we're very focused on that. our law enforcement officers, our border patrol agents are extraordinary focused on that. and we have not observed any increasing concern but that does not suggest that we don't have an increase in vigilance.
>> thank you, mr. secretary senator carper. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i just want to return to the last part of the conversation. i want to go back. i quoted here just a moment ago. i will ask my staff to find that quote for me. we've been down to central america and as we know, the reason why kids into account. because it's dangerous, lack of hope, lack of opportunity. they can put his finger on the root cause and that is our insatiable demand for drugs. we send money and guns down to guatemala, honduras and el salvador and the same drugs. against and folks that get our money and guns used in to make life miserable -- thank you, make life miserable for folks. if we live down there and it gives we were public to come up
there as well. so finding a needle in haystack, we can find ways to make things bigger and we do that with force multiplier's. not just a border patrol but on the ground and so forth. we also need to make -- the work we are doing in partnership with these three south american countries, and it's their version of -- the partnership they have established and we're helping to support. i want to go back to, i told chairman chaffetz cody asked a number of important questions but one of them was kind of rank of the order of the threat. he said i think wisely, the wisest people try to be stupid to bed down for a few years in refugee program and the most coveted a program for people to come into this country, and the outside chance ever get after
two years. visa waiver we're making it more and more difficult. we need to type that. preclearance we need to grow that at some of the things that we talked about. i want to go back to it. or consent right in the from when he was testifying i think it was last november. insource every person has been killed a jihad terrorists in this country since the 11th has been killed by an american citizen or resident. i have been killed by an american citizen or resident. our focus wisely needs to be how we reach out to folks in this country and make sure that they don't become radicalized and we can do it by ourselves. we need to grow those partnerships and work with families and organizations, faith leaders and so forth. and continue to work to make that as effectively as we can. i've talked to folks in other countries to see why they're so challenging in europe by some of
the folks in the muslim community. that had incredible migration. we've had relatively little but they have incredible fortune of us can billions going from syria and other places into your alone time for and get this country that are not very warmly welcomed. they end up leaving isolated lives, blocked off and they perceive they are not welcome there. not which over opportunity come and that every susceptible to radicalization. one of the keys to our tamping down of those threats, people still get radicalized here but we want people when they come from syria or the of the country or they are fleeing horror, we want, want to make sure they are not threatened with him to fill part of this country, part of the american dream come into the extent we can continue to keep that blood we will provide a lot more safety and security for our people a lot of good things were
talking but here today. senator portman ask some questions about isis campaign success and so forth. i just asked my staff to pull will quickly some metrics, and i just wanted a couple of points. isis recent losses been severe. they've lost a 40% of the territory they once held in iraq, 40%. coalition forces killed more than 10,000 isis fighters and 20 key isolators including the isis chief propagandist and execution. just over two weeks ago american forces carried out the strike the cause to the death of the finance achieve and second-in-command. simultaneously enhancing capabilities of iraqi counterterrorism forces. as you know on iraqi forces be recaptured -- are well underway. in may 2016 this month, fbi director comey said it's a bit
to which americans are joining us can isis has dropped precipitously in the last nine months. 2014, six to 10 and are limited to isis. that was a a much. today it's down to about one per month. may 2016 isis announced isil controls 14% of iraqis territory. that's down from about 40%. u.s. treasury department estimates that due to the combination of oil prices and airstrikes isis oil revenues which feed the efforts are down as well as 250 million per year. that's the have up with the used to be. are we done what is the time to spike the football? no. it's what we are doing. we need to continue to do more of that. it. find out what works can do more of that. a couple of questions, i just ask for short answers. mr. siberell, can you describe the kind of improvements the foreign fighter surge team is
helping belgians to implement? is there a possibility for these teams to be deployed to other countries in europe? >> yes. increase and enhance information sharing, integration of watch lists, risk-based traveler screening, decades we've developed in the united states that would be helpful to belgium and the cupboards, and we're looking to deploy those and other european countries. >> good year in a testament you referenced a method by which homegrown extremists support online hacking. can you explain in more detail how this works of? >> thank you very much, senator carper. boxing is the practice of taking the names and whatever information is available about an individual and publishing the name and that information to at identifying that individual as a
potential target of terrorism. so isil and other tears or insatiable essentially, for example, information about military personnel that they pick off a website and they will publish it and to identify those individuals as potential targets. >> one more last question for you. how would we with respected soft targets, protecting soft targets, how do we increased the secret of traditionally unsecured areas let's say of an airport? how would we do so in a way that's not going to income of the wait times for air travelers coulbut could you share with us maybe a step or two? >> thank you send it. soft targets have been an area of our focus for quite some time. the airport specifically even before brussels as a matter fact i visited lost angel's international airport a little over a month ago and met with
the leaders of airport security there. to talk but how they secure the perimeter. this was post-brussels but it started long before. they had visited israel has agreed to experience in airport security as a place of mass assembly and instituted quite a number of safeguards, equipment at the airport in amman in which the airport is both designed and built. we had very much secret and my. we worked through national protection and programs directorate. i know you don't like acronyms but the national protection programs directed -- >> i like dhs. >> as ui, as do i. that organization and leadership of caitlin berkowitz in our critical infrastructure arena has worked with mall operators and theater owners and restaurant owners throughout the
private sector to ensure that they are well-trained, well-equipped to respond as soft targets to a potential mass casualty event. >> thanks very much. i thank you both for being here today. thanks for your work and your devotion to our country and leadership. it's been been a good thing. this will be a threat to will be around in this country and around the world from a as long as we're going to be around. habit to get into how to do with the? no. these guys change their tactics and over somewhere to change what we do in response. when i get back, mr. chairman, when i was in vietnam earlier this week, talking t to a number of folks in that country, where we have a much better partnership that i could ever imagine that a naval flight officer over there in a war, but the spirit of working together,
almost as atm and respects is pretty amazing given our history there. i used this phrase and i think probably is germane epistle of what i said, one guy said to me, if you want to go fast, travel alone. if you want to go far, travel together. if you want to go far conflict of the. it's what we tried to do. not just in our country, congress and executive branch can go to and so forth, homeland security, all across the world. folks know this is a cancer on our planet we've got to do with it quick. if we go together, go together to work together, pull together, it will go a long ways and when you do. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator carper. unfortunate what you're saying is true, we will be living with his for quite some time. it's unfortunate, we are certainly old enough to member what the world felt like before
global islamic terror raised its ugly head and started slaughtering people. it's a real i wish didn't exist is one that does exist. i think this hearing as i mentioned, to what is a before and, for purposes of every hearing, the goal of everything is to deepen understanding, layout the realities. whether we like them or not we have to face and that's kind of what i've been trying to point out. here's the reality situation. not we would like to go have defaced its we can deal effectively with it. again i certainly appreciate the witnesses a time, or thoughtful answers to our questions, and we will keep working forward. this will be a long struggle, but we will shorten it if we actually admit we've got the problem and face it. the way we have to come as a committed coalition of the willing of the civilized portions of the world. this is an attack on civilization and it's got to be defeated. so with that in record would mean open for 15 days until
>> coming up alive today in just under 30 minutes from now republican presidential candidate donald trump hold a news conference at trump tower in new york city. he is expected to release a list of veterans organizations that he is a financial donations to. we will bring you that live at 11 a.m. eastern here on c-span2. and this week c-span's "washington journal" will be live from the u.s.-mexico border in laredo, texas, where we'l wel be examining a number of issues including illegal immigration, citizenship, deportation laws. here's a discussion we had with the chief u.s. border patrol agent. >> we see people from all over the world in laredo, and
primarily hit in laredo, other 17,000 plus apprehensions we've had so far in the first six months of this year are mexican nationals can folks that are coming from mexico who are trying to make the entry into the united states. but we also see a number of people, about 30% of the apprehensions of in central and south america. so we see folks from guatemala, honduras and el salvador, folks as far away from ecuador. we see folks from china and some other areas of the world. it's not really can find any one particular global area. but the folks reduce the laredo are from mexico. most of those folks are contracting in smuggling or positions of transnational organizations to really finance the trips to the united states. they pay anywhere up to $1500, depending on what types of techniques that are using with
the be and forging fraudulent documents are not an album for trip is going to take. so depending on where they're coming from, that a very significant price, and it also depends on what they expect to go into the united states. so that they did smuggle and transport into the entry of the credit you are going to pay all that more than if you just when we dropped off at the international boundary. >> who is doing the smuggling? >> most of the folks doing the smuggling are criminals. folks that are dedicating their lives to smuggling. what folks often times to understand is that the people that they think are just trying to do committed effort in trying to transport them or help them com,the mike in getting to the credit, it's actually part of the criminal enterprise whose only job is really to charge for one or collective that price that that elite is willing to pay in order to get into the
united states. and then they find itself being exploited at every level of that transaction, whether it's not the actual transportation level. we see young ladies that are being raped. we see folks are being robbed, people that are being kidnapped and extorted for more money once they put their lives enhance of these smugglers. the ones that are being transported, because they are criminals all they want to do is get away. so we see these folks that are being exposed to high speed pursuits in one sitting sought by the police or by the border patrol, the rollover accidents. we see folks be left in the desert because they can't walk anymore. they fall ill and smugglers don't want to get caught so they just abandon them in the desert. so far this year in the first six months in laredo of the we've seen over 33 deaths so far this year. a number of different smuggling schemes, for example, within
passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, we see folks that are trying to clone of the vehicles to make it look like it belongs in industry that really isn't an industry vehicle, trying to mask the fact that they're smuggling narcotics and more people into the united states. some of the commercial traffic is in the background are being exploited as well. .. ..