tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN October 27, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
we know if somebody is really dangerous to us the needle goes invisible to us. that is are very concerning and the reason we are talking so much about encryption in we see in isil and more broadly a conflict between two values everybody in america cares about. we all care about safety and security on the internet, i and nick and jay are huge fan of encryption, right? we want our key data encrypted. it helps the fbi fight cyberintrusions. that value is colliding with public safety which we all care deeply about. we don't have an easy answer. but a great democracy should see when its values are in collision and talk about how we might resolve those two things. there's no easy answer. the good news is we're having productive conversations with local law enforcement which cares deeply about this, with our allies and with the companies who make these devices and offer these services because they are good folks who care about both values. this is a really hard problem for our country. we're not here to tell what the
answer is. we're here just to tell folks the example i use is the fbi's not an alien force imposed upon america from mars. right? we belong to the american people. we have the tools that the american people gave us through you. and our job when one of those tools isn't working so much anymore is to tell the american people, that's why we're talking so much about encryption. you see it in the isil cases and kidnapping cases and drug cases and child abuse cases. there's a conflict in our values that we simply must figure out how to resolve. it is obvious in the case of isil we'll continue doing the work. i'm very grateful as my colleagues are for the high quality product that this committee did on travelers, those responding to the first part of that siren song, that come. there's something interesting happening that i want to tell the committee about just in the last few months we are seeing fewer people attempt to travel to join isil in syria. we have seen six in the last 3 1/2 months. we were seeing nine a month in
all the months before that. i don't know what to make of that. one possibility is we're not seeing it the way we were before, they're still going. another possibility is all of our efforts to lock people up and punish them for going is making a difference. another difference is help from our colleagues around the world especially the turks. or something else. but we're starting to notice that curve which was going up like a hockey stick flatten a little bit and we'll keep you posted on whether that continues but this committee has done such great work on that topic i wanted you to know that fact. we're very grateful for the opportunity for this conversation. >> thank you, director. the chair recognizes himself for questioning. and let me say on the encryption issue dark space platform, this committee is, we are meeting with technology companies trying to find a solution to that. the foreign fighter threat, the -- but the threat of the internet is real, it's gone viral. i think the good news is janade
hussein was taken out by an air strike that was publicly reported and has had some impact i think. but it's going to continue until we find a solution, a technology solution. also want to commend you for the success both you and the secretary have had in stopping so many plots. we put out a monthly terror snapshot and the fact is every month these numbers go up in terms of terror plots. we had 17 terror plots here in the united states. isis directed or inspired. and overall almost 70 isis related individuals arrested. you don't know what you don't know. the chattanooga case is a good example. you can't stop all this and the chatter is so high it's hard to stop all of it. my first question just very simply is, you know, directed to the secretary is do you consider the threat environment to the homeland to be one of the greatest since 9/11?
>> [ inaudible ]? >> your mike. >> i tend no the to rank threats or try to make an assessment a current period is more or less dangerous than before because we have to focus on a number of things. the point that i want to stress is that it's different. it's different than what it was in the 9/11 period in that it's more decentralized and more diffuse it's more complicated because of the going dark phenomenon because of the very effective use of social media and because of the potential for the lone actor who isn't necessarily exported from overseas but who could strike here at any moment which requires more complex response. more whole of government response. we are very concerned. i'm encouraged by the numbers
jim cited of those we know about who have attempted to leave. but we also know that isil is still out there every day making an appeal. so, we've got to stay busy. >> director comey? >> i think about it the way jay does. in some ways we are demonstrably safer thanks to the work of this committee and the whole of government. our country is better organized, better deployed, smarter, tougher than we were before 9/11, so as director rasmussen said, i agree that the threat of the big thing is not gone, but it is diminished significantly. at the same time there's a me sa me tas metasis of the threat and it's become mr. diffuse and it moves faster and there's a lot of people in the united states
energi energized, troubled souls, by core al qaeda. so it's very different today. >> mr. rasmussen? >> the only thing i would add to that is that the diffusion and dispersal creates a particular problem in that it stretches our resources that much more widely. the blanket has to cover more of the bed when you look around the world at all of the locations all over the safe haven locations, all the regions of instability around the world where a terrorist threat might emanate from, the areas we have to look at to enhance our intelligence and partner with governments in those regions and that's just a resource challenge. if you think about the period dealing with core al qaeda, we were focused pretty intensively on pakistan and afghanistan. now you can rattle off 12 or 15 countries where we're very active. >> it's more of a global movement. the latest edition of the beat which is isis-inspired magazine,
they discuss the idea of moving a weapon of mass destruction into the western hemisphere and across the southwest border from mexico into the united states. being from texas this certainly concerns me. and, of course, not getting into specifics but a plot was disr t disrupted out of moldova trying to smuggle two islamist terror organizations nuclear materials that could have reached our shores. director comey, how serious do you take this threat? >> deadly seriously. this is something that we have worried about for a long time. we have a division of the fbi, the weapons of mass destruction directorate, it's one of the reasons that we have tried to build such good relationships with our law enforcement colleagues in so many of the
places where there polimight be materials available including former soviet states so it is the classic extremely low probability extraordinarily high impact event and so it has our constant focus. >> my final question is on the syrian refugees. we've had testimony before this committee that we don't have intelligence on the ground in syria, we can't properly vet these individuals through databases, we don't know who they are. i visited a camp in jordan with some members on the committee and we were told the same thingething e . i know the administration is planning moving as high as 10,000 refugees into the country. very quickly as my time is running out, how concerned are you from a security perspective on this? and do you think this will increase your counterterrorism caseload if we bring in 10,000 syrians into the united states? secretary johnson? >> chairman, we -- i am -- i am
concerned that we do the proper security vetting for refugees we bring into this country. committed to 10,000 and i've committed that each one will receive a careful security vetting. it is true that we're not going to know a whole lot about a lot of the syrians that come forth in this process. just given the matter of the situation. and so we are doing better at checking all the right databases and the law enforcement and intelligence communities than we used to. and so it's a good process and it's a thorough process. but that definitely is a challenge. >> director comey. >> i don't think i have anything to add to jay. i think he describes it well. we see a risk there. we will work hard to mitigate it. our challenge will be as good as we've gotten ourselves a querying our holdings to understand somebody. if the person has never crossed our radar screen, there won't be anything to query against, so we
do see a risk there. >> for the record, we're a humanitarian nation. it's a humanitarian crisis, but we also have a responsibility to protect the american people and to me that's paramount as well. the chair now recognizes ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. taking off from your question relative to the syrian refugees. can each of you explain your agency's position on the vetting process for these refugees. a lot us concerned about whether or not you have enough information available to you to do an accurate vetting. and so, mr. rasmussen, can you -- >> sure, i'm happy to start. as director comey suggests, we
have a lot of lessons learned in this area from when we went through similar processes over the last several years dealing with other large refugee populations and so i think we've now worked successfully to make sure that every bit of available intelligence information that the united states government holds will be looked at with respect to a potential nexus to someone being screened as a potential refugee. i certainly feel good about that process and the degree that we've tightened that up over time. you can't account for what you don't know and that goes to the intelligence deficit that i think is embedded in your question. what we can do, though, is understand where the potential vulnerabilities are so we are asking the right kinds of questions to give our screeners and voteevetters the best proce they can.
we look to manage that risk as best we can. >> mr. secretary? >> each of us at the table here is acutely aware that in our world one failure is the equivalent of 10,000 successes. and there are, in fact, lessons we learned from the vetting process with regard to the iraqi refugees that we took in, the process has improved. we're better at connecting dots, checking the databases with information we have. my people in uscis to do this will be on the ground, in places to vet refugees along with the state department. but they will do so in consultation with our law enforcement and our intelligence agency partners. and we will do it carefully. we've made this commitment, but we will commit the resources to do it, but we will do it carefully.
>> mr. director? >> i don't think i have anything useful to add. my views are captured by what the secretary and director said. >> so, encapsuulating what has been said, it's your feeling that our existing system are robust enough to assure this committee that, to the extent practical, no terrorist can get through that process? >> well, the issue we face obviously is what jim mentioned. we may have somebody who comes to us and is simply not on our radar for nidiscernible reason and there may also be the possibility that somebody decides to do something bad after they've been admitted through the process. but we do have a good system in place for the undertaking that
we've made. >> mr. director, before this committee assistant director steinbeck said that the concerns in syria is that we don't have the systems in place around to collect the information to vet. that would be the concern, databases don't hold the information on these individuals. is that still the position of the department? >> yes. i think that's the challenge we're all talking about is that we can only query against that which we have collected. and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database we can query our database until the cows come home but there will be nothing show up because we have no record on that person. that's what assistant director
steinbach was talking about. you can only query what you've collected and with respect to iraqi refugees we had far more in our databases because of our country's work there for a decade. this is a different situation. >> chair recognizes mr. smith from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just want to get some figures on the table. i understand the administration wants to admit about 15,000fuges many as 25,000 to 30,000 next year. is that generally correct? >> the number this year is 10,000. >> 10,000. and next year would be how many? >> i don't believe that a firm decision has been made with respect to fy-'17, but this year we've said we want to take in 10,000. >> it's been reported there would be two to three times that many next year. much more of a significant increase. you've all used the word "risk" to describe admitting these refugees.
and i assume that what we've heard and read is accurate, and that is that terrorist organizations are going to be tempted to try to infiltrate these refugees and try to sneak individuals into this country who might commit terrorist acts. i guess the question i have for you is how likely is it that terrorist organizations are going to try to take advantage of the admission of these refugees to get people in this country who might commit terrorist acts? is it likely? not likely? >> intelligence question. >> we've certainly seen terrorist groups talk about, think about exactly what you're describing, mr. smith, trying to use available programs to get people not only into the united states but into western european countries as well, so we know that they aspire to do that. i don't know that i would go so far as to say they are likely to succeed because, again -- >> is it possible to conduct background checks on these
individuals or is it only if they're already in the database that they would be flagged? in other words, terrorist organization isn't going to try to get someone in as a refugee if they already have a public background that you would be able to uncover. they're going to get people in the country who have not yet committed a terrorist act. don't you think it's likely that they're going to try to do that? >> there is a pretty thorough vetting process of each individual which encompasses a personal assessment of each individual which includes an interview. it's not just simply what's in a public record. does the person have a rap sheet of any kind, so there is that -- >> a little bit of my concern, relying upon them and what they say or what they write out in an application and you can't go beyond that so you're sort of having to take their word for it. another red flag to me is that i -- in past years historically traditionally refugees have been members of families.
and yet the typical profile of a syrian refugee i am told that most are young single males as opposed to family members and if so to me that would raise a red flag as well. do you have any information, any comments, about that? >> coming from me, sir, the one observation i have of resettled syrian refugees in this country so far is that they tend to settle into communities that are very -- that embrace them, that syrian-american communities around the country. i've seen that personally myself. it tends to be a pretty tight-knit, supportive community. >> okay. well, as i say, both the profile and the motives of terrorist organizations and your admission that there's some risk involved to me would persuade the administration to go slow rather than fast when it comes to
admitting individuals who might not -- or who might do us harm. secretary johnson, let me move to another subject. the administration -- this is more domestic concern. the administration has announced that next month is going to release a number of thousands of individuals from federal prison. how many individuals is the projection that -- who will be released next month? these are criminal aliens. >> well, the total number that the department of justice plans to release pursuant to their guidelines adjustment next month i'm told is about 2,000. >> 2,000. >> yes. >> and how many of those individuals will be put into process to be removed? >> a fair number. this is something -- let me stress this is something we've been working on now for about a year. and the thing that i'm focused on, that i have been focused on, of those who are released, who are undocumented, that they come
directly into our custody, that they're not released to the streets. so i believe that process, because i've checked numerous times, is in place and that's exactly what is going to occur. >> good. last time you appeared before this committee i brought up the figure that the administration is releasing close to 30,000 people every year who have been in prison, been arrested, mostly convicted, and released them back out into our communities and neighborhoods. you said that figure was going to go down dramatically, it needed to stop. i heard that for a couple years now. is the administration still releasing individuals back into our communities who were in the country illegally who have been convicted of crimes or are those individuals being put into removal procedures now? >> well, mr. smith, as i'm sure you're aware if someone is in immigration detention with a final order of removal, the law says that we have to do a six-month assessment. >> right. >> and if repatriation is n
notne notnenot imminent there are only limited number of circumstances that we can hold them. we don't have the final numbers yet for fy-'15 but i believe the number of those who had been released who have been convicted of crimes has gone down from 30,000. >> to what number do you predict? >> i don't have the number yet, but i'm told it gone down from 30,000. fy-'13 it was 34 as you recall and '14 was about 30 and i believe the number is south of 30 for fy-'15. >> i hope it's very far south of 30 for the sake of innocent american citizens. thank you. >> thank you. i just want to state for the record that, you know, isis has been on record through a smuggler stating they want to exploit the refugee process to infiltrate the west and i take them at their word. so, i would caution the administration to procedure very carefully in this program.
chair recognizes mr. lofgren. >> i want to thank the chairman and the witnesses for being here today and your testimony. i'm going to turn to another -- and that's going back to the issue of cybersecurity which we referenced a couple of times today. i thank the chairman for his leadership on this issue and the ranking member. mr. secretary, you referenced and you spoke about this before a recent breech of opm networks and the role dhs has in protecting agency networks. i understand that the leadership at opm at the time was asleep at the switch and they certainly ignored warnings from their own inspector general. and i know that dhs can provide tools, einstein, cdm to assist agencies so i have to ask you at this point for an update. can you tell me with confidence that other agencies under your care will not suffer breach like opm's? >> we are making rapid and
significant progress to ensure that does not happen. the einstein 3-a system right now which has the ability to block intrusions is available and deployed to about half the federal civilian government. i have directed my folks at dhs to make it available to 100% by the end of this year and i believe we're on track to do that. we have gotten agency heads who by law are responsible for their own cybersecurity to focus on this issue. issued a binding operational directive in may pursuant of congress to do that to get agency heads to focus on this issue and we have a very aggressive plan for advancing our diagnostics ability. so, i believe that awareness in these agencies has been enhanced
significantly including because of the opm breach and that we're on an aggressive timetable to cross the federal government ensure that this kind of thing can't happen or that the risk of it happening is significantly reduced. >> on the issue of binding operational directives, i want to know if there's authority pursuant to what congress has authorized but how does it work and what are the consequences if a binding operational directive is ignored by the agency? >> well, basically the way the authority works, that congress has given me, i have the ability to go to each agency and say, here are your vulnerabilities. you need to clean them up by a certain date. and if you don't, they'll be highlighted. and we'll have to follow-up with you on this. >> they'll be highlighted, but what does that mean? you know, what's the consequence if they ignore your binding --
>> my recollection -- my recollection, now i'm working on recollection, is that it means a report to congress and a report to omb. but i don't have the authority to simply do that job for anning issy agency head myself or fine them or sanction them. >> that's a frustration which, you know, i've been talking about for a long time i think you or somebody needs that authority. mr. secretary, before my time runs out, do you still believe that agencies should have primary responsibility for their network defense? >> i believe that agency directors, administrators themselves should be principally responsible for their own networks. i also believe that dhs should have the overall responsibility for the security of the federal civilian dot-gov system. but it should be up to the
agency head to take responsibility of his or her own network. >> mr. secretary, as you know one of my critical concerns is the protection of the networks from cyberattack. we're all aware of the threats faced in cyberspace and i'm curious on your take of the response of critical infrastructure owners and operators. in my experience there has been a tendency to meet the minimum requirements put on them, but to ask the government to incentivize any measure taken beyond that, do you -- owners and operators are innovating in their -- or are you generally just getting by? >> i think it depends on the size of the business and the segment they're in. but i believe that owners and operators are critical infrastructure are taking the threat more and more significantly because of the information we are sharing with them about what we are seeing, about some of the threats that have been directed to them so i
believe that there is an increasing awareness out there and it's not just a minimalist approach. >> thank you. secretary comey, in your testimony you referenced the steps the fbi is taking to continue to gather intelligence and stop terrorism despite the challenges of going dark. i share your concern. can you expand on this beyond working with tech companies to address the problem directly and acknowledging that you're not asking for a legislative solution. what are the other methods fbi does employ? >> thank you, congressman. we -- when we face a needle that's gone invisible on us, we have to lean more heavily on traditional law enforcement techniques, see if we can get course close to the person or undercover or if physical surveillance tells us something about the person. there's obvious shortcomings in those techniques but we're not going to stop trying to get the job done and so we'll just lean on other things we've done for
years. it will be inadequate, frankly, but we'll keep working at it. >> i thank the chair. this is an issue that i have increasing concern about, this going dark, and our intel and law enforcement'sa ability to adequately see into the threats that are facing us and it's a challenge that we're going to have to continue to confront. >> i share that concern as well. the chair recognizes mr. rogers. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, i share the concerns outlined by mr. smith about isil using the syrian refugees that the president has decided to allow into this country as a vehicle to sneak bad actors in. you described a, quote, pretty thorough vetting process as a part of your response to his answer. can you tell me more about that process? >> well, first of all, we're happy to brief you on the more sensitive aspects of it in a nonpublic setting. but it involves consulting a
number of different agencies, law enforcement and intelligence, and the information that they have regarding each individual applicant. it is a more robust process than it used to be. to some it is time consuming. it's something that i think we need to do. and it involves any information you may have. it may take some time to resolve uncertainties about the information, there may be a variance in a name or date of birth or something of that nature, but it involves consulting a number of different agencies as well as a personal interview and gathering simply as much information as we possibly have about the person. >> i would appreciate if you'd have your appropriate staff member schedule that brief for me and any other members of the committee that would like to participate. director comey, from personal experience i've seen your agency do some phenomenal things with
virtually no evidence other than a bad act to locate bad people. having said that, i'm curious to know is there any other tool that we could provide you, that congress could provide you, that would help you locate these individuals that you all referred to on social media that are recruiting and organizing in this country that you don't have at present? >> i don't think so, congressman. to me this conversation about going dark is not about new authorities for the fbi. you have given us the authority to go to federal judges and make a showing of probable cause and get a search warrant or get an order to intercept communications. we think that's appropriate. we're big fans of the rule of law and the bill of rights and so i think that's a good set of authorities. the challenge we face is solving the problems where those tools under the fourth amendment are no longer as effective as they were before and that is this
huge knotty problem i'm talking about. i don't see it as more authorities for the fbi. i see it as all of us together with the authorities we already have that the american people have given us can be used to good effect. >> you also made reference earlier, you and secretary johnson, about the surge of activity that you're having to manage now. do you have the adequate resources to deal with the surge? i know secretary johnson has talked about sequestration and its burdens on his agency. what do you think about that? do you have what you need? >> the honest answer is i don't know. for this reason i say that. if what we experienced in may, june, and into the early part of july were to become the new normal, it would really stretch the fbi. because to meet that surge we had to move a lot of folks from criminal work. because surveillance is only easy on tv. following somebody 24/7 without them knowing you're there is
really hard and so we had to surge hundreds of people from criminal cases which are important and move them over to the national security side. that bump in cases has dropped off a little bit. and so we're watching it very closely. we've moved people back to be able to do the criminal work, but if that surge becomes our new normal, then i'll have a different view of it. and i'll obviously make sure congress knows the minute i've reached that conclusion. >> well, i hope you will. we want to be helpful. we want to give you the tools that we need but frankly we need to hear from you on what you need. we can't help you unless you tell us what you need. >> thank you. >> i yield back. >> thank you. the chair recognizes mr. keating. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in light of the challenge you described in terms of encryption and expanding social networking, i think one strategy is to maximize our other abilities to try to thwart terrorist acts and along those lines it's been a priority of mine, a priority of the committee's, to look at enhancing information sharing
among federal agencies and local law enforcement as well particularly in the wake of the boston marathon bombing. i know that the fbi has moved forward in this and i know that dhs has offered recommendations in this regard that we're reviewing here. if i could, director comey, if you could just give us an update on what you've done already in the wake of the boston marathon bombing. use that as a time frame. and what you see going forward and any timelines in pursuing that. >> thank you, congressman keating. i think we learned some good things for us to get better coming out of the boston marathon bombing. i appreciate your focus on it and the committee's. i believe we're in a much better place today. we can always be better but here's how i think about our improvement. we now make sure that everybody on the joint terrorism task force knows that our default is sharing information.
and in particular we want the leaders of the agencies represented in our joint terrorism task forces to understand that and actually participate in it. and so we do an inventory review in every single jttf on a regular basis. sometimes it's once a week or once a month. we have everybody say this is what we opened and this is what we closed. questions, concerns, anybody want to follow-up on it? they are engaged but also if there is something else they want to do in response to the n inventory they're able to do that. i think we've pushed that both in letter, which is important, but in spirit, which is more important, to understand everybody, we're in this together especially this threat that is so spread out, we need state and local partners to spot this and stop it so i think we're in a much better place than we were 2 1/2 years ago. i don't want to be overconfident. there are always ways to find to improve. >> i think all of your agencies have done an extraordinary job
in thwarting so many potential terrorist threats. you've done a great job if you use the analogy of swatting mosquitos. but the other thing we have to do is particularly in light of some of our challenges is to dry up the swamp as much as we can. and along those lines, i think it's very important work that dhs has done for the office of community partnerships and making that the hub, the central point, of trying to thwart some of these attacks. and i'd like to ask the secretary, secretary johnson, what's your progress on that, how do you value that, how is your funding for that? because i'm concerned about some of that. if you could, i think it's promising that peer-to-peer if you could explain to the committee the peer-to-peer program how that might be working because it's important. we're a great country. no one i don't think has the resources to outmessage us. but we're not doing is we're not
maximizing on that and that's comment on that, sir. >> thank you for that question. i have taken a great personal interest in countering violent extremism. i believe it is fundamental and indispensable to our overall efforts. so i've done a number of community engagements myself. the reason i created the office for community partnerships is because i think we need to take our efforts to the next level, so what this office does is consolidate in one place all the people across my department that are devoted to our cve efforts. i want to build on that so that we have a field capability and i want an office that will in addition to engaging the community also engage the tech sector, engage philanthropies, develop our own grant-making capabilities here. in terms of adequate funding the single biggest thing that i'm
going to keep coming back to as far as adequacy of funding is repeal sequestration. if i have to deal with that i come up short on a lot of things. >> how about the peer-to-peer program where you are engaging young people in terms of this messaging process, can you comment on that briefly? >> i think among bright college-age people in particular lie the best ideas on cve for the way forward. and so i engaged several college organizations on helping us in our efforts. that's a work in progress. young -- in my experience young people, college-age people, tend to approach cve a little differently than people older more experienced their parents' age which i can talk to you at greater detail offline about. >> and lastly just a comment, the perimeters that your
agencies have are important. that's why you're here. but if we're going to be successful we're going to have to expand out beyond that in the nonprofit side, the public side, the private side. and obtain more engagement. so i think that we shouldn't shortchange resources that all your agencies have to try to do that as well because i think it's an important aspect and it's one that we still haven't maximized. thank you. and i yield back. >> thank you. i want to commend the secretary for adopting a lot of the provisions in the combatting violent extremism bill we marked up out of committee and we appreciate that. the chair recognizes mr. duncan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary johnson, the term outing is a dhs term, correct? >> it's certainly a term we use around dhs. >> use by your field officers, people apprehended across the southern border that are not of mexican descent. >> yes. >> i'll take the latinos out,
there are other people that cross the border that are african and asian and middle eastern descent, am i not correct? >> you are correct. >> that are apprehended crossing the southern border. okay. thank you. >> you are absolutely correct. >> well, our southern border's not secure. we have no idea who is coming into this country. i could go on to iran and hezbollah and the tri-border region and the ties between lebanon and paraguay, the tri-border region there that the chairman and i investigate d a number of years ago. we have no idea who is in this country and we have no idea who can come into this country through our southern border because it is not secure. are you familiar with the jewish museum that was shot up in brussels i think in may or june of 2014? >> yes. >> that's for director comey, too. several people died. the perpetrator was a foreign fighter who had been trained in
libya or syria or iraq. we're not sure. but he made his way back into europe. and because of open borders he made his way to brussels and killed several people and fled, made it all the way to marseilles, france, was just about to jump out of europe into africa before he was apprehended. these are the facts. foreign fighter flow is something we've got to be very, very serious about. especially because of open borders. especially because of the millions of middle age and young middle eastern men that have migrated to europe. who could possibly have the ability to enter in this country because of open borders and visa waiver programs, it may not be this it may be five years after they get citizenship, whatever it takes. i will say this -- i think the chairman misspoke a while ago when he used the number 10,000 immigrants coming into this country, refugees in the
resettlement program. i've heard the number is 100,000 next year regardless it's too many if we do not have the ability to properly vet those individuals. some of those will come to south carolina. i will tell you that the folks in south carolina are very, very concerned about our inability to vet properly the refugees that are coming. i've been to the refugee camp in jordan. i understand the immense challenge that we face from a humanitarian standpoint. i understand the need or desire for folks to leave the middle east and travel to europe or try to come to this country to try to create a better looff fife f family. history proves that we're a humanitarian nation. but we've got a different situation on our hands. we've got a group known as isis and al qaeda's still relative in this world as a threat to the united states who want to come to this country, who have said they will exploit this refugee program to come into this
country. and if they are able to make it to europe and they're able to jump to africa and make it to south america or latin america because of our open border issues they could come across our border the way the otms are coming today. so, mr. comey, what can i tell folks in south carolina about our vetting of these refugees that will put their minds to rest that we are properly vetting everyone that may come into my state that may wish to harm the united states? what can i tell them? please share with me some bit of good news about this refugee resettlement program. because i'm not hearing it. >> the good news is we're much better at doing it than we were eight years ago. the bad news is there's no risk-free process. >> so i hear interviews in the camps, in the refugee camps, but i also hear that the records
aren't there. i just want to encourage you all the three of you that are charged with national security of this country, to rethink the resettlement of refugees in this country especially in the numbers that i'm hearing. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> and -- >> chairman, can i -- >> yeah, point of clarification, i think it's important, and i think that's where you're going, because the public have thrown out the hundred thousand number as syrian refugees. my understanding is that there are 100,000 refugees total worldwide and 10,000 potentially from syria and maybe you want to clarify that. >> what we have said is that for fy-'16 we will commit to resettling 10,000 syrian refugees in a total worldwide of 85,000. >> okay. i just wanted to get that on the record while we -- >> mr. chairman, if i may, where do we anticipate those 85,000 coming from? syria, iraq, afghanistan, libya?
do we have any idea? can we identify the countries that are being targeted for refugee resettlement? >> well, it's done by regions of the world, sir. and that is a publicly available fact which we can get you. but refugees tend to come from every part of the world. obviously some more troubled places than others. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mrs. watson coleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing. and thank you, gentlemen, i tell you it's actually comforting to hear you to refer to each other by first name, it means you are collaborating and cooperating and it's good that there's a relationship there. it makes me feel a little bit better, although this is a very scary time. i have a few questions. i want to start with a question with you, mr. johnson. the united states secret service is leading an investigation of an online hacker.
they recently told "the washington post" he gained access to not only the cia director's personal e-mail accounts but also to your own e-mail account. would you please describe what current plan is in place for the secret service to prevent this intrusion given the external infiltrations the department has experienced recently including the opm data breach. >> ma'am, i don't think that i can comment about an ongoing investigation. the one thing i'll say is don't believe everything you read in the newspaper because a lot of it is inaccurate. but there's a pending investigation by the fbi and the secret service so i don't think i can comment right now. >> okay. thank you. i am very interested in how we are approaching and looking at the security and safety threats to us.
obviously by those who are influenced or directed by foreign countries and jihadists, but also those who are our own homegrown right-wing extremists who wreak dangerous conditions upon unsuspecting and innocent people and so i'd like to know from the three of you whether or not there's an assessment of a greater risk or an equal risk or lower risk from one type of violent experience as opposed to the other. and what kind of resource application we have across the various entities that deal with both types, both the sort of right-wing extremists. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. comey. >> there are two parts to the fbi's counterterrorism division, international terrorism, domestic terrorism. we have hundreds and hundreds people wake up every day
worrying about domestic extremists, by that i mean people who are not inspired or motivated by international terrorism organizations but are people who see themselves as part of some political resistance movement or some racially motivated movement in the united states. and so we do a lot of work on that front. our assessment of the threat is it's about the same as it was over the last couple years. hasn't dropped. it's about the same. the international terrorism threat with respect to both that coming from the outside in and those motivated internally as we've discussed here today has changed and gone up especially with those who are responding to isil's twin-pronged message. >> so, for clarification purposes, though, is there any sort of ranking between the two types of violence? >> there is not. >> is there a greater threat from the domestic right-wing extremist who is racist and
anti-semitic and all other things as opposed to the jihadist? >> -- dislike more heart attacks or cancer and they are both very dangerous things that we focus on. i'm sorry. >> i'm sorry. i'm just trying to get at is there a difference in the application of resources for one type versus the other? are there different offices in charge of one type or the other, or is there a sort of cross pollination? >> well, there are as i said two divisions in the fbi's counterterrorism division, one o fo focuses on the domestic terrorism and the other is the international terrorism. but we think about them using the same kind of intelligence resources. we apply the same tools to understand presence on social media. and so we are -- we are
addressing both as the serious threats that they are. >> are we -- are we collecting information on the type of violence that occurs like that occurred at the beth el church in the country? are we collecting that data and putting it into a database so we have an understanding of those type of violent extremists? >> yes. >> thank you. mr. johnson and mr. rasmussen, do you care to comment on that at all? >> i don't think there's anything i can add to what jim said. >> i agree. and actually, my mission actually leaves me outside of the domestic terrorism except for analytical purposes. >> my last question is really, really quick one. and i wasn't here and i don't think you either were here, but do we have knowledge on whether or not we've had the same kind of angst and anxiety when there was resettlement from the iraqi
refugees and did we find that angst has been addressed? have we found -- learned lessons and done things differently? thank you, and thank you, mr. chairman. >> the is yes, we have. there have been lessons learned from the iraqi refugees experience. and which have, i think with the fbi, improved the process. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, four your leadership. i appreciate all three of you coming today and what you do for our country and the sacrifice you make, because the it's not small. so i appreciate that. on a personal level, i get tired of the bad trade deals our country makes. i get tired of our trading partners taking us to the cleaners. i get tired of good paying american manufacturing jobs going overseas. like this morning, if i'm the
uaw, i'm not happy with the chinese currency and their export subsidies. if i'm harley-davidson, i'm not happy with where the yen is today as we see our american manufacturing and infrastructure get did he sayecimated. why not protect the american worker a little bit? on top of that, the chinese hack us. wait a minute. billions of dollars every month go to the chinese in a trade deficit. they hack our companies. and they hack our government. and we just keep on trading. as i understand it, secretary johnson, you said time will tell whether what we've done will keep them from hacking in the future. i say why don't we protect the american worker, the american company, american unions, the uaw, and our infrastructure at the same time? because if we put our markets on
the table, and said any more hacking, you lose access to our retail markets, that would go away immediately, because they depend on us to live. so while i watch our manufacturing sector get decima decimated, and these folks are hacking us, you're there with the administration, i just wonder why we don't use the obvious leverage that we have. it's obvious. i'm upset because i see my friends and people i grew up with losing good paying american jobs. and you say time will tell if the chinese will obey us or cooperate with us or not while we open up our markets. am i missing something in my analysis of the situation, mr. secretary? >> in summons to cyber attacks on our government and on the private sector, there are a
number of things, seen and unseen, that we have done and that we are considering. what i was referring to, what i am referring to, when i said time will tell, when the president of china was here, and in a run-up to his visit, the chinese government agreed that economic espionage and theft of commercial information for commercial purposes was wrong and was a crime. they agreed to that in writing. and time will tell whether they will live up to that agreement. but it was significant in the sense that they publicly, out of the mouth of their president, committed to that. but time will tell whether -- >> have we ever talked as the leadership of our country of using the obvious market leverage that we have as almost a third of the global gdp and the source of economic growth for the whole world, do we ever talk about using that leverage
to get not only fair trade deals but keep them from robbing our ip and keep them from hacking? i mean, we could stop it next month, just shut down the retail markets to cheaters and let the american worker catch a break for once. all at the same time. >> i'll have to refer you to other agencies of our government about that. >> look, you're part of the leadership structure. excuse me, but you're on the board of doctoof directors, you the staff meetings. i think this touches you. if you were at the board of directors, that answer might not be acceptable. i'm asking has anybody thought about using our markets as leverage. do you all talk about that? >> i suspect the answer is yes. >> then i would like to see it a little bit. >> but i again refer you to other agencies of our government. >> come on, now. >> to give you an answer to that question. >> you know, the american worker
doesn't want referring to other agencies. our ip, our folks that get their technology stolen, don't want to get referred to other agencies. they want leadership. we're getting taken to the cleaners on four different studies. they don't want to get referred to an outside study. we want leadership for american jobs and american technology. i don't think that's too much to ask. you're part of the team. help our countries. help our companies, and help our unions and our workers get a fair shake. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mrs. jackson-lee. >> good morning. i thank the chairman very much, and the ranking member, for these important hearings on protecting the american people. and i want to pursue a line of questioning that sort of follows the opening statements that you gentlemen have made. i take from the director of the
national counterterrorism center his sentence that said the array of extremist terrorist actors around the globe is broader, wider, and deeper than it has been at any time since 9/11, and the threat landscape is less predictable. i think that that's an important sentence that's been crafted by the testimony and leadership of all three of you. and i appreciate your service very much. i have introduced the no fly for foreign terrorists i would like to pursue, starting with director conemey, to reinforce e seriousness that we should take, even though there's a lot of terrorists leaving the united states and coming back to the united states, having gone to the caliphate of isil and gone back to the united states. can you frame again how extensive that threat is? >> the returning terrorist fighter threat is what i understand you to be asking about, is one that we are
watching very closely today. we see the logic of it, telling us that's going to be a problem for the next five years plus, because not every terrorist is going to get killed on the battlefield in syria and iraq. so inevitably there will be a terrorist dieaspora. we think about it today and how it's going to manifest down the road. >> i think you said there is a terrorist cell in all 50 or almost all 50 states that the fbi is aware of. >> in all 50 states we have opened terrorism investigations related to a number of dimensions of the threat. in all 50 states we have isil radicalization cases under investigation. >> i understand you also to be a supporter of the concept of collecting data. i serve on another committee dealing with crime and terrorism
and investigations. and my understanding is that you believe that we should be in the business of ensuring that data is collected sufficient for information on how to act on some of these issues of terrorism in particular. >> i do. i'm a big supporter of the rule of law and using it to collect information that will help us keep people safe. >> i'm very glad that you said that. i would like to add, when i say that, the rule of law, thank you, because i think that's an important point that people are concerned about, but i would like to put into the record the no fly for foreign fighters. i ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you very much. to the secretary, let me first of all indicate that we are certainly concerned about the hacking incident. i ask this committee that we have an opportunity for a classified briefing. i frankly apologize for you, awe
public servant, to have had that issue occur. but let me move forward to this issue of the power grid and cyber security, which i believe you have indicated that we need more legislation. you also indicated that we should get rid of sequester. let me say i support you, and many of us do, it's very hard to function. but i also would like to hear your comment about the power grid of the united states and the work that the homeland security department is doing, the framework it's doing. i would like to commend you to some legislation that i'm going to offer into the record regarding specifically on the power grids of the united states. would you just respond to that? i would also like the director of counterterrorism to as well answer that, and follow up by answering the question regarding the handle that we have on syrian refugees that may be coming into the united states.
and i want to thank the secretary for coming to my district and having a very productive meeting with syrian americans, syrians in houston who are open and welcoming to those who may have to come out of persecution. secretary? >> with regard to cyber security, the two most significant things that we're hoping and need from congress are provisions in law to encourage the private sector to share information with my department, cyber threat indicator information with my department. sharing the information is vital to our homeland security efforts for the private sector and the government sector. it authorizes the system we have for detecting, monitoring, and blocking unwanted intrusions, what is currently our einstein
system. those are two things in pending legislation that i think would be extremely helpful to our overall cybersecurity efforts. >> do you believe, first of all, that there is enough collaboration with the private sector, when we think of power we also think of water and other elements that serve the public, is there enough of an element of collaboration to be able to put up that firewall and protecting against cyberthreat or cyberterrorism? >> there is not enough. we need to encourage more. >> thank you. mr. rasmussen? >> to your question, ma'am, on the degree to which terrorist organizations are interested in developing a cybercapability, they absolutely are. it is clearly a growth industry as far as terrorist organizations are concerned, and particularly isil. thus far the capability seems to be more evident at i would say the low end of the spectrum.
i don't mean low in terms of minimizing, but thus far the kind of capability we've seen largely shows up in terms of pushing out people's publicly available or personal information in a public way, which is potentially very destructive. their interest in attacking in a cyber way our electrical power grid or other forms of critical infrastructure we have, thus far we see that as more aspirational, not something where we see capability actually existing. believe me, it's something we're carefully watching. it's a way for a terrorist group to try to achieve widespread impact. >> let me, as i ask the chairman if i can put these items into the record, let me just say that we know that a number of terrorist incidents were aspirational, two years ago. i can't emphasize enough my concern on the cyberattack of the nation's power grid. i don't think we're putting any extra information out. and i hope that all of you will focus very pointedly on that as
a major concern. mr. chairman, i would like to -- and thank you very much for your testimony -- yield back. i would like to ask the chairman to allow me to put into the record an article from "the hill" regarding pushing to boost power defenses against isis, and also a cnn statement regarding "isil is beginning to perpetrate cyberattacks. ". >> without objection. >> and i ask to put into the record a letter from over a hundred individuals who are very concerned about any proposals that we don't oversee, even though i want to give tools appropriately, oversee in the right way to protect both the american people and follow the rule of law. i ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. how many more do you have? >> just two more. >> okay. >> the united states of america report on refugee resettlement, and also analysis by top computer experts on encryption.
i ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes mr. katko. >> mr. chairman, i don't have any reports to put into the record. i do have a report i want to talk about for a moment. >> you may. joint terrorism task force. the report combating terrorism for foreign fighter travel. i appreciate your comments. i'm proud of it work our task force did. many of my colleagues sitting here today were part of that task force. it was done in a bipartisan manner. when we did this over a six-month period of time, we spent an extensive amount of time with folks from homeland security and the fbi and the national counterterrorism center as well. we learned an awful lot. i could be here all day asking you specifics about the report. a couple of things i do want to touch on. in the wake of the 9/11 commission, there was legislation passed in 2006 to develop a national strategy to combat foreign fighter travel. the landscape has changed tremendously since then,
as we all know, especially with respect to isis. one of the report's recommendations is to basically have an updated report of that. and i wanted to hear what your thoughts are on that, and all of you. >> congressman, in general i do believe that we need a comprehensive strategy to foreign terrorist fighter travel. i also agree that since 2006, the threat has evolved enormously, particularly from european countries, we're concerned about those who have been to syria and who come to this country from a country for which we do not require a visa, which is why, as you know, i announced a number of security enhancements with respect to european travel to deal with
-- european countries to deal with this exact threat. i agree it is a significant problem. and i agree that we should have -- we do have this in very large measure, but we should have a comprehensive overall strategy for dealing with it. we're doing a lot on my end. the fbi is doing a lot on their end to interdict those leaving this country, who are going to syria. but this is something that's going to be with us for a while. it also involves working with our friends and allies internationally, working with the government of turkey, for example, which is something i'm personally focused on at the moment. the last thing i'll say, i read through most of your report, i didn't get through all of it. i thought it was an excellent report. i complimented one of your staff on the elevator ride up here. >> just so you know, that made his day, complimenting the staffer. he appreciates that. so thank you. >> and he pointed out to me, it wasn't him, it was the members of congress. >> and i appreciate that.
>> i thought you would. >> can i just add onto that, sir, today's conflict zone is obviously iraq and syria, but we can be certainly there is likely around the corner in future years another conflict zone where foreign terrorist fighters will be a problem that we'll confront as a matter of national security. so i think some of the very things your report highlighted, structures, procedures, and capabilities we're putting in place to deal with this problem don't necessarily give us immediate relief. they don't tell you that the flow of foreign fighters has been squashed or shut down. but i would argue, importantly, that we are building some capability that will bear out over time. similarly, like what secretary johnson said, so much of the work on this problem is international work right now. and i would say that there's a good news story embedded in this problem in that our foreign partners are far more willing to
share information on this problem than would have been the case in 2006 or '07 when we were dealing with the foreign terrorist fighter problem at that time. so again, the size of the problem, undoubtedly larger and more complex. but the array of resources we're able to call upon around the globe, countries with whom you would never think we would be working, we're successfully exchanging information about foreign terrorist fighters. >> right. it seems like the phenomenon of foreign fighters is an added twist. that's something that probably warrants an update in the whole terror travel analysis. mr. coleman, i do have a question for you. it's different in nature, and given the port period of time i have, i'm concerned about the joint terrorist task force and the stresses being put on them. you traditionally have investigated international and domestic terrorism, that's part of the jttf.
to address a question that was brought earlier, the jttf doesn't discriminate in which cases they look at. whatever comes across their radar, whether domestic or international, gets a high priority; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> my concern is, grafted on top of that now, is this whole new phenomenon of isis, the stress that's putting on them, isis fighters coming back, spending the capital and resources to track them, which is very difficult, as well as trying to find a needle in a hay stack. i want to get a good understanding, are the jttfs being stressed beyond the breaking point? are they okay? do they need more help? >> they're being stressed tremendously. as i said earlier, they were very, very stressed in may and june and early july in particular. but given your career experience, you know the kind of folks they are. they will just get the work done. what i want to make sure i do is, if we have a new normal, that we get them the resources
they may need. i'm not in a position yet where i'm going to come back and ask for that, but it's something we're watching very carefully. >> i understand working together with the state and local authorities is helping you to leverage that. i will encourage that we do what we can to keep that going. that's an important aspect of the puzzle. thank you very much. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes ms. torres. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to fbi director comey, i want to thank you personally for the outreach that your l.a. office has done in my district. it was really important for me to ensure that we have a face behind that phone number that we're supposed to be reporting issues of concern to. they've offered to do a followup within a more -- you know, law enforcement to law enforcement, because we did have members of the community at that hearing. so thank you for that work.
in your testimony, we were talking about terrorist propaganda. and the outreach that these terrorist groups are doing through social media. i'm very concerned about their infiltration with our local gangs. we have placed a lot of attention, and i congratulate all of you on the work that you're doing internationally, my concern is the mexican mafia. my concern is the white supremacist groups that have targeted african-american communities. and i want to ensure and be on record that we are doing everything that we can to also follow up on those issues. >> yes, congresswoman, thank you for that. those are an important part of the fbi's work with our local partners, all day, every day. the gangs you mentioned,
extremists you mentioned, the bureau was given resources after september 11th to make sure we could be great at both. our international terrorism responsibilities and these criminal responsibilities. >> earlier in your testimony you said that due to sequestration you have had to move people out of criminal investigations, into doing surveillance work for these potential terrorist folks that go dark. that is why i bring that out to you. >> and i echo what my colleague secretary johnson said about sequestration. one of the reasons we've had to move those resources is, we're trying to hire out of the hole that was left for us two years ago. and so we hired 2,000 people last year. we'll hire close to 3,000 this year. we're trying to dig out of that hole and get us the people who can fill those slots. if we get hit again, i don't know what we'll do. >> when we first met last year,
i had asked you specifically about ensuring that you hire people, you know, that look like america, and that we are targeting areas where we need certain languages and certain ethnic backgrounds to be represented at the fbi table. how has your progress been on that? >> it's probably too early to tell. but we're devoting a tremendous amount of effort to that, to trying to encourage people from all different backgrounds and walks of life to try to get into the fbi. it's not about lowering the standards. we don't need to lower the standards. we just need people to give us a chance. the obstacle we face, my daughter said, you're the man, i said thank you. she said, i don't mean that as a good thing, dad, nobody wants to work for the man, you've got to change the way at the think about it. we're working hard for folks to understand that the bureau is a great place for people, whether latino, african-american, asian,
men and women, to work. it's a work in progress. i have eight years left. >> thank you. mr. rassmussen, you talked about a creation of a community engagement groups. how do you intend to do that, who are the community partners that you will be inviting to participate? >> in my written remarks, i highlighted the work we're doing at nctc, alongside secretary johnson's team and director comey's team. i'll tell you, though, in this effort to deal with encountering violent extremism here in the united states, it ends up being a separate conversation in each community. in each community in which we're working together, all of us, the community leadership looks different, the problem looks different, the set of actors who may have influence looks different. that's what makes it hard. i think we're doing very good work in this area, but it's been hard to scale up, because there's no national level solution, no
single answer where what works in dallas also works in miami. >> that's why it's important to engage local law enforcement and to ensure that diversity is at the top of our priority. >> i agree completely. and again, i wouldn't even suggest that we are bringing a solution to those local communities. in many cases we're bringing information which will hopefully empower those communities to make the choices and the changes and take the steps necessary to deal with extremism in their midst. and that's not a federal solution. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. hurd. >> thanks, mr. chairman, thanks to our distinguished panel. please tell the men and women that work for you all, thank you on behalf of us as well. i spent years undercover in the cia. i was in the cia when 9/11 happened. if you would have asked me then that there wouldn't be a major
attack on our homeland for over 14 years i would have said you all are crazy. and the operational discipline and tenacity that takes, i understand that and my hats go off to them. it's great representing the 23rd district of texas, but it's also great to represent the men and women doing that. i represent over 820 miles of the border. so secretary johnson, i'm here to report to you that you have some hard working men and women in border patrol and customs along that border. i had the awesome opportunity to award three of them with the congressional medal for valor. they went above and beyond during a flood. it was straight out of a movie. i see what these men and women are doing every day. and one issue they do have, i don't need to address it here, but i would like to work with your staff, and this probably
impacts the fbi as well, director comey, and this is the right sizing of the federal fleet. i think gsa's requirements don't take into account the unique challenges that law enforcement has to deal with, nor folks on the border. and so i look forward to working with whoever in y'all's office is on this issue and looking at solving that problem with the gsa. secretary johnson, i'm also interested in learning from your staff in how y'all calculate got-88ss -- got-aways in that process. that's something where i welcome an analysis of that from the correct folks. and my first question to you, secretary johnson, is this cyber deal with china that was recently announced, have we seen any impact that that's having on attacks on our critical infrastructure from the chinese? >> i would say it's at this
point too early to make an informed assessment. one thing that i will be looking to see is whether in our followup engagement, which i hope to have in december, we'll see real progress building on what we have agreed to on paper. and so that to me will be a first indicator of whether or not the chinese are taking seriously what they agreed to do when they were here in september. >> excellent. like you in your opening remarks, i hope the senate sends us a bill so that we can reconcile those differences and get something to the president to sign, because cyber security is important. director comey, i appreciate your opening remarks and your stressing that the bureau is not seeking any legislative issues regarding the going dark phenomenon or encryption, because there's still a perception out there amongst the private sector and privacy groups that the fbi still looking for a backdoor or a
front door to encryption. we all know that we're not technically able to do that, and if you allow the good guys to have access to the backdoor, then you're allowing the bad guys to have access to the backdoor. my question is, when you have groups like isis using social media tools to increase their effort, doesn't that also give us an opportunity to increase our targeting of these groups? >> thank you, congressman. first, with respect to your predicate, i honestly don't agree with your framing of it in terms of the encryption issue. i don't think there is a single "it." it's a complicated landscape. i resist the term "backdoor." i know it dominates the conversation today. but i don't know what the answer is. and i see lots of companies who are able to provide secure services to their customers and they still comply with court orders. and so people tell me it's impossible. i'm a little -- >> so here's my question, though.
a lot of folks, i've sat down and talked with people in your organization, give me the use cases in which the case actually went cold. because even if you have people using a device, you may not get the plain text information, but you do have the device, you know someone's using that, you do know the location of that device. so saying that you still can't target terrorists that way and throwing certain companies under the bus by saying they're not cooperating, i don't think that's an accurate portrayal of what's really going on. >> and i hope you didn't hear me to throw anybody under the bus. we're collecting, we'll get you hundreds and hundreds of cases. but to me that actually doesn't -- i think everybody agrees the logic of encryption means all of our work will be severely affected by it. but i don't think that's the end of the conversation. the question is how much do we care about it and what can we do about it. we'll demonstrate the cases where it affects criminal work, intelligence work, security work. i don't think that ends the conversation. >> i 100% agree. i disagree a little bit with
some of your opening remarks that there is a conflict in our values. i don't think there's a conflict in our values. our civil liberties are what makes our country great, and we can protect those liberties and our digital infrastructure, and give the men and women working to keep us safe the tools they need to keep us safe. i'm over my time. i look forward to working with you on this issue, and the private sector, because this is something we can solve. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes our first female combat pilot. ms. martha mcsally. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, gentlemen, for your testimony and the hard work of you and all the men and women in your organizations. i was on the task force, i was proud to be on the task force. and certainly very eye-opening and troubling. but very important work for us to identify some of the challenges and loopholes we have which have been, you know, further discussed in your testimony today. i look forward to working with you all to see how we can obviously close those loopholes and increase our security. i want to specifically talk about the recruitment of women
and girls. we've talked about, we think there's over 250 americans that have been recruited, 2500 westerners, a lot of men are being recruited to go to the caliphate and fight but women and girls are going over to be basically subjected to slavery, a very different dynamic. we've heard reports that the women and girls can't leave with the same freedom that men do. can you talk about the different dynamic there and the different efforts to counter the violent extremism and the recruitment of women and girls? >> it's a very good question. what we do know is that isil does prioritize in trying to recruit and bring young women to the caliphate. they target some of their messaging directly to that community and adopt themes they think will resonate with young women in western europe and even in the united states. you'll probably remember not too long ago the "new york times" ran a very disturbing series on
the front page that described in some very vivid detail some of the horrific experiences young women have been put through by moving to the caliphate. i was heartened to see that kind of information become public. it can only help to have that information exposed. but is the "new york times" going to be the vehicle that reaches young women and explains to them the risk if they respond to this call, or as director comey described in his opening remarks, the way they gravitate, the way they might choose to gravitate towards the more positive ends of this message? i don't think the "new york times" will be the vehicle to explain that and create that sense of awareness that it's not the environment they're signing up for. >> congresswoman, i think a fundamental part of our ct efforts in this country is a message that has to be addressed to young women about the type of
exploitation they could be subjected to if they go to these places. but i also believe it includes a message to their parents as well. >> i agree, thank you. >> their family units. >> let me go on to a different topic. we've had a lot of discussion today about vetting the refugees. we've identified in the task force challenges with visa waiver program, and just making sure, again, that we're keeping the countries safe. one of the elements, we had a demonstration out of the university of arizona in my district, related to detection -- or deception detection technology. what we've learned in some of the briefings i've gotten is, even with a face-to-face interview you often could be wrong if someone is trying to deceive. there's been decades of work done in identifying through neurological means and other things whether somebody is deceiving, whether that's filling out online forms or in person. and we did give a demo to people in your organization but i would like to follow up with that, because i think these are cheap technologies that we could deploy that helps us in the vetting fight for a variety of
different dynamics here. and i know some of your members were there, but it's sometimes difficult, you know, bureaucratically, to move technology quickly. i would like to follow up with you on this deception detection technology, if you're open to it. great, thank you. the last thing is, i ran counterterrorism operations at my last assignment and we talked about foreign fighters and foreign fighter training, working with your organizations. we were watching thousands and thousands of terrorists being trained in training camps. we had the authorities but we didn't have the will to do anything about it. you know, we were all talking about isis right now, but we do have aqim, aqab, al shabab. certainly with the challenges, with pulling out some forces in yemen, limited intelligence, i just wanted some discussion on that, so we're not all focused on isil and not -- i know your organizations are not, but i just want to hear your assessments of addressing the
aqap, aqim, and al shabab threats. are there similar issues that we don't have the will to be addressing those, or what other challenges are you having with those threats? >> thank you for raising that issue, because as you saw in my remarks, i resist a little bit the kind of gravitational pull that says that isil is the sole focus of our counterterrorism efforts right now. it is certainly, as i said in my testimony, the group has surpassed al qaeda in terms of its prominence in leading a global jihadist movement. but in terms of the threat we face, each of the groups you rattled off, congresswoman, very, very dangerous, lethal, and deserving of all of the resources and analysis we can bring to bear on it as a counterterrorism community. simply as a matter of workforce management, i've had to resist the pull, also, to surge analysts in the direction of only working isil threats,
because of the array of other places around the world where al qaeda, al qaeda affiliate groups, and other extremist groups are. so thank you for raising that. >> great. thanks. i look forward to following up with your organizations on those threats as well. thank you. >> the chair recognizes mr. radcliffe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank all the witnesses for all that you do to keep america safe. i would like to go back to the issue in syria that has displaced millions of folks seeking refugee status around the world. obviously it's a humanitarian concern for all of us. i'm certainly sympathetic to the atrocities there. like many of the members have mentioned, i appreciate our country's profound and longtime commitment to providing a place of security to those fleeing disastrous conflicts. that being said, i did want to drill down a little bit on the president's announcement a month ago of a 600% expansion in the
number of syrian refugees allowed into this country, going from about 1600 a year to a figure of at least 10,000, as the president mentioned. i think, secretary, you clarified that number today. so while humanitarian concerns are certainly warranted, i know you would all agree with me that the president's actions certainly raise some real security risks here at home. director comey, you recently testified before the senate that while we do have a robust screening process here, i think you did acknowledge at the same time there are some information gaps in our databases that we use to screen these individuals; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> okay. but again, i know you all agree that it's also vitally important that we understand who is coming into this country, to the best of our ability, especially when we also know that isis has
expressed an interest and an intent in using the refugee process to get in the united states. that's also a fact, isn't it, director? >> i think director rasmussen testified to that just a few minutes ago. >> all right. so with that in mind, i think we all agree it's imperative that these decisions be made on a humanitarian basis but also with respect to national security in mind. each of you and your respective teams are full of extremely talented, capable, dedicated folks who can inform these decisions. i want to find out the extent to which they were utilized. was the figure announced by the president of 10,000, was that the product of a thorough analysis by your respective agencies? i'll start with you, secretary. >> the announcement of 10,000 was the product of considerable interagency discussion. my department and uscis was certainly consulted in arriving at that number.
and it is, as i think you noted very definitely, striking a balance between what we know we can accomplish with the resources we have, and not shutting our eyes and our doors to what is really a horrible world situation, and doing our part to try to alleviate it. but yes, we were consulting, sir. >> terrific. thank you. director comey? >> that's my understanding as well. there was an interagency process run through the national security council, and the fbi was a participant in those conversations. >> okay. director rasmussen? >> the same as well. >> terrific. thank you. director rasmussen, i want to talk to you a little bit. back in june we held a hearing at this committee called terrorism gone viral. it really examined the terrorist attack in garland, texas, just outside of my district, and related to isis's use of social
media, which is something we've all talked about a lot today. in our june hearing, i really tried to get answers on the issue of why isis has been so skillful in this area relative to other foreign terrorist organizations. i asked about whether or not it was due to better funding or whether it was certain individuals within the group. and the responses i got were largely, well, the internet hadn't really developed when al qaeda was going, social media wasn't as pervasive until recently. but i think those responses ignored the fact that, you know, at present other terrorist organizations certainly exist, but it appears that isis still remains uniquely skilled in this area. so you gave some testimony recently in an exchange with
senator johnson at the homeland security committee in the senate. and i wanted to ask you a little bit about that. maybe it relates to -- i know there were reports in september that isis's social media activities seemed to ramp down following the death of janaid hussein. but i guess i want to know your opinion. is isis unique in recruiting foreign fighters and inspiring lone wolf attackers? is that a product of some unique capability they have? and if not, what are the other factors that make isis so skillful in this area? >> i hesitate to use the word "unique," because the capabilities they're using to mobilize potential fighters or terrorists, those aren't necessarily things that can't be transferred or adopted by other groups going forward. the initiative that isil undertook that differentiated it from al qaeda, is that isil did try to be a mass movement.
in creating the caliphate, the idea was to populate the caliphate with individual from all around the world. al qaeda traditionally and typically operated as a clandestine terrorist movement where vetting processes and letting individuals into the group was a very serious business. and so you did not see al qaeda -- i would argue they probably didn't have the tools to do this, but they were not seeking to create a mass organization capable of controlling territory in iraq and syria. the way isil has. i would hesitate to rule out that other terrorist organizations could not adopt the same kinds of skillful techniques that isil has. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i was just informed for the members that director comey has a hard stop at 12:30. just maybe take that in consideration. the chair recognizes mr. donovan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, my colleagues have articulated the incredible responsibility you all have
protecting our country from domestic home-grown radicalized individuals to people who are overseas, who want to attack our country, to fighting possible mass destruction in our country, to lone wolves shooting up people who are worshipping at church in the south. i want to just touch on something no one has touched on yet. that's the possibility of nuclear devices. director comey, your agents have done a remarkable job in thwarting smugglers from trying to equip isis with nuclear materials. recently one was reported, and i think there was four others or five others during the last few years. are we getting some assistance from some of the former soviet countries or russia, who also would be threatened by this, and what other materials possibly should we be looking towards other than just nuclear devices that certainly i know there are
other materials that would be harmful to our country, but what are the materials that people like these, isis or al qaeda or other groups, looking to use against our country? >> thank you, congressman. the answer is, we get cooperation across the board on this, because whatever people's political differences, everybody understands the threat posed by radiological or nuclear threats. we have invested as a country, and the fbi in particular, in building relationships with our counterparts in a whole host of eastern european countries, the former soviet states there. and so that is a good news story. a challenge we all face is, isil's mission is simply to kill a lot of people. and so they're not in love with any particular tool, as long as it will kill people. so we focus on obviously devices themselves, but also radiological materials, cesium that might be used to terrify people or injure people with
long term radiological illness. we have folks in the fbi who wake up every day focused just on this, because we see the threat as low probability, huge impact. >> thank you, my fellow new yorker. my other fellow new yorker, secretary johnson, yesterday a bill of mine was passed that authorized securing the cities' pilot program that your agency started in 2006, very successful in the new york/new jersey reason, used in the l.a., long beach area, dc. the efforts that you're making there, because we're expanding, do you have the resources to continue the success of that program in the future? because it's been remarkably successful in our area, where you and director comey and i come from, and the successes we've heard from my colleagues are just remarkable. [ inaudible ]
>> i'm sorry, mr. rassmussen. if you're not from new york, i'm not going to ask you a question. my time is up. thank you. i yield the rest of my time. >> the chair recognizes mr. richmond. >> first of all, let me thank the chairman and the ranking member and thank the witnesses who do a very difficult time in very difficult circumstances, with ever-changing technology. i would hate to be in your job. but let me just ask, and i know there's a lot of talk about a
number of issues, but i'll get a little local in my area, because we do have the largest petrochemical footprint in the united states in my district. and we also have millions and millions of visitors that come. and then we also have the largest port complex in the united states in my district. so as you all share intelligence and as you all go about protecting the homeland, how worried are you all about our port security, our chemical facility security, our refinery security, and our ability to protect them? >> let me begin with that. new orleans is a confluence of things that we in homeland security are concerned about. as you've laid out in your
question, congressman. and given the -- so it's right ly on our radar. given the nature of the threat we face, it's difficult to rank with any real degree of certainty where we should focus on and where we should not focus on. for example, i think all of us would agree that prior to this summer we didn't have any particular reason to put chattanooga, tennessee high on anybody's list. and so given the range of threats we face, we have to be vigilant in a bunch of different places. but certainly port security, maritime security, and the other things that converge in new orleans are areas where i know many aspects of our department are focused in. >> mr. comey? >> congressman, i don't think i
have anything to add to what jay said. you know, because we have a lot of folks working in your district, it's a big focus of our work. we do face a large array of threats. we try to focus resources on the big attractants for terrorist activity, to try to make it harder for them. a big piece of that is focusing on tourists and travel locations. >> let's talk about encryption and the backdoor. i guess my question, and i guess it's a technical question, if our tech . aren't there apps or over the counter things that will also allow people to encrypt it? or are you pretty confident you can access data through any over the counter encryption? >> thank you for that question. as i said to congressman hurd
earlier, i resist the term "backdoor," because mostly i don't understand what it means. what we are looking for is a world in which ideally, when judges issue court orders to search a device or to intercept communications, companies are able to comply with that. today, lots of the most sophisticated internet providers are able to comply. some of the biggest e-mail providers in the world based on in the united states comply with our court orders. so i actually don't think the problem is one of technology. i think it's one of business model. there's lots of companies who have said we will never do this for the government. that's a problem we have to figure out how to solve. but here is the bad news. commercially available encryption, strong encryption, we cannot break it. so we find ourselves getting court orders from judges, we make a showing of probable cause, the judge gives us permission for a limited time to intercept, we can't decrypt that data. and so
we're out of luck. we have to figure out other ways to make that gang case, that kidnapping case, that terrorism case. >> thank you. i see my time has expired. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this morning the daily caller reported that the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia has indicted two senior nassau managers, nasa managers at the langley research center for willfully violating national security regulations by allowing a visiting chinese foreign national to gain complete and unrestricted access to the center. if this wasn't troubling enough, the article reports that in the wake of this case involving alleged espionage by a chinese national, and now foreigners have more not less access to nassau operations at present. before the bo jang case, all foreign nationals, including
green card holders, could be monitored and restricted. but now green card holders are treated like u.s. citizens, with unrestricted access to all parts of the space research facility. it quotes a senior nasa official as saying, and i quote, if you have a green card, your allegiance may still be to china, but the green card gets you legal authority to work in the united states, therefore we don't track them. they don't have any restrictions to transfer technology control plans. they're given access to the same exact way as the u.s. citizen because they have a green card, unquote. first, i would like to commend director comey and the fbi for their role in pursuing this case over the last several years. but second, i would like to ask the panel whether this is common practice, that non-u.s. citizens
holding green cards but with sworn allegiance to other countries have the same access and privileges as a u.s. citizen at nasa centers and other facilities that may be of interest to foreign intelligence services, and if so, why. >> i'm sure that nick and jim have their own answers to this. i will just say, i haven't read the particular article, congressman, that you're referring to. i've been in countless places in government buildings, sensitive areas, where the sign says u.s. citizens only, who obviously have the requisite security clearances. i can't tell you the number of places where i see that. it's fairly common. i don't know about the particular circumstances that you're referring to there. but i'll be happy to refer to my friends here. >> congressman, because the case is pending, i'm not going to comment on the case.
i thank you for the kind words about our folks who worked hard on it. i think the issue you're talking about with nasa is about access by foreigners to classified -- unclassified information. as secretary johnson said, there's a whole regime about what access foreigners get to unclassified information. i think the issue is, when green card holders wander around a space that's not classified, what information can they see now? obviously i'm not smart enough on the issue to talk to you about it in this forum, but it's something we have to get smarter about. >> with respect to my organization, we operate in a highly classified environment. and any foreign national or nonsecurity clearance holding individual would be required to be strictly escorted around our facility, again, as in any place in the intelligence community. >> do you think this committee should look at changing security
laws and access by green card holders to bolster defense at these federal facilities, or are you satisfied with what we have in place? >> i'll answer with another "i don't know." again, with respect to access to unclassified information, i don't know enough about the issues sitting here to offer you a view on it. >> i would have to give the same answer, sir. >> again, because i operate only in the classified space, so it's difficult to answer. >> i would like to thank all of you for your testimony today, it was very helpful. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. laddermill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm bringing up the rear here. thank you all for what your doing to protect america. very difficult time we live in. it seems like every committee, and i apologize, i wasn't here for all the questioning, i listened to your statements, but another committee hearing dealing with vulnerabilities of our power grid.
so to seems like most of the committees i'm on is something dealing with security. the question, i want to go back to the refugee situation. i apologize if i'm redundant on some of the questions. i don't think they've been asked. but the concern i have, yes, we're a very humanitarian nation and i do think we have some responsibility there, but our priority is securing the people of this nation. and i've read reports, that of the syrian refugees, 72% of them are young males while 28% are women and children under the age of 11. the question i have for whoever has the information, to your knowledge, is that true, and if it's not, what is the breakdown, and if it is, why is there such a disparity? >> congressman, i don't recall what the percentage breakdown is. i've heard a number, but i don't recall what it is. i don't know the accuracy of that 72-28% number. but we can certainly get you
what we know to be the case. >> mr. rassmussen? >> i'm in the same position. >> it is very concerning to me, with that response, that we're considering bringing in refugees and we don't know what the breakdown of the percentage of these -- >> well, sitting here, i don't know. it is a piece of data that we have. i just don't know it sitting here right now. >> i appreciate the candor there. how are we going to monitor these folks? i mean, i have also read records that al qaeda, isis, have also said their intentions is to exploit the refugee crisis and to use that to infiltrate operatives into various countries. i mean, how are we going to monitor these folks? do we have plans going forward? >> congressman, as we discussed previously, there is that concern. we know that organizations such as isil might like to try to
exploit this program. and it is for that reason that while we are going to do what we have committed to do for humanitarian reasons, you know, this is a worldwide crisis. we're talking about 10,000 people. i'm committed that we do it carefully and we vet these people as carefully as we can. we live in a world where one failure is the equivalent of 10,000 successes. i think we're all committed, with the improved process we have, to do the best we can, deliberately as we can, with regard to each individual applicant for refugee status here. >> do we have the resources to do this? are we already stretched thin and we're just going to be adding so much more to our vulnerabilities by going through this process? >> we are very busy. our overall commitment in fy '15 was 75,000 worldwide. next year, this year, we've
committed to taking in a little more, 85, 10,000 of which will be syrians. the director of uscis has developed a plan along with the state department to make sure w state department to make sure we have adequate resources to vet these people. >> last question. i yield back. i know we have other things need to be doing. this is critical. are we, do we have a system of prioritizati prioritization? we know certain religious groups, christians for example, are the most at risk in some of these areas. are we, going to prioritize to, reports -- some of the christian syrian refugees are having a difficult time coming to the u.s. and some other countries. is that true? >> i'd have to get back to you and take that one for the
record, sir. >> thank you for what you're doing. greatly concerned over where we're going with the refugee crisis. >> it's unfortunate the gulf states have not agreed to take -- those are sunni arab p populations. let me say thank you to you and to the men and women in your organizations who every day wake up to protect americans from the threats that we face. en i think you've done an extraordinary job stopping some of these threats. many we know about and many the american people don't know about. the challenges are enormous and the threats are grave.
thank you for what you do day in and day out. with that, this committee stands adjourned. >> the house of representatives votes for a new speaker. paul ryan has locked up support from vary groups within the conference. he'll face daniel webster. republicans meet wednesday afternoon to pick which candidate they'll put forward to be speaker of the house then the full house votes thursday to elect a replacement for john boehner. also this week, the house expected to debate a budget agreement that would raise the debt ceiling until 2017 and provide $80 billion in dmomesti and military spending. and in a few minutes also,
donald trump at an event in sioux city, iowa. we have it live on cspan 2. >> being laidly like does not require silence. why should my husband's job or yours prevent us from being ourselves? i do not believe that being first lady should prevent me from expressing my ideas. >> betty ford spoke her mind, was pro-choice and a supporter of the equal rights amendment. she and president ford openly discussed her battle with breast cancer. for much of her family's life, she struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. betty ford, this sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on cspan's original series, first ladies,
influence and image, examining the public and private lives of women who filled the position of first laiddlady, from martha washington to michelle obama. sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on cspan 3. >> it's a very touchy business. being the son or daughter of a dictator. you wouldn't wish this on most people. it's a collection of sometimes lurid stories, but there are also points about tirny, son ship or daughter ship, politics. >> this sunday night on q and a, national review's senior editor on his book children of monsters, which looks at the lives of the children of 20 dictators, instauding stahlen, mussolini and hussein.
>> i was able to talk to some knowledgeable people. i couldn't talk to family members, which is usually the case in the preparation for this book. there are only so many around to talk to and only so many willing to say what they know or divulge their feelings at all. i was digging around for any scrap i could some are famous and important, some become a dictator, but most are foot not notes and asides and you have to dig to find out about them. >> president obama visited west virginia last week for a -- prescription drug abuse. in addition to the president, we'll hear from sylvia burr well and the head of the office of national drug control policy.
>> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you, everybody. thank you. >> everybody, please have a seat. have a seat. thank you so much. well, hello. west virginia. go, mountaineers. it is great to be back in what is clearly one of the most beautiful states in the united states of america. one of these days, i'm going to finally try a two doors biscuit. i want to by taking jordan for
sharing his extraordinary story with us. jordan is living proof that when it comes to substance abuse, treatment and recovery, those things are possible if we work together. and if we care about each other. and that's what we're here to talk about today. we've got some outstanding leaders who care deeply about this issue. i want to thank your governor, ray tomlin for being here. two fine senator, joe mansion and shelley mark and charleston mayor, danny jones. always got some outstanding members of my administration who are here. first and foremost, our proud daughter of west virginia, sylvia burwell.
we have the director of national drug control policy, michael bad chely. and we have the head of the drug enforcement administration, chuck rosenberg. where's chuck? around here somewhere. and what i want to do is to have a conerversation with the panelists here today, take some questions because this is something that is not a top down solution type of problem alone. this is going to have to be everybody working together and we've got to understand what families are going through, what law enforcement is going through for us to wrap our arms around this problem. so, instead of giving a long speech, i want to offer initial thoughts to frame our discussion. when i came into office, i
started studying this issue. of what's called opiads. i was stunned. more americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do from motor vehicle crashes. more than they do from car accidents. the majority of those overdoses involve legal prescription drugs. in 2013 alone, overdoses from prescription pain medications killed more than 16,000 americans. one year. this, i don't have to tell you, this is a terrible toll. the numbers are big, but behind those numbers are incredible pain for families. and west virginia understands
this better than anybody. because this state is home to the highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation. now, addiction is not new. but since 1999, sales of powerful prescription pain medications have skyrocketed by 300%. in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for these drugs, which is more than enough to give every american adult their own bottle of pills. and as their use has increased, so has the misuse. some folks are prescribed these medications medications for good reason, but become addicted because they're so powerful. at the same time, we'veen