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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 23, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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the chief financial officer in fact i had the chief financial officer with me today, she was newly appointed to this position within the past year, and she is, you know in the past, i may get into this late we are the structure of the secret service but in the past we have had agents in a lot of these positions and now we are moving more into running this agency as a business and we have brought in a chief financial officer who that is her expertise. >> that's a good idea. we are joined by the chairman of the whole committee, even though we're into questioning i'm going to yield to hal rodgers to make an opening statement or any comments he may make. >> thank you, mr. chairman. poll jiz for being late and i have to leave early because we've got three simultaneous hearings. >> yes, we do. >> that i have to be at. i wanted to be here with the director, and you. i want to echo the sentiments exercised by the chairman, ranking member and others regarding our former colleague
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and committee member, marty sabo. marty dedicated over 47 years of his life to public service, 28 of which was in this house, including two years as the first ranking member of this subcommittee. david, i'm correct on that, aren't i? when we started this subcommittee on homeland security in '80, and '03, marpty was ranking member, i was the first chairman. we worked together beautifully and i think effectively for those years. he was a true patriot. he was a great legislator, former speaker of his home state house, and many other things. my condolences go out to his family, silvia, his wife, and loved ones, and let them know that he will be sorely missed here in his nation's capital. mr. director, thank you for
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being here. i want to share my gratitude first off for the men and women at your agency who serve our great country, many of whom put their lives on the line on a daily basis, and put their families really in harm's way themselves. your fiscal '17 request includes $1.89 billion, that's a $42 million decrease from current levels, largely due to the winding down of the presidential campaign, i understand. the request includes $108 million to enhance security at the white house, 27 for national capital region radio system upgrades, $72 million to continue the security work of presidential candidates throughout the inauguration. i'm disappointed, though, to see that the request does not include funding for the national
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center for missing & exploited children, which has been a bipartisan priority for years. the secret service fulfills a very critical mission, of course, of protection and investigation. your agency is charged with protecting the commander in chief, the vice president, presidential candidates, visiting foreign heads of state, among many others. this past year you were tasked with protecting the pope on his visit throughout the u.s., as well as over 160 visiting heads of state or their spouses for the u.n. general assembly. what a tremendous job they did. the world was watching and the secret service did an exemplary job. there's much to praise your agency about, but there have
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also been some major missteps, there seems to be an overarching theme within the secret service since well before your tenure as director began just a short time ago, the number of high profile incidents in the recent past has called many to question the integrity, culture, and effectiveness of the agency. from a series of unacceptable misconduct by some of your agents, to major security lapses, changes need to be made in order for the secret service to regain the trust of the american people. i have to commend you and your agency for being relatively scandal free since the last time you came before this subcommittee, the bar needs to be set much higher, leadership starts at the top, and i trust that you're leveraging your career's worth of experience to right the ship at the secret
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service. i look forward to hearing from you today on what measures you've plut in place over the last year to address these problems at your agency. one more thing comes to mind, recently in south america, and peru, i think is the counterfeiting capital of the world. >> right now there's a significant amount of counterfeit coming out of peru, yes. >> you could get a harvard xl diploma or $1,000 bill wherever you wanted it seems at will. what are you doing there? >> we have an agent assigned to our peru office who is making tremendous strides down there. i know we've gotten good, positive feedback from the ambassador down there and there are i think over $10 million was seized last year alone and there have been several offset printing presses that have been
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closed down. they're making a significant effect on the counterfeiting out of peru and getting great support from the am bassor's office of the embassy. >> well, that's not quite the report i got. i mean, i talked to the ambassador and the head of the agency and so on. and you know, they're working hard. i give them that, but the problem is so broad and wide, i mean it's an absolute factory for fake dollars, fake money. >> yes, sir. >> and everything else. and i don't think we're putting enough effort there to try to stop a real sore on the american dollar. you've got a lot of critically important missions that safeguard the nation's financial inf infrastructu infrastructure. you play a vital role in protecting the economy from cyber crime and the counterfeiting, in fiscal '15
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alone you made nearly 800 arr t arrests and seized almost $60 million in currency before it entered into circulation. you also trained 24 members of the peruvian counterfeiting force to help them combat this problem, and but i really think that we're not doing nearly enough there, and i sometimes wonder whether peruvians are not too unhappy. there's a lot of money that's being circulated in their country before it is caught on to be counterfeiting elsewhere. could you give us a report in due course of time here on how we might be able to beef up our efforts there? >> yes, sir, my staff will get with yours certainly to give you more detailed briefing. i will say that those recruits, the peruvian recruits did come up to our training facility here in washington, and i met with
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their command structure there as well to talk about some, how we're doing down there but we'll take a good look at that and our staff will give you a better briefing. >> i'm not interested in a briefing. i'm interested in action. >> yes, sir. >> to get something done. i know what's going on there. we just got back. >> yes, sir. >> met with all the players there, and they're all hard working and they're innocent and they're above board and trying their best but it's not enough. thank you, mr. director. >> ms. robles-allard? >> director clancy you talked a little bit about some of your efforts when it came to hiring and retention. with the protective mission panel in its 2014 report, also went beyond the hiring process. can you elaborate on the status of fulfilling the other recommendations of the protective mission panel and is the budget request sufficient to
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allow to you make progress on or to complete all of those recommendations? >> yes, thank you. there were 19 recommendations through the blue ribbon panel. we took them all very seriously and we can concur with most of these recommendations, and we're making a lot of progress, i'm very proud to say we've made a lot of progress in addressing these recommendations. in fact, recently about a month or so ago i brought back two members of the blue ribbon panel to ensure them we are taking serious their report, a very well-written report. you know, started with the structure, they talked about an outside perspective with the secret service and culture of starving for management, starving for leadership, so what we did was we restructured the way we do business. in the past we have' h had a director and deputy director. we're looking to running this as a business as i said earlier with the chief operating officer we brought in from the outside, from the department of defense,
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this gentleman is here with me today, and that chief operating officer is now overseeing the business aspect of the secret service, and we've elevated the chief financial officer who we spoke about today. in the past our finances were overseen by an agent. we've brought in a subject matter expert to oversee our finances. we created a new directorate, the office of strategy and planning to look at our 30, 60, 90-day plans as well as our five-year plan and with that we've hired or we've elevated subject matter expert and attorney, it's not an agent. we wanted to get that outside perspective again. the cio just recently hired a chief information officer who is a 34-year marine corps brigadier general. he was a cio in the marine corps. we were thrilled to be able to get this gentleman and in a very short matter of a few months he's made great strides in assessing where we are. we've strengthened that position the cio position so we can do a
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much better job in our i.t. functions. but then we've done some other things structurally, based again on the blue ribbon panel and their recommendations, training, you know, they said we're training and we agree it was not where it should have been. we've applied more focus to our training. we split the directorate, human resources and training previously was one directorate. we split that to give the focus they need and our training has increased over the past last year fiscal year '15 increased 43%. and certainly leading up to this campaign we made a commitment to ensure that our details that are protecting these candidates that are out there are well trained. we trained over 940 agents prior to this campaign to ensure they're set. so with the blue ribbon panel structurally we made significant changes, a much different agency from a management standpoint than it was years ago. thanks to the funding that
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you've provided to our radios and infrastructure there, is also going to be improved. some of our facilities at our beltsville training facility will also be improved so we are moving forward with the blue ribbon panel recommendations and i think making a lot of progress. >> the secret service has had a difficult couple of years with several incidents of misconduct by personnel, suggesting strongly that the culture within the agency had drifted and needed to be changed. the issue has not only been about misconduct, it's whether personnel feel confident in coming forward when they become aware of misconduct. for example, to they know how to register their concerns of misconduct, and do they feel confident that their careers will not suffer as a result of speaking out. can you, please, elaborate on how, in your opening, how things are improving and what the signs of progress are that you can
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point to and the areas where you think more progress still needs to be made in this particular area? >> yes. primarily through communication initially, trying to get to our workforce to tell them we can't if tix what we don't know. you got to come forward and tell us what issues are out there. we've given them several avenues to do this, whether it's through the ombudsman, whether it's through our office of professional responsibility, through our inspection division, or go to the office of inspector general. any of those avenues or come to me directly. i have an open door policy, come to me directly and we will look into the misconduct that may or may not be out there, and we'll act upon it. we've also gone out to the field offices, and we've addressed them. i've addressed them personally and gone through every protective detail we have and addressed them and reiterated the fact if there's issues out there, we need to know about them so that we can fix them. and i think we're making some
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progress. we've heard several responses from our workforce, where we have taken initiative and gone out to field offices to investigate what they've reported. >> okay, and just very quickly in that same area, what aone of recommendations to recommend a disciplinary manner for failures incompatible with the zero failure mission. is that something also that is currently being worked on? >> yes, it is. the office of professional responsibility, we've just recently elevated our integrity officer to an ses position to highlight the importance of integrity within our agency. we've also through the table penalties strengthened some of these penalties so that if you're a supervisor and you don't report things up, you're subject to discipline, more severe discipline, so we've gone back and looked at that and the whole entire table of penalties is under review now to see if we
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are where we should be with the discipline process, and we're benchmarking against other federal agencies. >> mr. young? >> thank you, mr. chairman and welcome, director clancy. i recently cofounded a bipartisan caucus on it's a congressional task force to combat identity theft and fraud, and you know the seriousness of all this both in your public and private sector experience, it can happen on the individual scale, a larger scale affecting corporations, businesses, individuals, the public sector, and something that we need to take quite seriously and i know you know that. how will the proposed budget assist the secret service? i look particularly at your testimony here about the electronic crime special agent program. >> yes. >> and how will the budget assist the secret service to help prevent and investigate cyber crimes and data breaches and is the need primarily staff
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or is it new technologies, that kind of thing, that you need? >> thank you for the question, congressman. it starts with staffing, and our field offices are down considerably at this point because we have' had to move a number of our fieldffice agents to our protective mission, but what we do have in the field is we have 37 electronic crimes task forces throughout our country and we have two overseas, in london and in rome. so we take this very seriously. the cyber crimes that are out there, the identity theft that's out there but we're also partnering with our local and state law enforcement officials to the point where we also have a national computer forensics institute down in alabama that we train a lot of these law enforcement officials as well as judges as well, so that they can go back into their communities and use this expertise that they've learned and take the equipment that we provide for them to work these types of
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cases in their communities. >> in your testimony as well you state the secret service is working with state and local partners on this. can you elaborate on this and how does the secret service work with other agencies to protect private citizens, aenthen do you do reviews and follow up of your investigations and from there you find out maybe shortcomings and maybe successes and needs with the real analytics on this, and then from there do you, how can we help you in terms of maybe even authorizing legislation, although we are the appropriations committee? >> right now, again, through the electronic crimes task force, that's where we really partner with our law enforcement, with our community, state and local authorities. during this, for example, during this campaign year a lot of folks think that our investigations may get pushed to the wayside, but the beauty of these electronic crimes task force is where we have the locals and states working with us as well as the private sector
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that if our agents get pulled out to do a protective assignment the cases continue on. they're not dormant. they're not being put aside so we continue to work those and we do look at the metrics. our staff can get with yours and give you a better idea of what those metrics are in terms of the number of cases closed in your community for example and the amount of arrests made in your community. >> and with the new technologies and the new scams and huxsteres out there trying to steal identities and commit frauds you're seeing this growing and what are your roots in this community? >> yes, well you're exactly right. these cyber criminals today they run it like a business. they don't just take their spoils from their crime and spend it. they reinvest it in their criminal enterprise and we have to evolve and prove our techniques as well. and that's where this continuing education for our investigators and the work with the private sector in trying to keep up with the new technology, we have
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representative out at carnegie-mellon to study the newest technology out there, we're out of tulsa university, studying wireless mobile new technology that's out there. so we're trying to continue to educate our folks too as we move forward. >> well thank you for coming here today in our bipartisan task force i'm sure will take you up on your offer for briefing answers sharing information on how to work together to do this. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. price? >> i thank you, mr. chairman, and welcome, director. we're happy to have you before the subcommittee. i know you have a lot on your plate this year with the election warming up and the election proving to be very contentious, and that really defines what i want to ask you to address today, that contentio contentiousness. we had a regrettable example in my congressional district last
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week, fayetteville, north carolina, a recent incident at a donald trump rally. in this instance it was reported that without any physical provocation, a trump supporter allegedly sucker punched, as they say, a man named joaquin jones and later said and i'm quoting here "the next time we see him, we might have to kill him," when referencing mr. jones. now there's a lot of inflammatory rhetoric being used on the campaign trail. i would imagine that's making your job and that of your agents more difficult, at a minimum, and perhaps more dangerous. so that's what i want to ask you to help us understand here today, to the extent you can, in an unclassified setting, can you speak to these challenges faced by your agents as more and more violent and provocative rhetoric is being used on the campaign trail? are you seeing an increased number of incidents that you of
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course need to protect against but also need to investigate, compared to the 2012 election cycle or any modern election cycle, for that matter, and then this vitriol on the campaign trail, has that led to a number of increased threats to the president or first family, to the extent you can comment in this setting? >> thank you, congressman, for the question. in general, i will say that every day is a challenge for us. we talk about this within the ranks, every minute of every day is a challenge for us, whether any of our protectees is at a large rally where there's a lot of passion and intensity or whether a protectee is going into a coffee shop. every minute of every day we have to be on our became, and to the question that came earlier, even off-duty as well and that's something we're stressing, too, but in regards to the campaign, it all starts with the advance,
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and one of the things that we talk about at the advance is that we are there to protect our prote protectee. if there are protesters, people disrupting the event, that is not our primary responsibility. if it's an nssc, we're more involved that way but typical campaign events as you brought up here, we sit down with the host committee, or the event organizer and we tell them that if there is someone that you feel is disrupting the event or protesting, it is incumbent upon to you make that decision and work with your private security that you may have or your university security or the local law enforcement to remove the protester if you think that's warranted. our concern is overt acts or threats to our protectee. if someone for example comes into the buffer zone or security zone, we're going to respond to that, as we saw in dayton, ohio, just that past weekend. we've also had at other rallies individuals crossed into our buffer zone over the bike rack. we will remove those individuals
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but we do not interfere with people's first amendment rights. people have the right to voice their opinions and it's for the host committee to decide whether or not that's disruptive to that event. >> surely the environment matters, though, and the cooperation with -- i understand you're saying the cooperation with local law enforcement involves deferring to them mainly in handling protests and presumably counter protests. the atmosphere surrounding this, though, surely has some influence on how you assess your mission and the kind of complications you might face in executing your mission, and what i'm really asking you is not about -- i gave you an illustrative instance, but i'm asking you about the environment
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surrounding this campaign, and whether it has posed those kinds of challenges, and if so, what have you undertaken to deal with this? this is not politics as usual, at los in my experience. >> yes. well, each site again, we are flexible with our security plan, and we look at all the factors of every event and we are flexible with our assets. we may bring in additional assets if we feel there is more intensity, for example, in a rally. we want to make sure, we have certain requirements that we want to make sure that we have available to us and i don't want to get into too much detail here but we want to make sure, for example, we have a good, clean route in, as well as a good clean route out and if we don't feel that we can have some of these basic requirements of a good security plan, then it may require us to bring in more assets or have more discussions with the staff, with local law enforcement but there's a lot of give and take with all of these
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events and there's no question, some of these events create even more challenges for us, but it's our job to be flexible and resilient and make sure we have a good security plan. >> and your response could conceivably to advise local law enforcement what you are picking up in additional precautions and safeguards they need to put in place and might advise that a rally be canceled or postponed? >> we work closely with local law enforcement. one of the beauties of our field offices we have great relationships with the local police departments through our investigative vision and in fact for a lot of these rallies and events, our field offices are the ones doing the initial advance work on it, so those relationships have already been formed and there's a lot of give and take from it, intelligence standpoint, what assets are available, what requirements are needed. it truly is a unity of effort, it's a team effort. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> thank you, mr. price. mr. stewart? >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. clancy. i want you to know many of us support you and we understand that, you know, just culturally as a military officer, i'm supportive of law enforcement. i recognize you have a difficult job that many times you or your agents involved with law enforcement have to make split second decisions that they're going to be criticized on after the fact in many cases, many times it's under stressful situations, including life and death situations, and again, i think the great majority of americans support you and others working with you and want to support you, but that only works, i think, if we recognize that that trust is based on behaviors and holding people accountable in some cases to earn that trust, and that's a bit of a concern of mine, which i would like to elaborate on here if i could, and going back to quote a government oversight
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and reform report from 205 and i'm quoting here, internal u.s. data shows many employees do not have confidence in agency leadership. some told the community they believe this is due to culture where leaders are not held accountable. i know that was previous to your time or about the same time you came on and not a critique of your leadership this quote i just gave but i'd like to give an example of xtabiliaccountabid ask you to respond if you would. i'm not using this jason chaffetz as a friend of mine or member of congress but any u.s. citizen, where there was a breach of some 60 of his personal data, 60 different items, and quoting from "the washington post," "some information he might find emb s embarrassing needs to get out is what the assistant director edward low ree wrote to another
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director" wanting to support you but also recognizing that trust and accountability is so important. could you tell the committee what disciplinary actions have been involved with those who were responsible for leaking this data of a private citizen, especially in regards to director lowrie? >> congressman, there have been 42 secret service employees who were issued discipline with regard to that case that you referred to here. many of those are in the appeal process, and coming to the end of that appeal process. i can't speak specifically about what, because of privacy issues what each individual received as a result of those actions but it is something that the agency is embarrassed by. we've said that publicly and in terms of are we holding people accountable and are people willing to come forward, in the year that i've been here, we are now putting out, showing the
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discipline across the board from supervisors as well as non-supervisors to be transparent to our agency, to show that what discipline, we're not naming people in this report, but we put it up for everyone in our agency to see, the type of events, misconduct that occurs and then what type of discipline is put into effect as a result of that. >> you know, i guess this is just a contrast with what i experienced, again, using my military experience. when we had, you know, a concern, whatever it might be, whether we crashed an airplane or some type of security breach, i mean, we knew immediately what the outcome would be, and the discipline was very public, and it took place in a matter of days, maybe weeks. but here we are a long time later, and we don't know those who have been disciplined. we don't know the outcome of that discipline and they're already on appeal and i can -- you know, just watching this, i can understand why some members of your organization look at
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this and say, we do have a hard time holding people accountable, and the system protects them it seems, and again, let's use director lowrie as an example. i'd be curious to know what his position is. has he been -- i mean, this is, this is fairly egregious to me, him writing to another "some information he might find embarrassing needs to get out." this is what he wrote about a public official, and yet again, can you tell me any discipline that has been effected upon this individual or this director? >> congressman, i'm sorry, i cannot speak to that currently until this appeal process goes through. we are committed to title v, where there's due process and i realize the frustration that it takes a long time to go through the process but at's where we are today. >> and i appreciate that and i actually expected that would probably be your response, but again, director, a long time has passed, and if we're going to hold people accountable it can't be accountable five years down the road.
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in my opinion it's got to be something more immediate than that, but once again we appreciate what you're doing. i think you're trying to do the right thing here under maybe confined restrictions that are posed upon you but my heavens, i can't imagine that these individuals would have this type of attitude, cavalier attitude writing their elected representatives and they wouldn't be held accountable but thank you. do you want to respond or -- >> no, sir. >> i understand. mr. chairman, thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. stewart. mr. quellar? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to echo what chairman rodgers said, mr. director, on the issue with peru. there is an issue, and even the peruvians say that outside of washington, they're the biggest printing press in the whole world. why peru? we don't know, but i think just having one secret service, and
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he's doing a great job, by the way, and under the circumstances, so i would echo chairman rodgers, that you all put a little bit more resources on that, because even though i think you said you got $10 million, that's probably just a drop in the bucket as to what they're doing, so i would ask you, following chairman rodgers, ask you to follow up on that and keep our office posted on that. second of all, director, what are you doing to combat organized crime with citizens and institutions in the u.s.? i have a press release in san antonio, i think it was in january, where you did this san antonio electronic crime task force and you brought people together and i want to thank you. this is very, very good. i would encourage you to set up something, if you can talk to your folks, do something on the
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border also and i'd be happy to bring you down to laredo and work with your folks, and i'llen happy to put folks from the border law enforcement, state, local folks, acamedicians, private sector to meet so i ask if you do this on the border. everybody talks about the border but when they do events they usually do them 150 miles away and i do represent san antonio. i love san antonio but if we're going to talk about border, i would ask you to have your folks come down to the border. we'll be happy to set that up for you. okay. the other question i have, whatever happened to the, we talked about this a lot, the white house mock-up, what was it $15 million, how is that coming along? >> well we are committed to this white house mock-up or building defense. we are in the process now of
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working out a master plan for our rtc, our rally training center out in maryland and we have to submit this master plan to the natural capital planning commission to get approval for what we want to do. we are definitely committed to this mock white house. we had an initial design that came back to us. we're going back to reevaluate that design to see where we are with that, but we have full intention of implementing that. >> what is your, uhm, what is your -- uhm, i think last year we talked about 15 million, if i'm going by memory, what is your -- i hope that hasn't gone up, because as chairman carter says, we got to work with a tight budget. my experience dealing with the federal government is, you start out with a number and before you know it, it explodes. has that gone up, and from what amount to what amount? >> i'm not prepared to say what
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the amount will be but i will say i know the initial design came back which was a little bit more elaborate than what we really had expected and the cost was going to be higher, so we've gone back to the drawing board in that regard. >> will you keep certainly the chairman carter and the members of the committee, the ranking member also and myself, what the cost is, because we want to be supported but again -- >> yes. >> -- my experience has been you start off with an initial number and i assume the number they gave you went up and not down. >> yes. >> so i would ask you to just keep us informed, because i originally thought the original amount was a lot. >> yes, sir. >> but again i understand the purpose and the rationale, but i'm interested in you keeping the cost as close as possible to the amount. >> yes, congressman. >> thank you so much. and again, the culture issues that were brought up last time you were here, i know there's still some incidents but i do
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have to say you're doing a good job and i appreciate your good service. >> thank you, sir. >> very quickly on the white house mock-up, last year you asked for $8 million, we gave you $1 million, i echo what mr. quellar said this we be sure and stay with us on this. don't stay out on a limb and break off on the extra expense. >> which is exactly why we went back to get another design. we want to be good citizens here and with the budget here. it is a critical element as you addressed here. this will help our training to move into the 21st century here with allowing our people to train on real life scenarios with the exact grounds we have at the white house, rather than on a hard tarmac surface so it is critical but we have to be careful with the way we move
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forward. >> i'm just echoing what cuellar said. director clancy, the secret service is responsible for securing both 2016 republican and democrat national conventions. what is the state of planning for securing this year's political conditions in cleveland and philadelphia, and back-to-back weeks in july, do you have any credible threat information regarding the events to be held at these venues? are you satisfied that your fiscal year 2016 funding along with separate appropriations made available to host states will be sufficient to cover all the foreseeable security costs of the convention? >> first i want to thank the committee for fully funding the campaign, which includes these conventions. the conventions itself there's a fixed cost of i think $19 million, and 40 for the rnc and
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dnc and another 20 for associated costs with those conventions but as it is now we've had individuals out there specifically assigned to the conventions in cleveland and in philadelphia. they've been working with the local law enforcement for several months here to work on everything from outer perimeter to predenials and we're well on our way to providing very good security plan for these events. as you stated, mr. chairman, they are earlier this year than in typical campaign year. that cause for additional protection dollars come out of the convention. in the past, the conventions were late august or maybe early september and now coming out of the conventions in july, we'll have additional protectees. we'll have the president-elect, sorry, the candidate-elect and the vice president-elect for both parties, and that will add some additional requests -- well it's in the budget but the costs
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go up as we move forward. >> you're in charge of overall security for both conventions, the sanders campaign has brought a lot of new voters in to the mix. the trump campaign on the republican side has brought millions of new voters into the mix. in addition we've already experienced violent outbreaks with protesters coming in to disrupt the campaign side of this stuff. those of us that can remember back to 1968 remember what happened in chicago and we don't -- nobody in either party wan have a convention that ends up like chicago back in -- >> 1968. >> -- '68, tear gas fired, you know, weapons fired, a lot of really bad things happened there. i believe national guard even were called out for that democratic convention.
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so whatever, you know, whenever you see disrupters start to come in in campaigns, you have to say how big a project is this going to be and i hope you're doing, like i said, threat analysis and intel to see if there's any rumors out there of organizations to come in to disrupt either convention. we don't need that. we got enough problems without that. so that's -- >> mr. chairman, i would just say with these, they are designated as national special security events and as you noted we are in charge of the overall security plan there. we have 24 subcommittees for each of these conventions, and each of those committees has a unique responsibility, whether it's intelligence, as you rightly mentioned, where they work with all the federal, state and local authorities, to gather all the intelligence, we've already started that. then we've got a committee on transportation, just to make sure people can get to and from the sites. we got someone who works with
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the public affairs, and so there's 24 different subcommittees working on each individual component to make sure that these conventions are safe, and that they're a positive event for all that want to attend. >> well, and i can say that i've attended some of the conventions and i've been very pleased with overall both the local and the secret services keeping people safe. when you're in big crowds and big areas, in a strange city, yes, there's a lot of things that can happen to you and your wife if you're not careful so thank you for that. ms. roble se-allard? >> director clancy, the budget request includes $27. million in additional funding to upgrade the secret service national capital area radio system, and this request follows 16.8 million provided for phase one in the fy '16 bill.
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can you elaborate on how the phase two funding will be used, what additional capabilities the new system would provide, and how it would improve reliability as compared to the current system. >> yes, thank you for this question. this comes out of the blue ribbon panel as well as we talked earlier. they noted that our communications needed to be enhanced, replaced, and additionally, i have to credit the office of inspector general who did a study as well, and although they saw that 97% of our radios worked well around the white house complex, they rightly stated that we can't have any failure at all, and i have to credit again mr. roth and his team for the review that they did. so this funding will allow us to first our joint operations center, most of that equipment hasn't been replaced in seven years, it's getting old, it's breaking down. can't even find some parts in some cases but we're looking to
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in this joint operations center where all of our alarms come in, video feeds come in, we'll be able to replace that and also to allow more inner operablity with our local partners, metropolitan police and capital police and take in some of their feeds as well. so the joint operations center is going to be enhanced considerably. additionally we'll continue what we've already started in fiscal year '16 getting radios out, handheld radios to our individual employees which will be state-of-the-art with a lot of new features and the coverage will be better using these radios. but maybe more importantly we did a survey throughout the national capital region where typically the president is, has events or visits or motorcade routes and where are those dead spots and with the help of our washington field office we identified these locations and we're going to add an additional 56 repeaters and transmitters throughout the national capital region and that has an impact on how these handheld radios work.
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so that's a big ps up for us as well. >> okay, could you talk a little bit about what the status of radios and radio systems are for the field offices? >> that will also be included in this funding. for example, i went out to chicago and talked with the field office out there and the surrounding field offices and in this effort to try to communicate with our workforce, i can't get out to everyone, so i actually had gone to doing some videos and pushing out videos when we have new policies or state of the service, for example, we released about a month and a half ago, but because of the band width in some of these smaller offices, they haven't been able to see some of these messages so we've, this funding will help us with the band width so we can get more of this, do a better job of communicating not only our messages but also it helps us with our security. we've got to have a better infrastructure out there as we expand from our large field offices into the surrounding communities. >> okay. last year improvements to the current -- i'm going back to the
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white house fence, the improvements that were completed was interim solution as i understand it. and it was made, you know, designed to make it more difficult to scale the fence and giving officers on the white house grounds a critical few extra seconds to respond. can you describe the improvements to the current fence and whether they are working more or less as expected, and what are the plans and the schedule for completing a new and permanent fence? >> yes. the interim measure was placed on the white house fence in july of 2015. we knew that wasn't going to be an end-all obviously but it was going to buy us some time if someone did attempt to jump the fence. we've had, since we put that up there, we've had one fence jumper over the north fence there and we think it is a deterrent. i don't have metrics to show that because we don't know who has an intent to come over that fence but one individual did get
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over the fence and he was immediately contained just on the other side of the fence. but moving forward, the permanent fence, it's very complex and it's a lengthy process, and we know that whatever fence we put in there has to last 100 years. we're not going to get another opportunity to do this. we could go in and just put up a higher fence, maybe ten-foot fence but is that enough? maybe you need a 12-foot fence. is 12 feet enough? we have to do more studying with that and there's some other areas in the classified setting i can talk about where we want to do some things with the fence, but also more comprehensive look at what we're doing there at the white house and the perimeter there. the perimeter as you know, every day, just last week we have a buffer as you know, you walked in front of the white house the bike rack there. that's been a good help to us. we know people can get over the bike rack but it gives us an early warning that someone has
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bad intentions and just last week we had an individual who went over that bike rack and we immediately because we've added some atigsal posts we immediately contained that individual right there before they could get to the fence. so in terms of your time, the time line, 2017 will still be used to design and do some more research on the type of fence that we need. 2018 is when we expect to actually be able to put a shovel on the ground and start to mr. a more permanent fence. i can tell you that even last week, we met with the national planning commission and the commission on fine arts. they feel the same urgency that we do to get this thing, this project completed, but we have to do it right, and that's where we are, 2018 actually getting it into the ground, i think. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. price? >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, i'd like to address your relationship within dhs
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with the science and technology directorate. the secret service relies heavily on your colleagues in the directorate to develop and validate tools that you and your agents use in the field every day. unlike some of your other dhs counterparts, counterpart agencies that have their in-house research capabilities, you're more dependent on the department's research and testing capability to ensure that you have the tools and resources needed to carry out your mission. so could you speak to that, to the way you work with snt, the value-add of that important relationship? and how has your ability to fulfill your mission related to funding for science and technology pry or notes? >> we have a very good relationship with the snt director and dhs. their director very recently came down to the white house complex and we gave them a full tour of our facility and what we have in place and we've worked
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with them, one of the biggest problems today is the uass, the drones that are out there and we worked with them as well as other partners outside of dhs to try to come up with the best detection systems that are out there as well as mitigation, so this is a critical issue, the drone issue, for both dhs, science and technology, as well as us. so there are numerous meetings between s&t and our technical department directorate. >> i want to return to some of the other s&t projects perhaps but on the drone issue, you catch my attention here. what is the -- what is the secret service's particular take on that issue? how does it relate to the involvement of other agencies? how would you describe that? >> well, it's a problem for everyone. >> i realize that. that's why i ask.
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>> yes, sir. again, it's a challenge for all of us. faa of course is taking a role here with education. we have to educate the public and ensure that they know the areas they cannot fly these uas, unmanned airline devices. we have worked with the department of defense, because they have a lot of experience certainly out in a war-time zone. our challenges are a little unique. we're in an urban environment. some of the things that they can do to mitigate and detect drones in a military environment are different than we have here in an urban environment where you do have to be concerned about the public and, of course, the public buildings and so on. technology though is where we are working very closely and sharing -- that's the important thing here is that there's a sharing of ideas. there's no holding back. in fact, just a couple weeks
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ago, my assistant dreblirector technology informed me they are working with germans to see what they have out there and the sharing of ideas. insular we are. we made an effort to make sure we branch out and we see all the good work that's being done out there. science and technology and dhs i know is doing the same. we're getting best advice we can get. >> on the ground, in a specific setting, a permanent setting like the white house or special event setting, i assume that those words detection and mitigation are a shorthand for a whole range of activities. to what extent does the secret service take on an independent or a proactive responsibility for this? >> i don't want to get into specifics with regard to what measures we have in place. i will say that beyond science and technology, it affects our staff that are on the ground, our uniform officers.
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they're trained on what to look for if they see a drone in the air, what do they like for? how do they respond to it? also, our protective details, whether it be in the white house or on a trip in some other city throughout the country, they have specific protocols if one much these devices is in the air. >> if i have another minute, could you return to s & t. are there other particular areas of clollaboration where you are dependent on the s & t funding to support your mission? >> in terms of funding, i will have to get back to you on that, congressman. i will say that everything from our enhancements with cbr detection down at the white house to enhancements of our permitter defenses, we work with s & t to see what the best types of services there are out there,
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x-ray. we will work with s & t. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> chairman. i live on the border, represent a large chunk of the border. we understand what's happening across. we spend, i believe, about $18 billion when you combine everything on border security, north, south, a lot of money. so we play defense on the one yard line what i call the one yard line. i would rather play defense on the 20 yard line instead of our 1 yard line. so the more we can do to work with the republic of mexico and i believe secretary chong is here or will be here with secretary johnson. i appreciate the work that they're doing. whatever we can do with our central american and other latin american countries will be good. could you tell us what your efforts are in particular, what you are doing with keeping that
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in mind, moving the defense a little bit more, the more we can do in those countries the better it is, what we're doing with the republic of mexico and central america to address some of the trans-national problems we're seeing right now? >> i would just say that we have, again, a terrific relationship with the government of mexico. we have an agent -- we have an office in mexico city. >> i'm sorry. one agent? >> i believe it's one agent, yes. >> mexico has more than one agent. >> i'm sorry, congressman, i don't know that number offhand. will get it to you. i will say that just recently, we had reason to work with the mexican government. they are the pope's visit. and they did a tremendous job. knowing that we had experience, the pope's visit in the fall. we offered any advice that they may want. we did talk to -- we sent our agents down there to talk to them, give them our experiences.
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again, i have to say the mexicans did a terric job with protection of the pope just a couple months ago. >> again, i would ask you to institutionalize the working relationship with the republic of mexico and central america. again, the more we can do outside the one yard line fence, the better it s. i encourage you to do as much as you can under the tight budget we have. again, i appreciate -- i know changing the culture has been hard. we talked about it a lot. i know chairman carter and members of the committee, we talked a lot about it. i know there's still -- there's incidents. keep addressing the culture within the secret service. we have a lot of good men and women working in our government. i appreciate that. the final point, because i know you gotta go, last point is the hiring process -- i know this has been an issue with
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homeland -- it takes a long time. you start off with job star and you go to the process. i understand from your earlier testimony, you have been reducing that. the more you can keep working on that, the better it is. have i had peop i have had people say i'm not going to wait a year or year and a half. they move on to something else. whatever you can do to shorten that time up, i would appreciate it. >> yes. i will comment on that one item. we have instituted these -- we call them elax, entry level assessment centers. we bring in candidates and give them an interview, we give them a test. if they pass a test, then a super interview. then a scheduled polygraph in the near future if not that weekend. >> keep working with the h hispanic institutions and blacks and pools of qualified
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individuals that you can start as interns and move them. thank you. my time is up. >> director, i think we will end with hearing now. you have done a great job. we thank you for the great service you have done here lately. we're really proud of you. keep it up. keep up the good work. i compliment the service. thank them for a good job. >> mr. chairman, thank you, ranking member, thank you. i want to commend your staff as well. we want to be as transparent -- we want to be transparent. your staffs have been patient with us as we have gotten our structure together. my thanks to you and your staffs. >> we will continue to work together for the betterment of everything. thank you, sir. we're adjourned.
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