tv Interview with Representative Brian Fitzpatrick CSPAN February 16, 2017 2:22pm-2:32pm EST
public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. as 115th congress gets established, we have been talking with new members to learn more about them. up next, brian fitzpatrick, pennsylvania republican is a former fbi agent and al qaeda interrogator. he talked to c-span about his previous career serving the government. >> congressman fitzpatrick replacing your brother, mike fitzpatrick, why did you decide to run? >> it was a tough decision. i was an fbi agent for 14 years leading up to this. i knew it was an open seat. i knew my brother would be honoring his word for term limits which is also something i believe in. also something that i thought long and hard about just like anybody making a huge monumental step like that. especially challenging for me given that once you leave the
bureau, typically you can't get back. so it is essentially a nonreversible decision. about 14 years in, 6 years from retirement, in a job that i loved, that i got travel the country and world, working with some amazing people. it was really difficult. especially stepping forth in what was uncertainty. i live in a pretty tough district. a swing district. there is no guarantee of what the outcome will be. and every two-year cycle. a risk but one worth taking for me because like everybody else, i love my country and wanted do what i could to tep forth ao st and offer a different perspective. a lot of those that run, coming up in congress, run for different position coming from state or office. i came from a very different place, being the fbi. i thought it was a unique perspective to bring. an outsider's perspective, one that's not political or ideological but based on facts and data and evidence.
and personally i they we need more of that in congress as people that can show ideology and just focus on making decisions based on data regardless of party affiliation. >> do you have your brother and his resources, what advice did he give you? >> he gave me a lot of advice. he is indespencible as a resource. he has done such a great job representing the people of that district. people always referred to him. he was a county commissioner before he ran for congress. and throughout his term in congress, i think a compliment, people referred to him as washington county commerce. he never lost his roots. the best advice he gave me, is when you're done, get back on that train and back to the district. they are your bosses and you don't want to spend any more time than you need to here in d.c. >> what did you do? >> mainly corruption. i started in manhattan. first assignment after the fbi academy.
ways there for seven years or so. working in political corruption in the five boroughs of new york city. and from there i came out down here to d.c. to be a supervisor in the political corruption unit. once here, my roles spread more international because i stepped into the international corruption role and got to travel to several places across the country and then my last domestic e domestic assignment was out west where i was a political corruption soupervisor. so mainly corruption. but everyone works counterterrorism, counter intelligence, cyber si security. because that is a priority. san bernardino being an example out west, it is an all hands on deck situation. everyone works those cases. or something in manhattan, like bernie madoff. no matter whether you are assigned to white-collar crime, everyone works those cases. >> you were working those high profile cases as well then? >> yes. >> you are also a special u.s.
attorney. what did do you? >> prosecuted drug crime. you have the opportunity if you're a licensed attorney to cross designate as special assistant u.s. attorney. so i had the chance to do that in eastern district of virginia, alexandria and hometown of philadelphia, eastern pennsylvania where i clerked for a federal judge in the past. >> what did that entail? >> prosecuting federal cases in federal court. gave me the chance to sit on the other side of the desk. as agents we brought facts to prosecutors to prosecute. with those two details, i was on the erj side of the desk and presenting those in court and prosecuting them. >> you served as an interrogator of al qaeda in iraq. is that right? tell us, what were you doing? >> another detail for the bureau. in iraq i detailed with the
counterterrorism. they sent us over there and many agent have the opportunity to deploy particular during operation iraqi freedom. there was a need that the military had to call on the agency and bureau to work with law enforcement overseas to help in the intelligence process. so the military folks would go out and, you know, conduct their operations outside of the wire they would bring the he can tanys back and we would, you know, try to get information out of them. >> can you tell us about the interrogation that you did? and why were you doing it? >> it was a detail. you know, between three and four months. and you know, it was basically part of a rotation that many agents cycle through. throughout the course of several years. >> what do you think all that experience, how does it help new this job that you're doing today? >> perspective. couple things.
being an outsider and working for an agency like that, there's not that many people in the organization that are political. i think that's the biggest benefit. is that when you approach a job like this, one of the qualities i think are needed so surely in congress is people that put their country first. input party, ideology, everything else second. or it shouldn't be present at all, quite frankly. if you have more people like that, more people that take that perspective, problem solver's perfective, and willing to work across the aisle and view that as a strength and not something to be criticized or weakness, i think that's good thing. when you have people coming out of organizations like the one dii think that's the biggest benefit. it's trained me through the course of 14 years to base decisions on data and nothing else. not about talking points. it's not about who comes up with an idea. it is about right or wrong. about solutions that make sense
and solutions that don't make sense. >> what committees are you sitting on and what are your priorities. >> i cover north africa were middle east, eurasia and emerging threats. as far as priorities, we are early on. so cybersecurity certainly is a big threat. i talked about that a lot that you hear a lot about the threats of physical violence. those are the ones that people typically fear but our cyber border is very, very weak. and a lot of people don't realize the significance after threat that that poses to us as a nation. you talk a lot about how we live in the glassiest house in cybersecurity. we have the most to lose. if anybody were to infiltrate our electrical grid or i.t. infrastructure that can hurt a democracy. it could cut a democracy off at the knees. threaten a lot of things. transportation. it is something we need to focus
on. i really do believe it is probably the most significant national he is chiropractority threat we face. >> tell us about your district and this piece of art behind you. >> so my district is a piece of montgomery county. right behind me a company calls knex, a toy that many of us are familiar with. it is in hatfield, pennsylvania. they loaned this to my brother. my brother was asking me when he was on my way out and ways on my way in, he said, did you want anything? i said this is an interesting piece so maybe that if can you get it here in one piece. i think only three pieces came off. i don't know where they go. but it seems to be standing still. it's in good shape. >> why do you think you and your brother answered the call to serve our government? >> i don't know.
you would have to ask him what led him to do it. he loves his community. he served as county commissioners for ten years and did really good job at it. and you know, our incumbent congressman moved on and mike was asked to step up. for me, just a matter of loving your country and wanting to offer that perspective. i view the act of running as an act of public service. put your ideas forward. put it in the hand of voters he and live with the result. and that's what our country is about. that's sort of how i viewed my role in stepping forth. not like i had this mission in life to be a u.s. congressman. more t w it was more about offing that choice to voters and speaking about issues i felt were really important. which i had the chance to talk about. once you do that, you live with the result and you're okay as a person once you do that. >> congressman, thank you very much for your time. >> appreciate it. >> no from the this afternoon at the white h