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tv   House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Facial Recognition Other...  CSPAN  July 15, 2019 8:07am-10:28am EDT

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test. test. test.
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it's an absolute vulnerability that terrorists can exploit. it's a vulnerability we need to address. >> dr. romney, i guess from what i'm hearing from you is we don't
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want to get this wrong. i think ms. watson coleman was talking about herself being possibly in this pool of candidates that could get somehow mischaracterized. tell me where we are with the technology. how accurate is it? >> the very best algorithms we've tested the most recently have false negative rates that are extremely low. the accuracy can range for the best algorithms in a one to many match can range into the 99.7 range. >> so 99.7% accuracy. >> yes. >> that's pretty good. >> from a scientific standpoint it's a high number for me. >> it's very high. you're a scientist.
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i'm not, but it sounds pretty high to me. it's always a balance in this committee and when we deal with security issues, we always have to balance these as americans and i think it's important that we balance those factors. it's stopped a lot of bad actors from coming into the united states. i hope that this committee, we could still advance that authorization and that bill through this congress because i do think it's important to protect the american people. it's one of the most important responsibilities that we have as members of congress. with that, i yield back. >> images of drivers that were taken by facial recognition technology were compromised.
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i represent multiple border towns where you cross back and forth into mexico for jobs, shopping, tourism, medicine. i also within the interior of the district there are border checkpoints. when they're operating, that same information is being taken, license plates and pictures of people's faces. so we want to be able to make sure that the citizens' data is secure. were there audited into the subcontractor's system prior to the hack? >> i don't know. >> can you get back to us on that please? did those private subcontractors
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have the authority to store the citizens' data? >> they did not have the authority to store the pictures taken by the camera from what understand. they had the authority to take them. they did not have the authority to take it off the camera and put it onto their own network, which is apparently what happened. >> what protocols does cpb have in place to oversee subcontractor data security practices? >> they go through background checks. they're vetted, they're cleared, they're trained on the systems that they're going to work on. as far as having the audit controls on -- well, this was a stand alone pilot so it was outside of our normal network. we apparently did not have the same level of controls and audit
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capabilities on that because it was a stand-alone closed system. those are things being put into place now on all those systems to make sure you can't connect to a portable media drive on that and extract information. our main network has these controls. >> can you follow up and let us know when they are in place? >> yes. >> with all pilot programs because i member going through the border checkpoints and being told it's just a pilot. that's when we need to make sure that we're operating it correctly. >> i agree. >> i want to switch now to congressional authorization. mr. wagner, it's my understanding that it is the laws that congress is enacting a biometric entry/exit system
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limit data collection to foreign nationals, is that correct? >> yes. >> under what authority is cbp collecting biometric information on u.s. citizens as part of the entry/exit system? >> we're using the information under usc-1357 b and 8 cfr 235.1 which allows us to consider any information or evidence pertaining to a person crossing the border and establishing their u.s. citizenship. generally a person will present a u.s. passport to us. we can look at it, we can manually review it. we can ask some questions how they obtained it. >> i'm going to switch direction. i apologize. i want to switch to the federal agencies that are scanning
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through u.s. citizens' driver's licenses. i.c.e. is one of those that's been identified as potentially scanning through these databases. for what purpose are your components attempting to or successfully accessing state driver's license databases in any way? >> we do use driver's license information from the states that have entered into agreements with us where their driver's license also substitutes for a passport to cross the border. i think we have five u.s. states and maybe four canadian provinces that entered into written agreements with us to mark the citizenship of the driver's license holder on the document so they can cross the border without having to go get a passport that serves in lieu of the passport. >> does the dmv --
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require probable cause or warrants? >> when that person crosses the border, our agreement allows us to verify that that is a valid license and retrieve the photo from that so we can see who it belongs to. we also have law enforcement access driver's license data that we also might use in a law enforcement context that's very common for law enforcement agencies to access. >> thank you, mr. wagner. >> thank you very much. chair now recognizes the gentleman from new york for five minutes. >> thank you all for being here today. take a step back for a moment. as a federal prosecutor for 20 years routinely dealing with homicides and matters of violent crime, some of the tools in the toolbox i had were fingerprints at first and later dna. when they both came online, at first there were concerns about
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how they were to be used. now they're becoming more mainstream. i hope and pray it's the same with facial recognition. all three have the capability not only of helping to solve crimes but also making sure that crimes aren't committed. but even something we don't think about enough is exonerating people who are falsely accused. look what the dna system has done for people falsely accused in prisons. it's been a remarkable breath of fresh air. so my concern is not with the efficacy of using it, my concern is that we get it right. my questions focus on the things we need to do to make it better. it's dispositive almost all the time. i don't think we're there yet with facial recognition. i'd like to get there.
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i'd like to ask mr. romine a couple of questions. you talk about the fact you're charged with examining the gaps and limitations of certain thing, including facial recognition. so what do you see as the gaps in limitations of it right now? >> the principal gaps and limitations we see involve a couple things. one is image quality. it's still true. garbage in, garbage out for software systems. so image quality has a huge impact. i'll have a report on demographics and certain issues associated with demographic effects. that's certainly true when you try to identify someone when you have a reference image that's maybe 10, 20 years earlier than the person you're trying to
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identify. that can be a very big challenge. similarly if someone has been injured or there's some obscuring of the face for other reasons, that can have a challenge. images that are taken non-cooperatively. and i don't mean uncooperative. i mean where someone is not standing still looking at a camera with the intent of registering an image. if you're taking an image through a windshield for example or if you're taking an image of someone who's walking and not facing a camera, those can have significant impacts on the
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accuracy and ability of these systems to do identification. >> what can we do to improve that portion of it? >> the industry continues to make advances. i mentioned the emergence of convolutional neural network networks as a game changer in this space. we don't know what we don't know coming down the pike, but there continue to be improvements in our testing over time. north america network checkpoint. >> the compression, the effect of differences in demographics
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the compression, the effect of differences in demographics shrinks as well. and the report later, once we finished our analysis, the report that comes out in the fall -- >> that sort of answers my question. you'll admit that certain demographics have a disproportionate error rate. so you saying it's improved, how much has it improved? >> we haven't finished the analysis yet, so i'm not able to answer that question currently. the report will come out in the fall. i will say that it is unlikely that we will ever achieve a point where every single demographic is identical in performance across the board, whether that's age, race or sex. but we want to know just exactly how much the difference is. >> this report will detail that when it comes out in the fall? >> yes, sir. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> we all look forward to the report, i assure you.
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chair now recognizes the gentle lady from illinois, ms. underwood. >> i represent illinois's 14th district where we drive about an hour or two to get to a major airport in chicago. so our community is always interested in learning more about the technologies that can potentially improve security at airports while still reducing the flier's wait time. it's crucial to make sure they're proven to be effective, reliable and fair. can you run through the ways tsa is currently employing biometric screening at checkpoints? >> we're only using biometrics technology in atlanta. that's on a pilot basis. we want to understand how the technology works, how it can improve identity verification for the traveling public and improve traveler experience. going back to image quality, we were in a fortunate case at tsa in that we really control the
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environment in our checkpoints so we get the highest quality images possible for biometric matching. for the pilot in atlanta we're matched up with cbp using their tvs system. we see extremely high match rates there. moving forward we'll look to pilot one to one matching capability where a traveler will provide a credential. that credential will be assessed by our cat machine and it will return a match rate on whether or not the face that's been captured matches the face that's embedded in that credential. in that scenario, no information even leaves the checkpoint and nothing's retained on the camera. that's some of the things we're looking at.
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i believe when we're through with these pilots, we will see that we cannot only improve passenger security but make it a much more positive experience for the traveling public by reducing wait times. >> how are the airports and airlines using the biometric screening technology beyond the tsa checkpoints? >> i can comment on atlanta with delta air lines. the kiosks use biometric identification to make sure the passenger is ticketed on that flight, to ensure the passengers are positively matched to bags for international travel. delta has a security program amendment that we've granted them to use biometric technology to do that matching at the bag drop. we use it in our checkpoint in atlanta. it's used at the gate. >> so is that the only specific agreement with an airport or airline that tsa has to govern
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the use of biometrics? >> right now the security program amendment that we've granted delta for the limited use only in atlanta is the only formal agreement we've entered into with the airlines. >> does tsa have any role in approving airport and airline uses of biometric technology? >> we have roles in approving the use of biometric technology where tsa has equities. again, i would go back to say that would be the check point and the bag drop. if an airline wanted to use biometrics at the bag drop to positively match that traveller to that bag, they would have to request a security program amendment, and we would have to issue it. >> as the use of biometric data continues to expand, illinians have a lot of questions about how some sensitive personal data
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is used and stored. i'd like to open this question to the panel. you should what circumstances do your components collect biometric data on u.s. citizens? we can start with mr. wagner. >> did you say collect on u.s. citizens? >> yes, sir. >> we're temporarily holding it while we validate it corresponds to the passport that person is presenting. then it's purged after 12 hours from our system. >> okay. >> from a tsa perspective, we're leveraging photographs that travelers have provided to facilitate travel like passport photographs. when we capture the image at the checkpoint it is not retained at the camera. once that image is encrypted and transmitted, we only get back a match result. >> okay. >> secret service collects fingerprints, palm prints, mug shots, other identifying information on individuals who we arrest as part of our criminal investigations.
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>> but not as part of regular screening? you don't retain the data that you collect as part of the regular screening? >> that is correct. >> you don't store it? >> we use metal detectors, x-rays and things like that. >> to get into the white house -- >> we do not use fingerprints at the white house. we don't scan for that. >> yes, sir. >> the data that we have is sequestered in servers that are air gapped. they're not connected to the internet. in a locked door. i'm the director of the laboratory and i'm not permitted to go into that room without being escorted. it's very tightly controlled. >> i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina mr. walker. >> thank you. 99.7%. that's pretty good or about ironically the same on base percentage that cedric richmond has in baseball.
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that's a topic. i do have a question. how do you ensure that the biometric data collected is secured? is the biometric identifier connected to other sensitive or private information about the person? >> the data that we have on facial recognition is not connected to identifying information. i'll have to double check the exact features there. >> can you do that for us and report back? so you're saying the information that you collected is secured? >> we don't collect information. we obtain it from our partners for the purposes of evaluation only. we secure that in a secure server. >> have you ever had a breach on the information you've obtained? >> no, sir. >> thank you.
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questions for the panel, keep it about 10 to 15 seconds. that way we can get everybody in here. can you elaborate more on these programs that have been successful, specifically on the ones identifying facial recognition in any other biometric technologies. if you could elaborate on the success of them we'll start with mr. wagner. >> sure. it gives us the ability to identify a person's biographical identity. >> with our pilot in atlanta we do data collection on the number of people who are using not to provide biometric identification at our checkpoint and it was less than 1%. people seemed to enjoy it. the traveling public moves through the checkpoint very rapidly. the best part is we enhance identification there enhancing security.
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>> we're piloting some technology but we're in the middle of that test right now so we haven't compiled the data. the test will wrap up at the end of august then we'll be able to draw some conclusions. at this point we're still in the middle of the test. >> based on these successes, where do you see the use of biometric technologies expanding in your agency? mr. wagner? >> it will significantly transform the arrivals and departures on international travel in all our different environments, air, land and sea and can really build a very
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convenient, efficient, facilitative but yet secure process for us to do that. >> for us we'll build on the success of our international partnership with cbp that we're doing in atlanta to other international travel locations. we'll look to use the cbp system for our trusted travel population to do one to few or one to many matching for biometrics purposes at our checkpoints. the next step is that one to one matching that i mentioned before where a traveler can approach the checkpoint, provide a credential, have the cat machine assess the image embedded in that credential and. >> let me back up and ask this question. ms. underwood asked a couple of questions. i wanted to follow back up there. the data that you collect, is it ever collected without subjects being aware?
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>> no, sir. >> so the information that you do collect, do you ever share that? >> i'd have to check with our lab director on that and get back to you. >> are you familiar with any circumstances you have in the past? >> sir, i'm the secret service's chief technology officer. i work more on the engineering and technical side. i'd have to get with our forensic services division. >> fair enough. thank you very much. >> let me comment. in a classified setting, we're going to ask that question again, are the data collected that people don't know, because i think there is information being collected in the pilot at the white house that is different from the answer, but
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we plan to have a classified briefing on that issue. chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york for five minutes, ms. clark. >> thank you, mr. chairman. some would say let's not make -- when it comes to national security, let's not make the perfect the menmy of tenemy of . but unfortunately, the good is not good enough when bias is baked into the algorithms that create false positives. the stakes are far too high for individuals and too costly, particularly for women and people of color. the wide scale deployment of facial recognition technology will have profound implications on privacy. we must look before we leap. it is imperative that congress impose safeguards against mission creep and ensure algorithms do not make their way into widespread use. as a new yorker, one who lives
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just miles away from ground sto zero, national security is crucially important. i know that firsthand. but facial recognition technologies that routinely misidentify women and people of color don't make us safer. they make us less safe. using this technology to help i.c.e. target immigrants for deportation doesn't protect us from terrorism. it terrorizes hard-working families. and when cbp uses these technologies on u.s. citizens traveling abroad without providing a transparent opt-out process, that's potentially unlawful. we've seen what happens when technology is widely deployed before congress can impose meaningful safeguards. let's not make the same mistake with facial recognition technology. you have a contractor that has a breach. we know we're seeing more use of video, deep fakes, if you will. that information gets in the hand of an adversary overseas,
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and they want to create a disruption in our nation. all you have to do is take that information, create a video from it, and bam, we're already into a really bad situation. i don't know if we're looking at the interconnectedness of all of these technologies, particularly because they're all evolving. and i'm very concerned about the lack of specificity that we have at this stage. so my question is about accuracy. mr. wagner, cbp boasts that the facial recognition algorithm it uses is able to make a match of 98% or 99% of the time, but that statistic does not include instances where facial recognition technology is unable to capture a high-quality image due to human error, poor lighting, or other environmental factors. recent testing by the dhs science and technology director
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has shown that when data capture factors are included, the error rate increases to around 10%. do you dispute s&t's findings? >> no. >> okay. and why does cbp insist on tracking a bogus statistic that ignores passengers who cannot be photographed well enough by the system to be matched? >> what we're accounting for is if we take a photograph that's of sufficient quality, are we able to match it? >> if. >> correct. >> okay. >> then we know we need to address the camera itself and the lighting conditions to make sure we are capturing 100% of those photographs that we can then match at the 98% to 99%. two separate statistics. they're both valuable to us. >> there's also the false positive, the cost of the false positive. that individual that is detained for whatever reason, because there's a false positive, the cost of that person's health,
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the cost of that person's well being, perhaps a commerce concern involved. i'm concerned about the lack of accuracy. >> if a person doesn't match the photo in this case, they present their passport as they're doing today. >> excuse me? >> if a person doesn't match a photograph, they simply present their posz port. >> when you're trying to match them and they don't match, what happens to that individual? >> they present their boarding pass and pass portd aport and i manually reviewed. >> and those people aren't detained in any way? they're not asked to step aside, not asked -- the process does not delay that person. >> no, they just show their p z passport. >> okay. i hope that's the case. will cbp commit to capturing the accuracy of the facial recognition process, including the rate at which the system fails to capture a quality
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image? >> we do track those rates. we track what we call the gallery completion rate. we're never going to have 100%. not everybody needs a passport to travel. >> including the images that are not high quality, those that fail to meet your standard. >> right. we want to build it so the camera will take a high-quality photograph. >> i know that's what you want to do, but will you be keeping the statistics on what doesn't meet that standard. >> correct. >> very well. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> chair recognizes the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to clarify with the secret service. the information that you've collected in this pilot program you talked about earlier, is it my understanding that everybody in that are employees of the secret service and they volunteered to be in it? >> that's correct. maybe if i can explain how we're doing the pilot, that might help. >> and also, when did the pilot start? >> so we published the p.i.a.
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back in november. it began in december. it's going to run through august. we did that on purpose. we want it to go from the winter into the summer because of the different items people wear so we had a good amount of time where we were assessing it. maybe if i just explain a little bit of how the pilots work and that might help explain this for you. as you indicated, the participants of the pilot are secret service employees who volunteer to take part in this effort. the facial images are stored when an associated match is recognized on an individual, on one of the volunteers. at the conclusion of the pilot, all that information will be deleted. we're using our current cctv system, video management system we have at the white house. i can imagine you have a similar system up here on capitol hill that you use for cctv surveillance. we're using those video feeds there, and we're trying to match the individuals that are in the pilot, the volunteers, to the people who we're seeing in those
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cameras. if there's no match, there's no record. if there is a match, then there's a record. that will be retained until the end of the pilot. then that information will be deleted at the conclusion of the pilot. >> thank you. but i think the question was if you were collecting data. capturing data. you said no. my question is whether it's a volunteer or a person walking the street, you are collecting data. >> that is correct. >> that's right. chair now recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. higgins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director romain, would you describe biotech -- biometric technology and facial recognition technology as designed to work with trained agents, man and machine working
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together? >> we're agnostic as to whether that is the use case or not, but our testing has verified in the case of facial recognition, the best algorithms and the best human face recognizers, the trained face recognizers -- >> thank you for pointing that out in your testimony. there has been research in effort to examine accuracy of forensic examiners, including trained facial reviewers. your statement stated that it compared state of the art a algorithms with the best human face identifiers, the best machined performed in the range of the best performing humans who were professional facial examiners. but you went on to state that optimal face identification was achieved only when humans and
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machines collaborated. is that an accurate assessment? >> that is correct. >> and let me ask, commissioner wagner, is there ever an arrest made or denial to travel based solely on facial recognition technology? >> no. >> thank you. so facial recognition technology gets, let's call it a hit, a high probability based on algorithms that a particular traveler is a person of interest. then an agent looks into the documentation further and has personal interaction with that individual which either clears the individual for travel or prompts further and deeper investigation. is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> so just to clarify for america watching, this technology is being used to enhance the efficiency and the speed by which the trained agents can move travelers through screening points.
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is that correct? >> yes. >> thank you for clarifying that. is the general consensus amongst travelers and airlines that this technology is a good idea, it's working well? >> i believe so, yes. >> thank you for clarifying that. let me jump into your data breach. it's a concern for all of us regardless of what side of the aisle we're on. who reported that breach? did they self-report or was it discovered? how was it discovered? who reported it? contractor, or did you all discover it? >> i believe we asked them about it. >> how much time went by? >> a significant amount of time. i need to verify this but my recollection seems to be that we asked them if any of our data was included in it and they came
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back and said yes. >> and not to put you on the spot here, my brother, but i'm going to. when you say an amount of time, a pretty significant amount of time, are you talking days, weeks, months? >> i have that answer. let me look for that and i will come back to you. >> okay. we'd like to know that because the contract was subsequently terminated and we would like very much to know what the course of events were regarding. what was the timeline here with this contractor from the time the breach happened to the time it was discovered and inquired about and reported and verified? and then how much time before that contract was terminated? i'd like to know and perhaps my colleagues would like to know if that contractor is still on a
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contracting list. that contract was terminated with that contractor, but are they still out there bidding on other contracts? i believe we'd like to know that. commissioner wagner, you have a tremendous job to do, you gentlemen. thank you for your service, all of you. it's important to the members of this committee to get things right. many ports of entry, particularly land ports, face unique challenges implementing the biometric system. can you share with us what are the primary challenges and how can we help? >> the primary challenge was finding a way to implement this into a travel system that wasn't designed to support the collection of biometrics on only a segment of the traveling public. unlike europe and asia and other places, we don't have departure controls. you don't see a cbp officer to get your passport stamps to
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leave the united states. we've never restricted departure like that. how do you sift and sort and differentiate between who's in scope or out of scope of the biometric exit requirement? what technology do you use to collect that biometric and how do you ensure a way that's not going to create gridlock on how to do that? >> that's exactly what you're working through right now. >> right. we found a way to use facial recognition to compare people against data they've already provided in a convenient, quick and accurate way that we can apply to all travelers using different authorities and help the airlines board the planes even faster. >> commissioner, thank you for that answer. my time is expired. >> thank you very much. chair recognizes the gentlelady from new jersey for five minutes, ms. watson coleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for your testimony. this is really a very important
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issue for us. we want to be safe and secure but we also want to recognize that our privacy is our privacy and we have guaranteed under the constitution and that we're not in any way infringing upon that. mr. wagner, i'd like to ask you a question. i understand the department has sent an interim final rule to omb that would expand cbp's collection of biometric data, something we've obviously expressed tremendous interest in. the committee is eager to learn as much as possible about what you intend to learn with this rule and why you haven't pursued a more transparent and deliberative process. what does this interim final rule entail? how does it address cbp's collection of biometric data on u.s. citizens? and why did you choose this
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closed process rather than providing notice and allowing public comment? >> there's several pieces of rule making underway. there's an interim final rule that's drafted and is circulating through the government for comment. there's also notice of proposed rule makings on other parts of what we'd like to propose to do. we're evaluating all of those right now based on a lot of comments we've received back from within the government. there are regulations in place already, though, concerning biometric exit that have been in place that we're utilizing today. through the privacy impact assessments, we're explained in greater detail that would be in the regulation probably even how the program operates and what exactly happens with it. that's publicly available. >> are you having conversations with stakeholders? >> absolutely. i've personally done two different meetings with the privacy community and all the privacy representatives. we're certainly talking with all of our travel and tourism stakeholders. there's vehement support behind this in the travel and tourism
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arena. of course we're talking with the airlines and airports and government partners as well. >> why is it that i'm asking you this question about why the committee doesn't have the information it needs if these discussions have been in the public realm? why am i asking you about this process? what part of this process fits this question about why you've chosen to do it in a more closed way as opposed to a more transparent way? or am i misunderstanding and just misstating? what part of your consideration, your rule making request, your request to omb don't fit this sort of public sharing? >> i'm not sure i understand the question. >> well, according to the information that i was given, the department has sent an
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interim final report to omb and this interim report has to do with expanding your collection of biometric data and that the process that you all are using in dealing with omb has been a closed process. what does that mean? >> so there's certain provisions that would be in the interim final rule that if omb were to approve it, we could publish that in the federal register. you can still accept comments, i believe, on that, but the rule goes into effect. really that -- >> what is the problem with there being a more open process now? >> we're doing that too for the other provisions. >> what about the provisions -- i'm specifically asking about the provisions that you're not doing it on and what is the reason for that?
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so you have a number of rule making proposals, correct? >> right. >> part of this the department has sent an interim final rule to omb. and in this particular rule it deals with the expansion of cbp's collection of biometric data. the understanding that i've been given is that the process that you were engaging in is a closed process and we don't have, the committee doesn't have the benefit of what is being considered, what you're asking for. instead you've used another process that forecloses that opportunity. so i'm asking why would you
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choose to do that? what is it that you're asking for that you can't share in the asking, not after the fact? >> well -- >> or is there not such a thing and we're just completely uninformed? >> no. it's just different portions of the rule making process. before the rule is even finalized it would be premature to talk about what's in it or what's not because that's going to change. based on feedback, it is going to change. >> but you do that on other rule-making requests but not in this specific area. >> we will be publishing a notice of proposed rule making with anything that would fall within those parameters. >> i'm somewhat frustrated. >> i think the point is, at this point the public has no input in this process as far as we understand. >> yeah. >> the rule making process. normally the notice for rule making you push it out and you receive comment.
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>> we will do notice of proposed rule makings to solicit that feedback. >> you will? >> we will. >> we finally got it. okay. >> may i just have 30 seconds? >> additional 30 seconds. >> i'm curious about the secret service pilot project and i wanted to understand. i understand that you're using this pilot project now with volunteer service agents so that when they're walking, you collect that information. if it matches, it works. are you incidentally collecting other information on people who are not part of this voluntary effort? and if so, what are you doing with those sort of pictures that you capture? >> the cameras that we're using as part of this pilot are part of the white house video management system. that's the cctv system that records video from all the cameras around the complex.
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as we're going through and identifying those volunteers that are in there, that record is saved and we save that and we're going to evaluate that until the end of the process. >> but you do have the opportunity to review other faces as you're capturing that are in the vicinity, tourists, demonstrators, whatever. >> if it would be a false positive, that image would be retained. >> we are concerned about what happens. >> and we will have a classified briefing. >> thank you. >> and we'll have a lot of those questions responded to. >> thank you for the extension of time, and thank you very much, both. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady from arizona ms. lesco for five minutes. >> if you don't mind, i'd like to yield a few seconds to my colleague, mr. higgins. >> five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record two op-ed articles in support of law enforcement application of
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biometric technology. the first it from new york city police commissioner james o'neil. the second is from managing director of the group lee care. >> without objection. gentlelady is recognized for the additional time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i, too, ask unanimous consent to enter into the record three letters expressing support for the effective and responsible use of biometrics by tsa and cbp. these letters are from airlines for america, the international air transport association, and the global business travel association. >> without objection. >> thank you. all my question are for mr. gould. my first question is the pilot program that you have working with delta down in atlanta, where do you get the photos from? is it opt in? do you get the database of
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passports from cbp? that's my first question. >> yes, ma'am. we use cbp's tvs matching service for that. cbp has access to state department photos for the back-end matching. then it is an opt-in program. passengers have the opportunity to choose whether to present biometric identification using the facial capture or to present a credential. we see a very high rate of people choosing to provide the facial image. >> okay. and just so that i understand where do you ask them if they want their photo taken? >> ma'am, there are signs throughout the checkpoint area that say we are piloting this technology and that should you choose not to participate, please let the tso, the officer know. as you approach the travel document checker position, there's an officer there and the officer will say, do you choose to provide biometric identification? in which case if the passenger
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says yes, they're directed to stand in a specific location for that facial capture. there's interaction with the officer at that point. >> thank you. that's very informative. my next question is due to i guess the success of cbp's use of biometrics and i think this technology is going to happen. i do agree with other members that we need to make sure that we have privacy and security in it, of course. but are you going to use any of the -- is tsa planning at looking at how they work with cbp and their success in order to enter it in more airports? >> absolutely. that's the reason we're doing that pilot in atlanta is to understand the interaction. between us and the cbt tvs system and what benefit that system brings to the tsa check point and the identification/verification process. >> good. i'm glad that you're working on it, and hopefully we can get a
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fairly fast turnaround. i probably would be interested in going and seeing what you're doing down in atlanta myself. >> yes, ma'am. >> also mr. gould, have you thought of using biometric technology or do you for the employees, the airport employees? >> yes, ma'am. we are considering using biometric identification processes for employees as well. >> thank you. and the reason that i ask that is because from some of our hearings we've been concerned about insider type threats. i think what happened up in washington airport, i can't remember, where an employee took a plane, seattle, washington, and with baggage handlers and those type of things. so it seems to me that it would be logical that we use biometric screening for the employees themselves. >> yes, ma'am. that is certainly something
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we'll be looking at. >> thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you. >> thank you. we now we can nirecognize the g questioning. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. i want to start off by asking unanimous consent to put into the record an op-ed by the houston chronicle, real abuses at the border, squalid conditions for detained migrants are worthy of all outrage americans can muster as unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> as unanimous consent for the usa today article monday july 9th, acting dhs secretary defends border conditions. >> with no objection. >> and ask unanimous consent to put into the record the ig inspector's report dated july 2nd, 2019. >> without objection. >> and i ask to put into the record two articles, i'll put them together, they're found both in the "new york times" and in the "houston chronicle." "new york times" -- excuse me,
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well, "new york times" i.c.e. use facial recognition to mine state driver's licenses, and then an article that says fed scanned driver's license photos for facial recognition gold mine, and that's monday july 8th, and the other is july 7th. ask unanimous consent. >> without objection. >> first of all, let me say to all of you, let me thank you for your service to the nation. i've had the privilege of serving on this committee for a very, very long time. so i'll get to the underlying basis of this hearing, but let me be very clear that i have to speak with great ire and dismay for the behavior of individuals at the border and the refusal of the department of homeland security to cooperate with members of congress, and i want to indicate that the $4.6 billion that was given last week and the whining that went on for a period of time to blame
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congress was a misrepresentation to the american people because we understand that reprogramming of dollars can happen at the drop of a hat. the reason why i say that is as i go into my questioning regardi regarding the facial recognition, unless the answer changed from the time i was here, i understand there's no statutory legislation or anything that's giving you that authority. you're going to look for it. maybe you'll answer that question differently. i just quickly want to say that we will not be able to tolerate -- we respect you as servants of the nation. it is unfortunate that very destructive policies of this administration has tainted very fine american servants of the people, and that's what happened because when you don't have toothpaste and a toothbrush, and you have a truckload of that material on non-profits like the conscience presence that i met at the border station one and
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also clint begging to be of help, and you're telling the american people there's no one helping you i think is a sad commentary. so i just want to make sure you're aware of my dismay that we will not be tolerated, and the mismanage will not be tolerated and the accusations against members will not be tolerated. if president, vice presidespenc and look after it's spick-and-span, then members who have oversight responsibility should be able to go in and look. >> understood. >> i'd appreciate it if you'd report that back to the secretary. >> i will. >> thank you. let me say to the gentleman from transportation security administration, i'm interested in you looking into the treatment of crystal lynette sonye and shareef mohammad hotif. we'll give you that information. around april 14th in the atlanta airport. so let me start with mr. wagner. this is horrific, the information regarding the use of
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these and my earlier information was that you know that people of color and women, so i get it twice, are unfortunately targeted the most. in the article, it says agents with the fbi and i.c.e. have turned state driver's license databases recognition into a gold mine scanning through hundreds of millions of american photos without their knowledge or consent. in addition, it says that the state department motor vehicle databases into the bedrock of unprecedented surveillance and infrastructure. i want to submit into the record mr. chairman an article by amazon that says, amazon facial -- not by amazon, amazon facial recognition mistakenly confused 28 congresspersons with known criminals. i will now put the congressperson's names into the record, but i think most of us would like not to be known as known criminals. my question -- >> no objection.
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>> -- to both of you, and a little extra time for them to answer, the two gentlemen from tsa and cbp, how are you doing this with the protections of due process and notice without the notice of the american people that the process even exists? what framework is there to have the firewalls that you're not turning congress people or children into convicted criminals? >> we're not seeing those same error rates that are -- that can be attributed to specific demographics in how we're doing this. and how we're doing this cannot be compared to previous studies on this. there are different control factors in place. you know, there's different -- we're taking a person that is standing in front of a camera who we can take a clear picture and we're comparing it against a clear set of baseline photos from their passports or their visas where they were also stabbeding still in front of a camera to capture a clear
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picture. previous studies didn't quite take the same control factors into place. this is not us taking an image of a person and randomly running it against a gallery set of indistinguishable say quality photographs and lowering down the accuracy rate as to what constitutes a match to make it match someone that it's not. you can do the same thing with fingerprints. if you only take two point oss a fingerprint -- >> how do you secure that data? >> when the photo is taken at airport, it is encrypted, transported to cbp into our cloud space. it's then templateized, it's turned into a mathematical formula. there's a unique identifier associated with that. there's no biographical data or pii associated with that. it's matched up against our gallery of templateized photos. when there's a match a message goes back to the camera with just yes or no and that unique identifier.
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>> let me move quickly to mr. gould and tsa, let me thank tsa for their front line service of protecting america. >> thank you mr. chairman for your indulgence, yes, sir, the same question as to how you're utilizing and how you're protecting the data. >> yes, ma'am. >> and avoiding this intrusion into the privacy of the american public without them knowing it. >> yes, ma'am, so i would -- we're using cbp's tvs system, the answer mr. wagner provided a pause to tsa as well. with respect to the accuracy and the matching, the one thing i would like to add is that technology is evolving so quickly and improving so quickly, we will continue to assess at every step for any additional pilots when we consider employing this in a wider scale, we'll assess the best way to get quality image capture and be sure to employ the highest quality algorithms to ensure the highest match rate. >> okay. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back, thank you very
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much. >> chair recognizes mr. green. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank t ranking member. thank the witnesses for appearing. my questions have to do with the surveillance and my first question is are all people who are traversing areas within an airport under some degree of suspici suspicion? who would like to answer, please? >> well, i would say that when a person's traversing an airport, they're not necessarily under suspicion. airports, you know, utilize security cameras, closed circuit television for security reasons. with respect to tsa, though, the only reason that we use cameras and capture images is solely for
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the purpose of identification. >> if i could just add that -- >> please. >> what we're doing is absolutely not a surveillance program. this is -- the picture of an individual is taken with their complete knowledge because they're standing in front of a camera at a time and a place where they have to present a physical i felt d. in order to establish their identity to move forward. we're just replacing the physical i.d. with the computer algorithm. >> should i assume that persons who enter the airport and who are not within the secured area will not be subject of this technology? >> not by tsa, sir. it solely occurs at either the bag drop or the check point. >> or a time and place where you have to present an identification to establish your identity to go through whatever process that is. >> in houston the bag drop occurs outside of the building before you enter the building. you drive up in your car.
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you have friends, neighbors with you perhaps, and you go over to an agent and that person then receives your bag, gives you a ticket, so would it occur in this area, please? >> sir, right now the only place the biometric identification is occurring is at terminal f in atlanta i went down there -- >> time is of the essence. we're talking about expanding are we not? >> yes, sir. >> here's my concern, let me go to the point, and i'll be as pithy as i can, but one can only imagine what mr. j. edgar hoover would have done with this technology. it was mr. hoover who surveilled dr. king. they went so far as to send a letter to dr. king encouraging him to take his life. one can only imagine. now, i'm not placing you under
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the eye of suspicion, but it's my job to make sure that this kind of technology is not abused, and i take my job seriously because i'm protecting you by doing my job, so my concerns are do you alert people in some way to -- so as to advise them that they're being surveilled? >> sir, i wouldn't characterize it as surveillance. the way the alert happens to use your term, is when you proappro the bag drop, the agent will say would you like to use biometric identification to match your bag -- >> if you thought, if you believed that this was a form of surveillance, would you alert people? would you alert the public, if you thought this was some form of surveillance? >> sir, we don't do summers -- >> you don't do it -- excuse me, but if you thought, would you recommend if we were of the
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opinion that this is surveillance, what do you think we should do? should we indicate that person should be noticed that they're being surveilled. >> we provide notice before the image is captured. it's purely with the consent of the traveler. >> what about the consent of the person who happens to be with the traveler who is just a friend? >> we solely capture the picture of the traveler who's consented. the camera is only about two feet away. you step right in front of it, and it solely captures that image. >> all right, thank you, but we are considering expansion. my concern is suspicion less surveillance, suspicion less surveillance. surveilling persons who are not under suspicion perhaps by accident. final question is this because time is running out. will there be any means by which persons who engaged in litigation can acquire access to this intelligence that you have preserved for some length of time, meaning the photographs?
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will there be any means by which persons who are engaged in litigation can acquire it? >> sir, the photographs we match against are in the bp system, they're passport photographs. the images that are captured are not retained in the camera in any respect. we solely get back a no match return, if that answers your question. >> it really does not because what i'm trying to get to is this. if persons are engage instead some form of litigation and one can only imagine what that might be, will they be able to acquire a photo so as to show that a person was at a given location on a given occasion? >> i understand, sir. that photo is not retained at all by tsa. so they will not be able to retain it. it's encrypted. it's transmitted to cbp, and a match rate is returned. >> if it's a u.s. citizen, the photo is deleted after 12 hours.
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if it's a foreign national at the baggage drop will also be deleted. what we will keep on a -- >> i greatly appreciate this, and i assure you that i want us to secure our airports, our porp por ports of entry, but i'm also concerned about suspicionless surveillance. thank you. >> thank you. >> the gentleman, mr. guest, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman, mr. wagner and other guests thank you for being here today. i know that at least three of our witnesses, your departments fall under the department of homeland security. your website reads as follows, the department of homeland security has a vital mission, to secure the nation from the many threats we face. this requires the dedication of more than 240,000 employees in
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jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response from cyber security analysts to chemical facility inspectors. our goal is clear. keeping america safe. in addition to the agencies that are represented here today, homeland security includes the cyber security and infrastructure security agency, the united states citizen and immigration services, the united states coast guard, the united states immigration and customs enforcement. it includes fema as well as the kus to customs and border protection secret service and the tsa. i believe if these agencies that i just spoke of, if these agencies were abolishes that our concerned would be substantially less safe. my question, i'll begin with you mr. wagner, can you please tell me what impact it would have on the people of america if homeland security and these agencies for which you serve, if these agencies were abolished by
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congress? >> there would be no one to process people coming and going across the border, either u.s. citizens or visitors. there would be no one to process commercial cargo, to look for harmful goods or products coming in. there would be no one to collect the taxes that are due on those duties. i mean, cbp collects over $40 billion a year into the u.s. treasury through duties, taxes and fees. there would be no one to do that. >> and would you agree with me that the different enforcement capacities that the department of homeland security polices, that it runs a gamut of different things? we just talked about about everything from the secret service, which provides protection for our dignitaries, tsa which is responsible for air travel, coast guard, border enforcement, that those are very important functions of our government to make sure that these agencies are funded.
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would you agree with that? >> yerks the origins of origins, you go back to the 1789 and the very beginning of the country. >> mr. gould, would you care to expound on that at all? >> i agree with what mr. wagner said. you know, if tsa were not there, the security of transportation systems, not solely air travel, would be in some degree of jeopardy. >> congressman, as you indicated we protect the president and the vice president, others. we also have criminal investigations, so we -- that is critical work that we're doing. >> and would each of you agree that it would be irresponsible to talk about abolishing these agencies that perform such very important tasks on behalf of the american people? >> yes. >> yes, sir. >> i would agree with that. >> no further questions, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, and i know i was
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late to the hearing today, but i don't really -- and maybe it happened before i got here, but i don't really ever mention hearing anyone mention that these institutions should be abolished so just for the record. gentleman from kansas city, mr. cleaver. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm going to dig in a little. do you know james wilson, any of you know who he is? probably one of the most important figures that we don't know much about. he signed the declaration of
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independence and eventually became a member, one of the first six members of the supreme court, and he said that the congress shall form the grand inquisition of the executive branch, and i think that my children's children and even their children will study this era and say that's when it got sta started. i'm concerned. i was in the executive branch, municipality mayor of kansas ci city, and you know, you guys are busy, especially right now. a group of my colleagues and i signed a letter and sent it to mr. wagner, mr. gould almost 30 days ago, and we haven't gotten an answer.
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so i didn't know if this was a part of the plan to ignore congress or if you're just consumed. i'm not stupid, so i know you don't have -- nobody should expect you to write a personal letter to everybody who writes you a letter, even members of congress, but if you don't have enough staff we need to know because until it completely collapses, we are still supposed to provide oversight and i'm not trying to be hostile. i'm not sure that i can do a good job of being hostile, but i can certainly do a good job of being frustrated, and so i appreciate your work in which you do, but i just -- i have to say that it is frustrating just seeing what's going on, refusal after refusal to allow congress
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to do its oversight, and i hope that if i'm around at a time when my voice is important to say i'm not going to support non-responsiveness to congress, that i get that opportunity to say it, even if my daddy is in the white house. now having said some of the questions that my colleagues and i asked because we thought they were important, i'll ask a couple of them. time is running out. but is there any statutory authority that would allow the whole process of facial recognition, or is that just an internal move? anybody. >> there's several pieces of statutory authority that
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authorize us to do and run this program. there's several pizeces of legislation from congress requiring a bio metric base entry exit system for certain foreign nationals. there's other statutes which authorize us to determine identity and citizenship including u.s. citizens. there has to be a way for us to make that determination that a person is a u.s. citizen and there's statutes that authorize us to consider evidence present bid that person to make that determination, and if it's not to the examining officer's satisfaction, the regulations stipulate that person would be considered and inspected as an alien. >> okay. thank you. mr. gould. >> sir from a tsa perspective, the aviation and transportation security act requires that we screen all passengers and screw boarding aircraft. fundamental is that we
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positively identify them. the act mentions exploring the use of biometrics for that purpose, so that's the authority we're operating under. >> it wasn't a trick question. i just wanted to know. >> i understand, sir. >> yeah. >> last week i participated in a demonstration in front of the treasury department along with a number of other individuals, of the refusal to put a congressionally approved likeness of an african-american woman on the dollar. that's another whole issue, but i was in it for that demonstration. should i and the other folk who got off that bus to demonstrate expect that we were somehow surveilled and put in a category of subjects of interest? i mean, since that is what apparently takes place on the grounds of the white house, i
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don't want to suggest i'm as important as, you know, the president or patrick mahomes or somebody, but, you know, should i expect that? >> congressman, we do have a cctv, video surveillance system in and around the white house. there is a pia that's published through the department of homeland security alerting people to that. in addition, the cameras that we have many of them are overt out on pennsylvania avenue and on the buildings adjacent to the white house there. >> what about other department, federal departments? >> i can't speak to what other federal departments are doing, congressman. >> all right. thank you. mr. gould, i like your suit. >> thank you very much, i like yours too. >> i yield back, mr. chair. >> thank you, sir. now we'll recognize the gentlelady from florida, ms. demings. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman, and thank you to our
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witnesses today. let me just for the record say that i respect the jobs that you have to do. i understand how tough they are. i think that all of our jobs have gotten tougher in recent years. i'm not sure why my colleague felt the need to talk about abolishing your agencies as i know no one on this committee on either side of the aisle has ever proposed such an idea. we are the committee on homeland security, and we are here to make sure that you have the tools and resources to effectively do your jobs, but i know that it gets a little tougher when sometimes you receive unjust and improper orders and do not have the resources to effectively do your
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job. earlier i heard one of my colleagues talk about the reason for biometric technologies involve speed and efficiency. well, i was assigned to the orlando international airport as a police commander on the worst day in aviation history on 9/11. i know that the number one responsibility for you is the safety of the traveling public, and if you can ensure that or increase those odds and do it in an efficient and faster way, then that's just icing on the cake, but what sets us apart as we work to keep our nation safe, what sets us apart in this country is that we can enforce the laws and right the laws, but also protect an individual's
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civil rights. that's what sets us apart, and i will not violating civil rights or the perception of violating civil rights is an issue that we cannot ignore and we have to deal with. look, when we are able to deploy new technology, that's a great and wonderful thing. i remember how exciting that was, but it's our job on the committee and your jobs as the head of your agencies to make sure that we can do it all. and i believe in this nation we can. i know we have talked about every different thing that we possibly could. we do thank you for your endurance. i just want to go back for just a minute for testing for accuracy and any biases. could you tell me who sets the minimum standards for this particular program, like who
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decides -- what testing is done for accuracy of bias is conducted before deploying the technology? how do you get that baseline and say that this technology, we've done the testing. we've spoken to the stakeholders, we are ready for prime time now. understanding, as i believe you said earlier, that we're always fine tuning and going back and checking up, but who sets the original kind of standards before deployment? what's acceptable and unacceptable, and mr. wagner, we'll start with you. >> we would do that internally. we would determine what constitutes a match versus a non-match to a photo. we would evaluate this with our dhs science and technology department. we would do it in consultation with nis, we do it in consultation with experts from the industry and the vendors of this equipment. we have partnered with nist and starting this summer into the fall we'll be deeply analyzing
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the results of our data to make sure that we're not seeing those error rates that are attributable to a certain demographic. we're not seeing it from our internal review of it, but we want to make sure, so we'll bring the experts in. >> right, so you're saying it's a perception that there's an increased error rate among people of color or have we seen some data, although not significant to show that? >> i think the studies that's shown there were these biases in it had different control factors than how we're using this program, and no one has really studied the way that we are implementing this using those same control factors on how we're doing it, and i would expect them to get the similar results as to we're seeing. >> mr. gould can you -- >> ma'am, from a tsa perspective we work very close with the dhs science director as well. they inform our test plans and
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how we collect data on the biometric pilots and how well they're working and then they analyze that data on our behalf. we really do rely on them for their semin dependent and very, very accurate assessments of our capability. like cbp we rely on our friends at nist to set the standards and say how well the algorithms are actually working. >> so when you decide, mr. chairman, if i could just -- when you decide that this -- we are ready for deployment, this technology based on the testing that we've done is ready for prime time, who makes that decision? is it a collective effort between the different people that you work with, or do you decide that individually based on the feedback that you receive? >> we would decide that for our agency because it's our responsibility. the officer's determination, you match your passport. if i use a tool or an algorithm to help me make that decision, at the end of the day, it's
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still my judgment to do that. so we would evaluate this to say is this helpful to the officer making that determination that this document correspondence s that person? >> and one thing i would add to your original point for us, the main reason to do this is increased better identity verification, and the secure enhancements that are associated with that. getting people through the check point more quickly like you said is kind of the icing on the cake, but better security through using this technology is really, really key to us. if the algorithms and the match rates are not acceptable, if we're not enhancing security, then we will not deploy it. that decision would be made internal at tsa. >> thank you, mr. chair, i yield back. >> thank you, gentlelady, and i just probably due to the time, i will dispense with my questions, but just like to say that obviously based on the the
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questioning from the members of congress you can get a feeling on where we are concerned about issues around privacy, around equality, and making sure that the american people and the traveling public is safe, and so we need to continue to evolve and we know that homeland security has been an evolving living, breathing entity, and that continues to have to see and recognize issues, trying to curtail them and rectify matters that are important to the american people, so i'd just like to say thank you for your service, tsa, cpb, your jobs, all of you actually, secret
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service are doing a job for this nation, and we appreciate your service and your time here today, so thank you. with that, the hearing is adjourned.
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live at 2:00 p.m. eastern today, the carnegie endowment for international peace holds a discussion on nuclear deterrence and the legality of nuclear weapons. live at 5:00 p.m. eastern, the house rules committee meets to set guidelines for debate on a resolution finding attorney general william barr and commerce secretary wilbur ross in contempt of congress for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. watch both events live here on c-span 3, online at or listen live on the free c-span radio app. former special counsel robert mueller is scheduled to
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appear before the house judiciary and intelligence committees on wednesday july 24th. mr. mueller was issued a subpoena to receive in open session about his report into russian interference in the 2016 election. watch live coverage wednesday, july 24th, here on c-span 3. online at or listen on the free c-span radio app. the house will be in order. >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country, so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span has brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. now a house foreign affairs subcommittee hearing on the
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operations budget for the state department and the u.s. agency for international development. committee members asked about the high number of personnel vacancies within the department and hiring from a diverse pool of candidates. this is about an hour and a half. the subcommittee will come to order. we meet today to discuss the state department and u.s. i.d.fy 2020 operations budget. without objection, all members may have five days to submit statements, questions, extraneous materials for the record, subject to the length limitations in the rules. i'll now make my opening statement, and then turn it over to the ranking member for his opening statement. i've noticed that the republicans are a little bit
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faster getting over here after votes. i want to thank the ranking member mr. zeldin members of the subcommittee and our witnesses for joining us for today's hearing for the fiscal year 2020 operations budget, also want to thank the witnesses for being accommodating knowing that our vote schedules interfered with our original appearance schedule, and thank you for accommodating us today. the topics covered in this hearing and i've said this previously, aren't necessarily what's going to make cable news every night, but they're of incredible importance from when we think at how best we can serve the united states of america, our interests around the world and our foreign policy and the foundation of any real successful organization always starts with the right people and making sure they're equipped with the right resources and ability to do their job


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