tv Washington This Week CSPAN September 14, 2014 5:30am-7:01am EDT
phrase or somebody else wrote it and i just absorbed it for myself. plusdea of sterlingozation some stabilization arrangements seems a more likely outcome than currency union. >> thank you. juliet? >> that may take the catalonian question at the back and use it as a platform to come back to something jeremy was talking about on precedent and secession. there is a strong international norm for people to have the right to decide who governs them. the principle of national self-determination is not always obeyed, not always supported by outside groups, but it is a strong and ever-growing normative power in the international system, it is what you see outside actors, even if they are against scottish independence or have worries or concerns about the implications,
are not interfering, are staying on the sidelines, are not making public comments on this. i think that this concern about the spillover of scottish independence to other secessionist movements is sometimes exaggerated. i was at a very good conference about this one at glascow university last year. experts onin secession movements and how they relate to each other, the research shows that they do not domino effect. in a be that other secessionist movements use an instance as a president to push their case, but that is not very successful. the results of secessionist movements are determined more by local factors rather than what is happening next door or across the world. that secessionist
movements around the world will probably use the scottish independence referendum in their movements for secession, regardless of the outcome of a referendum. and i think that there is a clear difference. this is the case of a mutual decision by westminster government and the edinburgh government to allow this to happen. and this is a fully democratic process, without any real conflict. ,hich is quite an amazing thing and quite a unique thing in international history. >> geoff? >> i will take the economic question, if i may. it is divided between short-term impacts and long-term impacts. the short-term impact is of uncertainty, because it will create a huge number of questions about the future arrangements with the country. that can have economic impacts. you may see pension fund moving south of the border.
we can imagine people withdrawing money from scottish banks as they start to get worried about future arrangements. charlie,ely agree with there will be a very strong self-preservation institutional movement on both sides of the ,order to try and overcome that to try and stop the uncertainty from causing big disruptions in the economy. the medium-term outlook really depends on what sort of currency arrangements the independent scotland ends up having. in my reading, most of them would involve a new scottish government having to enforce a. of austerity to build -- a area period ofsterity -- a austerity. the wildcard would be the oil, an independent scottish government would have revenue from oil, a high oil price would counteract that. the oil price would really
defined whether scotland could keep spending that money in the medium-term. in the short-term it is about uncertainty, and that is a big issue at the moment. >> thanks. charlie? >> i will unwisely weigh in on the self-determination question. the norm of self-determination is one in which the rhetoric of states is always exceeded -- has always exceeded the practice. is very common for states to get the rights of self-determination, but actually if you look at the history of the thing, it has always been clearly and consistently limited in the sense that people have a right to self-determination, but they do not have a right to determine the size and the scope of the political community over which that self-determination runs. forso it is not legitimate the brookings institution to
suddenly decide that it wants to be an independent country, bow to do so, and secede from the united states, though occasionally we have considered it. [laughter] this is the issue on which the u.s. civil war was fought. a quite clearly determined that even if there is a right to self-determination, there is not necessarily a right to secession, especially a secession that is not agreed by the larger political community. that has been a fairly strong , although practice there are exceptions, even since the rise of the self-determination movement after world war i. >> thanks, i want to bring in a last set of questions. there is a gentleman standing at the back, a gentleman by the cameras, and a lady at the front. i'm sorry to everybody else, it is that these people have had their -- please.
the gentleman is in the handy cameras as well. >> my name is kevin, and i am an intern at brookings. if i understood correctly, i heard that if scotland gains its independence, england will not have enough power and influence to play a prominent role in nato. what does this mean for the united nations? future, and if ireland gained its independence, dould angle and -- would englan be kicked out of the position it enjoys in the united nations and be replaced by an emerging power like terminate or brazil -- germany or brazil? >> the gentleman behind the camera, please, and then the lady in the front. >> i am with the european news. i covered the referendum campaign two decades ago in voted by ftquébec
%, something like that, to stay in canada. since then, this issue has disappeared in canada. the question is, is colin votes no buyer similar outcome, are we going to see the next referendum next year, in two years, or will the issue fade away? thank you. >> this lady here. >> thank you. i am taking, i am a congressional reporter for "hispanic outlook." i have read a lot about immigration. in the immigration debate, when people talk about nationalism, there is a connotation of xenophobic and anti-immigrant, but i am not hearing that in this conversation. i went to a political conference two weeks ago, international, and european scholars told me that the whole
concept of multiculturalism is dead now in europe. people do not talk about it. i'm wondering if the debate is more about a government versus small government -- big government versus small government. that the huge multicultural governments like london just cannot identify to the many, they do not feel that they can control it. again, multiculturalism, xenophobia, the government versus small government. those are good last questions, unfortunately we do not have a lot of time, there are a crowd of people outside of the door. i hope that they are not demonstrating, i think that there is another event. i will get last words from our panelists for my charlie. -- panelists, charlie. recently aid have government led by the pro-independence party which was hoping to secure sufficient support to move towards a
further round of constitutional discussion, so i do not think things are over in québec. if is a novo, i do not think that they would be over in scotland. alex has said that this is a once in a generation issue. i suspect that the definition of generation could be reasonably flexible depending on how other events go. votesample, if scotland no, and the u.k. as a referendum on eu membership, which has a u.k. wide majority to leave, but a scottish majority within the u.k. to stay, adding that his terrain which is -- i think that is a shortrain which political generation away which could revive the debate. i believe the other questions for others. -- let me talk about the immigration, it has not been a part of the scottish national at all, they promise a more liberal immigration policy than
the u.k. had. you have seen the tensions within the united kingdom and more broadly that jeremy spoke of, london versus the rest were divisions within london, scotland can maybe be seen in the independence referendum and the rest of the u.k., the rise of more and i immigrant populist parties. -- anti-immigrant populist parties. i think that a smaller u.k. after a yes vote would raise more questions about whether the u.k. has the right to be represented on the un security council. those questions are already raised, and the door is already open with no simple solutions in sight. -- itot see that it would would add to the call, but i do not think it would provide more answers. the day after a yes vote, india would be out to say it is
time to reform the u.n. the logic for reforming the security council has been powerful for a long time, and it has not happened. consensuso organize between the members, and that is never impossible. i think it would be more possible after a referendum vote. even if the national side loses, they have absolutely made a powerful case that there is a strong groundswell of support for independence in scotland. if they lose, they will not get 30%, they will get 45, 49%. the issue will be back on the agenda, sooner than you might imagine. >> thanks, geoff, jeremy, any last words? we will refrain from trying to tip the scales. i hope that nothing we have said here will tip the outcome one way or another. we all know how inadvertently
one kid way into a debate and make a mess of it -- can weigh intuitive a and make a mess of it. we hope that your magic touch that we have educated on the key issues. we are a week ahead of these momentous events. i hope that everybody will be watching this very closely. , you you for participating and the audience, and this part is a bit ash in this discussion today. -- in this discussion today. thank you very much. [applause]
>> bill and hillary clinton will attend the steak fry. up this is the first trip to iowa for the former secretary of state. senator harkin talks about inviting the clintons. i put in a request to hillary. she was getting ready to do her book tour. she was just finishing her book. what that don't know will be like and how it will transpire. i would like to do it. can you give me some time? i will figure out what my schedule is going to like.
i said sure. i saw bill out in california at a health-care event in california. we started commiserating about this and that. -- he was assigning some of his books for some people. i told him i had invited hillary to speak at my steak fry. i said you should come, too. we have been friends all these years. love it. he said, i will. they have been good friends of ours for all these years. they have provided great leadership for our country in the past. i served on the committee in the senate under ted kennedy with hillary clinton.
we had a great working relationship in the senate. i think she did an outstanding job as our secretary of state. as i have traveled around the amazing how the globally among women and girls all over the globe. under womena fire and girls in different countries around the world. they hold her in very high esteem. is expected toin speak at the stake fry. ate coverage starts today 330 p.m. eastern. justice department inspector general michael horwitz testified before the horse -- house judiciary committee.
he talked about some of the delays he encountered and its various agencies, including the fbi. this is one hour and 10 minutes. >> 47 of 72 inspectors general signed a letter to congress protesting constraints of an imposed on access to agency records. they impede efforts to perform oversight work in critical
areas. the conduct of meaningful pleatght depends on the and timely access to all material and data. such, we provide such access. restricting or delaying access to key materials deprives congress and the american people valuatey information to and agencies performance. is at odds with the necessary independence of inspectors general and is contrary to congressional intent. we will examine whether agency components at the department of justice have undermined the independence by withholding or delaying the production of essential records based on a novel interpretation of the inspector general act.
in each of the three entrances of interference, we will hear a review of correspondence with the oig. it reveals an agency that believes that the oig must ask for and received permission to review the department of justice data and material and that sanctions investigations as necessary to advance its own a supervisory responsibility alone. the mission of doj's office of inspector general is to detect in the terror waste and abuse and misconduct in for grams and personnel and to promote economy and efficiency in those programs. effort to reduce transparency leave agencies of vulnerable to mismanagement and misconduct and
will not be condoned. not every inspector general who signed the letter has experienced barriers to access. each signed in support of the principal that and inspector general must've complete an unfiltered and timely access to all information and material available to the agency that relate to that oversight activity without unreasonable administrative burden. i welcome our witness today. he is the inspector general of the department of justice. i am pleased to have him describe the challenges he has faced and share his insight so we may evaluate whether the executive branch is executing the inspector general act as congress has intended and whether additional action is needed to restore congressional intent. and now mr. conyers has his opening statement. i thank you for convening a
hearing on this critical topic. we have an obligation to preserve the continued independence and effectiveness of the office of the inspector general at the department of justice. horwitz, weneral welcome you here before the house judiciary committee. members of this inmittee is unanimous looking at the need for vigorous oversight of the department of justice. no matter which party controls the executive ranch, a strong and independent office of inspector general is key to protecting civil liberties, rating and overreach, safeguarding taxpayer dollars,
and preserving the public trust. i have the privilege of having voted for the original inspector general act of 1978. it is my suspicion that i may be the only one that has done those things on this committee. i have reviewed the 1978 committee report accompanying the passage of the inspector general act. andas our intention then remains our intention today that each inspector general is to have access to all records, documents available to his or
to agency which relate programs and operations with respect to which the office has responsibilities. , the inspector general is to have direct access to all of the information here she teams necessary to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation. recent legal analysis by the fbi's office of general counsel unfortunately suggests otherwise. they reasoned that the inspector fbiral act prohibits the from sharing a certain sensitive or confidential material, including grand jury information, wiretap information, consumer credit information.
committee, i find this analysis unpersuasive. nothing in the inspector general act authorizes the department or its component agencies to refuse even these materials to the inspector general. report,g from the 1978 the act was designed to assign to each inspector general primary responsibility for auditing and investigating relating to programs and operations of his or her agency. that is a direct quotation. it is difficult to imagine how the inspector general of the department of justice might conduct those auditing and investigative responsibilities without full access to relevant court documents, intelligence
reports, or financial records. it is difficult to imagine how the inspector general might oversight iftive the materials it requires can only be obtained with the permission of department attorneys. clear, the current leadership of the department of justice has taken extraordinary steps to make sure the inspector general has eventually received access to the material he seeks in each of the cases before us today. and james cole are not the problem. they have intervened personally on multiple occasions to objectionse fbi's
and to compel production of the material in question. i commend them for that leadership. i do not know who will hold these posts and future administrations. we should not be willing to entrust this key oversight matter to men and women who may feel differently about the effectiveness of the office of the inspector general. james colehis year, asked the office of legal counsel to write an opinion about this dispute. carl compson and his team will adhere to the plain text of the statute and to our obvious intent and grant the inspector general unfettered access to every document in the
department's possession. of legal counsel finds enough ambiguity in the on theplace any limit inspector general's access to information, then the judiciary committee should act. inspector general horwitz, we welcome and we look forward to your testimony today. i think the chairman neil back. >> the chair understands that the gentleman from ohio wants to make a brief statement. >> i think the chairman. looking at the leather you signed along with a bunch of other inspector general's.
second paragraph talks about restricted access. it is noticeable that four of these six republican members are from the oversight committee. frustrated from the kind of response we've gotten from the internal revenue service and from the department of justice. we want to commend you for the work you have done. impressedays been with your service. this is critical and i want to say thank you for this hearing and i want to thank mr. horwitz for his being here today. all other members of opening statements will be made a part of the record. we thank our only witness for joining us today. if you would please rise i will begin by swearing you in. do you swear the testimony you
give will be the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth so help you god? he responded in the affirmative. 16, he was sworn in as inspector general for the united states department of justice. mr. horwitz oversees a nationwide workforce of more than 400 special agents and auditors and support staff. horwitz worked as an assistant united states attorney for the southern district of new york from 1991 until 1999. he served as in the criminal division as chief of staff. he has spent time working in the partner.ector, as a he earned his degree from
harvard law school. we appreciate your presence today. we look forward to your testimony. your written statement will be entered into the record and its entirety. we would like you to summarize your statement in five minutes and left. >> thank you. thank you for inviting me to testify today. information and h2 files go to the heart of our mission to provide independent oversight. 47 inspectors general signed a letter last month expressing their concern with this issue. i want to thank congress for their bipartisan support. this is crystal clear. says and inspector general must be given unfiltered access to all agency records.
serio seriously compromises our independence. third, while current leadership has supported our ability to access records, agency leadership changes over time and our access to records should not turn on the views of the department's leadership. further, we understand that other department components such as the office of the professional responsibility continue to be given access to the same materials without objection. this treatment is unjustifiable and results in the department being less willing to provide materials to the oig specifically because they're independent and the opr is not. this treatment once again highlights opr's lack of independence from the department's leadership which can only be addressed by granting the oig with
jurisdiction to investigate all alleged misconduct at the department. indeed, the independent nonpartisan government oversight made the same recommendation earlier this year. this past may, the department's leadership asked the office of legal council to issue an opinion addressing the legal objections raised by the fbi. aattached to my statement is a summary regarding these issues. the existing practice at the department seriously impairs our independence. in the absence of our resolution, our struggle to access information in a timely manner seriously delays our work. it also has a substantial impact on the morale of auditors, analysts , agents, and lawyers. in two audits, we had trouble
getting organizational charts in a timely matter. however, should an opinion interpret our ability for access to information we'll request a prompt remedy. actions that limit or delay access to information have substantial consequences for our work and lead to incomplete, incabbing rat, or significantly delayed findings or recommendations. i cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to get these issues resolved quickly.
this concludes my prepared statement. i'm pleased to answer any questions the committee may have. >> thank you mr. horowitz. i'll begin the questioning. the only explicit limitation on an attorney -- inspector general's attorney to conduct audits and investigations resides in section ae which is an extraordinary exemption to prohibit the office of inspector general from carrying out an audit or investigation. to invoke section 8 e, the attorney general must make a determination that a limitation of exercise of material is necessary to -- categories of information or prevent significant impairment to national interests. my question to you is has attorney general holder at any
time during your tenure used this formal procedure to limit your office's access to material essential to a review. >> he has not and that's one of the arguments we've put forward which is that's the mechanism congress set up to limit our access if there are sensitive matters. >> in your experience, prior to your troubling experiences, had any department of justice component ever made unilateral determinations about what documents were relevant? >> from my understanding, that had not happened before 2010. >> how valuable is your authority to access grand jury or other sensitive material to your ability to execute oversight of national security matters. >> it is critical.
these are the tools of the trade for the fbi, other law enforcement agencies. if we can't access every piece of information in their files when we're doing oversight of the fbi's use of these tools and its handling of various national security tools, we won't know the full answer of what's going on. >> and the fbi's withholding of the grand jury information is unsupported in law and contrary to both the inspector general act and exceptions to the general rule of grand jury secrecy. would you outline the three reasons why the office of inspector general is excitaled to access grand jury -- entitled privileged grand jury material? >> first of all, it's not clear. -- it is crystal clear. that's the reason. secondly, under the grand jury rules, prior to 2010, we had regularly obtained grand jury
material because we have attorneys for the government working for us. i'm an attorney and there are a number of attorneys on our staff. and third in the national security area, there's an decisional exception in the grand jury rules that had before 2010 been used to get us grand jury material. so there are at least three reasons why we should be getting this material. >> you testified earlier that at no time has the attorney general complied with section ae and given you a statement in writing as to why material would not be provided. have you had the opportunity to have any verbal discussion with either he or the director of the fbi as to why they are choosing not to make this material available to you? >> i have. i've raised my concerns with both of them. the response from the department has been to send the matter to
the office of legal counsel to evaluate the two -- the fbi's competing legal argument, and that is where the matter currently lies and has for several months now. it's very important that that opinion be issued. i think it should be clear that we are entitled to it but if there's a contrary ruling, we want to know it sooner rather than later so that we can work with congress to fix the problem. >> have there been any previous opinions put forward with regard to this issue? >> there has and that is one of our point which is is in 1984 prior to our existence which we came into existence in 1988, oic issued a legal opinion finding the office of professional responsibility was entitled to access grand jury information. we're at a loss to find out why that same opinion wouldn't apply to us. we have the same
responsibilities and unlike with opr, congress found that we should be getting these materials and put a provision in law that says that. >> thank you very much. recognize the gentleman from michigan. >> thank you, chairman. you anticipated some of the questions i was going to ask and i thank you for raising them. just so that we're clear, mr. horowitz, am i correct in characterizing our discussion about the correct reading of the inspector general act as nonpartisan in nature? >> correct. >> all right. we have in our possession several letters written over the course of late 2011 from attorney general eric holder and deputy attorney james cole.
in each of these letters, over the objection of the fbi's general counsel, the department grants you access to sensitive materials. as recently as last thursday -- material witness statute. the deputy attorney general prejudiced to "quote provide your office with access to all materials to complete reviews consistent with existing law". >> are these fair descriptions of the role of department leadership in this debate? >> yes. they have made clear they will continue to issue orders giving us access. so the issue is not with getting the documents, it's the process that's laid out compromises our
independence. >> have the attorney general and deputy attorney general been helpful to you? >> yes. they have been helpful in issuing them. >> now, as the only member of the committee that was voted for the 1978 act, i agree wholeheartedly with your testimony. congress meant what it said in section 6a of the act. inspector general must be given complete, timely, and unfiltered access to agency records. in your opinion, why did the general counsel of the fbi feel compelled to arrive at a different interpretation to the same statute? >> i'd be speculating, frankly, as to what the motivation was.
but there's -- i think it's clear as you've indicated from looking at the opinion and you have it attached to my statement, that the ig act i think trumps the arguments quite clearly. >> well, i hope the office of legal counsel issues a strong opinion giving your office unequivocal access to the material and information that you require. and this committee is going to be watching that very carefully. i thank the chairman for your time. >> chairman recognizes mr. issa. >> thank you for your courage. for inspectors general to write a letter appealing to us over the people who appointed them but will not let them do their job and to have more than half
of all the igs do so is clearly unprecedented, and i commend you for your courage. i have no doubt that this administration will attempt retremendor retribution against all of you. that is their pattern. this is an administration that believes that justice delayed is justice given. they have delayed at every step. so although the distinguished ranking member is willing to say all the right things, he made one error. the fact is there should be no commending of a man who sat in your chair, the attorney general of the united states, and told us he wore two hats, one being a political hat. because the fbi does not operate in a vacuum. that information can be made available to you over the objections of everybody who works for them, and the policies that are in place are his
choice. now, i'm going to ask you just a few quick questions because we will be together tomorrow next door. one of them is, is there any basis not just with your shop but with any of the 74 inspectors general, any of the 12,000 men and women, is there any basis to see that igs have not been good stewards of confident information over the many years since the act was enacted? >> we absolutely have been. we have handled in my office some of the most sensitive matters including the hanson later, the 9/11 matter. we handled those documents entirely appropriately and consistent with the law.
>> so the very requirement for you to ask for access, doesn't that essentially negate the ability for you to look through such information as you need and perhaps extraneous so as to not always have the targets know you're coming and potentially thwart your investigation? >> it is. in the hanson, we had direct access to the information. >> and i guess one of the -- i would say last question and i don't really mean it as you
know, but an additional question is if, in fact, the target knows and if your statutory limit is, in fact, only against current employees of the department you're involved in, doesn't any delay cause the likelihood that both political an nonpolitical appointies will move on either through retirement or transfers? >> i've learned over the years that people under review or investigation retire or move to another job before we're able to complete our work. there are many issues that result from the delays we face that are problematic. >> and just hypothetically, let's say that congress is interested and sends you a letter because we're concerned the people doing the lois learner irs targeting
information are tainted in some way because of conduct or some other matter and you agree to look into it, isn't that a graphic example where it has to be done timely or irreparable harm to the process occurs? >> there are so many reviews that we do that it's imperative that we do them timely and we're not able to do that right now in a number of our ongoing reviews. >> i want to take a moment just to say that one of the few areas of specific legislative jurisdiction of the oversight committee is, in fact, the inspect generals. and it's my intention to conclude tomorrow's hearing and defendant legislation which has done on a bipartisan basis over the last several years working with the inspector generals and with their oversight groups and alter that legislation. i hope both of you and your staffs will look at it ahead of
time, give us your input. because i think today's hearing here tells us that we must as a body restate some principles and make some reforms in the ig act to make it clear for the next president and the next administration that we really meant what that legislation said and i yield to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. can i ask unanimous consent that the gentleman be given one additional minute? >> without objection. and i yield to the gentleman? >> and i thank you very much, my friend. i do not think that i am in error in commending either the attorney general or the deputy attorney general because since 2010 when the fbi first advanced this argument, the leadership of the department of justice has bent over backwards to make certain that the office of the inspector general has access to every last shred of evidence it
requires. attorney general holder, deputy attorney general cole have intervened personally at least a half dozen times. >> i thank the gentleman. i just ask mr. horowitz to comment on weather those interventions, in fact, represent the kind of timely and unobstructed activity, particularly when the ranking member said six times. isn't once enough to show leadership and six times a pattern of objection you're not able to overcome. >> i would say that the problem with the process as i laid out is significant in terms of our independence. it also delays our reviews because we have to keep going on the chain to get to the leadership. and that's the continuing problem we face. which is why the leadership has made the decision to send it to the office of legal counsel. we need that decision promptly.
>> thank you. time has expired. recognize the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> we are actually trying to get to the facts that would help the oversight of this congress and as well work with the igs at various agencies. i understand the doj, epa, and peace corps and they certainly shock me and we just hope they're sending americans forward to be of help. but let me start by saying have you had an absolute bar to being
able to address issues that have come to your attention, meaning that there has been an absolute dropping of the iron gate, the concrete wall? what have you faced in trying to do the work of the inspector general? >> the issue hasn't been road blocks to our undertaking reviews. the issue has been getting the information to timely complete them. that's been the big problem. >> and that is a distinction to be honest with you. i want to help you find a system that works, but as you well know and as i as a practicing lawyer previously, i'll use the term "discovery." >> many times, particularly in litigation against the big guys, there are several ways to interpret discovery. one is that they're road blocking or that the documents whether it's a governmental
entity of course we have immunity issues but it's down in the bowals -- bowels somewhere. remember, we have gone tech. but five or ten years ago, we were all paper and we packed up papers at the tend of the session, boxed them up, we thought they were somewhere in distant mind. can you discern that we are speaking of what ever american understands, i filed it away somewhere but where is it? >> great point, congresswoman. in fact, in many respects, we feel like civil litigants where we're opposite the party going through documents and having lawyers look through documents. for example, at the fbi now, the process in place because of
their legal position that they're not sure what they're entitled to legally, they send all of their documents, all of our requests now go through their office of general counsel. >> and you say they're sending them with good intent? >> they are sending it there because of their legal position but the result is we have lawyers waiting for discovery reviews. sometimes we end up getting documents from them and learning from witnesses documents weren't produced. that's the problem with this situation that's been set up and it has to be resolved and it should be resolved in a way that gets us access immediately frankly. there's really no reason for this process to even be undertaken. >> but let me get you to not put words in your mouth but this is not seen by the ig as a malicious intent? >> no.
i'm not suggesting malicious intent. but the consequence of legal argument put forward and the time that it's taken is that our reviews go through these processes. >> and this is going over a series of administrations. this has been ongoing whether it's been the president bush administration, there's a system in place. is that my understanding? >> well, on the ig side is this began in 2010. i started in 2012. >> so the question is we're holding a hearing here and i want the hearing intent to be a resolution, not a condemnation. so i think it is important for us to look certainly as you well know we're not litigants but litigants each have individual rights. i would have the right to protect my client and i'm going to make sure in doiscovery, i'm
giving precisely what's asked. in this instance, we want transparent government but as well, the fbi or those producing documents should be adhering to the law. the law is structured in place in 2010. let's see how we can work it better. but fbi has a right to counsel. epa has a right to counsel. and you have a right to transparency. am i making the point that you are saying that you need a system that allows these documents to come forward? >> yes. what i'm suggesting is that the mindset needs to change. for example, in the robert hansen matter, we had direct access to fbi information. we are part of the department of justice. we should have and congress set up a system in the ig act that says we're there to oversee
them. if we're going to oversee the fbi, their lawyers should not be going through and deciding and filtering what documents we get and how fast we get them. >> well, you have just given us a framework. you're from doj. we don't know what the other issues are. what i would say to you is that this is a workable -- you're presenting facts, and i want to be clear as i end my query that -- and i know there's a series of sections that you've come under and offered sections going forward -- as i end, could you precisely just give -- is that your suggestion, to move that lawyer structure or could you work with a lawyer structure that would then have a direction that their job is to be fair and cooperative with the ig?
>> time has expired. the inspect general can answer the question >> thank you. yes, i think the lawyers need to be removed from the process for routine requests. there may be issues that arise that require legal opinion. right now, what's going on is every request goes that route. we should be able to get direct access to information, but the witness that wants to come to us with information with documents, they should be able to do that directly. we should not have to make a request to legal counsel, have them look through the documents and get them eventually hopefully but then we often learn from other witnesses that there are more materials out there that are relevant to our review. >> thank you for allowing me to have this query.
i yield back. >> the chairman recognizes the gentleman from ohio. >> every single request that you're trying to get access to now goes through the department of justice's legal counsel? >> the fbi office of general counsel. >> the fbi has? >> yes. >> you're saying that's not political? >> the office of general counsel is not a political appointee. >> i understand. when did that start? >> it may have been just before i came. >> i'm particularly concerned about one issue that's been a focus of the oversight committee and other committees and that's the targeting by the internal revenue service by people
were needed to perform their oversight work in critical areas. so i want to know what were those critical areas? did any of the -- were you denied access to oversight work in critical areas? were any of those areas related to the internal revenue service? >> no. that is not an area that i was referring to. >> anything related to that? i know we've asked you to look into certain things, we've asked you specifically to look into the fact that ms. bosserman was selected to head up this investigation. so you didn't face any restrictions regarding that? >> we have not faced any docket restrictions with regard to that matter.
>> one of the other issues this we were very nervous about it was fact that the internal revenue service gave 21 disks of information to the fbi regarding the targeting issue. that information was given to the fbi in 2010. 1.1 million pages. some of that information contained confidential donor information. are you aware of that issue? >> i am from the news stories and various letters. >> has your office looked into that at all just in any type of way or examined any of that information at all? >> we try not to talk about matters that are nonpublic in our office and what we might or might not be looking at. >> are you concerned about the fact that the justice department specifically the fbi had confidential taxpayer information for four years? >> yes, i have taken note of that information.
>> okay. last question then. just to be clear, none of the access you were denied in your oversight work dealt with the internal revenue service? >> that's correct. >> okay. i yield back. >> recognize the gentleman from utah. five minutes. >> thank you, inspector general. i appreciate his work and efforts. >> part of the indication from the attorney general was that he could not answer questions, would not provide more information to the public in part because the inspector general was doing a review.
wiretappings. >> and your interpretation is you should -- talk specifically about grand jury information. >> i think it's quite clear in the first instance that section 6 a and the ig act means we should have unfiltered timely access to all records. the agency doesn't get to pick and choose. so that would be the first basis. the second is we have always gotten grand jury information up until 2010 from the fbi and other department components either through the igf or the grand jury law which has an exception for attorneys for the government. we are attorneys for the government. i work for the department of justice. that is not how it's interpreted by the fbi. >> and how many people report to you in your group? how many igs are you overseeing? >> my office has over 400
employees. >> and so the process now, they're having to go and ask permission from who is it that -- specific to the fbi -- who are they asking permission from? >> what happens now is we send our requests because we have this review going on between our requests and us getting the documents. we make a request. the fbi, the office of general counsel looks at it. abif it has -- and it raises an objection if it has one and then we start this process going. >> and what are the objections? what are their excuses? >> well, we've had the grand jury objection. we've had objection to wiretap information. fair credit reporting act information. we also had an objection raised to personally identifiable information for which there was no basis for an objection but it took months before it was sufficiently elevated and the
fbi withdrew its objection and we got the materials. >> at one point there was an objection about an organize -- organizational chart? >> yes. the witness we were speaking with was prepared to hand us the organizational chart that we asked for but we were told he couldn't do that because it had to go through this process of review with the office of general counsel. we were delayed for weeks. i had to send an email saying i don't understand how this can be the case. >> a simple organizational chart. >> recently with the dea, we got a chart with names whited out. well, we need the names because one of the purposes is to see who we need to intend view.
-- interview. >> i'm so glad we're holding this hearing. this is outrageous. the inspector general should have unfetterred access to all the information they want and when it's gotten to the point where they can't even see an organizational chart, it's reached the level of absurdity that must be addressed immediately. i appreciate the bipartisan k w know -- notion on this and i yield back.
i now recognize the gentleman from north carolina. >> a limitation that's unique to doj, the oig does not have authority to investigate all allegations of misconduct within the agency. so while the oig -- nonlawyers at doj, it does not have the same jurisdiction over alleged misconduct by the doj attorneys when they're acting as lawyers in the department. if you could explain for us, you know, how this distinction came about and kind of how the process works? >> this is really a historical anomaly. it's because of the fact that opr existed before we did in 1988. and when our office was created by congress, they decided at that time to keep opr in existence and have this jurisdictional limitation so that all matters went to opr,
the argument being they had experience doing these matters and so they should have authority. we're 25 years later now. we have been given authority over misconduct by all the other parts of the justice department. we've exercised that appropriately, effectively, and independently. it's time for us to have authority over all misconduct. there's no reason that agents alleged misconduct should be reviewed by the oig but attorneys get to go to an independent body for their conduct to be reviewed. >> are you advocating -- if you're advocating for that, would opr continue to have any role at doj or it's past its usefulness? >> i think that would be a decision congress would need to
make. >> independent and they're not and so there appears to have been a conclusion that there needs to be a finding that our reviews are an assistant to leadership. it's self-evidence. we are independent. congress set it up that way. therefore, it would appear the decision's been made that we need to go through this process so that it's clear our reviews are being overseen or are being of help to the leadership. of course, that's entirely inconsistent with the ig act. >> recognize the gentleman from texas. >> thank you. appreciate your being here, inspector general. we appreciate your candor and efforts at trying to get records. we had the attorney general
testify in here early during his tenure as attorney general. and there was a reference about how close he was to -- that he made -- about how close he was to the inspector general at the time. that caused me concern because i had hoped that there was more independence from an inspector general. nobody is supposed to be an inspector general and be big buddies with the attorney general. although he's called me his buddy. i take that as a term of endear meant. even though he said it, you don't want to go there, buddy. we never intended for you to have trouble at all getting documents and just so you're aware, mr. horowitz, for almost
all of this administration, i've been seeking the documents that the justice department gave to the defendants in the holy land foundation who were convicted of supporting terrorism. this attorney general has used such lines as classification issu issues, things like that. when it's very clear if you give documents from the justice department to terrorists who are convicted, then it's probably okay to give them to congress. and, yet, still, the most that i've been able to get after all these years is a notice that i can go online and check out some websites that have some of the documents that were admitted. so i share your pain in trying to get information from this administration that should have been a slam dunk very easy just give me disks, the papers,
whatever. i've been through boxes. i've been through masses of cds as a judge and a lawyer. so what do you think we can do, just the top thing, that this congress could do -- put it this way, the house -- could to do to make your job easier and make your position more effective? >> i think the number one -- given -- i think having comments by the ranking member about the intent of congress and pressing for answers to the question by congress on does section 6 a of the ig act that congress passed mean what it says. that's the number one issue we are waiting to get an answer so right now. -- answer to right now. >> i can't, yield? >> yes. >> i just wanted to invite you
to join with me in this endeavor because i think you're interested and have learned a lot about it. >> i would certainly be willing. i would think that a sense of the house might be what we should try to pass as quickly as possible to make clear about our bipartisan belief in the importance of the inspector general and i very much appreciate the former chairman understanding that this should be a bipartisan issue because we change majorities, the white house changes, but we have to make sure inspectors general get the information they need. >> thank you. i look forward to working with you. >> mr. horowitz, you don't have to come back here for a hearing to seek individual assistance in your job. any of us that can help, i know
all of us, i know the chairman, any of us would be willing to assist in any way. you let us know what we can do. it is critical for any democratic republic has this is supposed to be to function efficiently. thank you for being here today. >> thank you, congressman. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for his questions for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. as a member of this committee and the oversight and government reform committee, i'm acuted acutedly -- acutely aware of the benefits the inspect general throughout government provides to this country. you're the first line of watch dogs right there with the whistle employeers that combat
waste, fraud, and abuse in the government. the idea behind an inspect general when they worked within the agency but they were independent. so they understood how the agency worked. the stuff we've been talking about in hearing about this today has taken this into politics which is where i think the trouble is. one of the advantages of the ig is they're within the organization, sos -- ostensibly, nonpartis
nonpartisan. this situation seems politicized. would it be -- is -- is that the sense that you get, there's a political element to this? >> you know, from your standpoint, what we've seen is simply -- lots of different reviews, objections being raised. no one has said to us that it's being done maliciously. >> it's certainly been my experience in trying to pry information out of this administration that delay stone wall and outright lies when dealing with the irs seems to be the rule of the day. eventually some of these -- y'all have some of the documents y'all were after but this was only after the leadership in the doj determineded that they were positive and this points to
politicizing it. i guess i don't have another question. i just want to express publicly and on the record my dismay at the dismantling of the most effective oversight renorm tool in the government. it's been coopted and in my opinion, politicized and misused. it's a horrible indictment of an administration who early on said they wanted to be the most transparent administration in history and clearly that is not the case and this is just another example of it. i struggle not to be numbed by it. it's like we have another scandal that comes out every two weeks, any one of which would have had folk's head exploding not that many years ago. and it's disheartening. i'm going to yield back the reminder of my time. thank you. >> recognize the gentleman from
georgia. >> thank you. coming back in, we get -- i'm glad you're here. it's good. >> based on your experience, is it particular people? some body? just an agency culture under this environment and agency leader? what do you think led up to the necessity for them to write this letter and say we don't think you're getting the access that you need? >> this all began a couple of years before i became ig but there had been a series of reports that we issued that were
critical of some of the handling of some matters. this followed shortly thereafter. and what happens when this begins is we start to see this among other components and more regular reviews and the road blocks become more regular. and that's the problem with not resolving it and dealing with it promptly. >> i think there's one that gives -- how long did the oig
have to wait for the grand jury material in all? >> it took almost a year from start to finish to get the material we asked for in terms of completeness of the process. >> and there was no reason for that year's delay? >> there was no reason from our standpoint certainly. >> so basically we're stopping, hiding, whatever you want to call it something. because if you're going to stick with a story, if you're going to lie once you have to tell the lie the whole way through. now they're coming back and not giving you the information when they first said -- >> right. and on top of the delay to the review, you have a whole bunch of lawyers in the fbi who have a lot of things on their plate, spending time going through page by page documents we should be getting. you have my auditors and teams, lawyers, et cetera, being put on hold. not being able to complete the
work. so there's waste along with it. it's not just the delay. it's wasted resources as well. >> i understand. and i think that's another whole issue we have to deal with. the fbi came to us with a list of areas it had concerned about producing and so we ended up having to negotiate and discuss with them a whole variety of categories beyond that before we could get what we thought was complete but since they're controlling the process and we're not getting direct access, we're relying on their interpretation. >> in a sense, we're looking at an investigation here that's
coming internally and it's something to work together on and not pit us against them. this is what are we doing. we just got back off of a working period in which i was in -- that's the biggest thing that i hear from most of our folks. they just don't trust the government anymore. i've made many discussions about this. they come up and say what can we do? we have to restore trust. and part of that is going to our own inspector general process and internal checklist. what action do you hope congress will take in response to today? >> i think the kind of statements and message that has been put forward by the ranking member today who talked about what happened back in 1978 but
other statements, for example, in 1998 and the 1993 reform as to our office, what was meant by access to information? did congress intend us when it gave us authority in the early 90s to oversee the fbi even the dea? >> the fbi's argued that based on its interpretation of section 6 b 2 of the act it has the
authority refuse your request for documents as long as it'd deems it to be reasonable. would you explain the basis for your opinion and whether there's any merit to that position. >> i don't think it has any merit. i think congress clearly put in place the process that is to be followed if there are sensitive documents. that lies with the attorney general and not anyone else in the organization so we disagree entirely with that. >> where does that phrase "reasonable" emanate from? do you know. >> i think that's their interpretation of the ig act. >> i have no additional questions. i want to thank again the inspector general for his very
thorough and complete testimony today. >> and i want to join you in thanking from horowitz for his testimony and we will work together in a bipartisan way to make sure that anything that congress can do to bolster your ability to conduct neutral investigations into how our government under any leadership operates, i think it's important to set the precedent correctly as we did in 1978 and if we need to reinforce that today, we'll do so. >> this concludes today's hearing. we thank the inspector general for joining us. this hearing is adjourned.
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