tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 23, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT
career as a prosecutor to impose because the challenge we face in a lot of cities is the bad guy thinks it is just another piece of clothing. that leads to a lot more shootings based on people bumping into each other, frankly. our mission is to send a strong message of deterrence that you ought not to have that gun. that will make that corner safer. it requires tremendous effort by the law enforcement community. we are doing a lot of that though including in chicago where your characterization is exactly right.
>> can you tell us what kinds of things we are doing in chicago? your agency and the federal government to help the people of the city. director comey: we are trying to focus on some of the predators who are focusing on this violence. we do taskforces, we do drug task forces and as i said, we operate on an ad hoc basis to try to lock up repeat offenders. >> as i've look at the challenge of gun violence in the city of chicago and i see that there is -- if we took a map of the city of chicago and we put little stars where people had been murdered due to gun violence, do you see it as -- is it the whole city of chicago? i am not that worried about my grandson walking in the park --
i am worried but not that worried as i would be in other neighborhoods. what other dimensions relate to gun violence? director comey: i know the city of chicago pretty well having gone to law school there. the story of chicago is much like other cities. it is localized. the violence is heavier concentrated. in chicago, primarily south and west. it is the groups of, primarily young men who are carrying firearms when they are prohibited by law from carrying them on the streets and that inevitably leads to the most -- what would have been a fist fight when you were a kid, today is a shoot out. what we are doing in law enforcement is to change the behavior. they are good at cost-benefit analysis.
the idea is to force a cost-benefit liability. that is how we hope to change behaviors. >> 15 more seconds. there is a group of us in the hispanic congressional caucus and the african-american members, we would like to have a roundtable discussion with you, a conversation from different parts of the united states. in a less formal setting such as this. you might give us some of your thoughts or input. would you agree to that? director comey: i would be happy to. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> i want to talk about several subjects and see how many i can get in in five minutes. the idea that under current law,
if e-mail is stored in the cloud, government does not need a warrant to obtain that e-mail. is that your understanding of the law? director comey: you probably know best. after 180 days. we still operate under a warrant. that is our policy. that is the law. if it is older than 180 days -- >> it is after 180 days. before, or during, you have to have a warrant. other government agencies still have the ability to seize that e-mail without a warrant. because the law does not require that they get a warrant.
director comey: they would need some sort of legal practice. >> they would need some other court document from a magistrate. i am sure that you are aware that myself and others have filed legislation to require any government agency to obtain a warrant if e-mails are over six months old and stored in the cloud. next subject. 702. let's talk about obtaining backdoor information on some different companies such as google or yahoo! or whoever. does the fbi request that
backdoor device be put into a cell phone? director comey: i do not know what you mean by backdoor device. >> the fbi could obtain the information in the cell phone without a warrant and you could ask the maker of the phone for example to install a device in the phone to obtain that information. director comey: no, we would need a court order for the device or online to take content or put an implant in a phone. we would need a title iii order. >> my question is -- does the fbi request manufacturers to put a device in the phone itself to obtain that backdoor information? to have it available? director comey: no. when we collect information, it is pursuant -- we are talking about the content of a person's communication, we do it through
a court order. we don't go through the person who made the device. >> when you talk about court order, are you talking about a warrant? director comey: a search warrant or an order from a federal judge if we are looking to intercept communications as they are moving. >> i think the fourth amendment applies to that type of procedure. you are saying that the fbi complies with the law, the fourth amendment, on obtaining that information. director comey: yes, the fourth amendment is sort of the spine of the fbi. >> i am glad to here that. let us talk about surveillance with the use of drones and fixed wing aircraft. specifically, targeted surveillance with the use of a drone.
does the fbi obtain a warrant to do that? director comey: any kind of aircraft, we do not. if what we are doing, which is what we use them for, to follow someone. the drones, we do not. we have a small number of unmanned aircraft. we operate drones within line of sight. when we are talking about surveilling someone come we are talking about an airplane with a human being in it. we do not get a warrant for that. the law does not require that. >> the difference being -- i am
not talking about circumstances, but any circumstances -- saying the fourth amendment does not apply to the drones. the faa makes those decisions. director comey: to follow someone on foot or in a plane, we do not have to go to a court to get permission. >> should the fbi make the rules regarding fourth amendment? director comey: the fbi does not make any laws. congress makes the laws. the courts interpret them. >> the faa may make the regulations on what you can do with a drone. i think that congress ought to awaken and determine what the reasonable expectation ought to be with the use of drones. do you have an opinion on that? director comey: i don't think i
have a view or a preference. the fbi, we are maniacs on wanting to follow the law. if congress changed the law, we would follow it. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. director comey. you mentioned how isil and other terrorist organizations field potential recruits in social media and private messaging platforms. could you detail the issues that law enforcement is facing due to the encryption. director comey: the isil challenge illustrates the problem we call going dark. isil increasingly uses this when they find someone who i call a
live one, someone who they might be able to motivate into acts of violence in the united states. they move them from twitter. to a mobile messaging app that is end to end encrypted. if we get a court order from a judge and intercept the communication, we cannot read it. their communications become invisible to us even with a court order. that is the challenge. we think that in all kinds of criminal cases as well but it is very well illustrated by the isil challenge. >> in other words, a foreign-based person, a foreign person operating from a foreign location using social networks such as twitter can identify a potential target for radicalization or someone who is already radicalized but who is reaching out to this
foreign-based person. and then they can take it to another site where their communications are encrypted. because they are encrypted, then law enforcement, whether or not it has a warrant, cannot discover what they are talking about even though the foreign-based person is a isil member. director comey: that is correct and we have to have a court order but the court order would be useless. >> the practical impact of that is what? director comey: that we cannot know what somebody who is planning on an act of violence against a police officer, member of the military, or civilian is up to her and when they will -- it up to and when they will act.
it is darkness. they go dark to us in a way that is really important in those matters. >> ok. you mentioned about traditional crimes, domestic crimes and how encryption hurts your ability to get at domestic criminal activity. can you talk about how in a case of hot pursuit or exigent circumstances, this adversely affects our ability to keep americans safe? director comey: there is a lot of different ways it impacts. i believe the going to problem overwhelmingly affects state and local law enforcement. people talk about it like it is an intelligence question but it is almost entirely a law enforcement question.
to give you an example. if they recover a cell phone at a scene where someone has been murdered or kidnapped, they cannot open the device even with a court order to figure out who that person was communicating with before they disappeared. we also are increasingly encountering where drug gangs or carjacking gangs are communicating using apps, text apps that are encrypted and with a court order we cannot read them. it is becoming increasingly -- the logic of it is that it will affect all of our work at some point. hundreds of pieces will be affected by it. it is all of our lives -- they are becoming part of the digital world. when that is covered by strong encryption, judges will not be able to order access in serious criminal cases are national security cases. that is the future we are going towards. maybe that is where we want to be but we ought to talk about it as we are going to that place.
>> thank you for your responses. >> i recognize the gentleman from utah for five minutes. >> thank you for being here. the fbi has had to change through the course of time since my grandfather who was a career fbi agent served. great admiration for the agency and what you in particular are doing. i want to go back to cyber. can you articulate the size, scope, and investment you have
in personnel dollars to address the cyber threat that is going to continue in perpetuity. director comey: i probably cannot give you exact numbers sitting here but we have, the cyber division headquarters that does nothing but cyber related work. and a cyber task force in everystate's fbi field office. that does not capture it because all of the threats we are responsible for -- everyone has to be cyber analysts or cyber agents in a way. i can give you specifics on how many hundreds or thousands of people are assigned to this work but it is even broader. >> what is it that you cannot do -- is there another department or agency that is doing something that the fbi could not do? director comey: in a cyber realm? that is a good question. >> thank you. director comey: i cannot think of it sitting here. we work with our partners, nsa in particular, in fighting the cyber threat that comes from overseas. the bureau cannot reach out in that way. >> let me ask you in the context of the united states secret service. i was surprised to learn that
two thirds of the agents that they have, two thirds of their time is spent on investigations in cyber. it begs the question to me -- why do we have such a small group of people doing that which the fbi has a much bigger resource, infrastructure, and expertise in doing. as we look at restructuring this service, and getting more focused on the protective mission, why not combine the two? director comey: such a good question, i misunderstood. one of the things i have been trying to do is drive us closer together to the secret service. they have expertise in the financial related intrusions and credit cards scams. they have spent years developing that expertise so i do not want
to duplicate that. i would like us to combine our task forces. there ought to be one. they do great work and i want to make sure we do not duplicate and i want to do joint training with them. we cannot do enough for state and local law enforcement to help them deal with digital crimes. >> in terms of the personnel that you have associated with that, how would that work? are there other agencies? director comey: there are people at hsi within the department of homeland security that are doing cyber related crime work. there is a lot of state and local law enforcement that are doing it and they are part of our task forces.
>> can you shed any more light on the fbi's next generation cyber initiative? director comey: without eating up your time, our strategy, my strategy for where we will take the fbi in the next 3-5 years. it involves deploying our people in a different way, better training and equipment, focusing ourselves on the threat we are best able to address. >> when you have an fbi -- you have personnel that will focus their entire career on just cyber. director comey: correct. >> thank you for the time.
i yield back. >> we recognize mr. deutsch. >> thank you for being with us today. i represent broward county and palm beach county. we are experiencing an epidemic. broward county is the epicenter of this crisis. the broward county sheriff's office has stated that in january 2014, they analyzed a single flakka case. this year, they have reported analyzing 100 cases per month. these cases are also flooding the county system. 12 cases per day. it has contributed to the death of 45 people in the past year in broward county. it has also started to spread northward. in 2014, there were 35 missions involving this in the crime lab. in 2015, there have been 42. people are using this and are experiencing hallucinations and violent outbursts.
it is extremely cheap. five dollars. it can be easily purchased online from china. the low cost of the drug and easy access is causing the trouble. it is extremely difficult for law enforcement to prosecute. the primary problem is that the composition cannot be pinpointed as illegal because the drugs are constantly changing their composition. as soon as the synthetic drug is listed as illegal, they change it slightly. they are now making it into gummy bears.
the ones containing this drug are individually wrapped. dealers are using them to hook young people. if you could target the effort to crack down on this epidemic of synthetic drugs, and speak to the challenges that you face in cracking down on these sorts of cases. director comey: thank you congressman. the synthetic drug is a serious problem that i hear about all over the country. dea has the lead on the federal level but we are participating through our drug task forces to try to do something about that scourge. it is appearing in gas stations, or little markets where kids can walk up and buy these things not knowing exactly what they are buying. it will wreck their life. >> the current law permits them to be treated as -- if they are proved to be similar to
controlled drugs. to avoid being listed as a controlled substance. what steps can lawmakers take to help in your efforts? director comey: honestly, i do not know. in talking with mr. rosenberg, they are keenly focused on their problem. every time they schedule one of these, it comes in from china slightly different so it is not scheduled anymore. they are chasing it with a -- >> i would invite representatives of your task force and the dea to come to south florida. this is an issue that dominates the headlines. it affects young people and as you point out, the moment someone takes this, one of these
synthetic drugs, which is so readily available in florida and elsewhere, it changes and often ruins their lives. i am grateful for your focus on it. i hope we have the chance to do something in south florida. >> i now recognize mr. marino for five minutes. >> it is good to see you. i too am a maniac for the rule of law. most of my career has been in law enforcement and i still consider myself a law enforcement guy. my family has been in law enforcement for a long time so i appreciate your comments concerning oversight and rule of law. that is needed very much today. even more so today. i do want to emphasize the fact that i have worked with all agencies, state, local, and federal and 99.9% of our agents out there are top-notch.
i trust them watching my back at any time. with that, you have already effectively answered two questions that i had so as a result, i yield back the remainder of my time and best of luck. director comey: great to see you. >> i now recognize miss bass. >> i would like to talk about the recent operation cross traffic fbi nationwide effort to crack down on child sex trafficking. the fbi's october 13 release about the operation states, operation cross-country, a nationwide law enforcement action focused on underage victims of prostitution has concluded with the recovery of
149 sexually exploited children and the arrest of pimps and other individuals. i would like to commend the agency for correctly referring to the children as victims. a child under the age of consent should never be referred to as a prostitute. this release refers to other individuals. i was wondering who those individuals were. i have a concern that while it is appropriate to focus on the pimps, it is also very much a to focus on the child molesters who some people would call john's. i would like to know if that is who you were referring to. director comey: that is what i think that is referring to. >> thank you. the release also says that the children were recovered. i wondered, what does that mean?
director comey: as part of operation cross-country, the folks i call the angels of the fbi, victims specialists, are deeply involved in the operation to make sure those kids get either reunited with their families, or so many of them come from foster care, if they get in a healthier placement, a lot of them need medical attention right away. that's what is meant by that, to get that child to a place where they are cared for either by their biological family or a foster family. >> in addition to medical attention, they certainly need therapy. i think it is important, if you would lift up, you were saying that the other individuals were referring to the child molesters.
i think it is important that we call it correctly. in addition, i would like to know, if the fbi tracks the number of children in foster care. we know that a large percentage of these kids are in foster care, but there's not a lot of documentation. do you have documentation? director comey: i think we do. i think our intelligence analysts have done some good work on that front. i'm a foster parent, so they know it is a passion of mine. i think we could equip you with at least some of our thinking on it. >> i would like to follow-up with your office and get that data. i would also like to commend you for your innocence lost task force and i'd like to know if there's more we can be going to assist your efforts. i work in the los angeles area and you have been in the leadership of bringing different sectors of law enforcement together to understand this problem and address it. director comey: i appreciate your interest in it. i will ask my staff to think about ways in which we might get more help. >> thank you.
i yield back my time. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. director, great to have you here. i have questions about the refugee program and its impact on idaho. there is concern that the actors are gaining admission alongside bona fide refugees. i'm an advocate of refugee programs. but there's a lot of misconceptions out there and a lot of real fear about the people that are coming into the united states. this congress has an obligation to address those concerns and ensure the process is working correctly. numerous times over the past year, including yesterday, both the fbi assistant director and yourself have testified about the flaws and limitations in the
vetting of syrian refugees. on october 8, you testified that you were concerned about certain gaps in the data available to the fbi and you testified that the fbi can only query what has been previously tested, which is obvious. you address this issue before. can you please explain to this committee the security gaps that exist for the purposes of conducting full and effective background checks of foreign nationals who claim to have fled the conflict zone of syria and are seeking to resettle as refugees? director comey: certainly. we learned some good lessons from less than excellent screening of iraqi refugees eight years ago or so. some folks we let in were serious actors that we had to lock up after we figured out who they were.
we have gotten much better as an intelligence community at joining our efforts and checking our databases. if we have a record, it will surface. the bad news is, with iraqi refugees, we had an opportunity for many more encounters between folks in iraq and our soldiers. we had fingerprints, iris scans, forensics of different kinds. the challenge we face with syria is that we don't have that data. even though we have gotten better, we certainly will have less overall. as i said earlier, someone only other as a result of our searches if we have some record on them. >> the lack of intelligence available on the ground in syria is rendering our traditional database biometric checks obsolete? director comey: i wouldn't agree obsolete, but i would say we
have a less robust data set then we had with iraq. >> so the fbi has repeatedly contrasted the united states ability to collect intelligence on the ground with its ability to do so in syria. what can the fbi due to adapt security checks for refugees originating from failed states with no available intelligence? director comey: that's a hard one. what we can do is just make sure that whatever is available figures into our review. the underlying problem is, how do you generate intelligence in failed states? >> are you currently working to try to fix this problem? director comey: certainly. everyone is focused on trying to mitigate this risk by finding additional sources of information. >> recognizing that isis and syria, that there is a risk that bad actors may attempt to take advantage of this
administration's commitment to bring at least 10,000 refugees into the united states, can you estimate the manpower and resources that will need to be diverted from other programs to address this threat? director comey: i'm not able to do that sitting here. >> how can i ensure my constituents that the people that may come to idaho are safe, that they are not terrorists, that the people in my community are going to be safe? director comey: on behalf of the fbi, we will work day and night to make sure that if there's information available at somebody, we have evaluated it. >> the problem is that we don't have the information on most of these people. director comey: so i can't offer anybody absolute assurance that there is risk associated with this. >> thank you very much. i yield back my time. >> i now recognize ms. delaunay for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair, and
thank you director coming. as acting ag, you demonstrated a commitment to the fourth amendment and protecting americans' privacy. you've mentioned in your original testimony and in other comments that the rule of law and the fourth amendment is the spine of the fbi. i appreciate that commitment. i would like to ask about the fbi's use of aircraft. the fbi deployed aircraft over ferguson last year in response to requests from local law enforcement? director comey: yes. >> does the fbi respond to these types of requests frequently? director comey: thanks goodness there aren't the kind of turmoil and pain in communities frequently, but we have local law enforcement ask for help in getting a look at a developing situation.
we've done it in baltimore and ferguson as i recall. >> what criteria has to be met for the fbi to send aerial resources to assist local law enforcement? director comey: it is made at a fairly high level in the fbi. i think at the special agent charge level at least, the commander of the field office. it has to go through a variety of checks. >> what are the criteria you use to make that decision? director comey: it has to be part of a open investigation of hours or part of open assistance to law enforcement. we can get you the particulars. the bureau has a policy for everything. there's a series of steps to make sure it is part of an open case of hours or a legitimate open assistance to law enforcement matter. >> thank you. your staff also acknowledged that the fbi routinely uses
aviation assets in support of predicated investigations targeting specific individuals, and when requested an appropriate, in support of state and local law enforcement. why is it so important to stress this distinction when it appears it is more generalized? director comey: i'm sorry? >> the distinction that you have in this, the feedback from your staff that you use aviation assets in support of predicated investigations targeting specific individuals, when in these cases of local law enforcement, it seems to be more generalized. director comey: i think we are just trying to explain how we use it. we don't fly planes around america, looking down to figure out if somebody might do something wrong. the overwhelming use of aircraft is part of an investigation to follow a spy, terrorist, or
criminal. if there is tremendous turbulence in a community, it is useful to everybody to have a view of what is going on. where are the fires, where our people gathering? sometimes, the best view of that is above. >> do you feel that warrants are necessary when targeting specific individuals, especially when you have aircraft equipped with high resolution cameras? director comey: i don't think so. i meant what i said about the fourth amendment. we are not collecting the content of communication or engaging in anything besides following somebody. we've done it since the wright brothers with planes and we do it in cars, we do it on foot, and the law is pretty clear that you don't need a warrant.
>> now that there are technology changes, even the most recent case of florida versus riley in 1989, there's been a lot of changes in technology. it is not just what you might see with the human eye anymore. are there other types of technologies and do you think standards should be in place? director comey: i suppose if you were putting technology on an fbi aircraft that had fourth amendment implications, that it was reaching someone's communications or looking within a dwelling, it would have fourth amendment implications. but that is not what we use the aircraft for. >> what led to the decision to seek court orders when aircraft are equipped with stingray technology? director comey: we have one aircraft that we can put stingray technology on. i suppose we could mount it on others if we had a court order. the whole department of justice does this. if we are operating a simulator, it has fourth amendment
implications. we will get a warrant on that. >> do you feel like you are required by law to do that? director comey: i think we made that move before it was even a divide among opinions in the court. some courts have said you need it. some not. we went nationwide with a requirement for warrants. there's been no national decision on that. we think given that some courts are requiring it, we do it across the country. >> good morning, director comey. do you remember mr. collins' questions about renaming the fbi headquarters building? director comey: yes. >> i appreciate your response, that we have to look at things through the lens of history.
i want to ask about a few other historical figures and see if there are any other buildings named after some of these folks. former senator robert byrd of west virginia was a member of the kkk. he was a recruiter for the kkk. he held leadership positions with the kkk. the state capital in west virginia is named after senator byrd. the united states courthouse and federal building in west virginia is named after senator byrd. the federal correctional institution in hazelton, west virginia is named after senator byrd. do you know of any fbi buildings named after senator byrd? director comey: i don't know whether we have folks -- i don't know, sitting here. >> former democrat president
woodrow wilson resegregation the entire government, including the armed forces, held a showing of the movie "birth of a nation" at the white house and went so far as to praise it despite calls to ban it. "birth of a nation" was used as a recruiting tool for the ku klux klan. there are a number of buildings in this country named after president wilson. do you know of any buildings that the fbi occupies or predominantly owns that are named after president wilson? director comey: i don't. >> former president lyndon baines johnson was fond of using the n-word, used it in the white house, used it while he was senate majority leader, and in many other public settings. many federal buildings are named after him. are there any fbi buildings named after president johnson? director comey: i don't know.
>> lastly, president truman wrote to his soon-to-be wife the following words, "i think one man is just as good as another, so long as he's not a n word or a china and." again, many buildings named after president truman. any fbi buildings named after president truman? director comey: i don't know, sir. >> democrat senator richard russell was also a member of the ku klux klan and there is a senate building named after senator russell. i assume there are to your knowledge no fbi buildings named after senator russell. director comey: i don't know. i don't think so. >> my last statement would be
that perhaps congress should clean up its own act in naming buildings for it asks the fbi to try to rename buildings. i yield back my time. >> i thank the gentleman and now recognize mr. cellini for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director comey, for your service and for coming before the committee today. thank you also to the extraordinary men and women who serve the bureau. many of us express our sincere concern and condolences following the recent mass shooting in rosenberg, oregon where nine innocent men and women lost their lives. as more americans lose their lives to senseless gun violence, this congress has failed to act.
with this in mind, i'd like to draw on your experience to find solutions to this growing epidemic and help us find the guts to take action. first, i want to draw your attention to the shooting at the emmanuel church in south carolina. following the shooting, you ordered the fbi to conduct an internal review of policies and procedures surrounding background checks for weapons purchases. did that review a car and what were the findings? director comey: the review did occur. i asked my folks to do a 30-day examination. it confirmed the facts as i understood them. no new facts with respect to dylann roof's purchase. it highlighted areas for improvement. internal, it highlighted that maybe we can search resources and technology to try and reduce
the number of gun sales that are held in the delayed pending status longer than three days. that work is underway. secondly, to get better and more timely records from state and local law enforcement about the disposition of arrests so that our examiners have good records to make a judgment on. >> as you well know, the current law requires that if a request of purchase for firearm is made, the fbi has three days to respond. if no response is provided, the gun dealer is able to sell the weapon. my understanding is the fbi continues the review anyway. that information is then conveyed to the gun dealer and if that person is disqualified, what does the fbi do? you now know the sale has occurred, or do you know the sale has occurred, and do you take action?
director comey: after the three-day window, the gun is transferred and the examiners discover the disqualifying information -- my recollection is the notice is sent both to local law enforcement and the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, so they can retrieve the firearm. >> i'm not sure that is actually the practice. i think the notice may go to atf, but i don't believe it goes to the gun dealer or local law enforcement. i would like to work with you on that. the second issue is, how do we incentivize, require, encourage local law enforcement to use the system? that background check system is only as good as the information in it. have you done analysis of what states participate, where the
deficiencies are, or things we could do to help ensure that more states are providing that disqualifying information, so at the bare minimum we are keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them under law? director comey: the mass murder in charleston was an event that i think caused a lot of folks in local law enforcement and state law enforcement to focus on this question. there's a whole lot of conversation going on and we are pushing out training to explain what we need and why we need it in a timely fashion. i don't have suggestions for how congress might help us incentivize that cooperation. i think they are good people, and when they see the pain of a situation like dylann roof, they want to be better. i will get back to you if i have ideas. >> we can't require participation with the system as the result of a supreme court decision, but we ought to be able to create serious
incentives or penalties. as a result of that information not being in the system, people are walking into gun stores and buying guns who would be otherwise disqualified. i look forward to working with you on that. i thank you for the work that you are doing. >> i now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my father is a georgia state trooper. i appreciate your commitment to law enforcement. some quick questions. one has to do with an advisory for dealing with credit cards. the new credit cards equipped with microchip technology are still vulnerable to identity theft and the use of pin identification would be a more secure way for consumers.
however, within 24 advisories -- 24 hours, that advisory was taken down. it is my understanding canada, australia, many other countries have encouraged the pin authorization because it has a lower fraud rate. in light of that, does the fbi consider pin a more secure form of authentication? director comey: i think the experts would say that pin and chip is more secure. the confusion was, it was a mess on our part without focusing on the fact that most merchants in the united states don't have the ability to accommodate the pin and chip. the worry is that will cause confusion when our equipment is set up for pin and signature. >> many of the places that i go
to, you just swipe, like at the gas station, and many of those have a number for debit cards. i've just broken into using the chip because my new cards have chips. the keypad is right above it. i'm not sure i follow your answer that the technology is not available. the keypad is right there to input a number. why is the technology not available? director comey: i don't know, and i'm not the world's smartest person on this. what i've been told is it is available in some places, but not widely available in the united states.
>> me going to the store and putting my card in. i rarely see one that is just pure swipe with no keypad. the concern came among many that there is also an issue that i pay different fees depending on how i did it. a credit card versus a debit card. could that have been an issue? using the pen typically is a different fee. was that possibly taken into account as the reason for the removal of this? director comey: i think that could be the reason the equipment is not widely available in the united states. that was not a factor in why we withdrew the public service announcement. my understanding is our worry was we were going to confuse a lot of people.
>> i think the concern here is information security and everything else. you are always trying to move toward the more secure atmosphere. that is my concern about moving back. it seemed like we were saying, there is a better way, but we are not going to encourage that. just a question. basically, the distinction in current law is something we talked about. you said that you use a warrant in all cases. would you say that -- 30 prosecutors all say that requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant from the court does not prevent law enforcement
from doing its job. would you agree with that? director comey: by and large, it's true. it poses unique challenge for some. by and large, judges are available. at a general level, sure. >> some of these agencies, i think from a law enforcement -- this is something they could use, that they could go through normal means. i think that is the concern that many of us have. the hacking issues with china, we actually traced that and said, confirmed that chinese hackers stole this data? director comey: i have high confidence. i'm not in a position to say that in open forum. >> maybe we can get back in a different forum and discuss that.
we can't reward bad behavior. i'm concerned that is what we're doing. >> i now recognize mr. jeffries for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair, and director comey. i think you testified earlier today in your belief as to the efficacy of mandatory minimums, correct? director comey: yes. i think i said they were useful in my career as a prosecutor. >> can you elaborate as to whether you still believe that mandatory minimums in light of the explosion of the united states prison population, particularly relative to every other developed country in the world, is still a relevant law enforcement tool? director comey: i think it is. i'm not in a position by expertise to offer a position of
whether it should be 10 years or five years, but i think the certainty of punishment is a useful tool in fighting crime. in the absence of mandatory guidelines, that often comes in the form of mandatory minimum. that is about as far as i have the expertise to go. >> is your view anchored in the fact that many prosecutors have argue that it -- have articulated the position that they don't have the same club by which to solicit cooperation and obtain plea bargains? director comey: in my experience, comparing my experience with the state system, again, that's not a view on whether it ought to be this or that. i don't have the expertise to offer a view on that. some certainty of punishment is very valuable to elicit cooperation. >> there have been studies that have shown that in crimes that don't have mandatory minimums, the conviction rate at the
federal level are higher than those where mandatory minimums do exist. i think that's part of the reason why a diverse group of individuals on the left and right, including the heritage foundation which i believe said there's no evidence that mandatory minimums reduce crime, have questioned their continued need, at least in its current form. can you comment on the explosion of the united states prison population? the war on drugs began in the early 1970's. we have less than 350,000 people incarcerated in america. currently, that number is in excess of 2.3 million. we've got 5% of the worlds population. 25% of the incarcerated individuals in the world are here in the united states. many of us believe it creates a competitive disadvantage for us going forward. in addition to the damage it
does to the social fabric of many communities. can you comment as to the mass incarceration phenomenon in america and what should be done about it from a public safety standpoint? director comey: i struggle with the word mass incarceration because it conveys a sense that people were locked up en masse. every case is a tragedy in my view, but every case is individual. everyone had to be proven guilty. a lot of people are locked up and that is a big problem, but here's the fact. in 2014, america was far safer than it was when i was born in 1960. i think a big part of that change is due to law enforcement. i'm of the view that yes, we can reform our criminal justice system, but we've got to reform it with an eye towards where we used to be. i would not want to give back to our grandchildren the america we lived in in the 1970's, 1980's,
and 1990's. i believe we can be better in a lot of ways. >> i think it is important for us to be thoughtful. i grew up in new york city in the 1980's, in the midst of the crack cocaine epidemic, 2000 homicides in the city. no one wants to return to that. a study concluded that in all 17 states that have cut incarceration rates, they've experienced a decline in crime over the past decades. it seems to me that there is room based on the data for a real discussion as to how to get the balance correct. i gather you share that view. i appreciate your willingness to continue a dialogue for us to get the benefit of your views. director comey: thank you. >> i yield back. >> can i be recognized for a
point of personal privilege? >> without objection. >> i'm a student of history and when i make a mistake, i want to correct it. i was wrong in saying that senator vanderburgh son committed suicide. it was senator hayes. his son was arrested in lafayette park for being gay, but that was mccarthy who was after him. i want to correct the record. thank you. >> i now recognize mr. desantis for five minutes. >> good afternoon, director comey. companies have begun notifying customers when law enforcement requests data through subpoena or warrant unless there is a nondisclosure requirement, particularly for child pornography investigations, this may be an issue. do you think that could hamper investigations? director comey: i do. it is something i have been hearing more and more about.
>> i'm glad to hear you say that. the president has a plan to bring over a lot of people from the civil war in syria, perhaps as many as 100,000. can we vet them, and if not,aree contributing to some of the homegrown terrorism in this country? director comey: thank you for the question. it is a very important issue. we can vet them. we've gotten better at vetting and learned lessons from the vetting of iraqi refugees. you the challenge we face it is, is, wechallenge we face can only vet against data that's been collected with respect to a person. the information we had for iraq was much richer than we will have for syria. >> so there's a problem here, potentially. i know it's going to fall on you to defend the american people it is something i'm concerned with.
there's been talk about reforming. is it your view that people say drug offenses are nonviolent, but when they get into the federal system, trafficking, is it accurate to say they are nonviolent? work, it is the drug trade inherently violent? director comey: i guess each case is different. in my experience, anyone who's part of a trafficking organization is part of an organization that has violence all through it. whether you are a runner, lookout, or enforcer, you are part of something that is suffocating a community. i have a hard time categorizing drug organizations as nonviolent. >> in terms of the drop in crime that you alluded to, is part of that simply because there have been stiffer sentences and so habitual criminals are off the street? director comey: i believe that was a big part. i believe most experts believe it was a big part of the
historic reduction in crime over my career. >> with respect to individual offenses, there's been mishandling of information, does the fbi keep records of all the investigations related to each offense? director comey: i don't know that it is searchable by each offense. if a case was charged, the offenses would be reflected. >> in other words, we know every mishandling of classified information offense. we can look that up. but we don't know whether the u.s. attorney declined x number of cases pertaining to that? director comey: i think that's correct. i also don't know what our records would reflect if there are a number of violations in a case, whether it would be clear that it was that.
>> in terms of handling classified information, there's been stuff in the press about, something needs to be marked classified. is your understanding that the u.s. code, if i were to send classified information over an unsecure system, the fact that it was not marked classified, does that mean i have not committed the offense? director comey: i think i would prefer not to answer, trying to make sure that given we have a matter under investigation that relates to that topic, that i preserve our ability to be honest, independent, and competent. i worry that i could jeopardize that. >> i think that's an admirable posture. how does, when the president renders a judgment about a case, saying there's no national security damage if certain
information has been disclosed, how does that help the investigation? director comey: the three things i said earlier, honest, competent, and independent. we follow the facts, only the facts. >> i have no doubt that that will be how you conduct yourself. i just hope that as you do your work, as it moves on to other aspects of our system, that it's based on the merits of the case and not based on political edict from on high. thank you for your time. >> i now recognize -- >> thank you. director, thank you very much. you appeared yesterday in front of the homeland security committee and added a great deal of insight.
i would like to not pursue a line of questioning, but hope to have an opportunity to meet with you on something we began discussing yesterday, cyber security and the role it plays as an all most another figure, if you will, in the scheme of terrorism. i am a ranking member of the subcommittee, with my ranking member and chairman, we are looking to be responsible in addressing issues in the criminal justice system, and somewhat overlapping the question of terrorism in this committee, and certainly in homeland security. let me quickly start with a question that i think i introduced in the record yesterday, no-fly for foreign fighters. we heard testimony that indicated the numbers might be going down. i had notes that there was 250 americans who had left to the foreign fight and may be coming back.
we must always be prepared. 9/11, the scenario was one that we had never imagined before. we never imagined an airplane being used as a torpedo. we imagined a hijacking. we lived through that. i know that this is a very serious posture. hopefully, any extra tool that we can give you with respect to refining and defining the list that you have, to make sure that we have every potential -- every foreign fighter, would that be helpful to you? director comey: yes. we want to make sure the list is comprehensive.
>> if we have this legislation to ensure that that list is a vetted and well-updated list, would that be helpful? director comey: i don't know the legislation, but the goal, i share. >> i appreciate that very much. let me move now to the guns. i don't want to put words in your mouth, but i imagine, and i served as a municipal court judge, and i'd have to say, who are you? dealing with some matters in local government, they were in some tough places. i recognize the dangers that our officers face. we had a horrific tragedy in houston. we just recently lost an officer again in new york.
as we do with others who are impacted by guns, the 11-year-old who shot an 8-year-old, and another youngster, three-years old, we never can imagine the ability of our children. i ask you a question, why law enforcement is not our biggest champion, not on gun control, gun safety regulations. not on diminishing the second amendment, but responsibly handling weapons. who would want to lose a four-year-old in a drive-by shooting in new mexico because someone had a gun? we've introduced legislation, and you might want to comment on this in particular, that gives you an extended period of time on this gun check situation, which was one of the horrible situations in the south carolina nine.
the system was doing its work, but since you weren't heard from, they allowed this gentleman to get a gun and kill nine people. we have a number of legislative initiatives. members of congress don't want anything to do with taking away your gun. they want to regulate safety infrastructure. i've introduced legislation to keep guns away from children. in your dealing with law enforcement, the impact guns have, the impact on the work you all do, could you answer that for me, please? there have been a number of church fires. we keep ignoring it. we had another series before. would you comment on the fbi's work that they are doing? if you take this name down,
robby tolan, who was killed on his front porch, a driveway of his home -- excuse me, let me stand corrected. he was wounded and still lives with a bullet in his liver. the disappointing aspect is that it was an officer who mistook him as an african-american male in a stolen car. he was in his mother's car, going home to his house in houston, texas. my question is, what further fbi investigation can go into this case? i thank you for your indulgence. director comey: thank you, ms. jackson lee. i will look into the last matter. with respect to church fires, we
have not ignored them. our agents are investigating a number of incidents around the country. we have not found patterns that connect to our civil rights enforcement work. with respect to guns, people in the fbi care deeply about trying to stop gun violence. what the bureau does not do is get involved in public policy legal questions. our job is to enforce the law. we leave it to the department of justice to make suggestions. we are passionate about trying to enforce the law against bad guys with guns of all kinds, especially in our cities, where gun violence is increasingly a plague this year. >> the proliferation of guns and dangers law enforcement, does it not? >> but gentlelady's time has expired. director comey: guns in the hands of criminals and danger
all of us, including law enforcement. >> thank you. >> i think all of us would agree with that. i'll recognize myself for five minutes. i want to thank you for being here. many people at the committee have recognized your unbiased attitude towards enforcing the law as written. i think that speaks very highly of you. i've been impressed with the cogency and clarity of your testimony this morning. i believe the commitment to independent enforcement of the law is a genuine and sincere conviction on your part. let me -- the department of justice has investigated past allegations of possible violations, and i know you've touched on this before, so forgive me for rehashing it, possible violations of the
partial-birth abortion ban act. in a letter dated august 4, 2015 responding to this committee's request for an investigation of possible violations of the partial-birth abortion ban act by planned parenthood, the department of justice stated that since the inception of the act, the department has invested allegations with facilities that are related to possible violations of that law. is there any current investigation by the fbi related to planned parenthood and the footage that's been released by the center for medical progress at this time that you know of? director comey: i will get back to you and let you know. as i sit here now, i don't have a strong enough grasp of where that stands. i do know letters were sent to the department of justice. i'll get back to you.
>> as far as you know, even apart from the planned parenthood videos, do you know of any partial birth abortion ban investigations by the fbi? director comey: i don't. i believe we have, but i don't know enough to answer that well right here. >> i would appreciate that last part being included in any response you have. there's some of us that think the rule of law applies to these little ones that have so little ability to protect themselves as well. let me shift gears. there's been several questions asked today about gun violence. i agree with your last answer completely, that we want to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. it is vital for the safety of the public. there are those of us that would ask law enforcement, do we think it would be wise to take guns out of the hands of law enforcement?
almost no one would suggest that. we believe, i do, that guns in the hands of properly trained fbi agents is a protection to the public. from my perspective, that would suggest it is not the guns, it is whose hands they are in. it is hard to make a case that if they are a protective measure in the hands of police officers, that they are something that can protect and prevent violence, that they are a good thing, and that all of us from almost every spectrum of political consideration would suggest that, then the obvious reason becomes that it is indeed not the guns, but whose hands they are in. my question to you is, how do we separate the argument so that we are doing everything we can to
prevent those who have lost their second amendment rights, who have demonstrated violence toward society, or an issue with mental illness, how do we deal with that while still leaving intact the right to own and their arms under the second amendment by those who follow the law? director comey: i think that's a question for others, including congress. the fbi's role is such, i think it is very important that not be a debate we participate in. we don't make policy for the american people. the american people tell us what they think the law should be. we will enforce the law. i think that is critical to us remaining honest, competent, and independent. it is not a conversation i think
the fbi should participate in professionally. >> that is a reasonable answer. i hope that we can do that. with that, i'm going to end my question time. do we have -- yes, we do. mr. bishop is not here. oh, i'm sorry. mr. bishop, you're recognized for five minutes. flying under the radar. >> i was here earlier. i apologize for stepping out. i want to thank you and your entire team, because what you do on a daily basis is something that most of us don't even know about. we can't comprehend. you keep us safe and we are grateful for what you do. on behalf of my family, my constituents, i'm grateful to you and your entire department. wanted to tell you that. i admire your testimony today.
thank you for your candor. you've been here forever. i thought maybe i'd ask you about syrian refugees and what we're seeing. my state of michigan is a huge hub for those of middle eastern descent. there is concern about refugees in our country. i'd like to ask you, how do we vet these refugees coming to our country? is there a way to do it that we can rely upon? my office does a lot of immigration work. we work with those who are attempting to emigrate legally every day and we help them anyway we can to get through the hoops. it is very strange that we now have groups that are coming in
the way they are, that really skip all those steps in between. i'm wondering if you could share your experience and what you know about the process. director comey: it's a process i described as good news and bad news. we have gotten much better at organizing ourselves so that we get a complete picture of what we know about somebody. we learned some lessons from iraqi refugees eight years or so ago. we've gotten better. if there's a ripple this person has created in our pond, i'm confident we will see it. the bad news is, we will have less data with respect to folks coming out of syria then we did with iraq. we don't have the u.s. army presence that would give us biometrics. the risk is that someone who is a blank slate to us will be vetted in a process that is complete but will show no sign of anything because they never crossed our radar.
that's why i described it as a process that has gotten better, but we can't tell you is risk-free. >> as time goes on, the process that you are going through will be more apparent to the american people. there are a lot of folks in my state who are very concerned. that level of unknown, of not understanding the process, has caused a little panic across the district. the more we can here, the more we understand what the process is. we remember the iraqi refugees in the state of michigan, especially my area. i appreciate your ongoing communication. i want to switch gears with you real quick. i've had the pleasure of working with a number of youth-serving organizations and one of those is here today. it is important work they do. i've spoken to some of them
about the importance of keeping their kids safe. one of the ways they do that is getting background checks. it ensures so many different ways of fostering a safe environment. it is an issue i feel deeply about. can you talk about the value of including national fbi fingerprint background checks as part of the comprehensive screening of staff and volunteers? there are so many that are right there with our children. we know that the fbi background check is the gold standard of the process. can you share a little bit about how we can promote that and encourage that? director comey: thank you, congressman. if i remember correctly, we've been doing a pilot program on that topic at our criminal justice information systems of operation, which i believe is the gold standard.
anybody who wants to ensure that people in contact with children have been checked out, the best way to do it is working with us. as an exciting new feature that is coming on now, we are building in something called rap back. if you query somebody as a daycare provider, if they are ever again arrested, you will be notified. that will make a big difference and make the gold standard platinum in a way. i very much agree with your sentiment. >> did you say rap back? director comey: rap back. someone develops a rap sheet, we get back. >> ok. thank you for your time.
>> i thank the gentleman. my apologies for missing you the first time. i now recognize mr. ratcliffe for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey, thanks for being here. i want to ask you a couple cyber security issues. i do want to follow up on a question i asked at the homeland security committee yesterday. we had a brief exchange about the president's decision to take in 10,000 syrian refugees. that is a 500% or 600% increase over prior years. humanitarian concerns aside, i was troubled with respect to national security. particularly because isis has said it would use, or would try to use, the refugee process to get into the united states. our own databases don't have
information on some of these individuals, so there are gaps of intelligence. we had a discussion about that figure of 10,000 yesterday. if you had been the sole decider on that issue, what would you have recommended to the president? director comey: i don't know. i'm pleased to say it's not my job to recommend that to the president. >> i know the fbi is not a policymaking body with respect to that issue, but as you recall, we had a discussion, i asked secretary johnson the same thing, and he assured me there was an interagency process. i guess what i'm trying to get at, is this a figure the administration presented to you and said, meet the security obligations that come with this,
or was this part of a process where there was actually input from folks like you that should be providing input on what that number would be? director comey: i think there was plenty of the input from the fbi and intelligence community on how we thought about the good news and the bad news. i don't recall, don't know if i could say if i did recall, how a number came up. it wouldn't have come from the fbi. >> you understand the concern, that we would hope these decisions were driven by intelligence, rather than political reasons or pressure from our european allies or other folks around the world. in your written testimony, you said you wanted to get this right. you set the actual crime problem
is cyber-based or facilitated. i want to let that sink in for everybody, because it is such an important point for us and for the fbi, and it really speaks to the gravity of an issue that you are facing an element of a cyber security. what are the major challenges that you face in detecting and prosecuting cybercrime at the fbi? director comey: thank you for that question and thank you for the bringing of that issue and for your leadership there. the question is the folks and the equipment. in reverse order, the bad guys have very sophisticated equipment. we want to make sure we have world-class systems and we have
great people to operate them and that is a challenge when we are facing a cyber security industry that will play -- pay a lot of young folks a lot of dough. those are the two big focus is for us. mr. ratcliffe: so the insider threat has been described i at least some as a threat to businesses that operate in cyberspace. we saw the scale of that threat in response to edward snowden. i know the department of justice has asked congress for clarity on the law in this area, for assistance in prosecuting insiders who access sensitive data that they are not authorized to. i want to give you an opportunity to elaborate on that from your perspective. director comey: it's an important part of the threat, that is absolutely true.
i don't know what the department's questions and concerns are about their legislative authority on that front, so i don't think i can offer anything useful there. mr. ratcliffe: ok. well, my time is expired and like everybody else, i want to express my thanks. i had the opportunity to work for you when you were the deputy general, and i have great confidence in you and i am grateful for your continuing service. i am grateful for the fact that you are in the director's chair and the you are making such important questions about security. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. mr. chairman: i would like to echo those comments and we are grateful that you are on the job. this will conclude today's hearing. we would like to thank our distinguished witness and thanked the audience for being here and without objection, all members will have five
legislative days to submit additional questions for the witenss or additional information for the record. thank you, director comey. meeting adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> friday washington journal will be dedicated entirely to your reaction to hillary clinton's testimony before the house benghazi committee. we will have two hours of your phone calls, tweets, and facebook posts at 7:00 a.m. eastern time on c-span. >> a signature feature of book tv is our all-day coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country with top nonfiction authors. here's our schedule beginning this weekend. we are live in the heartland for the wisconsin book festival in medicine. at the end of the month, we will be in nashville. at the start of november, we are back on the east coast for the boston book festival. in the middle of the month, the louisiana book festival in baton rouge. at the end of november, we are live from florida for the miami book fair international.
at the national book awards from new york city. just some of the fairs and festivals this fall on c-span 2's book tv." auto industry executives, safety regulators, and consumer advocates testified at a house hearing about proposed changes to how card owners are notified about safety recalls. congressman mike burgess chairs the two hour and 45 minute hearing. >> if everyone will take their seats, the committee will come to order. good morning. i want to welcome everyone to
our hearing today on examining ways to improve vehicle and roadway safety. hearing today on examining ways to improve vehicle and roadway safety. i will recognize myself for five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement. certainly lives dependent on the safety of cars, safety of trucks, and on the roads themselves in the united states. and on the whole the data is good around the decrease in fatalities against miles driven. but the hearings over the last two years have certainly underlined the severity of problems that do exist, and there's no room for going slow when it comes to safety and certainly deception cannot and will not be tolerated. it is incumbent upon us, the national highway traffic safety administration, and others to
assure absolutely compliance with vehicle safety standards and processes. lives the depend on it. it is also our responsibility to revisit the adequate si of safety standards and processes that determine whether they provide sufficient protection to our nation's motorists. this past year i think it has been clear to many of us on the committee and certainly clear to me that this is not always the case and that there is room for improvement. to that end, the discussion draft that we will examine today includes modifications to certain federal motor vehicle safety standards and their processes that will enhance safety practices amongst automakers at the national traffic highway safety administration itself and provide more information to consumers about vehicle safety and foster the development of new automotive technologies that will save lives. some of these modifications
include updating how the national highway traffic safety administration makes information available to consumers. the discussion draft will -- before publicizing recall notices to consumers as well. these changes are intended to improve overall recall awareness by providing drivers were more complete information about a safety recall and giving them the means to take immediate action to get their vehicles fixed once the defect notice is received. the discussion draft also contains proposaled intended to improve how the national traffic safety administration collects and analyzes vehicle safety information. to increase accountability and improve safety practices amongst vehicle manufacturers, the
discussion draft extends their remedy and their obligations under recalls and increases the time they must maintain safety records to facilitate the identification of potential defects and institutes safety incentives that encourage investment into next generation's safety technologies. after a record year for recalls, the draft we will examine today also discusses roadway safety, vehicle safety, and is a continuation of this subcommittee's efforts to restore confidence in american motorists that the cars that they drive are safe, that the recall process works, and that automakers and the national highway traffic safety administration are capable of keeping pace with the technology and the complexity of cars in the future. i certainly want to thank all of our witnesses for their testimonies. i look forward to an engaging
and lively discussion on these issues as we seek to improve auto safety, save more lives, and ultimately benefit the driving public. with that, i will yield back the balance of my time and recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding today's hearing on a legislative effort to enhance auto safety and improve the recall process. i think it is a mistake to hold this hearing without a non-government data security witness. this draft legislation includes provisions related to privacy and data protection and it would benefit all of us to better understand the implication of those provisions. it has been plenty months since the initial gm recall and you think this committee would have acted sooner. as we see again today with the toyota recall of 6.5 million
vehicles, these safety issues aren't going away. as a sponsor of legislation, i'm happy we're finally having a legislative hearing. unfr unfortunately, i believe we're having it on the wrong bill. the vehicle safety improvement act, the bill i introduced with ranking member pallone and five other members of the subcommittee in march. nhtsa needs to improve rear crashworthiness and every automaker as a executive responsible for certifying the accuracy and completeness relating to safety investigations. i'm glad those provisions were included, but it would have been much better and more useful for the majority to engage in a bipartisan discussion during this bill.
had that dialogue taken place, many of the weaknesses in the bill could have been addressed prior to this hearing. it includes several provisions that would enhance safety and improve the efficacy of recalls, none of which are included in this draft legislation. the vsia would more than double nhtsa's funding for vehicle safety programs. this bill provides no explicit additional funding for the agency. the vsia would increase the quality of information shared. while there is a nod to those priorities in this draft legislation, there's little meaningful change from the status quo. the bill would require manufacturers to fix all recalled vehicles free of charge rather than just those that were purchased within the past ten years. this discussion draft would not. under vsia, nhtsa would have
authority to expedite recalls. neither of those changes are part of this discussion draft. beyond those missteps, the republican draft legislation takes egregious steps in the wrong direction. the bill would give automakers a break from health based carbon emissions requirements. in the wake of volkswagen's cheating, it makes no sense we would give carmakers a free pass to pollute beyond standards needed to maintain public health. this provision is a big win for the volkswagens of the world but does nothing to help the public. i urge my colleagues to engage
in a bipartisan legislative process that will yield a stronger and more comprehensive bill. i'm anxious to participate in that kind of dialogue. we still have an opportunity to do that. unless there is someone else who would want some time, i yield back my time. >> chair recognizes mr. upton. five minutes for an opening statement, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a car isn't just how you get around when you're from michigan. it's a neighbor's job. it's the backbone of our state's my. we take great pride in the industry's inventiveness, resilience, and creativity. it's helped the industry become a global leader. but over the past couple of years, we've seen the best of what the auto industry has to offer. it's no secret that i'm an optimist and believe that the future is bright for the auto
industry for michigan and for the country, but unfortunately we have seen safety shortcomings and flat out dishonesty along the way. we're in the midst of an exciting time of automotive. what was once science fiction is now becoming reality. this innovation is to be applauded not only because it will revolutionize driving, but because of what it means for vehicle safety, the environment, and most importantly save lives. the staff discussion draft that we're going to review today is a starting point to achieve those ends. it includes proposals intended to foster greater vehicle and roadway safety. some pieces like having a corporate officer responsible for safety compliance certainly isn't new opposi.
other ideas may need to evolve. there's good talk about forming a working group to address cybersecurity best practices. the draft seeks to address concerns around recall awareness and incentivizes automakers to invest in technologies that will indeed save more lives. this is a life-saving endeavor. i look forward to a thoughtful and engaging dialogue on the merits of each proposal. while we have a ton of witnesses today, i want to invite everyone with an interest to give us feedback on how we can improve
the legislation. our work continues to improve safety for drivers and i yield my time to marsha blackburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank our witnesses for being here today. chairman burgess, i want to thank you for this hearing. i think you have chosen a great day. it is october 21st, 2015. remember the significance of that date and hear we are talking about interconnectedness of cars and using tablets, so perfect day to have this discussion. chairman burgess, i thank you for the draft that you have brought forward. my constituents are truly interested in this issue whether they work with toyota or gm or nissan or in the after market
auto parts industry with autozone. when you look at the stats that we're going to have a quarter billion interconnected cars on the roadway by 2020, by 2020, and the significance of that, as automobiles have become more computerized, it's important for us to look at these technological advances such as the vehicle to vehicle communication. there's a lot of curiosity about that. we look forward to getting some answers as to how this is going to work, and i thank the gentleman from texas for initiating the conversation and yield back. >> chair, thanks the gentlelady. the chairman recognizes mr. pallone five minutes for an opening statement, please. >> the title of today's hearing refers to vehicle and roadway safety, but it's clear from the draft before us that safety is
not the focus. instead of improving au auto safety, this draft weakens consumer and environmental protections. traffic fatalities group in the u.s. by -- injuries are also up. medically related motor vehicle injuries grew by 33% since 2014. earlier this year we introduced the vehicle safety improvement act of 2015 with an eye towards comprehensive auto safety legislation. t it gets nhtsa the information, resources, and authorities needed to protect consumers and also empowers consumers with
more information and ensures used cars are refixed before resold. this draft would give automakers credits towards greenhouse gas emissions. even though there's no apparent link between these technologies and lower emissions. manufacturers would get credits for things they are already doing, not as an incentive to improve safety. nhtsa has already released its proposal to require v-to-v enabled cars. many crash avoidance technologies are part of a prominent safety rating from the insurance institute for highway safety. automakers have considerable incentive to add those features to cars.
i'm alarmed that congress would consider giving automakers a way around environmental regulations. auto companies would receive a pass on pollution because they install communications devices in their vehicles. communication devices will not prevent greenhouse gases. i'm also concerned about the privacy and cybersecurity provisions in this draft. as more high-tech vehicle safety equipment is integrated into cars, strong consumer privacy and data protections are more important than ever. but instead of improving privacy and data protections, this giving automakers liability protection. because my time is limited, i want to turn to process for a moment. i'm disappointed by the unilateral approach taken by the majority in drafting this
legislation. for months, we have been trying to work with our republican colleagues to draft auto safety legislation that would meaningfully reduce deaths. but instead of pursuing a bipartisan approach, the majority chose to prepare this legislation behind closed doors. regardless, if the majority wants to open up the clean air act, then this bill must be the subject of a hearing. mr. chairman, this draft in my opinion fails to increase auto safety. it harms the environment. this is a weak bill that i can't support. yet again i can only express my hope that in the near future we can work together to make real progress towards improving auto safety. i yield back. >> this concludes opening
statements. the chair would like to remind members pursuant to committee rules all members opening statements will be made part of the record. beg again, we want to thank our witnesses for being here today taking time to testify before the subcommittee. today's hearing will consist of two panels. each will have the opportunity to give an opening statement followed by a round of questions. once we conclude with questions on the first panel, we'll take a brief recess to set up for the second panel. our first witness panel for today's hearing is to include dr. mark rosekind, the administrator of the national highway traffic safety administration and mrs. maneesha mithal, the associate director of the division of privacy and identity protection at the federal trade commission. we appreciate both of you being here today and sharing your time with us. we'll begin the panel with you,
dr. rosekind, and you are recognized for five minutes for an opening statement. >> it's a privilege to rep the men and women of the national highway traffic and safety administration. our mission is focused on saving the 32,719 lives lost, prechting the 2.1 million injuries, and reducing the 5.4 million crashes that occurred on american roadways in 2013. in just the last ten months, the agency has done the following. strengthened our oversight and enforcement on vehicle safety, issuing penalties for recall and safety reporting failures and making innovative orders to improve safety performance in the auto industry.
we've embraced secretary fox's call to accelerate technologies that can save lives. accelerating proposed rule making on vehicle to vehicle technology. we're taking view of our regulatory structure. announcing our intent to add automatic emergency braking to our auto system. and we have answered the call of this committee and the american public to improve our own performance in identifying safety defects. to -- these efforts are underscore nhtsa's commitment to safety. whatever decisions this committee or the congress will make, nhtsa will seek to do all we can. with your help, we can do
everyoeven more. in the grow america act, secretary fox proposed significant enhancements to nhtsa's safety authorities, including imminent hazard authorities similarly held by other safety regulators, criminal penalties for vehicle hacking, and significantly enhance civil penalty authority to provide meaningful deterrence against violations of the vehicle safety act. this would provide significant funding to enhance our office of defects investigation and to address emerging issues such as cybersecurity. these proposals are essential to enhance our safety mission. and as i told your senate colleagues in june, failure to address gaps in our available authority, personnel, and resources are a known risk to safety. nhtsa has been only able to
spend a few days on this legislative proposal that was released late last week. i would like to thank the committee members and staff with their engagement with nhtsa and hope productive conversations can continue. the discussion draft proposal includes a provision that would provide fuel economy to automakers for deploying advanced crash technologies. i would raise two general points here. first, there should not be a tradeoff between safety and public health. the american public expects vehicles that address both safety concerns and public health and environmental concerns. second, the automakers already have ample incentive to deploy safety technologies. the lives they can save and the injuries they can prevent. state agencies are one potential touch point for owners,
especially second or third owners of used vehicles. the technology is not yet in place, which is why grow america proposed a pilot program to work through these issues. under the draft proposal, states that do not meet the requirement would be kicked out of the national driver register, that identifies traffic offenders and ensures that commercial drivers have clean records. the current proposals may have the opposite of their intended effect. by providing regulated entities majority reputation on committees to establish appropriate practices and standards and th standar standards, the proposals could undermine nhtsa's ability to set safety. the draft proposal would require
nhtsa to prepare recall notices with the manufacturer. this proposal would require nhtsa to withhold safety defect information from the public and give the manufacturers responsible for the defect control over the timeline and release of nhtsa initiated recall actions. this proposal weakens the agency's enforcement authority as in direct conflict with other congressional legislation. the best response to recent events to auto safety is -- to achieve its mission by working together to address gaps in our authorities and resources. discussion of these and other issues is essential to our shared goal of greater safety on america's roads. i thank you. >> chair thanks the gentleman.
gentleman, yields back. >> dr. burgess, ranking member, and members of the subcommittee, i'm maneesha mithal. i appreciate the opportunity to present the commission's testimony on the privacy and security related provisions of the discussion draft to provide greater transparency, accountability, and safety for nhtsa. we are the primary federal agency charged with protecting the people with safety and privacy. in addition to enforcing a wide range of privacy and security laws, the ftc educates consumers and businesses.
section 5 action on the manufacturer's website, even if the misrepresentation is unrelated to vehicle data. security researchers, however, have uncovered security vulnerabilities in connected cars by accesses such systems. responsible researchers often contact companies to inform them of these vulnerabilities so the companies can voluntarily make their cars safer. by prohibiting such access even for research purposes, this provision would likely discourage such research to the debtriment of consumers privacy and safety. the bill creates an advisory council to develop best practices. manufacturers that implement these best practices will have a safe harbor. however, the current draft may not result in best practices robust enough to protect consumers for several reasons. first, at least 50% of the
council's membership must consist of representatives of automobile manufacturers because any best practices approved by the council will be by a simple majority of members, manufacturers alone could decide what best practices would be adopted. second, the discussion draft contains eight areas the best practices may but not must cover. in this respect, the draft does not create a minimum standard for best practices. third, there's no requirement to update practices in light of emerging risks in technologies. fourth, but creating a clear evidence standard, the bill gives nhtsa too little discretion and would likely result in the approval of plans that meet the bare minimum best practices on paper. finally, the proposed safe harbor is so broad it would immunize manufacturers from liability, even as to deceptive statements. for example, false claims on a
manufacturers website about its use of firewalls would not be actionable if these subjects were covered by the best practices. in sum, the commission understands the desire to provide businesses with certainty and incentives to implement best practices. however, the security provisions of the discussion draft would allow manufacturers to receive substantial liability protections in exchange for weak best practices by a council they control. t thank you for the opportunity to provide the commission's views on the discussion draft. we lo-- >> gentlelady yields back. we will move to the question and answer portion of the hearing.