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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 19, 2015 6:00pm-12:01am EST

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support the american people, the constitution of the united states. keeping the american people safe is our first responsibility. it's the oath we take, and if the american people rbt safe, what else really -- aren't safe, what else really matters? we understand the concern, the fear that has -- goes out in the country when an act of terrorism strikes. and in fact, that's the goal of terrorists -- to instill fear, to instill terror. we cannot let them succeed. and so we have to take the measures necessary to protect the american people and to be very strong in how we do it. and that's why i have a problem with the bill that is on the floor today. because i think we have a much stronger, better option to protect the american people, and that is in the form of the
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thompson-lofgren legislation. in the bill, unlike the republican bill, the democratic alternative applies tough scrutiny to all refugees, potential refugees, not just syrians and iraqis, as the republican bill is limited to. it would require -- the thompson-lofgren secure refugee process act, would require the secretary of homeland security to verify the identity of all refugee applicants, any application that contains insufficient, conflicting or unreliable information would be denied from day one. the bill also requires that at least five federal agencies -- the department of homeland security, the attorney general, the federal bureau of investigation, are the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the director of national intelligence -- check all refugee applicantses -- applications against their records.
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anything that has a national security or criminal threat would be denied. all. not iraq, syria. all. two former secretaries of homeland security, janet napolitano -- secretary janet napolitano and secretary michael chertoff, have written about the process that's in existence now and which the thompson-lofgren legislation respects, the process that is currently in place is thorough and robust and so long as it's fully implemented and not diluted -- and not diluted, it would allow us to safely admit the most vulnerable refugees while protecting the american people. fortunately, they say, these goals are not mutually exclusive. there are other things we could be doing in a bipartisan way,
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and i would hope that was a place we could have gone with this, and one of them relates closing loopholes in the visa waiver program. our colleagues on the senate side today are putting forth their principles, and they state, if an isis recruit attempts to travel to the united states on a fraudulent passport, paper passport issued by a country that participates in the visa waiver program, that individual would avoid biometric screening and in-person interviews. how could we allow this loophole -- if we are truly addressing this challenge in a comprehensive way? and as if the republicans want to make the nation safer in the face of terror, there is another clear area in which we should act and that is we should be voting on congressman peter king, republican peter
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king's bill to close the appalling loophole that's outrageous. it's outrageous that a person who's on the terrorism watch list -- listen to this. if someone is on the terrorist watch list could walk into a gun store and buy a gun. his bill is called the denying firearms and explosive to dangerous terrorists act. visa waiver, close the terrorist gun loophole. according to the g.a.o., over the last 11 years, more than 2,000 suspects on the f.b.i.'s terrorist watch list bought weapons in the united states. did you know that? did you know that? 91% of all suspected terrorists who tried to buy guns in the united states walked away with the weapon they wanted over the
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ime period with just 190 rejected despite ominous history. 10:1 were 5: 1, able to get the guns? it is outrageous that we would be slamming the door of mothers and children while we still allow people on the terrorist watch list to walk in the door . a gun store and buy a gun and in regard to those mothers and children, i am with u.s. catholic conference of bishops o the episcopalians, presbyterians, evangelicals and juish groups, i say the republican bill before the house today fails to meet our values and fails to strengthen the security of the american people. families in syria and iraq are
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desperately trying to escape isis' gruesome campaign of torture, rape and violence and terror from the assad regime. the republican bill before the use today severely handicaps the refugee settlement in the future in our country. instead, it slams the door -- that door, again, on desperate mothers and children fleeing isis' unspeakable violence. as lee anderson, president of the national association of evangelicals, said, quote, of course we want to keep terrorists out of our country but let's not punish the victims of isis for the since of isis -- for the sins of isis. did you know this? here are the facts. since 2001 only about -- in the last few years, only about 2,200 syrians have been admitted to the united states.
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half are children. 25% are seniors. all faced an 18 to 24-month screening process. at the refugee council, a coalition of more than 80 states, humanitarian and human rights groups point out in their letter to congress, because so few refugees in the world are resettled, the united states often chooses the most vulnerable, including refugees who cannot remain safely where they are and families with children who cannot receive the medical care they need to survive. mr. speaker, i'd like to submit the refugee council's letter with all of the co-signers for the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. pelosi: thank you. as it is a proud american tradition, we can both ensure the security of our country and
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welcome desperate women and children and seniors faces isis' brutality. my colleague that spoke before me said our hearts go out to the refugees, but our hand of iendship does not and it could. we could do this in a bipartisan way. if we betray our values as a country and slam the door in the face of those innocent victims of terror, we do not strengthen our security. we weaken ourselves in the ght against isis' savage ideology. as the refugee council wrote to congress, and this is important, it would send a demoralizing and dangerous message to the world that the united states makes judgments about people based on the country they come from and their religion. this feeds into extreme propaganda and all -- and makes us all less safe.
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you know, i talked about the french to begin with. it was interesting to me to hear president hollande speaking to thousands of people in the wake of the tragedy. and what he said in some of his emarks at various venues was that france would be welcoming 30,000 refugees from syria in the period ahead. with all that they had suffered, the immediacy of the tragedy, the emotion of the moment and still doing the right thing. if we betray our values as a country and slam the door, again, on these victims, we do not strengthen our security, i said that. and all i can just say is this bill does not make us safer. the republican bill before us does not make us safer. it does not reflect our values,
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and it does not have my support. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the minority leader has expired. the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: thank you, mr. speaker. i am pleased to yield a minute to the gentleman from nebraska, mr. ashford. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nebraska is recognized for one minute. mr. ashford: i thank the gentleman from south carolina. mr. speaker, in my view, h.r. 4038 is in fact a commonsense pproach to address the legit imate security concerns that my constituents are expressing today in wake of horrific attacks in paris, in my view a game changer -- it's a game-changer -- we must and are obligated to reassess our existing procedures and that's what all this bill does. for admitting and monitoring refugees from countries associated with isis. i cannot sit back and ignore the concerns of my constituents and the american public.
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this legislation does not shut down the refugee asylum process. if it did i wouldn't support it. we are simply asking the administration to reassure us that those coming to the united states do not pose a threat to the american people. we should not accept anything less from our federal government. i am very proud of our american legacy as a welcoming nation, and i have devoted much of my professional life to that concept and idea. this legislation, in my view, simply does not diminish that legacy. rather, this legislation will protect that legacy into the future and reassure americans that we are working to protect them. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from nebraska yields back. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i
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yield to my friend from new york, mr. meeks, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. mr. meeks: mr. speaker, i think it is without question that we have the strongest, the most stringent and the toughest refugee system in the entire world. i don't think anybody can dispute that. yet, we are still humanitarian bout what our system is. this bill is called america safe act, but where our greatest danger lies is when rhetoric is given for isis to utilize to recruit american citizens, those of us who are here to radicalize them and then they can go to a gunshop and buy an assault weapon. if we are truly wanting to make
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sure that america is safe, we should make sure that no homegrown or radicalized person here has access to an assault weapon. we should have a bill -- we want every american to be safe, as i hear my colleagues talking, i'm with you. how we make them safe, make sure that nobody, refugee otherwise, has the ability to come to our nation and put their hands on an assault weapon that could harm our people, that's what will keep america safe. working together with the most stringent refugee system is what we need to do. this is just something to try to keep people from coming in who are running away from rape, rom violence, from persecution
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. young children, women who are widows, who overwhelmingly are the individuals of the 2,000 that have been let in here. let's keep america safe. let's keep assault weapons out of our land, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. rohrabacher. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. rohrabacher: i rise in support of h.r. 4038. this legislation will give us a pause to ensure that a safe haven in america is not used by terrorists to murder large number of americans. after the slaughter in paris, it be hoofs us to take a close look to see americans will not be put
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in jeopardy by flaws in our own system that already exists. yes, we can be proud that our country has a tradition of assisting suffering refugees, but we will not, we will not be consistent with that by putting americans in jeopardy. what can we do to improve the system, protect more americans? if we pause for a moment, we might come up with some ideas. for example, let me be the first one on the floor of the house to advocate that all people coming here especially from the middle east be given polygraph tests. let's give them a lie detector test. this shouldn't be an option for our embassies but a requirement. timely, we heard several references to the jews being sent back in 1938 to nazi germany. they had been targeted for
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genocide. it was wrong, it was horrible and immoral for us to send them back and not recognized they were targeted for genocide. today the christians in the middle east are targeted for genocide and i hear over here, no, but christians should get the priority the same way those jews should have been given the priority in 1938 because today christians are targeted for genocide in the middle east. if we are not to make the same mistake that september the jews back in 1938 to hitler's death camps let's not send christians back because it might people get upset. save the christians from genocide, but let's make our system better so americans are not put in jeopardy by the been eff lens of our own people.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i'm pleased to yield to my colleague from california, mr. sherman, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute. mr. sherman: we want to vote for a bill to reflect the angst of our constituents. if you eed this bill, you can't vote for it. the directors of f.b.i. and national intelligence and secretary of homeland security to personally review and vote on and certify each and every individual refugee file. we admitted 187 refugees last month. if our security leaders just spent two hours on each file, it will consume all of their working hours. isis cannot at the same time and permanently incapacitate our security leaders. this bill does. now some will say our security leaders won't look at the files but this is an underhanded way
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without taking responsibility. but our security leaders are human. and our security leaders will know if they invest a couple of hours in personally reviewing the file, they can save a human life and if they spend another two hours, they can save another human life. our security leaders will be full-time refugee evaluators. this bill is not a pause bill but a permanent bill which personal nantly incapacitates our security agencies. read the bill and vote no. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from mississippi, mr. palazzo. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. palazzo: we are under attack and we are being targeted and we are at war. the ep my has brought war to us
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and make no mistake this is radical muslim extremism. last week in paris we saw a reminder of how dedicated our enemy is. we must fight back and must do more. the united states of america must do more. the president of the united states on the very day isis attacked paris argued that isis had been contained. he was wrong. last year, the president called isis the j.c. team. he was wrong. he has been wrong on isis since the very beginning and he is wrong now. where is the strategy? where is the will power? where is the leadership? two years ago secretary of state john kerry testified in front of the house armed services committee about the need to arm syrian rebels. i questioned this decision because we had no way of vetting these rebels and i told secretary kerry at the time, america is not buying what you are selling. two years later, the administration has shut down the army in the syrian rebels because it was ineffective.
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now they want to bring in 10,000 refugees to the united states, refugees who the dect tore of the f.b.i. says cannot be fully vetted. mr. speaker, today we are going to pass a strong piece of legislation to protect the american people. the safe act will ensure the highest level of security is placed on every single syrian refugee and effectively stop this program to make sure americans are protected. i believe we should do more, but this is a powerful first step to stop dangerous terrorists from reaping our soil. but the president, our commander in chief, the one person charged with protecting the u.s. homeland above all others has threatened to veto this bill. i dare him. i dare the president because he is angrier at republicans than he is at terrorists. i dare him to veto this bill because he thinks his strategy is working. i dare the president of the united states to tell the citizens of the united states that he is more concerned with
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syrian refugees than the safety of the american people. i dare him. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i yield now one minute to the distinguished the ntleman from california, mr. liu. mr. lieu: i'm congressman ted bill. d i oppose the it is the wrong solution for the brong problem thrfment has not been a single act of terrorism on american soil committed by a refugee. and in paris those attacks were committed by french and belgian citizens. toought to be banning travel rance and belgium, and if that
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isn't crazy enough, america is a country born of persecution and equality for all. we are that shining city upon the hill. we are better than this. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back his time. the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy is recognized. mr. gowdy: it is my pleasure to yield two minutes to my friend from south carolina, mr. duncan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. duncan: i thank the gentleman from south carolina for yielding time. as a christian, i have compassion and sympathy for the refugees in syria. in fact, i visited with many of them at a camp in jordan that held 120,000 syrian refugees. we are criticized for not having compassion on this issue. let me tell you compassion cuts two ways. we should be cognizant of the
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compassion we show our fellow citizens in america. that compassion is exemplified by using the good sense that god gave us addressing the national security concern that our nation faces. our compassion should be to the best of our abilities, and this legislation does, says we are going to use the best of our abilities. we should do everything we can to make sure elements of evil are not introduced and interviews compassion in the hearts, towns and cities and states that we represent. we lock our doors not because we hate the people on the outside, we lock our doors because we love the people on the inside. this legislation is a great step, first step, first step to hit pause and let's get this right for the people we serve and the great nation that we swear to uphold and defend. and with that, i yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina yield back. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i yield one minute to the distinguished the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. blumenauer: my republican friends, unlike the french who had the vision and courage not to scape got desperate syrian refugees fleeing the mr. barrow:ians that attacked barbariansfleing the in paris. they would do what the 9/11 hijackers using this system. are we going to pause and certify visas for students, tourists and workers? why not? one objectionable portion of this bill for me is i have worked for 10 years to try and help the iraqis who worked with
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us in iraq during that war to be able to escape the mercy of al qaeda with long memories who are killing and torturing them. this bill pulls the plug on that and condemns them to be left to the terrorists. i think that is reprehensible. these are people who depended upon us and relied upon us. we have been working in a bipartisan way for 10 years to help them escape to safety and this bill would slam that door shut. you ought to be ashamed. the speaker pro tempore: the time the gentleman from oregon has expired. the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: we reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to yield one minute
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to the distinguished the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. boyle. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. boyle: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this bill is a great way for congress to appear as if it's acting and achieving something without actually doing anything. mr. speaker, i'm proud to be a member of the foreign affairs committee. we have had numerous hearings from the beginning of the year, including yesterday, on this issue specifically. one of the great challenges western countries face is the problem of home-grown terrorism. we saw that last week in paris when the overwhelming majority of those who perpetrated these acts were french nationals and belgian nationals. the big issue we face is what do we do with those who hold european passports and can come here easily by getting a plane ticket? what do we do with the problem
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of home-grown terrorism here in the u.s. those are the key challenges we face and how we balance our civil liberties and need for tourism with our need for security. this bill sadly today does absolutely nothing about it. so we are going to pass this bill and pat ourselves on the back and go home and say we did something when actually we have done nothing to achieve the problem and protect the security of the american people. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back. the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. gouddepoud we continue to reserve. the eaker pro tempore: gentleman continues to reserve. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i yield to the ntleman from california, mr. becerra, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. becerra: the safety of our fellow americans and america
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itself is and must be our number one priority, our number one responsibility here in this chamber. the people of america have the right to expect indeed demand exactly that. our national security screening and background system for refugees is the toughest in the world. that is why so few refugees from syria have ever been able to receive their clearance to be accepted into this country. ut then paris, november 13 happened. we're reminded of 9/11. if i believe that this rushed legislation made our toughest of refugee screening systems work better, i would vote for it. but if this rushed legislation only adds another layer of bureaucracy that makes our screening process look tougher and then results in women and children who are fleeing the very terrorists we seek to keep out dereknying them of a chance
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to seek refuge here in this country, i cannot support that. our tradition and our values open our door to those as in the past who fled europe to start this country in the first place. it is up to us to do this courageously and do it right, not with rushed legislation. i urge a no vet and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from south carolina. mr. gowdy: we continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman continues to reserve. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to yield to the gentleman from tennessee, a member of the judiciary committee, one member. -- one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen is recognized for one minute. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. conyers, thank you for the time. this bill is here not having gone through committee. it's not our normal process. it's considered an emergency. it's not an emergency.
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refugees will not get in this country for a year and a half to two years from the time they apply. we could come back and look at the democratic bill of which i'm a co-sponsor that incorporates mr. king's amendment on terrorists, people getting guns who could be on the terrorist list, and get a democratic and republican bill that we might find we could agree on. instead, we're doing this for politics and we're doing it as a of inuing use of pinata president barack hussein obama. this is an attack on the president who has the response to believe the defend us. this doesn't make us safer, it's a political way to attack the president and it's wrong. that's why i will be voting no i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: may i inquire how much time we have left remaining on our side.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina has two minutes remaining, the gentleman from michigan has four minutes remaining. mr. gowdy: we continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman continues to reserve. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert into the record from today's "new rk times" editorial board, noted today, refugees from the ar aren't the enemy. this measure represents the election year pandering to the exene phobia that -- to the xenophobea that rears up when people from abroad arrive. people who know these issues, law enforce -- law enforcement and intelligence professional,, immigration officials and humanitarian groups, say this wrongheaded proposal simply
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would not protect americans from foreign enemies. thank you, sir. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: i will continue to reserve until such time as my friend from michigan has closed. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: thank you. mr. speaker, i'm proud to yield to ms. lofgren a member of the committee, -- a member of the committee on judiciary, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. lofgren: mr. speaker, i have listened to all of this debate with keen interest. and a sense of great sadness that we were unable to come up with a bipartisan bill today. i would like to note, however, that a bill was introduced by myself and mr. thompson of
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mississippi that is much tougher than the bill before us. it would relate to all refugees in terms of their identity and their excludeability, including nigerians, when we war worry about boko haram, somalians because we may be worried about el sagab. but we also took good ideas from mr. mccaul, it is a good idea to do some sampling on the i.g. it is a good idea to have some reporting to committees. unfortunately, our bill was not put in order. but it is a stronger bill. it incorporates the good ideas in the republican bill. but a smarter approach to deal with the threat. i yield back the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. speaker, i ask
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unanimous consent to have included in the record letters of opposition to h.r. 4038. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. conyers: and now i yield to the gentlelady from florida, ms. fran tell, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from florida is recognized for one minute. ms. frankel: mr. speaker, our folks back home are understandably fright and there's no question that isil must be destroyed and that the safety of americans must be our first priority. to deny refuge to women and children who are fleeing rape and torture and who go through a two-year vigorous entry process will not make us a safer country. at a time we're trying to forge a coalition of international nations, it is self-defeating to
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send a message of isolation. our anti-terrorism resources must be focused on terrorists, not on innocent human beings seeking shelter from the most unspeakable horrors. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from michigan is ecognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield myself the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: thank you. members of the committee and of the house, instead of slamming our doors to the world's most vulnerable, we should be considering legislation to strengthen and expand refugee programs. unfortunately, the bill before us today is not a serious effort to legislate and it will not make us safer.
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it's a knee jerk reaction, as evidenced by the fact that this measure was introduced to us -- was introduced just two days ago and has not been the subject of a single hearing of any meaning -- or any meaningful review by our committee. rather than betraying our values, we must continue to focus on the most effective tools to keep us safe while providing refuge for the world's most vulnerable. accordingly, i plead with, i urge my colleagues, to please oppose h.r. 4038. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back. the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: thank you, mr. speaker. it seems common sense call that hen it comes o--
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commonsenseical, that when it comes to this we should rely on the men and women who are experts who have dead kayed their lives to public safety and national security. these are the facts. we don't have sufficient information to appropriately nfingt and vet failed nation states. this is a fact. isis has sworn to bring this war against innocence here. this is a fact. the administration officials noted isis may well use the refugee program to infiltrate our country. this is also a fact, mr. speaker. the margin for error is zero. it is zero. and the presumption should always be in favor of national security and public safety because that is the preeminent role of government. and it's our constitutional duty, mr. speaker, so unless and until those we place in charge of our national security and public safety canned pro-- can provide the necessary assurances, we should seek to aid those who need aid where
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they are. in conclusion, mr. speaker, the president says we are scared of widows and orphans. that's what passes for debate this day and age. with all due respect to the president, what we're really afraid of, mr. speaker, is a foreign policy that produces so many widows and orphans. he's the commander in chief, mr. speaker. his job is to make our home safer. you can also make the homeland of the refugees safer. he could restore order to the region and defeat that j.v. team he once thought he had contained. that would be the very best thing we could do for those who aspire to a better, safer life. with that, i would yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 531, the previous question is ordered on the bill. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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the ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: supplemental certifications and background investigations be completed prior to the admission of certain aliens as refugees and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from mississippi seek recognition? >> i have a motion to recommit at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: is the gentleman opposed to the bill? mr. thompson: i am opposed. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman qualifies. the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. thompson of mississippi -- open the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will suspend. mr. gowdy: may i reserve a point of order. the speaker pro tempore: point of order is reserved. the clerk will read. the clerk: to the committee on judiciary with instructions to report the same back to the -- mr. thompson: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading. the speaker pro tempore: is there objection? hearing none, so order. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for five minutes in support of his motion.
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mr. thompson: thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this is the final amendment to the bill which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. if adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final assage as amended. mr. speaker, my motion to recommit will do several things. first thing it will do is require the secretary of homeland security to verify the identify of refugee applicants. any application that contains insufficient, conflicting, or unreliable information would be denied. the second point of my motion to recommit is that this motion would require at least five federal agencies, the department of homeland security, the
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attorney general, and federal bureau of investigation, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the director of national intelligence, all -- all together, to check refugee applicants against their records. any application that indicates a national security or criminal threat would be denied. in addition, mr. speaker, my motion would also require that the secretary of homeland security would certify that all relevant federal immigration laws have been complied with and that the applicant has not been resettled in a safe third party country and has the department of homeland security's inspector general's review as a sample of the certification. fourthly, mr. speaker, my motion to recommit would require the department of homeland security
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inspector general to submit monthly reports to congress on refugee applications from syria and iraq. the secure refugee process act of 015 is a pro-security, pro-compassion bill that would ensure the u.s. continues to maintain the most extensive interagency security screening process in the world. to vet all people who seek safe harbor in a great nation. mr. speaker, the people we are talking about in this particular motion, they really don't have a country. many of them have been tortured. the women have been raped. the children, for the lack of a better term, are destitute. we are a nation of values. my bill speaks to those values.
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it does not pause the process. it does not create a moratorium to the process. it adds an additional layer of security without stopping the refugee program. . it is not the immigration bill. it's a refugee program. as i said earlier, we had 23,000 individuals apply for status under this particular program who were iraqi or syrian citizens. of that number, 7,000 received interviewed of that number, around 2,000 were approved. so, it takes time. and so what my motion to recommit is a prudent approach to recognizing the values of this country. and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? >> i rise in opposition to the
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motion to recommit. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman withdraw his point of reservation? mr. gowdy: yes, mr. speaker, i do. the speaker pro tempore: reservation withdrawn. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. gowdy: thank you, mr. speaker. a national security and public safety are the preeminent functions of government. national security and public safety are not simply factors to be considered in the administration of some broader policy objective. national security and public safety are the ultimate policy objectives. and the safety and security of our fellow citizens should be the driving force behind every decision that we make. this country, mr. speaker, has a long, proud, rich history of welcoming those fleeing persecution and liberating those suffering under oppression. we are the most welcoming, generous country in the world, having taken in over three million refugees since 1975. we are generous and compassionate, mr. speaker, because we are free. and we are free because we are a country rooted in the law and public safety and standards of
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decency protected by a fundamental commitment to national security. the world we currently find ourselves in, mr. speaker, is imperfect and becoming more imperfect. so rather than address the underlying pathology that results in displaced people, this administration is focused on the symptoms. there are refugees from the middle east and northern africa because those regions are on fire. and riddled with chaos and our bright lines and policies of containment have failed. mr. speaker, terrorists took the lives of over 100 innocent people in france and injured many more because they could. they killed 100 only because they could not kill 1,000. their objective is evil for the sake of evil, murder for the sake of murder, wanten and willful violence -- wanton and willful violence, premeditated depravity, calculated to take innocent lives. and the terrorists have been
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very open about their present and future objectives and we should therefore be equally clear about our objectives. administration officials responsible for national security and public safety, mr. speaker, have repeatedly warned us they cannot vet failed nation states. they cannot do background investigations where there is no database. isis will use any means available to harm us. what this administration needs to tell the american people, mr. speaker, is how much risk is acceptable. given the consequences of reconciling the risk wrongly, how much risk is this administration willing to take? when it comes to public safety, we have to be successful all of the time. and those who seek to do us harm have to be successful just once. so, how much risk are you willing to take with your own safety? how much risk are you willing to take with the safety of those you swore an oath to represent? and you have done everything in
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your power to mitigate that risk? have you done everything in your power to explore alternatives other than resettlement here? mr. speaker, every decision we make as elected officials should be with the safety and security of our fellow citizens as the preeminent objective. unless and until those in charge of security and public safety can provide assurances the aid we render to those in need should be rendered where they are. in conclusion, mr. speaker, let me say this. the president's the commander in chief. he should help us make this our home -- this, our home, safer. he should help us make the homeland of the refugees safer. he should restore order to the region. that would be the very best and most humane thing we could all do, provide a better, safer life for those who aspire one where they are. with that, i would oppose
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> the house today went on to pass the bill blocking syrian and iraqi refugees from entering the u.s. unless they pass background checks from three federal agencies. the vote was 289-137. "roll call" reporting that nearly every member of the democratic congressional campaign committee's program for vulnerable members voted in favor of the increased security checks for syrian and iraqi refugees. the story says, thanks to the support of 47 democrats, today's vote total in the house would be enough to override a veto. at least in that chamber. senate prospects are americay and president obama threatened o veto the bill. >> c-span has the best access to congress. watch live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate on c-span2. watch us online or on your phone at c-span.org. listen live any time on our
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c-span radio app. get best access from behind the scenes by following c-span and our capitol hill reporter on twitter. stay with c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org for your best ccess to congress. >> later this afternoon, f.b.i. director james comby gave an update on the wake of the paris attacks. saying there's no credible threat to the u.s. he spoke to reporters alongside attorney general loretta impling. -- lynch.
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ms. lynch: good afternoon, everyone. and thank you all for coming this afternoon. i am here with f.b.i. director jim comey to discuss our ongoing work to protect the security of the united states, particularly this light of recent events. obviously these are challenging times. with the recent attacks in paris, raising the profile of isis, and also raising anxiety here in the homeland. and as i've said previously, we stand in solidarity with the people of france at this difficult time. we are committed to providing any and all assistance to our allies in europe and around the world as we all face this global threat. now, we've made that commitment clear, not just with words, but with our actions.
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the department of justice, the f.b.i. and other agencies are in close contact with french authorities through our international legal assistance channels to provide support to the french and their ongoing investigation, to coordinate strategies with them, and to advance our shared efforts as we obtain further information that may be relevant to these attacks. we are operating on an expedited basis as well, to ensure that the victim assistance professionals at the department of justice and the f.b.i. are available to assist the victims and their families. we've also expanded the f.b.i.'s legal office in paris, to offer assistancen to ans a--- on an as-needed basis, and we have personnel working day and night to respond to any additional requests for assistance. earlier today, president obama spoke by phone with president hollande to discuss the latest developments in the investigation. and to reaffirm our partnership in the fight against terrorism. of course our highest priority is and will remain the security of our homeland and the safety
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of all americans. at the department of justice, we are operating around the clock, as we have since 9/11 and even before, to uncover and disrupt any plot that takes aim at our people, our infrastructure and our way of life. we take all threats seriously, we're acting aggressively to diffuse threats as they emerge, and we are vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who seek to harm the american people. in fact, since 2013, we have charged more than 70 individuals for conduct related to foreign fighter interests and homegrown violent extremism and we continue to take robust actions to monitor and to thwart potential extremist activity. the department of justice and the f.b.i. are working closely with the department of homeland security, with the broader intelligence community, and our partners around the world in all of these efforts. and we're bringing every resource to bear in the service of our mission. i think it's important to note
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that as we do this work, we are guided, obviously by our commitment to the protection of the american people, but also by our commitment to the protection of our american values. which include the timeless principles of freedom that have always made this country great. we need to say we will not let our actions be overtaken by allow e will not violence to rob us of our most precious ideals. our values are not secondary considerations in the fight against terror. they are central to the work that we do and they are essential to the nation that we protect. they are also the reason that we are a target and they are what terrorists want most to see to have us abandon. they want us to live in fear and we refuse. they want us to change who we are and what makes us quintessentially american and that we will never do. and now i'll turn the microphone over to the director of the f.b.i., jim comey, for a
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few remarks as well. mr. comey: thank you, madam attorney general. i'd like folks to know three things. how we think about the threat. what we're doing about it. and what you should do as a citizen in this great country of ours. first the threat. we are not aware of any credible threat here of a paris-type attack. and we have seen no connection at all between the paris attackers and the united states. isil and its supporters put out all kinds of propaganda, like videos and magazines, but that is not credible intelligence. of course we investigate all of those propaganda threats. but instead the threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in america who are being inspired or enabled online to do something violent for isil. we have stopped a lot of those people this year, especially leading up to july fourth, and there are others we worry about and we cover all across the country using all of our lawful
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tools. that's how we think about the threat. second, what are we doing about the threat? the taxpayers of this country have invested a lot of their money in building a national counterterrorism capability since 9/11. and that has built something very strong. we are not perfect, but we are good. starting minutes after the paris attacks on friday, we did four things. first, we began looking for connections between paris and here. second, we made sure that we were tightly connected with our state and local partners, that they knew everything we knew and that they were as energized as we are. third, we began covering every tip and every lead immediately and we have continued that to this moment. and last, we have made sure that our over 100 joint terrorism task forces are focused intensely on our investigations and in fact they have taken them up a notch. that is very hard work. but we are very fortunate to have the help of our state and local partners around the country. together we are watching people
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of concern, using all of our lawful tools, we will keep watching them and if we see something, we'll work to disrupt it. that's what we're doing about it. last, what should you, the people of the united states, do in response to this threat? the most important thing, i think, is do not let fear become disabling. that is what the terrorists want. they want you to imagine them in the shadows, they want you to imagine them as something greater than they are. instead, we hope that you will turn fear into healthy awareness of what's around you. if you see something that gives you a bad feeling, tell somebody in law enforcement. since september 11, we have really worked to get ourselves organized in such a way that if you walk up and tell any police officer in this country or any deputy sheriff in this country that you saw something that didn't seem right, you heard something that didn't seem right, or you read something online that seemed off, that information will get to the right people immediately. you can count on it. and we will check it out. if it's nothing, no harm done. but if it was something, great
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harm may be avoided. but counterterrorism is what you pay us to do. tell us what you saw and then go on living your lives, living your life while we could our work. that is channeling fear into something healthy, which is awareness of your surroundings, and not something disabling. that's what we hope you will do. thank you, madam attorney general. ms. lynch: thank you, mr. director. thank you all. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> also today after a more than two-hour closed-door meeting with the senate intelligence committee, secretary of state john kerry called for patience in the fight against isis. saying that the obama administration's strategy in syria would eventually pay off.
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mr. kerry: so we had a very constructive and, i think, helpful dialogue with ideas flowing both ways. let me just state here what i've said in there, which is not classified. d that is that we have a three-pronged strategy with respect to syria, iraq, daiish and the region. one is to degrade and defeat daiish. that has been our approach from the beginning. number two, to stabilize the region. and we're working with jordan, with lebron, with turkey and others to make sure that happens, we're the largest
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donors to the refugees. and three, it is to press for, push for, and try to achieve a diplomatic solution. that comes out of the political process that we've been engaged in in vienna. we're now at a stage where the opposition is coming together to choose those people who will negotiate for it. and hopefully there will be a conference in a few days, somewhere in a week, 10 days, two weeks, that will bring them together and at that point the united nations is prepared to convene the parties in geneva and begin the process of a -- of creating this transitional process for syria itself. the syrians themselves will negotiate that. we will be there, we will help in ways that we can, encourage the process. but it's syrians who have to resolve and decide the future of syria itself.
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with respect to daiish, president obama has already ordered increased efforts and has been doing that before the terrorist attacks and over the last month increased efforts. yet seen the results of that in ways, some of which i can only rooms of thehe intelligence committee come other ways people see publicly with communities being liberated with additional players coming to the battle and lying -- and engaged with their people on the ground. we have to be patient. i think it's important to remember what franklin roosevelt said about the only thing we itself.fear is fear in america, we understand who we are and we know what our values are. here, we know what our interests are and i'm confident if we stay inady, keep our heads
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thinking creatively and being strong and committed to our fundamental values, we will defeat daiish. we always said it will take time. please begin our fight against al qaeda in 2001 and it took us quite a few years before we were able to eliminate osama bin laden and the top leadership and neutralize them. much fastero daiish than that and we think we have the ability to do that. that is the effort and we are going to continue. >> can i have your reaction to the house will that just passed? and reaction to the rhetoric coming from republicans in terms of syrian refugees's saying they no longer want refugees to come here because they're worried about national security? there is anyone not worried about national security was just my long ago,
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we put in place the strongest requirements of any country in the world. we have had 785,000 refugees come into this country since 2009. --that comes only 12 people of that, only 12 people were arrested or deported at some point in time and not of them attacked anyone in this country. we do not have to lose our values in terms of our ability to vet people and to know exactly who they are and where they are coming from and no one can tell me we don't have the ability to look at a grandmother lets come out of a country in a war-torn situation with her grandkids and not be able to determine whether or not those people represent a threat. total ofe entire refugees led into our country since 2009, only 2% were male of a siding age similar to those
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people picking up the battle in syria. you know, it's inappropriate for america, of all the countries in the world to panic and somehow turn our backs on our fundamental values. we have the ability to check on the background checks. it takes, by the way, 18 months -two years to do a background check on one refugee. that's how much effort goes into it. i hope we can continue to do that. inc. you all very much. -- thank you all very much. >> this weekend, our c-span city store joined by our time warner cable partners will explore the history and literary life of syracuse, new york. on book tv, we visit the special collections library at syracuse university and learn about the antislavery movement in the area through the papers of a garrett smith.
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marsha wiseman discusses her book which explores the link between school suspensions and incarcerations into u.s. and then we speak with jeff hensley about his book which looks at why events go viral online. viral, something goes the process of social sharing, think of viral is a video that got one million views but it's actually more the process of which that happens. it's what happens when people share content into their own networks and often times, somebody who has a lot of or a lot of people paying attention to them like an important blog also spreads the content and then it reaches a wide audience. >> on american history tv, we visit the eerie canal museum to learn how it influenced the growth of syracuse and the nation. then it's on to harry at tubman's home where she acted as
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a conductor and caregiver to numerous able as part of the underground railroad. our trip to syracuse also takes it to the matilda joslyn gage home come one of the nation's first women's rights champions. her speech at a woman's rights convention in 1852 launched her into our national -- national prominence. >> she is 26 at the time and has had four children already. she learns that the convention is going to occur and writes the speech and travels to syracuse, bringing her oldest daughter helen with her. hadn't contacted any of the organizers. she wasn't on the program, hadn't asked lucretia mott. she just shows up. she waits in the crowd. when there is a quiet moment, she marches onstage and,
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trembling, takes the podium and begins to speak. and she gives this incredible syracuseeech and let's sustain it. from that moment, she goes on to become a leader in the women's movement. >> this weekend, what the tour beginning saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span cities tour, working with our cable affiliates are visiting cities across the area. carter reacted to the terrorist attacks in paris earlier this week, saying he hopes they will galvanize european nations to increase their involvement in the coalition to defeat isis. he spoke at the wall street journal ceo council's meeting monday for about 45 minutes. russian,crisis, and china. this is 45 minutes.
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[applause] secretary formr. being here. busy day, i can only assume. mr. secretary: it was, indeed. >> you know, i would say at the outset that secretary carter comes to his job well equipped. was deputy secretary of defense. before that he was undersecretary of defense. before that he was assistant secretary of defense. we hadportantly for me, lunch together after you left secretary ofdeputy defense. mr. secretary: uh-huh. to me.as encouraging you are a physicist by training. you lead me to believe you can a degree in physics and have a productive job. son has is degree in physics. i'm grateful for that. whatever we were going to talk a week ago, i changed it
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because of what happened in paris. i'm curious of what you have about isis in the last three or four days that you didn't know exists. secretary: i wouldn't say anything was surprises to me. this is an enemy that needs to defeated. will be defeated. opposite ofr the everything that we stand for in for.ized people stand obviously i'm sad that it happened. that's a terrible tragedy for the french people. has had the effect of galvanizing our cooperation with france. that's one of the things that over then doing weekend, strengthening our intelligence cooperation with them. took some strikes last night. they will take some strikes again this morning. europeanat other nations in the same light. this now we've been at for a year. we're looking to do more.
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we're looking for every opportunity that we can to get and go at isil. know, need others to, you -- we can help those who help themselves. we need others to get in the game as well. that this tragedy has the effect of galvanizing others galvanized the french and really throughout europe. beenber europe has participating in part in isil.ions against not notably. so far.them in syria also of course separately but judgment not in my spending enough in general on their defense. that's important. they need to get in the game also. they share civilized values with us. a history with us. they need to get in the game protecting our people from this of thing. surprised.
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we're determined we defeat isil. will. gerald: there's been a change in the french attitude and strategy in dealing with the threat. the u.s.anged in hours? in the last 72 how has this changed what we're going to do? mr. secretary: it is easier to what's changed in the last several weeks. this isn't the change of mind or heart. we're looking for opportunities. examples,you some just in the last few weeks we john.hadi their nest,ead of their metastasized nest in libya. we started some sustained strikes on oil infrastructure which is one of the ways they andrevenues in both syria iraq. and aidingtifying able and capable and motivated ground force there is. this is an important point, itald, because the -- if were just us versus isil, we
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could defeat them. learnedlem is as we've in iraq previously and in afghanistan is sustaining the defeat. for that purpose, we need ed localand motivate forces who can keep the place running without extremeism after isil has been defeated. now they are hard to come by in syria and iraq. do exist. in iraq we have the kurds in the north who have been very effective. we've been helping them. there are elements of the iraq security forces, the counterterrorism forces, certain elements of the iraqi army that are affected. sunnies in thegh fight there over in syria. warously there's a civil going on. there are syrians there, some arabs, in the south, some along jordanian border. in all of the places, we are enables them. they are making progress. you an example, the road that connects mosul over in
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and raqqa in syria for those who know the geography, isils the heart of representatively in the two key countries. with our help, some kurdish forces have managed to seize that road. an important piece of strategic geography. in syria.r we are aiding some forces that are heading toward rac request. raqqa. our intelligence gets better. just in the last -- you'll see us continue to do this. opportunityiesor to get at them. gerald: defeating them means on the ground. the forces that you have seem weak. the iraq armies has been
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disappointed. the kurds, while very effective, it creates problems for others andhe region, including -- especially the turks. malicious shas look like the stalk forces. create a ground force of sunnies who have a stake and or isilely defeat isil and keep them down in the long run? groundo you get that force? mr. secretary: this is one of the sad realities in iraq and syria. to find that you would like. the situations have similarities. iraq still remains an integral state. a multi-sectarian. we are supporting prime minister baddy in his efforts. it keeps them in the phrase he
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uses decentralized simply the alternative is sectarian war. path leads.e that said that prime minister abadi, i've spoken to him a trying to does, is the right thing. bad tag is a complicated place. particular, we have gotten all of the authorizations for sunni force that is we need. isil the sunni area where is. those communities and those people need to decide to participate in the fight and territory. we can enable them and help them. they need the will to fight and the capability -- the will we can embolden them, but we can't create will. we can create the capability and the conditions under which they succeed.
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we can't substitute for that. we know otherwise we'll be there forever. we need to -- we need to enable them. that's the strategy. isiltrategy is to destroy in its hat of iraq and syria protecting our people and protecting our borders and working their finances and fighters, lone wolves, the whole deal. metastasizes it worldwide, including in our own country. ithave to not only destroy in its heart which we must do, but notecessary sufficient. we need to do everything around the world also. russians are-- the obviously engaged in syria has we are. for what seemed to be a dramatically different purpose. they are engaged to protect the assad regime and reserve it. defeat isis and
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get rid of assad. how do we come in the midst of the threat? secretary: they've made a mistake. i've told it very clearly to my and the counterpart. their strategy is doomed to fail has the effect as you said supporting assad. warh fuels the very civil that produces the extremeism which may rightly fear. i mean they rightly fear. history in the caucuses and czechens. form ofe tasted the terrorists. they said they are going to come in to fight isil. they did. what it is possible, just possible, sure, the not secretary of state is discussing this with them that they can get side of things here which is promoting a political transition in assad and -- in syria which has to include some
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of the very people they started to bomb when they came in. these people who have to be part of the opposition have to be the future of syria. then it is fine if they get in the game. they came in saying they were fight.o that's not what they do. they fought moderate opposition. off.were way way off track. basically a strategic error on their part. we could not associate ourselves with that. which is why we didn't cooperate coordinate with an accept dealing with making sure they incidents in the because they syria were wrong headed and backwards approaching it. view,: from our point of can we put up with assad in order to defeat the islamic state? mr. secretary: there has to be a transition. assad receding.
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he has to be willing enough to slogging itw, keep out here and slaughtering people and creating refugees and all of stuff. there to be a -- enough of the structures of the that the place isn't a complete mess at the end of the civil war. we want something of the to tedirt of syria here. that's important. who can pursue him to go? russians wouldhe be hell -- helpful. they get on the right side of this, it would be trying to move aside andto keep the structures of the state moderate move the opposition in to that and try to put some decent -- decency back the nest in syria.
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that's the path we're behind. we hope since they have such influence, they will use it to good. commitment toe assad or the regime? syria theyvision the are happy about? mr. secretary: they say they don't have a commitment to him personally. they keep the structures of the state as they way they put it going. if their actions match those words, then that would be something we could associate ourselves with. they need to see they are on the theg side of things, get on right side -- because they could persuadive with assad. they and the iranians have the most influence. if you gauge for us, could, the level and the trajectory of the islamic state here.ist threat
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what we saw in paris raises a whole new set of concerns, not for people in europe, but for people in the u.s. what's your own view of the trajectory of the threat? well, we've been concerned about it since it started last summer. they say from the aspiration to come here. is not what ity is in europe. there isn't that -- that much geographically. we don't have some of the population that has long-standing terrorists inclinations that are in the some of the european countries. so the most -- it is a very serious matter for me. there were six of our service killed.that were who did that?
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kid who's born there.ooga and born he went on the losers -- lost kids, went on the internet, got -- bought a firearm, went out, and killed people. now we can't have that. some of that is just protecting and the find of protection that you do against people all the time anyway. here you have a particular cause. we need to show that's not a successful cause. civilized people are determined to defeat us. talkingtime, i've been a lot about what we do in syria and iraq. this is the time that people are they need to be on defeating isil. a multi-pronged
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thing. we also have to do the and intelligence work that i know has been controversial. we're trying to protect our country and protect our people. the use of social media by the guys and use of encryption, we need to find a way that's consistent with being free and allowsternet, but also us in the and the public officials to protect our people. and watch ourp borders. fighter flow. we have to pay attention to the financing. get others around the word. there are guys in southeast asia. southeast asia. not many. ther little nests of metastasis of this as well as the apparent tumor, syria and iraq. we have to do all of that.
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i guess the border question, if you rise above the nowils, where something is going to chance not just in the way france is approaching this, the way the u.s. is approaching it. are we on a path to do more of the same? an inclination to do something more and different? >> no. dotainly an inclination to more and consistent with the strategy that i described which day, therend of the have to be people in syria and iraq that are keeping a lid on won. the war is we're looking for new ways of doing things all the time. i -- an example of -- in a detail on this. were going after oil infrastructure there. well, one of the -- we were ways of doing that. we get better and better at this all the time. way for twine a clever
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me. mr. secretary: be careful. i don't want the guys to know what's going on. -- youhinking -- well, know, i think jihadi john hisably overestimated safety. seems so. put thattary: let me t that way. gerald: the guys driving the oil trucks over the weekend. secretary: yes. that was an example i loathe to use. we want to do it again. -- i'mhinking -- this is just one guy. i got 2.8 million people who are there for a reason. they care about the mission. particularly those who just popped. like i was just telling gerald name andtunity to recommend to the president five
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new joint chiefs since i've been secretary of defense. bench is amazing. didn't get to the top like none of you did without ability. they are tremendous experience, tremendous ability there. if you think back, you know, think of the wars in iraq and afghanistan, i know people there. was all the time i've been there all in for them. right? we have people fighting there. have people. i'm all in. thei got to tell you ingenuity of the people in those -- those were new kinds of war and the counterinsurgency thing. hise's a captain, a kid in 20's running a town sophisticated politically, economic, social issues as well military craft and applying his military craft in a form,hin an art
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counterinsurgency which is different from all of the other kinds of military more traditional military things which they are good at as well. i'm just so proud of them. think -- there's no other military in the whole world that as ours is. and so they are going to adapt also to the isil thing. adapting to everything else going on. ukraine.ctivity in asia pacific. we've got lots of things to do. is a pretty capable crowd. ask one finale question on the isis/isil space. wonder when you -- in net where we underestimated the b)ch and ability of isis and on whether they are better at maybe wedetection than thought. mr. secretary: there's no question about the second part. as far as the first part is concerned, they represent a new
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phenomenon. i'm not the first one to say this. was the first internet terrorist group. social media first internet group. so just like, you know, people are amazed at how things go virus and craze has happened and so forth. then the forests space. veryis turned out to be a ugly capability for people like this to have. now we're trying to climb on top that in every way that we can. there's no question that it represents a new phenomenon. organized, civilized, society has to figure out how to from this kind of stuff. is that a work in progress? you bet it is. we'll do it. new you know, that is a phenomenon. gerald: you mentioned asia. i wanted to pivot a bit to china. you've spent more time than most about the issue in the
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last couple of months. in particular the department of decided in recent chinese challenge the claim to the artificial islands it has created in the south of china sea. which you did by running ships bewhat they claim to territorial waters. i wonder since you did that if in have detected any change chinese behavior or any change in the kind of dialogue, if that's the right word that you have, the chinese on the subject. did andetary: what we we'll continue to do isn't new at all. we have been sailing the united navy in the south china sea for decades and decades and decades. so we did that. we're going to continue to do that. noting that?y even they are not noticing it because the united states is doing anything new. they are noticing because china is doing something new. china is making extravagant plans. they are not the only ones who
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are doing that. are other claimants as well. trying to settle those claims not by talking about them, but going out to redredging them and building airstrips on top. a lot ofgotten attention. and in turn has caused people to notice we're still doing what we've been doing. i want to be clear, you called it a challenge. we're doing what we've been seven years. why is that important? thee been talking about middle east and -- so the middle east is in the newspapers every day. the asia pacific where half of humanity live and half of the economic activity which is far --e cons sensible consequential for america's where most of the growth theets for all of businesses in the room will reside. hugely consequential.
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god there isn't conflict there. why is that? the single most influential factor financial seven decades has been the pivot role of the power.n military there's no nato. there's nothing that keeps the peace. the stabilizing presence of the u.s. military forces. we aim to keep that going. now if the chinese think about will the chinese do think about it. they say that's the area they've been able to do their thing. southinese miracle and korean and taiwan and now india and china. of that. in fair
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system.s to be a we talk about something called the balance. toething we can begin rethink where we put our defense resources that we make sure resourcesing enough in the region to keep a good thing going out there. that's what we're doing. our's the meaning of presence. gerald: if the chinese benefit atmosphere of stability that you just referred to, why do they seem to eager to challenge it in various ways right now? contradiction there? mr. secretary: there's no question about it. one of the people who believe that the conflict is likely something desirable. peace is not a birthright. that are two thoughts
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co-exist. one, things have been pretty good for us. we've been able to develop in a remarkable way. nobody isanybody -- molested them as they've done of that's a pretty good deal. that's one thought. we've beenhought is down for hundreds of years. now it is our time to rise and sign. that kind of hubris is dangerous. if that, you know, gets out of hand so to speak, it will lead a direction that's not go obviously for the region. will check that. but also it is not good for china in the long run. think that's the
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dominant trend. it is there. is to -- as far as china is concerned, is to strand.e the better but -- this is important. china is not only audience here. everybody else lived there. i just came back from the region. in a meeting with everybody. chinese behavior is having the effect of driving everybody to seek more relationship with the othermilitary and security relation. we have incredibly strong allies out there. all getting stronger. japan, south korea, the australia,, thailand, we're doing more with malaysia. i was out with the malaysian defense minister. hyfongonths ago i was in hear bonn. that's vietnam. single thing that's
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galvanizing the drive to us is china'sern about future. that's not smart. divide in toing to our camps and their camps. that's not our policy. inclusive one. gerald: go back to the starting the south china sea in the islands there. in a way i think what you are saying is that the challenge -- my word and not yours. i accept that. the action that you took seems to have not produced a response from the chinese. response; right? see.ecretary: we'll again that's not the only audience. it is everybody else as well. that -- not only i think, and i experience the andng and growing desire the secretary. they come to me all the time.
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do you exercise and train with us? we buy your equipment? can we send people to your economies? that's an enormous demand signal out there for the -- what provided for 70 years. the know that's what's kept lid on in an area where the wounds of world war ii never heeled. animosities. you don't have to scratch very hard for -- not just between and other countries. among our friends and allies, it is no secret, for example, that things have been tense over time allies and korean japanese allies. allies.e both our the region is filled with the claims. south china sea is just one. gerald: let me touch on a couple more areas. then i want to leave time for questions from the audience. we were talking about russia and
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president putin in the syrian context. more broadly, you have a president in russia now embarked on a strategy that clearly the u.s. government is unhappy with in syria. factory in ukraine has been a continuing problem for a couple of years. there'sa sense that -- a challenge under way. part of its political and part of sec. carter: well, we've got to respond to it. and we are. you know, this is something that for a quarter century we had not -- since the cold war ended -- been as concerned about. so we are making adjustments in our own investments and our own posture, to take into account russian moves, and make sure we stay ahead. and we're also working with nato to strengthen nato's posture. and that involves a number of things. we're positioning heavy equipment in nato allies,
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working on new schemes of defense, both of territory and against the little green men phenomenon, so-called "hybrid warfare." and i think you've used that phrase here. it's not just the old fulda gap, for those who remember the cold war issue of tanks crossing over. it's the little green men phenomenon, as well. we need to fortify our european allies. and this is a new playbook. this isn't the fulda gap of old. this is a new playbook. and it's to maintain peace and stability in europe. mr. seib: hybrid warfare being proxy forces, misdirection plays, propaganda, a different way of exerting power? sec. carter: exactly right. and we need to counter that, too. and we need to fortify our european allies to counter that. so we've got a lot to do, and that's just another way of saying that we need to continue to be innovative. we innovated a lot when it was
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-- came for iraq and afghanistan. they were new kinds of -- one of the things i'm really proud of in our defense department is a long history of innovation. it goes back -- you know, i started my career in science and technology. as you said, we were doing stealth at that time. we were doing a whole lot of stuff in space. missile defenses, all those were new capabilities. and those of you who are in high technology industry know i'm trying to reach out to our industry, building those bridges. mr. seib: i wanted to ask you about that, as a final thought before we take questions. but but you have spent a lot of time in silicon valley, which is not a normal place for a secretary of defense to go, necessarily. you want to build bridges for the benefit of the defense department to silicon valley. it's not a place that has traditionally been comfortable with either big government bureaucracies in general or, dare i say, your government bureaucracy in particular. are you knocking down those walls? sec. carter: yes. we've got to knock down those
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walls. the wall is too big between defense and non-defense. and it has gotten that way over time. and when i started in my career, it was much of a reflex for people to consider the defense -- and i understand that's not -- believe me, i'm not going to ask anybody to adapt to us. we've got our own issues to deal with in terms -- i ask our -- tell our people, we've got to think outside our five-sided box. we do need to think. we need to be less bureaucratic. they don't need to be more like us. i'm trying to make us connect to them. but you have to understand there's a generation of people who haven't been subject to the draft. and they need -- but my experience is they understand the mission. they're inspired by the mission. we've just got to give them a way to connect with us. maybe they don't want to join the military, maybe they do, maybe they're willing to come in for a year or two.
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when i started my career, i thought i was just going to do it temporarily. and then i found that it was one of the most meaningful things that i can be doing. there are lots of people like that. i'm looking for ways of giving people the opportunity to come in and out, to make us more permeable. and so that this new generation, and these new technologies are something that we are user-friendly for. that is going to require us to change. i don't expect the big world of technology out there to change. we don't control that anymore. when i started my career, we were the big dog. now we're a big dog. but not all technology comes out of the government. and not all technology comes out of the united states. mr. seib: it's kind of reversed in fact, right? i mean, they used to need the products of your research, you now need the products of their research. sec. carter: right. and so -- and we're not going to get that by standing there with our arms crossed across our chest and asking people to do it our way. and so we've got reach out.
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so i want to create those channels that allowed our people to learn from one another, allow people to go back and forth, allow careers to be different, including careers in government. you know, for those of you who have older companies, you remember the old hr department of vintage days, right? everything done in paperwork, they decided where you were going to go, then they sent you there. life was, you know, kind of an escalator where you got on and then you waited and it took you up. kids don't want to live that kind of life now -- oh, it was also, by the way, and this is worth noting, it was the place -- one of the only places where female executives could get ahead. that was the hr department of old. well, we can't have that in the uniformed or the civilian side and still have what we have, because we talk about technology, but the thing that makes us the finest fighting force the world has ever known
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isn't our technology, it's our people. our people are amazing. and i've got to make sure -- now i got that from my predecessors as secretary of defense. i've i've got to leave to the people after me, 10 years, 20 years from now, as good a group of people and as good at connection to american society as i enjoy today. and like everything else, i've got to work on the future. i'm working on isil. i work on russia. i work china. but i've got to be thinking 20 years ahead also because i've got to hand this treasure over to the future so that we are still protecting our people, we're still sticking up for the things that we think ought to be stuck up for. mr. seib: i've got time for a couple of questions, and secretary carter has agreed to take them. we can do one there and one there. question: yes, secretary, my name (inaudible) from germany. o you think about german policy or more their policy maybe of angela merkel concerning the refugees?
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especially that we encouraged them to come to germany, also against national security? sec. carter: well, to answer that, you would need to unpack the refugee flow a little bit. the picture you get casually, i'm sure you know better, is that they all come from syria, they don't. they're coming from a lot of places. they're not all women and children, although tragically there's women and children in there. most of them are young men looking for work. now, you ask about germany, and germany, there are differences of opinion, i think, is the honest way. and chancellor merkel is trying to balance these. there's a view that we can't absorb many more of these people, that they're a welfare burden, they're possibly a terror burden. but there's another view also
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which is that germany is demographically aging and needs young professional people. and whether they're coming from syria or libya or afghanistan, sadly, these are some of the most best professionals in those societies, who have decided to bail, that there's no future for them, which is a whole other problem for those societies. but for germany, i talked to a german executive a few months ago. i won't name the company, but they had recruiters at the train station. and they were taking people off and bringing them in to their company. so this is complicated. and i think that chancellor merkel is trying to work all of that. i think europeans are having to rethink in general the eu policies. and, you know, how open "open" can be and still be safe and do right by the people who do come. i was down in italy, take another example, so not just to single out germany, because all
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the countries are -- i was down in italy with my counterpart, the italian defense minister down in sigonella, where we happen to have a base, and we work with the italians and others out there. i was visiting our folks, our guys down there. but i went with her, the italian defense minister. and we were looking at what was happening in the mediterranean. now there they are, you know the boot. it pokes right out there in the mediterranean. libya is not far away. libya is obviously in turmoil. and there are plenty of people who are just getting on a boat in libya and going over to italy. now on your one hand, your heart goes out to these people. and you don't want somebody just floating up and saying, well, go away, you know, and try to get home. so you have to do the humane thing. at the same thing, there's a limit -- at the same time, there's a limit. and so the europeans are trying to strike that -- a balance. but i do observe in germany that in the business community there is some ambivalence about this
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because there is a side to it which meets labor needs that german business has because it's an aging society. the united states doesn't have the same demographic challenges that many do. japan, china, russia, europe. these are places where demography, which is, how we say? there's the one predictable aspect of human life is demography? and demography is a big issue for lots -- unfortunately our society, generally speaking, doesn't labor under the same burdens going forward. mr. seib: we'll take one other question here. question: thank you, gerry. thank you, secretary carter. as you were going back to you observations on the war on terrorism and islamic terrorism, american leadership is going to
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be pivotal in this time which is an era of extraordinary opportunity and of perils. the question i have for you and want your thoughts on is, if this leadership is entirely characterized or driven, to a certain extent, by fear at the perils, and not focusing enough on the opportunity and in the process giving short shrift at times to what i think are critical judeo-christian value systems of humanity and compassion. i think we might win in the short term but perhaps weaken ourselves in the medium term. sec. carter: well, i mean, sure, i mean, fair point. i -- one of the reasons why we are popular partners, magnetic in terms of being able to build and have that leadership role is because of what we stand for. there is no question about it.
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you see that from asia to europe to the -- and i'm incredible y proud of that on behalf of the united -- so i think we do operate out of more than fear. we operate out of loyalty to our friends and to what they stand for, to what we have stood for -- talked about the asia pacific and peace and security in the long run. so it's not just fear, and it's not just about us. and the fact that we don't just operate out of fear. one of the reasons why people want to work with us. they don't want to work, i mean, with some of the other countries i've named. they're not attracting new partners. they're attracting anxiety. the united states isn't like that. i think that's a fantastic thing. and i'll just close on one thing, is i am also very -- even though you'd say, well, you're in the business of dealing with threats -- i'm also in the opportunities -- i feel great opportunities for our country, you know, i really do. we have lots of things going for us. we have this tremendous
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innovative culture. i mentioned we have good demographics. we have strong character and value built into lots of -- we have problems, sure, in our society, and -- so i -- you know, my -- really, all of our roles as leaders is, you know, is not just to protect what we have, which has to be done, but it's also to capitalize on the really bright opportunities that our country has and our people have. and if you get people to feel that as well as the fear -- and a lot of folks do that. you know, that's why they join. they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. they want to want to wake up every morning and say, you know, wow, i was, you know, part of a great cause. that's why i hope a lot of folks will work with -- now our traditional defense industry folks do feel that way. and i always tell them, you're part of the force, as far as i'm
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concerned. you know, we don't do -- i always tell people, we don't build anything in the pentagon, right. you can go in there, you know, we're not building -- no airplanes being built in the pentagon. we buy all this, that's the american way. the soviet union tried a different way, and didn't work out very well for them. and so we depend on private industry, but at the same time a lot of those people get inspired to come in and be part of this great future opportunity. so i'm not a pessimist at all, we've got a lot going for us. and so it's not all a defensive game at all. mr. seib: secretary carter, it's been very nice to spend some time with us on a busy day and a busy week. and i appreciate it very much. sec. carter: i appreciate you having me. mr. seib: and we're blessed to live in these interesting times is all i can i say. so anyway, thank you again. sec. carter: thank you. moderator: thank you you all. good to be with you. appreciate it. [applause]
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>> defense secretary ash carter blames russia for fueling civil war in syria for that's from remarks he made on morning joe. james comey and attorney general loretta lynch spoke to reporters today about security in the u.s. after friday's paris attacks. here is the briefing.
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ms. lynch: good afternoon, everyone. and thank you all for coming this afternoon. i am here with f.b.i. director jim comey to discuss our ongoing work to protect the security of the united states, particularly this light of recent events. obviously these are challenging times. with the recent attacks in paris, raising the profile of isis, and also raising anxiety here in the homeland. and as i've said previously, we stand in solidarity with the people of france at this difficult time. we are committed to providing any and all assistance to our allies in europe and around the world as we all face this global threat. now, we've made that commitment clear, not just with words, but with our actions. the department of justice, the f.b.i. and other agencies are in close contact with french authorities through our
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international legal assistance channels to provide support to the french and their ongoing investigation, to coordinate strategies with them, and to advance our shared efforts as we obtain further information that may be relevant to these attacks. we are operating on an expedited basis as well, to ensure that the victim assistance professionals at the department of justice and the f.b.i. are available to assist the victims and their families. we've also expanded the f.b.i.'s legal office in paris, to offer assistance on an as-needed basis, and we have personnel working day and night to respond to any additional requests for assistance. earlier today, president obama spoke by phone with president hollande to discuss the latest developments in the investigation. and to reaffirm our partnership in the fight against terrorism. of course our highest priority is and will remain the security of our homeland and the safety of all americans. at the department of justice, we are operating around the
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clock, as we have since 9/11 and even before, to uncover and disrupt any plot that takes aim at our people, our infrastructure and our way of life. we take all threats seriously, we're acting aggressively to diffuse threats as they emerge, and we are vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who seek to harm the american people. in fact, since 2013, we have charged more than 70 individuals for conduct related to foreign fighter interests and homegrown violent extremism and we continue to take robust actions to monitor and to thwart potential extremist activity. the department of justice and the f.b.i. are working closely with the department of homeland security, with the broader intelligence community, and our partners around the world in all of these efforts. and we're bringing every resource to bear in the service of our mission. i think it's important to note that as we do this work, we are guided, obviously by our commitment to the protection of
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the american people, but also by our commitment to the protection of our american values. which include the timeless principles of freedom that have always made this country great. we need to say we will not let our actions be overtaken by fear, we will not allow merchants of violence to rob us of our most precious ideals. our values are not secondary considerations in the fight against terror. they are central to the work that we do and they are essential to the nation that we protect. they are also the reason that we are a target and they are what terrorists want most to see to have us abandon. they want us to live in fear and we refuse. they want us to change who we are and what makes us quintessentially american and that we will never do. and now i'll turn the microphone over to the director of the f.b.i., jim comey, for a few remarks as well. mr. comey: thank you, madam attorney general. i'd like folks to know three
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things. how we think about the threat. what we're doing about it. and what you should do as a citizen in this great country of ours. first the threat. we are not aware of any credible threat here of a paris-type attack. and we have seen no connection at all between the paris attackers and the united states. isil and its supporters put out all kinds of propaganda, like videos and magazines, but that is not credible intelligence. of course we investigate all of those propaganda threats. but instead the threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in america who are being inspired or enabled online to do something violent for isil. we have stopped a lot of those people this year, especially leading up to july fourth, and
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there are others we worry about and we cover all across the country using all of our lawful tools. that's how we think about the threat. second, what are we doing about the threat? the taxpayers of this country have invested a lot of their money in building a national counterterrorism capability since 9/11. and that has built something very strong. we are not perfect, but we are good. starting minutes after the paris attacks on friday, we did four things. first, we began looking for connections between paris and here. second, we made sure that we were tightly connected with our state and local partners, that they knew everything we knew and that they were as energized as we are. third, we began covering every tip and every lead immediately and we have continued that to this moment. and last, we have made sure that our over 100 joint terrorism task forces are focused intensely on our investigations and in fact they have taken them up a notch.
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that is very hard work. but we are very fortunate to have the help of our state and local partners around the country. together we are watching people of concern, using all of our lawful tools, we will keep watching them and if we see something, we'll work to disrupt it. that's what we're doing about it. last, what should you, the people of the united states, do in response to this threat? the most important thing, i think, is do not let fear become disabling. that is what the terrorists want. they want you to imagine them in the shadows, they want you to imagine them as something greater than they are. instead, we hope that you will turn fear into healthy awareness of what's around you. if you see something that gives you a bad feeling, tell somebody in law enforcement. since september 11, we have really worked to get ourselves organized in such a way that if you walk up and tell any police officer in this country or any deputy sheriff in this country that you saw something that didn't seem right, you heard something that didn't seem right, or you read something online that seemed off, that information will get to the right people immediately. you can count on it. and we will check it out. if it's nothing, no harm done. but if it was something, great
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harm may be avoided. but counterterrorism is what you pay us to do. tell us what you saw and then go on living your lives, living your life while we could our work. that is channeling fear into something healthy, which is awareness of your surroundings, and not something disabling. that's what we hope you will do. thank you, madam attorney general. ms. lynch: thank you, mr. director. thank you all. >> c-span present landmark cases, a guide to our landmark cases the series, which explores 12 the stork supreme court decisions, including marbury versus madison, brown versus board of education, miranda versus arizona, and roe versus wade. landmark cases, the book, come highackgrounds lights, and the impact of each case. c-span.d by
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landmark cases is available for $80.95 plus shipping. get your copy today at www.c-span.org tonight on c-span, a senate hearing on isis and refugees. loretta lynch and james comey comment on an isis threat in new york city. the house debates a bill on immigration of syria and iraqi refugees. homeland security and state department officials testified about the screening process for syrian refugees at a senate homeland security hearing. witnesses discussed the air debt -- discussed the difficulties in assessing the background of applicants. senator ron johnson of wisconsin hears this just chairs this three-hour hearing.
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>> is hearing will come to order. i think it is appropriate that we begin today with a moment of silence out of respect to those individuals who have lost their , beirut, ands egypt just in the last three weeks as a result of isis's barbaric activities. [no audio] thank you. welcome our ranking member. when i took over chairman of this committee, working with senator carper, we developed a rather simple mission statement
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for the committee. it is simply too enhance the economic national security of america. we have committed ourselves to that. the threat of isis and islamic terror threatens both. seen the loss of life repeatedly. obviously, that threatens national security. that these the harm acts of terror resulted. this cutie -- it is important that this committee take up this very serious issue of the threats that isis poses across the board. speaking with ms. richards earlier, she knowledge that this is the primary topic that is really about the administration's plan to let about 10,000 refugees in syria. we are a compassionate, humane society. lay out the to
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reality in terms of what the vetting process will be to make sure that we maintain a secure nation, that we minimize if not .liminate the risk i think we have had secured briefings. robust we will hear a vetting process. i appreciate the department of homeland security with mr. rodriguez but also the state department sending ms. richards here. i think everybody on this committee appreciates the fact that you are taking up a time to lay out that reality to the american public. refugees could pose a risk. boldly we take a look at what the vetting process could be and we take a look at all the risks, we may find that there are far -- all the risks, we may find that there are far greater risks . whether it is the visa waiver program or student visas, what
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types of controls, , how we exposed because of the openness of our society? i think all of these are very important questions and they definitely need to be explored. if you really want to take a look at where we are most vulnerable, this committee has dedicated itself to border security. we have held 12 separate hearings on that problem, trying to lay out the complexity, the difficult nature of that problem. the conclusion that certainly i have come to, and i think most security -- most committee members have come to, is that our borders are not secure. senator carper and i made a trip down to endorse and guatemala a couple of weeks ago -- to honduras and guatemala a couple of weeks ago. downently -- when we were
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-- i believe it was guatemala, we heard a new term, sia. special interest aliens. currently, that is cubans coming in taking advantage of the dry foot policy. we are also learning that this includes syrians and somalians and pakistanis. we had some syrians apprehended at the border. we don't know what threat level. i think it is being reported that they weren't a threat. but this is serious concern. we have for now the new government in canada will open up to streamline their refugee program. we have certainly discovered in our committee that -- in this committee that our border with canada is far from secure. our border in the southwest is very far from secure. the one metric that stands out that mccaffrey
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testified that we are only 5%-10% of drugs coming into our southern border. we have to look at all of our vulnerabilities. we'll talk about the refugee and the vetting process. but we do need to understand the threat that we face. it is real, it is growing. coming from a manufacturing background, i have done a lot of problem-solving. the first step to solving any problem is laying out the reality, acknowledging that reality, looking for the root cause. the root cause of this problem is that isis exists and was able to rise from the ashes of what was a defeated al qaeda in iraq. what we need to do is address the root cause of the refugee crisis. the fact that we are even here today considering bringing in, on the basis of compassion come
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refugees from syria. -- compassion, refugees from syria. that is the symptom of the cause. the root cause is isis. a coalition of the willing of the civilized world to destroy and defeat isis, that is the goal that president obama stated. to degrade and ultimately defeat isis. i would argue that ultimately but to be very, very soon. i want to thank the witnesses from this panel and the next panel to take your time for your thoughtful testimony. let me set aside my prepared remarks and i would ask that these be submitted for the record. a lot of attention paid to refugees coming from syria to the united states. weree last year, there
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like 2000 refugees. it is not easy process to go through, as my colleagues know. it is a process that can take as much as two years. if folks make the cut to get to the next step, they go through a bunch of screens, interviews. ,o the extent that we have data files to check, dhs does the work with other countries with whom we are allied. as of the 2000 that come in refugees in the last year or two, about 2% were military age males. of the folks that have come to our country so far, i am told that not one person has been arrested. it takes two years.
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that -- if i was trying to get in, that is the last way i would try to get in. i might try a visa waiver program and they might try just coming over as a student or as a tourist. i understand that the four french nationals who were killed in paris, either three or all four of them were people who would have never been allowed to get on a plane to come to the u.s. one of the things -- challenges for us, i think, is to -- we need to go back and dust off the books, things that we learned in terms of strengthening that program. what started off as a travel facilitation program has now
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become an information sharing program with 38 other nations. in order for them to participate in this program with us, they have to agree to provide access to every kind of intelligence file that we asked for. are notdon't, then they included as one of the visa waiver countries. one of the other developments not too long ago was that if you want to be a visa waiver country , these 38 countries, you have to make sure that if somebody's passport is stolen or lost, it is reported to interpol. that way, if someone shows up trying to use that passport, they can be stopped in their tracks. the preamble to our constitution says "in order to form a more perfect union." my guess is, that it still is imperfect and our goal should be perfection.
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hopefully we can work with some of our colleagues on other committees with jurisdiction. -- west thing i would say face a moral dilemma here. the pope was in town two months ago, invoked the golden rule. treat others the way you want to be treated. applaudedstood up and when he said in matthew 25. now, we're not so sure we believe those words. we have an imperative to treat others the way you want to be treated and we have an equally strong moral imperative to make that we don't meet that moral imperative by putting at risk the citizens of this country. the question is, can we do both? i think we can.
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morally, and by common sense, we need to do both. the challenge is to try to figure out how we do that, build on the things that have been done. the department of homeland security is doing good work in communities where there is a large muslim population. just to make sure that we are helping those communities to inoculate against successive efforts to use social media to relic lies -- to radicalize people. working, and i think as we consider appropriations bills in the future, i hope we will look into what works and do more with that in this regard. guy, adamere is a zubin, who was involved in a leadership role when trying to access toan's
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international financial markets, north korea's access to international financial markets. i understand he has been nominated to a senior position in treasury. there is obvious the work that needs to be done. is that nomination still pending in the banking committee? >> it is still pending. the hearing has been completed pending. all those vacant positions, they have been filled. we have done very good work in that regard. this is another nomination that will be very helpful in terms of .he root cause with isis money in terms of making sure that their money is gone, this is a good way to do it.
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>> a couple housekeeping items. it is great that we have such a great agenda and we will limit questions to five minutes. think there will be acronyms being thrown around so i had my staff published an acronym glossary as well as a 13 step vetting process put out by the u.s. committee for refugees and immigrants. with that, it is the tradition to swear in witnesses, so if you both rise and racial right-hand. do you swear the testimony will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. please be seated. our first witnesses ms. and richard, the. anne assistant secretary of state. prior to her appointment, she with the international
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rescue committee, and international aid agency that helps refugees displaced in conflict. ms. richard: thank you very much, senator johnson, senator carper, all the senators on this committee for holding this ofring today on the impact isis on the homeland and refugee resettlement. i have provided some testimony that talks about the humanitarian assistance provide about ourthat talks diplomacy in the humanitarian area. what i would like to focus on right away is the refugee resettlement process. i know the murderous attacks in paris last friday evening have raised many questions about the spillover of, not just migrants to europe, but also the spillover of violence to the streets of a major european capital. let me assure you that the entire executive branch and the state department i represent here today has the safety and
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security of americans as our highest priority. applicants rigorously and carefully in an effort to ensure that no one poses a threat to the safety -- knowing that it poses -- no one that poses a threat to our country is able to enter. intensive security screenings involving multiple federal agencies. these are intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies, including the counterterrorism center, the department of homeland security, state, and defense. resettlement is a deliberate process that can take 18-24 months. applicants to the program are currently subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the united states.
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these include biographic checks and lengthy in person overseas interviews by specially trained theofficers who scrutinize applicant to ensure the applicant is a bona fide refugee and is not known to present security concerns to the united states. report torviewers director rodriguez. on this.lly the expert what i would like to say is, the vast majority of the 3 million refugees who have been admitted to the united states, including from some of the most troubled regions of the world, have proven to be hard-working and .roductive residents they pay taxes, send children to school, and after five years, many take the test to become citizens. many serving military or other forms of service for their community and our country.
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i'm happy to answer any questions you have about any part of my testimony and to get into. ishink the hot issue today the security aspects of our program. therefore, i am very pleased to be here to answer any questions. sen. johnson: our next witnesses mr. leon rodriguez. mr. rodriguez of the director of immigration services at the security, of homeland which plays a key role in the refugee admissions program. prior to this position, mr. rodriguez served with the office of human rights at the office of health and human services, and with the department of justice. yourodriguez: thank chairman, thank you ranking member, thank you members of the committee, and thank you in particular for convening this very timely hearing. i'm going to use the time that i have to do something which i think is really critical at this
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juncture, which is to lay out with some care how the refugee screening process works, what its structure is, what its redundancies are, and what the resources are that are utilized as part of this process. most refugees, the overwhelming majority in the case of syrians, who entered the u.s. screening process, our first encountered in refugee camps. in the case of syrians, the majority of those will be either in turkey, jordan, lebanon. their first encounter is with the united nations high commissioner for refugees, where they register their claim for refugee status. some are referred to the united states, others are referred to other countries that have also expressed a willingness to the united nations to receive refugees. the united nations conducts an interview, it explores possible
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inadmissibility's could apply in the case of the united -- inadmissibilities in terms of the united states or other countries. once those determinations are made, if in fact there is a cognizable claim, and there don't appear to be miss abilities, at that -- appeared they referbilities, them to whatever country it is, in our case to the state department, where a series of things occur. at that point, a second interview is conducted by ms. richard's staff. a series of biographical checks are conducted at that point, querying state department holdings, including databases that are of an intelligence
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nature, security advisory opinions in a large number he of the cases, which is a database hosted by the fbi, and very critically, for our discussion here, what is called the interagency check, which is a network of queries posted by the national counterterrorism center, a broad swath of intelligence and law-enforcement holdings. i know we have talked a lot about the comparison between .his case and iraq when we talk about syria, we are talking about isil, talking about our nusra -- talking about al-nusra, the syrian government itself. all of those that interests different than those to the united states. a process of gathering information, and as a result, in a number of cases, our queries of those databases have
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registered hits. those hits have been either to the rot -- either to deny outright admission to individuals or to place people on hold. if the individual clears the state department process, they is. then referred to usc we have the benefit of all the work that has been done prior. interview,epartment the fruits of those background checks. in particular, those officers that work in environments like syria or others, with a ofticularly rigorous battery training as well as apprenticeship out in the field. with that briefing, they then conducted very intensive interviews to identify credibility issues, possible inadmissibility issues, or other derogatory admissions. time, they are
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fingerprinted, and those fingerprints are run against border patrol, fbi, and department of defense holdings. only after they clear that process, they -- that process and we analyze, they are moved on. they move into the controlled application resolution and review process, which is a joint undertaking of my refugee affairs did -- refugee affairs division and my fraud detection national security director. they are subjected to more intense analysis of what is going on. in fact, the number of cases going back a wild now, hundreds of them in fact, are on hold because of concerns identified during the process. only after an individual or a family unit has cleared that entire process is the decision made in fact to have approved that file to allow that
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individuals with plans made for cultural orientation, medical examination, and then planning to move to the u.s.. i also underscore that when i talked about the biographic checks earlier, that is a recurrent process, meaning that even though we do it before the interview, that system is constantly clary. that is a recent improvement to the manner in which we do our work. that means a new derogatory information arises, then we will be notified about that information in order to take appropriate action. i look forward to the questions which i think will give me further opportunity to elicit data. startohnson: i want to out, because we have been told in briefings that only 2% of the 1869 syrian refugees the have been allowed in the country over the past year were men of
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military age, 21-30. but it is a little more narrow than that. 875e were really 994 men, women out of that 1869. can you tell us the distinction there? ms. richard: there have been 2000 syrians resettled to the united states since the start of the crisis 2.5 years ago. 1700 came last year. of all the ones that have come, 2% are young, single, military age males who aren't with a family or don't have a family connection in the united states, truly on their own. the percentage of males is a little over half, but that includes boys to grandpas. sen. johnson: i just kind of wanted to set the record straight there. my concern is, where are the
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vulnerabilities, where are the holes in the system? i think in briefings, people are very concerned about checking databases, watch lists. what does it take to get on a database or a watchlist and how do you avoid it? what people would be on their that then you are going to thatetely -- be on there then you are going to completely rely on interviews? so how do you get on a watchlist and how do you stay off it? mr. rodriguez: the specifics would be something you would have to address in a classified briefing. to say, if there is a heightened concern that someone is a terrorist or otherwise an actor looking to harm the united states, that would be the basis of either nomination to one of the databases i described before or watchlist thing.
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again, in a classified briefing, we could probably go into detail. sen. johnson: they would have to do something or be associated with somebody that is the farias, correct -- that is nefarious, correct? mr. rodriguez: that is at least two ways. sen. johnson: let's say they are a citizen in syria or in france. reason for be no them to be on a watchlist or a database, correct? during the interview process, they would really be able to answer all the questions and not come across as particularly suspicious, right? mr. rodriguez: i go back to what i said at the beginning. there is no question that isis, a, the syrian government itself, are our enemies. therefore, there is a process for looking for information about those entities, their activities, where they operate,
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who they are, that in turn becomes -- and again, not describing the techniques with how that occurs -- that in turn becomes a technique that becomes available to us through these databases we discussed -- databases i described. resource, through association in some cases, to come at a minimum, subject that case to closer scrutiny. you may not be on those databases and it would have to be a pretty -- have to have a pretty good interviewer to hopefully catch that. what is the current estimate of the number of foreign fighters that are european citizens -- let's put it this way, citizens of a country that have a visa waiver program in place with the united states? how many of those do we know have gone to syria and come back? mr. rodriguez: i believe that
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sort of analysis exists. i don't have it at my fingertips. sen. johnson: i think that is one of our greater vulnerabilities. as other people ask questions, we will see a pretty robust vetting process for refugees, and probably a less robust process for other forms of visa waivers or visas coming into this country. i think that is part of the vulnerability will need to explore. sen. carper: we appreciate very much your being with us here today. given what we talked about here today and what we learned in the past several days about the rigor of the refugee program, the screening process in the refugee program, these people are not stupid, the people we're dealing with, the bad guys. i can't imagine why they would want to go through two years -- go to year through a refugee
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process when they could get a forest waiver or a student visa waiver, or a student visa. we will continue to focus on the refugee process. 2000 this year, 10,000 year. imagine, but it --but to go through that process for two years until a step of the way i could be detected. i think where we need to come as a committee, focus our attention -- need to, as a committee focus our attention, is on the visa waiver. i believe we had one in the last year or so on the -- on the visa waiver situation, it was good. wasn't perfect -- was it
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perfect? no it wasn't. are there things that we can do to make it better still? i'm sure there are. justodriguez, if you could talk about -- this might be a little bit outside of your lane, the visa waiver program. i confess that it is outside of my lane, although the individual that runs that lane doesn't sit too far away for me, and that will be the customs and border patrol. sen. carper: is anybody here with you? mr. rodriguez: no, but we can certainly work with the committee to arrange a briefing or a hearing to discuss those issues. sen. carper: you said something in your testimony, mr. rodriguez . i think the term used was recurring process.
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re-examining as new information comes to the fore that can be used in terms of either denying or revisiting some of the ability to come here or stay here. mr. rodriguez: i talked before about the interagency check, which is essentially an electronic clarity of a number of different law enforcement and intelligence databases. our approachpdated to those checks to have the if furtherse us information is entered into that system about an individual about whom there has been previously a query. if we had queried, during the initial phases or the intermediate phases of the screening process, an individual , new information arises about that individual, then we would be notified about the existence of that new information.
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that occurs right up to the moment of arrival in the united states. that query process continues to occur right up to that point. the other thing i might say, if i may, about the interview process. andraining is as a state federal prosecutor. i spent a lot of my time around law enforcement of all types. i have conducted and observed thousands of interviews. i have taken the opportunity to observe my officers in action. i was with them in turkey this june. i can tell you that the quality of the interviewing that they was as good as any i have seen in my professional career. sen. carper: would you talk to us a little bit about whether or not we need to examine more closely -- we talked about the refugee process, the visa waiver
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process, how about student visa process of getting here? 12 million people undocumented in this country, i think about 40% came here under some sort of a legal status. are there any things we should be mindful of in thinking about the rigor of those processes? mr. rodriguez: those processes also involve both law national security database checks. the facts -- the fact that those are outside of the refugee process does not mean that we aren't taking the same rigor that we applied to the refugee screening process. sen. portman: they keep holding another hearing on this topic.
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were here last month talking to the secretary of homeland security and also to the fbi director and the counterterrorism folks. it is something we have to be concerned about, not just from the refugee program, but also from these various entry points. we talked about how there are 5000 foreign fighters who come from the 38 countries with which we have a visa waiver arrangement. that is a huge risk. important that this committee focus on tightening up those standards. we have to worry about visas. the 9/11 terrorists came here, overstayed their visas. that is an immigration reform issue. .egal immigrants we have foreign fighters ourselves. we had sunday came back to our home state of ohio -- to my home state of ohio. we had one that came back to
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columbus, ohio and plotted to commit terrorist acts in the united states and was arrested for it. we hear about the five individuals that were stopped in honduras with fake syrian passports. we had a couple of families at the next and border this morning. this is a problem in this goes to our need to have a secure border, not just for immigration purposes, but for money, guns, drugs, and certainly terrorism. in my hometown of cincinnati, we have one person currently incarcerated for wanting to come to this capital. in akron, this month, we had a homegrown terrorist arrested. this is in ohio, the heartland. this is a real issue but i don't think we ought to ignore the refugee side of it either. this is a real story, and maybe you can tell me if this is something that could never happen under the current program.
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there were a couple brothers that were brought in as refugees from iraq. heartland,n the right across the river from where i live, in bowling green, kentucky. recently, the sixth circuit court of appeals confirmed their aiding al qaeda. they are recorded as saying, "many things should take place and they should be huge." these were refugees. this notion that it is ok on the refugee program -- of course we need to know who is coming here. we need to be sure that only of who they are, but what their intentions are. in regard to these iraqi refugees who come in, they had been -- who came in, they had been fingerprinted at the border, entered into a biometric database. yet, when they were checked by
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dhs, fbi, department of defense, they were allowed into the united states. later, they bragged about what they had done to kill u.s. soldiers in iraq. my concern, which is something that came forward in our last hearing here, on october 8 in this room, when we had your boss, counterterrorism officials, and they told us, we don't have the intelligence in syria to be able to do the appropriate background checks. here is the quote from director comey, the fbi director -- " senator, to me, their -- "senator, to be, there's a risk of bringing anyone from the outside, but especially a conflict zone like that. my concern there is that there are certain gaps people don't want to talk about publicly in the data that is available."
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you said something similar this morning, that you don't want to talk in public session about the gaps. we don't have intelligence on the ground there. we have special forces, that's great. they are not there to collect information from refugees. we ignore many other threats, some of which may be greater threats. for us to say -- first to say that we are somehow against refugees because we think they're up to be proper checks in place, that is ridiculous. we are most generous country in the world, and thank god we are. sure that we don't have another situation as we had in rolling green, kentucky -- in bowling green, kentucky. since the bowling green case, a lot has been done to upgrade the security check
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system. i have heard it said by others that those individuals would have in fact been picked up under the kind of biographic screening that we do now. nothing of what i am saying should be seen as contrary to what either secretary johnson or director comey did. there is risk to what we do. what i am saying is that we engage in the process, with redundancies, abundant resources, highly trained officers, to keep those risks to an absolute, absolute minimum. just out of: respect to all of our members here, i will be using the gavel to keep the question and answer -- to aso as close as close to five minutes as possible. sen. mccaskill: thank you all
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for being here. is obvious, as has been stated today and many times over the past few days, that these radical jihadists are all over the world. they are in our country, they are in many countries. if you look at the number of refugees that have been brought in from other countries, there is a number of countries on that list that we brought in much more than syria. like somalia, i ran -- somalia, iran, yemen. everywhere, there is intelligence gaps. the question i have for you is, if you are a terrorist -- maybe this is a good question, because we don't want -- maybe this isn't a good question because we don't want to tell terrorists this. to getof all the ways into the country, are you subjected to the most scrutiny? say withguez: i can
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great confidence that applicants with refugee status, and in particular, refugees from syria, are subjected to the most scrutiny of any traveler of any kind to the united states. sen. mccaskill: let me a knowledge, america is on average. americae acknowledge, is on and should. edge.ica is on averag what i would like us to do is to calmly come together as a country, democrats and republicans, and figure out what we can do that enhances the security in all of the categories. it seems to me we have gotten distracted by the shiny objects of refugees because of this image of people swarming our checks, notout any
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realizing that this is not like you're up. -- not like europe. once they got into europe, you have free access around those countries. if you are going to spend time crafting policies to keep america safe for those people that want to come here, where would you focus attention? mr. rodriguez: for me, it is that that is an operational question as much as a policy question. it is an operational question that we asked ourselves every single day in what we do, which is, to the extent that we are screening the refugees or the other example that was given was student visas, what are we doing to plug up risks that we
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identify in those processes? even though i identify what i think is a very rigorous process , we are constantly looking for thertunities to improve scope of information that we access, to deepen the training and understanding of our officers. extentmple is, to the that we talk about increasing admissions, our officers learned a lot from the rep -- from the refugees that they interview. that deepens their ability to be able to screen the people. sen. mccaskill: what about students? are we doing this for students? are we checking them at all the databases? mr. rodriguez: in many cases, depending on where they from -- where they come from and the circumstances. we are checking them in the databases. the configurations are different depending on the categories, but we basically do a national security check, a criminal
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justice check. just about every applicant for immigrant consideration that we encounter. sen. mccaskill: what about biometrics for the 38 countries that we have visa waiver programs with? how many of them now do not have the facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, chip embedded passports that we now think should be standard? mr. rodriguez: senator, i am going to respectfully deferred to my customs and border patrol colleagues. sen. mccaskill: i would like us to get that information, because of we're crafting legislation, i think it is a big mistake not to use this as a moment of leverage with our visa waiver partners to insist on the same level of biometric protections that we have in our passports with those passports, since i believe the foreign fighters in those countries pose much more of a
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risk to us than the small number of refugees who have gone through a great amount of vetting. i want to thank the chairman. to be clear, following up on senator portman's question about the current program and -- directorprogram komi, not only did he testified before this committee with what he's told -- with what he told senator portman, but also what i think concern many of us was the testimony he gave before the house committee on october 21 of 2015 in which he basically said that the u.s. government may not have the ability to that thoroughly all the syrian refugees coming in -- ability to vet thoroughly all the syrian
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refugees coming into the united states. if they are not in the database, that leaves inadequate information. he said, "we can only query against that which we have collected." if someone has never been a ripple in the pond in click -- in the pond in syria, we can query the database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing because we have no record on that person. i guess my question is, i understand the multiple steps you are taking, but isn't one of our big gaps here that we don't have the kind of intelligence we , because we where had many representatives on the ground, we had men and women who fought there, we had diplomatic representatives that we do not have in syria, that this presents a different challenge to us? mr. rodriguez: there is no question that in iraq we had a
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unique level of intelligence saturation. are there greater challenges and how do we eyconcile what director com has said about these gaps with concerns that our constituents have about the vetting process based on a gap in information? mr. rodriguez: this is not the first time, by far, that we have been vetting individuals coming from a country that was a zone of conflict where we were not participants, where we did not get -- what we did not have the intelligence gathering ability that we had in iraq. simple question, do you diminish at all the concerns made by the fbi director to the congress? sen. ayotte: -- mr. rodriguez: i think i was very clear that it is not without risk. we are using multiple
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intelligence resources. sen. ayotte: do you disagree or if you have any quarrel with the comments? mr. rodriguez: i do not have quarrel with what he said, i think there is context that is critical. sen. ayotte: of all the individuals involved in the terrorist attacks, can either of you answer the question of how many were on our no-fly list? mr. rodriguez: i know that i am not in a position in an open hearing to discuss that information. sen. ayotte: can either of you answer the question of how many were on our terror watch list? mr. rodriguez: again, in an open session, i don't believe i can. sen. ayotte: i would agree with senator mccaskill that there are allies on the visa waiver program that this committee has been focusing on for a while. a number of program -- a number of hearings before this on the beaver -- on the visa waiver program. we do have to understand what
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gaps were on that based on those individuals who are the perpetrators of the attacks in paris were on our list. i think that we have all received some briefing on that in a classified setting. this is something we have to have an open discussion about this as well. if they can't get on our no-fly zone list, and they are not on our no-fly zone list, this is the real issue of the visa waiver program, because that means potentially they can come here. that is something that needs to be addressed. i don't think it is mutually exclusive that we address these gaps in the visa waiver program that need to be addressed. obviously, there is legitimate and important reasons for people to travel to the united states of america, but we need to make sure that we address that issue as well. i think many of us are concerned , based on what we're hearing from some of our top intelligence officials and the
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director of the fbi, that the gaps that we have don't allow us to fully know what we need to know on some of the individuals that are coming, potentially, to our country. finally, if we do not address isis with what they are doing in syria and iraq, then we are , if weo be in a position don't work together with our allies to defeat isis, then the refugee crisis is going to continue because these individuals will not have a home. thank you mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing. thank you both of the people testifying. application for admittance is denied, is there a tag put on that record? mr. rodriguez: in other words, if we see the individual again?
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sen. tester: that is the next question. mr. rodriguez: we certainly make sure we know who that individual is. critically, if future cases demonstrate some connection to that denied individual, that is something we are able to identify. we're always looking at networks of people, networks of association. sen. tester: is it fair to say that the refugees have been denied acceptance, none of them have tried to reapply and none of them have received what has been denied? mr. rodriguez: i can't say that has been unheard of. we can certainly get an answer. sen. tester: can you tell me what caused a denied application to become something that got accepted at a later date? mr. rodriguez: i suppose that if it was a situation where it turned out that the individual was able to effectively refute the basis of the denial.
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that would be a pretty high bar. sen. tester: could you give me an idea on how many refugee applications are received and how many are accepted? mr. rodriguez: in any given year -- this past year -- sen. tester: what i'm talking about, you apply, you are turned away or your accepted. can you give me the difference between application and acceptance. mr. rodriguez: i will get you that. an. tester: let me answer little bit about the process for screening that you went to -- that you went through. you said that the refugees were continually queried through databases for additional information. is that where the vetting process is going on or does that even occur after they are admitted into the country? mr. rodriguez: that occurs up to the time of their admission into the country. from the time the check is first run, essentially the state
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department leg of the first screening, right up to the time of their admission. sen. tester: without getting into the specifics, we have talked about these waivers, we will potentially talk about political refugees and the difference, different ways of , ising into this country your department putting together sk ofional things as an a congress for additional tools to make sure the vetting process is where it needs to be? if any is required, are you willing to give us what needs to be done for the entire overlay, visa waivers and others? mr. rodriguez: we are always willing to work with the congress on those issues. undedency is a fee-f
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agency. the fees paid by most of our fee-payers subsidize the refugee program. they don't pay an application fee but that is subsidized. it is not from tax revenue. sen. tester: the question is, if we need to tighten up visa waivers or if we need to tighten up political refugees and the regiment they have to go through to get accepted to this country, are you guys willing to put forth those recommendations to us? it would be nice to deal with the folks who deal directly on where the gaps are. you know them better than i. we are absolutely willing to work with this body at any time to refine the way we do our work, absolutely. sen. tester: that is probably about it. i just want to say thank you for your work. -- there ise is not
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not anyone who serves in congress and doesn't want to make sure this country is as safe as it can be. we need to make sure that the work you are doing fits the risk. sen. johnson: let me just share something. at our briefing yesterday, and that our lunch today, there was some mention of the program, a number of $45 million six in my mind. $45 million used -- sticks in my mind. the program combats radicalization in this country. we are -- we were told yesterday that is something we should do more of. mr. rodriguez: secretary johnson has assembled something called , theommunity partnerships purpose of which is to engage in the activity we call countering violent extremism.
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that is a series of engagements at a national, state, and local level, a community level, with youth, with nongovernmental organizations, to really identify the root causes of rattles -- root causes of radicalization and to use smart approaches to interrupt the process of radicalization. sen. baldwin: like my colleagues, i am hearing from the public in wisconsin with sincerely held concerns and fears about an attack such as the horrific attack we saw in paris happening here in the united states. i was grateful to hear your response to senator mccaskill's
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question about which of the methods of entry into the united states would set up or provide the greatest amount of scrutiny. i think i heard you say fairly specifically that the refugee path, especially if you are a refugee from syria, would provoke the most intense scrutiny. is that correct? mr. rodriguez: that is absolutely correct. i know we do want to cross all lines of business and that is the most scrutiny. i wanted to follow up, because a number of the governors in the united states have come forward to try to cut off that path in terms of refusalng some sort of to participate in a refugee resettlement program, that is
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the national program. governor walker, from the state of wisconsin, the state that i represent, was among those governors. share what heto communicated in terms of raising concerns. said, -- he said that there are not proper security procedures in place to accurately ascertain the identities of those entering our country through the syrian refugee program. "a threat tothat, our safety and security of our people." can you respond to those concerns? mr. rodriguez: there have been that,e populations
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because they come from conflict zones, because they are running from their house, have not presented a lot of documentation. that has not generally true of the syrian refugee population. our officers are trained in finding fraudulent documents. that is something we are always looking for as a concern. it is also a critical part of the vetting process from end to end. we do, to does, what drill into the identity and associations of these individuals. i do have a high level of confidence that when the case is approved, we know whose case we approve. we know the identity of that individual. >> thank you. question hasnext
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to do with the implications on funding that flows from the federal government in support of refugee resettlement programs. generally if a state were to announce that it wasn't going to participate in that program, i know that you work in department with the of health and human services office. do you think the state decisions jeopardize this funding stream? such as medical assistance, social services, and housing? i am really concerned about refugees that may have something our state from other places in the world aside from syria. >> thank you for your question.
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3 departments of the federal government are the ones that help run the process. although as you have heard, a lot of law enforcement and national security agencies are involved in vetting. in terms of running the process, the state department works with unhcr, which refers refugees to us. we have staff in centers around the world to help the refugees. the essential decision whether they will come rest with dhs. the vetting process is collocated. we also are responsible for getting into the u.s., working with partner organizations at the airport and getting them settled in the first three months of their new lives in the u.s. department of the health and human services as a program to provide assistance through the state government to give additional support to refugees.
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refugee specific programs. it varies from state to state. in the past there has been at least one governor who said, i don't like reviews coming here, i'm not going to accept this money. --refugees coming here. a number of congress told him, please accept this money, i worked hard to get assistance for the state to help with these kinds of tests. this is a federal program. the governors do not have the ability to block the resettlement of refugees. more important than that is that this program depends on the support of the american people. it is run at the community level. there are a lot of community organizations, volunteers, churches, faith-based groups, temples involved. a lot of the things that help a refugee family that started once they get here are furnished by charity. miami,en to places in where i have cuban refugees get furniture from a furniture store
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where the founder was a cuban refugee. these contributions are a big part of this program. it is a public-private partnership. it only works if people in the immunity level -- at the community level supports it. i am less concerned about the legal ramifications of the governor's actions and were concerned about the message sends to american citizens, that we would all be running a program that is dangerous. we have no desire to do that. we also need public officials and senators and members of congress to help us. help educate people about what this program is and why we do it and why it is in the best interest of our nation to honor this tradition. thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman. a couple things. because i know
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you guys have differed -- differed a number of times on the visa waiver program. i want to acknowledge that 20 million people last year in 38 countries -- and i'm not saying they all traveled to the united states -- the visa waiver program. many of those 38 countries do not have the same level of scrutiny, biometrics, not even looking at either verified passports. we have allowed in the interest of commerce and certainly without my countries, maybe not being as enforcement-minded as we are. this is a huge part of what we need to be concerned about. we are here talking about the refugee program. i will ask the simple question. do you think it is legitimate for the american public to today ask you to provide answers to
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their questions about this program? but also for you to take a look at this program and analyze whether in fact there are any gaps, things that we could be doing better, choices that we could be making. let's say, mr. rodriguez, we have someone that we know nothing about. compelling story, but we know nothing about them. another compelling story over here, we know a lot about that person, given the competition for resettlement. don't you think it makes sense for us to prioritize those folks that have compelling stories but that we know a lot about? >> apologies. whatever questions -- i am accountable. i am accountable to the american people first and foremost. whatever questions they have our questions that i am fully prepared at all times to answer.
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questions about how we conduct this process, how we prioritize in this process. the basic design of the refugee referral process is to prioritize individuals in the most need. it starts what is a very rigorous process of screening. a lot of information is gathered from everybody that we encounter. if we can't get the information, we don't clear them. we don't approve their cases and they are held or outright denied. >> that is something missed in this discussion today. they say, you know nothing about them. what you are saying now is that you can't really find out another that them -- enough about them. that person may not, and probably won't make it into this country. >> a few things. not entirely. in other words, the individual
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has to give us enough information that matches other information that we know about what is going on. >> wouldn't that be third-party verification? >> i guess you are right senator. >> that is an important question about how you prioritize. no one here is suggesting there isn't a need. there are a lot of compelling stories. maybe we prioritize those where we actually have a higher level of assurance. i don't have a lot of time. i want to get to this issue of the northern border. obviously we have a fairly open border with canada. i can attest to that. i think the ranking member who has flown over the border can also attest to that. chairman mentioned the border during his opening statement. canada's goals regarding syrian refugees. i think border security remains critical for this country. we also have to include the
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northern border, which i have been beating the drum for on this committee since i have been on it. we have to make smart investments on the northern border. one of the questions that i have regarding the refugee program, especially as it relates to canada -- are there any issues with housing canadians -- there refugees? any suggestions you have made to expand their vetting process? can you speak to what would occur if someone was admitted into canada as a refugee and they later try to illegally cross the border to the united states? with that person, even though they may not have passed rigorous our country, be allowed entry through canada? the assistant secretary to add what i miss. we are in constant consultation with particularly english-speaking countries on
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how we conduct refugee screening. the canadians have been in this business for a long time. they do conduct the basic outline, what i'm familiar with, wizards -- which is also quite rigorous. we are in a constant state of battle with them to make sure-- >> is the canadian system as rigorous as ours? >> i cannot say. from what i have been watching-- >> that is something you can get back to me on. i have used up my time. the chairman has offered to gavel a stone if we go too far over. this is a dialogue we need to continue. >> on meeting with a canadian official tomorrow. if you give me some questions, i will get answers for you. >> senator peter's. >> this has been an interesting hearing, when i am sure we will
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be discussing for some time. important tolarly me and the folks in the state of michigan, as i think both of you are aware. we have one of the largest italy's population outside of middle east. -- largest middle eastern population outside of the middle east. we are home to many refugees from around the world that come to the detroit area. an opportunity to work with refugee resettlement groups, with religious communities, i have gotten to know many refugees have come to this country that contribute. they are for the most part -- i shouldn't say the most part -- all the refugees i have talked to or patriots. they are excited to be in the west, away from a hazardous situation. they have opened up their hearts to be here. they are storeowners, entrepreneurs, physicians, engineers, contributing folks to our country.
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that is what this country has been about sent its founding, folks that come around the world that want to pursue the american dream. us to know that we are dealing with a few military and crisis of, proportions we have not seen since world war ii. we literally have millions of people who love been displaced from syria, and are displaced because of thousands of syrians were murdered. they left because they fear for their safety and their loved ones. about two months ago, i was at a syrian refugee camp in jordan. 85,000 individuals at the time i was there cramped in the camp in a desert, not start -- not far from a syrian border. not the best conditions to live in. they had a food allowance to $.50 a day. you can't buy a whole lot food
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for $.50 a day. you have one propane bottle to cook from. what was most impactful to me was the conversations i had with those refugees who just had a sense of hopelessness. they had been there for a long time, usually you go to a refugee camp in your there -- yo u're there for 6 months and back in your country. these folks were in a camp for 4 years. they had difficult he surviving and getting education. i said, where do you want to go? obviously you don't know what your future is. do you want to go to the united states? do you want to go to europe? all of them at the same answer. they said, we just want to go home. we do want to go to a foreign country. we don't want another language, we just want to go home. certainly everybody in this room, if we were in that situation, we would just want to go home.
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we have to stabilize the region, deal with isis, have a credible government there, have a strategy to make sure folks can go back and be comparable. also in the meantime, we have to know that it's time. you have folks not just where i visited, but millions of others in camps. jordan has taken on incredible responsibility. people who are running away from the guys, folks who are running away from war from violence, trying to find a place where they can raise their children. the united nations was at that can't. -- was at that camp. i want a sense of how we get screenings. you talked about prioritization. i think another important number is about 20,000 folks have been referred to u.s. from the united nations as essential refugees.
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i understand we have looked at about 7000. we admitted 2000. already the u.n. has done prioritizing. those who are in most need who have been there a long time. i like to know what that is, how we can continue to screen them. those numbers alone show how robust the system is. you folks have discussed if are a terrorist wanted to get into this country, you're going to take the path of least resistance. this is far from the path of least resistance. you have to be in a refugee camp for a while before you are even looked at by the u.n. this is a multi-year process that folks go through/ from seeing it firsthand, it is horrible conditions that they find themselves in. there is not anybody in this room that would want to be in a position. they would want someone to say, we have some compassion.
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we know you can be a valuable contribution. >> they know we would like to take those most vulnerable. they sent us some of the most vulnerable people. my experience has been like yours, where most of the refugees you meet want to go home again. the recent lament tears families apart. -- resettlement tears families apart. those that we offer to our areows with children == widows with children, people who have been victims of torture, trauma. people who have seen terrible things happen in front of them, for whom there is no going home ever again. persecutede homes to
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religious minorities, people who are lgbt. perhaps-- anyone -- people that feel that they would have a death threat if they went home again. >> thank you senator. a couple quick questions. we are going from 75 -- 70,000 refugees to 80,000 refugees. that's a 20% increase. going from 70,000 to 100,000. do you have the resources to take on that large of an increase? >> we do. it requires us to look for efficiencies interprocess. i have often said when organizations are challenged in this way, it becomes an opportunity to improve. that is how we are treating this challenge.
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it requires us to move some resources around. we will have to improve our processes. we are a $3 billion a year organization. the challenge is an operational one more than a financial one. we are rising to the challenge. >> how many syrians are in the hopper being reviewed? -- irrently in review thought i had this information -- i will have to get back to you. >> the house just passed the american state act 2015 -- introduced the senate companion bill. nobasically says that refugee may be admitted until the director of the fbi certifies with the director of only security and national intelligence that each refugee has "received a background investigation sufficient to determine the refugee is a threat to the security of the
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u.s." they may only be admitted after the directors certifies to congress that refugee is not a threat security united states. that passed on a strong bipartisan basis. 239-137. that seems like a pretty reasonable way to ensure that these robust offices -- robust process is carried out. ceos have to certify that their financial statements are accurate. do you think that is a reasonable response? >> the white house took an indication that it would not add that much. i will say that the process that we engage in is essentially equivalent to the process completed in that bill. people are subjected to the most intense scrutiny, intense supervisory review. cases that present concerns are
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elevated, fraud detection national security director is brought in to participate in the analysis. view that in fact it would not necessarily add much beyond the process. >> as you are seen by the legitimate questions of the panel, concerns of our constituents, this would just be one additional level of control to provide that comfort to make sure that this redundant system would work. do you have any closing comments? >> yes sir, thank you. i want to assure senator mccaskill that another way for us to help make america safer is to work with europeans to make their borders safer. that is in active discussion currently overseas. you asked about the 23,000 referred to us.
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we brought 2000 to the united states. we continue to review cases and will get new referrals. it is more than a pipeline that people are flowing through. senator chesser asked how many have been denied. under our current screening, worldwide it's about 80% approved, 20%, 1 in 5 denied. i don't have the specifics by nationalities. the issue about the fbi having noah holdings. it is normal for the u.s. government to have little information about most refugees at the beginning of the resettlement process. refugees are, after all, innocent civilians that fled war zones. iraq and afghanistan are the exceptions. we have a lot of information about those who worked alongside the military were nearby. we work with them so that they told her stories and put together a case file and fill in the cap that i know are a
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concern. -- fill in the gaps the know are a concern. be,n't think that has to stop the program. other work with intelligence agencies to fill in those gaps. i want to reassure this committee that we work very closely with dhs. this is my fifth time on the hill in the last three days. that is partly why i was so glad you gave leon all the tough questions. [laughter] we are very happy to continue. we work together on a daily basis. we are happy to respond to you. one question -- should we be looking closer at our program? the white house has already asked us to go through the entire process carefully to look at ways to have efficiencies without cutting corners on
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security. is it really the best process that we can possibly have? we are consist -- we are convinced it is a secure process. but as everyone has noted, it is lengthy. >> mr. rodriguez. mr. rodriguez: i want to thank you first and foremost for leaving what i think is an andedible thoughtful productive hearing. the questions that you have asked of us are questions that needed to be asked. the answers that we offer hopefully offered clarity. one of things clear to me over the last two weeks is that have a burden with the american people in explaining to them how this process works, what the safeguards are. this has been a great opportunity to accomplish that. i fear i didn't answer a
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previous question -- are you looking for ways to make your process better? the answer is, absolutely yes. something i and my staff do every day. we realize what this means to the american people. we realize what this means to the individuals often in great distress who are asking us to admit them united states. to that extent we are always looking to improve. we are always willing to engage with this committee to talk about how we can improve the process rather. thank you again for your invitation here today. >> we want to thank you both for your service and taking the time. we want to thank the initiation for making you available. this was short notice, but this was important and useful information for the american people to hear. thank you very much. you are dismissed and we will call the next panel.
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>> i will make you all stand up again. raise your right hand.
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i like to be as efficient as possible. mr. bergen is the vice president at new america in washington dc, director of studies and several programs. he is also cnn's national security analyst. he is currently writing a book about homegrown terrorism. distinguished senators on the committee for the invitation to speak today. answer the isis attacks in paris and the sinai. there are several. we have already addressed in my state the question of the refugees.
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the real issue is not refugees, but the fact that were 70,000 french citizens that might qualify for these visa waiver programs. it was not clear how many were on watchlists. 1800rtainly shows with french citizens having gone to syria, and name your country in europe, you have substantial numbers. the visa waiver program is better than the refugee program, which is fairly robust. much easier to count only student leader -- count on a student visa. another issue that we learn from. the bomb in the paris attacks attacks.he plane
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they were used to bomb the manhattan subway around the anniversary of 9/11. that is a reminder to us that hydrogen peroxide bombs, which are readily accessed or what the jihadi terrorist groups want to use in the future. hydrogen peroxide to require and does not flag in the same way that ammonium nitrate does. both purchases of hydrogen like the attack in colorado are things that law enforcement be fighting for suspicious activity. -- flagging for suspicious activity. the question of airport workers. we seen 5 american citizens since 9/11 involved in jidhai -- jihadi terrorist crimes. 5 at a minneapolis airport. 1 member of isis.
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1 at jfk as a baggage handler. lax, planning to attack lax and u.s. military facilities in california four years after 9/11. extent that problem to something like heathrow airport. someone gave security to a self-described member of al qaeda. luckily both were arrested. and employee of british airways was in touch with the leader of al qaeda with human to put a bomb on a british airways plane -- a qaeda in yemen to put a bomb on a british airways plane. provesl-sheikh invulnerability. if you want to kill a lot of people, don't send a group of people to paris with ak-47s, put a bomb on a plane.
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look at sinai, 224 dead with -- dead.ad versus 100's we did a survey of 474 foreign fighters going to isis. here are the headlines of a we find. one out of seven were within. -- were women. that is an astonishing finding. by definition most of these are misogynistic groups. in paris we had a woman who blew herself up just 204i was ago -- 24 hours ago. the average age is 24. a lot of teenagers. an astonishing 80 million teenagers from the west -- 80 named teenagers from the west, including places like colorado and chicago. many have ties to jihadist and -- jidhadism, people who get
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married in syria will have dissipated in -- or have participated in previous terrorist plots. the leader of the plot brought his 13-year-old brother to syria to basically fight. the american profile of these foreign fighters is similar to the overall western profile. young, 1 in 6 are women. a key point here is where the american recruits, 9 oiuut of 10 were active on online jihadi websites. the war in syria and iraq very deadly. half of these male foreign fighters are dead. 6% of the females, even though they are not on the front lines. is brianxt witness michael think it's, president of the rand corporation. also director of the transportation national security center. a decorated veteran, served as a
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member of the white house commission on aviation safety and security proposal clinton, as well as an advisor to the national commission of terrorism. mr. jenkins. >> thank you very much work invited me to address this urgent issue. i would like to be able to report that in response to the terrorist attacks in paris, all of the perpetrators have been identified and apprehended and will be executed promptly and that airstrikes have stripped the islamic state and that an event like this will never happen again. however, in reality, this conflict is likely to go on. there are no quick, easy solutions. and terrorists certainly will attempt further attacks. let me give you some observations from the written testimony i have presented. first with regard to the conflict itself. the fighting in syria and iraq
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will continue. right now the situation is at the military stalemate. syria and iraq are now effectively partitioned. these partitions will persist. sectarian and ethnic divisions drive the conflict, making them hard to settle. the world will be dealing with the fallout of this conflict for years to come. isil'sdeology -- ideology continues to exert a powerful, despite the coalition pull, despiteul the coalition army's bombing. isil is calling on more to come. the uniquely destructive nature of this conflict has produced 4 million mortgages -- 4 million refugees, and another 12 million internally displaced. these are the new palestinians. neighboring countries cannot absorb them.
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they would be a continuing source of instability. we will begin with this issue for decades. hundreds of thousands of these refugees have headed to europe, raising fears that terrorists can hide among them. some may have done, which brings me to the events in paris. the attack in paris has important takeaways. it underscores the importance of intelligence. just how this group managed to get past french intelligence, we are still not sure. but the french services are simply being overwhelmed by volume. the numbers that peter mentioned , though has gone from friends, -- from friends, the number -- f rom france, the number expected to carry out homegrown terrorist attacks, that is simply overwhelming authorities. thousands. the availability of terrorist
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recruits in france and belgium and elsewhere in europe reflects some societal programs of marginalized and alienated communities where extremist ideologies can easily take root. that is going to take a long time to fix. the paris attack has increased pressure on the u.s. to step up fight against faisal -- against isil. we can do more militarily, but we must keep cool and stay smart here. we should not be provoked into measures that in the long run -- and this has the potential to be a very long run -- could prove to be unsustainable or counterproductive. paradoxically, military success against isil and syria may heighten the threat of terrorism beyond. that is able scatter the foreign fighters, will validate i sil's propaganda that this is the final showdown between believers
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and unbelievers and we could see a surge of terrorism worldwide, even as we achieve some measure of success with isil in syria. further terrorism plots must be presumed. we must prepare for an array of scenarios, including arms assault like the ones we saw in paris, although we are more likely to see more global attempts. with regard to refugees and immigrants, immigrants since the 19th century have brought their quarrels with them. these are not -- these are extraordinary circumstances. fighting continues in an active was a, where loyalties or fluid. -- loyalties are fluid. this add a layer of risk. the good news is that this is
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not europe. the numbers here are much smaller. the american audience for isil propaganda remains unreceptive, simply not selling a lot of cars here. and the new laws and structures which congress has put in place to rent terrorist attacks -- to present terrorist attacks -- prevent terrorist attacks and to be working. we are not dealing with hundreds of refugees landing on the shores, we have smaller numbers with more opportunities to vet and select them. we are not just trying to filter out that guys. efforts -- bad guys. efforts to recruit and radicalized into new after arrival. this is not a one-time sign-up that gets us through. america historically has been successful at assimilating immigrants. finally, our domestic intelligence efforts have achieved a remarkable level of success.
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we are betting about 900. about 900.bouting fellow--s the senior work concentrates on al qaeda, the islamic state, and other organizations with transnational ambitions. here to an honor to be testify before you today. i thought the first panel was quite strong. it was gratifying to see that echoed my written testimony. i like to go over a couple of points. the first and most important point is that i concluded, as did the previous panel, that the risk of refugee resettlement in terms of moving operatives into the rest is low. -- into the u.s. is low.
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not only do operatives have to wait 18-24 months, but they have to be selected. we are selecting about 10,000 over 2.1 million refugees in recognized camps. that is a very small figure. they have no control over whether an operative would be selected. given the way that we privilege the most vulnerable populations, is highly unlikely that they would be. that being said, it's also significant that the previous panel acknowledged intelligence gaps, which we should be forthright about. the situation is one in which the risk we face is low, but not a no risk proposition. there is some risk. but the selection process significantly reduces the risk, as well as the inefficiency of moving operatives in. that being said, i think the selection process is much more of a barrier than the screening
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process. it is a multilayered screening process. as other directors have acknowledged, we don't have good visibility. there are inherent limitations on our intelligence. the recent events in paris underscore this intelligence. you had at least two cells interlocking. it's a to look at the travels of the mastermind of this attack. he was able to move from europe after the plot he was involved in in belgium was interrupted on january 15, back into syria, then moved back into europe to personally direct the plot in france. that is significant. that needs while he was a wanted man, he was able to move past european authorities into syria, then passed european authorities again as he moved back in. that indicates a much more significant intelligence gap than anyone would have anticipated prior to this plot.
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the third thing is that i think it was very important to highlight that when you look at vulnerabilities the u.s. has two terrorist entry, that things like visa waiver are just more important than refugee resettlement. the reason we are talking about this so much is because of those dramatic xers -- dramatic pictures of large numbers of migrants move into europe. as we all know, the situation that we face is very different in the united states. rather than a refugee proposition crossing into the borders, they are being selected out of camps. it is a fundamentally different situation. it makes sense for this legislative body to think about is an entry that are at highest risk. and definitively refugee resettlement is not. fourth, we should think about isil's use of refugees. not so much in the u.s. as in europe. the islamic state these refugees that are fleeing its self
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proclaimed caliphate as a major public relations problem. 19,een september 16 and they released a dozen videos about the syrian refugee situation. one of them used a refugee route or have ported -- plaintiff a assportt -- planted a p after the attack. one thing that they will absolutely try to do is either infiltrate and operated into europe, or make it seem like that has happened in order to provoke a backlash against refugees. they wanted to destroy the grazing between the european population and the islamic state -- the gray zone. that is something worth taking about. lots of much for our owner we settlement program. -- our own resettlement program. if such an attack occurs, we need to think about that so that we can fashion appropriate policies.
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the final policy point i want to make is that as several senators said, we should tend our policies towards syria to reduce destabilization. my final point pertains to our ci program for sponsoring rebels. it deserves much more scrutiny. there are some deep problems. i don't want to divert this hearing. i don't think this is separable for the overall issue. taking off my hat as an expert wishing -- expert witness, i want to thank you for this hearing. i think it was very sober at a time when we have had political discussion which is extraordinary hyperbolic. senator mccaskill said should come together as americans. i think that is very important. it's worth acknowledging that on both sides of the debate, people have legitimate concerns. on the one hand, some are concerned about security. are they safe? on the other hand people are concerned about that we as americans are compassionate people, we should welcome refugees. both sides should recognize that
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there are concerns and be able to advance ourselves as opposed to having partisan finger-pointing. thank you as american for holding the hearing that was very reasonable and measured. >> our next witnesses the dean of humphreys school of public affairs. previously served as u.s. assistance secretary of state for refugees and migration. second highest-ranking official in the office of the united nations commission of human rights. mr. swartz. >> thank you mr. chairman. the committee asked that witnesses discuss any vulnerabilities in the program for resettlement of syrians. this is an important issue. it's only relevant first if we believe we have a national interest in resettling syrians. second, if are confident that we are asking the correct security-related questions.
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i will talk about our national interests. nobody disputes the critical national unity importance of issues surrounding the syrian conflict, stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, supporting our friends and allies, sustaining economic relationships, defeating isis and others that export campaign september, and providing students for people in need. -- export campaign's of terrors. all campaigns that need u.s. leadership. we need the support of our friends and our allies. how does refugee resettlement of syrians address these concerns? more particularly, how might obstacles to the continuation of this program threaten our national interests? first, the program indicates a commitment to burden sharing governments neighboring syria.
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we are asking turkey, jordan, and lebanon to host some 4 million refugees. we are expecting their support. for our efforts in the region, it's important that we sustain our resettlement efforts. it is counterproductive for us to send those governments a negative single -- negative signal, showing off those resettlement programs given all that they are doing. second, if we are urging our european allies to limit humane policies on production -- to implement humane policies on syrian. our commitment to resettlement is critical. our failure to offer we settlement will be perceived as hypocrisy and diminish our capacity to lead on issues of common concern. third, the battle against isis is also a battle of ideas in which places rejects any notion -- which isis rejects the compatibility of islam with any
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other notions. we review cap notion. notion.uebuke that it is worth reflecting. i think we have to reflect on the fact that legislative efforts to single out particular programs in iraq and syria risk playing into that narrative. it might indeed be welcomed by our adversaries. the u.s. has long advocated resettling based on applicant vulnerability. it advantages-- it would undermine our leadership. if there is a compelling syrians,in resettling what questions regarding vulnerability should we be asking? first, we should not be asking whether the syrian refugee resettlement program, or for
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that matter, any immigration program, can guarantee against admission of an individual with ill intent. to put this in perspective, some formally013, people enter the country to establish residence. almost none received anything like the scrutiny given to syrian refugees. -- some 4 million people entered the country. syrian applications are the most thoroughly vetted applicants in the process, involving reviews by the intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies. all applicants provide biometric and biographical data. i am convinced that these and other measures do provide a robust degree of safeguards that more than justify continuation of this program in light of the national security and unitarian interest -- and humanitarian interests they serve.
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this story unraveled and he was convicted conspiracy and planned espionage. the event health to stoke the convention -- helped to stoke the contention that jews could be part of a fifth column of spies as officials turned their back on those who needed protection from the holocaust. some voices condemned this in action. but to use -- they were drowned out in the name of national security. members of the committee, i hope that we can ensure that voices supporting protection of the vulnerable are not drowned out and recognize that our refugee program not only meets our security interests but reflects our values as a people. final witness.
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the president chief executive officer for the u.s. committee of refugees and immigrants, one of the 9 agencies contracted with the state department to resettle refugees in the west she has more than 30 years of experience. ms. limon. >> on behalf of the u.s. committee for refugees and immigrants, a national nonprofit organization serving refugees and immigrants, with a network of over 90 agencies and offices around the nation, i am honored to testify before you today in support of the u.s. refugee resettlement program and to provide information on the program. i want to thank you, chairman johnson, fork of lamenting our security -- for complementing our screen, which my staff works hard to keep up-to-date. we change it as we learn more.
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even the government people say that we haven't right -- we have tit right, so that is exciting. >> i always appreciate good information. addressed the needs of forced migration worldwide. we are proud to do this work in the u.s. because our countries the world leader in providing protection to people who need it. this global refugee crisis requires strong leadership and the u.s. will inherently make a statement by our presence or our absence. for refugees who are the most vulnerable, even after fleeing their countries, the torture survivors, women at risk, those with complex medical situations, for those individuals, resettlement is often the only option. for refugees who have landed in refugee camps without the right to work, with their children denied education, these are the individuals for whom we stand. we must not let the keenness
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acts -- highness acts of terrorists -- heinous acts of paris turn our backs on refugees. when i was invited to testify, i went out to our network. i said, tell me what syrian refugees that we have resettled are saying. i want to share some of their messages with you. a syrian refugee who came to detroit with his wife and four children in september wanted everyone to know that he and his family are so happy to feel and be safe again after arriving in the united states. he told us "i truly appreciate the kindness of the american people that we witnessed." a syrian family who arrived in theory, pennsylvania last night told us they were very happy to finally arrive in the united states after many years of waiting. the family was very thankful to be in pennsylvania. the father was an electrician in
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syria. he and his wife and his their children alive --managed their keepren alive --managed to their children alive. a syrian refugee in california had a video and music shop in damascus before having to sleep with his mother because of the conflict. -- having to flee with his mother because of the conflict. they fleed to lebanon for 2 years, before they moved to the united states in february this year. he told us "there are many innocent people that really need help." he feels so blessed and lucky that he had the opportunity to resettle to the united states and wishes to see more syrians have the ability to come here. uscri support a solutions based approach. based on our experienced of the following recommendations. we would like the refugee
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program to be supported to all aspects of our government as a safe humanitarian and foreign policy operation. we would like to seek funding for the department of homeland security increase to maintain the integrity of the security checks. we would like to see increased support for the office of refugee resettlement to enhance the integration of the newly arrived refugees. as a former director of the federal office of refugee resettlement, and after a four-year career -- we give you that information -- of helping refugees, i am proud incumbent that are resettlement program works and is in the best interest of america. thank you for holding this hearing. thank you for listening to our point of view. start with you. you talked about the refugee flow. you think the refugee flow is a
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public relations disaster for isis. >> yes, absolutely. this is something they have made clear in their own propaganda. they purport to be the world's home for muslims. the fact that people are fleeing from them and other syrians, rather than going from assad controlled areas, are going to europe rather than into isis held areas. >> that is the point i wanted to make. in other briefings, we are being told that the refugee flows out of isis controlled areas is primarily because of assad bombings on people. it is really the syrian government's genocide that is causing the refugee program. -- refugee problem. >> it is both. when you look at the flow out of mosul when the christians left, that was all because of isis. but yes, when you look at it,
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it's not like most is are fleeing isis. but let's be clear, there are refugees fleeing isis. the reason that it is a public relations disaster is that isis is right there in syria. >> let's talk about the greatest risk. as we have heard testimony, the vetting process is redundant. pretty inefficient if you are trying to salt people into the united states, less so if you are going to europe. as i said in my opening statement, i view the greatest risk literally as are completely unsecured borders. people flowing into countries and potentially coming here. i want to go down the panel, what is the greatest risk? what is the number one thing that we should do?
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>> it is unclear that european countries understand-- instance, the travels of the mastermind. it seems that the french did not know what the belgians were doing and that they were not sharing information problem. that is the main problem. then the waiver program. then we need a global database of who these people are. we only have 4500 names. if we don't know who these people are, everything else is moot. >> so the free flow in europe combined visa waiver program creates real risk to americans? >> yes. >> first of all, i would agree that you and senator mccaskill appropriately broaden the inquiry from refugees to looking at the whole thing. looking at immigration, visa,
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visa waiver and border security gaps in the our most likely routes for terrorists. there is a consensus that refugees may be the least productive route for them. i certainly agree with peter that a major bone ability is europe. one because of the numbers, two because they do not have the capability of selecting. these are people that are arriving. the europeans are then it trying to sort them out. a third problem is that the europeans are not sharing information with each other in these senses. as a result of that, either cooperation within europe is going to increase, or we are going to see increasing border patrols within europe.
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that will challenge the european notion of free movement altogether. border controls are going to come back up. the weakness that i think that we have in our system overall is that we are dependent on lists of names. weterms of looking at visas, have a robust system for interviewing refugees and for screening that. other thingsthese are dependent on a name being on a list. if we don't have a name on a list, we don't have much else to go on. it would be useful, at the very newt, if we could develop ways of looking at this where we can say, look, there are some of these people we can clear pretty fast because of who they are, and there are others who will
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simply require a new way of taking a look at this. this people have not created a wrinkle? i will take this up, but i will go to senator heitkamp. heitkamp: i share your complementary statements with the chairman. i think we have a great panel here. fromto kind of begin it, everything i have read in your testimony and what you presented here, would you say the focus this pointe put at solely on the refugee resettlement program is perhaps misplaced and has diverged it attention from much more critical security issues that we have? it seems to be unanimous on the panel.
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everyoneecord reflect is nodding their head. if you disagree, please weigh in your it obviously you represent a great cross-section of national security efforts. thed you say your view is majority view of people who study national security? must talk to each other at some point here. can you tell me, building on what the chairman has asked, what things you think we are talked? that we have not about today. obviously the visa waiver program is on everybody's mind. along with senator feinstein, we are introducing a bill to address gaps. timely now. it will be a great bipartisan bill. we will have a discussion on it. but what are we missing that people within your expertise today are saying, wow, why don't
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they get this? and that is for anyone. of the key things, i iree with peter entirely -- think the key thing for me is in agreements,ause of there is certain information that the united states does not get from european allies. we have seen the virtual collapse of this agreement, which means our leverage is at an all-time high. so, i would strongly recommend senators to talk to u.s. customs and border protection to figure it what they need and where has posed a risk to u.s. border security and what we might do with multilateral negotiations
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.ith our european allies what else havep: we missed? bergen: any aid that we can give to turks to increase would beder control very useful. overwhelmingly that is where foreign fighters are coming in. let me add to a question by daveed. aboutrobably will be more bilateral agreements and multilateral. there are profound differences in europe, policy differences, even philosophical differences on how to deal with these issues . privacy issues, resettlement issues, about returning foreign
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fighters, whether they should be charged with criminal violations or they should be rehabilitated and put back into society. when you deal with that many differences in a group like the toopean union, it tends dilute the efforts down to sort of the least common denominator. so, we really, really have to work closely on a bilateral ares to ensure that we getting the information that we need for our own national security interest. senator heitkamp: go ahead. >> i think support for front-line states is absolutely critical. i was part of a letter. secretarydeputy
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wolfowitz. there was michele flournoy and others, authorizing an allocation of up to $2 billion, largely in support of jordan and turkey, because they are experiencing such significant challenges that that would be a ofy valuable symbol solidarity and support. i agree with the other panelists that the refugee program is not anywhere near the major threat. my third and fourth points are i agree we need to take a close look at the visa waiver program and other programs, but i think we have to accept the fact or understand the fact, without producing the point about the visa waiver program, that our strength is our vulnerability. system of immigration is responsible for creating a
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superpower. the kind of immigration policies we have had over the last century or more, the united achieveduld not have the kind of political and economic dominance in the world. we have been spared some very leadenging, germanic challenging, existential challenges that some of our european allies and japan face. that is our strength, but it is also our vulnerability. >> senator, i think our greatest risk is we allow our political discourse in the united states make it acceptable to be anti-immigrant, that we make it acceptable to say things that are negative and stereotypical of people, whereby the mainstream population thinks it is ok to turn our back from
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newcomers. i think when you look at europe, you can see the social isolation, the lat of -- the lack their immigrant communities live with every day. the strength of america, the beauty of america is we do not do that. we do in fact assimilate new people. second and third generation they usually cannot speak their grandparents' or parents' language. when they are willing to share these values, they become americans. look at them at some point and go, they are americans. i do not know when that shift takes place, but it takes place. and that ability to incorporate key access from having that group that may turn on us
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internally. we have to have that political discourse in the leadership to say to the american people, and it's not easy because people are different and people do not like different, and it's not easy. dialogueve to have the that reinforces the beauty and sanctity of america. the past is not a predictor of the future. that is a difficult question. what do you think about the greatest risk? mr. gartenstein-ross: as i said before, i agree that the problems in europe being the greatest immediate risk in terms of terrorist entry. i want to highlight something that is very much related. reason,ring, for good has focused on the islamic state and isis. but our enemies of the past decade and a half has been al qaeda, which has been pushed from the headlines, and this is
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not a good thing. al qaeda today enjoys a lot more freedom of movement than anyone would have thought possible five years ago. you look at high-level leaders, you can see a lot is being peeled back. al qaeda is receiving state support in syria. a coalition is getting support from qatar, from turkey, from saudi arabia, and i think we need to pay attention to this rebranding of al qaeda as a more reasonable jihadist force. this is something if we do not pay attention to it now, i believe we will fully regret this in several years. not just in terms of immediate , but entrye u.s. to other parts of the world. there are a number of different groups, but they are islam it terrorist and they are at war with civilization. -- mr. schwartz,
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greatest threat? secretary schwartz: i'm sorry? is about what we face because of islamic terrorism. again, we're talking about our vulnerabilities. secretary schwartz: yes. sure, as i said before, my immigration,on our our refugee program in particular, and to my mind, the refugee program is far from our greatest threat. i think it is the durable program -- greatestat is our vulnerability within these programs? within our acceptance of refugees and asylum-seekers and immigrants?
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as i said, iwartz: don't think it is clear the visa waiver program has a greater u.s.rability than the refugee resettlement program, but frankly i am not a next word on all of the immigration programs. i can tell you the refugee resettlement program, which i know very, very well, is not one of those. if i can make one more point that i made earlier in my testimony, if members of congress feel that the department has made the case about the security procedures in the refugee resettlement program it does play right into the narrative of us against them, a particular group
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where we have a system that is rigorous and responsible. i think our geopolitical reflect require that we very carefully about this legislation. even if the president promises to veto it, the introduction of it and the passage of it, i think, is very worrisome. >> do you want to take a stab at it or -- , mylimon: since last week office has received many phone calls of people who are extraordinarily worked up about syrian refugees. "i want the names and addresses of all of the syrians you have brought here." that is one of the more polite things that has been said. it's scary. when we look at resettling refugees right now -- and as i said, people are going to arrive
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in chicago tomorrow and we have state government officials saying, let's get out the names and addresses of these people, what isre like, whoa, going on here? these people are legally admitted to the united states? we need to protect them. these are people persecuted, fleeing violence and her secures and because of their race and religion and they come to america, the land of the free, and we have to say you may be persecuted because of your membership in a particular ethnic group. it's a very dangerous time, and i will tell you, there are thousands of people who do this work around the country calling us and saying, what am i supposed to do? think a is why i certification process would give the american public the confidence they are looking for. senator carper? something i said
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earlier that i think you heard, and i talked about competing , and one oftives those moral imperatives that was reminded to us by pope francis some of your two ago was our obligation to the least of these. when i was a stranger in your land, did you take me in? athink the admonition congress, when he invoked the golden rule. i think everybody stood on their for a longplauded time. we have that moral imperative and i am reminded every day of those imperatives as we confront this challenge. but we also have a moral imperative to the 2500 people who live here and want to live .o a ripe old age
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can we do both? we have to be true to one and not the other? the reasons i was out of the room, my responsibilities on the environment, i have oversight over the nuclear regulatory commission. we are always wrestling with the question and that committee, can air, cleanerer water? i think we can have both. i think we will have both. but in terms of the moral imperatives, how do we meet both moral imperatives question mark especially the latter one? one is the rigors of the refugee program, which i think is pretty well demonstrated now. is there more we can do? i think so. i think what the administration has nominated, i think is very good. i want to say he is a terrific
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guy in his nomination is hung up in the banking committee for reasons i do not understand. bring them top their need on the financial side. they did the same thing with north korea, and we would like them to do that with isis two, -- isis, too, if we can get them confirmed. if you could just respond to my questions, thank you. >> we have become a risk-averse, security of says to nation. that is understandable. we are still in the shadow of 9/11. we are dealing with these extraordinary times and threats. but we cannot remove all risk. we have been doing a pretty good job in terms of our domestic intelligence, in terms of preventing these attacks and so on, but we don't get to zero.
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the problem is, if you try to get to zero, that has costs in other directions. to abolish the visa waiver program, there is cost. costs in terms of moral costs, in terms of our reputation as a society. so, i think part of it is, without this missing the very real threat -- and this is very much a long-term thing. this is the shape of things to come. be able to accept that none of these programs, not one of these provides us with an absolute guarantee -- no amount of screening, no signatures or senate- you can as the keep the heat on people on this, and that's important, because over time, measures become regionalized. people become slack.
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,- measures become routine people become slack. mr. bergen: i would just like to make a point. the real problem, the domestic terrorism program is provoked by domestic, homegrown terrorist's. -- terrorists. senator carper: that's a good point. >> i certainly agree that the refugee resettlement program has robust procedures and i think that the refugee resettlement program has the best expression of american values and the moral imperative, but let me repeat what i said in my testimony, which is i also believe, in this particular instance, the continuation of this program serves a vital national security
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imperative. burden sharing with front-line states. burden sharing with european states that we are asking to treat humanely hundreds of thousands of syrian refugees. these are governments that we need in terms of the geopolitical objectives we are andng to achieve, and third most importantly, we rebuke the isis narrative of us versus them. it is an expression of our program. an expression of the proposition it is not the muslim world and everyone else. that that isis narrative, we combated day and day out the refugee program. states in this program that go far beyond our humanitarian imperatives.
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>> wonderful points. thank you. thank you all. mr. jenkins, you talked about the community being overwhelmed. keep cool, stay smart. i don't think anyone will dispute we can't turn this into a risk-free world, but these are threat, and these threats are growing. terrace.ook at if we sit down and play defense the whole time, i don't think that is particularly smart. how to we go on offense? how do we solve the problem? mr. jenkins: i would not argue for a defensive strategy. i think you do have to become more effective on how you deal with this in syria. i happen to think it is not by
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deploying large numbers of american forces on the ground. i think the numbers that people mention underestimate the task. that would become very, very quickly and unsustainable thing. can we do other things? with the air campaign, an increasing number of special operations personnel? i think we can do more creative things. our efforts to create a guerrilla army and throw it into battle against isis, that has turned out -- senator johnson: obviously did not work. didn't work.it however that does not mean competitive recruiting will not work. i'm not talking about throwing people into battle. i'm talking about sunnis that are exposed to isil influence, it make more sense to recruit them and pay them, in a sense just to be on our payroll, rather than sending the money to go out there.
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let's provide a place in syria to get people on board. senator johnson: has the threat grown or receded in the last year and a half? i would say in some cases we have checked eiffel's advance. -- isil's advance. senator johnson: but has it grown or receded? mr. jenkins: the intelligence community in europe is overwhelmed by the volume. senator johnson: that is our greatest threat is what you're telling us. mr. jenkins: it is. isator johnson: that threat growing. so the risk is increasing. mr. jenkins: the risk of terrorism outside is going up. that, i think, is true. for a variety of reasons. in fact, as we have more success on the ground, that threat is outside. you can't connect, you can't look at the threat outside as evidence of failure inside
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syria. that threat will go up even without success -- remember,hnson: but you have a destabilized middle east. you start destabilizing nations in europe, that destabilizes the entire world economy, and that also affects our economic situation as well. mr. jenkins: it clearly does. so far though, so far we have been able to manage. this is a matter of can we improve things as opposed to fundamentally alter our strategy? over time, i think we have been extraordinarily cautious -- senator johnson: do you think it is a good thing that iran and russia is gaining greater influence in the middle east? russia, regional security in the middle east? mr. jenkins: russia is not a newcomer to syria. i understand,n:
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but the influence is growing in the middle east, correct? mr. jenkins: i'm not sure that it is. senator johnson: is that a good thing? mr. gartenstein-ross: no, i don't think it's a good thing that russian or arabian influence are growing, which they undoubtedly are. there are things we can do, as brian said. this is not a dodge of your question. my direct answer is specifically the threat has grown worse in the last year and a half, but number one, if you look on the ground in iraq and assyria, isis has hadand syria, isis a steady year of losses. but publicizing those losses is very important because they have a narrative of strength. hasarea where the u.s. clearly failed is it has not publicize their losses. they have four major losses in africa that almost no one is
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aware of, including people in africa. i know this because at an african summit i was at last month, people were absolutely unaware of all of isis's setbacks there. the second reason things have grown worse, if you look at the terrorism problem writ large, tunisia is fundamentally threatened in ways it was not two years ago. yemen is falling apart. that is not in isis issue. there are many other things related and isis has glommed onto that. but the overall situation is where violent nonstate actors are gaining much, much more ground. this is a real problem. not just the problems that of terrorism, but the problem set ofthe democratization violence. senator carper very elegantly describes as competing imperatives. when discourse becomes so locks
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and jaded, as we have recently seen, we do ourselves a disservice in terms of being able to reason through together as one body these very, very difficult issues that we are going to be grappling with for a long time to come. senator johnson: senator carper? senator carper: thank you. i've a question -- the influence of the russians and the a rainy and's waning? i think one of you said, maybe not so much and another said yes. about competing interests, we have competing interests in iran. we have one group led by the supreme leader and the revolutionary guard, and you have another group led by the elected president. your talking about a country where 78 million people, the average age of the country's 25. you have a generational divide re.i
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elsewhere in the u.s., it has more to do with shia or sunni more than anything else. i want to go back to something, i think, mr. birkin, it was what you said. ergen, it was what you said. the greatest threats to us. i don't know that we can tell the greatest threats to us with respect to serious -- to syria and isis -- i'm not sure the greatest threats are going programthe visa waiver are the greatest threats or those coming on a tourist visa or a student visa or some other way i'm not thinking of. i think you said it. the thing that keeps me up at night more than anything else is the folks that are here, homegrown, born here, raised here in many cases, and they come out and they can do great
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damage from the inside. those of the folks i worry about. to address that threat, reduce the threat, a couple of things. we talked about those and we are reiterating. i read a couple books not long ago about a woman named phyllis schwartz. do i have that right? not even close? [laughter] senator carper: jessica stern. the world.l over i can't believe they let her in. they opened their hearts to her. the isis book is the newer book. she had one thing that she found in talking to all of these -- a lot of them are faith-based. but they are people who, mostly guys, who have not had a lot of success in their lives, and they were looking ways to the big
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time. that could be being in a military operation, being trained to be effective, to be killed in go to heaven, and you would have all of these brides, your wives. .o get paid if they do die, the families do get paid. one thing that struck me reading the book, if isis is not successful, it if they are losing territory, if we cut them off financially, they become a whole lot less attractive. if the back story is these guys -- that is white it is so important. it chairman, -- that is why
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is so important. mr. chairman, i agree. it is so important. we have been asked to fund a program that enables them to run a counter message within the muslim communities here and in our country where there's a lot the young people are subject to being radicalized. they have a counter message to make sure that that is an effective message. so, those are a couple thoughts. do you want to react to any of that? if you do, please do -- i am a minnesotan by way of new york and washington. i do want to say a word about the real great work of the u.s. attorney there, andrew lugar, well, you know the t extremismviolence
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program is one thing. but what he and his office have done, they have engaged in dialogue and discussion, helping to understand the challenges, without sacrificing in any way the law enforcement and of of as office and i think it is real model for the rest of the country and deserves mention. just a show of hands. on the issue of the greatest threat that we face to the homeland, whether it is refugees, student visas, homegrown, does anybody think the homegrown threat may be the biggest threat that we face? thank you. four out of five. thank you. i do want to talk a little bit about the incentives created. i do want tonson:
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talk a little bit about the incentives created. hundreds of thousands of refugees flown into europe. in,more that are accepted won't more flow? isn't that a destabilizing -- limon, you talked about the problem of assimilation. around paris, you have 1.7 million muslim population, not particularly assimilated. they are more easily drawn to this, recruited in this type of ideology. from my standpoint, the answer is not to allow the flow to go because you will exacerbate the problem. isn't that a problem? anybody? yes, it's a problem. i think it is pretty unprecedented as well, since world war ii, the idea of all of these people coming in, and i think you face huge challenges in dealing with this. time,think it is also
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germany -- merkel says, ok, fine, we will bring in, i think they are bringing in 100,000 people. she sees that as a benefit to her country, which i happen to agree with her, but they are going to have to do this wholeheartedly. when you talk about communities second andis, it's third generation moroccans and middle eastern or two do not feel like they are french. again, it's the lakh of assimilation, the balkanization of society that is not a good thing. it's destabilizing. ms. limon: and we have to make sure we do not do that here. senator johnson: i do have to challenge you. you talk about all of the attacks by american citizens, naevwe do have the tsar brothers. we are kind of ignoring the fact that islamic terrorists have been at war with us since at
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least the mid-1990's, we did have 9/11. and by the way, talking about are they perceived as winners or have successful, low-tech terrorist event in beirut, i would say another successful, low-tech terrorist event in paris. i do push back the sophistication of this. people talk about sophisticated -- it takes an awful lot of planning. it seems to me to be pretty easy to say here are the targets, here is where we are going to hit them at zero hour. take a look at the weapons. readily available on the black market. to the real threat and the growing threat. mr. bergen. bergen: you are right.
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the attacks in paris were not sophisticated. but they were complex. the real problem is that they got radicalized here, the tsarna ev brothers. it was the last tw's of their existence -- senator johnson: point taken. anyone else want to comment? made atenstein-ross: you point about winners and losers. obviously this is where isis has had a string of successes. at if they have a campaign, it's not going to be particularly effective. at but i think there is strong proof -- and i senateed before the theyttee in april -- that demonstrate their strength. and when they have big successes like these awful attacks likely just seen, you will not be able to convince people that they are
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on the losing side. senator johnson: i would argue that their sophistication is social media. the way that they are able to recruit and inspire people to join this absolutely barbaric -- tot takes some dedication convince people to blow themselves up. actual execution is relatively low-tech, which is a concern. did you want to say something? no, i completely agree. secretary schwartz: in most cases when you're dealing with migration and it is economic policyon, as a matter of and ethics, it is reasonable to create certain deterrence to immigrants.
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yes, there are internally displaced foreign refugees, but very few of those are people who did not have good reason to move based on persecution, abuses, or conflict. traditionally, there are three people in aople -- situation like that are resolved. either they are locally integrated into the places they flee. they return to syria. or to their country of origin. or they are resettled in a third country. third countrylly, resettlement is for a pretty small minority of refugees. senator johnson: which again is my point. it points to the solution -- secretary schwartz: well -- senator johnson: in terms of wiping isis off the face of the earth. i think that has to be the solution. i guess i was baffled, mr.
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jenkins, by your assertion that will make it even worse. no, it's not that i am saying -- look, don't go after them because it will make it worse. that as ag consequence we have to be prepared for any way. that's not a reason not to go after them. to go after them and indeed, increase our efforts to destroy isil. i have never been equivocal about going after isil. there is no option -- there is no option -- that allows the continued existence of isil, and i agree with daveed. i don't make these distinctions between a bad iso and a slightly less had al qaeda. we are talking about an ideology -- senator johnson: islamic terrorism. i think as a civilized world, it comeout time we begin, we
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completely, 100% committed to defeating them. i realize it is a long-term of one, but we take care situation, we mop that up, we forget about it. that is the point here. first of all, this is about this type of ideology. destroyne, that we must the military formation. i can't tell you that will ever change people's souls or beliefs. s in thee still nazi world that believe in it. but we can destroy these organizations, and hell, i have been the senator cato of this in terms of repeating regularly that furthermore al qaeda and i sold must be destroyed. accept thishave to is going to be a very long task,
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and therefore -- and therefore, take our way through this in a way that we can sustain it in the long run and not do things that will immediately erode both international and domestic public support and not do things that are going to be counterproductive. so, this is not about going after them. this is about how we go after them? aretor johnson: i think we on the same page here. it requires the 100% commitment by the civilized world to understand the reality of this. it's not going away. it has to be destroyed. mr. jenkins: absolutely. senator johnson: anybody else? secretary schwartz: i would say there is nothing inconsistent between that objective and the efforts to bring together the powers that are so dramatically impacting the situation on the ground in syria today. if that doesn't happen -- and i credit the administration for the effort it is making --
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because if that does not happen, the humanitarian crisis that overlays the situation will just be continued. however desirable these objectives are, the destruction of isis, that is a long-term proposition. right now the imperative has got to be to chart out some sort of inition for that situation syria so that the humanitarian crisis that we are seeing can be addressed. i would say the imperative is to make it not so long-term. is tod say the imperative -- anyway, let me give everyone a chance to kind of summarize. i have taken enough of your time. limon? ms. limon: thank you, senator. the majority of the refugees are
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fleeing the government of syria assad, and -- and having spent half of my career helping refugees fleeing that governments, i really wish we would put our attention on those actions -- not to take away from destroying isis and al qaeda and the rest of it -- that is a good thing. when does the international havenity punish those who people fleeing? what about a tree and swinging? i could give you a laundry list. we do not have time. when do people say we have to go to the source of this. itraens about er fleeing? i would sayson: when america leads.
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secretary schwartz: i would only you and other members have a reasonable degree testimonynce that the of the administration was persuasive in terms of the kinds of security measures that are in place, i would just ask that you implicationsof the with respect to our friends, our allies, governments, and people who are listening very, very closely to what comes out of the u.s. congress and the administration. have expressed my views on this earlier in the hearing, so you know -- senator johnson: i generally do consider everything. a simple certification provides the american people that a of these vetting safeguards are done. verification from
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ceo's under sarbanes-oxley -- secretary schwartz: why this particular program? because of the: last five weeks. mr. gartenstein-ross? we talkedstein-ross: at great length about the primary topic, which is the risks of refugee resettlement. we had consensus on this panel. so, let me just point to a couple things, really the last round of questioning. i think one thing that i would love to see the legislature exercise more oversight over is our cia program for arming syrian rebels. a lot of the recent revelations are extraordinarily disturbing, and i think they are making the situation worse in terms of the primary topic we are talking about, which is refugees. also, it is a disservice to our strategic interests.
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the second thing i will say, you talked about winners and losers, and that's another area where i think the legislature can play a strong role. this is obviously the time when isis has a number of prominent wins in terms of awful, deadly attacks. they are also suffering losses, the loss of sinjar, their major is increasingly threatened. you asked about the influence of iran and russia. iran has been at the forefront of pushing back isis. this is not a fully positive thing at all. the atrocities being committed by the pro-iran shia militias against sunnis is the kind of thing that lays the groundwork for this being a tragedy ad infinitum. this is the kind of thing not getting attention now that richly deserves it. mr. jenkins? mr. jenkins: we don't like to
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use the term, but we are at war. we have been at war for a long time on this. that means we are going to incur costs. we are going to incur risks in this. on the one hand, we are committed to a war, we are going to go after these people, and on the other hand, treat every time we confront a as though it were an outrage of failure. believe as you are, that has consequences. we have that in terms of how we go after isil, but how this nation ought not to be panicked as we go forward with this, which sometimes i think we
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tend to do. let's lay outn: the reality and get a broad spectrum view on this and i think we've done a pretty good job on this. mr. bergen. this hearing has shown light on an issue that has become quite politicized. one thing we do not want to do is to come back here and 2019 having the same hearing on afghanistan. the plan to draw down in afghanistan is not a good idea. we have already seen how this plays out. isis already has a small presence in afghanistan, which is growing. we do not want to make the same mistake we did in iraq. thank you, mr.: bergen. i want to thank all of the witnesses. i like information. i hate demagoguery. all of you and the previous panel, too, i really do
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appreciate the administration -- this was a very fast turnaround for the administration to provide us witnesses. been to their benefit on this issue. of youi appreciate all bringing forward information for the american people to hear. with that, this hearing record will remain open for 15 days p.m. december 4, 5:00 this hearing is adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015]
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>> tonight on c-span, attorney general loretta lynch and fbi director james comey commenting on and isis threat against new york city. then house debate on a bill to prevent the immigration of syrian and iraqi refugees. refugeesse hearing on seeking asylum in the u.s. >> on the next "washington kagan on frederickk u.s. strategy against isis. paletta and a report on how states to church and punish corruption. live onton journal"
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c-span at 7:00 a.m. eastern with comments. >> book tv. our feature programs include the second annual miami book fair. our live coverage starts saturday at 10 a.m. eastern. we will have afterwards with fergusonuson -- niall on his book "kissinger." of a rarity.ing -- >> he was something of a rarity. he stood out from the pack of people who thought you could solve the cold war with analysis. >> sunday night at 8:00, the former editor of the london-based -- and author of the book "islamic state: the thetal caliphate" on
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methods of isis and their rivalry with al qaeda. watch book tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span2. lorettaney general lynch and fbi director james comey held a joint news briefi ng. this briefing follows news that isis has released a video that threatens an attack on new york city. ynch: goodeneral l
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afternoon. thank you for coming. i am here with fbi director jim ey to discuss recent events. obviously these are challenging times. with the recent attacks in paris raising the profile of isis and this global threat. we have made this clear not just with words, but with our actions. the departments of of justice, the fbi, and other agencies are contact through our regional assistance channels to provide support to the french, to coordinate strategies and advance our shared efforts as we obtain further information that may be relevant to these attacks. we are operating on the next but
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that theo ensure professionals at the fbi and the department of justice are available. we have also expanded our attaché in paris, and we have night.el working day and earlier, president obama spoke by phone with president hollande to reaffirm our cooperation in the fight against terrorism. of course, our highest priority is and will remain the security of our homeland and safety of all americans. , wehe department of justice are working around the clock to uncover and disrupt any plot that takes aim at our people, our infrastructure, and our way of life. we are acting aggressively to
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defuse threats as they emerge and we are vigorously invested in prosecuting those who seek to harm the american people. we have charged more than 270 individuals for conduct related interest andghter homegrown extremism and we take combat extremeo activity. we are working with the rudder intelligence community and our partners around the world and all of these efforts and we are bringing every resource to bear in the service of our mission. is important to note that as we do this work, we are guided, obviously by our commitment to the protection of the american people, but also the protection of our american values, which increase the timeless principles freedom.ivity and
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we will not let our actions be overtaken by fear. we will not allow emergence of violence to rob us of our most precious ideals. our values are central to the work that we do. they are essential to the nation that we protect. they are also the reason that we are a target and they are what terrorists want most to see to have us abandon. they want us to live in fear and we refuse. they want us to change who we are and what makes us quintessentially american and that we will never do. and now i'll turn the microphone over to the director of the f.b.i., jim comey, for a few remarks as well. mr. comey: thank you, madam attorney general. i'd like folks to know three things. how we think about the threat. what we're doing about it. and what you should do as a citizen in this great country of ours. first, the threat. we are not aware of any credible threat here of a paris-type attack. and we have seen no connection at all between the paris
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attackers and the united states. isil and its supporters put out all kinds of propaganda, like videos and magazines, but that is not credible intelligence. of course we investigate all of those propaganda threats. but instead the threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in america who are being inspired or enabled online to do something violent for isil. we have stopped a lot of those people this year, especially leading up to july fourth, and there are others we worry about and we cover all across the country using all of our lawful tools. that's how we think about the threat. second, what are we doing about the threat? the taxpayers of this country have invested a lot of their money in building a national counterterrorism capability since 9/11. and that has built something very strong. we are not perfect, but we are good. starting minutes after the paris attacks on friday, we did four things. first, we began looking for connections between paris and
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here. second, we made sure that we were tightly connected with our state and local partners, that they knew everything we knew and that they were as energized as we are. third, we began covering every tip and every lead immediately and we have continued that to this moment. and last, we have made sure that our over 100 joint terrorism task forces are focused intensely on our investigations and in fact they have taken them up a notch. that is very hard work. but we are very fortunate to have the help of our state and local partners around the country. together we are watching people of concern, using all of our lawful tools, we will keep watching them and if we see something, we'll work to disrupt it. that's what we're doing about it. last, what should you, the people of the united states, do in response to this threat? the most important thing, i think, is do not let fear become disabling. that is what the terrorists
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want. they want you to imagine them in the shadows, they want you to imagine them as something greater than they are. instead, we hope that you will turn fear into healthy awareness of what's around you. if you see something that gives you a bad feeling, tell somebody in law enforcement. since september 11, we have really worked to get ourselves organized in such a way that if you walk up and tell any police officer in this country or any deputy sheriff in this country that you saw something that didn't seem right, you heard something that didn't seem right, or you read something online that seemed off, that information will get to the right people immediately. you can count on it. and we will check it out. if it's nothing, no harm done. but if it was something, great harm may be avoided. but counterterrorism is what you pay us to do. tell us what you saw and then go on living your lives, living your life while we could our work. -- while we do our work. that is channeling fear into something healthy, which is awareness of your surroundings, and not something disabling. that's what we hope you will do. thank you, madam attorney general. ms. lynch: thank you, mr. director.
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thank you all. >> all persons having business before the honors of the supreme court of the united >> coming up, we will discuss brown versus the board of education. her father sued the school board in their case along with four other similar cases made it to the supreme court. we will examine the case and explore racial tensions at the times, and the immediate and long-term impact of the decision live eastern on c-span, c-span3, c-span radio, and for background order your companion book available
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for $8.95. >> sunday on q&a. >> on the first woman to reach the rank of four stars. maybe been a three-star was1 months when the cnl traveling through town. he asked to see me. i presumed it was about the next job. that is when he talked to me about looking at you for being a four-star. here are different opportunities where we think you would do well and benefit the navy. she talks about becoming the first female four-star admiral in the history of the navy and discusses her career prior to
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her current appointment including leaving -- leading the -- findo capture captain phillips. job,few days on the captain phillips was kidnapped. it was our responsibility to get him back safely. that was a surprise mission and a challenge. sunday night. >> today the house passed a bill that would put limits on the u.s. granting asylum to syrian and iraqi refugees. member discussed the issue in a series of one minute speeches. mr. speaker, the first value of american leadership is the safety and security of our citizens. while it is important to support those fleeing conflicts across
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the globe, the c.i.a.'s director , recent statements on the distinct possibility on additional attacks and the national security implications surrounding syrian refugees at this point are too great to ignore. the f.b.i. has also indicated it is next to impossible to appropriately screen refugees. for this reason i have called upon the president to place a hold on many refugees into the contry. additionally i joined with members of the pennsylvania congressional delegation in requesting that governor tom wolfe also place a moratorium on accepting refugees into the commonwealth. the house today will consider legislation that suspends refugee admissions until we assure adequate screening security for threats is in place. we must not take any chances that could put our country at risk. this is the first of many steps that will provide americans security while also supporting our long-term humanitarian tradition in this country. i encourage my colleagues to support the safe act that will be on the floor later this morning. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my
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time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> seek unanimous consent to speak for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. speaker, 70 years ago my parents and grandparents were stripped of their possessions and placed in japanese american internment camps. they were not guilty of espionage. they did not commit treason. they simply looked like our enemy and that cost my family their freedom. yesterday the mayor of row know noke, virginia, suggested that this country's treatment of japanese americans during the 1940's is a model for how we should address today's global refugee crisis. it does not take courage to condemn such disgraceful comments, nor does it take wisdom to say our world war ii policies were a product of fear and hysteria. what takes wisdom is recognizing
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that history is now repeating itself. and what takes courage is sending a message to the world that america will protect innocent people regardless of their nationality or religion. that is what my mother and father deserved 70 years ago and that is what these refugees deserve today. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. lal mall if a: -- mr. lamalfa: yesterday the -- support of state and local project. the program has supported many recreation facilities across the country including in my district such as the municipal pool in susan bill, both launches on the sacramento river, and laygrounds in chico,
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california. this administration now disproportionately spends millions on land acquisition for the forest service. which already can't manage what it owns. 61% so far of the program during its existence has gone for this land acquisition. that's not local. the result is catastrophic fires across the west each year with nonmanaged forestlands. mr. speaker, chairman bishop's bill will rectify this problem and send more funding to the state and local projects that need it and help end the destructive cycle of federal government purchasing and owning land it doesn't manage only to have it burn. i urge my colleagues to support this measure when it comes up. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. sanchez: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to express my concern and-n opposition to the republican syrian refugee bill. this restrictive and misguided legislation would immediately shut down the current refugee resettlement and cripple our refugee programs for the future.
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i represent orange county, california, one of the historically known areas of resettling refugees from all around the world. we are ready, we are ready once this administration has taken a look at the background, has done the extensive search that they do with respect to somebody's background, we are ready to help resettle these refugees. refusing to resettle any syrian refugees would inadvertently empower da'ish and boost their retrumet abilities among vulnerable populations struggling to survive. we cannot let da'ish push us to succumb to fear and to prejudice. the syrian refugees are fleeing the same violence we have seen in paris and beirut and baghdad this last week. 3/4 of them are women and children. a quarter of them are over 60 years of age. refugees are not the enemy. remember the words on our statue
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of liberty, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled >> paul ryan discussed syrian refugees and the bill that would put limits on the asylum process . this is 10 minutes. mr. ryan: good morning. thank you. the first duty of our government is to keep the american people safe. the house will vote on a plan to pause our syrian refugee program. if our law enforcement community cannot there are fight each and every person coming here is not a security threat they shouldn't be allowed in.
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the government can't certify these standards. this plan pauses the program. it is a security test, not a religious test. this reflects our values and responsibilities and it is urgent. we cannot and should not wait to act when our national security is at stake. often times of crisis bills come like this haphazardly. the homeland security has been looking at this all year long. they issued recommendations to deal with the refugee program we are talking about today. the majority leader put together a task force of chairs to draw upon the work. we had a briefing of our members. we reached out to our democratic colleagues. we didn't think of party labels. whenould do the same thing
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protecting our country. this is an important first step. the new -- we need to do more. the defense belt we sent the president requires him to present a clan to defeat isis. continue thee will work on these great challenges. we made progress in our efforts to return to regular order. i looked at the record. i have been on conference committees. many of our members have never experienced a conference committee because we have not had regular order for a long time. we have to conference committee meetings. there were six executive sessions for members to provide input. house republicans approved the first in a series of reforms to create a more inclusive process.
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all of this is about getting results for our country. it is easy to have an issue to talk about or a football to toss around. the challenges we face and the people we serve demand more. credits have been pushing a bill for years that terrorists on the no-fly list for ming able to purchase a gun. you said it is better to be safe than sorry. mr. ryan: this is the beginning of all the processes. they are taking all suggestions. as i mentioned we are just process ofhe reassessing all of our security stances so we can make sure we are keeping the american people safe. >> you manage to pass this bill in two days. mr. ryan: let me explain why.
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i want to read you a quote. first from jeh johnson, the secretary of homeland security. we are not going to know about the syrians that come full word in this process. thisizations might exploit . there is no risk-free process. how about the fbi director james komi under oath testifying before congress. there is risk associated with bringing anyone in from the outside but especially from a conflict zone like syria. are gaps incern they don't want to talk about publicly in the data available to us. our law enforcement experts are telling us they don't have do techce that they can or block with the current standards in place that isis is not trying to infiltrate the population.
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there are many other issues we need to consider and we will do so under regular order. -- have youer spoken recently to mitch mcconnell about the issue? can he get this bill through his chamber? mr. ryan: we anticipate a bipartisan vote today. but thatoing to speak is what we are doing. >> the current refugee process takes an hour and a half to two years. how much more time is this going to add. mr. ryan: i don't think time is the issue. is this is different because we don't have a series to talk to. we don't have data on the other into verify the veracity of claims coming here. but we know that isil is already telling us they are trying to
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infiltrate the refugee population, indications that some of the paris bombers may have come through the refugee route, don't you think that common sense dictates we should take a pause and get this right? we do not have to pick among our values. we are a compassionate nation. these laws are important laws. we are not talking about religious test. we are talking about a security test. given that we know isis is trying to attack us and other western nations, it is common sense that we pause and reevaluate and make sure we have the proper standards to make sure something like this doesn't happen here. manilapresident was in and reiterated his intentions on guantanamo bay. he called it an enormous recruitment tool.
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you talk about the fight against isil. how a your mind is maintaining guantanamo bay not a recruitment tool? mr. ryan: i disagree but it is not just myself. house votedof the for the defense authorization bill which disagrees with the position. >> how is it not rich -- a recruitment tool. mr. ryan: i disagree that it is recruitment tool. >> why haven't you addressed these so waivers first? why not first? 13 million last year. they say i'm going to disney world and that is all they have to say and they are in. why wasn't that first? 13 million versus 10,000? mr. ryan: this is step one in a
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long step process. we assembled committee chairs of the relevant committee task force and they are coming together with all these recommendations. this is the beginning of a process. >> the president has issued a veto threat. you expect writers to be on the spending bill. is this an issue you could add to the spending bill? could that trigger a shutdown fight? mr. ryan: it baffles me. why his vetostand threat came as it did, especially given the fact that his own law enforcement top officials came to congress and testified there are gaps in this refugee program. this should not be a partisan issue. i'm asking democrats to vote with us today. we reached out to democrats in crafting this to get their input . we put feedback from democrats
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in the bill. we are not trying to make this a partisan issue. protecting the american homeland is not about democrats and republicans. it is about protecting the homeland. i am surprised he is using such rhetoric. we know there are gaps and we have to keep the country safe. that is why the pause is necessary and why we want to make sure law enforcement puts in place standards necessary to guarantee we do not have isis infiltration into a refugee population. >> this morning you guys ratified the proposal. what is next in terms of rule changes? mr. ryan: what we did was to keep a commitment to have the steering committee reforms committed by thanksgiving. what we want to do now is look at the rest of our rules package and a more deliberate fashion through policy committee system wethat come next session if
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believe there are changes that are required, to make it a more open and complete process, we will consider that. you will know clearly in your own mind what it would be. i'm wondering if you could have thoughts about how you convince other members of your party that you could create a shutdown. where'd you go from there? mr. ryan: we always have writers and appropriation bills. i'm looking forward to next year where we have an appropriation process were be considered the bill separately. it's been a while since we've done that. this is something i'm inheriting from the prior speaker. we will have writers. we always have. i'm not going to prejudge the outcome. >> this week, 9/11 first responders were on the hill.
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do you favor a permanent reauthorization of that legislation? mr. ryan: i favor reauthorizing the program. i'm more of a regular order god. i've asked for peter king to come up with a solution to this program so by the end of the year we agree to reauthorize the program. >> you don't make it will be done by christmas. >> by the end of the year. they run out of health care by february. >> today the house voted to 89-137 for a bill that would put limits on the syrian and iraqi a silent seekers -- asylum-seekers. here is the debate on the bill before the vote to getting with bob goodlatte. it is one hour and 45 minutes.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, pursuant to house resolution 531, i call up h.r. 4038 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4038, a bill to require that complell certifications and background investigations be completed prior to the admission of certain aliens as refugees, and or other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the chair would ask all members to please clear the well. ask all members to please take their conversations from the floor. ask all members and staff to please take their seats. pursuant to house resolution 531, the bill is considered as read. the bill shall be debatable for one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on judiciary. the gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte, and the gentleman
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from michigan, mr. conyers, will each control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and includeheir remarks and extraneous materials on h.r. 4038, currently under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. mr. goodlatte: i support h.r. 4038 -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. the chair would again ask all members and staff to take their conversations from the floor. take their seats. the gentleman from virginia virginia tech. mr. goodlatte: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i support h.r. 4038, the american security against foreign enemies act of 2015. just one example of a terrorist taking advantage of the united states' generous immigration policy in order to perpetrate attacks on americans is too many.
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unfortunately, there are too many examples to count. most notable are the attacks on september 11, 2001, perpetrated by 19 foreign nationals who are admitted to the u.s. through our legal immigration system. the u.s. government has the ultimate responsibilities to protect its citizens. as such, if u.s. immigration policy allows foreign nationals who want to do us harm access to u.s. soil, then the immigration policy must be reviewed and amended. we are faced with such a situation right now. there is a very real possibility that a terrorist, particularly one from or claiming to be from syria or iraq, will attempt to gain access to the united states as a refugee. in fact, isis is making no secret of their plans to have their members infiltrate groups of syrian refugees. we should take isis at its word. of course, our hope is that such an individual would be screened out through the refugee vetting
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process. unfortunately, we have heard time and time again from top counterterrorism and intelligence officials that the current vetting process cannot prevent such an individual from receiving refugee status. in fact, just late last month f.b.i. director james comey told the judiciary committee that with a conflict zone like syria where there is dramatically less information available to use during the vetting process, he could not offer anybody an absolute assurance that there is no risk associated with admitting syrian nationals as refugees. and he told another house committee that we can only query against that which we have collected. and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database till the cows come home but nothing will
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show up. because we have no record on that person. the admission's foreign policy inaction in syria and failure to take seriously the isis threat, are responsible for the flood of syrians currently leaving their country. of course, we all remember when the president told us that isis was the j.v. team. that j.v. team just murdered over 120 innocent people in paris, including at least one american. and the paris j.v. team included at least one terrorist who was registered as a refugee from syria. h.r. 4038 requires certification by the f.b.i. director that the security vetting process is sufficient to prevent an individual who is a security threat from being admitted as a refugee. the bill also requires that the d.h.s. secretary, f.b.i. director, and director of national intelligence certify to congress that each refugee is not a security threat prior to his or her admission to the
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united states. in addition, h.r. 4038 requires the d.h.s. inspector general to review such certifications annually and report its findings to congress. the certification procedures apply to aliens who are nationals of iraq or syria. those who have no nationality, and whose last habitual residents was in iraq or syria, or present in those countries at ny time on or after march 1, 2011. h.r. 4038 puts the administration on notice that their lax attitude toward this issue will no longer be tolerated and puts the administration on notice that congress is not yet finished reforming refugee policy. in fact, our committee has been hard at work long before the paris attacks working on legislation to make necessary security related and other changes to the u.s. refugee admissions program. and we look forward to moving that legislation through the
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house. h.r. 4038 is not meant to be the soul solution to the security problems we face in vetting syrian and other refugees. but it is an important first step. and i look forward to congress taking additional action to ensure america's safety. i thank the gentleman from texas and the gentleman from north carolina for the work they have done on this bill. i urge my colleagues to support t i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, members, the so-called american safe act purports to make us safer but as the administration has so correctly observed, this measure would provide no meaningful additional security for the american people. worse yet, it would effectively
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deny refugee status for syrians and iraqis who are themselves victims of terrorism in their own homelands. h.r. 4038 is a terribly flawed and inhumane bill for many reasons. to begin with, while ensuring the safety of all americans should be our top priority, h.r. 4038 does nothing to achieve this goal. this measure sets unreasonable clearance standards that the department of homeland security simply cannot meet. refugees seeking to come to our shores are already subject to the highest level of vetting, more than any other traveler or immigrant to the united states. .
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this extensive screening process is performed by the department of homeland security, the state department, in conjunction with the cents tral intelligence agency. the federal bureau of investigation and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies. exhaustive utilizes background checks that often take up to 24 months on average toll complete and even longer in some cases. we must keep in mind that our nation was founded by immigrants and has historically welcomed refugees when there is suffering around the globe. whether it is an earthquake in haiti, a tsunami in asia or four years of civil war in syria with
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no end in sight, the world always looks to the united states. we provide protections for , ugees and asylum seekers especially women and children. nevertheless, in the wake of the september 11 attacks on our shores and the tragic november 13 terrorist attacks in paris, we must be vigilant particularly in the midst of a global refugee crisis. h.r. 038, however, is an extreme overreaction to these latest security concerns. rather than shutting our doors to these desperate men and women and children who are risking death and to escape
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torture in their own homelands, we should work to ut liz our resources and good intentions to welcome them. and finally, congress needs to o its part by properly funding refugee resettlement as well as funding our federal agencies so they have the necessary personnel and programs to complete security checks that we already have in place. instead of slamming our doors to the world's most vulnerable, we should be considering legislation to strengthen and expand refugee programs. unfortunately, the bill before us today is not a serious effort to legislate and it will not make us safer. it's a knee-jerk reaction, as evidenced by the fact that this measure was introduced just two days ago and has not been the
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subject of a single hearing or any meaningful review by our committee. rather than betraying our values, we must continue to focus on the most effective tools to keep us safe while also providing refuge for the world's most vulnerable. accordingly, i urge, i urge all of my colleagues to oppose h.r. 4038. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: at this time, it's my pleasure to yield five minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul, the chairman of the homeland security committee and the chief sponsor of this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. mr. mccaul: i thank the chairman of judiciary.
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i rise today to urge my colleagues to support the america safe act. let me be clear. we are a nation at war. the world was reminded last week that islamic terrorists are seeking to harm our people, destroy our way of life and undermine the foundational principles of the free world. sadly with the news that at least one of these frirtsfer terrorists may have infiltrated europe posing as a syrian refugee, the paris attacks confirm our worst fears. thousands of foreign fighters terror back ring to the west. the world is now looking at america for leadership and for a clear-eyed understanding of the threat. isis is not contained, as the president says. isis is expanding globally and is plotting aggressively. the group is now responsible for
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more than 60 terrorist plots against western targets including 18 in the united states. here in the homeland, we have arrested more than one isis supporter a week in the past year. in -- and the f.b.i. says it has nearly 1,000 isis-related investigations in all 50 states. today, we must take decisive action to show the american people that we are doing all that we can to protect our count troy. we must listen to the words of our enemies. isis has vowed in their words to exploit the refugee process to sneak operatives, to infiltrate the west and they appear to have already done that to attack our allies. for nearly a year, intelligence and law enforcement agencies have warned congress, both publicly and privately, that they are alarmed by intelligence
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collection gaps and our ability to weed out terrorists from the refugee process. f.b.i. director comey testified before my committee and stated we can questionery our data bases until the cows come home because nothing will show up because we have no record of them. we know that organizations like isis might like to exploit this program. this is an administration official's words, not mine. this legislation would add two important layers to our defenses. creating the most robust national security screening process in american history for any refugee population. the american safe act also strikes an important balance between security and our humanitarian responsibilities. it sets up roadblocks to keep
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terrorists from entering the united states while also allowing legitimate refugees who are not a threat to be resettled appropriately. let us not forget this legislation is the first in a series of steps we must take to .efend the homeland last week the streets of paris could just as easily have been the streets of new york or chicago or houston or los angeles. but as i have said before, our long-term message to these terrorists must be clear. you may have fired the first shot in the struggle, but rest assured, america will fire the last. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i'm pleased now to who has worked
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harder on this issue than anyone i know, the gentlelady from california, mrs. love green, to whom i yield three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is ecognized for three minutes. ms. lofgren: all of us watched with horror the events in paris. november 13 was france's september 11 and all of us have paused to consider what further should be done to make sure that america is safe because our first obligation as members of congress is to make sure that america is safe. and so as we watch the refugees from the middle east pouring into europe, concern has been expressed and i think correctly, who are these people hidden among the many helpless victims
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are there those that would pose a threat. it's worth noting that our process for refugees is completely different. no one gets into the united states unless they have been completely vetted. this process starts with the u.n. referring only those people who are vulnerable, who have been tortured, who have been victimized, who are helpless women and children who are screened by us. we have a process that includes soliciting information from the d.e.a., from the intelligence agencies, from the f.b.i. and alike, all of those agencies have a veto. if there's a problem, they veto the admission. the process takes two years or more and a very small number of people actually are admitted. of the 2,000 or so syrian refugees who have been admitted
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to the united states, the overwhelming majority are children and widows who have been victims of torture, who have seen their husbands beheaded. the bill before us, as has been described by the speaker and the author, would stop the refugee program. they call it a pause. they would stop it because it completely structures the very elaborate system we have by putting the f.b.i. as the lead agency. they would have to hire agents. it would be a pause, that's what they have described. it would take a couple of years to start up. now why is that a bad idea? isis is our enemy and we need to fight them and we need to defeat them, but we are fighting on two levels. one, military, but also this is a fight of values. america stands for freedom. we are the beacon of light, of
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democracy, of freedom in the world and part of that value of america is allowing people who are escaping monsters like isis to be able to become americans like us. we need to screen and make sure that we are completely safe. but if we stop that program, we give isis a win. please defeat this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: it's my pleasure to yield five minutes to the chief co-sponsor of the legislation, the gentleman from orth carolina. mr. hudson: america is a good country and we have a long history of accepting refugees, people fleeing oppression and violence, but we have an obligation to the american
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people. we welcome people into this country who are seeking asylum. we owe it to the american people to know who these people are. and when you've got a terrorist group like isis, who has said that they will exploit this refugee crisis to infiltrate america, this is an orgs that has -- an organization that has said their goal is to come to america and kill americans. i take them at their word. the number one responsibility of this body is to protect the american people. and it's not me saying that we have challenges with the current vetting process, it's experts from president obama's administration. i draw your attention to the first quote from jeh johnson. it's true that we aren't going to know a lot about the syrians. that is definitely a challenge. i draw your attention to the
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next quote from director james comey of the f.b.i. we can only questionery against that which we have collected. if someone has not made a ripple in the pond in syria in a way to get reflected in our data bases, we can questioner question our data until the cows come home but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person. this is president obama's own administration saying that the current process is broken, that we are bringing in these refugees that we cannot properly vet. so our legislation simply says, let's stop this flow unless and until the law enforcement experts that president obama has apointed, the f.b.i. director, director of homeland security can vouch for the fact that we have a process in place that they are comfortable with. how radical is that? this is common sense and that's
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why our polls show 75% of the american people support this measure. i know the president has issued a veto threat, but i hope today in this house, we can come together republicans and democrats and respond to the american people and we have a bipartisan vote that doesn't say no to refugees, it sauce pause the program unless and until the law enforcement experts are comfortable that we got a process. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this legislation. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. goodlatte: i yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from south carolina, ask that he be
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mr. conyers: i yield to the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: i rise in opposition to this bill that would block syrians come to the united states for years. the shocking events in paris has strengthened our resolve to defeat the terrorist who is are responsible for these heinous acts and for bombing a russian airliner and carrying out deadly bombings in beirut. but defeating terrorism should not be slamming the door in the face of those fleeing the terrorists. that's why i'm appalled by the actions by this house and by some of the words of my colleagues today. the united states has been -- has always been and should always be a place of refuge. remember the syrian refugees are running away from isis. they are running away from war on terror.
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they are its victims. to stop thousands of desperate people who are fleeing unspeakable violence is unconscionable. we might as well take down the statue of liberty. countries whose much smaller populations like lebanon and turkey has agreed to take a million refugees or more. even france announced they're increasing the amount of refugees they're accepting. we're talking about a mere 10,000. they're subject to an extensive vetting process which could take up to 24 months. but the real danger america faces is isis through its propaganda can radicalize people already here and inspire them to attack the united states from within. in paris, we saw that several of the attackers were european nationals who could enter the u.s. without being vetted. so it is ridiculous to assert by denying access to refugees we would be making america safer. we face a choice that will echo through history. 1924, a racist xenophobic anti-semitic congress slammed the doors shut on jewish,
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italian and greek immigrants. if it were not for the 1924 immigration act perhaps two million of the six million jews who were murdered in the holocaust would be living safely in the united states instead. back then we shut our doors to people in desperate need. we must not do so again. we must not let ourselves be guided by irrational fear. we have a moral obligation and for those who care a religious obligation to extend the hand to those in need. i urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields back the balance of his time. the chair lays before the house n enrolled bill. the clerk: senate 2036, an act suspend the current compensation packages for the chief executive officers of fannie mae and freddie mac and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: mr. chairman, i yield a minute to the gentleman
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from california, the majority leader, kevin mccarthy. the speaker pro tempore: the majority leader is recognized for one minute. mr. mccarthy: well, i thank the gentleman for yielding. i thank those who have worked on this bill. congressman richard hudson, chairman mike mccaul, a number of other committee chairmens and chairman goodlatte and others. this is not an issue that comes before us just because of an action that happened recently, a horrific action. you know, mr. speaker, our duty is to protect the american people. you know, without security we cannot have freedom. without security we cannot help others abroad. the american people are generous. and we want to help those in the world suffering from terrorism and civil war. the fact that america gives far more in foreign aid than any other country in the world is a testament to our generosity. ou know, in 2014, we gave over
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$6.5 billion in humanitarian foreign aid alone. and that doesn't even count the millions of dollars that privately have been offered by american people. but being generous does not mean we have to have a weak screening process for refugees. especially for those coming from iraq and syria where we know people are there who seek to do us harm and are looking to exploit a weak process. and it is wrong to condemn a strong screening process using the language of charity and morality. when we allow refugees into this country, we must be guided by one single principle. if you are a terrorist or you are a threat to our country, you are not getting in, period. the bill before us increases the standards to keep those who want to do us harm out, but
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america's not saying no to refugees. america always stands as a beacon of hope for everyone fleeing oppression and terror. nothing will stop us from protecting the innocent while continuing our fight against evil. instead, this bill puts a pause on our refugee program until we are certain that nobody being allowed in possesses a threat to the american people. but to those who do not even want to consider increasing accountability in our refugee process and to the president who announced that he wants to veto this bill, let me tell you this. it is against the values of our nation and the values of a free society to give terrorists the opening they are looking for to come into our country and to harm the american people, and we have an obligation to stop that from happening. but in the debate we are having n the refugee crisis, we
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should not lose sight of the root of the problem. the real problem is isil and our lack of strategy to destroy them. it asounds me that president refuses to face reality and admit that his strategy is failing. isil controls territory the size of maryland. attacks in paris, beirut and in egypt so that isil is not contained to iraq and syria. every day isil continues to exist is another day they can train, recruit and radicalize more people to continue their war on the civilized world and threaten the safety of the american people. this danger is real, and nothing can replace a winning strategy. here in the house we will not accept half measures. we are committed to keeping america safe. that's why i ask all in the
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house to support this bill, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to recognize the distinguished member of the house judiciary committee, the gentlelady from texas, ms. sheila jackson lee, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from texas is recognized for two minutes. i'd like to e: thank the gentleman from michigan. i've been on the homeland security committee since the heinous and vial act of 9/11. i've often said that i was at ground zero and i had the misery of seeing the recovering that was still occurring at that time. i take no backseat to the concern and love for this nation as i know that my colleagues do on both sides of the aisle. but this legislation is divided in a simple premise.
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no to refugees, stop the refugee program, turn your back on children and women and old people, broken and bent. this side saying that america's values can parallel the love, respect and commitment to the national security of this nation. isil determines to divide this bipolar world divided between muzz -- muslims but those who live every day under the sun who love freedom. e do not define the faith by those who kill us and maim us. as president franklin delano roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. nameless, unjustified terrorists who convert, retreat and advance. this is the extensive, extensive review that only a small number of syrians go through that are able to get in
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this country from refugee camps. that is the only place they come from. this is an extensive way. i say to mr. president, certify it now, but what this legislation does is require that the 5-year-old syrian girl that has lived most of her life in a jordanian camp must be certified by four or five individuals who are already in the process of the certification. there are 60 million individuals who are displaced across the globe now. 20% of them are syrian fleeing conflict that has taken 240,000 lives. right now the f.b.i. has 50 terrorist cells being investigated. they cannot count them as syrian refugees. this is the wrong direction. let us follow our values, mr. speaker. vote that bill down and bring refugees who are already
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certified. this bill is unnecessary. it stops the refugee program. where is our mercy? i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from south carolina is recognized. mr. gowdy: thank you, mr. speaker. would yield three minutes to the gentleman from kentucky, the chairman of the appropriations committee, mr. rodgest. he speaker pro tempore: -- mr. gowdy: thank you. mr. speaker. i would yield three minutes to the gentleman from kentucky, the chairman of the appropriations committee, mr. rogers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. rogers: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i rise today, first, to reaffirm our solidarity to the people in france, our brethren in beirut and to those who perished over the skies of the sinai. the senseless and unspeakable violence, the blind fanaticism, he utter and irrational hatred to human life by isis, together
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they present a threat to not only national and global security but also to the fundamental values that constitute the very fiber of civilization. isis must be stopped. the violence must end, and the united states must do more, more to stamp out this evil, more to eradicate the threats posed here and abroad and more to ensure that americans can tuck in their children at night with a feeling of security that they will be waking up tomorrow morning for school free from fear. that's why we must support this safe act. it's thoughtful, it will further one of our principal national security priorities -- keeping americans safe as we work to eliminate the threat posed by isis. the instability in syria and the surrounding region has continued unabated for more than four years, and we've
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witnessed an indescribable humanitarian crisis because of the brutality of the assad regime and radical islamic groups such as isis. in the wake of the paris tragedy, we must step back and review the procedures in place for admitting refugees resulting from this conflict coming into our country. we can and must implement a system that assists the victims of the tragedy but that also prioritizes american security first. will ensure that no refugee from iraq or syria steps foot on u.s. soil without the secretary of the department of human services -- d.h.s. and the f.b.i. director and the highest intelligence officer certify that each refugee is
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not a security threat to the u.s.. the department of homeland security, the f.b.i., the director of national intelligence must unanimously certify that a person seeking refuge in this country does not represent a security threat. this is an unprecedented vetting process to ensure dangerous people do not slip through the cracks. i urge your support, all in this chamber, so we can provide our military and intelligence personnel with the best possible chance for success as they work to keep us safe. i urge support for the bill and yield back the time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to recognize the ranking member on homeland security committee, mr. thompson of mississippi, for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized for five minutes.
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mr. thompson: thank you very much, mr. speaker, and i appreciate the generosity from my colleague from michigan on the time. mr. speaker, we live in uncertain and dangerous times with ever-evolving terrorist threats. the brutality that isil has inflicted on innocent people is both chilling and demands action. as members of congress, we have a responsibility to do all we can to protect our citizens. in the wake of the paris attacks, questions have been raised about the screening system that u.s. citizens on whether it can be exploited by terrorists. in light of those questions, mr. speaker, i ask unanimous nsent to enter in the record a letter from formal homeland security secretary janet
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napolitano and former secretary michael chertoff supporting the current system of vetting refugees. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. . we have seen a number of governors including the governor of my home state choose fear over facts. if they had done their research, they would have learned our program is an extensive 13-step process. it starts with the referral from the united nations of a pre-screeped person within its refugee camps, requires department of homeland security to do in-person interviews and subject each applicant to reoccurring vetting against the department of homeland security, the state department, f.b.i., department of defense and intelligence community terrorist
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and criminal data bases. no excuses, mr. speaker. any one of those reviews pops up with a problem, that person can't be considered for the refugee program. no excuses. unlike in europe, where migrants across into country that have little opportunity to vet them, jailen is allowed on u.s. soil until all the checks are completed to d.h.s.'s satisfaction. and has been said by representative lofgren, it takes 18 to 24 months for the process an applicant for refugee status. that process is thorough and complete, but there has been a reference to a stolen passport in the paris situation.
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that person, if they had applied for the refugee program, would have had to go through the same process of vetting that would ave required at least 18 to 24 months so the thought that that person can just get on a plane and get here to this country is actually not accurate. to perfect my effort the record. our system of vetting is a multi layered, multi agency approach where the f.b.i. has veto authority on any applicant seeking refugee status. while no system is risk free, the protections in place in the american system are rigorous, robust and extensive. in fact, mr. speaker, yesterday, a witness

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