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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 10, 2015 12:00am-7:01am EST

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apply for a visa. >> you think there is no difference? >> the biographic checks we are doing are the same. i will be at one -- they occur at a different time. that is >> full checks are done. some of it is when, and relieve
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the differential would be the first time travelers. for first time these that applicants for business purposes, which is the equivalence of business purposes, you get an interview on your first application. but even the final renewal for a visa, you don't get an interview taken again. if you do it once, you don't get that again. there are a lot of reasons for that. most of our derogatory information is associated with biographic information. the biographic checks, i think you covered all of us at this point say, are the same between a visa. >> it is really important to make that comparison. where would we be at? if there were never a visa waiver program.
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what gaps would there be? there is no perfect information. are we better off today because of the visa waiver, or are we worse off? what is the difference right now in the current rate of play between getting a visa versus the visa waiver program? that is the reality i am trying to lay out. >> they are screened out for various reasons. are they going to comply with the terms of that visa? that determines the kind of you they are applying for. that could be various, depending on the type of visa. the national security vetting data collected will be comparable between the two. >> we are involved with the state department and with ice in a percentage of the original
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thief applications. we make sure that all badl checks are done. we can feedback to the department of state any type of national security concerns that we uncover and we can request a replication of that information. it is the same queries against the same data run consistently between the two. >> that is typically the validity period, two years. and individual has to resubmit the information every couple years and we re-run it. that is the same for a visa. if there is no information -- >> for a tenure visa, you don't do it every couple of years. >> that is absolutely right, thank you state department.
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every couple years the applicant provides information. senator portman, i don't want to lose your point for the other security benefits that mark outlined initially. not only two countries have to meet security standards to be in the program, ubut they have to maintain them. the intrusive reviews last about 6-9 months we do them at least every two years. we are sitting in there border agentsncy booths. no ot programher allows the u.s. cup -- no other program allows the u.s. government to go in and do such an intrusive review. i don't believe we provide that. it is without fail adding those additional layers of security that just don't exist and other programs.
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>> a couple of follow-up questions to this immediate discussion. differences between people who go through these of processes and the visa waiver process. i have heard the total number per year for visa waiver countries is roughly 20 million. is that accurate? what are the aggregate numbers of people who actually secured visas to come in? just roughly. within one million. >> that is one of the points i wanted to follow-up on, so we are all on the same page. apples to apples. the visa waiver program is only waving b1 and b2 visas, which are short-term business visas for around 90 days. there are a whole other lists.
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those include student visas and work visas. b1 and b2 these us who don't qualify -- >> on this point, when you get a visa, part of it is about your intent moving forward, not looking in the background prior. i want to come to study, or i want to come to go to a funeral of an extended family member and i will only be there for "x" number of days. we don't capture any of that intent in the visa waiver program. is that an accurate statement? >> the presumption and the requirement is that you are there for 90 days or less for business or tourism purposes. >> is it a presumption? >> it is a presumption, but there is an inspection at the point of arrival. why are you coming here and what are you doing?
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those are the types of questions we ask. give 1.6 million denials. -- we have 1.6 million denials. >> how many denials are there in the visa waiver program? >> we denied 60,000 applications last year. we did about 13 million applications. and remember, they are good for two years. we had 22 million visa waiver travelers. we had 112 million martial air passengers total. visa waiver makes up 18% of the total population of commercial air travel. most travelers will come through the u.s. through commercial air travel. 18% come through the visa waiver program. the difference there are the visa holders. >> i wanted to get back to the biometrics for a second.
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you talked about a couple different ways if one wanted to collect it prior to arrival in the united states. you talked about adding that function to embassies and consulates. we talked about setting up new centers, and then you talked about kiosks at every international airport. i guess i am curious to know whether -- following up on senator carper's question about piloting, would it be useful for us to pilot all three depending on the country just to gain some expertise or some insight into how those would work? >> i think we have instructed the pilots, it is not about whether it could work. it is a question of benefit versus cost. by metrics are taken every day at embassies and consulates all over the world. in some of these visa waiver countries of course, they have not been issuing regularly b1
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and b2 visas were close to 30 years. to do that for all of the visa waiver travelers who come from france. you either have to ramp up the foreign service significantly and probably by more office space. that is when we have to set up some sort of satellite location. we have to have some sort of contractor to oversee enrollment. it is not that it wouldn't work, but it is a massive undertaking. and from what i see we will have minimal security benefits compared to what we are getting now with the biographic and biometric vetting goin gg on now. it is not that it is not worthwhile. it is not worthwhile compared to the cost with doing so. i think the pilot could work. it is the question of what will
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be due when the pilot says we are able to do this. we have the technology. how do you scale it realistically to capture the 20 million visa waiver travelers? i don't think there is a good answer. >> what would we hope to gain by doing this? is it the fact that an imposter might be applying for this benefit using different biographical information and we might have a fingerprint record on that person. that number will be very low if the fingerprint is associated with national security concerns, compared to what we have access to with the biographical information. if it is a concern that the wrong person will or the plane using another person lost documents, that will transcend against all travelers. they could board a plane as another person. that is a whole different set of issues. that is why we have this discussion. we could collect biometrics, but
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where do we collect them where they are meaningful for the problem we are trying to solve. right now, we are collecting biometrics from the visa waiver traveler when they arrived in the u.s. this is after they have gone through the application, the biographical information that has been vetted through our different holdings, including the intelligence community. it is after they have booked travel to the united states and we have received it and looked at the airline manifest information, run that through a very intensive series of vetting inquiries to look at known pieces of information, and then travel patterns that would give us concern. looking at intelligence reports of real life events, what about this person's itinerary would raise red flags? a male with a certain age with a certain type of passport traveling to certain parts of the world will give us more
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concern than others. we set conditions in our database to flight this type of information for us. we have an extensive set of information we apply against this to do that. they go through that level of vetting and review. when they arrive in the united states, they go through the interview with the opposite and we collect the full set of biometrics. like kelly mentioned, where do you really do that when they go through this whole level of review? is it worth it to do it predeparture? but then what type of information are you trying to get? that is what we have been discussing. the biometrics are helpful. as an operator, we love them. it is, where is the right place in the process to get them so we don't shut down air travel? that is what we are try to balance here. what is the right place to take it? >> the question i have is
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related to several things we have talked about. one is the biometric information validating this is the person standing in front of me. do we have any way available to track a number or a guess at how many people would try to come through and have a document that is false? >> so for the visa waiver travelers, last year it was about two hundredths of 1%. that is 476 people. >> that is pretty good off the top of your head. >> where we had biometric hits on them. this is upon arrival. they arrived and they show you a document. none were for national security. they were all for immigration admissibility issues in relation to entering under the visa waiver program. none were for national security. >> the question is then, we
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caught it there at entry or all of those, or where we picking those up? >> that was upon arrival in the u.s.. >> that was based upon facial identity? >> it is based upon us interviewing the passenger reading the passport in our database, performing system inquiries on that, taking fingerprints and comparing them against the information on those fingerprints, which is our biometric watch list, which includes criminal information. >> i am sorry, senator. >> go ahead, if it is on the topic. >> i had not heard the 476 number before, that i think it speaks to your point of piloting effectiveness. it is about timing. you are collecting the biometrics now. if the result is a 476 hits, none for national security
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concerns, that seems to me that it is a awfully small benefit to employ a worldwide national security by metric system. if that number were 400 70000 and some were national security, you can make the argument that it is worth doing this in advance. if it is only resulting in 476 h its, none of which were national security, that seems compelling to me that doing it in advance will not give us national security benefits. >> we denied entry to over 9000 visa travelers last year for a variety of reasons. that was after they arrived and got here. that was after the 960,000 as to applications in advancedenying 60,000 applications. >> weave a higher priority focusing on individuals who have traveled to known terrorist safe havens. it ends up being iraq and syria
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most times. the challenge their senator portman, is very few people are going to syria and checking in. they are coming in from lebanon and turkey. you have a sense of confidence that when someone throws around, we are going to pick out individuals who traveled to iraq and syria, that we are catching all individuals? or we are not tracking somebody who went to iraq to visit a dying grandmother who is a family member? august of the process of how someone would evaluate this person who has traveled to a known terrorist safe haven area when we are not getting a passport stamped from syria? >> we would look at whether or not the intelligence community or law enforcement community has provided any information to us through their classified holdings that we could bounce our information that we collect on the traveler against that to draw any associations, more than
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just a name check. if they are using a cell phone or e-mail address we could collect to something that some deals picked up. that would probably be the best are most capable way, of doing that right now. if the traveled continuously through their, or if they had if they were leaving from the u.s. and going to a certain part of the world for 6-8 months with a return back and had certain characteristics, that might also cause us to look closer at that one. >> but someone traveling that is a french national, someone who is a french national traveling to lebanon and is in lebanon for 90 days and returns back to france is not going to show up. we don't know if that individual crossed the border from lebanon to fight in syria and then crossed back? >> that would not show up. that would not show up at all. >> there is absolutely -- those
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who seek to enter syria knowing that governments are watching out for that, they are going to disguise their travel. that is what you have rely upon the intelligence community which is working cooperatively with partners across europe to identify those persons that maybe suspects. su>> sure. we talked about this reciprocal agreement several times now. we're going to other countries. kelly, you might have mentioned rigorous inspections. do we have other nations coming in and inspecting our facilities and our checking processes that are also coming under rigorous checks on our systems? >> um not even nearly.
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not close to what we do. >> so, yes. other nations come check our systems? >> no, no. what we do do is offer to show our practices and share how we do things. we have had our international allies comment. they have not come in to inspect our facilities and our cdp inspection booths or anything. >> we are the big dog on the blog. -- on the block. >> into the san bernardino situation, that was a fiance visa issue. are you able to speak to that issue in terms of what type of vetting we do in that instance because i think people want to understand what happened bernardino there. and how they visa system perhaps
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differs from what we are talking about today with the visa waiver system. can anyone speak to that? >> sure, and my colleagues will speak to that. >> thank you, senator. >> my name is edward and i am deputy secretary of state for visa services. with respect to the san bernardino case, that was a fiance visa. that is a type of visa issue to the fiance of the u.s. citizen for the purpose of coming to the united states to get married within 90 days. i can confirm, as the department has already said, all applicable security checks were done for that individual, miss malik.
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that includes an interview facial recognition screening, it includes inter-agency counterterrorism screenings, it included a review by the visa security unit of immigration and customs enforcement with our embassy there, it included full biometric finger print checks, and in all cases, the results of those checks were clear. there were no indications of any ill intent by that individual at the time the visa was issued. >> there have been public reports that there was some information that was wrong on the application, i believe on an address. can you share of what type of information, or investigations are done on applications that are submitted to verify that what the applicant is saying is true? >> it varies by application and location.
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if we have doubts about a particular part of the application, our embassies and consulates have anti-fraud units that can investigate further to verify the data on an application form. with respect to this particular case, i will have to defer to, there is an investigation and progress led by the fbi. we have shared all about details and records with them and we are working closely with them on any of the data that was provided. >> as i understand it in terms of verification, it depends on the circumstances. it is not done consistently on each application. for example, the information i would fill out on a form. >> we verify information the if the officer has reason to believe that something is incorrect. >> the officer has to get a flag. in other words, it is not
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routinely done. thank you. i want to follow up on the terrorist attacks in paris. one of the attackers reportedly came through greece as a refugee, obviously. that has raised the discussion we previously had in this committee about the vetting of our refugee program upon many of which havewhich many of us have raised concerns. greece is a visa waiver country. had we understand, are we confident with the information that we get from greece? because, how confident are we, and i'm going to use greece as an example. as i hear the testimony here today and some of the prior hearings we have had on the visa waiver program, one of the things we have collectively been concerned about is that there
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seems to be a difference of what we are getting from certain countries and the breath of the intelligence sharing and the depth of the knowledge we get. i would like to know if you disagree with that last characterization that there is a difference. if you can answer the greece question as well. >> um, so just to kidind of level set the start of your question. refugees cannot travel under the visa waiver program. it is citizens of the vwp countries that can utilize the vwp program. >> i understand that. i am using it as an example as how people are going through countries. >> sure. i am confident that all thevwp
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countries are sharing the information that we, the united states are sharing our list with other countries and in particular to greece, i am actually traveling there next week. i leave saturday as part of a review process. i look at a greater insight firsthand from greece. >> here is my concern. we have signed all of the forms among the countries. we are relying on this situation that senator portman and senator langford have talked about where you have admitted to us, and i think it is consistent with what our fbi director has said, essentially with the borders with saw previously with the charlie hebdo attack, some of the attackers traveled to yemen and then committed the attacks. and then, we see the situation where europe is frankly overwhelmed, in terms of the
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number foreign fighters that have traveled to join up with isis and then returned to their shores. we have seen the fbi director say, if you have not made a ripple in the water in syria, we may not know. we could clear the databases until the cows come home, but if the information ever gets into the database, we're not going to know and someone therefore, is not going to get that extra level of scrutiny that they deserve. i want to get at this issue of, where are the countries that are having the most problem with a lack of robust intelligence to make sure it is not so much filling out a form. who is giving us the most, who is not giving us the most, and where can we do better? i find it hard to believe that they are providing us, every single country in the program, all that they can and should. are you telling me that every country in this program is doing all that they can and should to provide us intelligence? >> can i add one thing to the
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question as well? >> yes. >> along to those migrants have to remain in the country before they get a passport from that country? do they have a consistent system or do we know what the system is for people who go into grace as a migrant. when could they get a greek passport? >> appreciate that. >> you look like you want to -- >> no, i just wanted to answer that specific point. that varies by country according to their own system of laws and processing. that is something that is reviewed very closely by the visa waiver inspections we have been talking about. but my recollection, i actually led one or two inspections increase if you years ago. greece has a fairly robust process. it is actually very difficult in the greece to come in as a refugee and get a greek passport. there are language requirements
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the greeks enforce. if there is country by country according to their own laws. as a general rule, the inspections require that the progress or the processes -- you don't show up one day and a week later, have the passport of the country. it does very. >> that is right, and to make sure i answered your question as well. i am very happy to talk about specific countries and where they are. i don't think it is appropriate in an open setting to discuss various specific countries and the levels of sharing -- >> can you just answer me yes or no? are we receiving all we believe we should receive and do we have full cooperation of robust sharing with every single country in this visa waiver program? is the answer yes, or no. >> i believe to say that someone is a bad individual -- >> are they sharing all that
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they can share? i mean, they will or are they? we don't have to get into specific countries. is there more we need to push on with a gap of intelligence that will make this program stronger? >> here is where the enhancements that secretary johnson announced work. we have the information sharing arrangements. that is not the issue. the individual foreign fighters they are aware of, they are sharing. what we would like, and would help, and we appreciate, is the requirements are caught up in statute is using that information for their border decisions. pushing it out and then letting the united states know when they have an encounter of those individuals. that is the piece where we are focusing on and pushing that can strengthen the pwpvwp
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program. >> my understanding is there is a minimum threshold. because of the audits, if you do not meet the minimum threshold we can suspend the visa waiver program. we did that with argentina, uruguay, and belgium. from my standpoint, the question i am asking is, are there any countries right now that are under review that we are not satisfied with that we may be evaluating to suspended the program because they are not meeting the threshold? understanding that there is a variety of information from different countries. different countries will have different capabilities of providing information. i will always go back to the point of, what is the alternative? where are we at with the 38 countries? are they all meeting the threshold? >> with the 38 countries, we do about 19 reviews here and at the
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end, we report to congress. each one of those reviews is accompanied by an intelligence assessment. at a lot of we mention that part earlier. -- i don't know if we mentioned that part earlier. the countries may have changed their security posture in some respect. if it gives us concern at all, we could review them more regularly. we could put them in provisional status. we could suspend them and certainly, the last resort would be terminating them. it is a global security program. if everybody fails the security measures, that does not help our global community and it would not help the united states. there are a few countries in the provisional status today. they get significant additional oversight monitoring questions visits.
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i am happy to that in a different setting. >> so that is more classified in terms of? >> if there is any type of security, i hesitate to announce it. >> if i could jump in here. this is a process that is ongoing. it is not like we take a photograph and a couple years later we take another. the photograph of their procedures. this is ongoing at the audits don't last one day, one week, or one month. they last an extended period of tiem. -- of time. some will be less cooperative and for committed to the original agreement with the visa waiver program. we want to make sure we know if
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there has been a change. if they do change, it is in their advantage to be in this program. we want them to be in this program, but we want them to be fully compliant. >> absolutely, as do i. and that is one of the benefits of the visa waiver program. they have to meet standards. countries that are just issuing visas don't have to meet them. we are doing vetting but they're also meeting additional standards and we get to go in and review them to make sure they are maintaining those standards. when we are talking about the vetting on the individual traveler and collecting their biometrics every time they travel. every time they travel, they are meeting up with the cdp officer they are taking their parents they are having them checked they are having an interview. that is a continuous and ongoing process. >> i'm going to ask this
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question and see if anybody agrees. nothing is ever perfect, but are be less safe for more secure because the program -- because of 9/11. we continue to improve those databases? are we better off because of it, or everywhere's ofare we worse off? what are the things that have to be improved? does anyone dispute the fact? >> no, sir. i would like to make a follow-up point. there is always room to do better and the program is not static. the reviews are ongoing. more than that, and i think this is something important. countries want to be in the program. that includes countries in the program that want to keep their status. should not lose sight of countries outside of the program want to get in.
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it serves as in incentive to raise their security standards. there are countries who are on the outside looking in. they have signed the agreements because they want to get in, even though that may not happen for another five years. >> is a chairman to the european committeeit serves as for foreign relations, trust me, those countries want to get in the visa waiver program. it is a powerful incentive, it just is. >> i would agree entirely because the program is underpinned by these are continually pushing for improvement. it makes it safer in that regard. to remain a member, and actually, there is the issue of the incentives and disincentives to remaining a member. that is important in their self interests. these 30 a countries are the countries we should be partnering with to strengthen global security. 9/11 was an experience that hit us and required us to improve our border security.
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these attacks in europe are galvanizing those governments and they are pushing and understanding the threat as we are. the foreign fighter threat is not limited to a small number of people. there is this incentive to collectively improve the program. just getting to one of the questions that the senator asked, we are continually looking at the strength of this program. one of the things we have been pushing on is for governments to be better about sharing information with interpol. that is a relatively new innovation. that is something that has to continue to build. >> to share what kind of information? are you including passports? >> lost and stolen passport databases is the first one. there is also sharing that can occur through other interpol databases. we are working with the fbi. the fbi has agents at interval to help set up a foreign fighter
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database and we are pushing countries to share their own watchlist data to build up the interpol database. these are opportunities for us to strengthen the entire network of information sharing. >> these countries provide 70% of the records that are in the lost and stolen database. >> the house just passed a visa waiver bill to strengthen it. i introduced the companion bill that had enhancements. can i go through the provisions and see if anybody wants to comment? we will be nine is a waiver protection status to those who have connections to terrorist hotspots. if you have dual citizenship with iraq and syria, he will not be able to use the vwp. i think in the current threat of firemen, that makes sense -- in the current threat environment that makes sense. it is not a perfect system.
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isn't this a common sense enhancement. >> yes, and it can be difficult as we discussed. would it does give us is a binding declaration of what that person said and if they do come here, we can determine otherwise that they have been to these zones. we have the ability to charge them with fraud and misrepresentation. that is a lifetime bar from ever getting a visa. >> can ask a question about this point. i had the honor of traveling with colleagues in my first year in the senate to the turkish border with syria. it was obviously a different situation then. isil was not as prominent. one of our briefings was with a range of individuals, many of them u.s. citizens but many of them european who were parts of ngos going into provide humanitarian relief who were briefing us on some of the
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statuses of the civil war at that point in time. we had to talk to some journalists were venturing in to try and do war correspondents. how would we keep our country's safe, but also encourage that type of humanitarian activity? let me also note one other important sector of people. folks that are trying to participate in the political discussions to get a new government in syria. ansd so, trying to reach out to moderate syrian's to form that new government. >> first of all, nobody is denying access to people coming into the country. it is not allowing the visa waiver -- in other words, not waiving the interview. >> yes, but just generally. >> denial of the visa waiver
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program allows us to push people over to the embassy for the review. if they can overcome that reason and are eligible for a visa the state department can issue one. i think we would look for flexibility in those cases and look at the person's intent of travel to the region. and if there is flexibility in the legislation, and if not, they will go to the -- >> we did discuss this with our european partners and they discussed those categories. they also noted the employees of national organizations. those that went into syria for instance, to ensure that the syrian government did away with chemical weapons. >> the bill does have that flexibility built in. if you demand stronger intelligence sharing. that is already occurring.
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again, that is a powerful incentive to improve the process. can we agree with that? enhance the screening of all travelers for the visa waiver protection companies -- or countries. there are a number of enhancements. i do want to hop down. is is one of the things we have added. can anybody speak to the advantage of pushing out our borders into these preclearance countries? >> preclearance gives us the best ability to address these concerns. we are then able to negotiate the authorities to operate on foreign soil and you are complete cdp inspection as if the person had flown here. we can do the inadmissibility determination. the fingerprinting the searching of them, the searching of their baggage before they step on board the aircraft. the u.s. government can put their hands on people and their
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belongings for they get on the transportation and fly here to the states. and the information sharing and the relationships we build with the host authorities, because we are on the ground working side-by-side with them, is a potential benefit. >> so you are familiar with what the house is passing? any cause for concern? >> senator, i think i would say from my perspective, there are. i made this point earlier. this is an evolving program. it should be and there are a number of sensible ways to improve security. some of which the ghs has already done. there are some things that require steps from authority. >> are we missing anything as we review these things? are there other things we should be looking toward? >> i will speak one point, which
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has been noted. 38 countries, there is quite a wide variety of his ability. we will have to work with each other, with these countries some large some small. there are some better performing better and some who are not performing as well. we will need to work closely with those governments to ensure -- and as i said, there is a common perspective here. this is not a difficult conversation in terms of anybody rejecting the idea of strengthening border security. everybody is part of that project. i think it will be very positive. he question is reading able to implement each one of the provisions within a fixed period of time. that will be a challenge. >> without identifying the country, i did meet with an ambassador. one of the complaints was, some of the requirements, specifically their threshold in
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terms of the number of these says were deniedvisas that were denied that is out of our control. can you just sort of undress address that concern? >> i can assure you it has nothing to do with the looks of the applicant. you are quite right. that particular issue is outside the country's control because it is determined on an individual basis based on the individual circumstance of each applicant. the visa waiver requirement is very top. it is a 3% or less refusal rate. there was a time when it rose to 10%. >> can you talk about what happened there? and why it dropped back down to 3%? >> very, very briefly. this is opening up a separate issue.
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the best part of the 9/11 act that i referenced earlier that gave us the information sharing agreement and several other enhancements, there was also a temporary waiver put in place to allow that threshold to go from 3% to 10% because several eastern european countries and south korea for that matter historically had a very difficult time getting under 3%. there was the sunset provision that said as of june 30, 2000 nine, if dhs had not implemented a biometric system, the window closed and the waiver authority went away. since 2009, we given back to 3%. >> do you have any questions? >> i sure do. one of the questions i want to ask is -- i will ask george to
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join us at the table, please. he is the head of dhs'office of community partnerships. i want to ask him a couple questions. the question i would ask of each of the witnesses here, and you are free to think about this. it is, let's say you are sitting on this side of the table and on that side and you have the responsibility to craft legislatively the changes to the visa waiver program. the house has taken some steps. we have had decent legislation introduced. my question is, the one or two things we're going to legislate for god's sake, please do this. we have plenty we have spent a lot of time talking about ways to keep people out of our country. we have not talked about the
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efforts going on within the department of reach out to the muslim community and to see how we might partner with them to reduce what i think is the greatest threat. it is not the folks who will hunker down for a couple years and embed themselves into a refugee camp. that does not make a lot of sense. we will work very hard to make the area more secure and effective these waiver programs. we will continue to do that. what i think we are seeing is the greatest threat to our security and safety in this country. it comes not so much from people are coming to the visa waiver program or refugees, it is from people who live here and who are born here and becoming radicalized. there is an effort going on to address that in a couple ways. one is within the department of homeland security, but the other is outside of it. i think was tom friedman who said the folks who are most
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likely to be radicalized and who want to go to syria or iraq to be part of this effort with isis , he described them this way. i am paraphrasing. a lot of them are guys who have never been part of a winning team. a lot of them are people who of never held a day, or held the job. they see this as part of an opportunity to be part of a winning team, to be able to have money, stature, a job, and be able to have women, to put it bluntly. and meanwhile, they go to heaven. they cap or money for their family. it is appealing to a number of people. i think what we need to do is to make sure isis is not seen as a winning team. degrade and defeat. the grade and defeat.
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degrade and defeat. the kurds have done some good work. we are being joined by the brits and the french. i think we are starting to get our act together. there is a chance that we will compress the land they have jurisdiction over. frankly, take more of their lives, killed more of them. is a tough thing to say but is what we need to do. we need to make them be seen as less of a winning team. we need to make that change through social media or otherwise more effectively than what we had done. why do you tell us your operation works? but we can do, if anything, to be supportive of it? >> thank you, senator and mr.
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chairman. me new role is the opposite community partnerships, which is the effort to consolidate the department's efforts at large. thank you for the support from your staff. i met with them within the first 10 days in office. it has been incredibly helpful. the office has announced on september 20 it of this year as an opportunity to consolidate the department's programs. >>. everybody knows what> not everybody knows what cv is. >> we issued the first national strategy on this issue entitled empowering local partners to fight extremism in the united states. many across the government have aligned themselves in different ways. homeland security has
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consolidated into a very streamlined effort in which all of the department functions are focused out of the office, which i have been appointed to lead. this office prevents violent extremism and develops programs to do that. we lay out very clearly that this office focus will be run on senator johnson, you mentioned earlier your comments on -- from your experience in manufacturing. we are taking a lesson from the structuring in this regard. it is a focused model where state and local law enforcement across the country, municipal officials, mayors, as well as ngos those are the stakeholders in this office. we create products and services to service stakeholders across the country that can play a role
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in preventing or intervening in the radicalization process at some point. i am happy to go into further detail. those are the top points. >> very briefly, i asked the question and thank you for what you are doing. we will continue to give you more support. very briefly, one or two things. if we want to make legislative changes in the program, what should we do? >> thank you, i honestly think that the collection and analysis of advanced passenger information and passenger name record is the most important thing that countries can do to enhance global security, enhance the awareness of who is going into their country. i am really encouraged by the steps i have seen that you take. i hope it goes the full way and they take those measures. that is the number one and. >> that advanced notice was made
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by the visa waiver program. was that correct? >> right, we get the advanced passenger information and passenger name record information and is it for all of the flights coming into the united states. we would recommend it is but secretary johnson announced. to have that codified in statute would be fantastic. it helps when they are trying to get through their legislative challenges for them to be able to point to u.s. statute to move forward. >> i would just look to strengthen and leverage the partnerships have already built with this program. this provides the structure format to exchange this type of information and encourage more of that sharing which helps us close some of the blind spots we have discussed today. >> i would go that.
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-- i would echo that. this program is a strong baseline for us to improve our collective border security. codifying these enhancements and legislation is actually quite important in our dealings with foreign partners because they understand that they also have to enact changes in their own systems to include legislation domestically. this is a very useful way to approach the project. >> how would you crack your legislation? >> i would agree with my colleagues. this legislation passed yesterday. it strikes the right balance taking what is already an successful program and improving it. one thing i would do, and it sounds a bit facetious, but i am serious about it. you need to change the name.
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i mentioned at the very beginning that a lot of the problems that the visa waiver program has has to do with misunderstandings. it is a very complicated program, but fundamentally, visa program sounds like we are waving security requirements, when we are doing the opposite. that contributes to the misunderstandings we have had. >> i think the program has actually done this. violent extremism, you change it to. >> the function of this office is to create partnerships. >> the name is the office for community partnerships. >> would you call this a secure partner travel ship? >> you are right. words matter. the reason we had this is to lay out the reality. what is the alternative? we are vulnerable. there is no such thing as perfect information. they are going to be gaps and it
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is my belief that even though there may be gaps bigger trying to fill, we are not going to fill them perfectly. those gaps will exist in the visa system as well. i believe the main strength are the agreements between the countries and the fact that we have this codified and the fact that we have this database that we just build on is very important. this is something we continue to improve. i come from a manufacturing background. i do have to move this along. i truly do appreciate. this has been truly helpful. i hope the american people see this as helpful as well. with that, the record will remain open for 15 days until december 24 at 5:00 p.m. this meeting is adjourned. >> thank you. >> we do appreciate it.
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>> coming up on c-span, a senate hearing on background checks at four immigrants and asylum seekers. commentary on the investigation into the san bernardino shooting, and candidate jeb bush maintains in manchester, new hampshire. tomorrow, the senate energy and natural resources committee will hold a hearing on the relationship between global oil market and terrorism. speakers will discuss how terrorist organizations are financed, and how they are affected by recent lows and the price of oil. but as to my clock eastern on
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c-span three empty -- that is 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three and 48 hours of programs and events that tell our nation's story. saturday afternoon at 2:00 eastern, historians and authors on the legacy of the black power movement of the united states and an organization for the all african peoples revolutionary party. they are joined by former student nonviolent field committee secretary charles cobb. >> called be sent in -- sit in movement, i think he is recommended matter where you come out five years later eventually it embraces pan african socialist -- socialism. >> been on lectures in history professor elizabeth gray on the use of opium in the 19th
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century, and public opinion of the abuse by men and women. >> the attitude towards women thinking at the time was inappropriate. a woman should not drink. why should laudanum be something she could not look to as an alternative? >> on road to the white house rewind from it we look back to the campaign of al gore, as he to her's new hampshire -- as he tours new hampshire. al gore: you have seen in hampshire change from a time when you are losing 10,000 jobs a year, to a time now where you are gaining 12,000 jobs are your -- a year. that is partly because we have had fiscal responsibility, president clinton and i put in place an economic plan that has balanced the budget and turned the biggest deficit into the biggest surplus. >> he went on to win the democratic nomination, but lost the general election to george w. bush and one of america's
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highly debated elections. american history tv all weekend, every weekend only on c-span3. >> the head of a u.s. citizenship and immigration service testified before a house many today about how his agency that immigrants -- vets immigrants. he is questioned about president obama's executive actions on integration. this is -- said -- subcommittee hearing is just under two hours.
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trey gowdy: i want to welcome our witness, mr. rodriguez. u.s. citizenship and immigration services is responsible for processing over 6 million immigration benefit applications per year, as well as and lamenting programs such as e-verify and the systematic alien verification for entitlements program, also known as save. even without concerns raised about terrorist seeking to enter the united states processing such large numbers of immigration benefits applications would be a daunting task. those concerned are being raised. they are on the forefront of my fellow citizens minds. as a result, i look forward to any changes that director rodriguez has or will soon implement to ensure that terrorists are not approved for visa or other benefits. many people i work for are concerned about the prospect of
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a terrorist being resettled in our communities through the u.s. refugee admissions program. while i know we discussed this a few weeks ago, the subcommittee and concerns are not going away. we are still looking for assurances that refugee vetting is effective. our concerns were exacerbated by mike mcfaul, indicating efforts are currently occurring. fraud is
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difficult to reconcile when we consistently hear from sources -- applications are encouraged and in some cases forest, and a fraud detection and national security director is routinely sidelined and underlies -- underutilized. my constituents are proud of the u.s. has the most generous immigration policy in the world. they're are probably the u.s. as a beacon of hope for foreign nationals seeking a better law -- life. they have a right to know that the programs are being run in a matter that does not put them in danger. right now they do not feel that way. that is not to say there is not good news coming out. the bright spot seems to be the e-verify program, use of which by employers is growing. that has had a high successful verification right. i want to thank director rodriguez for his continued support of the ear verify -- e-verify program. i look forward to his testimony today. i recognize mrs. loughlin. >> thank you and welcome to the
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immigration subcommittee. i'm sure we will hear from you to the extent you are able to discuss security measures taken by the agency. zoe lofgren: especially in light of the news coming out of san bernardino. i am going to focus on other elements that are a part of your mission. as we know, a year ago secretary johnson issued a series of directives two of which have been held up in a dispute with the public and governors. i will not address that because the supreme court will do so. i would like to talk about some of the issues we are that were not subject to litigation. specifically the parole program -- four immigrant entrepreneurs. one of the things that keeps our country ahead of the game economically as the tech sector. we have failed an hour necessary
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effort to reform the immigration laws, which is really the -- necessary. secretary johnson and the president were trying to think about things that could be done consistent with the current law that would make the economy work better. one of the things was the parole program for immigrant entrepreneurs. a lot of companies that are household names are in my neighborhood. intel, google, yahoo!, ebay, etc. -- they were founded by innovative immigrants. they now employ tens of thousands of people. according to new research, immigrants have created half of america's top venture backed companies. and as companies have created an average of 150 jobs each. you look at some of them like google, it is tens of thousands.
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i am concerned that we have not launched the entrepreneur program. i am eager to know where that stands, maybe i'll address it. i want to touch on an action that i found gravely disappointing. i realize it was not primarily the uscis, but that was the october visa bulletin that was mistaken. many people -- immigrants relied on the bulletin as is reasonable to do to their detriment. for example, i met personally with an individual who is a postdoc doing cutting-edge neuroscience research funded by the federal government. funded by the nih, he was going to file for his permanent residence based on the priority date. he did not renew his h-1b visa. the visa bulletin was amended. he is nowhere.
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it is crazy that someone who has been here for years, who we are funding, who may get a nobel prize is just nowhere. i don't know how many people like him were disadvantaged. i am wondering what efforts the agency has thought about just to ameliorate the harm done by that mistake in the bulletin. i am concerned that the program really set up to avoid the rush of refugees across our borders to -- who have come through mexico, fleeing violent. -- violence. the alternative to process applications in country has not worked. i do not think any child has been admitted yet. i'm concerned whatever light you can put on that situation i
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would appreciate. i also would like an update on the technology efforts that the agency has been making. when the president was elected we were almost entirely paper-based. i think we have made progress but not as much as i expected or hoped that we would. i'm hoping you can give us -- a fedex package could track where it's at. if your expected delivery. we have not been able to deliver that kind of customer service. i think the american public would be better served if we could. anything you can give us on those -- i know that you will talk about the security issues that the chairman has also touched on. with that, mr. chairman, i see my time is about to. -- expire. john conyers: we are pleased to
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welcome artist he was director. director, if you would please rise and allow me to swear the of. do you swear to give the truth the whole truth, so help you god? may the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. director, you have a long and distinguished rear as a prosecutor. today's witness is the director of the odd state citizenship and immigration services fred he previously served as the director of the office of civil rights and the department of health and human services. he was chief of staff and a pretty assistant to the attorney general to civil rights and the department of justice. he received a ba from brown university. as i mentioned before hand, i think he prosecuted about every level one can possibly prosecute. thank you for your service to the country, with that i would recognize you for your opening statement.
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leon rodriguez: thank you. it is great to be here and address the issues you have raised. i had planned in my opening remarks to discuss my own broad priorities for uscis specifically to fully and effectively implement the executive actions to effectively and safely process are refugees to consider -- continue to advance the transfer makes in process, and continue to maintain a high level of customer service and stakeholder engagement. however, the recent mass murder in san bernardino, california, and a number of recent events -- i think is the chairman pointed out, make it particularly important we talk about security issues here this afternoon.
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i would note at the outset, two things, one, i will not have the luxury to talk about specific cases. some of these cases are under law enforcement investigation. in any of that are privacy policies and laws that apply to certain files. i would observe that after nearly a quarter of a century in and around law enforcement, one of the things i have learned through personal experience is that violent criminals can come from pretty much anything -- any faith, nationality, they can be us-born, they can be immigrants. they can come from just about anywhere. my particular role -- our particular role in uscis is to ensure that those who seek the privilege of admission to the united states, be they as travelers, or as immigrants that they and fact the individuals
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who deserve the privilege. that they not be individuals who either intend our nation harm, or who intend to become criminals when they come here. we have been working diligently in recent years to enhance our ability to weed out both individuals who are criminals and who are threats to the national security. to give some examples of the kinds of things we do, we have enhanced the resources against which we vet all immigrants. we have developed improved techniques for fraud detection interviewing, in order to advance that. in light of the events in san bernardino, the president and secretary have both directed uscis to review both the k-1 visa program as a whole, which
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we are in the process of doing right now. but also to do a retro active -- retrospective look at cases approved in recent years under the k-1 visa program. we are fully along in conducting that effort. i remain mindful however, that our charge in it uscis is to really to look at the security of our entire process. while we are focusing on k-1 today, i want to make clear to the committee and to the public that our focus will be across all lines of business to ensure that bad guys do not gain admission to the u.s.. i am blessed that u.s. -- uscis has a tremendous staff who is dedicated both to following the law, serving the american people, and importantly to preventing fraud in threats to the national security.
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a couple of examples of the kind of things we have done -- in light of concerns about the asylum program, we have increased the presence of fraud detection and national security officers. in the asylum officers, we have doubled the number of individuals in recent years. in the eb five program, we have doubled the number of fraud detection and national security office is there is well. there are many other topics that i would like to address. hopefully through questioning i will have the opportunity to address a number of the issues that ranking member laughlin raised. i would like to conclude with this observation. pirates of the in the paper a few days ago that really ring of truth -- rang up through. that was the notion that the worst thing that we can
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investigations by our government would have occurred after both her radicalization and after his previous plot to commit an act of terror. yet, the visa was approved, she emigrated here, and 14 body bags later, we're trying to figure out what went wrong. assume that the fbi is right that is not unreasonable. the female terrorist was radicalized well before she came to the united states. how did we miss that twice? leon rodriguez: i will take that question is a hypothetical, given my inability to speak to the specific factual scenario. in addition to the interviews
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that you described. individuals are also vetted against law enforcement and intelligence databases. at multiple stages in the k-1 visa process. when we adjudicate the petition by the u.s. base person, usually the fiance on our side of the ocean. there is a background -- a series of background checks done at that time. the state department is another more full series of checks. we see that individual again at the time of adjustment once they are here. the nature of the interview depends on what derogatory information we have about the individual. when the -- in the absence of a specific day, we asked a series of questions that are intended to that that individual out --
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vet that individual out. one of the things we're looking at right now, again i think about this not just in terms of the fiance visa program, but i really think about it in terms of everything we do. are there things that we need to be doing differently -- prospectively to probe deeply to ensure we are not admitting individuals who will come here to do us harm. trey gowdy: i wholeheartedly concur we should be doing all visas. it so happens this is a k-1 visa, the analysis could be the same regardless. i'm not china but words into your mouth, but what i hear you saying is we don't know if anything would have been done differently. it is a thorough investigation and yet we missed it. which tells me i have to go back to south carolina and tell
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people, there is going to be an error rate. leon rodriguez: one of the issues we are looking at is what are the authorities at different points. at the point where we adjudicate a petition. as it stands right now, as long as the bona fide of the petition are established by the u.s. based petitioner, regardless of what derogatory information might exist against that individual, we don't -- again, i am talking generally, i am not talking any specifics, that is an issue we are looking at. as to whether we need to think differently about what we did need to do at that stage of the process. we are also looking at what we do on the backend of the process. at the time we actually give that person a green card. we give them a conditional green card, are there additional measures we need to take. trey gowdy: director, do you
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know whether or not the female terrorist was interviewed in person? we have white respectively chairman, i am not at liberty to talk about physics -- specifics. i continue our practice, generally, they had been -- there have been exceptions generally it is the protocol we only interview people in the k-1 visa program in cases where there is an issue that needs to be explored as part of the case. that could be derogatory information about the individual. it could be factual questions not necessarily derogatory about the application. that is the existing practice as we speak. that will certainly be part of the review. trey gowdy: do you know how long the investigation lasted from the time she applied for a k visa until the time she was interviewed at whatever embassy? land where i am not at liberty to discuss a particular case. that can be from a time -- if i
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understand the question, from the time they're interviewed at the consulate post to be time we adjust them, is that the question? trey gowdy: i was more interested from the time she applied, until the first interview. whether or not there is research done into her -- social media employment history, if any? i am out of time, i will go to the general lady, i will give exactly the same amount time. i will tell you this, i appreciate -- i hear a lot from administration folks that they cannot discuss an ongoing investigation. i would note the obvious, they are dead. i don't know that we are terribly worried about their privacy considerations. i am not lodging this allegation at you. specifically. i can just tell you, i have been around five years now, it just strikes me that sometimes folks
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an ongoing investigation or prosecution, when they really would prefer not to answer question because there is not going to be a prosecution of either one of these terrorist. you and i agree on that. i am not sure what we are worried about jeopardizing by allowing congress to look at her file. what investigative or prosecutorial strategy would be jeopardized by allowing mrs. laughlin at night to look at her immigration file? leon rodriguez: i am citing the general practices and rules. i thank you and i are both aware of cases, regardless of the fact that there might be two dead perpetrators where there are still investigative reasons to maintain secrecy. i am not speaking specifically of this case. i that is the practice i have lived by be at in my role as director, or when i was prosecutor previously.
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i did not talk about cases that were ongoing. regardless of those characteristics. i understand why this hottie would want them. -- body would want them. i understand why that information might be helpful. i do not see myself at liberty to share that information at this time. trey gowdy: we recognize the lady from -- general lady from california. zoe lofgren: my office did asked for a copy of the k-1 application, we were advised it was the fbi who has said, this needs to be confidential because of the investigation. i accept that. i want the fbi to do everything they're supposed to do. when they are done however, i want to take a look at all of it. i think, how long that investigation will take, none of
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us know. but i know the chairman i met -- i am sure, which are my desire once it is over, let's take a look. we would knowledge to jeopardize the ongoing investigation. in terms of what uscis does you, the interview for -- not this case but just how one obtains nonimmigrant visa, be it k-1 or h-1b or whatever, the applicant applies abroad. it is not uscis that is the interview. it is the state department. leon rodriguez: that is correct. we adjudicate the bona fides of the relationship. the actual screening is to conducted -- is conducted by the state department. zoe lofgren: you are not a law enforcement agency per se, what
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you're doing in terms of the criminal element of checking out the people is checking with the fbi and the database, to see what comes up. is not right -- isn't that right? leon rodriguez: i will amend that we see ourselves having both a national security responsibility to ensure that people who tripwires -- zoe lofgren: of course. you don't have an army of agents. you rely on the fbi. leon rodriguez: nobody on my staff carries a gun. zoe lofgren: in terms of the, if a person comes over on a k-1 visa say, they have 90 days in which to get married to the american who has petitioned for them. what happens then? leon rodriguez: at that point i believe they have 120 days once
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the individual is here they have 120 days within which to seek adjustment. which in the ordinary course most people actually do. at that point, they become essentially a conditional permanent resident. i don't know the exact -- we girl they met -- zoe lofgren: the marriage has to prove valid after two years, the couple goes in, and they apply to remove the condition because they are still married, it is valid, is that correct? leon rodriguez: yes. zoe lofgren: about what you are still interviewing to make sure there is nothing you can discover that it's fraudulent. leon rodriguez: we are interviewing and running additional checks. the kind that we were frequently discussed before this committee, we do additional checks. so we girl if somebody came -- and we girl --
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zoe lofgren: there are many grounds on admission to the u.s., whether or not you are married to american -- an american -- if you have committed drug smuggling or if you are a home human -- human trafficker, you are not admissible into the u.s., no matter what. if you are intending to commit a crime or do you have terrorist ties, you are not admissible. leon rodriguez: that is correct. if there are indications that you are a criminal or intending to travel to the u.s. to commit a crime, then -- zoe lofgren: the real question is not whether or not a law needs to be changed, that is the law. it is a matter of how that information is discovered. leon rodriguez: correct. one of the issues we are looking at is our authority at different points, in addition to our
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practices at different points point to ensure that we are trapping those issues at every opportunity. zoe lofgren: i'm going to switch to another subject -- after -- there was a report both in disney and southern california edison who are using the h-1b program to replace u.s. workers. it was outrageous reports. secretary johnson described it and i quote as a very serious failing of the h-1b program. and congress could help and this through increased enforcement mechanisms for situations where an employer does in fact replace american workers with h-1b visa holders. what type of enforcement mechanisms you think are needed to ensure that the h-1b program is not used to displace american workers? leon rodriguez: i think this is an area where we would be very happy to work with this
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committee to revive -- provide technical assistance. one of the issues to what you are speaking, one that i was very interested to learn as i was digging into the h-1b process is that you can accomplish a certain result through contractors, that you cannot accomplish strictly. -- directly. that is a discussion we would have been happy to have a this committee as a technical assistance matter. zoe lofgren: i have ideas on that as well. some of it is regulatory, but some is economic. we might change the utility of that method through the economic parameters of the program. i want to touch, i know that we are over, but the chairman said i got the same amount of time -- i want to talk about the special immigrant juvenile program.
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as we know this category has been in the laws since 1990. it provides protection to children who have been essentially abandoned by the parents. the juvenile court in a given state is the one that makes the determination on whether the child before the state court is -- has been intact abandoned -- in fact abandoned. although your agency is charged with combating fraud -- i am hearing reports that your adjudicators are seeking evidence to collaterally attack the decisions that have been made by state courts about dependency. i am wondering absent information about specific fraud -- would that be something your agency should do? what would be the legal basis for a collateral attack on a
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state court determination of juvenile dependency? leon rodriguez: the concerns about our examination of state court findings are issues that have been raised frequently by stakeholders. as a former county attorney i come from a background of having represented a child welfare agency myself. i understand the process party well. -- pre-well. -- pretty well. those inquiries are not meant as collateral attacks, but they occur where the order issued by the family court of the juvenile court or whatever the court of jurisdiction maybe does not satisfy on its face the requirements of the law. it is not say everything it needs to say in order to qualify under this special immigrant juvenile. it is at that point that our
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officers are asked to look for other -- further to make sure elements are established. zoe lofgren: that is very good information. i yield back. trey gowdy: director rodriguez, at the end i am going to make sure that congresswoman has exactly the same amount of time. if i don't asked this question now, i will forget. something she said prompted me to want to ask it strikes me there are two things to say to our fellow citizens, one is we listed as it relates to the female terrorist. that is just a risk we will have to accept as an open society. the other alternative is to say, this is what we have learned from that pattern. this is what we are doing differently to prevent the next one. which is it, and what assurances could you give that we are going to do it differently so there is not a repeat of this.
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leon rodriguez: again, i think the point i made earlier is we are looking at everything. we are looking at cases that may have happened today, and we are looking at all of the issues related to where we can do the job better. and make sure that to the extent of our ability, we will never eliminate all risks come of it to the extent of our ability of the resources we have, we can reduce risk to the greatest extent possible. that is the commitment i make to the american people. that is the purpose of having me as the head of the agency. to press us to not miss those opportunities to do better and keep the american people safer. trey gowdy: chair recommends chairman -- recognizes chairman smith. chairman smith: it seems to me that the actions are having an
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impact on it the immigration policy. the proposed amnesty led to a surge of people coming from central america. we are seeing a similar search today print the cuban policies have led to a recent surge and cubans, particularly coming across the southern border. they are not illegal immigrants, but the point is that has led to a surge as a result of his policies. because of this ministrations lack of enforcing current laws some of the number of things where he cities has doubled under this administration. all of that is worrisome to me. as is the of ministrations policy towards syrian refugees which is what i want to ask you about. in regard to those applying for asylum from syria, do you feel that we are able to get as much information about their backgrounds as we are applicants for asylum from other countries. leon rodriguez: i think we do
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have -- it is hard to compare because i think it would be easier to compare two cases, i think comparing one broad body of individuals to another broad body of different nationalities i think is a different kind of scenario. lamar smith: is there is much data? leon rodriguez: i think we have enough information to deny refugee status to the questionable cases on hold. i don't feel able to engage in the kind of comparison you are inviting me to. lamar smith: initially you said you thought we are getting the same. you are aware that the fbi director saying we are not getting the same amount of data on certain refugees as we are other individuals? are you aware that the director said that? leon rodriguez: i am aware of that.
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if i may congressman, the comparison being made, it is a hard comparison to argue with is that we are not in syria. we do not have boots on the ground in syria. we do have boots on the ground in iraq. that does not mean i am blind. lamar smith: my concern about bringing the jews into the u.s. is there are certain gaps i do not want to talk about publicly in the data available. as a result of that, do you think it is more risky to admit individuals from syria than other countries because we do not have as much information, or do you think there is no more risk involved in admitting individuals from syria? leon rodriguez: there is risk in our business. lamar smith: that was not my question. i was asking specifically, is it riskier to admit individuals applying for asylum from syria than other countries? leon rodriguez: i think individuals who come from places where terrorists are active terrorists are seeking to
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recruit a command from -- command from is a higher level of scrutiny. that is why syrian refugees in particular, received the most -- the toughest -- lamar smith: that is not count for anything if there is no information available. if you do not have good data, he don't have a good result. no matter how good the process is. leon rodriguez: that is the point i am trying to make your concrete example. we had denied people admission because of information that we learned from law enforcement. lamar smith: is your denial rate for those applying for refugee status from syria a higher and i'll rate -- denial rates than other countries? leon rodriguez: i think it is deceptive, it is easy to them and straight a claim for refugee status in syria. syria is a vast. -- mess.
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it would be very hard not to establish a claim for refugee status. the question is is the individual inadmissible because they are a terrorist or criminal. lamar smith: what is the denial rate from people from syria versus others? leon rodriguez: 20% at this point. of the group we have admitted so far, there are a number of individuals in the pipeline, that rate pitch -- shift. lamar smith: you admit 80% of the refugees from syria? we have don't think that necessarily weeks to what the rates will be. lamarr boy -- lamar smith: that seems to be a dangerously high admission rate. leon rodriguez: that is a rate of not admission. in other words, those
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individuals have been outright denied or have not been admitted as of yet. that could shift over time. trey gowdy: the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers. john conyers: tell me, what is the immigration services doing to ensure that the deferred action for childhood arrivals renewal applications are educated -- are educated in a timely fashion so that young people do not suffer some of the grave consequences we have heard about. leon rodriguez: that is an important question. we did have some circumstances early on because of delayed
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applications, because of issues related to either errors and applications, background checks, where some individuals were not being approved prior to the expiration of their deferred action. we have taken a number of steps to ensure, especially for those individuals who actually apply on time. that we do -- we are able to finish those applications before the expiration's. what we have done, first of all, we have extended the time at which we give them an initial notification they are up for renewal. we now do it 180 days before expiration, rather than 150 days. we have accelerated the time in the cycle when we begin adjudicating issues we find with applications, be it if there are for example, criminal
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histories that need to be analyzed, if there are errors in the application, we're doing that earlier in the cycle than we used to. we have engaged in extensive engagement with immunity great -- groups to make sure that individuals understand what they need to do in order to be ready for us to be able to adjudicate the case in a timely manner. we have seen considerable improvement in all but about a fraction of 1% of cases are now adjudicated within 120 days of application. i believe roughly 90% prior to expiration of those -- john conyers: happy to hear that . let me turn to the subject of haitian family reification -- reunification.
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this program has the potential to help many more haitian families. i want you to tell me what you see as challenges involved in expanding haitian family reunification program to include all of the department of homeland security approved haitian beneficiaries and not just the small subset. leon rodriguez: again, i think as you know, generally parole is a tool that is a kind of relief that we use on a case-by-case basis. either where there is a humanitarian reason or there is a significant public interest. what we have done in the haitian case is created parameters in those cases for individuals who
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are -- who have a qualifying relationship, within a certain horizon prior to the ability to adjust. that, for us in designing that policy seem to be the right parameters to put on that case. in fact, it has offered relief to a number of individuals. we can certainly continue to engage on ways that we can possibly improve cap program. we certainly know that haiti in particular is a country with great difficulties in recent years. the reason we have a policy altogether is because we believe it is in the interest of the u.s. to help haiti and the haitian people get back on their feet. we can certainly engage on that topic. john conyers: let me close by asking you about, with reference to syrian refugees, since uscis
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holds responsibility for conducting in-person interviews with refugee applications to determine eligibility how can it do so in a manner that most appropriately assesses for potential threats? leon rodriguez: thank you for that important question. our officers are very experienced. the ones who are sent to work in this particular groups of cases are among the most experienced. they have worked on country conditions within syria, they have benefits of prior interviews conducted those individuals. they have the benefits of the background checks conducted of those individuals. those provide very strong tools for those individuals to conduct a thorough interview to identify
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possible cases of it and of its ability -- in admissibility. john conyers: my eye -- may i ask for my statements to be on the record. trey gowdy: we recognize mr. king. mr. king: thank you. i was listening to your earlier testimony and i was interested in a statement that you made. violent criminals can come from just about anywhere was the summation. there was more detail your statement as i recall. i'm curious -- that statement i don't have any doubt is true but is there a higher incidence among those violent criminals let's say for example, are they more likely male or female? leon rodriguez: again, i take the case as they come.
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i don't screen based on whether people are men or women, or where they come from, the point is, just about everybody can be a bad guy. steve king: you have been in law enforcement for 25 years and you don't have a judgment on whether they are male or female? leon rodriguez: i have seen male and female violent criminals. steve king: i recognize that. i recognized that in my first senate to you i believe. could we recognize here there are more male than female people committing violent crimes? leon rodriguez: i speak my job as a law-enforcement enforcement officer, when people commit violent crimes, or has histories -- have histories that disqualify them from particular benefits, we do our jobs. steve king: can we recognize the population of the male presence
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-- prisons are substantially more than the female prisons? leon rodriguez: as far as i know, that is correct. steve king: without be an indicator that males commit more violent crimes than females? leon rodriguez: sure. steve king: it took us a little while to get to that. i think it will be a little harder to narrow this down more. is it against the laws of profile? -- the law to profile? leon rodriguez: it is based on race or national origin, it is against the law. steve king: could you cite the laws? leon rodriguez: i cannot specifically, it is based on constitutional case law. steve king: not on statute? leon rodriguez: from what i am aware, there is not one. steve king: are you prohibited
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from stopping a person based upon a profile? leon rodriguez: i think this is part of where you are trying to go identifiers based on their race, or national origin, the mother identifying characteristic about that individual, as you are allowed to know that in order to catch the individual. steve king: there could be multiplied -- multiple characteristics. height, skin color sex a vehicle they drive patterns? leon rodriguez: patterns of behavior. i bar they go to a mature -- a bar they go to sure. steve king: if we happen to see that criminals are coming out of that profile, are you prohibited then to give greater scrutiny by law to that profile that is consistently coming back to us as a most likely profile of a violent criminal? leon rodriguez: as a matter of
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criminal investigation, i think this principle applies to antiterrorist investigations. you go where the activity is. i don't think that is based on what race the person comes from, what national origin a particular group comes from. you go where the activity is. steve king: we would also know that -- i will not specifically, when we walk through prisons, we get a pretty good idea of the makeup of the prisoners there. you cannot walk out without ideas of where you are likely to find crime on the streets of america. would you agree? leon rodriguez:um, i think that is a compensated topic. steve king: we got to this place a month ago. i wondered if you reviewed a couple of sections of code. 1101 and 1158.
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they require that you consider the race religion, nationality the membership in a particular social group or political opinion as a factor. when you do the ground checks on individuals that are a -- background checks on people that are applying for asylum? leon rodriguez: those are the basis for asylum or refugee wayne -- claim would be persecution on the ship and is categories -- on membership's in those categories. i have to be clear, we actually do inquire as to religion. that might be relevant. steve king: thank you. i'm glad we got that clarified. the recognize there are muslims that are persecuted because of their religion? leon rodriguez: without a doubt. steve king: and christians. and their applications for asylum in both categories is curious to me.
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when i look at that report from syria, 29 christians admitted. that would seem to be disproportionate to me when i look at the pictures of film and go over there and see the numbers of victims that are displaced and persecuted in a population of syrian christians that was nothing like 2 million, now to under 400,000. we can only 29 out of that group. we found 1500 sunni muslims. i would ask you to consider religion in a different light. leon rodriguez: i appreciate that feedback. i will certainly let you know that both in syria and iraq we have a screened and admitted refugees, not just muslims, but another -- a number of religious minorities, including christians. as i understand, christians represent about 1.3% of the cases seen.
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we are -- part of what the proportions you are talking about reflect is the population of who is in syria. last i checked, barrel bombs don't discriminate. steve king: i have run out of time, thank you and i yield back. trey gowdy: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. luis gutierrez: thank you for your service. i will not try to figure out who you are showing preference for. i think that is another hearing. how many people are -- i would like to ask you about the new g item on the three year bar, how far along are you on that, given that one of the most
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infamous impediments to legal immigration was changing the law in 1996 here with the three-year and 10 year. where are we on that? leon rodriguez: congressman, i share your views about the importance of that guidance. there was a clear lack of understanding as to the definition of extreme hardship as a basis as a waiver for those waivers. the draft guidance we issued a couple of months ago now was meant to bring clarity to that purpose. we opened it for comment for $40 -- 45 days. i will tell you we received a number of productive comments that we will be incorporating. that comment time is closed.
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we are in the process of incorporating. luis gutierrez: how much longer do you predict? leon rodriguez: i small handful of months -- a small handful of months. luis gutierrez: who will receive this guidance. what is the name of the officer within your service that is going to receive this guidance? leon rodriguez: they will be immigration services officers. will make it public. we will take steps to train the staff that will be doing those cases so that they understand not just with the guidance says, but how to actually use it. also -- luis gutierrez: how many of these officers exist? leon rodriguez: i have thousands of officers. i cannot tell you how many of those are a was will receivers.
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luis gutierrez: we have thousands eligible. they don't only determine the three-year and tenure, they determine a wide variety. leon rodriguez: that is correct. i would guess that we will have particular roots of officers -- luis gutierrez: you must be able to read. i thought, it is new guidance, you using the old guidance. there are thousands, you don't need thousands to do the three-year and 10 year. you can take a group of people, you might want to train a group. we know who the three-year and 10 year bar guy is or woman. leon rodriguez: i am not exactly sure who is the eligible group of receivers. i will observe this, the volume
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of those kinds of applications will go up. luis: for my friends on the minority and majority, this could help us. 15%-20% of the 11 million undocumented with no action of the congress of the u.s. through the sponsorship of an american citizen or permanent resident that is eligible to sponsor them, could there get -- could get their undocumented status moved up. my time is running out, i have 42nd. -- 40 seconds. historically, people become citizens -- there is an uptick citizenship application 13 things happen, you increase the price. people want to get in before the price is increased. that is not happening. there are two other things we
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have seen increase people's participation in becoming citizens. since six of the 8 million are mexican nationals eligible to become citizens, this is particularly important to a group of people that have been called murderers and rapists. it is particular to them that they could become citizens at this point. the other factors are an election. they feel under attack. i think even the majority would say that. they are under attack. there is an election they can use to respond to that attack. that has been traditionally. are you ready for the -- what i expect to be hundreds of thousands of permanent residence who can be any indication of what you will confront in the coming months. are you ready for that update in citizenship applications?
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who want to participate? leon rodriguez: i would say we also engaged because there are 9 million legal permanent residents living now in a very active process of mourning civic linguistic and economic integration. ha ha we think that will drive people and yes we are ready. >> there are a third. they are engaging the community civic with. leon rodriguez: we are and because of the importance of naturalization in particular we have made sure to bring those processing times and line with targets.
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>> mr. chairman, thank you, i will give my opening statement. -- permission granted. director, your appearance before the subcommittee comes at a time when americans are feeling increasingly concerned about the security of our nation. and particularly about the way that policy is being exploited by those that want upon this country citizens. americans do not believe there issues are being put front and center. your agency has a responsibility to show a commitment to reversing that believe. today, i hope you can convince us that the u.s. is in fact putting american interests first. i am dubious giving recent events.
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immigration benefits data and even your own written testimony. at the beginning of your testimony you give the slightest nod to safety and security. then launched into an unabashed commitment to your top priority of implementing the president's executive action on immigration. as you know, i many americans believe such executive action is unconstitutional. it is a usurpation of congress's over immigration law and policy. despite that, your agency continues to improve deferred action. there are many other reasons that my constituents and i do not have confidence in the uscis . for instance, when the general accounting office finds as it did last week, that uscis has
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very limited fraud training for asylum officers, and doesn't regularly assess fraud risk and doesn't have a plan in place to mitigate fraud. even when random reviews they're being adjudicated correctly are conducted, fraud is not considered. the fact that uscis approved a visa of islamic extremists went on to murder 14 americans and injured many more does not exactly instill confidence in the work of uscis. the fact and my staff was told there were no plans to review previously approved special immigrant juvenile cases in light of suspected rampant fraud brought to light by a news organization superior investigative work does not instill confidence in the work of the uscis.
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the fact that it issues policy memos determining individuals individually classified as unaccompanied alien minors can continue to pursue status despite the fact that they subsequently live with their parents doesn't instill confidence. despite valid concerns raised by members of congress, the american people, and even the federal bureau of investigations within the administration -- uscis simply tells us not to worry and that the vetting process is good enough. that doesn't and self-confidence. the fact that it keeps abusing what it is supposed to be its limited discretionary parole authority to create new classes of foreign nationals eligible for parole despite congresses unwillingness to do so doesn't instill confidence. the fact that there continues to be a seemingly rubberstamping of credible fear claims for the
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record high number of individual surging across the southwest border doesn't instill confidence. the fact that sources tell us uscis is considering making it easier for individuals with a dui convictions to get that doesn't instill confidence. we are not impressed with paying service -- lip service to security in written testimony they deserve action and ensuring their safety and security. i appreciate you appearing before the subcommittee and look forward to asking you some questions to follow up on these comments i have made to you can assure me, despite all that i have outlined that the uscis is putting american interests first. i yield back. collects the gentleman from virginia yields back. mr. buck: thank you mr.
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chairman. good afternoon, mr. rodriguez. i wanted to ask you how did ms. malik get into the country? how did she slipped to the procedures that you have? leon rodriguez: i am constrained to given one is an ongoing investigation and existing policy with respect to alien files. i am constrained from talking about an individual case. mr. buck: you are a former prosecutor, and i was also. i did not specialize in prosecuting dead people. i wonder why you can't talk about someone's application after they have been killed. leon rodriguez: again, without speaking to these specific
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cases, there is without a doubt a law enforcement investigation ongoing. mr. buck: there are a lot of law enforcement investigations going on, but what information -- how does information on her application that you would have examined implicate a federal investigation? leon rodriguez: our practices when there was an ongoing law enforcement investigation, and when talking about an alien file that we don't talk about specific cases. those are the constraints i am under, cognition. mr. buck: what have you learned from the fact that your agency allowed someone into this country who ended up participating in a mass killing?
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what's changes has her agency made to its procedures? leon rodriguez: we're in the process right now at the directive of the president of reviewing both pieces. also looking at our procedures, one of the couple of issues we have identified is that we're in this process at 2 different points. a petitioner is filing a petition for an applicant to is a broad. at that point, our only authority given to us by this congress is to adjudicate the application. there are some it in miss abilities that we don't have authority to do anything. mr. buck: what authority would you like to have? leon rodriguez: that is a discussion we can have going forward. we can give technical assistance
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. mr. buck: can you say anything in terms of developing a profile on this particular individual that would help you in your determination of other individuals coming into the country? leon rodriguez: i know your time is short, don't think i understood the question. mr. buck: did you do anything, we all understand what happened. you know who did it, and you have information on this individual that you can't share with us. did you look at that information and make any changes to your -- to your background checks and what information you need and what information you would like before admitting -- leon rodriguez: we are weighing changes now. we are looking to what other changes we might want to make.
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right now i can't speak more specifically other than to see if there are enhancements to background checks. possibly other areas the points at which we do those checks are among the kinds of issues we're looking at. mr. buck: mr. chairman, based on my inability to get any information i will yield back. >> i'm sure the gentleman's frustration is fueled in some part not because of this witness is the director of the fbi himself was given us some of this information. for instance, i read today that the female terrorist was radicalized years before her application. that came from the director of the fbi. i am not blaming today's witness, i'm sure he is doing exactly what he was told to do. you can't cherry picked certain information then hide behind an ongoing investigation.
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that is not a reflection on today's witness. the gentleman from idaho -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to start with the affirmative asylum process. you are aware that december reports regarding fraud in the asylum process and i'm sure you were just as troubled as i was by the ultimate conclusions. i notice there are significant backlogs in affirmative adjudications that linger way beyond the established timetables for adjudication. can you provide this committee with the exact number of cases currently pending adjudication? leon rodriguez: i can't provide that specifically other than to acknowledge that the number is significant. i can assure this committee we are working as fast as we can do
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higher asylum officer so we can move those cases. i have something to him elected site of the opportunity presented itself about the gao report. >> is the solely due to a lack of resources? leon rodriguez: we have certainly seen a significant increase in the volume of asylum cases. it has necessitated an increase in resources to process those cases. >> it is important to keep the process moving. the gao found it was no enterprisewide fraud risk assessment completed by the agency. i can understand a delay if such a fraud assessment was underway. can you explain my uscis has not completed such an assessment? leon rodriguez: i would say we are taking a number of steps based on the findings. we are adopting most of the recommendations that they have made.
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i would also indicate the fact that there have been a number of prosecutions for asylum fraud which resulted from office at identifying those cases as fraud cases. eyes -- i take issue with some matters in the report. we are embracing its recommendations. >> do you believe it is a pervasive problem? leon rodriguez: i believe it is something we need to do everything we can to prevent. i certainly perceive -- >> is it a pervasive problem? leon rodriguez: again, i view it as a risk. i'm not sure i would agree it is a pervasive problem. >> how many asylum cases are being granted right now? leon rodriguez: i believe it is roughly 25,000 in recent -- >> what percentage is that of adjudicated cases?
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leon rodriguez: i couldn't tell you specifically what percentage it is. i can get you that information. >> based on internal investigations, does the agency have an estimated percentage of the number of fraudulent asylum applications that are filed each year? leon rodriguez: we know the cases that we found. i points to the cases where we found fraud and flagged those cases. we can get you a number of cases we have specifically identified. we can give you a briefing on what we know about the pervasiveness of fraud. >> are asylum officers given the training necessary to detect fraud? leon rodriguez: they are, and they have. >> do you believe the 35 fraud detection officers nationwide is
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sufficient to combat the fraud in the process? leon rodriguez: that represents a doubling of the number of fraud detection national security officers assigned to the asylum. but think that has allowed them to provide extensive and much greater support to the asylum officers. we will continually evaluating whether that is enough. if we need to increase, we will. i have no reason to believe that it is not enough. >> what other steps is the agency taking to address this issue? leon rodriguez: the main issue is to continue to train our officers and make sure that they are getting the resources they need to combat fraud. >> i yield back my time. >> the chairman recognizes mr. radcliffe. mitch ratcliffe: director rodriguez, i want to follow up
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on a point raised by the chairman in his questioning. it is about your stated testimony that your top priority is to implement the president's executive action on immigration. i know you are a former prosecutor. we both took an old to defend the constitution. i was one of the first that question the constitutionality of the president's actions in that regard. while that may not matter to you, what should matter is the opinion of a federal judge followed by the opinion of a federal circuit court of appeals which ruled that the constitutionality of the actions still remains in doubt. for you to make what appeared to be a highly questionable and likely unconstitutional action your highest priority is troubling for me. this is especially true when there is little doubt that it was the president's action in
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that regard that was the catalyst for the 2014 surge of unaccompanied alien children across our southern border. even early courts have now issued an injunction on the presidents and this days believe in other countries that you can still simply show up here in the united states and be granted amnesty and legal status is very much a pervasive belief in those countries. accordingly, we are still seeing a continued rise in the influx of unaccompanied alien children according to the department of health and human services. in the past two months, the number of unaccompanied minors crossing into the united states is 10,000. that is a spike and activity, i
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know this is a fact because hhs contacted my office to let me know that as a result of this they will have to open additional facilities to handle the influx. two of those facilities will be in texas and will open on friday. one of those will open on friday in my district. to be clear, we did not advocate for this or support the policy which has been the catalyst. nevertheless, we are left with dealing with the aftermath of the president's actions in this regard. i hope you can appreciate this is an issue of great concern to my constituents. i want to ask you, you know, the inspector general report back in 2012 found that 25% of the immigration service officers
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were pressured in that opinion to get to yes and handling questionable applications. i know that you are not the director back in 2012. given that the executive amnesty has been put on hold by the courts, but your stated priority remains administering his executive actions in that regard , what assurance can you give me that presently staffers aren't being asked to approve questionable applications as a way to implement the presidents intended policy? leon rodriguez: so, i will do the exactly what i have done. i have communicated with my entire workforce. i have visited uscis offices
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throughout the world. i have communicated very directly to my officers that the authority to make decisions about cases rests with them and with their supervisors. my role is to set policy, and procedures. the individual cases are there's to decide. i have a tremendous amount of respect for my work force. i have gotten to know many of them. i would say that all of them take their professionalism far too seriously and that both far too seriously to be bullied by anybody. based on the law, based on our policies, based in our procedures, i haven't seen a report that is 25% feel that way.
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what i have seen is being fully engaged with my workforce. i have not seen evidence of that. >> mr. chairman, it appears my time is expired. i will yield back. >> the chair will now recognize the chairman of the full committee mr. goodlatte. mr. goodlatte: director rodriguez, it is my understanding that was a teleconference last week between the refugee asylum and international operations division. regarding refugee processes. on that call, the deputy associate director, jennifer higgins, told the field office personnel that as refugee pools decreased in places from malaysia and nepal, our real
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focus will be in the middle east, jordan turkey, kenya. is what director higgins said the true? in the next few years the bulk of refugees will be coming from places like jordan, turkey, and airaq? leon rodriguez: chairman, i will not be able to comment on internal deliberations. the main question, it is in fact that there are certain refugees streams we have been seeing in recent years. recently they are drying up. i wouldn't use that phrase, but where the cases are essentially slowing down. at the same time, the syrian example speaks for itself. you have 4 million applicants for refugee status in jordan lebanon, and turkey.
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they are coming from a country absolutely devastated. more than half of its population is displaced. the president has been clear that we admit at least 10,000 people from syria in this fiscal year along with an overall target of 85,000. we have been very public about that. yes, we are seeing in certain places refugees streams are drying up. but they are increasing from other countries. mr. goodlatte: it doesn't concern you there may be some issues in some parts of the world that it is more difficult. leon rodriguez: of course it concerns me. that is why a big part of what might have dedicated myself to is digging into our security vetting process. observing our officers in action, visiting them on site. i have already done that i
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traveled to turkey back in june. i had engagement with my refugee officers. with my asylum officers as well to assure myself that we are in fact deploying what we have described as an intensive multilayered process. that will ensure that refugees -- mr. goodlatte: would it be acceptable for uscis asylum officer to grant asylum in cases that they suspect fraud. if we suspect fraud, we need to chase down that issue. >> given that asylum officers told the gao quote they have granted asylum in cases which
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they suspect fraud. leon rodriguez: we are enhancing overtraining, i am engaging in my workforce. i feel those concerns directly. we will continue to support our officers both in training. >> and to continue to approve cases? leon rodriguez: if they suspect fraud than those issues should be chasing down. >> in may of 2013 they issued a guidance memo regarding asylum applications filed by unaccompanied alien children. i have heard from several immigration judges this memo is problematic. one of the end result is that an individual classified by dhs as that can benefit from the ua c status, despite the fact they live with their parents. how does that possibly make sense?
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leon rodriguez: i will need to dig into that issue. i will familiarize myself. >> i understand the fraud detection conduct open source researching on refugee applicants as part of security screening. we check to see if the application has occurred. isn't it true that with open source checking an applicant could simply describe an event that he or she has heard about or as knowledge of and that it really does improve the individuals at the event? leon rodriguez: i am fairly
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confident my fraud detection officers are looking at a whole lot more than open source information when they are checking claims by our applicants. mr. goodlatte: i wonder if you could give us a company into description of what it does mean to use open source number one, and number two what in addition is done when open-source seems to be the only thing that they cite as a basis for approval. leon rodriguez: depending on the circumstances, i could see where the open-source does not raise concerns. i know that our officers look to classified, confidential sources as well as part of our vetting. as part of their evaluation of claims made by applicants. mr. goodlatte: thank you. when do you think you could provide those answers to the
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committee? leon rodriguez: within -- what is -- two weeks. mr. goodlatte: that will be very good. german: -- chairman: there are six minutes left in the vote, i'm happy to try to the general lady from texas, i don't want to jeopardize anybody missing votes. you want to go vote? i hate to do it to you. there are two votes then we will come back immediately to recognize the young lady from texas. we will be in recess.
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>> i want to raise a question about the u visa. they ask for a parole program for those on a waiting list. can you tell us what is delaying intimate in this program that is so vital to immigrant and a crime so that they can participate in the criminal justice system and render justice? what comes to mind first is the domestic violence and the issue of being taken advantage of and robbed.
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based upon their vulnerability and their inability to testify. can i give you a series of questions? how long it has been taken to implement i would be very interested in that. we had the director of the department of justice dealing with immigration. i also know that you work deal with speakers coming into the united that asylum seekers coming into the united states. what confidence in the vetting process to you have for those refugees? i hope the response in houston was a celebratory one because of the recent discussion. all of the news cameras and stations were going to film or
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record their coming into the state. we have been taking refugees in the state of texas for a very long time. i am delighted that the state of texas abandon what was an illegal action to stop the refugees from coming in. i would be happy for to be as forceful as you can. my last question which is one that i may want to probe a little bit more, but i want to track the visa. let me be very clear, over the years i have seen a number of our men and women don the uniform with come from the place in which a day have taken up arms. these are wonderful marriages. this is a wonderful tribute. in the instance of terrorists and this individual, i cannot help but having discussed
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publicly that the person had been radicalized for one or two years. where were we in that visa vetting program? it hurts the program, and it should not. but she wants to very conspicuous places. she was an educated woman. that is unusual in terms of how far education is allowed to go in some communities. if you can at least give me some framework, as i understand it from her point of departure, i'm very disturbed that she even got into the united states.
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if you could just start quickly with the visa and then the asylum questions -- refugee question then this means i would appreciate it very much. leon rodriguez: as to the u visa program i know we have been working on the parole program. there is eagerness and urgency and we will continue to work expeditiously. i appreciate you urging us to get it done. yes ma'am. as to the refugee screening, i would point out that we have admitted 785,000 refugees since september 11 and three milling -- million. not quite 20 of those 785,000 have been arrested on charges related in some way to
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terrorism. it shows historically that the process has admitted people who came here to be law-abiding, hard-working citizens. raising families just like all of us here. notwithstanding that, we have continued to tighten up the vetting. it is an intense, redundant, multilayered process. it involves many interviews. they are trained in depth in conditions not to mention extensive background checks that are done tapping intelligence community resources, law enforcement, and the key point in evidence here is individuals have been denied, individual cases have been put on hold. either because of derogatory information that was found as a result of those background checks, or because of things
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that were discovered during the interview. finally -- >> before you go to the last one come in my review there were at least 21 steps, some of those are probably yours some the state department. what you are suggesting is it is a layered review. as a testimony which members don't give i have in my state texas impact and catholic charities. all have been engaged in refugee resettlement over the years. i have to strain myself to find an incident. you have an ally in may, i think it is important for the american people to know how stringent the vetting process is. leon rodriguez: i appreciate that observation. it is important the american people understand how intensive process it truly is. in particular when people are
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coming from war-torn environments, terrorism plagued environments, like syria. >> thank you. leon rodriguez: finally, to the visa program, i appreciate your observation that most of the relationships that are part of the program are legitimate relationships between people who love each other and trying to start a life together. one of the things i focused on this the fact that our security posture needs to be for all of these categories. we are examining the fiancee visa program and looking for different points where we can make improvements. we are moving retrospectively as those cases, and learning whether identifying whether the gaps that we need to address. >> may i just pursue a line of
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questioning. when you say reviewing, what would you look at? if you want to look at the present circumstance objectively without going into detail, you have a person that seems to travel or came from a very challenging area. she wasn't burying a former military person. -- marrying a former military person. it needs to be more assessment. leon rodriguez: those of the issues were delving into right now. i can't speak about the specific case but those are the issues we are getting into. >> you a three half minutes over the allotted time. can you assure me this will be a final question? >> yes.
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thank you very much, mr. chairman. the ranking member and myself went to down to the border a summer or two ago dealing with central american families that we still maintain the fleeing horrific conditions. and they are uinin the asylum process which is delayed. they are now in detention. what are you doing with those families basically have been documented that they are fleeing murder and pillage? they are in detention and set a moving to the asylum process. leon rodriguez: what we have been doing is moving what the credible fear and reasonable fear screenings as quickly as we can. we are processing, those are now around six or seven days right now to conduct of those
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screening processes. again, if there is a positive finding then they move forward into the nt a process with the immigration court. if there's a negative finding they go home. we are moving expeditiously in that process. >> thank you mr. chairman, i have two items to put into the record. a letter from a number of organizations to leon rodriguez dealing with the question of the u visa and the members of women who experience dating violence need to come under the u visa to be moved quickly. i ask for the letter to be put into the record. >> without objection. >> i have an op as a mini detention -- op ed >> without objection.
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the chair now recognizes and a concluding remarks or observations. >> just a couple of comments. i note that the agency is now posting on the website waiting times in months kind of like the visa fullerton for asylum cases. it is back logged in every office. i can't help but notice that los angeles is twice as long as any other area. so i am hoping that efforts will be made to not let lh is complete the follow-up the cliff. 50 months is all too long. that is really unacceptable. i want you, to the open source issue. i remember the first asylum case ever worked on was an iranian
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who was in the united states when the fundamentalists took over. he was jewish. open source data, they were machine-gunning jews in iran and that was key in making his case. it doesn't mean it is not helpful. i always wondered why, and would like to suggest that this be done not only in the immigration courts, why dont we consolidate information every day? you can read that gangs murdered all the bus drivers in san salvador. there is more information, there are things that are material that should be available and should not be made part of the
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record in each and every case. there is background data and facts need to be made available. just the background data on to be provided. that want to mention also that the discrepancies in asylum case does not equal fraud. if you have a woman sheila and i when we went down to visit asylum applicant in new delhi we met a lot of women, many of whom had been raped and abused. honestly if you put i was raped on next date on one document then a different date on another doesn't mean you're making it up. you need further inquiry, but the fact that there are discrepancies when people are fleeing chaos and violence does not necessarily indicate fraud.
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i want to but that for the record. i was concerned by your comment that it is completely hands-off with officers making determinations. i think it should be hands-off in terms of political interference but officers can make mistakes. the needs to be some way to correct it. i remember getting requests from evidence on whether a particular petitioning company existed. it was microsoft. that doesn't mean the application should be approved because there is -- i could tell them that microsoft did exist as a company. we had a request for evidence on whether the job description of a former prime minister of a european ally of the united states was legitimate. these are things that are just boneheaded mistakes. there has to be some capacity to fix that, not just say that we
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can't interfere. i'm hoping it is a management issue more than anything else to make sure that mistakes -- every congressional office gets complaints. each one of us have to respond and send them to you for corrections. there should be some way to deal with that in a systematic way to make sure that it is not political interference but that errors are caught and corrected. usually people contact us when they don't have anything else to do. finally, just a comment on the syrian refugees. i think comparing them to iraqi refugees may be a mistake. we know more about the iraqi refugees more than any others ever because they were our
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translators. the real comparison is a congolese refugee, or someone who fled complete chaos. how do you find up the truth when you don't have -- because the situation is so hazardous you can't have american officials in the field? you do that by creating crowdsourcing. if the person they are saying is true or not true. we will make mistakes, but we will not be reckless in the decision-making. i want to thank the chairman for giving me the additional time, i would finally note that if you read the fifth circuit decision
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on the administrative actions taken by the secretary of homeland security, it was really focused on the administrative procedures act and whether that applied in these discretionary actions. it wasn't really a finding of unconstitutionality i just wanted to point that out. with that, i would yield back. >> director, i want to thank you for your patience. i will make a couple of observations and ended by allowing you to enter an open ended question. the first observation i want to make is for people following this issue. i would argue that a lot of folks are following this nationwide. because of what happened in california, and of some comments made by other administration officials. there is a justifiable legit legitimate sense of angst. i'm glad to hear that you did not confine your remarks today
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to just the k visa process. you understand that there is both a prospective and retrospective need to evaluate all of the visa processes. i want to thank you for that. i want to be i want to say this delicately. i realize we learned a lot post-tragedy, it would be great if we could learn some of these lessons free tragedy. -- pre-tragedy. i read a lot of articles about the visa program that i probably read in the last 10 years. it would be great if it did not take something like what happened in california for all of us to redouble our efforts to make of that the first objective should be to prevent it from happening.
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i have no reason to quarrel with the statistics that one of my colleague shared with you. i don't know whether they are accurate but i do reason to quarrel with the mother to say that the margin of error is very small. it is nonexistent. we can get it right a lot of the time. we can get it right the overwhelming majority of the time. but there is still risk. at some point, as a country, we have to weigh and balance the risk with what we perceive to be the reward of the program. but i want to do at the end i will not ask you questions that i know you cannot answer. but i do want to put the questions on the record. i don't expect you to answer them i realize you cannot. but i want people to have a sense of what i think congresswoman and i would both would like to ask. she is willing to wait until the bureau concludes its investigation, i am a bit more
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skeptical of whether or not it can't be done now. regardless, i would like to know if the female terrorist did travel to the united states in july of 2014 on an approved k visa. media reports say that she did if the director of the fbi can say certain things i think that can be either confirmed or not confirmed. which embassy or consulate was the visa issued? are the reports correct the one or more of the addresses she listed on her visa application were wrong? it can be mistakenly rock, or fraudulently wrong and it is important which it was. did she undergo an in-person interview with the consulate officer? how long did that interview last if so? when did you first apply for the k visa? what does the investigation
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consisted before you get to be in person consular interview? were her neighbors interviewed in the country of origin? her work history, school employers, you know it strikes me director that this country is conferring a privilege of people to allow them to immigrate here. therefore, we should be able to ask to see whatever information we think would be relevant to that inquiry, whether cell phone records or whether it is interviewing neighbors. the to make this one observation -- i will not pressure you i get you can't edge the question. i respect that. law enforcement officers often cannot comment on investigations. i would tell you that people like consistency because it
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breeds confidence. our president has on at least two different occasions commented during an ongoing investigation. i try not to criticize him gratuitously, but when you comment on an ongoing investigation as he has done twice -- on the merits -- the new ask him administration officials to come before congress and note that they could not comment on an ongoing investigation into breeds a lack of confidence. i don't think the lack of confidence is with you, i just think the president would do well to take the same advice that you have received. with that, we will all go back to our districts at some point. i think were likely to be asked
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are we safer than we were a month ago? give us assurance of it already taken steps to at least make a safer than where the day before the incident happened in california. leon rodriguez: thank you chairman for that imitation. there are affirmative steps that we are preparing to take now that will certainly enhance our visibility into the backgrounds of certain categories of individuals who seek admission into the united states. as we complete our process a review we will be able to talk in greater detail as to what that means.
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>> when and if you learn it is appropriate for the ranking member and i i want that to be cited as a reason that it is not legitimate. if it is brought to your attention, we will be happy to come to wherever the file may be. leon rodriguez: understood. >> with that, we want to thank you again for accommodating our vote schedules and answering of the members questions and the cordiality with which it always interact with us. but that come we are adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> conduct a congressman thomas massie document passing a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. we talked with the gun control debate following the san bernardino shootings. washington journal's live with your phone calls at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
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>> all persons having business before the supreme court of the united states will come here and give their attention. >> monday, on c-span's landmark cases -- >> have a right to an attorney. you sure you understand? >> he was 23 years old when he was arrested in phoenix on suspicion of kidnapping and raping a young woman. after two hours of police questioning he confessed and signed a statement saying it had been given voluntarily. he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. but his lawyer argued here not been told to the right of an attorney or the right to remain silent. the case with all the way to the supreme court. follow the case and the evolution of policing practices in america.
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president and ceo of the national constitution center. and paul casale the university law school professor specializing in victims rights. that is live monday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span, c-span3 and c-span radio. for background, order your copy of the landmark cases companion book. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> c-span takes on the road to the white house and into the classroom. this year, our student can documentary contest asks students to tell us what issues he wants to hear from the presidential candidates. follow c-span's road to the white house coverage and get all the details about our student cam contests at >> in testimony at a senate hearing today fbi director
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james comey discussed the investigation to the san bernardino california shooting for new details about the suspects. he also answered questions about data encryption and isis's ability to forge password. questioning for at least the first round. and if people want a second round, that's permissionable. director comey we welcome you and thank you for coming. the fbi's mission is to protect us from most dangerous threat facing our nation. the deadly attacks in paris last month and california last week confirm that radical islamic terrorism continues to be such a threat regardless of whether that's politically correct or convenient for our president. isis is a determined enemy, executing a plan to gain and
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hold territory enrich itself inspire followers worldwide and launch deadly attacks against the west. and the american people are very worried. not just about terrorism, but about our president's inability or unwillingness to rally the country to lead our international partners to develop a credible strategy to destroy isis and to execute that strategy. we are now paying a price for that weakness. at almost every turn events have proven the president wrong about isis. in august 2012, he drew a red line warning the assad regime not to use chemical weapons in syria. but the president backed down after assad gassed his own people.
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january 2012, the president referred to isis as a jv or junior varsity. it promptly spent the next six months concurring territory across syria and iraq. in august that same day, our president conceded that he didn't have a strategy to defeat isis. a year and a half later he remains without a coherent one. even former secretary clinton admitted other day that we're not winning the fight. the president has been hoping that isis will go away because its existence doesn't fit a preferred political narrative. but hope is not strategy. hope is not a plan. and hope is not action. and all the while the drum beat of attacks on the united states continued. in may there was an attack on a convention center in texas. in june police were forced to shoot a knife wielding isis supporter on the streets of boston. in july we had the attack on
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military facilities, chattanooga. director comey as of october reported the fbi was engaged in 900 active domestic investigations against suspected isis-inspired operatives and other radicalized extremists. and he estimated that approximately 250 americans have left the united states and travelled to syria to fight with isis or tryied to do so. in november, the president assured that isis was contained. but the very next day, it inflicted the deadliest islamic terrorist attack in europe in over a decade, a coordinated assault across paris that killed 130 and injured over 350. a few weeks later, in san bernardino, two of its apparent supporters executed the deadliest such attack on the
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homeland since september the 11th. unfortunately, our president has responded to this crisis by trying to divide us and distract us. in fact he is doubling down in this strategy. after reports suggested that one of the paris terrorists possessed a syrian passport and entered europe as a refugee, many expressed concern about the procedures used to screen refugees coming to the united states from syria. director comey expressed similar concerns in october. he warned that there are gaps in the information we have to vet people coming out of a war zone. and he warned that letting anyone coming to the united states carries some risk. we can point to the brothers who bombed boston marathon as an example of terrorists who were granted asylum here. our president responded to the concerns expressed by many americans by mocking them for
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being afraid of orphans and widows. events continue to prove our president's spectacularly wrong. as it turns out women are radical islamist terrorists, too, apparently to the president's surprise. we now know that miss malik, one of the san bernardino attackers, arrived in the united states on a fiancee visa. this is another example of the failure of the screening process for those entering the united states. our government apparently didn't catch the false address in pakistan that she listed on her application. to top it all open earlier this week we learned that the national center has identified individuals with ties to terrorists in syria who are attempting to enter the united states through the refugee program. i guess that was one intelligence report the
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administration couldn't shade to fit its preferred conclusions. now it's always -- it bears repeating, legitimately so, that islam is not our enemy. radical islamist terrorists are our enemy, however. the vast majority of muslims in this country and around the world are non-violent and law abiding. we all should oppose in no uncertain terms any violence or intimidation against muslims for practicing their religion. but i fear one of the reasons for the regrettable backlash against muslims in this country is the public's frustration with the president's repeated failure to acknowledge the actual nature of the threat that we face his reluctance to utter the words radical islamic terrorism. our president has also concluded to divide us and distract us
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with the issue of gun control. to the president radz calical islamic terrorism isn't to blame. terrorists aren't deterred by gun control. european gun control laws did not stop the paris attack. california's assault weapon ban didn't stop san bernardino's massacre. now the owe be a na administration argues that allowing foreigners to buy guns who enter the united states through the visa waiver program is a problem. i agree. but at the same time, the administration's apparently -- the administration apparently is fine with allowing refugees, asylum seekers and people on deferred action and other non-citizens who are not legal permanent residents to buy guns. that makes no sense with a few
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exceptions, we need to prevent all these people from buying guns. the administration's current fixation on guns and the visa waiver program can be explained though because it's another area where the administration's actions have made americans less safe. in fact an opinion from obama's justice department required the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms to change its policies to prevent persons arriving from visa waiver countries to buy guns and the administration's removes the longstanding requirement that non-citizens at least establish residency for 90 days in the state where they want to purchase guns. these 90 days could be crucial in a terrorism investigation. so when we address the issue of foreigners in the united states buying guns, we need to be comprehensive about it, not just clean up the mess that this
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administration created. finally our friends on the other side of the aisle have attempted to divide us deride us and distract us with proposals to deny the right to purchase firearms to those on various terror watch lists including no fly list. the incident in california and the terrorists connected with it were apparently not on any terrorist watch list. so such a proposal wouldn't have stopped that attack. in addition the president's claim that, quote, people we don't allow to fly could go into a store right now in the united states and buy a firearm and there's nothing we can do to stop them, end of quote, just isn't true. the fbi is notified when somebody on the no fly list attempts to purchase a gun and can take steps to ensure that a gun doesn't fall into the wrong hands. so the president and others have
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been misleading the american people on that matter. but the more fundamental point is while these lists are useful in keeping us safe they are the result of the executive branch's unilateral decision to put people on them without notice or opportunity to be heard. as a result they can be unreliable. and it isn't just constitutional to continue to condition a fundamental right to keep and bear arms on a list that lacks that kind of process. we couldn't consider conditioning any other constitutional right such as freedom of speech or religion on unreasonable searches and seizures on such a process. that's why it is so surprising that this president, a former constitutional law professor and so many of his political party would support a scheme. the fact is, law enforcement hasn't raised gun purchases by people on terrorist watch lists
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as a huge problem. i know director comey knows how to tell us when you have to confront a serious obstacle in keeping us safe. at our hearing in july we heard of the talk from director comey about going dark a problem in the increase use of increpted edncrypted use testimony. the f bi i hope i have the support of the director in strengthening the whistle-blower law for the fbi. i also have questions about the fbi's investigation into former
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secretary clinton's e-mail arrangement. the fbi's potential role in facilitating ransom payments, use the spyware and injustices from flaws forensic work. i apologize for a longer statement. but i also think that these are things that we don't discuss enough and we have the opportunity today to discuss them. now it is senator leahy's turn. please, take all the time you need. i know you will anyway. >> the federal bureau of investigation as we know is entrusted with enormous responsibility, not only enforcing our laws but protecting the nation. no matter what the threat. no matter what the motivation of those threatening us the fbi is
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told, keep us safe. on any given day, the fbi agents around the country investigating cases involving not only terrorism but violent crime gangs, cybercrime, identity theft, fraud, human tracking, hate crime child exploitation. and they know there's no simple answer. for example, when the greatest terrorist attacks in this country by timothy mcveigh happened none of us said after that, well, we have to exclude people who served in the military or people of timothy mcveigh's religion. instead we found out what he had done and how we might stop others from doing the same thing. the events of the past six months have underscored the varied nature of the threats the fbi faces. this past june nine african-american church goers were murdered by a white
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supremacist during a bible study in charleston. the day after thanksgiving three individuals, including a police officer were shot to death inside a woman's health clinic in colorado springs. last week, 14 county workers in san bernardino were murdered in a shooting rampage. none of these seem related. all of them had different causes and motivations among those shooting. the director may not be able to share all the details about these investigations today, but i believe we can agree there's one common motivating factor behind each of these heinous crimes and that's hateful extremism. the church goers who were murdered, the women -- the women in the women's health clinic and
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people in san bernardino, hateful extremism coming from different directions. so i think it reminds us to be vigilant against all forms of violent extremism. i would hope that nobody underestimates the incredible difficult job of protecting the country from terrorists' threats. we can try to put all the blame on any one person. that's fine. but it's not one person. it's all of us. we have to support the law enforcement intelligence officials who work to protect our nation by giving them the tools and resources they need to do their job effectively. as we have heard from many law enforcement officials, we have to continue the very hard work sometimes of building trust in our communities among neighbors and with law enforcement so we can all share the responsibility of keeping our communities safe. at the same time, i wish we
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would all categorically reject the divisive andrhetoric of fear that only serves to underminuse. we know what happens when we succumb to the politics of fear and loose sight of our american values. fear is what drove the government to violate the constitution and imprison thousands of americans of japanese japanese japanese dissent japanese decent. i know the director reminds all of his new agents that the rhetoric of fear led j. edgar hoover to target martin luther
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king junior and others during the 1960s. if we give in to this sort of fear, then that way the terrorists and extremists win. they want us to be afraid. they want us to be a nation divided. groups like isis, for example, actively promote the narrative around the world that muslims are not welcome in the united states. certainly, some of the reprehensible and unconstitutional comments by some allow them to spread that false notion around the world. when there is talk about rounding up all muslim americans or creating a registry based on religious beliefs or shutting our borders to muslims, that's a sort of xenophobic hateful rhetoric that plays into our enemy's hands. it also demeans us as a democratic nation founded on the principals of freedom, equality and liberty.
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we americans are better than that. let's not -- let's not succumb to fear and give an image that is not the great country that brought my grandparents and my great grandparents here. we're a courageous and strong country. our strength comes from our commitment to the morals and principals that keep our country great and a beacon of democracy to the rest of the world. the senate at its best can be the conscience of the nation. recent events demand that we start trying to be at our very best. we're not afraid of terrorists. we should not let our country be defined byk; w
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innocent americans, including some on death row, depend on this. in addition, i will continue to work with senator grassley to ensure that whistleblowers at the fbi are afforded adequate protection. i think director comey for coming before the committee today. i have known the director for years. he shares my respect for the constitution and my faith in american people that we can rise above the divisive rhetoric of fear, because we're americans. we should be better than that.
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and i believe we are. thank you. sglp >> since this is an oversight meeting, i would like to swear. do you -- let me start over. do you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you. i assume the director of the fbi needs no introduction. i would like to read a short introduction. it's a pleasure to introduce to you the committee. director comey became the direct ert of the director of the fbi 2013. he was a u.s. attorney in new york and an assistant u.s. attorney in virginia. he is agraduate graduate of william & mary and the university of chicago law school. proceed with however long you want to take. >> thank you mr. chairman members of the committee. it's good to be back before you.
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as every member of this in the knows, the fbi has a very broad array of responsibilities to address a staggering array of threats that face our country in terrorism and counterintelligence and criminal matters. the key to us doing that well is the great people of the fbi. and i so appreciate your support for them. they are the magic of the fbi. the best part of my job is to get to know those people and to watch them work. and so i'm very grateful for the support of this committee for those good folks. what i thought i would do is start with our top priority which is counter terrorism and tell you a little bit more about how we're approaching the attack in san bernardino. the members of this committee know very well that the terrorist threat we face today comes at us from a number of groups most prominently today from the group that calls itself the islamic state. the threat from the islamic state has three dimensions. one, they aspire to send operatives to attack the united states and its allies.
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second, they aspire to attract people to come to the so-called caliphate to fight and achieve glory from being in that savage place.send or a attract, they hope to radicalize in their home and to kill innocent people on behalf of these terrorist groups. in paris, we saw one dimension of that threat, which was the sending of operatives to attack and kill innocent people. in san beernrnardino we saw a different dimension, which is the home grown radical extremist to kill innocent people on behalf of a foreign terrorist organization, to claim a foreign terrorist organization and try to give it credit for acts of violence. to find home grown violent extremists, those being inspired by the groups is a very, very hard thing. all of you know from overseeing our work we work at it every
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single day. we use all the lawful tools that you have given us on behalf of the american people. critical to our finding those people who are radicalizing in their homes is tips from the community. we have worked very, very hard to develop good relationships in communities all across the country, especially in muslim communities where we have terrific relationships. those good people so often tell us when they see something that doesn't make sense. we are very grateful for that help. we also want those folks to know that one of our responsibilities is to investigate civil rights cases and hate crimes. we want people to know if you think someone is terrorizing you or threatening you based on your religion, tell us so we can investigate that. we're all in this together. san bernardino involved two killers who were radicalized for quite a long time before their attack. in fact, our investigation to date, which i can only say so much about at this point indicates that they were actually radicalized before they
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started dating each other online. online as late as -- as early as the end of 2013, they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and married and lived together in the united states. we also believe they were inspired by foreign terrorist organizations. we're working very lard to understand exactly their association and the source of their inspiration. we're working very hard to understand whether there was anybody else involved with assisting them, with supporting them, with equipping them. we're working very, very hard to understand, did they have other plans? either for that day or earlier and that work continues. critical to that work is the support we get from state and local law enforcement through our joint terrorism task forces. those 100 or so task forces are the backbone of this country's counterterrorism response. we are extremely grateful for our help from state and local law enforcement. if you needed any confirmation
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of the quality and talent of the people in local law enforcement saw is that day in san bernardino, when highly professional officers stopped what might have been more tragedy, more violence. as you mentioned, mr. chairman, i want to give you a brief report in my opening about where we are with respect to the challenge of encryption to our hardest work to our criminal work. usa we have had good conversations with the folks in the tech sector and different parts of this great country of ours. those conversations have convinced me of two things which are both good news. the first is we care about the same things. the tech companies and the fbi and everybody else involved in this discussion both care about safety on the internet. we understand that encryption is a very important part of being secure on the internet. we also all care about public safety. we also all see a collision between those things right now. we see that encryption is getting in the way of our ability to have court orders
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effective to gather information we need in our most important work. we all agree we have to figure out whether we can maximize both of those values. safety and security on the internet and public safety. that's good news. we're not at war. we care about the same things. the second piece of good news is all the conversations have actually convinced me it's not a technical issue. there are lots of folks who have said over the last year or so, we're going to break the internet, have unacceptable insecurity if we try to get to a place where court orders are complied with. i think it's not a technical issue. there are plenty of companies today that provide secure services to their customers and still comply with court orders. there are folks who make good phone and are able to unlock them. the makers of phones that can't be unlocked, a year ago they could be. i don't think it's a technical issue. people also i think better understand today the government doesn't want to back door. the government hopes to get to a place where if a judge issues an
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order, the company figures out how to supply the information to the judge and figures out on its own what would be the best way do that. the government shouldn't tell people how to operate their systems. we are in a good place in terms of what we understand about our values. we realize it's not a technical issue. it's a business model question. lots of good people have designed their systems and their devices so that judges' orders can cannot be complied with. the question we have to ask is, should they change their business model? that's a very very hard question. lots of implications to that. we have to wrestle well it because of what's at stake. i'm limited what i can say about paris and about san bernardino. but let me give you a recent example. in may when two terrorists attempted to kill a lot of people in garland texas and were stopped by the action of great local law enforcement, again, that morning before one of those terrorists left to try and commit mass murder, he exchanged 109 messages with an
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overseas terrorist. we have no idea what he said, because those messages were encrypted. to this day i can't tell you what he said with that terrorist 109 times the morning of that attack. that's a big problem. we have to grapple with it. i very much appreciate this committee's support for grappling with the hard questions around this. we must resolve the collision of those two values. then i will finish -- i apologize for running over my time -- with a word to the folks who may be watching us at home. i know and the members of this committee know how unsettling seeing this violence in paris and in san bernardino is to the good people of this country. my hope is that they will not allow themselves to be paralyzed by fear but instead to channel that fear into something healthy, which is an wearawareness of your surroundings. in case after case after case we see that when someone radicalized, somebody saw something, either online or in a school or at home and didn't tell us about it.
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we hope that what people will do is not imaginen these savages of isil or of al qaeda as something bigger than they are not imagine them in the shadows. that's what they want. instead, be aware of your surroundings. if he see something tell us. we investigate in secret so we do not smear innocent people. we will not race next door and bang on your neighbor's door. if no harm was there, no harm will be done. if it was something we may be able to stop them -- something significant. my request of the american people is, don't let these saf anls s savages paralyze you. tell one of us. thanks to the work of this committee, we are better organized than september 11th. if you tell a police officer, if you tell a deputy sheriff you saw something that doesn't make sense, we will get it to the right place. we will check it out. we will see whether it was something. you i hope will go on with your lives. i pay us to do counterterrorism. we're not perfect.
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we're good at this. we cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by what these people are hoping to achieve. that's what i hope the american people will take from the unsettling experience of watching what goes on in san bernardino and paris. with that, i apologize for going over my time. i look forward to our questioning. >> no need to apologize for going over your time. your reputation in both republican and democrat administrations is to call it like it is. the american people are lucky to have a person like you particularly because you have a ten-year term to really do your job right. director comey, earlier this week we learned that the national counterism center has identified individuals with ties to terrorists in syria who are attempting to enter the united states through the refugee program. you have acknowledged that there are gaps in the information that
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we -- in screening syrian refugees. but isn't it true that it isn't -- it's not just a lack of information that we have to worry about with people coming from syria, after all isis controls a large part of the country, including former syrian government offices and facilities, presumably it has the personal information of many innocent syrians, it has virtually unlimited funds. so now my question. are you concerned that isis has the atbility to create fraudulent passports or other identification documents for its operatives that has a practical -- that's a practical matter it would be almost impossible to detect? >> yes, mr. chairman the intelligence community is concerned that they have the ability -- the capability to manufacture fraudulent passports, which is a concern in
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any setting. >> next point dealing with terrorists and the purchase of firearms, last week our president stated that there are have is who can't get on planes but they can go to a gun shop and buy a firearm and, quote -- he said nothing we can do to stop them. but -- correct me if i'm wrong. the fbi is notified when someone on the terrorist watch list attempts to purchase a firearm and a check is requested. the fbi has multiple avenues that they can pursue. these are some of these avenues. delay the firearms transaction and if the person is actually a terrorist, the fbi can arrest them for any crime for which there is probable cause, in
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addition, the fbi can intervene and directly confront the individual. the fbi can also put the suspect on what's called around the clock surveillance. my question, aren't these some of the tools available to the fbi to stop a suspected terrorist from buying a gun? >> mr. chairman, you are right, there are a variety of things that we do when we are notified that someone on our known or suspected terrorist database is attempting to buy a firearm. the fbi is alerted when that triggered. and then we do investigation to understand, are there disqualifiers that we're aware that was could stop the transaction? if the transaction goes through the agents who are assigned to that case to that subject, are alerted so they can investigate. >> i thank you very much for that clarification. so there are then actually many things that can be done, done right now, to stop someone on a
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no fly list from buying a gun and then that leads me to say that our president is misrepresenting the facts and misleading the american people on that point. next question, in july you testified before this committee about going dark. you have already commented on some of this, but i want to be more specific. and members from both political parties expressed serious concerns about the use of strong encryption by terrorists and criminals. i followed up with questions for the record. and i asked for data about the scope of the problem. at that time, the administration declined to ask for legislative solution. and i asked for time to work -- the administration asked for time to work with technology companies. but the attacks in paris and
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california have generated increased alarm about the problem. so question, when is the fbi going to respond to my questions relating to that hearing? that's not the most important part i'm trying to bring out here. could you update us about what is known about the role encryption may have played in these attacks? i know you have already said that you are limited in what you can say. but whatever you can tell us do it. and finally, what is the state of your conversations with the technology companies to address that problem? you may have expressed that in your opening statement. the last part. >> thank you, mr. chairman. at your request and the request of other senators we are collecting data concerning the ways in which encryption is affecting our ability to implement court orders for data in motion that is e-mails or phone calls and data at rest that is sitting on devices. i don't know exactly when i'm going to get that to you. that is in progress. it will show it's a significant
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impact and growing across our work terrorism and criminal cases. with respect to our conversations with the -- first of all, the second piece, with respect to its role in cases, i don't want to talk about paris yet or san bernardino, because we're doing a lot of work with respect to those now. there's noeáñ doubt that the use of encryption is part of terrorist trade craft now because they understand the problems we have getting court orders to be effective when they are using these mobile messaging apps especially that are end to encrypted. it's a feature of isil's trade craft. the conversations with the companies have been good. like i said, they have made clear to me that we're not at war with each other. we care about the same things. it's also made clear to me that it's really not a technological problem. we're not going to break the internet or expose us to tremendous insecurities of different kinds by requiring -- getting to a place where companies comply with court
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order because lots of good companies do today. it's a business model question. good people have made a decision to design products and sell products where court orders are ineffective. i'm not impugning their motives. i understand they see it as a competitive issue or they think it's the right thing to do. the question we have to ask ourselves is, is there a way to get folks to change their business model so the judges' orders will be complied with? if that can't be done voluntarily, what are the other alternatives? these conversations continue within the executive branch and with our private vehiclesector partners. >> i could start another question but it would take too long to answer. i think i will go to senator leahy so we can keep on time here. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow up on a question that senator grassley asked you about the fbi being notified if somebody on a no fly list or that type of list was
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buying a weapon. if they buy it at a gun show where there's no reporting, you are not notified, are you? >> that's correct. >> and if they buy it on an internet sale, you are not notified, are you? >> correct. >> and if they go to a gun dealer who has to notify you, but there's not a lot you can do about it is that correct? >> unless we find some disqualifier. under the law. if we don't find one of those things, there's nothing we can do to stop it. >> so the president's statement somebody on a no fly list or on the watch list can go and buy weapons in the united states is correct? >> there's no prohibition connected to the no fly list that's correct. >> thank you very much. i wanted to make sure that was clear. you talked right after you were confirmed, you spoke about the detrimental impact of sequestration, a hiring freeze on criminal and counterterrorism
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investigations. i happen to agree very much with what you said. i understand you are still in the process of trying to place all the agents loss due to sequestration, is that correct in. >> that's correct. we're still trying to dig out of that hole. >> so when you can finally hire, you have to train them then you have to get them into investigations. so this sequestration -- i don't want to put words in your mouth. but is that having a long-term affect on the fbi's ability to fight crime and terrorism? >> yes. >> thank you. and what would be the impact on the fbi and congress could not come to an agreement on an omnibus appropriation bill and pass another long-term spending resolution? >> well, if we return to the impact of sequestration that were kicking in when i started the job, it would be a disaster.
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because we're just digging out of the hole. to return to a place where we have to ration gas and shut down quantico and choose which people to interview based on how much gasoline we have in our tanks that doesn't make any sense to me. it would be a big big deal. >> without going into it here, some of the worse case scenarios you described to me privately and they are chilling. now we've had a lot of talk about our refugees. i want to clarify a few facts. refugee program presents the longest and most complicated path for entry into the united states, and refugees do not get to pick which country they are sent to. they are vetted more intensely than any other category of traveller. the vetting is conducted before any refugee can get on an airplane to come here. the process can take years. that's why i agree with former
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national security leaders like general petraeus and secretary hagel and general scocoff that wrote to congress that turning our backs on refugees would be contrary to us being open and would undermine our combating terrorism. along with the secretary of homeland security and the director of national intelligence, each and every refugee application would be reviewed. is that really feasible? >> first of all with the intention for me to do it personally that would be very very hard. but even as i understood the ask, it was could i certify to there being no risk associated with an individual. again, the bureau doesn't take possessions on legislation. we don't get involved in policy decisions. that practically would be impossible.
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>> so it would make our refugee program impossible also? >> logically, if someone could only come in the country if i were to certify to that, it would. >> thank you. we often hear from law enforcement the hateful and ignorant anti-immigrant talk harms the ability of law enforcement to do its job. we hear some say we should close our borders to all people of a certain religious faith or track people because they have certain religious beliefs. i worry these kind of proposals feed what are the real lies that isis spreads, that the u.s. is anti-muslim and they use that as a tool to recruit new members is that correct? >> the notion that the u.s. is anti-muslim is part of isil's
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narrative and able's narrative and other terrorist groups. >> thank you. earlier this year this committee in a bipartisan fashion approved a sentencing reform bill that reduces, doesn't eliminate but reduces mandatory minimum sentences. i said often times publically i would like to see an end to all mandatory minimums, but it's a good step in reform our criminal justice system. attorney general lynch, deputy general yates and other law enforcement leaders have stated their support for this compromise bill. do you agree that it strikes a reasonable balance? >> well, senator as you know, we don't take positions on legislation. because i spent my career as a prosecutor, it's an iryaarea of interest of mine.
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i read the bill. my reaction was it's reasonable the things that are discussed in there. i have found mandatory minimums -- i have found mandatory minimums to be an important part of making some of the most important cases i was involved with. but i think that the reform, as i understand it, seems reasonable to me. >> the fraternal order of police has strongly opposed a provision to this. we don't have one in the bipartisan bill, which was negotiated, republicans and democrats. they say such a provision in this bill -- doesn't mean we can't look at mention rayit -- do you have any views? >> i don't. i know it's a subject of interest. i don't know it well enough. i don't know enough to say. >> lastly, i keep pushing for
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the bullet proof vest partnership bill which senator campbell of colorado and i started. you have the resources to equip your agents with body armor. would you agree that it's really important that local law enforcement have body armor? >> very much. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator leahy, you probably asked the right question and the director answered it right. but also the director answered my question right about whether the president was misleading. and that's because in the president's televised address -- i think it was vetted -- stated that someone on the no fly list could walk into a gun store and buy a gun and there was nothing that could be done about it. so the president said nothing about going to a gun show or the
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internet to buy a gun. the director agreed with what i said about that at that time. now, the order is going to be -- >> mr. chairman, i want to make sure that i wasn't heard to be saying i think the president was misleading. i'm not trying to take shots at anybody. i was trying to answer the questions about what are our capabilities in that regard. >> thank you very much. i made the statement. you didn't make it. the order at the fall of the gavel is going to be gram and lee. after, hatch, flake, purdue and sessions. and then i will have senator leahy tell me who the next democrat will be. >> that would be feinstein. >> senator feinstein after senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to echo what the chairman said about your service as fbi director. i think we're lucky to have you the. if i buy a gun on the internet, is it delivered to my home? >> if you buy a gun on the
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internet? >> if i try to buy a gun on the internet, where do i pick it up? >> i assume it's shipped to you. but i don't know for sure actually. >> okay. let's find out the answer to that. okay. do you agree with the following statement? there are more terrorist organizations with men, equipment and safe havens along with desire to attack the american homeland any time since 9/11? >> i agree. >> do you agree the budget cuts that congress has imposed in the past has reduced your ability to defend this nation? >> i agree. >> do you believe that the budget cuts that will go back into affect in two years will dramatically harm your ability and your agent' as' ability to defend this country if sequestration kicks back in? >> i agree. >> thank you.
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do you agree that rhetoric coming from political candidates running for president wanting to shut america down based on someone's religion empowers the enemy? >> i'm trying to avoid taking shots at anyone as i said. >> just strike presidential candidates and put a widget. >> i do believe that our ability to get cooperation in the united states, which is my primary responsibility, our primary responsibility depends upon people trusting us and having a level of comfort with us. and estrangement getsus. and estrangement gets in the way of that. >> do you agree with me that if you're a soldier, diplomat, or agent serving in the mid east right now can put you in jeopardy? >> people who know better than i have said that so i credit that. >> was the woman shooter in san
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bernardino radicalized before she came to america? >> it looks like she was. so far the -- what data we have collected, the intelligence suggests she was before she connected with the other killer and came here. >> is there any evidence that this marriage was arranged by a terrorist organization or terrorist operative, or was it just a meeting on the internet? >> i don't know the answer to that yet. >> do you agree if it was arranged by a terrorist operative organization that is a game changer? >> it would be a very, very important thing to know. that's why we are working so hard to understand it. >> that's the biggest folkcus i think of how they could arrange a marriage of two like-minded individuals using the visa system to get into the country. >> isil. is it their goal to strike the american homeland. >> one of them, yes. >> it's not their only goal but
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it is one of their goals. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> do you believe isil cells are already here in america? >> i don't have reason to believe that. it's something that we constantly look for. >> do you have any doubt they are trying to create one in they don't have one today. >> no. they are trying to do two things. they are trying to motivate people already in the united states to become killers on their behalf. and they would very much like to be the leader in the global jihad, accepted people here to conduct attacks. it is that second piece we have not seen yet. >> that's what you have to guard against every day. they have to be right only once. you have to be right every day. in that's right. and the less resources you have and the longer it takes you to find out what's going on if you can't listen to the conversations constitutionally appropriate way then the enemy has an advantage over you correct? >> correct. >> is it fair to say they wake up every day and lock up ways to
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think about hitting us here? >> some of them do for sure. >> is it fair to say the paris attack was a very sophisticated well-planned attack that came from syria? >> yes. >> is it fair to say that those people who planned the terrorist attack would hit us here at home if they could? >> yes. >> how many countries does isil have a presence in? >> sitting here, i can't give you a precise count. >> more than syria and iraq? >> oh, certainly. >> i think there are a couple thousand now in libya that took gadhafi's hometown. >> they claim branches in more than five. between 5 and 10. the question whether they have a presence is something we're focused on here. but it's more than five. >> can you give us any time period you think isil will be destroyed? >> i cannot. >> can you think of any means that we should take off the
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table that's constitutional in terms of fighting isil? is there anything you want to take off the table in terms of fighting isil as long as it meets our constitutional requirements? >> well, i think i'm only qualified to speak about the world that the fbi sits in. and we use all lawful tools that congress gives us to try to meet this threat. so i would not take any tool off the table that is lawful. >> right. and when it comes to tools, you're using all the ones you have because this is a very consequential fight? >> yes. >> what do you think the likelihood of another 9/11 against the homeland will be if we don't destroy the caliphate in syria? and iraq in the next year? >> that's certainly a hard question for me to answer. their ability to have a safe haven from which to gather resources people plan and plot increases their risk of their
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ability to mount a sophisticated attack against the home land. >> so the best strategy would be, at least in the short-term, they're large they're rich, then entrenched, is to make them small, poor, and on the run. would that be a good approach to isil? >> that makes sense. my understanding is that is the aim. >> so it fair to say that other countries want to help america in this fight and we do not need to go it alone? >> certainly dealing with the fbi, we have tremendous cooperation. >> which country has the most gun control laws, united states or france? >> i don't know. >> would you check into is that? >> sure. >> because i just want everybody to know that gun control is a legitimate debate here at home. it is not part of a strategy to destroy isil. that the laws in fans are very robust, but terrorists got the weapons. don't mix the two. thank you very much.
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>> mr. feinstein? >> thank you very much, senator hatch. welcome, director comey. thank you for your good work. i was just reading a report "isis in america," program on extremism at george washington. they say 71 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the islamic state since march of 2014. and 56 of them this year alone. is that correct? >> i don't know whether the precise numbers are right. but roughly that strikes me as correct. >> okay. the last time you were here you mentioned that you have an investigation going in every fbi field office in the country. is that correct today? >> yes. >> okay. i wanted to ask you -- i was at home and i was watching on television when i saw press and others going through the apartment of the couple in san
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bernardino that committed this terrible act. and i was appalled that it wasn't taped off. because from an intelligence point of view, it immediately compromised any future intelligence gathering from any trace materials or anything else. how did that happen? >> yeah. a lot of folks i think found that confusing. that is our -- what i believe great criminal justice system in action in part. the way it works is we get a search warrant. it allows us to enter someone's residence. our experts and agents were in that residence for 24 hours and combed through it and took everything that we could take under the search warrant and that was appropriate to take and recorded that which we needed to record. once we have exhausted that examination, we board the place up, make it secure. we have to post under the law an inventory of what was taken. that's part of american law. and then leave the residence. that part makes good sense to
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me. the part i can't explain is why the landlord for the place allowed the boards to be pried off and for folks to go through. >> wasn't it important enough to have some law enforcement officer there to see that didn't happen? after all, 14 people were killed is and 21 were injured. it seems to me that protecting that scene is really important. so i hope that there is some procedure whereby that doesn't happen again. >> well the judgment of the investigators and our forensic experts was we were done with that scene. there was nothing else to be gained from that scene, which is why it was boarded up. and then the inventory was left. what happened next was strange and struck me as strange on the tv that the landlord allowed the media to go through. you we had done our work in a careful, responsible way. 24 hours is a long --
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>> does it go back to local police jurisdiction? >> no. it goes back to the owner and lawful owner of the residence. >> regardless whether somebody wants to come back and look for some. >> if there is a need to continue to have access we will put up crime scene tape, post a guard on it. but if we're done with someone's residence that we have searched under the law we return it and we post an inventory inside as to what was taken. >> oh, boy. well, maybe we can talk a little bit about that. because from an intelligence point of view i could see things in an investigation that would crop up that you might want to come back and look behind the picture frame on the wall because there is some message behind the picture that you don't know about when you went through the apartment initially. or some document.
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so it just doesn't seem to me to be smart. but let me go on. with respect to encryption, senator burr and i on intelligence are working on that issue. i can tell you that when i went and visited with the chief counsels of the big tech companies in my state about trying to get a bomb-making portfolio, 15 pages off the internet this is the bomb that goes through a magnotometer. i pointed out it had been tested. and there was no interest in taking it down. one company said twitter, if we find something we take it down. but we don't report it. in the intelligence bill which passed the senate, but this was
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taken out in a need to pass the bill by unanimous consent we also had legislation that said that if you find terrorist information, you must report it to law enforcement. would you support that? >> i know the administration and justice department is formulating a view on that. so that's for them to do. operationally, it wouldn't have any bad impact on the fbi. and so i guess i have to wait -- >> the fbi wouldn't want law enforcement to know what's being said on the internet that is terrorist related or has complicity to commit an act -- i should say conspiracy to commit an act? >> the more we know, the better. >> i would think so. >> but i'm not in a position to offer a view on whether the justice department will support the legislation itself i guess is what i'm trying to say. >> okay. fine.
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with respect to what you said on encryption, you don't want a back door you don't want keys it seems to me the probable cause warrant is the best process. you said here today enough to indicate that you would support that? >> i'm not following. >> the legislation which enabled a warrant with probable cause to be able to look into annen crypted which which you said told you is possible. >> the discipline is station
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decided not to seek legislation now. but i also notice there continues to be conversations inside the legislation. >> i'm going to seek legislation if nobody else is. and i know senator burr thinks somewhat similarly. i'm very concerned about it. because when i met with high-tech, what they told me is there are parts now when you talked to us about the dark web which i listened very carefully, that they cannot un encrypt. and i give you the names of companies that told me. i have a concern playstation which my grandchildren might use and a predator on the other end talk to go them and it's all en crypted. i think there is reason to have
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the ability with a court order. and if you have cause to believe that criminality may be going on to be able to get into that. i suspect what happened in the aftermath of snowden particularly europe got very conservative with respect to encryption. and companies back away. now, that's changing with paris and god forbid what might happen in the future. i think the world is really changing in terms of people wanting the protection and wanting law enforcement if there is conspiracy going on over the internet that, that encryption ought to be able to be pierced. do you agree? >> i agree. i would very much like to get to a world where if a judge issues an issue, companies comply with it.
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unlock a device. i would very much like to see that. >> thank you very much. thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator feinstein. director comey, thank you for your leadership. i believe you're a person that's well qualified for this job and understand the serious of your role and the experience to do it well. you struggle with the term mass incarceration because it conveys a sense people are locked uppen masse. isn't it amazingly true we know over 95% of criminal defendants plead guilty. >> the days of trial seem to be
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a bygone. >> it say testament of good solid cases that are brought. >> at least in part that's driving it. >> i think so too. now, since i was prosecuting maybe since you were prosecuting, the citizen guidelines the prosecutors don't have to charge the offense. it has reduced the guidelines that were in their power to do so. senator durbin and i worked together on legislation that reduced the penalties for crack cocaine rather significantly. more than a lot of people understand. and now we are considering additional reform and
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sentencing. you said i thought wisely, you suppressed concern about the increase in violent crime and murders around the country. instead, it would property you to be quote, thoughtful about criminal justice reform proposals and noted, quote, we have hit historic lows in violent crime recently. and if we let it slide pack, we will need to explain to those who come after us what we did or didn't do to let that happen." would you explain the trends in crime and punishment and why you shared those words? >> what i was getting at senator, is our world with respect to violent crime is a world that was hard to imagine 25 years ago. and a whole lot of hard work went into getting us to historically peaceful america. a big part of that was law enforcement's work.
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and i believe every sentencing i ever went to in a way was a tragedy because a life was being wasted. but that work had to be done to protect those neighborhoods. what i was urging folks to do is i think harry truman said the only thing new is the history you don't know. for folks just to remember we used to be in a very different place. there are reasonable reforms we can put into place. i wouldn't want to do anything without understanding the history that lets it slide back to that place. and i was saying that in a worrisome spike in homicide in over 30 of the nation's top 50 cities that's occurred this year. that's hard to explain. but it is very worrisome. and i was simply sounding an alarm saying we have to talk about this because we have gotten to a great place in this country. and this is worrisome and it drives us to need to be even more thoughtful how we change our criminal justice system. >> well said.
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i was there when the crime rate was high. i have seen it decline as a prosecutor and subsequent to my time. and we made real progress. i have a chart that shows the federal prison population and how it has been developing. i hope my colleagues will look at this. because we have the perception that federal prison population is surging. but it peaked around 2013. so it's been declining steadily ever since. according to the bureau of prisons they project the population in federal prison this year to drop by nearly 15,000 additionally. so we're just not on a trend a mass incarceration in surging federal prison population. what about state prison? there's many, many more in state prison than in federal prison. maybe 10 times or more. let's see what's happening in the state system.
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we have seen a dramatic decrease in pents in states. and part of it is budget driven. people then begin to develop theories to reducing prison population based on budgets. and a lot of people always doubted the value of prison. so we have seen a substantial decrease in state prisons. and i think that will continue. so i guess -- since we know there is a pretty high recidivism rate for prisoners and i'm not trying to put you in a big argument here, but the fact is the more people that are released from prison aren't they likely -- aren't we likely to see an increase in the crime because the recidivism rate remains high? >> i'm not an expert. as you said, the logic of it would say, yes, given the recidivism rate which is one of
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the things that's exciting about the legislation mr. grassle talked about. but the math would say sure. >> here the association of assistant united states attorneys wrote us a letter and said this. every incremental weakening questioning plans to further reduce sentencing. every weakening of those mandatory minimum penalties will have a corresponding impact on the ability to successfully investigate and prosecute drug trafficking. the current proposal will significantly weaken the mandatory penalties and significantly deprive law enforcement and prosecutors of the tools they need to successfully address drug trafficking. now you said you could accept the changes.
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that's a statement worthy of serious evaluation. would you agree? >> sure. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> i've been told by staff that senator whitehouse is next. >> then i will go next. welcome, director comey. the entitle you just said was exciting. i thank you. i want to talk about botnets. and the other is to follow up on the concerns about encryption of communications. botnets first. senator graham and i have a bill that tries to enhance the department's authority to pursue civil remedies to allow the department of justice to pull down botnets. one low the legal that they are
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engaging in fraud or wiretapping before the department can-can go and pull them down. my sense is that a botnet is essentially like a weed. there is no such thing as a good botnet. they are either actively doing evil things or a latent mechanism for doing evil things later on. and a more rigorous effort to root them out of the internet and create better hygiene against botnets on the internet would be a great thing. when i had a vote organized on that. there were various machinations that prevented the botnet provision from coming to a vote. behind that were some statements that i'm astonished by. but basically some botnets are did and we should protect them out there.
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i see you looking very surprised. let me ask you could you react to that? do you think i'm in the right place on this, that a botnet is either latent or active menace on the internet and we should be active live taking them down? i had a facial reaction because i don't know of a good botnet. it is like an army of zombies. >> thank you very much. i appreciate it. i'm glad we're on the same wave net. with respect to encryption, we talk about it often as a technical question. and let me be the first to say, i don't want a government back door either. nobody wants a government back door. as you say when it's the business model of a particular can company to disable its own ability to comply with a properly authorized subpoena or search warrant under our laws,
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that's a very different proposition. and it is that proposition i want to speak to. and i would like to ask you to talk about two things. the first is from the fbi's perspective, what do you think are going to be the worst and most dangerous consequences of that encryption propagating and criminal use of it or terrorist use of it, and since it is a leadership organization with lawot enforcement, what do you think regular police departments and law enforcement officials around the country are most likely to see as the hazards of this encryption of their efforts to protect the public? first fbi. >> from the fbi's perspective we are increasing seeing and
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will inevitably see entirely that criminals and terrorists and spies have an unparalleled ability to can communicate with each other world wise. increasingly, we are una able to see what they say. which gives us a terrible disadvantage against us. in the olden days it was hard tore communicate with each other. today they have a tremendous ability. we have not kept pace. it's going in the wrong direction. so our ability to root out all kinds of criminal actors is steadily being impaired. that's the problem. state and local law enforcement, the impact is almost entirely devices that cannot be opened with a search warrant. and i do very much agree. sit a business model choice. the folks today selling those phones a year ago their phones didn't have the capability. hearing anybody say i'm not buying the phones.
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they're insecure. there are good motivations behind that. but we have to talk about them. they are encountering kids missing cases drug cases a brick to them that hold all the evidence that might tell them where a kidnapping is or find out where a drug gang is operating. less the data and motion problem for the state and local. but increasingly they cannot reach the evidence that a judge would otherwise authorize them to get. >> that's very compelling testimony. and i can share with you that the chief of staff is said to me one of the things that keeps him up at nights is this encryption problem. my concern is if these companies already made the decision that it's their business model to prevent law enforcement from using subpoenas and search
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warrants in the traditional way then they have a business decision for doing it. if that is their position, how is talk to go them going to change that? where is the leverage point? what is the administration's process for trying to solve this problem? >> yeah. i don't know that there is one that will flip it from one side to the tore. i think all businesses are making tradeoff decisions. at least in part what has motivated some of the countries to switch to this default encryption is they believe i'm not questioning their good faith belief, that it is a competitive imperative. that customers want this. and so the conversations are useful because i think he can show there is tremendous harm associated with this. and the customers increasingly see that. my hope is they will see that calculus differently and the customers will say i'll keep using your phone even if you
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would allow a judge to issue an order to unlock it in a terror case. >> if you could show that but for the phone having been turned into a brick as a result of the company business practices and be protected from search warrants and subpoenas. a child could not have been rescued who otherwise could have been. and there is a fatality that has resulted. i presume they would see that as great publicity for their choice. >> they do care about public safety. these are good people. the conversations have helped them understand the darkness we see. good people spend all day long worrying about things i worry about. but, wow, there is really a real life impact to this. we are trying to find terrorist needles in a hey stack.
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when we find them it goes. where that will lead i don't know yet. >> if we can help in any way please call on us. >> before you go it will be the other senator from minnesota. the reason i took time to do that. i'm going up to budget to ask can a question. so i hope everybody will observe the seven-minute rule. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as the other senator from utah i'm happy to comply. thanks for all you do to keep us safe. there has been some discussion, a little bit of confusion about the usa freedom act. in part, this has been precipitated by some of the discussions going along with the presidential election cycle that
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is in full tilt now. to clarify, i have just a few questions about the usa freedom act and how it operates. it doesn't prohibit the government to gain access is. >> correct. >> it allows the government to get telephone records connected to any terrorist investigation. such if they want to gather data connected to a particular phone number it believes is connected to a terrorist organization, the government could get that? >> correct. >> the usa freedom act does not affect in any way the government's ability to gain access to any meta data that either originated as to a phone call outside the united states or originated here and was direct today outside the united states.
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>> did it precipitate the san bernardino act? >> i don't want to talk about specific techniques we are using on that attack. i guess, senator, i need not to talk about it in the context of that. >> i would note it is significant that only four days prior to the attack the government had access to all the records that it had access to. but it had access to for years prior to the passage of usa freedom act because there was a six-month moratorium. and i personally consider that highly unlikely. some say mathematically impossible that it had any difference there. several the government can still investigate the san pwaoerpb dino attack by going after records of the individuals suspected to be involved in that attack? >> sure. >> thank you. i want to talk about this encryption issue. i was pleased to hear you say and i hope i understood you correctly, you are not pushing for legislation that would
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mandate tech companies to put a back door to develop a back door and make that available? >> correct. >> what you are saying, as i understand it, some companies, many companies could choose voluntarily on law enforcement of a warrant in helping to gain access. >> those are the conversations we have been having. would they have to develop their own back door they could use internally? >> i don't know if that context what back door means. they would have to figure out how consistent with their security requirements they could comply with the judge's order as a lot of companies do today. under our system what is the best way to comply with the judge's order. >> okay. let's suppose that we have companies doing that. perhaps some, perhaps all. perhaps they are doing it because they want to do it.
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or perhaps at some point assuming congress were to pass requiring them to require a back door to unlock the encryption. if u.s. technology companies started doing that perhaps some, perhaps most, perhaps all, that wouldn't necessarily end the going dark problem would it? wouldn't we still have technology companies located outside the united states still manufacturing devices that wouldn't be subject to that requirement or wouldn't be subject to the same thing that would be convincing american companies to do that. >> that's right. devices manufactured in other places might be different. and communication services from providers outside the united states might be different. which is what makes this such a hard problem. a big piece has to be international. >> right. so even assuming congress were
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to enact the use of a back door the availability of a back door a de-encryption key, if you will, it would still not solve the problem because there would be foreign manufacturers. it also occurs to me assuming all u.s. produced devices had a back door key of sorts, it's my understanding that it is still possible to design an app. that there are people all over this country and other places throughout the world with relative ease could design an application to be used on a smartphone, for instance, or perhaps on a computer that could provide encryption that couldn't be unlocked through an encryption key made by a manufacturer of the device in question. is that your understanding? >> my understanding is the same. with respect to a device if the manufacturer were able to, as
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they were, a year ago to unlock on a judge's order the device there may still be apps on the phone that are stronglien kreuplted. so the content in that particular app would not be available once you unlock the phone. >> correct. so if u.s. manufacturers were to start developing this back door key and they used it they had it, they made it available to law enforcement under appropriate circumstances, presumably those determined to go dark could and would start using an app that would itself not be judge the being opened by that same key. >> yeah. i hate to keep doing this to you. i struggle with the term back door key. a year ago the manufacturers of the leading phones of the united states could unlock them if the judge ordered it. i don't know whether that involved a key, software. but you're right. if we return to that world, the
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sophisticated user could still figure out how to use something like true crypt to protect other information on that device. there is no way we solve the entire problem. encryption is always going to be available to the sophisticated user. the problem we face post snowden it moved from being the sophisticated bad guy to default. so it is affecting every criminal investigation. i agree. there is no way to solve this problem. >> the big chunk is u.s. manufacturers notwithstanding the fact we still would have the risk associated with apps that couldn't be opened by the same methods you're describing. >> you mentioned the international aspect of it. part of the solution will involve an international settle of norms somehow.
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our partners in europe face the same problems we do. they are very interested in having the rule of law of nations figure out what should the rules of the road be with respect to encryption. >> okay. i see my time has expired. one of the reasons i asked the question, one thing that i think we ought to be cognizant of is we ought not put u.s. manufacturers in a position where they would be punished relative to other manufacturers if me saw a drop in sales because people preferred other products and we have to remember the limits on what we can do legislatively. if we were to mandate that it wouldn't necessarily fix the problem. i see my time has expired. i believe senator durbin is next in the batting lineup. >> thank you very much senator lee. thank you, director comey, for being here. i would like to speak to you for a moment about the gun issue and
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terrorism. i want if you believe that terrorist organizations around the world are aware of american gun laws? >> as i sit here -- i assume that they are. there is probably some specific but i assume they are. >> al qaeda spokesman kadan, american born, said in a 2011 video, and i quote america is absolutely a wash with easily attainable firearms. you can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come can away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely not having to show an identification card. so what are you waiting for? that's what his quote was. while they are not readily available for civilian use, semiautomatic are and. there are reports that the san
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bernardino people were trying to convert to is automatic. >> they attempted to convert or did convert them successful isly. i can't gives you the answer sitting here. >> those who would do us harm know it is easy to obtain firearms and weapons under our current set of laws. i'd like to ask you a question based on your opening statement. and i think i understand what you said. you have found a public -- some type of utterance by the two killers that they were dedicated to jihad many years ago. and i want to ask whether that statement was made prior to the granting of a fiance visa to the wife. >> yes. and prior to the rise of isil. >> and do you see any weakness in our system when it comes to
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visas or vie an say visas that information was not known before she was granted access to america? >> i don't know enough to say. >> we are discussing visa waiver programs now. and how we can change them to make them better. roughly 60 million foreign visitors come to the united states each year. 20 million are from the 38 countries where a visa is not necessary. one of the things being discussed is to require a biometric examination for investigation before the visa waiver traveler boards the airplane. do you have any thoughts on whether that would help to make us safer? >> i haven't thought enough about it to make a decision. >> i know you will. you present your fingerprints so
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they can be checked against the information systems in europe and the united states. is there a good exchange of information between european allies and the united states when it comes to such things as the fingerprints of suspected terrorists and known criminals? >> it is good. it has gotten a lot better in the last two years. and there is still room to improve yet. >> i hope you can. i think it's very important. let me ask you the question. i want to make sure it is clear in my mind. if someone on the no-fly list walks into is a licensed firearms dealer in the united states that in and of itself is not prohibition of that person buying a firearm? >> correct. >> so even if that person is suspected to be terrorist, they could purchase the firearm and leave with it though your agents may follow them investigate them or keep an eye on them because of that purchase?
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>> that is correct. we have three days to review the background. and so a hit -- if someone walks in and they are on the no-fly list, we have three days to find out whether there is some prohibition that allows us to stop the transaction under the law. if not, they will walk out with a gun if the dealer allows it. >> the fact that they are on the no-fly list is not sufficient basis to deny the sale. >> that's correct. >> i would like to bring this closer to home in terms of gun violence in my state. we recently traced the crime guns that were seized in the most violent sections of chicago. and we found that 40% of those crime guns were coming into chicago from gun shows in northwest indiana where there was no requirement for a background check before the sale was made. of course it's not just
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firearms. it's ammunition as well. and we have ample evidence those who were engaged in this gun violence make the short trip over the border to indiana, secure their weaponry and ammunition and come back and kill people in chicago. what more can we do? we brought up the issue. and i won't engage you on it because i think you know the debate, about extending background checks to gun shows and internet the sales. what more can we go with this knowledge, though these guns crossing state borders into the city of chicago and pwhaoeg used in the commission of a crime? >> well, under the current legal regime, we especially our colleagues at atf, try to understand are there strong purchasers in that, gun show participants who know they are selling to felons or prohibited persons and trying to make trafficking cases based on that. that is sort of the focus of trying to stop bad guys from getting guns at gun shows. >> is there any surveillance of
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these gun shows to see if there are out of state license plates or anything of that nature? >> i think if there is a predicated investigation of a particular dealer within the gun show, there is appropriate surveillance. but i'm not aware of surveillance generally of gun shows. >> the last statement, our chairman suggested he would be open to the notion of prohibiting foreigners in the united states on visa waiver program to purchase firearms. that is a provision i'm offering. i would just say for the record i hope i can work with the chairman and get his support in making sure that this hoop hole is closed. thank you, mr. chairman. >> on the visa waiver program and guns, what i was trying to say is i want to go further than that. senator blake.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey. encryption has been talked about some. but let me talk about some of the other full srerblts we have and difficulties tracking information. i think we have discussed maybe this before. but the other ways for potential terrorists or terrorists to communicate here it's obviously not just e-mail, it's not just text messages. and i ask some that are familiar with the field if you had to bet to communicate that you didn't want anybody to follow it how would you do it. some say, well get on an app or a game, words with friends or some other game. and in the comment section or there is a way to communicate within that. that is probably -- there's no way to use encryption right now for that. but it is just in the realm of a lot of data, a lot of
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communication, a lot out there. is that something that concerning to the fbi? what are we doing without revealing sources and methods and everything else, to deal with that situation? >> thank you, senator. i don't want to say too much about it because i don't want the bad guys to get ideas they don't already have. but we have seen a number of cases in which subjects of investigations have communicated through gaming channels. either through more live action games or sometimes through app games on devices. sometimes those do involve encryption. they aren crypted in the gaming channel which makes it hard to intercept with a court order as anotheren crypted channel. it is increasingly a feature of our work i guess is what i'll say. >> thank you. we have seen high profile data breaches with omb. what is the fbi doing to ensure that we don't fall victim -- a
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lot of information held by the fbi is extremely sensitive. are we taking the measures we need to and how can congress help to make sure the data is secure? >> we worry about this every day. we try not to be overconfident. i think we have very good systems. but we can't be satisfied. as good as your system might be, if human being have access to it, there is a vulnerability there. especially since snowden stepped up our game to make sure we understand the potential insider threat. we focus from a technological perspective and human vulnerable perblt is the best headliner i can give you. >> you've mentioned in your testimony that one of the areas of focus is focus on corruption at the border. can can you give us an idea what you are doing to combat that? >> all our field offices along the mexican border have robust
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squads and efforts going on there. because any time you have human paoegs in a role where there's tremendous amounts of bad money there is a risk of people being compromised. it worked from the gulf to the pacific ocean by all our field offices. we work in partnership with dhs. a lot of focus is on the corruption in the border control workforce, for example. we have built a pretty effective relationship there. >> back to the visa situation. k-1 visa has come under scrutiny now. vetting refugees for example, because of lack of information about their background. if that's true in syria, it may be doubly true in south sudan or in somalia or elsewhere. so we have to rely heavily on
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interviews and assessments by field staff. do we use lie detector tests to try to vet whatever information is given? what do we have now and what else can we do in that regard if there is a lack of information or data to check what they say against. >> dhs would be better qualified than i. they don't use -- they don't have data to vet somebody against. you can see if they can detect perception. i don't know it well enough to tell you what particular tools they are considered using. >> you mentioned -- i think we have all season professionalism of the state and local officials dealing with the situation. for example, in san bernardino. that is not always the case
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elsewhere in the country where we have local officials who maybe need training or expertise. what is the fbi doing to ensure our local partners are doing what they can to identify or to prevent or deal with these tragedies when they occur? >> with respect to terrorism attacks in. >> yes. >> well the bedrock is our joint terrorism task forces. and the relationships we have built with state fusion centers to make sure we give our local partners what they crave which is good information about what the threat is how they might check it out, and good training on how to respond when there is an incident. we have invested a tremendous amount of effort and money trying to make sure we equip local state and local law enforcement we produced a video called the coming storm which is chilling but extraordinarily valuable that through real life movie actors shows how to
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respond to an attack. in that case on a community college. the best way to org yourself and the best way to respond. i have heard great 2350ed back. we have made tens of thousands of companies of this. every university, police force should have it. anybody responsible for protecting a community should have it and look at it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for having the hearing, you and senator leahy and an admirer of the men and women who work in the fbi. i think you do a great job. none of these are intended to impugn the hard work and integrity of all of you. look, we in new york, praise god after 9d/11 haven't had a successful terrorist incident. we have had a few in the country now. it is because of the hard work of your folks and others on the joint task forces that you mentioned, including the nypd,
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who do a great job as well. here are my questions. in your testimony this morning you told us the san bernardino attackers were communicating online about jihad for some time. so this raises to big questions which i would like to pursue. the first is how come we didn't know about these communications before the attacks? the second is is how did she get a visa. how did someone pass a visa test when they were kphaoublgting about jihad before no questions asked. let's go to the first one. first, how do we know when terrorists are communicating online. and how does it sometimes get missed? in general this will cause great consternation to the american people. here we have someone talking about jihad, two people, for a couple of years.
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and i always -- you know, i would -- i think most americans have the assumption we're on top of things like this. >> and i can only answer it in general. i don't want to talk yet, if i could, senator about the particular case. >> okay. so is let's take a hypothetical. someone is talking jihad over and over again online. do we know of it in most cases? and what do we do about it? >> we will only know about it if it's a private communication and not posting on a public forum or facing social media site. if it's private, whether electronic or by mail we will only know about it if it is some reason to believe it is going on that allowed us to get permission from a judge to intercept those communications. that's where the community comes in. if folks tell us i think this guy is up to no good, we can start to look at it and use our lawful tools. i know senators know this. but we don't monitor.
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we shouldn't. >> what about nonamerican citizens talking to american citizens. >> again, that is governed by the rule of law in the united states. so we have to have bred indication. the fbi or intelligence agencies to be able to enter is september the communications of an american whether they are communicating in the united states or overseas. >> okay. and in this case was there any public -- okay. let me ask more generally. say there is some public posting on a facebook page or something like that. where either an american citizen or nonamerican citizen communicating with an american citizen communicating jihad several times what do we do about it? >> we often know about it because of a source of ours, or a community member tells us about it, or an undercover. we can jump on it -- >> do we have enough people monitoring these things so when it is public we know about it if no informant or neighbor has told us?
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>> the answer is certainly not given the size of the communication of networks we're talking about. millions and millions of people talk to go each other and making facebook mostposts. >> i would imagine on public postings, we have computers, for instance, that stop child pornography with a certain image that's on there. couldn't we get computers that spit out to us who publicly and we don't know if these communications were public or private. you haven't said and i'm not asking you to do that in this particular case. couldn't we get a computer to spit out somebody who is talking about jihad bombing you know, some words like this repeatedly and to ava right of people? >> i want to be careful what i talk about in open setting. but there are tools but they are limited in a way you would want them to be. >> i see. >> the united states government, unlike some other deposits in the world, does not monitor the enter is net. >> final question could we be doing more in these types of
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situations? >> we could always be doing more. >> is resources a problem? >> resources is a -- i believe -- if we paid you unlimited money, you know we're not going to do that. but we could give you considerably more would you be able in more frequent cases when publicly these mentioned to be able to pursue them more thoroughly thoroughly? >> maybe is the answer. >> i would like to get a classified briefing from you or others on the details of this because it concerns me. second, the visa program. not visa waiver. so let's take a hypothetical. a nonamerican citizen has communicated online and used publicly. or now privately we could intercept them but it's hard. and used, you know, inflammatory words, language, intention. they come here on eye visa.
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how often do we catch them? >> i don't think i could answer that sitting here. i don't know enough about -- i can't answer sitting here. >> do you think we should know that? >> i'm sure somebody does. we could get you an answer in terms of numbers. >> after this hearing today, every american will be asking the question, how did this this woman come in on a fiancee visa 1k or k-1. >> can k-1. >> if she was talking publicly again, i won't get into privately in the classified briefing, about jihad. not this woman. sorry. how could a woman strike this and use the word a. or man. hypothetical. >> assuming they are talking about it publicly on an internet forum. >> yes. shouldn't that be somehow tied
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in to our visa program? >> it's part of the visa vetting process. >> yes. >> yeah. i can't give you a good answer sitting here. >> but shouldn't it be? >> i don't know enough to say. because i don't know exactly what investment would have to be made to do that work and what would be the payoff on the other side. >> got it. again, i'll pursue this with you further both classified and non. and i thank you. my time is now up. >> thank you, mr. director. if the fbi had a telephone number from a known foreign terrorist and there were people in the united states making phone calls to that known number there are procedures in place through the nsa and other agencies to check against that known terrorist number to see if there are telephone calls by americans to that number. isn't that correct? >> correct.
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>> and it doesn't involve any content at that point, correct? >> correct. >> congress just voted in the presence and signed into law a piece of legislation that prohibits the national security agency from maintaining the pluck telephone records. does that -- does that develop entail greater risk or otherwise limit the tools available to the fbi to be able to discover those sorts of communications? >> i don't know yet. because the usa freedom act framework is sufficiently new that i can't give you high confidence answer on its effectiveness compared to what we used to have. in theory it should work as well or better than what we used to have. but i don't know yet. >> so it could entail more risk or no more risk? >> correct. >> you can't say? >> i just don't know at this point. >> okay. i was shocked, as i bet a lot of other people were, particularly
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about your testimony with regard to encryption and its impact on the garland shooting in my home state of texas. 109 encrypted messages that still today the fbi cannot gain access to; is that correct? >> correct. >> and the only way you would be able to gain access to that, again, is not because you're monitoring private messages. it would be you would go to court and show cause, meet the legal standard in order to get a court order to then give you access to those records? >> correct. >> and you said there are telecommunications there are phone companies or i should say manufacturers who are marketing their encryption as a way to gain market share in america to advertise that these are private conversation that not even courts can order access to. >> i think they're device manufacturers who include that in their description of why their products should be used. >> and you said encryption is
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part of terrorist trade craft correct. >> that's for sure. >> to me that's a staggering situation because it still persists today, correct? >> oh, yes. and growing. >> and so while we are all horrified and repelled by what we saw in san bernardino and what we saw in paris, there could well be similar communications, not in those cases, but in other cases going on today. and the fbi wouldn't be able to gain access to those communications between terrorists, even with a court order? >> that's correct. and strongly encrypted end to end encrypted, if a judge issues an order, and we interpretcept it, it's still encrypted and unreadable. >> is that a danger to the american people? does that increase the risk of terrorist attacks that could go undetected detecteddetected before
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a carnage occurs? >> i do, which is why we've been talking about the over the last few years so hemuch. >> i appreciate you making this important point. it concerns me a lot, that congress has not acted to do anything to give you the tools that you need. i appreciate the way you've tried to discuss this with the various manufacturers and other intents involved, but it strikes me as if they're gaining market share by advertising their encryption and saying that not even the federal government in a terrorist investigation can gain access to it that that's a real problem. and so i think you said you hoped to get to a place where the companies can comply with the court order. but do you think it would be useful for the congress to actually try to do something about this or should we just wait for the voluntary compliance by the industry? >> i think it would be useful as congress has done, for
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congress to try to drive this conversation, to draw people into it to figure out so what can we do. because i don't want to hurt american business. but i also have a responsibility to try and protect the american people. and all of us care about the same thing. so i appreciate congress trying to drive this conversation. >> i think you're testimony here today will help do that. i think it's surprised and shocked a lot of people. i want to close with this line of questioning, director comey. we're at a point in our nation's history where the public doesn't trust government. i think a pew poll indicated less than 20% of americans say they trust their government most of the time. and unfortunately, many americans have lost faith in our national institutions, including our justice system. and i know how much you care about that and how much you've dedicated your life to making sure that people can trust law enforcement and our justice system. that faith is endangered when attempts are made to pervert it
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in favor of the powerful who would like to create different rules for those who rule. i know this is a sensitive matter and i'm not going to ask you about the content, but i know the fbi is currently investigating the private e-mail server of the former secretary of state. and it's troubled me and i know others, when some people have attempted to disparage or otherwise predict the outcome of the ongoing fbi investigation. i know the president himself said that we don't get an impression that there was a purposely efforts to hide something or squirrel away information. does the president get briefings on ongoing investigations by the fbi like this? >> no. >> so he would have no way of knowing what the status of the fbi investigation is? >> certainly not from briefings from the fbi. >> i know a former senior official at the fbi and the current president of the law enforcement legal defense fund told "the new york times" that
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injecting politics into what is supposed to be a fact-finding inquiry leaves a foul taste in the fbi's mouth and makes them fear that no matter what they find, the justice department will take the president's signal and will not bring a case. but i just want to ask you to perhaps repeat something you said earlier when you said that people at the fbi, including you, don't give a rip about politics. is that your position? >> that is true through and through the fbi. >> so for politicians of whatever level, whether it's the president of the united states or members of congress or anybody else trying to lobby or intimidate or influence an investigation by the fbi, that does not work, at least under your leadership? >> it doesn't matter. i don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but it doesn't matter what anybody thinks or feels about our work. we're competent, we're honest and we're independent. we're going to do or work the right way. and we wearcare only about the facts.
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that's who we are. >> that's certainly consistent with the way you've conducted yourself i think in your public life. and i think that will help restore in some small part people's confidence that there are people trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. so thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you very much mr. chairman, and thank you, director comey for being here. i really appreciate it. one of the things that we haven't gone into as much is the online recruiting of terrorists. minnesota, as you know, has been very aggressive our fbi and our local law enforcement, our u.s. attorney, andy lugar in going after cases of people who have been recruited, much of it online, not all of it but much of it, to join isis or before that, al shabaab. i've seen this recruiting techniques myself. your agents have shown them to me. and i wondered what is being done about that. and it may have played a role, i
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know the investigation is still going on into the tragic shooting in san bernardino but is this an emerging threat what can be done? there has been discussion about getting these companies to take down these sites as much as possible. talk about a little bit about that. >> thank you senator. isis has endeavored to send people here. i've also tried to inspire people to kill on their behalf. they send a message in a very slick way that restonates with troubled souls or older people who have struggled in some way, or kids. it is a very saideductive message because it's buzzing all day long, that these people can consume this.
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their goal is to draw people into this closed circle online which they're constantly bombarded with, this is the way to meaning, this is the way to meaning. that shapes a troubled mind. we are making sure we're aggressively investigating that to find those who are on into path potentially radicalizing, and to work with other folks to find kids who might be vulnerable to it not just to their poisonous message but all kinds of poisonous messages that inspire people to violence. we're about to come out with something called "don't be a puppet," i'm no judge of what's cool but i'm told it's cool almost like an online game for schools that kids learn, this is the way they come after you and here's how he resist it. those are the two ways we try to attack it. >> very good. as you know, we have one of the sort of pilot projects on the countering violent extremism group. it's been used with our muslim
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community, which we're very proud of in minnesota which has been working to make sure kids don't get involved with this in the first place. i encourage the work you're doing and we hope you do more. we hope to get more funding out of this budget for projects to fight islamic extremism. i heard you bring up law enforcement in your initial statement you think they have enough resources. we're trying to increase funding there. could you talk about that. >> our state and local partners are strapped across the country, coming out of the painful cuts they've endured over the last eight years. so they are still contributing their stars to our task forces. but i know what it costs them because they're short handed across the country. i've traveled to our field offices i've been to them all once, now i'm halfway through
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going to them a second time. i hear this over and over again, they're asked to do more and more with less. they're trying to do better community policing. that's very hard when officers are covering twice the territory they used to cover. they don't have time to get out of their cars and meet people. so it is a constant theme i hear from our partners. >> thank you. and i wanted to add, a lot of my colleagues have asked you about encryption. and i know you were here before and talked about efforts to try to work with the phone companies. i thought your testimony was very interesting today when you talked about the fact that some of us suspect it may not really be a technological issue as much as it is a business model issue. so if that is all the case, what has been done to improve it since that time? has there really been changes, except for discussions with the phone companies? you said in answer to one of the questions that a good chunk of it could be resolved. how would we resolve that? is it just simply the
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international norms you talked about where you would have agreement between countries to where our court orders, their court orders could be followed? i'm trying to get to a solution here. i keep waiting for the next ticking time bomb where our law enforcement isn't able to access this. as you know it's not just terrorism investigations. cy vance is making this a crusade. i remember as a prosecutor, sitting in on wiretaps the old days when people were using land lines or less sophisticated cellphones, and it was a major part of our investigations. >> i think a big part of the problem can be solved if folks who are currently producing and selling devices that can't be unlocked by judges' orders or communications that can't be intercepted by judges' orders were to change their business model in this respect. not to give us a key.
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i don't want a key. i don't want to tell them how to do their business. but figure out how they can change their business model so they can comply with judges' orders. the folks making the phones today, they were doing that a year ago and nobody said their devices were unsecure so we ought not to buy them. and so i'm hopeful, i'm an optimist, i hope people now that they consider how big the threat is, will consider those changes. it's not going to solve the entire problem. i agree very much that you don't want to just chase the problem overshore. there does have to be an international component to this. it's actually not a technical problem. we've chosen to operate our business this way, for good reasons. but we should stop saying you're going to break the internet if we do this. you should figure out, if a judge says there's something in your house the nation needs to be safe you figure out how to come out of the house. use a window, use a door, use a
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slot, whatever keeps your house day. we should get to a place where when a judge says this is necessary, you're able to comply. >> you're talking about court orders and you're talking about an international normal given that the world has united against isil and this kind of other terrorist evil, so some way that we can find international agreement on when this information is given to pursue these very important investigations. >> yes. i think reasonable people have said that should be a part of it. i think they're right. >> great. thank you very much. >> mr. director, we're really happy to have you here today. i want to personally express my gratitude for the work you're doing, the work you have done in the past, and for the good way you approach law enforcement in this country. you're doing a great job. last week's tragedy in san bernardino was the worst terrorist attack on american soil since 9/11. the shooters claimed allegiance
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to isis. isis has called them its followers. i think it's important to call this attack what it is. do you agree with me that this was an act of terrorism? >> yes. >> do you agree that it appears this terrorist attack was at least inspired by isis? >> we're still sorting that out senator. it was definitely claimed by the killers at or about the time of the killing that they were doing this isil then has embraced them as followers. >> it's pretty hard not to say isis had something to do with it. >> isil inspiration may well have been part of this. but these two killers were starting to radicalized towards martyr martyr martyr martyrdom and jihad as early as 2013, really before isil became the global jihad leader that it is. >> the attorney general stated her, quote greatest fear,
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unquote, was the possibility that it could lead to "anne of green gables" at this-muslim this-miscellaneousthis- -- could lead to an anti-muslim rhetoric. my greatest fear is more attacks and more dead americans. if we were to put it this way, what would be your greatest fear after last week's terrorist attack? >> my fear which is not new, it's been a feature of my work since i started this job is what don't we know what can't we see. in that is the particular challenge of those radicalizing online, consuming propaganda and trying to stay beneath our radar. this confirms to us what we've said all along. the reason we've had cases in all 50 states is a very real concern that people are radicalizing in a way that's hard to see. that inability to see is my biggest worry. >> i share that. let me just say this. i would like to follow up on
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senator lee's line of questions regarding the so-called dark problem. i have two questions. first, with respect to control of encrypted data, u.s. tech companies do not want to be the middle man between law enforcement and technology customers. how do you reconcile this concern with the needs of law enforcement and have you considered alternatives that would meet the needs of law enforcement but not put the united states tech companies in the awkward position of middleman? >> i'm not sure i know exactly what they mean by middleman. i don't want anybody to be the middleman for law enforcement. but everybody in the united states has i believe an obligation to endeavor to comply with judicial orders in criminal investigations. you're you're a bank you run a sandwich shop, you run a technology company. i don't want anybody to be a middleman but i want everybody
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to comply with judges' orders. >> u.s. tech companies are the no the only businesses that offer encryption to customers. other countries offer it as well. if we require u.s. tech companies to provide decryption keys won't users simply look to technologies from other non-u.s. companies to conduct their activities? how do you respond to that concern? >> that's a serious concern. first of all i don't want anyone to supply encryption keys. but if we went to a place where american companies were required to figure out a way to comply with judicial orders, they do make a serious argument that that would chase our business overseas. i'm not in a position to evaluate that argument. a little part of me is skeptical that people would stop buying the great phones we make in this country because a judge might order access to it. but i'm not really an expert on that. so i do think a part of this has been on international compact of some sort. none of us want to hurt american
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business. at the same time, there are costs to being an american business, right? you can't pollute. you can't employ children. there are certain things we've decided as a country we want to govern ourselves this way. so in a way i think we have to figure out what's right for america first and then try to figure out how to reduce the harm that might come competitively. >> i would like to return to the issue of rampant dna. i introduced bipartisan investigation with senators feinstein, lee, and jillgillibrand. they're fully automated instruments that can be placed in booking stations and develop a dna profile from a cheek swab and compare the results against existing profiles in less than two hours. now, my bill, the rapid dna act of 2015, would allow law enforcement officials using
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fbi-approved rapid dna instruments to upload profiles generated by such devices to the fbi's combined dna index system and perform database comparisons. director comey, you've spoken in the past about rapid dna and how this technology will help law enforcement. do you believe that rapid dna technology is important? how will it impact law enforcement? and do you believe congress should pass legislation authorizing its use within standards and guidelines promulgated by your agency? >> that authority that's in your bill would help us change the world in a very, very exciting way that allow us in booking stations around the country, if someone's arrested, to know instantly or near instantly whether that person is the rapist that's been on the loose in that community before they get away or to clear somebody
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that they're not the person. it's very exciting. we're very grateful that we're going to have the statutory authorization if that passes to connect that dna technology to the national dna database. >> thank you. my bill will not affect when or under what circumstances law enforcement collects dna samples. these decisions would be governed by state or other federal law. what it will do is affect where samples are processed and how quickly they're processed. now, mr. director, what would you say to individuals who may be concerned that rapid dna technology would raise privacy concerns and what would you say to individuals who may be concerned that this technology could affect the integrity of fbi's combined dna index system or cotus? my bill would comply with fbi standards and procedures. >> you said it well senator. folks need to understand this
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isn't about collecting dna from more people. it's about the dna that's collected when someone is arrested, being able to be analyzed much more quickly, that can show us in some cases this is the wrong person or can show us in some cases this is someone we have to be very worried about. that is good for our justice system as a whole. you're exactly right, the national database, the cotus database is the gold standard. this legislation does not water down the standards that are applied before a dna result can be pressed against that database. we're still going to have high standards. we're still going to require that this is the gold standard for identification in the united states. >> thank you sir. senator franken is next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey, first i would like to thank you for appearing today. it's good to see you again. and you do a great job. i think all the members of this
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committee greetagree. before i ask my questions, i want to extend my thanks to you, the bureau, your ages, for assisting in the civil rights investigation surrounding the death of jamar clark in minneapolis. i supported the decision of mayor hodges and police chief hartow to call for an independent investigation. in my view, a full, thorough and transparent accounting of the facts is necessary to get to the bottom of what happened in that tragic event and to restore trust between the north side community and the police and law enforcement. so i want to commend the fbi agents involved for their professionalism and for their commitment to seeking justice. i wanted to just -- a lot of things have been discussed in
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this committee, including the going dark the encryption issue. i just want to make sure that i have clarity on this and maybe help other people clarify it for them. basically, tell me if i heard you right that a terrorist in the united states could -- that there is a sort of distinction between -- there are two distinct but related concerns law enforcement has about encryption. the concern that information sought by law enforcement is on an encrypted device, we're talking about the phone and the concern that the information might exist within an encrypted app on that phone. and so some of these apps are
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available freely online and add an extra layer of encryption. can you speak to the bureau's concerns related to these issues? you're basically saying that there's sort of two layers and if you get rid of the first layer, you'll have more -- i mean you'll obviously be -- it will be a great deal more people that won't be caught up or that won't have that encryption? is that what you're saying? >> i think encryption has always been available always been available to the sophisticated user, always for decades. what changed over the last two years is encryption went from available to being the default. and so now, with some of the leading phones in the united states, that phone is encrypted by default. so if we recover it at a crime
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scene, with a judge's search warrant order we can't open it. >> and i know you're not asking for a key, you're asking for the company to be able to follow the judge's order. >> which two years ago they could do it and did it routinely. i think their devices were still considered pretty secure. but you're exactly right. there may still be within that device, especially for sophisticated users other encryption tools that are on particular apps or there's actually something -- too complicated. >> can we get some data on this? the last time this committee looked at this, we had deputy attorney general yates and i asked her for more information on the scope of law enforcement's concern. because i know a lot of this is about just normal crime and not about terrorism. and i think what you're suggesting is that a terrorist might be able to get that app and that's why -- that foreign app, and that's why we need an
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international agreement on this right? >> yes. exactly right. this is mostly a local law enforcement issue. but we are gathering the data that you asked for. and i'll have to get back to you on exactly what we're going to get it to you. >> and i know you've mentioned it. i want to make sure i'm clear on something else from this testimony. i'm just sort of reviewing the whole day for myself. i understand if someone on a terrorist watch list tries to buy a gun through a licensed dealer, the fbi is alerted. >> correct. >> and it can delay the sale for three days? >> under the law we're allowed up to three case. >> 0 so -- okay. but ultimately, do you have legal authority to deny the sale? >> not unless there's another prohibiter under the law, a felon or mental defective. >> at least you have that three days. >> yes. >> if someone on a terrorist watch list -- this is someone on a terrorist watch list, in three
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days, if there's no other indicator, they can get their gun. that to me is a problem. now, if someone on a terrorist watch list tries to buy a begun online or at a gun show, no one is legally required to notify the fbi? >> i believe that's correct, yes. >> okay. so i have that correct. so to fix this, if we're talking about keeping guns out of the hands of people of terrorists, and presumably people on the no-watch list are there for a reason or maybe there's a false positive, but it seemed to me that we would have to be doing both. if we're really interested in keeping the guns from terrorists, we would have to
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enforce both say you can't sell a gun to someone there has to be three days or some kind of look at that person, and also, the gun -- the gun sale, the sale at a gun show, the gun show loophole would have to be solved too too? i mean, in other words, if we're worried about guns falling in the hands of people on terrorist watch lists, we also have to close up the gun show loophole as well as cleaning up this loophole, which is the terrorist watch loophole. i mean, in other words this is a reason to do both. let me put it this way. you don't have to answer. this is the reason to do both.
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okay. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, we're lucky to have you. thank you for the sacrifice you make in doing what you do. i'm glad you're on the wall. i would like to go back and clear up just to make sure you understood the testimony as well. i applaud the fbi for being the first to call this an act of terrorism. >> thank you. >> not that i want it to be an act of terrorism, of course. but you guys looked at the facts and said the american public needs to know the facts. thank you. i haven't heard it connected directly to isis. i know in this environment you may not be able to talk about that, and if so that's fine. do we know that this was directly connected to isis influence in the u.s.? >> there was some indication that they were at least in part inspired by isil, so yes. we're trying to sort out what other contributions might there have been to their motivation.
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we may never fully sort it out, because human motivation is hard. but at least in part we see an isil inspiration. >> you may not want to comment on this either, and i apologize for asking this direct question but for the american people in the past, the fbi has been a stalwart in helping to protect the american people over time. in the past, on your watch are you aware of planned attempts to have actually been preempted by the fbi that we may never know about? >> yes many. >> okay. thank you. and speaking to the increase in the latest spate of isis attacks, is their planning getting better are their tactics getting better? i know the malik and farook team bought their weapons through a neighbor. my question is is there a network issue here, are the networks growing in the u.s.? >> we're looking at -- obviously in san bernardino to see was there anybody else involved in assisting them.
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and so separate from san bernardino, we have not seen this, we have not seen isil cells or networks in the united states. so far as we can tell they have not succeeded in penetrating our borders with their operatives. that's an aspiration of theirs we have to worry about it all day, every day. but what they're doing is motivating small groups of people to commit murder on their behalf. that's the crowdsourcing that we're dealing with. >> do we actually have cases where through the resettlement, 2200 or so people who have come in so far, we're trying to bring another 10,000 in the first phase of this, have we actually had cases where we identified isis adherence in that first group? >> not to my knowledge. >> are you aware that canada is increasing their syrian refugee acceptance rate from less than
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5,000 to over 25,000 the latest number i saw before and the border we have with canada, we don't talk about that border much, is the fbi paying attention to that relative to what we need to do? to me that vetting in canada is just as important as our own investigate here with our k-1 and our visa waiver program. >> and they get that. the head of the rcmp is a friend and colleague of mine. he called me to tell me their government had made that decision and to explain and to encourage us to work together to vet those people. >> and what changes would you like to see in the k-walk? with malik, was she actually given an interview in the k-walk process? do we know that? >> i don't know well enough to say at this point. i know the process requires it. we're still trying to fully understand exactly all of her contacts. >> are there changes you would like to see, the fbi would like to see in the k-walk1 program or the visa waiver program? >> i don't know enough to say as
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a result of this case. >> the last thing, very quickly, in the trans-pacific partnership, there is language in there that would prevent national laws being implemented in countries that would require manufacturers to provide access to products, encryption technologies. some critics think that would limit our own ability to provide legislation that would give you a solution to the potential go-dark solution. does the fbi have a point of view on that yet? >> we don't. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director. >> senator blumenthal, then senator koonz. if you can stand me for seven more minutes, i have a second round of questions. >> thanks, mr. chairman. and thank you, director comey, for your excellent work and your great service to our country. thank you to your family. and most of the especially to your wife patrice, who has done so much for the children of
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connecticut, and now for others around our country. i've just come from -- >> from iowa too. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for that correction. i've just come from a hearing at the armed services committee, where secretary carter was testifying. and i want to first make the point that we often thank our men and women in uniform, which i do readily and repeatedly, and i do again now, but i also want to thank the very brave men and women who work under your command and enforce our laws and keep us safe as well as law enforcement men and women around the country, police at every level, and are in a sense also at war. in fact secretary carter said, and i'm quoting, talking about
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isil, "the reality is we are at war. that's how our troops feel about it, because they're taking the fight to isil every day, applying the might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known." do you feel that we are at war also within our borders against forces of terror that are linked to those forces abroad, that our men and women in uniform are fighting? >> very much, senator. and our people feel that passionately. our people are tired. we are working very, very hard. they're working very very hard. but what motivates them is these people want to kill our people. we are at war with these people. so stopping them is what -- is the reason we do this work. >> and the president well-identified this new phase
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that perhaps is an old phase in larger scale, the phase of isil and isis reaching outside the theaters were they have fought so far, reaching into this country. you've referred to crowdsourcing as the san bernardino experience, and outsourcing that threat to new recruits, to home-grown radicals, may be part of the threat here. but you would agree that we face a war every bit as dire and dangerous here at home as we do abroad? >> yes. the threat obviously and the density of these savages is less here in the united states. but the nature of it is very similar. >> and i know that you've responded about the importance of cooperation in terms of information and other kinds of
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assistance that is provided by members of the muslim community. just as cooperation and support is essential from nations that have a majority of muslims abroad in our fight against isis and isil they are our natural allies and friends and partners in this fight against extremist terrorism and violence abroad. and i want to ask you about some of the statements that are made about closing borders and about religious tests at our borders, other kinds of tests that in my view are unconstitutional, but also strike me as unwise because we need that cooperation. are the statements themselves potentially inhibiting that kind of cooperation and support and help that we need? >> thank you, senator. i don't want to comment on
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anybody's statements. but i can make i think the point that you're interested in. isil is trying to recruit in muslim communities. they're trying to motivate people who may be of the muslim faith who are unmoored in some way to become part of their poisonous endeavor. the people who so often tell us about people like that are other muslims who help us. so we've worked so hard over the last 15 years to build relationships of trust that allow us to find out who might be trouble and to stop it. that's in everybody's interest. and anything that gets in the way, that erodes that relationship of trust is not a good thing. >> and muslims who live in our nation are fellow americans many of them, equally interested in preventing threats and violence as anyone of any religion. >> our experience, what's wonderful about this country is we're incredibly diverse.
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they're part of that diverse polyglot. they helplove this country, that's why they help us when there is a killer in their midst. as i said in the beginning, we're all in this together. we need each other. >> i applaud your very clear and emphatic unequivical statement about that point. i want to shift to another terrorist act, at least one that strikes terror, not of the same motivation, but involving the apparent racist motivated violence in charleston. the fbi background system known as n.i.x. was applied in the
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case of dylann roof's purchase, but only too late to prevent him from buying the gun, the 72-hour loophole that i have tried to close enabled him to walk away with a gun he sought to purchase, thanks to that loophole, after the 72-hour period, since the background check was not completed, but would have precluded him from buying a gun, he was enabled to have that firearm. gun retailers have sold 15,729 guns in the last five years to individuals who were not legally allowed to purchase them. and about five months ago, i think you commissioned a study that was to last 30 days, to examine how dylann roof was able to buy that gun. i think that report would help us in congress to understand what went wrong and how to fix it and most especially if the
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72-hour loophole enabled him to buy that gun, as appears to be from the facts that we've been told so far. the report would be very helpful. so my question is, can you update us as to the status of that report? >> certainly, senator. and we would be happy to get you a detailed briefing on it, because the work was done, as i asked, in 30 days. it did two things. it confirmed the facts as we understood them close to the murders in charleston, that there was a mistake made by our processing clerks that was compounded by a mistake in the records of the south carolina jurisdiction where the prohibiter came from. that confirmed what we knew. what it most importantly told us is how can we get better. the law is what the law is. we have three days to process these thousands and thousands and thousands of them. so we're working on a number of things to get better. one, to improve the records by
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our state and locals, to improve our technology, and our resources. the number of gun purchases continues to climb. it's climbed dramatically in the last week. we have to make sure we have enough folks, if all we have is three days to do that. those are the three buckets, better records, better technical, and more importantly, more human beings on the phones to process them more quickly. >> so resources are really important, resources in technology resources in people, and resources in records that you depend on because many of them come from state and local authorities as well. >> correct. >> my time has expired. this whole area is tremendously important. i want to thank you for being here today and just to clarify racial and religious supremacists often use terrorist-type tactics, even though we would not call them terrorists today. but i appreciate the attention
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you're giving to the potentially white supremacist motivated acts of violence in that church in charleston. thank you. >> thank you charmirman grassley, and thank you for your service director comey. i was pleased to see in your testimony before the committee a focus on the violence reduction network, a department of justice initiative that is truly helping a group of now ten smaller cities like my hometown of wilmington delaware, that have seen a dramatic rise in violent crime "and homicides. we are sadly on track for a record year in shootings and homicides. i'm grateful for your and the fbi's focus on providing technical resources to help state and local law enforcement deal with this rise in violent crime in a few cities and to learn from the policing examples of other communities and federal agencies that have real
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knowledge about how to better deploy investigatory resources. so tell me, if you would, how we can better support valuable programs like the vrn and how in your view it's been most effective in connecting fbi resources to cities like wilmington wilmington, delaware. >> i'll start with the effectiveness point first. i think what makes it special is, we bring together in a place like wilmington everybody who cares about this issue or might have a specialty that's useful. what we can bring to bear is our understanding of technology and our analytic resources so we help a local jurisdiction understand what is the pattern, what is the trend and what are the pieces of information that we can lawfully gather that would be useful in focusing on because it's almost always small groups of predators, finding them and ripping them out of the community. it's not rocket science. but it often brings rocket
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scientists to the fight in a really important way. i think the way you can support it is, as you just did, talking about its value and making sure that appropriators and others understand that when the department talks about about this, it's making a difference. >> thank you. i am an appropriator on the relevant subcommittee and have advocated for it with the headed of omb and the attorney general. i would be grateful for any other advice from you on how to sustain it make it more effective. certainly the work to reduce violent crime is far from over in my hometown and other cities around the country. hopefully we'll sustain this program until we see some significant reduction in violent crime. i would like to mention another issue if i could about cyber security. the senate recently passed the cybersecurity sharing information act, which permits dhs to scrub personally identifying information it receives from private entities, but only after it secures the approval of a number of agency
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heads, including yourself in your role as director of the fbi. have you had communications with other agencies yet about how this process will work? are you committed to ensuring that dhs could conduct a robust scrubbing of personally identifying information? >> i have not had any conversations about that. but the second part is easy. we'll do everything possible to make sure it works and works the way congress designed it. >> thank you. i urge you to engage in those conversations. i think this process is going to move relatively quickly, or so i hope. in october president obama secured from president xi of china a striking landmark admission that china had been engaged in economic espionage, cyber attacks, something you've testified about here before, and a commitment that those attacks would end. yet press reports suggest that literally a day after president xi's visit, chinese cyberattacks resumed. has a fbi detected any change in chinese cyber espionage behavior
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following president xi's promise? and how do you think we should address this challenge? >> it's too early to say. we're watching it very, very carefully. given the long-tail nature of chinese cyber espionage and theft, i'm not sure that i would expect a change even if one was going to happen that would be visible yet. so we're watching this space very carefully. we've had good conversations with our chinese counterparts. i've told them -- i don't mean to be rude but the fbi director is paid to be skeptical, i'm deeply skeptical. and so we will have to watch and see what the facts show us. but i can't say yet. >> i think it's deeply disturbing and hostile behavior that we need to continue to be engaged. i've heard from far too many american companies that they've lost vital both economic secrets and from some federal agencies that they've lost vital national security secrets.
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and i appreciate your hard work on this. last, i'm the ranking member of the oversight subcommittee, and last month we held a hearing at which dekalb county's police chief who is himself a 30-year law enforcement veteran testified that the notion that there is a so-called ferguson effect is of no real significance. i was struck at that hearing, which chairman cruz called under the title "a war on police," that hearing actually produced no evidence that there is any meaningful, organized war on police. and as the co-chair of the senate law enforcement caucus, i know that law enforcement faces real challenges nationally, every day. but i see little evidence to suggest that these issues stem from the calls of some in the civil rights community for greater accountability. in fact my experience at the local level was that police officers are some of the greatest advocates for account the because it makes them more
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effective police officers. is it your view that the protection of american civil rights is inconsistent with policing and officer safety or is it fundamentally in harmony? >> they're fundamentally in harmony. scrutiny is good for everybody. >> thank you. it's my view that in a democracy, the enormous power we give to law enforcement and the very high expectations we have for them are only strengthened by accountability that then produces community engagement, community support. the agency i was fortunate enough to be closely associated with for a decade really was an early national leader in community policing and did i think an outstanding job as winning the trust of our community and thus being effective at policing. i think there's a lot of work to go in terms of accountability and engagement and protecting civil rights. i appreciate your response on all four of the questions i've asked today and i'm grateful for your service. thank you, director. >> thank you, senator. >> i've got three questions i would like to ask and then i
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assume everybody's asked questions once, that nobody will come back. i want to start by underlining what senator cornyn said about the clinton e-mail investigation. almost a thousand e-mails contained classified information, were stored in the non-government server system. a former i.t. specialist has avoided this committee's questions. there might come a time when the committee refers the matter to the department of justice for prosecution of some of the individuals involved. as you know, no matter what the fbi finds the political appointee at the justice department will ultimately make
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the decision whether or not to prosecute. that's why some have called for a special counsel to be appointed for an independent decision. my question is, if the fbi refers to the matter to the justice department, but the justice department refuses to prosecute, the public will not learn the facts that the fbi independent inquiry established. would there be a process but which you would inform the public of what the fbi learned and what you will do if the decision not to prosecute appears to be improperly influenced by political considerations? >> mr. chairman i'm not comfortable answering a question about what might happen in that particular matter. i think it's important that i make sure i'm -- i'm making sure it has the right resources, the right people and it's done in an expeditious fair, and competent way.
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i don't want to speculating and down that road, if i could. >> could i remind you that in the anthrax case, after the person that was suspected committed suicide that the fbi did make that investigation public? so wouldn't there be a precedent for you making your investigation public? >> there's a variety of precedents for an investigation describing some or all of it to the public. i just don't want to speculate on this particular investigation. >> okay. state department officials along the same line state department officials have informed my staff that the fbi has seized or taken possession of the state department computer used by the witness who was asserting the fifth amendment to this committee. there has also been a public report that the fbi has taken possession of state department e-mail servers. is that correct? has the fbi seized or taken
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possession of these state department computers? >> i can't comment on that, given that it's an ongoing matter. >> i'm not really asking you -- i'm just asking you, do you have these tools available. >> if i were to answer, i would be answering about what evidence we've gathered in an investigation. >> okay. >> i can assure you -- >> you don't need to go any further. i trust you. the american people rely upon you to investigate potential criminal conduct and in the course of that conduct, politics cannot interfere with your responsibilities. in a "60 minutes" interview president obama declared in a question about secretary clinton's use of a private server, quote i can tell you this is not a situation in which america's national security was endangered, end of quote.
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how can you assure the american people that you will not let the white house influence the fbi's inquiry? >> i hope the american people know the fbi well enough, and the nature and character of this organization, as i've said many times, we don't give a rip about politics. anybody's view about an investigation they're not involved in is irrelevant. we care about trying to find out what is true in an honest and independent way. i promise you that's the way we conduct ourselves. >> okay. now i would like to discuss whistle blowers and the second of at least three questions i would like to ask you. in your confirmation hearing, you expressed strong support for whistle blowers and the need for them to feel free to raise their concerns up the chain of command. fbi policy encourages employees to report wrongdoing to their supervisors. first question do you support legal protections for fbi
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employees who follow fbi's own policies and report wrongdoing to their supervisors? if not, why not? >> i do very much. >> okay. under current law, fbi agents have no legal protection for reporting wrongdoing to their supervisors. do you see any justification for not fixing that problem? >> i think it's very, very important that we create the safe zones that all of our people need to raise concerns that they might have. and so that is the way i not only talk, that's the way i walk at the fbi. and i know that we're having conversations about are there additional protections we can offer. i think there might be sensible ways to do that. i have some small concerns. i want to make sure that we don't create a system where, to get too deep in the weeds here, an fbi agent or fbi employee can report not just fraud waste,
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and abuse, but can get whit whistleblowing protection for bad management. that's a huge range of things. but i'm open to try and improve the way we approach it. as i've said, i have tried to really walk this talk by the people i've met with, the way i've given out awards in the fbi. i will continue to try and work with you to try and improve that. >> you've spoken repeatedly about isis's sophisticated use of the internet to lure americans to syria and to inspire tactics in the united states. this is very concerning, and i know you speak from your heart on that. other than addressing the problem by encryption, are there any other tools that would help the fbi identify and monitor terrorists online? more specifically, can you explain the electronics
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communications are and how congress accidentally limited the fbi's ability to obtain them or the drafting error would fixing this problem be helpful for your counterterrorism investigations? >> it would be enormously helpful. there is essentially a typo in the law that was passed a number of years ago that requires us to get records ordinary transaction records that we could get in most contexts with a non-court order, because it doesn't involve content of any kind, to get those records. nobody i know of thinks that that's necessary. it would save us a tremendous number of work hours if we can fix that, without any compromise
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to anyone's civil liberties or civil rights. anybody who's stared at this says that's a mistake and we should fix that. >> this will be my last question. you heard my concerns about non-citizens who are not legally permanent residents buying and possessing guns in this country. if you were the me to ask this i'm not going to ask this other question. let me go to this question. in regard to your last response you said you tried to walk the talk on this. why hasn't the fbi imposed discipline in any of some cases that i've been investigating what message does it send to fbi employees and the fbi fails to hold retaliateors accountable for the question? that will be my last question. >> there's a good question and hard question. i believe we do try hard to hold
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retaliators accountable. now, often if people know we're coming for them, they'll retire on us and leave government service, which is a challenge for us. but it is not just that enforcement that matters. it's how do we act, how do we conduct ourselves. and i don't want to brag on myself, but i will for a second. we have annual directors awards. and at the end of the directors awards this year i gave an award to recognize somebody for blowing the whistle on misconduct. i want back to the podium and says, this matters, the reason i'm saving this one for last is this matters. when an organization dedicated to finding the truth in american life, we have to make sure we're open to seeing the truth about ourselves. so, look, we're not perfect and i think we can benefit from working with you to get better but i believe we have sent the message this matters. >> listen, you've been here a long time. i thank you for the time you've given us. maybe some members will submit
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questions for answer in writing. i may even do that myself. i hope you'll respond appropriately and as quickly as you can. thank you very much for your service. >> thank you, senator.
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at the time i think a lot of us thought its with was worth the paper uzz was printed. now, ah part from his popularity a lot is gaced on the fact that if he goes rogue it throws the election to hillary clinton. >> in a story published today, saying twice, i will never leave the race. where does that put the g.o.p. establishment? concerned about what this potentially means in 2016 not only for tth the presidentsy but also key races. >> it puts them in a difficult position. one really does get the sense that over the last week or so
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apart from the prediction of his demise which have turned out to be foolish, i don't think this man is going to implode and leave the race. i think over the last week, u however, a lot of these statements particularly the muslim ban while it's popular among the republican base has turned the national media against him, so international folks. and jaust lot of people who are not core republican scroters. i think it has really put the republican establishment on the spot. yesterday ryan's the head of the republican national committee, really delayed. he was one of the last republican officials to comment directly on trump's assertions and even he had to a denounce trump. so the other thing we have a story today on our website talking about what the ballot implications are. there's a lot of concern that if trump is at the top, say
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good-bye to the senate. >> but does donald trump care about this? i ask the question because any time he says something doesn't that only embolden his supporters and make it the us versus them, i'm going after the establishment? >> absolutely. and the other thing is, a lot of people think he has been called a narssist and a lot of people have said that trump is really doing this completely for himself. i don't believe that. i think trump is a performer to some extent but somebody who is acutely conscious of audience and his fan base. this is a guy with a really good ear for the crowd. ings he believes in his heart of hearts that he is representing this percentage of americans who are forgotten and that he owes them a responsibility. i think that is the big change i see in donald trump. this man feels like he is part of a movement.
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>> his core squentsy? >> there have been certain analysis. it's overwhelmingly white, tends to be out of the large cities more suburban and rural. and they tend to be a lot of voters high percentage who are -- who don't have college degrees. that's not a litmus on people's intellect but a fact that he is attracting white working class voters really more than any other candidate in the race. >> a couple of poles that came out before the muslim comment showing donald trump increasing his lead. what will you be looking for? >> i'm looking at ted cruz. a lot of us had thought marco rubio would be moving up a little more rapidly in the poles. he's done ok. but not doing that well in some of the early battleground
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states but ted cruz is making his move. i would wait to see because it's clear the base they're drawing from is ben carson who appears to be imploding. so a lot of the gains trump has made have been off ben carson. i would look at, is ted cruz gaining continually in iowa? and most importantly is he starting to assert some of -- real power in south carolina where trump has dominated. >> the next major event is tuesday's debate from las vegas. you can only imagine the first round of questions to donald trump. >> oh, it is going to be something. not that long ago we had the debate where my friend john was pill oried that for saying that donald trump was a cartoon candidate. now the comments are dark and divisive.
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now their style book allows them to call him a liar. so the gloves are off in terms of the press and trurm. we'll see if we have that same kind of sparg between the press and trump. my suspect he is going to attack the moderators. >> we will follow your work on line. thank you very much for being with us. >> great talking to you. >> campaigning in new hampshire yesterday, republican candidate jeb bush criticized donald trump's call to stop muslims from entering the u.s. jeb bush is joined at this event by tom ridge who endorsed his candidacy earlier this year.
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>> welcome. this is a conversation and we are thrilled to be here. i want to particularly thank bank of america and state work play for their sponsorship of this series of events. our goal is to have every candidate come and participate in this series. it's a great opportunity for you to meet candidates up close and personal. welcome. and i will hand it off. welcome, governor. >> good morning, everyone. or good afternoon at this point. thanks for being here today. i am kate, the president and ceo of stay work place new hampshire. i will give you a snapshot the idea behind this event. we're looking for an opportunity to get to know the presidential candidates differently than you might hear elsewhere. so we are looking for questions
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that promote conversation, questions that might be of particular interest to you folks. so we're aiming this at 20 and 30-something audience. the idea is to get to know someone as if they were hosting a party. what would they wear. we'll get into those questions another time. before we get started i want to ask our other moderator to introduce themselves but for today we have a hashtag if you are on facebook or twitter. life of the party nh. >> thanks. i'm chris. i live in nash with a. i lived up here for couple of years, worked at the chamber of commerce and then ran the chamber of commerce for the past nine years. i've been involved and sat on the board for a number of years. >> i'm carmen. i'm the director for the division of economic development for the state of new hampshire. up in the lakes region and proud board member.
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>> i'm mike president and ceo of the greater manchester chamber of commerce. also a board member with stay work play and a former board member of the young professional network and live here. i'm a graduate of the college. so we're glad to have you here. >> thank you. so we want to kick it off with a question about how you're doing how your campaign is doing and how you are doing as a candidate. because i think one of the thing that is observing the political race, observing this process is wondering how candidates can endure and what you do to keep yourself fresh. what's your process for recovering after those debates for just your travel schedule going to and from multiple events. i know you're flying out almost constantly. what's that like and how do you keep yourself moving? >> it's not much different than in terms of energy expended.
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my adult life. i've worked hard -- i got married when i was 21 and started working when i was 21 and never taken more than a week off. that sounds weird today. it's kind of who i am. i like working. whether it was being governor where i was all in, i just finished writing a book that was about my emails during my time. probably had a couple of million e-mails. but the e-mails i e-mails, the e-mails i responded to work easily 300, 400,000 -- 300,000, 400,000 such, some elect that. i get energy from working, so this is not different in that regard. what is different is i'm gone a lot, five or six days a week and soon probably even more. i miss my wife, i miss sleeping -- i bought a really cool bed. [laughter] it's really cool.
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it's a pretty expensive bed. >> nothing like your own bed. gov. bush: those are the simple things you urine for in this journey. i wake up each day excited about the journey i am on -- i am on. i was in this tiny little gem this morning and i did my hundred push-ups and -- hundred situps, excuse me. >> now you are just bragging. [laughter] gov. bush: i stay in shape, physically, i tried to read -- try to read. i'm curious intellectually. i don't push aside information i like it. if i see something interesting i will take the time to call people.
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one of the powers that anybody can use -- i learned the power to convene. people are honored that you ask for their advice. you should try it. read an article or someone in new hampshire that you think has an interesting point, call them and ask their advice -- their advice on something. there is a good chance they will take you up on it. >> a big a lot of the things you mentioned, we want to ask a little bit more about ended to know you. i wanted to mention that we have a few people with microphones and we want this to be interactive and informal, so if you have a question, raise your hand, i will recognize you. i want to start with kate who has a question to see us up -- tee us up. >> if you could invite the top
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40 young professional leaders from around the country to a party at the white house, what would that look like? what music when you play what would you serve for food? gov. bush: this reminds me of an event that took place at the governor's mansion what is it called, the bricks buyer -- the bricks meyer? the secretary decided we should take this test and about 50 of us took us -- to get together and she was the moderator. it turns out i'm an introvert and i'm of this end of that -- and a that. there were 40 extroverts in one room and about six of us and we were supposed to plan a party. >> just the introverts? gov. bush: each group planned their own party. we all decided we would read a book that week and have an interesting dinner conversation
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that would be over early. [laughter] the extroverts do not plan the party, they started one. they got into a conga line and came into our room to mock us. i would try to learn from the 40 most talented young professionals, rather than tell them whatever i was thinking. to be a good leader, i found you have to listen and learn first. it might actually have to be something serious, i apologize. >> more of a coffee than a party. [laughter] if you were to invite certain people to the party i will give you three did you can invite, two have to be important figures and they cannot be past presidents. -- to historical figures and one current celebrity that you would
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want to put into the mix. gov. bush: i would not invite down trump. -- donald trump. winston churchill was completely guy i most admire because of the range of his experience -- was probably the guy i most admire because of the range of his experience. he wrote prolifically, he was a wartime leader like no one else. he saved a country, he was phenomenal. he fought in wars, reported on them. he changed parties, he defied the conventional wisdom of his time. grabbing a brandy and a cigar listening to him, that would be well worth it. i would've loved to have met with neil armstrong. discovery of space is something that is deeply underestimated in
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terms of how uniquely american that experience it is -- that experience is in talking to someone who was the first to walk on the moon. he has left us, -- in terms of presidential leaders, there are a lot of we could learn from. the greatest president in my mind was abraham lincoln or washington. i'm related to franklin pierce, but he would not be on my list. [laughter] i think lincoln would be a phenomenal person to learn from. >> current celebrity? gov. bush: adam really believe in celebrities -- i don't really believe in celebrities. there are many actors -- there
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aren't many actors -- i got in a fight with matt damon over school choice. i would ever would rather be with people who have done things -- i would rather be with people who have done things. >> you majored in american studies in school. gov. bush: did you have a boyfriend like i had a girlfriend? >> now. gov. bush: that was my motivation. [laughter] >> i was curious how you are experience -- how your experience in college and of another culture shapes you -- shaped you. gov. bush: i went to mexico with
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eight or nine of my colleagues and we build a schoolhouse in a rural area. i met my wife at the very end of that time. i spoke spanish ok, people who say they are fluent who really aren't. i fell in love with her, 17 at the time and everything in my life can be defined before and after then. i took a semester off of school she got me going, i wanted to marry her on the spot. my interest in latin america was pensively driven by her -- principally driven by her. we lived in venezuela, and i live in miami which has one foot planted firmly in our country and one in latin america.
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i love the culture and i think it's important to be more tied to the region. my life experiences helped me along the way. you can't plan life. i think people your age spend too much time trying to plan it out. you should live with more spontaneity. >> you were talking about how that experience in your life has informed your views on immigration. could you talk about how it has informed your views and i think the question a lot of us are wondering given how this is such a hotly debated issue, what is the answer, how do we address this? gov. bush: what makes us an extraordinary and exceptional country is that our shared values define our national identity and it is -- and the citizenship -- and citizenship.
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in most countries, it is raise that defines it, the japanese are japanese, if you show up, it is very restrictive. we have an incredible culture and our strength has been that we embrace a set of values and it does not matter what we look like or where you are born or where you come from. we are losing that. the immigrant experience is part of our heritage and it has been a reason why i think we are the most read of country and innovative. we lose it because we don't control the border, we lose it because the rule of law does not to apply like it should. we lose it because we now have political leaders that like to divide us up. is there a set of common values that define american citizenship? we have to have a much stronger
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belief in our heritage and passed -- past. have you seen those shows were they stick up microphone up to someone in new york and asked them how many supreme court judges and what the branches of government are? going back to the basics, i think it would make immigration the catalyst for a lot of good things. if we don't have a set of shared values or comment identity about what our heritage is that people can buy into, it is a problem. right now it is being preyed upon in the political sphere. >> what role do you think the next president can play in doing that? gov. bush: fix the dam thing. taxes, regulation, health care we have to start things and immigration system is broken. the legal system is broken. we have families -- family
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petitioning being the driving factor in 95% of immigrants. we have adult siblings and adult parents on top of that, chain migration has taken effect. we crowd out other forms of immigrations of fixing that, fixing the border, dealing with the act that people extend their stay when they have a legal visa. we have to look at the threat of terrorism and deal with that. the visa waiver program for european countries, principally, and asian countries, it allows for expedited entry, but now we have citizens of europe that pledge their allegiance to islamic terrorism and we should not make it easy for them to come in, so we have to adjust our laws going forward. to protect our legal immigration system, we have to make sure that coming here legally is a lot easier than coming here
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illegally, and that is what has been missing the last few years. do what businesses do. you say here are the objectives here is the strategy, you make sure you convene and that people are on target. there is funding for border -- for border security, but we have to get it on the border. there is funding for gps technology and the drone technology that could help us. congress has funded the exit and entry art of biometrics to make it easier to track people are when they come here legally and overstay their visas. when he leadership to monitor it and make sure we are applying all the tools at our disposal to make it happen. >> let's get out of policy and back to you personally. gov. bush: just don't go boxers and briefs on me. [laughter]
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>> is a very thoughtful when you are a college student. gov. bush: i was not a thoughtful kid. >> i was a fan of the hardy boys books growing up, and i am curious what you read when you were a teenager and in college and beyond. gov. bush: the books that had the biggest impact on me were the books that my spanish teacher at andover required me to read. they were great works. i had to read cervantes. these extraordinary writers, and i did not think i could do it. i do not remember what the books were about. i remember doing it and remembering -- and thinking i was more capable than i thought i was -- i figured out how to do things and whether it was reading it cervantes book, like
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700 pages in spanish, when i finished it i said maybe i can do calculus. that kind of experience has had a lasting impact because i think everything we do, we should be raising expectations on ourselves and others, rather than lowering expectations to excuse. the books i read now are all over the map. i read mostly to learn. i'm reading the biography of my dad, surprise. [laughter] there are things i did not know. he had a diary and was pretty disciplined about writing in it. he had doubts about himself doubts about where he was in life that i never saw.
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i always saw him totally in charge, i idolized the guy. it was interesting insight. upset when he lost and happy when he won. it is strange, when you are the son of somebody, you don't get is insight. how he learned from his previous jobs that put him in good stead when he became president. >> thinking about your dad professionally and personally, because you know and like nobody else. gov. bush: apparently i did not. [laughter] >> will you want to emulate the most and what would you perhaps do very differently? gov. bush: i was in my mid-20's, married with two kids and working and -- you always try to , if you have a good relationship with your family, you try to be the man your dad was.
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that expression happens to a lot of us and i realized if i tried to achieve what i think that's what i thought my dad was, that i would get about 50% of the way there. i could either accept that as a traumatic experience and go to therapy and live a miserable life or i can accept being half the man my dad was and still live a life of purpose and meaning. i think he is the greatest man alive, so i think it's hard to emulate him because i think he is near perfect. you don't know him, i'm just telling you, he is decent. if i could be better in my life, it would be to always be kind and generous and decent to people, not just the big dogs, but everybody. he treats the person that is serving in a hotel the same way that someone is serving in the state.
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strength is not defined by the volume of your voice or the outrageous things you say, it is the fortitude and integrity that you show when people are not watching. i can't think of anything that i would not want to be like my dad. i can promise you that. >> i have another question, but i see we have a hand up in the audience. >> thanks for taking questions. right now if you are a federal contractor, you can lobby the government with running -- money you were paid by the government to do that job to get more money. i was wondering if you would support a requirement that federal contractors disclose all their political spending. gov. bush: there should be total transparency about lobbying. it should be posted on the internet, who you have seen,
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whether it's the top staffer or elected official within 24 hours and the money used to lobby and the money you used to provide support for campaign, it ought to become billy transparent. -- be completely transparent. >> another question over here. >> i want to ask your advice. gov. bush: oh. [laughter] >> you are very personable, you clearly know a lot of the issues and you have a lot of these areas. as we get to the issue from yesterday, i was impressed with the way the conversation went, how the way -- the way you work the crowd. at the end, two words came out gas and oil and it seemed like some of the air went out of the you room -- went out of the room. how will you use your personality and charm to get to those topics where you are not
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sort of fit into a divisive on why the economy is doing well or not doing well. i think your points were very well, but the concern is the topic of how you get over that? gov. bush: it is one of the great success stories of our economy and we need to be hitting it on all cylinders and make sure that we grow at a faster rate, rather than try to suppress the things that are our two -- two hours huge advantage. information technology is one of those. we lead the world in innovation and in those two sectors. we lead the world in drug discovery, but we are making it harder with increasing the cost of getting a drug to market and certainly the time and we create basic uncertainty across the spectrum of economic activity. i did not feel the room got away from me when i talked about the energy revolution in our midst. the next disruptive technologies are in someone's garage, not
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inside the department of energy. the world is going to be genetically different five or 10 years from now as it relates to energy. someone will figure out how to store nuclear waste and build a nuclear plant in a timeframe at a cost that allows it to be the best renewable source of energy in the world over the longest period of time. i'm not smart enough to know what the world holds, i just think you should create the freest environment so that whatever that is, it happens at the fastest pace. in my experience, getting the government involved slows things down. i appreciate the good words. here's the relevant on new hampshire, it is a place for you can complete a sentence in the english language and ask somebody what you think and they will tell you, and it's normally an interesting conversation. that is being lost in the way
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that some people campaign. you have maintained that transit -- that tradition and it is important that you sustain it. >> another question. >> something you said earlier about government slowing things down. we work with federal funding. not only does it make the projects more expensive, but it definitely slows them down, you have solutions for that -- do you have solutions for that? gov. bush: the timing of this is perfect because i think at noon, we unveiled a state rural official -- initiative that attorney general scott put up with me. people from outside of washington that create -- laid out a blueprint about how to ship -- shift power away from washington. we get money from washington and
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give it to states and you get your money through the state probably. we embed in that money, all sorts of rules that makes the point sort of obsolete, whether it is transportation money where costs -- if you did not have the federal rules as relates to how to build the role come -- how to build a road, you could say about 30%, you can accelerate the time to build by about 30%. to build infrastructure in the u.s. today takes a myriad of permit from the federal government and can take 10 years. we cannot build the interstate highway system anymore. wherever possible, assume that states and local governments actually care about the constituents and their mission maybe more than the federal government, rather than the opposite the minute you free up
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money and don't create a bunch of rules and just get the money to the state and allow them to decide what to do with it, somehow, the states all the interest of their constituents at heart and imagine what it could be if the money came and said it was a fixed amount rather than a growing amount but you did not have the rules you had to comply with and the forms you had to fill out, that is the goal of this federal state initiative. what we have proposed is creating block grants for medicaid, block grants for that money, which i think is what you are getting, lock grants for department of transportation and create a relatively fixed cost for the federal government in terms of the money coming down to eliminate the rules so you could actually do what everybody should have the chance to do in life, which is to answer the following question if we were not doing it this way, how would we do it?
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if you have the ability to answer that question and have the chance to start a new, think of how much innovation could take place. i think that is what we need to do. the government in washington operates as though it is 1975. >> and the time we have left, i know we want to jump around to some other issues. i want to ask one more policy issue and one that is tied to the news of the day with recent events. national security and foreign policy have taken center stage in this race. what do you -- is ice is the most serious international threat to the u.s. right now, or is there multiple layers of this that we need to consider? gov. bush: there is clearly more than one thread, we have the threat of nuclear proliferation. we don't talk about north korea people just joke because the guy wears funny clothes, but they are testing their capabilities
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and whether they have the ability today to strike the west coast or not is in question, but they might. that is a serious question. pakistan's ability if there is a regime change their, if they lose their stability, could be a challenge. the saudis and the persian gulf countries. iran as a threat. they were on the threshold -- isis and radical islamic terrorism has now emerged as the most immediate threat. all of these require american leadership. the lesson of history is that we cannot do this alone, we cannot be the world police. we have to do this, leading because no one else can in the free world. no one has the capabilities of the united states. if we do not accept that
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responsibility and opportunity we will have a void that is created in the void right now has at least 30,000 battle tested islamic terrorists that are organized to destroy our freedom. they see it is our weakness and they will attack it in every possible way. it is not a law enforcement exercise, it is a war on us. we have to recognize it for what it is. a new strategy is necessary to destroy isis, not to contain it, and that should be the highest priority. >> what case would you make that you are the person to be trusted to solve the problem? gov. bush: i laid out a comprehensive strategy to do it. i got to speak at the reagan library three months ago with a full-blown strategy before paris and a for san bernardino. this was a threat three months ago as it is today.
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part of being a leader is to anticipate what the challenges are and act on it. i was a governor and governors have to make tough decisions and in florida, we had a lot of them. this included being commander in chief of the florida national guard. i went to iraq and afghanistan. we came in with our guys, 14 to 15 hour days and 95 degree heat. these are police officers and firemen and pharmacists and accountants who did this because they love their country. i provided support for every one of those in every way possible. we honored the floridians that die in the line of duty. i think i have an understanding, just having a front row seat to watch other presidents, just unique circumstance that -- what
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it is to be commander-in-chief and what it is -- the seriousness of the job. it is serious. it is not a job that you can take lightly. the language of a president really matters. a political environment that is heated it is an advantage to recognize the constraints, you cannot talk trash. think about the problems the president has faced, the red line, that is a disaster and he talked off teleprompter. i'm sure that was not vetted by the national security office. rush it was a regional power 30 days later, ukraine was invaded by the russians. the -- the pivot to asia. grandiose language in a campaign
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or as president is something that does not help. a leader has to leave and be serious about doing it. i think i have those skills and experience to make me a commander-in-chief. >> we will switch gears. aside from wanting to be president, what is on your personal bucket list? gov. bush: when you have to introduce someone, you go to wikipedia, i do. there was a guy who did not know me trying to find something in common with jeb bush and i checked wikipedia and found he had a secret desire to be a hollywood actor and was an avid rock climber. apparently there is a game that goes on wikipedia the people who a lot of idle time playing a game with their friends to see what they can get into wikipedia
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sites and see how long they can stay. [laughter] >> is a great game, i am in the lead -- it is a great game, i am in the lead. gov. bush: i'm from miami, the largest mountain in miami is not trash more -- is mount trash more. i've seen almost everything around the world. i want to see my grandkids grow up. i love my grandchildren and it's the coolest thing to see them grow up. i can't wait for george's high school graduation. the things we all take for granted are becoming more and more powerful and meeting for me now that it's the second time around. it went so fast the first time around, but i think i missed some of the really cool parts. >> what is your everything to do
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with your grandchildren? gov. bush: i like sunday funday, i like cooking out on the grill and watching the kids play. i like hanging out with them and i see my kids every week, but every sunday i get to be with my grandkids and it is a great way to be centered, because they don't care how i'm doing in ila. -- in iowa. [laughter] >> you are looking to win the republican nomination and obviously the general election. in order to do so, you have to have a strong republican base behind you and then appeal to a lot of independents and democrats. you have to be able to identify with the republican voters and as a republican myself, i look at -- unconcerned that the party has been moving away from young voters, rather than helping to
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bring them into the fold. what do you think the party is doing well to attract young voters such as myself, and what we need to be doing better? gov. bush: i think the republican party is doing better in embracing mitigation technology -- communication technology that is so important for young people. we are catching up. i think our message is better when we are hopeful and optimistic and when we talk about the future, not how bad things are today, but how they can be made significantly better. we are on the verge of the greatest time to be alive, but we have these barriers that if we break through, we will see it. as such, we will be more optimistic. i think of people can play a constructive role in that. we have to recognize that the big element in the room -- the elephant in the room is the fact that we have not fixed the entitlement problems in our
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country. i find it remarkable that there is not enough anger amongst your generation. if we do nothing, you will not get anything. the power of compounding overwhelms how we fund anything. we will not have community development block grants, i can hear it to you that. our military will be gutted. the growth of medicare, medicaid, obamacare and social security, which is not an entitlement but a supplemental retirement system, the unfunded liabilities are in the tens of trillions of dollars. if we don't start fixing that now, it will be harder and harder to do it. that is the one way that we should be able to connect and say look, we will give you opportunity by fixing the sins of the past. i don't know if that will resonate among young people, but it should. without fixing that, you are left with a bill that is not
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going to be able to be paid. we are all in, we have 300 different college campus organizations. we have a yp effort that my sons are heading up and we are making steady progress across the board, politically but on the issue side, has to be focused on the economy and fixing the part of government that is complete broken. -- that is completely broken. >> we have one more question to wrap things up. >> today's theme was life of the party and you had a chance to address these people in the room. if you were to give a toast to these folks on the journey ahead for you and think they should be keeping in mind, what would you say? gov. bush: for them, it is to embrace the upper scene, be big and bold, don't go home, be alive because -- and don't worry about it being planned out.
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my toast is to embrace the end for scene because it is an extraordinary time to be your age. i would rather be your age than mine. [laughter] i get every -- everything up that i earned in my life experience and start over again as long as i could do it with my wife, this is the best time to be alive and my toast is that i hope you believe that because you can make it happen. >> on behalf of the panel, i want to thank you for being here, i want to thank bank of america for their support in making this program possible and the institute -- the new hampshire institute of politics and thank you, governor jeb bush for being here. [applause] gov. bush: off to new york. [laughter]
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thank you. good to see you. [laughter] >> i actually grew up on carson's beach. gov. bush: all winter? [inaudible]
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>> what is that what your thoughts in bringing back that spirit of effort and volunteerism and bringing a confidence back? gov. bush: one way to do it is to look at the -- i think that is one of the ways to do it, not necessarily commanding mandate public service, but make it easier for people to pursue their passion at a younger age. once you do it, it becomes a lifelong pursuit and the benefit is, once you get engaged to improving human condition or serving the military or doing whatever, like teach for america, you end up becoming a servant your entire life. the founder -- the founding of
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our country is based on this, we are a self-governing people. all the freedoms that we have are all free from government, we are predicting ourselves from an overreaching government and that works for we can govern ourselves and that only works when you have people that are actively involved in trying to improve the lives of others. >>'s or any kind of specific plan you will about their -- is there any kind of specific plan you would put out there? gov. bush: -- i have not had a chance to meet yet. thank you. >> i'm with an organization -- [inaudible] we are service nation, we are --
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gov. bush: if i'm president, i will be the tallest president in american history. [laughter]
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lincoln was happen and shorter than me. -- was half an inch shorter than me. >> have you gotten all your christmas shopping done yet? gov. bush: no. [laughter] >> that is what december 24 is for. gov. bush: i hate that. going to cvs or walgreens and buying gift cards. nice to meet you. >> thank you. >> we've been wearing that we've been waiting very patiently. gov. bush: you know who you are, right? >> yes. [laughter] gov. bush: estimate you.
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-- nice to meet you. we are running out of real people here. you are not a real person, i apologize, but you know that. [laughter] >> is to meet you, i am tommy -- nice to meet you, i am tommy. gov. bush: i still eu, timing -- tommy -- nice to meet you tommy. >> much more relatable than i thought. gov. bush: i'm sure that will make national news. [laughter] thank you.
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>> i hope people realize what you are trying to say. gov. bush: thank you. -- you can build factories today with 110 the workers that are extraordinarily efficient, but we are not generating the kind of jobs we need to generate. that is a secular trend that is getting worse.
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>> thank you very much. gov. bush: how are you? good to meet you. there are a few more real people behind -- behind the cameras. how are you doing? happy holidays, merry christmas. >>gov. bush: nice to meet you. what town was that? >> manchester. thank you. gov. bush: thank you. how are you doing? >> good luck to you. gov. bush: thank you.
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take care. wait a second. >> thank you. i'm with a second at a state workplan. gov. bush: what is that called? >> stay, work, play. gov. bush: oh i thought you said workplace. >> thank you. >> the israeli prime minister has come out and condemned the from, i was hoping your reaction. gov. bush: he is right, it is not going to have the security ty of israel or the united dates it pushes away allies that are
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necessary and essential to destroy isis and bring about security in the middle east. the is not a serious person, not a serious candidate. he is inflammatory and makes the path for next for the -- for the next president a lot harder. the israeli-palestinian conflict is not going to be solved until the palestinians themselves right guys israel's right to exist at age -- as a jewish state with a safe and secure border. until then, there is no need to begin the conversation. these comments also make it harder to destroy isis which is the war our time and islamic terrorism has to be gotten rid of for the world to get to other issues. the idea that you would push away potential allies because of our weakness and our desolation by this administration are not as interested in aligning with us, this makes that harder and
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send a signal to the world that we are not serious. it is basically barack obama the other version, which is to put people down and by the country. our country will not succeed unless we have a set of common purposes to be able to go forward. [inaudible] gov. bush: no more questions about donald trump. >> you've been thanking audiences for letting you complete sentences, is that kind of a nod in that direction? gov. bush: it is refreshing to have a conversation, rather than having 140 characters driving campaign. giving people the full measure of a person is part of that process which is why i like new hampshire. new hampshire takes its first in the nation primary status
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seriously. i don't think they will support a person who is not a serious candidate. it damages their brand. is not a serious candidate and he's had the chance to have a second act. he's a gifted politician. i'm not saying that as a compliment. he knows how to pray on people's for year -- people's fears. yes in the front running candidate for five months and has not said he could be president and would have to learn how are we going to create a strategy to unify the world against isis. he is not taking it to the next level. other candidates have and he has not. >> we have to go, take care. gov. bush: sure.
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he is back. >> joe is back. [inaudible] i wrote this book about veterans. one is running for governor of missouri as republican and the other is -- started a group that does disaster relief. i was a hillary town meeting and 25 questions, not a single one about security policy. does your questions about veterans -- two questions about veterans.
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[inaudible] gov. bush: there was a young man who is 20 years -- 22 years old just out of the marines. he graduated from high school and he was in. he is working for his dad in south boston. strong articulate, talked about homelessness and veterans homelessness and how we empower veterans -- how do we get veterans reconnected because he told the experience and this is such a true story, one of the
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things that happens is the dod does not tell the veterans administration or state governments or anybody when people are leaving. just as we do with prison reentry, six months prior, you start planning it out. when you are out, you get nothing. you don't assess whether challenges are or see what your skills are -- what their challenges are or see what their skills are. we need these entities where they can do this and they are accepted by most employers. you should be able to go in and say, take this test and here are what your skills are and here is the file in the military and pam, you get a job. [inaudible] >> they are also now into
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suicide prevention. one of the founders committed suicide. gov. bush: they had a telethon is that right? it was a concert in the mall in washington and they had great entertainers, but they highlighted -- [inaudible] gov. bush: a lot of the questions are really about the problems is not about how you maximize people's potential -- and not about how you maximize people's potential.
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[laughter] [inaudible] gov. bush: thank you. >> the party need somebody like him as opposed to donald trump. this is one of the few candidates, the only one i know of because of the variety of experience as an much water global view than anybody else. there is a difference between giving speeches and governing
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and that is important. i think what is most unique is he understands the world and has more credit than anybody else because he has seen it through the experience of his dad and his brother and his exposure to the world, as well as the challenges. >> are you will read it all but some of the more experienced "serious" candidates -- [inaudible] >> the only thing i'm worried about is making sure i can spend my time getting getting -- getting jeb bush nominated. we are now in the elimination phase, then we get to the
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selection phase. governor bush is in it for the long haul and because of who he is in what he has done, his global view, i think it is i are for solid, thoughtful leadership as we said before, as opposed to the loudness, decibel level does not mean strength. he saw his interaction with these young people. -- you saw his interaction with these young people. >> how important do you think new hampshire is in consolidating people around that? >> i've been up here many years with different candidates and every campaign, whether the patent and to the caucuses in iowa, there is so much energy,
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resources and time spent because the -- [inaudible] there are a lot of personalities involved, but this is a state where people start peeling back the layers of personality to see what is in someone's heart and head. i think it is a unique format and is why so many candidates spend so much time here. [inaudible] >> you don't think the voters are treating this as a joke, you think they're resonating. >> once you've met a voter for the sixth or seventh time, you feel like they got to know them. i think that is the beauty of these politics.
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town meetings, home offense -- home events. >> one quick national security question. donald trump is reportedly considering a mosque in israel. there has been a lot of attention over there, do you have any concerns that it might inflame the region? >> i think donald trump is about publicity, not about bringing a serious mindset or an inquiring had -- head to address the wide range of security challenges in this country. everybody will follow him if he goes, with their cameras and he will say something outrageous will follow that, then people will be distracted from the real business of selecting someone that has a broad worldview that does not have to hop one of lane in order to visit a site to get
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a better appreciation of a problem. it is more about theater and him than providing -- in my judgment -- a serious republican is not when to vote for him. i think demeans the process and i think he is an embarrassment to the party and to the country. >> how does your party to rid of him? -- get rid of him? >> time will tell, stay tuned. i feel strongly that his comments with regard to muslims and people try to spin it as us against them. the other person responsible for that is president obama. once you draw a redline and really mean it, then you can use
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it. we have billions of peace loving muslims around the world and this small group of radicals that wrap themselves in a perverted ideology. it is the president's job to tell us not to it -- he is the man that needs to make the distinction and distinguishing between all of those peaceloving muslims and intervening, raising their families and radical islam, but of course you cannot say that and he's unwilling to say that. >> thank you so much. >> today on c-span, washington journal is next, live with your phone calls and facebook comments. then live coverage of the house. thomas massie on friday deadline for passing a spending bill.
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we will talk to congresswoman robin kelly of illinois about the gun control debate following the san bernardino shootings. ♪ host: good morning. this is the "washington journal" for december 10. both house and senate legislators are expected to receive a briefing from james comey and others. syed farook, who was killed last week california, may have started planning for the attack as early as 2012. the use of attack helicopters may be some part of the u.s. strategy against isis. he also reiterated how a ground force comprised of u.s. troops is not in the best interest of the u.s.