tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 16, 2016 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
charleston, south carolina, my congressional district, murdered nine people, allowed one of them to live so she could tell the story. and two others played dead. the charleston 12. well, i'm hopeful the people of good will in this body would do something to close this loophole. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from louisiana, the majority whip, mr. scalise. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana, majority whip, is recognized for two minutes. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my friend, chairman mccaul, for bringing this package of bills to the house floor. and especially want to thank representatives fleischmann, katko, and loudermilk for their leadership in saying that we need to focus our efforts on the problem that we have gotten in country
and that is terrorists are radicalizing americans. time after time now we have seen more than a dozen terrorist attacks on american soil in the last seven years. unfortunately some people around this town want to take advantage of that as an opportunity to talk about gun control. taking away rights of law-abiding citizens, mr. speaker, instead of focusing on the problem. they don't just use guns. they use pressure cookers, they use pipe bombs, they use axes, the internet to recruit americans. and it's time we put a sharper focus on solving this problem and addressing the fact that americans are being radicalized and taking out, carrying out terrorist attacks here in the united states. it's going to continue until there is a sharper focus. this package of bills puts the focus where it needs to be. it's time for the president to join with us, to actually speak out in getting more tools to our
intelligence agencies to go and do a better job of rooting out the attacks that are here on our home front. this is no hypothetical. terrorism has come to the united states. and our hearts and prayers are with the victims of the attack in orlando as well as the attacks that we have seen all throughout this country and that no doubt are being planned right now against americans here on our home soil. it's time that we take action. i'm so glad that the house has already moved a package of bills. this package right here that we're passing today puts a sharper focus on the real problem and that is rooting out radicalization of americans on our home soil. let's stop the terrorism here. pass this bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i support the majority whip's position. we have already voted on
the bills. we already sent them over to the senate. it's just repackaging them again and sending them over again. they are in charge. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. thompson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. thompson: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, is this some kind of cruel joke? we have already passed these bills and we're bringing them up again today? just a few days ago we lost 49 innocent lives in the worse mass shooting our country has ever seen. sadly, this isn't an insulated case. in the three years since the tragedy at sandy hook, there have been over 1,100 mass shootings and more than 34,000 lives have been cut short by someone using a gun. what have we done? we have held 30 moments of silence since sandy hook, but we haven't taken a single vote on legislation that would help keep guns out of dangerous hands. that's shameful.
the american people deserve more than silence. the american people deserve a congress that's willing to stand up and do what it takes to help keep our communities safe. republican leaders claim that these bills brought before the house for consideration today are significant response to the worst mass shooting in u.s. history. they claim because this was an act of terrorism we don't need to take a vote on legislation to prevent gun violence. the fact of the matter is, this act of terrorism was an act of gun violence. over 100 people were shot. 49 shot dead. and today in america suspected terrorists can still legally buy guns. individuals on our f.b.i.'s terrorist watch list can walk into a gun store, pass a background check, and walk out with a gun or guns of their choosing. legally. since 2004, more than 2000
suspected terrorists were able to purchase guns. i think that's wrong. and so does the overwhelming majority of the american people. there's bipartisan legislation that would prohibit those on the terrorist watch list from being able to purchase firearms in our country. that's the bill we should be voting on today, not three bills that we have already voted an passed out of the house. if republicans agree that suspected terrorists shouldn't be able to buy guns, bring up that bill for a vote today. what is it that the majority is afraid of? is your fear greater than that of the fear of the people hiding for their lives in that nightclub in orlando? give us a vote. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. loudermilk. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for three minutes. mr. loudermilk: thank you,
mr. chairman. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, terrorism is no longer just a national issue as we deemed it after 9/11. the attacks of terrorism are affecting our local communities. we must address those that are perpetrating these attacks. not just simply go after the tools that they choose to use. the boston bombers chose to use a pressure cooker, a bomb. there have been attacks using knives. attacks using hatches. attacks using cars. it is the perpetrator of these acts of violence that we must address. yerl this year, the house passed a bill called the alert act, a bill that i authored that is amplifying local efforts to root out terrorism, which, by the way, removes bureaucratic barriers and paves the way for the federal government to enhance state and local law enforcement's involvement in fighting the war on terrorism. by providing the tools and training needed to combat
terrorism on multiple levels, the act provides for more efficient cooperation and coordination with state and local officials. today everyone has to play a part in protecting against terrorism from the neighbor next door to the local law enforcement officer. while no legislation in itself will end the threat of terrorism against our nation, we can bert utilize the valuable resources found right -- better utilize the valuable resources found right in our communities. in hopes of getting the alert act and two other key pieces of homeland security legislation to the president's desk, we have packaged them into one comprehensive bill entitled the counterterrorism radical slayings act. -- radicalization act. i appreciate the chairman's sponsorship in this important piece of legislation to help stop future attacks. as we're experiencing an increase of acts of terrorism by radical islamic terrorists, that directly threaten our own communities, we must re-evaluate how we combat these terrorists threats. this joint piece of legislation will better
secure america by helping local law enforcement combat terrorism, keeping terrorists from entering our boarders, stopping radicalization, and evaluating better security methods as we move forward. i also want to thank my colleagues, mr. katko and mr. fleischmann, for their hard work on advancing their bills. i appreciate their collateral effort as we strive to protect americans from violent terrorist attacks because threats against america are rapidly increasing, we can't affording to stagnant. we must act and act now. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from louisiana, mr. richmond. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for two minutes. thank you to the ranking member, mr. speaker, for allowing me some time today. let me just say that we
face a very serious problem in this contry. and when you -- country. and when you face a very serious problem it deserves a serious, thoughtful response that goes towards solving the problem. what do we have here today after 49 innocent lives were taken in orlando? when we had mass shootings in aurora and newtown and roseburg, san bernardino, and mass shootings that occur in urban communities far too often. so what do we do? we just heard it. we repackage bills that we passed on january 29, april 26, may 16 so that somebody could come up here today and say that we solved or attempted to solve a problem on june 16 by doing what we did the last couple of months. that's not leadership. and it's not a serious thoughtful solution to the
problems we have. we could be talking about debating and passing no fly, no buy. we could talk about and pass the charleston loophole. we could talk about high capacity magazines that allow one person to walk into a nightclub and mow down 49 people and injury another 53. there's no deer hunting, there's no legitimate purpose for a high capacity magazine other than to expeditiously take human life. if you're not at war, it has no place on the streets of america. and we can also talk about assault weapons. mr. chairman, and mr. ranking member, let me just say this. it's sad to say this response today is a responsible that -- response that lacks leadership. it's a response that does nothing new. and we passed this legislation with bipartisan
support. so i would just say that this is a very impotent response to a very serious problem so that we can repackage, rebrand, and mislead the american people by saying we did something when we did nothing. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. katko. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. katko: thank you, mr. chairman. our nation has experienced a trangdy for sure. this past weekend's terrorist attack in orlando is just the latest and increasingly long list of homegrown extremist attacks. our nation's not only grieving the loss of 49 innocent people, but is also facing the reality of having witnessed the most deadly terrorist attack in the u.s. since 9/11. i'm concerned about isis' persistence in inflicting arm to all those who disagree with their ideology. authorities are investigating over 800 isis-linked cases and have
iscovered 89 plots against the west, including 25 in the united states. the list is growing year after year. this body has been investigating radical extremism since i came to this chamber 18 months ago. i was fortunate and honored to lead a bipartisan task force in batting terrorists and foreign fighter travel -- combating terrorists and foreign fighter travel, which came to light in orlando, chattanooga, garland, and san bernardino. the nature of the task force shows a domestic radicalization has been on the rise. the issue is not a partisan issue. it's an american issue. omar martine's cowardly reactions are a reminder of the resilience of the enemy we face today. however, this chamber with the leadership of speaker ryan and chairman mccaul, has put forth solutions. the bill before us today encap sue late several ideas my pearce and i have worked on for months that outline ways to improve our
counterterrorism efforts here at home. included in this bill is a provision that authorizes the counterterrorism advisory board, which is modeled after a bill introduced earlier this year in congress, h.r. 4407. this section specifically codifies administrative body that won't great intelligence, operations, and policy components to our law enforcement and intelligence patters in can coordinate actions for effectively and expeditiously. in short, getting them talking together better, bet getting them to work better together. getting thome share information better. and getting better chances of stopping these acts from happening. this bill provide flexibility to ensure the continued ability to encounter tomorrow's threats. finally, the bill -- and end by thanking speaker ryan and chairman mccaul for their continued leadership. and my heart goes out to the families and victims of sunday's tragic attacks in orlando. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized.
mr. thompson: mr. speaker, we had a number of people talk about san bernardino. i now call upon the gentleman whose district was represented, san bernardino, where the shooting occurred, mr. aguilar. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for how many -- how much time? mr. thompson: two minutes, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. aguilar: thank you to the ranking member. thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise to speak on something that frankly i'm sick and tired of having to discuss. house republicans refusal to address our nation's gun violence epidemic. on december 2, i'll never forget how i felt as i walked off this house floor. i just voted to allow debate on keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, the no fly, no buy, which was blocked by house republicans when i received a barrage of text messages about what was
unfolding in my hometown of san bernardino. when i heard the news this weekend on sunday morning, my heart sank. again, this time orlando. this time. we cannot afford to stand in silence when people are being massacred in bars, when co-workers are being slaughtered at their holiday parties and when churchgoers are being murdered in their place of worship and when first graders are assassinated in classrooms. where do we draw the line? when will we say enough is enough? preventing domestic abusers, convicted felons and terrorists from obtaining guns will make our communities safer without infringing on responsible gun owners' rights to bear arms. there is no reason to believe that the second amendment and commonsense gun reform are mutually exclusive. thoughts and prayers are nice
but they don't stop suspected terrorists from getting a firearm. thoughts and prayers are nice but they don't perform comprehensive background checks on domestic abusers and those convicted felons who want to kill. thoughts and prayers are nice but they don't stop rounds of bullets from ripping out of an assault weapon and inflicting mass casualties on innocent americans. and thoughts and prayers should not be used as a replacement for taking meaningful action to make our communities safer. just hours ago we heard from senator murphy that the other chamber has reached a bipartisan agreement to allow votes on two important gun safety measures. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i yield an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will be recognized for an additional 30b seconds. mr. aguilar: i thank the gentleman. we just heard on those measures that they reached a bipartisan agreement to at least allow votes. when will this chamber do the same? when will we work to address
meaningful solutions rather than acting on recycled bills from months ago that do little to address the issue? i've said before that house republicans' most significant action to curb gun violence is to hold moments of silence and i was wrong. they have worked to prevent commonsense reform from even being discussed in this chamber. for that they should be ashamed. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to the gentleman from tennessee, in fleischmann. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee, in fleischmann, is recognized for three -- mr. fleischmann, is recognized for three minutes. mr. fleischmann: i rise in support of the countering terrorist radicalization act. mr. t to thank mr. mccaul, katko and mr. loudermilk for joining the legislation i promoted and we passed in this house by a large bipartisan
majority. mr. speaker, several weeks ago a strong bipartisan group of members passed my legislation, h.r. 4820, the combating terrorist recruitment act. it's hard to believe that almost a year has passed since the horrific shootings at two military installations in chattanooga, tennessee. my hometown and the town which i proudly represent those great people in the united states house of representatives. as many may remember, four marines and one sailor were killed in the attack while several others were wounded. just it this past december, following the f.b.i. investigation, director james comey concluded that the shootings, and i quote, were motivated by foreign terrorist organization propaganda. we've seen this pattern repeat in the evil attack in orlando as well as the attacks in san
bernardino, paris and brussels. we need to use every tool in our toolbox to combat, to combat islamic extremism. the combating terrorist recruitment act section of the bill implements one key recommendation made by the homeland security committee's bipartisan task force, specifically designed to counter terrorist and foreign fighter travel. while it doesn't forbid d.h.s. from countering all forms of extremism, the bill does provide examples of how d.h.s. can fulfill the requirement, such as countermessaging foreign terrorist organization who is are actively recruiting in our country at an alarming rate. this bipartisan legislation requires the secretary of homeland security to amplify testimonials of former extremists and those to fight the propaganda and recruitment
of terrorist groups like isis. foreign terrorists are using technology to radicalize americans at a troubling pace, and that continues to increase. we must combat this. more than 250 americans have traveled or attempted to travel to fight with jihadists in syria and iraq, and the f.b.i. states that there are open counterterrorism investigations in all 50 states. mostly isis related. many of these individuals were pulled in by terrorist propaganda. isis is luring americans with false promises that do not reflect the true reality on the ground in places like syria and iraq. the true reality centers on fear, suffering and the murders of innocent people throughout the region and around the world. several recent defectors from isis have admitted that joining the group was a terrible mistake. one young fighter said it was
-- found it very hard to live in the region and no longer believes the group represents the religion. i must state, we must do all we can to amplify the messages from these disillusioned terrorists. we're doing this with the state department. we need to pass this bundle of bills. we need to come together, mr. speaker, as americans to fight radical islamic terrorism now. the american people deserve no less. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you. mr. chairman, may i inquire as to how much time each side has remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi has 5 1/4 remaining. 5 1/4. mr. thompson: and the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas has five minutes remaining. mr. thompson: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i yield three minutes -- one minute to the minority leader,
ms. pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the minority leader, ms. pelosi, is recognized for one minute. ms. pelosi: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman from mississippi for yielding, and i thank him for his tremendous leadership to keep our homeland secure. i come to the floor, of course, in the deepest -- with the deepest sympathy for those lost in orlando and, of course, all of our prayers and thoughts are with them -- with their families. earlier this week we had a moment of silence. another moment of silence. silence which was followed by silence.silence, no action. today on this floor, we're taking up legislation which is the legislative equivalent of silence. we're putting some warmed over
souped bills that have passed this house combined in one bill once again to go forward. but we are not taking the action necessary, action that has bipartisan support overwhelmingly in the country and has sufficient support in this house to be passed. i beseech our republican colleagues, i beseech our republican colleagues to join us in the no fly, no buy legislation, which 87% of the public overwhelmingly republicans, independents, even n.r.a. members support. it has support in our country. it has understanding in our country. the only place, the only place that it runs into trouble is in the house of representatives. the senate has said now that they will promise a vote after
a substantial and most remarkable filibuster on the part of senator chris murphy all day yesterday and into the night. the american people saw what the challenge was about getting something done in congress, and he was promised a vote. i hope that we can have a vote in the house on two bills that are overwhelmingly supported by the public and have bipartisan support in the house. of course, the one, the no fly, no buy, that means if you are on the no-fly list, you cannot buy a gun. in addition to that, we have the bill that has by consensus been put together for sensible, reasonable background checks. that means no matter what the weapon is, unless you can pass a background check, you can't buy it, whether it's a pistol
or ak-47. shamefully, the assault weapon ban has expired. there are those in our midst who would like to remove the sunset from that bill, and that's another conversation. right now today we're asking for two things. one, no fly, no buy. two, that the king -- peter king of new york, mike thompson of california, republican and democratic co-sponsored bills, which would pass this house if iven a vote. the republican leadership on the part of the house tired have -- tired of doing moments of silence. i think it's appropriate to do that, but it's no substitute, it is no substitute for action. and we have to question the sincerity of it if we mourn and
don't act. we carry the names of these young people who were killed in orlando in our hearts. it's clearly a hate crime. it is the one place where we see very clearly where gun safety and homeland security come together. whatever the percentage of motivation was, terrorism and the other, hate crime on the part of the perpetrator doesn't matter. what matters is it was an assault on our homeland security and what matters is it was a hate crime motivated in this public where many lgbt community members were gathered. -- motivated in this pub where many lgbt community members were gathered. so let's lower the temperature on our interactions with each other. we've said over and over again,
here we go with another moment of silence. if we were real about it, if we were sincere about it, we would act upon it. long y all complicit as as we have moments of silence and no legislation. we are not a commemorative body. yes, we have our resolutions and we have our moments of silence. but we're a legislative body and we're supposed to provide solutions. we're supposed to work together as much as possible in a bipartisan way for those solutions. we're supposed to be a reflection and representative of the american people. the american people are so far ahead of us in terms of common sense. commonsense legislation, you are on the terrorist watch
list, -- on the no-fly list, no fly, no buy. and we want to have reasonable, commonsense background checks that has bipartisan support in the house. say it over and over again. we have said we are paris. we are orlando. but what are we? we are doing nothing. it would be the equivalent of someone who is very sick and the doctor says i'm going to get you a get well card but i'm not going to give you any antidote to the pain, to the problem that you have, and this is what we have become -- words, not deeds. words, not action. gospel of james -- i don't know if mr. clyburn spoke about the book of james. act deeds, not words.
we're not even words. we're silent. we're silent. i beseech my colleagues to listen to the american people. to understand the pain. and this happens so frequently. since orlando, 100 people have been shot in gun violence across our country. that was as of yesterday. maybe more by this morning. so it's not just about the mass murders as appalling as they are and how strongly they hit home, it's about what's happening on the streets of our ountry on a regular basis. as i say and i say this. i cannot see how with all the good intentions of silence and the rest of it that this congress can be a handmaiden of the national rifle association. and gun owners of america. we're here to represent the american people. we should be doing that.
this is heartbreaking. newtown was heartbreaking. columbine was heartbreaking. the reference our colleague made earlier to the assault on our military facilities, heartbreaking. assault on planned parenthood clinic is heartbreaking. not right. yes, this isn't how we debate, discuss, disagree, come to solutions. not with guns. we all respect the second amendment. we all respect the second amendment, the right to bear arms. but that doesn't mean in an unfettered way by people who have no business having them because of their orientation. let's have background checks to check that. and if we know so much more. we can work together on the fly, no buy in terms of how people are informed.
law enforcement is informed across the board. recannot go down a path that is -- we cannot go down a path that's been suggested by some. let's do that. take it to court. by the time you take it to court more people will a die just as mr. clyburn as you are observing june 17, one-year anniversary of the south carolina massacre. if you're not denied in three days, then you're cleared. when they had a technical error that cleared somebody who should not have been cleared. so let's make it right. but let's do something. let's act upon the values that we share to protect and defend the american people. that's our first responsibility. in terms of national security, in terms of homeland security, in terms of community and personal security. let's not use these bills that were taken -- that
we're taking up once again as an excuse, as if we did something. no, we didn't do anything more. we're just trying to make it look as if we did. and that's really incriminating on the congress of the united states. when we know what to do. we have bipartisan support to do t i beseech our colleagues to join together -- to do it. i beseech our colleagues to join together in a nonpartisan way, exercise common sense on behalf of the american people. again, we're orlando. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california, mrs. walters. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for two minutes. mrs. walters: mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of the countering terrorist radicalization act. as we mourn the deaths of the 49 americans and pray for a full recovery for the 53 who are injured in the terrorist attack in orlando, we know we must do more to combat radical
islamic extremism. the federal government's primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the american people. this means strengthening our response to isis and other terrorist organizations posed to our homeland. the house has passed several bills to combat radical islamic terrorism, prevent attacks, stop radicalization on our soil, and keep terrorists from entering america. each of the three bills included in this legislation has already passed the house with wide bipartisan support, but we must do everything we can to get them signed into law as soon as possible. i urge my colleagues to support the countering terrorist radicalization act. we must send this bill to the senate and on to the president for his signature. and this must be done immediately. this is essential to defeating isis and preventing radicalization here and at home. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore:
the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers. nd am prepared to close. if the gentleman from texas -- mr. mccaul: i have one additional speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi then will reserve the baffle his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized for how much time? mr. mccaul: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. herd. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. herd: thank you, mr. speaker. i spent most of my adult life chasing down terrorists. i gathered spence on their tactics and plans. mr. hurd: i now how they think, understand their motivations, and know what it takes to stop thefment our nation just experienced the worst terror attack on our homeland since 9/11. while we mourn for our loss, we must also determine to do what's necessary to keep isis and other terrorists from ever doing this again. let me first say that some
of the suggestions come interesting both sides of the aisle on how to stop terrorists are the wrong solutions. banning guns is not going to stop terrorists. banning muslims from entering our country not going to stop terrorists. so what will work to keep these murderers away from our shores? how do we keep terrorists off our country? how do we stop isis from radicalizing americans they have never met and thousands of milesway? the house has already taken several steps to do what's needed when we passed the alert act by my colleague, representative loudermilk of georgia. the combating terrorist recruiting rep from my colleague fromtown tfpblet and the one from my colleague john katko of new york. the house has led in counterterrorism efforts spearheaded by one of the most effective committees in the house, the committee on homeland security led by my colleague from texas chairman michael mccaul. i'm proud to serve on that committee. these three bills are today and ouse
chairman mccaul's counter terrorist radicalization act. these bills will ensure greater coordination between federal and local government agencies when it comes to seeing radicalization and stopping it before an attack happens. our first responders are the tip of the spear when it comes to attacks like orlando and san bernardino. we need to do more to ensure they have the intelligence necessary to detect and stop these kinds of attacks. these bills will require d.h.s. to use effective counter messaging tactics to help keep americans from falling prey to the propaganda spread by isis on social media. i have said it many times, i'm going to say it one more time. we get the right information to the right people at the right time, we'll keep terrorists off our shores and on the run. i speak from the experience of running successful counterterrorism operations during my time in the c.i.a. these bills are part of the solution to keeping terrorists from attacking the homeland. let's take the fight to them and i encourage my colleagues to vote for the passage of the counter terrorist radicalization act. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized to close debate for the
minority. mr. thompson: mr. speaker, i continue to reserve less the chairman is prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman from texas have any additional speakers? martin luther king mccaul:00 i have no other speakers. if the -- mr. mccaul: i have no other speakers. if the gentleman from miss mishas no other speakers, i'm prepared to close once the gentleman does. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, yesterday i co-hosted with the gentleman from arizona, mr. grijalva, a forum that takes expert testimony on the homeland security threat posed by armed militia and anti-government groups. we were forced to hold a forum because the chairman of our respective committees, homeland security and natural resources, have rebuffed our repeated requests for a hearing to examine the domestic terrorism.
the house republican leadership refused to acknowledge the threat of domestic terrorism echoed its willing -- unwillingness to take action to prevent further mass shootings. now, mr. speaker, as i have said before, while i generally do not object to h.r. 5471, and i will support its passage, it cannot be the sum total of what this congress is willing to do in response to the mass shootings in orlando, san bernardino, charleston, and the concerns of americans across the nation. we're tasked with identifying vulnerabilities. mr. speaker, a vulnerability in the minds of the public is if a person cannot buy a ticket to fly on a plane, but can go buy a gun, that is a vulnerability. the high capacity magazines that this individual in
orlando and in other places used, that's a vulnerability that this congress should address. background checks. the three-day requirement that if it's not completed you get approval to buy a gun. there are some things that take longer. a vulnerability that this congress should address. background checks. the three-day requirement that if it's not completed you get approval to buy a so the charleston loophole is applicable to what we're talking about, too. so for whatever reasons guns have been used from time to time to perpetrate terrorist activities. we harden cockpits on airplanes because people wanted to hijack airplanes. we baned -- banned box cutters from being on airplanes because they were used to hijack airplanes. so if terrorists are using guns to do harm to american citizens, these are terrorists who were born in the united states. they are american citizens.
so we have to do something about it. there's no problem with the three bills that were packaged here today. but i implore this body to look at the broader issue of domestic terrorism and let's get on with the business of addressing it. the moments of silence. all of us in our own respective ways, we care about the people. but after the moment of silence, after we get off our knees from praying, work re we going to and resolve the challenge? this do over package is going back to the senate again. it's already over there. so we'll go back. and we'll say to the republican leadership in the senate, your colleagues say do something. i say if democrats were in charge, mr. chairman, we'd do something. i yield back the balance of my time.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from mississippi yields back. the gentleman from texas is to close debate on this legislation. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i would -- what happened in orlando was a terrorist attack. an attack by isis in the homeland. the orlando shooter said as much in his 9-1-1 call. the islamic state took credit for it saying he was a soldier of the caliphate. what keeps me up at night? boston, chattanooga, san bernardino, and now orlando. all perpetrated, all perpetrated by islamist terrorists. we have to define the enemy to defeat it. that is a basic military strategy. the 9/11 commission, bipartisan, in its wisdom, so many years ago, said,
the enemy is not just terrorism some generic evil, this vagueness blurs the strategy, the catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. it is the threat posed by slamist terrorism. especially the al qaeda network, its affiliates, and ideology, the 9/11 commission, mr. speaker. not the republican party. the 9/11 commission. winston churchill didn't dance around the nazis and fascism. we defeated fascism by calling it what it was and going to war with it. president kennedy and president reagan didn't dance around communism. they defeated communism by defining the enemy. today the enemy in a
generational ideological struggle is radical islamist extremism. if this president, this administration will not recognize that, this body needs to. this congress understands what the threat is and when we define it, we >> the house went on to pass that counterterrorism bill in response to the orlando shooting. 15. vote 402- the house passed three bills not taken up by the senate. a photo. president obama and vice president biden laying flowers at a memorial for the victims of the mass shooting over the weekend. the president talked privately with victims' families and survivors. we will bring you the comments
from the president at 7:30. democratic presidential candidate, bernie sanders is speaking to supporters. we will have that live at 8:30 p.m. eastern. c.i.a. director brennan has concerns with isis in libya. he called it the most dangerous branch of the terror organization. director brennan appeared before the committee to testify. with it being a presidential election year, he outlined new threats that the president will need to address. this is an hour and 50 minutes. >> call this hearing to order.
i would like to welcome our witness today. john, you appropriately note in your opening statement that this hearing takes place against the backdrop of a heinous act of violence, perpetrated by a troubled and evil person sm the committee has been in contact with the f.b.i. from early morning hours on sunday and provided a great deal of information. bureaucracy i know that your -- senator: your partners are working to determine if the killer had any kecks to a group like rist isil. let me thank your officers for what they do and for the long hours that they are likely putting in to understand this
tragedy and focusing on a wide range of threats. direct tore, i know your organization understands the threats posed by isil and there has been much public discussion about progress, the u.s.-led coalition to contain isil. to degrade its finance and media operations and remove its fighters from the battlefield. however, while progress may have been made against those goals, you note in your statement that we have not reduced the capability and global reach. that assessment is significant. i want to take this moment to speak not only to you but also to the american people. we live in an open society, one hat values freedom and diversity. the islamic state is recruiting individuals by leveraging that freedom and taking advantage of misguided hate to attack us and
in doing so ks to divide us. isil's battlefield includes the united states and we can't stand by. we must take the fight to them. we must attack them where they raise money, where they plan, where they recruit and we must deny them a safe haven. we cannot negotiate with extremists who seek only to kill and i don't think we will. i'm not willing to accept the events of san bernandino and orlando as the new normal nor should anyone. we should be able to live securely in a free society and i think we will. we are not alone. our friends in europe and asia yeah and across the world should go to sporting events, concerts and dance clubs and experience life in safety. e will unite as a coalition.
but we can only do so with a realistic proactive, aggressive and well-defined strategy and frankly we have to own it and embrace it. now is not the time to pay lip service. the sooner -- the sooner we as a nation realize that there is only one path force to take at this juncture, the sooner we will destroy isil's capabilities and ensure the safety of our nation. i'm confident we will highlight during your testimony these and other threats to our nation. but before i turn to the vice chairman, i would ask you to relay something to your entire organization. our thanks and our appreciation for their work. your officers work in the shadows, often in dangerous
environments, day in and day out to keep us safe. their dedication to their fellow citizens should be commended and we are in debt for that service. mr. director, i thank you for being here today and i turn to the vice chairman. senator: thanks very much, mr. chairman. and i don't want to repeat what you said and you said it very well and i'm strongly in agreement with it. fine fine i would like -- senator: i think it's becoming apparent that the tragedy of the last weekend in orlando highlights one of the great difficulties this nation faces with the rise of the islamic state. this enemy is very different from past adverse sears like al qaeda, because isil not only seeks to control territory but is taking advantage of technology and social media to
recruit fighters and inspire terrorist attacks far from the battlefield. this trend concerns me greatly. according to the president and the f.b.i. director, the killer in orlando was inspired at a inimum, influenced by online terrorist material. similar online propaganda played important roles in the shootings in san bernandino, chattanooga, garland, texas as well as fort hood, texas and other attacks. director brennan, i hope you can assure the american people because this is an opportunity o do so that the c.i.a. is trying to understand how these organizations work and operate. i think such knowledge is essential to help policy makers
shape laws and counter their online efforts so we stop them from preying on at-risk individuals to conduct such heinous crimes. i would like to ask you update us on the extent and reach of isil and the implications for those of us here at home and for our friends and allies overseas. i think there has been some important progress lately and i think it's important to share that progress with the people. on tuesday, the president publicly listed some of the senior leaders of isil who have been killed and i think that's welcome news. secondly, we would like the assessment on whether the 13,000 coalition air strikes against isil have been effective and what sorts of targets have set back isil's efforts.
we know iraqi forces have surrounded fallujah and have begun to move in. the forces have liberated a town and broke the siege. isil has lost nearly half the populated territory it once controlled in iraq. isil continues to lose ground in syria as well. a coalition of local forces is now pressuring the key town, which will cut isil smuggling routes into turkey and put substantial pressure on the capital. in sum, i think it would be helpful for america to really understand whether the anti-isil coalition that the united states has put together is making progress. if so, how and where? and in addition to isil, i would be very interested in hearing
from you on other global threats to the united states and the challenges that you believe we face. in particular, i think all of us are concerned about the recent behavior of north korea, the aggressiveness of russia, china's actions in the south china sea and the instability in north africa in particular. i thank you, mr. chairman, for holdings this hearing and i look forward to the discussion. senator: thank you, vice chairman. mr. director, we are going to be joined by a lot of members as is evidenced but when they -- senator: speak for yourself. senator: they will be here quickly. we again thank you for being here and thank you for what the agency does day in and day out and the floor is now yours. director brennan: thank you for
inviting me to speak to you today in an open hearing about the central intelligence agency, an agency and work force that i'm proud to be proud of. i'm privileged every day to lead the many men and women of c.i.a. as they work around the clock and around the world to help keep our country strong and free. our hearing today takes place against the heinous act that was perpetrated against innocents until orlando. we join the family and friends in mourning the loss of their loved ones and we wish a speedy recovery. this will act of violence was an assault. in lot of the events in orlando, i would like to offer our assessment of the terrorist threat especially from the so-called islamic state of iraq.
the u.s.-led coalition has made important progress. the group appears to be a long way from realizing the visions of al baghdadi when he declared the cam fate. several notable indicators are trending. isil has lost large stretches of territory in syria and iraq. and it has struggled to replenish the ranks of its fighters because two foreign fighters are now able to travel to syria. a growing number of isil members use owned.isi will the anti-isil coalition is these.steps to exploit the coalition is removing leaders from the battlefield and
reducing its will to fight. last month, a us air strike killed an isil leader. leist i will is a resilient and cohesive enemy and we anticipate momentum. ill gain in the coming months they will obe weaknesses to harass the forces and conduct terror attacks against enemies inside iraq and syria. sil will rely more on guerilla tactics in syria and iraq. a steady stream of attacks demonstrates the group's ability to penetrate. beyond its losses on the battlefield, isil's finances are
taking a hit. they are trying to generate revenue. yet, isil is azapting to the coalition' efforts and continues to generate tens of millions of dollars primarily from taxation and from crude oil sales on the black and gray markets. unfortunately, despite all our progress on ice ill our efforts have not reduced the capability and globalt reach. the resources needed for terrorism are very modest and the group would have to suffer and r losses on military manpower. the group's foreign branches can help preserve its capacity regardless of events in iraq and syria. in fact, as the pressure mounts to sil, it will intensify
terrence. s global they have been working to inspire attacks against its foreign enemies resulting in hundreds of casualties. paris and brs else which were directed by isil's leadership. they are training and deploying further attacks. they have a large amount of terrorists. and the group is exploring a group of means including in refugee and routes and methods of travel. as we have seen in oral, san bernandino and elsewhere, isil attempting to inspire sympathizers who have no direct links to the group.
travel. a urge to at the same time, isil is cultivating its network of branches into a global organization. the branch in libya is the most developed and most dangerous. e assessed it is trying to influence numb africa in europe and asia yeah. it has established its terrorist group in all of egypt. the branch focuses its attacks egyptian and targeted townists as we saw with the downing of a egyptian jet. they have struggled to gain traction. in the afghanistan-pakistan branch has struggled to maintain
its cohesion in competition with the taliban. on the propaganda front, the trying to counter. pains an image to the world portraying the caliphate as a thriving state and expanding globally even as it see settlebacks. t is expanding its outreach in online and hard copy media. online it uses primarily twitter and tumblr. in sum, isil remains a formidable adversary but the united states and our tpwhrobal partners have succeeded in putting the group on the defensive, forcing it to devote more time and energy to control
the territory. though this will be a long and difficult fight there's broad agreement in the international community on the seriousness of the threat and on the need to meet it collectively and decisively. it also dominate misconversations with my intelligence and security counterparts globally worldwide. i frequently engage with them about what we need to do together in terms of information share, joint operational activity, and being able to complement our respective strength and capabilities to destroy isil thoroughly. as you well know, c.i.a. is not just a counterterrorism agency. we are a comprehensive service with a global charter. and we are called upon to address the full range of 21st century threats. as i often tell young officers at c.i.a., i have never seen a time when our country faced such a wide variety of threats to our national security. if you run your fingers along any portion of the map from asia to europe to north africa, you'll quickly find a flash
point. china is extending its military and taking over the south china sea. russia is reasserting itself on the global stage. then there's the cyber domain where states and other actors are threatening financial security and other sites. i particularly appreciate the work of this committee to address the cyberthreats we face as a nation. in the face of these many daunting challenges, our nation depends on c.i.a. and intelligence community partners to help keep our country strong and secure. indeed in today's volatile and complex world, policymakers depend on c.i.a. for intelligence and options. we must constantly adapt and inthe vate. that's why we announced a comprehensive effort last year to modernize the agency for the future. since launching our
modernization effort a few we have begun working on that we still have work to do. that's because modernization is about more than lines and boxes on an organizational chart, but about a mindset. to innovate constantly to keep up with an ever changing world. a key part of this is a commitment to making our work force as diverse as the world we cover. just last week, the office of the director of national intelligence issued a report showing that the intelligence community is significantly less diverse than the rest of the federal work force. there are reports of those in the intelligence -- this forces us in the intelligence community to face some truths about who we are and how we are performing our mission. c.i.a. recently unveiled a landmark effort to make sure that our backgrounds represent the nation we work so hard to defend. i truly believe that the business case for diversity is
as strong as the c.i.a. as it is for any other organization in the government. it not only gives us the cultural understanding we need to operate in any country in the world, it avoids groupthink that is inherent in intelligence work. i want to thank the c.i.a. and our partners and i look forward to addressing your questions. thank you. senator burr: thank you for that. you lead an organization with access to the entire world and a wide range of officers possessing a wide range of talents and skills. to the extent you can discuss in this setting, do you believe you
have the authorities you need to accomplish your mission? mr. brennan: i believe we have a great many authorities. the one area when i look to the future that concerns me is in that digital domain which is why directorate, th so we're able to understand the implications, vulnerabilities and opportunities that that digital domain represents. as i know this me and others here in the congress are grappling with the issue about the role of government in that digital domain, law enforcement, intelligence, and security organizations, i do wonder whether or not we as a government have the ability to be able to monitor that domain from the standpoint of identifying those threats to our national security that we need just the way we have within the physical domain, the maritime domain, the aviation domain, the
consensus about how the government has an obligation to protect its citizens in those various domains. the digital domain is a new domain. it is the new frontier. i do not believe our legal frameworks as well as our organizational structures and our capabilities are yet at the point of being able to deal with the challenges in the digital domain that we need to have in the future. so this is the one area that i encourage the committee, the congress, this administration, next administration, to continue to work on, particularly as this country is going to be part of the internet of things where virtually every type of electronic and mobile device is going to be connected to this internet. that interconnectedness gives us tremendous convenience in our live bus also creates inherent vulnerabilities that our adversaries, whether nation states or individual actor or group, will take advantage of. that's the area i'm concerned
about, the authority of the c.i.a., n.s.a. and f.b.i. needs to be looked at. senator burr: our hope is that we can continue to make progress in understanding what the structure should be in the future. you note in your opening statement that the c.i.a. is not just a counterterrorism agency but an intelligence service with a global charter. do you believe your organization focuses too much of its time and resources on the terrorist threat? mr. brennan: i think as this committee knows, the threat has loomed large since 9/11 and has presented a threat not just to our live bus to our beloved homeland, which is why the c.i.a. has been called upon to lead this fight and too defeat the terrorist organizations abroad so they cannot carry out their wanton, depraved act here's in our homeland. the c.i.a. has multiple mission
the clandestine collection mission, the all-source analytic mission, provide policymakers in congress with the insights they need. we have the counterintelligence mission to protect ourselveses from adversaries trying to steal our secrets. we also have a covert action mission which involves the paramilitary dimension and given our roots in the services in world war ii, since our birth in 1947, every administration has taken advantage of c.i.a.'s tremendous capabilities in that covert action paramilitary rem. and as we fight terrorism -- rem. and as we fight -- realm. and as we fight terrorism, i think c.i.a.'s capabilities in this area will be called upon in the future. i also would add one other component to those missions and that's on the liaison front. our partners. we need to make sure we develop the partner shipp we need to leverage the capabilities because as good as the c.i.a. is, we're not able to confront
all these angles globally. we need to develop the professionalism of other services and make sure they're able to fulfill their obligations of intelligence organizations and aren't subject to the whims of corrupt political masters who are going to try to use them for their own political agendas. as we develop these partner shipps, we're trying to develop their professionalism as well. senator burr: you've been at the help of the c.i.a. for three year -- at the helm of the c.i.a. for three years now. there's -- there's been a lot of changes in those three years. while this is not the venue to go into detail on sources and methods, it's a good opportunity for you to educate the people about the c.i.a. and humanize what is a very opaque organization, to most. how has your view of the c.i.a. as an organization changed in the last three years? mr. brennan: in your opening
remarks you talked about how c.i.a. officers work in the shadows and without the accolades they deserve. i first raised my hand and swore allegiance to this country in 1980 as a young c.i.a. officer. during those 25 years and subsequent years to include the last three years that i've had the pleasure to lead the c.i.a., i am always impressed with the expertise, the capabilities, the dedication of americans from every state in this union who come to c.i.a., recognizing that they're going to be maligned unfairly because of the misrepresentations of their work but they recognize that the work they do is absolutely esen torble keep their families, their neighbors, they friends, their fellow citizens safe. soy truly believe that the agency is core and essential to keeping this country safe and secure from the growing threats we face around the globe and
come bagging -- coming back to c.i.a. and being able to spend every day with c.i.a. officers, i am just amazed at what it is that they're willing to do on behalf of their country. i presided over annual memorial ceremony last month in c.i.a.'s lobby from front of our wall of honor where 117 stars grace that wall, representing c.i.a. men and women who have given their lives to this country. they do it, again, without eking praise, public acknowledgment, but at great sacrifice to themselves and their families. i am honored to be part of this organization. senator burr: thank you. senator feinstein: i hope to get in three questions, director. first, listening to your remarks, which i think were a lot of broad strokes and very interesting, i wanted to ask you
about a couple of things that you said. you said that libya is the most dangerous country and the sinai the most active. you mentioned military and governmental targets. could you explain a little bit more about that please? mr. brennan: i talked about libya as being the country where there's the most dangerous branch of isil outside of syria and iraq. they had several thousands of individuals who have pledged allegiance to isil. they now control a portion of the libyan coast around the city of sert. where they're able to train, develop, and to consolidate their position inside of libya as well as to use libya as the potential spring board for carrying out operations abroad. they've attracted a number of individuals from african countries, and i am concerned about the growth of libya as another area that could serve as a basis for isil to carry out
attacks inside of europe and in other locations. that is very concerning. particularly since libya is right across from europe and the mediterranean, refugees going there. there's a group within the sinai, isil, it used to be an egyptian terrorist group, which was basically con sumed by isil and that group pledged allegiance to isil system of they already had a capability they already had a number of individuals who were trained and were ready to carry out attacks. and we do attribute the downing of that russian airliner to this group that was able to get on board that aircraft an i.e.d. and to bring it down. so the great concern about how isil has been able to rapidly develop capabilities in other countries, in some areas they were able to co-opt and acquire groups that were already in existence, nigeria is another country where boko haram is now the islamic state of west
africa, where you have several thousands of individuals who are also on the march, waving the isil banner. i was just out in singapore last week, where i talked to my asian counterparts, concerned about what we might see in soviet asia as various touristing or -- terrorist organizations there are increasing their interaction with isil. the numb of isil fighters now exceeds what al qaeda had at its height. senator feinstein: can you estimate the number? mr. brennan: we think it's between 18,000 and 22,000 fight eric, down significantly from our estimates last year, where we stipted they might have had as many as 33,000 or so fighters. in libya, the numbers range from 5,000 to 8,000 or system of inside egypt, there are several hundred, if not over 1,000, hard core fighters inside of the
sinai that are a combination of individuals who were formerly of that group and others who have joined. in yemen, you have several hundred, in afghanistan and pakistan, it's in the hundreds. so the numbers are significant. in iraq, syria, libya, nigeria. you probably have maybe 7,000 oar so. again there are hard core fighters. there are adherents, there are logistics specialists, facilitators and others. but the numbers are significant. ms. feinstein: i want to get in one other thing. you said they proselytize by using twitter, telegram and tumblr, those are the most used. xplain a little bit, you see i fight this huge personal privacy that, you have to keep everything private. and yet when you have the
electronic world being used as the propaganda mechanism to fuel the lone wolf, to goad on the lone wolf, to -- i use the word inspire the lone wolf, for the united states that's a big security problem. what do you recommend from an intelligence point of view -- i know it's on the spot. but we're trying to discuss a bill on encryption, using court orders to ask companies to cooperate in cases of national security as well as major, major crime. and it's just very difficult. and yet we see this prop began dasm i read those magazines. i see what's happening. and the enormous frustration, it's not like you go to a library and find something in the stacks. this is a few clips.
clicks, and you pull up all this material. what do you think the responsibility of the technical sector should be? mr. brennan: i think you've put your i think if own two major issues here. one is that you're absolutely right, isil has made extensive and sophisticated use of the various technological innovations that we have witnessed other the past decade, taking full vng of social media. a large part of the isil cadre are young individuals who have grown up, whether it be in the middle east, new york, or other places in an era of great technological development. newsing -- using these mediums come naturally to them and they gravitate toward them. but they also are very aware of what mediums provide them the greatest security and the greatest protection from government insight and oversight
of that. and they recognize that a lot of these apps provide them the ability to communicate with encryption and also provide impediments to governments to be able to gain access to content of their information. so i will harken back to what i said earlier. i do believe that this committee and others need to continue to have the discussion that is going to be a national discussion about the appropriation role for the government in an area where the private sector owns and operates the worldwide internet. we know that the internet does not respect sovereign borders. it's not just a question of what the united states is able to do. it's what the standards are going to be across the globe. i do not believe that there is a national consensus right now, even within the congress or the executive branch, about what that appropriate role is for law enforcement, for intelligence agencies, in terms of being able to have the basis and the foundation to be able to protect
their fellow citizens from what can happen in that digital domain, whether it's with the propagation of propaganda that these organizations are involved in, or whether or not they're actually directing and training and inciting individuals, but also the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure as well as our way of life here to disabling and destructive mall wear that can be -- and malware that can be deployed by nation states that have the capability and intent is something we need to come to grips with. we don't want to mace the -- face toe equivalent of 9/11 in the cyber domain. it's an important and worthwhile debate and there are arguments on all sides about what the government's role should be but when i think about the government's inability to follow up on a court order and warrant that grants the government -- devicesome type of
that holds a lot of documents or information that could be inculpatory or exculpatory in an investigation as well as provide leads in the investigative attack, there's something the government has to come to grips with in terms of what is the authority, responsibility, and role of the government in making sure that this country is kept safe from those who want to do us harm using the digital omain. senator burr: senator koets. -- coats. i'd like to get an idea of the picture of, it's a mixed cocktail of opposition groups and other, if isil is
defeated, what are we facing, what are we continuing to face in syria, whether assad stays or goes? here's going to be significant questions raised as to what we're going to be facing. i think there's maybe some people coming to the conclusion that all we have to do is defeat isis in syria and in iraq and then everything will be fine. we know that they've metastasized to other nations but what is syria going to look like if and when that happens and what kind of challenges are we going to have? mr. brennan: you're right, senator, syria is a virulent cocktail of actors, many of which are in violent conflict with each other. there are two principal terrorist organizations operating inside syria.
one is isil, the other is al nusra, al qaeda in syria, that has a formidable presence throughout the country, several thousand fighters, some just engaged in the battlefield against president assad and come plotting to carry out terrorist attacks outside of syria. so what we want to do is destroy those two terrorist organizations. as you well know, the u.s. government supports the moderate syrian opposition, represented on the battlefield by the free syrian army. if we're able to eliminate those terrorist groups, there's still a long way to go to address the outstanding issues inside of syria. the syrian opposition was generally the -- was generated because of concerns the sunni majority had against the assad regime that was abusing its authorities and powers, so there needs to be some resolution of outstanding confessional tensions between shia and sunni. you have christians, jews and
others inside syria. this is where we believe that assad needs to depart the syrian political scene so there can be a more representative and accepted syrian government able to preside other the syrian country. in addition to that, you have tensions between the syrian kurds in the northern part of syria and the arabs in the rest of the country. so there is a lot of tension, it's very similar in some respects to that cocktail that exists within lebanon where the multiconfessional nature of the country has been a serious impediment for lebanon to have a functional political system. so we have a long way to go but the important thing is to destroy the terrorist organizations, bring the conflict down, stop the blood shed, bring in humanitarian assistance that the syrian people so richly deserve and need, and then be able to make sure we're able to develop a government structure that's going to be representative of the syrian people and be able to address the reconstruction of
the country which will cost billions upon billions of dollars. senator coats: given russian involvement and decisions they make about assad remaining or assad leave, how does that complicate the resolution for some kind of settlement, cease fire, or whatever? mr. brennan: russia brought its military force to bear last september in syria with aircraft, artillery, and personnel, as a way to prevent what they saw as an imminent collapse of the assad regime. they have both the regime forces and they are involved right now in carrying out strikes against the opposition. we worked very closely and talked with the russians about how to bring the conflict down. we worked with them to try to see what they can do on the counterterrorism front but i have been disappointed that the russians have not played a more
constructive role in terms of leveraging its influence inside of syria to bring the syrian regime and military forces down in terms of their engagement and to be more helpful as far as negotiating track. this problem of syria is not going to be resolved in the battlefield. it has to be resolved on the political front. secretary kerry has been working very hard and long to try to stimulate some traction there and the russians i believe can do more, both in term os they have restraint that they can put on the syrian forces but also more constructive engagement on the political front. senator coats: is assad stronger today or weaker today than we was he was a year ago? mr. brennan: a year ago he was on his back foot as the opposition forces were carrying out operations that really were degrading the syrian military. as a result of the russian military intervention, he is in a stronger position than he was in june of last year.
senator coats: does that enhance the ability to reach a diplomatic solution or lessen it? mr. brennan: again, it depends on how russia decides to use its influence. but right now the syrian military and russian unwillingness to use the leverage it has has made it more difficult. senator coats: sounds like the russians have put themselves in a position we hoped they never ould be. senator wise: just a comment on encryption since it's come up. if encryption is restricted in the united states it will still very easy to download encryption from hundreds of sources oversea senator wyden: in my judgment require -- overseas.
senator wyden: in my judgment requiring companies to build in back doors into their product will make it dangerous for american citizens and i want to make it clear i will fight such a policy with everything i have. with respect to my first question, i want to talk about accountability at the c.i.a. the agency's 2013 response to the very important report on torture stated that the agency agreed that there were, and i quote here, significant shortcomings in c.i.a.'s handling of accountability for problems in the conduct and management of c.i.a. activity. document goes on to state and i quote, the c.i.a. must ensure that accountability adequately extends to those responsible for any broader systemic or management failures. it has now been three years since the c.i.a. said that. is it still the case that no one
has been held accountable for the systemic failures that the agency has acknowledged? mr. brennan: i respectfully disagree with your opening comments. first of all, u.s. companies dominate the international market as far as encryption technologies that are available through these various apps. i think we'll continue to dominate them system of although you're right that the theoretical ability of foreign companies to be able to have those encryption capabilities will be available to others, i do believe that this country and this private sector is integral to addressing these issues and i encourage this committee to continue to work on it. the agency over the course of the last several years took actions to address the shortcomings that we have fully acknowledged in the detention interrogation program. there was individual accountability that was taken as well as accountability for some
of those management and systemic failures and we'd be happy to address in a different setting the details of those accountability steps that i think the committee is aware of. senator wyden: i want to make sure i heard that right, i believe you said that individuals have been held accountable for systemic failures. if that's the case, i certainly think that's constructive. i will say we will await your classified response so we have more details on that. but i heard you say there have been individual accountability and i'd like to see the details on that. mr. brennan: any systemic failure will be related to the individuals' failure to either provide the type of management and oversight or the performance. there's a combination of factors that -- senator wyden: were individuals held account snble mr. brennan: yes. senator wyden: i look forward to
getting that response, i think that's very important. let me wrap up with a question about an upcoming policy that we're all going to be tackling here on the committee. section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act is up for renewal. expiration next year. the office of the director of national intelligence has disclosed that under section 702, the c.i.a. routinely conducts warrantless searches for the emails and other communications of specific americans and the year before the c.i.a. conducted nearly 2,000 of these warrantless searches. in my judgment, if there's evidence that an american is involved with terrorism or espionage, the government ought to pursue that lead aggressively. agencies can get a warrant to read the person's emails, in an emergency situation. which i strongly back. they can even obtain the communications right away and get judicial review afterwards. my question is, if there was a rule that said the c.i.a. could
only search for americans' communication under section 702 of the justice department if the justice department has obtained a warrant with the exception for emergency situation or when a person is in danger, would the c.i.a. be able to comply with that rule? mr. brennan: i have to get back to you, that's a complicated issue, i don't want to give you an off the cuff response. i want to make sure you get the answer the question reserves. senator wyden: i would like that in writing. can we get that in two weeks. mr. brennan: we will do our best to do that. senator wyden: i appreciate the fact that in both areas you're going to get back to me and we'll look at what part of the response has to be classified, but both with respect to individual accountability on torture and this question on 02, i look forward to your response. mr. brennan: i think something you'd be appreciative of is the
agency appointed a privacy and civil liberties officer that is going to be fully involved in all the activities that the .i.a. is engaged in. senator wyden: has the person been appointed? mr. brennan: that person has been appointed and i think this is his second or third week. senator wyden: please ask that person to make an appointment with me at his earliest con convenience. >> rarely do we get to see in a public session like this, our military leaders, the director of national intelligence and others say over and over again that they feel we're facing more threats from more directions than ever before senator blunt:
do you -- than ever before. senator blunt: do you share that assessment? mr. brennan: i do. senator blunt: what has the c.i.a. done to keep up with more threats than ever before? mr. brennan: as i mentioned, we started this modernization effort to take advantage of the expertise. i am a strong proponent of integrating capabilities so we're not attacking these problems in individual streams. that's why we set up our mission centers where we have our regional and functional mission centers where we can bring to bear not just our clan december tine collection capabilities, but our open source capabilities and insights. our technical innovation. our ability to bring these different skill sets and expertise together because as you noted, i think the array of challenges we face, proliferation with north korea,
the cyberdomain, terrorism plaguing so many countries and that threatens us. instability that's wracking these countries. i have never in my 36 years of national security service seen a time when there's such a dizzying array of issues of national security consequence. i'm constantly going to the white house, participating in security meetings an other meetings to address these issues. that's why i want to make sure i take full advantage of the resources provided to our agency so we optimize the contributions of agency officers around the globe. senator blunt smk how much has all those threats from those directions, how much is that s to cated by what appear be a new addition of substantial self-radicalization in the country? mr. brennan: these so-called lone wolves, who appear to operate at the exhortation of
the organizations, it is an exceptionally challenging issue for the intelligence community and law enforcement to deal with. the tragic attack in orlando, we have not been able to uncover any direct link between that individual, mateen, and a foreign terrorist organization. but that inspiration can lead someone to embark on this path of destruction and start to acquire the capability, the expertise, maybe do the surveillance and carry out an attack without triggering any of those traditional signatures we might see as a foreign terrorist organization tries to deploy operatives here. so those individual actors, either acting alone or in concert with some cohorts, it presents a serious challenge. we're working closely with f.b.i., homeland security department and others to give them whatever intelligence we have that might help them identify some of these individuals. senator blunt: i think you've been asked this question already, but let me just say
again, we're eager to hear from you the kinds of things you need to better deal with this really ique and hard to penetrate self-radicalization because you don't have the other contacts that all your other sources may come across. let me ask one additional question about china and cyberattacks. last year the president announced a common understanding with china's leader shipp that neither country would conduct or knowingly support cyberenabled threat of intellectual property for commercial advantage. in your view, does that mean hat cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property by people from china has ended? mr. brennan: no. senator blunt: do you see any good faith effort on the part of the chinese government to crack down on this? mr. brennan: i see some effort
to follow through on commitments they've provided. there are a lot of entities, people, organizations inside of china. some of them operating as part of the chinese government, some working basically on contract. and so therefore we are exceptionally vigilant about all the different attack verdictors that individuals or countries could attempt to use in order to penetrate our systems and networks and databases, whether they be government systems or private sector to steal intellectual property. so i am -- continue to be concerned about the cybercapabilities that reside within china as well as the actions that some continue to undertake. senator blunt: thank you, irector, thank you chairman. senator burr: senator warner. senator warner: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. brennan, it's good to see
you again. i want to reiterate once again personal thanks for you and all the intelligence professionals who serve day in and day out without necessarily the reck necessary they deserve. senator blunt and i are leading efforts to recognize some of that service in terms of an o.s.s. congressional recognition. we do small things like the intelligence professionals days. but i'm blessed to have a lot of the intelligence community in virginia and i hope you'll relay to folks at the agency how grateful we are for what you do day in and day out, number one. number two i do want to raise some concern in terms of your response to senator wyden. i think the issue around digital security is one of the most complex i've ever been engaged with. encryption, just a small component part of that. i think public press has
indicated that the terrorists in belgian ed telegram, a encrypted technology, belgian company, 2,000 apps a day are addeded to the iphone store. half of those are foreign based entities. to renegotiate or relitigate the idea of whether encryption is here or not, encryption makes us safer. now we have legitimate challenges and issues on how we work through a way within our legal structure to get at information. i personally believe it would be -- make america less safe and do great economic as well as national security harm for us to litigate or to mandate in any way a solution that would simply push the bad guys onto foreign based hardware and software. and as complex as this issue is, it's going to only exponentially
get more complex as we move into the so-called internet of things, as we think about centers on -- sensors or refrigerators and cars. it came to my attention recently a lot of kids toys that are interactive, 6.4 million information of children were hacked into last year. this is only going to grow larger. my approach has been to put experts in the room beyond, frankly, the capability of some of our individual members to try to help guide us to a solution that chairman mccaul and i have approached that way. i still think it's the best, but the point being that this is an international problem. it's not a problem that can be solved by america only. it's going to require enormous collaboration and what i am so concerned about is that we are
-- this issue has perhaps disappeared from the newspapers on a daily basis. e can see some other using encrypted technology that would lead taos a quick solution set rather than a thoughtful solution set and getting this wrong would do enormous harm to our security and to our economic preeminence. i wanted -- economic pre-eminence. i wanted to raise one issue. some members and i had a trip recently, i think -- i don't want to speak for all the members but some concerns about the ability of our european allies in terms of information sharing. we obviously saw the horrific attack in brussels but as our nation grieved this week over the killings in orlando, there were, as you're well aware, the brutal attack on a french police
officer in front of a child, videoed, then exploited outrageously. post-belgian t on and now post this incident in france, growing collaboration and cooperation with europeans and in particular some concerns i have with our german allies? mr. brennan: thank you about the comment -- thank you for the comments about the nation's work force. i want to thank all the senators who visit agency centers overseas when you travel. it sends a strong message that they have the support of the authorizing committee here in the senate. we have engaged extensively with our european part for thes particularly since the paris and belgium attacks but we have had long-standing relations with them for many, many years. over the past two months, myself and others -- and other senior
leads of the intelligence community have traveled out to europe and we sat down with the thofedse internal and external services to talk about our experiences here in the united states since 9/11 in terms of how we have been able to bring together different capabilities, organizational structures, information sharing mechanisms, i.t. architectures in order to take advantage of that as it's available. as challenges of what's here in the united states, we are still one government and so we were able to operate within one legal system. the challenge for for europe, as you know, is there are 28 countries in the e.u. with 28 legal structures and within each of those they have sometimes several intelligence security services. they do not have the interconnectivity either from a mission and legal perspective or i.t. perspective. so we have talked to them about some mechanisms that we can use to better facilitate information sharing among them because that's the key, is being able to take information, data, and be able to operationalize it at a
border, security points or the cop on the streets to take action. so for example, we, c.i.a., we share counterterrorism information with what's called the counterterrorism group. the c.t.g. this falls within the e.u., has e.u. members as well as norway and switzerland. so that we're able to push out to those 30 countries simultaneously information related to terrorism so that they have the same information but they know that they can talk to one another about it. we talked to them about different mechanisms they could use to set up some type of system, whether e.u. based or other, but they have still a ways to go. they made some important progress. there are some of the countries in europe that are much better able to share information within their governments and systems, as well as across the borders. but this is something that the europeans are going to have to work on because it's not just a technical or i.t. solution.
it's also an issue of how they go in to protect the privacy of their individual citizens as they shir information. what is the threshold for putting an individual's name and biographic data into a database, putting them on a watch list. they are working through that and we're trying to provide as much assistance and support as e can. senator kaine: i appreciate the question and the answer because i think this is very important. it struck me when we were there that the political rivalries and ancient relation shipps between these countries would make it very difficult for them to exchange directly with one another. senator king: therefore some neutral europe-psks ol or c.t.g. has to be the answer. i encourage you to continue to encourage them because unless they get a handle on this, they're only going to be as strong as their weakest link,
particularly with a situation of open borders and not sharing. that's a disaster waiting to happen and in fact it has happened several times. you mentioned that you're a great believe for the integrating the c.i.a.'s capabilities and the reorganization. i support that concept but as you know i have concerns about possible lots of analytic integrity when you combine operations, put operations and analysis in the same box. could you update us on efforts to ensure the analytic integrity of the intelligence as part of this reorganization? mr. brennan: it's a legitimate concern, and one the agency has had to deal with over the course of many years. the counterterrorism intelligence center has its roots in the counterterrorism center where agentest and officers were co-mingled in the
same area. i headed up that back in the early 1990's. i was aware we needed to make sure we maintained objectivity and integrity. those safeguards and some of the techniques that we used to make sure that they maintain that objectivity and integrity is part of the instruction in our career analyst program, the cap training program that all analysts go throughful we also want too make sure we have the senior analysts and senior managers mindful about the responsibilities of analyst. the -- analysis drives a lot of covert actions, drives a lot of clandestine action. there needs to be separation in terms of the independence. i must say that the analysts i know are very, very -- they jealously guard that analytic integrity as well they should.
we want to make sure it's built into the system so there is an issue but i am -- i have been satisfied we've been able to maintain that objectivity and integrity while also getting the benefits of that co-location. nator king: how does the c.i.a. assess the iranians compliance with the agreement so far? mr. brennan: so far so good. senator king: another question, it seems we have to distinguish between effort and effectiveness. do you have a standard procedure that measures effectiveness of programs, after action review, assessments? we've got to understand what's working. my question is, is there some systematic way within the agency of assessing what is working and how it's working? mr. brennan: a number of ways. our inspector general has a
regular review of a number of programs to make sure they're consistent with the law but also inherent in those reviews are looking at how effective they've been. but in the area that usually generates the most concern and controversy which is in covert action, we have set up last year a new office called the covert action measures of effectiveness office. where we have senior officers working and reviewing all of those covert action programs to make sure we understand what the efficacy of the program, not just whether or not we have reached the milestones that have been established for these programs, but how effective and efficacious has it been in terms of realizing objectives that have been set out. so a number of ways that we have established these reviews and metrics, we'll be happy to provide you additional information on. senator king: one of my mottos in life is, does it work, and how do you know? finally, there hasn't been an i.g. at the c.i.a. for 17 months of so. why the delay?
is there a nomination forth coming? i think this is a very important, one of the most important positions in government, particularly in the intelligence agencies which don't have the oversight that other agencies do. when are we going to get an i.g. nomination? mr. brennan: the inspector general of the c.i.a. is one of three officers presidentially appointed and senate confirmed. therefore it's up to the president and white house. we've had an acting inch g., deputy who is presiding over that office. i'd like to think that i would be seen ases preyebt today if i were to -- pressure yent today if i were to say that's forthcoming soon. senator king: i hope you convey how important we believe that role is. mr. brennan: i will do my best. senator burr: senator cotton.
senator cotton: i apologize for not being here in person. in the senate egive lebt of day care, we did talk about having senator burr watch my son but we thought it might land both of us in trouble. i have been listening though. while our troops get recognition appropriately at ballgames or they walk through airports, obviously your officers do not and they deserve all the recognition that our troops get as well. i want to discuss cooperation with our intelligence community from silicon valley, specifically twitter and a company called dataminer. according to "the wall street journal," may 8, as well as some other media reports, dataminer,
which is owned in part by twitter and is the only company authorized to access the full realtime stream of public tweets that twitter has, recently cooperated with the c.i.a. but just a few weeks ago ended that cooperation. so our intelligence community no longer has access to dataminer's information. could you comment on these reports? mr. brennan: it appears as though dataminer was directed to not provide its service to c.i.a. intelligence community and so therefore we need to be able to leverage other capabilities snord to make sure that we have the insight we need to protect this country. senator cotton: so those reports are correct? mr. brennan: i'm not going to dispute them. senator cotton: "wall street
journal" also reported that the c.e.o. of twitter directed dataminer to stop because of the, quote, optics, end quote of helping intelligence agencies. do you believe that to be accurate? mr. brennan: eff i don't know what his motivation was but i have no reason to dispute it. senator cotton: among dataminer's customers remains arm today, a propaganda of pulte putin. to your knowledge are they a client of dataminer? mr. brennan: i believe so, i'm not certain, but i don't have any information that they've been excluded from their services. senator cotton: is it disappointing to you that an
american company would sell its services to russia today a propaganda arm of the russian government but not cooperate with the united states? mr. brennan: i'm disappointed that there's not more quo option quoppings. -- cooperation. senator cotton: the open skies treaty has become quote a critical component of russia's intelligence collection directed at the united states, do you agree with that state snment mr. brennan: admiral haney would be best able to make a public comment like that. i'd be happy to look into it and get back to you. senator cotton: he further said, the things that you can see, the amount of data you can collect, the things you can do with host processing allows russia in my opinion to get incredible
foundational intelligence on infrastructure basis ports so from my perspective, it gives them significant advantage. can russia use post processing analysis to enhance their open skies collection as general stewart suggested? mr. brennan: there have been tremendous technological advancements since open skies was established, therefore i'm sure that russia and others take advantage of those technological developments in order to advance their intelligence capabilities. senator cotton: do you believe these processes and procedures on digital images might allow russia to exceed the limits imposed by the open sky treaty? mr. brennan: i'd have to look into how those capabilities could be used. senator cotton: thank you. my time has expired, thank you for your appearance today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, director brennan. you talked a little bit in your
opening statement, you outlined the sort of disconnect between the real progress that has been made with isil in terms of kinetic progress, in terms of limiting their financial resources and the reality of inspired terrorist attacks that have global reach, including here in the homeland as we've een this week. what progress is being made in their ability to inspire terrorist acts through the traditional or digital media and how have we learned how to measure that progress? mr. brennan: what we're trying to do is go upstream and see who is responsible for spewing this information into the internet to inspire individuals to carry out these attacks. working with our military partners, we are trying to make sure that the appropriate actions are taken in syria and iraq where a lot of this
emanates from. in addition, we are trying to share information with as many global partners as possible so they can be attuned to individuals who may be involved in these activities because there's not just the updream activity but the downstream promulgation of this, but it also gets to issues that we were talking earlier about which is what is the government's role as far as being able to limit this type of material both in terms of what its legal authorities are as well as what its technical capabilities are to prevent this type of propagation of this poison coming out from them. >> do you feel you have good cooperation from our arab ally osen this front? mr. brennan: we have good cooperation from a numb of arab states and farther for thes we are working with in this area. >> you and the vice chair noted the inherent security challenge
of surveillance and the kind of work that you do in an age of ubiquitous encryption. one of the challenges is the encryption horse has left the barn. nothing we do at this point can take access to that away from enemies or isil. r anyone else. but if we're not careful about how we address the challenge, we can certainly mandate weakness into our own digital system. putting the personal financial records at risk. if we mandate a solution to a 21st century problem we could
see a number of real jobs those overseas to avoid solutions. it's clear to myself and a number of colleagues that we need to have continued conversations around this. they need to be technologically grounded. senator warner wrote and i co-sponsored a bill that seeks to set up a commission that would include perspectives from intelligence, law enforcement, and the business and technology communities. do you have a perspective on that legislation? mr. brennan: let me say that i strongly support encryption as a capability that protects our way of life, our prosperity, our national security. but at the same time, i fully agree with both you and senator wyden and others that we need to have the opportunity to deal with this new environment of the digital domain so that we
government can appropriately safeguard its interests, its citizens, its future. and that requires the experts to be able to get together, the legal, the technical, the practitioners to find some way that is not going to be perceived as a back door but going to allow the government to legitimately carry out its responsibilities while not compromising the great benefits that accrue to encryption. it is largely a private sector issue and there needs to be an understanding about the government about what our respective roles and responsibilities are going to be able to be to