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tv   Acting FBI Director Questioned on Meetings with President Budget Request  CSPAN  June 21, 2017 10:35pm-11:43pm EDT

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join the discussion. republicans unveil their health replacement measure and debate is expected to begin next week. they vote could come next week. on our radioverage app. the acting fbi director denied the claims that the fbi is under disarray because of james comey. he testified on the budget request for 2018. this is just over one hour. >> the committee will come to order.
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we are is indispensable to state and local law enforcement agencies. we're grateful that the fbi is leading the investigation into the wednesday morning shooting at the congressional baseball practice. we are deeply grateful for the work that your officers do every day and for looking into this terrible tragedy. we're very, very grateful for the work of courageous work of the capital police. the law enforcement officers of alexandria who saved a lot of lives that morning and for all the first responders who came out to help.
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our thoughts and prayers are with our whip majority whip steve scalise. zachary bart, pat micah, special agent david bailey and special agent crystal greiner. we pray for their quick recovery. the threats that face our country, director and the safety of all americans appear to be grow and range from terrorist groups such as al qaeda and isis, espionage, cybercrime, international organizations, who traffic in both humans and drugs and violent crime. particularly concerned about the terrible epidemic of human trafficking which unfortunately used texas interstate 10, has been a hub for far too much of that. there's too many young women whose lives have been destroyed in this terrible traffic. i look forward to visiting with you about what the fbi can do, is doing and what the subcommittee can do to help support your work to fight human trafficking and exploitation of young women. above all, the men and women of
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the fbi to know how immensely proud of this subcommittee is and the congress in their work and we will work together, mr. sharano and i, arm in arm to support you, to help you with the resources that you need to continue your important work to protect this great nation. we are however facing a difficult budget situation. mr. director, as unrelenting pressure to trim budgets, we have also to insure our constituents that their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent wisely and frugally and effectively. we're grateful to you, sir for your service to the nation and pleased to have you with us today. before we proceed i'd like to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, the gentleman from new york, mr. sharano. >> i would like to join you in welcoming acting director mccabe. this is a turbulent time for the federal bureau of investigation. for reasons not of the making, i think it is important, however that we take a moment today to thank the rank and file of the fbi for their hard work and
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service to our nation. please, mr. director, pass along our gratitude to the fbi agents and professional staff around the nation and abroad. as a career fbi employee, i'm glad that the acting director has a chance to testify before us this afternoon. i believe that your insights into the agency in the wake of the director comey's firing are vitally important in helping us to understand the impact of that action and subsequent statements by the president on agency morale. the fbi's fiscal year 2018 budget request includes a slight reduction of $had 44.6 billion from the amount in fy 2017. this is somewhat ironic, given the fact that a majority of the fbi budget falls under the
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defense spending side of the ledger, where the president has proposed a $54 billion increase. apparently none of that increase is for the fbi. given your important role in protecting our nation, this is very troubling. i'm also concerned that the justice department is in the process of giving less priority for critical civil rights, voting rights protections that have long been upheld by the department. the fbi plays a crucial role in investigating violations of our federal civil rights laws, including under the voting rights act, civil rights act, and the color of law violations. and it is important that your ability to maintain these important roles is maintained. i hope we can discuss your ongoing efforts today. in the context of the policy changes being put forward by the attorney general. additionally i'm interested in discussing your execution of the nits system, which conducts criminal background checks, and
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firearm purchases. you have requested 136 fewer personnel to conduct background checks in 2018. this is problematic. because this reduction will increase delays, allow more sales to go forward after three days. without the necessary check. and likely increase overtime when already-overworked staff. this proposed cut seems like an unwise decision. that will harm public safety. lastly, i think it is important to discuss the ongoing investigation into russia's interference in last year's election. i am curious about how your work in this area dovetails with the ongoing investigation by the special prosecutor. and whether any fbi personnel or resources have been detailed to director mueller. thank you for your service, sir. as acting director and in other
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parts of the department, i look forward to your testimony. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being with us today. >> sorry about that. is that better? again, thank you for your support to the men and women of the fbi. we could have all the money in the world, all the best technology, without the amazing people of the fbi we won't be able to keep the american people safe. i'm proud of these individuals and i'm grateful for their dedication and their hard work. we are all grateful for your
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continued support to our mission. as you know, the fbi is in a time of transition. and it has not been easy on any of us. director comey was a thoughtful and inspiring leader. he fostered a number of priorities to make the fbi better and stronger. improvements in the way we collect and use and share intelligence, our cyberprograms, to leadership and diversity issues. we're going to do our best to make sure we continue to make progress in all of those areas. the threats we face are constantly evolving. we, too, must continuously examine the way we can do business to insure that we are doing everything we can in the best way that we can. i firmly believe that the fbi maintains a sacred trust with the american people. to protect them and uphold the constitution. we do that with the precious resources that those people and this committee give us. so a fundamental element of that
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sacred trust is making sure that we are always good stewards of the taxpayers' money. we have tried to be good stewards of the funding provided and we've been conservative in our budget requests. we ask for what we need, and when we need extra in certain areas, we don't hesitate to tell you. yes i have a few of those extras to talk to you about today. the fbi's budget request this year proposes a total of $8.7 billion for salaries and expenses. this will support 33,533 positions. 12,484 of which are special agents. 2,950 of which are intelligence analysts, and 18,099 are professional staff. we need every single one of those people. they are the lifeblood of the fbi. they are over and beyond everything else, our best and most impactful resource. now to be clear, the fy 2018 budget represents a decrease of
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more than $400 million from the fy 2017 levels. this will result in a net reduction of over 1600 positions and more than $44 million for salaries and expenses. so let me shift briefly to program enhancements. i'd like to highlight a few of the things we've requested. first and foremost, in cyber. we've asked for $41.5 million to build on our cyber capabilities. these are investigative capabilities, collection capabilities and analytic capacity. the frequency and impact of cyber attacks on our networks has increased dramatically. we need to shift from a reacting after the fact, to preventing such attacks before they occur. we've got to collect the best intelligence and we have to share it with our partners, law enforcement and the private sector in real-time. and to do that we have to hire and develop the best cyber talent.
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in the counterintelligence area we're asking for $19.7 million to counter threats to foreign intelligence services. we will also use these resources to focus on insider threats. from trusted employees, and contractors. in the area that we refer to as going dark, we've asked for $21.6 million to address this problem. andky tell you, sir, this is more than just getting into locked devices or communications. which is certainly a part of the issue. but it's not the entirety of it. going dark is impacting our ability to execute lawful court orders on electronic devices across the spectrum. and that is a growing problem. of course we still have our priority of violent crime. violent crime remains one of our highest priorities for good reason and it is one of the things that challenges our partners at the state, local and tribal level every single day. we are asking for 33 positions at $3.4 million to implement recommendations from the attorney general's task force
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for crime reduction and public safety. in a surveillance area we've asked for an additional $8.2 million to sustain our surveillance capabilities. as you know, sir, that period of time within which a counterterrorism target proceeds from merely being radicalized to deciding to operationalize their intent has condensed over the last several years. and as when you're most concerned, with modalities that include vehicles and bladed weapons, some of which we've seen in fact earlier today in michigan, that will further compress that time that we refer to as from flash to bang. one of our best tools against that threat is lawful surveillance. and if you'll give me just a
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minute i'll talk about one of our highest legislative priorities for this year, truly our most important legislative priority, and that is the reauthorization of fisa section 702. as you know, section 702 gives us the authority to collect foreign intelligence from foreign persons. outside the reasonably believed to be outside the united states this intelligence is incredibly important to us. it's a tool the entire u.s. government benefits from and it's one that if we lose it, this country will be less safe. without it we don't have a window into the activities of the terrorists, spies, weapons police officer raters and other foreign adversary who is may be coming after us. we don't know what they're planning, we don't know what they're recruiting and we might not know what is coming our way. the program undergoes vigorous oversight from the legislative and judicial branches and that's the way we want it to be. we're asking for resources to disrupt transnational syndicates, the process for increased number of checks every year.
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enhancement center. we know that we can always count on the resources we need to keep the country safe and as i said, we're very grateful for that. in conclusion, our leadership has changed, the fundamental things about the fbi will not ever change. our commitment to keeping the american people safe, our fidelity to the constitution and the rule of law and our core values. of respect, passion, fairness, integrity, accountability, leadership and diversity, and of course, the adherence to the constitution. these are the values that have made the fbi what it is today. we will stay focused on the mission. keep doing great work with your support. as the american people deserve no less. with that i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you, director mccabe. your salaries and expenses request this year is $45 million below the enacted 2017 appropriation. although i know this is the result of the assumption that the omb made that we would be under a continuing resolution,
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which fortunately did not happen, it's, i don't want to get you crosswise with omb. about the request appears to leave the fbi with a hole to fill. and help us assist you with that. i want to ask you, how would this reduction affect the fbi's ability to address terrorism and home grown violent extremism? and how would it impact priority investigations? >> sure. so till certainly impact us in many ways. it is a broad and deep enough reduction that it will touch every program. it will touch headquarters and it will touch our field offices. it is a reduction that is not possible to take entirely against vacancies. it's a reduction that will touch every description of employee within the fbi.
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we will lose agent positions, we'll lose analyst positions and of course professional staff. as you know, sir, we went through a period of sequestration a few years ago where we reduced by 3,000 positions during the course of sequestration, it's taken us quite some time to hire our way back up to full strength. we're on target to be at very close to full strength by the end of this year. and the reductions that you've, that you've, that you've described will take us backwards a step. >> those recommendations, subcommittee will have to find a word on that you know how strongly we support your work and we'll do our very best to help you deal with that make sure you don't have any adverse impact. the fbi request of $8 million increase for surveillance of high-priority targets. why is that a priority? and how is the fbi meeting your current surveillance needs? >> as i said, sir, we are in good shape right now. that $8 million is all personnel funding. and it essentially enables us to protect about 78 positions that would likely have been added to the reductions that we have discussed. surveillance, the demands we've
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placed on our surveillance teams over the last several years have just been enormous, as the number of homegrown violent extremists, counterintelligence targets gross, the folks we need to keep a very close eye on, sometimes on a day-to-day, 24-hour basis, those resources become all the more important so a reduction in that area is particularly tough for us. >> as i mentioned in the opening statement, a real concern in the houston area, it affects the whole country but unfortunately because of itm and houston's location we have a terrible problem of young women being exploit and sold into slavery. catastrophic and heartbreaking situation. can you talk about the work the fbi is doing to help fight human trafficking? >> yes. so particularly down in the southwest border area where we have five field offices and 11 r.a.s that address border issues we've made a significant investment in terms of our city streets task forces, in terms of the work we do with our partners
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at dea, dhs, cvp, we find ourselves looking at the same transnational organized crime group, engaged in narcotics trafficking, engaged in human trafficking. it's the combined work that we do in the task force environment that lets us be as productive and effective as we possibly can be. we recognize it as a growing threat and an area we want to be focused closely and make sure we have the right folks doing that work. >> is the budget request satisfactory, mr. mccabe? what additional resources do you need to really be beat back this terrible epidemic? >> i think the best thing, the most valuable thing for us at this point, sir, would be to try to restore those reductions that we are likely to sustain. >> what are the main challenges, if the fbi is encountering regarding the supply chain, particularly with the concern we all have on back doors or trojan
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horses being built into hardware. >> an incredibly important area. we've tried to expand the outreach we're doing across the government and the private sector. we're in a unique position to see the threats coming in from the work we do on the counterintelligence side particularly. we've tried to spread that, spread that word to utilizing things like the best practices document that i know you're familiar with. to let folks know that these are the threats that they need to be aware of. particularly across the government as they acquire high-tech infrastructure for their systems. i think it's also important, it's been great to see in the last several months, the administration has a, a deep interest in addressing some of the things that we've seen from the sifius program. lot of areas we can be more effective in terms of monitoring foreign investment, particularly in our high-tech industries that will also help in that area.
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>> i'm concerned that the special counsel you've appointed to investigate the ties between russia and the administration. it's a counsel being provided with full access to all rear sources needed for the investigation in. >> he is. i can assure you i've had many interactions with the special counsel and his representatives. we are meeting in the next 24 hours to discuss exactly that. we have a great number of folks who have already been detailed to that team. and i have assured director mueller that we will do everything necessary to meet to deliver the resources and to meet the needs that he has to do that work. >> thank you for your answer. is the fbi continuing concurrently, with the special counsel investigation? or have all resources and necessary personnel been transferred to the director
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mueller's office? >> all the resources necessary to conduct the investigation that director mueller responsible for have been assigned to that effort under director mueller. it's important to note, though, sir, that the fbi continues to maintain responsibility for counterintelligence issues writ large against all of our foreign adversary, certainly including our russian adversaries, we still do work in the russia counterintelligence space. but we're careful to leave what is the special counsel's to the special counsel. >> to make the lead-in as short as possible for my question, director comey had felt uncomfortable, he said, and told general sessions about meeting with the president. so my questions to you is have you met with president trump? how many times and when were those meetings? who also attended those meetings? would you feel uncomfortable meeting alone with the president? >> i have met with president
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trump on very few occasions. and those have all been occasions when there were many other people present. i have not felt uncomfortable in those meetings. i'm sorry, what was the, the rest of your question? >> if you would feel uncomfortable meeting with the president alone. >> so as you know, we have a so the same time, i think that period that you referred to after 9/11, we were standing up really, our capability as an intelligence organization. and our response to a terrorism threat that really required its very quick and a broad and deep evolution in our approach to it.
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>> have you been asked for a loyalty oath? >> i will answer the second part. i took an oath to the united andes of america to protect defend the constitution. it is the only oath i will take. hadrding comments i have with the president, i don't think it would be appropriate. >> there is something that came up the other day. was chairman and i was a ranking member and he gave a lot of money to the fbi. a lot of money. years later, i asked you do. director -- director mueller.
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play on the terrorism part and give a pass to drug dealers? at that time, he said that they had been overemphasizing terrorism. , but are wearefully back to a situation where you drugsndle the guy selling in my community? >> so, i can answer your question by saying that i think we are in the right place with these diversions programs. this are no questions that criminal threat the devils the country and we will exercise constant vigilance against those
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threats and we are constantly reprioritizing our resources. could we do more with more? yes. we understand that the resources are finite. at the same time, i think what you referred to after 9/11, we were standing up our capability as an intelligence organization broadequired a quick and evolution in our approach to it. that we didrtable that work and we are in a different place than we were. >> rest assured that i will support the chairman in making sure that you continue to have the resources to be able to do both. they're both important. recognize the gentleman from kentucky.
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>> former chairman of this committee. which i thoroughly enjoyed. i want to talk to you briefly about transnational criminal organizations and the impact of those groups on the flood of flood of narcotics coming in our country by way of mexico, primarily. what can you tell bus what you're doing to try to disrupt those criminal organization ss and the finances that is generated thereby. to allow them to do bad criminal things. >> yes, sir. so we see it the same way that you do. we're looking at -- >> would you use the microphone there. >> is that better? >> i can't hear you. is it working?
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yeah? good. i'll try to speak a little louder. it's late in the day. maybe that's it. i'm a little hoarse so we see it the same way that you do. we think that's the place for fbi resources to focus. in this fight. there's a lot of work being done across the country. particularly by our state and local colleagues, the place where we can add the most value is by bringing our enterprise theory of investigation, to those sorts of transnational organized crime groups. we have done that by doubling the number of task forces that we have working that work. we have done that by bringing our white collar expert into this fight. by looking at the having agents specifically addressing the abuse of prescription opioids and how that leads to heroin abuse and the overdoses that are plaguing so many of our cities. we've done that by activating our legats in places like mexico city and other places on the other side of the border to help us, to better liaison and interact with our colleagues. where some of these groups are
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emanating from. >> well, it's not working. >> yes, sir. >> it's estimated that these illegal profits from transnational criminals is $322 billion a year. and growing. and we all know the narcotics problem is exploding. into the, in this country. practically all of which is coming to us through mexico. and including fentanyl from china is coming through the same gangs, in mexico. what can you tell us that would encourage us to believe that we're going to get control of this thing? >> sir, what i can tell you is this is a, this is a problem and an issue that we will not police our way out of. it's going to require a whole of government effort.
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i can tell you what the fbi has to contribute to that, and it is the investigative experience. it's the connections with foreign partners. and it's the ability to bring our federal law enforcement and state and local law enforcement together in that fight. there are border security issues, diplomatic issues and a lot tied up in that problem right now. that's how we see our part of it. >> well, you're correct. you're only a part of the solution. we've got the dea and state department and numerous other agencies that are working out pieces of the problem. but it is a bad problem. >> yes, sir. >> and it's eating this country alive. and we've got to redouble our efforts. switch briefly to another topic. and that is -- cyber. >> yes. >> crime. cyberattacks. according to cnbc, cyber crime
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costs the global economy $450 billion annually. and in 2016 over 2 billion personal records were stolen. over 100 million americans had their medical records stolen. five out of every six large american companies were targeted by cyberattackers in 2014. 40% increase over that year before. at the same time, 60% of all targeted attacks strike small and medium-sized businesses, which typically have fewer resources to invest in cybersecurity. an enormous problem. cybercrime in the public and private sectors continues to pose an enormous risk to our economy, not to mention our national security.
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forms, reports that cyber crime costs to the economy quadrupled. from 2013 to '15 and may again quadruple by '19. as the lead federal agency in this space. what are you doing to get in front of these threats? >> yes, sir. so it's a great question. cyber is the issue that challenges us the most deeply. it hits every program that we're in. and it changes every day. so cyber, as you know we are the lead for the threat. we have the lead designation for threat response. we are the folks that will go in. with our partners. to figure out who did it and where it came from. in order to do that, i need the right people for the right back grounds, the right talent and technology. to put on that problem set. and that's what we're doing right now. to insure that we have our folks have the tools they need, we're hiring the right people. we're able to keep them on board and on target. the second thing that we're
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focused on is taking those cyberinvestigative skills and those tools and that capability and making sure that we're pushing that out across our other operational programs. so i need my criminal investigators to be looking at social media. network analysis, understanding cyber threats, i need my ct folks to be doing the same thing and my ci folks as well. we're constantly rethinking how we approach the cyber target set. i think we have, we have a strategy that we've been deriving for the last year or so. we have the right people on it it's a threat that continues to change. we've got to stay agile to stay in front of it. >> nice to speak to you. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. acting director mccabe, i'm very concerned about the morale at the fbi in the wake of the proposed budget cuts and the disparaging comments made by president trump.
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in your opinion, was the fbi quote in disarray, end quote as the president claimed prior to firing director comey? if director comey had the support of fbi leadership and workforce prior to his dismissal? >> he did, ma'am. it is not my opinion that was the fbi was in a state of disarray. it was my opinion and has been my observation over the last several years that director comey enjoyed a deep and positive relationship with the men and women of the fbi. >> thank you. in june 2015, we saw the lethal consequences of incomplete background checks when critical information was not discovered within the three-day limit and a firearm was purchased by dylann roof. he later went on to kill nine people during a prayer service at the emmanuel african methodist episcopal church in charleston, south carolina. he should never have had that gun. your budget proposes reductions to the staffing for back ground
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checks at the fbi. and the bipartisan omnibus spending bill, we provided an increase in funding. part of which went to hiring 136 additional workers to conduct background checks. this budget would cut those additional staff. this is inconsistent with this administration's claims to prioritize violent crime reduction. how would this budget impact the ability to complete background checks within the three-day limit? does this jeopardize the ability of ncis, to confidently identify qualifying records? >> the short answer, ma'am, is yes. fewer people available to do the ncis checks will make the checks not done within the three-day
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requirement. the numbers for '18 are significantly behind where we were in '17. we are experiencing historic rises in the level of the number of checks every year. we have every reason to expect that that will continue so fewer resources will hurt our folks there. we try to cover the increases in work by extending large amounts of overtime and things of that nature. but it's not a sustainable way to keep the workforce on target. >> it's concerned me for quite a while and i would love your opinion as an experienced person of the fbi. what percentage of cases background checks, you wish you had more than three days, four days, five days, i've heard some experts say they would even include the number nine days. could you comment to us on this? >> ma'am, i don't know if i could give you that percentage right off the top of my head. but i certainly will take that back.
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and get back to you there are you know, it's just i think folks don't understand that the logistical challenge of corresponding with the many different jurisdictions we have to reach out to to confirm arrest histories and conviction histories and dispositions of criminal charges and things of that nature. and it just takes longer many times than three days to get responses on some of that work. so by definition some percentage of that work lapses past the three-day period and you know we'd be better off if we could get that done. 00:301 >> i appreciate that. and if could you get back to us, i think it's important when we're making policy to understand the hard work that the fbi does, and it was my understanding in a previous hearing, that in many cases three days just isn't adequate. so you're agreeing that three days may not be adequate and
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you'll get back to us, what percentage of the cases you need more time. and more staff to do the work. >> yes, ma'am. 00:331 >> the cuts aren't going to help us. when it comes to background checks. >> that's right. >> thank you mr. the individual's name stays in the system. if something pops up after you read the check and they have a problem, atf is directed to go after them and get the weapon, correct? >> they are, sir, i think it's 88 days, is that right? >> 88 days to continue to look at those files. that go past the three-day mark. if we get a response during that period. and the gun has been delivered. we have 88 days to recover the gun. >> we're all humans. judge carter? acting director mccabe. we're glad to have you here.
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homeland security has developed the southern border approach campaign, concentration resources on the transnational crimes along the border. in this request funding for hybrid squads to bring a threat-based domain due to these dynamic passed criminal enterprises. how do these squads operate? and are you working together with homeland security on this? and in addition, the border liaison officers along the border, what has been the most effective means to combat transnational criminal organizations on the border, and what can this committee do to help you on that issue? >> yes, sir. you know in that vein we've asked for $6.8 million in this budget, all repersonnel restored to do that work.
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the hybrid squads, i don't know that i can describe it much better than you already have. an ability to bring our intelligence folks together with our case officers, our special agents, and our task force partners. which is invariably include many different elements from the department of homeland security, state and local officers, all those for whom the criminal issues at the border have an impact on their communities, on the folks that they protect. the work we do in the counterterrorism area, we are stronger through partnership having the right folks in those places to link up with our partners and do that work. that's the way forward for us. so to have the people to do that is really the biggest way that you can help. and i cannot overstate the importance of having a robust
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well-trained stable population in our legat office, particularly in mexico city. you can't work transnational organized crime just from within the borders of the united states. you've got to be able to build relationships and work those issues with your partners overseas. >> i agree with that. i agree with my colleague quillar, on homeland security we need to push deeper and deeper from the border. so i agree with that. any resources -- your role is coordinating these groups. you all work together and you're the coordinating agent? >> that's right. it is and of course, we think that we're well positioned with the resources we have. which is why you know, cuts that will touch our field offices, our headquarters elements, in the way that the 1600 for 2018 are likely to do. that's where the things start to get tough for us.
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>> well let us know what you need. >> thank you, sir. >> ok. >> another issue that you mentioned in your opening statement, going dark. in this budget you've requested $21.6 million in funding for operational technology investments to counter what is called going dark, as i understand it, that encryption, dealing with encryptions. >> in large part, yes. >> i understand the fbi has limited access to 3,000 mobile devices linked to various crimes that you are unable to search, even though you have court-ordered legal authority to do so. could you elaborate on how the fbi plans to reduce these barriers, how these barriers affect your ability to conduct counterterrorism investigations? and how can this committee help you on that? and please tell me more about
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the 80 new positions you plan to create to combat going dark. on the going dark issue. these individuals specifically support intelligence analysis to combat the problem. yes, sir, they will. let me touch on the going dark issues to clarify some of the facts you've referred to. so far in fiscal '17 we have the approximately 7,000 devices with court authorization and the request most times of our partners to help them open up those devices that they need, primarily for their criminal cases, in cities and towns across this country. we are currently able to get into about 48% of those devices. so a little less than half. as incredibly effective encryption becomes more well known, easier to get and easier to use that number, that 48%, will continue to decline, that's probably the best example of that piece of the going dark problem. the resources that we've asked
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for will be folks that are specifically addressed who will specifically face those challenges. so we're talking about some special agents, we're talking about electronic engineers, we're talking about computer scientists and we're talking about what we refer to as carte agents, folks out in the field that have the ability, the toolgs and the training to try to get into those things and assist our partners on site. it is also go to help us maintain systems that we now depend upon to allow our investigators to conduct the work they need to do on the internet in a way that's not attributable to the fbi. because obviously we have to be, we have to be as good as our adversaries. we have to be on the dark web we have to be in all of those dark places where we're going to find the threats that face us. so -- going dark is a multifaceted problem. it's one that will call for kind of pretty tough choices across society in terms of balancing security and privacy. it will call for pretty
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substantial work i think ultimately here. from congress addressing some of the legal frameworks we have to work with. but day to day, it impacts my investigators and analysts in that way. >> it sounds like you have a real challenge. >> it is, sir. >> thank you, chairman and thanks for being with us and many thanks to the men and women who work for the bureau. >> thank you, sir. >> in recent months we've seen unprecedented rise in hate crimes. according to one report we saw 1800 hate crimes in the u.s. between november of last year and march of this year. i notice that the fbi budget request doesn't explicitly mention any additional funding on this front.
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i also would point out may, i received a letter from the department of justice, dating that the attorney generals directed the formation of a hate crimes subcommittee of the violent crimes task force to highlight the importance of these efforts. so my questions for you are one, what funds are or resources will the fbi allocate to combat the rise in hate crimes? does the fbi have a role in that hate crime subcommittee? and if you can give me any indication of the status of how the fbi is engaging with affected communities, that are dealing with this proliferation of hate crime. >> yeah. so our folks do enormous amount of work dealing with the communities that are touched by hate crimes. it is one of the requirements that i put on all of our special agents in charge. to build those sorts of relationships into the communities that are going to put us in a position to be able to help them. in many ways, but certainly in that one. hate crimes are, are a very big part of our civil rights
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approach. to include color of law issues, clinic access issues and you know many others, so it's a vital and ongoing effort that we remain completely committed to. with respect to the doj subcommittee that one i'll have it take you back to get you the exact details of our participation in it. i would expect we're playing a key role. but i'll have to get back to you with those details. >> if the civil rights division, is that what where the funds lie to address this issue? or? i notice there wasn't any sort of specific language on this in the budget request. i was curious. whether there's any funds specifically dedicated to combat this. 00:458 >> we don't, we don't rely on funding from the civil rights division, but obviously we work the cases with the civil rights division and the doj. our fund something part of our overall criminal program. and how we divide those, those funds up within the criminal program. assistant director, the criminal
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program is responsible for keeping that moving forward. and it's in the base resources request. >> ok. i want to follow up on the question from chairman rodgers, around cybersecurity. we certainly hear about that a bunch. congress passed the cybersecurity act in 2015 and you know, a big focus of that was on information-sharing between industry and law enforcement. i think one of the pieces of feedback that we get from industry large and small, the comment around small businesses i agree with. is a concern that that sometimes feels like more of a one-way street, where industry may feedback what they're doing, but don't necessarily get a lot back from the governm back from the government. i would love to get your sense of how you assess the progress of that law in bringing industry stakeholders to the table with information that could prevent cyber attacks from happening and then in the other direction, what's the fbi doing to strengthen the flow of information to industry stakeholders? 00:422 >> yeah. it's a great question, and it's one that we get very often, as well.
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i think in summary, i would say we are better than we've been, but we're clearly not good enough. we have all of the traditional challenges that we always face, and particularly when it comes to us from classified channels and it's hard and slow to call out which we can share to be effective and so often our sharing is not in the private sector and it moves at a much quicker pace and that's really where we need to work. i think the interactions that we have with the private sector are more productive today than they were two or three years ago, but we still have a long way to go. there are many reasons why our private sector partners don't wish to share with the fbi or anyone else for obvious economic productivity and reputational reasons, but it's been a slow chipping away at some of that resistance and also adapting our own approaches to be able to get on site, to help them handle a crisis or an issue in a way that's as discreet as we can possibly be.
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so i think those are the areas where we have a lot of work to do. >> chairman, i yield back. >> director, thank you for being here. i represent west virginia and like chairman rogers from an latchia, the epidemic has ravaged community. you raised a point about the southern border and you specifically talked about field offices, and i think you were sending the message that we have a footprint and with boots on the ground where it's most needed. 00:412 >> i think four, if i'm accurate, four of the overdose counties in the entire country are in my district. we don't have a field office of the fbi really down deep in the hardest-hit areas of west virginia and through a discussion with special agent john, i understand that there is at least some willingness and
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openness to look at putting a field office in the hardest-hit, impacted areas. can you update me on your assessment of that and is that a possibility because i certainly hope it will be. >> yes, sir, it is certainly a possibility and it is one that we are discussing actively right now. as you know, we formerly had not a field office, but an agency and it's a satellite of a field office and it's satellite out of the pittsburgh field office. we had one in your area, and we went through a process years ago and ended up folding that office. we are back in that process now, and we are actively discussing reopening that ra, and -- once we've made our decision and we communicate that to doj and we work with omb to get that done, and so i can assure you that we will continue to push, but we recognize the significant challenges that your constituents are facing with the opioid epidemic, and we also know there is no presence of other federal agencies and other federal law enforcement agencies in our area and we see that as a
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massive gap. >> i appreciate your interest and the sincerity to attack where it is happening in this tragic opioid epidemic as this ravaged our area. >> i was looking at your going dark testimony, and i was struck by the emphasis on talking about crimes and identities that lay behind our -- behind layers of anonymity relating to online pedophiles, and when i was a state legislator in west virginia, and this was the old days back when really facebook was the existence of social media, we had a sex offender registry like probably every other state, but i led the effort to actually require sex offenders once convicted to turn over to the registry their online screen names, passwords, et cetera, and our state database created a system where
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a parent empowered to try to go in and say here is a user name or a screen name that's communicating with my son or daughter to identify whether or not that was in the database. i'm all about trying to create tools whether it be the state level or federal level to empower parents to help protect their children. we are struggling in this world as you talk about online pedophiles. what at the fbi level, what sort of tools that you can talk about or are in place to take these even convicted sex offenders and make sure we empower parents and try to protect our kids? 00:529
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>> yes, sir. great question. i -- you know, that is a -- that is a threat and a space within which the threat operates that gets more challenging every day with the profusion of anonymity through -- through things like the onion router and the use of encryptic communications and all of the things that challenge us and it is one that impacts us so deeply not only as fbi agent, but as parents ourselves. so we remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can. unfortunately, that has required in the last several years a new, cutting-edge, technical approach to many of those problems. so it gets back to the same challenge that we have in the cyber area, in the ct area, and the cyber area and it's getting the right, talented, computer scientists, very highly skilled folks engageded in that fight and helping us get through the walls of anonymity so we can see who is on the other side interacting with our children in
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damaging ways. so we are absolutely committed to that work, but it's getting tougher and tougher as the ways in which people communicate over the internet become more -- more protected and more remote. >> i look forward to working with you in addition to the investigatory, identification work that you are engaged with. i'm looking for those tools to empower parents to also do what we can as engaged parents to try to help create a safe environment. we know it's a challenging world and we appreciate your commitment to it. yes, sir. >> thank you. >> please recognize the gentle lady from long island. >> thank you, director mccabe. on june 27th, 2016, the doj announced a new departmentwide agents and prosecutored learned how to recognize and address unconscious biases, and those subtle associations that some individuals might make between groups of people and stereotypes about certain groups.
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what is the status of these trainings at the fbi and what percentage of your agents have received these trainings and when can we expect these trainings to be completed? >> i would have to get back to you with the numbers on the xaj percentages and when those are completed. i know we've done a lot of work in the last year in getting that training out to our folks. i know it's been mandatory for all of our folks, and i know that there are executives because i attended it with the entire seventh-floor team a few months ago. so it is out and our folks are getting it and i'll just have to get back to you with the numbers. >> thank you. last september former director comey, while testifying in front of the house and the senate committed to the creation of a niegz nationwide database on police-involved shootings.
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he committed to seeing this project through for the length of his term as fbi director, and he stated that the database should be up and running in a year or two. what is the status of this database and when can we expect it to be up and running? >> so we have continued to do that work with the use of force task force and it is moving along well. we, in fact, just stood up the pilot of the database that you referred to just within the last few weeks, if i have that correct. so our commitment to that effort continues as does our commitment to the nabors incident-based reporting system. we across the law enforcement community need better data. i think most people recognize that now and it's challenging in terms of resources and commitment to get folks to sometimes to do the work that we need to get there, but we're committed to staying on that time line and having this done by 2021.
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>> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, miss ming. thank you for being here, mr. mccabe. i want to ask a question about the authority and independence of the fbi. >> yes, sir. >> i would be interested in your take on the matter. while the fbi operates as part of the justice department, of course, through the nature of its work it has historically been seen as relatively independent, the fbi director is also considered one of the most independent officials in the federal government, would you agree with that? >> yes, sir. >> mr. mccabe, several measures have
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been put in place to preserve the independence of the fbi including the ten-year term for the director. my first question is do you believe that maintaining a relatively independent fbi is important to the integrity of the work that you conduct? 00:529 >> yes, i do. the constitutional reality is if a government official is appointed within the executive branch. that official serves at the pleasure of the president, but unofficial norms emphasize that law enforcement should be politically neutral. what's your take on how you reconcile those two realities, director? >> well, i think we have a long history of pursuing our work and level of professionalism and then an independence from political influence.
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i have no reason to believe that that approach will discontinue. i believe, as you stated, it's vitally important to have a politically independent fbi, and i have no reason to believe that that won't be the case. are you aware if it's written down anywhere what the conditions would be under which the president would relief the fbi director of his or her duties before the ten-year term is up? >> i don't know where it's written down specifically, but my understanding is it's the president's privilege to relief any political appointee for when he chooses to do so. >> do you have a view about what conditions would be appropriate for the president to relief the fbi director before the ten years is up. 00:508 >> well, again, sir, i don't really have a view on that. i'm not going to weigh in on presidential privilege and how the president decides to remove his appointees. >> you look like a smart man. >> looks can be deceiving. >> i know the dedicated public servants in the fbi will
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continue to do their work regardless of political pressures and the turnover in the director position and whoever it happens to be in the white house, but i want to ask you how has the removal of james comey affected morale of the fbi if you can comment on that. as i said at the beginning of our hearing, director comey shared a great relationship with the men and women at the fbi. his removal took many, many people by surprise. it is a shock, and it is something we've all had to come to terms with. however, as the organization responsible for upholding the constitution and being dedicated to nothing other than the rule of law in protecting the american people, we understand the rules and how they work and we understand that it is the president's privilege to remove the fbi director and any appointee whenever he chooses to do so. he's chosen to do that. we know we are getting a new fbi director. it's been my challenge to keep folks focused on the mission during this time of transition and to prepare -- to prepare the ground for the new director whenever he or she gets there.
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>> other than morale, what other effects do you think that removal have had on the fbi to carry out its crucial functions. 000:56 >> the fbi continues to carry out its crucial functions and we will continue to get that work done. you have my word on that. 0001 >> i'll take it. 0002 >> thank you, director. >> thank you, mr. cartwright. they've called votes and there's been eight minutes left, i want to quickly ask you, director mccabe, the insider threats are very dangerous and leaks could be damaginging to this country
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as we saw with edward snowden, and i was pleased to see an nsa contract reality winner being prosecuted. would you speak to everyone in the federal government and tell everyone out there how serious of a crime is it if you leak information about an ongoing investigation and give us the assurance that the fbi will pursue every one of these lookers and seek their prosecution to the fullest of at the present time of the law. >> leaking classified information is a crime and we have the jurisdiction to investigate and i assure you we will do every single case rfred referred to by the department of justice. it is absolutely vital to the safe functioning and national security of this country to be able to handle classified information in the responsible manner and the way it was designed to be handled and when we have folks who are mishandling or leaking or sharing classified information, and we shall investigate those matters as we should be investigated. >> how many years in prison can people face? >> oh, that's a good one. well, it depends.
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most of the -- most of the cases either come down to mishandling cases or actual espionage cases. espionage, of course, can get you life in prison. mishandling cases, i'm not sure what the sentencing range is. i'll have to check that. >> it's a long time. >> more than you'd like. >> if i could enter this for the log and the record? >> it's taken troubling actions in the past few months, in my opinion, to undermine the civil rights responsibilities of the justice department. this includes consent decrees and limiting the priorities of the civil rights division. investigation any
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into this or voting rights compliance. -- compliance? >> we have not received any direction on that. compare to thes last five years. >> i have to take a look at those numbers and >> we sincerely appreciate your service to the country. to think you and all the men and women to the fbi for what you do to keep this nation safe. we work together to make sure you have the resources you need to continue to do your job. we thank you for being with us today. you for all of the support the committee has given us over the years and we look forward to working with you. >> thank you. this is adjourned. gavel bangs]
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>> thursday is survey of the bipartisan group of congressional members and current and foreign members. we will hear from homeland security secretary john kelly who is for his hip by the homeland committee. live at 9:00 a.m. eastern, online and streaming live on the free c-span radio app.
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senate republicans and felt their health care law thursday. debate expected to begin next week after the legislation is scored by the congressional budget office. the vote did come next week. watch live coverage of the senate health care debate on c-span two, c-span and our free c-span radio app. next, a look at the russia investigation with congressman steve cohen, a member of the judiciary committee. he talks about his call for in investigation into the financial charity.of eric trumps this is 25 minutes. >> congressman steve cohen back at our desk is it democrat from tennessee, a member of the judiciary committee. a formal probe of russian interference in the 2016 election. democrats on the committee want one in light of what has come out of the course of the investigation. what would be


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