tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 14, 2013 7:00am-9:01am EST
relief is going to the right individuals, that sort of thing, some of that is just necessary. but in terms of our data collection, which is i think the focus, if i understand it, of some of the sensitivity that we're supposedly collecting this mass amount of credit card informers or medical report gablg information. all of those efforts are done to monitor on an anonymous, de-identified basis. again, we're not interested in. it is not part of our effort to understand what an individual consumer is doing or somehow track or follow their practices. that's just not help vl for us. if we had, it would only complicate our efforts there. rather than just shooting in the dark, that's essentially what we're trying to do there. >> if you can supplement for the record, the complete lists in each category. just so we know that this is the
exhaustive list where personally identifiable information exists, i think that would be very helpful. >> i think we may have done that. but i'm happy to have my staff work with viewers or if there's questions for the record here to, again, always be as responsive as we can. >> thank you. >> senator, one more question? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i just want to follow up on the question that senator ritter just asked. let me tell youmy understanding is, director. there are approximately nine institutions required by the cfpb to submit invest on credit card transactions. we've estimated that that's about $900 million. i'm not asking you to confirm that number, unless you will, today, but as that data is clerkted, it is not amoanonymou not de-identified. it's the whole story.
that information is then transmitted to a third party who you have contracted with who then goes in and de-identifies it or makes it anonymous. and they create a personal identifier for each one of those accounts that is not -- it's a number. it's not the name of a person. am i correct so far? >> i believe that may be correct. but understand, nunl of that is new. if you're talking about arcas, which is a private firm that collects this information for credit card companies themselves and also has collected it for other regulators, again, the point is no investigation that arrives at our agency is permly identifiable. all of what happens before anything comes to our agency has been happening for quite some time. and we're simply contracting for the very same processes that
have been used again and again. >> i understand that. and, as i said earlier, when we talked about this. i'm quite concerned to find out that you're not the only ones doing this. but the fact that you are collecting the full data set, you are then having it deidentified. means that someone could duoin and then reidentify. and the question isn't so much about your motives, director. i fully trust your motives ch. s but as we recently saw, we don't always have that kind of absolutely airtight security and protection about the data. and, in fact, an agency director could someday decide that he or she wanted to use that data. that's why we wrote it into the statute. my concern is that even though
you have, and i appreciate it, contracted with argas, to deidentify this data, the fact is you have the data. or you've given it to argas and argas is your agent. >> the credit card companies have given it to argas. >> but they've given it under an order from the cfpb. >> i wachbt you to know you're right in your concern. we'll be glad to let them see everything they need to see in order to make an assessment of what they're doing. if i were the head of thiss agency, there is nothing stupider that i could do. that is the lags thing that i would ever want to do and any of
us working the agency would want to do. we need data information. in order to be able to keep up with and oversee and ensure compliance with the law base, some of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. we need data to be able to proceed in the area of public policy. as for knowing what any individual is doing, in terms of buying something at k-mart or going on line, i don't care in the least about that. what we're trying to do is identify the patterns of how institutions treat their consumers. >> again, as i said, i understand and appreciate and trust your motives. we've had experiences recently and other agencies where fe father or motheral abuses of
this kind of information were undertaken. as i see it, all is necessary. for this phenomenal amount of data to be made available is for someone to unlock the key that the third party contractor has put in place. that's the only barrier that i see. the data that we need and is now collected with enforcement power i see is different. i still agree that at least there are concerns with this happening in other contexts. but at least when the federal government steps in, with its ability and its force and authority of law, i think that elevates the concern. that's all. >> and, again, you're right to be concerned. you're right to point out that there have been problems and
issues in the government, really at all levels. i saw it in state government as well, at times. i don't want there to be concerns about this agency. we welcome the gao review. i want to make sure that you're satisfied. i want to be sas fied in these fronts. i share your concern. and i do think it would undermine the mission of our agency if we were seen to be and were cavalier about security or privacy and we ended up with one of the problems of the kind you'd describe. so everything you do to scrub us and to make sure that we're performing up to snuff in this area is what i want us to be doing, as well. so it feels to me that this is a moouch wall concern that we share. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank you for your testimony today. this hearing is adjourned.
[inaudible conversations] >> janet yellen, president obama's choice to replace ben bernanke as the head of the federal reserve, testifies at her confirmation hearing. you may see it live starting at 10 eastern on c-span3. >> homeland security secretary nominee jeh johnson took questions yesterday at his senate confirmation hearing. that's next. the senate is back in at 9:30 a.m. eastern and will continue work on the measure that will tighten federal oversight at compound pharmacies. live senate coverage here on c-span2. >> from a young age, she loved to write.
she would write a poem and illustrate it. we have two early examples when she was about 10 years old. in the fall of 1950, she entered "vogue"'s very well-known writing contest and one was a self-portrait and question three of you said, the first two should mention our the french poet and oscar wilde the author. in the early 1950s, jacqueline was hired as an inquiring camera girl. one column we have on display here is somewhat pathetic because she's introduced vice president nixon.
>> watched a program on first lady jacqueline kennedy at our website c-span.org/firstladies or see it as we can have a special time saturday at 10 p.m. eastern in sunday at noon on c-span. our series continues live monday as a look at first lady, lieber johnson. >> president obama's pick to head home and sector department to questions about his senate confirmation hearing. if confirmed, jeh johnson would replace janet napolitano who is now serving as the president of the california university system. senator tom carper of delaware chairs this two-hour hearing.
>> [inaudible conversations] >> come to order. bearing will come to order. thank you. before dr. coburn and i give our opening statements, i'm going to again, i want to welcome mr. johnson. i want to welcome his family and will have an opportunity to meet a couple of them, but you're all good to come. happy you're here. senator menendez will be joining us shortly but i think -- cory
booker is a new kid on the block. we will let him go first. we are happy you're here, literally and figuratively. welcome, thank you. have you done this before? is this the first time you've introduced a witness because it is my first time and it's appropriate i should introduce someone of such ex ord my caliber so i appreciate you giving me the opportunity endeavor to the senior center of new jersey, senator menendez, senator coburn, it's good senator menendez, senator coburn coburn, it's good to see as well and thank you for this opportunity. i'm thrilled today to have the chance to join senator menendez in introducing someone who i've known for quite some time who is well-known in the state of new jersey. and the opportunity to support the nomination of his fellow new jerseyan, jeh johnson as next secretary of the department of homeland security. but out of deference as they seem the senior senator from new jersey walk in, was instructed me to continue, so i shall do --
i shall do what i'm told. >> he's on our role. you don't want to stop them. welcome, senator menendez spent i know all the senators here have seen many of my letters urging the senate confirmation of jeh johnson. they were pinned not only by me but by many others, many of the most respected men and women in the military and intelligence community. i'm thrilled as a people like former chairman of the joint chiefs, mike mullen, former secretary of defense bob gates, and three previous dhs secretaries, tom ridge, michael chertoff and janet napolitano. those letters reflect the respect and admiration of people who worked long hours with jerry offered on difficult and very complex issues. -- with jerry. comes from america's police organizations. they say something really important about jeh. i may be new to the senate but
as mayor i know that there are difficult issues facing our country, and specifically, we have a nation that has been targeted by terrorist. the city of represent for seven years have some specific abilities targeted by terrorist. we are in a state that also has been hit by one of america's most costly natural disasters. and we have a region that remains eight keynote for immigration. i know vital important close would nation between federal, state and local agencies or. as a former mayor i can provide firsthand testimony to the strength of that coordination in recent years. we have made a lot of progress. i've spent time with jeh and i know this is something that he gets. the urgency from the importance, the critical nature of this coordination and these partnerships. he understands that the key community faith, the relationship between federal law enforcement and local cops, first responders and elected
officials is crucial. that's true for dhs's counterterrorism mission, where intelligence must be shared between cops on the beat and agencies of the federal and state level. it's true for enforcing our nation's immigration laws as well and is true for our role for preparing and responding to disasters. i witnessed that during hurricane sandy, during the response to the disaster. it was officially working together at every level to help to limit the loss of life and to begin the recovery process. there's still a long way to go. as i discussed last week with the administration officials, but with jeh at the helm of dhs, i am confident that new jersey and communities all over america will have another partner, and advocate here in washington. i'm proud to introduce jeh today, as you learn more about him, about his strengths, about his character, about his ability
to lead and about his love of country. he has a true commitment to keep american committees safe and strong. thank you. >> thank you very much, and one former mayor follows another. a lot of people know bob menendez -- that it would remember you as mayor. we are delighted you're here. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and to distinguished ranking member and distinguished members of the committee. i appreciate this opportunity. and to join senator booker in introducing a gentleman from montclair, new jersey, to be our next homeland secure secretary ickes a constituent, a friend, and the highly qualified former chief pentagon lawyer who in my view would be as effective in his new role as he has been in every role he has taken on in the past. mr. chairman, as a member of the house of representatives i sat
on the select committees that created the department of homeland security. i was the author on the house floor of implementing the 9/11 commissions recommendations in its totality. my memory is seared by the fact that the 700 new jerseyans who lost their life on that fateful september day. i know what this department means to our country, and i would not come before you to support a candidate even if he was from my state if i didn't think he had the intellect, the analytical ability, the management capacity to ultimately run the department that is so critical to the nation's security. that's what i strongly support jeh johnson for the position of secretary of homeland security. jeh has been an attorney at the defense department where he oversaw 10,000 lawyers, and all
case management that flowed from the. so we talk about organizational ability, he clearly has that any department as large and as diverse as the department of homeland security. is a former chief counsel as well for this air force, insisting yesterday for the southern district of new york. but beyond his extensive and impressive paper credentials he has taken on the difficult issues at critical times. he's earned the trust of everyone who knows him, worked with him, seen him in action. is intellect and his deep analytical thinking skills i think will be critical to a department as large, as complex, and as important as this. that's why secretary gates and panetta have been so supportive of his nomination, develop very close relationships within the role he played, and they came to rely upon his abilities. he's a leader who is not afraid,
and i know ranking member cares about this, not afraid to make his unvarnished opinions known and to make tough but intelligent decision. that is always exercise his best judgment. i have no doubt whatsoever you will do the same a significant homeland security. jeh has had a long and illustrious career in and out of government. i think he will bring a profound sense and sensibility about national security issues to the table. i think "the associated press" summed up the essence of his qualifications to lead the department of homeland security saying simply and clearly, jeh johnson has spent most of his career dealing with weighty national security issues as a top military lawyer. what better combination of qualifications, what better experience i would say for a potential secretary of homeland security. so i strongly support jeh as someone who would oversee the 240,000 employees who help this
nation secure itself from many threats that we face, and i'm very thankful to the committee for the opportunity to introduce jeh johnson, and i urge a unanimous vote for this confirmation. >> thank you very much for joining us. senator booker, you are welcome to stay for as long as your schedules permit. i know you've a lot going on and get other obligations so feel free to leave when you need to. today, we meet to consider the nomination of jeh johnson to serve as secretary of the department of homeland security. as we all know, the president has asked mr. johnson to take on a difficult and demanding job. the department is composed of 22 distinct agencies spread across various locations throughout the greater washington, d.c. area and, indeed, throughout the country. although progress has clearly been made in bringing these 22 agencies together, ten years after its creation, dhs still lacks cohesion and a strong sense of team. employee morale at dhs remains
perhaps the lowest among major federal agencies. moreover, the nation's fiscal challenges and the effects of sequestration mean that dhs will face even more obstacles that make working towards getting better results with fewer federal dollars even more important. all-in-all, even on a good day, serving as secretary of dhs is a really hard job. fortunately for mr. johnson, there are few better places to learn how to manage a complex national security bureaucracy than at the department of defense. mr. johnson has been confirmed by the senate twice before, once as the air force's top lawyer and once as the top lawyer for the entire department of defense. in part because of his experience in these positions and other demanding roles, mr. johnson is prepared to face the challenges that will await him if he is confirmed by the senate. for four years, he was a major player in running the defense
department. he provided key advice to two exceptional defense secretaries, bob gates and leon panetta, both of whom we know and respect, giving him invaluable experience for the huge task to which he has been nominated. mr. johnson has received high praise from many. our committee received a joint letter of recommendation from -- i think in the last day or so from the three men who have actually held this position before, tom ridge, judge chertoff and former governor napolitano. each of them touted mr. johnson as quote and eminently qualified nominee and urged the committee to quickly approve his nomination. here's what former defense secretary gates, a strong manager himself, said about mr. johnson and his time at dod, take my word for it. jeh has successfully managed an array of major initiatives across the biggest bureaucracy
in the government and, in so doing, won the esteem of virtually everyone with whom he worked. that's bobby gates' words. former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen has also expressed his deep confidence in the nominee, stating, jeh johnson is as fine a person and professional as i have ever met. i am confident in his choice and that he will succeed in leading this most complex organization at a critical time in our country. in a similar letter, former u.s. attorney general michael mukasey added, johnson will bring to dhs not only experience but also a frame of mind that should be a source of assurance to anyone concerned with the security of this country. he understands both the issues and the stakes, and will make an excellent secretary. mr. johnson has also received encouraging words of praise from fran townsend, the former homeland security advisor to president bush, as well as from former secretary of defense leon
panetta, general john allen, the former commander of us forces in afghanistan, and a number of law enforcement groups. mr. johnson, of course, will not be alone in this task of leading dhs. it is critically important that mr. johnson be allowed to surround himself with a capable leadership team. we can help. indeed, we need to. currently at dhs, there are 13 presidentially-appointed positions that are without a permanent replacement. of these, nine require senate confirmation. i call this executive branch swiss cheese. as we consider mr. johnson's nomination, we must remember that protecting the homeland is a team sport and those of us in the legislative branch are critical members of this important team. once mr. johnson is confirmed, we need to do our part to expeditiously vet and, hopefully, confirm his leadership team, as well. before i turn to dr. coburn for
his remarks, let me again offer to mr. johnson the same advice publicly that i shared with him when we met in my senate office recently. eagerly seek the counsel of former dhs secretaries ridge, chertoff and napolitano, as well as former deputy secretary lute , spent a lot of time with the comco of the government account of build the office, gene dodaro. they want you and the department to succeed. ask for their help and don't be shy about asking for their advice again and again. the same should hold true for reaching out to former dod secretaries gates and panetta. they hold you in very high esteem. they also know what you're up against. lean on them. their collective advice will prove invaluable to you as you take on the task that lies ahead in closing, let me reiterate my strong support of mr. johnson's
nomination and my appreciation for his willingness to serve the people of this country in this new role. i want to call on my colleagues both democrat and republican to join me in voting to confirm him as soon as possible. mr. johnson, if you are fortunate enough to be confirmed, i look forward to working with you in the coming months and years to better protect our homeland and its people. and i would you say to your family was gathered here today, your wife and her two children, sister or two, others in your family, but i suspect you'll probably acknowledge when you make your comment, just want to say especially to your immediate family, and to your parents, tell your parents especially thank you for raising this man, thank you for instilling the values we need in the leadership. and to his immediate family, wife and children, thank you for sharing with our country once again a very good man. dr. coburn. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman.
i have a rather lengthy opening statement and i apologize for that but i think it's necessary in this case. mr. johnson, welcome. we've had great visits. thank you for being here today. and i personally want to thank you for stepping forward to fill this position here i think is the most difficult position of all the cabinet secretaries. i don't think one comes anywhere close to it because of the difficulties but also because of the responsibilities. it's clear to me that you are an honorable man. all the people i've heard from also fo from my encounter entrae of your intelligence, it's far above my and most members of congress, which is exactly what we want. of appreciate your commitment to being transparent with us and working with our committee to address fiscal and structural issues that are facing the department of homeland security. and when you are unconfirmed, i'm not going to say if, i think you're going to be confirmed, i
sure hope we can work together through the upcoming years to fix the department of homeland security before it's broken. and to make our nation much more secure. some people may consider the nomination process a series of formalities, but it's important for us to understand the qualifications. i'm extremely disturbed by the responses to the questionnaire because the staff, the legislative staff or of the white house, has cut and pasted identical answers to 23 questions in your response. identical responses to that of other nominees. before this committee. so they are not your answers. they are their answers. and a shoddy work associated with that does not serve the committee will. i'd like to into these into the record and to show the duplication in exact words that
have been thrown before this committee before, and the whole purpose for questionnaire is are we to get your thoughts, not legislative assistant thoughts at home insecurity or somebody at omb's thoughts, but your thoughts. so until those are corrected and we actually have mr. johnson's response, i will not consider that his questioner has been completed. >> without objection. >> through that dozen serb mr. johnson welcome and that's one of the problems at home insecurity -- that doesn't serve mr. johnson well. i look forward to hearing those responses. and by hearing your own responses and use about the department, and you know there's nothing wrong with and i don't know, because we can't expect you to know everything now.
there's nothing wrong with that, and that's the kind of voting i want to start out with. we certainly don't know a lot of answers, and we couldn't expect you to know all the answers until you get into it. you stand to be the fourth secretary of the homeland security. the three previous were highly intelligent and dedicated public servants with significant experience. if we are here today i would expect they would be the first of the day did not adequately fix all the challenges that face the department of homeland security. through oversight workable this committee and others we have identified a series of problems now homeless couldn't programs that i would like to bring to your attention and ask that you focus on the fewer confirmed. we may not be right in our assessments, but as you and i spoken privately, it's important for you to get input from all sources. so i prepared a binder for you which i will give you today.
i don't expect you to read in the next week or two, but it's a different viewpoint from which are going to hear inside the organization. i can tell you for us to be successful in congress, in getting homeland security what it needs and the resources it needs, there has to be confidence in congress on a lot of these problems. but let me just highlight a few of them. establish the proper balance between freedom and security. that's a real issue at homeland security. the american people understand that we can't achieve 100% security without sacrificing some of the freedoms and constitutional rights. but our goal and our responsibility is to strike the right balance. dhs has committed to working in this privacy and civil liberties office, but our oversight work has found that it's often unable to do so. customs and border protection,
balanced 10 cutting edge drones before, as required by law, before putting those in the air they were supposed to do individual civil liberties protections and have a plan for those. none of that was done. it's still hasn't been done, and if it hasn't -- if it has been that it has not been communicated back to the committee. so that's a balance between law and responsibility that the department has failed on. evaluate whether dhs is spending on counterterrorism and intelligence programs is making us safer, under the program, another problem. we had a terrorist attack in 2001, everybody knows that led to the creation of the dhs. but after 10 years it's not clear that dhs is intelligence and counterterrorism initiatives are making this measurably
safer. the preparedness grants, the fusion centers are all areas that have highly questionable effectiveness in terms of preventing further terrorism. the third area is to prove to the american people that the department of homeland security can secure our borders and enforce our nation's immigration law. and i understand that one of your priorities, if confirmed, is to prepare dhs to handle its responsibility if comprehensive immigration reform were too desperate frankly the best way to do that would be to prove to the american people that dhs is capable in securing the border now and handling the responsibility that they have now, which they are not. over the past 10 years we've spent $90 billion on order security. yet we know that our southern border is not secure. and independent analysis from the council on foreign relations estimated the apprehension rate at the southern border was 40-70
-- 40-55% versus dhs's own numbers of 75-80. we know that millions of people are living here in violation of our immigration laws having overstayed their visas and some of those are in violation of our current criminal laws as well. yet dhs have done little to address that problem. practically we've heard from front-line personnel that dhs is not actively enforcing our immigration laws or deporting people who are known to be a risk to public safety right now. forth every, the department is to prove it can work with the private sector and provide value in addressing key threats like cybersecurity before expecting new responsibilities to i won't go into details of that and i will try to hurry, mr. chairman. the fifth harry that dhs does not manage major programs effectively, and there are many areas that we made inquiries on that and we've yet to get a
response. one of the things that encourages me in our conversation is the commitment that you will be responsive and transparent to us, and yet we have waited months and sometimes years as the committee of jurisdiction to get answers to our questions. the fema disaster deliberation process needs to be fixed to one of gary's we sing market improvement is in fema and i can -- i can graduate one of the areas we've seen marked improvement is the coast guard, which i congratulate the department on. to be clear, being secretary of the department of homeland security is one of the most challenging positions in our government, and i believe you will be confirmed. but my hope is that you will, in fact, renew your commitment to the committee and to me personally that you run a transparent shop, being responsive to us and our
concerns. not only giving us an opportunity to have education for me on what the facts really are, but also receive information in turn on what we are seeing in the respective areas across the country. there's too much at stake for us not to work together to fix the department of homeland security, as senator carper noted, more i'll is at the lowest level -- morale is at the lowest level of any of the department within the federal government. that's a function of leadership and i think you have those qualities to instill that to rebuild this organization and put in place where it needs to be. the american people are counting on us but they will be counting on you. anderson became much at stake for us to fail. i hope that you will earn a this committee's trust. you earned mine thus far, and i look forward to working with you in this very important job.
>> before, as we know on this think we work on the earlybird role. after the chair and ranking member have given statements, we turn to the witnesses to testify. and then we recognize that members in order as they come in to ask questions. and ms. mccaskill was the next one here, and senator tester, said heitkamp, senator mccain, others will come as well. i just want to say just a quick follow-up to tom's comment. we take susie opportunity to engage with you and really to understand you better as a human being. your priorities and really your values and how they were developed and your approach to developing -- managing a department like this. i just want to say thank you for your willingness to show for all of us on this committee. i just didn't you try to meet with senator paul and i think
senator portman, and have not been able to get on their schedules yet but i appreciate you trying and if you'll continue the. i'm sure you will. we also thank our bipartisan step you've been some two hours or more, meeting with them privately and answering i don't every question that you asked. and you state until the last man or woman standing and answered all the questions. some very well, maybe some not so well. we would expect you to know everything, that's for sure. we will have the opportunity to ask you questions and we'll stay here until basically we run out of questions, and i don't think it will take too long. but if you would, it's not uncommon, i think it over 100 questions you answered and a lot of those questions are multipart. some of those questions i don't expect you to be able to answer and it's not surprising you would rely on some extent the folks were at the department. their job is to help the nominee. i would ask you to go back to
the information, the questions dr. coburn will send you, go back through added, marked them up and returned and so we can move forward. senator mccaskill has to run. i'm going to ask my colleagues, just let it go out of order and if you would just go ahead. >> thank you so much but i really appreciated. i'll just take a minute. i have to leave, mr. junta, to go to the panel within the defense office that we appointed to look at the problem of sexual assault in the military and we they're having a technical question today of the complexities and the technical nature of the problem is one that i feel compelled to go over and address them on so i cannot stay for the duration of the question of you and your testimony. i just want to briefly put in the record the five areas that are subcommittee has worked on the most in terms of issues that homeland security. those will be ones that i hope to work with you to address continuing serious problems that
plague dhs. the first is rightsizing dhs and balancing the contractor and federal workforce. the ability of dhs to function as a single cohesive department. the role of dhs science and technology directorate, and whether or not it is a pastor or whether it is an effective organization based on what its mission was intended to be. the role of dhs and the procurement of violent terrorism countermeasures, and finally the inability of dhs to obtain a clean audit. those are five areas that we will continue to work on in our subcommittee and continue to work with your agency to see if we can't do much better. there's a lot of room for improvement. i think we are thrilled you're willing to continue to serve your government. you have done so in an honorable and competent, in fact stellar fashion for many years. i also want to thank your family
for making the sacrifices necessary for you to lead this important agency at a look forward to working with you after confirmation. >> thanks for joining us. my thanks to our colleagues for indulging her in those remarks. i think the next thing i want to do is to introduce our witness, just take a minute or two but i mentioned in my opening statements mr. johnson has been confirmed not once but twice before. and october 1990 and the clinton administration he became the general counsel of the department of the air force on the nomination and confirmation by the senate. do you recall what the vote was? >> i'm sorry? >> do you recall what the vote was? nailbiter? probably was. february 2009 you became general counsel at the department of defense. following nomination confirmation by the senate. this capacity served as chief legal officer of the department
of defense and legal adviser to the secretary of defense. indeed, to them. mr. johnson previous public service includes serving as assistant u.s. attorney in the southern district of new york. the nominee has also been and currently is a successful attorney. mr. johnson, you may proceed with your statement and introduce the friends of you, that are with you here today. and again, thank you, thank you for being here. thank you very much, mr. chairman. ranking member coburn, senders of this committee, thank you for scheduling this hearing to evaluate my nomination. i want to thank senator menendez and senator booker for taking the time to be here, to offer the remarks but i appreciate your generous words. i'd also like to introduce my family.
my wife, dr. susan dimarco, my and my daughter natalie johnson. my son jeh johnson, jr. and my sister from birmingham, alabama. i'm pleased they can be here. i think the public officials in the room will appreciate, and they know that the burdens of public office are made lighter by the support engagement of your family. i am honored by the trust and confidence president obama has placed in me when he nominated me to be secretary of homeland security. i also appreciate the letters of support addressed to the committee from the law enforcement organizations, retired senior military officers, and former officials of both the bush and obama administrations. i respectfully submit that i am ready, willing and able to lead the department of homeland security. i have experience in law enforcement. as a federal prosecutor in new york, i worked with law enforcement officers of the
secret service, what was then called the immigration and naturalization service, the fbi, the dea, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. i have experience as a key member of the management team of a large and complex government agency. for 27 months, i was part of the senior management team of the department of the air force. for four years, i was part of the senior management team of the department of defense. during that time, i sat at the right hand of, learned from, and supported two outstanding secretaries of defense, robert gates and leon panetta. at the same time, as the senior lawyer in the department of defense, i led a legal community of over 10,000 civilian and military lawyers. during the four years of president obama's first term, i was at the center of the development and execution of many of this administration's counterterrorism policies. last year i worked closely with secretary panetta, as he
coordinated the department of defense's contributions to the response to hurricane sandy. the missions of dhs are to prevent terrorism and enhance security; secure and manage our borders; enforce and administer our immigration laws; safeguard and secure cyberspace; and ensure resilience to disasters. if confirmed, i will vigorously pursue all of these missions. they represent the most basic and important services a government can provide for its people. if confirmed, i will work to reinforce, among all the men and women of the department, the common, unifying mission that binds them together, homeland security. if confirmed, i pledge to be a champion for every man and woman of the department of homeland security, and their families. i will mourn the death of any man or woman in the department, including those killed in the line of duty, like tsa officer hernandez on november 1.
those at the department of defense know that i worked hard to earn the respect of all the men and women in uniform, from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and our four-star combatant commanders, to the more junior officers and enlisted personnel who risked their lives in special operations. my family and i spent thanksgiving 2010 at a military hospital in landstuhl, germany. i spent thanksgiving 2012 with the troops at a remote command outpost in afghanistan, in the mountains near pakistan. i was honored when an elite team of navy seals attended my farewell at the pentagon. if confirmed, i will devote time and attention to the management issues that i know dhs faces. as this committee knows, there are leadership vacancies within dhs of alarming proportions. as i speak, the department of government charged with the
vital mission of homeland security has no secretary, no deputy secretary, and a number of other senior positions are vacant. if confirmed as secretary, my immediate priority, starting the day i take the oath, will be to work with the white house and the senate to fill the remainder of these key leadership positions. the other management challenges faced by dhs are also well known to this committee. if confirmed, i intend to continue the progress toward unqualified, audited financial statements. i will work to get dhs off the gao high risk list. i will be a hawk when it comes to identifying fraud, waste and abuse in the use of taxpayer dollars. if confirmed, i pledge not to shrink from difficult or controversial decisions. those at the pentagon and in the field know my track record in this regard, ranging from politically-charged matters of personnel policy to the legality of lethal force.
if confirmed, i will work to implement all legislation enacted into law. like president obama, many in congress, the business community and most of the american public, i support comprehensive, common-sense immigration reform. if reform is enacted into law, i will work to prepare dhs to administer the changes in law and ensure that dhs has the staff, resources and capability to do so. if confirmed, i intend to be transparent with the american people about our efforts on their behalf. while the senior lawyer for the department of defense i made the extra effort to publicly explain and defend u.s. national security policies, including in speeches at the heritage foundation in october 2011 and the oxford union in november 2012. i supported the declassification of the military's counterterrorism efforts in
yemen and somalia, in the war powers report submitted by the president to congress in june 2012. and, if confirmed, i pledge transparency and candor with congress. those of you from the armed services committee know that these are not just words for me. here again, i have a track record. from secretaries gates and panetta, i learned that a little bipartisan candor goes a long way, and promotes good will among all of us who came to washington for the common purpose of serving the nation. i have tremendous respect for the united states senate and its prerogatives. thirty-five years ago i worked in this very building as a summer intern for senator daniel patrick moynihan. i was an impressionable 20-year-old college student then. all summer, i sat in a back office with the senator's press secretary, tim russert, clipping press, literally, running errands, and researching legislation. the experience was exciting and
formative, and it did much to inspire my public service. there is another thing that motivates me to leave private life one more time to accept this particular assignment. in my family photo album is a childhood picture of me and my sister standing next to my dad's red 1966 buick convertible in what was then the public parking lot in front of the u.s. capitol. the most striking thing about the photo is that our car is parked just a few feet away from the steps to the eastern front of the capitol building. i look at the photo today and realize that it captures a period in our history that is probably lost in my lifetime, and perhaps forever. september 11 and other terrorist attacks here changed all that. as i said in the rose garden on october 18, i am a new yorker and september 11 happens to be my birthday. i was present in manhattan then and was an eyewitness to the events of that day.
i know the shock and the potential for death and destruction that a breach of our homeland security can cause. i also recall the sinking feeling of guilt and uselessness that i personally felt, in the face of that tragedy, because i had left public service at the pentagon just eight months before. september 11 changed millions of us, it changed me, and it motivates me to answer this call to lead the men and women of the department of homeland security. thank you for your time and attention and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much for that testimony. i read the testimony going home on a train last night and got to the last part, and it's very moving. still lives. very moving. our committee rules require that we answer our questions, you be under oath. you have done this before a timer to some going to ask you
to stand and i will administer this oath and then we will jump right into questions. raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> please be seated. going to start our questions with the standard questions we ask of all nominees but if you would, just answer each one after i've asked that question. first question is there anything you're aware of in your background that might present a conflict of interest with the duties of the office to which you've been nominated? >> no, sir. >> do you know of anything personal or otherwise that would anyway prevent you from fully and honorably discharging the response those of the office to which you have been nominated? >> no, sir.
>> and finally do you agree without reservation to respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before a duly constituted committee of congress, if you are confirmed? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. take just a minute, talk to us about your parents. tell us if you will specifically about the values that they instilled in you and maybe your sister, but the kind of values that they instilled in you that enabled udap i think a remarkable career to date and have prepared that might even help you in the days that lie ahead, if you are confirmed. >> thank you for that question. my parents could not be here today. they are in my hometown in new york. they live in the same home that i've lived in, but they and i have lived in for, i grew up in for almost 50 years. i'm sure they're watching right now. >> i thought they might be. >> they are, i'm sure.
if my dad can find the right c-span channel. >> maybe we'll have a lot of reruns. >> from my dad, stability. i think the right value set. my mother, positive outlook, never give up, never accept limitations on your own abilities. she encouraged me to do that when i was a c. and d. student in high school. my guidance counselor told her your son should go to a two-year college. she refused to accept that, and continued to push me harder. i have tried to do the same with my own kids. >> i had a chance to meet them and i would say your place greater value in them as well. the department of homeland security just turned 10 years old this year, and although the department has certainly experienced growing pains, clearly it's come a long way in improving our homeland security. and maturing the department.
let's talk a little bit about vision. if confirmed, what is your vision, where do want to take this department in the years to come? what is your vision, where'd you want to take the department, what would be some of your key priorities? and finally what you think are the most significant challenges that you would face? >> every time i've accepted a public service position, my overriding goal is to accept, is to lea leave the position a lite better than i found it. i believe you're correct that dhs has had some growing pains over the last 10 years. it's a very large bureaucracy, 22 components with rather different missions. my first priority will be to work to fill the remainder of the management vacancies, if i'm confirmed. the substantive priorities are well known. i hope to be vigilant with respect to counterterrorism,
border security, the effective administration of our immigration laws responding to natural disasters. i also believe we need to move the ball forward on cybersecurity. cybersecurity is something i became acquainted with at dod. the other management issues that are well-known to this committee, i recognize i must devote time and attention to. i'd like to see dhs get off the gao high-risk list. i read that report. i've read much of dr. coburn's writings on dhs, on management efficiency. i agree with much of it. with the pentagon, for example. in many respects. and so the management issues are things that i expect to devote time and attention to, but we need to be vigilant with respect to homeland security. i recognize the issues with morale. i saw the most recent report. i hope to be a visible leader,
remind people of the importance of the overriding unifying mission of homeland security, and i will work very hard, all my energy to pursue all these missions because i do believe that homeland security, protection of public safety and the american public is a core mission of the united states government. >> all right, thank you. i mentioned earlier, and others have alluded to it, you i former general counsel to the air force, department of defense as well and get had the privilege of working close with some outstanding leaders and very gifted managers, bob gates and leon panetta are among those. you've also had the honor of working alongside literally thousands of men and women who put on uniform everyday, go out and serve our country. could you just share with us some of the lessons that you've learned about images, particularly working close with bob gates and leon panetta? but some of the lessons you've
learned about leadership, some of the lessons you learned about managing a large organization, and some of the lessons you've learned may be about public service that will better equip you to lead this department. so leadership, management, public service. >> secretary gates and secretary panetta had come in my view, two distinct styles of management, which were both very effective in their own respects. dod is larger than dhs but it's very different in certain respects. i thought that they were both very disciplined, very focused, delegated when they need to, focus on certain issues. i expect to follow that model. being able to monitor the events of what's going on in a very, very large bureaucracy with a lot of different components is a
>> here's the law written on the books and yet no compliance. what i'm wanting to know is will you publicly commit today to give us your word that under your. >> and specifically, let me just detail a couple of them that i'm asking for, because i don't want there to be any surprises. we've requested mission logs for use of drones within the united states. are you willing to provide those to the committee? i'm generally sympathetic to that kind of request, and i'll take a careful look at it. i would be inclined to respond to your request, senator. >> license plate readers and more, are you willing to provide that to the committee? >> i will, if confirmed,
promptly take a look at it and be inclined to get you what you request, yes, sir. >> we've requested with internal uses and information about the use of investor visa program which appears to raise alarms about national security weaknesses in the program. are you willing to provide those documents to us? >> same answer, yes, sir. >> we have requested documents showing how dhs conducts its cybersecurity programs. are you willing to provide those to the committee? >> same answer, yes, sir. >> we've and the the department for a sector-by-sector border security plan. inmatter of fact, the former secretary promised to get me that within two days of a a breakfast peating senator carper and i -- meeting senator carper and i had with her. are you willing to provide those to the committee? >> if confirmed, i'll take a prompt look at that request. i would be be inclined to give you what you need. >> from several hearings ago we held several months ago, are you
willing to insist that members of your -- in your organization respond to questions for the record? >> yes, emphatically. >> thank you. in your prehearing questions, i asked you if you'd used or read dhs' intelligence products and whether you thought they were valuable. you mentioned you didn't recall specifics about any of the dhs intelligence products you may have read. you also wrote if con firmed as secretary, you intend to personally assess the office of intelligence and analysis products and that you would provide your feedback. many of us on this committee have questions about dhs' intelligence initiatives. will you commit today to provide your assessment of dhs' intelligence products as well as dhs intelligence programs including the fusion centers within six months of taking the helm of the department? >> yes, sir. >> on border security and
comprehensive immigration reform, you said one of your priorities, if confirmed, is prepare for the dhs' possible new responsibilities. if that reform becomes law. however, many of us and many of the american people have questions about whether dhs is effectively managing its current responsibilities and currently upholding our nation's immigration laws. will you commit to reviewing the status of dhs' border security and immigration enforcement programs? >> yes. >> and specifically, all of the programs and report to us within a reasonable time -- i know you're going to be loaded, so 90 days to six months -- would you give us your word that you'll give us your assessment on that? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. the other thing that i'm impressed with you is your background in the field of law, specifically national security and counterterrorism from your time at the pentagon. i know you've been getting up to speed on homeland security issue
and the department's program. as you prepared for this hearing, did you identify any programs that you think with were unnecessary within the department? >> i have some, i have some questions about our intelligence and analysis component, and i'd want to be sure that we're not -- >> i'm not going to ask you for a commitment on specific programs today, but the fact that you're looking at them and will take the input. i think it's important to have you do an analysis of that from where you stand with your experience and then get back to us within six months on what your thoughts are. >> happy to do that. >> that'll help us. i have a whole lot of questions. i think i'll ask that in a qfr,
i'm worried about that program from a national security stand point and from an effectiveness standpoint, so i will pass that question to you in a qfr. and i have about a minute and 20 seconds left. dhs has been given significant responsibilities for cybersecurity including working with critical infrastructure owners and operators and helping federal agencies secure their networks. but the latest dhs inspector general reports have raised questions about whether dhs has been effectively managing its own cybersecurity programs. for example, last week a dhs inspector general report identified several problems at dhs' cybersecurity center earn colluding weak or nonexhibit -- including weak or nonexistence intelligence sharing. and the dhs inspector's most
recent audit of dhs' compliance with fisma standards found many problems including that dhs components and headquarters offices of dhs were not adhering to dhs' own guidelines on fisma including the installment of patches in a timely fashion or fixing known security threats. so it raises the question, if homeland security can't apply the very rules to itself its asking other agencies to comply with, what authority can they have in executing cybersecurity at other agencies if they don't even follow their own rules for their own agency? so that's a big issue, and it's one of competency and confidence. and what i want to do under your leadership is to see that competency and confidence
restored. you have some great people under you in that area. we have to make sure homeland security's doing it well before we ask everybody else to do it well. will you commit to working with us to make dhs an example of good cybersecurity before seeking new authority? >> yes. >> i'm over time, and i guess we'll have a second round, so i'll pause with that and come back. thank you. >> thank you. >> before i yield to senator tester, i'll just say you've just committed to a whole lot of stuff. >> i know. somebody's -- >> this guy will make sure you do it. >> right. >> and in order -- you need some help to actually deliver on what you've committed to doing. and we've got to help you get that team around you, so i would just, again, remind my colleagues that a lot of vacancies in this department. deputy secretary's country of them. dr. can coburn mentioned the ub5
ram, but it's a way to enlist foreign investment for projects in this country that hopefully create a bunch of jobs. and i think the program was reauthorized a year ago, i think the leaders were senator leahy and senator grassley. they did not include some of the recommendations from your department that had been championed. they didn't end up in the reauthorization language. they did get into the immigration reform bill which has passed the senate and is be be -- is pending in the house. but we'll have more conversation, i'm sure, about that program. but just i want to just mention that. all right. mr. tester, you're on. thanks very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank ranking member coburn also and,jeh, thank you for being here, being willing to serve again. you are taking over an agency
that's barely ten years old. my guess is when it was established, it was established for two reasons, to increase effectiveness and get the biggest bang for the buck. i think it is critically important that you go back, set turf aside and make sure that the agencies and the departments tar there minimize overlap so there's a bigger level of accountability, and i'm confident you'll do that, so i thank you for your willingness to take a look at that. also we'll say that i think it's important we do find a balance between securing the borders, defending the homeland and civil liberties of laws by americans, and that will be something that will be front burner hopefully for a long, long time to come. what i want to talk about with you now is morale. you have talked about repeatedly reforming dhs management would be your number one priority. i think that should be a top priority. in recognizing there's a high rate of attrition right now in
dhs, what ideas do you have to help cultivate future leadership at all levels of the agency? >> in my experience if people are excited about the mission, people believe in the mission, the importance of the mission, they're willing to make a change, possibly leave the private sector, possibly leave more be lucrative positions in the private sector to come serve the country. and i was fortunate when i was at the pentagon to have some really, really capable people working around me who were rhodes scholars, ph.d.s that i was able to recruit that helped with the overall effort. and i would hope to be able to do that at dhs. when it comes to morale, you know, in my experience you remind people of the importance of the mission, you remind
people that they're serving the nation. these are things that i think touch a lot of people at their core. i also recognize from experience that morale is driven in large part by, you know, just basic economic issues. when somebody hasn't had a pay raise in a long time and they're threatened with sequestration or government shutdown, that takes its toll. so there's -- i expect to address morale, but there are limits to what you can do without giving people some basic relief. >> this is a, and this is an understatement. this is a huge agency. and one thing that i think impacts morale is people thinking what they're doing is really worthwhile, that they're actually being effective of in their job. any ideas in that particular realm how you can give folks a sense of responsibility so that they know what they're doing really does make a difference? >> in my experience complimenting people for a job well done, you can't say thank you too many times when somebody
be deserves it. making them feel good about their work goes a long way. >> senator mccain and i recently introduced a bill to reform the pay structure for customs and border patrol agents, make the borders more secure while allowing more consistent hours overtime potentially to save a billion over ten years. the border patrol currently uses an antiquated pay system that's over 40 years old. i don't know if you've had a chance to take a look at this legislation. have you? >> i have not yet, no, sir. >> well, i would just say this, and i don't -- you've got enough commitments with senator coburn, but i would hope that you get a chance to take a look at the legislation and work with senator mccain and myself to make sure that this pay reform happens, because i think there's a lot of money that's being wasted at this point in time. you don't have to make a verbal commitment on that, i think it's common sense. dhs, like dod, makes huge
investments in enterprise-wide technologies, billions of dollars in just one system. you've mentioned the use of technology. the list goes on. how will you work with dhs, science and technology and the private sector to insure that we're utilizing technology at the northern and southern borders? me living on a northern border with a little emphasis on northern, to aid where we, where human resources either aren't effective or aren't cost effective. >> first of all, i've learned a lot about the northern border in the last couple of weeks. thank you. and as we move to more advanced technology, i think we also need to be sensitive to privacy, civil liberties concerns that people who live along these borders may. l i think that -- may have. i think that's important. and as the border security professionals talk to me about,
you know, risk-based strategies, i want to be sure we don't have any blind spots, that we're constantly vigilant in identifying where the high risks are and where we can, where we need to focus our technology. >> i want to talk about the private sector, and i want to talk about contracting in the private sector if those kind -- for those kind of technologies. if you have a different opinion on this, please let me know. it is that oftentimes when it comes to contracting, we assume the big companies have all the good ideas, and a lot of the little guys have some incredibly good ideas especially as it applies to regional problems. what are your thoughts about improving competition and opportunities for this little guy, the smaller people within the department, or is that a priority for you? >> in my experience, competition
generally leads to a better result for the taxpayer and for the agency. in my personal experience, sometimes the big guy on the block can also be the most complacent guy on the block. it's sometimes good to find somebody who's up and coming, a little hungrier and a little more innovative. so bigger is not necessarily better. >> so the question is, and i don't want to categorize, but i will. in the past the big guys have pretty much gotten, they've gotten the contracts. the little guys have not. how do you fix that if you think that's a problem, which you've indicated you do? >> encourage competition. encourage people to put forward their rfps. and a lot of times -- in my experience, a lot of time it depends on -- when there is a competition, it will depend upon how you write your specifications, how you write
your requirements. >> right, correct. >> there are ways to write requirements such that only one company in america can put forward an rfp. and there's, you know, i'm not an acquisition expert, i don't live in that world with. there are people who are. but i do know that a lot of times it depends on how you write the spes theifications -- specifications for the job. >> and that's a very, very good point, and i will tell you, you might not be an acquisitions expert, but you're probably going to be heading this d. up, and your philosophies should be able to filter down through all the different sectors of the agency. thank you very much for being here. >> senator mccain. >> thank you. mr. johnson, i have known you for a number of years, and i'm very pleased that you will be taking on these new responsibilities. i view you as an outstanding
public servant, and i'm confident that your nomination will be very, the process and confirmation will be very smooth. your predecessor, i want to talk about the border with you. your predecessor stated frequently the border is more secure than ever citing the reduction in apprehensions as a proof of that progress being made, and she said it for a number of years. do you agree with that statement? >> senator, i've seen the same numbers, i noted that the numbers are going down. there might be a recent trend upward, but one of the things that if i'm corn r confirm -- confirmed i'm going to look at is exactly how we should define border security and whether those numbers are an accurate reflection of border security. >> are well, in reality over the last two years there's been a 20 increase in apprehensions along
the border. now, when your predecessor made those statements, i used to just -- i can't tell you the frustration that i felt because i knew and those of us who are familiar with the border that the real reason why those apprehensions went down was with because of the economy. and now that the economy is getting stronger, apprehensions are up. so if they're up 20%, that means that the border is less secure. so as we work to do, the eight of us, to complete this comprehensive immigration which is stalled, as you know, in the house and one of the major reasons is because of the lack of confidence in border security on not only members here, but members of the house of representatives. so now we for years, the homeland security secretary, well, apprehensions are down -- are up so that the border's more secure because there was a reduction in apprehensions. now the apprehensions are up.
and so here we are faced with a situation where the border is still not secure. and when we were trying to develop this legislation, we went time after time to the department of homeland security to get what was needed to get the border secure, what measures needed to be taken. we never got that from the department of homeland security, never. we had to go directly to the border control and got some very good information which we included in the legislation. specific sector by sector, the technology that was needed. can you tell this committee that you will not repeat what happened to us and the frustration that we experienced? and i want to know what from you, what is required for us to have 90% effective control of the border. can you assure this committee of that? >> senator, i will commit to you to working with you -- >> no, i'm not asking to working with you. i want to know if you will give
this committee the exact metrics that are needed sector by sector so that we can obtain 90% effectiveness on the border? not working with me. answer yes or no, sir. >> i'm inclined to biyou what you need -- >> i'm not asking for your inclination. i'm asking for a yes or no answer. i don't think that's a lot to ask. we have our responsibilities here, and one of them is to have a secure border. and unless we get the right information there your, from you and your bureaucracy, we're not able to ascertain how we can secure our border. so as much as i admire and appreciate you, unless you can tell me that you will give me the information which this committee has the right to have, i cannot support your nomination. >> i am inclined -- to give you what you need, sir. >> so let the record show you will not give a yes or no answer, therefore, i will not support your nomination until i get a yes answer. this committee and members of
congress particularly those of us -- [inaudible] have the right to have that information. it is our responsibility and our obligation to our constituents. i have constituents in my state who every night there are people who are crossing the border illegally. i have constituents that every day drug smugglers are going across across their property and their homes. so they certainly have the right as citizens to know what measures need to be taken in order to have a 90% effective control of the border. i'll ask you one more time, will you or will you not give that information to this committee? >> be you know, i i've been through this process enough to know that a senator asks a question like that, and somebody afterward is going to tell me six reasons why i shouldn't do it. and in those instances, i have said, senator, and i think you though -- know this from me,
well, the senator really needs it, let's give it to him. so before i commit unequivocally to your question -- and part of me very much wants to do that -- i think i need to talk to people at dhs to better understand the issue. i've read the letter you wrote in february, and i'm strongly inclined to give you what you need, senator. i think you though that from the me from my track record at armed services. >> well, sir, again, i have an obligation to the citizens that i represent. right now in their view our border is not secure. and without your cooperation as to informing the congress as to what measures need to be taken in order to assure 90% effectiveness, then i can't serve my constituents. and i hope you understand that. >> senator, you will have my cooperation. i promise that. >> i'm not asking for cooperation. i'm asking for information. >> met me just -- senator
mccain, are you yielding back your time? okay. let me just make a suggestion. months ago, earlier this year senator mccain was good enough to host me in his state, and we spent a lot of time meeting with his con constituents, traveling along the border, talking with the border patrol. i would urge you early in your tenure see the you can't head down there and spend some time, especially in arizona and the eastern part of texas. it was illuminating for me, and i think it would be for you as well. >> could i thank the chairman for traveling down there? i thank dr. coburn who also has traveled and spent extensive time down there. and both of you understand very well the frustration that a my constituents feel when they live in an environment where nightly people are crossing their property, where ranchers have been killed. this is not a academic exercise. and it seems to me that an obligation to the congress of
the united states would be to provide us with information that we couldn't get when we were putting the comprehensive immigration reform together and we had to go direct to the border patrol to get the required information. now, i was told that that was because the white house had said that the department of homeland security shouldn't provide us with that information, but how can we carry out our functions of oversight if we don't get the kind of information we need to make the decisions that this committee is responsible to make? >> i'd just say it would relate to the fact that when we were promised information and didn't get it. by the former secretary. >> okay. thanks, mr. mccain. senator levin? >> thank you -- >> senator levin and then senator begich. >> first, let me thank you, mr. johnson, for your answer to the call to public service again
and the answer being, yes, and is your family. we thank them for the support which is so essential to all of you who have taken these jobs with such responsibility. you and i have talked in my office about a number of things, and one of them i want to get into some detail on this morning has to do with the fact that we have about two million corporations that are created every year in the united states by our 50 states, that's more than the rest of the world combined. the states approve these incorporations without ever asking who the real owners of the corporations are, who are the beneficial owners of these corporations? some of these corporations get involved with medicare fraud, tax evasion, terrorism, smuggling, drug trafficking and other wrongdoing.
now, just a few months ago in june at the g20 summit, 20 leaders including president obama reached the consensus that it was time to stop creating corporations with hidden owners. all 20 leaders, including president obama, committed to changing the way they do things in this regard. and in response to that international commitment, president obama in june issued a, what was called a, quote, national action plan which among other measures calls for for enactment of federal legislation to require our states to include on their corporation forms the one question asking for the names of the real owners of the to corporation being formed. now, that's very different from the owners of record which are
too often simply shell corporations themselves and secrecy jurisdictions. but this is a need for the beneficial owners who actually control and benefit from the corporation. senator grassley and i have produced a bill which would -- have introduced a bill which would do that, and we've been fighting for enactment of this bill for years. president obama was an original cosponsor when he was in the senate. law enforcement is the biggest supporter. society of former special agents of the fbe, -- fbi, southern. representing 26,000 federal law enforcement officers explained their support for the bill this way. quote: suspected terrorists, drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises continue to exploit the
anonymity afforded to them through the current corporate filing process, hiding behind a registered agent these criminals are able to incorporate without disclosing who the beneficial owners are for their companies, and this enables them to establish corporate flow-through entities otherwise known as shell companies to facilitate money launder something narco terrorist financing. so our bill, the levin-grassley bill, is endorsed by huge numbers of law enforcement, public interest groups, good government groups, and i'll put the list in the record if that's agreeable with our chairman. now, mr. johnson, right now in the united states it takes more information to get a driver's license or to open a u.s. bank account than to form a u.s. corporation. and what i'm asking you is whether or not in light of the president's national action plan calling for legislation that requires states to request beneficial ownership information
and the impact on our homeland security, the negative impact that exists when we don't have that information and law enforcement doesn't have it, will you support the levin-grassley incorporation bill, senate bill 1465? >> if i could just interject, i love carl levin. the legislation that he's been championing is opposed by most of the states, and i would just urge you to be careful in your response. >> i would urge you to be careful in your response as well. [laughter] the president of the united states wants beneficial ownerships lists. the only opposition we have is from are a whole bunch of secretaries of state. but at any rate, we won't debate that here. and i've asked you to become far with this issue, and i want to know whether or not you've become familiar with it and whether or not you will support it. >> senator, after our visit a
couple weeks ago, i began to look at this legislation. i'm impressed by the number of law enforcement organizations and public interest organizations that support it. i'm sympathetic with the law enforcement/homeland security interests. i would want to understand if the states and the business community have objections to it what those -- >> not the business community, it's the -- a number of secretaries of states and i think their association. >> no, i'd be interested in hearing their views, i'd be interested to hear the business community's views -- >> be will you get back to us after you've done that -- >> yes, sir. >> promisely? >> yes. >> thank you. the report of the gao coulded border security enhanced dhs oversight and assessment of interagency coordination is needed for the northern border said that dhs reports that the terrorist threat on the northern border is higher than it is on
the southern border. given the large expanse of area with limited law enforcement coverage. i'm glad you've become familiar with the northern border, as you suggested a few minutes ago, and we, obviously, are very much concerned with the problems on the southern border which senator mccain has mentioned. but my question as a northern border state is will you keep the needs of all of our borders in mind after you are confirmed? >> yes, sir, absolutely. >> i'll have a statement about helicopters and the need of helicopters at a number of our coast guard air stations. i'll have that for the record. and i, my time is up, so i'll ask you that for the record. there's been a commitment to some upgrading of helicopters at after the verse city, one of our coast guard stations, that has not yet been kept, so we'll try to get you to place some
attention on that longstanding commitment. but hopefully you'll be confirmed soon, and that'll occur after that confirmation. thank you. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> you already got yours, i understand. yeah. >> before i turn to senator begich and senator ayotte, i'll just go back and quick p.s. on the issues that have been raised. dr. coburn's was the ranking republican on the permanent subcommittee on investigation with carl levin for a number of years, and i've had the pleasure of serving with him for a dozen years. he is tenacious, he is is a dog with a bone, and there's real valid willty to the concerns he's raised. what we've tried to do is to encourage the states, particularly the secretaries of states, to work with law enforcement to see what can be worked out in a way that the states can administer it. and are agreeable to doing that.
they have been having some meetings, i'm told that there are actually good exchanges, and we're going to continue to nurture that and hopefully facilitate something so that we can get it done. and i can sit next to this man whom i love arm in arm and resolve this issue and then turn our attention to spring training, our beloved detroit tigers return to lakeland, florida, and we're again friends. all right, having said that, let me turn to senator begich for finish. >> [inaudible] >> we have many. we believe in all of america's teams. [laughter] because we don't have one. but i will say just as mentioned, i'll get into my arctic issues, but they may need helicopters, i need helicopters, ships and a few other things in alaska for the arctic. we'll get to that in a second. we have a very specific issue i want to put on your radar screen, it's with the cbp, and it's regarding a request that
was made for, by a tourism company, pretty large, significant company to move folks from fairbanks, alaska, to dawson city which is in canada. and, you know, obviously, requires border, customs and border patrol approval. they denied it, and their answer, the reason they denied it was inefficient use of our existing resources. here's what's troubling about this. first off, it could brick about 19,000 -- bring about 19,000 visitors to alaska. the fees alone that the can customs and border patrol would get would be about $144,000. the cost to do the service is about $120 to ,000. -- $120,000. so in other words, they'd make money on this opportunity, excluding all the other revenue streams that might come to the federal government through other types of expenditures, those almost 20,000 visitors. so they denied it based on inefficient use of the resource. first off, they don't have resources. that's why if this was in place,
they would have $140,000 plus to actually purchase those resources, and homeland security would make -- i will carefully use this word -- about a 20% profit on it. so it seems if this was a business, it'd make a lot of sense. so i hope, you know, their idea was, well, why don't they just rejigger the flights, do them from anchorage to dawson which makes no sense because part of the trip is to go to dali park. it would add 400-plus air miles and cost to the traveler. it's almost like i know it's a big issue, and i just heard they pay a lot of attention to the southern border, but, actually, alaska has a border too. we have, actually, good cooperation with canadians in regards to our border, so i just don't think cbp understands the logistics of this and how large alaska is, because i know sometimes they put, you know,
everyone puts alaska in a little box off the coast of california, but be -- but they forget it's one-fifth the size of this country. i would hope you could rook into this. i think you'd make a very good secretary, and i think because you come from a variety of fields, but also you're -- from my conversation we've had and others -- you're practical. you look at these issues. and it just seems they've given what i would call a classic bureaucratic response. inefficient use of resources despite the fact when you do the numbers, it actually makes them money and puts more people on the payroll to do a service that grows our economy this alaska. we'd be happy to share information with you at a certain point, but the office is clearly where we've written the letter last week and made it very clear this is good for our economy, good for alaska and good for homeland security, and it's a good relationship builder with our great ally of canada. so i would hope that you'd put that on your radar screen. i don't know if you have a quick
comment on that. i know it's under appeal, so you can't say anything legally, but would you at least look into this if the opportunity arises? >> yes. >> okay. let me also go to the issue of the coast guard, and i chair the subcommittee on oceans which has oversight on the coast guard. and as we move toward the arctic and as more development occurs with oil and gas, tourism, shipping, science, research, all that requires the coast guard to be a partner there in the sense of security and safety. not necessarily oil spill technology, but really the whole issue around safety on the water and what could happen. my worry is this, that we will just shift resource, kind of move the chairs on the deck, when the reality is what's needed in the arctic and the bering sea can which has an
enormous amount of traffic moving through there, international traffic, can can you give me your thoughts on how you would address this situation that we have welcome back -- within the coast guard of limited resources but a huge, growing, new area of responsibility that will be significant for our country? >> i think we need to be agile in terms of evolving needs with the resources we have. i know the coast guard is undertaking a recapitalization program which i've begun to learn about. i've talked to the commandant about that, and i've also talked to him about your part of the world, senator. i think i the commandant himself agrees that this is an area of the world where the coast guard needs to be vigilant, and i agree with you that it's a part of the world that -- and i agree with him -- that this is a part of the world where we need to pay attention to, and it's one i expect to do so if i'm confirmed. >> very good. met -- let me move to another
issue, and that is as you know more and more domestic drone activity is being considered both private and public sector, and i guess my question would be how do you see the homeland security department engaged in that in the sense of policy or otherwise? >> as we move to a more risk-based strategy which is what the professionals at, you know, who deal with border security have told me about, technology is an important component of that. surveillance technology is an important component of that. as we rely more and more on it, i think we also need to be very concerned about the privacy and civil liberty issues associated with that, and, you know, dhs has an office, two offices dedicated to this, and i think we need to further develop and refine our policies as the technology moves further along.
>> very good. and you'll, as you move forward assuming you're appointed, you'll share that and continue to work with the committee in regards to that policy. >> yes, sir. >> one last question. this is a very specific one. i chair the fema committee in -- subcommittee in this committee and regards to hurricane sandy and the devastation that occurred, one-year anniversary. and one of the issues that came up is some complaints i've received regarding house of worships that are unable to access certain grants even eau nonprofits can access them. let me give you an example. let's say you're a house of worship, but you ran a daycare center or leased it out to someone who ran a daycare center. daycare center was wiped off the face of the earth, they get no capacity to go after grants, but yet a daycare center down the street has a different lease with a private sector landlord can get those grants. and this seems to be an imbalance there. recognizing that the house of
worship, it's not about the house of worship, it's about the facility that was being used. i know as a former mayor, we worked with a lot of -- campfire, for example, was doing after school programs within some of these facilities because that was the only place and location we could do it. what i'm asking you is would you be willing to the look into this issue assuming that you receive confirmation? i think it's important to provide the services needed and not put people at risk because where they put the facility or the service they're providing to the community. does that make sense, that question? >> i'd be happy to look into it, yes, sir. >> fantastic. i'll end there and thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'm not sure if the issue that senator begich is one -- i think the legislation's actually been introduced in the house -- >> that's correct. >> -- that would allow houses of worship to receive directly, i believe, federal grants for damage done to those houses of worship. and we've had the constitutional scholars look at that legislation carefully, and there are questions that are raised, as you might imagine, about
separation of church and state. so while we want to be supportive of whether it's a day school or a soup kitchen or smack that's faith related, we want to be supportive in that regard, i think we have to be mindful of the separation concerns that are raised by that legislation. >> and i'll just add if i can, mr. chairman, i don't disagree with that, but i will tell you as a hay your there are many times in communities where the facility is only available in a house of worship run by, for example, like campfire. and so i understand. i'm not a lawyer, never want to be one, to be frank with you. no disrespect to lawyers. we have plenty in this body. i'm more interested in trying to figure out solutions to a problem, but i just want to -- want you to look at it and give me a response. >> i'm trying to get out too. >> i know. [laughter] >> he as a recovering mayor, you can become a recovering lawyer. that would be good. all right. speaking of recovering attorney
generals -- >> i was going to say, exactly, mr. chairman. i am a recovering attorney general, so thank you, mr. johnson, for being here. i want to, obviously, thank you for your willingness to step forward to serve the country again and your family. .. and then as a subsequent question i have for you as well, how big a threat we face from homegrown violent extremists to our nation?
>> senator, i have to preface my answer by saying i've been away from the intelligence for almost a year now, and i know from my experience that threat streams can evolve week from week. >> i understand the caveat by understand your substantial involvement in this issue. >> i would characterize it this way. i agree with you that we've had considerable success in taking out core al qaeda. i think during my time at the department of defense we saw the rise of affiliates like aqap, aqim, the a.q. affiliated elements of al-shabaab. we've had success with respect to those affiliates. and i believe that, we are moving to a third phase where the terrorist threat is becoming even more diffuse and we are seeing more lone wolf activity,
more self radicalization, somebody reads a publication and they are not affiliated with hq in the traditional manner of accepting formal command direction or training at the camps, but they are committing equally dangerous acts of terrorism. those types of threats are in my view harder to detect your and so i think that this ties in with the homeland security mission. i think as we see more of the rights of economic threat we will have to be vigilant on the civilian side and law enforcement, border security and so forth. >> how do you envision, one of the issues, communication is key. so from their prior experience at dod, what would be your biggest priority when we look at preventing that threat to our country? which by the way you would agree still a very real threat.
>> yes. i think working with communicate with state and local law enforcement, first responders these key. it's going to be even more significant. i think in the years ahead. i believe dhs is situated in that regard with vertical sharing of information, intelligence and analysis. and the first responders are going to have to be in a position to deal with these kinds of situations. >> one of the issues that you and i have talked about at length from your prior position, and now that you're going to be in a very important position as head of homeland security, this issue of interrogation. how important is it that when we do capture a terrorist, for example, al-zawahiri if we didn't do more, how important is it that we're able to conduct a vigorous and sometimes lengthy interrogation of these individuals in terms of intercepting attacks and
information about the network's? >> in my experience, interrogation of a terror suspect, someone is part of one of these groups has been a gold mine for us. in terms of what we learn through national security interrogations, that's been my experience in the first four years of this administration. >> so one of the challenges we face that isn't directly under your purview now but i think given the important role you face that you will certainly i would imagine be offered, i would hope be sought after for vice on this is how do we deal with this issue in the civilian context of the challenge of if we capture al-zawahiri, and if you bring him right into her sibling court system than we have things like aranda's which can interfere with the length of interrogation that you might need to find out what someone else to make sure that we're getting everything we need to protect our country. i feel like we're sort of in limbo land right now for you and
i talked about it in our meeting. let me hear what you think about this issue and what of the challenges we face, and how can we have a policy that allows us to gather information while obviously i understand we need to preserve the future prosecution. but an equally concerned with that huge gap right now. >> as you and i discussed, i believe there is currently legal authority for a national security intelligence interrogation pre-aranda, pre-miranda, when you have somebody who is in the category of a national security threat who was captured or arrested. i also think that the executive and the congress ought to look at codifying some of this into law to reflect the practice. because i think it's going to
become an increasingly important practice. there will be an increasing need for this type of interrogation. and i think the authority exists already, but it might be a good idea to try to codify it. >> well thank you very much. i appreciate your insight on that and i think right now we're in a place where we don't have really a detention and interrogation policy to address the situation where tomorrow we capture the head of al qaeda, where is he detained and how long will he be held for interrogation. and i look forward to working with you on this issue. because it's what i think will continue to present itself. i want to ask as well just in terms of issues that you'll be asked to address. there are many issues of waste, fraud, and abuse that i know dr. coburn and certainly chairman carper have asked you about, and i look forward to working with them. one has to do with overtime issues, and that its employees abusing the administratively uncontrolled overtime pay system
and, therefore, amassing millions in under to pay. it's an issue i've been interested in. how would you go about addressing that? >> it's obviously an issue of concern. i've read about it. i've had it explained to me. i know the acting secretary has undertaken a review, and if i'm confirmed i would be very interested in the results of that. i worry that it could be a systemic problem. and it's obviously one that should trouble whoever the head of dhs is, should trouble congress and trouble the taxpayer. >> thank you very much. >> senator ayotte, thanks for this question. senator paul, nice to see you. welcome. you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. johnson, for your testimony. do you think the fourth amendment applies to my visa purchases? >> i don't have a legal opinion on that. i think that there may be a
privacy interest but i don't have a legal opinion for you right now. >> i hope you will think about it and i think it's something we all need to think about, and to think the current law says no. i think it's a tragedy that that's the way the law has gone. with my feasibility can tell what books i read, what magazines i'd be. you can do what i go to a psychiatrist. not yet. you can tell what medicines i buy. you can tell virtually everything about my life because everything i buy i put on my visa card. people say i don't have any expectation of privacy because it's a third party record. i gave it up to someone. i think this is a big issue for us and, frankly, the administration hasn't been very supportive of the fourth amendment and we will press these issues but i want to know, i want you to know we will be watching. those of us to believe in the fourth amendment will be continuing to watch. do you think a single word can apply to millions of records and millions of individuals?
>> i understand that may be an issue with regard to certain surveillance programs. i don't have a legal opinion on that for you. >> pretty important issue. it's going to be one of the biggest issues and hopefully it will get into the supreme court. do you think it's a due process to have a court trial were only one side is represented? do you think that's a due process? >> in the context of a litigation or a courtroom proceeding, no. >> we do have a court and that's what we're deciding constitutional questions, the fisa court there is no advocate. there is no adversarial proceeding and i think there can be no justice. there's also reviewing of constitutional questions done in secret. you think we should decide the scope of the fourth amendment in a secret court? >> i think in the executive branch and in the fisa court need to be skeptical.
we need to have robust discussion. i've been a part of that. in making certain use of force decisions, and i am skeptical of simply a lot of yeses in the room. and believe somebody needs to ask the hard questions. >> and i don't doubt and i'm not questioning your integrity, but what it would take is that due process isn't a bunch of people. good people in a room discussing whether we should kill people with drones or something. the president has mistakenly said that some a due process. that has nothing to do with due process. may be a good idea but it's not due process. due process is in accord and it's a debate back and forth with both sides being represented with hopefully impartial justice or impartial justice is the starting this in an opencourt. there's a lot of things going on which don't need a due process. and, frankly, whether you're a good or bad person or whether you get a room discussing this
is not due process. it's important that this be said over and over again because we are making important decisions which gets to my next question. do you think we should target american citizens overseas for killing who ar were not involven combat? i'm thinking of propagandist, other people who may have committed treason but haven't been charged or convicted. do you think a bunch of lawyers in a room from one administration, from one political party can decide the guilt or innocence of american citizens? these are ones often if not always or mostly not engaged in combat. >> as you posted i think my answer would be no. >> you realize a lot of the drones are directed against people just walking down the street reading or doing something. i don't have any problem, if an american citizen is over there fighting in the middle of or in shooting at our soldiers, by all means use of drones or whatever age of to kill kill them. but we're telling people sort of walking down the street. nobody seems to be making the
point that i am is that, for example, adam gadahn, we imagine. is probably committed treason. why not, why not go ahead and try these people for treason? we had enlisted for years and years to if you hav have redacts has one or go into private session, do it. give them a chance but if it wants to come on, my guess was he wasn't come home to be tried for treason. then i think you at least have due process. because then you have a real court, a real process. probably have a lawyer on both sides. the whole idea that justice comes about through representation and through a court trial and through a jury is something to important. i know this is an unusual circumstance. we've only had three or citizens killed at the principle, it's pretty important. and i think we should all be aware that there were times in our history when we didn't do justice to a lot of people for various reasons at the race, the
japanese-americans, imagine what happened to them when they didn't get processed during world war ii. also imagine what happened or what would have happened to an african-american in 1910 in the south accused of a crime. there's all kinds of reasons that a lot of us should be a little more concerned about due process and not be so careless about this. i hope you will think about these questions, the scope of the fourth amendment but also what due process is an that if your head of the homeland security, year and a bunch of was getting together and deciding it's fine to collect data on every american, that's a constitutional question and it's also not due process. and i hope that you will be somebody who will facilitate getting constitutional questions into a real court and not a mock court. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator paul. let me turn, i mentioned earlier in my comments, gao. dr. coburn and i've used gao's
high risk list almost as a to-do list for subcommittee to take turns leading. and also for this committee as well. every your gao promulgates its high risk list. what is a high risk? high risk ways of wasting money, taxpayers money, which is in short supply as you know. one of the things jane holl lute, the last conference deputy secretary used to do, she used to go over to gao. i know she would every week but she went pretty often. she would meet with gene dodaro, comptroller, others who worked for him and would say let's go through your high risk list and lets you what we've got to do to get off of it. they made a whole lot of progress and hopefully later this year the department of homeland security will complete a clean audit and leave us only one large department and that's the department of defense, it's not actually received a clean audit.