Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  November 2, 2015 3:00pm-5:01pm EST

3:00 pm
doesn't reflect the good people of the fbi or what you and the fbi are trying to do today. the fbi's own website declared the coin tell pro program as rightly criticized by congress and the american team for abridging first amendment rights and other reasons yet his name continues to adorn the fbi building. would you agree his name is not appropriate as a reflection on what the fine people at fbi today try to do to bring about justice in our country. >> i'm sorry, hoover's name? >> yes, sir. >> i'm not following the question. >> i'm saying, does it not -- does it not reflect the qualities that the fbi individuals and fbi today have in pursuing justice as being fair and not using tactics to attack minorities this country. >> i see. thank you, i'm sorry. the fbi today is vastly different than it was under its first director. in some of the ways you mentioned and in lots of other ways. i keep that under the glass of
3:01 pm
my desk, not to dump on hoover -- i never knew the man -- but to make sure people understand the danger in becoming -- in falling in love with your own view of things and danger in the absense of contrant and oversight. i'm somebody who believes people should be skeptical of government power. i'm a nice person. i suppose you should trust me but you should oversee me, and i should be checked and balanced. that's the way you straighten power. it's there to remind me. >> do you agree his name is not reflective of what the fbi stands for and what the fbi agents of today believe in and do? >> i think that's fair. if you're focusing -- hoover did a lot of good things for law enforcement in the united states, did a lot of things that through the lens of history we reject as improper. so i'm no historian, but i would imagine a historian would say take the total measure of the person, figure out what's bad, what's good. i'm not equipped to do that. >> i would like to see his name taken off the building and have a bill, representative burton had it with chris shays in the
3:02 pm
past, and i'm going to reintroduce that bill. i would hope, as i mentioned last time we have a new building in the future named for somebody like you. >> i appreciate that. >> or congressman edwards or attorney general kennedy. and i yield back the balance of my time. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and recognize the gentleman from iowa mr. king, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. director, comey, thanks for coming to testify. i just would comment that i appreciate your response to when you used the reference the lens of history. that's a different set of values that applies today than applied back in those days. but i'm looking the aur vour va and looking for strong push for sentencing reform in the united states. i've watched as the president, the administration at least, has directed that thousands be released on to the streets before they serve their terms. and that we have seen that some of them have been charged with homicide, found guilty of
3:03 pm
homicide. i think they number's around 121 or so. number 36,007 felons released and then a subsequent number. i'm blurred by the parade of releasing that we've seen and now i see a -- appears to be a group of legislators that we believe we can save tax dollars releasing more on to streets. a wear of studies that would help us quantify impact of releases in terms of either prospective crimes likely to be committed or perhaps even quantifying it in terms of the dollar value as -- that's suffered in great huge whopping chunks by crime victims? >> i'm not aware of any scuddies on that. it's not that i would be. it's a policy question but i'm not aware of any. >> they're very hard to find. i've searched a long ways back. i'm going to go from memory and it occurs to me that in 1992, there was a justice department study that did quantify numerically the cost of crime.
3:04 pm
but you have any studies that shows statistically whether there be more crime or less crime that would take place because of the releases, early releases? >> i'm not aware of any studies on that. >> what would be your professional estimate? i don't need a number. more crime or less crime? >> well, i know we face as a country a significant challenge with recidivism, high reoffend rate among people released. my career dedicated to the proposition law enforcement contributes to a drop in crime. it's not responsible for the historic drop in crime we've seen over my lifetime but a big part of it. that's the way i think about it. >> mondayer to seandatory sentee impact on reducing the crime in streets of america. >> i think some mandatory minimums an important part of my work as a prosecutor. reasonable people can discuss whether it should be at this level or this level, but some mandatory sentence, some fixed prospect of furnishment is very, very value, incapacitating
3:05 pm
people and developing cooperators. >> and some time back i sat down with very impressive chief of police one of our major cities who remarked to me about the high, the very high homicide rate in the inner city of his city. and his response was that the black on black homicide rate in that city was roughly 98% of homicides that took place. i don't know that we discussed these kind of statistics and i would be hopeful we could find a way to do this and alleviate this situation that we have. i'd say we've got in to a void on this for politically correct reasons. but are you aware of any data that would reflect what i've represented to you. >> i think there's a lot of data collected by criminologists and others on the demographics of homicide victims and perpetrators. i can't cite it to you off the top of my head but i know smart people have done that work.
3:06 pm
>> 98% number that wouldn't be shocking if that were proven out to be true by a legitimate study? >> edon't think it would shock me in neighborhoods concentrated of people in a certain demographic background but i don't know the number off the top of my head. >> is there an investigation of planned parenthood. >> i'm not able to answer that question, i don't know enough. i know there's letters written to the department of justice about it. i'll have to get back to you on that one. i don't know the status of matters within the -- within the fbi on that sitting here this mornings. >> -- anyone from the administration, to your knowledge, ever saw to influence you or subordinates on twlorwhe not to investigate a crime? >> never. >> specifically not planned parenthood ear included in that. >> that would be included. >> thank you. that could be consistent with your -- in your competent, independent, honest
3:07 pm
characteristic so the fbi. i pose this question, that -- let me go another way. usa freedom act, you're implementing it now. and do you have access to more or less information than you had before the usa freedom act was passed. >> really hasn't changed because we're still under the old telephone met adata system. i think the new one kicks in at the end of november. currently, it's -- our world is unchanged. >> you expect more or less? >> i expect more, actually. >> that will be interesting to follow up on if i had another minute. but i will yield back and thank the chairman. >> the gentleman does not have another minute. the chair will recognize the gentle woman from california, miss chu. >> i want to discuss a series of trouble federal investigations against chinese american scientists treated as spies, had their lives turned upside down only to have all of the charges dropped. recently a case of an american
3:08 pm
citizen and well-respected professor the chair of the physics department at temple university. he led a normal and peaceful life as a scientist, professor, and researcher, with his two daughters and wife in a quiet pennsylvania neighborhood. he had no criminal record, no history of violence, just average nafrj aaverage american academia. a dozen armed fbi agents stormed into the house with guns drawn, he was handcuffed in his own home and two young daughters and wife in pajamas, and directed outside of the house at gun point. the state charge, wire fraud. however, in the interrogation, it was clear he was being accused of being a spy for china. his life has been turned upside down, lost his title as chair of the physics department, reputation was damaged, his wife endured psychological and emotional trauma, as his whole family and himself, of course.
3:09 pm
after all of this, the charges. >> were dropped. my understanding of cases of wire fraud, is that generally people aren't even handcuffed, let alone arrested or pa rayed in the family and neighborhood as criminals at gun point. rather they be give an opportunity to self-surrender and if someone is being investigated for wire fraud, informed about such an investigation in a target letter. but we know that the professor is not alone. sherry chan also recently arrested, a u.s. citizen, employee of the national weather service in ohio. she was arrested at her place of work, led in handcuffs past co-workers to a federal courthouse 40 miles away where she was told she faced 25 years in prison and $1 million in fines. self-months later, all of the charges were dropped without any explanation. this is reminiscent of of course, of dr. wen ho lee, another u.s. citizen, whose life
3:10 pm
was ruined accused of being a spy for china, only to have 58 of the 59 charges dropped. let's not forget that during world war ii 120,000 japanese americans lost everything they had and imprisoned in desolate camps because they were accuse of being spies for japan. 3/4 were u.s. citizens 70 years later not a single case of espionage was proven. i'm particularly concerned about this because there is a stereotype that asian-americans are perpetual foreigners no matter how long thif lived in the country. my question is, is this common practice to have a dozen armed fbi agents arrest someone for wire fraud, someone who is not a flight risk and poses no harm to law enforcement, or is there a presumption of guilt when it comes to chinese americans because they're viewed as spies
3:11 pm
for china? >> thank you, congresswoman. at the outset, the challenge, i'm going to answer the challenge, answering is i can't talk about the facts of something that is of an investigation, including ones that are pending. i guess i can say this, first of all, we operate with no presumption that anyone is guilty or any stereotype about any person person. we're a fact-based organization, required to gather facts and through a prosecutor present them to a judge to make a showing of probable cause before we get a warrant to arrest anybody. a whole lot of people in the country are arrested on wire fraud charges, i've been involved in many cases people are handcuffed and arrested because fire frauds a serious felony. the particulars of the case i cannot talk about. i would not connect the dots in the man that you have. that's probably all i can say about individual matters. >> well, we understand that the threat of economic espionage is real and we do not take it
3:12 pm
lightly. however we want to make sure that in all cases there is due process and otherwise innocent americans do not become suspicious simply because the person taking those actions have an ethnic surname. yet in the case of professor xi, his investigate came out of the blue, he had no idea he was being investigated primarily because he did nothing wrong as evidenced by the dropped charges. do you know how many chinese americans are being surveyed? >> i do not. >> well, i will personally follow up with ow onthis issue to figure out what is happening in cases like professor xi's and how to make sure no that no other american, regardless of origin or background, endures this kind of egregious humiliation and shame. with that, i field back. >> the chair thanks the gentle woman and recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert. >> thank you for being here.
3:13 pm
i don't think i ever told you, but back in july, august, time frame, 2007, i was talking with a powerful democratic senator, and we agreed that you had a great reputation for justice, honorable man that would potentially be a good attorney general. it ended up being mccasey but you were discussed favorably by both sides of the aisle people, unlikely to be talking. but we appreciate your work. sigh want to touch on something my friend steve king brought up. i know there's a lot of talk how we need to have reform and people being released from prison. but as someone who has worked with the system, prosecuted, i've prosecuted, i've been a judge, i have been court-appointed to defend, and
3:14 pm
isn't it true that some people that actually plead to nonviolent offenses do so as part of a plea agreement where the prosecutor drops gun charge or some charge of violence in order to get a plea in the case in a lesser sentence? haven't you seen that happen. >> i've seen that happen. >> yes. and so, that's why for someone like me who's a former judge who saw those kind of plea agreements take place, even though i was in the state side, it's shocking to see people come from the outside and say this wasn't a fair sentence without really considering what could have been prosecuted, what could have been pursued, a transaction, agreement between the prosecutor and defense attorney that the judge considered all of the circumstances and came down on the side of the agreement. i want to touch on something else you'd said about with iraq
3:15 pm
refugees, you had a database apparently of fingerprints from ieds, evidence that had been obtained from iraq. did i understand that correctly? >> yes, sir. >> now, with regard to the masses, syrian refugees, i'm not aware of a lot of ieds that we've gotten evidence, we've gotten from which you could get fingerprints. are there -- is there such a database? >> i think that's right there may be some. and a variety of other intelligent sources that may help us understand who people are. but the point i was trying to make we had a whole lot more information about iraq because our soldiers had been there, run into people, collected information. >> that goes to a concern of mine. i'm not the biggest fan of the u.n., but they have data pulled from their website this morning that says, starting off, more
3:16 pm
than 43 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution. and goes on to say, children constitute about 41% of the world's refugees and about half of all refugees are women. so it was very disturbing to pull this from the u.n. website in september that says of the 381,412 ooh a. rivals that came across the mediterranean sea, just this year, up to september, that 15% were children, 13% were women, and 72% were men. and then when you take that along with our dni, james clapper, saying that this provides a prime opportunity for islamic state groups attack western targets he said, quote, it's a disaster of biblical
3:17 pm
proportions and you take statements that have been made by isis leaders themselves that they have been able to place more than 4,000 warriors in with the refugees, this inordinate number of men. has that spiked concern in the fbi along with what you've testified before about isis having people in every state? >> yes, sir. it's a risk that we are focused on in trying to do everything we can to mitigate. >> but without a good fingerprint database, without good identification, i mean how can you be sure that anyone is who they say they are? you don't have fingerprints to go against it they've got documents that say -- i've been -- i've watched people exchange identification information and decide to use the other ones. how do you -- is there a good way to avoid that, that the fbi is able to use?
3:18 pm
>> the only thing we can query is fvgs that we have. if we have no information on someone, they've never crossed our radar screen, never been a ripple in the pond there will nobody record, so it will be challenging. >> thank you. my time's expired. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr mr. gutierrez, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome. i want to have a conversation about one area, and that's. >> guns. in my hometown there can be 4050 shootings in a weekend, that's about a whole classroom of kids any weekend. and so i know that, you know, you have a relationship with making sure that we check who can and cannot purchase guns, you're the fbi, and it just seems whatever we do in chicago,
3:19 pm
guns are just -- first, our laws have been weakened because there have been challenges to them. so we used to have pretty strong -- when i first got elected in 1986, the chicago city guns they give you a badge in chicago, you can get a gun. i opted not take the badge or the gun. i figured chicago police can do both of those things, wear the badge and carry the gun for me and the rest of the people. i think the people of chicago are well served by me making that decision. but look, so here we have like a majority in the congress of the united states that's really unwilling to take up the challenge that guns and firearms and they're coming from indiana, coming from mississippi and coming from all over and wind up in chicago, we have this -- i guess you could tell us, what are your ideas how do i and people at a local level or as a member of congress, how do i help curb gun violence? what things can we do to help
3:20 pm
curb absent legislation. >> well, the fbi's business is not policy making, it's enforcement of the law. we spend a lot of time trying to reduce gun violence through aggressive enforcement. it's a crime for a fell tonight possess a gun in the country, for a drug addict, a drug dealer, someone convicted of domestic violence, misdemeanor to do it, so i've devoted a lot of my career ace prosecutor. the fbi does investigating to impose cost, change behavior so the bad guys don't have a gun on their waistband and that means more fistfights, stabbings but fewer shootings. the challenge we face is the bad guys think it's another piece of clothing. they think as much about the gun as they do about their socks and that leads to more shooting based on people bumping into each other, frankly. our mission is to try to send a strong message of deterrence, you ought to think more about the gun than your socks and that
3:21 pm
will make that corner safe but but it requires tremendous effort by the law enforcement community, including chicago where your characterization is exactly right. >> could you tell us and members what kind of things are we doing in chicago recently your agency and the federal government to help the people of the city. >> in chicago, we've gone so far as to put fbi agents with chicago police officered in squad cars to focus on some of the predators driving this violence, the gang bangers who think they operate freely. we do gang task forces and we operate on an ad hoc basis to lock up some repeat offenders. the idea to change behavior by ripping out the worst and vin g convince the rest you should not have a firearm with you if you're a prohibited bern. >> as look at challenge of gun violence in chicago, and i see
3:22 pm
there are -- i mean, we took a map of the city of chicago, we put reluctantly little stars where people had been murdered due to gun violence, do you know, have you seen, the whole city of chicago? when i look at it, i'm not that worried about my grandson walking to the park. i'm worried but no that the worried as i would be in other neighborhoods what happen other dimensions are there that relate to gun violence as you've seen? >> i know the city of chicago pretty well, having gone to law school, i've been there many, many times. and the story of chicago, i like the story of a bunch of cities, it's localized, violence heavily concentrated, chicago primarily west, some south and it's groups of primarily young men who are carrying firearms when their prohibited by law from carrying
3:23 pm
them on the streets and that inevitably leads all human encounters ratcheted up to the serious weapon what happen would have been a fistfight as a kid is a shoot-out because the gun is there. what we in law enforcement is trying to do is change that behavior. these kids may not be well educated but very good at cost/benefit analysis. the idea is force that cost/benefit analysis the gun should be a huge liability in the eye of the felon, drug dealer, addict. >> mr. director, just 15 seconds and i'll finish up, mr. chairman. mr. director, there are a group of us in hispanic congressional caucus, african-american members, we'd like to have a roundtable discussion with you a conversation from different parts of the united states and not in such a formal setting as this in which you might be able to share with us how better in communities of color in america where the gun violence is so
3:24 pm
rampant you might give us some of your thoughtful input. would you agree. >> i'd be happy to. >> thank you so much. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. director, thank you for being here. i'm going to talk about several subjects, see how many i can get in five minutes. first, epca, the idea that under current law that if e-mail is stored in the cloud, government doesn't need a warrant to obtain that e-mail. is that your understanding of the law? >> i think the law is -- you probably know better than i -- but it's after 180 days. >> yes, after 180 days. >> we operate under a warn, the fbi does, that's our policy. but i think that's the law. older than 180 days it can be gotten through other legal process. >> it's after 180 days. before 180 days or during, you
3:25 pm
have to have a warrant, no matter who you are. fbi policy is, though, you still get a warrant if it's over 180 days? >> correct. >> but other government agencies still have the ability to seize that e-mail without a warrant. law enforcement, i mean, it could be a local law enforcement, city police, sheriff's department, other law enforcement can seize that e-mail in their jurisdiction because the law doesn't require they get a warrant. that is your understanding of the law? >> they would need some kind of legal process they count walk in and take it. my understanding the law would permit them to get it through a subpoena or court order short of a warrant. >> they don't need a warrant, they need some court document from a magistrate or something. i'm sure you're aware myself and zoe lofgren filed legislation, if e-mails are over six months
3:26 pm
old obtained in the cloud, are you aware. >> i'm generally aware. >> next subject, 702, the back door obtaining back door information on -- from different companies, such as google ora into h yahoo! does the fbi request that a back door device be put into like a cell phone? >> i don't know what you mean by back door device. >> the fbi could obtain the information in the cell phone without a warrant and you ask the maker of the phone, for example, to install a device in the phone to obtain that information? >> i see. we would need a court order to be able to either in a device or online to be able to take content or put an implant something in a phone, not just wire. we would need a title iii order or fisa court order.
3:27 pm
>> does the fbi request -- maybe you don't -- manufacturers to put a device in the phone itself to obtain that back door information? to have it available and a warrant obtained. >> no. >> you don't request that. >> no. when we collect information it's pursuant -- talking about content of people's communication or what they've stored on a device we do it through a court order. we don't do it through asking someone who made the device to give access to it voluntarily. >> court order, a warrant or some other type of court zblord either a search warrant from a judge to open a locked device or order from federal judge in a national security case or criminal case looking to intercept communication as it's moving. >> i think that 4th amendment applies to that type of procedure and you -- you're saying the fbi complies with the law, the 4th amendment, on obtaining that information? >> yes, the 4th amendment is
3:28 pm
part of this spine of the fbi. >> it's the what of 0 the fbi. >> the spine of the fbi. >> i'm glad to hear that. let's talk about survey lent with the use of drones and fixed wing aircraft. specifically, targeted surveillance with the use of a drone, does the fbi on tan a warrant to do that? a drone, fixed wing aircraft or drone, whichever you want to call it. >> any kind of aircraft, we don't. if what we're doing, what we use them for, a pilot fly around and follow somebody. drones we don't -- we have a small number of unmanned aircraft, we may use them for fixed surveillance, when that guy lad the kid in the bunker, in alabama, we used a drone to go over the top because we were afraid he would shoot one of the pilots. we had unmanned aircraft.
3:29 pm
we operate drones within line of sight. >> okay. >> so went talking about surveying somebody, talk about a plane flying around. we don't get a warrant for than the law couldn't require it. but that doesn't involve collect communications of somebody. >> i understand the difference being -- i'm not talking about -- any circumstance, the law doesn't -- there is no law saying 4th amendment applies to use of drones? the faa makes those decisions, does it not. >> right. to follow somebody in a car, on foot, in lay plane, we have to have a predicated investigation but we don't have to go to court to get permission to follow that person. >> do you think the fbi ought to make rules regarding protection of 49th amendment or should congress weigh in on what reasonable expectation of privacy regarding that type of issue. >> the fbi doesn't make any laws. congress makes the laws and the corporates interpret them -- >> i didn't say fbi.
3:30 pm
the faa, faa, not fbi, the faa, on what you can do with a drone and what you can't do. i think congress ought to weigh in and determine what reasonable expectation of privacy ought to be with the use of drones. do you have an opinion, being director of the fbi? you want the faa to continue to do that or congress ought to set that standard. >> the time has expired but permit the directorancer i don't have a view or preference. congress decided to change the law, we would follow it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia mr. johnson, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. direct comey, if your testimony you mentioned how isil and other terrorist organizations field potential recruits. publicly accessible social networking sites and via
3:31 pm
encrypted private messaging platforms. could you detail issues that law enforcement is facing due to the end of encryption? >> yes, sir. isil, isil challenge illustrates the problem we call going dark, that isil increasingly uses when they find someone who i call a live one, that is someone who might be able to motivate to engage in acts of violence in the united states, move them from twitter or twitter direct messaging, dwitwitter direct message to a mobile messaging app end to end, if we intercept a communication we can't decipher it we can't read. the communications become invisible even with a court order. that's the challenge. we actually face that in all kind of criminal cases as well but it is very well illustrated by the isil challenge. that's what i mean when i talk about that. >> so in other words, a
3:32 pm
foreign-based person, a foreign person, operating from a foreign location, using social network such as twitter, can identify a potential target for radicalization or someone who is already radicalized but reaching out to the foreign-based person and then they can take it to another site where their communications are encrypted, correct? >> correct. >> and because they're encrypted, law enforcement, whether or not it has a warrant or not, cannot discover what they are talking about, even though they know that this foreign-based person is a -- is a isil member? >> that's correct. we have to have a court order. but the court order would be useless. >> yeah.
3:33 pm
so now the practical impact of that is what? >> that we can't know what somebody who is planning on an act of violence against a police officer, military member or civilian, is up to and when they're going to act and we're limited to physical surveillance, trying to watch them and figure out what they're going to do or trying to get other ways to get visibility into what they're up to. so it is darkness, they go dark to us in a way that's really important in those matters. >> okay. you mentioned about traditional crimes, domestic crimes and how encryption hurts your ability to get at domestic criminal activity. can you talk about how in a case of hot pursue or exy gent
3:34 pm
circumstances this adversely affects our ability to keep americans safe? >> there's -- >> domestic crime. >> lot of different ways in which it impacts. i believe the going dark problem overwhelmingly affects state and local law enforcement. people talk about an intelligence question but it's almost entirely law enforcement question top give you an example that a lot of d.a.s talk about, if they were covering a cell phone at a scene where someone has been murdered or kidnapped, they cannot open the device, even with a court order to figure out who is that person communicating with before they disappeared? that's the most basic example. we're encountering it where drug gangs or carjacking gangs are communicating using text apps that are encrypted end to end and with a court order we can't read. it's becoming increasingly -- the lobgic is it will affect al of our work, hundreds of cases
3:35 pm
will be affected by it it because it is all of our -- all of our lives are becoming part of the digital world, when the digital world is covered by strong encryption, judges will not able to order access in serious cases or national security cases. that's the future we're coming towards. maybe that's where we want to be but we ought to talk about it as we're going to that place. >> thank you for your responses to my questions and i'll yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from utah mr mr. chaffetz. >> thank you for being here. the fbi has had to change the course of times, my grandfather, career fbi agent served. and great admiration for the agency and what you in particular are doing. i want to go back to cyber, talking about cyber, can you articulate the size, scope, investment that you have in both personnel dollars to address the
3:36 pm
cyber threat that's going to continue in perpetuity? >> thank you, congressman. i probably can't give you exact numbers sitting here but we have a cyber division, headquarters, does nothing but cyber related work and cyber task force in single field office and squads. that doesn't quite capture it. all threats we're responsible come at us through internet, whether kids being protected or terrorists coming after us. everybody has to be, in a way, cyber analyst or cyber agent. i could give you specifics how many hundreds, thousands are assigned to do cyber work but it's broader than that. >> what is it that you can't do? that is, is there another department or agency doing something that the fbi couldn't do. >> in a cyber realm? >> yeah. >> that's a good question. well, thank you. >> i don't -- i can't think of
3:37 pm
it sitting here. our responsibilities are obviously confined to the united states. so we work with our partners nas, in particular, trying to fight the cyber threat coming from overseas. the bureau doesn't have the ability to reach out in that way. so that's -- >> let me ask you, in the context of the united states secret service, i was surprised to learn that two-thirds of an agent's -- thing as that they have, two-third as of their tim spent on investigations and cyber. it begs the question to me, why do we have such a small group of people doing that which the fbi has a much bigger resource, infrastructure, and expertise in doing. and as we look at potentially restructuring the secret service, getting more focused on the protective mission, why not combine the two or what is it that they do that you don't want to do or that they do that you can't do? i'm trying to get ply arms
3:38 pm
around it. >> such a good question, i misunderstood it i'm sorry. one of the things i've been trying to do is drive us closer together with the secret as much as they have expertise in the financial related intrusions and credit card scams. they've spent years developing expertise. i don't want to coupe indicate it. so we're trying to drive ourselves together. i'd like us to combine task forces. didn't make sense. there ought to be one. they do great work. i want to make sure we don't duplicate and do joint training with them. that's one of the things we can't do. we can't do enough for state and local law enforcement to help them deal with digital crimes. >> so in terms of the personnel that you have associated with that, how would that work? are there other agencies that would also -- i mean, secret service is but one. are there other agencies that should be also included in that because we've got a homeland security organization that
3:39 pm
thinks they should be in charge of all of the siber. >> yeah, i think with respect to criminal work that we do, there are people at hsi within department of homeland security who are doing cyber-related crime work. and then there's a lot of state and local crime doing it and they are part of our task forces. >> can you shed any more light on the fbi's next generation cyber initiative? explain that to me a little bit more. >> without eating up all of your time, it our strategy, my strategy for where we're going to take the fbi in the next three to five years so it involves deploying our people in a a different way, getting better training, better equipment, focusing ourselves on the threats that i think the fbi given its footprint is best able to address. so it's our whole of fbi approach to cyber over the next three to five years. >> when you have fbi personnel that le focus their career just on fiber, correct?
3:40 pm
it won't necessarily be bouncing around at different tasks? >> correct. >> all right. i appreciate the time. i'll yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. we'll recognize mr. deutsche. >> thank you for being with us today. i represent south florida, broward county and palm beach county. we're experiencing an epidemic. broward county is the epi center of the national crisis and the number of cases are spiraling out of control. the sheriffs office stated that in january 2014 they analyzed a single case. by september 2014 they were analyzing 80 cases. this year the sheriffs office reported 100 cases per month. the cases are flooding the county health system, broward health system reporting that they are receiving 12 cases per day. this past here it's contributed to the death of 45 people in broward county. it started to spread north into
3:41 pm
palm beach county. in 2014 there were 35 submissions involving the sheriffs office crime lab. in 2015 there have been 42. there have been 10 arrests in palm beach county and it's moving into tennessee, kentucky, ohio, other states. as you're aware, people using -- allose nations, extreme body temperatures that causes users to remove their clothes. it's cheap, it costs $5 and can be easily purchased online from china. the low cost of the drug and easy access are troubling. flakka is extremely difficult for law enforcement to prosecute. the primary problem is that the competent significance of the drugs can't be pinpointed as illegal because the drugs are constantly changing their composition. as soon as sib synthetic is drug is listed as illegal, it's changed to evade the listing that made the drug more readily available. in fact, a recent news report in
3:42 pm
miami found that flakka is being made into gummy bears. gummi bears. the only difference between the real ones and flakka are the ones individually wrapped and stickier. dealers are using them to hook young people. so if you could target the efforts that the fbi is taking to crack down on this epidemic of synthetic drugs, flakka in particular, and speak to the challenges you face in these cases involving synthetic drugs. >> thank you, congressman. the synthetic -- i think the wore is canbinoid sunshine my friend chuck rosenberg is laughing listening to me mispronounce it but it's a serious problem i hear about all over the country. dea has the lead on the federal level. we are participating through our drug task forces in trying to do something about that scourge, which you're exactly right. it's appearing in gas stations or little markets where kids can
3:43 pm
walk up and buy these things, not knowing what they are buying, and it will wreck their life. >> current law permits synthetic drugs to be treated as a controlled substance if they are chemically several to schedule one or schedule two control substances. but as i said, but the nature of the drugs keep changing. they change the chemical structure to avoid being listed as a controlled substance. what steps can lawmakers take to help in your efforts, local enforcement efforts to crack down on this epidemic. >> i honestly don't know. i know from talking to the acting administrator rosenberg, they are keenly focused on that problem, which is every time they schedule one of these things it comes in from china slightly different so it's not scheduled anymore. they are chasing it, playing a whack amole with a dangerous substance. i don't know what the answer is, frankly. >> director comey, i would invite representatives 0 of the task force and dea to come to
3:44 pm
south florida. this is an issue that dominates the headlines. it's an issue that affects young people and as you point out, the moment that somebody takes this, one of these synthetic drugs, flakka, which is so ready available in florida and elsewhere, it changes and often ruins their lives. i'm grateful for your focus on. i hope woo the opportunity to do something down in south florida to raise the issues so we can -- so people in south florida can know what this is and what we can do about it. >> thank you, sir. >> i thank the gentleman. now recognize mr. marino for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. >> good afternoon, it's good to see you. >> good to see you again sir. i'm a maniac for the rule of law. as you're aware, most of my career was in law enforcement and i still consider myself a law enforcement guy.
3:45 pm
my family has been in law enforcement for a long time as well. i appreciate your comments concerning oversight and the rule of law. it's needed very much today even more so today. but i want to emphasize the fact that i have worked with all agencies, state, local and federal, and 99.9% of our agents are topnotch. i trust them watching my back at any time. with that, you have very effectively answered two questions that i had that i was going to ask you. so as a result, i will yield back the remainder of my time and best of luck. >> great to see you. >> i thank the gentleman. i now recognize ms. bass for five minutes. >> thank you, director, for coming and testifying today. i'd like to talk about the recent operation cross traffic fbi's nationwide effort to crack
3:46 pm
down on child sex trafficking. the fbi's october 13 release about the operation states, a nationwide law enforcement action that focused on underage victims of prostitution has concluded with the recovery of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrest of more than 150 pimps and other individuals. first of all, i'd like to commend the agency for correctly referring to the children as sexually exploited children. versus prostitutes because a child under age of consent should never be considered a prostitute. this release refers to other individuals and i was wondering who those other individuals were. i have a concern that while it's extremely appropriate to focus on the pimps, it's also in my opinion very much appropriate to focus on the child molesters who some people would call johns. i would like to know if that's who you were referring to and what is the focus on the child
3:47 pm
molesters? >> yes, i understand that's what was meant by that. there were more than 100 johns arrested as part of operation cross country. along with the pimps and children being exploited. >> thank you. the release also says that the children were recovered, and i wonder what does that mean. so what will happen with the children? er. >> as part of the operation cross-country the folks i call the angels of the fbi. victim specialists they are deeply involved in the operation to make sure those kids get either reunited with their families or so many come from noter care. >> right. >> about they get in a new placement, a healthier placement, a lot of them need medical attention right away. and that's what that is meant by that. to get that child to a place where they are cared for either by their biological family or placement in a foster family. >> in addition to medical attention, they certainly need a tremendous amount of therapy.
3:48 pm
i think it's important in the future i would appreciate it if you would lift up where they were saying that they were referring to the child molesters. it's important we call it correctly and that we focus on that. in addition, i would also like to know if the fbi tracks the number of children that are in foster care. we know a large percentage of these kids are in foster care, but there's not a lot of documentation. do you have documentation that could give us some numbers? >> i think we do. our intelligence analysts have done some good work on that front. i'm a foster parent, so they know it's a passion of mine. >> i didn't know that. >> and so i think we could equip you with at least some of our thinking on it as we do this work. >> i would like to follow up with your office and get that data. i'd also like to commend you for innocence lost task force, and i'd like to know if there's more
3:49 pm
we can be doing to assist your efforts in innocence loss. i work with them in the los angeles area. you have been in the leadership of bringing different sectors of law enforcement together to understand this problem and address it. >> i appreciate your interest in it. i will ask my staff to think about ways in which we might get more help. we appreciate the offer. >> thank you, and i yield back my time. >> i thank the gentlewoman. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. director, it's great to have you here. i have heard from constituents about the refugee program and its impact on idaho. as refugee admissions is increasing, there's growing concern that bad actors are not being caught in the vetting process and are gaining admission alongside refugees living in fear. i'm an advocate of refugee programs, i think it's a good thing to have refugee programs but there's a lot of misconceptions out there and a lot of real fear about the people that are coming into the
3:50 pm
united states. this congress has an obligation to ensure the process is working correctly in protecting our national security. numerous times including the p year including yesterday, both the fbi assistant director for counterterrorism division, michael steinberg and yourself have testified about the vetting of syrian refugees. on october 18 you testified you were concerned about certain gaps in the data available to the fbi and yesterday you testified that the fbi can only query what has been previously collected which is obvious. can you please explain the security gaps that exist for purposes of conducting full and thorough background checks on foreign nationals who are seeking to be resettled as
3:51 pm
refugees of the united states? >> certainly. thank you, mr. labrador. >> we learned from less than accurate screening of iraqi refugees. we learned some folks we let in were serious actors we had to lock up after we figured out who they were. we have gotten much better as an intelligence committee at joining our off forts in a way that gives us high confidence. if we have a record on somebody, it will surface. that's the good news. the bad news, as we talked about earlier, with iraqi refugees, we had an opportunity for many more encounters, we had fingerprints, iris scans even though we've gotten better.
3:52 pm
someone only alerts as a result of our searches if we have some record on them. that's the challenge we face. >> is it accurate to state the lack of intelligence available on the ground in syria is rendering our traditional data back biographic and bio metric checks abc late. >> i wouldn't agree obsolete. but we have a less robust data set dramatically than with iraq. it will be different. >> the fbi has repeatedly contrasted the united states ability to collect intelligence on the ground in iraq with its ability to do so in syria. what can the fbi do to improve refugee security checks with no available intelligence? >> that's a hard one. what we can do is make sure whatever is available figures into our review. how do you generate failed in l intelligence -- >> are you currently working
3:53 pm
with the intelligence community to try to fix this problem? >> certainly. everyone is trying to mitigate the risk buy querying well and finding additional sources of information so we can check against it. >> recognizing that isis and syria, and that there is a risk that bad actors may attempt to take advantage of this administration's commitment to bring at least 10,000 syrian refugees into the united states over the next year, can you estimate the manpower and resources that will need to be diverted from other investigative programs to address this threat. >> i'm not able to do that sitting here. >> how can i ensure my constituents that the people that may come to idaho are safe, that they're not terrorists, that the people in my community are going to be safe? >> on behalf of the fbi, you can assure them that if there's
3:54 pm
information available, we have evaluated it. >> i understand that if we have the information. the problem is we don't have most of the information on these people. is that true? >> i can't offer anybody any absolute assurance that there is no risk associated with this. >> thank you very much. i yield back my time. >> i thank the gentleman, recognize ms. del benet. >> thank you, director comey, for being here and your service. i know as acting ag you demonstrated a commitment to the fourth amendment and protecting america's privacy despite pressure to do otherwise. you mentioned in your original testimony and in other comments that the rule of law and the fourth amendment is the spine of the fbi. so i appreciate that commitment. i'd like to ask you questions about the fbi's use of aircraft. the fbi deployed aircraft over ferguson last year in response
3:55 pm
to request from local law enforcement. is that correct? >> yes. >> does the fbi respond to these types of requests frequently? >> thank goodness there aren't the kind of turmoil and pain in communities frequently. but sure, if local law enforcement looks for help, we will get that help. we've done it in baltimore and in ferguson as i recall. >> what criteria have to be met for the fbi to send aerial resources to assist local law enforcement or who makes that decision? >> it's made at a fairly high level in the fbi. i think at the special agent in charge office, at least at the field office, has to go through a variety of checks. >> what are the criteria used to make that decision? >> i think it has to be part of an open investigation of ours or part of an open assistant to law
3:56 pm
enforcement matter. we can get you the particulars of our poll seechlt as you know, the bureau has a policy for everything. there's a series of steps that have to be walked through to make sure it's part of either an open case of ours or it's a legitimate open assistant to law enforcement matter. >> thank you. i'd appreciate that information. your staff also acknowledged that the fbi, quote, routinely uses aviation assets in support of predicated investigations targeting specific individuals and when requested, an appropriate and supportive state and local law enforcement. end quote. why is it so important to stress this distinction when it appears it's kind of a more generalized type of surveillance? >> the distinction? >> the distinction that you have and the feedback from your staff, that you use aviation assets in support of predicated investigations targeting specific individuals when in
3:57 pm
these cases of local law enforcement, et cetera, it seems to be more generalized type of surveillance? >> i think we're just trying to see how we use it. we don't fly planes around america looking down trying to figure out if somebody might be doing something wrong. the overwhelming use of our aircraft is a pilot flies as part of an investigation to help us follow a spy, a terrorist or a criminal. with local law enforcement, if there is tremendous turbulence in a community, it's useful to everybody to have a view of what's going on, where the fires in this community, where are people gathering? sometimes the best view of that is above rather than trying to look from a car on the street. >> do you feel warrants are necessary when you're targeting specific individuals, especially when you have aircraft equipped with new technologies like high resolution camera? >> i don't think so. i meant what i said about the
3:58 pm
fourth amendment. we're not collecting the content of anybody's communication, not engaging in anything besides following someone. we've done it since the wright brothers with planes. we do it in cars and we do it on foot. the law is pretty clear that you don't need a warrant for that sort of observation. >> now that there are technology changes, i think even in the most recent case, florida versus riley was 1989, there has been a lot of changes in technology. it's not just what u you might see with the human eye. are there other types of technologies and do you think warrant standards should be in place when you have that type of technology in use on these aircraft? >> i suppose if you're putting technology on an fbi aircraft that had fourth amendment implicatio implications, that is, it was reaching someone's communications or looking in a dwelling or something like that, it would have fourth amendment implications. but that's not what we use the aircraft for. >> what led to the decision to
3:59 pm
seek court orders when aircraft are equipped with stingray technology. >> i think we have one aircraft that we can put stingray technology on, self-site simulators. >> if we're going to be operating a cell site simulator, we get a warrant for that. whether that's on the ground or in the air, we treat it the same way. >> do you feel you're required by law to do that? >> i think we made that move before there was even a divide among opinions. some courts said you need it for that. some not. we went nationwide with a requirement for warrants. there's been no national decision on that, no supreme court level decision on that. but we think given some courts are requiring it, we do it across the country. >> thank you. my time has expired.
4:00 pm
>> thank you gentlewoman. i now recognize mr. buck for five minutes. >> good morning, director comey. >> good morning. >> do you remember mr. cohen's questions about renaming the fbi headquarters building earlier? >> yes. >> i appreciate your response that we have to look at things through the lens of history. i wanted to ask you about a few other historical figures and see if there were any other fbi buildings naeld after some of these folks. former democrat senator rob berd bid of west virginia was a member of the kkk, he was a recruiter for the kkk and he held leadership positions with the kkk. the state capitol in charleston, west virginia is named after senator bid. the united states courthouse in beckley, west virginia is named
4:01 pm
after mr. bid. and the federal correction institution is named after mr. byrd. my question is do you know of any fbi buildings named after senator byrd? >> i don't know. i don't know if we have folks sitting in the courthouse. i don't know sitting here. >> former democratic president woodrow wilson resegregated the entire government including the armed forces, held a showing of the movie "birth of a nation" at the white house and went so far as to praise it in spite of calls by the naacp to ban it. "birth of a nation" was subsequently used as a recruiting tool for the ku klux klan. there is a bridge leading in and out of washington, d.c. named after mr. wilson. do you know of any buildings that the fbi occupies or predominantly owns that are
4:02 pm
named after president wilson? >> i don't. >> former president lyndon baines johnson was fond of using the n word, used it in the white house, used it while he was senate majority leader and used it in many other public settings. many federal buildings are named after him. are there any fbi buildings named after president johnson? >> i don't know. >> lastly, president truman wrote to his soon-to-be wife the following words. i think one man is just as good as another, so long as he's not an n word or a chinaman. again, many buildings named after president truman. i'm wondering any fbi buildings named after president truman? >> i don't know, sir. and last after last, democratic
4:03 pm
senator richard russell was also a member of the ku klux klan. there is a senate building named after senator russell. i assume there are at least to your knowledge no fbi buildings named after senator russell? >> i don't know. i don't think so, but i don't know. >> and my last statement i guess would be that perhaps congress should clean up its own act in naming buildings before it asks the fbi to -- without the lens of history, to try to rename buildings. i yield back my time. >> i thank the gentleman and recognize mr. celine any for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you director comey for your service and for coming before the committee today and sharing your valuable insights. thank you also to the extraordinary men and women who serve the bureau and keep our
4:04 pm
country safe. many of us expressed our sincere concerns and condolences following the recent mass shooting in roseburg, oregon, where nine innocent men and women lost their lives, many of us shared the same sentiments following similar events in lafayette or newtown and blacksburg. as more and more americans lose their lives to senseless violence, they have failed to act. i would like to ask you to help us find the guts necessary to take necessary action. first, i want to draw your attention to the shooting which occurred at the emanuel church in south carolina. following the shooting you ordered the fbi to conduct an internal review of policies and procedures surrounding background checks for weapons purchases. my first we is did that review occur and what were the findings of that review. >> thank you, congressman. the review did occur. i asked my folks to do a 30-day
4:05 pm
examination. two things came out of that. first, it confirmed the facts as i understood them. there were no facts with respect to dylann roof's purchase that changed. and also internal, it highlighted for us that maybe we can surge resources and technology to try and reduce the number of gun sales that are held in the delayed pending status longer than three days. that work is under way. secondly, i get better and more timely records from state and local law enforcement about the disposition of people's arrests so our examiners have good records to make a judgment on. and those conversations are on going. >> so those are the two areas i'd like to discuss. as you well know, the current law requires that if a request to purchase a firearm is made, background check is initiated, the fbi has three days to respond. if no response is provided, then the gun dealer is able to sell
4:06 pm
the weapon. my understanding is the fbi continues to review anyway, even if it's beyond the three days. that information is conveyed to the goon dealer. if that person is disqualified in buying a gun, what does the fbi do? you now know a sale has occurred, or do you know a sale has occurred and do you take action? >> yes. if after the three-day window the gun is transferred and then the examiners discover the disqualifying information, my recollection is -- and if i'm wrong, we'll fix this -- a notice is sent both to local law enforcement in that jurisdiction and to the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms so they can retrieve the firearm from the prohibited person. >> i would like to work with you. i'm not sure that's the practice. i think notice goes to atf but i don't believe it goes to the gun dealer or local law enforcement. i would very much like to work
4:07 pm
with you on that. the second issue is how do we incentivize, require, encourage local law enforcement to actually use the system. that system is only as god as the information that's in it. have you done an analysis of what states participate, where the deficiencies are or things we could do or that congress could do to help ensure that more states are providing them from providing disqualifying information so at a bare minimum, we're keeping guns from people who shouldn't have them under law. >> the mass murder in charleston was an event that i think caused a lot of folks in local law enforcement, state law enforcement to focus on this question. as i said, there's a whole lot of conversation going on and we're pushing out training to state and local law enforcement to explain to them what we need and why we need it in a timely
4:08 pm
fashi fashion. i don't have, as i sit here, any knowledge as to how congress might help. when they see pain in a situation like dylann roof, they want to be better. i will get back to you if i have ideas for how congress can help. >> as you well know, director, we can't require participation with a nick system as a result of a supreme court decision. but we ought to be able to create serious incentives or maybe penalties that fail to furnish that information. as a result of that information not being in the nick system, people are buying guns who would be otherwise disqualified if that information were known. i look forward to working with you on that. it should be an urgent national priority. i thank you for the work you're doing. i yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, for five minutes. >> my father is a georgia state trooper for 30-plus years.
4:09 pm
i appreciate your commitment to law enforcement. i do have some quick questions that i wanted to go back -- one has to do with an advisory dealing with credit cards and the chip issue. for consumer praud, new credit cards equipped with the chip are still vulnerable to identity theft and the use of p.i.n. in addition to the chip would be better. within 24 hours that advicery was taken down. a few days later, issued an advisory. it's my understanding, canada, australia, encourage the p.i.n. authorization because it has a lower fraud rate. my question would be, does fbi consider p.i.n. a more authentic verification over signature? >> i think fbi in general would say p.i.n. and chip is more
4:10 pm
secure than p.i.n. and signature. our folks put out the public service announcement. it was -- most merchants don't have the ability to accommodate the p.i.n. and chip. the worry was that was going to start a lot of confusion. >> many places, you go and use a swipe machine. many have the debit cards which is already there for the p.i.n. i've gotten broken into using the chip. i'm still learning to do that, but the keypad is right there above it. i'm not sure i follow your answer there that the technology is available. if the keypad is there to input
4:11 pm
a number. >> i don't know. what i've been told by my folks is it's available in some places, but not widely available in the united states. if i'm wrong, we'll correct t t that. >> i rarely find one that is swipe and no keypad. i think the concern came among many that there's also an issue, because as a business owner myself, i paid different fees depending on how i did it. if someone used a credit card versus a debit card. i'm wondering could that have been an issue. because using the p.i.n. typically is a different fee. was that possibly taken into account as the reason for the
4:12 pm
removal and changed to say it's not as worrisome as we first thought? >> i think that could be the reason, if i'm right, the equipment is not widely available, that people don't have an economic incentive to change. that was not a factor in why we withdrew the public service announcement. we withdrew it because our concern was we're going to confuse people rolling into places saying where is the chip and p.i.n. it isn't widely available. >> like everything, there's a lot of time -- i think the concern here is we deal in -- it seems like at least in my opinion we're saying there is a better way. we're not going to encourage that. we're going to let the status quo -- just a question. we talked about e-mail privacy which i have a great interest
4:13 pm
in. basically the 180-day distinction in current law is something we talked about. you said you use a warrant in all cases. former judges say requiring law enforcement from obtaining a warrant from a court does not prevent law enforcement from doing its job. would you agree? >> i think by and large that's true. i think it poses unique challenges for our colleagues at that time sec regarding fraud. i think at a general level, s e sure. >> some of the agencies, if they want it or like it or not, i think from a warrant standpoint, this is something they could use that they could go through normal means. i think that's the concern that
4:14 pm
many of us have. there's time for other questions. the hacking issues with opm in china. just a quick question. from the fbi's perspective, have we trace thad and confirmed chinese hackers stole this data on the opm? >> i have with high confidence an understanding of who did it but am not able to discuss it in an open forum. >> with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman and now recognize mr. jeffries for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair and thank you director comey for your presence here today and of course your great service to this country. i think you testified earlier today in your belief as to efficacy of mandatory minimums. is that kprekt? >> yes. i think i said they were a useful tool in my years as a prosecutor. >> can you elaborate whether you
4:15 pm
believe mandatory minimums in light of the explosion of the united states prison population, particular relative to every other developed country in the world is still a relevant law enforcement tool? >> i think it is. i'm not in position by expertise and shouldn't offer a view on whether it ought to be ten years or five years. i think the certainty of punishment is a useful tool in fighting crime. and in the ab sense of mandatory guidelines, that comes in the form of a mandatory minimum. that's about as far as i have the expertise and the position to go. >> is your view anchored in the fact that many prosecutors have articulated the position that in the absence of mandatory minimums, they don't have the same club by which to solicit cooperation and perhaps obtain plea bargains. would that be part of your view? >> yeah. in comparing my experience with the state system, again, in my experience as a prosecutor, did not have the tools to elicit
4:16 pm
cooperation like we did. that's not a view on whether it ought to be this or ought to be that. i don't have the expertise or not in a position to offer a view on that. some certainty of punishment absent cooperation is very valuable in eliciting cooperation. >> there have been studies that show that in crimes that don't have mandatory minimums, the conviction rates are higher than those where mandatory minimums do exist. i think that's part of the reason why ideologically diverse group of individuals on both the left and the right, including the heritage foundation which said there's no evidence that mandatory minimums reduce crime, have questioned their continued need at least in its current form. can you comment on sort of the explosion of the united states prison population? when the war on drugs began in the late, early 1970s, we had less than 350,000 people
4:17 pm
incarcerated in america. currently that number is in excess of 2.3 million. we've got 5% of the world's population, 25% of the incarcerated individuals in the world are here in the united states of america. many of us believe it creates a competitive disadvantage for us going forward. in addition to the damage it does to the social fabric of many communities. could you comment as to the mass incarceration phenomenon that exists in america and what, if anything, you think should be done about it from a public safety standpoint? >> sure. i struggle with the word mass incarceration. it conveys a sense that people were locked up en masse. everyone was individual, everyone had a judge, everyone had to be proven guilty. there's no doubt a whole lot of people are locked up in one respect. in 2014, america was far safer than it was when i was born in 1960. i think a big part of that
4:18 pm
change, as a result of which a whole lot of people were alive today wouldn't be, is due to law enforcement. i'm of a view that, yes, we can reform our criminal justice system. it can be better in a lot of ways. we ought to reform it with an eye on where we used to be and how we got back to here because i wouldn't want to give back to our children and grandchildren the america we lived in in the '70s, '80s and '90s. i believe we can be better in a whole lot of ways that we probably don't have time to talk about. >> i think it's thoughtful for us to be -- i grew up amid the -- obviously no one wants to return to that. in all 17 states that have cut their incarceration rates, they've experienced declining crime over the past decade. it seems there's room empirically based on the data
4:19 pm
for real discussion as to how to get the balance correct. i gather you share that view. i appreciate your willingness to continue in a dialogue for us to get the benefit of your views as we move forward toward criminal justice reform. >> thank you. happy to. >> thank you. i yield back. >> may i be recognized as a point of professional courtesy. i made a mistake and wanted to correct it. i was wrong when i said senator vanned burg's son committed suicide. it was senator hayes. his son was arrested in lafayette park, but that was mccarthy after him. so write church, wrong pew. >> i recognize mr. desantos?
4:20 pm
>> good afternoon, dr. comey. i noticed companies have been notifying customers -- i think particularly for child pornography investigations this may be an issue. do you think that's something that could hamper investigations? >> i do. it's something i've been hearing more and more about over my two years on this job from prosecutors aware of that. >> the president has a plan to bring over a lot of people from the civil war in syria, tens of thousands, perhaps as many as 100,0 100,000. can we vet them? if not, isn't it just a fact that some of those people will be contributing to some of the home grown terrorism we have in this country? >> thank you for the question. it's a very important issue we've talked a little bit about here today. we can vet them.
4:21 pm
the challenge is we can only vet against data that's been collected with respect to a person. the information we had for iraq was much richer than what we'll have for syria. >> you can't call the damascus police department and get files. >> you got it. >> there's a problem here potentially, and i know it's going to fall on you to defend the american people once some of these individuals come into the country. it's just something i'm concerned with. there's been talk about reforming sentencing. is it your view -- people will say drug offenses are non-violent offenses. particularly when they get in the federal system, trafficking for instance, is it fair to say they're non-violent? >> i guess each case is different. in my experience, anyone part of a trafficking organization is part of an organization that has violence all through it and whether you're a mill worker or a runner or lookout or enforcer,
4:22 pm
you're part of something suffocating a community. i have a hard time characterizing drug organizations in any respect as non-violent. >> in terms of the drop in crime you alluded to, is part of that simply because there have been stiffer sentences so habitual criminals are incapacitated and off the streets and therefore communities are safer. >> i believe that's a big part and most experts believe it's a big part of the historic reduction we've seen in crime over my career. >> with respect to individual offenses, i know there's been discussion about mishandling of classified information. one, does the fbi keep records of all the investigations related to each offense of the criminal code? >> i don't know that it's searchable by each 06 fence implicated by an investigation. if the case was charged, it would be reflected in sentinel, but i don't think every possible
4:23 pm
charge. >> in other words, we know every mishandling of classified information offense, we can look that up. that gets brought by the u.s. attorney. we don't know whether the u.s. attorney declined x number of cases pertaining to that? >> i think that's correct. i also don't know with what clarity or records would reflect if there were a number of potential violations in a case, whether it would be clear from our case files that it was that. >> i understood. >> in terms of handling classified information, there's been stuff in the press about, well, something needs to be marked classified. is your understanding of the u.s. code that if i were to send classified information over an unsecure system, the fact it was not marked classified, does that mean i have not committed the offense? >> that one, as i did with chairman goodlatte, i prefer not to an sefrmt trying to make sure that given a matter we have under investigation relating to
4:24 pm
that topic, i sf i start commenting on things that might touch it, i worry i might jeopardize that. >> i think that's an admirable posture, one you've sloan throughout your career. how does, when the president of the united states renders a judgment about a specific case saying there's no, for example, national security damage if certain information has been disclosed, how does that help the investigation or does it hurt the investigation? >> the fbi is honest, competent and independent. we follow the facts, only the facts. all we care about are the facts. >> i hope that that's -- i have no doubt that that will be how you conduct yourself. i just hope as you guys do your work as it moves on to other aspects of our system, that it's based on the merits of the cain every instance and not political
4:25 pm
edicts on high. appreciate your time. i yield back. >> i now recognize ms. sheila jackson lee for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you. director, thank you so very much. you appeared yesterday in front of the homeland security committee and added a great deal of insight. so i'd like to not pursue a line of questioning but hope to have an opportunity to meet with you on something we began discussing yesterday which is sieper security and the whole hole it plays as really an almost call it another figure if you will, another entity in this scheme of terrorism. i am a ranking member of the subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security investigations. and with my ranking member and chairman, we're looking to be responsible in addressing, i believe, issues in the criminal justice system and somewhat overlap i
4:26 pm
overlapping the question in this committee. let me start with a question that i think i introduced in the record yesterday, the no fly for foreign fighters. we heard testimony that indicated the numbers might be going down. then i had a number in my notes there was 250, approximately, americans who left to the foreign fight and may be coming back. the thing that i would say to you is that we must always be prepar prepared. the scenario of 9/11 was one we had never imagined before. we never imagined an airplane being used as a torpedo. we imagine hijackings, we lived through that. we never imagined. most times imagination comes with disney world. i know this is a very serious posture. we want to hopefully, any extra tool that we can give you with
4:27 pm
respect to refining and defining the lists that you have, to make sure we have every potential -- not every potential, but every foreign fighter. would that be helpful to you? >> yes. we want to make sure the list is comprehensive. if we could get every foreign fighter on there, that would be great. >> if we have this legislation which is to add extra tools to ensure that that list is a vetted and a well updated list, would that be helpful? >> i don't know the legislation, but the goal i share to have a complete, updated, vetted list. >> i appreciate that very much. let me move now to guns. i don't want to put words in your mouth, but i imagine -- let me say i served as a municipal court judge. i would see officers all the time, particularly see them under cover. with a little smile on my face i would have to say, who are you? obviously dealing with some of the matters in local government
4:28 pm
they were in tough places and had to look that way as well. i recognize the dangers our officers face. we had a horrific tragedy in our community in houston. we recently lost an officer in new york, and we lose officers as we do with others who are impacted by guns, the 11-year-old who is a child who shot an 8-year-old over a dog, and another youngster, 3 years old, that had a gun this weekend and found it. we never can imagine the ability of our children. i ask you the question why law enforcement is not our biggest champi champion, not on gun control, i call it gun safety regulation, not on diminishing the second amendment. i call it responsibly handling weapons.
4:29 pm
who would want to lose a 4-year-old in a drive-by shooting because someone had a gun we've introduced legislation and you might want to comment on this in particular, that gives you an extended period of time on this gun check situation which was one of the horrible situations in the south carolina nine, where you were doing your work, or the system was doing its work, but since you weren't heard from, they just sent -- allowed this gentleman to get a gun and kill nine people. can you answer? we have a number of legislative -- members of congress don't want anything to do with taking away your gun, but regulate the safety int infrastructu infrastructure. i've introduced legislation to keep guns away from children. mr. director, in your dealing with law enforcement, there's more guns in the united states
4:30 pm
than people, the impact on your work. my last thing before you go, a number of church fires. we keep ignoring it. there was a series of them before. would you comment on the fbi's work they're doing? if the chairman will indulge me, i'd appreciate it. if you take this name down, robby tolan who was killed on his front porch, not a porch a cement driveway of his home. excuse me. let me apologize to his mother. he was wounded and still lives with the bullet in his liver. and the disappointing aspect is that it was an officer who mistook him as an african-american male as a stolen car. he was in his mother's car going
4:31 pm
home to his house in houston, texas, a small city called bel air. my question is, for you to look into what further fbi investigation could go into this case. i would appreciate, mr. chairman, if you would allow him to answer the question. >> thank you, ms. jackson-lee. i will certainly look into it. the last matter, with respect to church fires, we have not ignored them. our agents are investigating a number of church fire incidents around the country. we have not found patterns and connections that connect to our civil rights enforcement work. but we are continuing to work on it. with respect to guns, the people in the fbi care deeply about trying to stop gun violence. what the bureau does not do is get involved in the public policy legal questions because our job is to enforce the law. we leave to it the department of justice to make recommendations as to what the law should be. i think that's a place where it
4:32 pm
makes sense to be. we are passionate about trying to enforce the law about bad guys of all kinds especially in our cities where gun violence, especially gang related gun violence is a plague of the nation. >> he was shaking his head saying yes. >> guns in the hands of criminals endanger all of us, including law enforcement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i think all of us would agree with that. director comey, i'll recognize myself for five minutes for questions. i want to thank you for being here. many people here in the committee have recognized your unbiased attitude toward enforcing the law as it's written and i think that speaks very highly of you. i've been impressed with the co-genesee and clarity of your testimony. i think commitment to independent enforcement of the
4:33 pm
law is a genuine and sincere conviction on your part. director comey, let me -- the department of justice has investigated past allegations of possible violations, and i know you've touched on this subject before, so forgive me for rehashing it. possible violations of the partial birth abortion ban act. indeed, in a letter dated august 4th, 2015, responding to this it in tea's request for an investigation of possible violations of the partial birth abortion ban act by planned parenthood, the department of justice stated, quote, since the inception of the partial birth abortion act, the department has investigated allegations at health facilities related to possible violations of that law. is there any current investigation by the fbi related
4:34 pm
to planned parenthood and the footage released by the center for medical progress at this time that you know of? >> as i said in response to an earlier question, i will get back to yu and let you know. as i sit here now, i don't have a strong enough grasp of where that stands. i do know letters were sent to the department of justice. i have to figure out exactly where we are and i can get back to you. >> as far as you know, even apart from the planned parenthood videos, do you know of any partial birth abortion investigation has taken place? >> i don't know enough to answer that well right here. >> i would appreciate that last part being included in any response you have. obviously there's some of us that think the rule of law applies to these little ones that have so little ability to protect themselves as well.
4:35 pm
let me shift gears on you. i know there's been several questions today dealing with gun violence. i agree be your last statement about we want to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and it's vital for the safety of and sake of the public that we do that. there are those of us that would ask law enforcement, do we think it would be wise to take the hands out of law enforcement. almost no one would suggest that. we believe, at least i do, guns in the hands of properly trained fbi agents is a protection to the public. from my perspective, that would suggest it's not just the guns, it's whose hands they're in. it's hard to make a case that if they're on the one hand, a protected measure, the hands of police officers, there's something that can protect and deter or prevent or interdict violence, that they're a good thing and all of us from almost every spectrum of political
4:36 pm
consideration would suggest that. then the obvious reason response becomes that it is indeed the guns but whose hands they're in. my question to you is how do we separate the argument so we're doing everything we can to prevent those who have lost their second amendment rights, who have demonstrated violence towards society or some issue with mental illness, how do we deal with that while still leaving intact the right to own and bare arms by those who follow the law and protect themselves and sometimes even protect officers of the law? >> i think, congressman, that's a question for others including congress. the fbi's role is such that i think it's very important that that not be a conversation, debate, that we participate in
4:37 pm
because we don't make policy for the american people. the american people tell us what they think the law should be, how to solve these hard problems and we will enforce the law. i think that's critical for us remaining, the three things i said, honest, competent, independent. so honestly, it's just not a conversation i think the fbi should participate in professionally. >> well, that's a very reasonable answer. i hope we can do that. i think it will make your job easier and it will augment the great work you do for the country. with that, i'm going to end my question time. do we have any --? yes, we do. i'm sorry. mr. bishop recognized for five minutes. flying under radar there. >> i did. director, i was here earlier. i apologize for stepping out. i want to begin by thanking you for what you and your entire
4:38 pm
team does because what you do on a daily basis is something that most of us don't even know about. we can't comprehend and you keep us safe and we're grateful for what you do. on behalf of my family, my constituents, my state, my nation, i'm very grateful to you and your entire department. i wanted to tell you that. i admire your testimony today and thank you for your candor. you've been here forever taking a lot of questions. i thought maybe i'd ask you about syrian refugees and what we're seeing. my state of michigan is a huge hub for those of middle eastern descent. there's concern about the onslaught of refugees to our country. i apologize if you've answered this question. i would like to ask you what do we know, how do we vet these refugees coming to our country?
4:39 pm
is there a way to do it that we can rely upon. my office does a lot of immigration work. we work with those who are attempting to immigrate legally every day and we help them anyway we can to try to jump through the hoops. it's very strange that we now have groups coming in and the way they are that really skip all those steps in between. i'm just wondering if you can share with me what your experience is and what you know about the process. >> it's a process i describe as good news and bad news. the good news is we have gotten as a country an intelligence community in particular, much better at organizing ourselves so we get a complete picture of what we know about somebody. we learn some lessons from iraqi refugees eight years ago or so. so we've gotten better at querying our holdings. if there's a ripple this person has created in our pond, i'm confident that we will see it
4:40 pm
and be able to evaluate it. the bad news is we have less data with folks coming out of syria than we did out of iraq. so the risk is that someone who is a blank slate to us will be vetted by us in a process that's efficient and complete, but will show no sign of anything because they've never crossed our vay dar screen. that's why i describe it as a process that's gotten a lot better but we can't tell you is risk-free. >> as time goes on, the process you're going through will be more apparent to the american people. i say that because there are a lot of folks in my state who are very concerned. that level of unknown, of not understanding the process has caused a little panic across the district. the more we can hear, the more we understand what the process is. we remember the iraqi refugees
4:41 pm
in the state of michigan, especially in my area in southeast michigan. so appreciate your on going communication on how that's going. i want to switch gears with you real quick. i've had the pleasure of working with youth serving organizations in my drichlkt i know at least one of those organizations is here today represented. it's important work they do in the community. i've spoken to some of them about the importance of keeping their kids safe, and one of the ways they do that is getting background checks. it ensures so many different ways of fostering a safe environment. it's really an issue i feel very deeply about. i have kids of my own. can you talk about the value of including national fbi fingerprint background checks as part of the comprehensive screening of staff and val tears? there are so many that are right there with our children and we
4:42 pm
know the fbi background checks is the gold standard of the process. can you share a little bit about how we can promote that and encourage that? >> yes, thank you, congressman. we've actually been doing a pilot program on that topic at our criminal justice information systems operation which i do believe is the gold standard. you're right. so anybody who wants to ensure that people in contact with children or in any other sensitive position have been checked out, the best way to do it is working with us so we can query our holdings. as an exciting new feature as part of identification we're developing something called wrap back, if you query somebody as a day care provider, if they're ever again get arrested, you'll get notified. that's been the problem in the past, people are clear when they first go in, but get arrested
4:43 pm
five years down the road. i very much glee with your sentiment. >> did you say rap back, rap back. >> if someone develops a rap sheet -- >> that's the connotation. thank you very much for your time. appreciate all your testimony today. with that i yield back. >> i apologize for missing him the first time. i now recognize mr. rat cliff for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey, good to see you a second day in a row. i want to ask you a couple of cyber security issues. before we do that, i do want to follow up from a question i asked you about the homeland security committee yesterday. we had a brief exchange about the president's decision to take in 10,000 syrian refugees over the next year. as we talked about that's a 500 or 600% increase over prior
4:44 pm
years. i indicated to you that humanitarian concerns aside, i was troubled with respect to national security, the national security aspects of it as you're hearing from many of my colleagues here particularly because isis has said that it would use or try to use the refugee process to get into the united states and further to that point, as you've testified, our own databases don't have information on some of these individuals. so there are gaps of intelligence there. so we had a discussion about that figure of 10,000 yesterday. i guess if you had been the sole decider on that issue, what figure would you have recommended to the president? >> i don't know. i'm pleased to say it's not my job to recommend that to the president. i just don't know. >> i understand that. i know the fbi is not a policy making body with respect to that issue, but as you recall, we had
4:45 pm
a discussion and i asked secretary johnson the same th g thing, and he assured me that there was an interagency process, but i guess what i'm trying to get at was, is this a figure that the administration presented to you and said meet the security obligations that come with this, or was this part of a process where there was actually input from folks like you that should be providing input on what that number would be? >> i think there was plenty of input from the fbi and other parts of the intelligence community. the good news and the bad news, i don't know and don't recall, and don't know i could say if i did recall, how a number came up. it wouldn't have come from the fbi. i just don't know. >> okay. you understand the concern that we would hope these decisions were driven by intelligence
4:46 pm
rather than political reasons or pressures from our european allies or other folks around the world. so that's why i ask the question. but turning to cyber security, and i chair the subcommittee on cyber at homeland. in testimony you said -- i want to make sure i get this right -- an element of virtually every national security threat and crime problem the fbi faces is cyber based or facilitated. i want that to sink in for everyone because it's such an important point for us to consider in our oversight of the f fbi. i think it speaks to the gravity of the issue here that you're seeing a cyber element to almost every national security threat and crime problem. aside from the encryption issue which i heard you -- i've had the opportunity to hear you talk about in the past, what are the major challenges that you face in detecting and prosecuting cybercrime right now at the fbi? >> thank you for that question,
4:47 pm
and thank you for your interest in that issue and your leadership there. two big issues are getting the right folks and the right equipment. inry verse order, the bad guys have very sophisticated equipment. if we're going to be good at responding to all the threats we're responsible for, we have to make sure we have world class systems. we have to have great people to operate them and that's a challenge when we're facing a cyber security industry that will pay young folks a lot of dough to go work in the private sector. we compete on mission. i tell people you're not going to make much of a living, you're going to make a great life. i hope that convinces their family. that's our focus. >> ter rick. the issue of insider threats has been described at least by some as the greatest threat to businesses that operate in cyberspace. we all saw the scale of that threat with respect to edward snowden. i know that the department of
4:48 pm
justice has asked congress for clarity on the law in this area, for assistance in prosecuting access to sensitive data. >> questions and concerns about their legislative authorities on that front. i don't think i can offer anything useful there. >> my time has expired. like everyone else, i want to express my thanks. of course, i had the opportunity to work for you both when you were the acting attorney general and as the deputy attorney general, and because of that i have great confidence in you and i am grateful for your continued service and comforted by the fact that you're in the director's chair and you're the person making such important
4:49 pm
decisions about our nation's security. thank you. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. >> i would just take a moment to echo those comments. with 7-year-old children we're grateful people like you are on the job. this would conclude today's hearing. thanks to our distinguished witness for attending. thank the audience here, grateful to all of you for being here. without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witness or additional materials for the record. with that, thank you again, director comey. this hearing is adjourned.
4:50 pm
the house veterans affairs committee will be hearing from subpoenaed witnesses today on alleged misuse of veterans affairs department program to relocate workers. live coverage on c-span2. >> all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states, give their attention. >> this week on c-span's landmark cases, we'll discuss the historic skosht case upreme
4:51 pm
of schenck. patriotism was high, some forms of criticism of the government were a federal offense. charles schenck, general secretary, handed out and mailed leaflets against the draft. >> this is the flyer produced by charles schenck. 15,000 copies were produced and the point was to encourage bhoen were liable for the draft not to register. the language in the flyer is particularly fiery. equate conscription with slavery and calls on every citizen of the united states to resist conscription laws. >> he was arrested, tried, found guilty under the recently enacted espionage act, he appealed and the case went to directly to the supreme court. find out how the court ruled, weighing issues of clear and present danger and freedom of speech, guests include attorney general thomas goldstein, and
4:52 pm
beverly gauge, professor of history at yale university. that's coming up on the next landmark cases, live tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. for background on each case, while you watch, order your copy of the landmark cases' companion book $8.95 plus shipping, c-span.org/landmark cases. >> tell us about this meeting yesterday. what was the motivation for republicans to meet? what happened? >> sure, the meeting summed up well, which is debate last week in boulder, colorado, broadcast on cnbc a total debacle, total mess. before that the debates were ones that upset republicans. ve have bn /* haven't been happy. not happy with the way the
4:53 pm
debates have gone and they blame them largely, blame them largely on the rnc. ? why? because in rnc has taken on broader control terms of negotiating format and content in moderators than they did in 2012. so to a large degree, a lot of the campaigns say the rnc has not been effective in negotiating on their behalf. >> if any changes happen, they have to happen fairly soon. remind our viewers of the schedule of the republican debate, they're a week from tomorrow. is their next debate. they will debate in milwaukee in a debate hosted by fox business and by "wall street journal" and then december 15th hosted by cnn and salem. >> that's right. the changes that were agreed upon yesterday evening at this meet, held in old town
4:54 pm
alexandria hotel, old town, will take effect after the next debate. they will begin to impact debates after that. that will be first fun in december. >> we're asking viewers how they would change the gop debates. and going forward, what do we know of how the candidates would like to change their debates? >> well, every candidate wants something a little bit difficult, for the most part. there is agreement upon campaigns and these were things they agreed pop yesterday that all debates should no longer be than two hours, all candidates should get equal number of questions, and that all candidates should have the unit to give opening and closing statements. but there are some things that some candidates want and other candidates don't want. for example, one thing that came up in yesterday's meeting a lot of the undercard candidates, you
4:55 pm
know, candidates like bobby jindal, relegated to debates earlier in the evening, want there be one debate. they want everyone to be on the same stage pretty much. >> isn't that kind of a bit of the problem? there are a lot of candidates, perhaps more than we've ever seen, on -- in a presidential race at this stage? >> well, that's the problem, right? that's the problem with the whole process and that's partly why the rnc had lost so much control, which is you have so many different candidates and campaigns, that kind of want different things and it's hard to accommodate all on one stage. so that's really part of the problem here, which is the republican party lost control of this process because they're dealing with so many primary candidates. >> what will we hear next from the rnc? the next deadline? >> we hear the rnc largely is
4:56 pm
okay with a lot of the changes agreed to last night. one of the most dramatic changes is campaigns are going to be in charge of negotiating format issues directly with the rnc, directly with the networks broad cavitying the debate,s rather, and the rnc relegated to focusing much more on logistical issues. we hear the rnc, for the most part, okay with that but taking on a smaller role than it had in the past. >> alex isenstadt, politico, follow his reporting on twitter. thanks for the update on the meeting. >> thank you. >> next, discussion on ways to increase number of americans saving for retirement. financial specialists share their thoughts. the center for american progress hosted this event last week. >> please join they moo welcoming our second distinguished panel of the mornle shawn o'brien is
4:57 pm
assistant policy director for health and retirement at afl-cio. gary koenig vice president of economic and consumer security at arp public policy statute. diane oakley, executive director of the national institute of retirement security and eric rodriguez vice president of the office of research, advocacy and legislation at national council of larosa. thank you for being with us. er rick, there's a lot of discussion about the coming requirement crisis. but too often the related policy discussion seems to be missing. how do we get more attention for the economic struggles of older americans that takes into account the growing inadequacy of families' y retire saves. >> i've seen the debate around retirement security issues
4:58 pm
change and develop over that time. it used to be able to secure, you know, improvements in retirement savings in a couple of ways. one with a strong coalition of business, seniors' organizations and labor pushing through changes that were very important for workers. and as things had become more individualized, in terms of reliance of savings and retirement security it meant you had to change the way you think about advancing and advocating for changes, retirement savings, tools, products changes in the code. when we think about what we see on the horizon, there's a lot of great ideas out there. we'll talk about california, illinois, and other states there, i think what you're seeing is different and broader coalitions constituencies coming together really saying we need to do something about the savings and retirement situation that we have out there wipushin
4:59 pm
for changes in a broader way than before. one way constituencies and i think need to broaden the constituency support for what we need. the other, quite frankly, has been in major tax over hauls, you've had a situation where top is going to benefit tremendously from the outcome of the conversation and you have good government types who would say, shouldn't we be doing something for the low income? that's really what 2001 tax reform was about. that's how we got the child tax credit and expansions of the itc, in a debate like that where you didn't necessarily need a strong constituency push but needed smart people who knew how to get something done in an overall package. i thinkfulfundamentally that's and we have to bring more groups and organizations, individuals and workers to the table and that means broadening the constituently much well beyond what we're seeing today. >> gary, i'd like to bring you into this. we're in the midst of an election cycle set against the backdrop of fiscal constraints
5:00 pm
at the federal level, tax reform discussions are thought by many to be on the horizon and perhaps in the near future. and this could benefit retirement savings because, as we heard, savings incentives make up a large share of the tax code. as a new report issued today finds many of those incentives are overwhelmingly complex, hard to understand, and make it very difficult for workers to take advantage of them as a result. in addition, many are skewed in favor of higher income earnings. how can we get more retirement policy experts like yourself, like the folks we've had here today, to consider tax incentives as an area that they should care about and as one that's ripe for improvement? >> that's a very good question. one thing i would say, before i get into the tax reform aspect of it, we have a pretty good idea of what works for retirement

19 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on