Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  September 22, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

3:00 pm
i read page after page. it's just stunning. and then i saw the movement of people from -- within the agency from department to department. one case -- and i'm sure it's been relayed here -- where you get promoted after you commit sexual acts. no one would tolerate in any other form of employment. okay. sat here, i've sat through irs, i've sat -- i've sat through -- i never remember -- or never forget the head of secret service, she came to me after she was brought in, julia, she went to the university of central florida, was a police officer, eminently qualified, first female secret service
3:01 pm
director and after she was there for a while she came in and she says, this is almost impossible to control. i need assistance to determine -- well, to be able to hire and fire. hire and fire poor performers. and that's -- whether it's secret service, whether it's irs, whether it's gsa, fbi, other agencies -- and some -- actually, some of them are exempt, there's exempt and non-exempt. mr. reynolds, are your hands tied? >> congressman, thank you for bringing this up. it is a complex system. >> it's very complex. and it's very difficult for you to navigate. >> yes. >> and it can take a long time to get rid of these people. >> i don't want to cop out by saying it's the process. we have to be accountable. >> i'm not copping out, either, but i'm telling you it's a process.
3:02 pm
we've set up a system where nobody gets fired and when you do egregious things you don't get fired. it's easier to transfer them around and we've seen examples and examples. i read it last night and it didn't let me sleep well last night. >> there is a gao report that says it takes us six months to a year to terminate people at times. >> and that would be a speedy termination. and the alternative is actually that they're moving people into other positions. and then what kind of message does it send when they actually get elevated? one of the most troublesome cases was getting elevated to one of the highest positions and everybody knew what was going on. it's disgraceful. well, i think that the way to cure this is, again, you want to protect -- we want to protect people -- we have thousands and thousands of wonderful employees in the federal government. you've got them in the park
3:03 pm
service. i've seen them. they stay there late, they work extra time, they neglect sometimes their family but they serve the public, they're public servants. a few rotten apples in the barrel and they're staying in the barrel and to me it's disgraceful that -- that we haven't fixed the system that allows you to do your duty to clear the deck of people who need to be fired, removed and held accountable. would you agree with that? >> i agree. we need to move as fast as we can. >> well, again, madam chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. this is an important hearing. this is to the core of the problem we have across the spectrum of the federal government. i thank you and yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentleman from florida. i have seven statements that i
3:04 pm
would like to include in the record without objection so ordered. mr. healy, have you ever seen someone, let's say a problem person, a sexual predator, within the national park service either transferred laterally or promoted? >> i don't -- i don't believe so. >> miss martin, have you ever seen someone who was known to be a problem employee for the reasons we're meeting today, either transferred laterally to a different nps property or promoted? >> if you refer to my testimony regarding my first sexual harassment incident at grand canyon that is an example of how an individual was laterally moved and promoted. >> well, what we've heard today
3:05 pm
are terms like "toxic work culture," a "closed culture." we've heard go along to get along culture. and we know that within the national park service there are plum assignments, people will stay regardless of how long it takes or what they have to put up with to get to some of those crown jewel properties because they love their jobs so much. in some respects that's rewarding loyalty. in other respects it can create a toxic work culture. and it appears at the national park service, especially since we have had reports of this for 16 years and that these matters are not being adequately addressed, that perhaps promotion from within has actually hurt the national park
3:06 pm
service from addressing cultural systemic problems in this area. so i will be asking the chairman and ranking member of this committee to prepare memos to the transition teams for both the democratic and republican presidential candidates to inform them of what is in the record here about what is going on at the national park service in terms of a toxic work culture. and how maybe it's time to get, as mr. mica said, some of the rotten apples that are still in the barrel out of the barrel. and maybe that's going to require people who have made this their career and have been looking forward to being considered for some of the very highest positions within the
3:07 pm
national park service to not attain those goals, because this has been tolerated, it has not been swept under the rug and now some of the people in leadership positions are just finding out about it. it has been tolerated and it appears that people have tolerated this in order to advance their careers into the highest positions in the national park service. it is time to ferret out that kind of toxic culture and either new president is going to be in a position to do that. so i will ask the chairman of this committee and the ranking member to prepare memos to the transition teams of the democratic and republican nominees for president and present them to them so when they are going through transition and preparing people to go before senate committees for confirmation that they know exactly what's going on in the
3:08 pm
national park service and they are prepared to address these problems. i thank you for your testimony today. it builds on testimony that we have in writing. it builds on reports that we have had for 16 years that have gone inadequately addressed. it informs the next president that they better start lawyering up these agencies with people who are experts in personnel rules and disciplinary rules because they're going to take a whole bunch of people through processes that have not been used enough within the national park service. i now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> i want to thank the chairman -- chair lady and for your words and i agree that it would be a good idea to get
3:09 pm
those letters out to the two transition teams, and i think hopefully it will have some impact. to you, mr. martin, to you, mr. healy, i thank you for coming forwa forward. this was not easy. it can't be. what i think about you, ms. martin, having left and come back, and i was just reading the file of the person who was the peeping tom. you should not have had to go through that. and, you know, i often think about how people come to work every day, sometimes they have
3:10 pm
things that they have to struggle with at home, all of us do, and -- but no matter what they get up, they come to work and when you've got a job like the ones that you all have, dealing with the public, you have to put on a good face and you've got to be the best that you can be. but the idea that you come to work and you've got people who place you in a position of discomfort, knowing that they could have not only an impact on your career, but on your way of life and then to be able to function at your maximum with all of that over your head,
3:11 pm
that's quite a bit. and then to seemingly have an administration at the park service that through neglect or just the shear sense of lack of urgency does not back you up, that's a problem. the other thing that i guess that goes through my head is what i said a little bit earlier. you've been bold enough to come here to give your testimony and the idea that you might not have the impact that you wanted to ha have, and go back and get hurt because you've stepped forward
3:12 pm
is the worst thing that could happen. so i want to vow to you and i'm sure our committee, everybody on this committee feels the same way and let me send a message to all of those who are thinking about, thinking about, thinking about retaliating or bringing harm. that we will come after you with everything we've got. there's no way that we will correct this culture if you have to be in fear and if they have the position that they can do whatever they want and get away with it. and to those who feel that way, feel that they want to retaliate, i would invite them to leave the park service. go do something else. because we want our employees to be able to be content -- we want them -- we want them to have a
3:13 pm
normal employee/employer existence. normal. this is not normal. it's not. it's got to be stressful. every day. watching your back. who is going to hurt you? who is going to block your path? what's going to happen when you come up for a promotion? who is going to be whispering thing, oh, she is not this or he is not that and you never even know who did it. so all of that, that's got to be stressful. and then i go back to what you said, miss martin, with regard to that whole balancing thing, do i tell or do i believe quiet? do i say something because if i say something my career may be ruined. and then what am i going to do? how am i going to feed my family? those are real decisions. so, you know, i know there is a survey coming out, mr. reynolds,
3:14 pm
but the thing that struck me is that 16 years ago a similar survey came out. is that right? and when folks were asked about sexual harassment, they were asked this question: have you personally experienced sexual harassment? 52%. hello? 52% of the respondent females in law enforcement positions in the park service said yes. and an astounding 76% of the respondent females in the united states park service answered yes. what's that about? and did you see that? did you see those things when you were there? you know, we talked about these incidents. when you held the position that you held, head of hr, whatever you called it, did you see some of this? >> i did see instances come through in terms of cases.
3:15 pm
not -- we haven't had the data to understand it the way that survey describes, which is why we want to do a second -- you know, this new survey and to do it right this time. >> but this was 16 years ago. >> yes. >> all right. we've got problems. >> yes, sir. >> and we've got to correct them. >> and i would like to say that i will personally ensure and you may hold me absolutely accountable that these people will be protected with their careers and their lives. >> and, see, they know the names. they know the names. they know the names. but do you know what, you can know the information and know the names, but when you've got this culture, even giving up -- just the mere giving up the names will cause them stress. am i right, miss martin? >> without a doubt.
3:16 pm
i know that i have -- i will be probably more -- i will be facing serious repercussions, but i just have to go on record to tell you that i have a tremendous amount of support of women behind me. they could not do this, but the other important thing is that there's men that want to see our culture change, too. >> well, that leads me to my last statement and i'm so glad you said that. i'm so glad you said that. i want to say this to all the people that you just talked about, the ones that back you up, the ones that care, the ones that support you. >> absolutely. >> they are -- they've got to understand that they are the solution. they really are. they have to be that critical mass. they've got to stand up. they've got to back you up and then hopefully more and more will come forward. if changes need to be made at the top they need to be made, but they have to change it -- help us change it because they are there. you are on the ground.
3:17 pm
they are the witnesses. okay? i've often said through our pain must come our passion to do our purpose. your pain has allowed you to come here with a passion and that passion has allowed you to do your purpose, and hopefully we will be able -- that purpose will be about bringing a new day to the park service by shining a bright light on its problems. with that, madam chair, i yeed back. >> i thank the ranking member. the tone is set at the top. so the tone has to change going forward. i want to thank our witnesses. mr. healy, thank you for coming here and for your bold statements. miss martin, thank you for your testimony today. and for representing other people within the national park service who are similarly
3:18 pm
situated, but your ability to speak on their behalf is deeply appreciated by this committee. mr. reynolds, thank you for your testimony today. you've got your hands full. i hope you are up to the task. god bless you in your work there. with that, the committee on oversight and government reform is adjourned.
3:19 pm
3:20 pm
if you missed any of this hearing on national park service operations it will be available to view online shortly. go to our website congress is in session this afternoon, the house, though, is in recess for closed door briefing on domestic terrorism. when they return members will work on bills banning cash payments to iran and employee stock ownership, the white house posing po both of those bills. you can see the house live on
3:21 pm
c-span. senate is also in today, they've been working on stopgap funding to keep the federal government operating past the september 30th deadline. lawmakers voted to formerly start debate on the bill, said to include money to keep government operating until december 9th. also about a billion dollars in fund to go combat the zika virus, military construction and veterans spending, funding for any justice department hhs opioid abuse programs and funding for new toxic substance chemical regulations, also flood relief for louisiana, west virginia and maryland. the first procedural votes on the funding ak paneling will not take place until next week. you can also watch the senate life on our companion network c-span 2. the national museum of african-american mystery and culture opens its doors to the public this coming saturday and we spoke with some african-american members of congress about this newest smithsonian museum. >> can you tell us what the new african-american museum on the national mall means to the
3:22 pm
country? >> i'm just really excited about the opening of the museum. i was a history major and -- at georgetown and so i'm really excited about this, having been here for so many years in washington and looking to really see the complete story of america. and i feel that you can't really tell the story of america without telling the story of the african experience here as well, and how much of this country has built on the premise of slavery and on those -- a whole race of people that have been absolutely forgotten up until very recently. so i think this is really an awakening and an opportunity not just for those of us that are here but for our children and our children's children to really get a complete story about america, where it came from, how it was created and where it's going to go. >> what do you think of the placement of the museum on the national mall? >> well, where else would it go?
3:23 pm
and where else would you tell such an important part of our history except on the mall? the smithsonian system has been used for so many years as an instrument of education and an instrument of the glory of america and the glory of america is the fact that while it was built on slavery it redeemed itself, recognized what it had done wrong and decided to change. and we are in the process of changing. and that's the greatness of america, the ability to when it's going left to veer itself right. to make itself lined with history and with justice for all. >> do you think the museum itself is part of the african-american story when you consider that some 50 years ago the passage of the civil rights act and the first african-american president just having served two terms, do you see the museum fitting into that story line? >> timing is everything and there are no coincidences and so i think that -- i'm just so
3:24 pm
honored to be here as a member of congress and to be there when our african-american president is going to be part of the opening of this african-american museum. you know, from 2008 in his election until now we're facing enormous questions about race. we really have boiled to the fore front of what's happening in america and i think this museum is part of that heal, part of that understanding of what we are and what we really believe as americans with regard to equality for all people. >> do you think there is a role for the museum in the national conversation we're having? >> well, you know, i had the opportunity, i was so honored to sit down with its first director, with dr. bunch and talk with him about what the museum can do. i represent the u.s. virgin islands which next year we will have 100 years as part of the united states and we have our own story of slavery and of exclusion from the american
3:25 pm
story itself. from our -- one of our virgin islanders alexander hamilton to denmark vesy being part of the slavery movement, casper holstein and others. we're hopeful the story of all excluded people can be told through this museum and i think that the museum is providing a vehicle for that. from slave ships to inventions to art to the intellect that have built this country. >> can you tell us what the museum means to you personally? >> well, to me personally as i've said i was a history major so to me all things revolver around history and if you don't know your history you can't move forward. as a mother of five children this will be something that i've told all of my sons who are out of school and my children who are still in school we are going to take a day as a family and we are going to immerse ourselves in this museum. we have been to all of the
3:26 pm
smithsonian museums but this one is our museum. it's important to be able to see yourself in all aspects of american life and i'm moved that there is going to be a place for not just myself but my sons and my daughter to be able to see themselves and to feel like they are part of the american story. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and c-span 3 will be live from the national mall with the dedication ceremony of the national museum of african-american history and culture. speakers include president obama and lonnie bunch, also in attendance michelle obama, john roberts and georgia congressman and civil rights icon john lewis. watch live coverage starting saturday morning at 8:00 eastern here on c-span 3. once more we will have a government of, by and for the
3:27 pm
people. >> we are stronger together and no matter what remember this, love trumps hate. >> c-span's campaign 2016 continues on the road to the white house with the first presidential debate. monday night live from hofstra university in hempstead, new york. beginning at 7:30 p.m. eastern with a preview of the debate. at 8:30 the pre debate briefing for the audience, at 9:00 p.m. live coverage of the debate followed by viewer reaction. the 2016 presidential debate on c-span, watch anytime on demand at or listen live on the free c-span radio app. and now local law enforcement officials from around the country talk about their counterterrorism efforts. they appear before the house homeland security committee yesterday. witnesses include the sheriff of
3:28 pm
orange county florida. this is two hours 45 minutes.
3:29 pm
committee on homeland security will come to order. the purpose of this hearing is
3:30 pm
to receive testimony on stopping the next attack and keeping our city streets from becoming the battle ground. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. this weekend our nation was shaken by terrorist attacks in minnesota, new york and new jersey. we are thankful that no one was killed. our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured victims and their families. we are still searching for answers in this investigation and i appreciate your police department, deputy commissioner miller, being here today to update us on this case. sir, thank you for being here tod today. our hearts go out to the people -- good people of new york. the threat environment is as high as we have ever seen it, especially from radical islamist
3:31 pm
extremists. last year this committee tracked the most homegrown jihadist plots ever in a single year in the united states. in 2016 it could be even worse. americans are rightfully worried that our city streets are once again becoming the battle ground. fort hood, boston, chattanooga, san bernardino, orlando. some have said this kind of regular terrorism is the new normal, but i strongly reject that argument. complacency is not an option. terrorists are threatening american lives, our livelihood and our way of life. we cannot faulter with so much at stake. that is why yesterday i released a national strategy to win the war against islamist terror with
3:32 pm
proposals for fighting the enemy overseas and stopping radicalization in our communities. my strategy explains that one of our highest priorities must be to make sure our front line defenders are better prepared to stop acts of terror. this means the police, fire and other emergency professionals need to be able to detect suspicious activity and catch potential terrorists before it's too late. and if a plot goes undetected they must be equipped to respond quickly to prevent loss of life. we saw that play out this weekend. when our first responders acted heroically to protect their fellow citizens. so to the witnesses testifying today, i want you to know that this committee is grateful for your service to our communities and your sacrifices for our country. i also want to convey one message above all else and that
3:33 pm
is that we have your backs. we are committed to give you the tools to fight terror. and we are also committed to giving you the public support that you deserve in these challenging times. it's been a hard year, especially for law enforcement. you have faced tough questions in the press and you are staring down violence in our streets every day. that is why this committee has fought to protect important dhs grant funding that you rely on. in fact, later today the house will vote on my bill to authorize an additional $30 million in annual grants to help your communities guard against the dynamic terror threat, including active shooter attacks, ieds and suicide bombers. we have pushed federal agencies to share intelligence with you and share it more quickly and comprehensively. we need to ensure the federal
3:34 pm
government properly incorporates the value ct information that you develop from the streets, the street intel, in the communities where you serve every day. today i hope you will share with us what is working on the front lines and what is not. particularly we want to know how we can better support you to respond to this unprecedented terror threat. last week i went to the 9/11 memorial service and listened to all the nearly 3,000 names of those killed read aloud. we do this each year to remember the fallen and to honor the heroism we saw on that fateful day. from first responders, from police and every day citizens. like those brave americans we lost, our witnesses this morning have sworn an oath to protect our people. so before we start let me just
3:35 pm
say again thank you. with that the chair now recognizes the ranking member mr. thompson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank you for holding today's hearing. in light of the recent terrorist attacks in minnesota, new jersey and new york i'd like to offer my sympathies to the victims and their families. i believe we all agree that terrorism and any other violence on our streets is an all too common occurrence. we must act boldly to stem this tide. i'd like to thank the witnesses for their service. mr. miller, thank you for coming to town. i know it's a very busy time for you and obviously you're still doing your work while you're before this committee today. sheriff demings thank you for your service. we still stand with orlando and have not forgotten about the
3:36 pm
victims of the june terrorist attack. mr. chairman, in just the past four months incidents in orlando, dallas, minnesota, new york, new jersey have brought into sharp focus the complex diverse and confounding nature of the lone wolf threat. those who are inspired to carry out such attacks do not fit a single profile or espouse a single hateful or violent extremist ideology. we saw that scenario in the orlando attack, where the perpetrator has filed several conflicting ideologies and seemingly was not a part of a terrorist cell. just this past saturday a lone actor who is being investigated for possible ties to isil attacked ten people at a mall in minnesota. also last weekend in new jersey and new york it is believed that the suspected bombing who also shot two police officers may
3:37 pm
have been inspired by al qaeda and right now appears to have acted alone. in july a perpetrator who had no formal affiliation with any particular group but may have been inspired by a black separatist group shot and killed five police officers in dallas, texas. we know by now that our law enforcement is a target for terrorists. we also know that law enforcement's job is made more difficult by the availability of assault weapons. earlier this month one of our subcommittees received testimony from representatives of local law enforcement identifying the availability of guns in the lone wolf threat as serious problems for police. in fact, i would note that one of our witnesses today, chief acevedo has gone further in describing this challenge by stating that the widespread availability of guns in this country makes it possible for a
3:38 pm
potentially dangerous persons to legally acquire weapons to cause mayhem and colossal casualties. chief acevedo goes on to state whether it's isis abroad or homegrown extremists the threat exists and haunts police chiefs every day. i look forward to engaging chief acevedo on this point. even the terrorists know that it is far easier to carry out an attack in the name of their ideology on u.s. soil with a gun than in europe. a testimonial by one former member of isil published this summer underscores this point. the former terrorist explained isil's view on terrorist recruitment in the u.s. as follows: for america it is easy to get them over the social network because the americans are dumb. they have open gun policies. we can radicalize them easily and if they have no prior
3:39 pm
record, they can buy guns. we don't need a contact man to provide guns for them. mr. chairman, we've seen the scenario the former isil member mentioned unfold with assault weapons here in this country. we saw it in san bernardino where perpetrators inspired by isil walked into a soft target and killed 14 people and injured another 22 with an assault style weapon. tragically we saw it again this june in orlando when a perpetrator walked into a nightclub and killed 49 people with an assault weapon. our witness, the sheriff of orange county, immediately recognized the impact that assault weapons was having on our homeland security. as sheriff demings said in the aftermath of the shooting we have to look at some of our gun laws and make a determination of what we stand for and just how prevalent some of these assault
3:40 pm
rifles are available today, otherwise we don't make some modification we are going to continue seeing some of what you see happening here now here in orlando. mr. chairman, i wholeheartedly agree with you that radicalization and recruitment is a problem, but after 9/11 the nation made a vow not to give into terrorism. therefore, i will not concede that our city streets, the places where our constituents live, work and play are at risk of becoming battle grounds like syria and afghanistan. as lawmakers we must make it more difficult for terrorist toss carry out attacks on u.s. soil. taking action to prevent terrorists from having access to assault weapons would be a good start, however, it sees that in the waning days of this congress there is more appetite for advancing unamerican and counterproductive proposals such as closing the borders to
3:41 pm
muslims or ethnically profiling whole communities. secretary jeh johnson testified before this committee noted that with the current threat picture homeland security cannot be achieved without sensible gun control laws. it is time for us to rethink how we prevent terrorism and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the ranking member. other members are reminded opening statements may be submitted for the record. we're pleased to have a distinguished panel of witnesses here before us today on this topic. i want to thank all of you for being here today. first we have chief art acevedo, he is my police chief and he is also my friend in my hometown of austin, texas. next we have sheriff michael bouchard from oakland county sheriff's office and the oakland county -- and oakland county, michigan. next we have sheriff jerry demings from the orange county
3:42 pm
sheriff office in orange county, florida. finally mr. john miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism at the new york city police department. i want to thank all of you for being here, particularly mr. miller who i know is very busy with the work and task at hand back home in new york. thanks to all of you for being here. i now would like to recognize chief acevedo for his opening statement. >> good morning, chairman mccaul, ranking member thompson and members of the committee. i come here before you today as the first vice president of a major city chiefs organization which really represents 68 of the largest cities of the united states and the chairman of the homeland security committee. i want to first of all thank you, mr. chairman, and your committee for your outstanding leadership and your work in this vital area at a time when i think the threat not only continues to expand, but the
3:43 pm
consequences of terrorism are hitting our communities every day. i can tell you that the one thing that keeps us all up is the issue of the lone wolf. we've been talking about lone wolves for several years now but just in the last few days we have seen the consequences of these needles in the haystack that can become radicalized and we can no longer call this an emerging threat. it is an eminent threat, an ongoing threat and a threat that we must continue to fight. we've witnessed the horror of these lone wolves not just this weekend, but in my own city. although we're talking about muslim extremists we also have to keep in mind that we have our own homegrown extremists with very different views including extremely left or right they are extremist no matter which way you look at it. we can't lose sight of that. three years ago, three thanksgivings we had a young man
3:44 pm
by the name of mr. mcwilliams who was part of an extremist movement who won that thanksgiving night went around austin trying to burn down the mexican consulate and with an ak-47 attack rifle attacked the consula consulate, the federal courthouse and attacked our headquarters firing 108 rounds into our occupied headquarters nearly striking one of our detectives in the middle of the night. fortunately we had an american hero, a texas hero who was able to stop the threat with one shot and only in texas can a police sergeant take a shot while he is going shot at with a an ak-47 from 312 feet away, strike the suspect right in the heart while holding two horses with one hand. i think it speaks as to the professionalism of the american police officer and the courage despite the national discussion around policing today which i can tell you it's as imperfect
3:45 pm
as it is we still have the best generation of cops serving. now, the lone wolf, we know they are out there, we know they are hurting us and will continue to hurt us and radicalization is how they get to that point. it's important for this committee, especially for elected officials, to temper our comments and temper our broad brushes we're using to paint members of a community of a religion, of a race, of a national origin as criminals or as terrorists. we know that individuals that feel marginalized or feel that they are not welcome end up being much more susceptible to radicalization whether it's from a street gang or islamist overseas that is using social media to radicalize folks. so it's critical that we continue as a police department and sheriffs departments and as a nation to build bridges, to make people feel welcome. the communities that we serve
3:46 pm
whether they're muslim, african-american, hispanic, asian, christian, jewish, they are our greatest force multipliers. they are the ones that are going to spot the suspicious behavior. they are the ones that have to feel that they are embraced and welcomed by law enforcement and by this nation that they can come forward and if you look at just what happened in new york city, it was a community member that found one of the unexploded devices. it was a -- i believe a member of the sikh community that happened to own a bar that trusted the new york city police department that felt that they are included by the new york city police department, embraced by the new york city police department and came forward and helped the new york city police department capture that suspect before he can carry out more terror in our nation. so, again, outreach is key and we look forward to continuing to do just that for our community. the intelligence enterprise is very important to us. we continue to work on the
3:47 pm
national level with the sheriffs departments, with their intel commanders groups to really be able to tie some of the issues that we see across the country, to be able to not just disrupt but prevent terrorism. i look forward to talking about that. one of the areas we really need help is the law enforcement terrorism prevention program. there is really no national coordination, no designated official at dhs responsibly to prepare and implement a terrorism prevention plan, an letp really needs to be explored and hopefully absolutely strengthened. one of the biggest frustrations i have as a police chief and i think my colleagues will share this is as it relates to grant funding and the distribution of funds, fema still not the right organization to be spear heading that. fema is much, much too -- too much focused on response. well, we are responding to a terrorism attack, we've already
3:48 pm
failed the american people. we have not to have another office that understands the performance of prevention and the importance of disruption and unfortunately fema despite our efforts as police executives to put more effort in terms of funding for prevention and disruption continues to focus on response. and my response to what is it's too late, not only in terms of the psychological impact on this nation and the economic impact, we've failed at that point. so we really want you to look really hard at how those funds are being distributed and who is responsible for those funds being distributed. the law enforcement leaders position at dhs, the assistant secretary of local law enforcement was established by congress but the position still cannot deliver the results that i think was the vision of congress because it lacks authority, budget and staffing. we hope that you will consider remedying this organization by further directing dhs to put
3:49 pm
some teeth into that position. fortunately the incumbent assistant secretary of law enforcement, heather fong continues to work with us, but she's able to do so because of the efforts of deputy secretary myorkas who has played an integral role. en description continues to be a great challenge and i hope that we will look at having industry when we put in a search warrant not sit on it. not sit on it for days on end when we have seconds, hours, minutes to try to disrupt the next attack, whether it's from a person with mental illness, an islamic radical or some other radical, we have to have laws that make these things a priority. i can tell you that is extremely frustrating. i want to also say the merging communications is an ongoing priority for us at the major cities. i want to thank congressman don man and ranking member payne for your leadership in making communications a stand-alone
3:50 pm
asset at the federal level. lastly, as you know we were an uasy si in austin, the funding has been reduced to about a third uasi in austin. we hope and pray that today that your bill, mr. chairman, 5859 passes. we want to continue to prepare and respond to the next threat. and mr. donovan, i just want to say thank you and chairman mccall for 5308, which is really what we should do. it is like asset forfeiture from organizations. we absolutely should take the interest from terrorist organizations and invest in the safety of the american people and in the safety of our communities from every day crime and from terrorism. i thank you all for your leadership. and i look forward to the discussion. >> thank you, chief acevedo.
3:51 pm
sheriff broussard. >> good morning, ranking member thompson. i'm michael bouchard. i've been in law enforcement almost 30 years and run one of the largest nation's sheriff's offices. i will be speaking briefly. i go into greater depth. so we will be 30,000 foot on this. i'm the vice president in charge of government affairs for the sheriffs association of america and i'm testifying on their behalf. like all of you and all of our fellow americans, on 9/# 1 our world was changed dramatically. i was proud to lead a team to work at ground zero immediately after the fact. over the past 15 years our country has made great progress in our ability to prepare for, respond to and prevent terrorist attacks. the men and women of law enforcement work every day to make sure our communities and our neighborhood streets do not become the next battle ground. the nature of violence in america and around the world has
3:52 pm
evolved. as the good chief mentioned, the expansion of encryption, use of social media for mass prop began dan, lone wolf attacks, and recruitment is very evident and very prevalent. we find ourselves in a new age where criminals and terrorists enthusiastically operate beyond the confines of law throughen crypted networks. mcsa partnered with the chief on going dark. i would like to submit into the record, mr. chairman, following this. hvds can come from a variety of backgrounds and driven by religious or ideological factors. they present a uniquely dangerous situation for local law enforcement pause they are familiar with u.s. customs and day-to-day activities. robust community engagement as
3:53 pm
mentioned by the chief sexual very important in a direct way of combatting violent extremism. it requires commitment from the agency leadership to meet with leaders of diverse communities through dedication and consistency those relationships become resilient. as evidenced by recent islamist terrorist attack in san bernardino and others, refugee and visa problems are real. when a query is conducted, it is impossible to make an informed decision of the threat level of an applicant. a report was published on monday that found u.s. citizenship and immigration services granted citizenship to 800 individuals from special interest countries who had been deported or removed under a different name. that's the vetting process we're talking about. the refugee act requires federal
3:54 pm
government to consult regularly with state and local governments concerning sponsorship process and the intended distribution of refugees to state and localities. despite, in one from the federal government has made any effort to consult with my county, members of our association on this issue. there's been over 1,200 settled in my state with the majority in my county and not one phone call. with the increased threat environment, law enforcement has been continuously asked is to do more with less. the president proposed a budget that gets funding by 45%. the total number of reimbursements has been reduced every year. there are certain 1033 surplus equipment recalled.
3:55 pm
an armored vehicle pulls up every day at a bank or grocery store to protect money and it is viewed as normal. but if law enforcement pulls up in the same vehicle at the same building to protect lives, somehow it is bad. fy 16 congressional indicated 39 million to dhs for a grant initiative to help local government toss prepare, prevent and respond to complex, coordinated attacks. law enforcement stakeholders proactively offered suggestions to fema to address law enforcement needs and were quickly approaching fy 17 and no progress has been made on that issue either. after i self deployed at the direct request of involvedations to ground zero and hurricane katrina, we engaged in great dialogue with fema how to formulate, create, equip and train regional response teams. where does that program stand today? i don't know. it's been two years we worked on
3:56 pm
that. it has completely fallen off the map. despite the claims, our borders are more secure than ever. i'd like to thank the chairman for his commitment and collaboration and willingness to engage us in local law enforcement. greatly appreciated and off not heard at other levels. i would like to thank committee and i look forward to questions. >> thank you. >> good morning, chairman mccall and ranking member thompson and members of the committee. it is indeed an honor and privilege for me to provide testimony today during this hearing to discuss ways to stop the next attack.
3:57 pm
i am not here today to be a doomsday reporter. but i do believe that our nation has experienced a paradigm shift in our global war on terror. i agree with the chair and ranking member that we should not accept the current state of affairs as the new normal. there have been numerous recent violent incidents on u.s. soil which indicates that terror subjects have brought the fight to our homeland. they are now focusing on soft targets in our cities and counties which puts local law enforcement officers squarely in the crosshairs of violent extremists. my community, the metropolitan orlando area, experienced such an attack on on june the 12th. members of my agency responded to assist the orlando police
3:58 pm
department in the initial response involving an active shooter. the incident remains under investigation by the fbi. but it is believed that a lone gunman killed 49 incident people and injured another 53 persons in the pulse nightclub incident. the incident began shortly after 2:00 a.m. when omar matin fired shots on a night designated as latin night. like no other time in our history, if we are going to be successful at reducing attacks by violent extremists, federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities must improve our working relationships in three ways. number one, we must improve access to information.
3:59 pm
the sharing of actionable intelligence information that can be used to identify and arrest subjects involved in plotting attacks before an attack occurs. and number three, funneleding for counterterrrorism efforts to include training and equipment must be increased. as it relates to information, the department of homeland security, dhs, should reassess its policy on precluding state and local law enforcement agencies have having access to the i.c.e. database that identifies people being in this country illegally. officer and public safety become a major issue in instances where law enforcement officers do criminal history checks in the field through the national crime information center, ncic, and they are not made aware of a subject's immigration status.
4:00 pm
immigration enforcement is clearly a function of the federal government and sheriffs do not seek this authority. we have enough on our plates already. our concern is for the safety of our officers. when officers or deputies encounter someone and the person is here illegally, that person assumes the police already know they are illegal and have the authority to arrest and deport them. local and state law enforcement should know who they are dealing with even if they cannot arrest for immigration violations. as it relates to sharing information, florida sheriffs have seen increased communication from the department of justice and dhs to state and local law enforcement concern critical incidents. assistant secretary at the office of partnerenment at dhs has been a driving force behind
4:01 pm
this. most sheriffs and police chiefs have been invited to participate in conference calls following significant national and international events affecting law enforcement and public safety. i am the current president of the florida sheriffs association and give credit to dhs secretary johnson and fbi director comey for increasing communication with state and local law enforcement and for pushing facts to sheriffs directly as opposed to sheriffs receiving information from the national news media. in order for american law enforcement to prevent, respond to and mitigate domestic terror attacks, analytics and training will be integral to stopping attacks from proliferating. central florida has been the benefactor of numerous projects funded in previous year by the urban area security initiative u.s. grant program. we have been working for the
4:02 pm
past two years to get dhs funding restored to our region. primarily members of congress from both the house and senate have worked with orlando police chief mina and me in these efforts. we have petitioned dhs and fema to reassess the orlando/kiss euply/sanford florida to secure central florida from another terror attack like the pulse nightclub incident. florida has received 45 phone $5 million in funding since 2004. orange county has managed the funds.
4:03 pm
we are only as good venting a terror attack as the quality of information we receive about that attack. i will briefly discuss one of our most notable regional partnerships called the central florida intelligence exchange or cfix for short. it serves as a central repository of data bases currently being used by the florida department of law enforcement and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. cfix serves as all hazards fusion center, assisting agencies in the assistance needed to recover from hazards such as hurricanes and natural disasters. cfix exists with the investigation of crimes that possibly contain a nexus to terrorist activity or other
4:04 pm
homeland security issues. in other words, fusion centers located throughout the country are pivotal to our nation's mission of stopping terror attacks. due to the lack of funding, critical needs of our cfix fusion center have been lost. we have reduced the number of analysts which could have worked to provide information that could have prevented a terror attack. through the national infrastructure program, we received funding for a video co camera surveillance in downtown area. due to a loss of funding we have not been able to expand into areas around our top tourist destinations. prior to june 12th, 2016, we had more than a dozen training exercises over the past 12
4:05 pm
years. i believe the agencies responding to the pulse incident flawlessly initiated an act of shooter response because of training paid through through historical funding. you have a list of the training exercises in your material. we plan to respond as a region to a terror attack or other disaster. about 150 of my deputies, along with multiple other law enforcement, fire, and ems responded to assist the orlando police department during the pulse incident. because of the infrastructure connections in our region, it is a natural thing to have regional capability and vulnerablity assessment. response and recovery efforts are pivotal to the mission of stopping and/or reducing terror attacks. presently fema uses the office of management and budgets geographical boundaries defined
4:06 pm
in the fell register for msas. we believe the boundaries orlando msa should be expanded to include the brevard to the east and volusia to the north. we realize that is a heavy lift. and in september of 2015, we began the process of lobbying the federal government to combine the metro orlando msa is brevard and volusia. this was broadly supported by federal, state, and local elected officials and numerous letters were written to the fema assistant administrator of grants program, omg statistician and regulatory affairs. you have a list and copy of the letters in your materials. with attacks in places like boston, san bernardino, orlando, dallas, and other places, most recently in new jersey, new york, minnesota, there is a need
4:07 pm
to have an overall increase in funding across the nation an overall increase in funding will expand dhs's ability to fund the top 100 high-risk areas from 85% to 90% in the areas with the most risk. areas like central florida will no doubt make the list. congressman micah suppressed support to increase funding nationwide. orlando was 34 on the list of 100 when only 29 were funded. local and state agencies have equipment needs and the requisite training for use of the equipment including mobile command centers, surveillance equipment, technical weapons, armored vehicles, and explosive ord nance detection. in closing, i thank you for
4:08 pm
allowing me to speak and i ask the committee to analyze the current msa methodology and the data used to reflect current threats and vulnerabilities. thank you. >> thank you, sheriff. commissioner miller for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your continued help and support with our programs as well as our new york delegation. peter king, who we are also in close touch with. and dan donovan out of the new york city law enforcement and kathleen rice. good morning to the members of the committee. first i would like to thank the chairman for giving us the opportunity to talk about this. when we talked several weeks ago, the idea was to talk about the emerging and changing threat and how we might respond to a terrorist attack. nobody had any idea we would be sitting here within days of an actual terrorist attack talking about how we did respond.
4:09 pm
new york city has been the target of more than 20 terrorist attacks, including this one. some have succeeded, but most have been prevented through the use of good intelligence and robust counterterrrorism program. the threat we face today has grown out of a group called al qaeda that morphed into an international network of affiliates, one of which turned into a movement on its own called isil that has pioneered exploiting every advantage of globalization. today while al qaeda operates in the shadows, sending out one-way videos to adherence, isil operates out of syria using the internet and social media tools to deliver a call to arms to those who would travel to syria to fight for isil there or in iraq. but also understanding how to
4:10 pm
leverage propaganda that includes compelling videos, two-way conversations over social media, bothen crypted and unen crypted, online magazine extolling violence, giving useful credit taoebgs that have already happened, including the orlando shooting. and giving instructions how to make bombs. these are specific custom designed message toss urge people who could not come to this area to fight or iraq to kill americans here. the message is hold the promise to those who are receiving them of valor, of belonging, of empowerment. these messages containing these false promises resonate particularly with recruits who are failing in life, living in the margins, who have low esteem
4:11 pm
or feel isolated. no city has been the target as many of the plots and attacks as new york city. nobody has paid as much in blood as we have in 9/11. in the 15 years since, no one has invested as much human capital in the effort to prevent if possible or respond if necessary to a terrorist attack. we thank this committee. we thank our appropriators, homeland security is and secretary jeh johnson for steadfastly continuing to support those efforts with funding. that said, the nypd and the city of new york invests significant amounts of our own budget to support those efforts. this year alone, the nypd created a critical response command. the crc is a highly trained, specially equipped, uniformed force of over 500 officers that work full time every day as a
4:12 pm
counterterrrorism force in the streets of new york city. they protect critical locations and shift between key potential terrorist targets depending on the intelligence we have evaluated that day and the global threat stream. we provided the same weapons and training to our strategic response channeled, a squad that can be called to assist our emergency services unit, s.w.a.t. capable unit that is our go-to first responders for any crisis. that adds up to approximately 1,800 officers with special weapons and tactics capabilities who are in the streets of the city of new york. that is unmatched by any municipal police department on the globe as far as we know. we have also trained over 8,000 regular patrol officers in tactics to counter the active shooter as we have seen this
4:13 pm
trend grow over recent years. those are the officers who are most likely, pause of their proximity in number, to arrive at such a scene first. the nypd has built widely regarded as the most sophisticated intelligence bureau outside the federal government. that bureau works hand in hand with our federal partners, particularly the fbi, the joint terrorism task force, and homeland security. over at the jttw in new york, we have over 100 detectives assigned inside the jjttf that are cross-designated as law enforcement officers. $300 million was spent combined city and federal funds to build and maintain the das. there's data from our 911 call system, license plate readers,
4:14 pm
radiation detection centers with law enforcement data bases. in the last year, under former commissioner bill bratton, that data was pushed outward. it was turned outward to the people who needed it the most and could use it the most. every police officer in new york has access to that information from their department-issued smartphone. this phone is able to access the das network. it also means during a terrorist incident, as we saw just this week, that having 1,500 people who work full time on counterterrrorism can quickly be changed to 36,000 in the street. we're able to push law enforcement information, pictures of the suspect, information we had to every police officer in the street who was working when we decided to go out with a picture of a
4:15 pm
suspect we had probably cause to arrest. all of that with the power of just hitting a send key. every element of those tools and tactics we have discussed here today was fully exploited in the moment starting after 8:30 saturday night when two bombs were placed in new york city on that evening. i also have to say that the seamless cooperation between the fbi and the nypd and our homeland security partners, whether that was fbi, working response technicians, working with crime scene investigators, bagging and tagging the same way, sending everything to the same lab, the fbi lab at quantico. whether it was nypd bomb squad detectives working side by side with sabt, special agents from the fbi, detective bureau, it
4:16 pm
was a multiplier that worked that case as if they did it every day together because they do. thank you. and i'd be happy to take questions. >> i now recognize myself for questions. the last time i saw you, john, we were in new york at the 9/11 ceremony. the next day we received an intelligent briefing at the intelligence unit at nypd. little did we know within days there would be a terrorist attack in the streets of new york. i was presented a video that i wanted to share with the committee that was put together by the new york police department that i think really encapsulates the threat moving forward and is prophetic in terms of what we saw happen last saturday.
4:17 pm
>> in all its glory, remaining and expand approximating were . >> i'm still dreaming. i'm feeling like i'm still dreaming. i'm thinking like i'm in the dream world. i'm in raqqa. this is a blessing you have to be here to understand what i'm saying. ♪
4:18 pm
♪ ♪
4:19 pm
♪ ♪
4:20 pm
dream worl ♪
4:21 pm
commissioner miller, thank you for that video. we saw that obviously last week before the tragic events in new york on saturday.
4:22 pm
what i was struck by is the stay home and fight. it used to be come to syria and fight. are we see a changing, evolving message now coming out of isis, syria, and to is stay home and attack in the united states? >> i think we are. i think the message is from sheikh adnani, the pre-ramadan message which called on people to attack where they were, has shifted from come to syria and fight with us on the battle field to, as one of the messages had clearly written, it said we love you more doing actions in their countries, preferring to countries other than syria. meaning we would rather have you fight at home than come here and fight on the battle field. >> which concerns me from the homeland security perspective. i think as we have some success militarily in iraq and syria, we will see the paddle ground
4:23 pm
coming here to the united states. this is a copy of mr. rahami's journal that was found on his person when he was taken into custody. i know you're familiar with it. he talks about the sounds of bombs we heard in the streets praised at osama bin laden, his brother. he talked about alwaki, talked about pipe bombs in the streets as they planned to run a mile. talks about god willing the sound of bombs we heard in the streets. gunshots to your police. death to your oppression. i continue your slaughter against ma dean. he wrote guidance comes from mr. adnani, a chief isis spokesman and chief external operations
4:24 pm
chief who was killed by an air strike who talks about killing where you are. precisely i think the evolving threat we're facing. commissioner miller, i have to ask you this question. was the suspect, mr. rahami, at any point in time, under the radar? is there anything we could have done differently to have stopped him? >> i'm sure, as in after every incident, our federal partners will go backwards through this case and reevaluate that. but based on what i have seen so far as part of the investigation, he seems like many suspects who came into contact with the system at various times and was handled to the extent that the system of the law and the guidelines that we operate under would allow them too. >> it is unfortunate in many of these incidents. and we stopped most of these things, as you know.
4:25 pm
but the ones that we missed, it seems like it was always after the fact that somebody said, oh, i noticed he was radicalizing, or i saw this or that. but they failed to report it to authorities. i think that's probably what we will find out to be the case here. chief acevedo, we have a bill before today uprising a nearly $40 million for grants to train in active shooting, to train in ied, to train in suicide bombers. can you tell me how that could help your city is and my city, the city of austin, help better prepare for this type of event? >> mr. chairman, as you know, the training is really key to be prepared to respond. unfortunately, with the tightening budgets around the country, one of the first things that goes away is the training budget. from the perspective of the chiefs, your bill will go a long way in preparing our resources
4:26 pm
throughout the nation and big cities and throughout the counties. and without it, i don't think that we can prepare to the extent that we need to. fortunately for us in austin, we make it a priority. so we sacrifice. not everybody has that ability. for us we desperately need to fund it. >> time has expired. now the chair recognizes the ranking member. >> thank you very much. i think from the outset there's no question this committee is absolutely committed to keeping america as safe as it can possibly be. 100% is what we strive for every day. and the men and women in various departments, we salute you for that work. one of the things we struggle with is when these incidents of
4:27 pm
the lone wolves appear. you get a lot of people after the fact trying to say, well, you should have done this, you should have done that. so now there is a discussion that, well, maybe we need to put more surveillance on individuals. and to some degree, even profile individuals. and i think mr. miller, since new york is kind of the melting pot, and as a practitioner of this, especially in light of the bartender dialing 911 i think we've got a problem, can you just explain that kind of engagement with those communities what your experience
4:28 pm
has been. >> we've worked very hard to strengthen the nypd's engagement with our partners in the muslim community. you cannot profile a community that you also at the same time count on to help you in these case. we have had many people from the arab-american community, from the muslim community come forward and help us in various investigations over various times. and in the context of that video, we have also kind of sat down with a core group of our best community partners and played all the same propaganda to them on the idea that those mainstream community leaders aren't on their computers watching these things. but we wanted to be able to expose them to the type of clever messaging and powerful propaganda that some of their young people might be susceptible to and work with them to try and figure out how do you counter that message.
4:29 pm
and what do you use? so this is a conversation with a community of partners that has to keep going. and you can't keep it going by separating them. >> thank you very much. a lot of my opening statement talks about the proliferation and ownership of assault weapons. and some of us have even promoted the notion that why should you be able to buy an assault weapon being on the terrorist watch list. you know, what we're trying to do is close every potential vulnerability that we know of. it has nothing to do with the second amendment. it's just that if you're too bad
4:30 pm
to get on a plane, then it is is clear in the minds of a lot of people you ought to be too bad to own a gun. chief acevedo, can you kind of comment on where that assault weapon and guns come to play in your area. >> yes, sir. i mean, clearly one of the challenges we have in this nation is the proliferation of firearms and the fact we use the second amendment as an excuse to not pass common sense laws that will help keep firearms in the hands of law-abiding americans of sound mind. and i can tell you coming from the state of texas where the second amendment is king, i talked to conservative members on of our community. they are in favor of universal background checks. they're in favor of closing the gun show loophole where we can
4:31 pm
watch people go in there. if you have cash, cash is king. you can buy whatever you want. we have a responsibility as policymakers. i would urge this body, the only body that can get it done on a national level, to celebrate the second amendment by ensuring that we take steps to ensure that responsible people are gun owners and not people that will do harm to their fellow americans. and quite frankly, as it relates to mental health, they might do harm to themselves. at the end of the day, it's the will of the people. and i hope this body will put the politics aside and really join the american people in being pragmatic and taking steps to keep the firearms out of the wrong hands. >> thank you. sheriff dimmons, you had 49
4:32 pm
people killed in your county by someone with one of these weapons. but more importantly, that individual was what we call a lone wolf. in terms of somebody who we could not really bring a nexus to somebody overseas or something like that. can you, in your law enforcement experience, explain what the challenge is for identifying extremists in communities. whether you're a member of the ku klux klan, whether you're a member of isil, or any on other entity. and how does that play into your day-to-day law enforcement experience? >> thank you for the question. i can tell you it is a challenge
4:33 pm
for us to identify the individuals who mean harm to our nation. we are only as good as the information that we receive. so i think we have got to improve our analytical capabilities and sharing criminal intelligence information across the federal, state, and local authorities. we sometimes see where we operate in silos. all of these issues tend to happen in local communities. we say if you see something suspicious, we want you to tell us about it. they are off giving us information at the local level and we push it to the federal level. sometimes once it gets there and it is analyzed it doesn't come back in a systematic way so we can use that in thwarting a
4:34 pm
probable terror attack. in some case, even as it relates to our gun laws, sometimes it doesn't make sense what happens. i'll give you an example. just a couple of days after the pulse nightclub incident in orlando, there was a reporter who came to town, international reporter from the uk who was writing a story. and to prove his point how easy it is to acquire an assault weapon in america, he bought one. he went to a local licensed gun dealer and was able to buy an assault weapon. he was not a u.s. citizen. but at some point he had been in our country and had some form of legal status at some point. before he returned to the uk, he brought the assault weapon that he had lawfully purchased to one of my sheriff substations.
4:35 pm
and he said, i don't want it. i can't take it back into my country. the reason i bought it was to prove a point how easy it is. and i'm not even a u.s. citizen. and so i have said to people like director comey and others, to me that makes no sense. because as american citizens, if we were in the uk, we couldn't go there and buy an assault weapon. so why should he have been allowed to buy one in our country. so somehow we have to look at those type of situations that occur. the other thing i see gaping holes in, as it relates to the mentally ill. we have a national database that is supposed to have information about individuals who have been certified through the courts to have some form of mental illness that this qualifies them from buying a firearm. the information isn't putting them into the database because
4:36 pm
of this lack of -- lack of i think understanding within the mental health community what constitutes mental illness. so we have to improve there as a country as well. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations on a very successful weekend. and i know the investigation is yon going. but i was actually down on 23rd street the morning after. what you said about the fbi and the nypd is true. you couldn't tell one from the other they were working so closely together. i don't want to get caught up in semantics. if we use terms like profiling or whatever, it is also good police work. you and i are old enough to remember -- i'm older than you. which they were going after the mafia in new york, they were in
4:37 pm
the italian-american community. they knew that's where the threat was from. every bar on the west side of manhattan, police undercovers, fbi undercovers. as irish-american i didn't consider that profiling. that's where the threat was coming from. 98%, 99% were law abiding. but in new york where you have a number of muslim communities and neighborhoods, the overwhelming majority are cooperating and supportive. if there is going to be something happening, i don't see how it is is considered unconstitutional or bad police work to have undercovers, to have informants, the same that's done when you're tracking down any other type of crime which comes from a particular community or organization. >> we operate under the guidelines that say we operate on information on behavior, on
4:38 pm
actions, but we do not place undercovers or spies or people into the community to watch people who are engaged in completely constitutionally protected activities, whether that's at a restaurant, a house of worship, or a meeting. we're also not lacking for business. i think representative king and there's very few in congress who know as much about this as you do given the time you have spent in this field. in the 15 years since 9/11, through every suspicious encounter that's been reported, we have amassed a large number of names, incidents, reports. and when they're filed away as you see the other day, or the orlando case, or you can pick your case, there's two schools of thought on that.
4:39 pm
one is, well, if you already knew about this person, why weren't they stopped? that is one that often doesn't consider the thresholds we have to operate under. the other is that if you have that many contacts with that many people over that period of time, it's increasingly likely that the next thing -- the next time something happens, it's going to involve somebody that you knew, heard about, investigated, bumped or otherwise checked out. that's a good thing in that when you're assessing who to look at first and they come up in those records. it gives you a basis to go forward. well, it's also a liability in that people have somewhat of a misconception about our ability to put someone under surveillance, leave them there indefinitely, you know, in the case of the new york case, these were contacts that happened in
4:40 pm
2014 with no demonstrable thing that happened in between that time and this time. that's not -- and i'm not prejudging this. somebody will go back through it with a fine-toothed comb. it is not realistic to say every time somebody comes on the radar, you will be able to follow them or their associates or friends for an extended period of time while you have investigations on the front burner who are demonstrably dangerous. >> assuming a hypothetical here. two encounters with the fbi. one because of travel. one assault against family members and the father saying he was a terrorist. for the local police to be told about that so they would be alert to anything else they might here. i'm not saying any warrant search, not hounding the guy. but a street cop to say keep your eyes and ears open in case you hear something about him.
4:41 pm
he would at a different level than any other citizen walking down the street. >> based on my recollection of the attorney general guidelines and the fbi's domestic intelligence guidelines, i don't believe it would either. >> thank you, commissioner. i just wanted to get that on the record. i think there's many unfair allegations based by the nypd, and for the media. thank you for your outstanding service. >> thank you. and i would just point out for the record that the independent inspector general of the nypd just completed an audit of 10 years of intelligence bureau records and determined that 100% of the records they evaluated showed a proper purpose and basis for every investigation and they were carried out within those guidelines. >> the reporters got the pew hreutser prize for talking about the abuses of the nypd even
4:42 pm
though they have been cleared. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. higgins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. firstly, let me say with respect to the new york city police department, the literature since 9/11 clearly established that the new york city police department counterterrrorism intelligence is probably the most effective in all the world. it is extraordinary work that's done. in counterterrrorism, unfortunately you never get credit for what didn't happen. what you do every day is preventing things from in fact, happening. so it's great, great work. as i said, terrorists only have to be lucky once. counterterrrorism officials have to be lucky all the time. but it is also worth noting here since 9/11/2001, a period of 15 years, 94 people were killed by islamic terrorists.
4:43 pm
157,000 americans have been killed with guns. 3,000 times more likely to be killed by an american with a gun than a terrorist. every day in america, 90 die from gun violence. in orlando, 49 people dead, 53 people wounded. deadliest attack on u.s. soil since 9/11. one shooter, semiautomatic rifle, semiautomatic pistol, legally purchased. one shooter. 49 people dead, 53 people wounded. newtown, connecticut. 26 people dead. 20 kids between the ages of 6 and 7, first and second graders, dead. most had multiple wounds in them. six adults were also killed. most of whom were diving in front of the kids to shield them from the shooter.
4:44 pm
one shooter. legally purchased guns. sensible gun safety had been mentioned here has been rejected by this congress despite the fact that 90% of the american people support sensible gun safety legislation. you know, people often invoke the second amendment to justify the continuation of this hell. but the framers on of our constitution establishing the second amendment could never have anticipated this kind of hell. the topic today is stopping the next attack. how to keep our cities from becoming a battle ground. well, they're already a battle ground. there's a moral contradiction when you have, as the ranking member said previously, a terror watch list. these are individuals that are
4:45 pm
known to be involved in some degree in terrorist activity. yet at the same time they are allowed to purchase guns. semiautomatic rifles. semiautomatic pistols. the very guns that are found in all of these mass shootings. so you can't, with any credibility, hold a hearing without fundamentally addressing what most people on this panel agree with, and that is very commonsensical gun safety measures. i would ask you, first of all, deputy commissioner, to respond. >> well, i think that the broad law enforcement support for the assault weapons bill at the same time of the crime bill signed on the white house lawn and then
4:46 pm
expired and the conversation that came out of that for years with no change was one indicator. and cynical people would have said when a member of congress is shot down in a public place, that would change. but the conversation after the shooting of gabby giffords went on three weeks and then went colorado passed a tough gun law. the governor was run out of the state after that. some might have said when they kill our kindergarten children is in our schools that that would be the straw that broke the back. but we have talked about that for a while, and happened there either. so in some measure when you consider the fact that the great loss of life on u.s. soil since 9/11 and the terrorist attack happened at 2:00 in the morning on a place off the main path,
4:47 pm
lbgt club on latino night by a lone wolf gunman, you have to ask yourself, have we figured out who we are? and do we want to change? >> the chair now recognizes mr. rodgers from alabama. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the witnesses for being here and their participation i want to commend new york. you look at what happened with the recent investigation after this attack and previous attacks and the london bombings and the spain bombings, closer to television was critical in the quick apprehension of the suspects in every case. and i would urge all of our major metropolitan areas to emulate new york in the placement of those
4:48 pm
closed-circuit cameras. i did want to ask y'all, my experience that be, just as is the case in new york, local law enforcement has to have a good relationship with the federal officials for everybody to be successful. what do you see as ways that we can improve communication between state and local officials and the feds that you need to interact with? and do you get a chance to exercise with them regularly and if not, why not? start with mr. bouchard and mr. demings. >> that's a very good question. we do interact and work extremely with our federal partners. but the communication is a salient part. in many of the conference calls, the preamble, you probably already heard more about this in the news than we're going to talk about today.
4:49 pm
most of us i presume has a top secret clearance at this table. if not at least secret. and there is a need for real-time information sharing on that capability. that's not in place. years ago -- probably a decade ago i suggested they create such a platform. an en crypted cell phone was created. we had a few of them. lo and me hold, they don't really work. we no longer have a device to communicate real-time on a direct pressing need. we almost have to go back to the days of runners where somebody -- >> you're talking more about equipment. i'm talking about personal relationships. do you have a chance to direct personal relationships so you know bob orr whoever at the fbi. >> yes. >> do you have a chance to do that? >> we do. we do. and we have great relationships. but when i'm talking about the equipment, if there is a timely
4:50 pm
need for sharing information, there is a lag because literally we have to go to the same location to communicate that. i had a meeting in my state and the sheriff from l.a. was there that had something -- we were looking forecast guard stations to get him in communication. that's a problem. when terrorists can communicate in encrypted platform and we can't. so the relationships are there. i would say that one of the challenges that we face, though, across the country is we build a great relationship with the s.a.c.s and they move about every two years. they come and go very frequently. i know professional development and organizational needs is important, but it is a challenge, once you develop a deep relationship. i think i've been through probably six s.a.c.s in my tenure. >> sheriff? >> the only thing that i would add is i talked about the fact that we have a fusion center in orlando, and because of that fusion center, it forces us on a
4:51 pm
daily basis to work across inju jurisdictional lines, and that's not the case. we only have three in the state of florida, and we have multiple, large metropolitan areas. i do believe there is a need to increase the number of fusion centers, because again, they work on the prevention side, collecting information and data that can be used to prevent an attack, and that's -- this whole conversation today is about preventing an attack. so i believe that there has to be part of the solution. it forces us to work together, and it also allows us to gather better information, actionable intelligent information that is. >> chief. >> in terms of my relationship in austin, we have a phenomenal relationship with our local s.a.c. >> do you have a chance to exercise with -- >> we have not exercised, because of funding is an issue.
4:52 pm
that's why, again, i hope that 5859 passes so we can do more exercising with them. in terms of sharing information, it is better today in the relationship is better today, and better than it has ever been. that depends on the s.a.c. fortunately, i have a good s.a.c., but i also push back pretty hard when they're not sharing information, but i don't think that's still the case nationwide. it is not even across the country. >> thank you. my time is expired. thank you for all you do for our country. >> recognizes mr. payne. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank the witnesses for their testimony this morning. also, i would like to recognize 29 individuals that were injured this week and pray for their speedy recovery, and also, the
4:53 pm
two brave officers in linden, new jersey, who engaged the culpr culprit, officer hammer and officer padilla, of the linden police department, which is in my district. now, many gun safety laws are enacted at the state level. so while you might live in a state with strict gun laws, such as mine, your communities might remain vulnerable, because of the lax gun laws in neighbors states. how does this patchwork with gun control affect your policy efforts, mr. miller, if you could take a stab at that. >> we have, if not the toughest
4:54 pm
gun laws in the nation in new york city, certainly one of them. but none of our guns come from new york city. that has been true for many years. we have mandatory minimum sentenci sentencing. we have a permitting process. but most of our guns come from out of state. >> and the ability and the access to these assault weapons in other states, really poses a great potential for acts such as we've seen over the course of the last several years. when i talk about it with my colleagues that feel there could be a potential infringement on the second amendment rights, getting an understanding of what
4:55 pm
we end up against in our communities is something that can be horrific as we saw in orlando. and my -- always my argument to people in law enforcement that sometimes did not see the wisdom in trying to get these weapons off of the streets, it is, you know, what happened in dallas was my greatest fear, that you know, i would try to tell one day these weapons are going to be turned and used against you. and in dallas, we saw that happen. and that is the reason that we fight, trying to make sure these weapons are not available to
4:56 pm
people that should not have them, and really, i don't think should be available to the public. they're only going to be used against law enforcement. and to think that a terrorist would have the upper hand on our law enforcement, does not bode well with me. can you -- the events of last weekend, you know, have really put the country on edge. the information we received was constantly being updated and you know, the situation was very fluid. i think lessons learned from boston helped us in this situation, and it is really incredible to hear how fluid the
4:57 pm
situation has become through inter agencies. can you talk about the federal government and how it shared relevant information with respect to, you know, the different law enforcement organizations involved? >> from the moment the explosion happened, i called the police commissioner and i called my fbi counterpart. in the time it took me to drive to the scene, my fbi counterparts were there. we came up with a game plan, and we received continuous information throughout that night with the development of every clue, a phone that led to a subscriber name, a fingerprint that led to an individual, phones that -- devices that were connected from the new jersey case to other devices.
4:58 pm
people who are connected to devices through physical evidence, and there was nothing hidden, nothing held back. nothing too classified. we sat together in the same command post, customs and border protection and dhs helped us understand a vital role who was there through their records and contacts. i would say it was a model of cooperation. and to respond to mr. rogers, do we exercise together. we train together all the time, particularly an active shooter realm, because it is the emerging threat with the federal partners, but we work together everyday. we eat together. we drink together. we don't sleep together yet. but that's just because we don't sleep much. >> thank you for acknowledging the hard work that mr. donovan
4:59 pm
and i have done in inter opperab opperablety. >> chair recognized mr. duncan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, before you were in law enforcement, did you carry firearm as soon firear firearms? not here, but do you carry firearms daily? i think was getting a head shake. >> i do on duty. a lot of times i don't off duty. >> thank you. the ranking member injected gun control into this, because that's the narrative of the left. and for the record, he is an avid participant in the shooting sports. he is a great shot i've shot competitively against him. so he exercises second amendment rights. we're here in these ivory towers protected by law enforcement
5:00 pm
there is a guy outside with a firearm protect us. if more gun laws were the answer, more restrictive gun rights, gun laws that are affecting the second rights of americans, the south side of chicago would be the safest place on earth. you could leave your doors open, walk the streets at night and allow your children to play in the front yard, but yet that's not the case. more gun laws are not the answer. there are 357 million americans, 357 million firearms in law-abiding citizens. the problem we need to look at and let me tell you about the law-abiding citizens. when seconds count, the police are just minutes away. they have the ability to draw a firearm to protect themselves, their families, their property, their neighbors, their constitution, if necessary. so we've


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on