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tv   MS-13 Transnational Organized Crime  CSPAN  January 18, 2018 8:24pm-9:24pm EST

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c-span 2's "book tv." up next, a house homeland security subcommittee hearing on efforts to combat transnational gangs like ms-13. and then the supreme court oral argument over when police can search a vehicle suspected of being involved in a crime. and after that, we'll show you some of this year's state of the state speeches, beginning with colorado. and now the house homeland security committee on counterterrorism and intelligence hearing on combatting transnational gangs. witnesses include federal law enforcement officers and state department officials. this is about an hour. >> good morning. the committee on homeland security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence will come to order. the subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony from the
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fbi, the department of homeland security and the department of state on federal coordination and information-sharing vital to dismantling transnational criminal organizations. i would like to welcome the members of the subcommittee and express my appreciation to the witnesses for being here today. the chair now recognizes himself for an opening statement for which i will deliver mr. king's opening statement. law enforcement officers use many weapons to fight terrorism and crime on our streets. some of these weapons such as badges, guns and squad cars are easy to see. they are the hallmarks of police work. there are other weapons, however, that are harder to identify but every bit as vital. among these less visible weapons, access to timely and accurate information is often times the difference between a successful investigation and an unsolved crime. in today's threat environment, much of the information needed by law enforcement in the united states is generated overseas. this is particularly true when
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it comes to combatting complex transnational criminal organizations that threaten our safety here at home. these sophisticated criminal enterprises do not stop at borders, instead they extend beyond the limits imposed by nation states and threaten the peace and stable of multiple countries. the only way to defeat this is through partnerships with foreign counterparts. it is incumbent upon u.s. law enforcement agencies to work with our overseas allies to ensure that coordinated enforcement efforts are brought to bear against the menace that ms-13 and other tcos pose to our nation. in addition to information sharing, another essential step in fighting -- in addition to information sharing, another essential step in the fight against tcos is to develop the capacity of our foreign partners to defeat these threats before they become a threat to the united states. today's testimony will include
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federal agencies tasked with battling tcos, including investigating and prosecuting tcos as well as working with our foreign counterparts to strengthen and support their efforts to disrupt and dismanld tcos. these include investigators for the department of justice and the department of homeland security and the bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs from the department of state. all of the agencies participate in protecting the u.s. homeland by working to defeat tcos overseas. each of these agencies is responsible for collecting, vetting and disseminating tco-related information. sharing this overseas information with state and local domestic law enforcement agencies enhances the ability of our men and women in blue to keep this country safe at home from the threat posed by tcos. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses, their understanding and vast experiences will provide the
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committee with a comprehensive overview of how the cycle of international information-sharing functions. this overview will, in turn, afford the committee an opportunity to identify enhancements that can be made to better equip u.s. law enforcement at all levels to share information in their efforts to disrupt and dismantle tcos both at home and abroad. i now recognize ranking member rice for her opening statement. >> thank you, chairman perry, for holding today's hearing and thank you to the witnesses for your testimony today. in june of 2017, we held a similar hearing on how we can both combat transnational gang violence on long island while empowering young people with the knowledge, support and resources they need to reject gangs in our communities. as we find ourselves here to discuss a similar topic again, i hope today's discussion will include a broad look at transnational criminal organizations around the world. as we all know, ms-13 and the 18 street gang and rival gangs are criminal organizations who
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commit brutal acts of violence and have taken too many lives. they, like other transnational gangs, are organizations that revel in violence, crave fear and terrorize the communities in which they live and operate and recruit their members. as the former nassau county district attorney, i've seen firsthand how vicious and unrepentant these gangs are. i've seen ms-13 laugh at the judge as they were sentenced to life in prison or deported. i want the record to be clear i think all violent criminals should be punished to the full extent of the law. i believe violent criminals in this country illegally should be deported and prevent from ever coming back. i believe that dismantling violent criminal organizations like ms-13 must be a priority for law enforcement officials and lawmakers at all levels. however, i also know for a fact that the vast majority of immigrants in this country are not criminals. they are usually the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators.
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i know and understand that you can destroy a gang like ms-13 without the help of immigrant communities. you need members of the community to talk and provide information, report crimes and for that they need to trust you. they need to know that stepping forward to help will not lead to them being detained and deported and ripped away from their families. i'll remind the committee and my republican colleagues that many of the members of ms-13 are descendants and children of immigrants that have become victims of gang threats, violence and recruitment. more, it is clear to me that president trump, attorney general sessions and republicans in congress have sought and continued to use the threat of ms-13 to justify their push to build a wall on the southern board and round up and deport millions of immigrants whose only crime is being in this country without paperwork. last week president trump and dhs secretary nielson made another shameful anti-immigrant decision by ending temporary protected status for 37,000
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salvadorans in new york. this decision came on the heels of the trump administration's decision to end daca and temporary protected status for haitians and nicaraguans. republicans made it clear they are not concerned about the destable iedsing effects that such u.s. policies will have on communities like the one that peter king and i serve on long island. on average, tps recipients have lived in our country for 20 years. they are our neighbors, friends and coworkers. i recognize this meeting is not about tps, but i also recognize a republican-controlled congress doesn't want to negotiate so i have to use every platform to address this issue. i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentlelady. the chair now thanks the -- >> thank you, chairman perry. transnational criminal organizations are a serious and growing threat to the american people. they disregard the rule of law
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of all nations and use their networks to smuggle drugs and traffic human beings for sexual exploitation and slave labor. they resort to brutal violence and intimidation tactics to carry out their illegal deeds. these networks of vile individuals and gangs like ms-13 have been known to kidnap, torture and behead their victims. top officials at dhs are very alarmed by their actions. before becoming white house chief of staff, secretary of homeland security john kelly explained to a national security forum last july, to me personally, that one of his top concerns is a partnership between tcos and international terror groups. if such alliances were formed, terrorists would have an easier time sneaking a dirty bomb or other catastrophic weapon and resources into the united states. further, in written testimony before our full committee back
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in november, acting secretary duke stated that tcos are, quote, bringing drugs, violence and dangerous goods across our borders and pose a persistent national security threat to the united states, end of quote. unfortunately, some of these partnerships are starting to take hold. recent reports have shown that hezbollah has been very activity in recent years with international drug cartels in latin america. we cannot allow such dangerous actors to gather in our hemisphere unchallenged. the ability of tcos secreting terrorists and wmds into our country is a grave threat and this country is going to take a look at those threats to prevent them from happening. sadly, these tcos have an easy tim infiltrating our communities because the security of our southern border is just not strong enough to stop them. hopefully we will soon be able
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to fix that. legislation i introduced to strengthen border security with new infrastructure, including a wall, more boots on the ground and new technology, was passed out of our full committee in october. last week, that important legislation was incorporated into a larger bill to fix our broken immigration system. i am hopeful that we can pass it through the congress and get it to the president's desk very soon. all three branches of government working together is essential in this fight. we must also create and foster partnerships with governments in latin america, help eliminate these threats from tcos. we must effectively communicate vital information among federal departments and agencies and law enforcement. doing so will save many innocent lives. today's witnesses represent the hardworking men and women from fbi, i.c.e. and state department who work very hard for the protection of their fellow americans and i'd like to thank
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each of you individuals for being here today. and before i yield back, i just want to say on a personal note, before becoming a member of congress, i was a chief of counterterrorism and national security in the western district of texas and in the u.s. attorney's office. i had the texas/mexico border in my jurisdiction. i've been dealing with this issue for quite some time. seven terms in congress and many years as a federal prosecutor. this problem has not stopped. it has gotten worse. it has not gotten better. it's now more of a threat. and i think it cries out for action from congress and from the administration to finally once and for all get this job done. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. other members of the committee are reminded that opening statements may be submitted for the record. we are pleased to have a distinguished panel of witnesses before us today on this important topic. all the witnesses are reminded that their written testimony will be submitted for the record. our first witness is mr. stephen
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eve richardson, the assistant director for the criminal investigative division of the federal bureau of investigation. mr. richardson joined the fbi as a special agent in 1996. he was worked with the bureau in louisiana, tennessee, virginia and several stints at headquarters. throughout his career, he specialized in the investigation of white collar crime, public corruption, hate crime, violent crime, gang matters and terrorism. mr. richardson has served as assistant director of the criminal investigation division with oversight of all fbi criminal matters. thank you for being here today and -- does he recognize individually or all -- okay. well, thank you for being here today and we're going to recognize you individually so you can begin with your testimony, mr. richardson. >> representative perry, chairman mccaul, ranking member rice and members of the committee, i'd like to thank each of you for inviting me here
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today to discuss this very important issue. my name is steve richardson, i'm the assistant director for the fbi's criminal investigation division. the issues that we're going to talk about today fall under my leadership at the fbi. the fbi is dedicated to defeating those transnational organized crime groups referred to as t.o.t. groups. to combat the ongoing threat posed by these groups, the fbi has a long-established toc program. to expand criminal accountability for a number of predicate offenses and to expand a single offense across multiple members of a criminal enterprise. utilizing a multi-pronged approach to target a variety of criminal activities and impact the group's financial stability, the fbi is able to disrupt or dismantle the entire enterprise, not just a few key people.
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the fbi leverages trusted relationships both domestically and internationally to combat and influence the reach of these transnational criminal enterprises. the fbi has long been a proponent of the task force model and in 1992 we stood up the first safe streets violent gang task force specifically to address transnational gangs. the mission of these task forces is to fully integrate our state and local partners to address threats posed by violent criminal gangs in communities across our great country. this involves working with state and local task force officers commonly referred to as tfos who have direct knowledge of the criminal activities occurring within their specific jurisdictions. the collaboration of fbi special agents and local law enforcement creates a comprehensive approach, utilizing both state and federal statutes to address these violent gangs from top to bottom. the fbi currently operates and provides oversight to 169 of
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these particular task forces compromised of nearly 800 special agents, 1,400 tfos and 58 other federal law enforcement partners in all of the fbi's 56 field offices. collectively, these task forces average approximately 5100 arrests of violent criminal gang members annually and have averaged over 2,000 seizures of firearms in the past two years. our ultimate goal and the goal of each task force is to have a positive effect on the communities by disrupting and dismantling violent criminal organizations. on the international front, the fbi's transnational anti-gang task forces, we refer to those as t.a.g.s. work to target transnational gangs both domestically and internationally. the t.a.g. program was created through cooperation with the fbi and the u.s. department of state in el salvador, guatemala and honduras and is responsible for
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the investigation of the ms-13 gang and other violent transnational gangs, such as the 18th street gang. the mission of the t.a.g. is to conduct gang enforcement operations and gather actionable strategic intelligence for domestic use by our safe streets, violent gang task forces and to further disseminate this information to u.s. law enforcement partners. recently, the t.a.g.s conducted a coordinated arrest operation in all three countries in the northern triangle targeting both ms-13 and 18th street, resulting in the arrest of 754 violent gang members. the arrests also led to the seizure of multiple items of evidence, which are currently being exploited for their intelligence value. apart from our task forces, the fbi's criminal investigative division actively participates in multi-agency intelligence agencies, such as the national gang intelligence center, special operations division and the organized crime drug
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enforcement task force. although vetting and possible arrests of individuals at the border is primarily a function of the department of homeland security, the fbi makes every effort together to share intelligence on a timely basis related to the movement and recruitment of gang members prior to and upon entry into the united states. information-sharing is critical to fulfilling this responsibility and the fbi's dedicated to improving communication with our partners. please know we will continue to direct tremendous resources and effort to targeting, investigating, prosecuting and dismantling these transnational criminal gangs. chairman mccaul, chairman king, representative perry, ranking member rice and other members of the committee, i think you again for having me here today. i'm honored to represent the fbi and the fine men and women of our organization. and i look forward to answering your questions. thank you.
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>> thank you, mr. richardson. first of all, let me express my regret for not being here on time. we had a meeting of the intelligence committee which went overtime. but i want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony up until now. i want to thank mr. perry for filling in for me. i'm sure he did a far better job than i would have and, of course, i thank the ranking member in putting this meeting together. thank you, mr. richardson. our second witness is the national director for interoperations at u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. he began his law enforcement career in 199 with the puerto rico police department. since joining immigration and customs enforcement, he has served in numerous key positions, including groups of super sizer for financial assets -- financial crimes asset forfeiture, a removal group from buffalo, new york. proceeds and crime unit in washington, d.c. assistant special agent in charge for the hsi's san juan
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office. mr. villanueva has more than 22 years of law enforcement experience. let me just say with the situation we have on long island with ms-13, hsi has been invaluable. thank all of them for the great job they're doing in conjunction with the fbi. again, just phenomenal cooperation and working with the local police in suffolk county and nassau county has been incredible. i thank you and recognize you for your testimony. >> thank you, chairman king. mr. perry, thank you for starting the hearing and ranking member rice and distinguished members. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss u.s. immigration and customs. immigration and customs enforcement homeland security investigations' efforts to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations or tcos to include violent gangs in the united states and abroad. broad legal authorities to
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investigate immigrations and custom violations across several problematic areas, including investigating and dismantling tcos and gangs. during the last two decades, transnational organized crime has expanded dramatically, which poses a significant threat to national security. we take this threat very seriously and target tcos at every critical location in the cycle by utilizing a layered approach that is internationally by pushing our borders out in cooperation with foureign counterparts where transnational terrorist organizations operate. u.s. customs and border protections where the transportation cells attempt to exploit america's legitimate trade, travel and transportation systems and in cities throughout the united states where criminal organizatio organizations earn substantial profits of their elicit activities. as of december 2017, we maintained over 100 open investigations targeting ms-13
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members and their criminal organization throughout the united states and abroad. by working with our law enforcement partners, including those in countries such as guatemala, honduras and el salvador. without information-sharing and partnering with our federal, state, local law enforcement partners, hsi would not be nearly as successful as battling ms-13 and other gangs. in response to the gang epidemic, in 2005, i.c.e. initiated operation community shield which combines hsi and enforcement and removal operations, civil authorities as well as our partnerships with law enforcement stakeholders, do we know stickily a-- domestical abroad. including specialized urban response gang enforcement known as search operations. since insemgs, hsi and the partner agencies have made over 60,000 criminal and administrative arrests of gang members, leaders and associates,
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including more than 7,the 900 ms-13s. our most recent project new dawn, the largest gang surge to date, resulted in 1,378 arrests. at the same time, we pursued domestic criminal investigations we continue to push the borders out by capitalizing on our international partnerships with foreign law enforcement officials. this is accomplished by our attache network looked in 67 offices around the world. our attaches leverage several key international partnerships to include the transnational criminalal investigative units, the tcius and operation citadel to identify bad actors along the way with the goal of identifying known gangs posing a threat to the united states. hsi also leveraging information-sharing capabilities through the use of several key initiates, some of which i would like to highlight briefly.
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the visa security program. through this program, we partner with cbp and department of stayed by deploying trained agents to identify and investigate potential terrorist and criminal threats before they reach the united states. the trade transparency units, the ttus are designed to aggressively target organizations and individuals involved in trade-based money laundering and also those involved in contraband smuggling and customs fraud. all partners, 16 today, recognize the value of information-sharing. and last but not least, the migrant alert program we call bitmap. it helps provide infrastructure and priority for host governments to collect data on individuals they encounter. we athrough this process, we can -- we're able to track movement towards the united states, take joint action with
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partner nations along the route and deter human smuggling through south and central america. bitmap is deployed to 14 countries. these operational endeavors would not be possible without the cooperation our our federal, state and look law enforcement officers, including the support provided from the department of state and international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today and for your continued support of i.c.e. and our law enforcement mission. i'm looking forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you very much, mr. villanueva if your testimony and service. our final witness is the acting assistant deputy secretary for the international bureau of narcotics in the state department. mr. glenn oversee's -- responsible for programs in the western hemisphere that combat elicit drugs and organized crime and support law enforcement and the rule of law. mr. glenn began working with
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international narcotics and law enforcement affairs in 2010 in mexico city. since joining the state department in 1999, mr. glenn served ecuador, south africa, czech republic, argentina and mexico and mr. glenn, you're recognized for your testimony. thank you very much for being here today. >> good morning, chairman king, ranking member rice. members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to be here this morning to share with you the department of state's work to combat transnational gangs, primarily through information-sharing. the bureau of international narcotics on law enforcement affairs, inl as we know it, leads the effort to combat crime overseas. we strengthen the capacity of foreign partners to mitigate crime before it reaches our borders. our neighbors, particularly central america's northern triangle suffer extortion, violence and instability carried out by gangs like ms-13. gang activity in the region undermines institutions, it drives migration and talents
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citizens' security. this has a direct bearing on our own national security. like other forms of transnational crime, it requires well-coordinated and comprehensive solutions. inl approaches this threat abroad on three three fronts, f through reengnal coordination, and information sharing but vetted units and communitiant-gang efforts and third, institutional reform and kpasity building. provides u.s. and partner nation law enforcement with the tools they need to investigation complex and high-threat gang cases. through our support, foreign law enforcement gained the skills to become necessary, reliable, trusted partners of u.s. law enforcement, routinely sharing information to disrupt the work of transnational gangs. we support 56 specialized units throughout central america, including fbi's tag units and isis tcius.
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in 2016 alone, the northern triangle made because gangs are transnational, i cannot overstate the importance of strong regional coordination. we must be nimble, and inl continually evolves its approach. inl and fbi developed the regional criminal gang intelligence platform to enable realtime information flow between tag units. last may, inl with the department of homeland security created the border immigration and coordination center, el salvador and multiagency task force. to date we've identified 214 -- excuse me, 240 ms-13 members not previously known to u.s. law enforcement. 46 not previously known to sal have a doirn authorities, and 37 salvadorian -- 16 salvadorian
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gang members, fur of which had active arrest warrants in el salvador. they will be processed for de r deportation, and returned to salvador and law enforcement authorities. i in, l is working to expand, to include gat maw la. we work strengthen shared border security and to combat transnational crime through enhanced information sharing. through inl support, in partnership with dhs, biometric information mexico collects at borders and ports is now being shared with the united states. this capability enhances our country's joint efforts to respond to migration trends and to conduct cross border investigations of gang members, and special interest aliens. we recognize, however, improving operational coordination and information sharing is not enough. citizens need to have the trust and confidence in police report crimes, and police need that information to successfully
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crack down on gang activity. in central america inl is strengthening local law enforcement's capacity to connect with communities and address gang violencely implements violence prevention programs in high crime areas, many of which have seen homicide rates plunge between 40 and 73% in 2015. inl's third line of effort supports building strong institutions. arresting gang members is only effective if justice institutions can prosecute, convict and incarcerate criminals. it enhanced the capacity of justice institutions, including attorney generals to enhance legal reforms, mitigate gang violence. combatti combatti combat -- achieving lasting change is not quick or easy, but the comprehensive approach we have put in place is showing promising results. a sustained commitment is
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critical to protecting our homeland. thank you for letting me appear today and i look forward to questions. >> i'll direct my first question initially to the fbi and then to be answered by anyone who wants to respond. what has changed, or will change, in your ability to target ms-13 since the october 2017 attorney general direction to make the tcl a priority? that will be the first part of the question. >> thank you, sir. certainly, we at the fbi, have redirected resources appropriately. we are actively engaged with our tag teams, or our tag task forces down in the northern triangle with regard to ms-13 and the 18th street gang. we ultimately our goal is to get ahead of the threat through intelligence sharing, and be more proactive as opposed to reactive. we rely heavily upon the information that's coming out of the northern triangle.
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we have ssas that are assigned to these vetted teams. that are trusted advisers, providing subject matter expertise, regarding investigative techniques that we utilize. and then the goal is to gain actionable intelligence and share that with our domestic partners, with our trusted safe streets partners across the united states in order to get ahead of the threat. >> thank you, let me -- before i go to mr.vil -- i would be remi in -- hsi, fbi and the local police are doing a phenomenal job. and so i want to -- you can again pass on to them, give them my thanks for the terrific job they're doing. >> yes, sir, i will, thank you. >> now, as a follow onto that question, did this attorney general's question add any capabilities to the hsi or to the state department? >> sir, what i would say is that
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actually helped us to focus on the problem, and to double down our efforts into targeting ms-13 and other violent gangs by bringing all i.c.e. tools to bear, whether criminal enforcements or the administrative through ero. but bringing financial investigations to target finances, their assets and to go with a holistic approach against this violent gang, also by working with cbp, with the interagency, and working with inl to bring capacity efforts, expertise to tackle those violent gangs. so really important direction, really help the interagency and the law enforcement community to hone down into a terrific problem that is affecting our national security. >> mr. glen? >> i would just echo what mr.
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villanueva mentioned, as well as the success of our programs relies largely on the political will of the countries we work in. without that political will we can do a tremendous amount of work and have very few results. when we get high level engagement, for example, the attorney general's engagement, with the countries that we work in it sends a very clear signal as to the priorities of the united states and helps them internally develop the political will that's needed to make these programs successful. >> follow up with you, mr. glen, how is the callen coordination, how does that enhance coordination between police and el salvador and u.s. communities where ms. rice and i represent. >> sure, it's been a tremendous development, and a very effective tool. what it does is it places or has placed in el salvador a law enforcement official who has access to their criminal
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information databases, and puts them in physical connection with law enforcement authorities in the united states. and provides them -- provides us between the two countries an avenue with which to share the information. and that's why we've been able to get the results that we've gotten as people have come across the border, and been apprehended, we can run fingerprints against databases in el salvador. people who have misrepresented who they are, your fingerprint doesn't lie. and that's how we've been able to actually identify people wanted for murder back in el salvador, and been able to deport them, and see that they experience justice. >> thank you, mr. glen. i will recognize the ranking member. let me say before i formally recognize, we had a joint hearing on ms-13 back in may or june, and i'd like to thank her
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for her cooperation and -- >> mr. glen, what are the largest russian gangs that you have come across, and what are the kind of criminal activities that they're involved in? and how are you trying to combat russian cybercrime? >> so our focus in the western hemisphere has been on latin american gangs, ms-13, 18th street, russian gangs in the western hemisphere has not been a focus. what i can do is take that question back to those who focus on -- on russian law enforcement matters. >> but they -- if you're talking about transnational, criminal organizations, i mean, the russians, given what they did during the elections last year, have to be front and center on -- just out of curiousity, is
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there any focus on that at all? if you're looking at transnational criminal organizations, i would say the russians are right up there. >> the focus in the western hemisphere has been on ms-13 and 18th street. >> are you aware of any effort to address russian criminal organizations? >> not at this time. >> no. >> not in the western hemisphere. not through inl programming. >> okay. mr. villanueva, there are many undocumented immigrants who, i'm sure you're aware, are victims of transnational criminal organizations, including ms-13, certainly where chairman king and i are from. they witness crimes committed by gang members, but as you know, many of them don't want to come forward because they were afraid that they are then going to be taken into custody, deported, depending on what their status
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is. so my question is, you know, it seems that the administration's rhetoric and policies towards undocumented immigrants have really caused that fear to escalate. so how are you as law enforcement agencies needing information from people who are maybe here illegally, but are being victimized and have information to help you address the criminal activities of ms-13, and other gangs, how do you deal with that issue? >> ma'am, thank you very much for the question. your point is extremely valid, and is a concern that we law enforcement deal with every day. as a matter of fact, there are protections for witnesses when they come forward to law enforcement, whether they're in a country legally or not. under the immigration and nationality act, ina, we can provide those individuals with continued presence, that authority is delegated to the
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secretary of homeland security, which he then delegates that to i.c.e., which is one of the programs i have oversight of, what we call the parole branch. we can work with that community and we can offer protections, continued presence, significant public benefit paroles, and there's some other tools out there to protect those individuals from being deported, to protect those individuals from violence, from those gangs. so there are protections for them when they come forward to law enforcement. when i'm saying law enforcement, not only i.c.e., hsi, when they come forward to the fbi, we will work with fbi partners to grant those protections to any witness that comes forward, regardless of that person's immigration status. >> has that made it easier for you to get information? i mean, do -- how do you get the word out that it's okay for people to come forward? >> we do have, actually, outreach campaigns through the
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victim assistance program, and certainly efforts like this and where we have the ability to talk to the american people about the programs that are paramount to get the word out. so i really appreciate your question on this topic. >> great, thank you. nothing further. >> mr. perry, let me thank you you particularly. >> my privilege, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. richardson, a couple questions here, kind of in different directions, and maybe a little off the topic of collaboration. but somewhat -- you not only transnational crimes, but if a terrorist activity or event occurs in the united states, that would be something you would collaborate with other agencies on as the fbi. is that correct? i just want to make sure i'm not out of bounds here. >> yes. >> that's correct, right. so if i could, what compels your organization, or local law enforcement, that for that matter, to work with the national counterterrorism center
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in some type of a criminal or alleged terrorist event? what compels that? what is the precede ent, what has to happen? >> so counterterrorism is not any expertise. >> i understand. >> but however i can tell you that nctc is a great partner of ours. we work with them each and every day on the counterterrorism front and share information on a regular basis, both on a classified level, and an unclassified level. >> if you're working on a case, so to speak, though, and you determine that you need to bring the nctc in, what makes that determination? do they offer? do you see things? how does that happen? i'm trying to figure out what that nexus is. i've got a specific example in mind, so i'll -- i won't keep you in suspense. the mass shooting in las vegas, isis in june and august, per my recollection, warned the united states, warned us, warned the public that they were going to
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attack las vegas. and then i think up to four times post the incident claimed responsibility, yet at this point i don't think there's any nctc involvement, but there is fbi involvement. so i'm trying to figure out what's happening there. do you know? >> so i couldn't speak to the las vegas shooting incident in this particular environment because of classification issues. >> what's the normal protocol though? what would invoke, what would precipitate involving the nctc? >> specifically i would have to get back to you. i'm happy to do that. >> there's no normal protocol that somebody has to request it, you hear some traffic, you see some traffic, none of that, there's not a specific protocol you know of at this time? >> so my information is dated, but i will tell you, based upon my personal experience working counterterrorism matters, that the dialogue with nctc happens every day in group meetings, and then individually with folks that work from each agency.
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so i can tell you that that dialogue is ongoing and seamless. >> okay. >> but specifically, if you're asking me for protocols, i'll have to get back to you on that. >> if you could, please. i would like to be able to understand that a bit better. moving on with the remaining time, i want to explore an area where this, again, maybe is out of the particular realm of this conversation. but congress is meant to provide oversight in our role, and we provide a check on the executive branch to ensure the balance of power between the two branches. and i have oftentimes, and you may not have and probably have nothing to do with, have been frustrated by asking for briefings on particular issues from the fbi only to be told there's no briefing available, we're not going to brief you, i understand the sensitivity of the case and that we don't want to jeopardize any ondoing investigation. i will tell you one in particular that i've requested, and recently requested again, and i'm trying to work through whatever the protocols are.
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enron is a case i'm interested in. we don't have much information. i'm trying to verify and validate things. this is an incident where literally the congress is involved. as i understand it the fbi is involved. yet we can get no information, zero. we can't get a briefing. and we don't see any reports from the fbi. so we don't know where the investigation stands. is it solely bank fraud? is there something more to do with the links to pakistan and the shadow, if you want to call it that, whatever you want to call the car sales exercise, and money laundering and so on and so forth? these seem to be reasonable questions for members of congress, certainly i've got -- i've got a bona fide top secret clearance, and plus whatever you characterize the one here in congress, what must members of congress do to get a reasonable briefing on events that are appropriate? is there something i'm missing? >> no, sir, we make every effort to provide those briefings at the request of congress and
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others. i would encourage you to continue to make that request. we will send it up through our channels. i will tell you that we are hesitant to comment both publicly or privately on ongoing investigations. as a matter of fact, we're prohibited to do that. however, in certain instances, we are able to provide those briefings when the request comes in. so i'm very familiar -- >> if you would please, make a note i've made the request. maybe it will have more weight if you send it forward. but we will continue to, and i look forward to a continuing conversation on this, thank you, mr. chairman, i yield. >> mr. katy. >> former prosecutor, himself. >> that's correct. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i thank you all of you for your service to the country. it's really appreciated, and it's great to see the interagency cooperation on display here this morning. a question, i guess mr. glen first, you were describing some
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of the conditions in el salvador, and you were saying, talking about commenting on homicides, gang activity, the violence that's there, pretty violent place, isn't it? >> yes. >> young people that are there, there's coercive activities with these gangs and other groups, coerce them into criminal activities? >> yes. >> what would you say that it's important to have cooperation, as you mentioned with local people in the country, not just the leaders themselves, that's part of what we're trying to instill, as part of the three things you mentioned, correct? >> correct. >> so what are we to make of sending 200,000 people back to el salvador in huge numbers? what's that going to -- what message does that send to people we're trying to make in
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cooperation with el salvador when they see family members who have fled because of danger, fear, being sent back? is that something that instills, will enhance cooperation locally in activities, what kind of message could that send? >> sure. well, i think it's important, at least in terms of why we do what we do in central america, specifically in el salvador. the reason that we offer the assistance that we do is because of the conditions in these countries. >> so is it fair to say that sending these people that fled from those type of coercive activities and dangerous, we could be sending them right back into those dangerous situations? >> well, from an inl perspective, our responsibility is to -- >> no, i'm sorry, i'm just asking you, with your knowledge, not as an official answer, but, you know, with the knowledge which obviously you have for that part of the world and
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what's happening, is that -- >> there are tough conditions, that's why we're there trying to help resolve, to help them get the security infrastructure that they need. >> so nothing has changed suddenly from the point where those people fled from that coercive activity, and it's still a problem? i wouldn't say there's not improvement. but it's still a problem. >> i think we've seen some real improvement, especially in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods, the neighborhood of tramella cone in honduras, for example. the partnership with the strategy has made significant improvements in a neighborhood like that that was a primary export -- >> but it's still dangerous. >> dangerous and getting better. >> the country is -- yeah, great. all right. >> yes. >> thank you. i know those are difficult questions to put you on the line for. but it's important to say as part of your earlier testimony indicated. you know, there's about a
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hundred people, almost a hundred people a day in the united states dying. and when you look at gang activity and the other activities, but we're looking at transnational criminal organizations, the one that's killing the most people in our country, as i said almost a hundred a day, are those activities that surround opioids and fentanyl coming into our country, being counterfited to look like percocet or other commercial drugs, coming in with great potency. it has spiked the deaths in my area, and most of the country enormously. and a lot of that's coming from china. can you comment on what we're trying to do, we're right under the nose of the chinese government, the manufacturing of these drugs that are occurring, and being shipped through? because clearly that is costing the most american lives every day. anything we're doing to focus on that specifically?
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>> i can mention briefly what some of the things that inl has been doing. one of the important things on fentanyl and the analogs of fentanyl, so there's multiple types of synthetic opioids that are being produced in china and brought into the united states, is to get those substances on the list of prohibited substances. and that has been successful. we will be going into the meetings in april in vienna to get additional substances put on those lists. engagement with china has been effective and i think we've begun to see china taking -- >> my time is running out. it's important to note that my discussions in private meetings with the customs and border patrol, homeland people, the greatest trend now is coming through getting the shipments through ups, fedex, the united states postal service. these things are coming. and you also have that in coordination with use of the internet and maybe some of the
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dark parts of the internet too. that creates a great challenge. how are you doing on that -- that's a pretty tough challenge too? are we getting more cooperation from the postal service, from these other countries at the point they're being sent from, the fbi, mr. richardson? >> yes, sir, thank you for the question. and certainly realize that opioid addiction and trafficking of opioids in this country is a great problem. it will probably be worse tomorrow than it is today unfortunately. but we do have resources that are targeting the distributors of those illegal opioids to the communities. one thing that we are doing that's a little bit unique, maybe from some of the other agencies, is we've stood up a unit that looks at the dark neck specifically in order to try to identify those individuals, those organizations that are on the dark net, the net beyond the
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net, hiding without -- a autonomy, that are sending the drugs through, whether it's fedex, whether it's the postal service, or how the narcotics are coming in. so we've had some success with that initiative thus far. we are going to add additional resources to that going forward. and we've been relatively successful. >> thank you, my time is up. i would just comment, i would rather give you and your collective activities on that arena more resources, more money because it's killing more people than having extended wall would result in saving people's lives. i yield back. >> we're going to close session soon. i have two questions i would like to ask you. my staff recently visited el salvador and heard from agencies
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on the ground that the ms-13 leaders are frustrated, violence enough, and they're sending more violent members to the u.s. can you confirm that? if so, can you say what implications that are? and will you be able to adapt to that? >> i'll take a crack at it first. i can tell you from the fbi perspective, our intelligence streams tell us what you've mentioned is accurate. because of enforcement actions across the country, some of the leadership here at the mid-level within the united states of america has been -- they've been arrested. they're incarcerated. that is frustrating to the leadership of the ms-13 gang in el salvador. and they are very much interested in sending younger, more violent offenders, gang members up through their channels into this country in order to be enforcers for the gang. so that is absolutely correct.
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>> villanueva. >> we can actually discuss our ongoing efforts later on today downstairs. we are looking at that problem, looking at the information we're getting. and once again, we're doubling down our efforts against ms-13. as a matter of fact, this year operation citadel, which we have been doing for a few years, it's just going to have an ms-13 component working with international partners. we do have other efforts that are going to be paramount to stop the flow of those individuals from coming into the u.s. that we can discuss later today. >> mr. glen, anything? >> again i would rerate our efforts are in support of the units they work with in the northern triangle region to help mitigate any kind of change in behaviors by the gangs. >> i would just say it's hard to imagine them being much more violent. so truly, horrifying thought.
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one mile of my house, i'm sure closer to where ms. rice lives, actually digging up bodies of young kids. one other question, any signs of ms-13 members partnering with traditional drug cartels? >> i can mention, internationally? >> internationally, yeah. >> yes. they control neighborhoods, just like here in the united states, ms-13 and 18th street gang members distribute drugs in their countries. so they are an essential part of the distribution network of drugs in their countries for local consumption there. and there are indications, although not in large ways, but there are indications that they do cooperate with the drug trafficking organizations that are sending drugs into the united states. >> so i would say our intelligence tells us or informs us that most of the
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relationships are opportunistic in nature. the ms-13 would be subordinate to the larger drug cartels that we're familiar with and we've worked for years. ms-13 is used as enforcers for particular shipments and/or distribution rings in some of the communities here within the united states. so that's the intelligence that we have currently regarding the partnership. but it is ms-13 is subordinate to the drug cartels. >> along the same line, information similar to the fbi, there is connectivity. it's just defining what connectivity looks like. so the same connectivity at par, maybe not, the enforcers, distributors, there is certainly a connection to that effect. >> i have no more questions, open session, ms. rice?
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scott? no, okay. with that, we will -- do we actually adjourn or go into recess? how do we get downstairs? what do we do? recess? >> just recess. >> recess, and we will move to a secure environment. thank you. thank you for your testimony, see you downstairs.
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this weekend on american history tv on c-span 3, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures and history, depall university
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professor mark polatt on president lincoln and artist portrayals. >> mr. lincoln, give me back my 500,000 sons, meaning the soldiers that have been lost in the war. this is during the civil war, 1860, the darkest hours of the civil war, 1864. lincoln, who the artist shows with his leg slung over his chair, like he's a country bump kin, right, his reputation for being so inelegant and crude. he says, well the fact is, by the way, that reminds me of a story. which was another part of his reputation. he was always telling stories. and hom lees, tall tales and jokes. >> at 10:30 p.m. from the american historical association's annual meeting, a discussion on free speech on college campuses. >> intellectual diversity, i think, is healthier than many peop


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