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tv   MS-13 Transnational Organized Crime  CSPAN  February 2, 2018 10:59pm-12:00am EST

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almost every day i worked in the vietnamese hospital. >> mmm-hmm. >> and the -- our hospital and then i work to nha trang once a week. >> okay. >> to do red cross work. >> watch "american history tv" everybody weekend on c-span3. the house homeland security subcommittee on counterterrorism held a hearing recently on transnational gangs. witnesses from the fbi, immigration and customs enforcement and the state department testified about how their agencies share information with each other and their overseas counterparts. >> 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 fbi, the department of homeland security and the department of state on federal coordination and information-sharing vital to
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dismantling transnational criminal organizations. i would like to welcome the members of the subcommittee and express my appreciation to 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 it comes to combatting complex transnational criminal organizations that threaten our safety here at home.
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these sophisticated criminal enterprises do not stop at borders. instead, they extend beyond the limits imposed by nation states and threaten the peace and stability of multiple countries. the only way to defeat syndicates that operate across international borders is through partnerships with foreign counterparts. it is incumbent on u.s. law enforcement agencies to work with our overseas allies to ensure that coordinated enforcement efforts are brought to bear that 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 networks before they become a threat to the united states. today's hearing will feature testimony from representatives of federal agencies tasked with combatting the tread of tcos. these entities bring various tools and capabilities to the
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fight, including investigating and prosecuting tcos as well as working with our foreign counterparts to strengthen and support their efforts to disrupt and dismantle tcos. these witnesses include expert from the federal bureau investigation and from the department of homeland security and the bureau of international narcotics and lawmaker 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 committee with a comprehensive overview of how the cycle of international information-sharing functions. this overview will in turn
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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 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 that 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 commit brutal acts of violence and have taken too many lives. they, like other transnational
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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 how vicious and unrepetant these gangs are. i've seen ms-13 and 18 street gang members laugh at the judge as they were sentenced to life in prison or deported. i want the record to be clear, i believe 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 prevented from ever coming back. dismantling violent criminal organizations like mcht s 13 should be a priority for law enforcement officials and lawmakers at all levels. however, i know the vast majority of immigrants in this country are not criminals. they are usually the victims of crime rather than the perpetrators. i know and understand that you cannot destroy a gang like ms-13 without the help of immigrant communities. you need members of the community to talk and provide
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information, report crimes, 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, in fact, immigrants and children and descendants of immigrants who 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 continue to use the threat of ms-13 to justify their push to build a wall on the southern border and round up and deport millions of immigrants, including those whose only crime is being in this country without paperwork. last week, president trump and dhs secretary nielson made another shameful anti-immigration decision by ending temporary protected status for 37,000 salvadoran tps holders in new york. send them back to country -- this decision came on the heels
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of the trump administration's decision to end daca and temporary protected status for haitians and nicaraguans. they are not concerned about the destabilizing 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 in our state have lived in the united states for an average of 21 years. they are our neighbors, our friends and our coworkers. i recognize this hearing is not about tps, but i 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 chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul. >> thank you, chairman perry. transnational criminal organizations are a serious and growing threat to the american people. they disregard the rule of law of all nations and use their networks to smuggle struggles and traffic human beings for
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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 line 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 the partnership between tcos and international terror groups. if such alliances were forms, 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 in november, acting secretary duke stated that tcos are,
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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 active 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 committee is going to undertake a thorough review of these possibility so we can prevent them from happening. sadly, these tcos have an easy time infiltrating our communities because the security of our southern border is just not strong enough to stop them. hopefully we will soon be able to fix that. legislation i introduced to strengthen border security with new infrastructure, including a wall, more boots on the ground
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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, but we must also create and foster partnerships with governments in latin america to help eliminate these threats from tcos. one of the most important lessons we learned from 9/11 attacks is that 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 each of you individuals for being here today. and before i yield back, i just want to say on a personal note,
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before becoming a member of congress, i was a chief of counterterrorism and national security in the western district of texas 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's 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 for and all get this job done. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> 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 eve richardson, the assistant director for the criminal investigative division of the federal bureau of investigation.
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mr. richardson joined the fbi as a special agent in 1996. he has worked with the bureau in louisiana, tennessee, virginia and several stints at headquarters. throughout his career, he has specialized in the investigation of white collar crime, public corruption, hate crime, violent crime, gang matters and counterterrorism. since april 2016, 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 today to discuss this very important issue. my name is steve richardson, i'm
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the assistant director for the fbi's criminal investigative division. the issues 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 tco groups which pose a threat to our economic and national security. to combat the ongoing threat, the fbi has a long-accomplished tco program. the fbi uses the rack tear influence and corrupt organizations act 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 groups' financial stability, the fbi is able to disrupt or dismantle the entire enterprise, not just a few key people. the fbi leverages trusted relationships both domestically and internationally to combat
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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 these particular task forces compromised of nearly 800
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special agents, 1,400 tfo 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 each of 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 with international partners to target transnational games internationally and locally. it is responsible for the investigation of the ms-13 gang and other violent transnational gangs such as the 18th street gang.
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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 arrest 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 entities, such as the national gang intelligence center, special operations division and the organized crime task force. although vetting and possible arrest of individuals at the border is primarily a function
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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 in 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 thank 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. >> 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
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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. i thank the ranking member for her support in putting this meeting together. thank you, mr. richardson. our second witness is mr. raymond villa nueva. he began his law enforcement career in 1994 with the puerto rico police department. since joining immigration and customs enforcement, mr. villanueva has served in numerous key positions, supervisor -- financial crimes asset forfeiture, a removal group from buffalo, new york. for proceeds of a crime unit in washington, d.c. assistant special agent in charge for the hsi san juan office and most recently as the deputy assistant director of hsi international operations. mr. villanueva has more than 22
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years of law enforcement experience. let me say with the experiensite have on homelalong island, hsi been invaluable. the job they've done in conjunction with the hhs and the fbi has been phenomenal. working with local police has been extraordinary. thank you, mr. villanueva. you are now recognized for your testimony. >> thank you, chairman king. mr. perry, thank you for starting the hearing and ranking member price and distinguished members. thanks 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 investigate, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations or tcos to include violent gangs in the united states and abroad. hsi utilizes its broad immigration authorities to investigate custom toms and immigration violations across the -- including dismantling
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tcos and gangs. in 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 foreign counterparts where the organizations operate. on our nation's border in coordinations with u.s. customs and border protection where the transportation cells seek to exploit america's legitimate trade, travel and transportation systems and in cities lawsuit throughout the united states where criminal organizations earn substantial profits of their elicit actives of as of december 2017, we maintain over 100 open investigations targeting ms-13 members and their criminal organization throughout the united states and abroad. by working with our law
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enforcement partners, including those in countries such as guatemala, honduras and el salvador. without information-sharing and partnering with our federal, state, local and law enforcement partners, hsi would not be nearly as successful at 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, ero, skpansive criminal and civil -- our partnerships with law enforcement stakeholders domestically and abroad. through this platform, hsi executes anti-gang initiates, known as search operations. since insuspicion, hsi and its partner agencies have made -- of gang leaders members and associates, including more than 7900 ms-13s. hsi's most recent search
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operation, project new dawn resulted in 1,378 arrests. at the same time, we pursue 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 located in 67 offices around the world. our attaches leverage several key international partnerships to include the transnational criminal investigative units, the tcius and operation citadel to identify potential bad actors along the pathways while exploiting available information with the goal of identifying known gang clicks posing a threat to the united states. hsi also leveraging information-sharing capabilities through the use of self key initiates, some of which i would like to highlight briefly. the visa security program. through this program, we kparn
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with cbp and department of state -- 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 engage in the trade-based money laundering and also those involved in contraband smuggle and customs fraud. all ttu foreign partners, 16 today, recognize the value of information-sharing. and last but not least, the migrant alert program we call bitmap. this helps provide infrastructure and capability for host governments to collect biometric data on individuals they encounter. and we cvp's national targeting center share information back and forth with our partners. through this process, we're able to track movement towards the united states, take joint action with partner nations along the route and deter human smuggling with south and central america.
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bitmap is deployed to 17 countries. these endeavors would not have been possibly but cooperation of our federal, state and look at law enforcement partners, including the support provided by the department of state 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 might have. >> thank you very much, mr. villanueva for your testimony and serves. our financial witness is the acting assistant secretary for the bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. he oversees the department's air wing and responsible for foreign assistance 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 international narcotics and law enforcement affairs in 2011 in mexico city, implementing the marida initiative. since joining the state
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department as a foreign service office in 1999, ecuador, south africa, czech republic and mexico. 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 and law enforcement affairs, inl as we know it, leads the department's efforts to combat crime overseas. we investment in 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 it threatens citizen security. this has a direct bearing on our own national security. like other forms of transnational crime combatting gangs requires well-coordinated
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and comprehensive solutions. inl approaches this threat abroad on three fronts. first through regional coordination and information-sharing through vetted and specialized units. number two, community anti-gang efforts and third, through institutional reform and capacity-building of our foreign patterns. inl's support provides u.s. and partner nation law enforcement with the tools they need to investigate complex and high-threat gang cases. through our support, foreign law enforcement gains the skills necessary to become 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 t.a.g. units and i.c.e.'s tcius. the units we support made 3,116 arrests and denied more than $200 million in revenue to
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criminal organizations. because gangs are transnational, i can't overstate the importance of strong regional organization. we must be nimble and inl continually evolves its approach. inl and fbi developed the regional gang intelligence platform to enable realtime information flow between t.a.g. units. last may, inl with the department of homeland security created the border integration and coordination center. a salvadoran multiple agency task force to help u.s., state and local authorities identify, arrest or deny entry to gang members. to date, we have identified 214 -- excuse me, 240 ms-13 members not previously known to u.s. law enforcement, 46 not previously known to salvadoran authorities and 37 salvadoran human smugglers and facilitators. just in the last two weeks, we identified 16 salvadoran gang members, four of which had active arrest warrant.
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they will be processed to deportation and returned to salvadoran law enforcement authorities. inl is working to expand offices in el salvador to include guatemala, honduran and mexican authorities. we also work closely with our partners in mexico through the merit initiate to strengthen our shared border security and combat transnational crime through enhanced information-sharing. through inl's support in partnership with dhs, biometric information mexico collects at their 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 and report crimes and police need that information to successfully crack down on gang activity. in central america, inl is investment inning local law enforcement's capacity to
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connect with communities and implementing violence prevention programs in high-crime areas. many of which have seen homicide rates plunge between 40 and 73%. inl's third line of effort includes building strong institutions. inl and our interagency partners enhance the capacity of justice institutions, including attorney generals, to introduce legal reforms, mitigate gang violence and combat corruption. it requires comprehensive and well-coordinated efforts, achieving lasting change is not quick or easy, but the comprehensive approach we have put in place is showing promising results. and a sustained commitment to our partners in the region is critical to protecting our homeland. chairman king, ranking member rice, thank you for the opportunity to be -- to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. glenn. i'll direct my first question
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initially to the fbi but then to be answered by anyone who wants to say it. wants to respond. what has changed or will change in our ability to target ms-13 since the october 2017 attorney general direction to make the tco a priority and -- 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 t.a.g. teams or our t.a.g. 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 is coming out of the northern triangle. we have ssas that are assigned to these vetted teams that are trusted advisers providing subject matter expertise
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regarding investigative techniques that we utilize and then the goal is to gain actionable intelligence in 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. villanueva, i'd be remissed if i didn't commend the fbi for the work they're doing. hsi, fbi and local police are doing a phenomenal job. again, pass on to them my thanks for the terrific work they're doing. >> yes, sir. i will, thank you. >> as a follow on to that question, did this attorney general's direction add any capabilities to hsi or to the state department? wi . >> sir, what i will say is that actually helped us to focus on the problem and to double down our efforts into targeting ms-13
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and other violent gangs by bringing all i.c.e. tools to bear, whether it's criminal enforcement through hsi or the administrative through ero, but also to bring our traditional financial investigations to target their finances, their assets and to go with the wholistic approach against these violent gangs, also by working with cbp, with the interagencicy and working with inl to bring capacity-building efforts to the region very much like the fbi is doing to continue to raise that level of awareness and the expertise to tackle those violent gangs. so really important direction. it really helps the interagency and the law enforcement community to hone down into a terrific problem that is affecting our national security. >> mr. glenn? >> i would just echo what mr. villanueva mentioned. as well as the success of our programs relies largely on the
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political will of the countries that we work in. without that political will, we can do a tremendous amount of work and have very few results. but 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. >> if i could follow up with you, mr. glenn, how is the mcallen coordination facilitated by inl? how is that enhancing coordination say between police in el salvador and u.s. communities that ms. rice and i represent. >> it's been a tremendous development and a very effective tool. what it does is it places -- has placed an el salvadoran law enforcement official who has access to their criminal immigration databases and puts them in physical connection with law enforcement authorities in the united states.
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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. glenn. i'll recognize the ranking member. let me say before i formally recognize her, ms. rice has been a great partner back in this. we had a joint meeting on ms-13 back in may or june and i want to thank her for her cooperation and bipartisan spirit on this. with that, i recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, chairman king. mr. glenn, what are the largest
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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 cyber crime? >> 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 -- i mean, just out of curiosity, is there any focus on that at all? i'm not saying take away from ms-13, but if you're looking at transnational criminal organizations, i would think that the russians are right up there. >> the focus in the western
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hemisphere has been on ms-13 and 18th street. >> are you aware of any effort to address russian -- >> not in the western hemisphere. >> criminal organizations. no? >> no 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 are afraid that they are then going to be taken into custody, deported, depending on what their status is. so my question is, you know, it seems that the administration's rhetoric and policies towards
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undocumented immigrants have really cause 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 it's 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 the country legally or not. under the immigration nationality act, ina, we can provide those individuals with continued presence. that authority is delegated to the secretary of homeland security she then delegates that to i.c.e., which is one of the
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programs i have overseen 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 are 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 our 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 you -- how do you get the word out that it's okay for people to come forward? >> so we do have actually outreach campaigns through the victim assistance program, and certainly efforts like this where we have the ability to talk to the american people
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about the programs are paramount to get the word out. i thank you for the question. >> mr. perry, thank you for your -- the is recognized. >> mr. richardson. a couple of questions here kind of in different directions and maybe a little off the topic of collaboration, but somewhat in -- not only transnational crimes, but if a terrorist activity or event occurs in the ones that's 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, sir. >> that is correct, right? so if i could, what compels your organization or local law enforcement for that matter, to work with the national counterterrorism center in some type of a criminal or alleged terrorist event? what compels that?
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what is the proceedant ing -- w has to happen? >> counterterrorism is not my expertise. >> i understand. >> i can tell you the nttc 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 won't keep no you suspense. the mass shooting in las vegas, isis in june and ago, per my recollection, warned the united states, warned us, warned the public that they were going to attack las vegas, and i think up to four times post the incident claimed responsibility, yet at
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this point i don't think there is any nctc involvement but there is fbi involvement. so i'm trying to figure out what is happening there. do you know? >> so i couldn't speak to the las vegas shooting incident in this particular environment because of clarification issues. >> what's the normal protocol, though? what would invoke -- what would precipitate involving nctc? >> specifically, i would have to get back to you, i'm happy to do that. >> there is no normal protocol that somebody has to request it? you hear some traffic, you see some traffic, none of that, there is no specific protocol that you know of at this time. >> some of the information is dated, but i will tell you based on my personal experience working counterterrorism matters, the dialogue with nctc happens every day in group meetings and then individually with folks that work from each agency. so i can tell you that that dialogue is ongoing and
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seamless. >> okay. >> specifically if you're asking me for protocols, i'll have to get back to you. >> if you could, pleased. i'd like to be able to understand that a little bit better. moving on with the remaining time, i want to explore an area where this, again, is maybe out of the particular realm of this conversation, but congress is meant to provide oversight in our -- 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 often times, and you might not have and probably have nothing to do with this, but have been frustrated by asking for briefings on particular issues from the fbi only to be told there is 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 ongoing 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. a case that i am interested in, we don't seem to have much information. i'm just trying to verify and
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validate some 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 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 shade owe, ow, if you want it that, the car sales and the money laundering exercise, so and so forth. i've got a bona fide top secret clearance, plus whatever you classify the one in congress. what must members of congress do to get a reasonable briefing on events that are appropriate? is there something i am missing? >> no, sir. we make effort to provide those briefings at the request of congress and others. i would encourage you to continue to make that request. we will send it up through our channels.
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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 that i made the request but maybe it will have a little more weight if you send it forward. we will continue to and look forward to continuing conversation on this. i yield. >> the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. keating. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> former prosecutor himself. >> that is correct. thank you, mr. chairman. thank 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. i had a question, i guess mr. glenn first. you were describing some of the conditions in el salvador and you were saying -- talking about -- commenting on homicides, gang activity, the
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violence that is there. it's a pretty violent platece, isn't it? >> yes. >> young people that are there, there are coercive activities with these gangs and others to coerce them into criminal activities? >> yes. >> what would you say -- and is it 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 the people we're trying to create this cooperation with in el salvador when they see family member who's have fled because of danger, fear, being sent back. is that something that instills
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or will enhance cooperation locally in our 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. >> right. so is it fair to say that sending these people who fled from those types of coercive activities and dangers, we could be sending them right back into those dangerous situations? >> from an inl perspective, our responsibility is to -- >> no, no, i'm sorry, i'm just asking you with your knowledge, not as an official answer, but, you know, with knowledge that obviously you have for that part of the world and what's happening. is that -- a possibility. >> they're tough conditions and
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that's why we're there 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. it's still a problem. i wouldn't say there is not improvement, but it's still a problem. >> i think we've seen some real improvement in some of the most neighborhoods. a neighborhood in honduras, for example, you know, in partnership with the usaid and dod's inl's place-based strategy has made a significant improvement in a neighborhood like that. >> but it's still dangerous. >> dangerous and getting better. >> the country is. >> yeah, great. i know those are difficult questions to put you on the line for but it's important for say. as part of your earlier testimony indicated. there are almost 100 people in the united states a day dying.
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when you look at gang activities and other actives, but we're looking at transnational criminal organizations. the one that is killing the post people in our country, as i said, almost 100 a day, are those activities that surround opioids and fentanyl coming into our country. being counterfeited to look like perk set 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 is coming from china. can you comment on what we're trying to do where right under the nose of the chinese government the manufacturing of these drugs 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? fbi, too. >> i can just mention briefly what some of the things that inl has been doing. one of the important things on fentanyl and the analogs of
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fentanyl. so there are multiple types of synthetic opioids being produced in china and brought into the united states. is to get those substances on the -- 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 have 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 and homeland people, the greatest trend now is coming through and getting the shipments through u.p.s., 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 dark parts of the internet, too. i mean, is that -- that creates a great challenge. a lot of those things -- how are you doing on that? that's a pretty tough challenge
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to do but are we getting more cooperation from the postal service, from these other countries at the point that they're being sent from? fbi? you know, mr. richardson. >> yes, sir. thank you for the question. and certainly realize that opioid addiction and trafficking of opioids in this country is a -- 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 net specifically in order to try to identify those individuals, those organizations that are on the dark net, the net beyond the net, hiding without -- with
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autonomy that are sending the drugs through, whether it's fedex or whether it's the postal service or however 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. to -- >> well, thank you. my time is up. i'd rather give you and your collective activities on that arena more resources, more money because it's killing people than having an extended wall but result in saving people's lives. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. we're going to closed session soon. i have two questions i'd like to ask you. if you can answer them on the record. my staff recently visited el salvador and heard from agencies on the ground that the ms-13 leaders are actually frustrated that the ms-13 members in this country are not violent enough and they're going to be sending
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more violent members to the u.s. can you confirm that? if so, can you say what implications to that are? will you be able to adapt to that? >> so i'll take ta crack at it first. i can tell you from the fbi perspective, our intelligence streams tell us what you said is accurate. because of enforcement actions across the country, some of the leadership here in the midlevel within the united states of america, 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. >> mr. villanueva? >> yes, sir. we can actually discuss some of our ongoing efforts later on
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today downstairs, but, yes, we are looking at that problem. we're looking at the information we're getting and once again, i mean, 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 going to have an ms-13 component working with our international partners. we have some other efforts that are going to be paramount to stop the flow of those individuals coming into the u.s. that we can discuss later today. >> mr. glenn, do you have any? >> i would just reiterate that our efforts are going to be in support of the units that they work with in the northern triangle region to help mitigate any change in behaviors by the gangs. >> i would just say it's hard to imagine them being much more violent, so it's a horrifying thought. i know within one mile of my house and i'm sure close to where ms. rice lives, they're digging up bodies of people who
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have been butchered by ms-13 members. are there any signs of ms-13 members partnering with traditional drug cartels? >> 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 relationships are opportunistic in nature. the ms-13 would be subordinate to the larger drug cartels that
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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. >> sir, along the same liengs, our information is similar to the fbi. there is connectivity, it's just defining what connectivity looks like. so the same connectivity to be at par, maybe not, but maybe as a subordinate, the enforcers, distributors, there is certainly a connection to that effect. >> i have no more questions in open session. ms. rice? >> no. >> scott? >> no. okay. with that, we will -- do we actually adjourn or go into
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resets? how do we get downstairs? what do we do? recess? >> you 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-span3, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "lectures in history" university at north carolina at chapel hill professor on toth century
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fundamentalism and the origins and growth of -- >> fundamentalists are conservative protestants who militantly opposed, militantly opposed that militance is important, new ideas about the baseball, science and society. >> and at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on "real america," the 1989 documentary, "island of hope, island of tears." >> over 12 million men, women and children passed this way. passed through rooms and corridors haunted with a special stillness which remains only in places once noisy with human life. here they bought tickets for 1,000 places in america. here they traded their savings for dollars. here they sang their first american songs. experienced their first american christmas. and hanukkah. here they waited to be given
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permission to pass over to the new land. >> sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, an interview from the west point center for oral history with katherine westmoreland, wife of u.s. army general william westmoreland, who commanded u.s. forces in vietnam. >> my main work was red cross and i did -- i really worked every -- almost every day i worked in the vietnamese hospital. >> mmm-hmm. >> and the -- our hospital and then i went to nha trang once a week. >> okay. >> to do red cross work. >> watch "american history tv" every weekend on c-span3. the u.s. navy's secretary and the chief of naval operations testified recently on capitol hill about navy readiness and reviews conducted after two collisions involving navy ships. this is just over two hours.

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