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tv   FBI and Homeland Officials Testify on Domestic Terrorism  CSPAN  November 4, 2021 6:30pm-7:56pm EDT

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next, a hearing on domestic terrorism with homeland security and fbi officials. witnesses address several topics including the rise of white supremacy, civil rights and the role of social media. they outline the agency's efforts to combat these issues before the house intelligence committee. this is about an hour and a half. [background noises]
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[background noises] [background noises] courts without objects in the chair may declare a racist at any time. america is under threat, according to a joint dhs fbi report mandated by this committee. 2019 is a more lethal year for domestic violent extremist attacks since 1995. the year of they oklahoma city bombing. the majorityor of those killed in 2019 were killed by extremist advocating for the superiority of the race. by white supremacists when you're good the acting secretary of homeland security wrote that white supremacy violent extremists have been exceptionally lethal and their targeted attacks. this past april the intel committee assessed racially motivated violent extremists
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and militia violent extremists including those who advocate for the superiority of the white race present the most lethal, domestic threat that are most likely to conduct a mass casualty attacks just a few weeks ago t assistant director landon testified the fbi's tracking more than 2700 domestic terrorist threats. we have seen the devastation of this threat firsthand in these very halls. january 6, the capitol was attacked by insurrectionist who attempted to use a deadly force to prevent congress from counting electoral votes from a fair and free election. the first time since the civil war america did not have a peaceful transfer of power. five people died that day. several capitol police officers took their lives and the traumatic aftermath. many more were injured and still suffer the effects of that assault. that affected me too.
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andon deeply personal is generally six the mail is arrested for returning to his truck from the right at the capitol he was carrying two pistols. in his truck, according to the fbi, was a small arsenal 11, a rifle, a shotgun, 29 millimeters pistols and a 22 caliber bolt pistol. both loaded as well as a crossbow, several machetes and a stun gun along with smoke devices. that man had something else in his truck. he had a list, my name was on it. next to my name was written one of two muslims in the house of representative when in factt there are three. someone who is directly targeted on january 6, this issue is so personal to me for the former police officer as a black man, as a muslim, i am deeply concerned. more importantly i am an american who fights for
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equity, democracy, freedom, i understandst it. as we work to prevent future taxi muster member domestic terrorism tears at the fiber of this country and ways that extend beyond the lives lost. kenneth robinson, pastor of briar creek baptist church and charlotte, north carolina told the "washington post" in april is predominately black church, one of several attacked in 2015 remains on age to this day. trauma is a way of life for us he said. trauma cannot, it must not be a wayan of life for americans. domestic terrorism is not new. it rises from hatred and divisions aswe old as america. and we are all aware its victims come disproportionately from minority and marginalized communities. it is evolving and expanding fueled by disinformation amplified on social media. we too must evolve to beach
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this threat and to effectively counter this threat we have to name it, we have to understand it, we need to identify the drivers of domestic terrorism so that we can stop it. equally important stopping this threat is how we go about preventing it. providing terrorism and violence is one side of the ledger one part of the balance that must be struck. we must ensure that as we rise to meet the challenge of domestic terrorism we do so in a way that protects civil rights and civil liberties of folks. this is a long-standing challenging counterterrorism th need for balance between freedom and security to maintain that balance the intel community domestic terrorism mission must remain narrow. congress oversight must be rigorous i am glad to see my colleagues across the aisle, and brace concerns for protecting the civil rights and civil liberties and counterterrorism. so that many of us can get
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some kind of resolve to help subcommittee better understand the domestic terrorism threat we welcome john : senior official, performing the duties of the undersecretary for intelligence analysis at o the department of home and security. intimidate land and the assistant director for counterterrorism at the bureau of investigation. we have questions about the gravity of the threat and your agency's role in responding to it. we will also ask you to clarify for the american people, the limited but vital role of its mission. most americans here intelligence theyit think of a cia officer recruiting spies or nsa analyst listening to phoneni calls. election on domestic terrorism is and must remain different consist largely of gathering publicly available information or information gathered in law enforcement investigation. analysts then review it to better understand the threat and help policymakers mitigate it. but we ask you today, how are you distinguishing from
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protected speech on these online platforms from conduct on the role of x escalation to violence. how are you working with the private sector social media companies in particular to identify in shared doubt about the threats will stillid protecting individual privacy rights on these platforms. we are grateful for your presence and ice and eager and ready to assist you in your mission as we all do pronouncement ranking member crawford for any comments he wishes to make it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. republican of this committee consistently raise concerns of playing a role collecting intelligence and conducting surveillance of. u.s. persons without a for nexus executive order 1233 which every point steel it's a guiding principle for their authority clearly states the role is to provide information on or in security threats in the intention off foreign powers the lane is looking at foreign collection in any nexus between overseas
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individuals and groups those in the united states that are plotting violence. we are not doing that today for this hearing has no classified portion, no opportunity to hear from the witnesses on anyny foreign nexus on the violent extremists. today's hearing is not the first tove the house committee has held up the intention is not to communicate there is interest in expanding the role of u.s. intelligence entities, the resources or authorities to look inward at u.s. citizens these carefully authorized capabilities were never intended for domestic use and we need to have a very clear boundary. the use of national intelligence program funds and authority should be for targeting foreign threats not surveilling americans. government action to counter extremism is an area fraught with overreach that impact civil liberties. taking federal government taking action for political
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purposes. directing thehe fbi to hold 94 meetings across the u.s. to look at allegations of threats towards school officials without having any data or request from state and local law enforcement. points to overreach motivate by politics and intended to imitate american parents. references of violence and threats of violence however general garland has testified several times in the intervening weeks the driving force for his memo was a letter for the national school board association which refers to complaining parents as a possible domestic violent extremists and the need to use the patriot act surveillance tools to monitor these threats. the fact the attorney general allow this complaint to drive government action demonstrates a critical need for vigilance about the role of the intelligence community in the domesti arena. let me be clear there is a need for strong law enforcement role encountering investigating and prosecuting domestic terrorism.
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anyone who threatens or commits acts of violence must face women portably committed back to folks to threat the subcommittee alone collection shortfalls in the bio just to name a few per mr. chairman look forward to working with you on these critical issues and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you ranking member. at this time i want to recognize our distinguished chairman, chairman shift. >> thank you chairman carson for convening this vitalal discussion. please adjoinre a welcoming the witnesses here today. as our president regionally confirmed domestic terrorism is ones of the gravest threats on democracy and security. it's apparent this committee and the american people and
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sending scope and complexity of the threat and ensure we equip our intelligence committee with the resources needed to counter it. because this threat is complex, coordinated and evolving response must be o als. must continue to improve the understanding and sharing of threat information, find ways to defuse and de-escalate recruitmentr for incitement of violence and confront the causeses of and contributors to domestic terrorism. including extreme ideologies often online through disinformation and falsese narratives. must also acknowledge the persistentus role of white supremacy and white nationalismhe have on the frequency and severity of these threats. it is an indisputable fact the growing proportion of domestic driven by hatred and the stated desire to harm people because of the color of their skin of their religious beliefs the hatred based violent is heartbreakingly not new in america long been
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marred and threats against communities of color other marginalized groups. we are seeing a sharpened edge to the threat we proactively identify these threats to break the online radicalizationnd assignment effort undertaken solely or primarily by the intelligence committee require close coordination among federal, state, local law enforcement as well as collaboration with private sector particularly in the online space on identifying patterns of violence to equal importance it sustained rigorous
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oversight of any instance where those efforts could impact americans civil rights andee civil liberties. last of the committee launch an investigation following serious allegations the department of homeland security and intelligence and analysis office may have played a role in filing first amendment rights during dhs response to unrest in portland including attacking intelligence on journalist for this committee will continue to prioritize oversight to ensure appropriate reforms are instituted in fundamental civil rights and civil liberties remain protected for all americans were grateful for that witnesses testimony today and look a forward to our discussion without a yield back. >> with that we will consider our hearing the floor is yours. good morning german shift. ranking member crawford
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members of the subcommittee i'm honored to be here today glad to be or to discuss the current threat picture. it goes without saying that threat is heightened and significantly increased in the last 18 months the combat the threat. first in pharmacy nine states faces complex threat landscape ideologies the epic investigations into domestic violent extremists word of the last year the social positions sin the advocacy of such beliefs are prohibited by u.s. law it's important to remember cannot open a investigation
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racially or ethnically motivated and sovereign citizen violent extremism of the three the animal-rights environmental experimental extremism with a blended or personalized ideologies not otherwise defined in the dimension reassessed racially orss ethnically motivated advocating for the superiority of the white race and anti- authority mass casualty
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attacks against civilians. typically targeting law enforcement government facilities have committed 18 lethal attacks and i'd say's killing 70 people including those in charleston, charlottesville pittsburgh and el paso. typically targeted large public gatherings and houses of worship. it is important to remember that preventing acts of terrorism with the fbi number one priority. the greatest threat base in her homeland posed by loan actors in small cells. i typically radicalize online with easily accessible weapons to attack soft targets. see the threat within both homegrown violent extremists who are inspired preliminarily -- met primarily by foreign
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counterterrorism and violent extremists. what to make sure the subcommittee the fbi focuses its efforts on alln threats of terrorism in conclusion consistent with our mission they hijack legitimate inivity by engaging violent criminal activity such as the destruction of property and violent assaults on law enforcement officers wheat witness are generally six a during the protest throughout the u.s. during the summer of 2020. the fbi will actively pursue the opening of investigations when an individual uses, threatens use force and violence over coercion in violationth i look forward to
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answer questions. ranking member crawford members of the committee. i have found since returning to the department in january, the opportunity to have open and public discussion with members of congress on threat -related issues has been incredibly valuable. this iss an important conversation print i spent over 35 years working in homeland security law enforcement, national security and i have to say the period of threat we are in today's one of the most complex, and dynamic that i've experienced in my career. i'm mindful of the fact that the same time have the department are working closely with the fbi, with state and local partners on broad and
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evolving threat posed by foreign terrorist groups, violent crime inro the midst of a multiyear increase in cities across the country, efforts by foreign intelligence and engaging covid operations within the united states which includes influence operations and disinformation campaigns intended to sow discord, undermine credibility and confidence in our government and government institutions destabilize our society, inspire acts of violence and even undermine our relationships with our key allies. dealing with that range of cyber threats as well as involving migration along the southern border. so we have a lot on our plate. but as the assistant director indicated, it will be look at the issue of lethal threats facing the united states today the primary terrorism threat facing the u.s. comes from
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loan offenders individuals and small groups of individuals were motivated by extremist ideologies. i would like to build on the assistant director's opening statement and go a little bit more into detail on the dynamics of the threat we are seeing based on our analysis at the department. as both organizational and structure. engage in other for violence is very individualized threat what do i mean by that? we'll be loan offenders engage in violent activity, expired by extremist beliefs online
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content motivated by great racial superiority immigrants others to do to their religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, individual or group of individuals distrust of government or government institution or the belief we should not have a government we should live in an anarchist type environment. this is a trend as i mentioned before did not disappear over the last year. so they began to observe since 2013 -- 2014 time. again looking at lethal attacks the united states the specific motives behind these attacks very many of the attackers share common behavioral characteristics but in particular their anger, they feel socially disconnected, they're seeking a sense of life meaning, the spent significant time online and ultimately self connect with a cost or grievance to justify the use of violence as a way to express their anger
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and achieve a sense of social connection and self worth. a phrase you will often hear, weea use in the analytic community is not the ideology it is the psychology. that's a reference toid the fact a major part of threat today's based on the anger that is so prevalent across our society. and the belief that violence is an appropriate rate to express that anger by a growing number of people within our society. this is a threat that does not fit neatly into traditional terrorism or extremism definitional categories. those who engage in violence often self connect with a combination extremist beliefs or a blend of personal grievances. by the assistant director referenced a number numbers of those killed are much are we look at attacks in texas, or
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las vegas, or other parts of isthe country it is very often difficult tohe discern whether the motive behind the attack is an ideological belief system or personal grievance or a combination of both. this is a threat that manifests itself in the digital environment disinformation, false narratives, conspiracy theory, spread by foreign nationstates, international terrorist groups, extremist thought leaders, fueled much of the violence we are experiencing is a very important point there was reference by a german shift mr. carson and others recently. domestic and foreign threat actors purposelyrs seek to exploit the fractures in our society. theoc anger and discord associate with our political discourse, to sow discord, inspire violence and destabilize our society. individuals preparing to tax advance often discussed the online i public import forms but critically important it provides context to what i'm
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sure we will discuss later today with regard to how the department has structuredth itself to work with the fbi and others to address this issue. but if i may, focus on a couple key issues. one, we need to think differently about intelligence. indicators may be apparent may often not be necessary to capture national intelligence analyst need to distinguish what was repeatedly prevention where the tools of the u.s. has used to prevent terrorist attacks in the united states is terrorism task force. they are effectively save lives per the current threat environment we have come to
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learn there has to be other violent prevention activities that complement. they may not be enough. community based prevention programs can address the threatan posed by individuals whoo do not reach the investigative threshold necessary for a terrorism relatedce investigation. expand thee permission of grant funding, training, technical assistance to local communities to law enforcement, mental health professionals, social service providers, community groups could identify those individuals who are at high risk. after conducting an violent attack and mitigate the threat of those individuals. being able to share an unclassified level analysis regarding the threat to those entities at the local level so they can be a part of violence prevention activities. let me conclude by making a point very strongly. i agree with the comments that
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have been made today about the need for a law enforcement intelligence assets not to be leveraged constitutionally protected behavior. we do not come at the department, it is not our job to engage in activities intended to target individuals because of their political belief their beliefs on race and religion. it is our job to prevent acts of violence. regardless of the ideological belief or personal grievances that motivate that violence is our job to protect our communities and protect the nation. thank you i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. cohen. withea that i will leave it the question but mr. kony testified previous about dhs efforts including to the office of security and the human capitol office to evaluate open investigationop between domestic violence, extremist behavior by government employees. can you, sir, provide an
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update and describe the current assessment that white supremacists are taking to organize in law enforcement as well as committees more generally? very proud of my profession, i have worked in law enforcement for multiple decades. unfortunately, though those in our community who are susceptible to the same forces that are serving to inspire other members of our society to adopt her self connect with ideological beliefs. when it comes to those of us from the national security or law enforcement that be extra vigilant to make sure one person belief system of the b extremist not do not impose discriminatory actions by those they are entrusted to enforce our laws. the secretary has asked the chief security officer, our
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human resources office, all of our components to look at open investigation that may be in place regarding individuals who may potentially be engaged in illegal or inappropriate behavior based ond their holding or connecting with extremist belief system. we are also ensuring that as we look to evaluate new hires, and as we seek the behavior of our employees especially those on the front line and enforcing laws are doing a way that is nondiscriminatory and not informed by extremist belief systems. >> thank you sir. director, do you share my view that active involvement in a white supremacist i organization of failing to against extremist harassment and intimidation is incompatible with active policing? >> thank you. yes of course. to echo the statements made
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the of throughput under an appropriatef vetting and thorough vetting of individuals of trust is paramount in this country to ensure that we have people who uphold the values of the constitution and of the country. >> thanking you, ranking member. i'd like to reiterate this is entirely inappropriate we have this hearing in an unsecure setting for i think this would have been better conducted in the skiff appeared to have a number of questions i would like to direct to both of you. i will do that under'd a more secure and possibly have an opportunity to conduct a hearing in the skiff or wee can talk about more sensitive information that's relevant appropriate format and setting. i would like to yield to allow them to make some t comments.
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>> thank you both for being here. as someone who on survived but was only recently determined to be a domestic violent extremist act, i would like to comment on some of that as we frame the discussion for today. on thatt particular day they were 136 rounds of fire. 136 rounds of fire. if not for steve scalise bingo the capitol police wouldn't have it. we would have had 20 -- 30 members of congress easily because they were penned in a baseball field. god was on our side that day things welot of have discoveredwa as we moved forward and realize how lucky we were the gentleman who
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attacked us came heavily armed and had a list of republicans. i was not on that list. if any of these lists are very disturbing when a seat mr. carson on a list someone who serves not only here in congress but has served his community and police officers. it is very disturbing and i'm glad we are addressing these issues because it has happened on many fronts. i mean no offense to you personally, the fact it took four years and a new director to have that event on june 14 termed as domestic violence extremism as it is defined why did it take for years? it was a political start in
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the fbi starting at the head who has been fired. look at that : : those are just a couple oaf examples. we all have a responsibility here. we all have a responsibility. for people to not have a reason to be >> we bear some responsibilities. but everybody is responsible for their actions and we do need to address this. and i would agree with mr. crawford what he said, to understand the complexities and the domestic violent and to make sure that we are adhering to our civil liberties and to make sure
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that the intelligence community is working within theirir legal range. and if we are to discuss tactics and procedures, have to some of the questions that i have today for the record to have them answered in a classified setting i think that is the appropriate way. i think that if we really want to get things done, it's our role on this committee, we need to do it in a classified sense and i yelled back. >> i thank you so, show the importance of the understanding of the threats and the warning of the threat and keep a safe. >> think and i just want to say that i appreciate that you're doing this hearing in an open session were having hearings on this and closeed classified session was important for the
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public to t understand what is e dominant domestic terrorist threat is an effective domestic terrorism is dramatically on the rise and that is not that we can keep behind closed doors in the public needs to understand the nature of the threat. i also thank you so a big part of the reason why diminished conference and law enforcement with a deep state conspiracy theories about the fbi which i think are a disservice to the men and women of the fbi who i think have done a remarkable job throughout history and i work with him since i was a prosecutor 30 years ago so i appreciate the work you do and intelligence community plays important role in the federal government's approach to domestic terrorism and thero roe is purposely narrow. the fbi ina in the national counter to some or test providing comprehensive analysis of the domestic terrorism threats as well ashr its driver.
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in essence, as our report makes clear, intelligence analysis and the dt spaces merely better understanding the threat in able to have the policymakers take steps to reduce it in these authorities these narrow authorities within the intelligence community of the domestic terrorism are not new authorities and to me, it is a bit disturbing that there is now such an attackk on these authorities when they predominate threat of the domestic terrorism comes from white nationalism. it should not matter when the predominate threat comes from in terms of the ics role in the icy has an important role to play as of the dominant role but it is important in assimilating this it relation and that is true whether the threat comes from from nationalism or comes some other source. let me ask you, there's a push someone in a the committee to nw limit those authorities. and i want to ask you about what
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the consequence of that would be in his proposed that the ic and they should have a role in terrorism only when there is a foreign nexus to that threat and so let me ask you about a hypothetical and must say there was an explosion on the mall the killed dozens of people. and hours after the exposure was unclear who planted the bomb what the motivation should be. can you both describe for us with the role that dha entered s and the bureau would play in trying to determine it was responsible for that and how it might inhibit your work if you are prohibited from doing that investigative analysis work until the foreign person could be identified. >> thank you for the question and so unfortunately, that scenarios unnecessarily exactly there but it has been played out
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before. initially it's difficult to determine. so initially, the response from the government, usually local law enforcement and the fbi, dhs, and the government agencies who are quickly trying to work together to first determine the existence of the continuation of that threat may have been from that initial action. then trying to determine the individuals involved in the motives and the planning that went into it and as such, the analysis that of course in the information is gleaned from that investigation is crucial to determine what caused that incident. so if you are referring to the analytical nature of intelligence the fbi's of course a dual agency, criminal
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organization and investigation bennett an organization also domestic intelligence service for the unitedan states. as such, we combine those two missions. we combine the gathering of the information and intelligence to be used in federal prosecutions along with national security permissions we have very distinct lines between how it's used but on the initial reaction, or the investigation in the initial response, there would be a large combined effort to determine the extent of the purpose of that attack and the extent of those involved and what was funny was involved in that attack. >> i would inhibit your work if you cannot undertake the unanalysis there was already a conclusion about a foreign link toab it. >> it would impede our ability to gather the information provided by the state and local authorities and the private sector that may be relevant to the attack and i would
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proclaimed our ability to conduct an engagement with theuc pdt and in the travel pattern analysisrs to see if we could determine any type of causal link or operational links between individuals who may have been identified and associated with the attacking others in thd united states and it would impede our ability to look at online activities and indicators or associated with the attacks and maybe give us more insight into what we are doing and it would essentially preclude our ability to engage and support the activities associated with investigating that operation until such time it was determined. >> thank you and i yield back. >> thank you and to the witnesses thank you for being here, to know that i appreciate you serving the nation and i have no doubt in my mind that
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your patriots and protecting his seek to protect american's trust and martin lives. this hearing does causese me soe concern and i want to explain if i could come i think that we have seen in the last few years a breakdown in faith and basic institutions with my friend the doctor had talked about including unfortunately, law enforcement and justice institutions. and after for example, last three or four or five years, i think the reputation of the fbi the department of justice has been tattered inn many ways. we know there were efforts to work in tandem and some leadership within the fbi particularly but the department of justice is about broken down with political parties and candidatesat to a false narratie than i think a seven -year-old would've viewed it and said this
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can't possibly be true. and yet they presented it as if it were true and you have the use of federal law enforcement to target parents now for simply wanting to have the kids have a good education it and the leather kids and for them not to be indoctrinated into schools we have months and months of writings, $22 billion of damage and 27 or 20 and people killed and hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement injured with seemingly no ability to stop it. i think the list goes on there's more than i can mention that we have this effort and this is our concern relies. this effort to the ic and the intelligence community, ic to potentially analyze or evaluate u.s. persons when there is no foreign nexus in other words, the person has no virtually no association with any or city supported the need for it and conform government a group and if youan wanted to continue to have people be skeptical of law
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enforcement, and block down that road or walk in the road and create the impression that we are walking down the road. and that is my fear my concern that if you allow any of your organizations to continue with the ic and the awesome powers they have, the msa for example, incredible ability to's intent to surveilled we know that and i should never turn that awesome surveillance on any u.s. person there is no foreign nexus and neither should the cia. neither should the dia or any of the elements of the ic and if there's no foreign nexus, is there is no attorney or group or organization a person should not be under the surveillance or under the eye of any of these ics and that is why i think i think you do as well, ensure and surely you share that concern that if there is no foreign nexus, then it is a law
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enforcement matter which means therefore seven under the purview of this committee since we are not a law enforcement committee. and i do have questions but because of the nature of the questions, you won't be able to answer them and so i will hold them and submit them in writing for your response and again if we could do this in a secure environment and one final thought if i could. what you know that we have no interest at all in curtailing any of the appropriated authorities we understand that you have a role to play and that it is difficult and you need to use the tools available to you. all they want is transparency, and honesty and how those authorities are employed prayed and to not expand those authorities as i expressed my concerns here today, so again wo have some comments and some additional questions and all 7000 writing and hopefully we can get a response in an appropriate setting with that i
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yield back. >> welch. >> thank you very much and mr. cohen, first of all and want to say that my understanding is you don't seek to the surveillance in a manner that all of us subject to. is that correct. >> yes that is correct in fact, there are significant restrictions on the use of intelligence community question platforms in the domestic platform but were not talking about using the power of the nsa against u.s. person while they're in the united states as we engage in identifying present violence. >> you have different authorities will head. >> yes, i concur with that as well let me just ask, in september 18 the work radical
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right-wing supporters of the january 6th insurrection is gathered at the u-uppercase-letter despite that there were similar traffic on public facing websites to what was seen before dinner six, but no similar level of violence and what you assess of that event. >> that's interesting and i think it provides a good illustration of what we are doing and not doing and as we were evaluating activity online community o and platforms commoy used by violent domestic extremist, we saw discussions that focused on an event to be held in washington dc on december 18th and initially we do not see any references to violence so we did not collect information or disseminate information until we had to see woven into this conversation
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specific calls for violent and illegal acts a kidnapping of a member of congress and the attack of liberal churches. attacks against jewish facilities we began seeing calls by counter protesters to come to dc and engage in violent acts and when we began to see nexus violent activities that's when we began working closely with the fbi and begin additional analysis and work withed state d local and we issued a public statement referring to the potential threat. in some degree what we have come to believerr is that our focus n these events and the security measures put in place in response actually served as a deterrent to the acts of violence. >> what about the just the process of sharing information with the partnerships the state and local governments we get the databases of these threats what theyha are. can you address the need to do that and have better more reliable systems.
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>> if an investigative perspective and as i mentioned in my opening statement, there are examples where acts of violence and targeted violence was then prevented by threat management strategies at the local level. so it is critical that local authorities there be law enforcement and others have an understanding of the threat and the behavioral indicators associated with the threat so they o can recognize those behaviors and indicators should they be present. >> solo the couple to be institutionalized the recording of the t climate at a state and local climate so that information is available and i do sometimes made available. >> i believe it would be. as far as sharing and that information currently we use that are - we have over 200 throughout the country then in addition increasing the intelligence products too much
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wider audience as well pretty. >> i share the concern in my republican colleagues about this civil rights and liberties and emmy what we do have a much time so also with the mr. but the agency doing to ensure that individuals have civil rights and civil liberties protected. >> wireless, they have to receive the training on or so they're able to distinguish between protected activity and constitution that may be threat related we have extensive oversight that involves our lawyers from the intelligence lock position and community oversight officer but also our biases in a civil rights and civil liberties officer and i say this in a meekness as some of you r again, i've been a pole officer never arrested a lot of people and very focused on conducting operations throughout the country and my keep causes department in the department
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today is civil liberties officer and even the perception that we are infringing on people's constitutional protecting rights would undermine think it would pointed out the credibility to protect our communities from violence f. >> thank you and i yield back. >> thank youis and i want to thk the witnesses for your service to the country. i share the comments and mr. crawford and i wish we were in a classified setting for much of this t hearing today i will have questions also met in a secure format and having said that, mr. cohen, both of you have talked about the importance of local law enforcement and working together and how impactful that is on your investigations and the work you do on both levels when it comes to domestic violence. in a prior life, spent time is federal prosecutor and ended up and that express working with local law enforcement with her
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is the's department local police department state troopers, is obviously the foundation of much of what you guys do and having said that, as i look at this movement to defund the police, given the departments, i cannot think of anything that would be more disruptive and more problematic to the work you do at the local level to disrupt. i'm wondering if you could comment on that. >> this will be a surprised anybody knows me, believe that law enforcement is important part ofve our society and their men and women working on enforcement each and every day who are safeguarding the communities the other work each day putting lives at risk. so they can help the country be a better place. in the policing work on enforcement in a country as weak non- discriminatory and enforcement actions should not be the derby carried out driven by implicit for over biased and
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we should do everything we can to maketh sure law enforcement engages in their day-to-day activities and the legal nondiscriminatory manner predict. >> having said that, i'm happy that the lesson that we saw a reduction in minneapolis replacing and defending the police in minneapolis, i think that speaks volumes and hopefully put into that but to the point he can tell you honey police officers that i talked to whether it o is an chicago or mh of my district that are the is lower than i've ever seen it before and because of this movement to defundbe the police. i mention that because as you do your work, and working at the local level, this is something that we have to address and work to remedy. changing subjects, you talked a little bit about on line information and disinformation and how that is been used to exploit many of these cases that
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you have talked about. the social media and in terms of, we have been grappling on capitol hill about what to do about social media and a lot of suggestions out there, everything from section 230, liability protections online platforms and we do there and i will these tech companies accountable and heavily break them up and what we need to do. as you look at the work and help the role of social media place in many of these loan rangers as you describe them, what should we be doing to help remedy the >> so there's three distinctel lines, one first off, very much we encourage citizens individuals to go forward when they have information when they see informatione of extreme rhetoric or violence online that is onee. potential avenue for tm to come to us like in the past, reporting things when things are
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concerning in the second level is direct engagement with companies in the private sector and whether it is a tech company or any other private sector, but the bureau heavily engages with members of the tech industry along with other private sectorr sent to talk about and they can be responsible and reporting senses of violence and individuals that are concerned recording to us at the fbi or - >> let me interrupt and having said that, have you seen positive changes that have been implemented along those lines that have been productive to the work that you do. >> often times when coming to come us with information that willil help us and concerns that we engage with training and with them to what to look for in our concerns federal cases that we work together to disrupt the actually happen but there is a massive amount of information out there in a massive amount of
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rhetoric and speech that could lead to potentially violent acts in the third level with a two is to increase our own source base of information of individuals so provided the information about ongoing individuals that would submit acts of violence. in addition we continue to try to attempt to close the gap on encryption. so criminals who are using techniques and platforms applications that have encryption that are outside of the ability for the warrants and pursued information that we would continue to look for ways to help w with that. >> thank you i am out of time and i yield back. >> mr. castro. >> thank you for calling this
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important area we seen the whites it acts in texas, over 20 people were killed over two years go by a man said that he wanted to kill the mexicans and ended up killing k of bunch of americans. the attacks on latino americans in modern history and last few weeks, san antonio and austin has stuck with anti-semitic attacks with businesses defaced and a local jewish community be intimidated only of same white nationalist public they were wearing nasi clothing outside of the holocaust museum and deny it so i want to ask you, what will the fbi dot to investigate these incidents in texas and others like us. >> for one the fbi engaged with local law enforcement extensively and identifying crimes whether it is a crime or whether it is a part of a group that follows the promotion of a
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white supremacist to the white supremacy race and we have elevated the racially motivated to extremist to one of our highest levels of threats and as i said earlier, counterterrorism made asm high priority in the fi and within that, racially motivated extremism is at the top equal to that as a threat of a foreign terrorist such as isis so we focused a great deal of resources on trying to disrupt and stop that activity and identify those individuals that may be responsible for the and we take it very seriously. >> said taking on white nationalist extremism is something that and let us administer just committed to doing what we have to ask yourself what happens into those holding these views are part of the law enforcement in t a repot last month and oversight reform committee found that some ages proposed messages against the
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agency policy were found to have engaged in misconduct while it is plan review board recommended set a date certain punishment ultimately the officers face far reduce penalties putting report that aboard under the border patrol image interrogatory comments about a member of congress had its discipline reduce termite removal to a 60 day suspension was awarded that day and work patrol supervisor will improperly posted an internal cd video of margaret falling off a cliff to their death, as well as an explicit event, and about a member of congress had their disciplinary reduce from a removal to a 30 day suspension. there many other examples in the report, they ask you, how are they able to effectively take on white national extremist groups when dhs employees are barely punished. >> is a fair question and that is why the direction of the
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secretary, we have instituted a serious effort to look at the rules and governing the disciplinarian hiring a personal and the actions taken against the personnel and the rules and the government on the personnel so that these types of situations can be addressed in a consistent manner across the department and to your point is well taken if one is entrusted to enforce the laws of this country, even the perception of this person actions are being influenced by racist or other extremist beliefs, undermines the credibility of the organization so something you take very seriously at the department working to address. >> tackling extremism in the high seas, how can you assure them that dhs officers with those responsibilities will do their work in an unbiasedrk way. >> i think it goes to what i described earlier but it also is
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a part of the leadership of the department and they have to send a strong message to our workforce that racist for inappropriately influenced activities will not be tolerated. theak need to be taken seriously the allegations need to be investigated and when warranted, action needs to be taken. >> i made a comment to the director ray close to the beginning of the term that i hope that extremist, white nationalism within the law enforcement will be seriously scrutinized because in american society, we give law enforcement officers benefit of the doubt and it is hard to prosecute law enforcement officers especially to prosecute them successfully and if any of their actions are motivated by racism or hate extremism, and that becomes especially deadly to the mark in public. thank you for your efforts. >> thank you and the american
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people are deeply concerned about the politics and the fbi to be leading across the u.s. in response to constitutionally protected speech and assembly and school board events criticallypo in virginia. in september, the national school board association released ahe public letter the present biden requesting federal assistance to address alleged violence targeting children and board members and educators in the letter referencing increased threats of violence due to frustration of our mask mandate and teaching of critical race theory. ... ... through existing statutes, executive authority interagency and intergovernmental task force asks other extraordinary measures. the letter went on to say the classification of these heinous actions could be equivalent to a
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form of domestic terrorism and it requested the administration review all applicable laws and policies including the patriot act to relevant enforcement actions due to the threat. we know the school board coordinated this letter with the white house prior to this house of prayer to this release five days after the release of the school board association letter the attorney general released a memo directing the fbi to be with the leaders to discuss strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff it. in testimony before the house judiciary committee attorney general garland confirmed this letter was a relevant factor in the creation of the memo that was sent out by the department of justice. this is the politicization of department of justice without facts to support the alleged growing threat a need for other investigation purchased specifically targeting parents and parental groups. we now know the letter the school board association released a statement to its
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members they regret and apologize and yet the attorney general has not retracted this memo. i have a few yes or no questions, has the fbi held any of these meetings directed by attorney general garland yes or no? >> i do not know that. they were led by the u.s. attorney's offices. i would think it is best directed. cracks in conjunction with the fbi? >> i do not have that number for. >> and they have had meetings with the meeting? >> in conjunction with the's fb? i don't have that information the date was supposed to be today. it's been coordinated for 94nd jurisdictions does the fbi considered parent domestic terrorists? >> no. o >> to parents who oppose c archaea are they considered domestic terrorist? >> no not to my knowledge.
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note your knowledge? >> no as long as a not n committing federal violations old they would not be. cracks are parents who oppose masked mandates considered domestic terrorist? >> no. what are your thoughts? basedd upon the school board association letter which is now been rescinded. why has the department not rescinded the garland memo question request you have to ask the department of justice pray. >> you think it should be rescinded? -not going to speak on behalf of the attorney general man. her extremity of the thoughts. >> i would only add that in addition to the letter that was submitted there were actual calls for violence are directed teachers, school board administrators, and other educational and violent on extremist platforms. we did reach out to state and
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local law enforcement. there have been some sporadic incidents of violence at school board meetings and in educational facilities. however the information we received estate and local law enforcement were not single widespread action. we are continue to work with state and locals to maintain the awareness of the fire if there's any threats of violence directed he went there not just focused on school administrators and the information we were analyzing. it alsohr included threats against law enforcement and public health officials who were getting vaccines and involved in other public health related activities. this is something we to evaluate. y >> you are aware of the attorney general testified under oath s the factors of school boardss association letter per you are aware of that? >> i did not watch the attorney general. >> you're answering very differently here today. he said that was the reason for the memo put out by the department of justice.
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without a yield back. >> the lady yields back. as a membership in a white supremacist organization does qualify for people applying to the fbi or work at the fbi? >> yes. >> 's membership in that type of organizationn. inconsistent with law enforcement? x yes. >> to house the fbi courted local and state law enforcement incoming threats and information about white supremacynf and other? i know haven't worked at the fusion center there was an analyst assigned there as well as you guys built awe skiff there. it was always tension with local law enforcement as you know and the fbi there's a sentiment that local law enforcement does the work and fbi comes in at a the last minute and i think in many cases that is unfair. at those coordinating efforts improved over time? >> or i have been in law
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enforcement sort with the government for 41 years. i actually not found it that often but there is definitely for actions that on individual basis. i found the coordination between local, state, and the fbi to be very wholesome. of course there are times the case should be worked at a state or federal level. again i refer back to the foundation of what our sharing is andoi this 200 joint terrorism task force with only 4500 agents working hand-in-hand together. so what information reaches that potentially contains a federal violation, ideology, the concern then that information is forwarded from that task force officer. they can review that information to determine if this is accreditation to move forth with a potential investigation. >> thankn. you sir. >> it's no secret the i see
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failed to adequately warn of the insurrection that occurred on generally six. sir, can you explain what specific procedures have changed and bit institute oppose january 6? >> thank you, mr. chairman. there's are a lot of lessons we in law enforcement and intelligence world learn from generally six both the events that day and the weeks leading up. to the point i made my opening opening statement the indicationsg that we have done we acquire or comes to us through the private sector has analyzing
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of online activity. and evaluating activity from the perspective of the potential risk of violence. we have, i would say we are probably much more cognizant and mindful of incorporating that related information into operational planning. i think a very good sort of example of the difference that goes back today is to simply look at what happened on inauguration day. after january 6, the analysis did not reflect here on january 6 viewed it as a victory at the endpoint of their effort part this out as a starting point. there were calls online for additional acts of violence to be committed both in the district of columbia and state capitals around the country. on inauguration are in and around inauguration day. the response by law enforcement is very different.
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included social security measures security measures around the capitol highly visible presence of national guards, highly visible presence of law enforcement. a very overt and public security presence in and around state capitals around the country. what do we see reflected on social media and extremist platforms? cognizance of the security measures and a reluctance to come to washington because those who are planning acts of violence viewed it as set for their arrest not the right time to come and engage because of the security crisis. there is a lesson of this. focus is much more understanding when they have a potential act of violence serve as a
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deterrent. >> thank you, mr. chairman. actually have some questions about recent source reporting on october 29 isis threat to identified mall and northern virginia but i'll save those for a secure setting. i would like to ask you which fbi headquarters element has the lead on implementing in the october 4 memo regarding school board threats. >> combination? of the lung the counterterrorism division for. >> how local law enforcement just the fbi asking additional issuances with thiss issue? >> i do not know most likely would've reached out to their local field office or are any participants participating in this meeting, training of any other activities soaked with the memo. >> i do not have information has been formatted and led by the local use attorney offices. who attended and from what programs? >> me field office.
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>> appreciate the follow up on that. the fbi's utilizing any national intelligence programs resources or authorities? >> no. we possibly could be using analytical resources which all animals in the fbi, whether they work organized crime or whether they work cybercrime, all of them come from the national intelligence program bucket. and so, analytically if we are reviewing a problem some of the resources could be reviewed if we are trying to ascertain whether or not potential threat against zacks. i am certain now, based on my colleagues comments you are where the nationald school board association apologized and recalled their september 29 ledge the present woe to the a catalyst for the attorney general's memo. since then as the fbi received any updated guidance in the department of justice on canceling the mandate or fbi
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lead meetings, training and dedicated open open lines of threat reporting? >> not that i'm awarein of. >> the gentleman yields back, chairmanship. >> thank you want to follow up on a couple of issues. are you seeing a rise in deaths threats against school board members? >> cannot necessarily quantify it mr. chairman but we are definitely seeing online activity which specifically calls for acts of violence of school administrators and school board members. >> those are against school personnel over for example decisions they make about the health of the children inea the schools? >> yes, it is included in a narrative that we have seen continue its focus is on public health and other restrictions associated with covidid.
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and having tooth vaccines as well. >> i know a lot of us on this podium have been the subject of death threats. when we are, those are investigated by capitol police, sometimes by federal law enforcement for we certainly want them investigated. when death threats against school board members should be investigated similarly? >> to make serious threats of violence until we can determine if those threats are not valid or credible to maintain and be vigilant to prevent acts of violence free. >> these threats of violence, these death threats are designed to force a change in policy are theyey not? >> the narratives we have examined and i have looked at have specifically called for acts of violence looming
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institute in schools. i'm not sure i'm comfortable saying with the intent of the poster is. the content has complained the provisions and have called on people to threaten school or members, law enforcement healthcare professionals. >> were also seeing threats of violence against election officials are we not? what yes we have seen that the 2020 election we continue to see it today. >> i raise this because i think there has been a proliferation of threats of violence, politically motivated violence. into an astonishing and dangerous degree iraq are rationalization of violence or threats of violence to bring about political change.
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acceptance of political violence. utthe executive summary of the domestic violent extremist threat. what's reads in part from narratives of fraud on the recent general election. the violent breach of the capitol comic conditions relates to code 19 pandemic and conspiracy theories promoting violence will almost certainlyy spare some engage in violence this year. those who are pushing the big lie, undermining our democracy are emboldening new violence in my view. those who are downplaying the significance of the attack on january 6 are trying to make political heroes of those who
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assaulted police officers on that day or breach the capitol, in my view, are encouraging further violent. when we propagate a falsehood about the election, will we diminish public confidence in our elections. if people don't think they can rely on a route elections to decide who will govern his invitation to violence. it is far worse that imitation of violence comes or members of congress than anyone else. because the members of congress notes a big lie is a big lie. when we are informed by intelligence agencies that attack is emboldening others to commit other actsld of violence in the falsehood narratives of fraud or encouragement of violence others continue to engage in that. with that i yield back. >> thank you chairman thank.
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you both for your participation. cumbersome and stuff on it? >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i just want to get on the record you talk about the u.s. attorney's leading this. are you aware the october 4 memo states to this and i am directing working with edge you each u.s. attorney to convene meetings question. >> the fbi is directing this? >> the epic is not directed at u.s.s. attorney's office will direct the meetings and form at the meetings and decide how the meetings would transpire. >> the memo is not accurate was not followed? >> i do know if there's an interpretation deference free. >> just reading witnesses physically. >> that is my>> understanding of the department of justice to be led by the attorneys offices. >> you are aware and judiciary hearing last week. the attorney
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general to provide information led to the issuing of the memo by -- are you aware of any c reason why they miss that deadline? >> i cannot speak on behalf of the department. >> have you participated in the formulation or presentation of that memo? >> know i have exchanged some e-mails the weekend before when the initial discussion was brought up about this memo that came out, it was very briefly. >> what was the discussion was a native topic? >> a letter came in from the school board association and is looking to put out some messaging. >> what was the messaging? >> i did not have been messaging very quick to say during the e-mail. >> we can find whatever we need to get the full extent of the e-mail just there be something coming out it was engaged at a different level a lower level than me. that is all the statement this
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was going to come out. >> you will provide all the e-mails related to the issuing of thehe garland memo as well as any planning for messaging and any compilation of response to the senators request information youls will provide e-mails in that? >> whatever i can provide you legally i willro pray. >> you will provide this? >> whatever i can provide you ma'am i will have to check with our legal counsel. >> the yield back. >> yields back want to thank you both your participation today, thank you for this very rewarding often times it is thankless. i want to thank chairmanship for his great presence and ranking member crawford, my colleagues in the entire committee forhe accountability and keeping america safe. thank you this hearing is adjourned.
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