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tv   Homeland Security Secretary Testifies on Global Threats Part 1  CSPAN  November 30, 2022 2:42pm-4:44pm EST

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homeland security secretary
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alejandro mayorkas actors, christina abe's, a testified on global threats before the house homeland security committee. other topics discussed included, domestic violent extremism and cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. côte d'ivoire the committee on homeland security will be an. order the committee is meeting >> today to receive testimony
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on worldwide threats to the homeland. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare the committee and re-south. good morning. today the committee is holding its annual hearing to examine worldwide threats to the homeland. we are pleased to have secretary of homeland security, alejandro mayorkas, fbi director christopher wray, and and cpc director, christine abe say. before the committee, once again. two years ago, the committee convened its worldwide threats hearing during some of the darkest days of the pandemic. we last year the panel it testified before the committee in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the u.s. capital. no matter the circumstances, the committee and the american people have benefited from the witnesses frank assessment of the threats facing the homeland, both foreign and domestic.
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more than 20 years after the terrorist attacks of september 11th, 2001, and 20 years this month since the department of homeland security was established in law, we recognize the witnesses. their predecessors, and men and women of their agencies for their tireless efforts to prevent another 9/11 style attack. that said, we know the threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations have not gone away. it has evolved and persist it just as our efforts to combat a tap. at the same time, domestic violent extremists now pose the greatest flood threat to our homeland. the biden ministration has put new focus on combatting the rising threat, issuing the first ever national strategy for countering domestic terrorism which, established in a domestic terrorism and look ranch within dhs's office of intelligence and analysis.
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and designating domestic violent extremism as a national priority area for home and security grants. more work remains as -- are increasingly willing to engage in targeted violence, whether at a synagogue in pittsburgh, a walmart in el paso, or a supermarket in buffalo. i hope to speak to our witnesses today about their assessment of the current threat from our terrorism and targeted violence, and what their agencies are doing to protect the homeland. beyond terrorism arming concerned about cyber threats. particularly from russia, china, and iran. in response to these threats, the biden ministration has raised our cybersecurity posture by issuing an executive order on improving the nation's cybersecurity leading global efforts to confront ransomware threats and launching a
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groundbreaking private private collaboration to help secure industrial control systems. i would hear from our witnesses about how they assess the current -- . to cyber critical infrastructure, will progress we've made, and what more we can do. meanwhile, other homeland security challenges remain, like preparing for national disasters, done with climate change, responding to the pandemic, securing your skies waterways, addressing the increased number of migrants arriving at her borders, and protecting our democracy and its institutions. our discussion will undoubtedly touch on many of these issues today, and i look forward to a robust and respectful dialogue. as the 117 congress draws to a close. i want to take a moment to reflect on the committee's work over the last two years, because together we have accomplished a great deal.
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today marks the 25th full committee hearing of this congress, and our committees have held more than 50 hearings conducting oversight on some of the most pressing homeland security issues facing our nation. we enact critical legislation, particularly in areas of cybersecurity, creating mandatory cyber incident reporting framework, providing cybersecurity grants to state and will governments and improving the federal governments's ability into malicious activity on industrial control systems. historically, much of this committee's best work and many of its greater successes have been the result of strong bipartisan efforts. that is certainly been true of this congress with the gentleman from new york, mr. katko as ranking member. early in his time on this committee, ranking member katko became a leader in and an
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intervenor on security and more recently he was made his mark on the committee's cybersecurity work. that's most importantly, he was a true partner on efforts to stand up a commission to examine the january 6th attack on the capital, putting country before politics. the ranking member and i did not always agree, but we agreed when we could and when we disagreed, we tried not to be disagreeable about it. as he departs congress, i want to thank him for his important work over the years, on this committee. and on a personal work note, for his friendship. i worked on the very best in the new year and beyond. likewise, i want to extend my thanks to all members for their work in the 117th congress, and especially those who are moving on to other endeavors next year. the gentleman from rhode island, mr. lindley. the gentleman from new york,
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miss rice, the gentlewoman from florida, misdemeanors. the gentleman from new jersey, mr. malinowski. the gentlewoman from virginia,. the gentleman from her. your contribution to this committee's work, the work of this congress threat you're tenure are recognized and appreciated. again, i thank the witnesses for being here and i look forward to the hearing. with that, i recognize the ranking member, the gentleman from new york mr. katko for an opening statement. >> thank you, mister chairman. and i am pleased that the committee has decided all this important hearing. i think it's important to look at these issues on a routine basis and we've always done that. as our nation faces growing continuous changing threats posed by former adversaries, criminal interrogatories a shuns, and the crisis at the southwest border, to name a few. in the first two years of the biden ministration, we've seen it hurst disturbing trend
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become a catastrophic humanitarian crisis at the border. in 20, 20 cbp had 500,000 migrant car counters at the southern border. in 2021, the first year the biden ministration -- these migrant encounters have tripled to well over 1.7 million. and in the last fiscal year, they reported record-breaking 2.3 million migrant encounters. mr., wray i know you and fbi, that has to be concern for you. well the vast majority these migrants may become to find work or more prosperous opportunities. we cannot ignore the evidence security threat that looms beneath the surface of that crisis. ctv reported over 29,000 illegal immigrants who had known criminal records, and 750 documented gang members including 312 affiliated with the notorious ms-13 gang, where those encountered at the southwest border. those are the ones we know about. not the ones we don't.
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even more troubling is that these numbers only account for those the relocated by law enforcement. not a 600,000 that are estimated to have invaded the officers at the border in 2022 alone. how many dangerous criminals, and gang members and toured undetected? how many were smuggling deadly drugs like fentanyl into our communities? the truth is, we have no way of knowing. but these reports demonstrate that it is almost certainly an elevated and fast growing number. in addition, still darker threat lives within that depth and something that is central to our mission atalanta charity. in 2020, cbp located three individuals, three, who were on the terrorist screening data watch last attempting to enter the border. these were deemed to be a potential threat to our homeland. including known or suspected terrorists or their filial. it's in 2021, the number to 15. in the last reported year, 98 potential terrorist or affiliates were discovered between our ports of entry and wanting to evade law enforcement into the country.
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again, that just once we know about. sadly, the increased risk to our nation security is not the only consequence of this crisis. the migrants attempting to pass attending passage are experiencing brutal conditions that i saw firsthand, including child exploitation, rape, and death. the un international organization for migration has labeled the southwest border of, quote, the deadliest land crossing in the world, and quote. in my right now for 2022, we reported over 150. breaking the room record record for that set just last year. there are counties in texas and arizona and california where they have had to -- just to deal with all of the doug ford body think out of the border. i don't understand that. we are reminded of these tragedies almost daily with reports of families drowning in the rio grande river or dying if he said he'd exhaustion costing the desert. often abandoned by smugglers who care only about profits. i would like to recognize the brave men and women who stand guard at our nation's borders,
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constantly under siege by drug cartels. human smugglers, and this ever increasing humanitarian crisis. these honorable, brave americans work day and night, holidays and weekends and some of the most unforgiving environments. and i know secretary mayorkas should know that for sure. they routinely face danger and even death. all while being villainess by some for fulfilling their duties to protect our homeland from those that wish us harm. in this difficult position, it is truly tragic but on surprising that many of them bear scars, both mental and physical, from the burden that they shoulder. my heart goes out to the families of the heroic men and women that have given it all protecting our country, as well as those that are suffered the mental toll of prolonged exposure to this crisis. including the alarming rise and the number of suicides amongst these agents who are despondent. another threat to our country, illuminate by the inspector general last year was the vetting shortfall experienced during the evacuation resettlement more than 79,000 afghans as part of operation
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allies refuge. an operation allies welcome. it is not be now become even more clear that the biden ministration facilitated the transform relocation into the u.s. of many afghans that were known of the time to have potentially significant security concerns. both women security and the department of defense, igs found that information to bet a evacuees was not complete, reliable, or ways accurate. we understand it was a fire, do we have to protect those who helped us, but we have to do better with vetting. and i am a very supportive having refugees coming into our country, because i think they are -- by. enlarge we must not lose sight of the challenges are virtual borders. the cyber environment is used for espionage, suppression campaigns, the spread of disinformation, and steal intellectual property and technology to bolster their own defenses at the expense of industry, government, an everyday americans. we must remain vigilant to
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efforts of china, russia, iran, north korea, just to name a few. who seek advantage in tactical capabilities in a virtual environment that bring risk to our security. in addition to state sponsored adversaries, organized criminal cyber thieves devise formidable attacks and fraud schemes, ransomware attacks were up 188% in 2021 costing businesses an estimated 1.2 billion dollars. and we're focused on schools and health care organizations, primarily. including many magistrates. i look forward to collective insight from our witnesses today and how we can further address the most prevalent concerning cyber threats impacting both our communities and national security. additionally, along with many americans, i am sad to say that i am very concerned about reporting that an fbi agent, timothy bo may have suppressed derogatory information relevant to ongoing investigations relating to hunter biden. and he has a long history of partisanship and was quick and
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quickly left the agency when these allegations came to light. as a current law enforcement professional, i know i found these revelations to be very deeply troubling. as did many others in law enforcement. similarly, mr. wray, you have publicly acknowledged and i applied you for that, that you are troubled by the allegations at a recent senate judiciary hearing. well today's hearing is focused primarily on four settlements katie, i have to say i am concerned about the overall state of the bureau and increasingly partisan perceptions, right, wrong of the bureau. and i say that as someone who for 20 years worked day and night on the highest most violent, dangerous, criminals in the world as a federal crime prosecutor in el paso texas and send mom puerto rico, and upstate new york. every time i had fbi agent for my side, they did the best wire tops, the best organized crime cases, they were by far the a-team on this major cases, and i know those agents who are
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still friends of mine are heartbroken by the perceptions of the fbi today. and i hope, in the days and years going forward that you can turn that ship around because our nation deserves it. and when our nation loses faith in law enforcement, that is a terrible thing. and you are the premier law enforcement agency, and i'll be internship around. mister chairman, as you alluded to this is a likelihood. all likely had my last fall committee with this hearing. all all the decisions i had to make about whether to retire or not, this was the toughest one by far. because i have had more joy and more satisfaction with this agency because it was like a bastion of bipartisanship. we don't conduct a lot of the antics and the cheap theatrical of either committees to. we get our job done because we care about this nation, whether republican or democrat. and we love our nation, and we want to keep it safe, and i commend you for the time that you have been chairman, and the way you conducted yourself, and the way we have become friends and been able to keep our eyes focused on the mission despite
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all the partisan rank it that seems to be higher than ever these days. so good for you for what you have done for this committee, and good for all of the members here who have put your partisanship aside when we come in this room to do what is right for this country. and that to me is a very important thing. we may often disagree, and sometimes strongly mister chairman, but i believe that this committee has demonstrated that our passion for securing the country's bipartisan steadfast. and i want to thank my committee south who have spent countless hours developing oversight legislation policy to secure the united states. i'm incredibly grateful for their service and dedication to the mission. many of them are with me here today, and i'm not going to settle them all out. but there is one that i'm going to single out. this person has been with me from the beginning, he's almost after actor, for the entire years that i've been in congress, i worked with him side-by-side home insecurity mothers. he is right behind me cowed klein. and i want to say thank you to him. he has been a true professional, he is a bipartisan person, he cares about this country loves this country and wants to keep it safe.
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so, kyle, thank you very much. i want to just say thank you. and with that happy note, i yield back. thank you, mister chairman. >> the gentleman yields back. and i already expressed my thoughts on your leadership as well, as the members who will be departing and, it thank you much. other members of the committee are reminded that on the committee rules opening statements would be submitted for the record. members are also reminded that the committee will operate according to the guidelines laid out by the chairman and ranking member in our february 3rd 2021 call regarding remote procedures. i welcome our panel of witnesses. our first witness is alejandro a orcas, secretary of homeland security. our next witness will be christopher wray, director of the federal bureau of investigation.
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and our third and final witness will be christine evers lee, director of the national counterterrorism center. without objection, witnesses full statement will be included in the record. and now ask secretary mayorkas to summarize his statement for five minutes. five minutes. chairman thompson, ranking member capito, distinguished members of this committee, thank you for inviting me. thank you for inviting me to join you today. next week marks the 20th anniversary of the one homeland security act being signed into law this ice brought together many components of the federal government to safeguard the united states from foreign terrorism in the wake of the devastation wrought on september 11th 2001. it remains the largest reorganization of the federal government's national security establishment since 1947. it is a testament to the grave threat that we face as a nation
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from towers and brought to our shores by foreign actors and foreign terrorist organizations congress created a department that has significantly reduced the foreign terrorism threat posed to the homeland. >> mister secretary, pull your mic closer to you? how is that? >> well -- all right, let's see how that goes. [laughter] >> congress created a department that has significantly reduce the risk foreign terrorism poses to the homeland. by increasing our capacity to prepare for and respond to those events. foreign terrorist organizations remain committed to attacking the united states from within and beyond our borders. they use social media platforms to amplify messaging intended to inspire attacks in the homeland. they have adapted to changing security environments seeking new and innovative ways to target the united states. the terrorism threat to the homeland now includes lone
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actors, fueled by a wide range of violent extremist ideologies and grievances, including domestic violent extremists. u. s.-based individuals who seek to further political or social goals, wholly or in part through violence without direction or inspiration from a foreign terrorist group or foreign power. from cyberattacks, to increasing destabilizing efforts by hostile nation states, the threats facing the homelands have never been greater or more complex. internationally recognized norms of behavior in cyberspace hour adversaries, hostile nations and non-nation states cybercriminals continued to advance and capability and sophistication. their methods vary, their goals of doing harm are the same. hostile nations like russia and the peoples republic of china, iran and
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north korea and cybercriminals around the world continue to sharpen the tactics and create more consequences. there are ransomware attacks target our financial institutions, hospitals, pipelines, electric grids and water treatment plants, attempting to wreak havoc on our daily lives. they exploit the integrated global cyber echo system to sow discord, undermine democracy and erode trust, public and private. the cyber operations threaten the economic and national security of every american and many others around the world. in particular, china's using its technology to tilt the global playing field to its benefit. they leverage sophisticated cyber capabilities to gain access to the intellectual property, data, and infrastructure of american individuals and businesses. russia's unprovoked invasion of ukraine intensified the risk of a cyberattack, impacting our critical infrastructure earlier this year. nation-state aggression is creating a heightened risk of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear related threats to
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americans as well. while fast emerging technologies like unmanned aerial systems, artificial intelligence, internet communications and cryptocurrencies are helping societies be more productive, creative and entrepreneurial, they also are introducing the risks. transnational criminal organizations are deploying these technologies to commit a wide array of crimes as they continue to grow in size, scale, sophistication and lethality. with respect to unmanned aerial systems in particular, it is vital that congress acts before the end of this year to extend the cuas authorities in order to protect the american people for malicious drone activity. the risk of targeted violence, perpetrated by actors abroad and at home is substantial. emerging technology platforms allow individuals and nation states to fan the flames of hate and personal grievances to large audiences and are encouraging people to commit
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violent acts. those driven to violence are targeting critical infrastructure, soft targets, faith-based institutions, institutions of higher education, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement and the military and perceived ideological opponents. addressing these threats requires a whole of society approach across federal, state, local governments, the private sector, nonprofits, academia, and most importantly, every citizen. congress may not have predicted the extent of today's threat environment when our department is created 20 years ago. our mission has never been more vital. our components have never collaborative more closely, are extraordinary workforce has never been more capable. our nation is never been more prepared. we must harness this bipartisan spirit in which this department was
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this created to combat the vast threats americans face today. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much, the chair recognizes director wray to summarize his statement for five minutes. >> good morning, chairman thompson, ranking member katko, members of the committee. i'm honored to be here today on behalf of the fbi's 38,000 men and women to discuss some of the most pressing threats facing our homeland. when it comes to our current threat landscape, what makes our current situation, at least in my career unique, and particular serious, the fact that we have so many different threat area is all elevated at the same time. i am proud of the work that the fbi's agents, analysts, professional staff are doing all over the country and all over the world every single day to rise to those
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challenges and to protect the american people. protecting the american people from terrorist attacks remains the fbi's number one priority. as i've said before, the greatest threat we face on the terrorism front here in the homeland is from what are effectively lone actors or small cells, whether it's a domestic violent extremist acting -- or a home grown violent extremists looking to advance the interests of a foreign terrorist organization, these actors often move quickly from radicalization to action. often use easily attainable weapons, a gun, a knife, a car, a crude iud against soft targets. just intelligence community speak for everyday people living every day lives. overseas, isis and al-qaeda still aim to inspire, plan, to launch attacks against the united states and our allies, both
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abroad and here at home. as the strike in kabul reinforces the threat of foreign terrorist organizations, like al-qaeda, attempting to reconstitute in afghanistan following our withdrawal remains very real. our ability to gather valuable intelligence on the ground, inside afghanistan has been reduced. that's just a reality. all of that places a premium on our continued collaboration with our partners, both within the u.s. government and internationally. we have got to stay on the balls of our feet and use all the tools available to us. on top of that, countries like china, russia, iran, north korea, are growing more aggressive, brazen and capable. they're coming at it from all angles to undermine the court democratic
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institutions, national security, our rule of law. of those countries, the greatest long term threat to our nations ideas, innovation and economic security, our national security, is that from china. the chinese government aspires to equal or surpass the u.s. as a global superpower, and influence the world with a value system shaved by undemocratic, authoritarian ideals. we are confronting that threat head on. just three weeks ago for example, we unsealed charges against 13 individuals, ten of them chinese intelligence officers and government officials for a variety of criminal efforts to exert influence right here in the u. s. to benefit beijing. the fbi has scores of investigations open into the china threat in all 56 of our field offices. on the cyber front, china's vast hacking program is the world's largest. they have stolen more
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of americans personal and business data than any other nation combined. of course, china is not our only challenge in cyberspace, not even close. the fbi cyber investigations are growing in frequency, scale, complexity. consistent with the evolution of the threat. we're investigating over 100 different ransomware variants each of which with scores of victims as well as a whole host of their novel threats posed by both cybercriminals and nation states alike. it's becoming more and more difficult to discern where the cybercriminal activity ends and the nation-state activity begins, the line between those two continues to blur. just last month, for example, we announced the indictment of three iranian nationals for their roles in a multi year
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scheme to compromise the networks of hundreds of organizations. many of which offer services americans rely on every day. to those sorts of actors nothing is off limits not even boston children's hospital, which they set their sights on in the summer of 2021. now, fortunately before they could successfully launch their attack, we received a tip from a partner and working closely with the hospital we were able to identify and defeat the threat, protecting both the network and the sick children who depend on it. our opponents in this space are relentless. we've got to keep responding in kind. i can assure you we are going to continue to be aggressive and creative as we run joint sequenced operations with our partners against these adversaries. removing their malware, taking down the botnets and hunting them down all over the world. that's just a snapshot of some of the many threats we are tackling. it
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doesn't even include things like our efforts to combat violent crime, working a state and local partners we arrested on average 50 violent criminals every single day. our continued focus on human trafficking, this august through our annual operation cross-country, for instance the fbi and the partners located more than 200 victims of human trafficking. many of them little kids. the work of our transnational organized crime section, it's doing in partnership with agencies like dhs to investigate the movement of people, drugs, guns, money into the united states across the southern border. the breadth and depth of the threats that the fbi's dedicated men and women are tackling each and every day it is staggering. i continue to be inspired by their commitment to our mission of protecting the american people and upholding the
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constitution. i know we will continue to answer the call. thank you for having me here. i'd be happy to address your questions. >> the gentleman's time is expired, the chair now recognizes director abizaid to summarize her statement for five minutes. chairman thompson, ranking member katko, members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today discuss the overall terrorism landscape. despite significant progress in diminishing the terrorist threat to the united states, the country continues to face a diversified, trans and in many ways unpredictable threat environment, at home and abroad. an array of actors whether foreign terrorist organizations, state sponsors of terrorism, or lone actors are shaping the nature of today's threat. this changed environment exists amid an ongoing transition for the counterterrorism community where ct, while critical, is one of many competing
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priorities that the u.s. national security community must be postured to address. in today's testimony i'll start by giving an overview of the terrorist threat to the homeland, i'll turn to the overseas threat, and then i'll end with some comments on the importance of our continued ct focus. regarding the threat to united states homeland, terrorist organizations such as isis and al-qaeda remain committed to attacking the united states. however, unlike 21 years ago, the threat today is more likely to take the form of an individual attacker inspired by these groups rather than a highly networked, hierarchically directed terrorist plot. in fact, since 9/11, 37 of the 45 isis or al-qaeda linked attacks in the homeland have been inspired by these groups rather than centrally managed by them. this
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trend towards lone actor threats inside the united states extends beyond isis and al-qaeda. it characterizes the threat we face from domestic actors, such as racially or at the motivated violent extremists, militia violent extremists or anarchist violent extremists. in particular the u.s. based racially and -- or remedy threat has the most obvious links to trans national actors whose plots and professed ideologies encourage mobilization to violence by those vulnerable to their messaging. this threat is fluid, it's fragmented, it lacks in hierarchal structures and it has proponents around the globe and in the u.s. framing actions around the concept of leaderless resistance. transitioning to the overseas environment, sunni and shia driven terrorist movements continue to dominate the fight to americans. isis and al-qaeda continue to aspire to attack the u.s. and other western
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targets overseas. they have been more than after the pursuing operations against regional and local adversaries. for its part, isis in iraq and syria into the organization that will most likely continue to pose a global threat and a local one despite the death of its amir in february. well significantly weaker than at its peak in 2015 and 2017, isis leaders from iraq and syria have been successful at's spurning branches and networks across africa, as far as south and east asia with its two most effective branches currently operating out of west africa and afghanistan. likewise, al quida maintains its regional affiliate structure, position effectively in parts of north
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and east africa, the middle east, to a lesser extent south africa. the july death of longtime al-qaeda leader almond eyes to what harry was a strategic and symbolic setback for al-qaeda. it does not put an end to the organization. in particular, in the middle east al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula is a destabilizing actor in yemen and remains among the most interrupted -- intent on attacking the homeland. two other prominent al-qaeda affiliates also standout, both for their growing regional influence and their significant capabilities. the sahel based al-qaeda affiliate, jainheb, and the somalia-based affiliates al-shabaab. transitioning from sunni terrorism to threats emanating from iran, its partners and proxies, iran continues to plan and encourage and support plots against the united states, both at home and in the middle east where we
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have a significant u.s. military presence. iran and its proxy lebanese hezbollah have sought to plot attacks against u.s. officials to retaliate for the death of islamic revolutionary -- raising the threats both at home and abroad for those that iran deems responsible. in closing, i just highlight that the complexity of that -- that i just outlined continues to demand a collaborative, agile, sufficiently resourced ctf or to fumigate terrorist threats united states. it is clear that the significant ct pressure brought to bear against terrorist groups in the last two decades, along with investments and effective ct defenses here at home has resulted in a diminished threat to the united states homeland. nctc and it's partners across the government are working towards a sustainable and enduring level support to this mission that maintains that strategic success even as other national security priorities a drive our national strategy. finally, i want to assure this committee that the inter agency enterprise of c t practitioners remains committed to this mission, and are working behind
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the scenes every day to protect the american people, both at home and abroad. i thank them for their service and dedication to this country. with that, i welcome your questions. >> i thank you for the witnesses for their testimony. i remind you that he or she will have five minutes to question the witnesses i. will now recognize myself for questions. secretary mayorkas, last year you said, quote, domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism related threat to our country today. is that still true? >> mister chairman, that continues to be our assessment in the department of homeland security. domestic violent extremism, particularly through loan actors, small groups, loosely affiliated are spurred to violence by ideologies of hate, anti government sentiments, personal grievances, and other narratives propagated on online platforms.
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>> director wray, what results on this domestic terrorism threat are you seeing from the lens of the fbi? >> >> well, certainly we have seen over the last several years, really going back to the summer of 2019, an increase in domestic violent extremism. we are concerned about the lethality, especially of racially motivated violent extremists. the spike that started in 2020 of anti government and anti authority violent extremism. we have a very active investigations, all over the country through our joint terrorism task forces and all 56 field offices. it is a growing problem. this committee is well aware of the whole phenomenon of connecting the dots. the importance of that.
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it's the very reason why agencies like nctc and dhs exist in many ways. with the lone actors, the small cells, the real problem there, there are not a lot of dots to connect. there's very little time in which to connect them. that presents a whole new type of challenge for law enforcement and the intelligence community. puts a premium on our engagement with the public, with our state and local law enforcement partners in particular. they become the eyes and ears that are so critical. any one of them could have the one dot that we need. >> miss abizaid, you talked about the pressure that we have applied to our international terrorist community and the results that have benefited from that pressure. is it something that we need to
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increase the investment in that? increase the relationship for other governments? how do you see that going forward? >> a sustained investment in our international counter-terrorism and rise is very important to be able to sustain the pressure against international groups going forward. i agree with my colleagues assessments here about the relative threat from domestic violent extremist actors here in the homeland versus international actors. those international actors are continuing to plot. if they had an opportunity to infiltrate the united states, it would look to exploit it. it is our international partnership, an array of law enforcement intelligence, relationships, capabilities. they enable us to stay on top of this international threat, even as we're dealing with the dynamics that director wray talked about the homeland. it makes it difficult for us to deal with a lone actor threat. >> director wray, about a third of the historically black
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colleges in this country over the last year have received bomb threats. can you enlighten us on the fbi's attempts to mitigate or capture those individuals responsible for those threats? >> yes, mister chairman. needless to say, we take these threats seriously. frankly, the idea of causing the fear and disruption that they have caused is just really outrageous. it is unacceptable. we have joint terrorism task forces working on it, 30 field offices, multiple headquarters divisions, it's very much ongoing. i think what i could say for purposes of today is that we recently with respect to the first big tranche of the threats, investigation has identified a underage juvenile subject and because of the
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federal limitations on charging juveniles with federal crimes, we have worked with state prosecutors to ensure that individual is charged under various other state offenses, which will ensure some level of restriction and monitoring and disruption of his criminal behavior. since that big tranche that we believe that and russell was responsible for their have been two other tranches. we are very actively investigating those. there's not much i can say on those ongoing active investigations. the other investigations at the time. we've been very engaged with hbcus all over the country. we have done national conference calls and so forth with them to update them wherever we can. we recognize the fear and anger that this quite rightly causes in those communities. we are determined
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to see this through. >> thank you very much. the chair recognizes the ranking member. >> thank you, mister chairman. thank you all for your testimony today. as you are speaking, it occurred to me how important this committee is and how important each of your work is. it's our job to do oversight sometimes. it's unpleasant. the bottom line, we must never forget that you are at the head of keeping this country safe. i appreciate all the efforts of all of you. sometimes you stumble, we all do. it's a time to say thank you for what you do and how you do it. when you hear about the threats, it's hard to really distinguish one as the ubiquitous threat. it seems to me that one of the most pervasive threats that exist now that didn't -- wasn't on the radar eight years ago when i came into congress, a cyber issue. what we've done with respect to cyber with this
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committee is commendable, especially with chairman thompson standing up cisa as an agency and making them the quarterback on our domestic front. and how well you work with the other agencies like the fbi. it's good. will you have cyberattacks like in florida, if successful, it would've killed thousands of people, you realize what a pervasive and probably the most ubiquitous threat we have in the united states, it's cyber. on that realm, i'm very heartened to see how cisa has stepped up working in conjunction with the private sector as a partnership, it's not a regulatory typesetting, it's more of an exchange of information and how well you work with the other agencies including the fbi, as well. that's great. chairman mayorkas chairman mayorkas i just want to ask, what is your vision for system going forward given the current threat environment and how important it is that we
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make sure cisa is strong and grows? >> ranking member katko, let me just thank you for your leadership of this in your service. i also want to express my thanks to this entire committee for your support of our cybersecurity mission, not only the creation of cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, but also in the new legislation, the cyber incident reporting requirements, which i think are going to really strengthen the cybersecurity of this entire nation. i think, ranking member katko, you set forth a very important blueprint for cisa and cybersecurity 2025. what we need to do is strengthen, only strength, and the public private partnership that the fines cybersecurity ecosystem, the joint cybersecurity collaborative that cisa has launched is really a tremendous success. it's not just domestic, but our jcdc, as it is known by its acronym, and our international relationships and partnerships are going to be increasingly vital. as adverse
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nation states only seek to perpetuate harm through the virtual world, just a few weeks ago, i was in singapore for one of the worlds preeminent cyber conferences. i spoke very starkly about the threat china poses in the cybersecurity arena and how dangerous and perilous it is for countries to allow china to actually create their cyber infrastructure and how we need to combat that and creates a level playing field of competition, fairness, of course, how we define ourselves, but to deal with a country that violates norms and does not act responsibly it's something we have to address. so, the public private partnership, the international relationships,
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the sharing of information is so vital, and that is really where we are heading. >> thank, you mister chairman, directors wray and abizaid. every day, you make of saying the same thing i probably do, that -- attack that evening or somewhere around the world, sometimes, there had or has been. a threat of terrorist groups, isis and al-qaeda and all the others, is still very rare. i know you spent a lot of time with that. i just vision -- real quickly, if that threat matrix has changed since we left afghanistan. it's afghanistan becoming a breeding ground as war becomes a concern again? i will ask mrs. abizaid briefly. >> i will say that from afghanistan, the throw i most concerned about is from the isis affiliate, the isis khorasan affiliate. they have demonstrated very significant capability against the taliban and afghanistan. they have
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conducted some attacks outside of afghanistan and the indian environs, and i'm worried about their ambition for greater widespread attacks. it is a top priority for us. >> director wray. >> chairman, director, there is concerned about isis in the immediate term. i will add we are very concerned about al-qaeda, the prospect of al-qaeda reconstituting, given the relationship with the taliban and that is the flipside of finding -- right in the middle of kabul. >> exactly. >> i will add to that, we are concerned about the possibility that either al-qaeda or isis could expire -- inspire attacks here in the u.s., or against americans elsewhere. >> thank, you mister chairman.
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>> thank you. gentlemen, the chair will now recognize other members for questions they may whisk to acts witnesses. -- they will address members an order of seniority, alternating between majority and minority. members participating factually are mandated to unmute themselves when recognized for questioning. then, to mute themselves once they finish speaking, and to leave their cameras on so they are visible to the chair. the chair recognizes for five minutes, the young lady from texas, miss jackson lee. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey, mr. payne, for five minutes. >> i want to thank everybody for their testimony today. please bear with me a minute,
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-- >> gentleman, we hear you. >> oh, okay. thank you. just a few weeks ago, an armed man broke into the san francisco home of speaker pelosi in what appeared to be an assassination attempt. although speaker pelosi was not home, the intruder violently attacked the speaker's 82 year old husbands, putting him in the hospital. this attack occurred at a tense time for our nation. extreme rhetoric suggesting violence against -- public officials, director wray, your own agency has been subjected to such attacks after executing a
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search persuant to a lawful warrant on the former president, as we saw with the incident outside the fbi office in ohio. to the panel, how do you assess current threats against elected and government officials, and how does your agency proactively protect against this violence? >> i'll start off and see whether secretary mayorkas may want to chime in. the phenomenon you are describing, congressman, i think has two pieces of it. the first is related towards violence towards all sorts of individuals in government, kind of across the spectrum. the second is law enforcement specific. on the first, we have seen a trend over the last several years of people more and more in this country, when they're upset or angry about something, turning to violence as a way to manifest it. that is a very, very dangerous
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trend. there is a right way, under the first amendment, to express how angry and upset you are about something or with somebody, but violence against government officials is not it. that is something we have been seeing across the political spectrum now for quite a number of years. second, i mentioned law enforcement. it is a reality that an already dangerous profession, law enforcement, has become more dangerous. last year was the highest number of law enforcement officers shot and killed in the line of duty since 9/11. and i know, personally, because we've had agents shot and killed. we had a task force officer shot and killed, ambushed right outside one of our small office in indiana. and one of the things i did when i started this job is i said i was going to call every time an officer was shot and killed anywhere in the country, and that was going to call the chief from the sheriff myself and express my
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condolences. i have made way north of 200 of those calls. often, it is one a week. each one of those officers killed leaves behind a family, a department, and a community that will never be the same. and so phenomenon you described affects both government officials as victims across the spectrum, but also law enforcement, uniquely, and it's a trend we should all, as americans, be concerned about. >> secretary mayorkas? >> let me echo what the director said about what a tragically difficult year it has been for law enforcement. i want to reference one additional statistic, which is this year has seen the greatest number of ambushes against law enforcement officers. there is no more noble professor from the law enforcement profession. i know a number of you on this committee have served in that capacity. one of the areas of emphasis that the director and i have had is to be sure to disseminate timely and actionable information to state,
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local, tribal, territorial, and campus law enforcement so we equipped our local communities to understand the threat landscape for them and prevent violent acts from occurring in the first instances. >> thank you. that was a quick five minutes, and i will yield back. >> your time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for five minutes, mr. michael.
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>> thank you, chairman. i want to thank all three of you for your service, as mr. katko mentioned. i know it's not an easy job. i chaired this committee back in the day, and in my position, being a leader now in force affairs, with the collapse of afghanistan, what i've seen is a rise in foreign nation adversary states. the threat, quite honestly, the way it was done with the taliban in charge of the evacuation, in charge of hkia, a suicide bomber coming in and killing 13 service men and women, leaving americans behind, leaving afghan partners behind, getting afghans on the planes, they shouldn't have been on the airplanes, that got into the united states, because it was so chaotic. that doesn't really fall on to either of y'all's jurisdiction, perhaps, secretary mayorkas to the extent of the screening coming in from the plains. but then we
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saw putin invade ukraine. now, we see a rising china, communist china, threatening taiwan. we see iran and the ayatollah close to a nuclear bomb, and kim jong-un is firing rockets off. again, now over japan. argue the world is getting more dangerous, and i know you are more domestic, but you have to look at the world and threats, and it's a worldwide threats hearing to determine, can those threats get into the homeland? that's always been the question, whether it be through ports and airports, which is the more typical way they do this, or what worries me now is the situation at the border. the fact it is wide open, and the combination of the taliban
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taking over, mr. haqqani, a wanted terrorist being administer of interior, now minister of security, that's what he is, also --, who has been top lieutenants, in his own house. and i applaud the administration for targeting him and taking him out, but we don't have eyes and ears anymore. we've lost access to baghram and china is in there with the list liam, and we will
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probably get access to baghram, the end result. my question is, maybe to the director of the fbi, what is your concern about the threat combination of this unmanaged, wide open border situation, and the threats from al-qaeda and isis coming out of afghanistan, not to mention the sentinels and all the other bad stuff, and lastly, the terror watchlist. i understand there is 98 of them. when i was chair of this committee, we will get brief on those individuals. not just the numbers. my understanding is this committee is not getting the full briefing on who are these people who have attempted to get into the united states, much less the ones that already have? director wray? >> well, congressman, you raise a number of i think, very legitimate and important issues. when it comes to the border in particular, it is a very significant and important challenge. there is a whole wide array of criminal threats that come in terms of drugs, money, guns, violence, and you mentioned some of that in your comments. there is also, of course, a concern from the national security perspective. any ports of entry is a possible vector that a terrorist organization could choose to exploit. now historically, historically, foreign terrorist organizations
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have not chosen illegal immigration as a way to see operatives, as they referred to recruit somebody here or send somebody illegally, just because of the risks. but we have seen over the last five years, an increase in the number of k s t's who have been encountered, who have attempted to cross. so, that is something we remain very concerned about, and you may have seen early summer, we announced the indictment of an individual trying to bring foreign nationals in, in a plot to kill former president bush. >> thanks for bringing that up. that was one other thing, my town is going to expire, but for the committee to really evaluate the threats, to respond on a policy basis, we don't know who these 98 people are. where they're from. we don't have any identifying information to know who they are, where they are coming from, what was their motivation to get into the united states, and so, i would ask maybe, mister chairman, i think this
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committee when you and i, when i was chair and you were ranking member, we got that information. >> yes. and we will proceed to get it this time. thank you. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from rhode island, mr. langevin, for five minutes. >> thank you, mister chairman. and i want to thank our witnesses today. i thank the chairman for his kind words on leading the committee at the end of this year, has been a pleasure serving with everyone. i will miss that work and people, deeply. but i'd like to thank our witnesses for being
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here. it's been one year since the department of this committee evaluated -- 25, as provided by section nine of the 2021 ndaa. last week, concurrent with that, president biden acknowledged that the u.s., quote, lacks a comprehensive way to establish mandatory minimum requirements across our critical infrastructure. and -- approaches different by sector. and. quote he also admitted to working with congress was statutory authorities. so, to all of our witnesses, what gaps should we be looking to improve the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure? that, secretary mayorkas in particular, the letter mentions a focused effort from agencies to identify systemically important entities in this sector. how is dhs approaching this task?
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>> thank you very much, congressman. i believe i caught the gist of your question. we are doing quite a number of things to address cybersecurity and specifically in the critical infrastructure arena. of course, the mandatory cyber incident reporting legislation that you and other members of this committee championed is going to be so, so vitally important and, quite frankly, a model for other countries to follow. tsa, the transportation security administration, for the first time, used its regulatory authority following the colonial pipeline attack to promulgate security directives to really require stakeholders in that sector to employ some of the more basic cyber hygiene mechanisms. just in the last few weeks, cisa, the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency,
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promulgated it's voluntary cybersecurity performance goals, which make cyber hygiene far more understandable and accessible to a broad spectrum of industry leaders and industry participants. where we recommend a particular measure, we identify the costs of each measure, the prioritization of each measure, but complexity of implementation, and the benefits to be gained. one of the areas, as i mentioned, in response to ranking member katko's question, one of the areas we are also pressing very, very hard, and this touches upon congressman calls point, is the need for international collaboration. not only because of the increasingly global footprint of companies, but because of the fact that we are dealing more and more with adverse nation states and their potential impact on the homeland. >> all right, thank you,
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secretary. let me go to another area. the question of the invasion of ukraine was somehow gavel villainized, it galvanized the population among cisa, fbi, and other federal agencies to respond to the heightened cyber threat environment. in this case, they quickly partnered with security firms and critical infrastructure stakeholders to help the potential for -- the tech. director wray, how would you categorize the ongoing threat of russian retaliatory cyberattacks, -- the war in ukraine continues to change, and the secretary mayorkas, how can you build on lessons learned earlier this year through shields or that joint
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cybersecurity collaborative to make critical infrastructure -- to stay engaged and vigilant? >> when it comes to critical infrastructure, i would say it has become an increasingly crowded field of threat actors targeting critical infrastructure, whether it is ransomware or some other kind of malicious cyber activity. one of the things we are particularly concerned about during the russia ukraine conflict is the possibility that, for example, the russian intelligence services, which have long targeted our critical infrastructure for espionage purchases, could choose to use the same access for destructive purposes. to put a premium of the private sector partnership i know cisa, as well as the fbi, have engaged in very strongly. the private sector partnership is the critical ingredient to defending critical infrastructure in this country. i think we've made a very significant progress. there is also a lot more work to be done, but we are very much on the right path. >> gentlemans time has expired.
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the chair recognizes the chairman from louisiana, mr. ignorance, for five minutes. >> thank you mister chairman. mister chairman, a major threat to our homeland, clearly, -- i saw the border and disintegration of our sovereignty down there. the top threat to individual rights and freedoms americans from sea to shining sea, mr. wray, it's the weaponization of the fbi against the american citizens they are sworn to serve. secretary mayorkas, for the record, are you aware that you have authorized cbc agents to release illegal aliens into america without identifying, screening, or vetting them properly? or harvesting even basic biometric data like fingerprints? >> congressman, our agency sovereignty stands strong and our brave men and women in the border patrol and throughout the u.s. -- customs >> are you aware that you have authorized the agency released illegal illusions into america without having properly vetted identified are collected at least basic biometric data like fingerprints? >> congressman -- our nations frankly stand
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strong. our great men and women in the border patrol and throughout u.s. customs -- >> you've got millions coming across -- >> congressman -- >> mr. higgins, allow the secretary -- >> it's my time, mr.. chairman. in my time, i will. >> i'm going to move on without an answer. mister chairman, are you asking for me to yield your time. >> no, i'm the chair. >> i'm going to reclaim my time. >> look, -- >> moving on. >> secretary mayorkas -- >> are you interrupting my time, mister chairman? >> i'm trying to make sure that we conduct -- >> you are interfering with may five minutes, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman -- >> if you request me to yield
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you time, i'll give you time. >> no, that is not the procedure. >> but that is the procedure. >> it is not. >> yes, it is. >> i reclaim my time, and i want time. back secretary mayorkas, have you used your authority to suppress -- >> secretary -- >> evidence provided by c b agents -- >> mister secretary -- >> who have caught under public attack and condemnation back dhs and the biden administration that you use your authorities to suppress, -- exculpatory evidence presented by cbp agents who have come under public attack and condemnation by you and the biden administration? >> two points, if i'm, a congressman. number one, in response to your second question, i don't even know what you are referring to, and with respect to your -- first >> i'll take that as a -- >> reference -- >> you have not use your authority to express exculpatory evidence if you are an honorable man, and obviously, you should be able to say no to that. who would suppress exculpatory evidence? is your answer? no >> i don't even know what you're referring to. >> secretary mayorkas, have you
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used your authority to retaliate against the age s agents who served on special details during the trump administration, identified by your administration as conservatives or trump supporters? >> once again, congressman, i don't even know what your foot. >> now we'll take that doesn't know. to your authority, secretary mayorkas, have you had a plan to suppress basic law enforcement actions at the border, to harass and victimize or intimidate experience frontline law enforcement agents at the border, using internal investigations and threats of disciplinary action or transfer in order to force those agents to comply with dhs policies, that actually ensure the security of our homeland and our contrary to the sworn oath of those agents? is that the culture you've created? >> congressman, i don't even know what you're referring to.
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>> you will. >> and i -- >> secretary mayorkas, rounds of questions -- >> your honor -- >> it's been rumored -- >> nobility throughout the department of homeland security. >> to represent nobility, secretary mayorkas? >> that is what i am dedicated to. >> it's been rumored, secretary, that you are going to resign prior to january the 3rd. is there any truth to those rumors? >> that is a false rumor. >> all right, we look forward to seeing you in january. director wray, does the fbi have confidential human sources -- did the fbi have confidential human sources embedded within january six protesters on january six of 2021? >> congressman, as i'm sure you can appreciate, i have to be very careful about what i can say about -- >> even now, because that's what you told us --
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>> let me finish. about when we do and do not have and have not use confidential human sources, but to the extent there is a suggestion, for example, that the fbi's confidential human sources or fbi employees in some way instigated or orchestrated january six? that is categorically false. >> did you have confidential human sources dressed as trump supporters inside the capitol on january the 6th? prior to the door's being open? >> again, i have to be very -- careful >> it should be a no! can you not tell the american people know? we did not have confidential human sources dressed as trump supporters positioned inside the capital -- >> gentleman's time has expired. >> you should not read anything into my -- >> -- right >> into my decision not to reveal any -- information >> the time has expired. >> general, all my witnesses are here today as guests of the committee to discuss threats to the homeland. as our guest, we owe our witnesses respect, and
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the subject matter of today's hearing deserves thoughtfulness. the chair encourages all members to be polite and to take today's worldwide threats hearings seriously. >> mister chairman, may i add just briefly, just so i understand my colleagues, if the chairman speaks, he has the authority to speak at anytime he wants. if he speaks, we will make sure you get your time back. going forward, just understand that. okay? thank you. >> thank you. mr. ranking member, the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. pereira. >> thank you, mister chairman. i want to thank our honored guests today. it's the most important discussion. mr. wray, secretary mayorkas, thank you for being here. secretary mayorkas, talking about
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counterterrorism threats to the homeland, really, threats to americans on a worldwide basis. we need strong allies around the world to protect the homeland. when secretary kelly was there in your position, and number of years ago, i asked him about border security. we acknowledged we agreed that border security does not begin and ends at the border. if a threat gets to the border, we've got a problem. so my question to you is, do you feel like we have enough or do we need additional resources to be able to coordinate intel for the benefit of security of all americans around the globe? >> congressman, we are working more closely than ever before with our partners. >> if i may interrupt you, next week's world cup. qatar. a
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thousands of americans will be there. that i presume my question is to you and of, course, mr. wray. are we coordinating enough with the government of qatar to make sure that americans will be safe there? we certainly, congressman, have been working with the qatari's in advising them with respect to how to enhance security -- protect americans there. >> i would disagree with secretary mayorkas that we've been providing significant assistance and support to the qatari's in their efforts to secure the world cup. >> you would disagree? >> i said i would agree. >> thank you. the next step is lessons learned. for years, we will have the world cup in the united states. so any breach in the government of qatar we hope you'll have 100 percent in
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terms of defense there. no lapses. and i'm hopeful to learn their lessons. we're going to apply those to the united states and for years. are we shadowing what they're doing? >> that's an important part of why we provide the assistance. and support. it's not just because it's the right thing to do to help the qatari's -- >> it's the right thing for americans. >> right thing for america -- >> any thoughts on how we can enhance security of americans around the globe? >> just on the world cup point. i would say the qatari's are a very good partners. it's a partnership that we are engaged in from an intelligence community side. we have a threat integration cell. that is station there as we do for all major events. the guitars actually learn from us before we're going to be able to learn from them. when they came out during the super bowl in l. a. to understand how we in the
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united states do security for major events like this. it's an ongoing conversation, ongoing partnership. i would just say from an international perspective that those partnerships that you mentioned are absolutely critical to being able to secure the country here. >> mr. mayorkas? i >> concur that. i should say, congressman, we have a very, very well exercised and trained methodology to address major events. and that is throughout the agency. and the federal government and we work very closely with state and local partners. this is a very involved architecture alejandro mayorkas that we have built that others learn from the. and we, of course, are in an ongoing learning process. >> my last 67 seconds, i would ask all of you really that -- ask of you which is what else can we do as a committee to make sure that we're coordinating with our allies and friends and maybe even hour on friends around the world to make sure that we stop
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catastrophic events like 9-1-1. we talk about border security. 9-1-1. the terrorists and perpetrated 9-1-1 enter this country illegally. we continue to focus on the border, on refugees. and the bigger issue is working with our allies around the world and other on friends to make sure we stop those threats from happening again. what do you need from us to make sure that that type of coordination exists and is enhanced moving forwards. >> one thing, obviously, along with that we will have discussion. the top thing on my list would be to urge congress to reauthorize section 702 when it comes up for renewal at the end of the year because that is the critical tool to understanding foreign threats.
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which may have -- foreign threats, that may have an impact on the u.s.. >> mr. mayorkas? my six seconds? >> we have one imminent we authorizations that is very much needed. and that is our countering on manned aerial systems authority. i think that our budget is something that is very, very important -- provides us with the resources to advance our international partnerships. >> thank, you mister chair. >> gentleman's time has expired. cher recognize the gentleman from mississippi. for five minutes. mr. katz. >> thank, you mister chairman. secretary mayorkas, as we're here today, speaking on threats to the homeland. these threats are magnified by our secure border. few moments ago, director wray in response to a question by mr. mcauliffe stated the border is a challenge. he referred to drugs, money laundering, guns, violence. you referenced some of the same information you say that transnational organizations can to newton throws affront through the united states. you speak of -- money laundering, human
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smothering. then on page 15, further detail as relates to human smuggling, you say our southwest border, we are experiencing historic levels of encounters. we know that those are numbers that you referred to are borne out by the statistics of your agency puts out each and every month. now for the eighth straight month, we have had more than 200,000 encounters along our southwest border. physical year 2022. those numbers were more than 200 -- more than 2,378,000. physical -- fiscal year 2021. 1,734,000. compare those numbers to the last year of the
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prior administration physical year 2020. those numbers were 458,000. so we see that during a two-year period, the number of encounters along our southwest border has increased over 520%. just taking 2022 and 2021 combined. those two years in which you have been in charge of this agency. we see a number that exceeds 4 million. to put that number in perspective. that is a number larger than 23 of the states that compile comprise the united states of america and so looking at that you have previously stated that the border is closed. the border is secure and that we have not lost operational control of the border. i ask you once again today, do you still stand by your statement based on those statistical figures that the border is closed, the border is secure and that we have not lost operational control? >> congressman, guests, let me share a few thoughts, because i
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think it's very important to put the challenge at our southern border, a very serious challenge, in a proper context. it's a challenge that is not specific or exclusive to our southern border. this is a challenge that exists throughout the hemisphere. let me give you a very -- powerful >> and not try to interrupt you, a very limited time. i'd like to focus my question on the southwest border. if we like to me outside this committee meeting, when we have additional time, you and i have met before and would be happy to meet with you again. but since i'm down to two minutes, i want to focus my questioning specifically on the southwest border. you have said, when you appeared before this committee, that you need additional time, your agency needs additional time, to get this crisis under control. and we see, as congress, we see no evidence the situation along the southwest border is getting better. as a matter of fact, looking statistically, it seems like the border is getting worse. we could say these numbers, we know that of these number of immigrants we see here, that's have come across
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our border, we have statistics here that 98%, excuse me, 98 people on that list, of those individuals, were on the terrorist watchlist! we as a committee, we as a congress, we as the american public, we want to have faith that you and your agency are seeking to get this challenge under control, but i'm looking at statistics that tell me that is not the case! statistics tell me the border is only getting worse! since this administration has taken control, that the policies you have put into place a failed. they have failed miserably. we know the commissioner magnus was recently forced to resign from office, and i applaud you from removing him. i thought he did a terrible job. i hope there are other people you will remove and you will work with a republican controlled congress to find a way to secure the border. so, what i'm hoping and what i'm asking here, and i will give you the last 30
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seconds of my time, is, what will you do as -- in your current position to help us secure the border? because that's what we all want. republicans, democrats, we want a secure border. we clearly do not have that now. what will you help us do to make sure we get back to the levels that we saw in physical year 2020? >> congressman, i look very much forward to working with you in this entire committee to enhance the security of our border. let me give two examples of things we are doing. and two things i think congress can do. number one, we are taking it to the smugglers and the transnational criminal organizations at an unprecedented level. we have a disruption campaign, inter agency disruption campaign, that led to more than 6000 arrests, not only in the inter agency, but with our international partners. we are taking it to them at an unprecedented level. number one. number two, if one takes a
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look at the program that we recently implemented, with respect to venezuela nationals, the highest number of encounters we were experiencing, the demographics at our thousand border have changed dramatically over the last several years. if one takes a look at that program at its early phase, we were experiencing 11, approximately 1100 encounters of venezuelan nationals of day, and since the implementation of the program, that is now approximately 300 per day. that is an example of things we are doing to enhance the security of our border. two things that congress can do. number one, pat our budget, which provides for additional resources to the department of homeland security and others to enhance the border security, including, for the first time since 2011, 300 more border patrol agents. number two, once
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and for all, half immigration reform, including for example, much needed but reform to our asylum system. everyone agrees the system is broken, and we need it fixed. >> gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from texas, miss jackson-lee. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from michigan, -- >> state in the union, michigan. thank you for being here. he has departed the room, but i wanted to appreciate john katko, my friend who is departing this committee, and the town he has set in this committee. it is my fervent hope that that's the other side of the aisle seems poised to take over, that we keep this focused on homeland threats and not making this a place of political theater. that is my desperate hope, and i think that is the message that was sent by voters last week. i hope they hear it and continue in that spirit. secondly, i
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just want to talk a little bit about the threats you've all talked about today, whether it's domestic terrorism and homegrown threats, the threats coming to our border, cybersecurity, and the threats of ransomware, information and disinformation coming from places like russia and china. what has really struck me is how the threats that are most prominent for americans today are really affecting civilians. they are not going after law enforcement agents. they are not going after our military. they are going after civilians in our k-12 schools, in our hospitals, through our water treatment plants. the threats are much more personal, and they are much more for the average american, and they desperately want to know what we are doing to protect them. now, i was in the cia and the
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pentagon for many, many years, and we all have to be careful not to fight the previous war ends to make sure we are adapting to today's threats. particularly on fiber. i am worried we have had, as we remember from 9/11, we had the attacks in kenya. we had the attacks on uss cole, and then we had 9/11. i think on our cyberattacks, we have had our uss cole. we've had the colonial pipeline, we've had our meat processing facility. we have had solar winds. so, we have all thought about, what would we have done if we could have imagined the threat of 9/11? what we have done to better prepare? so, secretary mayorkas, please tell me two or three things you wish you could do, either you need the resources or you need the attention of the american people, to prevent a cyber 9/11? >> congresswoman, my opening, in my opening remarks, i talked about the threat landscape and how, in fact, the goal of our
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adversaries is, indeed, to disrupt our way of life. i think you captured that very well in your opening remarks. we have done a great deal to enhance the security of the cyber ecosystem. when i say we, it's not just a department, but of course, working very closely with our partners. that is, number one, too quick to equip the private sector with information and to educate them on the tools to advanced cyber hygiene, and we found that for the civilian population as well. if we take a look at some of the very accessible sites we have created on the web, stop ransomware. gov, cisa. gov,
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some of the very simple measures that people can take, whether it's multi factor authentication, backing up once systems, using safe and secure passwords, these are the things that we need to do and continue to do, and the more that we could amplify collectively, we and the government in congress, the imperative of maintaining cyber hygiene, raising the alert this off the average citizen to the imperative, especially in an increasingly interconnected world, i think that is one critical goal. i would offer -- it would be useful if we had a list of specific things your asks. we want to prevent the cyberattacks. i think cyber issues are very bipartisan in this congress. and have been and hopefully will be in the future congress. please be of -- assertive and what you need in order protect the american people. because they feel like they don't know what is defending them. secondly, director wray i, was -- story of calling all the families of fallen law enforcement that even killed over the past year or time in your -- that have been in service. i am very worried is coming at a campaign season the number of people who think that the fbi is a political tool. as we heard even raising questions here
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today. can you please talk to the american people about the fbi and explain in your words why they should trust their federal law enforcement. >> so there are a lot of opinions out there about the fbi. just like there are about everything. my opinion, the window that i get to see into our workforce is unique. i have visited all 56 of our field offices at least twice. i've spoken with law enforcements from all 50 states on countless occasions. i've met with judges, prosecutors, community leaders, victims, their families. and the fbi that i see every single day and that i hear about from all of them is an fbi that does the right thing in the right way. with the rigor, with professionalism, with objectivity. with skill. and i will stack our workforce up against any we are in the world
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anytime. in the american should have deep confidence in those people. i will add that when it comes to perceptions of the fbi that the number of americans all across this country applying to be special agents in the fbi. it has been going up, up significantly over the past three years. at a time when i hear all the time law enforcement all over this country is having the opposite experience. and i think that speaks very well of americans in every state representing on this committee. >> yield back. >> gentlelady yields back. chair recognize the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. mr. bishop. >> thank you, mister chairman.
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secretary mayorkas, mr. mccaul says the border is wide open. director wray testified about an elevated threat of guns and money. drugs across the border. mr. guest laid out a lot of the details about the record breaking numbers. he ended up having to talk more than you get an answer for me on something. i just want to ask you -- i've heard you in the judiciary committee recently in the summer testifying that the border is secure. secretary mayorkas, do you continue to maintain that the border is secure? >> yes and we are working day in and day out to enhance its security, congressman. we have -- >> i'd get it. i just want to make sure that still is your assessment. director wray -- >> it's very important, if i may -- >> there's just not enough time for a lot of the explanation. you've got a written testimony. i just want to understand that's your position still. i think it is a physician that denies reality. respectfully. i wanted to give you an opportunity to say no. i think the situation is change or something like that. director wray, do you believe that the border is secure?
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>> i can only speak to border security from our narrow lane. but i can't speak to it from that lane. what i would say is that we see a significant criminal threats coming from south of the border. whether it's guns drugs, money, violence. we see transnational criminal organizations that are sending their drugs here and that are using street gangs here to distribute it and that contributes to the violent crime crisis here. we've had takedowns just in the last few months that i could give you an example. i'll give you just one quick one. in phoenix, we had to take down working with cbp who, are phenomenal partners, i should add. where we ceased won a vehicle -- enough fentanyl to kill the equivalent of the entire state of pennsylvania. one of vehicle. >> thank you. does the n cte assess a significant threat from the -- uncontrolled
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crossing at the southern border? >> thank you. we don't, actually. border security is really important. if we look at the nature of the threat and how it's evolved here in the united states homeland. it's been striking how the evolution to lone actors actually if somewhat more difficult it is for terrorists to enter into the united states. we look at historically at the kind of attacks we've experience here in the homeland. none of them have been connected to major illegal crossings or otherwise from the southwest corridor. it remains a top intelligence priority. >> director wray spoke to that earlier but historically been true. it makes me mindful of the 9/11 report that chapter that said the system is blinking red. it was a failure of the night since government agencies to anticipate a threat that should have been obvious to everyone. it troubles me that the official response is we don't think that's much of a threat. we have an unprecedented number of people coming across the border. a lot of them are being -- released
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into united states without enough scrutiny. a whole lot more apparently coming in without being in or -- the answer is we don't think there is a terrorism problem. just hadn't happened in the past. i think unfortunate are gonna find it if it happens in the future. reporting from the intercept focused on the department of homeland security and i guessed been the focal point for interactions with social media companies. one thing it related was the dhs sent an email to twitter about a twitter account that could imperil election system integrity. the user had 56 followers in a bio that indicated had references to weed shops. secretary mayorkas, does that kind of -- the level
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of interaction with social media platforms and that one specifically, that anecdote not suggest that dhs is engaged in egregious overreach in threatens the first amendment? >> congressman, i would note that the intercept article focuses attention on the disinformation activities that preceded our administration. let me assure you that our work to address this information which is a tool that our nation state adversary seek to employ to sow discord in this country is something that is very, very respectful of the civil rights and civil liberties of individuals. as well as their privacy rights. >> you maintain that always. let me just ask. when you say it's respectful. are you attempting to conduct censorship by proxy as a means of evading the first amendment? >> we absolutely do not. >> my time is expired. >> gentleman's time is expired. cher recognizes gentleman from texas, mr. green. for five minutes. >> thank you, mister chairman.
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i think the ranking member as well. and appreciate greatly the commentary that you both gave earlier. with reference to collegiality and an effort to get the optimum from this committee based upon the things that we can agree upon. i thank you both. mister chairman, and members. i'm on a mission of mercy today. i'm on a mission of mercy because of our immigration laws. and indeed for a comprehensive immigration reform. please allow me to call your attention mister secretary the case of one mr. -- i'd like to have additional conversations with you about this. because there is no way for me to give you the intelligence necessary at this time. the entirety of it. in 1996, mr. abalos came to this country at the age of one year. in 2013, he received a doctorate. he graduated from
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high school in houston texas. 2014. no criminal record mr., secretary. married his wife. and they now have a child who is approximately one year of age. mister secretary, pursuant to the laws, he went back to mexico. to the consulate. in an effort to submit himself for re-entry into the country in a lawful fashion. the law permits this. it was discovered that he was brought back to mexico at about the age of seven. came at the age of one. taken back at the age of seven. and because he was taken back to mexico at the age of seven. a child. he is now barred from this country
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for ten years. he had an appointment with the consulate. when they're in good faith. came here as a child. went back as a child. and because he went back as a child, he is now barred for ten years. won't be with his baby. won't have christmas with the child. a very sad circumstance that if it doesn't impact one's heart. i'm just sorry for the lack of sympathy and empathy that some people may have. so i'm appealing for some help. he's not a criminal. he did not bring himself here. he didn't come of his own volition. he came as a child.. i'm trying my best to bring him home. i'm going to mexico to visit with
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him. all be taking his wife and his baby. she's an american citizen. baby was born in this country. they'll be going with me. i'd like to bring him home. and i would like to ask as much help as i could get from you. and from our government. let me say this before you give a response. i appreciate president biden. he inherited a tough, tough job. tough position. but he knew what he was inheriting. and he has taken up the challenge admirably. admirably. and i compliment you on doing the best that you can under the circumstances that exist and the laws that exist. the border is about a secures it can begin the laws that we have. it is
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lawful. for people to ask for asylum. that's lawful. it is lawful for us to consider the request. about a sir secure as it can be given the laws that we have. you can change the laws but we can. and that's why we -- many of us, keep insisting our comprehensive immigration reform so that we can deal with these situations that include mr. -- rosales. this needs to be dealt with. shouldn't be banned because his mother took him home to register his birth as a child of seven years. there is a law that requires persons who leave the country once you are here to go back to your consulate
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and then apply and be given consideration. if you leave and come back to the country prior to your making that application, your brand. so i'm hoping that we can do something to help them. i'd like to know if i can visit with you, talk more with you about this and many other cases of course. but i like to visit with you. i yield to you, sir. >> mister secretary. >> congressman, i am of course not familiar with the case that you have described. i can say that u.s. citizen immigration services are the agency that deals with administration of our legal immigration system. receives on almost a weekly basis cases that present tremendous heartbreak and sadness because of how broken
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our system is. and those pleas for mercy come from both sides of the aisle. >> gentleman's time is expired. share recognized as gentleman of new jersey for five minutes, mr. landrieu. >> thank you, mister chairman. thank you, ranking member. just very briefly. i respect mr. green very much and i feel for his passion. i'd like to say that there are a lot of people right now in the united states of america that are going through their own personal -- whether his, whether it's homelessness, whether it's problems that our americans would live here and work here and try to function here have. i think our immigration system respectfully, we are not doing as good as we can do. and i believe that we can do much, much better. and quite frankly, we were doing much better.
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secretary mayorkas, you testified before this committee in september of last year. you say that the ages continues and forcing our immigration laws and to my surprise, you said that we were responsibly managing our border in the last fiscal year they're over 2. 3 million recorded migrant encounters in the southwest border. which included 98 non-u.s. citizens. who were on the terrorist screening data list. data set. as you know, these figures do not represent those who avoided detection. which was estimated to be around 600,000. attempting about the crisis on the border, you have deployed highly trained and highly skilled federal air marshals to the border to perform non-law enforcement duties. such as hospital watch, transportation and welfare checks. there have
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even been reports that marshals are performing janitorial duties. i have the largest air marshal training center in the united states of america in my district. i have seen firsthand how talented and capable they are. dhs is removing hundreds of air marshals from the skies during one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. even though you have stated that america's aviation infrastructure is a very high threat and is a target. furthermore, dhs is even classified how many high risk flights are not being covered due to your decision to deploy air marshals to the border. how do you justify this? don't you think it would make more sense to hire more border patrol agents who are trained for this. and finish the wall, finish the wall. rather than continue to mishandled the crisis. but now we're mishandling it at the expense of aviation security. where we had one problem, which is a
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terrible problem. and i disagree with you thoroughly that there isn't a problem. we can turn the tv on now on just about any new station and you can see what's going on. this is not rocket science. it's not complicated. the american public and see it. everybody can see it it affects the whole country. instead of having just one problem, now we have two problems. because what we're doing to the air marshals. enough is enough. why can't we just do the right thing? the simple thing and the functional thing? why can't we go back to where we were when we had so much less of a problem? >> congressman, if you -- a few thoughts. first of all, thank you for accurately describing the expertise, the professionalism and the bravery of our federal air marshals. of
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course, it is a false that they are deployed to the border to conduct janitorial services. we have contract personnel to do that. you make it very, very important point. you asked the question of why did we not hire more border patrol agents out in the field. i think that's a very appropriate question. there is a very compelling answer for that. for the first time since 2011 we have presented to congress a budget that seeks to plus up border patrol agent personnel. we request a budget to fund 300 more border patrol agents. every single year since 2006, i believe it is, the department of homeland security has relied on the department of defense to augment its resources to address the challenges at the border. this is not something you. i look forward to working
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with you. to see what we can do to pass a budget that calls for additional resources for the department of homeland security. to address the challenges not only at the southern border but all of the challenges -- >> i appreciate that. and i don't mean to interrupt. but i have five seconds here. the problem with the budget is there's so many unpalatable, unacceptable, other parts to it that as you know, it's the old game that's always played in politics. jama budget or jam a bill or a never it is with all kinds of other issues and initiatives that a lot of people don't want to see. if we had a stand-alone appropriation to do this. to fund this. you would see it go through in a second. if you want to fight for that. all fight by your side. get more beautiful agents. all talk to the president doesn't know that he would. let's see what happens. it shouldn't be jammed with all kinds of other initiatives that
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we don't want. >> gentleman's time is expired. cherokee necessarily from texas, miss jackson-lee, for five minutes. >> thank the chair the ranking member for this very important hearing and oversight assessment. let me and my appreciation to ranking member -- for the years of service we've had to work together. in a mutual commitment to securing the homeland. thank you for your service to the nation. and as well, continue to thank you for your previous service. thank the chairman again for bringing us together around this important issue into our witnesses. let me acknowledge the 20th year homeland security. and the men and women who worked under that umbrella -- director wray, let me also a firm the admiration. respect of the fbi. i would say law enforcement around the nation. express my concern for the incident -- incident happened in cincinnati and appreciate
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this fact that the safety of those men and women. let me build on the tragedy that fell upon the second in line to the presidency. the speaker of the house. and asked the question about the depth and intentness of political violence. our time is brief. but i'd like to yield to the secretary first. director wray and to director abizaid. i do have other questions. if you could quickly yield. just the depth of political violence which means speech, driving people to violence. >> congresswoman, we of course are engaged win in fact there is a connectivity between an ideological view, political view and violence. that's when
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we get involved. we all -- the director and i in our opening statements and responsibly lunar question spoke of the gravity of the threat that lone actors and small cells -- when they return to violence because of political ideology. ideologies of hate, anti government sentiments. personal grievances. and other narratives propagated online platforms. this is one of the greatest terrorism related threats we face in the homeland. >> director wray? >> congresswoman, as i mentioned earlier. we have seen a clear trend in this country over the last several years. of people across the political spectrum choosing to express their anger or upset at someone or about something through violence. and that is a very alarming trend of secretary mayorkas referenced it. is exacerbated online. but it is a clear phenomenon that we are having to contend with that
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started several years ago. >> it's going up? >> it's going up. >> thank you. >> i would concur with my colleagues. as we look at the numbers since 2010, we see that domestic violent stream-ism accounts for 47 attacks over 152 deaths. that actually pales in comparison to the 45 attacks that we've seen it since 9/11 by foreign terrorist organizations. >> let me discuss or no hands on this. i have some of the questions. is the cyber threat coming from china and russia intense continuing ongoing? >> cyber threat, i will defer to my colleagues in the fbi. >> yes. >> thank you. director mayorkas, let me try to -- my understanding is that immigration defensive border protection the border is a federal responsibility. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> have you seen any positive impact from the four billion dollars of events by governor abbott of the texas. continues
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to malign the work of the federal government and to some extent interfere with it and cause the national guard some of whom have committed suicide to texas national guard to be strained. i asked that question in the context of what the director wray said in terms of an answer to the question about security at the border. and i think it is important to distinguish between even though we want to stop that flow. to distinguish between fleeing families. with children from venezuela, cuba, haiti, et cetera. from the work -- the strain of cartels. smuggling of human smuggling. smuggling of fentanyl. those criminal elements were all fighting i assumed bring that down. can you distinguish and tell me
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whether you've seen any impact from the four billion dollars that one states happen to be using of state tax dollars. taken away from the needs of the people of texas. that is impacted the work that you are doing as a federal officer to protect the border? >> congresswoman, let me answer the question this way. we advanced law enforcement mission when we work collectively, collaboratively and in a coordinated way. when there is a deliberate effort to not coordinate, it can and indeed has been quite counterproductive. >> gentlelady's time is expired. chair recognizes the gentlelady from iowa, -- for five minutes. >> thank you mister chair. thank you ranking member katko and force had also like to thank all of our witnesses for coming before the committee today. i'm glad are finally having the abilities is seriously discuss the threats we're facing. particularly along our southwest border. let me also say that prior to january 20th, 2021. we had lawful operational control of
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the southern border. the number of unaccompanied alien children uacs continue encountered along the border has nearly doubled through 20 noted. and continues to increase. surpassing a record high in fiscal year 2021. approaching nearly 153,000 this fiscal year. we've heard reports of children being sent alone. i've encountered them. when i made trips to the border. across dangerous terrain with nothing but a relatives name and address on their shirt. some of these children so young as to not know their own name or to whom they're supposed to be sent. we've seen border patrol agents bravely fight to save a young kids and infants in medical distress. and in crossing the river. we know we've been counter these families in i distinctly remember an occasion with representative carlos reminiscent of maria salazar who spoke their language asking
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them specifically whether or not biden administration's policies often cited directly by these migrants crossing the border encourage foreign nationals to send their children to seek entry into the united states to -- despite dire conditions at the border. secretary mayorkas. are the biden ministration's policies encouraging and increasing the pull factor for unaccompanied minors, you a, ceased come into this country? >> congresswoman, a few thoughts, if i may. first of all, thank you very much for capturing the vulnerability of unaccompanied children that migrate from their countries of origin and seek safety. not only in the united states but elsewhere in the hemisphere as i said. at the very outset and i don't -- >> i want to be respectful. i have a limited time. >> this is a challenge that we are experiencing throughout the hemisphere. i also want to thank you for recognizing the bravery of the border patrol. >> thank you very much, i'm
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gonna relate back to my instances of appearing at the border and hearing directly from people crossing the border that the administration's policies in fact are a pull factor. given that, what actions are being taken at the department to keep these kids safe and stem the flow of a -- stem the flow of uacs crossing illegally into the united states across dangerous terrain? >> a few things. i disagree with the premise of the pull factor. as i was saying, this is a hemispheric challenge. we're seeing a tremendous amount of upheaval throughout the western hemisphere. authoritarian regimes, poverty, violence, corruption. and the like. we are doing a number of things. let me give you two examples. one is for taking into the smugglers in an unprecedented way. throughout the department of homeland security, throughout the inter agency. and with our partner countries to the south of the border. we have in the last
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year conducted more than 6000 arrests in an unprecedented disruption effort to attack the smuggling organizations that seek to exploit the vulnerable. >> i can say that when i have been to the border in talks with the agents, the cartel seem to have tremendous control of what happens. i only have one minute and 16 seconds left. after being apprehended by the dhs, unaccompanied alien children are transferred to the office of refugee resettlement within the department of health and human services. while this is supposed to occur within 72 hours of arrival, decreasing the maritime children reside in facilities, many unaccompanied children have remained in facilities longer than the time allotted under federal law. it is a large scale of uacs crossing the border contributing to these over stays and cbc facilities and houses being addressed number one number. to, how is the dhs
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managing the threat of sexual predators at the border draining facility tensions as well as during the transfer children to different locations. if you don't have time to answer, you can respond to us? >> congresswoman, we're also building lawful pathways such. as a central american miners program. children do not place their -- parents now placed their lives in the hands of exploitative smugglers. the information that you have with respect to the length of stay in a border patrol facility is, i think, quite dated. that was certainly a challenge that we faced in march of 2021. but we have taken considerable measures to meet a 72-hour timeframe. i look forward to providing you with virgin formation. >> thank you so much. mister chair, i yield my time. >> gentlelady yields back. pursuant to the order of the committee of today. the committee stands in recess for approximately five minutes. this hearing taking recess.
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