FBI Director Wray on Domestic Threats CSPAN November 5, 2019 11:58pm-2:15am EST
public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country. you can make up your own rhine. created by cable in 1979. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of congress. >> fbi director christopher wray was on capitol hill to testify on security threats facing the u.s. aboutrs asked counterterrorism efforts, stopping foreign influence in elections, and cyber security measures. the senate homeland security hearing is two hours 15 minutes. >> good afternoon. this hearing will come to order. i want to thank our witnesses
for your service to our country. >> 13 people lost their lives, 30 people were injured. it underscores what we are dealing with here in terms of a threat environment. this is my ninth annual threat hearing that i have either chaired or participated in. i often say i'm not the most uplifting character. those i could say that in nine years, i have seen tremendous progress being made and we have reduced these threats and all is well. unfortunately, we face the same threats. if anything, the threats are growing. nine years ago, we were talking
about the blind use of drive -- drones or the use of social media. we face the same threats. they are evolving. terrorist groups are metastasizing. they are spreading around the world. , it has happened is grown more complex and difficult. you have tremendous responsibilities on your shoulders. really, i will turn it over to my ranking member and we will get to witness testimony. >> thank you. thank you for your service and thank you for being here today. as we all know, the department of homeland security was created to defend the united states from any and all threats to the
safety of our nation. the department and its leaders are critical to our national security efforts and we rely on them to effectively coordinate with both the national counterterrorism center and the fbi to provide a unified effort to defend the homeland. when dhs was first created in the aftermath of 9/11, the agency's mission was very clear. combat the scorch of international terrorism and ensure that we can say with confidence, never again. over time, the narrow focus has expanded. as the threats to our homeland have grown and become more dynamic, new terrorist groups devoted to striking america and our allies. adversaries and cyber criminals seek to infiltrate and disrupt the nations cyber networks, posing an asymmetric threat that could cripple or economy with the click of a button. foreign interference in our domestic affairs has presented a
complicated new challenge that we are still scrambling to adequately address. terrorism,omestic acts of violence carried out by white supremacist have targeted minority communities all across our country. every year, we hold hearings to examine these and other threats facing our country. and to hear from the heads of the agencies responsible for keeping america safe. is builty of america on partnership. partnership between our security agencies here today, between agency leadership and their staff, and partnership between congress and the administration. as we convene this hearing without a secretary of homeland security, acting or otherwise, i'm deeply concerned that these partnerships are starting to unravel. absence of steady leadership at the department of homeland security is a driving force for the institutional breakdowns
that risk making us less safe. and thertment needs stablen people deserve leadership that will empower the brave men and women at dhs to protect the homeland, respond to detra disasters, and allow our nation to grow and prosper. the committee will continue to exercise to make sure communities are protected from these threats, but that requires cooperation from your agencies and constitutionally mandated requests. i'm extremely disappointed in your agency failures to provide a sufficient, or in the case of the fbi, any, any response to bipartisan requests from this committee about the growing threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence. one should live in pure of being attacked in their neighborhoods or houses of
worship. addressa threat we must to protect the very core of what makes us a very diverse people. i'm grateful that your departments have taken the important step of presenting a framework for addressing this threat. we cannot stop with a simple acknowledgment or strategy put onto paper. this threat is not theoretical and neither should our response be. i insist you require outstanding requests. this committee and your agency must work together to keep americans safe and make sure they are successful. >> i'm grateful to each of you for joining us today. what your departments are doing to address these threats and how this committee and your agencies
can consider working together to protect our national security. i look forward to your testimony. >> it is a tradition to swear in witnesses. stand and raise your right hand. do you swear that the testimony you give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? please be seated. in light of the secretary's announced retirement, david glad away -- galway is the undersecretary. he was confirmed by the senate on august 3, 2017. he has over 26 years of intelligence community and law-enforcement experience. including serving in senior positions within the office of the director of national
intelligence and the fbi. >> chairman johnson, distinguished members of the committee, it is my honor to testify on behalf of the department of homeland security to address today's emerging worldwide threats. let me briefly touch upon my role. i currently serve as the chief intelligence officer and undersecretary at the department of homeland security. i'm responsible for ensuring our homeland security partners have access to intelligence they need to keep the country safe. my focus is to share that our intelligence is shared with operators across all levels of government to mitigate threats. my office generates intelligence that is unbiased, is based on sound and analytic judgment. i would like to speak about threats we face from foreign terrorist organizations,
domestic terrorism, cyber and transnational organized crime. iserpinning these threats increasing adversarial engagement from nationstates. domestic terrorism and targeted violence. i want to address the most pervasive threats we face on the homeland which is a targeted attack, whether it is domestic terrorism or a hate crime. there is no moral ambiguity. oftenextremists are targeting race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. loan attackers perpetrate these attacks and advocates hate and violence. they have adopted an increasingly transactional outlook the last two years. largely driven by technological advances and the use of social media. we are focused on identifying the behaviors indicative of an individual at risk of carrying out targeted violence.
-- as a former police officer and part of the 1999 denver response to an attack at columbine high school, i have first-hand experience for this type of violence. at the federal bureau of investigation, we leave the investigation to prosecute these crimes. dhs informs, equips and drains partners to enhance prevention. foreign terrorist organizations remain a core priority of the counterterrorism position. we continue to make substantial progress to mitigate threats that these groups pose, however foreign terrorist organizations remain intent on striking the country by radicalizing the most honorable americans. they seek to inspire violence, encourage individuals to attack our society.
isis and al qaeda represent significant national security threats. cyber threats remain a strategic risk for the united states. threatening our national security, economic prosperity, and safety. nationstates' cyber criminals are increasing the sophistication of their attacks. china, russia, iran and north korea are using advanced cyber capabilities in order to try to steal trade secrets and threaten democratic institutions. the foreign intelligence threat has evolved into one of the most significant threats our country has seen in decades. use onlinearies influence operations to try to weaken democratic institutions, undermine u.s. alliances, threaten our economic security and shape policy outcomes. we expect our adversaries to
refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from the current experience, suggesting the threat landscape will look different in the future. transnational organized crime, organizations have a destabilizing effect on the western hemisphere. by corrupting governments and government officials, eroding institutions, they profit from a range of illicit activities including human smuggling, extortion and trafficking. their activity has led to record levels of crime and murder in mexico with a direct impact on the safety and security of our citizens. i want to address the events in mexico from the last 24 hours. the reprehensible killing of women, children and infants is a stark example of how these brutal organizations operate. the violence and disregard for human life is barbaric. transnational organizations are
motivated by money and power. they continually adjust their .perations to avoid detection they are quick to take advantage of improved technology, cheaper transportation and better distribution methods. in many ways, cartels operate with the same sophistication of a foreign intelligence service. in conclusion, i'm very proud to ensure the safety and security of all americans. i want to thank you for the committee support to this department. it's a privilege to represent the department of homeland security. i look forward to your questions this afternoon. >> thank you, mr. secretary. our next witness is the honorable christopher wray. he's the director of the federal bureau of investigation. he was sworn in as the eighth fbi director. he served as assistant attorney general at the department of justice. >> thank you, good afternoon. i am honored to be here today
representing roughly 37,000 men and women of the fbi. it has been just over two years since i became fbi director and i have had the opportunity to visit all 56 of our field offices, many of them more than once from all across the country. i met with partners of every state represented by this committee. i've had the opportunity to meet with every headquarters operations. i have a much better sense now of what we are all up against. frankly, the threats we face today are very different from over a decade ago. they are evolving in scale, complexity, impact, agility and the fbi's moving forward to meet those head on. preventing terrorist attacks
remains the fbi's top priority. even as we recognize our countries important achievements , with the death of al-baghdadi, we know we have to stay vigilant against that threat both overseas and here at home. that includes people bent on joining terrorist organizations where they flourished abroad. folks like the two milwaukee men sentenced earlier this year who were swearing allegiance and trying to travel to syria to join the fight with isis. we are laser focused on preventing terrorist attacks by people who are already here in the united states, people we refer to as homegrown violent extremists. lone, loan actors -- ifteb actors, these folks are inspired by foreign ideologies and
operate through websites and encrypted messaging platforms. we are also focused on threats of domestic terrorism attacks carried out by a wide variety of violent extremist ideologies. that's everything from anarchist groups to racially motivated violent extremists. to confront these threats, we are working closely with law-enforcement partners and reaching out to all the communities we serve. our efforts are paying off. we are being proactive, like in the case of a man in miami arrested in august for threatening to kill every american in miami. or the las vegas man who had been discussing a synagogue attack and had already purchased bomb making materials. or the man we arrested this past friday who also planned to attack a synagogue in colorado using pipe bombs and dynamite.
these cases present a unique challenge because in this country, we don't investigate a person because of their beliefs. homegrownle, like the violent extremists i was describing earlier, tend to work online quickly at the speed of social media, leaving dangerously low warning time to attack. you, after having walked through the crime scene at the tree of life synagogue and visited with the teams at the scenes in el paso and dayton, this threat is never far from our minds and is a focus all across the fbi. we don't have time to talk about all the top threats that we are dealing with, but i hope we can talk about more of them as a respond to your questions, in particular on the counter intelligence front where the
chinese government is targeting our renovation through a wider than ever range of actors. not just chinese intelligence officers conducting traditional and cyber espionage, but people they enlist to help them like contracted hackers, certain graduate students and researchers, insider threats within u.s. businesses, and a whole variety of other actors working on behalf of china. we see the chinese government encouraging and assisting the abuse of incentive plans that offer cash and other enticements to bring information back to china. information that is often actually trade secrets stolen from american companies and universities and we are seeing chinese companies using that to compete against the very american companies it belongs to.
we are seeing intellectual property and data theft from companies and academic institutions in just about every size and sector. this is a threat to economic security and to national security. it is also a threat to american jobs, businesses, and big cities alike. even as we speak, the fbi has around 1000 investigations involving attempted theft of u.s. based technology that leads back to china. that involves nearly all of the fbi's field offices. i can tell you, that number is representing a significant uptick from a few years ago. it is growing. the men and women of the the -- the fbi dedicate themselves everyday to keep the american people safe. i want to thank this committee for your support. i can tell you it makes all the difference in the world to our
agents, analysts and professional staff all across the country and frankly around the world, so thank you for the opportunity to be here. >> thank you, director. our third witness is russell travers. he's the acting director of the national counterterrorism center. he has been in this position since august 16, 2019 and served as the acting director from from 2017 to 2018. his previous service includes deputy director of an ctc, special assistant to the and information sharing of the national security council. mr. travers? >> thank you and good afternoon. kevin johnson, members of the committee, it is a privilege to be here. in the years since 9/11, the the u.s. counter to his room -- counterterrorism community has achieved success against many
terrorist groups around the world. as we saw two weekends ago, the u.s. continues to remove terrorist leaders around the globe. over the past year, coalitions operations against isis, iraq operations against isis, iraq and syria and the so-called caliphate. ongoing ct efforts across africa, the middle east , and south asia continued to diminish the ranks of al qaeda and isis. removing leaders and operatives on a regular basis. interagency efforts to enhance defense at home has resulted in continuous progress against terrorist attacks. there is a lot of good news. we need to because just because challenges remain and i will highlight and summarize just three. first, military operations have brought us time and space as we address a global terror threat. the diverse and expanding nature of that threat remains a significant concern and after 9/11 we were primarily focused
on external attack capability emanating from a single piece of real estate along the afghanistan-pakistan border. 18 years later, we face homegrown violent extremist threats and also 20 isis networks that range from tens of hundreds of thousands of people. al qaeda and its branches and affiliates. foreign fighters that flack to -- block to syria from well over 100 serious. iran and its proxies. there is a growing terror threat for racially motivated threats around the world. by any calculation, there are far more radicalized individuals now than there were at 9/11. this highlights the importance of terrorism prevention. while some aspects can only be dealt with through connecticut operations, the ideology will not be dealt with by military alone.
the world has a lot of work to do to deal with radicalization underlying causes. the second challenge stems from terrorists ability to exploit technology. they are good at it and very innovative. we have seen the use of social media to spread propaganda and transfer knowledge between individuals in the networks, the use of drones, high-quality documents will increasingly undermined a screening threat to our security and we all seek greater use of cryptocurrency's and the potential use of chemical and biological weapons.
terrorist exploitation of technology has outpaced the associated legal and policy framework needed to deal with the threat. looking out five years, we are concerned in the growing adverse impact encryption will have on our counterterrorism efforts. the third challenge i would highlight relates to a concern about potential complacency. our whole of government approach to counterterrorism over the past 18 years has kept the country pretty safe. the near perm potential for large-scale, externally directed attacks against the homeland has temporarily declined as the result of actions around the globe. as noted earlier, the threat itself continues to metastasize and will require close attention in the years ahead. in a crowded environment, it is completely understandable that terrorism is no longer viewed as it number one threat in the country, but that begs the
question of what does the equation look like in a complex environment and secondly, how do we optimize resources in the best interests of the sources when the department may have different properties and thirdly, if we are going to reduce efforts, how do we do so in a manner that does not reverse the gains of the past 18 years. these are questions that will require sophisticated conversations going forward. thank you for your questions. >> i was not expecting an infusion of optimism. these are serious threats and they are becoming more complex. one thing i noticed that was
lacking in your written testimony, secretary gawain did reference the killing of the family. we did not talk about ms 13 and some of those gangs infusing inner cities and are incredibly brutal. the reality, potential for spillover as we saw with the mormon tragedy and the gains that we already know exist and really the current situation, as it growing -- is a growing? how much of a handle to we have on these gangs? >> thank you for the opportunity to speak on this.
i would say in regard to mexico, there are areas in mexico child characterized as lawless. being that the drug cartels run the infrastructure, the services and their businesses which is drug trafficking. >> i've heard a high percentage of the communities are controlled by the drug cartels. >> i would be happy to come back in a closed session. we did an evaluation that we looked at and it is devastating right now. the numbers of drugs on the southwest border have increased the last two years. -- few years. their networks are sophisticated , they operated with a
sophisticated supply chain with covert and overt operations. they will use assassination at will. it's all based on moving money and people over the border into the united states. those supply lines and drug trafficking routes are defined. where there is not, there is more going on. >> we held a hearing that ms 13 was not motivated by drugs. it was something else. can you speak to gangs in inner cities? >> the fbi is spending a lot of efforts on gangs and inner city, not just ms 13, 18th street and gangs like that. if you talk to police chiefs around the country, it is neighborhood gangs that are really terrorizing communities and we view it as a threat that is alive and well.
>> what has been the trend over the last 10 years? >> i think part of it is the trend towards neighborhood gangs. ms 13 has become a major factor, but increasingly worried about neighborhood gangs. when you are strategic and prioritize going after threats, what you will find is if you prioritize, there is an effective tailwagging of the dog. in one city, it will be a particular neighborhood and other places might be a particular corridor for highway for a group with 20 or 30 people driving the threat. you will find the tail wagging the dog and if you are disciplined, you can have a dramatic impact quickly.
>> are the number of gang members growing? i read about things and they are just terrific. >> -- horrific. >> certainly ms 13 takes brutality to a whole another level. violence is essentially a right of passage to join and move up the ranks, so there's a degree to which there is violence for violence sake. >> are the numbers growing or is it flat? i'm trying to get a feel for the trend here. >> i'm not sure i can give you the number of gang members, but i would be happy if someone followed up on that. i know the crime rate has gone down some in the last year or two. even though, not dramatically. it has gone in the right direction. in your oral testimony, you
were talking about the cyber theft which is hundreds of billions of dollars. the big culprit is china. can't personally envision a trade deal reining that in. i think we will have to use law enforcement from the standpoint foraving global partners, example, deny entry from management of these companies we know are stealing our intellectual property. can you speak to that reality? >> i think you are exactly right, there is no one remedy that will deal with that. it is a threat that is broad, deep, diverse, vexing. i would say is there is a role for trade, a role for law-enforcement, a role for a diplomacy. in particular, building resilience in this country about working with the private sector and academic sector. the most effective defense
against the chinese counterintelligence threat can be done by companies and other institutions in this country being smarter and more sophisticated about protecting themselves. so we are putting a lot of effort into that in terms of being more forward leading that we were five or six years ago. helping them be part of the common defense that we all need. >> canada arrested the cfo of huawei. it was charges related to violation of sanctions. is there a concerted effort to try to deny entry, potentially arrest, people from these companies? is there an organized effort globally with other western democracies to do that? we are doing things with other countries. this is a threat that is being
confronted by a lot of our allies. i will say, in some instances, there are abuses of the visa process that we are trying to address. that is a state department if you -- issue. they are an important part of the fight as well and there may be people engaged in intellectual property theft in a way that violates the terms of their contract. they can be kicked out on that basis. sometimes, that's a much better solution than traditional law enforcement. lex -- >> the three of you have very difficult jobs and biggest possibilities. i want to discuss one of the jobs that the department of security has come up what -- security has, first of all to
keep us safe, but you haven't added responsibility to move trade and commerce efficiently as possible across the border. michigan is something we look at a lot. the facilitation of secure trade and travel is absolutely essential to my state and many others. in order to support that, it is clear that dhs has a clear picture of the threats facing the northern border and ports of entry as well. could you briefly speak to the threats on the northern border to support the northern border strategy as it exists today? >> i'm a relatively unique
witness. i led a team that did an assessment of the northern border threat which i would be happy to share and i traveled to the northern border, been to the border crossings and then to the intelligence center. there is a vulnerability in marine and land environment. it is a porous border. we are looking at how we deploy our assets in the air and sensor capabilities and individuals that maybe crossing unlawfully. a lot of our relationship revolves around partnerships with canadians. they are outstanding. we are relying on that partnership with each other. backed up by good intelligence collection by our partners is critical to that. it goes on 24 hours a day. it would also like to highlight the national reading center, our
capability to identify at-risk individuals, which is being expanded to cargo. that is at full operational capacity, but we are constantly evaluating threats to the northern border. >> i mentioned this briefly in my opening comments, but your agency has not provided a single agency has not provided a single document in almost six months to a letter that chairman johnson and i authored dealing with domestic terrorism. this is a bipartisan letter that -- we were careful in terms of the scope of it, that it was not overly broad. but allowed us to have the information necessary to provide the kind of oversight, particularly as something as serious as domestic terrorism.
that's unacceptable. when you have a joint letter that is bipartisan, mira question is do you require a subpoena to respond to routine document requests from this committee? no, second i would tell you that we have tried very hard to be responsive to this community. i know the department provided a long, written response and we sat down with your staff and provided a verbal briefing. that was very helpful on our end in understanding better the purpose and scope and intent of the request. i also know we have been providing monthly domestic terrorism reports to the committee staff. having said that, the most important thing is to make sure we are being responsive and i
will direct my staff to figure out how we can be more responsive and more forthcoming. >> so you will be more responsive than not responding at all? >> i think we have been -- >> you talk about the committee -- what we got from dhs were publicly available documents. our staffs are pretty good at looking at publicly available documents, so that is not very helpful in the oversight role. these were very specific questions that we would expect a response. we believe we should probably have, as a committee, here is my question -- do you think the committee should have less access to documents than a general foia request? that's what we are seeing here. >> i cannot speak for dhs response, but for the fbi i don't think providing verbal, written responses is no response at all.
the point from my perspective is i want to make sure we are dressing your concerns, so don't want you to take any of my responses to say that i will not direct my staff to make sure we are doing everything we can to be cooperative. >> i appreciate that. can get a commitment by the end of the week? >> we can get some kind of response. i need to get more information about what is still needed. >> i appreciate that. i hope you have prompt attention to that. according to the fbi, domestic terrorism has killed 39 people in 2019. it is the most deadly year for domestic terrorism since the 1995 oklahoma city bombing. is, how would you you characterize the threat posed by white supremacists? >> i would say that domestic terrorism generally, particularly lone actors, represents a serious persistent threat. i think we had had 107 arrest,
which is close to the same number we had on the international terrorism front. within the domestic terrorism group, at any given time the number fluctuates. we have about 1000, sometimes closer to 900 and sometimes above 1000, of domestic terrorism investigations. a huge chunk involved racially motivated violent extremists motivated terrorist attacks. fueledority of those are by some kind of white supremacy and i would say the most lethal activity over the last few years has been committed by those types of offenders. >> i'm out of time. thank you very much.
for convening this hearing on threats to our homeland. thanks to all three of our witnesses for being here today and for your service to our country. i hope you will carry back with you to the men and women you from ar sincere thanks grateful country for all you do to keep us safe. i wanted to start with a question to you. last month i traveled to afghanistan and pakistan and i heard the concerns of our military and embassy personnel about the growing and real threat of the isis affiliate in afghanistan. i hear it clearly that it threatens u.s. forces in afghanistan and has plans to strike the u.s. homeland. you said last month there are more than 20 isis branches globally. some of which are using sophisticated technology to conduct operations.
despite our victories against isis in syria and iraq, it remains a deadly threat to the united states. k and other isis affiliates of isis want to strike the u.s. homeland. please tell us about their ability and what we are doing to mitigate the threat. >> thanks for the question. of all the branches and networks of isis, isis k is the one of most concern. probably in the neighborhood of 4000 or so. we share the concerns of u.s. military and the embassy. they have attempted to certainly inspire attacks outside of afghanistan. toy attempted last year conduct a suicide attack in india. it failed. they tried a couple years ago to a tack -- inspire an attack in new york. there was an attack in stockholm in 2017 i believe that killed
five people, so they certainly have got a desire and propaganda would indicate they want to attack outside of afghanistan. thus far, relatively limited. i would say we saw attack claims by isis k ramping up, although now we are looking at about an attack a day. interestingly, about an hour and a half ago they were the latest branch to declare allegiance to the new head of isis. >> thank you for that. i want to thank your team in new hampshire. we had a field hearing about threats to our houses of worship from domestic terrorism. michael gidley was very helpful. been verys have
encouraged by his work with them. thank you. ransomware, we are seeing the impact across the country, including an attack in my home state of new hampshire. throughout actors target every aspect of our community, from health care providers to our small businesses. last week, i talked with director krebs about what the department of homeland security is doing to assist entities facing ransomware attacks. what is the fbi doing to address this threat? is it tracking the number of ransomware attacks on our country? how was the fbi coordinating with department of homeland security in these efforts? >> appreciate the feedback on the meeting in new hampshire. on ransomware specifically, i think what we are seeing is a shift to more and more targeted ransomware attacks.
more and more targeting municipalities and there are a variety of different reasons they are more vulnerable. we're also seeing more enterprise-level which affects every computer in the organization. one of the things we are trying to do is figure out through our unique role as a law enforcement agency and intelligence agency, there have been times where we are able to reverse engineer a decryption key. i can think, we had a case in the northwest, small business, 600 people, crippling ransomware attack, potentially all those people going to lose their jobs, the company would go under. but because of our work, they did not have to pay a ransom and got systems back online. a lot of thanks from those 600
employees. as far as working with dhs, we work very closely together. the fbi has the lead on the threat and dhs is the lead on the assets and essentially we work together in that respect. >> it is something that in the bash a lot of the work we have done as a committee, we have heard more and more concerned from local stakeholders about it. and really want to help all the various agencies coordinate and share information as effectively as possible. director travers, i wanted to go back to the issue of domestic terrorism. in the aftermath of 9/11, the federal government built a robust and capable counterterrorism architecture to support state and local partners and address foreign terrorist threats unlike any before. today, 18 years later, we face a
surge in domestic terrorism and you will hear it from everyone in the committee, including rising threats against houses of worship. if we are to prevent these, we have to treat these as seriously as we did when al qaeda and other terrorist organizations have threatened after 9/11. the national counterterrorism center was created to respond to threats from al qaeda and prevent attacks. can you share your thoughts on the current state of domestic terrorism information sharing? what does the u.s. government need to do to ensure it gets to the people who need to know it? >> i will start, but i think the intelligence reform act written
by the committee gave a number of responsibilities for the realm of international terrorism. there are references in the legislation to domestic terrorism, but quite clearly the bureau would have the lead, so i view and cpc as being in support. so we have a lot of things we can do and staffs working on parameters and things like addressing issues of radicalization and mobilization. we have done a lot of work with our partners on the international terrorism side. it is clear that the process looks alike in terms of using social media and the internet and so forth, so we are broadening our efforts there so we can get that information to our state and local partners . where i think there is value is
working with partners around the globe. everyone is struggling with this problem right now, trying to deal with it. we can bring a lot of analytic horsepower and collection to the international problem set. that helps the bureau. >> thank you. i see that i am over time. i don't know if the director would like to comment or take it up. >> the short version, we are looking hard at some trend of, for example white supremacists or neo-nazis here connecting through social media with individuals overseas and in some cases actually traveling overseas to train. we are engaged with partners as
we compare notes on this threat. >> thank you. >> senator harris? >> good afternoon. as you know, our country is facing many threats. i thank all of the witnesses for being here today. i want to start by asking you about rudy giuliani. have you communicated with him since you were the fbi director? >> no. >> do you know if he holds any security clearance of any kind? >> i don't know the answer to that. giuliani made any formal representations to the justice department or fbi regarding his business dealings or interests? >> i'm not sure there's anything i could say on that here. >> is that because it is a
confidential matter or because you don't know or they don't exist? >> that is in part because i don't know the answer. >> what is the other part? >> if there was something that was shared with the fbi that i'm not aware of, it might run afoul of some of the other things you mentioned. >> given the close relationship with the president and mr. giuliani, has the fbi said that it could be a potential counterintelligence threat? >> i don't think there's anything i could say on that subject. >> i recall you have testified in the past that you have taken an oath to defend the constitution and i admire that and believe it to be true. do you believe your loyalty is to the president or the constitution? >> my loyalty is to the constitution and the people of
the country. >> if an american acting on behalf of a foreign person was seeking to influence or interfere with an american election, with the fbi want to know about that? >> i don't want to be onunderstood as commenting specific recent events, but as a general matter, any information about potential interference with our elections by a foreign government or by anybody else is something the fbi would want to know about. >> in sworn testimony before the senate appropriations subcommittee is june, you said you could not think of an instance where the president has directly or indirectly asked you to open an investigation into anyone. as of today, can you confirm or deny whether the president has asked you to open an investigation into anyone? >> again, i cannot think of an instance. we've had discussions about, for example, domestic terrorism
threats, foreign intelligence threats, things like that, but those tended to be more about a threat in the aggregate, as opposed to a specific individual. >> has the president or anyone on his behalf suggest anyone stop, start or limit the scope of any investigation? >> not that i can think of. >> in your view, would it be improper for the fbi to start or stop an investigation requested by the president or anyone at the white house? not going to wait into specific people's conversations. the fbi's obligation and the obligation i expect of all 37,000 men and women of the fbi is we will continue to investigate investigations. >> without referring to any
specific investigation, would be improper for the fbi to stop a criminal investigation at the request of the president or anyone from the white house would it be an appropriate if he -- white house? >> we should could -- conduct our investigations on nothing but the law. >> you believe it would be improper? i'm not going to weigh on hypotheticals, but i think we are saying the same thing. >> we are talking about rules and ethics. >> i don't think the fbi should be closing an investigation for any improper purpose. >> i will ask you one more time. what is ethically appropriate? would it be ethically to launch, limit, or stop a criminal investigation at the request of anyone at the
white house? >> i think there should be no opening of an investigation based on anything other than the facts and the law. that's my answer. >> thank you. has any member of the administration suggested that attorney general barr or any other member of the department start, stop, or limit the scope of an investigation? >> i cannot to general bars communication with others. >> during your time at the justice department and given your extensive and noble career, have you ever encountered suspects who tried to intimidate witnesses? >> absolutely and prosecuted some. witnesssn't intimidation a threat to the pursuit of justice? >> why isn't? >> why is it? >> ok.
i believe that witness intimidation is a threat. investigations and prosecutions should be about the truth and pursuit of the truth. if witnesses who have first-hand information can't and don't come forward, that pursuit of the truth is frustrated. in june 2019, it was reported that officers around the country -- these groups include white lives matter, ban the dent of lacey, can you tell me what works your agency has done to investigate any of these cases and to what degree of success? >> i'm not aware of the specific report you are referring to. i mentioned in response to one of the earlier questions, we do have about 900 and mr. terrorism
type investigations. that is not counting our hate crimes investigations. a huge chunk of those involved some degree of what one might call white supremacist ideology motivating the crime. >> thank you for your service. >> senator scott? >> i want to thank each of you for being here today and the chairman and ranking members for putting this together. my focus today is on the fbi's ability to share domestic terrorism information and other information with local fbi offices and local and state law enforcement. let me start by saying that the men and women of the fbi are dedicated public servants. they serve this country selflessly with no desire for praise or public recognition. i understand that the fbi gets very low credit for their success. i understand it is only the few
instances where they get public scrutiny. the fbi deserves praise and credit for the work they do every day to keep us safe. but i also have concerns about a series of shootings in florida and a lack of after action transparency on the fbi. in the days following the attack at marjory stoneman douglas high school in florida, i learned a -- of repeated failures of the fbi to actively investigate , act on specific tips about the shooter leading up to months before the attack. shooting, a the warning about the shooter was received by the fbi national call center. the warning was never passed on the the south florida field office for investigation or to any state or local law enforcement. months before that, the fbi was warned about the shooter through a comment on a youtube video where someone with the shooter's name stated i'm going to be a professional school shooter. i understand the fbi gets a high volume of tips. but it appears the fbi did nothing with this detailed information of an imminent threat.
instances of pre-attack notifications received by the fbi guarding other attacks in florida. ly such information from director ray regarding steps to hold accountable those in the agency for the failures. first, has anyone been held accountable? second, what changes have been made to prevent this from happening again? so far, i have gotten very little information. as governor when this happened i asked for an explanation. i was told nothing. i got no information back. andt together a letter asked for information on accountability and what changes and i got little information. i want to enter into the record the correspondence i received. >> without objection. >> the parkland families have also told me they have not gotten answers.
i am asking today, has anyone from the fbi been held accountable for the failures to follow the attack of marjorie stoneman douglas? how how have they been held accountable and what changes have been made? i get that the attack was 100% the fault of an evil person and not the responsibility of the fbi. but the failure of actions of the part of the fbi requires action to correct the errors. i recently introduced the tips act which require fbi be more proactive sharing information with local and state officials and would like your feedback on this proposal. first if you talk about parkland. >> thank you, senator. first, let me say that there has no issue that tears us up inside more than the threat to kids in this country. whether it is the kind of example you are describing or a number of others. that was a heartbreaking day for
everybody in the fbi. we have made extensive changes. after the parkland shooting, i immediately dispatched a large special inspection team. as a result of that, a number of changes have been made. some of them disciplinary in nature. partly because of pending litigation against us and because of privacy implications to limit how much detail i can go on to -- go into on the
personnel front. there are significant changes that have been made. i have personally gone out there not once but twice, first to see what it was like before. and second, now to see how it has changed since then. i have set in the mist of the -- i have sent in the midst of the call operators, put in the headset and listen as they dealt with the calls and watch how it happens. and i can tell you that there is an incredible amount of really good work going down there. you mention the volume issue. on any given day, our call center gets more than 3000 tips. of those 3000 tips, about 60 a day, 60 tips a day, are potential threats to life. 60, probably 80% of them have no federal nexus whatsoever. we are looking at ways -- and i
know that is the goal now coming around here legislation -- that is ago i think we share, which is how we can get the right information. that is the keyword -- the right actual information. to our state and local partners as fast as possible. there is something we have in place i would love to talk to you about called e-guardian. route --dual simultaneously go straight from the call center not just of the local field office but also to the state fusion center or the equivalent. we've had a number of instances, and i can go through a number of them here, or some threat comes in and within hours, using that approach, we have had an arrest. we are very encouraged by the direction it it takes. this is one of the hardest things law enforcement has to
deal with today and we are doing our best. >> can you explain -- here is why i never get a response. i do not think you have an easy job. i know it's hard and you get lots of tips. -- and i do heard not get why somebody can't say a person was disciplined. they were held accountable. something. i am a business guy and in business, it is the world. you have to hold people accountable if they make a mistake. certainly if you said the person's name said i'm going to be a professional school shooter, that is pretty actionable. to this point, i mean, the parkland families have never been told that anyone was held accountable. and it is always this amorphous,
it is privacy or something like that, we cannot there has to be -- there has to be a better answer than that. >> to me, the privacy act issues and the pending litigation are things i have to take seriously in responding to your question. i am trying to lean in and answering your question. i can tell you, there were two individuals principally involved with the call. we have had one individual who has been reassigned as a result of that inspection report. and one who is no longer with the fbi. i cannot go into more detail than that. the more important thing is it should not be anybody's impression, i can assure you, that nothing has been done. we have made massive changes out
there and i know we have invited you and your staff to come out and see it and i would welcome that. i think he would be encouraged by what you have seen out there. >> thank you. thank you fear testimony. excellent testimonies and we appreciate that. thank you for being here today and the work that you do. sheldon in ther white house leaving as i was coming in. he is not on the committee and does not get to ask questions. he wanted to ask about responding. ask to check with your team and make sure you are being responsive. i'm privileged to be the chairman of this committee a few years ago. tom coburn of oklahoma was our ranking member. it was during the obama administration. this, we had a hearing or two with folks from essentially
homeland security, and the issue was swiss cheese. you might say why was it swiss cheese? the leadership in homeland security looks like swiss cheese. we had a number of positions vacant in leadership positions. we had many others filled by people in an acting capacity who had never been senate confirmed. i'm happy you are here. and others that are filling in. but if you were here he would probably say and share the same concern which is all these people and acting positions. -- in acting positions. i asked my staff to give me a number and they said -- i understand that when the
acting secretary leaves, and i think he has been terrific and i hate to see them go, a level -- 11 of the 18 positions requiring senate confirmation will be vacant. coburnthe reasons tom and i worked hard along with the committee because the department of homeland security had the worst morale. the worst morale of all of the major departments of government. when that administration left, jeh johnson told me the last measurement, every two years, measures the morale of major departments in the department that made the most improvement was homeland security. it really does make a difference in more ways than we might expect. i would ask each of you, and i
would start with you david, can you speak to how the lack of senate confirmed leadership at the highest levels of dhs affects the interagency work you all do to keep our homeland secure? you,would be just for secretary. how can we push the president to nominate qualified individuals to ensure the department is able to carry out its vital mission? >> senator, thank you for bringing that up. in 27 years in law enforcement and a career official starting as a houston police enforcer -- police officer, it is a privilege to serve with the men and women of homeland security. i'm happy to say our employee viewpoint survey continues the upsurge trajectory, even though some of these senate confirmed positions are not filled. my office has seen some of the biggest increases in morale this year and your staff love access
-- your staff will have access to that. i would say we have two officials pending confirmation. and as one of the longest senate confirmed officials and unanimously confirmed i appreciate that by this committee as well. >> what other witnesses care to comment on this? >> without speaking to dhs leadership vacancies, we work closely with the men and women of dhs across all their different sub agencies every day on our task forces. they are fantastic public servants, great partners, and we are proud to stand with them. >> i have many people embedded at dhs and many in a officers -- many officers who work for me and it is a very, very strong partnership.
>> i was out of the room for a little bit. i want to talk about our withdrawal of u.s. troops from northeast syria. something troubles me deeply. i gave a speech on the floor last thursday at close of business. i mentioned it, 11,000 kurdish lives have been lost in the battle against isis. -- i asked how he is doing and he said, compared to what? 11,000 of their lives in a ofand a relative handful ours. everyone of those is dear and precious. i want to ask and we will start with mr. travers. can you please speak about the effects that pulling out u.s. troops from northeast syria will
have on our kurdish allies, please? >> i believe it is true that the general and syrian forces have been very close allies. they have been incredibly important in terms of providing intelligence over the years. we were heartened by the president and the secretary of defense statement that the u.s. forces that will remain in syria will have a continuing counterterrorism mission as well as the oil and there will be continued engagement with the sdf. this remains a very important counterterrorism objective to us because they are guarding many different prisons with both foreign fighter and iraqi and syrian and isis fighters. that relationship really needs to continue. >> and just a simple yes or no. where you consulted on this matter by the white house? >> i was not. but it would not necessarily be the case that i would be. >> same question. could you talk about the effects
of pulling out u.s. troops from northeastern syria will have on our kurdish allies? i know this is outside of your wheelhouse but take a shot. >> parts of it are in our wheelhouse. in particular, we are concerned about potential resurgence of isis if certain fighters in particular were to escape or be released. we will say that the biggest threat to the homeland, the biggest isis related threat here, in many ways is the online inspired threat, and in fact the -- and in effect the virtual caliphate. one of the things we have done, the fbi working with our partners, anticipating the day where we might not be there, is biometric enrollment over on the battlefield in order to put us in a position where our
fingerprints are available and can be shared with our allies and others so that in the event that fighters end up spreading out for one reason or another, we have a better chance of intercepting them before they do harm. >> same two questions. were you consulted on this matter by the white house, just yes or no is fine? >> no, i was not. and i would not be in my current role. but what i would say is a follow on to what the director said, our partnership with obtaining the biometrics from the isis fighters and al qaeda fighters, any terrorist organizations is critical for our vetting program. in our relationships with the intelligent services, our law enforcement services abroad, our foreign partners. the disbursement of terrorism is global. southeast asia, northwest, east africa, middle east are all threats from isis, al qaeda, al-shabaab and others. it is how we get that
information and vet them. so if the refugees or migrations out of syria or yemen are large we have to have the biometrics to collect and make sure they do not come here to run them against the systems and make sure they are not terrorists, criminals or foreign intelligence officers. it is critical that information sharing and vetting process to make sure that people are bad things are not coming to the united states. >> thank you. >> senator portman. >> thank you for the three view -- thank you for the great testimony and what you do to keep us safe. i notice in your opening statement, director wray, you spoke about the thousand towns program. the permanent subcommittee investigations was senator carper and others are in the process of looking into that issue and have done a series of hearings on related items including on a confucius institute report. it indicates there are
limitations that china places on the activities here including censorship as an example, not allowing the academic community here to discuss topics they believe are politically sensitive, such as the tiananmen square uprising. you said the chinese abusing the thousand talents program. the fbi has about a thousand cases constantly. coincidentally, investing in technology transfer and that university should be smarter about defending themselves. my question would be, what efforts has the fbi taken to inform the higher education community about this threat. what is your response? >> i think you put your finger on an important issue. the role of academia in our country, especially given the amount of taxpayer-funded research, is a key component to this counterintelligence threat.
in addition to investigations and i cannot give you a number, out of the thousands that involve universities and graduate students and researchers, it is a significant number. in addition to the investigations we are much more actively engaged with major universities in encouraging them and informing them so they can take appropriate action voluntarily robustly to guard against the threat. the reaction we have gotten, it varies but i have been , encouraged by quite a number of universities which a few years ago would not have wanted to meet with the fbi under any circumstances much less in the kind of partnership way occurring now, including very good responsiveness from ohio state. i've met with them. we had an academic summit in fbi headquarters a month ago where we brought in chancellors and
others from universities across the country, whole bunch of our sac's and brief them on some of the threats, and had engagement about how we can work more constructively together to help them defend themselves. >> our information is that ohio state and other schools have expressed their interest in working even more with you and appreciate what has been done. they also are not providing us the transparency we need to know whether there is a problem, would you agree? >> i would let ohio state speak for itself. in terms of its own transparency. >> i'm not talking about ohio state but in general, that 70% of schools were not properly reporting the foreign government payments they were receiving with regard to the confucius institute. so the transparency although it is in law already, and not been -- and not being followed, is
not adequate in our view. >> it is fair to say there is room for improvement but we are seeing improvement. >> let me talk about another issue, a national security threat for our country and ohio especially hard-hit. that is the drug crisis an epidemic of overdoses and deaths. we know the southern border has lots of challenges, one is the drug issue. we know crystal meth, the new drug causing havoc in our communities in ohio, also heroin and cocaine, comes almost exclusively across the southern border. my question to you is really about what is happening. you see a significant reduction in terms of crossings per and -- crossing. i'm looking at data here that compares last month to the month of may. almost a one third reduction in crossings or at least apprehensions which would indicate crossings. so the number of people coming over has slowed considerably. still a significant issue but not like it was. but the drug flow has not been
reduced even though many have linked some of the same traffickers who bring people across as bringing drugs across. can you speak to that and talk about how these drugs are coming over? what more can we do to the border and also what is the relationship between people crossing and drugs crossing? >> senator, thank you for the question. to give you the numbers from 2017 to 2019 so you know what we're dealing with a lot of narcotics levels we have seen a 40% increase in cocaine seizures on the southwest border, a 20% increase in fentanyl, a 30% increase in heroin. we have seen a 200% increase in methamphetamines. we have a crisis at the
southwest border and it is all based on moving people and goods illicitly across the border. that is what is about. cartels are about moving goods and people across the southwest border. >> almost a third fewer people have you seen any reduction in the drug flow because we have not seen that on the other end. >> know if seen an increase and -- we have seen an increase. those numbers are probably low. we have seen increases in the last two years. the cartels are sophisticated businesses about moving supplies to the united states. they are as good as any major business. their profits are like a fortune 500 company. it is about moving goods across the border and it is a for sophisticated network of plaza bosses who run and control what moves across the southwest border. their trafficking supply chains and relationships with china, which is now the fentanyl production is moving into mexico is very sophisticated and very robust and constantly changing in dynamic. >> i would love to follow with
you on that and a q f r on the fentanyl issue my senses there's -- issue. my senses there is not a lot of production of fentanyl in mexico but there is processing. a huge increase compared to even a few years ago. a new threat on the border. the demand-side is key here. we have done a lot of work on that and will continue to, on prevention and recovery programs and treatment. we have to do something to deal with the flow. crystal meth on the streets of columbus, ohio is less excessive -- is less expensive than marijuana and more deadly. we appreciate any input you have on how we can do a better job to reduce supply, at a minimum, not just the poison coming into our communities but the impact because it will increase the cost. >> is a sophisticated approach
that goes just beyond law enforcement. it is partnership with the u.s. intelligence, mexican intelligence, mexican military, our military. that partnership is robust and we have very good relationships with our mexico partners. but it is really upping the game, at a strategy to impact these groups that is going to have to go city by city and state by state. it will require a real strategic approach. >> senator langford. >> mr. chairman, thank you. thank you for the work you are doing. you do not hear that enough. there are a lot of threats. you face a lot of things and you go through a lot of information each and every day. for the people in my state of oklahoma, we appreciate that very much. yesterday we had an event in a, -- yesterday, we had an event in
oklahoma city, which is called day one. it was an event that is 168 days away from the 25th anniversary of the bombing in 1995. 25 years ago, we lost 168 oklahomans. many of them federal employees and their families, many of them children. we remember what domestic terrorism looks like in oklahoma city and we have not forgotten about that. from all of us and the families i live around, we want to say thank you that you are staying vigilant. we do not take domestic terrorism lightly. you an unfair question. give me a percentage of threats you face based on domestic terrorism and international terrorism. -- 70-30?0, 7
give me your best guess. >> are you asking within the terrorism threats? >> within terrorism threats. >> i think we are probably roughly half and half. international and domestic on the terrorism front right now. certainly the number of arrests we had in fiscal 2019 was 170 arrests, 121orism international terrorism arrests. 900 international investigations and a thousand hpe homegrown violent investigations. so probably more investigations on the national terrorism side. that gives you a sense of -- >> that helps. when you identify the types of international terrorism at threats coming into the united
states, threat you can identify coming toward the united states, is there a certain ideology that seems to be more typical for international foreign threats coming at the united states? >> we are looking at both sunni -- sunni and shieh threats. in particular, the ice is inspired attackers, these are people who are not necessarily did not get up in the morning true believers but spent time havee, radicalized, and latched onto an ideology as an excuse to commit crude but lethal attacks against often soft targets using easily accessible weapons.
>> we worked on anti-semitism task force and continue to bring up issues of domestic terrorism and threats. as already named the threat just confronted this past weekend in colorado toward one of the synagogues there. there's a growing sense of ideology and multiple do for -- multiple different areas and we are grateful you continue to be able to engage foreign as well as domestic. let me shift topics to election security. this has been an ongoing issue congress continues to address. we have talked multiple times about department of homeland security and their ability to address election security. this congress allocated $380 million in election security funding in 2018 to states peered -- two states. the last of my track those numbers not half that money has been spent by states yet. do you have a good estimate what the states have spent from the money allocated to deal with election security and how do you evaluate the status or preparation of election security
now? >> as the head of intelligence i will have to get back to you on the states allocation of the resources we sent them. i will take that as a question for the record come back to you. regarding execution of what we are doing within the department, you're aware of the cyber security infrastructure sure -- infrastructure agency run by director chris krebs has had an aggressive partnership with all 50 state election officials and territories. in the lead up to the 2018 election, we conducted 1400 field interviews and engagements directly with state officials. the lead up to the 2016 election, we did 24 intelligence reports. in the lead up to the 2018 election, we had 313. we will do quite a bit more in the lead up to the 2020. we are looking at attacks on the infrastructure of election systems.
the amplifying effect to try to influence elections. >> do you have what you need at this point to help secure the elections? >> senator, i welcome a discussion going back with colleagues in the department to have an answer for that. i can say from the department we are aggressively partnering our resources in partnership with the fbi and a partnership with the other u.s. intelligence committee assets as well. i would like to highlight we are in over 80 fusion centers as you mentioned earlier as an information touch point. i create the information sharing enterprise, the backbone of the technical infrastructure, the homeland security network which i have to thank, you have funded and authorized us to use that and that has been a fantastic information tool. >> thank you. question.ask you a
when americans travel to russia or china there seems to be an ample number of individuals to track them and follow them and make sure they are aware of all of their movements. i have yet to be able to talk to an american yet that is travel to china russia and said yeah they ran out of people to trail me. do you have the resources you need for individuals you have suspicion on better chinese nationals or russian nationals currently in the united states to make sure we have coverage of the level that is needed for individuals that are of the highest suspicions? i can tell you our counterintelligence program is an area where we are in need of growth and resources. we need more data analytics. all of these issues, including the one your mentioning, in today's world involve terabytes of data in order to be able to agile to exploit that quickly and effective, we need to have
the right tools to get through that information. i know the president's budget requests in that category but i can assure you that is the kind of thing that would be put to great use quickly. >> thank you. >> senator romney. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one thing i noted in each of the questions answered so far as the questioners have begun by expressing appreciation to your respective agents for the work they do. i think i certainly speak for myself and i believe i speak for all the members of the senate that i've spoken with, and it probably includes all most all, which is there's a very profound appreciation for the sacrifice and the extra ordinary -- extraordinary professionalism of the men and women who serve in your respective agencies. and i hope that that is expressed to your members time and time again.
you spoke about foreign nations who try to interfere with our sense of unity in the country, political process, our elections, russia, china, north korea, and iran. can you give me a rough sense -- is this an ad hoc process or is it organized by their governments and staffed by a certain number of people with a budget associated with it? if it is organized, do we have a sense of the scale of the enterprise that is undertaken by each of these countries to interfere with our election w this unityso through social media and the like? >> there might be more we can say in a classified setting on that. what i would say is all those countries have designs and engaging in malign foreign influence in this country. of them, the russians are the ones who have most advanced this idea of sowing divisiveness and
discord, the pervasive messaging campaigns of a false personas, things like that. certainly, we know iran is taking very careful note of what the russians have done and has its own foreign influence efforts, some of which have a cyber dimension to them and it is something we are tracking carefully. the chinese, that is a whole other kettle of fish. they have a very robust foreign influence here. they'll have their own shapes and sizes to the problem. >> but it is highly organized by their governments, not on an ad hoc basis? >> i think that is a fair statement. >> as you spoke, director, about the incursions on an hourly basis of chinese in particular but other countries into our corporate databases, or government databases and so forth. i thought about how impossible the task must be to try to
protect all the places people can attack. i was reminded of the mutual assured destruction orientation that was part of our national security with regards to nuclear weapons. should we have a mutually assured disruption effort of some kind? which is to say is the only way to prevent the number of attacks and the severity of attacks we are seeing, an indication that we can do the same thing to them? only we can do it harder and bigger and more destructively, such as they say, we better stop or we are going to suffer as well. >> i do not know if i would say that is the only way. i think offensive cyber operations are an important part of any nation cyber strategy, and it is ours. we are working much more closely with the private sector than ever before, in terms of trying to help them defend themselves
and our relationships with businesses ranging from small startups all the to fortune 100 companies. are much more robust that i will -- they are much more robust than when i was in this world at doj many years ago. in many ways, today's cyber threat is less about preventing the intrusion in the first place, and more about detection as quickly as possible and mitigation as quickly as possible once you find it. it is great to put locks all around the outside of your house and cameras and lights but if the guy has already managed to pay off somebody to get inside your basement, he is just hanging out there, all the stuff on the outside is not going to do a whole lot. a lot of the efforts today, working with dhs are trying to get organizations to be able to quickly find the threat, quickly tied off, and prevent damage from getting worse.
>> i do not begin to understand how cryptocurrency works. i would think it is more difficult to carry out your work we cannot follow the money. and i wonder whether there should not be some kind of effort taken in our nation to deal with cryptocurrency and the challenges that prevents for law enforcement and deterrence of terrorist activity. am i wrong in thinking this is an area we ought to take a look at? or is cryptocurrency not a big deal? >> cryptocurrency is already an issue for us and will become a -- and we can project out that it will become a bigger and bigger one. whether or not that is the subject of appropriate subject of some kind of regulation as a response is harder for me to speak to. we're looking at it from an investigative perspective, including tools we have to try to follow the money, even in
this new world we are living in. trendpart of a broader and director travers alluded to it in terms of a terrorist threat. in terms of our adversaries of all shapes and sizes becoming more facile with technology, in particular those that in him and -- those that anonymize, cryptic currency, messaging platforms. we are moving as a country and a world in a direction where we do not get our act together, money, people, communication, evidence, all the bread-and-butter for all of us to do our work will be essentially called -- walled off from the men and women we represent. >> thank you. spoke of the tragedy which occurred in mexico, where three women and six children were brutally offered our has
national support to help the mexicans get to the bottom of this. i appreciate the fact that you're willing to participate in that at the direction of the president and hopefully we will find a way to bring people to justice who deserved to be brought to justice and prevent events like this from happening in the future. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator hawley. >> director wray, a question on cybersecurity as it relates to china in particular. are you concerned about the growing practice of american technology companies, or any american company storing large amounts of data, consumer data, business data, in china, and sometimes storing the encryption keys to that data in china? what sort of a cybersecurity risk does this pose? >> it is something we are concerned about, in part because
chinese laws require a level of access that is unparalleled in this country. in terms of law enforcement and security services. chinese law compels chinese companies and u.s. companies operating in china to have relationships with chinese companies, to provide whatever information the government wants whenever it wants it just for asking. so that creates all kinds of risks across the threats we have to contend with. >> your point there about the chinese laws in the access to data that beijing requires works
in two ways. it is a problem for american companies who choose to store large amount of data in china. because to do so they have to partner under chinese laws with some sort of chinese counterpart. that often is tied to the government. that is number one. but number two, it is a secured rest of the point of view of chinese based companies have access to our market, who do business here, gathering large amounts of information on american consumers like tick-tock for instance -- tiktok, for instance, that are owned and based in china that are subject to the same chinese laws on data and data sharing, is that fair to say? >> that is absolute something we are concerned about. even you can start with the proposition that an astonishing percentage of chinese companies are state owned enterprises.
even the ones that are not technically state owned, are subject both to the chinese laws i referred to as well as-and i think a lot of people gloss over this-any chinese company of any appreciable size has, by chinese law, embedded in them, chinese communist party cells or committees as they are called, whose sole function is to ensure that that company stays in lockstep with the chinese communist party policy. can you imagine something like that happening with american companies in american policy it is something people need to take very seriously, >> absolutely. thank you for work on this. i think american consumers do not realize the threat to their own data security and privacy. what american company's choose to store the data in china and thereby open up a potentially that data for use by the chinese government or they do not realize the chinese based companies who are doing business in this country, are subject to those same laws. so it works both ways. switching gears. let me ask you about the border. the senator was talking about eth, seriousf m effects in ohio. in the state of missouri, we are overwhelmed with methamphetamine
coming across the border. in pointed out that 2017-2019, the southern border apprehensions were up over 200% for methamphetamines. senatorar you say that drugan -- the apprehensions have continue to --rease >> this is a two-year snapshot. that is at the border. that is in addition to the migration challenges we have had by officers taken off-line with the detention process. >> in the last few months, i know we have seen a decline in border apprehensions of
individuals, do you know what the numbers for contraband look like? -- what iget back would say and i said this earlier, the business model for the cartels is to move illicit goods and people across the border to get them there and to move them. verygoes through a sophisticated network inside the country of mexico and south of mexico as well as a management structure called plaza bosses that occupy the entire southwest border. they control what goes across and what does not go across. >> you talked about fentanyl production moving to mexico from china -- from china to mexico. can you say something more about that? >> we may want to take this in a classified setting, but we have seen the fentanyl production and trafficking as we would anticipate, the cartels own the supply chain in the united states and the trafficking routes getting in here, that the
fentanyl production and trafficking was beginning to move into mexico and we are seeing that. >> finally, let me ask you, you said in order to address this crisis, the drug crisis and the flow of drugs over the border , it would require a change in our whole strategic approach. can you say more about what you have in mind? i welcome a conversation that would expand upon to my partners. the strategic approach is bringing law enforcement, u.s. intelligence committee, mexican intelligence committee in some of these lawless areas where the cartels are running the area. demand for a high narcotics so it is a joint process and in that realm of having that partnership with our
mexican counterparts in that space to identify the bad and fillet with the good. -- fill it with the good. >> a quick follow-up. we need to underscore this. although our border is rather unsecure, would you agree that on the mexican side of the border, it is pretty secure? there is not much that passes through the mexico side of the border -- >> >> the plaza bosses and cartels run the south side of the border on the mexican side. does the mexican military and law enforcement have the capability? they do but it will have a strategic -- it will require a strategic approach. the cartels are incredibly powerful and there is a corruption angle that plays into this as well. chairman johnson, your assessment is correct but there are models that have been
successful. >> senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow-up on what i hope is a priority for all three of you. director, iso you, that accurate that it is a root -- priority for you? >> absolutely. >> what direction have you received from the white house about the direction -- the priority of foreign influence in our elections? >> i think it has been made crystal clear to us that it is a priority for us to combat malign foreign influence from any nationstate including russia, including china, including iran and others. >> how has that been communicated to you by the white house? >> we have had numerous meetings over the white house with the nsc and others on election security issues and such, it has
-- and sort of a recurring theme in those meetings. >> is the white house doing anything to coordinate with security agencies, they pulling folks together and if you could explain how that is happened? -- that is happening? >> certainly, we have had nsc meetings and coordination over time i have been director. in particular, the way it works now is with the nsc direction and the white house direction, od ni brings together a smaller group, as opposed to the more sprawling nsc apparatus. in particular, it is us, fbi, od ni, dhs and nsa are the sort of the key players, and then others from time to time as need arises. there's all kind of engagement between, for exam, our foreign -- for example, our foreign
influence task force which i stood up after becoming director, the russia small group at nsa, and there is a similar body at dhs. odni, verywoman at experienced, very seasoned, and she has remained in charge of coordinating efforts on a day-to-day basis. >> i continue to hear from my constituents in michigan about very lengthy and intrusive screenings every time they travel. they describe it as a backdoor travel ban that discourages them from traveling and it hurts their business and their families and maintaining a safe and secure air travel while protecting civil rights of law-abiding travelers is a balance we have to achieve. the department has indicated to
my staff that they will lead a comprehensive review of secondary screenings in fiscal year 2020 with input from other relevant federal partners. could you describe how you would envision that process and how you would expect those recommendations to come out? i would have to take that question for the record. what i can say is coming from that organization, we are always cognizant of the civil rights and civil liberties of u.s. citizens and foreign citizens traveling to united states. the protocols and oversight has been rigorous. i will take that for the record and come back for an answer with you. >> can you do that in a quick manner? i would appreciate it. the vast majority of constituents i hear from our deeply dissatisfied with the dhs trip, the redress process for travelers who experience screening difficulties. are there ways to expand --
-- expand and address that? we hope we can get that answer quickly. >> as a senator from a border state, i know it is critical that we work together. i remain committed to working every day to secure arizona's borders, keep arizona's safe and ensure migrants are treated fairly and humanely. i would like to start with the crotchety that happened on -- with the tragedy that happened on monday. details are still coming in and we know that at least nine people, including mothers and children, were murdered by transnational criminal organizations involved in the drug trade. these victims have relatives
from arizona and my state is hurting right now. situation, will the fbi play a role in bringing these perpetrators to justice ensuring the families receive some redress? troubled andply heartbroken about the loss. office inrough our mexico reached out to our partners, mexican partners, to offer assistance and are engaged with them and with the embassy and the state department. havingin the process of victim services division get in touch with the relatives here in the united states to see if they can be of assistance. it is a division that i am proud of, given the way in which they bring a level of compassion to
some of the most basic concerns and needs of victims and their families. >> thank you. for all of our witnesses, i would like to get a commitment from each of you that my office is briefed on the investigation and i would like to hear about your agency's efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations. on arizonaimpact families. lead -- we arehe absolutely committed to partnering with you and as far as the benchmark of intelligence and operations, one of our top facilities is in your state, in tucson, and i would be delighted if i could escort you there for a visit to see it. it is really about the partnership with state and local sharing thatnd real-time tactical information so we can identify the threats.
>> thank you. be happy to keep you informed as best we can and is appropriate. what roleerscore that the fbi will be able to play in mexico depends a lot on the willingness of our mexican partners to embrace bring us in and that is something that is being worked out. it is a fluid situation. i do not yet know exactly what our footprint will look like but we will be happy to follow back up with you as things progress. >> thank you. >> the national counterterrorism center does not work that particular issue. >> i would like to ask you a question. i spoke about the need to sharing -- improve data theeen dhhs and dhs about
issues of abuse toward migrants. can you share the status of the efforts to ensure these types of incidents are reported more quickly and that swift action is taken when there are reports that require more protection of migrants and children? i do not have a status update on that but i will take that for the record. as a career law enforcement women in the men and the department of at the high standards and when there is an incident that has to be reported to the inspector general or fbi, that is handled quickly and mitigated as fast as possible. >> thank you. back in september, this committee held a hearing with outside terror -- outside experts on terrorism. i spoke about the importance of information sharing. it is easier for larger police departments but is more rural sheriffr
s. what steps have you taken to ensure that small law enforcement entities are able to get better access to information about trends and threats and what do these agencies still need to improve on? overwill start and turn it to the undersecretary. our principal engagement from a day-to-day basis with our state and local partners, which include some very small departments, is through our joint terrorism task forces and we have 200 of them all over the country. whoave task force officers part-time on our taskforces which gives them access to all of the same information of the fbi folks and federal partners have. that is the most significant
means. jointly with dhs will put out bulletins of different sorts. in aprovide information granular way about what we are seeing in terms of threats and so forth. those are some of the big ones i would highlight. maybe let david chime in. -- my officef hosts the homeland security network intel. 42,000 products on it. in fiscal year 2017, we had 17,000 views. in 2019, we had over 90,000 views. this is an unclassified network that is available in all fusion centers and satellite locations. border,g the southwest
we have a limited capacity and they need intelligence officers to give them tactical level information. i did a pilot program starting in june and may and put 19 dhs intelligence officers on the southwest border to include arizona that resulted in 45 drug-related arrests, 35 seizures of weapons. i will permanently deploy 10 to enablece officers them to do an enterprise approach to share information. >> thank you. passed thecongress preventing emerging threats act which grants authorities to counter threats from unmarried -- unmanned aircraft systems. i have seen evidence these drones can pose. i have watched drones come over the border in broad daylight.
can you tell us about what dhs and doj are doing to mitigate the dangers to our nation from these unaccompanied aircraft threats? johnson'shairman witnesses. i was in the southwest border and did report from their. -- did a report for one of the news works -- networks. we are seeing a percentage increase that keeps increasing. engagement with our state and local private sector, i was out with the los angeles police department chief and the new york police commissioner on drones. capabilities and more within their own authorities to mitigate these threats. the southwest border is just one
of many. >> mr. wray: i would add that we are extremely grateful to the chairman and others for that legislation. this is a threat that is overtaking us in many ways. we are currently investigating a number of incidents in the u.s. of attempts to weaponize our drones in one way or another. we have been seeing them, as you mentioned, down at the border. we have seen drones used to deliver contraband into prisons, and of course, as the rest of the committee knows as well, there have been efforts to use drones quite frequently on the battlefield against our forces and allies overseas. our focus for the fbi has been principally on the mass gathering situations. we are focused on things like the super bowl, etc.
not because the others are not incredibly important, but in the realm to be able to prioritize the use of these new authorities, that is the moment where we are. there is going to be a need for more technological solutions. disrupting drones over large crowded civilian areas is a different exercise than doing it in the battlefield. we're working very closely with our partners, dhs, department of transportation, dod, obviously doj, on that. sen. sinema: thank you. i have exceeded my time. thank you. sorry. sen. johnson: thanks, senator sinema. i had some questions, i wanted to ask about drones. sen. sinema: see, it's fine. sen. johnson: let me quickly follow up on that. we always felt that the piece of legislation was a first step. begin those authorities so you can begin doing the research and
develop the strategies for doing some thing difficult to do. the question i have, how far have we come in terms of doing that research, developing those strategies? and, do you already need more authority? do you need another piece of legislation? has it come far enough where we need to go to the second step? mr. wray: i don't think i am quite ready in this setting to propose some sort of additional legislation, but what i would say is that i think -- if memory serves, there is a report we are scheduled to be providing to you exactly on the question you are raising to address the need of identifying other gaps that might exist. i do know from traveling around the country and meeting with state and local law enforcement, that while they are very excited that the federal authorities now have this civilian use capability, they want to know when they can get it. sen. johnson: so, undersecretary glawe, same thing. it may not be ready right now to
propose legislation, but you are saying sometime in the future, you will need more authority? local officials. mr. glawe: science and technology is partner with the fbi on countermeasures and how we are supporting national security special events. the threat is bigger than those national security special events. we monitor from the analyst side of emerging technologies. we have radio controlled drones. we are moving into 4g, 5g capabilities. what is that going to look like? is the legislation keeping up with that capability? that is a question to come back and have that discussion. as the technology advances so rapidly for commerce purposes, the nefarious aspects or just the safety aspect, there was a conversation to be had on how we stay on top of the legislation on this. sen. johnson: we will have to cooperate with that report. the main reason we were able to pass that piece of legislation is because we had video of, i believe, it was isis using in iraq.
you can see the drone go to the target, lower, drop the bomb and boom. that got everybody's attention. we finally got the faa reauthorization bill. that cooperation is going to be important. director travers, you addressed the situation of isis prisoners. i want to go deeper. have our european partners, have they stepped up to the plate and gotten a little more serious -- i realize because i talk to them all the time. it is difficult. they don't necessarily have laws to handle this. are they considering the return of foreign fighters and prosecuting under their own laws so they are not looking to somebody else to detain these people forever? mr. travers: you are quite right. the issue of repatriation has been a problem for years because of the inability to prosecute because of lack of evidence or
short sentences. they are not willing to bring prisoners back. they have been somewhat more willing to bring women and children back but even that has been an issue. when the incursion started, there has been a flurry of activity at the european capitals about trying to bring their women and children home, in particular from some of the idp camps, out of humanitarian interest. we have not seen any increased level of willingness to bring their foreign fighters back. there has been some -- so they can wipe their hands of it. sen. johnson: in terms of responsibility sharing, duty sharing, i have heard the proposal that there are states that can go into camps with women and children, go through sorting process to a certain extent. which of those detained individuals could potentially be rehabilitated, brought back to society versus those who need to be considered for longer-term detention. are you hearing efforts for any
kind of initiatives along those lines? mr. travers: right now, because there is so much turmoil about who is going to control these things, the likelihood of that is probably going down. there has certainly been willingness on the part of the iraqis in particular to bring back idp's. 30,000, 40,000 people there. in general, it is a pretty difficult proposition to even know where these people are. they get moved around the . sen. johnson: give me your general assessment of all the players. we've got turkey. we have the sdf, assad, russia, iran. obviously, we have our desire to make sure isis cannot reconstitute. is there pretty much a universal desire not to allow isis to reconstitute or less in terms of those players? mr. travers: there is no one
that wants isis to reconstitute. it is fair to say that the turks are more concerned about pkk than isis. i don't think anyone has much concern as perhaps we do in the area about isis. in general -- for instance, my guess is there is going to be an effort to keep those prisoners in prison, whomever gets control of the prisons. sen. johnson: my final question to all of you want to contribute to this -- the blue-ribbon study panel that we had testimony from a couple of years ago. their primary conclusion was we need somebody in charge. recommendations from the vice president's office. back then, vice president biden was close to their term and every administration is somewhat different. we have the same issue when we were discussing 5g in our hearing last week. i think we found out it is the
national economic council and larry kudlow is in charge of the 5g aspect of cyber. if you go down the list, whether it is a catastrophic cyberattack shutting down the grid for financial system. some kind of wmd, chemical or biological attack. natural disaster, i think we pretty well assume fema will take charge of that. starting with local and then state and then fema comes in when it overwhelms the state and local governments. in the other incidences, is there a sense within your agencies that you know exactly who is going to be stepping up to the plate in terms of recovery and response to one of these potential catastrophic threats? start with you, undersecretary glawe. mr. glawe: it is very well defined. fema is there as well as the cybersecurity and for structure security.
you can see the director in that position. within the department, it is clear. the collection requirements going to the u.s. intelligence community flows through me. i will say with this department, i'm comfortable. sen. johnson: is there going to be turf battles? is everybody going to be looking at the overall responsibility? who is in charge? mr. glawe: from fema's standpoint, that is clear, their response capability. within cybersecurity, that is very clear. from the intelligence apparatus, we have a national intelligence, cyber that aligns our intelligence capably at dod. sen. johnson: the fbi is frequently first on the spot with these mass shootings. what about a catastrophic type of attack on infrastructure? do you know what the line of authority is? obviously, starting with the president, but at an operational level?
mr. wray: i will say. i will take the two categories. the terrorist category and then the cyber category. i think you are asking about both? sen. johnson: i am talking about no matter what shut down the grid or financials -- whatever can really represent almost an existential threat to the nation or be so catastrophic in terms of power outage or whatever. mr. wray: what i would say on the terrorist attack category -- for example, i have actually, as somebody who was in the fbi headquarters building on 9/11 and intimately involved in these issues during the years after 9/11, and having now come back to this world, spent sometime in the private sector in between, i can tell you that the machine that exists now across the u.s. government with our partners at the state, local level, through the joint terrorism task force, etc. is so much more mature and
robust, kind of a well-oiled machine in terms of everybody working together, that it was one of the most pleasant surprises i found coming back. i think the way in which everybody works together is well-defined. the cyber arena, likewise, although it is slightly different lanes. as i said in response to one of your colleagues, in a major cyber incident, the fbi is in charge of investigating the threat. dhs has got to be joined at the hip in terms of making sure that appropriate steps are taken to protect the asset. i think there is a temptation sometimes to assume that one person needs to be responsible for all those things. i think really the premium is on coordination. at some level, given the unique nature of the authorities involved, whether it is a terrorist incident or cyber incident, you start talking about law enforcement authorities that is constitutionally entrusted to the attorney general. you have military capabilities at dod.
while it might sound nice to create some new persons in charge of all of that, i think in fact it would be more complicated and would not accomplish what it was designed. the key is to make sure everybody has their lanes well-defined and partnership. that is what i think i am seeing. sen. johnson: you are less concerned about that. what you are seeing now, you are seeing a fair amount of coordination? you may lose sleep over the threat, but you don't lose sleep over the fact that nobody knows who is in charge or would not know how to coordinate properly within the agencies? mr. wray: there is always room for improvement and that is important. i don't want to be understood as everything is hunky-dory. we are in a so much better place as a country and as a government. i say that across government, federal, state and local, even
than we were five or six years ago. sen. johnson: i think we learned a lot from katrina. we have made great strides since then. director travers, anything to add? mr. travers: whole of government rolls off the tongue pretty easily. i will completely agree. i have been doing terrorism since 9/11. i think the counterterrorism community is the best integrated effort because they have been doing it forever. because we have not been attacked in the country now -- you have to go back 10 years, something really potentially big. there is a muscle memory issue, it seems to me. i'm big into interagency exercises, just the kind of compare notes and who is doing what. new people come around. while we are much better coordinated than we were, i think it is always useful to get people together. sen. johnson: i didn't think it was possible, but the answer to that last question gave me more optimism.
again, let me thank you all for your service. like so many of my colleagues that have been here, please convey to the men and women that serve with you our sincere appreciation for their service and sacrifice. that came across loud and clear. that also gives me fair amount of optimism, when i see the quality of the federal workforce, it does make me rest a little easier even though we are facing some pretty complex threats. thank you for your service. the hearing will remain open for 15 days until november 20 for submission of statements and questions for the record. this hearing is adjourned.
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investigators have released the testimony of two more witnesses as part of their impeachment inquiry against president trump. gordon sondland, the ambassador to the european union, and kurt volker, the former special envoy to ukraine, were questioned about whether president trump pressure ukraine to investigate the 2016 elections and former vice president joe biden and his son hunter. toread the depositions, go c-span.org and click on the impeachment inquiry box at the top of the webpage. the washington times has more on the transcripts, writing that ambassadors on lynn reversed his testimony by saying u.s. military aid to ukraine was linked to ukraine's president agreeing to conduct the investigations sought by president trump. lawmakers are seeking more depositions this week with requests sent out to former national security advisor john bolton to appear on thursday,
and acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney to testify friday. through the administration's inquiry and the administration's response on c-span, unfiltered coverage, live as it happens. any time on c-span.org. next, portions of a conference focused on artificial intelligence and national security. speakers include senate minority leader chuck schumer, former secretary of state henry kissinger, and defense secretary mark esper. this day-long event was hosted by the national security commission on artificial intelligence. conversations]
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