tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 13, 2014 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
true but maybe if we put it in a different context when health can be presented, it can take some of the burden off of schools and can put it in a setting where parents may be more comfortable to discuss it. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you very much. really important questions and discussions. we're going to be wrapping up but i'd like to ask each of you a closing question, the same question that would be very helpful to us because we've been talking about child nutrition and the impact both within the school but also more broadly for our country. if you could give the committee a piece of advice as we consider reauthorizing child nutrition programs, what would you say is the most important thing we could do in address some of the concerns and the ideas that you've raised today? i'll start with general hawley. >> well, i learned during my career that probably the most valuable trait you can have is persistence. as they say, persistence will
out. so i guess my advice would be stay with it. this is an important program. i'm sure it's not perfect, and it can be improved, but i think it's beginning to work. my view is that this is a cultural issue in our country, and cultures take a long time to change, so we shouldn't expect instant results from any program, least of all one that tries to change the nation's eating habits. and so my advice, stay with it, keep up the good work, and i think in time we'll see the results. >> okay. great advice. mr. thornton. >> thank you, chairwoman. as we talk about nutrition needs for our children, they remain the same whether you live in iowa or georgia. it's impractical to try to force parents for access to healthier foods, one school at a time. so reinventing the wheel while facing the same obstacles, the
reauthorization of this could make a difference. we have worked very hard throughout the history at pta to ensure that kids had this access to equal education, proper nutrition, proper fitness, and it's very, very important, and, again, i just thank you and the committee and all the panelists for engaging this topic. it was just critical to the future and to our children and our country, and make no mistake, the decisions to reauthorize will have a definite impact on our schools, our hospitals, our economy, our military, and our homes and most importantly, our kids. i thank you for this time. >> thank you very much. dr. cook. >> thank you very much for the question, and i find it a persistent question that we get a lot related to this. i give presentations and sometimes it's the what's the one thing i would do if i could do something would be to get everyone to realize there is not
one thing you can do. everything is part of the problem. each one of these strategies and proposals represents 1% of the solution. it can't be left off, it's not the magic bullet. so we need to include all these. we need to think global and act local because that's where i find like a lot of social change occurs, it's going to occur at the grassroots level where it really can take hold and have that local relevant context that's really important. so i thank you for the question and just to conclude with obesity and with hunger, we discuss this a lot, and i think it's really important that obesity has come up as a disease but it's probably the one disease that still exists that doesn't carry the dignity of other chronic diseases and that's even more so a problem for children and adolescents. so i think it's really important to make this about health, about health at any size, and promoting health across all children and all families. >> thank you very much. and principal stanislaus. >> thank you, chairwoman. we have mentioned a few times today how the schools are really on the front lines.
i thank you for this opportunity to share my thinking and my experiences with our school and my school system. the partnership is definitely something that i would say let's continue this conversation and think about what actions that we will take and that we can take back to our schools and our school districts. continued opportunities to increase the education for parents. just as one principal schoolhouse, i often find we struggle with funding to have different events for families, after school events. it does take money to put these things together. so at times we're robbing peter to pay paul in order to make this happen for our local communities and if we can think about opportunities for these partnerships with the universities, as i mentioned earlier, or increased funding so
we can have buses after school so that we can not only have the nutritious afterschool program and snack program but also physical activities and clubs that students can be a part of so they're not sitting in front of the screen at home. so i think this continued conversation, this conversation doesn't need to stop here. getting feedback from other principals and schools would be a great welcome to different educators and all educators. thank you. >> well, thank you so each of you and this discussion does not stop here. this is just the beginning, and it was important to me that we start with the big picture of why we have these programs. why should we care about this. we are going to be hearing from all perspectives and working with everyone to make sure that the way things are done makes sense and are workable and we certainly want to move forward, not backward. we don't intend to move backward
so we're going to move forward but we think it's very, very important that we talk about why as a country, why as a community, why as parents and family members that we need to care. so thank you again to everyone. let me just remind colleagues that any additional questions for the record should be submitted to the community clerk five business days from today. that's 5:00 p.m. on friday, june 20th, and the hearing is adjourned. family members that we need to join us later today when
hillary clinton recounts her tenure as secretary of state from her recently published memoir "hard choices." mrs. clinton will speak with a former speechwriter for mrs. clinton and co-owner of politics and prose bookstore. the program is held at george washington university in washington, d.c. it's live at 6:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. what's the state of wi-fi access in school and public libraries? fcc chairman tom wheeler recently addressed that issue. he spoke to the institute of museum and library services along with former chair reed hunt. here is a preview. >> i wrote a couple of books on the civil war, and the most recent was about abraham lincoln's use of the telegraph. and thank goodness at the national archives there sit
abraham lincoln's handwritten te telegrams. the spielberg movie was a fabulous movie, but they got the telegraph office scene wrong. lincoln did not dictate his telegrams. he wrote them out in longhand, and thank god he did and thank god they're saved at the national archives because it becomes a one degree of separation. when you hold in your white gloved hand the piece of paper that abraham lincoln wrote on, there's one degree of separation that you feel from abraham lincoln, and that is a privilege that a few researchers like i was privileged to have get. but what david has done is to
digitize all of those documents, not only the telegrams but the other great holdings of the national archives so that there's one click between someone who wants to explore and abraham lincoln. it used to be when i started my research on lincoln's telegrams, i was using the microfilm copies of his telegrams, and i'd get this -- look at susan is going, oh, we all know that. you get this canister and you'd sit down at this clunky machine and you would go through each microfilm picture one by one. now thanks to david, you can click and it's there. so because people like david
digitize the product, the information and because people like reed hunt made that digitized information available, that's why the work that we're talking about here today in terms of the importance of libraries is so incredibly key to what gets done because, you know, as we're seeing this this room here, we're moving from stacks of books to online centers. the library has always been the on-ramp to the world of information and ideas, and now that on-ramp is at gigabit speeds. >> that's just a brief portion of tonight's program looking at wi-fi access at schools and libraries. watch the complete program at 8:00 a.m. eastern on our companion network c-span2.
>> with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span2, here on c-span3 we complement that coverage by showing you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events, and then on weekends c-span3 is the home to american history tv with programs that tell our nation's story, including six unique series. the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting battlefields and key events, american art fashths touring museums and historic sites to discover what artifacts reveal about the past. history bookshelf with the best known history writers. the presidency looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with top college professor delving into the post and "real america" featuring educational films from the 1930s flew tthrough the '70. c-spa c-span3, watch us in hd, like us
on facebook, and follow us on twitter. fbi director james comey told the house judiciary committee wednesday that the agency has returned a database of taxpayer information which the fbi had mistakenly received from the irs as part of their investigation into the possible targeting of conservative groups. this is director comey's first time testifying before the house judiciary committee since being sworn in as fbi director on september 4th, 2013. this is 2 hours 40 minutes. >> good morning. the judiciary committee will come to order and without objection the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to this morni morning's oversight hearing on the united states federal bureau of investigation and i will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. welcome, director comey, to your
first appearance before the house judiciary committee since your confirmation as the seventh director of the fbi. we are happy
to have you here with us today and i commend your distinguished service to our nation and am confident you will continue to serve honorably at the helm of the fbi. as we all know, last week marked the one-year anniversary of the first leak of classified material by edward snowden, a criminal betrayal of his country and arguably the most significant leak in u.s. history. over the past year, the house judiciary committee conducted aggressive oversight of the nsa bulk collection program and spearheaded house passage of the usa freedom act. this bipartisan legislation reforms controversial national security programs and provides expanded oversight and transparency of america's intelligence gathering. although the leaks by edward snowden may have been the impetus for congressional reforms, the passage of this bipartisan legislation in no way
condones or excuses his actions. the detrimental consequences of what he did may not
yet be fully realized. but i want to thank director comey and the men and women of the fbi for working closely with the members of this committee, house intelligence, and leadership to craft the usa freedom act reforms in such a way as to preserve vital intelligence gathering capabilities while simultaneously achieving the goal of ending bulk data collection. today we also note another dark day in american history. exactly one year and nine months ago, our diplomatic mission in benghazi, libya, was attacked by terrorists. four americans, including our ambassador, were killed. the obama administration initially attempted to blame the attack on a video critical of islam. we all now know that that was not the case and that the attack was premeditated and carried out by islamist i wi isist militant.
in august 2013 we learned that the justice department had filed criminal charges against several individuals for their alleged involvement in the attacks. however, as of today, no one has been apprehended. i am interested in hearing more from director comey about the status of the fbi's investigation. i know you may be reticent to comment on what is an ongoing investigation, but the american people deserve to know whether we can expect the fbi to bring to justice the terrorist killers who murdered four of our citizens. i am also interested in hearing more about the fbi's investigation into the internal revenue services targeting of conservative groups. last year your predecessor, robert mueller, informed the committee that the fbi was investigating this matter and, in fact, was hesitant to answer questions because there was an ongoing criminal investigation, but earlier this year unnamed officials leaked to "the wall
street journal" that no criminal charges were expected in the irs matter. and on super bowl sunday, president obama stated that there was, quote, not even a smidgen of corruption, end quote, in connection with the irs targeting. but then on april 8th of this year before this committee, attorney general holder claimed that the investigation is still ongoing, an investigation led by long-time obama and democratic national committee donor. on may 21st before the senate judiciary committee, you also declined to answer questions about the matter e planing that the investigation is ongoing. frustration is mounting over this scandal and basic facts are unknown or contradicted by this administration. is there an investigation? has there been any progress? what is its status? why do the justice department and fbi continue to assert that an investigation is ongoing despite the president's
assertion that no crime was committed? do you disagree with him? the facts and circumstances surrounding this investigation led the house to approve a resolution calling on the attorney general to appoint a special counsel. how can we trust that a dispassionate investigation is being carried out when the president claims that no corruption occurred? i hope you will be able to shed some light on that for us today. the american people certainly deserve no less. finally, i wish to discuss general holder's re-establishment of the domestic terrorism executive committee or dtec. it was first established by attorney general janet reno in the aftermath of the oklahoma city bombing to disrupt home grown terrorism threats. in reforming the unit, attorney general holder said, quote, tragic incidents like the boston marathon bombing and active shooter situations like ft. hood provide clear examples that we must disrupt lone wolf-style
actors aimed to harm our nation, end quote. and that the unit was necessary to respond to the changing terrorist threat, notably the reduced risk posed by al qaeda's core leadership. while i agree that the disruption of domestic terror threats is a worthy goal, i take serious issue with the notion that america faces a reduced risk from al qaeda. ironically the incident cited by general holder, the ft. hood shooting and boston bombing, belie the claim that al qaeda and other foreign terrorist extremism is on the decline. the question then is what and whom does the attorney general really intend to target via the dtec. he appears to answer that question by stating, quote, we must also concern ourselves with the continuing danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes including anti-government
animus, end quote. would a group advocating strenuously for smaller government and lower tacks be included in the attorney general's definition of a group with anti-government animus? given that the administration appears to have used the irs to intimidate its political opponents, the re-establishment of the dtec should cause us all to sit up and take notice. director comey, i look forward to hearing your answers to these and other important topics today as well as on other issues of significance to the fbi and the country. at this time it's my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from michigan mr. conyers, for his opening statement. >> thank you, chairman goodlatte. we welcome you, director comey, for your first appearance before the house judiciary committee since taking office on september 4th, 2013. i have great confidence
personally in your commitment to fairness and to the rule of law, and in 1996 as assistant united states attorney for the eastern district of virginia, you were appointed lead prosecutor in the bombing case in saudi arabia. in 2002 as united states attorney for southern district of new york, you handled a wide variety of complex, high-profile cases while helping the district return to some measure of normalcy in the aftermath of the attacks of september 11th. in 2004 serving as deputy attorney general of the united states, you refused to certify the bush administration's lawless dragnet surveillance program, and then confronted senior white house personnel at
the hospital when the administration sought to gain approval from mr. ashcroft directly. so time and time again, you have demonstrated your basic commitment to the rule of law even in exigent and dramatic circumstances. so that's why i'm pleased you're here and at the helm of the fbi on this, the first anniversary of our public discussion of the government's domestic surveillance programs. last month the house passed hr 3361, the usa freedom act, which i had a significant role in bringing forward. this legislation designed to end domestic bulk collection across the board. it applies to section 215 of the patriot act, the fisa pen
register authorities, and national security letter statutes. i am proud to have voted in favor of the only measure to pass the house that rolls back any aspect of government surveillance since the passage of the foreign intelligence surveillance act of 1978. but bulk collection is only one aspect of the problem with government surveillance. over the past few years, our early difficulties with national security letters notwithstanding the new fbi has proven a responsible custodian of the new legal authorities granted to the bureau after september 11th. for the most part, it uses the tools congress has provided in the manner intended for them to be used, but the fbi is an end
user of massive amounts of data acquired under fisa and other authorities without a warrant or individualized suspicion. this raises, of course, serious privacy and civil liberty concerns. director comey, you are a standard bearer in the struggle to rein in unlawful surveillance, and i hope that you will continue to work with this committee to help us restore a measure of public trust in this area. although we have spent much of the last decade focused on counterterrorism, it's critically important that the bureau balance its national security function with its traditional law enforcement mission and in this vein, mr. director, i'd like to discuss
with you the scourge of gun violence in this country. yesterday's shooting at reynolds high school in oregon is at least the 74th school shooting since the tragedy in newtown, connecticut, in late 2012. the fbi maintains the national instant break ground check system, and the bureau is often called upon to participate in the investigation of high profile shootings. because i believe that a more complete background check system would help stem the tide of violence, i look forward to your views in this matter, and similarly we face many threats from overseas. the fbi plays a fundamental role in confronting extremist violence here at home as well.
the bureau has called a so-called sovereign citizen movement a growing domestic threat. according to the defamation league, between 2009 and 2013 there were 43 violent incidents between law enforcement officials and anti-government extremists. 30 police officers have been shot, 14 have been killed. to these numbers we must now add the two officers shot and killed this past sunday in las vegas. these are not isolated incidents. director comey, congress has empowered the federal bureau of investigation with considerable authority, including federal hate crimes legislation, to root out this extremism. i'd loike to hear more about ho the bureau puts these laws and
resources to use and would like also to have you discuss the topic of overcriminalization. the united states represents 5% of the world's population but incarcerates more than 25% of the world's prisoners. the bureau of prisons is strained to the breaking point. i'd like to know why then the fbi often recommends federal prosecutions in cases that are already being prosecuted in the state court so that an offender faces trial on the same facts in two separate jurisdictions. the fbi plays a critical role in protecting our nation's computer networks from cyber criminals. we must do more to prevent the
infiltration of our cyber systems from economic and financial criminals, and i'd like to hear about the challenges presented by the international aspect of these crimes. and, finally, i applaud deputy attorney general cole's recent announcement on the recording of federal custodial interviews and your support of this new policy. this new presumption, and i conclude here, that all federal bureau of investigation custodial interviews will be recorded, and it helps all sides of the case. prosecutors will finally be able to share recorded confessions with the jury. and suspects who feel they've been treated unfairly will be able to fall back on recorded
evidence. there are few exceptions to the official rule that give me pause, but i want to see this new policy in action, and i look forward to learning more about the fbi priorities today. i am going to use my communications with you after this hearing to fill in any questions that may not be able to be covered within the questioning period. i thank you, and i thank the chairman of the committee and yield back any balance of time. >> thank you, mr. conyers. and without objection all other members' opening statements will be made a part of the record. we thank our only witness, the director for joining us today. if you will please rise, we'll begin by swearing you in. >> do you swear that the testimony that you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you very much and let the record reflect that director
comey responded in the affirmative. on september 4th, 2013, james b. comey was sworn in as the seventh director of the federal bureau of investigation. director comey began his career in the united states attorney's office for the southern district of new york as an assistant united states attorney. later he became an assistant united states attorney in the eastern district of virginia. director comey returned to new york city after the 9/11 terror attacks and became the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. in late 2003, he is appointed to be the deputy attorney general und u.s. attorney general john ashcroft. director comey is a graduate of the college of william and mary and the university of chicago law school. director comey, we welcome you to your first appearance as fbi director before the house judiciary committee and look forward to your testimony. your written statement will be entered into the record in its entirety and we ask that you summarize your testimony in five
minutes, and you may begin. thank you and welcome. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. conyers. it's good to be back before you after an eight-year break. it is -- i am here representing and expressing the gratitude of the people of the fbi. you have long supported them in a bipartisan basis. one of the challenges i discovered when i became director was the impact of the so-called sequestration on my troops. heard about it everywhere i went. and we now have been adequately funded thanks to the support of the people in this room and we're very grateful for it because we have much to do. we are a national security and law enforcement organization. i'm going to say a few words about counterterrorism but actually want to start and say a few words about cyber. as mr. conyers and yourself, mr. chairman, have mentioned, cyber touches everything the fbi is responsible for. for reasons that make sense, cyber is not a thing, it's a investigator. we as americans have connected our entire lives to the internet. it's where our children play,
our health care information is, where our finances are, where our social lives are, our government secrets, our infrastructure, almost everything that matters is connected to the internet, and soon our refrigerators will be and our sneakers and the rest of our lives. because of that, it's where the people who would do us harm, hurt our kids, steal our identities, steal our information, steal our secrets, or damage our infrastructure come to do those bad things. so it touches everything the fbi is responsible for and in way that is are difficult to imagine. i thought of a way to explain it to the american people when i was in indiana recently. a sheriff was showing me a bullet that had been fired from john dillinger's thompson submachine gun and it occurred to me that dillinger and his ilk had given birth to the modern fbi in the '20s and '30s because they heralded the awrial of a totally new kind of crime. the combination ofs a felt and the automobile allowed criminal to commit crimes with shocking speed all across the country and we needed a national force to
respond to that, and that was the fbi. this cyber vector is that times a million. john dillinger could not do 1,000 robberies in the same day in all 50 states from his pajamas in belarus. that's the challenge we now face with cyber. it blows away normal concepts of time and space and venue. the criminals, the spies, the terrorists have shrunk the world because they can move at the speed of light through the internet. we have to shrink that world as well. so i know sitting here only nine months in that my tenure of ten years will be donl nated by making sure we equip, deloy, and train to respond to that threat that we shrink the world and respond across counterterrorism, criminal, counterintelligence, and we are well on the way thanks to the work of my predecessor to do that. i hope you saw some of the good work we've done with respect to the chinese, with respect to botnets and massive criminal
enterprises over the last couple weeks. this stuff is no different than someone kicking in your front door and stealing things that matter to you or stealing a company's most precious property by kicking in the front door. we have to treat it that way and send a message that we will find you and touch you significantly wherever you are in the world because we're not going to put up with this just because it happened in cyberspace. so i thank you for your support, your attention to that issue. it's going to dominate what i do over the next ten years. briefly, counterterrorism, you, mr. chairman, mentioned the threat from al qaeda. i do see the threat from core al qaeda diminished thanks to the good work especially of our men and women in uniform. but at the same time i see the proge ji of al qaeda, these virulent franchises of al qaeda thriving in the poorly governed or ungoverned spaces around the gulf, in north africa, around the mediterranean. this remains a huge diverse and significant threat to us through al qaeda in the aarabian
peninsula and many others. we wake up every morning worry being it and go to bed every night worry being it. i'm particularly worried about the confluence of that virulence among these proge ji of al qaeda with syria. syria has become the breeding ground, the training ground for thousands of jihadists from around the world including dozens and dozens from the united states. all of us know history can draw a line from afghanistan in the 1980s to 9/11. we are determined not to allow a line from today's syria to be drawn to future 9/11s. we are determined to anticipate the terrorist that's going to happen at some point out of syria and respond to it aggressively in advance. we also face a challenge from these people we call home grown violent extremists. some call them lone wolves. i don't like the term. it conveys dig thit they don't deserve but these are people who are not directed by al qaeda but are inspired and trained again
through the information available on the internet to then emerge from their basement or their bedroom and do something terrible. something we spend a great deal of time worrying about. domestic terrorism, mr. chairman, i think as the members of this committee knows, is something the fbi has long worked. we have been busy for the last 20 years. nothing has changed for us in this regard. it's something we spend a lot of time worrying about and apply resources to make sure we anticipate and address. as i say, we are a national security organization. counterterrorism is part of that. counterintelligence is a big part of that. something we can't talk about in open session because most of that work is done in the shadows. but it is an important part of our work done extremely well all around the world by my folks. and we are also a law enforcement organization. we're out there every day trying to lock up violent criminals, people who would harm your kids, corrupt public officials, and all manner of bad guy that is touch our criminal investigative responsibilities that remain
combined with our national security responsibilities in ways that make sense to me. and i'll close just by saying as you and mr. conyers have alluded to, lots of folks are asking good questions these days about government power, and that's a great thing. people should be skeptical of government power. i am. i think the country was founded by people who were very skeptical of government power so they divided it among three branches to balance it. i think it's great that people ask questions. one of my jobs is to the extent i can to answer those questions. i hope folks will giver me the space and time in american public life to listen to the answers because there's an angel in the details of my work. there's a reason why it matters that i be able to get lawful process to search and get content of some bad guy who is e-mailing about a terrorist plot or a criminal enterprise. there's a reason i need to be able to track with lawful process the location through a cell phone of someone who has kidnapped a child or is fleeing from justice. all those things matter a great deal. those details matter and i
believe those details reflect our government working as a should. hard for me to find that space and time in the windstorm i live in right now. and last, thank you again on behalf of the people of the fbi. we don't have a lot of stuff. we don't have aircraft carriers, we don't have satellites. i got amazing people. that's the magic of the fbi. thank you for the resources for me to be able to hire those folks. it was a thrill for me to see new agents at quantico last week and new intelligence analysts. that is the life blood of this great institution and it's what makes it a thrill and an honor for me to be the director. so i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, director. we will now proceed under the five-minute rule with questions and i will begin by recognizing myself for five minutes. as i indicated in my opening statements, we have questions about the irs targeting investigation. so my first question is, is there an ongoing investigation into the irs targeting of conservative groups? >> yes, sir, very active investigation. >> can you explain why there's
an investigation given that the president said there was not even a smidgen of corruption? >> i mean to disrespect to the president or anybody else who has expressed a view about the matter but i don't care about anyone's characterization of it. i care and my troops care only about the facts. there's an investigation because there was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes may have been committed and so we're conducting that investigation. >> so he was simply wrong about that. >> i don't know what he meant or in what context he said it. as i said, i don't mean any disrespect to the president of the united states. i have tremendous respect for the person and the office but it doesn't matter to me what someone says about it. >> can you give us any indication of the conduct of that investigation, who is heading it up and who we might expect in terms of information being made available to these groups and to the congress and the public to assure them that this type of activity is being
addressed and that someone will be held accountable if corruption is, indeed, found to lay at any one person's doorstep? >> i can only say a little because as you know, mr. chairman, by law and policy and long tradition, i can't comment on an open investigation. i think for good reason. we don't want the bad guys to know where we're going. we don't want to smear good people we might have to investigate. so that's true of everything we do, not just this case. the matter is in my washington field office. the accountable executive is the head of the washington field office named valerie parlay. it's active. it's something i get briefed on on a regular basis. but i can't say more about where we are or what we've done for the reasons that i said. >> the department of justice office of inspector general has indicated that beginning in 2010 the fbi reversed course on a long-standing policy providing, among other things, office of inspector general access to grand jury information in furtherance of their reviews.
i am aware that you were asked about this recently before the senate judiciary committee and you pledged to avoid stonewalling the oig and to find out more about this. this committee relies heavily on the work of the office of the inspector general in order to fulfill our oversight duties. can you assure us that you will resolve this dispute in an expeditious manner and allow theo ig to effectively carry out its mission? >> i agree with you, mr. chairman. i think the inspector general is essential. i have a great deal of respect for the person who holds that office now who i have known for a long time as a colleague. i have told him, look, the inspector general is a pain in the rear but it's a vital pain in the rear. it's kind of like the dentist. it makes me better to have the inspector general robust and fully informed. this is an issue that is a legal issue as to what we are allowed to share with respect to grand jury material and what are called title three wiretaps ordered by a federal judge. i want to share fully and completely with him, but i also
don't want to violate the law. i think where we are, we've asked the justice department's office of legal counsel just tell us what we can do and if it's okay under the law, we'll make sure we'll give it to him and if not, we'll talk about whether we should change the law. >> in your testimony to the senate judiciary committee, you said you would find out more about this. have you found out more about this since that testimony? >> yes, sir. i left that hearing and immediately went back and talked to my new general counsel about it and dove into the legal issue and found out there was a difference of view as to what the law permitted here. and at the core of our being is we want to follow the law. we're going to ask for the guidance from the justice department. tell us what the law is and we'll follow it. if it needs to be changed, obviously the department will approach you. >> and is that something that you can share with us as well when you receive that determination from the department of justice? >> yes. >> we would be very interested in knowing what their position is on this and whether any action is necessary on our part. a number of companies have recently announced that they
intend to start notifying customers when law enforcement requests data through a subpoena unless the request is accompanied by a court ordered gag order and despite the fact that this disclosure is expressly prohibited on the face of the subpoena. is this a change in practice and how do you expect it to impact your investigations? >> this is a trend that i'm seeing and worried about across not just the fbi but federal law enforcement and state and local law enforcement that part of the windstorm that we're all in with respect to government authorities is leading more and more providers to say, where the past they would have decided not to tell someone, a potential pedophile or drug dealer that we had asked with lawful process for their records, now they're inclined more and more to tell that person. that's a real problem for reasons that are obvious, and something we have to grapple with. >> and have you seen significant instances of prominent companies
actually notifying targets of investigations like for child abuse, sexual assault, or drug trafficking, that this information has been requested by subpoena? >> yes. examples have been reported to me where to avoid letting the bad guy know the process was withdrawn and then the investigators had to figure out some other way to track this guy where we don't alert him. as i said, we also don't want to smear the innocent by having -- >> so the lack of cooperation impeded the ability to go after some suspected criminals. >> that's what i've been told. >> we would be very interested in your apprising us of the continued problems this causes for the agency and way that is you think we may be helpful in that regard as well. thank you, mr. director.
it is now my privilege to yield to the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for his questions for five minutes. >> director comey, yesterday's shooting in a high school in oregon is the 74th school shooting since the attack on sandy hook elementary school in 2012. can you tell me what your agency is doing to address gun violence and what ways can the judiciary committee here be of help to you? >> thank you, mr. conyers. in a bunch of different ways. first, i'll mention that my behavioral analysis unit, who are the big brains at quantico
who think about crime every day, made famous in "the silence of the lambs" movie. we have a group of people there who are thinking about nothing but what are the markers of this behavior, what are the indicators, what are the clues, and then pushing that information out to state and local law enforcement to help educate folks on what they might spot. so they're studying and looking for discriminators we can help people with. we're also doing training around the country with state and local law enforcement to help them learn to respond to these kinds of incidents. one of the key things we've been training on is it's a terrible thing we have to think about this, but to make sure that you always leave a lane open to the school so that an ambulance can get through all the police cars because what normally happens is first responders come up, jump out of their cars, and the way is blocked. we had a mass stabbing event in pittsburgh about a month ago and the chief had gotten that training, kept the lane open, and kids were saved because hospitals -- kids were able to
get out right away and go to the hospital. we're doing a lot of that kind of training. and then in terms of our work, we do a tremendous amount of violent gang work in an effort to try to reduce violence in cities like detroit and chicago and many other places. >> well, we have a problem it seems to me with the background check requirement because there's general feeling that it ought to be expanded. do you have a few that you can discuss with us on that this morning? >> i don't in general or in particular. we run the national instant background check system, as you kn know. one of the key elements of that system has been mental health records that's been much in the news, especially since sandy hook. i know it's something that across the country state governments are trying to get better at, figuring out what records they can push to us so
that when someone is buying a weapon, that that is checked in a way that produces a result that is useful. beyond that the policy of questions are really for the department of justice. >> well, there are a number of people in the legislature here that feel that the background check requirement should be expanded and be made more exclusi exclusive, and we are trying desperately to get that examined here in the legislature, and we may be calling on you or someone in the fbi to give us their considered judgment on which direction to go. now, it's true we've ended bulk collection in the general sense through the usa freedom act, but
i remain concerned about large collectio collections, and there are some privacy advocates that are concerned about it. under the law as it exists today, can you describe how much information the fbi could collect within a single section 215 order. >> i don't know that sitting here i can quantify. the legislation that the house passed that you have mentioned makes good sense to me and bans the use of 215 or national security letters or pen registered trap and traces to collect in bulk, and so i don't think there's a particular number except we couldn't collect an amount of records that was untethered to a particular selection term as defined in the legislation.
>> now, the section 702 of fisa is focused on nonunited states persons outside of the united states, but the government does obtain large amounts of information about united states persons through this authority. does the federal bureau of investigation use information obtained under section 702 in criminal investigations? >> the time of the gentleman has expired but director comey should answer the question. >> can i use to -- because i'm new i want to make sure i'm not talking about something that's classified. let me just check. the answer is we do have contact with information collected under 702. i think to talk about the details we'd need to be in a
classified setting. >> all right. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. coble, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. comey, good to have you with us. mr. with us. last year i asked your predecessor, director muller about the benghazi investigation. of course the chairman touched on it in his opening statement as well. i said to him then and i say to you now the entire scenario continues to stick in the craw. i think it's been done -- i'm not suggesting you're guilty of this, butten someone has not done a good job in my opinion. let me refer to a huffington post article which states on october 18, 2012 the, new york times reporter david kirkpatrick spent two hours with amall katula in a hotel sipping a
strawberry frap. do you share my frustration, mr. are director that the media can gain access to this guy and we can't lay a glove on him? >> i'm not sure i would express it -- >> assuming we haven't laid a glove on him. that's my thinking. >> i have been in this business a long time. i know sometimes journalists get access to people we in law enforcement can't. so fanchinily it doesn't surprise me. >> i recall mrs. clinton appeared before a senate hearing in response to the questions by the senators. she said what difference does it make. any issue, be it obscure, indirect or directly involved does indeed make. some difference. do you concur? >> i take the benghazi matter very, very seriously.
it is one that i am very close to, briefed on on a regular basis. we have made progress on it. but the details i can't talk about. >> i can appreciate that. >> it's something i take seriously. >> i can understand how you cannot go into great detail with us. i have the fear that with thes passage of each day we are one step further removed from resolving the benghazi thing. that would not be pleasing at all the to any american, i don't think. >> to me as well, sir. one thing you've got to know about the fbi, we never give up. they never go into an inactive bin. >> put me down as one of your cheerleaders. >> thank you, sir. >> the attorney general has
issued directives in the area of marijuana enforcement, including the diversion of assets from the investigation and prosecution of persons, businesses and financial institutionses in states where marijuana has obtained some legal status. the state of washington. does this policy affect fbi investigations involving violent crime and drug trafficking which often times spills over state and international borders. >> i don't think so. i'm not familiar with the policy sitting here which means she doesn't have much impact. my answer is i don't think so, sir. >> thank you, sir. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> recognize mr. nad ler for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, national security
letters permit the fbi to obtain, among other things, telephone records, e-mail information, basically the stuff you can get under section 215 order under fisa. the president's review group was unable to identify a reason why nso should be issued when section 215 orders must be issued by the foreign intelligence surveillance court. recommended that all statutes should be amended to require the use of the same oversight minimization, dissemination that governs 215 orders. we have done it in the house version of the usa freedom act. given the overlap with section 215, are nsos necessary? why does the nso use that? >> they are the basic building blocks of the investigation work just as grand jury subpoenas or the basic building blocks in
criminal work. they are different from 215. they can give us subscriber information, isp, no content. >> meta data. >> credit records, financial records. >> meta data. >> yeah, sure. right. but not in any kind of bulk fashion, as you said. so, yes. the basic building blocks of our investigations. i had a great discussion with the with president's review group about this. they are well intended but dead wrong. i said it to them respectfully. i don't see there is a reason. they asked for a reason. i said, why on earth would we make it harder to get a national security letter which i need in my most important matters involving spies and terrorists than a grand jury subpoena in an investigation. that doesn't make sense to me. they need to be overseen. they are overseen by tremendous layers -- >> but you -- so you think -- or
do you think that the restrictions in national security letters that were included in the usa freedom act passed by the house to make sure nsos could not be used as an end run around. they're okay. >> yes. makes sense to me. we didn't use it that way. >> now in the hr-3361 the usa freedom act bill that the house passed, the fbi will be required to base its use as will the nsa be required to base the use of 215 on a specific selection term. how does the definition -- you can ask for every call detail record in a given area code or zip code. do you regard that as true? >> no. i think given the language and clear legislative intent that
you have all demonstrated that would not be permitted under that. but a lot of thoughtful people said they would like to have different language defining selector term. i'm happy to discuss it. i want to make sure we don't accidentally in defining selection term bar some of the things that everybody would want me to do with the national security letter. >> if the senate tightened that definition, do you think that would be okay? >> so long as it didn't accidentally preclude things that make sense if a terrorist is in a hotel and i don't know what room he's in. i need to find out who is in every room. he's now in 712. i have to be able to do that. i wouldn't want to forbid that. i have no interest in using it to collect in bulk. so if there is other language, i'm happy to discuss it. >> can you give us an idea of how many are issued in a given year and how we can supervise
them? >> i think the number is in the thousands. i think it's 17,000 a year because of the basic building blocks of nearly all the national security investigations. probably not as many as grand jury subpoenas are issued. thousands of them. >> thank you. my last question since i see the yellow light issen on, on may 30 of this year the house passed an amendment to the state appropriations bill to prohibit the use of funds to compel a journalist to testify about confidential sources. on june 2 the supreme court declined to hear -- james reisen could face jail time for res fusing. 48 states have are protection to reporters who refuse to testify about sources. can you give us your opinion of a proposed federal shield law and how do we protect prix dom of the press and allow sources -- much of the reporting, much of the knowledge of what happened in the last 40 years woildn't be there without
confidential sources. yet this administrations has clamped down. what do you think about a federal shield? how can we assure we still get the information we immediate? >> the time has expired. the director can answer the question. >> i'm a fan of a robust press. it is appropriate to balance my need to investigate serious offenses in the ice united states and the need for a robust press. i'm not up to speed on the shield law. it's not a view the fbi should offer anyway. it ee's for the department of justice m. there shouldn't be a situation where we can't investigate the most important cases and touch the media, but we have to protect the news gathering function. i don't have a view on the law itself. >> i yield back the time. >> thanks. recognize the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you. director, as you know many the news there's been a lot of coverage of the fact that the
fbi had since 2010 a database of 1.1 million records or pages of records on nonprofit organizations and that those records were sent based on communication that included lois lerner and individuals working for you. before we began today, i understand from you that you said you returned the records. >> coerce. -- yes, sir. >> the fbi no longer has records. >> we returned them within the last several days or week system didn't that include 6103 tax pyre i.d. information? >> i don't know whether it was determined. that was an issue i read about and have heard quite a bit about. >> the department of justice sent information asking for us to return the information we received under subpoena. they said it contained 6103 information. do you believe that to be true? >> i think that's right. >> for the irs to release information to your
organization, you're not authorized to receive it as a database to be used. so wouldn't that be a violation of the law under 6103? >> my recollection from my days as a prosecutor is 6103, something we were careful to protect private taxpayer information. there is a number of legal hurdles that have to be jumped over including a judicial order to share information. lois lerner did, in fact, send a database that included 6103 information to the fbi in 2010. isn't that true? >> i don't know who sent it. >> the department of justice gave us e-mails. have you seen the e-mails that were back and forth? those included lois lerners as an author. did the fbi request this database from the irs? >> no. >> since you have returned it, does that mean the fbi never had
a valid reason to have it and you do not have a reason to have a database of taxpayer individual information on nonprofits? >>my understanding is, again, this is four years ago. there was a valid basis for them to send public information. >> if public information is available through the guide star website, why would you need the database? >> i don't know sitting here. >> would you answer that for the record? i would appreciate it. on what basis internal memos are available that would show there was a reason to have in searchable format this information rather than if it was publically available. and the 6103 wasn't publically available. if it was available why do you need a database, a searchable database rather than in fact go to the same place the public goes. do you know of a reason the nib
would need any nonpublic information from taxpayers including the information from nonprofits or not for profits. >> in that particular context i don't. we use it in lots of investigations unrelated to that and get court orders to get it. >> we get court orders and you have a reason specifically stated in the court order. at this time do you have ongoing investigations that were begun in 2009, 10 or 11 that concern referrals from the irs for nonprofits to the nib? >> i don't know of any from that period of time. i'm not saying there aren't any. i'm not aware of any. >> to the best of your knowledge have you relinquished pursuant to the subpoena all e-mails and documents related to lois lerner and transfers from the irs which was the subject of the subpoena?
>> i don't know the status. a subpoena to the fbi you're asking about? i don't know the status of it. i'm sure we did our best to be fully compliant. >> you mentioned the robust oversight of the press. do you believe the american people should inherently be suspicious or concerned when taxpayer identifiable information is transferred from are the irs to the fbi without a warrant? >> the american people should always want to know their taxpayer information, private information is protected according to the law. as a prosecutor i remember taking it seriously. >> to your knowledge, what did the fbi do with the database in the last more than three years it had it in its possession? park it to see if doj was going
to ask us to do anything with it. it sat in her desk or file for four years. >> so in closing, mr. chairman, would it then be safe to assume if the fbi didn't ask for it, had no purpose and lois lerner and the irs encurrentlied the fbi to take it that it was part of an effort to try to produce an investigation that never materialized? le. >> i don't know enough to answer that. >> the time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes mr. scott for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome. people lose the opportunities for jobs because of the information not complete. what is the fbi doing to upgrade information? >> this is information in our databases? >> some of it is in your
database. some in the state's. the disposition of a case a lot of times is not included. so it looks like it may have been a conviction, but you don't know. if you can get back to me -- >> i don't know enough to answer eight here. >> sex trafficking. if a 40-year-old has sex with a 14-year-old that's rape. is the crime diminished because it's paid for? >> diminished because it's paid for? >> right. >> the child is still violated. >> is the fbi now recognizing such encounters as rape and investigating and bringing prosecution for cases as rape? >> i think so. >> does the fbi have a positive for dealing with child victims? >> yes, sir. >> what is that process? >> our office of victim crimes spends time working with the sex trafficking investigations to
make sure the kids are teeted like the victims that they are. they are the gateway into serviceses for the locality in can which we rescue the child. >> there is a term called organized retail theft where gangs drop in at a retail outlet, clean out shelves and run. what does the fbi do to address organized retail theft? >> i don't know enough to answer. it's not something i'm familiar with. >> individual i.d. theft, we have breaches of oh data that are data because usually if you steal only a couple thousand dollars from each account, nobody investigates it. what is the fbi doing to deal with i.d. theft where they grab
a credit card in your name, milk it for a couple of thousand dollars and keep going? >> excuse me, sir. probably it's not a focus of a lot of our work unless it is connecteded to an organized criminal group. we try to spend most of the resources on complicated tin trugs and then training. we have to offer training to the state and local law enforcement so they can respond to crimes that involve digital evidence or the internet. >> a lot of the i.d. theft crosses state lines. certainly jurisdictional lines so the local police would be virtually incapable of dealing with it. are you making sure it's a national investigation when you have breaches and people use the credit card information? >> with respect to the large scale intrusions in the news a lot. with respect to the smaller individual cases, if we don't connect it to a sophisticated
ring, we try to hand it to the state and local partners and give them the training and expertise they need to work it. >> the gentleman from california and a couple others asked about the targeting of conservative groups by the internal revenue servi service. i'm aware that some liberal group groups have allegedly been targeted. are you investigating those, too? >> i don't want to say -- i want to be careful about the investigation we are doing with regard to the irs. >> i will use that as a statement and not a question. >> okay. >> medicaid and medicare fraud. what's the fbi doing to reduce medicaid and medicare fraud? >> unfortunately that's a big part of our work across the country, especially in pockets where we have a significant amount of medicare fraud. i was just in tampa visiting my troops. they do a lot of the work there. it's a major focus of the
criminal investigative work around the country. >> thank you. finally, there are challenges in dealing with -- you don't like the term lone wolf. how do you prevent crimes from happening before they happen if it's only one person involved? >> very difficult. there again, the very bright people in my behavioral analysis unit are trying to push out to local police departments markers because as we look back at the history of the cases, you can almost always find something that somebody saw. either they saw it in person or on the internet in social media some marker that this this person was radicalizing. we try to alert partners so they can focus on it. we try to maintain a are robust presence in the online world where some of the people will go to get the training that they are looking for to do these terrible things. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman are from iowa, mr.
king, for five minutes. >> thank you. i thank you for your testimony. i would recommend that your staff clip that five or six minutes of your opening statement and put it on the internet and use it as other members that might come before the committee. that was an excellent opening statement. >> thank you, sir. >> i recall your testimony. >> i married a woman from iowa. that made the difference. >> made a difference to me as well then. i recall your testimony. it's received in a positive fashion, too. i would reiterate this that i have lifted out. that's june 8, 2005. you say you want to catch a terrorist with his hands on the check instead of on the bomb. you want to be as many steps ahead of the devastating event as possible through preventative and disruptive measures, investigating tools to learn as much as we can as quickly as we can. and then incapacitating the
target at the right moment and tools such as enhanced information sharing mechanisms and surveillance. pen registers, requests for the production of business records and delayed notification search warrants allow us to do that. i take it that you stand on that statement today, from what i have heard. >> yes, sir. >> and from the actions you followed through on in that period of time. i'm thinking about the usa freedom act. i would ask you, could you describe whether you believe that it makes us safer and, if so, how? >> as a country, in a way -- well, let me stay with your question. it doesn't make us safer. i don't believe it makes us less safe and there are corresponding benefits to it. offering assurance to people with legitimate questions about their privacy. it leaves us no less safe than we were. >> do you have more confidence in the private sector holding
meta data as opposed to the government? >> i don't have more confidence in them if they are holding it in bulk. but the phone companieses are good at holding records because they want to hit us for bills so they are good at keeping the record. i haves confidence they will keep those in the way they always have. >> what's the most dated meta data used to help resolve a crime or prevent one? >> that's a good question. i don't know in particular. under the original 215 program, data was kept for five years. the critical period was within 18 months. >> we can't pinpoint whether that was valuable or not? >> not as i sit here.
>> it could be useful where you discovered something older and you immediate to check it. >> but the usa freedom act forecloses that opportunity. >> right. for the purposes of that particular me the ta data program. >> it is possible that there is data beyond the 18 months that could be critical to an investigation. it would be things that were considered by the people you referred to as experts who asked for five years of data. >> it's possible, yeah. >> mm-hmm. which most everything is. southern border. persons of interest are from nations of interest. what can you tell us about how that situation might have changed over the last four, five years? are we getting more or less and from what countries should we be most concerned about. >> i don't know enough nine months in to give you an assessment of the numbers.
it's a focus. i would have to get back to you on the particularses of it. >> would you have a sense that the numbers are increasing or dekeysing? >> i have a sense that it is increasing. it is a particular worry with respect to syria. i can no fly a bad guy to keep them from going to syria. he may look to cross to mexico to get out and come back across the land border. that's one way i worry about it. >> do you have a number what percentage of illegal drugs in america come through mexico snimt's high. north of 80%. >> 80 to 90% would be consistent. >> that sounds right. >> do you have data that might indicate the violence south of the united states from there on down. the violence rates within the
societies and how it might affect society as we see masses of people coming in here. >> i don't. i have a sense even after nine months that a significant issue especially in countries in central america. >> americans will become victims. thank you for your testimony. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. >> recognize ms. laughkin for five minutes. >> thank you, plaintiff. thank you, director. i am heart enned by your statement and i appreciate service to our country and your commitment to the rule of law. it's great to hear you. we are in an interesting time where obviously we want to pursue people who would do us harm. violate the law at the same time in a digital age.
our expectations of privacy are shifting and getting it right in termses of legislation is not an easy task. i have questions for you about databases. it's my understanding -- and this is a question not a statement -- that the fbi's next generation identification database is going to include pictures for facial recognition. is that correct? >> yes. mug shots. we are piloting the use of mug shots along with our fingerprint p database to see if we can find bad guys by matching pictures with mug shots. >> i further understand, but again this is a question, not a statement. >> that in addition to mug shots there would be civilian pictures as well in this database. is that correct?
>> that's not my understanding. as i understand it, we are using mug shots, arrest photos. so there would not be that in the database. >> i think there are circumstances where states send records. they will send us pictures of people getting special materials or something. as i understand it, those aren't part of the searchable next generation database. if i'm wrong about it, someone will whisper to me or we'll do it later. >> if that's not correct, please let me know. do we have an idea of what kind of false positive we would have in terms of matches using the photo recognition technology software? >> we don't yet.
that's why we are piloting it. so how good is it and is it useful to law enforcement across the country, but i don't know the answer to that. >> it's been reported and, again, i don't know if this is accurate. that the database, when fully -- obviously there is a pilot but a plan if it works to fully expand it, that there would be approximately 52 million faces by the year 2015 in the database. do you know whether that figure is accurate? >> i don't. >> could you check and find out? >> sure. >> because what's been reported -- and again,s this is contrary to what your reporting was, that there would be several million pictures that would not be mug shots that would be with coming from civilian sources which is something that i'm greatly interested in. >> i saw some of the same media. that led me to ask my folks, so what's the deal with this and the explanation to me was the
pilot is mug shots because those are repeatable. we can count on the quality and they are clearly tied to criminal conduct. there was not a plan are and there isn't a present where we are going to add other nonmug shot photos. >> okay. >> if i have it wrong i will fix it with you. >> i appreciate that. it's my understanding that the contractor who is building this are next generation identification database is a company called morpho trust, also built the state department facial recognition database which contains 244 million faces. well, your next generation identification system be capable of importing the state department records or searching the state department records, do you know? >> i don't know. i have not heard of that as current capability or intended capability. i will get back to you. >> would you? i would appreciate that.
the reason why -- yesterday we had a vote on the appropriations bill that passed. to prohibit the collection of and retention of driver's license place on cars. it's not that that's in plain sight, but i think one of the issues we need to get right and we would welcome your input on this is that things that are in plain sight that we know aren't private take on a different quality when they become part of a massive database that can be searched. so if you walk outside, you're in plain sight, you know your neighbor can see you but you don't expect that would be photographed and be part of a massive database so the government could know where you are at any given time. so the pictures, identifiers on veebls, useful to law enforcement. where do we draw the line of
privacy for the american people? i would be very interested in your thoughts on that. we are obviously out of time now. if you could provide your best judgment on where the line should be drawn i would be appreciate tif. >> thank you. >> includes such unsplaent tasks as talking to us. thank you for being here. you mention maryland the opening statement about syria being a breeding ground for terrorism. we mentioned libyans who were rebels in the so-called asian or arab spring rather. they were telling me that there are terrorist camps springing up all over eastern libya.
that it's an area that came through to meet with me in egypt. are you aware of terrorist training camps springing up in libya these days? >> it's not something i know a lot about. it's not something i want to talk about in open session, even the little i do know. >> you mentioned syria. i wanted to see if you knew anything about libya. these are people that were -- they said before the radicals took so much in charge of their rebel efforts that they were quite active. anyway. we know that on the border, particularly texas with mexico, there is this mass influx of particularly children and i keep hearing from people that had been there, working with them, articles being published, the information is pretty basic though a spokesman for the
administration said they don't know why there is a huge influx. they keep saying they are hearing that amnesty is coming. they will not be sent home. apparently as i'm hearing if from border patrolman, they are not allowed to do their job and secure our border. got a report from some border patrol that are from october 2008 to april of 2014, texas identified a total of 177,588 unique criminal alien defendants booked into texas county jails and that those 177,000 have been identified through the secure communities initiative with 611,234 individual criminal are charges. and so i'm wondering even though apparently what i'm hearing prosecute from the border patrol, they are not allowed to
do their job and protect america's borders. is the fbi stepping in and picking up the slack and at least of the tens of thousands that are pouring in being able to check to see their criminal backgrounds? >> given our responsibilities and authorities, it is not something i have focused on or i believe we are focused on. lots of agencies are but not the fbi. >> department of homeland security is supposed to b. they are not letting border patrolmen do their job. they are told don't turn them away. let them come in. this is what i'm hearing from border patrol. let them come in. it's in the media. they are being shipped around the country to be cared for. i would suggest since you are in charge of the federal bureau of
investigation and we know this massive hundreds of thousands of crimes have been committed by people coming in illegally, just in texas. that's something the fbi has to pick up the slack on. if the borders won't be protected by homeland security then it will fall directly on doj. i know it may not be wanted, but it's happening. let me ask you, shifting gears. your predecessor was not aware that the mosque in cambridge, boston area were found ed the islamic society of boston signed the papers, a guy named alimudi. the fbi did a great job proving uh a case where he's doing 23 yearses for supporting terrorism. looking back an tsarnaev, the
heads up russia gave us. what questions do you think would be appropriate to ask if the mosque that fbi agent s nevr did? they went there in the outreach program, according to director muller, but not to question about whether or not tsarnaev had been radicalized. what questions do you think would be appropriate in a mosque if you think they are appropriate when you get notice of somebody being radicalized? >> well, the particular one i don't know well enough to answer. but in general we want to ask whatever questions are logical lt leads to follow no matter whether it's a mosque, a church, a grocery store. if we have a reason to ask a question we want to ask it. >> that mosque has ties to radicalism. it had pt been followed up by the fbi. i would urge you to do that. it is a radical hotbed. i appreciate your time today. yield back. >> the time has expired.
the gentleman from georgia mr. johnson is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your service to the nation. we are living during a time where we encounter threats to the national security on a daily basis. like the fbi protecting us. recently however the question has come up as to whether the relationship between the government's interest in prosecuting the unauthorized disclosure of classified information and the public's interest in a free press. that's been knocked off balance. has the fbi evers used journalists as a cover for their agents? and if so, can we get a commitment that it won't happen again?
what measures has the fbi taken to ensure that journalists are not targeted and that they remain free to do their work without fear? >> well, we have an extensive set of rules that govern how we interact with the media during any investigation where there is national security or criminal contained within our investigation guide. we have a set above that of department of justice regulations that the attorney general are promulgated. we follow that carefully. >> thank you. since the attorney genres leased revised guidelines regarding the gathering of information from journalists, has the fbi been involved in survey lapse of journalistses and does it coordinate with nsa on the issues. >> to my knowledge, no we have not been involved with respect to the nsa. >> all righty.
on another note, in many reverse stings, fbi agents using confidential informants decide on the amount of drugs, including ones that trigger harsh mandatory minimum penalties. research demonstrates the triggering amounts impact minorities disproportionately. given the possibility of the bias, unconscious or not, whether or not it plays a role in decisions of to charge a target with. isn't it prudent to instruct your are agents in terms of this issue. how to avoid the consequences of
any bias in that record. >> bias is something we have to worry about with human affairs. especially with the law enforcement power we exercise. it's something we talk a lot about inside the fbi to make sure our culture is one rooted to every possible extent throughout the organization. being blind to color, orientation and origin and following the facts. the charging decisions and drug cases you mentioned aren't made by the fbi. they are made by federal prosecutors. that's not something the fbi agent will drive. >> well, reck are niezing the power of prosecutors to decide on the charges to indict upon if there is still a lot of discretion with agents when it comes down to persons whom they
are investigating and decide to arrest, what to charge them with. and those decisions need to be subject to some care and some oversight by superiors in that department. >> i agree very much. >> thank you, i yield back. >> recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> that you know, mr. chairman. director, thank you for what you do. i appreciate your opening statements. one of the best i have heard. appreciate what you and your agents do every day. do you believe that the attorney general should name a special prosecutor in the investigation of the targeting of conservative groups by the internal revenue service? >> kwo think that's something for the fbi director to comment on. >> every single republican in
the house said we should. 26 democrats said we should including mr. garcia. overwhelming bipartisan majority said we should do that based on what we have learned about the investigation over the past year. >> i said i don't believe it's something the fbi director should opine on. >> let me go back to where mr. issa was a few minutes ago. we learned from freedom of information requests from judicial watch that the department of justice attorney richard pilgrim met with lois lerner in october of 2010. we discovered in the interview the disk of information given to the fbi from the internal revenue service. in fact, we got a letter on june 2, just a little over a week ago from the department of justice telling us that there were 21 disks provided by the internal revenue service to the federal bureau of investigation containing 1.2 million pages of information. two days later we got another
letter where basically the same mr. kazik of the department of justice said, we forgot to tell you something. 1.2 million pages of information. some of the information included confidential information protected by internal revenue code section 6103. we got a database you have had for four years not according to us but department of justice lawyer mr. kadzik and contained information that's against the law. you had this illegal database for your years. did you use it during that the time span? >> no. >> not at all? >> my understanding is the only thing was done, analysts looked at the table of contents to see what was on it. >> you're sure about that? >> sure as i can be. >> 1.2 million -- remember, we got the e-mail from mr. pilger the to lois lerner that says the
fbi thanks lois, says raw format is best because they can put it into systems like excel. this is directly from lois lerner. you got it the in the format you wanted it in and you're saying you didn't use it and you have had it for your years and didn't use it? >> that's my understanding, yep. >> we know things like catherine englebrecht who had six visits from the fbi while her application was pending. you're saying none of this information was used to target people? >> that's what i'm telling you. >> when did you turn the information back? >> style within the last few days. >> when did you learn you had the illegal database of 1.2 million pages. when did you learn you had the information. >> me personally? . >> yes. >> what's today, wednesday? monday. >> the fbi had it. the new director didn't know you had it for four yearses? you learned a week ago. >> i don't think anything was done with it. it was with the intelligence
analyst. >> was there a court order used to contain this database which contained illegal personal taxpayer information? do you know if a court order was used to get it? >> i think it was sent by the irs. >> so the justice department would say, send us the information and the irs sent illegal information, no court order. >> my understanding is they sent the disk which represented us to be publically available information. >> what conclusion do you think the american people will reach when they now understand that the federal bureau of investigation had 1.2 million pages of information which contained confidential taxpayer information, you have had it for your years and they are supposed to believe it was nerves used to target people when we have examples like catherine englebrecht who got six visits from the fbi while her application was pending. they are supposed to believe, we just had it. we didn't know about it.
26 democrats. every single republican in the house said we need a special prosecutor. the chairman said in his opening statement your organization on january 13 at least according to the wall street journal. your organization said no one would be prosecuted. i'm just saying what the wall street journal said. >> i don't know if they said an fbi person leaked that. >> that's what the journal said. no one will be prosecuted. the president said there is no corruption. the person heading the investigation plz bosserman is a maxed out contributor to the president's campaign. now we know 1.2 million pages of confidential tax information has been many the hands of the fbi given by lois lerner in the format the fbi wanted. you're saying the director shouldn't comment on whether they need a special prosecutor or not. >> right. i don't think the fbi director should offer a view. do i care -- >> i think the american people
would like a special prosecutor. >> i'm sorry? >> i think the american people would like a special prosecutor. we had 26 democrats say that very thing. >> i don't think given my role it's something i should offer a sue on. >> the time of the gentleman has expired p. the chair recognizes the gentleman from puerto rico for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, welcome to the committee. i commend you on your demeanor and responsiveness of the hearing up to now. as i did when the dhs secretary appeared last month i would like to outline a narrative and ask you to comment. puerto rico is home to fewer than 4 million american citizens. in 2009 there were 900 homicide on the island. in 2010 there were nearly 1,000 homicides. in 2011, there were over 1,100
homicides. an average of more than three a day. the most violent year in the territory's history. in each year the homicide rate was twice as high as any state. most murders in puerto rico are drinked to the drug trade. puerto rico is within the u.s. customs zones used by organizations transporting narcotics from south america to the u.s. mainland. given the crisis, i examined the level of resources that doj and dhs were dedicating to combat drug related violence in puerto rico and came away discouraged. because the federal law enforcement footprint on the island was inadequate. i have done everything possible to impress upon officials the need for improved federal response to drug related violence in puerto rico both for its own sake and for the sake of communities in the u.s. mainland.
all the eastern border and so on. starting in 2012 my message finally began to register. particularly at dhs. the agency created a task force charged with taking steps to reduce puerto rico's murder rate. the coast guard has substantially increased the amount of time its ships and patrol aircraft spent conducting counter drug operations off puerto rico. last year i.c.e. searched 30 agents to the island where they made hundreds of aest e rests and seized vast quantities of firearms. once it assumed control of the t.a.r.s. program this year repaired the radar that was inoperable since 2011. i know doj agencies have enhanced the efforts as the u.s. attorney. this very week when i met with her, i have been particularly impressed with illegal firearms
and violent initiative. the joint effort now in place throughout much of puerto rico. i have been impressed by other initiatives in which the fbi plays an important role like the anti-car jacking initiative and the keecreation of seven strike forces consisting of local vetted officers that target criminals in high crime areas including public housing. as a result of the enhanced federal efforts the number of homicides this year is on pace to be 40% lower than in 2011. nevertheless puerto rico's murder rate is the highest many the country, averaging two homicides a day. now is the time for the federal government to build upon its recent success to redouble its efforts and not to relent. by the way, congress has been clear that the 2015 doj funding
bill directs the attorney general and resources assigned to puerto rico and identify resources necessary to close enforcement gaps in future budget submissions. i'm told by reputable sources while the fbi does great work in puerto rico there aren't enough agents given the severity of the public safety crisis we are facing on the island. would you comment on my narrative and tell you if the fbi will increase or at least search on a temporary basis the number of agents it has in puerto rico? >> thank you, sir. my first comment is your passion is justified. >> thanks. >> there is a significant problem with violent crime, drug related violent crime in puerto rico. it was something i didn't know much about before taking the job are. i'm worried folks don't understand the nature of the problem. my second day i went down to the command center to watch as my hostage rescue team and a bunch
of swat teams participated in a huge take down in a housing project. the problem is centered in the housing projects. so it is something we spend a lot of time on. not knowing you and i were going to meet today. i sent a note to the office in san juan thanking them for what they were doing. it's something we are focused on. whether we'll put more agents, i can't tell you now. every six months we do a review of threats and that process is going on now. >> thank you. >> we have things going on now that i can't think about that you will read about soon. more efforts to lock up the bad guys. >> i look forward toyota. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas mr. po for five minutes. >> thank you. the tenor of my questions has to
do with federal agencies intimidation against citizens. whether it's legal or illegal and whether agencieses working together to intimidate citizens. specifically i want to talk about my constituents, catherine englebre cht. they started at king street patriots and true to the vote, two different organizations. they fileded in july of 2010 for nonprofit status. since they did that, and i know you don't have the information. let me read to you what happened to them after that was filed. the fbi domestic terrorism unit first inquired about the organization. what in the world is the fbi terrorism unit? sounds terrible. what is that? >> it's not terrible. it's men and women --
>> it sounds serious. >> it's our domestic terrorism unit we have had for a long time to investigate people who want to engage in acts of violence in the united states not connected to an al qaeda-type group. >> i appreciate what you said. i don't mean it's a terrible unit. just it sounds serious. they were certainly concerned about it. that was in 2010. in 2011 an questionry again. 2011, january. personal audit of englebr are echt enterprises by the irs. march, the irs questions a nonprofit application. may, fbi general inquiry king street patriots. october, true to vote, irs questions nonprofit application. 2011 in june, december and december but also in november. fbi inquired three more times
with king street patriots. february 2012. the irs questions them again. 2012, february king street patriots, irs questionses their application and asks them where they have been, what meetings does catherine englebrecht speaking with. who has she spoke to, who is she speaking to the, copies of the i spooechs and who attended. they are investigated like i said in february. king street patriots, same situation. the bureau of alcohol and tobacco and firearms investigates. they audit her business. filed a letter of inquiry, freedom of information act with the justice department asking if they were under criminal investigation. quick response, no, they are not. july, osha audits them.
december, texas commission on environmental quality audits them. irs in december. question them again. march of 2013 irs asked more questions and finally the bureau of alcohol, tobacco & fire arms questioned them in an unscheduled audit. based on that information, is it i wi illegal for different government agencies to work together to intimidate some individual or business? >> without legitimate investigative purpose? >> sure. as the department of justice said they are not under investigation. >> my problem is i don't know enough about the situation to comment. i don't know whether those dots are all connected. i hope their encounters with my folks were pleasant and professional. i expect that they were. i don't know enough to say -- >> i understand. does that raise any suspicion to
you? it's interesting all these different government agencies right after over a certain period of time they all just suddenly are start investigating an organization that the justice department said is not under criminal investigation. does it look a little suspicious? >> i can imagine them wondering about it. based on what you said, i don't know enough about the business. i can't say. >> okay. just in the general hypothetical. it seems to me that it looks like there might be a coordinated effort here by different departments. if there is a coordinated effort, hypothetical, take the case away. hypothetical, is that a violation of federal law for different agencies to work -- to intimidate, let's say. >> without proper investigative purpose it's terrible. i suspect it is unlawful in some respect. but, again -- >> you don't know.
>> i don't know. i know the fbi. i guess i can't comment beyond that. i can't imagine we would be part of some effort to the intimidate someone without lawful investigative purpose. . i can't see it. >> i thank the chairman. i have other questions i would submit for the record. >> the gentleman will be permitted to do so under the rules of the. kl. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, it's good to see you here. i was pleased with your appointment. last time i saw you, i think, was when you were here concerning hearings about the justice department and unusual circumstances in which you were heroic in your duties to the constitution and your job and to justice. it's commendable that you were appointed and you're serving. we have had the last few days of congress moments of silence, a moment of silence has almost become a regular ritual for
killings. we had one yesterday for the school shooting in oregon. we lost a child. we had one the day before for killing of law enforcement folks in nevada. the student who was at seattle pacific, about three or five days earlier didn't get a moment of silence we weren't here. they are constantly happening. since newtown i think there have been 74 shootings in schools. what can congress do to provide the fbi and law enforcement in general tools to reduce gun violence and these type tragic deaths? do you have any recommendations for us of something that we can get accomplished that law enforcement would find important element? >> yeah, i -- with respect to the fbi, we are trying to do a lot of different things and you have -- as you began i thanked
you for the budget support. we're applying the resources to train and push out clues and indicators about what might indicate someone about to go and do one of these things. there's a lot of different things we're doing. i mentioned earlier one of the challenges we face in our national instant background check system is getting good mental health records from the states and trying to get their acts together to give us. but i can't sit here and suggest a particular legislative fix at this point. but i agree with you, it's -- i call whenever law enforcement officer is killed in the united states. i've been on this job nine months, i make way too many calls and we lost two with great families to a brutal execution in vegas. i share your pain in that. >> are there certain guns you think should not be allowed or cartridges or chambers that may
be unnecessary for people to enjoy sport and shooting that might be used more for mass killings? >> yeah, that's something i'm not expert enough to answer. really is somebody for the fbi to answer. >> public corruption, you said is your top criminal priority. in 2010 the supreme court found unconstitutional and the efforts to resurrect that have stalled. i'm concerned about public trust and public authority and government. do you have any thoughts about how we can or should pass a new honest services statute and/or would that be an important tool to you in fighting public corruption? >> it's long been an important tool. that would be good to see. we're making indications that unfortunately and fortunately, the reason it's such a high
priority, it's work we're uniquely good at and uniquely needed to do everyone in the country. >> you haven't studied the statute in the supreme court decision? >> i remember the decision. i ugsed to use the statute but i don't know enough to comment on legislation. >> thank you. you're building a new building or having a new building built. >> i hope so. >> right. when do you expect that to be fini fini finished? >> they told me five to seven years. i look at the clock and think i have nine years and three months to go, we so badly need it, but it's sometime in my tenure. >> i would hope that you would consider recommending for acting in such a way to name that billeding for somebody that reflects the modern fbi and somebody who the american public would have faith and reinstill
faith in the fbi because they are a person who would be part of the new fbi and new way we do things. in your tradition of respecting the constitution and rule of law. >> thank you, i yield back the balance of my time. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy for five minutes. >> thank you. director, you have excellent agents in south carolina and i know it would mean the world to them if you had a chance to tell them that one of their fellow citizens from south carolina appreciates their work. there's a gentleman by the name of jim lanmen in particular that really is a credit to the bureau. >> i'm visiting all 56 by the end of this year, i'll be in columbia and find that guy and embarrass him. >> i probably just did embarrass him. let me know when you're visiting, i'm make sure senator graham is not in the state so you don't have to worry about
serving warrants while you're there. jimmy jordan asked you about the irs targeting scandal, i'm not going to ask you about it because you can't comment and it's not fair to ask you a series of questions where you have to say you can't comment. i want to make an organization to maybe try to help you understand where jimmy is coming from. you used to be in a courtroom where you had challenges for cause and you had preeliminate tri challenges and i've never argued that because a prosecutor was politically engaged and active or maxed out to a particular political party, i never argued that was a challenge for cause. of course that person can still be fair. but out of the universe of all potential federal prosecutors, why anyone would pick someone in a sensitive investigation that involves political targeting with that background just misty
fis me. again i'm not going to ask you to comment but ask you to think about the fact that we do have a special prosecutor statute where there's a conflict or where it furthers the interest of justice. and when you have a chief executive who put in my judgment the department of justice and bureau in a very awkward position by saying there's not a smidgen of corruption when the investigation is not over, and when you have a prosecutor that has deep political ties, i would just ask you in the quietness of your own sole to reflect upon whether or not we can ever have a fact pattern that warrants a special prosecutor if it's not this. and what in your judgment are the limits of prosecutorial discretion? >> certainly the law is a clear limit. you operate that discretion within the law and then a sense
of integrity and fair dealing that should be at the core of all federal prosecutors of our culture and you know the federal prosecutor culture that's an important discretion, probably the short answer. >> do you think there is a difference between the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the wholesale failure to enforce a certain category of law? >> potentially. >> i don't know what you're referring to, but sure. >> when your agents are asked by a member of the grand jury about drug amounts, you and i both know they are going to tell the truth. when they are asked by a judge about drug amounts, they are going to tell the truth. when they are asked by a probation officer about drug amounts, they are going to tell the truth. we have mandatory minimums, some people like them, some people don't but it's still the law. and i am troubled thatny
attorney general regardless of political affiliation directs a group of prosecutors to no longer include in the charging document the drug amount. surely there is a limit on what prosecutorial discretion is. and i'll ask it differently. there are certain laws that for gid conduct, possession of child pornography and certain laws that require conduct like registering for selective service and there are certain laws that require you to make reports to congress. surely prosecutorial discretion is not available in all of those categories of law. >> as you know in the federal system there's tremendous prosecutorial discretion and one of the reasons that the sentencing guidelines and some of the mandatory minimums may have been imposed but i guess i don't know with each of the categories you gave i would imagine there's a certain amount of discretion, whether to
commence a prosecution. >> i agree with that but if congress said director, we want you to file a report by july the 1st of each year about how many 924es you prosecuted, i don't know you can get away with saying the exercise of my discretion, i'm not going to comply with that law. and i'm -- politics is one thing. the law is something else and when we use the word prosecutorial discretion to excuse the failure to enforce a category of law, i think we're doing a real disservice to the concept of prosecutorial discretion and we're doing a disservice to our republic. thank you, mr. chairman. >> chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, miss chu for five minutes. >> direct comy, i'm concerned about the individuals placed on watch list such as the no fly
list and placed there based on mistakes and misinformation. the consequences for wrongful exclusion can be devastating, people are stigma tiesed as terrorists and barred from commercial flight and detained and interrogated and subject to long-term investigation. these people may lose the ability to obtain employment that requires travel or because the government shares information about the individuals inclusion on the watch list with a prospective employer. there have been numerous government audits that suggest that watch list entries have a high error rate like the inspector general reports. most recent 2014 report suggests there's still concerns regarding the processes and procedures. the report found redundant and inefficient processes that clog the system and says that the fbi averages 44 business days to add suspected terror suspects referred by other agencies but