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tv   Justice Dept. Officials Testify on Threat of Domestic Terrorism  CSPAN  January 25, 2022 8:00am-10:03am EST

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♪♪ .. watch tonight beginning with marcia fudge and small business administrator visible guzman. that's at 8 p.m. eastern on on n c-span2 come online at or watch full coverage on our new video app, c-span now. >> next officials from the justice department and fbi testified the threat of domestic terrorism. one year after the january 6th
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attacks on the u.s. u.s. c. the senate judiciary hearing is two hours. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> discerning of the senate judiciary committee will come to order. i first held a hearing on
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domestic terrorism threat in 2012, ten years ago, after white supremacist murdered seven seek worshipers in wisconsin. today ten years later the threat is worse. that's why convene the senate judiciary committee first hearing of this year to consider this subject. the american people have an opportunity to learn more about the justice department's investigation into one of the worst domestic terrorism attacks in years, the january 6th insurrection on the capitol. i would like to start with a video on the aftermath of january 6th and the threat of domestic terrorism in america. >> multiple possible entries. >> they are throwing metal poles at us. [shouting] >> january 6th was a disgrace. there's no question.
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president trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. >> violence is never illegitimate form of protest. the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on commerce by modern writers. >> that you have to january 6th, are the guard rails that protect democracy real or illusionary? >> january 6th laid bare the threat of white nationalism. >> that the wake-up call. >> january 6th is a symptom of a deeper problem. >> across the country election officials and election workers, airline flight crews, school personnel, journalists, u.s. senators and representatives and judges, prosecutors and police officers have been threatened and/or attack. >> federal prosecutors have charged a of the boogaloo bois. >> thirteen rounds into the police department third precinct. >> according to an unclassified summary of the march
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intelligence assessment, the two most lethal elements of domestic violence extremist threat are racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists and militia violence extremist. >> congress is leading some pivotal moments. >> in battle gear and a stack military formation working through the crowd up the capitol steps. >> department of homeland security in their annual threat october 2020 declared domestic i violence extremism in general and white supremacist extremism inemem particular to be the most persistent and lethal threat facing the nation. >> after the violence -- meant to be political and ideological actions that bring other activists into the movement. >> i think it's time to take a hard look at where we're putting the resources. >> we can never get allow democracy to be put in peril.
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>> those of us who were here will never forget the horrifying images of january 6th, 2021. a nooses and gallows erected on the capitol lawn, writers attacking police officers with flagpoles bearing the american flag. the confederate battle flag, confederate battle flag, waiting in the temple of our democracy, a site unimaginable even during the darkest days of the civil war. the insurrection should be a a wake-up call, a reminder that america still confronted with the age-old minister at stake among a new life life in a 21st century, tear from white supremacists, militia members and other extremist who use violence to further the twisted agenda. lastst march fbi director wray told this committee that the threat of domestic terrorism is quote metastasizing across the country and notes going away anytime soon. in the hours immediately following the insurrection i was
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hopeful. when the mob had dispersed anderson returned to the capital to certify the results of the 2020 election, we, republicans and republicans and democrats alike, were united. we were determined to show that mob they lost and democracy had one. all of us were well aware who was behind the insurrection. as he saw in a video republican leaders like senator mcconnell, congressman mccarthy joined democrats in acknowledging that president trump was quote practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. at days turned into, and this solid bipartisan rhetoric was shaken. our efforts to investigate the insurrection and the former presidents attempts to overturn the election were stonewalled. last may, last may senate republicans filibustered a plan to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate what happened on
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january 6th and to make sure it never happened again. and a number of elected republican to either refuse to repudiate theub big lie or outright endorsed it is growing. whether the boosters of the big wideout or not they are playing with fire. by supporting the false narrative that the twin 20 election was somehow stolen or rigged, they rationalized the worst assault on our capital since the war of 1812. an attorney dale normalizing the use of violence to achieve political goals. intelligence community warns us, narratives of fraud in the recent general election will almost certainly spur domestic violence extremist to try to engage in violence. congress, this is how democracies die. today more than half republican voters, , more than half believe the insurrectionists were quote protecting democracy. in a recent study from university of chicago professor
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robert found nearly one in ten americans believe that quote the use of force is justified to restore donald trump to the presidency. one in ten these radical viewpoint don't appear out of thin air. otto trump continuesir to spew these divisive, dangerous ideas from his exile in mar-a-lago. his calls have been echoed by a vocal faction of republican lawmakers. lawmakers who are actively encouraging their supporters to treat politicalad opponents as hostile adversaries. other republican lawmakers have remained silent refusing to condemn them. for example, last year a a republican congressman tweeted out an animated video showing himself murdering one of his democratic colleagues. another house republican has expressed support for quote national divorce, national divorce between red and blue states. i might remind this congress the
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nas -- last national divorce are civil war cost more american lives than anyny conflict before or since. some may waive this incendiary rhetoric calling it political bluster or a bad joke but the reality is more troubling. these tacit and even explicit endorsement of violence are taking a tragic toll. over the past two years our nation's public servants have faced a wave of violence. one survey found nearly one in five local elected officials has been threatened withne violence because the work in the 2020 election cycle. we've seen outbursts on airplanes. in school board meetings and in other spheres of public life we've seen unacceptable even deadly cases of violence towards law enforcement officers. don't tell me that you stand for law and order and turn your back on the threats the law enforcers officers are facing every single day. so at thece outset of today's hearing i would like to respectfully request thatto evey
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member of this committee use this hearing to explicitly condemn the use or threat of violence to expand political goals. it's a simple request but sadly a necessary one. this committee should speak with the unified voice in saying violence that's unacceptable.un this is not an issue of where youu stand on the political spectrum. violent extremism exist on both ends, and whether an act of violence is being committed by a white supremacist in the capital or a far left extremist that a riot in portland, it is unacceptable and inexcusable, period. we also need to understand the nature of the threat. senior law enforcement and intelligence officials have warned us the biggest domestic terrorism threat today stems from white supremacist and violent militia extremists, some of whom are working in america to topple our democracy. for them january 6th was a test run. in the year following the insurrection there have been far too many incidents of violent extremism. for example, last month one
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domestic terrorist -- far right fringe and misogynistic views on social media committed a mass shooting in colorado. the attack had been on the radar of local law enforcement for years, even listed the names of his victims in self published books but, unfortunately, no action was taken. he endedin up killing i people. before he had a chance to kill more, a heroic police officer agent ashley ferriss came to the rescue. she arrived onn the scene and ordered the attacker to drop his weapon. he responded by shooting her in the stomach. bleeding ond and the ground, she returned fire and brought the attack to an end. officersce like agent ferriss pt their lives on the line every day to defend us. as we saw on january 6th at the capital, and in the streets of american cities in 2020, they are too often themselves the target of violent extremism.
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they cannot take on the biggest threat of our national security alone. they need our help at the federal level, analyzing and acting on intelligence of domestic terrorist sources. that's what i propose the domestic terrorism prevention act introduced in 2017. it ensures state and local enforcement have the resources and data to prevent acts of domestic terror and white supremacist violence. make sure the law enforcement officials have the resources they need. during today's hearings i hope we will learn what steps the justice department and fbi are taking to keep our communities, our country andom officers like agent ferriss safe. i hope this committee will be unequivocal, unequivocal in condemning violence wherever it is false on the political spectrum. no more cowering before any mob. our democracy is in the crosshairs of domestic terrorism. it's time to take aos stand. the only way to prevent a recurrence of a deadly
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insurrection like january 6th is by joining together in defense of our constitution and rule of law. without i will turn to my friend, ranking member chuck grassy force opening statement. >> thank you veryemng much. a year ago i gave a speech on the senate floor. in that speech i asked all my colleagues to join me in condemning all political violence. that obviously included the terriblelu attack on the capito, but it also referred to nearly 600 riots that came before january 6th violence, and i learned something from my colleague. i have a video i would like to have you watch. ear in how i characterize this pit this was a protest. it is not generally speaking unruly. >> peaceful protest.
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[explosions] >> these anti-police riots rocked our nation for seven full months just like the january 6 assault on the capital rocked
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the nation. the riots caused terrible damage. he saw in the video $2 million worth. you saw in the video hundreds of people were charged federally. the fbi opened over 500 domestic terrorism investigations over 14,000 were arrested. in just the first few weeks. at least 25 died. 2000 police officers injured. this included well over a hundred officers defending the federal courthouse in portland. this included 60 secret service officers defending the white house. the judicial conference reported 50 federal courthouses were damaged during this time. throughout a time that was incredibly difficult for our
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police officers, we had some democrats pile on. they called police things like stormtroopers. to this day, attacks continue on should rumors of the -- the good names of police dealt with an impossible situation in the surge on the portland courthouse. is it any wonder then when it came -- when it came time to secure the capital on january 6, some were too concerned about optics or about the image of national guardsmen at the capital? mayor bowser of d.c. even said when police -- federal police forces like those that came to defend the portland courthouse,
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that they would not be welcome here. from the time anti-police riots broke out over 18 months ago, the police have retreated from the streets and the results have been very predictable. beginning june 2020, our country has experienced an unprecedented hike in murders. that spike has continued all the way to the present day. in 2021, more than a dozen cities set all-time homicide records. street crime from assaults to carjacking to also what we call flash mob style smash and grab robberies have become a way of life in many cities.
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you saw last night in san jose, california on television as an example. new york mayor eric adams has announced he will revive a plainclothes anti-crime unit to combat the violence. san francisco mayor london breed has declared a state of emergency over crime in her cities pimp miller lite -- in her cities. mayor lightfoot has asked for several resources to help fight crime in chicago. sadly, anti-police sentiment extends to the murder of police. dozens were killed in 2021. fbi analysis showed many of them were targeted because they were simply police officers, not because of any private contact
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with an attacker. the federal fraternal order of police, that data shows ambush attacks on officers have more than doubled. the police are not just heroes because of january 6 when they defended us at the capital. these police officers, federal, state, local our heroes all the time. if he we did not treat -- if we do not treat them as heroes, i fear the violent crimes and attacks on police officers will only get worse. it will not get any better. i started by saying i gave a speech a year ago asking my colleagues to join me in condemning all political violence. i heard senator durbin say exactly that same thing in his opening remarks today.
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i'm sorry to say the situation has not gotten worse -- the situation has gotten worse since i gave my speech. it has not gotten better. last summer, president biden released a domestic terrorism strategy that made no mention whatsoever of the 2020 riots. though they comprised about a fifth to a quarter of the fbi's current domestic terrorism cases. there was almost no thank you to the senator for mentioning left-wing terrorism. further is the strategy suggested that partisan policies of gun control and teaching critical race theory are part of the solution. using violent attacks to advance
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unrelated policy goals is a shameful tactic that undermines what our law enforcement officers are trying to do to stand up to violence in this country. it undermines the nonpartisan indictment. there cannot be exceptions. that means that we have to deal with the 2020 riots and january 6 when we look over fbi domestic terrorism programs. we in congress have an oversight role to perform. this committee is doing that today, and there is room for improvement. needed room for improvement. director ray, over 10 months ago testified to us that there were
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weaknesses in the left-wing domestic terrorism program that has prevented the fbi from getting the visibility they needed into the 2020. from that time to now, we received next to no information in response to our inquiries about how the fbi has ensured those deficiencies. the time has come to change that. thank you to mr. chairman and my colleagues. >> thank you. today we welcome assistant general matthew olsen and jill sanborn. they will each have five minutes for opening statements and some rounds of questions where senators will have time as well. i ask remotely that the minstrels of the senator room be placed to sworn in.
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please raise your right hand. will you only tell the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> i do. >> they have answered in the affirmative and we will turn over to the senator. please proceed. >> thank you members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today about the work of the department of justice. the muster terrorism is on the rise. the number of fbi investigations over the past two years has more than doubled. communities across the country have been victims of acts of domestic terrorism. in el paso, 23 latinos were killed. in alexandria, virginia, more
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than four people at a congressional baseball practice, and others were killed by white supremacists in their church. this marks the one-year anniversary of the attack on the capital on january 6, and the department of justice has taken an unprecedented scope to hold accountable all of those engaged in criminal acts. the attorney general testified last week that more than 725 individuals have been indicted, including those charged with felony. we continue to methodically gather and review the evidence. it has in recent years underscored the threat that domestic terrorism continues to pose to our citizens, law
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enforcement officers, public officials, and are democratic institutions. based on the assessment of the intelligence communities, we face threats from domestic violence extremists. those of us -- that includes those who commit violent acts in the united states for social or political goals. we have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animosity, as well as those who describe anti-government ideologies. at the same time, we remain vigilant of the dynamic threat of international terrorist groups. the attorney general has observed combating the threat of domestic terrorism has been a core mission of the department of justice.
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this was founded where than 140 years ago when the renewed department went after the kkk to protect black americans under the constitution. this is one of our top priorities. on the frontline of these efforts are our federal prosecutors. our national security division was created in 2006. in any case, the message to domestic terrorism, we provide support to coordinate those prosecutions. we have a team of counterterrorism attorneys, all of which are equipped for
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domestic and international terrorist prosecutions. i have established a domestic terrorism unit to augment our approach. this group is dedicated and focused on domestic terrorism to effectively coordinate it across the department of justice and across the country. this also works with the dod -- doj. similar to our efforts to combat international terrorism, the department has all of the legal tools in our arsenal to prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. we support our state and local law enforcement.
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the criminal code does define domestic terrorism with this definition and provides expanded authority, and in all of our efforts to combat domestic terrorism, the justice department is bound why are commitment -- bound by our commitment to protect citizens. we will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit acts of violence in violation of the federal law. i appreciate the opportunity to discuss these issues with you today and answer your questions. >> thank you. ms. sanborn, you may proceed. >> thank you. i am honored to be here with you today representing the fbi.
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i began my career as a senate page many years ago. i discussed with you the current domestic threats and our plans to advance our domestic terrorism programs since 2021. i would be remiss to not discuss the january 6 attacks. i know many of you were present in the u.s. capitol and experienced the events of that day firsthand. the fbi investigation of the attack on the capital began immediately and continues to this day. it goes without saying that the threat posed by domestic violence extremists is evolving, but that does not mean we have forgotten about the threat from international domestic terrorists like isis.
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preventing all acts of terrorism is the fbi's number one priority. the greatest threat to the united states today remains to be small actors that utilize online and utilize weapons to. attack targets. . this includes domestic violence extremism. in describing the domestic terrorism threat landscape, we use the words violent extremism because the underlying political position and advocacy of those positions are not in and of themselves prohibited by u.s. law. it is important to remember the fbi cannot open an investigation based solely on first amendment protected activity.
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it is our position to attack the american people and defend the american constitution. these aspects of our mission are dual and simultaneous. we separate these threats into five broad categories. i'm confining my remarks to the two most prevalent categories, racially motivated extremism, and antigovernment extremism. when evaluating the current domestic terrorism threat, we assess that racially or ethnically motivated extremism advocating for the superior unity -- superiority of the white race and antigovernment extremism present the most lethal threats. racially or ethnically motivated extremists hold -- in 2021, the
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mystic violence extremism held four attacks which resulted in the deaths of 13 individuals. there were personalized grievances including anger at the government over covid-19 policies and perceived election fraud. looking forward, we assess violent reactions to sociopolitical events. as we head into 2022, we believe racially motivated and antigovernment extremists will remain the biggest threats.
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this prioritization ensures that all fbi offices can incomprehensibly respond to the threat posed by the individuals in 2020 two. we want to ensure the american people that the fbi focuses all of its efforts against the threat of terrorism both international and domestic. we apply the resources and rigor to respond to ever evolving threats, including the taskforces around your states in 2021. when protected free speech turns into criminal threats or actions, the fbi will actively pursue the individual behind them. the fbi is grateful for the support of all of our partners, including the committee. thank you for inviting me today
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to be part of this discussion. >> thank you. we each have five minutes to ask questions. i want to start with a question to both of you. it is important if we are going to learn from these hearings and experience that we try to have an open mind. many of us personally witnessed and were victimized by the events of january 6. we may need to take an honest look at what happened that day. the most comprehensive look i have seen that has been published was by professor peyton at the university of chicago. he took a look at the actual people and asked why the people were there at generate sixth and why they were there. this is not a surprise.
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the attack, he says, as an act of political violence. the overwhelming reason for action on january 6, going after those who are arrested and taking their testimony, the overwhelming reason was that they believed they were following president trump's orders. second, they had no connection to white nationalist gangs. only one out of 10 could be counted as supporters of these militia groups. 89% had no affiliation. third, the demographic profile of these suspected rioters is different from past. right wing extremism. . the average age was 40. 40% of those arrested are is this owners, ceos, doctors,
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lawyers, i.t. specialists. they came from areas that were carried by joe biden in the election, and what is clear that the capital right revealed was a mix of political movement that draws its strength even in places where trump's supporters were a minority. as you are envisioning what needs to be done to keep america safe in the future, what do these conclusions tell you? mr. olson? matthew: thank you very much. what this tells me isn't hearing those statistics -- tells me from hearing those statistics is
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that condemning violence as what we saw on january 6 as unacceptable. at the department of justice and in partnership with the fbi, our mission is to investigate and prosecute all of these acts, any violence, any unlawful act. regardless of ideology. >> thank you very much. i am not an expert in this area. the members of the committee have read enough to know how you investigate organizations and try to break them down. it has happened with the ku klux klan and others. the fact with this study is that if you went to the organizations themselves, you will have missed the brunt of the attacks on the capital. these members were not -- these
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people were not members of these organizations, and yet they engaged in violence with unprecedented opportunity they had never showed before. as you look forward to trying to keep us going beyond the traditional means of suspects. would you like to respond to that? jill: thank you for the question. two things i would pull out of your comments that are congruent with themes we are seeing is that personalized mobilization is often behind what acts they are about to undertake.
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to get ahead of that, one of the things we have done is indicated the mobilization of right-wing people to pay attention to human behavior and become more learned when it looks like someone is mobilizing. we believe that people on the indicators will help us stay ahead of the violent threats that are out there. >> so we believe that these extremist organizations are still dangerous and keeping and i on them are necessary but may not be sufficient. the january 6 writers tells us that the reach of these -- rioters tells us that the reach of these extremist organizations is wide.
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mr. olson, your organization has a job of keeping an eye on domestic and international terrorism, so i would like to see the things that your department is doing. i was more surprised to learn that the fbi's counterterrorism division is taking schoolboard cases involving the national security programs and local school board matters has an impact on freedom of speech and petition. the nation's parents are going to the school board. they have asked you to withdraw the memo on schoolboard cases. today we have received that happening, so ms. garland said
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that you will be working on schoolboard cases in a press release. that accompanied his memo, what is the division doing with regard to local school boards? and for miss sanborn, is it true that the counterterrorism division is taking schoolboard cases. if it is, will they stop that practice that has an effect on schoolboard meetings? first, mr. olson. matthew: thank you. i ensure you that nothing is interfering or making it more difficult for us to focus on our responsibilities, investigating and prosecuting international and domestic terrorism. that remains the top priority
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for the department of justice and we remain committed to that priority. in the memo, it was indicated there was an increase in domestic violence, individuals and other public officials and this is a serious concern. the national security division is playing an advisory role and supporting the work of the department, making sure that we are there to support the rest of the department. it is not a particular focus for the national security division. it is an important role, however, for the department of justice as a whole run by the civil rights division. >>ms. sanborn?
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>> i would note that this is not a particular focus for the counterterrorism division and nothing has changed with our policies or how we go about the cases. something would have to rise to either be an allegation of violating federal law or having already violated federal law for the fbi to be involved. we are taking administrative processes to identify the trend, but it would have to be a violation of federal law for us to be involved. >> your assistant director of this division during the 2020 riots. i understand this was a difficult time for the fbi.
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i heard it may have been -- every post at the fbi field office were at the same time, every day there were reports of riots or cases to be opened. domestic terrorism agents in portland terrains in the violence. the fbi had opened more than 500 domestic terrorism investigations as a result of the 2020 riots. those where where the ideology could be identified. the fbi told us then that they were still trying to hold other subjects accountable for acts during the summer riots and the
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number of domestic terrorism investigations opened as a result of the 2020 riots. my second question is, it is fair to say the fbi was surprised by a lot of the riots that happened in 2020 and the capitol riot as well on january 6. how has the fbi and -- increased its visibility in improvements to track extremists? [indiscernible] jill: thank you, sir. i appreciate the opportunity to talk about the 2020 violence that we observed, and it is hard to understand the aggregate. we have opened more than 800
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cases, so more in when you were last briefed on that. we are still making profit -- progress on those cases. to the second part of your question, something we are asking ourselves to do better as a result of january 6 is how do we collect better information? pushing more human sources and etc.. previously, you did not want an analyst with more intel, so we are doing a better job of sharing information quickly and as broadly as possible. that is another area we are trying to improve. >> thank you. senator grassley? >> thank you, mr. chairman. isn't -- it is important for us to be clear about what happened
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on january 6, which was an attack on the capital in order to overturn the election, but many continue to downplay what happened on that day. many claimant was a day of protesting -- claim it was a day of protesting, and one person compared it to a normal tour visitist. federal criminal law defines the mystic terrorism as violent criminal acts stemming from domestic influences, such as those lyrical, religious, racial, or environmental. based on that definition, when a mob of armed rioters use of force in an attempt to overthrow the united states government,
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that is domestic terrorism. is what happened on generate six -- january 6 domestic terrorism? mr. olson? matthew: the department of justice and the fbi have been clear that the events of january 6 have been investigated as acts of domestic terrorism. you quoted the federal code of the definition, which involves any acts that are a violation of criminal law and are intended to influence the policy of a government through coercion. the january 6 events are generally being investigated as acts of direct -- mastic terrorism.
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any particular case would be dependent, and that is ongoing in our investigations. >> that is very critical because we are not talking about people protesting. they -- there are violent acts being committed. isn't that right? >> the focus is on acts of violence or other acts that violate criminal law, not peaceful protests, not assembling, not free speech, not any of the other types of activity that are protected under the constitution of the first amendment. >> we want to focus on the actual criminal acts occurring. there is a tendency to mix those
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up, those that are touring the capital or just gathering. it is not what was happening on january 6. now that you have acknowledged that these were -- what we were witnessing was domestic tourism -- terrorism on january 6, i would like to understand the department's approach to prosecuting the perpetuators. my understanding is that prosecutors have not been pushing for the sentencing available for acts of mastic terrorism -- domestic terrorism. do the acts of the january 6 insurrection classify as domestic terrorism? >> the attorney general last week talked about this
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complexity of the january 6 investigations, talking about more than 700 individuals who have been arrested and more than 320 five individuals charged with felony. each case will depend on the specific factors -- >> i am running out of time here, so i understand it depends on the actual ask the individual committed, but that individual committed a crime such as attacking a police officer. with that person be subjected to enhanced sentencing? >> it depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. >> is that what the department will pursue? enhanced sentencing? >> the department has pursued
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enhanced sentencing in some cases over the past years. >> one more question. as you proceed with the trials and have already engaged in settlements with a number of them, could we see the potential for trials happening where there would be enhanced sentencing pursued by the department? >> again, it depends on the facts of the case. >> i think the answer to that is yes. thank you. >> thank you. do you have the resources, the people and money you need, to protect the -- ? >> from my vantage point, we
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need to carry out our priority mission. there are a number of people around the country that have the support they need. >> do you need any more money or changes in the law? >> i do not have any request for more money or more authority. >> the vice president equated january 6 with pearl harbor and 9/11. do you agree with that? >> lets me begin by saying that it was threatening to be on capitol hill on generate six, but i am reluctant to compare it with any prior events. >> the courthouse was attacked
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100 nights in a row. would you consider those people as domestic terrorists? >> i do not have any information about whether any particular case -- >> senator said that people used whatever purpose to attack the courthouse 100 nights in a row. how many people have been charged? >> i defer to ms. sanborn. >> do you know? >> i do not have portland specifically in front of me. >> here's my point. january 6 was a bad day. i encourage you to have the full
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force of those who attacked the capital. but as those you can see behind me, there are those who are trying to kill police officers. that is what gets me more than anything else. i hope people are brought to justice, but this is a two way street. the world in which we live in, all of that can withstand the takeover of afghanistan by the taliban. does that pose additional security threats to our homeland? >> if i may broaden my answer a bit, we continue to be concerned about it. [indiscernible] >> here's my question.
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the country is now under the control of the taliban. >> we continue to see -- we do continue that concern. >> what capability do we have available to us to combat terrorism activity on the ground in afghanistan after the collapse? >> this would not be appropriate for me to go into particulars. what i would say is that -- >> you cannot tell this committee that the resources we have available have been lost because of the taliban takeover? >> i would not like to characterize our intelligence capabilities. >> what about the u.s. southern
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border? >> three years ago, i did go to the southern border. >> how many people have come across the border from special interest countries? >> i do not have that particular information. >> how many people have come across the border in the past years from special interest countries? >> we do not have that data. >> have you been to the border? >> not in a long time, sir. >> i appreciate your service, but we have dozens of people on the terrorist watch list that have come across the border. if you need more resources, you will get it from me, but if i were you, i would go to the border and check out the border.
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the broken southern border is going to be an entryway to international terrorists who are going to come here and kill americans if we do not change the policy. i would urge you to go to the border, get a handle at what is happening there, understand the relationship between those who take over the taliban in afghanistan and the opportunity for more terrorism that is coming our way through the border. i am surprised you have not done that. thank you. >> thank you to chairman durbin and our witnesses today. we are here to have a hearing about generate six -- january 6 and domestic terrorism. we are gathered because last week we commemorated the anniversary of one of the darkest days in modern american history. on january 6, i want to repeat
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today how grateful i am for law enforcement officers and members of the national guard and others who protected who work and serve in the capital. the angry mob that broke into and assaulted the capital, assaulted more than 140 law enforcement officers during that day, during that insurrection, there were five officers w >> as a result of that day, they and their families remain in my prayers a year later. those officers didn't come to work that day as republicans, as democrats, people from this state or that state, but simply as americans responsible for working to keep all of us in our democracy safe. they did that job so later
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this night, senate chambers could do their job and certify the election 2020 results. and every extremist who did a politically motivated act that taye day is prosecuted. and we learn the failings, flaws, challenges in # terms of january 6th and take seriously the ongoing threat that we face from domestic violent extremists. domestic violence extremism has threats from abroad. i serve on the foreign relations committee and the last year i went to more than a dozen countries around the world. democracy is under threat from nations all around the world and nations long looked to us or whose human rights advocates at democracy advocates or
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journalists have long looked at us as a model as i've engaged with leaders around the world. how the visible storming of our capitol january 6th made leaders doubt the durability of our democracy. our add adversaries have trumpeted this, and it's continuing to look at all threats of violence to advance political goals. today's step on the move working forward on the strength to heal our democracy. mr. olsen, if i might ask you, i was encouraged to hear your testimony about establishing a new unit that will combat domestic terrorism. as a leader of the department's mission to combat terrorism,
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whether foreign or domestic, espionage, would you agree that the violent assault on our capitol on january 6th has undermined our status abroad? >> i would certainly say that what happened january 6th posed challenges as far as our status as a democracy, if you look around the country. i've had that conversation with foreign leaders in the national security states. that said, i think how we have responded to it and how we address domestic terrorism, again, pursuing acts of violence without the ideology stands as an example to the rest of the world. >> so you would agree a failure to adequately respond to that assault with fair, thorough, appropriate criminal investigation of prosecution, if we failed to respond that
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would further undermine our standing as a democracy and thereby continue to weaken standing in the world? >> i think the world is looking at how we respond to the threat and can potentially affect our standing in the world, i would agree. >> if i might, mr. sanborn, one last question, look, it's gravely concerning to me there are some colleagues of mine here in the capitol, in the house, as well as in the senate, that suggest that the mob that attacked the building on january 6th didn't include domestic violent extremists, but i think the facts are fairly clear, the u.s. attorney's office for d.c. published a snapshot of the investigation. there were more than 75 individuals charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily harm to a police officer and 140 officers assaulted included 80 capitol police, 60 metropolitan police department members. mr. sanborn, attacking the police at the capitol in order to prevent the certification of an election for an explicit
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political end, pretty squarely sits within the definition of violent extremism, doesn't it? >> yes, sir. >> i see i'm out of time. let me say that i'm hopeful all of this body can put aside rhetoric and speak with one voice and unequivocally condemn political violence. >> thank you, mr. coons. mr. lee. >> i'd like to clarify, has anyone been charged with the charge of insurrection following january 6th? >> i am not aware that anyone has been charged with that particular offense, even if it is -- i guess i'm not aware of that and i don't -- it would be inappropriate for me to speak about any particular investigation at this point, but i'm not aware of anybody
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being charged with that. >> i haven't either and i've heard that word several times and they've not been charged with that one. on june 7th i signed onto a letter with bunch of my colleagues led by senator johnson and the purpose of the letter was to ask a number of questions regarding the prosecution of individuals alleged to have committed crimes in connection with the 2020 riot. and those alleged to have committed crimes on january 6th. despite the best efforts of my staff to work with the department of justice to narrow the scope and prioritize certain questions, we didn't receive any answer until october 22nd. over four and a half months after we sent the letter. now, ordinarily you'd think when you've got more than four and a half months to respond that you'd submit a response
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that was at least good or thorough, but to my great astonishment and dismay, the letter failed to answer a single question that we asked, not one. i mean, it was a statement of platitudes and cited publicly available resources about general policy. there was not one answer to a single one of our questions. it's a little bit troubling when you've got members of the united states senate charged with an oversight responsibility over the department of justice to have a four and a half month tla followed by a complete refusal to engage so i'd like to ask some questions based on that letter and happy that i get the chance to do so here under oath where i don't have to wait four and a half months only to be given a nonresponsive answer. first i'd like to note did federal law enforcement utilize
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geo location data from protests of unrest in the spring of 2020? >> sir, that question's directed to me, i don't have any information about that question as to be responsive. >> i'd be happy to receive the answer from either one of you. ma'am, do you have any? >> sir, without going into specifics on specific case, i would just say that we do often use geo occasion data as a result of legal process. >> and i understand that you do. i'm asking whether you did so in connection with the riots that occurred in the spring of 2020. and if so, how many for which locations and riots and what about january 6th? i'd like to know the number of times and locations. >> yes, i don't have that in front of me, but happy to take
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that back. i wasn't aware of your questions until today so i'm happy to take your question and see what we can do to be responsive. okay, now how many individuals who may have committed crimes associated with the riots in the spring and summer of 2020 were either arrested by law enforcement pre-dawn raids ap with s.w.a.t. teams, or had search warrants served on them through those means? >> sir, i don't have the particular numbers of arrests and/or the specific nature vt plan that might have been around that in front of me. >> okay. and i'd also like to know how many were alleged to have committed crimes or alleged to have been witness to what happened on january 6th are
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people who had been arrested or had warrants served on them using pre-dawn raids and s.w.a.t. teams. can you tell me at least an approximate number or whether it's a comparable number to those who had those executed or arrested in connection with the spring and summer riots of 2020? >> sir, i don't have either of those in front of me and i would just, as a little preamble, would explain that the mechanics going behind time of day and when an arrest and how an arrest is done is very specific to each individual case and what potential threat they may or may not pose. i don't have numbers or comparisons with me at this time. >> okay. do you have any way of telling me how many of these individuals who were arrested in connection with the spring and summer riots of 2020 were placed in solitary confinement?
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>> i don't have that and i'm not exactly sure that the fbi would have that data, but i definitely don't have that and i'm not sure we would have that. we could probably figure out how to direct you to the right organization for that. >> mr. olsen, do you have any idea how many of these individuals were offered deterred resolution agreements, those arrested during the spring and summer of 2020? >> i do not have that information and some of those cases are still ongoing. and i don't have any information about how many have -- how many cases have been resolved via plea offers or plea agreements going to trial. >> i see my time is expired. i'm going to ask you two to answer these questions and other questions i submit to the record.
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i understand that you've got big jobs to do, but i don't want four and a half months to elapse again and i certainly don't want a response that is nonresponsive. thank you. >> thank you, senator lee. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for having this hearing which gives us the opportunity to make a fundamental statement, which i join my colleagues in emphasizing that violence of any kind is unacceptable, any kind of physical coercion or violence should be condemned no matter who does it, no matter what the purpose is politically and i know that we-- i hope that we share that view. let me ask you about the role of social media platforms in the promotion, organization of the stop to steal groups,
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indisputable twitter, facebook and other social media platforms made a role in the organization and promotion of those groups that disrupted the state vote counts and organized the assault on the capitol. these platforms fueled the rise of the boogaloo boys, and hate related murder, facebook promised to stop the organizations and ban their group instead according to facebook's own researchers, the company failed to recognize the magnitude of the threat and take appropriate action to take down those stop the steal groups that incited, encouraged, and organized the violence that occurred on january 6th and this problem remains. in fact, last week the tech
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transparency project released a report showing that facebook continues to host and promote violent extremist and militia organizations that were involved in the capitol attack. facebook has even allowed successionist militias to fund raise and place recruitment ads including ads that state, quote, we are prepared for war end quote. would you join me in the view that social media platforms have failed, utterly failed to do as much as they can and should do to stop groups and individuals that promote and propagate violence?
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>> i know you're fully aware of this, there's activity that's protected by the first amendment espousing ideology, hateful ideology is protected by the first amendment, generally speaking, and this department does not investigate anyone for first amendment protected activities and that's the sole basis for their act. the intelligence committee to your point, the intelligence committee assessed the way that it's spread, the dissemination, the accessibility of extremist violent content and also facilitated that information among the violent extremists and supporters. so if social media can be identified as a source of some of the problem of the way this information is spread and how it's fueled violence, i think that's the third point that i make, that's why it's very important that the national
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strategy that was issued earlier or last year is clear on this point, that critical to address the information environment and that we need to work in the government with the private sector, with social media platforms to help ensure that proper steps are taken that this information is not widely available. >> let me ask you, because i've heard some law enforcement officials say that when these groups are deplatformed that sometimes they're harder to track. you have other means of tracking them. you don't need them to be on social media to track them, correct in. >> again, i would defer to sanborn for this, but general proposition, that's correct. there are multiple ways to collect information on individuals who are involved in violent extremist activities.
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>> do you have under investigation cases involving threatened violence against members of school boards, election workers, in other words, some of the targets, not here in the capital, but at the local and state level? do you have under investigation those kinds of threats of violence? >> as a general matter, it would not be appropriate to talk about any particular case. again, as a general matter the national security division is not involved in any of those types of investigations. >> why not. >> that might include threats of violence against school board members. senator, the only reason where we might get involved is two fold, where a particular threat might rise to a level of national security threat, for example, if it's serious enough to rise to the level of domestic terrorism.
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i have not seen that. the other way which we get involved, actually, to ensure that threats of violence and violence that might be criminal are not improperly branded as domestic terrorism or domestic violence extremism. as i understand the whole point of the attorney general's memo on the school board to protect both the first amendment rights who are there to speak and participate in a political process as well as the safety of public officials. >> let me ask you finally because my time has expired. why has the department of justice not sought enhanced penalties in the cases involving the january 6th insurrection based on the terrorism element here under the 1993 law enhanced terrorism penalties and punishment can be sought. why has the department of justice not used that statute
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that clearly applies to domestic as well as international terrorism? >> senator, it is my understanding, again, i'm not going to talk about any particular investigation. of course, that statute is available in the context of the investigations and prosecutions of individualized defendants, but each case depends on specific facts and circumstances of that case and the attorney general described last week, cases built like all large department of justice investigations from the ground up, starting with those who are potentially at the lower end of culpability, so it's as a general matter, the investigation and whether that terrorism enhancement might apply to a future case remains to be seen. >> i'm not asking about individual cases, but as a general matter none of these
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cases has involved any request for enhanced penalties based on involving terrorism. and i would like to know the answer to that question and i'm out of time, but if you could respond in writing, i'd appreciate it. >> i will, thank you. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. senator cruz. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. olsen how many people have been charged with crimes of violence from the events on january 6th? >> senator, i'm not sure exactly how many have been charged with crimes of violence. i know that there are-- >> okay, how many have been charged with nonviolent crimes? >> i don't have the numbers of people charged whether at the state or travel level. noi -- >> how many people are currently incarcerated as a result of january 6th. >> i don't know the number. >> okay, let me ask you, limited time so i don't want you to filibuster, you know the
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answer or you don't. >> how many people have been placed in solitary confinement concerning the events of january 6th? >> i don't have any information about that, senator. >> you know, m olsen, i'll say it was sad, senator lee asked you about this, back in june of 2021, senator lee and i and two other senators sent a letter to the department of justice asking these questions, asking about the differential prosecutions. let me ask you, turing 2020, black lives matter and antifa riots across the country over 700 officers injured by black lives matter and antifa, how many people have been charged concerning those riots all across the country? >> i don't have on how many-- i would say hundreds of people have been charged. >> you would say, but you don't know. you know, when we asked you why the biden department of justice has such wildly disparate standards going after january
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6th, targeted some people who committed crimes of violence and anyone who commits a crime of violent should be charged, but high school targeting nonviolent individuals. we asked you why is it you won't target the rioters and terrorists who fire bombed cities across this country and the answer we got from the department of justice was shameful. october 22nd you came back and said the department is dedicated prosecutorial resources commensurate with the significance of these events. by significance i guess it means means political benefits to the biden white house and many americans are deeply concerned about the politicalization about the at the point in time of justice under president joe biden. it has been 218 days since we sent you that letter. doj refused to answer the letter. today when senator lee and i asked you about it your answer
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to every damn question is, i don't know. i don't know, i don't know. you're under oath. you may believe that the department of justice that you're unaccountable to the american people, but that is not the case and the wildly disparate standards are unacceptable. ms. sanborn, i want to turn to the fbi. how many fbi agents or confidential informants activity participated in the events of january 6th? >> sir, i'm sure you can appreciate i can't go into the instances of sources or methods. >> did any fbi agents or confidential informants actively parch in the events of january 6th yes or no. >> sir, i can't answer that. >> did any fbi agents or
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confidential informants acts of violence. >> i can't answer that. >> it any agents or active informants actively for acts of violence. >> i can't answer that. >> who is ray epps. >> i'm aware of individual, i don't have specific background to him. >> well a lot of people are very concerned about mr. epps. on the night of january 5th, 2021, he wandered around the crowd that gathered and there's video out there of him chanting tomorrow we need to get into the capitol, into the capitol. this was strange behavior, so strange that the crowd began chanting, fed, fed, fed, fed, fed, fed. ms. sanborn, was ray epps a fed? >> sir, i cannot answer that question. >> the next day on january 6th, mr. epps is seen whispering to
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a person and five seconds later, five seconds after he's whispering to a person that same person begins to forcibly tear down the barricades. did mr. epps urge them to tear down the barricade? >> sir, as the other answers, i cannot answer that. >> shortly thereafter the fbi put out a public post, lifting, seeking information on individuals connected with violent crimes on january 6th. among those individuals in the bottom there is mr. epps, the fbi publicly asked for information identifying, offering cash rewards leading to information, leading for information leading to the arrest. this was posted and then sometime later magically mr. epps disappeared from the public posting. according to public records, mr. epps has not been charged with anything.
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no one's explained why a person videoed urging people to go to the capitol, a person whose conduct was so suspect, the crowd believed he was a fed, would magically disappear from the list of people the fbi was looking at. miss sanborn, a lot of americans are concerned that the federal government deliberately encouraged illegal and violent conduct on january 6th. my question to you, and this is not an ordinary law enforcement question, this is a question of a public accountability. did federal agents or those in service of federal agents actively encourage violent and criminal conduct on january 6th? >> not to my knowledge, sir. >> thanks. >> senator leahy? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sure the witness is can hear me well enough.
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i won't have to shout. sometimes, you know, there are two sides to a story. but that just doesn't hold true for january 6th and threats of domestic terrorism. the violence of january 6th was perpetrated by domestic violent extremists espousing white supremacist ideology. and the dangerous ideology the most lethal thet that we face as a country and as a democracy today. as a former prosecutor i can tell you i feel violent extremism in any form is unacceptable and i have so prosecuted it that way, but downplaying the most clear and present danger we have facing all americans creates a real
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danger to the united states. now, last week, we have to come together as members of the senate and face reality and the truth. last week i asked u.s. capitol police chief thomas manger what would happen if the capitol police were held for last year's fiscal year's funding levels and did not receive increased funding as part of the fiscal year 2022 funding package. he told me it would seriously undermine the ability of the capitol police in every way to protect the capitol. now, addressing domestic terrorism is a major focus of president biden's justice department, fy22 budget request. the senate appropriations bill said-- appropriations committee has released a bill that would traumatically dramatically
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increase that funding to respond to the dangers. so i'd ask this question. mr. olsen, if congress fails to enact the funding increases for fiscal year 2022, how would it impact the department's ability to comprehensively respond to the domestic terrorism threats we face? >> thank you, senator leahy. i know that there was a budget request asking for additional resources and obviously, those resources are being requested because we view those as essential to being able to carry out our mission and so i for-- positions from the justice department and the president on our budget request in connection with the appropriations. >> and thank you. and miss sanborn, it's good to see you again. i'm one of the ones been here
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and remember when you were a senate page and appreciate the things that you've accomplished since then. can you answer the same questions i asked mr. olsen about the funding increases from the fbi's perspective? >> yes, sir, i am aware that we have requested a budget enhancement. right now the resources we have cover what we have, but alluded to by mr. olsen, we've requested an enhancement specifically for domestic violent extremism. >> and the concrete steps that the justice department, first to mr. olsen, but and then miss sanborn, talking about the concrete steps the justice department for countering domestic terrorism. and one critical pillar of that involves confronting the long-term contributors to domestic terrorism, finding
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ways to counter the influence of dangerous conspiracy theories on-line and saying from the highest rank of government. we know that domestic violent extremists pay attention to the rhetoric of political leaders. that includes the rhetoric, called the jailed january 6th rioters political prisoners, sends a signal they did nothing illegal. that frightens me and so, mr. olsen and miss sanborn, how does political rhetoric and misinformation impact the thinking and actions of domestic violent extremists? does it impact recruitment and mobilization by the activists? that's my final question. >> miss sanborn -- but there's no doubt that misinformation, disinformation, false narratives intelligence
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community has that are available on-line to violent extremists, again, whether that domestic violent extremists or those by international terrorists and the internet and the availability of social media can be an accelerant to movement, senator, from simply being susceptible to the messages, radicalized and eventually to being mobilized to violencement and we've seen this same pattern occur in both the international terrorism context when it comes to isis and their propaganda, as we've seen on the domestic violent extremist side with regard to domestic and political social influences. so it's a significant problem. >> does miss sanborn wish to-- >> yeah, violence on the internet leads to vulnerable recruitment and so we're
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concerned on that on the quote, unquote, misinformation and we know our adversaries would do-- >> thank you, senator. senator cotton. >> in july you signed a public letter attacking the trump administration for using homeland security officers to help protect the federal courthouse in portland from violent rioters. that letter stated that plain clothed automotives ap vehicles should be used only in limited capacity and clearly in identified circumstances. crowd control is not among the circumstances. mr. olsen, on january 6th, 2021, did the department of justice or fbi have any plain clothed officers among the crowd at the capitol? >> senator, i'm not aware of whether or not there were plain
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clothes officers among the crowd on july 5th-- on january 6th. >> did any plain clothes officers enter the capitol on january 6th? >> i don't know the answer to that, senator. >> mr. olsen, i've got to tell you, your answers to many questions today are disappointing because they boil down to essentially i don't know. did you prepare for this hearing? did you know this hearing was happening before this morning? >> the direct answer, yes, i prepared extensetively. many of the questions are about specific facts that i don't have. >> let me-- >> one of the most important points that i would emphasize is, you know, as a general matter it's not appropriate to comment on ongoing
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investigations. >> i didn't ask you about an ongoing investigation. i just flipped to the cover of my binder here, the title is the domestic terrorism threat one year after january 6th. the attorney general has repeatedly said that this is one of the department's highest priority. you're testifying at a hearing about domestic terrorist threat one year after january 6th and you can't comment on how many people are arrested after january 6th. would your attorney general, your boss, not be able to answer the basic questions. >> on the last question you asked over 700 people have been charged in connection with january 6th. about 325 have been charged with serious felonies in connection with attacks. >> ten minutes ago, senator cruise asked you a series of questions and you didn't have the answer for how many were charged with violent offenses-- >> i'm sorry if i
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misunderstood, but i believe that senator cruz was asking me about other events not january 6th events. >> let's turn to another issue that came up earlier today. ray epps. during the january 6th riot last year, mr. epps was caught on video several times, seeming to encourage people to enter the capitol, to break down police barriers, video from the rallies, or from the rally on the national mall earlier that day shows him doing the same thing and video from the night before shows him encouraging people to enter the company. ray epps lives in arizona, he didn't exactly go underground after january 6th and well-known to the department of justice and on the capitol riot most wanted page just days after january 6th. in fact, he was one of the first 16 suspects added to that most wanted page on your website. it does not appear that he's been arrested or charged in any
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event. in july with no explanation he was removed from the fbi's most wanted page. mr. olsen, who is ray epps and why was he removed from the fbi's most wanted list? >> senator, i don't have any information about that individual. i would defer to miss sanborn for additional-- >> okay, that gets back to what i meant earlier asking you if you prepared for the hearing. you run the national security division. the department said this these january 6th prosecutions are one of the highest priorities. this is a man on the most wanted page for six months. do you really expect us to believe that you've never heard of the name ray epps and you don't know anything about him? >> i simply don't have any information at all, senator, about that individual. >> what other -- what other suspects on the most wanted page do you know nothing about?
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>> senator-- >> can you name anyone else on the department of justice's most wanted page? >> i'm sorry, i didn't hear the question. >> can you name anyone else on the department of justice's most wanted page from the january 6th riots. >> i'm not familiar with the most wanted page, no, i'm not familiar-- >> i guess we'll have to seek our answers elsewhere, this has not been a stellar performance today. >> senator whitehouse are you on-line. >> i am. >> please proceed. >> thank you. mr. olsen, as a legal matter are violent acts and threats of violence protected by the first amendment? >> senator, no, violent acts and threats are violence are
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not protected. >> are they crimes, indeed, sometimes federal crimes? >> they can be both state and federal crimes, senator, yes. >> if violence or threats of violence occur at a school board meeting, is there any difference there from other locations? >> not from the perspective of whether or not those acts would be considered crimes under either state or federal law. >> it's the conduct itself, not the location of the conduct that determines the offense, correct? >> that's correct, as a general matter. >> now, ms. sanborn, how long has the fbi coordinated with local communities regarding terrorism threats? >> sir, i don't have the specifics for you, but the jps in 1980 talking with
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communities. >> for years. >> partners for years, yes, sir. >> and that includes domestic terrorism threats? >> absolutely, as i said, a.t.f. was created out of a domestic terrorism threat issue that we were dealing with. >> and all 94 offices were tasked with setting up a local group to gather situational awareness regarding terrorist threats years ago? >> my understanding, yes, defer to mr. olsen to confirm whether i'm correct or not. >> tell me what predication is required to open an investigation of a domestic organization as a domestic terrorist group? >> sir, we do know the open
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cases on organizations. we open cases on individuals. obviously, we would build out if they were conspiring or coordinating with others as we would about the course of our investigation, but we do not open cases on domestic groups. >> so if you wanted to send a confidential informant or undercover fbi agent into a domestic terrorist organization, you would not be able to proceed unless you had specific evidence giving you predication as to the specific individuals in that organization? >> correct, and i would add to it that the bottom line, we have to have an authorized purpose to collect the data we're eeking to seeking to collect and that comes allegations of a federal crime or interest in national security. >> and mr. olsen, with respect
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to the january 6th assault will the department of justice follow the evidence upstream to funders, organizers, and instigaors not present at the capitol assault, if justified, or put another way, does the department of justice have any policy or reticence not to follow the evidence regarding upstream funders, organizers and investigators? >> senator, as the attorney general discussed last week in his speech, the department will follow the evidence wherever it leads and that's consistent with the direction that i have in my role as head of the national security division. >> and it's not uncommon in looking at an organized or
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multi-department event for the department to begin with prosecutions as attorney general garland suggested, of low level people, whether it's street dealers in a narcotics organization or rioters in the january 6th assault, correct? >> correct, in fact, i began my career as a federal prosecutor here in washington d.c. and that's the standard approach that's takesen in all manner of large conspiracy cases. >> and it's customary to do that first in order to obtain further evidence against upstream organizers or kingpins, correct? >> correct. and that work can be painstaking and require a degree of patience and hard, would to follow the evidence wherever it goes. >> the department is following that with respect to the january 6th investigation?
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>> that's correct. >> thanks very much. my time is up. >> thank you, senator whitehouse. there was reference in this hearing from senator cruz and senator cotton about an individual named ray epps. i had never heard the name before and my staff was given me an article from political facts i'll ask unanimous consent into the record. notes this individual and the circumstances of his being in washington on january 6th was raised by something known as revolver news, a website which is run by the former trump white house speech writer named darin beaty, who was dismissed from the white house after appearing on the panel with white nationalists. fox news host tucker carlson amplified his claim in a
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conspirator al documentary series january 6th, and i know nothing further. this apparently has caught the attention of senator cruz and senator cotton. at this point senator hawley is recognized. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. olsen, let me start with you, how many personnel in your national security division are working on cases or other issues surrounding the events of january 6th? >> senator, that investigation is being led by the u.s. attorney's office in washington d.c. there they have dozens of individuals, including people who have been prosecutors around the countries to support that extensive investigation. we have a number of handful of prosecutors in main justice who are working to support and assist in that investigation. >> but from your division, my question is. how many are? none? >> no, no, from my division at
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least three or four who have been working if not full-time, part-time on that case. >> how many personnel in your division are working on issues pertaining to attorney general garland's memorandum of october 4th 2021 that's entitled partnership among federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement to address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff? >> senator, with regard to that memo and that work, we-- the national security division informal advisory role. there's no one dedicated to that on any sort of full-time or even part-time basis. thing we're available to consult with in the facts warrant that with the national security division. >> what exactly are you doing. what have you done to date with regard-- this is the school board memo for those following along here. what is it that your division has done to date so far with regard to that memorandum and the department's effort here to track parents at school board
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meetings? >> with regard to the school board memo, which again, i understand is an effort to protect school board members, other public servants, teachers from acts of violence or threats of violence, but from the perspective of the national security division, i don't think we've had any particular role or any-- played, done anything in particular with regard to that effort. >> so you're not coordinating with local officials? >> again, not aware of, senator, that the national security division played any role up to this date. i've been in the role for two and a half months, but not heard of anyone in-- >> you responded to questions from senator whitehouse about parents at school board meetings, the gist of the questions was, it doesn't really matter if it's a school board meeting or elsewhere, if you commit acts of terrorism anywhere then it's terrorism. is it your view that parents speaking out at school board meetings can be or are domestic
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terrorists? >> absolutely not. and my understanding of the attorney general's memo on this is that it is not about people speaking out at school boards. it's not about people voicing their opinions, exercising their first amendment rights. it's about protecting, whether it's teachers or for that matter law enforcement automotives or other officials from threats of violence, criminal acts, violence. my understanding of senator whitehouse's question is the location of federal crimes not necessarily domestic terrorism, but federal crimes being beside the point with federal law enforcement. are prosecutors drawing up lists of crimes that parents can be prosecuted recording school board meetings? >> i'm not aware that that's ever happened. >> you're not aware, really? did you watch the attorney general's testimony when he was
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hear before, we read the list of crimes, prosecutors and employees had prepared, had sent to local officials, talking about crimes that parents could potentially be charged with, a list which by the way was incorrect. a list of crimes that don't exist, but had been sent to local partners in at least one state, all of the local partners in one state. are you familiar with that, with miss testimony in that regard? it you watch that hearing? >> i am generally familiar with the attorney general's testimony and my understanding of both his testimony and his direction for the department of justice is to take the necessary steps that we can talk whether it's enforcing federal law or working with state and local partners to protect individuals who both are serving in public service rolls such as school board members and teachers, and to protect first amendment rights of people who attend or speak at school board or other public
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meetings. >> well, here is my issue with that is that what we have found consistently out of department of justice we can't get a straight answer why your division would be involved at all with regard to school board meetings. why the attorney general told us you wouldn't be whatsoever. it appears from subsequent reporting you have been. we're told that parents wouldn't be charged with federal crimes and we know that department of justice prosecutors have drawn up a list of federal crimes and disseminated them and we know from whistleblower that it has happened and we can't get a straight answer as to why parents should of be treated or recorded as domestic terrorists. i've got other questions i'd like to ask you with regard to january 6th. my time expired so i'll give those to you for the record and have some additional questions for you regarding your division's involvement or not with what the attorney general is doing with regard to school boards. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, senator hawley. i believe senator booker is
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virtually available. >> yes, mr. chairman. >> senator booker, take it away. >> yes. first and foremost, i think your call to members on both sides of this committee is important and unfortunately so, in terms of the -- i'm going with senators condemning all types of political violence in our country. we are a nation that must firmly adhere to the ideals of nonviolence and condemn those actors and they should be held accountable when it does happen and i'm grateful for you calling all of us to reaffirm that point. i want to start by talking about firearms on the day of january 6th, extensive video and photographic evidence shows that rioters on january 6th repeatedly acted violently toward u.s. capitol police and d.c. police officers. the rioters carried a variety of different types of weapons,
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including flag poles, clubs, hockey sticks, crow bars, chemical sprays, fire extinguishers, knives, bats, stun guns, a firecracker, stolen police gear and more, a pipe bomb was discovered next to the democratic national committee's headquarters january 6th and reported that vice-president elect harris was inside the building at the time. the justice department charges so far indicate that dozens of individuals who faulted our democracy on january 6th were carrying weapons of some kind, the rioters that day injured 140 officers, some of whom are still dealing with the impact of those injuries and potentially lifetime permanent damage to their bodies. one of the officers on that day, a new jersey, brian sicknick died from the injuries he suffered. and ms. sanborn, i understand you previously testified last year that the fbi did not
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recover any firearms. however, you stated that you were not aware whether the u.s. capitol police or the d.c. police confiscated any guns. based on the provisional review appears that five individuals so far have been charged with firearm offenses, including people who carried a gun onto the capitol grounds and others who brought a gun with you. i'd like to offer you, the opportunity, ms. sanborn to update your prior testimony. awe wear of approximately how many firearms were confiscated in connection with january 6th in total or how many people we know now have had actual firearms and can you describe the nature of the firearm charges that the justice department has filed so far? >> sir, yes, i'll start and
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then probably defer to mr. olsen about the quote, up quote charges. i appreciate the opportunity. i sit here today, as we investigate facts change. i'm aware of five individual that had a charge related to a firearm. one of which was arrested by our state ap and local partners, not within the restricted area, however, on the day of january 6th. there was one other individual arrested by our state and local partners in the restricted area on the day of. as a result of our investigation, we uncovered after the fact that three others possibly had been in the restricted area with a firearm so we had evidence suggesting that they came in the restricted area and had on their possession a weapon. i'm aware of all five of those and hope that helps clarify and again, as we continue to follow the facts, some of that could change. >> onif mr. olsen wants to add anything to that? >> only, again, senator, i'm
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aware of obviously, of the information you cited about how those involved in the attack on the capitol did bring other weapons in addition to the ones that you're talking about, the firearms and other weapons, bats, poles, pepper spray and the like and just a general point, senator, one of the lessons we learned from international terrorism is to take all authorities approach. when you look at the charges that may be brought. they may include firearms in domestic terrorism or domestic violence in this case, and that which is supported by the evidence. >> mr. olsen, very quickly, in your written testimony, you said we face these obvious domestic violence extreextremis with a variety, some are racial, and religious. i'm concerned about sheriff's, called constitutional sheriffs,
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law enforcement to claim to be the arbiters of what the law is in their given country -- given county. and that that power supercedes that of others and the sheriff association who for a while was a board member of the far right extremist group known as oath keepers called the federal government the greatest threat that we face today. quickly, my time is expiring. >> what kind of threat do these people who call themselves constitutional sheriffs, many of whom are elected officials, really pose to to our government and the sheriff as playing a key role in the radicalization of those who
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sympathize with anti-governmental views? >> and senator, my-- i am familiar with that group from public reporting. i would say as a general matter, what we do know is that there has been, particularly the last year, a significant rise in the threat from anti-government, anti-authority violent extremists. again, focus op actions and violence, not on speech, not op ideology, but we've seen a raise of that domestic violent extremism over the past year, so it's an area that we're focused on along with our partners at the fbi. >> and the rise is a relative term. what kind of increase are we seeing? >> i don't-- yes, i don't have specific on numbers of cases but it was a marked increase in my conversations with miss sanborn in preparation for this hearing and in my time in the division,
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it's been something reinforced that this is a threat that's been elevated over the past year. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator booker and i want to thank our witnesses, mr. olsen and ms. sanborn coming before the committee to testify. i'd like to make one or two comments. i'd like to address the school board activity. i believe mr. olsen was explicit and would invite him to restate it if necessary that the ordinary appearance before a school board in a peaceful manner expressing your point of view is not had a crime either by state or federal standards and that in many instances if not all, it's protected speech. is that your testimony, mr. olsen? >> it is, chairman. if i-- i don't know if i can be any clearer, but the attorney general said spirited debate is
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constitutionally protected. it's protecting our public servant from acts of violence ap threats of violence. >> that's the point, there are more and more public servants even at the congressional level who are being threatened in ways they've never seen before, and many of them, sadly, have reached a point where they've walked away from public service, rather than to endanger themselves or their families and that's a reality. i don't care whether it's a school board member or a member of city council or a member of legislature or congress, whoever it may be in public life, including law enforcement officials deserve our best efforts to keep them safe and i hope that the department of justice when it reaches the appropriate level, if it does, will engain in that activity and i think that's what the attorney general is setting out to do and parenthetically, i know no defense to domestic
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terrorism that you are a parent of a child in school, that does not absolve you from your legal and constitutional responsibility to be nonviolent in your activity. i hope -- i'm not going to ask you to comment on that that's my personal point of view. and when i listen to the comments inhibiting parents from testifying at the school boards, i don't see that at all in terms of the policies of the administration. it's only when it crosses that unacceptable line of violence that it should be the providence of our federal government to interject itself. so, thank you for your testimony. ... you made it clear we are facg ongoing threats posed by violent white supremacists, extremists, and other domestic terrorism sources. on the right and on the left that we are mindful of and will set up to do everything we can to protect the american public
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from that. last week we remembered one of the darkest days in american history and as we look forward, i hope the committee, it has been stated in all fairness by republicans and democrats today, is that we are opposed to violence whatever the source may be. it has no place in our democracy and free expression of persons political point of view. once again thank you to the witnesses, and this meeting of the senate judiciary committee will stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudibleti conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> today house democratic majority leader steny hoyer talks to "politico" about president biden's legislative agenda and the 2022 midterm elections. watch live watch live at 12:30 p.m. eastern on c-span, online or watch full coverage on our new video app, c-span now. >> the u.s. conference of mayors met in washington recently to discuss the economy, healthcare and other issues. watch tonight with marcia fudge and isabel guzman. that's at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2, online or watch full coverage on our new video app, c-span now. >> women in the business and policy field discuss workplace issues in in a post covid wod including shifting work environments, economic equity, workforce retention and paid family leave. posted by "politico," this is 40 minutes.


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