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tv   DHS Secretary FBI Director and Others Testify on Global Threats to the...  CSPAN  October 20, 2021 1:31am-4:51am EDT

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live coverage on c-span3.
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this month, americans observed the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of september 11th, 2001. we will never forget the heroic first responders who ran into the twin towers to save others, the brave flight 93 passengers who fought back against the hijackers, or the service members killed at their post in the pentagon. we remember all of those who lost their lives or their loved ones on 9/11. and those who have suffered ground zero related health affects in the days since. this committee was created in the aftermath of the attacks. earlier this month, we met on hallowed ground in new york to mark the 20th anniversary. we visited the 9/11 memorial and
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museum and laid a wreath in remembrance. we met in 1 world trade center with first responders to discuss how far we have come in the last two decades and what more remains to be done to secure our nation while upholding our american values. today, the committee is meeting to examine worldwide threats to the homeland 20 years after 9/11. it is the committee's longstanding practice to meet annually with national security leaders to discuss the global threat landscape and the u.s. response. this year especially, we reflect on the incredible transformation of our national security apparatus, an expansion of the homeland security enterprise, over the last two decades. we recognize the success we have had in preventing another 9/11-style attack, but are sobered by the challenges posted posed by longstanding and
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emerging homeland security threats. some of these threats include the recent riot and domestic terrorism, more frequent cyberattacks from increasingly sophisticated actors and the security implications of the taliban's return to power in afghanistan. with respect to domestic terrorism, our witnesses have testified before this committee previously about the grave nature of the threat. second mayorkas called it the greatest threat in the homeland. i hope to hear from the panel today about their current domestic terrorism threat assessment in the wake of the january 6th attack on the united states capitol. regarding cybersecurity, over the past year, we have seen our adversaries burrow into federal networks through a sophisticated supply chain of attack, exploit vulnerabilities in microsoft and
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refuse to reign in cyber criminals working to extort millions of dollars from u.s. critical infrastructure owners and operators through ransomware attacks. i commend the administration for its commitment to securing federal networks and making the federal government a more valuable and secure department in the private sector. we still have a long way to go. i'm interested to learn today about how dhs and fi coordinate as they execute their shared cybersecurity missions. regarding afghanistan, this committee has been and will continue to engage on threats to the homeland emanating from afghanistan while recognizing the terror threat has metastasized across the world in the last two decades. we are conducting careful oversight of u.s. efforts to screen and resettle our afghan allies in this country and will continue to do so.
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finally, i want to address the situation at the southern border. the biden administration inherited an immigration system badly broken by the previous administration. trump's cruel policies led to families being separated and children dying in custody. those immoral policies did not represent who we are as a people and the biden administration was right to reject them. i have spoke within secretary mayorkas on a regular basis about the border and even more frequently in recent days as events unfolded in del rio, texas. the administration has committed to enforce the laws and processing migrants in a safe, ordinarily and humane manner. this committee will hold the administration to its commitment. finally, i want to say a word to the men and women working to secure the homeland. their jobs have never been easy, and they are particularly difficult right now with the
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covid-19 pandemic and worsening natural disasters caused by climate change, threatening their health, disrupting travel and diverting homeland security resources. please know that this committee greatly appreciates those working on the front lines and behind the scenes to secure the homeland on behalf of the american people. as we learned in 9/11, nothing short of a well coordinated whole of government effort will protect the nation against urgent evolving threats. 20 years on, the committee on homeland security remains committed to working with federal, state and local partners on that critical effort. again, i thank our witnesses for joining us today and the members for their participation. with that, i recognize the ranking member, the gentleman from new york, for an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the witnesses being here today.
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i'm pleased that the committee is holding this very important hearing. as the united states finds itself facing increasingly dire threats on a number of fronts impacting our homeland security. from the deadly withdrawal in afghanistan to the security crisis along our southwest border, to the unprecedented cyber threats facing the american way of life, the american people are deeply troubled by what they are seeing. these threats are, of course, all happening in the context of the covid-19 pandemic in which clarity from the administration has been absent, similar to the mitigation of the pandemic at the southwest border as was recently confirmed by the dhs inspector general's office. what is most troubling to me is the lack of accountability this administration is willing to accept. nearlyinauguration, the narrative continues to be
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which blames the last administration for the current administration's shortcomings. this is just tired. it's inaccurate. they have been repeated alongside scenes of americans and afghan allies being left under taliban rule and while known terrorist operatives are inaugurated into the taliban's cabinet on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. known terrorist operatives were inaugurated into taliban's cabinet on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. that is significant. that is not the only crisis where the biden administration's blame game shows up. what we hear when officials blame the last administration for the deadly and increasingly untenable crisis along the southern border. we saw the sixth straight month of more than 170,000 encounters along the southwest border. a trend that has never been recorded before. these numbers are part of the overall 1.5 million illegal border encounters that have
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occurred just this fiscal year. the border chief is on record stating known or suspected terrorists are crossing the border at, quote, a level we have never seen before, end quote. this administration continues to avoid the american people's demand for transparency. this issue hits home for me. this year any district in central new york has seen a very big increase in opioid related deaths. this trend is repeated in communities across the country proving that in 2021, every state truly is a border state. customs and border protection has seized more than twice the amount of lethal fentanyl this year compared to last year. that's just what we seized. more than three times more than in 2019. we all know that everything -- that for everything we interdict, more is flying undetected into american communities as the drug cartels exploit the failings.
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the american people have faced an unprecedented threat to their livelihood, their privacy and way of life. this year alone, we have seen a number of high-profile attacks aimed at america's critical infrastructure leading to important conversations in congress around the merits of incident reporting and identifying systemically important critical infrastructure. two issues i would like to hear the panel's thoughts on. last but not least is the rapidly increasing challenges facing the homeland from adversarial nation states overseas, namely china. i see aggressive moves on beijing's part to increase its investment in the western hemisphere. threats posed by china underpin security challenges leading this country into new economic security oversight efforts. i traveled to new york city with a number of my colleagues to observe the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. i thank the chairman for making that happen.
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as we spoke with individuals at nypd and fdny, two things became clear. first that our first responders and law enforcement are true heroes. on the front lines of our homeland security, risking their lives to protect the american people. secondly, the same first responders are troubled by what they see. many accounts concerning how troubled our front line law enforcement is about the homeland security implications of al qaeda and isis having a safe haven in afghanistan once again. along with consequences in their communiies stemming from the southern border. the threats combined with low morale and retention caused by the shameful de-fund the police movement is putting people at risk when we could least afford it. i hope to hear solutions rather than talking points who each play a role in securing the us homeland. i'm grateful to each one of them for their service to their country in these tries times.
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i look forward to working with them. make no mistake about it, it's very, very frustrating right now, especially with respect to the southern border. i will pull no punches. i look forward to having this discussion. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. >> other members of the committee are reminded under rules, opening statements may be submitted for the record. members are also reminded the committee will operate according to the guidelines laid out by the chairman and ranking member in our february 3 colloquy regarding procedures. i welcome our panel of witnesses. our first witness is the honorable the secretary of homeland security. the next is the director of the federal bureau of investigation. our third and final witness is the director of the national
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counterterrorism center in the office of the director of national intelligence. without objection, the witnesses' full statement will be inserted in the record. >> good morning and thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the threat landscape facing our homeland 20 years after 9/11, alongside my colleagues. mr. chairman, with your indulgence, i may ask for a minute more of time. i do want to address the images that emanated from del rio, texas, over the last several days and correctly and necessarily were met with our nation's horror, because they do
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not reflect who we are as a country nor do we -- do they reflect who the united states custom and border protection is. i want to share with you and this entire committee the fact that we are addressing this with tremendous speed and with tremendous force. i have ordered an investigation to be conducted of the events that are captured in those images. the office of professional responsibilities leaders are conducting the investigation. we have ensured that the individuals during the pendency of the investigation are not conducting law enforcement duties to interact with migrants, but rather are conducting only administrative duties. i have informed through the appropriate channels our office of inspector general. the facts will drive the actions
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that we take. we will pull no punches. we need to conduct this investigation thoroughly but very quickly. it will be completed in days and not weeks. i wanted to assure this committee and you, mr. chairman, and mr. ranking member, of that fact. during the past few weeks, i have attended numerous events to remember the tragic assault on our democracy that occurred on 9/11. each commemoration was a powerful reminder of why we serve. in memory of those whom we lost and in pursuit of or noble mission to protect the homeland. today, we face a diverse and evolving threat landscape that includes domestic and international terrorism, malicious cyber activities, a global pandemic, climate change and more. through the extraordinary talent
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and dedication of more than 250,000 individuals who comprise our department, we are meeting the challenge to protect our homeland and keep our communities safe. every day our departments' personnel make sacrifices to achieve this mission. i would like to take a moment to describe the major threats facing our country today and the work we are doing to combat them. first, we have built a multi-layered security and screening architecture to combat the evolving terrorist threat. we remain ever vigilant in protecting the homeland from foreign terrorists, seeking to do us harm, the very reason for the department's creation. while combating the most significant and persistent terrorism-related threat facing our country today, which stems from both homegrown and domestic violent extremists inspired by a broad range of ideological motivations. to meet this challenge, dhs has established a dedicated domestic
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terrorism branch within our office. launched the center for prevention to provide communities with tools and resources to address early risk factors and redoubled our efforts to share timely and actionable information and intelligence with our partners across every level of government. this year for first time, we designated combating domestic violent extremism as a national priority area in fema grant programs, resulting in at least $77 million being spent on capabilities to detect and protect against these threats in communities nationwide. second, as cyber threats have thrown, so have our efforts to increase cybersecurity resilience and protect our critical infrastructure. ransomware incidents are on the rise. last year, victims paid $350 million in ransom, a 311% increase over the prior year with the average payment
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exceeding $300,000. in july, dhs launched a program to help private and public organizations combat this and adopt best practices. our experts at the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency stood up the joint cyber defense collaborative to bring together partners from every level of government and the private sector to reduce cyber risks, to better protect our critical infrastructure. we issued two new security directives to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of our nation's pipelines. our office of intelligence and analysis are working with all 50 states, local jurisdictions and election technology experts to keep our elections secure. to further lead the way, we are building a top tier cybersecurity workforce by investing in the development of
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diverse talent pipelines and building the expertise to keep addressing changing threats. third, we continue making risk based investments to keep our borders secure, including from threats posed by transnational criminal organizations. we are collaborating with our international partners to disrupt these groups, combat the activities like drug trafficking and human smuggling and hold accountable those with ties to the operations while streamlining multinational cooperation on investigations and prosecutions. fourth, dhs continues to support efforts to combat the covid-19 pandemic. fema helped stand up more than 800 community vaccination centers, including almost 200 mobile sites to more increase access to covid-19 vaccines across vulnerable and rural populations. the transportation security administration acted to protect the health of the traveling
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public and transportation personnel by implementing a federal mask mandate at airports on commercial aircraft and in various modes of surface transportation. the u.s. secret service and immigration and customs enforcement have partnered with other federal agencies to protect americans from covid-19 related fraud and criminal activity, including by preventing more than $3 billion of much needed covid-19 relief from fraudulently ending up in the pockets of criminals. finally, we are countering the growing existential threat posed by climate change. hurricane ida was the latest manifestation of a devastating reality. natural disasters, rising in intensity and destructive reach. however, this threat is not new. nor is it unique to any region. to help communities recover and remain resilient, president biden doubled the size of the building resilient infrastructure and communities
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program, pouring $1 billion into wildfire resilience efforts, flood control initiatives and much more. dhs also authorized nearly $3.5 billion in hazard mitigation funding to help states, tribes and territories adapt and prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis. fema revised its policies to overcome historic inequities in its aid programs and ensure a fairer and more equitable distribution of assistance to minority, low income and other disenfranchised communities. two decades after 9/11, the department of homeland security remains focused on protecting our country from evolving threats. we can execute this critical mission because of our incredible workforce and because of our key partners, the members of this committee, our counterparts abroad, private sector, non-governmental
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organizations and local communities. we will remain vigilant, resilient and agile. we will do so to continue countering the threats of today and of the next 20 years. thank you for your leadership and continued support. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. i ask the director to summarize his statement. i know it might be a little more than five minutes. we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning to you and to the ranking member and members of the committee. i'm honored to be here today to discuss the many threats facing our homeland. a week and a half ago, we marked a somber really sacred anniversary in this country.
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the 20th anniversary of the september 11th attacks. september 11th reminds us of evil and loss. the nearly 3,000 victims taken from us that day and from their families. it also reminds us of sacrifice and selflessness of common purpose. it reminds us of the first responders and everyday here rose we lost that day and all those who suffered illness as a result of their selfless work after the attacks, including members of our fbi family. still, two decades later, our response to september 11th and the lessons learned from those attacks drive our approach to combating all the many threats americans face today. it was 9/11, after all, that turned the fbi into an agency focused on disrupting threats and to building deeper and more
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effective partnerships. good thing we made those changes, because as we will discuss this morning, there's no shortage of dangers to defend against. just a flavor before we even get to terrorism, on the cyber front, we're investigating over 100 different types of ransomware, each with scores of victims. that's on top of hundreds of other criminal and national security cyber threats we are working against every day. in our violent crime work, we arrested over 600 gang members in a single month. that's just one month. protecting our nation's innovation, we are opening a new china counterintelligence investigation every 12 hours. every day, we receive thousands of tips to our national threat operations center, many of which require imminent action against
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threats to life. that list goes on and on. i'm not going to have time to discuss most of them before we get started. i do want to spend a few minutes on terrorism and the challenges facing those protecting us against it. preventing terrorist attacks remains our top priority now and for the foreseeable future. today, the greatest terrorist threat we face here in the u.s. is from what are lone actors. because they act alone and move quickly from radicalization to action, often using easily obtainable weapons against soft targets, these attackers don't leave a lot of dots for investigators to connect or time in which to connect them. we continue to see individuals here at home inspired by jihadist ideologies espoused by
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foreign terrorist organizations like isis and al qaeda, what we would call homegrown violent extr extremists. we are encounter radicalized personalized grievances, ranging from ethnic bias to anti-authority or anti-government sentiment, to conspiracy theories. there is no doubt about it, today's threat is different from what it was 20 years ago. it will most certainly continue to change. to stay in front of it, we have to adapt, too. that's why over the last year and a half, the fbi has pushed even more resources to our domestic terrorism investigations. since the spring of 2020 -- about 16, 17 months ago -- we have more than doubled our domestic terrorism caseload from 1,000 to around 2,700 investigations. we surged personnel to match.
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more than doubling the number of people working the threat from a year before. we are also surging against threats by foreign terrorist organizations like isis, and al qaeda. they have not stopped trying to carry out attacks against us. we are certainly watching the evolving situation in afghanistan. 9/11 was 20 years ago. but for us at the fbi, as i know it does for my colleagues testifying here with me today, it represents a danger that we focus on every single day. make no mistake, the danger is real. our adversaries are committed and they are working to succeed just once while we are working to bat 1,000. we are working side by side with our partners to identify and
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stop would-be attackers before they act. just within the past couple of years, we thwarted potential terrorist attacks in areas like las vegas, tampa, new york, cleveland, kansas city, miami, pittsburgh and elsewhere. we are proud of our successes. but we need to stay on the balls of our feet. relentlessly vigilant against the next plot and their next attempts to attack us. our workforce has been battling the threat of terrorism and every other threat we face right through the teeth of a pandemic and rising danger to their own safety. i add that last part because over the past year, we have seen a sharp and deeply disturbing uptick in violence against the law enforcement community. in just the first eight months
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of this year, 52 law enforcement officers have been killed on the job. put that into context, that's an officer murdered every five days. that's more than all of 2020. of course, that doesn't even count all those who have died in the line of duty facing the many other inherent dangers of this job, much less the scores of officers, agents, analysts and other dedicated professionals who lost their lives to covid-19. we will be forever indebted for their bravery and their sacrifice and are determined to honor them all through the way we do our work while we remain focused on our ultimate position, protecting american people and upholding the constitution. thank you for taking the time to hear from me today. i look forward to your questions.
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>> now i ask the director to summarize her statement for five minutes or whatever you are required. director. >> thank you very much, chairman, ranking member and distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the global counterterrorism environment and to highlight the tireless work of professionals across the board who are working to protect our homeland. as noted in my statement, 20 years after 9/11, the united states faces a changed threat from foreign terrorist organizations. the threat today is less acute to the homeland but it continues to become more diverse and diffuse. the united states continues to have success at degrading foreign terrorist operations, including those directed at the
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homeland. those these terrorists have proven adaptive over years of pressure. their presence has spread to countries that are often under under governed, requiring constant vigilance as we monitor for threats. turning to the international counterterrorism landscape. the suicide bombing at the international airport in kabul, which tragically killed 13 u.s. service members and scores of afghans, illustrates that these groups continue to place a premium on attacks against the united states. they maintain an interest in attacks even as it remains committed to the long-term goal of establishing an islamic caliphate. it is exploiting security gaps to create conditions favorable for seizing territory again.
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for its part, al qaeda changed significantly since 9/11. the group and its affiliates and allies have demonstrated their ability to adapt to changing environments. part of this adaptation included shifting from its core leadership in the afghanistan/pakistan region to a more diverse group across africa, the middle east and south asia. while years of pressure has degraded al qaeda network, the group and its affiliates remain intent on using individuals with access to the united states to conduct attacks. this was most recently demonstrated by al qaeda and the approval of a 2019 attack in pensacola, florida, where a saudi air force officer killed three and wounded eight u.s. service members. here in the united states, the primary threat in the homeland comes from individuals inspired
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to violence either by foreign terrorists or by motivations more domestic in nature. u.s.-based homegrown violent extreists are inspired by al qaeda or isis and will likely continue to attempt attacks because of their personal and ideological grievances, their attraction to foreign terrorist messaging and their access to weapons and targets. one of the most pressing terrorist threats to the homeland also comes from domestic violent extremists. in particular, racially or ethnically motivated who often mobilize to violence independent of direction from a formal organization. since 2015, the threat from these individuals has increased. since 2018, they have posed the most lethal threat inside the homeland. we assess that they will pose a heightened threat in the coming years.
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we remain vigilant against iran, its agents and proxies. but also, the iraqi shia militants. we remain concerned. we face an increasing number of indirect fire and unmanned aerial system attacks against u.s. facilities in iraq, especially over the last several months. looking ahead, we will continue to face a diverse range of threats that play out against the backdrop of global trends, including the covid-19 pandemic, great power competition, the disruptive affects of a changing climate and rapidly evolving technology. more than 17 years after its establishment, the national counterterrorism center is positioned to lead in this
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moment alongside our partners in the fbi and dhs as we move into the next phase of the fight. we will continue to discover, analyze and warn about ongoing and future threats as part of a broader set of foreign policy challenges that the united states will face in the 21st century. we will continue finding innovative ways to synthesize, manage and exploit our unique access to terrorism data across a spectrum of sources to identify threats. we mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks recognizing the remarkable successes and with great gratitude to the military, law enforcement, diplomatic and intelligence professionals. we have prevented another major 9/11-style attack on the homeland. we must not be complacent. the intelligence community must continue to collaborate and
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maintain the ability to innovate to stay ahead of the next evolution of the threat. thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today. i look forward to your questions. >> i remind each member that he or she will have five minutes to question the witnesses. i now recognize myself for questions. you testified before the committee two years ago that domestic terrorism threats were the most concerning terrorism threats in terms of lethality. you testified the threats of domestic terrorism is metastasizing. you said it's the greatest threat in the homeland. despite these acknowledgements, it appears warning signs were
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disregarded on the domestic terrorism threat in the lead up to the january 6 attack on the capitol. what is your current assessment of threats posed by domestic terrorists to the homeland? >> i would be very pleased, mr. chairman, to answer that at the outset. we in the department of homeland security, of course, with our partners across the federal government and state and local law enforcement consider domestic violent extremism to be the most prominent terrorism related threat to the homeland right now. i think our response in anticipation of what could have materialized on september 18 demonstrates the lessons learned
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from the january 6 insurrection. we gathered a great deal of intelligence and information from public facing sources as well as leveraging academic and other third party institutions. we disseminated that information and intelligence to state, local, tribal and territorial partners. we were far more prepared should anything have materialized on september 18 than was previously the case, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i guess i would say a few things. first, starting back in june of 2019, i elevated racially and ethnically violent extremism to a national threat priority, which is our highest threat priority level. i think that has shown fruit in
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the fact that we have effectively doubled the number of domestic terrorism investigations and arrests since that time. we had about 180 domestic terrorism arrests last year. we have had over 600 now in connection with january 6 alone. i would say that we have also created a domestic terrorism hate group to help information flow that goes out. certainly, as you noted, mr. chairman, we have seen those kinds of domestic violent extreists with the most lethal activity. in 2020, we saw a significant uptick in lethal action and violence by anti-government, anti-authority violent extremists to go along with the racially motivated. from the perspective of pushing out intelligence, as we did before january 6, we have been
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pushing out dozens of intelligence products to highlight the threat. >> thank you. congress passed an act. we have been trying to make sure that the fbi produced information on domestic terrorism in a manner that not just members of congress but the public at large can understand what's going on. we finally got a report. there's still some gaps in terms of data missing from 2009 to
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2019. can you commit to helping close those data gaps in that report so that members of congress and the public at large can have the understanding necessary about the growing problem with domestic terrorism in this country? >> thank you, mr. chairman. you can count on us to work with you and your staff and the committee staff to try to produce more information to be more responsive to those requests. certainly, as i understand it, some of the information requested -- this gets overly involved for this setting -- involves information that at least wasn't maintained in earlier years in the form that would be i think most useful. we're trying to work through that with your staff. certainly, i recognize that the earlier report took longer to get to you than it should have. some of that, in all fairness, was in part due to the pandemic and the fact that the people that we needed to rely on for
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that work were both strained by the pandemic, but also working on the significant domestic terrorism caseload that as i testified a few minutes ago mushroomed last year. we are going to work with you. we will try it see if we can get you more complete information. >> thank you very much. the chair raises the ranking member of the full committee, the gentleman from new york. >> just a very brief question. i got a lot of questios for secretary mayorkas. does the situation in afghanistan give you concern about the possibility of terrorist networks reconstituting there and trying to incite violence in the homeland? >> yes, actually, there are a number of reasons why we're
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concerned and recogniing the time, i will tick them off quickly. we are concerned that there will be an opportunity for a safe haven to be recreated there. which is something that we have seen in the past. allowing foreign terrorist organizations to operate more freely in the region. we are concerned isis-k can take advantage of a significantly weakened security environment to operate more freely. we are also concerned that the events there could serve as a catalyst or inspiration for terrorists, whether they be members of ftos, foreign terrorist organizations, or homegrown violent extremists to conduct attacks. most importantly, we're concerned that foreign terrorist organizations will have an opportunity to reconstitute, plot, inspire in a space that's harder for us to collect intelligence and operate against than was the case previously.
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>> thank you very much. i wish i had more time to spend with you on this. perhaps a cup of coffee is in order so i can talk to you more about that. secretary mayorkas, i want to commend you on many of the things you have done since you have been there. particularly in the cybersecurity area. the people that are appointed to leadership positions are doing a tremendous job. we have a very difficult task ahead of us. as you know and as chairman thompson knows, i pride myself on being one of the most bipartisan members of congress and one who is hopefully seen as a gentleman. i gotta tell you, secretary mayorkas, there's one major problem i have. i've got to -- i have to unburden myself. that is the southern border. i started my career as a federal organized crime prosecutor. i spent my adult life trying to keep this country safe. what's happening at the southern border is absolutely out of control. you and administration have referred to this border situation as a quote unquote
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rebuild. you need to rebuild the border. some things i'm just wondering about. is rebuilding the border having an unprecedented level of aliens seized at the border, more than 170,000 over the last six months? is rebuilding the border releasing many individuals, into communities without vaccinations for covid? is rebuilding our border not testing people for covid? you don't have the facilities to keep them there. is rebuilding our border allowing more aliens to die in custody this year than in any time recent memory? as a matter of fact, in 2018, six people died in custody. 2019, 11. 2020, 13. this year, that number has quadrupled to 51. is that rebuilding our immigration system? let me ask you, is rebuilding immigration allowing cartels to get fentanyl across our boarder
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in record numbers? there's been more fentanyl seized this year than all of last year. last year was a record number. fentanyl seized this year is enough to kill every man, woman and child in the united states six times over. many of the deaths have reached my doorstep where 45 people in the first half of this year died of heroin overdose laced with fentanyl. that's just my county. the other thing is, the number of suspected terrorists seized at the border, caught, not got away, caught at the border this year, is an unprecedented number. is that rebuilding our immigration system? is it? you come to the conclusion from a letter from september 11 from a career customs and border patrol agent who was running customs and border patrol, rodney scott, who said, in my professional assessment, the u.s. border patrol is losing the
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situational awareness required to know who and what is entering our homeland. he goes on to say, amongst many other things, it's important to remember that the border is not the destination but only a transit port en route to cities and towns throughout the united states and that the gaps in the border are exploited to smuggle contraband, criminals or even potential terrorists into the united states. this is not from some political hack that's an appointee by the trump administration. this is from somebody who served 29 years under five different presidents. to me, it is unbelievable what is going on at the border. now we have the deflection about saying haitians and the border is closed and we know the border is not closed because the haitians -- haitians are being home. some are sent here and we don't know what their distinction is and that goes for every other type of person coming across the border as well. mr. chairman before i ask one
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question of secretary mayorkas i and unanimous consent to enter this letter from rodney scott into the record. >> without objection. >> thank you very much. >> gentlemen's time has expired. we'll be happy to let the secretary answer some of the question he presented. >> perhaps one of the questions he is answer mr. chairman also that i was going to ask is why the actual number of known suspected terrorists seized at the border is considered law enforcement sensitive. not asking about the details. just that simple number. we asked that information august 10th and still haven't got it. >> ranking member katko you and i have discussed the southern border and i respectfully disagree with a number of statements that proceed your question. i should also say i have tremendous confidence not only in united states border patrol but in its new leader raul ortiz who is a three-decade veteran of
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law enforcement and the united states border patrol. and so i look forward to discussing more with you some of the statements that precede your question. we are addressing security at the border. we are exercising and enforcing both the laws of enforcement, the laws of accountability and the humanitarian laws that this country and this congress have enacted and recognized. thank you. >> chair will now recognize other members for questions they may wish to ask the wnszs. i will recognize members in order of seniority alternating between majority, minority. members are reminded to unmute themselves when recognized for questioning and to then mute themselves once they have finished speaking and to leave
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their cameras on so they may be visible to the chair. the chair now recognizes for five minutes the young lady from texas, ms. jackson lee. >> good morning. thank you mr. chair, mr. ranking member and let me express my appreciation very quickly to all of the men and women represented before us and the entire team that have provided us with a safe journey post 9/11 as it relates to international threats coming to the united states. we have not had that kind of attack. my time is short and i'd appreciate your quick response. to director abizaid, can you provide me with the interaction and the potential of a new ally and friend with pakistan in light of the circumstances with afghanistan and the potential rise of isis.
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are we looking to use assets and collaborate as it relates to domestic security? and my time is short. would you give me a brief answer, please. >> yes, thank you very much for the question. pakistan has been a long time ct partner. and we absolutely look to collaborate that on ct whether emanating from afghanistan, pakistan or elsewhere, consistent with our shared interests. >> thank you. you have been helping director wray on advising us about domestic terrorism. i would like to get in writing, again, the protocols that you put in place post-january 6th very devastating insurrection attack against democracy and i'd prefer that in writing to the committee and directed to me as well. let me indicate that many of us know your responsibilities for
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national security is large. and so as i think aly raisman, simone biles, michaela ma rhone. and maggie nichols, they deserve the protection of the united states and the attention of the fbi. i know you provided an apology as well. i also noted in the testimony of these young women, simone biles from texas, all of them contributing to the national pride, if you will, throughout that you are lives. indicated that they had seen no prosecutions, no extensive investigations. my time is short and i have questions for the secretary. what is your singular comment about moving forward on further investigations of agent who is ignored these young women and caused additional harm and violence against them and other athletes?
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>> i consider what happened or did not happen by the fbi to be totally unacceptable and deeply sorry on behalf of what happened there. we have fired the one individual featured promptly we could fire. >> -- information. >> just a second please. we have done what we -- >> -- case or information to the doj for them to go further. >> well on that issue, the inspector general, as you may know took over the investigation. so it is really a conversation between inspector general and the justice department. if we can be helpful we'd be happy to do that. >> thank you very much for your heart and as well your commitment to serving the united
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states. i think the narrative about immigration is so wrong. first of all, the southern border is 1,954 miles. it is not out of control. thank you to those who are protecting it. i have many people who acknowledge that. and quickly raise the point that we should refrain from these kind of accusatory attacks against migrants. we a nation of immigrants. and mockery of haitians who are taking water or washing in the water. first of all, how much did race play a part in these actions? are you looking into that as well? and also, have you considered this trump relic of title 42 not eliminating but a suspension of it in light of the fact that haitians have been determined to be no national security threat. there are haitians in my district right now, migrants who have come from ngos on the border. we welcome them.
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i will be visiting them over the weekend. i want to know how we can do better in this particular instance. you have answered the other questions of solemn opportunity, the opportunities for them to be taken by sponsors or family members, which they have. we can do better. i know you want to do better. can you give me those answers? thank you. >> congresswoman, thank you very much. the investigation is going to be all encompassing. we are not going to cut a single corner or compromise any element of thoroughness. it will be a sweeping investigation, number 1. number 2, with respect to title 42 and its exercise, that is an authority of the centers for disease control. it is not a matter of immigration policy. as the matter of public health policy, driven by the situation of covid-19 and where the trajectory of that pandemic is. it is based on the data that cdc
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analyzes and it is a cdc order that determines the applicability of the title 42 authority. >> general lady's time has expired. chair recognizes gentlemen from louisiana mr. higgins for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i'd like to thank the chairman and ranking member for holding this hearing today to discuss worldwide threats to the homeland as we move beyond the 20th anniversary of 9/11. americans watching this hearing today are wondering why the focus of our narrative is not on the obvious threats as we look at the immediate future of our nation and the security of our homeland being the -- the thread of jihadist terror coming into our country due to the abhorrent
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failure in afghanistan and the disintegration of our southern border. it -- our national sovereignty is -- has been lost at the southern border. we've been invaded. my colleagues refer to scenes on the internet. you don't have the look very far to see imagery that we none of us have ever seen in our lives. i'm 60 years old. i've never seen anything like this in america. and you know we have witnesses before us with all due respect, good lord, step away from your talking points and let us share truth as americans. after the biden administration's disgraceful retreat from afghanistan, the pentagon's actively warning congress of the increased likelihood of terrorist attacks on u.s. soil. that's a fact. regardless, this committee's
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recent markup of democrats three and a half trillion dollar reconciliation monstrosity bill didn't include a single dime for counterterrorism efforts despite warnings. and republican amendments to attempt to correct that -- during in time the security crisis has gotten worse and worse. we didn't think it could get worse but it has. and we have witnesses who consistently stick to these talking points like baghdad bob say there's nothing wrong here, move along. and america is wondering exactly when will congress embrace the truth and have honest discussion of the actual threats to our homeland on the homeland security committee. we've had 170,000 documented
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interactions. now, based upon known formulas of estimated, referred to as gota ways, this means you have a quarter of a million illegal crossings or attempted a montreal. we've never seen numbers like this. and yet we keep getting told oh it's all cool. the border is under control. i don't know how would define failure of securing our southern border if it is not what we're witnessing right now. but to no one's surprise in the republican party, it was zero funding in the majority three and a half trillion bill for border security. we face significant national security threats that have been made worse by this administration's own policy. there is no shame in admitting that. we're responsible to deal with it.
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and that begins with honest communications, which we seem -- we're avoiding this right now from, with all due respect my colleagues across the aisle. in very disciplined manner sticking to talking points, director wray, i'm going to ask you, yes or no, did -- did 19 terrorists execute the 9/11 jihadist terror attacks on america? not the planning, the execution. >> there were 19 hijackers, yes. >> there you go. that's a number i'm referring to. now, you won't tell us, although we're members of congress, we have the very highest security clearance. confidential briefings all the time but we can't get a answer how many known or suspected terrorists have been detected crossing our southern border, but my sources tell me it is a
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conservative estimate is 200. now with a percentage of undetected being 20-25%, that means 40-50 known terrorists have very likely entered our country through the southern border and yet my colleagues across the aisle want to talk about, you know, americans wearing trump shirts. it's unbelievable. secretary mayorkas, good sir, all of us. >> gentlemen's time from louisiana has expired. >> i'll have a question, i'll submit in writing to the secretary, mr. chairman. thank you for having the courage to convene this hearing today. >> chair recognize gentlemen from rhode island, for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman.
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yesterday you testified that the fbi did not distribute a key to victims could say a ransomware attack for three weeks. in your response you emphasized the need to, quote, maximize impact against an adversary, end quote. i appreciate that as lead agency for threat response, the fbi as responsible for going after the bad guysem. however i have to say i'm deeply concerned that your response to chairman peters did not reflect the harm withholding the encryption key could do to victims. this analogy, a business on fire, there is a strong reason to suspect arson. the police argue letting the
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firefighters in to put out the fire risk damaging forensic that could be used to catch the arsonists. so certainly that argument is valid. but i don't think anyone here would suggest we should not put out the fire or even if it does not maximize impact against an adversary. i understand these decisions are difficult and complex and may not be at liberty to discuss the specification of the kasia case. however i'd like to give you the opportunity to speak.
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>> what i would say speaking in general, encryption keys are something that is just one of many kinds of technical information we provide to the private sector. and turning those things into decryption tools that could actually be used and not have unintended consequences is actually a lot more complicated than lot of people realize. and that itself takes time. part of what i referred to when i talk about mackenzieing impact is making sureaximizing impact is making sure what we would be supplying to the house is actually just water and not have some trace of gasoline or accelerant in it that does more damage. we realize asset response has to go hand and hand with threat response and that is why we have such a close partnership with dvps and cisa and these kind of decisions are made in consultation with a host of interagency partners.
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>> i think asset response has to be higher on the priority list. so much could have been prevented had those encryption keys been given to businesses that were impacted. i understand you can't comment specifically on kaseya. but i think it is going to be greater emphasis on asset response and not just preserving the crime scene so you gather forensics. . secretary mayorkas, i want to commend you for your leadership and for the success of dhs on its cyberhiring initiatives. i do have to say however i remain concerned about the significant vacancies that remained in the workforce, particularly at cisa, i'm hopefully about the cybersecurity talent management system set to start in november. however given that these authorities have existed since 2014 and have not been used, i'm concerned about how effectively
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they will be used. so i'd appreciate an update on the status of the cybersecurity talent management system and how the dhs headquarters plans to coordinate activity with cisa to amass the cybertalent that it needs. >> thank you for your support of cisa. i actually had a meeting yesterday on staffing. and the coordination of staffing for our cyberzurt portfolio. specifically i look forward to speaking with director easterly of i very well know she has prioritized staffing of the direct ert and talent initiative
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. >> thank you. i know my time is up mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. chair recognizes gentlemen from mississippi for five minutes. mr. gaths. >> thank you mr. chairman and i want to thank our witnesses for the dedication they have provided in service to our country, particularly to make sure they are keeping our homeland safe each and every day. before i begin, i would like to ask the clerk if she would pull, please pull chart from customs border patrol that o outlines the encounters on the southwest border that we have currently seen. my concerns today are many.
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my time is limited. so i will focus those on the current situation that we have seen along our southwest border. in front of each of our witnesses should be statistics put forth by customs border patrol that shows recent encounters along the southwest border. secretary mayorkas, i know that you have recently visited the southwest border in response to the surge that we've seen and the number of haitian immigrants that have recently crossed. i know congressman shiela jackson lee recently said in her questions a few minutes ago that she felt that the border is not out of control. and i will tell you that i completely disagree with they are statement. i think the figures that are before the witnesses here today clearly show that the situation along our southwest border is a situation that has continued to deteriorate month after month after month.
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taking out from those figures the month of october, november, december and january just starting from a numbers february going forward when this administration has been completely in control of customs border patrol. those numbers are 1.25 million encounters along the southwest border. looking at that and comparing that to the population of our states, that number is greater than the population of montana, greater than the population of rhode island. greater than the population of delaware. greater than the population of both north and south dakota. greater than the population of alaska, though not a state, greater than the population of the district of columbia. it is greater than the population of vermont. it is greater than the population of wyoming. and soon when figures pc available for this month, i believe we will quickly surpass the population of maine, new
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hampshire and hawaii. i think clearly what these figures show what we are doing along our southwest border what the current administration has done, that that is not working. and not only do i believe that. but i believe that that is clearly the sentiment of the american public. politico, an article that was actually published yesterday, they cited recent polling that said 38% of the united states adults approve of biden's -- president biden's handling of immigration. and so secretary mayorkas want to kind of now turn that to you. and it was reported in august that you met with a group of border patrol agents in a closed door meeting you stated if our border for the first line of defense we're going to lose and this is unsustainable. question one, did you make that statement? and two, do you still stand by that statement and do you
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believe that what currently is happening on our borders today is unstanleyable? >> congressman, thank you very much for your question. in fact i did make the staple. and a very important fact underlying it is our border is not our first line of defense. we have a multi layered strategy that includes our partners to the south. in fact our border is not our first line of defense. it is a statement i made and i stand by it. and in fact it does not reflect the strategy that we have been employing and executing. >> and mr. mayorkas, you see these figures there in front of you i believe. hopefully those are visible to you. and i think that you see that month after month we continue to see a rise. we saw a recent small dip from july to august. but those figures are extremely troubling. particularly when you look at year to date figures.
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when you compare the numbers from fy '21 to fy '20 and comparing to fy 2019, fy 2018. when you are looking at a total -- when you look at a physical year, it is 1.5 million, again giving the administration the benefit of the doubt the fact that october, november, and december and just credit all of january to the prior administration, the numbers month after month continue to grow. and so i guess my question to you mr. mayorkas is how would you rate the administration, how would you rate the job that has been done to secure our border since the president was sworn into office? would that be a, b, c, d, f? just, if you could give me a grade. and then i'd be happy to let you explain your answer from this. >> congressman, it is interesting you mention what you describe is a small dip in the latest months data. i cannot see the visuals that you presented.
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that dip is actually a decrease. and it is a decrease because of some of the enforcement tools that we have employed. in execution of our plan. i have been quite clear that we do have a plan to address migration at the southern border. we're executing it. it takes time and we're starting to see the results. i'd be very pleased to meet with you and discuss with you some of the tools that we have employed to actually drive the results that we saw this past month. and we expect to see in the ongoing months. those tools are not met with indianapolis approval. unanimous approval. but we are using those tools to help secure our border which we are doing. >> gentlemen's time -- gentlemen's time has expired. chair recognizes -- >> -- enter the chart that was previously published into the record? >> without objection. chair recognize gentlemen from
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california for five minutes. mr. correa. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. can you hear me okay? >> yes, sir. >> want to thank you and the ranking member for this hearing this morning. i want to thank also our guests for your time. and i was also in new york to remember 9-1-1. we met with our first responders. our hero, i remember back 20 years ago watching those images on tv as those first responders ran into the burning buildings knowing they were probably going to lose their lives while civilians ran away. we will not forget. gentlemen, your witnesses, your testimony, thank you very much. and as i hear my colleagues on this committee talk, it kind of brings out a universal truth that i've learned in congress, which is we're always in management crisis. we manage by crisis. we never seem to move beyond
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yesterday or today. i agree with my colleagues that fentanyl is a major issue. but i would propose to all of you if you seal off the southern border, you seal off the northern border, you seal off the ports of entry, we're still gonna have that major issue, which is a medical issue called drug addiction in our country. as long as people want to do fentanyl they are going to do it. 40 years ago i saw my neighbors dying from heroin overdoses. challenge that we have that is not going away. and mr. mayorkas, i would ask you, are you prepared to deal with the social issue of drug addiction in our country, yes or no? >> yes i am in collaboration with our partners across the federal enterprise and across the country. >> -- medical issue called drug addiction in the united states. that's not really a homeland
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security issue. that's a societal issue. but we're going to expect you to stop drug addiction at the border. thank you very much. and mr. wray, thank you very much for the good job you are doing, you know, defending our country, like you mr. mayorkas. you all have to hit a 100%. you can't let anything happen in this nation. yet the universe of threats keeps multiplying. terrorists, domestic terrorism, i hear experts now telling me that it is no longer essential for the bad guys to import the bad guys, to import terrorists but rather the home grown terrorists keeping inspired by these radical ideas are the big issue now. so, you know, trying to figure out how to protect our nation against domestic terrorists, it is a major challenge. and i think the big issue here
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comes intelligence. how do you figure out. how do you stop something from happening before it stops? and my question would be, do you gentlemen get enough support coordination from our foreign partners? mr. mayorkas, when you talk to mexico, are you able to get enough intelligence, coordination, cooperation from them to do your job? and i would ask the same question our fbi director. do we have enough intel internationally to be able to coordinate your intelligence services? you are trying to find a needle in the hay stack. mr. mayorkas. >> information sharing, congressman, is one of our highest priorities in the international domain. we have a very significant footprint in many countries around the world. we have information sharing agreements that a number of our component agencies and offices lead. immigration, customs enforcement. customs and border protection, our office of policy strategy
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and plans. our international operations which is a part of that last office i mentioned. >> mr. mayorkas, is there anything we can do to make sure that your job is more effective? meaning, is there anything we can do to talk to address our foreign partners to make sure that they have a -- you have a better level of cooperation with folks overseas? >> thank you very much for the question. we would greatly appreciate and have greatly appreciated the support that this committee has provided to us in funding of the department of homeland security's request for support spo execute our mission. we're greatly appreciative. >> fbi director wray. >> thank you congressman. certainly we benefit a lot from information sharing from our foreign partners. you mention mexico. of course our office in mexico
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city is i think our biggest and oldest overseas office. we can always use more. and certainly with the kind of terrorist threats we're facing right now, both home-grown jihadist inspired and domestic violent extremists each benefit from there being fewer dots to connect and with their being fewer dots to connect and less time to connect them it puts a premium that we're able to find the two dots out there as quickly as possible and why we appreciate the committee support for more agents, analysts and data analysts and other tools we desperately need to stay ahead of the threat. >> gentlemen's time has expired. this. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> chair recognizes gentlemen from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, i really appreciate it. and i'm going read some from chief scott's letter dated 9/11,
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2021. the biden administration's team at dhs is laser focused on expediting the flow of migrants into the u.s. and down playing the significant vulnerability this creates for terrorists, human traffickers and even hostile nations to gain access tour o homeland. later on he says the experienced civil service staff with cbt, ice and dhs have provided multiple options to redice illegal entry zs skpre establish some semblance of border security through proven programs and consequences, yet every recommendation has been similarly rejected. secretary mayorkas is choosing to ignore the sound recommendations of career government leadership. despite his own admissions that he agrees with them. a grave concern is the fact that the secretary and other political appointments within dhs have provided inaccurate information to the congressional representatives and the american public. furthermore have directed usbp
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personnel to allow otherwise ineligible aliens to remain in the u.s. consistent with title 42, established legal processes and law. the progressional staff within dhs is left perplexed wondering who is really in charge and what the objective is. this is a scathing indictment on you mr. secretary and the administration's handling of the worder. and so i have a couple of questions. secretary mayorkas, how many immigrants have we apprehended at the border this year? >> so, congressman, i respectfully disagree with mr. scott, of course. and let me pull if i can the data from august which i think will shed light -- >> sir, that's not the question. the question is how many -- how many immigrants have we apprehended this year. not august. this year. >> i believe thus far this fiscal year, congressman, it is
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approximately 1.2 or 1.5 million. but i think the data that i would cite from august reflects the enforcement measures that we are taking, our use of our title 42 authority, which is not an immigration enforcement authority but is a public health authority which belies some of these statements that you just made. and also our use of title 8 authority, which is indeed an immigration enforcement measure. i think the data from august would suggest the full someness of our enforce measures -- >> sir with all due respect i only have five minutes. i'm not worried about august. i understand you all have put a focus on it because you have found out the american public really doesn't like what you are doing. so let me keep going. let me ask you -- >> that's not accurate. that's not accurate.
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>> -- 1.5 million people that we've apprehended. how many have been returned? how many have been detained and how many have been dispersed? >> i would be pleased to provide you with specific data subsequent to this hearing congressman. and your prior statement was inaccurate. but i look forward in in fact -- >> sir, that's my opinion. and so i'm entitled to my opinion. >> no no, i respect that congressman. and i'd be very pleased to provide you with the specific data you have requested. >> yesterday you were asked the exactly same question and yaw gave the same answer. you would think you would be a little better prepared now. you don't have that information? >> oh congressman, let me share something with you. quite clearly. i work 18 hours a day. okay, so when i return from yesterday's hearing, i actually focused on mission. we will get that data both to the senator who posed it yesterday and to you congressman
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today. >> so you don't have any estimation at all of the numbers that i'm asking for? at all. you don't know how many have been returned, or released into the united states? you don't have any estimation at all of what those numbers are? >> congressman, i want to be precise in my communication of data to the united states congress. and to you specifically having posed the question. and i -- >> -- >> -- in the provision of my data to you. >> i yield back. thank you. >> chair recognizes gentle lady from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing and thank you for our witnesses for being here. i think a lot of us are struggling to understand with withdrawal in afghanistan sort of what era are we in now that we've had the 20th anniversary of 9/11. how are we to think differently
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about the threats facing the country? and we of course have foreign terrorist organizations. we have home grown folks inspired by groups abroad. we have our problem with domestic terrorism and domestic extremism. we have border issues. we have cyberissues. so i think at least my constituents are just trying to understand like, where are we? and what are sort of the biggest threats that we're facing. and director wray you have been clear about number and data and cases since that is the bread and butter of the fbi. so if you can just help me understand order of magnitude, when it comes to open investigations that you have of foreign terrorist organizations, people connected to an actual foreign terrorist group, versus home-grown guy or gal who is inspired by someone abroad, versus a domestic terrorist or domestic violent extremist.
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can you just tell me order of magnitude where do you have the most open cases? >> so thank you, congresswoman. we currently about -- investigations. on how many grown violent stremgss, which is a reference to as you know jihadis-inspired or foreign terrorist organization inspired but not necessarily directed terrorism, we have consistently hovrd at around a thousandered at around a thousand i think a little under that right now but sometimes more sometimes less than a thousand but hovered up and down around that range. as far as the third category, true foreign terrorist organization cases, eoive that
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number at my fingertips. the last time i looked, i think that is probably around 2000, maybe. so between the foreign terrorist organization cases and the home grown violent extremist cases, i think that gets you to give or take around 3,000 investigations total. >> gotcha. >> plus the 2,700 domestic violent extremists. >> right. okay. just helps to set some what your level of -- representative abizaid, you know, there are few people in the world that i trust more than you on afghanistan. you are an expert on the country. you spent a lot of time there. you were a deputy assistant secretary on afghanistan. and i think what i'm getting from my constituents is this question of, are we safer now than we were on 9/11? are, you know, the ability of these terrorist groups to reconstitute something that i
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should worry about at the same level of worry that i had on september 12? so help me understand where we are. are we safer now? are we the same level of safety? with all the investment we've made in 20 years, where are we? >> thank you very much for the question. you know, as i had mentioned yesterday, years of ct pressure in afghanistan and pakistan have really relegated both al qaeda and isis k to more regional threats.-k to more regional threats. as i testified today you look at how the threat has changed over time since 9/11 and the al qaeda network operates in a different way than it did on that fateful day. and you have broader array of terrorist groups that are operating across a broader swath of territory. not just afghanistan and pakistan but africa, middle east, other parts of south asia.
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in general this kind of broader diffuse terrorist network exemplified by the al qaeda network and the expanding isis network does appear more regionally focused. that said, that regional focus is something that we in the intelligence community are monitoring very closely to understand at what point it presents a threat to the homeland. when does that regional ambition turn back into a transnational ambition that they are actually pursuing and executing a plan against. with respect to reconstitution and afghanistan, in particular, this is exactly what we're focused on as a top priority today. which is, how do we understand how the changed circumstances in afghanistan will affect the trajectory of two groups that had sustained significant losses over the last couple of years,
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in the case of al qaeda over the last 20 years. and what does that mean for their plans and intentions going forward? my own concern is very specifically around isis-k and the degree to which isis-k now building off the notoriety it received after the attack on august 26th, will it become more focused on the west, on the homeland than it was previously.
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>> sir, we know what happened in afghanistan with the taliban being in control with the assumption that al qaeda can now operate as they did leading up to 9/11. these are some yes/no questions. do you know how many terrorists have been apprehended at our southern border, sir? >> i do know. our known or suspected terrorists how many. and will be pleased to provide that to you in a classified context. >> that would be awesome. honestly, do you think there is a ripe opportunity for more terrorist, al qaeda, taliban who -- come across the southern border since --. yes or no? >> no. >> all right. is remajor mexico policy been implemented and enforcedining m implemented and enforced. >> it is and being implemented.
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we're developing the plan as required to. and i would like to mention congresswoman, that that requires a bilateral agreement, the remain in mexico -- >> -- yes or no since the supreme court sir said that it needed to be implemented. so if you could give us proof of that. do you think if we continue to build a wall that that would stop over -- thousand people coming across the border illegal i will. >> i do not agree with the construction of the wall. >> you don't want to build the wall. are we still paying the contractors not to build the wall, sir? >> congresswoman. we are meeting our contractual obligation as -- >> so that is a yes. thank you sir. director wray, can you give us an update on the -- from the january 6th -- >> i'm not sure secretary
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understood you. -- try it again. >> yes. yes. >> can you hear me now? >> yes. can you give us an update -- >> what i can tell you is we have now made a little over 600 arrests. the status of each of those cases varies. we have hood some cases resolved by guilty pleas already. but a number of them are still pending. and that is probably all i can really contribute in this kind of setting. >> so -- >> well, the 600, give or take, are all people who have been charged, obviously we have other ongoing investigations and there may be more charge there is and the ones who have been charged, i think you could expect to see in some instances superseding indictments that would add additional charges. >> can you -- being held?
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>> i'm not sure whether that is a classified issue. i think it varies from person to person. and i'd have to see what information was appropriate. but if there is information we can provide, we're happy to share it with you. i am mindful of the fact that with those 600 cases, that is quite a number of federal judges who have very strong opinions about what we say about pending criminal cases. and i learned a long time ago as both a prosecutor and defense attorney to respect the views of the judges who are responsible for those cases. >> do you agree that china is one of the biggest threats to our national security, sir? >> i believe that the china, and by that i mean the peoples of republic china government. the chinese communist party. not the chinese people. that there is no country that
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represents a more significant counterintelligence threat or a more significant threat to our innovation, our economic security and our ideas. and that's why as you heard me say in my opening statement we're opening a new china counterintelligence investigation about every 12 hours. and i can assure this committee that is not because our agents are looking around for something to do. it is because there is a need. and that's why we have about 2000-plus open investigations of that sort leading back to different parts of chinese government or people acting on behalf of the chinese government even as we speak. >> i believe that too. and i agree with representative correa. we need to hold these cartels accountable for drugs across the border and are we doing that and and all hsi told us when we went to the border, the rio grande valley is let us do their job.
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are we letting them do their job? >> we most certainly are, congresswoman. and we are developing new strategies all the time to meet the threat of the tcos, trance national criminal organizations. >> -- time. >> thank you, sir and i yield back. >> chair recognize gentlemen from missouri, mr. cleaver, for five minutes flts. >> thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate all the witnesses. mr. -- director wray. i want to again, and said this last time you were here, just express appreciation for how you play your job straight. let me go a little bit further and say that i am, you know, very much concerned about people crossing our borders. but i'm more concerned about the fact that we are a nation that is simply cross. and it is very disturbing.
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and i can speak experientially here. there was one gentlemen who fire bombed my office in kansas city. his name is eric king. he is in the colorado super max prison. and then there is a gentlemen who just indicted for this little plan to kill me. his name is kenneth hubert. and then you spoke earlier about a guy, timothy wilson, who was shot and killed by law enforcement because -- because he had a plan in our community to blow up a hospital with a vehicle-born explosive. i mention add this chairman thompson last night. i am very concerned where our nation is and what we are doing
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in our nation and frankly some is coming up here in our hearing today. director wray, is there something that we can do as members of congress -- i'm not asking you to say anything political. but, you know, if there are things that we can do to arrest or reduce the domestic terrorism threat, i am all in. and if you or any of our -- any of our witnesses today can suggest something that this body can do, i'm ready to try to do it before lunch. director wray. >> well thank you congressman for the question and for your kind words of support. certainly, as i mentioned earlier, we need more agents, more tools, for data analytics
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and so forth. because the volume of threats as your own experience illustrates is significant. i would also say that more and more across every threat area we contend with, including the terrorism arena in particular, the issues of end to end encrimination and user-controlled encryption, on messaging and on devices is something making us in law enforcement increasingly blind to the threats at our -- and our ability to protect all of you and your constituented.blind to and our ability to protect all of you and your constituented. no motor how ironclad the search warrant no matter how much the judge enforces the order or how heartbreaking or horrifying the investigation. we're moving in a direction
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where no matter what that is, we will not be able to see the information and therefore we'll be significantly hobbled in our ability to protect americans. so this is an issue coming to a place where we have lawful access, lawful access, to encrypted information has got to be addressed somehow or we're going to all wake up in a much more dangerous spot than we already are. so that would be one thing. and last point of course is the more everyone, including prominent members of the public, our politicians, corporate officials etc. >> i think my time must be running out. i apologize. mr. chairman, if i went over. >> you actually have a little time. but i'm take it if you want to give it up. chair recognize gentlemen from new york for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member for hosting this hearing today. director wray, last week fbi
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deputy director said there's been no -- taken steps to stop activities of cybercriminals engaging in ransomware attacks against u.s. entities. just yesterday there was attack on new cooperative iowa based farm service provider hit with a ransomware attack and we think a russian linked group black matter is demanding 5.9 million dollar ransom. this is the exact attack president biden, to president putin against this is a sector and off limits i understand from your testimony fbi is working with state department and national security council to increase pressure on countries that fail to stop ransomware actors in their territory. like russia. what specific steps is the fbi taking to pressure these groups? what more should the administration be doing to hold these groups accountable?
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>> well thank you congressman for the question. certainly as the topic that is subject of quite a bit of discussion and planning and operational activities these days. there may be more we could share in a more classified settle. what i will tell you in this setting is the reality is that russia has long history of being a safe haven for cybercriminals where the implicit understanding has been that if they avoid going after russian targets or victims, they can operate near impunity and the russian government has long refused to extradite russians for cybercrimes against american victims. and worse, their ministry of foreign affairs has long been warning its citizens, publicly been warning its citizens, which other country, third party countries to avoid because those countries they say will arrest or extradite those russians back to the united states to face justice for cybercrimes.
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so it is too soon to tell whether any of the things under way are having an impact. but in my experience there is a lot of room, a lot of room, for them to show some meaningful progress if they want on this topic. >> -- classified, is that why we can't talk about it right now? >> i think i can provide you a more descriptive answer if i don't have concerns about what can i say publicly. that's all. >> i understand i would -- because this is a huge issue that does not seem to be stopping. it is just getting worse every month. we hear about another, maybe every week we hear about another ransomware attack from a russian-backed or if not russian-backed, they are operating freely in russia, you know, these groups. so i would very much appreciate if we could have that meeting.
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i have a question dealing with cyber. i understand reports secret service purchased eight drones from a chinese company dgi on july 26, 2021 and three days earlier on july 23rd the department of defense release ad statement saying the products were a threat to national security. and 2017 dhs itself stated with confidence dji was providing data to the chinese government. the fact that secret service purchased eight drones. this seems absolutely unacceptable. why would they purchase equipment from a known foreign adversary especially in the light well documented cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
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how can the american people trust dhs to protect us from cybercrimes and attack, ransomware attacks when the federal government is leading itself open to security risk by buying these -- buying equipment from companies like dji? >> -- homeland security and we have an extraordinarily talented and dedicated workforce on that critical mission set. i will look into the secret service purchase you referenced and i will get back the you and your staff as soon as possible. >> i appreciate that. because this is -- i hope very soon because i don't think we should be using this equipment if our dhs and department of defense already said that dji and their equipment cannot be trusted. i hope we look into this right
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away. thank you mr. secretary. >> gentlemen's time has expired. chair recognize gentlemen from texas mr. green for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. and i thank the witnesses for appearing. and i must say that i have great respect for both of the witnesses. having observed them over some time now. i have found them to be persons who seem to genuinely want to do the right thing. doing the right thing as important. almost as important as doing the righteous thing. so today i would like to have a friendly form of colloquy rather than q&a. and i'm just curiosity about something. because we know that title 42 allows persons to be quickly moved, literally without giving them an opportunity to seek
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asylum. i suppose you can make your efforts. but title 42 is for quick removal. as i understand it. and then we also know that tps allows persons to stay because of conditions in the country that they were ordinarily be returned to. haitians are in a very unique position. title 42 allows them to be removed. tps for those who are already here says that because of conditions in haiti, we shouldn't send them back there. so if we shouldn't send them back because of conditionscondi we find that we have persons who should be removed under title xlii, i'm asking, is there some way to reconcile this so that we
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don't give the appearance of contradicting ourselves, so that we show that there is some rationale for haitians remaining here? we had some testimony yesterday that when haitians are expelled, many of them, over 95%, according to the testimony, haven't been to haiti in years. but we're sending people back to a country that they haven't been in years, and there are others who are going to be allowed to stay because they happen to have been in the country at a certain time. and we're doing this under title xlii. tps allows for staying. so isn't there some way -- i'm just making an appeal for the haitians. isn't there some way for us to reexamine this? this is an appeal, mr.
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secretary. for us to reexamine this, maybe there's something we missed. can you give me some hope? >> congressman, i appreciate very much what you've said, the question you've posed and the spirit of your question. i don't think that we can the heartbreak with respect to the vulnerability of the haitian people we are encountering specifically in del rio, texas over the last week, and their vulnerability. there are a number of things i would like to say. number one, we did grant temporary protected status to haitian nationals who were in the united states prior to last year. the department of state made that determination.
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then we have looked at the country continues and made a determination that in fact we can return individuals who have arrived subsequent to july 29 to haiti. we are working with countries in south america, chile, brazil, for example, to see whether they would accept the return of haitians who have traveled from those countries. it's complicated, for reasons i can explain at a later time when we have more time. and the title xlii authority, as i mentioned earlier, is not a matter of immigration policy. it is a matter of public health policy as determined by the centers for disease control's assessment of, in this case specifically, over last year and this year, the trajectory of the
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covid-19 pandemic and most recently, of course, the delta variant. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i do appreciate what you have said. what would you need for us to reconcile this such that the haitians would be able to -- would get a different result? because i'm just so concerned about having made a decision that the country is not such that we can send some back, but if you got here at a later time, conditions have changed. i've been to haiti. i was there after the last earthquake, not the most recent one but the one before that. and haiti on a good day can be a place that can be difficult to negotiate. and i'm green very kind because i've got a lot of constituents from haiti. they love their country. i love it too.
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my question is it seems to me there must be something we can do. if it requires something from congress, i'm willing to be the guy who takes the risk and ask that we do of this can you give me some help on this? >> thank you, congressman, i would welcome the chance to discuss that further with you. i know that the state department, prm, one office in the state department, as well as usaid, is very focused on resourcing haiti and specifically providing greater sustenance to individuals who are returned there. this is a very complicated and heartbreaking situation. i really embrace the spirit with which you pose the questions to me, and i would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you and talk it through. >> how. do you do i contact you, will you contact me? >> we will reach out, congressman. >> thank you very much. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes the
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gentleman from texas, mr. mccall, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mayorkas, when jeh johnson was secretary, we had the rise of isis and the caliphate. i commend your department and the fbi and nctc for stopping probably 99% of those threats. and i worry, with the fall of afghanistan, the taliban, bagram air base being taken over, we don't have eyes on the ground, we can't see or hear anymore the threats. and we can't see russia, china, and iran as well as we could before the fall of bagram. but i want to go back to the border as mr. green was talking about.
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in my state, these haitians, 14,000 of them, in addition to the over a million that has come in this year, has caused a crisis, i think in your words, you said it's unsustainable, and you told border patrol agents we are going to lose, and i agree with that. i've obtained emails fromstatio warning and asking for more resources. the former prime minister asked about people coming to the board. did you see this threat coming and if so, what did you do? >> it's good to see you again, congressman, i know we worked closely for a number of years. i did not say we are going to lose, that's unequivocally false, number one. and number two, we have not seen before such a rapid migration,
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regular migration of individuals as we have observed and experienced with respect to the haitians who have crossed the border in del rio, texas. that has been an unprecedented speed. >> did you have any warning signs? you know, when the sector chief is being warned about this, when the panama foreign minister is warning on june 3, and, you know, here we are in september, and, you know, months later. did you see this coming? >> well, so we watch the flow of individuals who are migrating irregularly through mexico from the northern triangle countries and further south. we do indeed track it. and nevertheless, congressman, as i've previously articulated, the speed with which this materialized is unprecedented.
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and that is why we surged as many resources as we have. we have deployed as many -- >> if i can -- just one question, and that is, you've said this is the worst in 21 years and i agree with you. and the speed has been very fast-paced. the migrant protection protocols, the asylum agreements negotiated by the prior administration, i believe were effective. and unfortunately this president on day one rescinded those agreements, opening up this border. and the traffickers know that. they know that if they touch base in the united states, they can stay now. and i think -- and i respect you, sir, i think you've been a federal prosecutor, deputy secretary, you understand this concept of deterrence but also the fact that these were working. my question is, this has now been taken up to the supreme court of the united states.
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and they have upheld the decision that the migrant protection protocols need to be reinstated. i believe that you can call it whatever you want, sir, but it will greatly help in securing this border that is out of control right now. what are you doing to comply with the supreme court order? >> congressman, as you know, both of us served as federal prosecutors. we have an obligation to abide by the orders of a court. the district court ordered us to implement the program, that is what we're doing. we're in negotiations with mexico with respect to that implementation. we rely upon mexico's agreement to do so and we are moving with deliberate speed. i recognize, respect, and will abide by court order.
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>> i appreciate that, i think it will help tremendously. any assistance you need dealing with mexico, i've chaired the us u.s./mexico ipg for 15 years. i hope they'll be willing to take the agreement back, to reinstate it, because i do think it will make a difference in this crisis that we have at our border. >> the gentleman's time from texas has expired. the chair recognizes the georgia from california for five minutes, mr. swalwell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my first question is directed to director wray. i have been tracking the public reports of anonymous health attacks worldwide including public reporting that there may have been attacks domestically in the united states. director, what are you doing at the fbi with your agents to determine who is responsible for these attacks and what message do you have to those conducting
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these attacks as to what you will do if you find out who they are? >> thank you for the question, thank you, congressman. certainly there is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our own workforce and the intelligence community's workforce. we at the fbi are working very aggressively, in a very concerted way, together with our intelligence community partners who also have a huge role to play on this issue. our role is doing interviews of victims and pursuing the investigation from both a potential criminal but also a national security type perspective. but again, it's a victim-focused effort at the moment. and we are going to make sure that if we can figure out who was responsible, that we leave no stone unturned and hold them
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firmly accountable, because if this is an attack, it's totally, totally unacceptable. >> thank you, director. moving to ransomware attacks, also something that has affected america's businesses and john chambers' former [ inaudible ] 60,000 ransomware attacks, the bureau has worked to try and help america's businesses. but what additional resources do you need to, one, reach out and work with businesses who have been affected, reach out, provide perhaps cyber hygiene tools that they may need, and of course to try and claw back any keys that have been stolen from them? and i would also welcome secretary mayorkas, if he has any insights on this. >> well, thank you for the question. certainly ransomware has mushroomed significantly over the last year. and it's on pace to mushroom again this year. we, in terms of what we need, we
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have significant budget requests that have come before the congress that are pending as part of a five-year cyber strategy that i unveiled last september, a year ago. and part of that is designed to make sure that in every field office we have a true model cyber squad capable of handling a colonial pipeline, a jbs, a casseja, whatever it happens to be, in our field office. we need more technical tools. i know there have been various legislative proposals swirling around about potential pay system -- pay grade modifications for computer trained cyber expert personnel in an enough agents. if something like that were to go to effect, we would obviously want it to apply to the fbi as well. a lot of what those personnel will do is not just investigate,
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respond, and disrupt threats, but engage, to your point, with the private sector, with victims. that's one of the strengths, that's one of the things the fbi can provide to the fight, is with 56 field offices and 250-something ras, we can put agents on the doorstep of a vick often within an hour or two no matter where they are when they get hit. that's why we need the footprint to be able to make sure we're doing right by all the victims. >> thank you, director. director mayorkas, actually i'll follow up with you separately about ransomware, but i have a question about airports. all politics is local, i have a local airport in livermore, california that would like to use this [ inaudible ] pay for itself so that as international flights come in, they can have border agents or cbp custom agents to receive the flights. is that still a program that dhs supports, if local airports want
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to do that? >> it is. congressman, thank you. it is a program that is implemented on a fact-specific circumstance, a specific basis, and we look forward to speaking with you about it in the jurisdiction that you identified. >> great, thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mayorkas, good to see you. we have a letter that i know has been referenced from outgoing border patrol chief rodney scott that basically claimed great concern that he's witnessed lack of meaningful effort to secure the southern border. i would like to ask you, this person was 29 years in the department, a nonpartisan actor, somebody that served five administrations with the only goal of securing this country. is the border more secure under your leadership than when you started? >> congressman, the border is
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secure. we're executing our plan. and i've been very clear and unequivocal in that record. >> mr. secretary, the question is, is the border more secure now under your leadership? >> congressman, it is no less secure than it was previously. >> mr. secretary, i want to look at something in his letter, outgoing border patrol chief rodney scott said that suspected terrorists are entering this country at a level we have never seen before. and i want to know, i know it's been asked, how many known or suspected terrorists have entered this country this year? >> i respectfully disagree with mr. scott's assertion and the information that you have requested, we would be pleased to share with you in a classified context. >> he said, in my professional assessment, the u.s. border patrol is rapidly losing situational awareness required
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to know who or what is entering the u.s. homeland. the ability to detect apprehension is being affected daily. smugglers are illegally crossing the border and increasingly evading apprehension daily. to think that criminal organizations and hostile nations are not doing the same is naive. the current situation is unsustainable and must be mitigated. so i received the brief. i went to del rio. in less than one week, i was actually there on saturday, the peak, 15,000 people in what your department said yesterday, bum rushed the border. that was -- and there's, by the way, 40 to 60,000 on the way. so is the quote true at a level we have never seen before, that terrorists, suspected terrorists are entering the country at a level that we have never seen before? >> congressman, as i've previously articulated, i respectfully disagree with mr. scott's assertions and i should
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say that that assertion has no relationship to a reference to del rio. and the fact that vulnerable haitians have crossed the border there, have been encountered, and are being repatriated. those are two very different -- >> because i talked to these haitians. they got the word that del rio was open. they came. in fact i talked to several -- i talked to, uh, two cuban couples, four people total, from cuba to panama to the southern border in del rio, 40 hours. it took them 40 hours to get to our southern border because what they heard through social media, what they heard through their networks, was that it was open. they paid thousands of dollars to trafficking organizations to get there. so to think, like rodney scott says, outgoing border patrol chief, for 29 years, five administrations, to think that
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well-resourced terrorist networks, criminal organizations, and hostile nations are not doing the same is naive. mr. secretary, the american public deserves to know what the threat is to our country. why will we not release numbers, why are you not releasing the number of known or suspected terrorists -- >> congressman, i've -- congressman, i've been very clear that i will be very pleased to share that information with you in a classified context, number one. i don't think, i don't think that the vulnerable haitians who are in del rio, texas now would say that the border in del rio, texas is open. and quite frankly, we've seen the heartbreaking pictures -- >> it's heartbreaking, i was there, i saw it. >> congressman, that reflect -- that reflect that fact. >> in fact there's all sorts of bad things going on but it's a drain on resources. we've had to repurpose border patrol agents from their national security mission all along the southern border to del
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rio. the governor of texas has had to step in because the federal government has abdicated the duty to protect our country. >> i respectfully -- i respectfully disagree. we have never abdicated the duty to protect our country. as a matter of fact, the 250,000 men and women of this department workday and night to protect this country. >> they are doing a phenomenal job. mr. secretary, we want to know how many known or suspected terrorists have entered this country. and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from nevada, ms. titus, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, i would like to start by thanking you too for your work to extend the ts program for several countries. this was something i asked you about the last time you were here, looked at salvador, honduras, nicaragua.
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this is part of my district which is the most diverse in nevada and one of the most diverse in the country so we certainly appreciate your recognizing the importance of that tps and thank you for that extension. you've heard a lot about the concern about the haitians at the border. and i would like to expand on that. but i would like to go back to where they came from. we know that the cartels and some of these people who prey on the immigrants have taken their money, they've sold their possessions. they've come up here. could you describe how your department in this kind of all of government approach is working with the state department and maybe with ngos in some of the countries of origin to counter this false information or to deal with these people who are preying on folks who just want a better life? >> congresswoman, thank you so much. and your point goes directly to something the congressman who
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preceded your question addressed, which is these individuals, vulnerable individuals, are being exploited by smuggling organizations and are receiving false information with respect to the border. we are, in collaboration with the department of state and other agencies within the government, countering that false information, that false messaging, both from the united states and in the countries of origin themselves. this past sunday, i spoke to journalists, haitian journalists, and the messages that i communicated were blasted throughout social media and in creole as well as spanish, to make sure that we reach the desired and needed populations. this is an all of government
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effort, and it's a multilateral effort because we are working with other countries in ensuring that vulnerable populations receive accurate information and do not take the perilous journey north that will not succeed. >> now that we can take advantage of social media, everybody, even those in the most direst of straits, seems to have a cellphone, which they can read this kind of information. so i appreciate that y'all are working across agencies to get this information out and encourage its use by ngos in the country as well. my second question has to do with tourism. you know i represent las vegas, and we are now starting to see foreign tourists come back. this is a large part of our business. foreign tourists stay longer and they spend more. we saw where this is opening up, the president announced this in the last few days.
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can you talk about some things we're kind of doing in advance to accommodate foreign tourists? we saw the problems after 9/11, but now we've got a little more time to get ready, and people are anxious to travel. when those borders open up, they're going to come to las vegas, where better to go for a holiday after a year of frustration? would you outline some of those things you're doing for customs and helping with that issue? >> so, congresswoman, thank you very much. the president did indeed announce in the last few days the fact that travel restrictions would be lifted with respect to travel to the united states in certain conditions. our office of field operations within customs and border protections located at the airports will be ready to receive and process an increasing number of travelers.
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we are also working at transportation security administration, tsa, to make the travel from the united states as facile and orderly and secure as possible. we are planning for what we hope to be a resumption of international travel and the influx of tourism, of the tourism economy here in the united states. >> that's great, because we have the philosophy that a person's holiday begins the minute they leave home. it includes all that experience through the airport. and we've heard some horror stories about waiting hours on the tarmac or in line to get through customs. so we want to be ready this time, and we appreciate any effort you can make for that. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. pursuant to today's being spen capabilities to detect and protect against these threats in
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communities nationwide. second, as cyber threats have grown -- >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. bishop, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mayorkas, first i would like to ask you, againman pfluger asked you a moment ago how many suspected terrorists have crossed the border and you said you would be glad to answer in a classified context. why can't you answer that question in public? >> congressman, the information is indeed classified. and some of it is also law enforcement sensitive. on a more general basis, these are determinations that are made across the agency. and i should note, if i may, congressman, that i believe it was in late july that we provided a briefing to this committee with respect to the requested data. so it is information that we already have provided. >> thank you, sir. let me ask you this. many have commented and sometimes it devolves into a
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debate over numbers, whether it's a million three illegal crossings, who is reacidavist, now we have the haitians. is all of this the plan? >> i'm not sure i understand your question but let me say the following. the plan that we have is a multipart plan. one is to address the root causes of irregular migration. two is to ensure that there are safe, orderly, and humane pathways to people do not have to take the dangerous, perilous journey to make a claim of asylum that our laws that congress passed recognize. and third is to rebuild our asylum system here in the united
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states. at the same time, congressman, we do enforce our immigration laws. those are not only the laws of humanitarian relief, but the laws of accountability, for those who seek to enter illegally and do not have a claim for relief under law. >> thank you, sir. and i guess what maybe i'm getting at is that. now that i look back at some of your testimony when you were before us back in march, you went through something very similar, you talked about your plan to address, you always use the term "address migrants at the border," and you said we're executing on all fronts to address the situation at the border. when you, uh, when you spoke before senate appropriations committee in may, you said something very similar, we have a three-part plan or three pillars to our plan and you gave that again, more or less, in -- you've done that repeatedly in testimony before congress.
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uh, did you have a plan under way to address the surge of migrants at the border? that comment was before the senate homeland security committee in july, july 27. so i guess what i want to understand is, are the results that we are seeing, are they the results of your plan? they're the plan results; is that correct? >> congressman, let me give you a very important example of -- >> before you go off into an example, sir, could you give me a yes or no, are these the results of your plan? >> congressman, the plan -- the plan is under way and is being executed. and as one of your colleagues mentioned, over the last month, we did see a decrease, because we were implementing tools that are part of that plan. back to my example of a measure that we have taken that is very significant, and that quite frankly is unprecedented. what is not unprecedented is recognition of the problem in our asylum system, that it takes years and years between the time of application and the time of
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ultimate resolution. one of the things that we've done -- >> let me ask you to sort of -- i'm sorry, i just have limited time. and i just -- i don't want to get into a sort of down to the granular level of detail. you've made the point to these committees repeatedly that you have a plan and you're executing the plan. sometimes i think we're talking past each other. i would just like your confirmation, sir, that the results we're seeing at the border are the results of the execution of your plan. is that a fair understanding? >> no, it is not. it is a mischaracterization, congressman. as i mentioned -- >> is your plan failing? >> no, it is not. and as i mentioned, every time i have spoken of my plan, and i would welcome the opportunity, if not in today's testimony, but separately with you, to actually complete the answer that i was providing earlier, because it is -- it involves very important information with respect to that plan. the plan takes time and we
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continue to exercise it thanks to the dedicated men and women of this department. >> do the results that you're seeing and their magnitude suggest to you that your plan is wrong? that your plan is ill-conceived and is plunging the nation into a crisis? >> no. >> all right. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new jersey, ms. watson, for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman, for holding this hearing. and i want to thank each and every one of the witnesses for sharing your perspectives, your work, and your commitment. i am so touched by something that as a child i embraced and believed, and that is, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, send these, the homeless,
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the tempest-tossed to me. i lift my lamp. the country's true genius lies in its diversity. i believe i am motivated by that, that is american to me. and so the conversations we have with regard to what happens at the border, what happens with refugees trying to get here, what's happening right now on the southern border with the haitian communities, it concerns me tremendously, mr. mayorkas, that we would be sending them back to haiti, some of them sending them for the first time in over 20 or 30 years, sending them to a country that has been just ravaged by earthquakes, ravaged by instability in its political and governmental realm, and dangerous with gangs. and so i just need to share i believe our responsibility is to treat them humanely, to process
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them in way that gives them the freedom and the opportunity to live in a healthy environment. now, that may not just be the united states of america. we need to enlist our friends, our allies, all around the world. and mr. mayorkas, i just need to say, i believe everything you say about your intentions with regard to doing our business humanely and respectfully on the borders and anywhere to keep our homeland free. but the images that i saw with regard to what was happening, with border patrol employees whipping, i don't care if it's your belt or your reins or what, but whipping haitians, is unconscionable, unacceptable, un-american. i know that you're investigating
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it. i tell you, there's under no circumstances that those individuals are to be able to interact with other human beings ever again. they need to be released and they need to be held accountable. for all three of you, i want to just ask a question, which is really maybe kind of a bizarre question. is there a hierarchy of concern with regard to the vulnerability of this country? is it cybersecurity, interfering with our business, and our supply lines, and the things that we need? is it foreign attacks coming from places that we know we've had folks attacking us before? is it domestic terrorism? is it democrats terrorism that represents ethnic and racial
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motivation? is it domestic terrorism influenced by foreign terrorists? is it a hierarchy of concern? i want to hear from all three of you. and do you have all the resources you need to make us as safe as we can humanly be, with the work that is under your jurisdiction? >> congresswoman, maybe i'll answer first. we do have priorities, if you will. and i think you have accurately identified many of the priorities that we have in terms of protecting the homeland. and i'm sure those priorities are echoed by my colleagues in the federal bureau of investigation and the national counterterrorism center. i also just want to remark that i well understand and appreciate
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the pain with which you made your initial remarks, congresswoman. >> thank you, sir. director wray? >> thank you. i apologize, i missed probably the beginning of the question with the technical hiccup that we had. but picking up on what i think the question was, i would tell you that we have elevated racially and ethnically motivated violent extreism to our highest threat priority level commensurate with isis and hves, home-grown violent extremists, we did that in june of '19. the fact that we now have 2,700 domestic terrorism investigations under way. there is a request for much-needed resources.
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at the same time we are surging to domestic terrorism, the reality is the home ground extremists threat has not subsided. especially in the wake of events in afghanistan, we need to be even more vigilant about foreign terrorist organizations. and last, i would add a category that hasn't gotten a lot of discussion in today's hearing but a point that director abizaid made in her opening, we can't take our eye off the threat from iran as well. hezbollah, quds force, et cetera. so we have a full plate and we need all the help that we can get and we appreciate the committee's support. >> thank you. director abizaid, i want to ask you one question. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. >> it's a ten-second question. i'm sorry, sir. >> the gentlelady has ten seconds. >> thank you.
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can you tell me what the motivation was for isis-k to perpetrate that attack on those leaving? we were evacuating. what was their point? was their point just to show us that they exist and that they want to be a pain in our behind, or what? thank you, mr. chairman, for that consideration. >> thank you for the question. one, i think isis-k targeted our evacuation operations in part because of the notoriety they would receive, because of how high profile it would be. but they also sought to embarrasses the taliban. isis-k is very focused on the taliban. and given the taliban's assertions of its own ability to provide security, they wanted to demonstrate that that was not in fact the case. that's our assessment as it stands now. >> the gentlelady's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from iowa for five
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minutes, ms. miller-meeks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, you testified before this committee back in march. at that time several members includes myself asked you about covid-19 testing protocols at the southern border. you said, and i quote, we do support the testing of individuals and that is indeed our policy and we have implemented practices to execute on that policy. however, on september 10, the dhs office of inspector general came out with a report that stated cbp does not conduct covid-19 testing for migrants who enter cbp custody and indeed that's what i found on two trips i made to the border. instead cbp relies on local public health systems to test systematic individuals. according to cbp officials as a front line law enforcement agency it does not have the necessary resources to conduct such testing. i don't have to tell you that we're in a pandemic, mr. secretary. and i believe that testing of people coming across our southern border is one of the many keys to controlling the spread of covid-19.
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that is why back in march i introduced my first bill, the react act, to require covid-19 testing for all migrants. the oig recommendation coming out of the september 10th report said dhs should reassess its covid-19 response framework to identify areas for improvement to mitigate the spread of covid-19. the report went on to say dhs leadership must commit to strengthing these measures. without stronger measures in place dhs is putting its workforce, support staff, communities, and migrants at greater risk for contacted the virus. initially, with the predictable surge of the haitian migrants from mouth -- south america, they may before a with them the lambda variant which is in south america at this time. general overcrowding at the border would facilitate the
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spread of covid-19. and i understand there is a measles outbreak at ft. bliss. this is a huge problem and one the committee has been trying to get answers during this entire year and every time we ask the question i feel like we get a different response. so i've got a number of questions and because time is limited, i'm going to run through them so that you can answer them. if we're requiring air travelers to have a negative covid-19 test before entry, why aren't we requiring the same of land travelers? if we are able to test afghan peoples for covid and vaccinate them not only for covid but measles, pumps, rubella and polio and other age-appropriated vaccinations required by the cdc, why is there a double standard on our southwest border? do you agree with the ig's report? dhs did concur with two recommendations in that report, i believe. do you agree that it's your responsibility to ensure that there are strong protocols at the border to mitigate the spread of covid-19? do you commit to implementing the ig's recommendations and
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identify ways to mitigate the spread of covid-19 and do you commit to report back to this committee in a month on the progress the department has made at the border on testing for covid-19? thank you. >> congresswoman, may i seek your indulgence to obtain a transcript of all the questions that you've asked and answer them rapidly? i did not catch them all now. i will say, congresswoman, that i do appreciate your focus on the communicable diseases with respect to migration, whether it's by air or by land. and in fact by sea. we have concurred in the inspector general's recommendations. we have made changes to our covid-19 protocols. and i will provide the requested information to you as rapidly as possible. >> mr. secretary, i appreciate your respects for the questions i asked. but i've been asking these questions since march. and we've seen no policy or protocol changes.
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and yet we see a totally different response for afghan refugees coming to this country than we do for those along at our southern border. to include which this massive spending bill that is coming out and we're expected to vote on doesn't have adequate resources for cbp to do its job. thank you so much for your testimony. i expect that we will see changes in protocol and policy and i'll reintroduce what legislation i can to force those changes. thank you so much. mr. chair, i yield back my time. >> the gentlelady yields back. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york, ms. rice, for five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from florida, ms. demings, for five minutes. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. and thank you to all three of our witnesses for being here today. thank you for the job that you
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do every day to keep us safe. i know you are not perfect, as you are frequently reminded. you have big jobs and an awesome responsibility. but as members of congress, so do we. and we are the lawmakers. and so i just would say to you that we all can work a little harder to be better partners and realize that we are all in the same boat, like it or not. and that boat, especially with this committee, is to lead in keeping our nation safe. we're a nation of laws at the border. we're a nation of laws on january 6. those were criminals and not tourists. and doggone it, we're a nation of laws regarding foreign entities. and if we would remember that, i think we all could be better partners and never risk our nation being attacked by anyone
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in such a cruel and vicious way. i want to just acknowledge the victims of 9/11 and the brave first responders on that day. and with that, secretary mayorkas, as many of my colleagues have noted today, dhs was created in response to 9/11. i remember it well. and over the last several months we have held, as you're constantly being reminded today, hearings on the mission and structure of the department and its ability to meet the threats of today and tomorrow. one concern raised on many occasions is that the department's mission has grown incredibly. indeed, in just 2021, the department has led the federal government's response to the pandemic, every place, every
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place, natural disasters all over our nation, stunning cybersecurity attacks, immigration enforcement, and resettlement of our afghan allies. this is of course because as one previous witness noted, dhs is an unmatched connector between federal resources and state and local authorities. secretary, understanding that information on preventing attacks against our homeland is such an important function of the department, as the mission of the department of homeland security and the responsibilities of its components grown too vast for one department? mr. secretary? >> congresswoman, thank you so much for your question. i don't think so. we are fundamentally a department of partnerships. i think we are working now very cohesively across the department, across our different agencies and offices.
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and i think that we are working more collaboratively and closely with our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners than ever before. we have, for example, through the office of information -- i'm sorry, the office of intelligence and analysis, been disseminating critical products in partnership with the federal bureau of investigation, to our local first responder community so that they are very equipped and empowered to address the threats that they face in their respective communities. and i know you know this very, very well, given your lifelong dedication to the law enforcement and public safety mission. i think we're working very cohesively. we have a lot more to accomplish in that regard. and we're very focused on it. >> mr. secretary, you know, information sharing certainly was one of the major focuses or i think recognized vulnerabilities 20 years ago.
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how would you say, as the department of homeland security secretary, we're doing along the local, state, and federal level with information sharing? >> i think, congresswoman, if you would ask the state, local, tribal, territorial partners that we have, they would echo my assertion that we are doing better than ever before. we have not only issued an mtas bulletin and renewed it several times. we've sent out multiple products in different forms. we are focused on real time actionable information in the hands of our partners to strengthen our homeland security. i think we're doing better than ever before and we'll do better than we are today. >> again, to all three of our witnesses, thank you for what you do to keep us safe every day. we're committed to joining you as effective partners in that effort. mr. chairman, i yield back.
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>> the gentlelady yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey, mr. van drew, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mayorkas, in your testimony you talked about international terrorism, organized crime, impacts of climate change, among others. i have to notice you didn't mention the crisis at the southern border as a challenge facing the department. let me say you to, i understand your intentions, but you say that we are doing better today than we were. it seems to me we are doing worse today than we did yesterday. and i almost expect us to do even worse tomorrow than we are today. i don't agree with you. i think there are a lot of people using straight common
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sense that look at videos, that read reports, that look at information, that have spoken to law enforcement there, and we know that so far, in 2021, there's over 1.3 million migrants that have been apprehended at the american southern border which is a 386% increase from this time last year. let's call it what it is. this is a disaster. additionally, august was the sixth straight month where we had 170,000 encounters at the border. that's unbelievable. it's been reported now, and we've seen all the pictures, that we've got 9,000 migrants, give or take thousands, that may have entered the united states without being tested for covid-19, with only being issued a notice to appear at an immigration hearing. and look what we see under the bridge in del rio, people bathing in the water, people obviously lacking hygienic necessities, people who are
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sick, people who are involved with drugs. this is all there. this is nothing -- i sit back -- as i said to you the last time we had this, it's like we're in bizarre-o world. i see it in front of me, you see it in front of you, but some people pretend not to see it. i don't mean to be disrespectful to you, sir, but sometimes it seems you don't want to see it. the reality is we talk about the underlying -- so let's talk about this. what we're saying is other countries have severe problems with poverty, education, nutrition, a host of areas, we understand that. but it is naive and arrogant of us to believe that we're going to fix all that and make that all better which throughout history we haven't been able to do and that that's going to stop the big push into the united states of illegal immigration in a timely way. that's nonsensical. the way that you do this is through the rule of law. the way you do it is you have a border.
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when you have a border, you also have a border fence or a border wall. you have what you need. you have the proper amount of law enforcement to ensure that things don't get out of control. you ensure that you're reducing the amount of drugs that are coming into this country. and don't tell me we're not getting more drugs because of this. we are. there's so much fentanyl now in our country. the numbers keep going up. it used to be you could kill we're using kids ooze drug mules. so, we have sick people, drug-infested stitchuations. a lack of hygiene, no rule of law at the boarder. we do the best we can and certainly our men and women who work down there are. and to say it's better than it was when you were here last time. no, it's not. it's scarier and it's worse than last time. texas can't absorb all these people.
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america can't absorb all these people. and we don't even know if they're healthy. we don't know what problems we have. we haven't gotten a really -- haven't taken enough care with evaluating each individual that's coming over and we just can't undocumented migration is not appropriate. it's not how we work in america. we should change the immigration laws. i agree with that. but this is absolutely not the answer. respectfully, again, i'm trying to be nice but i'm angry and tired and americans are angry and tired. we want to hear real answers and please don't tell me we're going to make the whole world better in six months by addressing claimt change and all the social problems and military problems that they have. it's always been people came to america because almost everywhere else is much worse and america is much better.
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but we have to have control of the situation. this is nonsensical, damaging and it's hurting our people, it's hurting our country and it should be one of our number one priorities. do you really believe it's better now? do you personally take any responsibility for this crisis? >> congressman, i think you've said quite a number of things. and i really like to speak with you wholesomely about everything you've said. you mentioned something that i think deserves particular emphasis and that is you referenced our broken immigration system and the need to fix it and that has been an enduring problem. the one thing that there is unanimity about is the fact that we have a broken immigration system. it is most unfortunate that we have not fixed it over many,
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many years. i hope we do. >> secretary -- forgive me for interrupting. i agree with you but right now we have an immediate crisis. we have an immediate situation. so, it's like saying if a war breaks out, we really got to work on human nature and insure that we work together more as human beings. i agree. the reality is we have a crisis now -- >> chair recognizes gentle lady from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you to our panelists and mr. secretary for being with us today. i want to follow up with the title 42 questions. every day hundreds of thousands of people cross the border, whether it's students, business people, whether it's folks seeing doctors, but hundreds of
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thousands are crossing the border. mr. secretary, what the difference between those people crossing the border and asylum seekers crossing the border, which we're assigning to title 42 to deport? >> congresswoman, i'm not exactly sure what particular differences you're focussed upon. but as you know, we are exercising in between the ports of entree. the cdc's public health authority under title 42. >> okay. so, is there any difference between people cross -- the hundreds crossing the border every day, students, business people and asylum seekers, other than they're just asylum seekers? >> i'm sorry, congresswoman, i don't quite understand your question. there are many differences. between migration, the movement of people through a port of
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entree and the encountering of an individual between ports of entree. there are numerous differences between those two fenomina and a number of respects. legally, from a public health perspective, a whole host operationally. i'm just not quite sure what you're focussed upon. i apologize. >> i'm focussed upon the fact that this is a discriminatory policy that's implicated because they're asylum seekers because the public health crisis does not separate whether you're an asylum seeker or not. i think itz a discriminatory pract and want to encourage the administration to end the use of title 42 in a day and age where we have vaccines and requirements we can put in place for people to get vaccines. mr. secretary, moving on, how
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does cb choose who will be expelled via repatriation flights and who will be processed in the united states? >> our policy is to employ title 42 to cdc's public health authority to the fullest extent possible in light of the cdc's public health assessment and the public health imperative. it is a matter of, for example, our operational capacity, the willingness of a partner country and its capacity to receive individuals. there are a host of factors. in addition, there are very limited exceptions to our title 42 authority. for example, as i think you recognized we do not enforce it with respect to unaccompanied
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children. that was a policy implemented early on. there's a convention against torture exceptions. there are individuals with acute vulnerabilities that we recognize and i would be pleased to provide more information in that regard. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'd like to talk a little bit about sea ports. nationwide, they're seeing record high levels of cargo volumes, resulting in port congestion. ships with containerized cargo are stalled in marine terminals and vessels wait days and in fact, the port of long beach and los angeles in my district had 65 ships at anchor waiting to unload cargo. before the covid-19 pandemic t was uncommon for more than one ship to wait to unload. unfortunately, it's expected to
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be an ongoing challenge. can you suggest the problems it might pose to maritime security. >> as i may, the greatest challenge with respect to port conjenstion is the obstacles to the very vasal movement of goods through those ports and serving the economic engine. this is a consequence, as we all know too well, of the covid-19 pandemic. the offices of field operation, united states coast guard, all are services focussed on maritime security. on the one hand and of course the vasal movement of lawfully imported goods to the united states. we're very focussed on this. >> mr. secretary, i have to say i'm a little disappointed. the question was specific about what challenges congestion might
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pose to maritime security. i hope you will follow up, given that it's very important. i get an answer to that's specific. i want to know what the security issue is from congestion. what you said to me is restating the problem and with that mr. chairman, i yield back. >> lady yields back. >> thank you plrks chairman. to follow up on the line of questioning, these are for secretary mayorkas. last time you testified, you admitted your agency had released migrants who have tested positive for covid-19. since then, multiple reports indicated that thousands of covid-positive migrants have been released from dhs custody. in addition, they released a report highlighting that your department has failed to take
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sufficient covid-19 preventative measures at the border, which puts the dhs workforce and communities at unnecessary risk of being exposed to covid-19. so, to me, it is clear that either your department does not have a strategy or it is not effectively executing a strategy that will effectively mitigate the risks of covid-19 at the border. why is that? >> congressman, we do have a strategy. we concurred in the recommendations of the inspector general's office. we are implementing those recman dagdss. we have made changes and i can walk through the processes that we employ currently with respect to the different populations of migrants whom we are encountering at the border. >> let me ask you this. you say you have a strategy and you are implementing it, when will final implementation of the strategy be complete? go ahead.
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>> we are working as quickly as possible to implement the recommendations of the office of inspector general. >> when is the timeframe? when will it be complete? >> i will speak with our chief medical officer and report back to you. >> so, you don't know? >> i will speak to our chief medical officer, congressman, and report back to you. >> so, having a plan and executing the plan, effectively executing the plan is very different. so, it's pretty clear to me that the administration is not truly serious in addressing this matter. and i would like to remind the secretary that, according to your website, 11,125 cvp employees have tested positive for covid-19 and 43 agents have died from the virus so far. so, i would urge my democrat colleagues to join me in cosponsoring my bill, hr 2776,
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the border protection act and this would require dhs, in consultation with hrksz hs, to develop and submit a comprehensive plan of action to test and quarantine every migrant at the southern border and execute on that plan. and i would like to submit, for the record, an article dated august 4th that highlights the number of positive covid-19 cases and it's titled texas border city says more than 7,000 covid-positive migrants released since february. 1500 in the last week alone. mr. chairman, i request unanimous consent for that to be added. >> may i say something, congressman, as you touch upon a very important subject we're focussed upon and that is the health and well being of our workforce. we launched operation vaccinate our workforce too, make sure
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vaccines are aaccessible to our frontline personnel. that yield as tremendous increase in the number of workforce that was indeed vaccinated. >> i appreciate that information. let me ask you this. how long will it take to fully implement the migrant protection protocol program? can you give me a time frame? >> i cannot because we're reliant on our partner, mexico too, implement that program. that is a bilateral agreement. we are workingual mexico to implement that program. >> so, what i'm gathering then is you have no idea when that program will be fully implemented? >> congressman, let me be -- >> just tell me yes or no. >> we are working to implement it. >> i'm reclaiming my time.
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i have a question for director wray. do we know the identify of the kabul airport bomber? and do we have any information this person was previously incarcerated at the air base? if i can get eether to comment on that. >> i believe we've identified certain individuals associated with the bombing. i'm not sure, as i sit right here, if that's sufficiently developed to be able to share in a public hearing. so, let me see if there's more information we can supply to, as a follow up because it may require classified setting and then the second part is there may be an ongoing investigation that might be impacted. so, we'll circle back to it. >> okay.
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and director abi zerks e. >> the ability to share in the forum is something i don't have information. but i will follow up and work with our colleagues in the fbi to provide the information, whether in a classified setting or declassified after this hearing. >> thank you very much. i appreciate your commitment in that. >> time has expired. chair recognize gentle lady from florida for five minutes. >> thank you to our chairman and witnesses for appearing before us today. they discussed a number of international security concerns. there's no doubt our homeland faces more threat than any time since 9/11. the list of threats is far reaching.
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secretary mayorkas, seeing as this is our third time meeting, i would like to answer my questions with a simple yes or no, as to not to waste time. i would caution you to refrain from providing house members of congress with additional information in a timely manner. because we have just recently received information from a march 17th hearing. in fact, i received the answers to that march 17th hearing on august 24th. 161 days after we requested that information. you can imagine how frustrating that probably is, as a member of congress tasked with oversight of the executive branch. so, with that in mind, i'd like to jump right in to a series of questions. can you please provide me with the name of the individual who suspended, made the decision to suspend flights to haiti the first week of september?
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>> congresswoman, that was a collective decision. if i may say, not cancelled but postponed temporarily, the flights. >> did you make the recommendation? >> i'm sorry. those were few in number. >> did you yourself make the recommendation to suspend the flight? >> it is my responsibility as a secretary of homeland security, i own that. >> yes, thank you. yes or no, you have committed to briefing my colleagues in a classified setting on a number of known terrorists that have crossed into the united states or attempted to. i think we can all agree that terrorists on the known watch list crossing into the united states is an immediate threat. so, will you commit to that briefing for this committee before the end of this month? >> congresswoman, we will provide another briefing to this committee. i understand we provided that briefing previously in july.
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>> by the end of this month? >> i will not myself be able to do that, but i'm sure my team would be, congresswoman. may i say something -- >> actually, i have a limited amount of time because there's a litany of issues. had you many dhs personnel, including cvp and personnel have been pulled from their duties to manage the processing of afghans into the united states? >> i believe that over 20 individuals have been directed to the transit countries to assist. i can get you a complete breakdown of the population of personnel. that have been dedicated to the screening and vetting of afghan nationalz bfore they arrived to the united states. >> i appreciate that.
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and with those that have been called off the line to baby sit, can you give me a percentage of how many of your agents are participating in that activity? >> i disagree with that characterization? >> i didn't ask if you agree, i said how many have been putted off of their primary law enforcement duties? >> i disagree with the question. i'm sorry you're assuming thoughts. >> i'm going to have to reclaim my time. in one of your busiest sectors, 75% of your border patrol agents have been pulled off the line to baby sit and process. that is a disgrace. and as we are sitting here, several of your agents are watching this hearing, hearing your commentary. you're exceptionally quick to judge one of your own agents in the mounted patrol, yet you have given zero time to the number of suicides and agents who have passed away because of contact and contracting covid with their
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day-to-day operation. that, to me, is shameful. now, i want to go to my colleague, representative's comment, he asked if you thought that the border was secure. in your own words you state that the border is, quote, no less secure than the previous administration. mr. guess, previously provided data earlier in the hearing that your agency shows that it is, in fact, a historic level. we have 308,000 got aways, 75% of your agents are processing and baby sitting in one of your busiest sectors. a record number of retirement, and narcotics have come across the border and you still stand by your statement, yes or no, that border is secure? >> yes, and if i may, your initial assertion of congresswoman was profoundly offensive and wrong. >> well, this is now the second
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time that you have basically called me disrespectful. i believe in our first meeting you did. >> chair lady's time is up. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for being here today. she touched on something i want to ask briefly about. representative kra and i sent a letter on september 16th, from both the chairman of the homeland security and accountability and myself, as ranking member, asking for specific information on how many of the afghan evacuees that we have brought to the u.s. right now, how many are visa holders or dependents, american citizens or dependents, and nsf personnel who assisted in the evacuation,
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or dependents, the local embassy staff and kabul or dependents? and how many are other afghans? i know we've seen figures floating around suggesting that over 85% of those evacuated were neither sivs, american citizens or permanent residents. obviously, it's a fluid picture. are you prepared to answer the questions proposed in that letter? >> yes, i am. and if i may, i'll provide the answer in percentage form. so, we have admitted into the united states over 60,000 afghan nationals. approximately 7% of that population are united states citizens. approximately 6% are lawful, permanent residents. approximately 3% are special immigrant visa holders.
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the balance is a combination, if i may, congressman, of special immigrant visa applicants, whose applications have not been finalized for approve, a locally employed staff, individuals who would qualify under, for example, p 1, p 2 refugee status and other vulnerable afghans as you have identified. journalists, human rights, activists, etc. >> i appreciate the specificity and the 7%, 3%. is my understanding that those numbers accompany the dependents of the principal holder? >> yes, congressman and we do not have a breakdown of the balance of that population, if you will. we do not yet have that breakdown, that data. >> if you could give that to us by october 1st, as requested in
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the letter, it would be greatly appreciated. and touching on the border. you're no longer -- the administration's line is no longer that this is seasonal increases, right? we're at structurally different numbers coming across, correct? >> yes. >> is that something that you are satisfied by. is this a tolerable situation? i was appreciative of the emotion and enthusiasm we talked about the investigation you'll be doing into the photos we saw. will there be an appropriate attempt to try to close the border or reduce that flow or get us down from, again, incredibly high numbers? i'm looking at the fiscal year land border. i mean, it was a ramp up in february and it's stayed above
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that 175 level consistently. are we doing anything to get that number back down? >> we most certainly are. congressman. we are doing a number of different things. to address the regular migration and the number of individuals, who are traveling north to our southern border ill advisedly, perilously and unsuccessfully. we're doing a number of things. and i've spoken about this with respect to the root causes, the safe, orderly and humane pathways. rebuilding processes here in the united states. >> has any of that had a demonstrable impact on reducing the numbers? >> we actually have recently seen a reduction in numbers. we hope that trend continues. we are employing tools and we
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are also fundamentally hopeful that the broken immigration system will be fixed in the legislation. >> and just i think that reduction was from july, 213,000, august was 208,000. so, still quadruple what it was in prior years but i guess the reduction of a few percent is something. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. >> thank you, chairman thompson for holding this important hearing. thank you, mr. secretary, and director wray, thank you for your service and i look forward to our work together. as we sit here 20 years after 9/11, it's clear we face a much different landscape than the one two decades ago. weevl arer seen the rise of domestic home grown terrorist
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movements, especially white supremacist and other violent extremists. and they has investigations in all 50 states across lm field offices. the national counterterrorism agency were charged with fulfilling specific goals. given these pending threats, it's critical they work to prevent the rising threat of terrorism. the committee approved a drake act, a victim of october 2017, terrorist truck attack. it was directed to the homeland of security to develop and disseminate to report suspicious behavior to the point of sale of rental vehicle to mitigate acts of terror using motor vehicles. how will these help people in the communities from future
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terrorist attacks and what else are needed to prevenlt those we've seen? >> your bill is extremely important because it speaks of a fundamental need. not only the dissemination of information to state, local, tribal territorial law enforcement, but the dissemination to the private sector and in the sharing of best practices. and we are working to implement that very thoroughly. i think it's a very important measure and we have designed a center for prevention programs in partnership precisely to accomplish that missions, to equip and empower all of society to work within the communities to address this increased threat. >> thank you, so much. i appreciate that. doctor, in february, along with carson and chris smith, i introduced the bipartisan
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aviation act of 2021 to require the insulation of toxic barriers in all commercial aircraft to prevent terrorist attacks similar to 9/11. it made mesh gates, blocking access to flight decks on all existing aircrafts. looking backen the 20 years since 9/11, how can we prevent measures like this one and further protect american citizens and what, in your view, is needed? >> in general, the threats to aviation remain of concern, even here 20 years later. the enhancements that have happened in the intervening time have protected us and the establishment of organizations like ncs have all contributed to that. every step that would further
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improve security is something that we think will deter terrorist capability with regard to aviation security or other tactics they may use. so, we appreciate the efrtd you've gone through >> do you think we need that barrier on all commercial planes? >> i'm not intimately familiar with the legislation or specifically the assessment that would lead us to say that is absolutely necessary. i would say, as a general matter, it sounds reasonable. i'm happy to look at it and run it against what we know of terrorist tactics and capabilities and come back to that. >> it's the only recommendation in the 9/11 commissions report that's yet to be implemented. right now we use drink carts on many planes and the flight
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attendants stand there and there's been plenty of research on the fda about the threat to our cockpits and airplanes about this. i would love to follow up with you on this because i think it's critically important baseden the everyday in the 9/11 commissions report that we get this done and there's no reason why we would leave this vulnerability open. thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chair recognizes gentleman for five minutes. gentleman needs to unmute himself. i think we're having technical difficulties.
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we're still not able to hear you, mr. luturno. stand by. we're trying to correct it. >> can you hear me now, mr. chairman? >> yes, i can. go ahead. >> mr. chairman? okay. >> you're on. go ahead. >> secretary mayorkas, as has been sited throughout this hearing today, custom and border patrol has encountered 208,887
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migrants this past august. a 317% increase compared to the prior year. cvp is currently encountering over 5,000 more individuals per day than in august 2020. when we have seen six straight months with over 170,000 encounters. your inspector general also released a report, highlighting the fact that your agency has failed to secure sufficient covid preventative measures at the bortder and after nearly three decades of service, rodney scott stated that terrorists have crossed the border, quote, at a level we've never seen before. this is unacceptable and this disaster must be addressed immediately. what specifically are you doing at dhs to insure that our borders are secure and that americans are kept safe amid all
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the chaos? >> if i may, congressman, i can spell out quite a number of [ inaudible ] let me focus, if i may on august. the number of encounters that you identify is not reflect the number of individuals encountered. we do have a level of recidivism there. you sited 208,000 figure. in fact, unique encounters, the number of different individuals encountered in august was 156,641. so, we've taken a number of measures, enforcement measures. for example, we've increased number of lateral flights from one area of the border to another. and we have the remove flights leave from that second processing area into the interior of mexico to make recidivism more difficult and to ease the processing line and facilitate it.
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that is one example of a measure that we have taken. we have, in fact, instituted a policy to criminally prosecute residivist individuals who have been removed previously. we are working with the northern triangle countries to achieve more individuals rapidly to effect removes more. those are some examples of the measures we're taking from an enforcement perspective. we also have an obligation, albeit, in a covid-19 environment because we're employing the cdc's private title public health authority. we have an obligations to enforce all laws. that is also not only the laws of accountability, but the laws of humanitarian relief. those are equally on the books as well. and many of the individuals, who
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we encounter, claim asylum and have a right to have those asylum claims heard as our laws provide. >> thank you, mr. secretary. could you provide. what percentage of migrants have been processed through title 42, as opposed to title 8? >> let me take a look, if i may, at the august numbers. of the numbers i have indicated, the 93,441 have been processed under title 42 and 115,473 have been processed for expulsion under title 8. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the secretary has reiterated during this hearing his willingness to provide requested
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updates to members in an appropriate setting. we will work and coordinate that with the secretary. and if at all possible, mr. director, we might try to get you that, given some of the information you're not able to provide at this hearing. so that the members can have as full a view of what the landscape looks like in a classified and unclassified setting. so, we'll try to work everybody, as well as a third witness, who perhaps can help us on the international front. to tie some of the areas together too. we will get fbi and dhs and obviously, if we need include
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others, we will. i thank the witnesses for their testimony and members for their question. the members of the committee may have additional questions for the witnesses. and we ask you to respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. without objection, i also include in the record a letter from injewish federation on the subject of today's hearing.
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