Sen. Homeland Secuity Hearing: Cyber Security/Terrorist Threat

CQ CONGRESSIONAL TRANSCRIPTS

Congressional Hearings

Sept. 10, 2014 – Final

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on Cybersecurity and Terrorism Threats

LIST OF PANEL MEMBERS AND WITNESSES

CARPER:

Good morning, everyone. Great to see you. Welcome. And we thank you for joining us. I look forward to your testimonies.

Almost every year, this committee holds a hearing to review a multitude of threats to our homeland and to examine how our government is working to counter those threats. We routinely hear from the Department of Homeland Security, we here from the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center about how we can best keep Americans safe. And from those who would seek to carry out deadly attacks against our country and its people. ` And we also hear about actors in cyberspace who want to drain our bank accounts, who want to shut down our financial systems, electric grids, steal our individually identifiable information and our identities, as well as the R&D that will enable American businesses and our military to remain pre-eminent in the world.

Assessing these ever-changing broad threats and making sure our government continues to harness ability to stop them remains a top priority for this committee, particular as we approach another 9/11 anniversary.

This year, our hearing takes on an added significance, as our nation confronts a growing terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria. As we sit here today, our military is engaged in limited airstrikes in Iraq in an effort to dislodge and repel that threat.

Later this evening, President Obama will address our nation. He’s expected to share with us and the world the steps he’s recommending be taken in Iraq and in Syria to reverse the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and to enable the people who live in those countries to reclaim their lives.

Much of the world has been exposed to a steady stream of deeply disturbing images from those regions in recent weeks. Brutal executions, human rights atrocities, repression of women, and a seemingly endless procession of masked militants defiantly waving a black flag of Jihad in celebration of their brutality.

Effectively addressing the threat from a newly proclaimed Islamic state will require a multifaceted strategy. And that strategy will need a military component and the development of a robust international coalition to execute it.

Among the goals of that strategy is to ensure that the Islamic state of Israel in Syria, also known as ISIS, does not establish a long-term safe haven from which it can launch attacks against either our allies or our homeland, much like we saw Al Qaida in the days before 9/11.

Today, we’re examining steps that our Federal Government has already taken, along with the steps that we still need to take to prevent this from happening. We’ll drill down on this threat and its impact on our homeland, both in this open hearing, as well as in a classified briefing directly following.

But that’s not all we’re going to do. In addition to examining the more conventional terrorist threats the instability in Iraq and Syria may pose, we’ll also closely examine another major threat that affects our homeland and that’s daily cyber attacks. Everyday nation- states and their affiliates, criminals, terrorists and hackers launch cyber-attacks against our government agencies, our businesses, important parts of our daily lives, such as utilities and financial networks.

Some of these actors want to steal our sensitive information to sell it on the black market or to gain a competitive edge. Others are trying to make a political point. Some, however, would like to use a cyber-attack to cause wide-scale economic damage or even physical harm, and many of them are good at it and they’re getting even better.

We need to stay a step ahead of them. And today we’ll hear in the open portion of this hearing and also in the closed portion how we plan to do that. And not unlike the steps we’ve taken to address the terror threats in the wake of 9/11.

Congress clearly has a role to play here, actually, several roles, and one of them is an oversight role. It’s one that we take very seriously. Another is a legislative role that involves developing legislation to help enable America to anticipate and repel the cyber-attacks that we face on an almost daily, 24/7 basis.

In the last several months, this committee has completed action and reported three separate cyber bills unanimously to the full Senate. One bill would significantly enhance the capabilities of the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber workforce. Another would better protect federal agencies from cyber-attack. And a third would codify the cyber center that the department uses — Department of Homeland Security uses to monitor and respond to the attacks to strengthen its ability to do so.

I am grateful that Dr. Coburn and his staff are working closely with us on each of those pieces of legislation. Yesterday an op-ed in the Hill newspaper, Secretary Jeh Johnson recognized the bipartisan efforts of this committee and talked about the critical need to pass cyber legislation in this Congress. I could not agree more.

In closing, as we mark the anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow, let’s keep in mind one of the key lessons we learned since that fateful day some 13 years ago and that is the threat is always evolving. And not that long ago, crooks used to rob a bank to steal our money. Now they click a button on a distant computer and accomplish the same goal.

Nation-states and rival businesses used to employ corporate insiders or retirees to steal company secrets. Now they send a spear- phishing e-mail. And terrorists used to be a distant threat in the mountains in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now an increasing number of them are home grown. They may be using European or even American passports.

So as a threat becomes more sophisticated, more elusive and more diffuse, we need to remain ever-vigilant to sure that our government is nimble enough to keep up with tomorrow’s threats as they confront us.

We’ve come a long way since 9/11. In many respects, we are more secure than we were on this day 13 years ago. But the world in which we live remains a dangerous place. There’s always more work to do. When it comes to securing our homeland and anticipating the next threat, we owe it to the American people to strive for perfect. What does it say in the preamble of the Constitution, in order to form a more perfect union. It wasn’t the idea to form a perfect union, but to form a more perfect union.

And our intent here is to try to approach perfection, even if we never achieve it, but get as close as we can in this regard. The consequences of failure are simply too high. The costs are too severe.

I’m pleased that we have with us today a panel of witnesses who work together every day to tackle the terrorist and cyber-threats that we face. We’re grateful to each of you for what you do with your life and for your service to our country. Now I turn to my partner in all this, Dr. Coburn for any remarks that he might wish to make.

Dr. Coburn?

COBURN:

Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I concur a lot with what you said. I want to thank each of our witnesses today for testimony. One, for what you do, number two, for your vigilance. Number three, for the criticism you take that’s actually not informed criticism.

COBURN:

The Department of Homeland Security particularly had lots of problems. I’m so thankful Jeh Johnson is there.

General, I’m thankful you’re there.

And, Suzanne, I’m thankful for you there, plus the others that we put through the committee.

We have a long way to go. Where I would disagree with Senator Carper is I don’t think we’re any safer today. I think the threat to our country is just as great as it was pre-9/11, based on what’s happening in the world, the absolute lack of control of our border, especially our southern border, and the inability and the corruption on both sides in terms of law enforcement on the border.

So I think we have a long ways to go. But I know we have dedicated leadership now in all the areas that are concentrating on the same goal.

I think it’s a shame that the leader of the Senate won’t put a cyber-security bill on the floor, one that creates true information sharing. Let the Senate debate it, so we can actually start to really protect the cyber aspect of our government.

And that requires all of us to work together in the cyber-realm to ensure that we’re not — we’re vulnerable today. We’ve seen both in Homeland Security and in the private sector significant breaches. They will continue. They’re — most of them are on nation-state actors. China and Russia, specifically.

We should not fall back from talking about what they are doing and why they’re both trying to steal our intellect and damage our economy.

It’s — these are real issues. This is an important hearing for the American people to hear in as much detail as possible what’s going on and where we need to improve.

So, again, I would thank you all for your efforts. The FBI and NCTC, valuable contributions. And having the privilege of setting on both Intel and Homeland Security, I get to see as well as anybody what everybody’s doing.

And everybody’s working in the right direction, except the U.S. Senate. And my hope would be is that we would start helping you, rather than hurt you.

I yield back.

CARPER:

I would like to associate myself with the remarks of the — my colleague from Oklahoma. We need to move not just the three cyber bills that have been reported out of this committee, I think unanimously, but also the — some version of the information sharing (inaudible).

I think we could improve the bill that came out of the Intel Committee. My hope is that we will and we’ll have a chance to do the whole, all four of them, at least those four, this — this year. That’s my goal.

If we can do more, God bless us.

On behalf of all the members of our committee, thank you for joining us today.

Our first witness is retired Brigadier General Francis Taylor. Mr. Taylor is the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis in the Department of Homeland Security.

How long have you been in that job now, General?

TAYLOR:

(OFF-MIKE)

CARPER:

Four months. Good.

In this role, he provides the secretary, DHS leadership, DHS components and state and local, tribal and private sector partners with the Homeland Security intelligence and information they need to keep our country safer, secure and resilient.

General Taylor came to DHS with 31 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, four years in the State Department as counterterrorism coordinator and as the assistant secretary for diplomatic security, and eight years as vice president at General Electric.

The second witness is Suzanne Spaulding, the undersecretary for national protection and programs directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. As undersecretary, one of her responsibilities is coordinating and overseeing policy and operation for the department’s infrastructure protection activities, including cyber-security.

Ms. Spaulding has spent more than 25 years working on national security issues in Congress and the executive branch and the private sector, and this includes extensive experience working with many critical infrastructure sectors.

Welcome.

Our next witness is Nick Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Mr. Rasmussen has also served on the National Security Council, where he was responsible for providing staff support to the president, the national security adviser, and the homeland security adviser on counterterrorism policy and strategy.

Prior to this, he served in a variety of key positions for the Department of State, where he provided support for the Arab-Israeli peace process and the U.S.- North Korean agreed framework and Persian Gulf security issues.

Nick, welcome this morning.

And our final witness is Robert Anderson, executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber-response and Services Branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In this position, Mr. Anderson oversees all FBI criminal and cyber-investigations, worldwide, international operations, critical incident response and victim assistance. During the 20 years that he has worked at the FBI, Mr. Anderson served as hostage — served in the hostage rescue team, Counterintelligence Division, and the Intelligence Division as well.

What did you do before you were a part of the FBI?

ANDERSON:

Sir, I was a Delaware state trooper…

CARPER:

No kidding?

ANDERSON:

… for about nine years.

CARPER:

Were you any good?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON:

I hope so.

CARPER:

Were you ever trooper of the year?

ANDERSON:

Yes, sir, I was in 1989.

CARPER:

OK. That’s pretty good. We remember you fondly.

COBURN:

Did you ever escort the former governor…

CARPER:

He pulled me over.

(LAUGHTER)

He pulled me over a time or two.

And I was — as I recall, one of the times fired a warning shot.

(LAUGHTER)

No damage was done.

Great to see you, and thanks for what you did with — for us back in Delaware, and what you’re doing for our country now.

Thank you all for your service. Your entire testimonies will be made part of the record. And we’d ask you to try to do it in about, the testimony, in about five minutes. You go way over that, we’ll pull you in.

All right, General Taylor, you feel like leading us off?

TAYLOR:

Yes, sir.

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR:

Thank you, Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Coburn, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss threats to the homeland and the current threat environment.

I am mindful that tomorrow is the 11th of September, and I vividly remember where I was on that day, 13 years ago, sitting at the State Department, as the coordinator for counterterrorism.

What has changed since 2001? Are we any safer now?

These are questions that have been repeated countless times since that tragic day, and rightfully so. I come before the committee today to outline the lessons we’ve learned since 9/11 and how we are now postured to address evolving threats in ways that we were not on September the 10th, 2001.

The key lesson we’ve learned from 9/11 is the need to develop an agile homeland security enterprise that constantly collaborates and shares information and intelligence to identify threats and risks and to adjust operations as necessary to address the range of challenges the nation faces.

The partners within the homeland security enterprise, whether they’re first responders at the local level or decision-makers in capital cities across America or here in our nation’s capital, require predictive intelligence and analytical products that help them to make informed decisions to protect our citizens.

The cornerstone of our mission at DHS has always been, and remains, protecting the nation against terrorist attacks. In fact, Secretary Johnson just yesterday reiterated that counterterrorism is our most important mission at DHS. We are vigilant in detecting and preventing terrorist threats that may seek to penetrate the homeland from land, sea or air.

I will first address the current terrorist environment, and then discuss threats to our efforts as they relate to each of the secretary’s four priorities.

And, Mr. Chairman, mindful of the time limit, I will submit other remarks for the record and summarize just a couple of things.

First, on terrorism, core Al Qaida, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and their affiliates remain a major concern for the Department of Homeland Security. Despite senior leadership deaths, the groups maintains (sic) the intent and capability to conduct attacks against U.S. citizens and facilities and have demonstrated the ability to adjust their tactics, techniques and procedures for targeting the West in innovative ways.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a terrorist group operating as if it were a military organization, and their experiences and successes on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq have armed them with capabilities most terrorist groups do not possess.

At present, DHS is unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland from ISIL. However, we recognized that ISIL constitutes an active and serious threat within the region and could attempt attacks on U.S. targets overseas with little or no warning.

ISIL exhibits a very sophisticated propaganda capability, disseminating high-quality media content on multiple online platforms, including social media, to enhance its appeal. Media accounts of the conflict and the propaganda in particular play a role in inspiring U.S. citizens to travel to Syria.

We are aware that a number of persons, more than 100, have either made their way or tried to make their way to Syria over the past few years to join the international foreign fighters.

I’ll conclude with AQAP has attempted three times to attack the U.S. homeland. The airliner plot of December 2009, an attempt against the U.S.-bound cargo planes in October 2010,and an airline plot in May of 2012 demonstrate their efforts to adapt to aviation security procedures and underscore why aviation security is a priority area outlined by Secretary Johnson.

In response to these recent threats, generally from overseas, over the past few months, DHS has taken steps to enhance aviation security at overseas airports with direct — airports with direct flights to the United States, and other nations have followed suit with similar enhancements.

Mr. Chairman, I will conclude my remarks here, and, if you would allow me to submit the rest of them for the record?

CARPER:

Without objection, your entire statement will be made part of the record.

Thank you, General.

Ms. Spaulding, great to see you. Please proceed.

SPAULDING:

Thank you, Chairman, Ranking Member Coburn, distinguished members of the committee, it’s a — thank you for this opportunity to be here today. I’m particularly pleased to be here today with my colleague, Undersecretary Taylor, and with our partners from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Undersecretary Taylor spoke with you about a range of threats that the department is focused on, and I’m gonna amplify a bit with regard to the threat to cyber-security and to discuss the actions that we are taking with our critical infrastructure partners to understand and address these threats, and — both physical and cyber, through information sharing and capability building.

SPAULDING:

First, however, I also want to note as we approach this 13th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, three efforts that we have under way to heighten public vigilance and public awareness. This month, September, is National Preparedness Month. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, in which we focus on enhancing the resilience of this nation against cyber threats. And November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month. All three of these are key mission areas for the department and all require daily collaboration with our stakeholders in the private sector and government at all levels.

Growing cyber-threats are an increasing risk to critical infrastructure, to our economy, and to our national security. DHS uses cyber-security information to reduce risk, to detect and block cyber- attacks on federal civilian agencies, to help critical infrastructure entities, improve their own protection and also to use the information that we develop collaboratively to protect their customers. And we maintain a trusted environment for the private- sector partners to collaborate on cyber-security threats and trends.

This trust is based, in large part, on our commitment to privacy, civil rights and civil liberties across all information-sharing programs, with a particular emphasis on safeguarding personally identifiable information.

So far this year, DHS’s 24-by-7 cyber operation center, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, or the NCCIC, has processed over 600,000 cyber incidents, issued more than 10,000 actionable alerts, detected more than 55,000 vulnerabilities and dispatched over 78 incident response teams for onsite technical assistance.

Let me tell you about one recent success. Within the last few weeks, the United States Secret Service shared information on some malware with our cybersecurity ops center for analysis. The results of that analysis formed the basis for an actionable alert that was distributed widely to our critical infrastructure owners and operators and led U.S. businesses to check their systems for this malware and identify and stop ongoing cyber-intrusions, thereby protecting their customers’ data.

While both the cyber-security threat and the nation’s dependence on cyber infrastructure has grown exponentially, the legal framework, particularly regarding the articulation of the department’s authorities, has not kept pace. As the chairman and the ranking member have noted, legislative action is vital. Both the House and the Senate have made real progress on cyber-security legislation. I would like to personally thank this committee for all of its hard work that has ensured progress on this front, on a bipartisan basis.

But we are not over the finish line yet. As Secretary Johnson wrote today: There are areas of legislation with strong consensus, codifying the cyber-security responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security, making it easier for DHS and the private sector to work together to mitigate cyber-related vulnerabilities and enhancing the department’s ability to recruit and retain that essential cyber- security workforce.

These authorities are vital to ensuring that the department has the tools it needs to carry out its mission on behalf of the nation. While deliberations continue on other elements of cyber-security legislation, we should not wait to pass bipartisan and broadly supported bills. You have come so far and the threat is so great.

I urge Congress to pass what it can now, even as we continue to work hard on remaining provisions.

Let me close by emphasizing that DHS’s mission to strengthen the security and resilience of critical infrastructure requires us to focus on physical risks to that infrastructure as well as cyber risks. Because the majority of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, DHS works with those partners, primarily on a voluntary basis, to understand the range of threats and hazards, share information and promote training and other capability building.

DHS and the Department of Energy, along with other interagency partners, for example, provided classified and unclassified threat briefings. We do this on a regular basis to energy CEOs and industry executives on physical and cyber-threats.

In the wake of the terrorist attack on the shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, DHS and the FBI engaged in more than — engaged more than 400 major malls across the United States to facilitate table-top exercises based on a similar attack involving active shooters and the use of improved explosive devices. Working collaboratively with our partners in the private sector, we are advancing our core mission of strengthening the security and resilience of our nation’s critical infrastructure against cyber and physical threats.

Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Coburn, thank you for this opportunity to testify today and I look forward to taking your questions.

CARPER:

Thank you. Thank you very much, Suzanne, and we look forward to asking a few of them, too.

Mr. Rasmussen, welcome aboard. Please proceed.

RASMUSSEN:

Thank you, Chairman Carper. Thank you, Ranking Member…

CARPER:

Let’s make sure your microphone is on, please.

RASMUSSEN:

Is that better?

Thank you, Chairman Carper. Thank you, Ranking Member Coburn and the members of the Committee for the opportunity to testify here today. NCTC Director Matt Olsen and I don’t often testify in open session, in open hearings, and so, today is an important opportunity, we believe, to share our understanding of what we see as an evolving dynamic terrorist threat and to share that understanding with the committee and with the American public.

Indeed, earlier in the summer, the 9/11 commissioners challenged national security leaders to communicate more regularly with the American public about the threat and we hope to do just that. As I begin this morning, I’d like to frame this evolving threat in broad terms that are generally applicable across the broad sweep of groups — of individual groups and terrorist networks.

The threat from terrorist groups that we see today is geographically diffuse from a diverse array of actors and it’s proving over time to be both resilient and adaptive to the counterterrorism pressure we are putting on it. The global Jihadist movement continues to increasingly decentralize itself, both in terms of geography and in terms of command and control.

Geographically speaking, it’s no longer generally confined to the Afghanistan-Pakistan-South Asia region. It now covers a broad swathe of territory from the Indian subcontinent across the whole entire Middle East and the Levant and throughout Northern Africa and Western Africa as well.

Of greatest concern are the terrorist groups such as ISIL that have taken a foothold in areas where governance is lax, where governments are unable to govern and where lax security has allowed groups to coalesce, train and plot. In terms of command and control, we also see a trend of decentralization. With the Amir of an Al Qaida affiliate — AQAP, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — now serving as the general deputy to Al Qaida leader, Ayman Al Zawahiri.

RASMUSSEN:

Additionally, that Al Qaida core is increasingly encouraging groups and individuals to act independently in support of the global movement. With no longer holding an expectation that regional affiliates will discuss or clear their operations plans with Al Qaida senior leadership prior to execution. And this evolution is the result of an adaptive enemy.

Our counterterrorism operations continue to degrade Al Qaida’s core ability to lead the global terrorist movement and to plan sophisticated attacks from its place in the FATA. But as a result of leaks and disclosures, including those attributable to Edward Snowden, terrorists now understand the scope and scale of Western collection capabilities, and they’re changing the way they communicate. They’re adopting encryption technologies. They’re shifting accounts, or avoiding altogether the use of electronic communications, all of which frustrate our counterterrorism efforts.

In short, we cannot connect the dots if we cannot collect — we cannot connect the dots if we can’t collect the dots that matter the most. And our collection is challenged in this new environment.

In the remaining time, Mr. Chairman, I’d like to focus on three specific areas: the threat from ISIL, the threat from AQAP, and the threat we face from homegrown violent extremists.

Starting with ISIL — the greatest threat from ISIL to the United States and its interests is inside Iraq right now, which, combined with Syria, constitutes ISIL’s power center. As we move further from that base of strength, ISIL’s ability at present to develop and execute significant large-scale sophisticated attacks diminishes. This is not to say it does not pose a threat outside the region. It certainly does.

Indeed, the arrest in France of an individual and the subsequent discovery of explosive devices in his possession, as well as the killing of four individuals at a Jewish museum in Belgium, provide clear evidence and indication of ISIL’s ambition to operate outside the Middle East.

Both of the responsible individuals apprehended in Europe, who are in custody, reportedly fought alongside ISIL elements in the Middle East.

However, these examples also demonstrate that right now, ISIL’s ability to carry out complex large-scale attacks in the West is currently limited. Left unchecked, however, that capability is likely to grow and present a much more direct threat to the homeland.

And with over 2,000 Westerners now believed to fighting in Syria and Iraq, we assess that the threat to Europe is perhaps even more immediate. But, nevertheless, the United States is not immune, as both the chairman and the ranking member noted.

Over 100 persons from a variety of backgrounds and from all across the country have traveled or attempted to travel, or somehow indicated an attempt to travel to the region, including some who have looked to engage with ISIL. Most of these individuals are known or believed to have Western travel documentation that would ease their re-entry into the United States or into other countries, which is why identifying them is a top priority for the United States and our partners. That’s why it’s so important that the international community challenge ISIL’s regional ambitions now, degrade their capabilities, and over time, work together to defeat and destroy ISIL.

Left unchecked, ISIL poses an increasing threat to all governments it considers apostate, not just to the United States or European nations, but also Middle Eastern, South Asian and African nations, as well.

Let me quickly turn to Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. We continue to assess that AQAP remains the Al Qaida affiliate most likely to attempt transnational attacks against the United States. The group’s repeated efforts to conceal explosive devices to destroy aircraft demonstrate its continued pursuit of high-profile attacks against the West, its increasing awareness of Western security procedures, and their efforts to adapt to those procedures that we adopt.

The group also continues to present a high threat to U.S. personnel and facilities inside Yemen and Saudi Arabia. And at any one time, we are tracking several plots to our interests inside Yemen and inside the Arabian Peninsula, hatched by Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The group also continues, as the committee well knows, to — its efforts to radicalize and mobilize individuals outside Yemen through the use of Inspire Magazine, their English language publication. The most recent — recent issue, it’s 12th issue of Inspire, was released back in March. And it continued to encourage lone wolf or lone offender attacks in the West, citing specific targets in the United States, the U.K. and France.

Let me also say a few quick words about homegrown violent extremists. The boundless online virtual environment we see today, combined with terrorists’ increasingly sophisticated use of social media, makes it increasingly difficult for us to protect our youth from messaging that is designed to radicalize and motivate to action homegrown violent extremists.

We at NCTC are working very closely with our partners at — at DHS, at FBI and the Department of Justice to inform and equip families, communities, local governments, and local institutions, all of whom provide the best defense and — and have the greatest ability to counter the narrative of violent extremism in their communities. Despite our efforts, however, HVEs remain the most likely immediate threat to the homeland — individual action by individual HVEs.

We expect that the overall level of HVE activity to remain about the same as what we’ve seen in recent years over the course of the next year. And by that, I mean we would expect to see a handful of uncoordinated and mostly unsophisticated plots emanating from a pool of HVEs that amounts to — up to a few hundred individuals.

Last year’s Boston bombing certainly underscored from HVEs who are motivated, often with little or no warning, to act violently by themselves or in small groups. And, as we’ve discussed with this committee, these lone actors, who act autonomously, are the most difficult to detect or disrupt.

Mr. Chairman, during your April 30 hearing, you noted that identifying and deterring terrorist plots by lone wolves was extremely challenging to the counterterrorism and Homeland Security community, and I think everybody here would agree with that assessment.

Lastly, let me take one moment to talk about just one of our efforts at NCTC to counter the array of threats I’ve just outlined. And that is through identifying it more precisely by putting a face and a name to that threat whenever possible.

As you know, under the law, NCTC is charged with maintaining the United States Government’s central and shared knowledge bank of known and suspected terrorists, as well as their contacts and their support networks.

NCTC’s TIDE — the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment — is our database of known and suspected international terrorists. And it helps us ensure that all relevant information collected by the government about identified individuals, including individuals who we have identified as Syrian foreign fighters — all that information is shared with appropriate intelligence, law enforcement and screening agencies.

We are absolutely relentless in the effort to ensure that the data in TIDE is as accurate as possible, that it’s entered accurately, and that our records are as comprehensive as they can possibly be. And we are mindful of privacy and civil liberties concerns, particularly with respect to U.S. persons.

In the case of U.S. persons, any nomination to TIDE goes through at least four layers of review, including a legal level of review to ensure that the underlying derogatory information is sufficient and meets established legal standards.

Our management at NCTC of this unique consolidation of terrorist identities has created a valuable forum for identifying and sharing information with our partners in the community. And it’s better integrated our collective efforts to identify, enhance and expedite the nomination of individuals we assess to be Syrian foreign fighters, and get — and get their names and their identities into the screening system. And this work greatly increases the chances that we’ll be able to disrupt potential terrorist activity by individuals as they seek to return from Syria.

In closing, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we face an evolving, decentralized threat from a diffuse set of actors who are adapting constantly to our counter measures. That’s why NCTC and our partners within the intelligence community must ourselves continue to adapt to this threat, operating within the bounds of our existing authorities and resources.

We certainly appreciate the committee’s continued strong support in these efforts. And I would encourage senators to visit NCTC to see firsthand the breadth of the work we’re doing with our counterterrorism partners.

Mr. Chairman, we had the honor of hosting you and several of the committee staff in recent weeks out at NCTC to talk in great detail about some of those threats. And it was very gratifying to see your interest in the work we are doing, along with FBI and DHS.

Thank you again for this opportunity.

CARPER:

Thank you.

(inaudible) to Dr. Coburn and I not only enjoyed being with you and having the chance to personally meet many of the folks who work there, but to thank them for their service. It was very informative for me, and — and, frankly, quite encouraging. So, thanks for that.

Mr. Anderson — Trooper Anderson — former Trooper Anderson, it’s great to see you. Welcome. Please proceed.

ANDERSON:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Dr. Coburn and members of the committee. Thanks for the opportunity to be here today to talk to you about the cyber and terrorism threats to our nation and how we’re working together with our partners to prevent and combat them.

In my role as the executive assistant director over the FBI, as the chairman said, I manage multiple divisions within the FBI. But the two I’m going to concentrate on the most today is the criminal and the cyber program.

As the committee knows, the number of sophisticated cyber attacks against our nation’s network have increased dramatically over the recent years. We truly expect them to continue to climb and grow.

I could break down the threats to our country in four broad categories from cyber: spies, transnational organized criminals, terrorists, and hacktivist groups.

The bottom line is, we’re losing a lot of data, money, ideas and innovation to a wide range of cyber adversaries. FBI Director Comey has recognized this and the severity of the threat, and he’s made cyber one of the number one top priorities in the FBI. Under his leadership, the FBI is continuing to strengthen our cyber capabilities, in the same way we enhanced our intelligence and national security capabilities in the wake of 9/11.

Today’s FBI is the national security and law enforcement organization that uses intelligence to prevent and respond to all types of threats.

We constantly seek to understand the threats we face in each of our offices, both here and abroad, what’s out there, what we see, and what we might be missing.

We know that to effectively combat the cyber threat, we must continue to expand our partnerships, both in government and in the private sector. In fact, we expect Director Comey and DHS Secretary Johnson will soon sign a new cyber unified message for state and local law enforcement. This message makes clear that federal agencies are working together to ensure that a call to one is a call to all when law enforcement partners report information on a cyber attack or incident.

Also, for our law enforcement partners, we launched the Cyber Shield Alliance, an online one-stop shop to provide cyber training, as well as the ability to report cyber incidents to the FBI.

Earlier this month, we deployed a malware repository, an analysis system known as Malware Investigator. Our intelligence and law enforcement partners — it allows them to submit malware directly to the FBI, and we share with our partners for triage and analysis of what’s going on in cyber.

We are also significantly enhancing our collaboration with the private sector. In the past, industry has provided us information about attacks. We’ve investigated them, but we really didn’t share or provide that information back. Now we are.

As part of our enhanced outreach, we provided nearly 40 classified sector-specific threat briefings to private companies over the past year alone.

Over the past several months, the FBI and the Department of Justice, along with many partners, both at this table and abroad, have announced a series of indictments on cyber criminals.

Just to name a few, Encore Performance, which was obviously the indictment of the five 3 PLA Chinese hackers.

Blackshades, a remote access computer software that could steal and infect hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.

We’re calling these indictments the new normal, because we expect them to continue on a regular basis.

ANDERSON:

While the cyber threat is one of the FBI’s highest priorities, combating terrorism continues to be the number one priority in the FBI. As conflict zones continue to emerge throughout many parts of our world, we expect terrorist groups to use this instability to recruit and incite acts of violence.

Syria remains a major concern, as the ongoing conflict shows no sign of subsiding. Due to the prolonged nature and the high visibility of the Syrian conflict, we are concerned that U.S. persons who have an interest in committing jihad will be drawn to that region of the world.

We can address these issues much more fulsomely in the closed session that follows this session, and we look forward to doing that.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, to counter the threats we face, we are engaging in an unprecedented level of collaboration within the United States government and with our private sectors around the world and with the international law enforcement organizations that we each at this table talk to each and every day.

We look forward to continuing to expand these partnerships and to work with the committee to defeat our cyber and terrorist adversaries.

Thank you again, very much, for the opportunity to be here today. I would be happy to answer any questions you or the committee has.

Thank you.

CARPER:

Mr. Anderson, thanks — thanks so much. Great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us today.

First question from me would be for perhaps Mr. Rasmussen or General Taylor. One of the recurring themes in my life is find out what works, do more of that. And I just want to play off of that for a moment.

Go back about seven years ago, Iraq, Sunni Awakening, and the predecessor to ISIS was rolling along pretty well, and then, no so much.

And under the enlightened leadership of I think General Petraeus, of the — I think the good work done by the fellow who’s just become the new prime minister of Iraq, working with the Sunni tribal leaders, ISIS — Al Qaida in Iraq, their progress just stopped. And — and it was greatly diminished, pushed back.

What can we gain from that lesson? Is there anything there that can inform what we do today?

(UNKNOWN)

Mr. Chairman, one of the things we’ve tried to do is we’ve tried to think about the problem and the threat posed by ISIL is to think of potential vulnerabilities that the group has, and to think of ways in which the progress that they’ve made can be addressed.

And you point to some of the lessons that we may be able to learn from previous efforts against Al Qaida in Iraq. And there, I think that we did learn that the group very much struggled to gain legitimacy across the broader population of Iraq, when they say — when that population in Iraq saw in Baghdad a representative government that was responsive to their needs.

And so, the ongoing transition in Baghdad that you’re seeing right now, that you just alluded to, I think is an important step in potentially giving the Sunni population in Iraq a signal that they do not have to turn or align or ally with ISIL in order to have their issues addressed, to feel that they are represented, that their interests are protected inside — inside Iraq.

So that’s an important lesson learned. I think it’s one where we’ve seen progress in the last few weeks, but only over time will we see if that kind of political transition actually has that effect that we’re looking to see. I don’t know that we can say yet how quickly that will happen, but it’s something that I think was a necessary precondition to any strategy against ISIL.

CARPER:

Thanks. Thanks, very much.

And, General Taylor, and maybe for you, Nick, one or both of you mentioned that the ability for ISIS to mount an effective attack against our homeland is limited — the — but it’s not time for us to sit back and just assume it’s not gonna come, but for us to prepare and be ready for it.

What are some ways that we can do, are doing, should be doing, to prepare for that eventuality, and be better prepared for it, should it come?

That would be for both — General Taylor, why don’t you lead off and then give Nick some time as well, please?

TAYLOR:

Certainly, sir.

Excuse me. As I mentioned, we assess the threat from ISIL primarily to be in the region. Nonetheless, with the number of European and Americans that have gone to fight in Syria, that threat can manifest itself back in the — either in Europe or in the U.S.

I think we’ve begun with the aviation security changes that we’ve made since July to make it more difficult for people to try to get explosives onto aircraft that — to bring those aircraft down that could be traveling to the U.S.

We’ve increased our intelligence cooperation with our partners across the world in attempting to identify people who have gone to serve or to fight in Syria, because intelligence is the one thing that helps us identify these individuals before they’re able to act, and using our intelligence systems to learn who they are makes us much more effective in interdicting them.

And, third, I think that the focus on CVE, getting our communities aware of the risks…

CARPER:

Not everyone knows what CVE is.

TAYLOR:

I’m sorry, sir. Countering Violent Extremists (sic), homegrown violent extremists.

CARPER:

Thank you.

TAYLOR:

As Nick mentioned, probably the most immediate threat comes from a homegrown violent extremist who listens to the propaganda, reads it, and decides that he’s going — he or she are going to answer the call and take up arms here in the U.S. And so, community awareness, resilience around these issues with our law enforcement partners in the field, so that they understand what those elements are that — to look for as they encounter folks in communities, I think is a big step towards helping communities learn about this early, so we can respond.

CARPER:

OK. Thanks.

Nick?

RASMUSSEN:

The only thing — the only thing I’d add, Mr. Chairman, are two things, one related to offense and one related to defense.

I think if you’re going to get ahead of ISIL’s effort to over time develop a homeland threat capability, we have to over time shrink the safe haven and attack the safe haven inside Iraq. And that’s something I know the president and the secretary of state have already spoken to in talking to our foreign partners overseas.

Because, absent that, the ability to bring additional Western potential operatives into Iraq or Syria, into that — that safe haven, and potentially train, equip and deploy them back out to Europe and the Untied States will remain a threat.

The more defensive piece of business that I think we’re engaged in right now, already, and I think we’re making good progress on, is just aggressive information sharing with all of our foreign partners who face the similar problem.

And this is an issue we’ve been engaged in with them for going on 18 months now. Engaging with our European partners, many of whom face this problem even more acutely than we do, in terms of their citizens having an easier route and certainly easier, easier path to travel to Syria and Iraq.

Unlike a lot of the situations where it’s difficult to talk with partners about information sharing about individuals, this is a case where we’re actually getting very little pushback. They share the same sense of threat, and so the information that we’re able to share about individuals who’ve traveled to Syria or Iraq can be used to potentially add to our watch listing and screening systems, and give us, one, a significant leg up in our effort to disrupt travel when those individuals seek to leave Syria and Iraq.

That’s not a fail-safe. It is by no means the only pillar of a defensive effort. But it’s an important pillar, and it’s one that isn’t always very easy to get our partners to work with us on. But in this case, that sense of shared threat is so — is so widely shared at all levels in the governments that we typically work with in Europe that it’s making that level of interchange much more robust than it often is.

CARPER:

Thanks very much.

And my time’s expired.

When we come back, either for a next round or maybe in our closed session, Ms. Spaulding and Mr. Anderson, I want to visit the issue of information sharing and the sequencing of FISA reauthorization information sharing, either in the open session or the closed session.

Dr. Coburn?

COBURN:

Well, thank you.

I hope the media that’s here today actually listened to what you had to say, Nick. A very cogent, open assessment of where we are, not on the basis to scare people, but on the basis to inform them of where we really are.

I think the other thing that I would comment on is I’m really happy to see the FBI being aggressive on deterrence, because for so long we thought we can build a higher and higher wall, that people can’t climb over.

They’re gonna climb over every wall on cyber that we have. And we have to have both efforts. We have to have the wall, but we also have to have the prosecutorial deterrence that says, you come mess, we’re gonna make you — it’s gonna be painful.

And do, I’m very thankful for that attitude coming from the FBI, and I hope to see more and more and more, both domestically and internationally, because of the cost.

General Taylor, let me — let me just ask you a couple of questions. Has I&A produced any intelligence product examining the vulnerabilities in ISIS, student exchange and visitor’s program, the visa program, and whether it poses a threat to national security?

TAYLOR:

Yes, sir, we have. We have published several threat pieces to support the student visa program and the risks that comes from that particular program, working with ICE and with CBP.

COBURN:

And — and are those public or are those classified?

TAYLOR:

I believe they’re classified, Senator Coburn, but I will check and get back to you.

COBURN:

I’ll ask more questions about them, then…

TAYLOR:

Yes, sir.

COBURN:

… in the — in the closed hearing.

It’s reported that millions of people living here on visa overstays. GAO has found that DHS is really struggling to track this population. We understand that.

Has I&A prepared any assessment of the threat from the population of visa overstays? Do you have anything that you’ve done on that?

TAYLOR:

We have, sir. We’ve helped ICE to prioritize its focus on the visa overstays from a threat perspective, and certainly can share that with you in the closed session.

COBURN:

OK. All right.

From the — my staff and — and CBP has been very cooperative, by the way — when we review the documents, what we see today is approximately 700 miles of our southern border that are not secure. That’s looking at the documents that you all give us.

Can you all prepare a current assessment of the coverage of the border and the threat to national security posed by adversaries that potentially might transcend that border?

TAYLOR:

Sir, if I understand your question, you’re asking can we or have we?

COBURN:

I’m asking you can you, given the basis of where we stand.

TAYLOR:

Absolutely.

COBURN:

All right.

TAYLOR:

Yes, sir.

I would also add, sir, that the secretary has directed a comprehensive southern border security strategy, which will have an intelligence annex to it that will address what you’ve just described, the risks to the border and how we can better focus our efforts at securing those gaps that — that we identify are existing.

COBURN:

Do you — do you — do you have a timeline on that?

TAYLOR:

He just approved it, at least the concept, and we’re beginning to put meat on the bones. I can’t give you an exact date, but I’ll certainly have the staff check and get back with you.

COBURN:

OK. All right. All right. Thank you.

Mr. Anderson, does the FBI monitor cyber-attacks against the federal government?

TAYLOR:

Yes, sir. We work to — I mean, we not only monitor cyber-attacks around the world for the federal government, but also the private sector.

COBURN:

OK. Can you tell me which departments, major departments of the federal government that haven’t been hacked?

TAYLOR:

I don’t know if I could tell you that off the top of my head, sir. I’d probably have to go back and look. I would say and I think I agree with our current director that if they haven’t been hacked — I don’t know if they haven’t been hacked or we haven’t realized…

COBURN:

Yeah, they’ve all been hacked. Yeah. If you would, would you go back and give us a list of what your records show, what has — and you can do that either in a secured setting or in an open session. But we — I’d like to see what you all see on that. I mentioned the deterrent. I’m really pleased with that, because I think you have to have both sides of the sword working. The rest of my questions, I think, Mr. Chairman, are for classified settings, so I will wait and ask those of Nick and Suzanne and others in the classified setting.

CARPER:

OK. Thank you. And the order of joining us at the hearing, Senator Johnson, Senator McCain, Senator Baldwin, Senator Portman, and Senator Ayotte.

Senator Johnson, you’re recognized.

JOHNSON:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’d like to associate myself with Senator Coburn’s comments about the need for us to face this reality. The need that — the American people need to be informed. It’s not about scaring people, it’s about facing reality.

And General Taylor, we started the hearing asking are we safer. I want to break that question down to two parts, because I think there are two parts to it. One is do we have great defensive capability to keep us safe? But then has the threat grown? I just want your assessment of both those. I mean, what is your assessment over the last 13 years in terms of our defensive capabilities? And by the way, what is hampering our efforts, you know? And then, really, your assessment of the growing threat?

TAYLOR:

Thank you, senator. As I mentioned, I was State Department coordinator for counterterrorism on 9/11 and was party to our efforts then and have watched the government change its approach to this. And indeed, I think, our capacity to share information to work together is as good as it’s ever been in the history of our country. We work every day with the FBI with the NCTC in gathering information and sharing data. So in that sense, I think our capacity is much more effective than it was 13 years ago. There’s always room for improvement and change. But I think the leadership of the CT community of our government understands that if we don’t cooperate, bad things will happen.

I think the nature of the threat, as I think Nick probably characterized it best. In 9/11/2001, we were focused on Al Qaida and Afghanistan and Pakistan. Today, Al Qaida, Al Qaida adherents and other jihadists are essentially global and they’re operating in North Africa. They’re operating in the Middle East. They’re operating in South Asia. So much more diverse. Nonetheless, they still see us as the enemy, and therefore, a threat to the United States and our operations around the world.

JOHNSON:

Mr. Rasmussen, I believe the threat’s growing. I think it’s more grave. You had mentioned the effect of Edward Snowden’s disclosures. I mean, has that degraded our ability to protect ourselves? Has that degraded our intelligence-gathering capabilities?

RASMUSSEN:

Well, I would argue, yes. I can talk in greater detail in a closed session about some of the specific information or indicators we’ve seen that would lead me to that conclusion. But I think it’s inarguable that the collection environment we are in and we rely on collection to be able to try to get ahead of terrorist plots. It’s inarguable that that collection environment is more challenging today than it was if we had not been dealing with these disclosures.

JOHNSON:

In a Foreign Relations Committee hearing, we had Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk, and I asked him directly, you know, what does ISIS, what threat do they directly pose to the United States? And he talked about the 30-50 suicide bombers funneling into Iraq that week. We had an Australian, a German suicide bomber set themselves off, I believe in Baghdad. We’ve seen the first American suicide bomber.

I am concerned — the talk coming out of this administration — that we may want, you know, this may take three years. And first, let me ask you, do you believe ISIS is something that can be contained or managed, versus destroyed?

RASMUSSEN:

I think of this in phases. I think in the near term, in the immediate term, you can take steps to degrade and disrupt their ability to carry out attacks. But to prevent yourself from having to deal with that in perpetuity, you have to go beyond that and look to destroy or defeat the organization and that is what the administration, the president and the secretary of State have talked about over a longer period of time. That objective is not as easy to put a specific time horizon to.

JOHNSON:

I’m saying, but I am concerned. Kind of like having a hornet’s nest in your backyard, you know, you identify the threat, you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. You don’t want to poke it with a stick for three years. And so, again, what I want to see is a clearly articulated goal of destroying ISIS as quickly as possible so that we can then maintain our defenses against the other threats that are metastasized around the world. I mean, would you basically agree with that assessment?

RASMUSSEN:

I certainly share that goal. I think the talk about the phasing is just simply a recognition that, in order to build the intelligence bases necessary to attack and pull apart an organization and defeat it, takes time.

JOHNSON:

OK, understand.

RASMUSSEN:

But while you’re doing that, you try to put great pressure on the organization so that it can’t punch you in the process, while you’re going through that longer process.

JOHNSON:

I think one thing we always have to guard against, as I (ph) was fighting the last war, only concentrating on past threats. To what extent is the intelligence community using our imagination in terms of looking at what other possibilities just might be out there?

RASMUSSEN:

We certainly are devoting time and attention to that. Again, pressures of the day often lead you to focus on what is the wolf closest to the door. And yet, we also challenge our analysts and our intelligence community partners to look around the corner and see not only where the next groups might come from, where the next theaters of concern might be, but also what tactics and techniques and opportunities for innovation might exist in the terrorism community as well.

That’s harder and you’re not often relying on much intelligence in that setting. You’re often, as you say, using your imagination. But it’s important work and it helps us over time to target our collection to try to get ahead of those particular threats.

RASMUSSEN:

Cyber is one of those areas where we have not seen terrorists necessarily develop great capability to date, but they certainly understand the economic impact that intervention in the cyber world causes. And so, we — we assess that over time, that is a capability terrorist groups will…

JOHNSON:

I want to — I want to cover that and explore that in the secured briefing a little bit.

Secretary Spaulding, you talked about critical infrastructure. You talked about, you know, what is our physical and cyber threats to that. I want to talk about something that I’ve been now briefed on — the threat of EMP. You know, both in terms of a high-altitude nuclear blast, which is kind of what I always knew existed out there, and I guess kind of hoping that nobody has the capability, or wouldn’t be stupid enough to do it. But now, I’m also aware of the fact that a mass of solar flare also — you know, represents a real threat.

Is that something that — you’re certainly aware of. Is that something we are looking to harden our — our (inaudible) grid against?

SPAULDING:

Ab — excuse me — absolutely, Senator. And thank you for the question. It is certainly something that we have been focused on, and working with our colleagues in the electric sector to find ways to address.

I was recently in the U.K. at an international conference — Energy Infrastructure Security Summit — where EMPs was a — was a clear focus of those discussions. And this is something very much on our radar screen that we are working with them to address.

JOHNSON:

OK. We’ll cover more of that. Just real quick, in terms of the — for Mr. Anderson, the attack at the MetCalf PG&E Substation — do we have any further information you can share in open session in terms of — have we tracked down the perpetrators? Have we come up with theories in terms of what that was all about?

ANDERSON:

We’re heavily engaged in that investigation, Senator. It would be easier to describe to you everything that we’re doing inside the closed session.

JOHNSON:

OK.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CARPER:

Thank you.

Senator McCain?

MCCAIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank the witnesses.

Mr. Taylor or Mr. Rasmussen, haven’t there been recent reports of Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the United States across our Southwestern border?

TAYLOR (?):

Yes, sir, there have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility.

MCCAIN:

Would you view it as a threat?

TAYLOR (?):

Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat. But in the course of our border security…

MCCAIN:

Are you satisfied that we have sufficient border security to prevent that?

TAYLOR (?):

Sir, I’m satisfied that we’re trying to build a border security capability that would…

MCCAIN:

Are you satisfied that we now have the capability to prevent that?

TAYLOR (?):

I’m satisfied that we have the — the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity.

MCCAIN:

Well, you know, it’s interesting, because an American reporter named James O’Keefe, dressed as Osama bin Laden, walked across the border — the Rio Grande River — undetected. Did that — does something like that concern you?

TAYLOR (?):

Actually, sir, he was not undetected. He was known to the border security agencies, who walked — saw him walk across.

MCCAIN:

Then why didn’t they stop him when he came across?

TAYLOR (?):

Sir, I can’t answer that question…

MCCAIN:

No, you can’t answer it because they weren’t there to stop him. And that’s just — that’s — that’s a matter of — of being on — on record.

The fact is that there are thousands of people who are coming across our border who are undetected, who are not identified. And for you to sit there and tell me that we have the capability, or now have the proper protections of our Southwestern border, particularly in light of the urgings over Facebook and Twitter, for people to come across our Southwestern border is of great concern to the citizens of my state. I — I’d like to hear your response to that.

TAYLOR (?):

Sir, the security at the Southwest border is of great concern to the department, and certainly understand the concern to the citizens of your state. I didn’t — if I gave you the impression that I thought that border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risks coming across the state, that’s not what I intended to say.

MCCAIN:

Could you give us — to the committee for the record — what is required to achieve 90 percent effective control of the border, and prevent this threat from being — materializing? Because I don’t think there’s any doubt — I don’t see, when you look at ISIS and the growth and the influence of ISIS, that it would be logical, as they are saying on Facebook and Twitter, to come across our Southwest border, because they can get across. And the flow of drugs across our Southwest border has not been decreased by any significant measure. Would you agree to that?

TAYLOR (?):

The flow of drugs continues to be significant, yes, sir.

MCCAIN:

Well, those of us who strongly supported comprehensive immigration reform are deeply disappointed in our lack of devotion of assets and funds and capabilities to secure our Southwestern border. Which has then created a credibility problem in our states and across this country, that we can guarantee people, if we enacted comprehensive immigration reform, that there would not be another flow of refugees. And I asked — or illegal immigration into this country.

Now, we have this phenomena — or, I guess, occurrence — thousands of young children showing up at our border — not trying to sneak across, but just showing up at our border. It’s tailed off some, but it’s still by the thousands. And isn’t this diverting the assets and the capabilities of our Border Patrol by having to handle this incredible influx of children, from diverting them from other duties, like trying to interdict drug smugglers and others?

And isn’t it true, could I say to you — and I — it’s really astonishing to me how our friends on the left and those who are pro — quote, “pro-immigration” ignore the fact that the brutalities that are inflicted on these young people, particularly young women, as they are brought across by these coyotes, is absolutely abhorrent and unspeakable. Would you agree with that?

TAYLOR (?):

Absolutely, Senator. I would agree with it. And to your earlier question, we — we assess that the — not only assess — we believe the Border Patrol has done an absolutely remarkable job in handling the UHD (ph) crisis. And…

MCCAIN:

But they have been diverted, right?

TAYLOR (?):

It’s been a priority, given the number of people at our border, to — to focus on that issue. And certainly with resources as they are, resources are shifted to priorities.

MCCAIN:

So, it’s always been a national security issue, but I believe that in light of the growth of ISIS and the aggressiveness of ISIS, and the information that they’ve been able to recruit in the United States of America — we know that because Americans have been killed over there — that it seems to me it dramatically heightens our requirement to have a secure southern and — and northern border. Would you agree with that?

TAYLOR (?):

Absolutely agree with that, Senator.

MCCAIN:

Thank you.

And finally, Mr. Rasmussen, it’s entertaining to me that it’s like it all just happened with ISIS. Another wolf at the door. We’ve known about ISIS for four years. People like me and Lindsay Graham and many others have known about it and warned about it and talked about, while we’ve done nothing to — to really stem the tide and the growth of ISIS and the chaos that we now see pervading Iraq and Syria.

Some of us are hopeful that the president of the United States will finally recognize that threat and outline to the American people some actions that need to be taken. But many of us predicted this. Many of us saw it coming, and it comes as no surprise.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CARPER:

You’re welcome. We thank you, as well.

Senator Baldwin, and then Senator Portman, and Senator Ayotte.

Senator Baldwin?

BALDWIN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Taylor and Mr. Rasmussen, I want to talk a little bit more about the estimated more than 100 U.S. persons who have left to join the fight in Syria. I think that’s sort of how it was phrased. And I just want to get a sense of, is this an estimate, or do we have a sense of actually who this 100 plus people are? Names, where they’re from, et cetera. What — how much detail do we have? Or are we basically just estimating that it’s about 100?

RASMUSSEN:

I’ll take a stab at that, Senator.

That number is actually meant to capture a number of categories of individuals — individuals who have shown an intent to travel, and that travel has not happened.

BALDWIN:

Mm-hmm.

RASMUSSEN:

Individuals who have traveled, individuals who have traveled and come back, individuals who have traveled and perhaps been killed in the fighting over there. And so, that number is — is somewhat all encompassing. It does not necessarily reflect an estimate of who is exactly there right now today.

There’s more we can say with greater precision in the closed session. But I think I can reassure you that we have — there’s some significant detail behind that — that broad number.

BALDWIN:

Great. May — I’m going to try to ask a couple more questions in open session on this topic. You know, we’ll see how far we can get.

With regard to that number, is there differentiation — very specific differentiation between those who are actually joining ISIL and those, for example — I traveled to Turkey, now over a year ago. But there were certainly American citizens of Syrian descent who were there trying to provide humanitarian relief in the fight, were trying to do what they could to help the moderate rebels — the moderate elements try to participate in battle there. Are we differentiating between those when we talk about these rough numbers?

RASMUSSEN:

Yes, we are.

BALDWIN:

OK.

RASMUSSEN:

And as I said, we are — and in some cases, we know of an individual — of individuals who indicate intent or have traveled to Syria, who go over not necessarily knowing who they will affiliate with when they get there. They simply look to join the fight from an extremist or jihadist perspective, and where they actually end up affiliating plays out over time. And we may or may not have intelligence on that.

But you’re right, the number of individuals who travel to Syria can capture people who engage in a wide variety of activities there.

BALDWIN:

But that 100 or whatever we’re tossing around, you know, over 100, you believe are engaged in the battle with the ISIL extremists.

RASMUSSEN:

With extremist elements. I want to be careful and not pin it strictly…

BALDWIN:

I understand.

RASMUSSEN:

… to ISIL because as you know, there are a number of organizations over there — al-Nusra Front.

BALDWIN:

Right. And I’m getting there, too.

So, before I get to that second point, do we have a sense that our — in particular our European allies have as granular information on their citizens who have traveled to Syria as we do on ours?

RASMUSSEN:

I think it’s not a constant picture across the whole of Europe. I think in some cases, with some of our partners with whom we work the most closely, the answer is absolutely yes. They have a very detailed understanding of individuals. And in fact, they’ve done a great deal of work talking to, in many cases, individuals who have come back from Syria, in order to try to understand both the appeal and the draw, but also the experiences those individuals had and how they may play — what — what contribution to the threat picture back in their homes that they may — that they may present.

And I know that a significant amount of law enforcement effort in the United Kingdom, for example, is devoted to just that — just that effort.

But I wouldn’t argue that this is constant across the whole of Europe. In many of the particularly southern and eastern European partners which are closer to the front line of travel to Turkey and Syria, their capabilities just simply are not as well developed. They’re not as well resourced to handle a large national security challenge like this in the way that some of our more traditional partners are.

But as I pointed out in my statement, there is a bit of a good news story in that the willingness to at least lock arms with us and share information is something we’ve seen pretty constantly across the board.

CARPER:

Senator (inaudible).

Senator Coburn, just — as a member of the Intel Committee, just gave me — shared with me a cautionary note. You have a good feeling for what is appropriate to say in an open setting and what is more appropriate to say in a closed setting. Again, if you ask questions that you think may be — should be deferred to the next — the next part of our hearing, please — please do that.

Go right ahead.

BALDWIN:

So, do we have a sense of how many U.S. nationals are engaged with Al Qaida globally? And obviously, there’s a much greater fragmentation and — but, you know, even in particular Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Do we have that same sort of granular information there?

RASMUSSEN:

Again, I think it varies depending on which Al Qaida affiliate group you’re talking about. And we can certainly talk about specific cases involving specific known individuals in another setting.

BALDWIN:

OK. And then can you describe in open session for the committee what we know — what our intelligence has said about the relationship between ISIL and Al Qaida? Is it rivals? Is it cooperative? Are they rooting each other on? Are they — I mean, what do we know at this point about their relationship?

RASMUSSEN:

Well, one of the things that I think has been a development that we’ve spent a great deal of time trying to understand and assess is the degree of conflict and tension between ISIL and core Al Qaida leadership, as I said, resident in the FATA.

And I think what you — what you could argue now you are seeing is, in a sense, a contest or a competition for primacy in that overall effort to lead the global jihad, with ISIL increasingly posturing itself as the legitimate follow-on or heir to Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaida vision.

And what that is also doing is causing, I would argue, intellectual ferment in that broader jihadist community around the world. We see this in other Al Qaida affiliates as they seek to decide for themselves: Do we align with ISIL or do we maintain fidelity to our traditional bonds of loyalty to Al Qaida core?

I think one thing we can observe pretty — pretty obviously is that success breeds success. And so that when ISIL has had success on the battlefield in taking over large swathes of territory in Iraq, that has served as a draw not only to foreign fighters who might want to choose where to bring their — their capabilities, but also to individuals who may be affiliated with other Al Qaida groups who decide “I’d like to go where the jihad is the most hot, and where my ability to impact global jihad can be felt most acutely.”

And there’s no doubt that there — at the level of individual Al Qaida affiliated individuals, that draw is out there. And it’s something we’ll see — that will play out over time whether ISIL would supplant Al Qaida core in terms of overall leadership of the global jihad. But it’s clear if things trended in this direction for a long period of time, one could make that argument.

BALDWIN:

Thank you.

CARPER:

All right, thank you, Senator Baldwin.

Senator Portman, please.

PORTMAN:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And I appreciate the testimony today and the opportunity to ask you followup questions in another session.

And there’s so much to go over, but I — I want to talk a little about what you’ve said today and what some of my colleagues have asked about in terms of Iraq and ISIL and how we got in this situation that we’re in. Because I think it’s important not only to determine what we do now in Iraq, but also to look to Afghanistan and what we are doing or not doing there to ensure that we don’t have a similar situation.

With regard to Afghanistan, how do you assess the security forces there — the Afghan security forces, as compared to the Iraqi security forces, Mr. Rasmussen?

RASMUSSEN:

I’d want to come back to…

PORTMAN:

Specifically, their capability to conduct counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and Al Qaida partners.

RASMUSSEN:

I believe we’ve made a substantial amount of progress in bringing the Afghan national security force up to the level where they can carry out counterterrorist operations against known terrorist targets inside Afghanistan. What will be — what we will not know until we see over time is whether the Afghan government is able to sustain that capability, invest in resource and sustain that capability over time so that they are able to do this as they encounter threats in the future.

PORTMAN:

Do you think they have greater capabilities than the Iraqi security forces, assuming that, as was the case over the last few years, there is no U.S. support?

RASMUSSEN:

I’m reluctant to put it in comparative terms because I’m not sure I just have the right expertise or knowledge to do that. And I’d be happy to get you an answer to that from the intelligence community.

PORTMAN:

I think it would be interesting. I mean, here is — here’s my feeling from some of your reports which were made public, and other assessments, is that in fact the Iraqi security forces were further along at the time at which we chose to pull out. And if we decide to do the same thing in Afghanistan, in that the president has said that he has plans to have no more troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2016, that we may have a similar and I would say worse situation, given the assessment of their capability to be able to have an effective counterterrorism operation.

So, I — I just make the obvious point that we need your help in terms of learning lessons from Iraq and hopefully taking those lessons to Afghanistan.

There’s been a lot of attention recently to President Obama’s comments last January about regional terrorist groups being like J.V. teams in relation to ISIL’s seizing of Fallujah. I’m sure you followed that back and forth. And Mr. Taylor — General Taylor and Mr. Rasmussen, I’m not going to ask you if you shared that assessment at the time because the president indicated that was an assessment that he had.

But I will say, given all the bloodshed and resources expended in the two attempts to take Fallujah in 2004 — and I was privileged to go there at one point in the 2004, 2005 time period. And those years of toil by our Marines and soldiers in Anbar that followed to make it a peaceful place, those comments are particularly disconcerting.

As you all know, we — we took serious losses. In one six-month period in 2005, Ohio’s Reserve Marine Infantry battalion lost 46 Marines; 22 were killed from one rifle company in Columbus. So, obviously this struggle affects a lot of our communities, including back home in Ohio.

I would ask you, Mr. Rasmussen, in 2013, did the intelligence community identify that Al Qaida-associated groups in Syria had expressed interest in external operations?

RASMUSSEN:

Yes, and we can talk about that more in closed session. But, yes.

PORTMAN:

OK. Yeah. In 2013, did the intelligence community assess that a threat existed to Western Europe and the homeland from the flow of foreign fighters to and from Syria and Iraq?

RASMUSSEN:

Absolutely.

PORTMAN:

Do you assess that the Iraqi security forces, who early this year have been operating without U.S. troops by their side for two years, took any successful actions to wrest control of Fallujah from ISIL after they seized it in January of 2014, earlier this year?

RASMUSSEN:

I’d like to get an answer for the record for you on that because I’m certainly aware of Iraqi security force counterterrorism actions, but I want to be specifically responsive.

PORTMAN:

Well, let me ask a more general question. Were they successful in wresting control back?

RASMUSSEN:

Not in wresting control back the areas you describe, as I understand it.

PORTMAN:

OK. You know, I just think again we should learn some lessons from this. And finally, do you assess that over the last two years that ISIL exploited access to fighters and resources in Syria, as well as inconsistent counterterrorism operations or pressure from the Iraqis in Iraq, to escalate their operations?

RASMUSSEN:

It’s certainly true that they have escalated their operations and they have taken advantage of the lack of a real border between Iraq and Syria, which has allowed them to move resources back and forth to escape counterterrorism pressure, whether it comes from the Iraqi security forces or other elements inside Syria who are fighting.

PORTMAN:

Well, I think your answers to these questions are helpful in terms of us understanding what we should be doing in Iraq, but also again looking forward to Afghanistan, being sure that we are prepared to take the steps to avoid a repeat of this.

Let me change topics, if I could. And this has to do with the Ebola crisis.

General Taylor, I’m interested to hear what work your office is doing to monitor the spread of Ebola in Africa.

We now have over 2,300 people who’ve died. World Health Organization tells us today they expect 20,000 people to die relatively soon. There are other groups that have much higher estimates. As you know, we had another U.S. citizen infected this week.

If you could tell me how are you monitoring this situation in Africa, and what are you — what are you all doing?

TAYLOR:

Sir, I&A, my office, works with our Office of Health Affairs who is leading the effort to the department in an interagency response to the Ebola virus and its consequences potentially to the U.S. as well as in the Africa region. There are daily interagency meetings on that issue, and trying to get aid to those countries to stem the spread of the virus…

(CROSSTALK)

PORTMAN:

Do you feel we have an effective interagency and intergovernmental coordination?

TAYLOR:

I think we have effective U.S. interagency and intergovernmental coordination, but this is a global problem, and it’s gonna take a global solution to solve it. And the nations in the region are less capable in certain cases of handling the kind of infection that they’re seeing, so it will require a global effort to — to stem this particular issue.

PORTMAN:

General Taylor, have you — and I understand Health Affairs is taking the lead here, but have you had the opportunity to look at what the U.S. government did in relationship to malaria in the Malaria Initiative, the intergovernmental and in that case interagency process that we used?

TAYLOR:

I have not personally looked at it, sir. I’m just only aware of the efforts.

My most recent experience has been with H1N1, which I think we had a very effective interagency coordination on that, but not the malaria.

PORTMAN:

I’m concerned that we are again not being as aggressive as we could be, and I would just hope that the agency would take a look at what we have done in the past and where we’ve been relatively successful, not just with PEPFAR and AIDS, but also with the specific steps that were taken on the Malaria Initiative to try to get more countries engaged and to deal with the issue.

One final question: Do you have any insights on how you see the spread of Ebola developing and what we should be doing here in this country?

I noticed that, Ms. Spaulding, you talked about the national preparedness month (ph). And one of my concerns is, based on some recent reports, we’re not prepared. We have, unfortunately, a situation where if a pandemic were to occur, that there are some shortfalls, including expirations on some of the medical response that would be necessary.

Do you have thoughts about that?

TAYLOR:

Sir, I would prefer to respond in a more holistic way, in consultation with my colleagues. So if I could take that.

PORTMAN:

We’d appreciate you getting back to the committee on that.

TAYLOR:

Yes, sir.

PORTMAN:

Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CARPER:

Thank you. Thanks for those questions, especially the last one.

So, Senator Ayotte?

And after you’ve spoken and asked questions, I’m gonna ask one last, give Mr. Anderson like an opportunity. We haven’t picked on you enough. I’ll just give you one opportunity, to — a point that you want to make or share with us in the open session, before we go to the closed session, you’ll have that opportunity. OK?

For now, Senator Ayotte?

AYOTTE:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding this important hearing.

I want to thank our witnesses for what they do to keep the country safe.

So, Secretary Taylor, I wanted to follow up on some of the questions that Senator Baldwin had asked.

And I want — I would ask all of you to give me some insight on a comment that I heard from our FBI director. I think it’s important that the American people understand what we’re dealing with in terms of not only Americans, but Westerners who have potentially traveled to Syria or have interest in traveling to Syria and joining with one of these extremist groups, including ISIL.

So, you had testified that more than 100 U.S. persons you’re tracking, and you’ve identified those as who have — those who have intended to go, those who have gone, and some of whom have been actually engaged and killed in this conflict.

I note that the FBI director, Comey, said in August, “when I give you the number of 100 Americans, I can’t tell you with high confidence that it’s 100 or 200, that it’s 100 or 500, that it’s 100 or 1,000 more, because it’s so hard to track.”

Here’s a very important question that I think people need to know, and that is, do we really know? And how many of these do we really have track of and how many don’t we have track of?

TAYLOR:

Senator, I would share the Director Comey’s comments in terms of we don’t know what we don’t know. And I think those are — that’s the context in which he was making those comments.

I think we have very high confidence on the number that we do know. And we have systems that help us identify more day in and day out, So I could sit here today and give you the number of over 100, and tomorrow it may be, based upon our intelligence investigation with the FBI, we’d have more identities that we didn’t know about before.

AYOTTE:

But is the reality that while we have confidence in the 100, that we really don’t know how many more may be part of this?

TAYLOR:

I think that’s a fair statement.

AYOTTE:

I mean, I assume that’s why Director Comey, who I certainly have a lot of respect for, made that statement when he was specifically asked about how confident we are in the number of 100.

TAYLOR:

Well, given homegrown violent extremism, given the nature of how people radicalize, given the nature of the data in the — on the Internet, it is very difficult to say with any degree of certainty that we know all that could be wanting to join this particular effort.

AYOTTE:

So we know that it may be more than the 100 that we’re talking about. With respect to the 100 that we do know, do we have track of all of them?

TAYLOR:

Yes, ma’am, I would defer to my colleagues at the FBI, who lead the joint task force looking at this issue for our government.

ANDERSON:

Senator, if I could address that?

So, I agree with General Taylor wholeheartedly. I can tell you, any individual and they definitely into the three categories that Mr. Rasmussen had talked about, any individual that we can predicate an investigation on, the FBI has an open case on that individual, whether they’re abroad or in the United States.

We also dedicate an immense amount of resources to covering the individuals that we know about. I can’t actually get into all those in this session, but we will in detail in the next session.

AYOTTE:

Let me ask you, the 100 that we know about, what authorities do we have to revoke their passports?

In other words, you’re a United States citizen, obviously you’re entitled to certain rights. But, so, what can we do to make sure that they can’t get back in the community, if we believe that they’re — they’ve joined, for example, an extremist group, like ISIL, who has brutally and horrifically murdered two American journalists?

(UNKNOWN)

Senator, that is a — it’s a — it’s a very complicated question in terms of taking away an American’s passport. There are judicial means to do that. I’m not an expert in that, but we can get you the answer of what are the authorities that would allow for that to happen.

AYOTTE:

Well, I think that’s really important, because we need to understand. We certainly don’t want a situation where you all talk to someone, you don’t have the authority to detain them. We’re in a position where they have to appear before a judicial authority, but in the interim, they’re not detained and they have open access in America.

So I would — I would like a followup, to know what those process (sic) are, what tools you have at your hands, when there is obviously evidence that an American is involved with a group like ISIL, so that we can understand whether those authorities are sufficient. So I would appreciate a followup on that.

I also wanted to ask, what I understand from hearing your testimony today is that you said that the threat of ISIL is really regionally focused, meaning the region of where they’re operating in Iraq and Syria and the surrounding regions.

What kind of access do they have to financing?

(UNKNOWN)

That’s one of — that’s been one of our great concerns, as ISIL has surged in Iraq, is that they’ve had the ability to draw on a wider array of sources for financing, including kidnap for ransom, simply occupying and taking over federal reserve holdings…

(CROSSTALK)

AYOTTE:

I heard a — I saw an estimate of their making at least a million dollars a day. Is that a fair statement?

(UNKNOWN)

That’s a fair estimate.

AYOTTE:

OK.

And, as I understand, they have safe havens in Syria, correct?

(UNKNOWN)

Yes.

AYOTTE:

And they’re obviously taking over more territory in Iraq. Correct? That is their design and one of the reasons, the concerns we have with regard to what’s happening in Iraq right now?

(UNKNOWN)

That is their ambition in Iraq. In recent weeks, Iraqi security force action in combination with United States military action has stemmed the ability of ISIL to gain more territory…

(CROSSTALK)

AYOTTE:

But they have some territory right now. You would agree with me?

(UNKNOWN)

Yes.

AYOTTE:

They have territory in Syria; they have territory in Iraq. They’re making — they have a means to make money.

And when we think about this threat on the passport issue, it’s not just about Americans, right? We — I know, Secretary Taylor, in your testimony, there’s about 2,000 Westerners, but I’ve also seen estimates of 7,500 potential foreign fighters from all different countries that have joined this conflict starting in Syria.

I don’t know how many of those have joined ISIL, but this threat goes beyond thinking about Americans.

How good — I know you talked about a good news story, about more communication between those other countries with regard to these individuals who have joined this, extremist groups, but we also have a visa waiver program with countries like the United Kingdom and France, and so, how good is our intelligence and ability to attract — to track those individuals and — we talked about the 100, so we’re worried about our people, but thinking about the individuals that don’t need a visa to come travel to the United States of America.

And, as I understand it, there’s actually thousands, The numbers that the United Kingdom — Great Britain — is facing is much greater, even, than the United States.

Can you give us a good assessment of how good a track we have on them and what — what ability we have to stop them from coming to the United States or to know exactly where they are, so that we don’t face the situation where someone is a — you know, we — you know, the James Foley video, that individual who committed that barbaric murder, he was clearly from Great Britain. You could tell from his accent.

AYOTTE:

So, an individual like that, coming to the United States, and then participating in an action here. So can you give us a little more insight on that, because I think it’s important for people to understand?

(UNKNOWN)

Yes, ma’am. I would defer to Nick to talk about the intelligence cooperation that we have which is significant with our European partners. And daily, we exchange information. More importantly, a visa waiver does not mean people come to this country without screening. Every passenger coming to the United States from outside the United States is screened through our terrorist screening system. And if there is derogatory data, they are not allowed to come to the United States. So…

AYOTTE:

But that assumes we have the data, correct?

(UNKNOWN)

Well, that assumes we have the data and that’s what intelligence collaboration and cooperation is all about is making sure that, with our partners in Europe and other places that we are getting that data and getting it in a consistent fashion.

AYOTTE:

So I think this is all obviously a very important issue as well as knowing and tracking who these individuals are who, if we don’t have the data, we may just allow them in our country without being able to stop them from coming.

My time is up, but I just want to say one thing that concerns me. What concerns me is I know we’ve talked today about believing that, really, the focus on the threat of ISIL is a regional threat. But here we have a sophisticated terrorist organization, which our own Secretary of Defense has said is beyond anything that we’ve seen. And in fact, we have a situation where, you know, Secretary Dempsey described this group as an imminent threat. And we have combined with — they have financial means to make money. They have territory and some safe havens.

We know that in January, their leader basically threatened the United States of America. We have seen, through their actions with the brutal murders of these two journalists, that obviously the threat that they face — the type of barbaric actions they’re willing to take against Americans. And then we know that if these people who join this, if we’re not quite sure how many of there are and could get returned to the U.S., I’m concerned that it’s an understatement to say that this is a regional threat, in terms of what it might present to us in our homeland.

(UNKNOWN)

Mr. Chairman, can I respond to this one?

CARPER:

Yes, yes. Just briefly.

(UNKNOWN)

In using the word regional in my remarks in the beginning. I, by no means, meant to imply not directed at the United States or U.S. citizens because, certainly, today currently ISIL has the capability to threaten U.S. persons and interests not just in Iraq proper, but in surrounding regional states. So our embassies, our personnel, our diplomats, and even non-official Americans are certainly…

AYOTTE:

But what about here?

(UNKNOWN)

As I said, if allowed over time to utilize the safe haven that they currently are enjoying.

AYOTTE:

So right now, you don’t think they have that capacity?

(UNKNOWN)

Right now, we assess that they do not have active ongoing plots aimed at the United States homeland.

AYOTTE:

So that’s a different question of whether they have the capacity. We don’t know of any active ongoing threats or plots.

(UNKNOWN)

And we do not assess right now that they have the capability to mount an effective large-scale plot inside the United States.

AYOTTE:

Large scale, correct?

(UNKNOWN)

You know, another piece of this that you can’t necessarily account for are individuals that we talked about under the category of home-grown violent extremists who may self-identify as acting in sympathy with or in support of ISIL, maybe perhaps not even ever having touched ISIL leadership in any kind of command and control way. But in the aftermath of a potential attack, even here in the homeland, might self-affiliate and ascribe. So I don’t mean to, by any means, to minimize the threat to ISIL. That’s not my intent. I was simply trying to describe in kind of, in a sense, concentric rings the levels of concerns that have at present, versus what we see developing more over time.

AYOTTE:

Thank you.

(UNKNOWN)

And there’s no doubt that what you’ve described with the foreign fighters is what gives them the capability to threaten the homeland over the longer term.

AYOTTE:

OK. Thank you. I’m sorry.

(UNKNOWN)

I just had one point. You know, you have to take, in fact, the exhortation of various members of ISIL to come across our southern border. It’s out there, it’s in the social media. So I know you all are looking at that. But the fact is that’s pretty scary, because we — you talk about what we don’t know. We don’t know the people who are coming across our border what their threat is to us. We don’t know.

CARPER:

I said, Mr. Anderson, we’d give you an opportunity to give — to have a closing thought, please?

ANDERSON:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If I could, I’d just make a closing remark and turn back to cyber for a second. The one thing that I think the committee needs to know, and they probably do, is when it comes to cyber, I’ve never seen more cooperation in my entire law enforcement career than I have in the last year or so. The people at this table, DHS, Secret Service, a large variety of our intelligence partners, we all get it. We get that this is something that is going to go through from now until the next several years in our government. This is a deep concern of ours to work together and work towards a fix.

You know, when we talked about a little while ago about the number of federal departments within our government that possibly could be hacked or if they were hacked and they just didn’t know about it. I think one of the things that I know we’re all working on and I know the legislature up here is also — we’re trying to figure out how we share real-time information with our private-sector partners, I think that it’s absolutely imperative, Mr. Chairman, and I think my colleagues here would echo that.

And one of the main reasons is because everyone knows a lot of our classified and very sensitive technologies are developed, designed and then built out in the private sector, way before they’re ever classified. Our adversaries know this, whether it’s counterintelligence, counter-espionage, economic espionage, counterterrorism.

I’ve had the pleasure over the years to testify as the assistant director of counterintelligence to Chairman Feinstein, also Dr. Coburn many times regarding this kind of scare (ph) for us. And I would tell you that, the one thing that I see is the whole of government coming together as one on this threat and really working towards a positive fix.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CARPER:

And I would just add to that, the threat of ISIS and these other (inaudible) are they a threat to — sure they are. Sure they are. And we have to be eternally vigilant. And this is not any time to pat ourselves on the back and become complacent. If anything it’s time to be more vigilant. We’ll see what the president has to say tonight. I hope he’ll be very strong. I hope he’ll have a game plan that will enable us, working within our model (ph) of other nations around the world to destroy this threat. And that’s what I’m looking for and hopefully, that’s what we’ll get.

I’d also say, and just the last one — last word. I always come back to underlying cause, root causes. And Nick, when I visited with intelligence (ph), we talked about underlying and root causes. And I would just say a couple of them won. Underlying cause — you know, Al Qaida in Iraq was on their back, they were almost done about seven years ago. And the policies of the Iraqi Government actually helped them get off the mat and back into the game and to be the kind of threat that they are today. And my hope is that they new prime minister, the new government that’s being stood up in Iraq will be part of the solution to help us accomplish what we did seven years ago and to do it again. And even, not only this time for good.

All right, it’s been great to be here with us. I appreciate our colleagues being here as well. We’re going to move to a secured setting.

And with that, this portion of the hearing is adjourned.

CQ Transcriptions, Sept. 10, 2014

List of Panel Members and Witnesses

PANEL MEMBERS:

SEN. THOMAS R. CARPER, D-DEL. CHAIRMAN

SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MICH.

SEN. MARK PRYOR, D-ARK.

SEN. MARY L. LANDRIEU, D-LA.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.

SEN. JON TESTER, D-MONT.

SEN. MARK BEGICH, D-ALASKA

SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN, D-WIS.

SEN. HEIDI HEITKAMP, D-N.D.

SEN. TOM COBURN, R-OKLA. RANKING MEMBER

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OHIO

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.

SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WIS.

SEN. MICHAEL B. ENZI, R-WYO.

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE, R-N.H.

WITNESSES:

FRANCIS TAYLOR, UNDERSECRETARY FOR INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

SUZANNE SPAULDING, UNDERSECRETARY, NATIONAL PROTECTION AND PROGRAMS DIRECTORATE, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

NICHOLAS RASMUSSEN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

ROBERT ANDERSON JR., EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL, CYBER, RESPONSE AND SERVICES BRANCH, FBI

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