SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM,
AND HOMELAND SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 3, 2004
Serial No. 83
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/judiciary
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
JOHN R. CARTER, Texas
TOM FEENEY, Florida
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
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JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
PHILIP G. KIKO, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina, Chairman
TOM FEENEY, Florida
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JAY APPERSON, Chief Counsel
ELIZABETH SOKUL, Counsel
KATY CROOKS, Counsel
PATRICIA DEMARCO, Full Committee Counsel
BOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
FEBRUARY 3, 2004
The Honorable Howard Coble, a Representative in Congress From the State of North Carolina, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
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The Honorable Robert C. Scott, a Representative in Congress From the State of Virginia, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
The Honorable W. Ralph Basham, Director, United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security
Admiral Thomas H. Collins, Commandant, United States Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable Michael Garcia, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Prepared Panel Questions From the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress From the State of Texas
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Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Post-Hearing Questions and Responses from the Honorable W. Ralph Basham
Post-Hearing Questions and Responses from Admiral Thomas H. Collins
Post-Hearing Questions and Responses from the Honorable Michael Garcia
LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2004
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism,
and Homeland Security
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1 p.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Howard Coble (Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. COBLE. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will come to order.
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The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will now hold the third hearing on law enforcement efforts within the Department of Homeland Security. The first hearing, conducted on July 9, 2002, examined the transfer of several law enforcement agencies and offices to the new Department of Homeland Security.
The second hearing, conducted on November 20, 2003, focused on the Department of Homeland Security efforts through the Office of Domestic Preparedness to train State and local law enforcement and other first responders to prepare for and respond to terrorist acts.
This hearing examines how the transfer of law enforcement applies to the new department, has affected terrorism and nonterrorism of law enforcement missions, how these agencies are working with other law enforcement agencies in and outside of the Department of Homeland Security and whether the agencies need new law enforcement authorities to adequately carry out their responsibilities.
The Secret Service has two missions: One, law enforcement investigations and, two, the protection of the President and Vice President of the United States, their immediate family members and others.
The Coast Guard mission has four parts: To handle maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, marine environmental protection and national defense.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau consists of the investigative and enforcement functions for immigration, customs and air security. Responsibilities of ICE range from intelligence work to investigating child pornography.
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I would like to commend you and your agencies on your dedication and efforts to protect our Nation against terrorists and other types of criminals. Your agencies carry great responsibilities and burdens. While we are at war with terrorists, the country at the same time faces growing drug cartels, the proliferation of child pornography, financial and Internet scams against the elderly and other serious crimes.
Our Nation has limited resources that must be used wisely. So I hope to hear today how your agencies are coordinating, cooperating and sharing information in these efforts.
There have been various press articles and reports about turf battles between some of your agencies and other agencies outside of the Department of Homeland Security. If these articles reflect accuracy, I expect you all to work diligently to end these disputes. I don't think we have time for the luxury of turf battles. We have better things to do.
We do not have the time to deal with this sort of problem when national security is at risk. I look forward to hearing how any disputes are being resolved and how the law enforcement agencies are working together to protect the American people.
I want to thank the witnesses who were able to be here today and look forward to their testimony, and now I am pleased to recognize the distinguished gentleman from Virginia, the Ranking Member of this Subcommittee, Mr. Bobby Scott. And Mr. Scott, before I recognize you, I will say to our other Members, thank the gentlemen from Wisconsin and Pennsylvaniastrike thatOhio from being here. And your opening statements will be made a part of the record without objection.
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Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to join you in convening this hearing with several of our law enforcement agencies and the Department of Homeland Security. The last time we met with these agencies or their predecessor agencies, we were looking at them on the verge of their merger with DHS. I expressed my concerns about the effect of DHS superstructure, what effect it may have on the traditional law enforcement missions of these agencies as well as on preventing terrorism.
Coordinating information in law enforcement operations was cited as a major problem in not being able to prevent 9/11. I was concerned that adding additional bureaucratic superstructure might not help, might even be counterproductive, and I continue to have these concerns and hope our witnesses will be able to address these concerns.
Although I am relieved that we have not had another catastrophic terrorism event since 9/11, the issue of what impact DHS structure is having on preventing terrorism in our traditional law enforcement responsibilities is not resolved just by the fact that we haven't had these unfortunate incidents.
I would like to know, for example, whether or not the traditional law enforcement responsibilities have been affected by the association with DHS. Of course any terrorism incident would ultimately be a local and first responder situation; that is, the local police, the fire or emergency personnel. Some are concerned about the impact that DHS has had on the ability of local law enforcement entities to maintain their traditional law enforcement capabilities while doing their part to enhance overall security.
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Localities are already hard hit by the cost of increased demands that have been put on them, particularly by the recent alert increases and by the pronouncements of the Federal Government, they have had to increase their vigilance. When we have these alerts, their demands go up and they have obviously substantial financial implications. I am aware that the law enforcement components of DHS, it is not your fault, but we would like to know and how you have been working with the local and State law enforcement agencies.
So, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you on this and look forward to the testimony of the witnesses.
Mr. COBLE. And I as well. I thank you, Mr. Scott.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we have three distinguished gentleman from the Department of Homeland Security. We place the order of witnesses testifying alphabetically. Our first witness is Mr. W. Ralph Basham of the United States Secret Service. Mr. Basham was appointed as the 21st Director of the U.S. Secret Service on January 27 of last year. Prior to this appointment he served as the Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and as the Chief of Staff for the Transportation Security Administration. Mr. Basham is a native of Owensboro, Kentucky, a River alumnus, right, Mr. Basham? Holds a Bachelor's Degree from Southeastern University in Washington, D.C. and has received numerous honors, including the 1992 and 2000 Meritorious Presidential Rank awards.
Our next witness is Admiral Thomas H. Collins. Admiral Collins is the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and a longtime friend and shipmate of mine. Previously he served as the Coast Guard's Vice Commandant. He was also the Commander of the Pacific area and the 11st Coast Guard District, where he developed a successful response to illegal drug and migrant smuggling operations in the eastern Pacific. With an undergraduate degree from the United States Coast Guard Academy at New London, Admiral Collins also has a Master of Arts Degree from Wesley University as well as a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of New Haven.
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Our third witness is Mr. Michael J. Garcia. Mr. Garcia was appointed as Assistant Secretary for the newly formed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau. This is the largest investigative arm of the Department and combines law enforcement and intelligence components from the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Customs Service, the Air Marshals and the Federal Protective Service. Mr. Garcia has a distinguished career as a Federal prosecutor and served as the Acting Commissioner on the INS during its transition to the new Department. He is a native New Yorker and graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton, the tri-cities, right, Mr. Garcia? He received a Master's Degree in English from the College of William and Mary and holds a Juris Doctorate from the Albany Law School of Union University, where he was valedictorian.
It is good to have each of you with us. We have your written statements. They have been examined and will be reexamined, and I ask unanimous consent to submit into the record their entirety.
Now, gentlemen, as you all probably know, we try to live within the 5-minute rule around here. You won't be lashed with a whip if you violate it, but when the red light appears that will be your warning that your 5 minutes have expired. There will be an amber light to give you warning in advance.
So, Mr. Basham, why don't we start with you, and good to have all of you with us.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE W. RALPH BASHAM, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
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Mr. BASHAM. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank you as well as the distinguished Ranking Member Mr. Scott
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Basham, pull that mike a little closer to you, if you will. Thank you, sir.
Mr. BASHAM. Is that better?
and other Members of the Subcommittee for providing the opportunity to discuss the law enforcement activities of the Secret Service and our transition to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Secret Service was created in 1865 to stem the rampant flow of counterfeit currency in post-Civil War America. Based upon that historic foundation originating in the Treasury Department, the Secret Service has become the leading Federal agency for safeguarding our Nation's financial infrastructure.
Because the Secret Service has maintained its dual missions of investigations and protection for more than a century, these missions have become fully interdependent and completely integrated through an international network of field offices.
Today the Secret Service's statutory responsibilities reach far beyond counterfeiting and protection. Our criminal investigation jurisdiction includes cyber crime, credit and debit card fraud, telecommunications fraud, identity theft, false identification fraud, bank fraud and other financial crimes.
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The Secret Service protects our Nation's highest elected leaders, including their families and residences, as well as visiting foreign heads of State and foreign missions. We also coordinate security operations at major national events such as the 2002 Winter Olympics and this year's national political conventions and the G8 economic summit in Sea Island, Georgia.
Just over 1 year ago, Mr. Chairman, the Secret Service testified before this very Subcommittee in full support of the Administration's proposal to transfer our entire agency, its resources and mission, to the new Department of Homeland Security.
Today I am enormously proud of the contributions of the over 6,100 men and women of the Secret Service and the contributions they have made toward the mission of homeland security. Our special agents, uniform division officers, technical and professional staff have endeavored each and every day to protect our elected leaders and critical and financial infrastructures and make a safer America.
But there are two in particular that I would like to highlight for this Subcommittee. First, the historic emphasis on prevention that the Secret Service most prominently brings to DHS. For 139 years prevention has been the bedrock principle of both our investigative and protective missions of the Secret Service. This is the agency's culture and its creed. The Secret Service is fully integrated with the many components of DHS, and we continue to share our preventative expertise with these entities, from the infrastructure protection, to information analysis, to emergency preparedness and response.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secondly, our agency shares another unique strength with the Department; namely, our experience in building partnerships and sharing information with our counterparts and other law enforcement agencies, State and local governments and the private sector. Such communication and cooperation is essential to a successful homeland security program, and I am convinced that the blueprint we have developed over the course of decades of experience is a success story that has been embraced by the Department.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to report to this Subcommittee the status of our electronic crimes task force initiative, of which this Subcommittee has strongly supported in the recent years. As you know, the USA PATRIOT Act authorized the Secret Service to expand our task force model in New York to cities and regions across the country. These task forces have revolutionized the Government's response to cyber vulnerabilities and computer crime and serve as models for how law enforcement must cooperate and operate in the information age. They remit the cutting edge of our efforts to partner with Federal, State and local police, prosecutors, private industry and academia to safeguard our critical and financial infrastructures and protect American consumers and industry alike.
In 2002, the Secret Service launched electronic crime task forces in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami and Washington, D.C. Last year we established task forces in Cleveland, Houston, Dallas and Columbia, South Carolina, and additional task forces are currently on the drawing boards.
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the men and women of the Secret Service, we stand ready to continue our mission of protecting our leaders, our financial and critical infrastructure, and the American people. This concludes my prepared statement, and I would be very pleased to answer any questions you may have.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Basham follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF W. RALPH BASHAM
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank you, as well as the distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Scott, and the other members of the subcommittee for providing an opportunity to discuss the law enforcement activities of the Secret Service, and our role in the Department of Homeland Security.
The Secret Service was created in 1865 to stem the rampant flow of counterfeit currency in post-Civil War America. Since that time, the Secret Service has been the preeminent federal agency for safeguarding our financial infrastructure.
In 1901, we were assigned our historic mission to protect the President. And while for more than a century the Secret Service has maintained its dual missions of investigations and protection, those missions have become fully interdependent and completely inseparable.
Today, the Secret Service's responsibilities reach far beyond counterfeiting and Presidential protection. Our criminal jurisdiction includes access device (credit and debit card) fraud, cyber crime, identity theft, false identification fraud, bank fraud, telecommunications fraud, and other financial crimes.
The Secret Service protects our nation's highest elected leaders, including their families and residences, as well as visiting foreign leaders and foreign missions. We also coordinate security operations at National Special Security Events, which this year will include the two national political conventions and the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia.
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Just over one year ago, the Secret Service testified before this subcommittee in full support of the Administration's proposal to transfer our agency to the new Department of Homeland Security. We did so because of our strong conviction that the protective and investigative missions of the Secret Service were central to the mission of homeland security. We saw an opportunity for our personnel, with their unique experience and expertise, to make a vital and meaningful contribution to our common goal of protecting this nation.
One year later, I am enormously proud of the contributions that the 6,100 men and women of the Secret Service have made to the mission of homeland security. Our special agents, Uniformed Division officers, technical and professional staff have endeavored each and every day to protect our elected leaders and critical and financial infrastructures, and make a safer America.
Our efforts to support the new Department have been many. But there are two in particular that I would like to highlight for the subcommittee.
First is our historic emphasis on prevention that we have brought with us to DHS. For 138 years, prevention has been the bedrock principle of the Secret Service. It began with our efforts to stem the flow of counterfeit currencyto attack the problem when it was in production, not distribution.
It was continued with our protective mission, where we utilize threat assessments, intelligence and meticulous advance work to provide a safe and secure environment for our protectees. Prevention is also the central theme today of our groundbreaking efforts to shield our critical and financial infrastructures from intrusion and compromise.
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From day one, Secretary Ridge and DHS have recognized the importance of prevention. Indeed, virtually all aspects of the Department are committed to preventing further terrorist attacks on American soil.
The Secret Service is fully integrated with the many components of DHS, and we continue to share our preventative expertise with these entities, from infrastructure protection and information analysis, to emergency preparedness and others.
Secondly, our agency brings another unique strength to the Department; namely, our experience with building partnerships and sharing information with our counterparts in other law enforcement agencies and the private sector.
Throughout our 150 field offices across the country and around the globe, our field personnel have developed productive and trusted partnerships with local police, prosecutors, academia and industry representatives in their communities.
These partnerships are vital to the success of both our protective and investigative missions. We recognize that without cooperation and support from our local law enforcement partners, we could not have a successful visit to a given community by one of our protectees. We also could not successfully prevent and detect electronic crimes and cyber attacks without the assistance, resources and expertise of our partners in law enforcement and the private sector.
Such communication and cooperation is imperative to homeland security, and I am convinced that the blueprint we have developed over the course of many decades of experience is a success story that will further strengthen and contribute to the success of the Department.
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Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to report to the subcommittee the status of our Electronic Crime Task Force initiative. As you will recall, the USA/PATRIOT Act of 2001 included language, thanks to the support of this committee and others, authorizing the Secret Service to expand our highly successful New York Electronic Crime Task Force to other cities and regions across the country.
These task forces have revolutionalized the government's response to computer crime, and serve as models for how law enforcement must operate in the Information Age.
The composition and efforts of these task forces are tailored to the needs of their individual communities. They represent the cutting edge of our efforts to partner with federal, state and local police departments, prosecutors at all levels, private industry and academia to safeguard our critical and financial infrastructures, and protect American consumers and industry alike. Their training and investigative techniques are innovative and unprecedented. Most importantly, these task forces are making a meaningful difference in the communities they serve.
Last year, the Secret Service launched electronic crime task forces in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Charlotte, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami and Washington, D.C. Just last month, we announced new task forces in Cleveland, Houston, Dallas and Columbia, South Carolina. Additional task forces are on the drawing boards.
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the men and women of the Secret Service, we stand ready to continue our mission of protecting our leaders, our financial and critical infrastructures, and the American people. Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee.
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This concludes my prepared statement. I will be pleased to answer any questions you or the other members of the subcommittee may have.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Basham. I failed to mention this in my opening statement, but I am well familiar with your agency. I have known many Secret Service agents personally, and you all doas we say in this rural south, you done good, and you continue to do that I am sure.
Mr. BASHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. To follow our alphabetical scenario, Admiral, good to have you with us.
STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL THOMAS H. COLLINS, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Admiral COLLINS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members of the Committee. It is great to be with you to talk about the Coast Guard's law enforcement role and how that has been integrated into the Department of Homeland Security. I am also very delighted to be here with Ralph Basham and Mike Garcia, who are our close partners over the last year and prior.
You know, when most people think of the United States Coast Guard they have the image of people that are jumping around in helicopters and saving people. That is a wonderful image. It is accurate but incomplete. We are also a very robust law enforcement agency established in 1790 by the First Congress of the United States for that very purpose, law enforcement, and over time we have grown into a military, multi-mission maritime organization that we are today. And as we transition to the new Department of Homeland Security, I assure you that we have preserved our fundamental character, enhanced our law enforcement objectives and role and sustained mission performance across all our missions.
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The Coast Guard provides the Department of Homeland Security extensive regulatory and law enforcement authorities in the maritime, governing ships, boats, personnel and associated activities in our ports, in our waterways, in offshore maritime regions. Our entire mission profile we think aligns extremely well within the Department of Homeland Security. In all our mission areas we remain focused on performance-based results. Our budget and brief documents for 2004 document some of these performances.
For example, in fiscal year 2003, the Coast Guard seized 68 metric tons of cocaine at sea, valued at nearly $4.4 billion, the second highest seizure total ever.
The Coast Guard also noticed a significant reduction in foreign fishing vessel incursions of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. From 2002 to 2003, incursions on the MBL, the Maritime Boundary Line, of the Bering Sea, dropped from 22 to 6 due to the increased presence of the United States Coast Guard in partnership with the Russian Federal Security Service.
In our homeland security defense role, the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 has brought many new requirements and initiatives that enable a more coherent maritime security strategy. The requirement for port, vessel and facility security plans provides increased vigilance through additional security forces and sensors.
Transportation security cards and the vetting of crew and passenger lists through intel and law enforcement databases in partnership with our DHS partners has improved the process of allocating law enforcement resources to the highest threats.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our maritime safety and security teams provide critical port security deterrents and response posture. Six teams are in place, and seven more will be in place by the end of fiscal year 2004. And these new units offer a rapid, deployable security force able to deliver vertically that support to our interagency partners and ships at sea.
We have implemented heightened security measures and expanded law enforcement programs and capabilities, including security and control boarding capabilities at sea, a canine program, shoreside law enforcement authority in partnership with the U.S. Marshals, underwater port security capability, a vertical insertion and vertical delivery of our boarding teams from helicopters, the expansion of airborne use of force capability, and so forth.
The Coast Guard is also capitalizing on the synergies available through revitalized organization relationships within the Department of Homeland Security. For example, I have just ordered the relocation of our maritime law enforcement and boarding team member schools to the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Charleston, South Carolina, the premier supplier of law enforcement training for more than 75 agencies; and in addition, we have developed very strong cooperative security partnerships with the Secret Service.
Common mission focus and an emphasis on integrated operations is a key goal within the Department of Homeland Security. Just last week four Coast Guard cutters operating in the Caribbean seized more than 11,500 pounds of drugs and caused approximately 3,000 pounds more to be dumped at sea. That work was done in cooperation with immigration and customs enforcement and the United States Navy. We thwarted five separate smuggling attempts and took 18 suspected smugglers into custody. The successful integration of Assistant Secretary Garcia's operations with mine epitomizes the power available to us by our collocation within the Department of Homeland Security.
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I don't want to suggest for a moment that successful homeland security and nonhomeland security mission execution is not without challenges for the United States Coast Guard. We are working our assets and our crews harder than ever, but the initiatives included in the President's 2005 budget request will continue to strengthen our collective homeland security readiness. I ask you and other Members of Congress to support the President's request for the capacity and capability improvements for the Coast Guard.
Deepwater, our plan for major asset recapitalization, has never been more relevant, and the implementation of the Maritime Transportation Security Act regulations is critical to our Nation's maritime security.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify here today, and I look forward to any questions you may have.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Collins follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ADMIRAL THOMAS H. COLLINS
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Admiral. I note that we have been joined by the distinguished gentleman from Florida; Mr. Feeney has joined us. Good to have you with us, Tom.
Now, since I bragged on the Secret Service I am going to have to say equally good things about the country's oldest continuing seagoing service, the Coast Guard. You know how high I am on you all, Tom. And Mr. Garcia, I have not known that many people in Immigration and Customs, but I am sure you all do equally well, so I don't want to short anybody. Good to have you with us, Mr. Secretary.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MICHAEL GARCIA, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Mr. GARCIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Scott, and distinguished Members of the Committee. It is a privilege to speak before your Committee today about the development and mission of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In March of 2003, when the Department first stood up, a new Federal investigative agency was also formed, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, as it is better known. As the largest investigative arm of Homeland Security, ICE's primary mission is to detect vulnerabilities and prevent violations that threaten national security. In other words, ICE investigates homeland security crimes, in particular crimes related to border security, air security and economic security.
ICE pursues this new homeland security mission by building upon the traditional missions, resources, authorities and expertise of the legacy agencies it inherited. The investigative and intelligence resources of the former U.S. Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Federal Protective Service, and now Federal Air Marshals Service, have been fused together to allow us to go after the criminal enterprises in new ways.
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ICE is bringing new approaches to traditional areas of law enforcement and creating enforcement programs in response to its new homeland security mission.
Today I will speak about ICE's incorporation of Customs' enforcement tools and authorities. In this new agency, the unique resources that ICE components bring to investigations enhance our overall ability to pursue traditional missions. For example, the financial expertise of the former Customs Service is brought to bear on immigration crimes, allowing us to follow the money trail in a way that the former INS never could. Similarly, the former Customs Service could track weapons and drug smuggling operations, but it could not pursue investigations into human smuggling rings. The limitations significantly hampered the Custom Service's ability to combat organized smuggling organizations.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, the lines between the various forms of organized smuggling have all but disappeared. Increasingly sophisticated in their operations, smugglers are moving contraband across our borders that includes everything from drugs, money and weapons to counterfeit merchandise, fraudulent documents and even human beings. Smugglers don't care what they smuggle. They care only about the profit margin of their illicit cargoes. They switch between these cargoes driven only by that bottom line, often carrying loads of drugs, people, money and other contraband at the same time.
Homeland security requires the same kind of flexibility in our approach to this organized criminal enterprise. At ICE we now have it. That is why we don't segregate our smuggling operations into artificial and impractical components. Instead we go wherever the money trail leads us.
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Operation ICE Storm, which targets smuggling organizations along the southwest border, is the best example of ICE's new integrated approach to fighting smuggling crimes. The results of this new approach have been remarkable. ICE Storm has produced more than 700 arrests, 90 indictments, nearly $2 million in seizures and 46 assault weapons taken off the streets.
Let me put this in a different context. A couple of weeks ago during a news conference the Phoenix police chief stated that the murder rate in Phoenix has dropped some 30 percent in the last quarter over the prior year, and he touted ICE Storm and the cooperation between Federal and local enforcement as being largely responsible for this drop in violent crime.
The traditional offense of smuggling is a heinous crime in its own right, but it also highlights potential vulnerabilities in our border security. If organized crime rings can lead illegal aliens into the country, terrorists could potentially use the same methods to infiltrate our borders. If narco traffickers can smuggle cocaine into the country, terrorists could potentially use the same routes and methods to smuggle components for weapons of mass destruction.
This same approach underlies our counternarcotics mission. One recent ICE case highlights that fact with stunning clarity. More than 20 people were charged with narcotic smuggling in a ring that operated out of JFK International Airport in New York. A number of those arrested had badges allowing them access to secure areas of the airport facility.
While that case centered on narcotic smuggling, such an organization could, again driven by profit, arrange for weapons of mass destruction or the lethal commodities to enter the United States.
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ICE applies a similar proactive strategy to all its operations. For example, we have launched Cornerstone, a financial investigations program aimed at closing vulnerabilities in the Nation's economic security in the same way that ICE Storm is focusing on closing vulnerabilities in our border security. Today's criminal enterprises and terrorist networks are highly adept at exploiting traditional financial and commercial infrastructures to earn, launder and store the money they need to fund their operations.
As a recent GAO study points out, criminal and terrorist organizations earn their money through a wide variety of criminal enterprises. All of these criminal activities are targets of ICE investigations under Cornerstone. Each of these activities was in its own way a mission of one of ICE's legacy components. Taken together, these traditional missions merge into something much more powerful. They fuse into our ultimate mission, which is to protect the homeland.
In Newark recently, ICE closed down unlicensed money brokers sending millions of dollars to Pakistan. More recently, in Massachusetts, ICE charged a major gold refining company with commodities-based money laundering. In these cases there was no link to terrorists, but the vulnerabilities are clear.
Just last week, ICE announced the largest case ever involving the smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes into the United States. The probe resulted in a 92-count Federal indictment against 19 defendants. The potential profits resulting from such a scheme are enormous.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Results to date shows that Cornerstone is moving in the right direction. Since March 1, 2003, ICE financial investigations have yielded 1,200 arrests and bulk cash seizures of $75 million.
In summing up, I would just like to point out another areas where ICE is taking the lead: the export of U.S. weapons component and technology. Over the last year, ICE has roughly doubled the number of export enforcement cases that we have brought, and we expect further increases.
And finally, the fight against child pornography is also a critical focus of ICE. As you know, we have launched an unprecedented initiative against child sex predators worldwide called Operation Predator. This campaign, which fuses all the authorities and resources of ICE, has resulted in the arrest of roughly 1,800 individuals since last July. A key component of this initiative targets Internet child pornography, and last month ICE announced the arrest of more than 40 people nationwide in connection with a global Internet child pornography case.
Mr. Chairman, I have focused on just a few examples of how the ICE mission at DHS works hand-in-glove with the traditional missions of our legacy agencies. I could speak of literally dozens of other examples. However, I know that I am already over my time, but I look forward to answering any questions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Garcia follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL GARCIA
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Scott, and distinguished Members of the Committee. It is a privilege to be here today to discuss the steps the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) has taken to meet the considerable responsibilities that come with being the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. BICE is comprised of some of our Nation's oldest and most recognizable law enforcement agencies and their combined responsibilities place BICE directly on the front line of protecting our homeland. We recognize and accept this responsibility and remain committed to fulfilling our combined missions.
While BICE is a new agency, we are committed to enforcing and enhancing the traditional law enforcement mandates of our legacy agencies. When creating BICE, our mission was to create a unified law enforcement agency capable of bringing all its law enforcement tools to bear, in an efficient and effective manner, on the vulnerabilities to our homeland security. The mission of homeland security is to address vulnerabilitiesvulnerabilities that open our borders to infiltration and our financial systems to exploitation; and vulnerabilities that weaken our national security and expose our citizens to attack. The mission of BICE is to implement proactive initiatives aimed at closing vulnerabilities and strengthening national security. The merger of the combined jurisdiction, broad legal authorities, and investigative expertise of the former agencies has enhanced and expanded the investigative activities of BICE. These authorities include the investigation of a wide range of crimes, including violations of immigration laws, money laundering, migrant and contraband smuggling, trade fraud, import and export violations, including those linked to Weapons of Mass Destruction, and cyber crimes, including Internet child pornography.
On March 1, 2003, an impressive array of resources were brought together to create what would become known as BICE. Our charge was to continue the critical mission of each of the organizations comprising BICE, while integrating and ultimately enhancing the operations within our new Bureau. BICE brought together the investigative and intelligence functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the U.S. Customs Service (USCS), the Detention and Removal function of the INS, the Air and Marine Operations of USCS, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), and Federal Air Marshals (FAMS) from the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA).
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This merger brings together thousands of dedicated law enforcement professionals, including 5,500 Special Agents; 4,000 Detention and Removal employees; 1,500 Federal Protective Service employees; and Federal Air Marshals. BICE is now the largest Federal law enforcement bureau and a key investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Our primary focus has been to integrate all of these resources in a manner that would allow us to further enhance the investigative efforts aimed at protecting our homeland without interruption of the longstanding enforcement duties of our former agencies. We are accomplishing these goals and meeting the new challenges of the 21st century at the frontline as we continue to develop as a premier law enforcement bureau.
In June 2003, BICE created a unified field structure for Investigations by creating 25 BICE field offices within a strengthened chain of command; placed the Federal Protective Service, Detention and Removal Operations, the Air and Marine Operations, and the Federal Air Marshals at Division status to reflect their unique capabilities, and created a unified Intelligence Division. We will continue to bring to bear all the specialized skills and knowledge of our personnel and continue to create unified programs for training, firearms and investigative support.
The BICE Investigations Division has continued to execute the enforcement mandates of both the immigration and customs statutes. By combining our capabilities and expertise, BICE has realized significant synergies and been able to leverage resources to meet the inherited challenges and find new methods to overcome new challenges.
BICE's newly created alien smuggling unit is an excellent example of how resources that were once spread over several agencies have been integrated into one unit. This integration enhances BICE's ability to uncover and shut down vulnerabilities in our national security. Set up to identify and dismantle criminal enterprises that prey on persons who enter the country illegally, this unit works closely with all of our operational components to leverage our expertise and unique authorities. The combination of these investigative efforts enables BICE to comprehensively explore all aspects of the violation.
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Last year, BICE launched Operation ICE Storm, an unprecedented multi-agency initiative to combat human smuggling and the violence it has generated in Arizona and nationwide. In support of the operation, BICE deployed 50 additional Special Agents to the Phoenix area. These resources enhance BICE's investigational capabilities and its ability to respond to local law enforcement. ICE Storm was developed to attack the smuggling-related violence that has grown in the Phoenix area at an alarming rate. Court statistics show that, from January through October 2003, Phoenix experienced a 45 percent increase in homicides when compared to the same period during the previous year. Over the last few years, there have also been a significant number of incidents involving extortion, kidnapping, and home invasions. In 20022003, there were 623 such incidents, 75 percent of which were the result of human smuggling or related activity.
The BICE led task force uses its broad range of authorities and resources to dismantle organized crime outfits that have turned human smuggling into a bloody but profitable venture. For example, a critical facet of ICE Storm involves targeting the monetary assets of smuggling organizations. Following the money trail and crippling the organizations' financial infrastructure is crucial to disabling the smugglers' operations. A financial analysis by BICE showed that during a six-month period in early 2003 more than $160 million were funneled into Phoenix through money transmitting businesses.
As a result of these efforts, ICE Storm has resulted in over 700 arrests, 90 indictments, nearly $2 million in seizures and 46 assault weapons taken off the streets in the first 180 days of the initiative.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another investigative effort that brought to bear BICE's combined authorities and expertise was demonstrated in a case in Victoria, Texas, where 19 migrants died while attempting to enter the U.S. illegally concealed inside a locked tractor-trailer which was then abandoned by smugglers. By drawing on the array of assets now available, BICE investigators were able to quickly identify and locate the smugglers responsible and follow the money trail to the ringleader, who had fled the United States. The investigation resulted in 19 indictments, the extradition of the ringleader, who with her co-conspirators, are awaiting trial. In addition, an undercover operation conducted in conjunction with this investigation resulted in the rescue of a 3-year-old boy from the same band of smugglers. His captors were subsequently apprehended and arrested. These types of criminals are exploiting vulnerabilities in our border security for financial gain; however, their human cargo could just have easily been a group of terrorists. For these reasons, BICE has made alien smuggling investigations one of our top priorities.
In addition to investigating alien smuggling organizations, BICE is dedicated to the continued investigation of smuggling organizations that transport illegal narcotics that pose a significant threat to our nation's border security and the well being of our citizens. BICE is a major contributor to the disruption and dismantling of major narcotic organizations. In fiscal year 2003, BICE agents arrested over 12,000 individuals on narcotics related charges. If organized crime rings can lead illegal aliens into the country, terrorists can use the same methods to infiltrate our borders. If narco-traffickers can smuggle cocaine into the country, terrorists can surreptitiously bring in components for weapons of mass destruction.
Currently, there are approximately 400,000 absconders in the United States. Absconders are individuals who have violated U.S. immigration laws, were ordered to deported, and fled before they could be deported from the United States. BICE is committed to the complete removal of all criminal absconders and has prioritized by identifying the ''Most Wanted'' criminal offenders. Two months after BICE publicly released the list of the ''Top Ten Most Wanted'', nine of them were apprehended and the tenth was confirmed out of the country. In prioritizing the worst offenders, we noticed that a number of them were sexual predators, many of whom had records of preying on children. As a result, on July 9, 2003, BICE launched Operation Predator, an initiative aimed at bringing to bear all of our powers and authorities that could be used to protect our childrenAmerica's future and the essence of our homeland. Since it's inception, BICE has arrested more than 1,835 predators and have deported or initiated deportation proceedings against those who are foreign born nationals. BICE will continue to remain committed to protecting our children through the relentless enforcement of Operation Predator.
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In July 2003, BICE announced ''Cornerstone'', a BICE Financial Investigations Division program designed to identify vulnerabilities in our Nation's financial systems through which criminals launder their illicit proceeds. Cornerstone is focused on identifying systems that are being exploited by criminal or terrorist groups. Through this proactive approach, BICE systematically and strategically examines financial systems that may be susceptible to exploitation. BICE identifies criminal organizations that are exploiting these financial systems. BICE employs a methodology of attacking the exploitation, disseminating findings through liaisons to the financial and trade sectors, and working toward enhancing money laundering laws and regulations. Cornerstone enables BICE to focus its unique competencies and authorities on stopping this exploitation through intelligence gathering, implementing ''fixes'' where necessary to protect the integrity of our financial systems, and referring investigations for prosecution.
Since March 1, 2003, BICE financial investigations have yielded 1,213 arrests and bulk cash seizures of more than $75 million. Since it's inception in 1992, Agents of BICE's El Dorado Task Force in New York City have arrested more than 1,800 individuals and seized nearly $560 million in criminal proceeds. These existing financial investigations, which have been merged with Cornerstone, will aid the financial industry to eliminate the industry-wide security gaps that could be exploited by criminal organizations. As Secretary Ridge stressed in his announcement of Cornerstone, ''Money is the lifeblood of terrorist networks.'' Through Cornerstone, BICE continues to safeguard the integrity of America's financial systems as part of our dedication to homeland security.
BICE's Arms and Strategic Technology Investigations Program enforces import and export control laws and prevents terrorist groups and hostile nations from illegally obtaining U.S.-origin military products and sensitive dual use technology. On March 7, 2003, BICE Special Agents arrived in the Iraqi Theater of Operations (ITO) to support the U.S. Central Command (CentCom) in Operation Iraqi Freedom. A total of 15 Special Agents were initially deployed to assist CentCom in identifying U.S. persons or entities that may have aided or assisted Iraq in the development of its weapons programs, or in the acquisition of defenses articles, or controlled dual use technology or products, or engaged in prohibited financial transactions with Iraq.
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To this day, BICE continues to maintain teams of Special Agents in the ITO. The first U.S. charges to result from leads generated by the BICE teams in Iraq occurred on October 15, 2003, when a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted two individuals on charges of brokering the manufacture and export of six armored patrol vessels, valued at a total of $11 million, to the Iraqi military. At least three of the military vessels were completed in Iraq before the war and had been deployed by Iraqi military forces. Both individuals were arrested by BICE special agents, subsequently indicted, and are awaiting trial in the United States.
In July 2003, BICE Special Agents executed 18 Federal search warrants throughout the United States to disrupt an Iranian smuggling network that was illegally procuring parts and components for military fighter aircraft and missile systems through a company called MULTICORE located in London, England. Additionally, in August 2003, BICE and FBI agents in New Jersey arrested a British national named Hemant LAKHANI and two other individuals for attempting to smuggle a Russian-made Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) into the United States. In addition, LEKHANI was also attempting to sell 50 additional MANPADS to undercover personnel.
America's welcome is also being exploited by human rights violators who enter the United States in an attempt to avoid being brought to justice for their heinous crimes. Their mere presence here undermines the values and ideals that are the foundation of this Nation. BICE is committed to preventing this country from becoming a safe haven for foreign criminals and we have backed that commitment by creating the Human Rights Violators Unit. This specialized unit is dedicated to identifying and investigating human rights violators and assisting in their removal from the United States.
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In September 2003, BICE agents in Miami, Florida, arrested Frantz Douby, a former Haitian military official who had been convicted in absentia for his involvement in the 1994 Raboteau massacre where dozens of villagers were beaten and shot to death. Three other former Haitian military officers linked to the massacre have already been deported.
BICE has created several additional programs to address vulnerabilities that threaten our national security. For example, BICE established a Compliance Enforcement Unit to ensure that individuals comply with the requirements of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT) program. SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains critical, up-to-date information about foreign students and exchange visitors, as well as their dependents, which can be accessed electronically. SEVIS enables the government to track students in the United States more accurately and expeditiously. US VISIT is a program designed to collect, maintain, and share information, including biometric identifiers, through a dynamic system, on foreign nationals to determine, among other things, whether individuals (a) have overstayed or otherwise violated the terms of their admission, (b) should be denied admission into the United States, (c) should be allowed to change, extend, or adjust their immigration status or (d) should be apprehended or detained for law enforcement action.
The vast majority of students come to the United States to take advantage of the outstanding educational and training opportunities our Nation has to offer. Unfortunately, this system can be exploited by those who seek to do us harm, as we witnessed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and then subsequently on September 11, 2001. We must shut down these vulnerabilities and the Compliance Enforcement Unit is making great strides through the use of SEVIS, and US VISIT by identifying those individuals who may pose national security risks.
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The merging of 22 agencies and bureaus into the Department of Homeland Security provides new access to law enforcement databases that will now be used by the BICE Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) to greatly broaden its enforcement capabilities. For example, the LESC now has access to intelligence information from the former INS, Customs, and the Federal Protective Services databases. This will improve our ability to provide timely information to state and local law enforcement agencies around the nation, as well as to international enforcement agencies.
Coordination between Federal and local law enforcement around the country has expanded significantly since September 11. As additional resources become available, the LESC will become even more critical to law enforcement and national security investigations. In fiscal year 2003, the LESC responded to nearly 600,000 investigative inquiries from federal, state, county and local police agencies in all 50 states. This surpasses the total inquiries handled in 2002 by more than 175,000.
The operational area that has perhaps benefited the most from our restructuring is Detention and Removal Operations. It is now a separate division, bringing a sharper focus to its unique mission, which includes the National Fugitive Operations Program. This program is designed to locate, apprehend, and remove alien absconders. Our Detention and Removal Program is continuing its efforts in promoting public safety and national security by ensuring the departure of those aliens. Officers assigned to Detention and Removal continue to work toward the location, apprehension, and removal of all criminal aliens, absconders of the immigration process, and all other aliens ordered removed from the country.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The BICE Intelligence Division provides a centralized robust intelligence capability to support all of BICE's operational programs as well as other Department components and federal partners. This enhanced intelligence capability has proven critical in the success of BICE investigations and initiatives including ICE Storm, the Victoria, Texas smuggling case, and Operation Predator.
Air and Marine Operations continue to protect the Nation's borders from smuggling and acts of terrorism with an integrated and coordinated Air and Marine interdiction force. Airspace security is still being provided in the National Capital Region and coordination of real time information exchange is at an all time high.
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is relentlessly securing and identifying potential vulnerabilities of more than 8,800 federal buildings nationwide. As the FPS continues to protect federal buildings, it has integrated its operations with BICE intelligence and investigations in regards to attempted penetration of federal buildings and assisted Detention and Removal Operations in moving detainees at federal facilities.
As mentioned earlier, the inclusion of the FAMS and the Explosive Unit and their mission to promote confidence in our Nation's civil aviation system through the deterrence, detection, and defeat of hostile acts targeting U.S. air carriers, airports, passengers, and crew has served to further mobilize the people and resources of the Department of Homeland Security. FAMS operates as a distinct unit within BICE, enhanced by BICE intelligence and operations data. Moving the FAMS to BICE provides an increased surge capacity during periods of increased threat to the air transportation system; improves the Department's ability to investigate events of interest in the airport environment through better connectivity between FAMS and the federal law enforcement community; and, provides FAMS with broader training and career opportunities.
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As we have shown, criminal activities are best attacked by multiple investigations that are interconnectedtracing all the criminal components of the violations and not just a single act. The additional jurisdiction and resources that the combined agencies bring to BICE have enhanced our abilities to investigate national security threats and strengthen the Department of Homeland Security. BICE would not have been able to maintain the continuity of these multiple operations, much less enhance the way in which they are carried out, if it were not for the extraordinary sense of purpose, dedication, and steadfast determination of the men and women who work for the agency. They fully understand that their day-to-day work is critical to the security of this Nation and its economy.
In conclusion, I would again like to commend Congress on its efforts in pursuing the safety and well being of the American people and thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. There is no higher duty of the Government than to defend its Nation. It is an honor to serve with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is a team of elite and dedicated law-enforcement officers who face the ultimate challenge of protecting and serving our Nation during a time of monumental change. I am confident that with the leadership of the President, guidance from Congress, and the continued cooperation and coordination within the Law Enforcement Community, we will continue to evolve as a premier law enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security. The American people deserve nothing less.
It would be my pleasure to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. COBLE. I thank you, gentlemen. We live within the 5-minute rule as well, so if you can, keep your questions rather briefly.
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Secretary Garcia, when I was first elected to the Congress, my bread and butter issues back home were tobacco, textiles and furniture. All three are now beleaguered. I am a proponent of enforcing trade policies that assure that legal U.S. companies employing U.S. citizens are not doomed by the violations of these agreements. I also recognize the new role of Customs to defend our ports from terrorist attacks and to prevent supplies and goods or cargo from reaching terrorists and other parts of our country.
How have these responsibilities impacted your agency's ability to successfully enforce our Nation's trade laws, and are there any changes to the laws and/or regulations that could be enacted that would make your job more efficient and effective?
And Mr. Secretary, I am referring as well to transshipments, these goods that are shipped from countries of origin to a third party country that may end up in the United States and not be charged against the appropriate country. What sort of time frame could you give me on that?
Mr. GARCIA. A number of parts to your question, Mr. Chairman. Obviously, as you mentioned, those avenues of investigation, textile, cigarettes, key components of the traditional customs mission. I think I mentioned in my opening statement one recent example of our commitment to these traditional law enforcement areas. The largest cigarette counterfeiting case to date which was recently taken down, within the last week, showing ICE's commitment to this traditional enforcement area. That commitment carries across the board into all the areas you mentioned, IPR, textiles, all our trade enforcement authority as well.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We approach it in two ways, one in the traditional area of enforcement, such as that recent cigarette case, and two in the area of vulnerabilities. Now, while we haven't seen, Mr. Chairman, direct links between violations of those rules and regulations in terrorist financing, they do provide an avenue for raising incredible amounts of illicit funds. I think the cigarette smuggling business alone is estimated to cost the U.S. a billion dollars, in lost revenue a year.
They do provide tremendous opportunities for organized crime to raise money, and wherever you have that opportunity you have the vulnerability that those avenues could be exploited by terrorists or others intent on harming our homeland security. So we have a two-prong focus, of our traditional focus on enforcing the trade laws and our homeland security mission of closing down those vulnerabilities.
Mr. COBLE. Now, additional Customs agents were authorized, I believe last session, 50 I think. Now, what about transshipment? Are you directing additional attention to those?
Mr. GARCIA. Certainly, under both the theories that I just gave you. The Inbound diversions, where materials, cargo enters the country that is supposed to be destined to be transshipped, transited through the country, and be exported so it avoids certain duties and other obligations in the country, obviously poses a two-prong problem again. One, the economic impact of having people skirt the laws when other law-abiding businesses are playing by the rules. It has a tremendous economic impact on businesses in this country. And second, when you have containers that are transshipped that may not go through the same security, that are bonded or sealed and you have organized crime taking advantage of that mechanism to get items into the country, again you have a vulnerability, a vulnerability that could be exploited to harm our national security.
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So, again, taking that approach of the traditional importance of that as an economic crime and that as a potential to be exploited for homeland security reasons, we are very much committed to that traditional area of enforcement.
Mr. COBLE. Now, those additional agents, are you dividing so many with transshipments, so many to port
Mr. GARCIA. Yeah.
Mr. COBLE.control, et cetera?
Mr. GARCIA. I will get back to you.
Mr. COBLE. I would like to know more about that.
Mr. GARCIA. Certainly, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Admiral, in the old days you remember, and so do I, that when we were talking about port security operations, safety was the number one word. Now safetyI don't mean that safety has been abandoned, but now security certainly is alongside safety. Am I right about that?
Admiral COLLINS. Yes, sir, absolutely.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. And I don't mean to suggest that we weren't concerned about security before, but in a less focused way.
Admiral COLLINS. Clearly. You know, prior to 9/11 on a resource basis, we probably were allocating 2 1/2 to 3 percent of our resource base to port security issues. That clearly transformed itself quite rapidly after 9/11, and we pulsed up at one point above 55 percent of our resource base, and that has trailed off with a combination of rebalancing and additional resources that have come into the Coast Guard. We are now about 20, 27 percent or so, 25 to 27 percent for that mission area.
Mr. COBLE. I will continue, Admiral Collins, on a second round. I see my red light is on. Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted to follow through with that. 24 percent right now is the allocation of your resources toward what?
Admiral COLLINS. Port securityport and coastal security, but always the devil is in the details with these numbers. If you added up all our law enforcement activity, drugs, migrants, illegal fishing, and of course our ECZs, and along with port security, coastal security efforts, they represent about half of our budget. It is about half of our budget. And the other half falls at, you know, the traditional missions of marine safety, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, ice breaking, aids to navigation, and so forth. So it is about evenly split between the two. And if you look at our performance in those missions, I think you will see in our budget and brief document that goes along with our budget a fairly consistent high performance on all those areas, even with resource adjustments.
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Mr. SCOTT. You indicated that you had had seizures of drugs. Do you have any idea what portion of the drugs that are coming into the Nation that you actually intercept?
Admiral COLLINS. Certainly. We have athere is about 540 tons estimated that is moving through the maritime into the United States or toward Europe. We have goals of seizure rate goals and removal rate goals. Removal is those that we don't see but are abandoned by the trafficker as we chase them at sea. But currently it is 68 tons of that amount is what we are in fact interdicting.
Mr. SCOTT. 10 to 15 percent?
Admiral COLLINS. Right. That is the seizure rate and a removal rate if you will count all that abandoned, discarded, thrown over the side
Mr. SCOTT. 85 percent of the drugs sent to the United States, 85 percent85 to 90 percent actually get through in your guesstimate, because you obviously don't know?
Admiral COLLINS. These estimates change year by year. Some portion of that is going to Europe, and I can get you the specific distribution and the current estimates of that flow.
Mr. SCOTT. I would appreciate that.
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Mr. Basham, I understand that 5 minutes didn't allow you to give a full presentation on how we are working with the boarding, counterfeiting of $20 bills. Do you want to say something about how well we are doing or what the challenges are?
Mr. BASHAM. Actually, as you are aware, Mr. Scott, the redesign of the 20 just came out this past spring, and it is a bit early to tell as to the effects of the redesign and the security features. We are not seeing a large number of counterfeit 20's getting into circulation, but as a matter of fact, I happen to have a couple of samples of the counterfeit that we just took out in the Seattle area, and to be quite honest with you, it is somewhat alarmingly close to the genuines. If you wish, I can have someonehave you
Mr. SCOTT. I don't know if you can show those to the camera. Just hold them up a little bit. Hold them up just in front of you.
Mr. BASHAM. Well, I have a sample of genuine notes and then two samples of the counterfeit currency of the new redesigned 20's. And with the exception of a somewhat noticeable flaw in the paper consistency, if you are at the Wal-Mart and you are clerking at the Wal-Mart, I suspect these would have gotten through. But it is notat this point we are not
Mr. SCOTT. Now, most of the tests that are usually given are some marker thatdo those work on the counterfeits?
Mr. BASHAM. No. But it is a deterrent for those who do not know. But it doesn't workit will give you an indication, but it doesn't work in every case. So it is not a reliable way of determining counterfeit
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Mr. SCOTT. Is there any cheap, reliable way that you can tell?
Mr. BASHAM. There is no cheap, reliable way of detecting it. Because of the confidence that the American public has in its currency usually it just passes through one hand to the next and finally getting into the Federal Reserve System, and that is where the majority of it is found.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Scott. We have been joined by the distinguished lady from Texas, Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee. Good to have you with us, Ms. Jackson Lee.
Mr. Feeney, the gentleman from Florida.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It seems like another deterrent to counterfeiting 20's is that, counterfeit or not, a 20 doesn't get you very far anymore.
Admiral, I was interested in your testimony. In Florida we have more coastline than the rest of the eastern seaboard put together. We have got 14 deepwater seaports. We have challenges in Port Canaveral, for example, which is the only place I know of on the planet that within 35 miles you can get into the air, you can travel by rail, by road or in international space. And of course we have got both a very large passenger port capacity, and we have got some military applications, and we have got a very large cargo. And I heard you describe the increasing interactivity between your agencies, intelligence, for example, the Immigration Service which is the importantI am interested in knowing how we are doing as we establish the Homeland Security Department, specifically relating to the Coast Guard working with local law enforcement.
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Florida has a pretty comprehensive homeland security approach. We have got port security. We have got the harbor pilots that obviously have interest in this regard. We have got the cargo aspects of the port, and I thought maybe you would share with us how you are dealing with our local law enforcement, our sheriffs, our port security, et cetera.
Admiral COLLINS. Sure. I would be pleased to. I should probably note up front that Florida is probably one of the more I think aggressive States in dealing with security and the strategy to deal with security.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you. I was Speaker of the House when we adopted that plan. So I will take that as a compliment.
Admiral COLLINS. It certainly is, and we have developed over the years not only for security but in other mission areas, search and rescue and boating safety, a whole host of things, a very close relationship with the marine patrol and other elements within Florida.
I should note that the Maritime Transportation Security Act requires the development of a new security regime across the United States, including Florida. We have been in dialogue with the Governor's office and others within Florida on how that is supposed to roll out. We have created a local captain of the portby captain of the port jurisdictions, area maritime security committees that are required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. Those have robust participation, local, port authorities and State figures as well as our DHS partners, and it becomes the clearinghouse to coordinate the development of security plans and security operations at each port.
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You take Miami, for example, there is a terrific coordination in the Port of Miami. Every time a cruise ship comes in, how you deal with that cruise ship, what is the division of labor between local, small boat resources, State resources and Coast Guard, and that is done in a coordinating fashion to ensure the appropriate security.
So day-to-day operations are coordinated through the captain of port, and other entities like the Joint Terrorist Task Force, between FBI, DHS and local folks, and through those various mediums coordinating mechanisms, I think we are doing terrific stuff. And the Maritime Transportation Security Act promises in its coordinating mechanisms of the area maritime security committeepromises even closer collaboration going forward.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you. Secretary Garcia, I appreciate your testimony. I had a chance to speak with you about some issues earlier. And one of the things I am interested in as we put together this new Homeland Security Department, it is a baby in time, but it is a huge baby, and there are some real challenges, including in your department. And there have been suggestions that as your mission gets broader, you lose focus. I mean, there have been some recent arguments that suggest that the agency is losing identity, for example, that the mission itself is becoming diluted, that the direction is in some ways being lost and that of course there are always people displeased by any change. There are some suggestions that morale is low in the agency.
I appreciate the fact that we have got interconnectivity between the different challenges that you have, but you have a big task now ahead of you, and can you address sort of how you are going to keep an agency whose mission gets much broader also focused and efficient?
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Mr. GARCIA. Certainly, Congressman. I think it is important to step back, as you say, and look at what we have done here, and that is to merge tremendous organizations with different history, different culture, different worker rules into one new law enforcement agency.
If you had told Customs agents, Immigration agents 18 months ago that they were working underwould be working under the same agency umbrella today, they would have looked at you in disbelief, and that is what we have done. And that is only on the agent side. We have brought Federal Protective Service in, the Federal Air Marshals in, Detention and Removal into this umbrella, Intelligence assets.
There are cultural differences. There are differences in work rules and journeyman levels, in administrative support systems. You can imagine, in your experience with bureaucracies and Government agencies the tremendous challenge of putting those together, and at the same time ensuring that we don't fall back at all in our traditional missions as we have discussed some today, that we continue to push forward on narcotics and smuggling and export enforcement and launch new programs under a new organization.
What have we accomplished? We changedreally changed the face of law enforcement, reorganized those investigative assets into a unified law enforcement system of 25 unified field offices across the country reporting up one chain into a new headquarters structure with new program boxespredator, with human rights violators and other programs new to the Department of Homeland Security. There is anxiety in change, and that is certainly so. And there are challenges.
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What we have to do is get the information out to the field. I visited 22 of our 25 field offices I have just mentioned within the past year. I have done town halls. I do regular messagings. I have noticed actually a change in the anxiety level, and it has gone down as we get forward on our path, as we announce our permanent leadership which we continue to do. In fact, most of it is now in place, and we move forward and gain ground. And as we bring these new tools to bear in different ways, as we show and demonstrate our commitment to the traditional mission about our ability to do things differently now, our ability to create new culture and a new organization, and we see that
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Garcia, the time has expired. We can continue that on the second round.
The gentlelady from Texas.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank both you and the Ranking Member for making sure we didn't miss this very important hearing. I think as the headlines have challenged us over the last couple of days on the vulnerability of our intelligence and intelligence gathering, to understand the law enforcement components of homeland security I think are extremely vital.
Let me take a moment of personal privilege and congratulate our JTTF in Houston and add my appreciation to Richard Garcia, the special agent in charge. The FBI is not here, but the special agent in charge who was a key component to that task force, because we just hosted one of the super events of the world, the Super Bowl, and I am here to tell you that we are safe and sound, and we are very appreciative of all of the agencies that participated, which include the Secret Service and the Customs and the ICE and a number of others. And I know that the Coast Guard was carefully handling the port at the same time. So we appreciate the work that was done over these past couple of days, and I want to make note of that as a public compliment.
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But I do want to focus on several aspects of your efforts and raise these questions overall and then, if you will, throw them to you gentlemen to answer.
I want to get a status of our work with respect to identity theft which has become certainly a huge domestic concern, but it has impact with respect to terrorism as well. And so I want to see what strides we have made in dealing with international issues of identity theft, meaning those who are maybe traveling internationally or those who would use the identity of either someone from their place of residence or someone here in the United States that would help penetrate the borders and/or to do harm within the borders of the United States.
With respect, Admiral, to the Coast Guard, let me raise a point of contention or a problem that we had in Houston, and that is weak land entry. Now, I know that you are in the waterways. My question to you is do you coordinate and have meetings with ports as relates to how they accessor how individuals are able to access by land but then may have them enter into the port land area and do harm on the waterways either by way of commandeering a small boat, if you will, or some other harm? Is there a constant dialogue with port leadership of respective ports so that your work is not simply on our byways? I am interested in that issue, and I would be interested in your comment on your Coast Guard intelligence coordination centers and whether or not they are working and do they work land and sea as well.
I would appreciate, and I guess this requires sort of a simple sentence, because I am giving a number of questions, but I would like to get these on the record, your thoughts about the budget for 2005 as it relates to each of your segments. And then I would be interested in any particular needs that you need as we look toward legislative activity in 2004 and/or budgetary at this time.
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But I think, gentlemen, if you can start off with this whole idea of intelligence, and do you feel that you are fixing the loopholes in your intelligencein our capability, if you will, or the sharing of intelligence. I think that is key for me. And then you can go into the respective questions that I have asked you. And I thank you. Mr. Basham, you might want to start.
Mr. BASHAM. With respect to the sharing of intelligence, as you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security has been very aggressive in putting together and bringing together a number of the components within that department to share information, disseminate information. We are involved with the Terrorism Threat Integration Center. They have stood up the Homeland Security Operations Center. We are constantly working with the Department as well as with other departments within Government to ensure that the information that we obtain is shared and that they are quite frankly doing exceptionally well in sharing information with the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.
So I think we have made some great strides in that area, and I think it will continue to improve. And I am sure my colleagues here would agree.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. How many notches up from 9/11? Five notches, six notches, two notches up?
Mr. BASHAM. A grading scale, I would hesitate to grade it. I can only say that I think it has improved considerably over the time prior to 9/11, just because we are all now together sharing information at one location, and so therefore I feel it has improved considerably. I will defer to my colleagues here if they have
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Mr. COBLE. The gentleman's time is expired. So if you all could answer her remaining questions as tersely as you can.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GARCIA. Thank you. I would echo what Director Basham has said in terms of intelligence sharing. Obviously, I think it was pointed out originally how important that is. In post-9/11 we are all under one agency roof. We all share into the DHS facility as well as across agency and department lines and I have seen tremendous improvement in that from my days even back in the Department of Justice when I worked terrorism issues in New York.
In terms of the budget, I saw some tremendous advances in 2005 in enhancements, a 10 percent overall increase related to institutional removal, international program, compliance enforcement and our air and marine division. Enhancements that will make us an even more effective homeland security law enforcement agency in the years to come.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Admiral.
Admiral COLLINS. In terms ofI echo the comments of my colleagues here in terms of information sharing and intel collection. I think it is getting better and better and better every day, and the big reason is we are under the same roof, have common goals, one team, one fight, sharing staff. I have staff in ICE. ICE has staff in my operation. We are sharing our intel databases, ready access into the maritime database from other agencies and vice versa. We are doing collaborative screening. In other words, vessels and people and cargo coming into the United States, we are doing collaborative screening. We are doing screening collaboratively with FBI and ICE and Customs and so forth.
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So I think the combination of those features, whatever the notch equalsI am not sure what a notch equals but a number of notches we have increased, and I think we will get better and better all the time.
Also what is very, very positive to me is that we have in the maritime created a tiered intel organization, an information sharing organization at the local level, at our area level, the middle management level and at the headquarters level in Washington, and it is a tier structure that allows a great deal of information flow into the maritime community.
So to answer your question about Houston, we have a field intelligence support team that is a giant team. It is made up of Coast Guard, our DHS partners, the State police, the local port authorities and others, and it can bring and get a common operating picture of the port and all the things that impact the port.
I think that is a very, very positive development, and more of that to come. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Jackson Lee, we are going to have a second round so that we can come back to your remaining questions.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. We will start our second round now.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Will the gentleman yield?
Let me just apologize. For my coming in from Houston, the planes were delayed in bad weather, and I apologize for that. If I am not here for the second round, I have a bill on the floor, and I will submit my questions for the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. COBLE. Reclaiming my time, let me extend kudos to you all having hosted a very fine Super Bowl. And since my team did not winthat is a game, folks, that I think neither team should have lost.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Those young men from all of the Carolinas were dynamicand I hope the witnesses will allow us this exchangebut they were outstanding and you are absolutely right, they were both winners on the field.
Mr. COBLE. This has nothing to do with the issue at hand. I have had more people come to me in recent days and they will say, BobbyMr. Scottbest Super Bowl I ever saw. Kudos to you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Absolutely. Come back again.
Mr. COBLE. I wasn't there. I saw it on TV.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Admiral, when I hear ''Coast Guard,'' I think search and rescue, aids to navigation, drug interdiction, et cetera.
A, have those bread-and-butter issues that you all have been doing since 1790, have they been adversely affected, or if not adversely affected, compromised as a result of additional food on your plate? A.
Number B, how about the coordination of efforts with the Navy regarding maritime homeland security?
I guess that would be one and the same question.
Admiral COLLINS. Mr. Chairman, I don't think so. I think the search and rescue standards, we are not walking away from those a bit. In other words, being on scene within a certain time frame after the initial call notification, we are adhering to that. We saved well over 5,000 people last year in the United States who are alive today because we were around. So we are attending to that.
We are exceeding our performance standards for search and rescue. We are exceeding our performance standards relative to aids to navigation. We are exceeding our performance standards relative to ice-breaking. I think we are working hard, we are meeting the performance standards across the board.
It has been with the help of great partnering with State, local, and Federal to help us with that mission and our partners in DHA. That is one secret. The other secret is that our budget has grown. We have increased the capacity to do this work; from 2002 to the present our operating budget has increased over 50 percent. And we have grown our people force structure by over 10 percent. So that allows us to deal with some of these new demands.
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Mr. COBLE. That is the answer I was hoping for. Oftentimes folks ask me, how about the Coast Guard? Can they still take care of their bread-and-butter issues? And I am glad to hear you say you can do that even though you are probably strapped.
The gentlelady from Texas asked you about identity theft. I do not think you got into that. How about getting your oars into those waters?
Mr. BASHAM. Thank you for the opportunity.
Last year we launched a very aggressive initiative on identity theft. And as a matter of fact, we have provided training to State and local law enforcement to, first of all, help them identify what identity theft is really about; and if they come upon a situation where they think they have an issue, how they should preserve the evidence in a case of that. We have sent over 40,000 CD-ROMs to State and local law enforcement entities out there to show best practices, to show them how they go about working a case of this nature. In fact, we are in the second printing or the second rendition of that CD-ROM on identity theft.
And so we are very aggressively working that issue and we feel that it is going to have a very positive effect. The Secret Service is very involvedcontinues to be involved working with our partners out there.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Basham. I still have a little time left. You all have not responded to my earlier concernand I hope it is because it is not a problemand that is turf battles. You have read about it as far as you all are concerned.
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Can we assume that is not taking a lot of your time?
Mr. BASHAM. I can say, originally, Mr. Chairman, it was somewhat a concern to the Secret Service; and I am sure you were aware of that, as you expressed. However, we have found that that has not been a problem for us. It is not a distraction for our agents. In fact, we are working very, very close with ICE out there and task forces.
We have a very robust effort under way within DHS to deal with financial crimes and financial infrastructure protections, working with ICE as a partner. So we feel it has enhanced the Government's ability to deal with those issues. And so I feel very, very strongly that it has improved and it is not a concern.
Mr. COBLE. You all concur? Admiral?
Admiral COLLINS. Absolutely. And if you look at some of the major initiatives that we are launching, it was done in a collaborative way. Container security, for example, is a close partnership between TSA, legacy Customs and the Coast Guard and others, including NARAD from the Department of Transportation.
If you look at the efforts with migration and migration interdiction between ICE and the Coast Guard, and drug interdiction, many of those have been enabled with ICE aircraft and Coast Guard cutters working together in a collaborative way and getting terrific results. There are coordinating mechanisms built into our Department to allow for coordination across the organizational elements.
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The Coast Guard attends the operations policy weekly council meeting in BTS every week to compare notes on where we are going and how we can coordinate better. I feel very positive about, it and where there are seams, there are efforts under way look at those seams and how we deal with them together.
Mr. COBLE. I am glad to hear that.
Mr. Secretary, do you concur?
Mr. GARCIA. Yes, I do, Mr. Chairman. We work with the Coast Guard very closely across the board.
One recent case we had down in the Everglades, port security, where the Coast Guard invited us into their investigation to assist; and we did some great work together down there.
As Director Basham said, we work very, very closely in the financial crimes area. Echoing your opening remarks, after 9/11, there really is no place for turf battles. There are issues where there has to be coordination, and we are working at better coordination at this table with our partner agencies.
Mr. COBLE. Glad to hear it.
The gentleman from Virginia.
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Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Basham, I wanted to follow up on the ID fraud. We have seen TV ads where one credit card company will show its fraud alerts and will void charges being charged to one person; they will cancel the charges and whatnot.
When they find that a charge was improperly done, do they routinely report it to the criminal justice people, or do they just write it off and issue a new card and keep going?
Mr. BASHAM. I think a number of the credit card companies accept a certain level of risk. And now, to the percentage of ones they actually write off versus charging it back to a merchant, I can get that information.
Mr. SCOTT. Do they report it to a criminal justice authority for prosecution, for investigation and prosecution?
Mr. BASHAM. Well, the only times I can comment on that is when we are actually contacted, which is frequently that we are contacted. We work very closely with the credit card companies, particularly if we find
Mr. SCOTT. If you find that a chargeand I have had a card where I don't know how they got the number or whatever, but the charges were improperly being put on a credit card. I reported it. They canceled the charges and I got a new card.
Okay, does anybody prosecute that? Investigate it? Do you have the resources to investigate cases like that?
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Mr. BASHAM. On a singular charge against an individual's credit card? I can't say that we have the resources to track down
Mr. SCOTT. If you had more resources, could you track down situations like that so that people would stop doing it?
Mr. BASHAM. Yes, we could.
Mr. SCOTT. If you had more resources?
Mr. BASHAM. If we had more resources, we certainly could.
Mr. SCOTT. We will see what we can do.
I look forward to you testifying in favor of a bill that I have introduced to give you those resources.
Mr. BASHAM. I will be honored to.
Mr. SCOTT. We have heard all about the coordination between the agencies. One of the downsides of that is, some agencies can get information a little bit easier and more casually, particularly if they are using the foreign intelligence side of the criminal justice system, than other agencies.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Can you say a little bit about how law enforcement works cooperatively with agencies that are acquiring information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for which probable cause is not needed?
Mr. GARCIA. If I could take the first shot at answering that, perhaps.
One, as you point out, Congressman, the FBI has primary domestic foreign intelligence collection capability under FISA and the other intelligence statutes, domestic collection authority. There are other probable cause and other requirements under that statute, but they are different from the
Mr. SCOTT. Under FISA you do not need the probable cause of a crime. In fact, you don't need a crime. It can be anythingforeign intelligence, they can get the information.
In the old days, they couldn't use it on the criminal side, and so there was no incentive to abuse the foreign intelligence collection to try to run a criminal investigation without probable cause.
Now that everybody is sharing everything, you have an incentive to abuse the foreign intelligence, and somebody on the criminal side can ask one of their buddies, I have a hunch, no probable cause, just a hunch, can you use FISA to listen in a little while, to see if we can find something out? When you are sharing all of this information, going back and forth, that can be a problem. In the old days, since you couldn't share, there was no point in asking. If they found anything, you couldn't use it.
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My question is, with all of this information-sharing, do you have people who are using FISA to get information, sharing that information with everybody else thatnice to hear it, but couldn't have gotten it on their own?
Mr. GARCIA. I will give you my perspective from ICE on that.
Obviously, as I said, FBI has primary collection authority on that; I think the collection authority in that area is under FISA. We participate with the FBI and joint terrorist task force's cases by nature aimed at terrorist financing, terrorist support, terrorist plots in the United States.
Our agents, as part of that task force, would have some access to the information collected by the FBI under the rules governing information-sharing, the PATRIOT Act and the rules that were in place before that. Those agents participate in a task force setting and have access, as needed, as I understand it, to that information on particular cases governed by the rules for that sharing that are now in place.
Mr. BASHAM. Actually, I would echo that. We, as well, participate in the joint terrorism task forces, and a great deal of that information is compartmentalized. And it is not shared across all agencies, but only those agencies that have a specific interest or a specific jurisdiction that it deals with.
So I would say that with respect to protecting that information, as best you can under that setting, they are very cognizant of the need to do that. That has been our experience with it.
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Mr. COBLE. We will have one more quick round, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Garcia, you indicated that when you catch smugglers, they could have used the methodology to smuggle weapons of mass destruction with the same methodology that they are smuggling drugs and people, ''they could.'' .
Do you have any evidence that they are using the same methodology?
Mr. GARCIA. No, Congressman. What our approach is is that certainly the vulnerability exists. If, particularly in that case, we have people with access to sensitive areas of a facility, an airport, the danger exists or the potential exists that they would take advantage of that access to move weapons or move WMD components through the airports or across the border.
Certainly, these are organized criminal enterprises driven by profit. Where the profit was greater, that is where we believe that criminal activity would be focused. So if terrorists or others looking to harm
Mr. SCOTT. You do not have any evidence that they actually havelet me ask you, I have several other questions that I am try trying to get in quickly.
Is ICE working with the State Department on visa issuance?
Mr. GARCIA. In the visa security unit, yes, Congressman. That was, up until recently, run by Asa Hutchinson at the bureau level, BTS level. It is now operationally within ICE.
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We have signed an MOU with the State Department to govern procedures. DHS has signed in terms of visa issuance. We are now in the process of implementing that, getting funding for that program. As of today, the only DHS personnel overseas are in Riyadh and Jedda, Saudi Arabia, as required by the statute. We are now coming up with a plan for further expansion of the visa security unit overseas working with our partners at the State Department.
Mr. SCOTT. When there are violations, how much prosecutorial discretion do you have? Do you have any prosecutorial discretion if you have violations of visa procedures?
Mr. GARCIA. Most of the visa law enforcement authority rests with diplomatic security of the State Department overseas. Under the terms of the MOU, we work with diplomatic security to look at investigations that would result from the visa process and see which ones of those would be amenable to presentation for prosecution. Ultimately, the decision for that would rest with the U.S. attorney's office.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. I have one more, too, and then we will wrap it up.
Mr. Secretary, would you classify the intelligence that your office gathers as responding to domestic threats or foreign threats? Is it possible to separate the two? To what extent is your domestic intelligence work integrated with your foreign intelligence work?
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am piling on here. I am giving you four or five questions.
As to the mission of the office, it appears very similar to me to that of the FBI and the DEA, for example. Explain whether and how the Office of Intelligence is duplicating or complementing the work of the other law enforcement agencies responsible for domestic intelligence. What are the unique responsibilities of your office compared to the other offices?
And if you would, explain any plans for the sharing of intelligence amongst the other agencies.
And what role does the Terrorist Threat Integration Center play in all of this?
Mr. GARCIA. Certainly.
Mr. Chairman, ICE collects law enforcement information. As I pointed out in response to Congressman Scott's question, we do not have domestic intelligence-gathering capability. Our capability to gather intelligence is essentially to gather law enforcement information, case-related information, operational information.
We have different divisions in ICE that provide different types of information to our Central Intelligence Division, our main division for intelligence responsibilities. The Federal Protective Service gathers information about violations on Federal property; 8,000 buildings they protect nationwide. The FAMS have a civil aviation piece, bringing in information about violations in their particular domaininvestigations, broad authorities, tremendous information. Detention and removal, moving more people through their system than the Bureau of Prisons last year, has a similar capability to collect information from that community. All, merging with ICE.
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As you can see, very different branches and types of information-collecting information can be used operationally by ICE. For example, human trafficking information. Someone stopped on the border may have a phone number that links up with a case in Newark. We use that to drive our cases.
We share across our divisions, clearly. We also share laterally and across the board and upwards. We participate with the IAIP, the DHS primary intel group. The TTIC, we have personnel assigned to the TTIC on a full-time basis where we have access to all our systems. We are part of the terrorist screening center. We have personnel assigned to the CIA and we brief on specific issues.
So we take advantage of all of those opportunities to make our information available upwards into DHA, into the TTIC and across to our agencies sitting here and in other departments, and then we brief on specific issues. We briefed the FBI, in fact, within the last week on an issue that we uncovered that we thought was particularly important.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, sir.
And one final question, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. One final question, Admiral Collins. You indicated that your guesstimateobviously, we do not know for sure85 to 90 percent of the drugs trying to get into the United States actually make it. We are stopping 10 to 15 percent. Is getting it down to 50 percent a realistic goal?
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Admiral COLLINS. I think you have got to look at it. There is not one silver bullet. There are a number of different strategies that are being pursued aggressively under the coordination of ONDCP that looks at source country strategy, interdiction zone strategy and so forth. And I think, hit it high, hit it low, and hit it in between, also focusing on demand and supply; and a combination of that multifaceted approach yields tremendous results.
Mr. SCOTT. I see on the supply side if people do not want as much drugs, you could reduce it. How much would it cost? I mean, in terms of
Admiral COLLINS. I think it is a multifaceted approach. I was just down at the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, which coordinates all the interdiction efforts for the United States out of that southern vector coming into the United States; and they had a substantial Colombian delegation, the minister of defense and others, briefing on the progress they are making in country. It is very, very impressive.
And I think the combination of a dedicated, focused, professional military really turned around in Colombia and committed to administration in Colombia, along with a solid effort in the interdiction zoneI think we have a window of opportunity to go and undermine this whole operation.
Mr. SCOTT. The reason I ask that is, I read there is one study that said if you wanted to reduce drug use by 1 percent in America, you could spend $30 million on drug rehab, about $300 million on prisons, or a billion dollars on interdiction.
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Admiral COLLINS. Like I said, I don't think there is any one individual solution. It is multifaceted. And you have got to be very proactive in supporting Colombia and the great things they are doing as a country, in country.
Mr. SCOTT. And that costs us about a billion dollars.
Admiral COLLINS. It is a huge payoff, I think. And in the interdiction zone and on the demand side, it is multifaceted. If you look at the national strategy on this issue, it
Mr. SCOTT. We are at 85, 90 and catching 10 to 15 percent now. How much more money will it cost to get it down much further? Are we talking billions?
Admiral COLLINS. I don't have at the tip of my fingers a number for you, Congressman.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman. I think this has been a good productive hearing, and we thank you all for your contribution. This concludes the oversight hearing on law enforcement efforts within the Department of Homeland Security.
The record will remain open for 1 week, and gentlemen, I have additional questions that I am going to submit in writing, and we will look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Scott, do you have any written questions that you want to submit?
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Mr. SCOTT. No.
Mr. COBLE. If you will respond, the record will remain open for 1 week. Thank you again for your attendance, and the Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:20 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
POST-HEARING QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES FROM THE HONORABLE W. RALPH BASHAM
POST-HEARING QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES FROM ADMIRAL THOMAS H. COLLINS
POST-HEARING QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES FROM THE HONORABLE MICHAEL GARCIA