[House Hearing, 110 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (PART II)
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
APRIL 23, 2008
Serial No. 110-99
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan, Chairman
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California LAMAR SMITH, Texas
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr.,
JERROLD NADLER, New York Wisconsin
ROBERT C. ``BOBBY'' SCOTT, Virginia HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ZOE LOFGREN, California BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MAXINE WATERS, California DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts CHRIS CANNON, Utah
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida RIC KELLER, Florida
LINDA T. SANCHEZ, California DARRELL ISSA, California
STEVE COHEN, Tennessee MIKE PENCE, Indiana
HANK JOHNSON, Georgia J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
BETTY SUTTON, Ohio STEVE KING, Iowa
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois TOM FEENEY, Florida
BRAD SHERMAN, California TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York JIM JORDAN, Ohio
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
ARTUR DAVIS, Alabama
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Florida
KEITH ELLISON, Minnesota
Perry Apelbaum, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
Sean McLaughlin, Minority Chief of Staff and General Counsel
C O N T E N T S
APRIL 23, 2008
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress
from the State of Michigan, and Chairman, Committee on the
The Honorable Lamar Smith, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Texas, and Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary. 2
The Honorable Robert C. (Bobby) Scott, a Representative in
Congress from the State of Virginia, and Member, Committee on
the Judiciary.................................................. 3
The Honorable Louie Gohmert, a Representative in Congress from
the State of Texas, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary..... 5
The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress
from the State of Texas, and Member, Committee on the Judiciary 7
The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, Director, Federal Bureau of
Investigation, Washington, DC
Oral Testimony................................................. 8
Prepared Statement............................................. 11
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Response to Post-Hearing Questions from the Honorable Robert S.
Mueller, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2008
House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:21 a.m., in
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable John
Conyers, Jr. (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Conyers, Scott, Watt, Lofgren,
Jackson Lee, Waters, Delahunt, Wexler, Cohen, Johnson, Sherman,
Baldwin, Weiner, Davis, Wasserman Schultz, Ellison, Smith,
Sensenbrenner, Coble, Gallegly, Goodlatte, Chabot, Lungren,
Keller, Issa, Pence, Forbes, King, Franks, and Gohmert.
Staff present: Robert Reed, Majority Counsel; Perry
Apelbaum, Majority Staff Director and Chief Counsel; Caroline
Lynch, Minority Counsel; and Sean McLaughlin, Minority Chief of
Staff and General Counsel.
Mr. Conyers. Good morning. The Committee on the Judiciary
will come to order. We are delighted to have the director of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Robert Mueller, before
And we begin with some observations from our Members of the
Committee, myself, Ranking Member Smith, Crime Subcommittee
Chairman Scott and Judge Gohmert.
Federal Bureau of Investigation is the critical cog in our
Nation's Federal law enforcement efforts. The Bureau has
important powers that include the ability to combat crime,
conduct surveillance on our citizens and initiate
These powers have grown exponentially since the tragedies
of September 11, and the question is how wisely is the Bureau
using its vast resources and how appropriately are they being
With that in mind, the areas of my most concern deal with
the use and misuse of National Security Letters. It is widely
known that the Bureau has on numerous occasions issued National
Security Letters without proper certification or approval
memoranda and have improperly uploaded and retained information
on private citizens. How do we deal with that?
It is also no secret that the Members of this Committee, on
a bipartisan basis, have expressed serious concerns about the
FBI wiretapping of Members of Congress, particularly in
connection with the investigation of Member Renzi.
The surveillance of this nature raises serious
constitutional questions that involve the speech and debate
clause, and we should have a discussion about it.
There are similar questions presented in the case of the
search of Representative Jefferson of Louisiana's office, and
the circuit court was forced to intervene and overrule the
department in that regard.
Whether the phone that is being tapped is public or
private--whether it is or isn't, it behooves the department and
the FBI to take constitutional issues seriously and develop
protocols and procedures with the legislative branch that
protect the interests of all sides.
I would also like to discuss here this morning the subject
of several inmates held in solitary confinement in the maximum
security Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for 36 years.
And I have asked as a result that the FBI file on this matter
be revealed--released to this Committee immediately.
And then, of course, we are still grappling with this
question of the redaction of the notes related to the infamous
Ashcroft hospital visit and the warrantless wiretapping
We got records, but they were so redacted that they make no
sense coming or going. It seems to me that we can get a more
understandable version without trying to go into the
conversations between the President and the Attorney General or
And so I would now like to yield to the gentleman from
Texas, the Ranking Member, Mr. Lamar Smith.
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, Mr. Chairman, like
you, I welcome the director of the FBI to today's hearing.
For the last 7 years, the FBI has faced the task of
balancing its expanding national security and counterterrorism
responsibilities with its traditional law enforcement duties.
And although this task has presented challenges to the FBI,
the success of the dedicated men and women of the Bureau is
evident from one simple fact. The United States has not
suffered another terrorist attack.
It is easy to assume that the terrorist threat has lessened
or even disappeared because we have not had an attack since
September 11, 2001.
It is easy to become complacent about the need for vigilant
intelligence gathering because we rarely read in the paper or
hear on the news about the number of terrorist plots that have
been thwarted by the FBI and other law enforcement and
But the threat remains. And it is important that Congress
ensure that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are
given the tools and the resources they need to protect us all.
It is also important that Congress ensure that these are used
One powerful tool is our ability to gather intelligence to
learn what our enemies are planning before it is too late. The
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, provides the
framework for gathering foreign intelligence. But as we learned
a year ago, it is outdated.
Last August, Congress passed the Protect America Act to
modernize FISA. In February, that law expired. And in August,
so, too, will the surveillance authorized under the Act.
Congress has no greater or more urgent responsibility than
to enact long-term common-sense legislation to modernize FISA
and ensure that our Nation is safe from future attacks.
Our national security relies on other information-gathering
tools as well, including National Security Letters. National
Security Letters allow the FBI to request the production of
records held by third parties and are generally used to obtain
telephone billing records, credit reports or financial
Last year, the Department of Justice Inspector General
issued a report citing significant problems with the FBI's use
of National Security Letter authority from 2003 to 2005.
Recently, the Inspector General has released a follow up to its
March 2007 report.
According to this report, the FBI has made significant
progress implementing the Inspector General's recommendations
and in adopting other corrective actions to its national
The recent report is encouraging and shows that the FBI has
taken strong action to ensure that its investigative efforts do
not infringe on the privacy of individual Americans.
Despite the FBI's demanding counterterrorism efforts, we
cannot lose sight of its traditional crime-fighting
responsibilities. After a dramatic rise in violent crime that
peaked in the early and mid 1990's, the most recent data
reveals that the Nation's crime rates are decreasing.
Though violent crime is slightly down nationwide, trends in
crime are changing. In the 1990's, gang violence was
traditionally found in urban communities of major cities like
Los Angeles and New York City. But now we are seeing a rise of
gang violence in suburban communities.
The methods for committing a crime also are changing. The
Internet has transformed traditional brick-and-mortar crimes
into virtual crimes committed by faceless criminals with no
borders or boundaries.
Identity theft, child pornography, organized retail crime,
theft of intellectual property and even drug trafficking can
now be committed with a few computer strokes.
Last year, I joined Chairman Conyers in introducing H.R.
4175, the Privacy and Cybercrime Enforcement Act of 2007. Our
Nation has become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks as
the U.S. economy and critical infrastructures grow more and
more reliant on interdependent computer networks and the
Large-scale computer attacks on our critical infrastructure
and economy could have devastating results. Personal data
security breaches are being reported with increasing
regularity. During 2006 alone, personal records for
approximately 73 million people were lost or stolen.
I look forward to hearing from Director Mueller today about
improvements in Bureau operation, the continuing need to pursue
counterterrorism and traditional law enforcement, and the FBI's
efforts to investigate the growing threat of cybercrime.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I will yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Lamar Smith.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Virginia, the
Chairman of the Crime Committee, Bobby Scott.
Mr. Scott. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I want to thank the FBI director for appearing with us
Like you, Mr. Chairman, I believe that while the FBI should
be able to get whatever information is necessary for the fight
against terrorism, there also needs to be meaningful oversight.
First, we need traditional oversight over the Bureau's NSL
powers. At last year's oversight hearing, we heard about the
Inspector General's findings of illegal and improper use of
National Security Letters to obtain phone and financial records
and that required reports to Congress were inaccurate.
Last month, the Inspector General released another report
which noted the Bureau's own reviews confirmed numerous
deficiencies in the process, including an almost 10 percent
rate of unlawful violations which the Bureau should have
reported to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board.
The next question, of course, is where is the oversight in
this process. We have learned from the recent I.G. report that
the Bureau has implemented internal policies and procedures,
but it turns out that the checks and balances are presumably
within the Bureau itself.
Checking with subordinates is not a check and balance. Some
of us think that check and balance means that you check with
another branch of government.
We always have to think about what would happen if such
power, such as obtaining information pursuant to an NSL, is
subject to political whims, and that concern is not just
Republican-appointed officials have accused this
Administration of firing U.S. attorneys because they did not
indict Democrats in time to affect an upcoming election. We
have been unable to ascertain the truth of the allegation for
First, high-ranking Administration officials questioned the
credibility of the Attorney General's original response to the
allegation. Another high-ranking Justice Department official
quit. Another pleaded the fifth. And White House officials have
refused to respond to subpoenas.
Second, we need to determine the necessity behind the broad
NSL power itself. Some 140,000 NSL requests over the 3-year
period may not have been necessary--140,000 requests. And all
of these requests related to terrorism.
At last year's oversight hearing, the director testified
that traditional FISA warrants would be too burdensome to
acquire the information gained from an NSL. But are we
bypassing traditional court oversight to engage in over-
collection of information?
We now understand that the Defense Department may be using
FBI NSL power to access records that ordinarily it could not be
permitted to obtain.
And finally, we have been told that while the Bureau is
asking to continue its broad power to fight against terrorism,
it is losing critical information under the traditional powers
The Inspector General found, for example, that some
intercepted information acquired by FISA order was lost due to
the failure of the FBI to pay its phone bill.
Finally, we have to determine how the Bureau is using the
resources it has. If additional resources are needed to combat
terrorism, we should be coming up with new resources rather
than transferring powers, sacrificing the fight against white-
collar crime and violent crime.
We also need to make sure that other critical priorities
and responsibilities are not left behind.
So I look forward to seeing what the Bureau is doing in the
fight against consumer identity theft, the investigation of
shootings of innocent civilians and the assault and rape
allegations of Americans serving our country in Iraq.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to the Bureau's
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Chairman Scott.
The Chair recognizes the Ranking Member of the Crime
Committee, Judge Louie Gohmert.
Mr. Gohmert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate your
holding this important hearing.
The question I found myself asking back during my days as a
district trial judge, when there were allegations of
impropriety by a State of Texas law enforcement officer with
whom the FBI had been working--who investigates the
investigators when the FBI is involved and recuses itself?
We have heard stories of Attorney General Robert Kennedy
authorizing wiretaps of Martin Luther King, Junior, which
raises an issue of if there were probable cause to believe that
the FBI were illegally wiretapping, then who can wiretap the
FBI to find out? Frankly, I don't know.
We have learned in the recent past that when the FBI, as
part of the executive branch, had concerns about someone in the
legislative branch, the FBI believed it was appropriate to make
an intrusion into a congressional office for the first time in
over 200 years.
Speaking hypothetically, if there were probable cause to
believe the FBI had violated some law which made an intrusion
into an FBI office in Washington necessary, who would be in a
position to do that?
These hypothetical questions should point out just how
critical it is that our FBI get things right. It seems that
since the judiciary branch and the legislative branches do not
have trained undercover agents in them, it is very difficult to
adequately bring a wayward FBI into line if we were to ever
have that occur.
I am fortunate to have known and worked with so many FBI
agents over the years with the different hats I have worn, and
I have known them well enough to know that I would have no
hesitancy whatsoever in putting my life in their hands. I trust
them that much.
We also know that we have before us here testifying today
the current FBI director, who is a Marine, a decorated Vietnam
war hero, as well as a brilliant attorney and prosecutor.
We can learn an important lesson from the biblical account
of King David, who was the only man ever said in the Bible to
have had a heart after God's own. The lesson is this. Even the
greatest people in the world, if left without adequate
accountability, can give in to the temptation to abuse power.
That recognition was part of the brilliance of our
Constitution, which tried to address the problem of
accountability by creating the three separate but supposedly
somewhat equal branches, to help keep the other branches in
That is how we got this hearing to have the director of an
independent agency over here testifying about what has gone
right and what has gone wrong on some of these issues.
Former Attorney General Gonzales had testified, and during
his testimony here on Capitol Hill last year, he had said that
there were no known abuses of the dramatic investigative tool
called the National Security Letter as far as he was not
aware--because he was not aware of the Inspector General's
That I.G. report indicated that there had been basically
some significant problems of abuse with the NSLs. I recall
Director Mueller saying, back when the abuses of this very
invasive tool were brought to light, that he would have to take
full responsibility for the inadequate supervision and training
that had led to such abuses.
To most Americans, the power of an FBI agent to simply send
a letter without any court authority or warrant demanding
private records in the possession of such person or entity
pertaining to another individual is almost judicial in scope
and probably was not anticipated by our constitutional
forefathers under normal circumstances.
It is a bit frightening to most people to have such a
demanding letter also state within the letter that that person
in the letter's address would commit a Federal crime if he were
to disclose that he even received the letter, the only
exception being that he could discuss it with his attorney.
That is why such oppressive power must be used sparingly,
with great discretion and oversight.
But we have also heard previously that the personnel policy
that this director instituted includes a 5-year up-or-out
Essentially, that program prevents agents in a supervisory
capacity with many years of experience and training from using
their experience and training in that capacity for more than 5
years, after which they must either move to Washington, D.C.,
retire or take a demotion from their position.
As I understand it, that policy has forced the loss of the
FBI--of centuries of experience by those who simply would not
move to Washington but chose to take their vast and valuable
experience into the private sector or even be demoted.
In the last hearing with the director, I had understood him
to say that because of that policy, though, he has been thanked
by junior or younger agents who were made supervisors who never
thought that they would have had a chance to move up so soon,
and I have no doubt that that thanks is abounding by those
I also note that if that policy of a 5-year limit on
supervisory personnel were imposed on the director, it would
mean the director would have retired as director back--
September 4th of 2006, yet here we are.
In any event, last week we had a hearing in this very room.
The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation testified.
That is Vernon M. Keenan.
And I couldn't help but ask him about their experience with
moving people around, and he said the following, ``I have
discussed with FBI officials before my belief that they would
be much more effective if they left their supervisors in duty
stations longer to build those relations. Law enforcement is
based around personal relationships and partnerships, and you
have to have a stabilized workforce to build those
relationships. The FBI is a wonderful law enforcement agency.
Our agents to be a GBI agent is the same requirements to be an
FBI agent. We have found out over the years that our most
productive agents, most effective agents, are those that live
and work in a community that have an opportunity to build
public trust and work with their counterparts, and that is
Some others have noted that perhaps the 5-year up-or-out
policy should have been scrapped in 2005 along with the
multimillion-dollar computer system called the Virtual Case
File, or VCF.
The Justice Department's Inspector General, in a February
2005 audit, blamed the Virtual Case File's program's meltdown
on poor management and oversight, design modifications during
the project and bad I.T. investment practices.
The I.G. also apparently reported that rapid turnover in
important senior positions have hurt the FBI's ability to
manage I.T. effectively.
In any event, Director, you will now talk about my concerns
in this area, but we are pleased to have a hero such as
yourself, a true patriotic American, here testifying before us,
and I look forward to your testimony.
Thank you, sir.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
Does any other Member wish to bring a welcome to the
director before we begin this morning?
Yes, sir--oh, Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee?
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. The gentlelady is recognized.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me again welcome the director, and it is good to see
you, and we thank the FBI for its service in particular, and I
always want to make note of the Houston office. We have had a
series of great special agents in charge, and we are obviously
benefitting from that leadership again.
One of the principles of the FBI mandate or mission is to
protect the civil rights of all Americans. And so in the course
of this morning, and hopefully in the opportunity I may have to
question, let me just make mention that I think we have had a
series of harsh circumstances. I think we still have rising
hate crimes in America.
I think one of the sadder tales of justice was Jena 6, and
I would be interested in how quickly the FBI became involved
when the actions were taken by the high school students who
happened to be White and provoked the situation. And there
seemed to be no intervention at that time.
And whether or not the relationship between the U.S.
attorney and the FBI is the horse before the cart or otherwise,
the FBI engaged in the investigation--if so, I think there was
a great failure in that community.
I think the other question, of course, is how do we assess
or how do we protect even persons who experience abuse in an
incarcerated situation where their civil rights have been
violated--prison abuse, for example.
It is notorious in the State of Texas. We have previously
been under a Federal court order some many years ago. But we
face a situation where there is either abuse or inadequacy, and
my question is the collaboration or the interaction with the
FBI or special agent in charge.
So I welcome you. I wanted to make note that my State in
particular faces a number of, I think, serious issues that its
youth commission--sexual abuse on children inside the juvenile
system and, as well, the prison system, the State prison
I believe that the FBI is a better organization when they
are out front fighting for the civil rights of all Americans.
And I hope that we will have a chance to have that discussion.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.
Witness Robert Mueller III, director of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, has held this post since September 4, 2001.
He has a long and distinguished career in public service
between Princeton and the University of Virginia Law School. He
served as an officer in the Marines and was heavily decorated
for his duties there. He has been an assistant United States
attorney in San Francisco, in Boston and in Washington, D.C.
He served as assistant Attorney General for the criminal
division in the early 1990's, returned to San Francisco in 1998
as the United States attorney, has served two stints in private
practice as a partner in two prominent Boston firms, was called
back to Washington early in 2001 to be acting deputy Attorney
General, where he served until assuming his current post.
Director Mueller, we all welcome you. We will look forward
to your comments.
TESTIMONY OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT S. MUELLER, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Mueller. Good morning, and thank you for having me.
Chairman Conyers, Representative Smith, Members of the
Committee, it is an honor to be here.
I have submitted a written statement for the record, and I
ask that it be made a part of the record.
Mr. Conyers. Without objection.
Mr. Mueller. Sir, as you are aware, the FBI's top three
priorities are counterterrorism, counterintelligence and
cybersecurity. These priorities are critical to our national
security and to the FBI's vital work as a committed member of
the intelligence community.
But important also are our efforts to protect our
communities from the very real threat of crime, especially
In the counterterrorism arena, al-Qaida and related groups
continue to present a critical threat to the homeland. But so,
too, do self-radicalized homegrown extremists. They are
difficult to detect, often using the Internet to train and
But here at home our domestic joint terrorism task forces
and abroad through our legal attaches and our international
partners, we together share real-time intelligence to fight
terrorists and their supporters.
With regard to the counterintelligence threat, protecting
our Nation's most sensitive secrets from hostile intelligence
services or others who would do us harm is also at the core of
the FBI mission. In furtherance of this, we reach out to
businesses and universities. We join forces with our
intelligence community partners. And we work closely with the
military to help safeguard our country's secrets.
Cyberthreats to our national security and the intersection
between cybercrime, terrorism and counterintelligence is
increasingly evident. Today, the FBI's cyberinvestigators focus
on these threats as we partner with others in government and
One way we do this is through our sponsorship of a program
called InfraGard, an alliance of more than 23,000 individual
and corporate members who help identify and prevent cyber
I am mindful of your ongoing interest in the FBI's progress
in building an intelligence program while combating these
threats, and the FBI has made a number of changes in the last
several years to enhance our capabilities.
Among them, today intelligence is woven throughout every
FBI program and every operation, and then utilizing this
intelligence we have successfully broken up terrorist plots
across the country, from Portland, Oregon; Lackawanna, New
York; Torrance, California; Chicago, Illinois; to the more
recent Fort Dix and JFK plots.
We have increased and enhanced working relationships with
our international partners, sharing critical intelligence to
identify terrorist networks and disrupt planned attacks around
We have doubled the number of intelligence analysts on
board and tripled the number of linguists. We have tripled the
number of joint terrorism task forces from 33 in September of
2001 to over 100 now.
And these task forces combine the resources and expertise
of the FBI, the intelligence community, military and State,
local and tribal law enforcement.
And another critical and important part of the FBI's
traditional mission is quite clearly our work against criminal
elements in our communities, very often and most useful in task
forces with our Federal, State and local and tribal partners.
I will say that public corruption remains the FBI's top
criminal investigative priority. In the past 2 years alone, we
have convicted over 1,800 Federal, State and local officials
for abusing their public trust.
Similarly, our work to protect the civil rights guaranteed
by our Constitution is a priority which includes fighting human
trafficking as well as our focus on the Civil Rights Cold Case
Gangs and violent crime continue to be as much a concern
for the FBI as it is for the rest of the country. The FBI's 143
Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Forces leverage the unique
knowledge of State and local police officers with Federal
We also sponsor 52 additional violent crime and interstate
theft task forces as well as 16 safe trails task forces
targeting crime in Indian Country.
The FBI combats transnational organized crime in part by
linking the efforts of our Nation's 800,000 State and local
police officers with international partners through the FBI's
legal attache offices, of which we have currently over 60 all
over the world.
And finally, major white-collar crime, from corporate fraud
to fraud in the mortgage industry, clearly continues to be an
economic threat to the country.
For example, in recent years, the number of FBI pending
cases focusing on mortgage fraud, including those associated
with subprime lending, has grown nearly 50 percent to over
1,300 cases. Roughly half of these have losses of over $1
million and several have losses over $10 million.
We will continue our work to identify large-scale industry
insiders and criminal enterprises engaged in systemic economic
We recognize that for the past 100 years of the FBI's
history our greatest asset has been our people, and we are
building on that history with a comprehensive restructuring of
our approach to intelligence training for both our professional
intelligence analytical core as well as for new FBI agents
coming out of Quantico.
We have and we will continue to streamline our recruiting
and hiring processes to attract persons having the critical
skills needed for continued success.
I also remain committed to ensuring our employees have the
information technology infrastructure they need to do their
jobs. This includes the continuing successful development of
the Sentinel case management system as well as other I.T.
I am very well aware of your concerns that we always use
legal tools given to the FBI fully but also appropriately.
After the Department of Justice reviewed the use of National
Security Letters, we instituted additional internal oversight
mechanisms to ensure that we as an organization minimize the
chance of future lapses.
Among the reforms was the creation of a new Office of
Integrity of Compliance within the Bureau to identify and
mitigate such potential risks.
In closing, the FBI recognizes that it is, in some sense, a
national security service responsible not only for collecting,
analyzing and disseminating intelligence, but most particularly
for taking timely action to neutralize threats to this country,
either threats from a terrorist, from a foreign spy or from a
And in doing so, we also recognize that we must properly
balance civil liberties with public safety in pursuing our
efforts, and we will continually strive to do so.
Mr. Chairman, Representative Smith, Members of the
Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you
this morning, and I do look forward to answering your
questions. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Mueller follows:]
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Robert S. Mueller
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much, Director Mueller.
The thing that bothers many of us most is the National
Security Letters, a very large embarrassment to all of us.
What can we do to ensure that the field office directors
share a commitment to rectifying the problems pertaining to the
abuse of National Security Letters when it seems like at the
top we always seem to work out agreements but they don't seem
to drift down to the men and women in the field?
Mr. Mueller. Well, let me review, if I could, what steps we
have been taking since the first report came out a year, 1\1/2\
years ago. As I mentioned in my remarks, we established an
Office of Integrity and Compliance.
We had procedures in place for addressing National Security
Letters, but there were lapses throughout the country in those
We now have an Office of Integrity of Compliance that looks
not just at NSLs but other requirements under the law, that
red-teams it to assure that we identify the risks and find and
identify and fix those risks before it gets--before somebody
else, such as the Inspector General, comes and looks at it, so
that we can identify our vulnerabilities and address them early
We have created new database and software for accurate
reporting to Congress on the numbers of NSLs and the types of
All of our National Security Letters are now reviewed by
the counsel in each one of our offices.
We have barred the use of exigent letters, which created
the problem that was found by the Inspector General.
And we have provided comprehensive guidance and training to
our field offices in the last year.
I believe that in the testimony that was given before a
Subcommittee of this Committee a week or so ago--and I will
quote from the testimony given by Glenn Fine.
He says that, ``We believe the FBI has evidenced a
commitment to correcting the serious problems we found in our
first report on National Security Letters and has made
significant progress in addressing the need to improve
compliance in the FBI's use of the NSLs.''
Now, I will be quick to say he also said that the
department's measures are not yet fully implemented--we are in
the process of implementing all of those that I described--and
that the I.G. will be looking to assure full implementation of
So in this case, I think we have taken the steps that are
necessary to assure that this will not happen again, Mr.
Mr. Conyers. What about the Congressman Renzi, Congressman
Jefferson intrusions, wiretap of Renzi's phone with other
Members of Congress' conversations, and Congressman Jefferson's
office being broken into?
Mr. Mueller. Well, I would start with Congressman
Jefferson's office. The search that was conducted of his office
was done pursuant to a court order. The full facts were exposed
to the district court judge. The judge issued the search
warrant understanding all of the facts, and the search was done
pursuant to that court order.
Now, that was reviewed by the circuit court, who in its
opinion indicated that the protocols we followed were not
adequate to preserve the privilege.
And so we are, with the Department of Justice, looking at
protocols, and my understanding is the department is discussing
with elements of the Congress appropriate protocols.
Mr. Conyers. I see. Well, can every Member of the Congress
and the United States Senate assume that we could still get
broken into like Jefferson until this is resolved?
Mr. Mueller. Well, Mr. Chairman, let me first say that I do
not agree with the characterization as ``broken into.'' This
was a validly issued search warrant from a court, so it was the
execution of a search warrant.
And in the future----
Mr. Conyers. Well, okay. So your answer is yes, we can
expect that we could get busted, too.
Mr. Mueller. We understand that there has been an
intervening circuit court opinion that requires us to follow
protocols, although it is not clear what those protocols are,
but we are very sensitive to not only the debate clause but
also to the circuit court opinion that said that we did not
have the adequate protocols in place.
Now, what those protocols will be is a subject of
discussion between, my understanding, Congress and the
Mr. Conyers. Well, I am glad you are sensitive. We are,
Mr. Mueller. Also, with regard to the other question you
asked in terms of the wire interception of a phone with regard
to a recent investigation, this was an interception that was
approved by a court, and it was an interception on a phone that
was registered to a company in Phoenix, Arizona.
And while not being able to speak specifically about an
ongoing investigation, an ongoing prosecution, I can say that
that phone was a phone that was registered to a corporation in
And that in order for us to intercept, we, again, have to
go to a court, make a probable cause showing, and that any
interception that is maintained by us is reviewed by the court
generally every 10 days or 15 days, and there are minimization
procedures that are----
Mr. Conyers. What about the other congressmen, if there
were any others, whose conversations were intercepted?
Mr. Mueller. Well, when one does a wiretap, there is a
statutory obligation to inform persons who may have been
overheard. Although they may not be the target of the
interception, there is an obligation that you notify those
persons that they were overheard.
Mr. Conyers. And has that occurred?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Conyers. Could you make me sleep more comfortably
tonight by saying that also the conversations were redacted,
were taken out, since the speech and debate clause, I presume,
operates on personal telephones as well as government
Mr. Mueller. Well, I am not certain what minimization
procedures were in place, and I am not sure how they were
applied in that particular case. And even if I did know,
because it is currently in litigation, I probably would not be
able to discuss it in this forum.
Mr. Conyers. But it is the obligation of the FBI to know. I
mean, where do--do you have someplace else we can go to find
out the answer to this question?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to get back to you on that.
Mr. Conyers. Okay.
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, Director Mueller, I would like to
congratulate you and other law enforcement agencies and other
information-gathering agencies as well for what you have done
to prevent another terrorist attack since September 11, 2001.
It looks like to me that you all are batting 1,000, having
prevented any other terrorist attack, and I hope that that can
continue as well.
My first question goes to a recent report by Fox News, and
I would like to read you the beginning of the report and ask
you to comment to the extent that you can. ``The FBI has
narrowed its focus to about four suspects in the 6\1/2\-year
investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at
least three of those suspects are linked to the Army's
bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland.''
Now, that is an ongoing investigation, so I know you can't
go into any detail, but can you tell us, for example, when that
investigation might be concluded, whether it might be this year
or not, or anything else you can tell us about it?
Mr. Mueller. What I can say, and all I can say, about it--
it is an ongoing investigation. We have a number of agents and
postal inspectors assigned to it, as we have since the incident
occurred back in 2001 and 2002. And we continue to push the
I cannot give you a time frame, however.
Mr. Smith. Okay. I understand. Let me go to the subject of
violent crime, which, as you know, has decreased slightly in
2007. I think violent crime is down 1.8 percent.
You mentioned in your testimony a few minutes ago that one
of those reasons are the task forces that have been created.
Usually in a slow economy, violent crime increases. To what do
you attribute the slight decrease in violent crime that we see
across the country?
Mr. Mueller. I think what we have seen over the last year
is some spikes in some cities, some decrease in other cities.
I do believe one of the most effective tools in addressing
violent crime is having Federal, State and local task forces,
and support of Congress of those task forces and of the
participation of State and local law enforcement on those task
We currently have a total of 182 violent gang crime task
forces around the country, and I think to a one they are
perceived to be effective not only by the Bureau and our other
Federal partners, but also by State and local law enforcement.
And to the extent that funding has come through from the
Federal side of the house, I am tremendously supportive of
those funds going to State and local law enforcement on
condition that they be utilized in the task force arena,
because I do believe we are most effective when we sit shoulder
to shoulder and address these areas together, whether it be on
joint terrorism task forces or on violent crime task forces.
I might also add, there are a number of factors that go
into the rise or fall of violent crime in a particular region
or a particular city. The extent of incarceration is one of
those factors--drug abuse or usage, the prevalence of gangs.
There are a number of various factors that may result in a
rise of violent crime in one community, whereas a community
several miles down the road does not see the same type of
Mr. Smith. Okay. Thank you, Director.
One type of crime that unfortunately is on the rise is
Internet child pornography, and we have passed a number of laws
to address that, and I wonder if you have any suggestions for
us as to any other legislation that might be helpful to you in
order to prosecute the Internet child pornography.
Mr. Mueller. A couple things about our capabilities in that
regard. We currently have approximately 270 agents who are
working what we call Innocent Images. We have a task force
operating out of Maryland which is an international task force
in which we have had agents from some 21 countries who are
participating on this task force.
We recently had a takedown several months ago of almost 60
individuals who, over a period of 15 years, had over 400,000
images, pornographic images, child pornography, that they had
encrypted and thought they were safe from the authorities.
And I think close to 60 persons were arrested in the United
Kingdom, in Australia, in Germany and the United States as we
busted that up.
I know the question that you asked at the end is what do
you need or what will we need to be more----
Mr. Smith. Are current laws adequate, or do we need to do
Mr. Mueller. And in each of these cases it is important
that we have access to the records, and records retention by
ISPs would be tremendously helpful in giving us the historical
basis to make a case in a number of these child predators who
utilize the Internet to either push their pornography or to
lure persons in order to met them.
Mr. Smith. Okay. Thank you, Director. That is helpful. I
think a number of us may well follow up on that suggestion. The
ability to retain those records sounds to me like it is
crucial. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott?
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you to Director Mueller for being with us today.
At our last meeting, we discussed the needs of the FBI in the
area of linguistics, and you mentioned that you can get a
breakdown of the needs of the FBI in this area--linguistics,
And I do not think I formally asked for the breakdown, but
could you give us some information on which languages you may
have shortfalls in?
Mr. Mueller. Well, we still have a shortfall----
Mr. Scott. And if you don't have it with you----
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. In terms of Middle Eastern
languages and Asian languages. I would say in those two areas--
Mr. Scott. I serve on the Education and Labor Committee, so
if we could get a breakdown of that, and also the diversity
numbers for all of your employees--I would appreciate it if you
could provide that for us.
Mr. Mueller. Happy to do that. Happy to do that.
Mr. Scott. Okay. What is being done with the allegations of
sexual assault committed by persons working for contractors in
Iraq. Are allegations of sexual assault by persons working as
contractors in Iraq being investigated and, if appropriate,
Mr. Mueller. I know we have a number of investigations
going with regard to activities in Iraq. Ultimately, we are
constrained in two areas.
The first area is by conducting investigations in an area
where you can't assure the safety of our persons, you can't go
out and interview witnesses as you would on the streets of the
Mr. Scott. Well, let me just ask a shorter question. Are we
doing the best we can to investigate and, if appropriate,
prosecute those allegations?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Scott. Okay. In the area of torture--I know these
questions may require--you may not be able to answer in open
session, and if that is the case, that is just the case.
Have you authorized torture by any FBI agents?
Mr. Mueller. Can I or have I was the question?
Mr. Scott. Have you?
Mr. Mueller. No. It has been our policy--it has been the
protocol of the FBI traditionally not to use coercion in
interrogating individuals or questioning individuals, and we
have adhered to that protocol.
Mr. Scott. Okay. Now, apparently your agents have been
trained appropriately along those lines, but to your knowledge,
have FBI agents warned other Administration employees that
those employees may be breaking the law by torturing people?
Mr. Mueller. There have, over the years, been occasions
where our employees have informed employees of other agencies
that they believed their conduct was not appropriate.
Mr. Scott. Have any FBI arrests of U.S. citizens been made
for torturing people?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to get back to you. I do believe
that there have been investigations, formal investigations, of
torture by either contractors or members of another
organization in which we are the investigating body.
And my belief is that in at least one case that has been
brought back and the person successfully prosecuted here. I
think it was in North Carolina. It may have been South
Mr. Scott. Thank you. On I.D. theft, one of the problems
when you have these major breaches in security and subsequent
loss of identifying information is the fact that I.D. theft
seems to be a crime that is rarely investigated and prosecuted.
What can we do to ensure that even run-of-the-mill I.D.
thieves will be pursued?
Mr. Mueller. Well, we pursue the larger breaches. The
ability of hackers to steal information has grown exponentially
over the last several years.
The Department of Justice has a task force concept in which
we participate in which most, if not all, of the U.S. attorneys
have come together with State and local law enforcement as well
as ourselves participating to address identity theft.
But it is a substantial problem, a huge problem, and it
takes tremendous resources--it would take tremendous resources
to address every one of them. We have picked those that are the
large intrusions, where there are substantial numbers and names
that are stolen, and pursued those. That we do.
Mr. Scott. If you could get us some estimates of resources
that would be needed to pursue even more cases, we would
Public reports reveal that the FBI had some phones cut off
because of failure to pay phone bills. Is that true? And if so,
Mr. Mueller. We did not have a financial system that
assured throughout our 56 field offices, 400 resident agencies,
that the phone bills were paid on time. There were five
instances going back to 2002 in which apparently--where we had
an interception. It was for a period of time disrupted until
the bill had been paid.
We have focused on two. I think they were in 2002.
Absolutely no harm came to the investigations, so that is as a
result of the I.G. report that we--which identified five
instances in which that may have happened.
Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, I know my time has expired. I
would like to pose another question that I could get an answer
in writing, since my time has expired, if that would be
And the question is what is the FBI doing to combat human
trafficking? You mentioned that in your opening statement--
especially whether or not you are using our new legislation,
which removed the necessity to prove force, fraud and coercion
in the cases.
I know my time has expired. If you could get that
information to us, we would appreciate it.
Mr. Mueller. We will do it, sir.
Mr. Scott. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee
emeritus, Jim Sensenbrenner?
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Thank you very much, Mr. Current
During my 6 years as Chairman, Mr. Director, the FBI
continuously frustrated the Committee's attempt to get to the
bottom of the fiasco of the Virtual Case File.
How much money was wasted in that before you gave up on it?
Mr. Mueller. Well, sir, we had tried to be fully
transparent at what happened there. I had to make the decision
to cut that loose because it was not going to be successful,
and I believe we provided thorough briefings throughout the
time that you were the Chair. I certainly tried to.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. I want to know how much money was
Mr. Mueller. There was, I believe, a lot of----
Mr. Sensenbrenner. There was a lot of briefings but no
Mr. Mueller. I believe that there was $197 million that was
put into that program, of which we could recover somewhere
under $100 million of that, so at least $97 million, probably
more, more likely $100 million.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Okay. Has that money been recovered yet?
Mr. Mueller. No.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Why not?
Mr. Mueller. There are a number of intervening entities
that were, in part, responsible for that. And the advice of
counsel is that we would not be successful if we attempted to
go to court and recover it.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Okay. Now, this goes to an endemic
management problem. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott,
referred to the fact that there were phones shut off because
the phone bill wasn't paid on time.
You know, now we hear about the fact that almost $200
million appears to have been lost in an unsuccessful attempt at
the Virtual Case File. You and I both know that that was not
the first attempt to provide the best information to agents
And we are now in the middle of implementing the Sentinel
program, which I believe is the fourth attempt to do this. What
is there that you can tell us that the fourth attempt is going
to be more successful than the previous three?
Mr. Mueller. Well, I am not familiar with the first two. I
am very familiar with Virtual Case File, because that contract
was entered in, I think, 2000, and it had a three-prong
approach. It had the hardware. It also had the networks. And it
had the software package.
Two of those prongs were very successful, the networks and
the hardware. But the software package was not successful. When
we decided that we could not effectively bring online Virtual
Case File, we decided to cut our losses and start Sentinel.
The first phase of Sentinel was put in place June of last
year. It was successful. It was on time, on budget. We are in
the second phase. And my expectation is that that will be on
time and on budget.
We have gone to a spiral development in which we have
pieces that are pulled together and put in place as opposed to
going phase by phase by phase, so we are advancing the
capabilities in the course of administering this contract.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Now, what management techniques have you
learned from the fact that the Virtual Case File effort went
off the cliff and the taxpayers got stuck with a pretty
significant bill that you are applying to make sure that this
doesn't happen with Sentinel?
Mr. Mueller. There are probably three things, I would say.
One is you need a chief intelligence officer infrastructure.
You need an architecture. You need the persons capable of
managing contracts such as this. You need the expertise. We had
none of that in 2001.
We have built a substantial chief intelligence officer
capability and contract management capability.
Secondly, one of the lessons I learned is that you cannot
just turn to the experts in technology and say, ``Build
What you need is a combination of those who are familiar
with the business practices to be integrated with the
technicians to assure that what you are going to build will
actually work and actually will move the organization ahead.
And you have to do it in a combination of setting down firm
requirements so that both you and the contractors know what you
are going to build to----
Mr. Sensenbrenner. And are those requirements in place?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Okay.
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. And how often do you personally review
whether things are on track?
Mr. Mueller. Every week, generally. Now, I will miss a week
or two, but I generally meet on Sentinel with all of the
players once a week.
Mr. Sensenbrenner. Okay. That sounds good, and I wish you
good luck. And I hope that we don't see you back here with a
report like the Virtual Case File reports that we got during my
I thank the Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. The Chair recognizes the distinguished
gentleman from North Carolina, Mel Watt.
Mr. Watt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, would you agree that it is a violation of
international law to render any person to a secret detention
without a trial?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to--I have not looked at
international law and have not had an opportunity to apply the
law to any particular set of facts.
Mr. Watt. Well, I am not asking you to apply it to any set
of facts. I am just asking you to acknowledge that the
rendition of a person to secret detention without a trial is a
violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention of
Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Convention?
So I mean, that is not a trick question. I am just asking--
Mr. Mueller. Well, I am not familiar with----
Mr. Watt [continuing]. Do you acknowledge that that is a
violation of international law?
Mr. Mueller. It may well be.
Mr. Watt. Okay. Do you acknowledge that if the captives
were tortured that it would be a violation of Federal law, 18
USC section 2340?
Mr. Mueller. It may well be.
Mr. Watt. And if you had a contractor in North Carolina,
for example, assisting with transporting people, rendering
people, out of the country, what would the FBI be doing about
that if they knew about it?
Mr. Mueller. Sir, if there were an allegation of a
violation of the Federal law, we presumably would be
participating in that investigation.
Mr. Watt. Are you aware that the North Carolina Attorney
General has referred such a matter to you about a company
called Aero Contractors in North Carolina?
Mr. Mueller. I am not. I would have to get back to you
about that investigation.
Mr. Watt. Okay. Well, what I would like to know is what you
all know about--what the FBI's involvement with this
investigation is. The Attorney General of North Carolina has
notified 22 State legislators that the matter was referred to
And apparently a public prosecutor in Munich, Germany has
issued arrest warrants for three of the company's employees,
all of whom are residents of North Carolina. I would like to
know what the FBI is doing in this investigation, whether it is
doing anything, and I would be happy to have it in writing.
In fact, it would be better to have it in writing. We maybe
don't need to discuss it in a public venue. But I would like to
know what is going on with that investigation, if there is an
investigation, what the status of it is, whatever you can
legitimately tell me without violating whatever constraints you
Mr. Mueller. I am not personally familiar with the
investigation. I will have to get back to you on the----
Mr. Watt. Okay. Will you do that?
Mr. Mueller. We will do so, yes, sir.
Mr. Watt. Okay. Aero, A-E-R-O, Contractors, Johnston
County, operating out of the Johnston County Airport near
Smithfield, North Carolina.
Mr. Mueller. Okay.
Mr. Watt. Okay. Now, there was an allegation that--
actually, I guess you all have acknowledged that a National
Security Letter was inappropriately issued with reference to a
North Carolina state university student. Are you familiar with
Mr. Mueller. Yes. It was inappropriately issued.
Mr. Watt. Tell me what happened and why it happened.
Mr. Mueller. What I understand is that an agent believed
that NSL was the appropriate vehicle and served an NSL on the
particular university. I can't remember which one it was.
The counsel for the university indicated that it was
inappropriately issued, and I believe a grand jury subpoena
Mr. Watt. So that was one of how many cases where NSLs were
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain. I would have to get back to
you on that.
Mr. Watt. Okay. Can you specifically get back to us on
Mr. Mueller. Yes. We did a 10 percent audit of our offices.
Ten percent of the NSLs had been issued during a period of time
after this came to light, and I can, I believe, get you the
facts on how many NSLs may have been inappropriately issued in
that same category.
Mr. Watt. How soon do you think we might expect the
specific responses to both of those issues, the Aero----
Mr. Mueller. Within a week.
Mr. Watt. Okay, thank you. I appreciate it.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The distinguished Ranking Member of the Intellectual
Property Subcommittee, the gentleman from North Carolina,
Mr. Coble. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Mueller, good to have you on the Hill today, and
thank you for your service. I would like to talk to you,
Director, about mortgage fraud and intellectual property.
I feel strongly that the growing crisis in subprime
mortgages is a result of a predatory lending epidemic which
seems to have reached about every portion of the country.
What is the FBI's role in investigating mortgage fraud? And
do you all have the resources and support from other law
enforcement agencies to effectively pursue these cases as they
continue to emerge?
Mr. Mueller. As I indicated in my remarks, we have more
than 1,300 cases that have grown substantially over the last
couple of years involving mortgages. We have 246 agents that
are working on this.
Approximately 160 are looking at brokers, appraisers,
buyers, lenders and the like. We have another almost 90 that
are looking at larger corporations, the possibility of
misstatements and the like. We have 19 relatively large cases
in this category.
We are participating in 33 task forces. And last year, we
had over 370 indictments in this class of white-collar crime.
But it is fair to say that as these mortgage cases grow, as
the investigations proceed, that we are going to need
additional resources to address this problem and to bring to
justice those who are responsible for fraudulent activities in
the subprime mortgage arena.
Mr. Coble. And you know, Director, lenders and borrowers,
probably both, are at fault in this case. If a borrower knows
that he or she is not going to be able to comply, perhaps
backing off would be in order, and then the same thing would
apply to the lenders, I would say. Do you concur with that?
Mr. Mueller. Well, all the way up the chain there have
been--may well have been misrepresentations or allowable
misrepresentations, and we would investigate through it.
We have to pick, quite obviously, those cases that have the
most impact and bringing to justice those most responsible for
the defalcations that may have occurred in this----
Mr. Coble. Mr. Mueller, put on your intellectual property
hat, if you will.
Mr. Mueller. Yes, sir.
Mr. Coble. Given the extent of I.P. criminal activity and
the FBI's own acknowledgment that no FBI field special agents
are assigned full-time to the investigation and pursuit of
intellectual property rights matters, do you concur that we
need more agents dedicated to anticounterfeiting and piracy
And B, are our international field offices adequately
equipped to assist in these investigations?
Mr. Mueller. Well, worldwide, with the advance of
technology, the ability of persons to counterfeit, whether it
be CD-ROMs, or software packages, or music CDs, or pull it off
the Internet, it is a burgeoning problem, and no one agency has
the resources to address it.
Now, we address it when they are relatively large cases. I
am sure you are familiar with a case that we brought down
several months ago involving a joint operation with China,
People's Republic of China.
But we take the largest cases, but quite obviously, with
more resources, we could do more.
Mr. Coble. I thank you, Mr. Mueller. Thank you for your
Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.
The distinguished gentlelady from California, Maxine
Ms. Waters. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Mueller, for being here today. I want to
follow up on the questions about the mortgage subprime crisis
that we have now.
This has been going on for quite some time, and it appears,
just looking, that less than 10 fair lending cases have been
filed between 2002 and 2007. Could you tell us exactly what you
are doing now? How many cases do you have under active
Mr. Mueller. Over 1,300. In fact, the latest total, to be
specific, is 1,337.
Ms. Waters. Have you identified any of the institutions
that have been involved in serious fraud?
Mr. Mueller. We have investigations into 19 large
institutions. We have had a number of indictments, as I said.
Last year, we had 320 (sic) indictments or informations in this
Ms. Waters. You had how many indictments?
Mr. Mueller. Three hundred and seventy.
Ms. Waters. For mortgage fraud?
Mr. Mueller. For mortgage fraud.
Ms. Waters. Could we get more information on that?
Mr. Mueller. Yes, you can. We will get that to you.
Ms. Waters. Go ahead.
Mr. Mueller. Well, as I said, we have over 1,300 cases. We
have a total of almost--we have got 246 agents working on
mortgage fraud around the country. We participate in 33 task
forces with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with other
Federal, State and local entities.
The Department of Justice has a coordinating committee that
is specifically addressed to issues relating to the subprime
mortgage arena. And so a great deal is being done there, but I
will say that the cases are growing each year.
Ms. Waters. Have you made the indictments public?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Ms. Waters. Is that public information?
Mr. Mueller. It should be, yes. There may be one or two in
there that are still sealed, but I would venture to say that
most of them are public. We can get you a list of them.
Ms. Waters. Would you please get me a list of those?
Because we have not seen--I have not seen that, and the public
is, you know, very, very upset about the fact that we don't
appear to be doing anything to deal with this massive fraud
that has taken place in this country, so we need to understand
exactly what you are doing.
Having said that, let me go on to gang violence. You have
all of these task forces. This gang problem has been going on
for many, many years. I know you have only been here for so
But it doesn't appear that you are successful in breaking
up gangs and stopping violence in the greater Los Angeles area.
It is rampant.
What are you going to do about gang violence? And how are
you going to tackle this issue to get some real success?
Mr. Mueller. I think if you talked to Bill Bratton and
others in Los Angeles, you will see that we have a very close
partnership with their office and----
Ms. Waters. No, no, no. I don't have to talk to Mr.
Bratton. I am witnessing the drive-by shootings and the
killings that are going on. I know what Bratton is doing. I
don't have to talk to him. I want to know what you are doing.
Mr. Mueller. Well, we are working very closely with
Bratton, Bill Bratton, and the LAPD, and the sheriff's office
on task forces. Also, given the prevalence of the 18th Street
Gang, the MS-13, we have entities not only in Los Angeles but
in El Salvador.
We have a task force down in El Salvador. We have LAPD
officers that are working on it. We are bringing El Salvador
officers up to Los Angeles.
We have in the countries that--where you have MS-13
prevalent, whether it be Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras,
Mexico, we are working with them to put in place fingerprint
efforts so that we can identify gang members who come in and
out of the country and utilize those countries outside the
United States as safe havens.
We are complementing Bill Bratton and the sheriff's office
in terms of addressing MS-13, the 18th Street Gangs and the
other gangs that you have in Los Angeles.
Ms. Waters. Well, let me just say that I am not satisfied.
Most of the elected officials are not satisfied. I would like
to know if you would be willing to come to Los Angeles and be a
part of a meeting with Chief Bratton, Chief Baca, all of the
elected officials in the affected area, and talk about what you
are doing now, what can be done better, and how can we depend
on your task forces to solve some of these problems.
We cannot continue to witness the murders, the drive-by
shootings and the devastation to our communities any longer.
Would you be willing to do that?
Mr. Mueller. Yes, ma'am. Six months ago I went and stood on
the street corner with Mayor Villaraigosa, with Bill Bratton,
with the sheriff, and did exactly that, and I followed up with
each of those individuals with more personnel, with
contributions to the task force. And of course I would be
willing to do that again.
Ms. Waters. Well, this is something that I will follow up
on. It is not necessarily stand on the street corners, but it
will be to sit down with the elected officials and the police
officers in that greater Los Angeles area so that we can talk
about the devastation to our community and see if we cannot
figure out, with you, how we are going to address this issue
with a combination of law enforcement and social services.
Mr. Mueller. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. Waters. Thank you.
Mr. Conyers. The Chair recognizes Steve Chabot, the
distinguished gentleman from Ohio.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Mueller, as you know, cybercrime is a rapidly
growing problem in this country, and you referred to it as one
of the top priorities that you are dealing with, and it costs
as much as $100 billion a year.
In a speech that you gave last week, you were reported as
saying, ``The simple truth is we do not protect cyberspace to
the same degree we protect our physical space. We have, in
large part, left the doors open to our business practices, our
sensitive data and our intellectual property.''
Your chief of the computer intrusion section went on to
say, in the same article, ``We, the FBI, do not have the right
amount of resources or training in place.''
What additional resources does the FBI need to close those
doors that you mentioned remain, unfortunately, too wide open?
Mr. Mueller. Well, part of it is not--I would say before I
get to FBI resources, part of it is the open doors are by
reason of the Internet. One of the items I indicated in that
speech is that we don't look at the Internet in the same way we
look at our physical security, where we have a door we can
The fact of the matter is that people are utilizing the
Internet, and with inadequate security a person could lodge on
your machine an entity that can--to take down the strokes and
push it out, and push the information out. And people don't
think of that in the same way.
Part of it is giving adequate security to the nets, whether
it be .gov, .net and the like.
The other aspect of it--in terms of what we are doing in
addressing cybersecurity--we have, and started last year, a
National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, which includes
persons from the FBI and other Federal players--DOD, NSA and
And that we have stood up along with other entities to
address--whether it be individual hackers, government hackers,
those who want to utilize the Internet to disrupt facilities
and the like.
We have put in--back to your last question in terms of
resources. In our 2009 request, we are requesting an additional
211 positions and $39 million. I testified to that before the
Appropriations Committee, I guess Senate and House
Appropriations Committee, in the last several weeks.
So that will enhance our capabilities if we were able to
get those 211 positions and that $39 million.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Also, Director Mueller--and my
colleague Mr. Coble referred to this issue already, but I am
going to come at it a little differently--and that is relative
to the subprime mortgage crisis and the predatory lending
aspects of that.
The State that I happen to represent, Ohio, ranks sixth in
the number of homes that have been the subject of foreclosure,
with only--well, with one in every 58 homes being foreclosed
The city of Cincinnati that I represent witnessed an
increase in the number of foreclosures in 2007 placing it among
the top 30 cities in the Nation with a foreclosure problem.
And a primary reason for the foreclosure fallout, as Mr.
Coble mentioned, is predatory and lending practices. There are
other things as well, but that has certainly been a part of it.
And many of those things were occurring up until late 2006.
Could you describe what assistance with State and local law
enforcement investigations that the FBI is involved in?
You don't have to go into specifics, obviously, for obvious
reasons, but how do you cooperate with the local entities when
it comes to these investigations?
Mr. Mueller. Well, to the extent that either the State or
the local entities or local jurisdictions have an entity that
is addressing this, we try to work in task forces.
We have white-collar crime squads. This is a substantial
element of most of our white-collar crime squads around the
country at this point. And they reach out to the insurance or
the property departments of either the State or the locality to
both gather information and conduct joint investigations.
To the extent that there is expertise, accounting
expertise, financial, analytical expertise, in these entities,
again, we will work together in task forces.
As I say, we have 33 formalistic or formalized working
groups or task forces around the country, and my expectation is
those will expand as we find more of these issues.
I think we had something like several thousand suspicious
activity reports from banks in the last several years, and that
is going up to tens of thousands of suspicious activity reports
reported by banks of activities that perhaps should be
So this problem is growing bigger, not smaller, and as it
grows bigger we are going to have to enlist the resources of
State and local law enforcement if we are to jointly be
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much.
Mr. Conyers. The Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, Zoe
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to talk a little bit about the interface between the
FBI and the Department of Homeland Security as it relates to
the FBI's role in name checks.
When you appeared before this Committee last fall, I asked
you where we were on that, and you indicated, according to the
transcript, that we were bringing the Sentinel system online.
However, subsequent to that, we have had a hearing in the
Immigration Subcommittee with the Department of Homeland
Security on this issue, and they are reporting that although in
a 90-day period for permanent residence applications, if they
don't hear from the FBI, they simply proceed, they are not
doing that when it comes to naturalizations.
I don't quarrel with that judgment, but there are still
many cases where apparently the name check function takes many,
many months--I mean, even years. And I am wondering where we
are on that.
I mean, we actually had one of the Members--he is not here
today--but Howard Berman explained that one of his constituents
popped up on a name check because he had gotten a security
clearance, and somehow they could never get--I mean, he was
good enough to get a security clearance, but they could never
clear it through the FBI.
Where are you on that whole venture?
Mr. Mueller. Well, the problem in the backlog that we had
is attributable to--it goes back to 2002 when, in the wake of
September 11, USCIS resubmitted 2.7 million names which got us
behind the eight ball.
Nonetheless, in the past, they have completed 70 percent of
them within 30 days, but that left the other 40 percent that
was taking substantially longer.
We have recognized this. We have taken a number of steps.
We have raised the fees. We have revised the criteria to
eliminate certain categories of records that have to be
researched. We have prioritized the workload. We have built a
central records complex. And most importantly, we have hired
over 200 contractors to work along with 40 FBI employees.
As a result of that, our expectation is by July of this
year we will have eliminated the backlog beyond 2 years. And by
November of this year, we will have eliminated the backlog
beyond 1 year.
And by June of next year, 98 percent of the record checks
will be done within 30 days.
Ms. Lofgren. Well, if I may, most of the name checks are
done instantaneously because of----
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Ms. Lofgren [continuing]. The computer, so that is nothing
new. I mean, right now, we have got--according to the
information I have received from DHS, 46,000 cases are pending
for more than 2 years.
Mr. Mueller. It may be. I am not certain. I am not certain
of those statistics, but it may be.
Ms. Lofgren. So you think by June the 2 years will be
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Ms. Lofgren. And we had 130,000 that had been pending for
more than 6 months. Will those be cleared out by June as well?
Mr. Mueller. Those who have been pending for more than 1
year will have been cleared out by November of this year.
Ms. Lofgren. Let me ask you, in terms of your computer
efforts--I know Mr. Sensenbrenner also explored this. But it
seems to me that until we move into this century, we are really
never going to get ahead of this whole game--not only the
computer system, but digitizing your existing records.
Can you tell us where you are in implementation on that, on
Mr. Mueller. Yes. Let me just explain for--a records
check--in most cases, you can come back and--and you get a
records request from customs or State or what have you, and a
check--and a computer check will show you--it shows up in one
file or no files at all, and you can get it back.
What happened back in 2002--it was determined that whenever
a name shows up in a file, you have to go find that file. Our
files, paper files, for years and years and years, are resident
in the various 56 field offices around the country.
And if your name pops up as a witness, or somebody who was
called to a grand jury, or somebody----
Ms. Lofgren. No, I understand that. When are we going to
digitize those records?
Mr. Mueller. We cannot. It is inefficient to go ahead and
digitize all of those. Whenever we have a record check that
requires us to pull out a file, we are digitizing it and
putting it into the computer database.
Ms. Lofgren. So you are just doing it as you go along?
Mr. Mueller. Well, no, we have got, I think, records from
10 years forward. We are doing it in particular offices. We are
doing the backlog. I would have to get you the exact records
Ms. Lofgren. Well, I would like a report on that, Mr.
Director, because obviously digitizing a 30-year-old record
doesn't have the same priority or urgency, but it seems to me
if Google can digitize, you know, Stanford University's library
in a few months, the FBI should be able to digitize its current
records in an equivalent time if it were a priority.
Mr. Mueller. We have prioritized it. It is really a
function of personnel and capability. And for the last 5 years,
we have prioritized and gone throughout our country and
digitized as many records as we could, given the personnel.
And what will be tremendously important is the records
retention facility that we are currently completing.
Ms. Lofgren. Well, it seems to me--and I know my time has
expired, Mr. Chairman--this is a force multiplier. I mean, if
you digitize these records, you are going to actually enhance
the ability of your agents to perform----
Mr. Mueller. Absolutely.
Ms. Lofgren [continuing]. And therefore it is worth an
investment to enhance the capability of your entire workforce
to be more effective. And so I would like--I don't know if you
have done a cost-benefit analysis, but it seems to me clear
that if you move into the modern age, your agents are going to
be optimized in terms of their performance.
Mr. Mueller. I think that is right, and I will give you an
example of prioritization. We have digitized every
counterterrorism, every terrorism file, every terrorism record.
We do a lot of civil work, though, and there are--civil
files that are, you know, very big, as you would understand,
that go back for a number of years that are on sort of the back
end of when it will get digitized.
So we have prioritized. We have put emphasis on it
particularly in those areas where we need to have access to
those records digitally immediately.
Ms. Lofgren. Mr. Chairman, I know my time has expired, but
I would hope that we could get a full report on where we are on
the computer system and on digitizing these records, what
remains to be done, and, if it is not a priority, why. You
know, I would just like to know more than I currently do.
Mr. Mueller. Happy to do that.
Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The able gentleman from California, Mr. Dan Lungren?
Mr. Lungren. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Director Mueller, thank you for being here and your
service. Let me go back to the National Security Letters for a
moment, if I might.
Believe it or not, at one of my last town hall meetings, I
had people who were concerned about the Federal Government
spying on them, and they mentioned the Patriot Act, and I had
no problem defending that and defending our efforts in the area
When they start talking about National Security Letters, I
had to admit to them that we had some problems, the FBI had
some problems there, that there were, as a result of the
Inspector General's report, instances of the failure of the FBI
to act properly, to have its supervisors understand what they
were supposed to do, have the agents understand what they were
supposed to do.
And so subsequent to your last appearance before us, we
have had the I.G. report that covered the year 2006, as
required by legislation passed by this body and started by this
Committee. That latest report showed that the mismanagement of
the National Security Letters continued into 2006.
You have talked about the various things you have done to
try and change this. The I.G. report said that there was a lack
of understanding the NSL legal requirements in the field. How
have you specifically addressed that? And have you made any
training mandatory for all employees who are involved with
Mr. Mueller. Let me start by saying yes, the latest I.G.
report covered a period up to 2006 because it was not included
in the previous report. It was terminated at some point in
time. So it reflects that point in time before we put into
place these new practices.
Once the new practices were put into place, and we changed
the procedures--as I indicated, our chief division counsel has
to review every NSL. We provided training across the board. Let
me make certain--let me just check on one thing.
We have instituted mandatory training--I wanted to make
certain that it was mandatory; it was mandatory--in the
meantime for anybody who handles National Security Letters.
Mr. Lungren. The reason this is so important is that I
believe the National Security Letters play an indispensable
part in the area of protecting us against terrorism.
At the same time, we have legislation introduced by a
distinguished Member of this panel that I believe would make it
very difficult, if not impossible, for you to use in terrorist
cases in a timely fashion--that is why it is so important that
we are able to give a statement of confidence to the American
people that the FBI has reformed itself and that we will carry
And one of the questions I have is accountability. If these
mistakes have been made in the past, has anybody been held
accountable, number one?
And number two, the I.G. report says that your Office of
Integrity and Compliance, which you referred to earlier in your
answer, needs more staff to carry out its oversight role.
Do you agree that more oversight staff may be needed? And
do you have the right, again, computer systems to improve the
way you issue and track NSLs so that you don't have to come up
here next year--or your successor, if you decide to return to
the private sector where you don't have to answer to us, has to
answer these same questions?
Mr. Mueller. Well, let me start on the computer systems.
Yes, we have the computer software package that is requisite
for issuance of a National Security Letter. That will go a long
ways to shaping and ensuring that the particular protocols are
followed in the issuance of a National Security Letter.
I am comfortable and confident that what we have put into
place will address this issue. I agree with you that it is
tremendously important that we maintain the capability of
issuing National Security Letters with the current standard,
because I will point out at the outset it does not request
It does not get content. It gets information relating to
records, most often toll records----
Mr. Lungren. Which allows you time to get the probable
cause so that you can go on to get content if appropriate, is
Mr. Mueller. Absolutely essential to provide the foundation
for getting probable cause to get content down the road. And
absent that, we would be severely hampered.
I do have a disagreement--I think it is really a minor
disagreement--with the Inspector General. We have put into
place the compliance office. My expectation is that it will
grow. But I believe that the people I put in charge and the
people that are currently working in that office are sufficient
to the task right now.
And as we look at different areas of vulnerability, it will
shape the growth of the office. He believes we should have made
a more substantial initial investment in personnel in the
office. I believe we can grow to where he expects us to be.
Mr. Lungren. Would you give up NSLs for broader
administrative subpoena authority? Would that be a tradeoff
that would be better for the FBI?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to consider that, depending on
what that administrative authority would be. There would be
some substantial benefit in the sense that it would simplify
the process. The NSL capability come through four different
If there were one statute that would focus on it and be
fairly clear in terms of the standards, then it might be a
What I would not want to have tampered with, however, is
the standard for issuance of the NSL, which is akin to the
standard for the issuance of a grand jury subpoena in a
Mr. Lungren. Thank you very much.
Mr. Conyers. The able gentleman from Florida, Robert
Mr. Wexler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, in January of 2006, the New York Times
reported that the NSA warrantless wiretapping program had
produced thousands of leads each month that the FBI had to
track down but that no al-Qaida networks were discovered.
During a July 17, 2007, briefing, FBI Deputy Director John
Pistole indicated that the FBI was not aware of any al-Qaida
sleeper cells operating in the United States.
In August of 2007, Congress passed the Protect America Act
giving the intelligence community greater access to electronic
communications coming into and out of the United States.
I have two questions in this regard. Has the FBI found any
sleeper cells yet, one? Two, has the NSA's warrantless
wiretapping programs, either before the Protect America Act or
after, led to the prosecution and conviction of any terrorist
in the United States?
Mr. Mueller. Well, as to your first question as to whether
we have found affiliates or, as you would call them, cells of
al-Qaida in the United States, yes, we have.
Again, I cannot get into it in public session, but I would
say yes, we have.
With regard to the relationship of a particular case or
individual to the terrorist surveillance program, again, that
is something that would have to be covered in a closed session.
Mr. Wexler. All right.
Mr. Director, an L.A. Times article from October 2007
quotes one senior Federal enforcement official as saying, ``The
CIA determined they were going to torture people and we made
the decision not to be involved.''
The article goes on to say that some FBI officials went to
you and that you, ``pulled many of the agent back from playing
even a supporting role in the investigations to avoid exposing
them to legal jeopardy.''
My question, Mr. Director--I congratulate you for pulling
the FBI agents back. But why did you not take more substantial
steps to stop the interrogation techniques that your own FBI
agents were telling you were illegal?
Why did you not initiate criminal investigations when your
agents told you the CIA and the Department of Defense were
engaging in illegal interrogation techniques?
And rather than just simply pulling your agents out of
these interrogations, shouldn't you have directed them to
prevent any illegal interrogations from taking place?
Mr. Mueller. I can go so far, sir, as to tell you that our
protocol in the FBI is not to have been--not to use coercion in
any of our interrogations or our questioning, and we have
abided by our protocol.
Mr. Wexler. I appreciate that. What does the protocol say
when the FBI knows that the CIA is engaging or the Department
of Defense is engaging in an illegal technique? What does the
protocol say in that circumstance?
Mr. Mueller. We would bring it up to appropriate
authorities and determine whether the techniques were legal or
Mr. Wexler. Did you bring it up to appropriate authorities?
Mr. Mueller. All I can tell you is that we followed our own
Mr. Wexler. So you can't tell us whether you brought--when
your own FBI agents came to you and said the CIA is doing
something illegal, which caused you to say, ``Don't you get
involved,'' you can't tell us whether you then went to whatever
Mr. Mueller. I will tell you that we followed our own
Mr. Wexler. And what was the result?
Mr. Mueller. We followed our own protocols. We followed our
protocols. We did not use coercion. We did not participate in
any instance where coercion was used, to my knowledge.
Mr. Wexler. Did the CIA use techniques that were illegal?
Mr. Mueller. I can't comment on what has been done by
another agency and under what authorities the other agency may
have taken actions.
Mr. Wexler. Why can't you comment on the actions of another
Mr. Mueller. I leave that up to the other agency to answer
questions with regard to the actions taken by that agency and
the legal authorities that may apply to them.
Mr. Wexler. Are you the chief legal law enforcement agency
in the United States?
Mr. Mueller. I am head of the--I am the director of the
Mr. Wexler. And you do not have authority with respect to
any other governmental agency in the United States? Is that
what you are saying?
Mr. Mueller. When the authority is given to me to
investigate, yes, we do.
Mr. Wexler. Did somebody take away that authority with
respect to the CIA?
Mr. Mueller. Nobody has taken away the authority. I can
tell you what our protocol was and how we followed that
Mr. Wexler. Did anybody take away the authority with
respect to the Department of Defense?
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain what you mean.
Mr. Wexler. Your authority to investigate an illegal
Mr. Mueller. There has to be a legal basis for us to
investigate, and generally that legal basis is given to us by
the Department of Justice. Any interpretations of law is given
to us by the Department of Justice, generally the OLC.
Mr. Wexler. But apparently your own agents made a
determination that the actions by the CIA and the Department of
Defense were illegal, so much so that you authorized--ordered
your agents not to participate. But that is it.
Mr. Mueller. I have told you what our protocol was. And I
have indicated that we have adhered to our protocol throughout.
Mr. Wexler. My time is up. Thank you very much, Mr.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from
Florida, Ric Keller.
Mr. Keller. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Director Mueller, I want to limit my questions to two
subject areas--the FBI's efforts to capture online predators
and also results from the safe streets task force to go after
The bottom line in my area of Orlando, Florida is that the
results of the FBI's task force in going after online child
predators have been spectacular. The results from the other
task force dealing with violent crime have been less than
spectacular. And I just want to walk through both.
First, with respect to online child predators, one out of
seven children in this country are sexually solicited online.
My home state of Florida ranks fourth in the volume of
solicitations and child pornography.
It is so bad that an FBI agent logged on in central Florida
into a chat room as a 13-year-old girl and, within 1 minute, he
received 15 sexual solicitations. And within 5 minutes, a man
turned a video camera on himself and performed an explicit
sexual act that I can't describe in public.
Fortunately, we have a local agent, FBI agent, named Nick
Savage, who heads up the Innocent Images task force, and he has
really been wonderful in addressing this.
I am so concerned I have had five town hall meetings across
my district to let parents know some of the tips they can do to
protect their children against online child predators, and he
has been right there with me to educate them.
The convictions of his task force are up 25 percent, and he
and other FBI agents work very well with our local and State
In response to a question from Lamar Smith, you said that
if there is one thing we could do with respect to helping you
go after cybercrime and child pornographers, it is to work with
the ISPs on access to records. That is correct?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Keller. Is the challenge them not cooperating or them
not keeping their records long enough?
Mr. Mueller. It is a question of having a standard against
which you retain the records. The European Union has a standard
now for ISPs that generally can go up to 2 years. And some of
the concerns are the storage. Some of the concerns are
developing the software that would allow you to keep the
But from the perspective of an investigator, having that
backlog of records would be tremendously important if somebody
comes up on your screen now and you want to know and make the
case as to the past activity of that individual.
If those records are only kept 15 days or 30 days, you may
lose the information you need to be able to bring the person to
Mr. Keller. Are you suggesting a 2-year guideline
comparable to other countries?
Mr. Mueller. I believe that would be helpful, yes.
Mr. Keller. Okay.
Next, let me turn to the issue of the Safe Streets task
force. Orlando's murder rate went up 123 percent in 2006, the
third largest increase in the country.
I then went in early 2007 to meet with Attorney General
Gonzales and said, ``We need help. I know crime is mostly a
local problem, but we need help from Federal crime-fighting
teams. We need technology. We need more cops.''
And he responded. On June 1st of 2007, he announced that
there would be a violent crime impact team sent down from ATF
as well as a new Safe Streets team to tackle violent crime and
gang violence in Orlando.
ATF then promptly surged an additional five agents. They
worked very closely with local law enforcement and have got the
worst of the worst off the streets.
The FBI folks, I learned from local law enforcement, didn't
add any new agents whatsoever. And I ride around with the
police at night, and so I know that to be true.
I then went and met with the local head of the FBI named
Chris Davis in the Orlando office. I couldn't be more impressed
with him. I am super respectful of him. I hope he gets
promoted. But he confirmed to me that there is no new agents.
And it is my view, at minimum, that the FBI should have
sent in at least five new agents for at least a surge of 90
days like the ATF did. And I just want to ask you why no new
agents to the city that has the third biggest increase in
If you have got 180 task forces out there, surely the
number three worst problem should get some more agents. And
what, if anything, can we do to get you to send more folks to
an area like Orlando?
Mr. Mueller. Well, the first answer is I am not certain
what the circumstances were that we did not participate and at
least put agents on for a surge, and I would have to talk to
the special agent in charge down there to see what the
And the second answer is resources. Resources. And we have
a number of programs. Mortgage fraud is burgeoning now, and it
is, to a certain extent, a zero-sum game. I think in the 2009
budget we have a request in for additional resources on the
violent crime side.
But the fact of the matter is with our national security
responsibilities, I have had to move agents from the criminal
side of the house to the national security side of the house,
almost 2,000 agents since 2001. So it is really a function of
additional resources generally.
Mr. Keller. Well, thank you.
Mr. Chairman, if you would indulge me just as a follow up,
I know you can't know the details of every particular special
agent's task force and how many folks they have.
But I would just ask respectfully that you would chat with
a special agent there, because your folks are well respected,
and when you put a Federal charge on the worst of the worst, we
never see them again and would love your help if you would
follow up with that.
Mr. Mueller. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The able gentleman from Tennessee, Steve Cohen?
Mr. Cohen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Mueller, Mr. Wexler was asking you about some
illegal tactics that the FBI did not engage in, and you said
you followed the protocol. Does the protocol include informing
other agencies that you believe what they were doing was
Mr. Mueller. Excuse me just a second.
Mr. Cohen. Can this time not be counted against me?
Mr. Mueller. I am sorry, go ahead. I am sorry. What was the
question again, sir?
Mr. Cohen. Stop the clock.
You say you wouldn't engage in torture, but when you find
out that other agencies may be engaged in torture that you
believe is illegal, does your protocol include informing those
agencies that you believe their actions are illegal?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Cohen. Who did you inform in that situation?
Mr. Mueller. At points in time, we had reached out to DOD
and DOJ in terms of activity that we were concerned might not
be appropriate--let me put it that way.
Mr. Cohen. And you informed both the Department of Defense
and the Department of Justice?
Mr. Mueller. During the period of time in question, after
2000, say, to 2002, there have been times when we have done
Mr. Cohen. And can you supply us with copies of those
letters or memoranda?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to get back to you on that.
Mr. Cohen. We would appreciate it if you would. I would
like to request you to do that.
And what was their response to you?
Mr. Mueller. Again, I am not certain to what extent this is
classified. I would have to get back to you on that in any
Mr. Cohen. Well, if you could give us a response to this as
well, I would like to know which agencies did not listen to
you, Director, and engaged in torture. I think that would be
very important for this Committee to know, if there are
departments--of defense or justice or any--or CIA that don't
listen to the director of the FBI.
Mr. Mueller. Well, another factor that I think is important
to recognize in this--what constitutes appropriate behavior
under circumstances for other agencies is subject to legal
opinions from the Department of Justice.
Mr. Cohen. Yes, sir, I understand that. I agree with you.
Mr. Mueller. And so we would over a period of time say,
``Look, we have noticed behavior that may be questionable,''
and report it to the agency. That particular agency may be
governed by legal opinions that are not applicable to us.
Mr. Cohen. Yes, sir. But I would listen to your opinion
You have a great agent in Memphis, My Harrison, and she has
done a phenomenal job. She has convicted or brought
prosecutions and juries and judges found guilty many public
officials, many of whom were African American.
You say 1,800 officials have been prosecuted over a period
Mr. Mueller. Two years.
Mr. Cohen. Do you have statistics to show that there is not
a racial bias?
Mr. Mueller. Do not.
Mr. Cohen. Do you have a racial breakdown----
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain we keep that--I would be
surprised if we kept any such statistic.
Mr. Cohen. Is there any statistic that shows how many were
Democrats and Republicans, to show there is no political bias?
Mr. Mueller. We don't keep that. We are non-political. I
think if you are fair and look across, you will see that
regardless of political affiliation, you have any number from
various parties in that 1,800 figure.
Mr. Cohen. Agent Harrison was able, through very
outstanding work, to have an indictment brought against a man
in Tennessee who had killed a Shelby County codes enforcement
officer named Mickey Wright.
The circumstances of his death were such--and the proof--
that the Attorney General pled to a second-degree murder or
manslaughter, 15 years, and that was not sufficient for taking
this man's life.
Through her diligent work, she was able to charge a hate
crime, because he was a government official. But if he weren't
a government official, she couldn't have gotten the U.S.
attorney to present to the grand jury and for them to return an
indictment of a hate crime, where there is the possibility of
additional punishment for this man's murdering Mickey Wright.
Are you a supporter of the hate crime legislation that went
through that would give you more power to enforce hate crimes?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to look at the particular
legislation before I give an opinion as to whether we could
support it or not.
Mr. Cohen. It is the one that has already passed the House.
Mr. Mueller. Pardon?
Mr. Cohen. It is the one that has already passed the House,
gave more power to the Federal Government to go after hate
Mr. Mueller. I would have to specifically look at it before
I could render an opinion.
Mr. Cohen. Okay. If a person takes a corpse across State
lines to avoid prosecution or avoid discovery of the crime, and
the facts otherwise don't constitute a Federal crime as they
wouldn't here, except for My Harrison's work, would it be
helpful to the FBI to have a Federal law to make it illegal to
transport a corpse across State lines for the purpose of
avoiding detection of the crime?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to look at the circumstances and
see whether there wasn't a Federal jurisdictional----
Mr. Cohen. Let's assume there isn't.
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. Angle to start with, and then----
Mr. Cohen. Well, let's assume there isn't, and a person
took a body from, you know, New York to Giants Stadium, or they
took it from Memphis to Arkansas. Wouldn't it be helpful?
Mr. Mueller. Again, that is something I would have to look
at. Off the top of my head, I would really like to think about
it before I render an opinion on that as well.
Mr. Cohen. Thank you for that.
Mr. Smith. Would the gentleman from Tennessee yield
Mr. Cohen. Yes, sir.
Mr. Smith [continuing]. To the gentleman behind you? I just
want to point out for the record that while many of us today
have used the word ``torture''--I think most of us have used
it--that you, Director, have never said that the FBI ever
engaged in torture. You have used the word coercion, which is
And I just don't want the imputation to be allowed to stand
that the FBI has ever engaged in torture, even though I and
others have used the word today.
Mr. Scott. Well, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Smith. It is not my time.
Mr. Cohen. I will yield once removed.
Mr. Scott. I thought it was clear that the FBI made it
clear that they do not torture, although some other agencies
may not be able to answer the question the same way.
Mr. Mueller. What I have said throughout is we do not
engage in coercion in any form, and my saying that meaning,
quite obviously, do not engage in torture, but coercion in any
form in the course of our interrogations.
Our protocol and our policy is to generally develop rapport
as the mechanism of obtaining the information we need in the
course of an investigation, and I will say it has served us
We operate in the United States. We operate within the
court framework of the United States with the expectation that
if we find a crime, develop the evidence, that it will then
have to be presented in the courtroom.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The able gentleman from Virginia, Bob Goodlatte?
Mr. Goodlatte. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Director, welcome. We are glad to have you with us
today. I want to ask you about the problem we are having, and
very serious growing problem in this country, with gangs and
We see it in virtually every corner of the country--in my
congressional district, which is smaller cities and rural areas
in western Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and the Roanoke
Valley. We see increasing numbers of gangs and increasing
problems with local law enforcement dealing with them.
And I would like to ask how the FBI is dedicating resources
to fighting street gangs.
Mr. Mueller. Well, as I have indicated in my remarks, we
have a number of--well over 100 task forces that are spread
throughout the United States in which we work with Federal,
State and local counterparts to address the gang violence.
We participate in the National Gang Intelligence Center
here in D.C., which we lead, with a number of contributing
agencies. We have a separate MS-13 gang task force headed here
And across the probably more than 40 States now that have
an MS-13 problem, we have a coordination function. And we are
working very hard in Los Angeles, in that area, which is
basically the headquarters of a number of the gangs, MS-13
being one of them, but Crips and Bloods and others.
In Chicago and elsewhere in the northeast we address the
Mr. Goodlatte. Let me interrupt you, sir.
Mr. Mueller. So looking at the panoply of gangs that you
have, we have adapted structures to address those gangs both
here in the United States as well as overseas.
Mr. Goodlatte. Have you seen any changes in the nature of
Mr. Mueller. I think the biggest change is the acquisition
by certain gangs in certain places of automatic weapons, and
the growth of the threats to law enforcement, particularly
local law enforcement, by the acquisition of this heavy
I know, in talking to my counterparts around the country,
particularly in places like Miami, this has become a
Mr. Goodlatte. And do you need additional resources to
fight these gangs?
Mr. Mueller. We can always use resources, additional
resources, and so could State and local law enforcement.
Mr. Goodlatte. And I understand that--you may have just
encompassed this under a different name, but I understand that
you have an antigang coordinating committee working, and how is
Mr. Mueller. Well, we have the National Gang Intelligence
Center, and that works exceptionally well, and DOJ I know has
structures that coordinate the placement of resources, whether
it be our resources, ATF, Marshals Service and the like in a
coordinated fashion around the country, and that may be the
coordinating mechanism to which you advert.
Mr. Goodlatte. All right.
Let me switch gears and ask you some questions about
Internet gambling, which is also a serious problem, but we have
made some headway in this area in recent times, thanks in part
to work by the FBI.
Are you still dedicated to vigorously enforcing our
Nation's laws against illegal online gambling transactions?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Goodlatte. And do you still believe online gambling is
used as a method for money laundering by criminal enterprises?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Goodlatte. And have you found----
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Goodlatte [continuing]. Evidence to support that?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Goodlatte. And do you agree with the now, I think,
approximately 45 State attorneys general who oppose Federal
legislation to legalize currently illegal online gambling
Mr. Mueller. I am not familiar with that legislation, so I
really can't opine on it.
Mr. Goodlatte. Are you familiar with the concern that a
number of State attorneys general have with the problem of
online gambling in general?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Goodlatte. And you share their concern about that?
Mr. Mueller. I share a concern about online gambling and
the uses to which it can be put, yes.
Mr. Goodlatte. Great.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes the distinguished gentlelady from
Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Thank you, Director Mueller, for again your service. I
wanted to pursue the line of questioning that I had raised
early in my opening remarks and then briefly try to address
questions that may require you and staff to come back on,
because they are specific to my State and my congressional
I would like to hear from you your assessment of the FBI's
work in hate crimes. I know that there are statistics that the
DOJ likes to offer regarding the increasing amount of hate
crimes, but I am very interested in whether or not there is a
targeted unit that focuses on those crimes.
I think expertise is important, because there is a question
of knowing when to move in and to make the appropriate
intervention that may not always result in an arrest.
And I bring to our attention again the facts of Jena 6 that
you know generated an enormous outpouring, response, emotion,
and realistically so. Young men, six of them, who happened to
be African Americans, were penalized for what has been
interpreted as a schoolyard fight for some and others a brutal
We know that the gentleman who was attacked--we don't
condone those actions--but was released the same day and was
We also know that White students at a high school were
alleged to have hung a noose or provoked students at that
And we know that parents came to the school, African
American parents, and asked for intervention, which I think
would have been the stopgap for what ultimately generated into
We know that a gun was pulled on Black students at a store.
As we said, we knew that hanging nooses came about. And
frankly, I don't know anything that a hanging noose represents
other than a hateful act.
That is the first question. So I would like to know the
energy behind prosecuting hate crimes or the FBI intervening
either in local law enforcement to be able to be a stopgap,
even though I know that your job is prevention. But when I look
at the civil rights issues, those are civil rights.
The other one is we have two issues in the State of Texas
where allegations have been proven where there has been abuse
in a juvenile system detention facility.
We have found in the Harris County Jail 120 deaths over 10
years, the denial of medicine and legal services, and religious
leaders in the Harris County Jail have been denied entrance not
to proselytize but to interact with their members and
So let me just stop for a moment for those two questions.
And I know that my time is short, and I do have one or two
others. Thank you, Mr. Director.
Mr. Mueller. Well, as to the first incident to which you
refer, as soon as we were notified of that incident we had
agents who responded along with the locals and monitored the
We had discussions, I know, with you as well as with the
Department of Justice to determine what, if any, investigation
was warranted on our part, and that is typical of the process
that we follow.
Whenever there is an allegation of a hate crime or a civil
rights abuse, we immediately do what is called a preliminary
investigation to determine whether further investigation is
In the civil rights arena, that is coordinated with the
Department of Justice and a determination is made what, if any,
additional investigation is warranted by the Department of
Justice or the FBI, and we follow that procedure.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And, Director, my time is short. Can I get
a chronology in writing so I won't have to pursue it any
further here on just what happened and how that intervention--
Mr. Mueller. I believe that is possible. We have to get
back to you.
Ms. Jackson Lee. I appreciate it.
Mr. Mueller. In terms of Harris County and what happened--
Ms. Jackson Lee. Yes.
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. With the jails or juvenile
facilities, again, if there are allegations, we write up the
allegations. We look at the report. And we coordinate with the
Department of Justice to determine what additional
investigation we should conduct to determine whether or not
there are Federal charges that should be brought.
Ms. Jackson Lee. Well, I am going to engage your office. I
know that it is a DOJ partnership, but let me say that I think
more work needs to be done.
I want to quickly move to--you, I think, have come in in
2001, I believe, to this position. And I was wondering whether
you were aware, quickly, of your deputy general counsel at the
FBI as relates to the Guantanamo Bay, who brought to the
attention the questions of abusive interrogation and whether or
not anything was done when your own person on the ground
offered that point.
Mr. Conyers. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Ms. Jackson Lee. And I will look forward to getting that
question answered in writing.
Mr. Conyers. Well, you can answer the--you can finish the
question and receive an answer.
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. We received allegations from our
people, if we received allegations from our people, it was
then, over a period of time, passed on to the authorities
responsible for the investigation of such allegations, which at
Guantanamo would have been DOD.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.
The able gentleman from California, Darrell Issa?
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Chairman.
Director, there isn't enough time in 5 minutes to open and
close the subject of the cyber initiative, but this Committee
is going to, in my opinion, be the lead Committee on the actual
effectiveness of that initiative.
As we both know, it is compartmented, highly classified,
but I would like to concentrate just on what laws or changes
that you would need from this Committee if you were to do the
following--and I will set out a scenario.
If you go into a place and there is a crime actively being
committed--we will say there is a bookie joint and there is
tens of thousands of illegal transactions going on every
minute. And you know that, and you have proof of that. You
don't question your ability to go in and to harvest the fruit
of all the activities in there. Is that correct?
Mr. Mueller. Correct, you know, with a search warrant,
Mr. Issa. With a search warrant. Today, every ISP is being
maliciously attacked--and this goes beyond the .mils and .govs,
but I think that is the important reason that we approach it
Every ISP is being attacked maliciously both from in the
United States and out of the United States by those who both
want to invade people's privacy but, more importantly, they
want to take control of computers. They want to hack them. They
want to steal information.
This is also true of the .mils and .govs. Every one of our
congressional offices every day is under attack.
Every portal leading out of the United States--some of them
going in and out of the United States, but talking only about
your jurisdiction in the United States--every portal coming
into this country is being attacked by those who would harvest
information, both national security secrets and just the common
information of private companies and private individuals.
That crime is going on every day on a single entity known
as the Internet. What authorities do you need in order to
monitor, looking for those illegal activities, and then act on
those both defensively and either yourself or certainly other
agencies offensively in order to shut down a crime in process?
Now, I am a civil libertarian. I was with Bob Barr arguing
some of the elements of the Patriot Act that we still don't
agree should have been there.
But when I set up that crime scenario, how is it that you
are going to get the right to react when today, people would
say that if they--if you are addressing an action from an
American person, you don't have that right?
How are you going to do it, and how can we help you do it
appropriately and constitutionally?
Mr. Mueller. I think legislation has to be developed that
balances, on the one hand, the privacy rights of the
individuals who are receiving the information but, on the other
hand, given the technology, the necessity of having some
omnibus search capability utilizing filters that would identify
the illegal activity as it comes through and give us the
ability to preempt that illegal activity where it comes through
a choke point, as opposed to the point where it is diffused on
And it is a question of the legislation catching up to the
technology, understanding these crimes are being committed
every moment, but then identifying the ability--identifying our
ability to focus on the particular criminal elements as it is
coming through and preempt that criminal element, whether it be
.mil, .gov, .com, whichever network you are talking about.
Mr. Issa. Okay. And one follow-up question, because I--or
two follow-up questions. I know we are not going to get it all
One, can you have somebody on your staff designated to work
with Members of Congress on trying to craft that legislation? I
would appreciate being able to work with that person.
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Issa. And secondly--and this goes to a legal opinion
you may or may not be able to help us with today, but I would
like you to try to work on it--if ISPs or other private
entities--a Lockheed Martin on one hand and my old company,
Directed Electrons, on the other--if they consented to
participation voluntarily in being, in fact, defended in a
cyber initiative--and that includes ISPs who hypothetically got
consents from every single person that signed up to operate
under their auspices--if that consent were granted, do you
believe the current laws either can or reasonably easily could
be made to protect them?
In other words, a voluntary program that would begin
allowing Federal agencies to counterattack and to defend on
behalf of those who waive current possible restrictions in that
sense? And that is probably my most important question to try
to get this Committee to think of.
Mr. Mueller. I think that is going to require some thought,
because an individual company can say, ``Okay, I consent to
have somebody protect me,'' but if the filter is
inappropriately placed, just protecting that particular
company, you may have to be one or two or three institutions or
ISPs off, and that is where you would have a problem.
And whether it be--I forget which company you mentioned--
Lockheed Martin saying, ``Okay, I am willing for somebody to
protect me,'' but the protection may be two or three companies
off, and Lockheed Martin has no mechanism in order to affect
the company that is two or three off, if you see what I am
Mr. Issa. Thank you.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman. Hopefully 220.127.116.11 will be
protected if they ask to be, whoever they are.
Mr. Conyers. As you wish, Mr. Issa.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, I do hope that when we look at the
cyber initiative we view ourselves as the primary Committee
that has to clear the way for appropriate action on behalf of
our government, all branches.
Mr. Conyers. The Chair is now pleased to recognize the able
gentleman from Georgia, Hank Johnson.
Mr. Johnson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Mueller, it is good to have you here today. Jose
Padilla, a United States citizen, was seized in Chicago on a
material witness warrant and moved to the Navy brig in South
Carolina where he was held in solitary confinement, denied
access to an attorney and subjected to a host of harsh
interrogation techniques, including days of sleep deprivation,
during which time the Department of Justice defended his
detention before various courts.
He has also alleged that he was subjected to mind-altering
drugs. Now, the FBI did participate in the interrogation of Mr.
Padilla, did it not?
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. Johnson. And you were kept informed about the nature
and the results of the interrogation, is that correct?
Mr. Mueller. Me personally?
Mr. Johnson. Yes.
Mr. Mueller. No, not specifically. I mean, I may have been,
upon occasion, informed that he was being interrogated. I don't
think I was informed of what information had come out of him.
Mr. Johnson. Did you know that he was being subjected to
days on end of sleep and sensory deprivation?
Mr. Mueller. No, and I am not certain that I understand the
question, but by answering the question I am not--I don't mean
to affirm that that is exactly what happened. I am not certain
Mr. Johnson. Well, let me restate the question. Now, you
have testified that you were aware that the FBI participated in
his interrogation and that while you were not directly informed
about the nature and the results of the interrogation, that you
may have had some discussions about it. Is that correct?
Mr. Mueller. I know he was at a brig in South Carolina. I
knew that he was probably being interrogated. The specifics of
it I did not know.
Mr. Johnson. You did not know anything about the sleep
deprivation--you were not informed about that?
Mr. Mueller. I did not know.
Mr. Johnson. You were not informed of any use of mind-
Mr. Mueller. No. And again, Congressman, I am not certain
that that is accurate. I know Mr. Padilla was charged and
convicted in court in Florida, if I am not mistaken, and many
of the assertions and allegations were raised in the course of
But I do believe he was successfully prosecuted and was
Mr. Johnson. I am aware. Did you ever express any
disagreement with the policies surrounding the detention and
interrogation of Mr. Padilla?
Mr. Mueller. No, but again, I go back to I did--the
specifics in which you allude I was not aware of.
Mr. Johnson. Thank you.
In your Senate testimony, sir, you admitted that the FBI is
no longer vigorously fighting white-collar crime and drug
cases. For example, you mentioned that 800 agents have been
shifted off of fighting white-collar crime and 10,000 cases are
not being done as a result.
And you also mentioned that 900 agents were shifted off of
drug cases. With violent crimes on the rise, what else besides
money do you need to pump up our internal crime-fighting
Mr. Mueller. Let me clarify one thing. What I said was that
we shifted 800 agents, I believe it was, from smaller white-
collar criminal cases, and generally those are cases under a
certain dollar amount which we could not handle.
We quite clearly have addressed the Enrons, the Worldcoms,
the HealthSouth--the larger white-collar criminal cases--as we
are addressing the subprime mortgage cases, but we have to
prioritize. We did shift 900 agents from doing narcotics cases
over to national security.
To backfill, we would quite obviously need the agents,
almost 2,000 agents, to backfill those that have been moved
But it also takes the infrastructure, the training
facilities, the information technology, the associated
intelligence analysts that go with building up that capacity on
the criminal side of the house.
Mr. Johnson. So have those potential capabilities been
requested, those assets?
Mr. Mueller. Over the years, we have requested additional
resources. And in many cases, we have gotten those resources,
but generally they have been--they have been accorded on the
national security side of the house.
Mr. Johnson. What performance measures does the FBI have to
assess its progress in implementing its counterterrorism policy
and the effects of this priority on its traditional law
enforcement crime-fighting mission?
Mr. Mueller. Well, in terms of--we look at a number of
metrics when it comes to counterterrorism. The most obvious
metric is the stopping of any terrorist attacks.
But also, the number of individuals that are under
investigation; the number of cells that may have been
disrupted, although it may not be public; the number of agents
and analysts and the caseload they have.
Most importantly is our work with our counterparts on the
joint terrorism task forces, how those joint terrorism task
forces are doing and the contributions of State and local to
those task forces as well as overseas, our relationships with
our overseas counterparts, whether it be in Denmark, or
Germany, or the U.K., or Spain, or places like Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, all of which contribute to our ability to protect the
country from additional terrorist attacks.
We look at the number of IIRs, intelligence information
reports, that we disseminate on a daily, weekly, monthly basis
to the rest of the intelligence community. Our participation in
the National Counterterrorism Center, to the extent that we
have analysts participating in that.
Those are just to mention a few of the metrics that we look
at in terms of our war against terrorism.
Mr. Johnson. Thank you, Director Mueller.
And my time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The distinguished gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Randy
Mr. Forbes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Director, thank you for being here. I want to
first compliment your good judgment going as far as back as
your selection of a law school to attend.
I also want to go back to September 11, 2001. I was the
newest Member of Congress, and I still remember us gathering in
the command headquarters in D.C., and Members of Congress
coming in there, and you walking in. You had only been on the
job for 1 week, as I recall, at that particular point in time.
I remember the looks on Members of Congress' faces, many of
them sitting on this panel today, and we were looking outside,
and we saw smoke coming up from the Pentagon, jets flying over
D.C., streets vacant except for people with guns for security
And I remember us looking at you then and saying, ``Mr.
Director, do what you have to do to keep our country safe and
protect our citizens from terrorists.''
And for almost 7 years, you have done an incredibly good
job at doing that, and we just want to thank you for that. You
only had to blink one time. You only had to miss one, and I
couldn't say that, but we can today.
The other thing I want to tell you is, as you can hear from
testimony here today, no good deed goes unpunished. And based
on the success we have had there, we seem to have turned our
And one of the concerns I have today, if you listen to the
press, if you listen to a lot of law enforcement across the
country, if you listen to some members of the public, they have
developed this kind of ``gotcha'' mentality toward elected
officials, business leaders, religious leaders, where it is
almost as if there is a view that all of them are corrupt or at
And my questions for you today are these. First of all,
what do you do as director to make sure all of the stuff that
you hear, all this ``gotcha'' stuff, you know, that is going on
doesn't permeate your agents, and so we don't have hunts to get
the bad guys, but we have instead investigations to determine
who the bad guys are, if they are?
And the other question I have for you is regarding
something that I think is far greater concern to the country,
and that is the issue of Chinese espionage. And I know some of
that is classified, but much of it is open source.
How significant is that problem today? What is the extent
of the threat? And what can we do to stop it?
Mr. Mueller. Let me start by saying that to the extent that
the country has been protected from terrorist attacks over the
last 6\1/2\ years--because of the men and women in the FBI, but
most particularly men and women who work in the--the 800,000
State and local law enforcement officers around the country,
many of whom--I should say, actually, many of their agencies
work on joint terrorism task forces.
It also is attributable to the relationships with our
With regard to what you call the ``gotcha'' mentality, it
is discouraging for the men and women of the FBI to--who every
morning wake up with one goal in mind--that is, what do we do--
how do we do the right thing to protect the American public,
whether it be from crime, from terrorism, from
counterespionage, to have persons not necessarily understand
that we are human, we do make mistakes? When we make mistakes,
we admit to them and move on.
But the reputation of the Bureau, whether it is in the
United States or outside the United States, I think is very
good. We have a 100-year track record of capability. And I do
believe that that is acknowledged.
Turning to the second question you had with regard to the
espionage or efforts by the PRC to gather our secrets, most of
what I could say could not be said in open session.
What is public is a series of successful prosecutions
recently in which individuals had worked with particular
companies or, in a recent case, in a university, and there have
been a number of cases in which the evidence has shown that
they were stealing secrets with the expectation of that
information going back to the PRC.
So there is a public track record indicating--where it has
been proven that the PRC has individuals in the United States
who are looking to steal some of the Nation's most sensitive
Mr. Forbes. Thank you, Mr. Director.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Chair is pleased to recognize the able gentlelady from
Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin.
Ms. Baldwin. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Director Mueller, for your time today.
Hopefully I will have time to get to two distinct lines of
questioning, both regarding issues of great interest to my
constituents in my home State of Wisconsin.
As you know, our Committee has spent considerable time
looking into the termination of the nine U.S. attorneys and the
question of politically motivated prosecutions.
One such prosecution occurred in the State of Wisconsin,
and I assume that you are aware that a public servant, Ms.
Georgia Thompson, was wrongfully sent to a Federal prison
amidst serious allegations that political considerations may
have influenced the exercise of prosecutorial power.
As you recall, when Ms. Thompson's conviction was
overturned, the appeals court released her immediately upon
ruling on the case, calling the evidence beyond thin. And the
State of Wisconsin is taking the very unusual move of repaying
all of her legal fees and expenses.
Now, we know that the FBI was involved in investigating the
Georgia Thompson case, because Special Agent Terry Sparacino
testified during her trial that he had found--and I quote, he
had ``found no evidence during his investigation to support the
prosecution's contention of wrongdoing.''
Now, did the FBI agents who were involved in the
investigation of this case ever consult you directly or
indirectly via superiors to discuss their concerns about the
investigation or the prosecution, despite what they were
uncovering or not uncovering during their investigation?
Mr. Mueller. I am familiar with the facts that you
indicate, but no, I was not consulted in the----
Ms. Baldwin. You were never involved in----
Mr. Mueller. No.
Ms. Baldwin. Okay. Thank you. The other line of questioning
I want to pursue relates to some concerns that have been raised
in my district by constituents.
I have a very politically active district. People vote in
high numbers, communicate with their elected officials and
sometimes protest or demonstrate when they are unhappy with
governmental policies--sit-ins, marchings and demonstrations.
Recent news reports that antiwar protesters have been added
to the watch list and have been denied entry into Canada, for
example, have--these news reports have been read and discussed
among folks in my constituency.
And I am hearing concerns about how decisions are made, so
I thought I would just ask you a series of questions about the
terrorist screening database and the watch list.
First of all, can you tell me anything about what the
criteria are for the FBI nominating somebody to that list?
Mr. Mueller. Well, there are a number of criteria. We would
have to get that to you. But I will say that we are very
careful not to focus on individuals who are exercising their
first amendment rights as a protester, to in any way inhibit
that or utilize that as a reason to open an investigation. We
are very careful about that. We understand the sensitivity of
Where that crosses a line in terms of damage or violence
and the like, then we have, quite obviously, a responsibility
to follow up. But we are very sensitive to that line.
And in my mind, none of the criteria applicable to the
terrorist screening center would allow a person to be put on
that list purely for exercising their first amendment right to
Ms. Baldwin. If I understand the news reports, the
individuals who were denied entry into Canada, for example, for
being on the watch list had been convicted of misdemeanors but
in completely nonviolent contexts--for example, sit-in and not
leaving someplace voluntarily and so being arrested as they
Is there a way that a person can inquire whether they are
on a list and appeal their presence on the list if they feel
that there has been an improper placement on the list?
Mr. Mueller. There is an office where you can make the
request. They may or may not--they probably will not tell you
if you are on the list, and I am not certain what response they
give, but you can--it will be pursued.
I might also say it may not be the terrorist watch list
that they are on. There may be some other reason they have been
barred from going to Canada.
Ms. Baldwin. The news reports we heard was specifically
that they were on the watch list. How many people are on the
Mr. Mueller. That is something I can't give in open
Ms. Baldwin. Okay.
Mr. Mueller. It also differs, I might say, because there
are a number of names, different records, as opposed to
individuals. I mean, one individual can have five, 10 or 15
different aliases and identifiers, so--but it is not something
I can give in open session.
Ms. Baldwin. And the watch list is shared with foreign
Mr. Mueller. Upon occasion, yes, pursuant to agreements.
Ms. Baldwin. Okay. Do we know how many such agreements
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Ms. Baldwin [continuing]. In terms of----
Mr. Mueller. That is, again, something that is not--I can't
speak to in open session.
Ms. Baldwin. All right. Well, we will have to pursue this
in a time that we can exchange information more readily. Thank
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Iowa,
Mr. King. Thank you, esteemed Chairman. I appreciate the
opportunity to be recognized.
And, Director Mueller, I much appreciate your service to
this country over these very difficult years. And I think
history will record this as a very effective directorship that
you have conducted here over these years.
The first question I have is do you detect, as we approach
an upcoming presidential election, and everything gets more and
more politicized--and we may have noticed that actually here
Do you detect, as the gentlelady from Wisconsin mentioned,
politically motivated prosecutions? Do you detect any
reluctance on the part of justice to bring indictments that
might be construed as politically motivated as we approach this
Mr. Mueller. No.
Mr. King. If you did, what would you consider your duty to
Mr. Mueller. I would raise it with the Attorney General.
Mr. King. Thank you. I appreciate that very concise and
Now, there was also the issue raised by the gentlelady from
California, Ms. Waters, about gang problems, particularly in
L.A., but across this country, especially in our inner cities.
And we have had testimony from that table before the
Immigration Subcommittee of this full Judiciary Committee about
the percentages of gang membership that are illegals. And, in
some cases, 75 percent to 100 percent of some of these gangs,
being people that are unlawfully present in the United States,
MS-13 would be in particular.
If by some stroke of the magic wand all of the folks that
are in the United States unlawfully woke up in a country that
they lawfully could be in, how much might that reduce the
problem of addressing gang activity in the United States?
Mr. Mueller. That is difficult to give an answer to. I do
believe that certain gangs have probably higher percentages of
persons illegally in this country. But it is, I would say,
somewhat difficult to ascertain.
Mr. King. Would you concede that if we controlled our
borders, stopped the bleeding there, so to speak, that that
would be a great step in the right direction to help alleviate
the pressure that is on you to control gang activity in the
Mr. Mueller. Well, certainly some of the gangs, one of
which you have alluded to, MS-13, that is known, quite
obviously, as having very close ties to El Salvador and
individuals who move back and forth between El Salvador,
Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and the like, and certainly to the
extent that we can identify in coming through the border would
assist us, in terms of addressing that particular challenge.
Mr. King. I thank you. And the gentleman from Virginia, Mr.
Scott, asked you for a report on the diversity numbers within
Mr. Mueller. Yes.
Mr. King. And so that brings for me the question of, if you
have to choose between diversity and merit when it comes to
hiring employees and building out the personnel that you
manage, how do you make that decision?
Mr. Mueller. I think you can do both.
Mr. King. And if you have to come down between the two, is
it merit or diversity that prevails?
Mr. Mueller. Merit and diversity prevail.
Mr. King. Okay, Director----
Mr. Mueller. I am not going to----
Mr. King. Let me take another----
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. Both, so I see no reason to----
Mr. King. You know, I could ask you a hypothetical that
would describe otherwise, but I think I will move on to
something that this Congress will want to review, as well, and
that is that you use part of your resources in foreign
countries. And we recognize that.
And as the testimony that has come out here on FISA, as the
final part of FISA expires, and the director of national
intelligence has testified a significant percentage of our
access to intel goes away, has gone away, and will go away, as
we move forward with FISA, doesn't that put the responsibility
back on you and your department to be the last line of defense
against terrorists here on the homeland and the United States?
And if it does, then are you at some point, if we don't
renew FISA, going to need to come back to Congress and ask for
a lot more resources to protect Americans?
Mr. Mueller. Well, I think everyone, ourselves included,
want the resolution to the impasse with regard to FISA and the
bill that was passed last August.
It is important that we have clarity. It is important that
the communication carriers have clarity as to what the law is.
And to the extent that that could be done swiftly, I think it
is in all of our interests to do so.
Regardless of what happens there, we maintain our vigilance
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And we will use to the fullest
all the tools that Congress has given to us.
And we cannot do it alone. We have to do it with our
counterparts in the intelligence community, as well as our
counterparts overseas. And consequently, our hope is that there
will be a FISA bill soon and it will benefit both us, as well
as the intelligence community.
Mr. King. Director, if Congress fails to act on FISA, do
you believe that you will need more resources domestically to
protect the American people?
Mr. Mueller. Perhaps, but it would be very difficult, if we
go to August, and the bill and the certifications that are
already in place are allowed to lapse. Quite clearly, steps
will have to be taken in a number of agencies to fill that gap,
and presumably ours, as well.
Mr. King. I thank you, Director. Appreciate your testimony.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.
The Chair is pleased to recognize the able gentleman from
Alabama, himself a former assistant U.S. attorney, Artur Davis.
Mr. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. May I ask permission to
trade my time with Ms. Wasserman Schultz, who has to Chair a
Mr. Conyers. This is highly usual, but yes.
Mr. Davis. It is, indeed. If I didn't love her so much, I
wouldn't do it, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. All right.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. I thank the gentleman and the
Chairman for his indulgence.
Director Mueller, I just have a couple of things that I
wanted to go over with you, a lot of which is what I talked to
you about last year at the hearing on online child predators.
But I did want to make you aware that overnight there was a
fire that is suspected arson in the Chabad synagogue, the
Chabad shul on Miami Beach. And it is being investigated as
arson as we speak.
It is the second suspected arson in a synagogue in Miami
Beach in 6 months. And there were--obviously, we are in the
middle of Passover, which is a sacred Jewish holiday, so it
makes it all the more disconcerting and tragic.
And I would hope--and if you would, at my request, if you
would look into whether or not the FBI could investigate this
as a potential hate crime, I would very much appreciate it.
Mr. Mueller. We will do that.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Thank you very much. ATF is on the
scene, as well, but obviously it is starting to be more than
I do want to acknowledge the presence of Ed Smart, who is
with the Surviving Parents Coalition, here today and who has
been the champion for advocating on behalf of children and who
have been victims of online sexual predators and children who
have been victims, period.
And I want to differ with my colleague from Florida, my
good friend, Mr. Keller, because, with all due respect, I don't
think that the FBI is doing enough to pursue online child
predators. I mean, it was clear in October when we had our
hearing here that we are--there are about 500,000 known online
child pornographers, people trading these images--these are
depictions of sexual acts that are actually happening, crime
And you do acknowledge that, even though I know you said in
your testimony that you are investigating--that you have
convicted more than 6,800 since 1996, which is 12 years, that
is still less than 2 percent of what we know is out there,
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain of those figures. I would
defer to you on that.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Well, the testimony of James Finch,
the assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, who wrote a
letter in response to Senator Biden, he indicated in that
letter that the FBI's Innocent Images Unit had a total of just
one unit chief, 13 special agents, 10 analysts, and nine
support staff. I mean, there are Internet blog sites that have
larger staffs than that.
Mr. Mueller. Well, I will say that we have almost 270
agents working nationwide, but I am not going to tell you that
that is sufficient to address this. As I have indicated to you
before, it is tremendously important. It is an issue that is
deserving of more resources.
We put in a request for and did receive additional
resources in 2008. We got an additional $2.4 million and 14
positions. But that is, I will tell you, a drop in the bucket.
It is a huge, huge issue.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Do you still have more than 2,000
investigators for white-collar crime, as compared to a couple
of hundred for child exploitation?
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain on the white-collar crimes.
But certainly on violent crimes, for instance, I know we have
something like 2,200. And white-collar crimes, it may be that
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Last year, when we had testimony
from your staff, they did testify that there were more than
2,300 investigators dedicated to white-collar crime and only
about 232 dedicated to investigating child exploitation. Why is
there such a disproportion in commitment, if you verbally are
saying that you are committed to trying to ferret out child
Mr. Mueller. Well, because we are facing, have faced, and
continue to face substantial white-collar criminal issues. We
have got a--as I testified before, the subprime mortgage
challenge. We have over 1,300 cases that have come to us.
In the past, we have had Enron, HealthSouth, Qwest, any
number of large, white-collar criminal cases. The white-collar
criminal program also encompasses civil rights. It encompasses
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Okay. But you couldn't possibly
compare the harming and sexual exploitation of children and the
rape of children being more important, that white-collar crime
would be more important than that? I mean, you are certainly
demonstrating that it seems to be by the disparate commitment
and the commitment of staff.
Mr. Mueller. Congresswoman, we agree. This is a huge
problem. It is a question of resources.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. So if you agree----
Mr. Mueller. I have put in requests and I have gotten
additional resources. But----
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. But you know what? The testimony
that we had in October was that you were actually diverting
resources from the Innocent Images program to other priorities.
Can you at least commit that you will stop diverting funding
from the Innocent Images program to other priorities in the
Department of Justice?
Mr. Mueller. Well--I will continue to look at our resources
and try to adjust the priorities as I think----
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. So you won't even commit that you
will stop diverting funding from the Innocent Images program?
Mr. Mueller. I will look at our resources over a period of
time and do what I can on this priority.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. What specific FBI resources and
personnel do you believe are worth diverting from their current
use to rescuing children from child exploitation? Is there
something you can identify?
Can you commit to identifying other things that maybe
aren't as high a priority, moving those resources to the
hundreds of thousands of children that are being victimized
online today? I mean, actions speak louder than words, Mr.
Mr. Mueller. I think if you look at our actions in the
cases we have made, we have made substantial cases. I had
referred earlier to the case that we made back in the fall,
where we--or, actually, it was several months ago, where we
took off 60 individuals who had, for a period of 15 years, been
passing child pornography in an encrypted state. We did with
our counterparts in the U.K.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Mr. Director, my time has expired,
and children need more than words. They need action. These are
children that need to be rescued. We have the ability to rescue
them if we ask for and pursue and get commitment from our
Mr. Mueller. I am happy to work together with you to get
the resources we need, Congresswoman.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. And you said that last year, and it
is still the same.
Mr. Mueller. And I am still saying it.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz. Okay. Well, now, if we could back it
up with action, that would be great.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes the Ranking Member of the Constitution
Subcommittee, the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Trent Franks.
Mr. Franks. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Director Mueller.
Director Mueller, you have had a pretty challenging day
here already, but I want you to know that I certainly laud your
commitment to protecting this country and to trying to do
everything that you can.
And it is always astonishing to me when we have people like
you come forward, and we can't get our act together on FISA,
which puts a double challenge upon you.
And so I want to start out by saying how much I appreciate
your service to the country, and that is certainly heartfelt.
Now, you know when someone compliments you like that that they
have a rather negative follow up sometimes, don't you?
Mr. Mueller. Yes, sir. I am waiting for the other foot.
Mr. Franks. Yes, and I, quite honestly, had these questions
before I heard the last questioner, so I want you to know that.
But I am going to have to follow up here, because I used to be
the director of the Governor's Office for Children there when I
was in Children's Department and wrote most of Arizona's child
pornography legislation. So it is something that I continue to
be very concerned about.
And with that in mind, I guess the first thing I want to
give you is the chance to answer the question: Do you think the
FBI is making it a priority to investigate Internet child
pornography and child exploitation? In your mind, are they
making that a priority?
Mr. Mueller. Yes, it is. But it is not amongst the 10 top
priorities in this juncture. It is a priority in our cyber
arena, and cyber is number three. But in cyber, we include
intrusions, we include hackers, as well as the Innocent Images
Mr. Franks. Well, is it true that you have really got the
manpower right now to investigate about 1 percent of the leads
that you discover? Is that an accurate thing? Or is that
Mr. Mueller. I will have to get back to you on that. I am
not certain that is accurate.
Mr. Franks. Are you able to--I know sometimes companies
overseas are the biggest challenge. Are you able to partner
with other countries to try to triangulate and zero in on these
companies that do this from, ``safe harbor'' from other
Mr. Mueller. Since October of 2004, we have had an
international task force operating out of Maryland. Over that
period of time, we have had 47 investigators from 21 different
countries that have participated in that task force.
But the spread of child pornography on the Internet is not
limited to any one State. It is not limited to any one country.
It is worldwide.
And in order to be effective, we have to do it
internationally and do it in an international task force. And
this task force has been exceptionally effective, not only in
bringing cases, but also educating and training others to
cooperate with us when they go back to their home countries.
Mr. Franks. Do you think we are winning or losing that
Mr. Mueller. We are losing.
Mr. Franks. We are losing?
Mr. Mueller. We are losing. It is growing on the Internet.
Exponentially is probably too strong a term, but just about
every crime there is has gravitated to the Internet and, in
certain cases, the Internet has provided the vehicle for
expansion that otherwise would not be there, and that is
certainly true with child pornography.
Mr. Franks. Well, let me just say I know that you are very
concerned about it, as well. But I will tell you, you know,
sometimes in times when I used to give speeches on this subject
I would remind people, as the poet did, that there comes a time
in every child's life when the door to childhood quietly closes
forever. And after that, no mortal power on Earth can ever open
And I would just--I guess my final question here to you,
along those things, is that this is something that is
profoundly important. What can we do with you to help you,
number one, with the legal mechanisms?
And in some States, you know, they don't have the statute
that is necessary to prevail. Ancillary evidence rules, all
kinds of things make it difficult for us to actually win in
court. What legislative mechanisms do you need to make this a
priority so that we can go from losing to winning? And what
funding needs do you have so we can help you make this happen?
Mr. Mueller. I do think that this is not something for just
one agency to undertake. My own view, and, again, it relates to
task forces, the necessity--we have ICAC task forces around the
country, but they need to be funded, State and local law
enforcement--focus initially on violent crime, need to develop
the expertise, the resources to participate on these task
We need to grow the task forces within the United States
and develop the relationships with similar task forces
overseas. I mentioned that investigative mechanisms that will
enable us to obtain the records that are necessary from ISPs,
from credit card companies----
Mr. Franks. Do you need additional legislation to that
Mr. Mueller. Well, again, it goes to records retention. I
do believe that records retention would be of assistance in
terms of addressing these problems.
It is not just one agency. It is a number of Federal
agencies, the State and local law enforcement, all to be
integrated in addressing what is an increasing problem.
Mr. Franks. Well, Mr. Chairman, maybe the gentleman would
supply this Committee with some ideas as to what we might do in
that regard. From his perspective, as an investigator, as
leading to prosecutions, and let's try to work together in a
bipartisan area, because if child pornography is not
bipartisan, then I think maybe it is time for us all to walk
out of here.
Mr. Conyers. That would be most welcome.
Mr. Franks. Thank you, Mr. Director.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Alabama, himself a
former assistant United States attorney, Artur Davis.
Mr. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Mueller, I have a couple of questions or two sets of
questions on the national security front. Let me turn to Mr.
King's questions and the questions of some other Members
In your last set of comments regarding FISA, you indicated
the importance of Congress reauthorizing the Act or coming to
some kind of an agreement around the Act by August. And I
assume that was a very deliberate choice of words on your part.
As you know, there has been some controversy over the
impact of the Protect America Act expiring back in February. So
let me ask you directly: Has the expiration of the Protect
America Act imperiled any efforts by the Bureau to conduct
intercepts since its expiration?
Mr. Mueller. I cannot speak to a specific case. I can say
that there is uncertainty in the legal counsel's office of
communications carriers as to the current State. And it----
Mr. Davis. Is there any----
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. Affects our ability to get
information as fast and as quickly as we would want.
Mr. Davis. Is there any instance when you or the Bureau has
attempted to put an intercept in place since the expiration of
the Protect America Act and you have been denied because of the
Mr. Mueller. I believe there has been a delay attributed to
Mr. Davis. Has there been a single instance when the
Bureau's request to conduct an intercept has been denied
because of the expiration of the Protect America Act?
Mr. Mueller. Not that I am aware of.
Mr. Davis. The President of the United States conducted a
press conference shortly after the expiration of the Protect
America Act, and the President made the representation that
lives were being threatened, that lives could be lost. Do you,
Mr. Director, know of a single life that has been compromised
or threatened in the interim between the expiration of the Act
Mr. Mueller. I am not familiar with those comments, but----
Mr. Davis. Would they be accurate?
Mr. Mueller. I do not know the basis upon which a statement
was made, if, indeed, it was made.
Mr. Davis. Do you know of a factual basis that would permit
the President to make that statement?
Mr. Mueller. I am not myself personally familiar with that
statement or the basis for which the statement was made.
Mr. Davis. Do you know of any factual basis that would
permit that statement to be truthfully made?
Mr. Mueller. I will say that my great concern is the
uncertainty that we currently have in terms of----
Mr. Davis. Do you know of any factual basis----
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. In terms of----
Mr. Davis. You have made that point, yes.
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. Communications carriers----
Mr. Davis. Yes, you have made that point, and I accept it.
I will leave the topic if you will just give me a yes or no. Do
you know of any factual basis for the President or anyone
saying that lives have been threatened or compromised or lost
because of the expiration of the Act?
Mr. Mueller. And I think I answered it, saying I am not
certain of the statement, but I personally am not aware of the
basis upon which it was made.
Mr. Davis. All right. I will take that as you know of no
factual basis and move on to my next area.
During the very beginning of your tenure, Mr. Mueller,
during the first years of your tenure, after we adopted the
color-coded terror alert system, with some regularity the
Administration would raise the terror alert level. When is the
last time the terror alert level has been raised?
Mr. Mueller. I can't recall.
Mr. Davis. Well, can you turn to your staff and just give
me a ballpark as to the last time it has been raised? Because
there is an objective answer to that. I know it has been so
long we have been at one color.
Mr. Mueller. Probably a couple of years ago. That is the
best we can come up with.
Mr. Davis. All right. It has been a while.
Mr. Mueller. It has.
Mr. Davis. So I guess we can conclude one of two things
from that, that we have not faced a level of threat that arise
or level of imminent threat that would cause the alert system
to be raised or that the alert system has been abandoned as a
practical matter. Which of those is accurate?
Mr. Mueller. Well, let me say, I can't remember--in August
of 2006, where there were individuals in the U.K. who
contemplated bringing liquid explosives on as many as 8 to 10
planes and blowing them up across the Atlantic.
Mr. Davis. We remember that.
Mr. Mueller. That was certainly an area where we----
Mr. Davis. So that would be----
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. Substantial threat. I am not
certain whether we raised the level then.
Mr. Davis. Right.
Mr. Mueller. I think what happened is we raised the level
Mr. Davis. Right.
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. But not across the country.
Mr. Davis. Let me--because my time is limited--I don't
actually believe that we raised the alert then. I think there
was some discussion about it. I think--and since no one
contradicts me, I will speak to my memory--I don't think that,
frankly, we have raised the alert level since 2004.
And I am happy to accept contradiction if anyone in the
room wishes to provide it, but I believe it was 2004.
So I would ask you, going forward----
Mr. Mueller. Yes, sir.
Mr. Davis [continuing]. There will be a new President, one
of three individuals, and you will serve for some period of
time under that President, I believe. Will it be your
recommendation to the next President that we continue the
Mr. Mueller. I haven't given some thought to that. Again,
my recollection is, is that we may have--selective raising of
the alert level during that period of time, but not a
countrywide--we will have to get back to you on that, though.
Mr. Davis. And I would just end, if I can, on this
observation, Mr. Mueller, is I think you get the point that I
am driving at. In some circles, there is a belief that the
Administration was quick to raise it during the run-up to the
2004 presidential elections. That political imperative, having
been secured, it has not been raised since then.
That is something that does bother some of us, because it
does raise a practical question, which of two things happened?
Is it that we pretty much abandoned the system since the 2004
election and you all haven't bothered to tell us? Or is it that
we have not had a level of threat rise to the level of
imminence that would justify the alert level going up?
Either one of those things would strike me as being
relevant to this Committee from a policymaking standpoint.
Mr. Mueller. I know there is a belief out there that
Administration officials would raise the concerns at a
particular point of time for political reasons. I personally
have never seen that.
In each case in which there has been information put out,
it has been based on viable information that had caused us----
Mr. Davis. And understand I am in no way questioning your
integrity. I am simply making a point that it is a fact that it
has not happened since the 2004 election cycle and it does
raise questions going forward as to whether it has been
abandoned or whether we just haven't had an imminent threat in
Mr. Mueller. I would say, again, that the contradictory
fact on that is the fact, in summer of 2006, in August of 2006,
where we had that--again, I am not certain where the level was
raised, but I can tell you that the--I remember being in a
press conference with Michael Chertoff and the rest, so the
country became very much aware of that threat----
Mr. Davis. Certainly.
Mr. Mueller [continuing]. Whether the level was raised or
Mr. Davis. Well, but my whole question went to the
viability and the reasonableness of our continuing to have the
color-coded system. And, frankly, I think you made my point.
If a threat that you believe wasn't an important one, did
not justify, or for whatever reason didn't militate on the
level being raised, it may tell us something about the lack of
viability of the color-coded system.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
The Committee recognizes the Ranking Member from Texas,
Judge Louie Gohmert.
Mr. Gohmert. Director, I want to follow up on the FISA
issue some. Is it the FBI that is the primary agency that would
do wiretapping of foreign terrorists on foreign soil?
Mr. Mueller. No.
Mr. Gohmert. Who would that be?
Mr. Mueller. NSA.
Mr. Gohmert. All right. So that obviously would be a
Mr. Mueller. Correct.
Mr. Gohmert. That is not one you control and are here to
testify about, correct?
Mr. Mueller. That is correct.
Mr. Gohmert. Now, I am intrigued, though. Here we have not
renewed FISA. We have cut the ability of our intelligence
community to gather information about what terrorists are doing
on foreign soil.
Then we bring the FBI director in here and want to know
from him, since you are no longer able to gather this
intelligence in the same way you did before, what have you
missed? Well, if you are not gathering the intelligence, how
would you know what you have missed? That is my point.
You had said a while ago that the FBI, one of your three
missions was counterintelligence. But the longer I am here in
Congress, the more I think maybe that is the number-one mission
in Congress, is to act counter to intelligence.
But, anyway, I want to ask you about Ramos and Compean
case, though. Is there any post-conviction investigation that
is going into the facts of that case that might help the
President to determine whether or not to give a pardon?
Mr. Mueller. Not to my knowledge. But I don't know--that
was a Department of Homeland Security case, so I am not certain
Mr. Gohmert. So the FBI didn't work that case?
Mr. Mueller. I do not believe so.
Mr. Gohmert. All right, thank you.
And let me go to the NSL letters. There had been a lot of
discussion about that. You had mentioned earlier about the
concerns, the abuses of the exigent letters.
Has the FBI terminated use of exigent letters or are those
still being used?
Mr. Mueller. No, they are not being used.
Mr. Gohmert. And I think my friend, Mr. Lungren, had
alluded to it, but would you--or one of my colleagues. How
would the tradeoff of the NSLs for broader administrative
subpoena authority be better for the FBI? I really don't--I am
Mr. Mueller. The only one area that I could see that would
be beneficial would be putting in one statute, combining in one
statute the authorities which would eliminate some of the
confusion and eliminate some of the complexity of knowing the
appropriate basis and use of particular NSL. That would be one
benefit from it.
But I would hate to have lose--again, have the standard
change to back what it was before September 10 or September 11,
before September 11, in the course of devising a new mechanism
for issuing of that paper.
Mr. Gohmert. I think you have got the impression that we
are all extremely concerned about potential abuses there, so
whatever we can do to help diminish that possibility.
When you were here before, last year, we have gotten into
this some, but with regard to Representative Jefferson's case--
I know it is an ongoing case, and obviously you can't discuss
anything that might compromise that--but I had previously
understood Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty to say he was
aware that there were secured copies of the documents in
Jefferson's office that could be made available to him, but he
wanted the originals, not the copies.
Are you aware of the existence of copies at the time of the
raid on his office?
Mr. Mueller. No, sir.
Mr. Gohmert. Let me ask you about the terrorist
surveillance program. What is the status of that and its
operation under FISA?
Mr. Mueller. Again, I would defer to my counterparts in
other agencies on that. And, also, it is classified, so I
couldn't speak to it here.
Mr. Gohmert. Well, let me ask you, though, because I am
wondering if the FBI has a role in investigating the leak of
Mr. Mueller. To the extent that--yes. Yes.
Mr. Gohmert. The I.G. recently reported that the terrorist
watch list contains unacceptable errors and that the FBI is
delayed in reporting names to the terrorist watch list by up to
4 months. Why the delay there?
Mr. Mueller. Well, I think what the I.G.'s report showed
that, in the nominations process for the terrorist screening
center, we had appropriate criteria and quality controls, but
we did not update the list as often as we should. As well,
field offices had submitted incomplete and occasionally
There were 18 recommendations made by the Inspector
General. Four have been closed. Twelve of those recommendations
are awaiting closure, which leaves only two. So we have taken
the I.G.'s report and followed up on each of the
recommendations and believe that we are well on the way to
Mr. Gohmert. All right, thank you.
I see my time has expired.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.
The Chair recognizes the able gentleman from Minnesota,
Mr. Ellison. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
And, also, I want to thank you, as well, Mr. Mueller. You
have been patient and tried to answer the questions. Mortgage
fraud, online sexual abuse, terrorism, NSLs, FISA, TSP, we have
asked you about all those things. How does this affect Indian
I mean, we are talking about a region of our country that
really does depend upon the FBI for law enforcement services,
and yet we have seen high rates of violent crime and record
rates. How does all of this impact Indian country? And how
could we get some law enforcement resources there?
Mr. Mueller. We have tried to maintain our personnel in
addressing crimes on Indian country. We focus on those crimes
where we really can make a difference, the violent crime and
Our hope is that other agencies can grow to fulfill or fill
some of that mission. But in the meantime, to the extent that
we are necessary, I want to keep our persons there.
I think I indicated we have something like 16 Safe Trails
task forces, which are task forces relating to Indian country
that we operate along with State and local law enforcement.
Given the various responsibilities that we have, it is one that
I think is important.
And personally, I believe if there is anything that a
Federal entity can do to reduce the level of violence in our
communities, including communities on Indian country, we will
try to do so, understanding that we have to prioritize and we
are under financial and personnel constraints.
Mr. Ellison. Has there been a decline in the number of law
enforcement personnel, Federal law enforcement personnel in
Indian country since, say, 2001?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to check. I have tried to
maintain the safe staffing, but I haven't checked on it in a
year or so. So I would have to get back to you on that.
Mr. Ellison. Maybe somebody with your staff knows?
Mr. Mueller. I think we would have to get back to you. I
really haven't addressed the question in a year or so, so I
think we would have to get back to you.
Mr. Ellison. Well, let me tell you. I have got a lot of
constituents who are very concerned about this. And I would
count on you to get back with me on it.
Mr. Mueller. We will.
Mr. Ellison. Also, you know, in the Muslim community,
America has a great Muslim community, several million people.
And the post-9/11 world, there has been greater attention on
this community. I am sure you wouldn't dispute that.
My question is, how important are outreach efforts in the
Muslim community, given that the overwhelming number of Muslims
condemn, are opposed to terrorism, or would be happy to report
on somebody who was committing, plotting terrorism? How
important are outreach efforts into the Muslim community for
Mr. Mueller. Tremendously important. We have, since
September 11, in every one of our offices, every one of our
field offices, we have had substantial outreach efforts. I am
sure you are familiar with them in your community.
We continue to have them both on the national, as well as
in the State and the local level.
And every opportunity I have, I re-affirm the fact that
99.9 percent of Muslim-Americans or Sikh-Americans, Arab-
Americans are every bit as patriotic as anybody else in this
room, and that many of our cases are a result of the
cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States.
One of the worst things that could happen in the Muslim
community is we have another attack such as September 11.
Nobody wants it, whether it be ourselves in the FBI or those
members of the Muslim community.
Mr. Ellison. So thank you.
So let me just ask this. I mean, I know you are well aware
that, in May 2007, prosecutors down in Dallas named about 306
individuals and groups as unindicted co-conspirators in the so-
called HLF case.
To my knowledge, no one was convicted. And many people came
within like 11 to 1 to get acquitted. And I am sure you know
the history of the case, am I right?
Mr. Mueller. I believe that case is still in litigation.
Mr. Ellison. It is still on litigation, but you know that
there was--the jury came back hung and that many of the
verdicts were 11 to 1 to acquit. You know that? Not all the
verdicts; many did.
Mr. Mueller. I am not--I understood it was hung. I am not
certain that I am familiar with the breakdown of the jury on
any particular defendant.
Mr. Ellison. But I don't want to get stuck in the weeds on
the point. The fact is, 12 Americans sat in judgment of this
case, listened to all the evidence, and didn't convict. You
would agree with that?
Mr. Mueller. There was a hung jury.
Mr. Ellison. That means there was no conviction. Come on,
Mr. Mueller. There was no--there was no conviction.
Mr. Ellison. That allows me to go on and ask my question.
By naming all these 306 individuals and organizations as
unindicted co-conspirators, naming them explicitly, what impact
did that have on your effort to build better relations in the
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain it had any impact.
Mr. Ellison. I mean, do you----
Mr. Mueller. I have not heard about an adverse impact as a
result of that particular case.
Mr. Ellison. Okay. Well, let me ask you this. I mean, there
are groups on--the groups that were named in there, there was
no verdict against them, because they were unindicted, right?
I mean, do you think--what kind of effect do you think--
message it sends to them, in terms of your ability to reach out
to the community, gain cooperation, gain trust? Don't you think
it might have a deleterious effect? Doesn't your common sense
tell you that?
Mr. Mueller. I understand what you are saying. I take your
Mr. Ellison. And could you elaborate on what we do about
this, given that it is arguable that these unindicted co-
conspirators that were explicitly named, not kept under seal,
but explicitly identified could well be in violation of DOJ
policy, which I know you don't control? What would you--do you
think there is a better way to do this kind of thing?
Mr. Mueller. All I can tell you, sir, is it is in
litigation. And I am precluded from discussing it because it is
Mr. Ellison. Am I done?
Mr. Conyers. Your time is up, but you can talk some more,
if you would like.
Mr. Ellison. Okay, thank you.
You know, one of the questions that Representative Baldwin
pursued was getting a tighter handle on this watch list
process. I can't tell you how many people, most of whom are
Muslim or have Arabic names, come to me, saying, ``Wow, you
know, I got humiliated, delayed, and it is often and it is
common. I have never done anything other than try to be a good
What recommendations do you have for us that would help us,
one, protect America and, two, tailor this watch list in a way
that doesn't sweep up all these people who have done nothing
wrong, other than just try to be good Americans?
Mr. Mueller. Each agency has a redress officer and a
redress office. So the recommendation is to file the
application with the redress office.
Mr. Ellison. But, Mr. Mueller, you would agree with me that
that is pretty cold comfort to somebody who has been delayed
for 3 hours from their flight and everything they had to go do.
We need a better process than just call the redress office.
And I guess I was hoping, given that your commitment to
outreach and all, that you would be a little bit more willing
to explicitly talk about things we could do to offer
legislation to tailor a watch list. Are you telling me just go
to the office and that is it?
Mr. Mueller. Well, we have set up a redress process. I am
always open to suggestions on how it can be improved. But it
seems to me that you definitely need a redress process.
I am not disagreeing about the frustration of being held up
for 3 hours.
Mr. Ellison. But you have heard it.
Mr. Mueller. I agree with you. But we have put in place a
redress process, and I am always open to suggestions as to how
to make that redress process better.
Mr. Ellison. How would it compromise national security to
be able to have people ask if they are on it and, if they are,
to have some kind of process to set forth evidence to
demonstrate that they should be off of it?
Mr. Mueller. And that is part of the redress process, as I
Mr. Ellison. But am I wrong? I could be wrong. I thought if
you asked if you were on it, you might not even be told whether
you are on it or not.
Mr. Mueller. You may not be. But there is a redress
Mr. Ellison. How many people have been taken off the watch
list since 2001?
Mr. Mueller. I believe--I am not certain. I would have to
get back to you.
Mr. Ellison. You know, is there a chance that what we have
here is government workers who are like, ``Look, I am going to
err on the side of just putting everybody on it because I don't
want to be the one who didn't put somebody on it who maybe I
should have, so I am going to have a very, very low bar to put
somebody on this list,'' which they practically can never
really get off of, notwithstanding the redress process?
Mr. Mueller. No, I think there is a technical basis for
going on the terrorist screening center watch list. And you
have to meet certain criteria.
Mr. Ellison. Is that published?
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain it is. I don't believe it is.
Mr. Ellison. Could I----
Mr. Mueller. But there is a criteria.
Mr. Ellison [continuing]. Published?
Mr. Mueller. I would have to get back to you on that.
Mr. Ellison. Okay, so you don't know what the criteria is,
right, right now?
Mr. Mueller. Right offhand, I don't know all the criteria.
Mr. Ellison. What are a few of the big ones?
Mr. Mueller. Pardon?
Mr. Ellison. What are a few of the big ones?
Mr. Mueller. It is based on the evidence that you have in
our files to determine whether or not there has been an
association with terrorism.
Mr. Ellison. Does the person who has been watch-listed have
an opportunity to challenge those things?
Mr. Mueller. I am not certain. I don't believe so, because
you would not be exposed to the information we have.
Mr. Ellison. Right. So if you are on the list, then you
say, ``Look, I shouldn't be on this list,'' but you are not
told why you are on the list, so you can't really rebut why you
are on the list. Wouldn't you call that defect in the redress
Mr. Mueller. Well, again, I would be happy to have the
persons responsible for the watch list sit down with you and
explain in more detail how we handle the watch list.
Often, it happens that the name is similar to another name.
And through the redress process, we get identifiers and
identify you as being an individual who may have the same name
as somebody on the watch list, but because of the identifiers,
your particular name is no longer associated with the name on
the watch list.
Mr. Ellison. Mr. Mueller, I want to work with you to narrow
and tailor this watch list process.
Mr. Mueller. Yes, sir.
Mr. Ellison. And we want everybody who is supposed to be
there should stay on. But a lot of the people who shouldn't be,
I am hoping we can get them off.
Mr. Mueller. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Ellison. Thank you.
I yield back.
Mr. Conyers. Well, thank you very much.
Does the gentleman from Texas, the Ranking Member, have any
Mr. Smith. Mr. Chairman, no official closing comments.
I do want to thank the director for appearing. I think we
have had a good hearing today, and I think he has been very
responsive to all the questions that have been directed toward
As I understand, Director Mueller, your appointment, you
became director of the FBI 1 week after 9/11?
Mr. Mueller. One before, 1 week before 9/11.
Mr. Smith. I mean 1 week before. That may give rise to a
new definition of on-the-job training. I had forgotten that it
was that close.
So appreciate all that you have been through and appreciate
your good record. And as I said earlier, you and other law
enforcement agencies and intelligence-gathering agencies, as
well, have obviously done an outstanding job, since we haven't
had another attack.
Should we endure another attack, that is not necessarily a
reflection on you, because I think--frankly, I think most
Americans have been surprised there hasn't been another attack.
If you were to ask anybody a few weeks after 9/11 if we were
going to be attacked again, I suspect a high percentage of the
American people would have thought that by now that would have
I am grateful that it has not, and I think that is largely
do to the good service that you have performed, as well as
other agencies have performed. So I thank you for that.
I don't have any other comments, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you.
Does the gentleman from California, Dan Lungren, have any
Mr. Lungren. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just wanted to say, in that last exchange you had with
the gentleman from Minnesota, one of the concerns we have had
as we looked at it in the Homeland Security Committee of people
on the watch list is that, because of concerns of privacy, we
don't have the list of identifiers that allow us to take people
DHS got in a little bit of trouble because they had a list
with information of people that they tried to run it against.
And one of the concerns we have in the Homeland Security is,
can we create a system where we query files that are available
in the private sector--therefore, we don't retain that
information--to get people off?
The only other thing I was going to say, Mr. Mueller, is
that, when you were asked about the failure of the Congress to
re-enact the Protect America Act, I would just remind my
colleagues that, in testimony before this Committee, it was
Admiral McConnell, the DNI, who said that, prior to the
enactment of the Protect America Act, which has now expired--
these are his words--``We were not collecting somewhere between
one-half and two-thirds of the foreign intelligence information
that would have been collected.''
That scenario still prevails today for new investigations,
not those that you referred to that started before last August
and continued last August.
Mr. Mueller. That is correct.
Mr. Lungren. So that is the concern I think that we are
attempting to address, those of us who raise this, is the new
targets that are out there. And presumably we are missing
between one-half and two-thirds, if the DNI is correct.
And I thank you for your testimony.
Mr. Conyers. I thank the gentleman from California.
Thank you, Director Mueller. We have had a very meaningful
hearing today that started somewhere shortly after 10:15 this
Serious problems concerning the National Security Letters'
abuse still continue, including the collection of private
information on innocent people who are not relevant to any
And although the Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken
some positive steps, action at the FBI field office level is
needed, along with legislative reform, such as measures that
have been proposed by Members of this Committee.
The FBI action in the Renzi and Jefferson cases raises in
my mind serious concerns about the protecting of constitutional
privileges of the Members of Congress, as the court has already
found in the Jefferson case. The FBI must act promptly to set
up procedures in this area.
And it is shocking to me that FBI standards on
interrogation have not apparently been followed by the
Department of Defense or the CIA.
Now, the FBI deserves credit for establishing these
standards, but the fact that they are not followed by all
Federal agencies is a problem that we need in this Committee to
examine far more closely and carefully than we have up until
And so we thank you, again, and your staff for appearing
here this morning and afternoon for a very important session.
Mr. Mueller. Thank you. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Conyers. The Committee stands adjourned.
Members will have 5 days to add their comments in the
record. The Committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:35 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Responses to Post-Hearing Questions from the Honorable Robert S.
Mueller, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, DC