Committee on Homeland Security

Michael McCaul

Subcommittee Hearing: Oversight of the DHS Headquarters Project at St. Elizabeths: Impact on the Taxpayer

2014/09/19


Subcommittee Hearing: Safeguarding Privacy and Civil Liberties While Keeping our Skies Safe

2014/09/18


Hearing: Worldwide Threats to the Homeland

2014/09/17

Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) on the hearing: “The brutality of ISIS shocks the international conscience as they continue to carry out gruesome attacks in Iraq and Syria. Of major concern to our security is the rapid expansion of this terrorist organization and its recruitment of foreign fighters, many of whom have Western passports that could ease their travel to Europe and the United States to carry out attacks. At this hearing, DHS Secretary Johnson, FBI Director Comey and NCTC Director Olsen will testify on the threats the United States faces from ISIS and highlight the efforts of the federal government to counter such security concerns here at home. We will also examine the continuing danger posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates, particularly in Yemen and Syria, as well as the rising threat of homegrown terrorism and the ever present and growing cyber security risks facing the United States.”

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McCaul to Hold Hearing on Worldwide Threats to the Homeland

2014/09/16

Tomorrow, the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security will hold the following hearing to examine global threats to homeland security and the federal government’s efforts to protect the United States from these threats.

WEDNESDAY, September 17 at 10 a.m.

Committee on Homeland Security

Worldwide Threats to the Homeland

311 Cannon House Office Building

Witnesses Include:

·         The Honorable Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         The Honorable James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice

·         The Honorable Matthew G. Olsen, Director, National Counterterrorism Center

Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) on the hearing: “The brutality of ISIS shocks the international conscience as they continue to carry out gruesome attacks in Iraq and Syria. Of major concern to our security is the rapid expansion of this terrorist organization and its recruitment of foreign fighters, many of whom have Western passports that could ease their travel to Europe and the United States to carry out attacks. At this hearing, DHS Secretary Johnson, FBI Director Comey and NCTC Director Olsen will testify on the threats the United States faces from ISIS and highlight the efforts of the federal government to counter such security concerns here at home. We will also examine the continuing danger posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates, particularly in Yemen and Syria, as well as the rising threat of homegrown terrorism and the ever present and growing cyber security risks facing the United States.” 

*LIVE video of the hearing will be available here.

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Hudson Introduces Bill to Cut Taxes on Air Travelers

2014/09/15

 

Media Contacts:

Hudson: Robert Reid

McCaul: Lauren Claffey April Ward

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 5462, a bill to limit the fees charged to passengers of air carriers and clarify Congressional intent. U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-TX, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, joined in co-sponsoring the legislation.

“Americans can’t afford excessive burdens from Washington’s heavy taxing hand, yet federal taxes for a flight are higher than taxes on alcohol and tobacco. Rolling back aviation user fees and reducing taxes on airline passengers benefits everyone – from helping families save money when taking a vacation to cutting costs for our small businesses whose employees travel for work,” said Subcommittee Chairman Hudson.

“Despite the intent of Congress to simplify the fee structure, TSA misinterpreted the language and has begun collecting additional fees, above and beyond the increase authorized, by eliminating the cap on fees for round trip travel. This regulatory change will significantly increase fees for some air passengers, especially those who must take multiple flights to get to their final destination, such as those in small, rural communities. I remain committed to finding commonsense solutions that reduce taxes and make air travel more accessible, leading to more frequent trips, increased tourism and more dollars invested in our local economies.”

“TSA should not collect additional passenger security fees beyond what Congress has authorized. H.R. 5462 is common-sense, bipartisan legislation to clarify the fee structure that Congress intended and protect the traveling public from excess charges on their flights. I applaud Subcommittee Chairman Hudson for his leadership on this issue,” said Chairman McCaul.

To view industry support, please click here.

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House Homeland Security Committee Schedule for September 15-19, 2014

2014/09/12

The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security has announced the following hearings for next week:  

WEDNESDAY, September 17 at 10:00 a.m.

Committee on Homeland Security

Worldwide Threats to the Homeland

311 Cannon House Office Building

Witnesses Include:

·         The Honorable Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         The Honorable James B. Comey, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice

·         The Honorable Matthew G. Olsen, Director, National Counterterrorism Center

Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) on the hearing: “The brutality of ISIS shocks the international conscience as they continue to carry out gruesome attacks in Iraq and Syria. Of major concern to our security is the rapid expansion of this terrorist organization and its recruitment of foreign fighters, many of whom have Western passports that could ease their travel to Europe and the United States to carry out attacks. At this hearing, DHS Secretary Johnson, FBI Director Comey and NCTC Director Olsen will testify on the threats the United States faces from ISIS and highlight the efforts of the federal government to counter such security concerns here at home. We will also examine the continuing danger posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates, particularly in Yemen and Syria, as well as the rising threat of homegrown terrorism and the ever present and growing cyber security risks facing the United States.” 

THURSDAY, September 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Subcommittee on Transportation Security

Safeguarding Privacy and Civil Liberties While Keeping our Skies Safe

311 Cannon House Office Building

Invited Witnesses Include:

·         Mr. Stephen Sadler, Assistant Administrator, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         Mr. Christopher M. Piehota, Director, Terrorist Screening Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice

·         Ms. Jennifer Grover, Acting Director, Homeland Security and Justice, Government Accountability Office

Subcommittee Chairman Richard Hudson (R-NC) on the hearing: “The thousands of foreign fighters, including U.S. citizens, affiliated with terrorist groups like ISIS are a growing and serious threat to the security of U.S. aviation and the homeland. It is imperative that we accurately identify individuals who pose this threat. The Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) maintains the U.S. Government’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist, including the No Fly List, which helps agencies like TSA identify known or suspected terrorists and take the appropriate steps to prevent them from entering the country, boarding an airplane, or obtaining a visa.

“This hearing is an opportunity to examine TSA’s and TSC’s efforts to safeguard the homeland using this counterterrorism tool, while at the same time protecting passenger data and offering redress to individuals who are incorrectly identified or matched to the list. The Subcommittee looks forward to hearing testimony from the TSA, FBI, and GAO on how the government is working to secure our skies while ensuring that adequate privacy and civil liberties protections are in place for the millions of people who fly every day.”

FRIDAY, September 19 at 9:30 a.m.

Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency  

Oversight of the DHS Headquarters Project at St. Elizabeths: Impact on the Taxpayer

311 Cannon House Office Building

Invited Witnesses Include:

·         The Honorable Chris Cummiskey,  Acting Under Secretary, Management Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         Mr. Norman Dong, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration

·         Mr. David C. Maurer, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office

Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) on the hearing: “Since 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and General Services Administration have spent over a billion taxpayer dollars to construct a new DHS headquarters on the St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast Washington, DC. The goal was to consolidate leadership and operations to make the Department more efficient. However, a majority staff report released by our Subcommittee earlier this year showed significant cost increases, schedule delays, and questionable decisions. Because of these concerns, I asked our congressional watchdogs to conduct a comprehensive review of the project. This hearing will thoroughly examine the findings from the Government Accountability Office’s report.”

*LIVE video of the hearings will be available here.

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McCaul Op-Ed: Islamic State Is Recruiting America's 'Jihadi Cool' Crowd

2014/09/12

Wall Street Journal - by Michael McCaul 

We heard Wednesday night from President Obama about his plan to combat the Islamic State abroad, but what we didn't hear is his plan to combat violent Islamist extremism in the U.S.

Americans have been radicalized within our borders and drawn to this conflict in disturbing numbers. Late last month the State Department confirmed that an American was killed in Syria while fighting for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and the government is investigating a second American fatality in the same battle. Both were young men raised in Minnesota, and one was found with his U.S. passport.

Though citizens of at least 50 countries have joined the brutal terrorist group, the hundred or more Americans who have traveled to the region to join the fight are the ones who pose an exceptionally grave threat to national security. Armed with military training, combat experience and extremist connections, these battle-hardened Islamists are only a one-way flight from home.

U.S. authorities are working to track these individuals and prevent their return to America, and the international community is waking up to the need to roll back the ISIS sanctuary straddling Iraq and Syria. But the danger to the homeland cannot be eliminated or reduced to what President Obama called a "manageable problem" solely on a foreign battlefield. We must also wage a robust effort here at home to combat the violent Islamist ideology—the root of radicalization—by working with local communities to intervene when we see signs of it.

Several of our allies have recently announced new measures to tackle homegrown extremism. The United Kingdom, for example, is requiring suspected British jihadists to attend de-radicalization programs. But many of our partners ultimately look to the U.S. for guidance. So what is America doing to combat the rising threat of domestic radicalization? I am worried that we are not doing enough.

Despite releasing a strategy and implementation plan for "countering violent extremism" in 2011, the Obama administration has designated no lead agency in charge of overseeing the government's various counter-radicalization programs. These range from awareness briefings for community leaders to training for state and local law enforcement in spotting signs of radicalization. Many initiatives are largely untested and have no clear way of measuring their impact. In fact, the White House plan says agencies will assess their own progress in carrying out these activities, a grade-your-own-work standard that lacks real accountability.

Surprisingly, the administration also has been unable to provide figures on how much money is being spent on counter-radicalization, and it cannot articulate to Congress how many government personnel or programs are devoted fully or partially to it.

I am alarmed that we are still grappling with such basic issues when the threat environment is changing so quickly. These aren't yesterday's extremists, who moved messages between couriers and caves. Today they are releasing propaganda in real time via social media and making it go viral. ISIS has tailored its hateful and repressive ideology to appeal to a younger generation, helping to fuel a subculture disturbingly referred to by some in the media as "jihadi cool."

The group recently began distributing its own online magazine, Dabiq, taking a page from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose Inspire magazine includes articles like "How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," a simple explosives guide for would-be terrorists. While ISIS hasn't yet begun to provide bomb-making advice, the professionally edited publication is written entirely in English and is a key tool for indoctrinating young potential followers. Some authorities believe that ISIS's social-media mastermind may be an American college graduate from Boston, reinforcing concerns that the group is ramping up its ability to recruit from the West.

The easy transmission of this extremist propaganda online may be contributing to an uptick in homegrown terrorism. There have been more than 70 violent jihadist plots or attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, according to the Congressional Research Service, and more than two-thirds have been uncovered or have taken place in only the past five years. Many of the suspects were radicalized at least in part by online Islamist propaganda, including the Boston Marathon bombers whose explosive devices were similar to those described in Inspire.

But the administration's efforts don't seem to have kept pace with the threat. It is unclear, for instance, whether federal agencies even share a common definition of "countering violent extremism," an ambiguity that stems from the administration's reluctance to identify the nature of the problem. For years, it has labeled the Fort Hood massacre as "workplace violence," when it was plainly an act of terror. Definitions matter, and a key first step in properly tackling the current threat is to call it what it is: violent Islamist extremism.

ISIS and other extremist butchers continue to push their perverse propaganda to our children, and we need to be sure we are doing all we can to blunt their momentum. As chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, I have initiated a top-to-bottom review of the Obama administration's counter-radicalization efforts. More than ever, we need a full accounting of how taxpayer dollars are being used to confront this growing menace.

In his Wednesday speech, the president seemed to face the reality of the ISIS threat overseas, but these violent Islamists will continue to exploit our open society to infect young people with a hateful world view. To defeat such extremism, we must challenge its insidious ideology wherever it emerges, especially here at home.

Mr. McCaul, a congressman from Texas, is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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McCaul Statement on the 13th Anniversary of 9/11

2014/09/11

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, today released the following statement regarding the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

 “Thirteen years ago, nearly 3,000 innocent Americans were killed by al Qaeda terrorists in an attack on our homeland. Today, we remember the victims, their families and the perseverance that this day represents. We also remember the many heroic acts that emerged from this tragedy – from our first responders to the passengers on Flight 93.

“Two years ago, we also lost four brave Americans in the terrorist attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi. This violent attack painfully demonstrated that the threat of terrorism persists both at home and abroad. Today, we see the threat from violent Islamist extremism is on the rise across the globe and in particular the danger from ISIS and it’s recruitment of foreign fighters is a top national security concern. We must remain vigilant.

“I commend the brave men and women who have fought tirelessly to defeat terrorism since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and those who have given their lives to ensure Americans are safe at home. We remain indebted to their service and grateful for their courage.”

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McCaul Statement on President’s Strategy to Combat ISIL

2014/09/11

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, today released the following statement on President Obama’s remarks outlining his plan to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“Tonight’s presidential address to the nation is a key moment in our continued fight against the terrorism that came to our shores thirteen years ago tomorrow. The Islamist jihad waged against the west by the group calling themselves ISIL is as much of a threat to our nation as Osama bin Laden was. They continue to recruit and train citizens around the globe to their warped ideology and if we don’t confront this evil now, it is only a matter of time until they conduct an attack in the west or on our shores.

“This fight is not over or diminished, and it is time to take the fight seriously. The past few years, the president and his administration have not wanted to face the reality of the growing threat in Syria. As we watched events unfold there and in Iraq, the president remained unconvinced of the urgency to deal with ISIL. Tonight the president seemed to have faced reality.

“As the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, I have a responsibility to help ensure our security and intelligence measures are ready to detect and prevent another 9/11 attack. I intend to work closely with my fellow members of Congress and the administration to protect our citizens and our way of life.”

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DHS Confirms Threat to U.S. from Foreign Fighters with Western Passports

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, chaired by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., held a hearing entitled “One Flight Away: An Examination of the Threat posed by ISIS Terrorists with Western Passports.”

At the hearing, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, questioned DHS witnesses on the potential for individuals with Western passports, who have joined the ISIS’s fight against America, to jump on a flight back to the United States undetected, with the intention of harming and killing Americans.  Chairman McCaul reiterated his concern that unknown terrorists — those with no criminal record or intelligence traces — could use a valid U.S. passport or the Visa Waiver Program to enter and exit the United States. 

DHS’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Office of Intelligence and Analysis, as well as the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism testified on the federal government’s efforts to prevent terrorist travel internationally.

My biggest concern is we don’t have sufficient intelligence, human intelligence, in particular in Syria, to identify the 100 to 200 Americans that are over there, and that we don’t have sufficient intelligence on these tens of thousands of foreign fighters that could board an airplane and come into the United States…” said Chairman McCaul.  “When I ask the question ‘Do we have a high degree of confidence?’ as to who these people are over there, I’m not always satisfied with the answer. I think the honest answer is ‘We don’t.’ I would urge this administration - and I’m hopeful that the president tonight will articulate a policy, a strong policy, since we pulled out of Iraq completely without a status of forces agreement and left a vacuum there that has developed into what is one of the biggest threats to the homeland in Iraq and Syria - that we regain that reconnaissance, that intelligence, and also that intelligence on the ground to determine who is over there so that we can stop them from coming back to the United States and killing Americans.”

Subcommittee Chairman Miller said “Although CBP continuously vets all visa applicants against our terrorism holdings, that information is imperfect if we do not have a complete picture of an individual’s travel route – collecting more information up front may be helpful to do just that.”

DHS said they are reviewing the collection of additional data on individuals in the Visa Waiver Program. “As an operational organization, we’re always looking for additional sources of information to help us paint a better picture of a traveler - if we can figure out what their intentions are by having access to additional information and how we would us it, in what circumstances we would use it and how we would protect it,” said John Wagner, Assistant CBP Commissioner for Office of Field Operations.

Tony Miller, Acting Assistant CBP Commissioner for Intelligence and Investigative stated this is a concern for DHS as well. “We continue to look at the known terrorists to look at travel patterns, to look at who they’re connected to, to look at some of the data elements that we may be able to utilize to identify future people,” he said.  

Full video of Chairman McCaul’s remarks is available HERE.

Full video of Subcommittee Chairman Miller’s remarks is available HERE.

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Contact Information

H2-176 Ford HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-226-8417
Fax 202-226-3399
homeland.house.gov


Membership

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Paul Broun

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Jason Chaffetz

UTAH's 3rd DISTRICT

Steve Daines

MONTANA

Jeff Duncan

SOUTH CAROLINA's 3rd DISTRICT

Richard Hudson

NORTH CAROLINA's 8th DISTRICT

Peter King

NEW YORK's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Mark Sanford

SOUTH CAROLINA's 1st DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Chris Stewart

UTAH's 2nd DISTRICT