Committee on Homeland Security

Michael McCaul

McCaul Joins Goodlatte, House Colleagues in Introducing Secret Service Reform Legislation

2015/03/26

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, joined U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and other House members in introducing H.R. 1656, the Secret Service Improvements Act of 2015.

Since 2011, the Secret Service has had numerous high-profile incidents and security breaches including: the 2011 shooting of the White House; the 2012 Cartagena prostitution scandal; the September 2014 fence-jumper who ran into the White House residence; and the most recent incident where two senior agents, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, disrupted the integrity of an active investigation into a bomb threat.

Chairman McCaul: “As recent incidents have proven, the Secret Service has much work to do to restore the credibility of the agency and regain the trust of the American people. It is time for Congress to direct specific mandates to fix the Secret Service and we can begin by implementing some of the important recommendations made by DHS’s Secret Service review panel. This legislation will help to ensure the agency has the best possible leadership structure, internal policies, tools, and resources to meet its mission. I look forward to continuing to work with the other relevant committees to restore the Secret Service as my committee moves forward with our DHS reauthorization process.”

The bipartisan legislation implements some recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Secret Service Protective Mission Panel on how to improve the agency. It also strengthens the security of the president, those protected by the Secret Service, and bolsters security at the White House complex. Finally, the legislation enhances Secret Service agents’ training and improves transparency and accountability at the agency.

Other original co-sponsors to the bill include U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

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McCaul Opening Statement at Hearing on DHS OIG’s Report Regarding Deputy Secretary Mayorkas

2015/03/26

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing entitled, “Leadership Challenges at the Department of Homeland Security: Allegations of Improper Influence Regarding Special Visas.” Watch live HERE.

Chairman McCaul: As public servants, trust, integrity and honesty mean everything. As Members of Congress, we must have the trust of our constituents and carry out our jobs without the perception of impropriety.

Without these qualities, we cannot be seen as effective leaders , simply put, a public office is a public trust. The same holds true for all public servants including the top leadership at the Department of Homeland Security.

In an April 2010 memo to USCIS employees, then Director Mayorkas stated, “Each USCIS employee has the duty to act impartially in the performance of his or her official duties. Any occurrence of actual or perceived preferential treatment,  like treating similarly situated applicants differently, can call into question our ability to implement our Nation’s immigration laws fairly, honestly, and properly,” and that is in his words.

I am extremely troubled by the findings of the DHS Inspector General’s report on the EB-5 program. The alleged exertion of undue influence and special processes established by Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during his tenure as Director of USCIS that resulted in benefits for politically-connected and powerful individuals is extremely concerning.

The list of individuals involved in the allegations raised in the report reads like an A-list political powerhouses:

Ed Rendell – former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania, former chair of the Democratic National Committee and long-time Clinton advocate;

Terry McAuliffe – current Democratic Governor of Virginia, former chair of the Democratic National Committee (after Ed Rendell), co-chairman of President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign, and chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign;

Anthony Rodham – younger brother of Hillary Clinton; and

Harry Reid – Senate Minority Leader.

The findings show that Mr. Mayorkas’ intervention in three specific examples, involving the individuals I just mentioned gave the appearance that he played favorites with these Democratic political operatives capable of opening doors in Washington. Specifically, according to the Inspector General’s report:

1)       Mr. Mayorkas intervened in an administrative appeal related to an application to receive EB-5 funding to manufacture electric cars through investments in a company at the behest of Terry McAuliffe, a former board chairman, and Anthony Rodham, who was listed as the CEO of Gulf Coast, an entity that managed related investments.

2)       Mr. Mayorkas intervened in a case involving a Las Vegas hotel that was of interest to Senator Reid. He also took the extraordinary step of requiring staff to brief Senator Reid’s staff on a weekly basis for several months.

3)       Mr. Mayorkas intervened in the LA Films Regional Center cases by ordering that a USCIS decision to deny a proposal to fund a series of movie projects in LA be reversed after he was in contact with Ed Rendell.

Mr. Mayorkas overruled career staff in numerous instances and according to the report, “communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues” and influenced the outcome of the cases.

Although there are a lot of details and technical specifics in this report, I am troubled by many aspects that allegedly occurred under the watch, and with the direct intervention of Mr. Mayorkas.

As I read the report, I was struck by four main themes. Here are some quotes from the Inspector General’s report:

1)       Special Access: “Their allegations were unequivocal: Mr. Mayorkas gave special access and treatment to certain individuals and parties.”

Furthermore, the report states that “… Mr. Mayorkas’ communication with external stakeholders on specific matters outside the normal procedures…created an appearance of favoritism and special access.”

2)       Political Favoritism: “We received complaints from USCIS employees that the application for a politically connected regional center, Gulf Coast Funds Management, received extraordinary treatment as a result of Mr. Mayorkas’ intervention.” Additionally, “USCIS staff…understood that these applicants were prominent or politically connected.”

3)       Created or Went Around the Established Process and Career Staff Decisions: “Mr. Mayorkas was in contact, outside of the normal adjudication process, either directly or through senior DHS leadership, with a number of stakeholders having business before USCIS…..According to the employees, but for Mayorkas’ actions, the staff would have decided these matters differently.”

4)       Misplaced Priorities: “Mr. Mayorkas’ focus on a few applicants and stakeholders was particularly troubling to employees given the massive scope of his responsibilities as Director of USCIS.” 

As a formal federal prosecutor in the public integrity section for the Department of Justice, I appreciate the thorough review conducted by the DHS Inspector General.

Mr. Roth, thank you for your work on this report. I was struck by the sheer number and variety of the whistleblowers who contributed to this report. More than 15 DHS employees stepped forward. I can't think of any report in the past that has had as many.  They varied in responsibility and authority and included "very senior managers" who were in a position to witness the events in Washington, DC and experts who handle this program in the field.  This really drove home the gravity of their allegations. In addition, I know your office conducted more than 50 interviews, reviewed more than 40,000 phone records and obtained more than one million documents and emails.

As the committee continues its rigorous oversight of the Department, we must review these findings to determine if Congressional action is needed to ensure proper systems are place to effectively manage the EB-5 program. We also need to ensure that the program strikes a balance between national security and commerce.

Today, as chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, I want listen to the facts and findings of your report and determine if further oversight by my committee is warranted. I also look forward to hearing from Mr. Mayorkas and hearing his side of the story in the near future.

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Hearing: Leadership Challenges at the Department of Homeland Security: Allegations of Improper Influence Regarding Special Visas

2015/03/26

Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, on the hearing: “The findings from the DHS OIG’s report regarding DHS Deputy Secretary Mayorkas’s apparent acts of favoritism regarding the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program are extremely concerning. The report details three specific cases where applicants, perceived to be politically powerful by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees, received special access and attention directly from Mr. Mayorkas during his time as Director of USCIS. According to whistleblowers, without his involvement these cases would have been decided differently.

“These allegations appear to be at odds with USCIS’s expressed mission to ‘administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly, and correctly.’ This hearing will review the report’s findings in detail with DHS Inspector General Roth and determine if further oversight by my committee is warranted.”

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McCaul Statement on Sgt. Bergdahl Charges

2015/03/25

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the military’s announcement that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy:

Chairman McCaul: “President Obama endangered our national security and broke the law when he chose to negotiate with terrorists and release hardened enemy combatants from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl—who many believed at the time was a deserter. The president ignored this information, and at least one of the five Taliban terrorists he freed has already sought to rekindle their Islamist terror ties. In a matter of months, the travel restrictions placed on these terrorists will be lifted, and Director of National Intelligence Clapper says they are highly likely to return to the battlefield. This proves once again that the president’s political motivations for closing Guantanamo Bay are causing him to make reckless decisions and will put more American lives at risk.”

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McCaul to Hold Hearing on DHS OIG’s Report Regarding Deputy Secretary Mayorkas

2015/03/25

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security will hold the following hearing on the the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report, which found that DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas allegedly used improper influence with regard to the Immigrant Investor Program, a special visa program also known as EB-5.

THURSDAY, March 26 at 9:15 a.m.

Committee on Homeland Security

“Leadership Challenges at the Department of Homeland Security: Allegations of Improper Influence Regarding Special Visas”

311 Cannon House Office Building

Witnesses Include:

·         The Honorable John Roth, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         Ms. Maria M. Odom, Ombudsman, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, on the hearing: “The findings from the DHS OIG’s report regarding DHS Deputy Secretary Mayorkas’s apparent acts of favoritism regarding the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program are extremely concerning. The report details three specific cases where applicants, perceived to be politically powerful by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees, received special access and attention directly from Mr. Mayorkas during his time as Director of USCIS. According to whistleblowers, without his involvement these cases would have been decided differently.

“These allegations appear to be at odds with USCIS’s expressed mission to ‘administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly, and correctly.’ This hearing will review the report’s findings in detail with DHS Inspector General Roth and determine if further oversight by my committee is warranted.”

*LIVE video of the hearing will be available here.

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Subcommittee Hearing: Risk-Based Security: Assessing the Path Forward for TSA Pre✓™

2015/03/25

Subcommittee Chairman John Katko, R-N.Y., on the hearing: "Over the last three years, TSA has adopted a more common sense, risk-based approach to passenger screening through the implementation of its Pre✓™ program.  Pre✓™ has fundamentally changed the way Americans think about passenger screening in a post-9/11 world, and I believe it should continue expanding. However, in order to do so, the program should grow and mature in a manner that saves taxpayer dollars and improves the experience of the traveling public while not compromising security in any way. This hearing will examine the current state of Pre✓™, as well as evaluate TSA's approach to expanding enrollment into the program. I look forward to hearing from each of our witnesses on how the program can be further improved."   

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McCaul Statement on DHS OIG’s Report Regarding Deputy Secretary Mayorkas

2015/03/24

Report Finds Allegations of Improper Influence Regarding EB-5 Special Visa Program - McCaul to Hold Hearing Thursday

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report, which found that DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas allegedly used improper influence with regard to the Immigrant Investor Program, a special visa program known as EB-5:

Chairman McCaul: “The findings from the DHS OIG’s report regarding DHS Deputy Secretary Mayorkas’s apparent acts of favoritism regarding the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program are extremely concerning. The report details three specific cases where applicants, perceived to be politically powerful by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees, received special access and attention directly from Mr. Mayorkas during his time as Director of USCIS. According to whistleblowers, without his involvement these cases would have been decided differently.

“These allegations appear to be at odds with USCIS’s expressed mission to ‘administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly.’ I will hold a hearing this week to review the reports findings in detail with DHS Inspector General Roth and determine if further oversight by my committee is warranted.”

On Thursday, March 26, 2015, Chairman McCaul will hold a hearing entitled, “Leadership Challenges at the Department of Homeland Security: Allegations of Improper Influence Regarding Special Visas.” DHS Inspector General John Roth and USCIS Ombudsman Maria Odom will testify.

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Katko to Hold Hearing on TSA Pre ✓TM

2015/03/24

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, the Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold the following hearing to examine Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre ✓TM and assess the effectiveness of TSA’s Managed Inclusion (MI) program.

At the hearing, witnesses from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) will discuss their recent reports on TSA Pre ✓TM. The GAO report can be found HERE; the OIG reports can be found HERE and HERE.

WEDNESDAY, March 25 at 2:00 p.m.

Subcommittee on Transportation Security  

“Risk-Based Security: Assessing the Path Forward for TSA Pre ✓™”

311 Cannon House Office Building

Witnesses Include:

·         Honorable John Roth, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

·         Mr. Kenneth Fletcher, Chief Risk Officer, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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

Subcommittee Chairman John Katko, R-N.Y., on the hearing: "Over the last three years, TSA has adopted a more common sense, risk-based approach to passenger screening through the implementation of its Pre✓™ program.  Pre✓™ has fundamentally changed the way Americans think about passenger screening in a post-9/11 world, and I believe it should continue expanding. However, in order to do so, the program should grow and mature in a manner that saves taxpayer dollars and improves the experience of the traveling public while not compromising security in any way. This hearing will examine the current state of Pre✓™, as well as evaluate TSA's approach to expanding enrollment into the program. I look forward to hearing from each of our witnesses on how the program can be further improved."   

*LIVE video of the hearing will be available here.

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McCaul Opening Statement at Hearing on Global Threat of Islamist Extremism

2015/03/24

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, delivered the following opening statement at a hearing entitled, “The Fight Against Islamist Extremism at Home and Abroad.” Watch live HERE.

Chairman McCaul: Before 9/11, we failed to recognize the threat when it was right before our eyes. This failure brought us into war with violent Islamist extremism—the perversion of a religion into a deeply insidious worldview. Any attempt to deny the ideological underpinnings of the threat endangers our security.

Throughout history, we have seen power vacuums filled by violent groups, deranged dictators, and extremist ideologies. Nowhere is this more evident than with the rise of Islamist terror groups, which have spread like wildfire on this president’s watch because of two glaring leadership failures.

The first failure was the president’s decision to spin a false narrative. The White House proclaimed our fight was against “core” al Qaeda and that the group was “on the path to defeat.” In reality, the jihadist threat had metastasized. The president refused to characterize the Ft. Hood and Boston Marathon attacks for what they were—acts of brutal Islamist terrorism. 

The second leadership failure was the president’s decision to dismantle America’s counterterrorism policies and return to a pre-9/11 law-enforcement posture. The president tried to close Guantanamo Bay and release hardened terrorists; sought to give terrorists the same legal protections as U.S. citizens; negotiated and swapped hostages with terrorists; and failed to prevent the rise of ISIS and the emergence of al Qaeda sanctuaries.

A year after the president called ISIS the “JV team,” the organization can draw on over 20,000 foreign fighters and has been linked to 29 terrorist plots or attacks targeting the West. And the day the president said the global war on terror was effectively over was the day al Baghdadi created ISIS. ISIS now controls territory the size of Belgium, governs millions of people, draws on billions of dollars in revenue, and commands tens of thousands of foot soldiers.

Terrorist safe havens have spread across the Middle East and North Africa. Last week, ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attack in a museum in Tunisia; the gunmen involved had received training in Libyan terror camps. ISIS also claimed responsibility for the horrific attacks on mosques in Yemen which killed more than 150 people. Yemen’s instability has led to the evacuation of our remaining forces and will further empower extremists. This situation is alarming given that al Qaeda’s premier bomb-makers in AQAP have been targeting the homeland and Western interests for years.

Over the past year, Islamist terrorists have struck Western cities, including Paris, Sydney, Ottawa, Copenhagen, and Brussels. We have witnessed the reach of extremists here at home as well. An Ohio-based ISIS sympathizer was arrested in January for plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol. Last week, an ISIS-aligned hacking group posted the names, photos, and addresses of 100 American service members, calling their “brothers residing in America” to attack these individuals.

At the other end of the Islamist extremist spectrum, we face Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism responsible for killing Americans for more than three decades. In 2011, it attempted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in what would have been a mass-casualty attack here in Washington.

The Iranian regime is on the march, destabilizing the Middle East and stoking sectarian conflict. Yet this administration has given up on rolling back Iran’s nuclear threat and it continually fails to recognize the regime as part of the radical Islamist threat. As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said before Congress, “Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam.”

We continue to face “dual threats” here at home: foreign fighters and homegrown terrorism. More than 180 Americans have tried or succeeded in joining extremists in Syria and Iraq along with 3,000-5,000 other Westerners with visa-free access to the United States. Armed with military training and terrorist connections, these individuals are only a plane flight away.

Islamist radicals are also tailoring their hateful ideology toward Western audiences on social media and recruiting homegrown fanatics. The easy transmission of extremist propaganda on the internet has elevated the threat to the homeland. For example, there have been at least 97 homegrown terror plots or attacks in the United States since 9/11—and more than three-fourths of them have taken place in the past five years.

The rise of radicalism we are witnessing today is not just a passing phenomenon. The War against Islamist Terror will be the great struggle our lifetime, the great struggle of this century, and I believe we have a moral and strategic obligation to fight it with all tools at our disposal. Just as communism and fascism before it, Islamist extremism is a cancer that must be destroyed.

To blunt their progress, we can begin by coalescing around a comprehensive strategy to wipe out these jihadists and their twisted ideology. Our purpose should be clear: It must be the policy of the United States to confront and defeat Islamist terror groups wherever they are and prevent their reemergence in order to ensure the long-term security of the United States and our allies.

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Hearing: A Global Battleground: The Fight Against Islamist Extremism at Home and Abroad

2015/03/24

Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, on the hearing: "The rise of violent Islamist extremism we are witnessing around the globe is not a passing phenomenon. Today’s armies of Islamist terrorists are radicalizing new generations and the networks they are forming threaten the security of the West – including the United States. The War Against Islamist Terror will be the great struggle of this century, and we cannot allow these barbarians to hold any safe havens where they can train and plot against us. This hearing will review the scope of the threat and help the committee examine the way forward in the fight against Islamist extremism at home and abroad.”

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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

Buddy Carter

GEORGIA's 1st DISTRICT

Curt Clawson

FLORIDA's 19th DISTRICT

Jeff Duncan

SOUTH CAROLINA's 3rd DISTRICT

Will Hurd

TEXAS' 23rd DISTRICT

John Katko

NEW YORK's 24th DISTRICT

Peter King

NEW YORK's 2nd DISTRICT

Barry Loudermilk

GEORGIA's 11th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Martha McSally

ARIZONA's 2nd DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

John Ratcliffe

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Mark Walker

NORTH CAROLINA's 6th DISTRICT