Ted Poe

Ted Poe


Congressman Poe on First Sentenced Trafficker Under Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015


Houston, TX- Today Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus issued the following statement on the first sentenced human trafficker under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (JVTA). James Patrick Manning of Tampa is the first criminal to be sentenced under JVTA after he responded to an advertisement posted on Backpage.com by an undercover federal agent in an attempt to purchase sex from a 14-year-old girl.

“James Manning has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars, which is exactly where he belongs for attempting to purchase a trafficked child for sex,” said Congressman Ted Poe. "This new federal penalty implemented under JVTA goes directly after the people who are the lifeblood of the trafficking business—the buyers. The key to fighting any criminal enterprise is to follow the money trail. This is the first time JVTA has been used to prosecute and sentence a sex abuser. JVTA makes absolutely clear that those who attempt to purchase sexual acts from human trafficking victims are in fact human traffickers and should be punished under federal law as such. Buyers of minors and trafficked persons are now subject to the same penalties as sellers. I am proud to have led the fight in Congress to go after both human traffickers and their customers. Our children are not for sale.”


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Congressman Poe on First Sentenced Trafficker Under Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015


Houston, TX- Today Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus issued the following statement on the first sentenced human trafficker under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (JVTA). James Patrick Manning of Tampa is the first criminal to be sentenced under JVTA after he responded to an advertisement posted on Backpage.com by an undercover federal agent in an attempt to purchase sex from a 14-year-old girl.

“James Manning has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars, which is exactly where he belongs for attempting to purchase a trafficked child for sex,” said Congressman Ted Poe. This new federal penalty implemented under JVTA goes directly after the people who are the lifeblood of the trafficking business—the buyers. The key to fighting any criminal enterprise is to follow the money trail. This is the first time JVTA has been used to prosecute and sentence a sex abuser. JVTA makes absolutely clear that those who attempt to purchase sexual acts from human trafficking victims are in fact human traffickers and should be punished under federal law as such. Buyers of minors and trafficked persons are now subject to the same penalties as sellers. I am proud to have led the fight in Congress to go after both human traffickers and their customers. Our children are not for sale.” 

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Note: I am deeply saddened by the news of legendary Bob Allen's passing. Bob was a credit to the broadcasting profession and a credit to Texas. He will by missed by his friends, family and the Houston community.

I was proud to honor Bob on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2013.Below are the remarks.

Mr. Speaker, today I'm honored to recognize a Houston legend, Bob Allen who recently signed off from the sports desk at KTRK Channel 13 after nearly forty years. Bob's last broadcast was Thursday, January 17th after the Houston Texans' closed their electric 2012 season. The timing of his exit was no coincidence; he had high hopes of a Super bowl for the Texans just like the rest of us. Bob has brought sports into our homes for decades. His outstanding career at KTRK may have come to an end but for many of us Houston sports will always be synonymous with Bob Allen.

KTRK hired Bob as a weekend sportscaster all the way back in 1974, but his passion for sports and the news began long before that. Legend has it that when he was just ten years old, Bob took off on his bike from his West University house to the KTRK studios just to get a peek at the newsroom. In those days Guy Savage was the sportscaster. Young Bob was shown the exit that day, but little did they know that this bright eyed young boy would be the future face of sports in Houston.

After Bob joined KTRK it took just six months for him to be named sports director. And the rest is history. Bob has been in our living rooms through some of the greatest sports moments of the last half century; the Rockets championships in the '90s and the Love Ya blue oilers in the 70s just to name a few. I spent many nights after supper watching his sports casts after the Oilers and Astros games with my son Kurt. Bob has told the story of sports to generations of Houstonians. He has interviewed some of the greatest sports legends, including Nolan Ryan, Stan ``the Man'' Musial and George Foreman. Bob even tested out his acting skills with roles in the ABC TV movie Murder at the World Series in 1977, and another sports mystery thriller, Night Game, in '89. He played a sportscaster and an announcer for the Houston Astros, of course.

Bob has also given back to the Houston community in other ways through his charitable work with the Special Olympics and the Sunshine Kids, which helps children struggling with cancer. His commitment to service earned him recognition from the Special Olympics, who awarded him the Spirit of Special Olympics award. Bob's departure from KTRK marks the end of an era for Houston but it also marks a new beginning for Bob. He dedicated forty years to a fantastic career in sports broadcasting. Now that this chapter is over, he's looking forward to pursuing new projects. He insists that he is resigning, not retiring. He won't stop, that's just the kind of guy he is. When asked about his future he said ``I'll probably end up being busier than I was at 13.'' I don't doubt that one bit. He plans to start a media company that includes public speaking engagements and radio, and he will write a book about working on TV with some of the world's greatest athletes. Bob is a credit to the broadcasting profession and a credit to Texas. We will miss him in our homes but wish him well on his next adventure. Congratulations, Bob, on a fantastic career. And that's just the way it is.

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Terror in Texas: Homegrown plots now focus of anti-terror investigators


The young father stashed circuitry components, a soldering iron and wireless remotes in his west Houston apartment with plans to detonate homemade bombs in local shopping malls, according to court documents.

He trained with an AK-47 on a farm outside Houston, swore an oath to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and wanted to become a martyr, a federal investigator testified in court.

"I will make a widow of you," he told his wife in a conversation intercepted by federal authorities. "You will get a phone call with news of my death."

The federal investigation of Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan - one of two unrelated terrorism cases filed in Houston - is part of a broad new effort by federal law enforcement across the country to root out low-level, home-hatched terror plots before they move "from flash to bang," as one anti-terrorism expert said.

Today, federal prosecutors are charging individual suspects more quickly with providing material support to a terrorist organization, instead of trying to link the suspects to a broader network. And they have expanded use of existing laws to include threats spread over the internet and social media.

Since the Islamic State declared itself a global caliphate in 2014 - demanding the world's attention with beheading videos and calls to followers to join the cause - the U.S. Department of Justice has filed charges against 107 people across the country for supporting the group, with more than 50 convictions.

Potential terror threats are under investigation in all 50 states and charges have been brought in 26, with at least five recent cases in Texas, according to anti-terrorism experts.

"Finding those needles in the haystack - in fact, finding those pieces of hay that might become a needle and trying to disrupt them - is at the center of the FBI's work 24/7," FBI Director James Comey Jr. explained last month at a Senate hearing on homeland security.

Critics, however, say the government may be going too far, too fast in its effort to stop terrorism.

David Adler, Al Hardan's attorney, declined to comment about the pending local case, but he has argued in court that the government is drawing unfair conclusions from innocuous details of a man's personal life.

Since the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, five men have been indicted in federal court in Texas for alleged terrorist activities, four of which involved the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan: 24, of Houston, is charged with providing material support to ISIS and lying during the application process for citizenship by saying he was not affiliated with a terrorist organization and had not received weapons training from a military or paramilitary group. Al Hardan, a Palestinian national who was born in Iraq, came to the U.S. in 2009 as a refugee. He is set to stand trial in Houston starting Nov. 8.

Asher Abid Khan: 22, of Spring, is accused of trying to join jihadis in Syria in a trip that was interrupted by what he thought was a family emergency in Houston. Khan, a U.S. citizen, is currently out on bail and studying mechanical engineering at the University of Houston. He is set to stand trial Dec. 5 on charges he provided material support to ISIS.

Rahatul Ashikim Khan: 24, of Round Rock, pleaded guilty to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, al-Shabab, from 2011 to 2012. Khan, a U.S. citizen born in Bangladesh, is serving a 10-year federal sentence that will be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Khan led a group of recruits who had pledged support to the late mujahadeen commander, Mullah Omar.

Michael Todd Wolfe: also known as Faruk, 25, a Houston native living in Austin, was one of Rahatul Khan's recruits and pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist group. Wolfe, a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 82 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. He originally wanted to join Al-Qaida forces in Syria through the Nusrah Front but later opted for ISIS. Authorities stopped him at George H.W. Bush International Airport in June 2015 as he was ready to board a flight to Toronto en route to Syria, under the guise that he would be attending a concert in Europe.

Bilal Abood: 38, of Mesquite, pleaded guilty to attempting to travel to Syria to fight the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Abood, a U.S. citizen originally from Iraq, had served as a translator for the U.S. military. He was sentenced to four years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. FBI investigators found evidence on his Twitter account he had pledged allegiance to the caliphate and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Faiza Patel, co-director at the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program in New York, says the government's aggressive new approach may trample on personal freedoms.

"They are going after low-hanging fruit," Patel said. "It may be because that's all there is."

'Most are clear-eyed'

Homegrown ISIS sympathizers generally fall into two categories, those accused of plotting or attempting violent acts on U.S. soil and those who want to leave the country and join Islamic State insurgents overseas, said Seamus Hughes, who meticulously tracks ISIS cases in the U.S. as deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

The average age of a domestic ISIS recruit is 26, and the vast majority of self-radicalized recruits are male, according to data collected by Hughes.

Nearly 90 percent are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, but there's no typical profile for income, marital status or country of origin. Only a few defendants show signs of mental illness, Hughes said.

"Most are clear-eyed," he said. "They're making a decision of their own volition."

The largest cluster of criminal cases nationwide is in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, considered a U.S. hub for recruiting potential jihadis to Syria. More than a dozen members of the Somali community there have been charged with supporting ISIS in Syria.

Federal authorities also have charged a young married couple at Mississippi State University, the son of an imam and the daughter of a local cop, who admitted to a judge they planned to travel to Syria pretending to be newlyweds to enlist with jihadis.

Others charged with trying to join ISIS or ISIL abroad include a Washington, D.C., Metro policeman; a U.S. Air Force veteran from Neptune, N.J.; two national guardsmen in Illinois and Virginia; and a Dallas man who worked as a translator for the U.S. military.

The number of travel-abroad cases appears to be waning, however, as it becomes more difficult to travel to the Syrian front, Comey said. The FBI tracked about 8-10 attempted trips to Syria each month in the summer of 2015; that number had dropped to just one case or fewer per month a year later.

Plots for attacks on U.S. soil make up nearly 30 percent of the federal indictments. They include a Key West man who allegedly planned to bomb a busy beach on the Fourth of July, a Topeka man charged with plotting to drive a car bomb onto a Kansas military installation and an Ohio man who allegedly intended to bomb the U.S. Capitol during the 2015 State of the Union.

Some self-radicalized assailants - like the couple who gunned down county employees in San Bernardino, Calif., and the man who opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando - were killed while executing their plans.

The vast majority, however, like the Houston suspects, were arrested before carrying out any plans. Most appear to lack the training and sophistication to execute their visions, said David Schanzer, an associate professor and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University.

And actual attacks in the U.S. remain a drop in the bucket compared to incidents by radical groups in the 1970s, according to the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland.

'I am against America'

Al Hardan was arrested earlier this year on charges he provided material support to ISIS and lied to authorities during his application for U.S. citizenship.

He is a Palestinian national, though he was born in Baghdad and lived for some time in Jordan before coming to the U.S. as a refugee in 2009, according to court documents.

In Houston, he worked as a limo driver and cared for his disabled parents. He, his wife and parents became permanent U.S. residents, and he applied for full citizenship. But federal authorities say he lied during the application process when he said under oath that he was not affiliated with a foreign terrorist group and had not received weapons training from a military or paramilitary group.

Al Hardan, 24, said he wanted to travel to Iraq or Syria once he got his American passport, according to a transcript of an intercepted conversation that was read aloud in court by a Homeland Security investigator from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"I want to blow myself up," he said, according to the courtroom testimony. "I want to travel with the mujahideen. I want to travel to be with those who are against America. I am against America."

The Homeland Security officer testified that Al Hardan had watched instructional videos about building improvised bombs and purchased materials from eBay. Adler pointed out through questioning that the items purchased were legal and commonplace.

Al Hardan is set to stand trial beginning Nov. 8 before U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes.

The second Houston-area case involves a Spring youth who is facing charges he tried to enlist with jihadis in Syria.

Asher Abid Khan, who was 19 at the time, was indicted in May 2015 for attempting to join ISIS with a friend from high school who attended the same local mosque.

According to court documents, Khan was living with relatives in Australia when he exchanged Facebook messages with the friend, Sixto Ramiro Garcia, a Muslim convert, discussing their faith in the caliphate and their desire to dedicate their lives to something bigger than themselves.

In early 2014, the indictment alleges, Khan suggested they head to Iraq or Syria.

Khan is accused of helping Garcia, who was using the name Abdullah Ali, arrange his flight out of Houston and connecting through Facebook to a man agents called "a foreign terrorist fighter facilitator" in Turkey. Khan flew from Australia, but his family persuaded him during a stopover to return to Houston with a lie that his mother had been hospitalized.

Homegrown terror charges of material support for ISIL

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed itself as an international caliphate in 2014 and began calling for supporters to join the cause. Since then, federal prosecutors have filed charges against 105 individuals in 26 states. FBI Director James Comey has said the Justice Department is investigating suspects in all 50 states. The animation here shows the progression of criminal cases for ISIS support around the country. They include people accused of trying to travel to Syria to support jihadist rebel and people charged with attempting to plot attacks on U.S. soil.

Source: The George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

Khan helped Ali remotely to find their contact, Mohammad, near the Syrian border, and told him he'd come later, according to investigators.

Back in Spring, Khan continued to chat online with friends about his support for ISIS and his wish to die as a martyr, according to court testimony by an FBI agent.

Investigators believe Garcia went through ISIS boot camp. On Christmas Day 2014, the agent said, someone used Garcia's Facebook account to tell family members he had died for ISIS. Federal agents say they learned of Khan through Garcia's account.

Khan's attorney, Thomas Berg, said his client was a teenager with a stupid idea and didn't follow through. He says the government's case involves First Amendment issues rather than terrorist concerns.

"Mostly what the government's talked about are ideas, not actions," he said in court.

Khan, now 22, has pleaded not guilty to providing support for ISIS. He remains free on bail and is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Houston. He is set for trial Dec. 5, also before Hughes.

Plots on the decline

Terrorist plots involving large-scale, domestic attacks have decreased in recent years, allowing U.S. agencies to focus attention on the myriad threats from individuals scattered across the country, according to recent Capitol Hill testimony by Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, an agency created after the 911 Commission recommended that more a dozen agencies pool their resources.

A key component to stamping out ISIS terror plots is prevention - going into Muslim communities and forging connections, counter-terrorism experts say.

Breaking down the terror charges of material support for ISIL

Since ISIL declared itself a global caliphate in 2014 – demanding the world’s attention with beheading videos and calling on adherents from all continents to join the cause – the Justice Department has filed charges against 105 people across the country for supporting the group, with more than 50 convictions. Click on the icons for details of each case.

Hughes, with GWU, recalled visiting the mosque that the two Boston Marathon bombers had attended and talking with members of the congregation.

"You have these very awkward, important conversations about radicalization, recruitment and the role government should have in preventing Islamist-inspired terrorism," he said. "The point is to reach an individual before they cross a legal threshold."

More than half the ISIS-related cases involved informants or undercover investigators, Hughes said.

Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Houston, said the community wants to cooperate but also wants police to refrain from overreaching with people who may not be familiar with the law or the language.

Informants should be used judiciously, if at all, he said.

"The American Muslim community is not withholding its information about something bad that's going to happen," he said. "If we get wind that somebody is going to blow something up or kill somebody, it's our duty to tell. ... We want a real relationship."

Schanzer, the counterterrorism scholar at Duke, said homegrown terrorism will continue to be a problem in the U.S. for at least another decade.

But it's a "manageable threat," he said.

"We have no choice but to commit resources to mitigating the threat as much as possible," he said, "but we have to take care not to let it distort our decision-making, shake our commitment to pluralism or weaken our engagement with the broader world."

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Nigeria's Kidnapped Schoolgirls


Modern-day slaves in plain sight


HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Would you know a modern-day slave if you saw one? One group says that most people don't know how to identify human trafficking victims and that needs to change. Child advocates say that spreading awareness is part of the solution. However, the problem in the Houston area, one of the largest human trafficking hubs in the U.S., is expected to spike when Super Bowl LI takes over the city.

Most people who learn about children being trafficked believe they come from other countries but a forum presented by the Children's Assessment Center is shining the light on modern-day slavery and reminding us that sexual predators are targeting Houston-area children. 

”There's a lot of money in it," explains U.S. Rep. Ted Poe. "It's only second to drugs internationally.” 

Poe says sex slavery is so popular because criminals can only sell drugs once but they peddle people repeatedly, especially targeting children who run away from home. 

“Within days of running away from home, these children will be lured into the sex trade industry to be sold over and over again to disgusting Johns wanting to have sex with a child,” explains Children’s Assessment Center executive director Elaine Stolte. 

”This is where I disagree with Elaine," adds Congressman Poe. "These are not Johns. John is in the bible. He's a good guy. These are bad guys. These are child abusers. These are sex predators.” 

Houston resident Katherine McGibbon was a victim of modern-day slavery. She was violated by more than 50 men every day. 

”Emotionally, I was numb," says McGibbon. "During the period it was happening, it was an out of body experience because that's the only way to survive that.” McGibbon and most who are held as sex slaves are usually in plain sight and aren't held by metal chains but by chains of fear.

Law enforcement agencies and child advocacy organizations met at the forum and are working with area hotels and other Houston-area sectors to help them identify victims as more visitors and potential predators come to Houston for Super Bowl LI.      

McGibbon says she hopes to encourage victims to escape and speak up as she did. 

“Don't be fearful of the threats, they're going to look for your family -- don't believe any of that," explains McGibbon. "We have to get past the fear to get to the help.”        

Houston Police Department Interim Chief Martha Montalvo says the agency is actively going after the people purchasing these sex slaves. Also, Congressman Poe is happy to announce that he is working on a legislative bill that would allow the pictures of these predators to be posted publicly on billboards and other places.

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Yahoo Calls Report ‘Misleading’; House Republican Wants FISA Limits


Yahoo Inc. is pushing back on a Reuters article that said the company built software in 2015 to scan all incoming emails to Yahoo Mail users on behalf of U.S. intelligence officials. The news report is causing policymakers, including an influential member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to call for severe limits on a federal spying law.

“The article is misleading,” Yahoo said in a Wednesday statement. “We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize disclosure. The mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems.”

Yahoo didn’t say whether the scanning software previously existed in its systems or what government directive led the company to search for a specific “set of characters” for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency, as Reuters indicated.

The news report caused a groundswell of alarm from privacy advocates.

Immediate backlash from the privacy community homed in on a foreign intelligence program — Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act — that civil liberties proponents have been seeking for years to curb.

The provision allows U.S. intelligence officials to order electronic surveillance on targeted individuals believed to be outside of the United States. But lawmakers — including Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the chairman of the terrorism subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — have been pushing to curtail the program or end it altogether.

The Yahoo story only bolsters their case, Poe says.

“It’s pretty clear now that it’s just being abused by the NSA, and it may come to the point that we have to eliminate 702 completely if the NSA doesn’t quit abusing it,” Poe said in a Wednesday interview with Morning Consult. “The law right now doesn’t give them the authority to do the dragnet approach and collect all of these emails from a provider based on a certain word.”

Poe also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the surveillance law. The panel is also where privacy advocates like Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) have fought 702 surveillance.

The FISA Amendments Act expires at the end of 2017. For Congress, that’s not necessarily much time.

Intelligence chiefs, including FBI Director James Comey and Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, have told lawmakers that the spying program is essential to gathering foreign intelligence and fighting terrorism. With homegrown threats in the public eye following attacks in New York City, Orlando and San Bernardino, Calif., that sort of argument could prove fruitful for the intelligence community.

Poe says he supports the 702 program if it’s used to spy on foreign individuals, but he can’t support a renewal of the program if it gathers up communications of American citizens inside the United States in bulk. The law is supposed to prevent the intelligence community from scooping up individuals’ messages inside U.S. borders.

Poe says the provision is “being used and abused to spy on Americans, and the only way we know about it is because of leaks.” He called it“very disturbing.”

“We may have to put into legislation that the Fourth Amendment applies to all of this surveillance that the federal government is doing on us and be more specific so that they don’t try to use legalese to abuse the law,” Poe said. “The federal government cannot spy on Americans unless they have a warrant based upon probable cause, and they’re doing it anyway.”

“We have the votes in Judiciary on a bipartisan basis to narrow 702 or eliminate it,” Poe said. “We could pass legislation out of Judiciary, and I think we could do it if we could just get a vote.”

A House Judiciary aide told Morning Consult that the committee will hold an oversight hearing on Section 702 either this year or in early 2017.

The panel held a closed hearing on the matter in February, after which Lofgren said she had “more questions than answers.”

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Poe, Lofgren & Dingell Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging Enhanced Due Process Protections for No-Fly List


September 29, 2016


Shaylyn Hynes (Poe)



Hannah Smith (Dingell)



Peter Whippy (Lofgren)



WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Ted Poe (TX-02), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today led a bipartisan letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson seeking clarification on the recently revised DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) and requesting that the redress procedures be further reviewed and revised to protect due process rights for individuals. DHS TRIP revised its redress policy in 2015 after courts ruled that the previous procedures violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Representatives are requesting information from Secretary Johnson about the steps being taken to ensure watch lists are accurate and to ensure that people who believe they are wrongly listed have a meaningful process to challenge their status.

 “DHS is faced with the task of balancing the personal rights of those who wish to travel with safety of those wishing to fly,” said Congressman Poe. “We must ensure that our constitutional rights are not trampled on as we protect the American public. Currently American citizens are being placed on the No-Fly list often with little or no notice and are not given a constitutionally sufficient way to challenge that listing. Those that choose to challenge and seek redress should be afforded full due process. The constitution should not be trampled on in an effort to protect the homeland, we can have both freedom and security.”

“Protecting and supporting our national security is one of our most fundamental responsibilities. It is also critical to protect due process under the law for all Americans,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “We have seen firsthand the challenges facing those wrongly listed on the No-Fly list – including Members of Congress – and the complex and lengthy process required to be removed. We must keep America safe without jeopardizing our founding principles. Every effort must be made to ensure the rights provided under the U.S. Constitution are afforded to all.”

“For those wrongly included on the No Fly List, being removed can be a lengthy and complicated process,” said Congresswoman Lofgren. “I’m glad the Department of Homeland Security has demonstrated a willingness to improve this process, and I look forward to learning more about how they plan to implement changes as well as what further improvements can be made to ensure due process for those seeking correction of their erroneous watch list designation.”

For many individuals, getting off a government watch list is still a lengthy process and in some cases they are not allowed access to all the information the government has collected because of security classifications. In fiscal year 2014, a total of 9,766 DHS TRIP applications were filed with the Department and over 1,400 were still being processed. With a new set of procedures in place for over a year now, the Representatives are seeking answers to help better understand DHS TRIP and its overall effectiveness.

In addition to Poe, Lofgren and Dingell, the letter is signed by Reps. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Paul Tonko (NY-20), André Carson (IN-07), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Mike Honda (CA-17), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Jeff Miller (FL-01), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Robert Brady (PA-01), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Judy Chu (CA-27), Donna F. Edwards (MD-04), Keith Ellison (MN-05), and Loretta Sanchez (CA-46).


The full letter can be read here and below.


September 29, 2016

The Honorable Jeh Johnson

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

800 7th St. SW

Washington, D.C. 20024

Dear Secretary Johnson:

We write to learn about the recently revised Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) and to urge that the procedures be further reviewed and revised to prevent the deprivation of the due process rights of individuals seeking redress. We understand that DHS is faced with the difficult task of balancing the rights of those who wish to travel with the safety of travelers. At the same time, the liberty interests of United States citizens and permanent residents on the No Fly List must also be protected.

The No Fly List and DHS TRIP implicate several 5th Amendment due process rights concerns. Courts have recognized that the right to travel is a constitutionally protected liberty interest that cannot be deprived without the due process of law.   Courts have also noted that an individual’s status on the No Fly List can effectively bar them from traveling internationally.  In addition to seeking responses to the inquiries below, we write to express our concern regarding the due process afforded to those on the No Fly List. We have heard too many stories of individuals wrongly listed or mistaken for others listed, which can have a large impact on affected families as well.

We understand the interest of DHS in making sure that redress procedures comport with national security concerns. And, we also recognize that DHS TRIP has been revised in response to court challenges. However, there still are constitutional questions and there remains room for improvement in these procedures to protect the due process rights of individuals seeking redress. While pre-deprivation hearings may raise different challenges in the case of No Fly List redress procedures, those seeking redress after the fact should be afforded full due process, including meaningful notice of the reasons for placement on the list and the opportunity to be heard in front a neutral party.

Please provide responses to the inquiries below with as much detail as possible, to help us better understand DHS TRIP and its effectiveness, especially under the newly revised procedure.

1. What is the average number of days between an individual’s redress request through DHS TRIP and the issuance of an official response regarding the individual’s status under the most recently revised DHS TRIP procedures? In 2014, TSA stated the average time for resolving a case was 75 days, and 17 days for aviation cases.


2. How many redress applications were submitted in FY2015? How many cases are pending?


3. Have any cases been reopened and reevaluated since the revised redress procedures were implemented?


4.Please provide detailed information on the TSA Cleared List and how it is used. Will individuals who were added to this list prior to the latest revisions of the redress procedures be notified that they are on the TSA Cleared List?


5. How many individuals have been placed on the TSA Cleared List in FY2015?


6. After the TSA Administrator’s determination (either removing the individual from the No Fly list, maintaining him or her on the list, or remanding the case to TSC for further information) is communicated to the petitioner, what options are presented to the petitioner if they are not satisfied with the final decision as it relates to 49 U.S.C. § 46110? And how are these options communicated to the petitioner? 


7. In its April 2015 Notice Regarding Revisions to DHS TRIP Procedure in Latif v. Holder, the Department of Justice stated that the government would be “closely monitoring the initial implementation of these newly revised procedures on an interagency basis, and will, as circumstances warrant, consider whether further revisions to the process are necessary”. What interagency reviews, if any, of the implementation of the new process has taken place? Have any further revisions been recommended by the Department of Justice or any other agency?


Thank you for your continued work securing and defending our homeland, and we look forward to working with you to improve the DHS TRIP redress process for all while balancing our national security interests. 

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Mr. Speaker, as a former prosecutor and county Judge, I am very concerned by the press conference held on July 15th the Director of the FBI, James Comey. The press conference was carried live on many news channels, and Director Comey spoke in great detail (over 2,300 words), regarding procedures in her use of a personal email server while working as Secretary of State.

During this press conference, Director Comey stated: ‘‘Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.’’ Not only did this press conference likely violate FBI procedure, such a public accounting of alleged misdeeds while not recommending charges made it nearly impossible for the Department of Justice to do their job in this case.

The FBI is an investigating agency, not a prosecuting agency or a judge and jury. Such a public determination of a case is unprecedented and highly prejudicial. The FBI should investigate and research the facts; determining whether or not those facts constitute a crime is not their job. It appears that Comey’s statement was a violation of internal DOJ procedures.

Per DOJ regulations, in federal cases, the prosecutor’s decision to bring criminal charges is governed by the United States Attorney’s Manual. USAM 9–27.000, titled ‘‘Principles of Federal Prosecution’’ contains the DOJ’s written guidance to prosecutors about decisions to initiate or decline prosecution. Specifically, 9– 27.220(A) instructs prosecutors to file criminal charges in all cases where there is a violation of federal law and the evidence is sufficient to obtain a conviction, unless one of three grounds exist: Lack of a substantial federal interest; The defendant is subject to prosecution in another jurisdiction; or The existence of adequate non-criminal alternatives to prosecution. It is not clear from the Comey statement which of these exceptions he thinks applies in this case.

Regardless, the determination of whether or not to pursue charges in the case does not reside with an investigative agency like the FBI. By publicly making this statement, Director Comey made it practically impossible for DOJ to fully fulfill their duties under 27.220(A). There is no provision or practice that permits the FBI (or any other federal law enforcement agency) to make recommendations to the prosecution in such a public manner. This statement violated practice and procedure and further shows that this investigation was flawed from the beginning. Secretary Clinton received different treatment than any rank and file employee at the State Department would have received in such an instance.

A rank and file employee would have, at the very least, lost their security clearance had they engaged in conduct similar to that of Secretary Clinton. In the FBI ‘‘Manual of Investigative Operations and Guidelines’’ section 1–2, a number of policies and procedures are laid out for how the FBI should behave and conduct criminal investigations. Specifically, section 1–2 (1) states: ‘‘The FBI is charged with the duty of investigating violations of the laws of the United States and collective evidence in cases in which the United States is or may be a party in interest’’. In addition, section 1–2 (3) states: ‘‘Results of investigations are furnished to United States Attorneys and/or Department of Justice.’’ There is not a section in this manual that permits or directs the FBI to publicly state that the facts they investigated were not sufficient to warrant prosecution; in fact the manual clearly indicates that these facts should be turned over to either a US Attorney or the DOJ when there is sufficient evidence that a crime occurred. Director Conley stated that ‘‘there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information’’.

Despite this finding, Director Comey appears to have veered from FBI procedures to make a public statement that no prosecution was warranted. It is unclear what legal standard was used to make this determination and appears to be far outside what is permitted under the policies and practice of the FBI. There was a time when the FBI was known as ‘‘The Untouchables’’ because they were above politics; those days are over.

And that’s just the way it is.

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President Obama Vetoes Support for 9/11 Victim Families


Mr. Speaker, Fifteen years ago, on September 11, 2001, our country was instantly transformed. Three thousand Americans and people from other nations were murdered at the hands of evil, malicious terrorists.

A few weeks ago Congress granted the families of these victims their basic right under the Constitution of the U.S., to their day in court, the right to sue the perpetrators. President Obama disagrees. He vetoed the bill.

Based on the 28 pages held secret for years, there may be evidence that the country of Saudi Arabia and their officials may have had some involvement in planning the elements of that attack.

As a former judge I am a strong believer in the jury trial to solve such disputes. That is what the courtroom is for. However the administration seems more interested in diplomatic niceties with foreign nations  than the victims of 9/11.

Congress must override this veto. The truth needs to be known about who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The families of the 9/11 victims deserve to pursue justice because Mr. Speaker, justice is what we do in America.

And that’s just the way it is. 

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Poe Bill Sanctioning Iran's Military Passes the House Subcommittee on Terrorism


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation & Trade, hailed the passage of H.R. 3693 the IRGC Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2015 out of the subcommittee. 

“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has funded, planned and executed terrorist attacks against the United States and our allies for decades,” said Chairman Poe. “Despite this fact, the IRGC has managed to escape some of the economic repercussions of Department of Treasury sanctions because of an extremely narrow rule defining Government of Iran controlled entities. The Department of Treasury also, inexplicably, has not yet designated the IRGC for its support of terrorism. It’s time to close both of these loopholes and hold the IRGC accountable for its terrorist actions. The unanimous passage of this bill out of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism should be followed with a floor vote as soon as possible. The stakes are too high to let Iran abuse this gap in our laws any longer.”


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Mr. Speaker, in January 26, 1892, a young woman was born in Atlanta, Texas. Her name was Bessie Coleman and she continues to inspire generations of African American women around the United States and in the great state of Texas.

As the tenth of thirteen children whose father had left to Oklahoma seeking refuge from racial barriers, she was forced to work at the cotton harvest every year to help support her family. However, in 1915, she moved to Chicago seeking to become something greater. She had no idea how this step would change American history forever.

She began working as a manicurist in Chicago, but the stories of pilots from the First World War intrigued her. This, along with friendly taunts from her brother, would motivate her to learn how to fly.

However, schools in America denied her entrance, so she set out to attend aviation school in France. She attended the Caudon Brother’s School of Aviation, where she completed a 10 month program in only 7 months. She also received her international aviation pilot’s license from the renowned Federation Aeronautique Internationale, making her the first African American and Native American woman to earn a pilot’s license. But this is not the end of her amazing story.

Coleman returned to the United States and specialized in stunt flying and parachuting. She earned her living by barnstorming and performing aerial tricks. She became the first African American woman to perform a public flight in America. Although she changed her mind about starting a flying school for African Americans, she still encouraged other African Americans to learn how to fly.

Most importantly, she stood up for an entire community of people when she refused to perform in places that would not admit members of her race. Unfortunately, her life would end shortly at only 34 years old after a test flight gone wrong caused her to fall hundreds of feet to her death in April of 1926.

Mr. Speaker, Ms. Coleman’s strength, endurance, and ability to break down barriers are truly inspiring. I am incredibly proud that such an amazing legacy started in Texas. It is an honor to come from a state full of people known for breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles against all odds.

And that’s just the way it is.

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Taiwan’s national day—also known as Double Ten Day. The United States and Taiwan have a strong relationship.

Taiwan is a good friend and ally. I congratulate Taiwan on its national day.

We also need to be standing by Taiwan and supporting its efforts to be a responsible member of the international community. The International Civil Aviation Organization or ‘‘ICAO’’ is a UN agency to ensure the safety of planes that fly around the world. But even though it is less than a week away, there has been no indication that Taiwan will be able to participate in ICAO’s 39th Triennial Assembly on September 27.

Three years ago, Taiwan was invited by the then-ICAO Council President to attend as a guest, but that invitation was no guarantee that Taiwan could keep attending. Congress passed a law three years ago encouraging ICAO to give Taiwan observer status. Giving Taiwan such status would contribute to the success of ICAO’s mission to address aviation security threats through effective international cooperation. As our 9th-largest trading partner in 2015, Taiwan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a no-brainer. It would boost our trade relationship with Taiwan and would make the overall impact of TPP even better for Americans.

To provide greater protection for investors in both countries, we should also work on completing a Bilateral Investment Agreement with Taiwan. In all, trade is an important part of our relationship with Taiwan and I hope my colleagues will join me in advocating for these steps. Again, I wish the people of Taiwan a Happy Double Ten Day. And that’s just the way it is. 

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Poe and Green Disappointed with Changes to Water Resources Development Act


Washington, DC – In response to discouraging changes to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that removed vital support for our nation’s ports Congressman Ted Poe (TX- 02) and Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) issued the following statements. The House is expected to vote on WRDA next week.

“I am disappointed by the changes to the Water Resources Development Act,” said Congressman Poe. “WRDA strengthened the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, helping to guarantee that the Port of Houston wouldn’t have to shell out its own dollars instead of using the fund as it was intended.  Strong ports mean jobs, economic growth and a more secure nation. It is my hope that Congress will include the original language protecting the fund, and continue to make sure that the funds within the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund are fully utilized.  Maintaining our waterways and port-related infrastructure is critical to future trade and commerce efforts.”

Congressman Green, whose district includes the Port of Houston, which is the second busiest port in total tonnage in the United States added, “I’m disappointed critical funding authority for our ports has been put at risk. Our ports serve as our gateways for trade & commerce and create good jobs for millions of hard working Americans which is why I supported the bipartisan efforts of the Transportation Committee to strengthen our ports. I am hopeful my colleagues will come together to restore this key provision.”

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Mr. Speaker, an estimated 1,200 Iranian dissidents remain in Camp Liberty in Iraq at the mercies of the proIranian government in Baghdad. These refugees, mainly members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (otherwise known as the MEK) are unarmed, innocent people who have been forced to flee their homes because of their opposition to the tyrannical theocratic regime in Tehran.

They have endured decades of exile outside of Iran marked by continuous suffering and persecution. Since 2013, seven rocket attacks have targeted Camp Liberty, wounding hundreds and killing at least 139 residents. All of these attacks are believed to have been carried out either by Shiite militias in Iraq linked to the Iranian regime or by agents of the Iranian Quds Force.

No one has been held accountable for these attacks. In fact, no one has even been arrested. Despite the fact that the Iraqi government signed a Memorandum of Understanding ensuring the safety and security of the residents of Camp Liberty, it appears that the Iraqi government’s subservience to Iran takes precedence.

These dissidents are not safe in Iraq and must be relocated as soon as possible to some other country. Thankfully, 1,800 residents have already been resettled outside of the country, particularly in Albania, which took in the most recent batches of refugees leaving Camp Liberty in early August. However, recent reports from MEK sources within Tehran now suggest that the Quds Force is contemplating another major strike on Camp Liberty before the remaining refugees are allowed to leave.

At the same time, Quds Force-linked paramilitary forces have been increasing their presence in Baghdad International Airport—a troubling sign that could presage another strike on the camp that is located not too far from the airport. The Iranian government would like to extend the reign of terror it wages at home against any and all people who speak out against it— including the dissidents in neighboring Iraq. How many more people have to die? How many more times will unarmed refugees be attacked by rockets? The Iraqi government must live up to its commitment and protect these refugees until every last one of them finds his or her way to safety.

And that’s just the way it is.

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Mr. Speaker, on May 21, 2016, a U.S. drone strike killed the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mansour. To no one’s surprise, at the time of his death Mansour was in southwestern Pakistan. The drone strike Pakistan’s longstanding support for terrorist groups. For example, Pakistan openly supported the Afghan Taliban both before and after the extremists took control of Kabul in 1996. Islamabad’s connection to terrorist groups is so close that in 2011 Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the Senate that ‘‘the Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.’’ The InterServices Intelligence Agency or the ‘‘ISI’’ is Pakistan’s version of the CIA.

The Haqqani Network is not a nice group of people. They have killed more Americans in the region than any other terrorist group. A leaked NATO report in 2012 detailed Pakistan’s ongoing relationship with the Taliban. The report described Pakistan’s ‘‘manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership’’ and claimed that the government was aware of locations of senior Taliban leaders, including some who lived in the vicinity of the ISI headquarters in Islamabad. The laundry list of evidence of Pakistan’s support for terrorists goes on and on. We all remember where al-Qaeda’s leader and America’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden was found: in Pakistan, of course.

In response to the bin Laden raid, Pakistan put the doctor who helped us in jail and closed the U.S. military’s supply route from Karachi port to Afghanistan for 7 months. While Pakistan has been harboring and supporting terrorists with American blood on their hands, it also has been receiving billions in U.S. foreign assistance. In fact, Pakistan is one of the leading recipients of U.S. aid in the last 14 years. Congress has appropriated more than $33 billion to Pakistan since fiscal year 2002. One of the ways we have given Pakistan money over the years is by reimbursing them for efforts they take to fight terrorists. But a GAO study from 2008 found that the Department of Defense could not verify the validity of Pakistan’s claims. The GAO study concluded that some reimbursed costs were potentially duplicative or not based on actual activity.

In 2010, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrook said that roughly 40 percent of Pakistan’s reimbursement requests were rejected. Each year we say that Pakistan is at the crossroads and needs to decide whether it is going to fight terrorists or fight on our side. In fact, just two months ago the State Department’s Ambassador Richard Olson, used this very line. But the United States has been using this line for the last 15 years.

Enough is enough. Pakistan is playing us. They are trying to have it both ways. They want our money and they keep supporting terrorists who target Americans. I invited Ambassador Olson to come testify before us and explain himself, but he refused. Instead, the State Department said this was a ‘‘particularly sensitive time in our relationship with Pakistan’’. In other words, he was afraid Pakistan would come away looking bad. Well that might be just because Pakistan is bad. Now we have put conditions on aid to Pakistan before, requiring them to really go after terrorists if they want our money. But those conditions have always had a waiver attached to them and every year, the President has exercised that waiver. In other words, we paid Pakistan even though it did not go after terrorist groups. Well, for the first time last year, we did not include a waiver on $300 million of money for Pakistan. And guess what? Pakistan did not get the money because it had not gone after the terrorist groups.

Even when there are hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, Pakistan refuses to go after terrorist groups. The reality is that Pakistan has chosen sides. And it isn’t ours. It is time to change our policy towards Pakistan. We do not need to pay Pakistan to betray us. They will do it for free.

And that’s just the way it is.

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Congressman Poe Supports Texas's Withdrawal from Refugee Resettlement Program


Houston, TX- "I fully support Governor Greg Abbott's request to withdraw Texas from the Refugee Resettlement Program,"said Congressman Ted Poe. "My bill, H.R. 4197, the State Refugee Security Act guarantees that states can withdraw from the program upon request from their governor. The reality is that ISIS has vowed to attack America. It is dangerous and irresponsible to let thousands of refugees in to this country when FBI Director Comey admitted we cannot properly vet them. Until the federal government can conduct thorough security screenings and confirm that there are no security risks, states should to be able to protect their citizens by withdrawing from participation in this program." Read More



WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), introduced H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act.

Chairman Poe: “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.  From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s. This bill will require the Administration to formally answer this question.  The President must issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism.  Thirty days after that, the Secretary of State must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is State Sponsor of Terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation. It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a State Sponsor of Terrorism.” 

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Mr. Speaker, Pakistan is not America’s trustworthy ally.

For years, Pakistan has been aiding and abetting the enemies of the United States of America. These are not enemies who simply profess to hate us. These are groups and individuals with American blood on their hands.

However, the United States continues to give billions of money to Pakistan.

Frankly, Pakistan has been playing both sides on the war on terror. Pakistan openly supported the Taliban both before and after they came to power in Afghanistan. They provided the radical extremists with cover, cash, and weapons to conduct attacks. Senior Taliban leaders still live in Pakistan to this day. They are not all hiding in remote caves in the mountains far from the eyes of Pakistani officials. Some of these terrorist leaders are known to live in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. It came as no surprise that the leader of the Afghan Taliban was killed by a U.S. drone strike while in Pakistan in May.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, the worldwide Taliban headquarters is . . . in the Pakistan city of Quetta.

Pakistan is not America’s trustworthy ally.

There is more. The Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Agency fosters close, cozy ties with the Taliban leaders, directly assisting them to carry out a terrorist agenda approved by Islamabad. Documents leaked in 2010 revealed direct meetings between the ISI and the Taliban to organize and orchestrate attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s security services also maintain illegal ties to the Haqqani network, a rabid criminal terrorist syndicate that has claimed responsibility for numerous bloody attacks against American and NATO forces.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified in 2011 that Pakistan supported many Haqqani network attacks in Afghanistan, including an assault on the U.S. Embassy. Admiral Mullen even called the Haqqani network ‘‘the veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.’’ Five years later, little has changed. This summer, the Department of Defense announced that it could not certify that Pakistan has taken action against the Haqqani network. Therefore, Pakistan lost hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. aid.

Pakistan is not America’s trustworthy ally.

Yet another terrorist group protected by the ISI is Lashkar-e-Taiba, the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai, India massacre. This murderous rampage claimed the lives of 166 individuals and left over 600 wounded. This group arrogantly operates freely within Pakistan. Its founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is an open public figure in the country despite a $10 million dollar U.S. bounty on his head. Pakistan has even maintained contact with the perpetrators of the most devastating attacks on our homeland, al-Qaeda. In fact, in 1998 Pakistani nuclear scientists met with senior alQaeda leaders to discuss the possibility of the terrorist group developing a nuclear weapon.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the invasion of Afghanistan, outlaw leaders of al-Qaeda and the Taliban knew just where to find a hideout—across the border to Pakistan. Home sweet home.

Evidence emerged in 2005 and 2008 that Pakistan’s ISI was working hand in hand with al-Qaeda operatives to purchase arms. Further evidence shows the bandit groups moved Arab fighters to fight against Americans trying to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Finally, Pakistan was harboring public enemy Number 1, the coward Osama bin Laden, in a luxurious home near a military compound. American Navy SEALs brought justice upon his head in 2011.

These are well established facts that even the Administration has acknowledged Pakistan’s despicable record of combatting terrorism. The most recent edition of the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism plainly states that Pakistan ‘‘did not take substantial action’’ against terrorist groups nor did it limit their ability to attack U.S. interests in neighboring Afghanistan. It details the ongoing capabilities of terrorist groups to ‘‘operate, train, organize, and fundraise in Pakistan.’’

Pakistan is not America’s trustworthy ally.

In spite of this overwhelming evidence, the State Department still perversely and blissfully maintains that Pakistan is a ‘‘critical counterterrorism partner.’’ This simply does not make sense. The American people demand an explanation. Is Pakistan a friend or a foe in the fight against terrorism?

My bill, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2016, will require the Administration to answer this question. The President must issue a report in 90 days detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism. Thirty days later, the Secretary of State must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Islamabad does not meet the legal criteria for designation.

A day of reckoning has arrived. Fifteen years after September 11, 2001, we have more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on. And it’s not America’s.

And that’s just the way it is.

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Mr. Speaker, Richard King is one of the many faces who shaped the ethics of hard work and endurance that define Texan values. He is the founder of King Ranch, but started his career as a river man, steamboat businessman, and later a livestock capitalist. He was born in New York City in 1824 to a poor Irish family. At only nine years old, Richard was indentured to a jeweler. However, he soon escaped as a stowaway on the Desdemona, a massive ship headed to Alabama.

Once arriving, he spent the majority of his on the Alabama river learning from other boaters, and by the time he was 16 years old, he was a steamboat pilot. Richard joined the army in 1842 to fight the Seminole War in Florida, and it is there that he met Mifflin Kenedy, who eventually became a longtime business partner. During the war, Richard King started and commanded the ‘‘Colonel Cross’’ to transport troops and supplies down the river.

When peace was made, Richard became a partner of M. Kenedy and Company, Mr. Mifflin Kennedy’s steamboat company. But he didn’t stop there. Richard began to expand his property, and after years scattered with trials, failures, and finally success, he became a master businessman. This aspiring gentleman’s purchases and income grew greater and greater by the day. In several partnerships, he bought land in the Nueces Strip in 1853, when he purchased the 15,500- acre Rinco´n de Santa Gertrudis grant from the heirs of Juan Mendiola, then 53,000-acre Santa Gertrudis de la Garza grant from Jose´ Pe´rez Rey.

These pieces of at first barren land became the birthplace of King Ranch. With expansions and renovations, this land increased, and by the time of his death in 1885, King had made over sixty major purchases of land and amassed some 614,000 acres. Every good Texan knows of the trails to northern markets and Ft. Worth stock market.

Richard sent more than 100,000 livestock up these trails, taking it upon himself to expand the Texas ranching industry. Richard King was not only a rancher, river man, and businessman, but a man of generosity and service to his country, using his resources as he could in every battle. He symbolizes the heart of the American dream, rising from an indentured servant and runaway boy, to one of the wealthiest and most powerful men of the West. He died at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio. His last instruction to his lawyer was, ‘‘Not to let a foot of dear old Santa Gertrudis get away’’.

And that is just the way it is.

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Committee Assignments

Foreign Affairs


Texas Congressman Ted Poe is a leading advocate in Washington for limited government, free markets, low taxes and individual liberty.

Prior to serving in Congress, Ted Poe served for 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston where he garnered national media attention for his innovative sentences – dubbed “Poetic Justice.” Prior to that, he served for 8 years in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where he became the chief felony prosecutor and never lost a jury trial.

Congressman Ted Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, and the Foreign Affairs Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. An outspoken advocate on border security, he travels regularly to the southern border to meet directly with local law enforcement and residents. He also often visits our troops in Afghanistan and around the world. Congressman Ted Poe established the bipartisan Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC) to advocate on behalf of victims in our nation’s capital. A strong constitutionalist, Congressman Poe stands firmly in the belief of “we the people” not “we the subjects.”

Serving With

Louie Gohmert


Sam Johnson


John Ratcliffe


Jeb Hensarling


Joe Barton


John Culberson


Kevin Brady


Michael McCaul


Michael Conaway


Kay Granger


Mac Thornberry


Randy Weber


Bill Flores


Randy Neugebauer


Lamar Smith


Pete Olson


Will Hurd


Kenny Marchant


Roger Williams


Michael Burgess


Blake Farenthold


John Carter


Pete Sessions


Brian Babin


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