U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman
For Immediate Release Contact: Jeff Lungren/Terry Shawn
October 17, 2002
Sensenbrenner Statement and Release of Justice Department’s Answers to USA-PATRIOT Act Oversight Questions
WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) today released the Justice Department’s answers to his and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr.’s (D-Mich.) June 13, 2002 letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft requesting information about the implementation of the USA-PATRIOT Act anti-terrorism legislation signed last year by President Bush. The text of the responses is available at http://www.house.gov/judiciary/patriotresponses101702.pdf. The Sensenbrenner/Conyers letter is available at http://www.house.gov/judiciary/ashcroft061302.htm. Chairman Sensenbrenner released the following statement:
“I am satisfied that the Department of Justice has produced answers that are sufficient for the Committee’s oversight and legislative efforts at this time. These responses provide basic information regarding implementation of the USA-PATRIOT Act (“Act”) that will permit the Committee to understand how it is working in practice and to continue oversight of the use of these new authorities in the future.
“We have also resolved, in consultation with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”), the handling of classified material related to the use of surveillance and search authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”), which was substantially amended by the Act. The Judiciary Committee will have reasonable limited access, subject to appropriate security procedures, to FISA information through HPSCI.
“The Committee will work with HPSCI in the 108th Congress to structure and formalize this arrangement in the Rules of the House. The House Appropriations and Armed Services Committees currently have access to certain classified materials under House Rules to carry out their responsibilities. Judiciary Committee access to FISA materials reflects the greater cooperation and coordination between law enforcement and intelligence that is at the heart of the USA PATRIOT Act.
“Access to these materials is critical to carrying out the Committee’s responsibilities to ensure that the use of the authorities under the Act (1) is effective at helping to prevent terrorism through effective law enforcement and intelligence investigations, (2) results in the appropriate balance between law enforcement and intelligence investigations, and (3) respects constitutional rights, especially those embodied in the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”
The Committee’s inquiry has resulted in the disclosure of the following significant information regarding the use of the authorities in the Act:
- Through June 30, 2002, the Department had shared, under section 203 of the Act, grand jury information consisting of foreign intelligence information 40 times from 39 grand juries in 38 districts with other federal officials.
- While the Committee’s inquiry was pending, the Attorney General issued procedures under sections 203 and 905 for sharing information with intelligence officials from a criminal investigation, including grand jury or Title III wiretap information, that identifies a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
- No jurisdiction has reported that a court has found unreasonable the time between the sharing of grand jury information and the report of such sharing required to be filed with the court.
- The Committee’s review of classified information related to FISA orders for tangible records, such as library records, has not given rise to any concern that the authority is being misused or abused.
- Intelligence from Title III criminal electronic, wire, or oral intercepts has been shared with intelligence officials twice.
- The authority to serve search warrants for electronic evidence outside the district where the warrant is issued has “appreciably diminished the deluge of search warrant applications” in districts with large numbers of internet service providers, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Northern District of California.
- The INS has taken serious action to triple the number of Border Patrol agents and Inspectors along the Northern Border as authorized by the Act.
- INS has actively advertised in both the broadcast and print media, and has recruited candidates at job fairs, universities and colleges, and military posts across the nation.
- The Immigration Officer Academy (IOA) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) has conducted training classes six days per week to accommodate additional trainee officers.
- The IOA has added 26 Inspector classes, with 24 students per class to handle the additional inspectors. The INS has added five additional Border Patrol basic training classes to its FY 2002 training schedule, and has shifted training from FLETC’s Glynco, Georgia facility to the Border Patrol’s satellite facility in Charleston, South Carolina.
- The INS is recruiting new Border Patrol agents at a rate of 1,000 agents per month.
- The INS has improved its technological capability as authorized by the Act by installing the ISIS surveillance system at 55 Northern Border sites, deploying three new single-engine helicopters to Grand Forks, Spokane, and Swanton, respectively, and deploying 500 infrared scopes for Border Patrol Agents along the Northern Border.
- INS inspectors at ports of entry now use FBI criminal history and “Wanted Persons” information from the State Department’s CLASS database and has access to 83,000 FBI fingerprint-based records of wanted persons born abroad.
- The INS anticipates that it will pay overtime to as many as 1,857 employees this year because section 404 of the Act waived the overtime cap.
- Under section 411of the Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General, designated 39 organizations as terrorist organizations. The Attorney General has requested that the Secretary of State designate an additional nine organizations under the same provision. Aliens who solicit members or funds for, or who commit acts providing material support to, these organizations, are not admissible to the United States.
- The State Department has begun constructing protocols to share criminal and terrorist-related information with foreign governments under section 413 of the Act. For example, a memorandum of understanding with the government of Canada regarding the sharing of visa information is currently under review.
- Consular officers are using section 413 of the Act to share visa information in specific cases to further the administration and enforcement of U.S. law.
- Under section 414 of the Act, the INS has since established a multi-agency Program Management Office to coordinate the establishment of an integrated Entry Exit Program and to implement fully the integrated entry and exit data system for airports, seaports and land border ports of entry
- Under section 416 of the Act, enrollment into the foreign student monitoring system, known as SEVIS, began on July 1, 2002. By January 30, 2003, all schools that are authorized to accept foreign students must use the system, or they will be unable to accept additional foreign students.
- Two aliens have requested extensions under section 422 of the act that allows the INS to extend the lawful status of a nonimmigrant alien disabled as a result of the September 11 attacks or the status of the spouse or child of an alien killed in those attacks.
- The Attorney General reported to Congress that the airlines receive terrorist information developed by the Department of Justice to compare against passenger lists.
- The Attorney General has concluded that it is feasible for the INS and the Department of state to use FBI biometric (fingerprint) technology at ports of entry and consular offices abroad. While INS’s NSEER program will use FBI fingerprint technology at ports of entry in the near future, Chairman Gekas and I have already asked for a report on possible implementation by the Departments of State at consular offices abroad.
- The Office of Inspector General opened nine USA PATRIOT Act civil rights abuse cases.