Rogers Opening Statement at Worldwide Threats Hearing

McAleenan, Wray, Travers, Glawe Testify

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, today delivered an opening statement at a hearing entitled, “Global Terrorism: Threats to the Homeland Part II.”

 

On global threats:

“The threats to our homeland are real. Every day, terrorists plot to disrupt and destroy our way of life…Just this weekend, we all were reminded of the evil that still seeks to attack our shores. The killing of Abu-Bakar al-Baghdadi was an important victory in the fight against ISIS…And ISIS is not the only threat we face. I look forward to hearing more about how we are countering the threat from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and others who seek to do us harm.

 

On improperly issued subpoenas: 

“The rules exist to protect the rights of the minority in this body…Rule 12 and our agreement require us to speak beforehand…I asked to discuss this issue with you on Monday and did not hear back from you. You also accused me of providing the Acting Secretary with “faulty information” in a letter over the weekend. I find that implication outrageous. A quick conversation with me, an email, or a phone call could have prevented all of this. To be very clear, I probably would have voted for the subpoenas.”

 

Rogers full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

I want to thank our witnesses for being here today. Acting Secretary McAleenan, I am pleased you came to testify. Our Committee deserves to hear from you as the head of the Department of Homeland Security.

As tomorrow is your last day at the Department, I want to thank you for your years of service.

The 9/11 attacks motivated you to serve our country. Your patriotism cannot be questioned. I wish you Godspeed in your next adventures.

Director Wray, Acting Director Travers, and Undersecretary Glawe, thank you all for coming before us. Your input today will help us as policymakers confront the global terror threats this nation faces. 

Mr. Chairman, today’s hearing is important. The threats to our homeland are real. Every day, terrorists plot to disrupt and destroy our way of life. It’s important that we as Members of this Committee understand those threats.

What we do at this Committee on a bipartisan basis is vital to protect the homeland. Just this weekend, we all were reminded of the evil that still seeks to attack our shores. The killing of Abu-Bakar al-Baghdadi was an important victory in the fight against ISIS.

ISIS is responsible for the public execution of two U.S. journalists. James Foley and Steven Sotloff were doing their jobs and ISIS killed them. American aid worker Kayla Mueller, was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by ISIS.

At least seven terrorist attacks have been carried out in ISIS’ name in the west. Who knows how many more attacks Baghdadi was planning. Yet, his death does not end the ISIS threat to our homeland.

And ISIS is not the only threat we face. I look forward to hearing more about how we are countering the threat from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and others who seek to do us harm.

Mr. Chairman, I do need to address the subpoena issue before I yield back.

I am frustrated at how the events of the last week unfolded. I am frustrated that you were put in the position where you thought issuing subpoenas was necessary.

If someone gives you their word, Mr. Chairman, they need to keep it. I would like the same respect. We have Committee rules that need to be followed. And you gave me your word in a colloquy that we would work together on subpoenas.

None of that happened this time around. Just two months ago, we jointly issued a subpoena for Jim Watkins of 8Chan. I’ve been willing to engage with you in the subpoena process. I’ve been with you every step of the way to defend this Committee’s mission and oversight responsibilities.

But the rules exist to protect the rights of the minority in this body. You know that from your time in the minority. Rule 12 and our agreement require us to speak beforehand.

We sat in these same chairs for a markup last week about 24 hours before you issued the subpoenas. You didn’t say a word about them.

I asked to discuss this issue with you on Monday and did not hear back from you. You also accused me of providing the Acting Secretary with “faulty information” in a letter over the weekend. I find that implication outrageous.

A quick conversation with me, an email, or a phone call could have prevented all of this.

To be very clear, I probably would have voted for the subpoenas.

You would have seen that if you’d kept your promise to our members and marked them up. Our relationship with each other is the only way anything ever gets done around here. We set the tone. Going forward, I hope that we can conduct the Committee’s business openly and in accordance with the rules.

 

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