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Hearing of the House Judiciary Committee - Oversight Hearing on the Federal Bureau of Investigation


Location: Washington, DC

Hearing of the House Judiciary Committee - Oversight Hearing on the Federal Bureau of Investigation


REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Director Mueller, as you know, cybercrime is a rapidly growing problem in this country, and you referred to it as one of the top priorities that you're dealing with and it costs as much as $100 billion a year.

In a speech that you gave last week you were reported as saying, quote: "The simple truth is we do not protect cyberspace to the same degree we protect our physical space. We have in large part left the doors open to our business practices, our sensitive data and our intellectual property," unquote.

Your chief of the Computer Intrusion Section went on to say in the same article, quote, "We the FBI do not have the right amount of resources or training in place," unquote. What additional resources does the FBI need to close those doors that you mentioned remain unfortunately too wide open?

MR. MUELLER: Well, part of it is not -- I would say, before I get to FBI resources -- part of it is the open doors are by reason of the Internet. One of the items I indicate on that in that speech is that we don't look at the Internet in the same way we look at our physical security, where we have a door we can shut. But the fact of the matter is that people can -- utilizing the Internet and with inadequate security -- a person can lodge on your machine and entity that key on to take down the strokes and push it out, and push the information out. And people don't think of that in the same way. Part of it is giving adequate security to the nets, whether it by .gov, .net, and the like.

The other aspect of it in terms of what we're doing in addressing cybersecurity, we have -- and started a national Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, which includes persons from the FBI and other federal players, DOD, NSA and the like.

And that we have stood up along with other entities to address whether it be individual hackers, government hackers, those who want to utilize the Internet to disrupt facilities and the like. We have put in -- back to your last question in terms of resources -- in our 2009 request we are requesting additional 211 positions and $39 million. I testified to that before the Appropriations Committee, I guess Senate and House Appropriations Committee, in the last several weeks. So that will enhance our capabilities if we are able to get those 211 positions and that $39 million.

REP. CHABOT: Thank you.

Also, Director Mueller, and my colleague Mr. Coble referred to this issue already, but I'm going to come at it a little differently, and that's relative to the subprime mortgage crisis and the predatory lending aspects of that. The state that I happen to represent, Ohio, ranks sixth in the number of homes that have been the subject of foreclosure with only -- well, with one in every 58 homes being foreclosed upon.

The city of Cincinnati that I represent witnessed an increase in the number of foreclosures in '07, placing it among the top 30 cities in the nation with a foreclosure problem. And a primary reason for the foreclosure fallout, as Mr. Coble mentioned, is predatory and lending practices. There are other things as well, but that's certainly been a part of it. And many of those things were occurring up until late 2006.

Could you describe what assistance with state and local law enforcement investigations that the FBI is involved in? You don't have to go into specifics, obviously, for obvious reasons, but how do you cooperate with the local entities when it comes to these investigations?

MR. MUELLER: Well, to the extent that either the state or the local entities or local jurisdictions have an entity that is addressing this, and we try to work in task forces. We have white- collar crime squads; this is a substantial element of most of our white-collar crime squads around the country at this point. And they reach out to the insurance or the property departments of either the state or the local to both gather information but conduct joint investigations.

To the extent that there is expertise, accounting expertise, financial, analytical expertise in these entities, again, we'll work together in task forces. As I say, we have 33 formalistic or formalized working groups or task forces around the country and my expectation is those will expand as we find more of these issues. I think we have something like several thousand suspicious activity reports from banks in the last several years, and that's gone up to tens of thousands of suspicious activity reports reported by banks of activities that perhaps should be investigated.

And so this problem is growing bigger, not smaller, and as it grows bigger we're going to have to enlist the resources of state and local law enforcement if we are to jointly be successful.

REP. CHABOT: Thank you very much.

REP. CONYERS: The chair of the immigration committee, Zoe Lofgren.


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