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Tag: house homeland security commmittee

Mayorkas Defends Administration’s Handling of Border in First House Hearing As Secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Screen shot via U.S. House.

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas clashed with Republicans Wednesday on how the Biden administration is handling the boarder amid an influx of migrants. 

In his first appearance before lawmakers as the Homeland Security secretary, Mayorkas said the border situation was a challenge but not a crisis as depicted by Republicans. 

“I’m not spending any time on the language that we use. I am spending time on operational response to the situation at the border,” Mayorkas told the House Homeland Security Committee.

Mayorkas described former President Trump’s policy of separating children as a humanitarian crisis. 

“The situation at the southwest border is difficult,” Mayorkas said. “We are working around the clock to manage it.”

Since last spring, illegal border crossings have sharply increased as poverty, hunger and gang violence grip Central America. In February, Border Patrol agents arrested 97,000 migrants for crossing the border illegally, a two-year high. 

Watch the committee hearing here:

U.S. Rep. King Blames Russia Over Communicating Radicalization of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

U.S. Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Russia should have informed Washington D.C. about the radicalization of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and his mother, the Associated Press reports.

The New York Republican said better communication “definitely would have caused the investigation to go further.”

King added that it’s difficult to believe only two people carried out the Boston Bombing suspect.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Appoints New Chief of Intelligence Division

fbi photo

By Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Eric Velez-Villar,  deputy assistant director of the Directorate of Intelligence Operations Branch at FBI Headquarters, is getting a bump up to assistant director of that division, the FBI announced this week.

In testimony last month before the House Homeland Security Committee subcommittee on  counterterrorism intelligence, Velez-Villar pledged the FBI’s cooperation with state and local authorities in trying to root out domestic terror threats.

“The FBI will continue to provide relevance and context on foreign threat information; however, we also recognize that the violent extremism threat may be first identified within our communities by state, local, or tribal law enforcement,” Velez-Villar said. “As a result, we have taken numerous proactive steps in the past year to develop a more robust information sharing capacity with all federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners.”

He also testified that training material detailing  how law enforcement agencies can ensure officers understand how to identify and document suspicious behavior will be distributed in several states within months. He said the material will also contain information that will guide officers in the protection of privacy and civil liberties when documenting information.

Velez-Villar joined the FBI in 1985. In 1992, he worked organized crime and drug matters in San Antonio. Velez-Villar has also investigated public corruption cases in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He also worked with the DEA’s Special Operations Division helping coordinate major drug trafficking investigations throughout the nation.

In 2004, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Division’s counterterrorism program. Two years later, Velez-Villar was promoted to deputy director of the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center. In 2008, he was appointed as the first special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Division’s newly created Intelligence Division.

Velez-Villar is a 2008 recipient of the Attorney General’s award for distinguished services.

The intelligence division is charged with leading efforts to coordinate security that protects the United States from terrorist attacks.