ICYMI: Sen. Johnson Grills FBI Director Wray and DHS Secretary Mayorkas in Emerging Threats to the Homeland Hearing

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, participated in an annual hearing titled, Threats to the Homeland, where he sought answers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Director Christine Abizaid about the Biden administration’s disastrous open border policies and mounting evidence that the FBI shut down the investigation into Joe Biden, James Biden, and Hunter Biden. 

Sen. Johnson pointed out how failures by Sec. Mayorkas and the Biden administration’s open border policies are the greatest threat to America’s homeland. The senator emphasized the out-of-control number of illegal border crossings, the dispersion of millions of illegal aliens into the U.S., the horrors of human and fentanyl trafficking networks, and the spike in apprehensions of individuals on the terrorist watch list. 

Watch the highlights here. Excerpts can be found below:


On the alarming number of illegal border crossings under the Biden administration  which Secretary Mayorkas refused to answer

Sen. Johnson: “…It seems like your solution to the self-inflicted wound to America is we've just gotten more efficient at processing. I can't, quite honestly, think of a greater threat to America than what is represented by this chart. And this chart represents this administration's open border policy. It's a travesty. Director Wray, you said in your testimony the threats they're not getting any easier to deal with. Would having a secure border, would that make your job easier?”

Director Wray: “Well, I will let Secretary Mayorkas speak for border security. But I will tell you that the threats that we have to contend with that are attributed to the border; cartel violence, distribution of fentanyl, etc are…”

Sen. Johnson: “The answer is yes. Your job would be a whole lot easier if you don't have to deal with over 70,000 special interest aliens coming from countries that are of concern to us. Your job would be a whole lot easier if this year we hadn't encountered actually encountered 169 people on the terror watch list. Secretary Mayorkas, I've asked you this in the past. What numbers are represented here? How many people has this administration let in by encountering, processing, dispersing, or that have come in as a known or unknown got-away? What approximately? I don't need an exact number. So what do we got?” 

Sec. Mayorkas: “Senator, let me say…” 

Sen. Johnson: “I need numbers. Again, don’t filibuster me. How many people has this administration let into the country?

Sec. Mayorkas: “Let me say at the outset that our job would be a lot easier if the broken immigration system was fixed…”

Sen. Johnson:  “Mr. Secretary, I want a number. How many people have you let into this country?”

Sec. Mayorkas: “I should also comment…” 

Sen. Johnson: “Okay. I'll give you the number. It's about 6 million. About 1.7 million as known got-aways. Now again, we don't know who these people are. We just know that they've come to this country and they're residing somewhere. Where are all these people residing? Where did the 6 million people go?”


On potential terror threats coming into the country 

Sen. Johnson: “We know we've got about 100,000 in New York. And New York Mayor Adams says it will destroy New York. That's, by the way, less than 2% of the 6 million people. So less than 2%, 100,000, is going to destroy New York. What's happening around the country? I'm not going to get answers from Secretary Mayorkas. Director Wray, what are you doing to track these people and investigate the potential threat?

Director Wray: “So we are tackling it through a variety of means. There are some categories I would put kind of in the terrorist watch list category, and there are our joint terrorism task forces that are working with partners throughout the law enforcement community to try to identify…”

Sen. Johnson:  “So how many agents, how many agents do you have tasked to investigate potential terror threats coming into this country in those 6 million people, and particularly the 1.7 million got-aways? How many agents are on investigating that flow of illegal immigrants?”

Director Wray: “Well, I don't know that I can give you the exact number.”

 Sen. Johnson: “Give, do a ballpark. Try to ballpark.”

Director Wray: “Let me try it this way.”

Sen. Johnson: “Is it 100? Is it a couple hundred? Is it? I mean, just a ballpark?”

Director Wray: “Well, I would say we have several hundred agents who are tackling the threats that come from the border, both from a national security side, a counterterrorism side, and from an organized crime or violent crime side.”

Sen. Johnson:  “How does that compare to the number of agents you had on, for example, investigating the January 6 protesters? How many agents at the height of that investigation, how many FBI agents were assigned to that task force?”

Director Wray: “I don't have exact numbers, but what I would tell you is that I feel relatively confident that the number of agents workings on threats that are attributable to the border far exceeds the number of people working on the January 6 investigation.”

Sen. Johnson: “Again, a ballpark. A ballpark.”

Director Wray: “I feel relatively confident that the number of agents working on threats that are attributable to the border far exceeds the number of people working on the January 6 investigation.”  

Sen. Johnson: “What about the height of the January 6 investigations?”

Director Wray: “Same answer.”


On the horrors of human trafficking at the southern border

Sen. Johnson: “Mr. Secretary Mayorkas, what is the average or the range of trafficking fees? I mean, because, by the way, we have a 100% secure border on the Mexican side, right. Very few people are crossing into this country without going through human traffickers. So they have to pay a trafficking fee. What is that range of trafficking fees?

Sec. Mayorkas: “When you speak of trafficking Senator, you mean smugglers?”

Sen. Johnson: “Well, I'm talking about the human traffickers. You know, the people, the people coming across here are paying what, a $7,000 fee? A 10,000? A fifty-or what is that range?” 

Sec. Mayorkas: “Several thousand dollars per person.”

Sen. Johnson: “So how do they pay that off? How does a young woman pay off 10 to $15,000 human trafficking fee?”

Sec. Mayorkas: “Tragically, Senator, they often spend their entire life savings to pay a smuggler.”

Sen. Johnson: “Well, they also tragically get put into the human sex trade, correct?”

Sec. Mayorkas: “There are all sorts.”

Sen. Johnson: “Director Wray, are you investigating that? Are we busting up some, you know, we saw the Sound of Freedom. That movie. What investigations are you doing in terms of the sex trade that is going on because of the Biden administration's open border policy?”

Director Wray: “We have a number of task forces that are focused on human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, all across the country. And last year, we rounded up, I think, maybe 1,000 or so predators of that sort. And so that's probably the main vehicle through which we're tackling this, which is a significant, significant problem.”

Sen. Johnson: “Of the 73,000 special interest aliens coming from these countries that are of concern to ours, how many of those people are you keeping track of? What happens to them? Are we detaining them? Are we deporting them or are we granting them asylum?”

Director Wray: “Well, as to deportation and asylum, I would leave that to the agencies that handle that.”

Sen. Johnson: “You’re aware of the 73,000 special interest aliens, correct?”

Director Wray: “But I'm aware of special interest aliens. I don't have the numbers.” 

Sen. Johnson: “What are you doing to track them?”

Director Wray: “So if we have a fully predicated appropriately predicated investigation, then those people are squarely within scope of those investigations.” 

Sen. Johnson: “How many active investigations do you have on 73,000 special interest aliens?”

Director Wray: “I don't have that number here. I can see if that's something we can get for you and follow up.”

Sen. Johnson: “You can expect a QFR on that one. Thanks.”


On evidence mounting that the FBI implemented a scheme to label any derogatory information on the Bidens as “foreign disinformation”

Sen. Johnson: “Now Director Wray, I'm assuming you've seen and read the letter the Senator Grassley wrote to you and Attorney General Garland, on October 24th?”

Director Wray: “I'm generally aware of it.”

Sen. Johnson: “Oh, you ought to read it. Let me read some segments to you. The FBI maintained over 40 confidential human sources thatprovided criminal information related to Joe Biden, James Biden, and Hunter Biden. An essential question that must be answered in this: did the FBI investigate the information or shut it down? Certainly, there is a host of reasons to conclude that they attempted to shut it down. It goes on. It has been alleged that the basis for shutting down the investigative activity – shutting it down was an August 2020 assessmentcreated by FBI supervisory intelligence analyst Brian Auten. That assessment was used by FBI headquarters team to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation, causing investigative activity to cease. It goes on. Analyst Brian Auten opened the aforementioned assessment, which was used by the Foreign Influence Task Force to seek out CHS holdings in FBI field offices across the country related to the Biden family and falsely discredit them as foreign disinformation. My staff calls that “catch and kill.” And by the way, it was that same task force that gave Senator Grassley and I our unsolicited briefing that was later leaked to the media to smear me and impactmy 2022 election. Senator Grassley concludes there appears to be an effort within the Justice Department and FBI to shut down investigative activity relating to the Biden family. Such decisions point to significant political bias, infecting the decision-making of not onlythe attorney general and FBI director, but also line agents and prosecutors. Our republic cannot survive such a political infection, and you have an obligation to this country to clear the air. Let me ask you another. And by the way, I'd ask unanimous consent that this letter be entered into the record and also this column that appeared in The Wall Street Journal published yesterday. Have you read this one? ‘More on the stifled Hunter Biden probe.’”

Director Wray: “I have seen that.” 

Sen. Johnson: “Okay. Well enter that into the record. Again, this is column is written based on the October 23rd Judiciary Committee interview with former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady. Who was tapped by Attorney General Barr to vet information related to Ukrainian corporate corruption and pass on credible material to officers with ongoing investigations. I'll get some highlights here. The FBI office in Pittsburgh couldn't takeany steps without the review and approval of FBI headquarters. Mr. Brady describes a reluctance on the part of the FBI to really do any tasking related to allegations of Ukrainian corruption broadly and then specifically anything that intersected with Hunter Biden in his role in Burisma. FBI headquarters had to sign off on every assignment, no matter how small or routine. And that this, sometimes required 17different people, mostly at the headquarter level. And Mr. Brady said he'd never in his DOJ career seen anything like it. Mr. Brady says his office was informed by members of the Pittsburgh FBI team that they'd been instructed by headquarters not to affirmatively share information with the Brady team. He said he was surprised to learn that the FBI possessed the Hunter Biden laptop since 2019. He heard that through public reports. Senator Grassley's letter concludes that he has obtained names from his whistleblower, 25 Department of Justice, FBI personnel to interview at a future date. And he is also requesting a bunch of information. Will you provide those FBI personnel for interviews with hisoffice and mine and will you provide that those documents?”

Director Wray: “Well, I'll have to review the specific requests, and we'll see how we can be helpful.”

Sen. Johnson: “Okay. Well, I'll hand you this letter. Final point I want to make. I was briefed a couple of weeks ago by members of the FBI on what Senator Blumenthal is doing to try and unredact a lot of the information on the 9/11 event. Okay. Now, the briefers seem to be people ofintegrity, like I think the vast majority of the men and women that work in the FBI, the 30,000 field agents. So, again, they, they’re people ofintegrity. The problem is that they gave me three different examples of redacted and then unredacted to explain it. And the redactions made sense of those three examples. But I had to make the point. The problem I have is I simply cannot trust what the FBI is providing me, and I don't see that with any joy in my heart. I think that's a travesty. The American people want to believe and have trust in the FBI. We want credibility, integrity restored to the institution. But, Director Wray, you have not done that since assuming office. And I can go through a long laundry list of the reasons why that trust has been violated. I don't have it right now. I'm happy to sit down and meet with you and go over these things in detail. But I would say – because ask me, what can we do to restore our trust? Start being transparent. My final point is, and this is actually a question, why is it this makes no sense. I am an elected U.S. Senator. I have the highest security clearance. Why is it that unelected members of the FBI can see the documents unredacted? But I can't even in a secure briefing room? That makes no sense whatsoever. But that's exactly how federal law enforcement, Department of Justice, the FBI, who are the law, remain above the law, remain above scrutiny and completely scorn our constitutional responsibility and authority to provide oversight. We just can't do it, as the Chairman was talking about earlier, about how you've basically ignored his requests for credit for the requests for the record.”