Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement:

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has the intelligence in question, and has been rigorously tracking this issue from the start. We continue to take this matter seriously and are discussing an appropriate response with the administration. In the meantime, we must be cautious about potentially disclosing sources and methods that may be key to preserving a range of options for U.S. action.”

 

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WASHINGTON – With the 2024 election season already underway, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote to Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), pushing the agency to recommit to addressing foreign malign influence in our elections. In his letter, Sen. Warner cited a recently declassified intelligence assessment emphasizing the continuing threat of foreign election influence.

Sen. Warner specifically highlighted the need for CISA to lead efforts to shore up our nation’s defenses, both through physical and technical protections of election systems and electoral processes, and by serving as a liaison between the intelligence community, the private sector, and state and local institutions in order to facilitate information sharing to combat malign influence.

“CISA’s commitment to leading the federal government’s engagement on physical security and cybersecurity ahead of each federal election is crucial,” wrote Sen. Warner. “Since the designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in 2017, CISA has led a collaborative effort to assist state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and private sector partners in protecting election systems from cyber threats. The complex and often highly varied election processes and systems across the U.S. are markedly more secure today as a result of CISA’s important efforts.”

The role of CISA in combatting election threats has never been more important, as the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on Murthy v. Missouri, a case that has the potential to severely limit the role that government officials can play in communicating with private social media companies when it comes to countering foreign disinformation campaigns.

“With the heightened possibility that the FBI may (through internal policy or court decision) be hamstrung in its ability to share threat information with impacted parties outside the federal government, it will be incumbent upon CISA to fill this vacuum – engaging and serving as an interlocutor between private sector entities, the intelligence community and law enforcement, and state and local officials,” concluded Sen. Warner.

Earlier this month, Sen. Warner filed an amicus brief urging the Court to reverse the dangerous decision of the Fifth Circuit that would prevent voluntary information sharing between government agencies and private social media companies in order to better protect against foreign threats. 

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Director Easterly,

With less than 11 months before the 2024 U.S. Presidential election, and the first primary already underway, I write with growing concern about the Administration’s posture to combat foreign election threats. As the recently declassified Intelligence Community Assessment on Foreign Threats to the 2022 US Elections illustrates, a range of foreign adversaries continue to target our nation’s democratic processes, with the goals of promoting greater social divisions, undermining confidence in electoral processes, and in some cases seeking to shape election outcomes. While the section of that Assessment that provides a prospective assessment for the 2024 elections remains classified, the IC has noted that foreign election influence activity tends to be elevated during presidential election years. Notwithstanding this persistent threat to our democracy, recent litigation by hyper-partisan actors has sought to stymie federal efforts to counter these threats.

The work of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been pivotal in shoring up the nation’s defenses since 2016. This includes not just CISA’s vital work to assist state and local election administrators in protecting physical and technical aspects of election systems and electoral processes, but also CISA’s efforts to serve as a nexus between the intelligence community, the private sector, and state and local institutions.

CISA’s commitment to leading the federal government’s engagement on physical security and cybersecurity ahead of each federal election is crucial. Since the designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in 2017, CISA has led a collaborative effort to assist state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and private sector partners in protecting election systems from cyber threats. The complex and often highly varied election processes and systems across the U.S. are markedly more secure today as a result of CISA’s important efforts. However, recent elections have demonstrated the proclivity of foreign adversaries to pursue blended operations, which highlights the need to address election security holistically, encompassing both election interference  and election influence  threats. As the 2022 US Elections ICA highlighted, for instance, Iran impersonated a U.S. violent extremist organization to send emails seeking to intimidate voters, as well as creating a website with death threats to US election officials. Similarly, in 2016 we saw Russia embrace hacking and dissemination operations (which included targeting political parties’ networks and probing election systems), combined with social media-based election influence operations.

In hearings the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held in 2018, the Senate heard first-hand from senior social media executives how pivotal the Department of Homeland Security’s election security efforts – in conjunction with those of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Foreign Influence Task Force – have been.  Efforts by hyper-partisan litigants and media personalities to rewrite that history – and to falsely characterize these efforts, as part of an outlandish conspiracy theory, as somehow involving efforts by federal officials sought to suppress Americans’ voices – should not intimidate your organization from maintaining this vital role.

The federal government has made substantial – if uneven – progress since being caught flat-footed in the face of sustained efforts by a foreign adversary to interference in our democratic processes in 2016. Far from receding, these election threats have only grown – with a wider array of foreign actors, a larger number of social media platforms suitable for influence activity (and a combination of ownership and management changes reducing the private sector resources devoted to countering foreign election threats), and heightened incentives of many adversaries to shape election outcomes in pursuit of specific geopolitical objectives.

With the heightened possibility that the FBI may (through internal policy or court decision) be hamstrung in its ability to share threat information with impacted parties outside the federal government, it will be incumbent upon CISA to fill this vacuum – engaging and serving as an interlocutor between private sector entities, the intelligence community and law enforcement, and state and local officials.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statements on passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2024, which was included the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The IAA authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). After the House of Representatives approves the legislation, it will head to the president for his signature.

“The Intelligence Authorization Act plays a crucial role in ensuring that America’s intelligence agencies have the tools they need to protect the American people,” said Chairman Warner. “This year’s bill improves the IC’s ability to track threats posed by our adversaries while promoting much-needed reforms to our nation’s security classification system and expanding the Committee’s efforts to reform the security clearance process in order to attract the best and brightest talent to the intelligence space. I am glad that Congress is coming together to pass this package that meets the needs of our Intelligence Community.                                                                                                                                                                       

“Our adversaries, especially China, Russia, and Iran, are growing increasingly aggressive and collaborative in their efforts to weaken America and degrade the international rules-based system,” said Vice Chairman Rubio. “The Intelligence Community (IC) has a critical role to play in identifying and mitigating these significant threats. This Intelligence Authorization Act strengthens our Committee’s ongoing oversight of intelligence activities, makes important reforms to preserve our American values, and ensures that the IC effectively manages critical resources, authorities, and personnel to protect our national security.

Background:

The IAA for Fiscal Year 2024 authorizes funding for the IC and ensures that it has the resources, personnel, and authorities it needs to protect our country and inform decision makers, while ensuring continued robust congressional oversight. The bill’s provisions focus on the following key areas:

  • Increases oversight of the national security threats posed by People’s Republic of China, including its economic practices, foreign malign influence operations, military capabilities, and investments in, and attempts to dominate, the supply chains of artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation energy technologies, and biotechnology, among many others.
  • Establishes a new IC atrocities coordinator to increase collection, analysis, and intelligence support to government-wide efforts to hold China accountable for its egregious human rights abuses, including the Uyghur genocide. 
  • Improves the IC’s procurement, adoption, and integration of emerging technologies by requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to establish policies for the IC’s acquisition, adoption, development, and use of AI, to create an intelligence innovation board, and to submit a plan for implementing an Intelligence Community Innovation Unit to integrate commercial emerging technologies.
  • Enhances insight into the Maduro regime’s imprisonment of United States persons in Venezuela.
  • Ensures the IC has a first-class workforce by improving workforce mobility among IC agencies to meet national security needs; and increasing recruitment priorities for candidates with financial intelligence and technical expertise.
  • Establishes new requirements for reporting and investigating allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment with the CIA.
  • Increases transparency by strengthening Unidentified Aerial Phenomena funding limitations and reporting requirements.
  • Promotes reform of the nation’s security classification system to ensure accountability, increase transparency, and strengthen trust between the American people and their elected government.
  • Continues to drive improvement in the security clearance process by requiring a policy framework to facilitate the mobility of the Intelligence Community workforce; renewing a report on the number of clearance holders in the government and industry; requiring updated timeliness standards the granting of clearances to reflect progress under the Trusted Workforce (TW) 2.0 initiative; annually measuring satisfaction among agencies, industry, and applicants with TW 2.0; and promoting shared IT among Intelligence Community elements to harmonize their clearance processes.
  • Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security Intelligence and Analysis from conducting custodial briefings in certain circumstances, collecting on journalists, and hiring personnel who collect information on domestic terrorism for a period of one year.
  • Requires intelligence assessments of the strategic competition in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as assessments of certain cartels.
  • Ensures continued support to the victims of anomalous health incidents (AHIs or “Havana Syndrome”) by improving the CIA’s funding flexibility for payments to qualified victims; and requiring each IC element to issue regulations and procedures for implementing HAVANA Act of 2021 authorities.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the statement below after the announcement of a deal between Israel and Hamas to free hostages taken in the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in exchange for a multi-day cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

“I’m very heartened to see the announcement of a deal to finally bring home some of the hostages taken during the unconscionable terrorist attacks on October 7. I applaud all parties involved in the negotiations, including the Biden Administration, for reaching this critical breakthrough. However, our work will not be finished until all hostages have been returned to their families. It’s also clear that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has rapidly deteriorated, and that the multi-day cessation of hostilities secured as part of the deal will enable the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid and save many innocent Palestinian lives. Now that we have a deal, it’s incumbent on both parties to honor this agreement and to continue making every effort to protect innocent civilian lives."

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, wrote to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm detailing the need for the United States to establish its leadership in the research, development, production and manufacturing of new battery technologies. Currently, the People’s Republic of China dominates end-to-end supply chains, including the mining and refining of critical mineral inputs for lithium-ion batteries, which are used in the U.S. energy grid, electric vehicles, and military weapons and platforms, among other industries.

In October 2023, China restricted exports of raw and synthetic graphite, critical to manufacturing battery anodes. The move followed July 2023 export controls on gallium and germanium, two components used in the manufacturing of semiconductors and other critical technologies.

“The PRC near-monopoly over battery production, and the upstream materials they require, poses substantial defense and economic security vulnerabilities,” the senators wrote.

In recent years, the U.S. has taken steps through the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act to establish and re-shore capabilities related to advanced batteries. However, the U.S. currently lacks the infrastructure needed to test and scale up next-generation battery technologies to reach commercial, “gigafactory” scale. Private sector companies then turn to China for up-scaling facilities – posing significant supply chain risks to the United States.

They continued, “We commend the Department of Energy for continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, but the U.S. must become a leader in manufacturing batteries and battery components, while securing our supply chains for the materials that make up those components. In addition, it is critical that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistries, including by supporting domestic companies developing and producing solid-state electrolytes, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur, and iron-oxide among others.”

In order to ensure that the federal government is adequately investing in domestic battery developments, the senators requested that the Department:

  • Ensure consideration of innovative technologies beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries in the next round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing & Recycling Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA);
  • Consider support for public-private pilot-line manufacturing facilities, focusing on innovative technologies;
  • Coordinate with the Department of Defense and other national security agencies to support procurement of innovative, U.S.-developed energy storage technologies; and
  • Coordinate with federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies to accelerate reviews for domestic mining and processing facilities to secure our supply chains for next-generation battery manufacturing. 

In his capacity as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner has been an active advocate on the need for the U.S. to counter China’s dominance of this growing industry. Last month, Sen. Warner hosted government officials and domestic industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on securing access to critical minerals, including those used in the manufacturing of advanced batteries.

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Granholm:

We write to emphasize the national security imperative in outcompeting our adversaries in the next generation of battery technologies. Experts assess the United States to be ten to twenty years behind Asia in commercialization of battery technology, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) accounting for over three quarters of battery cell production, maintaining a near monopoly on the mining and refining of critical mineral inputs for most batteries.  We provide specific recommendations below to ensure U.S. leadership in this space.

Last year, demand for lithium-ion batteries exceeded 700 GWh globally, and demand is expected to grow over seven times by 2035. These batteries are critical inputs for our electric vehicles, our power grid storage, and our military equipment. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks cautioned in 2021, batteries are “essential to thousands of military systems from handheld radios, to unmanned submersibles and to future capabilities like lasers, directed energy weapons and hybrid electric tactical vehicles.” And that “when it comes to batteries, America needs to lead the world.”  

Yet, the U.S. produced less than 10 percent of these batteries last year. By contrast, the PRC accounted for 70 percent of the global production of lithium-ion batteries. Of the five critical minerals required for most lithium-ion batteries, the PRC controls between 60-100 percent of the mining or refining for these minerals.

The PRC near-monopoly over battery production, and the upstream materials they require, poses substantial defense and economic security vulnerabilities. In October 2023, China restricted exports of graphite, critical to manufacturing battery anodes. This follows China’s proposed export controls on gallium and germanium in July 2023.

We commend the Department of Energy for continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, but the U.S. must become a leader in manufacturing batteries and battery components, while securing our supply chains for the materials that make up those components. In addition, it is critical that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistries, including by supporting domestic companies developing and producing solid-state electrolytes, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur, and iron-oxide among others.

In order to ensure that the U.S. reduces its dependence on adversary-dominated supply chains and capitalizes on innovative domestic battery development, we ask that the Department:

  • Ensure consideration of innovative technologies beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries in the next round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing & Recycling Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Alternative technologies developed and manufactured in the U.S. can help to ensure a more resilient domestic battery market and foster alternatives to supply chains China currently dominates.
  • Consider support for public-private pilot-line manufacturing facilities, focusing on innovative technologies. Such facilities could play a key role in allowing our domestic companies to scale up and compete internationally. Currently, no such shared pilot-scale battery and battery component manufacturing facilities exist in the U.S. forcing many of our innovative companies to seek out such facilities abroad exposing firms to IP theft.
  • Coordinate with the Department of Defense and other national security agencies to support procurement of innovative, U.S.-developed energy storage technologies. The U.S. government must lead in procuring new technologies, which can enhance mission capability while sending an important signal to domestic industry that the government will reward innovative technology produced domestically.
  • Coordinate with federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies to accelerate reviews for domestic mining and processing facilities to secure our supply chains for next-generation battery manufacturing.  For example, several years have passed since the last approval of a major new critical minerals mine on federal lands while at the same time smelters and processing facilities have been closing across the country. This is occurring despite the strong bipartisan consensus that additional mining and processing in the United States is necessary to secure the supply chain for batteries and compete with our adversaries. The Department must ensure that federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies are aware of the urgent nature of this issue.

We ask that your Department within 30 days of receiving this letter brief the Senate Intelligence and Energy and Natural Resources Committees on the initiatives outlined above, and on ongoing research and development of next-generation battery technologies. We also welcome your consideration of how the Intelligence Community can best contribute to, collaborate on, and support these efforts.

With the right support, we are confident that our domestic industry can lead the next generation of battery technology, as it has done in so many of the world’s greatest innovative technologies. We stand ready to assist in that effort.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), today announced the promotions of William Wu to serve as Staff Director and Maria Mahler-Haug as Deputy Staff Director of the Committee.

“I am thrilled to announce the selection of William Wu and Maria Mahler-Haug to head the Senate Intelligence Committee’s experienced and diverse leadership team. Will and Maria have deep expertise in national security and the Intelligence Community as well as significant Capitol Hill and executive branch experience that will serve them well in conducting careful oversight over our nation’s most sensitive matters,” said Chairman Warner.

William Wu first joined SSCI in 2021 as Deputy Staff Director. He replaces former Staff Director Michael C. Casey, who was recently confirmed as Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. Prior to joining SSCI, Wu served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and in the executive branch, including at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget, and on the National Security Council staff. In addition to his public service, he was also previously on the investment team at In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit strategic investor that partners with the technology startup and venture capital communities to deliver cutting-edge capabilities to the national security enterprise. Additionally, Wu is an Army combat veteran, with deployments to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. He received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Maria Mahler-Haug has served as Professional Staff Member and Designee to U.S. Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-CO) on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since 2019. Previously, she served as Military Legislative Assistant to Senator Bennet, advising on national security matters, with a focus on China, emerging technologies, democracy and the Middle East. Mahler-Haug was a 2013-2014 Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow, completing rotations at the German Ministry of Defense office of NATO policy and at the German export credit agency, Euler Hermes. Previously, she served as Policy Aide to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), supporting the senator’s responsibilities as a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. Mahler-Haug has also worked as a Legislative Assistant in the House of Representatives. She graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s in International Relations.

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statements on the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024, which included the  Intelligence Authorization Act(IAA). The IAA authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and passed the Committee unanimously in June.  

“Today’s passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act will help ensure that America’s intelligence agencies have the resources they need to protect our country,” said Chairman Warner. “This year’s bill increases the IC’s ability to track threats posed by adversarial nations, including technological and economic competition with China. It also promotes a reform of the nation’s security classification system, strengthens the security of our election systems, and furthers the Committee’s efforts to reform the security clearance process, so that the IC can attract and expeditiously on-board a talented, diverse, and trusted workforce to meet the emerging challenges we face.”

“Our global adversaries, particularly China and Russia, are growing increasingly aggressive and collaborative in their efforts to degrade the international rules-based system around the world and within our own backyard,” said Vice Chairman Rubio. “The Intelligence Community must continue to more forcefully adapt and strengthen our ability to mitigate these significant threats. Last month, every Senate Intelligence Committee Member voted in favor of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, and I applaud my Senate colleagues for supporting this critical legislation as part of the FY 2024 NDAA. This IAA strengthens our Committee’s vigilant oversight of intelligence activities, prohibits DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis from collecting information on U.S. Persons, and ensures that the IC effectively manages critical resources, authorities, and personnel to preserve our American values and protect our national security.”

Background:

The IAA for Fiscal Year 2024 authorizes funding for the IC and ensures that it has the resources, personnel, and authorities it needs to protect our country and inform decision makers, while ensuring continued robust congressional oversight. The bill’s provisions focus on the following key areas:

  • Increases oversight of the national security threats posed by People’s Republic of China, including its economic practices, foreign malign influence operations, military capabilities, and investments in, and attempts to dominate, the supply chains of artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation energy technologies, and biotechnology, among many others.
  • Establishes a new IC atrocities coordinator to increase collection, analysis, and intelligence support to government-wide efforts to hold China accountable for its egregious human rights abuses. 
  • Promotes reform of the nation’s security classification system, including by encouraging the President to issue a revised Executive Order with minimum standards for classifying materials and timelines for declassifying materials, narrowing the criteria for what should be classified and exemptions from automatic declassification, and promoting better use of technology to facilitate declassification and enhance public trust.
  • Strengthens the security of America’s voting systems by requiring that they undergo simulated attacks as part of their standard certification process, allowing for the discovery of potential vulnerabilities before these can be exploited by adversaries.
  • Improves the IC’s procurement, adoption, and integration of emerging technologies by requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to establish policies for the IC’s acquisition, adoption, development, and use of AI.
  • Prohibits IC research funding for foreign adversaries, to protect our national security and U.S. intellectual property.
  • Enhances insight into the Venezuela Maduro regime’s imprisonment of United States persons.
  • Ensures the IC has a workforce that is second-to-none by improving workforce mobility among IC agencies to meet national security needs; increasing recruitment priorities for candidates with financial intelligence and technical expertise; and requiring a standard procedure for investigating CIA sexual misconduct complaints, among other measures.
  • Increases transparency by strengthening Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) funding and reporting requirements.
  • Continues to drive improvement in the security clearance process by renewing a report on the number of clearance holders in the government and industry; requiring updated timeliness standards the granting of clearances to reflect progress under the Trusted Workforce (TW) 2.0 initiative; annually measuring satisfaction among agencies, industry, and applicants with TW 2.0; and promoting shared IT among Intelligence Community elements to harmonize their clearance processes.
  • Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis from collecting information or intelligence on U.S. persons.
  • Maintains strong congressional oversight of and protections for whistleblowers who come forward to report fraud, waste, or abuse.
  • Ensures continued support to the victims of anomalous health incidents (AHIs or “Havana Syndrome”) by improving the CIA’s funding flexibility for payments to qualified victims; and requiring each IC element to issue regulations and procedures for implementing HAVANA Act of 2021 authorities.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement following reports of a breach of Microsoft email accounts at over two-dozen organizations, including government agencies, by China-based hackers:

“The Senate Intelligence Committee is closely monitoring what appears to be a significant cybersecurity breach by Chinese intelligence. It’s clear that the PRC is steadily improving its cyber collection capabilities directed against the U.S. and our allies. Close coordination between the U.S. government and the private sector will be critical to countering this threat.”

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WASHINGTON – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (IAA) today by a unanimous 17-0 vote. The bill authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).

“The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 reflects the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan commitment to ensuring America’s intelligence agencies have the resources they need to protect our country,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “This year’s bill increases the IC’s ability to track threats posed by adversarial nations, including technological and economic competition with China. It also promotes a reform of the nation’s security classification system, strengthens the security of our election systems, and furthers the Committee’s efforts to reform the security clearance process, so that the IC can attract and expeditiously on-board a talented, diverse, and trusted workforce to meet the emerging challenges we face.”

“The United States is in a moment of great power conflict where our adversaries—namely China and Russia —are colluding to destroy the international ruled-based system while undermining the United States and our alliances,” said Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “The Intelligence Community (IC) must rapidly adapt and work aggressively to position the United States to focus on and counter the unprecedented global threats we face. This year’s IAA begins to equip the IC with the tools needed to enhance intelligence collection and improve objective intelligence analysis. Importantly, the committee-passed IAA also includes a prohibition DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis from collecting information on U.S Persons. This IAA further enables the IC to provide support to policymakers to make the right decisions that protect our national security, promote economic prosperity for all Americans, and uphold our values.”

Background:

The IAA for Fiscal Year 2024 authorizes funding for the IC and ensures that it has the resources, personnel, and authorities it needs to protect our country and inform decision makers, while ensuring continued robust congressional oversight. The bill’s provisions focus on the following key areas:

  • Increases oversight of the national security threats posed by the People’s Republic of China, including its predatory economic practices, political influence operations, military capabilities, and investments in, and attempts to dominate the supply chains of artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation energy technologies, and biotechnology, among many others.
  • Establishes a new IC atrocities coordinator to increase collection, analysis, and intelligence support to government-wide efforts to hold China accountable for its egregious human rights abuses.
  • Promotes reform of the nation’s security classification system, including by reducing overclassification; establishing a new system of interagency governance and accountability; preventing mishandling of classified information; and promoting better use of technology to facilitate declassification and enhance public trust.
  • Strengthens the security of America’s voting systems by requiring that they undergo simulated attacks as part of their standard certification process, allowing for the discovery of potential vulnerabilities before these can be exploited by adversaries.
  • Requires the IC to conduct a “lessons-learned” assessment of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine and the long-term implications for United States national security and the NATO alliance.
  • Improves the IC’s procurement, adoption, and integration of emerging technologies by requiring the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to establish policies for the IC’s acquisition, adoption, development, and use of AI.
  • Protects against foreign counterintelligence risks at Department of Energy National Labs.
  • Enhances insight into the Venezuela Maduro regime’s imprisonment of United States persons.
  • Ensures the IC has a workforce that is second-to-none, by instituting improved IC workforce recruitment through education-based assistance; improving workforce mobility among IC agencies to meet national security needs; increasing recruitment priorities for candidates with financial intelligence and technical expertise; and requiring a standard procedure for investigating CIA sexual misconduct complaints, among other measures.
  • Increases transparency by strengthening Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) funding and reporting requirements.
  • Builds upon the Committee’s work in reforming the nation’s outdated security clearance system by requiring the codification of new timeliness standards for processing personnel vetting determinations.
  • Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis from collecting information or intelligence on U.S. persons.
  • Maintains strong congressional oversight of and protections for whistleblowers who come forward to report fraud, waste, or abuse.
  • Ensures continued support to the victims of anomalous health incidents (AHIs or “Havana Syndrome”) by improving the CIA’s funding flexibility for payments to qualified victims; and requiring each IC element to issue regulations and procedures for implementing HAVANA Act of 2021 authorities.

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement:

“We are deeply disturbed by reports that Havana and Beijing are working together to target the United States and our people.  The United States must respond to China’s ongoing and brazen attacks on our nation’s security.  We must be clear that it would be unacceptable for China to establish an intelligence facility within 100 miles of Florida and the United States, in an area also populated with key military installations and extensive maritime traffic.  We urge the Biden administration to take steps to prevent this serious threat to our national security and sovereignty.”

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today issued the following statement:

“The United States faces a dramatically different threat landscape today than it did just a couple of decades ago, with new threats and new technology that mean we must make substantial adjustments to our counterintelligence posture if we are going to successfully safeguard our national and economic security. I have worked closely alongside Mike Casey ever since he became staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2016, and I can think of no one more qualified to lead these efforts as head of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. I congratulate him on this nomination, and I look forward to a thorough and swift confirmation process before the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

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WASHINGTON – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the below statement after convening an unclassified roundtable discussion on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) with senators, civil nuclear industry and national security officials:

“As global electricity demand continues to grow at exponential rates, the world needs safe, resilient, secure, and affordable sources of power. Nuclear energy, including Small Modular Reactors, will be a critical component of meeting this demand. A recent Department of Energy report found that the U.S. alone will need 200 GW of new nuclear power by 2050 – creating a global market that could be worth $250 to 400 billion by 2040, while spurring U.S. jobs. 

“China and Russia have recognized the potential of nuclear power and are investing heavily in their advanced reactors, while attempting to secure nuclear contracts all over the world.  The United States must not let our adversaries monopolize the growing civil nuclear industry, set the safety standards around nuclear power, dominate the supply chains for such a critical source of energy, and/or attempt to use advanced reactor contracts to exert undue geopolitical and economic leverage. 

“We were pleased to co-host this bipartisan roundtable alongside Senators Manchin, Barasso, and Capito, amongst others, bringing together CEOs across the civil nuclear industry and national security officials from the U.S. government to discuss how the United States, alongside our allies, can outcompete our adversaries in deploying the next generation of civil nuclear power at home and abroad, and ensure that our own critical domestic facilities and capabilities are supported by secure, continuous, and clean power.  We look forward to continuing this work with all relevant stakeholders.”

Sen. Warner has a long history of supporting clean energy technologies critical to our national security. He is a co-sponsor of the Accelerating Deployment of Versatile, Advanced Nuclear for Clean Energy (ADVANCE) Act of 2023, which would enhance United States civil nuclear leadership, support the licensing of advanced nuclear technologies, strengthen the domestic nuclear energy fuel cycle and supply chain, and improve the regulation of nuclear energy, and the Nuclear Fuel Security Act of 2023, which takes substantial steps toward onshoring nuclear fuel production. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and John Thune (R-SD), ranking member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband, led a group of 12 bipartisan senators to introduce the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act, legislation that will comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries by better empowering the Department of Commerce to review, prevent, and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security.

“Today, the threat that everyone is talking about is TikTok, and how it could enable surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party, or facilitate the spread of malign influence campaigns in the U.S. Before TikTok, however, it was Huawei and ZTE, which threatened our nation’s telecommunications networks. And before that, it was Russia’s Kaspersky Lab, which threatened the security of government and corporate devices,” said Sen. Warner. “We need a comprehensive, risk-based approach that proactively tackles sources of potentially dangerous technology before they gain a foothold in America, so we aren’t playing Whac-A-Mole and scrambling to catch up once they’re already ubiquitous.”

“Congress needs to stop taking a piecemeal approach when it comes to technology from adversarial nations that pose national security risks,” said Sen. Thune. “Our country needs a process in place to address these risks, which is why I’m pleased to work with Senator Warner to establish a holistic, methodical approach to address the threats posed by technology platforms – like TikTok – from foreign adversaries. This bipartisan legislation would take a necessary step to ensure consumers’ information and our communications technology infrastructure is secure.”

The RESTRICT Act establishes a risk-based process, tailored to the rapidly changing technology and threat environment, by directing the Department of Commerce to identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Thune, the legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Mitt Romney (R-UT).

The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act would:

  • Require the Secretary of Commerce to establish procedures to identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, and mitigate transactions involving information and communications technology products in which any foreign adversary has any interest and poses undue or unacceptable risk to national security;
  • Prioritize evaluation of information communications and technology products used in critical infrastructure, integral to telecommunications products, or pertaining to a range of defined emerging, foundational, and disruptive technologies with serious national security implications;
  • Ensure comprehensive actions to address risks of untrusted foreign information communications and technology products by requiring the Secretary to take up consideration of concerning activity identified by other government entities;
  • Educate the public and business community about the threat by requiring the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate with the Director of National Intelligence to provide declassified information on how transactions denied or otherwise mitigated posed undue or unacceptable risk.

“We need to protect Americans’ data and keep our country safe against today and tomorrow’s threats. While many of these foreign-owned technology products and social media platforms like TikTok are extremely popular, we also know these products can pose a grave danger to Wisconsin’s users and threaten our national security,” said Sen. Baldwin. “This bipartisan legislation will empower us to respond to our fast-changing environment – giving the United States the tools it needs to assess and act on current and future threats that foreign-owned technologies pose to Wisconsinites and our national security.”

“There are a host of dangerous technology platforms – including TikTok – that can be manipulated by China and other foreign adversaries to threaten U.S. national security and abuse Americans’ personal data. I’m proud to join Senator Warner in introducing bipartisan legislation that would put an end to disjointed interagency responses and strengthen the federal government’s ability to counter these digital threats,” said Sen. Fischer.

“Over the past several years, foreign adversaries of the United States have encroached on American markets through technology products that steal sensitive location and identifying information of U.S. citizens, including social media platforms like TikTok. This dangerous new internet infrastructure poses serious risks to our nation’s economic and national security,” said Sen. Manchin. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan RESTRICT ACT, which will empower the Department of Commerce to adopt a comprehensive approach to evaluating and mitigating these threats posed by technology products. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this critical legislation across the finish line.”

“Foreign adversaries are increasingly using products and services to collect information on American citizens, posing a threat to our national security,” said Sen. Moran. “This legislation would give the Department of Commerce the authority to help prevent adversarial governments from introducing harmful products and services in the U.S., providing us the long-term tools necessary to combat the infiltration of our information and communications systems. The government needs to be vigilant against these threats, but a comprehensive data privacy law is needed to ensure Americans are able to control who accesses their data and for what purpose.”

“We shouldn’t let any company subject to the Chinese Communist Party’s dictates collect data on a third of our population – and while TikTok is just the latest example, it won’t be the last. The federal government can’t continue to address new foreign technology from adversarial nations in a one-off manner; we need a strategic, enduring mechanism to protect Americans and our national security. I look forward to working in a bipartisan way with my colleagues on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee to send this bill to the floor,” said Sen. Bennet.

“Our modern economy, communication networks, and military rely on a range of information communication technologies. Unfortunately, some of these technology products pose a serious risk to our national security,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “The RESTRICT Act will address this risk by empowering the Secretary of Commerce to carefully evaluate these products and ensure that they do not endanger our critical infrastructure or undermine our democratic processes.”

“China’s brazen incursion of our airspace with a sophisticated spy balloon was only the most recent and highly visible example of its aggressive surveillance that has targeted our country for years.  Through hardware exports, malicious software, and other clandestine means, China has sought to steal information in an attempt to gain a military and economic edge,” said Sen. Collins. “Rather than taking a piecemeal approach to these hostile acts and reacting to each threat individually, our legislation would create a wholistic, government-wide response to proactively defend against surveillance attempts by China and other adversaries.  This will directly improve our national security as well as safeguard Americans’ personal information and our nation’s vital intellectual property.”

"Cybersecurity is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. The future of conflict is moving further away from the battlefield and closer to the devices and the networks everyone increasingly depends on. We need a systemic approach to addressing potential threats posed by technology from foreign adversaries. This bill provides that approach by authorizing the Administration to review and restrict apps and services that pose a risk to Americans’ data security. I will continue to push for technology defenses that the American people want and deserve to keep our country both safe and free,” said Sen. Heinrich.

“The Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a multi-generational, multi-faceted, and systematic campaign to replace the United States as the world’s superpower. One tool at its disposal—the ability to force social media companies headquartered in China, like TikTok’s parent company, to hand over the data it collects on users,” said Sen. Romney. “Our adversaries—countries like China, Russia, Iran—are increasingly using technology products to spy on Americans and discover vulnerabilities in our communications infrastructure, which can then be exploited. The United States must take stronger action to safeguard our national security against the threat technology products pose and this legislation is a strong step in that direction.”

A two-page summary of the bill is available here. A copy of the bill text is available here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released the following statement on the President’s National Cyber Strategy:

“I’m pleased to see the Biden Administration advocating for the kind of best practices that I’ve long called for, such as building and reinforcing strong partnerships with the private sector, investing in the long-term protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure, being proactive about establishing strong cybersecurity foundations and meeting critical standards. I’m particularly pleased to see the Administration prioritize the coordination of cyber incident reporting requirements, as required by the cyber reporting law I was proud to author. I’m also glad to see the Administration’s renewed focus on protecting the sensitive medical data and safety of Americans as cyber attacks on our health care systems become more frequent and aggressive.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement on the release of a declassified Intelligence Community Assessment on Anomalous Health Incidents (AHIs), or “Havana syndrome”:

“The Senate Intelligence Committee received this morning the Intelligence Community’s Assessment on Anomalous Health Incidents and is currently reviewing it to understand the Community’s analytic perspective.

“Make no mistake: the priority of this Committee remains the safety, security, and well-being of the intelligence workforce and their families. We will continue to hold the Intelligence Community accountable for ensuring that those officers who have reported being affected by AHIs are being treated with the respect, dignity, and care they deserve, as required by Congress under the HAVANA Act.”

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement:

“In accordance with our responsibility to oversee the Intelligence Community and protect our national security, today we met with leaders from the IC and the Justice Department to discuss the exposure of classified documents. While today’s meeting helped shed some light on these issues, it left much to be desired and we will continue to press for full answers to our questions in accordance with our constitutional oversight obligations.”

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WASHINGTON – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote to the Biden administration to request that it expand the use of existing tools and authorities at the Departments of Treasury and Commerce to prevent China’s military industrial complex from benefiting from U.S. technology, talent and investments.

In a pair of letters, the Senators expressed concern with the flow of U.S. innovation, talent, and capital into the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which seeks to exert control over global supply chains, achieve technological superiority, and rise as the dominant economic and military power in the world. They also stress the need to utilize the authorities at the government’s disposal to protect U.S. interests and ensure that American businesses, investors, and consumers are not inadvertently advancing China’s authoritarian interests or supporting its ongoing genocide in Xinjiang and human rights abuses in Tibet and Hong Kong.

In their letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Senators wrote, “It is widely known that the PRC’s Military-Civil Fusion (MCF) program targets technological advancements in the U.S., as well as university and research partnerships with the U.S., for the PRC’s military development.  U.S. technology, talent, and capital continue to contribute—through both lawful and unlawful means, including theft—to the PRC’s development of critical military-use industries, technologies, and related supply chains. The breadth of the MCF program’s ambitions and reach creates dangerous vulnerabilities for U.S. national and economic security as well as undermines respect for democratic values globally.”

The Senators also posed a number of questions for Sec. Yellen regarding Treasury’s internal Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) lists, which do not include a number of entities and individuals who have been identified by the U.S. Government as posing national security risks or human rights concerns.  

In their letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the Senators wrote, “Despite recent restrictions on the export of sensitive technologies critical to U.S. national security, we remain deeply concerned that American technology, investment, and talent continue to support the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) military industrial complex, intelligence and security apparatus, its ongoing genocide, and other PRC efforts to displace United States economic leadership. As such, we urge the Department of Commerce to immediately use its authorities to more broadly restrict these activities.”

The Senators also requested answers from Sec. Raimondo regarding America’s most critical high-technology sectors, the Department’s ability and authority to evaluate companies’ reliance on China and assess the flow of U.S. innovation to PRC entities.  

A copy of the letter to the Department of Treasury is available here. A copy of the letter to the Department of Commerce is available here.  

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, questioning the company about recently released documents revealing that the company knew, as early as 2018, that hundreds of thousands of developers in what Facebook classified as “high-risk jurisdictions” including the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia had access to user data that could have been used to facilitate espionage. The documents were released as part of ongoing litigation against the company related to its lax handling of personal data after revelations regarding Cambridge Analytica.

Under pressure from Congress, Facebook revealed in 2018 that it provided access to key application programming interfaces (APIs) to device-makers based in the PRC, including Huawei, OPPO, TCL, and others. In the wake of those disclosures, Facebook met repeatedly with the staffs of both senators and the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss access to this data and what controls Facebook was putting in place to protect user data in the future.

Wrote the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee in today’s letter, “Given those discussions, we were startled to learn recently, as a result of this ongoing litigation and discovery, that Facebook had concluded that a much wider range of foreign-based developers, in addition to the PRC-based device-makers, also had access to this data. According to at least one internal document, this included nearly 90,000 separate developers in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which is especially remarkable given that Facebook has never been permitted to operate in the PRC.  The document also refers to discovery of more than 42,000 developers in Russia, and thousands of developers in other ‘high-risk jurisdictions,’ including Iran and North Korea, that had access to this user information.”

The newly available documents reveal that Facebook internally acknowledged in 2018 that this access could  be used for espionage purposes.

“As the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we have grave concerns about the extent to which this access could have enabled foreign intelligence service activity, ranging from foreign malign influence to targeting and counter-intelligence activity,” wrote Warner and Rubio, posing a series of questions to the company about the implications of the access, including:

1)      The unsealed document notes that Facebook conducted separate reviews on developers based in the PRC and Russia “given the risk associated with those countries.” What additional reviews were conducted on these developers? When was this additional review completed and what were the primary conclusions? What percentage of the developers located in the PRC and Russia was Facebook able to definitively identify?  What communications, if any, has Facebook had with these developers since its initial identification? What criteria does Facebook use to evaluate the “risk associated with” operation in the PRC and Russia?

2)      For the developers identified as being located within the PRC and Russia, please provide a full list of the types of information to which these developers had access, as well as the timeframes associated with such access.

3)      Does Facebook have comprehensive logs on the frequency with which developers from high-risk jurisdictions accessed its APIs and the forms of data accessed?

4)      Please provide an estimate of the number of discrete Facebook users in the United States whose data was shared with a developer located in the each country identified as a “high-risk jurisdiction” (broken out by country).

5)      The internal document indicates that Facebook would establish a framework to identify the “developers and apps determined to be most potentially risky[.]” How did Facebook establish this rubric? How many developers and apps based in the PRC and Russia met this threshold? How many developers and apps in other high-risk jurisdictions met this threshold? What were the specific characteristics of these developers that gave rise to this determination? Did Facebook identify any developers as too risky to safely operate with? If so, which?

6)      The internal document references your public commitment to “conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity.” How does Facebook characterize “suspicious activity” and how many apps triggered this full audit process? 

7)      Does Facebook have any indication that any developers’ access enabled coordinated inauthentic activity, targeting activity, or any other malign behavior by foreign governments?

8)      Does Facebook have any indication that developers’ access enabled malicious advertising or other fraudulent activity by foreign actors, as revealed in public reporting? 

The full of today’s letter is available here and below.

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

We write you with regard to recently unsealed documents in connection with pending litigation your company, Meta, is engaged in. It appears from these documents that Facebook has known, since at least September 2018, that hundreds of thousands of developers in countries Facebook characterized as “high-risk,” including the People’s Republic of China (PRC), had access to significant amounts of sensitive user data. As leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we write today with a number of questions regarding these documents and the extent to which developers in these countries were granted access to American user data. 

In 2018, the New York Times revealed that Facebook had provided privileged access to key application programming interfaces (APIs) to Huawei, OPPO, TCL, and other device-makers based in the PRC.  Under the terms of agreements with Facebook dating back to at least 2010, these device manufacturers were permitted to access a wealth of information on Facebook’s users, including profile data, user IDs, photos, as well as contact information and even private messages.  In the wake of these revelations, as well as broader revelations concerning Facebook’s lax data security policies related to third-party applications, our staffs held numerous meetings with representatives from your company, including with senior executives, to discuss who had access to this data and what controls Facebook was putting in place to protect user data in the future.

Given those discussions, we were startled to learn recently, as a result of this ongoing litigation and discovery, that Facebook had concluded that a much wider range of foreign-based developers, in addition to the PRC-based device-makers, also had access to this data. According to at least one internal document, this included nearly 90,000 separate developers in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which is especially remarkable given that Facebook has never been permitted to operate in the PRC.  The document also refers to discovery of more than 42,000 developers in Russia, and thousands of developers in other “high-risk jurisdictions,” including Iran and North Korea, that had access to this user information.

As Facebook’s own internal materials note, those jurisdictions “may be governed by potentially risky data storage and disclosure rules or be more likely to house malicious actors,” including “states known to collect data for intelligence targeting and cyber espionage.”  As the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we have grave concerns about the extent to which this access could have enabled foreign intelligence service activity, ranging from foreign malign influence to targeting and counter-intelligence activity. 

In light of these revelations, we request answers to the following questions on the findings of Facebook’s internal investigation:

1) The unsealed document notes that Facebook conducted separate reviews on developers based in the PRC and Russia “given the risk associated with those countries.”

  • What additional reviews were conducted on these developers?
  • When was this additional review completed and what were the primary conclusions?
  • What percentage of the developers located in the PRC and Russia was Facebook able to definitively identify?
  • What communications, if any, has Facebook had with these developers since its initial identification?
  • What criteria does Facebook use to evaluate the “risk associated with” operation in the PRC and Russia?

2) For the developers identified as being located within the PRC and Russia, please provide a full list of the types of information to which these developers had access, as well as the timeframes associated with such access.

3) Does Facebook have comprehensive logs on the frequency with which developers from high-risk jurisdictions accessed its APIs and the forms of data accessed?

4) Please provide an estimate of the number of discrete Facebook users in the United States whose data was shared with a developer located in the each country identified as a “high-risk jurisdiction” (broken out by country).

5) The internal document indicates that Facebook would establish a framework to identify the “developers and apps determined to be most potentially risky[.]”

  • How did Facebook establish this rubric?
  • How many developers and apps based in the PRC and Russia met this threshold? How many developers and apps in other high-risk jurisdictions met this threshold?
  • What were the specific characteristics of these developers that gave rise to this determination?
  • Did Facebook identify any developers as too risky to safely operate with? If so, which?

6) The internal document references your public commitment to “conduct a full audit of any app with suspicious activity.”

  • How does Facebook characterize “suspicious activity” and how many apps triggered this full audit process? 

7) Does Facebook have any indication that any developers’ access enabled coordinated inauthentic activity, targeting activity, or any other malign behavior by foreign governments?

8) Does Facebook have any indication that developers’ access enabled malicious advertising or other fraudulent activity by foreign actors, as revealed in public reporting? 

Thank you for your prompt attention.

 

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WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) was joined by Committee Vice Chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for a joint interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, where the Senators discussed the Committee’s bipartisan oversight efforts and how the U.S. needs to tackle the rising threats posed by the Communist Party of China.  

On the need for access to classified material found in the residences of Presidents Trump and Biden:

“This committee has had a long bipartisan history of doing its job. And our job here is intelligence oversight. The Justice Department has had the Trump documents about six months, the Biden documents about three months, our job is not to figure out if somebody mishandled those, our job is to make sure there's not an intelligence compromise. And while the Director of National Intelligence had been willing to brief us earlier, now that you've got the special counsel, the notion that we're going to be left in limbo, and we can't do our job, that just cannot stand. And every member of the committee who spoke yesterday and I wanted the director to hear this, regardless of party said, we are united in we have to find a way to do our job. That means we need these documents, we need that assessment.”—U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner

On the Intelligence Committee’s priorities:  

“I actually think if there's one issue that still is extraordinarily bipartisan, it is a growing concern about China, and a recognition that in this technology race, second place is not good enough for us.” —U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner

On TikTok:

“I want to have an approach that says, we need to look at foreign technology investments, foreign technology development, regardless of country, if it poses a national security threat and have some place that can evaluate this. We need a frame to systemically look at this… 138 million users in America use TikTok on a regular basis. Average about 90 minutes a day. The fact is, the algorithms that determine what you see on TikTok is determined out of Beijing by China. And the proof is, if you look at what Chinese kids are seeing on their version of TikTok, which emphasizes science and engineering, versus what our kids and the kids around the world are seeing, it is dramatically different. So, both from a data collection and from, frankly, a propaganda tool, it is of huge concern.” —U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner

On social media regulation:

“I've been saying for years, and we may not fully agree on this, but on all these social media companies, a lot of good, but there is a dark under belly. And the fact that the United States historically, we would have set some rules of the road for these entities in terms of standards, in terms of protocols, in terms of appropriate behavior, in terms of questions like even like basic privacy. But our failure to do so has mean we have ceded that leadership, oftentimes to the Europeans, or to individual states, and I think that's, frankly, a loss of American leadership.” —U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner

Video of Sen. Warner and Sen. Rubio’s full interview on Face the Nation can be found here. A transcript follows.

CBS’s Face the Nation

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have any timeline in terms of when you will get visibility into the documents of classified material that both President Biden and President Trump had in their residences?

SENATOR MARK WARNER: Margaret, unfortunately, no. And this committee has had a long bipartisan history of doing its job. And our job here is intelligence oversight. The Justice Department has had the Trump documents about six months, the Biden documents about three months. Our job is not to figure out if somebody mishandled those, but our job is to make sure there's not an intelligence compromise.

And while the director of national intelligence had been willing to brief us earlier, now that you've got the special counsel, the notion that we're going to be left in limbo, and we can't do our job, that just cannot stand.

BRENNAN: But the intelligence community would say their hands are tied, because this is an ongoing, active Justice Department investigation.

So what would meet the level of -- of addressing your concerns without compromising that?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, I don't know how congressional oversight on the documents, actually knowing what they are in any way impedes an investigation.

These are probably materials we already have access to. We just don't know which ones they are. And it's not about being nosy. You know, the -- here's the bottom line. If, in fact, those documents were very sensitive, materials were sensitive, and they pose a counterintelligence or national security threat to the United States, then the intelligence agencies are tasked with the job of coming up with ways to mitigate that.

BRENNAN: Does the director even know what the materials were?

SEN. WARNER: Well, we got a bit of vagueness on that, because, again, I believe you want to make sure the intelligence professionals and not political appointees were making some of that.

That makes sense to me. But I would even think that, if the -- President Trump and President Biden would probably want to have this known, if they say there's no there there. Well, there may still be violations on handling.

SEN. RUBIO: Let me tell you how absurd this is.

There isn't a day that goes by that there isn't some media report about what was found where, what -- some sort of characterization of the material in the press. So, somehow, the only people who are not allowed to know what was in there are congressional oversight committees.

So, it's an untenable situation that I think has to be resolved.

BRENNAN: The idea that some of these documents go all the way back to when President Biden was a senator, does that suggest that there's something more than a problem in the executive branch?

SEN. WARNER: Agreed. That's why the notion of, we're not going to give the Oversight Committee the ability to do its job until the special prosecutor somehow says it's OK doesn't -- doesn't hold water. We have a right, as not only members of the Intelligence Committee, but as part of the leadership, to read virtually every classified document. We got a problem in terms of both classification levels, how senior elected officials, when they leave government, how they handle documents. We've had too many examples of this.

And, again, I think we've got the bipartisan bona fides to say, let's put them in place on a going-forward basis, a better process.

BRENNAN: So, you -- you threatened to withhold some funding to some of the agencies yesterday.

SEN. RUBIO: I'm not in the threat business right now.

But we certainly are -- there are things we need to do as a committee every year to authorize the moving around of funds. I think the director of national intelligence and other heads of intelligence agencies are aware of that.

You know, at some point, I would prefer for them just to call us this morning or tomorrow or whenever and say, look, this is the arrangement that we think we can reach, so that the overseers can get access to this. I would prefer not to go down that road. But it's one of the pieces of leverage we have as Congress.

SEN. WARNER: We're going to figure out a way to make sure that we get that access, so that we can not only tell the American people, but we've got another 85 U.S. senators who are not on the Intelligence Committee who look to us to get those assurances.

BRENNAN: What is it that you, as lawmakers, can do? Is it new regulations when it comes to transitions?

SEN. WARNER: The director of national intelligence is the individual that's the chief officer for intelligence classification.

I think -- and there's been a number of other members of the Senate, both parties, have been working for years on the notion that we overclassify.

BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. WARNER: The number of things that we read in a SCIF that somehow then appear in the newspaper begs the question.It's kind of been an issue that's been bubbling for a long time.

BRENNAN: Overclassification.

SEN. WARNER: I think that this -- I think this series of events pushes it to the forefront.

And, again, we have the power to write legislation, which then executive agencies have to follow.

BRENNAN: In terms of record-keeping.

SEN. WARNER: In terms of record-keeping, in terms, literally, of at least guidance on classification issues. I mean, there has been -- and again, this director of national intelligence, I'm going to give her credit. She has been at least acknowledging and, long before this issue came up, said, we need to work on this issue of declassification, overclassification. Every director says it, and then it kind of gets pushed -- pushed back. I think one good thing that may come out of this is that we're going to find a way to resolve this issue on a going-forward basis.

BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. For all the division on Capitol Hill, one subject that invites at least some bipartisan unity is the threat posed by China. For more, we return to our interview with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner and Marco Rubio.

BRENNAN: President Biden is reportedly close to issuing an executive order when it comes to restrictions on U.S. investments in - in China. But there's concern about risking further escalation. What's your view on how far that action should go?

SEN. RUBIO: The Chinese have found a way to use capitalism against us and a - and what I mean by that is the ability to attract investment into entities that are deeply linked to the state. The military commercial fusion that exists in China is a concept that we don't have in this country. We have contractors that do defense work, but there is no distinction in China between advancements in technology, biomedicine, whatever it might be, and the interest of the state.

And then the second is, obviously, the access to our capital markets.

And the third is the risk posed. We don't, up to this point, have not had levels of transparency in terms of auditing and the like on these investments of the -- into these companies. When you invest in these companies and U.S. exchanges, you don't have nearly as much information about the bookkeeping of those companies as you would an American company or a European company because they refuse to comply with those restrictions. So, there's systemic risk to our investments and then there's also the geopolitical reality that American capital flows are helping to fund activities that are ultimately designed to undermine our national security.

SEN. WARNER: Beginning of the 20th century, I was a believer that, you know, the more you bring China into the world order, the more things will all be copacetic.

BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. WARNER: We were just wrong on that. The communist party, under President Xi's leadership, and my beef is, to be clear, with the communist party, it's not with the Chinese people or the Chinese (INAUDIBLE), wherever it is in the world, but they basically changed the rules of the road. They made clear, in Chinese law, that every company in China's ultimate responsibility is to the communist party. Not that their customers. Not to their shareholders.

We have actually, in a bipartisan way, did over -- didn't get a lot of attention, over the last seven years, have been out and we've done 20 classified briefings for industry sector after industry sector about these risks. Frankly, pre-Covid, we kind of got nods.

BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. WARNER: But, you know, some pushback because a lot of companies were making - were making –

BRENNAN: Because companies just wanted access to the market regardless of the risk.

SEN. WARNER: Were making a lot of money off Chinese tech companies.

BRENNAN: Exactly. Exactly.

SEN. WARNER: Now, post-Covid, I think there is an awakening that this is a real challenge. And I think the good news is that not only is there an awakening, you know, in America, but a lot of our allies around the world are seeing this threat as well.

SEN. RUBIO: I - I think there was a -

BRENNAN: So you want restrictions on biotech, battery technologies, semiconductors, artificial intelligence?

SEN. WARNER: I want to have an approach that says, we need to look at foreign technology investments, foreign technology development, regardless of country, if it poses a national security threat and have some place that can evaluate this. We need a frame to systemically look at this. And, frankly, if it goes just beyond the so-called CFIUS legislation about inbound or outbound investment.

BRENNAN: That's a committee looks at the national security risk.

SEN. RUBIO: But understanding that for, you know, 20 years ago everybody thought capitalism was going to change China. And we woke up to the realization that capitalism didn't change China, China changed capitalism. And they've used it to their advantage and to our disadvantage. And not simply from an old Soviet perspective to take us on from a geopolitical or military perspective, they've done so from a technological and industrial perspective. And so you have seen the largest theft and transfer of intellectual property in the history of humanity occur over the last 15 years. Some of it funded by American taxpayers.

BRENNAN: They have the biggest hacking ability program than any other nation. The intelligence community says they're the world leader in surveillance, in censorship. How restricted should their ability to access this market be?

SEN. RUBIO: I think it is nearly impossible for any Chinese company to comply with both Chinese law and our expectations in this country. Chinese law is very clear, if you're a Chinese company and we ask you for your data, we ask you for your information, we ask you for what you have or we ask you to do something, you either do it or you won't be around.

BRENNAN: You want to ban Chinese companies from investing in America?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, I think there are certain investments where there's no way we can protect the country from doing it. Do you - you know, we go back to TikTok, people say, who - you know, why do we care about what some 16- year-olds are doing.

BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. RUBIO: I don't think the threat is that some 16-year-old likes these cool videos that are on there, which I admit are - are attractive, obviously, because of the artificial intelligence makes it so. It's the massive amount of data that they're collecting, not on one 16-year-old, not on 1,000 16-year-olds, but on millions and millions of Americans that give them commercial advantage, potentially the advantage of being able to shape American public opinion in a time of crisis, that - that just give them extraordinary insights that allow them to steer the conversation in this country in any direction they want.

BRENNAN: But this has been talked about for three years now.

SEN. WARNER: But - but let's -

BRENNAN: The Trump administration tried to ban it. The Biden administration still hasn't pulled the trigger.

SEN. WARNER: Maybe we were all a little bit slow to recognize the challenge here. You know, it is both a data collection entity. Now, it may not collect as much data as some of our American platforms, but it is very much, at the end of the day, still responsible to the communist party.

But think about this, Margaret, 138 million users in America use TikTok on a regular basis. Average about 90 minutes a day. The fact is, the algorithms that determine what you see on TikTok is determined out of Beijing by China.

And the proof is, if you look at what Chinese kids are seeing on their version of TikTok, which emphasizes science and engineering, versus what our kids and the kids around the world are seeing, it is dramatically different. So, both from a data collection and from, frankly, a propaganda tool, it is of huge concern.

BRENNAN: Yes. CBS spoke to TikTok about their plans and the company said they had come to an agreement over the summer in terms of how they could structure things to separate and create a wall to protect against some of these concerns. They said they can continue operating in the U.S. by offering data protections.

Do you both know what they are offering. And you're laughing so I'm guessing this isn't sufficient?

SEN. RUBIO: I don't know what the data protections are. And there's a technical aspect to it. But it's beyond the data protections. I filed a bill to ban it last year.

BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. RUBIO: We're going to re-file it again this year.

BRENNAN: You are?

SEN. RUBIO: It's bipartisan. It's bicameral. Some people are not willing to go that far, but I certainly think it's the right place to be. But, in the end, we've got to do something about it, whether it's a ban or something else.

I - I honestly don't know - I -- as I sit here with you today, I don't know how our national security interests and the operation of TikTok in this country, as long as it's owned by ByteDance, can coexist.

SEN. WARNER: And I'm - and - and --

BRENNAN: You want to force the sale?

SEN. RUBIO: I - I want -- I've been wanting to do that for three years.

SEN. WARNER: I may have a slightly different approach. I'm going to sit down and see how we can work through this. But I've been hearing - and I've been trying to give the Biden administration now more than two years to see, is there a technical solution here? And I'd be willing to take a look at it.

The Biden administration has not announced that. And I think the problem is, this is technically extraordinarily hard to do. TikTok has repeatedly said, oh, America's data, not being seen in China. And repeatedly we've seen Chinese engineers having access to American data.

BRENNAN: But it's already been downloaded 200 million times.

SEN. WARNER: This is -

BRENNAN: How do you convince a 16-year-old to delete the app and get rid of the phone? I mean is -- isn't this very hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube?

SEN. WARNER: This is - this - this -- absolutely. But this is one of the reasons why I think Congress has been horribly unsuccessful at this. I've been saying for years, and we may not fully agree on this, but on all these social media companies, a lot of good, but there is a dark under belly. And the fact that the United States historically, we would have set some rules of the road for these - for these entities in terms of standards, in terms of protocols, in terms of appropriate behavior, in terms of questions like even like basic privacy.

SEN. BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. WARNER: But our failure to do so has mean we have ceded that leadership, oftentimes to the Europeans, or to individual states, and I think that's, frankly, a loss of American leadership.

You know, for most of my lifetime we led virtually in every innovation area. We suddenly woke up with, you know, 5G or wireless communication where China was, you know, setting the standards. We - we woke up an industry like semiconductor chips and woke up -

BRENNAN: Yes.

SEN. WARNER: We used to own this and we've lost it. We've seen now the solar industry where it's all migrated to China.

If -- think about, you know, this notion around quantum computing, the ability to break any kind of encryption, or artificial intelligence, those technologies are driven by an authoritarian regime out of China. You know, I don't care where you fall on the political spectrum in America, that's not good news or for free people anywhere in the world.

BRENNAN: Aren't you - aren't you going to run head long into business interests here in the United States? I mean just look at Elon Musk. The U.S. government relies on his company SpaceX. He has a majority in car company Tesla. He has control over the internet connection in Ukraine via Starlink. And he now owns Twitter.

You said there's no one in the world more dependent on the communist party than Elon Musk.

SEN. WARNER: Exactly (ph). My concern is, you know, if you look at Mr. Musk's public statements, they're almost all supportive of the oversight regime in China, and they're almost all derogatory about the oversight regime in America and in Europe.

And part of that, I think, whether it's knowingly or not, is, where does he get all his batteries that go into all these Teslas? They are, you know, built in China, mostly, frankly, with a lot of Uyghur labor. And Senator Rubio has been the leader on trying to make sure that the Chinese communist party's treatment of the Uyghur people is prohibited. And, you know, I've yet to hear from Mr. Musk how that kind of contradiction about comments about the CCP in China and what he's dealing with Uyghur labor, how that's not going to influence some of his decisions.

SEN. RUBIO: It goes beyond Elon Musk. I mean business interests have invested, both in access to the Chinese market, but also in the means of production. And it's allowed them, in many cases, historically, to be deputized, include - and that includes the finance and investment world -- to come to Washington and argue for things that are against the national interest but in favor of their short and midterm profit line for their investors for their company.

BRENNAN: Senator Rubio, as a conservative you have to feel a little bit uncomfortable with talking about government intervention in private industry. But that has been the U.S. solution in some ways to the semiconductor issues you were raising, the subsidy, to try to bring chip making back to America.

SEN. RUBIO: Well, I would argue this, that I don't believe in government intervention in the private sector, but I do believe in government intervention in our national security. So, capitalism --

BRENNAN: These are subsidies.

SEN. RUBIO: Well, so capitalism is going to give you the most efficient outcome. But sometimes what do you do when the most efficient outcome is not in our national interest, because it's more efficient to buy rare earth minerals from the Chinese, it's more efficient to have things built over there in many cases, but is it in our national interest to depend on them for 80 something percent of the active ingredients in our pharmaceuticals? I could argue it was not. And in those instances, where the market efficient outcome is not in our national interest, it is my opinion that we default to the national interests because without our national interests and our national security, the other things won't matter.

We are not a market. We're a nation. And the market exists to serve the market, not the nation to serve the market.

BRENNAN: The $50 billion that taxpayers just pumped into to the chips bill and semiconductors, that's just the start. That you think other legislation is coming like that?

SEN. WARNER: I'm saying - what I'm saying is we need - you know, one of the reasons that it took us $52 billion and that was for most semiconductors and next generation wireless, was because candidly I think we went asleep at the switch for a long time and we had to suddenly play catch-up because we'd seen China advance and we had also seen Taiwan, our friend and one of the reasons why we need to be supportive, where, frankly, every advanced chip in all of our satellites and - and sea craft are made in Taiwan.

We were chasing after the fact. If we can get ahead on - on some of these key areas, I don't think we will need that kind of investment. But we are going to need to make sure that we've got a plan in place to make sure that these new technology domains don't all end up in China.

SEN. RUBIO: We need to identify, what are the critical industries and capacities that our country needs to be able to have without being leveraged or having to go through the Chinese to get it. And then we need to figure out what government's role is.

Now, I want to make sure that we're not turning this into a lobbyist trial where every industry comes here and gets money. And we have to make sure that if we're going to invest in research, that that research is protected, that there's sufficient safeguards, because what's the point of putting billions of dollars to innovate something they're going to steal anyway?

But I do think, again, this is not about government running or owning these companies. We're not going to rely on the Chinese or someone else to make it for us because we'll be denied that capability in a time of conflict.

BRENNAN: Can you get that through a divided Congress?

SEN. WARNER: I actually think if there's one issue that still is extraordinarily bipartisan, it is a growing concern about China and a recognition that in this technology race, second place is not good enough for us.

BRENNAN: We actually haven't had a bipartisan interview like this in about three years. So, to see a Democrat and a Republican sit down and talk about issues of substance is great to see.

SEN. WARNER: Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you both.

BRENNAN: We'll be right back.

###

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded the final passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation passed through the Senate yesterday by a vote of 83-11, after being approved by the House of Representatives last week. The IAA authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community.

“I am pleased the House and Senate have passed the Committee’s bipartisan Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 as part of our nation’s defense authorization bill,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “This year’s bill will enhance the country’s ability to confront our adversaries, including the growing threats to our national security posed by China and Russia.  It also takes significant steps to promote U.S. technology leadership, including by accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies and increasing our ability to compete with China.  Finally, I am pleased that this year’s bill drives serious improvement to the IC’s hiring and security clearance processes, so that the IC can attract and expeditiously on-board a talented, diverse, and trusted workforce.”

“This year’s Intelligence Authorization Act ensures that the Intelligence Community (IC) has the resources, authorities, and personnel to protect America’s national security and counter the growing threats from autocracies like China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba,” said Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “This bill further enhances U.S. counterintelligence screening, foreign intelligence collection and analysis, and emerging technology capabilities to focus the IC on addressing our primary national security threat in the 21st century – countering Communist China.” 

Background:

The IAA for Fiscal Year 2023 authorizes funding and ensures that the Intelligence Community (IC) has the resources, personnel, and authorities it needs to protect our country and inform decision makers, while under robust Congressional oversight, including in the following key areas:

  • Confronting the growing national security threat posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by increasing hard target intelligence collection and analysis, as well as by identifying and exposing corruption, forced labor camps, global infrastructure financing, and malign economic investments in telecommunications and semiconductors;
  • Bolstering intelligence support for Ukraine as it fights to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty against Russia’s unprovoked aggression, including by increasing oversight of China’s support to Ukraine, assessing the effects of sanctions on Russia and its allies, and evaluating opportunities to mitigate threats to food security due to the conflict;
  • Establishing IC Coordinators to account for Russian atrocities and for countering proliferation of Iran-origin unmanned aircraft systems;
  • Driving improvements to the IC’s hiring and security clearance processes by keeping the IC accountable for progress, including timeliness in bringing cleared personnel onboard, ensuring that key management and contract oversight personnel in industry can obtain clearances, and establishing personnel vetting performance measures;
  • Accelerating and improving procurement, adoption, and integration of emerging technologies across the IC;
  • Establishing counterintelligence protections for IC grant funding against foreign-based risks of misappropriation, theft, and other threats to U.S. innovation;
  • Establishing measures to mitigate counterintelligence threats from foreign commercial spyware;
  • Strengthening oversight of national security threats associated with the regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela;
  • Ensuring continued support to the victims of anomalous health incidents (“Havana Syndrome”) and maintaining continued oversight over the IC’s investigations into the causes of anomalous health incidents; 
  • Enforcing cybersecurity enhancements and cybersecurity minimum standards across the IC, including for classified systems; and
  • Enhancing oversight of IC and Department of Defense collection and reporting on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.

###

Earlier this month, Apple publicly acknowledged that it is considering procuring NAND memory chips for future iPhones from Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), a state-owned company with extensive links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). 

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman and Vice Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines calling for a public analysis and review of YMTC and the risks it presents to U.S. national security. 

  • “[W]e write to convey that any decision to partner with YMTC, no matter the intended market of the product offerings developed by such a partnership, would affirm and reward the PRC’s distortive and unfair trade practices, which undermine U.S. companies globally by creating significant advantages to Chinese firms at the expense of foreign competitors. Last year, the Biden Administration described YMTC as China’s ‘national champion memory chip producer,’ which supports the CCP’s efforts to counter U.S. innovation and leadership in this space.” 
  • “Policymakers have for several years now conveyed to the American public the importance of a competitive semiconductor industry to U.S. national and economic security. A partnership between Apple and YMTC would endanger this critical sector and risk nullifying efforts to support it, jeopardizing the health of chipmakers in the U.S. and allied countries and advancing Beijing’s goal of controlling the global semiconductor market. Buoyed by a major contract with a leading global equipment vendor such as Apple, YMTC’s success would threaten the 24,000 American jobs that support memory chip production. More broadly, such a partnership would also threaten the opportunities this market provides for research at U.S. universities and further development of memory chips for civilian and military uses.”

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) also signed the letter.

Full text of the letter is available here and below. 

Dear Director Haines:

We write to convey our extreme concern about the possibility that Apple Inc. will soon procure 3D NAND memory chips from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned manufacturer Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC). Such a decision would introduce significant privacy and security vulnerabilities to the global digital supply chain that Apple helps shape given YMTC’s extensive, but often opaque, ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and concerning PRC-backed entities. In addition, we write to convey that any decision to partner with YMTC, no matter the intended market of the product offerings developed by such a partnership, would affirm and reward the PRC’s distortive and unfair trade practices, which undermine U.S. companies globally by creating significant advantages to Chinese firms at the expense of foreign competitors. Last year, the Biden Administration described YMTC as China’s “national champion memory chip producer,” which supports the CCP’s efforts to counter U.S. innovation and leadership in this space. 

In July 2022, we wrote to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to warn of the threat YMTC poses to U.S. national security and to request that it be added to the Bureau of Industry and Security’s Entity List. We made these arguments based on the company’s central role in CCP efforts to supplant U.S. technological leadership, including through unfair trade practices. YMTC also appears to have strong ties to the PRC’s military-civil fusion program, as shown through its investors and partnerships; its parent company, Tsinghua Unigroup, allegedly supplies the PRC military.

The PRC has heavily subsidized YMTC for several years, enabling the company to rapidly expand production and sales in China and internationally. Since its formation in 2016, YMTC’s nearly $24 billion in PRC subsidies triggered explosive growth, helping to prepare the company’s plan to launch a second plant in Wuhan as early as the end of this year. At a time when overcapacity is potentially disrupting the market for chipmakers, these subsidies could enable YMTC to distort this often highly cyclical market, selling memory chips below cost in an effort to push out competitors. In addition, in April, reports alleged that YMTC may have breached the U.S.’s foreign direct product rule for supplying smartphone and electronics components to Huawei.

For these reasons, we request that you coordinate among the relevant intelligence community (IC) components a comprehensive review and analysis of YMTC and the threat that a suppler partnership arrangement between it and Apple would pose to U.S. national and economic security. The review should consider, among other issues:

  • How the CCP supports the YMTC as part of its plan to bolster and indigenize China’s semiconductor industry and to displace chipmakers from the United States and allied and partnered nations;
  • YMTC’s role in assisting other Chinese firms, including Huawei, to evade U.S. sanctions;
  • YMTC’s role in the PRC’s military-civil fusion program and its linkages to the People’s Liberation Army; and
  • The risks to U.S. national and economic security of this potential procurement.

Policymakers have for several years now conveyed to the American public the importance of a competitive semiconductor industry to U.S. national and economic security. A partnership between Apple and YMTC would endanger this critical sector and risk nullifying efforts to support it, jeopardizing the health of chipmakers in the U.S. and allied countries and advancing Beijing’s goal of controlling the global semiconductor market. Buoyed by a major contract with a leading global equipment vendor such as Apple, YMTC’s success would threaten the 24,000 American jobs that support memory chip production. More broadly, such a partnership would also threaten the opportunities this market provides for research at U.S. universities and further development of memory chips for civilian and military uses.

We once again request that you convene the relevant IC components to review and assess YMTC’s ties to the CCP and produce a comprehensive public report on YMTC, which can be used to inform federal agencies and the public as to the nature and risks associated with YMTC and similar companies.  

We look forward to your attention to this critical matter and request a response by October 1, 2022.

Sincerely,

###

 

WASHINGTON – Today, on the 21st anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation to discuss evolving threats facing our country as well the recent request by the Intelligence Committee to assess the damage of the classified documents potentially mishandled by former President Trump.

On the national security threats facing our country:

“The stunning thing to me is, here we are 20 years later and the attack on the symbol of our democracy is not coming from terrorists but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6th. So, I believe we are stronger. I believe our Intelligence Community has performed remarkably. I think the threat of terror has diminished, but I still think we have new challenges in terms of nation and state challenges, Russia and longer term a technology competition with China. But I do worry about some of the activity in this country, the election deniers, the insurgency that took place on January 6th. That is something I hope we can see that same kind of unity of spirit.”

On the Intelligence Committee request for a damage assessment of the classified documents potentially mishandled by former President Trump:

“The vice chairman and I have asked for a briefing of the damages that could have arisen from mishandling of this information. And I believe it's our congressional duty to have that oversight. Remember, what's at stake here is the fact that if some of these documents involved human intelligence, and that information got out, people will die. If there were penetration of our signals intelligence, literally years of work could be destroyed. We talk about the enormous advances our Intelligence Community has made helping our Ukrainian friends. That comes about because we share intelligence. If there's intelligence that has been shared with us by allies and that is mishandled, all of that could be in jeopardy.”

Video of Sen. Warner’s interview on Face the Nation can be found here. A transcript follows.

CBS’s Face the Nation

MARGARET BRENNAN: We begin with the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia. Good morning to you, Senator. 9/11 introduced to many Americans for the very first time this sense of vulnerability at home and it launched the global war on terror. I wonder how vulnerable you think America is now. Are we paying enough attention to the Middle East and to Afghanistan?

SEN. MARK WARNER: Well Margaret, I remember, as most Americans do, where they were on 9/11. I was in it is middle of a political campaign and suddenly the differences with my opponent seemed very small in comparison, and our country came together. In many ways, we defeated the terrorists because of the resilience of the American public, because of our Intelligence Community—and we are safer, better prepared. The stunning thing to me is, here we are 20 years later and the attack on the symbol of our democracy is not coming from terrorists but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6th. So, I believe we are stronger. I believe our Intelligence Community has performed remarkably. I think the threat of terror has diminished, but I still think we have new challenges in terms of nation and state challenges, Russia and longer term a technology competition with China. But I do worry about some of the activity in this country, the election deniers, the insurgency that took place on January 6th. That is something I hope we can see that same kind of unity of spirit.

BRENNAN: As you're pointing out, America came together after 9/11 and we are incredibly divided right now. One thing that is potentially quite explosive is this ongoing investigation by the Justice Department of the former president and his handling of classified information. You've asked for a briefing from the Intelligence Community. Given how sensitive this is, why should anything be shared with Congress given that this is an ongoing investigation?

SEN WARNER: Because as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and I'm very proud of our committee, we're the last functioning bipartisan committee, I believe, in the whole Congress. The vice chairman and I have asked for a briefing of the damages that could have arisen from mishandling of this information. And I believe it's our congressional duty to have that oversight. Remember, what's at stake here is the fact that if some of these documents involved human intelligence, and that information got out, people will die. If there were penetration of our signals intelligence, literally years of work could be destroyed. We talk about the enormous advances our Intelligence Community has made helping our Ukrainian friends. That comes about because we share intelligence. If there's intelligence that has been shared with us by allies and that is mishandled, all of that could be in jeopardy. Now we don't know what's in those documents, but I think it is incumbent, as soon as we get approval -- let me be clear, as soon as we get approval, my understanding is there is some question because of the special master appointment by the judge in Florida, whether they can brief at this point. We need clarification on that from that judge as quickly as possible because it is essential that the Intelligence Community leadership at least gets a briefing of the damage assessment.

 BRENNAN: That damage assessment, it has been paused, as has the classification review, and it will take some time. So, A, I'm assuming in your answer there you're saying, there have been no promises of a briefing to be scheduled, is that right?

SEN. WARNER: I believe we will get a briefing as soon as there's clarification whether this can be performed or not in light of the ruling of the judge in Florida.

BRENNAN: Why should that happen? Because I want to get o something you said, which was the “last bipartisan committee”. You and Marco Rubio, your partner in this request for a briefing, put forth this letter asking for the damage assessment. But lately your colleague has been making some comments that don't sound quite as bipartisan. He's compared the Justice Department to corrupt regimes in Latin America when it comes to this investigation, he's accused DOJ of leaking sensitive details. He says the only reason to leak it is to create a narrative for political purpose. When information gets shared with Congress, as you know, the accusation is, it will get leaked. So, A, it looks like you're losing that bipartisanship and, B, if you brief Congress, isn't it going to leak further and worsen?

SEN. WARNER: The record of our Intelligence Committee of keeping secret, secret, that's why the Intelligence Community shares information with us. Remember, this was the committee bipartisan that did the Russia Investigation

BRENNAN: But you know your oversight capability, many would argue, including former heads of counterintelligence, FBI, the line is drawn when it's an active investigation. They don’t owe you a briefing.

SEN. WARNER: We do not -- I do not want any kind of insight into an active investigation by the Justice Department. I do want the damage assessment of what would happen to our ability to protect the nation. Here we are 21 years after 9/11. If classified secrets, top secret secrets are somehow mishandled, I pointed out earlier, people could die, sources of intelligence could disappear, the willingness of our allies to share intelligence could be undermined, and I think we need that assessment to make sure –

BRENNAN: Which you will get, but it’s going to take some time.

SEN. WARNER: But I think we need it sooner than later.

BRENNAN: To that point, because it's so sensitive, because the country is so divided, because you already have in many ways a target being put on the back of law enforcement, isn't it more important to get it right, to be deliberate and not to be fast here? I want the details just as much as you do.

SEN. WARNER: Listen, I do not think we should have as the Intelligence Committee, a briefing on the ongoing investigation. What our responsibility is, is to assess whether there's been damage done to our intelligence collection and maintenance of secrets. That is a damage assessment that frankly, the judge in Florida has said can continue.

BRENNAN: Before November?

SEN. WARNER: Listen. Once we get clarification from the judge in Florida, and again, I don't think we can cherry-pick what part of the legal system we like or dislike. I have trust in our legal system. I may not agree with the decision the judge in Florida but I respect our Department of Justice. I respect the FBI. I think they are trying under extraordinarily difficult circumstances to get it right and we owe them the benefit of the doubt.

BRENNAN: Senator, thank you for coming on and I know we are going to continue to track this and any potential impact to national security. 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released the statement below after the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced a critical step in enacting a Warner-authored law that would require companies who are responsible for U.S. critical infrastructure to report cybersecurity incidents to the government. 

“I’m excited to see CISA move forward with implementing this cybersecurity law, which will help us counter the growing threat of cyberattacks against our institutions and allies. This is an important effort to shore up our nation’s information security and I’m glad to see CISA act with the urgency it merits. I encourage stakeholders to participate in this process and look forward to seeing CISA continue to move expeditiously to adopt these vital safeguards.”

Specifically, CISA announced a series of public listening sessions as well as a Request for Information (RFI) – both of which seek to collect input from the public in order to help develop proposed regulations required by the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022.

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after the death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri:

“Al-Qaeda has been responsible for brutal attacks in not only the U.S., but Asia, Africa, and Europe. I commend the efforts of our intelligence officers and servicemembers for finally – 21 years after the horrific 9/11 attacks – bringing one of its last remaining leaders to justice.

“I applaud the tireless work of the intelligence community and the bravery of our military personnel in continuing to counter terrorism abroad. In my capacity as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will keep working to support the IC’s counterterrorism efforts and keep Americans safe.”

### 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to formally investigate TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance. The call comes in response to recent reports that the social media platform has permitted TikTok engineers and executives in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to repeatedly access private data of US users despite repeated claims to lawmakers and users that this data was protected. This includes instances where staff based in the United States had to consult with their China-based colleagues for information about U.S. user data as they did not have access to the data on their own. These revelations undermine longstanding claims by TikTok’s management that the company’s operations were firewalled from demands of the Chinese Communist Party.

“We write in response to public reports that individuals in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been accessing data on U.S. users, in contravention of several public representations, including sworn testimony in October 2021,” the senators wrote in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan. “In light of this new report, we ask that your agency immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok, and coordinate this work with any national security or counter-intelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

The report also highlights TikTok’s misrepresentation of the company’s relationship to ByteDance and its subsidiaries, including Beijing-based ByteDance Technology, which is partially owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

The senators continued, “TikTok’s Trust and Safety department was aware of these improper access practices and governance irregularities, which – according to internal recordings of TikTok deliberations – offered PRC-based employees unfettered access to user information, including birthdates, phone numbers, and device identification information. Recent updates to TikTok’s privacy policy, which indicate that TikTok may be collecting biometric data such as faceprints and voiceprints (i.e. individually-identifiable image and audio data, respectively), heighten the concern that data of U.S. users may be vulnerable to extrajudicial access by security services controlled by the CCP.”

As Chairman and Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sens. Warner and Rubio have been vocal about the cyber and national security threats posed by the CCP. In 2019, the senators introduced legislation to combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors like China.

A copy of the letter is available here and below. 

Dear Chairwoman Khan:

We write in response to public reports that individuals in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been accessing data on U.S. users, in contravention of several public representations, including sworn testimony in October 2021. In an interview with the online publication Cyberscoop, the Global Chief Security Officer for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, made a number of public representations on the data security practices of TikTok, including unequivocal claims that the data of American users is not accessible to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the government of the PRC. As you know, TikTok’s privacy practices are already subject to a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission, based on its improper collection and processing of personal information from children. In light of this new report, we ask that your agency immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok, and coordinate this work with any national security or counter-intelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Additionally, these recent reports suggest that TikTok has also misrepresented its corporate governance practices, including to Congressional committees such as ours. In October 2021, TikTok’s head of public policy, Michael Beckerman, testified that TikTok has “no affiliation” with another ByteDance subsidiary, Beijing-based ByteDance Technology, of which the CCP owns a partial stake. Meanwhile, as recently as March of this year, TikTok officials reiterated to our Committee representations they have previously made that all corporate governance decisions are wholly firewalled from their PRC-based parent, ByteDance. Yet according to a recent report from Buzzfeed News, TikTok’s engineering teams ultimately report to ByteDance leadership in the PRC. 

According to this same report, TikTok’s Trust and Safety department was aware of these improper access practices and governance irregularities, which – according to internal recordings of TikTok deliberations – offered PRC-based employees unfettered access to user information, including birthdates, phone numbers, and device identification information. Recent updates to TikTok’s privacy policy, which indicate that TikTok may be collecting biometric data such as faceprints and voiceprints (i.e. individually-identifiable image and audio data, respectively), heighten the concern that data of U.S. users may be vulnerable to extrajudicial access by security services controlled by the CCP.

A series of national security laws imposed by the CCP, including the 2017 National Intelligence Law and the 2014 Counter-Espionage Law provide extensive and extra-judicial access opportunities for CCP-controlled security services. Under these authorities, the CCP may compel access, regardless of where data is ultimately stored. While TikTok has suggested that migrating to U.S.-based storage from a U.S. cloud service provider alleviates any risk of unauthorized access, these latest revelations raise concerns about the reliability of TikTok representations: since TikTok will ultimately control all access to the cloud-hosted systems, the risk of access to that data by PRC-based engineers (or CCP security services) remains significant in light of the corporate governance irregularities revealed by BuzzFeed News. Moreover, as the recent report makes clear, the majority of TikTok data – including content posted by users as well as their unique IDs– will remain freely accessible to PRC-based ByteDance employees.

In light of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok concerning its data security, data processing, and corporate governance practices, we urge you to act promptly on this matter.

Sincerely, 

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