Video of Bennet’s Questions During Senate Intel Hearing Is Available HERE
Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, questioned Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray on the threat of fentanyl flowing across the southern border and the national security risks posed by TikTok.
On fentanyl, Bennet asked DNI Haines:
“Colorado is being overrun by fentanyl. And we’re at a point now where when a kid dies now, who is the age of my children, I no longer ask, what was the accident? Did they have a car accident or was it leukemia? The question is: was it suicide? Was it fentanyl? Or was it guns? I don’t see any evidence that we’re getting the cooperation that we need from Mexico to deal with this crisis at our border.”
“What would it look like to have a neighbor to the south who is actually taking seriously the fact that we’re losing more than 100,000 Americans a year, many of them children, who are taking drugs for the first time in their lives and then drop dead? What would it look like to have a partner in our neighboring country?”
“We haven’t made any progress, things have gotten a lot worse, and I’m sorry to say, they have gotten a lot worse during the course of this administration.”
On TikTok, Bennet asked FBI Director Wray:
“Director Wray, you mentioned in your answers to Senator Rubio’s questions about TikTok, how concerned you are and the degree to which they’re subject to the [Chinese Communist Party] in terms of this disgorgement of data, and the potential use of that data to run operations against the American people. I wonder if you could use this open, public opportunity to describe to the American people what the danger to them is of this platform that is run out of Beijing. What is the danger to them?”
“Let me start by saying the point that I tried to get to toward the end of my exchange with Senator Rubio, which is: understand that the difference between an ostensibly private company and the CCP is essentially a distinction without a difference. So if you were to ask Americans, would you like to turn over your data, all your data, control of your devices, control of your information to the CCP? Most Americans would say, I’m not down with that, as my kids would say.”
“If you look at the Chinese government’s gobbling up of information and data, and then the use of AI and other tools, ultimately supercomputing, things like that, to marshal all that data to conduct targeting for espionage, targeting for IP theft, targeting for all the things that I and others on this panel have been calling out about the Chinese government, data is the corner of the realm. Those that have the best information have the power, and that’s what that enables them to do.”
“It’s the control of the data to conduct all sorts of big data operations. It’s the control of the recommendation algorithm, which allows them to conduct influence operations. It’s the control of the software, which allows them to then have access to millions of devices. So you put all those three things together, and again, come back to the starting point, which is, this is a tool that is ultimately within the control of the Chinese government, and to me, it screams out with national security concerns.”
Last month, Bennet called on Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to remove TikTok from their app stores immediately given its unacceptable risk to U.S. national security and met with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to express his concerns about the digital platform’s risk to young Americans and our national security. Last year, Bennet introduced first-of-its-kind legislation to create a Federal Digital Platform Commission, an expert federal body empowered to provide comprehensive, sector-specific oversight of digital platforms to protect consumers, promote competition, and defend the public interest.
While most meetings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence are held in closed session due to the classified nature of the Committee's work, the annual Worldwide Threats hearing is an opportunity for the American people to hear from Intelligence Community leaders about the most pressing threats to our national security. In addition to DNI Haines and FBI Director Wray, the Committee heard testimony from Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Burns, Defense Intelligence Agency Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier, and National Security Agency Director General Paul Nakasone.