Segment 1 Of 2 Next Hearing Segment(2)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
Page 1 TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND STATE, THE JUDICIARY, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1999
Thursday, February 26, 1998.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO
Mr. ROGERS. The committee will come to order.
This morning we would like to welcome Attorney General Janet Reno to appear before the Committee on behalf of the Department of Justice's 1999 budget request.
You are seeking $18.3 billion from this Committee for the Department, which represents an increase of $800 million, or 4.5 percent, over fiscal year 1998.
This subcommittee and I personally continue to be among the strongest supporters of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement agencies. We have provided increases totaling over $5 billion since 1995, 42 percent, to give Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies the tools they critically need to fight crime at a time when we are also trying to balance the budget.
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I am pleased to see that some of this investment is paying off. Serious crime fell 3 percent last year and has dropped for the fifth consecutive year. But our work is far from done; we still have serious crime problems that paint a dark cloud over that success.
We have fallen critically behind in the drug war over the last 5 years. While some applaud that drug use by eighth graders is leveling off, cocaine use by eighth graders is still 57 percent higher than 5 years ago. Marijuana use by this group is 175 percent higher than 1992. Drug abuse crime among juveniles is rising to unprecedented levels.
Madam Attorney General, we can't wait 10 years for these changes to happen, as the Administration has set out to do. We need aggressive and creative initiatives to turn this around. We are doing our part by providing the resources in unprecedented amounts, and we need your leadership if we are going to win that war.
While we still will continue to support law enforcement, we will also hold you accountable. There are still some serious mismanagement problems that need to be addressed if the taxpayers are going to get the most out of their investment in the Department of Justice. We can no longer continue to provide resources to the Immigration and Naturalization Service without fundamental change in its structure. It can't handle its responsibilities. I have waited 15 years to say that on this subcommittee, and I have finally, sadly concluded that INS has got to go. It has botched its mission over the past years; it can't continue.
Your challenges for managing the largest law enforcement agency in the country are great and come at a time when the Department finds itself simultaneously conducting a number of investigations of Administration officials and at the same time defending the Administration's position in court. That is a hot seat, but I have to say that it has been created. We will be watching closely how the Department walks that very fine line.
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Madam Attorney General, as always, this committee will continue to work with you to ensure that law enforcement has what it needs to fight crime. We appreciate your being here today.
We will insert your written testimony in the record, and we are willing to hear your statement at this time.
ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO'S OPENING STATEMENT
Attorney General RENO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Mollohan, and members of the subcommittee. I am very happy to be back with you once again to present the budget request for the Department of Justice. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with you, to consult with you, to consider the issues that you have raised, Mr. Chairman, and to work together with you and the subcommittee as we address them together. For fiscal year 1999, including fees, we are requesting $20.9 billion, an $877 million, or 4.4 percent, increase in funding over last year.
Since I became Attorney General in 1993, funding for the Justice Department has increased more than 87 percent, due in large part to the efforts of this subcommittee, and we are very appreciative not just of the funding, but of the thoughtfulness that you have devoted to the very issues that we face in the Department.
I believe our investment is paying off, as you have indicated, Mr. Chairman. Over the past several years we have witnessed a decrease in violent crime, and juvenile crime appears to be on the decline. We are continuing our fight against drug trafficking and abuse, and I think we have seen successes as indicated by the reduction in violent drug organizations that have spread violence across this land.
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We have added Border Patrol agents in record numbers and we have seen results as those agents have gone into place along the California border; and we are spreading this effort throughout the entire Southwest border. We have removed criminal aliens at a record pace. We are continuing a concerted effort to combat computer crime, and have taken critical steps to protect our Nation from the threat of terrorist attack. Yes, I think we have had some successes, but I couldn't agree more with you, Mr. Chairman, there is a lot more to be done.
The budget I present to you today does just that. It builds on past successes and helps to prepare us for the law enforcement challenges of the 21st century.
One of our top tasks is to do everything in our power to see that crime continues to fall. At the cornerstone of this effort is our commitment to place 100,000 community police officers on the streets of America by the year 2000. The budget before you seeks $1.4 billion for the community oriented policing services, or COPS program, to fund an estimated 16,000 officers in fiscal year 1999, bringing the total to 99,000 funded officers one full year before our pledge to fund 100,000.
But, to sustain our success in fighting crime, we must also continue our efforts aimed specifically at youth violence. For the second year in a row, juvenile arrest rates for violent crime and homicides have fallen. While this is encouraging news, youth violence is still far too prevalent in far too many of our communities, and we need to increase our resources in the immediate future in significant proportion. So I think this is an area that requires our continued focus.
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Consistent with the Administration's Anti-gang and Youth Violence bill proposed last year, the Department's fiscal year 1999 budget seeks to focus additional resources on three youth violence grant programs and restructure current juvenile justice programs. Our request includes nearly $500 million in targeted program enhancement and restructuring aimed at preventing and fighting juvenile crime and youth violence. These initiatives include $100 million in grants to State and local prosecutors' offices to fight youth drug gang and violence problems through earlier intervention and the identification and rapid prosecution of these offenders; $50 million for innovative court programs to better handle and hold accountable young violent offenders within the justice system; and $95 million to fight truancy, school violence and strengthen anticrime after-school programs.
Our request also seeks to change the way that prosecutors across America serve their communities by providing $50 million to increase the number of local prosecutors interacting directly with police officers and community residents to identify and solve crime problems in their neighborhoods. Around the countryfor example, in places like Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Indianapolis, Indianaearlier efforts at community prosecution are being deployed, and this program appears to work. With this funding you will provide us with an opportunity to fund and test this very promising strategy.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
To combat violence against women, we are requesting $271 million, and following your lead, we have included targeted set-asides for civil legal assistance programs, research concerning violence against women and the United States Attorney's Domestic Violence Unit in the District of Columbia.
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Another central focus of our request and one of the greatest challenges of the next century is to address cybercrime before it can become an epidemic within the United States or around the world. Every day the United States relies more heavily upon its interconnected telecommunications and automated information systems for basic services, such as energy, banking and finance, transportation and defense. As such, we must be certain that they are safe and secure.
For fiscal year 1999, the Department is seeking $64 million in increased funding to expand efforts to protect the Nation's critical infrastructures from cyber-attacks and to combat cybercrime. These additional resources will support 75 new FBI agents and 24 Assistant United States Attorneys to track down and prosecute cyber-criminals. The FBI will focus its new resources on the formation of six additional new computer investigation and threat assessment squads in cities around the country.
Also included in the initiative is $10 million for the FBI's Computer Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center which is being restructured and renamed the National Infrastructure Protection Center. These funds will be used to expand operations, develop an early warning system, and conduct infrastructure vulnerability assessments. For the Counterterrorism Fund, the cybercrime initiative includes $33.6 million for activities related to the protection of the Nation's critical infrastructures. Most of these funds will be needed for the National Infrastructure Protection Center, but some could be used to reimburse other agencies.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 DRUG INITIATIVE
To continue the fight against drug trafficking and abuse, the budget before you seeks $167 million in increased resources in fiscal year 1999, allowing us to hire more drug enforcement agents and prosecutors and increase drug testing and intervention programs. This balanced investment will decrease drug use and help stem the violence it brings into our communities.
Funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration will grow by 4.6 percent to $1.25 billion, with program enhancements totaling $64 million. Included within these additional resources are funds to support 100 more DEA agents, to attack methamphetamine production, trafficking and abuse; 54 more agents for the Caribbean corridor strategy, and 95 more agents to intensify efforts against heroin traffickers. Our drug initiative will also support the hiring of 64 Assistant United States Attorneys and five Criminal Division attorneys to pursue and prosecute drug traffickers and to implement our national strategy against methamphetamines.
We also want to help State and local agencies conduct vital drug testing and intervention programs and have included $94 million in additional grants to State and local agencies to implement comprehensive systems of drug testing, drug treatment, and graduated sanctions.
For the Immigration and Naturalization Service, we are requesting $4.2 billion, or 10.2 percent more than last year, to strengthen and improve existing programs and to implement new measures that will guard against illegal immigration and promote legal entry into the United States. With the support and leadership of this Committee, the INS has nearly doubled the Border Patrol agent work force since 1993 and has introduced innovative deterrent and advanced technologies to address illegal immigration at all borders of the United States.
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For fiscal year 1999, the Department requests $272.5 million in increased funding for ''force-multiplying'' technologies and 1,000 new Border Patrol agents. Funding will also be dedicated to programs to detain and remove illegal aliens, including criminal aliens, to address the proliferation of alien smuggling by strategically placing INS personnel along major smuggling transportation corridors and to ensure the integrity of the naturalization process.
Clearly, we have not resolved all of the problems that face this country in deterring illegal entry, nor have we completely resolved the problems to ensure adjudication and naturalization for legally admitted aliens eligible for benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act. I recognize the management issues that you raise, Mr. Chairman, and I continue to focus on these, and in the course of this hearing, will discuss with you steps that we have taken. But as we recognized in 1994 when we launched our comprehensive Southwest border strategy, the investment necessary would be multiyear and multifaceted. This budget request continues the measured, prudent growth required to allow a reengineered Immigration and Naturalization Service to cope with the challenges it will face in the 21st century.
The budget before you also seeks some new initiatives and program enhancements to address critical infrastructure needs fundamental to the effective enforcement of our Nation's laws. Rebuilding continues to be a personal focus of mine, and while we are making progress, our automation and communication capabilities are still outdated. As I have stated in earlier appearances before this Committee, without the proper tools to get the job done, current, let alone additional, attorneys, agents and inspectors will be less efficient and less effective in performing their duties.
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For fiscal year 1999 we are asking for more than $20 billion because we face many challenges. We are seeking funding to launch a comprehensive national hate crimes initiative, reduce violent crime on Indian lands, address the burgeoning defensive civil litigation caseload and build additional capacity in the Federal Prison System.
The budget I present to you today will help us address our ongoing challenges and prepare for new ones, and I look forward to working with you in this effort.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. ROGERS. I thank you, Madam Attorney General, for that statement.
We have a number of members that will be asking questions. I suggest at the outset here that we go on a 10-minute cycle per member so that all members will have a chance on a first round.
Madam Attorney General, over 3 years ago on behalf of law enforcement and to ensure public safety, the Congress passed and the President signed the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, CALEA, the method by which you would be able to continue court-ordered wiretaps and other surveillances with a new technology that is coming into play. Both you and Director Freeh have testified to this committee and others of the vital importance of that initiative, and of course, that goes without saying.
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We responded by providing funding and legislative provisions to establish a funding mechanism to pay for those switch changes, $500 million. We have also tried to move the process of defining law enforcement requirements by including legislative provisions that address disclosure of capability and capacity needs. We have convened meetings of industry and law enforcement to facilitate resolution of outstanding issues. We have required progress reports.
Unfortunately, I think I can say now, with certainty, we are no closer today than we were 3 years ago in implementing this law, and time is running out. Can you tell us the current status of your efforts to resolve the outstanding issues with the telephone industry?
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate all that you have done in this effort. As you know, this is a technical and a very difficult issue, and we have undertaken it on behalf not just of Federal law enforcement, but of all law enforcement. We are essentially dealing with an issue that requires the development of significant new technology in order to maintain law enforcement's capacity to pursue electronic surveillance.
This task turned out to be far more significant and difficult than we had originally anticipated, with many different technological as well as implementation issues that we have had to understand and address. We were probably somewhat remiss early on in our deliberations by taking too strict an interpretation of the law and its requirements. However, when it became apparent that this program was not progressing as it should, Director Freeh and I both felt that it was important to reach out to the industry, and the industry reached out to us. We needed to set aside the arguments, the verbal arguments that had started as people tried to address these hard issues.
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I had the opportunity to begin initially a meeting with the Vice Chairman of Bell Atlantic. He indicated a willingness to engage leaders in the industry to participate in discussions. We agreed to assign senior personnel to this effort, and we have had considerable discussion as we have tried to move this process forward.
After the initial discussions that were necessary to clarify just what the issues were, we began in earnest in October to itemize the industry's very specific concerns, and through negotiation in the past 5 months, we have put forth compromised positions in each of the following areas to address their concerns:
First, with respect to capacity, we have developed application language within the final notice of capacity which allows the telecommunications carriers and manufacturers to determine the impact on the switching systems. The Department undertook an extensive legal review of the law enforcement requirements under section 103 of the act and provided the industry its legal opinion relative to the requirements that law enforcement needed that were not part of the industry's proposed technical solution. The results of this review provided greater flexibility as to how industry would meet the law enforcement requirements and also provided for a phased implementation to reduce the impact on the carriers. We also eliminated the most difficult requirement to perform, which also would have been very expensive.
In addressing industry's concerns about the October 1998 compliance date, a proposal was submitted to industry that would allow flexibility and enforcement. We provided industry an approach that would waive our ability to take enforcement action against them if they had in good faith developed and implemented on schedule a technical solution that met law enforcement needs.
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We approached our negotiations with the goal of providing maximum coverage to the industry realizing, though, that we are limited to a reimbursement of $500 million, but with the goal, wherever possible, to provide the broadest possible coverage by reimbursement to the industry. Our goal was to approach development of the software solution on an across-the-board basis.
What this means is that we were still willing to purchase a manufacturer's software solution for all of its currently deployed switches if they were available pre-January 1, 1995. This would provide greater coverage and assist those carriers who deployed equipment after the January 1, 1995, cutoff date.
Although there has been quite a bit of effort, both on behalf of industry as well as government, it now appears, based on discussions as recent as Wednesday, February 25th, that we may be at an impasse. Let me explain to you what I understand to be the industry's proposal.
Simply said, the industry's proposal is that all equipment, services and facilities installed or deployed as of October 1998 would be deemed in compliance forever with section 103 of CALEA, unless the government agrees to pay to modify or to upgrade it. Only if the government accepted this cost reimbursement scenario will industry incorporate the full technical functionality required by law enforcement under section 103 into the industry's technical standard and build a technical solution to meet law enforcement's requirements.
The condition that we provide reimbursement now for a greater period of time, extending the date from January 1 of 1995 to October 1 of 1998, will significantly increase the costs that the government would have to reimburse the telecommunications industry. It is our expectation that the cost would exceed the $500 million that has been authorized.
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Given the fact that we cannot exceed the amount provided for reimbursement authorized by Congress, I believe that we will be at an impasse. It is my expectation that if this impasse cannot be resolved shortly, we will have to file a petition before the FCC on behalf of all law enforcement stating that the proposed industry technical solution is deficient and will not meet the fundamental evidentiary legal law enforcement requirements necessary for successful prosecution of cases. If this becomes necessary, we will file our petition by March 13 of 1998.
Unfortunately, if we are pressed to take this step, we will avail ourselves of all lawful mechanisms available. I hope that this process can be avoided.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, so you're saying that by Friday the 13th of March, if you and the industry have not been able to work out successfully what the standards, the technical capacities and requirements are to be, and the other issuesthat is, the dates and the compliance issuesthat unless those are worked out amicably by March the 13th, you plan to file your petition with the FCC to have it decided by the FCC?
Attorney General RENO. That is correct, sir. At the same time, I will make myself personally available on any occasion to address the issues with leaders of the industry, because we have had, up until now, a very frank and very thoughtful and positive discussion.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I have been a party to some of those discussions and, in fact, have tried to play midwife to a deal, but it is becoming frustrating and it looks to me like perhaps it is at an impasse and will have to be decided by the FCC and/or by the courts.
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And I just want to reiterate again here today that I have told you and all of the Justice Department and the industry that $500 million is it; and we expect to see this matter resolved before we appropriate any more funding.
As you have stated, the value of having the ability to electronically surveil in criminal cases is absolutely vital, particularly in organized crime, and particularly in the drug fight, and I will not stand by and see that capacity wane away. So I expect you to live up to that commitment. If it can't be resolved peacefully by Friday the 13th, I expect to see the FCC waiting at their door with bated breath for your petition.
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Chairman, I personally asked that the date be checked to make sure we could do it.
Mr. ROGERS. I will buy your cab fare down there to file the papers.
Now, looking back over the last 3 years, I have to say that the FBI contributed to this impasse. I am an FBI supporter, but I have to say that they contributed to their own problems here. What do you think about that?
Attorney General RENO. As I indicated, Mr. Chairman, I think that we were perhaps a little too rigid in the beginning as we tried to address the FBI's requirements, but I think with Director Freeh's leadership in joining with the Department, we have been able to work through those issuesthrough the technical issues, through the legal issuesand I think it basically comes down to cost now.
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Mr. ROGERS. Well, the FBI contributed to the problem, did they not, by just simply refusing to move on this thing for better than 2 years?
Attorney General RENO. I think there is something to be said for that, but I think that with the effort that we have undertaken and with what Director Freeh has done, we have gotten substantially beyond that.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, you have asked $100 million for CALEA in your 1999 request. Given the impact if it does develop and you end up petitioning the FCC for a ruling, is it likely that you will need that $100 million in 1999?
Attorney General RENO. As you know, I am hopeful that our petition can be reviewed on an expedited basis by the FCC. Our CALEA reimbursement account is a no-year account, and the funding deposited in that account is available regardless of the fiscal year. I am concerned that once we resolve these issues, given the fact that I believe the industry has already done a significant amount of work in that area, that their request for reimbursement may actually exceed the revenue stream available. If the 1999 request is not approved, then I would urge you to provide that requested funding.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, we will wait and see.
Let me ask you briefly now, when do wewhen can we expect that the Department's capability to electronically surveil will become limited unless changes are made? How long do we have?
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Attorney General RENO. I think we are there.
Mr. ROGERS. You think we are there now?
Attorney General RENO. Yes.
Mr. ROGERS. How long do you anticipate that the FCC might take on a ruling?
Attorney General RENO. My hope is that they would move very expeditiously with respect to the issue. I think the issue has been framed by the constructive discussions that we have had.
Mr. ROGERS. And the minimum time that they can move, I understand, is six months; is that correct?
Attorney General RENO. I am told by Mr. Colgate that that is correct.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, even after the FCC rules and they decide what the standards are for the new equipment, only then can the companies and the manufacturers begin to design and build the equipment that has to be installed; is that correct?
Attorney General RENO. That is correct. But I think that they have done some considerable work on that.
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Mr. ROGERS. Do we know how long it might take for that process to take place before the equipment can be installed?
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Colgate indicatesand I always welcome him; as you know, he is a person I rely a great deal on.
Mr. ROGERS. As do we. He is a valuable asset to you and to us all.
Attorney General RENO. He indicates that as long as 18 months, but it would depend on different circumstances and depend on the carrier.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, even at best then, before the new equipment could be installed and operating to allow the Department to continue electronic surveillance, we are looking at at least six months' FCC time, assuming they rule the first minute they can; and then another year to 18 months thereafter to design and build the equipment to be installed. So we are looking at upwards of 2 years-plus, are we not, before the matter could conceivably be resolved?
Attorney General RENO. It looks like that.
Mr. ROGERS. Is there any way to shorten that time, without an amicable settlement on the matter?
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. As Mr. Colgate points out and as I mentioned earlier, there are some manufacturers that have done some considerable work, so for some it may be shorter in time.
Mr. ROGERS. Okay. Well, my time has expired for the moment. I have other questions, and I will return.
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Chairman, let me just reiterate that we will pursue this with all possible dispatch, and I will give personal attention to it; and we will do everything we can to get an expedited resolution of this matter before the FCC. I would appeal to everybody concerned, though, that what is at stake here is America's law enforcement interests, not just of the Federal Government, but of State and local. What is at stake here is this Nation's interest, and I think the industryand I know a number in the industry have reflected concern for these issues. I would hope that we could come to the table and get this resolved quickly in America's interest.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, not only hope; it is going to happen. I am going to make it happen or you won't get any money. I don't know how more bluntly I can put it. You have dragged your feet for 3 years.
There are a lot of people at fault here. I am not just blaming the Department. I think the industry has dragged their feet. I think it is a plague on both houses. But the only house that I have any pull with, if that is what it is, is the government's part; and I am not going to let the government sit here and not do its part to resolve this absolutely vital, critical, national interest, security matter. So I am going to be checking with you every 15 minutes the rest of this year.
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Attorney General RENO. I will be waiting for your phone call.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Mollohan.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, Madam Attorney General. We appreciate your being here this morning, and we appreciate your good work at Justice. You have a tough job, and you do it well.
The Department of Justice has enjoyed unprecedented increases in the last few years. Since fiscal year 1995, I note that the Department's budget has increased by 42 percent. Such a dramatic infusion of resources results in significant management issues and challenges.
I want to take this opportunity, Madam Attorney General, to compliment you on how you have handled these additional funds and the new challenges that you have undertaken. I believe that we are seeing an era of unprecedented cooperation among our law enforcement agencies, and I know that this subcommittee, in particular, wants that to continue and to continue strongly.
I note that the Department, under your leadership, has had a number of accomplishments over the last year. For example, in the area of illicit drugs, the Department has pursued a number of programs which lowered the demand for drugs, reduced the supply and availability of illicit drugs, and dealt with the devastating impact that drugs have on our communities and on our families. This has been accomplished through programs like DARE, the Southwest Border Initiative, the COPS program, which I think is proving to be particularly successful, and many Justice Department grant programs.
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I also wish to compliment the work of the organized crime drug enforcement task forces.
In the area of counterterrorism, we all applaud the efforts of the Department and its work with other agencies in bringing back to the United States the terrorists associated with the mortar attack on the U.S. embassy in Jakarta and the murder and wounding of CIA employees in Virginia. These are all major, difficult accomplishments.
Lastly, in the growing area of cybercrime, we note that the FBI has made a number of arrests of computer hackers who jeopardize the integrity of telephone companies, credit reporting agencies, our armed forces, the World Bank, and on and on.
As mentioned in your statement, you are requesting a 4.4 percent increase in the Department's budget for fiscal year 1999, and I join the Chairman in looking forward to reviewing that request carefully.
Madam Attorney General, as you know, the FBI has spent considerable time and funds developing a premier fingerprint identification system known as IAFIS. I want to compliment you and Director Freeh on putting in place a very strong management team to bring IAFIS on line. It has not been an easy task. You have adjusted to the challenges, and to the setbacks. I am impressed by the way you have accomplished this task, and with the quality of the system that you are bringing on line, and its potential for serving our law enforcement community.
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Similarly, the INS is in the process of developing its own separate fingerprint system known as IDENT. INS and the FBI are under your jurisdiction. I am concerned that the IDENT procurement activity in INS is not being carefully examined and that millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted developing INS' own automated fingerprint system when the FBI already has an automated fingerprint identification system. Not only does the FBI have one, they have an integrated IAFIS.
If we were to build on IAFIS, you would have an integrated system, a system that is developed with a superior technology to IDENT. You would have a system that could be adapted to other customers' needs at a relatively low cost. You would have a system with the immediate advantage of interface compatibility on a universal scale, not only with INS, not only with law enforcement, but with the whole world.
In summary, I am concerned, Madam Attorney General, that you are spending millions of dollars developing an inferior system based on similar matching technologies, when you have in hand this superior, less costly solution that is adaptable to many purposes.
While millions of scarce dollars are at stake here, I am concerned that the Justice Department has not been serious in addressing this issue, has not been rigorous in overcoming parochial agency interests and has not had a competent, independent overview. I am also concerned that the Department has not established the appropriate process, or at least one appropriate process, to address this concern.
It certainly has not established an integrated product and process development, which is a common procurement system. This concern has been expressed repeatedly by the Committee, and we have asked that this matter be investigated for several years now.
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Madam Attorney General, could you start out your answers by giving the Committee a status report on your overview of this concern?
Attorney General RENO. Yes, because I think this is one of the great challenges that any manager faces in this day and time, how we use the extraordinary resources and the extraordinary benefits that technology can provide us in the wisest way possible without duplication and redundancy, without fragmentation.
It is an extraordinary challenge, because I think one of the great issues that we face in government, and in the private sector as well, is where do we find the people with the expertise that understand both the government processes and the processes of technology. And this is something that I have focused on, and I appreciate your concern on this issue.
To briefly summarize the issue, the FBI wants all apprehended illegal border crossers to be ten-printed, believing that some illegal aliens have committed crimes in the United States or may commit future crimes, which is clearly correct. The rolled set of ten prints would be used for searching latent fingerprints at crime scenes and for helping State and local authorities who request fingerprints.
This would cause several problems, including significant disruption of operations at the border because of the time it would take to ten-print large volumes of apprehended aliens who are not guilty of serious crimes. Those who are suspected of serious crimes or who have exceeded the local threshold for repeat crossers where it is determined by the United States Attorney in that district are already ten-printed.
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I would just put a caveat on that, because we are also reviewing other issues with respect to IDENT to make sure that in terms of training, in terms of usage and the like, that there has been or will be appropriate follow-through.
While there are some similarities between IDENT and IAFIS, there appear to be differences in the system which serve to meet the INS's and FBI's respective, unique operational requirements. We are reviewing the issues now to determine whether the systems are complementary and where they are redundant. I would like to report our findings to you by June 1st to assure you that DOJ has taken the steps necessary to avoid duplication without jeopardizing operational requirements.
As part of the review, I have tasked the FBI and INS through Steve Colgate, the Assistant Attorney General for Administration, with several items. First, INS and FBI will report on the feasibilities of conducting a ten-print pilot at one or more appropriate sites. If successful, the pilot will demonstrate the extent of the operational burden which INS would bear by taking ten-prints for all aliens apprehended.
Secondly, the FBI has been tasked with developing an assessment of benefits which would accrue by INS's adoption of a procedure which takes ten prints from illegal border crossers who are held only briefly before their voluntary return. Simultaneously, INS will report on the cost attendant to 10-digit printing for all INS arrests and describe the operational burden that ten-printing brings.
In addition, the FBI will visit INS Southwest border sites to observe firsthand the operational requirements incumbent on the Border Patrol and inspections as INS processes apprehend aliens through the IDENT system. This will help clarify the similarities and dissimilarities of the two systems and highlight the areas where improvements may be made. The FBI will provide a cost estimate for furnishing a dedicated database and 10-print system for INS use.
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If such a course of action is feasible, response times from the FBI's IAFIS could be reduced to a level that meets INS operational requirements. Alternatively, the FBI will provide an outline of the capability of the CJIS-wide area network, reporting whether there is sufficient bandwidth to support INS in the transmittal of 10-prints.
INS and the FBI will collaborate on a report of cost, feasibility, and the components' willingness to adopt procedures by which the FBI, upon receipt of 10 prints from State and local authorities, seals off and transmits to INS the two matched fingerprints against IDENT. This would satisfy the FBI's concerns that State and local authorities be able to match against an INS database of illegal entrants.
I would like also to point out again something that I had mentioned. Our IG has also looked at issues with respect to IDENT, and we will beI will be asking Mr. Colgate to form a working group to analyze the report and to see what needs to be done in terms of remedies and processes to achieve the ultimate best use of this automation.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I am not going to be able to get through these series of questions during my time, so I am going to ask you a couple of general questions here, and then I will get back to it in a second round, if I might.
With regard to your goal, when you look at this whole issue of being able to establish a system or systems whereby you can identify criminals, is not the first thing that comes to your mind integration? That is the first word in the IAFIS system. Don't you want the ability to have universality? Don't you want to be able to incorporate all of these identification systems or link all of these identification systems in a seamless way so that you have one repository or one controlling entity or clearinghouse entity which would be used by local, State, and eventually, international law enforcement? It seems to me that adhering to that principle of integration would be tremendous leadership on the part of the Department, and in the long term, would help develop a system that would incorporate a principle of universality.
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When you think about establishing this very important system, what importance do you give to integration and universality?
Attorney General RENO. A very great deal of importance.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I would think.
Attorney General RENO. What we have got to try to do is to make sure that we have the system integrated, that we avoid redundancy and duplication or fragmentation; and whether it be in the check of State and local law enforcement records, we also have got to focus on the unique problems that someone faces in, for example
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Okay. INS, for example, has its own unique problems?
Attorney General RENO [continuing]. INS. And I think through this process that Mr. Colgate will oversee that we will be able to address these issues.
We have been through other issues with the IAFIS itself. We are now beginning to see great results from the system that can immediately match prints and identify perpetrators; and I think through this process and through the report that you will receive on June 1st that we will do everything we can to ensure integration, to ensure the systems working together, while at the same time meeting specific needs without costly duplication.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. MOLLOHAN. Well, in the meantime, you are going to be spending an awful lot of money on the continued development of this IDENT system.
Attorney General RENO. What I am asking Mr. Colgate to do is to make sure we don't spend money unnecessarily until we have the right answers.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. So what does that mean?
Attorney General RENO. That means, I don't want to waste money between now and June 1st.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Well, I don't want to either, but operationally what does that mean? Does that mean that you are stopping the expenditures of money in regard to the IDENT development at this time until this report comes out?
Attorney General RENO. What I am asking Mr. Colgate to do is to see what can be done to avoid the expenditure of any money that would not contribute to a long-term solution and the maximum integration possible, consistent with the mission of the different agencies involved.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Okay. I imagine my time is up, and I don't want to start a line without being able to finish it, Madam Attorney General. Thank you for your answers to my questions.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Taylor.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, Madam Attorney General, you recently appointed an Independent Counsel to probe the activities of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt regarding the rejection of an application by an Indian tribe for a casino permit.
Can you tell us what the scope of that investigation will entail? And I understand it is quite limited, but could you give me some information about that?
Attorney General RENO. I will be happy to provide you with the exact language, so that it is accurate and I do not misquote it. I do not have it with me.
Mr. TAYLOR. How would you interpret that? Is it limited or broader, the investigation?
Attorney General RENO. I would not interpret it, other than to refer you to the precise language so that you might interpret it for yourself.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, the public has to live with that year after year in this administration.
The request for appointment of an independent counsel involving Interior Secretary Babbitt was limited to the issue of whether Secretary Babbitt testified falsely before Congress in a manner that warrants criminal prosecution. The order appointing the Independent Counsel charged the counsel to investigate whether Secretary Babbitt may have violated federal criminal law, including but not limited to 18 U.S.C. 1621 and 1001, in connection with sworn testimony on October 30, 1997, before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and to determine whether prosecution is warranted.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The order conveyed to the Independent Counsel the jurisdiction and authority to investigate to the maximum extent authorized by the Independent Counsel Reauthorization Act of 1994 whether Secretary Babbitt committed a violation of any federal criminal law, other than a Class B or C misdemeanor or infraction, by making false statement during the course of congressional testimony concerning a decision by the Department of the Interior to deny an application by three Indian tribes to take land into trust in Hudson, Wisconsin, for an off-reservation gambling casino, or conspiring with others to do so.
Jurisdiction and authority was also conveyed to the Independent Counsel to investigatge the decision itself, any violation of 28 U.S.C. 1826, any obstruction of the due administration of justice, any material false testimony or statement in violation of federal law, any related allegations and evidence of any violation of federal criminal law by any individual or organization as necessary to resolve this matter including persons or entities who have engaged in an unlawful conspiracy or who have aided and abetted any of the subject federal offenses.
Within this scopethe investigation on the decision itself and the testimony given on October 30, 1997the Independent Counsel has prosecutorial jurisdiction to fully investigate and prosecute all matters and individuals whose acts may be related, inclusive of authority to investigate federal crimes that may arise, including perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses.
Now, how about the immigration investigation? Perhaps we can look into that. Do you remember at last year's hearing that the committee asked a number of questions regarding the naturalization of a number of immigrants prior to the 1996 presidential election, and reports were later released confirming that a number of naturalizations were made to immigrants with criminal records.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Can you give us a report or some indication of the investigation and the correction of those mistakes, and an idea of what has been spent or going to be spent to correct those mistakes?
Attorney General RENO. As you are aware, we established a new Office of Naturalization Operations in June of 1997. The first task that this new office undertook was the development of naturalization quality procedures known as our NQP program. With the development of this process, INS undertook an extensive training effort, training personnel from all of its naturalization field offices in simple and easy to understand procedures. These new procedures were reviewed by KPMG to ensure that they met the quality control and integrity requirements necessary, which they did.
After the training was complete, we had KPMG go out to the field to ensure that the information was properly disseminated and available to the field, which it was. To ensure that the procedures were being followed and that the past process failures had been corrected, we had KPMG perform an audit of cases in offices performing 85 percent of the naturalization workload. You will recall that KPMG issued its report in December of last year.
It is my view that INS has moved in a period of months from having a failing report card to a solid A-minus. The NQP process has demonstrated that INS can effectively deploy a naturalization process that works and meets the integrity requirements that we should expect.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 INTEGRATION OF FINGERPRINT PROCESSING SYSTEM
The next major effort that we have undertaken is the establishment of an effective and secure fingerprinting process system. As you will recall, the integrity of the fingerprint process system was the major systemic problem within the prior naturalization process. INS has undertaken a massive effort to establish a network of nationwide application support centers. These centers allow INS to supervise the selection of fingerprints while maintaining quality control and providing adequate coverage to the applicants.
This effort consists of four tiers:
First, 75 application support centers established within storefront operations across the country; these centers take the majority of fingerprints for INS benefits.
Fifty-one INS district sub-offices established one- and two-person fingerprint operations in small offices where there isn't a support center within 100 miles.
Thirty-nine law enforcement agencies will provide additional coverage in areas where either an INS sub-office or support center is over 100 miles away.
Forty-four mobile routes were established with over 84 service points to serve clients in remote locations.
We believe that by the end of March we will be functioning at full capacity and we can provide a detailed listing by type of center to you for the record.
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Building on this success, I have asked the director of the naturalization office to expand these reforms and lessons learned to other INS benefits programs.
LONG-RANGE IMPROVEMENT PLAN FOR NATURALIZATION
Finally, we have received the long-range improvement plan for naturalization from Cooper and Lybrand, and with the significant funding you provided in the fiscal year 1998 Appropriations Act, we can begin implementing the long-range improvements for this entire process.
I want to thank the committee for its support in this effort.
Mr. TAYLOR. Madam Attorney General, perhaps I misstated. I appreciate the efforts that have been made toward the future, and hopefully, in future relations nothing this shameful will happen again.
But it was my understanding, Mr. Chairman, we are going to have to go back and look at what has happened in the past, go back and investigate those felons that may have been declared citizens without benefit of proper scrutiny; and that costs money and also has to have a plan. That is why I wondered what has been done in that area and what might be the cost for this Congress and the taxpayer.
Attorney General RENO. As part of the effort to ensure that past naturalization cases were adjudicated correctly, the Department engaged KPMG Peat Marwick to oversee and validate several INS reviews of cases of persons who were naturalized between August of 1995 and September of 1996. In particular, two reviews sought to identify cases where citizenship was granted despite potentially disqualifying criminal histories or exclusion proceedings. A third review was conducted on a random sample of cases in order to determine the extent to which other internal processing problems existed in the naturalization program during that period.
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Between August 31, 1995, and September 30, 1996, INS naturalized 1,049,867 individuals. INS, with the aid of the FBI, attempted to determine the number of these persons that had FBI records. Based on what we know today, 767,366 persons have been identified as having no FBI criminal history records; 76,678 persons have been identified as having FBI records, which include INS administrative actions, misdemeanor and felony arrests and convictions. 124,711 persons have not had definitive criminal history checks conducted because their fingerprint cards were rejected by the FBI because their poor quality rendered them unclassifiable.
Of 61,366 persons for whom it cannot be determined whether or not FBI record checks were ever conducted; 19,746 were elders and minors for whom INS policy does not require FBI record checks.
The FBI produced 76,382 rap sheets for the individuals identified as having FBI records; 32,929 individuals were arrested only for administrative violations, 26,196 individuals were arrested for 1 or more misdemeanors, but no felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude, and 17,257 individuals were arrested for one or more felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude.
INS assembled a naturalization review team consisting of adjudicators to review the files in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Charleston, South Carolina, and independently determine whether the applicants were eligible to be naturalized based on statutorily defined residency and good moral character criteria. KPMG provided quality control and validation during the entire review process.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review also assisted in this process by providing an independent validation of the NRT decision. A total of 16,858 case files were reviewed; 369 case files could not be located for the review, 10,535 cases were proper. The NRT adjudicators found that the statutorily defined residency and good moral character criteria were met.
The 369 were presumptively ineligible; the NRT adjudicators found that the statutorily defined residency and good moral character criteria were presumptively not met. 5,954 cases require further action; the adjudicators found that they could not validate that statutorily defined residency and good moral character criteria were met based on the information contained in the case files.
Of the 6,323 cases that were presumptively ineligible or require further attention, 5,634 reveal a failure to reveal an arrest. All 6,323 cases were referred to the INS revocation team for possible revocation. The review was conductedthe deportation exclusion case review was conducted to identify individuals who were naturalized while they were subject to deportation proceedings or pending an order of deportation or exclusion. The period under review was August of 1995 to September of 1996.
KPMG compared the INS database of individuals naturalized during the subject period with an EOIR database containing records of deportation or exclusion actions; a total of 716 individuals were listed on both. A total of 600 of the 716 cases were reviewed. INS could not locate 33 files, and 83 others were not reviewed because the files were found to contain no evidence that the affected individuals had ever been subject to deportation or exclusion proceedings, or had been naturalized. The latter findings are being pursued to identify possible data systems or file documentation problems.
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Thirty-eight cases, or six percent of all cases reviewed, revealed evidence of improper naturalization; of these, 23 cases involved deportation and 15 cases involved exclusion. Five hundred sixty-two cases showed no evidence indicating an improper naturalization. The 38 cases were referred to the INS revocation team for possible revocation.
We then did a sample case review. This effort did a sampling approach to perform a review of the universe of cases naturalized between August of 1995 and September of 1996.
Mr. TAYLOR. Madam, could I dare take my time now to give an aside? Could I ask one simple question? Has a single person been decitizenized based on this atrocious situation nearly 2 years ago?
Attorney General RENO. The final administrative action on naturalization revocation shows that of the total cases, 31 cases have been finalized, six affirmed a grant of naturalization, 19 terminated administrativeterminate administrative proceedings and referred to the United States Attorneyterminated administrative proceedings. For revocation of naturalization, the appeal time expired without appeal on six; and I think that would be indicated that of the final actions, six have been revoked because they did not appeal.
Mr. TAYLOR. Do we know where they are?
Attorney General RENO. What they are?
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. TAYLOR. Where they are. Were they deported or are they wandering around?
Attorney General RENO. I would have to check and let you know, sir.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Quickly, do I understand that of the 6,000 revocation cases that have been developed so far out of this disaster, Citizenship USAout of the 6,000 possible, you have only denaturalized six?
Attorney General RENO. The total cases reviewed to date are 2,100
Mr. ROGERS. Just answer my question. Out of 6,000 possible cases, you have only denaturalized six. Right or wrong, correct or incorrect?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. That is what I understand, yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. The answer is yes?
Attorney General RENO. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Okay.
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madam Attorney General, Mr. Dixon and I both serve on the Intelligence Committee and were siezed last fall by the issue of encryption policy in this country, and I think confounded by the lack of agreement among different elements of the executive branch as to exactly how we should proceed.
My request is that you use your good offices to help reconcile and consolidate a single Administration policy in this area so that we might have the benefit of one voice coming from the executive branch as to what we in Congress should do.
Attorney General RENO. I think we have made very substantial progress, and I think there will be one voice.
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Mr. SKAGGS. Do you know when it will be expressed?
Attorney General RENO. Hopefully, shortly.
Mr. SKAGGS. Before the Vernal Equinox?
Attorney General RENO. I forget when the Vernal Equinox is.
ANTITRUST DIVISION INCREASE FOR FY1999
Mr. SKAGGS. A few weeks away. Well, good.
On a statistical or accounting matter, the numbers for the Antitrust Division have an enormous increase in the tables I was just looking at for this year. I assume that that is just a function of different accounting for fees and arrangements of numbers. It doesn't reflect a huge increase in FTE in the Antitrust Division; is that correct?
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Colgate indicates that that is correct, but with your permission, I will let him address that.
Mr. SKAGGS. If that is correct, we will let it go at that since I don't have much time.
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As I recall, the first set of hires in the COPS program will be exhausting the grant period shortly, and I am just wondering if we are starting to get any data as to the extent to which local law enforcement authorities are in fact interested in and able to have continued employment?
Attorney General RENO. They arethe word I am getting back is that they are very anxious to continue the employment. Cities are looking for monies, because when the COPS program was established, it was clear; and the clear terms of the COPS program was that it was designed to provide a transition to community policing to give departments an opportunity to transfer the system from just patrol-oriented policing to community policing in the truest sense, and that cities would be expected to sustain the hires after the grants expired.
We are in the process of looking at this to determine just what we can get in terms of hard data, and we will be happy to share with you just what the cities and towns and counties are telling us.
Mr. SKAGGS. Well, I think the subcommittee would appreciate whatever data, hard or soft, with appropriate footnotes you are able to provide for the record on this, since there was a good deal of concern about whether we were setting ourselves up for a temporary improvement, but an unsustainable one, given fiscal pressures on local departments.
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Attorney General RENO. The word that we are getting back from the reaction of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, when I visit with them, and the National Sheriffs Association, is that there will be a lasting impact on the part of these police officers, that it has helped change the whole orientation of policing so that it involves the community, the processes through technical assistance for these new hires, and enhanced an officer's ability and knowledge and skill in relating to the community and involving the community in developing the answers to the problems, and identifying priorities and identifying problems.
Mr. SKAGGS. I was encouraged to see that in the initiative regarding drugs, somewhat more than half of the total new amount requested would be going toward treatment and discouraging use, I guess. The term escapes me at the moment, which certainly is consistent with the advice I have received time and time again from law enforcement in the field, who say, as much as we would love to have additional monies for law enforcement interdiction, whatever it may be, we see the real tracks in the effort against drugs on the treatment and prevention side. So I am glad to see the ratios as they are.
But it really raises the question, I think, of whether, as we continue year-by-year to struggle with this issue, the Department has undertaken or could undertake a kind of zero-based review of national drug policy. I know there is a Drug Czar, but you are aware of where the action is in many respects. Perhaps the Department could start from scratch and see whether our overall strategies really constitute a coherent and effective whole, or whether some major shifting of priorities might get us further down the road to the goal that we are trying to reach.
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Attorney General RENO. We are constantly reviewing what we are doing to make sure that it makes sense and that we are on the right track. There has clearly been a shift towards providing additional treatment and prevention initiatives that we think can work.
With the effort of this committee last year, for example, we have embarked on the development of a very sound juvenile justice prevention program in terms of preventing the use of drugs, and we would be happy to share that with you. But there is also a recognition, as you point out, on the part of police officers, and General McCaffrey is one of the great proponents of additional treatment, that it makes no sense to prosecute and convict somebody for the use of drugs, knowing that they have a drug problem, and send them to jail or put them on probation without providing sound treatment.
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Obviously, one of the big initiatives in this area has been the development of drug courts, and they have spread as people have come to understand that the combination of the criminal justice system, with appropriate treatment programs, can have a real impact by using a carrot-and-stick approach on nonviolent first offenders or others.
For the person who is in the prison, who has had a drug problem, and somebody has said, well, how can they get drugs in prison, in the Federal Bureau of Prisons we have taken significant steps to avoid that. But the problem that caused this situation in the first place is still there, and unless it is addressed while in prison, they are going back to the streets with the chance of recurring all over again.
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One of the big dollar arguments that I hear about drug treatment is that we have no place to treat them. In the criminal justice system, for those people in prison, we have a place to treat them and we can make it effective, so it makes awfully good sense, both from the prevention and the treatment and intervention point of view.
At the same time, we are constantly reviewing our drug strategy. For example, when I first came into office, the focus was on Colombia and then, as the pattern shifted, we shifted to the Southwest border with Mexico. As we put pressure on the Southwest border, it starts to shift to the Caribbean. So we have looked at it more from the point of view of the ''southern frontier,'' constantly trying to be prepared to move ahead of the game as pressures produce shifts in one direction or the other. Those are just examples, Congressman.
Mr. SKAGGS. I appreciate that. I think, in addition, it doesn't make any sensethe example that you gave, it also doesn't make any sense to be spending several hundred thousand dollars on the typical arrest, prosecution and incarceration of someone with a drug problem, when earlier intervention and prevention would have done us some good.
THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL ACT
One final question, and then we are all going to race to vote. The Independent Counsel Act is going to be coming up for reauthorization in a little while. From a good management and justice point of view, would you encourage the Congress to introduce some budget control and accountability in the future?
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. I have tried to avoid commenting on what the law should be with respect to that, and I had written Senator Hatch saying that there should be some provision. Everybody in public service should be operating under a budget and some budget controls, and I think it would be appropriate.
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madam Attorney General, we have a vote on the floor. It will be just a few minutes and we shall return.
Attorney General RENO. I have plenty of time, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. You get a deserved rest.
Mr. ROGERS. The Committee will come back to order, and the gentleman from Iowa is recognized.
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, Madam Attorney General. It is a real pleasure for me to have you here, and I just want to tell you I continue to have the highest personal regard for you, and the job that you do. And I think, unfortunately, you are put in a very awkward position because of some of the conduct in the Administration, but no one should ever question your integrity or what you do. It is very much appreciated, and I have the greatest respect and admiration for you.
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I would like to echo the concerns that Mr. Taylor had as far as the granting of citizenship to convicted felons, and I think it really undermines the value of U.S. citizenship. I think it is one of the darkest hours as far as what this government can do in relationship to the most prized possession we have here as U.S. citizens, and I continue to have grave concerns about that.
I would also like to personally thank you for coming last fall and visiting the people from my district, taking your time for that little event we had. It was most appreciated, and I want to publicly thank you.
In last year's appropriations bill, I had some language in that to create a new initiative in the COPS program to help local law enforcement fight the problem with mass production trafficking in the tri-state areain Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. The local law enforcement and Sioux City police who are going to coordinate this effort are still awaiting direction from the COPS office here in Washington.
We are almost halfway through the year, and the COPS office has yet to assign someone to draft the program's criteria, and obviously, we are unable to implement the program. And just to give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, you know, Iowa has about 1 percent of the Nation's population, and I think last year we had 9 percent of the meth arrests. It is a huge problem for us, and we need to move on this very quickly to have a coordinated effort throughout the region.
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Would you be able to tell me what is causing the delay as far as the criteria in Sioux City and when we can expect to be able to move forward?
Attorney General RENO. COPS is working now with DEA and the other agencies that are involved in this effort to make sure that the grant is useful and effective and not just duplicative of existing training efforts.
The area that you point out is really extraordinarily important. I have had a chance to talk with officers from that area and understand just what the whole problem of methamphetamine has done there. This is a problem that is very important for us.
What I would like to do is continue to keep you advised. I will let you know as soon as they come up with what they think could be effective criteria. I will ask them for a time deadline and see if I can't get back to you and to the chief and to make sure that we do it right.
One of the concerns that I have, I want to make sure that we use it as wisely as possible, because I think a grant like this can be very, very useful and quite innovative in its impact. So I would like to follow up with you on that.
Mr. LATHAM. Obviously, my concern is, there hasn't even been an assignment or a person responsible to even begin the process yet, and that is quite frustrating, because we do have a situation where the tri-state area has worked very closely together and really tried to work on a coordinated basis; and from my understanding, there isn't even anybody trying to initiate what was in the law last year.
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Attorney General RENO. Somebody is about it, and I will find out who, because somebody is talking with DEA and with the other agencies to see just what is being done on training. Let me find out specifics for you, call you back. If we don't have somebody that is assigned to it, I will get that corrected.
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. Very good. I would appreciate that very much.
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ASSETS FORFEITURE AUTHORITY
On a different subject, under the farm bill in 1996, the FAIR Act, the Inspector General at USDA was given augmented forfeiture authority, and it is my understanding that the IG has negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the Justice Department regarding this matter of forfeiture. It is also my understanding that the Justice Department has been dragging its heels and has yet to sign the memorandum of understanding.
Why is this the case, and when is the Justice Department expected to act on this critical issue? There is about $11 million, that is sitting in Justice apparently, that should be over in the USDA.
Attorney General RENO. I had occasion just recently to speak to the combined group of Inspectors General, and the issue of asset forfeiture was raised; and with respect to the particular matter that you talk about, it was presented as if it is a fait accompliwhy don't you sign it? I was told that proposals had been made and we were trying to work through them.
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As you know, this Congress has expressed concerns, as others have, about the appropriate use and standards for asset forfeiture. I asked when I heard, well, if it hasn't been worked through, then let's get, I think his name is Mr. Viadero in and let's get it worked out. So I will follow that one up as well.
Mr. LATHAM. I also serve on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and we had the IG in there and he obviously expressed real concerns about this, and wanted to get moving, and to get it resolved. They would like to have the $11 million, and they say it is sitting over in Justice; and if you could look into that, I would appreciate it.
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With that, again, I appreciate the chance to have you here, and I am not going to get into, like last year, whether we have laws on the books as far as campaign contributions on government property or those things. But thank you.
Attorney General RENO. Let me just point out something to you and to the Chairman. The Chairman, I think, knows this from our extensive conversations, but nothing upsets me more, makes me feel worse, than to see something like the naturalization process gone awry. My father came to this country when he was 12 years old with his parents from Denmark, and that process is sacred to me.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Dixon.
Mr. DIXON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And Madam Attorney General, I join in a bipartisan tribute to your personal integrity. I know that it is very difficult when there are some who think that you are doing too much and are too aggressive; there are others who think that you are not aggressive enough, and that suggests to me that you are probably handling it just right.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS SERVICE
I would like to ask you about two small agencies within your department and get your evaluation of them. The first is the Community Relations Service. I notice that you have requested a $1.2 million increase. It is an organization, I think, that has worked very effectively, at least in California, and I would like to receive your assessment of it.
Attorney General RENO. My assessment is derived from direct observation as the State attorney in Miami for 15 years during some very turbulent times. The Community Relations Service was one of the most effective agencies at reducing conflict, easing tensions, bringing people together, and doing it in not a big, programmatic sort of way; but every time you turned around, when there was a crisis, the representatives of the CRS would be there, not talking a lot, but moving quietly, working carefully with people, doing it in a hands-on, direct sort of way that was very refreshing for government from Washington. As State attorney I had a chance to see them in action any number of times.
Now, for the last 5 years, even with their budget significantly reduced, I have watched them in action, and again, chiefs of police, community advocates, others across the country are telling me what I see firsthand. They are doing an extraordinary job with small resources at easing tension and bringing people together, and preventing problems from escalating into major disturbances. I think for more than 30 years attorneys general of both parties have supported the Community Relations Service, and daily, as we watch them in action, I support it 100 percent. I think it has been one of the most effective agencies that I have seen.
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Mr. DIXON. The second agency is the Inspector General. As you are probably aware, I have had some direct contact with the Inspector General from time to time over the past 2 or 3 months, and in the course of conversation, Iand with correspondence, he had asked for a modest increase in his allotment. I think it was $5 million. As a matter of fact, he has been very aggressive in the Citizenship USA investigation and the prisons investigation. I understand thoroughly that there is only so much money, but can you evaluate his job and whether you think an adjustment in his allocation is appropriate?
Attorney General RENO. I think he has done an excellent job, and I feel very comfortable, and I think I have the best working relationship with an Inspector General you could have. He can be arm's length, but he is constructive and positive when he takes the results of his investigations and puts them to work.
Last year we asked for an increase and he received an increase of about 10 percent of the base, and what I would like to do is see how that works out, and what we needwhat we need in terms of ongoing investigations and address it for the future.
LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION
Mr. DIXON. Yesterday we had the Legal Services Corporation before us, and the Chairman and I engaged in some conversation with the Chairman of the Board and the President about what they intended to do with the increase in funding that they were requesting. They indicated that 70 percent of that increase would go for domestic violence programs. The Chairman pointed out that in the 1997 budget for your department we had provided a substantial amount of money.
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I was really not clear as to what their response was, but in general I thought it was that they could not look forward in 1997 to much of that money. And so, is there some impediment to them receiving money? Can you tell me how much they have received, if any, and what your view of that situation is?
Attorney General RENO. May I consult with Mr. Colgate?
Mr. DIXON. Certainly. I realize that this wasn't your forethought.
Attorney General RENO. I think it is 1998 that you're referring to, rather than fiscal year 1997.
Mr. DIXON. You are correct.
Attorney General RENO. Chairman Rogers, as I recall, made sure that $12 million was provided to augment civil legal assistance in this whole area. Our budget request this year would continue this program. The Violence Against Women Office is in the process of developing the grant solicitation for this year. It has held meetings with the Legal Services Corporation, and I hope that this grant will be available very shortly. I will ask that we check the time for you, so that you will know precisely.
Mr. DIXON. Does the staff know exactly how much money was in that category last year?
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Attorney General RENO. $12 million, I believe.
Mr. ROGERS. It was $12 million that was earmarked just for legal aid, but there was $271 million in Violence Against Women appropriations, which is an unprecedented number, a good portion of which could be used for that purpose, in fact.
Mr. DIXON. Well, that is the reason I raised it, Mr. Chairman.
On the one hand, the Chairman feels that probably more than $12 million could go toward that. And Madam Attorney General, as I hear you, you are thinking that they are only eligible for $12 million, or they would only receive $12 million. So I would just like to
Attorney General RENO. Well, let me clarify for you.
I think what the Chairman is indicating, under the grants to the States, the act provides for grants to all of the States based on the criteria. They have got to develop a plan. Part of that plan and part of that grant can be used for legal aid in this context, and there is no prohibition from the Federal point of view. There might be some different priority established by a State, but that is available; and I think what the Chairman is trying to do is to jump start it, if you will, and get people to understand how beneficial civil legal assistance can be in these situations.
Mr. Chairman, I don't want to put words in your mouth.
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Mr. ROGERS. Please do.
If the gentleman will yield, the Attorney General is correct. We substantially increased the Violence Against Women Act funding last year. In fact, I think we provided several millions of dollars more than the Administration requested even, but I am chagrined that the money is not being spent. Whether it is because people don't know it is available on the State and local levels, or what, I don't yet know, but the money is there and it is lying there waiting.
A good portion of that money could be used by Legal Services grantees, because I think 60 percent of the work that they do is representing abused women and children, and this money would be able to augment what is already available for Legal Services grantees.
Attorney General RENO. But again the money is out in terms of the grants to the States and, Mr. Chairman, it may well be being used by the States for reasons other than Legal Services. We will get you a report on that.
What is of concern, though, is that for the $12 million specifically designated, we want to make sure we get that out as fast as possible.
Mr. DIXON. If I understand you, Madam Attorney General, the $12 million is earmarked for them, and then they are eligible under State programs to receive additional monies if the States so desire?
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. That is correct.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. DIXON. That is kind of a fair summary.
And last, I know that you are aware that there is a difference of opinion in Congress as to how we proceed to take the year 2000 census, and I noticed in the budget request, in the Civil Rights Division, you have requested $383,000; and not to create any confusion, I wonder if you would tell us what that money would be used for.
Attorney General RENO. That fiscal year 1999 program increase request for the Civil Rights Division has nothing to do with the likely litigation the Commerce Department might become involved in regarding the census. That is a totally separate issue. The Civil Division would handle that; no additional monies are being asked for for handling that litigation.
The Civil Rights monies are focused on the litigation that has developed from Shaw v. Reno, and with the census, leaving aside how it is done, with the census coming up, State and local, as well as Federal districts, are being addressed anew and in a prospective fashion, so that we have seen an increase in cases; and we expect more and want to be prepared to handle it.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. DIXON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Regula.
Mr. REGULA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madam Attorney General, I want to ask a few questions on the Indian country law enforcement initiative. As I understand it, there is to be additional funding for this, and the White House presently has under review how would be the better way to ensure that these law enforcement programs are done with the best possible assistance and training.
In your opinion, would the Department of Justice or the Bureau of Indian Affairs be in a better position to administer and oversee the significant increase in law enforcement resources being proposed for Indian country law enforcement?
Attorney General RENO. In this instance, the President has recognized the dual responsibility when he directed both the Secretary of Interior and myself to address it, because I don't think anybody disputes that there is a critical concern about law enforcement in Indian country.
We agree that at this point neither department could address the issue alone; we are working together. We are asking for funds for three reasons in the Department of Justice. We already have an existing grant structure. We have considerable expertise in the types of programs that are necessary in Indian country, such as corrections and juvenile justice, and there are serious needs to be addressed now.
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I think the DOJ grants will jump-start the necessary improvements, and we have the structure and the law enforcement expertise necessary to do it. So at this point I think as the budget request reflects, we can best address it.
Mr. REGULA. So you think the Justice Department really needs to take the lead on this expansion and a more intensive effort in law enforcement in Indian country?
Attorney General RENO. I think to jump-start it and to get it on its way, and then I think we have to ultimately resolve it.
Mr. REGULA. I am concerned also that this program relies heavily on the COPS grant program, and as you know, that is a 3-year cycle. What happens when that funding ends? Are there some plans? You need continuity, obviously.
Attorney General RENO. I think, again, from what I have seenand I first addressed this issue in May of 1994 at a listening conference in Albuquerque; and again and again tribal leaders from all over the country stood up and told me what needed to be done in terms of law enforcement, and I have heard it ever since.
This is an effort on the part of the Administration to try to use what is available and the expertise in the Department of Justice to get it jump-started and on its way and to develop a sound framework for law enforcement; and then ultimately, I think it would have to be funded by the BIA or whoever is responsible for managing Indian country programs.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. REGULA. So you see your role as getting it moving and then eventually BIA taking over?
Attorney General RENO. Or whoever is responsible.
Mr. REGULA. Right. It envisions 15 more prisons. How do you see this being handled, the building, operations and maintenance of these prisons? Would it be BIA or would it be Bureau of Prisons?
Attorney General RENO. I think we would have to look at that and how it is organized, and how the tribes organize it as well. When we are talking about prisons, we are talking about detention facilities, too, and correctional facilities. In terms of a major prison for violent offenders, I think that the regular prison system would be more appropriate.
What we are trying to design is to recognize that they are not jailed, they are not detention facilities that are tribally oriented, and so we are going to have to work with tribes. And this is just a suggestion, because we are trying to work through these issues. For example, the Sioux Nation involves a number of tribes, and they might work together to develop the detention facility for a certain area.
Mr. REGULA. So you see the BIA dealing with the lesser criminal types, and if it is more of a severe hard-core, if you will, then that would be probably best done through the Bureau of Prisons?
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. That is what I envision.
Mr. REGULA. Industrial espionage, I think this is going to be a growing problem because of the competitiveness that exists in the world today and the availability of sophisticated communications programs. We have had that happen in an instance in my own area, andmy question is, what resources would the Department be currently providing for investigation and prosecution of the theft of technology and intellectual property? A: Are you involved; and B: Does the Department envision increases to combat this type of industrial espionage in the fiscal year 1999 budget?
Attorney General RENO. The FBI does not, I have discovered, track resources for economic espionage, and I am going to be talking with Director Freeh about this, because he is one of the major proponents of initiatives in this area for just the reasons that you discuss; and I agree with him completely. I think this reflects the fact that we are building now a capacity, and I think we will need to look at this and see how we can properly identify the resources.
The number of FBI investigations is classified, but I think recent press coverage indicates some of the initiatives that are being taken. With respect to increases, there are none. But at this point, I am satisfied, based on what Director Freeh has told me to date and looking at the resources that are available in the FBI, that we can address this current caseload adequately, just looking at the classified
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. REGULA. So you are saying you are very sensitive to the problem and the growing magnitude of it; am I correct?
Attorney General RENO. That is correct. And again just for, if you will, accounting purposes, it has just never been broken out of white collar crime, and it will vary from white collar crime to infrastructure protection. I mean, we have to look at all of the resources that can focus on this as well.
FALSE CLAIMS ACT
Mr. REGULA. My last question or issue is the use of the False Claims Act to investigate medicare billing practices by hospitals. It has come to my attention that they make errors. There are 200,000 Medicare claims, 200,000 daily, 72 million every year, and it is an enormous paperwork burden on hospitals, and they do make some mistakes.
It seems to me there ought to be a de minimis threshold in terms of enforcing the False Claims Act, and I think what we have is a concern in our area is that sometimes this is used to gain elaborate settlements from hospitals, which are really unfair, because the billing practice was an honest mistake, and yet enforcement people say, pay up or else.
Attorney General RENO. I am veryI know a little bit about this issue, because I spoke recently with the American Hospital Association
Mr. REGULA. Okay.
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Attorney General RENO [continuing]. And I explained to them that I don't want to be after anybody for an honest billing mistake.
The statute says, and I think it is a good standard, that if there is a reckless disregard of the truth or indifferencethere has got to be that recklessness to it. And I think we should pursue those situations.
What I told them is, if anybody is pursuing an honest billing mistake, we have a process in the Department for making sure that people are heard and that we take steps to avert problems like that. I pledged to them open and continuous dialogue with the Association, and I want to do everything I can to make sure that people understand we are not after the honest billing error; but if somebody has all of the facts there, and they just turn a blind eye, I want no part of that.
This is very important to me, because I think health care fraud is one of the major issues that we face, and people have got to have confidence in the process. So if you have any specifics, I would welcome the opportunity to follow up on them.
Mr. REGULA. Well, I think you are clearly saying you are sensitive to the problem.
Attorney General RENO. I would like to be just more than sensitive to the problem. The Chairman would say, she sometimes says she is sensitive to the problem, and then what does she do about it?
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Mr. REGULA. But you are trying to make sure that it is not unfairly enforced?
Attorney General RENO. The important thing for me is to get the word out. If you think it is being unfairly enforced, let us know. If you get stonewalled by a U.S. Attorney, let me know, so that we can follow up and address the problem, sit down with the industry and look at it.
They may say, look, it looks to you like it is a reckless disregard, but here are accounting procedures that confuse the issue. There may be explanations. We have to have an open dialogue so that it can be considered.
Mr. REGULA. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Attorney General, it is approaching the noon hour. I have a number of matters I need to take up with you, and I will try to do it as briefly as we can. Is that agreeable?
Attorney General RENO. I am here for as long as you want me, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I want you here as long as we can keep you, but I want to get you out of here at a reasonable hour. I want to quickly, if we can, as quickly as we can do this, discuss with you the Citizenship USA and INS.
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You and I share, I think, along with a lot of other people, the conviction that we need to be sure that the granting of U.S. citizenship, the most valuable thing this country can give someone, is protected as much as can be possible. Now, the Citizenship USA in 1996 was an absolute''disaster'' is not the word for it.
Attorney General RENO. ''Catastrophe.''
Mr. ROGERS. ''Catastrophe.'' And I hate to go back and stir in the barnyard about this, but we have to, because there are a number of problems that are still on board resulting from that.
The audit that KPMG Peat Marwick did drew the following conclusions: INS did not have enough information to determine whether they were naturalizing people with criminal histories to bar their citizenship. They did not even review whether certain statutory requirements for naturalization were met in these cases, including permanent residency in the U.S. for 5 years; passage of history, civics, English tests and the like. Their procedures were inconsistent regarding other naturalization criteria pending deportation orders or proceedings and, quote, ''good moral character requirements.''
In April of 1997 a second audit report by that agency found that INS was not following its new naturalization quality procedures, which the Attorney General and the director of the agency put in place; they still wouldn't do it, concluding that it was probable that criminals were continuing to be naturalized. Twenty-three out of 24 INS field offices were not in compliance with the procedures after we hammered you and you hammered them. At that point, you then took over the naturalization program and you installed Bob Bratt, a career official, as the head of naturalization operations.
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A followup report in December of 1997, they had made significant improvements in internal controls, but still four out of 24 failed a review of field offices.
Three weeks ago, KPMG issued its findings on a sample of case reviews that it conducted to determine the extent to which naturalization applications were correctly processed during the Citizenship USA period. They found, Madam Attorney General, the auditors found that 90.8 percent of the cases they sampled contained at least 1 error, most prevalent of which was the lack of evidence that a fingerprint card was sent to the FBI, nine out of ten. That is an adequate sample to project the processing errors for the total of 1.05 million cases. It can be assumed that 920,733 cases had insufficient documentation to support a naturalization decision under the law and under procedures of the Department.
They also found that 38,845 cases can be projected to have been, quote, ''presumptively ineligible to receive naturalization''; that is, they did not fulfill their residency requirement, didn't pass the tests they have to pass, had criminal records, didn't have good moral character, what have you. That doesn't even factor in the fraudulent testing that was later found just a few weeks ago. It is abysmal.
As you know, I have been on this subcommittee 15 years as a member of the Minority, as Ranking Minority member and now as Chairman. I have wrestled with INS and the problems they have had, as have the Justice Department and tons of other people for all of these years. I have come to the conclusion that with all of these things that keep piling on top of themselves and the money we throw at this agencywe have absolutely flooded them with money and personnel to no avail; it just seems to get worse and worse as time goes on.
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I am convinced now that the agency is unmanageable, which I tend to believe, because I think the missions of the INS are contradictory. On the one hand, they are supposed to grant privileges and rights to immigrants, and on the other hand, they are supposed to punish immigrants. I don't see how they cananyone can administer that kind of a conflicting mission. Either it is unmanageable or we have never had anybody who can manage that agency, and I doubt that there ever can be. Consequently, I have concluded that we must do something drastic.
And I know the Attorney General is concerned about this and has been ever since she has been the Attorney General, and rightfully so, as has all of the Department. We will probably differ on how we look at a remedy to the INS problem, but I, after 15 years, have concluded that it is unsalvageable, that we may as well start afresh.
I have looked over the Barbara Jordan Commission on Immigration Reform report in some detail. I have conferred with several Members here who have expertise in this field, and I have concluded that the Barbara Jordan Commission is 99 percent on track. It is not a perfect answer, but it seems to me that it is the best that we have.
Let me ask you what you think about the Barbara Jordan Commission findings? And I know you are due us a report in April on how you think we should reorganize INS, but could I ask you what you think about the Barbara Jordan findings?
Attorney General RENO. I have reviewed the report, and I have met with representatives from the Commission. I have talked to people, talked to people at INS, talked to people whosuch as you and other Members of Congress, trying to keep an open mind, because the one thing I did when I came to Washington was promise myself I didn't want to worry about turf. If there was a part of the Justice Department that could be more effective someplace else, so be it. If there was something that we should do, we would do it, but we wouldn't do it because we wanted somebody else's turf. So I started looking at it and went into it with an open mind.
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I have concludedbecause the questions I asked of people were, how would the other agencies do it better? And basically, Mr. Chairman, I come down to the conclusionand you have just given me some hope, because I think I have been here almost 5 years and I sometimes think, well, I haven't seen enough changes, but if you tell me that for the 10 years before I got here there was a big problem, then I will tell you that I sure inherited a big problem.
I inherited an agency that didn't have either the personnel or the management infrastructure to do the job, an agency that didn't have the automation and the technology. I saw an agency grow tremendously. I watched it face a peso crisis that it had no control over. I watched it become responsible for a new law and implementing a new law.
And in many instances, it has done a remarkable job. In other situationsand I have shared my feelings about this situation with youthere is more to do. But mythe Administration, through the Domestic Policy Council, has brought the agencies that are affected together and basically concluded that it doesn't solve any problem to split something up. The problem is to fix it, and we are in the process of trying to fix it and trying to present to you a thoughtful report.
Wait just a minute, Mr. Chairman. Hear me out just a little bit, please, sir.
One of the things that has impressed me, you haveI mean, from almost the first time I came to talk to you, you talked about the need for accountability and for responsibility, and it has been very frustrating to me to see a situation coming from Washington out to a regional office down to a district commander to a Border Patrol chief, with the Border Patrol chief up here in Washington.
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What we are trying to do as we focus on this is to remember your words and create something that has a direct line of authority in enforcement. As you point out, there are two roles here; there is enforcement and there is service, and a direct line of authority and accountability in the service function, but with the recognition that there are tie-ins to the twothat the two, in terms of information exchange and the like, could benefit from a well-constructed system of automation, and that is one of our challenges.
We, as you know, retained Booz Allen, we are looking at it and trying to explore all the aspects of it, but I look forward to presenting you a report and to discussing with you something thatyou were one of the first people to point out to me the need for accountability in the two lines of responsibility of this service.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, you have had 6 years.
Attorney General RENO. Five.
Mr. ROGERS. Five.
Attorney General RENO. I am not going to be here for ten, so let's just see how we work this one out.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, you have had 5 years to wrestle with this thingI meanand you have wrestled.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. You didn't do it in 10 years before, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. I didn't have Attorneys General who were as dedicated to cleaning up INS as you are.
But the problem certainly existed before you got here; I am not blaming you for the problem. I think we can begin to assign some degree of responsibility, now that you have been here 5 years, for getting it cleaned up; and let me just cite you some facts and figures.
We have thrown money at the agency since 1995. As I have sat in this chair, the INS budget has grown by 84 percent. We have given them $1.7 billion more than they had before. We have provided increases to INS of over $500 million each year in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Most of the positive changes that have occurred there, in fact, over the last 4 years, are largely a product of its growth in resources, not a result of any better management. So they can't say that they don't have the money.
Regardless of those funding increases, we have seen no evidence that they can handle the responsibilities. There are still 5 million illegal immigrants now living in the U.S.the same peak level we saw 3 years ago, 2 years agogrowing at the same rate each year, regardless of the number of resources we throw at them, regardless of the number of Border Patrol and better technology we throw at the agency. We can't be assured that the border is any more under control now than it was 4 years ago, despite the fact that we have added 2,700 more Border Patrol agentsan increase of 60 percent, and no improvement.
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Then we have Citizenship USA, corrupting America's naturalization process, giving away American citizenship for whatever reason, giving it away in a corrupt way. Mission overload, lack of management oversight, even you admit that you had to take over the agency, and you did, rightfully so; Steve Colgate taking over management of the naturalization process, installing Bob Bratt to fix problems resulting from that. But for that, I think you would still be floundering, trying to make the changes to the naturalization process that got us in the fix before. Little, if any, accountability.
And I cite you the deception of a congressional task force, itself, during a visit to Miami during that Citizenship USA program, that were purposefully misled by agency employees with very little punishment meted out by the agency. I could go on. I mean, there are, as you know, dozens of examples that we could rehash here about the failure of that agency.
Of all of the agencies that we appropriate on this subcommittee in three major departments of the government, plus most of the independent agencies, plus the international organizations that we appropriate forU.N., OAS, and so on, hundreds of thoseof all of the agencies that we have to deal with, including the dozens in the Department of Justice, and the Department of Commerce, no agency that we deal with is as inept and unmanaged and out of control and not carrying out their responsibility, valuable though it is, as is INS. I do not intend to let that continue on my watch.
Now, you and the White House and the Administration can do what you want, but I am going to try to get the Congress to make a drastic change, admitting that INS cannot do the job and following the lead of the Barbara Jordan Commission, which spent 2 years with experts focusing just on this question in an unbiased, unfettered way. No one attempted to influence their opinion. I don't agree with the philosophy of a good number of those Commission members, but I do agree that they focused intently and that they came up with a sensible recommendation.
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Out here on the border of our country we have eight or ten agencies. The Department of Labor is out there checking for violations of illegal aliens coming to work. The Department of Justice, of course, is there, the Border Patrol, INS, to protect us against illegals getting in the country. The DEA is there protecting against drugs. The FBI is there protecting against criminals. The Department of Agriculture is there to look after, that we are not getting improper agricultural products in.
One can look under the hood, but they can't look in the back seat. One can look in the trunk, but not under the hood. One can look in the car, but not over the top of the trailer or whatever. It is absolutely ridiculous.
Not only are we wasting money, we are wasting the time of the people trying to come and go in a legitimate fashion.
There should be one border agency, in my opinion. I would like to see it under the Department of Justice, where it should be, and that is what I intend to see. But there should be one agency with one person who can look under the hood, in the trunk and under the car and on the roof and everything else without having to call in somebody else from afar. I think it is absolutely ludicrous, it is silly, it is funny, it is tragic.
Because it is not working, drug importations are on the increase out of Mexico. Illegal aliens continue to flood the country and live here. We are not deporting people who have been improperly naturalized. It is in a mess, and the people know it is in a mess, and they want something done.
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We have given you 5-plus years. You have not done it. You have tried. And I am saying to you, I don't think anybody could have done it. I am not blaming you for that. I think it is an impossible job for one agency to do. So I would hope that you would consider that as you consider your recommendations, knowing that on the Hill there is deep sentiment about getting something done, whatever it takes.
Attorney General RENO. I know how strongly you feel, and I feel just as strongly. This has probably taken as much of my time as anything else.
Mr. ROGERS. I know it has.
Attorney General RENO. You know that I care a great deal about it. But I have also watched an agency face tremendous challenges. Not just the peso crisis, but I watched an agency come to grips with the fact that right as it was facing so many other challengesColombian transportation chains from other parts of the country to come through Mexico; and the Border Patrol that does an extraordinary job for this Nation, Mr. Chairman, day in and day out, faced new responsibilities.
As they put the pressure on the border and at the ports of entry, alien smugglers, who were mean, vicious thugs, started smuggling people as well as drugs, and they faced that; and they faced more danger than they have faced in previous years because of these pressures, because of their successes.
When we came into office, there was nothingI remember being down on the border in August of 1993 in San Diego. There was no organization, there was nothing. I watched an agency get organized with Operation Gatekeeper and make that California border become a different place. I watched fences being strategically placed. But I have also been down the lengths of that border from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, and I know how long and lonely it is. And it is not something that can be done overnight, but I have watched success in El Paso, and we have to do more.
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There is so much that we must do along the border, not just with respect to additional resources in those areas that have not yet had their share of resources allocated, but in the sense of the Assistant United States Attorneys to prosecute cases that local prosecutors are throwing up their hands at because the situation is difficult.
I listened to you, and I haven't taken over INS. Doris Meissner does one great job under the most difficult circumstances, one good thing even with me and with you and working with us.
Mr. ROGERS. I admit that.
Attorney General RENO. I don't know whether you have had the chance to meet her new deputy commissioner, but I think we should all come talk to you, not to persuade you, but you have new leadership on board, fresh leadership. You have some great, strong people there and you have a cadre of people that have been working hard, day in and day out. You and I may not agree on what ultimately should be done, but I think we both agree on the basic principle that there needs to be accountability.
And I wrote something out in long hand the other day. Accountability that is based on listening to people in the field who are involved in the direct problem day in and day out, developing policy and process in Washington that takes into account what people in the field think, disseminating the policy and the process to the field in ways that they can easily understand, following it up with compliance procedures to make sure it is happening. If it is not working, finding out what and how. It takes a long change, but you have fresh new leadership in there, these are people that Doris picked. I think you will be impressed with them, and I think we should talk and work together.
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You may decide you want to try to split it up. I think we should keep it together, because the two pieces are too important together, and they share too many common issues. But I think we can clearly address the problem that you have focused on for so long, which are the direct lines of authority and accountability in enforcement and direct lines of responsibility and accountability in service.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, of course, I will be happy to visit with you any time about this or anything else. But you have a lot of convincing to do
Attorney General RENO. I know, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS [continuing]. On that one.
Well, let me change subjects quickly here and try to cover a couple more things.
INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FUNDING
Independent Counsel funding. Now, in 1998 you estimate you will spend $13.9 million and use 130 FBI and U.S. Attorneys and Criminal Division staff for the campaign finance investigation. In addition, Justice has investigated allegations of criminal activity by Administration officials in the following cases, some of which have Independent Counsel appointments now: of course, Independent Counsel Starr on Whitewater, TravelgateI will use the popular acronymsFilegate, and perjury and obstruction of justice in the Jones case; Independent Counsel Smaltz on Agriculture Secretary Espy; Independent Counsel Barrett on Housing Secretary Cisneros; and Independent Counsel Pierson on Commerce Secretary Ron Brown; Independent Counsel on Interior Secretary Babbitt, investigation of the President's role in the Indian casino case, investigation of Vice President Gore and former Energy Secretary O'Leary, investigation of Labor Secretary Herman, investigation of Magaziner on the Health Care Task Force.
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Why haven't you requested increased resources to handle that increase and workload? That is a substantial increase.
Attorney General RENO. For Mr. Starr, Mr. Smaltz, Mr. Barrett, Mr. Pierson, and the other instances in which we have sought Independent Counsel, there is a separate appropriation that is not part of the Justice Department appropriation that I control, and they draw directly from that. With respect to the other matters, we address this as we do all investigations and build with what we have; and then as we identify needs, we fill those needs, and if at any point we need to address additional resources, we shall do so.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I was really addressing the expenditures before it got to Independent Counsel status. You had to do your preliminary investigations. Those expenses are bound to be piling up.
Are you diverting monies from other accounts, I guess is what I am trying to get at, or are youwill you be seeking a reprogramming for that purpose?
Attorney General RENO. At this point, I don't envision the need for a reprogramming. Most of those matters that you refer to, any preliminary investigation was done some time ago.
Mr. ROGERS. All right. So you have sufficient resources?
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Chairman, one of the things I keep asking when I meet with them on a regular basis is, do you have enough resources? And if they tell me they don't, then I make sure they do.
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CAMPAIGN FINANCE TASK FORCE
Mr. ROGERS. Now, with respect to the work of the Campaign Finance Task Force, and in particular, the decision to not seek an Independent Counsel to investigate the fund-raising activities of the President and the Vice President, what assurances can you give us that the standards used in that decision will be applied equally to all activities under review and without regard to any party affiliation?
Attorney General RENO. Without regard to what?
Mr. ROGERS. Any party affiliation.
Attorney General RENO. Well, I am not quite sure what you mean, because I wouldn't haveI can't think of a covered person in terms of the party affiliation.
Mr. ROGERS. That is a good point.
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Cohen, Secretary Cohen, he is not subject to any investigation.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, have you or the Department received any communications from anyone, including the White House, suggesting or encouraging that you focus on the activities of any one group or party?
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. No, sir.
WAR ON DRUGS
Mr. ROGERS. Now, let me ask you quickly on the war on drugs, since 1992, total drug war funding in the Department of Justice has increased from $11.9 billion to $15.9 billion, 33 percent increase. I am sorry, in Justice alonethat is the overall warin Justice alone, the funding has increased over 74 percent; and we have had bipartisan support, as you know, on the Hill, especially on this subcommittee, for that purpose, but we have lost some ground.
I understand that the National Drug Control Strategy will include specific performance goals, and I am asking, what specific outcomes will you be looking for to measure your success in the drug war during the next 2 years?
Attorney General RENO. Pursuant to Congress' direction, the Department of Justice is preparing theits drug control strategy, which is due, as I recall, March 30th, and we are addressing those issues specifically in that proposalI mean, that strategy that is due and it should be there to you on time. With respect to the National Drug Control Strategy issued by the office of ONDCP, I would refer you to page 23 of that report, because I think that states the overall key of both performance measures.
Mr. ROGERS. Yes. Maybe you could do this for the record. What I am going to be looking for is what you expect.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Attorney General RENO. And what I would like towe are in the process of preparing that and addressing that, and I would like to present that to you as part of the overall strategy that we are required to present March 30.
Mr. ROGERS. That will be fine.
DRUG TREATMENT FOR PRISONERS
Now, you request a new initiative, $85 million, which puzzles me. You are asking for the money for drug treatment of prisoners, drug treatment for prisoners; and also you propose to allow the States to use any or all of their State prison grant funds that we gave them for prison construction, you want that money freed up for drug treatment of prisoners.
Help me out here. I am puzzled why you would want to do that?
Attorney General RENO. I will tell you why. For 15 years I was directly responsible for prosecuting thousands of people that committed a crime because they had a drug habit or committed a crime to get cash to sustain their drug habit, and I watched these people go into probation and not get treatment that was worth anything. I watched them go to prison and come out and start using again because nobody addressed the ultimate problem that caused the drug abuse in the first place.
And I used to think, why do we do this? I would then go to the State legislature and hear somebody asking for money to build a treatment facility, and I thought why do we have to build a treatment facility when the people who are most causing us the drug problems are those who are in prison or those who are on probation?
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Why do not we develop something that is sensible that addresses the problem while we have got them where we want them?
One of the initiatives was the drug court aimed at nonviolent first offenders who wouldn't go to prison but kept a hammer on them and made sure that there were treatment programs that worked. That program had tremendous success, and Congress has approved it and it has spread across the country. But then I looked at the prisoners and somebody said, ''Why would you treat prisoners? How can they get the drugs in the first place?'' I do not think they are getting drugs in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but I can never be too sure of things like that. So I keep checking on it. But I think we have a good control. And I see what happens in the Federal Bureau of Prisons in terms of recidivism rates for people who get the treatment and go out with the chance of success.
In many instances, that is not happening in the State court system. They do not get the treatment in prison, they do not get after-care or follow-up and we watch them go right back in the system. I am suggesting that this is a great way to interrupt the merry-go-round that has existed in the criminal justice system for too long.
Because when I first became a prosecutor in 1978, people didn't believe that treatment worked. I suspect every American now knows somebody who has benefitted from treatment. It can work and it can make a difference, and I think it is a great investment.
ELIMINATION OF LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT BLOCK GRANT
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. Once again, this year your budget request eliminates the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant, which, as you said, this Subcommittee put in place a few years ago as a counterweight to the COPS program. And that puts this Subcommittee in the position of having to find monies for that program from some other programs for which we have jurisdiction in order to support that much needed program. It invites us to scrap your budget request because it is a large item.
I would also point out that the Congress has been fair about supporting the COPS program for the last 2 years even though the Administration continues to eliminate the block grant program, which was a congressional initiative.
Did your budget request to OMB include funding for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant?
Attorney General RENO. Yes, it did.
Mr. ROGERS. So the OMB knocked it out. Why?
Attorney General RENO. I think there is a feeling when you look at the use of funds, for last year alone, 53 percent went to the purchase of equipment, 12 percent went to overtime, 13 percent went to hiring officers; and I think there is a feeling that local law enforcement should not rely, and our Federal system, on continuing revenue sharing, if you will, for local law enforcement. It is inconsistent with principles of federalism. And the Federal Government, in partnership with State and local law enforcement, should be in the process of looking at a balanced criminal justice system and providing monies that will be a spur, that will be an incentive, to developing comprehensive programs, such as community policing across the country, but that we should retain a balance between the State and Federal systems.
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JUVENILE CRIME BLOCK GRANT
Mr. ROGERS. Now, your request also eliminates a new $250 million block grant program provided by the Congress in fiscal '98, monies aimed at juvenile crime. Those monies can be used by States for juvenile prosecutors, juvenile courts, juvenile detention facilities, even some juvenile prevention programs. Your budget request proposes to replace that block grant with $200 million in discretionary grant programs for the same people. What evidence do we have that the block grant program won't meet the need?
Attorney General RENO. What we are trying to do there is again look at a balanced system. I recognize local law enforcement would like to spend the money or local government would like to spend the money the way it wants to. But I think there has got to be some understanding of the whole of the justice system.
There is a tendency for corrections and policing, as we have seen to date, to get the great bulk of it. Courts and prosecutors and prevention programs are often left out. To make the system work, I think you have got to do it in a balanced way, you have got to ensure that there are correctional facilities that provide sanctions that fit the delinquent act and let the kid know that the law means what it says. But you need courts who have the time, who have the resources to begin to devise something that can let the kid know what he is talking about. And I have seen too many courts with calendars as long as your arm who do not have the time to fashion the disposition that can give that kid a chance of success. This would give the courts the opportunity to design programs to do that. And then I see us add police and the prosecutors across the country say, you have given the police more money but you haven't done anything for us and they are bringing in more cases. And then I hear from the police chiefs and the sheriffs themselves who say, we are never going to work our way out of it just in the criminal justice system; we have got to do more in terms of prevention, in terms of prevention of drug use, prevention programs that can make a difference, and so that tends to provide a balanced approach on the part of the Federal Government to this effort.
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Mr. ROGERS. Well, I think we just differ on the philosophy. We think that the block grant monies which goes to the States to allow them to spend it as they see fit as opposed to your concept of doing the grants here by bureaucrats in Washington, we think ours is the best way. We think that the local boards, the local prosecutors, the local State governments and local governments know best what their needs are; and, therefore, we are willing to trust them with this money to spend for this broad purpose. But I do not think we are going to agree on
Attorney General RENO. One thing I would, if that is the way it goes, I would really like to address a concern. My understanding, and I am still not quite sure of how it all works, but a small community that qualifies with the violent crime rate based on its size may only get about $10,000 and that $10,000 just isn't as well spent as if you took the 50 communities in the same general area and used the monies more wisely. If we could somehow or another give communities, if we could address this issue if that is the way it goes, I think it could be helpful and I would offer to do that.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, we will have a chance to talk about that before the time comes.
Mr. Mollohan, do you have any questions?
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I have a few, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
FALSE CLAIMS ACT
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Madam Attorney General, I understand that in your speech before the American Hospital Association you said your door is open to hear the concerns of health care providers. You said that you are dedicated to working together with hospitals in every way possible to make sure that the law is not abused.
You further stated that it is not the policy of the Department of Justice to punish honest billing mistakes, nor do we prosecute doctors or hospitals for mere negligence. Under the False Claims Act, such honest mistakes of simple negligence do not attach to a ''false claim.''
I couldn't agree with you more. That sounds perfectly reasonable and sensible. There are a number of concerns about use of the False Claims Act which have been expressed by other Members of Congress, such as Congressman Edwards of Texas. There is a lot of consternation in some parts of the country, including Texas, about the way this is being implemented. I understand that some believe that the Department of Justice plans to target what has been represented to me a large number of hospitals. Four thousand seven hundred hospitals is the number before me. Could you give some additional reassurance along the lines that you gave in your recent remarks. I can't imagine this being a Department of Justice policy. But reassure us of your policy.
I also heard you talk about the course of redress cases in which people felt they were experiencing this kind of targeting.
Attorney General RENO. What I have asked is that the staff of the Justice Department, and it is being coordinatedthis effort is being coordinated from the deputy's office, make sure that we contact each Congressman or Congresswoman who has expressed concern so that we can follow up on their concerns and if they have some specifics let us he know.
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I also asked that we develop a liaison with the American Hospital Association to make sure that again we have an avenue so that if it cannot be worked out through the U.S. Attorney's Office, if there continues to be misunderstanding or a claimed misunderstanding or error, that we review it. And I have gotten good feedback from the American Hospital Association, and I think we will be able to address it. But I am dedicated to trying to do so.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you.
The Chairman talked with you about CALEA. We have received a number of concerns from industry about the way the FBI has played out their role in this process. I am not going to ask you to respond here at the hearing to these concerns, so you do not have to think about that. But what I would like to do is just read them into the record and allow you to respond to them for the record.
First of all, industry has expressed the concern that the FBI has failed to issue its capacity notice so industry can properly size and develop CALEA complaint technology.
Secondly, the FBI has delayed the issuance of industry standards by demanding that it include capabilities outside the scope of CALEA. The FBI can address standards at the FCC but has failed or refused to do that.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Three, the FBI has improperly shifted cost to industry through its cost reimbursement regulations.
Four, the FBI has tried to turn implementation of CALEA into government procurement through the cooperative agreement process.
Five, that it has threatened enforcement actions against industry unless it develops and deploys the features the FBI specifies in the punch list.
Six, the FBI has attempted to direct the choice of a particular technology through its cost reimbursement authority.
And seven, that it has failed to develop an appropriate implementation plan for the expenditure of the $500 million.
If you would respond to those for the record, I'd appreciate it.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Attorney General RENO. I will be happy to respond for the record of what I have indicated. I would just like to summarize, and we will make it a clear part of the record. But I have had some really good meetings with industry, and I think that it is positive. I think it is on its way or was on its way. And I just want to do everythingI mean, I have looked at everything. We have addressed issues. We have, I think both the industry and the FBI have moved to accord. And we are going to be preparing it and file something by March 13th. Again, I think it is in every American's interest that this gets worked out, and I look forward to trying to do that. But we are going to file by March 13th if we do not.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you.
IAFIS AND IDENT SYSTEM
Madam Attorney General, you embrace the principles of integration and universality as fundamental to IAFIS systems. I would submit that in regard to the first opportunity that there is, acknowledging that you have to develop the IAFIS and the IDENT systems, the achievement of those goals have fallen short. These two separate systems have not achieved integration or universality or gone down the path toward universality, and there will be consequences for that.
And the first consequence that occurs to me and is particularly of interest to this subcommittee, is that these are expensive developments. The IAFIS system has a price tag on it, in rough numbers, of $640 million. And the price tag on the IDENT system, as I understand it, approaches $189 million.
Not every one of those dollars is for development. A lot of it is for procurement. A lot of it is for things that are outside the development area. But, nevertheless, they are very expensive. Once you develop two diverging systems, then the cost of procuring equipment does lead you in this divergent direction. In order to bring them back together, you have got to consider all of those integration factors. It is not only a software issue, it is also a hardware issue as well as an operational question. All of these issues costs money and should be incorporated into this $189 million IDENT system development.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 So if down the road you want to integrate these systems, at some point you are going to have to fix all the problems that are being created by the divergent development of the systems. They are fundamentally philosophically different. One is a 10-print standard system, the other is a 2-print system. I think that has very serious consequences.
Have you considered all the ramifications of the costs involved with developing two divergent systems? I am concerned about the hidden costs that may be forthcoming when we get down the road and find that these two systems do not talk to each other, and that one doesn't even fulfill a function. What will be the additional cost that is going to be incurred in order to bring them back in concert?
Attorney General RENO. What I have requested Mr. Colgate to do is to consider the cost question, the integration question, if money can be prevented from being wasted, take steps to do that; if it is a matter of constructing or adding to one to make sure that it is compatible with the needs of the other, how we do it in the most cost effective manner possible.
I do not have all the answers, and I am not technologically sophisticated enough to describe it in detail. But I think the process that we have in place for review of this can address those issues. And what I would ask Mr. Colgate to do is to report to you on a regular basis in advance of June 1st as to the developments and to make sure that we have the benefit of your thoughts.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Okay. I am not going to let you off the hook with that.
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Attorney General RENO. I am not asking you to let me off. I am asking you to hold me accountable and keep my feet to the fire.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. The second real consequence is that in processing the systems that are being developed, a 2-print system for INS and a 10-print system for the rest of the world, there will be a lot of crimes that fall through the cracksa lot of criminals who are caught in the net.
Let me go through a bit. I am not going to be so presumptuous as to lead you, but if you might let me.
Attorney General RENO. Go ahead.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Okay. Say we have an illegal alien that is apprehended for the first time at the border. The INS goes in and does a 2-print fingerprinta fingerprint using two index fingers. After that the person is sent back south across the border. They got caught the first night and got printed. Say this is a bad person who likes to commit crimes, and the second night this person gets across the border and commits a serious crime leaving 8 fingerprints at the crime scene. However, none of those fingerprints include the forefingers. Say they then go back across the border undetected with whatever they stole. Then the next night they sneak back across the border and they get caught again. INS checks their two fingerprints, their index fingers, and there is no way to pick up that this was the same hand but not the same fingers that were involved in the crime the night before. So the person is sent back. They have committed a crime in the United States, there is no way of cross-checking, and they are sent back across the Border.
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The next night they come in undetected again and commit another crime, leaving behind the same 8 fingerprints, but again not the two index fingers such that their prints are nowhere in the system. They get back across the border. The next night they are caught again. INS checks the fingerprints the same time. They can do that 13 times. I understand that scenario can play out for 13 times, Madam Attorney General, and never be picked up in the system.
If you had a 10-fingerprint system and it were in the IAFIS system or if it were in a subset, an INS subset system, then they would immediately be picked up as a criminal. Does that concern resonate with you?
Attorney General RENO. Yes.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. We are making progress. Good answer to a good leading question.
In Los Angeles in May of 1990, 11 percent of the released prisoners were deportable. In June of 1995, 16 percent of the released prisoners, 2,416 out of 14,446, were illegal deportable aliens, 16 percent of the people released. That is 29,000 who were caught in some way were, put into prison, and then released. But it is a very large number of people that were caught.
Just imagine the thousands if you extrapolate. That in some reasonable conservative way suggests that there are thousands of people who are illegal aliens coming across the border in the same manner and imagine how many of them are not being picked up because these systems aren't adequate and they do not speak to each other.
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Why then does the INS want to procure four of its own independent subsystems, for fingerprint matching instead of a single system which can perform on multiple databases? And that is really an issue.
Attorney General RENO. That is the issue. And I have asked Mr. Colgate to review it. One of the things I have asked Mr. Colgate, if INS says that it would disrupt operations at the border to have to do 10 prints, I have been on the border enough to know they bring in one and two and they could easily do 10 prints, that there might be a situation that develops where the chief, the person in charge that night, waives it for a specific reason. And we identify the person as much as possible. I mean, there are so many things that can be done.
One of the things that I have learned a long time ago, particularly with these issues and particularly with automation, is it does not serve me well to rush into it. I want to make sure that we look at it carefully, that we report back to you, and that we give you our best judgment. I would agree with you, but I want to make sure that I have heard and I have looked at the situation and that we make the best judgment possible.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. My response to that is such a that concern by INS doesn't resonate, for a number of reasons. We all have to work hard and we all have to be more efficient, and that is just the way it is.
Secondly, this Chairman, with his leadership and support, has put incredible amounts of money toward increases in the number of INS agents. And it would seem that this, being core to good law enforcement, would be a priority and that some of these additional aliens could be assigned and this task could be performed.
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Mr. Chairman, just one final thought.
Attorney General RENO. Let me just point out to you, I do not know whether you have ever been out to that border. I have been up to the mango groves in Florida, and I thought it was the biggest border to have to worry about. But that is a long, lonely border. I tend to agree with you. But let us not jump to conclusions. We will keep you posted. The Chairman is going to call me every 15 minutes about CALEA, and you can call me the other 15 minutes about this. But we will try to keep you both posted so you won't have to call.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I will let the Chairman ask you this as an aside when he calls you. But I am not jumping to conclusions. We have been raising this issue for 3 years in this hearing and it has not been addressed.
NCIC 2000 INITIATIVE
One final thought here. You are processing an NCIC 2000 initiative and you are working the kinks out of it and you are trying to make it work. The whole premise of that, or one of the most important premises here, is to achieve a networking of a system that is integrated and is on the way to becoming universal. NCIC 2000 is your initiative for State and local government. INS is not setting a very good example to achieve that end by developing a completely different system. It is completely different, with the only similarity being the word ''fingerprint.''
As I have looked at this and tried to be fair about it, there are no compelling reasons for developing 2 separate systems. The fact that it takes a little more time to do 10-roll fingerprints, seems to be the real argument. It is just as easy to establish a subset in the IAFIS system. If you put that same INS fingerprint subset in a smaller subset, you can search them quicker on a 10-fingerprint system than you can a 2-fingerprint system.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. I think the gentleman has made his point very well. I can only hope the staff was listening. I certainly hope so.
Attorney General Reno, we thank you very much for your testimony today. We apologize for taking you through the lunch hour here. And we will not do that again. I apologize, too, for the size of this room. I do not like this hearing room. It is too big.
Attorney General RENO. I am used to this room, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. I know you are. But it is too big for our purposes. I would like to get closer to you. Up here it makes you feel too much like a controlling legal authority, and I do not want to do that.
Attorney General RENO. Mr. Chairman, may I just say something? I found this hearing to be probably one of the best that I have participated in these 5 years. I think it reflects the wonderful balance, the checks and balances, the thoughtful bipartisanship that should go into so many of these issues of law enforcement and the like. And it has been a good three hours for me.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you very much. I agree, I think it has been one the most useful hearings that we have held with you, or with anyone else for that matter.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 In closing, let me say I do not know of any Attorney General in our history who has been faced with more tedious, technical, ethical even, quandaries than you have, and they do not seem to be easing up. I mean, there is just an inordinate number of tough decisions that you are having to make.
So we wish you personally well. And we know that you will make the right decision on all the things that you are trying to do because you bring them to heart here. We will work with you on the matters we have discussed. This will not be the end of the conversation. Your staff and our staff will keep in touch.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I second that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. And we want to help you with your job. Thank you.
Attorney General RENO. Thank you.
Offset folios 325 to 355 insert here
Thursday, March 5, 1998.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
LOUIS J. FREEH, DIRECTOR
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Congressman Rogers' Opening Statement
Mr. ROGERS. The committee will come to order.
Mr. Director, I apologize for being late. At one of the other subcommittees we had the Commandant of the Coast Guard and we were talking behind closed doors on drug interdiction, which is, of course, your interest, as well.
This morning, we would like to welcome the Director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, on behalf of the budget request for Fiscal Year 1999.
You are seeking $3.014 billion for the FBI, which represents an increase of $40 million, or 1.4 percent over 1998. We have tried to respond to your resource needs so that the United States is better protected, better prepared to respond and better informed on the threat of terrorism, violent crime and other violations of Federal criminal law.
The FBI's mission is to perform these responsibilities in a manner that is responsive to the needs of the public and faithful to the Constitution of the United States.
In 1999, law enforcement all over the country will have new tools to fight crime as we will finally witness our large investments in IAFIS and NCIC 2000 come to completion, investments in a new crime laboratory, DNA identification systems, command and control centers, and training, which will allow for a better response to the crime problems that the nation faces.
But the FBI has been on a bumpy road the last few years and the agency's image has suffered in the wake of a variety of controversies. You have declared that the agency is in great shape despite these problems, and you say the Bureau is willing to acknowledge its mistakes and reform itself. Only your management and the actions by the Bureau from this point on will convince us that the troubles of the past are over.
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As we attempt to keep the budget in balance, the FBI will be given no exception to having to justify every dime that it needs and to demonstrate to us that the resources will make a difference. Hopefully, this hearing will provide you the opportunity to do that today.
We appreciate your being with us today and we will insert your written testimony in the record and you are invited to proceed with an opening statement.
FBI Director's Opening Statement
Mr. FREEH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee. Let me extend my thanks to the Committee and the Congress for its support of the FBI mission which is a public safety, counterintelligence mission; and we particularly appreciate the counterterrorism resources that you have given us which we believe have been put to immediate good use, both by this agency and the State and local agencies, who have benefited from those resources.
We also are greatly appreciative of the infrastructure and technology enhancements that you have provided. You have cited many of them in your opening statement. These are, indeed, the bricks and mortar as well as the fiber, physical and optic, so to speak, which will allow the FBI to function into the 21st century as a competent agency able to perform missions in changing environments.
CHALLENGES FACING THE FBI
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The FBI will celebrate its 90th anniversary later this year and the changes in the agency, not just from 1908 but even from 1975, when I was a young Special Agent in New York, have been phenomenal. We face many of the same threats in a somewhat different context. We also face many new threats of which this Committee is acutely aware and which your resources and support have enabled us to address.
Just very, very briefly, with respect to espionage and intelligence activities, although the Cold War is over and we have a world of one superpower, we still experience, to a high degree, a counterintelligence mission necessity here in the United States. The espionage with which we are dealing is both traditional and also new.
We know that there are 23 countries, for instance, who use their clandestine intelligence services in the United States to acquire and steal not blueprints of F15s, but biotechnical information and trade secrets. And the Congress has responded to that new threat not only with substantive legislation but also with some of the forensic tools as well as the infrastructure necessary to deal with those. But we continue to experience both the traditional as well as the new form of those particular threats.
With respect to terrorism, both internationally and domestically, the number of incidents remains fairly constant. The threat is even greater in some degree, as experienced several weeks ago by the threat in Las Vegas. The country, at one single time was dealing with both the threat of weapons of mass destruction from a foreign power and, also, the threat, which turned out to be benign, of someone using a biological agent to create devastation within the United States.
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Part of the 1997 and 1998 counterterrorism funding which you have provided for us was, in my view, essential in the preparednessthe coordination between those agencies in Las Vegas, the new Hazardous Materials Response Unit of our laboratory, the coordination which was preestablished with the Department of Defensewhich allowed a timely and safe response to what would have been a most dangerous situation had that agent been, in fact, a live agent.
We had approximately 100 of those type cases last year. Most of them turned out to be non-credible, but unfortunately in that particular realm only one of these threats needs to be real to have a devastating impact, potentially and the loss of many, many lives.
We are taking advantage of the funding you have provided in the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici domestic preparedness program which, as you know, not only prepares and equips this agency to deal with those threats, but the Department has been able in 1998, and has asked in 1999, for continued funding to train the State and local first responders. These are the police officers, the rescue squads, and the fire departments who would have the burden of responding to these threats immediately. And that has been very productive and I think that is a wise investment for the country.
We are dealing both with traditional criminal enterprises, both drug enterprises and organized crime enterprises. We have new players in some of these areas, particularly in the Russian and Asian criminal enterprise areas.
We continue to work very hard with respect to the technology issues which challenge law enforcement. Both the ability of this agency and your State and local departments around the country to conduct court authorized wiretaps to deal with the new threats of encryption which, as you know, pose brand new and very difficult threats to the enforcement of Federal search warrants as well as electronic surveillance orders.
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Aldrich Ames, Ramzi Yousef and drug dealers in California are regularly using and beginning to proliferate encrypted channels of communication both in stored data and communicated data to commit their crimes and we are working very hard with the industry to try to meet those challenges.
The 1999 budget, of course, is the first budget submitted in compliance with the Results Act and we have worked very hard in the integration of the strategic planning and budget process to prepare for that.
1999 BUDGET OVERVIEW
A brief overview of the 1999 budget. As you noted, Mr. Chairman, we ask for $3 billion approximately in direct budget authority. This will buy both permanent and reimbursable positions, fund 26,000-plus FBI Agents and support personnel, including 11,677 agents, which will be more FBI agents than we have had in complement in our history.
We have asked in the 1999 budget for enhancements in four primary areas. One is the counterterrorism and cyber crime area, which I will talk about very briefly; information sharing, which is the technology component of everything that we do. We have asked for enhancement of Indian Country law enforcement where we have not been able to do, in my view, an adequate job given the problems and the sky-rocketing violent crime rate, particularly the homicide rate in Indian Country.
We have a number of other items which I will detail very briefly. It represents a $94 million direct budget authority enhancement and 340 direct and reimbursable positions, as you noted. We have also, additionally, in the amounts proposed for the Department's General Administration programs, asked for $213.6 million which would support new and continuing FBI and Departmental-wide initiatives regarding counterterrorism, cyber crime, narrowband radio communications, the ability not just of the FBI, but the State and local police, fire and rescue units to speak to each other effectively and immediately, and also continued funding of the CALEA project which you, Mr. Chairman, have been personally very active and, in my view, critical in moving that solution to a final resolution.
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COUNTERTERRORISM AND CYBERCRIME
With respect to the counterterrorism and cyber crime enhancement area, again, these are new crimes, new threats, and new places where the FBI has to be able to work. Last week in New York, as you know, a defendant named Levin was sentenced to 36 months for a crime which he committed using a laptop computer in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a scheme to steal $10 million out of Citibank accounts without leaving his living room or his laptop computer.
Those types of crimes, have risen phenomenally. In the 1998 fiscal year to date, approximately 458 computer-related cyber crime investigations, which is four times the amount in 1996.
The increased funding that we will present to you, in terms of the request, will give us basically two capacities. One is a field-based computer competent capacity. We now have approximately six computer squads, as we call them, set up in various divisions, New York, Washington, and San Francisco. The requested funding would give us the facility to institute six more computer squads.
These squads are very different from what we have traditionally had in our field offices. Most of our work traditionally has been programmatic. As an example, we have a bank robbery squad, and a fugitive squad. These types of squads are charged with two responsibilities. One is to investigate cyber crimes, intrusion cases, and sabotage cases. Second, they are also a facility for the other agents in the office to use their forensic abilities. The agents go out on a search warrant now and instead of seizing a box of records, as I would do back in 1975, they seize hard drives and disks. We need to have the forensic capability to know what we are looking for and then to understand and to report it back to the court.
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So, the field ability here will be very critical, in performing these functions. I think I can predict with some safety that within the next five to 10 years every division in the FBI will have to have some forensic computer capability, not only to deal with the number of crimes that are proliferating, but the difficulty of examining evidence and acquiring evidence.
There was a report yesterday in USA Today with respect to an industry-based survey which shows cyber crime rising last year by about 22 percent. And I think that is indicative of where this is going.
In many ways, the use of computers and modems by criminals, by terrorists, and by spies is very akin to what happened in the 1930s when the automobile and the telephone began to become tools of criminals as well as law-abiding citizens. The Federal Government's law enforcement response had to deal with the automobile moving interstate and communications moving every which way.
In many ways, that is an analogy for what is happening today with computers, modems and telecommunications. We are not just a global economy but a global criminal environment where pedophiles as well as terrorists or bank robbers can easily move and attack. We need to be prepared to meet such threats.
So, this is a request which we think will be very important to enhance our ability to protect the people and carry out our mission.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The other part of that proposal goes to a centralized headquarters-based enterprise called a National Infrastructure Protection Center which we ask for funding for the FBI but also for the Department of Justice. As you know, Mr. Chairman, you have given the Attorney General the responsibility of putting together recommendations in that report that report.
This particular center will have 40 representatives from different Federal agencies as well as the private sector. And it will be the Government's central responsibility to deal with both cyber crime as well as threats to the information structure and to other networks which both government and industry depend upon.
With respect to the Information Sharing Initiative, one of the key infrastructure issues for the FBI in all of our programs is our ability to acquire, analyze, disseminate, as well as communicate the information that we have. We have some very solid data base capabilities, for instance, in the Organized Crime Information System (OCIS) with which you are familiar, and in many of the other criminal as well as foreign counterintelligence and counterterrorism systems.
The problem is that these are stove-pipe operations. They are all in their own field of expertise and they serve up the information that they acquire. However, the ability to integrate those data bases, the ability to analyze on an enterprise basis, beyond a particular individual or company in one program, is a necessity of great importance.
And as I travel around the Bureau visiting all our offices, the number one issue that is raised by both our agents and support staff is the ability to be investigators in the information age, to have the technology and the infrastructure which will allow us to analyze and quickly and competently disseminate and be aware of the information that we have. So, we ask your support for that initiative.
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INDIAN COUNTRY LAW ENFORCEMENT
With respect to the Indian Country law enforcement initiative, although homicides have declined about 20 percent around the country, they have risen about 87 percent in Indian Country.
We have asked for an enhancement in that area to allow the FBI to deal with the crime situation in conjunction with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the other Federal and State agencies who work there. We have asked in that initiative both for agents and for crime victim/witness counselors who are a very important part of dealing with those crimes, particularly the violent crimes involving children.
With respect to hate crimes and civil rights enforcement, we have asked for some additional funding to put together a civil rights analytical capability at headquarters to see if we can deal with some of the trends and changes in that program area to be more effective.
As we have seen recently, the cases that we were responsible for in Los Angeles in the corrections situation, the recent charges in New York in a police civil rights case, the hate crimes in terms of numbers are increasing11,000 last yearand we would like to get some analytical capability to be able to anticipate and channel some of our training resources, particularly as we train with State and local authorities to deal with the hate crimes issue, particularly the color of law type of crimes.
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FBI ACADEMY IMPROVEMENTS
We have asked for some additional improvements for the FBI Academy to complete the revamping and reconstruction of the firearms ranges, which until last year's budget had really not been enhanced since the 1960s, and to give us some ability to update our master plan which, as you know, will now incorporate in Quantico both the new FBI laboratory, and the new DEA training center. We need an update, we believe, on the master plan to be able to forecast the use of all those facilities and the additional requirements on administration and support that they will require.
With respect to telecommunications carrier compliance, we request $100 million to provide payments to the telecommunications industry for costs incurred in modifying equipment and facilities to comply with CALEA.
And, Mr. Chairman, I know you are very familiar with that issue. There is approximately $102 million which has not been spent in the Telecommunications Carrier Compliance Fund. And we believe that the final impasse with the industry, with respect to the final requirements, will be broken. As it is broken, obviously, we will need some of the additional funding to begin the reimbursement process and we ask for that continued support in 1999.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 With respect to the last item that I would highlight, the narrowband radio communications issue, as you know, the FBI operates the largest civilian land-based mobile radio system in the country. And we are required, as are all the other Federal agencies, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to migrate by 2005 from 25 to 12.5 kilohertz technology.
That will require some very significant expenditures. We cannot enhance or retool the current equipment. That equipment has to be replaced. And we want to replace it in a manner which makes it more interoperable not just with other Federal agencies but with our State and local counterparts, both police, fire, and rescue.
And we have proposed, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, a request for $64.1 million which would be for the Department's narrowband radio communication fund. This would begin a five-year effort to plan, design and implement a new nationwide communications system and one which will be necessary for us to carry out our responsibilities.
Again, those are the highlights of the 1999 budget. Let me just, once again, thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, for the support that you have shown the FBI and certainly in all of the budgets, as I have been here since 1993, in addressing the critical areas, particularly counterterrorism and infrastructure.
[The statement of Director Freeh follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. ROGERS. I thank you, Mr. Director, for your statement and before we proceed further, on behalf of all of our members, let me congratulate you and your wife on the new addition to your family a few weeks ago.
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Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, three weeks ago, thank you very much.
Mr. ROGERS. Your sixth?
Mr. FREEH. Number six.
Mr. ROGERS. Son?
Mr. FREEH. Six sons.
Mr. ROGERS. No daughters, six boys?
Mr. FREEH. Six boys.
Mr. TAYLOR. After seven, then it changes. [Laughter.]
Mr. FREEH. I will be aware of that.
Mr. ROGERS. Congratulations to you.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROGERS. I am going to yield to the full Chairman, Mr. Livingston, who is here with us.
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MISUSE OF FBI FILES
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Welcome, Mr. Director and congratulations on your child.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you, sir.
Mr. LIVINGSTON. We wish you well and look forward to seeing you next year when Mr. Taylor can congratulate you on your seventh. [Laughter.]
Mr. Director, we appreciate the job you are doing. You have a tough job and I think you know that this Subcommittee, this Committee in general, has been supportive of your efforts to combat the criminal element and to combat terrorism and we wish you well in that endeavor.
And the prosecutor in me, as one who has dealt with the FBI, is proud of the FBI. I want to say that at the outset.
Last time we talked I did elaborate on a number of my concerns and I am not going to repeat those. That is totally unnecessary. And I have to say that my concerns have been largely relieved in the last year.
But one issue does continue to concern me and only because it continues to arise in the papers involving some of the same people, time and time again. And I think that the problem is not one that you can do much about but only that I ask you to be aware of. And there will be others that will testify before this Subcommittee and other subcommittees in the coming days which I intend to pursue this with, but I will lay it before you for your consideration.
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We went through that episode known as ''Filegate'' in which the FBI files were sent over to the White House, my words, for the purposes of political perusal by a fellow by the name of Craig Livingstone, with an ''e'', and his friends. And we still do not know who hired him.
But the fact is that Chuck Colson went to jail for unauthorized use of one FBI file. In this case we have somewhere between 400 and 1,000 files. To this day, I think that the public has not acquired the listing of all the people whose files were perused by those, and again in my words, political hacks.
And we know that thein fact, I have talked to representatives of the press and they have acquired the listing of all of the people from alphabetically listing of A through G, and they have not gotten any more. They do not know who the files are.
And I think that is incumbent upon the White House and your agency to, at least, advise those people who are affected that their files were mishandled in such a way and that their rights may have been violated. And I think that the press really should be entitled to know who those people are.
But that was then. That was a couple of years ago. And as you and I have spoken over the last year or two, the then FBI counsel, Howard Shapiro, was acting, at least, in concert with the distribution of those files and then he investigated the whole thing and wrote the only report that I know of that you were kind and good enough to give me, dated June 14, 1996.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 And I still wonder if we ought not to get an independent review other than one by Mr. Shapiro, under whose authority these files were apparently disseminated.
But he is gone now and I am pleased about that. But then I look in the paper in the last couple of weeks and I see in the Washington Times of February 27th, the listing of people involved in what is described by, in a column by Dick Morris, in the Washington Hill newspaper, thatand this is Morris' words''Bill Clinton now has Terry Linzer, Jack Paladino and a rag-tag band of private eyes acting as a secret police without public accountability.''
And when you look into what they are doing, they are basically looking into the backgrounds and lives of ostensible political enemies of this White House and this Administration and then you look in the article in the Washington Times at who has cooperated in this effort and you find that Howard Shapiro's name appears again.
In fact, it is more than that. The group, Investigative Group International, known as IGI, first worked closely with the Clinton Campaign starting back in 1991 when they were hired to dig up dirt on Governor Cuomo and now working for the President to discredit Judge Starr according to the Washington Times and Dick Morris.
The IGI received Federal dollars on a no-bid contract for hundreds of thousands of dollars by the State Department to train Haitian police and supervise the international police monitoring the democratic process in Haiti.
The State Department claimed it awarded IGI the money without competitive bidding because it was urgent to get a top law man into Haiti. They also have received Federal campaign funds according to Dick Morris. The IGI is made up ofthis is where we are really getting concerned. We have a collection of hard-ball players with ''A List'' connections to the White House, according to the Washington Times.
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First, Terry Linzer is an IGI founder and chairman. He served as Assistant Chief Counsel on the Senate Watergate Committee. He was criticized last year for co-authoring a proposal to dig up dirt on Senator Don Nickles and his wife in an effort to return Interior lands to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indians, according to the Washington Times and he made a number of visits to the White House.
Larry Potts, formerly of the FBI, of the investigation involving Mr. Weaver, is currently working for the IGI. He runs the IGI's New York office and he was forced out of the FBI because of his role in Ruby Ridge.
Howard Shapiro, currently working as Terry Linzer's attorney, the head of IGI. And he resigned from the FBI after an internal probe found he exercised poor judgment in the FBI files scandal. He says there is no investigation going on about the private lives of the people at issue in the Washington Times, but the Times article, of course, seems to refute that.
Ricky Siden, who is now currently at the Justice Department and was a former IGI senior investigator who played key roles in efforts to derail Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. In fact, she was the one who, as a Senate investigator, found Anita Hill and helped to persuade her to lodge last-minute sexual harassment charges against, who is now, Justice Thomas. She later became and serves, as we speak I believeoh, no, maybe she is no longer thereas Deputy White House Communications Director. She may still be there. I am not sure about that. That is according to the Washington Times.
Steven Green, who is an IGI employee and former Deputy Director of the DEA, co-authored a controversial memo with Terry Linzer proposing to dig up dirt on Senator Nickles and his wife in an effort to return Interior Department lands to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indians, the Washington Times.
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And Raymond Kelly, a former IGI president who is now Treasury Under Secretary. And Brooke Sherer, former IGI employee, who served as an aide to Hillary Clinton in the 1992 Campaign and at the election she was appointed Director of the White House Fellows Program. She is currently a senior advisor at the Department of Interior and is married to Secretary Strobe Talbot, the Deputy Secretary of State.
Cody Sherer, Brooke Sherer's twin brother, came under fire for referring the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indians to Mr. Linzer and he claims to be a free-lance journalist with back channel connections to the White House. His other brother, Derrick, was named Ambassador to Finland in 1994. And Ann Luzatto, a former IGI employee, is now a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
Now, Dick Morris, who knows folks in the Administration far better than I do, characterizes this interrelationship of current Administration employees who go to IGI and former IGI employees who go back to the Administration as a potentialin his wordssecret police.
Mr. Director, I cannot stress strongly enough that this frightens me. The American people do not want their tax dollars paying for some secret organization at the behest of the President to investigate his political enemies. And I urge you and the FBI to do everything you can to make sure that if any of these people have violated the law that they are dealt with through the courts. If they are using taxpayer's dollars improperly, that that cease and desist and that if there is any relationship to the DEA, the National Security Council, to the FBI, to the CIA or to any other Federal organization that those ties be severed.
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We cannot afford this type of relationship and that is not criticism of the FBI. That is criticism of the White House and I intend to reiterate it in other hearings in the next few days.
FBI DIRECTOR ON INDPENDENT COUNSEL STAFFING
Mr. FREEH. May I respond briefly?
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Please.
Mr. FREEH. I take your comments and your concerns very, very seriously. Let me just make a couple of points. All of the Independent Counsels, including Judge Starr, are staffed, as you know by, FBI agents. In fact, that has been the tradition that every Independent Counsel who has been appointed has asked for FBI agents precisely because the FBI has the reputation and, I believe, the reality of conducting hard and impartial investigations.
With respect to the former FBI agents or General Counsels, when they leave, obviously, we do not have any control over where they go. I know when I was Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York for 10 years, as you were in Louisiana, we saw a parade of our colleagues leave and suddenly appear in the well of the courtroom representing somebody who may have been investigated prior by the office. And that is an issue and a problem.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 I have taken some steps to try to deal with that both orally and in writing. I have communicated to all of our agents and particularly our managers that they are to be very alert to avoid any contacts or communications with any former employees, particularly in the area of the Special Counsel investigations. And I will endeavor to make sure that this is enforced.
Also, with respect to the ''Filegate'' matter that you mentioned, there is an independent investigation going on. In fact, one of Judge Starr's court assignments is the whole FBI files issue. We have cooperated with him in that investigation. I do not know where he and his investigators are with respect to that. I expect he will make a full report when he finishes that and we have supported that 100 percent.
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Thank you very much.
FBI-INS FINGERPRINT COORDINATION
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Director.
Now, let me quickly ask you some questions. We have a vote on the floor that we will have to recess briefly for in a few minutes.
The Citizenship USA debacle, a catastrophe at INS, highlighted the problems in the INS/FBI coordination in processing of fingerprint background checks of alien applicants for citizenship.
INS is establishing fingerprinting centers all over the country to take digital fingerprints and transmit them electronically to the FBI, at this Subcommittee's insistence, frankly. The Committee has provided funding for that equipment, the personnel and the general operations of those fingerprinting centers so that INS will no longer contract out fingerprinting to places like Pookie's Bar and Grill in L.A. to do the fingerprinting for them.
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And we have also provided you funding for automation of your fingerprint operations. Are those improvements that INS is making to their fingerprint process being coordinated with FBI?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, they are. In the four regional centers, and I believe, several dozen of their field offices, the capacity to electronically transmit the prints is either on-line or will be on-line in the next few months and I am very satisfied with that progress.
We have also, as you know, substantially reduced the backlog, particularly the INS turn-around time. It is now down to 19 days with respect to the civil print checks.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, is the INS now submitting to you and getting from the FBI criminal checks before they grant citizenship?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, they are, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Are you training INS fingerprint personnel?
Mr. FREEH. We are not only training them, we are going out to the field. In fact, we have a team going out to the Southwest border area, I believe next, week to not only study their protocols but to implement the necessary techniques to get fingerprints submissions electronically sent to us correctly.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. So, are you now ready to receive electronic fingerprints?
Mr. FREEH. Not from all their centers. But they told us that they will be on-line to do so over the next few months. We are doing it with some of their centers but not 100 percent.
Mr. ROGERS. When can you be 100 percent?
Mr. FREEH. I have to ask the INS for their timetable, sir, it is really their schedule but I will get an answer for you.
Mr. ROGERS. What improvements in response time can we expect when this is installed?
Mr. FREEH. I think they will be fairly dramatic. Between 1994 and 1997 the increase in INS submissions was about 240 percent, which was astronomical. With the new electronic submission, as well as the IAFIS maturity next year, we will be able to turn around all their criminal as well as civil inquiries, within 24 hours and Criminal inquiries of priority within two hours. And as I said, the delays have been cut down now to 19 days, I believe, for civil and 60 days for criminal. And that is a marked improvement from where we were a year ago.
FBI CAPABILITY TO ACCEPT INS ELECTRONIC FINGERPRINT SUBMISSIONS
The FBI's Electronic Fingerprint Image Print Server (EFIPS) systems has been operational since June 1995. The current EFIPS capacity is 10,000 images per day. In July 1999, when the Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) becomes operational, the FBI will have the capacity to accept 62,500 fingerprint card images per day. The FBI presently receives approximately 1,200 images per day from law enforcement. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) estimates that it will submit approximately 11,230 fingerprint card images per day, or approximately 4,100,000 annually, once it achieves 100 percent electronic submission capacity. In the event INS electronic fingerprint card submissions reach the estimated daily average of 11,230 prior to the start-up of IAFIS, the FBI can upgrade the EFIPS system capacity.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Assuming all hardware, software and cabling are installed at each Immigration and Naturalization Service site, the INS advised the FBI that it plans to submit approximately 8,000 images per day by October 1.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, I want to quickly try to cover CALEA.
At the hearing last week, the Attorney General said that negotiations with industry on CALEA were at an impasse. She said she was going to attempt to break the impasse and if unsuccessful she would file a petition with the FCC next Friday with regard to the deficiency of the industry standard.
Any progress since she testified last week?
Mr. FREEH. We have scheduled Mr. Chairman, a meeting tomorrow between the Attorney General and about 15 of the CEOs of both the telecommunications companies, as well as the manufacturers, and I am confident that the Attorney General will break through this impasse. The impasse, basically is a dollars disagreement. We believe that the technology exists to fix the problems and industry has told us that they can fix those problems. It is a question of how much money the Government is able or willing to pay and what their economies will be when they produce this.
The other point is that there is nothing in these requests, particularly the nine final items of disagreement, which in any way enlarges our capacities or the capabilities of all the law enforcement agencies in the country who use court orders. We are simply maintaining what we have.
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Mr. ROGERS. Well, I just want to repeat two things. One is I expect if the matter is not dealt with agreeably, I expect that FCC filing to take place on Friday, the 13th. And number two, we have allocated $500 million, the Congress has authorized that, we have had it ready to pay, we are not going to pay any more. So, you and the phone companies will have to live with it.
And I think both of you are at fault for being where we are. I think the FBI dragged their heels for two years on coming up with a specific standard that you expected the phone companies to adhere to in modifying their equipment to accommodate wire taps. And number two, the phone companies have dragged their feet, wanting more money and refusing to agree.
Well, a plague on both your houses. As I told the phone companies recently, we expect this to be done. The public interest demands that you and the law enforcement agencies around the country be able in the proper cases to get a court order to wire tap to catch crooks and people who are bombing and committing national security violations.
And I do not want any more quibbling by anybody. I do not know how much stronger to put these things. We are going to act. And if you people cannot get your act together, we will see about that and I will say the same thing and have said so to the phone companies. This is a matter of national security and we will not tolerate any further delays by the FBI, by the Department of Justice, by the Attorney General, by the White House or by the phone companies.
This will be resolved. And if you cannot do it, we are going to ask the FCC to do it, and it they cannot do it, the Congress will do it for you. But the money is there, enough to do the job, but not a penny more and we expect it to be done forthwith. And if you cannot agree by the 13th of this month, next Friday, then I expect the Attorney General to follow through with her promise to turn this over to the FCC, let them resolve the standards question and the other questions they can legally resolve and let us proceed.
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Do you have any comments?
Mr. FREEH. I 100 percent support that sentiment and that statement. Your leadership has been, as I said, critical. We have been at fault on our side. We think the phone companies and we can solve this problem, we can fix it. The money is there and it is enough in our view and we will work as hard as we can to get it solved.
[The information follows:]
COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANCE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACT (CALEA)
On March 27, 1998, the Department of Justice and the FBI filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission opposing the interim standard adopted by the telecommunications industry. The interim standard is considered deficient by the law enforcement community because law enforcement believes it fails to meet all the capability requirements mandated by CALEA and the underlying federal electronic surveillance statutes. It is hoped that the FCC will rule on the technical standard in an expedited manner.
Mr. ROGERS. We are going to take a brief recess to go vote on the flood and we shall return. So, relax.
CALEA ''PUNCH LIST''
Mr. ROGERS. Are additional systems advancing into the new technologies? Are the additional requirements, which are above the industry standard, referred to as the punch list, are those that you are requesting within the scope of the law we passed, CALEA?
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Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. They very clearly are. They have been not only in our view, but in the view of the lawyers at the Department of Justice who researched this issue specifically over the last year and have reported back to us and the industry. We believe they are clearly within the scope of CALEA. There was one item on the original punch list which the Department of Justice lawyers advised was probably not within the authority of either CALEA or the Title III statutes and we withdrew that.
But as to the nine remaining ones at issue, we believe they are very clearly within the statute.
Mr. ROGERS. And how critical are those additional items to law enforcement?
Mr. FREEH. They are absolutely critical. Just by way of an example, we are asking for the capability to conduct court-authorized surveillance on conference calling. For example, we may be enforcing a court order on a drug dealer using a conference call feature on his phone. The drug dealer calls two other accomplices and begins to speak to them on the conference. We are listening to the call pursuant to court order with an authority to monitor his telephone when the conference call feature allows him and one of the other speakers to break off into a separate conference. We do not have access to that separate conversation.
That is one of the examples of clear necessity and certainly within the scope of our authority to intercept that individual talking about crimes.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Mollohan.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Director, I would like to join the chairman in welcoming you to the hearing this morning. I also want to join the Chairman in congratulating you on the birth of your son.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Six boys in a row. I do not know what you are doing with statistics here. Our last child was a girl. We have five and our last was a girl and that was a good thing. [Laughter.]
Mr. FREEH. I am going to bring that up at home that the last one could be a girl.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Yes. [Laughter.]
Mr. FREEH. Thank you.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Taylor said, maybe the odds change here.
I want to congratulate you on doing what I consider to be a really excellent job managing a lot of change in an unstable world. You are up-sizing an organization and that is not always easy. It is a nice thing to have additional resources but it also presents a difficult management problem. I think you are doing an excellent job with that.
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I also want to compliment you on diversifying the capabilities of the agency in a way that allows you to meet the new threats that are presenting themselves in this country and otherwise. It is extremely important and I think you are doing a good job with that.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you.
FBI-IAFIS-INS IDENT DUPLICATION
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I also want to compliment you on procuring information systems. You do have one of the biggest ones in your IAFIS program.
And while there have been some bumps along the way, I think that you have addressed those. You have brought in new management talent, brought in the private sector where needed and have really developed a premier identification system which is going to serve law enforcement and to put the FBI in a wheel-horse position in law enforcement not only in this country but around the world. So, I want to compliment you for that.
At the same time, an agency within the Department of Justice, the INS, is developing its own identification system. I have looked at it and it appears that it has very similar requirements to IAFIS, although somewhat down-scaled.
It is disconcerting to me that over the last three years this Committee has raised the issue of duplication between these two systems. The FBI has pursued the IAFIS contract, selected to the best proposal, and has built the best system. INS then came along with its own identification system.
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I would like very much for you to speak to the issue of two different identification systems being developed in the same Department of Justice. First of all, how does that affect law enforcement capability? Also, please discuss the differences between the two systems, the usefulness of the IDENT-2-Print system to crime fighting generally, and the technological problems in developing these two systems with regard to the issue of them being able to communicate effectively with each other.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
I know the Attorney General is reporting to the Committee, I think, in June on the efforts by Mr. Colgate, not just to review but to see what recommendations can be made to solve this issue. This is a significant issue.
The 2-Print Ident system is not communicative to the 10-print IAFIS system. Now, the two agencies have somewhat different operational needs. The INS, for instance, tells us, and I take them at their word, they would have operational as well as resource difficulties. For instance, 10-printing all of the illegal aliens that they apprehend.
Although we think that since many of those individuals could be responsible, either past or future, for criminal activities, it would be good to have that in the IAFIS system. Mr. Colgate has looked at this. We have some joint teams studying the matter. We would very much like to move to an interoperability and perhaps there needs to be some software written.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 I do not know the scope of the technological burden that would be required or the cost. That is what Mr. Colgate is apparently reviewing and going to report back to you.
They utilize the Ident system in an operational environment which is a little bit different from what we do precisely because they are more concerned with the border entries.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I hear that. It is an operational environment different than yours. How is it different and how is it different than any local law enforcement agency that is developing a sub-data base because it has repeat requirements, requirements to look at the same data base on a frequent basis? Why is that different? It is simply creating, is it not, a separate subfile which has a more limited number than the whole IAFIS data base. It has a far limited number, and why could you not service it as a sub-base of your overall data base?
Mr. FREEH. That is exactly what we proposed. It would be akin to having the New York Police Department on a different IAFIS or Ident system and we need to bridge that. I am confident that that could be done and will be done.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. But your opinion with regard to this, if you want to express it before the Attorney General's report comes out?
Mr. FREEH. I think the interoperability would be a premium. I think the identification of criminals, past, current and future really would be benefitted by exploiting the IAFIS capability. As you know, just with the first three builds of IAFIS, A, B, and C, we have about 500,000 prints in an IAFIS base. And we have made 82 cold hit identifications.
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That is an old case we take out of a file, as we took a 1992 bank robbery in New York where we had an unidentified print, on a wrapper which the bank robber used as a hoax bombing device. We put that into the IAFIS system and it knocked out the identification.
That is a capability that you should have whether you are dealing with an illegal alien or an undetected bank robber.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I would just hope that to the extent that you feel it is appropriate, that you would advocate strongly within the Department of Justice to create this commonality in our identification systems.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Obviously, it is good for the FBI but I think it is good for law enforcement around the country.
Mr. FREEH. No, I agree.
NATIONAL INSTANT CHECK SYSTEM
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I want to ask you a couple of questions about the Brady Act and the National Instant Check System. Director Freeh, can you tell the Committee that the National Instant Check System will be on-line and on time?
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, I can. Based on, you know, my briefings and my review of it, we should get the full delivery capacity in August, actually of this year. I know it is required by November 30, 1998.
SAIC, who is the contractor, has been developing the software in six different stages. And we should realize the full capability in August, a delivery of August 1998. It is within budget of $37.4 million. It will access all of the pertinent files, NCIC, and then, of course, when the NCIC 2000 comes on-line, it will benefit from additional sub-files.
So, we are, at this point, very optimistic about it.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. There are some delicate privacy and other statutory requirement issues involved. How are you ensuring that they are being taken into consideration?
Mr. FREEH. The advisory board that we use, the CJIS Advisory Policy Board, as well as the individuals who are responsible for the program management and the implementation, have constructed this system with a full recognition of the Privacy Act requirements. And it will be protected as the NCIC 2000 is similarly protected along the privacy lines with fail-safe mechanisms and passageways through which the information will be secured.
It has worked very well in NCIC, so the technology is available to establish it with respect to NICS.
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NATIONAL INSTANT CHECK SYSTEM (NICS)
The NICS contractor, SAIC, is scheduled to deliver software release 3.0 in August 1998. This release provides full operational capability. After receipt of release 3.0, the FBI will perform system integration tests. Full NCIS operating capabilities will be available in November 1998.
EXPLOSIVES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Okay. One more question, Mr. Director, before my time runs out. In the conference report for 1998, the Committee requiredand let me just read this, ''That, in addition, the conferees note the importance and usefulness of the development of explosives detection technology in assisting law enforcement personnel in the detection of explosive materials before a bombing incident.''
I recognize that identification taggants come into play after the incident, and after the damage is done. Please discuss death, the usefulness of that as an investigative tool versus the usefulness of detection taggants as a preventive tool.
And the Committee report went on to say that ''within the amount provided, the conferees expect the FBI to pursue research and development of explosives detection technology.'' That is a serious request by the Committee to look at that. I know that there are jurisdictional issues with BATF in association with this. But I think speaking through this report, this Committee feels that if we could develop a detection taggant capabilityand there are some technologies out there that are moving pretty quickly in that directionthat we would be far better ahead than the identification taggant solution or the approach of tagging explosives.
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Can you speak to that issue generally and also specifically what is the FBI doing to follow up with regard to this directive?
Mr. FREEH. Yes.
With respect to the followup, the FBI laboratory has identified several active research projects in that area. They are pursuing them, again, with the objective, as you note, for post-blast residue detection and forensic collection as opposed to prevention. And I can submit a much more detailed description of those projects. But we are pursuing them and hopefully they will be very beneficial to us.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. If you would, I would appreciate that.
Thank you. One more, do you have a budget request in associated with looking at detection taggants?
EXPLOSIVES DETECTION TAGGANT CAPABILITY
The 1998 Attorney General's Counterterrorism (CT) Fund includes $11.5 million for research and development (R&D) in the areas of engineering, communications, forensic sciences, and tactical disciplines. The FBI is seeking funding from the CT Fund to pursue R&D involving field portable explosives detection technology.
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The new technology will identify traces of explosive residue on suspect items during threat assessments, investigations, or in the examination of suspected packages. The technology can also be used to screen post-blast evidentiary items. R&D areas being considered include: Portal Monitoring for Explosives; Suspicious Package 3-D X-Ray Tomography; Detection of Post-Blast Explosive Residue on Surfaces; Improved Bomb Handling Robots; Vehicle Bomb Disablement System.
Mr. FREEH. I do not believe there is a request directly specified to that. We do have an appropriation from last year with respect to, as you know, counterterrorism research and I will check to see whether, within that protocol, there will be any contemplated research into the areas.
FUNDING FOR EXPLOSIVES DETECTION TAGGANT CAPABILITY
Funding to initiate explosives detection research and development is being sought from the Attorney General's Counterterrorism Fund. In 1998, Congress appropriated $11.5 million for research and development. There is no request for research and development funding in the 1999 Counterterrorism Fund.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I would like to know if you have room within your current budget and your current Fiscal Year funding to pursue this as a research item? You would be a very big hero out there in the community if you were successful.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Latham.
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to welcome you here, Director Freeh and as the youngest of five boys and no sisters, I can tell you, we had a basketball team. And you are either looking at a team with one sub or you are well on your way to a football team.
Mr. FREEH. That is great. Thank you.
Mr. LATHAM. Congratulations.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you.
SOUTHWEST BORDER INITIATIVE
Mr. LATHAM. Last year, Congress provided significant resources for the FBI's Southwest Border initiative to investigate major drug organizations and public corruption on the U.S./Mexico border.
As you are well aware, my home State of Iowa has been just swamped with meth from the Mexican narcotic syndicates. It concerns me somewhat that in your opening remarks any reference to this initiative really was absent. Can you give us an update as to what is happening on the Southwest border?
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Mr. FREEH. Yes. Certainly with respect to the Southwest border resources, all of those resources have been implemented. The Drug Enforcement Administration, I think you are going to hear from them next week, has a special and separate appropriation request for 1999 with respect to methamphetamine enforcement particularly as it affects the non-border States because of the proliferation from Mexican labs as well as now the portable labs.
We have worked and will work very closely with the DEA with respect to the national methamphetamine strategy. We have had several conferences sponsored by the DEA around the country, particularly with the State and local areas affected and I know when you hear from Administrator Constantine he will mention it in his opening statement. He is specifically asking for enhancement in that area.
Mr. LATHAM. There is a report, I think, due this month. Do you know where that is as far as the initiative in the Southwest border?
Mr. FREEH. I will find out. Let me just check my notes right here, if you will permit me.
Mr. FREEH. I am told there is a Department of Justice drug strategy report due at the end of March and we are certainly collaborating in that along with the DEA.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. LATHAM. You are involved in that?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. Also in regards to the narcotics production, trafficking situation in Mexico, I was curious, did you have any input in the Administration's decision to recertify Mexico?
Mr. FREEH. No, I did not.
Mr. LATHAM. If not, what is your opinion as far as recertification?
Mr. FREEH. We have not
Mr. LATHAM. That puts you in an awkward position, I am sure.
Mr. FREEH. The certification is done way above my pay grade.
Mr. LATHAM. Well, I would think you would be involved somehow.
Mr. FREEH. We are involved to the extent that we have provided information with respect to our Southwest border operations, the trans-border task forces that we are trying to operate. The Drug Enforcement Administration has a dedicated role in the certification process. The FBI does not, and we were not consulted on it.
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Mr. LATHAM. Do you have an opinion on it?
Are you seeing cooperation?
Mr. FREEH. My view is that the cooperation is mixed. It depends on the particular case involved. And we have had successes. We brought Abrego back to the United States from Mexico to be tried and convicted. We have other instances where we have not been successful. It is really a mixed and very complicated situation.
Mr. LATHAM. From my understanding the certification really says that there is full cooperation. You are saying that that may not be entirely the case or there is mixed results or?
Mr. FREEH. We have seen mixed results on our part, yes, sir.
COORDINATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. As you know, the Department of Defense is developing special National Guard response teams and I see in your opening statement talking about coordinating with States and local law enforcement. As far as the Department of Defense efforts, how much are you involved in coordinating with Department of Defense?
Mr. FREEH. In the Southwest border area there is very close cooperation, not just between us and the Department of Defense but the DEA, and other civilian law enforcement agencies. We work very closely with the Coast Guard and they have become a integral part of the counter drug operations, particularly in the Dominican Republic, and San Juan area.
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Mr. LATHAM. How about in the area of weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. We have worked very closely with the military under the Nunn-Domenici-Lugar funds. We are now actively training first responders, State and local officers. This is a Department of Defense-funded program but the FBI participates in terms of the actual training and the protocols. We work a number of exercises, table-top exercises, around the country with the military.
The military is present in our Counterterrorism Center. They will be present in the National Infrastructure Protection Center. There is very, very close cooperation and we work with them on a routine basis now.
OUTREACH TO THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. Relative to the Bureau's cyber crime efforts, in what way does the FBI work together with computer software and hardware industries, as well as other related technology-based corporations to combat the increasing threats to our national information infrastructure?
Mr. FREEH. We have
Mr. LATHAM. Also, is the FBI Year 2000 compatible?
Mr. FREEH. They tell me we are.
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Mr. LATHAM. Okay.
Mr. FREEH. With respect to the cooperation, we have a program and it is actually part of the CITAC program which this Committee has generously funded, where all of our divisions, all of our 56 field divisions are required and tasked to go out into the community identifying, first of all, the key infrastructure industries, banks, laboratories, energy, transportation, communications facilities.
One example is in our Cleveland office, we call it Infraguard, where the FBI meets on a regular basis with the CEOs, as well as the individuals responsible for cyber security from all the major industries. They have protocols, training exercises and prepare to defend against an intrusion attack in order to harden some of the infrastructure.
This is a process which is underway in all of the divisions. The National Infrastructure Protection Center, if it is fundedwill have in our headquarters 40 other Government agencies, and private industry representatives. We work very closely with the software companies on a lot of the investigative as well as preventive areas.
Mr. LATHAM. You know, if you are in compliance with the Year 2000 maybe you can go to the Internal Revenue Service and lend them a hand or something over there.
But the Full Committee Chairman made a brief reference to it today and spoke in a lot more detail a year ago about this issue but with the emphasis last year that we put on talking about the FBI files, have you found out who hired Craig Livingstone yet?
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Mr. FREEH. No, but I think that is precisely because we have not investigated it. The Independent Counsel has done that. We have stood down from that case. We are not supposed to be investigating that. But I am confident that Judge Starr is going to get to the bottom of it.
Mr. LATHAM. We still do not know, then, right?
Mr. FREEH. I do not know, no, sir.
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Skaggs.
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning. I will give you a respite from congratulations about your family situation.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you.
Mr. SKAGGS. How is the lab?
Mr. FREEH. I think the lab is in very good shape. We have benefitted much from the Inspector General's recommendations, which have all been implemented. We have a new Assistant Director running the lab, who, as you may know, used to run Los Alamos National Laboratory. We have put into the laboratory, in addition to the recommendations of the Inspector General, new quality assurance procedures, new peer reviews. We are working with George Washington University with respect to part of the standardization process. We submitted our accreditation application in December. We are hoping that we will be accredited by the end of this year.
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We have, on our own, gone beyond the three sections that the Inspector General has looked at. We reviewed all the other sectors using the same protocol and outside experts to examine what is going on in those sections. We have done some merging.
We are very confident that the cases that the FBI is responsible for, both the FBI cases as well as State and local cases, have not been jeopardized by the problems that we have had and we point to the Oklahoma case, the World Trade bombing case and many other cases where these issues have been raised and not found by the jury.
Mr. SKAGGS. And you have asked for, in your budget, the resources you need to continue whatever improvements are required there?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, and we also, as you know, have begun the construction of the new laboratory which, just by its physical plant, will improve the ability and the integrity of the evidence there.
Mr. SKAGGS. I wanted to ask you a few questions about encryption issues and the Administration's policies, plural, on that. When the Attorney General was before us a few days ago, she stated that there would be produced an administration policy, singular, on encryption legislation shortly. I pressed her for greater specificity and she demurred on that. But I just wanted to invite your comment on the current state of play, the Bureau's equities in the development of an Administration policy, and how you sketch out what our objectives need to be.
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Mr. FREEH. Our objectives are consistent with what has been our position for several years now, that we want a robust encryption industry led by United States businesses to continue to dominate, not just this market but the international market. We are strong proponents of encryption. We use it ourselves. It is a necessity for law enforcement and counterintelligence.
What we asked for, and what we think public safety requires, however, is some ability to use a recovery system when we are enforcing a court order or a search warrant to find conversations or evidence that would otherwise be denied to us by encryption without any recovery capability. So we have taken the position that a voluntary solution to this problem between the Government and the software and hardware industries is preferable.
However, if they cannot agree or will not agree to it, then we believe that stronger legislation would be necessary and we are hoping that in the coming weeks, the Administration will lead a new initiative to work out a voluntary market-based solution to the problem. We are hopeful that that will work. If it does not work, we will go back to a much different position, speaking for the FBI.
Mr. SKAGGS. I think you are aware that today's Washington Post reported a decision by the administration not to seek domestic controls, which implies that the strategy is going to be entirely on the export side. Is that an accurate report? Were you appropriately involved in developing at least that piece of
Mr. FREEH. Yes. We were directly involved. We were directly involved and then consulted and we support the initiative.
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Mr. SKAGGS. As you are aware, the House Intelligence Committee, I think it is fair to say, established as much of a bulwark as any entity around here on behalf of the objectives that you identify as important. I expect we are going to want to revisit this again. Mr. Dixon also serves on that committee. I wanted to ask if you would be available to participate in a more informal discussion of these issues in that setting, rather than our usual one at a time sequence of witnesses. I think we really need to get all of the, especially the governmental stakeholders in this together at one time to help inform the committee.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. I would be happy to do that and we very much appreciate the leadership and support of that committee, Chairman Solomon, many of the other people who have worked very hard to bring us to the point where we had some ability to negotiate effectively.
Mr. SKAGGS. Do you have, internal to the Bureau, the kind of expertise and resources in the encryption area that you need to meet your purposes?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, we do, but we are relying and will continue to rely heavily, for instance, on the Department of Defense, on the NSA in particular, and even outside consultants. We have good, strong people on board. We do not want to relegate ourselves, however, to just internal resources. These are very complex and rapidly changing technology areas.
Mr. SKAGGS. Have you yet had a chance to review the legislation that was announced, I guess yesterday, by Senators McCain and Kerry?
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. FREEH. No, sir. I am aware of it. I have not read it myself.
Mr. SKAGGS. I would appreciate it if we could have your views on that as soon as you are able.
I also wanted to just ask you to tell us the story of the success, and how serendipitous or deliberate the success was, in dealing with the latest attack on DoD computers that resulted, relatively promptly, in some arrests. I was not sure, from reading the news accounts, how much of that was good luck and how much of it was good police work and what we can learn from that.
Mr. FREEH. I think a lot of it was just very good police work. The Deputy Secretary, John Hamre, specifically noted that. There was a prearranged set of relationships, protocols, and technology which gave us the ability, particularly with Department of Defense assets, to quickly identify the source of that. I would be happy to go into that with you. I would request it be in a more informal session because some of the techniques involved are fairly sensitive.
Mr. SKAGGS. I understand that. I just wanted to get a flavor of what this demonstrated with regard to our enforcement capabilities and how much we should read into it in that regard versus, as I say, the good fortune that we had a cooperative Internet provider that helped you all out.
Mr. FREEH. The other good fortune there was that the target was the Department of Defense. If it was a stock exchange or an energy company or something else, it might be more complicated, which is one of the reasons that the National Infrastructure Protection Center, which brings in private industry, would give us some enhanced capability.
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Mr. SKAGGS. One final question, Mr. Chairman. This is on the CALEA side of things. I am told, and I do not know whether it is accurate, that one of the capabilities that you are seeking in the digital tap area would include an ability, after the subject of a warrant intercept had gone off of a conference call, to continue to intercept the remaining parties to the call, even though they may not have been the subject of the court order warranting the intercept. That seemed to me unlikely to be the case but it had been raised with me by credible people and I just wanted to get your reaction.
Mr. FREEH. One of the capabilities that we have requested and which is at issue now with the common carriers is the ability to continue on what would be a good faith and predicated initiation of a conference conversation, for instance, on John Doe's phone because we had predicated probable cause to believe he is involved in narcotics. He calls two individuals. The monitoring agent believes that they are talking, even cryptically, about a narcotics deal. John Doe then hangs up the phone or John Doe and the first individual or John Doe and the second individual or break off on a separate conference feature.
We are asking for the technical capability to monitor that conference, but as I mentioned before, there is nothing new about that. Right now, under current authorities and authorities since 1968, if we listen to a telephone conversation and there are multiple parties on it, not on a conference, and one of them goes off, even the subject, we are authorized to continue listening to that with minimization requirements in place to determine whether or not a criminal conversation is continuing. So although the access to the conference feature is new, the principle, the Fourth Amendment principle, as well as the statutory authority, is not enhanced.
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Mr. SKAGGS. And I infer that this must have been fully litigated and the Fourth Amendment issue has been resolved?
Mr. FREEH. Yes. In my view, it has been completely resolved for many, many years.
Mr. SKAGGS. It is just not my area of practice.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
IMPACT OF STAFFING INDEPENDENT COUNSEL INVESTIGATIONS
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Director, the campaign finance investigation, as I am told, is requiring 101 FBI personnel and $9.8 million during this fiscal year. In addition, the FBI has also participated in other investigations of allegations of criminal activity by Administration officials in such things as Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, perjury in the Jones case, Independent Counsel Smaltz for Secretary Espy, Independent Counsel Barrett on Secretary Cisneros, Independent Counsel Pearson on Secretary Brown, an independent counsel for Secretary Babbitt, the investigation of the President's role in the Indian casino case, the investigations of Vice President Gore and former Energy Secretary O'Leary, the investigation of Secretary Herman, the investigation of the Magaziner health care task force matter, and so forth.
Do you have adequate resources to thoroughly conduct, number one, the campaign finance organization?
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Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. I believe we do.
Mr. ROGERS. Do you have adequate resources to share FBI personnel on all these other investigations?
Mr. FREEH. We have dedicated all the resources required. When any of the Independent Counsels, including recently, have asked us for enhancements, we have without question furnished them. They do drain, obviously, from many of our other investigations, particularly since many of these agents assigned are accountants and white-collar crime experts. So they do impact on our program, but we fully staffed them and we have enough resources to staff them.
Mr. ROGERS. Where are you getting the money and resources to do that with? That is quite a heavy load, is it not?
Mr. FREEH. It is a heavy load. They are programmed out of our white-collar allotments, for the most part, and support people, too, because many of the Independent Counsels have computer analysts and personnel other than special agents.
Mr. ROGERS. So you are diverting agents and other personnel from other programs to this purpose?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, particularly to the Independent Counsel.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. What is the impact on the programs you are diverting these people from?
Mr. FREEH. We have less resources to work other cases.
Mr. ROGERS. Which indicates that you could get by with less in the first place?
Mr. FREEH. Well, we may not be
Mr. ROGERS. You do not need all the personnel.
Mr. FREEH [continuing]. Doing all the cases and responding proactively as we should be to all the cases with that diminution in resources. The resources also fluctuate. At one point, there may be several dozen agents. At another point, there may be only four or five. So it is not a continuous number.
Mr. ROGERS. But you are diverting 101 just for the campaign finance investigation, correct?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. That is a hefty slice of people. Did you ask Justice or the OMB for more monies to make up the difference?
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. FREEH. I do not think specifically with respect to those resources, no.
Mr. ROGERS. Why not?
Mr. FREEH. Well, we have a number of requests that we made to OMB, as is the case every year, with respect to resources. We do not receive them all. We did not make a specific request to make up for the agents assigned to independent counsels.
Mr. ROGERS. Or any of the other investigations?
Mr. FREEH. Or any of the other investigations. Now, whether we ask for enhancements with respect to agents in white-collar crime programs and crimes against children programs as we did, I can itemize those for you.
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Mr. ROGERS. In next year's budget, you are asking, for example, for a new initiative, the Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative, $8 million. You could fund a whole new initiative if you were not doing campaign finance, could you not, plus some?
Mr. FREEH. We could in terms of an exchange for those resources, but as you know, the white-collar program is our largest single program and one which includes the cyber crime as well as other matters that we have a mission to perform.
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Mr. ROGERS. What is the cost of all of these investigations I have mentioned from your budget?
Mr. FREEH. Well, the Independent Counsels and the CAMPCON, I would have to itemize that for you. I do not know offhand.
Mr. ROGERS. Get that for me.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. It is substantial, though, is it not?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, it is.
Mr. ROGERS. Would you say in the neighborhood of $20, $25 million?
Mr. FREEH. I would say over the course of the years, yes, that we committed to those.
Mr. ROGERS. And you did not ask us for any reprogramming or any more money for that purpose? I am puzzled.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. FREEH. Well, some of the Independent Counsels have required only two or three Special Agents on a temporary basis. But I will certainly consider asking for more resources now that you have mentioned it.
Mr. ROGERS. I am not begging for a plea for more money. I am absolutely puzzled, since you ask for money for everything else, why you did not ask for money for these investigations? Is it correct that the White House will not let you ask for more money for these investigations?
Mr. FREEH. No. We have not, as I said, made a specific request for either replacements or enhancements for Independent Counsel detailees. Those are not things that we have asked for, so they have not been specifically denied. We serviced Independent Counsels, actually throughout the life of the statute, going back several decades, and we have supplied
Mr. ROGERS. I am absolutely puzzled that you have not asked for more money on all of these myriad of investigations that are worldwide in scope. I am puzzled you have not asked for the money to hire the personnel with which to conduct those investigations and you are taking from regular FBI activities, the money and personnel to do that. Again, I ask you, is that because of some communication between you or anybody on your staff from the White House or anybody on the White House staff not to ask for more money to investigate the White House?
Mr. FREEH. No, no such communication whatsoever. I mean, let me just give you an example. On the CAMPCON investigation which you mentioned, we have 108 onboard employees. The costs for fiscal year 1997 were $4.7 million and $11.1 million for fiscal year 1998. Now, that is not an Independent Counsel investigation, that is an FBI investigation right now.
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Mr. ROGERS. Those are white-collar personnel, people that you are transferring over there, correct?
Mr. FREEH. Well, we are not really transferring them. They work for me. They are still FBI agents.
Mr. ROGERS. What I am driving at is, we are dedicating 108 personnel out of your white-collar crime program for the campaign finance investigation. Does that mean that some other white-collar criminals are going free as a result of that?
Mr. FREEH. I hope not. It certainly means that those resources are not being used to investigate other cases.
Mr. ROGERS. And it could be that we are not convicting some other white-collar criminals, correct?
Mr. FREEH. Derivatively, that could certainly be a possibility.
Mr. ROGERS. And you have not seen fit to ask for more funds
Mr. FREEH. Well, again, with respect to that, if I ask for new agents for every major investigation, when we had several hundred agents assigned to the TWA investigation, which turned out not even to be a criminal incident, major white-collar crime cases all over the country, if I took each one of those and asked to duplicate those resources, you probably would not give me them, but maybe I will try. I will get a separate itemization of the Independent Counsel agents, too, because those are actually outside of my purview. They are not working on any FBI-related cases.
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Mr. ROGERS. I am interested in knowing what drain you are suffering because of agents being siphoned off to these various investigations and what impact, if any, that has on your main business.
Mr. FREEH. I will give you an estimate of that.
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INFORMATION SHARING INITIATIVE
Mr. ROGERS. You are asking $50 million in 1999 for the multi-year project to improve the automation systems that you use for your case management and investigative databases.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. You also say that over the next four years, that that is going to take about $400 million. What capabilities will that system give you that you do not currently have with your existing automation system?
Mr. FREEH. I think it will give us the capability, which will be new to coordinate and integrate information. If we are working on a drug case or a cyber case in California in the organized crime program and we are working on a separate case in another division on an entirely different program, maybe a bank fraud program, this system would give us the ability to integrate, simple things such as names of individuals and corporations. We could store and retrieve evidence and information, including interviews, images.
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We do not really have that capacity now. We have good capacities in various program areas, such as the Organized Crime Information System (OCIS). But we need to have an integration which we do not have. This integration is going to require hardware, and training to get past this stovepipe infrastructure which has served us well in the past but is just not going to be very well suited for the next 20 years.
Mr. ROGERS. Pardon me for asking detailed questions, but your track record on delivering critical information systems is extremely poor: NCIC 2000 and IAFIS, both plagued by significant overruns and schedule delays; and CALEA, a major technology initiative, at a standstill, an impasse, three years after the law passed. And, frankly, the FBI dragged its feet for two or more of those years.
Given that track record, I am skeptical, to be frank with you, on whether or not you are capable of carrying out another huge electronic technological feat. Assure us, please.
Mr. FREEH. Yes. You certainly have the right to be skeptical. What we are doing in this area is distinctly different, I would submit, than what we were doing in IAFIS and NCIC 2000. In those two systems, which have been plagued but are now on schedule and on budget, we were trying to home grow our own technology and write our own code. We were not buying and dealing with off-the-shelf technology.
With this Information Sharing Initiative, we are not going to be reinventing the wheel and writing code and doing all the things that challenged us in those other programs. In the first phase, for instance, we are relying on off-the-shelf technology and computers and contracting services to put together this initiative. We have established some monitoring programs, both within the Bureau and the Department of Justice, which were not in place for IAFIS and NCIC 2000. We are going to be very hard on ourselves and expect everyone else, including the Committee here, to regularly review this initiative and we will update you on our progress. We think that the initiative is a valid one and we have learned a lot from the problems with our past systems.
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Mr. ROGERS. Have you developed a comprehensive system requirements plan for this initiative?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. We have a plan which deals with the systems development, not the implementation, at least beyond the first phase.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, we need to see the plan.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir.
[The information follows:]
INFORMATION SHARING INITIATIVE PLAN
A copy of the Information Sharing Initiative Plan is being provided to the Committee.
Mr. ROGERS. I do not want to start down this road to spend $400 million-plus. I guarantee you, before it is over with, you will be back for more than the $400 million that you now say you need if it is true to form, and I do not want to start down that road until we know that, one, you can do it, two, it is necessary, and three, it is going to come in on time and within the cost figures.
Mr. FREEH. I agree.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. We are not going to do another overrun business. I want to get that straight at the outset.
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. I agree and I do not want to go down that road, either.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, will the new system be compatible with the systems we funded for DEA, such as their Firebird and Merlin systems?
Mr. FREEH. Yes. There will be interoperability for all those systems, as with the Drug X system, that being the template of how this can work between the two agencies.
NCIC 2000 AND IAFIS STATUS
Mr. ROGERS. Are NCIC 2000 and IAFIS still on schedule for completion in July of 1999?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, they are.
Mr. ROGERS. Still within the current cost estimates?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, $183.2 million for NCIC 2000 and $640 million for IAFIS. The builds that have been delivered have not only been successfully tested but utilized. In fact, we have been solving some cases with the IAFIS builds, so we are very confident it is going to work.
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Mr. ROGERS. Good. It is about time.
FBI PERSONNEL SYSTEM
Last year, you expressed the critical need for an exemption to the Federal pay system for recruitment of personnel for certain highly specialized and technical positions in the FBI. We provided that authority for up to 3,000 FBI positions, but also requested that you provide to the Committee by the end of February an outline of the proposed personnel system and a description of the problematic provisions of Title 5. What is the status of that report? When can we have it?
Mr. FREEH. I expect we can have it, Mr. Chairman, I am told, within several months. The problem has been a direction we received from the President which told us that we were not to proceed without first working with OMB and OPM to construct a plan with their approval. We are doing that now, but that has caused unforseen delays in submitting the plan to the Committee. We expect to have it here as quickly as we can. In several months, I am told, it will be ready.
And just to addexcuse meit was not only when it was proposed and authorized, but more and more as we talk about these technology areas, it is an absolutely critical waiver, and we will put it to good use and get the people on board who can do some of these systems blindfolded as opposed to trying to reinvent them ourselves.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, given that hiring of FBI support personnel appears to be now on track, does that mean the FBI may no longer need this new pay system after all?
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Mr. FREEH. No, sir, not at all, because with respect to our technical areas, particularly linguists, computer specialists, we have a turnover rate in those specialized categories sometimes higher than the other support rates. I can break that down for you in some detail. To get the computer specialists, the scientists, the technicians that we are going to need for the infrastructure center and some of the other key forensic areas, I believe we need that waiver and we will use it very prudently.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. ROGERS. Over the last three years, we have provided huge increases totaling over $625 million and over 1,850 new FBI personnel for counterterrorism activities. Is there an overall strategy that the Administration is operating under to combat terrorism, and if so, what is FBI's responsibility in that system?
Mr. FREEH. Our responsibility under Presidential Decision Directive39 [PDD39] is to be the lead counterterrorism agency in the United States and to be responsible to support the Department of State with respect to extraterritorial matters. We have formed, as you know, the Counterterrorism Center, which is up and running, which has representatives of all the key enforcement as well as intelligence agencies. The National Infrastructure Protection Center will supplement that. We have been conducting training, tabletop exercises. We have used that money to buy needed equipment, both helicopters and gear to deal with WMD situations.
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We have the lead responsibility for counterterrorism and I believe that those critical resources, as well as the PDD39 authority and the Attorney General's leadership now with respect to submitting to the Congress the counterterrorism plan. The research and development plan put us in much better shape than where we were a few years ago.
Mr. ROGERS. Are there areas where we still have problems getting agencies to work together?
Mr. FREEH. Actually, with respect to the counterterrorism initiatives, we are working extremely well with our partners, both domestically as well as international assistance where we need it. The CIA and the FBI in particular, and you can hear this from the DCI as well as me, the relationship is stronger than it has ever been in the history of the country. Operations that we do here and overseas, including bringing Kasi back to the United States, who was convicted in Fairfax County for murdering CIA employees later last year, those are the kinds of FBICIADepartment of State operations which are really doing what we have never been able to do before in terms of coordination.
Mr. ROGERS. Since the Oklahoma City bombing, we have provided that $625 million to you. Are you satisfied we are better prepared today to prevent that type of incident from occurring again than we were?
Mr. FREEH. With respect to that type of incident, I would say probably not. That was an incident, unfortunately, that was, as you know by the evidence, not carried out or planned by a group, particularly a group where some law enforcement agency would have information or coverage. It was an act, by the finding of the jury, of two individuals really acting secretly and clandestinely over several years.
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So I think there is a sector of these types of threats for which we can have a very good response capability, but unfortunately and tragically, little preemptive capability unless we have the information from an informant, a co-defendant, a supplier of a component, unless that person comes to us beforehand. When we are operating against single individuals or leaderless conspiracies, it is very hard to prevent them. But we are in 100 percent better shape in responding to and dealing with those incidents, including weapons of mass destruction issues.
Mr. ROGERS. In last year's conference report, we required the FBI to revise its overseas office planning process to include a threat-based, outcome-oriented assessment before offices could be opened or expanded overseas. How far along is that revised planning process and when can we expect to see your overseas plan?
Mr. FREEH. We expect to have the plan in several weeks. We have used it to review and plan out all of the proposed expansions and enhancements. We have hired a contractor to help perform the threat-based assessment. I have seen some of the proposals in draft, including one for the Dominican Republic.
We are incorporating the recommendations of the S&I review, as we know them and understand them. We have created a new International Operations Branch which will give us a better management capability. We are doing better training in preparation for our legats and their families. We need to make some other improvements. This has been an area that has grown very quickly, but we are confident that the threat-based assessments and the recommendations which are being made will put us in good shape.
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Mr. ROGERS. For the three locations in which specific approval was given last year, Mexico City, Moscow, and Nigeria, what is the status of those openings or expansions?
Mr. FREEH. They are all being filled. We have temporary agents in Moscow, three agents, one permanent, two on a temporary basis. We are now selecting two permanent replacements. With respect to Lagos, we are going to assign an agent there on a temporary basis, who has not yet been selected. With respect to Mexico City, I believeI will check on this for sure, but I believe all the agents have been selected and are there.
[The information follows:]
MEXICO CITY STAFFING
With respect to Mexico City, both agents and one support person have reported for duty. The remaining support employee will report during May. In addition, two Resolution Six agents authorized for 1998 are on-board. The remaining four Resolution Six agents will be on-board in the near future.
Mr. ROGERS. And you say you have established an International Operations Branch?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir, we have.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. One person in charge?
Mr. FREEH. One person overall and a staff now of people who will help him carry out that assignment. But we are looking at and are considering, particularly based on the conversations we have had with your S&I staff, the establishment of actually a new International Operations Branch which would bring the leadership, the management, the resources, and the coordination not just within our FBI but also with Department of State and other agencies in a much more coherent manner.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I would assume that as time flows that the threat to us from a given point on the earth changes. I mean, one year it may be one place. The next year, it may shift to another place and so forth. Is that generally correct?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, sir. It changes very quickly.
Mr. ROGERS. So you need to have some flexibility in moving forces around?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, which is why the threat assessment is going to be a renewed process, not just a one-time process.
Mr. ROGERS. So you have a formal evaluation system for your overseas offices to determine the contribution each is making and whether that existence is necessary to be continued?
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. FREEH. Yes.
Mr. ROGERS. You have a system for that?
Mr. FREEH. Yes, we do.
Mr. ROGERS. Do you have any new international training facilities?
Mr. FREEH. No. We cooperate in the Budapest facility. We have supplied some instructors to the Central American academy that the Department of Treasury is running and we will help support and staff that, as well as some other ones which the Committees have contemplated. But that is all, the international institutional participation is in the Budapest Academy. We have many training programs in many countries which we do under the auspices and the authority of the Department of State.
Mr. ROGERS. Are you planning any new international training?
Mr. FREEH. New academies? No, sir, we are not.
Mr. ROGERS. Or training programs?
Mr. FREEH. No. We have a list of 1998 programs and we evaluate those on a year-to-year basis, depending on the country that is required. But we do not propose to run or manage any other academies overseas.
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Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Director, I apologize for taking a good part of the lunch hour of you and your staff, but we did get a late start because of unplanned activities. Thank you for your testimony and the material you will be furnishing us in the future.
There has probably not been a time in the country's history when the Justice Department, including the FBI, have been called upon to investigate so many white-collar or public corruption cases, particularly Federal corruption cases. It is an unprecedented demand that we are making on you and the rest of the Justice Department and the Independent Counsels, as well, and I know this causes strains within the Bureau and within the Department and within the whole Government. But I want to commend you for standing forthright and for the right thing when the pressures must be intense. But know that the silent majority out there in the country wants and demands and deserves absolute independence by you and the Attorney General and the agencies that are charged with these horrendous investigations.
So good luck to you and godspeed to you and know that we are here to help you in any way that we can within the wherewithal that we have. So we thank you for your dedication and your public spiritedness and your public service.
Mr. FREEH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to appear before you.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
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Thursday March 19, 1998.
U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMS
THOMAS A. CONSTANTINE, ADMINISTRATOR, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION DONNA A. BUCELLA, DIRECTOR, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS
MARY LEE WARREN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION
Mr. ROGERS. The Committee will come to order.
We are pleased to welcome this morning Thomas Constantine, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Donna Bucella, the Director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, and Mary Lee Warren, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, to discuss the Department of Justice's law enforcement efforts in the War on Drugs.
Our nation is being weakened by the prevalence of drugs and drug-related crime in our communities. This Subcommittee has increased drug law enforcement efforts of the Department of Justice by over 70 percent over the last six years from $4.3 billion in 1992 to $7.3 billion in 1998.
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The question is do we have an aggressive and coordinated plan to put an end to the flood of drugs entering our country? Without that, our investments in law enforcement to take down and punish drug traffickers and add prevention programs that are aimed at stopping children from using drugs cannot and will not succeed.
Cocaine and heroine are cheaper and more plentiful than ever on the streets of this country. Methamphetamine, which can be produced fairly simply in any kitchen in any community, is spreading quickly to all areas of our country. Unfortunately, we have been waiving a white flag in the drug war for the last few years.
As a result, we are seeing casual drug use grow, not only with our teenagers, but with our pre-teen children. That was unheard of ten years ago and should not be the case now.
It seems that we are preoccupied in the Administration with the dangers of smoking cigarettes and tobacco and seem to have waived the white flag of surrender to cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other drugs.
We need to work together in a bi-partisan way to reverse the trends we have seen and to fight this drug war on a united front. Law enforcement is a vital component. This Committee will seek to ensure that adequate resources are provided to address this problem, even though they may not be requested by the White House.
The Administration, when it came to power, decided apparently that the battle could best be won by fighting the war on the home front though prevention, reduction of the demand for drugs. This Administration fairly well abandoned the interdiction effort to try to stop the flow of drugs into the country, and source country eradication.
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As the result of that change in policy, drugs are flooding the country. They are cheaper on the streets, higher quality, available because of the low price to even those of very little income, including teenagers. I think it was a severe, sad, and tragic mistake when they took down the eradication effort between source countries and the U.S. We are trying to restore that interdiction effort.
We are trying to beef up the Coast Guard, for example, and to beef up the DEA's efforts, and FBI, and the other law enforcement agencies engaged in the interdiction effort with much of our naval forces redeployed from the drug trafficking lanes to the Gulf area.
The military has been withdrawn from the West Coast of Mexico, for example, where we are going completely unprotected now. The Coast Guard cannot do it. It does not have the money. Their money has been withdrawn.
The military cannot do it; because they have gone to the Gulf. You cannot do it, because you do not have the kinds of forces to do that. The Caribbean is being guarded to some point.
We provided forward-looking radars to the Coast Guard, C130s, last year despite the White House's objections. Now they have the radars. The White House cut their funds to fly the planes.
I wonder what in the dickens is going on sometimes down there. Well, we will include your written statements in the record, Mr. Administrator.
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At this point, you can proceed with your opening remarks. Just summarize them and then we will hear from the others.
Opening Statement of the DEA Administrator
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Chairman Rogers and Congressman Mollohan, I first want to thank you for the opportunity to be here this morning.
I also want to express the deep appreciation to both of you from the men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration. In my four years here in Washington, you have been very, very supportive and understanding of the issues and the needs of our agency.
The drug problem in our country is reported in any number of publications, in any numbers of reports. If you spend any time talking with mothers, fathers, people in the education system from the biggest city to the smallest town, you see that the drug problem is having an extremely negative effect on the quality of life for virtually every citizen in the United States.
One thing we should understand about drug trafficking, a fact which really defines the role of DEA, is that all of the importation, and virtually all of the major distribution, plus the collection of the profits that accrue from drug trafficking are really being conducted by very powerful organized crime syndicates, somewhat similar to the Mafia of the United States in 1930.
However, these two large criminal syndicates in operation work out of Colombia and out of Mexico. As a result, our strategy in DEA, and the cornerstone of what we do is focus on attacking the command and control functions of the organized criminal syndicates that are responsible for virtually all of the cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine trafficking within the United States.
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However, in addition to building cases against these leaders in their home countries, or against their surrogates that have been sent to operate within the United States, we have a responsibility to protect the citizens of the United States from the incredible levels of violence that are attendant, and still are to a great degree, to the drug trade.
An additional objective of DEA is to lend support to cities, counties, and towns that lack the resources to address these sophisticated and powerful groups. I am going to give you just one example because sometimes I think concrete evidence is as important as any statistical or governmental report.
There was an investigation that began much like many of these cases with the small series of incidents, which were then later followed up by the DEA, the FBI, Customs, and the Justice Department.
It starts with highway stops by two troopers in Tyler, Texas who provide critical information, one on the seizure of several million dollars in cash, and a second seizure by these same two troopers, not more than two months later, of almost two tons of marijuana. They, along with officers of Tuscon, Arizona, provide substantial information about how these drug trafficking organizations operate.
These are then followed with an investigation that went not only nationwide, from one coast to the other and to virtually every major city in between, but also to Mexico where these organizations were being commanded and controlled from.
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 This case consisted largely of Title III wiretap investigations to gain the evidence. At the culmination, we arrested 88 major figures of these organizations who were working within the United States.
There was $18 million in cash seized, seven tons of marijuana, and six tons of cocaine. But that is really only the tip of the iceburg because the key transporter for this one cell has now advised us that in two years he brought 30 tons of cocaine into the United States and took $100 million in cash out of the United States.
We have had many successes in criminal investigations. We have arrested over 100,000 serious drug felons in the last four years, either because of the level of their distribution or their violence.
Our budget this year supports many of those same philosophies and strategies. The total budget request is for 257 new agents and 508 total positions. The first part, the smaller aspect of it is 17 additional agents and support personnel to be housed in our international operations, most of them in offices in the Caribbean, strengthening our operations in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Curacao, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic. We also are asking for positions for Manila and Vietnam.
The larger number of positions that we ask for deals with the international organized crime systems as they operate within the United States. This would be for 240 special agents and supplemental support personnel to go after the organizations that are based out of the Caribbean, but are operating up and down the Eastern seaboard of the United States in a very dramatic and violent fashion.
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Forty-two of the 240 agents will be housed in our domestic offices primarily on the East Coast where the organizations are operating from. The second part of the request is for 95 special agents and attendant support personnel to combat the heroin trafficking and production operating within the United States.
I would like to give you a sense of the dramatic change in the heroin distribution system in our country. In 1994, 32 percent of the heroin samples seized in the United States were coming from South America, which is primarily Colombia.
In 1995, that figure reached 62 percent. In this last year, since 1996, we have seen the amount of heroin from Mexico go from 5 percent to 20 percent. So, about 70 percent to 75 percent of all of the heroin now that is bring brought into the country and used in the country is coming from either Colombia or in Mexico.
Again, to give a sense of what happens to citizens of the United States when heroin trafficking occurs, we can look at Plano, Texas, which is a very nice community just outside Fort Worth/Dallas. The Chief of Police, Bruce Glasscock is one of the great professionals in this business and he is a Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
That little community was visited with a horrendous problem. Young people, many of them children of opportunity, children of great potential, were dying rapidly from heroin overdoses.
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Fourteen young people died in a fairly brief period of time, and one adult. We were asked by the Chief to assist. We were able to determine that the primary suppliers were from Guerrero in Mexico.
A whole series of arrests were made with, Federal law enforcement and State and local law enforcement. The individuals involved in the distribution knew full well that the purity of the heroin they were selling created great risks for those who would use it. But the profit margin was more important to them than the safety of these young people.
The third part of our priorities deals with the methamphetamine trafficking, which has exploded throughout the United States. From 1990 to 1995, there was over a 200 percent increase in citizens who checked into hospitals which are part of the Drug Abuse Warning Network indicating that they had serious problems from using methamphetamine.
There was a brief drop in methamphetamine in the first half of 1996. However, unfortunately, that skyrocketed an additional 71 percent during the second half of that year. We are making more methamphetamine arrests and seizing more methamphetamine laboratories than we ever believed possible.
The numbers of laboratories go from the single digits to virtually the thousands. You have two separate distribution systems: one, extremely sophisticated organizations out of Mexico who are controlling the smuggling, manufacture, and distribution of methamphetamine all the way from California to Iowa, to North Carolina, to Georgia, to Florida.
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They account for about 80 percent to 90 percent of all of the methamphetamine in the United States. The remaining 10 percent or 20 percent is from a whole series of small homemade laboratories that started in the mid west, but seem to be affecting many areas, including areas like Kentucky or Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas.
Although they produce a small amount of methamphetamine, the sheer numbers of laboratories are so large. They represent a danger for the citizens who live in that area, especially clean-up costs. There also are problems for local law enforcement with violence and suspects who refuse to abide by the rule of law. It is a very difficult situation.
We are asking not only for additional agents, but again, we are seeking continuing assistance for training local police officers in how to handle these dangerous situations, for equipping centralized cites, and being there to help them with the clean-up of those operations.
As you know, much more information is contained in more depth in our formal report. I thank both you and Congressman Mollohan for providing me, and primarily the DEA, with the opportunity to update you on these drug efforts, and to detail the reasons for our 1999 request. Thank you very much.
[The statement of Mr. Constantine follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
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Mr. ROGERS. Ms. Bucella.
Ms. BUCELLA. Chairman Rogers, Congressman Mollohan, Congressman Dixon, I am pleased to be here today with my distinguished panel members. I am also joined by Joe Famularo, the United States Attorney from the Eastern District of Kentucky, Bill Wilmouth, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, and Michael Troop, the United States Attorney from the Western District of Kentucky.
Mr. ROGERS. You are accompanied by some very powerful, strong people and friends of mine also.
Ms. BUCELLA. With them, I represent the 10,000 men and women of the 94 United States Attorneys Offices throughout this nation. I thank you on their behalf for your ongoing support of our critical law enforcement mission.
To carry out our mission, we are requesting a total of 236 new positions; a $23.4 million increase for the following initiatives: targeting drug organizations that attack our neighborhoods and victimize our children; violent crime on Indian reservations; computer crime, including telemarketing fraud, child pornography, and computer intrusions; and increased civil defensive litigation.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 I address these issues in my written statement submitted for the record. I will focus my testimony on our work at combating drug trafficking.
As a career prosecutor, I know the problems presented by narcotics trafficking. We cannot underestimate it. The United States Attorneys Offices have spent an enormous amount of resources and effort in fighting this problem.
In fiscal year 1997, 28 percent of all criminal attorney work years were devoted to drug prosecutions. In that year alone, 11,935 cases were filed against 23,542 defendants; a 14-percent increase in cases filed over the previous year.
An additional 502 drug cases involving 991 defendants classified primarily under our Violent Crime Program were also filed. Not only are the United States Attorneys Offices doing more, our Assistant United States Attorneys are doing more individually.
The average number of drug defendants handled per attorney work year increased from 54 in fiscal year 1993 to 65 in fiscal year 1997. The average number of drug cases handled per attorney work year increased from 26 to 33 during the same period.
That represents a 20-percent and 27-percent increase in productivity respectively in four years. The significance of the drug problem and the range of drugs we are fighting demand that we do much more.
Page 166 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 We have seen a remarkable influx of methamphetamine and heroin along the Southwest Border. The methamphetamine enters this country through Mexico. It is distributed from Texas through California, to Oregon, and north to Washington State, and curves across the rest of the United States.
We see heroin and cocaine from Colombia distributed through Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and then it comes through Florida up I95 all the way to the State of Maine. Narcotics prosecutions are resource-intensive. One of our most effective tools against drug conspiracy is the use of the court-ordered wire tap.
However, wire-taps are also labor-intensive. It is a round-the-clock effort, often involving simultaneous translations of multiple languages, complicated by the practice of telephone switching and cell phone use.
Our prosecutors must prepare and file numerous papers with the court, reporting every ten days and seeking renewals as required every 30 days. In response to the directive from this subcommittee, the United States Attorneys currently are moving forward in developing cohesive, coordinated, counter-drug strategies to ensure that prosecutive energies remain focused on drug priorities.
The United States Attorneys are setting forth methods to ensure the effective use of counter-drug resources provided by Congress. Finally, the United States Attorneys Offices must keep up with increased resources provided to investigators.
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Our request for 64 additional attorney positions and 32 support staff will support both resources received and enhancement requests by the DEA and FBI in fiscal years 1998 and 1999.
Although the United States Attorneys received additional resources from this subcommittee in fiscal year 1998, and we are very grateful and we thank you for that, we need more to handle new cases and to put more of the most serious drug offenders behind bars.
DEFENSIVE CIVIL RESOURCES
Our efforts against narcotics, violent crime, fraud, and other criminal offenses must be ongoing. But a similar commitment and effort must be made to our civil work. I ask that you give special consideration to our request for defensive civil resources.
We have not received resources in this area in over 15 years. Our cases are piling up. We can neither delegate nor decline these cases because we are the only game in town.
Any increases that you give us will be used wisely and well. We in the Executive Office will do all that we can to ensure that our U.S. Attorneys Offices have the tools they need to get the job done.
In this era of tight budgets, finding the resources to keep up with the drug traffickers is a continuing challenge. Once again, I appreciate all of the support you have given us over the years. I will be happy to answer any questions.
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[The statement of Ms. Bucella follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
OPENING STATEMENTCRIMINAL DIVISION
Mr. ROGERS. Ms. Warren.
Ms. WARREN. Chairman Rogers, Congressmen Mollohan and Dixon, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of the fiscal year 1999 budget request for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program and for the Criminal Division account.
I, too, would like to express the Department's appreciation to this committee for the increased drug fighting resources you have provided us over the past several years.
We will continue to take best advantage of the funding that is allocated for our purposes. Last month's release of the 1998 National Drug Control Strategy highlights the coordinated federal effort that addresses drug abuse in our country today.
The 1998 National Strategy and the resources requested in our 1999 budget are aimed at improving our ability to coordinate and facilitate national and international narcotics law enforcement, to build upon past successes, respond to new and emerging drug threats and maximize coordination between and among our law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community.
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DOJ DRUG CONTROL STRATEGIC PLAN
Pursuant to this Committee's direction, the Department of Justice itself is in the process of developing a drug control strategic plan that addresses problems relating to drug trafficking and use and their consequences in this country. That sets the frame work to implement concrete action plan items to combat such problems.
My remarks today will reflect many of the fundamental programs discussed in the upcoming DOJ Drug Control Strategic Plan. The DOJ plan adopts a comprehensive balanced attack and draws upon the expertise, experience, and resources of its numerous counter-drug components.
The DOJ plan fits within the Attorney General's over-arching vision that with insightful intelligence and analysis, we will identify and target the major trafficking organizations causing the greatest harm.
We will work nationally, regionally, and locally against them. The Criminal Division and other Justice components achieved the Department's counter-drug purposes set out in the strategic plan in five primary ways.
First, we aim to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations through a coordinated inter-agency approach. We believe that a coordinated task force type approach is the best method for attacking sophisticated multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations.
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 For instance, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, the OCDETF Program, targets the highest level traffickers by coordinating the collaborative efforts of nine law enforcement authorities working in conjunction with state and local agencies. As another example, the Special Operations Division, DEA, FBI, the Custom Service, the Criminal Division, Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section work together to provide direction, intelligence analysis and coordination to the field, primarily in the Southwest Border Initiative.
Our coordinated inter-agency approach has been applied in geographic regions, the Southwest Border Initiative, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and as well for particular drug types, the National Methamphetamine Strategy.
Based upon the experience and success of the methamphetamine strategy, we are now designing action plans to implement as part of a proposed National Heroin Strategy.
Second, we combat the counter-drug problems of local communities and neighborhoods. Director Bucella's presentation addresses the many types of cases prosecuted and the strength and enthusiasms of the U.S. Attorneys.
Third, we aim to reduce drug-related violence. The Department's Anti-Violent Crime Initiative, ongoing since 1994 recognizes that the full array of U.S. law enforcement agencies, federal, state, and local, are needed to address the root causes of voilent crime in this country.
Fourth, we attack drug trafficking through a financial sector approach. Working with the Treasury Department, we have made significant strides by targeting particular sectors of the U.S. financial system in order to reduce their potential for abuse from money launderers.
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In a similar vein, the Department will make greater strategic use of asset forfeiture as an offensive weapon to disrupt the operations and dismantle the economic structures of drug trafficking organizations.
Fifth, we will work cooperatively with foreign governments to develop counter-drug relations. The Department of Justice working with the Department of State is actively involved in negotiating new extradition treaties with countries we did not have a relationship with before and modernizing some that are now out of date.
We, in this effort, vigorously promote the need for treaties to permit the extradition of nationals. We anticipate that the DOJ Drug Control Strategic Plan will be useful in providing the Department's leadership, Congress, and the American public with a measuring stick to gauge the Department's progress, and hold it accountable for results achieved with the resources provided.
In addition, we look forward to working with Chairman Rogers and the Members of this subcommittee and others as this process evolves to continue developing the best, most effective counter-drug strategy for DOJ. Let me take just a brief moment to highlight the role of the OCDETF Program and the Criminal Division in the National Drug Strategy and outline our fiscal year 1999 budget request. OCDETF remains our premiere inter-agency anti-drug coordinating mechanism bringing together the U.S. Attorneys and eight federal investigative agencies, and their state and local counterparts against the most sophisticated, those large multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations.
Page 172 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 THE OCDETF PROGRAM
The OCDETF model works in every district of this country, integrating investigators at the federal, state, and local level, and involving prosecutors at the inception of major investigations.
I think the effectiveness of OCDETF can be seen in the increased number of investigations opened in the last fiscal year, a rise of 22 percent over fiscal year 1996. The giant successes mentioned by Administrator Constantine against the major Mexican trafficking organization and then in the methamphetamine area were both OCDETF cases.
We will continue to highlight this exceptional inter-agency cooperation that is fostered by the OCDETF Program. The high level work of OCDETF will continue. In addition, we will work with the HIDTAs, the high intensity drug trafficking area groups, around the country in order to combine and complement the expertise and resources of both OCDETF and HIDTA in our common purpose.
The President's fiscal year 1999 budget requests $304 million for the Inter-Agency Crime and Drug Enforcement Appropriation account providing program resources for DOJ's agencies that participate in OCDETF. It will support 3,015 permanent positions and 2,960 work years.
CRIMINAL DIVISION RESOURCES
For the Criminal Division, first the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section, the 1999 budget request seeks an increase in the Division's Narcotics and Organized Crime account of $465,000 for five additional attorney positions in the Criminal Division.
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These will help to coordinate and facilitate those national narcotics efforts, to address increasing narcotics trafficking in the Caribbean Basis and along the Southwest Border, to develop and coordinate the Department's Heroin Strategy, to enhance bilateral cooperation with the U.S. and Mexico, and to improve coordination among intelligence and law enforcement agencies in narcotics efforts.
We are also seeking an increase in our computer crimes and high tech crime area. Let me conclude by expressing the appreciation of the OCDETF Program and the Criminal Division for the strong support this committee has demonstrated.
Stemming the level of drug trafficking and the abuse in this country remains the top priority for the Administration. The Department will continue to follow a comprehensive, coordinated, inter-agency approach to fight drug trafficking and illicit drug abuse and their consequences in an effort to protect our nation's youth.
We believe the National Drug Control Strategy, DOJ's evolving Drug Control Strategic Plan, and our fiscal year 1999 budget request provide an opportunity to strengthen and expand our efforts in this area. Thank you.
[The statement of Ms. Warren follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
THE DRUG PROBLEM
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Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. I thank all of you for your statements. We have two votes on the Floor; a 15-minute vote followed by a 5-minute vote. I think we can proceed here for a short period before we are required to go vote temporarily and come back.
Now, as I alluded to earlier, when this Administration took office, and I am not intending to be political here, I am critical of the Administration's policy, they have changed the policy which had been going on for a number of years, even decades, of attempting to interdict the flow of narcotics and drugs into the country, and also at the same time trying as best we could to prevent the use of drugs in the country.
With respect to the effort at eradication in source countries, the Administration made a shift. They seriously cut back on the interdiction resources. They cut the interdiction monies by 35 percent. They cut the international drug control programs by 55 percent.
They increased the treatment programs here at home, treating the wounded. They increased that by 23 percent. It is as if we have simply declared a truce in the war against drugs, brought our money home to treat the wounded, and let the war continue almost unchecked.
That shift from interdiction has been costly. The availability of drugs in this country has increased. The drug purity has increased and prices have fallen. The price of a gram of cocaine has dropped 11 percent. The price of a gram of heroin is down 34 percent, purity is up 21 percent.
We hear about progress in the leveling off of drug use by eighth graders over the past year, but cocaine use by eighth graders is up 57 percent in this period of time. Marijuana use by eighth graders is up 175 percent in this same period.
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Experimentation with harder drugs among seniors, such as heroin and cocaine is again up 75 percent during this period of time. It validates what many health practitioners, social scientists, and most of us have feared that the increase in marijuana use we saw over the past years is the gateway, the precursor to harder drugs.
Juvenile arrests for drug abuse violations have increased 138 percent during the period of time when we have been cutting back on the interdiction effort. We have increased the funding for DEA, U.S. Attorneys, Justice. In total, in the War on Drugs, we have increased funds like no one has ever seen before, over the objections of the Administration and many times over the vetos out of the White House.
Then to see the Administration get on television and claim we are fighting this War Against Drugs sickens one at the hypocrisy that we see down there. As I say, I am not talking politics. If Reagan had done this, I would have been harder on him than on Clinton and Bush. I do not care who it is. They are dismantling the War Against Drugs and letting this sickening influence take over this country, in spite of the best efforts of people like yourselves.
I told General McCaffrey jus the other day face-to-face the same thing, except in stronger words. He is a nice man. He is just absolutely powerless. He has no authority or power. He does not command any troops. He has got no budget.
All he can do is write papers and talk well. He is good at that. We have no coordinated fight against drugs apparently; all the while we increase treatment of juveniles and treatment of drug addicts in the country.
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We give money to try to make them feel better. Thank God we can do that. I want to see that that continues. We are absolutely ruining the nation's young people by declaring a cease-fire on the War Against Drugs coming into the country.
I do know whose idea was it to cut interdiction and shift all of the monies to treatment. Do you know, Mr. Director?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Does anybody here know?
Ms. BUCELLA. No, sir.
Ms. WARREN. I think the decision was a combined inter-agency decision that our money was not being best used, sort of indiscriminate interdiction in the transit zone. Intelligence queued interdiction was a lot different. We were a whole lot more successful there.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, let us get right to the chase here. Have you extradited a single person from Mexico on drug charges since you and I talked here last year?
Ms. WARREN. Yes; not Mexican nationals, though, and I know that is your question.
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Mr. ROGERS. Yes.
Ms. WARREN. No. There has not been a single Mexican national extradited on drug charges. We have had other nationals and we have Mexican nationals not on drug charges.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, have you sought extradition?
Ms. WARREN. We have provisional arrest warrant requests for maybe 120 individuals. About a third of those are probably for narcotics. The Government of Mexico has ordered extraditable ten individuals, five for drug trafficking pending their completion of sentences or appeals down there. They have not been surrendered to us.
Mr. ROGERS. What are they wanted for? What are the arrest warrants for in general?
Ms. WARREN. In general, narcotics conspiracies, maintaining continuing criminal enterprises, often homicides in relation to the narcotics trafficking, enormous violence. There are prime targets.
Mr. ROGERS. Director Constantine, tell us about the kinds of people that we are seeking to extradite from Mexico.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. We are able to determine who is responsible for the command and control of drug trafficking within the United States. There are a number of principals from these organizations. They are primarily from the Arellano-Felix organization; one of whom, is Ramon, one of our top ten fugitives. Others include the Amado Carillo Fuentes Organization that operated out of Juarrez, Miguel Caro Quintero and a new individual named Taliveres, who was very much involved in the same types of trafficking.
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These are the leading organized crime figures probably in the world today. They have been indicted in jurisdictions within the United States. Warrants have been issued with the cooperation from the Justice Department. Provisional arrest warrants have been issued.
There are two major difficulties with our enforcement strategies. The Government of Mexico has been unable to locate and to arrest many of the primary figures. Those that have been arrested have not yet been extradited to the United States.
Mr. ROGERS. Those are the major drug cartel figures in the world.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. These are the primary players in the world, yes.
Mr. ROGERS. But the ones that impact us most severely are the Mexican nationals that you have mentioned.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. The two major organizations are from Mexico and Colombia. I would say given the nature of the methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine trafficking combined probably the figures from Mexico are those most dangerous to the citizens of the United States.
Mr. ROGERS. Mexico refuses to send them to us for trial?
Page 179 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Ms. WARREN. They have not refused.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, why did you say it?
Ms. WARREN. Either they are serving out their sentences, or on appeals, or they have not arrested them yet. We are very anxious to get those individuals here.
Mr. ROGERS. They have arrested a great number of them.
Ms. WARREN. At least ten that we are seeking now.
Mr. ROGERS. And they have not extradited those to you.
Ms. WARREN. That is correct. Those individuals are appealing their extradition orders.
Mr. ROGERS. Is there a more egregious violation of international societal behavior than the refusal of Mexico to arrest or extradite for trial those accused of the most heinous drug crimes? Do you know of anything in the world more heinous than this?
Ms. WARREN. We consider this a top priority.
Page 180 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. Then why in the devil did you certify Mexico as cooperating with us on drug wars?
Ms. WARREN. The Department of Justice does not certify them. The Administration certifies.
Mr. ROGERS. You recommended.
Ms. WARREN. I would prefer not to comment on any particular recommendation.
Mr. ROGERS. Did you recommend that they certify Mexico as being cooperating in the drug war? Did the Attorney General recommend?
Ms. WARREN. I believe that is an internal
Mr. ROGERS. I believe it is not. The Attorney General, in fact in her hearing herself, publicly swore that she recommended it. Now, who is right, you or the Attorney General, about whether or not it is public.
Ms. WARREN. The Attorney General is my boss.
Mr. ROGERS. Yes. And she recommended it. What did you do about it, Director?
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, I have always taken a position, and I think it is the appropriate one. It is not the responsibility of the head of the law enforcement agency to decide what countries should be certified.
Mr. ROGERS. Did you recommend it or not?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, I
Mr. ROGERS. You recommended against it?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, I did not, Congressman. I did not do that.
Mr. ROGERS. You did not do what?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I did not recommend against it. I did not recommend for it. All I do is
Mr. ROGERS. What did you do?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I provide all of the information on the drug trafficking to other people who are in policy positions.
Mr. ROGERS. Then you sat there without saying a word about whether or not we ought to certify Mexico?
Page 182 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is true; yes.
Mr. ROGERS. The Committee stands in recess; we will be back.
Mr. ROGERS. The Committee will come to order.
Mr. Constantine, what about Mexico. Did you have any statements to make about the Mexico certification?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, Congressman. Maybe I can make myself clear. I have never seen my role as a law enforcement official, public policy issues or something like certification, to recommend certify or de-certify.
What I do is I go over every piece of information I have about the criminal organizations, the quality of law enforcement, and the results. I just provide that information in a very candid fashion to policy makers. They use it for their decisions. I have always felt more comfortable with that role.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, but your assessment of Mexico's cooperation did not support certification; correct?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, that would be for others to decide.
Page 183 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROGERS. In your opinion.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I have avoided saying that, Congressman, because I do not think it is appropriate for a law enforcement official to even render an opinion on something like that.
I give full, candid, honest information on what the criminal organizations look like, what the response looks like. I leave it to others to evaluate that in the context of, I guess, other things that they look at. I have always been given an honest opportunity to do that.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, you provided a secret intelligence report about Mexico to the White House; did you not?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, sir. This idea of a secret intelligence report to the White House on the issue, or a secret intelligence report that was indicated in some publications, there is no such secret intelligence report that I know of.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, you provided a report to the White House.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, sir. I report all of my information on a continuing basis to the Attorney General.
Mr. ROGERS. Were these statements made and whatever communications were made to the White House, ''During the past year, the Government of Mexico has not accomplished its counternarcotics goals or succeeded in cooperation with the United States Government?''
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Mr. CONSTANTINE. That would never be in a report of mine, Congressman.
Mr. ROGERS. So, in the press accounts that quoted that language, those quotes are not yours?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I am not sure where they got that from. I know of no such secret intelligence report that was indicated. I saw the same things in the press. There were some issues in there that I knew were not reported correctly.
In fact, I called the reporters on one of the issues and made sure that they knew what the facts were. There was an allegation supposedly that General McCaffrey and I had a shouting match over the issue. That never happened.
Mr. ROGERS. The question is, is that statement correct? During the past year, did the Government of Mexico accomplish its counternarcotics goals or succeed in cooperation with the United States Government?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No. I do not think they reached the goals that were set out. The goals of arresting many of the major figures of these organizations has not occurred.
Page 185 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 I think these goals were set out last year, I believe by the Senate, perhaps in conjunction with the Executive Branch. The extradition of major narcotics figures and a number of other issuesno, those have not occurred, Congressman.
Mr. ROGERS. Tell me whether this is true or not. The Mexican Government's prospects for success are low because of endemic corruption, violence and the unabated growth of the drug trafficking syndicates in Mexico.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Those are not my words, but they are very close to what the situation is. You have very powerful wealthy criminal organizations and you have civilian law enforcement organizations in the narcotics arena, which were totally dismantled in the spring of 1997.
They are just now being rebuilt. You have the military having the primary counter-narcotics responsibility for civilian law enforcement. This fact was reported to us in investigations that we looked at. The reason for dismantling all of their civilian organizations was corruption that they had uncovered.
Mr. ROGERS. Is it true that the Mexican Government has arrested and prosecuted few individuals, despite the fact that the leaders of the main Mexican drug trafficking organizations are fully identified?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. As I mentioned before, individuals and criminal organizations that we are aware of only a few of them have been arrested. That is correct.
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Mr. ROGERS. But not many.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Is it true that every major investigation in Mexico uncovers significant corruption of law enforcement officials that continually frustrates your efforts in building cases and apprehending the most significant drug traffickers? Is the primary reason because there has been no meaningful progress in drug law enforcement in Mexico?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is very close to the situation on the major investigations and the relationship between corruption and the inability to reach the objectives. Those are not my words exactly, but that is fairly close to the way I see it.
Mr. ROGERS. Most of the narcotics and drugs coming into the country are coming by way of Mexico.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I figure it fluctuates, Congressman. The two areas of vulnerability are the Caribbean and the Southwest Border. The Southwest Border is where the majority of cocaine is entering the United States. The estimates we have from the various intelligence services vary between 60 percent to 75 percent of the cocaine.
I think that total probably fluctuates depending upon the circumstances of a month or a week. Virtually all of the methamphetamine that we have in the United States can be attributed to those organizations out of Mexico. About 20 percent of the heroin that is now being seized in the United States comes out of Mexico.
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The other area of vulnerability as I said is the Caribbean. For the most part Colombian organizations bringing massive amounts of cocaine, and lesser amounts of heroin into the Caribbean region with the goal of getting into Puerto Rico so that they can then trans-ship it into the major cities on the East Coast.
BI-NATIONAL TASK FORCES
Mr. ROGERS. We have the bi-national task forces with Mexico and yet I gather there is no sharing of intelligence between the task forces, correct?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. At the present stage, the bi-national task forces have not been put together in the structure they were intended to be. So far, they have been ineffective. The plan was for a co-location of agents from the DEA, the FBI and Customs in three cities on the other side of the border in Mexico along with a substantial contingent of law enforcement officials from Mexico.
Two issues have disrupted that plan. One was in the beginning, a lack of funding, a lack of assignment of qualified personnel on the part of officials in the Government of Mexico, which really culminated with the arrest of General Gutierrez Rebollo in February, 1997.
His position allowed him access to all of the intelligence and all of the investigations that had been conducted by these bi-national task forces. His arrest for major corruption with the Carillo Fuentes organization, in our opinion, compromised every investigation up until February 1997.
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There is presently a process, and we are optimistic on this particular program, that began last spring in which the Government of Mexico has imposed rigorous standards in a double vetting process for selected law enforcement officials from Mexico to be in those bi-national task forces.
However, because of security issues and problems that affect U.S. agents, there are no DEA, FBI, or Customs agents co-located with those particular units.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I can see why. I mean you do not dare share any meaningful information with those task forces because since last year, at least five senior Mexican officers involved in the task forces were arrested on suspicion of everything from taking bribes from traffickers to stealing and selling cocaine confiscated by the task forces, which was later found being sold in the U.S., to kidnapping key witnesses, right?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is accurate. That is true.
Mr. ROGERS. Yet, our government certified that Mexico was fully cooperating on the War on Drugs. How can you justify that? Can you rationalize that?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, as I said before, that is not my decision.
Mr. ROGERS. I understand that. What is your opinion?
Page 189 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. CONSTANTINE. Clearly, I have to say that key law enforcement officials, their Attorney General, and two of their major anti-drug civilian law enforcement institutions are making substantial efforts to bring into their service honest, earnest, people who will be narcotics enforcement agents.
The problem is that the number is in the low hundreds presently. Really, the situation with their adversaries are these huge powerful organizations with this tremendous amount of wealth and an incredible willingness to use violence against any honest police official. It is really a mismatch at this stage of the game.
Unlike last year when I testified here and in the Senate, there are specific units now that we do share information with, Congressman, on a limited basis.
DEA AGENTS IN MEXICO
Mr. ROGERS. Your agents are not allowed to carry a gun in Mexico.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I have always asked that any discussion involving the security of our agents, not only in Mexico but anyplace else, should be discussed in a private rather than a public forum because any discussions about their security or lack of security could make them vulnerable. I would be more than willing to discuss that privately with you and the other Congressmen.
Mr. ROGERS. Do you have agents there now?
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Mr. CONSTANTINE. Yes, sir. There are approximately 45 DEA agents stationed in various places, or attached to the embassy or consular offices throughout Mexico.
Mr. ROGERS. Are you satisfied with their security?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, at present, I am. We still have some very serious concerns about their security. Security arrangements of a number of high level officials of the State Department and other places are trying to work with the Government of Mexico to ensure that our people will be safe because there are a number of threats that have been made against DEA agents, both in country and against agents traveling into the country.
Our highest priority is to make sure that these kids come home safe every night in return for what they do for us.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I will talk to you privately about that.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. I will wind up this phase of the questioning and let someone else have it for awhile. I just want the Administration to know that a lot of people, including this Member, think it is horrendous that they certified that Mexico is fully cooperating with us in the Drug War when most of the drugs are coming through Mexico and through the corruption of Mexican government officials, among other people.
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At the same time, we decertified Colombia. I am glad for that. However I cannot understand how Colombia gets decertified because they are not cooperating and Mexico is certified as being fully cooperative. Can you find a difference between Colombia and Mexico in that respect?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, one of the key things in Colombia, you have to recognize is the professionalism of law enforcement. I am a personal friend of General Serrano who is the head of the national police. I think he has done an outstanding job in cleaning up an agency that had problems and being effective in doing proactive investigations.
One of the issues in Colombia is the significant reports everywhere about corruption involving high ranking elected officials up to and including the President. The eventual sentencing of the former Minister of Defense, who had responsibility for the law enforcement for issues involving substantial pay-offs, from the traffickers that has been reported again and again.
If I recall properly, the President of Colombia had his visa held by virtue of corruption involving narcotics issues. I think that is probably a key factor in many of the decisions.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Mollohan.
MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF THE WAR ON DRUGS
Page 192 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Administrator Constantine, Director Bucella, and Ms. Warren, I join the Chairman in welcoming you here this morning.
I would also like to join the Chairman in welcoming some fine U.S. Attorneys from West Virginia and Kentucky. Bill Wilmouth, we are pleased to see you here.
I join the Chairman in welcoming Mr. Famularo and Mr. Troop.
You all have a really difficult job. Obviously, the Chairman is focusing on the problems that are associated with performing that job and achieving success. I notice, Ms. Warren, in your testimony you allude to standards, measurements, or a matrix for measuring success as one of your goals. Could you talk to us a little bit about that? How should we measure success on the War on Drugs? To what extent are we being successful? Where, as the Chairman points out, are we coming up short?
First, I would like to know if we do have some standard, some indices that we can do a quantitative discussion of the issue?
Ms. WARREN. In the course of trying to develop the DOJ Drug Control Strategic Plan really the hardest part is providing those measurable indicators so that we can be accountable to you, the public, and to everyone.
In the course of our work in developing the strategic plan working with all of the components of DOJ, we have looked to the particular programs that we believe need to continue or need to be initiated and tried to develop under each one of those measurable standards.
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They vary in the present version from one to another. Sometimes they are more qualitative in nature. Sometimes quantitative and will have absolute numbers, or percentages or increases over what we have done in the past. It is very difficult.
The raw statistics of numbers of arrests, I do not believe will give you a meaningful indicator of how well we are doing if we do not show you the importance of those arrests, the level of the trafficker that the organization was dismantled.
If it is just a number, it could be a street level dealer or it could be one of the leaders of the Mexican federation that we would like to have here to pursue.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Right. Are you developing such a matrix?
Ms. WARREN. Yes, we are. As I say, it will be a mix of qualitative and quantitative instruments.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. How far along are you on that. We get books with statistics in it; arrests and all of that. What are you doing that goes beyond that and when will it be available?
Ms. WARREN. Our strategic plan was due to you on March 31st. It may be just a little late, but we hope to have it here shortly after that. It will include the performance indicators that we are proposing.
Page 194 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. MOLLOHAN. What do you consider to be the major successes? Could you talk about these indices that you are going to develop? Would you talk with us about your successes and where you think you are falling short?
Ms. WARREN. In terms of successes, I think we are doing quite well in our Southwest Border Initiative, particularly working through the OCDETF ProgramCriminal Division and U.S. Attorneys working on those giant multi-district cases against the major trafficking organizations.
Those wire-tap investigations take months, take enormous amounts of attorney and agent time. In the end, I think we have been able to take out particular cells of the distribution network that have had a tremendous impact on the country.
We have to keep working against the additional cells that spring up. I think we have been successful in that area. I think we are having some success in the methamphetamine area, which is good after such bad news after so many years.
There is emerging threat on the prosecution side. As well, DEA has enormous amounts of laboratory cleanups. There are hazardous materials that are left. It has trained innumerable state and local officers to handle that difficult task.
We work at it a different way, as well, trying to convince sellers of the precursors like the Walmart stores not to sell their precursors. They have voluntarily stepped back. We have also gone against rogue chemical corporations to prosecute them so that they know that they cannot sell the precursors with impunity.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. If you want to cite some statistics to make the point that you are achieving successes, what statistics would you cite?
Ms. WARREN. I think for individual programs, first of all, I would look at those. I would look at the numbers of organizations that we believe we have dismantled. To show you the relative power of those organizations and therefore how important those prosecutions were, I think we would show you their financial worth, the number of individuals involved, the scope of their operation; how many states they affected, as well as the volume of drugs.
DRUGS AND OUR YOUTH
Mr. MOLLOHAN. The Chairman has expressed considerable concern over the last couple of years about youth drug use. I think it is probably the one area with which we are all concerned.
How are you targeting that? How are we doing in that part of the war on drugs?
Ms. WARREN. Those are the disappointing statistics when you see increases in drug use by young people. We are working in our juvenile justice program trying to work with other departments, HHS, Department of Education in an education campaign, as well as mentoring work.
Page 196 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 One of the most important efforts we have to break the cycle of early introduction of a young person into the criminal justice system is to either work through a drug court or through some other coerced abstinence program to force them to be drug free in order to stay out of jail.
We feel that we are more successful if we do it earlier on and not later on and follow it with counseling and after care.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Would any measurement indicate that you are making progress on this and do you see us turning a corner? Is there light at the end of the tunnel, if you will?
Ms. WARREN. I think there are some measurements. For instance, for drug courts you look at the recidivism rate.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What about the overall trends for youth drug use and the early trends that the Chairman mentioned? How are we focusing on that? We are asking for additional increases in the fiscal year 1999 budgets of DEA and U.S. Attorneys have been requested.
To the extent resources are available here, those requests will probably be honored. But youth drug use is one area that everybody truly in a bipartisan way can be concerned about.
Ms. WARREN. Absolutely.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. With these increases, how are we attacking this aspect of the problem, the use of drugs?
Ms. WARREN. I think in the ways that I have laid out. I think our indicators will be of the effectiveness of those programs because the DOJ is an important component, but one component in this larger mix.
As I said, there are other departments involved in the federal system, state, and local. Families are involved. Communities are involved. It will be the work of all of us together that will show some final success, I hope.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Let me ask Ms. Bucella that question.
Just one of the increases you are asking for is $8.9 million for 64 additional attorneys. What part of that request is the result of the drug problem we are having? Surely there are other reasons for that request.
Ms. BUCELLA. Well, those will clearly be able to be of use in taking out some of our drug organizations and for narcotics prosecutions. If I could address your question about what are we doing with our youth in dealing with each of our U.S. Attorneys Offices, obviously we have 94 districts. We have 94 different ways to approach different drug problems.
Some districts have marijuana problems. Some districts have methamphetamine. What we have seen certainly in the last several years is an increased effort of the U.S. Attorneys Offices and of Assistant United States Attorneys not only involved in the prosecution end, but trying to do something back in the community.
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Let me give you a couple of examples. We have a Weed and Seed Program. Weed and Seed Programs started back in 1991, and we had about 17 sites. Basically, it is going in, taking out the drug dealers, cleaning up the neighborhood, and giving it back to the community, and letting the community take over.
Just last month I was in Oxnard, California at a Weed and Seed site. Not only is it a place where prosecutors take the drug dealers out, but we actually have prosecutors that are going to be involved in the DEFY Program. It is Drug Education For Youth Camp.
They are camp counselors, basically. They spend some time with the young children, as well as with the local police. This is a cooperative combined effort. It is law enforcement, the cops and the prosecutors, the community leaders, and the educators. This is not the be all and end all. I believe it is certainly a start in which we have been able to get our prosecutors involved, not just for weeding, which we are very, I think, pretty good at, but actually the seeding.
United States Assistant Attorneys pick locations to be prosecutors because that is really where they want to live. A good indicator of what kind of job they are doing is if they are able to go into certain neighborhoods and not be in fear of getting mugged or attacked.
So, that is one area. The Law Enforcement Coordinating Committees (LECC) Program is another area where our prosecutors with all the state and local community people find out what the problems are and try to attack those problems in such a way that they take out the largest drug dealer in a surgical way so that they get more bang for the buck and they are able to get the supplier as opposed to just the people that are distributing the drugs locally. They get the supplier out and take the drug element out of the community.
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So, there are many different ways. I believe in our strategic plan, as certainly the United States Attorneys do. This is what you are going to see. This is going to be an evolving process. The U.S. Attorneys will be fine tuning it, depending on what the needs of their communities are.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Latham.
DECISION ON CERTIFICATION OF MEXICO
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome all of you here also. I just want to clarify for my own information, Mr. Constantine.
You are saying that you had no input as to the certification of Mexico.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is correct, Congressman. I never have and hopefully I do not think I ever will be asked to, tell people whether another nation should be certified or decertified.
I am an experienced 37-year career law enforcement official. I provide people with the facts of what the criminal situation looks like and what organizations are responsible for drug trafficking. I let other individuals make those decisions on certification.
Page 200 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 METHAMPHETAMINE USE IN IOWA
Mr. LATHAM. I think the Chairman will remember two weeks ago when we had Director Freeh. He had no input either as to certification of Mexico. I think that is amazing.
As you are well aware, the methamphetamine problem in Iowa is very serious. This is totally amazing to me. Last year the number of methamphetamine-related arrests in Iowa surpassed the number of drunk driving arrests.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is correct, in the Des Moines area.
Mr. LATHAM. The number of methamphetamine-related arrests surpassed the number of drunk driving arrests. It is America's Heartland. First of all, I would like to, I do not know how after saying that I can do this, but I really commend you for the effort as far as the Tri-State Drug Task Force up in Sioux City has really done a tremendous job working with local law enforcement.
Last year, the federal agencies seized out of that task force 30 pounds of methamphetamine and made 66 felony arrests. The cooperative effort up there I think has really made a difference. The learning that law enforcement has been able to achieve at all levels, coordination did not give these people a place to hide anywhere up there. Of the 66 arrests, 34 of them were made on state charges and 32 on federal charges. How do you determine whether the state is going to get the case?
Page 201 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. CONSTANTINE. It will probably be a prosecutor's decision. Usually, if we are working, as we do in Iowa, with a law enforcement agency, there will be a decision as to what is the best jurisdiction to bring that criminal prosecution.
Where will it be most effective? Where will the sentencing structure have the most impact on the traffickers? What you have in Iowa, which I am sure you know, is large amounts of methamphetamine usage and you have substantial criminal organizations that are being directed from Mexico and from California who are responsible for most of the distribution systems in Iowa.
Very often a major investigation that begins in California, in Mexico, or in Texas, the defendants in Iowa will be a part of the conspiracy and will wind up with the federal prosecution as the result of their interstate activity.
Then if the charge is more appropriate to be placed at the state level, and there is institutional capacity in the prison system, and there is capacity in the prosecutor's office, then they will go with the state charge.
Mr. LATHAM. Apparently since 1993, you have been collecting data on Special K or ketamine. Can you tell me the extent of the ketamine problem in the U.S., I guess, and in my part of the country?
What conditions in current law impede DEA and the Department of Justice from adding ketamine to the list of federally scheduled controlled substances?
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Mr. CONSTANTINE. Just by way of education, ketamine is a legally-manufactured substance in the liquid state. We have a lot of it that is used mostly in the veterinarian arena. It is an anesthetic, tranquilizer drug in that particular state.
It is also used in medical practice in a much smaller proportion with humans. What has happened is that young people have found that this drug, can be reduced to the powered form, and they are using it like they would use ecstacy, MDMA, LSD, or PCP.
It produces a hallucinogenic state. It is a psychedelic response that people have from using the drug. If when you look at the numbers of hospital room admissions for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs, the numbers are not as large certainly for ketamine. They are really in the single digits for a substantial period of time. There is a big jump in 1996 of individuals who either have been found to have an experience that brought them to the attention of a hospital room admission.
I think were 46 such people maybe in 1996. That is substantially more than the year before. A number of post-mortem examinations on people who had expired, there were five or six.
So, it is a legally manufactured thing that creates a problem for us in the scheduling control system. We have a regulatory responsibility in DEA where we schedule drugs under controlled substances.
It is like many of the processes in the Federal Government. It is very elaborate and very long. Sometimes it can take two or three years for us ever to reach that particular stage.
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With ketamine, we have looked at it and we are now providing all of our information to the Department of Health and Human Services where they will do a medical look at it and come back to us with a response.
We can support the scheduling process which will go through hearings and fact-finding. That is an elongated process. The second area available is for straight legislative scheduling which can be done in a much more expedited fashion. Emergency scheduling for certain substances is available in the regulatory function.
It does not apply to substances that are legally manufactured for a legitimate medical purpose. So, if we were to have a requirement to be able to address these usage problems and abuse problems, the emergency aspects of it would have to include those already either legally manufactured or under clinical study. Those are two areas for drug substances that we cannot attach emergency scheduling procedures as of today.
Mr. LATHAM. What about derivatives of designer drugs? Are they automatically as a derivative scheduled?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. When you get to the scheduling of drugs where people will change certain molecules or something in the chemical structure, we have the ability to address that in the emergency scheduling and then to look at the information both from our own abuse patterns
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Mr. LATHAM. What kind of time periods is that?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I would have to get back to you from our diversion people to tell you how quickly we could do that. I think in a fairly short period of time when you compare the other process.
Mr. LATHAM. Would you have any idea what percentage of the methamphetamine in Iowa is home grown?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. A very small amount. I would say in Iowa, 5 percent at the most is home. Now, if you would go over to Missouri, you would find a little bit different
Mr. LATHAM. Yes. Why is that?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I'm from Buffalo, New York. I thought everything west of the Mississippi was the Pacific Ocean for most of my childhood. I stand corrected. But most of it obviously is coming from major distributors out of Mexico and California who are bringing the methamphetamine to Iowa for distribution.
Mr. LATHAM. I am not picking you out here necessarily, but I have a lot of questions as to who is actually making up the budgets and if the requests are actually what is needed or if someone else is doing it.
Page 205 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 METHAMPHETAMINE NETWORK PROGRAM
It says in the testimony that the Administration's request is for $24.5 million for the Methamphetamine Network Program. How much did you actually request from OMB for the program?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I do not have the figure with me. That is very close, Congressman, to our request. This is the second year of substantial efforts in the methamphetamine program.
Sometimes it gets a little complicated. Let me try it briefly to reduce it to where it is easily understood. When we have a Southwest Border investigative strategy where the FBI, the DEA, and the Criminal Division target organizations that are poly-drug distribution systems, it will include methamphetamine traffickers as well as cocaine traffickers. Additionally, we have doubled the number of people in Iowa over the last three years because of this problem.
All of the money that we spend on these very elaborate organized crime investigations benefit the State of Iowa because the major traffickers who reside in California or in Tijuana are bringing the drugs there. If we can do something about their activities, that is all part of it.
We call it a seamless continuum. It really is. We were able to pick that up from these elaborate Title III investigations and court-ordered wiretapping.
Mr. LATHAM. Very good. In looking at the budget in general, maybe we should figure out some kind of user fees that we could charge here to pay for this. They have got user fees everywhere else. Thank you.
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Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. Mr. Dixon.
STRATEGY FOR WAR ON DRUGS
Mr. DIXON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming our three witnesses today. Mr. Constantine is the strategy to attempt to win the War on Drugs or contain the War on Drugs?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Let me say, it seems to me that in our society today, it is going to be very difficult in the foreseeable future to declare victory on the use of drugs. The proliferation of precursors in our society, the financial motivation, differences in our relationships with other countries.
In the foreseeable future, we cannot prosecute drug dealers out of existence because there are too many people standing in line. Source country eradication has not worked because from what I understand, it merely drives the price up.
In impoverished countries where farmers are encouraged to substitute crops, it just means that persons interested in drugs will pay more. Once you close down one highway used to bring drugs into the country, another one crops up. We are always exploring new ways to get drugs into the country.
It is very similar to the manufacturing of garments. There are people traveling the world always looking for a place. Once you close down that Caribbean, there will be something else that crops up.
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Education and rehabilitation are very important because if we can, and I am not suggesting that we can be totally successful, but if we can reduce the demand for any product, we find that there is less of that product around.
Mr. DIXON. Now, I understand that education and treatment and rehabilitation have had some modest success. I did not hear from my friend, Ms. Warren, an articulation of that success. I notice that the White House, the National Drug Control Strategy.
I note that it says Drug Control Strategy. It does not say anything about winning this war. It talks about the impact of treatment. So, I would like to take my time for you to explore the importance of education and rehabilitation in a triad of attack on it.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Let me answer the first question. I have always been uncomfortable with the analogy of the use of the words ''War'' on Drugs. I grew up as a young child in World War II.
I know the sacrifices that this country made in human life. I can remember my brother had a paper route and he was taking me around to houses that had like gold stars on the window and him slapping me around to keep my mouth shut and not talk because of what had happened at this house.
I saw people go without certain amounts of food, cars, and tremendous sacrifices. If the word ''war'' is an analogy that you use, then in essence you have to be willing to make those same types of collective sacrifices. I do not see that anyplace in this society presently.
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I also am somewhat of an optimist because I started my police career in 1960. The world then was much different than the world today. So, I know that the world does not have to be this way.
At that point time a number, still too large, but only two million people in this entire country had ever used drugs of one kind or another. Now 80 million people in this country have used illegal substances at one time or another.
I watched in horror as people philosophized and, I have to say, went past that and encouraged young people to use drugs because it was part of their liberty. It was a learning experience. It would not harm them.
I knew this thing was going to be a disaster. Most of us did, but we were kind of laughed at when we told them that this is where we were going. Well, this is where we got to.
Mr. DIXON. LSD would be a classic example of that.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Marijuana, LSD, cocaine. I mean, this was a horror story. So, we have got ourselves, I thought, a terrible situation. I do not see any alternative but to make dramatic improvements over the next five or ten years.
I do not think we can take these figures we are looking at right now. People should look at more than just the figures. There is a doubling in that population that is experimenting with drugs.
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What is not there is that there is going to be an explosion in the number of teenage people by the year 2005 in this country. It will be the largest number of teenagers we have ever had in our demographic base.
If we do not do something about that drug use, we are predestined, an entire generation, to tremendous social problems. I do think prevention works. I think over the long haul, it has to be the ultimate answer for this society.
PREVENTION RISK OF DRUG USE
I think you start off with as a nation, as leaders, myself and others, we have to articulate a very strong disapproval of the use of drugs by people in those age brackets.
I have looked at study after study, Congressman. Where you can show a strong disapproval in a social sanctioning of the use of drugs, young people perceive a risk to their lives and their future of using of those drugs and their usage goes down. If we, as a society, decide that we do not articulate that disapproval, children do not see the risk. So, if we have TV shows, if we have people who proclaim that drugs are just a part of an interesting experience in life, it is no mistake to me or something that people should not understand that young people start using drugs.
I am very impressed by the Partnership For a Drug Free America. There were programs that you funded last year. I do not know if you see the value that I see.
Page 210 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The mere identification of the issue and the threat level of the issue communicated in a very sophisticated fashion to a wide population I think is worthwhile. If we do not start today, I think we are making a mistake.
If we start today and say, hey, we are going to influence our young people that this is not something they should be invovled in, hopefully seven or eight years from now we will see a result.
I also can recall a period of time in 1989 and in 1990 when I was New York State. I had been in New York State law enforcement for 30 years watching violence explode in that state and people saying we could not do anything about it. Well, the leaders in that city and in that state did do something about it. They have dropped the violent crime rate in that state by 60 percent to 70 percent, where people said it was impossible to do previously.
So, there are a number of things that I think we can do. Our role in law enforcement, I think we can proclaim some successes. I think if you look at that level of violence everywhere in our society, at least half of it and in the cities, probably 70 percent to 75 percent, was violence attributed to gangs involved in drug trafficking.
REDUCTION IN VIOLENT CRIME
Very active enforcement, the Attorney General's anti-violent programs, state level enforcement, local law enforcement have targeted those violent criminals who were involved in drug trafficking.
Page 211 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 If you look around this country, many said they would never see it happen. Every year for the last four years, you will see the violent crime rate dropping. In New York City, you are seeing it dropping to levels that people would not believe.
I just saw the figures Saturday. They came out for the first two months or three months. In 1990, there were 2,200 murders in that city. Last year there were under 800. So, that means 1,400 people have their lives that would not have had their lives.
Those are cumulative numbers that build over years. So, I am an optimist that things can be done. I know that my role in life as a law enforcement official is to try to bring some order to society while prevention experts and families solve this problem.
FAMILY STRUCTURESOLUTION TO DRUG PROBLEM
I also believe that the ultimate institution that will solve this problem if they want to is the family structure. Absent that, I do not know that we in government can ever solve those problems. That is kind of a long answer. There are areas where I may not have a lot of expertise.
SUCCESS RATE VERSUS RESOURCES USED FOR COMBATTING DRUGS
Mr. DIXON. Mr. Chairman, if you would just allow me one follow-up question to this. In the triad that the Chairman talked about, and that is eradication, education rehabilitation, and interdiction, how would you measure or compare the rate of success with the money spent on rehabilitation and education with interdiction and source country eradication?
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Mr. CONSTANTINE. It would be almost impossible for me to do, but I will tell you exactly what I told people at my Senate confirmation hearing when I was not an employee of the Federal Government and probably had a little more freedom to say what you want from time-to-time.
The idea of having these three philosophies compete with each other, I do not think is in everybody's best interest. Rather than trying to find different ways to cut the pie up, I think the better way is to get a bigger pie. I think they are all related and they are all important to solving this problem. If we all agree, and I have to agree because I have six children and 11 grandchildren. I have spent my whole life in communities, mostly in New York State, seeing the devastation of this problem.
If we are that committed, I do not think we should take from one to give to another because I think we will then be locked forever into this constant competition which I think is unhealthy for resources.
Mr. DIXON. Mr. Mollohan points out to me that the pie has gotten larger.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is correct.
You are asking me to compare the efficacy of five or six different programs.
Page 213 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. DIXON. Let me ask you this. Is the money for interdiction versus education equally well-spent as an investment?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I would say so.
Mr. DIXON. Do you think that if we put all of the resources that we could muster to interdiction, that we could ever close down entirely or 90 percent rate of success in closing down borders?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. No, I do not think so, Congressman.
Mr. DIXON. What about the source country eradication programs?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Do you mean if you took all of the money and put to country source eradication? No, sir, I do not. See, that is my sense of this. If we took all of the money and put it in any of the three areas that we are talking about, that would not have an effect. I think they have to be done at the same point in time, at the highest level of intensity that the government can afford.
Mr. DIXON. I see the Chairman is getting nervous. Thank you very much.
DRUG TRAFFICKING IN THE CARIBBEAN
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you, Mr. Dixon. We have another series of votes coming up in about 15 minutes. So, we will try to conclude this by that time, if that is agreeable.
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All of us, I think agree, that prevention efforts here at home are worthwhile and they work. We ought to do that. Eradication has not worked very well. The thing that was working well that has been cut back on is the interdiction of drugs coming into the country.
This is a law enforcement hearing. This is not a hearing on how to prevent kids from wanting drugs. I mean, none of us are experts in that field. Certainly, I am not. We are here as law enforcement people.
This is a law enforcement hearing on the budget for the DEA, the U.S. Attorneys, and the Criminal Division. That is what we are going to focus on. That is what this is all about. This is where you expertise comes into play. That is what we pay you for.
Now, let us talk about the Caribbean. We have neglected the Caribbean for awhile here. Your testimony, Mr. Administrator is that we have seen a resurgence of trafficking in the Caribbean. Would you mind giving us an overview of that?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. What has happened, as far as we can see, is that when the arrest of the leadership in Cali, Colombia took place, which was a very effective stroke, their relationships with people in Mexico, the successors was not as strong.
They were looking for a way to get their cocaine into the United States without having to deal or to give any large payment in drugs or money to the organizations from Mexico.
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These new groups, many of them were North Coast traffickers, began to use the Caribbean again with an intent of using anyone of those islands, to get the drugs into Puerto Rico and then from Puerto Rico into the United States.
Mr. ROGERS. So, it is a major route.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Yes, sir. It is 30 percent or 40 percent of the cocaine anyway.
FUNDING FOR THE CARIBBEAN
Mr. ROGERS. Over the last two years, this Subcommittee provided $85 million, not requested by the Administration, to enhance DEA and other Caribbean area drug efforts. We strongly believe that intelligence collected and gathered, and investigations conducted by DEA agents in source countries like Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and the Caribbean countries such as the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, provide the critical information needed to track and interdict shipments bound for and even into the U.S. I think you would agree with that.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Yet, this is the first year that the Administration has requested additional resources for the DEA and the Caribbean.
If this is such a major transit route for drug smugglers, why is this the first time they have requested an increase in funds? I mean, we, the Congress, have been doing it. Finally, after three years, they come back in and say, we want some more money.
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Mr. CONSTANTINE. I think part of it was the timing of when the arrest took place in Cali and when the traffickers revisited the trafficking pattern through the Caribbean. Many of our budget requests had been, I think rightfully so, built upon our concern with the Southwest Border, as often happens.
Unfortunately, the traffickers' ability to make decisions and to change strategies, too often, are too quick for the government. That could be a part of it. Then there was a series of hearings that were held. I believe Congressman McCollum and others held hearings in Puerto Rico focused more and more on the issue. We were able to provide the information. I think that resulted in the supplement to last year's budget.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, I mean we have been furnishing that out of this subcommittee for two years.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. This is the first time you have requested an increase in funds for the Caribbean without us making you spend it.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. That is correct.
Mr. ROGERS. Yet, the Caribbean route has been blossoming now for several years.
Page 217 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. CONSTANTINE. Since probably early 1996 is when it started to become, again, a major factor. I mean it never really went away. I think most of our attention, rightfully or wrongfully, was directed at these organizations on the Southwest Border.
Mr. ROGERS. What percentage of intelligence leads which DEA gathers and passes along to interdiction agencies are not followed up on due to lack of interdiction resources, would you say?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. I cannot give you the exact number. I can get back to you with a number and figures. We would work very closely with Admiral Kramek and Southcom.
The ability to deliver interdiction assets on the part of the Coast Guard, I can check and see what those figures would be. Part of their problem, I believe, right now is that in the Caribbean the traffickers are using these very fast, fairly small, boats.
The Coast Guard or Customs can see them on radar tracks. They may see them in an aerial surveillance. The ability to interdict them and to stop them in some type of engagement on the water, I believe, is limited.
The Coast Guard has advised me of that and we are trying to address that now. I know that many times they have been with the Admiral and listened to him. I do not mean to speak for him.
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There are so many issues that have involved immigration and other issues in the Caribbean. It has been difficult for them to keep up all of the responsibility that they have.
Mr. ROGERS. We will have to rush through here. I may have to ask us all to try to keep our questions and answers as brief as we can because of the limited time. Since 1992, coca leaf grown in Peru, I am told, has increased 12 percent; in Colombia 81 percent increase. Crop eradication is not working; correct?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. The coca leaf production and distribution to markets in Peru I think has been sharply reduced over the last two or three years with the air interdiction policy of the Peruvian Government. There has, however, been really a dramatic jump in coca leaf production in Colombia.
Mr. ROGERS. Crop eradication is not working.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, it does work only if it is part of the whole strategy.
Mr. ROGERS. What I am trying to get at is crop eradication is not working very well.
Page 219 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. CONSTANTINE. A reduction in the total number of plants, no, sir. They have not been reduced.
Mr. ROGERS. Is it true that we could better use those monies in interdiction efforts more efficiently?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Number one, the eradication issue is a State Department funding issue. The interdiction is the Navy, the Coast Guard, and Customs. For me to say which one of those two would be a more effective expenditure of the money would probably be inappropriate.
STATUS OF DOJ STRATEGIC PLAN
Mr. ROGERS. Now, Ms. Warren, back briefly to the report strategy that we asked you for in the 1998 bill that you are going to give us before March 31st.
Ms. WARREN. Close to March 31st, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Are you progressing well on it?
Ms. WARREN. I think we are. I think all of the components have really thrown their heart and strength into it.
Mr. ROGERS. Will that lay a plan for the work of the Justice agencies to tackle drugs?
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Ms. WARREN. That is what we are aiming towards.
IMPACT OF NOT UPGRADING TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT
Mr. ROGERS. Quickly, let me ask you really quickly, CALEA. We are trying to get that worked out. Apparently, the Attorney General has hit another snag with the phone companies.
Tell me, Mr. Constantine, if the industry does not upgrade its telecommunications equipment, what will be the impact on your drug investigations?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. We will be out of the business of arresting major drug traffickers. There is no way that we are going to be able to identify, produce evidence, and arrest these big organized crime drug traffickers without court-authorized wire tapping ability.
If the CALEA situation and the technology are such that they are not addressed, we will be in big trouble. We are seeing it already in major investigations where our agents do five or six-months work, tremendous surveillance, are able to provide evidence to a judge who agrees that a court-ordered wire tap is appropriate, only to find ourselves so frustrated by the technology. That all of that work for all of those months by all of those agents has gone for naught and the traffickers are able to continue unimpeded.
INDICTMENT OF DAVID BOWMAN
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Mr. ROGERS. Now, you have indicted a former DEA budget analyst who stole $6 million, David Bowman. Anyone held accountable?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, obviously he has been indicted. He started in the fall of 1990 and systematically looted the public Treasury in a fraudulent larceny scheme.
Mr. ROGERS. Have you instituted tighter internal controls to prevent that from happening?
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Well, we did two things. One is we did a very elaborate criminal investigation. We went through thousands of vouchers. In addition, we are now contracting with an outside auditing firm to ensure that every possible implication that he would be involved in is closed.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you much for your testimony.
Mr. CONSTANTINE. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. The hearing is adjourned.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Thursday, March 26, 1998.
Page 222 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
LAURIE O. ROBINSON, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS JOSEPH E. BRANN, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES
SHAY BILCHIK, ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION
Opening Statement of Congressman Rogers
Mr. ROGERS. The Committee will be in order. We are pleased to welcome this afternoon Laurie Robinson, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs; Shay Bilchik, the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Joseph Brann, the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, also known as the COPS program.
Your agencies represent the Federal Government's primary assistance to State and local law enforcement agencies in their fight against crime in our communities. You are responsible for administering grants totaling $4.8 billion, an amount that has increased 100 percent since 1995. That was a full arsenal of programs from adding more police officers, building new prisons, addressing domestic violence, and combating and preventing juvenile crime.
There always seems to be an incident that strikes hard in all of our hearts as to the destruction that an act of violence can create in our communities. The tragic incident two days ago in Arkansas has left us all wondering: How does it come to this? Children age 11 and 13, opening fire indiscriminately on their friends and classmates, now face not only capital murder charges, if they can be brought legally, but also the reality that they have killed four classmates and a teacher, not to mention destroying their own lives and injuring many others. How will the families of the victims ever recover from such an event?
But today the Nation is focused on juveniles, partly because of this most recent event, but also because we are still witnessing unacceptable levels of juvenile violence and crime. This crime often goes hand in hand with drug use, which still is at unprecedented high levels for our teenagers.
Page 223 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Casual teenage drug use trends suffered a marked reversal over the past 6 years. Drug use among teenagers in virtually every childhood age group and virtually every illicit drug has increased.
Obviously money is not the only answer because not only has the Federal crime effort substantially increased, but State and local governments are also spending more and more all for the sake of our struggle to reduce teenage crime.
We all have ideas about how best to tackle these problems, and with the limitations on funding that we face, we will have to pool our knowledge, talent, and resources to make sure that we are investing in truly effective programs.
You are the experts on this subject who must look closely at State and local needs and recommend strategies for them that work and will make a difference. Your leadership is essential to addressing the crime and drug problems facing this country, and we expect you to give it everything that you have.
We will continue to support you, as we have over the past years, to the best of our ability, to give you the resources you need to address the most significant crime problems.
We will include your written statements in the record. You need not read them. If you would like to summarize 5 minutes apiece or less, we would be happy to hear you. General Robinson, we will let you begin.
Assistant Attorney General Robinson's Opening Statement
Ms. ROBINSON. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Mollohan, thank you so much for having us back again this year, and I am very pleased to have the chance to talk with you this afternoon not only about the challenges that we face together, but also about what I see as the progress all of us together are making in helping States and local communities combat crime. And I recognize very much, Mr. Chairman, that this progress is due in large part to the bipartisan support which this Subcommittee has offered to OJP to help us in the fight to help America's communities address crime.
Page 224 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 As a result of this sustained bipartisan support, we are, as you know, continuing to see decreases overall in the crime rates across the Nation. Crime rates are now at their lowest point in 25 years, and for the second year in a row, both the FBI uniform crime reports and our BJS National Crime Victimization Survey are showing significant decreases in crime.
But even recognizing this progress, of course, there is still clearly a very hard road ahead. As you mentioned, the continuing challenges that we face with youth violence, gangs, family violence, cyber crime, use of drugs by young people, and very tragically, of course, the event in Arkansas this week which reflects the kind of school-related violence which still occurs far too frequently in this Nation.
The decreases we are seeing do, in my view, reflect in part how much we have learned after 30 years of Federal criminal justice assistance about not only what works in controlling crime, but what the best role is that we from the Federal level should be playing.
Over the past year, we have taken a close look at the University of Maryland report, which, as you know, was commissioned by NIJ in response to the directive in the 1996 Appropriations Act, and its summary of existing evaluations, along with other recent assessments has helped lay out a road map for where we should be going and what our role at OJP should be. And I want to share with you from that some of my observations.
First, it is clear to me that our approach has got to be comprehensive, that we have got to combine and interconnect enforcement, prevention, community engagement, and punishment, and that no one strategy alone is likely to have a lasting impact.
Second, we know we have got to tailor our assistance to meet the needs of individual communities. So we are listening hard to what State and local officials and local criminal justice practitioners have to say, and we are shaping our programs to be responsive.
Page 225 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 And, third, we know that a critical role for OJP is to aggressively share information with the field about what works, and then help States and local communities effectively implement those approaches.
And on the issue of information sharing, I am pleased to report that our OJP home page is now getting up to 24,000 hits a day, which is much more than I have been able to report to you in the past.
Our 1999 budget request before you, Mr. Chairman, reflects these themes and these lessons learned, the notion of comprehensive approaches, of meeting the needs of local communities, and of focusing on what works. And I want to give you a couple of quick examples of that.
To combat violence against women, we are learning that comprehensive approaches that draw on every part of the community, every part of the criminal justice system, victim advocates and medical professionals, that all of these together are needed to protect domestic violence victims and to ensure offender accountability.
So an initiative like the one in Quincy, Massachusetts, which includes mandatory arrest, offender sanctions, mandatory drug and alcohol abstinence, and victim services, has had real impact there in reducing violence against women, and, in fact, there has been only one domestic violence-related homicide there in 10 years.
Turning to the second theme, that of meeting the needs of local communities, the Weed and Seed program embraces not only the comprehensive approach that the Maryland report touted that combines enforcement, the weeding side, with prevention, the seeding side, but it is a strategy that allows a local jurisdiction to tailor the program to meet local needs.
I have had the chance over the last several years to visit about two dozen Weed and Seed sites, and I can tell you that every one of them is somewhat different. Every one of them is tailored to the local community needs.
Page 226 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Like in New Orleans, where I was recently, in talking with the community police officer who has helped turn around a tough public housing site so it is now a peaceful place where kids can play.
Or in Mobile, Alabama, when I was down there last September, Mr. Chairman, with you and Mr. Callahan, where the Weed and Seed safe haven there is teaching the kids computer skills instead of their engaging with gangs and drugs.
Or in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was last year, where I saw young at-risk kids participating in a boxing league and getting to know their local police officers.
And we can tell that this work is paying off. In Seattle's Weed and Seed site, for example, we have measurements now that violent crime has dropped 54 percent within the site since that program was launched, and that compares to a drop of only 38 percent citywide.
And in Las Vegas, the Weed and Seed target area saw an 8 percent drop from 1993 to 1995, while citywide, crime increased by 3 percent.
LINKS BETWEEN DRUG USE AND CRIME
Finally, our budget request focuses on what we know works to address crime. We know, as an example, that about 63 percent of the people coming into the criminal justice system in this country are testing positive for drugs. And we know that study after study has confirmed the strong link between drug use and crime.
So it seems to me that we need to use the time that they are, in effect, in the clutches of the criminal justice system to break the cycle of addiction and crime, to hold them accountable, and to force them to stay clean.
And evaluations tell us that interventions like this can and do make a difference. I was out in San Diego earlier this year and went to the Donovan State Prison in the desert outside San Diego and visited the Amity Drug Treatment program, and I saw and talked to violent offenders there who are staying clean and whose lives have literally been turned around, even in a prison where they told me that any kind of drug was constantly available at low cost. But these people are not using drugs, and we know it from the drug testing.
Page 227 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 And, importantly, we also have follow-up recidivism data to tell us that this kind of approach can work. So as a matter of public safety, it seems to me we should actually be demanding that offenders go through this kind of regimen.
So our request for this residential substance abuse treatment program for drug treatment in prisons and for the new comprehensive drug intervention initiative that could help local jurisdictions implement these programs at the pretrial, probation, and jail level, I think all of this reflects the fact that we do know here what works.
Mr. Chairman, I could spend the afternoon detailing a number of other programs where we have seen great results, but I know my time is limited. So, in conclusion, I do appreciate the opportunity to be here today, and we look forward to working with you as well as our State and local partners in the effort to make America's communities safer.
Thank you very much.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you.
Mr. BRANN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
COPS Director Joseph E. Brann's Opening Statement
I do appreciate the opportunity to testify here today and to provide you with an update on the accomplishments of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the solid results that we are seeing in communities that are achieving a great deal of success with the aid of our grants, and the Administration's budget request to continue the work of this office in fiscal year 1999. I, too, want to especially acknowledge the Committee for the support that you have shown the COPS office and the American law enforcement community in particular. I am looking forward to the continuation of our mutual efforts to continue addressing the fundamental goal of adding 100,000 additional police officers who are engaged in community policing across this country.
Page 228 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The role of the COPS office is to support local community policing efforts by providing initial funding for these additional officers, to provide for the addition of equipment, technology enhancements, training, the creation of demonstration centers, and other kinds of regional resources, and to meet other needs in ways that are consistent with the provisions of the 1994 Crime Act. At this stage, we are actually slightly over halfway through our life span of this program, but, in fact, we are almost three-quarters of the way towards our goal of funding an additional 100,000 officers.
To date, as of this day, we have funded over 72,000 additional community policing officers, and about half of those officers are already screened, hired, trained, and redeployed or active on the streets. COPS has funded officers from our major communities across the country, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to places like Barbourville and Clay County, Kentucky, or Vienna and Worthington, West Virginia. At this time, more than 87 percent of the American public are being served by COPS grantees.
As a former cop and former police chief, I have to say that the COPS program is going to be of continuing value, of lasting value, primarily because the officers that we are funding are engaged in community policing, and that strategy is, in fact, a very tough and extraordinarily effective one. I think that that is true largely because it wasn't created here in Washington. It wasn't created in some academic institution or at a research think tank. It actually came out of the neighborhoods and the communities across this country where cops and citizens have been willing to invest their time and their energy trying to do something different.
Community policing was developed by cops like myself who knew that the traditional, reactive approach that we have engaged in to dealing with crime, that we have employed for many decades, has been ineffective. I think we have all been frustrated by the repeat victimization and the recidivism that we have seen as well as our own desire to do something more than simply respond to crimes after they have occurred.
Page 229 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 We want to do something to prevent those crimes and to stop violence and disorder, and I can say that my 26 years of local law enforcement experience, it has convinced me of one thing, and that is that community policing works, and it works because it is a strategic, relentless, and effective strategy. It is resulting in lower crime rates across the country.
By way of example, the city of Salinas, California, has used COPS funding to target gang violence. That police department used a COPS Youth Firearms Violence grant to create a violence suppression unit. And since the inception of that unit in 1995, Salinas has experienced a 14.7 percent drop in crime, and robberies with weapons have gone down a full 24 percent in the past year alone.
Closer by, Prince George's County has experienced a tremendous decrease in crime. Homicides were down 42 percent last year to an 11-year low. Rapes have declined by 6 percent and are at an 8-year low. And armed robberies there are down 23 percent to their lowest level in 9 years.
I think what is particularly remarkable there is that this is all happening in a decade in which Prince George's County has actually experienced a 12 percent increase in their population.
Community policing has been and is being credited with reducing violent crime in our major cities as well. Chicago is an example where in 1997 they experienced a drop in crime for the sixth year in a row. Los Angeles had a 12 percent drop in crime during 1997. But it also applies equally to small communities: Owensboro, Kentucky, where police credited their 7 percent decrease in crime in 1996, and a similar drop in 1997, to their community policing activities.
I think as a result this shows that the investment of COPS funds at the local level is clearly making a difference.
Perhaps the greatest impact can be seen in the communities where a COPS grant has meant the difference between having a police department and not having one at all. We have provided funding for over 200 towns to establish their own police forces. These are towns that never had their own police force, that now has an officer actually out there on the beat. And we are seeing that occur in towns such as Mt. Olivet, Kentucky; Fletcher, North Carolina; and Junior, West Virginia.
Page 230 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 So what we are seeing here is COPS grantees in large and small jurisdictions, urban, suburban, and rural settings, are expanding their crime prevention and problem-solving capacities and maximizing their use of resources to better protect these communities, these towns, these cities, and the suburbs.
1999 COPS BUDGET REQUEST
I would now like to turn to the administration's budget request for the COPS program for fiscal year 1999. We are requesting a total of $1.4 billion from the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund for the COPS program. We are also requesting $20 million for the Police Corps program. That will result in a total request of $1.42 billion for fiscal year 1999, and this appropriation will allow us to fund an additional 16,000 officers both through the direct hiring of new officers, under the Universal Hiring Program, as well as through the redeployment of existing officers through our COPS MORE, or Making Officer Redeployment Effective, strategy.
Due to the continuing and pressing need for law enforcement assistance in the Indian country, COPS is requesting $54 million be made available in grants and cooperative agreements for Indian tribes to directly enhance the capabilities of tribal law enforcement officers in policing those communities. These agencies do face particular challenges and have some very limited resource. So if COPS is to address the public safety needs of all Americans, we need to provide crucial funding to the tribal law enforcement agencies as well.
Further, we would like to make $1 million available for police recruitment efforts in support of the President's hate crimes initiative. The police recruitment program will provide funding to local non-profits to assist police departments in identifying and recruiting minority candidates.
Funding for both the Indian country and the police recruitment initiatives will be derived from available funds and will not have an adverse impact on our ability to fund the 100,000 additional community policing officers by the end of fiscal year 2000.
Page 231 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 From the perspective of the management and administration of the COPS office, we are requesting $27.9 million and 315 positions, which is a total of 251 FTE, from our total program dollars. That funding level is necessary to process the grant applications and the budgets, to approve payments on existing grants, and to monitor all the grants that we currently have out, as well as the new ones that will be added, and ultimately to provide the necessary management support to ensure that the goals of the COPS program are being achieved.
Despite a relatively low level of funding for administration and staffing, the COPS staff has truly done a superb job of managing more than 20,000 grants to over 10,000 grantees. I think that the level of customer service that we are providing is extraordinary.
Our staff has helped many of these agencies obtain Federal aid for the first time ever, and they have ensured that the grants are being used effectively and appropriately. Our fiscal year 1999 M&A request represents an increase of $7.3 million and a staffing level increase of 65 full-time equivalents over the 1998 appropriation level.
In closing, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify here today, on behalf of the COPS office, as well as on behalf of our grantees. I very much appreciate your interest in, and your continuing support for, the COPS program. I would be more than happy to respond to any questions you might have.
[The information follows:]
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Mr. ROGERS. Thank you.
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OJJDP Administrator Bilchik's Opening Statement
Mr. BILCHIK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. It is my pleasure to be with you today to discuss the activities of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Last year, when I appeared before you, I described how we were working with States and local communities to reduce and prevent juvenile crime and violence. And during the past year, I believe that we have been able to serve as a meaningful partner to communities across this country.
Next Hearing Segment(2)