by Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida), June 6, 2002
GRAHAM. Mr. President, on behalf of my colleagues, Senators DEWINE, MCCAIN,
MILLER, THOMPSON, SESSIONS, ROCKEFELLER, BAYH, NELSON of Florida, NELSON
of Nebraska, and ALLARD, I rise today to offer an amendment to provide the
Department of Defense the authority necessary to support Colombia's war
against narcotics trafficking and terrorist activities.
September 11 served
as a horrible moment in history--a moment that revealed the evils, the
hatred, and the degree to which those who wish to do us harm are prepared
to go. Unfortunately, this reality is not limited to North America. It
is not limited to the Middle East or to central Asia. It is a global phenomenon.
The United States,
at home and around the world, must do better with our intelligence, law
enforcement, and foreign policy efforts. We must do more as well to work
with our allies.
In Latin America,
the evil hand of terror has been an everyday reality for too long, a fact
which I believe most Americans of the United States will find stunning,
but not to Americans who live in other parts of the Western Hemisphere.
In the year 2000,
over 44 percent of all of the worldwide incidents of terrorism against
U.S. citizens and U.S. interests were committed in one country. That country
was Colombia. Three groups that were responsible for these atrocities
are all on the U.S. Department of State's list of foreign terrorist organizations.
These attacks pose a threat to the democratic institutions of Colombia,
to the stability of Latin America, and to the security of the Western
The Taliban and
al-Qaida networks derived much of their funds from the illegal narcotics
trade--heroin, primarily. But the linkage is no more pervasive anywhere
in the world between illegal narcotics and terrorism than it is in Colombia
where former guerrillas have evolved into drug trafficking terrorists.
That is why a large
number of our colleagues and I are offering this amendment that would
allow the Department of Defense to use its appropriated funds to provide
additional equipment, training, and intelligence to Colombia to combat
both narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
Current law allows
the U.S. equipment and funds from the Department of Defense to be used
solely for counterdrug operations.
In Colombia, the
reality is that the line between narcotics and terrorism is extremely
thin. It is virtually mythical.
The House of Representatives
has already passed an authorization bill as part of the legislation that
we consider this evening, and these authorities to expand the use of defense
funds to combat the twin evils of narcotics and terrorism are provided
in the House bill; these authorities are being aggressively sought by
the President of the United States.
seeks more explicit legal authority to support ``Colombia's unified campaign
against narcotics trafficking and terrorist activities.''
This provides greater
flexibility to counter the threat from groups using narcotics trafficking
to fund both terrorist and criminal activities.
I assure our colleagues
that I am not proposing any changes to previous requirements in human
rights, certifications, and limits on personnel--civilian and military.
And in no way am I suggesting the Department of Defense deploy U.S. troops
The Government of
Colombia, both under its current President, President Pastrana, and under
its newly elected President, Alvaro Uribe, has stated its intention to
carry the war to the terrorist drug traffickers.
What we are being
asked to do is to allow equipment that has been procured in part with
funds from the U.S. Department of Defense to be used in both wars, terrorism
efforts will not hurt our counternarcotics program. In fact, they will
be of great assistance to our counternarcotics program.
The Department of
Defense has assured me that it remains committed to a robust counternarcotics
program in Colombia, and it will bear that in mind as the details are
developed regarding the use of defense-funded equipment, training, and
intelligence for counterterrorist missions.
I am also pleased,
despite the rampant violence in Colombia on May 26 of this year, that
the citizens and Government of Colombia carried out democratic elections
which were deemed by international standards and observers to be free,
fair, and the expression of the will of the Colombian people.
When the United
States first authorized Plan Colombia in 2000, we made a commitment. The
commitment was to help our Colombian neighbors in their long struggle
against the drug trade and the violence it causes. Anything less than
that would not only be a violation of our promise to be good neighbors
but a neglected front on the war against terrorism.
I ask my colleagues
to support Colombia, an important democratic and hemispheric ally by supporting
Thank you, Mr. President.
As of June 19, 2002,
this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r107:FLD001:S55163