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Last Updated:6/8/00
Speech by Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), June 6, 2000
ILLEGAL NARCOTICS (House of Representatives - June 06, 2000)

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The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Tancredo). Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 6, 1999, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) is recognized for 60 minutes.

Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor as we return from the Memorial Day work recess and am again pleased to appear before the House and my colleagues to talk about what I consider the most important subject facing this country and this Congress and that is the problem of illegal narcotics.

During this recess, as chair of the oversight and investigation Subcommittee on Criminal, Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources of the House of Representatives, I had the opportunity to continue our series of hearings, both here in the Congress the day before we left and adjourned and then during this holiday recess to conduct three national field hearings.

One of those was in New Orleans at the request of the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Vitter), also a member of the Subcommittee on Criminal, Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, to look at a drug testing program that had been instituted in some of the private schools and is being expanded to the public schools in New Orleans. That hearing was conducted during the recess.

Then we moved our field hearings to Orlando, my own backyard, the area immediately south of me where we conducted a field hearing on the subject of club drugs and designer drugs and their impact now in central Florida, the State of Florida, and across the Nation.

Then we conducted a third hearing in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area, actually in the city of Mesquite outside of Dallas at the request of the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions). We looked at an area that had been hard hit by narcotics, illegal narcotics, primarily heroin, looked at the trend in illegal narcotic trafficking, particularly some of the designer drugs, methamphetamine, and focused our attention on what that community had done in successful treatment and prevention education, community-based programs to deal with the problem of illegal narcotics and drug abuse.

So we have had a full schedule, and tonight I want to update my colleagues and the American people on where we stand in our efforts to combat illegal narcotics.

Now, today is the 6th of June, and we come back from Memorial Day, a time when we remembered those who fought and died in service to this country to our great Nation. We remember today of course D-Day, such a memorable day in the history of the country, the beginning of the end of World War II when thousands of Americans died on the beaches of Normandy in attempting to bring the Second World War to an end.

As we remember each of those fallen heroes on Memorial Day and remember this day, we must realize that these individuals gave up their lives for service to this country and respect their great sacrifice and always honor that great sacrifice.

Tonight our country does not face the threat of a Cold War, of nuclear bombs possibly being rained from a Soviet Union. We still have many external threats. But today we face probably the most serious domestic threat since the very founding of this Nation. The toll continues to mount.

I asked my staff to research the number of American dead in some of the wars. In World War I, 117,000, nearly 117,000 Americans lost their lives. In World War II, over 408,000 Americans lost their lives. In the Korean War, some 52,246 Americans died in service of their country. The Vietnam War, some 58,219. In the Persian Gulf conflict in the past decade, 363 Americans gave their life in those battles.

It is incredible to note the loss of life directly and indirectly to illegal narcotics. Our Drug Czar, head of the National Office of Drug Control Policy, Barry McCaffrey, testified before our Subcommittee on Criminal, Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources in the neighborhood of 52,000 Americans lost their lives the last year as a result of direct and indirect deaths.

As a result of direct deaths, the last statistic that we have is 1998, and that figure was 15,973 Americans lost their lives. It is only to be compared to the external conflicts in which we have lost so many Americans.

So it is fitting that in the light of Memorial Day that we remember those who lost their lives in service to this great Nation, but it is sad to come back and face the reality of tens of thousands of Americans dying at the hands and at the call and at the destruction of illegal narcotics across our land.

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The toll in dead and destroyed families goes on and on. We have conducted field hearings across the Nation in the past year and a half since I have assumed the chairmanship and this responsibility. I am concerned that this situation may be getting even worse, rather than better.

Tonight I want to talk about where we are, some of the things we learned in our field hearings, where we can go from here, what we have done in the past that was correct, and what we have done most recently that has been incorrect, and what path we need to follow to get this situation under control. But, again, we have a very, very serious situation. It was brought to light in the hearing that was conducted in my own backyard in central Florida.

The last hearing we held focused on the last year and a half. That hearing focused on the number of deaths from heroin overdoses, which unfortunately continues to rise and even the number of admissions from overdoses of heroin continues to rise dramatically. The only reason we have not had more deaths, I am told by medical and law enforcement experts, is that they have developed better techniques to save our young people. And those who suffer from overdoses, they do not fall victim; but, nonetheless, we have even greater numbers of deaths from heroin.

We have taken a measure to create a high intensity drug traffic area, which is just getting underway the last year and a half in central Florida, and that may well be expanded up until Jacksonville and go through Orlando to Tampa, combined with the Miami HIDTA and Puerto Rican HIDTA, high intensity drug traffic area, Federal designation by Federal law that allows every possible Federal asset to be combined with State, local, other law enforcement efforts, to go after traffickers, certainly, a Federal responsibility. But even with those efforts underway, the incidents of death by heroin are still dramatically high.

Now we have learned about and we focused our hearing on club drugs, designer drugs and particularly Ecstasy. The cover of this week's Time magazine features Ecstasy, and it was ironic that we would have this national publication come out at the same time that we had this hearing in Orlando.

We had planned the hearing in advance of this publication, but certainly the problem that we heard in Orlando with Ecstasy and designer drugs, unfortunately, in this article, for those of us who will read it, will disclose, in fact, that Ecstasy and designer drugs are now rampant across the United States.

Club drugs, those drugs that are in dance and rave clubs in central Florida and around the country now, where sometimes parents think that their children are going to a dance or a music concert or activity where there is security, where there is no alcohol, these places that seem and sound secure have now turned, according to testimony we have had, into major sources of illegal designer drugs for our young people.

In Florida, the head of our State office of drug control policy, Jim McDonough, testified that we lost 200 individuals in Florida in the last several years to designer and club drugs and overdoses of these new fancy narcotics.

I do not think I have ever seen a more insidious threat to this country than what we face probably in the next year, not only from external heroin and cocaine coming in to the United States in unprecedented quantities and waves. And I will talk about how we got ourselves into that situation. Now we find the threat of these designer drugs, Ecstasy, coming in also through every conceivable means, huge quantities coming in from the Netherlands, which has had lax laws relating to narcotics distribution and consumption; huge quantities coming in from Mexico, our neighbor to the south, which we have given free and open trade access to the United States and to our markets.

Also the problem of methamphetamine, which really was not on the charts some 6 years ago or 7 years ago, and now we see an epidemic of methamphetamine from the West Coast, to the East Coast, from the North to the South, methamphetamine with consequences on individuals, that puts crack to shame. The crack epidemic that we had in the 1980s was brought under control by the Reagan administration. And this crack that caused people to do such bizarre actions, commit such bizarre crimes is nothing compared to what we are seeing around this country with methamphetamine.

It is hitting the rural areas. We are going out to Iowa to conduct a hearing at the request of the representative from Iowa (Mr. Latham), the heartland and core of America. Minnesota, another area filled full of family and tradition is now also ravaged by methamphetamine.

We conducted a hearing several weeks ago and had for the first time the Federal Sentencing Commission in, and

the Sentencing Commission provided us with some charts, which I would like to put up and have my colleagues and the speaker pay attention to for a minute, this problem has gotten entirely out of control since 1992. We look at the crack problem that we had, and I mentioned in the 1980s that was brought under control and rather limited.

If we look at this chart in two areas, in 1992, at the end of the Bush administration, Bush and Reagan had done an incredible job in bringing that situation under control. Methamphetamine in 1992, and again, I did not produce this chart, this was given by the Federal Sentencing Commission to our subcommittee, there is almost no meth on the chart in 1992.

If we go to 1993, we see the spread of crack, the appearance of methamphetamine. In 1994, you have to remember some of the situations which we developed; this is the end of the Bush and Reagan administration. This is the beginning of the Clinton/Gore just say maybe to drugs. Here is just say no era. Here is the just say maybe. Here is the appointment of a chief health officer of the United States, Jocelyn Elders, who said to our children, if it feels good, do it, the just say maybe generation.

Here we see the beginning of the meth epidemic, the cocaine, the crack reappearance. Again, these charts are just absolutely dramatic and revealing. 1994, in 1993, they began the closedown of the war on drugs.

During the break, I was home and heard one of our local councilmen, who is also an active Democrat, say that well, in fact, the problem is the war on drugs is a failure, and we just have not put enough money into treatment.

Let me just, if I may, show how much money we have put in treatment. Here is 1991, 1992, even in the Bush administration in these eras, we had put money into treatment. In almost every succeeding year and from this point on here, we have almost doubled the amount of money in treatment.

At the same time, this administration began the employment of an unprecedented number of people, and even the White House Executive Office of the President with such recent drug use histories that they could not pass security checks, the situation was so bad that, in fact, the Secret Service required a drug testing program be instituted before they would grant additional clearances to these individuals.

We ended up with an administration that began the dismantling of the war on drugs, cutting, with a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, the entire executive branch, the presidency, the House and the Senate, the other body, by huge majorities, from 1993 to 1995 controlled this whole process. They began the dismantling of the war on drugs.

The money that had previously been used, the funds that had been previously used for stopping drugs at their source called international programs or funds were cut in half, gutted by, again, a White House and a Democrat-controlled Congress bent on just going for treatment, ignoring a war on drugs, closing down on a war on drugs.

The drug czar's office was slashed from 120 positions to some 30 positions in 1993. The use of the military for interdiction to stop drugs most cost effectively from their source before they got into the country, and our military people must understand, do not become involved in drug enforcement, they provide surveillance information; that information is given to source countries, and the source countries go after the drug traffickers. That is the pattern, and that is what can work, worked so effectively in the Bush and Reagan administration, no question about it.

They chose another path. This is, again, the result, another chart showing what took place from almost, again, if we went back to 1992, we had no methamphetamine on this chart and two spots of crack showing up. 1996, this is the result of that policy. 1997, almost the entire country now engulfed, finishing the job in 1998 and 1999.

These are some of the most dramatic charts, again, ever supplied, I think, to Congress showing the failure of a policy of this Congress, and the damage that was done in a 2-year, 3-year period by this administration.

I can only say to those that think the war on drugs is a failure to, again, please look at this chart.

And no matter how I stand, if I got up on top of this and looked down, if I look at it from the side, or if I get underneath, these are the facts. The source is the University of Michigan. In the Reagan administration, we see the long-term prevalence of drug use taking a decline; in the Bush administration, a dramatic decline.

I have not doctored these. I have not touched these. These were presented to our subcommittee. For any illicit drug, this is probably the best barometer that is produced on this. You look at the Clinton administration, you look at the emphasis of putting all of the money into treatment, closing down the enforcement or closing down the interdiction, closing down the source country, failing to stop drugs at their source, closing down the drug czar's operation, as we knew it, and these are the results.

So this, my friends, is not failure. This is success. This is a reduction. This is failure. It is incredible to see that where the Republicans took over, and even with the thwarting of this administration blocking the new majority's efforts to stop drugs at their source, to regain the cooperation and use of the military for surveillance purposes, and going after tough prosecution on some of the things that we have done, have we even begun to stabilize this in the last several years.

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But now I submit that the situation is again getting out of hand, and for several specific reasons.

First, during the holidays, the headline is very telling in The Washington Post. It says, `Antidrug Efforts Stalls in Colombia.' And it is ironic that on the same page they have `U.S. Calls Peruvian Election Invalid.'

This shows two great failures of this administration. First, we begged, we pleaded with this President since 1994, when they started first of all closing down the sharing of information with Peru and Colombia and other countries that were sources of hard narcotics, we pleaded with them to continue allowing that surveillance information to be given.

Liberals from this administration and others who went into these various agencies, including the Department of Defense, came up with a cockamamie, and I am not sure, for the benefit of the Speaker and the stenographer, how `cockamamie' is spelled, but a cockamamie opinion was drafted by these liberals that we could no longer share that information and they closed down the surveillance, they closed down stopping us providing that information and, basically, shut down the shoot-down policies that these countries had adopted.

When we would provide these countries information on drugs leaving their source, they would, in fact, send their pilot out after warning and shoot down drug traffickers. It worked. It worked in the Bush administration. It worked in the Reagan administration. And we saw this decline.

I always ask, how many people have HD TVs? Not many people have HD TVs. That is because there is not a big supply of HD TVs, there is a very small supply available and the price is very high.

With the policy of closing down the war on drugs, you would not have your planes shot down, if the surveillance is prohibited, which it was by this administration, and that mistake was made back in 1994 and 1995 and only corrected after a bipartisan effort, everyone in the House who dealt with this issue knew the great mistake that was made, the damage that was made, and we changed the law and allowed that information to be shared.

And then in the last 2 or 3 years, we see the same pattern over and over again. This administration has failed to provide the interdiction effort. The Department of Defense does not have the will. And I just thought of this the other day. Have my colleagues ever heard the President of the United States mention the war on drugs? Have we ever heard Bill Clinton, the Chief Executive Officer, from this podium, in a joint session of Congress or in any public forum? I cannot recall.

At one time I know that a search was done on one of these Nexus searches to see how many times he had mentioned illegal narcotics or an effort to deal with the drug problem; and, in fact, it is almost the lowest recorded of any President. That is why we see the lack of leadership from the White House and not only the lack of leadership and the message that is sent to our young people and our population, but also the policy and the policy is an antidrug effort stalled in Colombia.

Why did it stall? This administration never brought up until the last minute, almost to the week of the presentation of the budget, their proposal for dealing with this problem in Colombia.

Now, when the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert) chaired the subcommittee responsible for trying to deal with that narcotics problem, he actually was the chair of the subcommittee that had this responsibility in the last Congress, he began restoration in several countries and was able to get in Peru and Bolivia efforts started.

They have eliminated between 55 and 60 percent of the cocaine production in both of those countries, successful programs.

That is why I thought this was ironic that the U.S. calls the Peruvian election invalid. I think they backed off today. But here, this administration, instead of praising President Fujimori, is condemning President Fujimori. Why in the world would we take a president who has stabilized the country, and I can tell my colleagues firsthand because I flew into Lima, Peru in 1990, the end of 1993, with the airport sandbagged, with people sleeping in the streets, with chaos, with thousands of displaced Indian population, hungry people, I will never forget going to a village outside of Lima and meeting a peasant woman and she had five children and the interpreter told me what she was saying, and she said that her difficulty, her problem, was she only had enough food for four of those children so she had to choose which child not to feed that would die.

This is the situation that President Fujimori inherited, complete chaos, 60, 70 percent of the cocaine coming into the United States produced in that country. Here is someone who brought law and order, who calmed a country that was in total disruption, and here is this administration condemning him for a candidate who called not to have a runoff election and would not commit to a date certain.

Could you imagine the Republicans saying, we will not have a runoff election or the Democrats in this country saying we will not have a runoff election or do not have a runoff election, and we will figure out at some time when the election will be? This is a slap in the face to President Fujimori who has done an incredible job of first stabilizing that country.

I remember going down when I took over chairmanship of this responsibility on our drug policy and trying to put these programs back together both with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert) and myself when I assumed this chair and met with President Fujimori, I was stunned at Lima, I was stunned at the countryside, at the order, the ability of people to conduct their daily business, of glass everywhere, which everything had been boarded, people sleeping in the alleyways, bombs going off at night, gunfire. And that was a situation he inherited, brought the cocaine trafficking under control, brought down the terrorism that disrupted so many lives, and stabilized the economy so a mother would not have to make a decision whether she fed four children and let one die.

This is the type of foreign policy. Even the President of the United States's representative in Peru wrote this administration and said, your policy for, and this is the policy of a second time, they made the mistake in 1994 and 1993 by stopping the surveillance information, they stopped it again, and the President's representative, the ambassador of the United States of America, appointed by the President of the United States, said, this is a mistake in a report that was given to me in December by GAO, the General Accounting Office. I asked for a report from an impartial panel to see what was going on.

So mistake after mistake, error after error, has been made.

Now, again, in the 1980s, we had most of the cocaine coming in from South America and from Peru and Bolivia. About 95 percent of it really was coming in from those two countries. We were able to stem that. We were able to bring down the prevalence of drug use. This is the new picture; and we have almost all of the cocaine, probably 80 to 90 percent of the cocaine, now being produced in Colombia.

Now, in 6 or 7 years, we managed to turn Colombia from a transit and trafficking country into a producing country. Fortunately, the policies of the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert) and the new Republican majority were instituted at very low cost, $20 million, $30 million, $40 million in those source countries to stop incredible volumes of cocaine coming into the United States. But what happened is the Clinton administration blocked aid, blocked helicopters, blocked equipment again because the liberals in the administration said, oh, we cannot harm the hair on the back of any leftist, Marxist guerilla. It does not matter if they, in fact, were trafficking and supporting their guerilla activities through the sale of illegal narcotics that were coming into the United States.

So now we have really, protected by the Clinton-Gore administration, Colombia with no resources. It is almost farcical what has happened. And until the first couple of months of this year were we able to get to the National Police three Blackhawk helicopters, which we have been pleading and begging for 4 or 5 years to get down to Colombia.

We knew what was going to happen, and it happened. This administration ignored it. They sent the military assets to Haiti. Ironically, Haiti is now one of the biggest traffickers in the Caribbean, lawless killing.

We have one corrupted administration replacing another one. After billions of American taxpayer dollars, this is now one of the main routes. And Colombia is another disaster. The two foreign policy disasters unparalleled in the history of this hemisphere. Billions spent there, nothing spent there, creating a market, creating a source for drug trafficking.

There was almost no heroin produced in 1993 in January when this President took office, President Clinton; and this is now the source of some 75 percent of the heroin killing kids in Orlando and Plano, Texas and California; Chicago; and New York. And now it is transiting through the country, where we spent $3 billion in nation building, in establishing a judicial system and electoral processes that have been, in fact, a farce.

It is the bad leading, the bad destroying American business activity there, forcing the whole island, at least this half, which is Haiti, of Dominica, the island nation of Haiti into a welfare state supported by U.S. taxpayers, one of the saddest chapters in failed policy of this administration.

And then what was not diverted here, the Defense Department will tell you was diverted to Kosovo, to Bosnia, to the other many deployments of this administration.

What are the results of these policies? For the first time again, we are seeing with the blocking of aid to Colombia, and I must say that at this point the Republicans must take some heat in the United States Senate, the other body, and some blame and responsibility for blocking the aid. The House did act and had a package ready to go to aid Colombia to get additional resources. The other body did not act with the speed they should have. But again, there is some justification because the President dragged his heels in getting this request to the Congress.

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This is what is happening now. We are seeing a resurgence of cocaine. The chart that I showed just a few minutes ago showed the crack coming in. Crack is part of the cocaine trafficking. This was presented to us by the Customs Service. These are boats mostly coming through Haiti with literally tons of cocaine which is smuggled in through the hulls of these vessels. This is 706 pounds of cocaine seized. This is just what they are seizing, January 31, 2000. This is another vessel, 1,083 pounds of cocaine coming in at the beginning of February. Another one, February 5, 539 pounds of cocaine. Another one, February 10, 226 pounds of cocaine, most of it coming into the United States through Haiti, some of it being transshipped through Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and into Florida. We are seeing an unprecedented amount of cocaine again for the first time coming in.

We are seeing an unprecedented amount of methamphetamine labs. Most of the meth we hear about is tied to Mexican gangs, Mexican drug dealers and chemical dealers who are selling the precursors or organizing the lab efforts. We have had testimony that their operations from Mexico extend, of course, through Texas, through Oklahoma. We heard testimony that from 60 labs in the Oklahoma area that the FBI controls Oklahoma and Texas, there is now over 1,000 labs that have been busted. In Iowa, the heartland again of America. On the West Coast in Sacramento, up in the north central area, incredible amounts of methamphetamine all the way down to the base of California with methamphetamine. Methamphetamine we have done hearings on.

I want to digress for a minute and talk about methamphetamine. Because I do not think we have ever seen a more damaging substance than methamphetamine. These are some charts provided to us by the National Drug Institute. Dr. Leschner presented these before our subcommittee, showing the normal brain with dopamine which helps with the brain function which is shown in the bright yellow. This is the normal brain. The second is a brain that has had a small amount of methamphetamine. The third is someone addicted to methamphetamine. The last one is someone who has Parkinson's Disease in a serious stage.

This drug, methamphetamine, does incredible things to human beings. It causes the most bizarre actions. This is what chemically happens to the brain and destroys the brain function. It is not something that can be regenerated. This is permanent damage. This is damage so severe that mothers and fathers abandon their children not to reclaim them, as we found in testimony in California, where in a small county some 600 addicted to methamphetamine, only a handful were even capable or could take back or would take back their children. This is what happens to the brain. Meth is absolutely a destructive substance and again causes people to commit the most bizarre actions. The worst case we heard was a mother and father that tortured their child and then boiled the child to finally kill the child. Again, just incredibly bizarre acts that are committed on this drug.

Mr. Speaker, we are facing a very, very difficult situation. When you have in one small locale 1,000 meth labs and this methamphetamine being produced by recipes provided over the Internet, by people experimenting and getting substances from their drug stores, chemicals, and then the larger problem, the Mexican meth dealers and getting the precursor chemicals from predominantly Mexico, China, and the Netherlands according to testimony we have had.

We are facing an incredible challenge with these narcotics coming into the United States. I am convinced, too, given the ability to produce these drugs domestically, such as methamphetamine, and we can do our

best, we have a responsibility to do our best to control the precursor chemicals and find them before they come into the country and then as they come into the country and are used for these illicit purposes; but we must do an even better job of education and prevention.

Treatment is fine, but treatment assumes that someone is already addicted and a victim. If we fought World War II and we only treated victims, we did not invent the equipment that we did, the bomb that we did to go after the source, we did not stop the production of the German rockets, if we did not stop their war machine, we never would have brought the war under control. The war on drugs, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out, you stop the drugs at their source. This also, though, as I have said, is a much more insidious threat than anything we have seen, again with Ecstasy, again with methamphetamine, again with GHB, and I believe it is GHB, I really do not know that much other than what I have heard at the last hearings about this new drug.

This is another drug that has an incredible consequence in its use. People are using it, mixing it with alcohol and dropping dead. The difference with GHB is that there is almost no trace left in the blood stream. There is almost no trace left in the body to detect. So it is a much more insidious drug; it is a deadly drug, and people are dying from it; and we do not even know they are dying. We had expert testimony that tells us because it dissipates from the body that what happens is the only way that you can really detect it is by doing a dissection of the brain and an autopsy after death and finding minute traces of this substance.

But we are facing with these designer drugs an incredible challenge to this Nation, to our young people, to parents. Parents have no idea about these drugs that are out there and again available in these clubs that sound like they would be something that you could securely send your children to with no alcohol, with security posted, with other limits. Yet these clubs, and we now have the term club drugs and we have this wide variety of small tablets and pills. Some of them we saw at the hearing that were presented in the Orlando hearing by this drug enforcement and customs agency that had been seized that are small pills with designer emblems, designer emblems of Nike, of other trademarks that are imposed, and the drugs have such an attractive appearance and seem almost harmless that now our young people are being victimized by even the appearance of these drugs. Again, the dramatic rise in death in Florida has been recounted, and the deaths that we cannot count because of, again, drugs like GHB that are almost impossible to detect.

Again, I think it is important that we look at what is happening. Our hearing focused on that in Orlando.

This chart talks about a comparison of designer drugs and other drug overdoses and shows in 1999, this would be other drugs and this is designer drugs in the year 2000 so far to date, we see we are well on our way to breaking the records of 1999, and we are only partially through the year. What is interesting is we conducted this hearing in Orlando; we moved to New Orleans. I heard the same scenario being laid out by the district attorney there, Harry Connick, and others who testified, local sheriffs, the same problem is being repeated. Then we went on to Dallas and we hear the Dallas-Fort Worth area also being victimized by designer drugs and incredible increases in activity.

One of the problems that we have had in this administration, not only a failure in closing down some of the war on drugs, again, source country interdiction, the drug czar's office, getting that back up and running full speed, which I might say Barry McCaffrey is doing his best. General McCaffrey inherited a disaster from Lee Brown who should have been run out of office, who dismantled the drug czar's office, did the most damage of any public official probably in the history of the United States, just an incredible disaster. Barry McCaffrey and others like myself are now stuck with trying to bring us out of this morass.

One of the additional policy failures we have had, I talked about Haiti, the nation-building effort and now a disaster, one of the major sources of drug transit operations. This administration knew that Panama was going to cease our military operations in Panama. Panama was key to the war on drugs because all of the forward operating locations were centered from Panama. This little yellow dot here represents and is right over Panama. We had Howard Air Force Base, part of the $10.5 billion in assets that we turned over to the Panamanians last year. May 1 of last year was an important date, about a year ago. The U.S. knew this was going to happen, but this administration failed to negotiate with Panama not for continued military use but for continued use of drug surveillance flights, because this was such a key area, and it covered this whole area very cost effectively. We had also built the infrastructure, billions of dollars for those bases, and we could have in fact even leased them for a small amount of money. Instead, the talks collapsed. Instead, the administration was left in the cold and they quickly scurried to the Department of Defense and Department of State to find other locations. Now, that is a responsible thing to do. It was irresponsible in the fashion it was done because it was delayed. We called them before our committee even before I was chair of this subcommittee; said, are things getting in place, are you ready, are you negotiating with the Panamanians, could we not just keep the drug operations out of there, this forward operation going and do it cost effectively with cutting a deal with the Panamanians?

In fact, what happened is it all fell apart. We were totally asked to leave, kicked out of Panama. Even Barry McCaffrey told me that corrupt tenders by the Panamanians allowed the Chinese to take control of the two port activities and the U.S. was excluded from any flights as of May 1.

So as of May 1 last year, we have had a wide-open field day for drug traffickers because the United States, the Department of Defense and the State Department, have been handicapped in getting these forward-operating locations, drug surveillance operations back in place.

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When we do not have that information, we have this huge supply. Remember what I said about HDTVs? Not too many people have them because there is not a big supply. Well, on every street in this country we can find cocaine in unprecedented quantities today. On every street in this country we can find heroin in unprecedented quantities today, because we have an incredible supply.

Just doing treatment, as this administration put its eggs all in the treatment basket, it just does not cut it. We have to stop some of this supply from its source. We know it is coming from Colombia.

The American taxpayers are now stuck with the bill in trying to put together this operation in a piecemeal fashion with a base in Ecuador, a base in Curacao and Aruba, and possibly a base in El Salvador. Unfortunately, the price tag will probably be $100 million.

Ecuador, in a recent hearing we conducted, and we will be talking about this again in a hearing on Friday with the Department of Defense and Department of State, it will not be until 2002 that this runway, which is incapable of supporting some of the aircraft that we need to do this surveillance work, it will not be until 2002 until that is in place, so that is one reason we have tons of this stuff coming in unchecked.

In Aruba, we do have some flights going out of Aruba. Unfortunately, they take off from a commercial field, and our staff has said that sometimes these flights are even delayed.

Now we have a problem with Venezuela, who has thumbed its nose at the President of the United States, at the United States' efforts to conduct surveillance flights in Venezuelan airspace or pursue traffickers, even when we provide them with information.

In the final area, we have two 10-year contracts here. We will be investing that money for 10 years, and again, not up until 2002. The last location that they have suggested and recently signed an agreement, but I believe it has not been approved by the El Salvador parliament, is a location in El Salvador. So we have three that will not be in place for a long time. More drugs will be coming into the country. It is another disaster at our doorstep.

Let me again look at, if we can, the money that was spent for interdiction and also international programs, which is source country programs. These are the figures in 1991, 1992, and 1993. This would be the end of the Bush administration, the beginning of the Clinton administration.

Members will see the dramatic drop, the dramatic drop here. In fact, we are barely at, and with the efforts of the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert), who was able to fund additional money when he had responsibility for chairing drug policy, we are barely back at the levels at the end of the Bush-Reagan administration when these programs were gutted.

As we gut these programs, it is interesting, and we turn to treatment, and we saw the graphs on treatment, we see again in the Reagan-Bush era that this is a lifetime annual and 30-day drug use, and we see it declining in the Bush and Reagan administration. We see it on a steep incline, and again, this is the policy of success of this administration.

We only see here where we began, again, the Republican and new majority takeover, some slight change. But I will tell the Members that this chart, if we continue and not stop drugs coming in from Colombia, not stop drugs coming in from their source, not interdicting drugs, not stopping the precursor chemicals that allow the production of deeper drugs and methamphetamine, Mr. Speaker, we are about to have this again go off the charts. The damage to our 12th graders and others will be unbelievable.

This is long-term trend of prevalence of heroin use, and also produced by the University of Michigan. We see in the Reagan administration pretty much a flat line, some downturn, another downturn in the Bush administration. In the Clinton administration, it is off the charts. I did not make these charts. We enlarged them. This obviously is a story of failure. This is success.

Now, any administration like the Clinton administration that can get us long-term trends on prevalence of heroin use going up like that, that is a success. That means that the war on drugs was a failure, but this is a success. Again, we see the first bleep there, again after some of the policies of the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert), the new Republican administration of the Congress took over, not of the executive branch.

Again, we see in the Reagan era, this is long-term prevalence use of cocaine, and in the Bush era a dramatic success. This is the beginning of the Andean strategy, stopping the cocaine at its source. This was the Vice President's task force that Vice President Bush led.

This is blue lightning and other initiatives to go after this stuff.

This did not work, Mr. Speaker. These are imaginary downturn lines, but then we see the Clinton administration, and I would be afraid to rechart this given what we now know about the Clinton administration diverting assets, with Vice President Gore sending AWACs to Alaska to look for oil spills, the President of the United States in his many deployments in Haiti diverting resources from this anti-narcotics effort to nationbuilding while our people are falling like flies, particularly our young people.

If Members do not believe those charts, there is a 1999 GAO report that I requested that shows in fact that in 1992-1993, the beginning of the Clinton administration, dramatic drops occurred in this.

First is the total use of DOD assets in the war on drugs. This is, again, not produced by me but the General Accounting Office; overall assets down dramatically.

This next line in red, the DOD, down dramatically. The Coast Guard was up slightly, but also leveled off here.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue next week on more information relating to our efforts to stem illegal narcotics and drug abuse in this country.

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