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Last Updated:9/23/00
Speech by Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), September 6, 2000
ILLEGAL NARCOTICS (House of Representatives - September 06, 2000)

[Page: H7248]
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 6, 1999, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.

Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to return to the House of Representatives after our August recess and district work period and continue this series that I began nearly 18 months ago as chairman of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, a series that I began on the topic of illegal narcotics and its impact upon our Nation.

Tonight, I thought I would recap some of what has taken place during this congressional recess, some of the activities that have occurred relating to illegal narcotics and our attempts to bring illegal narcotics and drug abuse in some control and order in our society, and also give an update on some of the actions of the administration in this interim period while Congress was in recess.

I think that it is important that we keep in perspective the history of the efforts by Congress and this administration and other administrations in trying to curtail what has become probably the most serious social problem facing our Nation and certainly the youth of this country. I think that the statistics that have recently been released about crime show that some of the murder rate in this country is down. And I think that, in the next week, our subcommittee is looking at some of the statistics that have been released; but I think they are startling figures that will show that more people are now dying as a direct result of drug abuse and misuse in this country than some of the murders that are committed. And I know that that is the case in the area that I represent.

I represent a beautiful area in Florida from Orlando to Daytona Beach, the central Florida and greater Orlando area, and the headlines blurted out some nearly 2 years ago that deaths by drug overdoses had exceeded homicides in our area of central Florida. And I think that is now occurring, and we will be able to substantiate these figures, on a national basis. So if people are concerned about the use of firearms, about commissions of murder, mayhem in our society, I think that we have now reached the point where drug deaths and overdose as a direct result of illegal narcotics are now taking an even greater toll than other forms of murder.

I will never forget that a parent who had lost a child in central Florida said, Mr. Mica, that in fact drug overdoses are a form of murder, and certainly when you have a son or a daughter lost to illegal narcotics, either someone providing them or the individual dying as a result of someone distributing to them illegal narcotics, you certainly view that as murdering or destroying the life of your loved one.

But tonight, I want to try to shed a little light. I try not to do this in a partisan fashion. I do not think that our efforts to curtail illegal narcotics is a partisan matter. I think that both sides of the aisle are sincere in trying to find solutions. But I think we also have to look at some of the facts involved and some of the spin that is even put on what is happening at the national level, possibly for the sake of politics, maybe for the sake of applying some cosmetics to a record that is not too attractive. That is something that we have to deal with. And we must, in fact, deal with facts if we are going to find real solutions to the problem we face with illegal narcotics.

So tonight I want to talk about the Clinton administration's attempt to blur some of their failure in Colombia in their shutdown of our war on illegal drugs and some of the steps that were taken even during this recess by the President to try to put a happy face or a successful face on really a policy of disaster that has taken place since the beginning of the Clinton-Gore administration in 1993 when they took office and began systematically dismantling any semblance of a real war on drugs.

The President, as we know, visited Colombia with great fanfare for some 8 hours. He spent 8 hours there out of nearly 8 years in the White House. And again, I think, to put the best face possible on a situation that they helped in fact create through some of their actions.

Let me first review how we got ourselves into the situation in Colombia where the Congress had to, in an emergency fashion, dedicate $1.3 billion just in this fiscal year that we are approaching for aid to Colombia. According to the President's own drug czar last year, Barry McCaffrey, he called Colombia, and I will use his quote, he said it was a flipping nightmare last summer and then asked, in fact, that the President consider it an emergency situation. This is after tens of thousands of Colombians were slain, members of the police force, members of the military, civilians, legislators, members of their Congress, local and national judges, attorneys general and other officials from top to bottom in Colombia were slaughtered in a war that has been fueled by narcoterrorists. So finally the administration woke up last year and said the situation had gotten out of control, and in fact it had gotten out of control.

Now, to get out of control, it was not easy. In fact, I believe some very specific steps by the Clinton administration, and I want to go over them tonight, led us to be forced really to pass an aid package of historic proportions. $1.3 billion for any country, we know there is something dramatically wrong. This did not happen overnight. It began with a systematic shutdown of assistance in combating illegal narcotics and the situation that was developing and deteriorating in Colombia.

So let me first start by reviewing, if I may, the situation. Members know that most of the illegal narcotics are now coming from Colombia. This chart which was prepared by the drug enforcement agency shows that most of the cocaine and heroin, in 1997, and it is true today, is coming from Colombia. This was not the case as I will point out in 1993 at the beginning of this administration. But this administration took some steps back in 1993 when they first came into office that turned out to be disastrous.


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[TIME: 2000]

In 1994, the Clinton administration stopped providing information and intelligence to the Colombians regarding drug flights tracked by the United States, which, in fact, eliminated the effectiveness of Colombia's shootdown policy.

Now, prior to 1994, Colombia was participating with shootdown drug trafficking planes, and Colombia was primarily a transit route for narcotics. And in that era, 1993, some 7 years ago, the beginning of this administration, it was mostly cocaine that was coming through and transcending or being processed. It was not grown in Colombia.

This administration managed to turn the situation, where Colombia again was just a transit point and a transshipment point, into a major producing country. The first step, as I said, was the refusal to share intelligence.

Now, this is an interesting chart we had prepared. In 1993, the cocaine production in Colombia was some 65 metric tons, very little, almost off the charts in 1993, 65 metric tons. The poppies grown in Colombia for producing heroin was almost zero in 1993. And in 1999, we have 520 metric tons of cocaine; and this, I believe, is in the 80 percent range of all the cocaine produced in the world. They managed to develop a market in Colombia and, again, by some very specific policy decisions.

These are the charts that the President certainly would not want to show and the administration would not want to show. Almost no heroin produced again in 1993, some 7 years ago. Now, this figure refers to probably 75 percent of all the heroin that is seized in the United States.

According to DEA signature testing program, they can take the DNA of the heroin that is confiscated and seized and actually tell almost to the field where it is produced, but some 75 percent of all of the heroin produced in Colombia and seized in the United States comes from Colombia. Now, this took place in this administration.

The first decision was to stop the shootdown policy, stop information sharing. Now, in this vast arena of going after drug traffickers at their source, which is most effective, because we stop shipment of a ton or quantities, we stop it at its source, once it gets into the United States and beyond these distribution points, it is costly, it is ineffective, and we are never going to get it all.

One DEA official I met in the jungle of Central America described it so aptly. He said, Mr. Mica, down here we can stop the drugs at their source where they are produced cost effectively for a few dollars. In fact, when the coalition started cutting the source country programs, some of the DEA agents chipped in and put some of their own personal money to stop some of the production and activity down there, because they were so dedicated to the program, knew it would work.

This agent said, Mr. Mica, trying to stop the illegal narcotics once they get to our shores is sort of like getting a hose, hooking it up to a spigot and then putting a 360 degree sprinkler out in your lawn and running around with coffee cans trying to catch the water as it sprinkles out. And that is the analogy that this agent used in the jungles to me. He said the best thing to do is to turn that spigot on and turn off the illegal narcotics. That would be a simple strategy.

It was a strategy that worked under the Reagan and Bush administration and as far back as the Nixon administration. There was a heroin epidemic under the Nixon administration. He stopped it at its source. He went in and through purchasing and through other programs that he set up, President Nixon, they stopped that.

President Reagan and President Bush created an Andean strategy, a Vice President's task force, and as my colleagues may recall, even when we had a Central American leader involved in narcotic trafficking and money laundering.

Remember President Noriega of Panama? In 1989, President Bush sent American troops in. In fact, American lives were lost in that case, but they went in with force and with determination and stopped that trafficking at the choke point.

In this case, it was Panama and the Ismus of Panama and the head of a country who was involved, and they captured him, as my colleagues may recall from television days, and put him in jail for dealing in illegal narcotics and for money laundering and corruption. So that was the way they dealt with it.

The way the Clinton-Gore administration dealt with the problem is they stopped the shootdown policy. So the first thing they did is stop the shootdown policy and stop information sharing so we could not go after drug traffickers at their source. This policy so enraged Members of Congress.

I remember my colleague, I just gotten elected in 1993 and the gentleman from California (Mr. Horn) was elected the same year. In 1994, when they did this, they took this first step, everyone was shocked, and the gentleman from California (Mr. Horn) said, `As you will recall as of May 1, 1994, the Department of Defense decided unilaterally to stop sharing real-time intelligence regarding aerial traffic in drugs with Colombia and Peru. Now, as I understand it, that decision, which hasn't been completely resolved, has thrown diplomatic relations with the host countries into chaos.' That is 1994.

Now, that was the Republican viewpoint in 1994 when the administration took this step.

This is what the Democrats had to say. Remember, the Democrats controlled the White House. In 1993 to 1995, they controlled the House of Representatives by a wide majority. They also controlled the other body, the United States Senate. And this is what the Democrats said in August of that same year, 1994, committee chairmen of two House subcommittees blasted the Clinton administration yesterday for its continuing refusal to resume sharing intelligence data with Colombia and Peru that would enable those Andean nations to shoot down aircraft carrying narcotics to the United States.

So we see the beginning of $1.3 billion problem

developing through very specific policy decisions not criticized just by Republicans, but this is how we got ourselves into this mess, with, again, stopping the information sharing, stopping having Colombia get a handle on this situation early on and repeated requests by both Republicans and Democrats not to take these steps.

So these policy decisions had some very serious implications, and those implications resulted in a change in trafficking patterns and production patterns of narcotics.

This is an interesting chart, because it shows Andean cocaine production. And we see in 1991, 1992 the situation; and this line that we have going through here is Bolivia. This line, the blue line going through here and down is Peru. And the line, the red line that we have we have going up here is Colombia, and this is cocaine production.

What the administration did was, in fact, stop information sharing. Then in 1996 and 1997, the Clinton administration decertified Colombia. We have a certification law that I helped work on when I worked back in the Senate and develop, and it is a simple law. It says that every year the President must certify that a country is cooperating in stopping both the production and trafficking of illegal narcotics. The President must certify. The President sends that certification, and he says that they are cooperating. In return for when the President certifies that there is cooperation, these countries get foreign assistance; they are eligible for foreign aid. They are eligible for trade benefits of the United States of America, and they are also eligible for finance benefits.

Benefits of our country are bestowed on them for their little bit of cooperation in stopping illegal narcotics. A nice trade we thought when we developed the law.

Now, we found in developing the law that we wanted to make a statement and say that a country was decertified as not fully cooperating and cooperating, and that might have been the case with Colombia because of its leadership. But we also put in the law a provision that said you could decertify, but you could issue a national interest waiver, and even though a country was decertified, in our national interests, the interests of the United States, we could continue to give assistance to fight illegal narcotics.

In 1996, 1997 this administration, Clinton-Gore, decertified Colombia without using the provision put in law so that we could continue to get aid, let them help us with the illegal narcotics problem. So what happened here is cocaine production, actual growth of coca in Colombia dramatically increased. Look, it just took off the charts, with their policy of not getting aid down there. What happened?

Now, the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and we were able to pass measures. We also took control of the other body; but we were also able to pass measures and funding to start two programs, and I know because I was involved with these, with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert), who is now the Speaker of the House, Mr. Zellif, the former chairman of the subcommittee jurisdiction that I now chair, we went down to Peru and Colombia and Bolivia to see what it would take to get this under control.

Again, this is not rocket science. It is a simple thing. We stop the production of these drugs at their source, cost effective; and we put very few million, maybe $20 million, $30 million, in some of these programs in Bolivia and Peru. And guess what?

In our alternative crop programs, in our enforcement programs, in our eradication programs, look what happened here. In fact, we have reduced by over 50 percent, 55 percent the production of cocaine in Peru. President Fujimori has done an incredible job, not only in bringing stability to that country, but cooperation.

Recently, I must commend him, he has shot down drug traffickers after the United States, again, after we went through the fiasco of not sharing information and intelligence for drug trafficking air shootdowns to these countries, we found that the administration repeated the mistake and even our own Ambassador from Peru was saying, continue to get information to us.

This is in a report I got this last December. In the report the United States Ambassador from Peru, I believe in 1998, said they were making the same mistake and they should continue the information sharing. That information sharing, I believe now we have gotten some of that started again. President Fujimori has ordered the shootdown of drug trafficking planes, and they are given fair warning.

We know that they are carrying death and destruction out of that country and across other borders and into our streets and our communities and our schools. So we have a situation in which we know what works.


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[TIME: 2015]

In Bolivia, we put together a plan, and the plan has worked with the incredible cooperation of President Hugo Suarez Banzer, the President of Bolivia, who has cooperated. The vice president has helped lead the effort. And in the package that we are now sending, that we have now passed and are sending to Bolivia, and actually it is in the $1.3 billion, there is $100 million for Bolivia of the total Colombian aid package, because we do not want this to continue here.

We have the possibility within the next 24 to 36 months of completely eradicating cocaine production in Bolivia. I tell you, if you can do it in Peru, and I went to Peru at the turn of the last decade, 1990-1991, before President Fujimori took office, there was pure chaos. There were people sleeping in the streets, there was gunfire at night, the parks were full, the Shining Light Path Mao terrorists were blowing up buildings, power supplies, they had control of some cities, you could not travel there.

Within a short period of time and two administrations, President Fujimori has not only brought stability and peace to that country and a stable way of life, but he also has dramatically decreased the cocaine and coca production in that country, and with very few dollars. He was punished some by this administration and by the liberals from the other side of the aisle because of his so-called human rights violations, or that his election was by popular election, an additional term and approved by the people. His opponent asked that the election be delayed.

Could you imagine in this country that you do not like the results of the election, and you say, oh, let us have another election at another date? Fujimori again won the majority vote. Now there are those that are again giving President Fujimori, who has done an incredible job in assisting the United States, a difficult time. But this is a program of success. This will eradicate for very few dollars coca production and cocaine production.

We can do the same thing in Colombia. Of course, the situation has deteriorated much more in that country, and, again, because of specific policies of this administration and specific steps that were taken by this administration that got us in this mess.

So here we are with this production going off the chart. Here we are with the House of Representatives, the other body and the administration providing $1.3 billion now in aid to get our cart out of the ditch in Colombia, which is the major producer of heroin, some 75 percent as we demonstrated by the other chart, and some 80 percent of the cocaine production for the entire world now out of Colombia.

This was not easy for the Clinton-Gore Administration to achieve. I mean, to make this country into a disaster in 7 short years, the leader in production in cocaine, the leader in production in heroin coming into the United States, was no easy step, but they managed to do it by distorting the intent and also the provisions of the drug certification law.

One of the interesting things you hear the administration talking about, and we even heard some of the leaders from South America talking about, is, first of all, having the United States abolish the certification process, and then turning that over to an international body.

Could you imagine having the United States benefits of foreign aid, eligibility for finance assistance and trade benefits, given to another organization outside the sovereign United States, to determine who is eligible for foreign assistance and benefits, trade and finance from the United States? It is almost ludicrous, but the administration has been nodding and bowing to some of these suggestions, and I would fear that they would fall into the trap of letting someone else determine who gets benefits of the United States. I cannot believe it, but it is being talked about.

Repeatedly since the new majority, the Republican side, came into office, and even before that, I know we have requested that steps be taken not to allow the situation in Colombia to deteriorate. During the 1993 to 1995 period when again the Democrats, the other party, controlled the House of Representatives in vast numbers, I had over 130 Members request a hearing on our national drug policy, and in a period of 2 years there was really one hearing, if you did not count appropriations, routine hearings, on the question of our national drug policy and what was happening to it. I had 130 requests for hearings, and almost none were held.

I am pleased to say we have probably done some 40 hearings, almost one a week, since I have chaired the subcommittee, looking for solutions, looking for ways in which we can tackle this great social challenge and social and health problem that our country is facing with the illegal narcotics, and really it has become a national security problem. But one hearing was held in

1993-1994.

In 1995, when the new majority took office and control of the House and the other body, we again pleaded with the administration to get assistance to Colombia. We sent letters, we sent joint requests, we sent resolutions, and we actually even funded monies to go to that country. Each time the administration blocked assistance getting to Colombia.

After tremendous pressure by the Congress, in 1998 we did get action by the administration to certify with a national security waiver by the administration, so finally some 2 years ago they granted this waiver.

Now, they granted a waiver to allow narcotics fighting equipment and resources to get to Colombia. That was their so-called policy. But in practice what they did was a disaster. Let me just show you some of the things that they did.

We funded money; they diverted money. They diverted resources. I am told the vice president had directed some of the AWACS aircraft that we had flying, surveillance aircraft, from the drug producing region to Alaska to check for oil spills.

The President took money from what we had pledged to give to this region, the drug producing region, and diverted it to Haiti in his nation building attempts in that country. I could spend the rest of the night talking about the disaster of the Haitian policy, and Haiti has now turned into one of the major drug transit countries in the entire hemisphere and world, despite nearly $3 billion in diversion of some of the money that the Republican-led Congress had authorized for that war on drugs. They moved the money into Haiti. They moved the equipment into Bosnia and to Kosovo and to other administration deployments.

So even when we finally got them to grant this waiver that is allowed to get the resources there, the resources were diverted in fact.

Then what we found is we asked not only that appropriated funds by the Congress get there to help bring this situation which was deteriorating in Colombia under control, and we saw the production dramatically rising, which the charts supplied even by the administration confirm, but the other thing that we always asked to help if you are going to have a war or effort or a fight to assist in tackling a problem is you need equipment and resources.

This is an interesting article from last year, `Colombia turns down dilapidated United States trucks.' We tried to get surplus equipment. Okay, if you will not take the money that the Congress has appropriated, the Republican-led Congress has said to get there to do the job, how about just supplying some of the surplus? Heaven knows we have tons of surplus equipment in our downsizing, and some of it is not used or is in mothballs. They took these trucks, which actually I am told were designed for a northern or arctic climate, and sent them down to Colombia, and sent equipment that could not be used or was so expensive to repair or convert for use in the jungle or the tropic application that it was useless.

Now, this would not be bad enough, but the Congress saw this coming, and again the Republican-led Congress tried to do its best to get the resources to Colombia in a timely fashion. Again, the policy of not sharing information, of stopping the shoot down policy in 1994-1995 created a disaster. In 1996 to 1998 they decertified without a national interest waiver, so no aid was going down. 1998, they finally granted a waiver to allow aid to go down. They send down aid that cannot be used.

The Congress passed some 2 years ago a $300 million appropriation to send Blackhawk helicopters and equipment resources to Colombia to get the situation under control. Now, you would think that with the direction of the Congress, the administration could carry this out. Wrong. Until January of 1999, I am sorry, until January of 2000, this year, we were not able to get the helicopters to Colombia in a fashion that could be used. Almost an incredible scenario of bungling, of mismanagement in delivering the Blackhawk helicopters, which arrived, sent by this administration to Colombia without proper armoring and without ammunition.

What made it even worse is some of the ammunition that we ended up asking be sent to Colombia ended up during the Christmas holidays, from December to January looking for this ammunition, which should have been there over a year ago, ended up on the loading dock of the Department of State, another bungled disaster in trying to get aid that the Congress, the Republican-led Congress, had worked since 1995 to get to Colombia in a timely fashion, and, again, aid that could be used in an effective manner.

So the major expenditure of the $300 million that we asked some 3 or 4 years ago to get these resources and funded several years ago, the major component of this package were these helicopters which they need to get to high altitude to go after both the traffickers and also do the eradication. Other equipment will not work, but we know what will work, and we could not get that there. In a very limited quantity it finally got there the beginning of this year, but not armed, not properly armored, and not properly equipped, with the ammunition that was outdated.


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[TIME: 2030]

So one does not get oneself into a $1.3 billion disaster emergency appropriation by accident. One does not get oneself where we have a country which is a transit country for narcotics into the major producing country now in the world for the supply of hard narcotics coming into the United States, we do not get this accomplished by just a couple of easy steps. Unfortunately, we take some steps that I have outlined here tonight that in fact turn the situation into a disaster, and cause the Congress to expend hard-earned taxpayer dollars to sort of mop up the mess.

All this was now sort of blurred by the President in his grandstanding and going down to Colombia for some 8 hours to make this all look good. I am sure his action, the reports I have, are poll-driven that in fact the situation had deteriorated so badly, not only in Colombia, and the public was aware of it, but also with illegal narcotics flooding into the country in unprecedented quantities that it began to affect the credibility of this administration and those running for higher office.

I will quote from the New York Times. I do not want to prejudice this, because I am a partisan from the Republican side, and I do not want to prejudice it with my statement, but we will take the New York Times August 30 article.

It said, `The U.S. authorities describe Colombia's drug trade, which supplies about 80 percent of the world's cocaine and two-thirds of the heroin on U.S. streets, as a national security concern. But analysts suggest domestic politics rather than foreign policy may be behind the timing of Clinton's trip.'

I did not say this, the New York Times said this. Let me quote again from this article:

`Since Clinton took office in 1992, Colombia's cocaine output has risen more than 750 percent, to 520 metric tons last year, leading to Republican charges that the Democrats have soft-peddled on drugs.'

The rest of the article says, `Diplomatic sources say Wednesday's trip will give Clinton the perfect stage to strike a tough pose on drugs and allow Democratic Party presidential candidate Al Gore to say the current administration did not fall asleep at the switch.'

This is the New York Times article. I did not say that, they in fact said that.

But these accidents in fact have created a disaster. The failed policy in Haiti has created a disaster, turning Haiti into the key transit zone for illegal narcotics coming through the Caribbean today. Again, do not take my word, let us take the administration's drug czar's word.

General Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of Drug Policy, said `My only broad-gauge assessment is that Haiti is a disaster. We've got a weak to nonexistent democratic institution, a police force that is on the verge of collapse from internal corruption, and eroding infrastructure that is creating a path of very little resistance. We are watching an alarming increase.'

This is, again, not my comment but the comment of our drug czar. This is after the administration's policy of nation-building, after spending probably some $3 billion in Haiti and much of the funds in the institution of nation-building, building the police force and building the judicial system, building a legislative body, and this is the assessment by the administration's drug czar that this has turned into a drug haven.

I have not gotten into Panama. I just described how the policy of President Bush was to go in and go after a drug trafficker. In this case it happened to be the President of a country, Noriega, who he sent our troops for, who captured him and jailed him.

The contrast is that the Clinton and Gore administration allowed Panama to be given up, which it did have to be given up, we will give them that, as far as our base, but they turned over $10 billion in assets. We requested that we at least be allowed to lease and use the bases which we had established there, even if we had to pay for them, as a continuance of our forward drug surveillance operations.

We have to remember that before May 1 of last year all of our drug surveillance operations for this entire region of the Caribbean, where all these narcotics are grown and sourced and transited from, all of that surveillance operation was located in Panama at our bases.

In a bungled negotiation with Panama not only did we lose everything as far as the canal is concerned, and we were expected to lose that, but we lost all of the other assets. The Air Force bases, all of our strategic locations, and every operation for our forward drug surveillance and intelligence operations were housed at Howard Air Force base in Panama. This was, again, a total loss, and it is sad to report to the Congress and to the American people that the administration is now trying to still piece together a substitute for Howard Air Force Base.

So rather than pay a little bit of rent or assistance for using the facility that we had even built in Panama for this operation and other national security operations, we are now paying Ecuador, and we will probably pay over $100 million to build an airstrip, and we will have a limited contract with that country. We are going to pay for improvements and facilities at Aruba and Curacao, and we are going to pay additionally in El Salvador.

But what has happened, since May of last year, until we are now told today it is 2002, we have a wide open gap. So not only do we have Colombia producing incredible quantities, actually producing heroin, actually poppies that produce heroin and they come from there, but we have cocaine coming from there in unprecedented quantities, and also the coca bean grown there.

We have this incredible producing country, and our surveillance operations cut dramatically. In fact, we are told until 2002 that we will not be up to where we were when Howard Air Force base was opened.

What is of even more concern is the administration, when they came in in 1993, took some very specific steps, Clinton-Gore, in closing down the source country programs, in closing down the interdiction programs. They have great disdain to begin with for the military, and they wanted to make certain that they took them out of the war on drugs.

Now, of course, Members can hear the comments that the war on drugs is a failure. The commentators are always saying that. But the war on drugs, Mr. Speaker, basically closed down with the advent of this administration. That was in 1993. They stopped the interdiction programs, cut the source country programs, took the military out of the surveillance operations, and last year we lost the forward operating location.

So if Members wonder why we have a disaster in Colombia, there are specific steps that led to that. If Members wonder why our streets are flooded with heroin in unprecedented quantities and cocaine in unprecedented amounts, there is a reason for that. That is that surveillance operations are basically closed down, and are in the process of being replaced at great expense to the American taxpayers. The latest estimates are probably in the $150 million range, in addition to what we lost in assets in Panama.

That is some of the situation that we got ourselves into. The President went down with great fanfare, and we would think that he had solved the problem when in fact he helped to create the problem through some very specific steps that I think I have documented here tonight.

Mr. Speaker, what I would like to do is just talk for a few minutes about another thing that has taken place during the recess.

During the recess, we had with great fanfare not only the President visiting Colombia to make it look like they had done something, and of course I did not describe what they did tonight in detail about how they got us into this pickle, but we heard just in the last few days the drug czar and Donna Shalala, our Secretary of Health and Human Services, come out and proclaim that illegal drug use is down among teens. Of course, there is this headline in the Washington Times that says also that it is up for young adults.

They were trying to stage during this recess, in addition to the President's staging appearance in Colombia, that drug use was down among teens. What they had to do really was to counter the other headlines and reports that had been coming out one after another.

This is from the Washington Times: `Threat of Ecstasy Reaching Cocaine, Heroin Proportions.' This is August 16 of 2000. This is a report, and we had before my subcommittee the folks from the Centers for Disease Control who issued a stinging report that said `High-schoolers Report More Drug Use.' This is the New York Times. This is from Friday, June 9, 2000.

So the administration staged an event to try to make it look like they had gotten a handle on teen drug use, and it was in response to these reports coming out, the Centers for Disease Control and other reports that we have.

What disturbs me as chair of the subcommittee is that it is almost a deceitful use of statistics. We passed a $1 billion program to combat illegal narcotics use and drug abuse, an anti-drug media campaign some 2 years ago, and some $200 million plus per year is being expended over a period of time to try to get this situation under control.

When we passed that we wanted some measurable results, and we required in the law that we passed that there be measurable performance standards and a report back to Congress. I didn't think that the drug czar's office could do this or the administration would do this, but they took statistics and they molded them in this presentation as a follow-up to the President's staged appearance in Colombia, and used them in a fashion which I think was deceiving and which violates the intent.

In fact, there is an article which says the administration may have violated the law by not properly reporting to the Congress as required by the law.

But what they did was they took the perceived drug use as harmful of 12th graders, and they took a 1996 baseline that we started out with, and showed that 59.9 percent in 1996 perceived drug use as harmful, these 12th graders. Each year that had decreased.

We wanted to find out if the $1 billion we are spending is effective. They came out with a report, and what they did was they changed the baseline. They changed the baseline from 1996 to 1998 so that they could show it was a smaller baseline.

In this drug control strategy we require that they set a goal, so we know that we are getting something for our money, and we try to reach this goal. The goal they set was for 80 percent of the use, the 12th grade use to perceive this as harmful, drug use as harmful. What we have seen is actually a deterioration in this.

The administration cleverly took, and it was not discovered by our subcommittee but by a reporter, and changed the baseline to 1998, used the new baseline. They shifted from 12th grade, because they had slightly more favorable statistics for eighth-graders, and used those statistics. So what they did was they said they were getting closer to their goal, and eighth-graders were 73 percent more likely to perceive drug use as harmful, and said they were 7 percent from reaching their goal, when in fact they had actually deteriorated in the 12th-grade range, and researchers will tell us that 12th grade is a better measure of long-term drug use. Twelfth-graders usually set the stage for their lifetime action with the illegal narcotics.

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So we have seen a clever and rather deceitful distortion of a law that we passed to try to gauge performance and find out if we are meeting our objectives, and I find that very disturbing. I do not know if time permits to bring folks in and to conduct a hearing; but we certainly will be, if necessary, subpoenaing records to find out how they could take the intent and law passed by this Congress to set meaningful goals, to set performance standards, and then evaluate and report back to the representatives of the people.

So I take this matter very seriously that the law, intent and spirit of the law may have not been measured up to by this administration in an attempt to make it look like they have done something to help us, when in fact, if we start looking at statistics, we find that Ecstasy use is absolutely skyrocketing. This shows the Ecstasy use.

If we look at methamphetamine, almost no methamphetamine back at the beginning of this administration. These charts were given to me by another agency of this administration. We see from 1993 to 1999 the country, these colored parts here showing methamphetamine going at a rapid rate.

If we look at 12th grade drug use and the charts that again were provided and information by this administration, we still see serious increases, some leveling off. If we look at the prevalence of cocaine use, we see again dramatic increases under the watch of this administration.

So I do not particularly like to call this to the attention of the Congress and the American people, but I think it is a distortion of the intent of Congress to try to get measurable results and effective expenditure of our dollars and our antinarcotics effort.

So tonight, I appreciate the time and patience of my colleagues. I will try to return maybe again this week and finish the rest of this report. But we still face a very serious illegal narcotics problem that is taking a record number of lives, destroying families, and imposing great social devastation across our land.

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate again the attention of the House.

As of September 23, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H06SE0-388:
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