|Robert S. Gelbard, Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Testimony before the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC, March 20, 1997
Good afternoon Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, ladies and gentlemen: I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the program that will be funded by $230 million requested by the President for the International Narcotics Control account for FY1998. A unique specific purpose of this element of our Foreign Operations account is to directly protect American citizens within the U.S. from illicit drugs produced abroad, and from other transnational crime.
New Under the Sun
Abuse of psychoactive substances, and criminal acts by one person against another, are as old as human society. Protecting individuals from crime is traditionally one of the fundamental responsibilities of government. In an earlier time, it was an area in which a government might occasionally ask assistance of another, as when we sought extradition of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they evaded U.S. prosecution by fleeing to Bolivia. Mostly, though, crime and criminals were a domestic matter.
The extent to which things once exclusively domestic have become internationalized is almost a cliche. What is true of industry, science and trade is true of crime. Once, criminals in one country might occasionally have dealt with those in another. Now, criminal enterprise is as truly transnational as any other business. The financial and geographic scope of transnational criminal enterprise has grown beyond the reach of any individual government. It equals or exceeds even the proverbial scope of multinational corporations.
This is something new under the sun, as different as a Butch and Sundance from the Cali Cartel. A global economy with global communications compels governments to address new issues, and in so doing to recognize that no one government can respond without the effective collaboration of all. A truly global reach of illicit drugs and other transnational crime is similarly something new under the sun. It compels innovative and nontraditional responses. The President's guidance regarding the International Crime Initiative (PDD-42) and on international efforts against cocaine and heroin (PDD-14 and -44) has provided the basis for defining such responses. The International Narcotics Control request for FY1998 is an integral part of that response.
Narcotics: Old Problem, New Approaches
Illegal traffic in heroin and cocaine has existed since the pharmaceutical industry discovered a century ago how to refine these potent and tremendously addicting drugs. Both originate from raw material produced outside the U.S. Raw material for the entire world supply of cocaine originates in only three South American countries. The international community worked for decades to establish a treaty regime to regulate and control production, traffic and abuse of these drugs, based on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and other elements of the United Nations drug control regime.
More recently, a new level of multinationalization and polycriminality arose in illegal international drug trade. Transnational criminal enterprises originated with drug trafficking in Colombia and Mexico, but grew to New York and Houston, carrying other forms of crime and violence with them. Asian criminal enterprises smuggle drugs and illegal aliens alike into the U.S. and other countries.
Virtually all nations are now committed by treaty to prevent cultivation of crops that are raw material for drugs of abuse, illegal processing of those crops to dangerous drugs, and international smuggling of such drugs to their consumers. But treaty commitments, however significant, are of value to the U.S. and other nations only if backed by government capability to implement them. The International Narcotics Control program is an essential element of the cooperative effort of the international community to control production, international smuggling and abuse of illegal drugs. It implements elements of our National Drug Control Strategy calling for reducing production of these drugs abroad, and preventing their smuggling to the U.S. It provides training, advice and material support to equip other governments with institutional capabilities to make their treaty commitments effective enough in practice to protect the American people from dangerous drugs originating abroad.
In FY1998, the INC program will again fund training by DEA, Customs, Coast Guard and other U.S.G. agencies to improve capabilities of drug law enforcement agencies throughout the world, and in doing so will build relationships that enhance the ability of our law enforcement agencies to carry out their own missions of enforcing U.S. law. The INC program supports activities by the UN International Drug Control Program and promotes support by other donors to reduce production and attack trafficking in illicit drugs in countries, especially the major Asian producers of heroin, where our bilateral access is limited. Bilateral INC projects in selected countries where heroin and cocaine trafficking are most significant provide sustained training, advisory and material support to enhance the capabilities of their drug law enforcement institutions.
This program is not limited to drug trafficking. As important as it is, taken alone, this is like giving aspirin for a fever without antibiotics to cure the infection causing it. Our National Drug Control Strategy prescribes a comprehensive effort to break foreign drug sources of drug supply and production. The INC program includes significant elements whose purpose is not just to reduce the symptoms but to cure the problem, to permanently reduce production of the crops from which illicit drugs of abuse come.
The INC account includes a regionally funded aviation component that supports reduction of illicit drug crops by destruction with herbicides applied by U.S.G.-owned and -supported aircraft. These have operated effectively in Colombia, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela and other countries. It also supports aviation aspects of our bilateral country projects in the three principal cocaine raw material source countries, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. In 1993, the President decided that the INC account should include economic (formerly ESF) and military (formerly FMF) assistance provided since the 1980's to advance our drug control goals. The equivalents to these former programs are also now included in the INC drug source country projects.
In FY1998, over half of our INC request is devoted to bilateral projects in the three coca source countries, and aviation support for them. In these countries, our goal is not limited to drug law enforcement. We promote and support comprehensive programs by those countries to reduce and, within the decade of our National Drug Control Strategy, eliminate commercial-scale cultivation of coca destined for illicit cocaine production. This demands robust, efficient host government institutions for drug enforcement and interdiction, to control prices the illegal drug industry can offer farmers growing drug crops. It demands equally robust, efficient development of licit economic livelihood, to enable farmers to escape dependence on illegal coca and prevent re-establishment of the crop.
INC-funded assistance has helped implement a design worked out in the Peruvian government national drug control plan approved in 1994. By 1996, coca cultivation was reduced by 18%, to the lowest level since the mid-1980s. The National Drug Control Strategy identifies the enhanced support for INC activities in Peru reflected in this FY1998 request as one of its most important foreign drug supply control initiatives for the coming decade. Implementing the important long-term goal of eliminating illicit coca cultivation in Peru and the other cocaine source countries, will not be quick or easy. The INC program for 1998 and future years is an important part of the means by which we intend to get there. With continuing support from Congress, we are persuaded that it is possible to do, and that we must do it.
Crime and Criminal Justice: New Occasions Teach New Duties
In FY1997, for the first time, the INC appropriation included a separate sub-element devoted specifically to assisting the criminal justice institutions of other countries to define and implement activities against forms of crime other than illegal drug production and traffic. The types and manner of assistance are familiar to us: funding the provision of training, professional and technical advice, providing material and financial support to criminal justice institutions, is something the INC program has been doing for drug law enforcement for two decades. The reasons our activities have been expanded to more aspects of the general issue of crime and criminal justice institutions, and some of the consequences of this expansion, are new and different occasions for the INC program. I would like to devote somewhat greater time and attention today to them.
Drug trafficking, in today's world, is far from the only criminal activity that reaches from beyond a country's borders to victimize its citizens. The same explosive economic, technological and social developments that globalized legal activities, and production and trade in illegal drugs, affected other types of lawbreaking. Once, it took being in a village to perpetrate a fraud. Today, a swindler can be physically half a world away from a victim. As the scope for illegal activity expanded, so did its organization; as legal businesses got bigger, so did illegal ones. Criminal organizations like the Sicilian Mafia, well known for centuries, expanded to global dimensions. Criminal organizations that gained transnational scope trafficking drugs from east Asia or Mexico entered allied forms of illegal activity, like smuggling aliens.
Crime on an organized, transnational basis has become a fact of the modern world. Cars stolen in the U.S. are sent illegally to other nations to avoid high import tariffs. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that 40% of all vehicles stolen off U.S. streets ultimately are moved to other countries, costing insurance companies and customers millions of dollars a year. Illegal immigration and alien smuggling reach into the U.S. and other industrialized countries; in Washington a year ago, a seemingly legitimate U-Haul truck had a minor accident, and was found to be packed with illegal Mexican migrants who had been smuggled some 3,000 miles in deplorable conditions. The smugglers were tied to criminal organizations in Mexico. Nigerian criminal groups are wreaking havoc with American, European and Asian citizens. Last year, it is estimated that Americans lost $20 billion to Nigerian fraud scams -- mostly in the insurance industry, but also with credit cards. In one recent instance, the trail of a costly telephone swindle in the U.S. led to Moldova, others to otherwise obscure island ministates in the South Pacific. Asian criminal groups in the U.S. and Europe exploit their own countrymen. Promising a better life, these groups smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S. or other countries, and then hold them hostage to large sums of money they will never be able to pay. Money launderers use sophisticated international banking and financial systems to legitimize the illegal proceeds of drug trafficking or other criminal activity, or illegally evade tax or other laws of individual countries.
The reach and complexity of these activities is by itself sufficient to compel us and the international community to recognize them as a greater and more immediate threat than our domestic law enforcement agencies have dealt with. However, the matter does not rest with this. Transnational criminal groups find a favorable business environment in debilitated legal institutions of formerly totalitarian states, like the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. Those criminal groups thus acquire a vested interest in perpetuating that institutional debilitation. They bring to corruption resources far greater than weak governments can dispose to prevent it. Where transnational criminality on a vast scale has an interest in seeing that courts belong to the highest bidder, impartial and authoritative judicial institutions essential to democracy will be stillborn.
The advance of democracy thus brings with it special challenges. As politically authoritarian or totalitarian systems break down, whether of the left, as in Russia, or the right, as in South Africa, their countries must develop new legal and institutional capacities characteristic of democracies to maintain law and order. Police officers whose approach to investigation was to round up usual suspects are utterly unequipped to deal with criminals experienced in evading mature law enforcement institutions in established and stable democratic states. The resulting political and social environment has tremendous possibilities for individuals interested in making money from others, without regard for law.
Transnational crime thus has two significant new dimensions. It reaches to subject ordinary American citizens in their home states and cities more directly to crime whose perpetrators are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement than has ever been the case before. The corrosive effect of transnational crime can debilitate, subvert, even destroy the institutions of a state responsible to act against it. Without functioning criminal justice institutions, there is no law. Without law, democratic political institutions that our foreign policy is to promote cannot function.
These are the twin elements of explanation and justification for this new component of the INC account. Projects and activities begun over the past few years, and sustained through FY1997 by the first INC criminal justice appropriation, will be maintained and enhanced under this requested appropriation for FY1998 to more effectively protect Americans from crime initiated abroad, and to further the development of criminal justice institutions indispensable to our foreign policy goals of preserving peace and stability and promoting democracy.
President Clinton used his address to the 50th Anniversary session of the UN General Assembly to call the attention of the global community to the emergence of nontraditional threats to the security of nations and the safety of citizens, including transnational organized crime. The U.S. has led industrialized countries through groups of experts of the G-7/P-8 countries to concert national policies and approaches to transnational crime issues. The Summit of the Americas follow-up ministerial meeting on money laundering in December 1995 approved a declaration calling for enlargement and improvement of action by governments in the hemisphere to prevent illegal money laundering, and providing for mutual consideration of government activities that once would have been jealously argued to be of no legitimate international concern. Actions in the Summit and other international fora to establish and define international norms relating to governmental corruption represent another aspect of growing governmental recognition of the national security dimensions of transnational crime.
With this INC program, the U.S. has led the world in developing programmatic responses to this global challenge in specific situations. Our experience over two decades of enhancing the institutional capabilities of other governments to define and implement national efforts against illicit drug trafficking is equally pertinent to law enforcement and judicial institutions addressed to other forms of crime. The Support for East European Democracy and Freedom Support Acts provided training, advice and technical assistance, including the establishment of an International Law Enforcement Academy at Budapest, to strengthen institutional capacities of formerly totalitarian governments in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to establish and maintain institutions of domestic law and order appropriate to democratic society. The FY1998 INC criminal justice appropriation, along with SEED and FSA funding that will be allocated to INL, will help to sustain and support these activities as vital elements of our national foreign policy priorities in these regions. We recently agreed to a wide-ranging program to provide advice and assistance to South Africa to review, revise and improve its domestic criminal laws.
Much has been accomplished already. In FY1995, over 4,100 law enforcement officers from central Europe and the former Soviet Union received training, a level that was sustained in FY1996. In 1996, 250 law enforcement officials from this region participated in an eight-week ILEA program for police managers, with the cooperation and support of instructors from Germany, the UK, Canada, Italy, Russia and the Council of Europe.
In our immediate region, INC-funded training in stolen vehicle detection and recovery in Panama, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela supported an initiative, developed in cooperation with the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the FBI, to establish treaty arrangements to identify, recover and return stolen vehicles to owners. In 1997, this initiative is being expanded to central Europe. A Caribbean Crime Initiative against organized criminal activity has been developed, and training such as, for example, a regional witness security program has been provided to improve protection of witnesses prior to and during trial.
New extradition treaties with Bolivia, France, Poland, Cyprus and Spain better respond to the realities of modern transnational crime, and reflect the willingness of governments in a wide variety of nations to cooperate to prevent criminals from evading prosecution by fleeing to other countries.
During FY1998, the requested INC appropriation will fund law enforcement training programs and technical assistance to the New Independent States, Russia, central Europe, Latin America, Africa and east Asia, provided by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP), and other organizations. The program will place particular emphasis on money laundering, alien smuggling, and enhancing the institutional capabilities of other governments to combat organized and financial crime.
In Russia and the New Independent States, and in central Europe, INL-managed training funded by INC, FSA and SEED funds will be offered to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice institutions to act against organized crime, including financial and white collar crimes, illegal drug traffic, and traffic in nuclear materials. Training is offered in basic law enforcement techniques, and advanced technical assistance programs will be continued in Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, the Baltics, Slovakia and Hungary, and support will be maintained for the ILEA at Budapest. We will provide assistance to the NIS, Russia and central European countries to combat alien smuggling by enacting anti-smuggling legislation, training and cooperation through existing international groups. A first regional training program on illegal migration was held in 1996 at the ILEA. These activities are carried out in close collaboration and coordination with Federal enforcement agencies, including the FBI -- represented today by Director Freeh -- and other Justice and Treasury agencies. These agencies participate in an interagency working group which coordinates training programs carried out for students from central Europe and the NIS.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the FY1998 INC appropriation will support civilian law enforcement training, and seek to establish a regional law enforcement academy modeled on the ILEA at Budapest. INC funds will support a third phase of the program to negotiate bilateral agreements on stolen vehicles, to provide standard procedures for recovery and return from Central America, and training for local law enforcement officers, to reduce the annual loss to car theft of several hundred millions of dollars by U.S. citizens. This program will be expanded to South America and other parts of the world where stolen U.S. vehicles are being marketed in large numbers.
In Africa, law enforcement training and technical assistance funded by the FY1998 INC appropriation will emphasize respect for human rights by demonstrating how U.S. criminal justice agencies function to enhance the rule of law. INC funding will support technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in South Africa responsible for preventing illegal trafficking in nuclear materials and weapons. In east Asia, INC-funded law enforcement training will be provided to institutions responsible for action against organized criminal groups involved in alien smuggling, and to prevent money laundering.
Conclusion: Miles to Go
Our National Drug Control Strategy emphatically states that the metaphor of "war" must be recognized as totally inappropriate to our nation's drug problem. It is equally inappropriate to transnational crime. Wars are expected to end. They involve enemies that are nations, not unnatural transnational enemies whose only motivation is money. A democratic nation must utterly reject the concept of a "war" against its own people. The new transnational challenges of narcotics and crime demand responses different from the traditional international diplomacy of war and peace.
After the Second World War, the United States and western Europe defined multinational security institutions in NATO, whose integration of national security activities once seen as exclusively sovereign prerogatives was unprecedented. We cannot use capabilities and institutional arrangements we created to confront the danger of war between sovereign nations to deal with the dangers of transnational crime and narcotics. The times and circumstances call upon us, however, to be equally innovative, and not allow precedent or tradition to block effective response.
The international community's response to transnational crime remains less comprehensive and mature than to that of illicit drugs. There is need for continued development of the global policy recognition that the threats of transnational crime and illegal drugs have become as much an element of global foreign policy as war and peace.
One important consequence of this is that governmental activities and agencies once considered purely domestic have developed, and must continue to develop, operational relationships on a permanent basis with comparable institutions of other governments. Sustaining representatives abroad of U.S. domestic law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, Customs Service, ATF and others must become not an ancillary and peripheral element of our diplomatic missions, but as central as any part of traditional diplomacy. Practitioners of traditional diplomacy, in our Foreign Service and others, must become conversant with the issues and professional expertise of law enforcement agencies. In turn, diplomats can offer to the enforcement agencies the support of a profession whose essence is leading other governments to do, or not do, that which is in the national interest of one's own country.
In 1996, the Department of State worked with the FBI to develop a five-year strategy for FBI staffing and operations overseas. The study published in June 1996 embodies the view that the traditional foreign affairs community and U.S. law enforcement entities must develop similar world views regarding the roles of U.S. law enforcement agencies in overseas programs. There has been good progress in recent years, but there remains work to do in streamlining mechanisms for overseas law enforcement staffing, law enforcement coordination within country teams abroad, and appropriate reporting from missions abroad to Washington agencies to facilitate coordination. In this context, I stress again that the oversight authority provided by law to the Chief of Mission in any country is central to the ultimate success of all policies and programs in those countries.
Our FY1998 INC appropriation is the broadest and most effective means by which coordinated assistance by U.S. law enforcement agencies is delivered to strengthen the capabilities of counterpart foreign institutions. The INC program is fundamental to framing and implementing U.S. national foreign policy responses to production and traffic of illicit drugs abroad, and transnational crime. It is a novel, significant employment of known programs and capabilities to respond creatively to foreign policy challenges of the next century, as we and others formerly did for those of war and peace. We must continue to define and implement new and innovative forms of multinational cooperation and collaboration against transnational criminal organizations. If the international community cannot define institutions and arrangements that respond to the imperatives of these challenges, the ultimate result will be as destructive to our nations and our peoples as any lost war in history. People die. People are deprived of their personal liberty by addiction to drugs. People are stripped of their property by criminals and their crimes. As our Founding Fathers so eloquently declared centuries ago, it is precisely for the protection of the citizen from such threats that democratic governments and institutions exist. Without effective institutions for the preservation of law and order, democracy itself cannot long hope to survive.
Mr. Chairman, I welcome your questions and those of your Subcommittee, concerning this request.
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