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I recognize, Mr. Chairman, that in making this proposal I am running counter to the thrust of S. Res. 4, which reorganized the Senate's committee structure by eliminating and consolidating committees. I am equally cognizant of the fact that i incur the displeasure of a number of distinguished colleagues whose various committees and subcommittees already have formal jurisdiction over various aspects of the drug problem.
Before examining the substantive reasons why such a new committee is imperative, I should like to address the internal political and policy issues. Certainly
, I would be the last member of this Senate to oppose the fundamental thrust of S. Res. 4. The work done by Senator Stevenson and the other members of the special committee that proposed the resolution was excellent. The resolution-even though modified on the Senate floor-went a long way towards streamlining the Senate committee structure and making it conform better to the needs of our Nation, enabling us to do our jobs more effectively.
To argue, however, that this resolution should be made the basis for objections to any changes or modifications in the present structure is to set in concrete a document that reflected the needs of the Senate and the country at a given time. As a supporter of Senate Resolution 4, I believe that our resolution to establish a Select Committee is consistent with that spirit.
The ultimate purpose of the recent reorganization, as I understand eliminate, as much as possible, the sort of fractured jurisdiction that limits the ability of the Senate to act effectively. One of the major accomplishments of the reorganization was to centralize most jurisdiction over energy in the newly renamed Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Previously, the jurisdiction was shared in some measure by so many committees that effective policy was virtually impossible.
An analagous situation exists today with regard to the problem of drugs and drug control. Jurisdiction over this fundamental societal problem is also fractured; it is scattered among a number of legislative and investigative committees. For example
, oversight over the Drug Enforcement Administration is shared by the Appropriations and Judiciary Committees. However, the U.S. Customs Service which is primarily responsible for interdiction is covered by the Finance Committee and a different Appropriations subcommittee. The heretofore very effective eradication programs are administered by the State Department, which reports to the Foreign Relations Committee. The Governmental Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over the main issue of organization and reorganization. Moreover, its Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has a general mandate to oversee crime. Many issues relating to demand reduction, integral both to an understanding of the drug problem and to the design of effective solutions, lie within the purview of the Labor and Human Resources Committee. Active and former military personnel represent a substantial share of the Nation's addict population; solutions to their difficulties which have a bearing on the universal problem are being devised within the Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Committees. Beyond these more obvious examples
, a host of other governmental agencies, including among these, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco, the F.A.A., the C.I.A., the Agriculture Department and the FBI are involved to one degree or another in the drug problem and report to a variety of different Senate Committees and subcommittees.
The net result, Mr. Chairman, is that in the area of illicit narcotics we are like the ancient parable of the blind men and the elephant. No one committee or subcommittee in the Senate is able to view the problem in its totality and thus to work toward developing a comprehensive strategy. But let me clarify one point in this context. The resolution that we have offered neither contemplates supplanting these many fine committees nor negates the superb work that they have done.
General oversight of different agencies quite properly should remain within the domain of both the relevant standing Committee and the relevant Appropriations subcommittee. Likewise, we are in no way suggesting that the select committee usurp the proper legislative function of these committees. The select committee would be endowed with no legislative mandate. Neither are we suggesting, Mr. Chairman, that the select committee pre-empt the general investigative mandate of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
More importantly, we are simply saying this. The drug problem in the United States has reached crisis proportions and shows every indication of increasing in severity. It is a problem of extreme complexity because of its many dimensions and because of the numerous different government agencies involved. Let me note parenthetically that it is an effort which is as much a state and local problem as it is a federal problem. Furthermore, we would argue that to date the Federal Govern
ment in particular has not been able to develop an effective national strategy for attacking and emeliorating this societal cancer. I say this notwithstanding the many gains and, indeed, individual heroics that have characterized the effort.
The most comprehensive analysis of the drug problem is a report prepared over a period of years by the General Accounting Office and released to me in the context of oversight hearings conducted under the aegis of the State, Justice, Commerce and the Judiciary Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. The title of that two hundre page study captures the essence of the situations, “Gains ade in Controlling Illegal Drugs, Yet the Drug Trade Flourishes.” Among the report's conclusions is—and I quote, “Inconsistent and sometimes conflicting drug policies (which result) in no clear overall direction."
After having read this report and after having conducted approximately twenty hours of hearings on its conclusions, I do not think there is any doubt but that the GAO view is correct. Furthermore, all this information is consistent with my own experience as a prosecutor in an area that for many years was a primary route of heroin trafficking into the United States. Indeed, during my tenure as prosecutor we were forced out of necessity to develop innovative cooperative efforts among differing enforcement agencies to compensate for the very lack of direction and coordination that should have been emanating from the Congress and from the Executive Branch.
It is our belief that a comprehensive policy must be fashioned unless we as a nation are willing to continue to allow a $50 billion a year illicit traffic to continue. It is, gentlemen, more of a contagion than a traffic. One-half million Americans are daily users of heroin, and another million and one-half are less frequent users; thirteen million Americans are users of stimulants like amphetamines; 6.9 million Americans have used PCP; over ten million Americans have used cocaine; and at least forty-three million Americans have used marijuana. If those few statistics do not send shivers down the collective spine of this Committee and the United States Senate, then we have become insensitive to what may well be the most fundamental and challenging social problem we have faced.
And, unfortunately, this is not a problem that can be solved merely by appropriating more monies. Over a recent ten-year period, we have increased our overall expenditure on narcotics-related activity by more than 17 times—from $46.5 million to $814.2 million. Enforcement expenditures have also increased-by, over 13 times. Yet, as the GAO study hammers home, "the drug trade flourishes.” If there is an answer to this problem it is surely no simple one, no magical formula that we have simply overlooked. Rather, the solution lies in a creative integration of the many disparate elements of Federal, State and local law enforcement efforts. We have the resources. But they are scattered and disorganized. It would be the primary function of the select committee to understand the nature of the problem and to arrange the pieces of the solution into a relatively coherent, manageable whole.
But there is a symbolic dimension of the creation of the select committee which almost equals in importance its formal task. To establish this committee would reflect a level of commitment to the burgeoning drug problem that this Senate has not yet seen fit to make. Not only would it put the criminal and would-be criminal on notice, but it would give heart to the thousands of men and women throughout this country who toil-many at the risk of their personal safety-at what is one of the most thankless and most necessary jobs we have, drug enforcement and control. It would put the executive agencies on notice that the Senate of the United States would no longer tolerate a status quo that steadily deteriorates, but will demand excellence and cooperation.
In his message accompanying the reorganization plan of 1968, President Johnson stated in words of simple eloquence the goal of the Federal Government: "* * * America will serve notice to the pusher and peddler that their criminal acts must stop. No matter how well organized they are, we will be better organized. No matter how well they have concealed their activity, we will root them out. The response of the Federal Government must be unified. And it must be total.”
In truth, I do not believe that such sentiments have been accompanied by comparable action since the days when Robert Kennedy was Attorney General. Certainly, in recent years, no such commitment has been even slightly evident. Unfortunately, the vacuum of Executive leadership has not been filled in the Congress either. Institutionally, the Senate, at least, has not had a mechanism whereby it could effectively develop and coordinate policy. And with the many time demands on each Senator, the drug problem has occupied only a small portion of the attention and concern of only a few. By establishing the select committee that we are here proposing, it may be possible for the Senate to reverse the unfavorable trends; it may be possible for us to begin to clear away some of the darkness of a drug
problem whose dimensions seem overwhelming; it may be possible to clean up some of our society and to reduce the crime consequent upon drug use. Whether or not the select committee is totally successful-and no human endeavor is ever totally successful-it cannot but help move us in a positive direction.
In fact, Mr. Chairman, I believe that if this Committee seriously considers S. Res. 207, it should authorize its existence for a limited period of time-perhaps, for one Congress-and then re-examine whether it should continue on the basis of: (a) whether the need still exists; and (b) on whether the Committee's performance justifies its continuance. Furthermore, I would suggest if such an approach is adopted that the Rules Committee require the select committee to justify what it has done not on the basis of numbers of reports published or days of hearings held, as often happens, but upon hard results. The question the Rules Committee should ask is whether the select committee has really and significantly contributed to the war on illicit narcotics.
On the basis of my conversations with colleagues who would be anxious to serve on such a select committee, I am positive, Mr. Chairman, that the President Pro Tem of the Senate will find no dearth of individuals who are truly committed to devoting the time and the resources necessary to make the select committee a success. Each one of these individuals recognizes the gravity of the problem and would be enthusiastic about contributing to its solution.
I am perfectly aware, Mr. Chairman, that there is opposition to the creation of a select committee. As in all such discussions, there is a mixture of both policy and politics. I recognize the legitimate concern that you and others have over the danger of proliferating committees and the fear that some of the excellent work done by the reorganization at the beginning of the 95th Congress might get undone. These objections can, I believe, be overcome on the ground that a temporary select committee to investigate and propose solutions to a massive, multi-faceted problem is completely consistent with the purposes of the reorganization. Unquestionably the need is there,
But beyond policy, there is politics. No committee or subcommittee looks with favor upon a perceived encroachment of its traditional domain. I vividly recall some of the rather heated discussions that took place both in this room and on the Senate floor when S. Res. 4 was being discussed. Yet, I do not view the establishment of this select committee as interfering in any meaningful fashion with the jurisdiction or function of any other committee or subcommittee of the Senate. Nor do I accept as persuasive the argument of any other committee or subcommittee that because it has performed effective oversight over this or that agency that the task outlined for the select committee is already being accomplished. The facts speak for themselves. The fractured jurisdiction over the drug effort means, quite simply, that without the select committee, it will be business as usual, and that means business without a comprehensive national policy toward drugs.
This committee will no doubt hear testimony from a number of my distinguished colleagues that their committees are doing important and proper oversight. I would like to concur with those remarks in advance. Indeed, I would like to augment them by noting that in the various Appropriations Subcommittees on which I serve-most notably that chaired by Senator Hollings—we have done exceptional oversight
. Nonetheless, it is that very experience that underscores and reinforces the absolute need for a select committee which is invested with a mandate by the Senate to explore all the dimensions of the drug problem. Oversight over individual agencies does not yield a comprehensive portrait of the federal drug effort. And certainly, it does not provide the basis for designing a true national drug strategy.
Mr. Chairman, the resolution I have introduced proposes the establishment of a Senate Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. As the drug problem continues to grow more serious, we in the Senate must improve upon our past sporadic efforts toward controlling the problem. The Select Committee, which would dedicate all its energies toward bringing this problem under control, is, in my mind and those of many others, absolutely essential. As the recent history of our fight against drug abuse demonstrates, coordination and consistency have often been lacking, and the successes we have achieved have been, at best, transitory,
The Federal Government began to accelerate its response to the drug abuse problem in the mid-1960s. Prior to 1966, dangerous drug control was centered in the Treasury Department. In 1966, as the abuse of non-narcotic drugs-barbituates and stimulants-became more popular, Congress created the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (BDAC) under the aegis of the Food and Drug Administration in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Its purpose was to enforce laws against the manufacture and distribution of illicit drugs. The Bureau of Customs
continued to exercise its traditional jurisdiction over cases involving smuggling across national boundaries.
In 1968 President Johnson submitted to Congress Reorganization Plan No. 1. The Plan called for the merger of the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control and the Bureau of Narcotics, a branch of the Treasury Department. The new agency, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) assumed jurisdiction over most aspects of drug enforcement, and was located within the Department of Justice. Congress adopted President Johnson's proposal, which had as its goal coordination of the Government's drug abuse control effort.
In 1970, Congress passed landmark legislation which consolidated and extensively revised Federal drug laws. The Comprehensive Drug Abuse, Prevention and Control Act of 1970 provided for increased research into, and prevention of, drug abuse and drug dependence. It further provided for treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers and drug dependent persons and strengthened existing law enforcement authority in the field of drug abuse. The emphasis of the previous justification for federal enforcement in the drug abuse field—that is, the Constitutional authority to levy taxes-was shifted in favor of the interstate commerce principle.
In 1972, President Nixon established the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE). Its function was to focus on eliminating drug abuse at the street level by establishing task forces to coordinate the federal, state, and local drug enforcement efforts.
In 1973, President Nixon sent to Congress Reorganization Plan No. 2. The Plan recommended abolition of most agencies, including the newly organized Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement. The Plan, when enacted, created a new agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Located within the Justice Department, DEA appears to be the Federal Government's major weapon in the war on drug abuse.
DEA is not the only federal agency now involved with the drug abuse problem. In addition to the agencies I referred to earlier, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, the Coast Guard, the Federal Highway Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and the Defense Intelligence Agency all have jurisdiction over some aspects of drug abuse enforcement. Unfortunately, the result of all these overlapping Federal agencies has been indecision by Committee and inaction by mutual agreement. Agencies treat each other like princely kingdoms, and interagency task forces have the air of diplomatic negotiations. Such an atmosphere of rivalry, competition and complete independence does little to foster the basic goal of law enforcement.
This historical absence of commitment to a single organizational scheme is not the only example of the Federal Government's lack of focus in fighting drug abuse. We have never decided whether to focus our efforts on reducing supply or demand. In reducing supply, several approaches have been taken. We have focuses on interdicting drugs where they are produced, where they enter the U.S., where they are distributed, and on street sales involving small-time pushers and their addicted customers. Arguments can be made in support of each of these approaches; unfortunately, our policymakers have been trying the various approaches without giving any one approach a chance to succeed. With regard to shrinking the demand for illicit drugs, a variety of educational and treatment programs, including the establishment of federally-funded methadone clinics for treatment of heroin addicts, have been tried. Some have worked better than others; none has resulted in bringing about a long-term, significant decrease in the demand for illicit drugs. Undoubtedly, the drug problem would be much worse without the intervention of the governments of the United States and other countries.
Mr. Chairman, Senate Resolution 207 creates a Senate Select Committee patterned after the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control of the House of Representatives. The Senate Select Committee would have at least one representative from six Committees of the Senate, five of which already have some jurisdiction over narcotics. There include Armed Services; Governmental Affairs; Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Labor and Human Resources, and Judiciary. Each of these Committees is concerned with some aspect of drug abuse, but not one of them has the jurisdictional grant to coordinate an all-out, welldirected comprehensive examination of drug abuse and its control. The Select Committee would have both the mandate and necessary interest and support to do what must be done.
Several aspects of the problem demand our immediate attention. I would recommend that the following areas of concern--involvement of organized crime in the drug business, the foreign production of dangerous drugs, and corruption within our
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own drug enforcement agencies—be given special attention by the Select Committee.
No one doubts that organized crime controls much of the drug trade in the United States. Since dealing in illicit drugs requires large expenditures and tight coordination, the involvement of organized crime is almost essential to any large-scale narcotics enterprise.
Defining organized crime is not as simple as it once was. While the Mafia is still a force in the drug trade, after an apparent withdrawal from direct involvement during the 1960s, many new organizations, making most of their profit from trade in illicit drugs, have sprung up in major metropolitan areas. While on occasion these organizations have challenged the Mafia for control, in most cases, profitable alliances have developed between the more established and the newer organizations
. Organized crime, and its involvement in the narcotics business, is not a new problem. Several Executive Branch agencies have been actively working to put organized crime out of business. The problem now is more difficult and complex than it once was. Given the increased complexity of the problem, the Select Committee can provide important assistance. An independent, in-depth investigation of this aspect of the drug abuse problem could provide additional information and support for the agencies most directly involved in fighting drug abuse and organized crime. Additionally, our investigation will undoubtedly help us in dealing with corruption in the drug enforcement agencies, a problem I will discuss in a moment.
Since the early 1970s the Federal Government has attempted to bring the drug abuse problem under control by sponsoring eradication programs in source countries. The programs are designed to destroy illicit drugs at their source, before processing and entry into the United States. The United States had used foreign aid money to encourage growth of legitimate crops. Other programs have involved direct grants to foreign countries for use in eradicating narcotics. These programs were successful in Turkey in the early 1970s; this success is demonstrated by the fact that the French Connection, which supplied heroin to the U.S. from Turkey, is not nearly as productive as it once was. The effort to control the flow of heroin from Mexico has also been successful. According to the 1978 report of the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee, the reduction in heroin supply in the U.S. since 1975 is due in large part to successful efforts in Mexico.
These programs are very important. Once a foreign government's assistance is obtained, our task becomes less difficult. Unfortunately, gaining the assistance of foreign governments is more difficult than in the past. Currently, a large percentage of the heroin is imported from the Golden Triangle—where Burma, Laos, and Thailand meet-and other areas of Southeast Asia. Another area which is quickly becoming a major source of heroin includes such nations as Iran and Afghanistan. I need not speak at length on our difficulties in this part of the world. We cannot, however, throw up our hands and wait for a change in government.
The Select Committee, with its focus on narcotics abuse, can view the problems of eradication with a particular goal in mind. A representative of the Committee on Foreign Relations, as a member of the Select Committee, will be able to offer an appreciation of the broader ramifications of any eradication program. The Select Committee will also be able to view eradication programs in light of their impact on other aspects of the drug abuse control effort.
Corruption within our own drug enforcement agencies is a third area where I believe the Select Committee's role will be important. At this time it is unclear to what extent corruption exists. Few, however, refuse to believe that there is at least some corruption.
The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in its 1975-76 hearings, concluded "throughout the history of the Federal drug enforcement insufficient attention has been paid to integrity and corruption problems.” With due respect for my colleagues on the Permanent Subcommittee, and for their hard working staffs, this problem should be considered by a group which can devote all its energy to solving this problem. Further, these problems can best be explored together with other aspects of the drug problem. To fight drug abuse, we need honest government employees. The Select Committee can and will find out which officials are corrupt and see to it that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
In all these areas, there is a need for review, coordination, and action. The Select Committee will have the mandate, interest and resources to perform these tasks. By including members of the several committees which have jurisdiction over some aspects of the problem, we will gather the necessary expertise and information while streamlining the effort. The issues involved here are of most serious concern to all. Mismanagement and squabbling have given drug traffickers a giant head start. Now is the time for us to close ranks behind a single committee.