tv William Brownfield Testifies on Transnational Crime CSPAN August 1, 2016 9:56am-11:17am EDT
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> foreign relations committee will come to order. this morning we will look at how we are moving beyond the war on drugs was in the broader challenges of transnational organized crime and what strategies can be effective in combating this threat. while illegal drugs and crime
associate with them are still devastating community on both sides of our southern border, it's not yet clear successful the huge investors made over the decades have made in eradicating supply and production. the bottom line is this. where the rule of law is weak or nonexistent, transnational criminal organizations will prosper in engage in corruption. in 2011 the obama administration issued a strategy to combat transnational organized crime. this was an ambitious aspiration strategy that sought an evolution in thinking. now nearly five years later we need to ask what is working and what is not so we can get this right moving forward. i witnessed today is ambassador go brownfield who is a strategic thinker with a long, with long tactical experience. we welcome them and look forward to his testimony in our
discussion with a return to our ranking member, our distinguished ranking member, senator ben cardin. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for convening this hearing on transnational crime. the world has changed and so as transnational organized crime. i think it's important for us to an update as to where we are. president obama's 2011 transnational organized crime strategy, it's been there for a while. isn't working? do we need to do more? we need to update and hope today set to brownfield, you will share with us how we are doing in regards to that strategy . organized transnational crime, we've seen many of the results of that. we had hearings on trafficking, on human beings, on wildlife, on weapons, on drugs. we have seen the transnational
organized crime in financial crimes against us, particularly on cyber. i am particularly part of the work being done in my own state of maryland on cybersecurity even with the effects of transnational crime. to work at fort meade where we have our cybersecurity command, and many private companies working in my state in regards to these issues. ..
the impact of this, the trafficking of drugs into america and in my state and every state in the nation we see record number of addiction. it's affecting our communities directly as well as the criminal elements and what they do. we've certainly seen that in the trafficking of migrants in april, 500 people died alone in the mediterranean on one capsize traffic it'd vote. there's a human cost of this. it's big business. the numbers are astronomical. just in the trafficking of refugees in 2015, it was a five or 6 billion-dollar enterprise. it's a huge amount of resources that are being taken out of our productive economy through organized transnational crime
and we need an equal response to it and i look forward to hearing from our witness. >> thank you for your comments today. our witness is william brownfield, the assistant secretary for the bureau of international narcotics and law-enforcement affairs. we had a long meeting last week to go through many aspects of this problem and i think him for being here today. thank you for sharing your knowledge and thoughts about how to better attack this. if you could, keep your comments to about five minutes that would be great. we look forward to questions. without objection your written testimony will be entered into the record. with that, have at it. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member cardin. enqueue for the opportunity to discuss our evolving understanding in response to transnational criminal threats. gentlemen if i were to asked to describe current strategic threats from transnational crime, i would mention too.
first is our priority from the last century, drugs. we must today manage a strategic transition from cocaine to heroin. we made great progress on cocaine. u.s. consumption is down more than 50%, but heroin abuse is exploding. our international challenges to work for a solution with the government of mexico, the source of most heroin in the united states. i can report that we are working well together, mashing our domestic heroin abuse reduction plan with mexico's new national heroine plan. we must not ignore cocaine. in two years cocaine production in colombia has doubled, and the u.s. is the traditional market for colombian cocaine. colombia is understandably focused on its peace process to conclude a 50 year armed conflict.
our challenge is to support that process while at the same time pursue a serious drug strategy for columbia and central american transit nations. we need to address challenges beyond our hemisphere. afghanistan produces more than 80% of the worlds heroine, africa is a massive transit point for networks moving north and south and east and west, and the chinese pharmaceutical industry produces much of the worlds dangerous new psychoactive substances and some old ones like fennel. the second and greater strategic challenge for the 21st century is that vast new field of organized activity that is neither drug nor terrorism. we call it transnational organized crime. it includes human smuggling and trafficking and wildlife, arms
trafficking, illegal mining, cybercrime, intellectual property theft. while each crime is distinct, they all share enablers. they they require corruption to run their trafficking networks. money laundering to convert illegal revenue into legitimized property is also required. they prey on weak governing institutions and benefit from poverty, poor education and lack of jobs. in the increasingly globalized 21st-century, transnational transnational organized crime may be the greatest law-enforcement threat to confront the united states. we have learned lessons since first attacking the drug crises of the 20th century and we've changed our tactics accordingly. one lesson is that many of the techniques and technologies developed over 40 years to control illicit drugs can also be applied to talk.
police operations, lab takedowns cannot solve transnational organized crime. long-term progress means stronger law enforcement and rule of law institutions, whether through training, education, equipment or technology. our partner institutions are not just the police. they include investigators, prosecutors, public defenders, judges and corrections officials. we must construct the global architecture, the treaties and conventions, the un and other international organizations to cooperate and coordinate to permit government and law-enforcement to work together to address transnational organized crime. mr. chairman, i've been in this business more than 37 years. i take the long view to solving our national security challenges
when i joined the foreign service in 1979, the most sophisticated tools available to law enforcement working in international case for the telephone and a rolodex file. we have come a long way since then, but we have a long way to go still. thank you, and i think the members of the committee and i look forward to your questions in your comments. >> thank you very much for your testimony and for the time you spent on this in 37 years, and for the meetings we have had in the office. let me make sure people heard fully what you had to say, 90% of the heroin that comes into the united states is not just coming from mexico, it is produced in mexico. is that correct? >> that is a good rough estimate , mr. chairman. >> so it's not a situation of having a southern border where
things would naturally migrate through, it's actually being produced there. i think the other point you want to make sure that you got out is that you are working very closely with the mexican government to deal with this issue and feel like you have a good partner in that regard. is that correct? >> that's correct. i think very highly of the attorney general of mexico who has been placed in charge. >> what is it that is specifically causing 90% of the heroin that americans are consuming to be produced in mexico? >> that's a very good question. i will offer you two, three and maybe for elements of an answer. one part of the answer is the same mexican trafficking organizations or cartels, that for for the last 20 years or so had been moving the product from south america, mostly cocaine, through central america and into the united states, discovered the cocaine to man decreased
that they could replace much of that through heroine and made a systematic effort to build the market. second they discovered having a vertically integrated system, which is to say controlling the entire process from cultivation through laboratories that converted opium poppy into heroine, to the transport and logistics network and eventually the revenue and the money laundering networks work to their advantage. third you have geography, which is to say mexico is a lot closer to the united states then is afghanistan. fourth, in a sense mexico became the victim of colombia's successes. colombia used to produce about half the heroin consumed in the u.s. but thanks to some very serious and successful efforts by the colombian government, colombian heroine has dramatically reduced in the u.s.
market. mexican heroine has replaced it. >> so what's happening in mexico is not unlike any international business enterprise, vertical integration, proximity to customer and that has caused the mexican production to dramatically increase, just like any other legitimate business might ask. this is obviously illegitimate. they are adopting the same principles. is that correct? >> that's exactly correct. as i like to say often, drug trafficking organizations are criminal and vicious, but they are not stupid. they are very good businessmen. >> my great staff had comments about some of the positive things that were happening in colombia. however, they declined not to say those in the opening comments because of what you just said, and that is because 50% increase in cocaine production is occurring right now in columbia. what is driving that? after all the years of effort,
after positive effort by many administrations, what is is driving that 50% increase? >> actually, mr. chairman i might nudge your figure up to closer to 100% over the past two, going on three years. i think it's driven by several factors. one, and to be want an honest, is the focus of attention on the colombian government on their peace process, and to some extent a willingness or a desire not to take steps that would complicate that peace process. the farc guerrilla movement is today as a has been for more than 30 years one of the world's leading drug trafficking organizations. second, the government of columbia no longer has the same eradication program that they had for the past 20 years or so. they have stopped all aerial
eradication and have not replaced it with ground-based manual eradication paired this is partly a decision of them telling us to stop aerial eradication but it is also partly a function of the colombian cocoa growers having realized and discovered that certain zones in colombia would not be sprayed. zones near national frontiers and borders, or zones in national parks or zones in indigenous reserves. the net effect of that is this explosion of cocoa cultivation. >> let me ask you this, it's not what we want to hear, i know we had the president up here recently and all of us were glad to see him and want to continue the partnership we've had, but is this in some ways an accommodation to the farc in order to end up in a more peaceful situation that you see
occurring? >> mr. chairman, i think it is part of that, but that is too simple an answer. i want to to give complete credit to the government of columbia who i admire you norm is for you, who i think have made extraordinary effort at great cost and with great courage in terms of what they are doing. i do think we have to acknowledge that the peace process and its negotiations have developed over the past four years, one of the elements of colombian government policy that has not been maintained at its previous level is counter narcotics and eradication. >> i want to move on to the next person out of respect for everyone here on the committee. in my next round i want to focus on the tremendous increase in production that is occurring right now in afghanistan, and the highly lucrative production
of sentinel that is occurring in china which is so much easier to do and cheaper to make yet so much more lucrative. that's probably our next challenge as a nation. >> i want to follow up on your point and that's that we very much appreciate your service. we know the work that you did in columbia and we appreciate that very much. we now need to see how we can deal with a more holistic approach on drugs coming into america. i want to concentrate on heroine. it's been throughout my state and i've seen the impact of heroin addiction in maryland. it's in every part of my state. there is no part of maryland that has been immune. no community has been spared. my understanding is that this is true throughout america.
the heroin addiction issues are incredibly impacting all of our communities. i am pleased to hear your report that from the governmental sector you are confident our relationship with mexico is productive and we are working on that issue. you've also acknowledged a hundred% increase in heroin production in mexico. clearly we have to be more effective in our policies in mexico to stop the production. there are a lot of other issues involved in the heroin use. we had the opioid abuse, et cetera. we need a multiple approach but from your experiences in columbia i would hope we would have a more aggressive expectation on cutting off source production in mexico.
>> that is a very fair hope on your part, senator, and i want to feed into that. i am optimistic, but by the same token i have been in the business long enough to know that to have an impact you have to think in terms of years, not in terms of months. i would use columbia as an example. columbia launched their plan in 2000. until the year 2007, no one in this institution of the united states congress or the executive branch would have been prepared to say we are made serious inroads and impacts on production in colombia. by 2007, 2008, seven or eight years eight, seven or eight years after the start of the most aggressive program we have ever pursued in the western hemisphere, we began to see that impact.
i lay that out as a concern as we deal with mexico. as we work with mexico, we have to remember we have our own part to play in this. the office of the national drug control policy has developed the heroin abuse reduction plan and the objective of that plan is to reduce that a man for the product in the u.s. the mexican has been very good about law enforcement efforts focused on interdiction and attacking and taking down laboratories. the challenge we have is going after the tens if not thousands of acres in mexico that are currently under cultivation for opium poppy. that's what i'm trying to work with right now with the government. >> obviously that's extremely important and we want to help any way we can. could you share with us a better
understanding of the criminal elements that are bringing the heroin into the united states? what's its relationship to traffickers in regard to humans? give us -- are we talking about mexican cartel type operations? are we talking about american connections? are we talking about other parts of our hemisphere or outside of our hemisphere that are involved in these transnational criminal syndicates that are effectively bringing the drugs and people into the united states? >> i will offer you my views and obviously u.s. law enforcement has a right to correct, adjust, fine-tune or modify anything you are about to hear from me. first it is my opinion that the mexican drug trafficking organization have developed, in
the past ten or 15 years, in a way that basically supplanted previously the colombian drug traffic organizations which dominated the movement of product, particularly cocaine, from south america to the u.s. they are overwhelmingly, within mexico, mexican organizations that are comprised of mexican citizens. do they also take advantage of other forms of trafficking in order to make money? yes they do. whether that's trafficking in person or firearms or trafficking in contraband or other forms of criminal activity they engage in it. their usual approach is to manage the process themselves from within mexico, and get the product across the united states border. that is done by the organizations themselves and their personnel.
once they have delivered to the ultimate destination in the united states, by which i mean the city, at that point they have a local partner. that partner may or may not be mexican. it may be an all-american game, it may be a mix, but that is the point as they shift from transportation and wholesale into retail where the product then moves from the criminal organization, the mexican cartel, to some other americanized version. >> just so i understand, you are confident that the leadership in mexico fully understands this and is working with us in order to root out these criminal elements in mexico? >> i am senator, although i do say this has taken a number of years and the reason is that it is a change from the perspective of mexico to how they address drug related issues. until the harrowing crisis, and
you use that word correctly, we have a heroine crisis in the united states, until that crisis, the mexican perspective was that by virtue of geography they were located in between the producer states further down to the south in south america. columbia, peru, bolivia and the consumer states located to their north in the united states or in canada or in western europe. as it shifted from cocaine to heroine they have had to confront the reality that the entire problem is centered there. it has taken time, i believe were moving in the right direction, i continue to offer you optimism, but with a careful dose of please don't hold me to solve this problem by friday standard. >> i will follow up. thank you.
>> thank you mr. chairman, i represent the state of georgia, the capital of which is atlanta which is ground zero for mexican drugs coming into the united states. that is where comes to get distributed. my impression is operational control of the border between the u.s. and mexico and the land therein is pretty much controlled by the mexican drug cartel. am i right? >> you are talking to a native texan, senator i wouldn't go that far. i would say however on the south side of the border there is a tremendous amount of penetration and influence including several of the major mexican border cities. >> the increase in the heroin trafficking is the increased demand in the u.s., is that not right? >> it is right that you would not have nearly the amount of hair when crossing the border if there were not demand. i would suggest you that much of this demand was manufactured in artificial, which is to say the original demand was prescribed
for overprescribing pain medication. then the cartel substituted $40 a hit hit which you had to do using a prescription drug to spend $10 for heroine. >> do you think they are tied to each other? >> i do in very many instances, yes. >> in fact the human traffickers are used to get the drugs in the united states over the border, are they not? >> i believe that as well. >> which crop oration are we getting from the mexican government to stop that? >> i believe we get good cooperation on a case-by-case basis and in specific locations. i believe across the board cooperation is good with mexican federal authorities along the border. i think the cartels are so skilled and so well-informed
that they can identify and spot a week. in a sense, even if we had 99.9% of a tightly controlled border, they would find that 110th of 1%. that's the problem, that's the that's the challenge that we are dealing with. >> i get the impression that the enforcement, i'm not talking just about mexico here, the cooperation that foreign governments of us on the human trafficking issue is less than helpful. is that correct? >> it depends on the country but i agree there is a reluctance to acknowledge they have a trafficking person's problem. >> they have done a great job focusing on the human trafficking issue which is a real tragedy. i go back to my home state where a lot of people are brought thinking they are coming to
america but they become slaves, sex slaves or worse. i get the impression we don't get the cooperation from the other governments. it seems to be growing rather than diminishing. >> i don't disagree with that. you will accuse me of pandering but i'm going to make one additional statement. i have signed a memorandum of understanding with a large city police department. it's called the atlanta police department, and they have a division that does hate crimes as well as crimes involving trafficking with persons which are usually sexual or gender-based. they are the best trainers we have anywhere in the world for many of the reasons you yourself have just laid out. part of the challenge, and therefore part of the solution,
is how we can project the way we deal with these problems here in the united states, in a real world way with police that are overseas in countries that have the same problem. that is part of our challenge. >> never apologize to the senate for pandering, we do it all the time. [laughter] on the subject, you and i have never met so i want to thank you 14 up what what was going to be my last question about the atlanta pd and what they are doing with the gang issue. they are the enablers in the united states for the cartels in latin america and met mexico. it's the flow of the information of these gangs that can be the best mechanism we can use to stop trafficking. that's my impression. you agree? >> i do agree and i've tried to say it as often as i can. we have signed 110 memorandum of understanding with state and local law enforcement
institutions across the country, and my messages, this is not just in our interest but we get excellent trainers to do programs overseas, and it is their interest because as they engage overseas in training missions they are developing the contacts with foreign police. they are developing the intelligence sources that can in turn be played back to help them to their job on the streets of america's cities and communities, whether it's gangs or trafficking organizations or others that are involved in international and transnational organized crime. >> on that point, law enforcement particularly in the southeastern united states have developed a database that the tracking of these gang members and the flow of these gang members is becoming very traceable in a very instantaneous approach through a database that has been assembled. it has really help us begin to get our arms around this.
i appreciate you bringing the atlanta pd up. >> thank you. >> thank you senator menendez. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you mr. sec. for your service. in in 2011 the administration released a strategy on combating transnational organized crime with a stated end goal of reducing, from a national security threat, to a manageable public safety problem. the strategy outlines five key objectives and identifies dozens of priority action for implementation. the five objectives objectives of the strategy are protecting u.s. citizens and supporting other nations related to transnational crime, protecting the u.s. financial system from exploitation, targeting transnational criminal networks that pose a threat to to u.s. national security and building international cooperation through multi- lateral forum and
partnerships. in your testimony, however, you noted that they have recalibrated their work and focused on two mutually supported strategic objectives. those are helping partner governments build and reform institutions that enhance the capacity of their criminal justice system and developing the global architecture necessary for border law enforcement and preventing corruption. does that represent a strategic shift by the administration? i know you noted that you're not ready to declare victory, but did circumstances bring defeat? i would like to know what the recalibration means for u.s. policy. has hour and you'll changed? >> here's how i would answer that perfect legitimate
question. >> i only ask for a legitimate. >> i would say i nl is part of a larger group of institutions. we obviously have the law enforcement organizations in the department of justice and homeland security, we have those that are involved in the counterterrorism efforts as well. we therefore have a piece of the national strategy on transnational organized crime. this is about the time, you may recall since you chaired the hearing that foolishly recommended eventually my confirmation in this position, that this was about the time i came into this position. my decision at that time was let's, as i nl, let us not do all of the strategy but let's pick those elements where we have the greatest ability to
influence in a positive way. we picked institution building because in a sense, it's what we do across the border and around the world, and developing the global architecture which is a code for the conventions, the international agreements, the international organizations and mechanisms that allow governments to coordinate and cooperate around the world. we are actually working the other issues as well but my guidance to my people five years ago was let's pick those areas where we can have the most impact and were other parts of the united states would not naturally be doing as much. i asked asked the question i want to follow up with a different part of your testimony. protecting the u.s. system from exploitation and certainly, targeting transnational criminal networks, would be an essential element of a plan we would want
to pursue. the two stated goals you described that you narrowed it down to may help that but i'm not sure it directly does p let me ask you this. you say i nl support for capacity building is now directed by the requests of our international partners. those governments and citizens must own the process of reforming their institutions. it can't be driven by the desire of the united states or other donors. it may be more than semantics, but where you say this can't be driven by the desire of the united states, i absolutely think it should be driven by proceeding pursuing our own values and national interest. no one else is going to do that for us. i asked these questions because many of us are trying to give this and whatever future administration the tools it needs to accomplish the goals that were set.
i hope the administration has not reset inl goals to only work in the confines of relationships that aren't adversarial. what happens in many countries, certainly there are several in the 90 or so that fall into the orbit where the government or others in control don't want to help because that would interfere with our profiting, their profit take or other personal interests, are we seeing ourselves as barred from working with other institutions, the ngo and other in those country that could move to creating the type of systems we would want to see? >> senator, i think in a sense you and i are reaching the same conclusion, but we are saying it in different ways. of course we want to cooperate with those governments and in those countries that represent, if you will, the, the greatest transnational organized crime
threat to the united states of america. my point in my statement was, if we do not have buy-in or genuine commitment by the host government, we probably are not going to succeed. that is one of the lessons i've learned about past 37 years. we certainly can encourage the buy-in. we can nudge the buy-in and we can try to direct and guide the buy-in but i ask, if you recall, i had the dubious pleasure of being the united states ambassador for three years to a country whose government was determined to have an adversarial relationship with us. i will not identify it other to say it's capital is located in caracas. i could not have delivered one single successful program in terms of institution building in those three years in that country because the government would not cooperate. that's the point i'm trying to make.
some countries, our strategy has to be a periphery strategy. what can we do around the edges to address those issues that represent a threat to the united states? what we want to do is work with the government for its buy-in for these programs so they themselves are supporting what we are trying to accomplish, what we are putting resources into and what we are doing the training or capacity building. >> mr. chairman, i appreciate your comments. in countries like venezuela and others, where they are operating in a way of which there are significant operations of transnational crime, then we must find other ways, if we cannot induce them to participate, and have them institutionally decide to move in a direction that is good for their people and in our national security interest. you have to find other ways, it seems to me, to pursue actions that will get them to that. i look forward to working with
the chair and ranking member to think about those ways otherwise we advocate large numbers of countries in which we are undermined in our overall goal. >> i appreciate that and based on my last trip to venezuela that took place not long ago, i can't imagine anything constructive that they would be willing to work with us on under the existing government. i agree with you. thank you. >> i wanted to ask you some questions about cyber and i make it to one about fentanyl. when we talk about cyber, so often in this body and this committee, i'm on the armed services committee as well, we so often talk about it from the state actors. i'm intrigued by your position at the state. talk to us a little bit about the cyber activity you see from transnational criminal organizations, rather than direct state.
what's the magnitude of this threat? what do we need to be aware of? >> i think you have already put your finger on the three areas where cyber, and call it misuse or unlawful use of cyber, constitutes a threat to the united states. one is state to state and it's a matter of intelligence, either intelligence collection or intelligence manipulation. the second is terrorism which is connected to, but we have treated it as a different issue from the rest of the transnational organized crime. that is the use of cyber for supporting, in some way shape or form, terrorist activities and terrorist operations for the third is pure criminal activity. that is to say the use of cyber for the purpose of stealing or in some way enriching's oneself or one's organization and my
suggestion, at the end of my oral statement was that as we look at the end of transnational crime, we better be careful because as we make progress on other elements, we may discover that it winds up being the greatest, not just law-enforcement, but even security challenge to the united states of america. that is the challenge that we have before us spread the challenge that i have is dealing with two different communities as well as my own law enforcement and criminal justice community and figure how we can mutually support or borrow from one another in terms of technologies, techniques and systems that we have developed for dealing with these issues. they are similar, but they are different. as you well well know, based upon other committees that you sit on, if you are working an
intelligence issue or a terrorism issue, you're not necessarily thinking about developing a case for prosecution in a court of law. if you are dealing in my area of criminal justice, that is exactly what you're dealing with then the question is, how much much can we borrow from one another before we have contaminated the product? either we have contaminated their intelligence or counterterrorism product or they have contaminated hours. those are the sorts of challenges i am dealing with every day on the matter of cyber. >> you mentioning your written testimony, the council of the new york's convention on cyber security allows a platform for increased cooperation in cyber crime investigations. is the united states actively engaged without counsel or similar multinational efforts to specifically focus on operation of cyber crime?
>> we have adopted the convention of the council of europe. we did it not because we are members of the council of europe or that we were a european nation, we did did it because as we looked at the entire, the entirety of international conventions on the matter of cyber crime, about five or ten years ago we thought this was the best product out there. our view was rather than reinvent the wheel, rather than creating something else from scratch, bringing in 196 different 196 different governments all of whom will have their own particular point of focus or interest or concern, let's use the existing document. there are some that disagree. the government of china tells me on a fairly regular basis, which is to say every time i talk talk to them, that they would like there to be a new international convention on cybercrime. i can understand your position
but my own view is let's not throw away a working vehicle if in fact, with minor modification, it can me made to run well for the next 50 or 60 years. >> one last question, if we could, if we could, if you were to give, that was international cooperation, inside the u.s. family, if you were to grade the level of cooperation between the different agencies that touch this, the three kinds of cyber areas you mentioned whether it state to state or terrorism or criminal activity. you're talking dhs, state, intel agencies and doj. what grade would you give to the level of coronation among coordination among the parts of the federal family that touch upon this important issue? >> that's an unfair question, but i've been in this business long enough that i'm willing to be, to take risks and say things i'm i shouldn't say.
i'll put it this way, we have probably moved from a c- up to a b- in the past five years. that is to say we are moving in the right direction. what we are pushing against our institutional, decades long institutional bias and approaches from specific communities. we are pushing against some degree of stove piping which is to say each organization has its own capability and are not particularly anxious to relinquish control over that and can mix it in with somebody else and, we are dealing with different desired outcomes or objectives. it's a tough challenge. this is not just, i know the easy answer would be to tell you
or allow you to say to me you guys are stupid and you can't figure it out and do it on your own. it's a bit more than that. this is complicated. it is is an issue where were bringing together different communities that have traditionally, over the past three or 400 years not worked very closely together. in some ways, may i, may i offer one ground for hope from the state department side, part of the solution is the emphases, at least those embassies that are in the middle of the particularly dangerous zones, if the united states government, if you have a mini president with presidential authorities, called the ambassador, when you boil it down to a smaller group of people, there they actually are able to work through some solutions which we then find, you then find, you flip them back to headquarters and we try to use the same solution here. it's actually one of the reasons why i have some optimism in this field. >> thank you. >> if you would, would you expand little bit on what's occurring in china as you did in our office?
>> china today, mr. chairman, and this is not evil, this is not bad, china is today perhaps the world's largest pharmaceutical industry. i read a figure recently that there are 100 60,000 pharmaceutical companies in china. that strikes me as high but i read the figure. don't ask me where i read it. i can find it at some point if i have to. china confronts the situation where they have an incredibly diverse, extremely interjected industry that is not anxious to be regulated. the chinese government has moved in the right direction in a number of areas within the past six months. they have moved to register 116
new psychoactive substances. this is the stuff that the pharmaceutical industries of the world can cop out at a rate of several hundred per year with a registration rate and the united nations system of somewhere between 20 and 30 per year. you can do the math in terms of what the impact in that regard is. one of the areas in which we have consistently discussed with the chinese government, senator cardin is fentanyl. we have noted that fentanyl is produced in many different forms or analogs in china. they have moved to register, which is to control or require a license for the production of many forms of fennel, but not all. your question suggests an accurate one. the overwhelming majority of fentanyl that is consumed in the united states of america, very
little of that slides out into the black market. it's part of the harrowing crisis and it is produced in china. >> explained to those who are watching the difference in profitability. >> it is phenomenal. if you assume the cost of producing fennel is not significantly different from the cost of producing heroin, that's not a bad assumption, a gram of heroin or grandma fennel would probably be about the same. the grandma fennel will produce a buzz, a high, whatever the noun is you wish to use for it. it will be about 100 times as powerful as morphine and 40 or
50 times as powerful as heroin. you just do the simple math. add to that, the transport of fentanyl can be as simple as taking an envelope and putting several thousand doses of fentanyl in the envelope, sealing it, it, putting stance on it and putting it in the mail. the delivery is much much simpler than the delivery for heroin. that is why -- >> if you will, explain to those who are listening to this, the size of equivalent cocaine delivery that has the same potency that you just described. you're talking about half the shoebox in what you just described, is that correct. >> that is basically right. i would say a half a shoebox of fentanyl would provide you the same amount of buzz in psychic and drug related terms as 25
full shoeboxes of heroin. that's the difference that were looking at. that's why an envelope produces as much as a substantial, like multi- kilo shipment of heroin. fentanyl in and of itself, properly used, doesn't kill you. it is still used in the american medical community under tight control by an anesthesiologist. the problem that we have is when the fentanyl is mixed with heroin and the user either does not know he has fentanyl or at all or has add fentanyl or has miscalculated the tran5, that's what's killing americans of the rate they are dying these days in the harrowing crisis. >> i look forward to another round of questions where we can talk about authorities that you might like to have to do your
job better. with that, senator cardin. >> just to underscore that point, in my meetings that i've had in maryland, the sentinel issue has been highlighted as the growing problem and where we get most of our overdose fatalities. it is a very, very serious problem today in maryland and around the nation and i don't think we will have time today to understand this, but i think you are suggesting that china is one of the largest sources coming into the united states. is that correct. >> yes. much of it comes in via mexico. >> more often than not they are exactly the same criminal organization.
they're using it as their source rather than homegrown poppy in mexico, they're doing the synthetic drug in china. >> my view as of right now is that the heroin itself is grown and produced in mexico. that which is consumed in the united states. the fund all is produced in china, much of it, probably most of it is then process shipped through mexico where it has been put into the pipeline, the the same pipeline that moved heroin into the united states. >> i hope your relationship with the mexican authorities are helping us with our capacity to stop the flow from china to mexico to the united states. in fact, the government of mexico has worked with us. tran5 is a controlled substance in mexico. it is not openly available so
that it can only move through mexico through criminal means. we are starting from a positive starting point. we still obviously have a lot of work to do. >> you said in your oral presentation, you have the direct relationship between corruption and transnational organized crime. you talk about governments that are cropped at the senior level are ripe for this type of activity and you talk about the impact it has within the country itself. i want to phone down for a moment on the corruption issues we have in regard to haran or the synthetic drugs coming into the united states. the problems in mexico in the united states, can can you tell us the degree of which corruption is entering into this and we should be aware of? corruption is a great enabler. for drug trafficking, quite quite frankly for any kind of criminal trafficking in the world.
to such an extent i would say if you did not have corruption the trafficking networks would not work. they could not operate. the corruption literally is corruption of individuals, it might be customs officials or border officials, they might be police or airport or seaport officials in other words, the corruption that allows them to move their physical product through the chokepoint because any trafficking network will have chokepoint are usually at borders, they might be a airport borders or seaport borders but they've got to move their product through there. as they move to money laundering, they have to deal with bankers and others in the financial institution who will be aware of what is moving through but willing to participate or look the other way. those are corrupted officials. at the end of the day, if a trafficking organization does not have a network of corrupted officials it will not succeed. do we see them in mexico, yes,
of course we do. as you well know you will find them in different numbers but you will find them in the united states of america as well. we are not immune to corruption. in countries with a lower income level than in the united states, the possibility of a multibillion-dollar company or cartel offering a sum of money that might equal a 100 year salary to a police officer officer or customs officials solely to look the other way is a tremendous inducement and it is why corruption in my opinion has to be one of our highest priorities as we address transnational organized crime perhaps for the rest of the century. >> let me just point out, sec. carey carey recently announced a 70 million-dollar program. i would just urge that we may need to look at additional resources here and i think you for highlighting that point.
>> thank you for being here today and for your testimony. i wanted to follow up and talk further about mexico as well. i had the opportunity to visit with many in their government past november. we talked a little bit about the initiative and some of the efforts taking place there. how effective do you think this initiative has been since 2008 when we spent about $1.5 billion in taxpayer money. i know they are making changes in mexico along their judicial reform. could you talk about the effectiveness of the initiative and perhaps how their changes in judicial prosecutions will affect transnational crime? >> senator, i'm gonna answer your question into parts. first. first and then work through the four pillars of the initiative and offer my views on how successful we've been on each one.
one pillar was a modern 21st century border between the u.s. and mexico. i think we have made tremendous progress there. i think they have equipment, capabilities, people they did not have before. we've reached a point now where we are focusing much more effort on mexico's southern border with 1 mile and believes because much of what were trying to control and manages flow of migrants and people as well as drugs through mexico. second is taking down criminal organizations. they've done a very good job of taking down the leadership of a number of cartel, a critic or skeptic would push back and say yes, they seem to be replaced the cartel, they have not speared. some have been some have not. i give them at least a passing grade in that regard. third is building stronger institutions. i do believe that the federal government of mexico today has far better, more professional,
better trained institutions than they did at the start seven or eight years ago. the challenge in my opinion is taking that capacity and expanding it into the 32 states states as well as the federal district of mexico city since mexico, like the united states, is a is a federal state. finally building stronger communities along the northern front frontier with united states. the truth is, the mexican economy is what drives that. when the economy economy is going well, the communities are better. when the economy is down, the communities are less strong. that's taking the four things that we described as our initiatives and giving them a report card. where are we across the board? first, the realities are changing. we are dealing today more with transnational organized crime. when we started we were focused on largely cocaine and to a
lesser extent heroin. we have to adjust to reflect that reality. second we were dealing with a different mexican government. that government left office at the end of 2012 and the not so new government has a right to determine their own priorities protecting we are making progress but we have to continue to work that. at at the end of the day, my assessment is we are substantially better in our bilateral relationship with mexico today than we were at the start of the initiative. that in and of itself gives good value to the united states of america. >> one of this concerns i picked up on when it comes to drug trafficking issue was concern from some that decriminalization of marijuana in the united states was hurting our efforts to stop drug trafficking out of mexico. can you talk about that? >> yes, i'll do it carefully senator. im aware of who i'm speaking to right now. i will say, it is impossible for
me to go to mexico and talk to the mexican government without hearing from virtually everyone i talked to the contradiction between us seeking to cooperate with them in terms of controlling dangerous drugs while in our own nation four states have proceeded to legalize, by which i mean the state government has a direct financial interest in the cultivation, production, sale, purchase of cannabis. i understand their message. i do not seek to dictate to the people of colorado, oregon, washington state or alaska what they will decide to do. i do think i understand the united states constitution and the federal system of government i say that it complicates my life internationally.
i'm going to leave it at that. i do acknowledge the people of colorado have every right in the world to determine the laws that they wish to be governed by. >> i've run out of time here but perhaps we can have another conversation. i recently visited there and we spent a tremendous amount of time talking about the drug situation. the 2016 report talked about burma continuing to be as supplier and perhaps we could submit a question for the record for you in terms of burma collaboration, what's happening with the new democratic government in burma in terms of the production and ratification eradication issues and the trafficking of drug in burma by the burmese military and the complicit row they can play in this ongoing effort.
i would like to learn more about that. >> i welcome the question and the timing is very good. my read of burma is that this new government actually is ready to do some serious things on drugs and counter narcotics that they have not been willing to do for 30 years. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> you've been a great witness. we thank you for the commitment and time and knowledge. let me just wrap up, i want to go back to columbia for a second. period :
>> mr. chairman, i'm going to give you an honest answer but a careful answer, and i want to be careful because i said it before and i say they can do i admire and respect tremendously the government of colombia. until he became president, i would've called the current president of colombia a friend of mine. you cannot be a friend to her president. they are far too distinguished to permit something as low and common as, friendship but i know and admire juan manuel santos enormously. i respect what is trying to do. he is trying to bring to conclusion a 50 year armed conflict that has killed tens of thousands of colombian citizens. i'm not only respect back, i supported and endorsed it. it is my view that it should be
possible to pursue those negotiations, to reach that conclusion without having to walk the clock back to where we were eight or nine years ago in terms of drug cultivation and the production in colombia. it is my view that it should be possible to continue to eradicate or have the threat of eradication so that thousands of how casinos, many of them encouraged perhaps by the farc guerrillas don't lik leave it is open season of lent as much coke as they might wish. we've opened discussion with them. it's a good discussion because these guys are our friends. we have been orders and allies with them now for more than 16 years under plan colombia. i don't mean to be critical of them.
i need to state the obvious fact. the amount of cocaine being produced in colombia has doubled in the last two plus years. that's kind of a disturbing fact. since most colombian cocaine traditionally and historic is transported to the united states. we need to work together to figure how to do with eradication, which is to say to stop the actual cultivation, to deal with taking down the laboratories which convert the raw coca into cocaine, to go after the criminal organizations, those organizations not necessarily the farc guerrillas but the criminal organizations that are trafficking the product and finally how to interdict the product as it is moving from colombia to north america and how to attack their financial networks. it should be possible to do that. i intend to do that.
you have my absolute word of honor that they would not be an opportunity of mine when i'm talking to the government of colombia which i don't make this point and had this discussion with them. >> my sense is, just what it is worth, we missed that opportunity when he was here last. and there was a lot of happy talk to your about plan colombia. what i hear you saying and with all your niceties regarding the government and your friendship with existing president is that he's not pursuing both tracks in the way that he could be. that is what pursuing the relationship with farc and his anti-would've been a blight on the country for a long time, but he's not pursuing as heavily the issue that is at come ha has ben at the core of his comment that is the production of cocaine in
the country that is coming to the united states in the way that he could. >> mr. chairman, i'm not going to walk that far down this road. i'm going to go back to where i left it before. we are talking, we are moving in the right direction. how they got their i'm going to leave that to the historians and the people far smarter than me. what i will say is i believe there is now a realization we've got a serious problem and we are now talking to our friends and partners and allies in the colombian government as to how to solve this problem. and on that i feel pretty good. we are all entitled to our own views as to how we got into this situation. the only point that i'm making is i believe we're working on a route out of it. we know how to do it. for the love of pete, it's what we were doing from the year 2000 in till 2012, 2013.
very, very effectively. and i'm determined that we are going to do it again. that's the way i would respond to your valid comment. >> we are authorizing committee for the work that you do. are there some authorities we could provide to you that would cost her job to be easier to be successful? >> mr. chairman, i'm going to answer that question this way. obviously, and one assistant secretary among several, and one department among a bunch in the federal government, i went to express a view as to what the executive branch believes it needs in terms of new authority. i will take the following. the last authorization receive is more than 20 years ago. since that time the united states has moved from a cocaine crisis to hear when crisis. what mood from a drug focused
international crime effort to a larger transnational organized crime effort. we've moved from the overwhelming focus on the western hemisphere to having to do with places like afghanistan and myanmar. are there areas that were not addressed in the early 1990s? yes, undoubtedly there are. and i would welcome a discussion with this committee in the months ahead. >> thank you. senator flake. >> thank you for your testimony today. talked about subs are in africa forbid. has many of the characteristics that make it prone to transnational terrorism and financing and criminal networks operating. let's talk about east africa for a minute with shabaab. what evidence do we see of transnational criminal networks
operating? >> huge evidence, senators. and, in fact, i may give them a oral statement and have it say it again right now. africa is one of, from my perspective, one of my three principal focus is, as i look outside of the western hemisphere in terms of direct criminal networks with direct impact on the united states. and the reason is that to specific parts of africa, west africa and east or central -- what i want to say? southeast africa, have become transit points for trafficking flows that are moving either east-west from fdasia in route to markets in europe or proclamation or north-south which is to say from south america into west africa and then seeking barbet in western
europe -- market. we need to focus on both of these from a pure trafficking perspective. the problem that we have this week institutions in a number of countries in africa which make them very attractive from multibillion dollar trafficking organizations. we also have organizations like al-shabaab or boko haram or further up north al-qaeda and the islamic state which are able to corrupt and then use government institutions as well. africa, from my perspective, is a very important point of focus without even going into the wildlife trafficking area, which we have become engaged in more aggressively over the last three and four years. >> what are some of our strategies in east africa? take it with al-shabaab, there
are concerns obviously of a of e transit point. along the coast, obviously we have concerns. what are we doing? >> first, you have correctly summarized the nature of the threat and the nature of the threat is product and criminal activity that originates for the most part in south fdasia, although the product may be further up it is transported from south fdasia to decide for to for innocents transiently. that becomes a point where it is introduced into a north-south axis moving either to europe or flipping across the continent and moving into north america. what we're trying to do is build institutions that are better capable of addressing the problem, providing direct support, operational support to existing law enforcement organizations and using embedded
units of specialized units into we have a great deal of confidence and are able to share intelligence and information with. and ensuring that their regional coordination and cooperation in such a that permits them to actually pass off or handoff movements for organizations that are moving across borders and frontiers. so the crossing a frontier doesn't completely left all of the danger to the criminal trafficking organization. and i would say that in east africa, we are better today than we were five years ago. we are still miles away from the being able to say that we are comfortable with and confident that these countries and discovers can control their own borders. >> do we have any successes we
can point to specifically in terms of cooperation with local officials that has yielded benefits that are tangible? >> we've had several major drug seizures, mostly heroin, coming in from southwest asia. that have been picked up either, for the most part at seaport. in some cases at airports. in fact, i'll shoot you, if you wish, i'll get you a written summary of some of those success stories. we have also taken down several what i would call midsize trafficking organizations in east africa, although not the international or global organizations. and we've had some success, some of which has made the newspapers, in terms of reducing, if not shutting down, the flow of what is one of africa's great criminal exports, and that is illegally trafficked
ivory and rhino horns. so i would suggest to you we do have some success stories. they are not as many as i would like to be able to report. >> thank you, mr. secretary. hubinette outstanding witness. we thank you for i can go years of commitment to this issue. we look forward to following up with your relative to the updates that may occur that give you greater freedoms and flexibility to do your job. i know you have a hard stop any meeting that you need to attend. so thank you again for your time both here but also in preparation for the meeting. we look forward to seeing you again. there will be other questions people have been writing and will keep the record open to the close of business on monday, eddie to get to those very probably we would appreciate it. but thank you again, and with that the meeting is adjourned. thank you very much, mr. chairman. [inaudible conversations]
ramirez, an american editorial cartoonists whose work appears regularly in "usa today" and "the weekly standard" the two-time collegiate prizewinner discusses his career and his book, give me liberty or give me obamacare. that starts at 7 p.m. eastern on c-span2. join us saturday for c-span issues spotlight our focus will be on police and race relations. you see president obama at the service for five police officers shot and killed in dallas as well as republican senator tim scott of south carolina and his speech from the senate floor about his own interactions with the police. our program includes one family story about an encounter with police in washington, d.c. followed by a panel with the city's police chief. that all gets underway saturday at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. with the national conventions in the rearview mirror, road to the