tv [untitled] June 22, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
i would ask that our friends both here and in britain and beyond participate and support in and burma's efforts of a truly democratic and just society. thank you for giving me this opportunity to address the members of one of the oldest democratic institutions in the world. thank you for letting me into your midst. but i am confident that we'll get there before too long with your help. thank you. [ applause ] plaus praus
these principles by spending 15 years in detention. your presence here today is a testament to your courageous pitch of steadfast non violence and reason in the face of a powerful and determined regime. your struggle has reverb rated around the world. it has reminded us this free and fair elections and free press and institutions are the cornerstones of democracy and individual freedom. we take these freedoms for granted. democracy is never won it is a process requirie ining constan h vigilan
vigilance. in post war europe we have seen that it is possible for countries to make the transition to democracy. and i trust that this will give you hope and encouragement for the journey ahead. your stand has been a heart for the struggle. i'm sure that at times during your long campaign, you must have felt unbearably lonely though you yourself have said you have felt a part of the international community. your people and your country were always in our minds. now together, we must use this occasion to renew our own determination to be part of the struggle for liberty when ever and where ever it arises. thank you. [ applause ]
♪ >> next a house subcommittee holds a hearing on the drug enforcement oversight. >> and then a forum on issues facing voters this november. >> this weekend on american history tv. harvard professor on the civil war and the movement to end slavery. one of the fascinating aspects is that when lincoln gives his inaugural. the self described abolitionists are still despised. what transforms abolitionists
into respected critics in the american scene is fort sumptner. also this weekend, more from our series on political figures who ran for president and lost. a look at eugene debbs. >> how do you approach book interviews differently rather than news reporti ining intervi. >> i think of interviewing when i'm working for the news side as gathering information. >> how difficult is it to remain impartial and not get caught up in your campaign? >> i'm going to try to give people as full an understanding of what is happening in this
campaign. it is not that difficult to put your biases to the side. >> how has social media changed your line of work? >> twitter is a prime news source for anybody who pays attention to politics. it didn't exsite four years ago for all practical purposes. >> sunday night, what is news worthy and the rise of social media sunday at 8:00 on c-span. >> the federal government's top drug enforcement administrator told panel on wednesday that the dea had been recalled from columbia and are on limited duty while the investigation continues. this is about 90 minutes.
i would like to welcome administrator linhart and thank hr for testifying this morning. we appreciate the efforts and great strides it make to combat the increasingly drug trade. the add amore's testimony comes at a timely moment as the war on drugs approaches a potential crosswords. on july 1th mexico will elect a new president. by all accounts peen in fact industrialal revolution party is leading the field. the prr government has governed mexico for 71 years until 2000. while in power the preminimum nized violence by during the blind eye to the cartels.
the current president has changed that straeng and aggressively confronted organized crime. the key in the dea's success is our relationship with the government of mexico. you have characterized that relationship as at an all-time high, but i'm worries that our relationship could be at a high water mark with the impending change in the office of president. mexico will continue to work with the united states, and it should quote, subordinate to the strategies of other countries. he further emphasized that his priority would be a reduction in violence, not a dismantling of criminal organizations. by all accounts this sounds like a reversion to the prepolicies of old. we, of course, have no vote in
the upcoming mexican election, and our only hope for the outcome is free and fair. we have a deep-seated interest in minimizing drug trafficking and organized crime south of the border. i believe that these goals are also in mexico's long-term interests, and i urge you to press this truth with the incoming mexican president and his administration regardless of who it is. i would like to raise a few troubling incidents within the dea. the dea has long been a model in the law enfoumt community. today this subcommittee needs answers about a few recent incidents that are troubling and unacceptable. if not addressed swiftly and effectively, it will be stain on the dea's reputation and ultimately undermine it's law enforcement mission. the secret service has been the focal point of the prost fusion scandal, but i i understand that at least three dea agents
hooired prostitutes during the preparation for the president's visit to colombia. i not this was not an isolated event for the dea. the secret service has moved quickly to address the scandal and has already removed 8 of the 12 employees complicated in this incident from their jobs. another is the process of losing his security clearance. to my knowledge the dea have not taken similar action. the dea was also involved. tony colson, the dea's agent in charge of southern arizona during fast and furious, said that many field agents knew that atf was walking guns to mexico but supervisors told the agents to back off when they objected.
mr. colson was among one of the first senior public officials to admit knowing about the botched operation. he claims he raised objections to then dea chief elizabeth kemp shaw, and was told it was taken care of. after attending a meeting with the atf agent in charge colson said he knew fast and furious was not some sort of benign pie in the sky publicity stunt. guns were actually getting in the hands of criminals, closed quote. as with the columbian pr prostitution incidents, i'm not aware of any discipline from in the dea. most recently this last april adea offices in san diego literally forgot about a 23-year-old in a holding cell. dea agents arrested daniel chong during a raid on a party in the san diego area where there were illegal drugs.
after questioning him the agents apparently told mr. chong he would not be charged before they placed him back into a holding cell. the agents then forgot he was there. mr. chong remained locked in the holding cell for five days with no access to food, water or a toilet. he said he heard voices and yelled for help, but no one heard him. after 48 hours he started hallucinating and as survived drank his own urine. at some point during this neglect, he broke his glasses and attempt to kill himself. it goes without saying that this incident is extremely unacceptable. i look forward to hearing what steps the dea is takeing to address each incident discussed and to ensure nothing similar happens in the future.
i hope these events are anomalies in the dea's record and not what's to come. mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm pleased to join us in the nation's drug enforcement agency wand i want to thank director leonard for years of dedicated service and for appearing before us today. i'm also mindful that there are thousands of dedicated dea employees who enforce our drug laws and directives every day, many of whom put their lives on the line to do so. therefore, i consider it our responsibility, in supporting and directing their efforts to ensure that their effort hes are put to good use. dea is involved in drug enforcement activities all over the world however it is not clear all of these activities are as effective or important as others, in stopping or reducing discouraging drug abuse. in general, there are strategies to reduce drug abuse. research indicates demand reduction through prevention, education and treatment is much
more effective than supply reduction through interdiction and law enforcement efforts. one study showed the cost of reducing cocaine consumption in the united states by 1%, reducing cocaine consumption in the united states by 1%. the cost $783 million for source control, source country control. $366 million for general interdiction activities. about $250 million for domestic law enforcement are only $34 million for treatment of heavy user. thus, domestic law enforcement costs over seven times as much as treatment to achieve the same consumption reduction. another study showed the drug treatment saved for every dollar spent on treatment. one of the big problems we have in this country with illegal drugs as well as with illegal prescriptive drugs is there is a huge demand. the history on the war on drugs shows us that there is a -- when there is a demand for the
product, suppliers will find a way to provide it. no matter what the cost. history also shows no matter how many tons of drugs we interdict or capture, it represents only a small fraction of drugs being trafficked. therefore, the evidence suggests that our efforts to reduce drug abuse have intensified while the evidence suggests that our efforts to reduce drug abuse has intensified in the country. the street price for some of the most dangerous drugs has gone down while the quantity has gone up and drug use increased or stayed the same during that time. every evidence suggests the massive drug enforcement effort in this country has resulted in legions of users and street level dealers in prisons long times with no discernible impact on the drug trade. other evidence suggests while drug use and in all major abuse categories among white americans is as high or higher than drug use among black and hispanic-americans.
the vast majority of those imprisoned for drug law violations are black and hispanic. for example, drug use data indicates some 60% of crack cocaine users are white while 94% of those in prison for crack are black. black americans make up about 12% of the population but almost 50% of those incarcerated for illegal drugs. moreover, drug penalties are draconian and many serving life sentences or equivalent even for first-time offenders and mandatory minimum sentencing are a major contributing factor to this situation. when we consider the unfairness of so much of the burden of drug abuse heaped upon african-americans, harshness of drug sentences and life consequences such as loss in voting rights and subjection to employment discrimination, drastically lower employment prospects we can see while michele alexander considers the
war on drugs should have ushered in you new era of jim crow as outlined in her new book. crowe outlined in her book "the new jim crowe madison incarceration." we consider the effectiveness of supply reduction strategies compared to many times more effective and much cheaper demand reduction strat justice. it's not hard to wonder whether there is a motive. recently i saw a news article of young drug offenders in their 20s in virginia. two of whom got sentences of 50 and 35 years respectively. no one seemed concerned of the cost that this represented $2.5 million to warehouse drug abusers and i was left to wonder whether or not that $2.5 million -- some of that should
have been spent on boys and girls clubs where they were spending in that same area. so, mr. chairman, i look forward to hearing the director's views, with respect to these grave concerns. >> thank you. the chairman emeritus, the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers for opening statement. >> thank you, chairman. my first comment so congratulate ranking member bobby scott on an excellent opening statement that tracks much of what i've been doing in preparing for this. i think the beginning of this discussion on the part of the sub committee on crime can be one of the most important contributions that the house
judiciary committee can make on the subject of the american criminal justice system. but before i go any further, chairman, i noted 14 issues that you raised with the -- our distinguished witness, and i stopped counting of that. the question that i have, sir, is are we going to have an additional hearing to give her an opportunity to respond to each and every one of those? >> will the gentleman yield? >> with pleasure. >> that depends how responsive she is to the issues that i've raised. i think we all would love to get this wrapped up in one hearing, including ms. leonard. >> well, thank you, sir. it was my impression that we could devote the rest of the
next couple hours to a discussion between you and her about what you raised in your opening statement. so i don't understand where the -- >> will the gentleman yield again? >> yes, sir. >> the chair knows from years and years that the current chair enforces the five-minute rule on himself as well as on everybody else. >> well, that's what makes it more difficult. i mean, that's the problem that i'm raising with six members here and probably more to come under the five-minute rule. there's no way she can ever get to any kind of cogent response to the issues that were raised, some of which are very serious.
so i leave that for us to discuss further as we go on. i am very interested in this subject, because i started off my career on the subcommittee on crime when i first was able to get on to house judiciary committee. and this subject about drugs is extremely critical. and i'm looking forward to a discussion, and i have no problem with holding another hearing or as many hearings as
necessary. this isn't -- we don't get any brownie points for having one hearing and no more. the question is how deeply and how thoroughly and accurately do we go into these very important social and criminal justice questions? and so i would say to my colleagues and to our distinguished witness that the cost of the war on drugs is more than a trillion dollars to date. astronomical. and yet, the same proportion of drug usage, illegal drug usage, continues at the same rate. and what i'm looking for in
addition to the distinguished witness giving us a review of what goes on at the dea and what you're doing about it is what kind of changes or what kind of creative -- even imaginative ideas that can we come up with to really do something about this. it seems to me that there are policies that might actually reduce consumption that may not have been tried yet. and i'm hopeful that we can
examine that. another issue that we may or may not get to today -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> can i finish the sentence? >> certainly, without objection. >> it's important to figure out how we can minimize this criminalization and punishment concept by replacing it with health and treatment services. i mean, if this is only lock 'em up and throw away the key, it doesn't -- i don't think shed much information or light or work in a substantively important way that this hearing this morning could bring to this subject. i thank the chairman for the
additional time. >> without objection, all members' opening statements will appear on the record. i'm going to get into a lock 'em up and throw away the key and decide not to charge him situation during the question and answer, so maybe that will address some of your concerns. it's now my pleasure to introduce today's witness. michelle lenhart had been acting administrator of the dea since november of 2007 and served as the deputy administrator since 2004. prior to becoming dea administrator and deputy administrator, she held several positions within dea's senior executive service. she was the special agent in charge of the dea's los angeles field division from 1998 through 2003. she previously held the position of special agent in charge of the dea's san francisco field
division in 1997 and 1998. as a career dea special agent, ms. lenhart held several key positions. in 1995, she was promoted to the position of sergeant special agent in the l.a. field division. 20031993 and 1995, she held positions, office of professional responsibility inspector and staff coordinator in the operation division. beginning her career as a baltimore city police officer after graduating from college in minnesota with a bachelor of science and criminal justice in 1978. without objection, your witness statement will be entered into the record in its entirety. i ask that you summarize your testimony in five