|Clandestine Drug Study Commission Act|
|Posted to the CIADRUGS mailing list|
on 1997-07-13 by firstname.lastname@example.org
This discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives begins with Rep. Maxine Waters proposing an amendment to the Clandestine Drug Study Commission Act which would "secure the expeditious disclosure of public records relevant to the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs into and within the United States by the Central Intelligence Agency". The discussion ends with her withdrawing the proposed amendment. What happened inbetween?
AMENDMENT NO. 7 OFFERED BY MS. WATERS
House of Representatives, U.S. Congress
Wednesday, July 9, 1997
From pages [ph4994] - [ph4999]
The CHAIRMAN. Are there further amendments to title III?
AMENDMENT NO. 7 OFFERED BY MS. WATERS
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I offer amendment No. 7.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment No. 7 offered by Ms. WATERS:
Page 10, after line 15, insert the following new section: SEC. 306. CLANDESTINE DRUG STUDY COMMISSION.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT.-There is established a commission to be known as the "Clandestine Drug Study Commission" (in this section referred to as the "Commission").
(b) DUTIES.-The Commission shall-
(1) secure the expeditious disclosure of public records relevant to the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs into and within the United States by the Central Intelligence Agency or others on their behalf or associated with the Central Intelligence Agency;
(2) report on the steps necessary to eradicate any Central Intelligence Agency involvement with drugs or those identified by Federal law enforcement agencies as drug smugglers; and
(3) recommend appropriate criminal sanctions for the involvement of Central Intelligence Agency employees involved in drug trafficking or the failure of such employees to report their superiors (or other appropriate supervisory officials) knowledge of drug smuggling into or within the United States.
(c) MEMBERSHIP.-The Commission shall be comprised of nine members appointed by the Attorney General of the United States for the life of the Commission. Members shall obtain a security clearance as a condition of appointment. Members may not be current or former officers or employees of the United States.
(d) COMPENSATION.-Members of the Commission shall serve without pay but shall each be entitled to receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code.
(e) QUORUM.-A majority of the Members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.
(f) CHAIRPERSON; VICE CHAIRPERSON.-The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Commission shall be elected by the members of the Commission.
(g) OBTAINING OFFICIAL DATA.-The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this section. Upon request of the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson of the Commission, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Commission.
(h) SUBPOENA POWER.-
(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commission may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any evidence relating to any matter which the Commission is empowered to investigate by this section. The attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence may be required from any place within the United States at any designated place of hearing within the United States
(2) FAILURE TO OBEY A SUBPOENA.-If a person refuses to obey a subpoena issued under paragraph (1), the Commission may apply to a United States district court for an order requiring that person to appear before the Commission to give testimony, produce evidence, or both, relating to the matter under investigation. The application may be made within the judicial district where the hearing is conducted or where that person is found, resides, or transacts business. Any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as civil contempt.
(3) SERVICE OF SUBPOENAS.-The subpoenas of the Commission shall be served in the manner provided for subpoenas issued by a United States district court under the Federal Rules of Civil procedure for the United States district courts.
(4) SERVICE OF PROCESS.-All process of any court to which application is to be made under paragraph (2) may be served in the judicial district in which the person required to be served resides or may be found.
(i) IMMUNITY.-The Commission is an agency of the United States for the purpose of part V of title 18, United States Code (relating to immunity of witnesses). Except as provided in this subsection, a person may not be excused from testifying or from producing evidence pursuant to a subpoena on the ground that the testimony or evidence required by the subpoena may tend to incriminate or subject that person to criminal prosecution. A person, after having claimed the privilege against self-incrimination, may not be criminally prosecuted by reason of any transaction, matter, or thing which that person is compelled to testify about or produce evidence relating to, except that the person may be prosecuted for perjury committed during the testimony or made in the evidence.
(j) CONTRACT AUTHORITY.-The Commission may enter into and perform such contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, and other transactions as may be necessary in the conduct of the functions of the Commission with any public agency or with any person.
(k) REPORT.-The Commission shall transmit a report to the President, Attorney General of the United States, and the Congress not later than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act. The report shall contain a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with its recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions as the Commission considers appropriate.
(l) TERMINATION.-The Commission shall terminate on upon the submission of report pursuant to subsection (k).
(m) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.-There is authorized to be appropriated $750,000 to carry out this section.
Ms. WATERS (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the RECORD.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?
There was no objection.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order against the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Florida [Mr. MCCOLLUM] reserves a point of order against the amendment.
Under the previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] will be recognized for 30 minutes in support of her amendment and a Member opposed will be recognized for 30 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS].
MODIFICATION TO AMENDMENT NO. 7 OFFERED BY MS. WATERS
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to modify the amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will report the modification.
The Clerk read as follows:
Modification to amendment No. 7 offered by Ms. WATERS of California:
In subsection (h), strike paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), and strike "(1) IN GENERAL.-''.
Strike subsection (i) and redesignate subsections (j), (k), (l), and (m) as subsections (i), (j), (k), and (l), respectively.
In subsection (k) (as so redesignated), strike "subsection (k)" and insert "subsection (j)".
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object, I would like to know from the gentlewoman, if she can explain, is the modification designed to correct the germaneness problem with the underlying amendment?
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I yield to the gentlewoman from California.
Ms. WATERS. Yes, it is, Mr. Chairman. I was advised that any reference to "immunity" would not be appropriate in this legislation, and it is designed to delete all references to "immunity" in this amendment.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And is it further my understanding from the gentlewoman, if I might continue the reservation, that the agreement would be that she would have the 1-hour time limit that we have agreed upon to apply to this? I believe that is the Chair's understanding of this, regardless of the modification, is that not correct, 30 minutes to a side? Or is it 15 to a side? What is the time limit, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair would inform the gentleman that under the previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] is entitled to 30 minutes and a Member opposed thereto is entitled to 30 minutes.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And that would be applicable, Mr. Chairman, to this modification if the unanimous consent is agreed to?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is correct.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my reservation of objection.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the modification offered by the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS]?
There was no objection.
The CHAIRMAN. The amendment is modified.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my reservation of a point of order.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Florida withdraws his point of order.
The gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] is recognized for 30 minutes.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment to establish a clandestine drug study commission. This commission would be composed of nine members appointed by the U.S. Attorney General and would be required to report on the following:
Report on the steps necessary to eradicate any CIA involvement with drugs or those identified by Federal law enforcement agencies as drug smugglers.
No. 2, secure disclosure or the gathering of Government public records relevant to the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs into and within the United States by the CIA or others on their behalf or associated with the CIA.
In addition, my amendment would authorize funds to be appropriated in the amount of $750,000.
Mr. Chairman and Members, I am sure there are those both within this House and within the sound of my voice who would wonder why would we need such an amendment, why would I take this floor and talk about taking steps to make sure that the CIA is not involved in drugs or drug smuggling.
Mr. Chairman, I do this because over the past year I have learned more than I have ever wanted to know about the CIA and drugs. How did it get started? It got started with a revelation about drug smuggling and drug trafficking that ended up in South Central Los Angeles back in the 1980's.
Oh, there has been a lot of controversy about the report. Many are aware that the San Jose Mercury News revealed that there was a drug ring and the basic points of that report remain uncontested. There are some points in the report that are contested. For example, the report said that as a result of the drug trafficking, millions of dollars were funneled to the Contras from the sale of drugs, crack cocaine in particular.
The exception that was taken to that identification simply was an exception that said instead of saying millions of dollars, they should have said they estimated there were millions of dollars. I can accept that. I maintain there should not have been $1 from the sale of drugs to support the Contras.
But this revelation got me involved, and I have spent a lot of time looking at the CIA and the allegations of their involvement in drug trafficking in south central Los Angeles. It has taken me to many places, all the way to Nicaragua, where I have gone up to a place called Grenada and interviewed a prisoner who is well known to have been connected with the Cali cartel and sold drugs both for the Sandanistas and the Contras.
Since my visit there, I made it known to the Inspector General, who is involved in an investigation, and the Inspector General further has sought out information from this individual. Even members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence fold followed me to Nicaragua and interviewed the same person that had been revealed to me.
But that is just a small part of the information that has come to me. As a result of my involvement, a lot of things have happened. The sheriff's department of the county of Los Angeles filed an extensive report about many of the allegations. The investigations continue.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is involved. The Inspector General of the CIA, the Inspector General of the Justice Department, they are still doing interviews, and I do not know what is going to happen. Hopefully there will be a report. Hopefully there will be hearings. But I have learned enough to know that the CIA has come too close, rubbed shoulders with, and been involved in some ways that should make us all uncomfortable, with drug dealers.
Mr. Chairman, I have been involved for a long time and taken a closer look at the Central Intelligence Agency and these allegations that CIA operatives or assets have been involved in or had knowledge of drug trafficking in the United States. I mention South Central Los Angeles, but one need look no further than the current newspaper to find there are recent occasions of CIA involvement with drugs.
Let us look at Venezuela. Earlier this year, there was a general named Gen. Ramon Guillen Davila, Venezuela's former drug czar, who was indicted by Federal prosecutors in Miami for smuggling cocaine into the United States.
And according to the New York Times, uncontested by the CIA, this article that appeared as early as November 1993, they talked about the CIA and its so-called antidrug program in Venezuela and guess what? They concluded, and it is documented, that our CIA shipped a ton of nearly pure cocaine into the United States in 1990. That is a fact, uncontested.
When you unravel this story, you find that the CIA concocted some scheme to talk about the only way it could apprehend drug dealers was to get involved in shipping this cocaine and selling this cocaine. They went to the DEA to get their permission to do it, and the DEA turned them down flat and said they would not be involved in this scheme in any shape, form, or fashion.
But the CIA defied the DEA and they shipped this pure cocaine into the United States in 1990, and they have since acknowledged that they defied the laws of this government and allowed the drugs to be sold on the streets of the United States of America. I challenge anybody to tell me that it did not happen, because it is documented.
Now let me tell you what unnerves me about this. We spend a lot of money in this House, we spend a lot of money in this Government to apprehend drug dealers, to try to get rid of drug trafficking. We spend a lot of money on drug education and prevention. We even spend money on alternative crop development in countries that we want to get out of the business of raising the coca leaf. We spend billions of the taxpayers' dollars.
Knowing this and being involved in this struggle, it really unnerves me to find out that my own CIA brought cocaine into the United States and allowed it to get on the streets and be sold. Do you know what that means? We are representing communities where drugs are devastating our communities. People are becoming addicted. Oh, and it is not simply in inner cities, it is in rural communities, it is in suburbia, it is everything, everywhere. It is swallowing us up.
I do not know what kind of cockamamie scheme they could have cooked up to talk about this would help them to apprehend drug dealers by allowing drugs to be sold on the streets of the United States of America. How many more people became addicted? How many more people got involved in crime? How many more people became a part of the destruction that we all hate so much? I do not like it and I am not going to get off this business about who they are and what they do and their involvement with drugs until this body has the guts and the nerves to do something about it.
The joint CIA/Venezuela force was headed by General Davila and the ranking CIA officer, I am going to call the names, was Mark McFarlin, who worked with the antiguerrilla forces in El Salvador in the 1980's. Not one CIA official has ever been indicted or prosecuted for this abuse of authority. I will give it to my colleagues again. General Davila and Mark McFarlin. Look it up.
What happened? Why can we not ask the questions? Why are we not outraged that these drugs found their way into our cities?
Let me go a little bit further and talk about this alignment, this association, the CIA being involved, coming too close to people who traffic in drugs. In a March 8, 1997, Los Angeles Times article, it was reported that Lt. Col. Michel Francois, one of the CIA's Haitian agents, and I defy anybody to tell me he was not, a former army officer and a key leader in the military regime that ran Haiti between 1991 and 1994, he was indicted in Miami and charged with smuggling 33 tons of cocaine into the United States. The article detailed that Francois met face to face with the leaders of three Colombian cartels to arrange for drug shipments to pass through Haiti via a private airstrip that he helped to build and protect. The CIA was right there in Haiti while he was building this airstrip. He was trained by the CIA. Francois is the CIA's boy.
Lieutenant Colonel Francois was trained by the U.S. Army in military command training for foreign officers in Georgia. He was a senior member of the Service Intelligence Agency, a Haitian intelligence organization founded with the help of the CIA in 1986.
After the 1991 coup put Francois in power, the cocaine seizures in Haiti just plummeted to near zero. He could do whatever he wanted to do. He built a strip. He met with the cartels. All of this is in DEA reports. U.S. prosecutors have requested the extradition of Francois from Honduras, where he has been living under a grant of political asylum. When I tell my colleagues our own CIA is documented as having brought cocaine in, in the Venezuelan fiasco, and when I tell my colleagues that Francois is a creation of the CIA and that the apprehension of drugs and drug smuggling and trafficking went down once he took charge, I am accusing the CIA of being too close, of being too involved, for turning its head.
Mr. Chairman, let me just wrap up my comments by saying I have pointed out today on several occasions some of the problems with the Central Intelligence Agency. I have pointed out the fact that some of our allies and our friends around the world have been sending us this quiet but stern message. They are asking us to leave. I have talked about something that none of us are proud of, the fact that there is a breakdown in this agency and we have people that we pay to protect and serve literally endangering us all with the selling of information. I have pointed out that not only do we have all of this occurring, but that our own soldiers were put at risk because something is wrong in this CIA. I am disturbed that we could not get much support in trying to slap them on the wrist, cut the budget just a little bit, but I am convinced that the American people will join us in the struggle because this is a struggle and a battle that we are going to have to wage for a long time.
I am not accusing the Members who have taken this floor in efforts to protect the CIA. I understand. There are responsible Members of this House who really believe, despite the problems of the CIA, everything should be done to protect them, to make sure they have all the money they need to operate with, that somehow if we question them, we are going to put at risk their ability to gather the intelligence information we need.
We need to redefine the role of the CIA in this post-cold-war era. Who are they and what do they do? Someone pointed out to me today that in every aspect of our society, with the new technology we have been able to reduce personnel, we have been able to put in systems and processes to better manage information, we have been able to reduce cost, and many on the opposite side of the aisle have made these arguments time and time again as they have gone about cutting and redesigning and privatizing and all of those things that we hear about on the floor.
Why is it the CIA escapes any of this? Why has the new technology not caught up with the CIA? Why can we not shine the light in ways that we understand, where the money is going? Why can we not redesign the ways in which we relate to them and still respect some of the secrecy and privacy that is needed?
I say to my colleagues, today I have been afforded the opportunity to take this floor and talk about this issue in the hopes that we can focus, we can really put this on our radar screen and begin to raise questions and get the American public involved in raising questions. I hope that this debate will allow that.
I am under no illusions about everything that I want being embraced by the protectors of the CIA, right or wrong. But I know one thing: This platform that is afforded to me by the voters on this floor of Congress is an important tool to be used to create a discussion. I see my responsibility to create discussions that maybe others will not. I am not afraid of the CIA, I am not going to run from the CIA, I am not going to tuck my tail and duck my head and talk about their untouchables. This day we unveiled some of the problems, along with other Members who have taken this floor.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentlewoman's amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Florida [Mr. GOSS] is recognized for 30 minutes.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 10 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON].
Mr. DIXON. I thank the chairman of the committee for yielding me this time.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in reluctant opposition to the Waters amendment, reluctant for several reasons. The gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] is the chairman of our Congressional Black Caucus. She represents a community that I represent, Los Angeles County, cities in that community, but probably most importantly because I think we, both of us, as well as most Members of this House, are seeking accurate and truthful information as it relates to the CIA involvement in crack cocaine in Los Angeles, or any other community of this country, and any involvement it has had with members or assets of the community in either aiding or abetting or having knowledge of the CIA involvement in the distribution of drugs.
The reason I rise in opposition to it, this commission that is being offered here as an amendment suggests that the process that we have here is either not operating in good faith or is broken. As most of the Members know, the inspector generals of the CIA and the Justice Department are investigating this matter at this point in time. Both gentlemen have reputations for not only being independent but calling it like it is, and I doubt if anyone here feels that if they find some wrongdoing or some culpability on the part of the CIA that in fact they will not include it in their reports.
It has been my experience as a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that no member of that committee is an apologist or tries to represent the interests of the CIA, but as the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] does, represents the interests of the citizens of this country. And so I stand here not as an apologist for the CIA, but with the same goal that the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] has, to get to the facts in this matter.
Mr. Chairman, we all know that facts that are suggested or alluded to in newspaper articles, there may be some truth to them, they may be entirely true, or they may be entirely untrue. But I think it is the responsibility of the House and the inspector generals to take the first cut at sorting out those facts.
The gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] is right, that other than the publisher of the San Jose Mercury, no one has contested the points made in the article. No one has contested those points at this point in time because factually no one knows exactly what has occurred. This committee is about verifying facts in that report. I daresay we would be derelict if we came to the House on a bit-by-bit basis to either sanction what was in the article or criticize it, the point being that the investigations, if they are to go forward, will come to some conclusions about the validity of the arguments and the points made in the article.
As it relates to the CIA and drug trafficking, I can say that I think the CIA has made some terrible blunders in the past. I do not think that there is anyone here that would deny that. But the issue before us is whether or not they were either involved in trafficking by aiding and abetting, or knew of, had knowledge of, drug traffickers.
The reports that I have read thus far do not lead me to that conclusion at this point in time. Let me say that again: The reports that I have read thus far do not lead me to that conclusion at this point in time.
I have read the newspaper articles, I have read other materials and interviewed people, and at some point in time I may be joining the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] on this floor asking for some type of public commission. But now is not the time, I suggest to the members of this committee. Now is the time to let the structure of the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general and the House to move forward in an objective evaluation.
I am not naive enough to think whatever this committee finds and whatever the Inspector Generals find, that in fact there will be a consensus opinion. And if there is not a consensus opinion and there is fault to be found with either a lack of thoroughness or professionalism or even covering up, that would be the time to move forward with some commission. I have reservations about the composition of the commission and some of the structure, but I am sure that the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] and I at the appropriate time could work that out.
For example, there is a prohibition in here that any employee of the U.S. Government, past or present, could not be a member of that commission. I think that there are many people who have been employed by the U.S. Government who have expertise and abilities that could appropriately serve on the commission, and I would feel it is certainly insulting to say that anyone who has ever worked for Government could not be objective in this issue.
As it relates to the issue of people who have been assets of the CIA, whether they be in Venezuela or Haiti, there is no doubt that some of the assets should never have been employed by the CIA. There is no doubt that some of them have been involved in drug trafficking. But that is like saying some Member of Congress being arrested for drugs, that the Congress of the United States is responsible for it.
Let us sort through the facts without emotion. Then let people come forward and criticize the report, scrub it, examine it, and then at that point in time I may be joining the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] on some outside citizens panel to review that material and to carry the investigation forward, but now is not the time.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire as to how much time I have remaining?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] has 12-1/2- minutes remaining, and the gentleman from Florida [Mr. GOSS] has 16 minutes remaining.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, let me just say that I hold the gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON] in the highest esteem and respect, and I have worked with him, and we do share this area of Los Angeles where the drug trafficking took place, where the CIA is alleged to have been deeply involved in trafficking in drugs and the profits of which, some of them, went to fund the contras, the contras having been created by the CIA. That was their body, and the FDN, the army of the contras, was a creation of the CIA's.
And I am working to get to the bottom of this, but my commission that I am asking for is not only about that. This is more generic, and it encompasses the question of drug trafficking, period, by the CIA.
And I would like to raise a question of the gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON] so that I can help make a determination about his representations regarding the investigations that are going on and the possibility that he may join me, depending on what he has discovered or they discovered as a result of the House intelligence investigation.
Has the gentleman's committee investigated the Venezuelan dope dealing of the CIA where I have in no uncertain terms identified on the floor of Congress the fact that they were responsible for tons of cocaine coming into the United States that got sold on the streets of America? Has the gentleman done anything about that? Has he looked at that?
Mr. DIXON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentlewoman yield?
Ms. WATERS. I yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. DIXON. Mr Chairman, yes, there has been testimony before the committee. There has not been a thorough investigation, but there has been testimony before the committee by the CIA.
The CIA, as I recall their testimony, one, denied that they ever approved it because they recognized that in fact it would be hard to trace once it got into the United States and also DEA rejected it.
It is true that this man was an operative in form at some point in time with the CIA, but they deny ever having approved or sanctioned this activity, and this activity, according to them, was taken on independently by the general.
Ms. WATERS. May I ask of the gentleman whether or not there has been any report on it, and since this exposure was given to this in the New York Times, we have not seen a response of any kind, we have not seen the work of the gentleman's committee answering this in any way.
Mr. Chairman, we cannot have the New York Times or any other newspaper documenting and court records documenting trafficking in cocaine by the CIA and CIA operatives, and we just sit mum and not tell the American public anything.
So is there a report on this in any way? If there is no report, would the gentleman be willing to issue some kind of report between him and the chairman? Could the gentleman from California make some representation about what he will be willing to do, given we know this information about drug trafficking by the CIA?
Mr. DIXON. Yes. The staff informs me that in fact there has been a report to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence by the inspector general, and I am sure with certain permission that the gentlewoman from California could review that report. But I will indicate to her since she has raised it and created the inference that the CIA was involved, I feel duty obligated to go forward and look at this once again.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, yes, let me be clear about this one, and I do not go this far even in the South L.A. one. I am accusing the CIA on this one based on the information that I have of having been responsible for tons of cocaine coming into the United States that got sold on the streets of America. That is an accusation that I am making clear, simple, and without any reservations.
So what I am saying to the gentleman:
It is not enough for me to see the report. What can we do to share this information with the American public? Is there anything that can be done to shed some light on this?
Mr. DIXON. If the gentlewoman will continue to yield, first of all I think that it would be good for her to read the report.
Ms. WATERS. I will do that.
Mr. DIXON. So that the CIA's perspective on this is there, and perhaps the committee chairman or others, since this issue has been raised that the report can be scrubbed and that some materials could be released; but I do think, Mr. Chairman, that we have a responsibility with the charge made just on the floor that the CIA was responsible for the Venezuelan drug transaction, to either refute or make some statement about this based upon an investigation in the materials that we have already collected. I think that is a very serious allegation.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentlewoman yield to me?
Ms. WATERS. I yield to the gentleman from Florida.
Mr. GOSS. As far as I am concerned, if the gentlewoman has some new information that is additional or supplemental or complementary to any of the previous work that has been done on this, that she would bring it to the committee's attention, that we will obviously attend to it forthwith. My understanding is that there has been some work done on this; I do not know the exact status, because we are dealing with somewhat of a new subject that is just a little bit off the record here of what I thought we were talking about, but I am certainly willing, as we have been all along the way on this, with the gentlewoman, with the gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON], and as seen with the gentlewoman from California [Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD] earlier in our colloquy.
Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman, I do not want to be snowed, I do not want to be patronized, I do not want to be talked to in that way. I have asked. I have made an accusation on the floor of Congress about the CIA and the Venezuelan drug deal, and I am asking the gentleman based on the information that he has, is there any way that he can shed some light or share this information with the American public?
I want to know.
Mr. GOSS. If the gentlewoman will continue to yield, the gentlewoman is referring, I think, to events that transpired before I was privileged to be on this committee, and that is why, since I had no forewarning that that was going to be a subject today, I am simply not prepared to give her any specific information.
I am certainly welcome to assure that we will attend to her request to see if there is anything into it, as we would with any Member who brings forward that type of a serious allegation.
Ms. WATERS. Could the gentleman be a little bit clearer about what it is he is committing to? The gentleman said he would attend to it. Could the gentleman tell me how he can satisfy the concerns that I have raised, and I am not being facetious at this point, but I have made a specific charge, and I am asking the gentleman, even though he was not the Chair, the records did not leave with the last Chair; I want to know what can the gentleman do to shed some light on this information?
Mr. DIXON. If the gentlewoman will yield and if I could suggest to the gentleman from Florida [Mr. GOSS], one, that a lot of this evidentiary material will come out in the trial. As I understand, he is on trial in Florida. Second, I do think, Mr. Chairman, we have an obligation to go back and look at the inspector general's report, and, as I recall it, it did not in any way involve the CIA and the transportation or distribution of the drugs that the gentleman is being charged with.
But this is a very serious accusation that the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] is making, and I want to emphasize it. She is alleging that the CIA was involved with the Venezuelan general in bringing drugs into the country. I assume that means either aiding, abetting, or being a sponsor of those drugs.
Ms. WATERS. That is right.
Mr. DIXON. And I think that we have a responsibility to, once again, go back and look at this case, notwithstanding the prosecution that is going on in Florida and notwithstanding what the inspector general has said.
Ms. WATERS. And also would the gentleman add to this discussion whether or not the former drug czar who worked with the CIA is going to be extradited for this case? Is there an extradition problem?
Mr. GOSS. If the gentlewoman will yield to me, I presume these questions are being directed to me.
Ms. WATERS. The gentleman from Florida or anybody else who can answer that.
Mr. GOSS. Let me clearly tell the gentlewoman that I have tremendous respect for the gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON], and I think Mr. DIXON has said exactly the right thing.
The specific facts that the gentlewoman is basing her allegation on, I would like to know what they are. I will then deal with those facts, and I will advise the gentlewoman of relevant information, and the gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON] will be part of that process, as he has been, because he has been doing stellar service for our committee on this matter in Los Angeles because it is clearly part of his representation.
Ms. WATERS. The gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON] said that he felt a responsibility to answer my charge. What the gentleman from Florida is saying is if I can bring him more information--
Mr. GOSS. No, I am saying, if the gentlewoman will continue to yield, I will be very happy to join Mr. DIXON in responding as exactly as he has done. But it would be helpful to me to know all of the details of what the gentlewoman knows.
I take very seriously, living in Florida, which is not unlike the problem in California, of drug smuggling and the impact we see on our streets. We have a problem. We are not insensitive to this, I assure my colleague, and I assure her that there are unfolding events every minute in the war on drugs, every minute, and the intelligence part of that we are attending to. We are committing dollars, and we hope we have the gentlewoman's support for our budget for those dollars.
Ms. WATERS. Oh, no. I have been to every budget committee, every appropriations committee where there are appropriations for drugs to talk about the Black Caucus' No. 1 priority of eradicating drugs in this Nation. It is not only our No. 1 priority, we have come, we have testified before the committees, we have supported the drug czar, we have supported the President's budget, we have even asked for more money, and we have come up with ways by which to work closer with the drug czar on this issue.
So we are serious about this, but let me just say this:
Given my friend and my colleague's representations, along with the gentleman from Florida, about feeling a responsibility to respond to the very serious accusation that I have made here today, I accept that as not only a representation for himself, but for him and others, and the committee; and even though we are clear that my bringing forth new information is not a condition for his moving forward, if I have or can locate new information, I will be happy to work with the gentleman on it. But I do expect that this commitment on the House of the floor that has been made about shedding light per the gentleman from California [Mr. DIXON] and supported by the gentleman from Florida [Mr. GOSS] is something that we can rely on.
So let me just say this:
My colleague whom I have worked with not just since I came to Congress 6 years ago, but about 30 years now, having served with him in the State of California in the assembly and prior to that when I managed campaigns and all of that, I accept--
The CHAIRMAN. All time of the gentlewoman from California [Ms. WATERS] has expired.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Chairman, I am very happy to yield 1 more minute to the gentlewoman from California to wrap up.
Ms. WATERS. I thought when the gentleman heard the word "accept" he would be generous, and I thank him very much.
I accept his representations that these investigations are going on now, and I know that. And I do think that perhaps it is a little premature, and maybe that is something we will do after if, in fact, we do not believe that the information is credible, the work has been good, or we learn more about it.
I do think that that would be the correct order of things. Today provided us with the opportunity to shed more light, to get something moving. I accept that he rejects, he does not accept, my amendment. He believes the commission is premature. He will work with me. I will work with the gentleman, I will work with the other gentlemen, and everyone else.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from California?
There was no objection.
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