Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy, and Members of the Judiciary Committee. Just a month and a half ago, I came before this Committee to discuss the Department's proposed budget for FY 2000. I am pleased to appear before you again today to testify about the record of the Department of Justice and the work that we are doing to enforce our Nation's laws, make America's communities safer and more secure, and strengthen our law enforcement systems so that we will be prepared to address the new challenges of the coming century.
The oversight function of this Committee is very important, and I welcome it. You also have been active and full partners in so much of the work we have done over these past six years. We could not have made such tremendous progress in recent years without your strong support and attention.
We need today to harness all the energy, expertise and resources that we have in our Department, in this Congress, and in our communities to break the cycle of violence in this country. I hope that we can work together to face this challenge, just as we have worked together on so many important issues, for this is one of my highest priorities as I look to the future.
I first appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993. The challenges that we faced at that time were great. Americans were concerned about the problem of crime. Our own resources -- at Main Justice, among our law enforcement components, and in our U.S. Attorneys' offices -- were lacking. We had work to do to assure that our personnel were trained and ready on an up-to-the-minute basis, with current and integrated information technology. We did not yet have a strategic plan to address the new and growing problem of cybercrime. Criminal enterprises were becoming increasingly global, and yet we were just establishing our own ability to fight crime abroad. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) lacked the manpower or resources to effectively enforce our nation's immigration laws. And communities across America had little faith that the federal government could effectively address their concerns about crime, the environment, or civil rights.
In 1993, I committed to working with you to address the nation's domestic and international crime problems, improve enforcement of our civil rights and environmental laws, secure our borders, assure a competitive and fair marketplace as we transition to an information-based economy, and ensure that every part of the Department of Justice works effectively to advance our mission.
I am pleased to report today that, working closely with you and the Congress, we have made great headway in each of these areas, and we have laid a solid foundation to tackle the challenges that we face.
I. The Administration's Comprehensive Crime Control Strategy
Over the decades and across the country, Americans had grown very concerned about the problem of crime. With the support of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the bipartisan efforts of this Congress, the dedicated work of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and with the strong support of our communities, we are turning this situation around.
Over the past six years, the Department has implemented a comprehensive crime control strategy with seven key objectives:
We started in 1994, by working with Congress to achieve passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This legislation has formed the basis for the Department's comprehensive crime control strategy. Over the past five and half years, we have worked to enforce this law, build strong partnerships with communities, and help strengthen state and local law enforcement agencies. We believe that the strategy now in place is working.
Today, the violent crime rate is down 21 percent since 1993, and is at its lowest level since 1973. The overall crime rate is at the lowest level in nearly a quarter of a century. Murders have fallen by more than 20 percent in larger cities and suburban communities. And, although it may be hard to believe after last month's tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, violent crime by juveniles is down for the third consecutive year. We must build on the progress we have made and continue to work toward a safer America.
A. Vigorously Enforcing Federal Criminal Laws
The Department of Justice vigorously investigates and prosecutes criminal violations of the laws of the United States. Overall, in 1998, federal prosecutors successfully convicted 89 percent of those defendants whose cases were closed during the year, and 77 percent of all convicted defendants were sentenced to prison.
1. Targeting Violent Offenders, Organized Crime and White Collar Crime
In 1998, the Department prosecuted many violent criminal offenders using the enhanced criminal provisions of the Violent Crime Control Act of 1994. Last year, federal prosecutors filed 6,889 cases against 8,703 violent offenders, increasing the total number of cases by 10 percent over the previous year.
The Department also prosecuted 26,906 defendants for narcotics violations in 1998, increasing the number of defendants charged by 14% over the previous year. We have had particular success targeting and dismantling major criminal and drug trafficking organizations. In 1998, the Department filed 199 cases against 390 organized crime defendants. These included the successful prosecution of 22 members of La Cosa Nostra (LCN) on racketeering-related charges.
Additionally, the Department has continued to aggressively prosecute "white-collar" crime, filing 6,669 white-collar crime cases against 8,518 defendants last year.
2. Targeting Domestic Terrorism
The Department of Justice has taken steps to prevent and prepare for the threat of terrorism in the United States, and to prosecute those who commit such heinous acts.
Under its role as the designated lead agency for domestic terrorism, the FBI and the Department are taking steps to ensure that state and local communities are prepared in the event of a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). We convened a meeting last August to get input and expertise from our federal agency partners in this effort, the Departments of Energy, Defense, Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and FEMA, as well as from state and local first responders.
We have proposed the establishment of the National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO) to coordinate federal domestic preparedness activities and to serve as a clearinghouse for information to state and local first responders. Working in conjunction with other federal agencies, the NDPO will act as a single point of contact for first responders to access information about and receive assistance from the multitude of federal domestic preparedness programs.
We have also looked to the state and local responder community to provide us valuable input throughout our planning efforts. In the proposed NDPO effort, an advisory committee of state and local authorities will be the bridge between the federal planning team and the states and local emergency response and health care community. We also established a Center for Domestic Preparedness in Fort McClellan, Alabama, to train state and local emergency personnel. To date, we have helped train 500 emergency personnel at this new facility, and we have provided $12 million to metropolitan areas for emergency equipment needed to respond to terrorist incidents.
Additionally, at the direction of the Congress, we have prepared a Five-Year Counter Terrorism and Technology Crime Plan (Five-Year Plan) which was submitted on December 30, 1998. The Five-Year Plan serves as a baseline strategy to combat terrorism in the United States and against Americans abroad. I am committed to working with Congress and with other federal agencies to continue to develop this plan.
In addition to our work to prevent and prepare a response to terrorism, the Department has successfully prosecuted several terrorists. Last year, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death, and Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison in connection with the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 Americans. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, convicted in the World Trade Center bombing that killed six and injured hundreds, was sentenced to 240 years in prison. And, also last year, the UNABOMBER, Theodore J. Kaczynski, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
3. Protecting National Security
The Department of Justice plays a key role safeguarding America's national security. During the last several weeks there has been a considerable amount of publicity about possible espionage at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. We are zealously investigating these claims and I can assure you that we will aggressively prosecute any person whom we determine illegally transferred classified information. Our National Laboratories handle some of our country's most sensitive and classified scientific research and we must make certain that their secrets are not disclosed improperly.
I have discussed these issues with FBI Director Freeh and the Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, and I know that they share my concerns. Our goals at this point are twofold. First, we must take every step necessary to ensure the security of the national laboratories. Second, we must be certain that we identify, investigate, and, if there is sufficient evidence, prosecute every person responsible for divulging classified information.
B. Building Partnerships with State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement
Beginning early in the Administration, we recognized that it was essential to join forces with our state, local and tribal counterparts and with local communities to fight crime.
1. Supporting State and Local Law Enforcement
The cornerstone of our community crime control strategy is community policing. Since 1994, the Department has provided more than $5.4 billion in funding for this program and we are close to reaching our goal of funding 100,000 community police officers.
The Department of Justice is now planning to build on the foundation we have laid for community policing with a new 21st Century Policing Initiative. This initiative will strengthen community police forces in high crime areas, and provide police with new technologies, communication systems and equipment.
Senator DeWine and Senator Leahy have shown such tremendous leadership in this area in their work last year on the Crime Identification Technology Act (CITA). We hope that you will support our 21st Century Policing Initiative that includes $350 million specifically for state and local crime-fighting technology.
The Administration is also building on community policing with a community prosecution initiative to fund up to 1,000 prosecutors, each year for five years, to advance community-based prosecution strategies across the country.
Community policing and community prosecution programs are part of our larger Department of Justice effort to support state and local law enforcement. Since 1993, we have increased federal support for state and local law enforcement by 294% -- an increase of more than $2.9 billion.
Within the Department of Justice, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) principally works with federal, state, local, and tribal agencies and organizations to develop, fund, and evaluate a wide-range of programs to prevent and control crime. At the present time, we are developing a new organizational structure for OJP to make the work of this office more efficient and accessible for the state, local and tribal communities.
2. Building Federal Community-Based Crime Strategies
At the federal level, the Department of Justice has developed a community-based strategy for federal law enforcement to use in fighting violent crime. We have dramatically expanded the Department's Weed and Seed Program from about two dozen sites in 1993 to nearly 200 sites today. In addition, we launched a major new violence reduction effort in 1994: the National Anti-Violent Crime Initiative (AVCI). Throughout the country, U.S. Attorneys have developed coordinated, comprehensive strategies to address violent crime problems in their districts.
3. Improving Tribal Justice
The Department of Justice is committed to encouraging and supporting continued adherence to the principle of government-to-government relations between federally recognized Indian tribes and the federal government. Last year, we proposed a multi-year Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative to help raise the level of law enforcement in Indian country to national standards. With additional funding in FY 2000, we plan to increase the number of law enforcement officers on tribal lands, provide more equipment and training, construct badly needed detention facilities, enhance juvenile crime prevention and intervention, improve the effectiveness of tribal courts and criminal statistics collection systems, and hire 26 additional Assistant United States Attorneys to prosecute major crimes in Indian country.
C. Developing a Comprehensive Initiative Against Drug Abuse
The Department of Justice has a comprehensive program to control the trafficking and use of illegal drugs. This program, prepared in coordination with the Administration's National Drug Control Strategy, aims to reduce the availability of illegal drugs in the United States. It includes aggressive enforcement efforts designed to disrupt and dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. It also includes drug education, prevention and treatment programs to break the cycle of crime and drugs.
The Department of Justice is now implementing a comprehensive Drug Control Strategic Plan, announced in March of 1998, to attack drug trafficking. First, the Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) brings the expertise, experience and capabilities from the law enforcement components into one group. QCDETF targets the highest level traffickers and organizations. It also works with the Department of Defense, and with state and local agencies to combat illegal drug activities.
Second, our United States Attorneys are developing local drug strategies to address the particular threats and needs in their districts. We are developing these strategies in conjunction with state and local law enforcement and with community leaders.
Third, we are coordinating drug enforcement efforts with violent crime control and anti-gang measures undertaken as part of the Anti-Violent Crime Initiative. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Mobile Enforcement Team Program and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Safe Streets-Task Force are particularly involved in this effort.
Fourth, we are working cooperatively with foreign governments to develop productive counter-drug relations. We are negotiating extradition treaties so that we can prosecute international drug traffickers here in the United States; and we have established FBI and DEA centers oversees to investigate drug trafficking and to coordinate enforcement efforts with foreign countries.
At the same time, we are focusing more and more on the strong link between crime and drugs. A recent report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, drawing upon data from the Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 80 percent of people serving time in state or federal prisons were either high when they committed their crimes, stole to buy drugs, violated drug or alcohol laws, or have a long history of substance abuse.
This tells us that it is not enough simply to punish drug using offenders and then send them back out on the streets still drug and crime dependent. Over the last six years, the Administration has developed a comprehensive program for drug offenders. It includes expanded drug testing programs for arrestees, drug courts to compel treatment and reduce recidivism by non-violent drug offenders, and effective treatment for offenders while they are incarcerated. It also includes testing, follow-up treatment, and sanctions to assure that offenders stay clean after they are released. Such efforts are demonstrably effective in reducing offender drug use and drug-related crime.
I hope that we can build on this program with increased funding in FY 2000 for drug courts, and for drug testing and treatment programs for offenders at the federal, tribal, state and local levels.
D. Breaking the Cycle of Crime and Violence
We have put an effective strategy in place to reduce crime. Now, we must resist the complacency that often accompanies such substantial progress. As the tragic events in Littleton, Colorado and the continuing violence in so many of our inner cities remind us, there is still too much crime and lawlessness in America.
Working together to reduce the unlawful possession of firearms, to address the problems facing our youth, to end domestic violence, and to assist crime victims and strengthen the ties in our communities, we can help break the cycle of crime and violence for tomorrow.
1. Keeping Guns Away from Criminals and Children
The Department of Justice is taking a number of measures to reduce gun violence.
First, the Department is implementing the Brady Law.Through November 1998, during the first five years of the operation of the Brady Law, over 250,000 felons and other prohibited persons were denied firearm purchases. Since November 1998, the Department has implemented the Brady Law's National Instant Check System (NICS). NICS has already processed more than 3.4 million background checks, and the FBI alone has denied gun transfers to more than 36,000 people who should not have them. We estimate that our state partners have denied at least as many as well.
The Department is seeking to restore the user fee for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. A user fee for NICS is the best way to cover the cost of operating the system. Without a user fee, taxpayers must pay for firearms background checks, and states will stop conducting NICS background checks. We look forward to working with you to resolve this funding issue.
Second, we have asked U.S. Attorneys to develop an antiviolence strategy with state and local law enforcement to target illegal guns. We recognize that each district will have a different strategy, tailored to the particular needs in that community. In Boston, Massachusetts, for example, the U.S. Attorney, working with local enforcement and community coalitions, used a problem-solving approach to combat gun and gang violence. The strategy helped cut youth homicide rates by 71 percent in two years. In Richmond, Virginia, the U.S. Attorney dramatically increased the number of federal prosecutions of gun crimes. Richmond's Project Exile contributed to a 41 percent drop in the number of firearms homicides in 1998.
Third, under the President's Directive of March 20, 1999, the Department is taking our local efforts to reduce gun crime one step further, building upon the Anti-Violent Crime Initiative's focus on coordinated partnerships among federal, state, and local law enforcement. I will be directing each U.S. Attorney to work closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Special Agent-in-Charge, as well as with state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community leaders, to develop an Integrated Firearms Violence Reduction Strategy tailored to the needs of each district. Secretary Rubin has directed ATF Special Agents-in-Charge to do the same.
Fourth, the Department has published a handbook of proven gun crime and violence reduction strategies in place in communities around the country. This handbook, Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence, has been distributed to Members of Congress, all U.S. Attorneys, and others, and it is available to the public through the Department's clearinghouse.
Finally, last week, the President announced that he is proposing a comprehensive bill to strengthen America's firearms and explosives laws. This Act would reduce illegal gun purchases and gun trafficking by limiting the purchase of handguns to no more than one per month. It would raise the age of the youth handgun ban from 18 to 21 years of age, and halt the importation of large capacity ammunition magazines. It would ban possession of semi-automatic assault rifles by anyone under age 21, and require Brady background checks for the purchase of explosives. The proposed legislation would also help law enforcement trace more guns used in crimes to their sources, and close the loophole in our Brady law that allows criminals to purchase guns at gun shows.
1. Juvenile Crime
The Department has developed a strategy to address juvenile crime and improve juvenile justice. It provides for a continuum of programs -- from prevention to early intervention to graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders. We are supporting state and local efforts to build juvenile justice systems that can deliver the right services and sanctions in a cost-effective manner. We are also providing states and communities with funding to implement comprehensive delinquency prevention programs. To date, the Department has awarded Title V Community Prevention grants to 619 communities.
At the federal level, the Clinton Administration has proposed legislation to enhance the effectiveness of the federal juvenile justice system.
Finally, the Department is focusing on the specific problem of violence in our schools. At the President's direction last year, the Department convened meetings with a broad range of experts to discuss the issues raised by last year's school shootings and the larger issue of youth violence. The Department of Justice also worked hand in hand with the Department of Education to publish and distribute Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools, to help parents, teachers, and principals recognize and respond to youth who have displayed the warning signs of violent behavior.
The juvenile arrest rate for violent crime has dropped for three straight years, falling 23 percent from 1994 to 1997, after rising steadily from 1989 to 1994. We have also seen significant declines in every type of juvenile violent crime, including a 43 percent drop in the juvenile murder arrest rate from 1993 to 1997. Yet, the tragic explosion of violence at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado reminds us all that there is still too much violence in our schools and our communities and many challenges still lie ahead.
2. Ending Violence Against Women
Over the past six years, the Clinton Administration, largely through the Department of Justice, has greatly expanded efforts to address violence against women.
In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This law launched the first major federal effort to address violence against women. Since the enactment of this law in September 1994, the Department of Justice has made combating domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault a major priority.
Over the past six years, the Department has filed 141 indictments and obtained 100 convictions under the federal domestic violence laws. To coordinate VAWA cases effectively, the Department has also assigned a point of contact in every United States Attorney's Office who works with the FBI, ATF, and local police and prosecutors to raise awareness of VAWA, exchange information about domestic violence and sexual assault cases, coordinate resources on those cases, and ensure referral of appropriate cases for federal prosecution.
The Department is now responding to the increasingly serious problem of international trafficking, particularly in women and children. Through trickery, or physical, economic or other duress, victims are smuggled into the United States and other countries for the sex trade, unlawful labor, and other illegal purposes.
The Department has also, since 1994, awarded over $700 million to police, prosecutors, victim service providers, and courts at the state, tribal, and local levels through VAWA grant programs.
3. Assisting Victims of Crime
In the past decade, the federal government has taken unprecedented steps to assist crime victims. New federal and state laws define and protect the rights of victims -- to information, to participate in judicial proceedings, and to receive compensation. Currently, the Department, through the Office for Victims of Crime, provides direct financial assistance to victims nationwide, and today, every United States Attorney's Office has a victim/witness coordinator.
E. Fighting Cybercrime
In this Information Age, people use computers, the Internet, and other new information technologies (IT) to conduct business, perform research, and to communicate with others. Criminals use these technologies as a new means to commit old crimes like defrauding unsuspecting senior citizens, distributing child pornography, stealing credit card numbers, and robbing banks. Our Nation has become so reliant on new technology that the national and economic security of the United States now depends largely on the rapid, consistent, secure, and reliable movement and storage of data. As a result, without proper safeguards, we are potentially vulnerable to hackers, cyberterrorists, and other criminals who would use their computers for illegal intrusion into, and exploitation of, America's major information and communications networks. Over the past several years, the Department has begun to put these important safeguards into place.
First, last year the Administration established a National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) located in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The NIPC's job is to detect, deter, analyze and respond to cyber threats, intrusions, and exploited vulnerabilities of our Nation's critical electronic infrastructures. This mission requires coordination with other agencies at every level of government. The Department has also developed the National Cybercrime Training Partnership (NCTP) to work in partnership with local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies in response to cybercrime. Cybercrimes, by their very nature, respect no national boundaries and may be perpetrated from virtually any spot on our planet. Strong liaison relationships with foreign police and security agencies are essential to identifying and apprehending cyber criminals.
F. Establishing a Strong International Presence
One of the greatest challenges I have faced as Attorney General has been confronting the striking increase in international crime - and its impact here in the United States and on Americans and American interests at home and abroad.
The impact of international crime is felt daily in our communities. International drug trade produces the horrible consequences of drug abuse -- drug trade and trafficking related violence. International financial crime robs Americans of their savings, and exploits our banks and businesses. The growing problem of international trafficking in persons results in the most basic violations of human rights. Cybercrime threatens the American financial sectors and our critical infrastructures as well.
Confronting transnational crime requires two significant and sustained efforts on our part. First, we need sufficient legal authority and resources to match the increase in scale and complexity of international criminality. Second, we need to build an effective infrastructure of cooperation with other countries; we need that infrastructure to collect evidence of trans-border crime and to bring international criminals to justice.
Over the course of the past six years, we have worked to achieve these goals, and we have made a great deal of progress.
We have strengthened our "front line" against international crime: our FBI, DEA and INS agents abroad. For example, in the last five years, the FBI has opened eight new offices -- in Argentina, Israel, Russia, the Ukraine, Estonia, Poland, Saudi Arabia and South Africa; the Bureau now operates more than 38 overseas offices and is in the midst of opening four more. Last year, these offices handled 20,000 investigative leads from our FBI offices at home. DEA, too, is augmenting its network overseas, with further expansion into the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and Asia. We now have prosecutors stationed in Rome, Mexico and Colombia, and in Brussels to cover ourincreasing anti-crime work with the Europeans.
Our network of law enforcement treaties has been vastly expanded and modernized. Just last year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a record 38 new extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. As a result, we have doubled the extradition and foreign evidence cases handled by our Office of International Affairs.
We are making real inroads into what had been the greatest problem in bringing international fugitives to justice: other countries' refusal to extradite their own citizens. In every possible international forum, I put this issue on the top of my agenda. And we are seeing results: the first extraditions of Mexicans from Mexico; new treaties in Latin America - with Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina - that remove centuries-old bars to extradition of nationals; and promising changes in the laws of countries such as the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
G. Promoting Integrity in Law Enforcement
Acrss the country, there are nearly 700,000 law enforcement officers, and the overwhelming majority are hard-working public servants who do a dangerous job justly, fairly, with excellence and with honor. They put their lives on the line every day in the pursuit of justice and public safety.
I support and salute these dedicated officers. We owe them a great debt of gratitude. But we as a society cannot tolerate officers who cross the line and abuse their position by mistreating law-abiding citizens or who bring their own racial bias to the job of policing.
Even isolated cases of excessive force or bias can cause citizens to lose faith in their law enforcement officers, and undermine the trust that is so essential to effective policing. For too many people, especially in minority communities, the trust that is so essential to effective policing does not exist because residents believe that police have used excessive force, that law enforcement is biased, disrespectful, and unfair.
To restore this trust between communities and law enforcement, police chiefs and rank and file officers agree that we must take decisive action against the few officers who violate their oaths and use excessive force or harass individuals. Most cases of excessive use of force by police officers are prosecuted by state and local authorities. However, the Department has important jurisdiction in this area and during the past five years we have prosecuted over 300 officers for excessive force and other misconduct, and obtained the convictions of more than 200. Recently, we completed our investigation of the New Jersey State Police and determined that state police officers are engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory traffic enforcement. We look forward to working with the State of New Jersey on a settlement that will ensure that New Jersey becomes a model for guarding against discriminatory law enforcement.
II. Enforcing Federal Laws and Representing the Federal Government in Judicial Proceedings
Central to the mission of the Department of Justice is our work to protect civil rights, the environment, competitive fair market practices, the integrity of America's immigration laws, the fair enforcement of our tax laws, and our efforts to effectively represent the interests of the federal government in litigation.
A. Enforcement of Civil Rights Laws
The Department of Justice is making significant progress in the enforcement of civil rights. I would like to focus today on three areas of particular activity by the Civil Rights Division.
First, is the work that the Civil Rights Division is doing to enforce the promise of equal opportunity for Americans with disabilities, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department has successfully resolved a number of cases involving discrimination in public accommodations and access to services for persons with disabilities. For example, Wendy's has agreed to modify queue lines in nearly 1,700 restaurants, and Bass Hotels, the owner of Holiday Inn, has agreed to modify their hotel facilities to make them more accessible to people with disabilities. Connecticut's private hospitals have agreed to provide sign-language interpreters to patients who are deaf.
Second, the Civil Rights Division has sought to ensure that every American who has the means to own a home can do so without being discriminated against in the lending process. The Division has brought a record 13 lending discrimination suits, which have resulted in changes to make sure that lending practices are fair to all Americans.
Third, the Department is developing new strategies to fight hate crime, a problem we believe is widespread and underreported. In particular, we have established a hate crimes task force in each of the U.S. Attorneys' offices around the country which bring together state and local law enforcement and community leaders to coordinate our response to hate crimes.
From 1993 through 1998, the Department of Justice brought 32 federal hate crimes prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. § 245. This law allows the federal government to prosecute a hate crime case where a victim was engaging in a federally protected activity. For example, in South Carolina, a team of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies prosecuted five members of the local Ku Klux Klan for a series of hate crimes including two church arsons and the assault, with intent to kill, of an African American man with a mental disability. These five Klansmen were convicted of both state and federal offenses and have been sentenced to serve lengthy terms in prison.
The Department is committed to taking a firm stand against hate crimes, and supports legislation to strengthen federal hate crimes laws.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee is leading the federal civil rights enforcement effort with expertise and dedication. I urge you to move quickly to approve Mr. Lee's nomination.
B. Protecting Our Environment
The Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) has a strong record of enforcement of our environmental laws. Overall, between 1993 and 1998, ENRD brought more than 350 civil Clean Air Act cases and 240 civil Clean Water Act cases, imposing more than $286 million in penalties. Among its recent successes are two settlements with a major mining company, in cases brought for violations of the clean water and hazardous waste laws. The settlements include an $11.8 million penalty, and will result in cleaning up of the contaminated areas as well as a major upgrade of the company's environmental management systems.
The Division has also brought successful criminal prosecutions involving the illegal importation of chlorofluorocarbons, pollution of oceans and inland waterways, discharges of massive quantities of hazardous substances into the environment, and pesticide contamination; and has launched an enforcement program targeting the $5 billion illegal wildlife smuggling industry.
The Division's litigation has also resulted in the protection of public lands and Indian rights and claims. In all of its work, the Division has integrated alternative dispute resolution and carefully selects cases to use the Department's resources cost effectively and appropriately.
C. Protecting American Consumers from Unfair Market Practices
The Antitrust Division works to ensure that American consumers benefit from a competitive and fair marketplace. Strong competition benefits American consumers, who are assured of high quality goods at reasonable prices, and helps American industry in the worldwide economy by promoting healthy rivalry and encouraging efficiency and innovation.
Because of the globalization of our economy and the growth of technology, the Antitrust Division faces increasingly large and complex cases each year.
Through its enhanced enforcement efforts, the Division has recovered a record $470 million in criminal fines in the past two years alone. On the civil side, the Division has challenged Microsoft's hold on the computer software industry and the control that Visa and MasterCard have on the credit card industry. The Department has also conducted a number of antitrust investigations of the agriculture industry in recent years, leading to a number of enforcement actions, including the criminal prosecution of Archer Daniels Midland and others for price fixing, and the required divestiture, as part of the Monsanto/DeKalb Genetics merger, of cutting-edge genetic transformation technology.
Second, the Antitrust Division has increased its work in the review of mergers. Mergers have been occurring at a record pace -- with merger filings increasing 10 percent in FY 1996, 20 percent more in FY 1997, and another 30 percent in FY 1998. The Antitrust Division recently successfully challenged the largest merger in American history: the proposed merger of LockheedMartin with Northrop Grumman.
D. Representing the United States in Civil Proceedings
From 1993 through the beginning of 1999, the Civil Division secured a record $5.5 billion in judgments and settlements. The majority of these awards are the result of the crackdown on fraud committed against taxpayers -- specifically, the vigorous pursuit of health care fraud -- and successes in suits involving bankruptcy fraud, loan defaults, and other commercial transactions.
In addition, in December of 1998, I concluded that there were viable bases for the Department to pursue recovery of the federal government's tobacco-related health care costs through litigation. The Department has now formed a tobacco litigation team, housed in the Civil Division, to pursue recovery of these costs. I hope that you will support the Department's request for $20 million in FY 2000 to fund the tobacco litigation.
E. Controlling Illegal Immigration and Revitalizing the Immigration and Naturalization Service
Six years ago, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) lacked the resources, the personnel or the equipment to control illegal immigration or administer our nation's immigration laws. The agency's filing systems were inadequate. There were holes in our fences along our border. Roads along the bordar were impassible for the Border Patrol. Computers were antiquated. And there was no effective strategy for controlling illegal immigration.
In the past six years, through the efforts of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the backing of this Committee the Department has put in place a comprehensive strategy to control illegal immigration and improve the operation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The first priority was to reverse years of neglect along the Southwest border. With your support, the Department has nearly doubled the size of the Border Patrol to almost 9,000 agents today. Similarly, we have added over 1,900 new Immigration Inspectors and deployed new state of the art technologies to speed up the process of legal entry and control illegal immigration at our Ports of Entry. We launched Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego, Operation Hold the Line in El Paso Texas, and Operation Rio Grande in South Texas. We will continue to send reinforcements to Arizona and other sectors that are experiencing great pressure as we close the traditional corridors for illegal immigration. I would like to note that with the greatly expanded workforce, the proposed budget for FY 2000 does not request funds to hire additional Border Patrol agents next year. We do, however, request significant funding for facilitias and for force-multiplying technologies to support the Border Patrol.
Second, we are deporting illegal immigrants faster and in greater numbers than ever before. From FY 1993 to FY 1998, INS increased the number of annual removals from 42,471 to over 171,000. The number of criminal aliens removed from the country reached 56,100 last year, and is continuing at the rate of more than 1,000 per week, double the number removed in 1993. We have significantly increased detention space to support this effort. INS now detains about 14,500 criminal aliens, quadruple the capacity of 1994. Last year, we were able to detain more than 150,000 aliens, 74 percent more than in 1995.
Third, INS has placed agents and officers overseas to target major smuggling operations.
Fourth, INS has reformed the system for asylum processing to reduce fraud and better respond to those who are fleeing persecution.
Fifth, the Department is continuing to reengineer the naturalization process to accommodate the millions of new applicants for citizenship. Overall, from FY 1993 to FY 1998, INS has received over 5.6 million new applications for citizenship and has completed nearly 4 million cases.
Finally, we will shortly present to you a draft proposal to fundamentally restructure the INS by dividing its primary functions of enforcement and services into distinct chains of command. This effort will increase accountability, improve performance and strengthen our immigration system.
F. Promoting the Fair Enforcement of the Federal Tax Laws
The Tax Division works to ensure fairness in the tax system. Since FY 1993, the Division has successfully blocked more than $2.4 billion in improper tax refund claims, including more than $275 million in such claims in 1998. The Division also secured convictions in the largest motor fuel excise tax case to date, involving an attempt by organized crime figures to evade $140 million in taxes. The Tax Division has also vigorously prosecuted large-scale electronic-filing fraud schemes and helped to identify systemic weaknesses that led the IRS to institute better fraud detection and prevention controls.
III. Managing a Growing Department and Preparing for the Future
The Department has experienced tremendous growth during the past six years, moving from an annual budget of $11 billion and over 83,000 employees in FY 1993 to more than $20 billion and 122,000 employees in FY 1999. Through this important investment in human and information resources, the Department has become better equipped to fulfill its criminal and civil law enforcement responsibilities.
A. Managing our Human Resources
The Department has hired more than 35,000 additional employees over the past six years. This includes an 18 percent increase in the size of the FBI, a 33 percent increase in DEA, and a 67 percent increase in the INS workforce. The Department has faced a tremendous management challenge recruiting, screening, hiring, training and integrating these 35,000 new employees into our operations.
During this past decade, the federal prison population has also grown dramatically - up 142 percent. To manage this unprecedented growth, the number of personnel in the Federal Bureau of Prisons has increased by one-third over the past six years. The Department continues to implement an aggressive long-term prison expansion program, requesting $738 million in new initiatives for detention and incarceration programs. We know that we are going to face tremendous challenges in the future as we develop strategies to respond to the needs of our increasing and aging federal prison population.
B. Managing Information Resources
Over the past six years, with your support, the Department has been able to invest in new technology to improve efficiency, aid law enforcement and keep pace with rapid changes in crime. We plan to continue this effort, as well as our efforts to improve the security of our computer and technology systems against external threats and internal weaknesses.
At the same time, we are working to assure that critical systems within the Department of Justice operate correctly on January 1, 2000. In 1999, Congress provided the Department with more than $84 million in one-time funding to ensure year Y2K compliance. We estimate that the total cost of Y2K compliance and implementation will be $109 million. More than 90 percent of the Department's critical information systems are now compliant, and we project that we will achieve 100 percent compliance of these systems by October 1999.
I appreciate the oversight function performed by this Committee as well as the Committee's understanding of the Department's policy with regard to providing information about pending cases. I know that this policy often results in the Department not being able to provide the Committee as much information as it would like. But, as you know, this policy ultimately serves to protect the independence of the Department's many dedicated career attorneys.
These have been a challenging six years for all of us. I am pleased that we have made such great progress on crime and in so many areas. But we have more work to do and more challenges to face. I look forward to working with every Member of this Committee as we seek solutions and work to craft policies and programs that are tailored to the needs of our communities and our country.