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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008 -- (Senate - September 26, 2007)

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Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I have sought recognition to respond to the amendment offered by the Senator from Oklahoma, Mr. Coburn, to eliminate the National Drug Intelligence Center, which is located in Johnstown, PA. That center was created in 1992 and performs a very important function. The National Drug Intelligence Center, commonly referred to as the NDIC, partners with the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, to provide intelligence, to identify, track, and sever the nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism. The NDIC created an entity called HashKeeper, a company software program which is provided to the Federal Government for use in Iraq. The cost of this center is about one-third of what it would be if it were located in the Washington, DC, area.

I think it makes good sense to decentralize Federal functions to the extent it is possible and practical. Everything does not have to be located in Washington, DC. Everything does not have to be located in a big city. Our country is more vulnerable when everything is concentrated in one area. Johnstown has the advantage of being much less expensive, being able to provide these vital Federal services for about one-third of the cost, while being reasonably close to Washington, DC, which is the location of many of the other entities with which it cooperates.

The jobs which are provided are very substantial for my constituents in Pennsylvania; an obvious interest that I have as a Senator representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These are several hundred jobs; they are very important. It is a legitimate interest to want to maintain our industrial base in Pennsylvania and to maintain governmental activities in Pennsylvania. But there is good value in having the NDIC function, in general, and there is extra good value in having it function in Johnstown, PA.

The NDIC has been complimented by a broad number of agencies. In a November 21, 2001, letter, the FBI praised the NDIC for its work on financial crimes, saying:

Through the analysis of these documents, over 400 specific intelligence products have been produced for the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury, and U.S. Attorney's Offices. The work NDIC produces continues to initiate actionable leads and identify avenues of investigation. NDIC has integrated seamlessly with the FBI investigation and has enhanced the way the FBI will investigate future financial cases. The participation of NDIC ..... continues to be invaluable.

In a June 23, 2006, letter, the Drug Enforcement Agency had this to say:

The Fort Worth Resident Office--

that is of DEA--

amassed thousands of documents, but was unable to properly exploit the information they contained. The valuable report--

referring to the NDIC report--

caused several of the principals to negotiate pleas to pending charges. If not for the willingness of the members of NDIC to confront these challenges in a cooperative effort, this investigation would not have reached its current level of success.

There have been many plaudits given to the NDIC by the special agents in charge of FBI offices, such as the FBI agent in charge of the Tampa Field Division, the FBI special agent in charge of the Detroit Field Division, the DEA special agent in charge of the Dallas Field Division, the FBI special agent in charge of the Charlotte Division, and the DEA special agent in charge of the Oklahoma City District Office. This last is ironic, in a sense. In a March 25, 2006, DEA cable, the DEA Oklahoma City District Office had this to say.

In support of phases one and two, NDIC deployed two teams in Oklahoma, each consisting of one special agent, one computer exploitation and five document exploitation personnel. Actionable intelligence was generated and passed to the appropriate DEA offices. The OKCDO thanks all NDIC personnel--

that is the Oklahoma City District Office thanks all NDIC personnel--

who planned and participated in this operation. The intelligence and operational knowledge gained was beneficial to OKCDO, and its law enforcement partners. .....

President, National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, HIDTA, Director's Association Executive Board: May 24, 2007, Letter to the Attorney General in support of NDIC:

NDIC produced thirty-two HIDTA drug market analyses for the HIDTA program. Production of the HIDTA drug market analyses required a full-time effort of twenty-six analysts for extended periods of time working side-by-side with the HIDTA Intelligence Center personnel.

NDIC is a very valuable asset in addressing the nation's drug problem.

This entire effort lead to a valuable working relationship with not only the HIDTAs but federal, state and local drug enforcement entities.

FBI Special Agent in Charge--Tampa Field Division: January 16, 2007, Letter of Appreciation for NDIC assistance.

The purpose of this letter is to recognize the assistance of the National Drug Intelligence Center's (NDIC) Document and Computer Exploitation Branch for the superb analytical support they provided the Violent Crimes/Gang Squad on an investigation into the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation.

FBI Special Agent in Charge--Detroit Field Division: December 11, 2006, Letter of Appreciation for NDIC:

The teamwork displayed in working with investigators from the DEA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is a true measure of what can be accomplished when agencies work together. NDIC's analysis of the [redacted] Pharmacy evidence assisted in obtaining a sixty-two count indictment .....

The FBI characterized NDIC's performance as exemplary in this letter.

DEA Special Agent in Charge--Dallas Field Division: June 23, 2006, Letter of Commendation for Document Exploitation support to a major drug investigation:

The Fort Worth Resident Office (DEA) amassed thousands of documents, but was unable to properly exploit the information they contained. The valuable [NDIC] report listed the seized documents and collated them, which created a valuable tool for Investigators and Prosecutors in this investigation.

In conclusion, this effort caused several of the principals to negotiate pleas to pending charges.

Subsequently, 19 search warrants and over 100 seizure warrants were executed, which resulted in the seizure of approximately $20 million, in assets.

If not for the willingness of the members of NDIC to confront these challenges in a cooperative effort, this investigation would not have reached its current level of success.

FBI Charlotte Division: May 2, 2006, Letter of Commendation for NDIC:

In February 2006, your staff presented to the North Carolina Law Enforcement Community, the most comprehensive Intelligence Assessment ever conducted within the state of North Carolina relating to gangs. I commend NDIC in exceeding all expectations in providing this valuable assessment.

Executive Office of the President--ONDCP Director: April 17, 2006, Letter of Commendation regarding drug market collection effort:

I want to express my thanks for NDIC's domestic market collection effort.

I know that this was a serious, time consuming undertaking by your agency, and I truly appreciate the efforts of everyone involved.

Thanks for the hard work.

DEA Oklahoma City District Office: March 25, 2006, DEA cable:

In support of phases one and two, NDIC deployed two teams to Oklahoma, each consisting of one special agent, one computer exploitation and five document exploitation personnel.

Actionable intelligence was generated and passed to the appropriate DEA offices.

The OKCDO thanks all NDIC personnel who planned and participated in this operation. The intelligence and operational knowledge gained was beneficial to the OKCDO and its law enforcement partners in the state .....

Executive Office of the President--ONDCP Assistant Deputy Director: March 13, 2006, E-mail of Appreciation for drug market collection effort:

Please, convey our thanks to your staff for their outstanding job on the ONDCP Market Collection Effort.

Once Again, we greatly appreciate the superb support and please pass on our thanks for a job well done!

U.S. Department of Justice--Assistant Attorney General: March 7, 2006, Letter of Commendation regarding the National Drug Threat Assessment:

In a letter to the Director of NDIC, the Assistant Attorney General praised NDIC's National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) stating:

The NDTA report is extremely helpful to me and prosecutors who are charged with devising new and creative strategies to achieve that goal.

I know that you and your entire staff have put a tremendous amount of work into creating the NDTA. I wanted to let you know that the effort was well worth it.

U.S. Attorney--District of New Mexico: January 18, 2006, Letter of Praise for NDIC:

I am writing to express my thanks for a job not just well done, but rather for an extraordinary, and in my career, unprecedented collaborative effort to support the federal prosecution of significant drug traffickers and money launders.

Once again, thank you for allowing your amazing staff to dedicate their time, skills and NDIC resources to this important case. The work done in support of this case by NDIC is invaluable.....

U.S. Department of Treasury--Under Secretary, Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: December 28, 2005, Letter of Appreciation for support in completing the national U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment:

I am very pleased to inform you that the Money Laundering Threat Assessment is complete.

[I]t is thanks to active and substantial contributions by the NDIC and the other participants.

I can't thank you enough for the extraordinary contribution.

Office of Counter Narcotics Enforcement/U.S. Interdiction Coordinator--Acting Director: September 7, 2005, Letter of Appreciation for support to a drug/terror tasking:

As I am sure you are aware, NDIC is actively supporting the expanded mission of the Office of Counter Narcotics Enforcement (CNE) by aiding us in the response to the new drug/terror nexus (DTX) tasking as assigned to my office in the Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much I appreciate NDIC's support to this office and to our country's overall counterdrug interdiction efforts.

FBI--Chief, Terrorist Financing Operations Section, TFOS: March 5, 2003, Letter of Thanks for providing long term assistance to post-911 investigations:

As always, it is a pleasure to write to you, as it affords those of us within the Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS) an opportunity to thank you for the continued exceptional assistance NDIC provides to the Counterterrorism Division here at FBI Headquarters.

FBI--Chief, Financial Crimes Section: November 21, 2001, Letter of Appreciation to Deputy Attorney General commending NDIC:

Since 09/20/2001, the NDIC team, consisting of NDIC Intelligence Analysts and FBI Financial Analysts, has analyzed over 75,000 subpoenaed financial documents. Through the analysis of these documents, over 400 specific intelligence products have been produced for the FBI, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury, and U.S. Attorney's Office. The work NDIC produces continues to initiate actionable leads and identify avenues of investigation. NDIC has integrated seamlessly with the FBI investigation and has enhanced the way the FBI will investigate future financial cases. The participation NDIC in this investigation continues to be invaluable.

In concluding--the two most popular words in any speech--I acknowledge and respect the work the Senator from Oklahoma, Mr. Coburn, is doing. He and I have worked very closely in his almost 3 years in the Senate. I observed his work in the House of Representatives, and I know his work as a medical professional. I understand what he is doing in subjecting to an analytical eye Federal expenditures. But I do not believe he should target the NDIC.

I concur that we ought to be holding down Federal expenditures, and I think that close scrutiny of all such projects is very much in the national interest. But I believe the facts are very strong in support of continued operation of the NDIC in Johnstown, PA.

I yield the floor.

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