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The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee
United States Representative
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.
It is useful, from time-to-time, for those of us in government to remind ourselves why we are here, and what we are pursuing. Today,more than most times in the life of our nation, the answer should beclear: The first priority of government is to protect the lives and liberties of the people. The United States Department of Justice is pressing this cause forward with tireless energy and with marked success.
For 32 months, the Justice Department has been using every
This powerful strategy of prevention has borne impressive
-Our ongoing war on terrorism has resulted in criminal charges against 310 individuals, with 179 convictions to date.
Considered in full, our response to the events of September 11, 2001, represents the largest criminal investigation in history. This effort has lead to the capture of the following men:
Zacarias Moussaoui: Moussaoui is charged with six counts of
John Walker Lindh: Mr. Lindh pled guilty to aiding the Taliban. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
Richard Reid: The so-called Ashoe bomber@ was charged as a
In Seattle, Earnest James Ujaama pleaded guilty to providing
In North Carolina, members of a cell who provided material
In New York, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, a.k.a. AAbu Hamza,@ was
In Houston and San Diego, the Department brought material
In addition, we have charged hundreds of airport workers with falsifying documents and violating immigration laws at airports nationwide. At Dulles and Reagan National Airports in Virginia, 94 workers were arrested for allegedly falsifying Social Security applications and violating immigration laws. In Charlotte, North Carolina, 67 undocumented aliens were indicted for document fraud.
FBI investigation uncovered facts to indicate that the
Our intelligence and law enforcement communities, and our
We will continue to fight terrorism using all the tools at our disposal. As the Committee is aware, however, key provisions of one such critical tool -- the Patriot Act -- are currently scheduled to "sunset" at the end of 2005. In our view, it is imperative that this "sunset" not be allowed to take place. Instead, these provisions need
The Justice Department and the American people have
For example, in Tampa, Florida, Sami Al Arian and seven other individuals were indicted for their alleged support of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), in a case that resulted in large part from the ability of prosecutors to consider and use all of the information collected about the defendants= alleged criminal activities.
The Department is gathering and cultivating detailed intelligence on terrorism in the U.S.:
-thousands of terrorist suspects have been identified and
The Department also provides the Intelligence Community with
Earnest James Ujaama is cooperating in terrorism investigations after pleading guilty in April 2003 in Seattle to providing material support to the Taliban.
John Walker Lindh cooperated after pleading guilty to
All six Buffalo ACell@ defendants are cooperating after pleading guilty. They have provided information about a pre-9/11 trip to the al- Qaeda-affiliated al-Farooq training camp in Afghanistan.
Iyman Faris cooperated after pleading guilty to providing
In the Northern Virginia jihad case, six defendants pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.
In the Portland ACell@ case, four defendants agreed to cooperate after pleading guilty. The cooperation agreements from these four defendants were essential to obtaining guilty pleas from the final two defendants in custody, and are proving vital to the on-going investigation into those who provided support to the Portland Cell.
The Justice Department is also working closely with our
Many of these efforts cannot be made public. But one example
Fighting Violent Crime
We have achieved these anti-terrorism victories at the same time we have proven our dedication to the fight against domestic crime. Here, too, the results speak for themselves.
Thanks to Project Safe Neighborhoods, we are fulfilling the
It should not be surprising, then, that the violent crime rate is at its lowest level in 30 years. A comparison of the two-year period of 1999-2000 to the two-year period of 2001-2002 reveals that the violent crime rate plunged 21 percent.
The continuing success in our nation=s fight against crime
Behind these statistics are many Americans whose lives have
Thanks to aggressive enforcement of gun laws already on the
Stopping Illegal Drugs
By setting new priorities on the most violent and dangerous
For the first time ever, the Justice Department has compiled a list of the government=s top priority targets in the struggle to protect Americans from the scourge of illegal drugs. To help restrict the supply of drugs and to focus our attack, we have, with greater clarity
Our goal and our measure of success is to take out these
More than merely law enforcement actions, however, these
-We have seen an 11 percent drop in drug use among
Fighting for the Most Vulnerable
The Department of Justice is also protecting the nation=s most vulnerable citizens from those who would prey on them for profit and personal gain. By working closely with state and local law enforcement we are stopping dehumanizing crimes such as child pornography and human trafficking-crimes that primarily victimize immigrants, young children, and the elderly.
In the fiscal years of 2001 to 2003, we opened 210 new humantrafficking investigations. That is double the number of the previous three years. In fiscal year 2003, the Department indicted or charged 1,261 individuals for child exploitation offenses, including child pornography, enticement of children for sexual acts, and sexual child
But we are not just prosecuting crimes after the fact. We are protecting children by increasing the speed and preventive capabilities of law enforcement. We instituted the national AMBER alert program to help recover abducted children. Thanks to AMBER alerts more than 130 children have been recovered.
At the Department of Justice we understand that effective
We recently saw the first results of this strategy in our ongoing investigation and prosecution of peer-to-peer computer file sharing of child pornography. Thanks to coordinated efforts of the Justice Department, the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and 39 local Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces, we have
At last count, we had identified 3,371 suspect computers
Child predators often open websites with a slight misspelling or variation in the spelling of innocent, child-friendly websites in order to expose children to indecent material. We have responded to this repugnant tactic by initiating a false domain-name program. This program locates and shuts down websites that expose children to
Fighting for Equal Rights for All
In addition to protecting the lives of AmericansCincluding the most vulnerable among usCthe Department is equally focused on protecting the liberties of Americans. We are committed to a justice system that guarantees fairness and equality under the law:
-Over the first three years of this administration, we charged more individuals for criminal civil rights violations than in the previous three-year period.
In addition, we are protecting religious institutions from unlawful discrimination through the strong enforcement of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Thus far, we have opened 18 such investigations.
Fighting Corporate Fraud
The Justice Department, working in tandem with every member
That is why the Justice Department is committed to insuring the accuracy of the information so important to the integrity of the market and the confidence of the investor. To that end:
-Since the inception of the Task Force, more than 700 defendants have been charged with corporate fraud in more than 300 criminal cases.
Our successes are all a direct result of the unparalleled
Enforcing Environmental Law
The Justice Department has also set new records for
In addition, enforcing the Clean Air Act reduced air pollution in 2003 by more than 465,000 tons per year. And last year, the Justice Department obtained the largest civil penalty in history against a single company, Colonial Pipeline, for violations of an environmental statute.
Fighting Health-Care Fraud
Enforcement of civil and health-care fraud laws have shown a
-In a comparison of two three-year periodsC1998-2000 to
In addition to swift and decisive action against criminals from civil rights violators and corporate polluters to child predators and violent offenders, the Department of Justice has strengthened outreach efforts to communities and support for victims of crime.
Fighting for Victims
In order to hold criminal offenders more accountable, the Justice Department is giving crime victims a greater voice in the criminal justice process. For example:
-We are amending guidelines and proposing changes to
Fighting for Accountability
To achieve the President=s goal of greater efficiency and
Three years into our strategic plan, we are delivering measurable results for the American people. Justice Department efforts fall into three key areas:
-Fostering integrity and accountability;
First, we are fostering integrity and accountability.
Second, the Justice Department is harnessing technology to
Effective information technology is critical for both the fight against terrorism and the efficient delivery of services to the public. That is why we have revitalized our Information Technology organization. With the appointment of a new Chief Information Officer, or CIO, the new tech team is leveraging the leadership of experienced executives and managers to implement an Information Technology strategy that is on the cutting edge. For example, we
-Published the first Department Information Technology
Our upgraded IT organization is showing results. To cite two
-We have initiated the first ever Law Enforcement
Third, our management initiatives are helping us focus our
Mr. Chairman, the terrorist attacks of September 11 made it clear that if America was to defend its freedom successfully, a new culture of prevention was needed.
This required the Justice Department to initiate a fundamental shift in the design of the Department=s infrastructure, so that it could better enforce the laws of our land to more effectively neutralize the terrorist threat. We are succeeding.
In the past 30 months we have centralized and streamlined
Today, more than one thousand new agents, 400 new analysts
The Department=s FY 05 budget includes $2.6 billion for
We will continue to re-organize and streamline to achieve our No. 1 priority: protecting the lives and liberties of the people. And we will pursue this noble goal in a way that carefully stewards our nation's tax dollars and the people=s trust.
Our strategic plan and its ongoing implementation allow us to move forward swiftly and with studied purpose in our defense of freedom and in the protection of the lives and liberties of the American public.
Mr. Chairman, that completes my prepared remarks. I would be