Wednesday, June 24, 2009

US Senate Foreign Affairs Committe Testimony: DEA

According to Thomas Harrigan, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chief of Operations,while testifying before the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee about drug trafficking in West Africa Object) stated that drug trafficking in Africa impacts the United States and may have links to terrorism:

The cocaine, heroin, chemical, money laundering, and narco-terrorism threats in Africa have an impact on the U.S., particularly since some of the drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) that smuggle illicit drugs in the U.S. are the same as those using Africa as a base of operations for smuggling operations into Europe and the Middle East

He added:

Since 2006, DEA investigations and intelligence collection initiatives indicate sub-Saharan Africa has become a major transshipment location for precursor chemicals destined for the Americas.
. Khat also ultimately reaches the US from Africa, he added.

His comments about terrorism were vague:

The threat of narco-terrorism in Africa is a real concern.... The transportation, money laundering and logistical infrastructures utilized by DTOs in Africa are vulnerable, wittingly or unwittingly, for use by terrorist organizations.

His specifics few and sketchy, however:including
  • AQIM, Al Qaeda's Saharan operation could be involved.
  • FARC, the Columbian guerrillas may be involved.
  • Various insurgent, anti-government groups exist

Like DOD and State, DEA has few resources to address the West African cocaine surge, he said:

DEA alone does not have the resources or
authorities to implement parts of our Strategic Concept for Africa.

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