Drug Control:

An Overview of U.S. Counterdrug Intelligence Activities

NSIAD-98-142: Published: Jun 25, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated federal counterdrug intelligence coordination efforts, focusing on identifying: (1) organizations that collect or produce counterdrug intelligence; (2) the role of these organizations; (3) federal funding they receive; and (4) the number of personnel that support this function.

GAO noted that: (1) more than 20 federal or federally funded organizations, spread across 5 cabinet-level departments and 2 cabinet-level organizations, have a principal role in collecting or producing counterdrug intelligence; (2) together, these organizations collect domestic and foreign counterdrug intelligence information using human, electronic, photographic, and other technical means; (3) this information is used by U.S. policymakers to formulate counterdrug policy and by law enforcement agencies to learn about the groups that traffic in drugs and to identify the points at which drug-trafficking operations are the most vulnerable; (4) the amount of federal funds spent on counterdrug intelligence programs and activities and the number of federal personnel assigned to counterdrug intelligence functions are difficult to determine; (5) there is no governmentwide budget or single source from which to obtain this data, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy's National Drug Control Strategy Budget Summary; (6) in addition, it is difficult to determine the spending and personnel for counterdrug intelligence because: (a) most organizations do not have separate budget line items and are not authorized personnel positions specifically for counterdrug intelligence; and (b) some agency functions and personnel serve multiple purposes or support multiple missions; (7) unclassified information reported to GAO by counterdrug intelligence organizations show that over $295 million was spent for counterdrug intelligence activities during fiscal year 1997 and over 1,400 federal personnel were engaged in these activities; and (8) the Departments of Justice, the Treasury, and Defense account for over 90 percent of the money spent and personnel involved.

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