Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is simple. I want to ensure that the Department of State and the Department of Justice have the resources they need to start the process to close safe havens around the world for fugitives who commit crimes in America and flee our justice.
We can do this by updating and modernizing extradition treaties, as well as negotiating new ones. This problem is growing. The world is getting smaller; and whereas in the past criminals would flee to the county or State line to flee justice, today they flee the country and even the continent. We have more than 3,000 indicted criminals who have fled America and are out of our reach. The crimes they have committed or are charged with are serious. They include murder, terrorism, drug trafficking,
child abduction, money laundering, financial fraud, and the new growing area of cybercrime.
Currently, America has international extradition agreements with only 60 percent of the world's countries. Unfortunately, it is important to note that nearly half of these were enacted before World War II, so they are hopelessly outdated. Even the others, State Department officials tell us those enacted prior to 1970 are basically ineffective because only specific crimes are listed in the treaties as extraditable, and crimes have changed a lot in the last three decades.
Mr. Chairman, we have crimes that are growing and criminals who are fleeing more and more, with criminal justice tools that are more outdated and less effective. This is not justice. It is not fair to the victims of these crimes, and it is not acceptable any longer.
Mr. Chairman, I am always cautious about how and where the hard-earned dollars of the American taxpayer are spent. More funding is necessary to help close these safe havens. Furthermore, this is something that can only be done by our Federal Government. It will not happen overnight. It will take many years, but we are capable of doing it.
Mr. Chairman, I had a provision inserted in the State Department fiscal year 2000 authorization bill requiring them to report back to us on our extradition agreements. I must say I was disappointed in the report. They seemed to gloss over the problems, perhaps to put politics over justice.
I am hopeful that the new administration will take a stronger position on closing these safe havens. This amendment is strictly designed to urge the new leadership of the Justice Department and State Department to let Congress know that we are serious about closing these safe havens, that we want both agencies to work together and with Congress to update our treaties and to work toward the day where there is nowhere on this world to hide for those who commit crimes against America.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Texas has played a leading role in trying to close safe havens abroad, and I share his desire to do that.
In response to the gentleman's concerns, the committee has included report language for the Department of State to work with the Department of Justice to bolster our efforts to negotiate extradition treaties.
We expect that the Department of Justice and Department of State will use increased funding in fiscal year 2002 for this purpose. Let me add, if the gentleman from Texas would like, after we move beyond debate and pass the bill, we can have a meeting with Department of Justice and Department of State to make sure that they know the intensity that both of us feel with regard to this.
Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Virginia for his efforts. With his commitment to ensure that the Department of Justice and Department of State are being provided with the necessary resources and that these agencies understand that Congress expects them to put a greater emphasis on negotiating and enforcing extradition treaties, Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.