148. Memorandum From Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Matters (Handley) to the Director of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (Ambrose)1 2


  • International Considerations Bearing on Drug Enforcement Administration Operations

The Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control is tasked by the President to reduce the flow of narcotics from their source to the United States border.

The CCINC assigned top priority to development of overseas trafficking network intelligence and upgrading enforcement efforts of foreign governments. There are multiple indications that the international program has become an effective first line of defense against the vicious drug menace plaguing the United States. Seizure statistics overseas are impressive. Joint international and domestic efforts to move against complex webs of organized traffickers have been even more important.

Despite encouraging signs, the battle overseas, as you well know, is far from over. The crippling of networks in one part of the world leads to development of new ones in other areas. We must constantly be on the alert for shifts in production and flow. The program must respond flexibly and rapidly throughout the world.

The new Drug Enforcement Administration will play a vital role in the international program. The CCINC Subcommittees were tasked to assess the effectiveness of the international enforcement program to date and suggest organizational options for the DBA consistent with their findings. Reports concerning intelligence, enforcement, training and research and development are attached as Tabs A through D.

The following major conclusions are drawn from these reports:


Intelligence. Perhaps the primary output of the international program is actionable intelligence. [Page 2] It is the major substantive inducement which our overseas agents can offer to their counterparts. Timely and verifiable strategic and operational information is an absolute necessity in the initiation of ambassadorial overtures to host governments. International intelligence is also critical to the development of conspiracy cases which can cripple major networks.

For these reasons, a substantial increase in agent and analyst intelligence efforts seems appropriate. This could perhaps be best accomplished through development of a centralized foreign analysis component in the DEA headquarters. The top billet in the DEA international management effort should be of a high enough grade to permit effective interaction with the rest of the international drug intelligence community. Increased emphasis, inculcated through training and personnel selection, should be given to the intelligence function of overseas agents.

The CCINC Intelligence Subcommittee will continue to be the primary vehicle for requirements generation within the International drug intelligence community.


Enforcement and CCINC Coordination. The CCINC Law Enforcement Subcommittee developed three enforcement options. One suggests the need for a separate Assistant Administrator for International Enforcement; the second suggests an International Operations Deputy to the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement. The final option is an image of the current BKDD organization; operational and program management responsibilities are separated.

As in the case of intelligence, a centralized international enforcement operations organization would appear to be appropriate. The current fractionalization found in BNDD is not optimal.

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It will be for the Department of Justice to decide upon its representation at the policy and working levels of the CCINC. It is assumed, however, that DEA would represent Justice on the CCINC at the working level. This would require an adequate staff to execute those duties now performed by the BNDD International Affairs Division. CCINC coordination is a time consuming task. Responsible DEA representation on Regional Interagency Narcotics Control Committees chaired by the State Department and on CCINC Subcommittees is essential to program development.

The success of the U.S. anti-narcotics effort overseas is significantly influenced by the quality and number of agents assigned to our missions. A careful analysis of overseas personnel requirements and selection procedures is called for. Reasonably senior men with diplomatic as well as enforcement talents are a necessity. Prior overseas experience is useful at all levels and a necessity for agents-in-charge. Development of an international career cadre may be desirable. Agent strength overseas should continue to be increased as appropriate in particular countries.


Training. An agent’s effectiveness overseas is limited by his ability to mobilize action by enforcement agencies of the host country. A primary tool to accomplish this mobilization is the provision of training assistance. In-country operational training is the most vital element of the training offerings; it should be emphasized. Training of foreign nationals in the U.S. should focus on the development of trainer skills and be limited to senior personnel.

The current effort is marked by management fragmentation and duplication. DEA, with the advice of the CCINC structure, should act as the single coordinator for all international drug training.


Research and Development. The briefing paper at Tab D on the research program may somewhat exceed its terms of reference in its discussion of overall policy and priorities. True, the Cabinet Committee has placed the greatest emphasis on intelligence and enforcement. It also stipulated, however, that other international objectives, such as crop eradication and substitution, should be preserved where appropriate. Our program must be flexible in that it can be adjusted to specific situations and opportunities.

The international program requires initiatives in research and development which have not traditionally been forthcoming from federal drug agencies. This was the reason for development of the CCINC research and development program through LEAA in 1972. Though that effort is now being folded into DBA, its thrust should be maintained. Support of intelligence collection techniques, enforcement in remote dispersed areas, and border surveillance requires particular emphasis. Additionally, a strong study program should be maintained to enhance our understanding of overseas... drug flow and its effects on the U.S. illicit drug market.

I believe that the DEA will be an increasingly effective force in the international drug control effort. The reorganization affords us a unique opportunity to act upon our assessment of past performance under the International program.

Please notify me if I can be of further assistance.

William J. Handley
Executive Director, Cabinet Committee
on International Narcotics Matters
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 59, INM Files, Lot 85D396, DEA July 1973–December 1974. No classification marking. Tab A, not published, a memorandum from Peters to Bartels, May 31, proposed organizational options for strengthening the drug intelligence function. Tab B, not published, a memorandum from Belk to Peters, May 4, forwarded the minutes and conclusions of a Law Enforcement Subcommittee meeting that presented options for management and organization of international law enforcement activities. Tab C, attached but not published, is a May 17 memorandum from Stutman to Bartels, concerning a report on proposed international training procedures. Also attached but not published is Tab D, undated, which contains briefing materials concerning priorities for research and development projects presented by Dr. Al Vosburg, Acting Chairman of the CCINC Research and Development Subcommittee to Roger Jones, Chairman of the DEA Research and Development Subcommittee.
  2. Handley forwarded to Ambrose recommendations from Cabinet Committee on Narcotics Control subcommittees concerning Drug Enforcement Administration organization and procedures.