News Release

1001 Connecticut Ave, NW - Ste 710 - Washington, DC 20036
Tel. 202.483.8751 - Fax 202.483.0057 - E-mail - Internet

June 22, 2000

Report Declares ONDCP 'A Troubled Bureaucracy'
Says McCaffrey Is 'Difficult To Work For'

        Washington, DC:  According to the Boston Globe, an independent review mandated by a House and Senate conference committee has found the White House drug czar's office to be an "understaffed and troubled bureaucracy led by a director who is 'high pressure and military-oriented,' driving many career professionals to quit."
        The congressional committee hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to review the Office of National Drug Control Policy after concern grew about problems in employee retention and drug czar Barry McCaffrey's management style.  The 53-page report may be released this week.
        The report states that it takes 20 full-time employees to manage McCaffrey's schedule, about one-seventh of the staff.  The report describes McCaffrey's leadership style as "aggressive, high-pressure and military oriented," and many interviewed by PricewaterhouseCooper said "He's difficult to work for."  The report states "Under the current directorship, a military structure has been imposed on a previously civilian culture.  As incompatibilities have developed, people have made the decision to leave."  In 1999 the ONDCP had a 27 percent turnover rate and PricewaterhouseCooper estimates a 38 percent turnover this year as many are expected to leave after the election.  The report said that when McCaffrey leaves with the change of administrations, the ONDCP will likely not have a deputy director in place which will hurt the office's continuity.  There has not been a deputy director for 73 percent of McCaffrey's reign and as the report states, McCaffrey has instead appointed acting deputy directors which "serve at the pleasure of the director, but confirmed deputy directors (by Congress) can only be dismissed by the President or impeached by Congress."
        The report states, "[A]uthority and institutional knowledge are concentrated centrally with the current director and ... the knowledge base appears to be weakened and vulnerable."
        "This soon to be released report appears to confirm what most observers of America's drug policy already know -- the ONDCP is principally a political backwash and has little real impact on the consumption of illegal drugs by Americans," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

ONDCP Websites Secretly Track Visitors

        Washington, DC:  The Office of National Drug Control Policy has been secretly tracking internet users who visit two government websites to determine where they have been on the Internet, a clear violation of the recently released Clinton administration's privacy policy for federal agencies.
        It was reported on Wednesday that "cookies," a computer code that is dropped on to the hard drive of visitors, typically used for tracking online advertising effectiveness, are being placed from the ONDCP's and websites.  Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising agency used by the drug czar's office, contracted with Internet advertising company DoubleClick Inc., one of the largest Internet user profilers in the nation.
        When users type in certain key words relating to drugs on search engines, advertisements for the ONDCP sponsored sites appear.  If the visitor clicks on the banner ad, a cookie is then placed on the user's hard drive.
        White House press secretary Joe Lockhart condemned this ONDCP practice claiming the White House just learned about this practice and pledged, "We will take all steps necessary to halt these practices now."
        "This is another outrageous example of 'Big Brother' trying to monopolize public discussion on the issue of marijuana," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "It's incredible that an agency of the federal government seeks to track web visitors as well as spend millions of taxpayer dollars buying up most of the relevant words a web viewer employs when researching the topic of 'marijuana.'  Can you imagine the Environmental Protection Agency buying the search word 'environment' or the Department of Health and Human Services buying the search word 'health' and steering web viewers to government web sites?  When will this rogue federal bureaucracy be reined in?"
        St. Pierre concludes, "Even worse, if a web user types 'National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' into most search engines, the user is immediately exposed to government propaganda in the form of a banner ad against marijuana.  The drug czar won't meet with or debate NORML, but he has no problem using our name to spread his lies."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

ONDCP Denies NORML Freedom Of Information Act Request

        Washington, DC:  This week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy declined NORML's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to release all information pertaining to the zero-THC hemp seed importation policy, the effects on drug testing of consuming hemp products and on a proposed legislative ban on hemp products.
        The drug czar's office stated in a letter to NORML from ONDCP general counsel Edwin Jurith, Esq., that they found "no connection between the public interest...and the legality of the zero-THC hemp seed importation policy; or proposed amendments to the Controlled Substance Act...the documents you request are not likely to contribute significantly to the public's understanding of the operations or activities of the government."
        "The drug czar, without authorization from Congress, imposed a restriction on the importation of hemp seed products causing substantial loss to hemp producers and merchants in Canada and the United States," explained Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director.  "Documents were leaked indicating the restrictions were intended to protect the drug testing industry.  No notice was given prior to the embargo, as is required by the Administrative Procedures Act and NAFTA.  Attorney General Janet Reno later declared the restriction illegal and ordered customs to eliminate the trade barrier.  Now the drug czar is circulating a secret memo urging Congress to make all hemp products illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.  All this, and yet the ONDCP asserts that the information would not contribute to the public's understanding of the operations and activities of the government."
        For more information, please contact Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director at (202) 483-8751.

- End -