Thursday, August 31, 2017

Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks to the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Green Bay, WI

~ Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thank you for that introduction, Attorney General Schimel, and more importantly, thank you for your leadership on this issue. Your work has had direct results—opioid prescriptions in Wisconsin dropped 10 percent from 2015 to 2016 thanks to your efforts. We need to see that nationally.

And I want to thank each of you for being here. Our current drug epidemic is the deadliest in American history, and it is one of the most serious and lethal issues facing this country.

This means your work has never been more important. And the partnerships and alliances that have been built over your nearly 25 year history will be vital to this mission and to the thousands of children you save every year.

Just yesterday, I was with key members of the President’s cabinet at the White House on this very issue. President Trump has made responding to this crisis a national priority; earlier this month he ordered his administration to use all appropriate authority to respond to this crisis. The Department of Justice has already heeded that call and will continue to do so.

Perhaps most tragically, this epidemic is taking a heavy toll on the most innocent and vulnerable: our children. And yet, in the national conversation about drug abuse, these children too often get forgotten.

Let’s stop and think about these children for a minute: crying in their cribs and neglected while their parent or caregiver gets high, toddlers mistakenly ingesting lethal, illicit narcotics, and school age children living in fear of a clandestine meth lab explosion or carrying their parent’s lie about what is being grown or sold from their apartment or house. We cannot accept this.

As you know better than I, some of these children have been hurt or even killed by exposure to drugs. In Milwaukee, for example, a four-year old boy died of a suspected drug overdose in March.

According to local officials, six other children under the age of five were killed by apparent drug overdoses in Milwaukee over roughly the previous year and a half. Under the age of five! I am a grandparent to children just that age and it is conscience shocking to think of innocent children dying because of their parents’ drug use.

Other children have had to watch helplessly as a parent or guardian slips away, caught in the grip of addiction. Drugs are destroying and bankrupting families in Wisconsin and across the country.

I heard a story recently about a three-year old girl from Ohio who found her grandmother—who was babysitting her at the time—unconscious from an alleged overdose.

The girl called the police, and they used the overdose reversal drug naloxone and saved her grandmother’s life. Police say that when they arrived at this particular house, they found needles all over the floor, and that the girl asked, “will you hold me?” Just imagine her terror and loneliness. It’s heartbreaking. To stop and think of this scene is almost too much.

Sadly, I could go on. There are many other stories like these. In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans—including more than 800 Wisconsinites—lost their lives to drug overdoses. And the numbers we have for 2016 show another increase—a big increase. Based on preliminary data, nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses last year.

That will be the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history. This is not a sustainable trend nor an acceptable America.

Those 60,000 people leave behind children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Those empty chairs at Thanksgiving and empty holes in loved-ones hearts will remain.

This epidemic is filling up our cemeteries, our emergency rooms, and equally tragic—our foster homes.

Over the last three years, the number of American children in foster care has increased by eight percent, and there is no doubt that the drug epidemic is a major driving factor in this increase.

Nationwide, nearly one in three kids who have been removed from their home and put into foster care were removed because of a parent’s substance abuse.

And that doesn't even count the thousands of kids who are not formally removed from home, but instead have gone to live with other family members because of a home environment that is unsafe due to drugs.

I’m sure that some of your other speakers will be focusing on another tragic aspect of this crisis: the increasing prevalence of neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS—babies born dependent on drugs because of a parent’s addiction, but I would be remiss if I did not mention it now as well.

The national NAS rate has gone up five-fold since 2000, and every 25 minutes, a baby is born in America dependent on drugs. In Wisconsin, the rate of NAS has increased 26-fold since 2001. I refuse to accept this as the new reality. We are better than this and must protect those unborn babies from this poison.

The link between NAS and the opioid crisis is clear.

One study in 2007—before this crisis got even worse—reported that about one in five pregnant women on Medicaid filled a prescription for an opioid while pregnant. Prescribing and using opioids on a large scale has led to an increased risk of NAS.

I’m sure that some of the medical professionals in the room today have observed the tragic consequences first hand.

Doctors and nurses across America have seen babies with NAS shake with the tremors of drug withdrawal. They’ve heard their inconsolable cries of pain.

To compound this opioid problem, traffickers crossing the Southern Border have flooded our communities with drugs, causing steep decreases the street price for most illicit narcotics.

But while the price of drugs has gone down, the price we have paid as a country has only gone up. If you ask the economists, they’ll tell you that prescription opioid addiction costs our economy some $78 billion a year and other illicit drugs cost us $193 billion a year. But what is even more devastating is the cost paid in destroyed families, broken lives, and death rates the likes of which we have never seen.

To confront a crisis of this scale, we must have a comprehensive antidote to the problem. I believe the solution contains three pillars: prevention, enforcement, and treatment.

Treatment is important. In some cases, treatment can help break the cycle of addiction and crime and get people back on their feet and out of the clutches of the drugs.

But treatment cannot be our only policy. Treatment often comes too late. By the time many people receive treatment, they, their families, and communities have already suffered dramatically. The individual struggle to overcome addiction can be a long process – and it can fail. And, sadly, it often does fail.

That’s why the first goal is to stop use and addiction before they start. We also need prevention.

In recent years, some of the government officials, media and Hollywood elites in this country have sent mixed messages and accommodating messages about the harmfulness of drugs. This is unacceptable: we must not capitulate intellectually or morally to drug use. We must create and foster a culture that is hostile to drug abuse. Accommodation to a rattlesnake in your bed is a path to disaster.

But, we know we can change. It has worked in the past for drugs, but also for cigarettes and seatbelts.

A campaign was mounted; it took time, and it was effective. We need to send such a clear message now.

The Department of Justice has been working diligently to improve our prevention efforts. We are doing that by raising awareness, utilizing drug take-back programs, and through the DEA’s 360 Strategy program.

Prevention is what we at the Department do every day by doing our jobs—because law enforcement is prevention. Robust enforcement of our laws helps keep drugs out of our country, decreases their availability, drives up their price, and reduces their purity. Law enforcement officers save lives every day in this country.

This Department of Justice is also determined to save lives through enforcement, and that is why we have recently taken a number of steps to fight this epidemic.

First, the Department announced last month the largest health care fraud takedown in American history. DOJ coordinated the efforts of more than 1,000 state and federal law enforcement agents to arrest more than 400 defendants. More than 50 of these defendants were doctors charged with opioid-related crimes.

That means this was also the largest opioid-related fraud takedown in American history. DEA tells us that 80 percent of heroin addictions in America started with prescription drug addiction. If we’re going to stop the heroin crisis, then we must stop the abuse of prescription drugs, too.

Just a week after those 400 arrests, we announced the seizure and take down of AlphaBay— the largest dark net marketplace takedown in history. This site hosted some 220,000 drug sale listings and was responsible for countless synthetic opioid overdoses, including the tragic death of a 13 year old in Utah.

And finally, earlier this month, I announced that I was allocating new resources to focus on fighting this drug epidemic.

The first new resource is a data analytics program at the Department called the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. I created this unit to focus specifically on opioid-related health care fraud using data analysis. This sort of data analytics team can help us find the tell-tale signs of crime by finding statistical outliers.

They can tell us which physicians are writing opioid prescriptions at a rate that far exceeds their peers; how many of a doctor's patients died within 60 days of an opioid prescription; the average age of the patients receiving these prescriptions; pharmacies that are dispensing disproportionately large amounts of opioids; and regional hot spots for opioid issues.

Fraudsters might lie, but the numbers don’t. We are putting every would-be fraudster in America on notice that they cannot hide. We will find them and we will bring them to justice.

I have also assigned 12 experienced prosecutors to focus solely on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related health care fraud cases in a dozen “hot-spot” locations around the country where they are especially needed.

These prosecutors, working with the FBI, DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as our state and local partners, will help us target and prosecute doctors, pharmacies, and medical providers who are exploiting this epidemic to line their pockets.

And finally, under President Trump’s strong leadership, the federal government is finally getting serious about securing our borders.

Illegal entries are down 50 percent already. A Southern border that is more secure and more lawful will make it harder to bring deadly drugs into this country. That would protect children from the effects of this epidemic.

I believe that these new resources and new efforts will make a difference, bring more criminals to justice, and ultimately save lives.

And I’m convinced this is a winnable war.

Through prevention, enforcement, and treatment, we can make this country safer for every child. It’s going to require all of us working together, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work.

That is the work all of you are here to do and it has never been more important or more urgent.

Thank you all of being here, for fighting this fight on the front lines in the face of so much heartbreak, and for working every day to safeguard our children.

Thank you and God bless you.

VALOR for Blue Releases Two Online Trainings

The VALOR Program has released two new online trainings, "Casualty Care-Get Off the X" and "Officer-Involved Shooting," both available through the VALOR for Blue e-learning portal.

"Casualty Care—Get Off the X" is designed to increase the capacity of law enforcement personnel to implement mitigation techniques for major hemorrhage secondary to gunshot and/or knife wounds. This mock law enforcement officers/suspect encounter deals with a fairly common law enforcement incident, a felony vehicular stop. The scenario reinforces tactics to mitigate injuries associated with gunfire from a suspect or suspects. Participants will learn the importance of suppressing the threat, using cover and concealment for protection, and treating life-threatening bleeding as the first medical priority.

"Officer-Involved Shooting" examines the sensory distortions that officers may experience before, during and after officer-involved shootings. It also provides some training considerations and recommendations for improving how officers react to the stress of shootings, such as reality-/scenario-based training to improve situational awareness and communication and coordination skills.

For information on how to sign up for VALOR for Blue to access these trainings and more, visit

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein Delivers Remarks at the Interpol 2017 International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference

New York, NY
~ Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thank you, Bill, for that kind introduction. It is a tremendous honor to be here with more than 600 of the people most directly responsible for the global protection of intellectual property. By gathering together today, we highlight our shared commitment to address this challenge.

This is the 11th annual intellectual property conference. I understand that it is the first time the conference has been held in the United States. I am pleased to welcome you to New York. I hope you enjoy your visit to this great American city.

As a child, I learned a fable about a hen that finds some wheat grains and asks other animals for help in planting them. Nobody is willing to help, so the hen does the work itself. At every stage of the process – harvesting the wheat, threshing it, milling it into flour, and baking the flour into bread – nobody wants to help. But when the work is finished, everyone wants to eat the bread.

Modern intellectual property is more complicated than baking bread, but the same fundamental principle applies. If we let some people steal things without compensating the people who produce things, the incentive to create new things will be lost.

Intellectual property enforcement assures innovators and investors that when they devote time and money to develop new concepts and products, they will reap the financial rewards. If governments fail to protect intellectual property rights, the immediate consequence will be monetary losses to individual property owners. But the long-term impact will be less investment of time and resources, and fewer innovations for society at large.

This conference represents an ongoing commitment by law enforcement, industry partners, and other stakeholders from all over the world to come together and identify ways to protect intellectual property and the industries that fuel the modern global economy. These protections are critical to almost every sector of the economy, from new, life-saving drugs and medical techniques that allow us to live longer and healthier lives; to computers and software that run the devices we use to navigate the airplanes and trains and taxi cabs that brought us here today; to applications on the smartphones we use to purchase coffee.

One of our challenges is that intellectual property crime does not look like traditional crime, where the perpetrator takes a physical item directly from the victim. Everybody understands that it is wrong to walk into a business and take property without permission. In contrast, the individual act of downloading a movie from a file-sharing site, or buying a cheap knockoff of a name brand item, may seem harmless. But the accumulated economic loss from thousands or millions of those illegal transactions can destroy legitimate businesses, eliminate the incentive to invest in innovation, and undermine the rule of law.

Some consumers knowingly buy knock-off items to gain the cachet of owning brand-name merchandise without paying the price for the real thing. But many consumers are victimized by unscrupulous sellers who market counterfeit products without disclosing that they are not authentic.

Products carry brand names because brand owners have worked and invested to make those names valuable to consumers, who trust them. Counterfeit products often look identical to legitimate merchandise, complete with packaging and labels. Purchasers may learn they have been cheated only when knock-off batteries do not power devices, sham prescription drugs fail to improve health, phony cosmetics cause infections, counterfeit clothing disintegrates, or pirated automobile parts break down.

I learned about the scale of the problem firsthand a few years ago, when my office prosecuted a case in Maryland. Over the course of 20 months, criminals imported 500,000 counterfeit handbags manufactured in Asia with fraudulent logos.

Intellectual property enforcement does not prevent retailers from selling inexpensive products, or stop customers from getting bargains. Entrepreneurs are free to manufacture discount items and sell them using novel brand names. Innovators can create and market new songs, movies, books and computer programs. They just cannot sell anything that belongs to someone else.

If we want to promote innovation, we need to understand the patterns of intellectual property crime. We can disrupt counterfeit manufacturing sources, cut off international supply chains, remove the ability of intellectual property thieves to process payments, and educate the public about the harms caused by illicit products.

In the United States, our Department of Justice has undertaken a range of responses to the problem. I want to discuss some of the significant cases we have prosecuted in recent years.

The protection of public health and safety is a top priority for my government. Many counterfeit products fall in this category. Some are obviously dangerous. Fake automobile brake pads and counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs are two examples. Sometimes, even seemingly innocuous items put the public at risk. Earlier this year, we prosecuted the owner of an international operation that imported counterfeit and misbranded contact lenses from suppliers in Asia. He sold the lenses over the internet to tens of thousands of customers without any prescription. Many of the contact lenses carried labels with counterfeit trademarks of legitimate companies. Some of the lenses contained bacteria that could cause extensive eye damage and blindness. The defendant was sentenced to serve 46 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.2 million in proceeds.

The most valuable intellectual property of a company often is the technical information that it keeps secret. The United States government is committed to vigorously enforcing the law that criminalizes the theft of corporate trade secrets. Earlier this year, our Department of Justice brought criminal charges against an engineer who worked for a large government contractor on commercial and military satellites sold to the United States Air Force, the Navy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The defendant’s employer gave him access to proprietary trade secrets, including anti-jamming technology, encryption plans for communication with satellites, and related technical data — all of which are controlled technology. The defendant saw his access to critical technical data as an opportunity to make a profit. He attempted to sell the information to people he believed were foreign agents interested in military technology. In fact, the contacts were undercover federal law enforcement officers. The defendant pleaded guilty in federal court to the crime of economic espionage. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

In July 2016, the alleged owner of one of the world’s most visited illegal file-sharing websites was arrested in Poland. He is now awaiting extradition to the United States. The site received more than 50 million unique visitors each month and it was ranked among the top 100 most-visited websites. The website enabled users to illegally reproduce and distribute hundreds of millions of copyrighted motion pictures, video games, television programs, musical recordings, and other electronic media. The actual owners of the products received no profit. The copyrighted material transferred illegally may be worth more than $1 billion.

Pursuing the investigation and prosecution of such an international website is labor intensive and time consuming. The process of working with our international counterparts on extradition proceedings adds an extra layer of challenge. However, the task is well worth the effort, due to the tremendous deterrent effect that one case can have on other individuals around the world who may consider engaging in the same type of illegal business.

These are just a few recent examples of cases prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice. Each of our law enforcement colleagues can tell similar stories about criminals who seek to profit from the hard work of inventors and creators, and who put citizens at risk by selling counterfeit goods.

Those of you who work in the private sector well understand why we need to work tirelessly to prevent thieves from stealing intellectual property and marketing fake products. Criminals are always looking for vulnerabilities. When we disrupt an existing illegal market, they show flexibility and even ingenuity in devising new fraudulent schemes.

We must continue to look for ways that we can improve our effectiveness in combatting this global criminal problem. We need to be creative, we need to be cooperative, and we need to use all of our available tools.

We must take our understanding of international organized crime, and apply that knowledge to eliminate global smuggling networks.

We need to use our insight about the gatekeeper financial institutions that clear domestic and international monetary transactions, so we can disrupt the payment methods and profit streams from intellectual property theft.

And we should develop expertise in the technology used by criminals to steal, reproduce, distribute, and profit from counterfeiting and copyright piracy.

The United States government’s commitment is reflected in the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, a fusion center that brings together our key American partner agencies along with foreign governments and international police agencies.

At the United States Department of Justice, we are taking concrete steps to root out intellectual property crime.

We plan to direct every component of our Department that plays a role in intellectual property enforcement to join in a national Intellectual Property Task Force to explore new approaches to combat the theft of intellectual property. We will rely on both criminal and civil enforcement. We will promote international cooperation. We will build expertise in understanding the technological aspects of the problem. And we will increase our public outreach to promote awareness of the harms caused by intellectual property violations.

Recognizing that intellectual property crime can arise anywhere, we are strengthening our ability to pursue charges against criminals through the more than 260 Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Coordinators placed throughout the nation, in our 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. Those highly-trained prosecutors are equipped to communicate with industry about possible cases, to support our partner agencies in thoroughly investigating criminal infringements of property rights, and to bring strong cases to court for prosecution. In addition to our nationwide prosecutors’ network, our Department also has a Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in Washington, D.C., with more than 45 attorneys who are responsible for prosecuting intellectual property and cybercrime matters.

We need to remain up to date about the technological challenges of intellectual property and cybercrime, so our Department has established a Cybercrime Lab staffed by expert technologists. They assist with investigations and monitor developments in the ways criminals use technology.

I cannot emphasize enough our commitment to international cooperation. The global nature of intellectual property crime is the reason why all of us are gathered here today. We can confront this issue effectively only by taking a transnational approach. Building on the success of the prosecutors’ network within the United States, our Department of Justice and Department of State have worked together to deploy Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinators in key areas around the world.

In the coming weeks, the United States will post intellectual property experts to offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Bucharest, and Abuja.

Our coordinators will be a resource for regional cooperation, and an important point of contact for industry and for our law enforcement colleagues. I encourage each of you to contact the nearest coordinator. They are eager to work with you. As they expand our network, they will play an increasing role in developing our knowledge of the patterns and techniques of intellectual property criminals.

Finally, in a demonstration of our commitment to international coordination, the Attorney General instructed our Department of Justice to respond more quickly to requests for mutual legal assistance. We must support each other in our efforts to combat criminals who perpetrate crimes in foreign countries while concealing the evidence in our own country.

Let me conclude by acknowledging that there is no easy solution to the problem of intellectual property crime. Our greatest strength comes from our commitment to work together, and our collective ability to confront this global challenge to economic and technological progress.

This conference provides a superb opportunity to share experiences and to strengthen the foundation for future cooperation. We must continue to promote the rule of law and enhance respect for intellectual property rights.

Thank you for your commitment to protecting intellectual property. I hope you enjoy the remainder of the conference, and I look forward to continuing our important work in the years ahead.