Quantcast
Connect with us

DEA head Michele Leonhart resigns as Congress prepares investigation into sex parties

Published

on

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief will step down within weeks, the Obama administration said on Tuesday, as a congressional panel planned to examine whether DEA agents divulged secrets at sex parties that Colombian drug lords may have staged.

Michele Leonhart will leave as DEA administrator in mid-May, said a statement from the Justice Department, which contains the DEA and other major law enforcement agencies.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I want to express my appreciation to Michele, not only for her leadership of the DEA since 2007, but also for her 35 years of extraordinary service to the DEA,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in the statement.

Leonhart was grilled in a congressional hearing last week about the parties attended by prostitutes, which took place in Colombia between 2001 and 2005. U.S. officials said the DEA did not investigate the parties until years later.

The Justice Department statement did not give a reason for Leonhart’s decision to retire. A DEA spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Republican majority of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said the panel’s leaks inquiry would also examine the culture and leadership of the DEA and other investigative agencies.

Leonhart’s testimony at the hearing, supplemented by two U.S. government reports, raised concern among lawmakers that agents might have leaked secrets about their investigations that found their way to Colombian drug lords.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It is incredibly concerning that, according to the DEA itself, there is a clear possibility that information was compromised as a result of these sex parties,” Representative Elijah Cummings, the committee’s top Democrat, told Reuters.

Leonhart told the panel there was “no evidence” that sensitive information had been leaked but also acknowledged it was “absolutely” possible that information had been compromised.

After the Justice Department announced her departure, Cummings and Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz called Leonhart’s retirement appropriate in light of “the testimony we heard before our committee” and an earlier report from the Justice Department’s inspector general.

ADVERTISEMENT

The inspector general’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

CONFIDENTIAL DEA REPORT

ADVERTISEMENT

Oversight Committee officials disclosed to Reuters excerpts from a once-confidential internal DEA report which quoted an agency informant alleging that U.S. agents who took part in the parties had compromised sensitive information.

One informant, identified by the committee as “Cooperator 2,” was quoted in an excerpt from the DEA report alleging that he believed a second informant (“Cooperator 1”) had “gained information from the U.S. agents by ‘getting their guard down’ through the use of prostitutes and paying for parties.”

The report says Cooperator 1 “bragged about the parties with prostitutes and how he ‘sold’ the relationship/closeness with the agents” to Cooperator 2.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the report, Cooperator 1 also “stated he could easily get the agents to talk.”

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PROBE

Allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also examined in a March report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In a case study, the inspector general said DEA’s internal affairs office in 2009 and 2010 received allegations from “former host-country police officers” that several DEA agents, including senior supervisors, had “solicited prostitutes and engaged in other serious misconduct” while stationed in the unnamed country. U.S. officials said the country was Colombia.

ADVERTISEMENT

The report said that “sex parties” financed by “local drug cartels” took place over “several years” inside offices leased by the DEA. A DEA supervisor told the inspector general’s office that it was “common for prostitutes to be present at business meetings involving cartel members and foreign officers.”

The inspector general’s report said “prostitutes in the agents’ quarters could easily have had access to sensitive DEA equipment and information.” It did not explicitly allege that such materials had been compromised.

The House Judiciary Committee said it too will continue investigating alleged misconduct at the DEA.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Additional reporting by Julia Edwards and Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Howard Goller and Jonathan Oatis)

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump lashes out at ‘grossly incompetent’ Nancy Pelosi but claims GOP ‘killing it’ in impeachment hearings

Published

on

President Donald Trump attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from the White House on Tuesday.

As impeachment testimony was underway in the House, Trump told reporters in a Cabinet meeting that Pelosi is "grossly incompetent."

The president also said that Republicans are "killing it" in the impeachment hearings.

But Trump took a shot at Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was testifying at the time.

"I don't know him. ... I never saw the man," he said. "I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in. No, I don't know Vindman at all. What I do know is that even he said that the transcript was correct."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘You ran out of a book signing!’ Donald Trump Jr torn to shreds for questioning Vindman’s heroism

Published

on

Donald Trump Jr. questioned the military service of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and was sprayed with venom.

The president's eldest son posted a link to a Federalist article suggesting Vindman is not a dedicated military officer and public servant, a line of questioning which Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also pursued during an impeachment hearing.

"Let’s Stop Pretending Every Impeachment Witness Is A Selfless Hero," Trump Jr. tweeted, quoting the piece's headline.

Let’s Stop Pretending Every Impeachment Witness Is A Selfless Hero https://t.co/f2Jq7SdxO9

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Vindman blows up Jim Jordan’s smear of his service by reading glowing performance review

Published

on

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Tuesday shut down an attempt by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to question his service to his country by reading a glowing performance review given to him by former National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill.

During his questioning, Jordan quoted testimony from fellow impeachment inquiry witness Tim Morrison, who said he "had concerns about Lt. Col. Vindman's judgment" and said those concerns were also shared by Hill.

Jordan asked Vindman why his colleagues would question his judgement -- and the lieutenant colonel proceeded to read directly from Hill's final performance review of his work.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image