WASHINGTON — Despite all the speculation and rumor as to who will be the next chief of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, word has it that the acting chief Michele Leonhart is still on track to get the nod from the White House for the top post.
Leonhart, whose title is acting administrator, was one of four people being considered for the job as the permanent administrator. Several months back, the FBI’s deputy director John Pistole, by all accounts, seemed to be the front runner.
But for some reason, sources said Leonhart had stepped to the front of the line. Still, because nothing has happened, speculation as to who will be the chief continues to circulate inside and outside the agency.
But a source says that Leonhart is on track to get the job, but it’s still not a done deal. DEA spokesman Rusty Payne declined to comment Wednesday on the matter.
Leonhart, who became a DEA agent in 1980, rose through the ranks and was named deputy administrator in 2004. In November 2007, she was named acting administrator.
Leonhart is not without detractors inside the agency. But she also has plenty fans who say she is deserving of the permanent post.