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Rep. Issa Goes After DEA; Voices Doubt About Oversight

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By GINGER THOMPSON
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The powerful chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform increased his pressure on the Justice Department on Friday, raising new questions about how the Drug Enforcement Administration conducts its undercover money-laundering investigations and whether those operations cross the line between fighting and facilitating crime.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican who is chairman of the committee, accused the Justice Department of dragging its feet in responding to his request more than a month ago for a briefing on the operations, which allow D.E.A. agents to pose as money launderers and smugglers in order to infiltrate drug-trafficking organizations.

Mr. Issa wrote that he was concerned about whether there was sufficient oversight of these operations. He said an inquiry by his office had revealed evidence of potential impropriety, including the arrests of two American pilots who were held in a Panamanian jail for seven months.

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