By Editorial Board
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Each year, the United States spends more than $51 billion on the war on drugs — a war we’re clearly losing. The war has become so futile that the federal agency charged with leading the fight has undermined its own mission — and no one is being held accountable.
A Justice Department review found that, for years, DEA agents assigned to Colombia indulged in sex parties involving prostitutes supplied by drug cartels. The report found that local police often stood guard during the parties, keeping an eye on the agents’ weapons and other belongings, and that three DEA supervisors involved in the parties accepted gifts of money, weapons and other items from the cartels.
“Most of the sex parties occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices and other government-issued equipment were present … potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail or coercion,” the report said.
Despite the fact that the misconduct put agents and national security at risk, the agency’s Office of Security Programs was never made aware of the issue, and the agents were issued paltry suspensions ranging from 10 to as little as two days.
But DEA misconduct goes much deeper.
According to newly released U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discipline logs reviewed by USA Today and the Huffington Post, agency employees have avoided termination for a variety of serious violations, including falsifying official records, having an “improper association with a criminal element” using and distributing drugs and driving government vehicles while drunk. And when administrators did recommend termination — which was rare — the agency’s Board of Professional Conduct often rolled back the punishments to suspensions and lesser penalties, and even forced the DEA to rehire the violators.
No accountability whatsoever within a federal agency? Where have we heard this before?
The findings in the Justice Department, USA Today and Huffington Post reviews highlight a culture of corruption within the DEA. It’s unrealistic to expect an entire workforce to be free of misconduct. But it’s reasonable to demand that problem employees are terminated.
This is more proof that the war on drugs is a counterproductive boondoggle of epic proportions.
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