Embattled DEA chief to retire

Michelle Leonhart, who has served three-decades with the Drug Enforcement Agency and has been DEA Chief since 2007, has announced her intention to retire amidst criticism over her handling of recent agency scandals.

A Justice Department report revealed that DEA agents took part in sex-parties while in Columbia, with at least ten agents admitting involvement.

The report alleges that the prostitutes provided for the DEA agents at the sex-parties were hired by members of the local drug-cartels.

“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 (D-M.D.), the committee’s top Democrat, told Reuters.

The agents involved received suspensions of between two-to-ten days.

The incident led to Leonhart appearing before the House Oversight Committee to address the allegations last week, with members of the committee stating that they had lost confidence in her ability to lead her agency.

“Michele has led this distinguished agency with honor, and I have been proud to call her my partner in the work of safeguarding our national security and protecting our citizens from crime, exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in his announcement of Leonhart’s retirement.

Leonhart is scheduled to leave the DEA in mid-May.

She leaves behind a mixed record.

On the one hand, the DEA helped capture Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of Mexico, who was one of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world.

On the other, under her tenure there was this incident and also the incident of Daniel Chong, a California college student, who was left in a DEA holding cell for five days without food or water.

 

[AP][Reuters][Politico][Business Insider][Photo courtesy Al Jazeera America]