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Las Vegas Review-Journal: Another Failure of Drug War is Lack of Accountability

dea-badgeBy 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.

To read more click here. 

John Oliver Pokes Fun at Secret Service for Breaking Law to Embarrass Congressman

John Oliver screen capture.

John Oliver screen capture.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver poked fun at the recent discovery that the Secret Service tried to embarrass a Republican congressman by releasing “unflattering private information.”

Oliver pointed out that Rep. Jason Chaffetz has no problem embarrassing himself without the help of the Secret Service.

“That’s right. The Secret Service attempted to embarrass one of their biggest critics, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, by leaking his rejected application to join them, essentially behaving like the high school table of mean girls,” Oliver said before affecting a snotty teen girl’s voice, wrote Raw Story. “You only hate us because we won’t let you sit with us, Jason. Don’t look at our food. You’re making it uncool.”

Oliver ridiculed the Secret Service for breaking the law to embarrass someone who so easily embarrasses himself.

“I don’t know what’s worse here,” Oliver said. “The fact that the Secret Service is so petty that they broke the law to embarrass Jason Chaffetz, or that they’re so stupid and they didn’t realize, if you want to embarrass Jason Chaffetz, just wait, and he will do it for you.”

Other Stories of Interest

Weekend Series on Crime: Violent Motorcycle Gangs

Man Loses Lawsuit That Claimed DEA Supplied Him with Crack for Help in Investigation

220px-Crack_street_dosageBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A New Mexico man who claims federal agents gave him crack cocaine in exchange for help in an undercover investigation lost a lawsuit against he agency.

U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez dismissed the suit, which alleged that the plaintiff’s crack addiction was reignited, saying damages can’t sought when the person’s own wrongful conduct caused the injury, the Associated Press reports. 

The lawsuit claims Aaron Romero was given crack cocaine to help in a case known as “Operations Smack City,” an alleged violation of DEA policy.

Romero, 39, was seeking $8.5 million in damages.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Director: Politics Won’t Play Factor in Timely Investigation of Hillary Clinton

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Politics won’t factor into the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail account, FBI Director James Comey told reporters Thursday.

“I am following this very closely, and I get briefed on it regularly,” Comey said at a quarterly meeting with reporters at F.B.I. headquarters.

Comey said he expects the investigation to wrap up in a timely manner.

“I am confident we have the resources and the personnel assigned to the matter, as we do all our work, so that we are able to do it in a professional, prompt and independent way,” he said.

FBI Director: Number of ISIS Recruits Appears to Be Declining After Aggressive Crackdown

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After an alarming increase, the number of Islamic State recruits appears to be declining, FBI Director James Comey said Thursday.

Comey suggested the decrease may be the result of an aggressive federal crackdown that has netted dozens of arrests.

Still, the number of English speakers following Islamic State’s Twitter account remains the same, at about 20,000 globally.

“There is an enormous universe of people consuming ISIL worldwide,” Comey said.

Comey added that the bureau is closely tracking people who have returned to the U.S. after receiving training.

Ten Killed in Mass Shooting at Community College in Oregon

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 8.17.37 AMBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nine people, plus the gunman, were killed when bullets tore through classrooms Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., the FBI said.

Seven others were injured in the 294th mass shooting in the U.S. this year, the Washington Post reports.

Authorities said the alleged shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, was armed with a semiautomatic rifle and three pistols, shooting into classrooms.

Witnesses said he appeared to be targeting Christians.

Police shot Mercer at 10:47 a.m. local time.

“Each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” President Obama said. “It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. It does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.”

Two Men Found Guilty of Murder in Killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

Brian Terry

Brian Terry

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A jury found two men guilty of murder Thursday in the killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near the Mexican border in 2010, the Arizona Republic reports.

The men, Ivan Soto-Barraza and Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, belonged to a “rip crew” that was searching for drug smugglers to rob when they became engaged in a shootout with Terry and three other agents.

They were convicted of first-degree murder and other charges.

Terry was shot in the back and bled to death.

The shooting brought attention to the flawed federal gun-running sting, “Fast and Furious,” after some of the weapons at the scene were traced to the operation.