Michele Leonhart, the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is expected to resign in the coming days, a senior administration official said today. The decision came as a result of extensive scandal and corruption within the agency.
Leonhart was confirmed to her position in December 2010 but had served in an acting capacity since November 2007. Under her watch she presided over an agency that has been plagued by scandal. Just last month, a report from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General revealed that several DEA agents had engaged in numerous “sex parties” with prostitutes paid for by Colombian drug cartels.
The agency, like many others in our vast network of secret police, dragged its feet and withheld or redacted information during the investigation the report said. Investigators do not know the full extent of the sexual misconduct. Local DEA leaders failed to report allegations of their agents patronizing prostitutes and frequenting a brothel. At least one of them was alleged to have solicited and engaged in sexual relations with prostitutes. The revelations mirror those levelled against the Secret Service, another troubled law enforcement agency.
The report went on to detail how a foreign officer provided protection for the agents’ weapons and property during the parties, which occurred in government-leased housing and could have led to a security breach involving the agents’ equipment.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee asked the DEA to hand over any internal documents related to the misconduct, and it found that this kind of behavior was routine and dates back at least to 2001.
The timeline for Leonhart’s resignation is not yet known.