Drug enforcement chief to quit in sex scandal

By Agencies in Washington ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-23 08:33:33

The head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration will retire, an official said on Tuesday, following a scandal involving drug agents who participated in sex orgies in Colombia with prostitutes hired by a drug cartel.

Michele Leonhart, 59, head of the agency, will step down in mid-May, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The DEA came under intense criticism following a Justice Department report at the end of March that found agents attended orgies with prostitutes they should have known were hired by drug lords.

Following a disastrous appearance before the House Oversight Committee last week, a majority of the committee said they had lost confidence in her and said she "lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their positions".

Leonhart's testimony at the hearing, supplemented by two US government reports, raised concerns among lawmakers that agents might have leaked secrets about their investigations that found their way to Colombian drug lords.

"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, the committee's top Democrat, told Reuters.

Leonhart told the panel there was "no evidence" that sensitive information had been leaked but also acknowledged it was "absolutely" possible that information had been compromised.

Seven agents who admitted the accusations were given suspensions of two to 10 days.

A report on the behavior of federal agents was commissioned after a scandal erupted over US Secret Service agents who hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of a presidential visit. That scandal prompted congressional hearings by irate lawmakers.

AFP - Reuters - AP

(China Daily 04/23/2015 page12)

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