The 3,000-page Intelligence Reform Act, passed earlier this month by Congress and quickly signed into law by President Bush, does many things. Although it was un-remarked upon in the deliberations leading to the bill's enactment into law, the act has implications for the federal anti-drug bureaucracy: It adds a new layer.
Thanks to eagle-eyed Wisconsin drug reformer and legal gadfly Ben Masel, who must have pored through the whole mess, we read that Section 4707 of the act creates a new Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement within the Department of Homeland Security. With the new office comes a new director, who is charged with coordinating "policy and operations within the Department, between the Department and other Federal departments and agencies, and between the Department and State and local agencies with respect to stopping the entry of illegal drugs into the United States."
The new director of OCE is also mandated to lobby for more anti-drug money: "to ensure the adequacy of resources within the Department for stopping the entry of illegal drugs into the United States" and "to recommend the appropriate financial and personnel resources necessary to help the Department better fulfill its responsibility to stop the entry of illegal drugs into the United States."
He will also fight the war on terror/war on drugs. As a member of the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force the OCE director will "construct to track and sever connections between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism."
The only man in line for that job is current Department of Homeland Security Counternarcotics Officer/US Interdiction Coordinator Roger Mackin, whose credentials are impressively spooky. According to his official biography, Mackin served 27 years as CIA operations officer, managing intelligence collection, special operations,counterintelligence, and counternarcotics programs. Earlier in his career, the biography notes, for four years he led CIA efforts against heroin producing organizations in Southeast Asia. The biography also noted that he had a "parallel career" -- or perhaps cover -- as a US Air Force officer and served five years in Vietnam.
One can only hope that the four years Mackin spent leading CIA efforts against heroin producing organizations in Southeast Asia weren't the same years his employer was flying Laotian opium into Saigon on Air America planes to be cooked into the smack that reinvigorated the ranks of junkiedom back on the streets of the US in the late 1960s and early 1970s. On the other hand, a man whose job description requires him to fight drugs and terrorists by doing everything he can to increase the profitability of illicit drug markets may be a man who could have handled such contradictions.
Read the full text of the Intelligence Reform Act at http://www.house.gov/rules/s2845confrept.pdf online.