Obama Chooses Terrible Nominee to Head the DEA

Submitted by smorgan on

After stalling for a whole year, the White House has finally announced Obama's choice to head the DEA. And there isn’t anything good to be said about it:

For those hoping that Barack Obama would wage the war on drugs less aggressively than his predecessor, this is not a good sign: Yesterday he announced that the new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration will be Michele Leonhart, a career DEA agent who has been the agency's deputy administrator since March 2004 and its acting administrator since November 2007. [Reason]

For all the recent rhetoric about changing the focus of our drug policy and moving beyond the war mentality that's gripped this issue for decades, the White House now plans to promote a Bush Administration holdover who couldn’t more perfectly embody the ugly history we're all working so hard to put behind us.

It was Leonhart who gave marching orders in the federal war on medical marijuana, right up to and even after the Obama Administration pledged to respect state laws. She celebrated the inauguration with a cleverly-timed, though transparently dishonest move to continue blocking medical marijuana research despite the ruling of a DEA administrative law judge. She's been closely tied to the sketchiest career informant in DEA history, even making light of his reputation for perjury. And she even managed to get her name in the press by wasting $123,000 in taxpayer money on a private flight to Colombia, even though the DEA owns 106 airplanes.

Leonhart's nomination is an affront to the Obama Administration's promises of a more enlightened drug policy approach. It's also a clear statement that they don't think we're paying attention to the faces behind the drug war's rich and recent history of arrogance, ignorance and injustice. Let's prove them wrong by opposing this embarrassing nomination as loudly as we can.

Please contact the White House today to tell them that Michele Leonhart's DEA career has already gone on far too long.

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Source URL: https://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2010/jan/27/obama_chooses_terrible_nominee_h