Just Call Them "DEA"–It Doesn't Matter What the Initials Stand For


Just as Kentucky Fried Chicken became "KFC" to hide their connection to fried foods (and likely the state of Kentucky and the yardbird of chicken to boot), best not remember what the "D" in "DEA" stands for as you contemplate some new wikirevelations summed up in the New York Times:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.

Some specifics:

¶In Panama, an urgent BlackBerry message from the president to the American ambassador demanded that the D.E.A. go after his political enemies: "I need help with tapping phones."

¶In Sierra Leone, a major cocaine-trafficking prosecution was almost upended by the attorney general's attempt to solicit $2.5 million in bribes.

¶In Guinea, the country's biggest narcotics kingpin turned out to be the president's son, and diplomats discovered that before the police destroyed a huge narcotics seizure, the drugs had been replaced by flour.

¶Leaders of Mexico's beleaguered military issued private pleas for closer collaboration with the drug agency, confessing that they had little faith in their own country's police forces.

¶Cables from Myanmar, the target of strict United States sanctions, describe the drug agency informants' reporting both on how the military junta enriches itself with drug money and on the political activities of the junta's opponents….

The D.E.A. now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that keep the Central Intelligence Agency at arm's length…..

In Venezuela, the local intelligence service turned the tables on the D.E.A., infiltrating its operations, sabotaging equipment and hiring a computer hacker to intercept American Embassy e-mails, the cables report.

It goes on to detail stories of how local government's pressure–without apparent success–the DEA to help them with various non-narcotic tasks. But in at least one instance, in Paraguay:

according to the cables, the United States acquiesced, agreeing to allow the authorities there to use D.E.A. wiretaps for antikidnapping investigations, as long as they were approved by Paraguay's Supreme Court.

"We have carefully navigated this very sensitive and politically sticky situation," one cable said. "It appears that we have no other viable choice."

The rest of the article discusses the DEA's growing move into anti-terrorism work because of the use of drug money by terror groups (though the DEA apparently speculates beyond the evidence about such links), and the shams (such as a faked illegal drug burn in Guinea) that arise from the links between drug traffickers and governments.

As the New York Times does not note, and certainly the DEA doesn't, all of these corrupt shenanigans and enormous profits for the criminally minded could be eliminated not through further and deeper DEA action, but by killing it and its mandate by ending the international war on (certain disapproved) drugs.

NEXT: Goodwin Liu Won't Be Joining the Federal Bench Just Yet

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  1. No comments? What, is everyone afraid of the DEA wiretapping them?

    1. not so much the wiretapping, but more the whole ruin-your-life-and-seize-your-property thing that they’re great at and our pussy politicians are complicit in.

    2. Some of us have dogs, dude.

      1. Winner.

    3. Nah, just overwhelming despair at the gargantuan fucked-up-ness of it all. Sometimes there is just nothing left to say.

      1. There is always something to say. Always.

  2. Do the DEA operatives know not to kill the CIA operatives? … or vice versa.

    1. They’re risky jobs, that’s why they need so much money and power….

    1. Hey, it’s not like the FBI gets money in it’s budget for international shenanigans.

  3. I remember the days when the CIA was suspected by some of being a shadow government. I also remember that Hoover at the FBI had files on politicians so he could pressure them into doing his bidding. Maybe the DEA has become powerful beyond the drug war. When you consider their partnerships with local police forces, they are a huge operation that can reach any individual in the country (and most of the world). And I won’t even bother mentioning that they are all a bunch of assholes who consider themselves to be above the law and loyal only to themselves.

    1. +1. I only ever met one agent who wasn’t a complete tool. . . and he was a ‘multi-agency’ refugee at the end of his career. (Those of you in the alphabet soup know what I’m talking about. . .)

  4. Oh, no! The DEA’s fight for freedom has been compromised! Also, Julian Assange rubs me the wrong way.

    There. I saved Moynihan the trouble.

  5. Now ‘fweed’ is a controlled substance. Merry Fucking Christmas and a Happy New YeaR.

  6. Hey, they came after me in Espa?a.

  7. saving us from all of this Bush-Cheney fascist stuff? Oh, I see, it’s our tax dollars at work.

  8. Shut the fuck up you fucking fascists. The DEA is doing God’s work.

    1. 0/10, Heller. Real Juanitas don’t use naughty language. *tisk tisk tisk*

  9. The DEA is proof that Dick Nixon is still dickin’ us.

  10. Please check your facts. Not that this is the main point of the article, but it’s annoying to see untruths innocuously perpetuated like this. KFC did NOT change its name to its acronym to avoid the use of the word fried (or chickens), contrary to popular belief. It changed its name because of a ridiculous claim by the state of Kentucky. See

    1. heh

      I dont know if you were trolling or are an idiot. Let us know.

      1. inquiring, Kentucky, minds want to know.

  11. How can the Internets tell me two conflicting things? Everything on them is true!

  12. Once President Bloomberg outlaws delicious chicken fat, the DEA will eradicate those finger-lickin’ bastards.

    1. finger-lickin’ bastards.

      You just blew-out my funny fuse.

  13. Why do we all say / write “the DEA,” while they omit the definite article? It’s weird.

    1. You know who else omits the definite article when referring to themselves? The Borg.

      1. I’m not sure about that. Time for some ST:VOY research. Thanks!

        (pretty sure they’ve said it, but i needed an excuse)

  14. Joke time –
    Three nights ago, I was at a bar,
    A duck walks into a bar, bartender says, “whadya have”
    Duck says, “I’ll have the grapes”
    Bartender says, “We don’t have grapes, please leave”
    Two nights ago, the scene repeated
    A duck walked into the bar, bartender says, “whadya have”
    Duck says, “I’ll have the grapes”
    Bartender says, “Listen, I told you yesterday, no grapes, this is bar, now get out!” The duck leaves…
    Last night,
    the duck walks into a bar,
    the bartender says, “Look for two nights you’ve come in here asking for grapes, if you ask for grapes again, I’ll nail your feet to the floor. Now is there something I can get for you?”
    The Duck says, “I’ll have Nails”
    Bartender says, “Nails!…Nails? You sonofa…Look this is a bar we don’t have nails!”

    The Duck pauses, says, “In that case, I’ll have the grapes!!”


  15. In Panama, an urgent BlackBerry message from the president to the American ambassador demanded that the D.E.A. go after his political enemies: “I need help with tapping phones.”

    What’s up with Panama? I’ve been reading a news website from Panama, and the new is scary. There are restrictions on freedom of the press and threats by the government to private schools that don’t send their kids to march in patriotic parades.

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