Drug War

DEA Chief Dials Back Drug War Bluster After Talk With Holder


Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart and her boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, appear locked in a bureaucratic staring match over the Obama administration's attempt to reform the way the federal government approaches criminal justice and punishment.

For Holder and for President Barack Obama, sentencing reform has become a critical, second-term legacy item, as they aim to bend the arc of incarceration policy away from a federal system well practiced at imprisoning drug offenders for as long as possible. But those efforts are colliding with institutional resistance from law enforcement officials with a single-minded focus and, perhaps, turf to defend.

Read the whole article.

NEXT: Will Obamacare's Employer Mandate Ever Be Implemented?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.


    At least there may be some benefit to all of this, though I have a feeling it’s more window-dressing than anything of substance. Unless Obama wants to legalize whatever shit he likes to use before he leaves office.

  2. Kabuki theater.

    1. That’s not how kabuki works!
      More like Chinese opera.

  3. Obama is an idiot. Leaving all politics out of it, for the moment…

    If my employee didn’t publicly endorse my policy, her cell phone would ring 2 minutes later…

    Hi, Michele? It’s me, Barack. Yeah, um, don’t bother going back to the office…no, no, someone will pack up your shit for you and it will be dropped in your front yard. Yeah, um, you have a nice day now. Bah bye.

    1. It’s as if Obama is trying to play both sides.

      1. And I was at first confused by “Michele” until I realized it was only one “l.”

    2. It’s worse than that, Francisco.

      The high-level shift toward easing punishment for drug offenders, backed by public opinion, raises the question of whether any DEA chief who could win the support of rank and file agents would be willing to carry out White House reforms.

      Hi, rank and file Agent Jones? It’s me, Barack ….

    3. This is EXACTLY what I expected. Obama is an emotional and intellectual teenager. He doesn’t want to make tough decisions.

  4. For Holder and for President Barack Obama, sentencing reform has become a critical, second-term legacy item

    I’m sure the people in prison on trumped-up possession and distribution charges didn’t mind waiting until it was legacy time.

    1. It’s what we get when we support a justice system delivered by political institutions.

  5. So they appease the prohibitionists by letting this woman keep her job in exchange for what everyone knows is a forced and insincere endorsement of administration policy.

    If she were the head of a nonprofit and criticized the President, the IRS would audit her. But as the head of an important government agency, she isn’t even fired for insubordination.

  6. AG having a staring match with head of DEA? I’d like to say the open defiance of Obama’s policy by Leonhart should be enough to kick her ass out of the office, but His Hopyness has been so vague and wishy-washy that it’s hard to call his mumblings “a policy”.

    1. This agency is an internal lobby as much as a branch of law enforcement – standing up to them would require balls and seriousness.

  7. “Policy” seems an awful lot like a shell game.

  8. In any real-world job, guess what happens when you criticize the boss in public?

    But if you’re in the fourth branch of government, you get to have your own empire and thumb your nose against your supervisors and your ultimate employer (the people of the U.S.).

  9. If Dear Leader is easing up on the WoD by executive fiat, it’s kind of meaningless. Just wait til the next uber-Drug Warrior gets into office and undoes all the “sentencing reform”. This stuff needs to be done via legislation. But, as Ron Paul said recently, the Stupid Party still thinks We The People don’t want legalized weed, despite the polls. They think saying weed should be legal is “risky”.

  10. Hey guys, I think I found Tony and Buttplug’s Youtube channel — a channel solely devoted to trashing Libertarians. What I’ve seen so far is pretty surreal.


    1. That’s Mary’s channel. She’s still obsessed and still monitors everything that goes on here. Once a stalker, always a stalker.

      1. Oh, ok. Some of the vids are a couple years old. Wonder how I missed this.

          1. She put a lot of work into that!

            A zeal worthy of a better cause.

          2. You know what they say, “derision is the sincerest form of flattery.”

            The monacle bit was actually pretty funny. My fav was the Mr Peanut quote.

      2. I posted a couple times on her discussions about knowing who she is and that I see she’s off her meds again. The posts have now been removed.

  11. The fact the Leonhart still has a job is a testament to how individually powerful so many of these agencies have gotten. This is ridiculous, and chilling at the same time.

    1. I think you have to pretty much mock Obama in Rolling Stone to get fired.

    2. Way back when I was a younger man, a journalist whose name I can’t remember wrote an article on how the bureaucracy was getting out of control because of previous efforts to stamp out corruption. Back in the “bad old days” most government jobs were patronage jobs. When an new administration came in, it fired everybody. Then the jobs were divvied up as the spoils of winning the election. But now, mid-level bureaucrats are untouchable. It doesn’t matter who wins an election. Agencies just do whatever they feel like doing, because Fuck You That’s Why.

  12. Of course the fact that there are these conflicts between agency czars just shows the very problem we’ve created for ourselves in the federal government. We’ve created unaccountable agencies with missions which may be in direct conflict with any particular administration’s goals.

    Even if I disagree with an administration, I can vote them out. Who votes out the DEA?

    1. Who votes out the DEA?

      CongrHAHAHAHA–Sorry, just couldn’t pull it off.

  13. a DEA spokeswoman would not say whether Leonhart endorsed changes mandatory minimums, telling The Huffington Post that the DEA administrator’s testimony would “have to speak for itself.”

    “Behold, er ….”

    1. “the DEA administrator’s testimony would “have to speak for itself.””

      IOW, “Look, I already made one fake-ass recantation, and I’ll be d___ed if I’m going to make another!”

      1. “All your questions and concerns should be addressed by this simple diagram.”

        1. That may be a pop culture reference, but Google didn’t immediately give the source.

          I will guess that the diagram spells out a cuss word?

  14. Look at all the cynics here, not taking the administration at face value.

  15. BOOOOOOSH’s fault!!!!!!

  16. raises the question of whether any DEA chief who could win the support of rank and file agents would be willing to carry out White House reforms.

    What the fucking fuck?

    Do as you’re instructed, or GTFO.

    1. Don’t work that way.

    2. What kind of political cover would that provide? Derp!

  17. Furthermore, the state should be destroyed.

  18. I’m more surprised that reason thinks i will open a HuffPo link.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.