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Poor Michele Leonhart

Nobody seems to like her.

I wrote a rather scathing article about her when she was nominated by President George W. Bush as Deputy Administrator of the DEA.

She’s been strongly disliked by the medical marijuana community (she was standing at the podium at the beginning of medical marijuana raids back in 1998 and has been Director during the recent raids under Obama). She’s also been strongly disliked by others in the drug policy reform community (partly because of her rejection of Lyle Craker’s application to the DEA to grow marijuana for research, despite the DEA’s judge recommending approval, and partly because she acts like she’s, well, Director of the DEA).

She’s also strongly disliked by much of the rank and file of the DEA, as evidenced pretty much constantly at DEA Watch.

Now, a couple of articles are saying that her confirmation as continuing DEA head may be in jeopardy because of something that may have had nothing to do with her.

Amanda Crawford first wrote about this odd connection on Thursday: Financial Scandal – Not Bush Administration Ways – Could Sink DEA Nominee Leonhart, and now Ryan Grim has picked up on it: Ponzi Scheme Strikes Drug Enforcement Agents.

The Ponzi Scheme scandal has actually been in the news for some time.

In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against the estate of Kenneth Wayne McLeod, who had recently taken his own life as authorities closed in on what they say was a long-running ponzi scheme that ensnared 260 investors, many of them law enforcement officers, and stole at least $34 million.

In fact, a number of those who lost everything were DEA employees and apparently higher ups even recommended McLeod.

While demonstrating incompetence, that hardly rises to the level of anything surprising in the overall world of DEA incompetence.

Grim writes:

Leonhart is a career DEA official, meaning that it will be difficult for her to avoid becoming entangled in the affair, which the SEC began in the 1980s. Crawford reported Thursday at CrawfordOnDrugs.com that a Justice Department official had deemed her a “dead woman walking.” She has been acting director since 2007. A DoJ spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call.

Personally, I don’t buy it.

Remember that this is the Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency — the agency that has been relatively untouched by the horrendous House of Death scandal during which Leonhart probably was lying under oath (something which, quite frankly never has bothered her particularly). That didn’t affect her nomination. Her rejection of science didn’t affect her nomination. So why this?

If this Ponzi scheme actually derails her nomination, I’m guessing it’ll be because the Senate has decided for other reasons that they don’t want her (maybe they don’t want to add publicity to the House of Death, etc.), and the Ponzi scheme will just be an excuse.

It’s interesting, but merely speculation at this point.

Now one of the more entertaining things being put out there about Leonhart right now actually comes from her own agents.

DEA Watch is a group of DEA agents who regularly viciously slam their Director and never liked either Tandy or Leonhart. (If Leonhart is considered “dead woman walking” that could as well be from her own people.) They’ve been completely baffled at Leonhart’s success and boy, do they have an impressive conspiracy theory to offer.

Mike reports a conversation between an FBI agent and an informant by way of a third party. This third party says the informant told the FBI agent that all the stuff being put into the news mentioning DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart by name as being the focal point of opposition among marijuana legalizers centered in San Francisco and thereabouts is being masterminded by a DEA SES in California, and personal friend of Leonhart. The informant says the anti-Leonhart campaign being pushed by drug legalizers is being timed to make Leonhart look to Senators like an effective Administrator who is both feared and hated by gateway drug users and radical liberals in time for her confirmation hearing. The informant says the worse the pro-legalizers can make Leonhart look to drug users, the better she will look to Senators.

Yep. They’re saying that Leonhart masterminded a campaign to get the legalizers to oppose her, thereby making her nomination look better.

Someone else adds:

Now it begins to make sense… all of the naming of our Administrator in the news is starting to gel. The never-dying gang that has been working since the 1970’s to get marijuana legalized has never in its history targeted by name one of our Administrators as the person mostly responsible for blocking legalization of medicinal or recreational weed. Now, all of the sudden, right before Leonhart faces confirmation, every organization working to legalize weed is naming our Administrator as their big bad demon. Someone had to put them up to specifically naming Leonhart because we all know that there are a lot more individuals opposed to legalizing weed than she is. For Christ’s sake… she’s never even made any speeches against legalization!!!

People have always said that our Leonhart was a scheming, conniving and ambitious bi**h. Those are not bad qualities if used for the good of the general public. Unfortunately, used by Leonhart those qualities serve only her.

Sorry, guys, the legalizers aren’t likely to be manipulated into opposing Leonhart in order to support her. Fact is, we don’t like her as Director, but even more, we’d like to get rid of the entire damn worthless, incompetent, and destructive agency.

But this sure is entertaining.

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8 comments to Poor Michele Leonhart

  • claygooding

    Pete,was Lieinghart director when Judge Francis Young ruled on the rescheduling petition?

  • Judge Francis Young made his famous ruling in 1988. Michele Leonhart became director in 2007.

  • claygooding

    Thanks,my bad. I saw an article the other day that reported that it was rumored around DC that Obama put Michelle back in because no-one else wanted to take a sinking ship.

  • Duncan

    The old chestnut ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’ is running through my mind.

    I think we need to revisit the thought that politicians should be drafted. The desire to hold elective or appointed office results in automatic disqualification.

  • we need to continue focusing our energies on the specifics of why we need to end the drug war and ignore the parade of interchangeable idiots filling the puppet suits.

    seriously, why call any attention whatsoever to any given prohibitionist individual? why expend energy “discussing” something irrelevant over which we have absolutely no control? it’s not like the average person even knows who these assholes are, let alone gives a shit what we think about them!

    this war is not about bureaucrats — it’s about human rights.

  • Servetus

    I’m skeptical that the colorful conspiracy theories floating through DEA headquarters are accurate. More likely Michele Leonhart is just an utterly rotten boss. For some strange reason, these types of people tend to linger on forever.

    Unfortunately, the only solution to a dysfunctional DEA director of the Ms. Leonhart variety is to move on to a new job and a new life. For those DEA agents so afflicted, I’ve heard Homeland Security is still hiring in divisions other than drug enforcement.

  • darkcycle

    Wait. Aren’t being a bald faced liar and having skeletons in your closet that make you controllable job requirements for DEA chief?
    Really, she sounds just like what they need.

  • Tim

    Yeah, the conservatives up here have similar theories too, saying that every time an expert with the facts prove their prison-building tough-on-crime war-on-drugs ideology wrong, their ever-shrinking base will support them more against ‘elites.’

    Don’t you also think the Senators know which way the wind is blowing (even if they won’t come out to support reform)?