WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. drug czar has been challenged to explain disputed statistics underlying a string of rosy reports on progress in cutting the flow of cocaine from South America, one of which prompted an expert to liken the official numbers to “lipstick on a pig.”
The request came in a detailed 1,800-word letter to John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), from Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
The Iowa senator expressed concern that the ONDCP has been picking data “to provide a rosier but not necessarily more accurate picture” on the multi-billion dollar effort to eradicate coca plantations in Colombia, the world’s top producer of cocaine, Bolivia and Peru.
Of course, we’ve been saying that the Czar cherry-picks his data for years. But it’s nice to see Congress maybe waking up a little? Or perhaps there’s been a political shift in the drug war and they need a fall guy?