Count Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) as someone who just can’t understand how it’s possible that the government cannot fire DEA Agents who knowingly break the law by hiring prostitutes from the very drug cartels they are supposed to be shutting down.
“Based on the testimony we have read from the DEA administrator, she says she doesn’t have the power to simply fire these people. I don’t buy it. The American public doesn’t buy it. When we have bad apples who repeatedly do the same type of behavior, compromise our national security, then they need to lose their national security clearances, and they need to be fired.”
In fact, Chaffetz noted that some of them were “punished” with unpaid leave and that their punishment only lasted a few days! “The punishment for engaging in this type of behavior was two to 10 days off, non-paid leave. That sounds like a vacation to me, it doesn’t sound like punishment.”
Congresmman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) summed up the insanity, “So they are receiving prostitutes from cartels that they are supposed to be investigating, and she can’t fire those agents?”
Exactly, Rep. Gowdy. At least according to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.
Both Leonhart and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said that Title V of U.S. civil service law holds that the leaders of most federal agencies can’t fire people directly, no matter what they’ve done. Instead, these decisions go to “deciding officials,” who must recommend a punishment — those recommendations then go to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
“I can’t revoke their security clearance,” Leonhart said. “I can ensure that there’s a mechanism that’s in place, like I did after the Cartagena incident, make sure that there’s a mechanism in place for … a security review, which resulted in those three agents having their security clearances revoked and they were fired.”
I think that Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) may have had the best response to the entire proceeding…
“So you have any idea how absurd all of that sounds to an ordinary human being? This is nuts.”
I’m not sure about what is going on at the DEA, but it seems more like something out of a Hollywood farce than it does real life. Hopefully, Congressional Oversight can get things sorted out soon… before the DEA does any more damage to itself and to us.