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Mr. President, It's Time To Save The DEA

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

“DEA is dying.” 

So lamented to me recently an old friend, now a senior DEA official, whom I’ve known since we worked together in that agency in the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations. While our investigative careers took different paths, I’ve always held my brave former DEA colleagues in the highest regard. The patriotic men and women of DEA need and deserve our support and gratitude. Under Barack Obama, they received neither. President Trump can right this wrong. And he can do that very simply - by finally installing Mike Braun, whose selection has languished in the White House, as the new permanent Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 


Attorney General Barr, who was also attorney general when the United States led a very aggressive and successful anti-drug strategy in the 90s, will recognize that Mr. Braun is the best candidate for the job, and won’t need to be trained up, having had lengthy experience as a fierce anti-drug warrior in a long and successful DEA career.

The ill-starred consequences of Barack Obama’s malign administration I fear will be felt by this country for decades to come. One aspect of that malignity is the unprecedented drug scourge and associated deaths of our fellow Americans that we are witnessing, largely at the hands of corporate peddlers of narcotics who have sold their souls for the modern equivalent of 30 pieces of silver, but also at the hands of Islamic narco-traffickers and Latin American drug cartels who are importing massive amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine into the United States.

Over 70,000 Americans died in 2017, the latest year for which data are available, from drug overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That is approximately 12,000 more deaths than all American fatalities resulting from our involvement in Vietnam from 1956 to 2006 (when suicides, cancers from defoliants like Agent Orange, and other derivative effects are taken into account, in addition to those killed in action and presumed to have died in captivity). 


Think about that. We are losing more Americans every year from drug overdoses than from our entire involvement in Vietnam - from our initial casualties in 1956 to our exit from the country in 1973, plus those who died tragically from the residual effects of that war. 

My very knowledgeable friends, who have been in the trenches of the drug war for decades, place the blame for the current atrocious situation squarely at the feet of Barack Obama.

As one of these friends recently explained to me, “Obama’s [Attorney Generals] Holder and Lynch destroyed DEA” when DEA tried to go after the manufacturers of opioids like the ironically named Cardinal Health and other opioid manufacturers that were flooding the US market with opioids, working in collusion with over-prescribing doctors who saw an opportunity to become legalized drug pushers and profit handsomely in the process. 

My friend explained that when DEA tried to go after Cardinal Health and other opioid manufacturers, Bill Clinton’s former Deputy Attorney General, Jamie Gorelick, now in private legal practice and representing opioid manufacturing companies, called Obama’s Deputy Attorney General, James Cole, and prevailed upon him to stop going after these companies. When DEA wouldn’t comply, my friend explained, Cole “crushed DEA by putting DOJ attorneys [willing to go along with Gorelick/Cole] in the DEA Chief Counsel’s Office to step on DEA investigations [and bring them] to a grinding halt.”


Here’s a little refresher on who Jamie Gorelick is - a veritable wrecking ball of American society, as detailed by my friend Jack Cashill. In addition to being a Hillary Clinton supporter and long-time lawyer for the Clinton Foundation, Ms. Gorelick was Bill Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General, the Number Two at the Justice Department. In that role, this political hack was “credited” for creating Bill Clinton’s infamous “wall of separation” between the intelligence services and law enforcement agencies which likely prevented US authorities from discovering and averting the worst terrorist attack on the American homeland - the 9/11 al Qaeda plot.  

In rich irony, when considered in light of recent abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the Obama administration in illegally surveilling the entire Trump political campaign, documents declassified in 2004 showed that as Deputy Attorney General, Jamie Gorelick in 1995 ordered then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mary Jo White, to not abuse FISA warrants against terrorists. She ordered them to “go beyond what is legally required,” in not sharing information in order to “avoid ‘any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance’ that the Justice Department was using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, instead of ordinary criminal investigative procedures, in an effort to undermine the civil liberties of terrorism suspects,” as the Washington Times reported


As the Times went on to explain, this four-page memo from Ms. Gorelick to Mr. Freeh and Ms. White, according to none other than Attorney General John Ashcroft, “had a devastating effect into the investigation of al Qaeda operations in this country in the summer of 2001.”

Yes, Ms. Gorelick sought to protect “the civil liberties of terrorism suspects” and her “wall” arguably led to the 9/11 atrocities. Now she is shaping US policy on drug enforcement through her legal representation of pill-pushing opioid factories.

It is rare that “right-wingers” like me and my law enforcement friends can agree with leftist media outfits like the Huffington Post and The Washington Post that Barack Obama was a disaster for US drug control policy and enforcement. But we do agree, and this could be a wonderful opportunity for President Trump to achieve bipartisanship.

That bipartisanship would take the form of completing the clearance and confirmation of a great American, Mike Braun, as the new Administrator of DEA.  The fittingly named Mr. Braun, a former US Marine and retired DEA Chief of Operations, possesses the perfect resume for the job. He is a rock-solid American patriot whom the rank-and-file of DEA think the world of. DEA has not had a fully confirmed Administrator since 2015. Under Barack Obama and since, the agency has been operating under ineffectual, political lawyers, kowtowing to the opioid pushers. 


This is a national security and humanitarian crisis of near epic proportions. As noted above, in addition to the profiteering pharmaceuticals manufacturers, Mr. Braun will take on the usual suspects in the cartels south of the border, but also ISIS and the Islamic Hezbollah drug-traffickers, the investigation of which Barack Obama killed in order not to offend his beloved Iranian interlocutors so he could gift America with his absurd “Iran nuclear deal,” as detailed in an amazing piece of investigative journalism in Politico - hardly a bastion of conservatism.

The Democrats in Congress and their allies on the rabidly anti-Trump Mueller investigative team have prevented President Trump and AG Barr from focusing on the critical drug crisis through their phony “Trump-Russia collusion” scam. It’s time to finally put that lunacy to rest and confront the real problems facing our country. 

Mr. President, your legacy is already established on many fronts. Let combatting our nation’s drug scourge be another and start with getting Mike Braun back on the job. 

William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 30 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)


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