DEA

Color us disgusted but unsurprised.

DEA AgentsA recent report released by federal officials found that several DEA agents attended “sex parties” with prostitutes, money, gifts, and firearms provided by Colombian drug cartels.

The graft, which went almost entirely unpunished, occurred during the Bush administration, between 2005 and 2008. The worst penalty any of the agents received was a 10-day suspension.

Agents risked confidential information

Even worse, the report said, the DEA supervisory special agents (SSAs) who attended the parties brought sensitive confidential information with them.

“DEA equipment and information also may have been compromised as a result of the agents’ conduct,” the investigation found. “Agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices, and other government-issued equipment were present, [creating] potential security risks for the DEA and for the agents who participated in the parties, potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion.”

The parties were set up by a police officer in Colombia. Other police officers there said the agents had reason to know South American drug cartels provided the prostitutes, guns, and gifts.

Not an isolated incident

The disclosures are just the latest in a long line of DEA embarrassments. The agency has endured scandal after scandal, including a recent near-death experience that cost the feds several million dollars.

That case involved a California college student who was detained by DEA agents during a raid on a party house. The student wasn’t charged, but agents put him in a holding cell while processing his release – and then promptly forget he was there. The young man spent five torturous days in the cell and barely survived.

The agency doesn’t show any signs of slowing its nefarious activities. The DEA routinely breaks federal law when cracking down on marijuana providers, medical or recreational. Even directives from the president have failed to stop the long string of miscreant behavior.

The Colombia scandal occurred just a few years before U.S. Secret Service agents were caught employing prostitutes in the same country. Punishments in that case were also minimal.

Sleeping with the enemy

The most recent DEA incident serves as an illustration of how cozy relationships can develop between law enforcement officers and the criminals they’re pursuing. Of course, these agents may have sold out their jobs, but they didn’t sell out anything in the way of preventing the use of hard drugs.

DEA BadgeIf anything, the incident is a sign that federal agents are flexible when it comes to hard drugs but harsh when enforcing marijuana laws. That may be in part because cannabis shipments dwarf those of other drugs and because that makes it easier for police agencies to skim money off the pot industry.

The report on the Colombian sex parties is part of a larger investigation into sexual harassment and misbehavior in the federal government.

“You can’t ignore this,” said Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “This is terribly embarrassing and fundamentally not right. We need to understand what’s happening with the culture. . . . Anytime you bring a foreign national into your room, you’re asking for trouble.”

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