The good news: The Secret Service won’t take all the heat from the prostitute scandal that broke last year. The better news: the Inspector General of the Justice Department finally found a productive use for the DEA:
Two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents “facilitated a sexual encounter” between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent days before President Barack Obama visited Colombia for a summit meeting in April 2012, according to a Justice Department investigation obtained exclusively by NBC News.
A summary of the findings of the investigation, included in a Dec. 20 letter from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General to Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, indicated that a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved in procuring the prostitute for the Secret Service agent.
But it gets better. These law-enforcement agents did what any red-blooded American would do after the scandal exploded, or at least any red-blooded American who could obstruct the investigation:
All three DEA special agents admitted that they had paid for sexual services of a prostitute, the investigation also found, and “used their DEA Blackberry devices to arrange such activities.” In addition, the report says the agents tried to destroy incriminating information or initially lied to investigators about the incidents. All three agents have high-security clearances.
Of course they do. So the DEA agents all procured prostitutes using their DEA Blackberries while on a mission for the US, and then they lied to investigators and destroyed evidence. It’s a good thing that we have laws against that sort of thing. Oh, wait:
The summary concluded that the agents’ actions did not warrant criminal prosecution. It said the U.S. Attorney’s Office also “declined to initiate legal proceedings.” It said the case had been referred to the DEA for “action it determines to be appropriate.”
Excuse me, but didn’t the Department of Justice prosecute and convict Scooter Libby for lying to investigators in the Valerie Plame probe? I don’t recall that Libby was ever accused of destroying evidence in that case, either. Obstruction of justice and perjury are still crimes, right? Those laws didn’t get repealed after Libby’s conviction.
Heck, as Susan Collins discovered, the three agents still haven’t even been disciplined yet, months later:
In a letter sent Wednesday to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, Collins, R-Maine, called the findings “troubling” and the conclusion that law enforcement officials obstructed the OIG investigation “deeply troubling.” She also asked Leonhart to explain why – nearly four months after the Office of the Inspector General referred the matter to the DEA — “It is my understanding that those administrative actions are still pending.”
In a statement, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said, “The Drug Enforcement Administration takes these matters very seriously. Any allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing by DEA personnel are thoroughly investigated and then reviewed by DEA’s Board of Professional Conduct for any disciplinary action warranted. This matter is currently under review by the Board of Professional Conduct.”
Yes, we can see that letting obstruction of justice slide for four months demonstrates the kind of seriousness with which the DEA approaches such incidents. I’m sure they treat it just as cavalierly when suspects in their own investigations lie to DEA agents and destroy evidence, too.