The FARC was dealt a severe political, military and public relations defeat last week by the successful operation that led to the release of Ingrid Betencourt and the three American contractors. The days when the FARC was viewed as a meaningful political force are all but gone.
Yesterday, Colombian officials announced that they were extraditing 14 suspected drug traffickers to the United States to face a host of charges ranging from conspiracy to import to cocaine manufacturing. Within the law enforcement and drug control community, the Colombian government’s move is unprecedented. The country has long maintained a tradition of refusing to extradite even its most notorious drug cartel leaders.
Spike TV announced today the launch of a reality show that chronicles the real-life battles faced by the nation’s premier drug cops at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In allowing cameras to get this close to the action, the DEA is shedding its traditionally tight-lipped persona and breaks new ground in educating the public about the risks its agents face every day. Check out a trailer for the show, called simply “DEA,” on Spike TV’s website.
As the former head of the DEA, I applaud the decision of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce the disparity and unfairness between penalties for convictions associated with crack cocaine and powder cocaine. I have been a long time advocate for reducing the 100 to 1 disparity on sentencing of crack and powder cocaine convictions because it offends the high principle of equal treatment under the law.
Given the critical role of the DEA in the nation’s federal law enforcement constellation, it’s disappointing that the White House has not announced a successor to Karen Tandy, who has already left the agency. There are a number of qualified candidates – qualified from an operational perspective as well as a political perspective.
Top among such candidates is the current Deputy Administrator and Acting head of the agency:Michele Leonhart.