Federal watchdogs released a scandalous report last month accusing 10 officers from the Drug Enforcement Agency of having “sex parties” with prostitutes from 2005 and 2008, all paid for by a drug cartel. Now a new report from the Justice Department’s inspector general shows that DEA agents have been participating in similar events since at least 2001.
In one instance, funding for a DEA official’s farewell party in 2013 – in which prostitutes were present – was included in the agency’s budget. Also, no agents involved in the sex parties (while on assignment) have been fired.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing Tuesday, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart told lawmakers her agency has taken steps to prevent such things from occurring in the future. Some of the steps apparently include adding new slides to an agency PowerPoint presentation that describe why it’s not permissible to hire prostitutes while working abroad.
The allegations were a result of an IG probe into claims of sexual harassment at the agency. The IG also said that the DEA had interfered and blocked its investigation, delaying the probe’s results.
“In many of these cases, recommended punishments were reduced without explanation,” the report said. “The internal report does not discuss punishments for DEA supervisors who may have known about these allegations and failed to report them.”
The IG said 10 agents were ultimately reprimanded. Their punishments ranged from a warning to a two-week suspension.
Lawmakers, however, expressed extreme dissatisfaction with how the agency dealt with those agents and said they should face more consequences. “These agents compromised our national security and then essentially got a vacation,” Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz said during the hearing. “There is no accountability and that is unacceptable.”
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