Michele Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, told Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday that she intends to retire next month. Leonhart has been a part of the D.E.A. for 35 years, but has been accused of mismanaging the agency in recent years.
The move comes after lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee expressed indignation in a hearing with Leonhart regarding her handling of reports that D.E.A. employees had taken part in sex parties with prostitutes hired by drug cartels.
Leonhart had also split with the White House on drug policy, opposing decisions by states like Colorado and Washington to legalize recreational marijuana, even though President Obama has said that they should be allowed to do so. In a hearing in 2012 she avoided stating whether she believed that marijuana was as dangerous as other drugs, such as crack cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin, offering only that “all illegal drugs are bad.”
A debate regarding Leonhart’s successorship is likely to ensue. Some Democrats have called on the president to appoint someone who supports a change in marijuana policy, while certain Republicans oppose this.
Photo Credit: US Embassy Kabul Afgha
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