Who's the Boss? E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

Depending on whom you're talking to, President Obama is a ruthless tyrant, an empty suit or something in the middle. But here's a question for the folks that believe that our 44th President is in fact a tyrannical overlord with no respect for the law or the Constitution. What kind of strongman allows his own employees and appointees to ignore his orders and publicly paint their boss as an idiot? Drug Enforcement Administration Chief Michele Leonhart was testifying yesterday in a closed hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee.

The DEA boss has become infamous after a Youtube video of her refusing to admit heroin might be more dangerous than marijuana during questioning went viral. In yesterday's hearing she essentially told lawmakers that the DEA is ignoring orders from her boss, the President of the United States, to have the agency focus on heroin and oxycontin as higher priorities than marijuana.

She also told lawmakers that the majority of Americans that support decriminalization or legalization of marijuana (like the voters in Washington and Colorado and 18 other states) are idiots that can't think for themselves.

Now you don't have to read too many issues of American Police Beat to know that the paper is no fan of President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder.

But there's something to be said for things like chains of command and general order.

Imagine a patrolman being called to testify before a city council and he or she says the boss can stick his orders in a sack and that the chief is a moron that doesn't know jack-squat about what he's doing. The cop would be fired before he left the building.

But here's what Leonhart told the congress critters about her boss. When asked if DEA agents were demoralized because the President, the Attorney General and the American people seemed to be at odds with the DEA agenda, Leonhart said no. She says that when she gets crazy orders about focusing on pills not pot from her boss the federal workers at the DEA basically ignore them and stick to their own script.

"Actually, it (Obama's order) makes us fight harder," Leonhart replied. This is just another shocking example of the inability of the culture at DEA to keep pace with the larger culture within which they work. The best way to tell that this is the case are the lengths to which anti-marijuana crusaders now have to go to in order to promote their agenda. There are plenty of examples but here are three:

Example #1:When asked during a different congressional hearing, "Is crack worse for a person than marijuana," Leonhart said, "I believe all illegal drugs are bad." Then she was asked if prescription drugs were more addictive than marijuana. "All illegal drugs in Schedule I are addictive," Leonhart testified. The idea that the chief drug warrior in the land either doesn't know or won't say that Oxy could be more addictive than marijuana is nothing short of amazing.

Watch Leonhart testimony on Youtube

Example #2: Leonhart told lawmakers at the most recent hearing that one of the DEA's main concerns regarding decriminalization and legalization is the danger that evolution poses to pets. "There was just an article last week, and it was on pets. It was about the unanticipated or unexpected consequences of this, and how veterinarians now are seeing dogs come in, their pets come in, and being treated because they've been exposed to marijuana," Leonhart told lawmakers.

She was talking about an article in USA Today that indicated two dogs might have died after eating massive amounts of marijuana-laced baked goods. According to that very article, on its own "marijuana itself isn't particularly harmful to dogs," and that dogs typically won't eat marijuana unless it's wrapped in food.

The vets said the dogs died because they ingested so much butter and chocolate, which contains caffeine and is toxic to dogs. So pretending pot is as every bit as addictive as cocaine and hyping the not-really-marijuana related death of two dogs doesn't seem to be "playing," as they say in Hollywood. Well if you can't find real information to make your case there's always fake information.

Example #3: A police chief in Maryland was recently doing his best Michele Leonhart impression testifying before a state Senate panel in opposition to two bills that would legalize marijuana. The chief said he had it on good authority that 37 people died the day marijuana became legal in Colorado.

Shortly thereafter it was pointed out that the statistic was from an article in the Daily Currant- a political parody magazine and website like The Colbert Report and The Onion.

"I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths. I believed the information I obtained was accurate but I now know the story is nothing more than an urban legend," the chief said after the calls started coming in.

Except it wasn't an urban legend. It was a joke. But when desperation sets in and you're swimming against the tide, people will generally reach out for whatever the hell they can get- even if they make themselves or their superiors look foolish in the process.

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Comments (2)Add Comment
Leonhart Antics
written by David Murphy, April 03, 2014
I commend this article and the conclusions herein. She should be reprimanded or dismissed. Plain and Simple. Her agenda is not the DEA agenda as the administration has defined. States are having healthy debates, long congressional and senate testimonies, the public are putting forward their say via voting. The bottom line is that if there are adequate and strict legislation that the states are implementing, they are helping -- not hindering the DEA. These actions actually help police in the enforcement of law and place a lot less burden on our courts and society at large.
Lieutenant Colonel, AUS, (ret.)
written by bill welcher, April 20, 2014
I understand that Director Leonhart's behavior is inappropriate, and her answers are misleading to say the least. However, the tone of the article confuses me. Is it Mr. Nichols' position that decriminalization or legalization of the possession and use of marijuana is a desirable event? I ask this because the article seems to take that position, or at least take the position that those who are not in favor of moving marijuana to the other side of the legal ledger are not very bright. I believe that Director Leonhart has not done a very good job of defending her position, nor has the Maryland police chief. As for following Obama's directive to place more priorities on other drugs instead of marijuana, the president has the option of removing the director for failing to follow his directives if that is his wish. But the chief executive of a city, state, or the country is charged with enforcing the laws, not in making them. Law enforcement agencies are tasked with doing just that: enforcing laws. Just because a law is unpopular does not make it any less of a law. I have spent over 30 years of my life as a police officer and I agree with the director. If Obama wants to run the agency, then he should take that job and get out of the White House. If not, he needs to let her run the agency to the best of her ability and if that doesn't meet his requirement, he can replace her. Simple as that.

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