Drug Enforcement Administration agents were having “sex parties” with prostitutes paid for by local drug cartels as early as 2001, according to an internal report provided to a congressional committee.
This news comes weeks after the Justice Department released a report saying that 10 DEA agents working in Colombia attended such parties in recent years, many of them taking place at residences leased by the governments. That Justice Department report focused on cases from 2009 to 2012 and also discussed complaints dating back to 2005.
This latest internal report was one of dozens provided to a congressional committee recently, and it portrays DEA agents as “out of control,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said at a hearing Tuesday morning.
“This new internal report describes not one or two isolated incidents, but literally dozens of parties with prostitutes at which DEA agents used government funds and government offices,” Cummings said.
Excerpts of the new report were released by the committee, it said in a summary posted Tuesday, because the DEA said that releasing the entire redacted report could expose the names of witnesses and victims.
The committee also detailed the punishments meted out to the agents, who were suspended for several days over the episodes, resulting in an “unacceptable” lack of accountability, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Tuesday.
The recent reports involving the DEA follow an investigation into a 2012 episode involving Secret Service agents and prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia. On Friday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sent a memo to the entire Justice Department reminding them not to solicit prostitutes.
Michele Leonhart, the DEA administrator, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she was disgusted by the behavior described in the report.
This activity “has not and will not be tolerated,” Leonhart said in her opening statement Tuesday morning at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
She also said she did not question the details outlined in the redacted internal report, which included allegations of repeated parties with prostitutes and a farewell party with prostitutes that used money from an operational budget. In addition, the internal reports outline the punishments for the agents involved; the most severe recommended punishments were two-week suspensions, but no agent was suspended for more than 10 days.
“It is deplorable behavior by these agents,” Leonhart said.