The May 30 In the Loop column, “An off-the-radar White House lunch — until a tweet spilled the beans,” quoted Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) as saying on the House floor that Michele Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, is a “terrible” agency head. It also highlighted how Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) rose to Ms. Leonhart’s defense and commended her for 30 years of service to the agency.
As the administrator of the DEA from 1976 to 1981, under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, I am very familiar with the position and Ms. Leonhart; I swore her in as a special agent.
Ms. Leonhart was selected as the “outstanding agent” in her 1980 class. I have watched her rise in the ranks since, and she has excelled at every assignment. Under her leadership, the Colombian cartels have been disbanded, the biggest and most dangerous drug traffickers have been captured, prescription drug abuse has been confronted, cocaine availability has been curtailed and working relationships with state, local and foreign law enforcement have never been better.
Mr. Polis’s personal attack on Ms. Leonhart has nothing to do with her stewardship of the DEA. It probably has everything to do with her dedication to support science and the documented dangers and consequences of marijuana, which follows her duty as administrator to follow the law. Mr. Polis was out of line. The House deserves better. So does the public, and so does Ms. Leonhart.
Peter Bensinger, Chicago