1.We already have a federal law enforcement agency that embarrasses us overseas.

We call it the Secret Service. Granted, the Secret Service agents paid for their own prostitutes (eventually) and did not expect those they were protecting against to pick up the tab:

Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels overseas over a period of several years, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s watchdog.

2.The federal government is fully prepared to ignore science without relying on the DEA to show it the way.As an example, look at the Environment Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee of Science, Space, and Technology which passed out of committee legislation to take money away from NOAA’s climate change research and spend it on tornado detection instead. Because tornadoes have nothing to do with the climate or how it might be changing, and even if they did, we don’t want to spend any money trying to find out.

Or the Senate in January 2015:

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 98-1 to approve a resolution stating that “it is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.” Then, about 15 minutes later, the Senate rejected a second resolution that said climate change is real and caused by humans.

chemical lab bench

Where science is made

The DEA operates in a bubble of unscientific impermeable plexiglass. Because it wants to.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is charged with enforcing federal drug laws. Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, its powers include the authority to schedule drugs (alongside other federal agencies) and to license facilities for the production and use of scheduled drugs in federally-approved research. Those powers are circumscribed by a statute that requires the agency to make its determinations based on scientific data.[…]

The DEA has argued for decades that there is insufficient evidence to support rescheduling marijuana or the medical use of marijuana. At the same time, it has – along with the National Institute on Drug Abuse – acted in a manner intended to systematically impede scientific research. Through the use of such tactics, the DEA has consistently demonstrated that it is more interested in maintaining existing drug laws than in making important drug control decisions based on scientific evidence.

DEA Museum Exhibits

attribution: Screengrab DEA.gov
Where science is not made

You would think that within a pool of 2,711,000 non-military federal employees we would be able to find a single scientist, with some knowledge of medicine, like I don’t know, maybe a Surgeon General, to evaluate the medical viability of a plant like cannabis, instead of trusting the decision to an agency whose existence depends on its continuing illegality. The DEA, through the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Food and Drug Administration, has placed a stranglehold on the supply of legally available marijuana for research purposes. And the lack of scientific research showing the medical benefits of marijuana is the reason that it is still a Schedule I drug. That, and the DEAs unscientific claims about the abuse potential of cannabis.3. Our jails are already full.

If the federal government decides that we really do need to funnel more tax dollars into the pockets of the private prison industry, there is always the Border Patrol, which will work hard to fill them.

The war on drugs has seen our prison population explode over the past 30 years, from 300,000 to almost 2.5 million. There are 1.5 million black men missing from daily life in the United States, with the drug war being the prime reason for their absence. We currently lead the world in imprisoning our own people. Someday our grandchildren will read about this in their history books and feel as ashamed as we felt when we learned of the Japanese-Americans who were sent to internment camps during World War II.

4. The CIA already kills enough bystanders on foreign soil.

As we saw, once again, last week:

Blaming the “fog of war,” President Barack Obama revealed Thursday that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan inadvertently killed an American and an Italian, two hostages held by al-Qaida, as well as two other Americans who had leadership roles with the terror network.Obama somberly said he took full responsibility for the January CIA strikes and regretted the deaths of hostages Warren Weinstein of Rockville, Maryland, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker. The president cast the incident as a tragic consequence of the special difficulties of the fight against terrorists.

They do not require the assistance of the DEA operating in Honduras.

On May 11, 2012, four Afro-Indigenous villagers, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed during the course of a drug interdiction raid in Ahuas, Honduras.  Three others were seriously wounded.   At least ten U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents participated in the mission as members of a Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a DEA unit first created in 2005 in Afghanistan.  According to the New York Times, Honduran police agents that were part of the May 11 operation “told government investigators that they took their orders from the D.E.A.”

5. The NSA already spies on Americans.Though the agency claims that the program has been suspended since September 2013, after the Snowdon revelations, the DEA was spying on us long before it was cool.

For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America.

It is past time to stop treating drugs as if they posed a moral problem instead of a medical issue. It is not enough to have the insubordinate head of the DEA step down, we need a complete overhaul of the agency, its management and its mission.