- The Washington Times - Friday, September 11, 2009


Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat, is correct in arguing that corruption fueled by heroin proceeds must be confronted in order for our military to be effective in Afghanistan (“It’s the corruption, stupid!” Opinion, Thursday). In addition, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has well stated the need for an emphasis on joint civilian-military efforts to improve governance. The problem, however, is that the agency that should take the lead in investigating narcotics-driven corruption — the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — has abdicated its responsibility.

DEA’s policy is to conduct financial investigations as drug cases, focusing on the physical movement of drug proceeds by couriers or wire transfers through bank accounts. This is the front end of a drug-related financial investigation. However, to investigate narcotics-fueled corruption requires the ability to summarize large amounts of financial information quickly, from both informants and documents, showing that a trafficker or corrupt politician acquired more assets and spent more money than he acquired legally. This is coming into the financial investigation from the back end, which is what DEA lacks the ability and willingness to do. As a result, traffickers and corrupt politicians get rich, and soldiers and Marines die.

We will know success when we see constant large seizures of assets and cash in Afghanistan.


Former supervisory special agent

Drug Enforcement Administration


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