Media Grass Fires Face DEA Chief

Media Grass Fires Face DEA Chief
Posted by FoM on August 26, 2001 at 10:21:12 PT
By Oliver North
Source: Washington Times
Former federal prosecutor, three-term Arkansas congressman, and Clinton nemesis, Asa Hutchinson, took over the beleaguered Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last week. The so-called mainstream media was there. But you wouldn't know it from their coverage.   Instead of focusing on the new administrator's recognition of the challenges his 4,561 special agents face in stemming the tide of illegal drugs flowing through American cities, the potentates of the press decided the "big story" was Mr. Hutchinson's intent to enforce federal laws against the use of "medical marijuana."
"DEA head backs medical marijuana ban." screamed the Associated Press headline. The Washington Post trumpeted, "DEA chief tough on medical marijuana," as though the man who had presented the case against Bill Clinton was a heartless dog kicker.   Mr. Hutchinson acknowledged that, despite ordinances permitting marijuana to be grown and dispensed as medicine in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Washington, it's still "a violation of federal law" that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld and made a federal enforcement responsibility. Responding to reporters' questions, he emphasized his support of local drug courts, treatment and rehabilitation rather than incarceration for first-time offenders. But that was lost in the clucking of the press who were more concerned with whether or not grandma could still get a toke to treat her Alzheimer's. Instead of taking "pot shots" at the new DEA chief over "healthful hash," the paragons of the press should have probed him on how he intends to staunch the flow of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine into the United States from south of our border.   Strangely, the same editors, producers and news directors who couldn't get enough Latin American footage in the 1980s, have now forgotten the region's existence. Back then, in the salad days of Marxist revolutionaries running rampant through the capitals of our southern neighbors, the press was fascinated by the Reagan administration's efforts to prevent communism from establishing a toehold on the mainland of this hemisphere. With great glee, newspapers and TV networks dispatched hoards of reporters to cover our efforts to stem what CIA Director Bill Casey called "the red tide." But now -- when the threat to U.S. citizens comes from well-financed, highly armed narco-terrorists who threaten the stability of whole countries -- no one is asking questions of the man who has to lead the fight.   He faces a formidable challenge. With a $1.5 billion budget, and only 9,132 employees, the DEA administrator is responsible for building alliances in what the media describes as "a war we are losing." Hobbled by the Clinton administration's refusal to negotiate with Panama for surveillance and intelligence collection sites in 1999, Mr. Hutchinson must now contend with highly sophisticated Colombian drug traffickers and what outnumbered, outgunned DEA agents call "a labyrinth of smuggling routes throughout the Caribbean, the Bahaman Islands chain and South Florida."   At his swearing-in ceremony, the press asked Mr. Hutchinson to respond to past DEA gaffes -- like the failure to adequately supervise paid informants. But in the great scheme of things, that's the least in a long legacy of past policy catastrophes that he inherits.   Colombian President Andres Pastrana was whipsawed for years by Clinton officials who urged him, on the one hand, to fight back against the narco-guerrillas who ravaged his country and to appease them with a Mideast-like "land for peace" deal, on the other hand. As a result, the second oldest democracy in this hemisphere is in pieces -- with tens of thousands of square miles ceded to the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) and right-wing paramilitaries who are a law unto themselves.   With more than 40,000 Colombians dead in drug-related violence, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- a big fan of Fidel Castro and Nicaragua's drug-dealing Daniel Ortega -- complains that counter-narcotics operations by U.S.-trained Colombian army and national police units -- supported by $1.3 billion in U.S. aid -- are "driving traffickers across the border." Apparently Mr. Chavez and his champions in the U.S. media have forgotten that for more than two years he has been offering sanctuary to FARC and ELN terrorists he describes as lawful "belligerents."   Meanwhile, on the eve of Mr. Hutchinson's swearing in, the Colombian army announced that it had apprehended three Irish Republican Army terrorists en route to Paris after spending five weeks in Colombia training FARC guerrillas to build car bombs "and other unconventional weapons." According to Cuba's Foreign Ministry, one of the men, Niall Connolly, had lived in Fidel's island paradise as the Latin American representative for Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA. Apparently, none of the reporters questioning Mr. Hutchinson thought to query the new DEA head about the IRA-FARC-Cuba connection.   Maybe the members of our Fourth Estate just don't get it. But one who does is Gen. Rosso Jose Serrano, the now-retired Colombian cop who destroyed the Medillin and Cali drug cartels. Just before he returned to Colombia last week, I asked Gen. Serrano what he thought of Mr. Hutchinson's appointment as the head of DEA. "I know him and I trust him. With his help, we can win. He's a strong man," the general said. But unfortunately, that strong man isn't a part of the State Department's delegation to Colombia this week to hold three days of talks on combating the FARC, ELN and the drug traffickers. He should be. And the press should ask why he isn't.Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist.Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Oliver NorthPublished: August 26, 2001Copyright: 2001 News World Communications, Inc.Contact: letters washingtontimes.comWebsite: Articles:A Debatable War on Drugs - David S. Broder Head Can Lead in a New Direction or Fail Chief Tough on Medical Marijuana
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Comment #7 posted by Cajun01 on August 29, 2001 at 07:56:03 PT
The Problem Is....
...that so many resources are being used to interdict marijuana, that not many are available to look for the drugs that you can't smell, like coke, heroin, speed, etc..Like they could stop it if they tried. And even if they did, people would just find something else that works.
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Comment #6 posted by dddd on August 26, 2001 at 23:46:25 PT
bad and good
....Yes,,it's true,Ollie North is a glaring smudge in the annalsof historical coverup shams and scams,,,which makes it beyondthe hypocritally strange,for him to be delving into the realm ofquestionable media coverage and such,,,,,,,,,butchya gotta admit,,,it's rather encouraging to see him come out with this mild critiquein the Times.>" the potentates of the press decided the "big story" was Mr. Hutchinson's intent to enforce federal laws  against the use of "medical marijuana." For Ollie to point this out,is a good thing,,,and I like his term;"the potentates of the press".!If anyone was hep to such media "potentates",Ollie would be oneof them......Aint nuthin that good about Ollies deceptive ass,,but Igotta give him a few,reluctantly bestowed points,,,for attemptingto stir the pot,(no pun intended).dddd
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Comment #5 posted by Dankhank on August 26, 2001 at 13:42:25 PT:
Hey all, here is a good take on how this hateful idiot thinks about the will of the people.
a little activism
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Comment #4 posted by ras james rsifwh on August 26, 2001 at 13:25:01 PT
D. E. Asa & Collie Drug Cartel 
"It takes a crook to catch a crook."
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Comment #3 posted by E. Johnson on August 26, 2001 at 13:10:57 PT
Spoken like a true felon
Hey Ollie, why don't you go bake a chocolate cake for some extremist Iranian cleric?Whattsa matter, forgot the recipe?Can't remember ever making one?Can't remember ever having a conversation about one?What a moral role model for America! 
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Comment #2 posted by whataboutmena? on August 26, 2001 at 11:07:26 PT
Ollie steppin' up to the plate for his accomplice
Funny to see Ollie North, who brought so much coke into the U.S., much of it coming into Mena Arkansas on Asa Hutchinson's watch as the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas, complaining. Ollie got off scott-free. But then, there is no justice in the war on drugs, yet.
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Comment #1 posted by Robbie on August 26, 2001 at 11:03:38 PT
That's right, Ollie. Stem the flow of drugs coming into the country, UNLESS it's used to pay for your support of the Contras.The fact is, that "left-wing liberal" media is simply as complicit as your buddy Assa in ignoring the realities of the drug war, so that the trumpet call of "moral superiority" can be rung by vapid, vacuous pundits like yourself.By the way, didn't North get into trouble? Why do criminals become famous and lauded in this country and others? People like Ollie North are the whole reason that prisons were built, but, strangely enough, Ollie isn't in one.
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