Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation John Pistole is being vetted to head the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tickle the Wire reports. The federal law enforcement blog said Pistole now appears to be the frontrunner.
The Bureau is the big-foot of law enforcement agencies, often muscling out agents from smaller agencies like the DEA on hot cases. Retired DEA agent William Coonce wrote in a recent Tickle the Wire column: “To consider a current FBI official is an insult to ever DEA agent either on duty or retired.” Still, Coonce conceded that agents widely consider the DEA’s best administrator ever to have been former FBI agent John “Jack” Lawn, who ran the agency from 1985 to 1990.
During the Clinton Administration, the Justice Department considered folding the DEA into the FBI, but the plan was abandoned. Both the DEA and FBI are agencies under the Justice Department.
Who else has been interviewed for the job? According to Tickle the Wire, Boyd M. Johnson III, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York with experience prosecuting drug cases, made the cut. Johnson headed the public corruption unit that brought charges in the prostitution ring whose customers included then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York. New U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in the SDNY recently promoted Johnson to Deputy U.S. Attorney.
Other candidates who’ve gotten interviews are former San Diego U.S. Attorney Greg A. Vega and Michele Leonhart, the DEA’s acting chief, Tickle the Wire reports. Read the Tickle the Wire story here.