Asa: DEA Report Not That Bad 

  Asa: DEA Report Not That Bad 

Posted by CN Staff on February 07, 2003 at 09:45:39 PT
By Alison Vekshin, Stephens Washington Bureau 
Source: Southwest Times-Record  

Washington -- The White House said in a report this week the Drug Enforcement Administration, headed until recently by Arkansan Asa Hutchinson, is unable to measure whether it’s doing a good job in combating illegal narcotics.Part of a government wide performance assessment, the White House Office of Management and Budget concluded the counternarcotics agency “is unable to demonstrate its progress in reducing the availability of illegal drugs in the U.S.”
DEA managers are not held accountable for achieving results and the agency’s goals lack specifics, the report said. It concluded the agency needs to come up with new ways to measure its effectiveness. Hutchinson dismissed the report, which was released Monday as part of the federal budget. He said he did not view the assessment as critical of his leadership.“I don’t see it as a bad report card,” he said. “I see it as an inconclusive judgment on their part.“The report reflects not that there’s been a lack of success, but that we have been unable to measure to their satisfaction the level of effectiveness,” Hutchinson said.Hutchinson said the DEA measures itself in part through drug-use trends, the availability of drugs, and the price and purity of drugs. “I would refer to our independent auditors for DEA, who have given a clean audit for our management and our financial integrity,” Hutchinson said.DEA critics jumped on the report, however, saying it exposed the agency’s weaknesses.“The report was pretty clear in that it indicated that this rather large, well-established bureaucracy doesn’t appear to be delivering a very good bang for the taxpayer buck,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the NORML Foundation, a marijuana advocacy group. “There is no data supporting that any of their efforts have had discernible success.”Hutchinson, a former Fort Smith congressman, was sworn in last week as undersecretary for border and transportation security in the new Department of Homeland Security after serving as DEA administrator since August 2001.In an interview, Hutchinson acknowledged a disagreement between the OMB and the DEA over how the agency’s progress is measured in reducing drug use. “What OMB wants to be demonstrated is that there is some tie from our drug seizures and arrests to reducing drug availability in the United States,” Hutchinson said. “The question is how to measure this fairly and accurately.”Trent Duffy, an OMB spokesman, called the debate a “healthy outcome.” He said the DEA evaluation is not an indication of its performance but rather a conclusion that there are not enough performance measures in place. “All it means is that the DEA is not able to demonstrate its progress,” Duffy said. “The DEA could be outstanding or not, but there was not enough measurement in place to make a determination.” The Bush administration introduced the assessment process in August 2001 and applied it for the first time this year. The OMB evaluates a program’s purpose, design, planning, management, results and accountability to determine its effectiveness, a process used to help White House officials make budget decisions.Of the 234 programs reviewed, more than half — including the DEA — received a rating of “results not demonstrated.”“The assessment tool is designed for grade inflation,” Duffy said. “If everybody got As, I don’t think everyone in America would think the federal agencies are performing at the highest level.”Will Glaspy, a DEA spokesman, said the two agencies are collaborating on establishing a set of criteria to measure progress.“It’s a case of us needing to better define our successes,” Glaspy said.President Bush proposed $1.559 billion in funding for the agency in his fiscal 2004 budget blueprint. The 0.8 percent increase over the 2003 budget estimate represents the smallest proposed rise for the DEA since 1988, according to Glaspy. “The budget simply reflects the tight budget circumstances of the government and the fact that terrorism is the No. 1 focus, appropriately so, of this administration,” Hutchinson said. Source: Southwest Times-Record (AR)Author: Alison Vekshin, Washington Bureau Published: Friday, February 7, 2003  Copyright: 2003 The Donrey Media GroupContact: letters swtimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:NORML Report Stings Drug Agency on Abilities Group Responds To US Drug Policy NORML Archives

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Comment #5 posted by mayan on February 07, 2003 at 17:23:30 PT
Has long since made an ASSA of himself. He knew what was coming & was placed as #2 at the Homeland Security Department. A system that rewards failure is doomed to collapse. On another note, it looks like we're under "code orange" now. Maybe it's to distract from the plagiarized dossier the British Government released! Powell described the dossier as a "fine paper" in his U.N. presentation! OOPS!!!BOOGA-BOOGA!!!UK accused of lifting dossier text:
 British officials admit to plagiarising "intelligence" dossier:,3367,1429_W_774039,00.htmlBritish government red-faced over plagiarized Iraqi dossier:
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Comment #4 posted by Celephais on February 07, 2003 at 12:12:49 PT
Wahoo for Karma! Down with the drug warriors!
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Comment #3 posted by malleus2 on February 07, 2003 at 12:01:47 PT
It means they are about to get swallowed up
By the FBI, no less. The goons on DEAWatch are quaking in their wingtips about maybe getting dumped out on their bums by non-unionable workers and being left with no income.Like the millions of otherwise decent law-abiding people whose lives they have so savagely (and with so much evident relish) destroyed. Those at Valery Corral's WAMM may have been dying anyway, but the DEA hastened that with their raid, and caused incredible hardship to the remaining victims. Their off-handed cruelty may now be visited upon themselves as payment for the evil they have done in the form of unemployment while middle aged during a lousy economy.May they 'benefit' from the experience thay have terrorized so many of their victims with.
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on February 07, 2003 at 11:17:36 PT
DEA's bad evaluation
In the bureaucartic world an evaluation report that doesn't praise is a slam. This highly critical report is a "major slam". They didn't get a big budget boost this year either. Asa, their leader, must have know this was coming and left the agency in a hurry for another job.What do you this evaluation means?  
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Comment #1 posted by delariand on February 07, 2003 at 11:02:42 PT

Is it just me?
Or is Asa's position that the report does not indicate that they're doing a bad job and need to improve, but it indicates they need to get better at manipulating the data so it looks like their doing good work?He keeps mentioning that the problem is they aren't measuring success properly... I take this to mean they need to change their method of measurement so it looks positive in their favor.How could anyone believe these people aren't full of absolute shite?
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