A New Hard-Liner At The DEA

A New Hard-Liner At The DEA
Posted by CN Staff on July 14, 2003 at 17:49:53 PT
By Jason Vest 
Source: The Nation
Though the Republican Party prides itself on being a champion of state sovereignty, one need only mention phrases like "medical marijuana" or "drug law reform" to see how quickly the Administration of George W. Bush becomes hostile to the notion of the autonomy of states. The latest--and perhaps most egregious--example of this enmity is about to become manifest via a new appointment: that of veteran Justice Department official Karen Tandy, soon to be new chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 
Already approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee after an all but unnoticed, if not, farcical, confirmation hearing late last month, the Administration evidently hopes Tandy's nomination will next clear the full Senate with as little attention or debate as possible. Lost in the shuffle has been any meaningful examination of dubious policy initiatives and prosecutions Tandy has been involved in over the past twenty years. According to drug-reform activists, the nomination of Tandy--a career Justice Department prosecutor and administrator whose most recent assignments have including busting mail-order bong sellers and those involved in Oregon and California's state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs--is a clear signal from the Administration that it will give no quarter on any aspect of marijuana policy. This view is also echoed by veteran defense attorneys who have tangled with Tandy; they marvel at the lack of scrutiny her nomination has received, both in the press and on Capitol Hill. Though nary a critical question or ill word was uttered to Tandy at her hearing, a preliminary Nation investigation has found numerous instances of prosecutorial overzealousness on Tandy's part that don't lend themselves to a rubber-stamp confirmation: § While coordinating the grand jury investigation of major marijuana traffickers Christopher and Robert Reckmeyer in the Eastern District of Virginia in 1984, Tandy and two federal agents were "disqualified and prohibited from directly or indirectly participating" in the investigation by Judge Albert Bryan Jr. because they read documents the court had ruled were protected by attorney-client privilege. On an arcane point of procedure, an appellate court reluctantly reversed Bryan's decision, noting that it was finding for Tandy "with admitted discomfort" that "the government shall have been able to violate both court decrees and adjudicated rights without any accountability in this proceeding." An April 9, 1985, Washington Post article reported that other underhanded Tandy actions in the Reckmeyer case--like waiting only three days before giving defense attorneys over 60,000 pages of critical documents, all unindexed--had made the US Attorney's office an object of scorn to the court and the defense bar. Robert Reckmeyer later revealed in an affidavit that after he agreed to aid the government in exchange for a lesser sentence, Tandy afforded him the highly unusual, if not dubious, privilege of lengthy private visits with his wife and family. "There came a time during my debriefings when Karen Tandy complained to me that I was 'not being cooperative,' " he wrote. "I interpreted this to mean that Ms. Tandy was upset because I was not saying what she wanted me to say. She told me that if I was not 'more cooperative' in the future, she would end my visits with my wife." And even though Tandy's probe turned up no indication that the Reckmeyer brothers' father, William, had been involved in their criminal enterprise, Tandy ordered his property seized as well. "It cost me a lot of money, time and psychic energy in court to get my property back, but I did--the judge implicitly said her witnesses perjured themselves," recalls William Reckmeyer. § While negotiating a 1982 plea agreement in the Eastern District of Virginia with Michael Harvey, a first-time drug offender, Tandy changed the agreement's wording--without informing Harvey, his lawyer or the court of the change--in a way that successfully set Harvey up for another arrest, prosecution and conviction in a South Carolina federal court upon completion of his plea-bargained Virginia sentence. An appeals court later vacated Harvey's second sentence, finding Tandy's actions disingenuous; the plea bargain, the court concluded, was "intended to 'put behind him' all of Harvey's potential liability for all offense 'arising from' the general investigation underway, which everyone involved, including Ms. Tandy, knew included activity in South Carolina that was later charged to Harvey." § According to material submitted to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1988, Tandy failed to turn over exculpatory evidence in the 1987 prosecution for cocaine distribution of Alfredo Arroyo. Though the allegedly withheld materials ultimately proved unnecessary--a jury acquitted Arroyo after concluding that he had been entrapped--defense attorney John Zwerling sent case materials to NACDL's Government Misconduct Committee, asking for advice on what action, if any, might be initiated against Tandy. Failing to receive any guidance from the committee, Zwerling reluctantly let the matter lie. § Despite an overall lack of evidence in a 1994 case against John Wheeler, a North Carolina small-businessman, Tandy ordered Wheeler's business and property seized. "It was an outrageous example of the government both overreaching and overcharging, and quite frankly trying to squeeze a legitimate businessman into saying things that weren't true to further cases against others," says Joshua Treem, Wheeler's attorney. "After two years of litigation, the government dismissed all the charges pending against Johnny. They had no evidence whatsoever. It was so bad that when they submitted the dismissal letter, the judge interlineated on the order, dismissing the charges with prejudice." The Wheeler case and others took place back in the days of the draconian Comprehensive Asset Forfeiture Act [see Eric Blumenson and Eva Nilsen, "The Drug War's Hidden Economic Agenda," March 9, 1998], a Reagan-era initiative that Tandy literally wrote the book on for Justice Department prosecutors. Though some of the more excessive aspects of that law--which radically eroded not only the rights of suspects but of nonsuspects associated with federal investigations--were ameliorated thanks to a late 1990s bipartisan effort spearheaded by Congressman Henry Hyde and signed into law by Bill Clinton, drug-policy observers expect Tandy's DEA to use current asset forfeiture law as expansively as possible. Though much about Tandy's career has gone unexamined (in addition to her Virginia days, she's done stints as a federal prosecutor in Washington State and asset forfeiture chief at Justice), few senators seem interested in her past or future. So far, only Senator Richard Durbin has gone on record as opposed to Tandy's nomination; in response to his written queries, not only did Tandy demonstrat ignorance of kep policy studies but she "didn't back off an inch," as Durbin put it, from the view that the DEA should proceed apace with medical marijuana raids. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein has also expressed misgivings about Tandy, observing that the nominee "doesn't seem amenable to listening" to concerns about federal law enforcement and state-sanctioned medical marijuana. Source: Nation, The (US)Author: Jason Vest Published: July 14, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Nation CompanyContact: letters thenation.comWebsite: Articles:The DEA Turns 30 - AlterNet To Nominate 1st Woman as Drug Czar
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Comment #28 posted by kaptinemo on July 16, 2003 at 03:39:03 PT:
M-O-G, it's good to see you back
We've missed you...and I for one am relieved that you haven't wound up in one of Herr Busch's little 'incidents'. Like most elitists, he spends the lifeblood of our guardians and protectors with nary a thought to their welfare. Good to see you're still breathing...and writing.
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Comment #27 posted by Opa Locka on July 15, 2003 at 23:17:37 PT:
Re: The DEA
Glad to see our beloved president can attack Californians while he's attacking others. I don't give a rat's-ass if she was ordained by "God," as Queen of the Country. Mess with Californians, bring your troops. With all due respect.
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Comment #26 posted by freedom fighter on July 15, 2003 at 22:52:59 PT
The Hell does not know the fury of
a mad woman.. It's really a shame that whatever might will happen down on the road where it's our own people get the burden of this "drug" insanity.It's even worse when this insanity affects world-wide.In my book, nothing is going happen...Except increase of herion coming none other from Afghanistian in U.S.. and there are going be alot of sick people sitting in cages because they choose to smoke pot.pazff
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on July 15, 2003 at 19:39:26 PT
Hi military officer guy
It's good to see you. 
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Comment #24 posted by military officer guy on July 15, 2003 at 19:17:52 PT
awesome kapt...
nice words o wisdom kapt...damn you can write...
haven't posted much and happened to read yours, so thought i'd say hi to all...and a reminder to Sam Adams and all the cannabisnews readers, vote libertarian, or
we are winning this war...
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Comment #23 posted by kaptinemo on July 15, 2003 at 13:51:06 PT:
DEA's - and Tandy's days as it's 'Director'
will be few.E_J has very succinctly put it. La Tandy will HAVE to try to be 'bigger and badder' than the average DEA wonk. But the DEA's own agents know that the bureaucratic knives are out, and the whetstones are being oiled. They've lost *scads and scads* of agents to attrition, retirement, and transfers. DEA will cease to exist shortly...though, sadly, not before this apparent harridan exacts her own pound of flesh.But it should surprise no one that her very first act as 'Director' (anyone who has spent time working for Uncle knows that the 'Annointed and Appointed' are nothing more than window dressing, and that the career bureaucrats are the real seat of power) was to launch a devastating attack...on bongs.Obviously, bongs don't shoot back. Nor do sick and dying people using cannabis for their relief.Given the DEA's propensity for waging losing propaganda wars in the face of such PR disasters as the WAMM raid, Tandy must blindly, arrogantly believe that with Herculean effort she can turn things around enough to give her agency a budgetary reprieve from the chopping block. So, what does she do? Attack glassblowers. And now she threatens to continue the idiotic assault upon the Sick and Dying.Normally, I'd abstain from handing a magazine full of ammo to a fool who's emptied her weapon. But since it's only her feet she's shooting at, I say "Here's a Ma-Deuce ammo box full, honey!"As regimes become more hidebound and entrenched, they become increasingly unresponsive to logic and persuasion. Even worse, they try to silence dissent with even more repressions, not realizing that only ratchets up the potential for truly embarrassing public moments. Ms. Tandy's cowardly flight from an MS patient in a wheelchair is a perfect example. A few more like that, and Ms. Tandy may follow Mr. Hutchinson into bureaucratic oblivion.Oh, one more thing: it might be a good idea to write to the Tandy Corporation and inform them of what you think of someone who looses the Feds on sick folks in wheelchairs and handcuffs paraplegics. And inform The Tandy Corporation that you'll never buy ANYTHING from Radio Shack, ever again. I built my own ham radio rigs from trash parts when I was little; if I need to build something again, I'll go to Honest John's TV down the street for my stuff. Damn me if I'll put another quarter in that shrew's pocket...
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Comment #22 posted by Jose Melendez on July 15, 2003 at 10:29:02 PT
Maybe we need a million marijuana...
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Comment #21 posted by E_Johnson on July 15, 2003 at 10:16:18 PT
The omens say -- Expect the worse
Republicans are not feminists. They associate men with power, without question. When they give a top government job to a woman, it could have a hidden meaning.It could very well mean that they see this job as a second rate job, or one that is intended to have less power.For example consider Christie Todd Whitman at the EPA. The EPA is clearly not an agency that Bush wanted to be powerful in his tribe. He appeased women Republicans AND reduced the overall power of the EPA in Republican Washington at the same time by giving the job to her. The reputation of the DEA in Washington is going down the drain. Perfect timing to hand the job over to a woman? I wonder...She's probably going to be a real social menace once she gets settled in.First off, she's going to be carrying a lot of anger and repression from being a woman in the rough and tough drug task force world, and having to be even tougher and nastier than the men around her to suceed.It looks from her career that this was her strategy for advancement, to prove she's not a weak sympathetic woman, by being meaner than any man in the business. She's probably going into this job thinking, "I'll show those men how to fight a drug war!!" Second, she's probably going into the job knowing that this is the last chance the agency has to show results before it loses all political power in Washington. Third, it could be that they are hiring Tandy because the top men available for the job are losing their fervor for the battle and looking to establish careers in a more secure agency -- like Homeland Security, where Asa Hutchinson is now.She's going to fight hard, and mean, and nasty, to get out of this sinking agency with her career still alive.
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Comment #20 posted by paulpeterson on July 15, 2003 at 09:31:53 PT
Why don't people in California file ethical charges against the federal prosecutors for violating state law (since the California Supreme Court runs the ethical police?). Remember that the California Supreme Court has clearly supported the rights of MM patients to an "affirmative defense" based upon Proposition 215.Those ethical persons would just LOVE to get at people like Tandy for so ruthlessly quashing the will of the sovereign people of the State of California.Why don't I do it? Because I live in Illinois, where the Illinois Supreme Court and it's lawyer police squad have specifically MADE A COMPACT WITH THE FBI to protect an FBI mole that needed to lie about his identity in documents filed in court (lawyers are not supposed to lie in court documents-some people call that PERJURY).Because when I tried to stop fraud, perjury & mail fraud done by the Illinois Supreme Court (their agency people, the lawyer police), I tried to enlist the support and aid of the FBI & the DOJ in merely "investigating" these things. Now I am waiting for a federal judge to FORCE THE FBI TO INVESTIGATE the lawyer police, remember the same ones that have promised safe harbor for the FBI goon (that was promised safe harbor whilst he lied in court documents!)Because, you see, because I advocated nothing more than to use Illinois' own MM law (for anxiety/depression/ADD) and to stop frauds, etc., THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT MERELY RUBBER-STAMPED the ARDC's attempt to discredit me so that no one would listen to my claims of privilege and governmental fraud. (ie: I've got my hands full in this Al Capone bang-bang, shoot-em-up rat-ta-tat-tat kind of rigid, mafia styled autocratic repressive regime, where not new ideas have any chance, even if the new idea actually is a statute passed in 1971! -720 ILCS 550, sections 11 & 15).In other words, if you want to try this at home, make sure the state ethical police are not in bed with the FBI first, OK? (Remember, California looks good, Oregon prosecutors have refused to be involved in any STINGS because of their fear of state ethical police action, according to the federal law which requires fed laywers to abide by the lawyer police in a state (the McDade law).And report back to me as to the results (that is an order soldier). END OF TRANSMISSION.PS: Illinois' Senator Dick Durbin has just come out fighting on behalf of medical marijuana issues. It is rumored that he would consider running for president. Please note that last week he sponsored a resolution in the Senate calling for a full investigation of the URANIUMGATE matter that we all hope tweeks the nasal sensitivities of Mr. Bush. Two years ago I lobbied Durbin by letter, making specific reference to the 1999 Institute of Medicine report.
Last week he actually ENTERED THAT REPORT INTO THE SENATE RECORD (along with the New England Journal of Medicine report he also entered).That means, for the first time ever, the 1999 IM report will likely be the subject of debates in the UNITED STATES SENATE! This promises to increase knowledge and exposure in the marketplace of ideas we call the media.Kudos to Dick Durbin for his courageous stand in committee! I've watched the local press and spoke with his office. NO LOCAL NEWS AT ALL ABOUT MM AND HIS PIVOTAL INPUT. His own office was amazed that there is such a blackout in Chicago about things such as this!Signing out, somewhere in Illinois. PAUL
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Comment #19 posted by Sam Adams on July 15, 2003 at 07:41:17 PT
I agree!
I am eager to vote for Nader again. Bring on these Republican cretins again and again until people WAKE UP.
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Comment #18 posted by BigDawg on July 15, 2003 at 05:36:30 PT
As much as I won't like it while it happens...
I think this new DEA leader is just what we need. She will take the DEA to new heights of rediculousness... really bringing on the heat.Getting worse means it will be in the public spotlight and HAVE to be fixed.
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Comment #17 posted by cloud7 on July 15, 2003 at 04:37:37 PT
Terrorists in Canada
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Comment #16 posted by cloud7 on July 15, 2003 at 04:36:32 PT
Fox News
I dont think I need to state the irony and implications of this news from the website:"Study: Canada a Potential Terrorist Haven""TORONTO — Toronto (search) is home to one of the largest Islamic communities in North America and is widely regarded as one of the world's most ethnically diverse cities.But critics charge this tolerant and open society has also created an opening for terrorists who have their sights trained across the border at the United States. "Al Qaeda (search) is here," said John Thompson, of the Mackenzie Institute (search), a Toronto-based think tank."
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Comment #15 posted by Kegan on July 15, 2003 at 03:23:13 PT
This is good news
So now this psycho is going to arrest everyone everywhere, and drw all kinds of fire.This is terrific! If they put in a REASONABLE person, it might make the DEA look reasonable.One more look at how out-of-touch with reality Bush's people are.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on July 14, 2003 at 22:27:41 PT:
Entrust MMJ to the 'Laboratory' of the States
"Attorney General John Ashcroft used a similar tactic last year in an unsuccessful attempt to undermine Oregon's law allowing physician-assisted suicide. He maintained that a doctor's lethal prescription to a terminally ill patient violated the federal Controlled Substances Act's requirement that drugs be used for a 'legitimate medical purpose.' In a majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the task of safeguarding 'liberty interests' associated with that issue should be entrusted to the 'laboratory' of the states. The same can be said of states that allow physicians to prescribe the use of medical marijuana to relieve their patients' pain from AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and other illnesses. Those benefits were confirmed in a 1999 study by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, commissioned by then-President Clinton."
--US HI: Editorial: Court Should Protect Marijuana Prescriptions 14 Jul 2003 
Honolulu Star-Bulletin"We don’t put our doctors in charge of stopping violent crimes. The police, prosecutors, and prison guards should not be in charge of which herbal therapies people may use to treat their personal health problems."
- Jack Herer, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" -ego transcendence follows ego destruction, we are all strands in the web of life, whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.
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Comment #13 posted by E_Johnson on July 14, 2003 at 22:11:18 PT
This is my theory on KT
When you're the only woman working in a rugged male-dominated field like law enforcement, if you aren't meaner and nastier than the men around you, you just might end up leaving the profession quite soon, for your own health.I can only imagine what kind of nasty hazing she's put up with to stay the course in a career in the DEA.In Canada a male RCMP sued for sexual harassment and assault because the DEA members of a drug task force tried to haze him into the task force by forced sexual attention, tying him up and humiliating him by rubbing their naked testicles in his face.I think women cops can end up being way worse than the men when the hazing and abuse aspects of the job drive away the women who are psychologically normal.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on July 14, 2003 at 22:03:20 PT
Victorian days
Isn't it interesting that in 1917 birth control was illegal but cannabis was available to all?  I don't think this is a coincidence at all. This supports my theory that the War on Drugs was launched to compensate for other "levers of control" that are now lost to the right wing (i.e., rich old men).One by one we took away the bad laws on segregation, child labor, sexism, racial discrimination, gay sex, domestic abuse, unions, welfare. Well, Dick Nixon was going to change all that, goddamn it. Look who they went after with the WOD: hippies, blacks, hispanics and the poor. 
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on July 14, 2003 at 21:51:19 PT:
Two Great Americans Speak
"The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense - the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy."
- William F. Buckley -"I cannot help feeling that what we are now doing in the name of the drug problem is the drug problem."
- Dr Andrew Weil - ego transcendence follows ego destruction, a kinder, gentler America, it's more than just words, faith without works is dead.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on July 14, 2003 at 20:19:45 PT
Women Scare Me!
I'm kidding but I'm not. Dealing with a man in a difficult situation can be much easier then dealing with another woman. I'm not insulting my sex just saying how I see it. 
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Comment #9 posted by ekim on July 14, 2003 at 20:11:47 PT
like vi-ag-ra being paid for by ins 
and the pill not. what about the doc't not telling one about counterceptive that will work up to five days after, but no mention in hospitals. --with all this heavy liften being done by the gals, i would ask everyone to think a good thought about this dea appointment. with Canada making a truly sismicshift to public thinking only the truth will sufice.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 14, 2003 at 20:06:04 PT
Just a Comment
She is very scary. I saw her on the news after the raids on the pipe shops. I'm having one of those times when what I want to type isn't very nice so I won't say anything.
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Comment #7 posted by E_Johnson on July 14, 2003 at 19:46:56 PT
I think she should be disbarred
"§ According to material submitted to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1988, Tandy failed to turn over exculpatory evidence in the 1987 prosecution for cocaine distribution of Alfredo Arroyo.
"Exculpatory evidence means evidence that proves the accused is innocent.She's absolutely amoral, and she's not very smart about it either.If she gets to command the DEA, she's going to go drunk with power and make huge mistakes that will give the agency even more media scrutiny than before.
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on July 14, 2003 at 19:42:59 PT
definitely stalinesque
State 'sovereingty' as long as it conicides with the Republican dogma. If not, off to the gulag. neoconned
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 14, 2003 at 19:31:39 PT
Yes It Does
I'm not sure if we both see the same things in the article but it made me think how what is an absolute might not be the way it should be. People who think outside the box are the ones who help bring change. With change comes problems but that has always been the way things evolve. I hope this makes sense.
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on July 14, 2003 at 19:26:06 PT
Doesn't this sound familiar?
"Appeal of Sanger's clinic conviction also established a medical exception to New York law. Doctors--though not nurses, as she had hoped--were granted the right to prescribe contraception for health reasons. Under that constraint, Sanger built what became the modern family-planning movement, with independent, free-standing facilities as the model for distribution of services to women without private healthcare, a development that occurred largely in spite of American medical leaders, who remained shy of the subject for many years and did not formally endorse birth control until 1937, well after her clinics had demonstrated its efficacy.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on July 14, 2003 at 19:05:40 PT
EJ One More Thing
That article reminded me of so many different issues. I'm still thinking about it. It really was very interesting. Thanks again.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 14, 2003 at 18:33:44 PT
Thanks EJ
That was interesting to read. 
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on July 14, 2003 at 18:09:59 PT
This article is interesting too
This article at the same site is not about marijuana but is about the kind of activist struggle we are in now:
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