Copyright (c) 1996 The American Law Enforcement Electronic Library
DEA SAC MEETING ENDS ABRUPTLY OVER CONSTANTINE CONFIDENCE SURVEY
Dismissed by Janet Reno's chief mouthpiece Carl Stern as"the kind of stuff found on bath room walls", the Drug Enforcement Administration Confidence Survey being circulated throughout every DEA office worldwide on the job performance of DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine could not have impacted more seriously on the minds of the DEA's most senior drug-fighters in a special meeting held today in the nation's capitol.
Every regional SAC (Special Agent-in-Charge), noticeably minus one, attended today's dramatically brief meeting set to evaluate and plan the Clinton Administration's election year war on drugs and domestic problems seriously affecting Agent and employee morale as well as operational effectiveness.
Never in the history of SAC meetings has one of DEA's most experienced commanders been excluded from attending DEA's most important strategy conferences. An equivalent comparison could be drawn if a Catholic Bishop, unjustly fallen in disfavor of the Pope, was injurisdictionally ordered not to attend a Council of Bishops conference.
It is reported that Newark, NJ, SAC John Coleman's absence was ordered by Thomas Constantine -- against the protests of Deputy DEA Administrator Stephen Greene and DEA Chief Counsel Dennis Hoffman. The reason for Constantine's demand that SAC Coleman not attend today's SAC meeting is said to have been due to SAC Coleman's recently expressed concerns to the DEA's OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) that "waste, fraud and abuse" were plaguing DEA productivity and mission success in unprecedented proportions. Mr. Constantine's reaction to SAC Coleman's report was typical, Mitsubishi-type corporate hostility and rejection. During the meeting Constantine reportedly called SAC Coleman "unfit" to hold his present job assignment. It should be noted in this report that...
1) SAC Coleman has served in some of the most challenging DEA posts including the highly trusted position of Special Agent-in- Charge of Training under two previous DEA Administrators; and,
2) All SAC's are periodically required to voice any concerns they might have by way of the DEA's Standards of Conduct report. Bottom-line, one of DEA's most respected professionals was being ostracized by Constantine for speaking what he clearly and coherently believed to be the Truth.
Constantine's apparent retaliation against SAC Coleman, obviously for the purpose of coercing Coleman's fellow SAC's from filing reports expressing growing Agent and employee anguish and frustration in their districts, was rejected by today's meeting. Following a heated discussion over the Confidence Survey now circulating DEA command centers, DEA Operations Director Harold "Doug" Wankle and Deputy DEA Administrator Greene reportedly left the conference room shaking their heads in recognition that the early survey results received so far report that Special Agent and DEA employee confidence in Tom Constantine were demonstrably low and indicatively unsalvageable.
After a quick and unprecedented vote the SAC's decided to end their meeting and return to their respective stations to institute immediate damage control and ask their agents not to participate in the Confidence Survey.
By last reports it appears that the Survey is moving through DEA like a freight train minus its conductor.
Thomas A. Constantine 202-307-8000
Stephen H. Greene 202-307-8003
Harold D. Wankle 202-307-7443
John Coleman 201-645-6060
Dennis F. Hoffman 202-307-7332
According to reports received today: Mr. Constantine called a special meeting this date exclusively to discuss... or hear his lecture... regarding the Confidential Survey all DEA agents and employees are receiving backchannel. The report stated that during the meeting Constantine held up the Survey form several times as and went through each question, point-by-point.
It was assessed by some who attended the meeting that Mr. Constantine concluded the meeting feeling somewhat secure that he had effectively nixed every item. Some felt he didn't do bad explaining away two points on the Survey but that leaves all the others he failed to dismiss.
Similar meetings were reportedly held in all DEA command centers around the country by SACS. Collectively, this meant that dozens of personnel were ordered to drive their taxpayer-paid government vehicles to downtown offices solely for the purpose of dealing with a Thomas Constantine -- not Drug War -- issue. Effectively, half a day was wasted. And, since it was Friday, work on other issues probably didn't get completed. One wonders how much illegal substance entered the country while Mr. Constantine ordered the bulk of command resources to deal with the apparent Agency-wide rejection of his leadership.
The meeting in Mr. Constantine's office is said to have ended with him ordering that no action was to be taken by DEA supervisory personnel to discourage employees and agents from completing the survey and sending it to the Inspector General.
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