Grassley Presses DEA to Answer Questions About Detention of San Diego Student, Expresses Concerns about Discipline of Agents Responsible
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today pressed the Drug Enforcement Administration to answer questions that have gone unanswered for nearly three years regarding the agency’s detention of Daniel Chong.
Grassley began asking questions shortly after news reports surfaced that Mr. Chong was left without food or water in a Drug Enforcement Administration detention cell for five days. Grassley sent a letter inquiring about the matter on May 4, 2012 – almost three years ago to the date. Following the release of the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General’s report about Mr. Chong’s detention, he sent a second letter in August 2014, posing additional questions left unanswered or raised by the report. Grassley recently sent another request to the Drug Enforcement Administration, again requesting answers to these questions.
On Friday, the Justice Department informed Grassley about the discipline imposed on the agents involved by the Drug Enforcement Administration – the most serious of which was a seven-day suspension. The Justice Department said that it had “serious concerns about the adequacy of the discipline that DEA imposed on these employees,” and that the event “further demonstrates the need for a systematic review of DEA’s disciplinary process.”
Grassley, as chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today questioned a Drug Enforcement Administration deputy assistant administrator during a hearing of the Caucus about the agency’s lack of a response.
“I appreciate the information provided to me by the Justice Department, and its candor about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s very inadequate disciplinary procedures. The Drug Enforcement Administration still has a lot of explaining to do, and failing to answer my questions doesn’t show that they’ve learned from the mistakes made in Mr. Chong’s detention. This is a very serious matter and questions should be answered to ensure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again,” Grassley said.
Grassley’s May 4, 2012, letter can be found here. The letter he sent on August 27, 2014, can be found here. The letter he sent on April 22, 2015, can be found here. The floor statement Grassley gave following the release of the Inspector General report can be found here. The Justice Department’s information can be found here.