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DEA chief should step down or be fired, committee chairman says

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Oversight Committee called Tuesday for the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration to step down amid allegations that DEA agents attended sex parties with prostitutes while stationed overseas.

Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah said DEA chief Michele Leonhart has allowed problems at the agency to fester for more than a decade.

‘‘It’s time for her to go,’’ Chaffetz said. If Leonhart does not step down, President Obama should fire her, Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz made the comments after a 3½-hour hearing Tuesday that focused on the sex party allegations, which date back to 2001. Leonhart has led the DEA since 2007 and was sole deputy administrator for three years before.

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An internal report said government money was used to pay prostitutes at a farewell party for a high-ranking DEA official in Colombia.

DEA agents also rented undercover apartments in Colombia and used them for parties with prostitutes, the DEA said in an internal report.

Excerpts of the report were released Tuesday by the oversight panel.

Associated Press