ABC and NBC Skip Report Detailing DEA Sex Parties Paid for by Drug Cartels

ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News ignored on Thursday night a scathing report that revealed how agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) attended so-called “sex parties” over a multi-year period while working in Colombia that were paid for by the very drug cartels that they were working to combat.

Authored by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General (IG), the findings were part of a 181-page report into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct across the various law enforcement agencies that fall under the purview of the DOJ.

The CBS Evening News did cover this story with two teases and then a full segment from CBS News national correspondent Chip Reid. Prior to Reid’s report, anchor Scott Pelley set the scene: “An inspector general's report out today accuses federal drug agents of having sex parties with prostitutes while stationed in a foreign country.”

While noting that prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, Reid summarized the IG report’s troubling findings:

The report says the DEA agents at the sex parties in Colombia should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds, the same drug cartels the DEA is supposed to be fighting and it gets worse. “Most of the ‘sex parties’ occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops” and “Blackberry devices...were present...potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion.”

As for when the alleged parties took place, Reid noted that they “occurred between 2005 and 2008, but did not come to the attention of investigators until years later.” Reid also said that DOJ responded in statement by emphasizing that it’s “already working...to ensure a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and misconduct is enforced.”

In answering the question of whether or not the agents involved were punished for their actions, Reid explained that “[s]even agents admitted to DEA investigators that they participated in the sex parties,” but were only given “[s]uspensions, ranging from just two to 10 days.”

Instead of covering this report about DEA “sex parties,” World News Tonight devoted 35-seconds to its continuing coverage of the scandal involving Republican Congressman Aaron Schock (Ill.) as he casted his final vote and gave a farewell speech ahead of his resignation on March 31. As ABC has previsouly done in reporting on Schock, anchor David Muir did not apply a label to him other than the fact that he’s a Congressman from Illinois.

While both ABC and NBC neglected to give his story even a mention on their Thursday evening newscasts, both ABC News and NBC News published articles about the report on their respective websites.

The relevant portions of the transcript from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on March 26 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
March 26, 2015
6:30 p.m. [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: DEA Sex Parties]

SCOTT PELLEY: And federal drug agents are accused of having sex parties paid for by the drug cartels.

(....)

6:47 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Sex Parties]

PELLEY: Federal agents are accused of having parties with prostitutes supplied by drug cartels.

(....)

6:49 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: Sex Parties]

PELLEY: An inspector general's report out today accuses federal drug agents of having sex parties with prostitutes while stationed in a foreign country. Here’s Chip Reid. 

CHIP REID: The report says the DEA agents at the sex parties in Colombia should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds, the same drug cartels the DEA is supposed to be fighting and it gets worse. “Most of the ‘sex parties’ occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops” and “Blackberry devices...were present...potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion.” Prostitution is legal in Colombia in areas known as “tolerance Zones” and this is not the first time U.S. law enforcement agencies have been rocked by prostitution scandals there. Three years ago, it was the Secret Service. The DEA sex parties allegedly occurred between 2005 and 2008, but did not come to the attention of investigators until years later. The allegations are part of a 131-page investigation into numerous reports of sexual harassment and misconduct in the four law enforcement agencies that belong to the Department of Justice. In a statement today, the Department said it is, “already working...to ensure a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and misconduct is enforced.”

(....)

REID: Seven agents admitted to DEA investigators that they participated in the sex parties, Scott. Their punishment? Suspensions, ranging from just two to 10 days.

NBDaily Latin America Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Political Scandals Sexuality ABCNews.com ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Government & Press Prostitution Justice Department Scott Pelley Chip Reid Aaron Schock
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