NBC Continues to Ignore Report on DEA Sex Parties Funded by Drug Cartels

After not covering on Thursday night a report that detailed how Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents attended sex parties paid for by Colombian drug cartels, NBC continued to show no interest in the multi-year scandal by making no mention of it during Friday’s edition of Today.

While ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir also failed to cover this story on Thursday, ABC’s Good Morning America devoted a news brief on Friday morning to the issue that ran for a scant 17 seconds.

News reader Amy Robach reported the following: 

And shocking accusations this morning about misconduct by U.S. Drug Enforcement agents. A watchdog report claims agents stationed in Colombia attended sex parties with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels. Members of Congress are now demanding those agents allegedly involved be fired.

Following the two minutes and 12 seconds of coverage during Thursday’s CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, Friday’s CBS This Morning spent an additional three minutes and 11 seconds on it over the course of two teases and another segment from CBS News national correspondent Chip Reid.

Substitute co-host Vladimir Duthiers led into Reid’s report by noting that the scandal “is prompting calls to clean house” as “[a]gents are accused of attending sex parties funded by drug cartels” in Colombia.

Using similar wording as he did on Thursday night, Reid explained the findings of the report, which was conducted by the Inspector General at the DOJ:

The report looks into numerous allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at the four law enforcement agencies that belong to the Department of Justice, but the allegation that’s getting all the attention is that DEA agents had sex parties with Columbian prostitutes over a period of years. The report says DEA agents attending sex parties in Colombia should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds, the same drug cartels the officers were supposed to be fighting. To make matters worse, “most of the ‘sex parties’ occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops,” and “BlackBerry...were present...potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion.” 

In addition to bringing up the extremely brief suspension of “just two to ten days” for the DEA agents involved in the “sex parties” from 2005 to 2008, Reid added how, to make matters even worse, “[t]he report even says that ‘[a] foreign officer allegedly provided protection for the DEA agents' weapons...during the parties.’”

Reid also included soundbites from House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) expressing outrage at the findings, with Chaffetz declaring that those agents “should be fired immediately” as “[t]hey need to be held accountable, not just given a three-day weekend pass.”

At the segment’s conclusion, co-host Gayle King expressed bewilderment at how people like DEA agents would do such a thing: “There’s just something that seems odd about law enforcement officials and sex parties in the same sentence. Seems like something that should be easy to avoid.”

Over on the Friday morning cable news shows, the Fox News Channel (FNC) program Fox & Friends brought it up during an interview with Chaffetz while MSNBC’s Morning Joe covered the disturbing report in a news brief. Meanwhile, CNN’s New Day followed NBC’s Today in giving it no mention.

The transcript of the news brief that aired on ABC’s Good Morning America on March 27 is transcribed below.

ABC’s Good Morning America
March 27, 2015
7:14 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Sex Parties”]

AMY ROBACH: And shocking accusations this morning about misconduct by U.S. Drug Enforcement agents. A watchdog report claims agents stationed in Colombia attended sex parties with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels. Members of Congress are now demanding those agents allegedly involved be fired.

The relevant portions of the transcript from CBS This Morning on March 27 can be found below.

CBS This Morning
March 27, 2015
7:19 a.m. [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Ahead; Sex, Drugs, and the DEA]

NORAH O’DONNELL: And we're learning this morning about former drug enforcement agents they admit to partying with drug cartel-funded prostitutes in Colombia. Ahead, the sex parties scandal sparking outrage on Capitol Hill.

(....)

7:35 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Sex, Drugs & the DEA; Federal Agents Accused of Partying on Cartels’ Dime]

DUTHIERS: This morning, a prostitution scandal in the drug enforcement administration is prompting calls to clean house. Agents are accused of attending sex parties funded by drug cartels. 

[ON-SCREEN NEWSPAPER HEADLINES: The New York Times, “Watchdog Report Faults DEA Handling of Sex Party Allegations,” The Washington Post, “Report: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels,” Politico, “DEA agents had ‘sex parties with prostitutes, watchdog says”]

The parties allegedly took place between 2005 and 2008, but investigators only found out years later.

(....)

CHIP REID: The report looks into numerous allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at the four law enforcement agencies that belong to the Department of Justice, but the allegation that’s getting all the attention is that DEA agents had sex parties with Columbian prostitutes over a period of years. The report says DEA agents attending sex parties in Colombia should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds, the same drug cartels the officers were supposed to be fighting. To make matters worse, “most of the ‘sex parties’ occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops,” and “BlackBerry...were present...potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion.” 

(....)

REID: The report even says that “[a] foreign officer allegedly provided protection for the DEA agents' weapons...during the parties.” Ten agents were investigated and seven admitted to DEA investigators that they participated in the sex parties. Their punishment was nothing more than suspensions, ranging from just two to ten days. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says that's not enough. 

CHAFFETZ: These people should be fired immediately. They need to be held accountable, not just given a three-day weekend pass.

(....)

GAYLE KING: There’s just something that seems odd about law enforcement officials and sex parties in the same sentence. Seems like something that should be easy to avoid.

NBDaily Latin America Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Political Scandals Sexuality ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Fox News Channel Fox & Friends CNN New Day MSNBC Morning Joe Video Government & Press Justice Department Prostitution Chip Reid Amy Robach Vladimir Duthiers Jason Chaffetz
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