Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No, I'm not the dumbest Senator! (I was the best undercover DEA agent)

Here's one of the classic stories I heard when I came to Washington in 1979.

In 1974, New Times magazine reported the U.S. Senator William L. Scott of Virginia had been voted by his colleagues the "dumbest" Senator. He called a press conference to deny the charge. Probably only he was surprised that this did not bury the story.

Now the D.A.R.E. Generation Diary reports a former DEA agent, Lee Paige, who has become famous for shooting himself in the foot on April 9, 2004 on videotape during a drug education program in Orlando, Florida is suing DEA for violating the Privacy Act. He says that the videotape was turned over the DEA and that DEA returned the videotape to the person who made it -- minus the video and audio of the shooting. Thus DEA had exclusive control of the only record of the event, he argues, and its release violates the Privacy Act.

Paige says the video got onto the Internet. He alleges that Google has 347,000 hits for "DEA Agent Shoots Himself." (This seems to be a characteristic exaggeration -- I only saw 187,000 hits, but that number should now be going up.) In addition he alleges that the video has been widely broadcast on television.

The complaint, which he has filed pro se in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia is a hoot. He says that he has been subject to ridicule.

Thanks to the Smoking Gun for posting it. Go there to see and hear the video of Lee Paige, who describes himself as "once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA," shoot himself on the foot in front of a roomful of kids! He doesn't panic. The show must go on. Watch the crowd reaction when, exercising his characteristic good judgment, he starts to get a assault weapon.

You can understand why some folks at DEA could not resist the temptation to release this to the public, even if the release did violate the Privacy Act.

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