FBI official named to take over embattled drug agency

Att. Gen. Loretta Lynch

Att. Gen. Loretta Lynch

(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

Atty Gen. Loretta Lynch reached into the ranks of top FBI administrators Tuesday for new leadership at the troubled Drug Enforcement Administration.

Chuck Rosenberg, currently chief of staff to FBI Director James B. Comey, is expected to shake up DEA management practices and focus less on marijuana enforcement and more on heroin and other major drugs, a senior administration official said.

Former DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was asked to resign last month due to dissatisfaction within the Obama administration over her handling of a scandal involving DEA agents hiring prostitutes and another incident in which agents forgot a detaintee in a cell for nearly five days with no food or water.

She had also long been at odds with former Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and President Obama over marijuana enforcement. Rosenberg is expected to improve the DEA’s procedures on classifying, declassifying and reclassifying drugs, the official said.

Lynch appointed Rosenberg acting administrator, but he is expected to head the DEA for the remainder of the Obama administration. He will have to rebuild morale at the agency, where Leonhart was well-regarded.


Rosenberg “has proven himself as an exceptional leader, a skilled problem-solver, and a consummate public servant of unshakable integrity,” Lynch said in a statement.

Comey said that Rosenberg “is one of the finest people and public servants I have ever known. His judgment, intelligence, humility, and passion for the mission will be sorely missed at FBI.”

Rosenberg has served in a number of top administrative positions at Justice and the FBI, including chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, counselor to former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, and counsel to former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Earlier in his career he was a U.S. attorney in Virginia and prosecutor for the DOJ’s tax division.