Tuesday, December 27, 2005

GAO report calls drug czar a liar

A good article in the St. Pete Times on the GAO report criticizing the spurious claims of our drug czar claining the billions of tax dollars pouring into the war on some drugs are having a effect on availability. You'll recall that Walters pulled a report out of his hat recently alleging the price of cocaine was up and purity was down because of their poisoned earth eradication programs in South America. However, the czar's report is suspect.

Walsh and others accuse the drug czar's office of putting an overly favorable spin on the fuzzy data, as well as ignoring less positive news.

The drug czar's office sat on a November 2004 report it commissioned by the Rand Corp., a California-based nonprofit research organization, which found that drugs were more available than ever and that prices had in fact fallen. The drug czar's office turned around and commissioned a second report from the Virginia-based Institute for Defense Analyses, which found prices were rising.
The Rand report was well documented and peer reviewed. The IDA was thrown together quickly and the wide difference in its findings is not adequately explained. That won't stop the drug czar and the rest of the professional prohibitionists from using it of course. They have a lot to protect. Heck, there are thousands of government agents who depend on the prohibition for their livelihood and the GAO found they operate with almost no accountability.
Data to assess whether operations ... contribute to ... disrupting the illicit drug market or the overall goal of reducing the rate of drug usage in the United States are problematic," the report found.

Little effort is being made to evaluate performance of the 50 to 60 agencies involved, in violation of a federal law that requires them to be accountable, the GAO added.
The GAO calls the official stats so sketchy and unreliable as to be almost worthless. You can sure that won't stop the czar and his minions from citing it repeatedly and unfortunately since too few Americans will see the GAO report, they'll likely get away with it.

The full report is here.


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