Giuliani’s 1980s Record At Justice: Mixed Bag On Drugs, Haiti


Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani’s two years as the #3 Justice Department official in the mid-1980s were reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. His tenure was marked by two major challenges: the Reagan administration’s pledge to fight an alarming increase in illegal drug activity, and its efforts to house, feed, and clothe thousands of Haitians fleeing to U.S. shores. In typical Giuliani fashion, he tackled both head-on. Both brought mixed results.

Giuliani orchestrated folding the Drug Enforcement Administration into the FBI and making the DEA administrator answerable to the FBI director. Because drugs traditionally spawned violent crime, he reasoned, it made sense to combine the two agencies’ expertise to combat the increasingly sophisticated world of illegal narcotics. FBI officials embraced his plan, but the proposal triggered protests from DEA agents and police chiefs around the country. Joint DEA-FBI operations lasted only a few years, before the two agencies went back to their separate crime-fighting duties. The Haitian issue was more complex.


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