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United States Senate Confirms DEA Special Agent Thomas Harrigan as DEA Deputy Administrator

Thomas Harrigan

Thomas Harrigan

MAR 30 - (Washington) – DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart today hailed Senate confirmation of Special Agent Thomas Harrigan as DEA’s Deputy Administrator.

“I cannot think of a better, more qualified, or more honorable person to have at my side than Special Agent Tom Harrigan as we lead the Drug Enforcement Administration through the many challenges we will face and the many successes we will have in the coming years,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Tom demonstrated strong leadership and dedication in the field, and his strategic vision as Chief of Operations has been second to none. Special Agent Harrigan’s confirmation enhances our nation’s safety and security by placing a proven, well respected career agent in this critical position at DEA.”

“It has been a privilege to have a career where I have served the American people through drug law enforcement, and it is an honor to have been selected to serve as the Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said Thomas M. Harrigan, who currently serves as DEA’s Chief of Operations. “Working with Administrator Leonhart, I will do everything in my power to develop and implement strategies that undermine the international drug threat, and I look forward to continuing to serve at DEA and with our partners at home and abroad to achieve this important goal.”

“I am so pleased to hear of DEA Special Agent Harrigan’s confirmation as Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said John “Jack” C. Lawn, DEA Administrator from 1985 to 1990. “Tom's more than 25 years of experience both in domestic and international operations and his exceptional management skills make him uniquely qualified for this position.  As Deputy Administrator, he solidifies this leadership role whose responsibilities will be so important to DEA’s future.  He now speaks from a position of strength as DEA’s Deputy Administrator.”  

The DEA Deputy Administrator is the chief operating officer of the Drug Enforcement Administration, overseeing all enforcement, intelligence, administrative, and regulatory operations.

As DEA Chief of Operations, Special Agent Thomas M. Harrigan has been responsible for leading the worldwide drug enforcement operations of the agency’s 226 domestic and 85 foreign offices, as well as the Special Operations Division, the Aviation Division, and the Office of Diversion Control. He was appointed to this position in 2008 and is a principal advisor to the DEA Administrator on all enforcement-related matters.

Mr. Harrigan began his career as a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1987 in the New York Field Division. He coordinated enforcement efforts against the notorious Rodriguez-Orejuela drug trafficking organization, an investigation that led to the arrest and incarceration of several high-ranking members of the Colombian-based cartel and the seizure of tons of cocaine and illicit proceeds throughout the United States, Colombia, and Panama.

In 1994, Mr. Harrigan was assigned to the Bangkok Country Office. While serving there, he directed an investigation that led to the identification and dismantlement of an organization responsible for the importation of multi-kilogram quantities of heroin into the United States. This organization utilized dozens of U.S. citizens as couriers who smuggled heroin from Southeast Asia to Chicago.

He left Bangkok in 1996 and was promoted to Group Supervisor in the Newark Field Division where he managed a Task Force group that was recognized by state and county officials for its significant enforcement achievements. He was reassigned to DEA Headquarters in 1999 where he served as a Staff Coordinator in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs.

In 2000, Mr. Harrigan was promoted to the Operations Division as Section Chief of the Dangerous Drugs and Chemicals Section where he oversaw a multi-jurisdictional investigation that resulted in the largest LSD seizure in history. In 2001, he was reassigned as the Deputy Chief in the Office of Domestic Operations. During that time, he served as Senior Advisor to the Chief of Domestic Operations, assisting and providing oversight and direction to Domestic Operations’ Section Chiefs on a variety of budget and operational matters. He left the Operations Division in 2003 and reported as the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge in the Washington Field Division with responsibility over High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Forces, offices in West Virginia, and the Administrative and Special Support Units.

In 2004, Mr. Harrigan was appointed to the Senior Executive Service to serve as the Chief of Enforcement Operations. In this role, Mr. Harrigan was the principal deputy for the Chief of Operations and directed the re-organization of DEA’s Operations Division. On February 18, 2011 he was nominated by President Obama to serve as DEA Deputy Administrator.

He is the recipient of numerous agency awards and commendations, including the Presidential Rank award of Distinguished Executive in December 2009.

Mr. Harrigan, a native of New York City, has a Master’s Degree in Education from Seton Hall University and has attended a number of government, military and private leadership courses to include Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Leadership Program. Mr. Harrigan is married and has four children.

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