Reno’s intellectualizing trumped common sense
For the record, Janet Reno’s time in office as US Attorney General was abysmal for a number of events and actions exemplified by this decision to exempt voluntary drug test results from being used as criteria for gun sales.
“Reno-era policy kept Jared Loughner off FBI gun list
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 19, 2011; 12:29 AM
An old policy memo from the Clinton administration paved the way for accused Arizona gunman Jared Loughner to buy his first firearm.
Put in place by then-Attorney General Janet Reno, the policy prohibited the military from reporting certain drug abusers to the FBI, which manages the national list of prohibited gun-buyers, federal officials said.
Loughner attempted to enlist in the Army in December 2008 but was rejected because he failed a drug-screening process, Army officials said. Within a year, Loughner bought a Harrington & Richardson shotgun from Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson.
Federal law since 1968 has prohibited gun sales to anyone who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. Licensed dealers have been required to check the backgrounds of gun-buyers since 1994. But the Reno policy told federal agencies not to report people who had voluntarily given drug tests for fear it would deter them from seeking treatment, federal officials said.
"We do get reports from the military," said John A. Strong, the FBI section chief who oversees the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). "Although if you are trying to get into the military and flunk the drug test, that's a voluntary test and you are exempted. The [Justice Department] has decided to exempt voluntary drug tests. They did not want to have a chilling effect on those seeking treatment."
Robyn Thiemann, deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy, said, "It was a policy determination that was made in the Reno administration." She said she could not release the memo because it is an internal document.”
Few members of the Clinton administration have engendered as much controversy as Attorney General Janet Reno. She was praised for her role investigating the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the Unabomber but criticized for her handling of the Ruby Ridge incident and the storming of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex. The Clinton White House has taken aim at Reno over her role in the Whitewater investigation, while congressional Republicans criticized her reluctance to appoint an independent counsel to investigate alleged campaign finance abuses.
Sworn in: March 12, 1993 (nominated Feb. 11, 1993)
Succeeded: William P. Barr, in the Bush administration.
Previous occupation: State attorney for Dade County, Fla., 1978-93; partner in a Miami law firm, 1976-78; assistant state attorney (Florida), 1973-76; counsel for the state Senate committee revising the Florida Criminal Code, 1973; candidate for the Florida state legislature (defeated), 1972; staff director of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives, 1971.
Education: Cornell University (chemistry), Harvard Law School, 1963 (L.L.B.).
Date of Birth: July 21, 1938
Of note: Reno, the 78th attorney general of the United States, is the first woman to hold that position. She was Florida's first female state attorney.
House Panel Votes to Cite Reno for Contempt
Aug. 7, 1998
What Is It About Janet Reno?
Jan. 25, 1998
Reno's Brave Decision – Column
Dec. 5, 1997
Reno Decides Against Independent Counsel To Probe Clinton, Gore
Dec. 3, 1997
Isolated Reno Plods Familiar Course As Criticism From Capitol Hill Grows
Oct. 19, 1997
Reno Concedes Tension in Funds Probe, Notes New Procedures
Oct. 16, 1997
How Reno Has Set Focus of Probe
Oct. 6, 1997
Reno Is Now Probing Clinton's Fund-Raising
Sept. 21, 1997
'Crisis in Confidence' Prompted Reno's Decision
Sept. 18, 1997
Reno Assailed for Rejecting Independent Counsel
April 16, 1997
Reno Ethics Push at Justice Is Still a Work-in-Progress
Dec. 28, 1996
Clinton Asks Reno to Stay as Attorney General
Dec. 13, 1996
Reno Rejects Call For Special Counsel
Nov. 30, 1996
Reno Seeks Starr Probe Of FBI Files
June 21, 1996
Clinton Nominates Reno at Justice
Feb. 12, 1993
Prosecutor Wins High Marks Battling Miami Vice
Feb. 12, 1993
NRA Fires Lobbyist Over Reno Rumor
March 12, 1993
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company”