February 17, 2011
Contact: National Media Affairs Office
Phone Number: (202) 307-7977
President Obama Announces Intent To Nominate DEA Special Agent Thomas Harrigan As DEA Deputy Administrator
Pending Approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee,Career DEA Special Agent will Serve in DEA's #2 Position
WASHINGTON, D.C. - DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart today hailed the White House announcement of President Obama’s intent to nominate Special Agent Thomas Harrigan to serve as DEA Deputy Administrator.
“I am extremely pleased by President Obama’s intention to nominate career DEA Special Agent Thomas M. Harrigan to be the next Deputy Administrator,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “His years of hands-on drug law enforcement experience in DEA operations around the world, and the proven leadership abilities he has shown will be tremendously important assets as together we continue our work of keeping the American people safe from dangerous drugs and those who traffic in them.”
The DEA Deputy Administrator is the chief operating officer of the agency, overseeing all enforcement, intelligence, administrative, and regulatory operations. This position requires Senate approval.
As DEA Chief of Operations, Special Agent Thomas M. Harrigan has been responsible for leading the worldwide drug enforcement operations of the agency’s 227 domestic and 82 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 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.
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 Masters 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.