DEA Agent Lee Paige Still Won’t Go Away

Everyone’s favorite gun-handling expert, DEA agent Lee Paige of the agency’s Orlando office, has provided gunnies with years of YouTube guffaws and keyboard-fouling coffeespits as we’ve relived the, er, “professional” demonstrating gun safety for a room full of impressionable yoots back in 2004. You might think that kind of publicly self-inflicted beclowning would induce someone to slink away and keep a generally low profile. You’d be wrong. The now former undercover agent has been on a personal crusade ever since the indisputable video evidence of his incompetence hit the intertubes. His quest: to wring some cash out of his employer over the release of the video…

That’s right, Paige has argued (and lost) in court claiming that his privacy was violated when someone at the agency let the once-viral video loose in the electronic wilds.

Paige sued the DEA in Washington federal district court, alleging that leaking the video violated his privacy rights. A roughly four-minute clip of the shooting—cut and copied from a longer tape of the lecture—made its way online.

A federal trial judge ruled in December 2010 for the DEA, saying among other things that Paige has failed to identify the leaker and cannot therefore show that any person acted willfully and intentionally. The identity of the leaker remains unknown despite a two-year DEA internal investigation.

The judge, Jack Shanstrom, also noted the shooting occurred in a public forum while Paige was on duty. Paige, once an undercover agent, said the publicity the video received prohibits him from working undercover.

But as LegalTimes tells us, Paige remains unbowed. He’s back again, ambulance-chaser in tow, arguing his case in front of a federal appeals court in Washington.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today spent much of its time examining whether the four-minute video of the shooting was ever a part of the DEA’s “system of records.”

That’s a threshold question for the appeals court. To convince the court that he is entitled to protection under federal privacy laws, Paige must show that the video clip was a part of the DEA’s record system.

Paige apparently figures the only way to find the silver lining in being viciously snarked upon and embarrassed in front of a good percentage of the world’s computer owners is to extract a nice chunk of taxpayer money from the DEA. Here’s hoping Agent Paige enjoys every bit as much success in his legal efforts as he did in his safety demonstration.