Chairman: DHS IG Accused of Cover-Ups Could Face Prosecution
The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general could face prosecution for allegations he worked with top advisors to former DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano to soften investigative reports, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Breitbart News.
“The allegations are serious and there’s also an independent review right now. This is one of those cases that if the misconduct is correct and the allegations are correct, and I know he’s been put on administrative leave—he should not only be fired, the U.S. attorneys office should be looking at it,” McCaul said.
According to a bipartisan Senate Oversight report released last week, former acting DHS Inspector General Charles Edwards compromised himself with Obama administration political advisors, while he was in the midst of pursuing the nomination from President Barack Obama to become the permanent inspector general to oversee DHS. Edwards was also investigated for directing IG personnel to alter an OIG Report of Investigation (ROI) on the U.S. Secret Service Scandal in Cartagena, an accusation he denied.
Some whistleblowers referenced in the report, within the DHS OIG office, claimed Edwards, “improperly destroyed or concealed e-mails, phone records, and hotline complaints, inappropriately favored particular employees, and retaliated against those who brought attention to supposed misconduct through the use of administrative leave or poor performance reviews.”
Additionally, OIG employees described to the Senate Oversight Committee about the “‘toxic, totally dysfunctional and oppressive’ work environment characterized by low morale, paranoia, and fear. Another official described the atmosphere of the OIG as one of ‘[c]omplete terror,’ such that “there were times that [they] couldn’t even get up out of bed, [they were] so emotionally scared, drained.’”
Some DHS OIG employees, the report says, believe that Edwards also regularly read their emails and listened in on their phone conversations, as a tool for retaliation.
“There is a widespread assumption that Mr. Edwards is reading their e-mail or listening to their phone calls. Nearly all the officials interviewed by the Subcommittee share the belief that Mr. Edwards is reading their e-mail. One former official described the ‘complete surveillance’ of e-mail accounts by OIG. leadership. A former senior OIG official stated that, as a result, ‘[v]irtually all calls or e-mails I receive from current employees are from personal phones or personal e-mail accounts.’”
Although the Senate sub-committee could not substantiate all of the allegations made by whistleblowers, the House Homeland Security Committee will be convening next week to investigate the accusations.
“We have a hearing on May 7 with the current Inspector General and the deputy and the timing couldn’t be better. We’ve been sending letters trying to get this case investigated,” McCaul said.
As a result of the scrutiny Edwards is facing, McCaul says that cases that came across Edwards’s desk to investigate may have to be re-reviewed and re-investigated.
“We’re going to have to review all that, because this is like the—especially the independent watchdog at DHS. It’s kind of like the fox watching the hen house. This is misconduct at its worse, if true,” McCaul said.