DHS 'Hands Off Terrorist List' Investigation in Hands of Inspector General
Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Mike McCaul told Breitbart News on Monday that the “terrorist hands off list” e-mails brought to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently has been under investigation by the new Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth for over three months now.
“The new IG has inherited this matter. He’s a new IG. He’s pretty decent—well respected. Obviously, his predecessor was not. He’s now dealing with this matter,” McCaul said.
Senator Grassley is looking into allegations that the Department of Homeland Security has deleted records related to a list of terrorists the agency controls as part of a “hands off” guideline on some of the individuals on the list. One such person was reported by the Investigative Project On Terrorism to be Jamal Badawi, an Egyptian born Islamist from Canada with Muslim Brotherhood ties.
"I hope the IG does his job if the IG is independent like he's supposed to be. He should help us get to the bottom of it,” Grassley told Breitbart News. “In addition, I sent a letter to the people wanting information. All we want to know is, what is the policy of the government? Then we'll start with, what is the policy of the government to know whether anything else is right or wrong?" he asked.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who read Grassley’s letter to Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson on the House floor two weeks ago, is “thrilled” the Iowa Republican is looking “to get to the bottom of this.”
“For an internal e-mail to indicate that Secretary Napolitano had a hands off list that included people with terrorist ties should be an affront to anyone who cares about security in this country and explains a lot why things like Boston could happen even after we’re supposed to know what we’re doing,” Gohmert told Breitbart News on Tuesday.
Grassley told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio on May 5 that not every whistleblower that comes to his office may have a legitimate case, but the individual who presented the evidence to Grassley provided enough information to investigate the issue further.
“It’s a list that we believe but we don’t know for sure and that’s why we’re asking for a briefing. It’s a list where people can maybe get into this country without the proper screening and there’s some insinuation that we heard from whistleblowers that if you threaten suit or if you’ve sued previously maybe Homeland Security wants to avoid that sort of thing, so they just wave you right through," Grassley said. "And one of the things that is wrong with our country is that we don’t have proper exit/entry protections at our airports and so a lot of people can come in.”
“And particularly in a case of war on terrorism you want to make sure that people who want to do harm to us don’t get into the country, and it doesn’t seem to there’s adequate concern about that so we wrote this letter," he explained. "We’ve been promised a briefing. We haven’t had a briefing yet and maybe the briefing will satisfy us but at this point. At this point I think it’s legitimate in my Constitutional role of oversight to raise the question and raise the red flag.”
When asked if this was an option Edward Snowden could have taken, Grassley responded, “Absolutely.”
Chairman McCaul was investigating cover-up allegations of former acting DHS OIG Charles Edwards. Edwards is accused of softening up investigative reports, destroying documentation, and allegedly taking retaliatory actions towards OIG staffers.
Following Grassley’s radio interview, McCaul told Breitbart News, “I’ve been inquiring at the staff level in light of these allegations. Now there is a new Inspector General that I have more confidence in,” he said.
McCaul noted the new DHS IG had testified about the allegations against the former acting IG and “the [hands off terrorist list] matter had been handed over to him. The former IG has no authority now. He is on administrative leave.”