Joseph Cuffari: Employees in DHS inspector general’s office call for their boss to be fired

“DHS OIG’s mission is to provide independent oversight and promote excellence, integrity and accountability within DHS,” the employees wrote in the letter signed by “concerned DHSOIG employees representing each program office at each grade.”

“That is why integrity and independence are the highest priorities of an Inspector General. IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have failed time and again in these areas.”

The two-page letter lists several ways in which the unnamed DHS OIG employees believe Cuffari has derailed the work and integrity of the office, including significantly editing reports to remove key findings and disrupting the efforts of the agency. staff to collect information. The letter does not state how many employees feel this way.

“He has permanently damaged the reputation of DHS OIG, which has already suffered from public scandal and mismanagement,” the letter said.

“He no longer has the support of his staff. The staff does not trust IG Cuffari and his senior management to make the right decision.”

In response to a CNN request for comment, a spokesperson for Cuffari’s office did not respond to specific allegations in the letter, but said employee surveys gave “overwhelmingly positive” feedback.

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CNN has contacted the White House for comment.

The letter comes after a barrage of accusations from lawmakers that Cuffari and top executives dramatically mismanaged investigations and may have been involved in a cover-up for investigating US Secret Service text messages that were deleted as a result of a data migration.

Democratic lawmakers have called on Cuffari to turn over his Secret Service investigation to a fellow inspector general, citing numerous reports that Cuffari’s office inexplicably manipulated the investigation.

CNN previously reported that Cuffari’s office knew as early as May 2021 that the Secret Service had deleted text messages and told the Department of Homeland Security in July 2021 that the inspector general investigators were no longer looking for the data.

In mid-July, however, Cuffari wrote a brief letter to congressional oversight committees requesting action against the missing text messages, as well as the alleged barriers to accessing DHS records linked to the January 6, 2021 insurgency in the United States Capitol.

Lawmakers initially seemed open to Cuffari’s complaints, the Secret Service and DHS frustrated the IG investigation. The House Selection Committee investigating Jan. 6 immediately sent a subpoena to the Secret Service to request data in response to Cuffari’s concerns.

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Patience with Cuffari soon faded after several reports revealed that Cuffari’s office was aware of the missing text messages more than a year before he alerted Congress.

Last month, two leading House Democrats accused Cuffari of obstructing their investigation into missing Secret Service text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

In an August letter, Carolyn Maloney, Speaker of House Oversight, and Bennie Thompson, Chair of House Homeland Security, who also chairs the Selected Committee Jan. 6, wrote to Cuffari, pointing out that Cuffari has not cooperated with their previous requests. to provide documents or employees are available for transcribed interviews amid their ongoing investigations.

“Your obstruction of the commissions’ investigations is unacceptable, and your justifications for this non-compliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the authority of Congress and your duties as Inspector General. If you continue to refuse to comply with our requests , we have no choice but to consider alternative measures to ensure you are following the rules,” Maloney and Thompson wrote.

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Maloney and Thompson’s appeal to Cuffari in July to withdraw was equally scathing. The letter said they had lost confidence in him after he waited months to notify Congress about the Secret Service’s deleted text messages from around Jan. 6.

Senators in the Home and Government Affairs Committee – the panel that voted in favor of Cuffari’s confirmation – are also becoming more critical.

sen. Gary Peters, the Democratic chair of the Senate House Committee on the Interior and Government, wrote to Cuffari in August seeking detailed information about the investigation, calling the allegations troubling.

This story has been updated with additional comments.

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