The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General ignored whistleblower complaints about office dysfunction and removed a deputy for trying to advance them, the deputy claims.
Former IG Acting Director Jennifer Costello was placed on administrative leave last month for “ethical violations,” but alleges the move was in retaliation for passing whistleblower complaints about the IG office on to Congress, according to a report by the Washington Post. Whistleblowers complained about absent leadership, low morale, and political interference, including suppression of a report about immigrant detention centers, according to her attorney.
DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari has been under fire from Congress for mismanaging his office since taking over the position last July, the report says. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to Cuffari last December demanding details about employee complaints, staffing levels, and other management indicators, the Post reported.
The DHS Inspector oversees a sprawling agency encompassing Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The IG’s office currently publishes audits and reports at its slowest rate since 2003 and one-quarter of its output in 2016, according to the Post.