The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general and his aides told staff members to remove damaging findings from investigative reports on domestic violence and sexual misconduct by the agency's officers, the New York Times reports. One investigation found that more than 10,000 employees of Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service and the Transportation Security Administration had experienced sexual harassment or sexual misconduct at work. more than one-third of those surveyed. A draft report described a pattern of the agencies using cash payments, with payouts as high as $255,000, to settle harassment complaints without investigating or disciplining the perpetrators
Senior officials in the inspector general’s office objected to that finding, suggesting that it be removed from the report, which has never been published. Inspector General, Joseph Cuffari his staff to remove parts of another draft report showing internal investigations had found that dozens of officers had committed domestic violence, but that they had received “little to no discipline.” Cuffari also wanted a section removed that said the agencies had “put victims and the public at risk of further violence” by allowing the perpetrators to keep their firearms. He said including such findings would make his office look like it was “second-guessing D.H.S. disciplinary decisions without full facts.” The internal documents were obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, an independent watchdog group Cuffari, a Trump appointee who has served as inspector general since July 2019, has previously blocked investigations, against his staff’s recommendations.