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Inspectors General Probe Homeland Security Role In Missing Jan. 6 Texts

A nearly two-year investigation into allegations of misconduct by the Department of Homeland Security’s chief watchdog expanded to include his role in missing Secret Service text messages from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Investigators demanded records related to the deleted texts from the Office of Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, an appointee of President Trump whose office shut down an inquiry into the Secret Service messages last year amid the House’s probe of the insurrection, reports the Washington Post. The records request, disclosed in a federal lawsuit filed by Cuffari and his staff against the panel of inspectors leading the probe, suggests new urgency in a high-profile investigation that began in May 2021 and has revolved into a wide-ranging inquiry into dozens of allegations of misconduct, including partisan decision-making, investigative failures and retaliation against whistleblowers.

Democratic lawmakers have sought answers from Cuffari about when he learned of the missing texts, information that could shed light on what happened on Jan. 6 and during the days leading up to the attack, and why he did not more aggressively try to recover them. Cuffari has denied improper conduct and argued that his efforts to improve what he describes as a dysfunctional office he inherited have been met with resistance from employees. The probe has paralyzed the inspector general’s office, alienated Cuffari from the watchdog community and led to calls for President Biden to fire him. The president has signaled that will stay out of the process until the panel from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) completes its work. When a federal watchdog is accused of misconduct and the organization decides that it warrants attention, another inspector general is assigned to investigate, under a system set up by Congress. The lawsuit, an unusual broadside against the watchdog community by one of its own, accuses the panel of exceeding its authority and of “illegal interference” in the operations a large oversight office.


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