The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector basic on Monday defended his office towards what he referred to as an “onslaught of meritless criticism” as House Democrats alleged a “cover-up” over his dealing with of lacking Jan. 6 textual content messages of Secret Service brokers and DHS leaders.
Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, whose office has been harshly criticized for failing to inform Congress that texts from across the time of the Capitol riot had been wiped from authorities telephones, informed colleagues he was “proud” of their “resilience.”
“Because of the U.S. Attorney General guidelines and quality standards, we cannot always publicly respond to untruths and false information about our work,” Cuffari wrote in an e-mail to workers reviewed by Politico. “I am so proud of the resilience I have witnessed in the face of this onslaught of meritless criticism.”
Last week, The Washington Post revealed Cuffari’s office did not notify Congress over lacking data from Chad Wolf, former appearing DHS secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, an appearing deputy secretary. The office made no efforts to retrieve the lacking texts, in accordance with the Post. The telephones of the 2 former Donald Trump political appointees have been reportedly “reset” after they left their authorities jobs in January 2021, wiping their textual content messages.
Wolf later contested the Post’s reporting.
“I complied with all data retention laws and returned all my equipment fully loaded to the Department. Full stop,” Wolf wrote on Twitter. “DHS has all my texts, emails, phone logs, schedules, etc. Any issues with missing data needs to be addressed to DHS.”
The inspector basic realized in February that Secret Service texts from across the time of the Capitol riot, together with these exchanged with brokers assigned to Trump, have been lacking, however did not alert Congress till just lately.
Congressional lawmakers on Monday repeated their name for Cuffari to resign, with some pointing to a CNN report that his office was conscious of lacking Secret Service brokers’ texts seven months sooner than beforehand recognized.
In a letter addressed to Cuffari on Monday, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) stated in addition they have new proof the inspector basic’s office stopped attempting to get well the lacking data over a year in the past.
Thompson, who chairs and Jan. 6 committee and the committee on homeland safety, and Maloney, chair of the committee on oversight and reform, stated their committees obtained a July 2021 e-mail from Thomas Kait, the division’s deputy inspector basic, stating “we no longer request phone records and text messages” from the Secret Service “relating to the events on January 6th.”
But 4 months later, in December 2021, Kait issued a request to DHS for “certain text messages,” the letter continues.
The two Democratic leaders additionally stated Kait amended the unique model of a February 2022 memo to DHS that criticized the division for not absolutely complying with the December request. The memo that was lastly launched praised the division for its “timely and consolidated response,” and added that extra data will likely be required earlier than their evaluate is full.
“These documents raise troubling new concerns that your office not only failed to notify Congress for more than a year that critical evidence in this investigation was missing, but your senior staff deliberately chose not to pursue that evidence and then appear to have taken steps to cover up these failures,” Thompson and Maloney wrote.
They additionally took difficulty with the lacking data from Wolf and Cuccinelli, and stated Cuffari’s office realized in January that Cuccinelli was utilizing a personal cellphone however “did not seek to collect messages from this device.”
The committee leaders have requested interviews with Kait and Kristen Fedricks, the inspector basic’s chief of workers, by Aug. 15. They additionally sought extra communications from DHS personnel.
Meanwhile, Olivia Troye, a former DHS official and counterterrorism adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, informed CNN Friday she went public along with her resignation in 2020 as a result of she didn’t belief Cuffari’s office.
“There is a reason that I went very public with my concerns about the Trump administration, rather than going through the traditional whistleblower process, which would have led me through the inspector general’s office at DHS,” Troye stated.
“And I’ll just say that. So, there’s a level of trust there that you understand,” Troye added.