« Unexpectedly! | Main | He's a Lover, Not a Fighter »

October 15, 2014

"Ordinary Editing" Circular Transparency Alert

Glenn Kessler, the WaPo Fact Checker, examines the White House claim that changes to a draft Inspector General report on Secret Service misconduct in Cartagena were "part of the ordinary process of editing the report.’”:

The White House pushed back hard against a report in The Washington Post that, during the probe of the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, senior White House aides did not thoroughly investigate information suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member.

One key element of the article concerned a separate probe by the Homeland Security Department’s Inspector General’s office, which had uncovered additional evidence from records and eyewitnesses who had accompanied the team member in Colombia. The article reported that David Neiland, the IG’s lead investigator, “later told Senate staffers that he felt pressure from his superiors in the office of Charles K. Edwards, who was then the acting inspector general, to withhold evidence — and that, in the heat of an election year, decisions were being made with political considerations in mind.

The White House told reporters that a bipartisan Senate report had found that the redactions were part of the normal editing process. This statement was, to say the least, misleading. In Kessler's words:

...this was not actually a finding but merely a claim made by, among others, the very person whose credibility is questioned throughout the report.

The person whose credibility was being questioned was Charles K. Edwards, who was accused of directing the redactions in the first place and who (conveniently) resigned before further hearings into his alleged misconduct could be held:

The often dense report does not paint a pretty picture of Edwards’s tenure, saying “he failed to uphold the independence of the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) … jeopardized the independence of the OIG … directed reports to be altered or delayed to accommodate senior DHS officials … [and] also did not recuse himself from audits and inspections that had a conflict of interest related to his wife’s employment.” He resigned his post before the committee could hold a hearing on its findings.

To recap, to rebut yet another allegation that the Obama administration interfered with yet another Inspector General investigation into administration misconduct, the White House misrepresented the uncorroborated statement of one of the men under investigation as an official finding of investigative report.

Interfering with IG reports is becoming a disturbing pattern of behavior for this administration.

It happens at the Justice Department:

The Justice Department's inspector general said Tuesday that his staff is routinely blocked from getting access to documents it needs for audits and reviews of the department and its law enforcement agencies.

The interference causes delays in investigations and has several times required the intervention of Attorney General Eric Holder or his deputy to ensure that the records are ultimately turned over, Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, told members of Congress.

Horowitz's appearance before the House Judiciary Committee came one month after nearly 50 inspectors general from a broad spectrum of federal agencies complained in a letter to Congress about similar obstruction from the departments they monitor.

And the Department of State:

CBS News' John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut "engaged in sexual assaults" on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail "engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries" -- a problem the report says was "endemic."

The memo also reveals details about an "underground drug ring" was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.

And at HUD:

A high-ranking official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who said he was acting at the direction of top lawyers in President Obama’s White House, went to extraordinary and seemingly bizarre lengths to obstruct an Inspector General investigation into illicit lobbying activity at the agency.

The aggressive obstruction of an IG investigation is serious enough that a senior lawmaker says the police may need to be involved.

HUD Inspector General David Montoya revealed, on page 19 of his Feb. 18 report about illegal lobbying by the agency, the lengths to which the acting general deputy assistant secretary Elliot Mincberg went to impede the IG investigation, and how he said he was doing it for, and in “coordination” with, the “White House Counsel.”

The list goes on and on:

Team Hope and Change sacked former Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold and former Americorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin for exposing financial improprieties and calling out Obama officials' interference with their probes.

And the current kennel of Obama cover-up enablers masquerading as watchdogs includes Interior Department acting IG Mary Kendall. She remains under investigation for allegations that she potentially helped White House officials cover up their doctoring of scientific documents that led to the fraudulent, job-killing drilling moratorium of 2010.

Then there was former DOJ acting inspector Cynthia Schnedar, a longtime employee and colleague of now-Attorney General Eric Holder, who recklessly released secret Operation Fast and Furious audiotapes to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix before reviewing them. She resigned in 2012 to avoid the heat.

How many IGs have to complain before we're justified in seeing a consistent pattern of behavior here? And why aren't the press calling for some of that Executive Action we're always hearing about?

Posted by Cassandra at October 15, 2014 08:46 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/5346

Comments

It's just part of the ordinary cover-up procedure. Nothing to see here, move along.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 15, 2014 12:10 PM

Besides, she was not a guest; she was a temporary employee (undocumented.)

Posted by: htom at October 15, 2014 01:56 PM