Senate Report: Homeland Security Watchdog Was Anything But

Charles Edwards accused of altering reports to favor administration

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2014 2:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – As acting inspector general of Homeland Security, Charles Edwards was supposed to serve as an impartial watchdog over the department. But a bipartisan Senate report says he was more like a puppy dog anxious to please his superiors in the White House, reports the Washington Post and Fox News. The report from the Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee says Edwards cozied up to administration officials and altered reports to favor the White House, all in an apparent attempt to be curry favor and be named the department's permanent inspector general.

“We found that Mr. Edwards was a compromised inspector general ... who was not exercising real oversight,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, the panel's ranking Republican. “Any report generated out of his office would be suspect.” In one example cited, Edwards agreed to sit on a report about Immigration and Customs Enforcement for nearly a month so its release would come after the director of ICE testified before Congress. He also agreed to the request of a DHS official to add information to a report critical of the TSA's image-screen system, a move that served to "derail our report and minimize our findings," said Edwards' own chief investigator. Edwards resigned the post in December and was transferred to a different office. The full report with lots more examples is here.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, left, and Department of Homeland Security acting Inspector General Charles Edwards testify on Capitol Hill in 2012.
Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, left, and Department of Homeland Security acting Inspector General Charles Edwards testify on Capitol Hill in 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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