- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
- Law firm that cleared N.J. Gov. Christie in ‘Bridgegate’ gave 10K to RGA, which he heads
- PETA ‘hopping mad’ at Michelle Obama for using real eggs at Easter Egg Roll
- Sneaky Nebraska toddler traps self inside claw machine game
- Biden to lead $600 million work force training effort
- Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’
- Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas City show
Secret Service sex-probe shenanigans
Investigations into the U.S. Secret Service sexual misconduct scandal have been undercut by resistance from a key Democratic senator, missteps by her Republican counterpart and nepotism allegations against an embattled inspector general, according to congressional and government sources.
In an exclusive interview with The Washington Times last week, Carlton Mann, chief operating officer of the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office, said Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on contracting oversight, leaked confidential information about the service’s 2012 prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, involving alleged prostitute Dania Suarez, and then accused the office of caving to political influence and altering its reports.
Deputy Inspector General Charles K. Edwards, who heads the office but has never been confirmed, has had to fend off calls for his resignation related, in part, to separate allegations that he abused agency resources and hired his wife.
New revelations about a Secret Service agent’s sexual misconduct surfaced earlier this month, compounding the service’s prostitution scandal. But Sen. Claire McCaskill, who heads the Homeland Security subcommittee, has instructed investigators to shut down a probe of the service and there are reports that Homeland Security officials influenced Mr. Edwards to water down an audit of the service’s internal review protocols, sources familiar with the investigation say.
According to sources, Ms. McCaskill is urging investigators, led by a Johnson staffer, to focus on the personal allegations against Mr. Edwards, whose office is still putting the final touches on a separate “culture report” on the Secret Service.
At stake is not just Mr. Edwards‘ reputation but the reputations of his office and the Secret Service, which has been cast as a cloistered boys club with nebulous standards of conduct and accountability in the fallout from the Cartagena scandal.
Recently, the senators took the unusual step of calling for Mr. Edwards to resign before they had completed their own work.
After an agent who led the Secret Service’s Cartagena review was removed this month from President Obama’s security detail for “sexting” a female subordinate, Mr. Johnson blasted the Secret Service and suggested the inspector general office’s “culture report” would not be thorough.
Mr. Johnson and his staff have been aggressive to the point of losing the confidence of their peers, including Sen. Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Democratic chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, according to a congressional source. Mr. Carper’s office declined to comment for this story and Mr. Johnson and Ms. McCaskill did not respond to questions sent by email.
Demands for accountability
When the Cartagena scandal broke, a half-dozen congressional committees demanded answers and accountability, but none of them completed an investigation. After hearing about scores of instances of alleged sexual misconduct, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent and Republican Sen. Susan M. Collins of Maine instructed the inspector general to conduct an independent investigation.
In a departure from protocol, Mr. Edwards briefed Senate staff in late 2012 on a Report of Investigation (ROI), a report by criminal investigators that ordinarily is limited to Cabinet-level review. Mr. Mann said that Mr. Johnson was the only one to leak details of “law enforcement-sensitive” documents, which drew a rebuke from Mr. Lieberman.
The Secret Service also conducted its own internal probe, which auditors with the inspector general’s office evaluated for procedural compliance. According to Mr. Mann, the auditors were neither trained nor expected to investigate misconduct or reach any investigative findings. The office released the auditors’ report in January.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- EDITORIAL: Intolerance at Brandeis silences Muslim dissident Hirsi Ali
- Kirsten Dunst: Actress sparks feminist ire: 'You need a man to be a man'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.