An intelligence officer at the homeland security office, Steve Williams, stated in a sworn statement obtained by The Washington Times that he met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to discuss Beale in December 2012. He also said he and another official in the office contacted the CIA about Beale.
Last fall, one of the inspector general’s special agents, Elisabeth Heller Drake, stopped by on what she thought would be a routine visit to advise an employee not to discuss an ongoing investigation involving the office, according to prepared testimony she submitted to Congress.
Instead, she wrote, EPA homeland security officials refused to cooperate and Mr. Williams berated her so much that she filed an assault complaint. An affidavit was prepared for Mr. Williams’ arrest on a misdemeanor charge, but the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington declined to file charges.
“At the suggestion of the Office of the Inspector General, the EPA sought the assistance of an outside inspector general’s office to conduct an administrative investigation into the incident that occurred on October 24, 2013, and are awaiting the results of that investigation.”
Days after the incident, Ms. McCarthy requested that the inspector general’s office temporarily halt its investigation into the homeland security office. As the agency and its watchdog traded memos in what amounted to a turf dispute, the EPA’s deputy, Bob Perciasepe, argued that the inspector general’s statutory authority didn’t explicitly address its role in national security matters.
He said the EPA had a long-standing policy of relying on its homeland security office for that function, but EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins said the arrangement has kept his office from investigating some misconduct.
Meanwhile, other inspector general offices have faced their own problems accessing agency records and interviews during investigations and audits.
A group of House and Senate lawmakers Monday called on the Peace Corps to turn over records to its inspector general, Kathy Buller, who testified in January about difficulty obtaining records as part of a review into training programs and sexual assault policies.
In January, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz told a House oversight panel that inspector generals’ offices shouldn’t need permission or authorization from agency heads for access to agency records and that inspector general colleagues at other agencies “have had similar issues.”