There was a little piece today in my free morning paper (amNY) that caught my attention.
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department’s former independent watchdog says he was twice summoned to then-Secretary Tom Ridge’s office last year and asked why his reports criticizing the agency were being sent to Congress and whether they could be presented more favorably to the department.
Ridge “was trying to get me not to give things to Congress and also to try to spin reports in a way most favorable to the department, and I resisted both of those,” former Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin said in an interview.
Ridge denies this:
Ervin’s statements are “untrue and deserve no further comment,” said Ridge, who left as secretary last month.
Read the interesting article, Inspector General Ervin does not mince words:
According to Ervin, Ridge asked, “What can we do to coordinate our messages on these reports so that you and we are saying the same thing about it?”
Ervin recalled: “I said, `I’m not in the spin business. We don’t coordinate our messages with the department. You can characterize it and spin it however you want, but that’s your business, not ours, and we’re not going to coordinate anything with you.'”
AS you will note from the article, IG Ervin is a former inspector general. I had missed this back in December, but here is what I found.
From USA Today on 27 December 2004:
By Mimi Hall, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The government agency responsible for protecting the nation against terrorist attack is a dysfunctional, poorly managed bureaucracy that has failed to plug serious holes in the nation’s safety net, the Department of Homeland Security’s former internal watchdog warns.
Ervin lost his job this month in mysterious fashion. Appointed by President Bush in December 2003 when Congress was out of session, Ervin was never confirmed by the Senate. Nor was he renominated by the White House this month when his “recess appointment” — which lasted until the congressional session ended — expired Dec. 8.
A key senator won’t say why. Elissa Davidson, spokeswoman for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wouldn’t comment on why Chairman Susan Collins, R-Maine, never held confirmation hearings for Ervin. “The decision not to renominate Clark Kent Ervin was purely a White House decision,” she said.
And then there is this: POGO Project on Government Oversight – follow the link to Post 9/11 Security. The DHS is trying to suppress even unclassified information. The Inspector General is not reconfirmed because the White House did not want it, yet
Congress created the federal system of inspectors general in response to the Watergate scandal.
(from the above link to amNY).
Now ex-IG Ervin states that Ridge tried to make him spin his reports to Congress.
I profess no knowledge beyond what this amNY-article stated and what I found on some links, but it seems that the DHS and the Administration are extremely eager and vigilant in ensuring a lid on things.
What’s going on?