Former DHS Watchdog, A Tyrant, Failure And Alleged Felon, 'Punished' With Transfer To Another Government Agency

from the ah,-the-famous-'lateral-demotion' dept

Good news, Americans! The former "top watchdog" for the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, was an incredibly perverse blend of crooked and spineless and yet we still managed to avoid being terrorized to death during his run as Inspector General (2011-2013). That's the resilience of the American public. Even while the agency was being bumblefucked into (even greater) uselessness, those who hate us for our way of life (which now includes drone strikes, neverending military 'interventions' and the constant watching of damn near everybody) were unable to find a way to maneuver around the "security" "provided" by the DHS.

How can you tell when an investigative report is especially damning? When you can't even make it through the table of contents without gasping out loud a few times. Get a load of this:

III. LACK OF INDEPENDENCE
A. Lack of Familiarity with OIG Work
B. Frequent Communications and Personal Relationships with Senior DHS Officials
C. Lack of Independent Legal Advice
D. Improper Alteration or Delay of Reports
1. “Secure Communities” Audit Report
2. “Advance Imaging Technology” Audit Report
3. “Acquisition Management” Audit Report
4. “Secret Service” Investigation and Inspection
5. “Ports of Entry” Audit Report
E. Tainted Audit Reports
F. Apparent Desire for a Permanent IG Position

IV. ABUSE OF AGENCY RESOURCES
A. Assistance with Pursuit of a Ph.D
B. Assistance with Employment at Capitol College
C. Assistance with Pursuit of a Permanent IG Position
D. Travel to Florida
E. Misuse of a Government Vehicle
F. Benefits for Ms. Edwards
1. Nepotism in Hiring
2. Telework from India
3. International Phone Calls
4. Staff Assistance for Ms. Edwards

V. OTHER ALLEGATIONS
A. Notice of Administrative Leave
B. Destruction of E-mails
C. Deletion or Closing of Hotline Complaints
D. Destruction of Phone Records
E. Retaliation
1. Administrative Leave
2. Poor Performance Review
F. Office Environment
Where do you even start? It's all terrible. Edwards apparently wined and dined with DHS leaders, giving them heads up on the findings of investigations. So, there's that, which undermines the oversight. From there, Edwards went to various administration higher-ups and allowed them to control the timing and wording of investigative reports, further subverting the oversight process he was tasked with.

Beyond the major subversion, there's tons of minor issues. Nepotism, misuse of department resources, Edwards using the department to pursue a doctorate and a permanent position as an IG… about the only thing not noted in here is supply closet raids.

Furthermore, it appears Edwards wasn't even qualified to do the job he absolutely failed to do over a three-year period.
Unlike most IGs, Mr. Edwards does not have experience conducting audits, investigations, or inspections, the three main types of work conducted in an Office of Inspector General.

For example, when interviewed by Subcommittee staff, Edwards was unable to articulate guidelines that govern briefing details of an ongoing investigation to DHS. Edwards stated, “I don’t know that offhand here. You will have to talk to the office – to the Assistant IG for Investigations.”
Not only was he a lousy employee, he was a terrible boss. When not setting up his wife with travel, phones, laptops and a position within the department, he mistreated the rest of his staff -- the same staffers he tasked with working on his Ph.D dissertation and documents related to his pursuit of both a position with Capitol College and a permanent IG nomination.
During the Subcommittee’s investigation, current and former OIG employees repeatedly reported that Mr. Edwards had created a hostile work environment. One official characterized the office as a “toxic, totally dysfunctional and oppressive” work environment characterized by low morale, paranoia, and fear. Another official described the atmosphere of the OIG as one of “[c]omplete terror,” such that “there were times that [they] couldn’t even get up out of bed, [they were] so emotionally scared, drained.”

Many employees told the Subcommittee they wanted a change in leadership. According to one official, the OIG staff “want to have a legitimate Inspector General in place to get us back on track.” Another called the office “the worst agency” and said that it has been “run into the ground” under Mr. Edwards’ leadership. Reasons include Mr. Edwards’ reluctance to “seek out advice or guidance from anybody with experience” and that the “people … he surrounds himself with … do not have the background or the experience to be useful to him.”
When faced with low morale, Edwards apparently did what other wholly ineffective leaders do when faced with friction: he retaliated. Staffers claim Edwards routinely placed dissenters on administrative leave or used periodic employee reviews to "get back" at them for their failure to kowtow.

Allegations (some unsubstantiated) that Edwards broke federal law by destroying emails and documents are also included in the report. There are also allegations that Edwards spied on interoffice communications. A former senior OIG official noted that "nearly all" the communications he received about Edwards' actions originated from personal email accounts or phones.

So, what's to become of Edwards, who completely undercut any sort of independent oversight of the nation's foremost security agency, along with possibly breaking a handful of federal laws? A whole lot of nothing.
Edwards, a 20-year federal career employee with expertise in computer engineering, resigned his office in December, three days before he was scheduled to appear at a Senate hearing to answer questions. DHS granted his request to be transferred into its office of science and technology, and the hearing was canceled.
Wonderful. Way to send a message, Chief. That will let the government's Inspector Generals know they'd better be right on that oversight thing OR ELSE [they'll be transferred to another government agency, no questions asked].

The DHS is a joke with no punchline. I'd say DHS head Jeh Johnson has his hands full whipping this disgrace back into some semblance of a respectable government body, but let's face it, it has never been credible during its decade-plus existence. Johnson's not going to turn this around. The department's focus is almost entirely on maintaining a credible terrorist threat in order to justify its $39 billion budget and 225,000 employees. That leaves precious little time or resources to clean house.

People like Edwards who can fill the position while minimizing embarrassing investigative reports are welcomed at the DHS. No one wants to be the guy (or girl) who truly outs the agency as a bloated wreck that does little to nothing in the way of keeping the Homeland secure. Pursuing truly independent oversight just means working your way out of a job.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 10:58am

    This is just another notch in the many reasons why the American people do not trust their own government. And why should they? It is proven repeatedly, time and time again, almost on a daily basis that it cannot be trusted and is not working towards the benefit of the American people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:05am

    I'd say DHS head Jeh Johnson has his hands full whipping this disgrace back into some semblance of a respectable government body, but let's face it, it has never been credible during its decade-plus existence.


    Let's start with the name. I can't have been the only one who was a bit shocked when this was set up by a Republican president. It just sounds waaaaay too close to the English translation of Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti for comfort...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Mr. Large Prostrate, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:05am

    Yes men apply within.

    Someone wanted a lacky and got one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    "Unlike most IGs, Mr. Edwards does not have experience conducting audits, investigations, or inspections, the three main types of work conducted in an Office of Inspector General"

    Works as designed.

    Next.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    - How should be punish this guy for what he did - and I mean REALLY punish him - no holding back!

    - We should give him a raise and transfer him to an agency where he's not as hated!

    - Brilliant! That will teach him!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    Yep, setup by a repuke and now abused by a dem.

    Corruption is corruption, when are you going vote to do something about it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    He's perfect

    Sure he seems to have a few character defects, but no one is flawless. Setting those minor details aside he's just perfect, if what you want is someone to effectively bring all watchdog investigations to a halt.

    Office of Science and Technology, huh? Someone must need that agency to be stopped; or, maybe, just all that infernal global warming research.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    BentFranklin not logged in, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:55am

    Nominating Tim Cushing for 2014 Mark Twain "Pen Warmed-Up in Hell" Awards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    He's getting a job from he same agency that he wined and dined, giving them heads up on the findings of investigations.

    Not only should Edwards get a real punishment, I think the DHS people who hired him should as well. That looks really corrupt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Wow. I've never seen Tim use the phrase Get a load of this in his posts. That in itself is where I began to cringe. If it's used in future posts I can heed it as a warning to skip and avoid ruining my already low disposition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    hoare (profile), Apr 24th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    The guys that need to be named/outted and charged with crimes are the people that ok'd Edwards for the job and then used him for their own ends.

    Those are the true unAmerican criminals

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    zip, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 1:05pm

    Bernard Kerik syndrome

    Sometimes I wonder, if Bernard Kerik's appointment to DHS head had gone through, could things have been any worse?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Whoever, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Meanwhile a 15-year old kid showed what a waste airport searches are.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/sns-rt-us-usa-hawaii-stowaway-20140420,0,4869299.story

    What's the point in searching passengers if boundary security of the airport can't stop a 15 year old kid?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 2:12pm

    No accountability in Government, means a corrupt Government. How are citizens supposed to respect the authority of a corrupt Government? The answer of course, is through the use of force against the civilian population. That's how a corrupt Government maintains their control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    zip, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Meanwhile a 15-year old kid showed what a waste airport searches are.

    The worst part is that wheel-well stowaway was a copycat -- not the first one to do it. If a plane's wheel wells are so unguarded that anyone can sneak in and climb inside, what's to prevent a terrorist from doing something even naughtier?

    It just shows how ridiculous airport "security" really is. The TSA is obsessed with thoroughly searching everyone's genitals, while completely ignoring the huge security breaches that are literally big enough to drive a plane through.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 6:40pm

    Really, surprised?

    Come on, you know in your hearts that this is only the tip of the iceberg for accountability in the government.

    Multiply this guy thousands of times and you have our government by default.

    Not the only agency with some real prizes, either. I'd say we'd find the same at the FBI, etc..oh, wait..they're all in the same place! Department of Homeland Security has them all covered!

    Never mind. It's beyond salvaging. Professional idiots running the country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    GEMont, Apr 25th, 2014 @ 5:01pm

    the land of the ho ho ho he he he he he hee hee hee

    "No one wants to be the guy (or girl) who truly outs the agency as a bloated wreck that does little to nothing in the way of keeping the Homeland secure."

    This is going to be history's greatest joke one day.

    Keeping the Homeland Secure from What?

    From the 1000s of (currently imaginary) Terrorists the Fed is desperately trying to create by bombing poor third world nations into the stone age, that's what.

    You know, the Terrorists that PNAC needed to fulfill its new Pearl Harbor scenario to start the New World Order.

    When it is finally revealed that the War on Terrorism was a sham manufactured by commercial/financial interests to get rid of US citizens' constitutional protections, the world is going to laugh its ass off at the US citizens' expense.

    Why is such an utterly incompetent asshole running the agency charged with protecting the US from Terrorists?

    Because there are no terrorists yet and such assholes are needed to keep the sham looking legal. Honest people would have blown the whistle on the agency immediately.

    Why is the asshole being promoted to another Federal agency after years of criminal activity in the DHS office??

    Because he has fully accomplished what he was hired to do and has prevented an honest IG (if such a thing is still possible) from taking over the office and realizing the whole thing is a sham.

    So he is being promoted for doing his job perfectly.

    The little infractions like theft and coercion, are to expected when you hire from the ranks of career criminals of course and can be overlooked. Besides, he'll do just fine in his new job, because its just more of the same anyway.

    Prediction: Next head of this office will be someone nearly identical to the asshole who just resigned, allowing a few more years of maintaining the farce that DHS is an important and necessary agency and that without the DHS the USA would be overrun by Hollywood Terrorists.

    For such a position, you have to hire someone willing to lie for money and power - someone exactly like Charles K. Edwards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Apr 29th, 2014 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re:

    ^This. Vote Pirate/Green/independent... anything but the Big Two.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Chat
Techdirt Reading List
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.