Report Says DHS Can't Manage Internal Misconduct Because The DHS Just Doesn't Do Anything About Internal Misconduct

from the your-tax-dollars-laying-around-on-the-couch-not-doing-a-goddamn-thing dept

The long history of abuse and misconduct by DHS components stretches back for years. Agencies like ICE, CBP, and the TSA have never not been abusing their power to violate rights, circumvent the protections of the legal system, or just treat everyone like garbage for national security reasons.

Why has nothing gotten better? Well, if you're the DHS, you've tried nothing and you're all out of ideas. The latest report [PDF] by the DHS Inspector General understates the issue. The title says the DHS needs to "improve" its oversight of misconduct and discipline. Start with the baseline low enough and any incremental forward motion is an improvement.

Reading through the report, it's apparent the DHS simply doesn't care what abuses happen on its watch. No one in the agency -- not even those specifically tasked with following up on allegations of misconduct -- seems to think it's their job to follow up on allegations of misconduct.

DHS does not have sufficient policies and procedures to address employee misconduct. Specifically, the Department’s policy does not include procedures for reporting allegations of misconduct, clear and specific supervisor roles and expectations, or clearly defined key discipline terms. These deficiencies occurred because DHS’ Employee Relations office has limited staff, who do not believe they are responsible for managing the allegation process.

The DHS might know this if it took any interest at all in tracking misconduct and discipline issues. But it can't be bothered.

DHS also does not effectively manage the misconduct program throughout the Department, lacking data monitoring and metrics to gauge program performance.

The DHS has an annual budget of nearly $41 billion. I don't know what it costs to WRITE, let alone follow through with, effective misconduct policies, but whatever we're (the People) are spending, it isn't nearly enough.

The Department does not have sufficient policies and procedures to address misconduct. Specifically, Directive 250-09, Discipline and Adverse Actions Program (Policy) does not include procedures for reporting allegations of misconduct or clearly define key discipline terms used across the components.

The failures cascade from there. Because the policy doesn't lay down procedures or define terms, the Employee Relations staff sees nothing in it compelling them to do their damn jobs and follow up on allegations brought to them by employees.

The DHS has handled the bureaucratic work of setting up a number of offices for managing the misconduct allegation supply chain. But in truly bureaucratic fashion, it has ensured the misconduct management system isn't operable.

There are multiple offices and processes for managing allegations of misconduct at DHS. The Chief Human Capital Officer is responsible for establishing and administering department-wide human resources policy and procedures. The Chief Human Capital Officer also oversees and directs component disciplinary actions. However, the Policy does not define misconduct, how to report allegations of misconduct, or to whom allegations should be reported.

One problem is the lack of definitions. If no one knows what they're looking for, they can't do anything about it -- not even boot it upwards or sideways from their inbox to someone who might be able to navigate the DHS's convoluted non-process and seek a resolution. If securing the homeland is a game of Bingo, we're losing.

The failures aren't just internal boondoggling by the DHS. They're also violations of law. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 laid down rules for internal policy consistency and best practices. These have been ignored. When the DHS is left to roll its own policies, it continually proves it can't be trusted with this job.

And it will always fail because it doesn't care if it ever succeeds. No news may be good news somewhere, but the DHS has turned "ignorance is bliss" into unofficial policy.

The Department does not collect or monitor the components’ data to understand the number of allegations, types of misconduct reported, or trends across the Department.

If you don't know bad things are happening or if things are getting worse, maybe bad things just aren't happening and you're improving as an agency.

The IG recommends the DHS stop doing all the things that aren't working and start doing some of the things it's supposed to be doing already. I guess we can be happy the DHS has agreed with all the recommendations. But I'm guessing a decade from now we'll be reading about the DHS's struggles to commit to something they agreed to a decade ago.

Filed Under: dhs, misconduct, oversight


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2019 @ 2:09pm

    I'm trying to remember a time when I was less shocked about something, and I'm coming up empty.

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

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 24 Jun 2019 @ 2:13pm

    The first rule of DHS - Don't talk about DHS.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2019 @ 2:23pm

    Sorry Tim, minor correction: It is Department of Human Suffering (DHS).

    And the inspector gave them a glowing report.

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

  • identicon
    JdL, 24 Jun 2019 @ 3:04pm

    Perfect

    "if you're the DHS, you've tried nothing and you're all out of ideas."

    This is as close as the government comes to clear thinking.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2019 @ 3:25pm

    Well, I know where all this came from: DHS, except for a small office of employees, was supposed to be nothing more than glue that held interdepartmental operations together. So the people working there really work for other departments. As such, their operational model was for an office of 30-90 people, not a large national force.

    Of course, while the department's mandate has suffered feature creep, the design of the department's operational structure has been ignored. So now you've got a system designed for thirty some-odd individuals reporting to the same physical location being used to manage everything under DHS purview. WCGW?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2019 @ 3:34pm

    get rid of that mess

    ...so just abolish the DHS.

    It is hopelessly incompetent and corrupt.

    America got along just fine without it before.

    It was poorly cobbled together in 2002, by an equally incompetent Congress and President.

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

  • identicon
    David, 24 Jun 2019 @ 3:49pm

    Come on, be fair

    Reading through the report, it's apparent the DHS simply doesn't care what abuses happen on its watch. No one in the agency -- not even those specifically tasked with following up on allegations of misconduct -- seems to think it's their job to follow up on allegations of misconduct.

    Given how much those in the DHS tasked with providing the homeland with security achieve, that would seem rather par for the course.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Jun 2019 @ 4:46pm

    Nothing will change.

    Every politician is terrified of being portrayed as soft on crime, terror, immigration so they put themselves in being hedl hostage by these agencies & those profiting by selling tiger repelling facial expression training.

    The fear is so great so they can't manage even a little outrage over the acronym agencies violating our allegedly most sacred rights, because someone might suggest that by punishing them for hassling journalists they want the bad guys to win.

    Drug war mean it is totally right to rob innocent citizens you imagine did something wrong without having any real evidence.

    Hell they can hardly bring themselves to say anything after seeing a video of a restrained suspect being beaten to an inch of dying, b/c it will get spun into they want the criminals to win.

    Sadly we lack the intelligence to notice the pot of water is heating up around us & maybe we should vote for people other than the ones adding a bit of salt and spices to the pot.

    These most sacred agencies can't be held to the law, it might look bad in the media... this seems familair...

    • Catholic Priests
    • Boy Scout Leaders
    • Football Coaches
    • Sportsball Leagues (Pot bad, Beating wife meh)
    • Just a few bad apples

    When did we decide fear of the unknown was a greater threat to us than surrendering our rights & allowing them to be violated just in case it might stop a plot that they put into motion themselves while ignoring the guy who talked for months about shooting up a synagogue.

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

    • identicon
      TDR, 25 Jun 2019 @ 11:44am

      Re:

      Unless you've personally met every single individual within the categories you mentioned, TAC, you ought to add the qualifier "some" before their names in the listing, because you can't judge an entire group merely based on the actions of some. Generalizations are ALWAYS wrong. You wouldn't like it if people said everyone who believed like you do was the same and did the same things, so don't generalize unless you want to be generalized against. It only makes you look ignorant and prejudiced.

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re:

        You...do realize that "generalizations are always wrong" is a generalization?

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

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re:

        Why??
        It's trendy to blame an entire group for the actions of one person.
        Dude shot congresspeople, well he volunteered for Bernie so Bernie is responsible... of course when the shooter is wearing a MAGA hat we can't rush to judgement.

        Lets do priests...
        Many of them abused children for DECADES, and magically no one knew nothing, yet they kept shifting them to new parishes when things got to hard to cover up. Many knew something was wrong, many reported, many watched as nothing was done to stop it, many never decided perhaps instead of complaining to the Bishops or Cardinals that the police should be informed. Many of them remained silent as a Cardinal(Bishop I forget) told reporters who asked him about the charges he was facing for raping children that abortion was a much larger sin.

        Protecting the image of the thing becomes more important than what is right. Everyone involved has some guilt, from the beat cop who doesn't report his partner from stealing apples on the beat to the ones who watched another officer "recreate" video evidence of a crime to the ones who comforted the officer that just executed a citizen in front of his wife/gf & child and waited to call the ambulance. While they might not be doing the sin themselves, their silence allows it to continue. Oh I might not get backup if I rat out another officer... that is a department that needs to be disbanded. When doing the right thing gets you punished how can we wonder why they all end up abusing citizens?

        Also - When was the last time someone claimed you were a pedophile or someone into beastiality based on your sexuality? I get it constantly, I also have the power to cause hurricanes, floods, & other natural disasters b/c I thumb my nose at some idiots versions of the imaginary sky friend.

        But please lets nitpick over if its 1 or 100...
        Its a great tactic.
        The country is fighting over if the words Concentration Camp apply to these children being abused rather than actually fixing the problem. Immigration is bad!! gave cover to a couple CBP agents who were serial killers raping & murdering immigrants.

        But do go on, I do enjoy how you ignore how I am generalized against daily, that those screaming I am ignorant and prejudiced do so from their ivory towers where nothing bad ever happens up until they get caught raping a kid.

        I mean its not like anyone ever told courts I am a terrorist, hacker, identity thief, member of a 'Fanatical Internet Hate Group', pirate and other choice words... They thought if they could show I was ignorant and prejudiced people would believe them... funny how they are the ones going to prison.

        Doing what is right is the hardest thing & if you don't even try you are part of the problem.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2019 @ 5:30pm

    Grammar...

    whatever we're (the People) are spending

    whatever we (the People) are spending

    we don't all need the extra arrrrr

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2019 @ 7:58pm

      Re: Grammar...

      Come on now, we have been repeatedly revealed as We the Pirates. Just admit it. We need all the extra arrrrr we can get.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 12:49am

    "tried nothing and you're all out of ideas."

    Does this mean we get to spank the DHS continuously over the course of a year?

    The DHS was scary to me when it was implemented. It was clearly a step towards authoritarianism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

    Those attacks worked. The US has just been taking this long to bleed out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 11:46am

    When the coup comes, DHS will be behind it.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 1:09pm

      The DHS behind the Coup

      I always imagined ICE was the new Schutzstaffel, but perhaps it's only the subdivision that most behaves as Himmler's SS. If our coup comes as a _Nacht der langen Messer_ then assuredly, yes, the DHS will be behind it.

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

      • identicon
        R,og S/, 26 Jun 2019 @ 3:25am

        Re: The DHS behind the Coup

        I think shorts knives are actually wweeehat the plotters are using.

        ....and, referring to the Jewish terrorists in the DHS, סיקריים, are you including their zionist christian counterparts too?

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicarii

        ....the DHS is a study of religious, sectarian insanity, and the clusterfuck of interagency fascism, combined to eradicate democracy.

        From ThoughtCo:

        The Sicarii: First Century Terrorists
        The "dagger men's" terrorism tactics were Jewish resistance to Roman rule

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


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