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.

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Filed Under: dhs, misconduct, oversight

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

    Re: Re:

    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.

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