“The mission of the DHS OIG is to provide independent oversight and promote excellence, integrity, and accountability within DHS,” the staff wrote in the letter, signed by “concerned DHSOIG employees who represent all program offices at all levels.”
“Therefore, the highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence. IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have repeatedly fallen short in these areas.”
The two-page letter said unnamed DHS OIG staff believe Cuffari has misled the office’s work and integrity, significantly edited reports to remove key findings and hindered staff’s efforts to gather information. The letter does not say how many employees feel this way.
“It has permanently damaged the reputation of the DHS OIG, which was already plagued by public scandals and mismanagement,” the letter said.
“He no longer has the support of his staff. The staff does not trust IG Cuff and his senior management to make the right decision.”
CNN has reached out to the White House and the DHS OIG for comment.
The letter comes after a flurry of allegations from lawmakers that Cuffari and senior deputies grossly mishandled investigations and covered up an inquiry into US Secret Service text messages that were likely deleted in a data migration.
Democratic lawmakers have called for the Secret Service investigation into Cuffari to be turned over to an inspector general, citing numerous reports that Cuffari’s office has inexplicably manipulated the investigation.
However, in mid-July, Cuffari wrote a brief letter urging congressional oversight committees to take action on the missing text messages, as well as perceived obstacles to accessing DHS records related to the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.
Lawmakers initially said Cuffari’s complaints were open to the IG investigation by the Secret Service and DHS. The House select committee investigating Jan. 6 immediately subpoenaed the Secret Service for records in response to Cuffari’s concerns.
Cuffari’s patience quickly wore thin with multiple reports that Cuffari’s office knew about the missing text messages more than a year before it alerted Congress.
Last month, two House Democrats accused Cuffa of obstructing the Secret Service’s investigation into text messages related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“Obstructing your committee’s investigations is unacceptable, and your justifications for non-compliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Congress’s authority and your duties as Inspector General. If you continue to refuse to comply with our requests, we will have no option but to consider alternative measures.” to ensure your compliance,” Maloney and Thompson wrote.
Maloney and Thompson’s call in July was as strident as the call for Cuff to recuse himself. The letter said they lost confidence in him after waiting months to tell Congress about the deleted Secret Service text messages around Jan. 6.
Senators from the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee — the panel that voted for Cuffari’s confirmation — are also increasingly critical.
Sen. Gary Peters, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote to Cuffa in August asking for detailed information about the investigation, calling the allegations troubling.