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Tag: Joseph Cuffari

Homeland Security Watchdog Previously Accused of Violating Ethics Rules

By Steve Neavling

The Homeland Security watchdog who is accused of mishandling deleted Secret Service text messages from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection violated ethics rules while at the Justice Department, according to a 2013 report.

Joseph V. Cuffari, who served as a special agent overseeing a DOJ inspector general field office in Tucson, was under investigation for misleading federal investigators and running “afoul” of ethics regulations, The Washington Post reports.

According to the report, he failed to properly notify his supervisors that he testified in a case against the federal government. 

When asked about it, OIG investigators “were skeptical of Cuffari’s assertions to us” about being at the hearing. 

“Cuffari’s purported response was materially different than what he had e-mailed his supervisors about an hour earlier,” the report states. 

Investigators said they did “not believe” Cuffari’s explanation for failing to disclose the information. 

Cuffari is under fire failing to try to retrieve text messages from Secret Service agents’ phones. 

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been seeking the messages in hopes of revealing more information about Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. 

When Cuffari notified the House and Senate Homeland Security committees this month that the text messages had been “erased,” he failed to disclose that “his office first discovered that deletion in December and failed to alert lawmakers or examine the phones.” 

House Dems Call on Inspector General to Remove Himself from Probe of Secret Service Texts

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari

By Steve Neavling

Lawmakers are calling for a new inspector general to head the investigation into deleted Secret Service text messages in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, who also chairs the committee investigating the Capitol riots, are asking DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to recuse himself. 

In a letter to Cuffari, the top Democrats say his failure to notify Congress that the Secret Service wasn’t providing records “cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation.”

“These omissions left Congress in the dark about key developments in this investigation and may have cost investigators precious time to capture relevant evidence,” the lawmakers wrote. “There must be no doubt that the Inspector General leading this investigation can conduct it thoroughly and with integrity, objectivity and independence. We do not have confidence that Inspector General Cuffari can achieve those standards.”

Cuffari waited months to notify Congress that the messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 had been erased. Earlier this month, he finally notified Congress of the deleted texts. 

“Inspector General Cuffari’s actions in this matter, which follow other troubling reports about his conduct as Inspector General, cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation. In light of these serious failures, we request that Inspector General Cuffari step aside from the ongoing investigation into the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages,” the lawmakers wrote.