Homeland Security's Acting IG Quits Amid Congressional Probe

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 03:15 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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The embattled Homeland Security inspector general, under investigation for allegedly abusing the powers of his office and altering reports on a Secret Service scandal to keep from embarrassing the Obama administration, has resigned, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards, who had been in charge of investigating allegations of wrongdoing within the department's numerous agencies and bureaus, was transferred to the department's Science and Technology Office, according to Fox News.

Homeland Security said Edwards requested the transfer last week. Details of his new job are unclear.

The move comes a month after a bipartisan call for his resignation.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri who heads the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Financial and Contracting Oversight Committee, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., both urged Edwards to resign in early November.

Whistle blowers allege that Edwards and his staff changed findings in reports, delayed investigations, and threatened to retaliate against anyone who questioned his decisions.

In particular, when Congress requested a probe into the culture of the Secret Service after agents were caught drinking and hiring prostitutes during a presidential visit in Colombia in April 2012, Edwards allegedly omitted potentially damaging information.

Whistle-blowers also accused Edwards of asking employees to do his homework and write his Ph.D. dissertation, and of using office funds to attend classes in Florida, the Post reported.

Edwards has called the accusations "completely without merit."

The timing of Edwards' DHS reassignment comes just three days before he was scheduled to testify at a Senate hearing on whether he had altered and delayed investigations to please agency heads and the White House, the Post reported.

It's not clear whether that hearing will go forward on Thursday.

Most recently, Edwards headed a probe of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas over whether he improperly influenced decisions in a foreign investor visa program.

John Roth, a top criminal investigator at the Food and Drug Administration, has been tapped to become the permanent inspector general.

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