Top DHS Official Caught Red-Handed

Photo by Chris Grafton on Unsplash

On Tuesday (June 6), the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General that he routinely deletes text messages from his government phone, which could violate government record-keeping laws.

Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, who was under fire for failing to notify Congress promptly after realizing the January 6 Secret Service text messages had disappeared, was asked Tuesday about his record-keeping practices.

Cuffari appeared before the panel to discuss staffing and agent morale along the Southern border.

However, Democrats on the Committee used the opportunity to zero in on a litany of complaints, including the January 6 Secret Service episode.

Cuffari replied “yes” when Democratic Rep. Glenn Ivey (Md.) asked him before the House Oversight Committee if he deletes text messages from his phone.

He described deleting the text messages as his “normal practice,” answering “correct” when Ivey queried whether he deleted messages on an ongoing basis.

The pair then sparred about whether those phone records should be kept.

“I don’t use my government cellphone to conduct official business,” Cuffari claimed, although he backtracked when Ivey asked if his deleted messages were personal.

Cuffari added that he didn’t “consider” the messages “federal records, ” so he deleted them, continuing that there was a “clearly defined stature” defining the requirements of a federal record.

Deleting text messages may violate both DHS regulations and federal records laws.

Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group that called for Cuffari’s firing, pointed to a 2014 DHS policy requiring employees to save text messages on their government-issued phones.