Citing a March CIR/Washington Post story that exposed internal discord among federal agencies that police border corruption, legislators are pushing the Homeland Security Department for better cooperation and to improve information sharing.
Legislators from both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives recently sent letters to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, asking her to facilitate agreements between the different anti-corruption units and to define clearly their roles and responsibilities.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., along with three other U.S. senators, sent on April 21 a letter to Napolitano asking her to assist the department’s Inspector General and Customs and Border Protection’s Internal Affairs office in defining their respective roles to avoid duplicating investigations and for better collaboration.
“It is our belief that cooperation and participation by Federal, state and local law enforcement is essential to eliminating this growing threat to our national security,” the senators wrote.
The other senators include Russell Feingold, D-Wis., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Roland Burris, D-Ill.
A day earlier, California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa also sent a letter to Napolitano that quoted from the CIR/Post story. Issa urged Napolitano to facilitate an agreement between the different entities “that makes clear each agency’s investigative authority while maintaining and strengthening the mandate to share information and foster cooperation.”
The March 30 CIR/Post story highlighted a turf battle that has hindered some investigations. The Post also published an internal memo, obtained by CIR, that suggested friction between the Inspector General’s office and CBP’s internal affairs office.
“An exchange of memoranda within DHS entities arguing against (underlined in the original letter) information sharing and collaborative investigations represents a step backward,” Issa wrote. “In the past information was hoarded and not shared, with tragic results.”