tv [untitled] May 21, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT
enforcement, i.c.e., office of professional investigation, they have had investigations and allegations of misconduct occurring at both cbp and i.c.e. the number of allegations pursued by that office is staggering. in 2012 alone, and this is only may, there have been a total of 101 corruption allegations involving i.c.e. employees and 362 from cbp. at the transportation and security administration in 2011, there were three allegations involving corruption, 33 involving security and intelligence violations, and 210 alleged general misconducts. although these allegations have not been proven, they are a testament to the fact that eliminating public corruption at the department of homeland security is in dire need of improvement. i'm, therefore, pleased representatives from tsa, cpb
and i.c.e. are testifying this morning and i look forward to hearing from them regarding the steps they are taking to remedy the situation. of course, there are other incidents of corruption we can point to, but what sets the situations at i.c.e., cbp, and tsa apart is the risk to national security, and that's inherent in the public trust violations on the border and our nation's airports. i'm troubled by allegations with turf battles within the department and disagreements on who should be in charge. recent efforts have been implemented to improve working relationships among dhs, oig, cbp, internal affairs, and in addition to professional responsibilities. i hope that new memoranda of understanding will truly cause each agency to understand that delayed investigations as a result of internal disputes will not only undermine efforts, they'll also perpetuate this kind of misconduct.
again, i look forward to hearing from the witnesses and thank them for their participation in this important hearing. i yield back. >> thank the ranking member, other members of the subcommittee reminded opening statements may be shutted for the record. we're pleased to have a very distinguished panld of witnesses before us here today. on this very important topic. first, mr. charles edward is acting inspector general of the department of homeland security. he is a frequent guest here before the subcommittee. he's assumed this position in february of 2011, served as deputy inspector general at the department of homeland security, has over 20 years of experience in the federal government. next, mr. thomas winkowski. the acting deputy commissioner of u.s. customs and border protection. in this capacity, mr. winkowski serves as chief operating officer, overseeing the daily operations of cbp's 60,000 employees and manages an operating budget of $1 $11.5
billion. he began work with the u.s. customs service in 1975 as a student. we thank you for your service. mr. winkowski. next we have mr. james duncan, was appointed as assistant administrator of tsa's office of professional responsibility in 2011. mr. duncan has more than 16 years of experience supervising and handling employee misconduct cases at opr and the department of justice. my alma mater, as well. next mr. tim moynihan is the assistant director at the office of professional responsibility at the u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. he has more than 23 years of experience working for the u.s. government, has been in his current position since 2009, where he focuses on workforce, integrity, personnel screening, inspections, and security management. i want to thank all of you for being here today. with that, the chair now recognizes mr. edwards for his testimony.
>> good morning, chairman mccaul, ranking member keating, and distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me to testify today about ethical standards within the department of homeland security. the vast majority of employees within dhs are dedicated civil servants, focused on protecting the nation. while a small percentage of employees have committed criminal acts and other gross misconduct, those few should not be used to draw conclusions about the character, integrity, or work ethic of the many. over the past year, dhs employees continue to demonstrate this ethic of service, from responding to 99 federally declared disasters to unprecedented efforts to secure america's borders and to advances in protecting the nation's transportation networks and critical infrastructure.
while those who violate their sworn duties are few, even one corrupt agent or officer who allows harmful goods or people to enter the country puts the nation at risk. corruption within the ranks of dhs can have severe consequences, a corrupt dhs employee may accept a bribe for allowing what appears to be undocumented aliens in the u.s., while unwittingly helping terrorists enter the country. likewise taking a bribe to allow the entry of what appears to be drug contraband could expose the nation to weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical or biological bombs. oig has made investigating employee corruption a top priority. both the personnel and organizational independence of oig investigators free to carry out their work without interference by agency officials is essential to maintaining the public trust and not only the
work of the oig, but the dhs workforce as a whole. the oig investigates all allegations of corruption involving dhs employees or compromise of systems related to the security of borders and transportation networks. for example, oig received information about that a cbp officer was using his position at a large urban airport to support an international drug trafficking organization. oig joined a multi-agency investigation led by i.c.e., opr which led to the dismantling of the entire drug trafficking organization and the arrest of multiple offenders, including the cbp officer. on at least 19 separate occasions, the cbp officer has bypassed airport security using his own badge to smuggle money and weapons for the drug traffickers. in december 2010, he was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. in another case, oig conducted
an investigation into allegation of theft involving a transportation security officer at the orlando international airport. the tso had stolen more than 80 laptop computers, cell phones, and ipods estimated at $80,000 from passenger luggage over a three-year period from 2008 to 2011. tsa terminated his employment in march 2011. in august 2011, the tso pled guilty to charges of embezzlement and theft in connection with the investigation and in january 2012 was sentenced to 24 months of probation. on may 1, 2012, the former acting director of intelligence for i.c.e. pled guilty to defrauding the government of more than $180,000 in a three-year scheme involving fraudulent travel vouchers and time and attendance claims.
sentencing is scheduled for july 2012. he faces a likely prison sentence of 18 to 27 months. three other ice employees and contract employee previously pled guilty to charges related to the scheme, which cost i.c.e. more than $600,000. these examples of intolerable behavior by a very small number of dhs employees, each represent a threat to our nation's security and the public's perception of dhs and its mission. dhs employees are held to the highest standards of professional conduct, and oig is committed to aggressively pursuing those who violate dhs standards. chairman mccall mccaul this concludes my prepared remarks. i would happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you, chair now recognizes mr. winkowski for his testimony. >> mr. scharm, ranking member keating and distinguished
members of the subcommittee it is a privilege to appear before you today to discuss u.s. customs and border protections ethical standards and our effort to combat corruption and misconduct within our workforce. i would like to begin by recognizing the dedication, bravery, and honor demonstrated by the overwhelming majority of cbp agents and officers, who put their lives on the line each day to protect our nation. cbp deploys over 60,000 agents, officers, and mission support personnel in support of our critical mission of securing america's borders against threats while facilitating trade and travel. as we continue to see success in our efforts to secure our nation's borders, cbp employees will continue to be targeted by criminal organizations and individuals that grow more desperate in their attempts to smuggle people and illegal contraband into this country. i'm here today to discuss the vulnerability and the pro-active steps we are taking to mitigate
this threat. as you mention, mr. chairman, we recognize public services is a public trust, and at the center of the cbp's core values is integrity, and it is of the utmost importance all our employees are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles. i'm proud the overwhelming majority of the men and women in the cbp workforce serve with honor and integrity while only a small fraction of the workforce have engaged in illegal or unetteal behavior since the inception of cbp. any such behavior disgraces the agency and betrays the trust of the american public. one instance is one too many. our commitment to integrity begins as soon as an employee applies for employment and continues throughout an employee's career. we utilize multiple toys, including improved applicant screening, exhaustive background
investigations to ensure thorough vetting of the men and women seeking employment with cbp. since 2008, we have conducted preemployment polygraphic examinations on law enforcement applicants, a critical important tool used to screen applicants before placing them on the frontline. cbp is building the capacity to polygraph 100% of all law enforcement applicants in compliance with the mandates of the anti-border corruption act of 2010 and is on track to achieve this goal well in advance of the january 2013 deadline. in addition to preemployment prevention efforts, cbp has strengthened its capacities and capabilities to investigate corruption within our existing workforce with approximately 200 experienced investigators nationwide, cbp internal affairs uses behavioral science, research methods to flag indicators of potential workforce corruption and provide an intelligence-driven response. in conjunction with these
efforts, we have developed analytical management systems control office called amsco which analyzes data in the ports of entry environment to identify anomalies. that may indicate potential misconduct. cbp's office of field operations and office of border patrol have also established integrity and ethics committees which provide strategic recommendations to combat and -- to combat corruption and promote integrity in the agency's distinct operational environments. these efforts feed into cbp's integrity integrated planning and coordination, the ipcc. the ipcc which includes representatives from our law enforcement partners examines best practices and seeks to coordinate integrity related initiatives within the agency. cbp recognize that information sharing is a critical factor in
maintaining border integrity and effectively addressing allegations of corruption lodged against cbp employees. we have established mous with the oig and i.c.e. authorizing the colocation of agents in order to assist an investigation of cbp employees. we are also active participants in the 22 fbi-led border corruption task forces nationwide. mr. chairman, members of the subcommittee, integrity is central to cbp's identity and effectiveness as guardians of the nation's borders. i thank you and members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to appear today and make clear our core values and strategic approach. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you mr. winkowski. chair now recognizes mr. duncan for his testimony. >> good morning, chairman mccaul. ranking member keating and distinguished members of the subcommittee. it's a privilege and honor to appear before you today. every day, nearly 57,000 full
time tsa employees work to ensure the security of our nation's vast transportation networks. tsa employees are risk based intelligence driven operations to prevent terrorist attacks and reduce the vulnerability of our transportation network to terrorism. our goal is to maximize security while protecting privacy and facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and commerce through a multilayered system of transportation security. tsa's workforce accomplishes its security mission by screening passengers and baggage at more than 450 airports in the united states. every week, we vet 14 million passenger reservations and 13 million transportation workers against the terrorist watch list. our efforts facilitate the secure air travel for 1.8 million persons each day. success depends on the integrity of our workforce. therefore everything we do at tsa from hiring, promotion and training to inspections,
investigations and adjudications is driven by our commitment to the highest ethical standards. administrator pistol has made clear that integrity, professionalism and hard work are the bedrock principles for the entire tsa workforce. when the tsa employee fails to live up to our high standards, he or she violates the public trust, tarnishes the excellent work of the rest of our workforce and damages tsa's reputation with the american people. for that reason, we hold all of our employees to the same high professional and ethical standards and we have zero tolerance for any kind of criminal activity in the workplace. tsa's office of human capital publishes the policies that govern employee conduct. all employees are required to know our standards and to re-review them on an annual basis. to further assist, tsa's online training center provides training for all new first-time tsa supervisors to give them the
tools to identify, report and prevent misconduct. when allegations or instances of misconduct arise they're investigated by tsa's office of inspection. an independent investigative arm of the agency that reports directly to the tsa administrator and deputy administrator. the office of inspection reviews allegations and reports them to the dhs office of the inspector general and conducts investigations if the oig elects not to handle them themselves. the office of inspection also pro-actively conducts independent oversight inspections of operational programs, procedures and policies, both in the fields, and at tsa headquarters. the inspections check on compliance and equally important, they provide employees an opportunity to raise allegations of misconduct in a confidential setting. to promote consistency, timeliness and accountability if the disciplinary process, tsa has created an office of professional responsibility, opr.
opr adjudicates all allegations of misconduct involving senior level officials and law enforcement personnel. and opr officials also review each report of investigation involving a tsa employee where the investigation was conducted by the office of inspector general. working with tsa's office of human capital, opr is developing a unified database that will allow us to track all disciplinary matters through the agency to help us promote consistency and accountability. opr has also created greater consistency and transparency in the entire tsa disciplinary system by creating a table of offenses and penalties. the table which is available to all tsa employees provides ranges of penalties for each type of offense and guides the decisions of officials both at opr and in the field. as we strive to continue strengthening transportation security and improving the overall travel experience for all americans we always bear in
mind that the success of our mission depends on the integrity of our workforce, the freedom to travel is fundamental to our american way of life and tsa is fully committed to ensuring that everyone can do so securely. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i'll be pleased to address any questions you may have. >> thank you, mr. duncan. let me just say while we certainly appreciate your presence here today to testify, we did request a witness at the higher policy level, either administrator pistol or his deputy. i think it's important to have someone at the policy level to discuss these important issues. and yet, tsa failed to produce that witness. next the chair now recognizes mr. moynihan for his testimony. >> morning. chairman mccaul, ranking member keating, on behalf of secretary napolitano and director morton, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the ways in which i.c.e. uphads dhs standards for integrity and professionalism. the overwhelming majority of
i.c.e. employees demonstrate the highest levels of integrity, perform their duties with honor every day. . however, as in any large organization, isolated acts of employee misconduct do occur from time to time. my testimony today focuses on the mechanisms that are in place to ensure robust process for investigating allegations of employee misconduct and insuring the integrity of the i.c.e. mission. since the creation of dhs, the i.c.e. office of professional responsibility has been delegated the authority to investigate allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct committed by i.c.e. and cbp employees. although we refer allegations to the dhs office of the inspector general for review and potential acceptance, many are referred back for appropriate investigative action. i.c.e. has a comprehensive integrity strategy that integrates training, detection, investigation capabilities to determine response and misconduct in the workforce. this is strategy involves collaboration with other law enforcement entities, a vigorous comprehensive screening process
for new hires and education and training of existing employees. opr is comprised of three operational divisions that play a major role in maintaining the highest level of ethical standards. the investigations division conducts criminal and administrative employee misconduct investigations through personnel maintained in 26 field offices nationwide and in puerto rico. opr field offices are responsible for investigating allegations of criminal and serious administrative misconduct, reporting investigative results to the principle offices, conducting field training to ice employees and guidance to all offices within their areas of responsibilities. the inspections division reviews i.c.e. offices, programs and detention facilities to ensure compliance with agency regulations, policies and standards in order to provide executive management with an independent review of the agency's organizational health, and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall i.c.e. mission. finally, the security division is responsible for the implementation of agencywide security programs including
personnel, physical information, operational and counter intelligence. screening employees on the front end is an important step we take toward ensuring the integrity of our mission. i.c. evlt's vigorous screening process includes vigorous screening checks, and periodic background investigations every five or ten years. once employees are on board, we apply proactive training measures and oversight and management of employees at every level to ensure the integrity of the i.c.e. workforce. the i.c.e. ethics office providing training and guide tons all employees with respect to standards of conduct and the federal conflict of interest statutes. collaboration among federal agencies is critical to the mission of enhancing employee integrity. in 2010, i.c.e. and cbp entered into a memorandum of understanding whereby internal affairs investigators are assigned to field offices to participate in all investigations of bbp employee criminal misconduct enabling
management to make informed decisions when considering alternative administrative remedies. this collaboration has solidified i.c.e.'s commitment to providing complete and timely awareness of involvement and criminal investigations of cbp employees. recently dhs oig transferred approximately 370 cases to opr involving criminal administrative allegations involving i.c.e. and cbp employees. the cases regard cbp employees worked in conjunction with cbp internal affairs and opr will provide monthly status updates. we will have taken aggressive steps to ensuring all alleges of misconduct within the agency are swiftly addressed. we do everything we can to uphold the agency's values. i speak for director morton when i say that i.c.e.'s leadership is proud of the integrity and professionalism of our workforce. thank you again for your opportunity to appear before you today and for your continued support of i.c.e. in its law enforcement mission. >> and thank you, mr. moynihan.
let me reiterate, we certainly appreciate you being here and your testimony. we requested that either director morton or someone at a deputy or policy level to appear before this committee. and unfortunately, your agency failed to produce that witness. with that, the chair now recognizes himself for five minutes for questioning. you know, i worked in the public integrity section in the department of justice. i serve now on the ethics committee. so i've always believed that public service is a public trust. while the vast majority of your employees are honest and hard working, unfortunately, the actions of a few bad apples tainted the entire organization. and the purpose of this hearing is not to taint the overall organization at all. but rather to look at the specific abuses and determine how can we fix the problem. and i'll go with each agency. i'll start with you,
mr. winkowski. cbp, you know, the allegations of border patrol agencies, cbp officers working with drug traffickers to facilitate their business is just unconscionable. and you know the threat from a national security standpoint. you know they're trying to infiltrate our organization. i want to first ask you about your polygraphs that you do conduct with employees prior to employment. if you can elaborate on what some of your findings have been in terms of these pre-employment screenings. >> yes, thank you very much, mr. chairman for that question. as i mentioned in my oral interview, we've begun -- we began doing polygraphs in 2008, and we've done about 10,000 polygraphs, about 400 a month. come january of 2013 under the anti-border corruption act,
we're mandated to do all law enforcement officers and we will meet that mandate of 2013. matter of fact, we'll meet that mandate sometime this summer. so this summer, we'll have 100% of our law enforcement officers undergoing a polygraph prior to coming on board as a law enforcement officer. so, of those 10,000 polygraphs that we've done, we have discovered a whole host of individuals that applied to be border patrol agents or customs and border protection officers. and the polygraph was able to identify individuals that had a very, very questionable past. let me give you several examples, mr. chairman. we had a case where between 2002 and 2009, an applicant smuggled several bundles of marijuana within the united states and was
paid $200 on at least three occasions, the applicant personally unloaded duffel bags of drugs from vehicles and stored them at his residence and the applicant also accepted $1,000 in exchange for allowing vehicles loaded with marijuana to be stored at his home. so the polygraph was able to identify that and obviously the employee was not hired for a law enforcement position. in another example, in march of 2009, the applicant and a friend became involved in transportation of cocaine and marijuana. the applicant's friend profited an unknown amount of the transportation of marijuana and he proved from $3500 for the transportation of the cocaine. so we have these individuals that in some cases i believe their sole purpose of wanting to become a customs and border protection officer or border patrol officer is to infiltrate us.
and the way in which, while we have robust background process while we have amsco type systems i talked about in my orlt oral reply and looking for anomalies, we really believe that the polygraph is going to be a real game changer for us. so we're ready for that. we've been doing polygraphs but come this summer, everybody will undergo one. i think one of the things also that both you and the ranking member has talked about were the national security positions. i view the cbpos and the border patrol agents as national security positions. and as such, i think we need to take a different view of that position. so for example while we're starting the polygraph prior to their employment, and weeding out those individuals that are deceptive, our data indicates that, really, an officer goes on
the other side about 8.8 years into service. so the question becomes while we have data mining and we're doing amscos and looking for anomalies and we have the periodic reinvestigations every five years, i think we need to be looking at polygraphs throughout the employee's career. i think that is very, very important and we'll work with the office of personnel management towards that end, but i couldn't agree more with what you said and mr. keating said about the national security positions. >> let me say i agree with you that it really is a national security issue, and i think the cases that you discussed in terms of preemployment screening with polygraphs demonstrates that they are trying to infiltrate our law enforcement. >> yes. >> there are other law enforcement agencies that require post employment
polygraphs. and you and i talked about this yesterday. can you tell me some of the hurdles? because as a former public corruption prosecutor, usually the corruption occurs after employment. >> yeah. >> after they've been down on the border or points of entry where they're then corrupted by organizations with high dollar amounts to infiltrate the united states with drugs and human trafficking. so can you elaborate on what would be the challenges and hurdles to require post employment polygraphs. >> one of the challenges that we have is working through the hiring policies that we have and the office of personnel management, and i'll make it very clear. we have not approached the office of personnel management on this particular issue but we will do that.