March 25, 2011, - 6:24 pm
Sadly, it wouldn’t be the first–and probably not nearly the last–time that a high-ranking Department of Homeland Security official lied about his/her resume and used a phony college degree. So, does Jorge Guzman, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles (who has top secret security clearance) have a real degree or not? It’s being litigated in court, and I’m confused as to which side is in the right here. Only time will tell.
But either way, it doesn’t paint a rosy picture of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigative abilities, despite the many great investigators I know to be among the ranks of that agency. If the vetters from the agency can’t sleuth out a fake degree, how are they gonna do when it’s a fake document or fake story from illegal aliens and others? It’s also not a good sign of what goes on atop the Los Angeles ICE office, as he’s not the first top agent there to be involved in a scandal. And he’s already collected $400K from the feds when he filed suit over previous investigations against him. The article quotes officials saying they are “testing” his college degree, to see if it is authentic. “Testing” doesn’t mean “tested with conclusive results.”
A high-ranking Homeland Security official who held a top secret security clearance and supervised squads of agents in Los Angeles has been suspended as a federal grand jury probes whether he lied about having a college degree, The Smoking Gun has learned.
The ongoing criminal investigation is targeting Jorge Guzman, a 25-year law enforcement veteran who served as the assistant special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s L.A. branch.
In mid-December, agents executed a search warrant at the 51-year-old Guzman’s office inside a downtown L.A. building. Simultaneously, he was placed on paid administrative leave, and stripped of his firearm, badge, and government vehicle. Correspondence sent to his dhs.gov e-mail address is now returned to the sender marked undeliverable.
Lawyers for Guzman. . . contend that he graduated from a California community college and has provided federal officials with copies of an authentic diploma. In a recent court filing, Guzman’s counsel stated that their client’s “name and reputation are being ruined by a false allegation” and shoddy sleuthing.
Whatever the investigation’s outcome, it will likely prove deeply embarrassing to Homeland Security officials. Either a high-ranking ICE supervisor was able to move up the law enforcement ladder while repeatedly lying about his educational history, or an experienced agent was wrongly accused by peers whose botched probe effectively torpedoed his career.
Triggered by an anonymous tip that Guzman “has lied throughout his career that he has a college degree,” ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation late last year. In employment applications and background check documents, Guzman has reported receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Sacramento City College in January 1986, shortly before his hiring as a Border Patrol agent.
After a review of personnel records and school transcripts, and an interview with a college admissions supervisor, agents concluded that there was probable cause to believe that Guzman had lied about earning a degree from the two-year college, which he attended between 1978-1986. And that he had provided superiors with a bogus diploma. . . .
Before his suspension, Guzman supervised four ICE groups probing human smuggling and trafficking as well as benefit fraud. He has been quoted in newspapers about ICE cases and has appeared on TV programs like CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” . . .
Guzman has previously been the subject of a series of other internal investigations, inquiries that prompted him to file a lawsuit alleging that he was targeted because he is Latino. While admitting no wrongdoing, the Department of Justice in 1999 paid Guzman $400,000 to settle the legal action.
Well, if they are wrong, you can bet he’ll be asking for another $400K. And if this is a bogus investigation, I can’t say I blame him. We’ll see.
So, what do you think? Is Guzman lying or did ICE OPR investigators not do their job? On the one hand, it sounds like they contacted the school, and there is no authentic degree, though they have not yet tested the alleged degree for forgery. On the other, if he were lying, why go to the expense of having lawyers litigate this, claiming he has an authentic degree. Does someone have that much chutzpah if they are bluffing? As I said, I’m confused. What is your take?
Tags: court case, Department of Homeland Security, DHS, Fake Degree, ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jorge Guzman, litigation, Los Angeles, Real Degree, top secret security clearance