April 9, 2008, - 1:46 pm
CYA Reading of the Day: Congress Excoriates DHS’ ICE Princess, “Serpenthead” Over Racist Behavior/Cover-Up; What is DHS/ICE Hiding in Secret Internal Report?
By Debbie Schlussel
Most of this report from the House Homeland Security Committee is not new to readers of this site. In fact, it’s mostly old hat. But it’s a scathing attack (too little, too late), which makes some VERY important points about the immature, incompetent “leadership” of our nation’s top immigration and national security agencies.
And it’s very entertaining reading from a bunch of CYA (Cover Your [Rear]) Congressional Democrats who knew better, but did nothing, about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chieftess Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess.” It details Myers’ deliberate cover-up and obstruction of justice, regarding an award she gave to a racist costume at a Halloween Party.
However, all of it–how Myers ordered the destruction of photos of Myers and the Blackface costumed ICE employee, and then, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act, delayed the photos’ release until after her nomination was confirmed–was detailed repeatedly on this site. I noted all of this before Myers’ confirmation, and even posted a photo. It was all common knowledge amongst ICE employees. Yet, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (who is Black) looked the other way and allowed this extremely incompetent woman to be confirmed.
The only thing new here is about how the Department of Homeland Security has a secret report on Myers’ behavior, and it refuses to release it . . . even to Congress. Why? What’s the “national security” reason behind hiding info on Julie Myers’ racist behavior and unlawful cover-up thereafter? Was an Al-Qaeda informant involved in applying the Blackface or making the dreadlock wig or the paper bag labelled, “Bag Nasty” (see pic in Attachment B of the report)?
So, now, finaly, Congress is whining about it–now, that it is too late:
Assistant Secretary Myers confirmed each of the above allegations and apologized for her “bad judgment”. However, she failed to be forthcoming concerning the existence of photographs memorializing the party or the role she played in ordering the destruction of photographic records.
This examination indicates that Assistant Secretary Myers directed the destruction of photographs of the Halloween party, enlisted other DHS employees to destroy photographs and ordered the sanctioning and relocation of an employee in a coordinated effort to conceal the circumstances surrounding the party.
These activities were undertaken prior to the Assistant Secretary’s Senate Confirmation hearing and may have been carried out to preclude or delay the public release of photographs that could have adversely impacted her confirmation hearings.
When the costume contest began, entrants approached the judge’s table where Assistant Secretary Myers, Deputy Assistant Secretary Bertucci and Chief of Staff Smith were seated. The entrants were instructed to state their name, describe their costume and allow the judges to see their costume up close. When the employee in the prison garb, dreadlock wig and skin-darkening makeup arrived at the judge’s table, he stated, “I’m a Jamaican detainee from Krome [DS: A detention facility housing many Black deportees], obviously, I’ve escaped.” The response from the judges [DS: that means Myers, her chief of staff and her deputy] was laughter.
According to interviews with employees who attended the party, several employees were shocked and offended by the costume and some even left immediately after seeing their fellow employee in the costume. The combined effect of the prison outfit, dreadlock wig and skin-darkening makeup appeared to have caused grave concern and distress, especially for some African Americans present. In fact, some employees did not associate the costume with a “detainee” but instead thought it was intended to represent an African American in a prison outfit.
As the winner of the “most original costume” costume award, the
employee in prison garb, dreadlocks and skin-darkening makeup and
Assistant Secretary Myers were photographed together as promised.
According to the November 13, 2007 internal DHS report, within hours of judging the costumes at the party, Assistant Secretary Myers became concerned about her “bad judgment call.” Assistant Secretary Myers immediately ordered Chief of Staff Nick Smith to have all of the photographs of the “most original costume” prize winner destroyed. Regarding this decision, Assistant Secretary Myers stated that “although I did not know that this individual had disguised his race, I determined that I had made an error in judgment in recognizing an escaped prisoner at this party, and I did not think that recognizing an escaped prisoner was in any way beneficial to the agency’s goal of treating everyone in our custody with dignity and respect. Accordingly, I instructed my Chief of Staff to direct ICE’s official event photographer to delete all photos of the employee in the inappropriate costume so they would not be placed into the agency’s photo archive and inadvertently used in future publications.”
Following this directive, Chief of Staff Smith personally ordered the ICE contract photographer to delete all of the photographs containing images of the employee. The oral instruction to the photographer was reiterated in an email from the Director of ICE Public Affairs, which stated: “Please make sure that the photos of the most creative (single male entry) are destroyed. They may not be used in any publication, Web site, compilation disk, you name it. Not just not used (sic). Please erase all.” The photographer then deleted the relevant photographs from his digitalcamera.
On Michael “Serpenthead” Chertoff’s BS–Congress finally sees beyond the fertilizer:
The internal investigation found that the employee wore his costume from the time he arrived at work at 8:00 a.m. and was seen by co-workers, managers, and senior level ICE officials while he went about his duties.
Upon learning of the incident, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expressed strong dissatisfaction with the incident. He stated:
I get very perturbed when there is anything that suggests that with respect to the enforcement of the law, we are anything other than evenhanded. I have zero tolerance for racism or discrimination in the area of law enforcement. We have to be tough but we have to be fair. The idea that you are going to come and impersonate someone of another ethnic group, I think, is completely unacceptable.
Secretary Chertoff did not, however, make any mention of his intention to discipline the individuals responsible for awarding the employee who wore the offending costume.
Moreover, it should be noted that despite this strong statement, the internal report has been withheld from the public and has not been shared, to date, in a non-redacted format with Members of Congress responsible for overseeing the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the Department did not make the report readily available to Committee staff. After its initial refusal to release the report to the Committee, the Department made the report available on a very
limited basis. To read the report, Committee staff was required to travel to DHS and examine it on their premises. Committee staff was prevented from making or removing copies.
Congress recognizes the BS (even if too late). Here are some of its conclusions about The ICE Princess and Serpenthead:
3. Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, Deputy Assistant Secretary Theresa Bertucci, and Chief of Nick Smith exercised poor judgment when they choose to reward the employee for wearing the costume.
4. The steps taken by Assistant Secretary Myers following the Halloween party appeared to be an attempt to conceal her actions from the public disclosure.
5. Assistant Secretary Myers should not have ordered the destruction of photographs taken at the event. She either knew or should have
known that the photographs may have been considered federal government property.
6. Assistant Secretary Myers was not fully forthcoming during her
meetings with Chairman Bennie Thompson regarding the photographs taken at the party.
7. Assistant Secretary Myers was preparing for her Senate confirmation
hearing at the time of the Halloween party incident and appears to
have become concerned that revelations regarding her “bad judgment”
could have adversely impacted the outcome of her confirmation
9. Despite Secretary Chertoff’s stated “zero tolerance” for discriminatory behavior in law enforcement, neither Assistant Secretary Myers, nor her subordinates Deputy Assistant Secretary Bertucci and Chief of Staff Smith have been reprimanded for their participation in this event by DHS leadership.
The question is: If Bennie Thompson and his fellow Dems are so exercised now–as they should have been back in November, but weren’t–about Myers absurd law-breaking and racist behavior, why is she still in office? Why won’t they haul her to hearings the way they do generals and members of law enforcement, who–unlike Myers–are actually doing their jobs and know what they are doing?
And why isn’t Myers impeached? And why does she still have a law license–after having engaged in an unlawful cover-up and obstruction of justice, for which you and I would be behind bars?
Issuing reports for our reading pleasure and a treasured place in the circular file is one thing. Doing something about this serial incompetentette and now, confirmed law-breaker and concealer, is entirely another.
Read the whole report. It’s in big print (so King George won’t have to put on his reading glasses) and fun–and sad and maddening–to read.
Tags: absurd law-breaking, al-Qaeda, Assistant Secretary, Bennie Thompson, Blackface, Chairman, chief, Chief of Nick Smith, chief of staff, Congress, David Lunde, Deputy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Director of ICE Public Affairs, George, Halloween, Halloween party, Homeland Security Committee, Homeland Security Secretary, ICE contract photographer, ICE official, judge, Julie Myers, Julie Myers Diet Coke, King, law enforcement, law license, Michael Chertoff, Nicholas J. Smith Praised, Nick Smith, official event photographer, Photographer, Princess, Secretary, Senate, Theresa Bertucci, Top ICE Official