A Senate oversight panel released on Thursday a report blasting Charles K. Edwards, former top watchdog of the Department of Homeland Security, for misconduct which it says effectively “compromised” him as the agency’s inspector general. Before he resigned from the post and took another job within the DHS in December, the report says, Edwards rewrote, delayed and reclassified critical reports and audits carried out by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the behest of senior DHS officials.  He is also said to have socialized with officials -- whose friendship, he told them in one email, he “truly valued” -- over dinner and drinks, and informed them of upcoming OIG investigations.

One of the reports which the subcommittee found Edwards had altered regarded http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/secure-communities-fact-sheetSecure Communities, a controversial program by which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) obtains fingerprint records of detainees from local jails, scans them against their own records, and requests jails to hold detainees longer than otherwise necessary so that ICE agents can come interview potential immigration violators. The report discussed whether ICE had made misleading statements on the way the program would be implemented; before the final draft was sent to DHS, Edwards “directed language to be changed in the report at the request of DHS officials.” 

The subcommittee also found Edwards to be unfamiliar with basic aspects of his office’s work, which is meant to be conducted independently of the DHS in order to report effectively on fraud and mismanagement within the agency. “Mr. Edwards did not understand the importance of independence,” the report said, later adding that “unlike most IGs, Mr. Edwards does not have experience conducting audits, investigations, or inspections, the three main types of work conducted in an Office of Inspector General.” The Associated Press reported on Friday morning that within hours after the release of the subcommittee’s report, DHS secretary Jeh Johnson put Edwards on leave.