Washington Gadfly

EXCLUSIVE: DHS Inspector General Suggests Whistleblower Smear Campaign Investigation

Reuters/HYUNGWON KANG

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth on Thursday personally addressed the illegal and concerted effort by DHS flacks to discredit an ICE whistleblower following her congressional testimony last year.

He also indicated that the smear campaign against Special Agent Taylor Johnson, who was fired last week, is under investigation.

“Apologies that this didn’t get responded to earlier, but someone will reach out to you,” he told the Washington Gadfly.

“Without getting into specific case matters, we care very much about violations of the [federal] privacy act and about whistleblower retaliation. But again, can’t talk about what we are doing in this instance.”

Lawyers are very careful with language. Notice that Roth, a graduate of Wayne State University Law School, used an active verb “doing” rather than hedge by saying what we might do or could do.

It is also highly unusual for an IG to talk directly with a reporter. They generally limit their public comments to congressional testimony about newly-released reports. And certainly do not comment on or confirm active investigations.

Roth is clearly in damage control mode.

Consider this chain of events. Last weekend he ignored repeated questions about DHS dismissing Johnson after she declined $100,000 in hush money. The termination was first reported here Tuesday and immediately made waves on Capitol Hill.

The IG office then took heat from congressional aides because they ignored a December 29 email about ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen secretly peddling dirt on Johnson. The smear campaign itself is also of great concern.

Roth’s underlings initially insisted they never received this reporter’s inquiry to the press office and Assistant Inspector General Mark Bell. His apology for not responding “earlier” is the first admission they did.

Meanwhile, in a fascinating and telling example of journalistic sloth and liberal bias, The Washington Post is deliberately ignoring the dismissal of Johnson even though they covered her Congressional testimony last year.

[dcquiz] And Huffington Post DC bureau chief Ryan Grim was provided the phone number of Taylor’s lawyer on Tuesday but insisted later that day he was too busy with the New Hampshire primary to call or write anything.

Well, as of this writing, it is almost Friday.

Sure, given Trump’s poor showing in Iowa Grim was probably pre-occupied with basking in the glory of his decision last year to relegate the real estate magnate’s supposedly frivolous campaign to the entertainment section.

But it is a safe bet that the dismissal of a Bush administration whistleblower just months after she testified before Congress would have been a much higher priority for HuffPost and WaPo.