federal complaint also alleges that Napolitano’s handpicked Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chief of Staff, Suzanne Barr, “created a frat-house type atmosphere that is targeted to humiliate and intimidate male employees.” The suit was filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The woman involved in the long-standing relationship with Napolitano has been identified as Dora Schriro, former head of the Missouri Corrections Department who became director of the Arizona Department of Corrections when Napolitano was governor of the state. She currently serves as commissioner for the New York City Department of Corrections, where she was appointed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Debbie Schlussel reports that Napolitano helped Schriro get her current job so that Schriro could live near a sick relative.
According to the suit, Hayes began his federal career in 1995 as a border patrol agent in Texas, and rose quickly through the ranks of the federal immigration bureaucracy. In September 2008, he was promoted to head the agency’s detention and removal operations, managing a staff of 8,500 and a budget of about $2.5 billion. Hayes contends he began being supplanted at DHS and ICE meetings by Schriro in 2009, when she became special advisor to Napolitano. He further contends that he was “being replaced in his duties” in part because “he was not female,” and that Schriro was unqualified for the job because she “lacked federal law enforcement experience.”
Hayes then sought a transfer to Los Angeles that was denied, after which he was offered “positions in the agency at lower salary and grade levels.” When he threatened to file an internal discrimination suit, Hayes was subjected to “at least six investigations conducted by the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility.” Hayes alleges these actions were taken “in order to intimidate” him, and “to prevent him from filing any EEO complaints.“ He was eventually transferred to New York in late 2009 “at a substantial financial loss,” and thus is also suing to recover $335,000 in moving costs, unpaid relocation bonuses and lost wages.
The allegations against Suzanne Barr are equally unsavory. She is also an Arizona import, having been previously employed as Napolitano’s Chief of Staff in the Arizona Gubernatorial office prior to being appointed as ICE Chief of Staff, despite her own lack law enforcement experience. In his suit, Hayes offers several examples of the frat-house type atmosphere of intimidation and humiliation aimed at male employees by Barr.
In April and May 2009, Barr allegedly “removed the entire contents of the offices of three male employees, including nameplates, computers and telephones, to the men’s bathroom at ICE headquarters.” She allegedly humiliated a male employee “by calling that employee in his hotel room and screaming that she want ‘his c**k in the back of her throat.‘“ Barr also allegedly took “an ICE Blackberry device assigned to a male Special Agent in Charge,” sending a message to “his female supervisor indicating that the male employee has a crush on the female supervisor and fantasized about her.” In addition, she allegedly “promoted and otherwise rewarded male employees who would play along with her sexually charged games.”
On August 14th, Barr ”voluntarily placed herself on leave”–when two additional ICE agents filed sworn affidavits also complaining about “lewd” conduct within the agency. Barr was again quoted as having said, ”You a sexy (expletive deleted)” to a senior ICE employee during discussion about a Halloween party in October 2009. ”She then looked at his crotch and asked, ‘How long is it anyway?’” according to the affidavit.
The other employee’s affidavit recounts a 2009 trip to Columbia, during which Barr and Ray Parmer, ICE special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, were “drinking heavily” at the house of the deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy. Parmer allegedly took the BlackBerry of employee Peter Vincent, and sent “lewd messages” to Barr. The second employee’s affidavit also alleges that “During this party, Suzanne Barr approached me and offered to” perform oral sex.
The Obama administration’s response? A DHS spokesman has called the allegations outlined in the Hayes suit “unfounded.” Brian Hale, director of public affairs for ICE, said that agency “will respond directly and strongly to this lawsuit in court.” And the administration described by White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew as “the most transparent ever” did something else as well: it requested that the most “scandalous” details alleged in Hayes’s suit, which “serve only as an attempt to embarrass or harass senior government officials…be stricken from the public record.”
This scandal is just another addition to the ongoing turmoil that has taken its toll on ICE employees. Last year they rated their own agency 222nd out of 240 government agencies in the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. In addition, the National ICE Council, the union that organizes more than 7,000 agents, has expressed its displeasure with ICE director John Morton via a petition on its website. It notes that the Morton Memo, “allowing them to use their ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to determine if an illegal alien is eligible to avoid deportation” the one that “laid the groundwork for President Obama’s Executive DREAM Amnesty announced earlier this summer,“ has resulted in agents “being punished if they determine an illegal alien should be put in deportation proceedings.” The agents are asking the public to send a message to Morton “telling him that he should be encouraging ICE agents to enforce the laws duly enacted by Congress.” As of yesterday, over 56,000 people have signed it.
This lawsuit and the two affidavits will undoubtedly roiled the waters at both ICE and DHS even more. Unfortunately, yet another potential scandal involving an administration up to its collective eyeballs in scandals will remain unresolved until after the election in November. It will join a veritable laundry list that includes the Fast and Furious gun-running debacle, the top-secret intel leaks endangering national security, the dubious loans made to bankrupt green energy companies; the usurpation of bankruptcy laws to give GM to the UAW, and the acceptance of a $100,000 speaking fee by White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe from a South Africa-based mobile-phone company doing business with Iran.
Any one of these scandals alone should be cause for concern. Taken as a whole the pattern is unmistakeable: this is one of the most corrupt administrations in the history of the republic.
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