Archives Kicks Off Investigation of DHS Inspector General for Deleting Texts

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari

By Steve Neavling

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) launched an investigation into Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari after he told Congress that he regularly deletes text messages from his government phone. 

The investigation would bypass the DHS watchdog and get another agency to review his record-keeping practices, The Hill reports

“NARA requests that DHS provide NARA with the required report documenting IG Cuffari’s practices with respect to the management of electronic messages, and in particular all messages that meet the definition of a federal record,” the agency wrote in a letter to DHS Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen.

On Monday, Democrats called for an investigation of Cuffari after he testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability that he routinely deletes text messages because he didn’t consider them “a federal record.” 

Two Democrats have also called for Cuffari to resign, saying it is “troubling, to say the least, that you have been routinely destroying or deleting official government records in violation of a law that your office is supposed to enforce.”

In the letter to Hysen, NARA requested details about what DHS can determine about the messages. 

“If the Department determines that federal records were deleted without proper disposition authority, your final report must include a complete description of the records affected [and] a statement of the exact circumstances surrounding the deletion of messages,” Archives wrote.

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