August 03, 2021
Grassley Probes ‘Rogue’ Law Enforcement and Intelligence Activity at Commerce Dept. after Damning Senate Report
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is pushing the Commerce Department for details on corrective actions taken to address rogue law enforcement and intelligence activity by department employees detailed in a recent Senate Commerce Committee report. The report on “Abuse and Misconduct at the Commerce Department” brought to light serious and shocking allegations about how the department’s Investigative and Threat Management Service (ITMS), a purported internal law enforcement and intelligence unit, had grossly exceeded the scope of its authority. Grassley is calling on the department to explain what steps it has taken to review the unit’s misconduct as well as what steps the department has taken to address the several whistleblower complaints about individuals associated with the misconduct.
“Simply put, based on the public record to-date, ITMS acted with a mission scope that lacked authority and relevant training and such misconduct was made worse by the Commerce Department’s failure to perform adequate oversight. As a result, ITMS was able to operate without any accountability to the taxpayer,” Grassley wrote to Secretary Gina Raimondo.
The Commerce Department’s ITMS was originally established to enhance protection of the Secretary of Commerce and the department’s critical assets, including the Herbert Hoover building. This unit relied on the U.S. Marshals Service special deputation program for its authorities. Dozens of whistleblowers have alleged that the unit significantly and repeatedly overstepped those authorities, including by performing improper searches of employee storage areas and engaging in rogue counterintelligence operations without necessary legal authority or sufficient basis. The unit also allegedly misused classified resources to retaliate against whistleblowers who challenged its actions, and then over-classified records to impede public accountability.
Full text of Grassley’s letter to the Commerce Secretary can be found HERE.
The ITMS’ reported actions raise serious questions about failures by other agencies to properly train and oversee the unit and safeguard sensitive government records. Grassley has questioned other government agencies on the matter, including the U.S. Marshals Service, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. The ICIG’s office has responded.
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