VI. OIG Conclusions on Administrative Responsibility
This section summarizes OIG's conclusions concerning the responsibility of individual INS managers for the decisions and events that are described in this report, both with regard to their presentation of a false picture to the Task Force during its visit to Miami and failure to fully cooperate with this investigation. Because they were not germane to the overall description of the events that occurred in connection with the visit, some of the facts described below are not contained elsewhere in this report. They are included here because they are relevant to assessments of individual responsibility.
Our recommendations of appropriate punishment are based solely on the facts found in this investigation and our determination of the seriousness of the misconduct in light of the employee's position, level of culpability in the events we investigated, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances arising out of the investigation, such as the level of cooperation with OIG. Disciplinary decisions may properly take into account other factors relating to the person's employment history and record in fashioning the appropriate punishment.
A.Miami Deputy District Director Valerie Blake
Based on the evidence, we believe that the single person most responsible for orchestrating the effort to present a false picture to the Task Force was Valerie Blake, who was then the Deputy District Director in Miami. [ During this investigation, Blake was promoted to the position of District Director for Minneapolis, Minnesota.] But for Blake's actions, the events described herein would likely not have occurred. Blake is also primarily responsible for attempting to mislead OIG and impede this investigation.
On June 8, 1995 -- two days before the Delegation's arrival -- Blake flew into Miami from her detail at the INS Eastern Regional Office. [ Blake flew in expressly for the Delegation's visit and returned to the Region the following week.] It was then that the wheels were set in motion to change routine practices at Miami Airport and reduce Krome's population in time for the Task Force visit on June 10, 1995. Prior to Blake's arrival on the scene, neither District Director Cadman nor any Krome manager signalled any intention to reduce the population before the Delegation's arrival. In fact, in his June 9, 1995 response to Dr. Rivera, Cadman simply shifted responsibility for the overcrowded situation to his superiors, by saying ". . . in a bureaucracy, sometimes our imperatives and discretion are not entirely unfettered." Cadman then implied that he had been forced into adopting a position of "tough enforcement and detention of airport arrivals, but [had] not bee n offered any help or relief in terms of what to do with people once they're on our figurative doorstep." Cadman deflected Rivera's call for action by asking her to improve the quality of her staff's paperwork to enable him to parole more people. Cadman did not advise Dr. Rivera that the population would be immediately reduced (as was happening). Moreover, Kathy Weiss, Krome's Camp Administrator, stated that she and Vincent Intenzo, the Supervisory Deportation Officer, were prepared for the Delegation to see Krome as overcrowded as it was. See Sections II.A.1.d. and II.A.2.c.(2), above.
According to Miami District and Eastern Regional managers, Miami Airport was not well-managed prior to the Delegation's visit. As Eastern Regional Commissioner Carol Chasse stated, by June 1995, "it was clear that [Miller and Emory] weren't capable of running the airport" and the airport had been "chronically mismanaged." Blake flew into Miami Airport on June 8 and went directly into ameeting to prepare the Airport's top managers and supervisors for the Delegation's visit. [ Blake had previously directed Assistant District Director for Inspections Aris Kellner to schedule the meeting.] Blake instructed Miller and the Airport's supervisors to ensure that on the day of the Delegation's visit, the airport ran smoothly, there was no passenger backup, and that as many inspectors as necessary were brought in on overtime to achieve those results. Blake instructed them not to complain about the lack of inspectional staff or to make negative comparisons with staf fing levels at JFK. [ INS Director of Congressional Affairs Pamela Barry was the source of these instructions, which were consistent with directions issued by Eastern Regional Director Carol Chasse. Blake testified, however, that she "thought [Barry] was nuts" in regards to the instructions. Yet, she communicated the instructions to her subordinates because "it was something that had originated in headquarters." Though Blake had challenged other instructions by Barry (specifically regarding the provision of lunch to the Delegation), she did not report up through her chain of command to challenge the instructions precluding discussion of the inspectional staffing shortage at Miami Airport. Blake stated that she did not challenge the instructions because she "just didn't care and . . . was going to ignore her." Although she conveyed Barry's instructions practically verbatim, she testified that because of her "tone of voice" she "didn't think anybody was going to pay attention to P am Barry." Blake conceded, however, that Barry's instructions were consistent with those given by Chasse. She also conceded that some supervisors at the meeting could have taken her instructions seriously and would then have felt constrained from speaking about certain issues. If Blake truly believed that the instructions were "nuts," it is incomprehensible that a manager at her level would have followed the course she chose. More likely, however, she gave the instructions because she believed they would result in a favorable impression in the eyes of the Delegation.] Blake restricted the use of the holding cells to the incarceration of criminal aliens. Moreover, Blake directed supervisors to tell the line inspectors that, if asked, they were to provide false information to the Delegation regarding the criteria for placing aliens in the hard secondary holding cells. Specifically, Blake instructed that the Delegation should be told that as a matter of regular practice only crimina l aliens are kept in those cells.
After finishing with the Airport, Blake immediately turned her attention to Krome. Blake found Krome close to crisis. [ Throughout May 1995, Blake was mostly traveling and away from the District. During that time, Krome's population had been steadily and predictably growing due to the change in policy to interdict Cuban rafters for repatriation and to detain all Third-Country Cubans attempting to enter the United States illegally through the Airport. Krome and Miami District managers had advised the Region about the growing problem in an effort to alleviate the increased overcrowding at Krome. However, no action was taken until Blake telephoned the Region about it the day before the Delegation arrived.] In Blake's words, things there were "out of control." Perhaps most importantly, its condition would be quite apparent to visitors touring the facility. As of the day before the Delegation's visit, Krome had reached a population of over 400 aliens. Many of those aliens were Cubanswho were being detained pursuant to a May 2, 1995, policy change. In addition, Krome was housing approximately twice the number of women that it was capable of housing indoors. As a result, about 55 women were sleeping on cots in the lobby area of Krome's medical clinic run by the Public Health Services. On June 8, 1995, Dr. Ada Rivera, Krome's Chief Medical Officer, had sent a memorandum to Miami District management warning of the serious health consequences of the overcrowded conditions and advising that she intended to suspend the medical clinic's normal functions (primarily because women detainees were forced to sleep in the clinic's work space). In addition, Blake was concerned that two local Florida Congressional representatives, Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, would disrupt the Delegation's visit by organizing a demonstration in front of Krome to protest the new strict Cuban detention policy. See supra Section III.A.4.d.
Blake almost immediately obtained permission from Deputy Regional Director Michael Devine and Eastern Regional Director Carol Chasse to reduce Krome's population before the Delegation arrived the next afternoon. Blake then advised Camp Administrator Kathy Weiss to go ahead and move people out of Krome before the members of Congress came. Blake communicated to Weiss that the impending Congressional visit was a "very important factor" in acting to reduce Krome's population by the following day. Blake also communicated that information to Assistant District Director for Inspections Kenneth Powers, who similarly contacted Weiss on Friday and instructed her to "reduce the population at Krome to below 300 detainees in time for the [Congressional Delegation's] visit."
Blake's and Powers' instructions to Weiss are reflected in an electronic mail message that Weiss sent to them at 1 p.m. and in Blake's response at 1:40 p.m. In that e-mail exchange, Weiss advised Blake that aliens would be "stashed out of sight for cosmetic purposes," to which Blake responded "great work so far." See Sections III.A.2.c.(2); III.A.4.d. In that e-mail, Blake forwarded Weiss' cost estimate of $21,000 for the transfers (along with the rest of Weiss' message) to Deputy Regional Director Michael Devine.
Blake's instructions at Miami Airport on June 8, and her directions to Weiss and Powers on June 9, were calculated to create an appearance of well-run facilities that were under control, which did not comport with the reality at that time. In the process, she caused her subordinates to take deceitful actions about which they seemed to feel they had no choice, breeding cynicism and dishonesty within INS.
As a direct result of Blake's instructions at the Airport, additional Immigration Inspectors were assigned to work in the primary inspection booths to process arriving international passengers just before the Delegation's arrival, even though only a small number of passengers were waiting in line. Aliens who would normally have been detained in the hard secondary cells -- those who had submitted fraudulent documents to obtain admission to the United States -- were left to sit in an unsecured waiting area. Moreover, the Delegation was given false information about the type of aliens held in those cells.
As a direct result of Blake's instructions at Krome, the population was reduced from 410 aliens on June 9 to 289 aliens by the time the Delegation arrived. In approximately the 24 hours immediately preceding the Delegation's arrival, about 100 aliens were either transferred or released to the community, "stashed out of sight for cosmetic purposes." They were stashed out of sight at a cost of $10,267. For the most part, the aliens released to the community were women and Cubans. The women were released to prevent the Delegation from seeing women sleeping throughout the medical clinic's lobby area, which prevented the clinic from functioning normally. Evidence exists that the Cubans were released to reduce the possibility of a demonstration against the new strict Cuban detention policy. In the rush to comply with Blake's directives, 34 aliens were released to the Miami community without medical clearances on the very day that the Delegation arrived. In addition, a total of nine aliens with criminal records were released on June 9 and June 10. See Sections III.A.2.c.(2); III.A.2.d.; III.A.4.d.; III.A.4.e., above
Not only is Blake responsible for having triggered the decisions that set the above-described deceptive actions in motion, she is also the manager primarily responsible for attempting to mislead and impede the OIG investigation into this matter. Blake prepared the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda that were ultimately signed by Cadman. The purported purpose of these memoranda was to provide the truth about the allegations. Instead, Blake concocted rationales and false explanations for the events that had occurred, which were designed to obfuscate and mislead rather than to set the record straight.
In so doing, Blake again engendered cynicism and dishonesty in her subordinates, on whom she relied to obtain artificial and false explanations for events about which she was intimately familiar. Weiss admitted that her written responses to the allegations, which were later incorporated almost verbatim into theJuly 13 and July 17 Memoranda, were not accurate in that they conveyed the impression that it was "business as usual" on the day the Delegation visited, when in fact it was not. Weiss testified that she "knew that the allegations concerning alien movement were true, but her communications with Powers and Blake gave her the impression that a plausible explanation was wanted in response to the allegations."
Blake's subsequent conduct throughout this investigation was equally troubling. Despite OIG's request that all relevant documents be produced, and Cadman's initial instruction that his staff cooperate fully with the investigation, Blake never produced or alerted OIG to the existence of her June 9 electronic mail exchange with Weiss. Rather, she sought to pass over that e-mail when OIG agents specifically went to her office to retrieve it and others. Then, after refusing a voluntary interview, Blake declined to take immediate action to ensure that Miami District e-mails would not be destroyed. Moreover, during the course of her subsequently compelled interview, Blake repeatedly contradicted her own testimony and consistently sought to deny allegations, the truth of which she ultimately admitted.
Based on the evidence developed in this investigation, we believe that Valerie Blake should be terminated from employment with INS.
B.Eastern Regional Director Carol Chasse
Chasse bears responsibility for fostering and approving an overall approach to the Delegation's visit that was not forthright. The credible testimony of all relevant Krome and Miami District managers indicates that the last-minute orders to reduce Krome's population in time for the Delegation's visit were given by Blake with Chasse's approval. In addition, Chasse suggested that the Miami District discourage complaints about the Airport's chronic inspection staffing problem. It is likely that Chasse's suggestion (and the concern it reflected) contributed to Blake's issuance of instructions designed to avoid the appearance of a staffing problem at Miami Airport as well as what amounted to a gag order regarding comparisons with JFK's staffing levels. See Sections III.A.2.c.(2); III.A.4.d.; and IV.B.3.b., above.
On May 22, 1995, District Director Cadman sent Chasse an e-mail reporting on his recent meeting with INS Commissioner Doris Meissner at INS Headquarters about the Delegation's visit. Cadman wrote that the Commissioner viewed theupcoming visit as "EXTREMELY important" and was concerned, in substance, that "it would take very little to put the kiss of death on [the Task Force's] views towards INS, with significant adverse consequences for some time thereafter. . . . " He also communicated the idea that there might be real risks should members of the Delegation pull employees aside to get the "real story." In short, Cadman's e-mail reflected his impression that the "real story" -- to the extent it was a story of serious mismanagement and chronic problems -- should not be told. See Sections I.A.2.; IV.B.3.b., above.
The next day, Eastern Regional Director Chasse responded to the e-mail. Chasse did not communicate the message that the Delegation should be permitted to see things as they were, problematic or otherwise. Rather, she wrote, "Dan, your message was very much on point and should be shared with employees almost verbatim." She went on to say, "Employees complaining that they can't do their job due to lack of resources communicate only one message, 'INS can't do its job.'" Chasse recommended that the District hold a meeting with other participants in the visit to advise them that they will not be "doing [INS] a favor" by telling the Delegation that INS cannot do its job with the resources that have been allocated. In addition to her e-mail message, Chasse spoke by telephone to Cadman, who said she told him that "there might be some people at the journeyman level, perhaps Union members, who would be a little unbalanced in their presentation if they had the opportunity to do so." In addition, Chasse expressed concern that "there might be comparisons with JFK International Airport that might cause questions that were difficult to answer. . . ." It was clear to Cadman that in responding to questions or making presentations, Chasse did not want anyone to volunteer negative comparisons to staffing levels at JFK. While Chasse denied knowing that Miami Airport employees had been instructed not to make comparisons with JFK Airport, that instruction was the predictable outcome of her own directives. See Sections I.A.2.; IV.B.3.b., above.
During her testimony, Chasse virtually admitted that the picture of Miami Airport shown to the Delegation was tantamount to being a sham. Chasse testified that it was fair to say that INS did not want to show its warts and boils during the Delegation's visit, but rather wanted to make a favorable impression on the Delegation and show that Krome and Miami Airport were well managed. By her own admission, however, Miami Airport was not, at that time, well managed. See Section IV.B.3.b., above.
Chasse was also aware that prior to the Delegation's visit, Krome was seriously overcrowded and that it was a problem that could develop into an emergency. By her own admission, Chasse met with Devine in his office and directed him to "do whatever it takes" to "get the population down at Krome" --including releasing aliens to the community. [ It bears noting that Chasse was the Deputy District Director in Miami from October 1990 until July 1993, and had a solid understanding of Krome, the Miami District and the means by which Krome's population could be reduced.] Chasse testified that she did not consult with anyone at INS Headquarters about this decision. Yet, according to Chasse, the original decision after the Cuban-American accords to detain all Third-Country Cubans entering through Miami Airport had been driven by INS Headquarters and was a matter of interest even at the White House. Chasse explained that the period between the accords and the Dele gation's visit was exceptional because of the agreement to repatriate Cubans. However, INS wanted to "ensure that the Department of Justice, meaning the Attorney General, [and] that the President of the United States were comfortable with what was going to happen in terms of Cuba, that they understand what was going to happen in terms of Cubans; that we were still going to have to release some of them because we could not remove them." Chasse testified that during this time period, "Dan [Cadman] felt that they had removed his parole discretion because -- well, let me put it this way; Dan knew very clearly, as did I, that there was going to be an enormous amount of second guessing of any parole discussion and that we felt it was much better if everybody reached the consensus of what that discretion was going to entail." According to Chasse, that consensus was never reached. Nonetheless, Chasse said she took it upon herself, without consulting anyone in Headquarte rs, to unilaterally authorize the reduction of Krome's population -- through transfers and releases.
Chasse testified that her instructions to Devine to reduce Krome's population occurred during the week before the Delegation's visit (the week ending June 2, 1995). In other words, she contended that her instruction was issued to address a problem, and not because of the proximity of the Delegation's upcoming visit. In light of the lack of activity towards that goal until the day before the Delegation's arrival, the speed with which it was ultimately accomplished, and the accompanying violation of routine practices and newly issued policies, we do not find that claim to be credible. Chasse also claimed that she could not remember speaking with Devine or Blake on June 9, 1995, but subsequently admitted that she could not"remember with any specificity" which day she had issued the instruction to reduce Krome's population. While she could not recall the timing of her unilateral instruction to transfer and release aliens from Krome, she was able to recall with specificity the complex series of events and policy discussions that preceded that decision. During her approximately six-and-one-half-hour long testimony, Chasse responded that she did now know the answer, could not recall, or could not remember at least 245 times. In this context, Chasse's repeated assertions that she could not recall critical conversations cast doubt on her candor.
Chasse denied that her decision to reduce Krome's population was linked in any way to the impending visit of the Task Force. Despite her denial, the weight of the evidence amply supports the conclusion that the reduction of Krome's population resulted from her eleventh-hour directive in preparation for the Delegation's visit. The planning, timing, and circumstances of the transfers and releases support this conclusion. Documents, electronic data, and testimony obtained by OIG make clear that the reduction was contrary to routine practices at Krome. Moreover, Chasse admitted that it was possible that she had imposed a Saturday (June 10) deadline for reducing the population of Krome to below 300. She claimed, however, that she could not recall whether she had done so. Issuing such instructions would have been tantamount to directing that the population be reduced for the Delegation's visit. Moreover, Blake's testimony and the testimony of other managers also led us to find that Blake would not have made this decision on her own, particularly in light of the need to expend overtime and pay for non-service detention. We conclude, therefore, that despite her denials or professed failures of recall, Chasse was responsible for making the decision to reduce the Krome population in order to create a false picture of conditions at the facility for the Task Force.
We are again seriously troubled by Chasse's failure, after the allegations were made public, to come forth with the truth. Despite her knowledge that some of the most serious aspects of the allegations were true, she allowed the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda to go unchallenged. In addition, as the Director of the Eastern Region, she must further bear responsibility for her office's failure to produce critical material (particularly e-mails) responsive to the OIG's September 8 document request. It was particularly troubling that the day before the OIG received the Region's response (through INS Headquarters) that there were no responsive materials, OIG agents in Vermont were discovering the critical e-mails on the computers of individuals who were being interviewed. Even after being confrontedwith the failure of her office to produce the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails, Chasse was loath to simply admit that the messages should have been turned over. Chasse testified, ". . . I believe whoever had it should have turned it over if they knew that they had it in a way that related to this case. . . . If they knew they had it on their system and knew that it related to your investigation, yes, then they should have. . . ."
On the basis of the evidence obtained in this investigation, we believe the appropriate punishment for Eastern Regional Director Carol Chasse falls within a range from a 30-day suspension to termination of her employment.
C.Eastern Regional Deputy Director Michael Devine
Like Chasse, Devine admitted that he approved the reduction of Krome's population but denied that the decision was influenced by the impending Task Force visit. His denial is similarly contrary to the weight of the evidence, particularly in light of the fact that he was copied on the Blake and Weiss E-Mail messages indicating that aliens were going to be "stashed out of sight for cosmetic purposes." The strength of Devine's denial is further diluted by his professed failure to recall the critical Blake and Weiss E-mails and key conversations, and his own inconsistent testimony. During the course of his six-hour long testimony, Devine answered that he did not know the answer, did not recall, or did not remember at least 171 times.
Devine testified that he did not recall whether he spoke to Blake or Cadman on Friday, June 9, 1995, but ultimately agreed that "it's possible" and that he could have told Blake that he had to call Chasse to get authorization to "bleed off the [Krome] population." Devine also remembered having discussed Dr. Rivera's health concerns. When asked again if he spoke to Blake, Devine testified: "No I don't recall a conversation, I recall the information so I assume that I had a conversation with her." He also conceded that it "does not surprise" him that he would have spoken to Blake about decreasing Krome's population in the context of the Delegation's visit. Devine also admitted that it was possible that he could have told Blake that he had "better call Carol." Devine further admitted that it was possible that he had a telephone conversation with Chasse on June 9. By the end of his testimony, Devine had admitted that all of what Blake said about Devine's involvement in approving the rapid reduction of Krome's population could be true --
except that he continued to insist that he did not order that Krome's population be reduced because the Task Force was coming or receive that instruction from Chasse.
Devine's denials, however, are most strongly belied by his receipt of Blake's June 9, 1:40 p.m. response to the Weiss Friday E-Mail. At least part of the reason the e-mails were forwarded to Devine was to notify the Region that "stashing" the 40 to 50 aliens "out of sight" was estimated to cost $21,000. Devine tried to distance himself from those damaging messages by claiming that he had only skimmed them and could not recall having read them at the time of receipt. But because he had forwarded the e-mail down his chain of command, Devine had to acknowledge that he had indeed read them. And, he clearly read the messages well enough to know to whom to send them. Moreover, it is difficult to see how, if Devine had not approved of the plan to "stash aliens out of sight," he could have failed to demand an immediate explanation for such action, particularly in light of its price tag. During his interview, Devine himself acknowledged that the phrase that aliens would be "stashed out of sight for cosmetic purposes" raised "blinking red lights."
Devine is also largely responsible for the Eastern Region's failure to produce critical materials responsive to OIG's request for documents -- and most notably, his own copy of the Weiss and Blake E-Mails. To his credit, Devine immediately admitted that the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails should have been produced voluntarily. He claimed that he didn't produce the messages because he "didn't look good enough."
It is particularly troubling that only a month after the Delegation's visit and Devine's review of the Weiss and Blake E-Mails, Devine failed to alert INS Headquarters and OIG that the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda (which were requested and sent through channels) were misleading and inaccurate. Devine admitted that the representations made in Cadman's July 13 and July 17 Memoranda were inconsistent with the messages. Devine claimed, however, that at the time he learned of the allegations and reviewed the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda, he did not recall the messages. In view of Devine's own testimony, we do not find this claim to be credible, since he himself took note of the messages' "blinking red lights."
On the basis of the evidence gathered in this investigation, we believe the appropriate punishment for Michael Devine falls within a range of a 30 day suspension to termination of employment.
D.Miami District Director Walter Cadman
The evidence establishes that District Director Cadman did not initiate or actively direct the actions that led to the creation of a false picture for the visiting Delegation. He did, however, sit by and allow the deception to occur. Moreover, and perhaps most troubling, Cadman was a willing participant in efforts to mislead INS Headquarters and then to mislead and delay the OIG investigation into this matter. We found evidence that Cadman's poor judgment may have been driven, at least in part, by the extreme personal antagonism that existed between him and Union President Michael Wixted, who Cadman believed had launched the allegations to cause his downfall. Whatever the motivation behind the allegations, it is unfortunate that Cadman was unable to appreciate the importance of addressing them on their merits alone.
We do not find credible Blake's claim that Cadman had directed her in advance to contact Devine to seek permission to reduce Krome's population in time for the Delegation visit. The evidence indicates that Cadman did not know, in general, about the reduction of Krome's population until it was already in the process of occurring. Until Blake's return from her detail at the Region on June 8, 1995, no action had been taken to significantly reduce Krome's population despite Cadman's awareness of its severely overcrowded condition. And, on June 9, between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., when responding to Dr. Rivera's plea to address the overcrowded conditions within the PHS lobby area (in which approximately 55 women had slept the night before), Cadman seemed to be entirely unaware that the wheels were already in motion for large numbers of women detainees to be released from Krome in the next 24 hours. Rather than advising Dr. Rivera that her problem was already being addressed, Cadman wrote a response requesting that her staff provide more detailed memoranda to enable him to exercise his discretion to parole more aliens. By the time that Cadman wrote that response, Blake had already had her initial conversation with Devine -- thus strongly suggesting that Cadman was not consulted in advance. The first indication that Cadman had become aware of Blake's last-minute effort to reduce Krome's population is in his 3:13 p.m. response to an e-mail from Intenzo "about the teeming hordes" at Krome, in which Cadmanresponded "I think Valerie is working with you, Kathy and Ken on the population. . . ." The evidence strongly indicates, therefore, that Cadman learned of the planned reduction of Krome's population by reading the Blake and Weiss Friday E-Mails, sent at 1:40 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively, or through some other means. See Sections III A. 2; III.A.2.c.2 and III.A.4.d., above.
On the other hand, Cadman's denial of any prior or contemporaneous knowledge regarding the drastic reduction of Krome's population for the Delegation's visit simply cannot be squared with the documentary record described above. Like Devine, Cadman attempted to distance himself from the critical messages by claiming not to recall when he received them, not to have read them carefully, and to have attributed them to Weiss' alleged tendency towards being "glib" (a word also used by Blake). But, as he himself recognized, the e-mails are "appall[ing]" and "shocking" and obviously relevant to the allegation that aliens were moved with the intent of deceiving the Delegation. Yet, at the time he originally received them, Cadman did not question Weiss or Blake regarding the e-mails or their meaning. This failure is some evidence of his tacit approval of the reduction of Krome's population for the Delegation's visit.
Perhaps Cadman's greatest error in judgment, however, was in failing to produce these critical e-mails and significant other evidence to OIG in response to our many requests for relevant documents. Cadman testified that he reread the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails after the allegations were issued and the OIG investigation commenced. Cadman also admitted that he made no effort to share his copy or knowledge of the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails with OIG even though he was fully aware that the e-mails should have been produced to OIG early in the investigation. Cadman further testified that when he reread the e-mails, he found himself thinking, "My God, what am I going to say when somebody asks me about this?" His inability to explain should have been enough to prompt Cadman to come forward with the information.
Not only did Cadman fail to provide crucial information in response to OIG's request, he affirmatively thwarted OIG's independent efforts to obtain that information. Although it is not certain, there is evidence to indicate that Cadman intentionally deleted the Weiss and Blake E-mail messages (along with other relevant communications) from his computer. When OIG was finally able to obtain access to the Miami District e-mail back-up tapes (despite enormous resistance fromCadman) we found that all of his e-mails relevant to this investigation (at least 61 that were obtained from the systems of other personnel) had been deleted from his system and were no longer on the server. In his interview, Cadman stated that as a matter of consistent practice he contemporaneously deleted his electronic mail messages shortly after responding to them. In searching his e-mail, however, we did find some of Cadman's messages from June 1995 -- which was inconsistent with Cadman's representation to us. Moreover, he admitted that he had reread the Weiss and Blake E-Mails after the OIG investigation began. He either retained his own copy without forthrightly admitting that he did so, or he obtained it from another recipient (despite testifying that he did not communicate substantively with anyone else about the allegations during the pendency of this investigation). See Section V.B., above.
In addition, Cadman actively participated in Blake's efforts to mislead and impede official efforts to learn the truth about the allegations contained in the Complaint. From the very beginning, the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda omitted significant facts and distorted the truth in order to deny the allegations. Although drafted by Blake, they were reviewed and signed by Cadman. Cadman's knowledge of the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails alone was enough to cast serious doubt on the truthfulness of the representations made in those Memoranda and to question Blake's ability to objectively report the facts. Moreover, the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda revealed the massive extent to which Krome's population had been reduced in the two days preceding the Delegation's visit. Cadman was certainly well aware of the overcrowded situation that existed at Krome just before the Delegation visited, and the reasons for it -- specifically the strict detention and limited release policies that he put in place at the direction of INS Headquarters. Had he been truly unaware of the enormous movement of aliens out of Krome on June 9 and June 10 as he claimed, those numbers should have come as a tremendous shock. At a minimum, they should have triggered questions.
Cadman admitted that the July 13 Memorandum was false with regard to staffing at Miami Airport during the Delegation's visit. Cadman conceded that he did not order that inspectors be brought in purely as escorts for the Delegation, or reassign them to the primary lines because they were not needed -- as was stated in the Memorandum. Cadman was unable to provide any explanation for the variance. He stated only that he "felt . . . a combination of shell shock and desire to respond
and I wasn't terribly analytical in reviewing it [the July 13 Memorandum] other than to say is this accurate." See Section IV.B.3.b., above.
In addition to his ratification of Blake's misrepresentations in the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda, Cadman fostered an inappropriate spirit of resistance to the OIG investigation within the District office. As the OIG investigation began to unearth the truth of some of the more significant allegations, certain Miami District managers exhibited an increasing unwillingness to cooperate. Immediately after Blake returned from her aborted October 11, 1995, interview, Cadman initiated a campaign to prevent, or at least delay, OIG from obtaining access to backup files of the District's e-mails. Indeed, in at least one instance, Cadman refused a direct order from INS Headquarters to permit OIG to have access to District e-mails. See Section V.B., above.
The evidence establishes that Cadman knew enough on June 9 to have challenged Blake's effort to paint a false picture of Krome and the Airport for the Delegation's visit. We found no evidence that he tried to do so. Moreover, Cadman made Blake's deception worse by perpetuating it during this investigation.
On the basis of the evidence gathered in this investigation, we believe the appropriate punishment for Miami District Director Walter Cadman falls within a range from a 30-day suspension to termination of employment. Should he not be terminated, we urge his reassignment from the Miami District Office to a position where he would not have significant managerial responsibilities.
E.Miami Assistant District Director for Detention and Deportation Kenneth Powers
The evidence establishes that Assistant District Director for Detention and Deportation Kenneth Powers knew of Blake's efforts to reduce Krome's population upon her return from the Region and conveyed her orders to Camp Administrator Kathy Weiss. Powers denied such knowledge or having issued an order to reduce the population for the Delegation's visit. Like those of Deputy Regional Director Devine and District Director Cadman, Powers' denials are contrary to the substantial weight of the credible evidence, particularly in light of the fact that he was an addressee on the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails.
During his testimony in this investigation, Powers inexplicably claimed: "I cannot currently recall where I was or what I did on June 9, 1995." He claimed to have been "left out of the loop" with regard to the reduction of Krome's population on June 9 and June 10. He claimed to have "no specific recollection" of the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails, "its contents," or his "reaction to the message."
Powers admitted, however, that he received the Blake Friday E-Mail (containing the Weiss Friday E-Mail) at the time it was sent and that he read it within "a day or two of receipt." And, when he arrived at Krome on the day of the Delegation's visit, he "knew something had happened" because "people were talking about buses and vans going everywhere." Although Powers claimed that he was "upset that the Delegation didn't see Krome in the state it had been," he took no action because "everything seemed to go well." Powers testified that at that time, he was not aware of the revocation of any of the strict detention and limited parole policies that had been imposed after the Cuban-American accords. Had Powers truly been ignorant of Blake's June 9 order to reduce Krome's population, his observations at Krome on the day of the visit, coupled with his understanding of then-existing policies, should, at the very least, have prompted him to question the relevant managers. Regardless of when he read in the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails that aliens were "stashed out of sight for cosmetic purposes," he never asked those questions.
Once the allegations were made, Blake asked Powers to coordinate Krome's response. He contacted Weiss, received, and subsequently forwarded her responses for the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda to Blake. Weiss testified that she understood that Blake and Powers did not want the truth; they wanted plausible explanations for the reduction of Krome's population. Powers made no changes in what Weiss ultimately admitted was a misleading account of what had transpired. Powers admitted that some of the movements of aliens from Krome in the days before the Delegation visited (as described in the Memoranda) were "not consistent with normal practice" and that the release of 58 aliens to the community between June 9 and June 10 was "unusually fast" and "unusually large." Had Powers been genuinely upset by what took place at Krome on the day of the Delegation's visit, he had a perfect opportunity to voice his objection and to insist on a truthful accounting of t he facts. He did not.
A manager at Powers' level should, in the first instance, have refused to comply with orders to paint a false picture for the visiting Congressional representatives. Once having failed to do so, he should not have remained mute in the face of an effort (even by his superior) to mislead INS Headquarters and OIG. To his credit, however, Powers was the first and only Miami District manager to bring a copy of the Weiss and Blake E-Mails to his OIG interview. He and others, however, should have produced it much earlier.
On the basis of the evidence obtained in this investigation, we believe the appropriate punishment for Miami Assistant District Director for Detention and Deportation Kenneth Powers is a suspension in the range from 15 to 40 days.
F.Krome Camp Administrator Constance Weiss
Camp Administrator Kathy Weiss was one of the two managers most responsible for executing Blake's June 9 order to reduce Krome's population to below 300 aliens by the time the Delegation arrived.
When confronted with a copy of the Weiss Friday E-Mail (which OIG had obtained through an independent search of the computers at the Eastern Regional Office), Weiss admitted that it accurately set forth the actions taken to reduce Krome's population before the Delegation's visit on Saturday. Weiss admitted that aliens had indeed been "stashed out of sight for cosmetic purposes" before the Delegation's arrival. She testified that the transfers to New Orleans and Jackson County Jail constituted a last-minute effort to prevent the Delegation from seeing the crowded conditions at Krome. She acknowledged that the Chris Sale Guidelines were reinstated on June 9 with Blake's permission in order to facilitate the releases of a large number of aliens. See Sections III.A.2.c.(2) and III.A.4.d., above.
Weiss testified that she and Supervisory Deportation Officer Vincent Intenzo were prepared to have the Delegation see the camp as overcrowded as it was the week before the visit. Weiss revealed that managers above her appeared to have felt otherwise. The evidence is clear, however, that she passed on Blake's instructions to her subordinates in order that Krome's population be immediately reduced before the Delegation arrived. Regardless of Weiss' willingness to have the Delegation see Krome as it really was, she also did nothing to challenge Blake's order. Weiss' inaction is mitigated to some extent by the fact she had both opposedthe strict detention policy imposed after the May 2, 1995, Cuban-American bilateral accords and had been trying to get approval to reduce the population throughout the period that followed those accords. She apparently believed that many of the aliens who were being detained at Krome on June 9 should not have been there in the first place. See Sections III.A. 1.d.; III.A.2.c.(2); and III.A.4.d., above.
As the author of the Weiss Friday E-Mail, Weiss certainly should have brought that communication to OIG's attention. She did not. Moreover, after consenting to the collection of her e-mails, Weiss provided OIG with copies of those e-mails that were requested during her OIG interview and which she had retained. After doing so, she deleted her entire e-mail directory. There is no way of knowing what she deleted. In addition, Weiss admitted that her written responses to the allegations, which were later incorporated almost verbatim into the July 13 and July 17 Memoranda, were not accurate in that they conveyed the impression that it was "business as usual" on the day the Delegation visited, when in fact it was not. Weiss testified that she "knew that the allegations concerning alien movement were true, but her communications with Powers and Blake gave her the impression that a plausible explanation was wanted in response to the allegations." It is disturbing that Weiss felt compelled not only to comply with orders to provide a Congressional fact-finding group with a false picture of reality, but to manufacture false justifications to enable District and Regional managers to evade responsibility for those actions. See Sections III.A.2.c.(2); and III.A.4.d., above. She also bears responsibility for the threat to public safety caused by the release from Krome of criminal aliens and aliens who had not received medical checks.
On the basis of the evidence from this investigation, we believe the appropriate punishment for Krome Camp Administrator Kathy Weiss falls within a range from a 30- day suspension to demotion.
G.Krome Supervisory Deportation Officer Vincent Intenzo
Krome's Supervisory Deportation Officer, Vincent Intenzo, was one of the two managers most responsible for executing Blake's June 9 order to reduce Krome's population to below 300 aliens by the time the Delegation arrived. Although Weiss is the Camp Administrator, Krome's daily operation is primarily overseen by Intenzo.
Weiss primarily relied on Intenzo to take the concrete actions needed to execute Blake's orders. Intenzo selected and processed the aliens for transfer and release and was assisted by his subordinates in doing that work. In addition, once Weiss advised Intenzo that the Chris Sale Guidelines were back in effect, Intenzo supervised, reviewed and approved the files of all of the aliens to be released. See Section III.A.2.c.(2)., above.
Like Weiss, Intenzo was prepared to have the Delegation see the camp as overcrowded as it was the week before the visit. While Intenzo acknowledged that Weiss advised him that the Chris Sale Guidelines had been reinstated, Intenzo resisted admitting that he had been ordered to reduce Krome's population for the Delegation's visit. He would not identify the source for any such order. Rather, he accepted personal responsibility for many of the decisions and actions taken in connection with reducing the population and admitted that the visit was a factor in the reduction. In light of testimony from Krome and District managers that Intenzo truly runs Krome, it is hard to believe that he did not have more information about the source of the orders than he provided to OIG. Moreover, the evidence indicates that in arranging the transfer of aliens to New Orleans, Intenzo stated to his colleagues that the Delegation's visit was behind the transfer.
Intenzo testified that he made the decision to advance the date on which the transfer of the Chinese aliens to New Orleans occurred so that it preceded the Delegation's arrival. Intenzo admitted that the decision was not consistent with normal practice. He reluctantly admitted that the Delegation's visit was a factor in that decision and in including 20 other aliens on the bus to be temporarily housed at Jackson County Jail. Intenzo also stated that while he was unaware that aliens had been released without medical clearances, it was ultimately his responsibility. Intenzo denied that he was told "to get people released before the Congressional visit," but admitted that he either did, or instructed others to do, the work that produced that result. In so doing, Intenzo knowingly ignored requirements for release that had been established by District Director Cadman. Specifically, Intenzo admitted that he released aliens without regard to whether they had cooperated with the District's intelligence effort led by Intelligence Analyst John Shewairy, or had even been interviewed. In the eleventh-hour rush to release aliens, more than two dozen Cuban aliens who had not yet been debriefed and who were not approved for release were, in fact, released.
Thus, Intenzo used his expertise to implement Blake's order that Krome's population be immediately reduced before the Delegation arrived. Intenzo did nothing to challenge the orders and knowingly violated existing policies to execute them. However, his actions (like Weiss') are mitigated by the fact he too had strenuously opposed the strict detention policy imposed after the May 2, 1995, Cuban-American bilateral accords and clearly believed that many of the aliens should never have been detained. See Sections III.A.2.c.(2) and III.A.2.d., above.
While we determined that there was no truth to the allegation that aliens were bused to Key West for lunch and returned the same day to Krome, we did identify Intenzo as the source of the remark which likely sparked that allegation. We determined that he told the Acting Assistant District Director for Detention and Deportation in the District of New Orleans that "it had been decided to take the aliens to the Keys and drive them around and have lunch." According to Robinson, the reason for the plan was to "keep the Congressional people from visiting Krome while it was overcrowded." Intenzo denied making the statement, even in a joking way. However, we found no basis for questioning the credibility of the witness to whom the statement was made, who contemporaneously reported it to his colleagues in the Miami District and the Region. See Section III.A.3.d.(2).
On the basis of the evidence we have found, we believe the appropriate punishment for Krome Supervisory Deportation Officer Vincent Intenzo is a suspension within a range of 10 to 30 days.
H.Assistant District Director for Inspections Aris Kellner
Assistant District Director for Inspections Aris Kellner was present at the June 8 meeting and clearly knew of the instructions issued by Blake regarding changes to be implemented at the Airport on the day of the Delegation's visit, including an instruction to provide false information to the Task Force regarding aliens held in hard secondary. Kellner claimed to be unable to recall any of those instructions. In addition, she denied having issued instructions to keep family groups out of the hard secondary detention cells to prevent the Delegation from seeing them overcrowded. Kellner claimed to be unable to recall virtually any of the substance of the two-hour-long meeting and asserted that she did not recall any comments by Port Director Miller. Kellner's professed failure to recall Blake's instructions and her denial that she issued instructions are contrary to the substantialweight of the credible testimony and the changes that occurred on the day of the Delegation's visit. Moreover, her professed failures of recollection regarding the June 8 meeting are incompatible with her excellent ability to recall other aspects of the Delegation's visit (e.g., the planning of and attendance at the June 8 meeting; the meetings following the June 8 meeting concerning Airport mismanagement; Union President Wixted's activities; the drafting of fact sheets for the Congressional briefing book; and overtime-related matters). See Section IV.B.3.b., above.
In addition, Kellner was present at the Airport on the day of the Delegation's visit and should have been sufficiently familiar with staffing patterns to discern that there was an unusually high number of primary inspection booths filled for the volume of passenger traffic to be processed. Kellner testified that she observed that only two or three booths were not staffed. She also knew that there was a routine lull in passenger traffic at that hour. Moreover, she was particularly attuned to the significant and chronic management problems that plagued the airport as of the time of the Delegation's visit. Her failure to investigate that variation from the norm is further indication that she was aware of, and failed to challenge, Blake's instructions at the June 8 meeting.
Kellner prepared the initial drafts used by Blake to respond to the allegations concerning Miami Airport. Like Weiss and Blake, she concocted rationales intended to mislead rather than set the record straight. In particular, she drafted that section relating to the planned use of Immigration Inspectors as escorts for the Delegation's visit, a representation that Cadman conceded was false.
On the basis of the evidence discussed above, we believe the appropriate punishment for Assistant District Director for Inspections Aris Kellner is a suspension in the range from 10 to 20 days.
I.Miami Airport Port Director Roger Miller
Port Director Roger Miller was the only manager in the Miami District who challenged Blake's instructions to change routine practices at the Airport for the Delegation's visit.
It is clear that while the visit was in the planning stages, Miller told District employees that he would not boost the Airport's staffing levels. In the June 8meeting, Miller strenuously objected to Blake's instruction to take such action. He subsequently capitulated after being ridiculed in front of his subordinates and chastised for poorly managing the Airport. Furthermore, his performance was being scrutinized under a performance improvement plan. It bears noting that he has since been transferred to Tampa as the Officer-In-Charge.
Miller ultimately executed Blake's instructions by bringing in Acting Assistant Port Director Paul Candemeres to supervise staffing on the day of the visit knowing that Candemeres would capably reassign staff to the primary lines so that the passenger traffic flowed smoothly. Furthermore, he authorized Candemeres to bring in four additional Immigration Inspectors from days off to work on the day of the visit. Miller also issued the instruction for inspectors to remove their leather gear that day. Miller's participation in the effort to make a favorable impression on the Delegation was, however, reluctant at best.
Miller must, however, bear responsibility for allowing one of his subordinates to knowingly and falsely answer a question asked by a member of the Delegation. Miller admitted that he heard Supervisory Immigration Inspector Jose Leon tell the Delegation that only criminal aliens were kept in the hard secondary cells and that he knew the answer was untrue. He also knew that false answer was provided pursuant to Blake's instructions. Despite the pressure under which he had been placed, Miller should not have allowed that response to stand.
On the basis of the evidence discussed above, we believe the appropriate punishment for Roger Miller ranges from a written reprimand to a 10-day suspension.
J.Miami Airport Acting Assistant Port Director Paul Candemeres
Paul Candemeres, who was an Acting Assistant Port Director at the time of the Delegation's visit, was the principal person through whom Airport management executed Blake's orders at the June 8 meeting. Candemeres was considered to be expert at staffing and "would be able to bring on whatever staff was needed and re-assign existing staff to make sure things ran smoothly." Candemeres agreed to come in on his day off in order to supervise staffing in Terminal E during the visit.
Candemeres was present at the June 8 meeting and knew Blake's instructions were to create a good impression, eliminate long inspection lines, and run the Airport smoothly. Candemeres also knew that Blake did not want "staffing problems" raised with the Delegation. Candemeres translated Blake's general instructions into concrete actions in order to get the job done. He called in four additional inspectors from days off or annual leave and asked them to begin work at 1 p.m. -- an hour earlier than he otherwise would have -- to ensure that the Airport was prepared for the Delegation's arrival. He made that decision even though he knew that at 1 p.m. "things were 'dead' in Concourse E." In addition, Candemeres reassigned inspectors from other positions in the Airport to staff 29 out of 36 primary inspection booths for the Delegation's visit -- despite the lack of incoming passenger traffic.
To comply with Blake's instructions on hard secondary, Candemeres ordered that all the aliens in the cells be removed, and assigned an inspector to guard the door to the waiting area "in case any alien attempted to flee." As a result, eight aliens -- two of whom were criminals -- were taken out of the cells and left to sit in the unsecured waiting area. The two criminal aliens were subsequently placed back in the cells. However, at least six aliens -- four of whom had presented fraudulent documents -- were left sitting in the waiting area during the Delegation's tour there. In further accordance with Blake's instructions, Candemeres told the supervisors in hard secondary to tell Congress that only criminal aliens are held in the cells, even though that was not true.
Like the managers at Krome, Candemeres implemented orders that he received from Blake to present a picture of the Airport that was deceptive. And he did so without voicing any objection.
On the basis of the evidence gathered by OIG, we believe the appropriate punishment for Paul Candemeres ranges from a written reprimand to a 5-day suspension.
K.Miami Airport Supervisory Immigration Inspector Jose Leon
During the Delegation's visit, Supervisory Immigration Inspector Jose Leon was assigned to work in the hard secondary area. Pursuant to instructions that he received from Assistant Port Director Paul Candemeres, he knowingly providedfalse information in response to a question from the Delegation. Specifically, when asked, "What type or class of aliens get detained in the cell?" Leon answered, "Only criminal aliens." When asked whether there is any other reason that aliens would be detained in cells, Leon answered "No." Even though senior INS Miami managers heard Leon's response and knew it was false, it was allowed to stand uncorrected.
When interviewed by OIG, Leon immediately revealed what he had done. While Leon only did what he was told to do, he did so knowing that it was wrong. Most of the responsibility for Leon's action should be borne by the managers who instructed him to lie and who created a work environment in which such orders could not be comfortably challenged. It is nevertheless vital for government employees to have the personal integrity to do what they believe is right and to object when asked to do otherwise.
On the basis of the evidence from this investigation, we believe the appropriate punishment for Supervisory Immigration Inspector Jose Leon ranges from a written reprimand to a 2-day suspension.
L.Assistant District Director for External Affairs George Waldroup
Our investigation discovered that George Waldroup was not involved in the decisions leading to the deception of the Delegation. We found that he heard and passed along Barry's instructions not to discuss staffing or to making comparisons between Miami Airport and JFK Airport.
In this investigation, however, Waldroup's conduct was very troubling. Although he initially agreed to be interviewed voluntarily, he terminated the interview before it could be concluded and refused to sign an affidavit containing information provided during the voluntary portion of his interview. When asked to provide documents discussed during his interview, he gave OIG a diskette containing password-protected files but refused to reveal the password despite OIG requests for it. OIG was finally able to decrypt the files. Waldroup, however, never offered any legal justification for withholding this evidence. Because of possible pending criminal charges against Waldroup relating to an alleged assault by him against a Union official, we did not seek to obtain immunized testimony from Waldroup. Nonetheless, we are troubled by Waldroup's refusal to cooperate and to provide information he was asked to release.
Accordingly, we recommend that an appropriate punishment for George Waldroup is a suspension in the range of 10-20 days.
M.INS Director of Congressional Affairs Pamela Barry
In preparation for the Delegation's visit, INS Director of Congressional Affairs Pamela Barry directed Miami District management and the Dade County Aviation Department that "no one should discuss [Miami Airport's] staffing problems with the [Delegation]." Barry also instructed that "it was 'inappropriate' to make comparisons with Miami Airport and the JFK airport as there were other variables that made such comparisons unfair." While she admitted issuing the latter instruction, she denied the former.
Barry's denial is not credible in light of the other evidence in this investigation, including the testimony of a non-INS witness. Barry's instructions were the source of corresponding directives issued by Blake at the June 8 meeting at Miami Airport. Blake was told about Barry's instructions by Special Assistant for External Affairs George Waldroup, who heard them directly from Barry in the presence of other witnesses.
Because Barry was responsible for planning the Delegation's trip for INS Commissioner Meissner, her instructions carried significant and understandable weight within the District. Her advance visit itself telegraphed the extreme importance of the visit. Her instructions transmitted the unfortunate message that INS Headquarters did not want the Delegation to learn about arguably the most significant problem at Miami Airport. It seriously upset not only INS employees but also the Dade County Aviation Department, who saw the Delegation's visit as a potential opportunity to obtain Congressional assistance in solving the problem.
Moreover, Barry's instruction may have contributed to Blake's decision to direct Airport managers to fully staff the primary inspection booths, which artificially eliminated the staffing problem for the day. Moreover, Barry's instruction disapproving comparisons with JFK conveyed not only the substantive message, but encouraged the notion that District management could restrict and control the content of its employees' speech. That notion may also have contributed to Blake's apparent willingness to direct her subordinates to lie about the type of aliens incarcerated in the hard secondary holding cells.
Barry certainly played an important role in establishing a tone for the Delegation's visit which discouraged candor. As is the case with other high-level INS managers, her own lack of candor during this investigation is also particularly disturbing.
On the basis of the evidence obtained in this investigation, we question whether Pamela Barry can retain a sufficient level of confidence and trust among members of Congress to maintain her present position as Director of Congressional Affairs. Her admitted efforts to mislead Congress directly conflict with her present responsibilities. At the very least, her conduct in this matter warrants a suspension of from 15 to 30 days.
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In summary, the evidence shows that Miami District and Eastern Regional managers created a false picture of Krome and Miami Airport on the day the Task Force visited. Moreover, INS managers failed to cooperate and affirmatively misled OIG during this investigation in an attempt to evade responsibility for their actions. OIG has recommended that administrative sanctions be imposed on 13 of the responsible INS managers and supervisors. Other INS officials for whom discipline has not been recommended may also be responsible for the events described in this report. However, due to the failure of recall of senior INS personnel, additional evidence could not be developed to hold any such officials accountable.