Leader Schumer Calls For DHS Inspector General Investigation Into DHS Officials’ Use Of False Statements To Wrongfully Bar New Yorkers From Trusted Traveler Programs

July 24, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari calling for the immediate investigation into Department of Homeland Security officials’ provision of inaccurate or misleading statements to justify the Department’s February 2020 decision to bar New Yorkers from several Trusted Travelers programs, including Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
 
Leader Schumer writes that while it is obvious that the Department’s action was taken in political retaliation against residents of New York State, until now, DHS maintained the implausible explanation that New York’s policies were somehow a threat to national security—an explanation the Department of Justice has confirmed is false.
 
Given that the administration’s actions in this case involve potential violations of criminal law, Leader Schumer is calling for an immediate and thorough investigation.
 
Leader Schumer’s letter to DHS IG Cuffari can be found here and below:
 
Dear Inspector General Cuffari:
 
Yesterday, in a filing in U.S. District Court in New York, the Justice Department was forced to make the extraordinary admission that officials at the Department of Homeland Security had made inaccurate or misleading statements to the court about the Department’s February 2020 decision to bar New Yorkers from several Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.  While it has always been obvious that the Department’s action was taken in political retaliation against residents in my state, DHS had maintained – until now – the implausible explanation that New York’s policies were somehow a threat to national security.  
 
The Justice Department has now confirmed the falsity of that explanation, but we do not have a full accounting of why and how false statements were made by DHS officials to the Justice Department, the public, and the court.  Lying to a federal court is a very serious matter and there must be accountability for the persons involved.  I therefore request that you conduct an immediate investigation and provide answers to the following questions as soon as possible:
 
1.     Did officials within DHS order, direct, encourage, or suggest that these false statements be made to the Justice Department, the public, or the court? 
2.     With whom outside DHS did officials discuss the false narrative, including officials at the White House, Justice Department, and other agencies?
3.     To what extent were discussions of the false narrative by DHS, Justice Department, or White House officials conducted via electronic mail or messaging?
4.     Did White House officials, up to and including the President, order, direct, encourage or suggest that DHS bar New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler programs and use a false narrative to justify that decision?
 
Given that the Administration’s actions in this case involve potential violations of criminal law, I urge you to treat this investigation urgently and report your findings as quickly as possible.
 
                                                            Sincerely,
 
 
 
 
                                                            Charles E. Schumer
                                                            U.S. Senator
 

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