V. The Allegations of Obstruction
A.The Alleged Shredding of Documents
On July 21, 1995, one of the INS Immigration Inspectors who authored the Complaint, advised investigators that it was rumored that on the evening that the news media reported on this investigation, employees were working late shredding documents at the Miami District Office.
In connection with this allegation, we conducted approximately 15 interviews of Miami district personnel.
The employee who reported the rumor subsequently identified Michael Wixted, the President of the Union, and George Nadeau, the Second Vice President of the Union, as its sources. The employee also stated that he learned about the alleged shredding from a reporter for the Miami Herald, who told the employee that an anonymous female had called the reporter's answering machine and stated that two female secretaries worked late at the Miami District Office to help shred documents.
When interviewed, Nadeau revealed that he had learned about the alleged shredding from Wixted and had no personal knowledge of any shredding. Wixted stated that his source of the information was the same Miami Herald reporter, who told Wixted that she had received a call from an anonymous female who stated that shredding was taking place in the Miami District Office. Wixted clarified that he had no personal knowledge of any shredding.
The two secretaries who worked in the District Office during the relevant time period each denied shredding or having been asked to shred any documents relating to the Delegation's visit.
Blake testified that she was aware of the shredding of certain drafts of the July 13 and July 17 Memorandum as part of "standard procedure." She stated,however, that the shredded drafts were simply hard copy versions of drafts that we had retrieved through electronic mail. In addition, she shredded old versions of lists of her electronic mails.
Cadman flatly denied that there has been any shredding of documents relevant to the allegations or the investigation by him or to his knowledge.
The investigation has revealed no evidence to support the allegation of shredding by the INS District Office management.
The substantial weight of the credible evidence indicates that the allegation that material documents relevant to this investigation were shredded by INS District of Miami management is unfounded.
B.The INS Failure to Cooperate
In this section, we report on the extent to which INS cooperated with the OIG investigation. This discussion is important for several reasons: (1) as a general matter, DOJ employees should cooperate fully and expeditiously with OIG investigations and the failure to do so can and should result in sanction; (2) the culpability of key individuals found to have participated in the effort to mislead the Task Force must also be assessed in light of the degree to which they cooperated with the OIG investigation; (3) a recurrent theme among senior INS officials was to dismiss the allegations and not take them seriously simply because they had been made by Union officials who were known to be hostile to management. This view colored the INS' response to the allegations and the lack of cooperation given to OIG in investigating them; and (4) as the OIG investigation began to establish culpability by senior level INS managers, cooperation substantially diminished. OIG was forced to reconstr uct electronic mail messages that had been deleted from INS computer servers and to re-request documents that had never been produced pursuant to OIG requests.
On July 17, 1995, OIG Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alan J. Hazen called District Director Cadman to notify him that Hazen was assigned to investigate the allegations made to the Congressional Task Force. Hazen arrangedto interview Cadman on July 18, 1995. Cadman verbally advised Hazen that he welcomed the investigation and would cooperate totally. Shortly thereafter, Cadman sent an electronic mail message to the relevant Miami District program managers, various other staff, and Carol Chasse, Eastern Regional Director. The e-mail is shown below and attached as Appendix 59.
On July 18, 1995, OIG interviewed Cadman. Prior to the start of the interview, Cadman was provided with the U.S. Department of Justice OIG Warning for Non-Custodial Situations - Federal Employees Non-Custodial Warnings and Assurances form III-226/2 to read and sign if he so agreed. Cadman read and signed the form and provided OIG with approximately 126 pages of documents. Cadman provided additional documentation on July 19, 21, and 26, 1995; August 21, 1995; October 10 and 20, 1995; March 11, 18, 21, 25 and 27, 1996; and June 4, 1996.
On July 24, 1995, Hazen offered to meet with INS Miami senior staff to provide an explanation of the nature of the investigation. Cadman agreed and arranged for the briefing during the regular 9 a.m. Wednesday (July 26, 1995) staff meeting. Cadman sent his senior staff an electronic mail on July 24, 1995, at 9:43 a.m. notifying them of the meeting.
At the July 26, 1995, meeting, Hazen briefed INS Miami senior staff on the following areas: (1) the general nature of the OIG investigation; (2) the resources to be utilized for the investigation (investigators and auditors); (3) the methodology of the investigation (interviews, sworn affidavits, document review and statistical analysis); (4) other allegations not related to the Congressional visit and how they would be handled; (5) the type of investigation (administrative and/or criminal); (6) the need for work space, availability of employees, and equipment; and (7) the fact that OIG did not want INS Miami personnel to be interviewed while on overtime. Hazen further advised INS staff that any concerns or issues should be directed to him. In addition, he addressed several questions raised by INS senior staff.
Between July 18, 1995, and August 31, 1995, OIG special agents conducted 194 interviews, took 154 affidavits and received documents from 14 witnesses. During the same period, OIG audit staff were conducting interviews and gathering documents.
On September 8, 1995, DOJ Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich sent INS Commissioner Meissner a memorandum requesting that her office "provide any and all records (whether in computerized, electronic, or hard form), including but not limited to, memoranda, faxes, e-mails, diaries, calendar entries, tape recordings, and notes, relating to the request, planning, and preparations for the Visit generated or maintained by you and any member of INS Headquarters and Eastern Regional Staff." The response was due back on September 15, 1995. (Memorandum from Bromwich to Meissner dated September 8, Appendix 60).
Within INS Headquarters, Deputy Director of Internal Audit William G. Rightor was given the responsibility for responding to this OIG request for documents. On September 12, 1995, he issued a memorandum asking the recipients to gather and produce to him the responsive documents. Rightor sent the memorandum to the INS Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, all Executive Associate Commissioners, General Counsel, Director of Public Affairs, and the Director of Congressional Relations. The responses were due back to Rightor on September 14, 1995. Rightor received only one timely response -- from Pamela Barry, Director of Congressional Relations at INS Headquarters. On September 15, 1995, Rightor sent an e-mail message to each of the original recipients of his September 12 memorandum who had not responded to the September 14, 1995
deadline, including Stella Jarina from the Office of Field Operations for INS Headquarters. Rightor asked for responses by noon. In his affidavit, Rightor stated:
I did not find the slow response to my request to be unusual, believing the request was not an issue that grabbed everyone's immediate attention. At no time was I given any indication to believe that documents were destroyed or hidden from me. Delays that necessitated my following up to obtain information were entirely consistent with my experience in handling similar requests in INS, e.g., requests for information on 'Good Ol Boy Roundup' attendance and on abuse of U.S. citizens in Guatemala.
On September 15, 1995, in response to Rightor's e-mail message, Stella Jarina, Staff Assistant to the Executive Associate Commissioner for Field Operations at INS Headquarters stated: "Neither this office nor ERO [the INS Eastern Regional Office] have any documents that would fulfill the request." (E-Mail from Jarina to Rightor dated September 15, 1995 at 3:29 p.m. re: "IG Request for Records re: Miami Congressional Visit," Appendix 61) (emphasis added).
Jarina's representation that neither the Eastern Regional Office nor her office had any responsive documents, subsequently proved to be wrong. On September 27, 1995 OIG agents were sent to the Eastern Regional Office to conduct interviews and obtain any relevant documents they could identify, including e-mail communications. On September 27, 1995, the OIG agents examined Steve Munroe's computer. When reviewing Munroe's e-mail messages, OIG discovered --for the first time -- the critical Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails and the Devine E-Mail (see Section III.A.2.c.(2)). The next day, September 28, 1995, the OIG agents reviewed Thomas Baranick's e-mail messages and found the messages again. [ On June 9, 1995, Blake had sent her response, along with the Weiss Friday E-Mail to Deputy Regional Commissioner Devine. On June 11, 1995, Devine had sent it to Baranick, his program manager for Detention and Deportation. On June 12, 1995, Baranick had sent it to Munroe, Donna Jar o and Shirley Parfitt. So, although Devine, Baranick, Munroe, Jaro, and Parfitt, all had the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails and the Devine E-Mail on their computers, they were not brought to Rightor's attention and were not produced to OIG pursuant to the September 8, 1995, request.]
During Devine's interview, when asked if the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails should have been produced voluntarily, he responded "yes." When asked to explain why the e-mails were not produced pursuant to the Inspector General's September 8 request, Devine stated, "No, the only reason I could even possibly put forth would be our offices or whoever it was that looked didn't look good enough. I didn't look good enough. . . ." In response to basically the same question Chasse responded, ". . . 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 September 28, 1995, the day after OIG agents at the Eastern Regional Office had discovered what became the most crucial documentary evidence in this investigation, INS Commissioner Meissner sent the Headquarters and Eastern Region response to the Inspector General's September 8 document request for any and all relevant materials, including e-mails. In the INS response, the Commissioner provided no materials from the Eastern Region. The documents produced by Headquarters consisted of the Commissioner's briefing book for the Delegation's visit and assorted materials from Barry. Under separate cover, Public Affairs Specialist Carole Florman forwarded documents to OIG in response to the Inspector General's September 8 request. The INS Headquarters response did not include numerous documents that OIG subsequently discovered by sending agents to INS Headquarters expressly for that purpose (including Andrea Quarantillo's handwritten notes of the June 2, 1995 teleconference with Com missioner Meissner, see Section I.A.1., above). Commissioner Meissner's response did not include the Weiss and Blake Friday E-Mails or the Devine E-Mail located on the Regional office computers.
From both the e-mail messages that were discovered and testimony from mid-level INS managers, OIG had considerable evidence to substantiate the allegations concerning Krome and the Airport by the end of September 1995. Specifically, we had evidence of an intent by top INS managers to deceive Congress by hurriedly reducing Krome's alien population. Contemporaneously with the OIG's discovery ofthese e-mail messages, mid-level managers were confirming that they had been instructed to move aliens out of Krome and to take other special actions because of the Task Force visit. In addition, we had substantial evidence that inspectors at the Airport had been assigned to work in almost all the primary inspection booths to ensure a smooth running operation during the Delegation's visit, and that the hard secondary cells had been emptied. Based on material we had discovered and our preliminary analysis of some of the documentary evidence, we were able to ask more probing questions of Krom e's and Miami District senior officials regarding alien transfers and releases and the possible violation of Krome's routine practices. We conducted interviews of Joseph Kennedy, Supervisory Detention Enforcement Officer (September 19, 1995 and May 7, 1996); Philip Holum, Deportation Officer (July 31, 1995, October 10, 1995, March 7 and 25, 1996, and April 2, 1996); Vincent Intenzo, Supervisory Deportation Officer (September 6 and 14, 1995, October 6, 1995, March 25 and April 15, 1996); Kathy Weiss, Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer (October 4, 1995, January 9, March 25, and April 7, 1996); Kenneth Powers, Assistant District Director for Detention and Deportation (October 5 and 10, and November 8, 1995). In our effort to understand what had happened at Krome, we also spoke with James Bealts, INS Tampa Supervisory Detention Enforcement Officer (September 8, 1995 and September 11, 1995); Craig Robinson, INS New Orleans Deportation Officer (September 12, 1995); and Dr. Ada I. Rivera, U.S. Public Health Service Chief Medical Officer at Krome (September 13, 1995). Some of these interviews lasted as long as seven hours.
By the second week of October 1995, the tension level in some of the interviews increased, as some witnesses became hostile when confronted with evidence tending to suggest the truth of certain allegations in the Complaint. On October 10, one witness challenged the OIG's authority to investigate, and another terminated an interview and refused to cooperate further. The next day, Valerie Blake was scheduled to be interviewed by OIG. Before the interview began she was presented with the DOJ/OIG Warning For Non-Custodial Situations - Federal Employees Non-Custodial Warnings and Assurances OIG form III-226/2 -- the same form that had been signed by Cadman at his initial interview on July 18, 1995. Blake declined to be interviewed before consulting with her attorney. AUSA Pfeffer requested that INS cease its purging of computer backup records at INS Miami. Blake advised that she wanted to consult with an attorney before acceding
to that request. Pfeffer requested that Blake contact the OIG special agents within two hours to stop the routine purges of electronic mail.
That same day, October 11, 1995, because of Blake's reluctance to assist OIG in preserving potentially vital evidence, OIG attempted to directly notify all of the Miami District's data processing personnel with access to the District's server (from which backup copies of e-mails might be retrieved or purged) to stop any automatic purging of e-mail and preserve the information then available on the system. OIG spoke via telephone with the Miami District's Automated Data Processing Coordinator Daniel Ferguson. Ferguson was advised not to erase or delete any electronic mail from the INS Miami and Krome servers. In addition, Ferguson was advised to save the electronic mail of the following individuals: Valerie Blake, Walter D. Cadman, Jerry Emory, Deputy Assistant District Director for Inspections Mark Hill, Vincent Intenzo, Aris Kellner, Roger Miller, Kenneth Powers, George Waldroup, and Kathy Weiss. Also that day, OIG telephonically instructed the Miami District's Data Processin g Contractor, Richard Krenek, that under no circumstances should the Krome server be purged of information. Krenek agreed to the OIG's request.
After Blake advised OIG that she wanted to speak with an attorney before being interviewed, OIG special agents at the District office met with Waldroup and requested access to his electronic mail. Just prior to meeting with Waldroup, the OIG special agents briefly spoke with Cadman, who initially had no objection to OIG reconstructing his electronic mail from May through July 1995. During the meeting with Waldroup it was agreed that Waldroup would provide the information on a diskette. Approximately five minutes into this meeting with the OIG special agents and Waldroup, Cadman walked in and challenged the OIG's authority to conduct the investigation, criticized OIG's treatment of Blake, and refused to cooperate further in providing access to computer files unless served with a subpoena. Waldroup provided OIG with the agreed upon diskette, but it was later determined to contain password-protected files. Waldroup was subsequently asked for the password, but refused. OIG was ab le to decrypt and read the files on this diskette.
After October 11, OIG continued to seek access to the electronic mail on the INS Miami and Krome servers. During this time period the investigation was stalled due to Cadman's refusal to allow the OIG access to the servers.
OIG agents were subsequently sent to Krome to retrieve Kathy Weiss' e-mail. (Weiss had agreed to allow OIG to obtain her e-mail when she was interviewed on October 4, 1995.) While Weiss provided the agents with hard copies of her e-mail, she had already deleted the e-mails from her system and purged her directory.
On October 18, 1995, OIG requested that Waldroup review and sign an affidavit based on the information he had provided during his October 10, 1995 interview (prior to the point at which he terminated the interview and refused to continue voluntarily). Waldroup refused to sign. That same day, Blake informed OIG that she would not speak with OIG on a voluntary basis. She stated that she had not sought legal advice because she had not been charged with anything.
Based on Cadman's refusal to provide access to the computer file servers, Blake's refusal to speak with OIG on a voluntary basis, and Waldroup's refusal to cooperate, OIG determined that this inquiry should be referred to the DOJ Public Integrity Section for evaluation. This step was deemed essential to preserve the integrity of the investigation. Without doing so, the risk existed that, if any criminal offense had been committed, a possible prosecution would be hindered by OIG proceeding administratively without first obtaining review by the Criminal Division.
On October 20, 1995, OIG agents met with Cadman in his office. Also present were Blake and Waldroup. OIG agents advised Cadman that they had been advised that INS Headquarters had acknowledged to OIG that the Miami District had no basis for withholding access to the electronic mail. Even so, Cadman continued to refuse to turn it over. Later that day, Cadman agreed to provide access to the electronic mail provided he could keep a copy of every message on it, including messages involving other INS employees that he had never sent or received. Because OIG intended to re-interview Cadman, we refused to permit him to keep such copies, because to do so would have enabled him to tailor his testimony to comport with documentary records of which he may not previously have been aware. The next day, October 21, 1995, Cadman was informed that INS Headquarters had agreed to instruct Cadman that he would not be entitled to receive a hard copy of all documents that the OIG took off the INS Miami computer system.
On October 23, 1995, OIG personnel again went to the Miami District to obtain access to electronic mail previously requested. INS personnel assisted the OIG in retrieving the electronic mail on the District system program. The files canbe located on electronic mail in folders, trash, in box, bulletin board, drafts, message logs and archives. Four back-up electronic tapes were obtained from the District. That same day, Krenek provided a back-up electronic tape for Krome to OIG. OIG thereafter began the process of reconstructing electronic files from the backup files. [ When OIG sought to obtain e-mail communications, we discussed the preservation of records and the recapture of communications with the appropriate personnel in the Miami District. These persons provided the relevant servers (and created backup tapes) so that we could obtain all possible e-mail communications. Carl D. Ferguson, the Miami ADP Coordinator, provided the file servers and backup tapes containing all relevant messages that could be provided for the users ( e.g. , Cadman) we had identified. In consulting with Lotus, with whom we contracted for this purpose, we were advised that we had obtained all messages that could be recovered.]
On October 24, 1995, OIG sent a memorandum to the Public Integrity Section, setting forth the information and documentation obtained regarding Valerie Blake, and requesting a review of the evidence to determine whether the evidence that had been collected to that time warranted prosecution. Only if Public Integrity authorized the conferring of use immunity could OIG administratively compel Blake's testimony.
On October 30, 1995, Public Integrity authorized the conferring of use immunity for Blake's testimony and advised that OIG could compel her testimony. OIG had continued to search for relevant e-mail messages taken off the server files. We soon realized that reconstructing the files was impossible without the assistance of the company that created the e-mail software program, Lotus Development Corporation (Lotus). Accordingly, we contracted with Lotus to provide assistance in this effort. On November 9, 1995, OIG called Blake to advise her that we had obtained authorization to compel her testimony and to arrange a date for the interview to occur. It was verbally agreed that Blake would travel to Washington, D.C., and be interviewed at the OIG office on November 20, 1995. Yet even this seemingly simple matter devolved into a series of written exchanges.
By November 17, 1995, with the assistance of Lotus, we were able to read the electronic mail backup tapes obtained from the servers from the Miami District office and Krome that OIG had obtained on October 23, 1995. In reviewing Cadman's e-mail, we noted that there were no electronic messages that related to the allegations, investigation, or the Task Force visit of June 10, 1995. In sum, virtually all of Cadman's incoming and outgoing electronic mail messages appeared to havebeen deleted. We were unable to determine when the deletions had been made. In reviewing other e-mail messages from INS personnel obtained during this investigation, we determined that Cadman either sent or received messages in: April (3 e-mails); May (14 e-mails); June (23 e-mails); July (17 e-mails); August (2 e-mails); and September (2 e-mails) that were specifically related to the allegations, investigation or the Delegation's visit. In his interview, Cadman stated that he consistently followed a prac tice by which 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.
Between November 17 and 20, 1995, OIG reviewed approximately 4,000 e-mails from the back-up tapes provided by the Miami District.
On November 20, 1995, Blake was compelled to testify and a transcript of that interview was prepared for OIG by November 28, 1995. On November 22, 1995, OIG sent Cadman a memorandum requesting that he be available for a voluntary interview on December 5, 1995, at the OIG office in Washington, D.C. On November 22, 1995, Cadman sent OIG a memorandum stating: "Please note that my participation in the interview is not voluntary and will occur only upon receipt of a "compel" directive by an appropriate official within my chain of command. . . ." With this refusal, OIG sought a review from Public Integrity on Cadman before his testimony was administratively compelled. On December 12 and 13, 1995, OIG provided Public Integrity with seven volumes of documents for review in connection with that decision.
On December 26, 1995, Blake sent OIG a memorandum stating, "Last Friday, I received a lovely Christmas present from Commissioner Meissner - I have been selected as the Director of the St. Paul District of the Immigration & Naturalization Service. Since my focus will henceforth be on the future, including a cross-country move, and since my time in Miami will be limited, I want to ensure that things are still on track with your investigation and that my involvement can be brought to conclusion before I depart. . . ."
Throughout December and January, the government furloughs slowed progress. On January 26 and 29, 1996, OIG spoke with Executive Associate Commissioner for Field Operations William Slattery's office at INS Headquarters toattempt to make arrangements for his interview. On February 2, 1996, Hazen sent Slattery a memorandum scheduling his interview for February 8, 1996. Hazen also sent a memorandum to coordinate the interview of Pamela Barry, Director of Congressional Affairs at INS Headquarters, with that of Slattery on February 8, 1996. In light of OIG's discovery of additional documents during the course of conducting interviews at INS Headquarters that had not been previously produced, on February 14, 1996, a second request was sent by OIG to Commissioner Meissner for documents relevant to the OIG investigation.
On February 15, 1996, Slattery was interviewed by OIG. The purpose of this interview was to have Slattery review and sign a sworn affidavit prepared from his previous interview of February 8, 1996, with OIG Special Agents. Slattery reviewed the affidavit and approved of its accuracy and contents; however, he refused to sign the affidavit because he could not be provided a copy of it until after the investigation was completed.
On February 23, 1996, Eastern Regional Director Carol Chasse and Deputy Regional Director Michael Devine were sent memoranda requesting that they consent voluntarily to be interviewed and to notify him of their decision by memorandum by close of business on February 26, 1996. On February 23, 1996, Hazen called Chasse. Chasse asked if her interview would be under Miranda warnings. Hazen advised that she would be given "non-custodial" warnings, pursuant to which she could exercise her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself (based on the same form that Cadman had signed in his initial interview on July 18, 1995). Because a voluntary interview would be "non-custodial," she could exercise this right without being subject to discipline. [ In Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), the Supreme Court held that a public employee may not be terminated from employment solely for exercising his or her Fifth Amendment rights. The "choice" of sel f-incrimination or loss of one's job is the "antithesis" of the right to remain silent, and exerts pressure and coercion that violates the Fifth Amendment. However, when an employee is granted "use immunity," that is, specifically informed that neither the information or fruits thereof may be used against him or her in a criminal proceeding, no Fifth Amendment right is affected. If an employee refuses to answer questions after he or she has been granted "use immunity," the employee may be disciplined, including terminated, without infringing on any Fifth Amendment right since no right against self- incrimination is implicated. In these situations, a warning based on the case of Kalkines v. United States , 473 F.2d 1391 (Ct. Cl. 1973), is used when the interviewee is an employee who is the subject of the investigation.] Chasse responded that she would not voluntarily be interviewed. Hazen asked her to put that in writing; Chasse responded that she would not.
Devine was contacted on February 23, 1996, regarding his availability for a consensual interview. Devine responded by memorandum dated February 26, 1996, in which he stated that he would have to be administratively compelled to testify.
On February 23, 1996, the Public Integrity Section advised OIG that it had no objection to OIG's obtaining compelled testimony from Cadman. On February 29, 1996, INS Headquarters directed Cadman to appear at the Washington office of OIG to provide compelled testimony on March 6, 1996. On March 1, 1996, OIG sought reviews from the Public Integrity Section on whether Devine and Chasse should be immunized. Cadman was interviewed by compelling his testimony on March 6 and 7, 1996. A copy of the typed transcript was provided to the OIG on March 22, 1996, and then forwarded to Public Integrity on March 25, 1996, for analysis and consideration in the Chasse and Devine decisions.
On April 8, 1996, Public Integrity advised that it had no objection to OIG immunizing Devine. On April 10, 11, and 12, 1996, OIG attempted to contact Devine; however, his secretary stated that he was on sick leave. On April 15, 1996, Devine was contacted and agreed to have his administratively compelled interview occur on April 18, 1996 in New York. Public Integrity was notified of the results of the Devine interview and, on April 22, 1996, advised OIG that it had no objection to OIG immunizing Chasse. The next day, OIG requested that INS compel her testimony. The date of April 30 was agreed to by Chasse. Although OIG sought to conduct the interview in New York for budgetary reasons, we acceded to a request from INS Headquarters to interview Chasse in Burlington, Vermont. Her typed transcript was provided to OIG on May 16, 1996.
To follow up on certain information after OIG's interviews at INS Headquarters, on May 2, 1996, we attempted to re-interview Waldroup, who stated that he would not answer any questions relating to the Delegation's visit unless he was first administratively compelled to do so. Waldroup stated that he wished to protect himself from exposure to criminal sanctions under the Garrity guidelines because the INS Miami Union president, Michael Wixted, had filed a criminal assault complaint against him concerning their contact during the time of the Delegation's visit. As a result, Waldroup did not want to have any voluntary statements made to OIG used against him criminally in connection with the alleged assault.
On May 16, 1996, OIG interviewed the Commissioner and Chief of Staff in INS Headquarters. The Deputy Commissioner was interviewed on May 17, 1996. All three witnesses were interviewed voluntarily. Other than a few follow-up interviews, these interviews of INS Headquarter personnel concluded the fact-finding in the investigation.
Although we are troubled by INS's general failure to produce responsive and relevant documents in a comprehensive and timely way, no one person or persons was responsible for this failure. Rather, the evidence establishes that a general failure to cooperate with the investigation permeated the top ranks of Miami District and Eastern Regional management, and that INS Headquarters failed to search for documents and to insist that Regional subordinates do so. The lack of cooperation was demonstrated in recurrent failures to provide documents and the possible destruction of electronic files. And although we fault no one for exercising the right not to be interviewed unless administratively compelled to do so, we are troubled by the level of cooperation extended by senior INS personnel in such matters as scheduling the interviews, their comportment during them, and the magnitude of professed failures to recall important, and potentially inculpatory, matters.