WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about allegations of mismanagement and spending abuse by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program (CFATS).
“Serious claims have been made about the operation of this program,” said Grassley. “The Secretary said earlier this year that things had been fixed, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. If the allegations are true, there’s been a systemic failure of this security program and nearly $500 million has been wasted.”
The CFATS program was created in 2007 to determine risk factors for chemical facilities and mandate and assess security plans for high-risk facilities.
Grassley asked Napolitano about the program in April, following a report that said problems within CFATS were so severe they posed a measureable risk to the program, when she appeared before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Since then, a whistleblower has provided more details about the Department of Homeland Security’s management of the program, including allegations that CFATS assigned employees to non-existent field offices, allowing employees to work from home while claiming on paper to be located in phantom CFATS field offices. Grassley said one byproduct of this was that employees often lived in low locality-pay areas while claiming duty stations in high locality-pay areas and receiving higher pay, as a result.
Allegations also included routine procurement by CFATS of tactical and field equipment for which the program had no use. In addition, a high level official in the Department of Homeland Security allegedly refused to report information about the abuses to the Inspector General.
In a July 30, 2012, letter to Napolitano, Grassley asked for detailed information about the program. He asked for a response by Monday, August 13. Click here to read the letter.